Charles Stanley – God in Three Persons

 

Matthew 28:18-20

Years ago, after I preached about God’s Spirit, a woman came up after church to complain, “Why do you talk about the Holy Spirit when people need to hear about Jesus and God?” Sometimes even those who have been Christians for a long time regard the Trinity as a hierarchy. To their way of thinking, the Father is God, Jesus is slightly beneath Him in rank and seniority, and the Holy Spirit is their servant. While this may conform to human models of authority, it isn’t biblical.

According to the Scriptures, all three members of the Trinity are fully God:

God the Father—Jesus Christ referred to His Father as God (John 5:17-18).

God the SonJohn 1:1 identifies Jesus as divine. While Christ never specifically called Himself “God,” His Father did apply the title to Him (Heb. 1:8). Furthermore, Jesus acknowledged having unlimited power—an attribute possessed only by the divine Creator (Matthew 28:18)—and also accepted worship (Matthew 14:33; John 9:38).

God the Holy Spirit—After declaring that God raised Christ from the dead, the New Testament goes on to credit the Holy Spirit with the resurrection (Romans 8:11). Jesus reinforced that idea when He commanded the disciples to baptize new believers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Bible confirms that each member of the Trinity is equally God. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit function as a unit—no one is more important or less essential than the others. All three are focused upon their plan for mankind: salvation, transformation, and glory for God.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 3-5

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Perfect Grace

Read: Matthew 5:43–48; John 8:9–11

Bible in a Year: Numbers 4–6; Mark 4:1–20

“Neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared.—John 8:11

Jesus’s teaching about absolute ideals and absolute grace seem contradictory.

Jesus never lowered God’s perfect ideal. In His response to the rich young ruler, He said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). He told an expert in the law who inquired as to the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (22:37). No one has completely fulfilled those commands.

Yet the same Jesus tenderly offered absolute grace. He forgave an adulteress, a thief on the cross, a disciple who had denied ever knowing Him, and a man named Saul, who had made his mark persecuting Christians. Grace is absolute and all-encompassing, extending even to those who nailed Jesus to the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” were among the last words He spoke on earth (Luke 23:34).

For years I felt so unworthy when considering Jesus’s absolute ideals that I missed any notion of His grace. Once I understood this dual message, however, I went back and found that the message of grace gusts through Jesus’s life and teachings.

Grace is for the desperate, the needy, the broken, those who cannot make it on their own. Grace is for all of us. —Philip Yancey

Father, Your all-encompassing grace washes over us and astonishes us. May we live today as people who enjoy Your complete forgiveness and a restored relationship with You.

Jesus fulfilled the perfect requirements of the law so that we may enjoy the perfect peace of His grace.

INSIGHT: The life of the apostle Paul is another example of God’s grace. Because of Paul’s past, he considered himself the most undeserving recipient of God’s mercy and grace (1 Tim. 1:13-14). Although he was chosen to be an apostle to the Gentiles, Paul also gave another reason he was chosen: “God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life” (v. 16 nlt). God had you and me in mind when He saved Paul—an awesome thought. If Paul, the worst of sinners, could be saved, then there is hope for everyone else. No one is beyond the reach of God’s mercy and grace. Sim Kay Tee

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Space for Sorrow

As a young girl, one of my favorite bible stories was the epic encounter between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. With David meets Goliath odds, Elijah faces off against 450 prophets of Baal in a contest pitting the God of Israel against the Canaanite god Baal. Which deity would answer the prayers of the respective prophets to consume the altar sacrifice?

This is an incident filled with dramatic tension and awesome displays of power. The Lord answers Elijah with fire from heaven that not only consumes the sacrifice, but also licks up every last drop of water poured out from not one, but four pitchers of water. The story ends with the destruction of the prophets of Baal and the peoples’ declaration that the Lord is God.

Now, as a grownup, I still love this story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, but not for the reasons I loved it as a young girl. Instead, I love what seems to be an anti-climactic postscript to the story. Despite seeing the glory and power of God on display in such dramatic fashion, and winning a great victory, Elijah falls into what could likely be called depression. Threatened by Queen Jezebel, he runs for his life into the wilderness. There, under a lone broom tree, he prays to God to take his life, not once but two times. As one commentator notes, “Those who have suffered mental anguish in their lives know all too well the depths to which Elijah has descended. He (and they) has entered the deep spots in the psychological ocean, and then has found a narrow slit in the ocean floor, a Marianas Trench of the soul, where he descends further still into the inky abyss. All he can think of is his desire to die.”(2)

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Joyce Meyer – Realistic Expectations

 

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. —2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

How we treat ourselves is often how we treat others. For example, if you receive God’s mercy, then you will be able to give mercy to others, but if you are demanding and never satisfied with yourself, you will be the same way with others.

We need to learn to be good to ourselves and yet not be self-centered. You should respect and value yourself; you should know what you are good at and what you are not good at and realize God’s strength is perfected in your weaknesses. We stress over our faults and yet everyone has them. If you had no faults, you would not need Jesus, and that is never going to happen!

Power Thought: I have realistic expectations of myself and others.

From the book the book Power Thoughts Devotional by Joyce Meyer.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Inherit My Holy Mountain

“Let’s see if the whole collection of your idols can help you when you cry to them to save you! They are so weak that the wind can carry them off! A breath can puff them away. But he who trusts in Me shall possess the land and inherit My Holy Mountain” (Isaiah 57:13).

It was the very last week prior to our deadline for raising two million dollars to purchase the property at Arrowhead Springs for our international Campus Crusade for Christ headquarters. A dear friend had offered a $300,000 matching fund as a gift if we could raise the balance of the $2 million by a certain date.

Because of a very heavy speaking schedule at both the student and faculty conferences held at Arrowhead, I was unable to make any significant contribution to the raising of funds. And yet somehow in my heart of hearts I knew that God was going to supply our need in a miraculous way.

The late Dr. V. Raymond Edman, then president of Wheaton College, was one of the featured speakers at the conferences. At breakfast, one day Dr. Edman shared with my wife, Vonette, and me this very meaningful verse in Isaiah – a verse that God had impressed upon him that morning to share with us as he prayed about our urgent financial needs.

Now we were all the more encouraged to believe God in an even greater way than before. We truly expected to see Him provide the remaining funds – miraculously. In the evening of the day of the deadline, I was informed that we still needed $33,000 and that every possible source of revenue had been exhausted. There was nothing more, humanly speaking, we could do. Yet, through a series of circumstances between 11:00 and midnight, those funds were pledged, and we met the deadline. Exactly at midnight, the last of God’s miracles had been wrought and the goal had been reached. God had promised, “He who trusts in Me shall possess the land and inherit My Holy Mountain” – Arrowhead Springs.

Bible Reading: Isaiah 57:10-15

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Whether the need be for funds, for health, for wisdom, or whatever, I will believe God to supply my every need as He has so wonderfully promised in His Word to those who trust in Him.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – The Dinner Table 

It’s no accident that hospitality and hospital come from the same Latin word, for they lead to the same result– healing. When you open your door to someone, you are sending this message: “You matter to me and you matter to God.” Do you know people who need some healing? Singles who eat alone? Young couples far from home? Teens who feel left out? Seniors who no longer drive? Some people pass an entire day with no meaningful contact with anyone else. Your hospitality can be their hospital.

All you need are a few basic practices:

Issue a genuine invitation.

Make a big deal of their arrival.

Address the needs of your guests.

Send them out with a blessing.

Don’t listen to the voice that says the house, the meal, and the after-dinner mints must be perfect. Simply open your table, and open your heart!

From God is With You Every Day

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Senator leads 13 African leaders to Christ

Barry Black is the acclaimed chaplain of the US Senate. As significant as his ministry is, he recently told the Christian Broadcasting Network that there are lawmakers who “dwarf him spiritually.” For example, “We have one senator who has led thirteen African heads of state to Christ.” He would not name the senator but noted that many others are making a difference for Jesus as well.

Now consider this Time magazine headline: “Why Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel Aren’t Having Sex Before Marriage.” The model and Snapchat CEO became engaged last July after dating for over a year. But they are waiting to have sex until they get married. “My partner is very traditional,” Kerr explains.

A senator wins thirteen African leaders to Christ and the secular media ignores him. A famous couple chooses to be biblical about sexuality and their virtue makes headlines. What does this juxtaposition say about us?

Janet and I were in Austin last weekend. We ate breakfast at the Carillon, a restaurant on the main entrance to the University of Texas campus. There we found a series of quotations inscribed on arches supporting the roof of the restaurant. This statement by Stephen Austin, the “Father of Texas,” especially struck me: “A nation can only be free, happy and great in proportion to the virtue and intelligence of its people.” Note the order on a campus famed for its academic standards: virtue before intelligence.

Sadly, our culture seems not to agree.

According to Gallup, the number of Americans who accept same-sex marriage, having a baby outside of marriage, sex between unmarried people, cloning humans, and polygamy are all at record highs. Not surprisingly, 73 percent of Americans say our moral values have declined.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Senator leads 13 African leaders to Christ