Charles Stanley – God’s Goal in Communicating

1 Corinthians 2:9-14

Whenever the Lord speaks to us, He gets straight to the point. He doesn’t dance around the issue, engage in idle chitchat, or talk just for the sake of talking. God always has something specific to say to us—and it is for our benefit. He says it precisely, and His message invariably speaks directly to our needs.

Therefore, if the Lord has something important to say, and if it is vital to a deep need in our life, then we must be clear in asking, What is God’s primary purpose in speaking to me? What does He want me to do as a result of what He has said?

First, God speaks so that we are able to comprehend the truth. That is, He wants us to fully understand His message and absorb it into our heart and mind.

Second, God speaks so that we may be conformed to the truth. Just knowing biblical principles is not enough; we must apply those guidelines to our circumstances and live out the life of faith.

Third, God speaks so that we can then communicate the truth. It is not enough simply to hear scriptural principles and then apply them to our own situation. Our Father wants us to share that life-changing information with others.

How can you better understand biblical truth? How can you more effectively apply God’s principles in your life? How can you best share them with others? The Lord holds us accountable for our answers. Open yourself to His message today, and then submit to whatever the Holy Spirit tells you.

Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 1-4

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Misplaced Trust

Read: Psalm 20 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 20–22; Acts 21:1–17

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

I like watching birds, an activity I developed while growing up in a forest village in Ghana where there were many different species of birds. In the city suburb where I now live, I recently observed the behavior of some crows that interested me. Flying toward a tree that had shed most of its leaves, the crows decided to take a rest. But instead of settling on the sturdy branches, they lighted on the dry and weak limbs that quickly gave way. They flapped their way out of danger—only to repeat the useless effort. Apparently their bird-sense didn’t tell them that the solid branches were more trustworthy and secure resting places.

How about us? Where do we place our trust? David observes in Psalm 20:7: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Chariots and horses represent material and human assets. While these represent things that are useful in daily life, they don’t give us security in times of trouble. If we place our trust in things or possessions or wealth, we will find that they eventually give way beneath us, as the branches gave way beneath the crows.

“We trust in the name of the LORD our God.” Psalm 20:7

Those who trust in their chariots and horses can be “brought to their knees and fall,” but those who trust in God will “rise up and stand firm” (v. 8).

Have you ever trusted someone or something and been disappointed or let down? Who or what was it? What do you trust in the most?

In a world of change, we can trust our unchanging God.

INSIGHT:

In times of fading hope, when there seems to be no way out of total disaster, we need to place our confidence in God, trusting that He has a perfect plan. We can trust Him, even through times of doubt and pressure, trial and temptation. He will lead us through the deep waters and bring us safely to the other shore. Once there, we’ll be able to say with David, “We trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Ps. 20:7).

Adapted from Why Doesn’t God Answer Me? Trusting in Times of Doubt and Trial.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Misplaced

Mine is not a heritage that deeply associates identity with the land on which that identity was forged. My ancestors packed every belonging they were able to place on a boat (including, I’m certain much to someone’s chagrin, a nine foot corner cupboard) and eventually made their way to Ohio. It was not easy for them; Irish immigrants were not well-received. But they made a life for themselves far away from all they once knew as home, choosing to distance themselves from the land of their forefathers in more ways than one. They even changed the spelling of their surname so that “home” would be less recognizable. For some immigrants, the land they leave is never far from their minds—and often this is true even of the generations who have never seen this land for themselves. This was not the case with my ancestors.

It was not until I spent time within a Native American community in Oklahoma (and later the intertwining worlds of the Palestinians and Israelis) that I came to realize the powerful pull of a homeland, even for those who hold it only in the imaginative longings of their minds. For those of us who view land in terms of property lines and economics, there is a giant chasm that separates us from those who define geography as life and spirit. The tragic role of geography in the story of every Native American tribe is easily recognizable, but the spiritual, personal, and physical weight of that offense is often grossly miscalculated. “To us when your land is gone, you are walking toward a slow spiritual death,” says a Shoshone elder who has fought persistently for access to Shoshone land. “We have come to the point that death is better than living without your spirituality.”(1)

Such intensity in the name of place and homeland is not unique to Native America. For the people of ancient Israel, the relationship between land and faith was equally profound. The destructive loss of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians in 587 BCE was infinitely more to them than the loss of home and property. For them it was the loss of faith, identity, and God’s presence. Walter Brueggemann writes of Jerusalem’s destruction: “The deep sense of displacement evoked by the loss led to the conclusion in some quarters that all the old promises of YHWH to Israel—and consequently Israel’s status as YHWH’s people and Jerusalem’s status as YHWH’s city—were placed in deep jeopardy.”(2)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Misplaced

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Ministry of the Holy Spirit

“By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit” (1 John 4:13).

Experiencing the ministry of the Holy Spirit is evidence of genuine saving faith.

In John 14:26, Jesus described the Holy Spirit as “the Helper.” One of the most important ways He helps us is by assuring us that we belong to God. Several works of the Holy Spirit, if present in our lives, give evidence of the genuineness of our salvation. In 1 Corinthians 12:3 Paul writes, “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” Apart from the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, you would not know who Christ was, nor would you confess Him as Savior and Lord. If you have experienced that work of the Holy Spirit, that is evidence you are a true child of God.

Another essential ministry of the Spirit is that of illuminating Scripture. First John 2:27 says, “The anointing which you received from Him abides in you . . . His anointing teaches you about all things.” Do you understand the Bible when you read it? Does it convict you of sin? Does it lead you to rejoice and worship God? If so, that is evidence of the Spirit’s illuminating work in your life.

Do you long for intimate fellowship with God? That, too, is the result of the Spirit’s work in your life (Gal. 4:6). Do you feel compelled to praise God? The filling of the Spirit produces praise (Eph. 5:19). Does your life manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)? Are one or more of the gifts of the Spirit operating in your life (1 Cor. 12)? Those, too, are evidences of the Spirit’s work in your life.

All of those ministries of the Holy Spirit are the way He “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16). If they are manifest in your life, they provide evidence that you abide in God and He in you (1 John 4:13). Let the Holy Spirit’s work in your life dispel the dark shadows of doubt.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that God would help you examine your life for evidence of the Spirit’s work.

For Further Study

Read 1 John 3:24.

What is our part in obtaining assurance?

Are there any commandments you are willfully violating? If so, confess them, repent of them, and begin to experience the blessedness of assurance.

http://www.gty.org

Wisdom Hunters – An Illustration Not An Interruption 

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:9-10

This week, as I sat early one morning in my prayer chair at home—my precious 7-year old grand baby Lily caught me reading and praying the Psalms. Instead of being glad she saw her Pop reading the Bible, I was a little annoyed my time with God had been “interrupted.” She crawled up into my lap—and suddenly my heavenly Father reminded me, “This is not an interruption, but an illustration of my love, care and affection for you, son.” My heart warmed, then I noticed several bruises on her sun soaked legs created by an active child. The Holy Spirit whispered, “Boyd, you are bruised and broken—and I Am—your Comforter and Healer.” Peace, joy, confidence, hope, faith and love all at once—moved me closer to Christ. Jesus illustrated through an “interruption” what I was seeking all along—His loving presence.

The unnamed foreigner—a Samaritan woman—was minding her own business when a stranger interrupted her domestic duties of drawing water from the refreshing well. Jesus asked her for a favor—a drink of water—but the larger purpose was for the Lord to give this searching, hard working adult—created in the image of God—living water for her thirsty soul. The Messiah she had heard about was in her presence to offer her the satisfaction of His forgiveness and love.

“Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’” (Revelation 7:16-17).

Traffic, a sick child, a costly home repair, a long line, a needy neighbor, a complaining customer, a late vendor or a co-worker in crisis may seem like interruptions—but look for an illustration of God’s character in your disruptive circumstances. When you encounter a person in sorrow, imagine Christ on the cross when He sought comfort from His heavenly Father. Interruptions are appointments of compassion. Life may feel unfair, but in your everyday routine recognize the Lord in the little things and love like your Savior Jesus. Interruptions represent people to love.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – An Illustration Not An Interruption 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Famous Last Words

The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:6-7

Recommended Reading

2 Timothy 4

Paul the apostle focused on Christ to the end. His final words are found in 2 Timothy 4, apparently written shortly before Nero’s soldiers beheaded him. Three things occupied Paul’s mind.

First, Paul wanted to continue God’s work till the last moment. He told Timothy, “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry” (verse 11). Second, Paul wanted to study God’s Word as long as possible, telling Timothy to bring “the books, especially the parchments” (verse 13). Third, he wanted God’s will to perfectly unfold in his life with every passing minute and forever. He wrote, “The Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me.… And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom” (verses 17-18).

We stay centered in Christ when we focus on His Word, His will, and His work. When we keep the core of our souls strengthened, we can withstand Nero’s threats. Whatever comes, we can praise the Lord saying, “To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” (verse 18)

Men who are strong are always men who are fixed somewhere, who have a conviction from which they cannot be separated…. The fixed heart is the secret of courage.

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan

Read-Thru-the-Bible Isaiah 12 – 14

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

Joyce Meyer – Why the Storms?

Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God.—Psalm 42:5

O God, why do You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger burn and smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?- Psalm 74:1

As I think about the storms we all face in life, I can understand why people sometimes ask, “Why the storms? Why do we have so many problems and struggles in life? Why do God’s people have to deal with so much suffering?”

As I considered these questions, I began to see that Satan plants these questions in our minds. It is his attempt to keep us focused on our problems instead of focusing on the goodness of God. If we persist in asking these questions, we’re implying that God may be to blame. I don’t think it’s wrong to ask God why things happen. The writers of the psalms certainly didn’t hesitate to ask.

I think of the story of Jesus when He visited the home of Mary and Martha after their brother, Lazarus, died. Jesus waited until Lazarus had been dead for four days before He visited. When He arrived, Martha said to Jesus, Master, if You had been here, my brother would not have died (John 11:21). She went on to say, And even now I know that whatever You ask from God, He will grant it to You (v. 22).

Did she really believe those words? I wonder, because Jesus said to her, Your brother shall rise again. Martha replied, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day (vs. 23-24). She didn’t get what Jesus was saying.

I don’t want to be unkind to Martha, but she missed it. When Jesus came, she didn’t ask, “Why didn’t You do something?” Instead she said, “If You had been here—if You had been on the job—he’d be alive.”

When Jesus assured her that Lazarus would rise again, she didn’t understand that it was going to happen right then. She could focus only on the resurrection. By looking at an event that was still in the future, she missed the real meaning of Jesus’ words for the present.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Why the Storms?

Girlfriends in God – I’ll Have What She’s Having

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations…

1 Samuel 8:19-20

Friend to Friend

It was spring break and we were home. Facebook posts from friends were showcasing sandy beaches, yummy meals, and fancy-schmancy hotel lobbies and pools. I was doing laundry, finishing up my taxes {Yay!} and wrestling with the cravings stirred by what others had and were doing.

As I turned to the Word of God I was reminded that none of this is new. I was also reminded and convicted that looking at and longing for what other people have, are, and do is NOT God’s best for me.

In the Bible, the Lord used a strand of strugglers just like you and me. I’m so glad about that. Aren’t you?

The book of 1 Samuel introduces us to a woman named Hannah who was deeply troubled, and ridden with aches of longing. Her life was complicated, but she knew where to turn in her turmoil. She poured out her soul to God and He heard her cries (1 Samuel 1:10, 19). In time, Hannah gave birth to a son named Samuel and she gave him over to the Lord for His service.

Samuel was raised in the house of God, where he grew in stature and in favor with both God and man (1 Samuel 2:26). As a young man, the Lord spoke to Him and through Him. As years went by, the incredible power of God was seen and dispensed through Samuel who served the Lord as a prophet, priest, judge and leader of Israel, yet somehow his own children rejected God.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – I’ll Have What She’s Having

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Worthy of Trust

“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead” (Hebrews 11:1).

Frequently, individuals make gifts of property or stocks and bonds to the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. I am notified by our legal department that the papers have been received, confirming our ownership. Then, on the basis of their word, I consider the value and the potential sale of these properties in light of our budget for this worldwide ministry.

Can you imagine? I make decisions involving literally millions of dollars based upon a word or a memo. I do not see the stocks and bonds. I do not visit the property. I do not even see the papers. But I can take the word of my associates, whom I have learned to trust, and, predicated on their recommendations, I can determine how many missionaries we can send to the field.

That is what faith is all about. I have faith in my beloved colleagues because they have demonstrated themselves to be trustworthy. How much more should I have faith in our loving, holy, gracious, God and Father who has demonstrated His faithfulness and trustworthiness innumerable times? How much more should I believe His holy, inspired Word – His many promises?

However, God’s promises do not become reality unless we act upon them, claiming them in faith, any more than the word of my associates would be of any value unless I acted upon that information.

Vast resources of heaven are available to us. We appropriate them by faith. Consider the following illustration: Suppose I have $1,000 in the bank. I go to the bank with a check for $100 in my hand. I hand it to the teller, get on my knees and begin to beseech the teller to cash my check for $100. This would seem unusual to the teller and to all who might observe me for that is not the way to cash a check. Rather, I place it before the teller with the assurance that I have ten times the amount of the check on deposit and therefore without any hesitancy can expect my check to be cashed.

So it is with the bank of heaven. I know that the promises of God are faithful and true. God does not lie. God is worthy of my trust and, therefore, whatever He promises, He will perform if only I will trust and obey him.

Bible Reading: Psalm 11:89-96

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will claim the promises of God by faith with the joyful assurance that whatever God promises, He is faithful to perform. I will claim His supernatural resources for supernatural living.

 

http://www.cru.org

Ray Stedman – Paul’s Mistake

Read: Acts 21:1-16

As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, This is what the Holy Spirit says: In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. Acts 21:9-11

This is a rather painful scene. At Caesarea they came into the home of Philip the evangelist. There Agabus, a prophet of the Lord, in a dramatic, visual way, took Paul’s sash from around his waist and bound his own feet and hands, and said, This is what the Holy Spirit is saying to you, Paul. If you go on to Jerusalem, this is what will happen to you. You’ll be delivered into the hands of the Gentiles. They will bind you, and you’ll be a prisoner.

This was the last effort made by the Holy Spirit to awaken the apostle to what he was doing. Agabus was joined in this by the whole body of believers. The whole family present urged him not to go, Luke included. We read in verse 12, When we had heard this, we and the local residents begged him not to go up to Jerusalem. So even his close associates recognized the voice of the Spirit, to which the apostle seemed strangely deaf. He refused to listen.

And in Paul’s reply to them we can detect that, without quite realizing what has happened, he has succumbed to what today we call a martyr complex. Paul said in verse 13, What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. These words are brave and sincere and earnest. He meant every word of them. We can find no fault with the bravery and courage expressed in those words. But it was not necessary for him to go, and the Spirit had told him not to go.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – Paul’s Mistake

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – God: Slow to Anger and Abounding in Steadfast Love

Read: Jonah 1:1-3, Psalm 103

The Lord is compassionate and gracious . . . (Ps. 103:8 NIV)

It’s time to send a prophet to cry against Nineveh and tell them their wickedness is an affront to me as the one true God.

Lord, who shall have this great honor: Amos? Hosea?

No. Jonah, son of Amittai.

Lord, Jonah is on a ship taking him as far from Nineveh as a Hebrew can sail. Is he afraid?

Jonah is no coward.

Then why is he disobeying? Does he not know you are Lord of Tarshish also? He heard your command! How can he be so rebellious and foolish?

Humans have my Word and my presence in the world, but they choose the way that seems best to them, not my way. Jonah is so full of himself and his religion he isn’t open to really knowing me or my will. So he runs away and then rationalizes his disobedience. He’s wasting much time, effort, and money—and harming his relationship with me—and yet he feels righteous and justified. Sin is a deep-seated enemy within the human soul; even with my people.

Jonah should be punished, along with Nineveh!

That would be in keeping with my law; but my mercy, grace, and love are in this story also; in fact, they’re the most important part.

Prayer:

Lord, help me lose my willful self every day so I can be what you want me to be; choose your ways, not mine; and always be your humble obedient servant. Amen.

Author: Doug VanBronkhorst

 

https://woh.org/

Greg Laurie – What We Can Learn from the Jesus Movement

I have heard all about you, LORD. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy.—Habakkuk 3:2

I came to Christ in 1970 during the Jesus Movement, which gave me a front-row seat to the Fourth Great Awakening in the United States—the most recent in our nation. Looking back, I remember five things that were part of a typical church service during that time.

First, there was a sense of expectancy in the service. No one was ever late for church because you couldn’t find a seat if you were. You came expecting God to work. You came with a sense of openness, anticipating what the Lord was going to do.

Second, the Word of God was always taught. That gave stability to us. In fact, I still have my Bible from those days. I marked it up—so much so that some of the pages are coming out of it.

Third, people participated in the worship. We effectively saw what we simply know as worship now. In the late 1960s, there were no electric guitars, for the most part, on church stages. There were no drum kits. It was completely different culturally. Things we take for granted now didn’t exist back then. But people engaged in worship. They participated in it.

Fourth, believers brought nonbelievers to church, evangelistic invitations were extended, and people were coming to Christ. Every week there was the sense that God wants people to be saved.

Fifth, there was a belief in and a constant teaching of the imminent return of Christ. We believed that Jesus was coming back again.

The kids of the Jesus Movement are now grandparents. But just as in the 1960s, and specifically 1968, we have riots in the streets. We have racial unrest. We have a drug epidemic. There’s a sense of hopelessness in the air. We need another Jesus Movement. We need another spiritual awakening.

 

https://www.harvest.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – God Does What Is Best for You

“But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” (Psalm 115:3)

Little Amy longed to have blue eyes instead of brown ones. Her mother had blue eyes, and Amy wanted beautiful eyes just like her. Amy’s mom had taught her that God always answers prayer. One night before she went to bed, Amy decided to pray about her eye color. She decided to pray that God would “fix” her eye color. “Father, I would be so happy if only I could have blue eyes! Please change my eyes to blue. Please, Lord!”

The next morning, Amy jumped out of bed and headed straight to the mirror to see if God had answered her prayer. To her disappointment, brown eyes were staring back at her. “Oh, the Lord didn’t do what He was supposed to do; He didn’t answer my prayer!” she thought. Amy’s mother could tell how disappointed her little girl was. She explained to Amy that “no” is still an answer. Amy’s beautiful brown eyes were a gift from God. He gave her brown eyes for a reason.

When she grew up, Amy went to India as a missionary. But the Hindu women to whom she wanted to minister were distracted by how different Amy looked from them. They would never pay attention to the Gospel message she was trying to share. Amy decided to try to fit in with the Indian people. She wore a sari, the outfit that the Indian women wore, and used coffee to stain her skin brown. “Wow!” she thought as she looked into the mirror. “I look just like an Indian woman with my dark skin and sari!” Then she looked at her eyes. Thank you, Lord, for giving me brown eyes for a wonderful reason! If my eyes were blue right now, I certainly wouldn’t look anything at all like an Indian woman.” After that, the Indian women were not so distracted by how Amy looked, and they listened carefully to her message of Jesus Christ.

The Hindus in India did not believe in God and did horrible things to little children in their temple. Amy had a desire to rescue the children from the temple and tell them about Jesus. Because she looked like the Indian women, Amy Carmichael was able to save over one thousand children in India from the awful things happening to them in the Hindu temple. Amy praised the Lord the rest of her life for doing what He wanted and giving her brown eyes.

Has God ever said “no” to your prayers? Remember that God always does what’s best for you.

God does what He decides is best for His own glory and your good.

My Response:

» Has God ever said “no” to a prayer of mine?

» Do I really believe that God knows what is best?

 

http://kids4truth.com/home.aspx

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – God’s Fatherly Responsibilities

Today’s Scripture: Isaiah 64:8

“O Lord, you are our Father.”

What does it mean in everyday life that God is our Father? Let me suggest five fatherly responsibilities that God has assumed toward his children.

God provides for us. “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NIV).

God protects us. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31, NIV).

God encourages us. “You hear, o lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry” (Psalm 10:17, NIV).

God comforts us. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV).

God disciplines us. “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10, NIV).

I realize, and can testify from my own experience, that there are times when it does not seem as if God is doing any of these things. There are times when it seems as if he has forsaken us. At such times we need to lay hold of such promises as “never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV). God in his own inscrutable way is always at work to fulfill his role as our perfect heavenly Father. (Excerpt taken from The Gospel for Real Life)

 

https://www.navigators.org/Home

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – A Hope and a Future

Today’s Scripture: Jeremiah 26-29

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

There are millions of people in the world who believe God is out to get them, that His thoughts toward them are not thoughts of love and peace, but thoughts of evil and destruction.

I recall going into a beautiful temple in one of the most magnificent cities in Asia. Inside there were about two hundred people staring blankly at the huge statue of their god as they sat cross-legged on the floor, moaning and crying out in fear. They were convinced that their god was intent on destroying their crops. They knew nothing of our gracious God.

Some of the most encouraging words ever written are found in Jeremiah 29:11-14: “‘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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me…and I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”

When we know that God’s plans for us are good, we will call on Him in faith, not in fear. When we seek Him, He will reveal Himself to us in all His gracious love. Now Christian, the blinded masses cringing in fear before a pagan idol aren’t the only ones who need to hear about God. There are people in your neighborhood and your place of work who don’t know the Lord. Many of them feel they have no future and no hope. But we have the gospel of Christ, a message that can turn their lives completely around.

Prayer

Lord, prompt me to speak words of persuasion to people for whom You died. Amen.

To Ponder

God’s ways are revealed to me if I pray and seek His will.

 

https://www.navigators.org/Home

BreakPoint – Stopping Killing with More Killing: Why Planned Parenthood’s Philosophy Doesn’t Work

A pitfall of social media such as Facebook and Twitter is that we can find ourselves saying something we shouldn’t.

While most of us can delete the offending message before too much damage is done, well-known people and organizations can’t. By the time they realize their mistake, it’s been widely seen, forwarded, and captured for posterity.

At that point they either apologize, defend the comment, or maybe insist that their account was hacked.

Well, a recent Facebook post had me wondering if the Planned Parenthood account had been hacked, but then I remembered it was Planned Parenthood.

In the aftermath of the events in Baton Rouge and suburban St. Paul, where two African American men were killed by police officers, Planned Parenthood posted a graphic featuring an African-American woman with her arms draped around a boy, presumably her son.

Now if you’re wondering what Planned Parenthood had to contribute to the national discussion about these shootings, the answer is nothing. Even if you think the organization is good and not evil, commenting on relations between law enforcement and African American communities is completely beyond its competence.

But that didn’t stop Planned Parenthood.

The above-mentioned graphic was accompanied by these words: “You deserve to parent your child without fear that he or she will be hurt or killed. Freedom from violence is reproductive justice.”

Continue reading BreakPoint – Stopping Killing with More Killing: Why Planned Parenthood’s Philosophy Doesn’t Work

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE TRICKSTER IS TRICKED

Read GENESIS 29:1–30

Pranksters love playing practical jokes on other people—and there is an ironic humor in seeing the trickster tricked by someone else. Today’s reading portrays such an irony as the trickster Jacob met his match in Uncle Laban.

As the story opens, things seemed to be moving positively for Jacob. He had just received God’s promise of presence and protection, and soon arrived at a well. There, after learning from shepherds that his Uncle Laban was nearby, his cousin Rachel showed up! Jumping into action, Jacob removed the large stone from the well and watered Rachel’s flock.

After revealing his kinship to Rachel, Jacob’s good fortune seemed to continue. When Laban heard the news, he embraced Jacob with words of joyful welcome, “You are my own flesh and blood” (v. 14), and allowed Jacob to remain in his home. Not only had Jacob met with the safety of family, but the beautiful Rachel was promised in marriage in return for Jacob’s labor. It would seem that Jacob had indeed escaped the danger of Esau back home.

But then things took a turn for the worse. Laban’s own character proved to be as duplicitous as Jacob’s. After the agreed years of labor, on the night of the wedding, Laban switched the older sister Leah for the younger Rachel. Notice the irony of Jacob, the trickster’s response: “Why have you deceived me?” (v. 25). In turn, Laban asserted their custom of not having the younger child upstage the older—another ironic jab at Jacob’s own deception for those who know how Jacob secured God’s blessing. In the end, Jacob would get more wives than he bargained for, at a greater cost than he planned. It might seem at this point that God had disappeared from Jacob’s life, but as we will soon see, God never abandons His word once given.

APPLY THE WORD

Jacob’s actions remind us that trusting in our own plans, resources, and ingenuity will not bring about the promises God intends for us. He alone can bring true blessing. In what areas of your life are you trusting more in your own efforts than in God’s leading? Give those aspects of your life over to God, asking Him for the faith to trust Him fully.

http://www.todayintheword.org

Denison Forum – BATON ROUGE SHOOTING: WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR WORLD?

It has happened again. Three police officers were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana yesterday. Three others were injured. The gunman, a former Marine, was killed at the scene.

A long-time police veteran said, “I’ve never experienced anything like this.” The president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police noted, “This is perhaps the most difficult and dangerous time in American policing history.” Our police need our support and encouragement today more than ever.

The heartbreaking news from Baton Rouge followed a bloody attempted coup in Turkey that left 265 dead over the weekend. We are still grieving the tragedy in Nice, France, the police officers killed in Dallas, and the earlier fatalities in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Yesterday, a dear friend texted me the question everyone is asking: What is happening to our world?

ISIS is inspiring terrorism around the globe; North Korea is advancing its nuclear weapons capabilities; the European Union is fracturing; China’s military reach is expanding; violence at home seems to be escalating.

But the world is no more fallen today than it was last year. And Jesus is no less powerful than he has ever been. He warned us, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33a). “Tribulation” translates thlipsis, a Greek term describing the massive stone that crushed grain into flour. But then he added, “Take heart; I have overcome the world” (v. 33b).

It’s vital that we see our world through a biblical lens, that we view temporal events in light of eternal truth. Now that the political conventions are beginning, the Denison Forum wants to help our readers interpret these historic events in biblical context. So Nick Pitts, our Director of Cultural Engagement, will be reporting from both conventions.

Continue reading Denison Forum – BATON ROUGE SHOOTING: WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR WORLD?