Charles Stanley – Jesus: A Servant

 

Matthew 20:20-28

Believers like to talk about Jesus as Lord, Master, and especially Savior, but rarely is He mentioned as Servant. Yet describing His own mission, Christ said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). He entered the world to offer Himself for the Father’s purpose and mankind’s need.

Because every human being is born enslaved to sin, Jesus came to set us free. He voluntarily exchanged His glory for flesh because only as a human could He die in our place to pay the penalty for our sin. The greatest service He offered was His sacrifice on the cross. He allowed His purity to be violated by our transgressions. In fact, God made Jesus “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf” so that we could gain His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Our sinless Savior suddenly and painfully felt the burden of guilt, the vileness of sin, the weight of a tarnished soul, and a wretched separation from His Father. He suffered the injustice of dying for our sins in order that God’s holiness and our imperfection could be reconciled, and we could be shown mercy.

Jesus was the Father’s servant, agreeing to an atonement plan that made Him a sacrifice. And He is your servant as well—He humbly endured the punishment you deserved. To receive the benefit of His sacrifice, you need only believe and call on Him for the forgiveness of your sins. When you receive Him into your life, then you too will know the Servant, Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord.

Bible in One Year: Ecclesiastes 9-12

 

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Our Daily Bread — Through the Cross

 

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:8–18 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 23–25; Acts 21:18–40

[Nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

My coworker Tom keeps an 8″ by 12″ glass cross on his desk. His friend Phil, who like Tom is a cancer survivor, gave it to him to help him look at everything “through the cross.” The glass cross is a constant reminder of God’s love and good purposes for him.

That’s a challenging idea for all believers in Jesus, especially during difficult times. It’s much easier to focus on our problems than on God’s love.

The apostle Paul’s life was certainly an example of having a cross-shaped perspective. He described himself in times of suffering as being “persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:9). He believed that in the hard times, God is at work, “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (vv. 17–18).

To “fix our eyes . . . on what is unseen” doesn’t mean we minimize the problems. Paul Barnett, in his commentary on this passage, explains, “There is to be confidence, based on the certainty of God’s purposes for [us] . . . . On the other hand, there is the sober recognition that we groan with hope mingled with pain.”

Jesus gave His life for us. His love is deep and sacrificial. As we look at life “through the cross,” we see His love and faithfulness. And our trust in Him grows.

Father, teach us who You are. Increase our trust in You. Fill our minds with Your perspective.

Look at everything through the cross.

By Anne Cetas

INSIGHT

Through the cross we see God’s loving payment for our sin. But it teaches us more. Jesus’s suffering also exposed the nature and cruelty of our sin against Him and against humanity. He endured the worst we could do to Him to expose Satan’s lie that our Creator isn’t as good as He says He is. He even suffered unimaginable wrongs to show us how to love those who hurt us.

What else does God want to teach us about cross-shaped love and what it can do in us and for others?

Mart DeHaan

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – God in the Pews

Why isn’t God more obvious? This question is often asked in many ways and in many contexts, by people of all levels of faith. When prayers go unanswered, why is God silent? When suffering or tragedy strikes, why would God allow this to happen? Why wouldn’t God want more people to know God’s good news? When all the “evidence” seems to counter the biblical narrative, why doesn’t God just give the world a sign? If God was revealed through many wondrous signs and miracles throughout the Bible, why doesn’t God act that way today? All of these examples get at the same issue: the seeming “hiddenness” of God.

Atheist Bertrand Russell was once asked what he would say if after death he met God. Russell replied that he would say: “God, you gave us insufficient evidence.”(1) While many who have found God quite evident would balk at Russell’s audacity, a similar struggle ensued between the psalmist and his hidden God. “Why do you stand afar off, O Lord? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” Indeed, the psalmist accuses God of being asleep in these plaintive cries: “Arouse, yourself, why do you sleep, O Lord? Awake, and do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face, and forget our affliction and our oppression?”(2)

In fact, belief in a God who can be easily found, a God who has acted in time and space, makes the hiddenness of God all the more poignant and perplexing. Theologians have offered many explanations for God’s hiddenness: because God seeks to grow our faith, because our sins and disobedience hide us from God and keep us from seeing God properly, or because God loves us and knows how much and how often we need to “find” God. If we are honest, we are just as likely to hide ourselves from God just as the first humans did in the Garden when God sought after them. Even so we cry out just like Job did and wonder why God stays hidden away in unanswered prayers and difficult circumstances: “Why do you hide your face, and consider me the enemy?”

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Joyce Meyer – What Is Grace?

 

. . . The [Holy] Spirit [Who imparts] grace (the unmerited favor and blessing of God). — Hebrews 10:29 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day Devotional

Grace is the power of the Holy Spirit available to you to do with ease what you cannot do by striving in your own strength. Grace is God’s power coming into our lives, freely enabling us to do whatever we need to do. God’s grace is always available, but we do need to receive it by faith and refuse to try to do things in our own strength without God.

The Holy Spirit ministers grace to us from God the Father. Grace is actually the Holy Spirit’s power flowing out from the throne of God toward people to save them and enable them to live holy lives and accomplish the will of God.

We can rejoice and be full of peace, joy, and contentment each day because of God’s grace in our lives. It is His grace that allows us to live in close fellowship with Him. With the grace of God, life can be enjoyed with an ease that produces rest and contentment.

Prayer Starter: Lord, help me to rely on Your grace to do everything. In my own strength, I can only do so much, but with You, all things are possible. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Things for Our Good

“And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plans” (Romans 8:28).

I waited and prayed in the chapel at the Loma Linda Hospital. My beloved wife, Vonette, had been in major surgery for four hours. Three weeks before, while I was in Brazil, she had gone to our doctor for a physical examination and he had informed her that she had a large growth that could be malignant.

Though he wanted to operate at once, the doctor agreed at Vonette’s insistence to wait until I returned from a tour of several Latin American countries. Vonette called to give me the doctor’s report while I was in Rio de Janerio. Naturally I wanted to return home at once. However, she assured me that she would be all right and encouraged me not to interrupt the meetings since they had the potential of ultimately helping to train hundreds of thousands of Christians to help reach millions for our Lord throughout all of Latin America (which they have subsequently done through a great Here’s Life movement in each of these countries).

We prayed together over the telephone, praising God for His faithfulness to us in the past. As an expression of our faith and an act of obedience to His holy, inspired Word, we thanked Him for this opportunity to trust Him, even though at the moment it seemed very difficult. Then as we praised and gave thanks to the Lord, His supernatural peace flooded our hearts. God always honors faith and obedience.

During the following weeks we continued to praise and thank God as we both continued to speak and witness for Him personally and at many meetings, recognizing that we are His servants, and that the Master is responsible for the welfare of His servants.

After the surgery the doctors assured us that the operation was a success and that there was no malignancy. We continue to thank and praise the Lord for His goodness to us. We know that, if we love God, all things really do work out together for our good regardless of the circumstances and regardless of the outcome. Why did God allow us to go through this experience? In order that we would be reminded of His faithfulness and learn to love, trust and obey Him.

Bible Reading:Romans 8:29-34

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Since I love God and am fitting into His plans, I will, by faith, count all things as working together for my good today and will thank God and praise Him in obedience to His command. I will encourage others to do the same, to trust and obey God as an expression of the supernatural life

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – A Purposeful Pause

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

It took a purposeful pause to pull me out of a spiritual desert! Standing in our new church building before a beaming congregation, I was thinking, I should be thrilled.  Instead I was hollow and mechanical.  A friend noticed and convinced me to do what I’m urging you to do—that is, clarify my sweet spot. Renewal began when I paused on purpose.

Do you sense a disconnect between your design and daily duties?  God may want you to leave but you’re staying.  How can you know unless you mute the crowd and meet with Jesus in a deserted place?  He says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus “often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:16). Why don’t you press the ‘pause button’ so you can contemplate the work of God.

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – UK ethics council decides altering human embryos is “morally permissible”

An ethics council in the United Kingdom has concluded that changing the DNA of a human embryo could be “morally permissible” if such changes are in the child’s best interests and do not create further inequalities in society.

This is a monumental and troubling announcement.

Embryonic genetic editing: the positives

Let’s begin with some background. In addition to my work at Denison Forum, I serve as the resident scholar for ethics with Baylor Scott & White Health. In this capacity, I am especially interested in the ethics of genetic medicine.

I have been following advances in genome-editing techniques that have made it possible to correct genetic defects in human embryos. Since inherited disorders affect millions of people around the world, such advances offer great potential.

According to the New York Times, one recently developed technique could conceivably apply to more than ten thousand conditions caused by specific inherited genetic mutations. This technique is relevant to certain breast and ovarian cancers and to diseases such as Huntington’s, Tay-Sachs, sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, and some cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

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