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

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?

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.

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.


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?

Read more Six Hours One Friday

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.


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