Charles Stanley – The Pursuit of Glory

1 Peter 4:11

When we become Christ followers, our view of life should change. No longer are we the center of our world; instead, Christ is (Gal. 2:20). It’s essential that we switch our thinking to a Christian worldview because what we believe dictates how we behave. Many of us have a “patchwork quilt” type of perspective, where we have taken some truths from Scripture, some from our upbringing, and some from our culture to determine what we believe. We often don’t even realize we have done this.

As believers, we are to search Scripture to find answers for all of life’s questions, such as: Where did I come from? (see Gen. 1.); What happens when I die? (John 14:1-4); How do I explain human behavior? (Rom. 3:9-18); How can I determine right from wrong? (2 Tim. 3:16); and What is the purpose of man? (Isa. 43:7). If we have biblical answers—a Christian worldview—we will think and behave in ways that glorify God.

The most vital question is, What is important to God? From the Bible, we learn that all of nature declares the glory of God (Ps. 19:1), the chief aim of man is to glorify the Lord, and Jesus’ mission on earth revealed God’s glory. So we know that what matters to God is His glory.

Does this surprise you? We often fall into thinking that the world revolves around us and the Lord’s work has to do with our needs, wants, and pleasures. But the truth is that life is all about God and glorifying Him. Let us humbly bow before Him, change our thinking, and join Him in the pursuit of His glory.

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 19-22

Our Daily Bread — Visible Vulnerability

Visible Vulnerability

Read: Ephesians 4:2–6 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 43–45; Acts 27:27–44

Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

As I ventured out several weeks after shoulder surgery, I was fearful. I had become comfortable using my arm sling, but both my surgeon and physical therapist now told me to stop wearing it. That’s when I saw this statement: “At this stage, sling wear is discouraged except as a visible sign of vulnerability in an uncontrolled environment.”

Ah, that was it! I feared the enthusiastic person who might give me a bear hug or the unaware friend who might bump me accidentally. I was hiding behind my flimsy baby-blue sling because I feared being hurt.

Being honest about our struggles allows us to help each other.

Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable can be scary. We want to be loved and accepted for who we are, but we fear that if people truly knew us, they would reject us and we could get hurt. What if they found out we are not smart enough . . . kind enough . . . good enough?

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Scene of Miracle

Middlemarch is the epic novel by Mary Anne Evans, better known by her male penname George Eliot. The work is considered one of the most significant novels of the Victorian period and a masterpiece of English fiction. Rather than following a grand hero, Eliot explores a number of themes in a series of interlocking narratives, telling the stories of ordinary characters intertwined in the intricate details of life and community. Eliot’s focus is the ordinary, and in fact her lament—in the form of 700 pages of detail—is that we not only so often fail to see it, but fail to see that there is really no such thing. There is neither ordinary human pain nor ordinary human living. “If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life,” she writes, “it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heartbeat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity.”(1)

The world Eliot saw around her is not unlike our own in its capacity to silence the dissonance of details, the frequency of pain, the roar of life in its most minute and yet extraordinary forms. We silence the wild roar of the ordinary and divert our attention to magnitudes more willing to fit into our control. The largest tasks and decisions are given more credence, the biggest lives and events of history most studied and admired, and the greatest powers and influences feared or revered most. And on the contrary, the ordinary acts we undermine, the most common and chronic angst we manage to mask, and the most simple and monotonous events we silence or stop seeing altogether. But have we judged correctly?

Artists often work at pulling back the curtain on these places we have wadded out of sight and sound, showing glimpses of life easily missed, pulling off the disguises that hide sad or mortal wounds, drawing our attention to all that is deemed mundane and obscure. Their subject is often the ordinary, but it is for the sake of the extraordinary, even the holy. Nowhere does Eliot articulate this more clearly than in her defense of the ordinary scenes depicted in early Dutch painting. “Do not impose on us any aesthetic rules which shall banish those old women scrapping carrots with their work-worn hands….It is so needful we should remember their existence, else we may happen to leave them quite out of our religion and philosophy, and flame lofty theories which only fit a world of extremes.”(2) For the artist, ordinary life, ordinary hardship, ordinary sorrow is precisely the scene of our need for God, and remarkably, the scene of God and miracle.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Scene of Miracle

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – “. . . And in your brotherly kindness, Christian love” (2 Peter 1:7).

Sacrificial love proves genuine faith.

Classical Greek had three common terms for love. As we saw yesterday, phileo (philadelphia) is the love of give and take, best expressed in friendship. Eros is the love that takes—one loves another strictly for what he or she can get out of that person. It is typical of the world’s sexual and lustful desires, which are always bent toward self-gratification. Agape is the love that gives. It is completely unselfish, with no taking involved. This is the highest form of love, which all the other virtues in 2 Peter 1 ultimately lead to. It seeks another’s supreme good, no matter what the cost. Agape was exemplified perfectly by Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.

But what does this highest type of love look like? A brief survey of the one anothers in the New Testament gives an excellent picture. We are commanded to:

Edify one another (Rom. 14:19).

“Serve one another” (Gal. 5:13).

“Bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2).

Submit to one another (Eph. 5:21).

Forgive one another (Col. 3:13).

Instruct one another (Col. 3:16).

“Comfort one another” (1 Thess. 4:18).

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – “. . . And in your brotherly kindness, Christian love” (2 Peter 1:7).

Wisdom Hunters – Friendship With Jesus 

You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:14

Jesus is a friend to His followers. He is Lord, but He is a friend. He is Savior, but He is a friend. He is the Son of God, but He is a friend. He is sinless and holy, but He is a friend. He is a friend to sinners, and a friend to those He saves. Jesus is a friend to his followers, but it is a friendship based on obedience. Compliance with Christ creates companionship.

If I do not obey Christ’s commands, He does not call me friend. It is out of our actions that friendship with Jesus is validated. Obedience to Jesus inspires intimacy with Jesus. It is imperative that we obey Jesus so that we can really get to know Him. His friendship is free for all who follow hard with a hungry heart to obey. Friendship flourishes with faithful fidelity.

“He [Jesus] replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28).

Friendship with Jesus is an invitation to intimacy. He reveals to His friends the riches of His grace, and the hope of His glory. It is a friendship that bears the fruit of saved souls and solid character. You begin to emulate the attitude, actions, words and spirit of Jesus, because this is what friends do. Friends look, act and sound like each other. You know you are a friend of Jesus, when Jesus consistently influences you to be like Him.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – The Pasture

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

Recommended Reading

Ruth 1:11-18

“The Pasture” was one of Frost’s first poems, published in 1915 in the introduction of his first American collection. Afterward when Frost gave public readings, he often opened with “The Pasture,” inviting his audience to come along on his journey.

Sometimes our friendships become frosty because we don’t practice Frost’s advice. Why not invite someone to join you on a little journey, for a little chore, at a needful time in his or her life? Sometimes our friends don’t need our opinions. They just need us. They need to be included.

If you’ll look around today, you’ll probably find someone in a bit of adversity. Why not say, “I’m going out to clean the pasture spring. You come too!”

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

Dale Carnegie


Isaiah 44 – 46

Joyce Meyer – Common People with Uncommon Goals

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams].—Ephesians 3:20

God uses common, ordinary, everyday people who have uncommon goals and visions. That is what I am—just a common, ordinary person with a goal and a vision. But just because I am common and ordinary does not mean that I am content to be average. I don’t like that word. I don’t want to be average. I don’t intend to be average. I don’t serve an average God, therefore, I don’t believe I have to be average—and neither do you.

Average is basically okay. It is not bad, but it is also not excellent. It is just good enough to get by, and I don’t think that is what God wants us to be. I believe that any common, ordinary, everyday person can be mightily used by God. I believe that we can do great and mighty things—things that will amaze even us—if we believe that God can use us and if we will be daring enough to have an uncommon goal and vision. And what I mean by uncommon is something that doesn’t make sense to the mind. We have to believe God for it.

In Ephesians 3:20 we are told that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond all that we could dare to hope, ask, or think, according to His great power that is at work in us. God does it through us according to His power, but it is done through us, so we have to cooperate. That means we need to be daring in our faith and in our prayers. Some of us are not believing for enough. We need to stretch our faith into new realms. We need to be uncommon people with uncommon goals.

From the book New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer. C

Girlfriends in God – What If Your Worst “What If” Does Happen?

Today’s Truth

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

Psalm 33:4

Friend to Friend

Some people just seem happy and positive all the time. They appear to never worry and fret. These people act like they eat rainbows for breakfast and ride a unicorn to work. But life isn’t all lucky charms. Sometimes it is just plain hard. We anticipate trials. Jesus promised trouble. “In this world you will have trouble,” He warned (John 16:33).

So what if the worst thing you can imagine does happen? What then?

What if my child gets sick?

What if my husband does leave?

What if I lose my job?

What if I get on a plane to go to a speaking engagement and the plane crashes?

I decided a long time ago, when I get on a plane, I’m either going to get where I’m headed, or I’m going to heaven. Either one is all right with me. I know that whatever may happen in this life, God’s still on His throne, and He’s in control.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – What If Your Worst “What If” Does Happen?

Ray Stedman – That You May Become What I Am

Read: Acts 26:24-32

King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do. Then Agrippa said to Paul, Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian? Paul replied, Short time or long — I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains. Acts 26:27-29

As Paul continues speaking directly to Agrippa he says, King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe. Do you see what he’s saying? He is saying, You know the historical facts of Jesus’ life. You believe the prophets. So put the two together. What did the prophets say the Messiah would do? Where does that drive you? Jesus fulfilled what the prophets wrote.

At this point this enslaved king, mastered by his own lusts, is faced right into the issue. You can just see him squirming up there on his throne. Unfortunately his answer is to turn his back on what Paul says. It is a little difficult to understand exactly what he replied. The Greek is a bit obscure. Certainly he didn’t say what we have in our King James Version: Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. He is not saying, You’ve almost got me, Paul. You almost have me convinced. Many a message has been preached on that theme, as though Agrippa had almost come to the point of becoming a Christian. It is much more likely that he said with almost sneering sarcasm, Do you really think that in this short a time you’re going to make me a Christian? You’ve got to do a lot more than that if you’re going to make me a Christian!

Continue reading Ray Stedman – That You May Become What I Am

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Jonah: An Angry, Merciless Man

Read: Jonah 4:1-4, Romans 9:6-18

God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy. (Rom. 9:18 NIV)

All my fears have come true. It’s clear now God isn’t going to punish Nineveh. How could he not keep his word? I know I got the message right: “Forty days. Then . . . Boom!” Well, I don’t think it’s going to happen. They’re “repenting,” or so they say, and God is going to spare them. Why? Because of his compassion and love. I knew all along this was a possibility. I didn’t want to believe it, but I also didn’t want any part of it—not for Nineveh. So I ran.

I knew I shouldn’t have come here! Not even after the fish. I’ll sit and watch, but I know it’s a waste of time. This isn’t right! If they live, there’s no fairness. Those people have blood on their hands; Hebrew blood! They were scared when I gave the message. I saw it in their eyes. Good! But, if they now escape, they will eventually go back to their evil ways. This “mercy” will only encourage them to think they can get away with it again. How could God forgive them? On what basis? I’m so angry—at Nineveh, at myself—and at you, God. So angry, I’d rather be dead than endure this injustice. God, I mean that now.


Lord, if I am blind in any way to your truth, open my eyes; if my emotions and attitudes are keeping me in any way from living out your grace and love, please change me. Amen.

Author: Doug VanBronkhorst

Greg Laurie – Revival in Our Time?

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.—Psalm 84:11

I can remember situations in my life where things were looking rather bleak. But then I called on the name of the Lord, and He intervened.

Here in our nation, things are looking rather bleak. But God says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

God is saying, in effect, “Check this out. Call on Me, and watch what I will do. Pray right now. Follow My prescription for revival. Watch how I will intervene.”

It is God’s desire to bless us. And did you know that God wants to bless us even more than we want to be blessed? Psalm 84:11 tells us, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

Often the reason we pray is because we have a need—we have a crisis. We need a healing . . . we need direction . . . we need financial provision. We pray because we are in trouble. It is not as though God simply gives us everything we have ever wanted and our lives are free of problems or conflicts. Rather, God will allow conflict in our lives so we will see our own weakness and then see the greatness of God as we depend on Him.

I don’t believe the ultimate need of our nation will be solved by a new occupant in the White House or by new members of Congress. I believe the real need for America will be met by a spiritual solution. Therefore, we need to pray.

Kids 4 Truth International – God’s Love Saved Noah and His Family

“And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1)

There was a time when everything God created was perfect and the world was without sin. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, everything changed. The sin of the world became so bad that God decided to destroy the world with a flood and start over.

There was one man named Noah who did what was right and walked with God. God told Noah that he and his family would have to build an ark to escape the coming flood. God gave him special instructions on how to build the ark and what animals to take with him.

Can you imagine the sight of that? It would be like a floating zoo! Noah was to take one male and one female of each animal. He was to take all of his family and he had to take enough food for his family and all of the animals.

There is just one more thing; it is possible that Noah did not even know what rain was! The book of Genesis is not completely clear about this, but it seems to be that, so far, it had never yet rained – from the time of Creation to the time of the Flood! God had watered the plants a different way, from springs underground. So even the promise of rain might have been a test for Noah’s faith in God. Noah’s neighbors made fun of him. Who had heard of water falling from the sky? It had never happened before, so why should it happen now? But Noah knew that God loved him and that God always spoke the truth. Noah trusted God for his life and the life of his family.

Not long after Noah finished the ark, God began bringing animals to it. There were elephants, giraffes, lions, bears, tigers, goats, horses, cows, dogs, cats, snakes, zebras, lizards, and many, many more animals. Once the animals, people, and supplies were on board, God closed the door. The rain began to pour down, and the winds blew hard. It rained for 40 days straight! When the rain finally stopped, Noah opened a window and looked out. There was water everywhere, but he was alive! He began praising God for saving him and his family. He praised Him for the love He showed toward His creation. God had brought him through this flood safely.

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God’s Love Saved Noah and His Family

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The Sufficiency of Grace

Today’s Scripture: Ephesians 6:10

“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

Before we can learn the sufficiency of God’s grace, we must learn the insufficiency of ourselves. As I have said, the more we see our sinfulness, the more we appreciate grace in its basic meaning of God’s undeserved favor. In a similar manner, the more we see our frailty, weakness, and dependence, the more we appreciate God’s grace in its dimension of his divine assistance. Just as grace shines more brilliantly against the dark background of our sin, so it also shines more brilliantly against the background of our human weakness.

Paul said in Romans 5:20: “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” In 2 Corinthians 12, he could have just as aptly said, “But where human weakness increased, grace abounded all the more.” That is essentially what he said in different words in verse 9: “But he said to me, ‘my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” On this Philip Hughes wrote, “Indeed, the abject weakness of the human instrument serves to magnify and throw into relief the perfection of the divine power in a way that any suggestion of human adequacy could never do. The greater the servant’s weakness, the more conspicuous is the power of his Master’s all-sufficient grace.”

God’s power infusing our weakness is a concrete expression of his grace, coming to our aid through the ministry of his Spirit in our lives. This is the mysterious operation of the Holy Spirit on our human spirit through which he strengthens us and enables us to meet in a godly fashion whatever circumstances we encounter.

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Presumptuous or Penitent?

Today’s Scripture: Nahum 1-3

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

There’s a saying in business: “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.” This same attitude seems to be prevalent among some Christians. The problem with this approach is that every time we take God’s forgiveness for granted, we are more likely to tolerate what we’ve done, and less likely to see it as sin that needs to be repented of.

Apparently this is what happened to the city of Nineveh, and the prophet Nahum had a message for them about God’s judgment. About a hundred years before, Jonah had gone to the city. The people turned to God and the city was spared. Later, the people of Nineveh turned back to their old ways and became worse than before. In Nahum 3:1, the prophet says, “Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims!” In the midst of Nineveh’s violence and deception, God sent a prophet to tell them He would not always strive with man.

While God is good and merciful, it is dangerous to presume upon His goodness. It is the goodness of God that should lead us to repentance, but if we persist in our sin, God will respond in judgment.

Christian, if you are acting like the people of Nineveh, figuring that you’ll get forgiveness later for deliberate wrongs today, there’s only one solution. Confession! To confess means to say the same thing about sin that God says. When we agree with the Lord about the sin in our lives, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to restore our fellowship with Him


Lord, show me how I take Your goodness for granted, and help me turn from my sin of presumption. Amen.

To Ponder

What does God’s goodness mean to me?

BreakPoint –  What to Do in a Culture That is Hostile to Christianity

It seems Chicken Little may be on to something.

My friend Rod Dreher is as sane and stable as anyone I know, and he’s saying, in essence, that the sky is falling. I reference his new article in The American Conservative, called “The Coming Christian Collapse.”

He begins by saying that the two-thirds of millennials who were raised religiously unaffiliated still have no denominational identity today. Unlike previous generations, they’re not joining churches as they get older and raise kids.

Second, Rod says, “Millennials, even those who identify as Christians, are shockingly illiterate, both in terms of what the Bible says and more generally regarding what Christianity teaches.” This growing biblical illiteracy has led to a moral decline of our young people into consumerism, drug abuse, sexual liberation, and civic and political disengagement.

Third, Rod says that the working class has largely abandoned the church, and that if the middle class follows suit, as appears likely, the church will be in a world of hurt. He quotes the late Michael Spencer, who warned of a coming evangelical collapse: “We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught.”

These are chilling words. We talk a lot on BreakPoint about external threats to our souls, and rightly so. But as Abraham Lincoln once said in another context, “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.”

Yet I am hopeful, as every Christian must be. As my colleague John Stonestreet says so often, we are part of the grand story of the universe. And God is the author of that story. Yes, as Peter reminds us, we will have to suffer “various trials.” But why? “So that the authenticity of [our] faith . . . may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:6-7)”.

This is not new. Back in the ‘30s and ‘40s, German Christians had to take a clear stand or be absorbed or compromised by evil—and some, like Bonhoeffer, chose the cross. Look at our brothers and sisters in the Middle East. Now, I’m not ready to say we American Christians may soon have to apostasize or die, but I can’t help but think of the words of the late Cardinal George, who said he would die in his bed, his successor would die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.

Continue reading BreakPoint –  What to Do in a Culture That is Hostile to Christianity

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE MERCY AND FAITHFULNESS OF GOD


Hunger is one of the most basic, powerful drives of the human body. Without food, there is no life. As a result, hunger can lead people to do things we would not normally do. Such was the case with Jacob.

As the famine continued and food ran out, Jacob called for his sons to return to Egypt for supplies. His sons, however, reminded him of problem— Benjamin must go with them! Fearing the loss of another son, Jacob resisted; but finally hunger, and a pledge by Judah, prevailed. Gathering gifts along with double money to repay the earlier mistake, Jacob sent off Benjamin and his other sons to Egypt. His final prayer put the whole affair into the merciful hands of God.

In the narrative that follows we begin to see the outworking of that mercy upon the brothers. When they arrived in Egypt, Joseph ordered them to his house. The brothers feared punishment for the money found earlier, but the steward assured them all was well. The initial answer to Jacob’s prayer for mercy was coming true—water for washing, food for donkeys, Simeon restored, Joseph (still unknown to them) speaking well to them, and a feast from the royal table. God Himself is named as the source of blessing: “Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks” (v. 23). In these troubling times, God’s mercy shone forth.

There is more here than just mercy; God’s faithfulness to Joseph is also implied. Back in Genesis 37, Joseph had twice dreamed that his family would bow before him. Now, in fulfillment of that dream, when Joseph entered the house the brothers “bowed down before him to the ground” (v. 26), and then later bowed down again in verse 28. God’s mercy and faithfulness are on display.


Joseph waited decades before the fulfillment of his youthful dream. At many points, it seemed that being in a position of authority in his family was the most unlikely scenario imaginable. If you are waiting for God to answer your prayers, remember that He is faithful even when He seems silent. His mercy and compassion for you remain sure.


The Democratic Party made history last night by confirming Hillary Clinton as the first woman to be nominated by a major party for the presidency. Her husband told the story of their first meeting and life together, encouraging the crowd and the millions watching on television to trust her as someone who gets things done.

While democracy made headlines in Philadelphia, its enemies continued to do the same around the world. French President Francois Hollande declared the murder of an eighty-five-year-old priest in Normandy to be an ISIS-inspired attack. Police had identified one of the killers as a suspected terrorist, but they failed to stop him. Authorities have flagged more than ten thousand radicalized individuals in France.

Their country is by no means the only nation under siege. Syrian state TV is reporting that forty-four were killed in a massive bombing there. Suicide bombers killed thirteen people in Somalia. Israeli forces have killed the Hamas militant responsible for a drive-by shooting that killed a rabbi earlier this month. And that’s just this morning’s news.

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the challenges we face? What can we do?

The obvious answer is to pray. Scripture is clear: “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2). If we ask, it will be given to us (Matthew 7:7). John Wesley believed that “God will do nothing on earth except in answer to believing prayer.”

But it’s easy to wonder if praying together actually changes the world. So consider this: During the dark days of World War II, British Major Wellesley Tudor Pole proposed what became known as the “Silent Minute.” He suggested that people devote one minute each evening at 9:00 to praying for peace. Both King George VI and Prime Minister Winston Churchill supported the idea.

Continue reading Denison Forum – HILLARY CLINTON AND THE ‘SILENT MINUTE’