Charles Stanley – He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

 

Daniel 2:20-22

How many of us have listened to the global or national news and wondered, What in the world is going on? Without a firm foundation of biblical truth, we can easily be overcome with fear and despair. Despite the upheaval in political and financial realms, Christians can find peace in the knowledge that our God is sovereign over every nation and ruler on earth.

Though the future of a nation appears to be in the hands of its rulers and lawmakers, an omnipotent hand is orchestrating a good and glorious plan: The Lord is the one who “removes kings and establishes kings” (Dan. 2:21). Ultimately, every governmental leader is put into office, not by voters, political campaigns, or personal abilities, but by the hand of God.

Nothing that the Lord does is carried out in isolation. He’s working all things according to His divine plan. We tend to think that a ruler has to be righteous for God to use Him, but Proverbs 21:1 tells us the Lord can direct the heart of any national leader wherever He wishes. In fact, He describes two pagan kings—Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus—as “My servant” (Jer. 25:9) and “My shepherd” (Isa. 44:28). Unbeknownst to them, God guided their paths to fulfill His purposes for Israel.

When the news threatens to dislodge your peace or cause despair, remember who holds the nations and rulers in His hand. The Lord’s plans for this world are moving along according to His divine purposes, and no unrighteous ruler can thwart Him. Just keep singing, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.”

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 8-10

 

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Our Daily Bread — Jesus Knows Why

 

Read: Mark 8:22–26 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 35–36; Acts 25

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching. Matthew 7:28

I have friends who’ve received partial healing but still struggle with painful aspects of their diseases. Other friends have been healed of an addiction but still struggle with feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing. And I wonder, Why doesn’t God heal them completelyonce and for all?

In Mark 8:22–26, we read the story of Jesus healing a man born blind. Jesus first took the man away from the village. Then He spit on the man’s eyes and “put his hands on him.” The man said he now saw people who looked “like trees walking around.” Then Jesus touched the man’s eyes again, and this time he saw “everything clearly.”

In His ministry, Jesus’s words and actions often amazed and baffled the crowd and His followers (Matthew 7:28; Luke 8:10; 11:14) and even drove many of them away (John 6:60–66). No doubt this two-part miracle also caused confusion. Why not immediately heal this man?

We don’t know why. But Jesus knew what the man—and the disciples who viewed his healing—needed in that moment. And He knows what we need today to draw us closer in our relationship with Him. Though we won’t always understand, we can trust that God is working in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. And He will give us the strength, courage, and clarity we need to persevere in following Him.

Dear Lord, thank You for knowing us so well and for providing what we need most. Give us eyes to see You and a heart to understand Your Word.

Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus. Robert Cull

By Alyson Kieda

INSIGHT

Although God is able to heal all diseases and injuries, it’s not always His will to do so. God empowered the apostle Paul to heal many (Acts 14:8–10; 19:12), yet he wrote to Timothy about Trophimus whom he left “sick in Miletus” (2 Timothy 4:20). Likewise, Paul advised Timothy to take medicinal wine for his stomach problem and frequent ailments (1 Timothy 5:23). In this case, medicine was recommended instead of divine healing. Second Corinthians makes reference to Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (12:7), which many scholars believe was some type of physical ailment. Interestingly God didn’t remove it even after Paul’s repeated prayers for deliverance. The Lord’s response was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9).

God has His own purposes for granting full healing, partial healing, or withholding healing altogether. In what situation do you need to trust in the sufficient grace of God?

Dennis Fisher

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Tearing Down the House of Cards

“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” was a slogan I heard over and over again as I grew up. As a young person, this slogan meant that all my plans would be wonderful because God loved me. Now that I am older, I understand that this slogan had more to do with the Christian Gospel’s understanding of salvation than it did with guiding me down the primrose path of life. Yet, it still reverberates in my head when I experience hardship, pain, and loss. For it is often difficult to square a belief in the love of God with a series of life experiences that run counter to the expectations for a wonderful plan.

The seeming contradictions between stated beliefs and life experience often make faith complicated. For me, many of the cherished beliefs I held imploded and what I once thought was an invincible fortress came crashing down as life experience smashed up against them like a battering ram. C.S. Lewis described his own spiritual dismantling after the death of his wife, Joy, this way: “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”(1) Yet having to dwell in the rubble of what is left of one’s faith doesn’t feel as if it is the work of a God who desires to smash all our false conceptions.

 

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Joyce Meyer – The Negative Effect of Judging Others

 

Therefore you have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. — Romans 2:1 (AMPC)

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

In other words, the very same things that we judge others for, we do ourselves.

The Lord gave me a very good example once to help me understand this principle. I was pondering why we would do something ourselves and think it was perfectly all right, but judge someone else who does it. He said, “Joyce, you look at yourself through rose-colored glasses, but you look at everyone else through a magnifying glass.”

We make excuses for our own behavior, but when someone else does the same thing we do, we are often merciless. Doing unto others as we want them to do to us (see Matthew 7:12) is a good life principle that will prevent a lot of judgment and criticism, if followed.

A judgmental mind is an offshoot of a negative mind—thinking about what is wrong with an individual instead of what is right. Be positive and not negative! Others will benefit, but you will benefit more than anyone.

Prayer Starter: Father, I ask for Your help to change the way I think of others. Please help me to not focus on the negative but to think of people the way I want them to think of me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Can’t Keep on Sinning

 

“The person who has been born into God’s family does not make a practice of sinning, because now God’s life is in him; so he can’t keep on sinning, for this new life has been born into him and controls him – he has been born again” (1 John 3:9).

I am sobered by the very thought that, having served the Lord for more than 30 exciting, wonderful, fruitful years, I might yet dishonor His name and bring disgrace to His cause. I know what has happened to other brothers and sisters in Christ – some of whom had apparently at one time been Spirit- filled Christian leaders, and I know that I too could fail the Lord if I do not continue to trust and obey Him. Even the apostle Paul lived in reverential fear that he might dishonor the name and cause of our Lord.

“So be careful. If you are thinking, ‘Oh, I would never behave like that,’ let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin. But remember this: The wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you. And no temptation is irresistible.

“You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for He has promised this and will do what He says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power so that you can bear up patiently against it” (1 Corinthians 10:12,13).

For many years it has been my prayer, as I pray on the offensive, “Oh, God, if there is a possibility that I may dishonor or disgrace Your name by becoming involved in a moral, financial or any other kind of scandal that you would discredit my ministry and nullify my love and witness for You, I would rather You take my life first before such a thing could happen.”

The Scripture warns all believers that any one of them, too, could fall. No one reaches the place of spiritual maturity or perfection where he can say, “I don’t need the Lord’s help anymore.” The only one who can enable us to live victorious lives is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Bible Reading:I John 2:21-29

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: At the very first sign of yielding to Satan in any way, large or small, I will remind the Lord of my utter dependence on Him and I will claim by faith His power to live a supernatural life

 

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Max Lucado – Don’t Despise Small Beginnings

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God does uncommon things through common deeds! A friend of mine related the story of Hurricane Katrina survivors. As water rose around one man’s house, he swam out of a window with two children on his back, ending up on the rooftop of a tall building. Others joined him before being rescued. After an hour on the building, the man realized it was a church. Patting the rooftop he said to the others, “We are on holy ground.”  Another roof dweller proclaimed, “My grandfather and grandmother helped build this church.”

Do you think those grandparents ever imagined God would use their work to save their granddaughter?  What difference will your work make? God’s answer is this:  “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin”  (Zechariah 4:10).

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For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Another setback for Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow is one of the best-known Christians in America. A Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national champion at the University of Florida, he quarterbacked the Denver Broncos to the second round of the NFL playoffs before stints with the New York Jets and the New England Patriots.

Next, he turned his attention to baseball, a game he hadn’t played since high school. He made his minor league’s all-star game this year; fans were hoping the New York Mets would call him up to the major leagues. Then he broke a bone in his right hand and is expected to have season-ending surgery today.

Tebow has used sports as a platform for his passionate Christian faith. In response, skeptics have relentlessly mocked his sexual integrity and commitment to prayer and Scripture. Despite such ridicule, Tebow’s integrity has consistently glorified God and advanced his kingdom.

There’s a lesson here for us: if we want to serve our Lord in a skeptical culture, our lives must match our message.

Broken sprinkler heads

I was walking in our neighborhood recently and paused on a footbridge that spans a small stream. It is one of my favorite places to visit each morning.

On this occasion, however, my eye was drawn to a white styrofoam cup floating on the water. My frustration at someone’s negligence became the focus of my thoughts rather than the beauty of God’s creation.

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