Charles Stanley – The Best Friend You’ll Ever Have

 

John 15:12-17

Good friends are hard to find, and our busy schedules don’t help. Many people don’t make time to cultivate meaningful friendships—are you possibly among their number? If so, notice how Jesus prioritized time with His friends. He lived closely with His disciples for three years and proved to be not only their Lord and Savior but also the best friend they’d ever had.

Unlike the disciples, we’ve never physically walked with Jesus, but this doesn’t exclude us from His friendship. First 1 Peter 1:8 says, “And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”

Every person who trusts in Christ becomes His friend, and the ultimate proof of His unwavering love is that He laid down His life for whoever would believe. Without the Savior’s amazing act of self-sacrifice, His disciples—along with every one of His followers since then—would have been eternally lost and separated from the Lord forever.

Although Jesus is a unique friend unlike any other, we can learn much about friendship from His example. He tells us to love one another as He has loved us, and His is a self-sacrificing love that does what’s best for the other person. Jesus was open and honest with His friends, making known to them all that the Father had told Him.

What a comfort to know that though others may disappoint and abandon us, Christ always remains a faithful, patient, and loving friend. And as we seek to emulate and obey Him, we will become that same kind of friend to others.

Bible in One Year: Joel 1-3

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Where to Find Hope

 

Read: Romans 5:1–11 | Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 4–6; 2 Corinthians 12

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:5

Elizabeth struggled for a long time with drug addiction, and when she recovered wanted to help others in return. So she started writing notes and anonymously placing them throughout her city. Elizabeth tucks these notes under car windshield wipers and tacks them on poles in parks. She used to look for signs of hope; now she leaves them for others to find. One of her notes concluded with these words: “Much love. Hope sent.”

Hope with love—that’s what Jesus gives. He brings us His love with each new day and strengthens us with that hope. His love is not rationed out to us drop by drop but flows out of His heart freely and is poured lavishly into ours: “We know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:5 nlt). He desires to use the hard times to develop perseverance and character and bring us a satisfying, hope-filled life (vv. 3–4). And even when we’re far from Him, He still loves us (vv. 6–8).

Are you looking for signs of hope? The Lord gives hope with love through inviting us to grow in a relationship with Him. Our hope for a fulfilling life is anchored in His unfailing love.

I’m grateful, God, for the love You lavishly pour on me. Please bring me contentment in You and confidence in what You are doing in me.

Read Hope: Choosing Faith Instead of Fear at discoveryseries.org/q0733.

Hope is the anchor of the soul.

 

By Anne Cetas

INSIGHT

Sometimes the truth of the gospel—that Jesus offers a new, guilt-free life for all who believe (Romans 8:1)—might feel a bit too good to be true. If all we’ve ever known is emptiness, hatred, and despair, how is it even possible to learn to live with love and hope?

It’s possible because it doesn’t depend on us. God’s love reaches deeper than our brokenness, loving us completely even when we’re far from Him (5:8). As we surrender to Him, we can experience His love and hope as the Spirit transforms every aspect of our life (vv. 3–5).

Monica Brands

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – In a World of Trouble

My husband and I had the relatively rare occurrence of a long weekend in which we had made no plans—except to stay at home and relax. We decided to revisit The Lord of the Rings film trilogy by watching one film each night of the weekend. As we watched, we were reminded of the powerful themes of good and evil, power and corruption, military conquest and its ecological impact and how hope is found in unexpected or unseen places. I continue to be amazed by the relevance and impact of these fantasy novels, adapted for film and written over sixty years ago.

In one of the climactic scenes of The Fellowship of the Ring, the young hobbit Frodo laments the world he sees around him with all of its tragedy and darkness. Looking at the difficulty in continuing on the path laid out before him, Frodo mourns, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” His ever-wise counselor and friend, Gandalf the Grey, consoles him with these words: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, in which case you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.”(1)

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. Watching this scene and hearing these words echoes within me as I look out onto the world. There are always crises of one sort or another that might make even the strongest among us pine for different times, crises that make us wish our journey would be a different and far more pleasant trip. The recent shootings in Las Vegas and Texas, the terrorist rampage in New York City, and the almost daily bombings all around the world give us all-too-familiar examples. The seeming randomness of violence upends any sense of security in a world that is far beyond our control. We long for peace and stability. But often such is not the time that is given to us.

With an unstable world and the fear that instability naturally engenders, how does one find hope? What are we to do with the times we’ve been given? For many, flights of fantasy, wishful thinking, or simply burying heads in the sand offers a strategy for coping. Yet, even the desire to escape—through pleasure, distraction, or nostalgia—belies a longing for something more, something different, and something better. These longings speak to us of what could be and can motivate action for good here and now with the time that is given to us. As Gandalf rightly counseled, “[T]here are other forces at work in this world… beside the will of evil.”

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Joyce Meyer – No More Same Old Same Old

 

“Do not remember the former things, or ponder the things of the past. Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing….” — Isaiah 43:18-19 (AMP)

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

In today’s Scripture, God says He is doing a new thing. As you move into the future He has for you, you will encounter all kinds of new opportunities, and challenges. The days ahead will be full of new expe­riences, things you have never done before. You may not know how to do them, but you will learn. Everything you are doing today was new to you at one time—and look, now you can do it.

Continuing to face new challenges and develop new abilities is extremely important to your growth and maturity. As you walk with God into your future, you will hear Him say, “You have not done this before, but don’t be afraid. I’m taking you to a place you have never been before. I’m going to ask you to do something you don’t know how to do!” God has already been where He is leading you, and He has prepared the way. Step out in faith, and you will experience the faith­fulness of God.

We think and say, “It’s time for a change! I need something new,” and then we hesitate to embrace that new thing when it comes. If you are ready for something new and fresh, don’t be afraid to embrace it when it comes.

Don’t stay trapped in the past. Let go of what lies behind and press into the great future God has planned for you. I can promise you: God is with you. He will lead you. He will strengthen you. He will help you.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for constantly bringing about change and new beginnings. Help me to embrace every new thing You bring into my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Maturity – In His Timing 

 

“But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control” (Galatians 5:22,23).

One of my dear friends had a 25-year old son who had never grown past the baby stage mentally or physically. He had greeted the birth of his beautiful baby boy with great joy, but his joy turned to heartache and sorrow with the passing years as his son never matured.

Unfortunately and tragically, many Christians never pass the baby or childhood stages. Think of the heartache and sorrow that God experiences when He looks upon those of His children who have never matured, though they have been Christians for many years.

Martha, a new Christian, approached me with this question, “With all my heart I want to be a woman of God, but I do not experience the consistency of Galatians 5:22,23 in my life. What is wrong?”

Maybe you are asking the same question, if so, it will be helpful for you to understand that the Christian life is a life of growth. Just as in our physical lives we begin as babies and progress through childhood into adolescence, young adulthood and mature adulthood, so it is in our spiritual lives.

The Holy Spirit takes up residence within every believer at the moment of new birth. The growth process is greatly accelerated when a believer consciously yields himself to the lordship of Christ and the filling and control of the Holy Spirit. A believer who is empowered by the Holy Spirit and is a faithful student of God’s Word, who has learned to trust and obey God, can pass through the various stages of spiritual growth and become a mature Christian within a brief period of time. Some Spirit-filled Christians demonstrate more of the fruit of the Spirit within one year than others who have been untaught, uncommitted believers for 50 years.

Bible Reading:Romans 5:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I am determined that I will become a spiritually mature Christian, in whose life the fruit of the Spirit will be demonstrated. Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit I will dedicate myself to prayer, reading the Word and witnessing, and living a life of obedience.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – You May Need a Push

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Ask a believer to answer the question, “Who is God the Father?” He has a reply. Or “Describe God the Son.” She will not hesitate. But ask, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” and they’re often at a loss for words. Many rely on the Father and the Son but overlook the Holy Spirit. Yet Jesus says more about the Holy Spirit than he does about the church or marriage.

On the eve of his death, as he prepared his followers to face the future without him, he made this great promise, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8). He didn’t promise immediate success, or the absence of disease or struggles. He never guaranteed a level of income. But He promised the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit came alongside the disciples, indwelled them, and gave the early church the push they needed to face the challenges ahead. Perhaps you could use a push as well.

Read more Unshakable Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Chelsea Clinton: Ending abortion would be “unchristian”

America has been focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Florence and Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Meanwhile, you may have missed this in the news: Chelsea Clinton claims it would be “unchristian” to end abortion in America.

During a radio interview, the former first daughter said it would be “unconscionable” for the US to return to the “pre-Roe” era when abortion was illegal: “When I think about all of the statistics that are painful of what women are confronting today in our country, and what even more women confronted pre-Roe and how many women died and how many more women were maimed because of unsafe abortion practices, we just can’t go back to that.”

She added, “Like that’s unconscionable to me. And also, I’m sure this will unleash another wave of hate in my direction, but as a deeply religious person, it’s also unchristian to me.”

Clinton also claimed that the legalization of abortion was a boon to the US economy: “American women entering the labor force from 1970 to 2009 added three and a half trillion dollars to our economy, right? The net, new entrance of women–that is not disconnected from the fact that Roe became the law of the land in January of 1973.”

“Bad philosophy needs to be answered”

Let’s learn from Chelsea Clinton’s defense of a ruling that has cost more than sixty million unborn children their lives. We can respond to unbiblical claims in two ways: we can ignore them, or we can engage them.

Ignoring falsehoods may seem to be a short-term solution. We’re all busy people with multiple demands on our time. When we encounter statements we know to be false, it’s easier to dismiss them and move on.

However, if we will not counter falsehoods by speaking biblical truth to our culture, those who need God’s word will not hear it. “How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14).

Continue reading Denison Forum – Chelsea Clinton: Ending abortion would be “unchristian”