Charles Stanley – An Awareness of God

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The three commands in today’s passage may look simple because they’re short, but many people find them challenging to obey. Our lives are so full of responsibilities and activities that it’s all we can do to keep up our schedules, let alone live as these verses command. There’s only one way to succeed—not by trying harder but by focusing on Christ. When He becomes the center of our attention, our attitude and behavior will change.

Rejoice Always. The realization that our omnipotent God is constantly with us puts troubling circumstances in their proper place—under His authority. It also helps us sense the incomparable joy of His companionship, even in difficulties and suffering.

Pray without ceasing. It’s important to set aside time each day to come before the Lord with our problems and requests. But believers also long for an ongoing attitude of prayer, which, like a continual conversation, is expressed either verbally or in our thoughts. Then if a decision is required or trouble comes, our first thought is to turn to God for help.

Give thanks in everything. If our minds are set on the Lord each day, we’ll be able to thank Him regardless of the situation. That’s because we know He is with us and will work everything for our good—if not here, then in heaven.

These three admonitions are a call to become preoccupied with Christ. If we are consumed with other thoughts, it’s easy to feel irritated, worry unceasingly, and complain about everything. But when we begin each day in God’s Word, we are reminded of His instructions and His care.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 24-25

 

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Our Daily Bread — Of Saints and Sinners

 

Bible in a Year:1 Kings 8–9; Luke 21:1–19

The third time [Jesus] said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” . . . [Peter] said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

John 21:17

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Luke 22:54–62

Before she followed in the footsteps of John the Baptist by living in the desert, Mary of Egypt (c. ad 344–421) spent her youth pursuing illicit pleasures and seducing men. At the height of her sordid career, she journeyed to Jerusalem in an attempt to corrupt pilgrims. Instead, she experienced deep conviction of her sins and thereafter lived a life of repentance and solitude in the wilderness. Mary’s radical transformation illustrates the magnitude of God’s grace and the restoring power of the cross.

The disciple Peter denied Jesus three times. Only hours before the denials, Peter had declared his willingness to die for Jesus (Luke 22:33), so the realization of his failure was a crushing blow (vv. 61–62). After Jesus’s death and resurrection, Peter was fishing with some of the disciples when Jesus appeared to them. Jesus gave Peter a chance to declare his love for Him three times—one for each of his denials (John 21:1–3). Then, with each declaration, Jesus charged Peter to care for His people (vv. 15–17). The result of this stunning display of grace was that Peter played a key role in building the church and ultimately gave his life for Christ.

A biography of any one of us could begin with a litany of our failures and defeats. But God’s grace always allows for a different ending. By His grace, He redeems and transforms us.

By Remi Oyedele

Today’s Reflection

In what ways have you experienced God’s transforming grace? How can you express His grace toward others?

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Lament and the Journey to Resurrection

It was a cold February at Christ of the Desert monastery, high in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Behind the chapel, author William Bryant Logan noticed an open grave, the disturbed red soil waiting in a tall mound beside it.

“Has a brother died?” he asked a monk.

“No,” the monk answered, “but we cannot dig in winter, so we opened this grave ahead of time, just in case.”

To many of us, an open grave is unnerving, the thought of soil disturbed and waiting entirely unwelcome. “An open grave is an open mouth,” writes Logan. “It exhales all the suggestion of the dark.”(1) In the Western world in particular, we have a complicated relationship with death, dismissing as much of it as we can manage from sight, mind, and society. An open grave is a gaping wound we prefer to turn our eyes away from.

Christian theologian J. Todd Billings notes something similar about the presence of lament at the grave. Lament is an expression of grief, a practice—maybe even a word—that has fallen out of use in modern times, a discipline often avoided, even buried in Christian liturgies. “[I]n a growing trend,” writes Billings, “many funerals completely avoid the language of dying and death as well as the appearance of the dead body—turning it all into a one-sided ‘celebration’ of the life of the one who has died.”(1) Such language might be fitting for certain worldviews, particularly those worldviews where death remains an enemy that puts an end to the life we are celebrating. But the biblical paradox about death attends to far more of the human experience.

The Christian worldview affords the hopeful (and far more multivalent) language of celebration to be sure—Christ has indeed conquered death—but likewise, we are afforded the equally hopeful language of lament. We are given permission to groan as mortals who do not yet taste the fullness of the victory Christ has won, as creatures who confess with their Creator that death is an enemy of God. Where we fail to face this fuller vision of our own mortality, writes Billings, “we attend to one side of the biblical paradox about death, forgetting that even the death of a very elderly person is not ‘altogether sweet and beautiful’… [At the grave of Lazarus], Jesus still wept—even for one who would be raised again. And so should we.”(2)

For Billings, the signs of death’s current reign and the dire need for the language of lament are not the mere theological abstractions of a theology professor. In a book he never fathomed he would write at the midpoint of his life, Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ, his need for the language of lament is voiced in personal terms. It is equally clear that lament itself is a gift of the church to the world.

In one section, Billings describes his own congregation, with its array of people and stages of life, a church that on a regular basis baptizes people into new life and holds funerals marking death. This collective, human journey struck him as he led a Sunday school class shortly after his diagnosis. “In this room are cancer survivors who have gone through chemo; and there are others who have lost spouses and other loved ones to cancer and other disease and tragedy. The congregation is the only place in Western culture where we develop relationships, celebrate our faith and life together, and also extend those same relationships all the way through death and dying… That is a gift of the church. I would go so far as to say that a top recommended question from me for ‘church shoppers’ might be this: who would you like to bury you?”(3)

For any death-denying culture, the church sits as a striking counterpoint, empowered by the crucified Jesus to tell a vastly different story. But the whole story needs to be told. The Bible’s “laments, petitions, and praises—have been a staple of Christian worship for centuries. They, along with the sacraments of Christ’s dying and new life, have incorporated death into the story of Christian worship.”(4) The Christian imagination is not one that has to bury its head in the sand, taking its cues from our culture’s qualms about death. To lament is not to undermine that we are a people who live in hope. On the contrary, it is a gift of God for the people of God, who discover in the vicarious humanity of the crucified Lord both a more profound rejoicing and a more honest lament. Whereas other worldviews have no basis for the practice of lamentation (to whom would we lament?), for the Christian it is a part of the journey, a testimony to our identity in Christ. “To mourn and to protest is to testify that the gifts of creation are truly wondrous,” writes Billings, “that the communion with God and others that we taste in Christ is truly the way things are supposed to be—and thus alienation and death are not truly ‘natural’ but enemies of God and his kingdom.”(5)

For days marked by loss, it is a weighty thought, full of God’s care for multifaceted journeys: for crossings from birth to death, for journeys marked by both celebration and suffering, for moments of thirst and for places of provision. Because of Christ, the Christian is given a language and a leader through all of it: beside still waters, through dark valleys and green pastures to a table prepared in the presence of enemies, with tears to shed at the tomb of a friend and suffering carried on a personal cross. There are no abstractions here. The Christian story is mercifully not one that asks us to deny the dark and painful realities of life. Death is not pushed away in denial, but incorporated into God’s redemptive story, held by a storyteller who knows every part of the journey to resurrection, even the open grave.

 

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

(1) William Bryant Logan, Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth (New York: W.W. Norton, 1995), 48.
(2) J. Todd Billings, Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ (Grand Rapids: Baker,2015), 108.
(3) Ibid., 101.
(4) Ibid., 109.
(5) Ibid., 100.

 

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Joyce Meyer – Expect a Turnaround

 

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. — Genesis 50:20

Adapted from the resource Ending Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

This verse is part of the story of how God promoted Joseph to a place of power after his brothers had sold him into slavery. It is a great testament to God’s desire and ability to overcome evil with good.

Joseph’s brothers meant to destroy him, but Joseph became second in command to Pharaoh and was used by God to save not only his own family, but many thousands of others.

Sometimes you forget how big your God is. Whatever may have happened to you in the past, you must understand it doesn’t have to dictate your future. Set your faith and trust in God, and watch to see how He will turn it around for your good. Rejoice! God has a good plan for your life.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You that You are fair, even when life’s not fair. Help me to put the past behind me and trust You to work everything out for my good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Self-Control Is Better

 

“It is better to be slow-tempered than famous; it is better to have self-control than to control an army” (Proverbs 16:32).

You and I know from experience that it is not easy to discipline our emotions, our passions or our self-will. In fact, apart from God’s help, it is an impossibility.

  • A lustful person who does not control his thoughts quenches and grieves the Spirit.
  • An overweight person, because he cannot control his appetite, quenches and grieves the Spirit.
  • A Christian who places undue emphasis on material possessions quenches and grieves the Holy Spirit.
  • A gossip who cannot control his tongue quenches and grieves the Spirit.
  • A husband, wife, or child who fails to live according to the commands of Ephesians chapter 5 quenches and grieves the Holy Spirit.
  • A student who fails to study adequately because of poor discipline quenches and grieves the Spirit.

Many pages would be required to list all the ways in which lack of self-control quenches and grieves the Holy Spirit.

The spirit, mind and body are the three aspects of our being over which we are told to practice self-control.

What is man’s spirit?

It is his immaterial being – man without his body, if you will. The Bible gives many characteristics of the spirit of man. It is that which communicates with the Spirit of God.

Man’s spirit is the center of emotions (1 Kings 21:5), the source of passions (Ezekiel 3:14) and the seat of volition or exercise of the will (Proverbs 16:32). Our spirit is subject to divine influence while housed in our mortal body (Deuteronomy 2:30 and Isaiah 19:14), and leaves the body at the time of physical death (Ecclesiastics 12:7 and James 2:26).

Bible Reading: Proverbs 15:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Drawing upon this enabling power of the Holy Spirit, I will practice the vital discipline of self-control.

 

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Max Lucado – Engraved on God’s Hand

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16).  Those are God’s words.  Your name is not buried in some heavenly file.  God needs no name tag to jog His memory about you.  Your name is tattooed, engraved on His hand.  You are everything to God.

I once read a story about a priest from Detroit who traveled to Ireland to visit relatives.  One day he was walking the shores of Lake Killarney with his uncle.  They watched the sun rise and for a full twenty minutes, the two men scarcely spoke.  As they resumed their walk, the priest noticed that his uncle was smiling.  “Uncle,” he said, “You look very happy.”  “I am,” his uncle responded. “How come?” asked the priest.  “Because the father of Jesus is very fond of me.”

He’s fond of you too dear friend.

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Denison Forum – ‘Lori stepped in and saved my life’: Three steps to courage today

Lori Gilbert-Kaye was worshipping in the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in suburban San Diego last Saturday when a gunman entered the sanctuary. A man identified by authorities as nineteen-year-old John T. Earnest began shooting.

Gilbert-Kaye stepped in front of bullets aimed at her longtime friend and rabbi as he gave his sermon. She was killed, leaving behind a husband and an adult daughter.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was shot in the hand and lost a finger. Nonetheless, he continued his sermon “telling everyone to stay strong,” according to a synagogue member.

As the rabbi was wheeled into the operating room after the shooting, he told a friend to “let everyone know that Lori stepped in and saved my life.”

“I thank God he gave me the courage to do what I did.”

Lori Gilbert-Kaye was not the only hero last Saturday.

Army veteran Oscar Stewart was in the synagogue when the shooting began. He started running out of the sanctuary along with his fellow worshipers. Then he turned around.

Something—he later said it might have been the “hand of God”—propelled him into the lobby.

There he saw the assailant in a military-style vest wielding a semiautomatic rifle. “Get down!” he yelled at the man. The gunman fired two rounds in response. “I’m going to kill you,” Stewart yelled back. This seemed to rattle the gunman, who began to flee.

Continue reading Denison Forum – ‘Lori stepped in and saved my life’: Three steps to courage today

Charles Stanley – A Mind Set on Christ

 

Colossians 3:1-4

What occupies your thoughts? That’s a challenging question and one we should not ignore. In many ways, we are what we think. If our thoughts are focused on the concerns of this world, we will become like the world. But if our minds are set on the things above—in other words, where Christ is—we’ll become more like Him.

The point isn’t merely to think about heaven but to think on Christ, who is in heaven. When we do this, changes will start to take place:

We will gain an eternal perspective. Instead of being distracted by trivial pursuits and discouraged by hardships and pain, we’ll be devoted to living for Christ. Then we will be able to rest in our loving Father’s choices for us.

Things of the world will lose appeal. The more aware we are of Jesus, the less we tolerate sin, because we know it doesn’t fit us anymore. Instead of chasing the passing pleasures and goals of the culture, we’ll pursue a lifestyle of obedience to the Lord.

We’ll realize our security is in Christ. Right now we are “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). This speaks of our eternal security and also gives us a sense of safety since nothing comes our way without passing through God’s hands.

We look forward to a glorious future. When Christ is revealed, then we will be revealed with Him in glory (v. 4). Even when everything looks dismal, we have a reason to hope because our time here is infinitesimal compared to eternity with Christ.

Your beliefs determine your perspective on life, and that shapes your priorities and attitudes.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 21-23

 

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Our Daily Bread — Understanding Life’s Trials

 

Bible in a Year:1 Kings 6–7; Luke 20:27–47

To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.

Job 12:13

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Job 12:13–25

My friend’s father received the dreaded diagnosis: cancer. Yet, during the chemo treatment process, he became a believer in Jesus and his disease eventually went into remission. He was cancer free for a wonderful eighteen months, but it returned—worse than before. He and his wife faced the reality of the returned cancer with concern and questions but also with a faithful trust in God because of how He saw them through the first time.

We won’t always understand why we’re going through trials. This was certainly the case for Job, who faced horrendous and unexplainable suffering and loss. Yet despite his many questions, in Job 12 he declares that God is mighty: “What he tears down cannot be rebuilt” (v. 14) and “to him belong strength and insight” (v. 16). “He makes nations great, and destroys them” (v. 23). Throughout this extensive list, Job doesn’t mention God’s motives or why He allows pain and suffering. Job doesn’t have the answers. But still despite everything, he confidently says, “to God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his” (v. 13).

We may not understand why God allows certain struggles in our lives, but like my friend’s parents, we can put our trust in Him. The Lord loves us and has us in His hands (v. 10; 1 Peter 5:7). Wisdom, power, and understanding are His!

By Julie Schwab

Today’s Reflection

What struggle are you going through? How does it help to know that God is with you?

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Messianic Images

When considering the Christian message, it is important to remember that the disciples of Jesus were totally surprised by the events that took place in Jerusalem. After the crucifixion of Jesus, the apostles rightfully believed that all was lost.

Though some have argued that the disciples merely refused to accept failure after Jesus’s death and made up the story of the resurrection, a crucified and risen Messiah simply did not fit into Jewish expectations for the One who was to come. Though there was no single understanding of what the Messiah would be like, there were common elements that every Jew would have assumed within their messianic expectations.

First, the Messiah was closely linked to Jewish beliefs regarding the place of worship. He was to institute a renewal of the temple in Jerusalem. It was also commonly understood that the Messiah would be a royal military leader who would overthrow Israel’s enemies and prove his lordship through conquest. Jesus clearly did neither of these things; rather, he came in peace and died in his youth like a criminal. Why, then, would his followers maintain that he was the Messiah? Why did they not just cut their losses after his death and move on?

New Testament scholar N.T. Wright explains:

“There were, to be sure, ways of coping with the death of a teacher, or even a leader. The picture of Socrates was available, in the wider world, as a model of unjust death nobly borne. The category of ‘martyr’ was available, within Judaism, for someone who stood up to pagans… The category of failed but still revered Messiah, however, did not exist. A Messiah who died at the hands of the pagans, instead of winning [God’s] battle against them, was a deceiver… Why then did people go on talking about Jesus of Nazareth, except as a remarkable but tragic memory? The obvious answer is that… Jesus was raised from the dead.”(1)

In this light of resurrection, the disciples had to go through a massive renewal of their thinking. Seeing the once-dead Jesus now standing before their eyes brought them to what was a radical new way of understanding the Messiah. Of course, this is in addition to the radical suspension of the well-understood laws of nature with which they also had to grapple. Despite the quick dismissal from modernity, no mind is so primitive so as to believe that all is usual when bodies rise from the dead.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Messianic Images

Joyce Meyer – Looking Forward

 

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. — Psalm 16:11

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

The presence of the Lord is always with us, but we do not always recognize it or take time to be conscious of it. I think this is why there seems to be a lack of joy in the lives of many believers. There are a lot of unhappy people who are spending their lives chasing things when nothing can keep us satisfied except God Himself.

When people are not satisfied inwardly, they usually look for some outward object to satisfy their hunger. Often they end up in a fruitless search for that which cannot fill the emptiness within. We’ve heard it said, many people spend their lives climbing the ladder of success, only to find when they reach the top that their ladder is leaning against the wrong building.

When we keep our priorities straight, we discover that everything we really need in life is found in the Lord. Seek to dwell in His presence. In Him is the path of life, the fullness of joy, and pleasures forevermore.

The reason we can laugh and enjoy life in spite of our current circumstances is because Jesus is our joy.

Prayer Starter: Father, You are everything I need. Help me to keep the proper perspective and look to You as my source of joy instead of the things in this world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Protects Worshipers

 

“He protects all those who love Him, but destroys the wicked” (Psalm 145:20).

Throughout Scripture one is reminded over and over again that when a person obeys Him, God blesses that person. And when a person – or a nation – disobeys Him, God disciplines, just as a loving father disciplines his disobedient child because he loves him, not because of his wrath or any evil intent.

The Israelites, though warned many times that if they disobeyed God He would destroy them, finally had to be destroyed – after numerous warnings and disciplinings (including grievous plagues) – because of their disobedience (Deuteronomy, chapters 8 and 28; Amos, chapter 4). God still disciplines men and nations. It is a sobering thing to disobey God.

Someone has said, “We do not break God’s laws, but God’s laws break us.” If we obey them, we are blessed. If we disobey them, we must suffer the consequences.

Scripture suggests that what applies to individuals and to nations also applies to Christian movements or organizations such as the one with which I have the privilege of serving our Lord. So long as I and the now more than 16,000 full-time and associate staff members continue to obey God, His hand of blessing will remain upon our worldwide efforts. If we disobey Him, He will not only withhold His blessings, but will discipline us as individuals and as a movement.

I pray daily that each one of us may determine to obey God implicitly.

Bible Reading: Psalm 45:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Recognizing that the laws of God in the spiritual realm are just as inviolate as the laws of the physical realm, and that God blesses those who obey Him and disciplines those who are disobedient, with the enabling of the Holy Spirit I will seek to express my love for God by living a life of faith and obedience for His glory.

 

http://www.cru.org

 

Max Lucado – The Celebration

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God loves surprises.  He appears in the strangest of places and does the strangest of things.  He arches rainbows in the midst of thunderclouds.  And he calls people by name in a cemetery.  Mary Magdalene was surprised to hear her name spoken by a man she had buried.  And she responded correctly— she worshiped him.

The scene has all the elements of a surprise party.  But the celebration planned for the future will be a lot bigger!  More graves will open.  Many more names will be called.  Many more knees will bow.  And many more seekers will celebrate. I plan to make sure my name is on that guest list.  How about you?

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Denison Forum – Avengers: Endgame makes $1.2 billion: Why the movie strikes a chord in our souls

 

I may be the only person who reads this article who has not yet seen Avengers: Endgame. This is a coincidence of calendar, not an expression of intent.

At my first opportunity, I intend to conform to the will of the masses and see the highest-grossing movie (through its first weekend) in history. Avengers: Endgame earned more than an estimated $1.2 billion over the weekend, nearly doubling the global box office record held by Avengers: Infinity War, which made $641 million in its opening weekend last April.

Seventeen AMC locations stayed open for seventy-two straight hours from Thursday night through Sunday. The movie had the best opening day in cinematic history, far surpassing the record set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Why would a three-hour movie about comic book heroes garner such attention?

Part of the answer is its excellence: the movie received a 96 percent score on the review site Rotten Tomatoes and a rare A+ on CinemaScore. Another is the way it depicts heroes redeeming their failures, a theme Ryan Denison explores in his excellent review on our website.

I’d like to explore a different angle, one that is relevant whether we’ve seen (or intend to see) the film or not.

Avengers: Endgame is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, comprising twenty-one previous films that have made more than $19 billion worldwide. Taken together, these incredibly popular movies tell us something vital about ourselves and our culture.

Raccoons, trees, and other heroes

Continue reading Denison Forum – Avengers: Endgame makes $1.2 billion: Why the movie strikes a chord in our souls

Charles Stanley – From the Bottom Up

 

1 Samuel 30:1-6

King David’s psalms reveal that he faced some very lonely times. However, few experiences compared to his utter despair over the ashes of his city, Ziklag. The story of how he reached such anguished depths actually began much earlier—at a time when his faith failed.

After years of fleeing from King Saul’s death threats, David was discouraged and weary. He’d believed God’s promise to make him king, but now his certainty began to waver. So he did what many of us do—he resorted to human reasoning. Under the circumstances, it appeared his best option was to seek refuge among the Philistines, who were enemies of Israel (1 Samuel 27:1). Blinded by his seemingly hopeless situation, David stepped out of God’s will in order to get beyond Saul’s reach. His lapse may have been just temporary, but it nonetheless proved significant, in that he stopped believing God could guide him safely through “the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4).

Several months later, the future king returned to Ziklag to find that the city had been ruined. Even worse, his family and his people had been taken. David’s band of warriors prepared to take out their frustration and anger on him. From the bottom of this pit of despair, a humbled man looked to God and found his strength and his faith renewed (1 Samuel 30:6).

At our lowest points, we can be tempted to stop trusting in the Lord and instead take matters into our own hands. But when we do, it’s easy to wind up in a mess. The good news is that even in a mess, if we look to the Lord, we will see the way out of our pit and back into His will.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 18-20

 

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Our Daily Bread — God’s Retirement Plan

 

Bible in a Year:1 Kings 3–5; Luke 20:1–26

The angel of the Lord appeared to [Moses] in flames of fire from within a bush.

Exodus 3:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Exodus 3:1–10

Archaeologist Dr. Warwick Rodwell was preparing to retire when he made an extraordinary discovery at Lichfield Cathedral in England. As builders carefully excavated part of the floor of the church to make way for a retractable base, they discovered a sculpture of the archangel Gabriel, thought to be 1,200 years old. Dr. Rodwell’s retirement plans were put on hold as his find launched him into an exciting and busy new season.

Moses was eighty years old when he made a fiery discovery that would forever alter his life. Though the adopted son of an Egyptian princess, he never forgot his Hebrew lineage and raged at the injustice he witnessed against his kinsmen (Exodus 2:11–12). When Pharaoh learned that Moses had killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew, he planned to have him killed, forcing Moses to flee to Midian, where he settled (vv. 13–15).

Forty years later, when he was eighty, Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flock when “the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up” (3:2). In that moment, God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery (vv. 3–22).

At this moment in your life, what might God be calling you to do for His greater purpose? What new plans has He placed in your path?

By Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

Today’s Reflection

What do you learn from Moses and his calling from God? Why is it vital to be open to something new He’s doing in your life?

 

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Streams in the Desert for Kids – Be Patient!

 

Psalm 37:7

When we read the Bible, it seems like miracles happened every day, but it wasn’t really that way. In the Old Testament, for example, God performed amazing miracles when he freed his people from slavery in Egypt. First there were ten plagues to convince Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Then, when Pharaoh sent his army after the slaves, God parted the Red Sea so his people could escape from the Egyptian soldiers. And if that weren’t miracle enough, God closed the sea at just the right time so the entire army drowned!

That’s a lot of miracles one right after the other, but God’s people had waited four hundred years for these miracles to begin. For four hundred years they were slaves and held onto God’s promise that they would one day be free to go to their Promised Land. Four hundred years is nearly twice as long as the United States has existed as a country. It’s a long, long time.

Not many people like to wait; and they especially don’t like to wait a long time for something they really want. How about you? Do you get impatient when the Internet connection isn’t fast enough or when the microwave seems to take too long? It can be even harder when God is the one we’re waiting for, hoping he will do something.

What do you wish God would do for you? Are you praying about it? Are you waiting for an answer? God knows what you need better than you do. He cares about you. Patience helps us wait quietly knowing God is going to give us exactly what we need.

Dear Lord, I have a hard time waiting. I know you have plans that are much bigger than anything I can think of. Help me to wait patiently for you to answer my prayer. Amen.

Joyce Meyer – Doing the Word

 

But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. — James 1:22 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

As a Christian, for a long time I didn’t understand that believers could know what God wanted them to do and then deliberately say no. I’m not talking about those who turn their backs on Jesus and want nothing to do with His salvation. I’m talking about those who disobey in the seemingly little things and don’t seem to be troubled by doing so.

In verses 23 and 24, James went on to say that if we only listen to the Word, but don’t obey it, it’s like looking at our reflection in a mirror and then going away and forgetting what we saw. But a doer of the Word, he says, is like one who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience) (v. 25 AMPC).

Whenever Christians are faced with God’s Word, and it calls them to action but they refuse to obey, their own human reasoning is often the cause. They have deceived themselves into believing something other than the truth. It’s as if they think they are smarter than God.

I’ve met people who seem to think that God always wants them to feel good, and if something happens to make them feel bad, they don’t believe it is God’s will for them. Or they dismiss what they read in the Bible by saying, “That doesn’t make sense.” One woman, referring to Paul’s instruction to “be unceasing in prayer” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), said that verse kept coming to her every time she prayed. “What do you think that means?” I asked her.

“Oh, I think it means that day in and day out, we are to pray when we feel a need or when we want something.”

Her words shocked me. “What about fellowship with the Lord?” I asked. “Isn’t that a good reason? Or maybe God just wants you to spend time reading His Word and praying about what you read.”

“I have too many things to do,” she said. “That’s fine for people who like to sit and read and pray for hours every day, but that’s not the way for me.”

In our brief conversation, I learned that her decisions about obeying God’s Word depended on whether or not it was convenient for her lifestyle. When she read things in the Bible that didn’t fit with the way she lived, she explained it to herself in such a way that she convinced herself God didn’t expect her to do that.

By contrast, I remember a very dignified woman who had been a member of a traditional church most of her life. She often spoke of the noise and confusion in charismatic churches (although she had not been to one). Then she visited one of the services where I spoke and was transformed.

“I couldn’t believe that God would ask me to do something like clap my hands or sing loudly or even shout. But when I saw the joy on the faces of those in the congregation and heard you quote the Bible verse that commands us to clap our hands and shout, what else could I do? That was God speaking to me.”

She had exactly the right attitude. She didn’t try to reason it out or wonder why God commanded her to take that kind of action. She believed His Word and simply obeyed.

When the Bible speaks about obeying the Lord, it is not a suggestion. His Word doesn’t ask, “Would you like to obey?” God commands us to take action by being a doer of His Word, and when we are obedient, He promises that we will be blessed.

Prayer Starter: Dear Father, I thank You for the instructions found in Your Word. I may not always like what I read, and sometimes it may be difficult to follow You without hesitating, but I know it is for my good. Please help me to be always obedient and to bring glory and honor to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Fullness of Joy

 

“Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11, KJV).

“If you have lost the joy of the Lord in your life,” someone once observed, “who moved, you or God? For in His presence is fullness of joy.”

That saint and prophet of earlier years, A. W. Tozer, suggested several ways for the believer to achieve real joy:

  1. Cultivate a genuine friendship with God. He is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  2. Take time to exercise yourself daily unto godliness. Vow never to be dishonest about sin in your life, never to defend yourself, never to own anything (or let anything own you), never to pass on anything hurtful about others, never to take any glory to yourself.
  3. No known sin must be allowed to remain in your life. “Keep short accounts with God” – never allow unconfessed sins to pile up in your life.
  4. Set out to build your own value system based on the Word of God. Meditate on the Word; practice the presence of God. Set priorities as you realize what is truly important. It will be reflected in the standard of values you set for yourself.
  5. Share your spiritual discoveries with others.

Bible Reading: John 15:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Knowing that the best witness in the world is a joyful, radiant Christian, I will try to be that kind of believer, trusting the indwelling Holy Spirit to thus empower me and radiate His love and joy through me. I will share my spiritual discoveries with others.

 

http://www.cru.org

Charles Stanley – Encouragement for Every Season

 

Psalm 139:1-12

One of the most distressing emotions is the bleak sense of isolation caused by a difficult situation or experience. This is especially true when a loved one has died or you find yourself in the middle of a severe trial that can’t be solved quickly. Though the planet keeps on spinning, your world seems to have stopped and you begin to wonder, “Lord, where are You?”

In Psalm 139, David reminds us that we do not journey through this life alone. Our loving heavenly Father is and has been with each believer every single day. He’s more than a traveling companion—He keeps His mighty hand on us and surrounds us with protective love (Psalm 139:5). Nothing comes our way without His knowledge. And He gives His children the grace not only to endure but also to grow more like Jesus through the experience.

God promises to be with you in all seasons of life, whether joyful or sorrowful (Heb. 13:5). No matter how dark, depressing, or hopeless the situation may seem, your faithful Father is with you because His love never fails (Rom. 8:31-39). Furthermore, He knows every facet of your situation and is working it out for both your good and His glory (Rom. 8:28). Besides having the power to meet any need, He also has surpassing comfort for every hurt (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Dark valleys may blind us at the moment, but to our Shepherd, the night is as bright as the day. We can trust Him to bring us out of the shadows and into His light. In the meantime, we must cling to the truth of His Word, which assures us of His lovingkindness and compassion.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 13-15

 

http://www.intouch.org/