Charles Stanley – Special People

1 Peter 2:9-10

Whenever feelings of low self-worth threaten us with discouragement, we need to rely on the truth of God’s Word rather than on our emotions. Today we are going to examine four phrases that describe how the Lord sees every believer.

  1. A Chosen Race. God chose you and me to be part of His kingdom and family because He wanted us. No one who has been specially selected by almighty God is insignificant.
  2. A Royal Priesthood. As believers, we are children of God and, therefore, part of a royal family. In other words, we are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). Just as Jesus fulfilled the roles of both king and priest, so God has also entrusted us with priestly responsibilities of worship and intercession for others.
  3. A Holy Nation. The church—or body of Christ—is a group of people who are holy, which means “set apart” for the purposes of God. Our lives are never meaningless, because living for the Lord is the greatest purpose one can have.
  4. A People for God’s Own Possession. You and I are the heavenly Father’s personal possessions. (See Deut. 14:2; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:9.) Because He sees us as precious, He sent His Son to die on the cross in our place so we could belong to Him.

Each of these descriptions shows the high value God places on you. Satan may whisper lies of condemnation and criticism, but he can’t change who you really are. Begin today to demonstrate the truth of Scripture by remembering your real identity and living out your high calling from the Lord.

Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 18-20

 

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Our Daily Bread — An Amazing Love

Read: Malachi 1:1-10; 4:5-6

Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 3-5; Luke 20:1-26

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. —Malachi 1:2

The final major historic acts of the Old Testament are described in Ezra and Nehemiah as God allowed the people of Israel to return from exile and resettle in Jerusalem. The City of David was repopulated with Hebrew families, a new temple was built, and the wall was repaired.

And that brings us to Malachi. This prophet, who was most likely a contemporary of Nehemiah, brings the written portion of the Old Testament to a close. Notice the first thing he said to the people of Israel: “ ‘I have loved you,’ says the Lord.” And look at their response: “How have you loved us?” (1:2).

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Ultimate Spotter

Have you ever been in this plight before—commissioned to pick up an international guest at the Mumbai airport at 2 a.m.? It’s not so much the time that I want you to empathize with me about, but the sheer task of spotting a face that you have never seen before, especially when you are myopic like me. You might well be thinking: why not simply use one of those good old placards? Well I did have one, an A4 sized, Times New Roman, uppercase, bold, 56 font sized “Guest Name.”

Even so, this was a guest whom I know not and who knows me not, a guest whom I’ve seen not and who’s seen me not, a guest whom I’ve heard not and who’s heard me not!

And if that doesn’t quite impress you, here’s one more detail that might surely be helpful: I take my missions quite seriously and could wait forever for my guest to arrive. And this I did, my eyes glued to that single exit door for a full three hours standing with placard in hand.

I did more.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Resurrection: Motive for Sanctification

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’ Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33-34).

Trusting in the fact of Christ’s resurrection and looking forward to our own rising from the dead ought to stimulate us toward sanctification.

Like any essential teaching of Scripture, the doctrine of the Resurrection can be studied and discussed from an academic standpoint only. When that happens, we usually acquire a factual understanding of the topic and perhaps some appreciation of how the doctrine supports our faith—but that’s as far as we go.

However, our studies on the Resurrection have already taught us some of the implications this Bible truth ought to have for our conduct. The hope of the Resurrection can give everyone an incentive to be saved and believers an incentive for service. This hope also provides a third incentive: the motivation toward sanctification.

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Wisdom Hunters – Soul Care 

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

My wife and I often joke about having the gift of a “black thumb.” Each year, our goals for a healthy and vibrant garden are very high, yet rarely if ever has that initial goal led to the fruitful harvest we envision- disappointment is the inevitable outcome. Though there may be multiple reasons for this challenge, there is one that stands out above the rest: neglect.

In the midst of work schedules, parenting three young children, and frequent travel during the spring and summer months, our poor backyard garden doesn’t stand a chance. Though it may start off strong, we aren’t able to continue to provide the attention and care it needs to thrive and flourish. However, the few times that we have had success with this garden, it has been because we were able to prioritize and build into our lives ongoing and intentional care and nurture, ensuring the healthy beginning continued day-by-day, week-by-week.

This image of a healthy and thriving garden can be directly applied to our spiritual lives and the need for continual growth into Christ’s likeness. As St. Paul reminds us, “just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him.” Our initial reception of the Lord Jesus is a profound and wonderful mystery. It is the joy of new life, freedom from sin and death, and the hope of resurrection life in Christ. Yet our Christian lives are meant to be so much more than a one-time encounter with the Lord!

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Joyce Meyer – Acceptable Words

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] Rock and my Redeemer. —Psalm 19:14

It is acceptable to God when we use our mouths to bring joy, love, and good to others. It is not acceptable to God when we use our mouths to bring hurt and destruction. We are still acceptable to Him, but our behavior isn’t because it will not produce the good results in our lives that God desires for us.

Ephesians 4:29 teaches us not to use our words to cause the Holy Spirit any grief and gives clear instructions concerning what grieves Him: Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.

Properly chosen words can actually change lives for the better. What you say can tear down or build up, so choose words that are agreeable with God’s will.

Power Thought: My words are wholesome and acceptable to God.

From the book the book Power Thoughts Devotional by Joyce Meyer.

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Girlfriends in God – Unshakable Peace

I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 16:8

Friend to Friend

Susan lived “the good life.” One filled with prosperity and love. For years, she and her husband owned a thriving business that allowed them and their children to be surrounded with beautiful material things. They had a glorious lake home, a lavish boat, and luxury cars. Everything the world counts as gain.

In spite of their earthly wealth, when faced with the truth of the Gospel, Susan and her husband realized that they were spiritually bankrupt and in desperate need of a Savior. Within months of each other, Susan and her husband both accepted Christ and began to thrive in newly found faith.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Fullness of Joy

“Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11, KJV).

“If you have lost the joy of the Lord in your life,” someone once observed, “who moved, you or God? For in His presence is fullness of joy.”

That saint and prophet of earlier years, A. W. Tozer, suggested several ways for the believer to achieve real joy:

  1. Cultivate a genuine friendship with God. He is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  2. Take time to exercise yourself daily unto godliness. Vow never to be dishonest about sin in your life, never to defend yourself, never to own anything (or let anything own you), never to pass on anything hurtful about others, never to take any glory to yourself.
  3. No known sin must be allowed to remain in your life. “Keep short accounts with God” – never allow unconfessed sins to pile up in your life.
  4. Set out to build your own value system based on the Word of God. Meditate on the Word; practice the presence of God. Set priorities as you realize what is truly important. It will be reflected in the standard of values you set for yourself.
  5. Share your spiritual discoveries with others.

Bible Reading: John 15:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Knowing that the best witness in the world is a joyful, radiant Christian, I will try to be that kind of believer, trusting the indwelling Holy Spirit to thus empower me and radiate His love and joy through me. I will share my spiritual discoveries with others.

 

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Ray Stedman -The True Basis for Social Concern

Read: Leviticus 25

Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land. If one of your fellow Israelites becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold. Lev 25:24-25

As you read this chapter you can see that these are God’s instructions on how to deal with poverty. This is an issue which seethes and throbs beneath the surface in every land on earth today. What is causing the sense of injustice and inequity among peoples all over the world? It is the fact that they face a system which, at least in their view, does not permit them to recover out of poverty. They have no way of breaking the stranglehold upon them and of improving their economic lot. God says, You must do something about that. You must help your brother.

The passage goes on to outline specific circumstances: First, in verses 25-34 God says you must give a person the right to redeem his own land. The next division, Verses 39-46, takes up the case of slavery. No Israelite was to be a slave. Finally, Verses 47-55, there must be the right to redeem slaves, to buy a person back and restore him to his dignity as a human being.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Rest of the Story

Read: James 4:11-17

But who are you to judge your neighbor? (v. 12)

About 15 years ago, I worked as a substitute teacher in an elementary school. Normally the teacher would leave a note about what to expect from the students, what lessons to cover, and anything I would need to know about the classroom. One December day, however, I was called in to a 1st grade class in an emergency, and there was no note. I did my best to improvise, and gave the students some worksheets to do.

At 10:30, an unkempt little girl walked in to class. She was wearing a pair of shorts, flip-flops with mismatched socks, and a coat that was easily three sizes too big. She sat down, put her head on the desk and promptly fell asleep. I couldn’t help wondering what sort of family this child had. Clearly no one cared enough to dress her appropriately, or get her to school on time! “She’s obviously neglected,” I thought, getting angrier by the minute.

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Rest of the Story

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Bad To Good

Some say that we should thank God for all things – including broken legs, burning homes, or even war. Yet there’s a difference between thanking God for bad things and thanking God in bad things. God isn’t out to get you with all the negative events that happen in your life; instead, you can be assured that He can turn all bad circumstances for the good.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I Thessalonians 5:18

Job was plagued by Satan after God had given the devil permission to afflict the man. Job did not blame God, but stayed faithful…and the Lord ultimately turned Job’s situation for the good (Job 42:10-17). Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt…but later he told them, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:20) The apostle Paul underwent many physical trials…but he said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Corinthians 12:10)

Ask God to rise up in your problems. Trust Him to turn them around for the good. Thank Him amidst all your circumstances. Then intercede for the nation that God will use all of the turmoil that’s going on in the world to turn people toward Him.

Recommended Reading: Romans 8:26-39  Click to Read or Listen

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Greg Laurie – Lasting Value

“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”—John 6:27

In John 6, we see a huge crowd following Jesus in Capernaum. Jesus had performed His most popular miracle ever: the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus had taken the little boy’s lunch and blessed it and multiplied it. Everyone was filled. They thought, This is great. Not only does He teach us, not only does He dazzle us with miracles, but He gives us a free meal.

When the crowd pursued Him afterward, Jesus told them,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” (John 6:26–27)

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Created Everything in Six Normal Days

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31)

Have you ever built something? Maybe you wanted to build a bird-house or a dog-house. Stop and think how long it took you to build whatever you built. How long did it take you? Did it take you a day? Two days? Maybe even a week?

Now take a look around you. Look at the sky, the trees, and the ground. Look at your brother and sister, and your mom and dad and your friends. Now think of all the billions of people in the world and the trillions of animals and the quadrillions of stars and planets. Can you believe that God created all that and everything else in just six days? Not six years. Not six months. Not even six weeks. Just six days!

Almighty God created everything out of nothing. Nothing existed before God created it–nothing except for God himself. If you were to build a bird-house, you would probably copy another one that has already been built. At least you have seen one before to know what one looks like. But, when God created everything, He not only made it, but He imagined everything first. A tree never existed, before God made it; and neither did water or a fish or a human! And God created everything, and He did it out of nothing, in only six days! (Genesis 1:31)

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Self-Control

Today’s Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:7

“God gave us a spirit . . . of power and love and self-control.”

Self-control is the governing of one’s desires. D. G. Kehl described it as “the ability to avoid excesses, to stay within reasonable bounds.” George Bethune called it “the healthful regulation of our desires and appetites, preventing their excess.”

But self-control involves a wider range of watchfulness than merely control of bodily appetites and desires. We also must exercise self-control of thoughts, emotions, and speech. Self-control says yes to what we should do as well as no to what we shouldn’t. For example, I seldom want to study the Bible when I first begin. There are too many other things that are mentally much easier, such as reading the newspaper, a magazine, or a good Christian book. A necessary expression of self-control, then, is to set myself down with Bible and notebook and tell myself, “Get with it!” This may not sound very spiritual, but neither does Paul’s exclamation, “I beat my body and make it my slave” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Self-Control

BreakPoint –  Strong Female Characters: Here’s What’s Wrong with Hollywood’s Portrayal of Women

“Anything you can do I can do better!” sang the title character in the 1950 “Annie, Get Your Gun.” That could be the motto of most of the female leads in blockbuster movies today. Consider Rey, played by Daisy Ridley in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” She’s hailed as an empowering role model for girls, but critics have pointed out how closely she follows the infamous “Mary Sue” trope—an adolescent with no prior experience whose improbable powers and skills save the day.

In the original trilogy, Luke Skywalker lost his hand the first time he confronted the bad guy. Rey, meanwhile, easily bests her story’s villain, despite never having picked up a lightsaber before.

Writing at “Mere Orthodoxy,” Alistair Roberts points to a pantheon of recent heroines from Merida, Katniss, and Black Widow, to Jyn Erso in the upcoming “Star Wars: Rogue I”—all of whom are more than equals to men in combat. These 98-pound kung fu masters routinely make guys look like clumsy idiots, all while showing off petite, department-store model figures.

This “strong female character” cliché, says Roberts, teaches audiences that in order to prove their equal dignity, ladies must be able to best men in hand-to-hand combat. But these portrayals, he argues, aren’t just “failures of imagination” that pit women against men in a “zero sum game.” They also fly in the face of biology.

Continue reading BreakPoint –  Strong Female Characters: Here’s What’s Wrong with Hollywood’s Portrayal of Women

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – NEEDS MET IN CHRIST

Read Philippians 4:4-20

In 2013, the animated film Frozen was released—and within days, millions of parents heard the same refrain from their daughters: “I need an Elsa doll! I need an Elsa dress!” Stores quickly sold out their stock of Frozen merchandise, from dolls to costumes to lunch boxes. Two years later, Elsa dolls were still among the top five best sellers from online retailer Amazon.

Many of us think of praying for our needs in the same way: “God, I need a job! God, I need a car! God, I need healing from this disease!” Often our requests are reasonable; human existence does require food, shelter, health, and provision for our physical needs. And God welcomes our requests and cares about what happens to us. But notice that throughout our study of God’s blessings, we have not seen any of these items mentioned. Perhaps God’s perspective on our needs differs from our human viewpoint.

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Denison Forum – CRUZ NAMES FIORINA HIS VP

 

Ted Cruz announced yesterday that Carly Fiorina will be his running mate if he wins the Republican presidential nomination. Donald Trump made a major foreign policy speech as well, outlining his priorities if he is elected president this November.

I am not writing today to comment on either announcement. Rather, I want to focus on those who are. Both stories were covered by news outlets around the world. In the same way, American reporters are covering global stories this morning.

For instance, this morning’s Wall Street Journal reports on the stalled peace talks in Syria, a suicide bombing in Turkey, and a migrant detention center in New Guinea. The front page of today’s New York Times tells us about efforts to end a half-century of fighting in Colombia.

The world is still the same size it was a century ago, but it certainly seems smaller. Today we know what happens when it happens. There’s bad news and good news in this news.

First, the bad news: Falsehoods taught in part of the world can now spread around the world more easily than ever. Take the case of the United Church of Canada (UCC).

This denomination has been following the lead of European theologians who question biblical authority and remake church doctrine to follow cultural trends. As a result, for decades the UCC has allowed openly gay men and women to lead its ministries. Now it’s deciding whether to allow an openly atheistic pastor to continue leading one of its churches. What comes next is anyone’s guess.

What happens over there affects what happens over here. (For more on this, see Mark Cook’s What Live Streaming Means for Leaders.) In a world where heresy is just a click away, Christians must be more discerning of falsehood and more committed to biblical truth than ever.

Now to the good news: God’s word can reach people no one could reach before. One example is the amazing work of Global Media Outreach, which has shared the gospel with more than 110,000 people just this morning. Other ministries are also using current technology to take biblical truth around the globe.

I have no idea what Ted Cruz or his fellow candidates will do today to make global headlines tomorrow. But I do know that everything Christians say and do for God’s glory impacts lives for eternity. And I know what happens when someone trusts in Jesus: “There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).

May someone bring joy to the angels today because of me. And because of you.

 

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