Charles Stanley – Moses: Forward by Faith

 

Exodus 14:10-31

Living by faith guarantees hardship. People do not like this message, but it’s true. When a person chooses to surrender to God and obey Him no matter what, that believer will suffer at times and be asked to make painful sacrifices. In order to serve the Lord, Moses had to choose to go forward by faith in spite of daunting challenges.

Having grown up in Pharaoh’s palace, Moses knew all about the Egyptian ruler’s pride, as well as the importance of Hebrew slave labor. So he well understood the difficulty of carrying out God’s command to free His people. However, he’d left his comfortable life so he could obey.

As it turned out, Moses’ job didn’t begin until the Hebrew slaves’ release. He then spent more than 40 years leading this errant people, interceding for them when they disobeyed God, and calling upon the Lord for rescue when they faced trouble.

Moses’ life was marked by challenge and sacrifice, but more than that, it was shaped by an intimate relationship with God. Every hardship that knocked away his trust in himself strengthened his faith in the Lord. When a new challenge arose, Moses turned first to God for guidance and provision.

Scripture tells us that adversity produces a deeper intimacy with the Lord (1 Peter 5:10). Moses’ life demonstrates this, and it holds true for believers today. Hardships are inevitable. We could try doing everything in our power to avoid them but would probably be unsuccessful. A wiser approach is to meet the challenge and go forward by faith.

Bible in One Year: Amos 5-9

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — The Gates of Worship

Read: Psalm 100

Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 10-12; Galatians 1

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.—Psalm 100:4

When you enter some of the greatest cities in the world, you can encounter famous gates such as the Brandenburg Gate (Berlin), the Jaffa Gate (Jerusalem), and the gates at Downing Street (London). Whether the gates were built for defensive or ceremonial purposes, they all represent the difference between being outside or inside certain areas of the city. Some are open; some are closed to all but a few.

The gates into the presence of God are always open. The familiar song of Psalm 100 is an invitation for the Israelites to enter into the presence of God through the temple gates. They were told to “shout for joy” and “come before him with joyful songs” (vv. 1-2). Shouting for joy was an appropriate expression when greeting a monarch in the ancient world. All the earth was to sing joyfully about God! The reason for this joyful noise was that God had given them their identity (v. 3). They entered the gates with praise and thanksgiving because of God’s goodness and His steadfast and enduring love which continues through all generations (vv. 4-5). Even when they forgot their identity and wandered away from Him, God remained faithful and still invited them to enter His presence.

The gates into God’s presence are still open, inviting us to come and worship. —Marvin Williams

What should motivate us to worship God? What statement of praise could you give to God today?

The gates into the presence of God are always open.

INSIGHT: Psalm 100 is poetry packed with image-rich language. When the psalmist says we are the Lord’s, this reminds us of His creative and redeeming work. The Bible tells us that if we have faith in Christ, we are His in at least two ways: We are His because He created us (Gen. 1:26-31) and because He has adopted us as His family (Eph. 1:5). The psalmist also uses the image of a sheep. We are “the sheep of His pasture.” We belong to Him and can enter His gates because we are under His care. Jesus Himself uses this image of sheep and gates in John 10:7-9 when explaining what it means to be saved.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Sharing Grief

I find it difficult to cry in front of people, and I’m not even sure why.(1) Even when I want to cry, I can’t. Behind closed doors I dissolve into a fountain of expression. But as I listened to Anna’s story, mutinous tears escapes my eyes, and I made no effort to wipe them away. I ached inside for this woman who had suffered one of the greatest kinds of loss in life. How was she still so graciously soft instead of hardened with bitterness?

She was his mother. She had carried him inside of her for nine months. She had felt the exhilaration of her child’s arrival into the world. She had held him, fed him, protected him, dreamed for him, cherished him. She would have given her very life for him.

As she held Jonathan’s tiny body in her arms sobs spilled from the depths of her soul. She carried him into the living room and looked desperately at her husband, pleading for him to fix what she knew could not be restored. Wordlessly, her husband gently took Jonathan from her arms. He looked at his son’s face, a face that resembled his own. He kissed the top of his head and then slowly, slowly raised his arms to lift the baby up to the heavens. Tears streamed down his face as he lifted his eyes upward in an act of submission to a fate that broke his heart.

Anna cried out in protest. No, no, no! She was not ready to give him back to God. He was an extension of her heart. She was not ready to part with him, not ready to accept what had been tragically forced on her.

For some time, she couldn’t bear to visit his grave. But in a sense, she visited it every day. There may have been a site where marble was engraved for everyone else to see, but his life and death were engraved on her heart. In that way, he stayed with her.

People tried to comfort her, but there is no comfort for such a loss. In an effort to console her, they said, “You’re young. You’ll have other children.” Perhaps, but she needed to grieve the loss of this child.

Over the years, Anna brought three more children into the world, but her family did not go to South America as missionaries as they planned. The call to South American had included Jonathan, and the idea of going without him brought with it enormous pain that was too much to bear. Twenty years passed before she returned to that calling and began to carefully unwrap it again. I want to believe that God understood this. Somehow, for me, it would seem to uphold the integrity of grief.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Sharing Grief

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Spirit and Adoption

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:14-16).

The Holy Spirit confirms in our hearts the reality of adoption into God’s family.

In first-century Rome, people did not practice adoption exactly the same as they do today. A father sometimes adopted a young man outside the family to be the primary heir of the father’s name and estate. If the father considered his natural sons unworthy, he would find someone else with the qualities he wanted in a son. The adopted son would then take precedence over any of the real sons in the inheritance process. Thus the new son received many rights and privileges he would not have had otherwise; he was not merely a second-class citizen rescued from homelessness.

Likewise, it requires more than a natural birth process for us to become members of God’s family. We become God’s children because He sovereignly chose to grant us spiritual rebirth (John 1:12-13). That’s the substance of biblical adoption.

Therefore, adoption and regeneration are both terms that describe how God brought us to Himself (see 2 Cor. 5:17). Regeneration makes us sons and daughters and prepares us for our eternal inheritance. Adoption names us “sons of God” and actually gives us the title to our inheritance. Once this occurs, all our former debts (sins) are canceled, and we have a right to be in God’s presence without condemnation.

The entire process of adoption is superintended by the Holy Spirit, who repeatedly confirms its reality in our hearts. He transfers us from an alien family into God’s family and thus “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16). If you are a Christian, you can, by the indwelling Spirit, know that you are legally and eternally God’s child.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to give you a renewed sense of joy and thanksgiving throughout this day as you remember the blessings of being his adopted child.

For Further Study

Read Genesis 12:1-8.

  • What commands and promises did God make?
  • Had Abraham known God in the same way prior to this passage?
  • Does God’s promise in any sense parallel the concept of adoption? Explain.

 

http://www.gty.org

Wisdom Hunters – Practice Your Faith 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. Psalm 111:10

Some of my earliest childhood memories revolve around sports. Yes, these memories include game day glory (or at least aspirations of glory), but to be honest, the more frequent memories that come to mind are quite mundane and ordinary. Inspired by the great Peter “Pistol Pete” Maravich, I remember lying in bed for what seemed like hours, practicing my basketball shot. I remember bouncing a ball off the side of our house over, and over, and over again. It is these moments – the driveway layups or game of catch with my dad – that made a lasting impression. And in fact, without the daily commitment to develop and refine these skills, game day success would have been even more elusive and unlikely! While this is true of athletic pursuits, it is also true of our spiritual formation and health.

In our spiritual journeys we often look for moments of rapturous joy, wonder, and amazement. We attend convicting church services, transcendent concerts, and inspiring conferences, and we should be quick to thank God for these opportunities. However, if these moments aren’t supported by the daily practice of our faith in simple and humble ways, we run the risk of becoming spiritual thrill seekers, always looking for the dramatic encounter of God yet missing his still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12).

Practicing your faith isn’t a form of works righteousness. There’s a great difference between practicing your faith and striving for perfection in your own strength or for selfish gain. Jesus warns directly against this, reminding us to always “beware of practicing our righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them” (Mt. 6:23). However, later on in Matthew’s gospel Jesus warns people against not practicing their faith, speaking against people who “preach, but do not practice” (Mt. 23:3).

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Practice Your Faith 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Honesty Is Healing

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.

Psalm 42:5

Recommended Reading

Matthew 26:36-38

Counselors tell us the first step in overcoming a problem is admitting the problem exists. That’s why introductions at many recovery group meetings begin with, “Hi, I’m (name) and I’m (name of the problem).” Such self-talk is hard, but in identifying the problem the next steps can move directly toward resolution.

Two of the wisest, godliest men in the Bible used self-talk and plain language when describing their despondency. David spoke to his own soul, asking, “Why are you cast down . . . and why are you disquieted?” And Jesus, on the night of His betrayal and arrest, readily admitted to His disciples that His “soul [was] exceedingly sorrowful, even to death” at the prospect of what lay ahead of Him (Matthew 26:38). Yet along with their honest confessions of pain they voiced their trust in God—David in the same breath as his confession and Jesus moments later when He put His faith in God’s will rather than His own (Luke 22:42).

Tell God, as David did, or tell God and your friends, as Jesus did, if you are hurting. But only tell friends who will strengthen your faith in God.

For the Christian, honesty is not the best policy, it is the only one.

John Blanchard

Read-Thru-the-Bible

Micah 1 – 4

 

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

Joyce Meyer – The Critical Mind

A[Jesus said] A good (healthy) tree cannot bear bad (worthless) fruit, nor can a bad (diseased) tree bear excellent fruit [worthy of admiration]. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Therefore, you will fully know them by their fruits. — Matthew 7:18-20

Have you ever met someone who had “the gift of suspicion”? They are everywhere—even in church. Recently I heard a man commenting about such a woman in his church. He said she always seemed to think the worst of everyone. If someone did something generous, she would say, “What does he expect to get out of that? I suppose he wants us all to bow and thank him.”

On one occasion, someone commented about what a friendly, happy person an usher was. “That’s his public face,” the woman said. “He’s always smiling, but I’ll bet when he gets home and away from everyone else, he doesn’t smile like that.”

He went on to say if someone chided her for her critical attitude, the woman only responded by saying, “I just call things as I see them. You’re always trying to make things look better than they are.”

The man finally realized that it wasn’t good for him to be around her, and he began to distance himself from her as much as possible.

I believe this man made a good decision. I have discovered during my years in ministry that when someone with a critical spirit comes into a group or a meeting, it doesn’t take much for others to become infected with it. It reminds me of the saying about one bad apple spoiling the whole bushel.

Over the years, I’ve met people who were very much like this lady. They’re often tormented by their judgmental attitudes, critical spirits, and suspicious minds. They also destroy many relationships by their words.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – The Critical Mind

Girlfriends in God – Blessings In the Pool

Today’s Truth

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed.

Proverbs 11:25

Friend to Friend

It all started with a swimsuit. I had to buy one. Dan and I were joining our kids and grandkids for a week of family vacation in Charleston, South Carolina. The beach, a swimming pool, and water parks were on the agenda, and I wanted to do them all!

Ladies, I know you can understand my feelings of terror at the thought of having to find a swimsuit that actually fits and looks good on me. I had two days before we left, and both of those days were crammed full – appointments, meetings, and writing deadlines stared me in the face.

I prayed. Yes. I. Did. I asked God to help me find the right swimsuit. It had to be modest, it had to look good on me, and it had to be cheap!

On my way home from a doctor’s appointment, I passed one of my favorite stores. I only go in this store when they are having a huge sale and when I have a coupon. I saw the bright red “Clearance” signs in the store window and knew I had a great coupon in my purse. Yes!

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Blessings In the Pool

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Power to Witness

“But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8, KJV).

While I was speaking to a group of theological students in Australia, one young man became very angry and argumentative when I emphasized the importance of witnessing for Christ daily as a way of life and explained that disobedient Christians cannot be Spirit-filled. Not to witness for Christ is to disobey our Lord’s specific command. Therefore, any Christian who does not regularly share his faith in Christ cannot walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

“I work day and night to maintain good grades,” he declared, “I don’t have time to witness while in seminary. I can witness after I become a pastor.”

Many Christians make similar excuses for their lack of witness, but none are valid. Some say they do not have the gift of evangelism. Others say they are still preparing for the day when they will be witnesses. Some pastors believe it is the responsibility of their members to witness, and they are to preach and teach the Word. Yet the Bible clearly teaches that all believers are to be witnesses with their lives and with their lips. It is a command of God.

On thousands of occasions we have found that pastors, students and laymen who have never introduced anyone to our Lord become fruitful witnesses when they learn how to live a Spirit-filled life and are taught how to share their faith in Christ with others. The apostle Paul, who was a Spirit-filled witness, shares in Colossians 1:28 how everywhere we go we are to tell everyone who will listen about Christ.

Bible Reading: Luke 24:45-49

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today – and every day – I will ask the Holy Spirit to direct me to those whose hearts He has prepared, and to anoint and empower me to speak convincingly, lovingly and effectively of our Savior.

 

http://www.cru.org

Ray Stedman – Two Possibilities

Read: Romans 8:5-8

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Romans 8:5

There are two possibilities as Christians that will determine if we manifest the righteousness of God, depending on whether we walk according to the Spirit or according to the flesh. The difference is what you set your mind on, i.e., what you are thinking about all through the day, what is important to you. Is it the viewpoint of the flesh, which governs the thinking of the world? Or is it the viewpoint of the Spirit — God’s viewpoint — on life? That is the determining factor — what you do with your thinking. Where you set your mind is going to make the difference.

What is the mind set of the person who lives according to the flesh? You only have to look around to see what that is. It is the natural viewpoint of life. People want to make money, because money provides comfort and conveniences that we would like to have. People want to have fun. People want pleasure, money and fame. People will give their right arm to gain influence and prestige. People desire to fulfill themselves. They want to manifest every capability that is within them. That is what the world lives for. And it wants it all now, not later. That is the natural point of view.

You say, What’s wrong with that? There really is nothing wrong with that, unless that is all you want. If that is all you want, then it is very wrong. This is what the Scriptures help us to see — that there is another point of view, which is life viewed according to the Spirit. Ah, you say, I know what that means! That means you have to forget about making money and having fun and fulfilling yourself. All you do is go around memorizing Scripture and thinking about God all day long. You go around reciting Scripture verses and telling people what is wrong with their lives.

Many people think that is what we are talking about when we say that we are to have our minds set on the things of the Spirit. But, of course, if you see people like that, you soon discover that kind of life does not produce the results this passage tells us should be there. That is really nothing but another form of being run by the flesh — it’s a religious form of it, but it is the same thing.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – Two Possibilities

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Gladness of the Best

Read: Hebrews 1:5-9

God . . . has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions. (v. 9)

In previous lines Herbert has written about “joy” and “bliss”; now he adds another word, similar in meaning though with its own distinctive flavor, namely, “gladness.” But of all his metaphors I find this phrase “gladness of the best” among the most intriguing. What might have suggested it to him?

One “gladness” text that links Old Testament and New is Psalm 45:7, quoted in today’s reading from Hebrews 1. The psalm is a song composed for a royal marriage, and what it says about the king, the royal bridegroom, is in Hebrews applied to Christ. We can take what you might call a stereoscopic view of the two texts, superimposing one image on the other, and before our eyes there stands out three-dimensionally the picture of God the Son anointed by God the Father in a ceremony that is suffused with gladness.

And what makes this the best kind of gladness? What qualifies Jesus to receive this anointing from his Father?

It is that he has “loved righteousness and hated wickedness” (Heb. 1:9). It’s as simple as that. Except that he has come into our lives with a total commitment to the one and a pitiless enmity to the other, on a scale that we cannot comprehend. And we can readily see the bearing this has on our prayer lives. It will be with unbounded confidence that I shall bring my prayers to such a king.

 

Here is the poem in its entirety:

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Gladness of the Best

Greg Laurie – When You’re Unwilling

But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

—Matthew 5:44–45

My mother was married and divorced seven times. I had the privilege of sharing the gospel with several of my mother’s husbands, including Oscar Laurie, the man who adopted me. He came to faith in Christ, and I was very thankful for that. However, there was another husband of hers whom I will call Eddie. He was an alcoholic and almost killed my mother one night when he was drunk.

After I became a Christian, I sensed that God wanted me to share the gospel with Eddie. But I didn’t really want to. I thought, He is a bad man, and I don’t want to talk to him again. I don’t want to see him again. But I went anyway. And I would like to say that it was a glorious experience and that he got down on his knees and accepted Christ. But I can’t say that. He listened to me. He was nice. He was pleasant about it and said, “Well, you know I am glad this has happened for you, Greg.” I invited him to come and hear me preach, but he again said no.

There may be someone like that in your life who has hurt you, someone who has disappointed you. And you think because of that, you don’t ever want to talk to them again, much less share the gospel with them. But as believers, we are to overcome our personal prejudice and hang-ups. And instead of saying, “Never, Lord,” we need to say, “Yes, Lord!” Be willing. See what God will do. They may react like Eddie. Or they may react like Oscar.

Maybe there is even someone right now whom you regard as an enemy. What can you do? You can share the gospel—and leave the results in the hands of God.

 

https://www.harvest.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – God’s “Suitcase” for the Journey of Life

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Timothy 3:16-17)

“You put your suitcase in the car. Right, honey?” TJ’s mom asked as she pulled out of the driveway.

TJ was going to camp for the first time, and he was excited. “Yes!” he called from the back seat.

“Okay, just checking.” She smiled as she said it. For about a week, she had been packing TJ’s suitcase for camp. She kept it open in his room so that she could add necessary items as she thought of them. TJ did not really know what all was in there, but he did know she had been to Wal-Mart four times just to buy things for his trip!

TJ enjoyed his week at camp. But when he got home, he admitted to his mom that parts of his week had not been the best. “I got really hungry in the afternoons, Mom. I wanted to buy some snacks and souvenirs but didn’t have any cash!”

“Oh, TJ,” his mom replied. “I put your wallet in your suitcase. It had $30 in it for you to spend. Did you eat all the snacks I sent you?”

“What snacks?” TJ asked.

“Oh, honey. It was all in your suitcase. Did you even open it up?”

“Not really, Mom,” replied TJ. “I didn’t want to take the time. Were there clean clothes in there too?”

You might be thinking, TJ wasn’t very smart to keep his suitcase shut all week long!

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God’s “Suitcase” for the Journey of Life

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – All Hardship Is Discipline

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 12:7

“It is for discipline that you have to endure.”

All hardship of whatever kind has a disciplinary purpose for us. There’s no such thing as pain without a purpose in the life of a believer. Every expression of discipline has as its intended end conformity to the likeness of Christ.

Can we tell if a particular adversity is related to some specific sin in our lives? Not with certainty, but my belief is that the Holy Spirit will bring such a connection to our attention if we need to know in order to deal with a particular sin. If nothing comes to mind, we can ask God if there’s something he wants us to consciously learn. Beyond that, it’s vain to speculate as to why God has brought a particular hardship into our lives. Part of the sanctifying process of adversity is its mystery—our inability to make any sense out of it.

Although all pain has a purpose in the mind of God, that purpose is usually hidden from us. As Paul wrote, “how unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33). The Williams New Testament expresses Paul’s thought in an even more forceful way: “how unsearchable his decisions, and how mysterious his methods!” God’s ways, being infinitely higher than our ways, will usually remain a mystery to us.

When we’re unable to make any sense of our circumstances, we need to come back to the assurance in Hebrews 12:7: “God is treating you as sons.” He is the one in charge of sanctification in our lives. He knows exactly what and how much adversity will develop more Christ-likeness in us and he will not bring, nor allow to come into our lives, any more than is needful for his purpose. (Excerpt taken from The Discipline of Grace)

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Doing What Comes Naturally

Today’s Scripture: Acts 8-9

Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! – -1 Corinthians 9:16

There is a saying in management circles that “people do not do what you expect but what you inspect.” Today’s passage of Scripture indicates this is not true of the personal witness of a motivated Christian. For some Christians, witnessing is reserved for the one night a week when they go out calling in the visitation program. They talk to people about Christ, but that’s it for the week.

What a contrast with the report in Acts 8:4-5: “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.”

We find Philip in the city of Samaria, apparently alone, with no apostle looking over his shoulder, witnessing to the entire city. Later, in Acts 8:26, we find Philip out in the desert, responding to the Lord’s prompting to catch up with an Ethiopian man in a chariot. The man was seeking the Lord, and Philip had the wonderful privilege of introducing him to Christ.

I believe the key to this kind of ongoing witness is found in the preceding chapters of Acts, where we see the apostles and other believers filled with the Holy Spirit, being unable to contain themselves when it came to talking about Christ. For them, witnessing was the natural thing to do.

When Christ fills our hearts and minds, we will naturally share Him. We don’t need an external manager to inspect us in order to get us to perform. The motivation comes from within, from Jesus.

Prayer

Lord, give me a vision for the lost so that my witness for You isn’t a duty but the natural product of my relationship with You. Amen.

To Ponder

True witness for Christ is not coerced or forced; it is the overflow of a life of fellowship with the Savior.

 

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BreakPoint – We are Nature’s Caretakers, Not Her Undertakers

Imagine a team of paleontologists eons from now, excavating the remains of ancient life. “Aha!,” says one, holding up a finger stained with petroleum grease. “Look here,” says another, brandishing a petrified Coca-Cola bottle. “Yes, this confirms it,” remarks a third, holding up a fossilized chicken bone. “This layer is Anthropocene.”

That’s precisely the scene one group of experts seemed to have in mind at this summer’s meeting of the International Geological Congress. The group’s chair, a professor at the University of Leicester, argued that human beings have so profoundly altered our planet that we have entered a new geologic era. The so-called “Anthropocene,” or “era of man,” will be easy to recognize in future rock layers by its distinctive strata of garbage, radioactive fallout, carbon pollution, and yes—chicken bones. At least, that’s what these scientists claim.

And there’s another marker of the Anthropocene: a so-called “Sixth Extinction.” The current die-off of species at the hands of human beings is so severe, say some scientists, that it’s comparable to the extinction of the dinosaurs and other major die-offs in Earth’s history.

“Nature is dead,” we might paraphrase Nietzsche, “and we have killed her.” But is this bleak picture of our relationship with all other life really accurate? Are we really entering the geologic era of man?

Let’s not flatter ourselves, says environmentalist and author Stewart Brand. In a recent essay at Aeon, Brand argues that notions like the “Anthropocene” and the “sixth extinction” aren’t just wrong. They’re a recipe for panic and paralysis when it comes to protecting our still-beautiful and wild Earth.

“Viewing every conservation issue through the lens of extinction threat is simplistic and usually irrelevant,” Brand writes. “Worse, it introduces an emotional charge that makes the problem seem cosmic and overwhelming rather than local and solvable.”

If doctors talked to their patients the way most environmentalists talk to the public, they’d begin every session by saying, “Well, you’re dying. Let’s see if we can do anything to slow that down a little.”

Continue reading BreakPoint – We are Nature’s Caretakers, Not Her Undertakers

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – A HEARTFELT PLEA

Read ESTHER 8:1–6

Thomas Cromwell was executed for treason on July 28, 1540. Before he met his fate, under the monarchy of Henry VIII, he wrote a letter to the king begging for mercy. Sent from his cell in the Tower of London, Cromwell pled: “Most gracious Prince, I cry for mercy, mercy, mercy!”

After reading of Haman’s punishment in Esther 7, we might assume that the edict targeting the Jewish people would be null and void. Certainly Esther and Mordecai were rejoicing! But in chapter 8, we again find Esther begging for mercy, asking the king to spare her life and the life of her people.

Before he responded, the king honored Mordecai by giving him the signet ring originally given to Haman. The ring bore the symbol of the king and was a representation of his power. Signet rings were pressed into clay to leave an impression and to authorize documents.

Giving the ring to Mordecai was another significant sign of recognition and respect. Echoing that action, Esther then appointed Mordecai over all of Haman’s estate. Clearly, his position in the kingdom had increased.

But Esther had a more consuming concern. Despite the punishment of Haman, the law which she protested was still in place. An edict, once signed and sealed by the king, would be considered final. The severity of the situation is clear from Esther’s actions: she wept and fell prostrate at the king’s feet. Her life and the lives of her people were hanging in the balance.

She asked the king to write another law which would save her people. “For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people?” (v. 6). Would God work through this earthly king to deliver His people?

APPLY THE WORD

When subjects approached the king, they could never be certain of the response. No wonder Esther was nervous. We serve a merciful God, who invites us to bring our requests before Him. We can confess our sins, give Him praise, and share our needs with the Lord, knowing that He is loving and gracious to His people.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Denison Forum – SISTINE CHAPEL FRESCOES ARE COMING TO DALLAS  

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Michelangelo’s frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. They are more stunning than any movie or photograph can depict. Soon, however, you won’t have to go to Rome to view them. You will be able to see them in Dallas instead.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition makes its first stop in the US at the State Fair of Texas, which opens in Dallas on September 30. The works will be displayed in their original size, reproduced as thirty-four photographs displayed on sixteen-foot panels.

In a way, it’s surprising that Michelangelo’s masterpiece will be displayed at this city-sponsored event. The frescoes are overtly religious, depicting God’s creation of Adam and Eve as well as a variety of biblical prophets and heroes. Given the rising tide against religious freedom, we can envision a day when such depictions will be allowed only inside church buildings.

Consider the frightening US Commission on Civil Rights report making headlines today. It states clearly that if someone alleges discrimination relative to their sexual orientation or gender identity, their claim takes precedence over religious freedom. The Commission’s chairman summarized the report: “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance” (my emphasis).

Here’s my question: If the Commission’s report becomes reality, will Christians be unable to engage in any public faith expression that someone considers intolerant? What would an atheist say about the Sistine Chapel display at the State Fair of Texas? What would a same-sex couple say about my refusal to perform their wedding?

Continue reading Denison Forum – SISTINE CHAPEL FRESCOES ARE COMING TO DALLAS