Charles Stanley – The Shed Blood of Jesus

 

John 1:29-34

When John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching, he declared Christ to be the Lamb of God.

This concept was familiar to the Israelites, since their law required blood offerings as atonement for sin (Lev. 17:11). Jesus became our sacrificial Lamb, paying once for all the sin debt owed by mankind (1 Peter 3:18). His death secured forgiveness and eternal life for everyone who trusts Him as Savior. With regard to salvation, nothing else is required or acceptable to God.

Jesus was the one who set things right between the Father and man. He died to bring us …

Redemption. This was a word that was used to describe a marketplace transaction—one that buys back something of value. All humanity was in bondage to sin and unable to pay the penalty (Rom. 6:23). As our sacrificial lamb, Jesus willingly died in our place and with His blood, redeemed us for His Father (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Forgiveness. As God’s adopted children, we have been saved by the blood of Christ and pardoned for our transgressions. The penalty for our actions has been fully paid. So at the moment of salvation, guilt for all of our sins—past, present, and future—is wiped away.

Meditate on what the Savior did at Calvary. As the sacrificial Lamb, Jesus exchanged His life for ours and gave it up to pay what we owed. His death redeemed us, secured our forgiveness, and gave us a permanent place in God’s family. Thank You, Jesus, for bringing redemption!

Bible in One Year: Proverbs 16-18

 

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Our Daily Bread — An Anchor When We’re Afraid

 

Read: Isaiah 51:12–16 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 4–6; Acts 17:16–34

I, even I, am he who comforts you. Isaiah 51:12

Are you a worrier? I am. I wrestle with anxiety almost daily. I worry about big things. I worry about small things. Sometimes, it seems like I worry about everything. Once in my teens, I called the police when my parents were four hours late getting home.

Scripture repeatedly tells us not to be afraid. Because of God’s goodness and power, and because He sent Jesus to die for us and His Holy Spirit to guide us, our fears don’t have to rule our lives. We may well face hard things, but God has promised to be with us through it all.

One passage that has helped me profoundly in fearful moments is Isaiah 51:12–16. Here, God reminded His people, who had endured tremendous suffering, that He was still with them, and that His comforting presence is the ultimate reality. No matter how bad things may seem: “I, even I, am he who comforts you,” He told them through the prophet Isaiah (v. 12).

love that promise. Those eight words have been an emotion-steadying anchor for my soul. I’ve clung to this promise repeatedly when life has felt overwhelming, when my own “constant terror” (v. 13) has felt oppressive. Through this passage, God reminds me to lift my eyes from my fears and in faith and dependence to look to the One who “stretches out the heavens” (v. 13)—the One who promises to comfort us.

Lord, sometimes the struggles we face in life seem so big. But You are bigger. Help us to cling to Your promise of comfort in fearful moments and to experience Your loving provision as we trust You. 

God’s comforting presence is more powerful than our fears.

 

By Adam Holz

INSIGHT

Isaiah is fond of using imagery to display distinct ideas that are sometimes complementary and sometimes contrasting. Today’s passage presents contrasting ideas. In offering comfort to the people of Israel, Isaiah paints a portrait that gives the reader a beautiful vision of who God is in comparison to those who were trying to harm them. Notice the contrasts in verses 12–15: Mortals are like grass, while God stretches out the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth; the oppressor who stirs up wrath is nothing compared to the God who stirs the sea. While these words are comforting—after all, God is the one who covers us with the shadow of His hand—it’s important to understand that they don’t simply bypass the struggles we face. Isaiah acknowledges there is in fact an oppressor, and that oppressor is full of wrath. But he encourages us to see our difficulties in light of who God is and what He can do.

What difficult situation do you need to view in comparison with God’s power?

J.R. Hudberg

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The (Other) Allegory of the Cave

The story of the twelve Thai boys in the cave, which gripped the attention and held the breath of the world for over a fortnight, has, thankfully, ended happily. One is quite aware that this real-life story, as all such poignant stories, should be taken in its own unicity and integrity. Real stories are not mere stories to be insensitively and carelessly “used” for analogical or allegorical purposes—an infraction of which (we) preachers are often guilty.

And yet, irresistibly, the 18-day saga of the “Dingy Dozen” is an almost-perfect dramatic enactment of the gospel story. In the first place, we have the twelve members of the “Wild Boars” football team, who went on a “wild bore” into the cave. These boys were no ordinary boys. They were all ably-gifted with fine genes, ample talent, and bright futures. But through a mixture of daredevilry and delinquency, chance and circumstance, they ended up where they ended up, precariously perched on a ledge, helpless and hopeless—“between a rock and a hard place” and “between the devil and the deep blue sea” rolled into one!

This ordeal and predicament of “The Twelve” is a snapshot of the human condition, as diagnosed by the Bible. “Twelve Tribes” or “Twelve Apostles” created good and glorious, but invariably “foolish, disobedient, led astray, enslaved,” find their way into lostness.(1) They got there on their own, but they can no longer get out on their own. No way forward. No way back. No light. No food. No air. No help. No hope:

“Out of the depths I cry out to you, O LORD!”(2)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The (Other) Allegory of the Cave

Joyce Meyer – Mountains into Molehills

 

For who are you, O great mountain [of human obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who with Joshua had led the return of the exiles from Babylon and was undertaking the rebuilding of the temple, before him] you shall become a plain [a mere molehill]! And he shall bring forth the finishing gable stone [of the new temple] with loud shoutings of the people, crying, Grace, grace to it!  — Zechariah 4:7 (AMPC)

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

The Samaritans who came against the Israelites as they were building the temple of the Lord had become like a mountain of human obstacles, frustrating them and preventing them from doing what God had commanded them to do.

That may be the situation in which you find yourself right now as you read these words. You may feel that the Lord has told you to do something but that the enemy has thrown up a mountain in your path to frustrate you and prevent you from carrying out the Lord’s will. If so, I know just how you feel because that is exactly the way I used to feel.

The problem is one of perspective. In this passage the Lord tells Zechariah that the problem facing the Israelites, although it may appear to be a mountain, is actually a molehill.

How would you like for all your mountains to become molehills? They can, if you will do what God is saying here and look not at the problems but at the Lord and His power. If God has told you to do something, it is certainly His will that you not only begin but that you also finish it.

Prayer Starter: Father, I thank You that You are greater than every obstacle in my life. Please help me to keep my eyes on You and never give up on seeing Your will come to pass in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Gives Good Gifts

 

“And you hardhearted, sinful men know how to give good gifts to your children, won’t your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask Him for them?” (Matthew 7:11).

“Daddy, we love you and want to do only that which pleases you.” Do you know what I would do if my sons expressed their love for me and their trust in me in this way?

“I love you, too,” I would tell them, as I put my arms around them and gave them a big hug. “I appreciate your offer to do anything I want. Your expression of love and faith is the greatest gift you can give me.”

As a result, I am all the more sensitive and diligent to demonstrate my love and concern for them.

Is God any less loving and concerned for His children? Of course not. He has proven over and over again that He is a loving God. He is worthy of our trust. Further, He has the wisdom and power to do for us far more than we ever are able to do for our children.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those that ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11 NAS).

By our attitudes and actions, most of us say to God, “I don’t love You. I don’t trust You.”

Can you think of anything that would hurt you more deeply, coming from your children? The average Christian is a practical atheist living as though God does not exist. Even though we give lip service to Him, we often refuse to trust and obey His promises as recorded in His Word.

Bible Reading:Matthew 7:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that God wants to give me a supernatural, abundant life, I will trust and obey Him today in all that I do.

 

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Max Lucado – A Useful Vessel

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

When you are full of yourself, God cannot fill you. But when you empty yourself, God has a useful vessel!

Paul, the Bible’s most prolific author, referred to himself as “the least of the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:9). King David wrote no psalm celebrating his victory over Goliath, but he did write a public poem of penitence confessing his sin with Bathsheba. And then there’s Joseph, the quiet father of Jesus. Rather than make a name for himself, he made a home for Christ. And he was given the privilege of naming the son, “and he called his name Jesus” (Matthew 1:25). Queue up the millions who’ve spoken the name of Jesus, and look at the person selected to stand at the front of the line, Joseph. It seems right, don’t you think? Joseph gave up his name, so Jesus let Joseph say his. Do you think Joseph ever regretted his choice?

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Doctor emerges from Thai cave to learn his father had died

 

Dr. Richard “Harry” Harris is an Australian anesthetist and experienced cave diver. He played a key role in the successful international effort that rescued twelve boys and their coach from a cave system in Thailand.

The Thai mission commander was extremely grateful for Dr. Harris’s contributions. He told a news conference yesterday, “Without him, in this operation, I don’t think we could have succeeded.”

Dr. Harris made the perilous two-and-a-half-mile journey in and out of Tham Luang cave every day to check on the health of the trapped boys. He was the last man out of the cave on Tuesday.

Tragically, he emerged from the darkness to learn that his father had died.

“Greater is He who is in you”

Heroism and happiness are not always connected in our fallen world.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Doctor emerges from Thai cave to learn his father had died