Charles Stanley – Those Who Hurt

 

Mark 10:46-52

In the midst of suffering, we may question whether God cares or even knows what we’re going through. However, the problem isn’t with the Lord—it’s with our perception. We tend to judge God by our circumstances, but we should judge circumstances by the Lord’s character and the power He demonstrated in Scripture.

The Bible teaches that our triune God is omniscient and knows all things perfectly and fully. No actions or persons are hidden from His sight, and the past, present, and future are all laid out before Him (Psalm 33:13-15; Heb. 4:13).

The Lord “searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9). Therefore, He knows us intimately and understands what we really need. God’s love and concern for us do not change, even if our pain is the result of our own sinful actions.

Jesus repeatedly demonstrated God’s love and care for people. In fact, much of His ministry consisted of alleviating suffering along with teaching how to enter the kingdom of heaven. While traveling to Jerusalem in anticipation of the cross, Jesus encountered a blind beggar who kept crying out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:48). Although the crowd told him to be quiet, Jesus stopped to restore his sight and affirm his faith.

And He will hear your cries for help as well because His love extends like a canopy over you. When your circumstances tempt you to doubt this, consider your limited perspective and trust in the character of your God. Accept Jesus’ invitation to bring your burdens to Him and find rest for your soul (Matt. 11:28-30).

Bible in One Year: Hebrews 4-6

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Great Awakening

 

Read: Deuteronomy 34:1–8 | Bible in a Year: Obadiah; Revelation 9

God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thessalonians 4:14

I have a treasured memory of gatherings with family friends when our boys were small. The adults would talk into the night; our children, weary with play would curl up on a couch or chair and fall asleep.

When it was time to leave, I would gather our boys into my arms, carry them to the car, lay them in the back seat, and take them home. When we arrived, I would pick them up again, tuck them into their beds, kiss them goodnight, and turn out the light. In the morning they would awaken—at home.

This has become a rich metaphor for me of the night on which we “sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:14 kjv). We slumber . . . and awaken in our eternal home, the home that will heal the weariness that has marked our days.

I came across an Old Testament text the other day that surprised me—a closing comment in Deuteronomy: “Moses . . . died there in Moab, as the Lord had said” (34:5). The Hebrew means literally, “Moses died . . . with the mouth of the Lord,” a phrase ancient rabbis translated, “With the kiss of the Lord.”

Is it too much to envision God bending over us on our final night on earth, tucking us in and kissing us goodnight? Then, as John Donne so eloquently put it, “One short sleep past, we wake eternally.”

Heavenly Father, because Your arms carry us, we can sleep in peace.

For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.  —William Penn

By David H. Roper

INSIGHT

Deuteronomy gives us the last written words of Moses. Speaking with the warmth of a father who is about to leave his children, he reminisces about how the Lord, who rescued them from Egypt, miraculously fed, led, and protected the Israelites in an uninhabitable wilderness (1:1–4:40). He reminds them of what the Lord had said to them at Sinai (5:1–26:19). Then he describes how wonderful or terrible their life would be depending on whether or not they continue to remember and trust the God who had led them to the threshold of a promised homeland (chs. 27–30). Moses’s heart must have ached as he expressed what the Lord had told him—that the people he loved would eventually suffer greatly for forgetting the God who had done so much for them (31:29). With a song (ch. 32) and words of blessing (ch. 33), Moses entrusted Israel to God and to the leadership of Moses’s assistant, Joshua (34:9).

Mart DeHaan

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Ordinary and Extraordinary

For those who are familiar with the Christmas narrative from the Gospel of Luke, the inherent strangeness to the story may be missed as a result. When read without either an over-familiarity or a commercialized sentimentality, the Lukan account of God’s advent into the world is fairly extraordinary. I am struck by the way Luke juxtaposes the announcement of the King of Israel—”For to you is born this day in the city of David the Savior who is Christ the Lord”—with the sign of his advent: “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”(1) The God of the universe would be set in a lowly manger, a feed trough for animals. he would be clothed, not in purple finery, but in woven, cloth strips.

Luke’s narrative highlights what seem to be the most ordinary and the most mundane details of Jesus’s birth for many modern readers. And yet, these seemingly ordinary details highlight a God who chooses to display divine glory in the commonplace birth of a human child. The gospel writer’s utter preoccupation with ordinary details reveals the belief that coming of the Messiah and his kingdom would look very different from the kingdom that was expected. And this was extraordinary.

The Bible indicates a long silence of God from speaking directly to the people—a silence that must have seemed an eternity. But out of the silence of that quiet night, the angel spoke and announced what the people of Israel had all hoped for: God is near, the gospel proclaims, born in the same city as your great king of old, King David! The people now would look upon the new David, their new deliverer, who would be their Messiah. The prophet Micah announced this special context as well: “As for you, Bethlehem, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you one will go forth for me to be ruler in Israel. His going forth is from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Out of the silent sky came the news that surpassed all news. The Messiah had come and the world would never be the same again, for a king had been born this day in the city of David—Christ the Lord!

Yet, this king would not be born in an expected palace or even into the household of a priest, like John the Baptist, for example. The glorious place of Israel’s new king would be different than expected: “And this will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.” Born this day, in the city of David is your Christ, your Messiah. And guess what? You’ll find him in a manger, which is the feeding trough for ordinary farm animals. Who would believe this report? How could the Messiah come with such vulnerability and poverty?

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Ordinary and Extraordinary

Joyce Meyer – Getting Off the Performance Treadmill

 

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. — 1 John 4:9

Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

As long as we are on what I call the “performance treadmill,” we will inevitably suffer with disappointment in ourselves. We will feel that we have not performed as expected. We did not get an “A” on our spiritual tests, we fell short of our goals, we lost our tempers, and now we are disappointed with ourselves, and we are sure that God is disappointed too.

The truth that we can be grateful for is that God already knew that we wouldn’t perform as expected when He chose to love us. And it is His love that is the basis for our relationship with Him, not our works. When our relationship with God is a solid foundation in our lives, we will be free to do the best we can, and not get stressed out about our imperfections. It’s time to get off the treadmill and run in the freedom of His grace.

Prayer Starter: I thank You, Father, that You are not disappointed with me. You knew what You were getting when You chose me. Thank You for choosing me anyway and for loving me perfectly in the midst of my imperfections. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He is Faithful

 

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised)” (Hebrews 10:23, KJV).

When we share our faith with others – hopefully a natural part of our daily walk, though we need not “preach a sermon” to share – we can remain steadfast in that profession of our faith, not wavering as we consider all He has done for us.

Why is that possible?

Simply this: He is faithful that promised.

The writer of Hebrews, presumably the apostle Paul, knew that the believers had been suffering persecution and there might be a tendency or temptation to become weak in their faith. Even serious doubts might have crept in. So Paul is seeking to guard against any kind of apostasy.

He wants to be sure the people are not shaken by their trials or by the arguments of their enemies. So he exhorts them in unmistakable terms.

Paul’s reasoning to the people about faithfulness was this: Since God is so faithful to us, His children, we ought to be faithful to Him. Further, the fact that He is faithful should be an encouragement to us. We are dependant upon Him for grace to hold fast the profession of our faith.

All that God has promised, He will perform. He is faithful.

Bible Reading:1 Corinthians 1:4-9

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will state in positive, confident terms what God has done for me, knowing that He is the faithful One who will do all He has promised. With this assurance, I can draw open His faithfulness to live supernaturally.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God Holds it all Together

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Christmas is a season of interruptions.  Some we enjoy.  Some we don’t!  You may be facing an interruption during this season of life.  What you wanted and what you received do not match.  And now you’re troubled and anxious.  Everything inside you and every voice around you says, “Get out.  Get angry.”

But don’t listen to those voices.  You cannot face a crisis if you don’t face God first.  Colossians 1:16-17 says, “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.  He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment.”  God holds it all together.  And he will hold it together for you!

Read more Because of Bethlehem

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Russian social media campaigns targeted Christians

The Senate Intelligence Committee released two reports yesterday detailing the breadth of Russian social media disinformation campaigns in the US. One strategy caught my eye: the Russian-linked Internet Research Agency created a page it called “Army of Jesus.”

Targeting Christians, the group offered “free counseling to people with sexual addiction.” The phony counseling service was apparently intended to blackmail or manipulate people who used it.

In our post-Christian world, we should expect attacks on Christians to escalate. As I noted yesterday, standing for biblical truth in our culture requires significant courage.

But there’s more to the story.

“May your holidays be joyful, boozy and caffeinated!”

Consider these stories in the news:

One: “There are two must-haves for anyone looking to survive the holidays: coffee and booze, preferably served together in one easy-to-consume package.” So advises Huffington Post in an article offering “12 boozy coffee cocktails to help you get through the holidays.” The writer wishes for us, “May your holidays be joyful, boozy and caffeinated!”

TwoMeditation services in the US are a $1.2 billion industry. A Wall Street Journal article titled “Inner Peace Is a Booming Business” raises the curtain on the money and time some are spending to seek serenity.

ThreeA father took his sons to Barnes & Noble recently, where they noticed a display called “Inspiring Books to Empower Young Readers.” The books included three memoirs by illegal aliens. Another book told a fictional story of a child arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at school while white classmates wearing “Make America Great Again” hats taunt him. No books reflecting a more conservative agenda were displayed. Continue reading Denison Forum – Russian social media campaigns targeted Christians