Charles Stanley – God’s Plan for Our Guilt

 

Romans 8:1-8

Scripture teaches that one aspect of the Holy Spirit’s work is to convict us of sin (John 16:8). His purpose is to turn us from our iniquity and direct us to God.

One example is Peter, who felt great remorse after denying he knew Jesus (Matt. 26:75). Another is Paul, who fell to the ground when Christ came to confront him about his behavior (Acts 9:4). Both men responded to these convicting experiences by repenting and following the Lord.

At one time we all were spiritually dead. Sin’s presence was corrupting our human nature from the inside out, blinding us to spiritual truth. With our will directed towards self and against God, “we were by nature deserving of wrath” (Eph. 2:3 NIV). In other words, we were under condemnation and facing eternal death—God’s required payment for our transgressions. (See Rom. 6:23.) So in our natural state, we were unconnected to the Lord and headed toward eternal separation from Him.

Although we were helpless to change our situation, God had a plan that would satisfy His justice and include us in His family. He sent His Son to be our substitute—to bear our sin and guilt and to die in our place. Not only did Jesus pay our sin debt in full, but His righteousness also becomes ours the moment we place trust in Him.

The Holy Spirit convicts us of our guilt before God, and, thankfully, we don’t have to be separated from Him now or throughout eternity. Have you received Jesus as your personal Savior? If so, then recognize that your position before the Lord has been changed from guilty to righteous.

Bible in One Year: Genesis 29-31

 

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Our Daily Bread — What Kind of Savior Is He?

 

Bible in a Year: Genesis 23–24; Matthew 7

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.  John 6:66

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

John 6:47–51, 60–66

Last year, friends and I prayed for healing for three women battling cancer. We knew God had the power to do this, and we asked Him to do so every day. We’d seen Him work in the past and believed He could do it again. There were days in each one’s battle where healing looked like it was a reality, and we rejoiced. But they all died that fall. Some said that was “the ultimate healing,” and in a way it was. Still the loss hurt us deeply. We wanted Him to heal them all—here and now—but for reasons we couldn’t understand, no miracle came.

Some people followed Jesus for the miracles He performed and to get their needs met (John 6:2, 26). Some simply saw Him as the carpenter’s son (Matthew 13:55–58), and others expected Him to be their political leader (Luke 19:37–38). Some thought of Him as a great teacher (Matthew 7:28–29), while others quit following Him because His teaching was hard to understand (John 6:66).

Jesus still doesn’t always meet our expectations of Him. Yet He is so much more than we can imagine. He’s the provider of eternal life (vv. 47–48). He is good and wise; and He loves, forgives, stays close, and brings us comfort. May we find rest in Jesus as He is and keep following Him.

By Anne Cetas

Today’s Reflection

Thank You, Jesus, that You are the kind of Savior we need. Wrap us in Your love and bring us confident rest in You.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Christmas Continued

The Christmas season as most of us know it has drawn to a close. All the preparations and fanfare of Christmas fade into the calendar of another year. But the church calendar, a reminder of a different rhythm within the world around us, offers the countercultural suggestion that we take the Christmas story with us into the New Year. Six days into our new calendars, after trees have come down and lights are put away and the ambiance of Christmas has dimmed, Epiphany is celebrated. Hardly dim in significance, the feast of Epiphany, which was Sunday, commemorates the events that first revealed Christ’s identity to the world: the magi’s adoration of the Christ child, the manifestation of Christ at his baptism, the first miracle at the wedding in Cana, among others.

The arrival of the magi to the birthplace of Jesus was the first of many windows into the identity of the child born to Mary and Joseph. “After [the magi] had heard [Herod] the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” (1) As it had been foretold, nations came to his light and kings to the brightness of his dawn; they brought gold and frankincense and worshiped him.(2) A new mystery was revealed in Jesus, and the story continued to unfold before the world.

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Joyce Meyer – There’s Great Value in Variety

 

Behold, here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat and drink, and to find enjoyment in all the labor in which he labors under the sun during the few days of his life which God gives him—for this is his [allotted] reward. — Ecclesiastes 5:18 (AMP)

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

If we do the same thing over and over, sooner or later we’re going to get bored. We don’t have to wait for something nice to happen to us; we can be aggressive and do something nice for ourselves. For many of you, I know this is a new thought that may seem foreign and even unspiritual. But I can assure you that it is part of God’s plan. You can create variety, and it will keep your life more exciting.

I sat with my computer on my lap for about four hours this morning and then stopped for a while to do some other things I needed to do. When I went back to my writing, I decided to sit in a different part of the house just for variety. I chose a place that had plenty of light where I could look out the window. Simple little things like this cost nothing, but they are very valuable.

No day needs to be ordinary if we realize the gift God is giving us when He gives us another day to live and enjoy. An extraordinary attitude can quickly turn an ordinary day into an amazing adventure. Jesus said He came so that we might have and enjoy life (see John 10:10). If we refuse to enjoy it, then it’s no one’s fault but our own.

I would like to suggest that you take responsibility for your joy and never again give anyone else the job of keeping you happy. Add a little variety to your life—break up your routine, do something different, and so on. When you do, expect God to meet you and help make your ordinary…extraordinary!

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for Your joy. Please help me to approach my life with adventure, choosing to enjoy each and every day…and adding variety all along the way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Seeking God’s Face

 

“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV).

“Humility is perfect quietness of heart,” Andrew Murray once wrote. “It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”

For years, I have claimed God’s promise recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:14. My emphasis has been on the humbling of ourselves and turning from sin. But recently a minister friend made a passing reference to the phrase, “seeking God’s face,” and it triggered in my mind some new thoughts about this great promise from God.

In a sense, the humbling of ourselves and turning from sin are the by-products, or end results, of coming to know God as He is, by meditating upon His character and attributes. To “seek God’s face” is to meditate upon His sovereignty, His holiness, His power, His wisdom, His love – getting to know Him as He is.

The disciples of the first-century church were mightily used of God because of their exalted view of Him. There was nothing too great for Him. God could do anything. The church today can once again experience that same dynamic that characterized those first believers if we, too, become totally absorbed in the character and attributes of our great God.

It is then that we will truly begin to believe God for supernatural, impossible things and make a great impact for good on the world.

Bible Reading:Psalm 145:5-12

Today’s Action Point: I will deliberately choose to seek God’s face today by meditating on His attributes, found in Psalm 145, and by looking for Him in every circumstance of my life this day.

 

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Max Lucado – Free Indeed!

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Do you know God’s grace?  Then you can live boldly, live robustly. Nothing fosters courage like a clear grasp of grace. And nothing fosters fear like an ignorance of mercy.

May I speak candidly?  If you haven’t accepted God’s forgiveness, you are doomed to fear.  Only God’s grace can remove it. Have you accepted the forgiveness of Christ?  If not, do so.  Your prayer can be as simple as this:  Dear Father, I need forgiveness.  I admit that I have turned away from you.  Please forgive me.  I place my soul in your hands and my trust in your grace.  Through Jesus I pray, amen.

Having received God’s forgiveness, live forgiven!  When Jesus sets you free, you are free indeed.

Read more Fearless

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – The border wall: Pros and cons and 3 biblical facts

President Trump spoke to the nation last night from the Oval Office, seeking support for building a wall on our border with Mexico. Democratic Party leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer then responded.

From our inception, Denison Forum has been nonpartisan. Our mission is not to endorse political leaders or positions but to apply God’s word to the questions of our day, equipping Christians to change our culture by engaging contemporary issues with biblical truth.

As a result, my purpose today is not to offer my opinion on the border wall. Rather, it is to summarize arguments that have been made for and against the project, then to consider biblical principles relevant to this issue and our larger influence in the culture.

Arguments for the border wall

The southern border shared by the United States and Mexico spans 1,969 miles. Approximately 700 miles of border fencing have been completed as part of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 signed by President George W. Bush. These barriers are mostly near urban areas and international bridges.

The US Customs and Border Patrol uses patrols to guard more remote borderlands. It spends $4 billion a year, utilizing 58,000 personnel, 16,875 vehicles, 269 aircraft, 300 watercraft, 300 camera towers, and aerial drones.

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