Charles Stanley – The Profitable Word

 

2 Timothy 3:10-17

Why should you read the Bible? To some people, it’s just an archaic book that has little relevance today. But for believers, God’s Word is essential and life-changing. Christians living in countries where Bibles are illegal would love to have the access to Scripture that you and I take for granted.

Consider what the world would be like if God had not given us His Word. Though we would still have the testimony of creation to tell us who He is (Rom. 1:20), our understanding of God and how to follow Him wouldn’t be as clear. The Bible’s pages contain everything we need for life and godliness through the true knowledge of God (2 Peter 1:3).

Reading God’s Word has many benefits. The apostle Paul describes four ways Scripture is profitable for believers (2 Timothy 3:16).

Teaching. The Bible has all the divine truth that God wants us to know. From Scripture, we deepen our relationship with the Lord, see life from His perspective, and understand how He wants us to live.

Reproof. God’s Word is a light that reveals our sins and a sword that pierces and convicts so we can confess and receive forgiveness.

Correction. Scripture restores and points us to godly living and obedience.

Training in righteousness. The Word of God trains us to stay on the path of righteousness and mature spiritually.

The end result of teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness is a life adequately equipped to live as the Lord desires. With so much to gain, why would we ever neglect this most precious gift from God?

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 7-9

 

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Our Daily Bread — Beyond the Neighborhood

 

Bible in a Year:1 Kings 14–15; Luke 22:21–46

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Mark 12:31

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Luke 10:25–37

In the summer of 2017, Hurricane Harvey brought devastating losses of life and property to the Gulf Coast of the US. Many people provided food, water, clothing, and shelter for those in immediate need.

The owner of a piano store in Maryland felt prompted to do something more. He considered how music could bring a special kind of healing and sense of normalcy to people who had lost everything. So he and his staff began to refurbish pre-owned pianos and to make inquiries to see where the need was the greatest. That spring, Dean Kramer and his wife, Lois, began the long trek to Houston, Texas, driving a truck filled with free pianos to give to grateful families, churches, and schools in the ravaged area.

We sometimes assume the word neighbor means someone who lives nearby or at least is someone we know. But in Luke 10, Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan to teach that our love for our neighbors shouldn’t have barriers. The man from Samaria freely gave to a wounded stranger, even though the man was a Jew, part of a people group at odds with the Samaritans (vv. 25–37).

When Dean Kramer was asked why he gave away all those pianos, he explained simply: “We’re told to love our neighbors.” And it was Jesus who said, “There is no commandment greater” (Mark 12:31) than to love God and our neighbor.

By Cindy Hess Kasper

Today’s Reflection

In what way are you limiting your understanding of the word neighbor? How might God be urging you to expand the borders of your “neighborhood”?

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Do Not Be Afraid

I had no idea why tears so abruptly filled my eyes. I was crying before I understood why I might be crying. But the sense that the reaction meant something was as real to me as the tears.

I was seated alone in a packed crowd at Duke University’s stunning neo-gothic chapel, listening very intently as Scottish composer James MacMillan conducted his St. Luke Passion for choir and orchestra. The core text of the piece is taken word for word from Luke’s Gospel. The narrative begins as Jesus and his disciples prepare for their last meal together and ends with the last breath of Christ on the cross, the centurion exclaiming what the angry crowd moments earlier would not: “Certainly this man was innocent.” At any point, for any number of reasons, tears were certainly explicable, appropriate even. But there was something very particular about this moment which gave me pause months, even years, thereafter. My body seemed to rush ahead of any sort of conscious thinking. This was not a slow climb of emotion welling up as tears that eventually fell. I was not reckoning with a particular thought or concept that suddenly clicked. Rather, my eyes seemed to confess that my brain and body were up to something, caught up in an activity that the conceptual part of me hadn’t yet realized.

Neurologists and therapists experienced with the power of music wouldn’t find in my description anything much out of the ordinary. “Listening to music is not just auditory,” writes the late neurologist Oliver Sacks, “it is motoric as well: ‘We listen to music with our muscles,’ as Nietzsche wrote. We keep time to music, involuntarily, even if we are not consciously attending to it, and our faces and postures mirror the ‘narrative’ of the melody, and the thoughts and feelings it produces.”(1) The use of music in a wide range of therapies has long been known effective, helping patients who have difficulty with language, cognition, or motor control, even as the processes involved remain somewhat mysterious. Recent advancements in the field of neurology and brain-imaging offer much insight into the brain’s activity in the midst of music-making and music-hearing. With increasing light being shed on the brain’s plasticity (its ability to change) and music’s ability to activate and engage entire regions and networks within the brain, music is increasingly being engaged as an effective component of rehabilitative care.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Do Not Be Afraid

Joyce Meyer – Keep Walking on the Water!

And in the fourth watch of the night (3:00-6:00 a.m.) Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately He spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I! Do not be afraid!” Peter replied to Him, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.”  — Matthew 14:25-28 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Let’s focus for a moment on this part of a well-known New Testament story. The disciples were in the middle of the Sea of Galilee at night when they looked up and saw Jesus walking on the water. That is amazing, but as the story continues, Matthew wrote of the boisterous winds, yet Jesus kept walking on top of the waves.

The disciples were afraid—and that makes sense. Who would expect to see anyone walking on top of the water, even under the best of conditions?

Then Jesus cried out and told them, “Take courage! It is I! Do not be afraid!”(Matthew 14:27 AMP). This is the powerful moment in the story. What will happen now? Do they move over and give Jesus a place to sit in their boat? Should they get out and join Him on the waves? Do they huddle in fear, reminding themselves that human beings can’t walk on top of water?

Peter was the only one who responded in true faith. And let’s make no mistake here. For Peter to say, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water”(Matthew 14:28 AMP) was a tremendous act of faith. You’ll notice that he was the only one who spoke that way.

That was a powerful moment of faith. It was a defining moment that pointed out Peter’s great faith and belief in Jesus, the Anointed One of God. He was so convinced that Jesus truly was the Son of God that he was ready to get out of the boat and walk on top of the water with Him.

How many of you would get out of the boat? I emphasize this because it would be easy enough to say, “Lord, I see You walking on the water, and I believe I could walk on the water alongside You.” But would you? Do you have the kind of faith that would enable you to step out of the boat? Of the 12 disciples, Peter was the only one who took that step of faith.

I’m not citing this example of faith to discourage you or to make you feel that your faith is somehow lacking. I’m simply pointing out the great triumph of a man who dared to believe! Peter believed so strongly that he took a step of faith over the side of the boat and started walking toward Jesus.

Most of us know the rest of the story. Some might even smirk, saying, “Big deal! He got out of the boat, started walking on the water, got scared, and began to sink. And he also received a rebuke from Jesus: ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’” (Matthew 14:31 AMP).

But think about it—Jesus didn’t say those words to the other disciples. He directed the words “you of little faith” to Peter. The implication is the others had no faith at that moment.

Think of these words not just as words of rebuke, but also as words of encouragement to Peter, the one who had enough faith to step out of the boat and begin walking on the water.

But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30 AMP).

What if you saw this as Jesus’ great encouragement, not just to Peter, but also to you? What if you looked at this event as Jesus saying to you, “You started so well. You believed Me, and got out of the boat. You did it! You walked on water just as I did. But then you allowed doubt to enter, and when that happened, you began to sink.”

This powerful story is a wonderful reminder that Jesus is always with you, and He will suspend natural laws to reach out to you and care for you.

Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, please forgive my lack of faith. Increase my faith in Your Word, and help me to trust You enough to follow Your leading. When the circumstances around me threaten to pull me into deep waters of doubt, help me to focus on You. I ask these things in Your holy name. Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Perfect Harmony

 

“Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14).

Martha had a very poor self-image. The distress she felt because of her physical appearance was compounded by the guilt of being grossly overweight. She hated herself and was despondent to the point of seriously considering suicide.

I counsel many students and older adults who are not able to accept themselves. Some are weighted down with guilt because of unconfessed sins. Others are not reconciled to their physical handicaps or deformities. Still others feel inferior mentally or socially.

My counsel to such people is this: God loves you and accepts you as you are. The love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit enables us to love ourselves as God made us. We can be thankful for ourselves, loving ourselves unconditionally as God does, and we can love others unconditionally, too.

It is Satan who is the great accuser, causing us to hate ourselves and others. God, having commanded us to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, and our enemies, will enable us to do what He commands us to do as we claim His promise.

The great tragedy of many families is that resentment, bitterness and hate overtake their members like an all-consuming cancer, ultimately destroying the unity among husband, wife and children. Love of the husband and wife for each other, and of parents and children for one another, is so basic that it should not need to be mentioned. Yet, sadly and alarmingly, children are alienated from their parents, and even many Christian marriages are ending in divorce – in fact, in greater numbers today than at any other time in history.

God’s kind of love is a unifying force. Paul admonishes us to “put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”

Bible Reading: Colossians 3:18-25

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Since God commands us to love Him, our neighbors, our enemies and ourselves, today I will claim that supernatural love by faith on the basis of God’s command to love and the promise that if I ask anything according to His will, He will hear and answer me.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – One Decision Away From Joy

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus promises joy nine times!  But this joy is not cheap.  Observe the sequence.  First, we recognize we are in need…we are poor in spirit.  Next, we repent of our self-sufficiency…we mourn.  We quit calling the shots and surrender control to God…we are meek.  Grateful for his presence, we yearn for more of him…we hunger and thirst.  As we grow closer to him, we become more like him.  We forgive others…we are merciful.  We change our outlook…we are pure in heart.  We love others…we are peacemakers.  We endure injustice…we are persecuted. (Matthew 5:3-12).

The more radical the change, the greater the joy.  His is a joy that consequences cannot quench.  His is a peace that circumstances cannot steal.  And it is within your reach.  You are one decision away from joy.

Read More Applause of Heaven

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – An amazing third grader and Kennedy’s moonshot: Finding an empowering purpose

 

Ten-year-old Sara Hinesley recently won a national handwriting contest.The third grader’s writing is much better than mine ever was. She won $500 for her efforts.

She also has no hands.

Sara holds a pencil between the ends of her arms to write. She told reporters that when her teacher first taught her how to write in cursive, Sara found she had a natural talent for it. She also likes to create art, ride her bike, read, and swim.

Sara’s family briefly considered obtaining prosthetic hands for her, but decided she is doing fine without them. “She is so amazing and functional without prosthetics that really there is not a need,” her mother said. “She can do just about anything—often times better than me or my husband.”

Have you cried at work?

Such hopeful stories are especially powerful in a time of great anxiety.

In fact, Gallup reports that Americans are among the most stressed people in the world. Our rates of stress and worry are higher than ever before. Remarkably, our negative emotions are even higher than during the Great Recession.

According to a recent survey, 81 percent of Americans say stress impacts their work negatively. Forty-eight percent have cried at work; 50 percent missed at least one day of work during the last year because of stress induced at the office.

However, we’ve been here before.

A hard year and an historic announcement

1961 was a difficult year for America. Despite the hope engendered by President John Kennedy’s inauguration, world and national events were deeply discouraging.

On January 3, the US severed diplomatic relations with Cuba. On January 9, British authorities announced the discovery of a huge Soviet spy ring.

On April 12, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel in space, signaling the Soviet Union’s growing superiority in the space race. On April 19, the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba failed.

On May 14, civil rights protesters were beaten by a mob of Ku Klux Klan members. On May 21, Alabama Governor John Patterson declared martial law in an attempt to restore order after race riots broke out.

Then, on May 25, 1961, President Kennedy announced before a special session of Congress the goal of sending an American safely to the moon before the end of the decade.

“Knights of American exceptionalism”

Douglas Brinkley’s new book, American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race, explains why the new president made his announcement when he did: “World War II and the Cold War, he knew, had aged the country. With instincts reinforced by his own life experiences, he realized that the United States needed youth and new frontiers. It needed energy, originality, optimism, and a sense of both individual achievement and teamwork.”

According to Brinkley, “NASA astronauts were going to be seen as knights of American exceptionalism—when a Mercury astronaut eventually broke the shackles of Earth to soar into space . . . the buzz would be that America had pioneered into the galaxy, proving definitively that democratic capitalism was superior to state-run communism.”

Tragically, Kennedy did not live to see the lunar landing on July 20, 1969, but Brinkley believes that his vision and leadership made it possible: “What Kennedy had miraculously done was bring together Americans on the political right and left in a collective we’re-all-in-it-together endeavor of great scientific merit.”

Brinkley concludes: “Throughout the United States there is a hunger today for another ‘moonshot,’ some shared national endeavor that will transcend partisan politics.”

“Surely, I am coming soon.”

The National Day of Prayer was held again yesterday, concluding with an observance last night in Washington, DC. Leading up to the day, a group set up in front of the Capitol for a ninety-hour Bible reading marathon. They concluded by reading aloud the final chapter of Revelation.

Here we find the “moonshot” that transcends partisan politics and gives us a purpose greater than ourselves. It calls us beyond the stress and negativity of our fallen culture and summons us to our best selves.

In Revelation 22, Jesus declares, “Surely, I am coming soon” (v. 20a). This is the fifth time our Lord makes this promise in the Revelation. “Surely” adds even greater weight to his proclamation.

Imagine a nation in which every person lived ready for Jesus’ return. A culture in which we made Christ our Lord and King, living by his word for his glory and loving each other as he loves us.

Now decide that whether anyone else lives as if Jesus were coming soon, you will. Your passion for your Father and love for your neighbor will then mark your life in a way that will impact other lives.

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

If you live every day as if it were your last day, one day you’ll be right. In the meantime, every day will be the best you can make it.

John responded to his Lord: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (v. 20b).

Can you say the same?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Fighter Jets with Missile-Killing Lasers Take Another Step Toward Reality – Defense One

 

U.S. Air Force says a ground-based laser downed multiple test missiles over New Mexico.

A successful ground test has moved the U.S. military one big step closer to putting anti-missile lasers on its aircraft.

A ground-based laser shot down “several” missiles in flight during an April 23 test at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, Air Force officials said. Run by the Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, the test was part of the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator, or SHiELD, a program intended to protect aircraft from incoming missiles.

AFRL officials said security reasons prevented them from saying how many missiles were downed in the test.

The laser that the Air Force lab used for the test was ground-based, and on the heavy side.

“The final SHiELD system, however, will be much smaller and lighter, as well as ruggedized for an airborne environment,” an AFRL statement said. Flight tests are planned for fiscal 2020.

The military has already tested ground-based and ship-based lasers against incoming drones; at $1 per shot, anti-drone lasers are expected to become a cost-effective defense against tomorrow’s unmanned swarms. But downing missiles is harder. They move a lot faster than drones. Moreover, it’s a big technical challenge to shrink a laser system with the power to take down a missile into a package that can fit on a plane, and keep waste heat from frying everything onboard.

It’s not the first time the Pentagon has tried it. In 2010, the Air Force mounted and fired off a megawatt-class chemical laser aboard a modified Boeing 747. But chemical lasers are unstableand dangerous compared to modern solid-state lasers. Another approach is using lasers to blind incoming missiles rather than physically damage them; Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems markets airborne lasers that do this to protect planes from shoulder-fired missiles.

While the AFRL works on SHiELD, which is aimed at stopping ground-to-air and air-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, the Missile Defense Agency is trying to figuring out whether a high-energy laser mounted on an F-35 could disable ICBMs. Results from initial studies are expected later this year.

 

Source: Fighter Jets with Missile-Killing Lasers Take Another Step Toward Reality – Defense One