Charles Stanley – Accountable to God

 

Matthew 25:14-30

Are you living as if what you do today will affect you in eternity? After “walking the aisle” and “saying the prayer,” some Christians consider that moment of salvation the beginning and end of the matter. They assume, Since my eternal destination is secure, I can simply relax and wait for heaven.

However, that is not what today’s parable teaches. Yes, heaven is secure for those who have truly repented and believe in Christ’s substitutionary death for their sins. But the way we live matters. When Jesus returns, we’ll have to give an account of what we have done with whatever He has entrusted to us.

In my youth I was told that one day, as I stood before Christ, my life would be replayed on a big screen for everyone to see all my sins. That really scared me—but now I know it’s completely unbiblical. For those who belong to Christ, the “certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us” has been nailed to the cross, and all our transgressions are forgiven (Col. 2:13-14). They will never again be dredged up, because God will remember them no more (Heb. 10:17).

What’s at stake is not salvation but rewards. And it won’t be a judgment of comparison with others. As in the parable, God entrusts each of us with talents according to our individual abilities. Everything we have is a gift from Him—time, treasure, skills, spiritual gifts, work, relationships, and His Word. Are you investing these in a way that will result in commendation from Christ when you stand before Him?

Bible in One Year: Leviticus 8-10

 

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Our Daily Bread — Deeper Love

 

Bible in a Year:Exodus 27–28; Matthew 21:1–22

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Today’s Scripture & Insight:1 Peter 4:7-11

When they first met, Edwin Stanton snubbed US president Abraham Lincoln personally and professionally—even referring to him as a “long-armed creature.” But Lincoln appreciated Stanton’s abilities and chose to forgive him, eventually appointing Stanton to a vital cabinet position during the Civil War. Stanton later grew to love Lincoln as a friend. It was Stanton who sat by Lincoln’s bed throughout the night after the president was shot at Ford’s Theater and whispered through tears on his passing, “Now he belongs to the ages.”

Reconciliation is a beautiful thing. The apostle Peter pointed followers of Jesus there when he wrote, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Peter’s words cause me to wonder if he was thinking of his own denial of Jesus (Luke 22:54–62) and the forgiveness Jesus offered him (and us) through the cross.

The deep love Jesus demonstrated through His death on the cross frees us from the debt for our sins and opens the way for our reconciliation with God (Colossians 1:19–20). His forgiveness empowers us to forgive others as we realize we can’t forgive in our own strength and ask Him to help us. When we love others because our Savior loves them and forgive because He has forgiven us, God gives us strength to let go of the past and walk forward with Him into beautiful new places of grace.

By James Banks

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Think Again: No Longer Bound

 

You may recall me telling the story of being in a country some years ago where I was introduced to a man who had a daily habit of taking his little boy up a hill. The man would point over the border and tell his son, “Your duty in life is to kill as many of them on the other side as you can.”

Even today it is hard for me to comprehend this. Tragically, this man could never shut the gate on the past. And so he dragged the heavy carcass of historical prejudice and draped that corpse over the shoulders of the next generation as a reminder to continue the carnage.

Sadly, we discover the seeds of hate and separation in the opening pages of Scripture and within the very first family. Incredibly, the first murder in the Bible did not occur because of two irreconcilable political theories. The murder of a man by his own brother was an act unmistakably borne out of their differing responses to God! Trapped by the temporal, Cain was deluded by the belief that he could vanquish spiritual reality with brute force. God saw the inevitable result of the jealousy and hatred deep within Cain’s heart, and in a challenge that would determine his destiny, warned him to deal with it. “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door; it desires to have you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:7).

Tragically, Cain ignored God’s words, and taking matters into his own hands, he killed his brother Abel.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Think Again: No Longer Bound

Joyce Meyer – The Trademark of a Disciple

 

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” — John 13:35

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud – by Joyce Meyer

Jesus says that there is one way people will know whether we belong to Him or not, and that is our love for one another. I like to say that love is the trademark, the distinguishing sign or characteristic, of a Christian. It’s what sets us apart from the rest of the world.

Before you buy something, do you read labels or look for certain trademarks (brand names) that have a reputation for being good? That is what people should be able to do with us because we are disciples of Jesus Christ.

They should be able to look at us and say, “This is good. This is a person of quality!” People should be able to identify us not only by our talk, but also by our walk.

The world is looking for something to believe in, something real, something tangible. They are looking for love, and God is love (see 1 John 4:8).

Those of us who are Christians need to show them Jesus, and we do that not by merely wearing Christian jewelry or putting bumper stickers with Christian messages on our cars, but by walking in His love and demonstrating that love to others.

Many people have gone to church looking for God and instead been met with the rules and regulations of religion, and not even so much as a friendly smile. They left without encountering God.

Countless people are hungry for God, and God needs us to be His ambassadors, representing Him in every way, starting with His trademark characteristic, which is love.

Prayer Starter: Lord, Your Word says we are Your representatives here on earth (see 2 Corinthians 5:20). I ask for Your help to display Your character—Your love—to everyone I meet. Let my life draw others to Your goodness every single day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Assure Success

 

“Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way, Jehoshaphat stopped and called them to attention. ‘Listen to me, O people of Judah and Jerusalem,’he said. ‘Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall have success! Believe His prophets, and everything will be all right!”‘ (2 Chronicles 20:20).

God does the same things for us in our time that He did so often in the Old and New Testament accounts of His power and grace.

I remember an eventful week at the University of California in Berkeley in 1966 when the president of the university was fired by the board of regents during the turbulent days of student revolution. Campuses throughout California erupted in anger and violence.

On the Berkeley campus, however, about 600 Campus Crusade staff members and students had gathered from across America to present the claims of Jesus Christ to more than 27,000 students. During the week, through some 80 meetings in dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, international groups, at athletic banquets and faculty breakfasts and luncheons, in personal appointments and finally at a great meeting of some 8,000 gathered in the Greek theater, almost every student had an opportunity to hear the good news of God’s love through Christ. Literally thousands responded.

When the camera crews from the local television stations rushed out to film the predicted violence, they were amazed to find that the Berkeley campus, fountainhead of the radical student revolution, was remarkably quiet. Music, singing and sharing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ prevailed. Many point to that week as a turning point in the direction of a world-famous university.

Light is more powerful than darkness. Believing God and obeying His commands assure eternal dividends.

Bible Reading:Joshua 1:5-9

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I resolve to believe God and do those things He directs me to do, regardless of the consequences. Then I am assured of success as, by faith, I live the supernatural life in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – If You Have a Heart Like His

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

What if for one day—24 hours—Jesus were to become you?  Imagine.  Your heart gets the day off, and your life is led by the heart of Christ.  His priorities govern your actions.  His passions drive your decisions.  His love directs your behavior.

Would people notice a change?  And how would you feel?  What effect would this have on your stress level?  Would you still do what you had planned to do?  Obligations…appointments…would anything change?

God’s plan for you is nothing short of a new heart.  Ephesians 4:23-24 says, “But you were taught to be made new in your hearts, to become a new person.  That new person is made to be like God—made to be truly good and holy.”  God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way.  He wants you to be just like Jesus.

Read more Just Like Jesus

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Why the Super Bowl and secular spirituality are so popular

When Tom Brady played in his first Super Bowl, there was no iPhone or Android. No Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Spotify, or Gmail. No Uber, Airbnb, or iTunes Store.

Jared Goff, the quarterback who will oppose Brady in this Sunday’s game, doesn’t remember watching Brady win his first Super Bowl. Goff can be forgiven–he was seven years old at the time.

If the Rams win, Sean McVay will become the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl. If the Patriots win, Bill Belichick will become the oldest.

It’s likely that more than one hundred million people will watch Sunday’s game. Last year’s Super Bowl was the most-watched television event in the US, tripling the highest-rated non-football program.

Why is secular spirituality so popular?

The Super Bowl was a metaphor for another very popular activity in the US.

Nearly 90 percent of Americans say they believe in some kind of deity or spiritual force. However, more than a quarter of Americans say they are spiritual but not religious. Their number has grown by 42 percent in the last six years. While nine in ten Americans claim to be spiritual, religious, or both, less than 20 percent regularly attend church services.

Clearly, spirituality is popular in America. Religion, less so.

Why the difference? Let’s examine the Super Bowl for insights into secular spirituality today.

Why is the Super Bowl so popular?

Continue reading Denison Forum – Why the Super Bowl and secular spirituality are so popular