Charles Stanley – The Revelation of God

 

2 Peter 1:16-21

The times we live in may leave us feeling shaken and uncertain. We aren’t sure what will happen tomorrow—the economy could collapse or a natural disaster might strike. But one thing we can always count on is the Word of God. That’s our sure foundation in this ever-changing world.

The Bible is unique because it is God’s divine revelation of Himself. In Scripture, the term revelation refers to something God has made known to mankind—information we could never discover on our own. For instance, since no human being was present at creation, the only way we know what happened is because God has revealed it in the book of Genesis.

The process by which the Bible was written is called inspiration. God used human beings to record His thoughts. He didn’t put them in a trance, but His Spirit moved in them as they wrote down His truths, using their own personality, style, and vocabulary.

Now as we read Scripture, the Holy Spirit within us illumines our mind so we can understand what the passage means. Then God’s Word becomes like “a lamp shining in a dark place,” giving us insights from the Author Himself (2 Peter 1:19).

One reason unbelievers often reject or find fault with the Bible is because they don’t understand it. The fact is, they can’t understand it because they do not have the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14). But if you belong to Christ, His Spirit will teach you the Word of God as long as you are faithful to read and study it. Then you’ll have a sure foundation in troubled times.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 4-6

 

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Our Daily Bread — Praying the Distance

 

Bible in a Year:1 Kings 12–13; Luke 22:1–20

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Colossians 4:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Luke 18:1–8

Kevin wiped a tear from his eye as he held out a slip of paper for my wife, Cari, to read. He knew Cari and I were praying for our daughter to return to faith in Jesus. “This note was found in my mother’s Bible after her death, and I hope it encourages you,” he said. At the top of the note were the words, “For my son, Kevin.” Below them was a prayer for his salvation.

“I carry this with me in my own Bible today,” Kevin explained. “My mother prayed for my salvation for more than thirty-five years. I was far away from God, and I’m a believer now.” He looked intently at us and smiled through his tears: “Never give up praying for your daughter—no matter how long it takes.”

His words of encouragement made me think of the introduction to a story Jesus told about prayer in the gospel of Luke. Luke begins with the words, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1).

In the story, Jesus contrasts an “unjust judge” (v. 6) who answers a request merely because he doesn’t want to be further bothered, with a perfect heavenly Father who cares deeply for us and wants us to come to Him. We can be encouraged whenever we pray to know that God hears and welcomes our prayers.

By James Banks

Today’s Reflection

Who’s constantly in your prayers for salvation? How does it help to know of others’ stories of answered prayer?

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Forgiveness

On February 14th this year, as most young people worldwide were celebrating Valentine’s Day, the day of love, a young man rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a convoy of security forces in the northern part of India leaving many soldiers dead, several more wounded, and scores of broken lives and broken hearts in the wake of the tragedy. Angered by the unprovoked attack, the nation retaliated. A month later, the world watched in shocked horror as another young man coolly entered a place of worship and calmly gunned to death fifty people and injuring many more, while recording the event live with no qualms, whatsoever. In his 74-page hate manifesto, one statement starkly reads: “Violence over meekness.”

These are but a few vignettes of the narrative of hate, revenge, destruction, and death that dominate the world’s headlines with increasing and disturbing regularity. In a world of such gruesome realities, what is the message of Good Friday? What is the implication of Easter?

Good Friday is a powerful reminder of God’s forgiveness and Easter is the declaration that we can access it. In an “eye for an eye” world where the ideology of hate, revenge, and retaliation rules, Christ’s words on the cross, as his life excruciatingly ebbs away, stand in sharp contrast. “Father forgive them,” he says of his executioners, “for they know not what they do.” And the wonder is that these words still resonate in the life and experience of those who worship him and choose to model their lives after him.

The recently released movie, “The Least of These,” features the story of late Australian missionary Graham Staines who, along with his two young sons were cruelly killed by a rabid and frenzied mob in Manoharpur, Orissa on January 23, 1999. Their crime? They dared to live out the love of Christ among the needy, sick, and neglected ones in this corner of the world. At the funeral of her husband and two boys, Gladys Staines, his widow, spoke and said, “I am not bitter. Neither am I angry. I can forgive their deeds. Only Jesus can forgive their sins… let us burn hatred and spread the flame of Christ’s love.” Powerful words coming from a life that has experienced God’s love and forgiveness in fullness.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Forgiveness

Joyce Meyer – Receiving

 

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…. — 1 John 4:18

Adapted from the resource Wake Up to the Word Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Receiving means “taking; accepting; admitting; embracing; believing; entertaining.”

We conducted a survey at our office, asking our employees what one of their greatest concerns was in their walk with God. The number one response was, “When can I know that I am doing enough?”

Perfectionism is fueled with the tyranny of the shoulds and oughts. It is the constant nagging feeling of never doing well enough or being good enough. Perfectionists usually have low self-esteem, and they hope that more perfection in their performance will allow them to feel better about themselves.

If we never feel quite good enough about ourselves, it is easy to believe that God is not satisfied with us either.

Learning to love yourself is the essence of receiving God’s love. It is the ointment that brings healing to your wounded soul. When you receive God’s love and learn to love yourself because of it, you’ll find rest and be free from the disappointment of perfectionism.

Prayer Starter: Lord, help me to receive Your love today and relax in the confidence that You are pleased with me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Right Priorities

 

“Constantly remind the people about these laws, and you yourself must think about them every day and every night so that you will be sure to obey all of them. For only then will you succeed” (Joshua 1:8).

Jim was a driven man. He loved his wife and his four children. But the thing that consumed almost every waking thought was, “How can I be a greater success? How can I earn the praise of men?”

Through neglect his family began to disintegrate, and he came to me for counsel. His wife was interested in another man; he was alienated from his children. Three were involved in drugs and one had attempted suicide twice.

“Where have I gone wrong?” Jim asked.

I reminded him of the Scripture, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?”

According to Scripture, a man’s priorities are first, to love God with all his heart, his soul and his mind, and then to love his neighbor as himself. Since his closest neighbors are his wife and children, his second priority is his wife. A good marriage takes the Ephesians 5:25 kind of love. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church,” a sacrificial, giving love.

The third priority is his children. He must show love to them, not by giving them things, but by giving them himself, spending time with them, letting them know they are far more important to him than his business.

A man must love his wife and children unconditionally as God loves him – not when, if, or because they are good and deserve to be loved.

And the fourth priority I discussed with Jim was his business. A man’s business must be dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jim surrendered his life to Christ. After almost three years of implementing the Bible’s priorities, Jim’s family again was united in the love of Christ, and God had given Jim and his wife a new-found love for Himself and for each other.

The law of God is clear: When we disobey Him, he disciplines us as a loving father and mother discipline their child, and when we obey Him, He will bless us.

Bible Reading: James 2:-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will seek to please the Lord in all that I do, knowing that I will experience His blessings when I obey Him, and His discipline when I disobey Him.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God’s Sacred Delight

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

One moment he was royalty; the next he was in poverty.  He was ridiculed and accused of a crime he never committed.  They killed him.  He was buried in a borrowed grave.

He should have been bitter or angry.  But he wasn’t.  He was joyful.  He was even joyful as he hung on a tool of torture, his hands pierced with six-inch spikes.  Jesus embodied a stubborn joy.  A joy that held its ground against pain.  A joy whose roots extended into the bedrock of eternity.

What type of joy is this?  What is the source of this peace that defies pain?  I call it sacred delight.  What is sacred is God’s.  It is not of the earth.  And this joy is God’s.  And it is a delight because delight can both satisfy and surprise.  And that’s the joy God can offer to you.

Read More Applause of Heaven

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – Anti-Semitism in the US rises 99 percent in four years: My personal response

Imagine beginning your worship service this weekend with an announcement about where the exits are—in case a shooter attacks and people need to run for their lives. Or locking your doors once the service begins. Or training your congregation in ways to respond to a live shooter.

Imagine installing airport-style metal detectors and security guards at the entrances to your church. Or being harassed by demonstrators outside your building carrying signs celebrating those who murdered six million followers of your faith.

This is life for Jewish people today—not just in France, where anti-Semitic violence has risen 74 percent; or in Germany, where 1,646 anti-Semitic acts were reported last year; or in the UK, where 1,652 such incidents were reported; or in Canada, which recorded 2,041 anti-Semitic acts—but in America.

Six months ago, a man who said he wanted all Jews to die attacked the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing eleven people and wounding seven. Last Saturday, around one hundred people held a vigil at the synagogue to honor the victims of a similar shooting in San Diego.

Last year, anti-Semitic acts in the US were 48 percent higher than in 2016 and 99 percent higher than in 2015.

Three reasons anti-Semitism is growing

Why is such horrific prejudice and violence increasing in our country?

Conspiracy theories are one factor.

At a 2017 confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia, neo-Nazis chanted “Jews will not replace us.” The teenager accused of the Poway shooting in California apparently embraced conspiracy theories that refugees and immigrants are replacing the Christian European majority. Some white supremacists call this “The Great Replacement.”

Fear of the “other” is a second issue.

Sharon R. Douglas, CEO of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in New York, believes hate crimes are driven by economic competition and the fear of others. “Some of our most vulnerable citizens feel empowered to turn to violence in defense of the us versus them” mentality, she explained.

Social media is a third factor.

Today it is easier than ever to disseminate conspiracy theories and hateful ideologies. According to one analyst, “These systems of communication allow racists and anti-Semites to support one another and share ideas, which apparently help inspire them to commit violent acts.”

An appalling cartoon

Anti-Semitism is not confined to Jewish synagogues.

The New York Times recently published a cartoon picturing a blind President Trump, wearing a skullcap, being led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, depicted as a dog on a leash with a Star of David collar. The paper said it was “deeply sorry” for the offensive cartoon and is “committed to making sure nothing like this happens again.”

Anti-Semitism is more than a phenomenon—it is an ideology.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Anti-Semitism in the US rises 99 percent in four years: My personal response