Charles Stanley – How God Works

 

Genesis 45:3-8

God has been at work since verse one of the Bible, and He is still orchestrating events involving nations, families, and individuals. While He uniquely tailors His plan for individual lives, our Father wants all people to come to saving faith. And He works to conform every Christian to His Son’s image.

Transforming believers into reflections of Jesus is a long process of small changes, which means God’s work may at times seem slow to us. The Lord assured Abraham he’d be the father of nations, but he had to wait decades for the promised son (Gen. 15:1-5). Even though God was at work the entire time, Abraham must have wondered if the pledge had been forgotten. God’s patient timing lets Him coordinate every detail perfectly.

Believers like to share stories about the Lord’s dramatic intervention in their lives. Knowing that He provides, rescues, or heals is exciting and reassuring. But He also works in ways that may seem inconsequential. For example, upon arriving in Egypt, Joseph was just a menial servant in Potiphar’s household—yet this was his first step toward becoming the country’s second-in-command (Gen. 39:1-4; Gen. 41:41). God has a purpose for everything that comes into our life—including friendships, jobs, situations, and conversations. Nothing is trivial.

If you want to experience God in action, you don’t have to wait for Him to do something big in your life. Be attentive, because every day is an opportunity to see Him at work. Get into His Word so you can understand how He has acted in the lives of others. Then watch for His involvement in your own.

Bible in One Year: Luke 23-24

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — It Never Runs Out

Read: 1 Peter 1:3-9

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 22-23; Titus 1

He has given us new birth into . . . an inheritance that can never perish.—1 Peter 1:3–4

When I asked a friend who is about to retire what she feared about her next stage of life, she said, “I want to make sure I don’t run out of money.” The next day as I was talking to my financial counselor he gave me advice on how I might avoid running out of money. Indeed, we all want the security of knowing we’ll have the resources we need for the rest of our lives.

No financial plan can provide an absolute guarantee of earthly security. But there is a plan that extends far beyond this life and indefinitely into the future. The apostle Peter describes it like this: “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

When we place our faith in Jesus to forgive our sins we receive an eternal inheritance through God’s power. Because of this inheritance, we’ll live forever and never run short of what we need.

Planning for retirement is a good idea if we’re able to do so. But more important is having an eternal inheritance that never runs out—and that is available only through faith in Jesus Christ. —Dave Branon

Dear God, I want that assurance of an eternal inheritance—the certainty of everlasting life with You. I put my faith in Jesus to forgive my sins and make me His child. Thank You for saving me and reserving a place for me in Your eternal kingdom.

The promise of heaven is our eternal hope.

INSIGHT: Revelation 21:15-21 describes heaven by referring to twelve sparkling, colorful gems and “gold as pure as transparent glass” (v. 21). Those who belong to Christ are heirs of heaven—it is called our “inheritance” (1 Peter 1:4). And we “are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (v. 5). Peter says that this reality fills the believer with “inexpressible and glorious joy” (v. 8). The Bible assures us that even though we “may have . . . to suffer grief in all kinds of trials,” we can be assured that even the worst imaginable pain or problem is only “for a little while” (v. 6). Jim Townsend

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Comprehending Darkness

Within the dark and heavy world of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, the coinciding stories of each character shift around themes of grace and legalism. The stories are immensely honest, such that we find ourselves somewhere in the novel, or perhaps all through it. The darkness is overwhelming because it is all too close to home, maybe as close as our own hearts. But the light is also real, and it stings our eyes and seeps into our hearts.

In this dark and honest world, life is not fair, it is not easy and the stories don’t always go where you want them to go. Yet, the words of Victor Hugo himself push further: “Will the future ever arrive?” he asks, “Should we continue to look upwards? Is the light we can see in the sky one of those which will presently be extinguished? The ideal is terrifying to behold, lost as it is in the depths, small, isolated, a pin-point, brilliant but threatened on all sides by the dark forces that surround it; nevertheless, no more in danger than a star in the jaws of the clouds.” The lives of Jean Valjean, Javert, and Cosette force us to perceive things we have maybe only half perceived, such that whatever we knew of shame and mercy and forgiveness are never the same. Their lives seemingly ask us to be aware of the brilliance of even the smallest of lights in the midst of a devastating darkness.

It is said of Christ in the Gospel of John, “In him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”(1) Literally, John says that the light shines and the darkness could not “lay hold of it”; the darkness could not master it. Undoubtedly, as John penned the words that testified to the events which had unfolded before his eyes, his mind hastened back to the Cross, the darkness of that day—the unfairness, the ugliness, the confusion and regret of that overwhelming scene. And then he says boldly: Even in the jaws of darkness on the cross, the light of the world did not go out. The Light was not mastered by even the darkest moment in time.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Comprehending Darkness

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Overcoming Temptation

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus Christ provides us with the perfect example of how to defeat temptation.

Perhaps you’ve heard the joke, “I can resist anything but temptation!” Unfortunately, that is all too often true in our lives. Learning how to successfully resist temptation is vitally important, for we sin only when we yield to temptation.

Christians throughout history have recognized the importance of resisting temptation. One early believer wrote, “Fly from all occasions of temptation, and if still tempted, fly further still. If there is no escape possible, then have done with running and show a bold face and take the two-edged sword of the Spirit.” The desire to escape temptation has led many in the history of the church to attempt heroic but ultimately futile feats of ascetic self-denial. So desperate did one monk become that he threw himself into a thicket of thorn bushes! Unfortunately, that did not bring him the relief from temptation that he so desperately sought.

The way to successfully resist temptation was modeled by our Lord Jesus Christ when He was tempted. We must first understand our enemy’s plan of attack and, secondly, make use of our spiritual resources.

Satan made a three-pronged assault on Jesus—the same three ways he tempts us. First, he tempted Jesus to doubt God’s goodness by commanding the stones to become bread (Matt. 4:3). That implies that God didn’t care enough about Jesus to provide for His physical needs. Second, he tempted Jesus to doubt God’s love, suggesting that He test that love by leaping from the pinnacle of the temple (Matt. 4:5-6). Finally, he tempted Jesus to compromise God’s truth, promising Him the kingdom without the cross if Jesus would worship him (Matt. 4:8-9).

To each of Satan’s temptations, Jesus replied, “It is written” (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10). He thereby showed us the resource for defeating temptation: the Word of God (cf. Eph. 6:17). Do you find yourself overcome by temptation? Then follow our Lord’s example and take up the sword of the Spirit today!

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that God would make you alert to Satan’s attacks.

For Further Study

Make a list of specific verses you can use to combat the specific temptations you face.

 

http://www.gty.org

Wisdom Hunters – Prince of this World 

I will not speak to you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.  John 14:30-31

The prince of this world is alive and well. His methods are fear, intimidation, and deception. He flaunts his pretentious power over a decaying world. He maneuvers around in a spiritual disguise. He wants you to have just enough of Jesus to disappoint you but not too much that you depend on Him. His desire is for partial obedience to the commands of Christ, so that your love for Him is sentimental and shallow. Then when pain and suffering grow in intensity, you will lose confidence in the Lord. He wants your love for the Lord to be conditional on everything being okay, not unconditional regardless of the outcomes.

Adversity is the adversary’s most intense weapon of distrust. Satan desires to sift your faith through the sands of suffering. He tries to extract your joy in Jesus with jealously over the good fortune of others and a jaded belief that God is distant and disinterested. He demands you to believe that death is the end and that no good can come out of your grief and loss. But, followers of Jesus do not have to believe his half-truths. You are free to instantly, willingly, and completely obey God’s commands. This is the evidence of your love for the Lord. Love is where joy gestates. Hate is where anger incubates. Obedience to God makes you an overcomer.

There is nothing the devil can demand of you without first going through God. He tries to make you think you are eternally exposed, but you are safely strapped in by eternal security. Christ is in His Father, you are in Christ, and Christ is in you (John 14:20). The prince of this world is powerless to pry you from the Prince of Peace.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Prince of this World 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Knockout

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Recommended Reading

Philippians 1:3-11

A single blow; the boxer crumples to the ground. The rules dictate that no one can help him get up. He is alone in his struggle—the silence of the crowd is palpable—the referee slowly counts to ten. Although we may not be knocked out in a boxing ring, unexpected situations can give our hearts and souls a beating: work stress, relocation, conflict, loss of a loved one, or unfulfilled and shattered dreams.

Professional athletes know the importance of having a coach or team who help equip them for success. Many of us treat the verse above like a cliché instead of a timely reminder. This is more than simply making a list of people we like. Who are the people who encourage our faith? It’s never too late to ask God for friends and to intentionally become a better friend.

We should recognize rather that such fellowship is a spiritual necessity; for God has made us in such a way that our fellowship with Himself is fed by our fellowship with fellow Christians.

  1. I. Packer

Read-Thru-the-Bible

Luke 23 – 24

 

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

Joyce Meyer – The Prayer of Consecration

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.- Isaiah 6:8

In the prayer of consecration, we dedicate our lives and all that we are to Him. In order for God to use us, we must consecrate ourselves to Him.

When we truly consecrate ourselves to the Lord, we lose the burden of trying to run our own lives. I would rather voluntarily follow God than struggle to get Him to follow me. He knows where He is going, and I know I will reach my destination safely if I allow Him to lead.

I consecrate myself to God in prayer on a regular basis. I say, “Here I am, Lord. I am Yours; do with me as You please.” Then sometimes I add, “I hope I like what You choose, Lord, but if I don’t, Your will be done and not mine.”

Consecration and/or dedication to God is the most important aspect of succeeding at being ourselves. We don’t even know what we are supposed to be, let alone know how to become whatever it is. But as we regularly keep our lives on the altar in consecration to God, He will do the work that needs to be done in us, so He may do the work He desires to do through us.

Lord, I gladly consecrate myself—body, soul, and spirit—to You today. Take my life, shape my life, and use my life for Your glory. Amen.

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

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Girlfriends in God – When You Just Need to Breathe

Today’s Truth

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3

Friend to Friend

It was one of my favorite trees. And it was dying.

We live on a lake, and my dying tree was truly a “tree planted by streams of water.” So how could it be dying? How could branches right in the smack dab middle of the bushy green be turning into kindling? It didn’t make sense.

I called an arborist to come out and take a look. He saw the problem right away.

“Ma’am, see how that tree looks like a telephone pole stuck in the ground? That’s not the way a tree should be planted. You should be able to see some of the roots spreading out from the trunk. Those roots are covered up with dirt, grass, and these pretty perennials you’ve planted at the base. The tree can’t breathe.”

“It can’t breathe?” I asked.

“Yep. You see a tree is a living organism that needs to breathe just like you do. If the roots are smothered, then it can’t. Trees need sunlight, water, carbon dioxide and nutrients from the soil. Those flowers you have planted around it are actually stealing the nutrients. The dirt covering the roots is suffocating it. It has water, but it needs more than that.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – When You Just Need to Breathe

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Will Have Life

“But these are recorded so that you will believe that He is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believing in Him you will have life” (John 20:31).

What a message you and I have to share. That is why John wrote this entire Gospel, so that we, first of all, might believe, but then also that we might share the good news with all who will listen.

“These are recorded” – the miracles presented in this gospel – so that we might believe. The goal of the book is two-fold: (1) to prove that Jesus was (is) Messiah and (2) that all those who look at the proof might be convinced and thus find eternal life.

The miracles, facts, arguments, instructions and conversations – all are directed toward that end. John’s goal (to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah), if kept steadily in view will throw much light on the book. The argument is unanswerable, framed after the strictest rules of reasoning, infinitely beyond the skill of man, and having throughout the cleared evidence of demonstration.

All Scripture is given to us for a purpose. The purpose of this particular passage is crystal clear; hence it demands some kind of response from those of us who truly believe. To know the truth is not enough. We must act on it, trusting the Lord of the harvest to make us sensitive and alert to the spiritual needs of those around us.

Bible Reading: John 3:9-15

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will seek to be sensitive to the spiritual needs of all with whom I have contact.

 

http://www.cru.org

Ray Stedman – The Care and Feeding of Fellow-Workers

Read: 1 Corinthians 16:10-24

Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity. 1 Corinthians 16:12

That is a most remarkable verse, especially in view of the attitude many today have that the apostles were, in a sense, generals in the army of the Lord, sending out people, ordering them here or there, and commanding these younger Christians to go at their beck and call. But you do not find that here. This verse indicates that Paul does not command Apollos at all; he has no authority over him. He urges him, rather. In several places in the New Testament we are reminded by the apostle that he was not lord over anybody else.

Lording it over the brethren is one of the great curses of the church today. Some men assume, for instance, that the office of pastor gives them an authority over other people. But notice that Paul respects the personal freedom of Apollos to be directed of the Lord, even as he himself is. He does not tell Apollos what he has to do, but he says it was not his will to come, and Paul accepts that. Apollos, too, was operating under the direct control of God. This is not only true of leaders, such as Paul and Apollos, it is true of all Christians. Perhaps the clearest word on this was spoken by the Lord himself when he said, For you have one teacher and you are all brothers, (Matthew 23:8). The church must return to that restoration of the sense of being brothers with one another, not in position over one another, but working together. I find Christians everywhere under the authority of men who seem to be dictators — much like Diotrephes, whom John mentions in one of his letters, who loved to have the pre-eminence among them (3 John 1:9). Believers must understand that no pastor has the right to tell them what they can do with their spiritual gifts and no pastor has the right to tell them that you cannot have a meeting in their home and teach the Word of God to whoever will come and listen.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – The Care and Feeding of Fellow-Workers

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Alpha and Omega—the Beginning and the End

Read: Revelation 21:6 7, 22:12 14

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (22:13)

Believers can celebrate that there is no beginning or ending without God. He is never absent from our pain or rejoicing. In fact, he promises in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” What a comfort to know that the loving hand of God is holding, supporting, and carrying us through the beginnings and endings and each moment in between. From a child’s first cry to a parent’s final breath. From the moment we say “I do” to the point a marriage ends. From the first day of school, the start of a new job, and the blooming flowers of spring to the day we graduate, retire, or feel the cold winter wind. If we have repented of our sin and trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation, our Savior’s words hold true: “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

The end of a relationship, season, dream, or life brings sorrow. The end of guilt and shame brings peace. As hard as the endings are, we serve a God who restores and makes all things new (Rev. 21:5). In times of change, remember new life and fresh starts. Until that glorious day when we come to the new heaven and new earth, may you follow the Alpha and Omega and devote yourself to serving him in every season of life.

PRAYER:

Thank you, Lord, for loving and upholding me through the beginnings and endings I face in life. Amen.

 

Greg Laurie – Preparing the Way

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

In the years before I became a Christian, I don’t ever recall anybody engaging me with the gospel. I often would hang around down in Newport Beach, leaning against a wall with a tough-guy look on my face. I remember seeing the Christians walking around and handing out their religious tracts. In my heart, I was saying, Please, come and talk to me. But I was too proud to ask.

I noticed they would engage other people in conversation, but when they came to me, they would sort of look at me and just thrust the tract in my hands. But I didn’t throw it away. In my room at home, I had a big drawer that was filled with religious literature. And every now and then, I would pull out that drawer and read through this stuff, trying to make sense of it all. I needed someone to show me the way, but I don’t remember anyone doing that.

The way that I ended up hearing the gospel was by going to a Christian meeting I wasn’t even invited to. I saw this girl on my high school campus that I found attractive, and I wondered why a cute girl like her would be a Christian. So I went to the meeting to check it out. The last thing I ever planned on doing was becoming a Christian. But I heard the gospel for the first time in a way that I understood, and I gave my life to Christ.

As I look back on my life, I see there were unsung heroes who helped prepare the way for my conversion. And we can all identify people who made a contribution—people whom God used in our lives. Will you be that person for someone today?

 

https://www.harvest.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – God Delights in His People

“He delivered me because He delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:19b; 2 Samuel 22:20b)

When Arouna was a small boy, he was very, very sick. Some medical missionaries wanted to take him to a big-city hospital, but his parents did not have enough money and could not let him go there. So Arouna got sicker and weaker as time went by. He had to be put in a small hospital that was run by the Tanzanian government. There, he did not have very good medical care, but it was better than no medical care at all. Arouna kept getting sicker and weaker, and his suffering became more and more painful and dangerous.

One day, the doctor told Arouna’s parents that he would need a blood transfusion. Arouna’s father had the same type of blood as Arouna had. The doctor asked Arouna’s father if he would be willing to give some of his blood, and he explained that Arouna would probably die very soon if he did not have a transfusion for the blood he needed.

Arouna’s father was a little scared, because he had never given blood before, and he was afraid that losing his blood would make him weak for the rest of his life. But he loved Arouna very much, and he had been too poor to pay for Arouna to get better in a nicer hospital. So this was something Arouna’s father could do for him – he could give him some of his blood.

Because of his father’s willing sacrifice, Arouna was able to get better. His father was fine again after a few hours, and Arouna was almost completely healthy again after only a few more weeks in the hospital. The blood transfusion with his father’s blood was what saved little Arouna’s life. And why was his father able to follow through with the blood transfusion? Because his affection for his little boy was far greater than his fear and concern for himself.

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God Delights in His People

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Never Directly

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 10:19

“We have confidence to enter the holy places by the bloo

d of Jesus. ”

Pharisee-type believers unconsciously think they’ve earned God’s blessing through their behavior. Guilt-laden believers are sure they’ve forfeited God’s blessing through disobedience or lack of discipline. Both have forgotten the meaning of grace—God’s unmerited favor to those who deserve only his wrath.

Most of us probably entertain either of these attitudes on different days. On a good day (as we perceive it), we tend toward self-righteous pharisaism. On a not-so-good day, we allow ourselves to wallow in a sense of failure and guilt. Either way we’ve moved away from the Gospel of God’s grace, trying to relate to God directly on the basis of our performance rather than through Christ.

God never intended that we relate to him directly. Our own performance is never good enough to be acceptable. The only way we can relate to him is through the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Only the blood of Jesus will cleanse us from a guilty conscience and give us confidence to enter into God’s presence (Hebrews 10:19-21).

The Gospel, applied every day to our hearts, frees us to be brutally honest with ourselves and with God. The assurance of his total forgiveness through Christ’s blood means we don’t have to play defensive games anymore. We don’t have to rationalize and excuse our sins. We can say we told a lie instead of saying we exaggerated a bit. We can admit an unforgiving spirit instead of continuing to blame others for our emotional distress. We can call sin exactly what it is, however ugly and shameful it may be, because we know Jesus bore that sin in his body on the cross. We have no reason to hide from our sins anymore.

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – God’s Care for His Children

Today’s Scripture: Exodus 16-18

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19

When the Israelites’ supplies ran out, they accused Moses and Aaron of leading them out in the wilderness to kill them. Their complaint was really against God, for He was the one who had brought them forth out of the land of Egypt.

Now, you’d think they would quickly learn the lesson of the bountiful provision of God! But here they are, putting on a repeat performance and forgetting the long chain of miracles whereby God had delivered them, served them, and fed them. God didn’t forget His people, and once again He met their needs.

In addition to God’s provision of food and water, He sent them a management consultant in the person of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law. Jethro watched Moses in action and saw that he was overworked and needed to delegate some responsibilities. He gave Moses some sound advice: “You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him” (Exodus 18:19). Then he said, “Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform.” He had to teach them the Word of God and then lead by example.

So in these three chapters, we see the God who provided food to eat, water to drink, and leadership to help meet their spiritual needs.

What is the greatest need in your life today? Maybe you need more money to meet the obligations of life. Or maybe you need a companion, friend, or advisor to help you through a time of aching loneliness or critical decision making. Whatever your need, let me encourage you to depend on God to meet it.

Prayer

Lord, I trust You to meet all my needs. Amen.

To Ponder

God doesn’t deal with us as we deserve. God is love.

 

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BreakPoint – A Symphony for Reformation Day: Mendelssohn’s Fifth

Given that today is October 31st, you might be expecting a commentary about Halloween. Well, we covered that on Friday. Instead we want to talk about another celebration that takes place today, and that is Reformation Day.

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther wrote a letter to the archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg protesting the sale of indulgences. In the letter he enclosed what he called “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” which came to be known as his “95 Theses.”

Today also kicks off a year-long commemoration of that momentous event that will culminate next October 31st in the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Lots of ink, both actual and digital, will be expended in telling us what it meant and continues to mean, and by the way, I’m writing a biography of Martin Luther right now—stay tuned.

But for today, I want to turn your attention to the art inspired by the events of that day. Specifically I want to tell you about Felix Mendelssohn’s Fifth Symphony, better known as his “Reformation Symphony.”

The occasion of its composition was the 300th anniversary of another milestone in the Reformation, the Augsburg Confession, which defined Lutheran beliefs.

As the program notes to a recent performance of the symphony by the Los Angeles Philharmonic tells us, “As a devout Protestant himself and a boundless admirer of Bach … Mendelssohn felt drawn by the idea of a symphony that symbolized the Protestant Reformation not with a grand choral work on a sacred text, as might be expected, but with a four-movement symphony without words.”

So despite being ill, Mendelssohn spent the winter of 1829-30 composing a symphony whose fourth movement is built around Martin Luther’s great hymn “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” exactly three hundred years after Luther composed his hymn.

The first movement wordlessly “carries the notion of conflict, at first in the slow introduction where clarion figures seem to call out for reform over the aspiring counterpoint in the lower strings.” What follows is a musical reference to the six-note sequence known as the “Dresden Amen.”

Continue reading BreakPoint – A Symphony for Reformation Day: Mendelssohn’s Fifth

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – GOD’S SALVATION IN THE LAST DAYS

Read 2 PETER 3:15–18

In 1972, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission began requiring child-resistant packaging for medicines in response to the number of children who were accidentally poisoned by ingesting aspirin, medications, or other household products. After the requirement, the number of child deaths plummeted, from 216 deaths in 1972 to 29 fatalities in 1999. These prevention measures have saved many lives.

Peter is also urging his readers to take preventive measures to inoculate themselves against the poison of the false teachers. The core ingredient of their poison was misrepresentation of the Word of God. These blasphemers were not ignorant of God’s commands; rather, they distorted and twisted Scripture—including the teaching of Jesus and the apostles—to justify their own immorality (v. 16). Satan in the Garden of Eden had questioned the nature of God’s command to not eat from the tree; now the false prophets questioned the nature of God’s character, arguing that their lives of lust and greed proved that God’s judgment was an empty threat.

Not so, says Peter! They’ve misconstrued the evidence. The delay in God’s judg- ment doesn’t reveal His impotence—it is evidence of His patience! His grace and mercy abound, giving sinners opportunity for repentance (v. 15). Judgment will come, but so will God’s salvation.

The best way to prevent the deadly poison of apostasy is to continue growing “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (v. 18). We grow in our knowledge of Him through prayer and the study of His Word, and we grow in grace through our commitment to live in a way that reflects His character of love, humility, and truth. May we stand strong in our faith, and may our lives bring Him glory!

APPLY THE WORD

God’s patience extends salvation to us, His Word guides us, a relationship with Him brings us joy, and we have the promise of eternal life forever in His presence. Make a list of the blessings of God for which you’re thankful, and when you face the temptations from the world, use it as a reminder of who God is and what He has done for you.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Denison Forum – WHAT DO EMAILS, MANURE, AND HALLOWEEN HAVE IN COMMON?

A truckload of manure was dumped Saturday morning outside the Warren County Democratic Party headquarters in Ohio. The Clinton campaign probably sees this as a metaphor for the FBI’s announcement on Friday that it is reviewing more emails that may be linked to their candidate. Last night, federal investigators obtained a warrant to begin searching a large cache of emails belonging to Huma Abedin, a top Clinton aide.

A columnist for The Daily Beast is claiming today that Republicans have “weaponized” the FBI against Mrs. Clinton. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is accusing FBI Director James Comey of breaking federal law by disclosing the new email investigation.

Doesn’t it seem fitting that Halloween comes a week before the election?

Rather than comment on partisan politics, I’d like to turn in a different direction this morning. Consider this Halloween-appropriate item in the news: Families in Puerto Rico are arranging for the bodies of their deceased loved ones to be displayed at the pre-burial wake in real-life poses. One man was embalmed in a standing position with boxing gloves on his hands. Another was embalmed sitting at his mother’s bar and playing dominoes.

Meanwhile, a man in China arranged his own funeral to see who would attend the ceremony. A man in Serbia did the same thing. Like them, you can attend your own funeral if you wish. The New York Times tells us about a South Korean program in which participants sit beside caskets, write their last testaments, don burial shrouds, then lie down in coffins. A grim-looking man dressed in a black robe hammers the lids closed. The participants lie encased in total darkness for ten minutes before they are released back to life.

Continue reading Denison Forum – WHAT DO EMAILS, MANURE, AND HALLOWEEN HAVE IN COMMON?

Charles Stanley – God’s Call to Repentance

 

Luke 15:11-24

In the parable of the prodigal son, the younger brother asked for his inheritance early so he might live as he chose. Once the father gave him his share, the young man made many unwise choices that led to hunger and destitution. What happened next illustrates the principles of godly repentance.

After squandering all of his money, the wayward son found work feeding pigs, a bottom-of-the-barrel kind of job. One day he came to his senses and recognized his terrible plight. His repentance began with an awareness of his wrong choices and the fact that his bad situation was due to them.

Knowing that his difficulties came from unrighteous behavior, the prodigal grieved over his mistakes and acknowledged his sin (Luke 15:18). He declared he was no longer worthy to be his father’s son. Godly sorrow and confession led the young man to leave that place and go home. His repentance was made complete when he turned away from his old ways and returned to his father. The Lord likewise calls us to repent and return to Him.

What a welcome the prodigal son received! Upon seeing him, the father was filled with compassion and ran to embrace him. Forgiveness and acceptance were extended to the son. Both are blessings that God freely offers to whoever asks Him.

The prodigal son did not clean himself up before returning home. He simply left his old life, turned toward home, and trusted in his father’s mercy. The heavenly Father calls us to repent and offers us forgiveness when we turn away from our self-centered ways and move toward godliness (1 John 1:9).

Bible in One Year: Luke 14-16

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Our Daily Bread — Stage by Stage

Read: Numbers 33:1-15, 36-37

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 12-14; 2 Timothy 1

At the Lord’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey.—Numbers 33:2

Numbers 33 is a chapter in the Bible we might pass by without reflection. It appears to be nothing more than a long list of places tracing Israel’s pilgrimage from Rameses in Egypt to their arrival in the plains of Moab. But it must be important because it’s the only section in Numbers that follows with the words: “At the Lord’s command Moses recorded . . .” (v. 2).

Why keep a record of this? Could it be that this list provides a framework upon which the Israelites emerging from the wilderness could retrace that forty-year journey in their thoughts and recall God’s faithfulness at each location?

I envision an Israelite father, sitting near a campfire, reminiscing with his son: “I will never forget Rephidim! I was dying of thirst, nothing but sand and sage for hundreds of miles. Then God directed Moses to take his staff and strike a rock—actually a hard slab of flint. I thought, What a futile gesture; he’ll never get anything out of that stone. But to my amazement water gushed out of that rock! A generous flow that satisfied the thirst of the thousands of Israelites. I’ll never forget that day!” (see Ps. 114:8; Num. 20:8-13; 33:14).

So why not give it a try? Reflect on your life—stage by stage—and remember all the ways God has shown you His faithful, covenant love. —David Roper

Count your many blessings, name them one by one. Johnson Oatman Jr.

For reflection on the faithfulness of God, listen to this Discover the Word program: discovertheword.org/faithfulness.

God’s faithfulness extends to all generations.

INSIGHT: Stage by stage God leads His dear children along. Sometimes (as in Israel’s case), God’s leading in our lives may seem quite mystifying; we may feel we are traveling in circles. Nevertheless, when we trust in the Lord, He will direct us (Prov. 3:5-6). God is faithful to all who put their trust in Him.  Jim Townsend

 

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