Our Daily Bread — Our Welcoming God

 

Bible in a Year:Genesis 25–26; Matthew 8:1–17

God does not show favoritism.

Acts 10:34

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Acts 10:34-38

Our church meets in an old elementary school, one that closed in 1958 rather than obey a US court order to integrate (the act of having African-American students attend schools previously attended by only Caucasian students). The following year, the school reopened and Elva, now a member of our church, was one of those black students who were thrust into a white world. “I was taken out of my safe community, with teachers who were part of our life,” Elva recalls, “and placed in a scary environment in a class with only one other black student.” Elva suffered because she was different, but she became a woman of courage, faith, and forgiveness.

Her witness is profound because of how much evil she endured at the hands of some members of a society that denied the truth that every human being, regardless of race or heritage, is loved by God. Some members of the early church struggled with this same truth, believing that certain people were, by birth, loved by God while others were rejected. After receiving a divine vision, however, Peter stunned everyone who would listen with this astounding revelation: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10:34–35).

God opens His arms wide to extend love to everyone. May we do the same in His power.

By Winn Collier

Today’s Reflection

Consider your neighborhood, your family, and your social sphere. Where do you find a temptation to exclude others? Why?

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Love Stories

Driving to work one day, a commercial on the radio offered the compelling thought of “recess time” for adults. Immediately, memories of school came to my mind: the daily struggles of learning and discipline, math and reading, tests and exercises. “Was the strain of school any different from the chores and deadlines that bombard you today,” the advertiser seemed to ask effectively. “And yet, the refreshing reward of afternoon free time and recess: Where has that gone?” In fact, the commercial’s invitation was to a steakhouse that promised the delight of recess for those craving a break, though it certainly prompted the thoughts of much more. The nostalgic use of my own memory was powerfully utilized to urge me not to miss out on life itself, via missing out on recess, store-bought relaxation, and steak.

The world of advertising continues to woo us with packaged worldviews and lifestyles, and this time of year the packaging is particularly eye-catching. We are led to believe that if we buy this product, experience this item, or go to this place in this vehicle, then, and maybe only then, we will really live into this new year.

I do not doubt that there are people who would claim to be satisfied by the pursuit of materialism as a way of life. Nonetheless, we have an abundance of evidence clearly stating the futility of pursuing these ends. If we are purely material beings with our lives confined to the years we have on earth, then perhaps living for pleasure might be a legitimate goal. Yet it seems that the human spirit cannot be reduced to mere matter. Such a contrast is seen in the movie Chariots of Fire when the vision of life modeled by Harold Abrams—who lives for success in this world alone—is set in sharp relief by Eric Liddel, who runs for the glory of God and in running feels God’s delight. In our best moments, we often recognize that we are somehow destined for higher, greater, more enduring things.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Love Stories

Joyce Meyer – Breaking Bad Habits

 

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. — 1 Corinthians 15:58

Adapted from the resource Wake Up to the Word Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Habits are behaviors that we often do unconsciously, and to break bad ones we have to become conscious and aware that we are doing them and choose to replace them with good habits.

Breaking bad habits is a process, and if you are a person who gives up easily, you won’t get very far. So, make a decision that you are in it for the long haul and that you are willing to have the pain for the gain.

Anything worth having in life is going to take a concentrated effort. With God’s help, a determined attitude, and an awareness that a bad habit needs to be broken, you can have victory—be encouraged that you can break that bad habit, with God’s help, and replace it with a good one.

Prayer Starter: Lord, help me to not give up! Strengthen me today to make right choices. Help me to replace the bad habits in my life with good, healthy habits that glorify You. I can only do it by Your grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Nothing You Cannot Do

 

“I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13, KJV).

What would you give for the power to live a truly holy, fruitful life? Strangely enough, it is yours for the asking. If your problem is timidity in witnessing, God promises to help you share your faith with others: “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them” (2 Timothy 1:7).

If it is victory over temptation, He reminds us that temptation is not a sin; it is only in the yielding that it becomes sin.

If you need victory in your thought-life, He promises to allow no tempting or testing above that you are able to bear – and that certainly includes your thought-life (1 Corinthians 10:13). You are invited to “cast all your anxiety upon the Lord, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

If it is forgiveness you seek, He offers it freely. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, KJV).

In short, you have no burden, no problem, no need that is too big for our Lord to handle. “Ye receive not, because ye ask not,” He reminds us.

If your need is for physical healing, know that He is able to heal you if it is His will. If His answer to your prayer is no, thank Him for the sure knowledge that His grace is sufficient in the midst of pain and suffering. Acknowledge His sovereign right to be God in your life, whatever the cost may be. “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him to help you do it and He will” (Psalm 37:5).

Bible Reading:Philippians 4:6-12

Today’s Action Point: I will begin this day – and every day – by committing everything I do to the Lord and expecting Him to help me. I will remember that I can do everything God asks me to do with the help of Christ, who gives me the strength and power (Philippians 4:13).

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Five Loaves, Two Fish, …and Jesus

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

In Matthew 6:25 Jesus says, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough.”

On one occasion, Jesus had taken the disciples on a retreat.  Then came the hungry crowd and the disciples issued a command to Jesus.  “Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus issued an assignment to them, “You give them something to eat.”

Do you suppose Jesus was hoping someone would count all the possibilities?  We have “five loaves, two fish, and … Jesus!”  Standing next to the disciples was the solution to their problems … but the disciples stopped their counting and worried.  What about you? Are you counting your problems or are you counting on Christ?

Read more Fearless

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – University bans Chick-fil-A from campus

The New York Daily News responded to President Trump’s Oval Office address on border security with a cover depicting the president as a screaming baby in a temper tantrum. The headline reads: “It’s Wall About Me.” Talk show hosts and Hollywood celebrities also panned the president’s remarks.

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi came in for ridicule as well. After their response to the president’s speech, one critic likened them to “the creepy twins from The Shining.”

Are you surprised by any of this?

In other news, Rider University in New Jersey recently asked students what fast-food restaurant they would like to see on campus. Once it became clear that Chick-fil-A was their choice, the school’s leaders excluded this option, citing concerns over the company’s alleged attitudes toward the LGBTQ community.

Chick-fil-A’s spokesman responded: “We have no policy of discrimination against any group.”

Clearly, Rider University’s leaders cannot say the same.

“Our iniquities have risen higher than our heads”

We can respond to our divisive, post-Christian culture in one of three ways: we can condemn those who disagree with us, we can condone behavior the Bible forbids, or we can speak the truth with compassion.

Here’s why God’s people should always choose the third option.

Continue reading Denison Forum – University bans Chick-fil-A from campus