Charles Stanley – Compassion for the Lost

 

Matthew 9:36-38

Throughout the Gospels, a phrase commonly used of the Lord is “He felt compassion” (Matt. 9:36). These words describe what Jesus often experienced when He encountered people in a helpless condition: He was moved to alleviate their suffering.

Man’s greatest suffering is due to alienation from the Lord because of sin. Even though many people don’t realize it, they are enemies of God and can do nothing to make themselves right with Him. Thankfully, Jesus felt compassion for us and reached down to save us; otherwise, we would all be doomed to the everlasting punishment of separation from God’s presence. Yet often we fail to show that same compassion for the lost all around us. Like the Pharisees, we may avoid people because their behavior is sinful, but God desires that we show them kindheartedness rather than withdraw into religious isolation.

Jesus pictured the multitude of lost people as sheep without a shepherd and a field ripe for harvest. All that’s needed is for the Lord to send workers into His harvest, and that’s exactly what Jesus did when He said, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21).

There are multiple ways to show Christ’s compassion to those who are suffering physically, financially, or emotionally, and we should do what we can to help. However, temporal suffering is minuscule compared to what awaits the unbeliever eternally. That’s why the most compassionate thing we can do is to make people aware of their helpless condition before God and share the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 119

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — I See You

 

Read: Psalm 121 | Bible in a Year: Job 25–27; Acts 12

The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:8

When Xavier was two, he darted into one aisle after another in a small shoe store. Hiding behind stacks of shoeboxes, he giggled when my husband, Alan, said, “I see you.”

Moments later, I saw Alan dash frantically from aisle to aisle, calling Xavier’s name. We raced to the front of the store. Our child, still laughing, ran toward the open door leading to the busy street outside.

Within seconds, Alan scooped him up. We embraced as I thanked God, sobbed, and kissed our toddler’s chubby cheeks.

A year before I became pregnant with Xavier, I’d lost our first child during the pregnancy. When God blessed us with our son, I became a fearful parent. Our shoe store experience proved I wouldn’t always be able to see or protect our child. But I discovered peace as I learned to turn to my only sure source of help—God—when I struggled with worry and fear.

Our heavenly Father never takes His eyes off His children (Psalm 121:1–4). While we can’t prevent trials, heartache, or loss, we can live with confident faith, relying on an ever-present Helper and Protector who watches over our lives (vv. 5–8).

We may encounter days when we feel lost and helpless. We may also feel powerless when we can’t shield loved ones. But we can trust that our all-knowing God never loses sight of us—His precious and beloved children.

Thank You for watching over our loved ones and us, Lord.

God always keeps His eye on His children.

By Xochitl Dixon

INSIGHT

Psalms 120–134 are known as “Pilgrim Songs”—songs for “pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem” (nlt). God commanded all male Jews to come to the temple to observe the three annual feasts (see Deuteronomy 16:16): Unleavened Bread (Passover), Weeks (Pentecost), and Tabernacles. As pilgrims trod up the hilly paths to Jerusalem, they sang from these psalms.

When we embark on a journey, we often pray for journeying mercies for safety is foremost on our minds. Psalm 121—known as “The Traveler’s Psalm”—is a prayer addressing our safety and security concerns as we journey through life. Even as the psalmist speaks of unknown dangers, he affirms God’s divine protection and preservation. He reminds us that God is our Helper, giving us the security and stability we need (vv. 1–3). And because God is our Keeper—watching our every step (vv. 4–8)—we can pray in confident trust, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe” (Psalm 4:8 nlt).

How does being led by God, our Good Shepherd, empower you to “walk through the darkest valley”? (Psalm 23:4).

  1. T. Sim

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Remembering Forward

For most of us, the act of remembering or revisiting a memory takes us back into the distant past. We remember people, events, cherished locales and details from days long gone. Of course, not all memories are pleasant, and traveling toward the distant past can also resemble something more like a nightmare than a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Nevertheless, even if we have but a few, all of us have cherished memories or times we periodically revisit in daydreams and remembrances.

Nostalgia is one such way of revisiting these times. It can be defined as that bittersweet yearning for things in the past. The hunger it creates in us to return to another time and place lures us away from living in the realities of the present. Nostalgia wears a shade of rose-colored glasses as it envisions days that were always sweeter, richer, and better than the present day. In general, as Frederick Buechner has said, nostalgia takes us “on an excursion from the living present back into the dead past…” or else it summons “the dead past back into the living present.”(1) In either case, nostalgic remembering removes us from the present and tempts us to dwell in the unlivable past. Without finding ways to remember forward—to bring the past as the good, the bad, and the ugly into the present in a way that informs who we are and how we will live here and now—all that we are left with is nostalgia.

It is far from a sense of nostalgia that drives the writer of Psalm 78. Instead, the psalmist recalls the history of Israel as a means of remembering forward, bringing the full reality of the past into a place of honest remembrance not just for the present generation, but for the sake of generations to come. The psalmist exhorts the people of God to listen and incline their ears to the stories of the Exodus, the wilderness wanderings, and the entry into the Promised Land. “We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength and his wondrous works that he has done… That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep the commandments.”

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Remembering Forward

Joyce Meyer – Simplicity and Decisions

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. — James 5:12

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

Decision-making can be simple if we refuse to be double-minded. After making a decision, stand firm, let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no.” Indecision and double-mindedness not only bring confusion and complication, but, as James noted, they also cause condemnation (see James 5:12).

If we believe in our hearts that we should do something and then allow our heads to talk us out of it, it is an open door for condemnation. We often labor over decisions when actually we just need to decide. Pray for God’s wisdom and guidance, and then make decisions without worrying about them.

Thankfully, you don’t have to live in fear of being wrong. If your heart is right and you make a decision that is not in accordance with God’s will and end up going astray, He will forgive you, find you, and get you back on course.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to avoid complicating the process of decision-making. I thank You that You see my heart and You will correct my course if I take a wrong step. I thank You that I can simply follow what I believe You are leading me to do and trust You to protect me in the process. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Mercy and Grace

 

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Though prayer has been a vital, integral part of my life since I became a Christian, I am always discovering new challenges and new facets of prayer. I find one of the most powerful, exciting and fulfilling privileges God has given to man to be that of prayer based on the authority of God’s Word.

Man instinctively prays, even if only to false gods built of sticks and stones. Whenever he is faced with tragedy, heartache, sorrow or danger, he prays.

There is a serious danger in this “ignorant” kind of praying, however. It is a well-established fact of philosophy and history that man always assimilates the moral character of the object he worships. People who have prayed to gods of blood, fire and war have become militaristic, ruthless and sadistic.

This same principle applies to the Christian, who can pray to the one true God. “As we behold His [Christ’s] face, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory.” This explains the scriptural emphasis of praying worshipfully to the only true, righteous, holy and loving God.

In spite of this potential metamorphosis, however, the lives of few Christians today are impotent and fruitless compared to those of the first century. This is because the average Christian spends so little time at the throne of grace, so little time beholding the face of our Lord. And, as a result, he does not really believe that mercy and grace are available to enable him to live a supernatural life.

Bible Reading:Hebrews 3:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing I can come boldly to the throne of grace and receive mercy, cleansing, forgiveness and help for my every need, challenge and opportunity – from my Lord Jesus Himself, our great high priest – I will spend more time in His presence and not be satisfied with an impotent, fruitless life.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God is Building a Family

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Gary and Steve had acted like brothers for twenty-five years. In 1998, when a caseworker called Gary asking some personal questions, she discovered both Gary and Steve were adopted. Later she phoned Steve with the news. “You have a brother– it’s your friend, Gary!”  Turns out they were more than buddies, they were brothers. Not just friends, but family. How do you imagine these two men felt? God wants you to find out. He offers you a family of friends—his church.

“His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.  And this gave him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:5). When you transfer your trust into Christ, he not only pardons you, he places you in his forever family of friends.

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – July 4 terror plot thwarted in Cleveland

FBI officials announced yesterday that they prevented a terror attack planned for July 4 in Cleveland. Demetrius Pitts, also known as Abdur Raheem Rahfeeq, was arrested Sunday morning by the joint terrorism task force.

An FBI undercover agent began meeting with Pitts after he went on social media to express hatred of the US and allegiance to al Qaeda. The agent developed a relationship with the would-be terrorist, who told him of his plans to plant a bomb at a Fourth of July parade.

In other news, Trooper Nicholas Clark was among the responders to a 911 call early Monday morning in Erwin, New York. He was shot and killed. Trooper Clark was twenty-nine years old and is survived by his parents and a brother.

The unnamed FBI agent and Trooper Clark are just two of many Americans willing to risk their lives for their fellow Americans.

Why the Battle of Gettysburg was fought

The Battle of Gettysburg ended on July 3, 1863. It is typically considered the most important engagement of the American Civil War. Why did this critical battle begin when and where it did?

The History News Network answers our question: it was because of a shoe.

The “Brogan” was the standard issue soldiers’ shoe during the war. It was made of two pieces of leather stitched together to a wooden sole with four eyelets and a cowhide lace. It was typically made straight last, meaning that the left and right shoes were identical.

Continue reading Denison Forum – July 4 terror plot thwarted in Cleveland