Charles Stanley – When We Feel Helpless

Psalm 50:15

In adventure movies, we often see people trapped and helpless, frantically looking for a way to escape. Real life can sometimes feel that way for us, and as we begin to look for a way out, our prayers become filled with requests for rescue—physical healing, changed circumstances, additional provision.

Did you ever consider that even more important than physical rescue is spiritual liberation? (See Eph. 6:12.) First and foremost, Jesus Christ delivered you from the power and penalty of sin. As your living Savior, He also knows your continued helplessness in the face of sinful habits, uncontrolled emotions, and ungodly thoughts. He wants to free you from these sins. So seek out His offer of spiritual rescue every day—whether or not a physical crisis looms over you.

Follow the example of the psalmist, who cried out to God for deliverance. Psalm 50:15 says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” Start by admitting your helplessness to the Lord and to yourself. Confess any fears, unbelief, or self-reliance that you might detect in your life. Surrender all further attempts at change that are done apart from the heavenly Father. Then turn your gaze toward Him. Think about His relationship with you, who He is, and what He desires. Let the Holy Spirit fill your spirit with the truth of God’s Word. Meditate on it. Commit yourself to following His way. Then trust God, and wait on Him to change you from the inside out. A day will arrive when the helpless feeling will leave to be replaced by the joy of being free. When it does, give God the glory.

Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 10-12

 

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Our Daily Bread — Greater than the Mess

Read: 2 Samuel 22:26-37

Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 21-22; Luke 18:24-43

You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. —2 Samuel 22:29

A major theme of the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel could easily be “Life is a mess!” It has all the elements of a blockbuster TV miniseries. As David sought to establish his rule as king of Israel, he faced military challenges, political intrigue, and betrayal by friends and family members. And David himself was certainly not without guilt as his relationship with Bathsheba clearly showed (chs. 11-12).

Yet near the end of 2 Samuel we find David’s song of praise to God for His mercy, love, and deliverance. “You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light” (22:29).

In many of his difficulties, David turned to the Lord. “With your help I can advance against a troop [run through a barricade]; with my God I can scale a wall” (v. 30).

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – God in the Garden

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? …

When the morning stars sang in chorus, and all the sons of

God shouted for joy?

These are just two of the long list of questions asked of the ancient character Job. God’s interrogation bursts forth like thunder, breaking God’s long, unnerving silence with a clap that seems to drown out Job’s outpour of grief. I can read them as a harsh sting, as a silencing gavel to Job’s anguish and objections, akin to the response of an exasperated parent putting an end to the child’s inquisitive clamoring with the trump card of a louder, final sovereignty: Because I’m the parent, that’s why. It is God as Creator imagined something more like God as tyrant.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Resurrection: So What?

“If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

Without Christ’s resurrection, our individual Christian lives would be pathetic exercises in futility.

In ancient times the strongest swimmer among the sailors on a ship was called the archegos, a Greek word that means “front-runner” or “pioneer.” If as the ship approached shore, it got caught in waves so strong that a safe landing was doubtful, the archegos would fasten one end of a long rope to the ship, tie the other end around himself, jump into the water, and guide the ship to land. Once on land, he would secure the rope to a rock or tree. Then the other passengers could disembark and use the rope as a safety tether to reach the shore.

Jesus is our archegos. If He didn’t overcome death and make a way possible for us to do the same, we would have nothing more to look forward to than life on earth, which would leave us with no brighter hope than the typical unbeliever (Rom. 6:23).

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Resurrection: So What?

Wisdom Hunters – How to Address Bad Behavior 

[God] told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. 1 Samuel 3:13

If I say I love someone, but I do not lovingly address their bad behavior—I do not love them in the way God wants me to love them. If I say to myself it is none of my business—I cop out— because love makes it its business to help people not self destruct. Love addresses bad behavior early and often—to help a friend or family member’s habit not become addictive and destructive. To ignore and act as if bad attitudes or actions will go away is unloving and irresponsible. To engage relationally and make constant emotional deposits earns the right to discuss what’s right.

We do not know for sure the relationship Eli had with his two sons Hophni and Phinehas while they were small children. Perhaps the dad traveled doing ministry work or maybe when Eli was home he was directive and not very instructive with his children. However the home culture—the adult sons ambushed their father’s values and expectations. They treated the sacrifices to God with contempt and they sexually seduced women who sought to serve the Lord. The elderly Eli confronted his sons with their wickedness, but it was too little too late for judgment was coming.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Who Holds the Future

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5

Recommended Reading

Jeremiah 29:11

Psalm 30:5 is an example of Scripture explaining Scripture. The second half of the verse is often quoted during times of trouble: “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” But weeping can sometimes last for many nights—or weeks or months, even years. But the first part of the verse explains the second: The psalmist is talking about relative periods of time—a “moment” compared with a “lifetime.”

Continue reading Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Who Holds the Future

Joyce Meyer – God Answers the Prayers of the Righteous

…The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].— James 5:16

When people struggle in their prayer lives, they often think it is because they are unholy and unrighteous so they try to behave better, hoping that then their prayers will be answered.

The truth is that if we are born again, we are righteous. We may not do everything right; but we are 100 percent righteous through Christ. Second Corinthians 5:21 tells us He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (NKJV).

There is a difference between righteousness and “right” behavior. Righteousness describes our standing—our position or condition before God—because of the blood of Jesus. We cannot make ourselves righteous; only the blood of Jesus makes us righteous, as if we had never sinned at all. God views us as righteous even though we still make mistakes. Because He sees us as righteous, we have a God-given right to pray and expect God to hear and answer us.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – God Answers the Prayers of the Righteous

Girlfriends in God – Do You Believe God Tells the Truth?

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms . . .”

Ephesians 1:18–20

Friend to Friend

God speaks to me in the comics. I know. That’s weird. But He does.

Pickles comic strip features an older couple named Earl and Pearl Pickles. One day Earl and Pearl were sitting on a porch swing and the following conversation ensued.

Frame one: Pearl, “Did you know the DNA of humans and chimpanzees is 98 percent the same?”

Frame two: Earl, “I know it but I don’t believe it.”

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Do You Believe God Tells the Truth?

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – When He’s in Control

“But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us:…self-control” (Galatians 5:22,23).

Sue insisted that she was Spirit-filled, and she frequently challenged others to be filled with the Spirit. But there was no evidence that the Holy Spirit was in control of her life, because she was completely undisciplined in everything she did. She knew nothing about self-control. She knew all about the Holy Spirit, in her mind, but there was no evidence that He was in her life – and in control of her life.

Dr. Henrietta Mears, as director of Christian education at the First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, had one of the greatest spiritual ministries of her time. Hundreds of young men and women became church members and missionaries under her influence. She lived in a palatial home, owned priceless antiques and dressed beautifully. Most people assumed that she was a woman of great wealth. Actually, she was a person of relatively modest means. She simply knew how to take her regular salary, a modest inheritance, plus savings, and maximize them for God’s glory.

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – When He’s in Control

Ray Stedman -The True Sabbath

Read: Leviticus 23:1-3

There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord. Lev 23:3

The weekly sabbath had begun at Creation. God worked six days and then he rested on the seventh day. God did no work on the sabbath. This was reinstated and renewed in the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai when God reminded his people that the sabbath was at the heart of all his work.

I often hear Sunday referred to as the sabbath. And perhaps you think that is just an old-fashioned word for Sunday. But that is completely wrong. Sunday is never the sabbath, and never was the sabbath! A transference is made of these ideas which is totally unbiblical. The seventh day was Saturday. The first day was Sunday. And Saturday was to be observed as the sabbath, as it still is in Israel today.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Careless Words (Part 2)

Read: James 3:9-12

With [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. (v. 9)

As human beings we are created in God’s image, and God pronounced that “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Yet we are bombarded with pictures—through television, magazines, and online—that depict an unattainable standard of physical beauty. The average female fashion model is a size 2, but the average American woman is a size 14. The media depicts the ideal male body as extremely muscular, with chiseled abs, zero body fat, and a full head of hair. Many Americans see thousands of advertisements every day that insist we fight aging, lose weight, and appear perfect. Unfortunately, what we see in the mirror cannot match what the media insists we should look like.

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Careless Words (Part 2)

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – Guidelines for Life

John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States, frequently wrote letters to his family when he was away from home. Adams penned this to his son in 1811: “So great is my veneration for the Bible, and so strong my belief, that when duly read and meditated on, it is of all books in the world that which contributes most to make men good, wise and happy.”

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you.

Ephesians 4:31

Scripture can be very specific about what makes men good and wise, or what defines them as evil and foolish. If tempers rise, men may react in anger, maligning one another with passionate outbursts of rage or sarcasm. Filthy words “grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” (Ephesians 4:30) You have a duty as a Christian, whose heart is tender to the Lord, to be an example – by your word and action – of what is right and pleasing in God’s eyes.

“Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17) Apply His guidelines to your life. Then pray for those who lead this nation that they may seek to live in obedience to the will of God, tenderhearted and kind in word and deed.

Recommended Reading: Ephesians 4:1-3, 11-16

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Disciplines His Children in Love

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Hebrews 12:5-6)

“Susan!” yelled Grandpa from where he stood at the living room window. “The kids are outside playing with matches!”

Willy and Ellie heard him yell, but they did not have enough time to clean up the mess before Mom rushed outside to where they’d been hunched over the pile of kindling and matches.

“William! Ellen! What are you doing? You know you’re not supposed to play with fire!”

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Trusted Standards

Today’s Scripture: John 14:15

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

A loving obedience to the commands of God is one clear evidence that we’re living by grace. Anyone who thinks, since God’s love is not conditioned on my obedience, I’m free to live as I please, is not living by grace, nor does he understand grace. What he perceives as grace is really a caricature.

Jesus said that if we love him, we’ll obey his commands. The term command suggests clear direction. We’re told what to do or not do. We are not left in doubt how we’re to live. The commands in the Bible provide a clear set of moral standards.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Trusted Standards

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Work of Our Hands

Today’s Scripture: Exodus 28-31

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8

Today’s passage shows Moses demonstrating humility in what could have been a very sticky situation. His brother, Aaron, is appointed high priest, and his descendants after him will fill that role. At the same time, the descendants of Moses are assigned the menial work of the Levite. They carried the Tabernacle about from place to place. They became janitors. They put up the tent. They assisted the priests in their various responsibilities, yet Moses didn’t balk at this arrangement. It is clear evidence of his humble spirit and sincere commitment to the glory of God.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Work of Our Hands

BreakPoint – How Can You Maintain a Christian Worldview in a Post-Modern Culture?

I meet folks all the time who sense that things have changed. What Francis Schaeffer and Chuck Colson once called “a post-Christian” culture has become a “post-Christian-and-darn-proud-of-it” culture. Living out your faith is, well, difficult these days. And it’s frustrating.

Yet here we are. We, like every other generation of Christ followers, are still called to share our faith in this cultural moment. We’re still called to live our faith out in our communities, places of work, neighborhoods, etc. But how do we do this?

The most important thing, Chuck Colson believed, was to be equipped in Christian worldview, with the ability to communicate it in what he sometimes called “prudential language.” Here’s Chuck describing what that means.

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – ANSWERED PROMISES

Read 2 Corinthians 1:12-22

Sophia Kichou was a homeless teenager who turned to Centrepoint, a London organization that supports young people with housing and health care. Prince William is a patron of Centrepoint; when she was 18 years old Sophia met him and shared her dream of becoming a journalist. The prince said he would give her an interview when she reached her goals. Last December, he fulfilled that six-year-old promise, inviting Sophia to Kensington Palace and giving her an exclusive interview.

Promises reveal our character. Do we make them quickly and forget to follow through? Or do we refuse to promise anything, unwilling to be bound by any commitments? As our text today tells us, God has made us many incredibly wonderful promises—and He fulfills them all in Christ.

The apostle Paul was facing charges from some in the church in Corinth that he was fickle, untrustworthy, and unreliable. Part of their accusation seems to be that Paul had intended to visit the church on a trip to Macedonia, but he was unable to see them as he had planned (vv. 15–17). Paul appeals to the perfect plan of God as part of his defense. Even when our human plans are derailed, God’s plan and promise for us remain secure.

Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – ANSWERED PROMISES

Denison Forum – WHY ARE SATANIC TEMPLE AND QUEEN ELIZABETH IN THE NEWS?

I cannot imagine writing on two more dissimilar stories in today’s news.

The Satanic Temple (TST) is a movement that began in 2013. The group now has seventeen chapters in the U.S. and Europe and claims an estimated 100,000 members. Its members have created satanic coloring books for distribution in Florida and Colorado schools, offered prayers to Satan at a Seattle high school football game, and demanded that a satanic statue be erected next to a monument to the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

TST has been in the news lately due to its efforts to inspire a “satanic revolution.” The group has been holding rallies—the most recent was in Austin, Texas—to further its cause.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth turned ninety last week. She is the longest reigning monarch in England’s long history. She had a conference with President Obama the day after her birthday and has met twelve American presidents. The queen has watched her country change in dramatic ways. Yet she remains an amazing force for good in the U.K. and beyond.

Continue reading Denison Forum – WHY ARE SATANIC TEMPLE AND QUEEN ELIZABETH IN THE NEWS?