Charles Stanley – God Is My Keeper

 

Psalm 121:7-8

God is sovereign, and He is also good. Knowing this, many believers struggle to understand why painful things happen in life. They wonder, Why wouldn’t the Lord stop me from experiencing such heartache?

The question deepens when we read a Bible passage like Psalm 121:7-8: “The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.” Many people interpret this to mean that God will keep them from difficulty. But what the words say is that He promises to keep their soul.

The Lord allows pain in our life. Sometimes He even orchestrates it. God understands the hurt, but He also looks into the deeper meaning of the situation. Trials often strengthen our faith, make us more like Jesus, and give us compassion for others. At times, God may even use difficulties to keep us from becoming complacent in our spiritual walk. With His help, we profit immensely more from walking through the pain than from avoiding it. When our heavenly Father knows it is best, He doesn’t keep us from the pain; instead, He enables us to endure the hardship by giving us wisdom and strength. And when we get to the other side, we can often see—with profound thankfulness—how His loving and gracious hand guided us through the whole situation.

We have tremendous hope, knowing that God will keep us through the most difficult times. Reread Psalm 121, and ask the Lord to remind you of its truths when painful situations arise in your life.

Bible in One Year: Genesis 49-50

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — A Song in the Night

 

Bible in a Year:Genesis 36–38; Matthew 10:21–42

If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Romans 8:25

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 42:1-11

My father’s life was one of longing. He longed for wholeness, even as Parkinson’s disease gradually crippled more and more of his mind and body. He longed for peace, but was tormented by the deep pain of depression. He longed to feel loved and cherished, but often felt utterly alone.

He found himself less alone when he read the words of Psalm 42, his favorite psalm. Like him, the psalmist knew a desperate longing, an unquenched thirst for healing (vv. 1–2). Like him, the psalmist knew a sadness that felt like it never went away (v. 3), leaving times of pure joy merely a distant memory (v. 6). Like my dad, as consuming waves of chaos and pain swept over him (v. 7), the psalmist felt abandoned by God and asked, “Why?” (v. 9).

And as the words of the psalm washed over him, assuring him he was not alone, my father felt the beginnings of a quiet peace enter in alongside his pain. He heard a tender voice surrounding him, a voice assuring him that even though he had no answers, even though the waves still crashed over him, still he was dearly loved (v. 8).

And somehow hearing that quiet song of love in the night was enough. Enough for my dad to quietly cling to glimmers of hope, love, and joy. And enough for him to wait patiently for the day when all his longings would finally be satisfied (vv. 5, 11).

By Monica Brands

Today’s Reflection

Lord, we know that You have carried all our suffering and will one day turn it around into resurrection life. Still, there is so much healing that we wait and long for. As we wait for that morning, help us to rest in Your song of love in the night.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Insight for the Blind

Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) popularized the concept of “a paradigm shift” in the realm of scientific thought. While many of us may not be familiar with Kuhn or his book, we have likely experienced the duck/rabbit optical illusion used by Kuhn to demonstrate the way in which a paradigm shift could cause one to see the same information in an entirely different way. Kuhn described a paradigm shift as that which opens up new approaches to understanding that would never have been considered valid before.

The word “epiphany” offers another way to speak about paradigm shifts. To have an epiphany is to have the proverbial light bulb go off in one’s head, as a new idea changes the way in which one sees or understands information. The lights are “switched on” when understanding comes. The English word epiphany comes from a Greek word meaning “manifestation or appearance.” An epiphany is that “a-ha” moment that comes as a result of new vision—of blindness being turned to sight. It is, to borrow from Kuhn’s description, an experience of a paradigmatic shift in view. An epiphany thus reorients, reorders, or transforms our view from one way of looking at the world to another.

In the Christian tradition, the season of Epiphany is a season for new sight, new vision, and paradigm shifts. The season commemorates the arrival of the foreign magi at the birthplace of Jesus. Magi (not three kings of the orient as sung in the famous hymn) were a caste of wise men specializing in astrology, medicine, and natural science.(1) As the Gospel of Matthew records it, these wise men “saw his star in the east,” and recognized that this young child was worthy of worship as King.(2)

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Joyce Meyer – Friendship Makes Us Bold

 

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:16

Adapted from the resource Hearing from God Each Morning Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

When we begin to understand our friendship with God and see ourselves as His friends, our prayers become more Spirit-led, more faith-filled, and much bolder.

Jesus told a story in Luke 11, immediately after He taught His disciples to pray using what we call the “Lord’s Prayer.” We can surmise that He was using the story to illustrate His lesson on prayer.

He said: Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and will say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves [of bread], for a friend of mine who is on a journey has just come, and I have nothing to put before him; and he from within will answer, Do not disturb me; the door is now closed, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and supply you [with anything]? I tell you, although he will not get up and supply him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his shameless persistence and insistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs (Luke 11:5–8 AMPC).

Notice that the man who needs bread gets it only “because of his shameless persistence and insistence.”

We will only “shamelessly persist” with our friends—because friendship makes us bold, and the more we grow and progress in our friendship with God, the bolder and more confident we can be as we approach Him.

Prayer Starter: Lord, Help me to love You and talk to You as a close friend. When I feel like there’s a wall between us, remind me that I can come boldly before your throne of grace and ask for help in my time of need (see Hebrews 4:16). In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Your Paths Made Plain

 

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5,6, KJV).

A young seminary graduate came to see me while he was investigating various possibilities of Christian service. In particular, he had come to discuss the ministry of Campus Crusade.

“In what way do you expect God to reveal His place of service for you?” I asked him.

“I’m following the ‘closed-door policy,'” he replied.” A few months ago I began to investigate several opportunities for Christian service. The Lord has now closed the door on all but two, one of which is Campus Crusade. If the door to accept a call to a particular church closes, I’ll know that God wants me in Campus Crusade.”

Many sincere Christians follow this method – often with most unsatisfactory and frustrating results. God does sometimes use closed doors in the life of a Spirit-controlled Christian, as the apostle Paul experienced on different occasions, but generally one does not discover God’s perfect will through a careless “hit-or-miss” attitude that ignores a careful evaluation of all the issues.

Such an approach is illogical because it allows elements of chance to influence a decision rather than a careful, intelligent, prayerful evaluation of all the factors involved. It is unscriptural in that it fails to employ the God-given faculties of reason that are controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Why not follow the “open-door policy” of Proverbs 3:5,6, trusting God for His clear direction? This is God’s provision for supernatural living.

Bible Reading:Psalm 37:3-7

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: In every decision today, whether small or large matters, joyfully and with anticipation I will trust in the Lord with all my heart, knowing that He will direct my path to supernatural living. I will encourage others also to trust in the Lord.

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Max Lucado – Entrust Your Kids to Christ

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Fear turns some parents into paranoid prison guards who monitor every minute, check the background of every friend.  A family with no breathing room suffocates a child.  On the other hand, fear can also create permissive parents.  Fearing that their child will feel too confined or fenced in, they are high on hugs and low on discipline.  They don’t realize that appropriate discipline is an expression of love.

Permissive parents. Paranoid parents.  How can we avoid the extremes?  We pray.  Jesus’ big message to moms and dads?  Bring your children to me.  Pray that your children have a profound sense of place in this world and a heavenly place in the next.  Parents, we can entrust our kids to Christ.

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For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – When is the next royal baby due?

Meghan Markle is having twins, or she’s not. Her baby will be named Victoria, or it will be named Diana, or Albert, or Philip. Her sister-in-law is pregnant with her fourth child, or not.

Now we have more “news”: Meghan is due in late April or early May. Or so we’re told.

Expect much fake news about the royal family in the coming months. And about nearly everything else in the news as well.

Unsurprisingly, only 45 percent of Americans say they trust the mass media. Like nearly everything else today, our opinions fall into political categories: 76 percent of Democrats say they trust the media, while only 21 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Independents agree.

Fake news can be used to inflame or suppress social conflict. It undermines trust in the media and in government. Fake news aimed at senior adults is such a problem that the FBI has created a web page designed to protect seniors against this threat.

In an age that declares all truth to be subjective, we should not be surprised when our “news” is subjective. This is not just a problem for today–it is an issue that affects eternity.

But in the chaos of our times, there’s a path to the unchanging truth we need today.

What ideology caused 100 million deaths in the 20th century?

According to Pew Research Center, 80 percent of Americans believe in God. That’s the good news.

Continue reading Denison Forum – When is the next royal baby due?