Charles Stanley –Our Awesome God

Revelation 4:9-11

In our culture, God’s name is often mentioned with little reverence. In fact, many people actually use it as a curse. Even among those who love Him, it is far too common to use His name casually, without taking time to ponder who He is. When you say a blessing at mealtimes, for instance, do you realize that you are talking to the almighty God who created and rules over all things?

Our view of the Lord impacts three areas of life. First, it affects our prayers. As we come to know Him better and better, our desires will start to look like His goals for us, and our petitions will align more closely with His purposes. What’s more, as we recognize His greatness and power, we’ll become more confident that He can accomplish mighty things—and we will venture to “pray big” (Eph. 3:20; James 4:2).

Second, our understanding of His righteousness and goodness influences our behavior: If God has these attributes, surely it’s in our best interest to obey gladly. And as we, too, desire righteousness, we’ll be quick to repent of sin.

Third, our faith is impacted. Grasping that Jesus is holy, good, and powerful grows our trust in Him. Knowing our awesome God and remembering His great works will further build our confidence in Him.

Do you personally know our loving and holy heavenly Father? He invites you into an intimate relationship with Him. But as with any good friendship, time and intentionality are necessary to understand Him and learn His ways. Make these characteristics your priority, and watch how your prayers, behavior, and faith are impacted.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 22-24

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Greatest Invitation

Read: Isaiah 55:1–7

Bible in a Year: Judges 11–12; Luke 6:1–26

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!—Isaiah 55:1

During a recent week, I received several invitations in the mail. Those inviting me to attend “free” seminars on retirement, real estate, and life insurance were immediately thrown away. But the invitation to a gathering honoring a longtime friend caused me to reply immediately, “Yes! I accept.” Invitation + Desire = Acceptance.

Isaiah 55:1 is one of the great invitations in the Bible. The Lord said to His people who were in difficult circumstances, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” This is God’s remarkable offer of inner nourishment, deep spiritual satisfaction, and everlasting life (vv. 2-3).

Jesus’s invitation is repeated in the last chapter of the Bible: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Rev. 22:17).

We often think of eternal life as beginning when we die. In reality, it begins when we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

God’s invitation to find eternal life in Him is the greatest invitation of all! Invitation + Desire = Acceptance. —David McCasland

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your promise of mercy, pardon, and eternal life. I acknowledge my failures and receive Jesus as my Savior today.

When we accept Jesus’s invitation to follow Him, our whole life changes direction.

INSIGHT: In Isaiah 55, the prophet draws on the imagery of a royal banquet to give discouraged Judeans hope that, despite their suffering, God’s promises to them remained trustworthy. In the background of Isaiah 55 is God’s promise of an eternal covenant with the line of David (Ps. 89:28-29). Isaiah’s report broadens God’s promise to the line of David even further, depicting a royal feast where all Judeans share the kingly role of representing Yahweh to the nations (55:3-5). When Jesus came, He said He was the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah’s promise (John 7:37) and invited everyone, especially the forgotten and marginalized, to His feast (Matt. 22:1-14). Through His Spirit, Jesus’s followers can enjoy Christ’s abundant life and, as His representatives, invite all the world to the banquet. Who might you invite to the feast? Monica Brands

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Audacity of Imitation

Unflattering as an adjective, insulting as a noun, imitation has fallen on particularly hard times. No one wants to be an imitation of a favorite songwriter, a fake impersonator of the grammy-award winning original. No restaurant proprietor wants to be reviewed as the “imitation” of a famed eatery; inherent in the classification is the notion of being a lesser version of the real thing. An idea is never lauded for being a good imitator of another, and imitation vanilla is rarely, if ever, invited to a cookbook. Originality is by far the more the accepted fashion of the day. And the pressure to be original—to be different than, better than, more than—is both constant and intense. It is the modern way of distinguishing oneself, whether applying for college or making a pithy tweet. From impressions to possessions to thoughts, being original seems to be everything.

The pressure may be subtle but it can be overwhelming. It is quite likely the reason why social media seems exhausting to me, why meeting someone with similar ideas can just as easily promote worry as it might a sense of camaraderie, or why I sometimes delay writing out of dread that it’s just all been said before. The pressure to be the inventor and not the imitator, the original and not the clone, the drive to make a new statement about oneself ad nauseam is both a strange and exhausting task.

I was thinking about this trend as I read some of the familiar, distinguishing, oft-quoted lines of Martin Luther King Jr. recently. In light of our need for incessantly original tweets and blog entries, it is interesting to note that King’s most trusted advisors were horrified when they heard him launch into his “I have a Dream” speech that fateful day in Washington. To them, this speech was played out. It was old and tired and not at all the new statement they were hoping to make for the Civil Rights Movement. He had given versions of this speech in other places and on other occasions, not the least of which a crowd of twenty-five thousand in Detroit. According to those who had helped him write the new speech the night before, they agreed they needed something far more original to make the greatest mark. Together they wrote a new speech that night, but on the day of the event, King set novelty aside for a less original dream.

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Joyce Meyer – Join the Party

A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.— Proverbs 15:13

When Jesus invited people to become His disciples and follow Him, He asked them if they wanted to join His party. I realize He was talking about His group, but I like to think that traveling with Jesus was probably a lot of fun as well as a lot of hard work.

Repeatedly throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus invite people to leave their lifestyles and side with His party, and He is still issuing that invitation today. Yes, there is work to do for the kingdom of God, but thankfully we can have fun while we do it.

When we follow Jesus, we are not going to a solemn assembly or a funeral. We are joining His party that is full of life, peace, and never-ending joy!

Prayer of Thanks: Father, help me to lay aside the burdens and cares of this world and receive Your joy today. I thank You that You want me to have fun and enjoy the life You have given me. With Your help, I will celebrate Your goodness in my life today and every day.

From the book The Power of Being Thankful by Joyce Meyer

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – To Encourage Us

“These things that were written in the Scriptures so long ago are to teach us patience and to encourage us, so that we will look forward expectantly to the time when God will conquer sin and death” (Romans 15:4).

Tom had a “short fuse” and frequently exploded in anger when he was disappointed with himself or others. Then he received Christ and began to study the Word of God, obey its commands and walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

His life began to change, gradually at first, until, as he told me recently, it has now been a long time since he has allowed his old nature to express his impatience.

The story is told of an impatient man who prayed and kept praying for God to grant him the virtue he so desperately needed.

“Lord,” he prayed, “give me patience, and give it to me now!”

Patience, however, is a virtue that is developmental in nature, to a large degree. It is the result of walking in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). It develops out of a good heart and a godly attitude (Luke 8:15). It is spawned sometimes during times of tribulation. Remember, it is a fruit of the Spirit.

Paul writes, “If we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently” (Romans 8:25).

So patience comes from hope and trust in God. And finally, we learn patience through the study and personal application of God’s Word in our lives, as suggested in Romans 15:4, “These things that were written in the Scriptures so long ago are to teach us patience and to encourage us.”

Bible Reading: Romans 15:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  When delays and seeming denials occur, I will exercise patience, with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

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Max Lucado – Christ in Our Place

 

Just suppose you were to stand on a stage while a film of every secret and selfish second of your life was projected on the screen behind you? Wouldn’t you shout to the heavens to have mercy?

Imagine what Christ felt on the cross! Scripture says “He personally carried all our sins in his body. . .” (1 Peter 2:24). See Christ on the cross? That’s a gossiper hanging there. See Jesus? Embezzler. Liar. See the crucified carpenter? He’s an addict and murderer.

Hold it, Max. Don’t you lump Christ with those evildoers. I didn’t. HE did. More than place his name in the same sentence, he placed himself in their place. With hands nailed open, he invited God, “Treat me as you would treat them!” And God did.

“My God, my God, why did you abandon me?” (Matthew 27:46). Why did Christ scream those words? So you’ll never have to.

From Next Door Savior

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – What does Vanna White regret?

Vanna White has been turning letters on Wheel of Fortune for more than three decades. As the show prepares to celebrate its thirty-fifth season this September, she gave an interview to Fox News that is making news today.

Here are some interesting facts she disclosed:

  • She has worn more than 6,500 dresses on the show.
  • She calls Pat Sajak her “work spouse,” but they tape only four days a month, so it’s an unusual friendship.
  • She realized she “made it” when she saw herself on the cover of Newsweek while standing in line at a grocery store.
  • She began supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital after she became a mother.
  • She is now sixty years old but intends to keep working as long as she can.

The reporter asked if she regrets posing for Playboy years ago. She explained: “When I first moved to Hollywood, I was too embarrassed to ask my dad for rent money. I was young and I wanted to do it on my own. So, I did these lingerie shots and from the moment I said I would do them, I thought, ‘I shouldn’t be doing this, but I’m not going to ask my dad for money, so I’m just going to do it!’ Once I got ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and some fame, Hugh Hefner then bought those pictures. He’s the one who put me on the cover of the magazine. I didn’t do it for Playboy. I didn’t want them on there, but it happened.”

Vanna White made some money she spent many years ago, but she will regret her decision for the rest of her life. Her experience illustrates perfectly the paradox of temptation and integrity. Temptation seems to benefit more than it costs at first, but its disastrous consequences always outweigh their reward. Integrity usually costs more than it benefits at first, but its positive consequences always outweigh their cost.

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Charles Stanley –Knowing the Heart of God

 

Deuteronomy 4:29

People long to be understood. We appear to have many acquaintances, but we all have a deep need to feel truly known by those we love most. This is because we were created in God’s image—He is a relational being who desires for His children to know and understand Him.

Just as you don’t want to be known for only the superficial details of who you appear to be, it’s not enough to simply know about the Lord. He wants us to learn how He thinks and feels, what’s important to Him, and what His purposes are. Of course, it’s impossible for man to completely know the mind of the Creator of the universe. Isaiah 55:9 tells us, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” The depth and breadth of His mind are far too great for us to grasp fully.

However, we can better understand God’s heart and character by seeking Him and learning daily from His Word. If we truly desire to walk in His ways, we must first genuinely know Him. We come to know our friends better by sharing more experiences together. Similarly, we will also understand God better the longer we walk with Him and meditate on what He has revealed about Himself in the Bible.

God wants you to seek Him with all your heart, and He promises that when you do, you will find Him (Jer. 29:13). So, the next time you’re feeling a need to be better understood, turn to the One who understands you perfectly. Even more importantly, ask the Lord to help you know Him better.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 19-21

 

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Our Daily Bread — Life and Death

Read: Genesis 50:22–26

Bible in a Year: Judges 9–10; Luke 5:17–39

I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid.—Genesis 50:24

I will never forget sitting at the bedside of my friend’s brother when he died; the scene was one of the ordinary visited by the extraordinary. Three of us were talking quietly when we realized that Richard’s breathing was becoming more labored. We gathered around him, watching, waiting, and praying. When he took his last breath, it felt like a holy moment; the presence of God enveloped us in the midst of our tears over a wonderful man dying in his forties.

Many of the heroes of our faith experienced God’s faithfulness when they died. For instance, Jacob announced he would soon be “gathered to [his] people” (Gen. 49:29-33). Jacob’s son Joseph also announced his impending death: “I am about to die,” he said to his brothers while instructing them how to hold firm in their faith. He seems to be at peace, yet eager that his brothers trust the Lord (50:24).

None of us knows when or how we will breathe our last breath, but we can ask God to help us trust that He will be with us. We can believe the promise that Jesus will prepare a place for us in His Father’s house (John 14:2-3). —Amy Boucher Pye

Lord God, Your dwelling place will be with Your people, and You will be our God, wiping away our tears and banishing death. May it be so!

The Lord will never abandon us, especially at the time of our death.

INSIGHT: Genesis, the book of beginnings, concludes with important endings. At the beginning of chapter 50, we find one of the Old Testament’s greatest examples, Joseph, weeping over the death of his father, Jacob. The chapter ends with Joseph’s death and burial. In between, three key events take place. First, Joseph takes his father’s remains back to Canaan to their familial home. This marks Joseph’s first return to the land since the dark days of Genesis 37, when his brothers sold him into slavery. Second, Joseph reassures them of his love and forgiveness by affirming God’s purposes and his own desire to care for his brothers and their families (50:19-21). Third, Joseph, anticipating death, again reminds the Israelites of their proper home in Canaan by asking that they take his bones to be buried in the land of promise. These ideas prepare the way for the exodus—God’s eventual rescue of Israel from bondage in Egypt more than 400 years later. Bill Crowder

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Messianic Images

When considering the Christian message, it is important to remember that the disciples of Jesus were totally surprised by the events that took place in Jerusalem. After the crucifixion of Jesus, the apostles rightfully believed that all was lost.

Though some have argued that the disciples merely refused to accept failure after Jesus’s death and made up the story of the resurrection, a crucified and risen Messiah simply did not fit into Jewish expectations for the one who was to come. Though there was no single understanding of what the Messiah would be like, there were common elements that every Jew would have assumed within their messianic expectations.

First, the Messiah was closely linked to Jewish beliefs regarding the place of worship. He was to institute a renewal of the temple in Jerusalem. It was also commonly understood that the Messiah would be a royal military leader who would overthrow Israel’s enemies and prove his lordship through conquest. Jesus clearly did neither of these things; rather, he came in peace and died in his youth like a criminal. Why, then, would his followers maintain that he was the Messiah? Why did they not just cut their losses after his death and move on?

New Testament scholar N.T. Wright explains:

“There were, to be sure, ways of coping with the death of a teacher, or even a leader. The picture of Socrates was available, in the wider world, as a model of unjust death nobly borne. The category of ‘martyr’ was available, within Judaism, for someone who stood up to pagans… The category of failed but still revered Messiah, however, did not exist. A Messiah who died at the hands of the pagans, instead of winning [God’s] battle against them, was a deceiver… Why then did people go on talking about Jesus of Nazareth, except as a remarkable but tragic memory? The obvious answer is that… Jesus was raised from the dead.”(1)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Messianic Images

Joyce Meyer – Ready Minds

Now these [Jews] were better disposed and more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they were entirely ready and accepted and welcomed the message [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] with inclination of mind and eagerness, searching and examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.—Acts 17:11

One of my much-published writer friends taught a series of classes at a writers’ conference on beginning writing. He wanted to reach people who felt God had called them to write and show them how to get their articles and books published.

At the beginning, he asked the attendees how long they had been writing and if they had ever been published. Two women, who sat in the front row, said they had both been writing for almost twelve years, but had not yet published anything.

At the end of the first lecture, my friend overheard one of the women say to the other, “Oh, we know all of that. We don’t need to come back to this class.”

They may have already known the things he was teaching, but there was no evidence they had applied what they knew. He also commented that the most eager students in the classroom were those who had already begun to publish. They wanted to learn and improve. Only people who are humble enough to continue learning will ever succeed.

That incident makes me think of an event in the book of Acts. The apostles Paul and Silas preached in Thessalonica, and the people tried to kill them, so believers helped them flee. From there, they went to the city of Berea. Luke records that the people there were fair in their thinking. They received the message “with all readiness,” or, as I like to say, they had ready minds.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Ready Minds

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Rivers of Living Water

“For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me” (John 7:38).

I was explaining to a group of Christians the meaning of Proverbs 15:13-15, “A happy face means a glad heart, a sad face means a breaking heart. When a man is gloomy, everything seems to go wrong and when he is cheerful everything seems to go right.”

God’s Word reminds us that the source of joy is the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:6). So if a man is filled with the Spirit, he will have a joyful heart. When we are filled with the Spirit, we will express love by singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord. A happy heart will inevitably produce a joyful countenance (Ephesians 5:18-21).

If we do not have a joyful, peaceful countenance, there is reason to question whether we have a loving, joyful heart. And if we do not have a loving, joyful heart, it is not likely that we are filled with the Spirit.

One Christian leader, who had heard me speak, approached me later. He just happened to have a very somber, stern countenance. He explained to me that this was a new concept to him, and since he was reared in another culture, he felt that his somber countenance was a cultural thing.

“In our part of the world [the Middle East],” he said, “we don’t smile and express ourselves like American Christians.”

Together we analyzed the Scripture and concluded that culture has nothing to do with this truth, since Jesus, Paul and other writers of the New Testament were also born in the Middle East. If we truly understand the Spirit-filled life, whatever our cultural background, the joy of the Lord will flow from us – from our “innermost being shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38, NAS).

Bible Reading: John 7:33-37

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Recognizing love, joy and peace as trademarks of the Spirit-filled life, I will consciously seek to be Spirit-controlled so that these expressions will be a natural overflow of my life. I will teach this spiritual truth to others today.

 

 

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Max Lucado -Out of the Maze

On a trip to the United Kingdom, our family visited a castle. In the center of the garden was a maze—row after row of shoulder-high hedges—one dead end leading to another. By successfully navigating the labyrinth, you discovered the door to a tall tower in the center of the garden. I just couldn’t figure out which way to go. Then I heard a voice, “Hey, Dad, back up and turn right.” Do you think I trusted her? I listened. It was my daughter calling from the tower. Her vantage point was better than mine. She was above the maze. She could see what I couldn’t!

Don’t you think we should do the same with God? “God is. . .higher than the heavens” (Job 22:12 TLB).  The Psalmist says, “The LORD is high above all nations” (Psalm 113:4).

Can he not see what eludes us? Doesn’t he want to get us out and bring us home? Of course he does!

From Next Door Savior

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – 13 killed in Texas church bus crash

I woke up this morning to news that a bus carrying fourteen senior adults from First Baptist Church of New Braunfels collided with a pickup yesterday afternoon. Thirteen bus passengers were killed. One passenger was hospitalized in critical condition; the pickup driver was hospitalized in stable condition.

The senior adults were returning from a three-day retreat at a Baptist encampment.

So far this morning, authorities have not determined the cause of the crash. No matter who or what caused the crash, the passengers were not at fault. Yet all but one were killed.

Tragedies like this bring us to the most difficult challenge Christians face theologically. We believe that God is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful. No other religion affirms these tenets about a personal God as fully as we do.

Since God is omniscient and not bound by time, he knew that the crash would happen before it did (Psalm 139:4; 1 John 3:20). Since he is love (1 John 4:8), he would seemingly not want such a tragedy to come to his children. Since he is omnipotent (Matthew 19:26), he could have prevented the crash from occurring. The Lord who stilled the storms and raised the dead could have stopped a bus and a pickup truck from colliding.

Yet he did not.

Today there are families grieving the sudden loss of their parents and grandparents. A pastor is trying to help his congregation come to terms with a tragedy their church will obviously never forget. The rest of us will watch with sorrow for those who are suffering.

Continue reading Denison Forum – 13 killed in Texas church bus crash

Charles Stanley –The Desires of Your Heart

Psalm 37:4-7

God wants to be the greatest passion of every believer’s life. If we claim to love the Lord, our connection with Him should have priority over possessions, vocation, and even other relationships. Yet we often miss the true message of Psalm 37:4 by assuming the verse means we can get what we want. It’s not uncommon for someone to tell me about a prayer request and then add, “God promised to give me the desires of my heart.” In fact, believers at times are so fixed on an outcome that they take matters into their own hands to “help God out.”

But in context, that scripture reveals the Lord’s principle for purifying our desires and issues a call for devotion to Him. To delight in the Lord means to take pleasure in discovering more about Him and following His will. This leads to the Holy Spirit aligning our heart’s desires with His, which always puts us in position to experience His blessings.

When we commit our way to God, we allow our thoughts, goals, and lifestyle to be shaped by His will and the things He loves. In other words, we acknowledge His right to determine whether our longing fits His plan. If we rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him, then we will rely on Him to work out circumstances, even when the desire He’s given us seems impossible. When He is our first love, our hearts become focused on making His glory known in our life.

When we are aligned with His will, our Father wants to give us our heart’s desires—in His time. As we learn to enjoy Him for who He is, our self-focused wants are replaced by His perfect will and purpose for us.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 17-18

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Our Daily Bread — Trial by Fire

Read: James 1:1–12

Bible in a Year: Judges 7–8; Luke 5:1–16

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life. —James 1:12

Last winter while visiting a natural history museum in Colorado, I learned some remarkable facts about the aspen tree. An entire grove of slender, white-trunked aspens can grow from a single seed and share the same root system. These root systems can exist for thousands of years whether or not they produce trees. They sleep underground, waiting for fire, flood, or avalanche to clear a space for them in the shady forest. After a natural disaster has cleared the land, aspen roots can sense the sun at last. The roots send up saplings, which become trees.

For aspens, new growth is made possible by the devastation of a natural disaster. James writes that our growth in faith is also made possible by difficulties. “Consider it pure joy,” he writes, “whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

It’s difficult to be joyful during trials, but we can take hope from the fact that God will use difficult circumstances to help us reach maturity. Like aspen trees, faith can grow in times of trial when difficulty clears space in our hearts for the light of God to touch us. —Amy Peterson

Thank You, God, for being with us in our trials, and for helping us to grow through difficult circumstances.

Trials and tests can draw us closer to Christ.

INSIGHT: James says trials will reveal whether our faith is genuine (James 1:3), and will strengthen and mature us (v. 4). The apostle Paul also believed that suffering is beneficial. He said, “we can rejoice . . . when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment” (Rom. 5:3-5 nlt). Read James 1:12 and consider what’s in store for those who endure testing through faith in Jesus. Sim Kay Tee

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Bread from Heaven and Water from a Stone

The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.(1)

The Gospel of Mark begins with this intriguing narrative of the Spirit compelling Jesus into the wilderness to be tested and to make his home among wild beasts. The original Greek language is so forceful as to imply that the Spirit literally expelled Jesus into this land of wild beasts and satanic attack. It is even more striking when compared to Matthew and Luke’s gospels, which both suggest that Jesus was “led by the Spirit” who accompanied him into the wilderness.(2) Despite Matthew and Luke’s gentler version, the point is still the same: the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tested and tormented by the devil. It seems natural to ask why the Spirit would compel Jesus into the wilderness.

The history of Israel and particularly the Exodus from Egypt gives some perspective on this question. After four hundred years of oppression and enslavement, God sent Moses to deliver the people and to lead them into the Promised Land. A great drama ensues between the “gods” of the Egyptians and the God of Israel. Ten plagues fall, the sea is parted, and the Egyptian army is swallowed up by the raging waters. And then we read: “Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water…. and the whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.”(3) Israel would spend the next forty years, the text tells us, wandering in that wilderness of lament and bitterness with God being put to the test. Would God provide for their needs or would they come out of Egypt only to die in the desert? From the narrative’s perspective, what began as a great deliverance stalls in the wilderness of the Sinai.

Like Israel before him, Jesus’s story, as recorded by Mark, begins with great drama. John the Baptist announces the Deliverer: Israel’s exile was over, for the Messiah had come. The Deliverer is baptized by John and in front of the crowds declared “the beloved Son” of God. What a tremendous beginning to his earthly ministry. And yet, like Israel, Jesus begins that earthly ministry not with healings and miracles, or with fanfare and great teachings, but by being “immediately cast out into the wilderness.”

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Bread from Heaven and Water from a Stone

Joyce Meyer – Enjoy the Pursuit

 

Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is he who considers the weak and the poor; the Lord will deliver him in the time of evil and trouble. —Psalm 41:1

Do you ever feel that no matter where you go, somebody pursues you and hunts you down? Does someone seem to need something every time you start doing what you set out to do? Someone needs a ride to school, or somebody forgets their lunch, and before you know it, half your day is wasted.

Jesus knows what it is like to be pursued, but He was never upset by it. As soon as He ministered to everyone in one place, He went to the next town to find more people who needed Him. He never said, “Leave Me alone.” Ask God to show you the needs of people through the eyes of Jesus today, and your days will never be wasted.

From the book Starting Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – As a Man Thinketh

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…. (Proverbs 23:7, KJV).

“Every day in every way I am becoming better and better,” declared the French philosopher Emile Coue. But it is said that he committed suicide.

Positive thinking by a nonbeliever without a biblical basis is often an exercise in futility. Though I agree with the basic concept of positive thinking, so long as it is related to the Word of God, there is a difference between positive thinking and supernatural thinking. We do not think positively so that we can know Christ better; we come to know Christ better, which results in supernatural thinking. The basis of our thinking is God’s Word; supernatural thinking is based upon the attributes of God.

When a man says, “I am going to be enthusiastic, by faith, as an act of the will,” or “I am going to rejoice, by faith, as an act of the will,” he is simply drawing upon his rights as a child of God, according to the promises of God.

In supernatural thinking, we apply the promises of God, knowing with certainty that if we ask anything according to His will, He will hear and answer us.

Some well-known Christian leaders emphasize “positive thinking” and “possibility thinking.” They are men whom I admire and with whom I agree basically in this regard because the Christian life is a positive life. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

But I prefer to use what I believe to be the more scriptural definition of the Christian life – supernatural thinking, which includes – but goes far beyond – both positive thinking and possibility thinking.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 23:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Today I will claim by faith a promise or promises from God’s Word which will help me to live a supernatural life.

 

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Max Lucado – Not So Common

You lead a common life. Punctuated by occasional weddings, job transfers, bowling trophies, and graduations—a few highlights—but mainly it’s the day-to-day rhythm you share with the majority of humanity. Do commoners rate in heaven? Does God love common people?

God answers these questions in a most uncommon fashion. If the word common describes you, take heart—you are in fine company because it also describes Christ. When you list the places Christ lived, draw a circle around the common town named Nazareth. For thirty of his thirty-three years, Jesus lived a common life. Aside from that one incident in the temple at the age of twelve, we have no record of what he said or did for the first three decades he walked on this earth.

Next time you feel common, take heart! God uses the common to do uncommon things.

From Next Door Savior

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