Charles Stanley – The Sacrificial Lamb

 

Hebrews 10:1-14

God’s grace has no limits. His mercy can reach the darkest part of our heart. What’s more, the forgiveness Jesus offered on the cross stretches back to earth’s first day and forward to its last. Christ not only erased our past, present, and future sin; He also paid for the wrongs of every generation.

When the Israelites brought a goat or a lamb to the temple for a sacrifice, they placed their hands on its head and confessed their sins. The priest then killed the animal and sprinkled some of its blood on the altar of atonement. The ritual symbolized a confessor’s payment for sin. But the lamb could not actually take on the sin and die in place of the Israelite (Heb. 10:4).

If an animal’s blood could actually erase a sin-debt, we’d still be offering those frequent sacrifices and Jesus’ death would have been unnecessary. Yet we must remember that though the act itself had no saving power, the ritual of sacrifice was God’s idea (Lev. 4:1-35). He established such offerings as a powerful illustration of the seriousness and penalty of sin. The practice also pointed to Christ’s perfect sacrificial death on our behalf and the salvation He offers. To use a modern metaphor, sacrifice can be thought of as similar to a credit card. God accepted the lamb’s blood as temporary payment. When the bill came due, Jesus Christ paid the sin-debt in full.

Modern believers do practice certain biblical rituals, but we are not pardoned through prayer, Bible reading, or even the act of confession. Like the Israelites, we must also look to a lamb—the Lamb of God. When we receive Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, we are forgiven forever.

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 4-7

 

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Our Daily Bread — A Living Memorial of Kindness

 

Bible in a Year:2 Chronicles 1–3; John 10:1–23

David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”

2 Samuel 9:1

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Samuel 9:1-7

I grew up in a church full of traditions. One came into play when a beloved family member or friend died. Often a church pew or possibly a painting in a hallway showed up not long afterward with a brass plate affixed: “In Memory of . . .” The deceased’s name would be etched there, a shining reminder of a life passed on. I always appreciated those memorials. And I still do. Yet at the same time they’ve always given me pause because they are static, inanimate objects, in a very literal sense something “not alive.” Is there a way to add an element of “life” to the memorial?

Following the death of his beloved friend Jonathan, David wanted to remember him and to keep a promise to him (1 Samuel 20:12–17). But rather than simply seek something static, David searched and found something very much alive—a son of Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:3). David’s decision here is dramatic. He chose to extend kindness (v. 1) to Mephibosheth (vv. 6–7) in the specific forms of restored property (“all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul”) and the ongoing provision of food and drink (“you will always eat at my table”).

As we continue to remember those who’ve died with plaques and paintings, may we also recall David’s example and extend kindness to those still living.

By John Blase

Reflect & Pray

Who has died that you don’t want to forget? What might a specific kindness to another person look like for you?

Jesus, give me the strength to extend kindness in memory of the kindness others have shown me, but most important because of Your great kindness.

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – You Don’t Have to Burn Out

 

And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” — Mark 2:27

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

Are you excessively tired all the time, and even after sleeping, do you wake up feeling tired all over again? You may be experiencing some of the symptoms of exhaustion, or what is commonly called “burnout.”

Long periods of overexertion and stress can cause constant fatigue, headaches, sleeplessness, gastrointestinal problems, tenseness, a feeling of being tied in knots, and an inability to relax.

Some other signals of “burnout” are crying, being easily angered, negativity, irritability, depression, cynicism (scornful, mocking of the virtues of others), and bitterness toward others’ blessings and even their good health.

“Burnout” can cause us to not exercise self-control, and when this happens, we will no longer produce good fruit in our daily lives. “Burnout” steals our joy, making peace impossible to find. When our bodies are not at peace, everything seems to be in turmoil.

God established the law of resting on the Sabbath to prevent “burnout” in our lives. The law of the Sabbath simply says we can work six days, and rest one day. We need to rest and worship and play. Even God rested after six days of work. He, of course, never gets tired, but gave us this example so we would follow the pattern.

In Exodus 23:10–12, we find that even the land had to rest after six years, and the Israelites were not to plant in it the seventh year. During this rest, everything recovered and prepared for future production.

Today in America, almost every business is open seven days a week. Some of them are even open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When we make ourselves available at all times, we are in danger of “burnout.”

People today are quick to argue that they cannot afford to take a day off, but I say they cannot afford not to.

Some people feel guilty anytime they try to rest, but that guilty feeling is not from God. God wants us to live balanced lives, and if we don’t, we open a door for Satan to bring some kind of destruction (see 1 Peter 5:8). Trust God that your resting time is just as valuable as your working time.

Prayer Starter: Lord, thank You for the examples You have given us in Your Word about rest. I ask for Your help to live a truly balanced life and do whatever it takes to have the proper time to relax and recharge. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Wait Patiently and Confidently

 

“But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently” (Romans 8:25).

During my college days, I was not a believer. Only in retrospect can I appreciate in some measure the testimony of one of my professors, who was the head of the education department.

He and his wife were devout Christians. They had a Mongoloid child, whom they took with them wherever they went, and I am sure that their motivation for doing so – at least in part – was to give a testimony of the fruit of the Spirit, patience and love.

They loved the child dearly and felt that God had given them the responsibility and privilege to rear the child personally as a testimony of His grace, rather than placing her in a home for retarded children. The Bible teaches us that God never gives us a responsibility, a load or a burden without also giving us the ability to be victorious.

This professor and his wife bore their tremendous burden with joyful hearts. Wherever they went, they waited on the child, hand and foot. Instead of being embarrassed and humiliated, trying to hide the child in the closet, they unashamedly always took her with them, as a witness for Christ and as an example of His faithfulness and sufficiency.

They demonstrated patience and love by drawing upon the supernatural resources of the Holy Spirit in their close, moment-by-moment walk with God. Because of the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives, they were able to bear their trials supernaturally without grumbling or complaining. This is not to suggest that every dedicated Christian couple would be led of God to respond in the same way under similar circumstances. In their case, their lives communicated patience.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:18-24

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that God’s Holy Spirit indwells me and enables me to live supernaturally, I will claim by faith the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) with special emphasis on patience for today and every day.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – The Greasy Pole of Power

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

There are certain things you can do that no one else can, and you are alive to do them. But there’s a canyon of difference between doing your best to glorify God and doing whatever it takes to glorify yourself.  The quest for excellence is a mark of maturity.  The quest for power is childish.

The first power play happened in a garden.  A promise of prestige was whispered with a hiss by a fallen angel.  Eve swallowed the hook.  The temptation to be like God eclipsed her view of  God. Absolute power is unreachable.  The pole of power is greasy.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).  Which would you prefer?  To be king of the mountain for a day?  Or to be a child of God for eternity?

Read more Applause of Heaven

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – ‘All gave some; some gave all’: A Memorial Day reflection

Howard William Osterkamp served in the US Army during the Korean War. He was wounded in the leg by shrapnel, but Army doctors misdiagnosed his injury.

He was sent back to the front lines with his leg broken in two places and served there for four months. He spent a total of nine months on the front lines during the conflict and later received the Purple Heart.

Osterkamp is widely credited with a phrase that is especially appropriate today: “All gave some; some gave all.”

As the son and grandson of military veterans, I know something of the sacrifices so many men and women have made to preserve our freedom. Today at 3 p.m., we are asked to pause for the National Moment of Remembrance, a minute of reflection and gratitude for the 1.1 million soldiers from all our wars who died for our nation.

“What the State is there for”

The Memorial Day weekend also marks the beginning of summer. Barbeques and parties dominate the holiday.

Americans will consume 818 hot dogs every second from Memorial Day to Labor Day (seven billion in total). We will spend $1.5 billion on meat and seafood over the weekend. More than forty-two million of us are traveling.

Such activities are a strange way to remember the soldiers who died for our country. We might expect this day to be entirely one of somber reflection.

Continue reading Denison Forum – ‘All gave some; some gave all’: A Memorial Day reflection

Laying Down Lives

LAYING DOWN LIVES

When Soldiers Die for One Another

As we mark another Memorial Day honoring those in uniform who have given their lives in service to the nation, it’s important to remember a truism of war: In the heat of combat, a soldier fights not for his country but for his buddy on the right and the left. The bond among soldiers, forged in battle, is as strong, or stronger, than any tie to nation or family.Consider the case of Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor. On Sept. 29, 2006, Monsoor was serving with a small team of SEALs on a rooftop in hotly contested town of Ramadi. They were in the overwatch position, providing surveillance and security for the troops on the ground. They’d been engaged in several firefights already when an enemy grenade came flying over the edge of the roof, hitting Monsoor in the chest, before falling between his two SEAL comrades.Being situated next to the exit from the roof, Monsoor was the only one in a position to escape the blast. Instinctively he could have dropped down the stairs and taken cover a wall before the grenade exploded, and no one would have thought less of him for doing so.But Monsoor’s primary concern was not for his own safety; it was for the lives of his friends. Instead of ducking for cover, he turned and threw himself on the grenade just as it exploded, saving the lives of everyone else on the roof. For his courageous actions, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.Or consider the case of Army Rangers stationed in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Oct. 3, 1993—the day of the infamous Black Hawk Down incident when Somali militants shot down two Army helicopters. The Rangers who had gone to the crash sites were vastly outnumbered and cut off from resupply or rescue. Word went out that a rescue mission was to be mounted. Every cook, clerk, and supply assistant at the base was to gear up and prepare to move back into the dangerous city, despite the fact that several vehicles had just returned filled with dead and wounded.

Yet not a single man flinched or refused to go. Even those who could have been excused from action easily boarded vehicles to head back. One soldier even cut the cast off his broken arm so he could go with them.

At the second crash site, Master Sergeant Gary Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart volunteered to rescue the fallen crew, knowing that what they were doing would almost certainly result in their deaths. Both Gordon and Shughart were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their courage and honor.

This love for comrades, for that is what it is, is a great illustration of John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” It is agape love in action, wishing the best for another, even at great cost. It is the love shown by Christ, who scorned the shame of the cross and faced an agonizing death all to save sinners (see Heb. 12:2). Like Monsoor, Gordon, Shughart, and numerous Rangers, He humbled himself and became obedient to death, all to save us (see Phil. 2:8).

So as you remember our fallen dead today, remember Him who, out of great love for us, gave his life.

This article was originally published on May 25, 2015, and is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message, “The Passion of God’s Love”.

 

 

 

By In Touch Ministries Staff

 

As you remember our nation’s fallen heroes today, remember Him who, out of great love for us, gave his life.

Source: Laying Down Lives