Charles Stanley – The Burden of Sin

 

Romans 5:12-21

The burdens we carry come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. Many are weighty, but there’s one load that proves even heavier—and it can be traced back to the garden of Eden.

Because Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:6), all people have been born with sinful hearts. Holiness and sin cannot mix. Therefore, in our natural state, none of us are able to fellowship with God.

What is worse, we continue to do wrong. The Bible says that every one of us has gone astray, like a sheep wandering from his shepherd (Isa. 53:6). So on our own, we have no access to God. And there is nothing that we—fallen humans—can do to rectify the situation. That’s why I see this as the heaviest burden of all.

But our Creator loved us so much that He sent His own Son to live a perfect life on earth. Jesus deserved fellowship with God, yet He took our sin and its punishment by dying on the cross in our place. And then He conquered death by rising to life again.

His atonement for our wrongs is a gift that is available to anyone who believes. The Savior longs for us to accept that He willingly paid the price to redeem us. He desires to relieve the burden of sin from our heart. Only then will we experience true life and freedom.

Have you received God’s free gift of salvation? Jesus loves you so much that He gave His life to have a relationship with you. If you believe in Him and accept His death as your undeserved atonement for sin, He will forgive you for all unrighteousness and welcome you onto the path of true life.

Bible in One Year: Luke 10-11

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — This Gift

Read: 2 Corinthians 12:6-10

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 6-8; 1 Timothy 5

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.—2 Corinthians 12:9

A number of years ago I wrote an essay about my collection of canes, staffs, and walking sticks and mused that I might someday graduate to a walker. Well, the day has come. A combination of back issues and peripheral neuropathy has left me pushing a three-wheel walker. I can’t hike; I can’t fish; I can’t do many of the things that used to bring me great joy.

I’m trying to learn, however, that my limitation, whatever it may be, is a gift from God, and it is with this gift that I am to serve Him. This gift and not another. This is true of all of us, whether our limits are emotional, physical, or intellectual. Paul was so bold as to say that he boasted in his weakness for it was in weakness that God’s power was revealed in him (2 Cor. 12:9).

Seeing our so-called liabilities this way enables us to go about our business with confidence and courage. Rather than complain, feel sorry for ourselves, or opt out, we make ourselves available to God for His intended purposes.

I have no idea what He has in mind for you and me, but we shouldn’t worry about that. Our task today is just to accept things as they are and to be content, knowing that in the love, wisdom, and providence of God this moment is as good as it can possibly be. —David Roper

Dear Lord, I know that You are good and You love me. I trust You to give me everything I need for today.

Contentment enables you to grow where God has planted you.

INSIGHT: Paul possessed “a thorn in [his] flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7), which prayer did not eliminate. Whatever it was, it was painful and physical. Some Bible teachers believe it was an eye disease, since elsewhere Paul refers to having eye problems (Gal. 4:15; 6:11) and that others might have treated him “with contempt or scorn” (4:14) because of an illness he had when he “first preached the gospel” to the Galatians (4:13). Paul’s enemies seemed to ride him because of his physical limitations. I imagine them asserting, “God doesn’t even answer his prayers or heal him” (see 2 Cor. 12:8-10). Nevertheless, Paul viewed his limitations as a reflective mirror to magnify God’s greatness. Jim Townsend

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Befriending Lament

I had dinner with my 84 year-old neighbor last week. Recently widowed, he has been alone and fending for himself. When we ran into him walking, I asked him what he might need. Immediately, he said that he had been eating the same thing for weeks and weeks because that is the only thing he knew how to make, and would we be willing to come and show him how to roast a chicken? So my husband and I showed up with ingredients in hand and set out to prepare a meal he could replicate so that he had some variety in his diet.

Not only was my neighbor recently widowed, but he had also had an orthopedic surgery that has left him in quite a bit of pain and without the strength and use of his bones and muscles in the way he once was able to use them. An avid tennis player all throughout his life, the agility that propelled him back and forth across the court had left him. What remained were brittle bones and fraying tendons. He could barely hobble around the night we made him dinner, and he had to keep sitting down because he was in so much pain. Even with two surgeries to correct the years of tennis playing, he still told me that he hoped he would die on the tennis court playing the game he loved.

While I know intellectually that bodies grow old and die, it is hard not to think of the aging process as a kind of betrayal. Those limbs, muscles, bones, and tendons that support and empower throughout life, now become the very instruments of treason as they tear, break, and decay, being worn down by life itself. While we fight the aging process in every conceivable manner, our bodies stay on automatic pilot and simply follow a course that is inevitable. To be sure, there are always those individuals who live long into their 90’s and 100’s—their bodies seemingly impervious to the ravages of aging. We marvel at their longevity, especially at those centenarians who drank pots of coffee, or ate bacon and eggs every day, ignoring their doctor’s warnings of a shortened life span. And yet, one day their bodies will also give them away to death.

But one doesn’t have to be old to experience bodily betrayal. The young succumb to various illnesses just as the old do. We all know those individuals who have died far too soon, the victims of cells gone awry or bodily system failure. And the mystery of ‘premature’ illness or death surely strikes at the confidence of all who appear healthy. Whether old or young, all go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Befriending Lament

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Heart of the Gospel

“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (Romans 3:28).

Being dead in sin, man is unable to save himself.

As we’ve seen this month, the most serious problem facing the human race is not the destruction of the environment, crime, or the threat of nuclear war; it is sin. The former threaten us with physical death, the latter with spiritual death. Thus it follows that the greatest news ever known is that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). Hell may be the destiny of man, but that is not the desire of God’s heart. Peter notes that the Lord “is patient . . . not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Because of His great love for sinners, God sent His Son “to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Since God’s gracious gift of salvation is appropriated by faith, it is not surprising that justification by faith is the theme of Romans (see Rom. 1:16-17). The apostle shows that all men are guilty before God and in need of justification (chaps. 1—2). He then describes justification in chapters 3—4. Then he presents the results of justification in chapters 5—6.

Two key words are associated with justification in Romans: grace and faith. In Romans 3:24 Paul declares that we are “justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,” while in verse 28 he says, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” The promise of justification to Abraham, Paul notes, was “by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace” (Rom. 4:16). Faith and grace are both linked to justification again in Romans 5:1-2: “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand.”

In this day of doctrinal vacillation, I pray that you will stand firm in your commitment to the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for His mercy and love in saving you when you were dead in sin (Eph. 2:4-5).
  • Ask Him to help you walk worthy of your salvation (Eph. 4:1).

For Further Study

Read Romans 1—6, noting what it teaches about man’s lost state and God’s gracious provision of salvation.

 

 

http://www.gty.org

Wisdom Hunters – Makin’ It Through Your Messy Middle

Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. (Psalm 36:5)

I once considered going to see the film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But then I learned Aslan, the great lion and main character, is killed in the movie. “Nope,” I thought, “couldn’t stand watching that. Would hurt my heart.” I later learned Aslan comes back to life, so I decided I could handle watching since I knew the story ended well.

Keeping one’s hope fixed on the promise of heaven is like watching a movie with a mess in the middle. With our gaze turned toward eternity, we can endure life’s messy difficulties because we know Christ will return, we will go home to heaven, and our story will end very, very well.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Maybe like me, you have often heard about the heroes in Hebrews 11 whose faith led to great acts and rewards while living. For instance, they shut the mouths of lions, escaped the edge of the sword, and became powerful in battle. But maybe like me, you haven’t heard much about another group mentioned at the very end of the chapter. This group endured messes in the middle of their lives because they steadfastly held on to an eternal perspective (Hebrews 11:16). These folks faced jeers and flogging, were imprisoned, were sawed in two, and were put to death. They were destitute, homeless, and hungry. But they endured because they knew this world was not their home. They also knew their story would end very well.

When I consider the trials of these saints, I have to admit that my faith seems small. I am often more concerned about my own comfort than I am about persevering through a trial. But sometimes keeping my eyes on eternity has helped me hold on to hope in the middle of my own messy story. It has enabled me to endure relational heartbreak, physical fatigue, financial difficulties, and the day-in, day-out challenges of life. I am happy to say that as I get closer to going home, it’s becoming easier to keep my gaze turned upward.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Makin’ It Through Your Messy Middle

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – He Is Faithful

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Romans 8:32

Recommended Reading

2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

At the Rapture, believers will be caught up to meet Christ in the clouds. Then the seven-year Tribulation will begin. Many non-Christians, having just witnessed the Rapture, will put their faith in Christ. The Antichrist will bring peace to the world for the first half of the Tribulation. But then he will become a world dictator who orders all to worship him—or be severely persecuted or killed. So these very young Christians will be faced with a severe test: If I remain faithful to God, will He remain faithful to me?

Every Christian today experiences similar tests with regard to money, health, relationships, and more. And the answer is, Yes, God will remain faithful (even if we are not—2 Timothy 2:13). God has allowed His saints to suffer throughout history, including His own Son, and always remained faithful. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:35-39).

Hopefully you will not be one who is tested in the Tribulation. But you will be tested in other ways. God is faithful! Trust Him in all things.

Christians do not have to live; they have only to be faithful to Jesus Christ, not only until death but unto death if necessary.

Vance Havner

Read-Thru-the-Bible

Luke 9 – 10

 

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

Joyce Meyer – Passive Minds

Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].- Ephesians 4:27

Perhaps the best way to interpret these words of the apostle Paul is to say it this way: Don’t give the devil an opportu¬nity. There are many ways we actually give the devil an opening to pounce on us. One of those ways involves being passive.

To be passive is the opposite of being active. This can be a dangerous problem because it means you aren’t on guard, you aren’t actively standing up, and you aren’t alert. One of the devil’s most deceiving tricks is to get you to do nothing and to feel content about it.

I have found a wide variety of definitions for the word passive, but I describe it as a lack of feeling, a lack of desire, apathy, laziness, and lukewarmness. It is what John referred to when he wrote to the church at Laodicea: I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! (Revelation 3:15).

It reminds me of something someone told me years ago. “I’ve been a good Christian today,” he said. “I haven’t hurt anyone or done anyone any harm.”

In a moment of insight, I said, “But have you done any good for anyone?”

He stared at me for several seconds before he said, “I guess I never thought of it that way. I was so concerned about not doing anything wrong, that I never thought about doing anything good.”

That’s one of the tricks the devil plays on our minds. All we need to do is read the Bible to find out what God says. Paul wrote to Timothy: That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God [the inner fire] that is in you by means of the laying on of my hands [with those of the elders at your ordination]. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-¬control (2 Timothy 1:6-7). Paul told his young disciple to shake himself up and do something—which is good for us to consider, as well. Paul urged us to get moving and start using the gifts God has given us.

The devil knows that inactivity, laziness, or failure to exercise our will for doing good can throw us into ultimate defeat. As long as we move against the devil, we can win the battle. When we do nothing, we become his prime target. It’s when we get stirred into action, and passionate about faith, and zealous to follow God that we can destroy all the devil’s influence.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Passive Minds

Girlfriends in God – Be a Joy-Giver Part 1

Today’s Truth

The prospect of the righteous is joy.

Proverbs 10:28

Friend to Friend

We all want to live a joy-filled life – right? But it seems that everyone has their own definition of joy and their own plan for how to experience joy.

A pastor told the story of a lesson he learned when he casually wished one of his older church members a good day. The man remarked, “They’re all good days, Pastor. It’s what we put in them that determines the amount of joy we experience.”

Joy is the deeply rooted confidence that God is in control. When our life is under the control of God, priorities fall into place, life is simpler, and we can experience true joy.

Proverbs 10:28 tells us, “The prospect of the righteous is joy.” In this verse the word “prospect” means to view or to anticipate. The word “righteous” refers to those who have given their lives to Jesus Christ – fully devoted followers of God. To experience joy, God must be the Lord or the boss of our life. As our Lord, He produces joy in us and funnels that joy through us into the lives of others.

Over the next two days, we will examine the life of Paul and the letter he wrote to the church at Philippi. Paul was a simple man, but one who profoundly understood and experienced joy in its truest sense. Paul wrote his letter to the church in Philippi while he was experiencing brutal circumstances that were anything but joyful. He was in prison, awaiting trial, and facing his own execution. Paul was old, alone, almost blind and in poor health, having suffered severe and constant physical abuse because of his faith in God.

To me, Paul had no earthly reason to be joyful. But here’s the deal. Joy is not an earthly treasure. Joy is a heavenly gift from a loving Father who is committed to the joy of His children. Joy is a “God-thing.”

I love the story of the little girl who misquoted her favorite Bible verse, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have ever-laughing life.” Exactly! Jesus not only came to give us eternal life, but He also came to give us a life saturated with joy here on earth.

If you are like me, there are many times when I look at myself and wonder how God could possibly love me and why my joy is so important to Him. That thought just rocks my world because He does love me and He does want me to live a life filled with His joy. And He loves you the same way. Why?

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Be a Joy-Giver Part 1

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Our Great Privilege

“And don’t you realize that you also will perish unless you leave your evil ways and turn to God?” (Luke 13:3).

Today I sought to share the love and forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ with a taxi driver who reacted impatiently when I handed him a book which I had written, entitled “Jesus and the Intellectual.” He flung it aside in contempt. I have seldom met anyone who appeared to be more angry and resentful of God than he was. I felt impressed to say to him what Jesus said to the Galileans, “It is a matter of life and death what you do with Jesus Christ. There is a heaven and there is a hell. God loves you and cares for you. He wants you to come to Him and receive the gift of His only begotten Son through whom you can have forgiveness, life abundant, and life eternal.” From all appearances he could not have cared less.

That warning to the Galileans many years ago applies equally to the nations and individuals today. If one truth in the Word of God is made abundantly clear, it is this: Repent or perish.

“It is because of this solemn fear of the Lord, which is ever present in our minds, that we work so hard to win others. God knows our hearts, that they are pure in this matter, and I hope that, deep within, you really know it too” (2 Corinthians 5:11).

As Christians we have the same awesome responsibility and great privilege to tell everyone who will listen about Christ. Most of us would take great risk to save the life of a drowning child or to snatch up a toddler from the path of an automobile. Yet, most everyone who is living today will be dead in 100 years or less, but all men will live in heaven or hell for eternity. How much more important it is to tell men and women who are perishing without Christ of the loving Savior who cares and who is waiting to forgive if only they will surrender their lives to Him!

We must warn them and if we do not know how, it behooves us to learn how to share our faith. One method of witnessing is the use of the Four Spiritual Laws booklet. Anyone is capable of sharing this booklet with others – if not vocally, at least by handing it to someone.

If you are hesitant to witness vocally why not begin distributing literature like the Four Spiritual Laws booklet?

Bible Reading: Luke 13:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I resolve with God’s help, to begin to distribute Christian literature, especially the Word of God and materials that will help individuals to make definite commitments of their lives to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

 

http://www.cru.org

Ray Stedman – The Supreme Priority

Read: 1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Analyzing those words is like taking a beautiful flower and tearing it apart. But some analysis is necessary to fully grasp what Paul is saying here. We should remember that this chapter on love fits beautifully with what the apostle has been talking about in the previous section. In Chapter 12 Paul talked about the gifts of the Spirit. Here in Chapter 13 we come to the fruit of the Spirit. Paul has introduced it with a hint already that the fruit of the Spirit is far more important than the gifts of the Spirit. That we become loving people is far more important than whether we are active, busy people. Both are necessary, but one is greater than the other. Paul has said so: I will show you a still more excellent way. That is the way of love.

I call this the fruit of the Spirit because in the letter to the Galatians Paul details for us what the fruit of the Spirit is. It is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). All of those qualities really are manifestations of love. This chapter is setting forth that quality of love which is the work of the Spirit of God within us reproducing the character of Christ. Once you have love all these other qualities that are part of the fruit of the Spirit are possible to you. If we have the love of God in our hearts, then we can be patient; we can be peaceful; we can be good, loving, faithful, gentle and kind.

The word love is not the Greek word eros. That word is used to describe erotic love. And the word here is not philia, which means affection or friendship. Paul is talking about agape, which is a commitment of the will to cherish and uphold another person. This is the word that is used to describe the love of God. It is a word addressed to the will. It is a decision that you make and a commitment that you have launched upon to treat another person with concern, with care, with thoughtfulness, and to work for his or her best interests. That is what love is, and this is what Paul is talking about.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – The Supreme Priority

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – A New Beginning

READ: Genesis 3:14-24

Therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. (v. 23)

Life in a fallen world contains endings. Sometimes we know the end is coming. We know we are reading the final pages of a book, we see the clock wind down on an athletic event, or we watch the grand finale of fireworks that signal the conclusion of the show. Sometimes endings are unexpected and potentially painful. A relationship is ended, employment is terminated, or confidentiality is broken.

Adam and Eve’s life outside of the garden was drastically different than it had been in the garden. Now there was sin, work, suffering, and guilt. The end of life as they knew it led to a necessary new beginning. Whether we want them or not, new beginnings follow endings. These can include the start of a new job, the beginning of a new relationship, or entering into the stages of grief.

Thankfully God is with us in new beginnings. In Genesis 4, we find Adam and Eve crediting God for the conception and life of Cain (v. 1), their sons bring offerings to God and converse with him (vv. 3-7), and God graciously puts a mark of protection on Cain after he murders his brother (v. 15).

What ending has led to a new beginning in your life? How can you sense God’s presence with you? How can you prayerfully ask for his help and depend on him as you start anew?

Therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. (v. 23)

PRAYER

Lord, however painful the ending, help me to see hope in a new beginning because you are in control. Amen.

 

Greg Laurie – See What God Will Do

For who has despised the day of small things? —Zechariah 4:10

I remember when we were starting the Harvest Crusades, and it was a big leap of faith to go to the Pacific Amphitheatre. We went to a facility that seated some 15,000 people, but we took that leap of faith together. We prayed. We worked. And God honored it and blessed it as we saw the amphitheatre filled each night. And on the final night, we even broke attendance records there, which had been previously held by some rock band.

So the next year we said, “Let’s really go crazy. Let’s go for the stadium.” That is a big leap from a 15,000-seat venue to one that seated 50,000. But we didn’t have the resources to do it. So we prayed, “Lord, it would be kind of exciting to take that step of faith. If You want us to do it, then we pray that You’ll provide.”

The next day we got a phone call from a committed Christian man who said, “I heard about what you are doing, and I would like to make an investment in your ministry. Is there anything I could give toward it?”

We said, “Well, we’re thinking about this stadium idea. . . .”

He said, “Okay, I’ll take care of that. I’ll write you a check tomorrow.”

We always think about the failures. We prepare for failures. Then we are surprised when God brings success into our lives. When we take that gift He has given to us and say, “I want to use it for Your glory. I’m going to try this. Let’s see what the Lord will do,” that is when things happen.

It is wrong for us to take what belongs to God and squander it. We should take it, invest it, and then see what the Lord will do.

 

https://www.harvest.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – The LORD Mercifully Gives Life

“Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word…. Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.” (Psalm 119:40-41, 57)

Graveyards can be interesting places. Usually they are quiet places, and you can walk around and read the names and see the birthdays and the death dates of the people whose bodies are buried underground there. Most graveyards have stone markers that show the places where people’s bodies have been buried. Why do we say that their bodies are buried? Well, for Christians who have died, the body is the only part that is placed in a casket and buried underground or in a mausoleum (a tomb). The Bible teaches that when a Christian’s body dies, his or her soul keeps on living and goes immediately to be with the Lord – not to a graveyard or tomb.

One reason graveyards are interesting is that they are a good place to go if you need to think. The Bible says we can learn much from visiting the “house of mourning.” It is good for us to be reminded that we are on Earth only for one lifetime. Some of the birthdays and death dates of those people do not have very many years between them. Some of those markers are memorials for children, teen-agers, and middle-aged people. You might see a family member who has come to visit a grave of a loved one. Some people come and talk to the graves. Can their loved ones still hear them? Can they talk back?

A dead person’s ears do not work anymore. They cannot hear. They cannot speak. They cannot come back to life and have a conversation with living people who come to visit the graveyard. Even if a dead person could hear, and even if a dead person could speak, he would not be able to choose between silence and speaking. He would not be able to choose between not breathing and breathing. Part of being dead is being unable to do what living people can do.

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – The LORD Mercifully Gives Life

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Does He Care?

Today’s Scripture: Ephesians 5:10

“Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”

The good news of the Gospel is that God’s grace is available on our worst days. That’s true because Christ fully satisfied the claims of God’s justice and fully paid the penalty of a broken law when he died on the cross in our place. Because of that, Paul could write, “He forgave us all our sins” (Colossians 2:13, NIV).

Does this mean God no longer cares whether we obey or disobey? Not at all. The Scripture speaks of our grieving the Holy Spirit through our sins (Ephesians 4:30). And Paul prayed that we “may please [God] in every way” (Colossians 1:10, NIV). Clearly, he cares about our conduct and will discipline us when we refuse to repent of conscious sin. But God is no longer our Judge. Through Christ he is now our heavenly Father who disciplines us only out of love and only for our good.

If God’s blessings were dependent on our performance, they would be meager indeed. Even our best works are shot through with sin—with varying degrees of impure motives and lots of imperfect performance. We’re always, to some degree, looking out for ourselves, guarding our flanks, protecting our egos. It’s because we don’t realize the utter depravity of the principle of sin remaining in us and staining everything we do that we entertain any notion of earning God’s blessings through our obedience. And because we don’t fully grasp that Jesus paid the penalty for all our sins, we despair of God’s blessing when we’ve failed to live up to even our own desires to please God.

Your worst days are never so bad that you’re beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you’re beyond the need of God’s grace.

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Life Is Hard, and Then …

Today’s Scripture: Genesis 21-24

If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31

When should we expect life to get easier? When we graduate–when we marry–when we retire?

Today’s passage contains a story that seems to nullify God’s great promise that in Abraham all the families of the earth would be blessed. He is to take his son, Isaac, into the land of Moriah and kill him–offer him as a sacrifice upon one of the mountains. Verse 1 tells us this command came to him “after these things.” After what things? After all the hardships and difficulties Abraham already had gone through.

All the tests and trials we have endured will not prevent other tests from coming our way. But these things need not destroy us nor wreck our faith. On the contrary, if you and I respond as Abraham did, in obedience and faith, these tough battles and trials can be the crowning moments of our lives.

Once I drove a small car from Colorado to Arizona for my son-in-law. In New Mexico I encountered violent crosswinds. It was all I could do to keep the car on the road. Suddenly I noticed a hawk flying right in front of me with his wings spread majestically, and he wasn’t moving a feather! The winds that almost blew me off the road were just carrying that hawk higher and higher. And I thought, For Christians, tough times are supposed to do that–just bring us higher and higher, closer to the Lord.

Christian, what winds are knocking you around today? Family matters? Finances? Ill health? When Abraham faced his toughest test, he looked to the Lord. By God’s grace and strength, you and I can do that, too.

Prayer

Lord, I will trust and obey You, no matter what. Amen.

To Ponder

God has determined that we should become conformed to the image of His Son.

 

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BreakPoint –  Secular, Feminist, and Pro-Life: The Message Goes Mainstream

In the third presidential debate on Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton said women should be able to end the lives of their preborn babies right up until the very moment of birth, long after a child is viable outside the womb.

In a recent Marist poll reported by the Wall Street Journal, eighty percent of Americans and some sixty-percent of self-described pro-choicers oppose this extreme view. Instead, they support restricting abortion to the first trimester of pregnancy.

Just more evidence that the landscape is changing. Not only is Clinton’s extreme view on abortion unpopular—it’s outdated. A 2015 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that millennials are more likely than their parents to say that abortion ought to be legal only in certain stages and certain circumstances. According to another poll by Students for Life of America, just 17 percent of millennials agree with the Democratic presidential nominee that abortion should be legal right up until birth.

All of this led Ruth Graham to conclude in Slate that the pro-life movement is in the midst of a transition. But it’s not just in the sense that it’s getting younger. It’s also attracting the non-religious.

Not that long ago, being pro-life meant you were almost certainly a Catholic or evangelical. But now, the belief that killing unborn babies is wrong is transcending religious and even political boundaries.

Take Aimee Murphey, the 27-year-old founder of Pittsburgh’s Life Matters Journal. Aimee was raped by an ex-boyfriend who pressured her to get an abortion when she thought she was pregnant. That was when it clicked, Aimee says. “I could not use violence to get what I wanted in life. I realized that if I were to get an abortion, I would just be passing oppression on to a child.”

Her appeal, like that of a growing group of young pro-lifers who aren’t religious, is rooted in human rights, and the belief that our nation has committed an unspeakable atrocity in the name of convenience.

Kelly Hazzard, founder of the group Secular Pro-Life, says the non-religious argument against abortion has the potential to bring people on board who would have never otherwise taken the message of life seriously.

Continue reading BreakPoint –  Secular, Feminist, and Pro-Life: The Message Goes Mainstream

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

Read 2 PETER 2:4–9

Many scholars think that the false teachers that concerned Peter were influenced by Epicurean philosophy, which rejected the notion of divine providence. Without the gods (or God) intervening in human affairs, there was also no divine judgment, and so the most important thing was to pursue and fulfill human desires. The Roman historian Plutarch said this about the Epicurean beliefs: “The procrastination and delay of the Deity . . . destroys belief in providence.” If there’s either no god or God can’t punish wickedness, why not do whatever you want?

In these verses, Peter demolishes the notion that false teachers will escape the judgment of God. He relies on what has already been established as the unshakable foundation for truth: God’s character and His Word.

From the beginning, God has declared divine, holy judgment on those who oppose Him. The angels led by Lucifer were cast out of heaven (v. 4; see Isa. 14:12–15). The Lord ended the reign of ungodliness that had filled the earth by bringing the Flood, saving Noah and judging those who mocked him (v. 5; see Gen. 6:13). The wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah, in which not even ten righteous people could be found, was punished by God through utter destruction (v. 6; see Genesis 19).

All of these examples are documented in Scripture, testifying to God’s holiness and sovereignty. And as we’ve seen in chapter 1, we can rely on Scripture as the reliable and inspired Word of God. In the midst of judgment, however, God is also faithful to save the righteous. Noah and Lot are proof that God keeps His promises (v. 9). The wicked can be assured of God’s judgment, and the righteous can be assured of His deliverance.

APPLY THE WORD

These words should encourage our hearts. We can look at the world and identify reasons for fear and dismay: people profane the name of the Lord, the greedy oppress the needy, and sinful desires are encouraged. But we have God’s promise to deliver us, both from the trials and temptations of life now and from the judgment on the world to come.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Denison Forum – ACTIVISTS USE FREE SPEECH TO DISRUPT FREE SPEECH RALLY

Activists at the University of Toronto disrupted a free speech rally led by a professor who refuses to address students with gender-neutral pronouns. In essence, activists exercised their free speech and in turn ended a free speech rally. The University Student Union wrote, “Tuesday’s rally was marred by bigotry and violence, and the Campus Police refused to intervene when they knew of and saw trans folks being assaulted.”

University of Toronto professor Jordan Petersen angered several people after releasing a presentation entitled, “Professor against political correctness.” In it, he condemned a new bill that could potentially punish individuals who “misgender” others.

In other free speech news, people are, shockingly, arguing on Facebook—or rather over Facebook policy. According to the Wall Street Journal, the 2016 election has ignited an intense internal debate about whether certain political posts should be removed for potentially violating the site’s rules regarding hate speech. Releasing a statement last week, Facebook said, “In the weeks ahead, we’re going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest—even if they might otherwise violate our standards.” No word on whether they will be doing anything regarding the persistent Farmville invitations and Candy Crush requests.

A Gallup poll showed that 69 percent of college students said they would be in favor of prohibiting “intentionally offensive” speech on campus. 41 percent of Americans thirty-five and under think “the First Amendment is dangerous.”

George Washington noted, “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” French writer Alexis de Tocqueville said, “Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.”

This freedom makes America great according to de Tocqueville: “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” By eliminating free speech, the government “compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

For better or for worse, the ability to speak freely can enlighten us so that our footsteps may move toward a more perfect union. However, free speech may also mar the silence, proving Proverbs 10:19 true: when words abound, transgressions are inevitable.

Continue reading Denison Forum – ACTIVISTS USE FREE SPEECH TO DISRUPT FREE SPEECH RALLY