Charles Stanley – The Results of Rejecting God

 

Romans 1:24-32

Who hasn’t listened to the news and wondered, What’s going on in the world? The evil and social decline in our present culture is something we couldn’t imagine even a few decades ago. What we are seeing today is the inevitable result of a society that has denied the existence of God. As a result, many have been given over to a depraved mind and sinful pursuits.

As our Creator, God is the only one who can truly satisfy our heart. When people reject Him, they will seek alternative ways to fill the emptiness within them. But when they turn to something or someone other than God to give meaning to their life, the result is idolatry. From there, they quickly step into immorality in an attempt to gratify their desires but eventually discover that they still feel empty.

Scripture clearly warns that idolatry and immorality incur divine wrath. God’s punishment of those who suppress the truth and reject Him is accomplished through His withdrawal. He turns them over to be guided and ruled by a depraved mind and degrading passions. Basically, He pulls away and lets their sin control them. There is no worse penalty than to have the Creator turn away.

Knowing what awaits those who reject God should cause us who know and love Him to respond with wholehearted devotion, faithful obedience, and overwhelming gratitude for our salvation. Sometimes we can’t truly appreciate what we have until we see the horror of the alternative. Our loving God and Savior is truly worthy of all our worship.

Bible in One Year: Matthew 27-28

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Safe in His Arms

 

Read: Isaiah 40:9–11 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 39–40; Colossians 4

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. Isaiah 40:11

The weather outside was threatening, and the alert on my cell phone warned about the possibility of flash floods. An unusual number of cars were parked in my neighborhood as parents and others gathered to pick up children at the school bus drop-off point. By the time the bus arrived, it had started to rain. That’s when I observed a woman exit her car and retrieve an umbrella from the trunk. She walked towards a little girl and made sure the child was shielded from the rain until they returned to the vehicle. What a beautiful “real time” picture of parental, protective care that reminded me of the care of our heavenly Father.

The prophet Isaiah forecast punishment for disobedience followed by brighter days for God’s people (Isaiah 40:1–8). The heavenly dispatch from the mountain (v. 9) assured the Israelites of God’s mighty presence and tender care. The good news, then and now, is that because of God’s power and ruling authority, anxious hearts need not fear (vv. 9–10). Included in the announcement was news about the Lord’s protection, the kind of protection shepherds provide (v. 11): vulnerable young sheep would find safety in the Shepherd’s arms; nursing ewes would be led gently.

In a world where circumstances aren’t always easy, such images of safety and care compel us to look confidently to the Lord. Those who trust wholeheartedly in the Lord find security and renewed strength in Him (v. 31).

Father, in a world where we are sometimes threatened, we are comforted because of Your gracious care for us—in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The good news is that God cares for us!

By Arthur Jackson

INSIGHT

We also see the shepherd imagery in the New Testament when Jesus is described as our Good Shepherd. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11) and “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep” (vv. 14–15). Just as a shepherd watched over, provided for, and protected his sheep against danger and death and even pursued them when lost (Psalm 23:1–3; Luke 15:4), Jesus laid down His life for our sins and then rose again so that we would have the opportunity to live forever with Him (John 3:16). By doing so, He freed all who receive Him as Savior from the clutches of our enemy, Satan, and from eternal misery. And in this life, our Shepherd leads and guides us along the way. We need not fear, for He is with us (Psalm 23:4). He loves us and knows us (John 10:14–15).

In what area of your life do you need the comfort of the Good Shepherd?

Alyson Kieda

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Nouns and Adjectives on the Throne

For years, I never used the word “sovereign” as a noun.  I knew it could be used in this way—”Like a sovereign,” writes Shakespeare “he radiates worth, his eyes lending a double majesty”—I just never did.  But trial and tragedy have a way of waking us to words and realities overlooked.  There was a time that whenever I closed my eyes to pray I was leveled by the image of the throne, and it was empty.  It was somewhere in the midst of this recurrent vision that I realized my neglect of the noun.  Was God indeed the Sovereign who spoke and listened?  I had often used the word as an adjective.  But adjectives, like good moods, seem to come and go.

The prophet Jeremiah depicts a Sovereign that cannot come and go, simply because He is. God’s sovereignty is not a coat that can be taken off when all is going well or when all is going poorly. God does not cease to be the Sovereign though the world refuses to bow or “distant” seems a better adjective. And God’s words are not stripped of their sovereignty though no one is listening or no one responds. The Sovereign of all creation is always sovereign, active, and near. It is we who are inconsistent.

Jeremiah chapter 6 begins with an image of the Sovereign speaking to a people unwilling to listen, an honorable Judge whose words are dishonored. “To whom shall I speak?” the LORD inquires. The question is a lonely one, reflecting both the prophet who speaks and the Sovereign whose words are ignored.  The inquiry also has the force of sarcasm:  Why bother speaking to a people who won’t hear? But the words are not a commentary on God’s behavior; God is not throwing his hands up and suggesting the route of silence. Rather, it is a commentary on God’s words themselves, which are weighted with the compulsion to be heard. Though our ears are closed and we scorn his warnings, the Sovereign speaks and his words go forth with power. “God is always coming,” says Carlo Carretto. “God is always coming because God is life, and life has the unbridled force of creation.  God comes because God is light and light cannot remain hidden.”(1)  God’s decrees from the throne create and sustain the world. There is a person enthroned in every word, bidding the world’s response to every call and every sound.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Nouns and Adjectives on the Throne

Joyce Meyer – Retire from Self-Care

 

And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” — Acts 16:31

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

God wants to take care of you, and He can do a much better job of it if you will avoid a problem called independence, which is really self-care.

The desire to take care of yourself is based on fear. You are afraid of what might happen if you entrust yourself totally to God and He doesn’t come through for you. The root problem of independence is you trust yourself more than you trust God.

People love to have a back-up plan. You may ask God to get involved in your life, but if He doesn’t respond as quickly as you’d like, you take control back into your own hands.

But God has a plan for you—and His plan is much better than yours. So, give yourself to Him and see what happens. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Prayer Starter: Father, I can’t do it on my own. Help me to place my trust in You and turn over complete control. I want Your plan for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Can Be Sure

 

“And how can we be sure that we belong to Him? By looking within ourselves: are we really trying to do what He wants us to? Someone may say, ‘I am a Christian; I am on my way to heaven; I belong to Christ.’ But if he doesn’t do what Christ tells him to do, he is a liar. But those who do what Christ tells them to will learn to love God more and more. That is the way to know whether or not you are a Christian. Anyone who says He is a Christian should live as Christ did” (1 John 2:3-6).

I frequently counsel with people who assure me that they are Christians, but their life-styles betray their profession. In fact, Jesus refers to this kind of person in His parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30).

“I never knew you; depart from me,” He will say to people whose profession of Christian faith is insincere (Matthew 7:23, NAS). According to the Word of God, these people are confused, and we do them a great injustice if we do not hold before them the mirror of God’s Word. Our Scripture portion today is one of the most effective passages to help open their eyes.

If there has not been a difference in your life-style since you professed faith in Christ; if, even in your failure and sin – and we all fail and sin at times – you do not have a desire to obey God and live a life pleasing to Him, it is quite possible that the new birth has not taken place in your life. Test yourself if you are not sure; if you have not done so, you can experience the new birth simply by receiving Christ into your heart today. This applies more directly to carnal Christians.

Bible Reading:I John 3:18-24

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: To be absolutely certain of my relationship with Jesus Christ, I will take spiritual inventory of my life and seek to ascertain whether my life-style is consistent with that of the true believer and follower of Christ.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – We Need a Good Shepherd

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Sheep aren’t smart.  They tend to wander into running creeks for water, then their wool grows heavy and they drown.  They have no sense of direction. They need a shepherd to lead them to calm water.  So do we!  We, like sheep, tend to be swept away by waters we should have avoided.  We have no defense against the evil lion who prowls about seeking whom he might devour.

Isaiah 53:6 reminds us, “We all have wandered away like sheep; each of us has gone his own way.”  We need a shepherd to care for us and to guide us.  And Jesus is that Good Shepherd.  The Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.  The Shepherd who protects, provides, and possesses his sheep.  The Psalmist says: The Lord is my shepherd!  (Psalm 23).  The imagery is carried over to the New Testament as Jesus is called the good shepherd of the sheep.  (John 10:14-15).

Read more A Gentle Thunder

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Hurricane Michael: Finding hope in disaster

Last weekend, Michael was a tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean. It was barely a hurricane Tuesday morning, with winds of ninety miles per hour. As the Associated Press reports, “a little over a day later, it had transformed into a monster.” Its wind speed increased 72 percent in less than thirty-three hours.

“Storms are known to do this, but normally we see this happening when it’s away from land,” according to a University of Florida climatologist. “What’s unusual is that it’s happening so close to land.”

The Atlantic now ranks it as “among the most ferocious land-falling hurricanes in American history.” The Washington Post agreed, describing Michael as “one of the most intense hurricanes to ever hit the United States.” It moved toward Georgia and Alabama by evening, becoming the first Category 3 storm to hit Georgia since 1898.

We have developed the most advanced meteorological technology known to humanity. Hurricane experts use satellites, buoys, and aircraft flown into the developing storm. They combine data from various predictive models.

But our best scientific instruments are no match for nature. This week’s devastation is another reminder that our world is more unpredictable and ungovernable than we wish to admit.

It is human nature to believe in the permanence of the present and to assume an even better future. But there’s only one way to face tomorrow with guaranteed hope.

Why did the religious authorities reject Jesus?

Have you ever wondered how the religious authorities could reject the teachings of the Son of God? Or how such astute theological minds could miss the truth of his revelation, while Galilean fishermen and common crowds heard him with grateful appreciation?

Continue reading Denison Forum – Hurricane Michael: Finding hope in disaster