Charles Stanley – When a Child Dies

 

2 Samuel 12:16-23

Understandably, people who lose a child want assurance that their little one is safe in the arms of God. The Bible is not explicit about what happens to those who are too young to make a proclamation of faith. However, the Lord’s mercy upon them becomes clear as we study His Word.

Over the years, many people have created unbiblical explanations for what happens to children who die. There are those who argue that salvation is available to some but not to others, which is scripturally untrue (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9). Also unsupportable is the more complicated theory that God uses His foreknowledge to determine whether a child who dies will enter heaven or hell. The idea is that He rescues those who He knows would have grown up and been saved, but He rejects the rest. What terrible uncertainty that would mean for family members left behind.

God doesn’t keep people guessing. What His Word teaches is that during the early years of life, a child does not know how to choose good from evil (Deut. 1:39; Isa. 7:16) and therefore isn’t held responsible for his moral conduct. Accordingly, when a little one departs from life, the Lord is waiting with open arms. This theology makes biblical sense, given the Father’s character, desires, and plan.

Until a child is mature enough to decide about whether to serve the Lord, he or she is safe from divine judgment. Our just and loving God does not punish children for being too young to grasp their need of a Savior. Believers join their departed little ones in heaven (2 Samuel 12:23).

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 19-22

 

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Our Daily Bread — Lavish Expressions of Love

 

Read: 2 Corinthians 9:6–15 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 43–45; Acts 27:27–44

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion. 2 Corinthians 9:11

On our wedding anniversary, my husband, Alan, gives me a large bouquet of fresh flowers. When he lost his job during a corporate restructure, I didn’t expect this extravagant display of devotion to continue. But on our nineteenth anniversary, the color-splashed blossoms greeted me from their spot on our dining room table. Because he valued continuing this annual tradition, Alan saved some money each month to ensure he’d have enough for this personal show of affection.

My husband’s careful planning exhibited exuberant generosity, similar to what Paul encouraged when he addressed the Corinthian believers. The apostle complimented the church for their intentional and enthusiastic offerings (2 Corinthians 9:2, 5), reminding them that God delights in generous and cheerful givers (vv. 6–7). After all, no one gives more than our loving Provider, who’s always ready to supply all we need (vv. 8–10).

We can be generous in all kinds of giving, caring for one another because the Lord meets all of our material, emotional, and spiritual needs (v. 11). As we give, we can express our gratitude for all God has given us. We can even motivate others to praise the Lord and give from all God has given them (vv. 12–13). Openhanded giving, a lavish expression of love and gratitude, can demonstrate our confidence in God’s provision for all His people.

Lord, please help us trust Your abundant love and generosity, so we can give to others as You so faithfully give to us.

Generous giving displays courageous confidence in God’s loving and faithful provision.

By Xochitl Dixon

INSIGHT

Paul reminds us that God provides for us so we can bless others (2 Corinthians 9:6–8). He quotes Psalm 112:9 to encourage generosity: “[The righteous] share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever” (nlt).

In what ways can you practice cheerful, generous giving this week?

  1. T. Sim

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Overwhelming Rejection

There are those who say that lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection. I always wonder if they have ever heard the story of the Syrophoenician woman.

Jesus was on his way to a place where no one would recognize him. From the chaos of Jerusalem and the crowds of Galilee he withdrew to the region of Tyre. According to one of his disciples, when he had entered a house, he wanted no one to know of it. Yet, he did not escape notice. A Gentile woman of the Syrophoenician race immediately fell at his feet and began to cry out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” But he did not answer her a word.(1)

In the lives of those who believe in God, rejection is always a distinct possibility. Of course, this is not to say that God is rejecting us personally. As Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”  And yet, in the barren silence after years of praying for a child, in the slamming of a door that held a real and certain hope, in the wordless dismissal of a mother brought to her knees, the rejection is indeed personal.

But this woman at Jesus’s feet refused to turn away at the first sign of his refusal. She was not deterred by the disciples’ request that she be sent away, nor was she convinced to cease her plea after the harsh words that finally did break Jesus’s silence:  “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Being a Gentile, she was not one of them. Lesser rejections have certainly brought me to crumbled mess. Yet even this was not a thought that would dissuade her. Bowing down before him, she pled once more, “Lord, help me!”

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Overwhelming Rejection

Joyce Meyer – Partnering with God

 

pray without ceasing, — 1 Thessalonians 5:17

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

Prayer is the greatest privilege of our lives. It’s not something we have to do; it’s something we get to do! Prayer is one of the ways we partner with God to see His plans and purposes come to pass in our lives and in the lives of those we love. It is the means by which we human beings on earth can actually enter into the awesome presence and power of God.

Prayer allows us to share our hearts with God, to listen for His direction, to express our thanksgiving, and to know how to discover and enjoy all the great things He has for us. I have heard it said that “all failure is a failure to pray.” Communicating with God is indeed the greatest privilege I know, and it is also the simplest privilege I know. Don’t make prayer complicated or difficult. Keep it simple and enjoy every moment spent with the Lord in prayer.

Prayer Starter: Father, I thank You for the great privilege of coming to You in prayer. It is amazing to think that I can enter into Your presence with thanksgiving today. Thank You, Lord, for hearing my prayer and for guiding me as I go through my day today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – We Help Conquer Satan

 

“They defeated him by the blood of the Lamb, and by their testimony; for they did not love their lives but laid them down for Him” (Revelation 12:11).

Down through the years, you and I have lauded and applauded the martyrs – and rightly so.

These heroes of the faith – like Chester Bitterman of the Wycliffe Bible Translators, one of the latest in a long line of martyrs – preferred death to disloyalty to God and to Christ. Their testimony literally was written in blood.

Truly, “they did not love their lives but laid them down for Him.” And by so doing, they became partners with God and with Christ in defeating the enemy of men’s souls, Satan. Satan is to be conquered not only by the blood of the Lamb, but also by reason of the testimony of the martyrs.

T.E. McCully, father of missionary martyr Ed McCully, who, along with Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Nate Saint and Roger Youderian, lost his life to the Auca Indians on January 8, 1956, made a sage observation about the great sacrifice these young men had made.

“Sometimes,” he said, “it’s harder to be a living sacrifice than it is to be a dead sacrifice.” And this hits us all right where we live, in our walk with Christ today. The daily grind, the commitment and recommitment, the enduring of trial and testing – all of this takes a daily sacrifice. This is an opportunity for our lives to be a “sacrifice of praise” to our God.

Bible Reading:Revelation 12:7-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Claiming the power of the Holy Spirit by faith, I will seek to be a living sacrifice, so that my life will be part of Satan’s defeat

 

 

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Max Lucado -Prepare the Soil and Sow the Seed

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Who has a greater chance of helping our children live in their sweet spots than we do?  But will we? God’s Word urges us to do so. Listen closely to this reminder, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Don’t interpret this verse to mean, If I fill them with Scripture and Bible lessons, they may rebel but eventually they’ll return. The proverb makes no such promise. Godly parents can prepare the soil and sow the seed, but God gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6). Show them the path? Yes. Force them to take it? No. To train up means to awaken thirst—to develop thirst. One translation (ASB) margins this verse with the phrase according to his way. So, the greatest gift you can give your children is not your riches, but revealing to them their own.

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – How to survive a shark attack

You have almost survived “Shark Week.” The Discovery Channel phenomenon began in 1988. This year’s installment ends Sunday.

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal hosted this year in part to overcome his fear of sharks. Producers had to build a larger-than-usual cage for him. They included extra-large windows for better visibility. As a result, a small shark squeezed through the bars and into the cage.

This was a first in the show’s thirty-year history.

The team behind the camera was able to get Shaq out of the cage quickly. One of the show’s producers said, “Shaq hasn’t moved that fast since he was in the NBA.”

If you find yourself in a similar situation but without a cage or television personnel to help, what should you do? Jimi Partington, one of the world’s leading great white shark experts, has some advice. In essence: fight back.

If a shark attacks you, you must convince it that you’re not its usual food. You do this, not by swimming away (this will mimic its typical prey and probably encourage an attack), but by standing your ground. Partington says to “go for the eyes and the gills, as these are the most sensitive areas of the shark.” You can also strike the shark on the nose.

The article concludes: “It’s best to be dominant, be confident and, in most cases, the shark will swim away. That might be hard to do in that scenario, but it could save your life.”

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