Charles Stanley – Using a Wrong Approach

 

Genesis 3:1-8

The Lord promises to supply our needs, but that means in His way and time frame. There might be temptations to take a wrong approach, so we must be careful not to push ahead of God or follow a route that leads away from Him.

Some people think their security rests in bank accounts, prestige, other people, or possessions. This can lead to becoming a workaholic who sacrifices relationships for financial gain. Or it could tempt someone to engage in unethical activities. In contrast, by basing our life on the security we have in Christ, we will have peace of mind and heart.

Another unhealthy way to meet our needs involves looking for companionship outside of God’s established boundaries. We may find temporary excitement in an inappropriate relationship, but in the end, that road brings pain and disappointment.

The enemy wants us to provide for ourselves in a way that is independent of God and out of line with His will. Satan deceived Adam and Eve by implying that the Lord was keeping some important information from them; he suggested that his course of action, not the Creator’s, would make them wise. The first man and woman exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and it cost them dearly. If we allow wrong thinking to direct our actions, we get ourselves into a lot of trouble, too.

It’s important to understand what we have received through our relationship with Jesus. Learning to depend on Him will help us avoid wrong approaches to getting what we need.

Bible in One Year: Habakkuk 1-3

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — True Riches

Read: Luke 12:22-34

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 3-4; Galatians 6

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.—Luke 12:34

At the memorial service for my friend’s dad, someone said to her, “Until I met your father, I didn’t know a person could have fun while helping others.” Her dad contributed his part in helping to build the kingdom of God through serving people, laughing and loving, and meeting strangers who became friends. When he died, he left a legacy of love. In contrast, my friend’s aunt—her father’s older sister—viewed her possessions as her legacy, spending her latter years worrying about who would protect her heirlooms and rare books.

In His teaching and by His example, Jesus warned His followers to avoid hoarding possessions, to give to the poor, and to value what will not rust or decay. “For where your treasure is,” Jesus said, “there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).

We might think our things give meaning to our life. But when the latest gadget breaks or we misplace or lose something valuable, we begin to realize that it is our relationship with the Lord that satisfies and endures. It is our love and care for others that does not wither and fade away.

Let’s ask the Lord to help us see clearly what we value, to show us where our heart is, and to help us seek His kingdom above all (12:31). —Amy Boucher Pye

What do you value? Read the story about the manna in the wilderness in Exodus 16. Consider how this story relates to Jesus’s words to the crowds in Luke 12.

What we value reveals the state of our heart.

INSIGHT: The theme of true riches, as seen in today’s devotional, is one that is also found in the book of Proverbs. Since this book is a collection of wise sayings, it is no surprise that it would have much to offer about our attitudes toward wealth and material possessions. In Proverbs 8:18 we read that all of the blessings of life, whether material or spiritual, are a gift from God.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Three Questions

As a Christian writer and speaker, I am often asked what the most frequent questions are regarding the Christian faith. Of course, I am frequently asked questions of an intellectual or historic nature: Did Jesus of Nazareth really exist? Is his resurrection from the dead a historical event? How is one to understand the Bible as the Word of God? For some, the questions never go beyond intellectual curiosity or pursuit. For others, these questions need to be answered for constructing a sound apologetic.

Probe a bit deeper, however, and it isn’t difficult to discover that many questions come from the deepest places of the heart. They come because of personal experience with suffering of one form or another. Is there a God? If so, does that God care about me, know me? If so, why does God seemingly allow so much suffering? When the fervent prayers of righteous men and women do not prevent the cancer from spreading, or the child from dying, or the plane from crashing, or the marriage from failing, these more existential questions come like water bursting through the dam.

The kinds of questions I receive are not unique to my contemporary context. They have been asked for millennia. The technical term for the theist’s response to the issue of suffering is called theodicy. Theodicy is the word given in the seventeenth century by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, one of the great intellectual thinkers of the Enlightenment period.(1) Theodicy attempts to explain how and why there can be suffering in the world if God is all-powerful and loving. In trying to solve this problem, some thinkers have denied the omnipotence of God; God is all-loving, but not able to do anything about suffering. Others dispense of the notion that God is all-loving, at least in any conventional understanding. But neither of these alternatives provides a satisfactory answer.

Intellectual wrangling over this problem, aside, the experience of suffering in light of both the goodness and power of God has caused many to doubt God, and others to walk away from faith altogether. If God does not prevent suffering, and if God does not care about the sufferer, then for some, the only alternative appears to be that God cannot exist in any meaningful way.

The Disciples See Christ Walking on the Water, Henry Ossawa Tanner, oil on canvas, 1907.

The writers of Scripture wrestled with these questions too. Often, they provided different ways of answering these questions. Some believed that suffering resulted from sin. Others believed that God causes suffering as a form of punishment. Still others asserted that suffering brings redemption.(2)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Three Questions

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Spirit Unveils the New Covenant

“Whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (2 Corinthians 3:15-16).

One of the most important truths the Holy Spirit unveils for us is the glory of the New Covenant.

The Old Testament contains many veiled statements, types, prophecies, and parables. The Israelites didn’t understand most of those things because the Old Testament didn’t have plainness of speech. Its glory was veiled and was even described as fading away (2 Cor. 3:13-14).

In contrast to the Old Covenant, the present New Covenant age is characterized by the clarity of all the key doctrinal and practical passages in the New Testament. This progress from the veiled glory of the previous era to the unveiled glory of the present era occurred when the Holy Spirit came in the Book of Acts. All that God wants us to know and do is clearly brought into focus now because of the teaching ministry of the indwelling Spirit.

The Spirit guides and enlightens New Covenant believers as they read and study God’s Word. Therefore, there is no longer any need, for example, to unscramble the pictures and prophecies regarding Christ. Thus Paul can say, “We use great plainness of speech” (2 Cor. 3:12, KJV). He goes on to say in verses 17-18, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

Those verses describe the essence of the Christian life: becoming like Jesus Christ. The only way to do that is to know well the unveiled glory of the New Covenant and allow the Holy Spirit to change you more and more into the Savior’s image.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • As you go through this day, ask the Lord to remind you often of the glory, clarity, and freedom you have under the New Covenant.
  • Pray that all your actions would reflect this truth.

For Further Study

  • Hebrews 8 begins a discussion and outline of the superiority of the New Covenant. Read this chapter, and record what it says are differences and improvements from the Old to the New Covenant.
  • Who mediates the New Covenant?

 

http://www.gty.org

Wisdom Hunters – Don’t Stick Your Fingers in All the Chocolates

If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. John 15:10

Have you ever struggled with fully obeying God? I have. I once sensed the Lord nudging me toward obedience. It was as if He was telling me to let go of some potential opportunities because I was giving them too much importance in my life; they were edging in on the place in my heart reserved just for Him. These opportunities were like a box of chocolates.

It was as if God was saying, “Wait! Don’t eat those. I have something better for you.” But, because I didn’t fully trust God I didn’t listen, so I gave into temptation and I “stuck my fingers” in all of the “chocolates of opportunity.” I still wanted to check out the possibilities because I doubted God would show up. I wanted a back-up. So, I hedged the line of disobedience without completely disobeying. And, because I hadn’t completely submitted to Him, I didn’t have peace, so panic ruled my life instead.

“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).

Have you ever been there? Remember, we may partially obey God, but it’s still disobedience. Even if we are only “partially sinning,” we won’t experience peace because it’s only where God rules that peace reigns. We may partially obey God in a small matter like purchasing a car, or in something bigger like getting married, or following Him into a new calling. If God says to wait, or if he chooses another option for us, maybe we think, “Well, it’s not really a big deal if I change things up just a little, right?” We must be careful not to deceive ourselves. We will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Don’t Stick Your Fingers in All the Chocolates

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Precious Promises

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

2 Peter 3:13

Recommended Reading

Peter 1:2-4

Perhaps the most important lesson children learn growing up is trust—the promises of a parent: “I’ll be there at three o’clock to pick you up.” “Yes, you can go to summer camp this year.” Despite best intentions, sometimes life intervenes and promises aren’t kept. But if children learn that promises are a pathway through problems, they will learn to trust God’s promises, too.

God has made lots of promises to His people, beginning with promises to Noah after the Flood (Genesis 9:8-11) and later to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). Throughout the ages, God’s bedrock promise has been of a “new heavens and a new earth.” When life on this earth gets difficult, as it is bound to do (Job 5:7), we have the promise that something better is coming. That promise may not dull the immediate pain of the present, but it gives us hope. We know that God has not forgotten us. We have His “great and precious promises” to depend on (2 Peter 1:4). And, unlike human promises, God’s promises never fail.

Make a habit of noting God’s promises when you read the Bible. They are a lifeline that pulls us through the bumps in this world to the bliss of the next.

The whole covenant is a bundle of promises.

Thomas Brooks

Read-Thru-the-Bible

Haggai 1 – 2

 

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

Joyce Meyer – Try Some Shrug Therapy

Do not be quick in spirit to be angry or vexed, for anger and vexation lodge in the bosom of fools. – Ecclesiastes 7:9

There are some things you can control in life—who your friends are, what you eat, and when you go to bed, for example. There are other things you can’t control, such as what other people say or the flat tire you got last night. The way you respond to things you can’t control helps determine your stress level and your quality of life and health. I have two suggestions about dealing with things you can’t control. First, if you can’t control them, don’t take responsibility for them. And second, I like to say, “Do your best, pray, and let God do the rest!”

People who regularly get upset over small things suffer in many ways. People who shrug them off do much better. Shrugging off certain things doesn’t mean you are indifferent; it simply means you’ve accepted the fact that you can’t do anything to change them at that time. The flat tire has already happened. Calling someone to come fix it makes sense; throwing a tantrum and kicking the tire does not. We need to deal appropriately with each stressor as it arises so that we don’t end up exploding in frustration over the unavoidable bumps on the road of life.

God works in mysterious ways. You never know when He may use some inconvenience or frustration for your good. He is in control, and if you trust Him to work things out, you’ll be able to ride the ups and downs of life with peace, joy, and strength.

Love Yourself Today: Refuse to live in frustration. Take life one day at a time, and when things happen that you don’t like, say, “It is what it is and God is still in control.”

From the book Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Girlfriends in God – The Miracle is On Its Way

Today’s Truth

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Colossians 4:2

Friend to Friend

Christmas morning is serious business at the Southerland home. The sequence of events does not vary. First come the stockings. Everyone has a bulging stocking spilling over with small gifts.

And I am not talking about just any old stocking stuffers. I listen and question and watch our children and grandchildren all year long to see what makes their eyes sparkle and their faces light up.

I keep an ever-evolving Christmas list. No one knows where I keep it. And no one ever will if I can help it. I begin buying stocking stuffers and gifts each summer, and I stash them in secret hiding places around the house. I told you … serious business!

After the stockings are opened, we take a break to clean up and eat breakfast. Dan then reads the Christmas story and talks about the miracle of Jesus’ birth.

It is then time to open gifts. We try to follow the rule of taking turns so everyone can enjoy the process. It works pretty well with the adults, but not so much with the kids. The adults usually end up waiting to open gifts until the kids have opened all of theirs. Watching the children really is my favorite part of the day.

One Christmas, God used our oldest grandson to teach me an important lesson. He was six years old at the time and desperately wanted a red remote control Corvette for Christmas. All year long I had heard about this amazing car, so when I found it during a Christmas in July sale, I quickly bought it and stashed it in one of my secret spots.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – The Miracle is On Its Way

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Ask What You Will

“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7, KJV).

When Campus Crusade for Christ began at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1951, our first act was to organize a 24-hour prayer chain. Around the clock, scores of men and women interceded for UCLA students and faculty. God answered prayer in a remarkable way, as His Spirit touched the entire campus.

Thirty-one years later, more than 16,000 full-time and associate staff members of Campus Crusade for Christ in more than 150 countries and protectorates are teaching millions of others the importance of prayer, with revolutionary spiritual results and many millions receiving Christ.

Prayer has always been the breathe, life, vitality, strength and power of the Christian. Beginning with our Lord, who spent much time in prayer, and continuing with the disciples and fruitful, Spirit-filled Christians through the centuries, prayer remains a major emphasis in the life of every believer.

History records no mighty men or women of God whose lives were not characterized by prayer, nor any great spiritual movements, awakenings or revivals that were not preceded by prayer. James 4:2 reminds us, “Ye have not, because ye ask not.”

It is not enough to pray, we must pray according to the Word and will of God. For that reason, understanding and obeying our Scripture assignment for today is crucial. We must abide in Christ and allow His Word to abide in us before we are qualified to pray. God’s Word reminds us, “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us; And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” (1 John 5:14,15, KJV).

Bible Reading: Matthew 7:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: From this day forth I will seek, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, to abide in Christ and have His Word abide in me. As I discover God’s Will through the diligent study of His Word and the leading of His Holy Spirit, I will pray more intelligently and thus can expect answers to my prayers.

 

http://www.cru.org

Ray Stedman – All Things

Read: Romans 8:26-28

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:26-28

Never separate these verses. The Spirit prays according to the mind of God, and the Father answers by bringing into our lives and working through the experiences that we need. He sends into our life the experiences that we need, no matter what they may be.

Now, that means that even the trials and tragedies that happen to us are an answer from the Father to the praying of the Spirit, doesn’t it? You may be in an automobile accident today. Someone may steal your purse. You may find your house is on fire. There are a thousand and one possibilities. What we need to understand is that these things do not happen by accident. They happen because the Spirit which is in you prayed and asked that the Father allow them to happen — because you or someone close to you needs what God will accomplish in them. These are the results of the praying of the Spirit.

The joys, the unexpected blessings, and the unusual things that happen to you are also the result of the Spirit’s praying. The Spirit is praying that these things will happen, he is voicing the deep concern of God himself for your needs and mine. Out of this grows the assurance that no matter what happens, God will work it together for good. This verse does not tell us that everything that happens to us is good. It does say that whether the situation is bad or good, it will work together for good for you if you are one who is loved and called by God. What a difference that makes as we wait for the coming of the glory! God is working out his purposes within us.

Paul is telling us here that we can wait with patience because nature testifies of his glorious coming, and our own experience confirms it as well. We are being prepared for something — we can’t really tell what it is, specifically, but we are getting ready for something. One of these days, at the end of our lives, if not before, we will step out of time into an incredible experience of glory, something that begs description — a glory that Christ himself shares, and that we all shall share with him.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – All Things

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Church-Bells Beyond the Stars

Read: Isaiah 33:17-20

The king in his beauty . . . a land of far distances. (v. 17)

“Church-bells beyond the stars heard”: here is a remarkable phrase. This is picture language, of course, but perhaps the strangest of all these metaphors for prayer. And here is light on it from another English poet, this time only one century ago! A. E. Housman wrote “Bredon Hill,” a notable viewpoint in the west of England: “In summertime on Bredon / The bells they sound so clear; / Round both the shires they ring them, / In steeples far and near.” We hear much less bell ringing in my country nowadays. But for Herbert in the 17th century, as for Housman in the early 20th, it was “a happy noise to hear.” Familiar, regular, a universal call to focus afresh on God and his gospel: “Good people, come and pray,” sang the bells.

But notice the background to today’s title. In the previous line of his sonnet the older poet has been stargazing, looking out at the vastness of the universe, to somewhere even beyond the Milky Way, where God the Creator-King sits enthroned. Truly his creation is “a land of far distances” (v. 17). Yet as Herbert’s mind struggles to take in this immensity, what happens? “Beyond the stars” he hears “church bells.” Good people, come and pray, sing the chiming steeples around Bredon. These gatherings of humble village folk, “summoned by bells,” are likely to be encounters with God even more real, and of greater significance, than what an astronomer might find at the far end of the universe.

Here is the poem in its entirety:

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Church-Bells Beyond the Stars

Greg Laurie – Perfect Peace

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.—Isaiah 26:3

I remember asking Billy Graham a number of years ago about what he experienced when he gave the invitation for people to come to Christ at a crusade. He said, “When I am preaching and giving the invitation, I feel like power is draining out of me.” I understand that, because it is a spiritual battle that rages on. When we are serving the Lord, it can be draining in many ways. It can even be draining spiritually.

Jesus, who was fully God, also was fully man. That means He was human just like you and me. He felt pain. He felt sorrow. He felt hunger. And He could feel weary from a hard day’s work. In Matthew 8, we read that Jesus, tired after a day of ministry, was sleeping soundly. He and the disciples were on a very primitive wooden boat, being tossed back and forth like a cork in the ocean.

How do you sleep in a storm like that? You can sleep in a storm when you’re confident in the will of God. In other words, you know you’re doing what you should be doing. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Sometimes the worries and pressures of life keep us awake at night. When this happens to me, I’ll pray about it and say, “Lord, I can’t worry about this for a while, so I’m going to let You worry about it. I’m going to get some shut-eye.” I’m being humorous, of course, because I know God isn’t going to worry about it. But I’m entrusting the matter to Him. That is what we need to do when we’re tired and overwhelmed by worry. We need to cry out to God.

 

https://www.harvest.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – God Sanctifies Us

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” (John 17:16-19)

What does it mean to “sanctify” something? “Sanctify” means to clean up something, to set something apart as special or for special use, to make it appropriate for a special purpose. The word “sanctify” has the idea of making something holy, purifying it, setting it apart for a special spiritual purpose.

Have you ever been in a stable? It is not especially clean, is it? There are animals in stables, and all the things that go along with animals – their food, the way they smell, the dirt that they get on them. Stables, even when they have been cleaned out, are not exactly clean! But they are clean enough for their purpose – to be a house for animals like cows and horses.

Have you ever been to the mother-baby floor of a hospital? There is a very special nursery room for the newborn babies there. It is a room set apart for them, and it is always kept 100% spic-and-span clean. Why? Because babies pick up germs and sicknesses very easily. It is important to keep germs away from them until they grow strong and healthy enough to fight off sicknesses. This room is so set apart that normal people (non-nurses and non-babies) have to wear special robes to go in there and sit with the babies. Sometimes they have to wear masks. Normal people would look funny wearing masks and robes in a supermarket or at the library – but in a hospital nursery, we do not think it is strange. It is appropriate and right to be careful around babies in a hospital nursery. That room is set apart just for them.

Now, even though Jesus was born in a stable, we would probably never dream of putting a newborn baby in a stable under normal circumstances. Even the cleanest of stables will still have germs and weird smells – and no nurses or masks or robes! So what made the stable where Jesus was born a good enough stable for His birth to happen in? Well, that stable was special because God, in His sovereign wisdom and power, had prepared it and set it apart for the birth of His Son. By itself, that stable would have been just as dirty and smelly – and as inappropriate for a nursery – as any other dirty and smelly stable. But because God chose it and “sanctified” it, it was a good enough place for Jesus’ birth.

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God Sanctifies Us

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The Reign of Christ

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 11:27

“All things have been handed over to me by my Father.”

The concept of Christ’s reign is stated most explicitly in the words of Jesus commonly known as the Great Commission: “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

Here Jesus first asserts his universal authority, then commands his disciples to go and make disciples—to bring people of all nations under the sway of his authority. Whatever other meanings we may include in the word disciple, it must capture this idea of coming under the reign and rule of Jesus Christ.

The reign of Christ among all nations is a parallel goal to that of bringing the blessing of Christ to all nations. The goal of Christ’s universal blessing focuses on people’s needs. They desperately need to be rescued from God’s coming wrath, and to be redeemed from their futile, destructive ways of life.

The goal of Christ’s reign focuses on his authority in the hearts of those people. Jesus came “to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14). This speaks of the rule and reign of Christ in the heart of every individual believer.

Both these goals—the blessing and the reign of Christ—are accomplished through the successful proclamation of the Gospel among all nations, or to the ends of the earth.

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Till All Have Heard

Today’s Scripture: Revelation 7-9

Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. – Romans 1:5-6

In 1983, I was privileged to attend the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam, Holland. That week of study, fellowship, and worship with thousands of traveling evangelists from around the world was an experience I will never forget.

Most of the delegates had been won to Christ by devoted messengers of the Cross, who left their homelands and brought their families to disease-ridden locales among suspicious, even hostile, people throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, India, and China. Many of their converts became missionaries to their own people and to those in other countries around the world. Seeing those people in Amsterdam, united in Christ, was like a preview of heaven.

In Revelation 7:9-10, the apostle John gives us a glimpse of a magnificent event in the future: “I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”

What a picture! Here are the fruits of the labors of consecrated men and women of God. But, Christian, the work isn’t done. What contribution are you making to world evangelization? Have you prayed about going for a short-term mission or for an extended time? Your skill may open a door to an effective ministry.

Prayer

Lord, use me in whatever way You choose, to bring people to Yourself. Amen.

To Ponder

The Lord is searching for people who will be willing to do whatever He requires for the Great Commission–to give, to pray, or to go.

 

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BreakPoint – Saving the Children: The Story of Irena Sendler

This past week, PBS premiered the latest film by Ken Burns. His subject was Waitstill Sharp, a Unitarian minister and his wife Martha, who, during World War II, helped smuggled at least 150 Jews out of Nazi-controlled areas, operating first in Prague and then in Lisbon.

It’s a remarkable story that is worth telling and hearing.

And there’s another story involving the rescue of as many as 2,500 Jews that Glenn Sunshine recently brought to our attention. And I promise, it’s a story that’s also worthy of your attention.

The protagonist of this story was a 29-year-old Polish social worker named Irena Sendler. Her responsibilities included taking care of countless people who had been dispossessed by the German occupation of her country.

The most vulnerable and most dispossessed were Warsaw’s Jews. Four hundred thousand of them were crowded into a three-and-one-half square mile area. At great personal risk, Sendler found a way to enter the Ghetto, which was off-limits to non-Jewish Poles, to see how she could help relieve the appalling conditions.

As her biographer wrote “Irena knew she had to help the sick and starving Jews who were imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto. She began by smuggling food, clothing, and medicine into the ghetto.”

But in the fall of 1942, half of the Ghetto’s inhabitants were deported to the Treblinka death camp, where they were immediately gassed upon arrival.

This barbarity led Sendler and her co-conspirators to declare war on Hitler and to redouble their efforts. Working in concert with Catholic orphanages, especially the Family of Mary orphanage in Warsaw, Sendler, code-named “Jolanta,” and her co-conspirators helped smuggle out an estimated 2,500 Jewish children by whatever means possible: hiding them in coffins, potato sacks, even in a tool box.

Continue reading BreakPoint – Saving the Children: The Story of Irena Sendler

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – CELEBRATION IN THE KINGDOM

Read ESTHER 9:16–19

The book of Ecclesiastes declares that for everything there is a season: “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (3:4). In the city of Susa and throughout the Persian kingdom, the Jewish people had reason to celebrate. They had been vindicated; the enemy had been vanquished.

Verses 16 through 18 summarize what took place on these two days of the month of Adar. When thousands of people attempted to attack the Jews in the provinces, they were killed— some 75,000 (v. 16). The Jews in Susa took two days to complete their triumph over their enemies. Notice that their deliverance required their participation—God had made a way of salvation, but they still had to take up arms to seize the victory.

At last, they had been given “relief from their enemies” (v. 16). Considering all the prior months filled with terror, weeping, and grief, this victory in battle brought long-anticipated calm and then an overwhelming spirit of joy.

This was a time to celebrate. Evil had been thwarted. God was in control. Two different days were named times for “joy and feasting.” In both cases, they observed the day by giving presents to one another. They had lived through a significant period of hardship, but they had also witnessed God’s provision in a miraculous way. He had been generous to them, so they now would be generous with one another (v. 19).

God created His people for times of work, times of rest, and times of celebration. In Exodus 10:9, Moses instructed the Israelites to “celebrate a festival to the Lord.” In Exodus 12:17, they celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread. God’s provision for His people deserves to be honored and remembered. It is a time for great joy.

APPLY THE WORD

God wants us to have time for work and time for rest and rejoicing. Be sure you observe a day of celebration in your regular routine. Whether a special meal or another meaningful observance, thank God for His provision and remember how He has worked in your life. We should rejoice, for we serve a good and generous God.

 

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Denison Forum – WHAT WOULD GOD SAY ABOUT LAST NIGHT’S DEBATE?

There’s much debate this morning over the results of last night’s presidential debate. Since undecided voters will likely decide the race, today’s Wall Street Journal is focusing especially on their response. And CNN is fact-checking the debate and discussing its implications for the race.

My question is different: How does God view the debate and what it says about America? I think he would respond in at least two ways.

One: He is grieved by the divisiveness of our culture.

Today’s New York Times actually understates the tone of the event: “Trump and Clinton Press Pointed Attacks in Debate.” From the email scandal to the birther issue, the candidates spent a great deal of time attacking each other. In this sense, they represented the nation they hope to lead.

Lee Drutman noted in a recent New York Times article: “Rather than being one two-party nation, we are becoming two one-party nations.” Drutman explains: most large cities, college towns, the Northeast and the West Coast are what he calls “deep-blue Democratic.” The South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and suburban and rural areas in between are “ruby-red Republican strongholds.”

Neither “nation” is changing anytime soon.

“Confirmation bias” has been defined as “a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.” We do this when we read and listen only to news sources with which we agree. Or when we watch a debate hoping our candidate will win rather than seeking to learn how each candidate would govern.

By contrast, God calls us to “have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (1 Peter 3:8). How much were these traits on display last night?

The Spirit wants to draw us to the Father that we might find unity in community with our Savior. As you discuss last night’s debate and the ongoing campaign, will you be a force for division or a voice for Jesus? For more on ways we can respond to the divisiveness of our culture, please see my latest website article, Why Are We So Divided?

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