Charles Stanley – Obstacles to Contentment

Matthew 6:25-30

Anxiety is a thief. The combination of fear and uncertainty robs many believers of the peace that the heavenly Father intends for them to have (John 14:27). But anxiety does not fit who we are in Jesus Christ. By putting our faith in Him, we have placed our life in the hands of a sovereign God who wants the very best for His children. What do we have to fear when we trust in Him?

Believing in the Lord doesn’t mean that we will never experience uncertainty. What it should mean is that we choose to let go of anxiety and instead trust Him to provide for our needs in His time and His way. When we don’t, fear and doubt can become entrenched in our thinking and develop into a stronghold. Then Satan will dig in and use every resource he can to build our apprehension. That is what sinful anxiety looks like—a sense of fear that overwhelms faith.

Faith can be besieged and toppled when its foundation is weakened by unbelief. I’m not implying that an anxious believer isn’t truly a Christian. However, in saying, “I know God is capable of dealing with the problems in my life, but I’m not sure that He will,” uncertain saints may look for ways to fix the issue themselves instead of waiting patiently for the Lord to act on their behalf.

The Lord sees the beginning and the end of every situation that we face. He knows the root of our anxiety, the best way to calm our heart, and how to turn our weeping into joy. He will do all of this without leaving our side, because He loves us deeply and desires to bless us richly.

Bible in One Year: Joel 1-3

Our Daily Bread — Connecting the Dots

Read: Luke 24:13-32

Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 4-6; 2 Corinthians 12

Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.—Luke 24:27

In the 1880s French artist Georges Seurat introduced an art form known as pointillism. As the name suggests, Seurat used small dots of color, rather than brush strokes of blended pigments, to create an artistic image. Up close, his work looks like groupings of individual dots. Yet as the observer steps back, the human eye blends the dots into brightly colored portraits or landscapes.

The big picture of the Bible is similar. Up close, its complexity can leave us with the impression of dots on a canvas. As we read it, we might feel like Cleopas and his friend on the road to Emmaus. They couldn’t understand the tragic “dotlike” events of the Passover weekend. They had hoped that Jesus “was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21), but they had just witnessed His death.

Suddenly a man they did not recognize was walking alongside them. After showing an interest in their conversation, He helped them connect the dots of the suffering and death of their long-awaited Messiah. Later, while eating a meal with them, Jesus let them recognize Him—and then He left as mysteriously as He came.

Was it the scarred dots of the nail wounds in His hands that caught their attention? We don’t know. What we do know is that when we connect the dots of Scripture and Jesus’s suffering (vv. 27, 44), we see a God who loves us more than we can imagine. —Mart DeHaan

Jesus laid down His life to show His love for us.

INSIGHT: In today’s reading, Jesus came alongside two disciples traveling to Emmaus (v. 13). This appearance took place in the “nearly evening” of Sunday (vv. 29-30). The gospel writer Mark said, “Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them” (Mark 16:12). This was why they did not recognize Him until later (Luke 24:16, 31).

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Dance of Grace

I have always been mesmerized by ballet dancers. I remember our family’s annual visit to McCormick Place in Chicago to see the Nutcracker. The fluid movement, the spinning on toes, arms floating around as if in flight, their movement told the story. The dancers made the most difficult technical movements seem natural and easy. I remember one friend speaking of the dancers’ expertise as being filled with grace. These artists had taken complicated and physically demanding choreography and infused it with simple elegance and refinement.

The concept of grace has a long history within the Christian tradition. In theological terms, grace is described as God’s unmerited favor toward human beings far beyond what we deserve—both in terms of our own failing, and in terms of the abundance of God’s blessing towards us. Grace is also understood as a way of life towards others. Since God gives grace freely, humans ought to extend grace towards one another. Like the experienced dancer, the grace extended toward others should be characterized with an elegance and refinement.

Easier said than done. For one like me, who is by nature clumsy and lacking in balance, extending grace to another can often feel like the most excruciating physical practice. What often results is not a refined and elegant performance, but the proverbial dancer with two left feet. So how does one, like the dancers in the Bolshoi Ballet, live in ways that are full of grace?

I asked this question to a friend as we conversed about living in ways that were permeated with graciousness. He shared a story with me about his children’s karate instructor. The instructor was a black-belt in karate and very skilled in his movements and technique. Like the dancers I saw in the Nutcracker, my friend marveled at both the fluidity and gracefulness of the instructor’s movements as he demonstrated karate. Afterwards, my friend asked the instructor if he always moved with such grace and ease—was that something that just came naturally and that one had to possess inherently in order to succeed at karate? The instructor laughed and took him into his office. He took out a video tape. The tape was recorded when the instructor was a student. My friend was amazed by what he saw: jerky, clumsy kicks and punches, falling down as he missed his target, defeat against one opponent after another. Was it really the same person he saw before him? Indeed, it was. So what was the instructor’s secret?

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Fulfilling God’s Law

“In order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4).

If the Holy Spirit resides within us, we will be able to fulfill the demands of God’s law.

Augustine once said, “Grace was given, in order that the law might be fulfilled.” When God saves us He, by His Spirit, creates within us the ability to obey His perfect law. Because we now live “according to the Spirit”—walking by the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit—we are able to do the righteous things God’s law requires.

Isn’t it wonderful that the Lord no longer expects His law to be lived out only by means of an external code of ethics? Now holiness, righteousness, and obedience to the law are internal, the products of the indwelling Holy Spirit (see Ezek. 11:19-20).

God’s salvation is more than a spiritual transaction by which He imputed Christ’s righteousness to us. It is more than a forensic action by which He judicially declared us righteous. As great and vital as those doctrines are, they were not applied to us apart from God’s planting His Spirit within our hearts and enabling our lives to manifest the Spirit’s fruit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).

We need to remind ourselves regularly that God’s purpose for us after He redeemed us was that we might live a holy life filled with good works (Eph. 2:10; Titus 2:14). Whenever you are disobedient to God’s will and purpose, you are quenching the Holy Spirit and fighting against yourself and what you know is right. Such disobedience makes about as much sense as the person who holds his breath for no reason and therefore makes his lungs resist their natural function. The believer who disobeys, especially one who persists in a sin, prevents the Spirit from naturally leading him along the path of holiness.

We are not perfect after our salvation—that won’t happen until glorification (1 John 3:2-3)—but the Holy Spirit will empower us to live in ways pleasing to God, which is the kind of righteousness that fulfills His law.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank the Lord that you don’t have to meet the demands of the law solely by your own strength.

For Further Study

Read Romans 6.

  • What happened to your old self at the time of your conversion?
  • How must that affect the way you live?

Wisdom Hunters – 3 Things I Appreciate About My Husband

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.   Philippians 2:3-4

Although I knew my husband was a good man before we tied the knot, I am humbled every day of our married life by how good he is to me. And, since it is our wedding anniversary today, I think it’s a good day to share three things I appreciate about him.

He appreciates my quirks. I have some quirky personality traits. For example, when I am having fun, sometimes my voice changes and I sound like I am five years old. In the past some of the men I dated didn’t like this quality and shamed me for it. My husband thinks it’s cute. I also tend to be scattered. As a creative type, my mind is often in a million places at once so I forget where I put the keys, my shoes, or cell phone. He says, “It’s just one of the things that makes you, you. I choose to find it adorable.” My husband praises me for my unique personality traits, even if I don’t deserve it, and that’s something I am very grateful for.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

He doesn’t try to change me. In an effort to be helpful—and out of insecurity or pride—some people constantly try to change their mate. They always point out their flaws, make condescending statements, and shame their loved one. I am so grateful that my husband continually builds me up with words of kindness rather than constantly correcting or trying to control me. He isn’t afraid to tell me the truth, but his attitude is always filled with grace, acceptance, and gentleness. He practices Ephesians 4:29 which says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  This makes me feel loved and emotionally safe. As a result, I freely share my life, thoughts, and sins with him.

He is generous with his time and resources. I grew up in a home in which my father was not generous with his time or resources. Although I loved my dad (he passed away in 2005) I always felt like a burden and that my father didn’t delight in me. Now that I am married, I am so grateful the Lord has shown me unselfishness through my husband. He always has time to listen to me, hold me if I need to cry, and he freely shares our household monies. He never makes me feel like I am too expensive, take up too much time, or that I am in the way.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – There Is Praise!

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk 3:18

Recommended Reading

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Say you went to an average Major League Baseball game. Then say you went to the final game of the World Series where you saw a bench-clearing brawl, an inside-the-park home run, and a game-winning hit when there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the count was three balls and two strikes. The difference between those two baseball games would justify you saying this: “There are baseball games and then there are baseball games!”

Keep that distinction in mind when you read this: “There is praise and then there is praise!” That’s not to say that some praise is average and run-of-the-mill. All praise of God is good. But it is to say this: There’s a difference between praising God in the good times and praising Him in the bad times. For instance, note the word “yet” in Habakkuk 3:18. That suggests a contrast to what has come before. Habakkuk is saying that even though Israel’s crops and livestock fail (verse 17), “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

Praise in the good times—Psalm 95:1; 98:4, 6; 100:1—is a good thing. But praise in the difficult times renews our focus on God.

Let earth and heaven combine, angels and men agree, to praise in songs divine the incarnate Deity.

Charles Wesley


Obadiah 1

Girlfriends in God – Don’t Scratch That Itch

Today’s Truth

When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

James 1:13-14

Friend to Friend

I woke up that morning with a spider bite the size of a quarter. It may as well have been the size of North Carolina for as much as it itched! I was half-tempted to scrape my arm off because the nasty bite was just begging to be scratched, but I’ve learned a thing or two in my forty-plus years, and this one thing I know for sure: it’s best to NOT scratch this type of itch.

It’d be like opening a bag of chips with the naive intention of eating only one. Yeah, right!

I knew that if I started scratching my bug bite, it would be nearly impossible to stop. I would regret having ever started.

Super-itchy bug bites are a lot like temptations. Temptations are itchy! The call to us with urgent voices that scream, “Scratch me!  Scratch me!”  Yet, in all reality, a little scratch will not satisfy temptation’s itch at all… it will just make matters worse. When we scratch the itch of temptation, the itch doesn’t diminish. To the contrary, it increases.

The Bible teaches us that when we resist temptation, our faith is mobilized and our character is strengthened. Joseph is a great example of this. (For the full account, pause here and read Genesis 39.)

Joseph was a man of integrity who did right in the eyes of the Lord. Even so, he faced some serious temptations. His boss’s wife, Mrs. Potiphar, seduced him. Yowsa! You see, Mrs. Potiphar wanted her husband’s right-hand man to sleep with her, and she pursued him with aggression. Her temptation was a hand-delivered invitation for Joseph to sin that had itchy written all over it.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Don’t Scratch That Itch

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Maturity – In His Timing 

“But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control” (Galatians 5:22,23).

One of my dear friends had a 25-year old son who had never grown past the baby stage mentally or physically. He had greeted the birth of his beautiful baby boy with great joy, but his joy turned to heartache and sorrow with the passing years as his son never matured.

Unfortunately and tragically, many Christians never pass the baby or childhood stages. Think of the heartache and sorrow that God experiences when He looks upon those of His children who have never matured, though they have been Christians for many years.

Martha, a new Christian, approached me with this question, “With all my heart I want to be a woman of God, but I do not experience the consistency of Galatians 5:22,23 in my life. What is wrong?”

Maybe you are asking the same question, if so, it will be helpful for you to understand that the Christian life is a life of growth. Just as in our physical lives we begin as babies and progress through childhood into adolescence, young adulthood and mature adulthood, so it is in our spiritual lives.

The Holy Spirit takes up residence within every believer at the moment of new birth. The growth process is greatly accelerated when a believer consciously yields himself to the lordship of Christ and the filling and control of the Holy Spirit. A believer who is empowered by the Holy Spirit and is a faithful student of God’s Word, who has learned to trust and obey God, can pass through the various stages of spiritual growth and become a mature Christian within a brief period of time. Some Spirit-filled Christians demonstrate more of the fruit of the Spirit within one year than others who have been untaught, uncommitted believers for 50 years.

Bible Reading: Romans 5:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I am determined that I will become a spiritually mature Christian, in whose life the fruit of the Spirit will be demonstrated. Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit I will dedicate myself to prayer, reading the Word and witnessing, and living a life of obedience.

Ray Stedman – No Condemnation

Read: Romans 7:25-8:2

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 7:25b-8:1

Paul says, I want to do good. I believe in it. I delight in God’s law — God’s holy nature — in my inner being. I am changed; I agree that the law is good, but I find I can’t do it. In his mind Paul is awakened to the value and the righteousness of God’s law, but set against that is this sin that is in his flesh that takes hold of him and makes him a slave to the law of sin, even though he does not want to be.

How does Paul break this hold? Paul is saying though we struggle at times, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. The reason there is no condemnation is given in just one little phrase: in Christ. That goes right back to our justification by faith: We came out of Adam, We are in Christ, and God will never condemn those who are in Christ. He never will! We have to understand what no condemnation means. Certainly, the most basic element in it is that there is no rejection by God. God does not turn us aside, he does not kick us out of his family. If we are born into the family of God by faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit has come to dwell within us, and he will never, never leave us. Another thing no condemnation means is that God is not angry with you when this struggle comes into your life. You want to be good, or you want to stop doing bad, but, when the moment of temptation comes, you find yourself overpowered and weak, and you give way. Then you hate yourself. You go away frustrated, feeling, Oh, what’s the matter with me? Why can’t I do this thing? Why can’t I act like I want to? And though you may condemn yourself, God does not. He is not angry with you about that.

The beautiful figure is that of a tender, loving father, watching his little boy begin to take his first steps. No father ever gets angry with his little son because he doesn’t get right up and start running around the first time he tries to walk. If the child falls and stumbles and falters, the father helps him; he doesn’t spank him. He lifts him up, encourages him, and shows him how to do it right. And if the child has a problem with his feet, maybe one foot is twisted or deformed, the father finds a way to relieve that condition and help him to learn to walk. That is what God does. He is not angry when we are struggling. He knows it takes awhile — quite awhile, at times. And even the best of saints will, at times, fall. This was true of Paul, it was true of the apostles, and it was true of all the prophets of the Old Testament. Sin is deceitful and it will trip us at times. But God is not angry with us.

Heavenly Father, I am forever grateful that you are slow to anger when I continue to run and follow things of this world. Thank you for your patience and the abundance of grace I receive each day.

Life Application

What do we do with the guilt inevitably resulting from our sin and failure? Do we seize the pre-paid grace-gift of God’s forgiveness? Do we then live free from condemnation and free to the quality-control of His Spirit?

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Bliss

Read: Psalm 84:1-12

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! (v. 1)

The last word in this line of the poem is “bliss.” We may use that phrase “last word” in another sense, and say that praying (the theme of all these readings) is, or at any rate can be, the last word in happiness, delight, even pleasure. Not, perhaps, something that often occurs to us. But I see how it can be so, and why Satan, the great spoilsport, would like to make us think otherwise.

It means talking to our loving Father about simply anything, knowing that he wants us to do so and is delighted to listen to us; that he is totally aware of our present circumstances, and is even more concerned about them than we are ourselves; that he has wonderful experiences lined up for us; that he is well aware we may find that hard to believe; that he wants us to “spill the beans,” to tell him how anxious, or puzzled, or angry, or desperate, or numb, or rebellious, we feel.

Oh, the bliss of being able to unload everything to a truly sympathetic ear! And then to have the assurance, whether or not we hear him say so, that he has everything under control! All of us may see ourselves as being (like the psalmist) from one point of view on our way to Zion, and from another, already there. In either case our Lord wants us to enjoy the bliss of his constant company.

Here is the poem in its entirety:

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Bliss

Greg Laurie – How Will They Hear?

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? —Romans 10:14

Have you ever led someone to Christ? If not, why not? Maybe you think that God can never use you in this way, that you’re just not gifted in that regard, and it is only for a privileged few to lead others to Christ. But if this were the case, why was the Great Commission given to every Christian? Every believer is called to “go and make disciples of all the nations . . . ” (Matthew 28:19). That means we are all called to evangelism. We all have a part to play.

I must admit that it’s a mystery to me that God has chosen to use people as the primary communicators of His truth. An interviewer once commented to me that I seem to be very natural when I speak, that it must come easily to me. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” I said. “Before I was a Christian, I wasn’t a public speaker.”

I remember being in an English class in school where we were all required to give an impromptu, five-minute speech in front of the class on an assigned statement. Being a poor student, I hadn’t read the assignment, so I stood frozen with fear in front of the class. I was not a public speaker.

But after I came to faith in Jesus Christ, I realized the best way to help people believe was through verbal communication, be it in front of a group or an individual. I realized that it is not about me or what I feel comfortable doing; it is about obeying God. Because the primary way God reaches people who do not yet know Him is through verbal communication. How can people hear about Christ unless someone tells them? That someone is supposed to be you or me.

Kids 4 Truth International – The LORD Is Full of Compassion

“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)

Have you ever found yourself in the belly of a great fish? Or maybe in the middle of a lion’s den or a fiery furnace? How about clinging to the deck of a ship that’s being tossed around in a storm or breaking up against a rocky reef? Have you ever gone into the blazing desert with your mother and crawled under a bush to cry and wait until you starved or thirsted to death?

Have you ever gotten stuck in a cave with a half-crazy king who has been trying to kill you for no good reason? Or have you ever watched a loved one die an early death, knowing Someone might have healed him? Have you ever gotten caught and tried for a horrible crime you did not really commit? Have you ever been disabled in an accident or been forced to beg for food and shelter? Have you ever found yourself left all alone with no one who will claim you as a friend or stand by you or rescue you?

Hopefully, none of those things have ever happened. Hopefully, you will never find yourself in a situation like any of the above. But if you ever do, remember the God of the Bible. Because the Bible tells us stories of people who did find themselves in those situations. And one reason the Bible shares these stories is that God wants to show us what He is like.

God is the kind of God Who shows compassion. He is the kind of God Who listens to repentant sinners and saves them out of their own trouble, because salvation belongs to Him. Using almost the same language as Psalm 145:7-9, the prophet Jonah tells the reason why he prayed to God from where he was trapped in the belly of the great fish: “For I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Jonah 4:2a). Jonah was being punished for his sinfulness and rebellion, but he called upon God anyway, because he had reason to believe that God would show him compassion and mercy.

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – The LORD Is Full of Compassion

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Sins of the Tongue

Today’s Scripture: James 3:6

“The tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.”

The Bible is replete with warnings against sins of the tongue. The book of Proverbs alone contains about sixty such warnings. Jesus warned that we’ll give account for every careless word we speak (Matthew 12:36). And then there is that well-known passage in James 3 where he speaks of the tongue’s sinful effects, likening them to the spark that sets a forest ablaze.

The Scripture passage that has helped me most to deal with the sins of the tongue is Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” This is an application of Paul’s “put off/put on” principle that he set forth in Ephesians 4:22-24. The principle is that we’re to put off the sinful traits of the old self and, at the same time, give diligence to putting on the gracious traits of the new self created in Christ.

As we look at Ephesians 4:29, we see that we’re not to let any corrupting talk come out of our mouths. Corrupting talk is not limited to profanity or obscene speech. It includes all the various types of negative speech—including lying, slander, critical speech (even when true), harsh words, insults, sarcasm, and ridicule. Note Paul’s absolute prohibition: No corrupting talk. None whatsoever. This means no gossip, no sarcasm, no critical speech, no harsh words. All these sinful words that tend to tear down another person must be put out of our speech. Think about what the church of Jesus Christ would look like if we all sought to apply Paul’s words. (Excerpt taken from Respectable Sins)

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Enemy of Our Souls

Today’s Scripture: Jude

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. – Ephesians 6:11

The city of Colorado Springs, where I live, is the home of the United States Olympic Training Center. Athletes from all over the country come here to train for the Olympic Games. And by the looks on their faces, they’re serious about it. They know they’ll have to compete against the best athletes in the world.

In the book of Jude, I find a similar sense of reality about the competition. Jude issues a warning to believers that we face a dangerous enemy. And the word pictures Jude paints of Satan’s followers are worthy of further study and consideration: He says they have gone the way of Cain and run greedily after the error of Balaam. He calls them clouds without rain; trees whose fruit withers; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever.

What does Jude tell us to do to prepare for this battle and gain the victory? “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (Jude 20-21).

Friend, that’s exactly what you and I need to do–continually build ourselves in the faith. We must guard our prayer times so that the pressures of daily living don’t crowd them out.

As I observe the Olympic athletes running, bicycling, and training around town, I’m reminded of my need to keep myself spiritually fit. It’s not a luxury, but a necessity for going head-to-head against a committed foe.


Lord, help me to live each day on the basis of Your Word and what You’ve said I need to do to be spiritually fit. Amen.

To Ponder

Our enemy, Satan, is as real as if we could see him or touch him. We need to have a healthy respect for his subtle ways.

BreakPoint – Hope for Christian Colleges amidst the Culture Wars

It’s September, and high school seniors are filling out their college applications. And if you’re the parent of a senior, like I am, you’re probably biting your nails. Because every day there’s a new and maddening report of progressive insanity at our nation’s universities: so-called “safe spaces” where students can hide from ideas that offend them, Ivy League schools providing feminine products in men’s rooms, wacko professors getting tenure while those who speak in favor of traditional morality get hounded off campus.

To make matters worse, Christian universities and colleges appear to be in the cross-hairs of the culture wars, too. California is laying the groundwork to discriminate against any institution that fails to confess the new LGBT orthodoxy. Even some traditionally strong Christian schools have been wracked by theological controversy.

So why is David Brooks so bullish on Christian higher ed?

The New York Times columnist gave his reasons for optimism at the recent 40th anniversary celebration of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Brooks is a graduate, by the way, of the University of Chicago, and he teaches at Yale, my alma mater. There’s no need for Christians to feel in any way inferior, he says, acknowledging that while his Ivy League students are “amazing,” they’re pretty one-dimensional.

“They’ve been raised in a culture,” Brooks says, “that encourages them to pay attention to the résumé virtues of how to have a great career but leaves by the wayside … time to think about the eulogy virtues: the things they’ll say about you after you’re dead. They go through their school with the mixture of complete self-confidence and utter terror, afraid of a single false step off the achievement machine.” It’s flat, lifeless, and soul-killing.

But Christian schools attempt to educate their charges in three dimensions. Brooks told Christian college leaders that Christian universities “are the avant-garde of 21st century culture.” Christian colleges “have a way of talking about and educating the human person in a way that integrates faith, emotion and intellect. [They] have a recipe to nurture human beings who have a devoted heart, a courageous mind and a purposeful soul. Almost no other set of institutions in American society has that, and everyone wants it.”

Continue reading BreakPoint – Hope for Christian Colleges amidst the Culture Wars

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE QUEEN’S REQUEST

Read ESTHER 7:1–4

Each U.S. president holds the power to overturn a judicial ruling and pardon someone who has been found guilty under a federal law, and the decision is not subject to congressional review. With a presidential pardon, a guilty person can be saved.

In today’s passage, Queen Esther was given the opportunity to ask for a pardon of sorts for herself and for her people. At the banquet, in Haman’s presence, King Xerxes repeated his promise to Esther for a third time. Not once, but three times, the king said he would grant her request, “up to half the kingdom” (v. 2).

Finally, Esther broke her silence and asked for her life to be spared. She also asked that the king spare the lives of her people. Remember that until this moment, Esther had not revealed her ethnicity to the king. She was taking a tremendous risk in making this request.

But her plea to the king also exposed the evil intent of Haman, who was seated with them at the table. Haman was not satisfied to take the Jewish people into slavery, as they had experienced in the past. If they had been made slaves, they would have had hope of recovering their freedom one day. Instead, Haman wanted to eliminate them altogether, taking their lives and plundering their possessions. Esther used the word sold to further reveal his evil intent (v. 4). Haman had not pursued this without an eye on profit. He would make money from his evil act.

Esther begged for her life before a human king. He had the power to change the law and save her life. We too stand condemned under the law. And our King has the power to remove the penalty and redeem us.


We have been offered a pardon. Scripture says that according to God’s Law, we are guilty, but while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Because of Him, the penalty of sin has been removed. Through Christ, we are redeemed. If you do not have an assurance of salvation, read Romans 3—6, and accept God’s pardon today.


Ahmad Khan Rahami was arrested yesterday. Wanted in connection with bombings in New York and New Jersey, he has been charged with five counts of attempted murder after a shootout with police.

His family operates First American Fried Chicken in Elizabeth, New Jersey. One of the restaurant’s patrons said of Ahmad, “He’s a very friendly guy, he gave me free chicken. He was always the most friendly man you ever met.” The patron was deeply rattled by news that Rahami has been connected to the bombings. “He’s a guy you would never expect,” he said. “This is sad, terrifying, scary.”

When terrorists strike anywhere, people become alarmed everywhere. For instance, West Point was locked down yesterday after a “concerned citizen” reported seeing a man “who fit the description” of Rahami, according to a spokesman. The man was eventually identified as a West Point resident and the lockdown was lifted.

We can expect more of this. FBI Director James Comey has warned that hundreds of terrorists will fan out to infiltrate western Europe and the US as attacks escalate against the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate in Syria. “At some point there’s going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before,” he warned. Referring to recent attacks in Brussels and Paris, Comey said that future attacks will be “an order of magnitude greater.”

Clearly we must protect ourselves from those who would harm us. ISIS must be destroyed before it destroys our civilization. But there is a spiritual battle inside this military conflict. God redeems all he allows. How is he redeeming the escalation of terrorism in these days?

First, he is using radical Islam to turn Muslims to Christ. As Muslims around the world see the atrocities of ISIS and similar groups, they are drawn from such hatred to the love found in Jesus. More Muslims than ever before are coming to faith in our Lord, many in regions dominated by jihadists.

Second, he is calling Christians to pray for Muslims with greater fervor than ever. We now know that jihadists are an existential threat to our families and nation. We also know that the ultimate answer to this spiritual conflict is the power of the Spirit. So Christians are praying for millions of Muslims in America and around the world to follow Christ.

Third, he is calling Christians to love Muslims at a time when hate crimes against them have soared to their highest levels since 9/11. Satan wants to use radical Islam to make us hate Muslims at the very time when we need to love them. If Americans attack innocent Muslims, we are no better than Muslims who attack innocent Americans. It is time for Christians to be salt and light in a culture desperate for both.

Jesus’ commands were clear: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:28–29). We love our enemies to the degree that we serve them, bless them, and pray for them.

Which enemy is Jesus calling you to love today?