Charles Stanley – Simple Acts of Obedience


Luke 5:1-7

Obeying God in small matters can bring blessing to many. Today’s passage illustrates this principle.

Simon Peter, a fisherman, had worked hard all night without catching anything. He was on the shore finishing his work when Jesus approached him. The Lord wanted to speak from the boat to the crowd on the beach. Despite a long, fruitless night of work, Peter agreed to take Jesus in the vessel. The crowd was blessed by listening to Christ.

God’s requests can come to us at unexpected moments. We may be tempted to let someone else respond to His call, thinking it will not matter who is the one to comply. But remember, His plans are designed for our benefit (Jer. 29:11).

Later Jesus made a second request to Peter—to move the boat into deeper water and let down the nets. The fisherman commented about the unlikelihood of catching anything but nevertheless did as Christ asked. Peter’s cooperation resulted in an abundance for the crowd, the other fishermen, their families, and himself.

Peter didn’t obey in order to be rewarded, yet that is precisely what happened. His simple acts of obedience led to greater opportunities for service and occasions for abundant blessing.

Some of us act as if obedience in the little things is unimportant. Peter’s story teaches us the opposite. Let’s commit to carrying out the Lord’s instructions in small matters as well as large ones, trusting that He will bring good from all obedience. Following God is always the right choice to make.

Bible in One Year: Zephaniah 1-3, Haggai 1-2

Our Daily Bread — Praying For You Today

Read: Romans 8:22-34

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 5-6; Ephesians 1

The Spirit himself intercedes for us . . . . [Christ Jesus] is also interceding for us.—Romans 8:26, 34

When we face a perplexing situation or a tough problem, we often ask our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for us. It’s a great encouragement to know that others who care are holding us up to God in prayer. But what if you don’t have close Christian friends? Perhaps you live where the gospel of Christ is opposed. Who will pray for you?

Romans 8, one of the great, triumphant chapters of the Bible, declares, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. . . . The Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Rom. 8:26-27). The Holy Spirit is praying for you today.

In addition, “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (v. 34). The living Lord Jesus Christ is praying for you today.

Think of it! The Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus Christ mention your name and your needs to God the Father, who hears and acts on your behalf.

No matter where you are or how confusing your situation, you do not face life alone. The Spirit and the Son are praying for you today! —David McCasland

Dear God, I bow in humble thanks for the prayers spoken by the Holy Spirit and by Your Son today—for me. What an amazing truth!

The Holy Spirit and Jesus are always praying for you.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Detective and Theory

If you want to investigate whether Sherlock Holmes was a real or fictional person, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. His “biography” is as easy to find as Winston Churchill’s (and there seems to be some fact/fiction confusion on both counts).(1) Between the years of 1887 and 1927, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote prolifically of the famous detective known for his heightened skills of observation and eccentric personality. Holmes was both memorable and beloved—and entirely fictional. It is a strange irony indeed that there are a great number of people who would claim the clues suggest otherwise. As Holmes himself once said, “The temptation to form premature theories upon insufficient data is the bane of our profession.”

The process of gathering and interpreting information is never ending. From childhood we learn patterns of life around us and create theories on how it all works and how we must live. Not knowing whether it is insufficient data or fast truth, children readily form theories. For instance: pans on the stove burn fingers. This is one theory a child might conclude having learned the hard way. But as data becomes more sufficient, a child’s theories are readily adjusted—namely, certain parts of a pan on a hot stove burn fingers. Though memory of the sting may last, there seems an unconscious acknowledgment that their theories are the means to understanding and relating to the world. This is very different then theorizing the end they might want, need, or hope to be true.

Strangely, the temptation Sherlock Holmes describes—forming theories upon insufficient data—seems to grow with age. As the questions we seek answers for become more difficult, so the ante for interpreting accurately increases as we grow older. And yet, as adults we are often less willing to adjust our theories. The biases we bring into investigating often prevent us from recognizing data as insufficient or even faulty. We also more readily remember the sting of being burned and hold onto it in our interpretation, so that even for some of life’s deepest questions we are responding with predisposed theories. For instance, God cannot exist because if God did exist my mother wouldn’t have died so young, or tsunamis and hurricanes wouldn’t kill people, or I wouldn’t still be struggling with my finances. But how would we respond to a child who insisted that if broccoli were good for her, it would taste like candy?

In one of his essays, F.W. Boreham writes of his grade school difficulties with geography class. When the teacher spoke of life in a far-off land, he found himself drifting off to scenes in that land and remaining there long after they had switched to another destination. One day, catching him in the midst of a daydream, the teacher called on Boreham and asked, “What part of the world are we studying?” Recognizing a fellow student in distress, a friend scribbled the correct rejoinder on the paper beside them. “Java is the answer,” said Boreham. “Good,” the teacher noted, “Now tell me, what was the question?”

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Detective and Theory

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – A Healthy Church

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12).

God has given every believer certain gifts and functions to contribute to the health of the church and enable it to communicate the gospel to the world.

God fervently desires to reach the whole world with the gospel’s truth (Acts 1:8). Therefore, the Holy Spirit has specially energized members of Christ’s Body, the church, to fulfill God’s great desire for the world. In Old Testament times, Israel was God’s agency to reach other peoples. During New Testament history, Christ and the apostles were the outreach vehicles God used. Today the church is the channel God uses to tell the world about His nature and His truth.

The Lord wants this collection of believers to be strong and functioning well. Besides providing the gifted church leaders mentioned in today’s verses, it is God’s plan to equip every member with a specific gift that will help the church grow and be a healthy witness to its community. Just as a human body has a variety of organs that must function and interact properly for the vitality of the entire body, any believer’s consistent use of his gift helps to build up the church.

Spiritual gifts are not showered randomly, but God gives believers differing gifts so the church might display a composite reflection of Christ’s character. Therefore, believers will never begin to reach their full spiritual maturity unless all the gifts are being ministered among members of the church.

For instance, if a pastor ministers by preaching, his people should communicate more effectively. If someone ministers the gift of mercy, another believer receives the direct benefit but also learns how to show mercy. As spiritual gifts are used, everyone is built up to be more like Christ and manifest His character traits. By this process, the Holy Spirit helps the church to reflect the total Person of Christ. How are you doing in contributing your gift to God’s plan?

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that the leaders and all the members of your church would consistently display a unified, solidly biblical testimony to the community.

For Further Study

Read Acts 1:12-14; 2:1-4, 37-47.

  • How did the early believers demonstrate their unity?
  • What were the primary results of the Spirit’s ministry on the Day of Pentecost?

Wisdom Hunters – God’s Ways Fulfilled

But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets. Revelation 10:7

Our gracious God guarantees a grant of wisdom in His ways. He wants us to experience His eternal aim for His glory. His purpose fulfillment started when we placed our faith in Jesus. This was our contract with Christ that laid the responsibility of fulfilling His purpose at the feet of our heavenly Father. Our Lord finishes what He begins. Whatsoever the Lord takes in hand, He will accomplish. So we trust the Almighty with the fulfillment of His ways for our life.

The mystery of God’s plan had already been announced to His servants the prophets in the first coming of Jesus as a suffering servant for the sins of mankind, and in Christ’s second coming as reigning King and Judge of the sins of mankind. Without faith, the ways of the Lord remain a mystery, but by faith God’s children are able to see God’s ways. Faith brings real fulfillment.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Prayer prepares us to harvest heaven’s purpose for our life. We cry out to the Most High because there is nothing and no one any higher. God is the divine decision maker. He is our Maker. Nowhere else we can go to understand the purpose of our lives other than the Lord Jesus Christ. We cry out to Christ because He has adopted us. Our Heavenly Father defines our purpose by His purpose for us. Prayer positions us to be led by the Holy Spirit. He fulfills His purposes.

Lean into the Lord to be led into His plan for your life. Once you establish His purpose for you, leverage it for others. Use your strength of position to help others discover their God-given purpose. Have them list their gifts, skills, passions and experiences. Pray with them about how God wants to collate their assets for Christ. No season of life is insignificant in the Lord’s eyes. Don’t wish away where you are today. By faith, you can be sure that Christ is currently fulfilling your purpose. Affirm your goals are God-given and trust Him with their fulfillment!

“I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose to me” (Psalm 57:2).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I wait on You to show me the way to go and I’ll trust you all the way.

Application: What is the role of prayer in fulfilling God’s plan? How can I adjust my goals to reflect God’s?

Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 28:12; Job 5:11-12; Psalms 20:4, 33:11; 2 Corinthians 1:15-18

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – The Power of Song

Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

Psalm 30:4

Recommended Reading

Psalm 30

Before coming to Christ, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, traveled from England to Georgia as a missionary, but the experience was a failure. As he returned home in frustration, his ship ran headlong into a terrible storm. Wesley was terrified, but he couldn’t help noticing a group of German Christians aboard the ship. They trusted God so completely they held a worship service in the storm. In the middle of their singing, a wave rose over the vessel and bore down like Niagara. But the Christians didn’t miss a note. Wesley realized the German believers had something he didn’t have; and through their influence, he shortly afterward trusted Christ completely and felt his heart “strangely warmed.”

Trusting Christ enables us to sing in the storm. Our Lord gives songs in the night, and He teaches us to sing songs of deliverance as we wait on Him. An old hymn says “Singing I go along life’s road, praising the Lord, praising the Lord.” Others, noticing the melody of our lives, will be drawn to Christ.

Today sing a song of deliverance. Sing a song of praise.

To God—the Father, Son, and Spirit—One in Three, / Be glory; as it was, is now, and shall forever be.

John Wesley, in his hymn “We Lift Our Hearts to Thee”


Zechariah 1 – 5

Joyce Meyer – Determination

Persecutions, sufferings . . . I endured, but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Indeed all who delight in piety and are determined to live a devoted and godly life in Christ Jesus will meet with persecution [will be made to suffer because of their religious stand].- 2 Timothy 3:11-12

In the beginning of my ministry, I had a dream that I was driving my car and approaching a flooded bridge. I stopped, looking first at the water-covered bridge, back where I had been, and to the side of the road, trying to decide if I should park, retreat, or keep moving forward. Then I woke up.

God used that dream to show me that there will always be opposition when pressing toward a goal. There will always be opportunity to park and go no farther or turn around and give up. It was up to me to decide each time if I would give up or go on. That dream has helped me many times to press on when difficulties came and I was tempted to quit. I have decided that even though I don’t always do everything right, I will never quit! Determination will get you a lot further than talent. So if you feel you lack in talent, take heart. All you need to win in life is more determination than anyone else you know.

Lord, today may have its challenges, but I am determined to press on following Your will. By Your grace, I will go the distance and never quit. Amen.

From the book The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer.

Girlfriends in God – When You Feel Discouraged

Today’s Truth

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

Hebrews 10:35

Friend to Friend

Have you ever gone through a period of discouragement? Perhaps you’re in one right now. Believe me, I’ve been right there with you. I’ve hidden in the cave with Elijah, under the gourd plant with Jonah, and in the dessert with Moses.

Discouragement comes when there is a gap between what you expect and what you experience—when there is a gap between what you hoped would happen and what actually does happen.

Discouragement can destroy your passion and undermine your purpose. It can take root because of what others say or didn’t say—a mom who said too much or a dad who said too little. Unmet expectations can become the breeding ground for discouragement to multiply and take root.

We certainly see that in Moses’s life. When Moses was forty years old, he expected to be the deliverer for his people. But what he experienced was rejection and regret. Forty years later, when God called him to lead the enslaved Israelites out of Egypt, Moses argued:

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exod. 4:10).

This statement that came out of Moses’s stuttering lips was simply not true. As Stephen reminded us: “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22). Moses had defined himself by his failure and was held hostage by a constant state of discouragement. Oh friend, we need to be so careful to not do the same.

Discouragement causes many a believer to pull up a lawn chair in cul-de-sac Christianity and refuse to venture out to the adventurous faith. They mumble the words “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” over their hopes and dreams. They fill the gap between what they hope for and what they experience with the false belief that dreams aren’t worth the effort.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – When You Feel Discouraged

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – So He May Forgive Us

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25, KJV).

You and I have a way by which we can be absolutely certain of God’s forgiveness. It is two-fold.

First, we must be sure that we have forgiven anyone and everyone against whom we may have anything or hold any resentment.

Second, we must believe His Word unquestioningly – and His Word does indeed tell us we will be forgiven when we ask under these conditions.

Most familiar, of course, is the glorious promise of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (KJV).

Though today’s verse uses the word stand in reference to praying, Scripture clearly states that the posture in prayer was sometimes standing. God, however, looks on the heart rather than on our position as we pray.

If the heart is right, any posture may be proper. All other things being equal, however, the kneeling position seems more in keeping with the proper attitude of humility in our approach to God. (Physical condition, of course, sometimes makes this inadvisable or impossible.)

Most important, we are to forgive before we pray. That much is certain.

Bible Reading: Matthew 6:9-15

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will examine my heart throughout the day to be sure I have forgiven any who should be forgiven – before I pray.

Ray Stedman – From Eternity to Eternity

Read: Romans 8:29-30

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:29-30

These are the five steps that God takes, stretching from eternity to eternity — far greater than any of our individual lives would suggest. The first step is that God foreknew us. A lot of people talk about how God foreknew what we were going to do, he foreknew that we would believe in Christ. This verse is not dealing with that. This verse is concerned with the question of existence. It is telling us that from among the tremendous number of human beings that have been spawned onto this earth since the creation of man, God foreknew that you and I would be there — as well as all the believers who have preceded us or who will follow us in the course of history.

Then, Paul says, the next step is that God predestined: Ah, you say, I know what that means! That means God looked over the whole group and said, Now these will go to hell, and those will go to heaven. Predestination has nothing to do with going to hell. Predestination has to do only with believers. It simply tells us that God has selected before hand the goal toward which he is going to move every one of us who believes in Christ. That goal is conformity to the character of Christ. Everything that happens to us focuses on that one supreme purpose.

The third step is that God called us: This is where we get into the act. I could not begin to describe to you the mystery and wonder that is involved in this. This means that the Holy Spirit somehow begins to work in our lives. We may be far removed from God, we may have grown up in a non-Christian family, we may be involved in a totally non-Christian faith, or we may be from a Christian home. It does not make any difference. God begins to work and he draws us to himself.

Fourth, those God called, he justified: Justification is God’s gift of worth. Those who are justified are forgiven, cleansed, and given the position before him of being loved, accepted, wanted, and endeared. By the cross, God was freed to give the gift of righteousness. Had he given it apart from the cross, he could have been properly accused of condoning sin — but the cross freed him. It established his righteous justice on other grounds, so that he is now free to give to us the gift of worth without any merit on our part.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – From Eternity to Eternity

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Soul’s Blood

Read: Luke 11:5-10

Be constant in prayer. (Rom. 12:12)

Here we have yet another picture of prayer which, although thoroughly biblical, is a snapshot taken from an unexpected angle.

Blood figures repeatedly in Scripture, usually in terms of deliberate bloodshed, whether in battle or murder, or in religious ritual, or supremely in the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross. But alongside that is the simple physical fact that loss of blood can be fatal. That has always been known. And it would have been known to George Herbert in a particular way; for during Herbert’s years of ministry at Bemerton (near Salisbury) a momentous book was newly published on the discovery and description of the blood circulation system.

This I take to be what Herbert has in mind here, in this surprising little phrase. From birth to death, while others of our organs develop or decline, that constant blood flow between heart and lungs and every other part of the body keeps each of us alive. It draws in and circulates oxygen, and carries away toxins to where they can be dealt with; it fights infections and brings healing to wounds; it enables everything to work as it should. Much of this has long been known, if understood only imperfectly.

Prayer is the circulatory system of the Christian believer, “the soul’s blood,” constantly in action. “Occasional” prayer is an idea to grow out of as early as possible!

Here is the poem in its entirety:


Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Soul’s Blood

Greg Laurie – Always Watching

The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

—Matthew 8:25

It was a serious storm to frighten these seasoned fishermen. The disciples were afraid for their lives. Matthew tells us, “Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping” (8:23–24).

In the original language, the word for storm is also used to describe an earthquake. The storm they were facing was a mega storm. It covered the boat to the extent they couldn’t even see past their hands. As The Amplified Bible puts it, “Suddenly a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being covered by the waves.” And Mark’s Gospel, describing the same storm, says, “High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water” (Mark 4:37).

This gives us an idea of how massive of a storm this was. It reminds me of the TV program Deadliest Catch. I’m glad someone is going out there and doing that job. But looking at what some of those guys face, I would never get on one of their boats. It’s probably like what the disciples went through at sea. Meanwhile, Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, was asleep.

Has it ever seemed to you as though God were sleeping during your times of need? Maybe you were going through some difficulty and called out to the Lord, but you didn’t hear an answer that you knew of. You thought maybe God was just bored, preoccupied, or even asleep. But that isn’t true. The Bible says, “He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps” (Psalm 121:4).

When the disciples cried out to Jesus, He responded to their call. And He will do the same for us.

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Submitting to His Discipline

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 12:9

“Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?”

John Owen said that to submit to the Father of our spirits denotes “an acquiescence in his sovereign right to do what he will with us as his own; a renunciation of self-will; an acknowledgment of his righteousness and wisdom in all his dealings with us; a sense of his care and love, with a due apprehension of the end of his chastisements; a diligent application of ourselves unto his mind and will, or to what he calls us to in an especial manner at that season; a keeping of our souls by persevering faith from weariness and despondency; a full resignation of ourselves to his will, as to the matter, manner, times, and continuance of our afflictions.”

Owen’s quote is a mouthful, but I’ve used it because it’s such a complete description of the attitude and response toward adversity we need to develop. I encourage you to go back over it several times until you fully grasp what he said.

Submitting to God’s discipline doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray for relief from the difficulty or seek legitimate means to gain relief. Sometimes the end God has in mind is to exercise our faith, so he brings us into straitened circumstances so that we might look up to him and see his deliverance. But strengthening our faith is an important aspect of discipline.

The main thing is our attitude. We can pray earnestly to God for relief and still be submissive to him regarding the outcome. Jesus is our supreme example in this as he prayed the night before his crucifixion, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39, NIV). (Excerpt taken from The Discipline of Grace)

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Unselfish Leading

Today’s Scripture: Judges 9-12

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. – 1 John 3:16

I suppose anyone who has read the first eight chapters of the book of Judges could guess what takes place after the death of Gideon. The people turned from following the Lord. But the punishment that followed was not inflicted by some nation who invaded the land from without, but from trouble within caused by a selfish leader.

In Judges 9, we learn of the tyranny of Abimelech, who gained power by committing murder. God had not called him to a position of leadership. His carnal ambition and lust for power were his only call. He surrounded himself with a group of scoundrels who hastened his downfall.

History gives us examples of leaders of nations in our own century who have milked the economy instead of building it, stolen from the people and sent the money to the proverbial Swiss bank account. When things begin to crumble economically and politically, the leader gets in his private jet and flees to another country where he lives in comfort.

The lesson for us is clear. A selfish leader can bring untold grief to people under him. This holds true in a family, a church, an organization, or a nation. What kind of spiritual leadership opportunity is God giving you today? It could be in your family, your church, or with a small group of people hungry to grow in their Christian faith. Whatever the opportunity, accept it as a call from God, step out in faith, and seek His grace to be an unselfish leader. The Lord is waiting to do great things through you.


Lord, help me to focus my leadership energy on goals that benefit Your kingdom. Amen.

To Ponder

Am I guilty of selfish leadership in the responsibilities God has given me?

BreakPoint –  The Bible Shows Its Age: Unfurling the Burnt Scroll

Is the Bible we read today the same Bible that was written millennia ago by prophets and apostles? That was a question that consumed scholars for generations. You see, prior to 1947, the earliest manuscript copies of the Old Testament were from the Middle Ages. Critics seized on this as a major hole in the Bible’s reliability. How, they asked, could we trust a text that had been copied hundreds of times in the thousands of years since its authors wrote it? Surely it had suffered corruption through all those duplications.

But seventy years ago, a Bedouin shepherd boy shattered those doubts when he threw a rock into a cave, breaking some clay pots containing the Dead Sea Scrolls. These ancient manuscripts of the Old Testament were near matches to the medieval text, confirming our modern Bible’s antiquity and pushing the earliest known evidence for the Hebrew Scriptures back a millennium.

Now, thanks to another discovery on the shores of the Dead Sea, and an exciting technological breakthrough, that date has moved back even further.

This story begins in 1970, when archaeologists at En-Gedi found a burnt scroll that was little more than a lump of charcoal. A fire in 600 AD had destroyed the synagogue there, leaving its ancient documents so brittle that a touch would cause them to disintegrate. Unable to read the scroll, curators merely preserved it, hoping that someday, the technology necessary to peek at its contents would be developed.

Well, that day has arrived. The New York Times reports that computer scientists at the University of Kentucky partnered with biblical scholars in Jerusalem to pioneer a technique for “unfurling” this badly-damaged scroll. Thanks to traces of metal in the ancient ink and a new method for reconstructing 3-D surfaces, known as “volume cartography,” these scientists were able to read the charred parchment, without ever opening it.

The results were stunning. Dr. Michael Segal of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem marveled: “Much of the text is as readable, or close to as readable as actual unharmed Dead Sea Scrolls.”

That text is the first two chapters of Leviticus—ironically, a set of instructions for burnt offerings to the Lord. But what’s really amazing is that the fragment is identical—letter for letter—to the Masoretic text that forms the basis of modern Old Testament translations.

Continue reading BreakPoint –  The Bible Shows Its Age: Unfurling the Burnt Scroll

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – A TIME OF FEASTING

Read ESTHER 9:20–28

Jewish people still celebrate the Feast of Purim each year, usually during the month of March. They set aside a day to celebrate God’s deliverance of their people as recorded in the book of Esther. They exchange gifts, make charitable donations, prepare special dishes like pastries nicknamed “Haman’s Hat,” and participate in the public reading of Esther. A special prayer, Al ha-Nissim, which is translated “For the Miracles,” is said at morning, noon, and night. They take time to celebrate and remember what God has done.

Indeed, the Jewish people had a miracle to celebrate. God had delivered them from death. Today’s passage records the very first Purim celebration. Mordecai made the day official (v. 21). They were to do three things: observe a day of feasting, give presents to one another, and give to the poor (v. 22). Certainly this would have been a welcome announcement after months of fear and days of intense battle. God had been good to His people and delivered them from Haman’s wicked plot.

This passage re-tells the story and explains the meaning of the word Purim, which comes from the word pur, the lots that are cast in divination (v. 24). Haman had decided the fate of the Jewish people by consulting fortunetellers who had cast lots, but God prevented Haman from carrying out his wicked plan.

Notice the word every used repeatedly in verse 28. This celebration would be carried out by “every family, and in every province and in every city” (v. 28). The happiness should be pervasive. This event had decided their fate and changed the course of history. They were never to forget what God had done. Purim would help them remember, so “the memory of these days” would not die out for future generations (v. 28).


We often come to God with requests, and He has invited us to do so. But sometimes we need to set aside time to thank Him for what He has done. We must tell the stories of God’s blessings to our children and our children’s children. Take time today to thank God, to remember what He has done, and to celebrate His work in your life.


A transgender man has given birth after conceiving a child with his transgender wife. Fernando Machado was born a female; his partner Diane Rodriguez was born a male. Neither has completed sex reassignment surgery. As a result, the transgender man was impregnated by his transgender wife and bore a child.

Gender identity issues are increasingly in the news these days. The Wall Street Journal reports that sex reassignment surgery is becoming more common as a growing number of hospitals offer the procedure and insurance companies provide coverage. And efforts are underway to encourage more children to question their gender identity.

For instance, Washington State public school curriculum will begin teaching kindergarteners to “understand there are many ways to express gender.” By grade five, students will be taught to “identify trusted adults to ask questions about gender identity and sexual orientation.” We are likely to see more such initiatives: The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network received a $1.425 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control in 2011 to promote the LGBT agenda in public schools at taxpayers’ expense.

It’s no coincidence that unbiblical morality is increasing as trust in the Bible decreases. Since 1990, the American Library Association (ALA) has released each year a list of the ten “most challenged books.” Now the ALA has released its 2015 list. For the first time, The Holy Bible is on the list. The only reason given: “Religious viewpoint.”

According to Barna, the percentage of adults who read the Bible once a week or more is steadily declining. It is highest among Elders (49 percent) and lowest among Millennials (24 percent). In addition, the number of people who disagree strongly that “the Bible is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches” has nearly doubled in the last six years.

In the moral maelstrom of these days, how can you and I make a difference?

Continue reading Denison Forum – TRANSGENDER MAN GIVES BIRTH TO CHILD