Charles Stanley – The Heart’s Desires

 

Psalms 145:17-21

If you could have anything in the world, what would it be? Your answer reveals a lot about you. The psalmist writes, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). There is nothing wrong with desires—they motivate us to achieve great things. But not all of our yearnings come from God. Consider your aspirations and what they say about who you are:

  • Do you hope for a position of authority in order to be in control? Longing for personal advancement in order to manipulate others reveals a lack of integrity, whereas a godly person craves righteousness.
  • Do you dream about wealth and fame? Perhaps there’s a void in your spirit that you’re trying to fill. But only God can meet the insatiable needs of the human heart.
  • Are you afraid to ask the Lord for what you want? Maybe you think He won’t listen, but God tells us to approach His throne with boldness and confidence (Heb. 4:16).

If the Lord doesn’t respond affirmatively to your prayers, ask Him to make your desires conform to His will. Whatever you do, don’t take matters into your own hands and go after what you want. There is always a high price to pay for rebelling against God.

God cares for us bountifully, but that doesn’t mean we can expect Him to deliver whatever we want, whenever we want it. Only when our dreams align with His plan for our life will He fulfill them. The thoughts that preoccupy us are an accurate barometer of the state of our relationship with Christ.

Bible in One Year: Luke 1

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Your Journey

Read: John 14:15-21

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 59-61; 2 Thessalonians 3

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.—John 14:18

I grew up in the rebellious 1960s and turned my back on religion. I had attended church all my life but didn’t come to faith until my early twenties after a terrible accident. Since that time, I have spent my adult years telling others of Jesus’s love for us. It has been a journey.

Certainly “a journey” describes life in this broken world. On the way we encounter mountains and valleys, rivers and plains, crowded highways and lonely roads—highs and lows, joys and sorrows, conflict and loss, heartache and solitude. We can’t see the road ahead, so we must take it as it comes, not as we wish it would be.

The follower of Christ, however, never faces this journey alone. The Scriptures remind us of the constant presence of God. There is nowhere we can go that He is not there (Ps. 139:7-12). He will never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:6; Heb. 13:5). Jesus, after promising to send the Holy Spirit, told His disciples, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18).

The challenges and opportunities we face on our journey can be met confidently, for God has promised us His never-failing presence. —Bill Crowder

Loving Lord, thank You that You not only know the path I take, You walk it with me. Help me to rely on Your presence, help, and wisdom every day of my journey through life.

Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.

INSIGHT: Imagine how the disciples must have felt when the Master they had followed for three and a half years said He was going away. How could they cope with the loss of their Teacher, the one from whom flowed the words of life? But Jesus said He would not leave them alone, for He would send them “another Helper” (John 14:16 nkjv) who would be with them forever. The word translated “Helper” is paraclete, which means “encourager, exhorter, comforter, and intercessor.” It denotes someone who is called alongside to help. The Spirit of Christ would now dwell within them and be their helper and comforter. Dennis Fisher

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Wisdom Embodied

One of the tragic casualties of our age has been that of the contemplative life—a life that thinks, a life thinks things through, and more particularly, thinks God’s thoughts. A person sitting at his or her desk staring out the window would never be assumed to be working. No! Thinking is not equated with work. Yet, had Newton under his tree, or Archimedes in his bathtub, bought into that prejudice, some natural laws would still be up in the air or buried under an immovable rock. Pascal’s Pensees, or “Thoughts,” a work that has inspired millions, would have never been penned.

What is even more destructive is the assumption that silence is inimical to life. The radio in the car, Muzak in the elevator, and the symphony entertaining callers “on hold” all add up as grave impediments to personal reflection. In effect, the mind is denied the privilege of living with itself even briefly and is crowded with outside impulses to cope with aloneness. Aldous Huxley’s indictment, “Most of one’s life… is one prolonged effort to prevent thinking,” seems frightfully true. Moreover, the price paid for this scenario has been devastating. As T.S. Eliot questioned:

Where is the life we have lost in the living?

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

The cycles of heaven in twenty centuries

bring us farther from God and nearer to dust.

Is there a remedy? May I make some suggestions? Nothing ranks higher for mental discipline than a planned and systematic study of God’s Word, from whence life’s parameters and values are planted and Christ is made known. Paul, who loved his books and parchments, affirmed the priority of Scripture as the means to encountering Christ. And Psalm 119 promises that the God who speaks to us keeps us from being double-minded.

The average person today actually surrenders the intellect to the world, presuming Christianity to be bereft of intelligence. And many a pulpit has succumbed to the lie that anything intellectual cannot be spiritual or exciting.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Wisdom Embodied

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Serving a New Master

“I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification” (Romans 6:19).

You must live consistent with your new nature.

It is a truism that in the spiritual realm, no one stands still. Sin leads to more sin, while holy living leads to further righteousness. All unbelievers are slaves of sin and have no choice but to sin; yielding to sin comes naturally to them. They are inwardly full of “impurity” and hence outwardly given to “lawlessness.” They continually spiral downward; sin leads to more sin, which leads in turn to still more sin. Ultimately, sin will drag a person into the depths of Hell.

For Christians, however, the spiral is an upward one. Having become new creatures at salvation (2 Cor. 5:17), believers are no longer servants of sin. The Christian life is the process of bringing one’s lifestyle into line with one’s nature. As believers “present their members as slaves to righteousness,” the inevitable result is further “sanctification.” Decreasing frequency of sin, therefore, is a sure sign of a mature believer.

Paul knew all too well from his own experience that the believer’s body is a battleground. In his spiritual autobiography he wrote, “I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:21-24).

How are you faring in the daily battle with sin? If victories are few and far between, perhaps you have forgotten Paul’s exhortation to “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Rom. 12:1).

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray with the psalmist, “Establish my footsteps in Thy word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me” (Ps. 119:133).

For Further Study

Identify one area in which you lack self-control. Use a concordance to see what Proverbs teaches about your problem.

 

http://www.gty.org

Wisdom Hunters – Be an Imitator 

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1

I remember the first time I traveled to Asia and took time to explore one of the many outdoor street markets. Stretching for miles and miles on end, these markets claimed to sell all of the top brands in fashion and accessories at a fraction of the cost. However, upon closer inspection one could quickly tell these were cheap imitations, made to look authentic but lacking all of the traits that made the products worthy of a high sticker price, such as quality of materials or assembly.

When we hear the word “imitation,” we assume it to be of lesser quality than the real thing. While this may be true of knockoff handbags or designer jeans, it isn’t the case with Christian discipleship. Jesus invites you to be an imitator, but never a cheap imitation!

In the Bible, the word “imitator” can also mean “follower,” and to be a follower of Jesus is to faithfully respond to the most basic and foundational call of God upon your life. Scripture reminds us time and time again that to be a disciple of Jesus is to be restored into his very likeness. As Paul says, we are “being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16), and by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, this restoration is never a superficial resemblance but is a complete renovation of heart, mind, and body.

When I read Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, I’m struck by the confidence he has in his own life of discipleship that he can encourage someone else to follow his example, and in so doing they will learn what it means to imitate Christ. While this may seem bold on the one hand, on the other it teaches us a profound lesson about the nature of discipleship: many times we need the wisdom and example of other mature Christians who can teach us how to faithfully imitate Christ.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Be an Imitator 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – The Letter J

But we see Jesus…

Hebrews 2:9

Recommended Reading

Hebrews 2:5-9

Randy Alcorn wrote of the first physician to die of AIDS in the United Kingdom. He was a young Christian who contracted the disease conducting medical research in Zimbabwe. “In the last days of his life he struggled to express himself to his wife. Near the end, he couldn’t talk, and had only enough strength to write the letter J. She ran through her mental dictionary, saying various words beginning with J. None was right. Finally she said, ‘Jesus?’ He nodded. Yes, Jesus. Jesus filled his thoughts. That’s all he wanted to say. That’s all his wife needed to hear.”1

We don’t have all the answers to life, but we have Jesus. Jesus, who existed before the creation of the world. Jesus, who entered human history. Jesus, who died for us. Jesus, who rose from the dead. Jesus, who ever lives to make intercession for us. Jesus, who is coming again in power and glory.

Even when we don’t understand the world around us, we have the letter J.

We have Jesus.

(God) offers us profound, moving, and surprising insights that can feed our minds, warm our hearts, and give us the strength to face a world that is not what it once was, or what it one day will be.

Randy Alcorn

1Randy Alcorn, If God Is Good (Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2009), 2, 5.

Read-Thru-the-Bible

Mark 15 – 16

 

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

Joyce Meyer – Examine Yourself

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?- 2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV

The Bible tells us to examine ourselves, and I wholeheartedly agree that we need to do so. We should examine ourselves to see if we have sin, and if so, we should sincerely repent, then move on to living without that sin in our lives.

There is a great difference between examination and condemnation. Examination helps us prove to ourselves that we are in Christ and He is in us, and that in Him we have been set free from sin. Condemnation keeps us mired in the very sin we feel condemned about. It does not deliver us—it traps us! It weakens us and saps all our spiritual strength. We give our energy to feeling condemned rather than living righteously.

There is such a thing as excessive self-examination, and I personally believe it opens the door for much of the unbalance we see today in this area among God’s children. To be overly introspective and continually examining our every move opens a door to Satan. In the past I experienced multiple problems in this area, and I know for a fact that you and I will never be confident in prayer until the problem is dealt with thoroughly and completely.

Examine, but don’t condemn. God has forgiven confessed sin so you can move forward. He isn’t dwelling on it; why should you?

Lord, I ask You to search my heart and expose any sin in my life. I refuse to get trapped in endless introspection and condemnation. Set me free from all sin. Amen.

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

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Girlfriends in God – Little Can Become Much

Today’s Truth

‘We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,’ they answered. ‘Bring them here to me,’ He (Jesus) said. And He directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 14:17-21

Friend to Friend

The feeding of the 5,000 is one of my favorite Bible stories. Aside from the resurrection, it is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels … and what a miracle it was!

Jesus borrowed a little boy’s lunch. Feeding 5,000 people with just five loaves and two fish was extraordinary in itself, but the Greek word used in Matthew 14:21 refers to males. The women and children present were not included in that number. Many Bible scholars believe the actual number fed that day could have been between 15,000 and 20,000 people. Absolutely amazing!

The setting for this miracle is important. Jesus and the disciples had been ministering to the crowds all day. It was getting late, and they were in a remote place. Knowing the people needed food and places to stay for the night, the disciples wanted to send them home.

But Jesus had a different plan – a plan that was based on what most people would consider absurd – five loaves of bread and two fish. Can’t you just see the faces of the disciples when Jesus explained His plan to them? Oh, they had seen Jesus perform miracles and work wonders, but feeding thousands of people with five measly loaves of bread and two fish was just … well, unbelievable in human terms. But Jesus was not operating in human terms.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Little Can Become Much

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Life’s Greatest Investment

“And anyone who gives up his home, brothers, sisters, father, mother, wife, children, or property, to follow Me, shall receive a hundred times as much in return [in this life], and shall have eternal life” (Matthew 19:29).

I can tell you on the authority of God’s Word and from personal experience and observation that this promise is true. From my own commitment – made more than 30 years ago – and after having spoken with hundreds of Christian leaders and humble servants of God around the world, and observed thousands who I have counseled, I do not know of anyone whom God is using in any significant way who would say that this spiritual law has not been true in his life.

The time to invest your time, talent and treasure for Christ and His kingdom is now. The powerful tide of secular humanism, atheism, materialism, communism and other anti-God forces us threatening to engulf the world. From the human perspective, on the basis of what I see and hear, I could be very pessimistic about the future freedom of mankind.

On the contrary, I am very optimistic, not on the basis of what I see and hear, but on the basis of what I believe God is saying to my heart and of what I am observing that He is doing throughout the world. I am constantly reminded and assured, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4, KJV). Satan and his demonic forces were defeated 2,000 years ago.

Do you want a safe formula for success? Then recognize and practice the following:

First, remember that everything entrusted to our care actually belongs to God. We are His stewards here on earth.

Second, God does not want us to hoard His blessings.

Third, “As you sow, you reap.”

Fourth, invest generously – above the tithe in time, talent and treasure.

Fifth, invest supernaturally – by faith.

Bible Reading: Matthew 25:35-40

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Recognizing myself as God’s steward, I will prayerfully seek to learn what He would have me to do to maximize my life for His glory through the investment of my time, talent and treasure.

 

http://www.cru.org

Ray Stedman – No Temptation

Read: 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Oh what an encouragement this is! This is written down that we might understand three specific things about our testings: First, they are common to all. I do not know anything that is harder to believe, when we are under testing, than that. We all think, Why isn’t this happening to others? They deserve it so much more than me. Why is it happening to me? Well, it is just your turn, that is all. Everybody goes through it. You are not permitted to witness their martyrdom, but you will not be allowed to miss yours. You do not see what they go through most of the time, but no one is left out. Trials are common to all. Their time is coming, if it has not already, so do not ever allow yourself to think that what is happening to you is unique. It is not at all. It is very common, and the minute you start inquiring around, you will find a dozen that have gone through it too.

Second, though they are common trials, they are also controlled pressures — God is faithful, he will not allow you to be tempted above your strength. Again, that is hard to believe, is it not? We say, Well, it has already happened. I am already beyond my strength. No, you are not. You just think you are. God knows your strength greater than you do. He knows how much you can handle, and how much you cannot. One of the basic principles of training in an athletic contest is to develop things you do not think you can do right now, to put more pressure on you than you think you can handle, is it not? And you discover you can handle it. This is what God does with us. He puts the pressure on, but it is controlled pressure. It will never be more than you can handle as long as you understand the third thing.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – No Temptation

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The End of an Earthly Relationship

READ: John 11:32-37

Jesus wept. (v. 35)

We were designed by God to live in community with others. This community reflects the nature of a triune God. God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18). When God’s Son, the second person of the Trinity, came to earth as a man, Luke 2:52 reveals that “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Earthly relationships can bring us love, companionship, support, and friendship. Healthy and God-honoring relationships are blessings from our Creator.

The end of an earthly relationship brings grief and pain. The death of a spouse, parent, or child separates us from someone we dearly love. The end of a dating relationship or a divorce brings a variety of emotions and loss. Sometimes an earthly relationship doesn’t end, but it changes. A move, job termination, change of church family, or the relocation of a kind neighbor can cause us to feel empty and alone.

When he encountered the sting of death, Jesus wept (John 11:35). At the death of his father, Jacob, Joseph wept (Gen. 50:1). When his life was in jeopardy from Saul and required his separation from Jonathan, David wept (1 Sam. 20:41). Likewise, most of us have or will grieve the end of an earthly relationship. In the midst of the grief, we hold on to the words of Jesus to Martha in John 11:25: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (NIV).

PRAYER

Wonderful Counselor, comfort us when we grieve. Amen.

 

Greg Laurie – A Servant by Choice

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?—1 Corinthians 6:19

The apostle Paul often referred to himself as a bondslave or a doulos—a voluntary servant. Doulos is a Greek word often used in the New Testament for a slave or servant. It describes a unique class of servant, someone who was not made that way by constraint or by force. A doulos was someone who had been freed, but chose to serve his or her master out of love. Thus, this servant would be called a doulos—a bondservant, a servant by choice.

As Christians, that is what we are. Christ has paid an incredible debt for us. He has pardoned us. He has forgiven us. And now we should become His voluntary servants, serving Him not because we have to but because we want to. We serve Him because we love Him, recognizing that He has instilled certain gifts, certain talents, and certain resources in our lives that we are to use for His glory.

The Bible says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).

Jesus said, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). The words forsake all mean surrender your claim to and say goodbye to. This doesn’t mean taking a vow of poverty; it simply means recognizing that it all belongs to God.

Our lives belong to God. Everything is the Lord’s. We as Christians will stand before God one day and give an account for what we have done with all that He has given to us.

 

https://www.harvest.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Against the Flesh

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7-8)

Does your family have a family recipe for salad dressing? Henry’s mom had an amazing salad dressing recipe that she made every Sunday afternoon. Henry loved that salad dressing! He did not even like salad if it didn’t have his mom’s homemade salad dressing on it. He could eat almost anything if that salad dressing was on top!

There was a trick to this salad dressing, though. You had to shake it up before you could pour it out onto your salad! The oil and vinegar in the salad dressing would separate (come apart) if you left the bottle sitting too long on the tabletop. Unless you shook the bottle to mix the oil and vinegar together again, they would stay in two separate parts. If you were to pour the dressing out without mixing it up first, it would come out tasting really gross.

The way that oil and vinegar naturally separate is kind of a picture of the way spiritual things and fleshly things are separate from one another. What is the “flesh”? Is it your skin or your organs? No. When we talk about the “flesh” like it is talked about in the Bible, we are describing sinful human nature. The flesh is what makes us want to give in to sinful temptations. It is a part of every human being, because we are all born with a sinful nature. As we keep turning away from our sins and keep turning toward God, we are walking more and more in the Spirit, and that means we will not do what the flesh tempts us to do.

To be at “enmity” with God means to be at odds with Him, to be against Him, to be His enemy. God and the flesh are enemies! They are opposites, like light and dark. Sinful nature is not something that can be nearby God. God is holy, so He cannot stand sin.

Because we are sinners, and because God is holy, we are born as natural enemies of God. He loves us but cannot stand sin. So Jesus Christ came, took on the likeness of  fleshly nature, and yet He never sinned! That is why Jesus is so wonderful: He is our Bridge back to God! Because Jesus was 100% God AND 100% human, He is the only One Who can change us so that we do not have to be the enemies of God.

Because God is holy, He is the natural Enemy of our sinful nature.

My Response:

» Do I walk in the temptations of the flesh, or do I turn away from them to follow God?

» Am I trusting in Jesus to be the Bridge between me and God?

» Am I choosing to walk in the Spirit like Jesus did when He faced temptations as a human being?

 

http://kids4truth.com/home.aspx

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Best Kept Secret

Today’s Scripture: Galatians 3:3

“Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

One of the best kept secrets among Christians today is this: Jesus paid it all. I mean all. He not only purchased your forgiveness of sins and your ticket to heaven, He purchased every blessing and every answer to prayer you will ever receive. Every one of them—no exceptions.

Why is this such a well-kept secret? The core issue is that we don’t believe we’re still spiritually “bankrupt.” Having come into God’s kingdom by grace alone solely on the merit of another, we’re now trying to pay our own way by our performance. We declared only temporary bankruptcy; we’re now trying to live by good works rather than by grace.

After we become Christians, we begin to put away our more obvious sins. We also start attending church, put money in the offering plate, and maybe join a small group Bible study. We see some positive change in our lifestyle, and we begin to feel pretty good about ourselves. We’re now ready to emerge from bankruptcy and pay our own way in the Christian life.

Then the day comes when we fall on our face spiritually. We lapse back into an old sin or fail to do what we should have done. And we assume we’ve forfeited all blessings from God for some undetermined period of time. Our expectation of God’s blessing depends on how well we feel we’re living the Christian life. We think we can and must “pay our own way” with God.

Try this test: Think of a time recently when you really fell on your face spiritually. Then imagine that immediately afterward you encountered a terrific opportunity to share Christ with a non-Christian friend. Could you have done it with complete confidence in God’s help? (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Living by the Word

Today’s Scripture: Deuteronomy 1-4

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty. – Jeremiah 15:16

In the first few chapters of Deuteronomy, as the people of God stand on the brink of the Promised Land, they are faced with a formidable foe. Their instructions do not concern the strategy and tactics of battle, but their duty to God. Why? Because if they would walk with God in obedience and faith, and keep themselves in the light of His favor and blessing, He would go before them–He would fight for them and settle them securely in the land He’d promised to faithful Abraham many years before.

The book of Deuteronomy gives one of the clearest pictures in Scripture of the importance God places on His Word. For instance, we are told that when the nation was given a king, he was to write out a copy of the Word of God with his own hand and read it every day of his life. When the people passed over Jordan, it was to be written on huge stones for the people to see–sort of like billboards along the highway. God’s Word was to be read publicly at the Feast of Tabernacles by the priests to all the assembly of Israel.

Jesus, our role model, knew the Word. When He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, all of His answers came from the pages of Scripture–in fact, from the book of Deuteronomy.

This fifth book of the Old Testament shows us the sort of attention God wants all His people to pay to the Scriptures. We are to learn His Word, remember His Word, and obey it.

God always keeps His Word. His people must do the same.

Prayer

Lord, thank You that by the Holy Spirit’s power Your Word gives me greater insights into Your heart and purposes. Amen.

To Ponder

If we are ignorant of God’s Word, how can we recognize and enjoy the promises He has made to us?

 

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BreakPoint –  Chinese Government Urges People to Make Babies: Chinese People Tell Government to Mind Its Own Business

Over the past decade or more, we’ve talked on BreakPoint about China’s looming fertility crisis. This, of course, is the result of the Communist Party instituting what became known as the “one-child policy” back in 1979.

With very few exceptions, Chinese couples were permitted to have only one child. The policy, in the words of the Washington Post, “led to untold millions of forced abortions, sterilizations and horrific abuses of power.”

It also led to a huge demographic problem. As birthrates plummeted, there were fewer and fewer workers, and China’s overall population aged rapidly. China, instead of growing rich and then getting old, like European nations and Japan, will grow old long before it has a chance to get rich.

This has the Communist Party very worried. So worried that they’ve done an about face. They not only dropped the “one-child policy,” they’ve tried to convince Chinese couples that having two kids is their patriotic and political duty.

Clumsy party propaganda is telling people to “Train your body, build up strength, get ready for the second baby!” Another slogan read “Get to sleep early, stop playing cards, work hard to produce a child!”

The response? Yawns and outrage. You see, after 35 years of being told “one child is enough,” people have come to believe it. As a recent article in the Washington Post put it, “Having only one has become ingrained in Chinese culture and society, and people no longer believe the party should be telling them what to do in the bedroom.”

Actually, that’s an understatement. When officials in Hubei province, east of Shanghai, sent a letter to party members urging them to implement the new “two-child policy,” the result was “outrage” on Chinese social media.

One person wrote “You can’t just make people have kids when you want them to, or stop when you tell them, we are humans not pigs!” Even state-run media called the letter “ridiculous and illegal.”

Continue reading BreakPoint –  Chinese Government Urges People to Make Babies: Chinese People Tell Government to Mind Its Own Business

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – STAND FAST

Read 1 PETER 5:10–14

The Birth Hotel in Amsterdam offers men the opportunity to experience something previously reserved for women: the labor pains of giving birth. The birth-simulation machine uses electrical impulses to cause the abdominal muscles to contract. One man who went through this simulated labor process said, “The pain . . . is all-consuming, searing, and intense. I’m exhausted by the sheer effort of enduring it. It’s as though I’m no longer myself: my body’s sole purpose is to cope with wave after wave of agony as the contractions come thick and fast.”

Why would women endure such pain? Because the reward is worth it! The joy of holding a newborn baby puts the experience of suffering into perspective. A lifetime of parenthood is worth the hours of labor. In a similar way, Peter wants to remind believers that the suffering they endure is worth it. They will share eternal glory with Christ, and God will restore them and make all things right (v. 10).

To have the right perspective on suffering requires having the right perspective of God. Notice all the theology that Peter packs into just two verses! Who is God? He is the Giver of grace and the Source of all power. He calls us, restores us, and strengthens us. This God of grace and power can be trusted to deliver us to “eternal glory.”

Peter closes this letter with a final exhortation and personal testimony. He could instruct these believers in Asia Minor to remain faithful to God because he himself had experienced the grace of God (v. 12). The phrase “she who is in Babylon” almost certainly refers to the community of Christians where Peter was, probably in Rome, (v. 13). These Christians were not alone—and they needed to encourage one another in love and faith.

APPLY THE WORD

Review our study on 1 Peter. How have you been encouraged to live as a Christian, especially where your values might be countercultural? How have you been challenged to be a member of your church, practicing love, humility, and faithfulness? Has your perspective been shaped to think about who God is and what He has done for you?

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Denison Forum – HOW CHRISTIANS SHOULD RESPOND TO THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

The candidates began and ended last night’s presidential debate without shaking hands. The ninety minutes in between were filled with argument, name-calling, and vitriol. Donald Trump refused to say if he will accept the vote if he loses, a statement that is leading this morning’s news. Hillary Clinton called him a “puppet” of Russia, while he called her a “nasty woman.”

In eighteen days I will vote in my eleventh presidential election over four decades. I have never seen a campaign season as bitter as this one has been. Nor have I seen Christians as divided over an election as we seem to be today.

I receive emails regularly from believers who liken Donald Trump to Winston Churchill and characterize him as the war leader we need today. I also receive emails from believers who are convinced that no Christian could vote for Mr. Trump. Many evangelicals are convinced that electing Hillary Clinton would end America as we know it. Others believe that she would advance our status as leader of the free world.

Here’s what I know for sure: on November 9 the election will be over, but our witness—for good or for bad—will endure.

Christians are commissioned to reach all nations with the good news of God’s love (Matthew 28:19). Therefore, we must not limit our witness to the place we happen to inhabit today. In the same way, we must not limit our witness to the moment we happen to inhabit today.

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