Charles Stanley – Peace in Troubled Times

2 Chronicles 20:1-25

Faced with His nation’s certain demise, King Jehoshaphat responded with worship. Read his prayer in today’s passage, and you may find it difficult to separate the petition from the praise. Going deeper than familiar expressions like “hallelujah” and “praise the Lord,” he celebrates God’s personhood and extols His virtues.

Furthermore, the king led the people in glorifying God for their past redemption. As they focused on the Lord (instead of the incoming armies), the Israelites recalled anew how their heavenly Father had intervened, sometimes dramatically. This was exactly what God had told them to do—to instruct their children about His ways so they could daily honor Him. (See Deut. 6:7.) Doing so builds courage and strengthens faith.

The people’s praise paved the way for their complete and total dependence upon the Lord. The odds of the small Israelite army beating the united force of three enemies were slim. However, in their worshipful state of mind, the people could admit their weakness and await divine intervention. God gave them an outrageous solution to the problem: to do nothing. Even so, Israel was spiritually prepared to go against human reason and obey His commands. God loves it when we throw ourselves upon His mercy, because then His power can be released in its fullness.

God is also willing to lead you to victory in troubled times. The Israelites’ story is recorded in His Word so that all believers may apply its principles to their life. Bend your heart and mind toward the Lord, and He will enlarge your vision of who He is and what He can do on your behalf.

Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 4-6

 

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Our Daily Bread — Shine Through

Read: Matthew 5:13-16

Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 12-13; Luke 22:1-20

Let your light shine before others. —Matthew 5:16

A little girl wondered what a saint might be. One day her mother took her to a great cathedral to see the gorgeous stained-glass windows with scenes from the Bible. When she saw the beauty of it all she cried out loud, “Now I know what saints are. They are people who let the light shine through!”

Some of us might think that saints are people of the past who lived perfect lives and did Jesus-like miracles. But when a translation of Scripture uses the word saint, it is actually referring to anyone who belongs to God through faith in Christ. In other words, saints are people like us who have the high calling of serving God while reflecting our relationship with Him wherever we are and in whatever we do. That is why the apostle Paul prayed that the eyes and understanding of his readers would be opened to think of themselves as the treasured inheritance of Christ and saints of God (Eph. 1:18).

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Shaming Kings

The passion narrative of John, the writer’s witness to the events leading up to the cross, often seems like something of a game of push and shove. The push and pull of an honor and shame culture, where all behavior and interaction either furthers one’s vital position of shame or honor in society, is unquestionably at work here: both in the various characters of stories Jesus tells and in the minds of the audience John is addressing. John offers repeated scenes in his narrative that comparably seem to suggest the coming reversal of honor and shame, with Jesus hinting among the poor and the powerful that power may not be all they believe it to be.

Yet Jesus himself is still clearly shamed, and shamed profoundly. Shame in such a culture included public rejection, abandonment, humiliation, and victimization—all of which factor heavily in the passion narrative, and John doesn’t want us to miss it. Shaming also occurs when blood is intentionally spilled, when one is beaten, especially in public, there being no higher shame than being killed; and the shame of death on a Roman cross is the vilest of all. All of this is the passion of Jesus. While there are undoubtedly scenes where he seems to take himself out of these systems of honor and shame, suggesting a different system entirely, Jesus is just as often, and profoundly so, on the losing end when the theme is in play.

In something of a parabolic push and shove of words, there always seems much going on under the surface of John’s passion narrative. Consider, for instance:

“Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. And Pilate said to the Jews, ‘Here is your King!’”

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Opposition to the World Brings Hatred

“‘If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you’” (John 15:18-19).

Because they are not part of the world’s system, Christians should expect it to hate and oppose them.

If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you doubtless remember how soon you realized that you were no longer in step with the world’s culture. You were no longer comfortable with its philosophy. You no longer had the world’s desires and yearnings. You no longer felt good about doing some of the things the world takes for granted. In fact, you even felt constrained to speak out against such things and urge unbelievers to turn from their sins and embrace Christ. All that opposition to worldliness, when added up, can and will result in hatred toward us from people in the world.

In John 15, the Greek word translated “world” (kosmos) refers to the world’s system of sin, which is devised by Satan and acted out by sinful people. The Devil and his angels sometimes make it even more difficult for us by subtly presenting their “religion” as if it were true. Such deception can lull us into complacency and leave us spiritually weak when persecution comes.

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Opposition to the World Brings Hatred

Wisdom Hunters – Uncertainty is God’s Opportunity

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

God knows the plans He has for His children—and His plans are good, because God is good.

But a child does not always understand the overall plan, it’s more a realtime experience, enjoyed in the moment—where memories are made. Just as godly parents can be trusted to nurture and care for their child, so our heavenly Father is 100% trustworthy to plan ahead for His children. Especially during uncertain days, we can lean into Christ’s certainty. God opportunities are all around waiting patiently for eyes of faith to lock in on and see the Spirit’s delightful work.

Jeremiah writes much needed encouragement to the community of God’s people held captive by the Babylonians—for exile breeds people desperate for help from heaven—and perseverance grows stronger where a future hope abides. Living in a culture counter to a people’s values and beliefs becomes a test of trust and obedience. Is the Lord still at work when a small group of His followers are surrounded by a mostly secular society? Maybe more so, because the futility of the faithless grows darker in contrast to the loving light of felicity found in faithful living. Like an innovative entrepreneur God capitalizes on uncertain times with the certainty of Christ’s love.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – The Golden River

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:10-11

Recommended Reading

1 John 4:7-19

Love is an emotion that’s hard to describe. It’s an emotional longing for another person and a deep satisfaction when that love is reciprocated. It suffers intense anguish when it isn’t.

Love is an attitude that operates more deeply than feelings. Attitudes are dispositions of the heart that anchor our emotions, just as the unshakable mountains support the trees on its slopes.

Continue reading Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – The Golden River

Joyce Meyer – “I Want a Mind Change”

And you [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins in which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God].—Ephesians 2:1-2

I find a great deal of comfort in thinking about who I used to be and who I have become. It helps me not to be discouraged when I make mistakes or find that I still struggle over some issues. I’m greatly encouraged when I consider where I started and where I am now.

In Ephesians 2, Paul described those outside of Christ. He wrote that unbelievers follow the prince of the power of the air, who is Satan, and they follow the way their master leads. In verse 1, he pointed out that all were once dead through their sins, but believers are now alive in Jesus Christ. He tells us we’re not governed or led by our lower nature—the impulses of the flesh.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – “I Want a Mind Change”

Girlfriends in God – Resting in the Here-ness and Near-ness of God

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38–39

Friend to Friend

Have you ever been in a situation when you felt God calling your name to a particular task, and at the same time you felt that He had the wrong person for the job? That’ exactly how Moses felt when God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. He cried out, “Who am I that I should go to the Pharaoh?”

I’ve been there. I wonder if you have too. I’ve thought, God, You’ve got to be kidding? Me? You’ve got the wrong girl for the job! I’m a nobody!

But look at how God answered Moses.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Right Priorities

“Constantly remind the people about these laws, and you yourself must think about them every day and every night so that you will be sure to obey all of them. For only then will you succeed” (Joshua 1:8).

Jim was a driven man. He loved his wife and his four children. But the thing that consumed almost every waking thought was, “How can I be a greater success? How can I earn the praise of men?”

Through neglect his family began to disintegrate, and he came to me for counsel. His wife was interested in another man; he was alienated from his children. Three were involved in drugs and one had attempted suicide twice.

“Where have I gone wrong?” Jim asked.

I reminded him of the Scripture, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?”

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Right Priorities

Ray Stedman – The Birthday of the Church

Read: Acts 1:15-2:4

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Acts 2:1

Here is the story of the birth of the body of Jesus Christ, the church. Notice the day on which this occurred — the day of Pentecost. Pentecost is a Greek word that means fifty. The day was called that because it was fifty days after the Passover feast. Pentecost was a Jewish feast which is given to us in the Old Testament under the title, the Feast of Weeks. It is called also the Feast of the Wave Loaves because it consisted of two loaves of bread that were baked of grain from the new harvest. Pentecost came at the end of the wheat harvest in Palestine, and they were to take this new wheat, the first fruits of the harvest, and bake of it two loaves.

All of this shows how the New Testament has its roots in the Old. These two loaves were symbols of the two bodies from which the church was to be formed: the Jews and the Gentiles. Jesus said he came first to the lost sheep of the house of the Israel, the Jews. But he said, I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen, (John 10:16). He was referring to the Gentiles. Here, on the day of Pentecost, God took the Jews and the Gentiles and brought them together and baptized them into one.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Be Strong and Courageous

May 2, 2016

Read: Joshua 1:5-9

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (v. 9 NIV)

Does fear constrain you from what the Lord calls you to do? It’s not easy to follow God when we feel pressures on all sides. We all have fears that seem to loom so large—fears for our children, work pressures, and violence in the world.

In this passage, the Lord affirmed to Joshua that he would be with him to lead the Israelites and help him overcome his fears. He would be facing armies, fierce opposition, and treacherous territory without his trusted mentor, Moses. Now it was his responsibility to lead the people. Several times the Lord commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous, gracious encouragements to trust God. The Lord also told him to meditate on Scripture day and night and to obey its instruction so he would have good success wherever he went (v. 7).

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Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – Boot Camp Blessings

If you decide to become one of “The Few, The Proud, The Marines,” it is not a matter of signing some forms and then shipping off for the battlefront. First, you will go to boot camp – and it’s not likely to be enjoyable. For three months, you will be subjected to all manner of physical duress, mental torment, sleep deprivation, mind games, seemingly pointless procedures and rugged routines. None of this is done out of hatred, but rather to make you a successful Marine and give you the best chance of surviving in combat.

I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you and will confirm my covenant with you.

Leviticus 26:9

Leviticus is a book of rules, many of them unfathomable to the modern mind. But the Israelites were living in a world filled with pagan, demonic practices that saturated everyday life. God wanted to reorient them to a proper worldview so that they could worship Him in holiness. In return for their obedience, He promised life and unparalleled blessings.

The key themes in Leviticus from the Lord: “be holy for I am holy,” and “love your neighbor as yourself.” Today, pray that America’s citizens and leaders will embrace those commands…so that God might pour out His unprecedented blessings on the nation.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 112:1-10  Click to Read or Listen

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Greg Laurie – Darkness to Light

“For you were once full of darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. So live as people of light.”—Ephesians 5:8

I think there are a lot of people running around today who think they are Christians, but really are not. They may believe in the right things, but they don’t act on those beliefs. Sometimes what appears to be a conversion to Christianity is nothing more than some visible changes in a person’s life.

For instance, you can pray and not be a Christian. Just because someone prays doesn’t mean they are a believer. Polls show that nine out of ten Americans pray.

You can keep the Ten Commandments to the best of your ability and not necessarily be a Christian.

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Bigger than His Enemies

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psalm 110:1)

This verse talks about God speaking to Jesus. God tells Jesus to sit and He will make His enemies a “footstool” for Him. What is a footstool? It is a thing designed to help you prop up your feet. A footstool is not a fancy piece of furniture, and it is not very costly. It gets knocked around and used a lot, because it makes people more comfortable when they are sitting down. To sit down is one thing. To sit down and prop up your feet — well, that means you are really settling in and getting comfortable! You are planning to stay there a while, and that is your place.

A footstool is great to have close by you when you sit. But why does God use a word picture of a “footstool” to describe His enemies? When you think of enemies, you really probably do not think of wanting them sticking around nearby. You do not think of enemies being nice, useful, or comfortable. Usually, they are under your skin–not under your feet! Enemies cause problems, whether they are real people or spiritual struggles. They try to mess up your plans and hurt you emotionally and physically. Why would anyone want to keep an enemy close by?

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Request or Command?

Today’s Scripture: John 15:14

“You are my friends if you do what I command you.”

Under the reign of grace, is the moral will of God (considered as a whole) a request or a command? The word request connotes desire; whereas the word command connotes authority to require. Response to a desire is optional; response to a command is not.

So when Jesus said we love him by obeying his commands, was he using the word command as we ordinarily understand it, or was he using it as an expression of God’s desire? In the realm of grace, does the moral will of God express the desire of God as to how he would like us to live, or does it express the requirement of God as to how we are to live?

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Request or Command?

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Savior of the World

Today’s Scripture: Isaiah 9-12

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. – John 1:41-42

In Isaiah 9, we find a prophecy portrait of the coming Messiah, painted more than seven hundred years before Jesus was born. Let’s compare Isaiah’s prophecies and their fulfillment.

Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” When Jesus came, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Isaiah referred to the coming Messiah as the mighty God (Isaiah 1:24). When Jesus came, He lived a life of power in the things He said, the miracles He performed, and most of all, in His resurrection from the dead. The New Testament says that the Spirit that raised up Christ from the dead shall also give life to your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you (Romans 8:11, KJV).

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Savior of the World

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – PAUL’S OPENING PRAYER AND AFFIRMATION

Read 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

In an interview about his book The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal, pastor and author Chuck Swindoll worried that the church today is too focused on entertainment rather than worship. He offered this perspective as a corrective: “When you come Sunday, you’re going to focus on One who is eternal, and we’re all going to meet him together. And in doing so, we’re going to leave different than we came because we will have been in his awesome presence, and we will be ignited by the work of the Spirit within us.”

Paul’s pressing word for the Corinthians was much the same. But before he began exhorting and correcting them, he first affirmed the power of God’s grace in their lives. Compared to other epistles, he spent less time commending them and more time commending God to them. God is the One in whom they should boast and find their true identity.

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Denison Forum – WEASEL SHUTS DOWN THE WORLD’S LARGEST MACHINE

The Large Hadron Collider is the world’s most powerful particle smasher and the largest machine on earth. Last Friday, a weasel wandered into a 66,000-volt transformer, causing a “severe electrical perturbation.” The collider will be shut down for several days. The weasel did not survive.

The previous Sunday, a man shot and killed a fellow worshiper after fighting over a seat in the church sanctuary. Last Friday, two teenage girls were launched off a carnival ride at a Texas fair; one of them was killed, while the other suffered minor injuries. The next day, a woman in Boston was struck and killed by an amphibious sightseeing vehicle known as a duck boat.

What has most surprised you lately? Was it something in the news? Something in your personal life? Unpredicted events are a symptom of the fact that we live on an unpredictable planet. From severe weather to previously-unknown diseases to fallen people who act like fallen people, we live in a world that requires courage.

Continue reading Denison Forum – WEASEL SHUTS DOWN THE WORLD’S LARGEST MACHINE