Charles Stanley – The Ultimate Father Son Relationship

 

John 5:19-20

God is called by a variety of names in the Bible, and each one sheds light on an aspect of His nature. Jesus’ favorite title for Him was Father. Surprisingly, this name for God is rarely used in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, it’s used often—by both Jesus and early Christians.

Many of God’s names speak of His majestic and lofty attributes that distinguish Him from mankind, but Father conveys intimacy. Jesus used this name not only because He was God’s Son but also to help people realize that Jehovah isn’t some unapproachable deity gazing down on them from a distance. Rather, He is their loving heavenly Father, who cares about them and wants to be involved in their everyday lives.

Throughout His time on earth, Christ revealed by example what this kind of loving relationship is like. He fully depended on His Father for daily direction, power, and provision and obediently carried out His every instruction. Jesus often took a break from the demands of ministry to find a secluded place to be alone with Jehovah. We know the Lord successfully conveyed to His disciples the riches of this relationship, because Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father” (John 14:8)—he wanted to know Him the way Christ did.

Do you long for that kind of intimacy with God? He wants to relate to you as a father does to His child—and He’s given you the privilege of drawing near to Him. In fact, He chose you before the foundation of the world and waits with open arms for you to enter His loving embrace.

Bible in One Year: Acts 25-26

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — On the Wrong Side?

 

Read: Philippians 1:12–18 | Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 14–15; James 2

What has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. Philippians 1:12

When the bridge to Techiman, Ghana, washed out, residents of New Krobo on the other side of the Tano River were stranded. Attendance at Pastor Samuel Appiah’s church in Techiman suffered too because many of the members lived in New Krobo—on the “wrong” side of the river.

Amid the crisis, Pastor Sam was trying to expand the church’s children’s home to care for more orphans. So he prayed. Then his church sponsored outdoor meetings across the river in New Krobo. Soon they were baptizing new believers in Jesus. A new church took root. Not only that, New Krobo had space to care for the orphans awaiting housing. God was weaving His restorative work into the crisis.

When the apostle Paul found himself on the “wrong” side of freedom, he didn’t lament his situation. In a powerful letter to the church in Philippi, he wrote, “I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel” (Philippians 1:12). Paul noted how his chains had led to “the whole palace guard” learning about Christ (v. 13). And others had gained confidence to share the good news of Jesus (v. 14).

Despite obstacles, Pastor Sam and the apostle Paul found God showing them new ways to work in their crises. What might God be doing in our challenging circumstances today?

Lord, sometimes we feel as though we’re on the wrong side of a particular situation. We know You are everywhere. Help us see You.

God is at work in the mess. That’s the message of the Bible. Matt Chandler

By Tim Gustafson

INSIGHT

Scholars believe Paul was reminiscing about his ministry in Rome when he wrote Philippians 1:12–14. According to Acts 28:16–31, Paul was under house arrest but “was permitted to have his own private lodging, though he was guarded by a soldier” (v. 16 nlt). In those two years, Paul had the rare opportunity to proclaim “the kingdom of God” and to teach “about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” (vv. 30–31). In particular, he proclaimed God’s truth to the palace guards, Caesar’s elite troops (Philippians 1:13). Paul hinted of an unspecified number in “Caesar’s household”—court officials and dignitaries—who had come to faith (4:22). Writing from Rome, Paul’s primary concern was not his freedom, but being faithful to preach Christ (1:18–19), to be fruitful (v. 22), and to glorify Christ, whether he lived or died (v. 20). In a later Roman imprisonment (2 Timothy 1:17), Paul wrote that though he was “chained like a criminal . . . . God’s word [was] not chained” (2:9).

  1. T. Sim

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Of Gratitude and Grief

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit with some friends who live in Colorado. We spent a couple of days hiking in the beautiful San Isabel National Forest. Within this section of the Rocky Mountains are five major mountain ranges that rise from 5800 to over 14,400 feet and have the most mountain peaks above 14,000 feet. The difference in elevation affords one multiple views from different perspectives.

Starting at the tree line populated by various conifers, aspens, and cottonwoods, we climbed to the more barren alpine terrain dotted with scrub brush, alpine wildflowers, and wildlife. Reaching the ridgeline, the vistas of the valleys and trails below took on ever-new perspectives. Climbing higher gave a broader panorama, obviously, but each step taken presented ever-changing views. From my perspective, I thought I had seen everything on the trail, and yet new aspects of the horizon continually became visible.

Like hiking, life often has a way of shifting one’s perspective. While on the hike, I received a text message from a concerned relative. “Was I anywhere near the shootings?” the text read. I hadn’t learned yet about the horrible massacre that had occurred just hours earlier in an Aurora, Colorado theater where 12 people were killed and 58 were seriously injured. From striking beauty and the grandeur of mountain vistas to images of suburban sidewalks spattered with blood, our perspective shifted once again. Now the awe producing vistas of our hike were juxtaposed against the horror and terror of what should have been any other night at the movies in suburbia. While we had been enjoying the landscapes, others were fighting for their lives. While we laughed at marmots at play, others wept over their lost loved ones. While our feet trod lightly without a care in the world, others bore the weight of worry and fear that their loved ones, too, were among those killed. And this grievous juxtaposition of opposites occurs over and over again in contexts all around the world.

How quickly our perspectives changed. Just as our view of the landscape looked differently as we made our way along the trail, so too changed our perspective of our precarious place in the world and the brevity of life. Despite the serene beauty around us, our perspective shifted to dark and deadly forces not two hours away from where we stood. Gratitude gave way to grief over what was lost.

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Joyce Meyer – Stop Saying “Hate” and Start Saying “Joy”

 

Let there be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse [obscene or vulgar] joking, because such things are not appropriate [for believers]; but instead speak of your thankfulness [to God]. — Ephesians 5:4 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Quite often people use the phrase “I hate.” They hate driving to work, cleaning their houses, going to the grocery store, cutting the grass, paying their bills, and on and on.

I think each time we say we “hate” something, it makes it harder for us to do it with joy the next time.

Start saying by faith that you enjoy those things that are naturally more difficult for you to enjoy. Start saying it in obedience to God, and soon you will find those things to be more enjoyable.

We can talk ourselves into things and out of things. You can talk yourself into despising something you need to do, or you can have a good attitude and speak good words about it and make it a lot more pleasant.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to agree with Your Word and begin talking myself into a joyful life. Help me to speak life-giving, positive, and thankful words. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – God Uses Sorrow for Good

 

“For God sometimes uses sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek eternal life. We should never regret his sending it. But the sorrow of the man who is not a Christian is not the sorrow of true repentance and does not prevent eternal death.” (II Corinthians 7:10).

Frank often referred to himself proudly as a self-made man. He bragged that in his youth he had been so poor he didn’t have two nickels to rub together. Now his real estate holdings and various business enterprises were worth tens of millions of dollars. He was a pillar in the community, able to give generously to civic and philanthropic causes.  His philosophy was that there was no God, and every man had to make it on his own. He laughed at the weaklings who needed the crutch of church.

Then his world began to fall apart. His only son was sent to prison for pushing drugs. His daughter had an automobile accident that left her partially paralyzed for life; and his wife, whom he had largely ignored for years, announced she was in love with someone else and demanded a divorce. Meanwhile, because he had become lax in his business dealings, one of his partners embezzled several million dollars from him.

By this time, he was devastated, and, therefore, was open to spiritual counsel. After the Holy Spirit showed him his spirit of pride and selfishness, he opened his heart to Christ and the miracle took place. Now, he frequently quotes this passage: “God sometimes uses sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek eternal life.”

Though his son is still in prison, and his daughter still paralyzed, he and his wife are reconciling, and his heart is filled with joy and thanksgiving to God. He is no longer a proud, “successful” businessman, but a humble child of God, a servant who discovered the hard way that everyone needs God.

For every Frank there are hundreds of others experiencing heartache and tragedy who have not repented. Yet, God offers to all men and women the priceless gift of abundant and supernatural life.

Bible Reading:Proverbs 28:12-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I shall seek to live the full, abundant, supernatural life, walking in faith and obedience, so that God will not find it necessary to discipline me in order to bless me.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Magnify Your Maker

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God endows us with gifts so we can make him known.  God endues the Olympian with speed, the salesman with savvy, the surgeon with skill.  Why?  The big answer is to make a big to-do out of God.  Brandish him.  Herald him  Magnify your maker!

Scripture says, “If anyone speaks let him speak the oracles of God; if anyone ministers, let him do so with the ability God supplies so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion for ever and ever.  Amen!  (1 Peter 4:11).  So, exhibit God with your uniqueness.  When you magnify your Maker with your strengths and when your contribution enriches God’s reputation, your days grow suddenly sweet!

Read more Grace for the Moment II

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Why AD 536 was the worst year in history  

The Dow lost 395 points yesterday as tech stocks dragged down the major indexes. A star system in our galaxy is primed for an intense explosion that could wipe out the ozone layer in our atmosphere (though the system is eight thousand light years away from us).

Here’s the good news: we’re not living in AD 536, which one Harvard historian considers the worst year in human history. The reason: a cataclysmic volcanic eruption in Iceland spewed ash across the Northern Hemisphere, blanketing the land in a mysterious fog for eighteen months.

Temperatures fell; crops failed; people starved. Bubonic plague followed, wiping out one-third to one-half of the population of the eastern Roman Empire and hastening its collapse.

How does this dismal story relate to Thanksgiving?

“Give thanks in all circumstances”

I’ve been contemplating a challenging sentence in Scripture: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

“Give thanks” translates eucharisteite, from which we get “eucharist.” The Greek verb is a present tense imperative second person plural and thus can be literally translated, “Each and every one of you is commanded continually to express gratitude without ceasing.”

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