Charles Stanley – Are You a True Follower of Jesus?

 

John 6:1-27

When Jesus walked this earth, He was often surrounded by a multitude. Such large crowds might give the impression that the entire nation of Israel was committed to Him as their Messiah. But by the end of His ministry, there were only 120 loyal followers gathered in an upper room (Acts 1:12-15).

The majority of those who followed Jesus around were interested only in what He could do for them. They came to be healed or to see the miracles He performed. After the Lord fed about 5,000 people a supernatural meal, they came back in the morning expecting breakfast. John 6:66 tells us that when Jesus refused to work another miracle for them and declared Himself the true bread of life, “many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.”

Temporary Christ-followers are still around today. They want the benefits Jesus can offer but are unwilling to accept hard truths or deny their own will for His. These people are like the seeds that fell on rocky soil in Jesus’ parable. (See Matt. 13:20-21.) They stick around for a while, but if He doesn’t benefit them as they expected, they fall away.

When it comes to true Christ-followers, church rosters don’t give an accurate picture. False gospels promising a better life draw those who are seeking Jesus’ benefits but who remain uninterested in Christ Himself. True followers are more like Simon Peter in John 6:68. When Jesus asked if they too wanted to leave, they replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.”

Bible in One Year: Psalm 103-106

 

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Our Daily Bread — Light of the World

 

Read: Revelation 3:14–22 | Bible in a Year: Job 17–19; Acts 10:1–23

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in. Revelation 3:20

One of my favorite pieces of art hangs in the Keble College chapel in Oxford, England. The painting, The Light of the World by English artist William Holman Hunt, shows Jesus holding a lantern in His hand and knocking on a door to a home.

One of the intriguing aspects of the painting is that the door doesn’t have a handle. When questioned about the lack of a way to open the door, Hunt explained that he wanted to represent the imagery of Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.”

The apostle John’s words and the painting illustrate the kindness of Jesus. He gently knocks on the door of our souls with His offer of peace. Jesus stands and patiently waits for us to respond. He does not open the door Himself and force His way into our lives. He does not impose His will on ours. Instead, He offers to all people the gift of salvation and light to guide us.

To anyone who opens the door, He promises to enter. There are no other requirements or prerequisites.

If you hear the voice of Jesus and His gentle knock on the door of your soul, be encouraged that He patiently waits for you and will enter if you welcome Him in.

Lord, thank You for the gift of salvation and Your promise to enter when we open the door. Please help me to respond to this gift and open the door for You today.

Open the door to Jesus; He is patiently waiting for you.

By Lisa Samra

INSIGHT

Why does Jesus, like Moses and the prophets before Him, remind us that it’s possible to see without seeing, to hear without hearing, and to think without understanding? (Matthew 13:15; Deuteronomy 29:4).

Seven times in His letters to the seven churches, the resurrected Lord of the church offers counsel to those who have an ear to hear. Seven times He repeats to people who already thought of themselves as believers, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Why such repetition? What are the distractions He mentions in these letters? (Revelation 2–3). What could possibly turn us away from the One who is waiting for us to realize we still need Him more than the air we breathe?

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Streams in the Desert for Kids – Walk with Jesus

 

1 Peter 4:12-13

Jesus paid a huge price so that you and I could live in heaven with him forever. We can’t even begin to appreciate what he did for us—the suffering he endured, the lives that he changed—but we can be grateful for his love. This love gives us courage and strength to face hard times just like Jesus did as God’s son.

No one likes to suffer, but remember that when you do, Jesus understands all about it, not just because he’s God, but because he himself suffered on earth too. He understands when you’re sad, lonely, angry, and depressed because he experienced every one of those emotions. He felt betrayed when his closest friends handed him over to the Pharisees and pretended not to know him. He felt pain when he suffered under the whip and on the cross. And because he knows what it’s like to suffer on earth, Christ will be with you in your tough times.

Dear Lord, I’m so glad that Jesus knows everything about me. Thank you that he chose to endure the cross. Please help me endure the hard things I face. Amen.

Joyce Meyer – Let Your Mess Become Your Message

And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit. — 2 Corinthians 3:18

Adapted from the resource New Day New You Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

I encourage people to let go of their past, but never to run from it. The only way to gain victory over the pain of our past is to let God walk us back through that doorway of pain and into victory. No one can achieve victory for us; we have to work out our own salvation. Paul explained this truth in his letter to the Philippian church, saying:

“Therefore, my dear ones . . . work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (Philippians 2:12-13 AMPC.)

We have to let God take us through things and let Him work in us so our mess becomes our message. Difficult things that we have endured in our past prepare us for God’s blessings in our future.

Prayer Starter: Father, You are the only One Who can take what I’ve been through and work it out for my good. Help me to continually draw closer to You and deal with the painful areas of my life that You want to heal. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Anything Is Possible

 

“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23, KJV).

“My doing all depends on thy believing” is what Jesus really said to the desperate father of the demoniac boy. And it is what He says to you and me today.

The Lord sought to bring forth faith in that struggling soul, and – through pain and travail – it came to birth. Realizing that the solution rested not upon God’s power but upon his own faith, the man became conscious of conflicting principles and delivered himself of a noble utterance:

“Lord, I believe, help Thou mine unbelief.”

Mystery of mysteries: even the very faith that we must exercise to bring down the power of God is a gift from God Himself. But some conditions are laid down before we receive that gift of faith.

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

When I spend time in God’s Word – whether reading, studying, memorizing or meditating – that faith is being built up in me. Not faith in myself, not faith in a routine, but faith in the almighty ruler of heaven and earth.

That physical illness; that unsaved loved one; that financial need; that faltering relationship; that broken home – whatever the need might be – the solution is as close as the Word of God, for our dependence upon it, and upon the God of the Word, brings the faith that unlocks the solution to every need.

Bible Reading:Mark 9:24-29

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I shall believe God today for every need I face, at the same time building up my faith in Him by feasting on His Word.

 

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Don’t Prejudge the Soil

Read: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

A sower went out to sow. (v. 3)

A friend of mine tells the story of how, when he started in the life insurance business, his supervisor handed him a pad of paper and told him to make two lists. The first list contained the names of people who were excellent candidates for a sales pitch: his parents, his best friend, and so forth. The second list contained the names of unpromising candidates: people with whom he had quarreled, personal enemies, and so forth. When he had completed both lists, his supervisor told him to go and make a sales call on every person on the second list! My friend said, “Surprisingly, I made several sales!”

The sower in the parable broadcasts the seed, flinging it everywhere. But too often we prejudge the soil. That is, we decide in advance who is worth our witness, and who isn’t. We make a list, so to speak, of who is a candidate for conversion, and who isn’t. This family probably won’t accept my invitation to come to church, so I won’t ask them. This troubled co-worker will not respond positively if I offer to pray for her, so I won’t offer.

Don’t decide in advance who is good soil and who isn’t. As a young man I was an unpromising, rocky, weed-choked, sun-scorched path of soil. But a college chaplain felt I was worth an invitation to give myself to Christ, and it changed my life. You just never know where you’re going to find good soil. —Lou Lotz

Prayer: Father, help me to be good soil, and a good sower

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BreakPoint –  Justice Kennedy’s Long Awaited Retirement: What it Means for Life and Religious Freedom

Wednesday’s announcement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s long-anticipated retirement has launched the discussion that will dominate the news for the next four or five months.

It’s a discussion Christians should join. After all, there’s so much at stake in who is chosen as his successor. To put it simply, the stakes are much higher with this nomination than they were with Justice Gorsuch replacing the late Antonin Scalia. In that case, the President was replacing one conservative justice with another.

But this time around, Kennedy’s replacement could alter the philosophical balance on the Court. Of course, Justice Kennedy is no “liberal.” He was very often the fifth vote in cases of importance to conservatives, especially in this past term where he voted with conservative justices in all fourteen 5-4 votes.

But he certainly was not conservative in his views on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. He, along with Justices O’Connor and Souter, authored the decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which not only saved Roe but created an entirely new rationale for the right to abortion.

That now-infamous “mystery passage” stated that “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

Four years later, in Romer v. Evans, he wrote that Colorado’s Amendment 2, which prohibited state and local governments from including sexual orientation as a protected class in anti-discrimination laws, could only be based on animus toward LGBT people.

Then in 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas which overturned Texas’s anti-sodomy statute, he wrote that the law “furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual.”

Continue reading BreakPoint –  Justice Kennedy’s Long Awaited Retirement: What it Means for Life and Religious Freedom

Charles Stanley – The Believer’s Security System

 

2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Peter 2:18-22

Spiritual dangers are all around, but God has given believers a “spiritual security system.” He’s also provided godly shepherds in the church to protect the flock from spiritual predators.

These predators are false teachers who exploit the ignorance of immature believers. They also hunt down people with unresolved guilt and use phony remedies in an attempt to soothe consciences.

Churchgoers who fail to confess and forsake sin according to Scripture are highly susceptible to such trickery. Also at risk are those who know about Jesus and religious practices but are not genuinely saved—they might even be baptized church members, but unless they have the Holy Spirit, they cannot discern truth or live holy lives.

Thankfully, God has provided a way for believers to avoid these dangerous spiritual potholes. First and foremost, we have to saturate our mind continually with God’s Word. In so doing, we will eventually develop a mental filter that reacts in alarm when something false comes our way. In this manner, we become rooted and grounded in the truth.

Christians also have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who gives understanding of God’s Word, directs our way, and enables us to distinguish truth from error. He educates our conscience to provide timely warnings when we start down the wrong path.

The Lord has provided everything we need to avoid deception, but our spiritual security system will protect us only if it is well tuned with the Word of God and obedient to His Spirit.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 95-102

 

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Our Daily Bread — Pictures of Love

 

Read: 2 John 1:1–6 | Bible in a Year: Job 14–16; Acts 9:22–43

I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 2 John 1:5

My children and I have started a new daily practice. Every night at bedtime, we gather colored pencils and light a candle. Asking God to light our way, we get out our journals and draw or write answers to two questions: When did I show love today? and When did I withhold love today?

Loving our neighbors has been an important part of the Christian life “from the beginning” (2 John 1:5). That’s what John writes in his second letter to his congregation, asking them to love one another in obedience to God (2 John 1:5–6). Love is one of John’s favorite topics throughout his letters. He says that practicing real love is one way to know that we “belong to the truth,” that we’re living in God’s presence (1 John 3:18–19). When my kids and I reflect, we find that in our lives love takes shape in simple actions: sharing an umbrella, encouraging someone who is sad, or cooking a favorite meal. The moments when we’re withholding love are equally practical: we gossip, refuse to share, or satisfy our own desires without thinking of others’ needs.

Paying attention each night helps us be more aware each day, more tuned in to what the Spirit might be showing us as we walk through our lives. With the Spirit’s help, we’re learning to walk in love (2 John 1:6).

Lord, let us not love just in words, but in actions and in truth. Teach us to be obedient to Your call to love.

How can I show love today?

By Amy Peterson

INSIGHT

Love is a prominent theme in the apostle John’s writings. In today’s reading (2 John 1:1–6) John writes: “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us” (v. 4). Just as caring parents delight in the development of the gifts and character of their children, John had a father’s pride in those who walked in love. It is interesting to contemplate what John means by “walk in love” (v. 6). The Greek word translated “walk” can also mean a consistency one exhibits in speech, attitudes, and behavior. It’s clear that we’re being told to make sure the words we say, the attitudes we have toward others, and our general behavior be characterized by sensitivity and generosity. Of course, the ultimate example of love is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (1 John 4:10). We love others because Christ first loved us.

Dennis Fisher

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Faithful Inconvenience

On December 1, 1955, she was asked with three others to relinquish her seat on a crowded bus for a white man who had just boarded. Though they were already seated in the section reserved for blacks, they were ordered by the bus driver to stand in the aisle to make room. Three complied. Rosa Parks remained seated. Recalling the incident for a television series in 1987, Parks said quietly: “When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And he said, ‘Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested.’ I said, ‘You may do that.’” She was immediately arrested and ordered to pay a fine of fourteen dollars.

Mrs. Parks died at the age of 92, a woman history will remember for her courage and conviction. As she hurriedly left the department store where she worked as a seamstress that day in December, the last thing she was thinking about was becoming a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement. She had errands to run and preparations to make for a workshop that she was organizing for teenagers that weekend.  “So it was not a time for me to be planning to get arrested,” she said in the interview.

No matter who you are or what you believe, there are moments in life that will call you out of your daily life and into something beyond it, denying yourself for the sake of another. Almost always these moments will come with a certain degree of inconvenience. The soft spoken Montgomery seamstress who refused to give up her seat could have given heed to injustice with the rationale of not wanting to get involved just then or the daunting thought of all the things she had to get done that day. Instead, she brought about the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 and ignited the Civil Rights Movement.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Faithful Inconvenience

Joyce Meyer – Living Life on Purpose

 

Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is. — Ephesians 5:17

Adapted from the resource My Time With God Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Are you living the life you truly want to live? If not, is it because you allow your life to rule you instead of you ruling it? When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He instructed them to subdue it and be fruitful. God has given us a free will and He wants us to use it to choose His will for us. When we make choices according to the will of God, He empowers us to live a life that is truly amazing.

What do you want to accomplish today? Pray, make a plan, stay focused, and go for it! Put your time into what you want to do and don’t let circumstances and people derail you. Fight for yourself! Fight for your right to follow your heart instead of being controlled by outside forces.

Be determined; be strong. Don’t be vague and thoughtless, but have a plan and work your plan. God, through Christ, has provided a way for us to live an amazing life, but we need to continually make choices that agree with God. You have one life to live, so live it fully and refuse to drift along, letting other people and circumstances make your decisions for you.

Prayer Starter: Father, show me Your will for me and help me be courageous enough to make choices that agree with You. I want the life that You want for me! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Inspiration of God

 

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV).

Recently, it was my privilege to be chairman of a national congress on the Bible, which was held in San Diego, California. Thousands of Christian leaders came from across the nation and from other countries. More than fifty leading scholars addressed the various plenary and seminar sessions.

We were there to affirm our confidence that the Word of God is holy, inspired and without error. God’s Word is unlike any other book ever written. It is full of power and transforms the lives of all who read and obey its commandments. Many scholars read it without understanding, while others with little or no formal education comprehend its truths and are transformed in the process because they walk with God in humility and in the fullness and control of the Holy Spirit.

The story is told of a famous actor who attended a party one evening. A minister, who was also present, asked him if he would be kind enough to recite the 23rd Psalm. The actor, a famous and eloquent star of stage and screen, agreed on one condition – that the minister, a man in his eighties who had served God faithfully and humbly for half a century, would also recite the psalm.

The minister agreed, and the actor began. The words came like beautiful music, and everyone was enthralled at his beautiful presentation of the 23rd Psalm. A standing ovation greeted him at the finish.

Then the minister stood. He was not polished or eloquent. But as he began to recite the 23rd Psalm, a holy hush fell over his listeners and tears began to fill their eyes. When he finished, there was no applause – only silence. The actor stood to his feet. “I have reached your eyes and your ears and your emotions,” he said. “But this man of God has reached the very depths of your being.”

Bible Reading:II Peter 1:19-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will seek to become familiar with God’s Word, and obedient to its precepts, that my life will reflect its teachings. I will encourage others to join me in this great adventure of getting to know God and His holy, inspired Word.

 

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Max Lucado – God Brings Gifts

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Long before you knew you needed grace, your Father had you covered! “Christ died for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). Before you knew you needed a Savior, you had one. And when you ask him for mercy, he answers, “I’ve already given it, dear child. I’ve already given it.”

There’s more!  When you place your trust in Christ, he places his Spirit in you.  And when the Spirit comes, he brings gifts, housewarming gifts of sorts.  A spiritual gift, the Bible says, is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church. (1 Corinthians 12:7). When you become a child of God, the Holy Spirit requisitions your abilities for God’s kingdom, and they become spiritual gifts. No one is gift deprived. Are you weary of an ordinary existence?  Your spiritual adventure awaits. The cure for the common life begins and ends with God.

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – The Maryland shooting and “Searching for God at Ground Zero”

“There’s nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.” This is how Phil Davis, a reporter at the Capital Gazette in Maryland, responded to yesterday’s shooting in his newspaper building as it happened.

The acting police chief told a news conference last night, “This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette.” CNN reports this morning that a gunman, armed with a shotgun, opened fire through the front doors of the newsroom around 3 p.m.

Four employees died at the scene; a fifth person died at a hospital. Three others were wounded.

Authorities have identified the suspect as Jarrod Warren Ramos. According to court documents, he filed a defamation suit against the newspaper in 2012 for an article describing his guilty plea in a harassment case. His case against the paper was dismissed.

As I watched the shooting in Maryland unfold yesterday, I began asking the Lord what I could say that I have not already said about similar horrific events in the past. My attention was drawn to a book in my library I purchased shortly after 9/11 but had not read.

James Martin is a Jesuit priest and writer. He was editor of a Catholic magazine in New York City when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. Searching for God at Ground Zero describes firsthand his experiences volunteering at the site in the days following the worst terrorist attack in American history.

His book led me to focus this morning not on the shooter in Maryland but on those who responded to his violence. In their presence and courage, I found encouragement from God.

“Working together for a common good”

Continue reading Denison Forum – The Maryland shooting and “Searching for God at Ground Zero”

Charles Stanley – Beware of Spiritual Swindlers

 

Matthew 7:15-23

Physical safety is a Natural concern for people today because the world is filled with instability, global conflicts, and terrorist attacks. We should rightly be concerned about protecting our community, yet when it comes to spiritual safety, churches often neglect protection against people who undermine our faith. Jesus called them wolves in sheep’s clothing and issued some stern warnings to alert us.

These wolves are false teachers and prophets who appear to be genuine spiritual guides but are actually full of schemes to advance their own agenda. They look and sound good, but inside they are consumed with lust and greed. None of this is apparent right away because they preach a fine gospel in a most compelling manner. Gradually, however, they blend inaccuracy with facts, and at this point, people seem to forget that truth mixed with error is no longer truth but has become deception. You can recognize these folks in a number of ways. Jesus said they would bear fruit that would eventually reveal their true character.

  • They subtly question the Bible’s authority and relevance for today.
    • Little is said about living a holy life or obeying the whole counsel of God.
    • Obedience to the Lord is equated with living the way you desire.
    •.The welfare of the sheep concerns them less than having followers.

This is a wake-up call for anyone snoozing in the pews. We can’t afford to believe everything we hear. Follow the example of the Bereans, who were commended for using Scripture to evaluate whatever was taught (Acts 17:11).

Bible in One Year: Psalm 90-94

 

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Our Daily Bread — Ring in a Dumpster

 

Read: Matthew 13:44–46 | Bible in a Year: Job 11–13; Acts 9:1–21

Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

In college, I woke up one morning to find Carol, my roommate, in a panic. Her signet ring was missing. We searched everywhere. The next morning we found ourselves picking through a dumpster.

I ripped open a trash bag. “You’re so dedicated to finding this!”

“I’m not losing a two-hundred-dollar ring!” she exclaimed.

Carol’s determination reminds me of the parable Jesus told about the kingdom of heaven, which “is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44). Certain things are worth going great lengths to find.

Throughout the Bible, God promises that those who seek Him will find Him. In Deuteronomy, He explained to the Israelites that they would find Him when they turned from their sin and sought Him with all their hearts (4:28–29). In the book of 2 Chronicles, King Asa gained encouragement from a similar promise (15:2). And in Jeremiah, God gave the same promise to the exiles, saying He would bring them back from captivity (29:13–14).

If we seek God, through His Word, worship, and in our daily lives, we will find Him. Over time, we’ll know Him on a deeper level. That will be even better than the sweet moment when Carol pulled her ring out of that trash bag!

Lord, help me to seek You with all my heart.

To find God, we must be willing to seek Him.

 

By Julie Schwab

INSIGHT

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” You’ve probably heard that line used to pressure you to do something or buy any number of things that failed to live up to the hype. But in the case of the kingdom of God, the claims Jesus makes about it in Matthew 13 are actually true.

In this chapter, Jesus repeatedly emphasizes how seeing and living in the new reality of His kingdom isn’t natural. In fact, God’s kingdom is so countercultural that Jesus describes it as “yeast” (v. 33), which in Scripture is typically seen as a symbol of corruption and evil (Hosea 7:4; Matthew 16:6, 11; 1 Corinthians 5:6–13). Jesus’s shocking use of this word would be similar to saying that the kingdom is like a virus or like saying, “It ruins everything.”

And that’s exactly Jesus’s point. Truly experiencing His kingdom will not be comfortable or easy for any of us. It’ll ruin everything!—all our plans, all our assumptions, all our comfort. But it’s more than worth it. It’s the treasure that’s infinitely precious, the source of endless joy (Matthew 13:44–46).

Monica Brands

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Alienation and Embrace

Vincenzo Ricardo. If that name does not mean much to you, you are not alone. It does not seem to have meant much to anyone else except, perhaps, him who bore it. In fact it was not even his name. His real name was Vincenzo Riccardi, and nobody seemed to get it right after the sensational discovery of his mummified body in Southampton, New York. He had been dead for 13 months, but his television was still on, and his body was propped up in a chair in front of it.(1) The television was his only companion, and though it had much to tell him, it did not care whether he lived or died.

Riccardi’s story raises many unsettling questions. How can a human being vanish for over a year and not be missed by anyone? Where was his family? What about his relatives? Why was the power still on in his house? Whatever the answers are to these and other questions, one thing is clear: Riccardi was a lonely individual whose life can be summed up in one word, alienation. You see, Riccardi was blind, so he never really watched television; he needed this virtual reality to feed his need for real companionship. Moreover, his frequent “outbursts and paranoid behavior” may have played a role in driving people away from him.(2)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Alienation and Embrace

Joyce Meyer – It Takes a Team

 

Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor; for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and does not have another to lift him up.  — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

In 1867, John Roebling had a vision and a passion to do something experts said couldn’t be done: build a bridge from Manhattan to Brook¬lyn, in New York City. No one believed it could be done, but Roebling and his son Washington, a young engineer, persevered.

The Roeblings hired their crew and finally got to work on John’s dream. Only a few months into the project, a worksite accident took John’s life. But the project continued, with Washington as its leader.

Three years later, Washington was severely injured. He was unable to talk, walk, or even move most of his body. But his mind was sharp, and his dream of building the bridge still burned in his heart.

Washington had two things in his favor: one finger that still worked and a wife who loved him. Roebling and his wife figured out a com¬munication system in which he tapped on her arm. For eleven years, Washington tapped out messages and instructions for the bridge, until it was finally complete.

Washington Roebling needed a dependable team of people to achieve his dream. He needed his father, his crew, and his wife. We need other people too; we can love, support, help, and encourage them, and they can do the same for us.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to never underestimate the value of the people You put in my life. Allow me to see who I need to help…and also who I should allow to help me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Strength to the Humble

 

“But He gives us more and more strength to stand against all such evil longings. As the Scripture says, God gives strength to the humble, but sets Himself against the proud and haughty” (James 4:6).

Dr. A. B. Simpson, leader of the Christian and Missionary Alliance at its inception, wisely said years ago.” Humility is not thinking meanly of yourself; it is not thinking of yourself at all.”

Under that rigid definition, not many of us would qualify as being truly humble – nevertheless, the statement contains a great deal of truth, for it is a goal toward which we should all strive.

No real progress is made toward God in any person’s life – believer or unbeliever – without this special characteristic of humility. One proof of that is found in the familiar verse:

“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV).

Even before we pray, before we seek His face, before we turn from our wicked ways, we must humble ourselves. Why? Because we are in no position to meet any of these other three criteria without first humbling ourselves.

Every Christian who seeks to advance in a holy life must remember well that humility is the most important lesson a believer has to learn. There may be intense consecration, fervent zeal and heavenly experience, yet there also may be an unconscious self-exaltation. True humility must come from God.

Bible Reading:James 4:7-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Remembering that pride is the root sin from which all others grow, I will humble myself and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit I will stay so busy helping, praying for and encouraging others that pride cannot take root in my life.

 

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Max Lucado – Religious, Yet Lost

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

A person can be religious and yet lost. Attending church won’t make you God’s child. You must accept his offer. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

It makes no sense to seek your God-given strength until you trust in his. “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for” (Ephesians 1:11). Take a few moments and talk to God. Whether you are making a decision or reaffirming an earlier one, talk to your Maker about your eternal life. You might find this prayer helpful: Immanuel, you are with me. You became a person and took on flesh. You became my Savior and took on my sin. I accept your gift. I receive you as my Lord, Savior, and friend. Because of you, I’ll never be alone again!

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