Charles Stanley – Those Who Have Never Heard

 

Romans 1:16-25

In many countries, the gospel cannot be shared freely. Repressive governments and religions stop Christians from telling others about Jesus. However, God is mightier than oppression. Where human messengers can’t carry the good news, the Lord is revealing Himself to those whose hearts are open.

God wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Him (1 Timothy 2:4). But because He is holy and just, He can’t overlook man’s sinful condition, which renders all guilty and without excuse (Rom. 1:18-20). That is, He will not admit people into heaven unless they have acknowledged their need for a Savior (Rom. 3:20-23). However, our Father is also fair and merciful. He makes His presence known to every person so that each one can recognize His sovereignty.

The Lord does this by revealing Himself to all mankind in two ways: through conscience and creation. First, He has imbedded His basic moral guidelines in the human conscience (Rom. 1:19). In other words, at some point in life, people generally have an innate sense that certain actions are right and others are wrong. Second, the Creator displays His power and divine nature through what He has made (Rom. 1:20). The complexity, variety, order, and beauty of the world all point to a Designer.

We can’t pinpoint every method the Lord uses to reveal Himself. Yet we can be sure nothing will stop Him from reaching out to people who follow conscience and creation to the logical conclusion—the existence of a loving, sovereign God.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 26-28

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — The Crooked Steeple

 

Bible in a Year:1 Chronicles 7–9; John 6:22–44

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Turns out that crooked church steeples make people nervous. When we visited some friends, they shared how, after a fierce windstorm, their church’s proud steeple was crooked, causing some alarm.

Of course, the church quickly repaired the flagging spire, but the humorous image got me thinking. Often church is seen as a place where everything is expected to look perfect; it’s not seen as a place where we can show up crooked. Right?

But in a fallen, broken world, all of us are “crooked,” each with our own collection of natural weaknesses. We might be tempted to keep our vulnerabilities under wraps, but Scripture encourages the opposite attitude. In 2 Corinthians 12, for example, Paul suggests that it’s in our weaknesses—for him, an unnamed struggle he calls a “thorn in my flesh” (v. 7)—that Christ is most likely to reveal His power. Jesus had told Paul, “My power is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9). So Paul concluded, “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (v. 10).

We may not like our imperfections, but hiding them only denies Jesus’s power to work within those aspects of ourselves. When we invite Jesus into the crooked places in us, He gently mends and redeems in ways our effort could never accomplish.

By Adam Holz

Reflect & Pray

What are some of the “crooked” places in your life? In what ways have you seen God work through your imperfections?

Invite Jesus into your imperfections for His mending.

 

http://www.odb.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids   A-Mazed

 

Ecclesiastes 7:13

Have you ever been in a maze—the real kind that’s made out of hedges and paths? There’s one at a palace in England called Chatsworth House. It is a very complicated maze. Every hedge is the same height so there are no identifying features to help you even go back the way you went in.

It could be frightening to get into a maze and not be able to find your way out. Life is like that sometimes. We find ourselves in situations where we don’t know where to turn, and when we do make a choice of which way to go, it ends up being the wrong way. It’s scary when our situation gets worse and worse. But there is someone who knows every turn, every path of our life. Jesus is that someone, and he came to guide us through life. When you are confused and don’t know which way to turn or which decision is best, you can rely on Jesus to lead you. Isn’t a relief to know you don’t have to make decisions on your own? Ask for his guidance and wait patiently for him to show you the way out of your problems.

Dear Lord, Sometimes I really get mixed up when I’m trying to make decisions about my life. Please guide me and help me to listen for your voice telling me the right way to go. Amen.

Joyce Meyer – A Big, Rewarding Life

 

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. — James 1:6

Adapted from the resource The Confident Women Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

People with low confidence are double-minded, indecisive people who constantly get frustrated with life. If they do make a decision, they are tormented by self-doubt. They second-guess themselves. As a result, they don’t live boldly. They live little, narrow lives, and they miss out on the big, rewarding lives God wants them to enjoy.

You may be aware of some of God’s promises for His people—promises for peace, happiness, blessings, and so on. But did you know that all of God’s promises are for every person?

That’s right—when it comes to fulfilling promises, God does not discriminate. However, God requires us to approach Him in faith—the deeply held confidence that God is trustworthy and will always make good on His promises.

God loves you; He wants you to relax in the knowledge of that love. God wants you to experience the peace of mind that comes from resting in His love and living without the torment of fear and doubt.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I hate all the second-guessing and the wavering that come with a lack of confidence in You. I know that You want me to enjoy a big, rewarding life, and I know that Your promises of blessings and joy and peace are for me. By faith I receive all that You have for me now. Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Overflowing Blessings

 

“Lord, I am overflowing with Your blessings, just as You promised” (Psalm 119:65).

As the father of Dr. Harry Ironside, famous Christian leader, pastor and author, lay dying, he seemed to have a recurring view of the descending sheet which Peter saw in a vision.

“A great sheet and wild beasts,” he mumbled, over and over, and…and…and.”

The next words would not come, so he would start over again.

“John,” a friend whispered to him, “it says, ‘creeping things.'”

“Oh, yes,” the dying man said, “that’s how I got in – just a poor, good-for-nothing creeping thing. But I got in, saved by grace.”

And considering the fact that each one of us, in ourselves, outside the Lord Jesus Christ, is but a poor creeping thing saved by grace, we must marvel anew as we overflow with His blessings.

What an exalted place we can have Children of God, heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, indwelt by His Holy Spirit, we are recipients of eternal life, given supernatural, abundant life as we yield ourselves to Him.

God has dealt well with each one of His children. He has given us work to do – to serve Him is to reign. He has given us provision. He has given us encouragement. He has given us many tokens of the pay we shall receive at the end of life’s journey. He has dealt with us according to His Word.

Even the testings and trials are for a divine purpose: to conform us to His image; to make us more Christlike. Truly, we are on the winning side; how important it is that we tell men and women, boys and girls, around us each day, that they too can be on the winning side.

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:66-72

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will make a special effort to count my blessings today, and in deep gratitude share the good news of the gospel with others.

 

http://www.cru.org