Charles Stanley – A Burden or a Bridge


2 Corinthians 4:7-18

What word would you use to describe adversity in your life? To most people, it is a heavy, inescapable burden that wears them down, saps their joy, and hinders them from truly living. Christians, however, have the opportunity to see adversity as a bridge leading to a glorious eternal future.

The determining factor in how we view hardship is our perspective. If we focus only on the negative aspects of our earthly life, we’ll be drawn into despair and desperation. But if we look at problems from an eternal standpoint, our thinking and attitudes will be transformed in the following ways:

  1. Instead of letting difficulties wear us down, we won’t lose heart, because we know we’re being renewed from within. As we respond in submission to whatever God allows in our life and trust in His good purposes, our character is shaped into Christlikeness and our hope is restored.
  2. The despair of feeling that our adversity is inescapable and never-ending will be replaced with strength to endure. Paul said he was afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, and constantly threatened with death, yet he called it all “light and momentary” compared to eternity (2 Cor. 4:8-11, 2 Cor. 4:17 NIV).
  3. Rather than seeing adversity as a thief of all joy and a hindrance to a good life, we should look beyond the present to what the trial is producing for us in heaven— “an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17).

Viewing troubles through an eternal lens is an act of faith, which pleases God. It increases our trust in Him, gives us greater passion for our heavenly inheritance, and strengthens us to victoriously cross the bridge of adversity.

Bible in One Year: John 17-19

Our Daily Bread — A Difficult Hill

Read: Psalm 110

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 40–42; Hebrews 4

He will drink from a brook along the way, and so he will lift his head high.—Psalm 110:7

High in a fold of Jughandle Peak in the mountains north of our home in Idaho lies a glacial lake. The route to the lake goes up a steep, exposed ridge through boulders and loose stones. It’s a strenuous ascent.

At the beginning of the climb, however, there is a brook—a spring that seeps out of soft, mossy earth and flows through a lush meadow. It’s a quiet place to drink deeply and prepare for the hard climb ahead.

In John Bunyan’s classic allegory of the Christian life, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian arrives at the foot of a steep ascent called the Hill Difficulty, “at the bottom of which was a spring . . . Christian now went to the spring and drank to refresh himself, and then began to go up the hill.”

Perhaps the difficult mountain you face is a rebellious child or a serious medical diagnosis. The challenge seems more than you can endure.

Before you face your next major task, visit the spring of refreshment that is God Himself. Come to Him with all your weakness, weariness, helplessness, fear, and doubt. Then drink deeply of His power, strength, and wisdom. God knows all your circumstances and will supply a store of comfort, of spiritual strengthening and consolation. He will lift up your head and give you strength to go on. —David Roper

Father, at this moment I turn to You for strength in my weakness, energy for my weariness, and faith in my doubt.

To help strengthen your trust in God, read Hope: Choosing Faith Instead of Fear at

He who overrules all things . . . enabled Christian to . . . continue on his way. John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress

INSIGHT: Psalm 110 is one of many Messianic psalms. These prophetic Hebrew hymns are called Messianic because they predict the coming of God’s anointed king or Christ (Messiah means Christ) which is Jesus. This particular psalm reaches both back and forward in the biblical text to teach us something about who Jesus is and the role He plays in bridging the gap between God and humanity. Dennis Moles

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Reflecting Significance

English author Owen Barfield, who was a longtime friend of C.S. Lewis, once stated that what Lewis thought about everything was secretly present in what he said about anything.

He did not mean that Lewis went about giving the same tired message every time he opened his mouth. On the contrary, he was paying this prolific thinker one of the greatest compliments. What Lewis said about Christ with the utmost of passion was somehow present in the way he discussed his love for long walks or medieval literature, or in the way he stated his distaste for helping with the dishes. (Lewis once acknowledged that he found it was easier to pray for his wife than to help her with the dishes.) What Lewis thought about everything was that mere Christianity—the truth of the person of Christ—is something that no reasonable or responsible mind can ignore.

Today it seems that such singleness of mind is a rarity. In a world where we have carefully drawn lines around religious thought, it has become easier to accept the categories: Thinking about God and thinking about work are conducted from two separate frames of mind; loving God and loving your spouse are two different kinds of love. But is this true? Is it possible?

One of the most vocalized reasons for rejecting Christianity is the hypocrisy of its followers. And where it is not sound reasoning to reject a religion by its abuse, the thought is perhaps a legitimate expression of confusion. When what we think about God does not inform what we think about people or child rearing, business or pleasure, how can we proclaim the eternal importance of the message? Doesn’t it follow that something of eternal significance is significant enough to permeate every moment of time? It is like operating as if the underpinnings of a house have nothing to do with the shape or characteristics of any of the rooms. When the wind blows would we feel the same?

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Reflecting Significance

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Knowing God

“‘“The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom”’” (Job 28:28).

Being wise begins with knowing God.

The fear of the Lord is the most basic idea related to wisdom and is the key to understanding it. The Book of Proverbs especially teaches us that the fear of the Lord is inextricably linked to wisdom: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7). Knowledge, wisdom, instruction, and understanding are often used as synonyms in Proverbs. The link between fear of the Lord and wisdom is also evident in Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Since wisdom and understanding are parallel, so are the fear of the Lord and knowledge of the Holy One. To know God and to fear God are one and the same.

What does it mean to fear God? It’s a reverential trust, or simply another way of describing saving faith. We begin to be wise when we revere God and trust in Him. When an Old Testament saint wanted to evangelize, he might have said, “Fear God!”

When you read in the Bible of people fearing God or that fearing God is linked to wisdom, that means a person can’t even begin to be wise until he is first converted. Fearing God is the initiation of a life of faith. As long as a person has only human wisdom, he can’t know God or true wisdom.

The fear of the Lord is your entrance to wisdom. It will prolong your life, fulfill your life, enrich your life—it is your life (cf. Prov. 10:27; 14:27). It will open the continual flow of God’s wisdom to you. The significance of everything is tied to the wisdom of God, which alone will give you proper values, guidance, instruction, and perspective in life. Apply His wisdom to your life daily, and enjoy all the benefits that wisdom has to offer.

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for His wisdom by which you are so abundantly blessed.

For Further Study

God’s wisdom enriches our life and gives us proper values and instruction. Read Proverbs 10:1-12, and notice how that is so.

Wisdom Hunters – God is Able 

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  2 Corinthians 9:8

God is able. He is able to abundantly bless in all things at all times.  God is able to provide what is needed for every good work. He is able when I am unable. He is able to soften my heart when I am unable to listen.  He is able to illumine my thoughts when I am unable to understand the truth. He is able to love me when I am unable to love myself. God is able. Yes! His Spirit is able to intercede on my behalf when I am unable to pray. My Lord Jesus is ready, willing and able.

God is able to supply the needs of His people through His people. He is able to make us rich in every way so we can be generous on all occasions. Thus, we have emotional, physical, spiritual and financial capacity to give to others. Yes, margin (extra) gives us space in our brain to be creative, room in our heart to be compassionate, and surplus money with which to be generous. Indeed, we have more to give to others when we steward our resources for the sake of service.

“Spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday” (Isaiah 58:10).

So, what are we to do when God is able, but unwilling? What if His help seems delayed or unresponsive? First, we are reassured knowing the character of our Heavenly Father is 100% trustworthy. He is good and He desires what’s best for His children. Furthermore, our will does not always align with the Lord’s will. Free will is freedom to chose badly. Thus, we require the Spirit’s ‘will alignment’ by renewing our mind and purifying our heart. Clarity comes from cleansing and repentance. God is able, but we may not be ready, so we remain steady in prayer.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – God is Able 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – The Name of Christ

If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.

1 Peter 4:14

Recommended Reading

1 Peter 4:12-19

A Turning Points reader recently posted an interesting question on social media: “What is it about the Name of Christ? Why does the world so hate it?” Russian history books are stained with the blood of believers, savagely tortured and killed by the thousands in Soviet days. Those days changed with the fall of the Iron Curtain, or so we thought. But earlier this year, Vladimir Putin turned back the clock, passing a new law forbidding Christians from sharing their faith anywhere but within the walls of official church buildings. Even speaking of Christ in private homes is forbidden. Online sharing of the Gospel is forbidden.

In America, secularists seek to restrict freedom of Christian expression in public life, but it’s far worse now in Russia and in many other parts of the world. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron was correct when he called Christians the “most persecuted group in the world today.”

Why do skeptics fear the Name of Jesus? What is it about that Name? As Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote, “Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there’s something about that Name.”

All hail the power of Jesus’ Name! Let angels prostrate fall; / Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.

Edward Perronet


John 13 – 15

Joyce Meyer – You Are Responsible for Your Own Life

Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. —James 1:22 KJV

One of the biggest problems in society today is that people don’t want to take responsibility for their lives. They want quick fixes. Society has trained them to believe that if they have problems, somebody else is responsible. Their parents are responsible. Their spouses are responsible. Their schools or employers are responsible. The company that made the cigarettes or vehicle or junk food is responsible.

I’m not saying you are responsible for the current state of your life. Lots of uncontrollable events occur in our lives. Sometimes we do get very bad messages in childhood. Sometimes we have bad people in our lives who hurt us. The situation you find yourself in may or may not be your fault. But it is your fault if you take it lying down! You do not have to stay in that bad situation. You get to make a choice. And that choice is 100 percent yours.

No matter how you got to where you find yourself today, don’t let it be an excuse to stay there. I had many excuses and reasons for my poor health, bad attitude, and unbalanced life. As long as I offered excuses, I never made progress.

The time has come to be very honest with yourself and with God. When you have a moment of privacy, take a deep breath, clear your head, and repeat this phrase: “I am responsible for my own life. No one can take charge of it but me. If I am unhappy or unhealthy, I know I have the power to change that. I have all the help and knowledge I need; and with God’s hand today, I start becoming the person of excellence I have always known I could be.”

From the book New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer.

Girlfriends in God – Why I’m Not Worried About the Election

Today’s Truth

The LORD has made the heavens His throne; from there He rules over everything

Psalm 103:19

Friend to Friend

I don’t know about you, but my emotions have been all over the board about this upcoming Presidential election. It is so easy to fall into the ravine of worry, anxiety, and outright fear. So let’s just talk about it a minute.

During one of my “less than trusting” days, God reminded me that He is still in control. Yes, God does give us the risky gift of choice, but He is still sovereign and sitting on His throne.

God reminded me of King Cyrus. Jeremiah prophesied that the Babylonians would take the rebellious Israelites captive for seventy years. Years later, that’s exactly what happened. Jerusalem was destroyed and the Israelites were taken captive for seventy years.

Jeremiah also prophesied that God would raise up a Persian King named Cyrus who would conquer the Babylonians and set the Israelites free. One hundred and fifty years later, that’s exactly what happened. The prophet even called him by name … Cyrus. Amazing! In 539 B.C. King Cyrus decreed that the Israelites could return to their homeland and rebuild the temple.

Stay with me.

Here’s the prophesy: “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him . . . ‘I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me’” (Isaiah 45:1, 4; see also 41:2-25; 42:6). About His sovereignty over all nations, God says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please” (Isaiah 44:28).

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Why I’m Not Worried About the Election

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – No Other Savior

“There is salvation in no one else! Under all heaven there is no other name for men to call upon to save them” (Acts 4:12).

As a young sceptic, I had difficulty believing in the resurrection, for I could not believe in the supernatural. But as I became aware of the uniqueness of Jesus and of the different quality of life that was His, I was forced to reconsider the biblical claim to His resurrection.

Since it is a matter of historical fact that the tomb in which His dead body was placed was empty three days later, I set out to discover if the tomb could have been empty on any other basis than the biblical claim that He had been raised from the dead. In my research, I learned that there were three different theories explaining the empty tomb.

First, it was proposed that He was not really dead but had fainted from the loss of blood on the cross, and that He recovered in the cool of the tomb (this notion is today expounded by certain skeptics under the name of the “swoon theory”). Second, it was conceivable that Jesus’ body was stolen by His enemies; or third, that it was stolen by the disciples.

Experience and logic have forced me to discount all three of these theories as impossibilities. First, Jesus could never have moved the stone or escaped from the guards in His weakened condition. Second, Jesus’ enemies had no reason to steal His body since they did not want to give credence to a belief in His resurrection. Even if they had stolen the body, they could simply have produced it to discount the resurrection.

Third, the disciples who deserted Jesus at His trial and crucifixion were the same men who, having seen Him after His resurrection, spent the rest of their lives telling everyone who would listen, even at the cost of their own lives, that Jesus was alive. Ask yourself this question, “Would the disciples be willing to die as martyrs propagating a lie?”

Christianity alone has a living Savior; in Him alone is salvation.

Bible Reading: Romans 10:9-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Several times today, as the Holy Spirit prompts me, I will remember to thank God for the gift of His Son as my personal Savior and will tell someone else that Jesus is alive and wants to be his Savior, too

Ray Stedman – The Mystery of the Jewish People

Read: Romans 11:25-32

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. Romans 11:25-26

Perhaps the striking thing about this passage is that Paul calls the Jews’ present resistance to the gospel a mystery. He doesn’t mean that it is obscure and difficult to understand. When Paul calls this a mystery he means that it is a supernatural phenomenon that has to be revealed to us. You can’t explain it by the normal reasons for resistance to the gospel. I do not know if you have had any occasion to try to witness to a Jewish person. If you have, perhaps you have run up against what seemed to be a rock wall of indifference and resistance to what you were trying to say. If so, you may well have been experiencing what Paul is talking about here, a strange hardening toward the gospel by Jewish people. It is not because the Jews are inferior in intelligence — they are among the most intelligent of people. It is not because they don’t want God; they are among the most religious of all people. Ordinarily you would think they would be open to hearing the good news of how God, in grace, is ready to reach men and change them and indwell them and enrich their lives. And yet those who go among the Jews often find this strange resistance, this anger that is awakened because of the preaching of the gospel.

Paul says three things about this hardness: First, it is a hardening in part. That is, not all Jews are afflicted this way. We are not told here what portion of Israel is going to be hardened — whether 10% or 90%. All we are told is that there are going to be some Jews who simply will not hear, who will not receive the gospel. I have been to Israel five times, and I am always amazed at how resistant the Jews there seem to be to the claims of the Lord Jesus. And Paul tells us that this hardening is not only in part, but it is also limited in time. It is not going to go on forever. A hardening of the heart has happened until the full number of the Gentiles come in. So this is not something that they are bound to experience forever. What does the full number of the Gentiles mean?

Continue reading Ray Stedman – The Mystery of the Jewish People

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Christ’s Ambassadors

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

We are ambassadors for Christ. (v. 20)

Arriving in India in the middle of the night after a long journey, I shuffled zombie like through a huge jam of people in front of the Immigration Control desks, looking with envy at the empty line marked “Diplomatic Passports Only.” Ambassadors enjoy VIP perks because they really are important people. Their job is to speak authoritatively on behalf of the government they represent. In order to do this, ambassadors must be sure they know what their leaders want them to say.

Who are we as servants of Jesus Christ? Here is another answer given by Paul to the church in Corinth: We are Christ’s ambassadors. And we know what our King wants us to say. It’s “the message of reconciliation,” namely, that “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ” (v. 19 NIV). Notice that God is the subject here, the one doing the work of reconciling. It’s not just that we must be reconciled to God; God also must be reconciled to us. Sin has caused problems on both sides of a broken relationship, and only God can accomplish the great act of reconciliation–Christ’s death on the cross–which clears the way to restored fellowship with him.

But there are some things for us to do: we must first believe the gospel ourselves and accept what God has done for us. “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (v. 20). And then we must proclaim this message as ambassadors to the whole world.


Thank God for the work and message of reconciliation.


Greg Laurie – Forgiveness Brings Courage

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.—John 8:36

Sometimes people have a hard time believing they have been forgiven by God. They walk around with guilt and feel almost as though they will be able to pay some kind of penance by continuing to beat themselves up over their sins. But they need to accept the forgiveness that Christ has given to them and start behaving like a forgiven person, realizing that “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

In Matthew 9, we find the story of a paralyzed man who was carried by his friends into the presence of Jesus. When Jesus saw the faith of his friends, He said to the man, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you” (verse 2). This is the first time we see Jesus’ use of the phrase, “Be of good cheer,” and He used it when He was assuring a man that his sins were forgiven.

Now, it doesn’t seem like they brought him to Jesus to have his sins forgiven; it seems like they brought him to be healed. So Jesus went on to say, “For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the man, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house” (verses 5–6). And the man did.

Jesus forgave this man of his sins, and in this case, God’s forgiveness brought courage. God does His part, and then we must do ours. You see, God gives His forgiveness to us, and we must accept that forgiveness.

Are you living in God’s forgiveness? Or, are you living in guilt because you are unwilling to accept it?

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Love

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

“Love” is a hard word to describe. We use it too much. We say we “love” brownies, for instance. And we say we “love” our moms. We might say we “love” the color green or that we “love” rain. So when Romans 8:39 says that nothing can separate us from the love of God, what does that really mean? What does it mean that God loves us?

1 Corinthians 13 explains “love” better than any other chapter in the Bible. Using this chapter, we learn how true love really is defined (what it really means):

God is patient – He is waiting for you to trust Him.

God is kind – He is a Father to His people.

God is not proud – He sent His only Son to die even though He was God.

God is always the same – He never changes. You can trust Him.

God wants the best for you – Read Romans 8:28.

God is happy when you obey.

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Love

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – A Biblical View of Grace

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:1

“We appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”

I once heard a definition of grace as God’s making up the difference between the requirements of his righteous law and what we lack in meeting those requirements. No one is good enough to earn salvation by himself, this definition said, so God’s grace simply makes up what we lack. Some receive more grace than others, but all receive whatever they need to obtain salvation. No one ever need be lost because whatever grace he needs is his for the taking.

This definition of grace sounds very generous of God, doesn’t it, making up whatever we lack? The problem with this definition, though, is that it isn’t true. It represents a grave misunderstanding of the grace of God and a very inadequate view of our plight as sinners before a holy God. We need to be sure we have a biblical view of grace, for grace is at the very heart of the Gospel. It is certainly not necessary for someone to understand all the theology of grace to be saved, but if a person has a false notion of grace, it probably means he or she does not really understand the Gospel.

For living by grace, we need to be sure we first understand saving grace. It would be a fatal injustice if I allowed you to believe that all the wonderful provisions of God’s grace are yours apart from salvation through Jesus Christ.

Grace is always the same, whether God exercises it in saving us or in dealing with us as believers. In whatever way the Bible defines saving grace, that same definition applies in the arena of living the Christian life day by day. (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Thanks Be to God

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:57

We all have an Achilles’ heel–a weakness that’s difficult to overcome. I remember when I first started an exercise program years ago. For an ex-Marine, you’d think exercise would come naturally, but there were numerous times I had trouble getting down to the gym. And even after I got there it was tough. After all, it was a workout.

In the Bible there are certain teachings that aren’t easy to obey. And different teachings are difficult for different people. For some, witnessing is a scary thing. Getting up early for a devotional time with the Lord can be difficult. My difficulty can be summed up in one short statement by the apostle Paul: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Friend, it’s hard for me to give thanks in every circumstance.

I remember flying home one Saturday night. I was preparing a Sunday school lesson on the subject of thanksgiving. I had the tray down and was using it as a desk. I was deep in thought when the guy in front of me suddenly reclined his seat. The tray was now hugging my chest, and I sat looking at the top of the guy’s head. I began to mutter and then dropped my pen. Now I really began to fume, under my breath, of course. Then it dawned on me. I was preparing to teach others about giving thanks in every situation, and I sat fretting over a pen. I began to laugh, confessed my bad attitude to God, and finished the lesson.

Sound familiar? I thought so. It’s one of those tough teachings of Scripture, but it can be a reality if we walk daily as disciples.


Lord, You are so good to me, giving me the power to do those things befitting Your children. Amen.

To Ponder

God delights in giving me His strength to overcome my weaknesses.

BreakPoint – Defend Life: On Election Day and Every Day

Tomorrow is Election Day. And here’s some advice from Chuck Colson from a few years ago that applies even during this crazy 2016 campaign. “Vote as your conscience informs you. And allow your faith to inform your conscience.”

We must be morally informed and conscientious citizens who see voting as a civic duty. And to do so, we need to distinguish between those issues essential for Christians, and those that are matters of prudential judgment. As I wrote in an article for Decision magazine recently, the sacred value of every life, the essential institution that is marriage and family and the preservation of religious freedom are fundamental, essential issues. Others—such as minimum wage increases, gun control, education policy, health care—they matter, but they’re prudential. In fact, it will be impossible to get those issues right, if we don’t first establish that human value is intrinsic and universal, that no society survives without strong families, and that people are first of all allegiant to God, not the state.

When it comes to these essential issues, there can be no debate for Christians. Here at BreakPoint and the Colson Center, we’ll never tell you for whom to vote. But let me be blunt. The dignity of human life from conception through natural death is non-negotiable. And voting for a candidate or initiative that supports the killing of children in the womb or the early termination of the life of the elderly and the infirmed cannot be reconciled with the Christian faith.

As we say here often, politics isn’t everything, but it isn’t nothing, either. The fact is, one presidential candidate, during a nationally televised debate, defended not only abortion, but partial-birth abortion. And one party not only has forgotten its promise to make abortion “rare,” its current, 2016 platform supports the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which would force taxpayers—you and me—to pay for the abortions of Medicaid recipients.

In a powerful homily in October, the Very Reverend John Lankeit of the Phoenix Diocese told his Roman Catholic parishioners that they sin if they vote for candidates and platforms that support “intrinsic evils” such as abortion—harming their own souls and causing a scandal in the church. “Make no mistake,” he said. “There is no single issue that threatens innocent human life more directly, consistently, imminently, and urgently than the deliberate killing of baby boys and baby girls in their mother’s womb.” We have a “serious obligation to protect human life,” he added. “Whoever fails to do so, when able to do so, commits a serious sin of omission.”

Continue reading BreakPoint – Defend Life: On Election Day and Every Day

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – GREED, ANXIETY, AND THE ESCALATION OF DISCONTENT

Read 1 KINGS 21:1–19

Recent research tells us that 38 percent, about two out of every five Americans, worry every day. Women worry more than men. Younger people worry more than older people. Top worries include relationships, housing, and finances.

King Ahab wasn’t worried about making ends meet. But even people who have enough can worry about money. Ahab allowed his greed to make him irritated, anxious, and discontent. This illustrates what Ecclesiastes said yesterday—one can work and acquire but remain unsatisfied—as well as the fact that the sin of worry is related to the sin of envy or covetousness.

King Ahab wanted to purchase land to add to his summer estate at Jezreel (vv. 1–3). The owner, Naboth, refused the offer, however, because the land was a family inheritance from the Lord. To sell it would be tantamount to betraying God for money. In other ancient Near Eastern nations, a king could just seize what he wanted; but Israel’s laws, given by God, were different. Ahab didn’t take the news well, pouting and sulking like a small child (vv. 4–6).

Queen Jezebel solved his problem (vv. 7–16). Through bullying and false accusations, she arranged for Naboth to be stoned to death. She even used the Law to accomplish her plan, adding blasphemy to murder, lies, and injustice. Given the charges, Naboth’s sons were probably stoned along with him, so there was no one to stand in the way when Ahab took possession of the vineyard.

Probably no one was fooled by Jeze- bel’s deceptions, but no one had the courage to oppose her until Elijah did so (vv. 17–19). The prophecies against her and Ahab were fulfilled in 2 Kings 9 and 10, executed by Jehu, who had heard them spoken (see 9:25–26)—a perfect example of poetic justice.


One sin tends to breed others. Ahab’s greed, envy, or covetousness led to discontent, a form of worry. The discontent led to anger, which led to his complicity in his wife’s abuse of power, lies, murder, and blasphemy. Worry might not seem like much, but when we see how it produces a tangle of other sins, we understand better how serious it is.

Denison Forum – Two mistakes to avoid on Election Eve

We are one day from the most chaotic presidential election I can remember, and we still aren’t sure who will win. Hillary Clinton is leading Donald Trump in the polls, but there’s more to the story.

Nate Silver, who correctly predicted forty-nine out of fifty states in 2008 and all fifty states in 2012, told ABC News yesterday that Clinton is one state away from losing the election. Then the FBI announced that their review of newly discovered emails has not changed their decision not to recommend charges against the Democratic candidate. Whether their announcement will change the race is yet to be known.

Then there’s the Senate, which confirms presidential nominations to the Supreme Court. Republicans went into this election defending twenty-four of the thirty-four seats being contested. If Clinton wins and Democrats can capture just four of the current Republican seats, she’ll have a clear pathway for her Court nominations. Many of these seats are too close to call today.

Meanwhile, Fortune reminds us that election polling is anything but infallible. Remember that polling before the Brexit election turned out to be dramatically wrong.

The angst Americans are feeling over tomorrow’s election is understandable, since so many tie their future to their country. If the economy falls back into recession, our incomes go down. If the nation goes to war, many of our children must fight. If the government legalizes unbiblical morality, Christians’ religious liberties become threatened. What our leaders do about abortion affects millions of unborn lives.

But let’s not make the mistake so many other Americans are making. Our nation is not the democracy (“rule of the people”) we think it is. Our future does not lie with tomorrow’s election or the one after that. It does not lie with either party or with any branch of the federal government. It does not lie with state or local leaders, or with multinational corporations, or with any other human enterprise.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Two mistakes to avoid on Election Eve