Charles Stanley – A Place Called Heaven

 

John 14:1-6

Because mankind is earthbound until death, misconceptions about heaven are common. Some people imagine it as an ethereal world of formless spirits who float about, whereas others flatly deny its existence. A few have returned from near-death experiences to describe what they saw. Amid all the confusing and contradictory views, we would do well to remember that our only sure source of accurate information about heaven is God’s Word.

Jesus had firsthand knowledge of heaven because He came from there to earth. Shortly before dying, He told His disciples that He would go to His Father’s house to prepare a place for them and then would come back to take them to their new home. Several weeks later the disciples watched the resurrected Jesus ascend, as foretold, into heaven (Acts 1:9-11).

Ever since that day, believers throughout history have been waiting for the Lord’s promised return. Each one will be given an immortal resurrection body similar to Christ’s. It will be physical, visible, and recognizable to others. We will even be able to eat. (See Luke 24:41-43.) Heaven is a literal place for actual, tangible bodies—a place to live, serve God, and worship and enjoy Him forever.

Knowing all the specifics of our eternal destination is impossible, but we can be sure that Jesus will fulfill His promise to come back for us. Stepping into our custom-designed dwelling places, we will each realize that we’re finally home—and throughout eternity can never be separated from our heavenly Father.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 13-14

 

http://www.intouch.org/

 

Our Daily Bread — Judging Origins

 

Read: Judges 11:1–8, 29 | Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 3–5; Luke 14:25–35

The Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. Judges 11:29

“Where are you from?” We often use that question to get to know someone better. But for many of us, the answer is complicated. Sometimes we don’t want to share all the details.

In the book of Judges, Jephthah might not have wanted to answer that question at all. His half-brothers had chased him out of his hometown of Gilead for his “questionable” origins. “You are the son of another woman,” they declared (Judges 11:2). The text says starkly, “His mother was a prostitute” (v. 1).

God uses those who listen to His calling and respond in faith. How might He use you?

But Jephthah was a natural leader, and when a hostile tribe picked a fight with Gilead, the people who had sent him packing suddenly wanted him back. “Be our commander,” they said (v. 6). Jephthah asked, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house?” (v. 7). After getting assurances that things would be different, he agreed to lead them. The Scripture tells us, “Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah” (v. 29). Through faith, he led them to a great victory. The New Testament mentions him in its list of heroes of the faith (Hebrews 11:32).

God so often seems to choose the unlikeliest people to do His work, doesn’t He? It doesn’t matter where we’re from, how we got here, or what we’ve done. What matters is that we respond in faith to His love.

Lord, we take great comfort knowing that You don’t show favoritism based on where we’re from. Our heritage is found in You. Thank You for adopting us into Your family.

Many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. Matthew 19:30

By Tim Gustafson

INSIGHT

The details of the story of Jephthah are unique, but the idea of an unlikely person being the hero of the story—well that’s the subtle plotline of the entire Bible. In fact, many times the person we might expect to be the hero—for example, the tall and broad-shouldered Saul—isn’t the hero at all. Disobedience to God led to Saul’s downfall, but it’s David, a young shepherd, whom God calls “a man after [my] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).

What set apart those God used to do His work? Whether a prostitute (Rahab), a dreamer (Joseph), a young shepherd (David), a young virgin (Mary), or a former Pharisee (Paul), the common factor is how they responded to God. God uses those who listen to His calling and respond in faith. How might He use you?

J.R. Hudberg

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Christ in Public

God has been in the news a lot lately. From Christian prayers in council meetings, to statements from the highest echelons of the Royal Family and the government, discussion of the place of God and in particular the role of Christianity in Britain today has been in the news on a daily basis. Professor Richard Dawkins continues to argue that religion has no place in the 21st century and debates over his anecdotes continue to capture the twittersphere. It seems it is now acceptable to discuss the Christian faith and belief in God in public. From radio studios to the school gate I have enjoyed being a part of this. The role of God in Britain is being discussed up and down the country in government, education, legislation, and community life in a way that I can’t remember in recent history.

While secularism insists that nothing good comes from religion, isn’t it actually the case that it is a Christian heritage that actually provides us with this free and open society—encouraging people to question and reason for themselves? For many, religious faith is a process, a journey of discovery on the basis of evidence, reason, and personal experience. Christianity has provided the foundation in Britain for an open and tolerant society. It was the great Christian leader Augustine who coined the phrase tolerare malus. He claimed that political structure influenced by the Christian faith must tolerate that which it disagreed with and perceived as wrong for the greater good of freedom.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Christ in Public

Joyce Meyer – Cultivate Healthy Relationships

 

The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken to pieces and come to ruin, but there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother. — Proverbs 18:24

Everyone wants friends, and God wants us to have them. He encourages relationships throughout His Word, but it is important to have healthy, safe, and godly relationships.

Some relationships are not safe for us because we are being used, manipulated, and taken advantage of. God wants us to pray for and love everyone, even our enemies, but that doesn’t mean we should let people take advantage of us.

I personally am not interested in having what I call one-sided relationships in which I do all the giving and the other party does all the taking. God does use us at times in the lives of selfish, self-centered people, and we do make sacrifices, but there is a point at which we are hurting people if we let them manipulate us for their own pleasure.

Stand up for yourself and always be willing to confront unhealthy relationships. Speak the truth in love (see Ephesians 4:15). You are very valuable and entitled to have good friends who will respect and honor you properly.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me always be a good friend. I ask You for safe, healthy relationships in which I can flourish and grow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Source of Joy 

 

“So you became our followers and the Lord’s; for you received our message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the trials and sorrows it brought you” (1 Thessalonians 1:6).

Mary was so radiant it was as though she had swallowed a light bulb. Wherever she went, there was the radiance of the Lord’s presence about her. She literally bubbled over with joy, and whenever she talked about the Lord her words came so quickly they practically tumbled over each other. She was an exciting, contagious person to be around, and many nonbelievers inquired of her, “Why are you so happy? What makes you so different?”

To which, of course, she would always respond by telling them about our wonderful Lord and how He had filled her heart with His joy.

The verse for today clearly indicates that joy comes from the Holy Spirit, who came into this world to glorify Christ. We are told in Galatians also that the fruit of the Spirit is joy, among other things.

When we are filled with the Spirit and thus growing in the fruit of the Spirit – which includes joy – then we will express that joy by singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord. A happy heart inevitably will be reflected in a joyful countenance.

“I presume everybody has known someone whose life was just radiant,” R. A. Torrey said. “Joy beamed out of their eyes; joy bubbled over their lips; joy seemed to fairly run from their fingertips. The gladdest thing on earth is to have a real God.”

In the words of an unknown poet:

“If you live close to God and His infinite grace,
You don’t have to tell; it shows on your face.”

Bible Reading:Nehemiah 8:9-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will not expect to find joy in things, or even in other people primarily, but rather in the source of all joy – God’s Holy Spirit. With His help, I will share His supernatural joy wherever I go.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Called to Courage

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Do you remember how your mom was always saying, “Be home on time,” or “Did you clean your room?” I wonder if Jesus’ disciples ever reflected on the most-often-repeated phrases of Christ. If so, they would have noted, He was always telling us to have courage. “Take courage, son,” he said, “your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2 NASB). “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28). “Don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 NLT).

Jesus doesn’t want you to live in a state of fear. Nor do you. I’m sure you’ve never made statements like My phobias put such a spring in my step or I’ve been such a better person since I lost hope. Jesus steps out from the storm and asks, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26). You see, hysteria is not from God. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear!”

Read more Anxious for Nothing

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Barbara Bush “ran the family that ran the country”

Barbara Bush died last night. Newsweek is describing her this morning as “the no-nonsense first lady who ran the family that ran the country.”

Public figures from around the world are paying tribute to this remarkable woman. President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump said they “join the nation in celebrating the life of Barbara Bush.” They noted that “she will be long remembered for her strong devotion to country and family.”

Former president Obama and his wife, Michelle, issued a statement calling her “the rock of a family dedicated to public service” and “an example of the humility and decency that reflects the very best of the American spirit.”

When her failing health was announced earlier this week, I wrote a tribute to this remarkable lady you can read here.

Mortality is a fact for us all

Mrs. Bush’s passing is not the only death making headlines this morning.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Barbara Bush “ran the family that ran the country”