Charles Stanley –Understanding Your Call

 

Mark 8:34-35

I like to use the word believer when talking about God’s children, as it specifically refers to those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior. That is a much smaller population than those who label themselves “Christian.” But did you know that even fewer people could rightly be called “followers”? These are the people who passionately pursue the Lord’s will in all things.

Are you a believer or a follower? Trusting in Jesus Christ is fundamental, but doing so is the first step, not the culmination, of a person’s faith. Our primary purpose is to take a life-long journey following in the Lord’s footsteps, honoring Him with our actions and speech, and always increasing in biblical wisdom.

A follower’s life is summed up in the phrase complete obedience. In fact, Jesus defined true Christians as those who prove their love for Him by keeping His word (John 14:23). When it comes to obeying God, there are really only two responses—“I will” or “I won’t.” It’s tempting to say, “I will, but …” as some of Jesus’ would-be disciples did, but that’s a roundabout way of saying no. Followers remain faithful to the Lord’s plan whether doing so is easy or hard. Not only that, but they proclaim Him in both blessing and calamity, and go even when they don’t like where He leads.

Followers pursue the Lord because they know that the reward is a deeper, more passionate relationship with Him. They are not just waiting to spend eternity with God in heaven. They realize that eternity begins now, as they accompany Him on the righteous path He has set before them.

Bible in One Year: Mark 3-5

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Dying for Others

Read: 1 John 3:16-17

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 43-44; 1 Thessalonians 2

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.—John 10:11

I love birds, which is why I bought six caged birds and carried them home to our daughter Alice, who began to care for them daily. Then one of the birds fell ill and died. We wondered if the birds would be more likely to thrive if they were not caged. So we freed the surviving five and observed them fly away in jubilation.

Alice then pointed out, “Do you realize, Daddy, that it was the death of one bird that caused us to free the rest?”

Isn’t that what the Lord Jesus did for us? Just as one man’s sin (Adam’s) brought condemnation to the world, so one Man’s righteousness (Jesus’s) brought salvation to those who believe (Rom. 5:12-19). Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

John makes it more practical when he says, “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16). This won’t likely mean literal death, but as we align our lives with Jesus’s example of sacrificial love, we find that we are “laying down our lives.” For instance, we might choose to deprive ourselves of material goods in order to share them with others (v. 17) or make time to be with someone who needs comfort and companionship.

Who do you need to sacrifice for today? —Lawrence Darmani

In what ways have others sacrificed for your well-being?

Share with us at odb.org.

Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for us motivates us to sacrifice ourselves for others.

INSIGHT: John reminds believers to model the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. True Christian love is sacrificial action (1 John 3:16) and selfless generosity (v. 17). John exhorts us to be loving and genuine, both in our speech and, more so, in our actions (v. 18). This kind of sacrificial love is the clearest of evidence that one has a new life (v. 14). The person who lacks love shows that he does not really know God nor is he in close fellowship with God, “for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). Reminiscent of John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10 once again reiterates how much God loves us (vv. 9-10). Sim Kay Tee

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Wakeful Awareness

Few of us would be able to recollect from our childhoods the moment when consciousness first came into being and the process of waking to self began. For most of us, awareness broke through in pieces. We found ourselves then as we continue to find ourselves now: at times stirringly wakeful to what it means to be human, aware of self and lifetime, and startled by the abruptness of its end. Essayist Annie Dillard articulates the progression of consciousness with stirring lucidity:

“I woke in bits, like all children, piecemeal over the years. I discovered myself and the world, and forgot them, and discovered them again. I woke at intervals until, by that September when Father went down the river, the intervals of waking tipped the scales, and I was more often awake than not. I noticed this process of waking, and predicted with terrifying logic that one of these years not far away I would be awake continuously and never slip back, and never be free of myself again.”(1)

Dillard describes the rousing of self as strangely recognizable—”like people brought back from cardiac arrest or drowning.” There is a familiarity in the midst of the foreignness. We wake to mystery, but so somehow we wake to something known—and knowing.

We find ourselves jarred awake in a different way to the idea of death, this unsettling notion of forever falling asleep to the life we have known. But even here there is a curious sense of vigilance we carry with us into death. Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno once observed that human beings are distinguished from other creatures in that we have the unique practice of burying our dead. In our funeral preparations, we make the dead ready for another stage; we make ourselves ready to continue on, our eyes further open to the weight of life. We stand ceremoniously present; we speak words over the dead body. Professor James Loder points out the rebellion inherent in these preparations: “We will not let death have the last word. This is a mark of the human spirit that something in us knows we can overcome this thing.”(2)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Wakeful Awareness

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Free from Sin

“Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin” (Romans 6:6-7).

Having died with Christ, believers are no longer under sin’s control.

Years ago a book with the amusing title “It Ain’t Gonna Reign No More” appeared. Though humorous, that title aptly summarizes the believer’s relationship to sin. Christians still commit sins but are no longer under sin’s dominion.

When we were united with Christ in His death (Rom. 6:5), “our old self was crucified with Him” (verse 6). Our “old self” equals what we were before salvation—lost in sin and bound for Hell. It is the unregenerate nature we inherited from Adam (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22).

Some argue that believers now have both an old and new nature—a sort of spiritual split personality. The conflict between those two natures, they believe, is responsible for the struggles of the Christian life, as the believer strives to crucify his old self. But notice that Paul does not command us to crucify our old self; he tells us that has already happened (cf. Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:9-10).

The expression “that our body of sin might be done away with” approaches this same truth from a slightly different perspective. It notes the close connection between the body and sin (Rom. 8:10, 13) and describes the absolute domination of sin in the life of an unbeliever. That domination is broken at salvation.

Paul is not teaching, however, that believers’ sin natures have been eradicated, and hence they no longer sin. The Greek word translated “done away with” does not mean “destroyed” but “rendered inoperative” or “deprived of its strength, influence, or power.” Christians are no longer slaves to sin; its tyranny in our lives has been broken.

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Free from Sin

Wisdom Hunters – Doubt the Devil’s Accusations

For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. Revelation 12:10

John flushes out the true intent of the devil—he is the accuser of the brethren whose goal is to get us to believe his lies that lead us to doubt the Lord. This dragon of death attempts to drag down with him to the depths of hell, all who will listen. In an instant Satan snatches a third of the angels (v.4) and casts them out of heaven to become demonic tormentors on earth. The devil and his demons are persistent in their accusations to discredit Christ and His followers.

Now that you have aged in years as a Christian, you may have formalized your faith to the point where the miraculous has been replaced by the mundane. Questions and doubt have replaced God’s promises of assurance. Did God really say my relationship with Him is based on my belief in Jesus Christ as His son and the only way to heaven (John 14:6)? Did God really say that those who believe in Jesus go to heaven, and those who reject him are separated from God eternally in hell (Revelation 20:15)?

“He [the serpent] said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’” (Genesis 3:1)?

Did God really say that I am to pay my taxes that are due the government as an example of good citizenship (Mark 12:17)? Did God really say I am to honor my parents, even if they are undeserving of honor (Ephesians 6:1-3)? Did God really say to volunteer in the church, start tithing, stay in this marriage, forgive my friend, invest in my family, and help my neighbor? Did He really say to trust Him, even when I don’t feel Him? Am I to obey Him when I don’t understand why or how? Yes to all!

Your Lord has proven Himself time and time again as faithful and dependable. Even when you have strayed, your Savior has been there when you turn back to truth. Christ is totally trustworthy. Believe His warnings as His protection; believe His promises as His assurance; believe His principles as His rules for living; believe in His track record as His promise of provision; believe His truth that sets you free. Doubt the devil’s accusations, yes. Doubt God’s promises, no!

“Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him” (Matthew 4:10-11).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as a lifetime learner of Your Word—I take You at Your word.

Application: What doubts do I need to acknowledge as the devil’s accusations and release to God?

Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 33:12; Job 36:16–19; John 20:27; Jude 1:22

 

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Prime the Revival Pump

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

Psalm 42:5

Recommended Reading

Isaiah 57:15

If you haven’t used a spray bottle of liquid for a while, you have to squeeze the trigger a few times to expel the air. That’s priming the pump. A primer is something that makes something else work: a primer coat makes the finish coat of paint stick better; an infusion of capital can prime the economic engine of a company; a squirt of gasoline can prime an engine that has sat idle too long.

What is the primer for revival? In most of the verses on revival in Scripture, God sends the revival. But does man play no part at all? Or can we “prime” the revival pump? When the psalmist was discouraged and in need of revival, he took the initiative. He confronted his condition and reminded himself: “Hope in God.” If he did, he knew he would “yet praise [God] for the help of His countenance.” The famous verse on revival in 2 Chronicles 7:14 begins with God’s people humbling themselves, praying, and repenting. Only then would God “forgive their sin and heal their land.”

If you are in need of revival, prime the revival pump by humbling yourself before God and asking Him to revive your heart and soul.

Revival is the exchange of the form of godliness for its living power.

John Bonar

Read-Thru-the-Bible

Mark 4–5

 

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

Joyce Meyer – Suspicious of Suspicion

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious…it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it…does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything…. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. —1 Corinthians 13:4-8A

These words about love are familiar to most of us, but I can honestly say that living them has not always been easy for me. As a child, I was not exposed to this kind of love—in fact, I was taught to be suspicious of everyone. I was told that the motives of other people were not to be trusted.

As I got older, I encountered people whose actions confirmed in my mind that my suspicions were justified. Even as a young Christian, I experienced disappointment because of the obvious motives of some people in the church. While it is wise to be aware of people’s motives, we must be careful that we don’t allow our suspicious nature to negatively affect our feelings about everyone.

An overly suspicious nature can poison your mind and affect your ability to love and accept other people. Consider this example.

Suppose a friend approaches you after a church service, and says, “Do you know what Doris thinks about you?” Then this friend tells you every detail of the things Doris said. The first problem is that a true friend wouldn’t share such information. And the second problem is that with an already ¬suspicious mind, you now believe secondhand information.

Once your mind has been poisoned against someone, suspicion grows. That’s when Satan gains a stronghold in your mind. Every time Doris says something to you, you are automatically suspicious, thinking, What does she really mean? Or if she’s nice to you, you think, I wonder what she wants from me.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Suspicious of Suspicion

Girlfriends in God – Finding Awe

Today’s Truth

While He was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!’

Matthew 17:5

Friend to Friend

Often I feel like I am living ground hog day all over again. I go through the motions. Wake up. Coffee. Bible. Work. Kids. Husband. Dinner. TV. Sleep. Repeat.

Days just are what they are sometimes. We have tasks we have to do, roles we have to play and agendas that simply need to be followed.

Some days, half of me wants to run away from it all, saying, “Come back again tomorrow: I am on a long term retreat with God that lasts forever.” I just want to give up and give in because I feel that all my doing is making me miss the greatest being ever – Jesus.

Do you ever feel like your busy is stealing the pleasure of knowing and being with God?

Connecting and seeing God when you’re struggling with daily living can be a thing that eludes us. We can feel that life is passing away and so is our once-on-fire heart that pulsed so strong for God.

Yet, there is always an invitation waiting. The real question is – do we see it? Will we, like the disciples, who saw Jesus transfigured before their very eyes, allow ourselves to be drawn in to the wonder God has prepared for us?

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Finding Awe

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Never Alone

“No I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm, I will come to you” (John 14:18).

“I feel so alone,” Bev said,” with my husband gone and all my children married. Sometimes I can hardly bear the pain, the anguish. At times its as though I am about to suffocate – I am so lonely!”

Bev was in her late 70’s. Her husband was dead, and the other members of her family had become involved in their own careers and activities. Though they loved her, they were so busy they seldom saw her to express that love.

I shared with her the good news of the one who loved her so much that He died on the cross for her and paid the penalty for her sins, the one who promised to come to her and, once He came, never to leave her.

There in the loneliness of her living room, she bowed with me in prayer and invited the risen living Christ to take up residence in her life, to forgive her, to cleanse her, to make her whole, to make her a child of God. When she lifted her face, her cheeks were moist with tears of repentance and her heart was made new with joy.

“I feel so different,” she said. “Already I feel enveloped with the sense of God’s presence, His love and His peace.”

As the months passed, it became increasingly evident that she was not alone. He who was with her had been faithful to His promise never to leave her.

Do you feel deserted, alone, rejected? Do you have problems with your family, work, school, or health? Whatever may be your need, Jesus is waiting to make His presence as real to you as if He were with you in His physical body.

There are five things that I would encourage you to do to enhance the realization of His presence. (1) Meditate upon His Word day and night. (2) Confess all known sins. (3) Aggressively obey His commandments. (4) Talk to Him about everything as you would your dearest friend. (5) Tell everyone who will listen about Him so that they too can experience with you the supernatural life which comes only from allowing the supernatural power of the indwelling Christ to be reflected in and through you.

Bible Reading: Psalm 68:3-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: In order to enhance the Lord’s presence in my life, I will practice the five recommendations knowing that as I walk in this vital personal relationship with the risen Christ, the supernatural qualities that characterize His life will become more and more apparent in time.

 

http://www.cru.org

Ray Stedman – What are Bodies For?

Read: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

This passage tells why sexual immorality is different from other sins. Here again Paul is reflecting on how human nature is different than animal nature. It has a unique capacity: it is this marvelous capacity to hold God, to be intimately related to the greatness and the majesty and the glory of God, to have God in you. That is the temple — God dwelling in something transforms it into a temple. But sexual immorality defiles that temple. It offers the temple to another. It brings the body of that person who is the temple into a wrong union and therefore, it is basically the sin of idolatry. That is why in Colossians and other places the apostle links together covetousness, which is idolatry. He means sexual covetousness, the desire for another person’s body, is a form of idolatry.

Now only idolatry, the worship of another god, the substitution of a rival god, defiles the temple. That is why sexual immorality has an immediate and profound but subtle effect upon the human psyche. It dehumanizes us. It animalizes us. It brutalizes us. Those who indulge in it grow continually more coarse, less sensitive, have less regard for the welfare of another, more self-centered, more desirous of having only their own needs met — I couldn’t care less about the rest of you. That is what fornication does.

I have seen it destroy young people’s relationships. A beautiful young couple came to me. Both of them were Christians, and had formed a close friendship. They were growing in the Lord and heading for marriage and then something happened. They began to fight. Finally, they brought one of their quarrels to me and in the process of working it out I said to them, Are you having sex together? and they admitted they were. I said, Well, this is the result of it. It is destroying your relationship. But they did not believe me and they went on. Sure enough, soon they ended it with great brokenness and hurt on both sides — a painful episode remaining in each one of their lives. This is what sexual immorality does.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – What are Bodies For?

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Seek Him Where He Is

Read: Matthew 25:31-46

Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? (vv. 37-39)

I used to find Matthew 25 terrifying because I focused on the “eternal fire” with which Jesus threatens those who don’t do the required works of charity (vv. 41-43). I worried all the usual childish worries—that there was a quota of good deeds that had to be reached to avoid damnation, and that I wouldn’t meet it.

I now find Matthew 25 comforting because Jesus’ teaching makes the spiritual life, which can seem so complicated, starkly simple. I worry about how to find Jesus all the time—how to pray, how to meditate, what sort of inner promptings I should be listening for—but this passage tells me exactly where he is. Simply go to the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned. I may not know whether I’m praying “right” or how to “hear” God, but these words have proved reliable. Every time I’ve sought out prisoners—not to evangelize or “improve” them, but simply to be kindly present with as open a heart as I can manage—he’s been there. In their goodness, their intelligence, their lack of pretension, even in their obstreperousness that forces me to find deeper reserves of love to handle their response, prisoners have shown me Jesus. He said that’s where he’d be. And he is.

Prayer:

Lord, give us courage to go where you are.

Author: Phil Christman

 

https://woh.org/

Greg Laurie – What God Has Joined

And he said, “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together. —Matthew 19:5–6

We live in a culture that not only gives allowances for adultery, but in many ways encourages it. There are even websites to help people get away with being unfaithful to their spouse. But sexual immorality is a big deal to God.

When the Pharisees tried to test Jesus on the subject of divorce, one question they asked was, “Why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” (Matthew 19:7).

Jesus told them, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful (verses 8–9).

An allowance is given for divorce, and it is sexual immorality. It violates the oneness between a husband and a wife. The apostle Paul said, “And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, ‘The two are united into one'” (1 Corinthians 6:16).

Having said that, adultery is not only grounds for divorce, but it is also grounds for forgiveness. I have seen marriages survive it. I have seen marriages flourish in its aftermath. However, I am in no way rationalizing it. Adultery is never a good thing. Trust is broken, and it will take years to get it back. Adultery is very damaging, but a marriage can survive it.

If you are married, you may be tempted to violate your vows. But don’t entertain those thoughts. Instead, with the power of God working in your life, make an effort to keep your marriage strong and to make your spouse your best friend.

 

https://www.harvest.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – Making Room for God

“The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” (Exodus 15:2)

Allie was exhausted! She had spent all morning scrubbing the moldy walls and pipes in a smelly bathroom. She had spent all afternoon scraping paint off some door frames. And she had spent all evening washing paintbrushes and running errands for the adults who were putting up wallpaper on the walls.

Allie’s family was on a work trip to help some people in Mississippi whose house had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Her dad had a painting business, and her mom was a counselor, so Allie got to go down to Mississippi and be a part of the work crew, too. They were working on the house of an older lady named Miss Ruby. Miss Ruby was probably ready to retire, but she still worked a full-time job at a store in town so that she could pay the bills.

As she cleaned up the tools and threw away scraps of wallpaper, Allie was humming some of her favorite songs about the Lord. She wondered to herself if Miss Ruby knew about God, or – if so – what Miss Ruby thought about Him. She also couldn’t help but wonder what Miss Ruby would think when she walked through that door after her work tonight and saw all the progress the crew had made on her home! It looked brand new to Allie. Everything was white and neat and nothing like the moldy mess it had been when they first came. It made Allie happy to think of doing something that would make Miss Ruby so happy. She couldn’t wait for her to come home!

Have you ever helped to get somebody’s bedroom ready? Maybe you have even helped to fix up someone’s whole house, like Allie and her family did. That is the kind of idea in Exodus 15:2, that we prepare a habitation (a home, dwelling place) for God. The LORD is the Giver of salvation. He is strength for His people. He is what His people want to sing about. And He is the One we should exalt.

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – Making Room for God

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Holiness and Grace

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 12:14

“Strive for . . . the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

The Holy Spirit’s work in transforming us more and more into the likeness of Christ is called sanctification. Our involvement and cooperation with him in his work is what I call the pursuit of holiness. That expression is taken from Hebrews 12:14: “strive for [literally: pursue] . . . the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” .

This pursuit requires sustained, vigorous effort. It allows for no indolence, no lethargy, no halfhearted commitment, and no laissez-faire attitude toward even the smallest sins. In short, it demands the highest priority in a Christian’s life because to be holy is to be like Christ—God’s goal for every Christian.

The word “pursue” in this context means to strive to gain or accomplish. In Philippians 3:12-14, this word is translated “press on.” In the New Testament it is most commonly translated “persecute,” carrying the word’s common meaning—to track down in order to harm or destroy.

At the same time, however, the pursuit of holiness must be anchored in the grace of God; otherwise it is doomed to failure. That statement probably strikes many people as strange. A lot of Christians seem to think the grace of God and the vigorous pursuit of holiness are antithetical—in direct and unequivocal opposition.

To some, the pursuit of holiness sounds like legalism and man-made rules. To others, an emphasis on grace seems to open the door to irresponsible behavior based on the notion that God’s unconditional love means we’re free to sin as we please.

Grace and the personal discipline required to pursue holiness, however, go hand in hand. An understanding of how grace and personal, vigorous effort work together is essential for a lifelong pursuit of holiness. (Excerpt taken from The Discipline of Grace)

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Full of Compassion

Today’s Scripture: Exodus 21-24

We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

Has anyone ever told you there are two Gods in the Bible–a cruel God of the Old Testament and a loving God of the New Testament? Nothing could be further from the truth! Scripture portrays God’s compassion for His creation, and especially for those who might be taken advantage of because of their weakness or position in society.

For instance, He gave protective laws concerning servants who had suffered abuse under the heavy hand of taskmasters. Look at God’s concern toward the stranger, the widow, and the fatherless. He says, “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry” (Exodus 22:21-24).

Not only were the destitute, the timid, and the helpless not to be abused, but God’s people were to be ready to lend them a hand–to comfort and assist them, and to show them kindness.

God’s great compassionate heart is toward all His creation. For instance, the land was not to be abused or overworked. Every seventh year the land was to be given rest. So also the vineyard and the olive grove.

Scripture sets forth the God of the Old Testament as filled with compassion, care, and creative ways to watch out for those who might not be able to watch out for themselves, and puts to rest the accusations of those who portray Him otherwise.

Prayer

Lord, Your love, mercy, and fairness are the same throughout the Bible. Great is your faithfulness to me!

To Ponder

God is love!

 

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BreakPoint –  ‘Locker Room Talk’ is No Excuse: Christians, Trump, and the Election

After talking this week on BreakPoint about the awful doctor-assisted suicide bill in Colorado, we’d planned to cover the complete misrepresentation of Intervarsity by both Time magazine and progressive post-evangelicals. But that will have to wait.

The headlines were stolen this week by a video of terrible comments made by Donald Trump in 2005. It has further divided the American people, and it has further divided Christians. In just the last week I’ve been accused of being both pro-Trump and “a tool of the progressive agenda.” Even so, I’m going to wade into these contentious waters today.

It should go without saying that the media are not unbiased. They’ve been looking for a silver bullet to end Mr. Trump’s campaign, and they think they’ve found it. So they’ve swarmed. But that’s no excuse. Mr. Trump handed them the ammunition.

His comments from 2005 are indefensible and disgusting. That’s why it’s so disheartening to hear Christians, including some Christian leaders, dismiss them. “His words were from eleven years ago,” some say. That might have mattered if he were, at the time, a teenager addicted to today’s hip hop music. But he wasn’t. He was 60.

“Others have done worse,” others say. But that’s not a moral argument, and it doesn’t make Trump’s words any less repugnant.

Trump himself, after an initial apology, has repeatedly dismissed his own comments as “locker room talk.” In doing so, he’s only dismissed his own apology.

Continue reading BreakPoint –  ‘Locker Room Talk’ is No Excuse: Christians, Trump, and the Election

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – SALVATION LIVING: JESUS IS LORD

Read 1 PETER 3:13–22

King Pyrrhus of Epirus defeated the Roman army at Heraclea in 280 B.C., but sustained heavy casualties among his own troops. After a second victory over Rome a year later, Pyrrhus reportedly said, “If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.” The term Pyrrhic victory means a win so costly that it actually leads to demise.

Throughout this letter Peter has reminded his readers that Jesus is our example. He was chosen before the creation of the world to make it possible for us to be chosen by God (1:2, 20).

He is the cornerstone, and we are the living stones in God’s spiritual house (2:4–6). He suffered injustice without retaliation, and we can also respond with gentleness and humility (2:21–23). Now Peter encourages his readers with the example of Jesus’ ultimate victory (v. 22).

Jesus’ victory is the opposite of Pyrrhus. Jesus appeared to suffer the worst kind of defeat—a humiliating death while being taunted by His enemies (v. 18). But this defeat in fact led to His glorious victory, because He was obedient to the will of the Father who resurrected Him and vanquished the power of death

and sin (vv. 17, 21). Now Jesus reigns in heaven “with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him” (v. 22).

This is more than a nice theological statement—it should affect how we live. We can endure suffering and even what looks like defeat because we know Jesus has been victorious. We can be free from fear of attacks from the world because we know that Jesus is our Savior. We can respond to others with “gentleness and respect” because we know that we, and all of creation, are ultimately subject to Jesus our Lord (v. 15).

APPLY THE WORD

Do the people around you see the hope that you have in Christ? Do your gentle responses to criticism surprise them? When our lives follow the example of Jesus, we then might have an opening to share with others the wonderful truth of the gospel. Sometimes our most profound witnessing opportunities happen as a result of our response to difficulties.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Denison Forum – WHY BOB DYLAN IS A NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING PROPHET

Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize in Literature yesterday. One of his most famous songs was recorded in 1964. It ends: “The line it is drawn the curse it is cast / The slow one now will later be fast / As the present now will later be past / The order is rapidly fadin’ / And the first one now will later be last / For the times they are a-changin’!”

Dylan is more right today than ever.

The Wall Street Journal reports that just one in five millennials has ever tried a Big Mac. To win them back, McDonald’s has created digital media hubs in Singapore, London, and Illinois.

According to The Washington Post, TV ratings for NFL games are down 11 percent from last season. One significant factor is the number of people watching games on digital platforms that do not contribute to television ratings. For more, see Ryan Denison’s Why the NFL is losing viewers.

A robot was unveiled yesterday that will cut your grass, collect leaves, and shovel snow—all autonomously. It costs a mere $3,999. According to CNN, Facebook and Google are teaming up to build a gigantic Internet cable under the Pacific Ocean to China. And Marie Osmond turned fifty-seven yesterday. If you don’t know who she is, that’s my point.

Cultural transformation leaves casualties in its wake. Note this Wall Street Journal headline: “Students Flood College Mental-Health Centers.” The number of college students diagnosed with or treated for anxiety problems has risen 50 percent in the last five years. The Journal also reports that America’s technology boom has not produced enough jobs—employment at computer and electronic firms has fallen by more than 40 percent since 1990.

Continue reading Denison Forum – WHY BOB DYLAN IS A NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING PROPHET