Charles Stanley – God Helps Us Pray

 

Romans 8:26-27

Why do we sometimes feel as if our prayers go no farther than the ceiling? We’re speaking, but is God listening? The truth is that the Lord is always attentive to the prayers of His people. He’s the one who has invited us to come boldly into His presence. What’s more, He has also promised to assist us as we pray.

First, our Father has given us His Word to teach us truth so we’ll know how to pray wisely and effectively. We find guidance for prayer in God’s direct commands, the descriptions of His ways and thoughts, the examples of biblical characters, and scriptural principles that teach us how to apply divine truth to every area of our life.

Second, He’s given us many promises in His Word. These assure us that He will direct our paths (Prov. 3:5-6), meet our needs (Phil. 4:19), give us wisdom (James 1:5), answer our prayers (John 14:13), and cause all things to work together for good as He conforms us to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:28-29).

Third, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us because in our human weakness, we don’t always know how to pray as we should (Rom. 8:26-27). He takes our misguided or uncertain requests and reframes them according to God’s will.

Fourth, Jesus Christ sits at the Father’s right hand as our High Priest, interceding on our behalf (Heb. 7:25-26).

We are never alone when we pray, because the Trinity acts on our behalf. Not only is prayer an amazing privilege; it’s also an awesome and powerful endeavor. The next time you come to the Lord in prayer, remember that it’s a divine appointment with almighty God.

Bible in One Year: Hosea 1-5

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Legacies of Love

 

Read: 2 Timothy 1:1–5 | Bible in a Year: Proverbs 27–29; 2 Corinthians 10

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

I was paging through my great-grandmother’s Bible when a treasure fell into my lap. On a small scrap of paper, in a young child’s handwriting, were the words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:3–4 kjv). Scribbled beside those verses in wobbly cursive was my mother’s signature.

My great-grandmother had a habit of teaching her grandchildren to write out Scripture verses so they would learn them and take them to heart. But the story behind this verse brought tears to my eyes. My grandfather died when my mother was very young, and her little brother (my uncle) died just weeks later. It was in that tragic season that my great-grandmother pointed my mother to Jesus and the comfort only He can give.

Paul wrote Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5). Faith isn’t inherited, but it is shared. Timothy’s mother and grandmother shared their faith with him, and he believed.

When we encourage those close to us to have hope in Jesus, we offer them a legacy of love. Through a simple note, my mother left evidence of my great-grandmother’s love for her Savior and her family. Oh, to share Him with those who come after us!

Thank You for those who shared Your love with me, Father. Please help me to point others to Your salvation today.

When we share our faith, we share the greatest treasure of all.

By James Banks

INSIGHT

The family language used in 2 Timothy 1:1–5 is hard to miss. In addition to the reference to “God the Father” (v. 2), other family terms are used. Paul refers to Timothy as “my dear son” (v. 2). The word translated “son” can refer to literal or spiritual offspring, the latter being the case here. Paul was a “spiritual father” who had invested in Timothy’s ministerial training and development. The family term in verse 3 is the word “ancestors,” and it refers to those from whom Paul had inherited a legacy of faith. Paul had spiritual roots (see Acts 22:1–3; 23:6; Philippians 3:5–7).

Timothy’s connection to his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother Lois was not just biological. His “sincere faith” had been nurtured by these godly women. Because of the influence of these family members, Paul could write in 2 Timothy 3:14–15: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

What kind of spiritual roots are you leaving for those who will follow you?

Arthur Jackson

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Creative Gardening

 

In the 1930s, a vine native to Japan was introduced throughout the United States as a highly effective means for controlling erosion. Forty years later, the USDA officially declared this miracle-vine a weed. While visitors to the South are immediately taken by scenic glimpses of kudzu-blanketed landscapes, natives keep their doors shut to keep the creeping plant from taking over their houses. Growing better in the South than it does even in its native environment, kudzu can grow as much as a foot per day, climbing trees, barns, telephone poles—and anything else that gets in its way. And while these vines actually do help prevent erosion, they also destroy entire forests, wrapping themselves around every inch, smothering every tree from needed sunlight.

The chronicles of southern kudzu came to mind at a similar story in recent headlines. The article describes an isolated farm village in the mountains of northern Mexico that has been about the work of recruiting cats. Attempting to counter a frightening population of rats for a town of 3,000 (health officials estimate as many as 500,000 rats in this small village), some believe importing cats is the most logical solution. But as “cat donations” begin to accumulate steadily, others are less sure it is a foolproof plan. Stray cats that haven’t been sterilized may only create more problems. Their plague of rats, some warn, may quickly be replaced by a plague of cats.

Does it ever feel like life is a similar testing ground of creative or destructive gardening, trial and error, cause and effect? What do you do when the attitude you attempted to import to control false hope somehow becomes a growing spirit of sarcasm? Or the vow you made to silence your critical words seems to evolve into a mounting plague of unvoiced frustration? Sometimes it feels like we are only bouncing between extremes, pulling weeds only to transplant them, working on the leak in one corner only to find we’ve sprung a leak in another.

Christianity can introduce a life that is not much different than problem-solving with cats and kudzu. Like the vines brought in to counter one problem, we, too, can easily end up introducing another. Fighting to counter our inattentiveness to this or that virtue, we might battle laziness and lethargy or struggle to correct our time and routine, only to find that as victory seems to loom in the garden the battle is now against a quickly creeping sense of self-righteousness. The plague of the weeds of apathy is easily replaced by an infestation of arrogance.

Jesus, who regularly countered apathy with active commands, seemed also to know well our capacity for self-righteousness, warning hearers to be on guard against the “yeast of the Pharisees.” It is all too often the weed that creeps in and takes over while we believed we were planting better fruit (and very well may have been). He also warned that our adversary is like an enemy who comes and sows weeds among the wheat while everyone is sleeping. And often, this mystery gardener may well be ourselves. Jesus who spoke thoroughly of seeds and sowing was well aware that tending the weeds of materialism or immorality or fear may simply leave us open to the planting of idolatry of a different varietal.

With these teachings in mind, C.S. Lewis once commented that errors often come in pairs. Our adversary, he writes, “always sends errors into the world in pairs—pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking about which is the worse. […] He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one.”(1) It is a struggle that calls us to be faithfully self-aware, lest we oscillate from one weed to another. “But do not let us be fooled” writes Lewis. “We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through both errors.”

And at this, the goal of course is Christ—nothing less, nothing added—not Christian truth, not Christian charity, but Christ himself. The goal is Christ, who walks at our side even as we find ourselves struggling to hike through the weeds we have created, the idol varietals we have simply exchanged, the plague where there was once a pest. “But you are of Christ,” the apostle Paul reminds, “and Christ is of God.” Wherever we find ourselves, this is our hope: that even in our oscillating we are being tilled and cultivated by the Spirit into the image of the one who created us. God is at work; God is the first and most able Gardner, and to this hope the Christian clings, lost in wonder, love, and praise. For after the first few steps of the Christian life and well into the journey of new creation, we realize that creeping vines and mounting plagues can be uprooted and transformed to beauty only in his able hands.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 2002), 100.

 

http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – Looking Forward

 

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true [they are accurate, incorruptible, and trustworthy].” — Revelation 21:5 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

So many people live miserable lives because they are conflicted and feel burdened about the mistakes of their past. If you have been unhappy or discouraged because of the things that have happened in your past, I encourage you to change your thinking and set your focus in a whole new direction. Determine to be what God wants you to be, to have what God wants you to have, and to receive what Jesus died to give you.

Your new life in Christ means that you have been completely forgiven of all your sins. God has wiped your slate clean and taken up residence in your heart. You can let the past go and begin to get excited about your future.

When you feel discouraged, say, “I am not going to live in bondage anymore. I cannot do anything about what I have done in the past, but I can do something about my future. I am going to enjoy my life and have what Jesus died for me to have. I am going to let go of the past and go on pursuing God from this day forth!”

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift from God.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for new beginnings and for making all things new. Please help me to let go of the past and embrace the good plan You have for my future. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Church Will Prevail

 

“You are Peter, a stone; and upon this rock I will build my church: and all the powers of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

You and I can truly rejoice: no matter how weak and ineffective our church may seem to be at times, the fact remains that “all powers of hell shall not prevail against it.” Remarkably fulfilled to this date, this promise has the Word of God Himself to back it up.

Sometimes, we see the human frailties of one another in the church – which will always be there – and we forget for the moment the great strengths that are present: the Word of God; fellow believers who are fully committed to the Lord; genuine worship of our heavenly Father.

Primarily, we have the promise that the church is God’s instrument for worship and instruction of His children. It is a rallying place for believers; a powerhouse of prayer; a training school for sharing our faith.

A parallel to this promise has to do with the Word of God. Men have tried to destroy it down through the ages, but it remains the all-time best seller and so shall it ever be. Men have tried to count the church down and out many times, never with any degree of success whatsoever. And so shall that ever be, as well.

Rejoice: all the plots, stratagems and machinations of the enemy of the church shall never be able to overcome it. You and I, meanwhile, can do our part to help make the church all that God intends for it to be.

Bible Reading:Hebrews 12:21-24

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will praise God for His protecting hand over the church and do all in my power, the Holy Spirit enabling, to keep it strong and triumphant – the center of spiritual revolution.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – A Word for the Dark Nights of the Soul

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Self-help manuals might get you through a bad mood or a tough patch. But what about an abusive childhood or years of chronic pain? Does God have a word for the dark nights of the soul? He does.

God’s promise begins with this phrase: “Weeping may last through the night. . .” That part may not be news to you. But this part may be– “Joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).  Despair will not rule the day. Night might delay the dawn, but it cannot defeat it.  Morning comes.  Not always as quickly as we want.  Not as dramatically as we desire. But morning comes, and with it comes joy.

Do you need this promise?  Have you wept a river?  Have you forsaken hope?  Do you wonder if morning will ever bring this night to an end?  Hear this!  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 – Man dies after shark attack at Cape Cod

“Arthur was a very happy young man. He loved life, he was an active member of a Christian church, devoting his life to the Lord. . . . He was happily engaged to a smart, kind-hearted medical student with a bright future.” This is how the family and friends of Arthur Medici described the twenty-six-year-old after he was attacked by a shark on Saturday off the Cape Cod beach and later died at a hospital.

In other news, Typhoon Mangkhut, described as “the world’s strongest storm this year,” reached mainland China yesterday after pummeling Hong Kong and killing at least fifty-four people in the Philippines. More than 2.5 million people have been evacuated in southern China.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Florence has “slowly ravaged the South with rain and wind.” As of this morning, seventeen deaths have been confirmed as a result of the storm. Officials warn that flooding “is only going to get worse.”

Even after the storm is over, lingering floodwaters will be extremely dangerous. Chemical and biological contamination are a continuing threat, including bacteria that can pollute drinking water and cause life-threatening infections.

Eighteen quintillion grains of rice

One fact these stories have in common is that humans do not control nature. We face threats as frightening as sharks, as massive as typhoons and hurricanes, and as microscopic as bacteria.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Man dies after shark attack at Cape Cod