Charles Stanley – A Living Hope

 

1 Peter 1:3-9

Discovering that a thief has broken into your home and stolen your valuables is a traumatic experience. It leaves you feeling shaken and vulnerable. Not only have you lost precious heirlooms and the possessions that required hard work and savings, but your sense of safety and security is also shattered.

Situations like burglary remind us that this world is not our home and one day we will leave everything behind. No one takes a moving van along after death. Therefore, we must make sure that what we view as treasure is not the things of this world (which will always lead to disappointment) but Christ, who gives us a living hope.

Look at all God has done to assure you of this hope:

  • According to His great mercy, He caused you to be born again.
    • Since Jesus was raised to life, you too will be resurrected.
    • Everything on this earth is destined to perish (2 Peter 3:10-11), but God has reserved an inheritance for you in heaven—one that is imperishable, undefiled, and will never fade away.
    • By God’s power through faith, you are being protected for the culmination of your salvation, which will be revealed in the last day.

Nothing can separate us from Christ, since God is the one who holds us. And He fulfills all His promises, so we can rejoice in this hope even while facing the trials of earth. So set your heart on heaven, where Christ is—and store your treasures there. Then your love for Him will grow because of His goodness toward you. And knowing what awaits you in heaven will increase your joy.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 7-9

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Our Daily Bread — A Change in Perspective

 

Read: Psalm 73:12–28 | Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 14–15; Luke 22:21–46

It troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God. Psalm 73:16–17

My hometown had experienced its heaviest winter in thirty years. My muscles ached from hours of shoveling the unrelenting snow. When I stepped inside after what felt like a fruitless effort, weary as I kicked off my boots, I was greeted by the warmth of a fire and my children gathered around it. As I gazed out the window from the shelter of my home, my perspective of the weather shifted completely. Instead of seeing more work to do, I savored the beauty of frosted tree branches and the way the snow blanketed the colorless landscape of winter.

I see a similar, but much more poignant, shift in Asaph when I read his words in Psalm 73. In the beginning, he laments the way the world seems to work, how wrongs seem to be rewarded. He doubts the value of being different than the crowd and living for the good of others (v. 13). But when he enters the sanctuary of God, his outlook changes (vv. 16–17): he remembers that God will deal with the world and its troubles perfectly and, more importantly, that it is good to be with God (v. 28).

Lord, help me to see the way You do.

When we’re chilled by the seemingly ceaseless problems in our world, we can enter God’s sanctuary in prayer and be warmed through by the life-altering, perspective-changing truth that His judgment is better than ours. Though our circumstances may not change, our perspective can.

Lord, I admit I quickly become frustrated with the way things appear. Help me to see the way You do.

God gives us the right perspective.

By Kirsten Holmberg

INSIGHT

In Psalm 37 David addresses the same perplexing issue Asaph writes about in Psalm 73—the wicked prosper while the godly suffer unjustly. David tells those who suffer unjustly not to fret or be envious, for God is just and will one day make all things right (Psalm 37:7–11, 35–38). Instead, those who fear the Lord are to rest fully in God and to continue to live holy lives (vv. 3–6). For the Lord “will not forsake his faithful ones” (v. 28).

Are you weighed down because of injustice? How can the hope expressed in these psalms encourage and strengthen you?

  1. T. Sim

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Songs for the Dark

I think I might have been deflated at the word of no vacancy in the inn. Mary was told by the angel who called her favored that God was with her and that she was part of a plan that would be for all people. In labor in a city that was not home, without the simple comfort of a bed, I wonder if she felt God had let her down that night or that God had somehow forgotten her in the midst of darkness. The text makes it seems unlikely that Mary felt this way. Even with only a manger for a baby bed and shepherds as visitors, Mary is said to have “treasured up” all these things and pondered them in her heart.(1)

I doubt I would have been so forgiving. Time marked with unfavorable conditions often feels like time marked with God’s absence. The psalmist writes of one such experience: “I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint.”(2) It is hard to know what God is doing in the dark. The Incarnation boldly reminds us that God is near though we labor in darkness; but this doesn’t mean the night can’t still be lonely.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Songs for the Dark

Joyce Meyer – Invest in Someone

 

The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and kind and gives. — Psalm 37:21

Take chances today and invest in someone else’s life, especially if God tells you to do so. You may give them something of value only to learn they waste it as they have always done in the past. But remember that God made an investment in you, and He wants you to be willing to make an investment in somebody else.

Jesus died to give everybody a chance. Not everyone takes advantage of His provision, but we all have an equal opportunity to enjoy the abundant life. If you help someone, and they end up not doing what is right with it, that is between them and God. Give thanks that you are able to give, and then do whatever God tells you to do.

Prayer Starter: Father, show me ways to purposely be a blessing today. Help me to be gracious and kind, and invest in others the way You have invested I me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Perfect Harmony

 

“Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14).

Martha had a very poor self-image. The distress she felt because of her physical appearance was compounded by the guilt of being grossly overweight. She hated herself and was despondent to the point of seriously considering suicide.

I counsel many students and older adults who are not able to accept themselves. Some are weighted down with guilt because of unconfessed sins. Others are not reconciled to their physical handicaps or deformities. Still others feel inferior mentally or socially.

My counsel to such people is this: God loves you and accepts you as you are. The love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit enables us to love ourselves as God made us. We can be thankful for ourselves, loving ourselves unconditionally as God does, and we can love others unconditionally, too.

It is Satan who is the great accuser, causing us to hate ourselves and others. God, having commanded us to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, and our enemies, will enable us to do what He commands us to do as we claim His promise.

The great tragedy of many families is that resentment, bitterness and hate overtake their members like an all-consuming cancer, ultimately destroying the unity among husband, wife and children. Love of the husband and wife for each other, and of parents and children for one another, is so basic that it should not need to be mentioned. Yet, sadly and alarmingly, children are alienated from their parents, and even many Christian marriages are ending in divorce – in fact, in greater numbers today than at any other time in history.

God’s kind of love is a unifying force. Paul admonishes us to “put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”

Bible Reading:Colossians 3:18-25

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Since God commands us to love Him, our neighbors, our enemies and ourselves, today I will claim that supernatural love by faith on the basis of God’s command to love and the promise that if I ask anything according to His will, He will hear and answer me.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – National Day of Prayer

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

On this National Day of Prayer let me ask the obvious. If Jesus, the Son of God, the sinless savior of humankind, thought it worthwhile to clear his calendar to pray, wouldn’t we be wise to do the same? You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don’t need to. But this much is certain. Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth. What an amazing thought! When you speak, Jesus hears. And when Jesus hears, thunder falls. And when thunder falls, the world is changed. All because someone prayed.

Prayer does not change God’s nature; who he is will never be altered. Prayer does, however, impact the flow of history. God has wired his world for power, but he calls on us to flip the switch.

Read more Lucado Inspirational Reader

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Teen arrested for plotting mass shooting at Dallas area mall

A student at Plano West Senior High School is suspected of plotting to commit a mass shooting at Frisco’s Stonebriar Centre mall. Both cities are northern suburbs of Dallas. Like many who live in my area, I have been to Stonebriar many times.

Matin Azizi-Yarand, age seventeen, was taken into custody Tuesday and is being held in lieu of $3 million bail. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

Authorities say his ISIS-inspired attack was planned for Ramadan (which begins this year on May 15) to minimize the danger to Muslims. He was working to purchase weapons and tactical gear and had written a “Message to America” explaining his reasons for the attack.

He intended to kill a police officer at the mall, set stores on fire, and perhaps take hostages as well. His plot was discovered by FBI confidential sources and an undercover employee.

Terrorism is not just a story we read about from Syria or Afghanistan. It is a very real possibility anywhere in the world, including my neighborhood and yours. This is another reason America needs the National Day of Prayer we observe today.

Praying for “the next great move of God in America” Continue reading Denison Forum – Teen arrested for plotting mass shooting at Dallas area mall