Charles Stanley – True Riches

 

Ephesians 1:1-8

Jesus willingly left behind His divinity and for our sake took on the limitations of human form. Second Corinthians 8:9 tells us that He became poor in order that we might have the riches of grace. As a result, we are …

Chosen. God made us part of His plan from the beginning (Eph. 1:5). He chose us to belong to Him even though we did not deserve it.

Redeemed. Jesus paid the price to redeem us from sin so that we might no longer be held in its bondage. The price of our redemption was His precious blood, shed on the cross (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Justified. We are all guilty of disobedience against God. However, when we place trust in Jesus as our personal Savior, God declares that we are justified, and He treats us as not guilty (Rom. 3:23-24).

Reconciled. Because of our sin, we were at odds with God. Through Christ, we have been brought back into a right relationship with Him (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Forgiven. God has already forgiven all our past, present, and future sins; it’s a “done deal.” Ongoing confession and repentance keep us in intimate communion with Him (1 John 1:7; 1 John 1: 9).

Freed from condemnation. The Law was given for us to understand God’s standards, our inability to keep them, and our need of a Savior. Jesus fulfilled the law, and His finished work counts on our behalf. We are, then, free to pursue holiness without fear of punishment when we fail (Rom. 8:1-4).

True riches are spiritual in nature, and grace has made us wealthy people. Let us never forget these remarkable reasons to be thankful.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 31-35

 

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Our Daily Bread — Overcoming Challenges

 

Read: Nehemiah 6:1–9, 15 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 51–53; Romans 2

So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. Nehemiah 6:15

We gathered monthly to hold one another accountable to our individual goals. My friend Mary wanted to reupholster the seats of her dining room chairs before the year’s end. At our November meeting she wittily reported her progress from October: “It took ten months and two hours to recover my chairs.” After months of not being able to obtain the materials required, or find the quiet hours away from her demanding job and her toddler’s needs, the project took merely two hours of committed work to finish.

The Lord called Nehemiah to a far greater project: to bring restoration to Jerusalem after its walls had lain in ruin for 150 years (Nehemiah 2:3–5, 12). As he led the people in the labor, they experienced mockery, attacks, distraction, and temptation to sin (4:3, 8; 6:10–12). Yet God equipped them to stand firm—resolute in their efforts—completing a daunting task in just fifty-two days.

Overcoming such challenges requires much more than a personal desire or goal; Nehemiah was driven by an understanding that God appointed him to the task. His sense of purpose invigorated the people to follow his leadership despite incredible opposition. When God charges us with a task—whether to repair a relationship or share what He’s done in our lives—He gives us whatever skills and strength are necessary to continue in our effort to do what He’s asked, no matter what challenges come our way.

Lord, please equip me with Your strength to persevere and finish the tasks You’ve given me. May my labors bring You glory.

God equips us to overcome obstacles and complete the tasks He’s given us to do.

By Kirsten Holmberg

INSIGHT

What kinds of challenges have you faced? How has God helped you to overcome them?

For further study on the book of Nehemiah, see christianuniversity.org/OT220.

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The End of Hope

In John Bunyan’s abiding allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, hope is personified in two ways. Hopeful is the traveling companion of Christian, the story’s protagonist, along the winding journey toward the Celestial City. Hopeful was born in the town of Vanity and grew up with great expectations of the things of the fair; honor and title, ownership and ease were his great hopes. But he had suffered bitter disappointment in these pursuits and found only shipwrecks of his own optimism. In this valley of emptiness, Hopeful was able to recognize the full and solid quest of Christian. And thus, Hopeful’s drastic conversion of hope begins with pilgrimage and community.

The other character marked by hope in Bunyan’s tale is encountered near the river one must cross on foot in order to enter the Celestial City. Vain-Hope is a ferryman, who offers to ferry travelers across the River of Death so that they don’t have to cross on their own. Yet as one man discovers, it is a promise that gets him across the river, but destroys all hope of staying there. In the end, Vain-Hope is a deadly end.

With these two lucid pictures, Bunyan divides hope in two, possibly simple, but maybe wise, categories: the life-giving and the destructive. Considering all the ways in which we use the word, it seems easily an oversimplification. In the painting above, for instance, artist George Frederic Watts shows a female allegorical figure of Hope, for which the painting is titled, sitting on a globe in a hunched position, blindfolded, clutching a wooden lyre with only one string left intact. According to Watts, “Hope need not mean expectancy. It suggests here rather the music which can come from the remaining chord.”(1)  G. K. Chesterton, who was far from alone in his criticism of Watt’s image, suggested that a better title for this work would be Despair. Chesterton describes the lone string of Hope’s lyre as “a string which is always stretched to snapping and yet never snaps. . . the queerest and most delicate thing in us, the most fragile, the most fantastic, is in truth the backbone and indestructible. . . Faith is always at a disadvantage; it is a perpetually defeated thing which survives all its conquerors.”(2)

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Joyce Meyer – No Hope?

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation. — Psalm 42:5

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

“What’s the use?” Jeff said to me. “I’ve tried many times to work for God and to accomplish great things. No matter what I do or how hard I work, I end up failing.”

“I vowed that I would set aside time for God every day,” Pam said. “That was my only resolution for the year.” She shrugged. “It’s now April, and I stuck with my plan for about three weeks. I never complete most of the important things in my life.”

Jeff and Pam are only two examples of people who feel hopeless. They know what they want to do, but they still don’t accomplish what they desire.

There is no one way we can explain all failures, but both of these believers had reached the place of hopelessness. They were sure they couldn’t do it. “I’ve tried before, and I failed,” they each said. They saw no point in trying again.

“Okay, so I try again and then I fail again,” Jeff said. “I already feel bad; why would I want to feel worse?”

He didn’t realize that negative thoughts and words were the cause of his own failure. Satan was there to attack and discourage him, but he did most of the work himself through an attitude of hopelessness.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – No Hope?

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Help for Hard Times

 

“He cares for them when times are hard; even in famine, they will have enough” (Psalm 37:19).

I recall that, in the early 1930’s during the time of the great depression in America, many people experienced hard times. It was not always easy to fully appreciate the fact I know now to be true: God always cares for His children.

“When times are hard” can refer not only to the material, but also to the physical and the spiritual. And during any of these times – whether in poverty, poor health or spiritual doldrums – our great God always cares for us.

In Bible times, God often proved the truth of the assertion that He cares for His people in periods of famine. And no doubt multitudes of sufferers around the world today would attest to that fact, in spite of their suffering.

When physical suffering is involved, it is not always easy to see the hand of God. But one sure way to increase faith is to exercise the sacrifice of praise – praise to our wonderful God for the positive fact that “all things do work together for our good if we love God and are called according to His purpose.”

When spiritual poverty is concerned, we need only retreat to that time and place in our lives where we wandered away from God, whatever degree of wandering that involves, whether large or small. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

Bible Reading:Psalm 37:16-22

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: At all times of difficulty in my life – spiritual, material, physical – I will look for God’s hand of blessing in the joyful assurance that He cares for me

 

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Max Lucado – Jesus Was a Humble Servant

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Jesus’ self-assigned purpose statement reads: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

As you celebrate your unique design, be careful.  Don’t be so focused on what you love to do that you neglect what needs to be done. You know a 3:00 am diaper change fits in very few sweet spots, but the world needs servants. People like Jesus, who “did not come to be served, but to serve.” He selected prayer over sleep and unpredictable apostles over obedient angels. Jesus picked the people. When they feared the storm, he stilled it. When they had no wine for the wedding or food for the multitude, he made both. Let’s follow his example and put on the apron of humility, to serve one another (1 Peter 5:5).

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – Fireman turned policeman dies at 29

Adam Jobbers-Miller grew up in Wayne, New Jersey, the son of a fireman. He served as a volunteer fireman with his father before he was hired as a police officer in Fort Myers, Florida.

Jobbers-Miller was shot in the head on July 21 while responding to a report of a gunman at a gas station. He underwent surgery but died of his injuries a week later.

It takes tremendous courage to risk one’s life as a firefighter or a police officer. Jobbers-Miller did both.

In other news, the remains of Capt. Lawrence Dickson have been identified. He was the first of more than two dozen black aviators known as Tuskegee Airmen who went missing in action during World War II. Dickson was twenty-four when he went down on a mission over Austria on December 23, 1944.

Meanwhile, remains believed to be those of fifty-five American servicemen were flown out of North Korea on Friday. “These incredible American heroes will soon lay at rest on sacred American soil,” President Trump said.

A fifty-fifty chance of survival

It takes courage to do a hard thing that others will not do. If it were easy, it would already be done.

Rocket Men is Robert Kurson’s bestselling story of the Apollo 8 space mission. I was gripped by the book from start to finish. Kurson timed his narrative for the fiftieth anniversary of the first manned mission to leave Earth’s orbit, reach the Moon, orbit it, and return to Earth safely.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Fireman turned policeman dies at 29