Charles Stanley – The Protection of Meditation

 

Psalm 119:9-16

If there was a seminar on overcoming sin, many Christians would sign up, hoping to discover the secret to victory over their temptations. But the answer isn’t elusive; it’s right under our nose. All we need to do is open our Bible. Every answer the psalmist gives to his initial question of how to keep our ways pure involves Scripture.

Live according to God’s Word (Psalm 119:9-10). This means we must spend time reading and meditating on Scripture in order to know what it says and means. But that alone isn’t enough to guard us from sin; we must obey it.

Treasure God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11). Since temptation usually comes unexpectedly, we must be prepared for it even when we can’t grab a Bible. That’s why having Scripture stored in our mind and heart is so important.

Rejoice in God’s Word (Psalm 119:14). There is great joy and peace that comes with knowing Scripture. In fact, it should be worth more to us than all the wealth and possessions this world offers.

Meditate on God’s Word (Psalm 119:15). We must take time to attune our heart and mind to the Lord, ponder His words, and receive the Spirit’s help translating His instructions for our particular situation. This isn’t a rushed process; it’s a slow yielding of ourselves to the truths we read as we discover how to apply them. And consistency may require a deliberate commitment.

When we faithfully practice biblical meditation, we will discover that the Holy Spirit has been busy transforming our thoughts, emotions, and actions so we’ll be more pleasing to God and less attracted to sinful pleasures. That is good news!

Bible in One Year: Numbers 1-2

 

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Our Daily Bread — Love and Peace

 

Bible in a Year:Leviticus 4–5; Matthew 24:29–51

You will not abandon me to the realm of the dead. . . . You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.

Psalm 16:10–11

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 16:1-11

It always amazes me the way peace—powerful, unexplainable peace (Philippians 4:7)—can somehow fill our hearts even in our deepest grief. I experienced this most recently at my father’s memorial service. As a long line of sympathetic acquaintances passed by offering their condolences, I was relieved to see a good high school friend. Without a word, he simply wrapped me in a long bear hug. His quiet understanding flooded me with the first feelings of peace within grief that difficult day, a powerful reminder that I wasn’t as alone as I felt.

As David describes in Psalm 16, the kind of peace and joy God brings into our lives isn’t caused by a choice to stoically stomp down the pain during hard times; it’s more like a gift we can’t help but experience when we take refuge in our good God (vv. 1–2).

We could respond to the aching pain that death brings by distracting ourselves, perhaps thinking that turning to these other “gods” will keep the pain at bay. But sooner or later we’ll find that efforts to avoid our pain only bring deeper pain (v. 4).

Or we could turn to God, trusting that even when we don’t understand, the life He’s already given us—even in its pain—is still beautiful and good (vv. 6–8). And we can surrender to His loving arms that tenderly carry us through our pain into a peace and joy that even death can never quench (v. 11).

By Monica Brands

Today’s Reflection

Father, thank You for the way Your tender touch embraces and holds us in our times of joy and pain. Help us to turn in trust to You for healing.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – In Stone and Sand

Each of us, in an instant, can drudge up a snapshot of humanity at its worst. Images of genocide in Germany, Rwanda, Bosnia, or the Sudan come readily to mind. Other impressions are not far off: students planning deadly attacks at school, opportunists preying on the elderly, the greed that paved the Trail of Tears. They are visions that challenge the widespread hope that people are generally good, leaving in its wake the sinking feeling of human indecency. But ironically, such snapshots of humanity also seem to grant permission to distance ourselves from this depravity. Whether with theory or judgment, we place ourselves in different categories. Perhaps even unconsciously, we consider their inferior virtue, their primitive sense of morality, or their distinctively depraved character. And it is rare that we see the stones in our hands as a problem.

As Jesus stood with a girl at his feet in the middle of a group armed with rocks and morality, he crouched down in the sand and with his finger wrote something that caused a fuming crowd to drop their stones and a devastated girl to get up. No one knows what he wrote on the ground that day with the Pharisees and the woman caught in adultery, and yet we often emerge from the story not with curiosity but with satisfaction. This public conviction of the Pharisees strikes most of us with the force of victory. Their air of superiority is palpable, and it is satisfying to picture them owning up to their own shortfall. If we imagine ourselves in the scene at all, it is most likely in a crumpled heap of shame with the woman at Jesus’s feet; it is rarely, if ever, with the Pharisees.

There are those who mock the idea of human depravity, insisting that it wastes our potential for good with unnecessary and demeaning guilt. According to Richard Dawkins, if God would just stop policing the world, then people would be good. But I suspect most of us recognize in ourselves the potential for something other than good, for greed or for cruelty, for vice just as easily as virtue. Even those who disapprove of the word “sin” have surely seen its expressions in their lives and in others. Looking below the surface of our good days or friendly moments, it is hard not to admit that who we really are at the heart of things—on bad days or even average days, when life runs amok or temptations overwhelm us—is complicated to say the very least. Thus, for most of us, it is not a giant mental leap to see ourselves in the adulterous woman.

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Joyce Meyer – Just in Time

 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. — Ecclesiastes 3:1

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

Time: A particular portion or part of duration, whether past, present or future.

Do you ever feel that life is incomplete because something you have desperately longed for hasn’t happened?

All you wanted was a happy marriage, but he left you. You dreamed your whole life of having a baby, but you haven’t conceived. You thought you’d be together forever, but the person you loved died. You tried and tried to heal a relationship, but it remains broken. You gave years to a career, but it hasn’t panned out.

Perhaps you feel that it is too late for you to truly enjoy your life, but that is just not true. I want to tell you that your “too late” is God’s “just in time.” He loves to do things in your life that man assumes are impossible.

God’s thoughts are not your thoughts, and His ways are not your ways (see Isaiah 55:8). In other words, God’s plan is different from yours, and God’s timetable is different from your timetable. With Him, there is no such thing as too late. God always shows up at just the right time!

Prayer Starter: I thank You, Father, that nothing is impossible for You. Today, I lift up to You all of my hopes, dreams and disappointments, knowing that You are always right on time…and that You can take even the bad things that have happened and work them out for my good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Hears Our Cries

 

“Lord, You know the hopes of humble people. Surely, You will hear their cries and comfort their hearts by helping them” (Psalm 10:17).

Some time ago Nancy DeMoss, who with her beloved husband, Art (one of my dearest friends), had launched a fruitful ministry to executives, called to share an exciting experience. It had been raining all day, and a downpour was predicted for that evening. More than 1300 guests were coming to their home for a lawn dinner to hear the gospel presented by the well-known Christian leader, Charles Colson.

They prayed that the rain would stop, and – miracle of miracles – except for only a few drops of moisture, the rain was held back, though around them, they later learned, there had been a downpour. The gospel had been presented and hundreds had responded to the invitation to receive Christ, and as the guests were on their way home, the rain came – but the harvest was over. The God of nature had heard their prayers and responded.

On another occasion, during EXPLO ’74 in Seoul, Korea, as over a million people came each of five evenings to the famous Yoida Plaza, we prayed God would hold back the rain – but He chose to bless us in other ways, and the rain came. As it fell, God overruled and the people were drawn closer to each other and to the Lord.

Literally hundreds of thousands claimed to have received Christ during the week. In fact, more than a million – according to the officials – indicated that they had received Christ in just one evening. As a result, we gladly praised and thanked God for the rain.

God always knows what is best. He knows the hopes of humble people, and He will hear our cries and comfort our hearts. Sometimes He withholds the rain; other times He sends the rain and with it the outpouring of His blessings.

Bible Reading:Psalm 10:12-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that God is worthy of my trust, that He controls not only the affairs of men and nations but also the laws of nature, I will submit my requests to Him today and be willing to abide by His decisions, knowing also that He makes no mistakes. I shall rejoice and give thanks to Him no matter what happens.

 

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Max Lucado – The Power of Forgiveness

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.”  Because Jesus has forgiven us, we can forgive others. Because he lives in us, you and I can do the same.  Oh, I could never do that, you object.  The hurt is so deep.  Just seeing the person makes me cringe.

Perhaps that’s the problem:  you’re seeing too much of the wrong person.  Try shifting your glance away from the one who hurt you and setting your eyes on the one who has saved you. Please understand.  Relationships don’t thrive because the guilty are punished but because the innocent are merciful.  Are any relationships in your world thirsty for mercy?  Is there anyone who needs to be assured of your grace?  Jesus made sure his disciples had no reason to doubt his love.  Why don’t you do the same?

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For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – What do racism, sexual abuse, and abortion have in common?

Virginia continues to deal with scandals engulfing its top three leaders.

Gov. Ralph Northam is facing renewed calls to resign today over a racist photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook. Attorney General Mark Herring has admitted that he wore blackface at a college party in 1980.

And a college professor, Dr. Vanessa Tyson, is accusing Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexually assaulting her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. He denies the allegation.

Meanwhile, Gucci has apologized for marketing a sweater that appears to mimic blackface. It looks like a black turtleneck that is worn over the nose, with a red-lined cutout for the mouth. After a public outcry, Gucci removed the product.

In other news, President Trump spoke yesterday morning at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. The president stated, “We must build a culture that cherishes dignity and sanctity of innocent human life.” He added: “All children, born and unborn, are made in the holy image of God. Every life is sacred, and every soul is a precious gift from heaven.”

What do these stories have in common?

“An affront to human dignity”

Russell Moore is an ethicist and president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. In a very perceptive article on the Ralph Northam scandal, Dr. Moore notes that both racism and abortion “are rooted in the counter-Christ idolatry that sees human dignity and lives worth living defined by power.” He states that “abortion and racial injustice are alike an affront to human dignity, and to the image of God.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – What do racism, sexual abuse, and abortion have in common?