Charles Stanley –Our Eternal Rewards

 

Revelation 4:9-11

Throughout Scripture, we find references to crowns. Let’s take a look at how they reveal the eternal rewards of loving Jesus Christ and following Him obediently.

The Crown of Victory. To finish life well, believers need Olympic endurance. Athletes in those ancient games were crowned with a perishable circlet of laurel leaves. But when we pursue our God-given ministry and triumph over sin, we’ll be given an imperishable crown (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).

The Crown of Exultation. Any believers to whom we ministered through the power of Jesus will be “our glory and joy” before the Lord (1 Thess. 2:18-20). Just imagine how you will rejoice in heaven upon seeing and talking with the people you care about, who appreciate your spiritual investment in them.

The Crown of Righteousness. Following Jesus is not easy, but there is great reward for living righteously when facing temptation or hardship. Believers who pursue godliness can look forward to the life to come—and to meeting God with a pure conscience (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

The Crown of Life. Anguish and pain are unavoidable in this life, but we can take heart because much spiritual growth happens in adversity. Hang in there to receive the crown of life that the Lord promised to those who love Him (James 1:12).

In heaven, what will we do with the crowns God has given us? We will cast them before Jesus’ feet (Revelation 4:10), laying them down as a tribute to the One who saved us, gifted us, equipped us, and lived in us. Everything good and right comes to us through the Lord, so He deserves our crowns.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 32-33

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Muscling Through

 

Read: 2 Chronicles 20:2–3, 14–22 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 148–150; 1 Corinthians 15:29–58

Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 2 Chronicles 20:3

Competitive bodybuilders put themselves through a rigorous training cycle. During the initial months, they emphasize gaining size and strength. As the competition nears, the focus shifts to losing any fat that hides the muscle. In the final days before the competition, they consume less water than normal so their muscle tissue is easily visible. Because of the reduced consumption of nourishment, the competitors are actually at their weakest on the day of competition, despite appearing strong.

In 2 Chronicles 20, we read of the opposite reality: acknowledging weakness in order to experience God’s strength. “A vast army is coming against you,” people told King Jehoshaphat. So “he proclaimed a fast for all Judah” (v. 3), depriving himself and all his people of nourishment. Then they asked God for help. When he finally mustered his military, Jehoshaphat placed singers who praised God at the front of his army (v. 21). As they began to sing, the Lord “set ambushes against the men . . . who were invading Judah, and they were defeated” (v. 22).

Jehoshaphat’s decision demonstrated deep faith in God. He purposefully chose not to depend on his own human and military prowess but instead to lean on God. Rather than trying to muscle our way through the trials we face, may we turn to Him and allow Him to be our strength.

Read The Strength of Weakness at discoveryseries.org/hp144.

We must recognize our weakness to experience God’s strength.

By Kirsten Holmberg

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Can We Know God Is Real?

According to Will Durant, “The greatest question of our time is not communism vs. individualism, not Europe vs. America, not even the East vs. the West; it is whether men can bear to live without God.” The importance of this question impacts us all because it is not simply an intellectual exercise, but a question of life. If God indeed exists, then it would change everything. The consequences would be major, and to ignore God, to avoid God, or to reject God could be costly. But can we really know that God is real?

As it is often framed, such a question means that we are asking for overwhelming evidence or evidence of a particular nature before we feel we can make a judgment. We may insist that if God were real God would reveal himself on our terms, whether through science, or the arts, or philosophy. Yet my response would be that we should defer judgment, hold back our prejudices and our desired terms, and follow the trail of intimations to where they may lead. Let me lay some foundations.

Since the beginning of time until the present, the overwhelming majority of people have believed that God exists. This is not a compelling argument, but it is nonetheless an occurrence that demands explanation. What’s more, many scientists and philosophers continue to see overwhelming evidence of design in the natural world. The complexity, order, and life-sustaining factors are too significant to be answered by chance. If you watched a movie and were clearly awed by it, but were then told that it just came together by chance, you would scoff at the suggestion! The beauty, the plot, the detail, and the coherence tell you plainly that an intelligent agent was involved. As the old song says, “Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.”

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Joyce Meyer – Be Who You Are

 

We must not become conceited, challenging or provoking one another, envying one another. — Galatians 5:26 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource – by Joyce Meyer

In Galatians 6:4 the apostle Paul exhorts you to grow in the Lord until you come to the point you can have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable in itself alone without resorting to boastful comparison with other people.

Thank God, once you know who you are in Christ, you are set free from the stress of comparison and competition. You know you have worth and value apart from your works and accomplishments. Therefore, you can do your best to glorify God, rather than just trying to be better than someone else. What a glorious, wonderful freedom to be secure in Christ and not have to be controlled by strife, envy, or jealousy. You can be who God created you to be! He doesn’t make mistakes!

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for the gifts and talents You have given me. Help me to confidently do my best, but also remain humble and grateful. Set me free from comparing myself with others. Help me to not feel “more than” or “less than.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Happy Are the Mourners

 

“Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

During my days of agnosticism and early inquiry into the Christian faith, I was not aware of my sin. I had come to believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He died on the cross for the sins of man but somehow it had not dawned on me that I was that bad. My life-style was not much different from that of the average church member. And, though my life was far from exemplary, in my own estimation I was a pretty decent fellow. As a matter of fact, I had some problems with all the talk about the cross and the shedding of blood. It seemed offensive to my aesthetic nature.

I was willing to believe that Jesus was the greatest influence, the greatest teacher, the greatest leader, the greatest example that man had ever known. And if He had to die on the cross to make a point, I did not think it was important enough to be made an issue. In fact, the thing that was really important to me was the fact that according to the Bible and the historical evidence, Jesus lived a very wonderful life dedicated to helping others. Then one day – I shall never forget the time and place, though I have forgotten the exact passage – as I read the Bible I was suddenly gripped with the necessity of Christ dying on the cross for my sins. I finally realized that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin, that I had fallen short of the glory of God and that I deserved death. I realized that there is nothing in me that merited His love, His grace, His forgiveness, His cleansing. I found myself on my knees in tears, deeply conscious of my unworthiness and, for the first time in my life, understood the true meaning of the cross and the reason He shed His blood for me.

Soon after I was elected to the board of deacons of my church and was called upon to serve communion. I shall never forget that experience. I found myself weeping as I served the wafers representing His broken body and the grape juice representing His blood that was shed for the sins of all men, for my sins, because now his death on the cross meant everything to me. A hymn, which had once been offensive to me, now became one of my favorites: “what can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” I believe that this is what Jesus had in mind when He said, “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.”

Bible Reading:Jeremiah 31:10-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will not ignore my sins but will mourn over them by confessing, repenting, and, through the discipline of spiritual breathing, walking constantly in the light as a model of the supernatural life.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – The Message of Grace

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Salvation, from beginning to end, is a work of our Father. God does not stand on a mountain and tell us to climb it and find him.  He comes down into our dark valley and finds us. God does not offer to pay all the debt minus a dollar if we’ll pay the dollar. He pays every penny! He doesn’t bargain with us, telling us to clean up our lives so he can help.  He washes our sins without our help.

The message of God is the message of grace. Grace that is entirely God’s. God loving. God offering. God caring and God carrying! As you consider the insurmountable debt you owe, the debt you can never pay, let this promise be declared: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).  And because God’s promises are unbreakable our hope is unshakable!

Read more Unshakable Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Why the NFL misses Peyton Manning

Only five players in the NFL are more popular than Peyton Manning. This despite the fact that Manning has not played in the NFL since 2016.

According to sports columnist Dan Wetzel, the league’s TV ratings have dropped in part because no current players can match Manning’s cultural presence. In addition to a career destined for the Hall of Fame and two Super Bowl victories, Manning hosted Saturday Night Live and appeared on The SimpsonsAmerican IdolThe Tonight ShowLive! with Kelly, and Fox News Sunday, among others.

Wetzel notes: “Just consider the breadth of those audiences.”

Manning is in the news again today for supporting a lung transplant patient and delivering new equipment to a middle school football team. His popularity continues unabated, in large part due to his generosity.

Likeability may be the most critical factor in success today. The research on this subject is compelling.

A Columbia University study discovered that popularity is the most important key to workplace advancement. Doctors have been found to give more time to patients they like than those they don’t. One study showed that children with likable parents received better health care.

“Great crowds followed him”

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