Charles Stanley – Solving Problems Through Prayer


2 Chronicles 20:1-32

Problems are an inevitable part of life whether a person is saved or not. The difference is that once a man or woman becomes a believer, the Father strengthens His child to face every difficulty.

Our omniscient and omnipotent God is greater than any problem. He knows our future circumstances and equips our heart and mind to withstand the coming trial. The moment we encounter a problem, we can turn to His omnipotence. He promised to meet believers’ needs and, therefore, is under His own divine obligation to give guidance and direction. Our first response should always be to call out “Father!” and pray. Immediately, two things take place: The problem’s growth is stunted, and God’s child is reminded of the unique position given those who trust in the sovereign Lord.

God always provides when we face problems. However, that doesn’t mean we should be sitting back and waiting for Him to work out the details. His provision may require an act of faith from us in order to reach a resolution. Experience and Scripture tell us that His solutions are always best, but human strength may falter when we hear what He asks of us in response to our prayers. Thankfully, He also offers the courage to act at the right moment.

Long before a crisis arises or a solution is needed, a wise believer will be seeking God in prayer. In trouble-free times, we can build a foundation of trust and communion with Him that can withstand any hardship. Problems are unavoidable, but as we seek our Father in prayer, He is faithful to deal with our difficulties.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 1-3

Our Daily Bread — Second-Wind Strength


Bible in a Year:2 Samuel 14–15; Luke 17:1–19

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Isaiah 40:27–31

At the age of fifty-four I entered the Milwaukee marathon with two goals—to finish the race and to do it under five hours. My time would have been amazing if the second 13.1 miles went as well as the first. But the race was grueling, and the second-wind strength I’d hoped for never came. By the time I made it to the finish line, my steady stride had morphed into a painful walk.

Footraces aren’t the only things that require second-wind strength—life’s race does too. To endure, tired, weary people need God’s help. Isaiah 40:27–31 beautifully weds poetry and prophecy to comfort and motivate people who need strength to keep going. Timeless words remind fatigued and discouraged people that the Lord isn’t detached or uncaring (v. 27), that our plight doesn’t escape His notice. These words breathe comfort and assurance, and remind us of God’s limitless power and bottomless knowledge (v. 28).

The second-wind strength described in verses 29–31 is just right for us—whether we’re in the throes of raising and providing for our families, struggling through life under the weight of physical or financial burdens, or discouraged by relational tensions or spiritual challenges. Such is the strength that awaits those who—through meditating on the Scriptures and prayer—wait upon the Lord.

By Arthur Jackson

Today’s Reflection

When have life circumstances taken the wind out of you? In what particular area do you need God’s strength today?

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Presente


In the 70s and 80s when death squads were operating in countries of South and Central America, a liturgy emerged in the church by which Christians dramatically enacted faith amidst the pervasive fear perpetuated by the imagination of the nation state. Where death squads spread fear by “disappearing” those bodies that stood in their way, the church saw the resurrection of Christ and his own fatally wounded and “disappeared” body as a dramatic counter-narrative of resistance. Thus, at the liturgy, someone would read out the names of those killed or disappeared, and for each name someone would call out from within the congregation, presente, “Here!”

My work brings me face to face with many who would meet this liturgical act with a dismissal of some sort. It might be a hostile dismissal or simply one expressing doubt or dismay. Like words of comfort at a difficult funeral, while the sentiment might be needed, it will not undo what has been done. Here, the objection from a place of cynicism is not unlike the one from sorrow: The death squads were hardly deterred by this communal act of rallying around a consoling word. Bodies were—and are—still disappearing. These names were the names of people actually lost. On this, determined atheists, material humanists, and despairing Christians might agree: In a heartbreakingly real sense, the disappeared were most definitely not presente.

We might think similarly when we consider the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide or Easter church bombings—or any number of stories of the displaced or tragically lost that sadly do not make their way into our attention spans or news feeds. It is not hard to tend to the imagination that tells us that the “disappeared” belong to a group that will never stop growing. It is an imagination that seems sympathetic and human, and in some important ways it is. The nameless lives wasted, violently cut short, are buried and gone. But whether confessed in sorrow or cynicism, the assumption behind this imagination is that the dead can be buried once and for all and forgotten.

What the churches facing the death squads seemed to understand better than most of us is that Easter proclaims something entirely to the contrary. The violence and death that made Jesus “disappear” did not stand. He would not be buried once and for all and forgotten. In the aftermath of another bloody Easter Sunday, I suspect our Sri Lankan brothers and sisters hold the same conviction. The resurrected presence of the once disappeared Jesus proclaims many things to this wounded world, but this is perhaps the most shocking of all. The cultural notion that human value can be extinguished by death and violence was irreversibly shifted by Easter. The pervasive imagination that insists there are some lives that are expendable was upended by the shocking return of the one they tried to silence. The injustice and apathy that perpetuate this imagination stand vehemently convicted. The gospel of the resurrection proclaims that God holds on to the lives of all the departed, that injustice and apathy will not have the last word, and the dead and disappeared are never forgotten.

In my own liturgical tradition, during the season of Lent as the church prepares for the feast of Easter, there is a practice called “burying the hallelujahs.” We refrain from saying hallelujah during Lent, hallelujah being an ultimate expression of rejoicing that means “God be praised.” For the forty days of Lent we are invited instead to remember our deaths, to call to mind our need, our sin, our apathy, our complicit disinterest in the disappearance of others. During Lent, we fast as a means of preparing ourselves for the promise that hunger itself will one day be satisfied. We mourn with the world, with the church far and wide, and we challenge ourselves to sit with those struggling under silencing injustice and violence, with those we forget and treat as if expendable. Last Lent, as we learned of the deadly bombings that targeted Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday, I was thankful for the burying of our hallelujahs and a ready language to lament with brothers and sisters I will never meet but with whom I grieved. Lent reminds us that God was buried and that we, too, will be buried, that death comes before life, and that before there is rejoicing, Jesus grieves with those who grieve. We don’t bury the hallelujahs in cynicism or despair. We bury them because this is precisely where Easter itself begins: in grief and darkness with those easily overlooked, with those disappearing and those disappeared. For Jesus himself was one of them.

When Mary arrived at the tomb on Easter morning only to be told that the body of Jesus body was missing, she was distraught at his disappearance. She at first could not see resurrection; she saw emptiness. I imagine her grief was not unlike the mothers of missing sons during the reign of the death squads or the mothers and fathers of Alexandria and Tanta who lost children in worship on Palm Sunday last year. It was not enough that they violently killed him; they disappeared him.

But then the body of the resurrected Jesus was suddenly standing before her. The one who leaves no human soul in nameless and forgotten oblivion spoke Mary’s name aloud and she realized that he was there. Presente. In the midst of her devastating encounter with darkness, he is there in the midst of it. And his presence undoes the fixtures of fear and violence that continue to say there are some bodies that don’t matter, showing us not only how to die but how to rise and how to live. This darkness shall not overcome. Not in Golgotha. Not in South America. Not in Sri Lanka. Presente.


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

Joyce Meyer – Decide to Be Second


Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor. — Romans 12:10 (AMP)

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

Giving preference to others requires a willingness to adapt and adjust. It means to allow another to go first or to have the best of something. We show preference when we give someone else the best cut of meat on the platter instead of keeping it back for ourselves. We show preference when we allow someone with fewer groceries in his cart than we have in ours to go in front of us at the supermarket checkout counter, or when we are waiting in line to use a public restroom and someone behind us in line is pregnant or elderly and we choose to let that individual go ahead of us.

Each time we show preference, we have to make a mental adjustment. We were planning to be first, but we decide to be second. We are in a hurry, but we decide to wait on someone else who seems to have a greater need. A person is not yet rooted and grounded in love until they have learned to show preference to others (see Ephesians 3:17). Don’t just learn to adjust, but learn to do it with a good attitude. Learning to do these things is learning to walk in love.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to truly show preference to other people today with a good attitude. Help me to humble myself and love others the way You do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – We Need the Word


“And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit – which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

In my own life, as I have come to know God better and to live more fully in the power and control of the Holy Spirit, my daily devotional Bible reading and study is not a duty or a chore, but a blessing; not an imposition on my time, but an invitation to fellowship in the closest of all ways with our holy, heavenly Father and our wonderful Savior and Lord.

Remember, God delights to have fellowship with us. The success of our studying God’s Word and of prayer is not to be determined by some emotional experience which we may have (though this frequently will be our experience), but by the realization that God is pleased that we want to know Him enough to spend time with Him in Bible study and prayer.

Here are some important, practical suggestions for your individual devotional reading and study of the Bible:

  1. Begin with a prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you an understanding of God’s Word.
  2. Keep a Bible study notebook.
  3. Read the text slowly and carefully; then reread and take notes.
  4. Find out the true meaning of the text. Ask yourself:
    (a) Who or what is the main subject?
    (b) Of whom or what is the writer speaking?
    (c) What is the key verse?
    (d) What does the passage teach you about Jesus Christ?
    (e) Does it bring to light personal sin that you need to confess and forsake?
    (f) Does it contain a command for you to obey?
    (g) Does it give a promise you can claim?
  5. List practical applications, commands, promises.
  6. Memorize the Scriptures – particularly key verses.
  7. Obey the commands and follow the instructions you learn in God’s Word.

Bible Reading: II Timothy 3:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  With His help, I will begin to make time in God’s Word – quality time – a priority in my life.

Max Lucado – The Sparkle of Eternity


Listen to Today’s Devotion

The fifth chapter of Mark tells the story of a synagogue leader who reached the point where desperation exceeded dignity.  He begged Jesus to heal his dying daughter.  And Jesus did, with a look on his face that said, Come here. I’ve got a secret.

I’ve seen that sparkle of eternity in the eyes of a cancer patient who said, “I’m ready to go.”  I saw it at a funeral.  The widower didn’t weep like the others.  “Don’t worry about me,” he said.  “I know where she is.”  Peace where there should be pain.  Hope defying despair.  That’s what that look says.  It is a look that knows the answer to the question asked by every mortal:  Does death have the last word?  I can see Jesus wink as he answers, “Not on your life.”

Read more Six Hours One Friday

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.


Denison Forum – Baptist pastor grieves for Notre Dame burning: How to prove that every day is Easter

Pastor Harry Richard grieved as he watched flames consume Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Just two weeks earlier, his church in Louisiana was set ablaze. It was one of three predominantly black churches in his area that were intentionally burned down, according to police.

But the Baptist minister sensed the Lord at work: “I think that God is using these moments to bring us closer together as a world. This is God’s hand on our lives to make us realize that we are all connected in some form or fashion.”

Meanwhile, Islamic militants are being blamed this morning for the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed at least 290 people. Devastating floods have left millions in Iran facing a humanitarian crisis. And the CDC says this flu season is now the longest in a decade.

The news reminds us every day that we need the redemptive work of the risen Christ every day. Unfortunately, our secular culture is less convinced than ever that Jesus is relevant today.

How can we show the world that every day is Easter?

Imagine a world without Easter

John S. Dickerson’s latest book is titled Jesus Skeptic: A Journalist Explores the Credibility and Impact of Christianity. As with his other work, Dickerson’s insights are extremely insightful and relevant.

He states that a ten-year investigation led him to conclude: “My generation of Americans—those born in the 1980s and younger—have been largely denied the truth about Christianity’s influence and record on social justice.”

For instance, Dickerson notes that nine of the ten best nations on earth for women’s rights, according to the World Economic Forum, have majority Christian populations. Followers of Jesus such as Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, and Blaise Pascal also played an essential role in launching the Scientific Revolution.

This tradition continues with Dr. Francis S. Collins, leader of the Human Genome Project and now head of the National Institutes of Health. He states: “God can be found in the cathedral or in the laboratory. By investigating God’s majestic and awesome creation, science can actually be a means of worship.”

Schools, medicine, and slavery

Dickerson also notes that “nearly every leading university in the world was founded by Christians.” He cites the fact that the first nine colleges in the US were founded by Christians. He also found that each of the top ten universities in the world, according to the Center for World University Rankings, was begun by Christians.

Christians “planted the seeds of modern medicine” as well. Dickerson references Edward Jenner (the father of immunology), Florence Nightingale (the founder of modern nursing), and Johns Hopkins (whose bequest founded one of the most innovative hospitals in modern medicine). He adds that the top ten hospitals in the US, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, were all founded by Christians.

And Dickerson reports that Christians played an essential role in ending slavery in most parts of the world. In fact, he could not find a single abolitionist in the US who was not a follower of Jesus. And, of course, there is the example of William Wilberforce in the UK.

None of this would have happened without Easter.

Making every day Easter

Here’s our challenge: convincing the culture that Jesus’ resurrection is as relevant to our present and future as it was to our past. This calling requires us to be as engaged in human rights, scientific and medical progress, advancing educational excellence, and ending racial discrimination as the Christians who came before us.

In addition, it is vital that we live in ways that contradict the caricature our critics have drawn of us. Consider two imperatives.

One: Respect those who do not respect our Lord.

When pagans in Ephesus started a riot against Christians in their city, an official scolded the crowd: “You have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess” (Acts 19:37). We are to defend our faith boldly, but we are to do so “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). The more people criticize us, the more they need our Lord.

Two: Be joyful in a joyless world.

Solomon observed: “Everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man” (Ecclesiastes 3:13). If I do not find joy in the vocation to which God has called me, I dishonor the One who has assigned it to me. William Barclay was right: “A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms.”

“Death is strong, but life is stronger”

Phillips Brooks: “Tomb, thou shalt not hold him longer; death is strong, but life is stronger. Stronger than the dark, the light; stronger than the wrong, the right.”

When Christians are relevant, gracious, and joyful followers of the risen Christ, the world will know: He is risen, indeed.