Charles Stanley – The God of All Comfort

John 8:1-11

An affliction is a crushing pressure that threatens us with destruction. Our health, peace of mind, or relationships could be in danger from the hardship. We know that God will comfort us when we are sick, but will He be there if we bring the affliction upon ourselves by sinning?

Many believers ask this question, but too often they assume the answer is no. However, the Lord does not condemn us for sin—He has forgotten it. (See Heb. 8:12.) What remains are the consequences of our wrong actions. If we turn to God, He will soothe our soul and guide us safely through the painful fallout. Under His influence, self-inflicted pain is bearable and serves to make faith stronger.

Remember the woman dragged before Jesus by the Pharisees. She had been caught in adultery, which was a clear violation of the Law. The religious leaders were prepared to stone the transgressor to death, but Jesus spoke to her with compassion. Although He in no way condoned her sin, He did recognize that she was already facing consequences for her unwise choices. He forgave her, saying, “Go. From now on sin no more” (John 8:11).

Nothing we do can separate us from the love of God. One way He expresses that love is through the promise of comfort when we hurt, even when the pain is self-inflicted. We can allow shame to chase us away from the Father’s loving arms, convinced He would not give encouragement to one who disobeyed. Or we can believe Scripture, which says He is “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3).

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 46-48

Our Daily Bread — Emergency Prayer

September 11, 2016

Read: Psalm 71:1-12

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 10-12; 2 Corinthians 4

Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go.—Psalm 71:3

On September 11, 2001, Stanley Praimnath was working on the 81st floor of the World Trade Center South Tower when he saw an airplane flying directly toward him. Stanley prayed a quick prayer as he dove under a desk for protection: “Lord, I can’t do this! You take over!”

The terrible impact of the plane crash trapped Stanley behind a wall of debris. But as he prayed and cried for help, Brian Clark, a worker from another office, heard and responded. Making their way through rubble and darkness, the two found their way down 80 flights of stairs to the ground floor and out.

When encountering terrible threats, David asked God for help. He wanted to be assured of God’s nearness as he faced enemies in battle. In a heartfelt petition David said, “Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go . . . . Do not be far from me, my God; come quickly, God, to help me” (Ps. 71:3, 12).

We aren’t promised deliverance from every difficult situation we face. But we can be confident that God hears our prayers and will walk alongside us through everything. —Dennis Fisher

Whatever comes my way, please come near to me, Lord, to help. I cannot make it through anything without You. Thank You.

Nearness to God is our conscious security. A child in the dark is comforted by grasping its father’s hand. Charles Haddon Spurgeon

INSIGHT: In every generation, Christ-followers long for others to learn of and experience the greatness of God’s love and mercy. Examining the lyrics of Psalm 71, the first thing we learn is that this anonymous psalmist talks to God. In verse 9, we read, “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” Verse 18 affirms this: “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God.” While many of the psalms sing about God, the writer of Psalm 71 sings a prayer to God. Everything in this psalm directs upward, whether it is the psalmist’s concerns (vv. 2-4), confidence (vv. 5-6), or aspirations (vv. 16-18).

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – On the 15th Anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001:Life, Death, and the Search for God


As some would continue to perpetrate the myth of progress, we live on this fifteenth anniversary of 9/11 under the cloud of a world dramatically changed since that terrible day. Anyone who travels sees and feels what a murderous ideology has done to our world. May we never forget what happened and ever be in pursuit of wisdom and courage to deal with those whose philosophy thrives on hate. Our prayers are for the families that lost a loved one and with gratitude for those who came to the rescue.

Civilization is always threatened by ideologues who embrace the moment and lose sight of the essential value of every human life. Answers will only be found in embracing the God of love and living by his precepts. Loving God and our fellow human beings are the two laws on which all other laws stand.  May God guide our leaders. The Scriptures call us to understand the times and know what to do (see 1 Chronicles 12:32). May we be faithful.

September 11, 2001: Was God Present or Absent?

Every thinking person has at some time raised the question, “Where is God in the midst of suffering?” That question without doubt echoed in millions of minds on September 11, 2001, and continues to do so, fifteen years later. If illustration were argument, an event such as this would give fodder to both sides of the issue—to those who want to establish the complete absence of God and to those who testify that He exists and is involved in the circumstances of our lives. To a watching world, the finest testimonials to the faith of the nation were the crowded churches the following Sunday and the extraordinary national memorial service.

Stepping back from the scene, two starkly different stories from September 11 represent the struggle of the search for God. One story was told by the men of Ladder 6, a company of the New York City Fire Department. Seven firemen were helping a sixty-nine-year-old woman by the name of Josephine down from the 73rd floor of one of the World Trade Center towers. These brave men, already laboring under 110 pounds of equipment on their backs, led Josephine step by step down the staircase. At times, she was ready to give up, but they helped, encouraged, inspired, and assured her she would make it. “They were like angels to me,” she said. She would stop to catch her breath and they would stop with her. She started to shiver with fear and one gave her his jacket. One floor at a time they got her down until, finally, she could walk no more and just sat down on one of the steps of the fourth floor.

They waited with her, coaxing her to stand up and resume walking because they were almost to the ground floor. But she could not move, and they refused to leave her. Suddenly, they heard and felt the floors beneath them give way under the tremendous weight of the collapsing building, and they were hurtled down with terrific force and enveloped in a suffocating cloud of pitch-black smoke. One of them even prayed, “God, if this is it, please let it be quick.”

But as the noise lessened and the smoke began to clear, they found that they had settled over the rubble of the caved-in floors below them. Miraculously, Josephine had refused to go any further at the one point that remained intact as the building fell. All seven firemen plus Josephine were eventually brought into the daylight of safety.

“Had we continued descending when we were pleading with her to keep moving,” they said, “we would have been killed by the crush of the floors above us.” One of them added, “Josephine was like an angel sent from God to stop us so that we could be safe.”

How can we react to a story such as this but to concede that those who were rescued in this way saw the hand of God leading, guiding, and stopping their steps? Yet, not every story ended like Josephine’s. The hearts of thousands of others who lost loved ones may well throb with a different emotion. I think of one young woman who, through weeks of struggle, torn by indecision at the marriage proposal of a young man, finally made her choice during the night. In the pre-dawn hours of the 11th she phoned his office at the World Trade Center from her home in California. Her message awaited him when he arrived at work, with words of love and the welcome news that she would marry him. But at midmorning when she retrieved her own messages, her world was unforgettably changed. The voice she heard was not the voice of a man exultant at the news of her acceptance. Instead, she listened to the terror in his voice as he told her that he loved her with all his heart, but his building had been struck by an airplane and was beginning to crumble before his eyes. No angels dragged him to safety.

Was God near or far? Any time a catastrophic event happens, numerous human-interest stories give God glory, while others give Him blame.

The Problem Is Greater Than We Think

Theologians have an interesting description for this predicament. They call it “the hiddenness of God,” or “divine hiding.” Why does not God make his presence more obvious? Many arguments are offered for why God “hides” in a world that seeks to see Him. The answer is ultimately found in the divine purposes of God. It is not that God has absconded or is absent; it is that there is a divine purpose behind his visibility or invisibility. If one can rightly read the clues, the mystery is opened up in profound ways. Just as evil can be understood only in the light of the ultimate purpose, so also must God’s presence or seeming absence be judged on the basis of his purpose.

Numerous times in the Scriptures, signs were asked from God, and they were given. But in spite of that, trust in God was not automatic. Probably no disciple received more displays of God’s power than the apostle Peter. He was one of only three who witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus had taken his disciples to the top of a mountain where they saw a sight not given to any other human eye. They saw Jesus’s body begin to glow with a whiteness that was almost blinding. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared and began to talk with Jesus. Peter asked Jesus if he could build shelters there for the three luminaries, but a voice thundered from the heavens saying, “This is my Son. Listen to Him” (see Luke 9:35). This experience had everything—Sight! Sound! Words! Power! Peter was so overcome that he did not want to go down from the mountain. But Jesus told them it was time to return to the humdrum world of their day-to-day existence.

But there is more. Jesus was trying to help his disciples to understand the frailty He saw in them—their chronic bent to be enchanted every moment. Peter saw the proof of Jesus’s divinity in his transfiguration. He did not doubt after that who Jesus was. Yet, when Jesus was arrested, Peter floundered and even denied that he ever knew Jesus. He was in momentary awe of the miraculous but could not trust God for the future. This failing was also common in Israel’s exodus from Egypt. The people would witness a miracle and follow God with national repentance. But as soon as God seemed to hide for some time, the grumbling and skepticism began. Peter was in momentary awe of the miraculous but could not trust God for the future.

The examples of Israel and of Peter are repeated endlessly in our own experiences. We have a limitless ability to trust God only when it suits our purpose. Rather than allowing God to be God and serving Him for who He is, we actually try to play God and He becomes our subject, expected to do our bidding at our every whim. I do not know of any greater fickleness in the human heart than this. We lie to ourselves after a miraculous event, believing it will have staying power. But the moment another steep hill appears before us, we wonder whether the miracle we witnessed some time back actually happened or was only a delusion. Reality is threatened by this fickleness, and if we do not understand and accept this, we live in an illusionary world of chronic skepticism. Our demand for more information is, in a real sense, a fight against our finitude.

The Solution Must Go Deeper Than We Seek

A subtle delusion keeps us from the real battle. The truth behind our clamor for explanation is that we assume ourselves to be only intellectual entities and thus, if only our intellect can be satisfied, we will be content. One of the most powerful encounters in the Bible is between Jesus and a learned man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus recognized the supernatural character of Jesus and said to Him, “Teacher, no one could do the miracles you are doing unless God is with him” (see John 3:2). That tacit endorsement could have easily elicited a commendation from Jesus. Instead, Jesus challenged Nicodemus that if he wanted to be part of God’s kingdom, he needed to have a new birth. This was not the direction Nicodemus had planned on going, but Jesus knew exactly what He was about. He was telling Nicodemus that it is not the miracle over matter that ultimately has staying power; it is the miracle over the way we think about reality that has eternal ramifications. We are not all intellect, and therefore some need beyond the intellect needs to be met.

But there is a second point I wish to make. We look for God to be something concrete, something we can see or handle or fully explain. This is a fallacy born out of our addiction to the external, and human history has repeatedly challenged that disposition. There are many evidences of God’s miracle-working presence. Incredible stories abound for which there is often no natural interpretation that satisfactorily explains them.

The supernatural is possible. It happens, but it does not lead to the greatest miracle in a life. For you see, anyone can take a miraculous story and explain it a dozen different ways. At best it just proves that there is a power beyond our own. So where does that leave us? What God seeks in every individual is not just companionship based on his intervention, but communion with Him based on his indwelling. That is what makes the difference when a building is collapsing. It is not whether a hand grabs your hand and rescues you from the carnage; it is that no matter what happens, his strength empowers you to rise beyond the devastation.

If humanity was only mind or intellect, evidence from the physical world would be all that mattered. But there is a depth to our being; a spiritual essence that goes deeper than our intellect. We are spiritual beings and God responds to us in spirit. That essence hungers for intimacy.

I would not at all be surprised to learn someday, when the words and thoughts of those who died in the devastation of September 11th are revealed in God’s presence, that many, many of them knew a profound sense of his presence, even when they knew life in its earthly sojourn was coming to an end.

There is at least one profound lesson that I draw from these life and death stories, and it is this: There is an appointed time for each of us when life will meet its end.

Peter Marshall, former chaplain to the United States Senate, told a story, called “Rendezvous in Samara,” of a man who worked as the servant of a wealthy merchant. He had gone into town to shop for the day when suddenly he felt someone brush heavily against his shoulder. Somewhat offended, he turned toward the person who had jostled him and found himself staring into a pair of eyes that spoke death to him. Panicking, he dropped everything and ran home. His master saw him running breathlessly toward the house, and met him on the front steps. “What on earth is the matter?” asked the master. “Oh, sir! Someone in the marketplace rudely brushed me, and when I turned to face him, he looked like the Angel of Death to me. He, too, had a look of shock on his face. It was almost as if he wanted to grab me but then backed away. I am afraid, sir. I don’t want to go back to the market.”

“Saddle one of our horses and ride all day ’til you reach the distant village of Samara,” the master said. “Stay there ’til you get word from me that it is safe for you to return.”

The servant rode off, and the master made his way to the market to find the person who had so frightened his servant. As he wound his way through the crowded streets, he suddenly came face to face with this strange looking individual. “Who are you?” the master said. “Are you the one who just scared my servant?” “Yes, indeed.” “Why did you frighten him?”

“Well, I was truly surprised to see him here. I am the Angel of Death, and I chose to spend the day here before heading to my stop for tonight. You see, it was not so much that I surprised him, as that he surprised me. I did not expect to see him here because I have an appointment with him in Samara tonight.”

We can flee the marketplace, only to find that the quiet village of Samara is where our rendezvous was to be. But, thanks be to God, He seeks to remind us that Samara is not the end, for He has designed us with a hunger for eternal companionship and in communion with Him alone is that hunger fulfilled. That beautiful song “The Lost Chord” ends with the lines: “It may be that only in Heav’n I shall hear the grand Amen.”

By Ravi Zacharias

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Spirit and God’s Will

“‘“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances”’” (Ezekiel 36:27).

The Holy Spirit has always led and will continue to lead believers to know God’s will.

One of the Spirit’s most practical ministries is to help believers know and follow God’s will.

Ezekiel 36:27 plainly indicates that the Spirit has always been available to lead God’s people. And Isaiah reminds us, centuries before Ezekiel’s time, that the Lord “is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them, who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses” (Isa. 63:11-12).

The proceedings at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 wonderfully illustrate how the Spirit gave guidance to the New Testament church. The Council convened to determine what principles of conduct the Jewish-led early church should place on the many new Gentile converts who were now in the fellowship. After much prayerful discussion, the Council made the all-important decision that it was not necessary to adhere to Moses’ law as a means of salvation.

The Council set down its concise recommendations in a letter that was the result of a Spirit-led consensus among the apostles and elders: “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you [Gentiles] no greater burden than these essentials” (Acts 15:28). The leaders were confident that their decision was from the mind of the Holy Spirit as reflected in Scripture; therefore they knew it was correct and in accord with God’s will.

Romans 8:14, which says, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God,” encourages us that we also can be certain of the Spirit’s guidance. If we are faithful to hear, read, and study the Word, if we strive to obey it, and if we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit, then He will guide us into God’s perfect will for our lives (see Ps. 119:105).

Suggestions for Prayer

If you have an important decision to make, pray that you would have the discernment to know and follow God’s will.

If no major decision faces you now, thank God that the Spirit is always present to provide guidance.

For Further Study

Read Proverbs 3:1-6.

What does this say about the importance of God and His Word in knowing His will?

Memorize verses 5-6.

Wisdom Hunters – Plotting Evil

The LORD said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who are plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city.”   Ezekiel 11:2

The sun never sets on evil, and alarmingly, there are people as intent on evil actions as there are those committed to good. Like roaches under the cloak of darkness, hideous human hearts are secretly hatching evil schemes. The worst kind of evil is disguised in the robe of religion. They blame their terrorist tirades on a god of their making. They worship an idol of violence at the altar of racism, anger, unforgiveness, and hatred. There is no reasoning with religiously driven people warped in their warring ways. The realities of our world are riddled with religiously motivated people bent on evil. These religious fanatics are, of course, deceived and delusional.

Satan is smiling at these acts of atrocity aimed at innocent people. What better strategy for hell than for people to murder in the name of religion? This plan sends people to hell for eternity and causes others to experience hell on earth. It is a hellish nightmare that is plaguing more and more of the modern world. It is the antithesis of true religion. Unfortunately, engineers of evil are engaged every day in the execution of evil acts. They spend time, money, and energy like an aggressive investor in a business project of monumental proportions. Their return on investment is measured by the evil outcomes of fear, intimidation, violence, mayhem, and murder. However, there is an unseen battle raging that is even more decisive. It is the battle for the souls of men and women.

A person who comes to Christ in confession and repentance does not condemn others who hold different beliefs. Condemnation is for cowards, not for Christ followers. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8). An individual “in Christ” has new weapons in their arsenal of faith. Hate has been replaced by love. Violence has been replaced by peace. Death has been replaced by life. Retaliation has been replaced by forgiveness. Prayer is the primary weapon in spiritual warfare. A tsunami of prayer will penetrate the pride of those stuck in the sick and seductive talons of terrorism. Heaven’s call is for followers of Jesus Christ to rise up in a powerful proclamation of prayer. We are the Body of Christ. When one member of the body suffers, the entire body suffers. Faith is not isolated; it is committed to the community of faith. Our friends in the faith who suffer under the tyranny of terrorism need our unprecedented prayer support.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Plotting Evil

Joyce Meyer – Holy Fear


Then Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself [determinedly, as his vital need] to seek the Lord; he proclaimed a fast in all Judah. And Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord [yearning for Him with all their desire]…Did not You, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham Your friend?…O our God, will You not exercise judgment upon them? For we have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You. – 2 Chronicles 20:3-4,7,12

By the time Jehoshaphat became the king, Judah was a small nation, and the surrounding nations could easily defeat them. We learn that the king brought in many reforms. The Bible records that and then says, After this, the Moabites, the Ammonites, and with them the Meunites came against Jehoshaphat to battle (20:1).

The most “sensible” thing would have been for the king to surrender and to forge some kind of treaty. There was no human way that such a small nation could defeat such large armies. In that context, we read that the king was afraid and why wouldn’t he be? But he didn’t stop with fear.

I want to make this point clear. To feel fear isn’t sin or failure or disobedience. In fact, we do well to think of fear as a warning to us. It’s a shout of danger. But then we must decide what to do with the fear. We can act; we can cringe; we can ignore it. King Jehoshaphat did the right thing: He set himself [determinedly, as his vital need] to seek the Lord (v. 3). He didn’t have answers, and he certainly wasn’t stupid enough to think that his tiny army could defeat his enemies. And that’s an important lesson for us to learn in our battles against Satan. Our enemy is powerful, and if we think we can defeat him by ourselves, we’re foolish and badly mistaken.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Holy Fear

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Test Your Experience: I

“Talk with each other much about the Lord, quoting psalms and hymns and singing sacred songs, making music in your hearts to the Lord. Always giving thanks for everything to our God and Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ by submitting to each other” (Ephesians 5:19,20).

Mary was one of those ardent, faithful church members – a Sunday school teacher, choir member and active participant in a home Bible study – who just assume they are filled with the Holy Spirit because they do everything their pastor or Christian leader asks of them.

“Why has no one, up to now, ever told me that I needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit?” she asked me just after I had publicly suggested that very thing.

To help Mary better understand her own spiritual condition, I read to her the above passage from Ephesians. Then I asked her several questions relating to that portion of Scripture.

“Are you talking about Christ to others? Is your heart filled with melody to the Lord? Do you spend time in God’s Word daily? Do you have a thankful spirit? Do you submit to others in the Lord?”

Mary hesitated only a moment. “If these are evidence of a Spirit-filled life, I must not be controlled by the Holy Spirit. But I would like to be. What should I do?”

With great delight and joy I shared appropriate Scriptures with her, and together we bowed in prayer as she claimed by faith the fullness and control of the Holy Spirit in her life. Surrendering to the lordship of Christ, turning from all known sin, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, she now knew with certainty that she was filled with the Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit is not a once-and-for-all-decision, but a way of life in which we claim the fullness of the Spirit moment by moment, day by day, by faith.

Bible Reading: Colossians 3:12-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will honestly compare myself with the evidences of the supernatural, Spirit-filled life listed in the fifth chapter of Ephesians. If these are not true in my life, I will claim by faith the fullness and control of God’s Holy Spirit, and ask Him to make these qualities a reality in my daily relationships with the Lord, with my loved ones and with others.

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Sinner’s Tower

Read: John 12:12-23

Sir, we wish to see Jesus. (v. 21)

When I first looked at this next phrase, a verse in Proverbs (18:10) came into my mind: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” But the picture language in this part of the poem is generally about being on the offensive rather than on the defensive; so what George Herbert has in mind is not, I think, a place of refuge. If this line in the poem is about a city under siege, then along with other siegeworks we may picture trundling across no-man’s-land the kind of wooden tower on wheels upon which a whole company of armed men might climb, while it moves in sufficiently close to the city walls for them to be able then to leap across on to the battlements.

In this case we have here not so much an eager individual as a band of eager people, united in their purpose of storming the citadel and coming face to face with its Lord. Whether they are newcomers to the gospel or sinners who have already been saved, inside the city of God is where they want to be. The Lord is obviously present in a company that is thus unitedly wanting to get to him. Such a group will not be surprised to find its prayers receiving remarkable answers; and these praying people will be the first to recognize that such answers are brought about by his sovereign will rather than by their efforts.

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Sinner’s Tower

Kids 4 Truth International – Salvation Comes from God

“Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou has smitten all mine enemies…. Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.” (Psalm 3:7-8)

Have you ever looked up at a magnificent sunset and thought about the God Who painted all those colors across the sky? Have you ever wondered what a skilled artist God must be? He created the whole universe, all by Himself! He is the One Who invented color! He chose the designs and patterns that we see in all the many kinds of animals, all the types of trees and flowers, all the unique faces in the crowds of people in every city. Not only that, but God has passed along some of His amazing creativity to human beings. Just think of all the talented musicians and artists and writers and craftsmen and engineers and architects and teachers who do their work with such skill and imagination. They all do different things and have different gifts, but God thought up all of them. God gave all of them what they have. What an amazing Creator we have!

We can look at Creation and believe by faith that it comes from God. We can look around us, or look up at that magnificent sunset, and say, “That is God’s handiwork. God did it!” But do you ever think about what God is still doing, or what other gifts come from Him? For example, we have to look at the Gospel of Christ and say, “That’s God’s work! God did this.” Only Someone as creative and all-powerful as God could think up the plan of redemption and carry it out.

Only God could come in human form, live a perfect life, die to save sinners, and rise again after spending three days dead in a tomb! Only God can give us the understanding and the faith we need to believe what His Word says about salvation. What a wonderful, creative God we have – He created us, and only He can save us!

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – Salvation Comes from God

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Making Light of God’s Discipline

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 12:5

“Do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord.”

We’re warned in Hebrews 12:5 not to regard lightly the Lord’s discipline. It may be difficult for us to conceive of doing this, but one way is when we count his discipline of little value—as something only to be endured rather than as something for our profit.

We also despise God’s discipline of adversity when we fail to see God’s hand in the hardships we encounter. Instead of acknowledging them as from God, we tend to view adversities as chance occurrences; we don’t seek God’s purpose in the discipline, but instead focus entirely on finding relief.

The Scriptures tell us, however, that adversities are not chance occurrences; like our so-called blessings, they all come from the hand of God. This truth is scattered throughout the Bible. “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other” (Ecclesiastes 7:14). “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:7). “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” (Lamentations 3:38). “Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?” (Amos 3:6).

Some Christians have difficulty with this truth and even deny it, because they cannot believe that a “God of love” is responsible for either the individual or public disasters that come to us. But the clear testimony of Scripture stands against all our protestations. So we need to recognize the hand of God in all the adversities we encounter and not make light of his discipline.

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Our Calling

Today’s Scripture: 1 Peter 1:13-16

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. – 1 Thessalonians 4:7

One Sunday evening, our church was giving a special concert, and my wife and I went early. We located a couple of seats in the balcony and settled in for a fifteen-minute wait until the concert began. Right behind us sat two young men engaged in a conversation that it was our unfortunate experience to overhear.

They were discussing the single young ladies in their Sunday school class. There was no mention of the quality of teaching that went on in the class or the worthwhile projects the class sponsored, just the large pool of girls from which to choose. Their interest in these young ladies was less than honorable. Their motives for membership in that class were unholy.

The Amplified version of 1 Peter 1:14-16 reads, “Live as children of obedience to God; Do not conform yourselves to the evil desires that governed you in your former ignorance when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel. But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living. For it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”

Now just what is a holy life? It is a life that is surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ, controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, and lived to the glory of God. The apostle Peter referred to people who live that way as “children of obedience.”


Lord, I want to be a child of obedience and have my lifestyle reflect Your holiness. Amen.

To Ponder

A holy life boils down to obedience to the Word and will of God.

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – WHEN EVIL THREATENS

Read ESTHER 3:5–11

Muhammad Ali was known for being a winning boxer with tremendous self- confidence. Before a fight, he would boast about his skill, declaring, “I am the greatest.” But eventually the greatest was humbled. In 1970, Ali met his match in Joe Frazier during the “Fight of the Century,” suffering his first loss after 31 consecutive wins.

Haman’s self-regard moved past confidence into full-fledged vanity. He enjoyed lording his elevated position over everyone, requiring people to bow down before him and kiss his ring. Haman was also cruel and fueled by hatred for God’s people. Haman’s rage against Mordecai escalated when he learned that Mordecai was Jewish (v. 6). Rather than focusing on destroying one man, Haman became bent on eliminating all of God’s people.

Haman asked the king’s fortunetellers to pick a lucky time for him to carry out his evil act (v. 7). Next, he had to figure out how to manipulate the king in order to get approval for his plot. Notice how Scripture subtly reveals where the real power and authority lie—not with Xerxes, who, although he is supposed to be the most powerful person on earth, is manipulated by others throughout this story.

Haman gained Xerxes’ approval for his plan by exaggerating the perceived threat. He said that the Jews dispersed throughout the empire, and their customs and manners were different from the rest (v. 8). Haman preyed on Xerxes’ fear of instability to convince him to authorize the massacre.

Haman’s trickery and flattery were so successful that Xerxes agreed to fund the plot to destroy the Jews. The king would not stop this evil man. Would evil finally triumph over good? Would God’s people be destroyed?


Are you facing opposition because you have taken a stand for God? Perhaps you’ve resisted joining in the neighborhood gossip, or you won’t cut corners at the office. Trusting God doesn’t free us from opposition, but it does remind us who has the true power and who will be victorious. Ask the Lord to give you courage and grace to stand firm.