Charles Stanley –God’s Unchanging Love

 

Romans 8:31-39

The limitless, unfailing love of God is difficult for man to grasp. Yet the Bible clearly teaches that divine love is sure, eternal, and in no way dependent upon our worthiness or good behavior. If we are born-again believers, nothing can lessen the Father’s love for us. However, since we struggle to wrap our minds around this truth, He sometimes increases our perception by using earthly examples.

For many years, I had a German schnauzer named Rommel. Every afternoon as I pulled my car into the driveway, Rommel ran to greet me. Many times he would appear to stand at attention by the front of the house as if to say, “Welcome home, sir. Everything is under control here!”

Now sometimes I had to correct or discipline Rommel for something he had done or for the occasional accident around the house. However, no matter what I did, whether it was a reprimand or withholding attention from time to time, he never seemed to love me any less. Rommel was always happy to see me and longed for my company.

One day while I was playing with him, the Lord taught me a lesson. I looked at my faithful dog and said, “Rommel, no matter what I do, you always love me. I’d like to be that kind of friend.” If a dog can exemplify this simple truth, we should aim for nothing less.

But this realization also taught me something about Jesus: He never changes, and His love never waivers. No matter what I do or how I fail, He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Bible in One Year: Revelation 13-17

 

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Our Daily Bread — All Things New

 

Read: Revelation 21:1–7 | Bible in a Year: Zechariah 13–14; Revelation 21

If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Junkyards intrigue me. I enjoy working on cars, so I frequently make trips to the one near our home. It’s a lonely place, where the wind whispers through discarded hulks that were once someone’s prized possession. Some were wrecked, some wore out, and others simply outlived their usefulness. As I walk between the rows, a car will sometimes catch my eye, and I’ll find myself wondering about the adventures it had during its “lifetime.” Like a portal to the past, each has a story to tell—of human hankering after the latest model and the inescapable passage of time.

But I take particular pleasure in finding new life for an old part. Whenever I can take something discarded and give it new life in a restored vehicle, it feels like a small victory against time and decline.

It sometimes makes me think of Jesus’s words at the end of the Bible: “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5). These words refer to God’s renewal of creation, which includes believers. Already, all who’ve received Jesus are a “new creation” in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).

And one day we will enter into His promise of unending days with Him (John 14:3). Age and disease will no longer take their toll, and we will continue the adventure of an eternal lifetime. What stories each of us will have to tell—stories of our Savior’s redeeming love and undying faithfulness.

Loving Lord, I praise You that I am a new creation in You, and that in Your kindness and mercy You have given me the promise of eternal life.

The end of a year and beginning of another is an opportunity for a fresh start. What might God be making new in your life?

By James Banks

INSIGHT

Today’s passage gives us a glimpse of heaven, describing it as a physical place (vv. 1–2). Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for us (John 14:2–3), and this promise is fulfilled in the New Jerusalem, the holy city (Revelation 21:2). While it’s a great comfort that heaven is a perfect place (v. 4), the most important thing is that it’s the dwelling place of God (v. 3). In this final vision of the beginning of eternity (21:1–22:9), John hears Christ declaring, “It is done” (21:6). The New Living Translation renders it, “It is finished!” echoing Christ’s victorious cry from the cross (John 19:30). Sin’s curse will one day be completely removed and reversed (Revelation 21:4–5; see Genesis 3:16–19).

  1. T. Sim

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Passing and The Abiding

A New Year’s Reflection from Ravi Zacharias

Henry Frances Lyte, at least on this side of the Atlantic, may be a name that only great lovers of hymns will recognize. He is the author of the famous hymn “Abide with Me.” Very few hymns have merited a whole book on the background of their writing. “Abide with Me” is one of those. I am indebted to the author of an old volume that tells the story for the numerous facts he has culled.1

The first time I heard this hymn I was a nine-year-old boy standing by the graveside of my grandmother, who died in her seventies. Little did I know then that I was listening to words that had such a solemn and powerful history. I don’t know what it was about the hymn that gripped me even then, but I recall wiping away tears hearing “In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.” I was not fully comprehending but grasping just enough to know we were in need of a Presence and of comfort.

Lyte was a natural poet. Having lost his parents early and been cared for by the headmaster of the school, who became his guardian, he was tenderhearted and his emotions ran deep. It is an incredible story. At age seven, he was orphaned when both his parents abandoned him, each for different reasons: a father who turned his back on responsibility and a mother who left to make a living. His poetic genius began to surface early, as he longed to belong. He recalled bedtime as a child being tearful, as he wished for even the shadow of his mother to pass by. Here are the first four lines from an early piece. (The whole poem is beautiful.)

Stay gentle shadow of my mother stay:
Thy form but seldom comes to bless my sleep.
Ye faithless slumbers, flit not thus away,
And leave my wistful eyes to wake and weep.

One can imagine the groaning of a child spurning his orphaned reality.

At age sixteen, he penned a masterpiece, “To a Field Flower.” He was fascinated by the rose and the tulip, but his adulation remained for the lingering primrose that withstood the choke of winter and beamed at the dawning spring:

Hail, lovely harbinger of spring!
Hail, little modest flower!
Fanned by the tempest’s icy wing
Dashed by the hoary shower.

Thy balmy breath, thy softened bloom,
Was ever welcome here;
But at this hour of wintry gloom,
Thy smile is doubly dear.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Passing and The Abiding

Joyce Meyer – Rest for the Weary

 

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own  — 1 Corinthians 6:19

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

The first key to overcoming stress is to recognize or admit we are experiencing it, and look for the source of it.

There was a time in my life when I was constantly having headaches, backaches, stomach aches, neck aches, and all the other symptoms of stress, but I found it very difficult to admit I was pushing too hard physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I wanted to do all of the things I was doing and wasn’t willing to ask God what He wanted me to do. I was afraid that He would lead me to give up something I wasn’t ready to give up yet.

Although the Lord gives power to the faint and weary, if you are worn-out from continually exceeding your physical limitations, you will have stress.

Our bodies are the sanctuary (home) of God, and we are in disobedience when we push ourselves past God-ordained limitations and live in continual stress. We all have limits and we need to recognize what they are and eliminate excess stress from our lives.

If you wear out your body, you can’t go to a department store and purchase another one, so take care of the one you have!

Prayer Starter: Father, I lift my schedule and activities up to You. Show me areas where I need to change. Help me to do my part to eliminate stress and take care of my body, the temple of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for Your grace to change! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – God Is a Loving God

 

“If a child asks his father for a loaf of bread, will he be given a stone instead? If he asks for fish, will he be given a poisonous snake? Of course not! And if you hardhearted, sinful men know how to give good gifts to your children, won’t your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask Him for them?” (Matthew 7:9).

Roger interrupted our Bible study on this passage of Scripture to say, “I guess I have trouble believing God is a good God because my earthly father was a tyrant. He hated me, and I hated him. I do not recall a single experience in my life where he encouraged me. I want to believe that God is good, but I have difficulty. Please help me.”

Unfortunately, there are multitudes of men and women who are relatively new Christians and who have come from similar backgrounds where there was no love, no compassion, no concern, and their view of God is therefore distorted. They somehow equate the loving, forgiving God with their own tyrannical fathers. When such is the case, only the Holy Spirit can heal these deep wounds and remove these scars. So, I assigned Roger a special project. I asked him to make a list of all the attributes and qualities of God recorded from Genesis to Revelation. The project lasted several months, but in the process a transformation took place in Roger’s life.

The day came when he exclaimed with great joy, “The Holy Spirit has illumined my mind and taught me that God is truly a loving God, worthy of my trust. Now I can believe Him for anything. I know that even if my father on earth was the best father ever, God’s love, compassion and care for me transcends anything that he could do for me. Therefore, I can ask Him for good gifts, knowing that He will hear and answer me. I want to live only for His glory for the rest of my life.”

Are you having difficulty trusting God because of an unfortunate early relationship with your father or mother? If so, I encourage you to do what Roger did. Saturate your mind with the attributes of God – His love, sovereignty, wisdom, grace, compassion, power and holiness. As you do, the Holy Spirit will use the Word of God to cleanse your mind of all the memories that weigh you down, and you will be able to say with Roger, “I can trust God for anything, because I know He is a loving God who cares for me.”

Bible Reading:1 John 3:1-3

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will continue to meditate upon the attributes of God, knowing that the more I trust Him, the more sure I can be of His faithfulness to enable me to live a supernatural life for His glory.

 

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