Our Daily Bread — What God Sees

 

Bible in a Year:2 Samuel 23–24; Luke 19:1–27

The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

2 Chronicles 16:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Chronicles 16:7–9

Early in the morning, I quietly pad past a family-room window overlooking a wilderness area behind our house. Often, I notice a hawk or owl perched in a tree, keeping watch over the area. One morning I was surprised to find a bald eagle boldly balanced on a high branch, surveying the terrain as if the entire expanse belonged to him. Likely he was watching for “breakfast.” His all-inclusive gaze seemed regal.

In 2 Chronicles 16, Hanani the seer (God’s prophet) informed a king that his actions were under a royal gaze. He told Asa, king of Judah, “You relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God” (v. 7). Then Hanani explained, “The eyes of the Lordrange throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (v. 9). Because of Asa’s misplaced dependence, he would always be at war.

Reading these words, we might get the false sense that God watches our every move so He can pounce on us like a bird of prey. But Hanani’s words focus on the positive. His point is that our God continually watches and waits for us to call on Him when we’re in need.

Like my backyard bald eagle, how might God’s eyes be roaming our world—even now—looking to find faithfulness in you and me? How might He provide the hope and help we need?

By Elisa Morgan

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Road from Emmaus

 

On Holy Saturday, my colleague Jill Carattini tweeted poignantly and truly, “Friends, we have much to grieve in this world, much to lament, individually and collectively. Let’s not rush to Easter yet. Good Friday gives us permission to lament profoundly together.”

Easter Sunday has come and gone. But the day felt more like Good Friday. Somehow it feels like we need to extend our stay at Good Friday—stay a little longer, mourn a little more.

Not unlike the disciples themselves.

In Luke 24:13–49, the episode on the road to Emmaus is set, not in the dusking shadows of the crucifixion, but in the dawning light of the resurrection. But it is a poignant narrative set in the shadows cast under the light of Easter.

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus “stood still, looking sad” (v.17). Even though we live on the other side of Easter, there are those times when we feel as if there isn’t much of a point and purpose to life. These are those moments when life comes to a standstill, especially in times of deep sorrow. We feel like the last person in an evacuated world.

The disciples had expected Jesus to manifestly and unmistakably defeat their oppressors and fulfil their dreams: “We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel” (v.21). But the exact opposite appears to have happened. Not unlike the disciples, we also place our hopes on certain things and expect things to turn out in a certain way. But in life, things don’t always happen the way we want, hope, pray, or expect. The road to Emmaus is littered with shattered hopes and broken dreams.

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Joyce Meyer – One Good Choice After Another

 

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. — Proverbs 4:25

Adapted from the resource Trusting God Day by Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Are you enjoying the life and blessings of God in your everyday life? Or have you made a series of choices resulting in disappointment, pain, or feeling that everything you do requires great effort and produces little reward? Don’t spend your time and energy mourning all the bad decisions you have made; just start making good ones. There is hope for you!

The way to overcome the results of a series of bad choices is through a series of right choices. The only way to walk out of trouble is to do the opposite of whatever you did to get into trouble—one choice at a time.

Maybe the circumstances of your life right now are the direct result of a series of bad choices you have made. You may be in debt because you have made a lot of bad choices with money. You may be lonely because of a series of bad choices in relationships or in the way you treat people. You may be sick because of a series of unhealthy choices: eating junk food, not getting enough rest, or abusing your body through working too much and not having enough balance in your life.

You cannot make a series of bad choices that result in significant problems and then make one good choice and expect all the results of all those bad choices to go away. You did not get into deep trouble through one bad choice; you got into trouble through a series of bad choices. If you really want your life to change for the better, you will need to make one good choice after another, over a period of time, just as consistently as you made the negative choices that produced negative results.

No matter what kind of trouble or difficulty you got yourself into, you can still have a blessed life. You cannot do anything about what is behind you, but you can do a great deal about what lies ahead of you. God is a redeemer, and He will always give you another chance.

Trust in Him If you have a situation that is too big for you to solve, then you are material for a miracle. Invite God to get involved, trust in and follow His directions, make one good choice after another, and you will see amazing results.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for Your wisdom and guidance to make good choices for my life. Please help me to leave past disappointments behind and begin, one by one, to make decisions that will bring a harvest of good things into my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – No Darkness in Him

 

“This is the message God has given us to pass on to you: That God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. So if we say we are His friends, but go on living in spiritual darkness and sin, we are lying. But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:5-7).

One of the first passages of Scripture that I memorized as a new Christian was the first chapter of 1 John. This passage has been a beacon to me through the years as a simple reminder that in God is light and the only reason that I do not live perpetually in that light is because at times I deliberately sin.

Steve had lost his joy and enthusiasm for Christ, and as a new Christian was perplexed. He could not understand what had happened to him. As we counseled together, it became apparent that he had allowed some of his old natural habit patterns to creep back into his life.

I suggested that he make a list of all the things that were wrong in his life and confess them to the Lord in accordance with 1 John 1:9. A few days later, with joyful enthusiasm he came to share with me how his heart had been kindled afresh with the love of God as he was now walking in the light as God is in the light, having wonderful fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

How does one walk in the light? Do not tolerate unconfessed sin. Meditate upon the Word of God. Spend time in prayer talking to God and letting Him talk to you. Share your faith in Christ with others. Obey the commandments of God.

Are you walking in the light as God is in the light? Are you experiencing the joy of the Lord? Are you constrained by the love of Christ to share Him with others?

Bible Reading: I John 1:6-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I shall always seek to walk in the light as God is in the light in order that I may experience wonderful fellowship with my Lord. When I find myself walking in darkness, I shall pause to confess my sins and by faith claim God’s forgiveness and cleansing so that I may be restored to once again walk in the light with God.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God Loves to Surprise Us

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

The last few days had brought nothing but tragedy.  Mary Magdalene was there to hold her arm around the shoulder of Mary the mother of Jesus. She was there to close his eyes.  And now she takes her spices to his grave.  As she rounds the final bend, she gasps.  The rock in front of the grave is pushed back.  Someone has taken his body!

Then a man in radiant white asks, “Why are your crying?” An uncommon question in a cemetery.  She answers and is asked again,“Why are you crying?”  Mary thinks the man is the gardener.  He isn’t.  He is her Savior.  He doesn’t leave her wondering long, just long enough to remind us that he loves to surprise us.  God is at his best when our lives are at there worst.

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Denison Forum – Kyler Murray makes history: The importance of finishing well

The Arizona Cardinals made Kyler Murray the first pick in last night’s NFL draft. Murray is the first player to be selected in the first round by both the National Football League and Major League Baseball. (He was drafted ninth by the Oakland Athletics last June.)

Murray is obviously an amazing athlete, but the history of first picks in the NFL is not entirely encouraging.

The first player ever drafted in the NFL was Jay Berwanger in 1936. The team would not agree to his contract terms, so he never played a down in the league. Tom Cousineau was the first overall pick in 1979, but he chose to play in Canada instead and never played for the team that drafted him.

Steve Emtman was drafted first in 1992, but injuries cut short his career. Same for Ki-Jana Carter, drafted first in 1995, and for Courtney Brown, drafted first in 2000.

This trend shows that it’s not where you’re drafted but how long and well you play that counts. The same is true in life.

Shifting from “us” to “me”

I attended an event in Dallas yesterday morning featuring New York Times columnist and bestselling author David Brooks. I have admired Brooks’ work for years and consider him one of the most significant public intellectuals in America today.

Brooks spent much of his time discussing the shift in culture he has witnessed. In the 1950s, American life was communal. People lived in neighborhoods in which they did life together. Family, church, and collective rituals such as baptisms, weddings, and other life passages framed our experience.

In the 1960s, we shifted from “us” to “me.” Truth is what I say it is; morality is what works for me without harming you.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Kyler Murray makes history: The importance of finishing well

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

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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?

 

http://www.odb.org

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.

 

http://www.rzim.org/

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.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

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.

 

http://www.cru.org

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.

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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

Charles Stanley – When We Feel Helpless

 

Psalm 119:145-160

We love movies that capture our attention with tales of people who are trapped, helpless, and frantically looking for a way of escape. However, this is not something we want in real life. Yet when it happens, we immediately start looking for the way out and beg God for rescue through physical healing, changed circumstances, or additional provision.

Have you ever considered that spiritual rescue is even more important than physical deliverance? Although Jesus has freed us from the penalty and power of sin, there are times when we feel helpless in the face of sinful habits, emotions, rash words, and ungodly thoughts. That’s when we need to follow the example of the psalmist and cry out to God for spiritual rescue.

Admit your helplessness to God. In yourself, you have no power to overcome sin. But God’s Spirit within you is almighty.

Confess any sins, fears, unbelief, or self-reliance. Surrender all further attempts to change by self-effort, and make no provision for sinful desires.

Turn your gaze toward God. Think about who He is, what He desires, and what He has promised.

Fill your mind and heart with God’s Word. Meditate on it. Ask Him for wisdom and strength to follow Him with reliance on and submission to His Spirit.

Trust God, and wait upon Him to change you from the inside out. Although salvation occurs in a moment, sanctification is a lifelong process.

A time will eventually come when the helpless feeling departs and is replaced by the joy of obedience. When that happens, give God the glory.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 7-9

 

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Our Daily Bread — Serving the Smallest

 

Bible in a Year:2 Samuel 19–20; Luke 18:1–23

God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things.

1 Corinthians 1:28

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Luke 14:15–23

The video showed a man kneeling beside a busy freeway during an out-of-control brush fire. He was clapping his hands and pleading with something to come. What was it? A dog? Moments later a bunny hopped into the picture. The man scooped up the scared rabbit and sprinted to safety.

How did the rescue of such a small thing make national news? That’s why. There’s something endearing about compassion shown to the least of these. It takes a big heart to make room for the smallest creature.

Jesus said the kingdom of God is like a man who gave a banquet and made room for everyone who was willing to come. Not just the movers and shakers but also “the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” (Luke 14:21). I’m thankful that God targets the weak and the seemingly insignificant, because otherwise I’d have no shot. Paul said, “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things . . . so that no one may boast before him” (1 Corinthians 1:27–29).

How big must God’s heart be to save a small person like me! In response, how large has my heart grown to be? I can easily tell, not by how I please the “important people,” but by how I serve the ones society might deem the least important.

By Mike Wittmer

Today’s Reflection

What types of people do you have a hard time valuing? In what ways might God want you to change that?

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Easter Skeptics

As it happens every Easter season, various scholars and skeptics weigh in on whether or not Jesus was actually raised from the dead. One of Bart Ehrman’s latest book, How Jesus Became God, is a case in point. Writing as a historian, he questions many of the gospel remembrances of the events surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. His conclusion is that the gospels are not reliable, historical witnesses. But is this really the case?

A careful reading of the four evangelists’ remembrances of the resurrection does indeed reveal many different emphases and details. The Gospel of Matthew, for example, tells us that a great earthquake occurred as an angel of the Lord descended and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. The Gospel of Mark, on the other hand, tells us that a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe was inside the tomb to announce Jesus’s resurrection. The Gospel of Luke tells us that two men suddenly stood near the women in dazzling apparel and John’s Gospel reports the discovery of the linen wrappings abandoned in the empty tomb.(1)

There are many other differences in the retelling of the resurrection appearances of Jesus, and this should be expected from different testimony. No two people report exactly the same details about any event or happening! But there is one feature that is the same in all four gospel testimonies: the resurrection announcement is made first to the women who followed Jesus (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 23:55-24:5; John 20:1). Many reasons have been offered as to why women serve as the immediate witnesses to the resurrection: the women stayed with him through the crucifixion, so he appeared first to those who stuck with him to the last; women traditionally carried out the burial rituals in first century Judaism, so they were witnesses by default. Others suggest that the first women witnesses represent Jesus’s elevation of the status for women of the first century and for women in general.

While all of these are plausible, historical reasons, there is another strategic, indeed, apologetic reason why the women were the first witnesses. In the first century, the testimony of women was not counted as credible. In both Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, and the Talmud a woman’s testimony is considered unreliable at best. “But let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of their sex…since it is probable that they may not speak truth, either out of hope of gain, or fear of punishment.”(2) The Talmud states that “any evidence which a woman [gives] is not valid (to offer)….This is equivalent to saying that one who is Rabbinically accounted a robber is qualified to give the same evidence as a woman.”(3) No man in the first century would give credence to a woman’s testimony.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Easter Skeptics

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.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Poor, Blind and Naked

 

“You say, ‘I am rich, with everything I want; I don’t need a thing!” And you don’t realize that spiritually you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17). 

George had come for a week of lay training at Arrowhead Springs. Following one of my messages on revival, in which I explained that most Christians are like the members of the church at Ephesus and Laodicea, as described in Revelation 2 and 3, he came to share with me how, though he was definitely lukewarm and had lost his first love, he frankly had never read those passages, had never heard a sermon such as I had presented and therefore did not realize how wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked he was.

If there were such an instrument as a “faith thermometer,” at what level would your faithfulness register? Hot? Lukewarm? Cold?

Jesus said to the church at Laodicea, “I know you well – you are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other! But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:15).

Again, I ask you, where does your faithfulness register on that faith thermometer?

The greatest tragedy in the history of nations is happening right here in America. Here we are, a nation founded by Christians, a nation founded upon godly principles, a nation blessed beyond all the nations of history for the purpose of doing God’s will in the world. But most people in this country, including the majority of church members, have without realizing it become materialistic and humanistic, all too often worshiping man and his achievements instead of the only true God.

Granted, the opinion polls show meteoric growth in the number of people in America who claim to be born-again Christians. But where does their faith register on the faith thermometer? America is a modern-day Laodicea. We are where we are today because too many Christians have quenched the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Bible Reading: Revelation 3:14-19

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Realizing that America cannot become spiritually renewed without individual revival, I will humble myself, and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from my wicked ways. By faith I will claim revival in my own heart.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – A Silenced Boast

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

A Hanoverian countess was known for her disbelief in God and her conviction that no one could call life from a tomb.  Before her death, she ensured that her tomb would be a mockery to belief in the resurrection.  It was sealed with a slab of granite.  Blocks of stone were placed around her tomb.  Heavy iron clamps fastened the blocks together and to the granite slab.  The inscription read:

This burial place,

purchased to all eternity,

must never be opened.

However, a small birch tree had other plans.  Over the years it forced its way until the iron clamps popped loose, and the granite lid was raised.  Now the stone cover rests again the trunk of the birch.  Its boastful epitaph has been permanently silenced by the work of a determined tree…or a powerful God.

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Denison Forum – How a million robo-taxis are changing the world: Connecting truth to life

My first car was a 1966 Dodge Dart. It was the most misnamed car in automotive history. It should have been named the Dodge Sloth.

However, it was my teenage ticket to freedom, and I was grateful. As soon as I could, I applied for my driver’s license. All my friends did the same.

That was then; this is now.

The surprising reasons teenagers are driving so much less

According to the Wall Street Journal, the percentage of teenagers with a driver’s license has tumbled over the last few decades. More young people are delaying the purchase of their first car, if they buy one at all.

In 1983, nearly half of sixteen-year-olds had a driver’s license; in 2017, only a quarter did.

What explains this phenomenon?

Teenagers can call for an Uber or Lyft to shuttle them around. Social media and video chat allow them to spend time with friends without actually leaving the house. Then, when they reach their twenties, many are moving to large cities with mass transit, where owning a car is neither essential nor practical.

In addition, American automakers are jettisoning many of their lower-priced compact and subcompact cars in favor of sport-utility vehicles and trucks with much bigger profit margins. And schools are either not offering drivers’ education or charging as much as a thousand dollars per course.

Yet another factor: Tesla is promising “over a million robo-taxis on the road” by next year. The company hopes to provide transportation at less than eighteen cents a mile (typical ride-sharing costs are two to three dollars a mile).

“A critical shift in American culture”

Before today, if you had asked me to explain why young people are putting off driving, I wouldn’t have thought of Instagram, SUVs, and robo-taxis.

Continue reading Denison Forum – How a million robo-taxis are changing the world: Connecting truth to life