Charles Stanley – Our Heavenly Appointment

 

2 Corinthians 5:1-10

Each tick of the clock brings us a second closer to our heavenly appointment with the Lord Jesus. As believers in Christ, we will one day stand before Him, answerable for how we lived our life. At that time we will be held accountable for our actions and recompensed for the choices we made while on earth, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).

This is not a judgment of condemnation. At salvation, when we acknowledged Christ as our Savior, all blame was removed from us (Rom. 8:1). In taking our place on the cross, Jesus experienced the wrath of God against our iniquity (1 Peter 2:24). As a result, the penalty for our sin has been fully paid.

When we stand before our Lord, He’ll look to see which of our choices were in keeping with His will. Every act of obedient service, whether large or small, will be remembered and rewarded. At the same time, I believe there will be tears when our selfishness and unrighteousness are considered.

Colossians 3 gives us a picture of who we should be and how God wants us to live: Our minds are to be focused on things above, not earthly matters (Col. 3:2). And we’re to get rid of anger, malice, and slander, clothing ourselves instead with compassion, kindness, and patience (Col. 3:8; Col. 3:12).

Since the Lord holds us accountable for our actions, it is urgent that we replace ungodly patterns with righteous ways. Both inward attitudes and outward behavior matter to Him. When facing decisions each day, seek scriptural guidance and godly counsel. Then reflect on which choices would please God.

Bible in One Year: Revelation 1-4

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — The Highest Place

 

Read: Colossians 1:15–23 | Bible in a Year: Zechariah 1–4; Revelation 18

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

My husband invited a friend to church. After the service his friend said, “I liked the songs and the atmosphere, but I don’t get it. Why do you give Jesus such a high place of honor?” My husband then explained to him that Christianity is a relationship with Christ. Without Him, Christianity would be meaningless. It’s because of what Jesus has done in our lives that we meet together and praise Him.

Who is Jesus and what has He done? The apostle Paul answered this question in Colossians 1. No one has seen God, but Jesus came to reflect and reveal Him (v. 15). Jesus, as the Son of God, came to die for us and free us from sin. Sin has separated us from God’s holiness, so peace could only be made through someone perfect. That was Jesus (vv. 14, 20). In other words, Jesus has given us what no one else could—access to God and eternal life (John 17:3).

Why does He deserve such a place of honor? He conquered death. He won our hearts by His love and sacrifice. He gives us new strength every day. He is everything to us!

We give Him the glory because He deserves it. We lift Him up because that is His rightful place. Let’s give Him the highest place in our hearts.

Jesus, You are my Savior and my Lord, and I want to give You the highest place of honor in my life.

Read God at the Center at discoveryseries.org/hp152.

Jesus is the center of our worship.

By Keila Ochoa

INSIGHT

The New Testament concept of “image” (Colossians 1:15) involves three things: “exact likeness” (2 Corinthians 4:4 nlt), “exact representation” (Hebrews 1:3), and complete revelation (John 1:18). Man is created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), but Jesus “is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). The writer of Hebrews says the Son “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (1:3) or “expresses the very character of God” (nlt). Jesus in His very essence and nature is God (Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:5–6). The apostle John (John 1:18) says Jesus “has made [God] known” (niv) or “has explained Him” to us (nasb).

  1. T. Sim

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Garden in the Snow

The first Christmas after my father passed away, I remember sitting in my parents’ home on Christmas eve, wanting to have some time alone to think about my dad. Being the father of a young family myself, it had a been a day full of frantic activity getting ready for Christmas. Christmas music was playing, sweet and savory aromas of cooking and baking were wafting from the kitchen, and our children were chasing each other throughout the house. So many signs of life surrounded me. Yet, I could not shake the reality of a profound absence. My father was not there.

I decided to go for a walk. It was a cold December evening and a thin layer of frost covered the sidewalks. With each step there was a crunch and crackle that came from the ground. As I walked I wanted to speak thoughts about my dad that I had not said, but I just did not know how to say the words. I wanted to talk to my dad. I wanted him to be there with me. Without thinking, I began speaking in a quiet voice to my dad. “I miss you, Dad.” I continued. “I bet that if you were home right now, you would probably be out here walking with me, hey?” Then it just flowed naturally. “Dad, you would be so happy if you were here. You would love seeing all the kids. And I know you would look after the hot apple cider!”

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Joyce Meyer – You Don’t Have to Burn Out

 

And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. — Mark 2:27

Adapted from the resource Trusting God Day by Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Are you excessively tired all the time, and even after sleeping, do you wake up feeling tired all over again? You may be experiencing some of the symptoms of exhaustion, or what is commonly called “burnout.”

Long periods of overexertion and stress can cause constant fatigue, headaches, sleeplessness, gastrointestinal problems, tenseness, a feeling of being tied in knots, and an inability to relax.

Some other signals of “burnout” are crying, being easily angered, negativity, irritability, depression, cynicism (scornful, mocking of the virtues of others), and bitterness toward others’ blessings and even their good health.

“Burnout” can cause us to not exercise self-control, and when this happens, we will no longer produce good fruit in our daily lives. “Burnout” steals our joy, making peace impossible to find. When our bodies are not at peace, everything seems to be in turmoil.

God established the law of resting on the Sabbath to prevent “burnout” in our lives. The law of the Sabbath simply says we can work six days, and rest one day. We need to rest and worship and play. Even God rested after six days of work. He, of course, never gets tired, but gave us this example so we would follow the pattern.

In Exodus 23:10–12, we find that even the land had to rest after six years, and the Israelites were not to plant in it the seventh year. During this rest, everything recovered and prepared for future production.

Today in America, almost every business is open seven days a week. Some of them are even open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. When we make ourselves available at all times, we are in danger of “burnout.”

People today are quick to argue that they cannot afford to take a day off, but I say they cannot afford not to.

Some people feel guilty anytime they try to rest, but that guilty feeling is not from God. God wants us to live balanced lives, and if we don’t, we open a door for Satan to bring some kind of destruction (see 1 Peter 5:8). Trust God that your resting time is just as valuable as your working time.

Prayer Starter: Lord, thank You for the examples You have given us in Your Word about rest. I ask for Your help to live a truly balanced life and do whatever it takes to have the proper time to relax and recharge. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Mighty Things Through Faith

 

“And so [Jesus] did only a few great miracles there, because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13:58).

It was my first visit to Nazareth, and through a series of fortuitous circumstances, I found myself enjoying lunch with one of the city’s prominent leaders. As we talked together in the crowded dining room our conversation turned to Jesus Christ, and ultimately this gentleman bowed his head and began to pray aloud, inviting Christ to be his Savior and Lord.

The change seemed to be immediate and dramatic, and follow-up has proven that God did meet him and change his life. During the course of our conversation, he indicated that what I had shared with him was a new truth. Though he was religious and active in his church, he never had been told that he should receive Christ.

Upon further exploration, I found that, in the entire community of Nazareth, there were but a few in those days who understood the truth of the living Christ indwelling the believer. I was amazed!

Nazareth was the town in which our Lord had spent approximately thirty years of His life. The son of a carpenter, He had walked those winding streets, living, loving and laughing with other young children as they were growing up. He left the town when He entered His public ministry, and went on to perform mighty miracles, die on the cross for our sins and be raised from the dead – and He changed the whole course of history. But 2,000 years have passed since then, and there is still little evidence of the influence of Jesus in the lives of the people of Nazareth.

Then I remembered that it was said of our Lord, He could do no mighty things in Nazareth because of their unbelief. That seems to be true in more than just that city today. Even though there are a billion and a half professing followers of Christ throughout the world, the majority seem to be practical atheists.

And so, our Lord cannot do mighty things in Nazareth, or throughout the world, because of unbelief. The key to releasing His power to accomplish revolutionary, supernatural things in the world – and in individual lives – is faith. “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29, KJV). “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23, KJV). “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17, KJV).

Bible Reading:Mark 6:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Remembering that Jesus Christ lives within me in all of His supernatural power, waiting to accomplish great and mighty things through me, I will trust and obey Him for a life that is characterized by the supernatural, and I will encourage others to do the same.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – The Reward of Christianity is Christ

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Do you visit the Grand Canyon for the T-shirt or the snow globe?  No.  The reward of the Grand Canyon is the Grand Canyon!  It’s the wide-eyed realization you’re part of something ancient, splendid, powerful and greater than you!

The cache of Christianity is Christ!  Not money in the bank or a car in the garage or a better self-image.  The Fort Knox of faith is Christ.  It is fellowship with Him.  It’s walking with Him and pondering Him.  It’s the heart-stopping realization that in Him you’re part of something endless, unstoppable, unfathomable!  And that He, who can dig the Grand Canyon with His pinkie, thinks you’re worth His death on Roman timber.  Christ is the reward of Christianity.

Read more Next Door Savior

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Why did the Dow soar more than a thousand points?

The Dow soared more than a thousand points yesterday, its biggest one-day point spike in history. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 rose dramatically as well.

The markets were not merely in a holiday mood. Investors responded to the largest holiday sales growth in six years, with total sales exceeding $850 billion. Investors also credit oil’s best rally since 2016, President Trump’s assurance that the Fed chairman’s job is safe, and a report that US officials will travel to Beijing in two weeks to hold trade talks.

One economist summarized: “Stocks just got too cheap relative to earnings, future earnings, any reasonable assessment of earnings.”

Looking back, it all makes sense. But looking forward, what will the markets do today?

I have no idea. Neither does anyone else, it seems.

President Trump visits Iraq

Surveying this morning’s headlines, I’m impressed by the fact that so few could have been predicted. For instance, President Trump made a surprise visit to US troops in Iraq. Two years ago, pollsters were nearly unanimous in predicting that Hillary Clinton would be our president today.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was released from the hospital yesterday after surgery for early-stage lung cancer. When she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer nine years ago, her prospects for another decade of service on the court were unclear at best.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Why did the Dow soar more than a thousand points?