Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Safe Landing: Keep the Lights On

 

We are closing in on the day when we elect a leader for the next four years. The bitter rhetoric will hopefully come to an end. To say that it has been a tumultuous path to this day is an understatement. Once again we swing between the two extremes of thinking politics is everything and thinking politics is nothing. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth. Pontius Pilate and the Caesars thought they were in control. They were not. A rock cut with no man’s hand changed history.

Politics is the process by which we choose to be governed for a season. And yes, quite a bit can be at stake. But the heart of man, often bereft of wisdom, chooses for the now and ignores the long-term ramifications. That’s the peril. Isaiah 3:6 says that in the last days a man shall say to his brother, “You have a cloak, you be our leader; take charge of this heap of ruins!” Evidently in the last days, the Scriptures tell us, all it will take for a leader to be considered qualified to govern over a heap of ruins is to own a cloak. Seems quite ominously close to the present qualifications right now, to say nothing of the cloak and dagger type approaches in sway. It is hard to believe that in a nation with so much ability, so much potential and promise, we are reduced to this. It is a movie-like script, swinging between the Scylla of comedy and the Charybdis of tragedy.

But alas! Let us not lose heart. I always bank on the heartfelt prayers of God’s people. Ultimately, He will overrule and bring about what He deems we need the most for this hour. Whether it be in blessing or judgment, time will tell.

I fly a lot and spend time thinking on the blessings and the risks of air travel. I heard of a flight instructor training a young pilot on what to do in an emergency to conserve power and glide to a safe position. “At the last moment, turn the lights on and if you like what you see, land.”

“What if I don’t like what I see?” asked the student pilot.

“Then turn the lights out,” said the instructor.

That’s the feeling we get right now, I’m afraid. Everyone I talk to has their fears whichever side they’re on. They want to turn the lights out.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Safe Landing: Keep the Lights On

Charles Stanley – When Facing Life’s Mountains

 

Zechariah 4:1-9

Wouldn’t it be great if it were easy to do God’s will? But sometimes it seems as if a mountain stands between us and what we’ve been called to do. When Zerubbabel felt this way, the Lord sent His prophet Zechariah with a message of encouragement.

Zerubbabel was given the task of rebuilding the temple. When King Solomon built the first temple, the kingdom was at peace, the treasuries were overflowing, and the workforce was huge. But the situation was quite different when the Jews returned after 70 years of Babylonian captivity. They were few in number, their enemies kept attacking them, Jerusalem was in ruins, and resources were very limited. Zechariah’s message to Zerubbabel (Zech. 4:1-9) contained two principles that strengthened him and will also help us when we face insurmountable obstacles.

  • We are to face our God-given tasks in the power of the Holy Spirit, not in our own strength and energy (Zech. 4:6). The Lord’s work can never be done with human strength. His indwelling Spirit must empower us with the wisdom and energy to accomplish His will in our lives.
  • When God calls us to a task, He assumes the responsibility for removing any hindrances (Zech. 4:7-9). What seems to us like Mount Kilimanjaro is a mere anthill for the Lord. When we’re tempted to give up, it’s time to look up, see the obstacle through His eyes, and trust Him.

Is the Lord asking you to do something that seems impossible? Dwelling on your own inadequacy leads to discouragement, but focusing on the Lord gives hope and the strength to persevere.

Bible in One Year: Luke 8-9

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Choosing to Change

Read: Ezekiel 18:25-32

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 3-5; 1 Timothy 4

Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.—Ezekiel 18:31

When my son acquired a small robot, he had fun programming it to perform simple tasks. He could make it move forward, stop, and then retrace its steps. He could even get it to beep and replay recorded noises. The robot did exactly what my son told it to do. It never laughed spontaneously or veered off in an unplanned direction. It had no choice.

When God created humans, He didn’t make robots. God made us in His image, and this means we can think, reason, and make decisions. We’re able to choose between right and wrong. Even if we have made a habit of disobeying God, we can decide to redirect our lives.

When the ancient Israelites found themselves in trouble with God, He spoke to them through the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel said, “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. . . . Get a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezek. 18:30-31).

This kind of change can begin with just one choice, empowered by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:13). It might mean saying no at a critical moment. No more gossip. No more greed. No more jealousy. No more ___________. (You fill in the blank.) If you know Jesus, you’re not a slave to sin. You can choose to change, and with God’s help, this personal revolution can start today. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Dear God, all things are possible with You. Through the power of Jesus’s resurrection help me to take the first step toward a life of greater devotion to You.

For a new start, ask God for a new heart.

INSIGHT: God promises to perform a spiritual heart transplant, giving everyone who repents “an undivided heart and a new spirit” and replacing a “heart of stone” with “a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 11:19). Ezekiel talked about this work of God in saving those who would repent (Ezek. 36:25-27). God will give us His Holy Spirit to enable us to obey Him (v. 27). Jeremiah calls this “a new covenant” (Jer. 31:31-34). Hours before He died on the cross, Jesus spoke of “the new covenant in [His] blood” (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25). Because of Jesus’s death, He is now the mediator of the new covenant (Heb. 8:6-13; 9:17; 12:24). Under the terms of the new covenant, God has made it possible for everyone who repents to “get a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezek. 18:31). Sim Kay Tee

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Signs, Slogans, and Escape Vehicles

In 2010 the Freedom From Religion Foundation launched the largest freethinkers billboard campaign ever to take place in the heart of the U.S. ‘Bible Belt.’ Signs reading “Imagine No Religion” “Sleep in on Sundays” and “In Reason We Trust” were placed throughout the south in one of many attempts throughout the world to bring positive thoughts of atheism into public discourse. The London Bus Campaign a few years prior sent hundreds of buses throughout England, Scotland, Wales, and Barcelona with similar slogans: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”(2) The £140,000 multi-media advertising campaign was designed to bring comfort in the probability that God does not exist, a positive contrast to religious advertisements meant to incite fear. The campaign used quotes from influential voices who have shown that embracing atheism, or at least expressing skepticism about the existence of God, is freeing. One quote read, “An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death.” Another, written by nineteenth century American humanist Robert Ingersoll, said, “The time to be happy is now!”

Reactions to campaigns such as these are generally mixed.  With every sign, plans for additional advertising seem to pop up throughout the world. One slogan provoked strong reactions in Barcelona, where critics branded the words as “an attack on all religions.”(3) Christians in London were on all sides of the debate, with some offended—one bus driver refused to drive his bus—and others optimistic at the opportunity for discussion. Posters and billboards of this nature, wrote director Paul Woolley of the theology think tank Theos, “encourage people to consider the most important question we will ever face in our lives.”(4)

Christianity has in fact long been indicted as an emotional crutch for those unable to accept life’s difficult realities, those in need of an escape vehicle to take them to another world. To be fair, it is not an entirely undue critique. The Christian is indeed someone marked by an inability to accept the cruelties of this world as status quo. Like the prophets, Christians are well aware that this life marred by cancer, injustice, poverty, corruption, tears, and death is not the way it is supposed to be. The church lives alert with the distinct notion that humanity was created for something more. Of course, the temptation, then, and one of the more severe misapplications of the faith, is to checkout of this world, living content in Christian circles, and ever-looking upward to better life.  In such a scenario, one’s Christianity is indeed nothing more than wishful thinking, a philosophy wrenched from its founder and marched down an illogical road.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Signs, Slogans, and Escape Vehicles

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Fearsome Foursome

“For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death” (Romans 7:5).

Four key terms characterize those who are not in Christ.

In our fallen, cursed world, disasters are commonplace. Fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters happen somewhere every day. Added to those natural disasters are the man-made ones, such as war, acts of terrorism, plane crashes, train wrecks, etc.

But far greater than any of those disasters, and the one from which they all stem, was the entrance of sin into the human race. Sin renders fallen men spiritually dead, cuts them off from fellowship with God, and consigns them to eternal punishment in Hell.

In today’s verse Paul introduces four words that describe man’s unregenerate state: flesh, sin, law, and death. Those four words are interconnected: the flesh produces sin, which is stimulated by the law, resulting in death. Let’s consider each one individually.

The term flesh is used two ways in Scripture. It is sometimes used in a physical sense to speak of human existence. John used it to describe Christ’s incarnation in John 1:14 and 1 John 4:2. But in its moral sense, “flesh” represents the believer’s unredeemed body (Gal. 5:13; Eph. 2:3). While believers are no longer “in the flesh” (Rom. 8:9) as are unbelievers, the flesh is still in us. It is the seat of temptation, the beachhead from which Satan launches his attacks.

Sin (or “sinful passions”) energizes the flesh, which in turn produces further sin. Those “sinful passions,” Paul says, “were aroused by the Law”; they are exposed by the law because fallen man’s rebellious nature makes him desire to do what is forbidden. The end result of this downward spiral is “death”—both physical and spiritual.

What a merciful God we serve, who “even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:5).

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray for the unbelievers in your life, that God would open their hearts to respond to the gospel (Acts 16:14).

For Further Study

  • What do the following passages teach about the Christian’s relationship to the law—Romans 8:2-4; 10:4; Galatians 3:13; 5:18; Philippians 3:9?
  • Does that mean believers can live as they please? (See 1 Cor. 9:21.)

 

http://www.gty.org

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Drop-Ins Unwelcome

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:13

Recommended Reading

John 17:9-19

Kelly Swisher of Arkansas was driving down Interstate 49 when a large rat snake fell out of her dashboard and slithered across her feet. Somehow she managed to pull off the road and call authorities, who came and captured the snake and sent Kelly on her way without further incident.

In a spiritual sense, that can happen to us anytime. We never know when we’ll have an incident with the old serpent, the devil. He lurks around, drops in out of nowhere, tempts us, tests us, and does his best to rob us of purity and peace.

On two occasions, once at the beginning and the other at the end of His earthly work, Jesus told us to pray about this. In the Sermon on the Mount, He taught us to pray, “Deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). On the night before His death, He said, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15).

Take these prayers seriously. Today ask God to protect and deliver you and yours from that old serpent, the devil. Our safety is in Christ alone, and a strong daily prayer life is crucial for avoiding wrecks.

When one has faith, one does not retire, one stops the enemy where he finds him.

General Ferdinand Foch, fighting on the Western Front of World War I

Read-Thru-the-Bible

Luke 7 – 8

 

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

Joyce Meyer – Minister to Your Emotions

 

Keep and protect me, O God, for in You I have found refuge, and in You do I put my trust and hide myself.- Psalm 16:1

God gave us feelings, and it is all right to minister to your emotions or to the emotions of other people. Do something kind for yourself to keep your emotions healthy; just don’t be ruled by them.

Treat yourself to a hot bath or a walk in the fresh air. Do what you need to do to get emotional release. If yesterday wore you out, get refreshed spiritually and emotionally before starting a new day. Find some time alone with God, listen to teaching or music tapes, and refill your heart with an awareness of God’s presence.

From the book Starting Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Girlfriends in God – Prioritize THIS Above Your List

Today’s Truth

She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

Proverbs 31:17

Friend to Friend

Many of us check off neatly penciled boxes. Some draw lines through the tasks we’ve finished. A select few of us even add things to our lists after we’ve done something that wasn’t on our list … so we can mark it off! (I may or may not do this…) Some of us keep track in our heads, while others track progress of daily goals on paper, on a computer, or on an app.

At times I fluff my list. Instead of simply writing, “Do three loads of laundry,” I’ll create twelve list items to check off that read:

  • Wash whites
  • Dry whites
  • Fold/hang whites
  • Put away whites
  • Wash colors
  • Dry colors
  • Fold/hang colors
  • Put away colors
  • Wash darks
  • Dry darks
  • Fold/hang darks
  • Put away darks

I just love to check boxes. I think it’s because I sincerely want to be a productive person. I want to feel like I’m accomplishing something. It’s pretty much a daily struggle for me. As an optimist, I wake up anticipating that the seconds, minutes, and hours of each day will bend to cooperate with the demands of my list.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Prioritize THIS Above Your List

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Reasons for Trials

“He…comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does He do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:3,4).

For two years, Annette had suffered through the agony of her beloved husband’s terminal cancer. Meanwhile, their only son had been drawn into drug addiction through the influence of an undesirable group of students in the local high school. She was devastated. Her whole life was filled with heartache and sorrow. She had nothing to live for. Then a neighbor told her of Jesus – how He could give her peace of heart and peace of mind and could provide the purpose she needed in her life. He could even change her son.

So Annette received the wonderful gift of God’s love, the Lord Jesus Christ, and began to pray for her son. At first he was antagonistic, but gradually he became aware of the dramatic transformation in his mother, and in answer to her prayers, along with those of her new-found friends in the local church, he too came to worship the Savior and make Him Lord of his life.

In the meantime, Annette was suffering great financial difficulty because of the huge doctor and hospital bills and her lack of ability to work during her husband’s illness. But God wonderfully comforted and strengthened her so that now she can witness joyfully of His gracious mercy and faithfulness in her behalf. She and her son are ministering effectively to others who are experiencing heartache and tragedy similar to those which once plagued them.

Are you experiencing difficulties, sorrows, heartaches, disappointments? Ask the Lord to show you how to translate them into victories so that He can use you to be a blessing to those around you who are experiencing similar difficulties.

Bible Reading: II Corinthians 1:3-7

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that God is faithful in His love and wisdom, I will trust the indwelling Holy Spirit for the power to accept the trial or adversity I face today, and will expect God to use it to comfort and help someone else through me.

 

http://www.cru.org

Ray Stedman – How the Body Works

Read: 1 Corinthians 12:1-31

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body — whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

In this chapter, the apostle begins to use an analogy that will help us understand how the church is designed to function. He places before us a human body, and draws lessons from it all through the rest of the chapter, as to its parallel with the functioning of the Body of Christ. It is more than a mere figure of speech to say that the church is the Body of Christ. God really takes that seriously. It is so much so his body by which he works today that he has given us a visual aid, to live in, and walk around in, and examine, and think through what is the meaning of the church as the Body of Christ. That is where Paul begins. Just as the body is one and yet has many members, he says, so also it is with Christ. Notice it is not so also it is with the church, because it is the church and Christ that constitutes the Body of Christ. If you stand in front of a mirror and look at your body you should be struck by the fact that it is divided into two major sections, the head and the torso. The head is the control center of the body, while the torso is the biggest part of it, and the part to which the members, the arms, the legs, etc., are attached. This is especially designed to help us understand how the church is to function, for the whole body, plus the head, constitutes the Body of Christ.

This is an amazing statement here that we are part of Christ. That is what Paul is saying. We constitute the means by which Christ functions within the world, and it is very important to hold that concept in your mind if you want to understand how the church works. It is a body with many members, and yet it is only one body. It is not many bodies, many denominations. They are all tied together by sharing the same life, and they are tied with the head so that they function as his means of expressing his life in this world.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – How the Body Works

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Power to Begin Again

READ: Acts 2:1-21

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (v. 4)

How do we find strength to start anew? How do we get out of bed and make a difference despite pain, sorrow, and past mistakes? We don’t begin again on our own strength, rather we are reliant upon God and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Peter denied Jesus three times, yet Christ forgave and reinstated him (John 21:15-23). At Pentecost, filled with the Holy Spirit, God used Peter to preach salvation in Christ, and about three thousand were added to their number that day (Acts 2:41).

We are empowered to begin again through the Holy Spirit and prayer. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we are also filled with the Holy Spirit. Through prayer we can ask God to strengthen, heal, forgive, motivate, and encourage us. What difference will it make today if we realize that we are not alone because the Holy Spirit dwells in us? What obstacles and anxieties must we bring to God in prayer?

Rather than throwing in the towel, choosing a life of self-pity, or making excuses, will we trust that God will use us to make a kingdom impact in this world? Will we seek to be a blessing to others? Will we begin again and witness how God can restore? How might God use you today?

PRAYER

Faithful God, empower me through your Spirit to follow your leading into the new beginning you have planned for me. As I rely on your Spirit and the power of prayer, give me faith and hope. Amen.

 

Greg Laurie – Fan the Flame

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.—2 Timothy 1:6

Have you ever watched a fire begin to burn down to the point that all you have left are coals? It looks as though there is no fire actually left, because the coals may be under a layer of ash. You can’t really see much. But when you take a fresh log and toss it on top of those coals and stir it around a bit, suddenly it ignites, and you have a whole new fire going.

Paul wrote to Timothy, “Stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6). That phrase stir up the gift means to fan it into full flame.

There may be live coals in your life, but you have allowed the fire to go down. You haven’t been using the gifts that God has given you, the talents He has given you. It’s time to fan them into full flame again. It’s time to be reignited. It’s time to say, “Lord, how can I use what You have given me for Your glory until You return?”

We need to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there. There are those who want to have the big, visible ministries. They want the applause of men. Yet often they go nowhere, even though they may have great talent.

But if we will humble ourselves and take what we have and offer it to God, if we are willing to do what He has set before us and be faithful in the little things, then He will give us more to do.

Any time you take a chance, you can fail. But it’s better to try than to never have anything happen in your life. I would rather try and fail than never try at all.

 

https://www.harvest.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – The LORD Gives Joy

“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)

Angela pressed her face between the white boards of her grandma’s backyard fence. She waited there for a minute, listening, and then she ran across to the other side of the yard and pressed her face up against those white boards. After a little while, she ran back to the other side, and then back again.

Grandma had been watching her from the screen door and finally opened it. “Angela, honey, what in the world are you doing?”

Angela put her finger up to her lips and ran up to her grandma. “This is what,” she whispered, pointing with both hands to both sides of the back yard. “I am listening to your neighbors!”

Grandma’s face looked shocked. “Listening to my neighbors?” she whispered back. “Whatever for?”

“I’m seeing if they are Christians, Grandma.” Angela pointed to the neighbor’s yard on the right. “That’s Mr. Cherian over there – I think he is a Christian!”

Grandma nodded. “Sam Cherian and I have talked about the Lord many times. He is a wonderful brother in Christ.”

Then Angela pointed over to the lefthand neighbor’s yard. “But I’m just not so sure about Miss Wyler. She just never sings!”

Grandma looked over toward Miss Wyler’s yard and said in a very quiet voice, “Angela, why would you say that? There is nothing in the Bible that says we have to sing in order to be genuine believers in Jesus.”

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – The LORD Gives Joy

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Why the Cross?

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 12:2

“Jesus . . . endured the cross, despising the shame.”

At the time of Christ’s death, the cross was an instrument of incredible horror and shame. It was a most wretched and degrading punishment, inflicted only on slaves and the lowliest of people. If free men were at any time subjected to crucifixion for great crimes such as treason or insurrection, the sentence could not be executed until they were put in the category of slaves by degradation and their freedom taken away by flogging.

How could it be that the eternal Son of God—by whom all things were created and for whom all things were created (Colossians 1:15-16)—would end up in his human nature dying one of the most cruel and humiliating deaths ever devised by man?

We know that Jesus’ death on the cross did not take him by surprise. He continually predicted it to his disciples. (See Luke 18:31-33 for one example.) And with his impending crucifixion before him, Jesus himself said, “What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour” (John 12:27, NIV). Jesus said he came to die.

But why? Why did Jesus come to die? The apostles Paul and Peter gave us the answer in clear, concise terms. Paul wrote, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,” and Peter wrote, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 3:18, NIV).

Christ died for our sins. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, took upon himself a human nature and died a horrible death on our behalf. That is the reason for the cross. He suffered what we should have suffered. He died in our place to pay the penalty for our sins. (Excerpt taken from The Gospel for Real Life)

 

https://www.navigators.org/Home

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Which Way?

Today’s Scripture: 1 Samuel 24-26

I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. – Proverbs 4:11

When Saul entered the cave where David and his men were hiding, David’s men reminded him this was what they had all longed for–a wide-open door to the throne of Israel. With Saul at their mercy, how easy it would have been to misinterpret the promises and the providence of God. David took guidance by two things: First, his belief that Saul was the Lord’s anointed. God had made Saul king, and God would have to remove him. Second, David was restrained by a proverb of the ancients, “From evildoers come evil deeds.” He depended on God to avenge the wrongs done to him by Saul.

It’s easy to mistake circumstances for the will of God. Just because events fall into place that enable us to do something doesn’t necessarily mean God wants us to do it.

Some years ago I was planning a preaching tour through Asia, and we were praying for the Lord to show us if my wife Virginia should go. During this process, a friend heard of the situation and sent Virginia a signed blank check with a note that said: “Why not?” We had the invitation, the money, and the desire. After several weeks of praying, Virginia still didn’t have peace in the matter. She tore up the check, thanked our friend for his kindness, and wrote the people overseas that she would not be coming.

I believe the key to knowing God’s guidance is for us to saturate our lives with the wisdom of the Word of God. Then, when we are faced with a decision, the blessed Holy Spirit of God can guide us with the Word we have laid up in our hearts.

Prayer

Lord, You have called me to have eyes of faith. Help me not to always equate the circumstances of my life with Your perfect will. Amen.

To Ponder

In discerning the will of God, circumstances are much less important than the Word of our Father in heaven.

 

https://www.navigators.org/Home

BreakPoint – Angel Tree Restores Families: Get Your Church to Participate

It was back in the 1990s when I was practically a kid writer here at BreakPoint that I first heard about Prison Fellowship’s amazing Angel Tree program.

I was moved by how much Chuck Colson and the Prison Fellowship staff poured themselves into making sure that thousands and thousands of prisoners’ children received gifts at Christmas time.

Everyone knew that Chuck was a tough guy, former Marine Captain, Nixon’s hatchet man, and even as a Christian, he was bold, decisive, and strong. But whenever he talked about delivering Angel Tree gifts and telling those precious children about Jesus and how much He loves them–well, even Chuck got a little teary eyed.

Since 1982, church volunteers across the country have delivered more than 10 million gifts and the Gospel message to many, many children of prisoners. This year, we have a big goal: to reach 300,000 children.

And I’m on the air today to urge you and your church to consider please joining the effort, to help gather and deliver gifts to reach every single one of those little ones.

So here’s how Angel Tree works: When you sign your church up to volunteer, you will receive a list of prisoners’ children and their caregivers’ contact information. A church volunteer will contact the caregivers to confirm gift wishes. You’ll place those children’s names and their gift wishes on paper angels, hang them on a Christmas tree—an Angel Tree—that you place in your church’s lobby. Members of your congregation then choose the paper angels, buy and wrap the gift or gifts, and return them to the church.

From there, a church volunteer will arrange a time to deliver the gifts and the Gospel materials provided by Angel Tree. Many churches host Angel Tree parties and invite the children and their caregivers to attend.

Yes, folks, it’s a fair amount of work. But if your church is looking for a hands-on ministry to the “least of these,” I cannot think of a more rewarding experience—for your church or for those children.

Continue reading BreakPoint – Angel Tree Restores Families: Get Your Church to Participate

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE GREED OF FALSE TEACHERS

Read 2 PETER 2:1–3

The term confidence man or con man was coined in the 1800s, a time one historian described as the “Golden Age of Schemes.” A.V. Lamartine perpetrated a strange con: he’d check into a hotel room and then pretend to ingest poison to commit suicide. After giving him medical treatment, kindhearted strangers would raise funds to help him on his way; it appears he made a living by “attempting suicide” for several years.

Hucksters, false prophets, and con artists today send emails from supposed Nigerian princes or promise health and wealth with one more donation. As Peter notes, false teachers infiltrated Israel and will try to distract and destroy the church (v. 1; see Jer. 23:16).

Notice the red flags of false teaching. First, they question the nature of God. Is He the sovereign Lord? Are His power and love the bedrock of our faith? Or do we need to do something to help Him out? Perhaps we need access to a magic formula or someone else to connect us with God. These “destructive heresies” attempt to undermine our confidence in the truth that the Lord is sovereign, He is trustworthy, and His promises are good.

Second, false teaching rejects the truth about how we should live (v. 2). As we’ve seen, the life of a Christian should demonstrate the saving power of God through goodness and self-control, not a life of depraved passions. The unbridled pursuit of human pleasure contradicts the truth of God’s Spirit in our lives.

Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE GREED OF FALSE TEACHERS

Denison Forum – STUDENTS SURPRISE TEACHERS AND VIDEO GOES VIRAL

Teachers’ significance is only exceeded by their patience. Holding one of the most important jobs in our communities today, teachers see potential, put up with antics, and relentlessly seek to bring out the best in every student. They work tirelessly in the present, yet not always seeing the fruit of their labor. However, the people at SoulPancake have sought to change this.

SoulPancake invited five teachers together to share their struggles and difficulties. Little did they know that instead of only sharing struggles, former students surprised their teachers by reading letters describing the impact their teachers made in their lives. The video has since gone viral, joining the likes of the color of a dress, Ken Bone, and the keyboard cat.Side note: the dress is blue.

The classroom is where curiosity meets knowledge. But lurking in the shadows is discouragement. The teacher is the caring curator who leads students on the journey to truth. Unfortunately, myself included, some of us weren’t the most willing participants. I surprised my teachers when I actually turned in my homework on time and didn’t talk for the entire class time.

Incidents such as this, among other things, can often bring discouragement. But what sets apart the teacher is their ability to get the best even when we give them the worst. The Cubs may have won the pennant, but day in and day out teachers win small victories for our future.

I am forever indebted to Mrs. Hall, Dr. Speck, and Dr. Welty. I almost failed kindergarten, but Mrs. Hall’s careful attention to me and care for me changed me. Dr. Speck’s demand for excellence made me want to be better even if my grade couldn’t get any higher. And Dr. Welty’s love for the Scriptures saturated his lectures on Western philosophy and forever changed the way I look for signposts of eternity in the everyday. Despite discouragement, they refused to settle.

Continue reading Denison Forum – STUDENTS SURPRISE TEACHERS AND VIDEO GOES VIRAL