Charles Stanley – The Key to Enduring Hardship

 

Genesis 50:15-21

God has given us many amazing promises in His Word. Yet, though we are assured of His steadfast love (Rom. 8:38-39), provision (2 Corinthians 9:8), and guidance (Prov. 16:9), He has not promised us an easy, trouble-free life. What we can count on, however, is that the Lord will work everything—including adversity—for our good (Rom. 8:28).

Long before Paul wrote this word of encouragement to the church at Rome, Joseph learned the same principle by experiencing its truth. His affirmation of it, however, came several years after his unfair suffering had ended. In the midst of his difficulties, it’s doubtful that he understood what God was doing in his life.

The same is true for us. When our hearts and minds are agitated because of turbulent events, it’s hard not to stare at circumstances in horror or confusion. But we must decide to believe what the Bible says about God’s character, activity, and purposes. That choice forces our attention off the storm and onto the One responsible for ushering us safely through.

In His presence, fears dwindle and doubts dissolve; peace and a sense of oneness with the Lord will take their place. Our responsibility is to keep our eyes on God and trust His Holy Spirit to provide strength, wisdom, and courage.

Turning to the Lord will not necessarily bring an end to the hardship, but He will help us see that we are exactly where He wants us. He has a reason for the discomfort and desires that we grow in Christ through it. Whatever the situation, the safest place in the world is the center of His will.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 55-59

 

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Our Daily Bread — Telling Time

 

Read: Psalm 90:9–17 | Bible in a Year: Esther 3–5; Acts 5:22–42

[Make] the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16

“Westerners have watches. Africans have time.” So said Os Guinness, quoting an African proverb in his book Impossible People. That caused me to ponder the times I have responded to a request with, “I don’t have time.” I thought about the tyranny of the urgent and how schedules and deadlines dominate my life.

Moses prayed in Psalm 90, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (v. 12). And Paul wrote, “Be very careful, then, how you live . . . making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15–16).

I suspect that Paul and Moses would agree that our wise use of time isn’t just a matter of clock-watching. The situation may call for us to keep a tight schedule—or it may compel us to give someone an extended gift of our time.

We have but a brief moment to make a difference for Christ in our world, and we need to maximize that opportunity. That may mean ignoring our watches and planners for a while as we show Christ’s patient love to those He brings into our lives.

As we live in the strength and grace of the timeless Christ, we impact our time for eternity.

Father, You have given us all the time we need to accomplish what You have given us to do. May we use our time in ways that honor You.

For more, read Mary and Martha: Balancing Life’s Priorities.      

Time management is not about clock-watching, it’s about making the most of the time we have.

By Bill Crowder

INSIGHT

Psalm 90 is a worshipful conversation Moses has with God. The superscription reads, “A prayer of Moses, the man of God.” But even if we weren’t alerted that this psalm is a prayer, the language and tone clearly indicate the psalmist was talking to God. This prayer was spoken during a rough period in Israel’s history. It appears the people of God had experienced discipline (vv. 7–11, 15), which prompted Moses to talk to God about the brevity and fragility of human life in view of God’s eternal nature (vv. 1–6). The psalm includes many references to time, such as “generations” (v. 1), “years” (vv. 4, 9, 10, 15), “day(s)” (vv. 4, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15), “morning” and “evening” (v. 6).

Indeed, tough times can compel us to talk to the Lord about our brief time on earth and appeal to Him for His help (vv. 12–17). They can also cause us to ask who may need the gift of our time.

Arthur Jackson

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Transformative Power of Empathy

In the hug felt ‘round the world in 1989, First Lady Barbara Bush began the slow process of de-stigmatizing the simple action of touching someone with HIV.(1) It was an unexpected act offered by an uninhibited grandmother who wanted to bring attention to a community in isolation. Such a move would hardly surprise anyone today, but thirty years ago, intentionally reaching out via physical touch to a member of an ostracized community was noteworthy.

“To hug or not to hug?” however, is a question not yet mainstream. To the contrary, ours is an increasingly remote, touchless society reaping its own gloomy consequences. A 2014 study at the University of Arizona examined those suffering from “affection deprivation” and found that people who did not have meaningful physical contact from others suffered from loneliness, depression, and anxiety disorders.(2) Clearly, a patient’s physical condition might very well be his most public problem, but it likely won’t be his deepest.

How could such a simple act of a hug merit so much attention? Why would the giver care enough? Why would the onlookers be required to reassess their opinion of such an event? The reason lies behind both the physical and the spiritual effects of such an act: that hug, though unable to bring physical healing, brought comfort while simultaneously erasing a border between the skeptical and the suffering.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Transformative Power of Empathy

Joyce Meyer – Prayer as the First Option, Not the Last Resort

 

“For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.” — Matthew 7:8

Adapted from the resource The Power Of Being Thankful Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

One day I woke up with a throbbing headache. I walked around with that miserable headache almost all day, telling everybody I met about how terrible I felt—until I finally realized that I had complained most of the day and had never taken the time to simply pray and ask God to take the pain away.

Unfortunately, that response is rather typical for some of us. We complain about our problems and spend a majority of our time trying to figure out what we can do to solve them. We often do everything except the one thing we are told to do in the Word of God: ask, that we may receive and our joy may be full (see John 16:24 KJV).

Thankfully, God wants to provide for our every need. We have the awesome privilege of “asking and receiving,” and we should always pray as a first response to every situation.

Prayer Starter: Thank You, Father, that I can bring every single need to You. Help me to always view prayer as my first option, knowing You delight in taking care of me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – More Than We Could Hope For

 

“Now glory be to God who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20).

Few verses describe the supernatural life better than does this powerful promise. On hundreds, if not thousands, of occasions I have meditated upon this truth and have been inspired to claim increasingly great and mighty things for the glory of God because of the inspiration contained in this Word. Think of it, the omnipotent Creator, God who created the heavens and the earth and the vastness of all the hundreds of millions of galaxies, has come to take up residence within us! Our bodies have become His temple. That omnipotnet, divine, supernatural, inexhaustible resource power dwells within every believer.

How much power? Far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of! Let your mind race, your prayers be without limit, and yet, whatever you believe, whatever you think, whatever you pray for, God’s power is infinitely beyond it all.

I have come to the conclusion, after many years of serving our wonderful Lord, that there is nothing too big for us to attempt for the glory of God. If our hearts and motives are pure, if what we do is according to the Word of God, He hears, and is able to do more than we ask or even think.

For example, is it God’s will that the Great Commission be fulfilled? Of course. It is His command. We read further in 2 Peter 3:9 that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance and has, according to verse 15 of this chapter, delayed His return in order that more people might have a chance to hear.

Let your mind soar over the vastness of the earth, where there is a continuous population explosion, and each generation is faced with another billion or more souls to pray for. I challenge you to believe God for the entire world to be blanketed with His love and forgiveness.

I am presently praying for a billion souls to come to Christ before A.D. 2000, and on the basis of what we are now seeing, God is putting His plan together through many members of the Body of Christ cooperating under many umbrellas, including Here’s Life, World Changers, to see that prayer fulfilled.

Bible Reading:Ephesians 3:13-19

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will let my mind soar and my prayers expand. I will ask the Holy Spirit to give me the faith to comprehend the magnitude of God’s purpose in my life and never be satisfied with anything less than the reality of this great promise, Ephesians 3:20, in my life.

 

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Max Lucado – Illustrate Christ

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Tucked away in the cedar chest of my memory is a Sunday school teacher in a small West Texas church.  She gave each of us a can of crayons and a sketch of Jesus torn from a coloring book. We didn’t illustrate pictures of ourselves, we colored the Son of God.  We used what she gave us.  No blue crayon for the sky? Just make it purple. If Jesus’ hair is red, the teacher won’t mind. She taught us to paint Jesus with our own colors.

God made you to do likewise.  He made you unique so you could illustrate Christ.  Make a big deal out of him.  Don’t waste years embellishing your own image. Who needs to see your face? And who doesn’t need to see God’s? Besides, God promises no applause for self-promoters.  But great reward awaits God-promoters. “Good work!  You did your job well.”  (Matthew 25:23).

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – My response to President Trump’s executive order on immigrant families

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday afternoon stating that families seeking asylum should be detained together when “appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.”

The order maintains the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for illegal immigrants. It also instructs the Pentagon to make facilities available for the housing and care of immigrant families.

It directs the Attorney General to seek modification of the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement to allow alien families to be kept together “throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings.” And it requires the Attorney General to “prioritize the adjudication of cases involving detained families.”

In related news, the House will vote today on an immigration bill that would end family separations as part of a larger overhaul. “We can enforce our immigration laws without breaking families apart,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan.

God is “Father of the fatherless”

As I noted on Tuesday, illegal immigration is an especially complicated theological issue.

We are charged by Scripture with obeying the government (Romans 13:1), but we are also to care for immigrants (Exodus 22:21; Hebrews 13:2) and children (Mark 10:14). It is difficult to devise a solution that satisfies law enforcement supporters as well as advocates for immigrants and their families.

I want to focus today on those at the center of the storm: the children. More than 2,300 have now been separated from parents seeking asylum or attempting to enter the US illegally.

Continue reading Denison Forum – My response to President Trump’s executive order on immigrant families