Charles Stanley –Walk in the Light

 

Ephesians 5:6-16

Yesterday we saw that when we walk in holiness, we change direction from our old life and leave an imprint wherever we go. Now let’s consider one more aspect of this new journey: walking in the light. (See 1 John 1:5-7.)

In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul challenges us to consider this question: “What partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” He’s saying that just as Christ and Satan can’t have fellowship with each other, neither can good and evil. In other words, sin should become a foreign thing to everyone who knows Christ as Savior. His Holy Spirit helps us become sensitive to the presence of sin.

The Bible says that before we come to Christ, we are not only in darkness, but we are darkness. The ungodly are darkened in their understanding, ignorant of the truth, callused in their heart, and hardened in their spirit; they have turned themselves over to sin. All of this changes when a person places faith in the Lord. The believer experiences forgiveness and redemption, and what’s more, something else wonderful happens: Darkness is replaced with God’s light and righteousness.

Everyone who chooses to follow God is given a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17), but patterns of the old self linger. You may think that because you sometimes struggle with sins, godliness is an unattainable goal. However, it is not your own strength that makes you holy, but the Holy One in your heart. When you make Christ the center of your life and daily make the decision to walk in His light, He enables you to live holy in this dark and unholy world.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 22-24

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Lord Speaks

 

Read: Job 38:1–11 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 91–93; Romans 15:1–13

Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Job 40:2

We can find nearly every argument in the book of Job about why there is pain in the world, but the arguing never seems to help Job much. His is a crisis of relationship more than a crisis of doubt. Can he trust God? Job wants one thing above all else: an appearance by the one Person who can explain his miserable fate. He wants to meet God Himself, face to face.

Eventually Job gets his wish. God shows up in person (see Job 38:1). He times His entrance with perfect irony, just as Job’s friend Elihu is expounding on why Job has no right to expect a visit from God.

No one—not Job, nor any of his friends—is prepared for what God has to say. Job has saved up a long list of questions, but it is God, not Job, who asks the questions. “Brace yourself like a man,” He begins; “I will question you, and you shall answer me” (v. 3). Brushing aside thirty-five chapters’ worth of debates on the problem of pain, God plunges into a majestic poem on the wonders of the natural world.

God’s speech defines the vast difference between the God of all creation and one puny man like Job. His presence spectacularly answers Job’s biggest question: Is anybody out there? Job can only respond, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know” (42:3).

Lord, we have so many questions about life and its unfairness. You have shown Yourself good to us. Help us to trust You for what we cannot understand.

No calamity is beyond God’s sovereignty.

By Philip Yancey

INSIGHT

After all Job had endured, how could the Lord of heaven respond to his honest, agonizing questions with more questions?

Job forgot the case he wanted to argue in the court of heaven (Job 23:1–10). The presence and questions of God suddenly reawakened the trust he’d expressed in those first moments of the worst days of his life (1:21; 2:10).

We, on the other hand, have an advantage that Job lacked. In the prologue of Job’s story, we are taken behind the scenes to see how God viewed Job (1:1–2:10).

What if our lives had such a prologue? Would it help to know that more is going on than we can see and that it’s better than we imagine? Even if we aren’t an exemplary example as Job was, can we take heart in being one of the dearly loved sinners for whom Christ died?

Mart DeHaan

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Within the Void

Someone told me recently that he wondered if humans only truly ever pray when we are in the midst of despair. Maybe only when we have no other excuses to offer, no other comfort to hide behind, no more façades to uphold, are we most likely to bow in exhaustion and be real with God and ourselves. C.S. Lewis might have wondered similarly: “For most of us, the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model.” In our distress, in our lament, we stand as we truly are: creatures in need hope and mercy, in need of someone to listen.

The words within the ancient Hebrew story of Jonah that are of most interest to me are words that in some ways seem not to fit in the story at all.(1) Interrupting a narrative that quickly draws in its hearers, a narrative about Jonah, the text very fleetingly pauses to bring us the voice of Jonah himself before returning again to the narrative. The eight lines come in the form of a distraught and despairing, though poetic prayer. The poem could be omitted without affecting the coherence of the story whatsoever. And yet, the deliberate jaunt in the narrative text provides a moment of significant commentary to the whole. The eight verses of poetry not only mark an abrupt shift in the tone of the text, but also in the attitude of its main character. The poetic prayer of the prophet, spoken as a cry of deliverance, arise from the belly of the great fish—a stirring image reminiscent of another despairing soul’s question: “Where can I flee from your presence?” cried David. “If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me.”(2)

Jonah’s eloquent prayer for deliverance stands out in a book that is detailed with his egotistic mantras and glaring self-deceptions. By his own actions, Jonah finds himself in darkness, and yet it is in the dark that he finally speaks most honestly to God. The story is vaguely familiar to many hearers, and yet our familiarity often seems to minimize the distress that broke Jonah’s silence with God. The popular notion that Jonah went straight from the side of the ship into the mouth of the fish is not supported by either the narrative as a whole or Jonah’s prayer. As one scholar suggests, “[Jonah] was half drowned before he was swallowed. If he was still conscious, sheer dread would have caused him to faint—notice that there is no mention of the fish in his prayer. He can hardly have known what caused the change from wet darkness to an even greater dry darkness. When he did regain consciousness, it would have taken some time to realize that the all-enveloping darkness was not that of Sheol but of a mysterious safety.”(3)

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Joyce Meyer – Let God Interrupt You

 

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” — Esther 4:14

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Have you ever noticed that the men and women we read about in the Bible and consider “great” were all people who allowed God to interrupt their lives and were willing to make tremendous sacrifices for Him?

Joseph saved a nation from starvation, but not before God dramatically removed him from his comfortable home where he was his father’s favorite and allowed him to be imprisoned for many years. Joseph probably wasn’t planning a life of hardship and rejection, but God took him through those things in order to position him to be in the right place at the right time. But Joseph could only know that after the fact.

Esther was a young maiden who undoubtedly had plans for her future when suddenly, without warning, she was asked to enter the king’s harem and gain favor with him so she could reveal the plan of wicked Haman, who intended to slaughter the Jews. She was asked to do things that left her frightened for her life, but her wise uncle knew that God had brought her to this point in her life and allowed everything she had endured in the past to prepare her for a moment of greatness.

These people had plans, but they let God interrupt them, and they followed Him instead. If you will decide that you don’t mind having God interrupt your life, He can prepare you, too, for moments of greatness and use you in awesome ways.

Prayer Starter: Lord, interrupt my life for Your purposes at any time and in any way You see fit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Shine Like the Sun 

 

“And those who are wise – the people of God – shall shine as brightly as the sun’s brilliance, and those who turn many to righteousness will glitter like stars forever” (Daniel 12:3).

Did it ever occur to you that as a child of God you are to radiate in your countenance the beauty and glory of God? Have you ever considered the inconsistency of having a glum expression while professing that the Son of God, the light of the world, dwells within you?

Proverbs 15:13 reminds us that a happy face means a glad heart; a sad face means a breaking heart.

When missionary Adoniram Judson was home on furlough many years ago, he passed through the city of Stonington, Connecticut. A young boy, playing about the wharves at the time of Judson’s arrival, was struck by the missionary’s appearance. He had never before seen such a light on a man’s face.

Curious, he ran up the street to a ministers’s home to ask if he knew who the stranger was. Following the boy back, the minister became so engaged in conversation with Judson that he forgot all about the lad standing nearby.

Many years later that boy – unable to get away from the influence of what he had seen on the man’s face – became the famous preacher, Henry Clay Trumbull. One chapter in his book of memoirs is entitled, “What a Boy Saw in the Face of Adoniram Judson.”

A shining face – radiant with the love and joy of Jesus Christ – had changed a life. Just as flowers thrive when they bend toward the light of the sun, so shining, radiant faces are the result of those who concentrate their gaze upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

May we never underestimate the power of a glowing face that stems from time spent with God. Even as Moses’ countenance shone, may your face and mine reveal time spent alone with God and in His Word.

Bible Reading:Matthew 5:13-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will spend sufficient time with the Lord each day to insure a radiant countenance for the glory of God and as a witness to those with whom I have contact each day.

 

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Max Lucado – Pulling Down Strongholds

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Make no mistake. The devil is a real devil!  Every conflict is a contest with Satan and his forces.  For that reason the Bible says, “though we walk in the flesh we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).

What are these weapons?  Prayer, worship, and Scripture.  When we pray, we engage the power of God against the devil.  When we worship, we do what Satan did not do.  We place God on the throne.  When we pick up the sword of Scripture, we do what Jesus did in the wilderness.  He responded to Satan by proclaiming truth.  And since Satan has a severe allergy to truth, he left Jesus alone. Satan will not linger long where God is praised and prayers are offered. And because God’s promises are unbreakable, our hope is unshakable!

Read more Unshakable Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – What Google Searches Reveal

Gone are the days when you plunge into your parents’ living room set of encyclopedias, digging through the volumes alphabetically to find the answer to that relentless question plaguing you: When does the whooping crane migrate?

Today you are one quick Google search away from answering that question and pretty much anything else that inquiring minds want to know. By the way, didn’t want to leave you with a cliffhanger: it’s mid-September for the whooping crane.

Google is the most-searched search engine in the world and also provides insight into what interests us. I googled (yes, it’s a verb now) the top searches in both 2017 and thus far in 2018, and it was a fascinating look into our culture.

What is our culture searching for?

This year it seems Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga were among those who captivated us in the music category, while pop culture had us interested in Matt Lauer and Meghan Markle. Our techie folks were into the iPhone X, and apparently a whole host of you people were trying to figure out how to make slime, while others were in the market to lose belly fat fast.

But 2018 is only half written.

Each December, Google releases the “Year In Search,” a video summarizing the Google searches shaping that given year. I recently watched “Year In Search 2017” and was reminded of the hardships of last year.

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