Charles Stanley – Crying Out to God

 

2 Chronicles 20:1-25

When God’s people humbly call upon His name, He releases awesome power. The Bible is packed with stories of His mighty intervention on behalf of those who cry out to Him.

Take Jehoshaphat, for instance. He received word that the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites were joining forces to wage war against his kingdom. But today’s passage tells of the king’s reliance upon the Lord in that time of adversity.

Jehoshaphat admitted his fear but quickly reminded himself of God’s faithfulness to other believers in the past (v. 7). Confessing total dependence on the Lord, he gathered all of the Israelites to cry out to their Father. Through the prophet Jahaziel, God reminded them this was His battle, so they were not to fear (vv. 14-15). The people praised the Lord for His encouragement. And amazingly, when they “came to the lookout of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude, and … no one had escaped” (v. 24). All their enemies lay dead.

God worked in a more miraculous way than anyone could imagine—and He still exceeds our expectations today. Through such means as prayer, praise, song, and fasting, we can ask Him to reveal Himself. He is ready to respond when we bring heavy hearts and deep concerns to Him.

Though we are unable to succeed on our own, we try all too frequently. Crying out to God and asking Him to work in our life requires humility and persistence. By allowing us to bring our concerns and desires before Him, Jesus lovingly helps us realize our dependence—and His power.

Bible in One Year: Exodus 22-24

 

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Our Daily Bread — Trying to Impress

 

Bible in a Year:Exodus 7–8; Matthew 15:1–20

Out of the heart come evil thoughts . . . . These are what defile a person.

Matthew 15:19–20

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Matthew 15:1-11

When a college class went on a cultural field trip, the instructor almost didn’t recognize one of his star pupils. In the classroom she had concealed six-inch heels beneath her pant legs. But in her walking boots she was less than five feet tall. “My heels are how I want to be,” she laughed. “But my boots are how I really am.”

Our physical appearance doesn’t define who we are; it’s our heart that matters. Jesus had strong words for those masters of appearances—the super-religious “Pharisees and teachers of the law.” They asked Jesus why His disciples didn’t wash their hands before eating, as their religious traditions dictated (Matthew 15:1–2). Jesus asked, “Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” (v. 3). Then He pointed out how they had invented a legal loophole to keep their wealth instead of caring for their parents (vv. 4–6), thus dishonoring them and violating the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12).

If we obsess over appearances while looking for loopholes in God’s clear commands, we’re violating the spirit of His law. Jesus said that “out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality,” and the like (Matthew 15:19). Only God, through the righteousness of His Son Jesus, can give us a clean heart.

By Tim Gustafson

Today’s Reflection

Lord, we are so prone to rely on our own efforts to impress You and others. Help us to be authentic in all our relationships, and to enjoy the restored heart we can have through Your forgiveness.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Examining Religions

It was years ago when I was speaking at an openly and avowedly atheistic institution that I was fascinated by a questioner who asked what on earth I meant by the term God.(1) The city was Moscow; the setting was the Lenin Military Academy. The atmosphere was tense. Never had I been asked before to define the term in a public gathering. And because I was in a country so historically entrenched in atheism, I suspected the question was both hostile and intentional. I asked the questioner if he was an atheist, to which he replied that he was. I asked him what he was denying. That conversation didn’t go very far. So I tried to explain to him what we meant when we spoke of God.

It is fascinating to talk to a strident atheist and try to get beneath the anger or hostility. God is a trigger word for some that concentrates all his or her stored animosity into a projectile of words. But as the layers of their thinking and experience are unpacked, the meaning of atheism to each one becomes narrower and narrower, each term dying the death of a thousand qualifications. Oftentimes, the description is more visceral and is discussed with pent-up anger rather than in a sensible, respectful discussion. More than once I have been amazed at the anger expressed by members of the atheist groups at one or other of the Ivy League schools in the United States to which I have been invited to speak, anger that I was even invited and that I had the temerity to address them.

In theory, the academy has always been a place where dissent serves a valuable purpose in helping thinking students to weigh out ideas and make intelligent choices. And, dare I say, had I been a Muslim speaker, there would have been no such dissent as I faced. Evidently, being able to instill fear in people has a lot to do with how much freedom of speech you are granted. But alas! For some, at least, civil discourse is impossible. To her credit, at the end of a lecture, one senior officer in one club stood up and thanked me, a veiled apology for the resistance vented before the event. I did appreciate that courtesy.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Examining Religions

Joyce Meyer – Mystery

 

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you [and even show you] great and mighty things, [things which have been confined and hidden], which you do not know and understand and cannot distinguish.”— Jeremiah 33:3 (AMP)

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

A mystery is a profound secret, something wholly unknown or something kept cautiously concealed.

We might say that life is a mystery unfolding. As teenagers and young adults, we try to formulate a plan for the future, but in reality, it is a mystery what our lives will hold.

Not knowing everything is what urges us to seek God!

God is actually very fond of mystery. We can start with the mystery of our birth. The Bible says we are formed in secret and in the region of mystery (our mother’s womb) (see Psalm 139:15).

Job said the dealings of God with the ungodly are a mystery (see Job 21:16). And in Mark 4:11, the kingdom of God is said to be a mystery.

You may have some sort of a plan for the future, and that is good, but only God knows for sure what will happen. Thankfully, you can live in peace, trusting God with whatever happens.

Be assured that God will guide you, He will be with you, and, therefore, you have nothing to fear.

Prayer Starter: Lord, thank You for the incredible plan You have for my life…and for all of the mysteries and surprises You have in store! I call out to You today, as Jeremiah 33:3 says, and I ask You to show me great and mighty things. Encourage me about my future…and help me to trust You with every single detail all along the way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – When You Open the Door

 

“Look! I have been standing at the door and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears Me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).

“One morning I wanted to feed the birds,” a saint once said. “It was gray and cold, and the ground was covered with snow. I stepped out on the porch and flung them handfuls of crumbs and called to them. But there they sat, cold and hungry and afraid. They did not trust me.

“As I sat and watched and waited, it seemed to me I could get God’s view-point more clearly than ever before. He offers, plans, waits, hopes, longs for all things for our good. But He has to watch and wait as I did for my timid friends.”

What a simple thing it is to open a door!

That still, small voice of conscience that pricks you from time to time is probably Christ Himself knocking at the door of your heart. He is waiting for that very simple act by which you open that door – an act of your will acknowledging that Christ is making a claim upon your life. He has that right; He died for you.

If you are not absolutely sure that Christ is in your life, that you would go straight to heaven if you died today, you can be sure right now.

By faith, respond to the invitation of Jesus and open the door of your life to Him. Why not make this your prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I need You. I know You are the Son of God, the Savior of all men. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord.

“Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Enable me to live a supernatural life beginning today. Amen.”

If you asked Christ to come into your life, by faith, trusting that He has answered your prayer even as He has promised, then you can know with absolute certainty that He has done so.

Bible Reading:John 14:23-27

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: If I am already absolutely sure of my salvation, I will invite someone else today to pray this prayer. If I am not sure of my own spiritual condition, I will pray it for myself.

TODAY’S ACTION LINKS: Unsure of your salvation? Let this Transferable Concept help you. The Spirit-Filled Life can also help you understand how to trust God’s work in your life, by faith.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Fear of the Coming Winter

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

In Luke 12:19-20, the rich man said to himself, “‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years.’” “But God said to him, ‘You fool!  This very night your life will be demanded from you.’”  The rich fool went to the wrong person— he went to himself.  And he asked the wrong question— What shall I do?  His error was that his plans did not include God.

Jesus didn’t criticize the man’s affluence.  He criticized the man’s arrogance.  Accumulation of wealth is a popular defense against fear.  We think the more we have, the safer we are.  God does not want his children to trust money. God is the great provider; the great giver.  Absolutely generous and utterly dependable.  Trust him, not stuff!

Read more Fearless

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – The ‘racist’ confrontation in DC: 3 biblical responses

Nathan Phillips is a Native American who attended the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington last Friday. He told the Washington Post that he was there to beat his drum while urging participants to “be strong” against colonialism.

According to Phillips, a throng of young, mostly white teenage boys, several wearing “Make America Great Again” caps, swarmed around him and began to chant, “Build that wall, build that wall.” One of them “blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat,” Phillips said.

He told the Detroit Free Press a different story. This time, he said that the students became upset by a group of Black Israelites. “They were in the process of attacking these four black individuals,” he said. So, “I put myself between beast and prey. These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey.”

Phillips stated that the students had a “mob mentality” that was “ugly, what these kids were involved in. It was racism. It was hatred. It was scary.”

Video of the event went viral. News outlets around the country condemned the students. One image of a student with a Make America Great Again cap smiling at Phillips became an icon for the event. Filmmaker Michael Green tweeted: “A face like that never changes. This image will define his life. No one need ever forgive him.”

Now we know the rest of the story.

“I am being called every name in the book”

Continue reading Denison Forum – The ‘racist’ confrontation in DC: 3 biblical responses