Charles Stanley – Overcoming Trials

 

Hebrews 11:23-29

Moses had some tough times in his long life. He fled from a murder charge, spent years in the desert, stood toe-to-toe with a king who scorned him, led a grumbling nation through 40 years of hardship, and saw those same people run hot and cold in their allegiance. Yet once Moses learned the secret to dealing with trials, he faced them courageously.

Even though he returned to Egypt with an unmistakable call from the Lord (Ex. 3:10), appearing before Pharaoh must nonetheless have been intimidating. And Moses had to plead with the man repeatedly for the release of the Israelites. Pharaoh was not fazed by locusts, convinced by boils, or softened by water turning into blood. In fact, he made life even harder for the slaves by forcing them to find their own brickmaking materials. In turn, the Hebrews heaped ingratitude on their leader.

In spite of all the opposition, Moses kept returning to the palace until he had achieved God’s purpose—the release of His people. Hebrews 11:27 tells us that as the former prince led the exodus from Egypt, “he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.” With a stack of trials behind and despite a hint of more to come in leading this unruly people, Moses moved forward, aware that he was walking in the Lord’s presence.

God had pledged to be with Moses every step of the way (Ex. 3:12). The Israelite leader fixed his focus on that promise and the One who made it. He had the wisdom to trust that I Am (Ex. 3:14)—the eternal sovereign of the universe—would guard his way and bring him victory over trials.

Bible in One Year: Matthew 22-24

 

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Our Daily Bread — Doing the Opposite

Read: Colossians 2:20-3:4

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 34-36; Colossians 2

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.—Colossians 3:3

A wilderness excursion can seem daunting, but for outdoor enthusiasts this only adds to the appeal. Because hikers need more water than they can carry, they purchase bottles with built-in filters so they can use water sources along the way. But the process of drinking from such a container is counterintuitive. Tipping the bottle does nothing. A thirsty hiker has to blow into it to force the water through the filter. Reality is contrary to what seems natural.

As we follow Jesus, we find much that is counterintuitive. Paul pointed out one example: Keeping rules won’t draw us closer to God. He asked, “Why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These rules . . . are based on merely human commands and teachings” (Col. 2:20-22).

So what are we to do? Paul gave the answer. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above” (3:1). “You died,” he told people who were still very much alive, “and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (v. 3).

We are to consider ourselves “dead” to the values of this world and alive to Christ. We now aspire to a way of life demonstrated by the One who said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matt. 20:26). —Tim Gustafson

Consider what these counterintuitive principles from the Bible might mean for you: “Whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matt. 16:25). “The last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matt. 20:16). “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).

God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. 1 Corinthians 1:27

INSIGHT: In Colossae a false teaching known as gnosticism circulated. It promoted the idea that matter is evil and spirit is good, rejecting Jesus Christ’s full humanity as well as His complete divinity. To correct this, Paul wrote: “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Col. 2:9). An equally destructive heresy in the spiritual life of the Colossian believers was legalism. This can be summed up as placating the gods or God by following a set of rules for behavior. The believers in Colossae fell into the trap of applying legalism to their Christian walk. Paul’s correction of legalism was logical: He argued that to experience redemption in Christ means that we die to man-made religions of this world and gain spiritual life in Him. Dennis Fisher

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Triumphant Defeats

French philosopher Michel de Montaigne once said, “There are triumphant defeats that rival victories.” His words fit awkwardly into the battles that fill our days with sweat or worry. Whether battling disease or bidding in an auction, defeat is far from our goal. It is a word that, presumably for most of us, carries with it tender recollections of loss and disappointment. Past defeats always with us, even the smallest of victories can offer a hopeful sweetness. And perhaps this is so, at least at first, even in those victories of which we should not be proud.

With his mother on his side, Jacob won the battle of wits over his brother and father. Posing as Esau before his blind and aging father, equipped with animal skin and stew, Jacob convinced his father of his status as the first born and lawful heir of the blessing. Shortly thereafter, a defeated Esau returned to find his younger brother promised all that was rightfully his own. Jacob won the battle, but then he was forced to live on the run.

The battles we win at the expense of honesty or at the expense of others have a way of staying with us. Years after the fight for firstborn, Jacob seemed to still be living in fear of that victorious scheme and the brother he defeated with lies. When word came that Esau (and the four hundred men with him) were quickly approaching, Jacob suddenly stood at an impasse with no where else to run. Genesis 32 reports that in the silence of the night before Jacob would face the brother he cheated, he found himself in a battle once more: “So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.”(1)

Along the road to surrendering to God, for some of us a battle is unavoidable. In fact, there may be some truth in the notion that surrender is a fight that begins again every day as if nothing had yet been done. For Jacob, the battle over his life and will took place in that moment when he found himself completely alone. With no one else to come to his aid, no possessions to bribe or barter with, stripped of all his usual tools of combat, Jacob wrestled with his attacker and only to find he was wrestling with God—and losing.

Physically broken, the socket of his hip now dislocated, Jacob nonetheless continued in a battle with words: “I will not let you go unless you bless me,” he told his assailant. Yet this time it was Jacob who was outwitted. “What is your name?” asked the one he wrestled with, a question hastening back to the very lie that sealed Jacob’s deceptive victories of the past. This time, he answered correctly, and though limping, Jacob walked away blessed.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – A Right View of Self

“Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom” (Psalm 51:6).

True confession involves a proper understanding of oneself.

The supreme goal pursued by many in our narcissistic culture is a “healthy” self-esteem. Even Christians have jumped on the self-esteem bandwagon, misconstruing Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 19:19) as a mandate for self-love. But the Bible nowhere commands us to pursue self-esteem; instead, it commands us to be holy (1 Peter 1:16). In Psalm 51, David gives three reasons why holiness is imperative in the life of every Christian.

First, because of unbelievers. David knew he could be a witness for God only if his life was holy. In verse 13 he noted that it was only after God forgave him that he could “teach transgressors [God’s] ways” and see “sinners . . . converted to [Him].” “You are a chosen race,” Peter agrees, “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Nothing shuts a Christian’s mouth so tightly as guilt over unconfessed sin.

Second, because of God. In verse 14 David acknowledged that only when his life was pure could he praise God. He prayed, “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; then my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness.” In verses 16-17 David attested that God desires holiness of life, not conformity to external ritual, in His children. When believers lead holy lives, God is pleased; when they sin, He is dishonored (2 Sam. 12:14).

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Wisdom Hunters – Revived by God 

But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Revelation 11:11

A spiritual life can lose consciousness for lack of belief in God, prayer to God or worship of God. Like a lifeless body on an emergency room gurney, a sudden shock of the heart is needed to revive the temporarily deceased. A revival is necessary where spiritual life once thrived, but is now nonexistent or only emits a faint pulse. The Lord loves His children too much to leave them in a disconnected spiritual state. His breath fills a follower’s lungs of faith with fresh air.

Holy God brings back to life His holy prophets by breathing life into their lungs, in similar fashion to Ezekiel’s experience (Ezekiel 37:5) when the Lord’s life breath revived dry bones. As the resurrected servants of God stood to their feet, terror struck those who thought the truth tellers had been snuffed out, never to be heard from again. But with only a moment’s notice, the Lord calls His servants to ascend to heaven in a cloud, while earth’s inhabitants remained terrified in torment.

“I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15).

A humble and contrite heart unleashes the life of Christ in a spiritual life. So, we humbly approach holy God, who is high and lifted up and who longs to lift us up with our prayers of repentance and rejoicing. Our Heavenly Father is drawn to our desperate need for Him. He reaches out with both hands, lays them on our head and renews our mind with His truth. We call on His name, because He is worthy of our worship and because we need His face to shine on our face in faith.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – The Touch of the Master’s Hand

My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:8

Recommended Reading

Isaiah 41:8-13

About ninety percent of us are right-handed, and the other ten percent favor our left hands. The statistics were probably the same in biblical times, and the right hand was often associated with power and authority. The writers of Scripture used the concept of one’s right hand to convey God’s power and blessings to us.

Check out some of these references: His right hand is glorious in power (Exodus 15:6). His right hand upholds us (Psalm 63:8). At His right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). In Isaiah God said, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). The psalmist said, “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up” (Psalm 18:35).

If you feel weak, weary, or worried today, remember the touch of His right hand, reaching down, imparting strength, and holding you up.

Say with the writer of Psalm 98:1: “Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.”

I know Thy hand upholdeth me, and will my soul defend; / Sufficient is Thy grace, O Lord, to keep me to the end.

Fanny Crosby, hymnist

Read-Thru-the-Bible

Matthew 23 – 24

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

Girlfriends in God – To The One Who Feels Unfinished

Today’s Truth

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

Philippians 1:6

Friend to Friend

It took four years of fresco painting for the Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, and poet Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, to finish the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Commonly known as Michelangelo, his time painting was mostly spent alone, on his back, lying on scaffolding. (How painful!)

The painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is one of the most remarkable in the history of Western art. One thing is for sure: the process that altered a ceiling from plain to fabulous required a lot of time, great discipline, and the hand of a master artist. The same is true for us. The journey from broken into beautiful is a lifelong transformation that requires time, discipline, and a Master Artist.

As Michelangelo was working, I’m sure that lots of people came through the corridors of the chapel and stood in amazement. As they looked up at the beauty of his work, I imagine they said things like, “That is the most fantastic work of art I have ever seen!” or “Extraordinary!” To which he might have said, “It’s not done!”

But, I ask you: did the unfinished state of the project negate that parts of the ceiling were beautiful? No! The parts that were complete would still have been extravagant and breathtaking to the average person.

Maybe this is the way God and others see our lives.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – To The One Who Feels Unfinished

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Will Be Different

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV).

A prominent businessman, elder in a prestigious church, was impatient with “narrow-minded, born-again Christians.” “I am a Christian,” he said, “but I have never been born again, and frankly I’m not interested. We emphasize more important issues in my church.”

When I read the third chapter of John with him and explained that there is only one kind of biblical Christian, the one who is “born-again,” and that no other kind of “Christian” can enter into the kingdom of God according to the words of Jesus, the light suddenly went on. With this new insight he readily received Christ as his Savior and Lord.

A caterpillar is an ugly, hairy, earthbound worm – until it weaves a cocoon about its body. Then an amazing transformation takes place. Out of that cocoon emerges a beautiful butterfly – a new creature, able to live on another plane, to soar in to the heavens. So it is with man.

John 3 records Jesus’ explanation of how one becomes a new creature. Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews who tried to adhere meticulously to every detail of the law, had come to Jesus for counsel.

“‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:2,3, NAS).

Puzzled, Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (John 3:4, NAS). Then Jesus explained that physical birth alone does not qualify anyone to enter the kingdom of God. Since His is a spiritual kingdom, we must experience spiritual birth.

Bible Reading: Romans 6:4-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will read John’s gospel, chapter three, meditating especially on the first eight verses, and will consider again my relationship with the Lord. If I should die today, I want to be sure I would go to heaven, and through the enabling of the Holy Spirit I want to begin living the supernatural life.

 

http://www.cru.org

Ray Stedman – Stewards of the Mysteries of God

Read: 1 Corinthians 4:1-7

This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2

A minister of Christ is to be a steward entrusted with what Paul calls the mysteries God has revealed, that secret and hidden wisdom of God, these valuable truths which are only found in the revelation of the Word of God and nowhere else. Ministers are responsible to dispense these truths continually to the congregation so that lives are changed and lived on the basis of these remarkable truths. These are truths about life, about our families, about God, and ourselves. These truths lie beyond all secular research and opinion polls; they are undiscoverable by natural reason or observation. These mysteries, when understood, are the basis upon which all God’s purposes in our lives are worked out.

Paul says that stewards are to be found faithful. Faithful at what? Faithful at dispensing the mysteries so people understand them. You may fail at many things as a teacher, a preacher, a leader of a class. You may not make it in many areas, but do not miss it in this one. Be sure that you are setting forth the mysteries of God. That is what stewards will be judged on.

What are these mysteries? Here are some of them: There is the mystery of the kingdom of God, (Mark 4:11 KJV). What does it mean? It means an understanding of God at work in history, how he is working through the events of our day and of the days of the past, and how he uses these events that fill the pages of our newspapers to carry out his purposes. There is the mystery of iniquity (2 Thessalonians 2:7 KJV), of lawlessness. This is the explanation we desperately need to be reminded of continually, of why we are never able to make any progress when it comes to solving human dilemmas — why every generation without exception repeats the struggle, problems and difficulties of the previous generation.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Shipwreck!

Read: Acts 27:27-44

And so it was that all were brought safely to land. (v. 44)

Rome was like any other worldly power: sometimes useful, often evil, always self-preserving. Here the Roman guards were ready to kill the prisoners rather than let them escape: security first. (Again today, little has changed. After Hurricane Katrina, reports surfaced that hundreds of prisoners held at Angola Prison were abandoned for days without food or water to face rising floodwaters.) If Paul didn’t already know that the state considered him expendable, he did now.

How can a person live under such a decree? And how can others stand alongside those so condemned? Paul shows us how: he considered himself expendable, because he knew that the God who became flesh and died for him did not. The same faith that led him to endanger himself now enabled him to stay calm and helpful among people whose intentions toward him were utterly callous. We aren’t told why the centurion desired to spare Paul’s life (v. 43), but it’s hard to imagine Paul’s consistently wise and useful counsel (vv. 10, 21-26, 31, 33-36) didn’t have something to do with it. Paul so wanted to be useful to God that he was able to avoid the panicked focus on himself that is natural at times like this. This calm, in turn, gave him the perceptiveness to be a source of hope in a desperate situation.

Prayer:

Lord, when we’re trapped, focusing on ourselves feels necessary. Help us remember that we are more important to you than we are to ourselves and free us to focus on you.

Author: Phil Christman

 

https://woh.org/

Greg Laurie – Happily Even After

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.—Philippians 2:3

I once heard a story about a husband and wife who were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. At a gathering for friends and family, the husband stood up and proclaimed, “I love this woman so much.” Turning to his wife, he said to her, “Dear, because you have given me twenty five years of wedded bliss, I am taking you to China.”

The wife was so excited. She exclaimed, “China! I have always wanted to go to China!” Then she said to her husband, “If you are doing that for our 25th wedding anniversary, I can’t wait to see what you will do for our 50th wedding anniversary!”

The husband replied, “That is when I will pick you up.”

A story like that is funny to hear, but the reality of how our culture views marriage is no laughing matter. As Oscar Wilde wrote, “The world has grown so suspicious of anything that looks like a happy married life.”

Is a long and happy marriage even possible? Can a woman and a man fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after? That is what the fairytales tell us. Is it more realistic to ask if couples can live “happily even after” they’re married?

I’m here to tell you, the answer is yes. It is possible to have a happy marriage. It is possible to have a strong marriage. But it doesn’t happen by random chance.

Sometimes people say, “They have a marriage made in heaven.” Does that mean that others have a marriage made in hell? No. If you see a marriage that looks like it was made in heaven, it is because those people have applied themselves to making it work.

When a husband and wife are each putting the other one first, with Christ as their foundation, they can experience a happy and fulfilling marriage.

 

https://www.harvest.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – God Sees Our Needs

“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (for after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:30-33)

Meri sat on the bench at the mall, swinging her legs and watching the people go by. She loved “people-watching,” as her mom called it. Her mom sat next to her, sipping some soda and checking things off her list, so she wasn’t paying attention. But Meri couldn’t take her eyes off all the crowds of moving people – busy people, rich people, angry people, colorful people, laughing people, impatient people – all kinds of people!

Suddenly, Meri took in a quick breath and stopped swinging her legs. A teen-aged boy was walking by, but there was something wrong with him. His face was all flushed red and his eyes were squeezed tightly shut. It looked like he had been crying really hard, and like he might just start up again. He was holding an open cell phone, but it did not seem like he was talking to anyone.

Meri had never seen a boy cry, nevermind a boy walking around crying in a public mall. There are people everywhere in a shopping mall. There are hidden cameras. Meri wondered if someone had called the boy on his cell phone and given him some bad news. She pulled on her mom’s elbow to get her attention, but by then the boy was rounding the corner and going into the restrooms. Meri felt sorry about the boy. She wished she could have helped him feel better, but she didn’t know what to do or say that might have helped.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Giving First to God

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8:7

“See that you excel in this act of grace also.”

Some Christians think they cannot afford giving 10 percent of their income to God’s work. I understand. When I left industry to become a staff trainee with The Navigators years ago, I took a 75 percent salary cut. I was financially shell-shocked. So I thought, “I can’t afford to tithe. Surely, God accepts my sacrificial service as my giving.” But God didn’t let me get away with that. So I decided I would tithe my meager income and trust God to provide.

Later I was drawn to the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:8-16). She was down to her last bit of flour and oil. She planned to prepare her last meal for her son and herself, and then die. Yet Elijah said to her in effect, “Feed me first, for God will provide for you.” She did as Elijah instructed, and God did provide: “The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah” (verse 16). I began to pray over that verse, and I can tell you that throughout more than fifty years of ministry, God has always provided.

Giving back to God at least 10 percent of what he has given us is a tangible expression of our recognition that everything we have and our ability to earn comes from God (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).

Remember the infinite generosity of our Lord in giving himself for our salvation: “Though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Our giving should reflect the value we place on his gift to us. (Excerpt taken from Respectable Sins)

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – I’ve Got Great News!

Today’s Scripture: Romans 5:1-11

They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. – Acts 14:21

I have seen men and women who are normally the life of the party–able to hold their own and discuss practically anything–clam up and hide quietly in the corner when an opportunity to present the gospel came along.

Maybe you’re like that. If so, let me ask you a question. Has hearing the gospel ever turned a person into a drunk or gotten him on drugs? Has the gospel turned good people bad? Has the gospel turned people from love to hate? Take a few minutes and make a list of all the good things the gospel does, and in another column list all the bad things the gospel does. I guarantee you’ll find one of your lists quite long and the other list nonexistent.

The word gospel means good news. But the way we hesitate to share the message of the gospel would make a person think it was bad news. Consider the words of the announcement made by the angel to the shepherds, regarding the coming of Christ into the world: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”

Did you catch those words? The angels spoke of good tidings of great joy. That’s why the message must be proclaimed among all nations, to every creature–especially to those who live in your neighborhood, work with you in the same office, play racquetball with you, sit beside you in a college classroom.

Wherever you live, work, or play, people need to hear the “good tidings of great joy.” A Savior is born! The gospel of Christ is good news!

Prayer

Lord, You are my light and my salvation, and I will express to others my joy in You. Amen.

To Ponder

Failure to speak words that edify grieves the Holy Spirit.

 

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BreakPoint – Columbus and the Rise of Science: We’ve Been Lied To

Thank heavens that Columbus was able to convince the world that the earth was round. Except, as Chuck Colson explains in this classic BreakPoint commentary, Columbus didn’t have to convince anyone.

For well over a century and a half, secular intellectuals have promulgated the myth that when it came to understanding the natural world, medieval and earlier Christians were superstitious simpletons. As we mark Columbus Day today, sit back and listen to Chuck Colson as he debunks that pernicious fairy tale.  Here’s Chuck.

To paraphrase the opening of a popular ESPN show, these four things everyone knows are true: Before Columbus’s first voyage, people thought the world was flat. When Copernicus wrote that the Earth revolved around the Sun, his conclusions came out of nowhere. Three, the “scientific revolution” of the seventeenth century invented science as we know it. And four, false beliefs and impediments to science are Christianity’s fault.

There’s just one problem: All four statements are false.

As Rodney Stark writes in his new book, “For the Glory of God,” “every educated person” of Columbus’s time, especially Christian clergy, “knew the earth was round.” More than 800 years before Columbus’s voyage, Bede, the church historian, taught this, as did Hildegard of Bingen and Thomas Aquinas. The title of the most popular medieval text on astronomy was Sphere, not exactly what you would call a book that said the earth was flat.

As for Copernicus’s sudden flash of insight, Stark quotes the eminent historian L. Bernard Cohen, who called that idea “an invention of later historians.” Copernicus “was taught the essential fundamentals leading to his model by his Scholastic professors”—that is, Christian scholars.

That model was “developed gradually by a succession of . . . Scholastic scientists over the previous two centuries.” Building upon their work on orbital mechanics, Copernicus added the “implicit next step.”

Thus, the idea that science was invented in the seventeenth century, “when a weakened Christianity could no longer prevent it,” as it is said, is false. Long before the famed physicist Isaac Newton, clergy like John of Sacrobosco, the author of Sphere, were doing what can be only called science. The Scholastics—Christians—not the Enlightenment, invented modern science.

Continue reading BreakPoint – Columbus and the Rise of Science: We’ve Been Lied To

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – SALVATION LIVING: SUBMIT TO AUTHORITY

Read 1 PETER 2:13–17

In 1908, John T. Dower was working as a secretary for the Y.M.C.A. in Worcester, Mass., when he learned that his uncle had died in Australia—and he was heir to a $10 million fortune. Dower reportedly agreed to travel to Australia to handle his uncle’s postmortem interests, but he said that whether or not he received the $10 million, he intended to keep working at his job in the local Y.M.C.A. branch.

At this point in 1 Peter, the letter has stressed our identity as the people of God, using words such as chosen, holy, and special. We have an eternal inheritance guaranteed by God Himself (1:4). So we might be surprised when our reading opens with the exhortation, “Submit yourselves . . . to every human authority” (v. 13).

Peter has outlined our identity, and now he turns to the practical implications for how we live in the world. As we’ll see throughout the next few chapters, our status as God’s special possession does not exempt us from humility in human relationships. New Testament scholar Karen Jobes argues that the word good that occurs three times in verses 12 through 15 indicates a quality beyond the expected norm. In other words, obeying the law is expected for all people—but Christians should go beyond this to contribute good for the community. Christians not only submit by recognizing the appropriate human governing authorities, they also serve even “the pagans” and “foolish people” by participating in good initiatives that bless all (vv. 12, 15).

The purpose of this service is not to bring attention to our own humility or goodness but to bring glory to God. We submit “for the Lord’s sake”; we do good for others because “it is God’s will” (vv. 13, 15). Ultimately we are able to serve others because we recognize that our true Master is God (v. 16).

APPLY THE WORD

For centuries, Christians have followed this instruction through initiatives that served communities, including building hospitals, staffing food banks, lobbying for prison reform, and volunteering in schools. How can you demonstrate humility by serving others? Look for opportunities sponsored by your church or other Christian groups.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Denison Forum – THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE AND HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

Last night’s debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton capped a tumultuous week in the presidential race. The candidates did not shake hands before the debate began, a sign of hostilities to come. The town hall meeting focused on issues ranging from Obamacare to Syria, but the negativity of the evening mirrored the divisiveness of the larger campaign.

Trump is facing widespread criticism for scandalous sexual statements he made eleven years ago. Even Mike Pence, his running mate, stated that he was “offended” by Trump’s words and actions and “cannot defend them.”

Clinton is under fire after WikiLeaks published transcripts of lucrative paid speeches she delivered to elite financial firms prior to the presidential campaign. Bernie Sanders and his supporters are reportedly furious over statements they believe prove her collusion with “big banks” and other entrenched institutions.

Prior to the media firestorm that began last Friday, Gallup’s polling showed that Trump is viewed unfavorably by 63 percent of the public, Clinton by 55 percent. These ratings are by far the worst since Gallup began such polling in the 1956 election. The previous worst rating was Barry Goldwater in October 1964 at 47 percent. After the weekend’s events, it is plausible that the candidates’ ratings will go even lower.

Americans are clearly frustrated with their presidential nominees. But Joseph de Maistre’s maxim may be relevant today: “Every nation gets the government it deserves.”

What kind of nation did the Founders envision? George Washington declared that “religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.” Benjamin Franklin agreed: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE AND HOPE FOR THE FUTURE