Charles Stanley – The Greatness of God

 

Isaiah 40:12-26

When you think of God, what comes to mind? Often, people view Him in the way that best fits their particular need or situation. For example, a person who struggles with guilt might focus on the Lord’s forgiveness or holiness. And someone with a thirst for justice might dwell on the Almighty’s righteousness.

The truth is, His character encompasses far more than we could ever comprehend or even try to explain. I would never attempt to summarize such an awesome God in this devotion, but it’s important to look at Scripture in order to gain an accurate picture of the One we worship.

Today we will focus on one attribute: the Lord’s greatness. The passage from Isaiah 40 tells us that God is greater than creation (Isa. 40:12), for it was by His hands that everything we see came into being. He is higher than the nations or any idol fashioned by the finest craftsman (Isa. 40:17-20). In fact, He is above the world and all mankind (Isa. 40:22-23), surpassing even the heavens and galaxies.

Our Father’s thoughts and ways are far grander than our own (Isa. 55:9)—and lofty compared with what we can understand. Psalm 93:1 states, “The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength.”

Consider the awesome God we serve. He truly is worthy of our praise. As we grasp even a fraction of His greatness, our response should be one of humble worship. After all, who are we that a God like this would desire our friendship—so much so that He sent His Son to die for our sins?

Bible in One Year: Psalm 60-66

 

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Our Daily Bread — Fellowship with Jesus

 

Read: Philippians 3:7–14 | Bible in a Year: Esther 6–8; Acts 6

I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Philippians 3:8

I’ll never forget the time I had the privilege of sitting next to Billy Graham at a dinner. I was honored but also somewhat nervous about what would be appropriate to say. I thought it would be an interesting conversation starter to ask what he loved most about his years of ministry. Then I awkwardly started to suggest possible answers. Was it knowing presidents, kings, and queens? Or preaching the gospel to millions of people around the world?

Before I had finished offering suggestions, Rev. Graham stopped me. Without hesitation he said, “It has been my fellowship with Jesus. To sense His presence, to glean His wisdom, to have Him guide and direct me—that has been my greatest joy.” I was instantly convicted and challenged. Convicted because I’m not sure that his answer would have been my answer, and challenged because I wanted it to be.

That’s what Paul had in mind when he counted his greatest achievements to be of no worth compared to the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). Think of how rich life would be if Jesus and our fellowship with Him was our highest pursuit.

Lord, forgive me for chasing after things that matter far less than my fellowship with You. Thank You that You stand ready to enrich my life with Your presence and power.

To remain faithful where God has placed you, give Christ first place in your heart.

By Joe Stowell

INSIGHT

The apostle Paul’s passion to know Christ and to make Him known to others should guide our lives as well. In Philippians 3:1–14, we see how growing in our knowledge of Christ is mixed with both joy and pain: “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings” (v. 10). Jesus told us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). As we grow in our relationship with Christ we can expect both joy and suffering.

How has both joy and suffering deepened your fellowship with Christ?

Dennis Fisher

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – At the Table

When summer comes and city corners are full again of kids with bikes and basketballs, my mind returns to a particular playground. For several summers I worked at a church with an outdoor recreation ministry, whose intent was to serve the neighborhood, meeting the kids and building relationships. We played games, read stories, jumped rope, and organized basketball tournaments. One year a volunteer artist came and helped the kids make pottery, so we commissioned them to create some new communion plates and chalices for the church to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

Most of these kids had never taken communion before; many had never heard of the Lord’s Supper or been told the story of Jesus and his disciples in the upper room. So with muddied hands we told the story, and together that summer several sets of communion plates and cups were fashioned by kids eager to see them in use. I have never seen more colorful, misshapen objects grace the altar of a church, and I have never seen so many wide-eyed children (and adults!) come to life at the communion table. The elders held the lopsided plates and cups, inviting the church community to come and remember the one who shapes us. The children had a physical sign of their place at the table, and the church was reminded again that we are all children being nourished by the Son of God.

When Christians confess the Incarnation, the coming of God into the world as a child, they are proclaiming the gift of a God who comes so near his creation that he joins it. The Lord’s Supper is another gift marking a God who comes so noticeably near as to join us.  The table is a place, like the manager in Bethlehem or the cross of Calvary, where we are welcomed—rather, summoned—to his side, to come forward as we are: the sick to a kind physician, the outcast to one who was rejected himself, clay into the very hands of its creator. Jesus left this sign and seal specifically with human beings in mind. When he left his followers with the command to take the bread and the cup in remembrance of his presence among them, he gave them a sign of this presence both visible and physical. Fourth century preacher John Chrysostom wrote of this physical gift as a vital reminder both because we ourselves are physical and Christ as well: “Were we incorporeal, he would give us these things in a naked and incorporeal form. Now because our souls are implanted in bodies, he delivers spiritual things under things visible.” At the table, Jesus offers not merely a place of welcome, but something real for real bodies to hold, a taste of his nearness that nourishes body, mind, and soul. We are given collectively the assurance of a real, present, and nourishing Christ that feeds us in this rich company and then turns us out into the streets and the down the hedges with the great news of an invitation: Taste and see that God is good, and remember I am with you always even unto the ends of the earth.

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Joyce Meyer – Three Things that Help Me Forgive

 

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. — Mark 11:25 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Trusting God Day by Day – by Joyce Meyer

The first thing that really helps me forgive is to remember this: God forgives me for much more than I will ever have to forgive others for. We may not do what others have done to us, but then again we may do things that are worse. In God’s Kingdom sin does not come in sizes like small, medium, and large; sin is just sin! Do yourself a favor and forgive quickly and freely (without expectation or stipulation). The longer you hold a grudge, the more difficult it is to let it go.

The second thing that helps me forgive is to think of God’s mercy. Mercy is the most beautiful gift we can give or receive. It cannot be earned and is not deserved—otherwise, it wouldn’t be mercy. I like to think of mercy as looking beyond what was done wrong and on to why it was done. Many times people do a hurtful thing and don’t know why they are doing it, or they may not even realize they are doing it. I was hurt so badly in my childhood that I in turn frequently hurt others with my harsh words and attitudes. But I did not realize I was being harsh; because life had been so hard and painful for me, that harshness had become part of me.

The third thing that helps me forgive others is to remember that if I stay angry, I am giving Satan a foothold in my life (see Eph. 4:26–27). When I forgive, I am keeping Satan from gaining an advantage over me (see 2 Cor. 2:10–11). If I don’t forgive, I am poisoning my own soul with bitterness that will surely work its way out in some kind of bad behavior or attitude. One of the most valuable things I have learned is that I am doing myself a favor when I forgive.

Prayer Starter: Thank You, Father, for Your mercy and forgiveness. Help me, in turn, to forgive those who have hurt me and release any bitterness and resentment. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Cleansing From Sin

 

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, KJV).

Henry was experiencing difficulty in communicating with God. “It seems as though He is far away from me,” he said, “and no matter what I do I am not able to make contact with Him.”

Henry was weighted down with problems and concerns that robbed him of his joy, his radiance and even his physical strength. He was a Christian and wanted to be a man of God but had become careless in his walk with Christ, and in the process had lost his first love.

If that condition describes you as well, it is quite likely that you have allowed sin to short-circuit your relationship with God. The mighty overflow of His power has been cut off, and you are no longer walking in the light as God is in the light. This is expressed in this great epistle of 1 John.

King David knew that experience because he had disobeyed God and, as recorded in Psalm 32, would not admit that he had sinned. As a result, his dishonesty made him miserable and filled his days with frustration.

If the light has gone out in your life and you are conscious of the same kind of experience to which King David refers, may I encourage you to take a sheet of paper, make a list of everything you know is wrong in your life, as the Holy Spirit directs you, and confess your sins to God.

As you make your list, claim the promise of 1 John 1:9. The word confess means “to agree with,” “to say along with.” You are saying to God, “I acknowledge that what I am doing is wrong. I know Christ’s death on the cross paid the penalty for these sins. I repent.” To repent means genuinely to change your mind, which results in a change of action.

As a result of this change, you no longer do those things that grieve or quench the Spirit, and you desire to honor Him every moment of every day of your life through faith and obedience. Then, whenever sin enters your life, you engage in spiritual breathing.

Bible Reading:Proverbs 28:10-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will make a list of everything the Holy Spirit calls to my mind that is short-circuiting His power in my life, and I will genuinely confess them before God.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Well Done Good & Faithful Servant

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God gives gifts, not miserly, but abundantly! And he doesn’t give gifts randomly, but carefully– “to each according to each one’s unique ability” (Matthew 25:15). Remember, no one else has our talents. No one. God elevates you from common-hood by matching your unique abilities to custom-made assignments.

“Well done, good and faithful servant,” Jesus will say to some (Matthew 25:23). Maybe your dad never praised you or your teachers always criticized you, but God will applaud you. And to have him call you good… well, when he does, it counts! Only he can make bad sinners good. And only he can make the frail faithful. “Well done, good and faithful…” The point? Use your uniqueness to take great risks for God! The only mistake is not to risk making one!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – Las Vegas advertises lesbian wedding on TV

My wife and I are still talking about an ad we saw on television this week. Titled “Now and Then,” it depicts a lesbian couple visiting Las Vegas. One says to the other, “Let’s get married.” The other says, “My parents would never forgive me.”

They walk into a room where friends are waiting for them, along with parents who smile and nod their approval. The tagline then appears: “Destiny Happens Here.”

Children’s show feature drag queens

In other news, two new animated television shows about drag queens are set to debut in America. One is called “Drag Tots!”, a show about toddler drag queens featuring transgender model RuPaul. It begins airing next week.

The other is a Netflix show called “Super Drags.” The preview says, “By night, they tighten up their corsets and transform into the baddest SUPER DRAGS in town, ready to combat shade and rescue the world’s glitter from the evil villains.”

In other news, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that a Christian university cannot accredit its law school, since the university’s code of conduct includes abstinence from sex outside of heterosexual marriage.

According to Andrew Bennett, director of a religious freedom institute, the ruling affects more than Trinity Western University. It suggests that freedom of religion and conscience are only to be exercised privately. And it could have broader implications for other professions and for other religious schools.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Las Vegas advertises lesbian wedding on TV

Thirty Years On, How Well Do Global Warming Predictions Stand Up? – WSJ

 

Thirty Years On, How Well Do Global Warming Predictions Stand Up?

James Hansen issued dire warnings in the summer of 1988. Today earth is only modestly warmer.

By Pat Michaels and Ryan Maue June 21, 2018 7:24 p.m. ET

 

James E. Hansen wiped sweat from his brow. Outside it was a record-high 98 degrees on June 23, 1988, as the NASA scientist testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources during a prolonged heat wave, which he decided to cast as a climate event of cosmic significance. He expressed to the senators his “high degree of confidence” in “a cause-and-effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming.”

With that testimony and an accompanying paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Mr. Hansen lit the bonfire of the greenhouse vanities, igniting a world-wide debate that continues today about the energy structure of the entire planet. President Obama’s environmental policies were predicated on similar models of rapid, high-cost warming. But the 30th anniversary of Mr. Hansen’s predictions affords an opportunity to see how well his forecasts have done—and to reconsider environmental policy accordingly.

James Hansen at home in New York City, April 12.

James Hansen at home in New York City, April 12. PHOTO: MARSHALL RITZEL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mr. Hansen’s testimony described three possible scenarios for the future of carbon dioxide emissions. He called Scenario A “business as usual,” as it maintained the accelerating emissions growth typical of the 1970s and ’80s. This scenario predicted the earth would warm 1 degree Celsius by 2018. Scenario B set emissions lower, rising at the same rate today as in 1988. Mr. Hansen called this outcome the “most plausible,” and predicted it would lead to about 0.7 degree of warming by this year. He added a final projection, Scenario C, which he deemed highly unlikely: constant emissions beginning in 2000. In that forecast, temperatures would rise a few tenths of a degree before flatlining after 2000.

Thirty years of data have been collected since Mr. Hansen outlined his scenarios—enough to determine which was closest to reality. And the winner is Scenario C. Global surface temperature has not increased significantly since 2000, discounting the larger-than-usual El Niño of 2015-16. Assessed by Mr. Hansen’s model, surface temperatures are behaving as if we had capped 18 years ago the carbon-dioxide emissions responsible for the enhanced greenhouse effect. But we didn’t. And it isn’t just Mr. Hansen who got it wrong. Models devised by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have, on average, predicted about twice as much warming as has been observed since global satellite temperature monitoring began 40 years ago.

James Hansen testifies before a Senate Transportation subcommittee in Washington, D.C., May 8, 1989. PHOTO: DENNIS COOK/ASSOCIATED PRESS

What about Mr. Hansen’s other claims? Outside the warming models, his only explicit claim in the testimony was that the late ’80s and ’90s would see “greater than average warming in the southeast U.S. and the Midwest.” No such spike has been measured in these regions.

As observed temperatures diverged over the years from his predictions, Mr. Hansen doubled down. In a 2007 case on auto emissions, he stated in his deposition that most of Greenland’s ice would soon melt, raising sea levels 23 feet over the course of 100 years. Subsequent research published in Nature magazine on the history of Greenland’s ice cap demonstrated this to be impossible. Much of Greenland’s surface melts every summer, meaning rapid melting might reasonably be expected to occur in a dramatically warming world. But not in the one we live in. The Nature study found only modest ice loss after 6,000 years of much warmer temperatures than human activity could ever sustain.

Several more of Mr. Hansen’s predictions can now be judged by history. Have hurricanes gotten stronger, as Mr. Hansen predicted in a 2016 study? No. Satellite data from 1970 onward shows no evidence of this in relation to global surface temperature. Have storms caused increasing amounts of damage in the U.S.? Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show no such increase in damage, measured as a percentage of gross domestic product. How about stronger tornadoes? The opposite may be true, as NOAA data offers some evidence of a decline. The list of what didn’t happen is long and tedious.

The problem with Mr. Hansen’s models—and the U.N.’s—is that they don’t consider more-precise measures of how aerosol emissions counter warming caused by greenhouse gases. Several newer climate models account for this trend and routinely project about half the warming predicted by U.N. models, placing their numbers much closer to observed temperatures. The most recent of these was published in April by Nic Lewis and Judith Curry in the Journal of Climate, a reliably mainstream journal.

These corrected climate predictions raise a crucial question: Why should people world-wide pay drastic costs to cut emissions when the global temperature is acting as if those cuts have already been made?

On the 30th anniversary of Mr. Hansen’s galvanizing testimony, it’s time to acknowledge that the rapid warming he predicted isn’t happening. Climate researchers and policy makers should adopt the more modest forecasts that are consistent with observed temperatures.

That would be a lukewarm policy, consistent with a lukewarming planet.

Mr. Michaels is director and Mr. Maue an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science.

 

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Source: Thirty Years On, How Well Do Global Warming Predictions Stand Up? – WSJ