Charles Stanley – Prayer-Based Planning


Luke 14:28-30

In Luke 14, Jesus’ example of building a tower shows the importance of planning and using resources wisely. Otherwise, money may run out before the work is done. As with any plans we make, those involving finances should be covered with prayer. First, ask God for the wisdom to understand His teachings about money and how they apply to your situation. Next, pray for clarity about how much is spent versus how much is earned, as well as all the other details.

One final step is to seek the Lord’s guidance in assessing whether your spending habits are in line with His priorities. In evaluating this, it is helpful to divide expenses into categories, including:

  • Giving to the local church, missionaries, and other organizations.
    Basic needs—food, clothing, and housing.
    Insurance, retirement plan, savings.
    • Debt, such as mortgages, loans, and credit cards.
    Spending on extras—phones, internet, TV, eating out, vacations, etc.

Some of us will discover that our finances are not in line with scriptural principles, which may be discouraging. If this is true of you, turn to the Lord, confess what has happened, and pray for the strength to handle your God-given resources His way.

Financial discipline is a learned skill. It requires a commitment to live according to Scripture, persistent effort to change bad habits, concentration to develop new ones, and faith that we can learn to live according to God’s priorities. We’re blessed when we practice prayer-based planning.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 33-36

Our Daily Bread — Send It in a Letter


Bible in a Year:Leviticus 26–27; Mark 2

Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.

Colossians 1:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Colossians 1:9-12

Like most four-year-olds, Ruby loved to run, sing, dance, and play. But she started complaining about pain in her knees. Ruby’s parents took her in for tests. The results were shocking—a diagnosis of cancer, stage 4 neuroblastoma. Ruby was in trouble. She was quickly admitted to the hospital.

Ruby’s hospital stay lingered on, spilling over into the Christmas season, a hard time to be away from home. One of Ruby’s nurses came up with the idea to place a mailbox outside her room so family could send letters full of prayers and encouragement to her. Then the plea went out on Facebook, and that’s when the volume of mail coming in from friends and complete strangers surprised everyone, most of all Ruby. With each letter received (more than 100,000 total), Ruby grew a little more encouraged, and she finally got to go home.

Paul’s letter to the people at Colossae was exactly that—a letter (Colossians 1:2). Words penned on a page that carried hopes for continued fruitfulness and knowledge and strength and endurance and patience (vv. 10–11). Can you imagine what a dose of good medicine such words were to the faithful at Colossae? Just knowing that someone was praying nonstop for them strengthened them to stay steady in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Our words of encouragement can dramatically help others in need.

By John Blase

Today’s Reflection

How have others’ words encouraged me? What opportunities do I have to give someone else the “letter” of encouragement they need?

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Another Story

The world of belief-systems and worldviews is a complicated playground of stories, storytellers, and allegiances. What makes it most complicated is perhaps what is often our inability to perceive these interacting powers in the first place. That which permeates our surroundings, subconsciously molds our understanding, and continuously informs our vision of reality is not always easy to articulate. The dominate culture shapes our world in ways we seldom even realize, and often cannot realize, until something outside of our culture comes along and introduces us, and the scales fall from our eyes.

Further complicating the great arena of narratives is the fact that we often do not even recognize certain systems for the metanarratives that they are, or else we grossly underestimate the story’s power. Whatever versions of the story we utilize to understand human history—atheism, capitalism, pluralism, consumerism—their roots run very deep in the human soul. This is why Bishop Kenneth Carder can refer to the global market economy as a “dominant god,” consumerism, economism, and nationalism as religions.(1) These deeply rooted ideologies are challenged only when a different ideology comes knocking, when a different faith-system comes along and upsets the system in which we have placed our faith and ordered our worlds.

This is perhaps one reason the Bible calls again and again for the action of remembering: Remember the story, tell of the acts of God in history, remember that there is one who has come near. For into this world of belief-systems and worldviews, God repeatedly tells the story of creation and the pursuit of its redemption and re-creation. God himself comes and proclaims in a body a kingdom both among us and entirely other. The narrative we discover introduces us not only to a new world, but a kingdom that jarringly shows us our own world and a savior who shows us what it means to be human.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Another Story

Joyce Meyer – Ask God Boldly!


Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. — John 16:24

Adapted from the resource Trusting God Day by Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

I believe there are people who are not receiving from God what He wants them to have because they won’t ask Him boldly. They make weak, faithless requests.

I’ve had people ask for prayer and say: “Is it okay if I ask for two things?” Their uncertainty is sad to me because Jesus clearly told us to ask so that our joy would be complete.

I want whatever God wants to give me spiritually, emotionally, financially, physically, socially, and mentally. I pray boldly, but I don’t do it because I think I’mworthy. I know that I have faults, but I also know that God loves me, and my confidence is not in myself—it’s in Him.

My joy isn’t from having things that God gives to me, but from loving God intimately and knowing that He wants me to be totally dependent on Him for everything I need. I get up every day and do the best I can, and by faith I want to receive all that God wants me to have.

A few years ago, I stepped out in faith and prayed a bold prayer that even sounded crazy to me. I said, “God, I’m asking You to let me help every single person on the face of the earth.”

My mind said: “Now that is stupid.” But I kept praying that prayer anyway, and our TV ministry has expanded greatly since that time. God has caused tremendous growth; one station that we added after that prayer increased our coverage to 600 million people in India alone!

I don’t know how God is going to let me help every person on the face of the earth, but I am going to continue trusting Him. I would rather ask for a lot and get part of it than ask for a little and get all of it.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for caring about every single area of my life. Right now, I lift up all of my needs to You and boldly ask for Your blessings, provision, healing, protection, grace and strength. I choose to raise my expectations, knowing that You can perform the impossible in my life! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Exalting a Nation


“Godliness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

God’s Word (1 Timothy 2:2) reminds us that we are to pray for those in authority over us, so that we can live in peace and quietness, spending our time in godly living and thinking much about the Lord.

We should pray daily for all those in authority over us, from the precinct to the White House, and we should seek through the writing of letters and personal appointments to communicate God’s love to each one of them, so that they may contribute to those qualities of godliness that will cause the blessing of God to continue to be poured out upon this nation.

One day I walked into a senator’s office in Washington, D.C. I had never met the man before, but a mutual friend had suggested that I drop by to see him.

Within a few minutes it seemed as if we had known each other for a lifetime. A natural opportunity arose for me to ask him if he were a Christian, and I was able to share the good news of the gospel with him through the Four Spiritual Laws. Before I left his office, the senator said he would like to receive Christ.

Another time, I spoke at a congressman’s home, to which several other congressmen and their wives had been invited. After the meeting, several individuals requested personal appointments.

I went by the office of one of the congressmen the next day.

“Did what I said last night make sense to you?” I asked him.

“It surely did,” he replied.

“Would you like to receive Christ?” I asked. He said that he would and knelt beside his couch to pray.

Down the hall, I shared Christ with still another congressman who had been present the night before. He too said he would like to receive Christ. All three of these men and many others continue to walk with God, seeking His wisdom to help them lead our nation wisely.

Because “godliness exalts a nation,” we feel it is important for every Christian to pray for and witness to all of our nation’s elected officials. Supernatural enablement of the Holy spirit is available to assist us in our communication.

Bible Reading: Psalm 33:12-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will pray today for one or more of our nation’s leaders, and I will seek opportunities to witness to them and other governmental leaders personally or through correspondence.

Max Lucado – People Are Watching


Listen to Today’s Devotion


A vibrant, shining face is the mark of one who has stood in God’s presence.  After speaking to God, Moses had to cover his face with a veil.

But not only does God change the face of those who worship; he changes those who watch us worship.  Paul told the Corinthian church to worship in such a way that if an unbeliever entered, he would find the secrets of his heart revealed; and would fall down on his face and worship God.

Seekers may not understand all that happens in a house of worship.  They may not understand the meaning of a song or the significance of communion.  But they know joy when they see it.  And when they see your face changed, they may want to see God’s face.  People, including your family, are watching.  Believe me.  They are watching.

Read more Just Like Jesus

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

Denison Forum – Why is this fashion model making headlines?


Madeline Stuart is an Australian fashion model. As the Washington Post reports, she is in “high demand” today. Madeline’s career started when her mother arranged a professional photo shoot for her and put some of the pictures on Facebook. They went viral overnight, racking up more than seven million views.

The offers started pouring in. She was invited to model in New York, Paris, China, London, Sweden, and Dubai. She has now walked more than one hundred high-fashion catwalks. She has more than one million followers on social media and her own clothing line.

Madeline also has Down syndrome.

“I’m happy to change the way the world looks at people with disabilities,” Madeline says. “I want the world to be more accepting. That is my dream.”

Wheelchair Barbie and Bernie Sanders

In other news, Wheelchair Barbie is coming to stores. In June, Mattel will debut a doll that comes with a prosthetic leg and another that comes with a wheelchair.

More than one billion people in the world have a disability, according to Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of a group that advocates for the disabled. “We want to see ourselves reflected in the culture, toys, products and everything around us,” she says.

Mizrahi adds: “Barbie joins a number of powerful companies who also understand that marketing, and including, people with disabilities is both the right thing to do and the profitable thing to do.”

One more news item: Sen. Bernie Sanders announced yesterday that he will run for president again. CNN calls him “one of the frontrunners” and “one of the most popular politicians among Democratic voters.”

At seventy-seven years of age, Sanders is the oldest candidate in the field. He’s a year older than presumptive candidate Joe Biden and five years older than President Trump. If any of them is elected in 2020, they will become the oldest president in history.

Mass lynchings in Washington?

American culture has made progress on many fronts. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on disability. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits age discrimination against people who are age forty or older.

When assertions appear such as an Alabama newspaper editor’s column calling for mass lynchings to “clean out” Washington, they are immediately and appropriately excoriated.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Why is this fashion model making headlines?