Charles Stanley –The Power to Change

 

Ephesians 2:1-10

Why do many of us who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior still feel defeated and struggle with sin? One reason may be that we have never grasped exactly what took place on the cross. Instead of living in our new identity in Christ, we’re still seeing ourselves as hopeless sinners with no power to change.

To understand what a drastic transformation took place at salvation, let’s see what God says about who we once were without Christ.

Spiritually Dead. We weren’t simply the “walking wounded”; we were actually dead in our sins and powerless to make ourselves alive or able to relate to God.

Deserving His Wrath and Judgment. Our sins not only put a barrier between us and God but also made us enemies destined for His righteous condemnation.

Helpless and Hopeless. Nothing we could do would make us acceptable to God. We couldn’t even turn to Him in repentance without His Spirit’s intervention.

But God loved us! What an amazing thought—that the perfect, holy God would show rebellious sinners love and mercy. He sent His Son to rescue us by bearing our sins and suffering the divine wrath we deserved. Now all of us who believe in Christ and accept His saving work on our behalf are raised from spiritual death to eternal life.

The barriers that once kept us alienated from God have been removed in Christ. We no longer have to live defeated by sin, because we have the Spirit’s power to live in accordance with our new identity in Christ. God’s grace is sufficient—not only to save us but also to transform our lives.

Bible in One Year: John 14-16

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Dad at the Dentist

 

Read: Matthew 26:36–39 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 37–39; Hebrews 3

My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. Matthew 26:39

I didn’t expect a profound lesson about the Father’s heart at the dentist’s office—but I got one. I was there with my ten-year-old son. He had an adult tooth coming in under a baby tooth that hadn’t fallen out yet. It had to come out. There was no other way.

My son, in tears, pleaded with me: “Dad, isn’t there another way? Can’t we just wait and see? Please, Dad, I don’t want to have this tooth pulled!” It just about broke my heart, but I told him, “Son, it’s got to come out. I’m sorry. There’s no other way.” And I held his hand as he wriggled and writhed while the dentist removed that stubborn molar, tears in my eyes too. I couldn’t take his pain away; the best I could offer was to be present with him in it.

In that moment, I remembered Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, asking His Father for a different way. How it must have broken the Father’s heart to see His beloved Son in such agony! Yet there was no other way to save His people.

In our lives, we sometimes face unavoidable yet painful moments—just like my son did. But because of Jesus’s work for us through His Spirit, even in our darkest moments our loving heavenly Father is always present with us (Matthew 28:20).

Father, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your beloved Son to save us, even though it must have broken Your heart to do so. In our times of joy or pain, thank You for Your Spirit holding and carrying us.

For more on the topic of suffering, see christianuniversity.org/CA211.

Our loving heavenly Father promises He is always present with us, even in our darkest moments.

By Adam Holz

INSIGHT

In Matthew 26:36–39, we catch a crystal-clear glimpse of the Savior’s humanity. The Last Supper is over. Jesus has foretold Judas’s betrayal (v. 25) and predicted the disciples’ abandonment of Him (vv. 31–35). Now they’re in the garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus often brought His disciples (Luke 21:37; 22:39). As He prepares to talk to His Father, Jesus tells the disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). Think of it! In this, His darkest hour, the Creator of the cosmos requests the company of His friends.

Jesus goes a short distance away to pray, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me” (v. 39). Yet even Jesus doesn’t get all His prayers answered with a yes. Soon He will cry out from the cross, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (27:46). The cup of suffering will not be taken from Him. He will drink it in our place. And He will do it alone.

God has promised us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). When I face my darkest moments, do I believe this?

Tim Gustafson

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Be Kind to Those Who Aren’t Kind to You

 

And be kind to one another… —Ephesians 4:32

Christmas is the season of good cheer, but it often becomes a season of stress…so much shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking and visiting with friends and relatives. Before you know it, people are losing patience and snapping at one another. It’s easy to become unkind.

I’ll never forget something my daughter told me a long time ago. She said that her goal was to learn to love or to treat with kindness, goodness and mercy every single person she encountered who was unkind or ugly to her. She said, “That’s my goal. I want to submit to God in my emotions and the way that I handle myself so that when I’m out in public and someone mistreats me, I respond with kindness.”

She said, “One of the things that God has shown me that really helps me to do this is, when someone is grouchy toward me, I can get angry and frustrated or I think: I don’t know what this person is going through. Maybe right now her back hurts terribly. Maybe she has a horrible migraine headache. Maybe this grumpy man at the meat counter at the grocery store has a child who just died last week. Maybe he is carrying a financial burden that feels too heavy for him. Maybe that woman’s husband walked out on her and is living with another woman. Maybe this man has just been told he’s losing his job at the end of the week.

We don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives.

Kindness will cause you to slow down and give people some space and some grace. People are under so much stress that half of the time they don’t even realize what they’re doing. Life was not meant to be the way it is today. We were not meant to live at the fast pace at which we live, with thousands of things coming at us at once. Stress and overload are the disease of the twenty-first century, and it makes people grouchy. People don’t have time for each other anymore. We don’t even have time to talk to anyone.

I think we’ve lost sight of some important things in life and that we need to put kindness back on our priority lists!

Love Others Today: Help me, Lord to be especially kind to people who are not kind to me.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Obey God’s Laws

 

“So now we can obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us” (Romans 8:4).

Are you not glad that the Word of God make things so simple? If we really want to obey God’s laws, His resources are available to us. First and foremost, the Holy Spirit abides within to guide us. While it is true that we have all of the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion, we cannot expect the full blessing and power of God until the Holy Spirit has full control of all of us.

As we appropriate the fullness of His Holy Spirit by faith, we are supplied with supernatural power to obey God’s laws. That supernatural power, even, is contingent upon our cooperation in that we must not only commit ourselves to the Holy Spirit but we must also be familiar with the Word of God if we are indeed to obey its commands.

Obedience is a key word in the Christian life. This verse points it out quite clearly, for we either obey God’s laws or we obey the old evil nature. The choice is ours as we are controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Someone has well pointed out that all of life, really, is nothing more nor less than a series of choices. The secret of the successful Christian life is in making the right choices. And even the wisdom to make the right choices is available – as a gift from God.

That leaves us, you and me, without excuse. We can, if we choose, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, obey God’s laws and thus accomplish His purpose for us as believers.

Bible Reading:Galatians 5:16-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Drawing upon the supernatural resources of the Holy Spirit I choose to obey God’s laws rather than yield to the pull of my old evil nature

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – It’s Not Up to You

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

None of us pray as much as we should, but all of us pray more than we think, because the Holy Spirit turns our sighs into petitions and our tears into entreaties.  He makes sure you get heard!

Now, suppose a person never learns about the sealing and the intercession of the Holy Spirit. This person may assume that salvation security resides in our works, not God’s; and that the power of prayer depends upon our prayer and not the prayers of the Spirit. What kind of life will this person lead?  A parched and prayerless one.  But what if you believe in the work of the Spirit?  Will you be different as a result? You bet your sweet Sunday you will. Your shoulders will lift and your knees will bend as you discover the buoyant power of praying in the Spirit. A higher walk…deeper prayers.  And most of all, a quiet confidence that comes from knowing it’s not up to you!

Read more Grace for the Moment II

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Comedian ridicules wounded veteran

It took Pete Davidson twenty-five seconds to offend millions of Americans. The Saturday Night Live “comedian” was making fun of political candidates last weekend when he came to Dan Crenshaw, a Republican candidate for Congress from Texas.

Crenshaw is a former Navy SEAL who served five deployments overseas. In 2012, he was hit by an IED blast in Afghanistan. His right eye was destroyed in the blast and his left eye was severely damaged.

After several difficult surgeries, Lieutenant Commander Crenshaw eventually regained sight in his left eye. He deployed twice more, to the Middle East in 2014 and South Korea in 2016.

He was medically retired in September 2016 after ten years in the SEAL Teams. He was decorated with two Bronze Stars (one for Valor), the Purple Heart, and the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor. He then completed his master’s degree in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is now running for Congress in the Houston district where he grew up.

Davidson, commenting on the patch Crenshaw wears over his damaged right eye, made a remark about the veteran that is so offensive I won’t repeat it here. Crenshaw replied on Twitter: “Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – Comedian ridicules wounded veteran