Charles Stanley – The Believer’s Valley Experiences

Psalms 23

Valley experiences are those where the heartache is so deep or the hardship so difficult that we find it almost impossible to stand. Like a six-foot wave crashing on the shore, such events can threaten to overwhelm us.

Realistically, situations of this kind will at times be of our own making. When we disobey God, we can wander into a painful place, made worse by the knowledge that our fellowship with Him has grown cold (1 John 1:6). In other instances, the actions of others cause us to suffer—perhaps through unexpected job termination, marital infidelity, or betrayal by a friend. Then there are occasions when our heavenly Father Himself leads us into the valley. Although He could guide us around the hardship and suffering, He chooses not to. He has a purpose in mind, which would not be fulfilled if we took the easy way. Whatever the source, valley experiences are inevitable.

Psalm 23 uses four words to describe this valley time: shadow, death, fear, and evil. These terms evoke images of oppressive circumstances, grievous affliction, deep discomfort, and great adversity. There is no way to hurry through an ordeal marked by emotional or physical distress. Both the trial’s depth and length are determined by the Lord’s will, but He walks with us and protects us through it.

God promises that He will use every valley—even those of our own making—to benefit us. (See Rom. 8:28.) Our part is to walk steadily, with eyes firmly fixed on Him, spirits attuned to His presence, and minds trusting in His promises.

Bible in One Year: Hosea 10-14

Our Daily Bread — Worth the Calories?

Read: Philippians 4:4-9

Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 1-3; 2 Corinthians 11:16-33

If anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.—Philippians 4:8

I love egg roti prata, a popular pancake in my country of Singapore. So I was intrigued to read that a 125-pound (57 kg) person must run 5 miles (8 km) per hour for 30 minutes to burn 240 calories. That’s equivalent to only one egg roti prata.

Ever since I started working out in the gym, those numbers have taken on a new significance for me. I find myself asking: Is this food worth the calories?

While it is wise to watch our food consumption, it is even more important to watch our media consumption. Research shows that what we see can stay in our minds for a long time and influence our behavior. It has a “clingy effect,” sticking to us like that stubborn fat we find so hard to lose.

With the wide variety of media content surrounding us today, we need to be discerning consumers. That doesn’t mean we read only Christian literature or watch only faith-related movies, but we are careful about what we allow our eyes to see. We might ask ourselves: Is this worth my time?

In Philippians 4:8, the apostle Paul tells us in essence, “Feed your eyes and minds on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy.” This is a “diet” worthy of what Christ has done and is doing in us. —Poh Fang Chia

Are my viewing habits enhancing my life or are they drawing me away from things that really matter? Help me, Lord, to make wise choices.

The mind is formed by what it takes in.  Will Durant

INSIGHT: Philippians is one of Paul’s prison letters (written while a prisoner). Professor Reggie Kidd makes this observation: “Paul’s emotional state was complex. On the one hand, he was suffering. But on the other hand, he made a conscious decision to focus on the good things rather than on the bad things. And this choice helped him endure the sufferings of prison as well as his mistreatment at the hands of other preachers (see Phil. 1:17-18). And Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:6-8 was consistent with this attitude. . . . Thinking optimistically, and fighting against anxiety and discouragement, is a means of calling upon God to guard our hearts and minds. And therefore, it is also a means of persevering.”

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Images of Things

I was on hold the other day trying to schedule an appointment for a haircut. As I waited for the receptionist, I half-listened to the obligatory recordings. The announcer asked me to consider scheduling a make-over with my upcoming appointment and to make sure I leave with the products that will keep up my new look. (Apparently, when you have a captive audience of customers “muzak” is hardly strategic.) But then I was caught off guard by a question: “What do the local communities of Chad, Africa, mean to you?” The answer he offered was as immediate as my inability to think of one: “Chad is a leading producer of organic acacia gum, the vital ingredient in a new line of products exclusively produced for and available at our salon.”

In a culture dominated by consumption, the commodification of everything around us is becoming more and more of an unconscious worldview. Thus, when we think of Chad, we can think of our favorite shampoo and its connection with our hair salon. The land where it came from, the conditions of its production, and the community or laborers who produce it are realities wholly disassociated with the commodity itself. Like soap and luggage, the nation of Chad can become just one of the many commodities within our consumer mindset.

As I put down the phone, I couldn’t help but wonder about Amos’s description of those who are “at ease in Zion.” How at ease do you have to be to begin to see the world in commodities?

In fact, at the time of Amos’s words, Israel itself was at one of its most opulent junctures. They had expanded their territory in more than one direction. Their winter palaces were adorned with ivory and their feasts were lacking nothing. They could be heard singing songs to the sound of the harp and seen anointing themselves with the finest of oils. It was in such affluence that the shepherd Amos proclaimed indomitably: “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria.”(1)

Though unpopular words to voice, Amos’s warning is far from isolated in ancient Scripture. While Amos compares the drunken women of Israel to the fat cows of Bashan, Micah describes the rich as men full of violence, and Jeremiah cites those with wealth and power as those who grow fat and sleek. Likewise, in the book of Revelation, the church that God wants to spit out of his mouth is the one who has “acquired wealth and needs nothing,” the one who has not realized that they are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”(2)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Images of Things

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Spirit-Filled Submission

“Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).

Spirit-filled believers will submit to one another.

To the world, submission implies personal weakness or the coercive dominance of one person by another stronger, more intimidating individual. Such perspectives, however, are unbiblical. The noted expositor Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes submission’s original meaning in a military context, which helps us understand its scriptural definition:

It is the picture of soldiers in a regiment, soldiers in a line under an officer . . . and if he [the soldier] begins to act on his own, and independently of the others, he is guilty of insubordination and will be punished accordingly. Such is the word the Apostle uses; so what he is saying amounts to this—that we who are filled with the Spirit are to behave voluntarily in that way with respect to one another. We are members of the same regiment, we are units in this same great army. We are to do that voluntarily which the soldier is “forced” to do.

In addition to Ephesians 5:21, the New Testament repeatedly expresses the importance of submitting to one another. Philippians 2:3-4 tell us how mutual submission ought to operate: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” And Hebrews 13:17 commands us to submit to our spiritual leaders: “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

The only way we can possess any of those traits or exhibit any of that behavior is to be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit. Then we will be able to voluntarily and joyfully submit to the Lord and one another in love, just as the apostle John urges: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and every one who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

Suggestions for Prayer

Examine your heart and see if your attitude has been a biblically submissive one.

Ask God’s Spirit to reveal and correct any sinful shortcomings you’ve had in that regard.

For Further Study

Read Romans 12:10; 1 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Timothy 5:21; James 2:1. List comparisons and contrasts between these verses and what Philippians 2:3-4 says about mutual submission.

Wisdom Hunters – Moment of Silence 

When he [The Lamb—Jesus] opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Revelation 8:1

Sometimes silence is the best strategy. We replace exhausting striving with energizing silence. Our flesh wants to engage in an emotional debate, but our spirit says wait. The outcome is much better when we pause for the Holy Spirit to calm down our conflicted heart before we confront the issue. Our daily battles are best fought with faith in Jesus at the forefront. A person may agitate us, but by God’s grace, we can refrain from a rude reaction and pray for them. We won’t allow another’s bad day to ruin our day. God can speak clearly when we are quiet and patient.

Heaven grew silent for thirty minutes (two minutes of quiet can feel endless!) in awe of God Almighty and in a solemn moment of respect for the imminent destruction of earth and its inhabitants. Evil is eventually and fully judged, secret sins or blatant bad behavior will encounter crushing consequences, but the most dismal condition of all will be morally good people who rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their life. Heaven’s silence precedes earth’s loud obliteration.

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it” (Isaiah 30:15).

Our flesh screams for its way, but faith in the Lord’s faithfulness is foundational to our remaining silent. Our words may delay the work of God’s word. For example, if someone we know is seeking wisdom from their heavenly Father, better to pray with them than to assume we know what they need to do. Instead of prescribing a solution for them based on our own experience, we can refer them to Scripture references relevant to their situation. God speaks through His Word.

Our silence invites the Lord’s inner strength for our soul. Trusting resolve grows patience. In place of saying something we may later regret, we wait on the Spirit to speak into the situation. He may impress humility upon our heart and forgiveness on the heart of the one we let down. God can use another caring believer to bring clarity to the confusion or a solution to the problem. Surrender to Christ and invite Him to fight for you. Your silence releases His resources.

“The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent” (Exodus 14:14, NASB).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, in my silence I look to You to speak and fight for Your will to be done.

Application: What situations require my silence rather than my speech?

Related Readings: 1 Samuel 17:47; Psalm 24:8, 35:1; Matthew 26:63; Acts 15:12

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Your Prayer Is Heard

Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard…

Luke 1:13

Recommended Reading

Luke 1:13-25

Perhaps you know those who have become cynical toward Christ because of unanswered prayer. They’ve been disappointed, and their disappointment has settled into indifference or bitterness. Many biblical heroes grappled with unanswered prayer—Abraham wanting a son; Moses longing to lead Israel out of Egypt; Paul desiring freedom from his thorn; even Jesus asking for the cup of suffering to pass.

God did answer their prayers, just not as they expected. Prayer isn’t a matter of getting our wishes fulfilled on earth, but of God’s drawing us into His will and working all things for His good.

The angel Gabriel told aged Zacharias, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard.” What prayer? Years before, Zacharias and Elizabeth had pleaded earnestly for a child. They had grown into old age thinking God hadn’t answered their prayers. But not a syllable of their petitions had been neglected by the Almighty.

Don’t worry. God always answers the sincere prayers of His faithful people, though it be at His time, in His way, and for His glory.

You may not think God cares about your problems, but He does. Even now, because you are His child, He is working on your behalf.

David Jeremiah


Amos 5 – 9

Joyce Meyer – Invest Your Thoughts

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.- Isaiah 55:8

If we can learn to agree with God in our thoughts—to think the way He wants us to think—then we can have what He wants us to have, be who He wants us to be, and do what He wants us to do. But it won’t just happen. We have to be intentional. We have to invest our thoughts, instead of wasting them.

I have said many times, “We have to think about what we’re thinking about,” and I believe it now more than ever. If you’re in a bad mood, ask yourself what you have been thinking about, and you’ll probably find the root of your mood. If you’re feeling sorry for yourself, just think about what you’re thinking about; your attitude may need an adjustment. Remember, “Where the mind goes, the man follows.” Our moods are directly linked to our thoughts, so good thoughts will produce good moods.

We need to take responsibility for our thoughts. We must stop acting as if there is nothing we can do about them. God has given us the power to resist the devil by choosing to think on things that are Godly and good. It gives me tremendous hope when I realize that I can be assured of a better life by thinking good thoughts. That is exciting!

God will show us what to do to “clean up” our thinking, but He will not do the cleaning for us. He gives us His Word to teach us, and His Spirit to help us, but only we can make the decision to do what we should do. You can learn to think properly and powerfully if you want to; it will take time but it is an investment that pays great dividends. The Bible is a record of God’s thoughts, ways, and deeds. As we agree with it, we are agreeing with God!

Trust in Him: Have you taken personal responsibility for your thoughts and attitudes? Are you investing them? If not, make a commitment to begin trusting God to give you the power to think responsibly.

From the book Trusting God Day by Day by Joyce Meyer.

Girlfriends in God – My Safe Place

Today’s Truth

Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:”‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

Job 1:20-21

Friend to Friend

Job was an extraordinary man, husband, father, and leader who served God faithfully. His faithfulness to God in prosperity was a powerful testimony, but His faithfulness to God in the face of death, pain, and despair was even more powerful.

Did Job doubt and question God?


Did Job openly and honestly grieve his loss and weep in his pain?


But Job remained faithful to God, even when he did not understand why God would let him endure such suffering.

Job stood firm in his faith even when his heart and body was broken. God was pleased with Job and rewarded him for his faithfulness.

The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first (Job 42:11).

You are no stranger to trials. The lab report came back malignant. The school called, demanding that you pick up your child who has just been expelled. Your husband informed you that he no longer wants to be married to you. Your boss called you into his office to let you know that you are being fired. Financial disaster seems certain while dependable friends seem to vanish.

Yes, storms will come, and bad things will happen – even to fully devoted followers of God.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – My Safe Place

Ray Stedman – The Continuing Struggle

Read: Romans 7:7-25

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Romans 7:18-20

Paul says that as a Christian, redeemed by the grace of God, there is now something within him that wants to do good, that agrees with the Law (because the Law describes God’s holy nature), that says that the Law is right. There is something within that says what the Law tells me to do is right, and I want to do it. But also, there is something else in me that rises up and says No! Even though I determine not to do what is bad, I suddenly find myself in such circumstances that my determination melts away, my resolve is gone, and I end up doing what I had sworn I would not do.

So, what has gone wrong? Paul’s explanation is, It is no longer I who do it; it is sin living in me. Isn’t that strange? There is a division within our humanity. There is the I that wants to do what God wants, but there is also the sin which dwells in me. Human beings are complicated creatures. We have within us a spirit, a soul, and a body. These are distinct. Paul is suggesting here that the redeemed spirit never wants to do what God has prohibited. It agrees with the Law that it is good. And yet there is an alien power, a force that he calls sin, a great beast that is lying still within us until touched by the commandment of the Law. Then it springs to life, and we do what we do not want to do.

This is what we all struggle with. The cry of the heart at that moment is: What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24) Right here you arrive at where the Lord Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3). Blessed is the man who comes to the end of himself. Blessed is the man who understands his own spiritual bankruptcy. Because this is the point — the only point — where God’s help is given.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – The Continuing Struggle

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Love

Read: Psalm 18:1-19

I love you, O Lord. (v. 1)

“Love” is the next metaphor by which Herbert wants to describe prayer. It is a simple enough statement, and 19 verses of a psalm might seem a lot to read for a background to it. But the Hebrew word for “love” at the beginning of Psalm 18 is an unusually strong one, and sets in motion an unstoppable gush of gratitude for what the Lord has done for David. The psalm itself, and certainly this first part of it, is alive with highly colored picture language, earthquake and storm and fire and flood, and God Most High coming down “on the wings of the wind” to scatter his enemies (v. 10). The psalm’s introduction, the unusual little paragraph that precedes verse 1, has explained what all these metaphors stand for, and verses 17-19 repeat the explanation: God’s enemies are David’s enemies, and this is about the long years of David’s exile as an outlaw, a hunted man in peril of his life, being at last brought to a triumphant end. God has been in control throughout, and the whole experience will bring glory to him and immeasurable blessing to David.

So what is this psalm? From beginning to end, a prayer both to God and about God, and a prayer that breathes an enraptured love for God. The old hymn says that if you “count your blessings . . . it will surprise you what the Lord has done”; true enough, but here is something more than just surprise!


Here is the poem in its entirety:

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Love

Greg Laurie – A Watered-Down Gospel

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. —2 Timothy 2:3

Without question the greatest life to live is the Christian life, because God takes a life that was empty, aimless, and, worst of all, headed for a certain judgment and then turns it around and transforms it. He forgives all our sin, removes our guilt, and literally takes residence inside of us through the Holy Spirit. Most importantly, He changes our eternal address from a place called hell to a place called heaven. This all comes about as a result of the power of the gospel proclaimed and believed.

Yet some have believed what I would describe as a watered-down version of the gospel, a gospel that promises forgiveness but rarely mentions the need to repent of your sin, a gospel that promises peace but never warns of persecution, a gospel that says God wants you to be healthy and wealthy and never have any problems to speak of, a gospel that says you will so find the favor of God that a parking space always will be available for you. But that is not the gospel of the New Testament.

The Christian life is not a playground, but a battleground. Not only is there a God who loves you and has a plan for your life, but there is also a devil who hates you and opposes God’s plan.

I am not suggesting that once you become a Christian, you will be sick, poor, and miserable. But the essence of the Christian life is knowing and walking with God. It is about sticking with Him when the sky is blue and also when it is filled with clouds. It is about pressing on. Jesus made it clear that storms will enter every life. But as we seek to know and follow Christ, we will find happiness as a fringe benefit.

Kids 4 Truth International – The LORD Is Gracious

“They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalm 145:7-9)

To be “gracious” is to be the kind of person who gives other people things they do not deserve. A gracious person shows people unmerited favor (kindness that they could never earn on their own). The LORD is the ultimate Example of Someone Who is gracious, Who gives graciously, time and time and time again. Whenever we act with graciousness toward other people, we are not inventing some new thing. We are simply reflecting the character of the eternal God. He has always been gracious, and He always will be gracious.

Have you ever noticed that it is easier to expect people to be gracious to you than it is for you to be gracious to other people? For example, let’s imagine that you are going over to your neighbor Tommy’s house, and Tommy’s mom is offering cookies to you. They are fresh-baked, warm-from-the-oven, gooey chocolate chip cookies. Of course, you accept her offer, even though you do not necessarily deserve a warm and wonderful cookie. In fact, as you chew it up, you realize that you could never earn a cookie that tastes like that! Tommy’s mom sees that you love the cookies, and she graciously packs a bag full of them and sends them home with you. WOW! (You can tell from the look on Tommy’s face, though, that he is not too pleased to see so few cookies left over for him!)

Now, imagine that Tommy comes over to play at your house. It just so happens that today your mom has just finished baking some warm and wonderful, gooey chocolate chip cookies, and you are thrilled! You and Tommy are both practically jumping up and down with hope and delight. Suddenly, you stop, you glance over at Tommy, and you realize that he is hoping your mom will be gracious and offer him some cookies. Some of your family’s cookies! Why, some guys have all the nerve! And what does your mom do? You watch her, as if in slow motion – reaching for a handful of cookies, placing them in Tommy’s greedy little hands, patting the top of his head. You find yourself wanting to scream NO!

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – The LORD Is Gracious

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – After Salvation

Today’s Scripture: Philippians 1-4

You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. – 1 Thessalonians 2:1

Dawson Trotman used to tell about picking up a hitchhiker who got into his car and promptly used the Lord’s name in vain. As Dawson talked to this young man and explained the gospel to him, he felt they had met somewhere before. It turned out that one year before, Daws had led him in prayer to receive Jesus Christ. Here he was, a year later, with no evidence of the new life in Christ within him.

This bothered Dawson, and as he prayed about it and studied the Scriptures, he was convinced of the importance of follow-up in the life of every new believer.

One of the passages underlying Dawson’s conviction was Philippians 2:14-16: “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”

How could Paul talk about running and laboring for nothing when, back in 1 Corinthians 15:58, he said that his labor was not in vain in the Lord? These Philippians had been converted to Christ and were part of the local church in Philippi. Then why on earth was Paul talking about laboring for nothing? Because he knew that the Great Commission of Jesus Christ could be fulfilled only if every Philippian believer grew to maturity and did his part.

To see someone come to Christ is only the beginning. Let us take the same attitude of responsibility toward new believers that Paul felt toward the Philippians.


Lord, give me a heart of love and a desire to help new believers to be built up in the faith. Amen.

To Ponder

Is there a younger believer you could help to grow?

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Healthy Exposure to God’s Word

Today’s Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16

“All Scripture is . . . profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

The close connection between God and the Word of his grace is illustrated in Romans 15:4-5: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:4-5).

Paul tells us here that we receive endurance and encouragement from Scripture. Then he names God as the source of endurance and encouragement. Endurance and encouragement are provisions of God’s grace “to help us in our time of need.” as we go to the throne of grace asking for it, God does provide. But he usually provides through Scripture.

If we are to appropriate the grace of God, we must regularly expose ourselves directly to the Word of God. It is not enough to only hear it preached or taught in our churches on Sundays, as important as those avenues are. We need a regular plan of reading, study, and yes, even memorization. Bible study and Scripture memorization earn no merit with God. We never earn God’s blessing by doing these things, any more than we earn his blessing by eating nutritious food. But as the eating of proper food is necessary to sustain a healthy physical life, so the regular intake of God’s Word is necessary to sustain a healthy spiritual life and to regularly appropriate his grace.

If we’re to appropriate the grace of God, we must become intimate friends with the Bible. We must seek to know and understand Scripture’s great truths about God and his character, and about man and his desperate need of God’s grace.

BreakPoint – Man and Michelangelo’s ‘David’: Fragile Masterpieces

Throughout history, there’s been no shortage of superlatives showered on Michelangelo’s stunning statue of David, sling in hand, ready to take on Goliath. Giorgio Vasari, a 16th century artist and historian said this:

“It cannot be denied that this work has carried off the palm from all other statues, modern or ancient, Greek or Latin; no other artwork is equal to it in any respect, with such just proportion, beauty and excellence did Michelangelo finish it.”

And if you’re one of the millions of people who’ve travelled to Florence, Italy, and have seen the 14-foot statue in person, you probably agree.

More than any other work of art, except perhaps Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the “David” statue captures the image and essence of Man. Confident, determined, physically beautiful and strong, called to a noble purpose: to do battle with evil in the service of the God in Whose image we are made.

And yet news from Florence reveals that “David” reflects humanity in another way: He is flawed.  To be more specific, there are cracks in his ankles; cracks that could, as the New York Times reports, “bring down the world’s most perfect statue.”

As Sam Anderson writes, “The seed of the problem is a tiny imperfection in the statue’s design. The center of gravity in the base doesn’t align with the center of gravity in the figure itself.”  If the statue is perfectly upright and level, all is well. But even the tiniest tilt places enormous stress on the six-ton statue’s “narrowest part: his ankles.”

And, for what Anderson calls “a very long time,” “David” did lean slightly, which created the hairline cracks that threaten the statue.

You’d think making sure the statue stands perfectly upright would be a simple enough engineering feat, but there are a couple of problems. The first is bureaucratic inertia and confusion on the part of the Italian government. And the second: earthquakes. If Florence gets hit by one, it could be “Arrivederci, David.”

So here we have the crown jewel of creativity, art, beauty, and sculpture, and yet he’s flawed, fragile, in need of restoration, poised on the verge of catastrophe.

Just like we are.

Continue reading BreakPoint – Man and Michelangelo’s ‘David’: Fragile Masterpieces

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – A HERO IS HONORED

Read ESTHER 6:11–14

An Aesop’s fable involves two roosters who each want to be king of the farmyard. Finally, one won the title. The losing rooster hid in a corner while the winner squawked and ran about the yard, boasting with pleasure. Suddenly, an eagle flew by, swooped down, and snatched the winning rooster in his talons. The losing rooster, still sitting by the wayside, became the new reigning king. Pride, said Aesop, goes before a great fall.

In an act of supreme humiliation, Haman was forced to honor Mordecai as a hero. He helped him put on the king’s royal robe and led him through the streets on the horse announcing that the king was pleased with Mordecai (v. 11). How devastating this must have been to Haman who had assumed he would be the intended recipient.

Notice the contrasting actions of the two men in today’s passage. After being honored, Mordecai returned “to the king’s gate” (v. 12). Despite having just received great honor from the highest in command, he did not strut about but immediately resumed his duty.

Haman, on the other hand, was self- centered, consumed by grief at his own loss. He immediately shared his displeasure with those closest to him. They advised Haman not to continue his pursuit of Mordecai and the Jewish people: “you will surely come to ruin” (v. 13). The text does not tell us Haman’s response. But knowing his deep hatred for Mordecai and how insulted he felt, it would be safe to assume their caution had little effect on him.

Regardless, Haman had little time to reflect on his choices as he was expected at the king’s table for the banquet given by Esther (v. 14). Haman was still motivated by personal pride, and God was not finished with his story.


Today’s tale cautions against our pride. We are not to be puffed up or worried about our own honor or reward. Instead, we should let God honor us in His own way and timing. Lay your personal concerns and vanity at His feet, and let Him reward you. Even more, do not be concerned with eliminating your competition. Pride leads to destruction.


ABC News is reporting that as many as five people were taken into FBI custody last night in connection with Saturday’s bombing in Manhattan. In addition, multiple bombs were discovered overnight at a New Jersey train station. A pipe bomb exploded along a racecourse in New Jersey, though no one was injured. And ISIS has claimed responsibility for a stabbing at a Minnesota mall that injured eight.

Life in the age of terrorism seems more fragile than ever.

Our fears are not necessarily based on facts. According to security experts, ninety-four Americans have been killed by jihadists since 9/11, more than half of them in the Orlando nightclub shooting. An additional forty-eight have been killed by other extremists such as the Charleston church shooter. As tragic as these deaths are, more Americans die in car accidents every two days.

However, the fear of terrorism can be debilitating. Experts say that living with such fear can trigger obsessive thinking and alter our mood, temperament, motivation, and personality.

The best way to respond to the fear of terrorism is to acknowledge our mortality and then to live for what matters most. Watching last night’s Emmys, my wife remarked after the “In Memoriam” tribute that many of the deceased actors were our contemporaries. As we grow older, death becomes more real.

And living on purpose becomes more urgent. Julia Louis-Dreyfus won an Emmy last night for her work in Veep. In her acceptance speech, she revealed that her father had died two days earlier. She said, “I’m so glad he liked Veep because his opinion was the one that really mattered.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – NY BOMBING: UP TO 5 NOW IN CUSTODY