Charles Stanley – The Path of Brokenness

 

John 12:23-28

A seed that is not planted will never produce a crop. So Jesus used a seed to illustrate why He had to die in order to bring many people to glory. He was teaching a principle that’s also true in our lives: If our ambition is to remain isolated, protected, and comfortable, we’ll never bear the fruit God desires. It’s in dying to self and being broken of pride and self-sufficiency that we become fruitful and useful to the Lord.

Brokenness is one of the means God uses to mature His children. In that process, we may find ourselves challenged in:

Circumstances that cripple our self-sufficiency.
Areas in which we are not submissive to Him.
The timing of His plans.

If we refuse to be re-formed and instead cling to whatever God wants us to release, then how can He use us for His kingdom? Just like the single, unbroken grain of wheat, we will remain unproductive.

With so much at stake, why do we still resist His process of breaking us down? The problem is usually our shortsighted desires. It’s difficult to let go of things or relationships or hobbies we enjoy even when we know they are stunting our spiritual growth. We prefer to take the path of least resistance and hope God will bless us anyway.

Don’t be distracted by short-term happiness—that isn’t the road to maturity that God has prepared for you. An abundance of fruitfulness awaits you if you’ll release your grip and let Him do whatever it takes to get you there.

Bible in One Year: Hosea 6-9

 

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Our Daily Bread — Engraved on His Hands

 

Read: Isaiah 49:14–18 | Bible in a Year: Proverbs 30–31; 2 Corinthians 11:1–15

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:16

In Charles Spurgeon’s many years at his London church during the 1800s, he loved to preach on the riches of Isaiah 49:16, which says that God engraves us on the palms of His hands. He said, “Such a text as this is to be preached hundreds of times!” This thought is so precious that we can run over it in our minds again and again.

Spurgeon makes the wonderful connection between this promise of the Lord to His people, the Israelites, and God’s Son, Jesus, on the cross as He died for us. Spurgeon asked, “What are these wounds in Your hands? . . . The engraver’s tool was the nail, backed by the hammer. He must be fastened to the Cross, that His people might be truly engraved on the palms of His hands.” As the Lord promised to engrave His people on His palms, so Jesus stretched out His arms on the cross, receiving the nails in His hands so we could be free of our sins.

If and when we’re tempted to think that God has forgotten us, we only need to look at our palms and remember God’s promise. He has put indelible marks on His hands for us; He loves us that much.

 Lord God, how vast is Your love for me! You keep me ever before You. I know You’ll never leave me, and I’m grateful.

The Lord engraves us on the palms of His hands.

By Amy Boucher Pye

INSIGHT

Our God remembers us and keeps His promises. A study of the word remember bears this out. Throughout the Old Testament we read passages about how God “remembered” specific people (Genesis 8:1; 19:29; 30:22). Still other passages recall what He has done for us all. “The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” (Psalm 98:2–3). God specifically worked in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses to fulfill His promises, for He remembers His covenant (see Psalm 105.)

Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s Old Testament promises. We see this in the words of Zechariah’s song (Luke 1:67–73): “Praise to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.” He “remember[ed] his holy covenant” (vv. 68, 72).

God hasn’t forgotten us. He is with us through the Spirit (John 14:26). And one day He will return to establish a new heaven and earth where He will dwell with us forever (Revelation 21:1–3).

In what ways has God shown you He hasn’t forgotten you?

Alyson Kieda

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – A Paradoxical Presence

For many Jewish people living after the Holocaust, God’s absence is an ever-present reality.  It is as tangible as the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Dachau, and as haunting as the empty chair at a table once occupied with a loved one long-silenced by the gas chambers.  In his tragic book about his own experience in the concentration camps at Auschwitz, Elie Wiesel intones the cries of many who experienced God’s absence:  “It is the end.  God is no longer with us….I know that Man is too small, too humble, and inconsiderable to seek to understand the mysterious ways of God.  But what can I do?  Where is the divine Mercy? Where is God?  How can I believe?  How can anyone believe in this merciful God?”(1)

This experience of absence, dramatic in its implications for the victims of the Holocaust, has repeated itself over and over again in the ravaged stories of those who struggle to hold on to faith, or those who have lost faith altogether in the face of personal holocaust.  In a world where tragedy and suffering are daily realities unchecked by divine government, the absence of God seems a cruel abdication.

The words of Job, ancient in origin, speak the same language of absence experienced by many today:

Behold, I go forward, but He is not there,

And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;

When He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him;

He turns on the right, I cannot see Him.(2)

The story of Job is at least in part a story of the experience of God’s absence.  While the narrator and the readers of the story know the beginning and the end, Job finds himself in the silent middle struck down by unjust suffering.  His story poignantly explores the silent mystery of a God who seems to go missing in the moments of greatest need.  Job’s cry is our cry, “Oh that I knew where I might find Him that I might come to his seat” (Job 23:3).  Job clings tenaciously to the hope that he will find God, and find a just God in his case.  “I am not silenced by the darkness” Job proclaims, “nor deep gloom which covers me” (23:17).

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Joyce Meyer – Only God Can Truly Satisfy

 

In the night my soul longs for You [O Lord], indeed my spirit within me seeks You diligently… — Isaiah 26:9 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource Ending Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Nothing can satisfy your longing for God except communion and fellowship with Him. The apostle John wrote, And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever (1 John 2:17 AMPC).

The world makes it easy for you to fill your ears with all kinds of things that drown out the voice of God and push Him far into the background of your life. However, the day comes for every person when only God remains. Everything else in life eventually passes away; when it does, God will still be there. Seek God earnestly today, and He will abide in you.

Prayer Starter: Father, I desire a deeper, closer relationship with You. Help me to make You a priority today and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Are You Bearing Fruit

 

“By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (John 15:8, NAS).

Early in my Christian life, I had little faith as I prayed for one person, who by God’s grace received Christ. The more I understood the attributes of God and experienced His blessing on my witness for Him, the more I could trust Him.

As our Campus Crusade for Christ staff grew in number and we trained more and more students and laymen, we began to pray for millions to receive Christ. God honored our faith and prayers with millions of recorded decisions for our Savior in more than 150 countries of the world.

Now that we are helping to train millions of Christians on every major continent, associated with thousands of churches of all denominations and various other Christian organizations, I have the faith to pray for a billion souls to receive Christ. As I have come to know our Lord Jesus Christ better, I have learned to trust Him more. I now believe that He will do great and mighty things through me and through others as we live by faith the supernatural Christian life. Faith is like a muscle; it grows with exercise. The more we see God do in and through the lives of His children, the more we expect Him to do. Please note God does not change – He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We are the ones who change as we mature in faith.

How do you know that you are a true disciple? That you are glorifying God? By bearing much fruit. But what kind of fruit? The fruit of your holy life and the fruit of your Spirit-anointed lips must be in balance.

Some Christians concentrate on Bible study and prayer, seeking to honor God. Others concentrate on much Christian activity. Every time the church door opens, they are there. Yet neither type of person is experiencing God’s best.

Remember, we glorify God when we bear much fruit. Too many Christians are satisfied with modest efforts and modest results. Yet the better we know God and the more we are acquainted with His Word, the more we have fellowship with Him and grasp His vision and His burden for all people throughout the world.

Bible Reading:John 15:4, 5, 12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I determine through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, that I will glorify God by bearing much fruit through both the witness of my life and the witness of my lips.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God Loves You

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God needs no name tag to jog his memory about you.  He has more thoughts about you than the Pacific coast has grains of sand!

I read a story about a man walking the shores of a lake in silence with his uncle.  The man noticed his uncle was smiling.  “Uncle,” he said, “you look very happy.”  “I am” his uncle agreed.  “How come?” the man asked.  “The Father of Jesus is very fond of me,” his uncle said.

He’s fond of you, too, dear friend.  What’s that?  Do you think I’m talking to someone who is holier, better, or nicer?  Someone who didn’t screw up his marriage or mess up her career.  I’m not.  I’m talking directly to you.  God loves you.  And His love for you will not end or fade if you lose your way.  You have never lived one unloved day.  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 – Emmy Awards ridicule Christians

The Emmy Awards began last night with a monologue from co-hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che. The Saturday Night Live cast members recited a typical litany of political jabs and sarcastic digs.

Then Che told the audience that his mother would not be watching the show. The reason: “She says she doesn’t like watching white award shows because you guys don’t thank Jesus enough.”

Che continued: “That’s true. The only white people that thank Jesus are Republicans and ex-crackheads.”

It’s hard to imagine such a joke aimed at Muslims, Jews, or Buddhists. But ridiculing Christians is fair game in Hollywood these days.

The latest on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination

As you know, college professor Christine Blasey Ford is alleging that Judge Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party when they were high school students. Judge Kavanaugh calls her accusation “completely false.”

Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh both stated yesterday that they are willing to testify before Congress about this issue. The Senate Judiciary Committee has now scheduled a hearing for next Monday to hear from both.

Republicans are severely criticizing Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, for the timing of the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. Last July, Dr. Ford sent a letter alleging sexual abuse against Judge Kavanaugh to her local congresswoman, Rep. Anna Eshoo, requesting confidentiality.

She forwarded the information to Sen. Feinstein on July 30, who provided the letter to the FBI only last week. The senator states that she wanted to protect Dr. Ford’s identity and forwarded the letter only after a news report surfaced about it. She said nothing about the letter during the weeks-long process of interviews with the judge and the Senate’s confirmation process.

What could happen next

If Dr. Ford’s allegation prevents Judge Kavanaugh from being confirmed to the Supreme Court, it will be difficult for the Senate to confirm another candidate before the midterm elections. If Democrats then win the Senate, they could block President Trump from naming a conservative to the Court.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Emmy Awards ridicule Christians