Charles Stanley – Sharing the Good News

 

Romans 10:8-17

Can you imagine filling a ship with precious cargo and launching it into the sea, only to watch it repeatedly dock without offloading anything? I imagine silent Christians are much like this ship. God has personally blessed believers with salvation and eternal life and entrusted to them the message of the gospel, yet too few of His children are willing to share with others the good news of salvation in Christ.

What causes us to stay silent? We know that Jesus has commanded us to go and make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). Furthermore, He has assured us that we will be empowered by His authority and presence with us. God is offering the invitation of salvation to “whoever will call on the name of the Lord.” He has even made it clear that our communicating the good news is the means by which people will come to saving faith (Rom. 10:13-14).

Sometimes Christians who don’t share their faith defend that choice by saying, “My faith is private. It’s between me and my God.” But that is not the model we see in Scripture. Genuine faith is confessed with the mouth and shared with the world.

Every believer has been entrusted with the good news of salvation through Christ. It is unquestionably the single most important piece of information we have, because it offers the only door to heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” We have to courageously step forward in faith, be willing to set aside worldly concerns, obey God, and tell someone about Jesus.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 44-49

 

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Our Daily Bread — In Our Weakness

 

Bible in a Year:Nehemiah 12–13; Acts 4:23–37

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.

Romans 8:26

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Romans 8:1–2, 10–17

Although Anne Sheafe Miller died in 1999 at the age of 90, she nearly passed away in 1942 after developing septicemia following a miscarriage and all treatments proved to be unsuccessful. When a patient at the same hospital mentioned his connection to a scientist who’d been working on a new wonder drug, Anne’s doctor pressed the government to release a tiny amount for Anne. Within a day, her temperature was back to normal! Penicillin had saved Anne’s life.

Since the fall, all human beings have experienced a devastating spiritual condition brought about by sin (Romans 5:12). Only the death and resurrection of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit has made it possible for us to be healed (8:1–2). The Holy Spirit enables us to enjoy abundant life on earth and for eternity in the presence of God (vv. 3–10). “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (v. 11).

When your sinful nature threatens to drain the life out of you, look to the source of your salvation, Jesus, and be strengthened by the power of His Spirit (vv. 11–17). “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” and “intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (vv. 26–27).

By Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

Reflect & Pray

In what area do you need to experience the life of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit? How can you be more aware of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit?

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son and the power of the Holy Spirit who enables me to enjoy real life in You.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Practical Atheism

There is no mistaking the presence of unique challenges to belief in our modern day world. Our secular, privatized, consumerist affections have wielded a religion (indeed many religions) that has little or nothing to do with life itself. Coupled with secularism’s privatizing of religion from the public realm, consumerism’s pull creates a context whereby the choice of belief is not only a personal matter, but a matter entirely divorced from the history and communities that inform these beliefs. As professor David Wells notes, “God has been evacuated from the center of our collective life, pushed to the edges of our public square to become an irrelevance to how our world does its business. Marxism rested on a theoretical atheism; our secularized world rests on a practical atheism in the public domain, though one that coexists with private religiosity.”(1) This chasm between public and private, sacred and secular, forces a theology whereby God is largely absent, unknown in the public arena, and silent unless spoken to.

Meanwhile, in conjunction with our evacuation of God and subsequent practical atheism, we live within an understanding of unbounded freedom to pursue and consume whatsoever we will. While we may recognize secularism for what it is, Wells warns: “[W]e do not recognize the corrupting power of our affluence for what it is…. We consider our abundance as essentially harmless and, what is just as important, we have come to need it. The extraordinary and dazzling benefits of our modernized world, benefits that are now indispensable to our way of life, hide the values which accompany them, values which have the power to wrench around our lives in very damaging ways.”(2) Far more than a matter of wealth, our sheer appetites, which we readily appease as if angry gods, bring us to the conclusion that we ourselves are the center of collective life, echoing the call of secularism that God is exactly where God belongs—in quiet, private corners. Even within the church, this outlook is often practically lived if not publicly admitted.

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Joyce Meyer – Heaven

 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. — Revelation 21:4

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

Heaven is the abode of God, the angels, and the souls of those who are granted salvation.

Heaven, the eternal home of the believer in Jesus Christ, is described in the Bible as not only totally peaceful, but also stunningly beautiful (see Revelation 21 and 22).

Having faith that this is our destiny delivers us from the fear of death. Death is not an unknown nothingness, but a graduation into better things than what we have experienced on earth.

As Christians, we can truthfully say, “I will live in heaven forever!” Your address will change someday from earth to heaven, but you will never really die.

What a joy to know that we have the hope of a beautiful, peaceful place where there will be no more tears, pain, or dying, and we will live in the actual presence of God.

Prayer Starter: O, Lord, thank You for eternal life through Jesus! When life is difficult, help me to remember that it won’t last forever, but I will one day know the joy of living with You in heaven. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Is Ours

 

“So don’t be proud of following the wise men of this world. For God has already given you everything you need. He has given you Paul and Apollos and Peter as your helpers. He has given you the whole world to use, and life and even death are your servants. He has given you all of the present and all of the future. All are yours, and you belong to Christ, and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 3:21-23).

A famous scholar and statesman called me aside to offer his counsel. “As the head of a great worldwide Christian student movement,” he said, “you should be more scholarly, more of a philosopher. Your approach is too simple. Your critics and even some of your friends feel that your writings and your speaking should be more profound as befits one of your stature and position.” He continued in this vein for some time. I heard him out, prayerfully asking God to give me the wisdom to respond.

When he finished I said to him, “There was a time when I wanted to impress people with my intellect, my learning. I spent many years in graduate school including two theological seminaries where I had the privilege of sitting at the feet of some of the most learned theologians of our time.”

I confessed to him that there was a period in my student life when I became intoxicated with learning and could have spent the rest of my life in the ivory tower. Then it occurred to me in a very definite, dramatic way that one of the reasons the Christian message was not better understood by every Christian and the reason the Christian church was making such little impact upon a worldly society was that many theologians, and consequently their students, pastors and missionaries, had complicated the good news of God’s love and forgiveness. I reminded my friend that Jesus, the greatest teacher of all, taught in such a way that the masses, largely illiterate and unlearned, heard Him gladly. I went on to explain that I had made a concerted effort all through my ministry to try to communicate clearly by eliminating big words and philosophical and theological jargon, the kind of “Christianese” that does not communicate except to those who are familiar with the usage.

This famous scholar seemed to understand for the first time the importance of following the example of our Lord and other great teachers through the centuries who sought to communicate clearly to the masses.

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 3:16-20

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Remembering that God has given me everything I need, I will look to Him to guide my steps and enable me to live the supernatural life. I will also keep the message simple as I communicate the good news of God’s love in Christ.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – You Don’t Have to Worry

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything” (Philippians 4:6).  God offers you and me the possibility of a worry-free life.  Jesus said, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life!  Of course not” (Matthew 6:27).  Worry is irrelevant.  You don’t add one day to your life or one bit of life to your day by worrying.

Worry is also irreverent; it’s distrusting God…an “unconscious blasphemy.”  The Apostle Paul urges us to “be anxious for nothing.”  How?  Our part includes prayer and gratitude.  Instead of looking forward in fear, look upward in faith and backward in appreciation of past victories. God’s part is peace and protection.  God enjoys perfect peace because he enjoys perfect power.  And he offers his peace to you to guard your heart.  Do your part, and God will do his.

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For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Why Juneteenth is a holiday every American should celebrate

Today is Juneteenth (“June” plus “nineteenth”). The less you know about this holiday, the more you need to know.

On June 19, 1865, two months after the Confederacy surrendered, Union General Gordon Granger led a group of federal troops into Galveston, Texas.

Maj. Gen. Granger issued this declaration: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, ‘all slaves are free.’ This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

An annual rite and a century of waiting

As Henry Louis Gates, Jr. notes, Maj. Gen. Granger had no idea that his order would establish the most popular annual celebration in the United States of emancipation from slavery. The newly freed black men and women of Texas made the date into their own annual rite, beginning one year later in 1866.

Informal celebrations of the date continued until, in 1980, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Forty-five states recognize the holiday today.

President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier, but it freed only slaves within Confederate states who were liberated by Union troops. Even after Granger’s proclamation, many of the 250,000 slaves in Texas were mistreated for decades to come.

African Americans would wait nearly one hundred years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Tragically, much of the prejudice African Americans have faced in our nation has come from white Christians.

“The Color of Compromise”

In The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism, historian Jemar Tisby surveys four hundred years of American church history. He shows that white American Protestants in both the North and the South repeatedly used their theology and church institutions to perpetuate racial power imbalances.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Why Juneteenth is a holiday every American should celebrate