Charles Stanley – Our Source of Hope in Trials

 

1 Peter 1:3-9

Are you presently going through any difficulties?  Maybe you’re experiencing a trial so intense that you wonder whether it’s possible to survive. Or perhaps you’re troubled by a particular hardship that drags on with no end in sight. And sometimes it’s the small, daily problems and stresses that wear us down and cause us to become discouraged.

Whatever the source of our adversity may be, Peter offers insight to help us recover hope and joy. He reminds us:

  • God has reserved an inheritance for us in heaven, which is imperishable, pure, and eternal (1 Peter 1:3-5). We must lift our eyes upward instead of focusing on our troubles. If we’ve placed all our hopes in this life, trials will continue to lead us to despair. But as children of God, we have an inheritance that will far outweigh any temporal suffering.
  • God is in control of our trials. Nothing comes our way randomly. Our loving Father ensures that our tribulations accomplish His unique purpose for each one of His children. He is sovereign over every adversity, including its duration, which is “for a little while” when compared to eternity (1 Peter 1:6).
  • God uses trials to strengthen our faith. Jesus said those who don’t truly believe fall away when afflictions arise (Matt. 13:20-21). To go through suffering and remain true to Christ testifies to others about our salvation. And each test makes our faith stronger.

So, how should we respond in trials? Peter says we are to rejoice in our eternal hope, endure hardships, love Jesus, and keep trusting Him.

Bible in One Year: Judges 4-6

 

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Our Daily Bread — Life Beyond Compare

 

Bible in a Year:Deuteronomy 23–25; Mark 14:1–26

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.”

Genesis 29:35

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Genesis 29:31-35

In a TV program, young adults posed as high school students to better understand the lives of teenagers. They discovered that social media plays a central role in how teens measure their self-worth. One participant observed, “[The students’] self-value is attached to social media—it’s dependent on how many ‘likes’ they get on a photo.” This need for acceptance by others can drive young people to extreme behavior online.

The longing for being accepted by others has always been there. In Genesis 29, Leah understandably yearns for the love of her husband Jacob. It’s reflected in the names of her first three sons—all capturing her loneliness (vv. 31–34). But, sadly, there’s no indication that Jacob ever gave her the acceptance she craved.

With the birth of her fourth child, Leah turned to God instead of her husband, naming her fourth son Judah, which means, “praise” (v. 35). Leah, it seems, finally chose to find her significance in God. She became part of God’s salvation story: Judah was the ancestor of King David and, later, Jesus.

We can try to find our significance in many ways and things, but only in Jesus do we find our identity as children of God, co-heirs with Christ, and those who will dwell eternally with our heavenly Father. As Paul wrote, nothing in this world compares with the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

By Peter Chin

Today’s Reflection

In what or whom have you been striving to gain your value and acceptance? How does faith in Jesus open the door to your true identity?

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Christ in Public

God has been in the news a lot lately. From Christian prayers in council meetings, to statements from the highest echelons of the Royal Family and the government, discussion of the place of God and in particular the role of Christianity in Britain today has been in the news on a daily basis. Professor Richard Dawkins continues to argue that religion has no place in the 21st century and debates over his anecdotes continue to capture the twittersphere. It seems it is now acceptable to discuss the Christian faith and belief in God in public. From radio studios to the school gate I have enjoyed being a part of this. The role of God in Britain is being discussed up and down the country in government, education, legislation, and community life in a way that I can’t remember in recent history.

While secularism insists that nothing good comes from religion, isn’t it actually the case that it is a Christian heritage that actually provides us with this free and open society—encouraging people to question and reason for themselves? For many, religious faith is a process, a journey of discovery on the basis of evidence, reason, and personal experience. Christianity has provided the foundation in Britain for an open and tolerant society. It was the great Christian leader Augustine who coined the phrase tolerare malus. He claimed that political structure influenced by the Christian faith must tolerate that which it disagreed with and perceived as wrong for the greater good of freedom.

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Joyce Meyer – Follow God, Not People

 

Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue. — John 12:42

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

The Bible teaches us in John 12:42-43 that many of the leading men believed in Jesus but would not confess it for fear that if they did, they would be expelled from the synagogue. For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God (John 12:43).

In this example, we see that some people were hindered from a relationship with Jesus because they were addicted to approval. Although they wanted a relationship with the Lord, they loved the approval of man more. That is sad, but it happens all the time.

The people mentioned in John 12 knew that Jesus was real. They believed in Him, but the love of approval would not permit them to have a true relationship with Him.

I wonder how their lives turned out. What did they miss because they said yes to people and no to God? I wonder how many of them were never mentioned in the Bible again. I wonder if they faded into oblivion and never fulfilled their destiny because they loved the approval of men more than the approval of God. How many of them spent their lives disrespecting themselves because they were people-pleasers?

Follow God, not people!

Prayer Starter: Lord, I want to put You first in my life. Please continue to change me and help me to care what You think more than I care what other people think. I sincerely want to grow in You and seek to please You in everything I do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Truly Rich

 

“Do you want to be truly rich? You already are if you are happy and good. After all, we didn’t bring any money with us when we came into the world, and we can’t carry away a single penny when we die” (1 Timothy 6:6,7).

If you had the choice of choosing between great wealth and good health and a happy, joyful relationship with our Lord, which would you choose? Though many would choose wealth, I am sure that if you are a Christian, you would gladly choose to live modestly the rest of your life if necessary in order to experience daily the joy of your salvation.

During all of my career, I, an agnostic, had worked hard to successfully develop my business interests. Then, in the providence of God, I was brought face to face with Christ and His Word. “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

It was as though God touched my mind to enable me to understand that I could eat only one meal at a time, wear one suit of clothes at a time and take nothing with me when I die. I understood for the first time that being truly rich does not involve the accumulation of vast wealth, but it involves knowing and doing the will of God – in walking in intimate, vital, personal fellowship with Him daily as a way of life.

Fanny Crosby, the hymnwriter, gave us more than eight thousand gospel songs. Although blinded at the age of six weeks, she never held any bitterness in her heart because of it.

“I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when He showered so many other gifts upon you,” a friend once said to her.

“Do you know,” she responded quickly, “that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I should be born blind.”

“Why?” asked the astounded clergyman.

“Because,” she replied, “when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”

Bible Reading: Luke 12:25-31

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  As I figuratively sit at God’s banquet table today, I will feast upon His spiritual bounties and not be satisfied with the crumbs of materialism.

 

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Max Lucado – Do Our Prayers Matter?

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

“If you can do anything for him, please have pity on us and help us.” This prayer in Mark 9:22 doesn’t sound courageous or confident.  It was the prayer of a desperate parent with a demon-possessed son in need of a miracle.

Most of our prayer lives could use a tune-up.  Some prayer lives lack consistency.  Others need sincerity.  And some honestly wonder if prayer makes a difference. We are tempted to wait to pray until we know how to pray.

Notice that Jesus responded to the man’s prayer. God is more moved by our hurt than our eloquence. Our prayers may be awkward.  Our attempts may be feeble.  But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.

Read more He Still Moves Stones

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – The college scam, Felicity Huffman, and Lori Loughlin: Two biblical responses

Felicity Huffman is an Emmy winner and Oscar-nominated actress who is best known for her role in Desperate Housewives. She is also married to acclaimed actor William H. Macy.

Lori Loughlin has been known to most Americans as “Aunt Becky,” the wholesome maternal influence on ABC’s Full House. She has also starred in numerous Hallmark movies.

On Tuesday, as the Washington Post reports, “both actresses had their reputations shattered as they were charged with fraud and conspiracy.”

Their stories will forever be linked to a scandal that has made global headlines this week.

“Operation Varsity Blues”

Huffman was reportedly met by FBI agents with their guns drawn Tuesday morning at her Los Angeles home. She was later released on a $250,000 bond. She allegedly paid $15,000 disguised as a charitable donation so her daughter could participate in a college entrance-exam cheating scam.

According to the FBI, Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer J. Mossimo Giannulli, paid bribes totaling $500,000 “in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team—despite the fact that they did not participate in crew—thereby facilitating their admission to USC.” Giannulli was released on a $1 million bond; Loughlin surrendered to authorities yesterday and was released on a $1 million bond as well.

Continue reading Denison Forum – The college scam, Felicity Huffman, and Lori Loughlin: Two biblical responses