Charles Stanley –No Excuses

 

Jonah 1:1-17

Jonah fled toward Tarshish to escape God’s plan. The prophet mistakenly thought that ignoring a divine command would cause the Lord to withdraw or change it. Instead, God repeatedly and dramatically intervened in Jonah’s life until the man submitted.

Jonah believed he had good reason to be reluctant. The Ninevites were a bloodthirsty people determined to conquer Israel. So walking across the city while crying, “Nineveh will be overthrown” was a frightening prospect. And, as the prophet later revealed, he worried that God would spare the city if the people repented (Jonah 4:2). Jonah wanted them destroyed! Therefore, his reasons for fleeing seemed right in his own eyes. But God was not deterred.

There’s simply no adequate justification for rebellion. It’s not uncommon for people running from God’s will to use this six-word phrase: “I know what God says, but …” I can tell you with absolute certainty that everything on the other side of “but” is a waste of time. The Lord isn’t interested in excuses or selfish ambitions. He desires only obedience. He has reasons for asking a believer to take a specific action, and His purposes are always good. Consider the amazing benefit to Jonah and his countrymen if their enemy Nineveh became an ally that worshipped the same God.

The Lord doesn’t change His plan to suit our purpose. Rather, He’ll use events, people, and the prompting of the Holy Spirit to move us into the center of His will. For your own benefit, go willingly. You may not like the task God assigns, but if He wants it done, then it must be worthwhile.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 6-7

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Leaning on Jesus

Read: John 13:12–26

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 8–10; Matthew 25:31–46

One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.—John 13:23

Sometimes when I put my head on my pillow at night and pray, I imagine I’m leaning on Jesus. Whenever I do this, I remember something the Word of God tells us about the apostle John. John himself writes about how he was sitting beside Jesus at the Last Supper: “One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him” (John 13:23).

John used the term “the disciple whom Jesus loved” as a way of referring to himself without mentioning his own name. He is also depicting a typical banquet setting in first-century Israel, where the table was much lower than those we use today, about knee height. Reclining without chairs on a mat or cushions was the natural position for those around the table. John was sitting so close to the Lord that when he turned to ask him a question, he was “leaning back against Jesus” (John 13:25), with his head on his chest.

John’s closeness to Jesus in that moment provides a helpful illustration for our lives with Him today. We may not be able to touch Jesus physically, but we can entrust the weightiest circumstances of our lives to Him. He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). How blessed we are to have a Savior whom we can trust to be faithful through every circumstance of our lives! Are you “leaning” on Him today? —James Banks

Dear Lord Jesus, help me to lean on You today and to trust You as my source of strength and hope. I cast all my cares on You and praise You because You are faithful.

Jesus alone gives the rest we need.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Thrown Off Balance

The earliest creeds of the Christian church confess that Jesus “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.” It is then confessed, “On the third day, he rose again.”(1) While modern presuppositions may tempt us to interpret the death and resurrection of Jesus as symbolic or spiritual in nature, there was nothing abstract about the events and details confessed by those who first beheld them. Jesus’s suffering was an actual, datable event in history, his crucifixion a sentence inflicted on an actual body; the proclamation of both was the remembrance of a cold reality, something akin to remembering the Holocaust or the Trail of Tears. Likewise, “the third day” was a tangible, historical occasion—albeit an occasion of unfathomable proportions.

Yet the resurrection of Jesus was not viewed as merely a static fact on this particular third day, a fixed event to remain in this history alone. “We believe that Jesus died and rose again” wrote the apostle Paul, “and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”(2) For those who first beheld it, the resurrection was an event with inherent consequences for everything—for order and purpose, for what it means to be human itself. The earliest confessions of Christ’s death, burial, and third day rising from the dead are immediately followed by certain understood implications. As the Misfit in Flannery O’Connor’s short story observes of this resurrected one, Jesus went and “thrown everything off balance.” The unlikely prophet reasons, “If He did what He said, then it’s nothing for you to do but throw away everything and follow Him, and if He didn’t, then it’s nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can.”

In the eyes of Jesus’s contemporaries, the Misfit is exactly right. This rabbi who was accused of blasphemy for calling himself equal to God was immediately here shown by God to be speaking the truth. The resurrection verified Jesus’s ties with the Father and his claims to divine authority; the Sonship of Christ was visibly and unmistakably confirmed by the Father. “For God raised him from the dead” writes Paul in 1 Thessalonians 1:10. This connection was clear.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Thrown Off Balance

Joyce Meyer – Both Men and Women

 

…I will pour out my Spirit upon all people…. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike.—Joel 2:28-29 NLT

I believe that most women possess a sixth sense that God did not give to men. It’s often called women’s intuition, and it’s the real deal. Men are usually very logical, while women tend to be more “feeling” orientated. For example, a male manager might look at a job candidate’s résumé, job application, college GPA, and work history and be ready to hire him, based on the “facts.” However, this male manager’s female counterpart might evaluate the same candidate and intuitively pick up on personality quirks or subtle-but-destructive attitudes that don’t show up on paper.

This does not mean that women are innately better leaders than men or that their instincts are based on a special God-to-woman frequency to which men aren’t attuned. In fact, a woman’s emotions can also get her in trouble, and she frequently needs the left-brain logic of a man to help her see things clearly.

The point is that women and men need one another; they can complement one another. Neither the man nor the woman sees the whole picture clearly or completely. That’s why men and women should work together, side by side in harmony, respecting one another as equals.

Lord, I thank You for making me the way You have. Help me to use my intuition and other gifts to be a blessing, and surround me with those who will help me see clearly. Amen.

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

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – God’s Word Gives Joy and Light

“God’s laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light” (Psalm 19:7,8).

Professor William Lyon Phelps, one of Yale University’s most famous scholars, said, “A knowledge of the Bible without a college education is more valuable than a college education without the Bible.”

Why would he say this? Our verse gives us the answer. The Word of God (1) protects us, (2) makes us wise, (3) gives us joy, and (4) gives us light.

There are many other benefits that come from reading the Word of God. With dividends like these, we are indeed robbing ourselves of untold blessings when we neglect His holy, inspired Word for any reason whatever.

It is my privilege to counsel many thousands of people with just about every kind of problem conceivable – need for salvation, poor self-image, marital problems, financial problems, health problems, loss of loved ones, insecurity, fear, and on and on. One could think of every kind of personal need and problem that man faces, and inevitably there is an answer in the Word of God.

I do not know of any individual who has ever received Christ without some understanding of the Word of God. It is for this reason that I included in The Four Spiritual Laws booklet, which I wrote in the 1950’s, the parenthetical statement on page 2: “References contained in this booklet should be read in context from the Bible wherever possible.”

By 1983, it was estimated that more than a billion copies of The Four Spiritual Laws, which contains the distilled essence of the gospel, had been printed (including translations into every major language) and distributed throughout the world, resulting in many millions of people responding to Christ. Still, it cannot compare with God’s Word, nor can any other piece of Christian or secular literature. There is something unique and powerful about holding the Bible in your hand and reading it with your own eyes, for it speaks with authority and power possessed by no other book ever written.

Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: God’s Word is the most important book ever written, and the most important book that I could possibly read. Today I will read it for at least 15 minutes with renewed devotion, dedication and sensitivity to its mighty revolutionary power to transform lives and enable children of God to live supernaturally.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – A Deposit of Power

 

The word inheritance is to Joshua’s book what delis are to Manhattan: everywhere! The word appears nearly sixty times. The command to possess the land is seen five times. The great accomplishment of the Hebrew people came down to this– “So Joshua let the people depart, each to his own inheritance” (Joshua 24:28).

Is it time for you to receive yours? If you have given your heart to Christ, God has “blessed you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Note the tense– “he has blessed.” Not “he will bless, might bless, or someday could possibly bless.” You have access to every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. This may well be the best-kept secret in Christendom. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

From God is With You Every Day

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ is ‘reprehensible’

It’s human nature to share good news with others. When our children started having children, I joyfully joined the ranks of obnoxious grandparents, happily forcing others to hear my stories extolling their perfection. When I see a good movie, I want others to see it. When I read a terrific book, I want others to read it.

For instance, I recently read David Orlo’s The Jerusalem Protocol, the second in his Regan Hart series. David is a longtime friend and very gifted pastor, preacher, and writer. His novel imagines a time when Jewish authorities are able to rebuild the temple alongside the Dome of the Rock. I encourage you to read this fascinating window into the geopolitics of the Middle East and the faithfulness of God to the Jewish people.

This week, Israeli and US archaeologists announced that they have found compelling evidence for a twelfth Dead Sea Scroll cave. Thieves had already stolen the scrolls housed in the cave, but the announcement shows that, as one expert noted, “finds of huge importance are still waiting to be discovered.” The story encourages me to encourage you to visit the Holy Land. There is no more transforming experience for a Christian than to walk where Jesus walked.

It’s usually a good idea to experience something before commenting on it to others. However, the rest of this Daily Article will focus on an experience I refuse to have and encourage you to refuse as well.

Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey, is showing in theaters beginning tonight. One secular reviewer called the film “the year’s first true cinematic travesty,” “utterly ridiculous,” and “reprehensible.” I warned you not to see the first movie when it premiered two years ago. I’ll repeat my reasons for the sequel.

One: The movie is pornographic in the extreme. It exhibits behavior so explicit and immoral that I will not repeat even what reviewers have said about it. Jesus warned us to refuse lust in all its forms (Matthew 5:28). His Spirit will be grieved by any Christians who open their minds to such blatant immorality. Continue reading Denison Forum – ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ is ‘reprehensible’