Charles Stanley – The Danger of Drifting

 

Proverbs 14:15-16

One fine afternoon, my best friend and I came upon an abandoned boat floating in the river. The paddles were broken, but that wasn’t a deterrent for a pair of teenage boys. We shoved off and drifted downstream talking, joking, and carrying on. I’m not sure how much time passed as we floated aimlessly along, but we knew we were in trouble when a loud roar reached our ears. Up ahead, water was rushing over the dam. Panicked, we grabbed the broken paddles and pulled hard against the current. We managed to get close enough to the shore to safely jump out into shallow water, but the boat went over the edge. What started out as pure fun nearly ended in disaster.

That’s happens to many people today. What begins as fun and pleasure ends in shipwreck because people drift along, neglecting to think ahead or notice how fast they’re moving away from the safety of the Lord’s plan. According to the prevailing attitude of modern society, God isn’t needed as long as the stream runs smoothly. In other words, when income is good, the family is safe, and health is stable, going with the flow seems fine. But in reality, a drifting man is being swept along by the world’s currents, which are dangerous without Christ.

Today’s passage reveals that the wise look to the future to avoid ruin. Let me put it another way: Drifting is foolish. In countless arenas of life—including marriage, family, vocation, and finances—we need to have a goal and navigation plan if we expect to be successful. Thankfully, God provides both in His Word. (See Prov. 3:6.)

Bible in One Year: Psalm 132-138

 

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Our Daily Bread — God’s Great Creation

 

Read: Psalm 104:1–6, 10–23 | Bible in a Year: Job 30–31; Acts 13:26–52

The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. Psalm 104:12

On a recent visit with some of our grandchildren, we enjoyed watching a web cam that focused on an eagle family in Florida. Every day we would check in on the mom, the dad, and the baby as they went about their daily routine in their nest high off the ground. Each day the parent birds would keep a constant, protective vigil over the eaglet, bringing it fish from a nearby river for nourishment.

This little eagle family depicts for us one image the psalmist gave us of God’s magnificent creation in Psalm 104—an array of creation images, of scenes from the work of God’s creative hand.

We see the majesty of God’s creation as it relates to the universe (vv. 2–4).

We experience the creation of the earth itself—waters, mountains, valleys (vv. 5–9).

We enjoy the glory of God’s gift of animals, birds, and crops (vv. 10–18).

We marvel at the cycles God created in our world—morning/night, darkness/light, work/rest (vv. 19–23).

What a glorious world God has fashioned with His hands for our enjoyment—and for His glory! “Praise the Lord, my soul!” (v. 1). Each one of us can say thank You to God for all He has given us to appreciate and enjoy.

Praise God! Praise You, Lord, for the wonder of the earth You created.

Share a photo of your favorite place at Facebook.com/ourdailybread.

The beauty of creation reflects the beauty of our Creator. 

By Dave Branon

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Questioning Christ

I have often referenced the quote by the talk-show host Larry King, in his response to a particular question:  “If you could select any one person across all of history to interview, who would it be?”  Mr. King’s answer was that he would like to interview Jesus Christ. When the questioner followed with, “And what would you like to ask him?” King replied, “I would like to ask him if he was indeed virgin-born. The answer to that question would define history for me.” The first time I requested permission through a common friend to use this quote of his, he sent word saying, “And tell him I was not being facetious.” I believe him. Who would not like to interview Jesus Christ?

It is not possible to live without asking questions—and what better source for the answers than the one who claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life? If one could only be face to face with him from whom life comes, how delightful would be those moments when the most confounding questions of life are raised. Though unaware that they were walking with the risen Christ, the men who walked on the Emmaus Road said that their hearts burned within them as he opened up the past, the present, and the future. When Jesus broke the bread at the table with them, they realized who he was and a light for all of history had been turned on.

In the same way, it may be that when the time comes to sit across the table from the Lord of history, the answer to the skeptic and the believer will be more visible than it will be in need of utterance.  Ironically, this clue came to me in the form of a question inscribed on a painting I saw in a pastor’s office in Puerto Rico. Just before we went into the sanctuary, my eyes caught a glimpse of it directly in front of his desk. It was the picture of a little girl holding the hand of Jesus, even as he tenderly gazed at her.  She was clasping his hand as she asked him, “Que paso con tus manos?”—”What happened to your hands?”  That question, I suspect, contains the answer to both the doubt of the skeptic and the duplicity of the believer.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Questioning Christ

Joyce Meyer – Adventurous

 

“I am a Jew… being zealous for God as all of you are this day.” — Acts 22:3

Adapted from the resource Wake Up to the Word Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Adventurous means to be “inclined or willing to incur hazard; bold to encounter danger; daring; courageous; enterprising.”

Every human being wants to be free. We want to try new things, to be bold and fearless, to live an exciting, adventurous life.

We were created by God to have goals and to press toward them, and to dream of bigger and better things than what we have ever known. But fear and doubt can leave us frozen in place, unable to do much of anything except be idle and alone with our torment. As long as we become inactive every time we feel a doubt or have a sense of worry, we won’t live in confidence and we’ll miss out on the exciting, adventurous life God has for us.

Please be assured that Jesus died not only for the forgiveness of your sins, but also so that you might enjoy a passionate, fruitful, and powerful life in Him. Be determined to experience all that He died to give you.

Prayer Starter: Father, I ask for Your help to live the adventurous life You have for me. Help me to not hold back out of fear or doubt, but confidently walk forward into all You put in my heart to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Rescue from Temptation

 

“So also the Lord can rescue you and me from the temptations that surround us, and continue to punish the ungodly until the day of final judgement comes” (2 Peter 2:9).

Charles G. Finney was one of America’s most outstanding evangelists. One day while he was still a young lawyer, he sat in his village law office in the state of New York. It was early in the day, and the Lord began to deal with him.

“Finney,” an inner voice asked, “what are you going to do when you finish your course?”
“Put out a shingle and practice law.”
“Then what?” the voice persisted.
“Get rich.”
“Then what?”
“Retire.”
“Then what?”
“Die.”
“Then what?”
This time the words came tremblingly, “The judgement.”

Young Finney ran for the woods half a mile away. As he prayed, he vowed that he would not leave until he had made his peace with God. After a long struggle, he discovered that he could not resist God’s call, and he came out of the woods that evening with the high purpose of living the remainder of his life to the glory of God, enjoying Him forever.

Like that great preacher and evangelist you and I can be rescued from the temptations of the world so that we will not resist any clear call from God.

Bible Reading:II Peter 2:10-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: When the world tries to squeeze me into its mold, I’ll not resist the clear call from our Lord Jesus Christ to follow Him.

 

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Max Lucado – We Are His Workmanship

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

For some people it’s God, yes; but Church, no. They like the benefits but resist commitment. The music, the message, the clean conscience—they accept the church perks.  So they visit her; they use the church. But commit to the church? Can’t do that. We’ve got to keep options open. Don’t want to miss out on any opportunities.

To miss the church is to miss God’s sanctioned tool for God promotion. The church is a key place to do what you do the best to the glory of God. Scripture says, “We are His workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10). The word used here means poetry. We are his poetry… his creative best. Alone we are meaningless symbols on a page. But collectively, we inspire! “All of us together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). And “each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body” (Romans 12:5).

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Protester climbed up the base of the Statue of Liberty

A woman climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty yesterday to protest the separation of migrant families. She was taken into custody by police. Liberty Island was closed during the standoff, and around four thousand people had to be evacuated.

On the day after America’s birthday, if you’re concerned about your country, you’re not alone. Bloomberg is carrying an article titled, “Freaked-Out Americans Desperately Seek to Escape the News.” Here is some of their evidence.

Last fall, the American Psychological Association discovered that almost two-thirds of Americans listed “the state of the nation” as their primary source of stress. They ranked it above both money and work.

According to the Pew Research Center, almost 70 percent of Americans feel a sense of “news fatigue.” When Enterprise Rent-A-Car surveyed more than 1,100 Americans about their summer travel plans, the top three reasons given for travel were stress, the news, and the political climate.

Discovery Inc. owns networks HGTV, Food Network, and TLC. It has seen a 12 percent increase in time spent by viewers watching its networks since the 2016 election. The head of research for Hallmark Channel says, “When we asked people why they watched Hallmark, we used to hear things like ‘I want an escape.’ Now it’s ‘I want to be reminded that there’s still love in the world.'”

“The United States became a singular noun”

America turned 242 years old yesterday. Our democracy has been tested many times across our history.

In the decades from our founding to the Civil War, the unresolved tension at the heart of the nation had to do with federal power versus state power. The Second Continental Congress knew George Washington would become the first president and created a Constitution with strong federal and executive powers. Thomas Jefferson, by contrast, believed in a weak federal government and strong states’ rights.

The conflict between the two views of national authority laid the foundation for the War Between the States. As esteemed historian James M. McPherson notes, “The United States went to war in 1861 to preserve the Union; it emerged from the war in 1865 having created a nation. Before 1861 the two words ‘United States’ were generally used as a plural noun: ‘the United States are a republic.’ After 1865 the United States became a singular noun.”

Two world wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War, conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, and our ongoing struggle with global terrorism have all challenged our commitment to government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” And yet our democracy prevails.

What explains “the greatness of America”?

In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville noted that “the greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”

Despite deep fault lines dividing Democrats from Republicans, pro-life from pro-choice, biblical marriage from “marriage equality,” affluent from impoverished, and believers from atheists and “nones,” we are not witnessing the kind of uprisings that have plagued so many other countries around the world.

One foundational reason is that Americans believe we can change our government and our country. We can vote for new leaders. We can persuade others to our beliefs. We each have access to influence.

If we were ruled by hereditary kings, everyone outside the royal family would be consigned to second-class status. If we were ruled by a dictator, we could change our nation’s leadership only by a coup or revolt. If we were ruled by a political class such as the Communist Party, we would have to achieve status in the party to change our country.

Our founding document captures the essence of our democratic ethos: “All men are created equal.” While America has often failed to keep this promise to all our citizens, the fact that we measure ourselves by it demonstrates its foundational power in our lives and nation.

“All men are created equal”

These five words lie at the heart of our democracy. They are derived ultimately from the biblical worldview, which declares that all humans—without exception—are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26–27).

God loves “the world,” including every inhabitant of every nation (John 3:16). Jesus died for “the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). God’s word invites us all to our Lord: “Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Revelation 22:17).

To what degree did such biblical truth influence our nation’s Founders? To address this very complicated subject, I recommend an insightful essay by historian Mark Hall (PhD, University of Virginia), a specialist in the study of America’s founding principles.

Dr. Hall states: “If one is to understand the story of the United States of America, it is important to have a proper appreciation for its Christian colonial roots. By almost any measure, colonists of European descent who settled in the New World were serious Christians whose constitutions, laws, and practices reflected the influence of Christianity.”

Because of such Christian influence, “America’s Founders believed that humans were created in the imago dei—the image of God. Part of what this means is that humans are reasonable beings. This led them to conclude that we the people (as opposed to the elite) can order our public lives together through politics rather than force.”

Does this mean that the Founders intended to force Christianity on all Americans? Not at all: “Although the Founders were profoundly influenced by Christianity, they did not design a constitutional order only for fellow believers. They explicitly prohibited religious tests for federal offices, and they were committed to the proposition that all men and women should be free to worship god (or not) as their consciences dictate.”

However, Dr. Hall notes: “We ignore at our peril the Founders’ insight that democracy requires a moral people and that faith is an important, if not indispensable, support for morality.” He adds: “Such faith may well flourish best without government support, but it should not have to flourish in the face of government hostility.”

The strength of our democracy

  1. K. Chesterton observed that “America is the only country ever founded on a creed.” If our creed is, “All men are created equal,” the strength of our democracy depends on the degree to which we value each other as our Creator values us.

“Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14). May this command be our prayer for America, and for ourselves, today.

 

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