Charles Stanley –God’s Loving Desire

 

Ephesians 2:1-10

Whether we realize it or not, our thoughts are usually centered on what we want—but have you ever considered what God desires? Why did He create us, and what is His goal for us? The answer is found in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord … is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” But why does God want mankind saved?

Because He loves us (Eph. 2:4). His love isn’t based on any worthiness in us but on His nature. As 1 John 4:16 says, “God is love,” and His attributes never change.

Because of His grace (Eph. 2:5). We can’t do anything to earn salvation, because it’s obtained only through God’s grace. And throughout our time on earth and into eternity, the lives of God’s children should exhibit evidence of His grace (Eph. 2:7).

For His glory (Eph. 1:5-6). God’s glory is displayed as He saves sinners and changes them into saints. Then as we each live obediently before Him, others will see our good works and glorify the God who transformed us.

Sometimes we’re shortsighted and think we’re the center of salvation, but it’s really all about our amazing God, who sent His Son to rescue us from sin, death, and eternal punishment. Jesus died and suffered the chastisement we deserved, and He offers us forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father. And all we have to do is believe and receive Christ’s payment for our sins. What a gracious God we have, who wants us to be with Him forever so He may continue to shower His kindness upon us.

Bible in One Year: Leviticus 5-7

 

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Our Daily Bread — Adopted

 

Bible in a Year:Exodus 25–26; Matthew 20:17–34

God sent his Son . . . that we might receive adoption to sonship.

Galatians 4:4–5

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Galatians 4:1-7

I’m glad when a philanthropist builds an orphanage for homeless children. I’m thrilled when that person gives even more and adopts one of them. Most orphans would be delighted merely to have a patron. But then to learn the sponsor isn’t content merely to help me but also wants me. How must that feel?

If you’re a child of God you already know, because it’s happened to you. We couldn’t complain if God had merely loved us enough to send His Son that we might “not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). It would be enough for us. But not for God. He “sent his Son . . . to redeem” us, not as an end in itself, but “that we might receive adoption to sonship” (Galatians 4:4–5).

The apostle Paul refers to us as “sons” because in his day it was common for sons to inherit their father’s wealth. His point is that now everyone who puts their faith in Jesus, whether man or woman, becomes a “son” of God with equal and full rights of inheritance (v. 7).

God does not merely want to save you. He wants you. He has adopted you into His family, given you His name (Revelation 3:12), and proudly calls you His child. You could not possibly be loved more, or by anyone more important. You aren’t merely blessed by God. You are the child of God. Your Father loves you.

By Mike Wittmer

Today’s Reflection

Father, what a privilege to call You this! Thank You for saving me, and for wanting me.

Welcome to Mike Wittmer! Meet all our authors at odb.org/all-authors.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Servant King 

 

The book and television series Game of Thrones has brought the mythical medieval world of kings and kingdoms back into the contemporary imagination. The world it depicts is a brutal world of despots and power-hungry individuals who will make any alliance to secure their way to the throne. While there are some characters who place the good of the realm over family or individual ambition, most of the characters are a despicable lot maniacally driven towards power.

For those who hail from kingless countries, the language and images of kings and lords may seem at best outdated and the stuff of Arthurian legend, or at worst oppressive. Dominant images of kings and kingdoms as overlords, like those portrayed in Game of Thrones, conjure up images of tyrants living in ancient feudal societies who will stop at nothing and not think twice about stepping over anyone who gets in their way. As a result, for some the word “king” can hold fairly negative images and feelings.

Regardless, for Christians the language of king, kingdom, rule, and authority is inescapable. Christian’s celebrate the rule of Christ over all creation. The apostle Paul’s words to the Philippian church describe Jesus in the language of kings: “God highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”(1)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Servant King 

Joyce Meyer – Which Way Will You Choose?

 

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. — Matthew 7:13-14

Adapted from the resource New Day New You Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Here in this passage, Jesus speaks of two different ways: the broad way that leads to destruction and the narrow way that leads to life.

As I was meditating on this passage, the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Joyce, on the broad way there is room for all kinds of fleshly things like bitterness and unforgiveness and resentment and vindictiveness. But on the narrow way there is only room for the Spirit.”

In the flesh it is easy to take the broad path, but the end result is destruction. Emotions move us to take the easy way, to do what feels good for the moment. Wisdom moves us to take the hard way that leads to life. The question is: Which will we choose?

No matter what has happened to you in your lifetime, even if you have been abandoned by your spouse or abused by your parents or hurt by your children or others, if you’ll stay on that narrow path and leave all your excess baggage behind, sooner or later you will find the peace, joy, and fulfillment you seek.

We must keep walking in the ways of the Lord: And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint (Galatians 6:9 AMPC).

Jesus is the Way, and He has shown us the way in which we are to walk. The Lord has sent upon us His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in the way we are to go, the narrow way that leads to life and not the broad way that leads to destruction.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to choose the narrow path today—in my thoughts, with my words, and through my actions. When my feelings rise up and I’m tempted to take the broad path, please strengthen me by Your Spirit and help me to make wise decisions I will be happy with later. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – God’s Secret Plan for You

 

“God has told us His secret reason for sending Christ, a plan He decided on in mercy long ago; and this was His purpose: that when the time is ripe He will gather us together from wherever we are – in heaven or on earth – to be with Him in Christ, forever” (Ephesians 1:9,10).

One day a distinguished scientist questioned Michael Faraday, chemist, electrician and philosopher.

“Have you conceived to yourself what will be your occupation in the next world?” he asked.

Hesitating a moment or two, Faraday replied, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him.” And then he added, in his own words, “I shall be with Christ, and that is enough.”

Although nearly two thousand years have passed since He walked this earth, Jesus still stands as the ultimate expression of ethics and morality. Whatever one might think about Christians or the church, he will find no blemishes in the character of Jesus.

Perhaps the greatest testimony that can be given regarding the character of Jesus’ teachings is that they are still changing men and nations throughout the world today. Now, as before, those who listen to Him inevitably say “No man ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46, RSV).

God’s Word tells us that Jesus had the same temptations we do, though He never once gave way to them and sinned (Hebrews 4:15). Our Lord thus stands out as the supreme example of one who practiced the things that He taught to others and that He expects of His followers.

We still stand today in the shadow of God’s sure promise: “For God has allowed us to know the secret of His plan, and it is this: He purposes in His sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in Him. And here is the staggering thing that in all which will belong to Christ we have been promised a share” (Ephesians 1:9-11, Phillips).

Bible Reading:Ephesians 1:11-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will meditate upon the fact that I am a child of God, and heir of God and joint-heir with Christ; and upon the startling, incredible fact that I am related to Him and share with Him in all of this indescribable privilege and blessing. As a result I will claim His supernatural love and power and will speak more freely to others of my relationship with Him.

 

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Max Lucado – Fear of the Lord

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Boxes bring wonderful order to our world.  But when it comes to defining Christ, no box works.  People prefer a god they can manage, control, and predict.  Matthew 17:6 says Peter, James and John witnessed the transfiguration of Christ, and “they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.”  This is the fear of the Lord.

How long since you felt this fear?  Since a glimpse of him that left you speechless and breathless?  If it’s been a while, that explains your fears.  A big God translates into big courage.  A packageable Jesus may fit well on a shelf but does nothing for your fears.

We need to know the transfigured Christ.  The longer we live in him, the greater he becomes in us.  It is not that he changes but that we do.  Agree with the words of David in Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”

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Denison Forum – The polar vortex, seven-foot pythons, and divine sovereignty

Last week, a snake catcher in Australia removed a seven-foot python that had slithered through an open door and climbed into the shower. In another Australian home, a woman found a python in her toilet bowl.

The reason for such serpentine domestication: It’s hot in Australia. Record-setting hot. Temperatures hit 117 in Sydney recently, the hottest it has been since 1939. Reptiles are looking for shade and water like everyone else.

Meanwhile, it’s record-setting cold in the northern US. Chicago had a wind chill of negative fifty-two degrees yesterday morning. Nearly ninety million people are likely to experience temperatures at zero or below.

People in Minnesota could get frostbite after five minutes outside. Beer can’t be delivered in some parts of the Midwest because it would freeze before arriving. As I write this Daily Article, the temperature in Madison, Wisconsin, is minus twenty-six degrees.

We can’t have it both ways

Much about today’s news leaves us feeling powerless.

The death toll from the Brazilian dam collapse has risen to ninety-nine, with another 259 missing and feared dead. A gardener in Toronto has pled guilty to killing eight men, some of whom he buried in planters. Floods in Saudi Arabia have killed at least twelve people.

If we believe in an all-powerful God–or even if we don’t–we wonder why he allows so much suffering in his creation. If a car had as many problems as our planet, we’d hold the manufacturer responsible.

Continue reading Denison Forum – The polar vortex, seven-foot pythons, and divine sovereignty