Charles Stanley – A Correct View of Salvation

Matthew 5:14-15

Every Sunday countless people all over the world sit in church buildings with a false sense of security. They assume that their morality, lifelong church membership, or baptism will earn them a place in heaven. While many of these folks have a sincere desire to please God, they are confused about what the Christian life is all about. They think in terms of doing rather than being. So they imitate the actions of good Christians: going to a weekly service, praying, reading the Bible, and trying to be decent people.

However, salvation is not the product of our good works. We come into the world with a corrupt nature, and our wrongdoing is born of a heart turned away from the Lord. Because we are all sinful people, we sin. It’s that simple. The good news is that in the salvation experience, we are given a brand-new nature (2 Cor. 5:17). Our sin is wiped away because Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself to pay the penalty we owed. From the moment we trust in Him, the Holy Spirit dwells in our heart so we can live righteously.

The world values action, but God prioritizes relationship—specifically a right relationship with Him. People who scurry about flaunting religiosity are missing out on the deeply satisfying and joyous intimacy between a believer and the heavenly Father.

We can help correct others’ tragic misunderstanding by being ready to explain the reason for our hope. (See 1 Peter 3:15.) Knowing Christ is what matters. So speak of the personal relationship with Him that’s possible when a person admits his or her need and trusts in the Savior.

Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 16-18

 

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Our Daily Bread — No Greater Joy

Read: 3 John 1:1-8

Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 21-22; Luke 23:26-56

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. —3 John 1:4

Bob and Evon Potter were a fun-loving couple with three young sons when their life took a wonderful new direction. In 1956 they attended a Billy Graham Crusade in Oklahoma City and gave their lives to Christ. Before long, they wanted to reach out to others to share their faith and the truth about Christ, so they opened their home every Saturday night to high school and college students who had a desire to study the Bible. A friend invited me and I became a regular at the Potters’ house.

This was a serious Bible study that included lesson preparation and memorizing Scripture. Surrounded by an atmosphere of friendship, joy, and laughter, we challenged each other and the Lord changed our lives during those days.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Imagining Elfland

Whether compelling the visions of a child or inspiring music or architecture, the power of the imagination is often clear.

O hark, O hear! How thin and clear,

And thinner, clearer, farther going!

O sweet and far from cliff and scar

The horns of Elfland faintly blowing.(1)

But what of the mere presence of the imagination? “I do not think the resemblance between the Christian and the merely imaginative experience is accidental,” wrote Lewis. “I think that all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not least.”(2) Certainly, this taste of a richer fare was sensed in the formative imaginations at which Lewis supped long before he knew he was starving for their Host. Writes Lewis:

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Trials’ Lessons: Contentment

“Considering the reproach of Christ greaterriches than the treasures of Egypt . . .” (Hebrews 11:26).

Trials can show that material things are inadequate to meet our deepest needs.

We rely every day on material possessions—cars, computers, pagers, telephones, microwaves, radios, and TVs. These familiar conveniences make us feel as though it’s quite a hardship to cope without them. Therefore it’s difficult to avoid the pitfall Jesus warned about in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [riches].”

Materialism can exert such a powerful influence on us as believers that the Lord will sometimes subject us to trials just so He can remove us from the grip of the world’s devices and riches. Various trials and sufferings will almost invariably reveal how inadequate our possessions are to meet our deepest needs or provide genuine relief from the pains and stresses of life. And this realization ought to become more and more true of you as you grow in the Christian life. I have observed that mature believers, as time goes by, become less and less attached to the temporal items they’ve accumulated. Such stuff, along with life’s fleeting experiences, simply fades in importance as you draw closer to the Lord.

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Wisdom Hunters – How To Be Prosperous 

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

My friend Scott was one of most generous and prosperous people I have ever known—he freely gave his time, his wisdom, his prayers, his finances, his relationships and his hospitality. He was quick to take my calls, listen to my concerns, offer comfort and elevate my eyes of faith to the bigger picture of God at work. Not surprisingly, Scott was one of the most refreshing men I was ever around: full of energy and ready to engage life as the Lord’s ambassador of love. Over 1,000 of us attended Scott’s funeral—grieving, but refreshed by our friend’s boundless generosity. Following Jesus is often counter cultural and counter intuitive. To find your life is to lose your life. To be victorious is to surrender. To be successful is to submit. To bear fruit is to die. To suffer for Christ’s sake is a blessing. The way up is down—when you decrease, Christ increases. Prosperity—materially, relationally, emotionally, spiritually—comes from giving not getting. Being refreshed comes by refreshing others. See yourself as a gallon water pot brimming with cool liquid looking for a thirsty life, like a budding garden, is always in need of refreshment!

“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people” (Philemon 1:7).

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – What Spouses Should Expect

[The union of husband and wife] is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:32

Recommended Reading

Ephesians 5:22-23

Counselors sometimes suggest that a sure way to avoid disappointment is to avoid expectations. Married couples are sometimes told if they expect nothing from a spouse, they will not be disappointed if they receive nothing.

Often, we confuse expectations with rights, especially in marriage—“It is my right to be loved and understood by my spouse.” Demanding rights can be problematic. But are expectations in marriage wrong? When we follow Paul’s lead, comparing marriage to Christ and His Church, it would seem not (Ephesians 5:22-33). Do we as the Bride of Christ have expectations of Christ? Yes, and He is always faithful. Does Christ have expectations of us, His Bride—expectations of love, loyalty, obedience, service, and more? Yes. And while we sometimes disappoint Him, expectations remain.

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Joyce Meyer – Pray at All Times

Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty.… —Ephesians 6:18

In the verse for today, Paul is basically saying that we are to pray in every circumstance, following the Holy Spirit’s direction, using different types of prayer in different situations. But how do we “pray at all times,” as the Bible instructs? We do it by keeping an attitude of thanksgiving and total dependence upon God as we go about our everyday lives, turning our thoughts toward Him in the midst of doing all the things we have to do and listening for His voice in every situation.

I believe God really wants us to live a lifestyle of prayer and that He wants to help us stop thinking about prayer as an event and begin to see it as a way of life, as an internal activity that undergirds everything else we do. He wants us to talk to Him and listen to Him continually—to pray our way through every day with our hearts connected to His and our ears attuned to His voice.

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Girlfriends in God – Family Matters

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Friend to Friend

I remember that night well. It was so many years ago, but it seems like yesterday. And what a crazy day it had been! Probably a day like many of yours.

I was a young mom with two small children. My husband was the youth pastor of a large church in town. I taught a weekly Bible study for senior high girls and directed a youth choir that practiced one night a week and sang for the early worship service every Sunday. We hosted a youth bible study in our home every Monday night … and, well, you get the idea. My schedule was almost to the point of ridiculous and I was exhausted most of the time. But this particular day had been crazier than most.

Both kids had a cold and were grumpy because they didn’t feel well. The house was a mess, the laundry was piled high, and I had a meeting at church that night. I was counting the minutes until my husband came walking through the front door. I needed rescuing.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Christ Lives in Me

“I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).

After many years of working with thousands of Christians, I am convinced that a person cannot enjoy the supernatural life – which is a believer’s heritage in Christ – apart from the proper balance between Bible study, prayer and sharing Christ with others out of the overflow of an obedient, Spirit-filled life.

We need to be able not only to experience this great adventure with Christ ourselves, but also to share this good news with others.

A word of caution and reminder is in order at this point. We become spiritual and experience power from God and become fruitful in our witness as a result offaithand faith alone.

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Ray Stedman – What To Do?

Read: Acts 2:38-41

Peter replied, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

The Apostle Peter is answering this question, What shall we do? He acknowledges that there is something to be done. When you come to the place where you understand that Jesus is Lord, and that you are out of harmony with all his purposes and his life, then there is something to do. There are two things you need to do, Peter says, and then one thing God will do.

You need, first, to repent. Repent is a word that is greatly misunderstood. Most people think repentance means that you feel sorry, and you begin to cry and weep. That has nothing to do with repentance. You may feel sorry, and you may begin to weep and cry, but that is not necessary, and it does not mean that you have repented. Repent is a word which means to change your mind, to change your thinking. You have been thinking that everything was all right with you and all is well. You have been thinking that Jesus is nothing but a great teacher, or a great prophet, but that he is not the Son of God, and he is not the Lord of glory, the Lord of all the earth; well, think again. Repent — change your mind, get in tune with reality, line up with things the way they really are, is what Peter is saying. You have been kidding yourself, you have been deluded, you have been fooled; well, change your mind. Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God — repent and put him where he belongs in your life.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Hope Through Death

Read: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Therefore encourage one another with these words. (v. 18)

My mother died when I was 7, and my sister died when I was 15. Of course I had a full range of emotions including anger and fear. But my faith and resolve have actually been solidified through times of loss. The verses referenced today were used by the pastor who officiated at my sister’s funeral. They have been marked in my Bible all these years, and often I have revisited them. I have been acquainted with death many other times, as my dad, other relatives, and friends passed away. Each loss has brought very painful times. Yet I believe there is no greater comfort for those still living on earth than to know where their loved one has gone.

Death cannot have the final say in the life of a believer; instead, it is a passage into a much greater life. When someone dies we grieve, but we do not have to “grieve as others do who have no hope” (v. 13). The great promise is that Jesus secured our salvation by his death and resurrection.

Despite the pain of loss when those I held close died, I want to communicate hope for those who go through similar situations. The stages of grief are normal and natural, and the Lord will draw near to all who call to him in times of loss. Yet we can also envision that wonderful scene of being caught up together with our loved ones in the arms of our Lord on the final day.

Prayer:

Eternal Life, thank you for your beautiful promises.

Author: Myrna Folkert

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Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M. – Legacy of Faith

Joshua was a brilliant military leader and a strong spiritual influence. Yet the key to Joshua’s success was his submission to the Lord. As a result, Israel remained faithful to God throughout his lifetime. In fact, after the Israelites safely crossed the Jordan River, Joshua asked someone from each of the 12 tribes to retrieve a stone for a memorial. Not only did Joshua build the memorial that He commanded, but he also built one in the middle of the Jordan. The purpose was to allow future generations to remember the power of the Lord.

These stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.

Joshua 4:7

The Bible is full of examples where God’s power has prevailed in the midst of chaos. So when your circumstances seem impossible, run to His Word for encouragement.Then write down the lessons you learn about His faithfulness. Share those milestones with the children in your life so they may understand His promises to them.

As you thank your Heavenly Father for His faithfulness each day, remember to intercede for America’s leaders. Pray they will return this nation to its biblical foundation and leave a God-honoring legacy to future generations.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 105:1-9

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Most High

“Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?” (Job 40:9)

In the Bible, God is sometimes called “the most high God.” What does this mean? Does it mean that God is high up in the sky, or that He lives above and beyond all of us down here on Earth? Well, we know from the Bible that God is everywhere. But the words “most high” refer to God’s preeminence, which means He is the greatest of all, the highest of all. God is everywhere, so He is “high” above us in that sense. But in a spiritual sense, He is higher and far above anyone or anything else. God is preeminent. He is the most high God.

But where is God in our thoughts? How do we think about Him? How important is He is our lives? Is He preeminent over all other loves and interests? Does the way we spend our time and money and energy show whether we believe God really is the most high God?

Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? Nebuchadnezzar was the king ruling over these three young men. King Nebuchadnezzar thought so highly of himself (he had so much pride) that he had an image/idol of himself set up for his people to worship in his honor. Nebuchadnezzar considered himself a god, and he expected everyone to worship him. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, however, served only the most high God. In fact, because they were true to God by not refusing to worship anyone or anything else, a whole kingdom learned about the most high God.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The White Signs Are Still There

Today’s Scripture: John 14:23

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my Word.”

Although God, through Christ, is our savior and heavenly Father, he’s also still the supreme ruler and moral Governor of his creation. A king’s sons and daughters, even though they’re his children, are still under obligation to obey the laws of his realm. They are no more exempt from the laws than any other citizen. They’re subject to these laws even though they love their father, agree with his laws, and freely and willingly obey them.

We as God’s children are still subject to the laws of his realm. In response to his grace, we should obey in a loving and grateful way. And because God has written his law on our hearts, we’ll usually be in agreement with his law written in his Word. But we’re still to regard God’s law as commands to be obeyed, not merely as expressions of his desires.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The White Signs Are Still There

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – By God’s Spirit

Today’s Scripture: Micah 3-5

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” – Luke 24:32

The prophet Micah had a love for God, a burden for the souls of men, and a flaming zeal against sin. And he had the boldness to speak out. Now, where did Micah get that boldness? And where can you and I find the boldness we need to witness to the people with whom we rub shoulders every day? Micah 3:8 gives us the answer: “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.”

Christian, there it is. Micah was full of power by the Spirit of the Lord. And if you and I would experience that same power, we must acknowledge our need and pray for boldness to meet the witnessing opportunities we have each day.

In Acts 4:29-31, we find a situation in which the religious leaders and the people opposed the followers of Christ. So the Christians prayed, and “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – By God’s Spirit

BreakPoint –  Harriet Tubman, on the Money: Resisting Evil, Trusting God

When you open your wallet in few years, you may be seeing something different on the $20 bill: The U.S. Treasury Department is proposing to take President Andrew Jackson off the front of the bill and replace him with one of my personal heroes: Harriet Tubman.

She is someone we should celebrate for what she did—rescue slaves—and for the lessons she teaches us today about when it’s appropriate to resist evil.

Harriet Tubman was born into slavery on a Maryland plantation in 1822. As she grew up, she was made to work driving oxen, trapping muskrats in the woods, and as a nursemaid.

Harriet’s owners frequently whipped her. And she endured the pain of seeing three of her sisters sold, never to be seen again. But when her owner tried to sell one of her brothers, Harriet’s mother openly rebelled. The would-be buyer gave up after Harriet’s mother told him, “The first man that comes into my house, I will split his head open.”

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word –THE CHURCH AS A FARMER’S FIELD

Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Scientist Carl Hodges believes that a plant called salicornia, or sea asparagus, can help solve the world’s food and energy problems. Salicornia is nourished by seawater and can grow in places with little soil or fresh water. It can also be converted into biofuel (like ethanol). Hodges has already developed successful “seawater farms” in Eritrea and northern Mexico.

Hodges’s goal is a healthy crop to benefit the world. When Paul compared the church to a farmer’s field in today’s reading, he similarly meant that the church’s purposes should be maturity and fruitfulness. Being divided over leaders showed the shallowness of their faith, but a deeper understanding of the gospel, the Cross, and the Spirit would move them in the right direction.

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Denison Forum – WHY AIRLINE PASSENGERS CHEERED CRYING BABIES

Passengers on a recent JetBlue flight from New York to California cheered whenever a baby cried. In my experience, this is not typical airline passenger behavior.

Their motivation, however, was simple: the company offered a twenty-five percent discount each time a baby started crying. It wanted to make the point that passengers should be more understanding of parents traveling with young children. Unfortunately, JetBlue is unlikely to make the promotion a regular feature of its flights.

The only passengers who needed no such motivation were the babies’ mothers. The closest humans get to unconditional love is a mother’s love for her child. In fact, I can’t think of a closer analogy to our Father’s love for us.

So, how should we express our gratitude on Mother’s Day?

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