Charles Stanley – Our Inseparable Relationship

Romans 8:31-39

God is love. His nature requires that He care for His creation unconditionally. This means that no matter what people do, think, or say—even if they reject Him—the Lord will not stop loving them.

After reading that last sentence, there are many people who are going to think of a dozen reasons why they are an exception. So let me make this clear: God loves each and every one of us, and the only thing preventing us from experiencing that love is our own response. We will believe either our feelings or the truth of Scripture.

Paul points out that God is on the side of the believer. (See Rom. 8:31.) He gave up His Son Jesus Christ to death so that we could be purified and enter into a relationship with Him. Jesus’ sacrifice itself is proof of God’s love, but there are many additional expressions of His care for us. The Lord has a purpose and plan for every person’s life. Through His sovereign control, He works every situation—good and bad—to our benefit (Rom. 8:28). He is a loving Father who not only is interested in what happens to us but also is actively involved in our daily life.

Some people read and intellectually believe every word of the Bible but still feel unloved because they judge themselves unworthy. Their doubt acts like a dam, keeping the flow of God’s care from their hearts. The barrier will hold as long as the person believes he or she must deserve His love. But no sinner deserves pure love. God knows that and freely gives His love to us anyway. It is our choice whether to accept it.

Bible in a Year: Ezra 1-4

 

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Our Daily Bread – Why Me?

Read: Ruth 2:1-11 | Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 19–21; John 8:1-27

Why have I found such favor in your eyes? Ruth 2:10

Ruth was a foreigner. She was a widow. She was poor. In many parts of the world today she would be considered a nobody—someone whose future doesn’t hold any hope.

However, Ruth found favor in the eyes of a relative of her deceased husband, a rich man and the owner of the fields where she chose to ask for permission to glean grain. In response to his kindness, Ruth asked, “What have I done to deserve such kindness? . . . I am only a foreigner” (Ruth 2:10 nlt).

When we come to Him in salvation, we are under His protective wings.

Continue reading Our Daily Bread – Why Me?

John MacArthur – Drawing Near – Marveling at God’s Forgiveness (Matthew)

The twelve apostles included “Matthew the tax-gatherer” (Matt. 10:3).

Never lose your sense of awe over Christ’s forgiveness.

Matthew describes himself as “Matthew the tax-gatherer” (Matt. 10:3). He is the only apostle whose name is associated with an occupation. Apparently Matthew never forgot what he had been saved from, and never lost his sense of awe and unworthiness over Christ’s forgiveness.

This is how he set the scene of his own conversion: Matthew 9:1-8 tells us Jesus forgave the sins of a paralytic man and then healed him of his paralysis. When the Jewish scribes accused Him of blasphemy for claiming to have the authority to forgive sins, He said to them, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, and walk’?” He wanted them to know His miracles testified of His deity. As God, He could as easily forgive sins as He could heal diseases.

Immediately after that account, Matthew gave the account of his own call. It’s as if he wanted his own salvation to serve as an illustration of Christ’s ability to forgive even the vilest of sinners. Matthew 9:9 says, “As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man, called Matthew, sitting in the tax office; and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he rose, and followed Him.”

Continue reading John MacArthur – Drawing Near – Marveling at God’s Forgiveness (Matthew)

Wisdom Hunters – Autonomy Needs Accountability 

Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. 2 Samuel 11:2, NLT

Leaders who rise in their responsibilities at work require more—not less accountability. When someone believes no one is watching their behavior, their behavior can quickly become corrupted. Autonomy is not an excuse for sloppy living, but an opportunity to expand service to others and to grow in grace and humility. If a person trusts themselves alone to be alone, without any moral guardrails—they are set up for pride’s fall—humility chooses to be accountable.

David talked himself into thinking he could handle autonomy without accountability. Instead of being in charge and leading the charge with his fellow soldiers—he disengaged from the action. He foolishly assumed his position and power elevated him above the need to answer to others for his actions. David forgot a fundamental lesson from his days as a shepherd—a sheep that strays away on its own is exposed to life threatening influences. He allowed his affections to chase after the lust of the flesh—instead of submitting to the Spirit. Accountability gladly depends on others.

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open” (Luke 8:17).

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Autonomy Needs Accountability 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Love and Respect

Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:33

Recommended Reading

Ephesians 5:25-33

The Bible opens and closes with a wedding. In the earliest pages of Genesis, God brought Adam and Eve together and officiated the first marriage in history. At the end of the Bible, the Lord Jesus and His Bride, the Church, are united at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Additionally, Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding; and according to the book of Ephesians, marriage is emblematic of the relationship between Christ and His Church.

Marriage, it seems, is worth fighting for. It’s worth fighting for in our culture, and it’s also worth fighting for in our own lives. Most marriages go from the dream stage to the disappointment stage to the disillusionment stage. There’s not a perfect husband or wife on earth, and no one can live up to our moonlight ideas of romance. But the next stage is the most important—the decision stage. We have to choose to love the one we’ve married.

If you’re discouraged with your marriage, don’t give up. Give it to Him. The Creator of weddings is the Corrector of marriage. He can help you love and respect your husband or wife.

A Single Thought: Respect is a crucial ingredient in any successful relationship—families, coworkers, and friends all need to value one another.

Read-Thru-the-Bible

Nehemiah 8 – 10

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

Joyce Meyer – Only God Can Change You

The Lord will sustain, refresh, and strengthen him on his bed of languishing; all his bed You [O Lord] will turn, change, and transform in his illness. I said, Lord, be merciful and gracious to me; heal my inner self, for I have sinned against You.—Psalm 41:3-4

Don’t obsess over your faults, or you will never enjoy the life that Jesus died to give you. Only God can change you, so talk to Him about your desires. The Word says that those who wait on the Lord will change (see Isaiah 40:31).

Meanwhile, quit taking your flaws so seriously. Don’t let discouragement or depression rob you of your energy and make you angry. If you do, you may take that anger out on other people and miss the blessings God has in store for you today. Enjoy yourself, and lighten up! Take the right steps today toward the change you want to make by asking God to help you all day long.

From the book Starting Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Girlfriends in God – What Will You Do With Your Pain?

He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak.

Isaiah 40:29

Friend to Friend

I love a great movie! To me, a movie is great when good wins over evil, the right guy gets the right girl, nobody gets hurt and everyone lives happily ever after. A bit naive, I know. But I have decided that there is enough harsh reality ripping through daily life without paying to see more on a movie screen.

With these criteria in mind, I went to see the movie “Sea Biscuit.” There I was; popcorn in hand, minding my own business and enjoying my brief respite, when his words slammed into my soul, yanking me back to the tenacious essence and interminable power of truth.

“You don’t throw a whole life away just because it’s banged up a little.”

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – What Will You Do With Your Pain?

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Practicing the Presence of God

“How precious it is, Lord, to realize that You are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day Your thoughts turn towards me. And when I waken in the morning, You are still thinking of me!” (Psalm 139:17,18).

Our sons, Zac and Brad, have helped me to understand, in some small measure, the truth of this promise, for in the course of a single day, I will lift them up in prayer many times. I am finite, but God is infinite. My love for our sons is limited, but his love is inexhaustible and unconditional. It is because of God’s love in my heart that I am able to love my sons unconditionally, even as He loves me.

What a comforting, encouraging thought, that the omnipotent Creator, God, who possesses all power and control of creation, loves me enough that He is constantly thinking about me. When I allow Him to do so, He talks to me, expressing His love, wisdom and grace from His Word, through divine impressions and the counsel of wise and godly friends. His eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth to make Himself strong and mighty in my behalf (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Just as He is constantly thinking about me, I have been admonished to pray without ceasing. To talk to Him, to think about Him all the time – as difficult as it may sound – is a joyful reality to those who practice the presence of God, is that the kind of relationship you are experiencing day by day? If not, it can be.

Bible Reading: Psalm 139:1-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Mindful that God loves, cares and thinks about me constantly, I shall seek to live the supernatural life by practicing His presence, by praying without ceasing and by claiming His supernatural power by faith.

 

http://www.cru.org

Ray Stedman -Beloved Enemy

Read: Acts 9:1-19

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, Ananias! Yes, Lord, he answered. The Lord told him, Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight. Acts 9:10-12

Paul has been converted. Now he is a Christian. And what is the first thing he experienced as a Christian? The life of the body of Christ. That is wonderful, is it not? Two unknown, obscure Christians are sent to him. He meets them and is immediately helped by the strengthening that can come from the body, from other Christians. First there is a man named Judas. That is all we know about him. Saul is led to his house whom he has never met before. While he is there a man named Ananias is sent to minister to him.

Is there not a joyful, poetic irony about this, that the Holy Spirit has chosen two names which are tainted names elsewhere in the New Testament, Judas and Ananias. These names belong to two other people: Judas the betrayer of our Lord; and Ananias, the first Christian to manifest the deceit and hypocrisy of an unreal life. Yet, here are two people, bearing the same names, that are honored and used of God. It is just a little touch, but it seems so much like the Holy Spirit to use names like this.

Continue reading Ray Stedman -Beloved Enemy

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Suffered under Pontius Pilate

Read: Isaiah 53:5-12

He poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. (v. 12)

Christians humbly and gratefully believe that Jesus, the promised Messiah, stood before Pilate as his judge, was repeatedly pronounced not guilty, and yet was sentenced to be crucified, to suffer, and to die in our place. Jesus, the sinless Servant of God “poured out his soul to death,” lifting upon his own shoulders and carrying “the sin of many” (v. 12) when we had stupidly strayed from God to follow our own rebellious ways. John Calvin, knowing our consciences as guilty-yet-forgiven sinners, taught his readers to “remember this substitution.”

A dear pastor-friend, Nick Twomey, is living out a life of gratitude. He is ever thankful for God’s gracious substitution of his only Son, in place of us guilty sinners. I have appreciated Nick’s biblical convictions and tenderheartedness, his sense of humor and ability to communicate.

In a well-written booklet entitled Wrecked, Nick tells about how he came to trust in Jesus, our Substitute. For Nick’s personal conversion, our Lord used childhood “stories of regret,” involving a stolen cookie and a wrecked car . . . followed by surprises of grace! These experiences of grace prepared the way for Nick’s trusting acceptance of God’s surprising grace to us in Christ, who suffered under Pontius Pilate and died on the cross, paying a debt we could not possibly repay.

Prayer:

Gracious Father, thank you for surprising us by sending Jesus your Son, “who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

Author: John Tousley

https://woh.org/

Presidential Prayer Team; J.R.- Flight of Folly

What comes to mind when you hear the term “repo man?” A burly, tattooed guy in his tow truck, scouring a neighborhood for a car whose owner is past due on his payments? These days, a “repo man” is more likely to be at a coffee shop with a smartphone. Some lenders are now installing “starter interrupt devices” on vehicles. Miss a payment, and they will disable your ignition remotely using GPS. You won’t be going anywhere. They used to say, “You can run but you can’t hide.” Nowadays, you can’t run, either.

But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

Jonah 1:3

Jonah foolishly thought he could run from the presence of the Lord. Although the task God had assigned to him was difficult and dangerous, it was ultimately intended to bless Jonah. But stubbornly, he ran…until God brought his diversionary adventure to a quick end.

The Lord may allow you to run for a short season, but in His time He will draw you back. His ultimate purpose in doing so is not punishment, but to lead you “in the way everlasting” David described in Psalm 139. Today, pray that America’s citizens and leaders might turn to, not away from, the Lord’s presence.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24  Click to Read or Listen

 

http://www.presidentialprayerteam.com/index.php

Greg Laurie – Shipwrecked Faith

Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.—1 Timothy 1:19

All of us hope for clear sailing in the sea of life. But there are storms that come our way, and there are shipwrecks that we will encounter. We will have things happen in our lives that don’t make sense.

The apostle Paul went through three literal shipwrecks during his lifetime (see 2 Corinthians 11:25). Now, that would cure you of ocean travel. But Paul also wrote about people who had their faith shipwrecked. In his epistle to Timothy, he warned, “Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples . . .” (1 Timothy 1:19–20).

Some people have had their faith shipwrecked. I have seen it happen. Sometimes when people are facing a tragedy, they say, “I’ve lost my faith through this.”

Continue reading Greg Laurie – Shipwrecked Faith

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Powerful

“Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” (1 Kings 18:38)

Elijah met up with the false prophets of Baal and made a challenge to them: “Let’s find out who really is God.”

Elijah offered this challenge because he knew that the one true God deserves to be worshipped. The prophets of Baal accepted Elijah’s challenge and spent all day trying to make their gods do what they wanted. They prayed and cried and hollered and even cut themselves, but they never heard a peep out of their idols. They tried to get their god Baal to answer them or at least to do something to show that he had heard them.

But there was one slight problem. Baal was not able to hear them. He did not have real ears. He was a man-made idol, not a real God. As Elijah watched these prophets, he laughed and made fun of their thinking. If they made their god, and if they could tell it what to do, and if they were stronger than their god, then how could this god help in time of need? It could not give them anything they had not already given it!

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Powerful

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Moral Superiority

Today’s Scripture: Nehemiah 1:6

“We have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned.”

Of all our subtle, “acceptable” sins, the pride of moral superiority may be the most common, second only to the sin of ungodliness. Although it’s so prevalent, it’s difficult to recognize because we all practice it to some degree. In fact, we seem to get a perverse enjoyment out of discussing how awful society around us is becoming. When we do that, we’re guilty of the pride of moral superiority.

How, then, can we guard against this sin of self-righteousness? First, by seeking an attitude of humility. If we’re morally upright, it’s only because God’s grace has prevailed in us. No one is morally upright by nature. Rather, we all have to say with David, “surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5, NIV). We ought to feel deeply grateful that God by his grace has kept us from, or perhaps rescued us from, the lifestyle of those who practice the flagrant sins we condemn.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Moral Superiority

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – A Severe Mercy

Today’s Scripture: Job 4-7

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. – 2 Corinthians 4:17

The word correct means “to make something right.” The word discipline conveys the idea of instruction or restraint. When we put those words together, we get a clear picture that God instructs us and disciplines us to help us walk in the right way, within the protective boundaries of His Word.

It’s folly to argue with God, the fountain of all wisdom, and it’s useless to look for a better path than the one He has selected for us. So how should we react when we suffer? We must trust God for the grace to let Him lead us through the dark and difficult times of life.

I have a friend whose young son was diagnosed with leukemia. When he heard the doctor’s report, he went to a park and walked and cried and prayed for hours, seeking to know the mind of God in this devastating situation. He asked God to search his heart and expose any sin or rebellion that might be there. After many days of seeking the Lord, he concluded that he didn’t know why God had allowed this and he might never know. But every day he wanted to trust the Lord and walk with Him and witness of His love.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – A Severe Mercy

BreakPoint –  Why We Should Choose Our Heroes/Heroines Wisely

Visitors to Google.com are used to their “doodles,” the search engine’s creative drawings commemorating important anniversaries and people in history. Google has marked Independence Day, MLK, Jr. Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, and last week, the doodle honored the birthday of Japanese American political activist, Yuri Kochiyama, who died in 2014.

Now for those who don’t recognize the name, Google linked to the Wikipedia article on Kochiyama, which described her as an advocate for “human rights.” But that’s hardly an honest summary. Yes, she supported reparations for Japanese Americans and was an outspoken advocate of oppressed minorities, having herself been forced into an internment camp during World War II. But calling her a “human rights advocate” because of this is a bit like calling the Titanic a popular cruise ship that suffered a navigational setback.

The fact is, Kochiyama spent decades supporting some of the worst movements and political regimes on the planet.

An outspoken admirer of Chinese communist leader Mao Tse-tung, Kochiyama praised the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution—movements that claimed more lives than the Holocaust or Stalin’s ethnic cleansing. She encouraged urban guerrilla warfare as a means of racial liberation—contrary to the ideas of Martin Luther King, Jr., who insisted on peaceful demonstration.

Kochiyama also became something of an apologist for the bloodiest Marxist revolutions of the last half-century, like the Peruvian communist party, popularly known as the Shining Path, which killed, raped, and tortured tens of thousands over the course of a decade. The Peruvian and U.S. governments, as well as the European Union, all classified the Shining Path as a terrorist organization.

Continue reading BreakPoint –  Why We Should Choose Our Heroes/Heroines Wisely

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE IMPERATIVE OF UNITY IN DIVERSITY

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

A classic series of Peanuts comic strips by Charles M. Schulz features Snoopy taking up jogging. As he runs, his body parts speak up. The lungs complain, “This is hard on us lungs.” The feet whine, “Why do we feet have to do all the work?” And the heart warns, “If I start complaining, you’re all in trouble.”

Sometimes the body of Christ acts this way as well! But that’s not what God intended. By comparing the church to a human body, Paul has highlighted its diverse yet unified nature. He had already taught on the imperative of unity, but unity doesn’t mean sameness. God’s design includes amazing, wonderful diversity, and this is beautifully communicated in the metaphor of the body with Christ as the Head (vv. 12–14). A body has many parts and functions and differences, yet it has a single identity and passes through experience as a unified entity. So, too, does the church.

In Paul’s first cycle of rather humorous examples (vv. 15–20), his point was that no part of the body is inferior or unneeded. Jews were not more important than Gentiles; slaves were not less essential than free believers. In context, then, we know there is no pecking order in the second list of spiritual gifts in verses 28 through 30—none are inferior or unneeded. The second cycle of examples (vv. 21–27) makes the same point from the other direction, as Paul asserted that all parts of the body are indeed necessary and interdependent.

Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE IMPERATIVE OF UNITY IN DIVERSITY

Denison Forum – TIM TEBOW WRITING BOOK ON ‘LIFE’S STORMS’    

Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow is writing a book on how to handle success and disappointment. Titled Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms, the book will be published this October.

We can use his advice.

Researchers are warning today that antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as “superbugs” could kill ten million people by 2050. Scientists say this issue is “as big a risk as terrorism” and could cost world economies nearly $100 trillion. According to one expert, “If we don’t solve the problem we are heading to the dark ages.”

If you’re like me, however, you’re less than alarmed by this news. The reason: 2050 is a long time off. Over the next thirty-four years, surely scientists will find solutions to this problem, we assume. We have more pressing problems, it seems.

For instance, authorities are still searching for the cause of the EgyptAir Flight 840 tragedy, but many remain convinced that a terrorist bomb destroyed the airplane. Meanwhile, ISIS is calling on followers to attack the West during the month of Ramadan, which begins in two weeks. According to CNN, the group has conducted or inspired at least ninety terrorist attacks in twenty-one countries other than Iraq and Syria.

Continue reading Denison Forum – TIM TEBOW WRITING BOOK ON ‘LIFE’S STORMS’