Charles Stanley – Overcoming Life’s Ups and Downs

 

Philippians 4:10-13

Have you ever heard a testimony from someone who has been through a horrible tragedy and seen firsthand the faithfulness of God in that situation? We pay close attention to these accounts because they inspire us to trust the Lord. And of all the witnesses to God’s grace in times of trouble, none is more compelling than the apostle Paul.

Paul was no stranger to hardship. Throughout his ministry, he was dragged, beaten, stoned, arrested, shipwrecked, and accused of heresy by both the Jewish leaders and the Roman government (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). This was certainly a contrast to his early life, when he enjoyed opportunities that his Roman citizenship and Jewish education provided.

In the midst of these amazing ups and downs in his life, Paul discovered a valuable lesson. In Philippians 4:11, he writes, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” His attitude didn’t change with his circumstances—it remained constant whether he had plenty or was in need (Phil. 4:12).

Paul referred to this contentment as a “secret” but then revealed the source of this attitude in the very next verse: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). He is speaking, of course, about Jesus.

In ourselves, there is no way we can muster contentment in every situation. But once we understand that God works through our trials to make us more like His Son and that our union with Christ strengthens us to endure and even rejoice, we have a strong foundation for contentment no matter what is going on around us.

Bible in One Year: Exodus 16-18

 

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Our Daily Bread — Creation’s Song

 

Bible in a Year:Exodus 1–3; Matthew 14:1–21

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Psalm 19:1

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 19:1-6

Using acoustic astronomy, scientists can observe and listen to the sounds and pulses of space. They’ve found that stars don’t orbit in silence in the mysterious night sky, but rather generate music. Like humpback whale sounds, the resonance of stars exists at wavelengths or frequencies that may not be heard by the human ear. Yet, the music of stars and whales and other creatures combine to create a symphony that proclaims the greatness of God.

Psalm 19:1–4 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul reveals that in Jesus “all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible . . . all things have been created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). In response, the natural world’s heights and depths sing to its Maker. May we join creation and sing out the greatness of the One who “with the breadth of his hand marked off the [vast] heavens” (Isaiah 40:12).

By Remi Oyedele

Today’s Reflection

How great You are, O God! Open my eyes to see You in creation’s majesty and open my heart to offer the praise You deserve.

Welcome to Remi Oyedele! Meet all our authors at odb.org/all-authors.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Prophet and the Newspaper

Eighty-five years ago Karl Barth told his theology students to take their bibles and their newspapers, and read both; adding, “But interpret newspapers from your Bible.”(1) There are so many times when, reading or watching the news, I am most grateful for the sighing and crying of the prophets. Isaiah’s ancient plea is among the most-repeated, as I sigh between heart-breaking headlines and breaking news. “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, that the mountains would quake at your presence!” (Isaiah 64:1).

In the thick of stories that recount violence and injustice near and far, Isaiah’s prayer is a response for the speechless, the weary, and the frustrated. How long, O Lord? Where are you in the midst of this? Why is slavery still happening right under our noses in Atlanta? Why is sex-trafficking thriving in Moscow? How is it that poverty and addiction, racism and genocide are ignored, even as we obsess over trending gossip or social media witch hunts? For the church, the words of the prophets become a gift. How long, O Lord, are we going to be reading and seeing and tolerating such disparaging news? O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, that the mountains would quake at your presence.

Isaiah words articulate the cries for relief and justice within his world and within ours. But Isaiah does not merely cry out at God’s seeming absence and a longing for God to fix all he sees; Isaiah is not merely pointing a finger and waiting for God to act. And holding the prophet’s words in one hand with our newspaper in the other, we, too, hopefully see the significance for both hands. Isaiah cries both for God and the generation of people who have turned from God. The entire chapter is a fervent prayer for a change in the direction that Jerusalem is currently moving—for God’s intervention and forgiveness, for Jerusalem’s repentance and reversal.

“We have all become like one who is unclean,

and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.

We all fade like a leaf,

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Prophet and the Newspaper

Joyce Meyer – Something God Responds To

 

That I may make the voice of thanksgiving heard and may tell of all Your wondrous works. — Psalm 26:7 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Giving thanks is an important part of prayer because, like praise and worship, it is something God responds to. It’s something God loves, something that warms His heart. Anytime we please God like that, our intimacy with Him increases—and that makes for a better prayer life.

Also, when we are thankful, we are in a position to receive more from the Lord. If we are not thankful for what we have, why should God give us something else to murmur or complain about?

On the other hand, when God sees that we genuinely appreciate and are thankful for everything He gives us—the big things and the little things—He is inclined to bless us even more.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You that I can have a personal relationship with You. I pray that You are blessed by my thanksgiving. I love You, and I am so grateful for each thing that You have given me, no matter how big or how small. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Sure Road to Faith

 

“So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17, KJV).

Martin Luther said he studied his Bible in the same way he gathered apples. First, he shook the whole tree, that the ripest might fall; then he shook each limb, and when he had shaken each limb, he shook each branch, and after each branch, every twig; and then he looked under every leaf. He admonishes us:

“Search the Bible as a whole, shaking the whole tree. Read it rapidly, as you would any book. Then shake every limb – study book after book.

“Then shake every branch, giving attention to the chapters when they do not break the sense. Then shake each twig, by careful study of the paragraphs and sentences. And you will be rewarded if you will look under each leaf, by searching the meaning of the words.”

Seek to know the Lord with all your heart. While you may have no difficulty in worshiping the omnipotent God, you cannot really know God unless you study His Word. The one who spoke and caused the worlds to be framed is waiting to reveal Himself to you personally.

Faith is not given to those who are either undisciplined or disobedient. Faith is a gift of God which is given to those who trust and obey Him. As we master His Word and obey His commands, our faith continues to grow.

It is my strong conviction that it is impossible to ask God for too much if our hearts and motives are pure and if we pray according to the Word and will of God.

Every time you and I open and read God’s Word carefully, we are building up our storehouse of faith. When we memorize the Word, our faith is being increased. When we study or teach a Sunday school lesson, or hear a sermon faithfully expounding the Word, we are growing in faith.

Bible Reading:Hebrews 11:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will read, study, memorize and meditate upon God’s Word daily, knowing that in the process my faith will grow, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

ACTION LINK: Learn more about the Old and New Testaments.

 

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Max Lucado – Fear of Worst-Case Scenarios

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

What’s your worst fear?  Jesus did more than speak about fear.  He faced it.  In Mark 14:35-36, Jesus prayed in Gethsemane’s garden, “‘Abba, Father,’ everything is possible for you.  Please take this cup of suffering away from me.  Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’”

The cup equaled Jesus’ worst-case scenario– to be the recipient of God’s wrath and to experience isolation from his Father.  And what Jesus did with his fear shows us what to do with ours.  He prayed!  He even requested the prayer support of friends.  Jesus’ prayer was brief.  It was straightforward and trusting.  Do likewise.  Be specific about your fears.  Call them out in prayer.  Make them stand before God and take their comeuppance!

Read more Fearless

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Martin Luther King Jr.: How to leave a legacy that matters

After 256 regular-season games and ten playoff games, we now know that the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots will play in Super Bowl LIII on February 3. This will be the Patriots’ fifth Super Bowl appearance in the last eight years and third straight.

We also know that the game, as important as it is for the two teams, their cities, and football fans around the country, will change little about the world.

Meanwhile, North and South America witnessed last night the last total lunar eclipse of the decade. It was called a “super blood wolf moon” because the moon appeared slightly larger than normal (“super”), it was a full eclipse (thus traditionally called a “blood” moon), and it was in January (thus called a “wolf” moon in Native American and early Colonial times).

But like the Super Bowl, this interesting event will leave no lasting effects on the world.

How can you and I leave a legacy that matters?

For the answer, let’s turn to a man who was assassinated fifty years ago but “being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4 KJV).

Give everything to something

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States. This annual observance is held on the third Monday in January, in proximity to Dr. King’s January 15 birthday. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill making the day a federal holiday.

As a young man, Dr. King had many options. He was an outstanding student, skipping both the ninth and twelfth grades of high school and entering college at the age of fifteen. He became a pastor at the age of twenty-five and completed his PhD at Boston University the next year.

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