Charles Stanley – When Foundations Are Shaken

 

Hebrews 12:25-29

Seventeen years ago, the United States of America experienced a massive surprise attack by terrorists. Our people were shaken by the realization that the country is not as safe as we once thought.

Of course, it grieved us to learn of the events that occurred and the lives that were tragically lost. But at the same time, the horrible situation led to some positive outcomes. For example, our nation unified and people served with courage and selflessness.

One of the biggest benefits, I believe, was that many of us realized our great dependence upon God. Safety in this world is an illusion. Sadly, the peace and blessings we’ve experienced in America have led to much complacency and self-dependence. Sometimes we need to be shaken out of our forgetfulness and into reliance upon Jesus Christ.

Just listening to the news these days can rattle our sense of well-being. There is always something unsettling taking place. But as believers, we should look at life from a resurrection perspective. We are children of the living God, not people who seek security only in the natural, secular world. Our hope and refuge is firm: Through Jesus Christ, our relationship with the Lord is eternal. Everything else we possess could be destroyed in a moment.

Worldly circumstances—natural disasters, wars, and assorted turmoil—may have an effect on everyone, but they can’t control the believer’s heart. Let your hope rest in Christ alone. Only by finding security in the arms of almighty God can you endure times of uncertainty.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 46-48

 

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Our Daily Bread — He Knows Our Names

 

Read: Psalm 23:1–6 | Bible in a Year: Proverbs 10–12; 2 Corinthians 4

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

During a visit to the National September 11 Memorial in New York City, I quickly photographed one of the twin reflecting pools. Around these two pools, the names of the nearly 3,000 people who died in the World Trade Center attacks are etched into bronze panels. Later, while looking more closely at the photo, my eyes were drawn to the hand of a woman resting on a name. Many people come to this place to touch a name and remember someone they loved.

The prophet Isaiah reminded God’s people of His unfailing love and concern for them, even though they had often turned away from Him. The Lord said, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

In the 23rd Psalm, David wrote, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley [the valley of the shadow of death], I will fear no evil, for you are with me . . . . Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (vv. 4, 6).

God never forgets us. No matter where we are or whatever our situation, He knows our names and holds us fast in His unfailing love.

Father in heaven, thank You for calling us by name and surrounding us with Your love, today and forever.

God knows our names and He holds us fast in His love.

By David C. McCasland

INSIGHT

Psalm 23 describes God’s intimate love for us. We see the same theme in the New Testament. In John 10, Jesus described Himself as the “good shepherd” who lays down His life for the sheep (v. 11). But this is only one facet of His personal, intimate care for the flock. In verse 3 Jesus says, “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” He calls His sheep “by name”! This is beautifully pictured on resurrection day. Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to mourn Jesus’s death and to complete the burial process (20:1–18). Finding the tomb empty, she wept (v. 11); and the risen Jesus came to her, asking questions that probed her heart. She failed to recognize Jesus—until He called her by name (v. 16). In that moment, she was aware that Christ Himself stood before her. No wonder Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” To be loved and known by God is one of salvation’s greatest gifts!

Bill Crowder

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Remarkable Days

Fall comes quickly in the Pacific Northwest where I live. The wind has a colder sheen that sends a chilly reminder of summer’s demise, and the rains have returned. The apples are ready to harvest, even as their leaves begin to turn color and fade. There is still plenty of light and warmth to be outside yet, the fall marks the beginning of a more inward and contemplative season for me.

While colorful leaves and a colder wind signal for many the beginning of the new school year, the buying of school clothes and supplies, and the beginning of fall, for Jews, September is a very important month. It doesn’t simply signal the beginning of autumn; it is the signal to worship and to reflect on one’s life in the coming year. September holds two of the Jewish high, holy days: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In the original language, Rosh Hashanah means “new year” and Yom Kippur means “day of atonement.” What do these days entail for Jews? These are days filled with serious introspection, and an opportunity for repentance in preparation for Yom Kippur. The ten days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are commonly known as the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim) or the Days of Repentance.

These “Days of Awe” are filled with wonder and worship, days of reflection, fasting, and prayer, days of solemnity and solace. These are days meant to set the tone for the beginning of the Jewish New Year even as they remind the faithful to reflect on what has gone before. Among the customs of this time, it is common to seek reconciliation with people wronged during the course of the past year. These holy days are meant to orient the worshipper’s life through ritual and towards action for the coming year.

Reflecting upon these holidays practiced by a tradition outside my own, I realized that September may not seem a particularly holy month for Christians, but appears rather ordinary. Yet examining the practices of my Jewish neighbors reminds me to consider each day as a day of awe and devotion. Jesus invited his listeners, as he preached what is now called “The Sermon on the Mount” to live lives of devotion. “And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men.”(1) Using this same formulation for instruction, and whenever… Jesus assumes that those who respond to his invitation and follow him will pray and give offerings for the poor. The issue is not if these devotional acts are done, but when. In addition, Jesus understood that acts of devotion flow from a devoted heart, and from seeing one’s life as an ongoing act of worship—each and every day.

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Joyce Meyer – Only a Fool Hates Discipline!

 

The [reverent] fear of the LORD [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but arrogant fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline. — Proverbs 1:7 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource Power Thoughts Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Some people cringe at the mention of the word discipline. They have a mental attitude toward it that is unhealthy and self-defeating. We need to see that discipline is our friend, not our enemy. It helps us be what we say we want to be, do what we say we want to do, and have what we say we want to have.

Discipline doesn’t prevent you from having fun and doing what you want to do in life, but instead it helps you obtain what you truly want, which is peace, joy, and right relationships. Learn to love discipline (it will keep you out of trouble!), and embrace it as your companion in life.

Prayer Starter: Lord, Your Word says You have given me a spirit of discipline and self-control (see 2 Timothy 1:7 AMPC). Help me to draw on Your help today and every day—help me to do what I know to do so I can have everything Your Word says I can have and walk in Your good plan for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Test Your Experience: I

 

“Talk with each other much about the Lord, quoting psalms and hymns and singing sacred songs, making music in your hearts to the Lord. Always giving thanks for everything to our God and Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ by submitting to each other” (Ephesians 5:19,20).

Mary was one of those ardent, faithful church members – a Sunday school teacher, choir member and active participant in a home Bible study – who just assume they are filled with the Holy Spirit because they do everything their pastor or Christian leader asks of them.

“Why has no one, up to now, ever told me that I needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit?” she asked me just after I had publicly suggested that very thing.

To help Mary better understand her own spiritual condition, I read to her the above passage from Ephesians. Then I asked her several questions relating to that portion of Scripture.

“Are you talking about Christ to others? Is your heart filled with melody to the Lord? Do you spend time in God’s Word daily? Do you have a thankful spirit? Do you submit to others in the Lord?”

Mary hesitated only a moment. “If these are evidence of a Spirit-filled life, I must not be controlled by the Holy Spirit. But I would like to be. What should I do?”

With great delight and joy I shared appropriate Scriptures with her, and together we bowed in prayer as she claimed by faith the fullness and control of the Holy Spirit in her life. Surrendering to the lordship of Christ, turning from all known sin, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, she now knew with certainty that she was filled with the Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit is not a once-and-for-all-decision, but a way of life in which we claim the fullness of the Spirit moment by moment, day by day, by faith.

Bible Reading:Colossians 3:12-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will honestly compare myself with the evidences of the supernatural, Spirit-filled life listed in the fifth chapter of Ephesians. If these are not true in my life, I will claim by faith the fullness and control of God’s Holy Spirit, and ask Him to make these qualities a reality in my daily relationships with the Lord, with my loved ones and with others.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Victory Over Death

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

You’ve never seen yourself at your best. You’ve never known yourself as God intended.  But you will! Try to imagine a body with no pain, a mind with no wandering thoughts. Envision yourself as you were meant to be, completely whole. And envision this earth as it was intended to be…completely calm.

Scripture says, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).  The removal of the curse will return God’s people and the universe to their intended states. Satan, the tempter, will be thrown “into the eternal fire.” In that moment “Death is swallowed up in victory” (I Corinthians 15:54). This is God’s promise. 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 – “Tower of Voices” offers stirring 9/11 tribute

The “Tower of Voices” is a Shanksville, Pennsylvania, monument housing forty wind chimes. According to the US National Park Service, the “intent is to create a set of 40 tones that can signify through consonance the serenity and nobility of the site while also through dissonance recalling the event that consecrated the site.”

“The event that consecrated the site” was the crash of United Flight 93 seventeen years ago. The monument is ninety-three feet tall to commemorate the flight number. The forty wind chimes give voice to the forty passengers and crew who died heroically that day.

Park Superintendent Stephen Clark: “Together their voices will ring out into perpetuity.”

“Hoping for the best and preparing for the worst”

I did an internet search for “9/11” and 269 million results appeared this morning. Seventeen years later, it is still difficult to find words appropriate to the horror of that day.

Many years ago, I stood beneath the Twin Towers and marveled at their magnificent height. It never occurred to me that they could be destroyed. In some ways, it still seems surreal–the jets crashing into the Towers and the Pentagon, the flames, the mass destruction. The heroes of Flight 93 who caused the plane to crash before it could attack the terrorists’ target, presumably the White House or Congress.

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