Charles Stanley – Living in God’s Favor

Exodus 33:12-17

What comes to mind when you hear the word favor? While we use the term in a variety of ways—such as doing something to help a person or showing honor in some way—the biblical meaning is to show kindness or acceptance. As believers, we have experienced God’s favor toward us as a result of our salvation. But God’s favor also works in us and changes us.

Moses was a man who found favor with God, and consequently, his life and desires were changed.

Moses wanted to know God’s ways in order to know God (Ex. 33:12-13). Through Scripture, we discover how the Lord operates in people’s lives, what He desires, and how He works out His will in human history. As a result, we gain a deeper understanding of God and a greater love for Him.

Moses desired God’s presence (Ex. 33:15). When the Israelites sinned by worshipping a golden calf, God said that though He would send His angel before them into the Promised Land, He would not go with them (Ex. 33:1-3). But Moses didn’t want divine protection and provision apart from the Lord’s presence.

Moses wanted God’s favor to be a witness to others (Ex. 33:16). What made Israel a distinctive and blessed nation was their God. Without Him, they would be like any other people on the earth.

We must not only fight the tendency to take God’s favor for granted; we must also guard against desiring His blessings more than we desire Him. Think about how His favor has changed your life: Belonging to, knowing, and loving the Lord far outweigh any material provisions He can give.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 3-5

 

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Our Daily Bread — Into Our Storms

Read: Mark 4:35–41 | Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 25–26; Luke 12:32–59

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:39

Wind howled, lightning flashed, waves crashed. I thought I was going to die. My grandparents and I were fishing on a lake, but we’d stayed out too long. As the sun set, a fast-moving squall swept over our small boat. My grandfather instructed me to sit in front to keep it from capsizing. Terror flooded my heart. But then, somehow, I began to pray. I was fourteen.

I asked God for His reassurance and protection. The storm didn’t weaken, but we made it to shore. To this day, I don’t know if I’ve experienced a deeper certainty of God’s presence than that night in the storm.

What storm do you face today? Turn to Him knowing who He is and what His power can do.

Jesus is no stranger to storms. In Mark 4:35–41, He told His disciples to head across a lake that would soon turn windy and wild. The storm that night tested and bested these rugged fishermen. They too thought they were going to die. But Jesus calmed the water and then led His disciples to deeper faith.

Likewise, Jesus invites us to trust Him in our storms. Sometimes He miraculously stills the winds and the waves. Sometimes He does something equally miraculous: He steadies our hearts and helps us to trust Him. He asks us to rest in the belief that He has the power to say to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”

Lord, the storms of our lives sometimes seem like they will swamp us. Help us trust that You are the Master of the storm, to place our faith in You when life’s winds blow fiercely.

No danger can come so near that God is not nearer still.

By Adam Holz

INSIGHT

The end of Mark 4 poses an interesting question that each of us must answer: Who is this man? The disciples asked this question after Christ spoke to the wind and the waves and they obeyed Him. Though we may think this was merely a response of astonishment at what Jesus had just accomplished, Mark wants us to take the question seriously because he wants to present the answer.

Immediately following the disciples’ question, Mark recounts three stories that are meant to fill in the answer. After the miracle of calming the storm, Jesus casts demons out of a possessed man (5:1–20), heals a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years (vv. 21–34), and raises a girl from the dead (vv. 35–43).

Who is Jesus? He is God in the flesh, the one with power over nature, the spirit world, our bodies, and power over death itself. There is nothing we face that is beyond His ability to command.

What storm do you face today? Turn to Him knowing who He is and what His power can do.

J.R. Hudberg

 

http://www.odb.org

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – POWER OF FORGIVENESS

 

Psalm 103

In his book A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis said, “Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask—half our great theological and metaphysical problems—are like that.”

We might ask another unanswerable question: How far is the east from the west? The answer, of course, is that the distance is so far that we, in our human limitation, can’t imagine it. The psalmist is giving thanks for the unimaginable vastness of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness.

Our God has the power of forgiveness. He heals us (v. 3). He redeems us, paying our debt and rescuing us from death (v. 4), and He satisfies our desires, crowning us with love (v. 5).

The psalmist remembers God’s actions concerning Moses and the nation of Israel. God was patient with them, loved them, saved them, and forgave them. We can be assured that He will also forgive us. We are His children, and God loves us like a heavenly Father (v. 13).

The psalmist contrasts the temporary nature of humankind with the eternal nature of God. While our lives are like grass that withers and dies, God’s love lasts from “everlasting to everlasting” (v. 17). This should align our hearts with the God who can remove our transgressions from us, taking them as far as the east is from the west. Human measurements fail to accurately describe how God alone can so completely remove our transgressions. The God who created us and loved us has the capacity and intention to forgive us.

APPLY THE WORD

Sometimes it may feel like your sins will follow you forever and will never truly be forgiven. Today’s passage offers that assurance. When you ask for God’s forgiveness, He will grant it. Picture your sin, tied into a package, and being taken as far as the east is from the west. It is too far to return. God has perfectly and forever forgiven you.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Joyce Meyer – God Is for You

What then shall we say to all these things? If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us? — Romans 8:31

God is a big God; nothing is impossible with Him. We have nothing to fear from our enemies because none of them are as great as our God.

God is for us; He is on our side. Satan has one position—he is against us. But God is over us, under us, through us, for us, and He surrounds us. Of whom, then, should we be afraid?

So, like Mount Zion, we should never be moved because God is all around us. And if that wasn’t enough, I saved the best until last: He is in us, and He said that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Salvation is our most awesome blessing from God, and we have been given the Helper, the Holy Spirit Himself, to empower us to be like Jesus. God has blessings and spiritual power in abundance for us. He is powerful and mighty and able to do what we can never do on our own.

God desires that we let the Holy Spirit flow through us in power to show people His love and to help people with His gifts. It all centers in Him.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for always being with me and giving me the strength and ability to succeed in life. Please help me to be ever-mindful of your power and presence within me to do whatever I need to do and to bless the lives of those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Destroying the Devil’s Works 

 

“But if you keep on sinning, it shows that you belong to Satan, who since he first began to sin has kept steadily at it. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

A young Christian came to inquire of me one day, “How do you account for the fact that so many Christian leaders, many of them famous personalities, pastors and heads of Christian organizations are involved in moral and financial scandals?”

He named several well-known pastors and Christian leaders to illustrate his point.

Sadly I acknowledged his statement to be true. It seems there is an all-out attack of Satan to destroy the credibility of the Christian message. My explanation to him was that our Lord and the apostle Paul dealt with the same problem because, even though the disciples had been with the Lord Jesus three years or more, Judas betrayed Him and the others deserted Him.

The apostle Paul spoke of several who had deserted him. Those included Demas, who loved the present world, and Hymenaeus, Alexander and Philetus, who strayed from the truth.

Only one person can help us live holy lives that will honor our Lord, who came to destroy the works of the devil, and that is the third person of the Trinity – God the Holy Spirit. As long as we cast our ballot for the Spirit in our warfare against the flesh, we can live supernaturally every day in the joy, the wonder, the adventure and the power of the resurrection. It is simply a matter of our will; the decision is ours.

Bible Reading:I John 3:4-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  “Oh, God, thank You that You sent Your Son to destroy the works of the devil. I will claim the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit so that I may live victoriously and never bring scandal or disgrace to Your name.”

 

http://www.cru.org

Wisdom Hunters – Worship When Worried 

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Psalm 100:1–3

I cannot worship and worry at the same time. When Christ is my focus, they do not coexist, because worship pushes worry into its own wilderness. In my personal and corporate worship, almighty God becomes bigger than life. His holiness heals my heart, His beauty soothes my soul, His majesty humbles my pride, and His glory gets my full attention. Worship recalibrates my thinking to trust and my emotions to the eternal.

Our worship is meant to move us toward our Master in a manner that transforms our weak faith to a bold proclamation of His faithfulness. Music is a facilitator for our heart to lift itself out of the worries of this world to the calming presence of Christ. As Christ followers we are privileged to approach Him anytime in authentic adoration and praise. We shout with thanksgiving or quietly whisper words of gratitude to our King.

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—shout for joy before the Lord, the King” (Psalm 98:4–6).

How is your daily and weekly worship? Is it rote or radical? Is it fresh or perfunctory? Worship is a way to wrap your mind around what matters. The cares and competition of this world become strangely dim as heaven comes into full focus in all its splendor. Like a giddy scientist peering through his Hubble telescope, your worship gives you glimpses into His glory. Your eyes of faith fall on the compassionate face of Christ.

Genuine worship focuses on your heavenly Father, but it changes you. You walk away wondering why you ever worried in the first place. You exit your place of worship having left the residue of your sin behind, because you came clean in confession and repentance.

Sin cannot bow at the footstool of Holy God without melting away in fear.

Worship and worry no more, for this is your opportunity to engage God. Worship matters, because the Lord matters. Worship freely, and watch Him free you from worry. Like the sun cutting into a fog-covered bridge, He burns away your mind’s clouded cares. Worship works, because worry cannot coexist in the presence of our King Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’” (Hebrews 12:28–29).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep my focus on You in grateful praise, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Do I regularly replace my worry with worship? Do I authentically worship almighty God?

Related Readings: Nehemiah 9:3; Daniel 3:28; Matthew 28:17; Revelation 22:8–9

 

http://www.wisdomhunters.com/

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The First Christians


Read: Acts 11:19-30

In Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. (v. 26)

Despite Jesus’ instruction to go out in the power of the Spirit as witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8), the apostles seemed quite content to hang around Jerusalem. Things were going well for the church there. They had a few problems, to be sure, but they saw great growth as well. It took the persecution that broke out with Stephen’s martyrdom to get the church moving outward. Those who fled Jerusalem began to witness wherever they went, though at first they only shared the gospel with their fellow Jews. But then some anonymous believers from Cyprus and Cyrene took the momentous step of speaking directly to Gentiles about the Lord, in the city of Antioch in Syria, one of the major urban centers of the Mediterranean world. As a result a church sprang up there and began to grow rapidly.

The clue to this success is found in a nickname. Antioch was where the disciples were first called “Christians.” Christos is the Greek word for “Messiah,” or “Anointed One.” In Antioch these early believers kept talking about Jesus, their Messiah. Jews knew all about the Messiah, but it was a foreign term for Gentiles—so much so that they took it as a proper name. So Jesus the Messiah became Jesus Christ. And his followers became known as the Christianoi—the Christians. They talked so much about Jesus that his title became their name. And so the church increased. —David Bast

Prayer: Lord, I claim your title as my name. Anoint me with your Spirit to live for you.

 

https://woh.org/