Charles Stanley – God’s Grand Plan

1 Peter 1:13-16

First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” What an overwhelming command! But that is exactly what the Lord is committed to do in our lives—make us holy. His grand plan can be summed up in one word: sanctification. This is the three-stage process by which He sets us apart for His purposes.

Stage one occurs at the moment of our salvation. When God declares us righteous, we are positionally holy. The second stage is a progression of growth as we become more and more in practice what we already are in position. This process will continue for as long as we are alive on this earth.

The Father has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29), and He is continually working to shape our character, conduct, and conversation. Although God is the one who accomplishes the transformation, we have some responsibility in the process. If we don’t cooperate with Him, the world will squeeze us into its mold, and we will miss the great plans He has for us.

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Our Daily Bread — God’s Enduring Word

Read: Psalm 119:89-96

Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 16-18; Luke 17:20-37

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. —Matthew 24:35

At the beginning of World War II, aerial bombings flattened much of Warsaw, Poland. Cement blocks, ruptured plumbing, and shards of glass lay strewn across the great city. In the downtown area, however, most of one damaged building still stubbornly stood. It was the Polish headquarters for the British and Foreign Bible Society. Still legible on a surviving wall were these words: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matt. 24:35).

Jesus made that statement to encourage His disciples when they asked Him about the “end of the age” (v. 3). But His words also give us courage in the midst of our embattled situation today. Standing in the rubble of our shattered dreams, we can still find confidence in God’s indestructible character, sovereignty, and promises.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – A Special Testimony

“And last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also” (1 Corinthians 15:8).

The resurrection power of Christ transformed Paul into a preacher of the gospel.

Throughout history, reliable eyewitness testimony about a person or event has been one of the most accepted forms of courtroom evidence. The apostle Paul appeals to the eyewitness record as an important confirmation of the Resurrection’s reality. He cites the examples of Peter, the apostles (twice), 500 believers, and James (1 Cor. 15:5-7). And with today’s verse, Paul presents himself as a special eyewitness to the fact of Jesus’ resurrection.

Paul’s case was unique. He was not among the original apostles, nor the 500 other believers, all of whom had opportunities to be with the Lord during His earthly ministry and/or see Him soon after He arose. Paul was not even a Christian during his early life and career but was rather the leader of those who persecuted the early church.

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Wisdom Hunters – God’s Love, Compassion, Faithfulness 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”     Lamentations 3:22-24

The love of God keeps you from being consumed by the fiery flames of grief. Your sorrows can overwhelm you, but He is there as your loving heavenly Father to see you through your sadness. The love of God is a peacemaker when you become consumed with conflict. His love mediates and works out solutions for all willing parties. Conflict melts under the loving influence of God. Worry is all-consuming until it comes under the direct influence of God’s love, for His love exudes peace.

Thus, the peace of God and the worry of the world cannot coexist. Fear can be all-consuming. However, the love of God flushes out fear and replaces it with trust. Fleeting fear must be replaced by faith or it will return to occupy your heart and mind. The love of God floods your soul with faith. Fear vanishes under the influence of faith.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Spring Cleaning: De-clutter Your Life—Reset Your Priorities

But one thing I do . . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13b-14

Recommended Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

While it’s hard to imagine a doctor or other person saying this to us—“It’s time to get your affairs in order”—we understand the kind of situations in which it might be necessary. But it also begs the question: Why should we live without having our affairs in order? Why shouldn’t “getting our affairs in order” be a continual process of assessing and resetting instead of an end-of-life challenge?

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Joyce Meyer – A Rock-Solid Foundation

[Jesus] said to them, But who do you [yourselves] say that I am? Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16:15-16 — Matthew 16:15-16

When Peter said that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, it was a statement of faith. In making this statement, Peter was displaying faith.

I don’t think Peter just casually or nonchalantly made that statement. I think he did it with a surety and a certainty that impressed Jesus because He immediately turned to Peter and told him that he was blessed. Then He went on to say that it was upon this rock-solid foundation of faith that He would build His church.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Poor, Blind and Naked

“You say, ‘I am rich, with everything I want; I don’t need a thing!” And you don’t realize that spiritually you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

George had come for a week of lay training at Arrowhead Springs. Following one of my messages on revival, in which I explained that most Christians are like the members of the church at Ephesus and Laodicea, as described in Revelation 2 and 3, he came to share with me how, though he was definitely lukewarm and had lost his first love, he frankly had never read those passages, had never heard a sermon such as I had presented and therefore did not realize how wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked he was.

If there were such an instrument as a “faith thermometer,” at what level would your faithfulness register? Hot? Lukewarm? Cold?

Jesus said to the church at Laodicea, “I know you well – you are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other! But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:15).

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Ray Stedman -Free to Serve

Read: Leviticus 21

They must be holy to their God and must not profane the name of their God. Lev 21:6a

In the Gospel according to Leviticus, we come to a section which is specifically addressed to priests, to Aaron the high priest and his sons. This family was set aside in Israel to do a specific work of ministry in relationship to God. All the members of Aaron’s family were priests by birth. They did not become priests by choice or by desire on their part, but by being born into the family of Aaron. There was no other way to become a priest. No other family was ever recognized as having valid membership in the priesthood.

But even though they were members of the family of Aaron they could serve as priests only if they met certain qualifications. So there is a difference between merely being a priest and serving as a priest. That is important and instructive to us because this priesthood of the family of Aaron is a picture of the ministry that we have uniquely as believers in Jesus Christ. Every one of us who is born again, born into the family of our great high priest Jesus Christ, is by that fact inescapably a priest. But whether we can serve as a priest or not depends upon the qualifications in our life. Membership in the family is by birth; service in the family is by qualification.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Faith in Action

Read: James 2:20-26

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (v. 26)

Amy had recently moved and was visiting a local church. She had been warmly welcomed by the usher, and after she sat down, the woman across the aisle gave her an encouraging smile. “So far, so good,” she thought. “Maybe this is where I am supposed to be.” The worship songs and the liturgy were familiar, and Amy was pleased to see a lot of children there.

The minister asked for prayer requests, and heard the usual appeals for safety for troops stationed overseas, and a request for healing for someone’s mother who was hospitalized. Just then, a young man stood up. “I haven’t asked for prayers before, but you all probably know that I’ve been sick for a couple of years. I was just put on the transplant list this week. So if you think of it, pray that God would give me a new kidney.” Then he sat down, and the minister prayed. Silently, Amy prayed too: “Lord, I don’t know what to ask for, but that man needs a kidney and I know you will provide.” Clear as a bell Amy heard a voice say, “Give him one of yours.” Her eyes flew open.

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Presidential Prayer Team; J.R.- Sow Sorry

Depending on what you believe, he was shot by a hired killer at a house in Detroit and his remains cremated – or he was dispatched with a hunting knife and then buried in a 55-gallon drum…which was then placed in an old car, crushed in a compactor and sent to Japan as scrap metal. Or he was buried under a residential driveway. Or he was interred in a shallow grave in a field near a restaurant. Or he was entombed in concrete beneath the end zone at the stadium in Meadowlands, New Jersey.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

Galatians 6:7

Whatever you believe, no one has been able to prove what happened to Jimmy Hoffa, the infamous Teamsters boss and mafia figure who disappeared in 1975. What is almost certain is that somebody did to him what he had very likely ordered done to others.

You can believe God will forgive your sin when you repent, but that doesn’t mean you will always be free from sorrowful consequences. That’s why it’s so important to be intentional about how you “sow.” Don’t deliver evil for evil. Instead, sow your time, talent, treasure and prayers wisely in ways that will reap goodness – for you, and for America.

Recommended Reading: Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23

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Greg Laurie – Are You Satisfied with Your Present Spiritual State?

“Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore!”—Psalm 105:4

You are not done as a Christian.

No matter how much you love, you ought to love more.

No matter how much you pray, you ought to pray more.

No matter how much you obey God, you ought to obey more.

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Forgiving

 

“He will turn again; He will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19)

Have you ever wondered if God has really forgiven you of your sin after you’ve confessed it to Him, and asked His forgiveness? Do you fear there’s a possibility that He’ll hold your sin against you in the future? In our verse for today, God compares His forgiveness of our sins as if He has thrown them “into the depths of the sea.”

Consider the following amazing facts about the deepest part of the sea:

  • The deepest point of the Pacific Ocean is called the “Marianas Trench.”
  • Its depth is 36,089 ft. (nearly 7 miles!)
  • The lowest part of the Marianas Trench is called the “Challenger Deep.”
  • “Mt. Everest could fit into the Challenger Deep and its peak still be covered by over a mile and a quarter of ocean. If you dropped a steel ball into the Challenger Deep from a ship, the ball would fall through the ocean for sixty-three minutes before it hit bottom.” (Science 5 for Christian Schools, Second Edition, BJU Press, 1990, page 31.)

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – How Thankful Are You?

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 9:1

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”

Most of us acknowledge that everything we have comes from God, but how often do we stop to give thanks to him? At the end of a workday, do you take time to say, “Thank you, heavenly Father, for giving me the skill, ability, and health to do my work today”? Do you ever physically or mentally go through your house and say to God, “everything in the house and the food in the cupboard and the car (or cars) in the driveway are gifts from you. Thank you for your gracious and generous provision”? When you give thanks at mealtime, is it routine and perfunctory, or is it a heartfelt expression of your gratitude to God for his continual provision of all your physical needs?

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – For the Common Good

Today’s Scripture: Jeremiah 11-15

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8

Thousands of prayer breakfast gatherings are held in towns and cities across the United States. Perhaps you’ve even attended one. But do you know where the whole thing began? Back in the late 1940s, a man named Abraham Veradi organized a prayer breakfast for the leaders of Seattle. As he saw the positive, continuing results from that outreach, he became concerned about the spiritual welfare of our national leaders in Washington, D.C. In the early 1950s, Veradi moved to D.C. and began to reach out to various members of Congress and others in government. It didn’t look like much at first, but out of it grew what we know today as the National Prayer Breakfast. And from that small beginning, the concept has spread across America and literally around the world. It all began with the vision of one man who saw a need and took it to heart.

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – ETERNAL PURPOSE IN CHRIST

Read Ephesians 3

In 1943 psychologist Abraham Maslow published a paper describing his “Theory of Human Motivation.” It became known as the hierarchy of needs, with basic human needs such as food, shelter, and safety forming the base of the pyramid, while self- actualization—the desire to be all you can be—was the pinnacle. In 1969 Maslow revised his theory to add another step beyond self-actualization: self-transcendence. He thought that the self could truly be actualized only when it was focused on a higher goal outside itself, whether that be spiritual or philanthropic.

Maslow seems to have realized that the human search for purpose can never be fulfilled by looking within ourselves. Thankfully, in Christ we are part of God’s eternal purpose. We are part of something beyond ourselves, and this eternal purpose transforms our lives even now.

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