Denison Forum – ‘We hear you, we feel you. Believe me’

Art Acevedo is police chief in Houston, Texas. His message to people in his beleaguered city: “Just hunker down, hold tight—we hear you, we feel you. Believe me.” His police officers have rescued more than three thousand people as of this morning.

911 operators fielded fifty-six thousand calls within twenty-four hours when the crisis began. Numerous companies have pledged millions of dollars to relief efforts. Red Cross personnel are preparing for weeks of assistance to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. President Trump and the first lady will visit the Texas Gulf Coast later today.

While police officers, 911 operators, and disaster relief workers have been saving lives in Houston for days, some may wonder where God has been as this disaster unfolded. What would our Lord say to those devastated by this unprecedented crisis?

  • He knows your name. He called Zacchaeus and Saul of Tarsus by name, even though they were two of the most infamous sinners in the Bible.
    • He knew you before you were born: “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16).
    • He knows your actions and thoughts: “You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar” (Psalm 139:2).
    • He knows every detail of your life: “Even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30).
    • He knows your pain: “I have surely seen the affliction of my people . . . and have heard their cry” (Exodus 3:7).
    • He suffers as you suffer: “In all their affliction he was afflicted” (Isaiah 63:9).
    • He will never forget you: “I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15–16).
    • He walks with you through calamity: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

Continue reading Denison Forum – ‘We hear you, we feel you. Believe me’

Charles Stanley –Measuring Our Spiritual Growth


2 Peter 3:17-18

All around the world, people go to church, bow their heads to pray, and hear sermons, but many are not growing spiritually.

It is all too common for believers to assume that these actions fulfill Christian obligations. They may complete a checklist but have an idle relationship with Jesus. Do you see evidence in your own life that you’re maturing in your walk with the Lord?

To blossom spiritually, we must be saved. This happens the moment God makes us new, cleansing us of unrighteousness and adopting us as His own children. Then, we can begin to grow. However, even with this new life, we can be stagnant.

There are several indicators that reveal the quality of our Christian journey. Today, let’s explore a few of them. First, growing believers should sense a deepening hunger for Christ. As we experience more of Jesus, who is the bread of life (John 6:35), our desire for Him will increase. Second, believers dwelling closely with the Savior will notice that their discernment of sin sharpens. Faulty teaching and thinking become more obvious as we accumulate truth within our spirit. Third, our sphere of love should continuously expand. In time, the Holy Spirit enables us to care for people who previously were either unnoticed or difficult to accept.

Do you have a hunger for God and an increasing awareness of sin? Is your love available only for those who match your personal standard of performance—or do you find yourself caring about even difficult people? These are important questions to ask when evaluating your spiritual growth.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 4-6

Our Daily Bread — Paying Attention

Read: Psalm 41:1–3

Bible in a Year: Psalms 123–125; 1 Corinthians 10:1–18

Blessed is he who considers the poor.—Psalm 41:1 NKJV

John Newton wrote, “If, as I go home, a child has dropped a halfpenny, and if, by giving it another, I can wipe away its tears, I feel I have done something. I should be glad to do greater things; but I will not neglect this.”

These days, it’s not hard to find someone in need of comfort: A care-worn cashier in a grocery store working a second job to make ends meet; a refugee longing for home; a single mother whose flood of worries has washed away her hope; a lonely old man who fears he has outlived his usefulness.

But what are we to do? “Blessed is he who considers the poor,” wrote David (Ps. 41:1 NKJV). Even if we can’t alleviate the poverty of those we meet along the way we can consider them—a verb that means “to pay attention.”

We can let people know we care. We can treat them with courtesy and respect, though they may be testy or tiresome. We can listen with interest to their stories. And we can pray for them or with them—the most helpful and healing act of all.

Remember the old paradox Jesus gave us when He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Paying attention pays off, for we’re happiest when we give ourselves away. Consider the poor. —David H. Roper

Father, as we go through our day, show us the everyday folks who need our attention. Grant us the love and the patience to truly consider them, as You have so patiently loved us.

Only a life given away for love’s sake is worth living. Frederick Buechner

INSIGHT: This psalm is a touching reminder of God’s heart for the suffering and an invitation for His people to share in His compassion. Many have speculated about the details of the psalm. Some suggest the scheming and painful betrayal detailed in verses 5-9 fit with the period of David’s life when his son Absalom attempted to steal the throne, a rebellion supported by David’s counselor Ahithophel. In the New Testament, Jesus applied the psalm to Himself in reference to Judas’s betrayal (see John 13:18).

The psalm’s opening verses introduce the foundation for compassion—God’s own heart, which is so focused on the poor and suffering that His blessing rests on those who care about them (vv. 1-3). The word weak or poor (v. 1) includes connotations of poverty, weakness, and helplessness. When we “consider” (v. 1 NKJV) the poor, we follow the example of Jesus—who had such compassion that He Himself became poor for us, leaving heaven to live among us as a human (2 Cor. 8:9).

How does this psalm offer hope to those feeling betrayed and alone? How can we share Jesus’s compassion for all who are suffering? Monica Brands

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Present and Extraordinary

Despite our coping mechanisms of choice, fear and weariness are often common sentiments across much of the globe, laden with a sense of uncertainty. People deal en mass with losses of all kinds and the turbulent emotions that come with losing ground. For many in the affluent West who have lived with mindsets of comfort and feasts of resources, economic downturn is a sudden and disorienting shift. For others, hard times simply get much harder.

Writing in a century with its own fears and famines, Blaise Pascal took note of the human capacity for a dangerous kind of escapism when fears loom large and hope remains distant. He saw a general disassociation with the present, a perpetual anticipation of the future or recollection of the past, which kept life itself at bay. “So imprudent are we that we wander in the times which are not ours and do not think of the only one which belongs to us,” he wrote. “And so idle are we that we dream of those times which are no more and thoughtlessly overlook that which alone exists. For the present is generally painful to us. We conceal it from our sight, because it troubles us… So we never live, but we hope to live.”(1)

Of course, whether in times of scarcity or in times of plenty, the temptation to mentally dismiss ourselves from the present moment is quite real. It is always possible to live with eyes intent on something better in the future or with a nostalgic gaze on the past and all that once was. But in times of discomfort, crisis, or shortage, the choice to wander in times other than the present strikes us more as self-preservation or necessity than temptation, an essential coping mechanism in the midst of pain—and so we dismiss ourselves from the present all the more freely. Whether to daydream of better times or to look fearfully into the future, we leave the harrowing realities of the present to hope for something more, to escape from the weariness of now, to remember something better. But no matter our reason, when the future alone is our end and life is preoccupied with what once was or what might be, it is something less than living. It is to embrace despair.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Present and Extraordinary

Joyce Meyer – Catch it Early

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.- 1 Peter 5:8-9

In the United States, there is an over-the-counter medication advertised as the medicine to take at the first indication of a cold, to keep it from getting worse and becoming full-blown. I take a lot of vitamin C if I have a scratchy throat or a runny nose because it often keeps me from getting worse. Catching something before it goes too far is wisdom.

I recommend that anytime you even begin to feel fearful about anything that you immediately begin to pray and confess, “I will not live in fear.” You will see amazing results. When we pray, God hears and answers. When we confess His Word, we renew our own minds and come into agreement with His plans for us. No matter what God wants to do for us, we must agree with Him in order to receive and enjoy it (see Amos 3:3). We must learn to think like God thinks and talk like He talks—and none of His thoughts or words are fearful.

This thought—I will not live in fear—will help you become courageous rather than fearful. Call it to mind the instant you begin to feel fear, and meditate on it even during the times when you are not afraid.

By doing this you will be even more prepared to stand against fear when it does come. Remember that it will take time; be committed to stick with it until you see change. I still say, “I will not live in fear.” Say it as soon as you feel fearful about anything, and you will be able to keep fear from controlling you. You may still feel fear, but you can move beyond it by realizing that it is merely the devil’s attempt to prevent you from enjoying life or making any kind of progress. Do what you believe you are supposed to do even if you have to “do it afraid.”

Trust in Him: What can you do to “catch it early” and not let fear control you? Trust that God does not want you to live a life of fear.

From the book Trusting God Day by Day by Joyce Meyer.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – To Be Approved

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV).

Most of all of my adult life has been centered around the university world – as a student, a teacher, and one who works with students, professors and administrators in the intellectual realm. I count many of the leading scholars of our time as beloved friends, yet if I had to choose between a Ph.D. from the most prestigious university in the world and a thorough knowledge of and comprehension of the Word of God, I would gladly choose the latter. Fortunately, it is not necessary to choose because one can have both academic training and a knowledge of God’s Word.

A recommendation which I have made to our two sons and to thousands of our staff and students with whom we work is that degrees are very important in today’s world, but they will not only be meaningless and worthless in terms of eternity, but can contribute to one’s moral and spiritual disintegration unless at the same time one is studying to show himself approved unto God. In all of our academic pursuits and in our commitment to excellence in the business and professional realms, we must be careful to give God and His Holy inspired Word their rightful place in our daily schedule. Ultimately, it is our knowledge of God learned through the study of Scripture and our response to Him that makes all the difference in our life-style. It makes the difference in the choosing of our mate, in the rearing of our children, in the choosing of our friends, our business or professional career, in all of our attitudes and actions and in the contribution which we make to society. Let us give priority to priorities, the highest of which is to seek after God through the diligent study of His holy revelation to man and to encourage others to join with us in rightly dividing the word of truth.

Bible Reading: II Timothy 2:19-25

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With God’s help I will seek not only to be a student of God’s Word but also to acquire the ability to teach His word to others.

Max Lucado – Until We Get Home

Beware of those who urge you to find happiness here in this life. You won’t find it! Guard against the false physicians who promise that joy is only a diet away, a marriage away, or a job away. The prophet denounced people like this, “They tried to heal my people’s serious injuries as if they were small wounds. They said, ‘It’s all right, it’s all right.’ But really, it is not all right!” (Jeremiah 6:14).

We won’t be all right until we get home. The Bible says, “No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). What a breathtaking verse! Anything you imagine is inadequate. Anything anyone imagines is inadequate. No one comes close. No one! All the songs about heaven, all the artists’ portrayals, all the lessons preached, poems written, chapters drafted—when it comes to describing heaven, we are all happy failures. It is beyond us!

Read more When God Whispers Your Name

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

Denison Forum – ‘A storm that the United States has not seen yet’

“This disaster is going to be a landmark event.” That’s how the head of FEMA describes the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. “This is a storm that the United States has not seen yet,” he adds.

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Except for four years when Janet and I pastored a church in Atlanta, Georgia, I have lived my entire life in Texas. Never have I seen such destruction in my home state as we are witnessing in these days.

This morning, a local official called the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey “an 800-year event.” The National Weather Service describes the damage as “unprecedented” and “beyond anything experienced.” According to the Insurance Information Institute, flood damage may equal that of Hurricane Katrina, the costliest natural disaster in United States history.

Our nation’s fourth-largest city is predicted to get as much as fifty inches of rain, the highest amount ever recorded in Texas. Thirteen million people are under flood watches stretching from Corpus Christi to New Orleans. A FEMA spokesman warns that “the recovery effort is going to be going on for weeks, months, and probably even years.”

It is only natural to ask what difference faith makes in the face of such devastation. Didn’t the God we worship make this broken world? The Bible explains that human sin corrupted our planet so that “the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (Romans 8:22). But did God then abandon us to the consequences of our Fall?

In fact, the opposite is true.

Continue reading Denison Forum – ‘A storm that the United States has not seen yet’

Charles Stanley –The Truth Can Set You Free

Ephesians 1:3-6

All of us have probably enjoyed times when we were selected for some honor or given an assignment that we considered special. Though such moments pale in comparison, they can remind us of the deep joy that comes from knowing we belong to Jesus forever.

How sublime it is to realize that before the foundation of the world, God chose us to be part of His family! This choice—which means we were divinely selected to become conformed to the likeness of Christ—undergirds and defines our identity as God’s children. It stands as a great rock that stabilizes us when fears multiply and anxieties attack.

In spite of this, however, many believers become unsettled when they think about their own sin nature. Knowing God will condemn all sin, they become fearful that the condemnation of the wicked might fall on them. At the same time, Satan is forever whispering in our ears accusatory remarks about our behavior. He preys on our feelings of worthlessness. When this happens, we need to remind him—and ourselves—of God’s Word, which assures us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).

Remember that the Father has marked you as one of His own. You are somebody very special to God. In fact, you are so dear to Him that He sent His only begotten Son into a sinful world to die on the cross so that you and I could be near to Him (John 3:16). This is pure, unadulterated grace, for which we should praise Him unceasingly.

Bible in One Year: Lamentations 3-5

Our Daily Bread — Earnestly Searching

Read: Isaiah 62:1–12

Bible in a Year: Psalms 120–122; 1 Corinthians 9

You will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted.—Isaiah 62:12

Every Saturday our family lines the edges of the racecourse to cheer on my daughter as she runs with her high school cross-country team. After crossing the finish line, the athletes stream out to rejoin their teammates, coaches, and parents. Crowds engulf the finishers—often more than 300 of them—making it difficult to find one person among so many. We scan the crowd excitedly until we find her, eager to put our arms around the one athlete we came to watch: our much-loved daughter.

After seventy years of captivity in Babylon, God returned the Jews to Jerusalem and Judah. Isaiah describes the delight God has in them, and the work of preparing the highways for their pilgrimage home and the gates to receive them back. God reaffirms His calling of them as His holy people and restores their honor with a new name, “Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted” (Isa. 62:12). He sought them all from the scattered reaches of Babylon to bring them back to Himself.

Like the children of Israel, we too are God’s beloved children, earnestly sought after by Him. Though our sin once caused us isolation from Him, Jesus’s sacrifice paves our way back to Him. He searches for each of us intently among all the others, waiting expectantly to fold us into a heartfelt embrace. —Kirsten Holmberg

Thank You, Lord, for seeking me while I was lost and returning me home to You through Jesus Christ.

God seeks His beloved children.

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE SHINING LIGHT OF GOD’S FACE

Read PSALM 67

One New Year’s Eve tradition in Spain is to eat twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight. That’s one grape for each stroke of the clock and one for each of the months of the year ahead. It is said that if you can eat them in the first twelve seconds, you’ll enjoy good luck throughout the year!

Believers in God look not for luck but for His blessing, often conveyed in the picture of His face shining upon us (v. 1). This was, in fact, the standard Old Testament blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Num. 6:24–26). It was also the prayer of the psalmist: “Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love” (Ps. 31:16).

Psalm 67 teaches us to think anew about the concept of blessing. Our natural instinct is to focus on ourselves and material blessings. God is, after all, the “Father of the heavenly lights” and giver of all good gifts (James 1:17). But in this psalm, only verse 6 speaks in those terms. Even then, the blessing is the harvest, basically meaning the provision of daily bread.

Instead, God’s blessing is invoked in two other ways. First, His ways will be known throughout the world and His “salvation among all nations” (v. 2). The purpose of His blessing in our lives is so that His name, love, and redemption will be known and glorified everywhere.

Second, the Lord will be universally praised and worshiped, as ought to be the case (vv. 3–5, 7; Phil. 2:10–11). His authority, justice, and wisdom at work in the world is more than enough reason for gladness, rejoicing, and worship.


This entire psalm is a prayer for God’s name and salvation to be known and glorified throughout all the earth, and for our great King to be universally praised and worshiped. For His face to shine upon us means that we will be part of making this happen! This is a great reason to pray Psalm 67 as part of your daily prayer time today.

Joyce Meyer – Calm in Adversity

Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, that You may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity….– Psalm 94:12-13

According to Exodus 13:17, When Pharaoh let the people go, God led them not by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer (emphasis added). There was a shorter route, but God took the Israelites the long, hard way on purpose because they were not ready for the battles they would face. He continued to work with them during forty years of wandering, waiting for them to get to the point where they could praise Him in their adversity.

God will continue dealing with us until we learn how to stay peaceful in the storm. Nothing shows our spiritual maturity more than staying calm when our circumstances are not calm. Stability is a sign of maturity, and the more mature we are, the more God can trust us with His power and blessings.

Power Thought: I have the power of God to remain calm in adversity.

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

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Fulfills God’s Promises 

“Jesus Christ, the Son of God–isn’t one to say ‘yes’ when he means ‘no’. He always does exactly what He says. He carries out and fulfills all of God’s promises, no matter how many of them there are and we have told everyone how faithful He is giving glory to His name” (2 Corinthians 1:19,20).

From Genesis to Revelation the Word of God contains thousands of promises which we as believers in Christ can claim. We are reminded in Matthew 28:18 that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him, and in Colossians 2:2,3 that God’s great secret plan now at last made known is Christ Himself; that in Him lie hidden all the mighty untapped treasures of wisdom and knowledge, “For in Christ there is all of God in a human body; so you have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ” (Colossians 2:9,10).

So make a list of all the promises of God that apply to you, and claim those promises in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. For “He always does exactly what He says. He carries out and fulfills all of God’s promises.” Begin to live supernaturally by drawing upon the supernatural resources of God, claiming His promises by faith.

Bible Reading: II Corinthians 1:15-19

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I refuse to live the typical Christian existence. I want my life to be characterized by the supernatural, so by faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will claim those promises which will enable me to live supernaturally as a testimony that I serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Strength to Speak

Read: Exodus 4:1-17

Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (vv. 11-12)

When Marcus was a young boy, he stuttered. So, of course, he was nervous about reading in front of 300 people for his prep school’s chapel. To everyone’s surprise, including his, the words came out smoothly, without interruption. That was the day he stopped stuttering and found his strength. Today, Marcus Buckingham is a well-known, best-selling author, the leading expert in personal strengths, and an outstanding motivational speaker.

In 2016, the Chapman University Survey of American Fears reports that 25.9 percent of Americans fear public speaking. According to survey results, Americans fear public speaking more than dying! Back in ancient Egypt in Exodus, even Moses is anxious about speaking in public. He sees his speech impediment as a weakness, but God chooses Moses to speak in front of Pharaoh anyway. Moses is still unwilling. Instead of being confident in God’s strength, Moses allows his fear to stifle him. Aaron, Moses’ brother, becomes the newly appointed spokesperson for God, while Moses is to stand beside him.

Whatever God calls us to do, we don’t have to fear it. God’s power is with us. If he calls us to speak, then let’s be strong enough to open our mouths no matter who our audience is. —Ericka Loynes

Prayer: Lord, give us strength to speak the words you give us to say.

Wisdom Hunters – Discipline Invites Respect 

Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!    Hebrews 12:9

Discipline invites respect, whether it’s your children or your coworkers. Discipline is an application of accountability and is a consequence for unwise actions. If you are tuned in and discerning, you will apply discipline soon after the offense. Delayed discipline dilutes the dangers of bad decisions. If someone thinks they are getting away with something, they will drift further toward destructive habits. This is why it is wise to discipline our children sooner rather than later. They may not like it, but they will respect you for taking the time to correct their behavior. Furthermore, wise discipline means you define clear expectations and reasonable rules.

For example, your son or daughter needs to know in no uncertain terms that they will be disciplined for a disrespectful attitude, disobedient actions, or dishonest speech. Write it down, have them repeat it back to you, and then enforce it consistently. If they suspect they can slip by with undisciplined living, they will. Most important, discipline with loving patience. Discipline is not a club of correction, but a laser of love.

Wise discipline includes instruction. You show and tell why and how to live better by God’s grace. You are leading your children to be responsible adults. Discipline done well creates discipline in the recipient. They learn discipline by being disciplined. One day they will respect you for your discipline. Better to engage in conflict today than to watch them destroy themselves for lack of discipline tomorrow.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Discipline Invites Respect 

Charles Stanley –The Truth Can Set You Free

Ephesians 1:3-6

All of us have probably enjoyed times when we were selected for some honor or given an assignment that we considered special. Though such moments pale in comparison, they can remind us of the deep joy that comes from knowing we belong to Jesus forever.

How sublime it is to realize that before the foundation of the world, God chose us to be part of His family! This choice—which means we were divinely selected to become conformed to the likeness of Christ—undergirds and defines our identity as God’s children. It stands as a great rock that stabilizes us when fears multiply and anxieties attack.

In spite of this, however, many believers become unsettled when they think about their own sin nature. Knowing God will condemn all sin, they become fearful that the condemnation of the wicked might fall on them. At the same time, Satan is forever whispering in our ears accusatory remarks about our behavior. He preys on our feelings of worthlessness. When this happens, we need to remind him—and ourselves—of God’s Word, which assures us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).

Remember that the Father has marked you as one of His own. You are somebody very special to God. In fact, you are so dear to Him that He sent His only begotten Son into a sinful world to die on the cross so that you and I could be near to Him (John 3:16). This is pure, unadulterated grace, for which we should praise Him unceasingly.

Bible in One Year: Lamentations 3-5

Our Daily Bread — The Snake and the Tricycle

Read: Luke 1:1–4

Bible in a Year: Psalm 119:89–176; 1 Corinthians 8

I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning.—Luke 1:3

For years, I had retold a story from a time in Ghana when my brother and I were toddlers. As I recalled it, he had parked our old iron tricycle on a small cobra. The trike was too heavy for the snake, which remained trapped under the front wheel.

But after my aunt and my mother had both passed away, we discovered a long-lost letter from Mom recounting the incident. In reality, I had parked the tricycle on the snake, and my brother had run to tell Mom. Her eyewitness account, written close to the actual event, revealed the reality.

The historian Luke understood the importance of accurate records. He explained how the story of Jesus was “handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses” (Luke 1:2). “I too decided to write an orderly account for you,” he wrote to Theophilus, “so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (vv. 3–4). The result was the gospel of Luke. Then, in his introduction to the book of Acts, Luke said of Jesus, “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive” (Acts 1:3).

Our faith is not based on hearsay or wishful thinking. It is rooted in the well-documented life of Jesus, who came to give us peace with God. His Story stands. —Tim Gustafson

Father, our hope is in Your Son. Thank You for preserving His story for us in the pages of the Bible.

Genuine faith is rooted in reason.

INSIGHT: Luke was a highly educated physician in the Greek academic tradition. As a result, his word choice and grammar are eloquent and descriptive. Today’s reading is an introduction to his narrative of the life of Christ. We can be assured that what Luke writes is not based on hearsay but is deeply rooted in a well-documented eyewitness record of Jesus as the Christ. Luke acknowledges that other trustworthy biographies of Jesus of Nazareth had preceded his account. But he felt compelled to write his own eyewitness narrative. It’s interesting to note that the book is addressed to Theophilus, which in Greek means “lover of God.” Most believe Theophilus was an actual person, but others say this name is a term that could refer to any of us who are lovers of God and yearn to learn more about His dear Son.

How does knowing eyewitnesses wrote the Gospel accounts of Christ encourage you in your spiritual life?

For further study read Beyond Reasonable Doubt at Dennis Fisher

Streams in the Desert for Kids – High and Low

Luke 4:1–2

Have you ever noticed that after you’ve had a “high” day like a birthday or passing a test or a vacation, sometimes you have a “low” day? On high days everything seems to be going great and you are happy. On low days nothing seems to go right. You are grumpy and sad and you may not even know why.

Everyone has high days and low days. Jesus had a wonderful day when he was baptized by his cousin John in the Jordan River. The Bible says he was full of the Holy Spirit, and being full of the Holy Spirit makes you feel great. But immediately, the same Holy Spirit led him out into the desert, and there the Devil came to visit him and to tempt him. It was an awful time for Jesus. So how did he get through it? He responded to every temptation by quoting God’s Word, and the Devil finally gave up and left him.

So when a high day comes your way, don’t be surprised if a low day follows. And when the low day comes, believe that it will go away in time. Hide God’s Word in your heart for those low days, and use it to help you resist the temptations that you face.

Dear Lord, I love high days, and I wish they could stay all the time. I hate low days, but help me to realize they won’t last forever. Help me to hide your Word in my heart for those low days. Amen.

Joyce Meyer – Being Spirit Led

And when he was about to enter into Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, . . . when the Egyptians see you, they will say, This is his wife; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say, I beg of you, that you are my sister, so that it may go well with me for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.- Genesis 12:11-13

Are you so afraid of displeasing people that you say yes to a lot of things you know you should be saying no to? If so, your stress is not caused by all the things you have to do, it is because you are afraid of disapproval.

We are afraid to be different, so we desperately try to keep up with all the other people in our lives, and it wears us out. The truth is we just want to go home and sit in a chair, but we don’t want people to think we are a dud, so we keep pushing ourselves to do things we don’t want to do.

Take a minute to stop and look closely at the reasons you are doing the things you currently do. If any of them are being done out of fear, then eliminate them. You will be amazed at how much time you may have if you have a Spirit-led schedule rather than a people-driven one.

Lord, it’s so easy to succumb to the intimidation we feel from others. Help me to be true to myself and live for Your approval alone. Amen.

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

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Anyone Who Calls 

“Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

I have been privileged to counsel personally thousands of people – men, women, young people, children – about their spiritual needs. The experiences that remain uppermost in my heart and mind have a direct bearing on this verse.

Helping people to see their truly desperate plight outside of saving faith in Jesus Christ is sometimes difficult, but what a reward awaits those who become aware of their condition. No matter what their background – criminal, alcoholic, self-righteous, or whatever – uninformed people need to recognize the fact that they are lost without Christ.

Accomplishing that purpose is a long step toward their genuine conversion, for I have heard many thousands come to the place where they do indeed “call upon the name of the Lord” and they are saved.

If you can help your loved one, neighbor or friend – or even a total stranger – to become sufficiently alarmed about their eternal welfare that they call on the name of the Lord, you have come a long way toward bringing that person to Christ in a saving relationship.

Some people are bothered by the simplicity of the gospel. I am grateful that it is so simple that anyone can understand, believe, and receive. The promise of this verse is emphatic: “Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Let’s believe and share it.

Bible Reading: Romans 10:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will not let the utter simplicity of the gospel keep me from sharing the Good News that we need only call upon the name of the Lord to be saved.