Charles Stanley – God’s Faithfulness


1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Ever since the heavenly Father created time, everything has been in flux—everything, that is, except God Himself. The environment changes with the seasons, and in a similar way, our life also goes through seasons. Some are filled with joy, while others are characterized by difficulty. But the Lord is faithful, and we can always take comfort in knowing this.

Faithfulness is one of God’s unchanging attributes. It means that He always does exactly what He says He will do and acts in accordance with His nature. He can never deny Himself, so when He promises to “sanctify you entirely” (1 Thessalonians 5:23), you can count on Him to make you more like Christ—even using the painful seasons of life to do so.

God’s unchanging nature and faithfulness are the foundation of our hope. Because He won’t change His mind about our salvation, we have the assurance of eternal security. Since He is the sovereign Ruler of the universe, we never have to fear that our world is out of His control. His plans were formed long ago with perfect faithfulness (Isa. 25:1), and no one can frustrate them or turn back His hand (Isa. 14:27).

Because God is faithful, we can have peace of mind in any circumstance—even in the face of death. Although we will change with time and the seasons of life will come and go, our faithful God is always the same. Since we belong to Him through Christ, He will never forget, neglect, or abandon us. He has promised to preserve us “complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23), and He will do it.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 10-12

Our Daily Bread — Not Like Yesterday

Bible in a Year:2 Samuel 21–22; Luke 18:24–43

Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:3

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Matthew 4:1–11

When our grandson Jay was a child his parents gave him a new T-shirt for his birthday. He put it on right away and proudly wore it all day.

When he appeared the next morning in the shirt, his dad asked him, “Jay, does that shirt make you happy?”

“Not as much as yesterday,” Jay replied.

That’s the problem with material acquisition: Even the good things of life can’t give us the deep, lasting happiness we so strongly desire. Though we may have many possessions, we may still be unhappy.

The world offers happiness through material accumulation: new clothes, a new automobile, an update to our phone or watch. But no material acquisition can make us as happy as it did yesterday. That’s because we were made for God and nothing less will do.

One day, when Jesus was fasting and faint with hunger, Satan approached Him and tempted Him to satisfy His hunger by creating bread. Jesus countered by quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Jesus didn’t mean that we shouldn’t live only on bread. He’s rather stating a fact: We’re spiritual beings and thus we can’t exist on material goods alone.

True satisfaction is found in God and His riches.

By David H. Roper

Today’s Reflection

Why do material acquisitions not provide long-term happiness? What have you learned from past expectations?

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – New Creation!


An important manuscript long thought lost was rediscovered hiding in a Pennsylvania seminary on a forgotten archival shelf. The recovered manuscript was a working score for a piano version of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Grosse Fuge,” which means “grand fugue.” Apparently, grand is an understatement. The work is known as a monument of classical music and described by historians as a “symphonic poem” or a “leviathan”—an achievement on the scale of the finale of his Ninth Symphony. The work is one of the last pieces Beethoven composed, during the period when he was completely deaf. The markings throughout the manuscript are in the composer’s own hand.

In fact, such markings are a particular trademark of Beethoven, who was known for his near obsessive editing. Unlike Mozart, who typically produced large scores in nearly finished form, Beethoven’s mind was so full of ideas that it was never made up. Never satisfied, he honed his ideas brutally.

A look at the recovered score portrays exactly that. Groups of measures throughout the 80-page manuscript are furiously canceled out with cross-marks. Remnants of red sealing wax, used to adhere long corrections to an already scuffed up page, remain like scars. There are smudges where he rubbed away ink while it was still wet and abrasions where he erased notes with a needle. Dated changes and omissions are scattered throughout the score, many of these markings dating to the final months before his death in 1827.

I think there is something encouraging about the labored work of an artist chasing after genius. Beethoven wrestled notes onto the page. For him composing music was a messy, physical process. Ink was splattered, wax burned, erasers wore holes in the paper. What started as a clean page became a muddled, textured mess of a masterpiece ever unfinished.

Maybe it is the artist in me that understands work that never quite feels finished, but I am jarred by the finality of certain sentences on the ancient lips of those who evoke the mystery of faith: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”(1) The Greek wording here carries with it the force of an expletive. Translators use the word “behold” to convey the finality that Paul speaks with force, but something is most certainly lost. Set in motion by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the effect of these events on human lives is nothing short of the abrupt creative work of God at the very beginning, when God speaks chaos into order.  If this were a statement given as a contemporary text it would have come in all caps: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ: NEW CREATION! Paul is emphatic in a way that cannot be escaped. The Christian in Christ has been made by the Spirit into something new. To use Christ’s own words from the cross: It is finished. Before she has even tried to live well, before she has even labored as a disciple, the marred and muddied scene of her heart has been made abruptly and finally clean and new. The Father has handed us the masterpiece of his Son and told us that when God looks at us God sees perfection.

Though I stand amazed at this mysterious, nearly violent grace, it is also easy for me to stumble at the thought of it. I imagine God handing me a clean paper and asking me to hold it in a world full of ink and dirt and choices. And I immediately wish I would have been more careful. I picture the white page given to me and think of all of the smudges and eraser marks I’ve added to it, some of them from lessons learned the hard way, others merely from bumping into life as I walked along.

Life is far more disheveled than we would like it to be. People get angry and depressed and sick. We struggle with remaining hopeful in the dark, seeing through bouts of self-deception, believing both the deceptive insecurities and the inflated depositions we hold on ourselves. Our lives don’t turn out how we planned them, and the roads we choose aren’t as straight as we would like them to be. Even so, Paul seems to say, the Christian’s vital truth is that God is kind and faithful through the mess because Christ himself has come into the very midst of it. “For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”(2)

Someone has called Beethoven’s masterpieces works of “three-dimensional” art. There is a texture and a character to his manuscripts that display an artist who went beyond merely writing the notes, but stretched himself, and the page itself, to make a symphony. All the more mellifluous is the work of Christ. Life in Christ is fleshed out of us. But it is first his own flesh. Our scuffs and blotches are wrought with the work of human one who descends into the mess of life to shape us. Like a composer willing to labor over his pages, the potter’s hands have not been afraid to get dirty. Our lives, which may seem glued with corrections and shaped with notations, are finally marked with the signs of the master whose work in making NEW CREATION is quite beautifully decisive.

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

(1) 2 Corinthians 5:17.
(2) Romans 8:28.

Joyce Meyer – God Will Brighten Your Day


He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper. — 2 Chronicles 26:5

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

Jesus got up early in the morning, long before daylight, and went out to a deserted place and prayed—He got alone (see Mark 1:35). There were so many people who followed Jesus everywhere He went that He probably wouldn’t have had any time alone if He hadn’t gotten up really early.

If you aren’t a morning person, the thought of getting up early may make you nervous. But you can decipher for yourself what “early” means for you. Nine o’clock is early if you are used to staying in bed until noon. Even if you only get up 15 minutes earlier than usual to have some time alone with God, you will still honor Him, and that time with Him will make your whole day brighter.

Prayer Starter: Father, I need Your strength to have success today. Help me to make a habit of spending time with You and keeping You first in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – When He’s in Control


“But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us:…self-control” (Galatians 5:22,23).

Sue insisted that she was Spirit-filled, and she frequently challenged others to be filled with the Spirit. But there was no evidence that the Holy Spirit was in control of her life, because she was completely undisciplined in everything she did. She knew nothing about self-control. She knew all about the Holy Spirit, in her mind, but there was no evidence that He was in her life – and in control of her life.

Dr. Henrietta Mears, as director of Christian education at the First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, had one of the greatest spiritual ministries of her time. Hundreds of young men and women became church members and missionaries under her influence. She lived in a palatial home, owned priceless antiques and dressed beautifully. Most people assumed that she was a woman of great wealth. Actually, she was a person of relatively modest means. She simply knew how to take her regular salary, a modest inheritance, plus savings, and maximize them for God’s glory.

For example, she would advise young people, “Do not eat in expensive restaurants where you spend excessively except on rare occasions. Instead, prepare your own lunch, and over a period of a year you can save enough money by not eating out to take a trip around the world and enrich your spirit, your soul and your cultural sensitivities. Or you can use the money you save to buy something which will enhance the beauty of your home or person.”

We see disciplined people all around us in the world. Athletes discipline themselves to strict training, soldiers are drilled in military discipline, artists and writers are disciplined to sharpen their talents through dedicated practice. On the other hand, we also see examples of a lack of discipline in the lives of many people around us.

Whether a person is a Christian or a non-believer, the development of self-control as a quality of character seems to be difficult for most people. Yet we are told in the Bible that the Spirit-filled Christian will exhibit self- control as a part of the fruit of the Spirit.

Bible Reading: I Chronicles 28:9-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I acknowledge that to walk in the fullness and control of the Holy Spirit will enable me to demonstrate a life of discipline and self-control. Therefore, by faith, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, I shall live a life of discipline and self-control for the glory of God. Self- control is essential for supernatural living.

Max Lucado – The Other Side of Death’s River


Listen to Today’s Devotion

A missionary in Brazil discovered a tribe of Indians in a remote area.  A contagious disease was ravaging the population.  To get medical attention they would need to cross a river—a river, they believed, was inhabited by evil spirits.  The missionary told them how he had crossed the river unharmed.  No luck.  Finally, he swam beneath the surface and emerged on the other side.  Then the Indians followed him.

Jesus saw people enslaved by their fear of death.  He explained that death was nothing to fear.  He called Lazarus out of the grave yet they were still cynical.  He had to submerge himself in the water of death before people would believe that death had been conquered.  And he came out on the other side of death’s river.  He proved once and for all, our death, is not final.

Read more Six Hours One Friday

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.


Denison Forum – Joe Biden and his lesser-known rivals: How anonymous people change the world


Joe Biden formally announced his candidacy for president this morning. He becomes the twentieth Democrat to join the 2020 campaign. And one of the few you had probably heard of before making such an announcement.

This is not a criticism or partisan statement. America’s political history shows that notoriety is not essential for success.

From 2 percent to the White House

Jimmy Carter’s name recognition was at 2 percent when he launched his presidential campaign. Congressman Gerald Ford was largely unknown outside his Michigan district before he became vice president and then president.

Few believed first-term senator Barack Obama stood a chance against Hillary Clinton in 2008. When Donald Trump announced he was running for president in 2015, how many people thought he would win?

Notoriety is not always essential to success in other areas of life as well.

When Manuel Franco stepped forward Tuesday to claim a $768 million Powerball prize, the twenty-four-year-old Wisconsin resident went from anonymity to national headlines. I had not heard of diver Josh Bratchley before he helped rescue Thai cave schoolboys last summer. I had not heard of Edd Sorenson before he rescued Josh Bratchley from an underwater cave in Tennessee last week.

How Americans spend eleven hours each day

We may never be household names, but we all want to be special to someone special.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Joe Biden and his lesser-known rivals: How anonymous people change the world