Charles Stanley – God Is in Control

Mark 9:17-27

In today’s Scripture passage, a father brings his demon-possessed son to the Lord. Nothing is more important to this father than to see his boy healed, and he believes that Jesus has the power to do it.

When he finally reaches Jesus, however, the father experiences a slight hesitation in his faith. We can detect it in the way he words his request: “If You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” (Mark 9:22, emphasis added). Jesus, sensing the man’s subtle doubts, replies, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).

At once the father realizes the disparity between his words and his actions, and he cries out, “I do believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). What an odd statement! What are we to think—does this man have faith or not?

Yet when we look closer, we realize that this father is crying out in complete, unashamed honesty to the Lord. He knows that there is no point in attempting to “puff up” his faith before Jesus. Instead, he humbly admits that while he does in fact believe in Jesus’ saving power, some things—such as parental concern for his son—can still interfere with his faith in God.

Scripture says that the Lord is sovereign over all things (Ps. 103:19). Do you believe He has the power to change your life? Do you allow outside influences to affect your trust in Jesus Christ? If so, be honest with God about your fluctuating faith, but always remember that His power does not ebb and flow along with our confidence in Him. Regardless of how we feel, God is always in control.

Bible in a Year: Job 17-21

 

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Our Daily Bread – The Beauty of Rome

Read: John 17:1–5 | Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 23–24; John 15

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God. John 17:3

The glory of the Roman Empire offered an expansive backdrop for the birth of Jesus. In 27 bc Rome’s first emperor, Caesar Augustus, ended 200 years of civil war and began to replace rundown neighborhoods with monuments, temples, arenas, and government complexes. According to Roman historian Pliny the Elder, they were “the most beautiful buildings the world has ever seen.”

Yet even with her beauty, the Eternal City and its empire had a history of brutality that continued until Rome fell. Thousands of slaves, foreigners, revolutionaries, and army deserters were crucified on roadside poles as a warning to anyone who dared to defy the power of Rome.

The Lamb who died is the Lord who lives!

What irony that Jesus’s death on a Roman cross turned out to reveal an eternal glory that made the pride of Rome look like the momentary beauty of a sunset!

Continue reading Our Daily Bread – The Beauty of Rome

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Integrity Stands on Principle

“And the king appointed for them a daily ration from the king’s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king’s personal service. . . . But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself” (Daniel 1:5,8).

Godly integrity is built upon the foundation of biblical authority.

From the world’s perspective, King Nebuchadnezzar had much to offer his Hebrew captives: the best food, the best education, and high positions in his kingdom. But Daniel’s perspective was quite different. He did not object to receiving a pagan education because God had given no direct prohibition against that, and a Babylonian education had much to offer in the areas of architecture and science. But as with anyone receiving a secular education, Daniel would have to exercise discernment in sorting out the true from the false and the good from the bad.

It was when Daniel was asked to violate a direct command from God that he drew the line and took his stand on biblical principle. That’s the character of godly integrity. It bases decisions on the principles from God’s Word, not on mere preference, intimidation, or peer pressure. Seemingly Daniel had every reason to compromise: he was young, away from home, and facing severe consequences if he defied the king’s order. Yet he was unwavering in his obedience to God.

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Integrity Stands on Principle

Wisdom Hunters – Intimacy through Brokenness 

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

Intimacy with God goes hand in hand with your brokenness. Your desire for intimacy with your heavenly Father will be accompanied by brokenness, as it escorts you into intimacy with eternal God. It is your date with destiny. A broken and contrite heart delivers intimacy with the Almighty. Do not despise your broken condition. Rather, delight in its opportunity for intimacy. You long to know Jesus in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering (Philippians 3:10). These prayers were not in vain. Your brokenness is answered prayer. The answer may not be exactly what you expected. You may have anticipated a smoother route, a paved road free of bumps or pot holes. But the path of personal and intimate relationship with Christ is not always easy.

Most of the time, intimacy requires difficulty. It is at this point of pressure and discomfort that some people disembark the train of intimacy. It is much easier to talk about an intimate relationship with Christ than it is to arrive at this point through brokenness. However, this is an exercise in convenience. It is like placing a “Do not disturb” sign on the door of our life, in place of the “Clean my room” invitation. Brokenness is inviting God to come in and cleanse your life. He stands at the door of our heart and knocks (Revelation 3:20). When you invite Christ into your broken lives, He comes in. Intimacy is then unleashed on His terms, not yours. It is only when you surrender in total desperation and total dependency on God that you experience authentic intimacy.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Intimacy through Brokenness 

Joyce Meyer – Safe and Secure

So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me? —Hebrews 13:6 AMPC

A confident person feels safe. He believes he is loved, valuable, cared for, and protected by God’s will for him. When we feel safe and secure, it’s easy to step out and try new things.

During the initial construction on the Golden Gate Bridge, no safety devices were used, and twenty-three men fell to their deaths. For the final part of the project, however, a large net was used as a safety precaution. Twenty-five percent more work was accomplished after the net was installed. Why? Because the men had the assurance of their safety, so they were free to wholeheartedly serve the project.

When people feel safe, they are free to take a chance on failing in order to try to succeed. As children of God, we are safe and secure, knowing God loves us and has a good plan for our lives. Therefore, we can live with thanksgiving and confidence as we step out boldly each and every day.

Prayer of Thanks: I thank You, God, that You are always there to catch me when I fall. Today, I choose to live with confidence because I know I am safe and secure in Your love. I know nothing will happen to me that I can’t handle because You are with me.

From the book The Power of Being Thankful by Joyce Meyer

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Most Vital Food

“Your words are what sustain me; they are food to my hungry soul. They bring joy to my sorrowing heart and delight me. How proud I am to bear Your name, O Lord” (Jeremiah 15:16).

In my earlier years – as perhaps was true of yours – one thing that seemed to sustain me more than anything else was food: three square meals a day, and sometimes something in between. Food is still vital – I would not understate its value – but I have found something far more vital to my happiness and success as a believer in Christ.

Now, I can truly say with the weeping prophet, Jeremiah, that the very words of God are what really sustain me. They are food to my hungry soul. And they accomplish immeasurable good in my life, and thus in the lives of thousands of people whom I am privileged to meet throughout the world.

God’s Word brings joy to my sorrowing heart. Why? Because it has an answer – theanswer – to every need, every burden, every problem I will face this day, and in the days to come. Furthermore, it will provide the answers for others whom I contact.

God’s Word truly delights me, as it did Jeremiah. When I need encouragement, I turn to the Psalms. When I need practical wisdom for daily decisions, I turn to the Proverbs of Solomon. And so on with every kind of need I face.

All of this being true – God’s Word sustaining me, being food to my hungry soul, bringing joy to my sorrowing heart, and delighting me – “How proud I am to bear your name, O Lord!”

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 15:15-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: My spiritual food must take priority over all other considerations in my life.

 

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Ray Stedman – His Name is Holy

Read: Luke 11:2-4

He said to them, When you pray, say, Father, hallowed be your name… Luke 11:2b

The second petition of the Lord’s Prayer is one of surrender, Hallowed be your name. I am quite sure this is the petition that makes hypocrites out of most of us. For we can say, Father with grateful sincerity, but when we pray Hallowed be your name, we say this with the guilty knowledge that, as we pray, there are areas of our life in which his name is not hallowed and in which, furthermore, we don’t want it to be hallowed. When we say, Hallowed be your name, we are praying, May the whole of my life be a source of delight to you and may it be an honor to the name which I bear, which is your name. Hallowed be your name.

The trouble is that we so frequently know there are great areas of our life that are not hallowed. There are certain monopolies which we have reserved to ourselves, privileged areas which we do not wish to surrender, where the name of our boss or the name of our girl friend or some other dear one means more to us than the name of God. But when we pray this, if we pray it in any degree whatsoever of sincerity or openness or honesty, we are praying, Lord, I open to you every closet, I am taking every skeleton out for you to examine. Hallowed be thy name. There cannot be any contact with God, any real touching of his power, any genuine experiencing of the glorious fragrance and wonder of God at work in human life until we truly pray, and the second requisite of true prayer is that we say, Hallowed be your name.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – His Name is Holy

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Shelter from the Storm

Read: Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength. (v. 1)

Some phrases in this psalm resonate with what I often hear from people when they recount the story of the loss of a loved one. “It felt like the earth was giving way,” they’ll say, or like their world “came crashing down.” Like mountains being swallowed by the sea. Indeed, when we lose someone who is part of the very landscape of our lives, it can feel as though the earth under us is not firm, as though everything we assumed would be as unchanging as a mountain range has suddenly come undone.

Disorienting changes are only part of the psalmist’s song, however. Alongside the tumultuous events are the ongoing promises of God’s presence. A presence so enduring and so trustworthy—even in the midst of great trouble—that we can find solid footing on which to rest.

A friend of mine and her husband lost a baby shortly after birth; as my friend describes what it was like to hold her dying daughter, she says that the sense of God’s presence was almost palpable, even while their anger and sadness and doubts were heavy on their minds. “Be still, and know that I am God,” the psalm also urges (v. 10). We may search for answers and it may take us years or decades to process all that we have been through, but at every moment there persists the invitation to be still, and to know God as a bedrock that shall not be moved.

Prayer:

Help us to find our footing in you, and to be still.

Author: Jessica Bratt Carle

https://woh.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – God Wants You To Use His Power

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” (1 Timothy 1:12-13)

In this verse, you see Paul speaking about how God granted him mercy for his past sins because he did them “ignorantly in unbelief.” This is a miracle God does for each new believer. All past sins are forgiven by the Lord and that person is now guilt-free. The new follower now has power through the Holy Spirit to pray and hear God, to read the Bible and understand what it says! This great power was unavailable before the person accepted Christ as his Savior. What an advantage a believer and follower of Christ has over those who do not believe! When a believer acts upon what the Lord has taught, that follower has perfect power from God.

These verses are also a warning for those who have this power – for those who are not “ignorant or unbelieving.” When a believer sins, he has failed to use the power he was free to access. When an unbeliever sins, he doesn’t have access to this power. God’s mercy is great enough to forgive and wipe away the sins of both believers and unbelievers, but the believer’s sin was done in knowledge, and it etches a deeper wound. The believer’s sin can sever the trust of other believers, leaving the person with less responsibility, respect, and influence in God’s work on earth. More importantly, if the sin done in knowledge continues, the believer starts to loose contact with God and God’s work in his heart.

God loves all people, but He cannot give His power to those who are not willing to follow. Have you noticed a loss in power? Even a small loss is big – get back to learning and understanding right away. God wants you using His power for all good things in your life and in the lives of those around you. No sin is worth missing out on God’s power in your life.

God makes His power available to those who are right with Him.

My Response:

» Am I failing to make use of God’s power by refusing to acknowledge my sins to God?

» Are there sins I need to confess and forsake so that the Spirit can enable me to do His work?

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Real-Life Application

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is living and active.”

We cannot develop Bible-based convictions merely by storing up Bible knowledge, or even by Bible study or Scripture memorization. We come closer as we meditate on Scripture consistently. But convictions are really developed when we begin applying Scripture’s teachings to real-life situations.

My wife and I recently went shopping for a coffee table. We had agreed on the style we wanted and quickly found one at a price within our range. I’m the type of person who’s ready to buy as soon as I find what I like, but my wife is a “shopper.” She likes to look at everything in the store. Sure enough, she soon came upon her “dream” coffee table, a rather uncommon design that she’d dreamed about for years but never thought she would own. As you might guess, it was more expensive.

I started talking about being good stewards of the money God has given us, but God started “talking” to me (through his Spirit’s convicting work) about husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). I realized one of the concrete ways I was to love my wife was to be more sensitive to her dreams and desires. In that situation God desired that I learn more about what it means for husbands to love their wives than about stewarding his resources. But the point of my story is this: I knew Ephesians 5:25. I believed it, had memorized it, and meditated on it. But through the application of it in a real-life situation, I deepened my conviction about it. Since that incident, I’ve found that I’m more sensitive to what it means practically to love my wife as Christ loved the church in a sacrificial, self-giving way.

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Transforming Power

Today’s Scripture: Romans 6

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18

The closer we got to the airport in Monrovia,West Africa, the more agitated the man became. He was sitting in the row in front of my wife and me. When we landed in Sierra Leone–the last stop before Monrovia–he went to the flight attendant and asked if she had any rubber bands.

“No,” she said, “we have no use for them.” So during our short stop in Sierra Leone, he went up and down the aisle asking people if they had a rubber band. I had no idea why he wanted one, but I looked in my briefcase, and found two.

When the man returned to his seat, I handed the rubber bands to him. Boy, did that light up his face! He told us that on his trip to Europe he had bought a shirt but had forgotten to check the sleeve length. He feared what his wife would say if he stepped off the plane with shirt sleeves hanging down over his fingers. We watched him take off his suit coat, adjust the sleeves using the rubber band, and put the coat back on with a look of satisfaction on his face.

“Now I am a well-dressed gentleman,” he said in broken English. Amazing! Moments before, the man had been ashamed of himself, standing there as a poorly-dressed klutz. But with a slight “rubber band” adjustment, he was transformed into a well-dressed gentleman.

That’s a picture of what happens when we become Christians. One moment we are lost sinners on our way to hell. The next moment–when we receive Christ and the Holy Spirit comes to live in us–we become a child of God and joint heir with Christ.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for Your amazing transformation in my life, based on my faith in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ for my sins. Amen.

To Ponder

How has the Holy Spirit living in you transformed your life?

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – Read Genesis 7

NOAH: GOD’S FAVORED SON

Tommy Smothers, half of the popular comedy duo from the 1960s known as the Smothers Brothers, was famous for saying, “Mom always liked you best.” It turns out he may have been right. Karl Pillemer, a gerontologist from Cornell University, interviewed mothers between the ages of 65 and 75 and discovered they often had favorites among their adult children. Pillemer observes, “Parental favoritism is a fundamental part of the family landscape throughout life.”

Does God have favorites among His children as well? Genesis 6:8 says that Noah found “favor” in the eyes of the Lord. But this does not mean that Noah was God’s favorite. The Hebrew word that is translated “favor” is the Old Testament word for grace. Noah and his family were saved by grace from the judgment that came upon all the earth. The writer of Hebrews adds that Noah received this grace through faith: “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith” (Heb. 11:7).

God does not play favorites—but He also does not show favor to everyone. Faith is the distinguishing mark of those who experience His favor. If you want to escape the wrath that is yet to come, your ark is personal faith in Jesus Christ. Just as the ark saved those inside it from the waters of judgment in Noah’s day, all those who are in Christ will be spared the judgment that will come at the end of the age.

Jesus is our ark. Faith in Him is the only way to obtain God’s favor today—a favor freely offered to all who call upon the name of the Lord.

APPLY THE WORD

Peter draws an analogy between baptism and the experience of Noah and his family (1 Peter 3:20–21). We are not saved by the rite of baptism but by what it represents—faith placed in Jesus for our salvation and God’s promise to cleanse us from sin. The next time you watch a baptism or see a rainbow, remember God’s promise.

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