Charles Stanley – Jesus Identifies With Our Needs

 

Hebrews 4:14-16

We often forget that during His stay on earth, Jesus experienced need just as we do. Although Christ was fully God, He was at the same time completely human, with all of humanity’s weaknesses and shortcomings. Though He didn’t sin, He identified with our suffering.

When Jesus had finished a 40-day fast in the wilderness, He experienced physical hunger and an onslaught of temptation from the devil (Matt. 4:1-2). Later, after an exhausting day of healing people and feeding a crowd of more than 5,000, the Son of God required time alone with His Father for spiritual strength and refreshment (Matt. 14:23). And in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ was under tremendous spiritual and emotional pressure as He faced the daunting task of paying for the sins of mankind through His death on a cross (Matt. 26:38-39).

In each weakness, Jesus turned to His Father. The Word of God was His defense in temptation, prayer was His source of strength for ministry, and submission to the Father’s will was His pathway to victory over sin and death. By passing through every difficult situation without sin, He became our Great High Priest, who intercedes for us and invites us to draw near to God’s throne for help in time of need.

Whatever your needs may be, you can follow Christ’s example and experience the Father’s provision. The Word of God is your protection, prayer is your strength, and submission to the Father is the way to victory over sin. Draw near with confidence, and let the Lord shower you with His grace.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 71-75

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Playing with Joy

 

Bible in a Year:Job 1–2; Acts 7:22–43

The fruit of the Spirit is . . . joy.

Galatians 5:22

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Galatians 5:22–26

One of our sons, Brian, is a high school basketball coach. One year, as his team was dribbling its way through the Washington State Basketball Tournament, well-meaning folks around town asked, “Are you going to win it all this year?” Both players and coaches felt the pressure, so Brian adopted a motto: “Play with joy!”

I thought of the apostle Paul’s last words to the elders of Ephesus: “That I may finish my race with joy” (Acts 20:24 nkjv). His aim was to complete the tasks Jesus had given him. I have made these words my motto and my prayer: “May I run and finish my race with joy.” Or as Brian says, “May I play with joy!” And by the way, Brian’s team did win the state championship that year.

We all have good reasons to get grouchy: discouraging news, everyday stresses, health problems. Nevertheless, God can give us a joy that transcends these conditions if we ask Him. We can have what Jesus called, “my joy” (John 15:11).

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit of Jesus (Galatians 5:22). So we must remember each morning to ask Him to help us: “May I play with joy!” Author Richard Foster said, “To pray is to change. This is a great grace. How good of God to provide a path whereby our lives can be taken over by . . . joy.”

By David H. Roper

Reflect & Pray

What causes you to be discouraged? Where do you find your joy?

I turn my eyes to You, God. I’m grateful I can count on Your faithfulness to me. Please bring me into Your joy.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Foreign and Belonging

I have not spent much of my life as a foreigner, though my short bouts with being a cultural outsider remind me of the difficulty of always feeling on the outside of the circle. Just as the distance between outside and inside seems to be closing, something happens or something is said and you are reminded again that you do not really belong. On a visit with Wellspring International to Northern Uganda some years ago, the thought never left us. Everywhere the director and I went, children seemed to sing of “munos,” a term essentially (and affectionately) meaning “whiteys.” It made us smile every time we heard it. But even when communicated playfully, it can be both humbling and humiliating to always carry with you the sober thought: I am out of place.

The book of Ruth scarcely neglects an opportunity to point out this reality. Long after hearers of the story are well acquainted with who Ruth is and where she is from, long after she is living in Judah, she continues to be referred to as “Ruth the Moabite” or even merely “the Moabite woman.” Her perpetual status as an outsider brings to mind the vision of Keats and the “song that found a path/ through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home/ She stood in tears amid the alien corn.”

And yet, while Ruth was undoubtedly as aware of being the foreigner as much as those around her were aware of it, she did nothing to suggest a longing to return to Moab. Her words and actions in Judah are as steadfast as her initial vow to Naomi: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried” (Ruth 1:16-17a). This is Ruth’s pledge to her mother-in-law, repeatedly.

In these early pages of the story, little is known about Naomi’s God or her people. The brief mention of each comes as a distant report: “Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the LORD had visited his people and given them food” (1:6). Moreover, Naomi’s first mention of the God of her people holds a similar sense of detachment. Though she recognizes God’s sovereignty over her situation, it is blurred with bitterness: “The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. For I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty” (1:20-21). Her description was hardly a compelling glimpse for the outsider looking in.

And yet, Ruth clearly embraces all of Naomi: the people who would only see her as the foreigner and the God who was not her own. In fact, ironically, it is Ruth the Moabite whose voice is the first in the story to call on the divine name. After her resolute declaration of loyalty to her mother-in-law, Ruth adds the plea, “May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me” (1:17b). It is the foreigner who has taken Yahweh to be her God and calls on this God accordingly. In fact, it is this foreigner whose adoption into God’s presence can be traced in blood all the way to the throne of King David and to the reign of Christ. Ruth the Moabite is forever remembered an outsider. But at the same time, she is remembered a woman with a crucial link to the Son of God.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Foreign and Belonging

Joyce Meyer – God Knows You Intimately

 

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. — Psalm 139:4

Adapted from the resource Hearing from God Each Morning Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Because we relate to God as individuals—and that’s the way He wants it—we also pray as individuals. Even when we pray corporately with others, we are still individuals; we simply join our hearts with others as one voice.

During these corporate prayer times, I believe God wants our hearts to be in unity much more than He wants our methods to be the same.

When we say, “Lord, teach me to pray,” we are asking Him to teach us to pray in a distinctly personal way and to enable our prayers to be easy, natural expressions of who we are. We are not supposed to check our individuality at the door of the prayer closet. We need to go to God just the way we are and give Him the pleasure of enjoying the company of the “original” He has made each of us to be.

We need to approach God with our strengths, weaknesses, uniqueness, and everything else that so wonderfully distinguishes us from all the other people in the world.

God enjoys meeting us where we are, developing a personal relationship with us, and helping us grow to become everything He wants us to be. It is refreshing to realize that we can come to God just as we are and be relaxed in His presence.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You that I can approach You just as I am and have a unique, personal relationship with You. Help me to continually be more comfortable as I come to You to talk, worship, or simply relax in Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Never Fails nor Forsakes

 

“Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never, never fail you nor forsake you'” (Hebrews 13:5).

Malcolm Muggeridge, one of England’s leading intellectuals, came to our Christian Embassy headquarters for lunch one day. Together we talked about the things of God – the Christian adventure. On that day, he offered little hope for the future of the Western world.

“We are,” he said, “like a pan of frogs in cold water placed over a low flame. As the flame warms the water, the frogs relax. And by the time the water is boiling, it is too late for them to jump out of the pan. They are boiled alive. In contrast, if the frogs were placed in a pan of boiling water, they would leap out instantly.”

He continued by explaining that the average person in America and in Western Europe was being destroyed by materialism, the love of money and the love of things. People are greedy and are grasping for more than they have. Our appetites know no bounds; we have become insatiable.

As a result, no doubt there is more vital Christianity in Eastern Germany than in Western Germany, in Poland than in Italy, in the Soviet Union than in England. The Christians who are willing to pay the price of persecution in these countries have learned to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and to be satisfied with what they have.

With the apostle Paul, they are able to say, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11, KJV). You will observe that the admonition was to stay away from the love of money. There is nothing wrong with money. Thank God for able, dedicated, godly men and women to whom God has given the ability to make money, but who recognize that there is no satisfaction or fulfillment in making money. It is in the stewardship of that which God has entrusted to them that they find fulfillment and true meaning to life.

Bible Reading: Ephesians 5:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With the certainty that God will never, never fail me nor forsake me, I will seek to find fulfillment and meaning in my life in Christ and not in materialism. I will encourage others to do the same today.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Going Deep

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

In Ephesians 3:17, Paul says, “May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.”  The supreme surprise of God’s love is that it has nothing to do with you.  “God is love” the scripture says.  God loves you because he is he.  You don’t influence God’s love.  Your actions don’t alter his devotion.  Success signals God’s love no more than struggles indicate the lack of it.

When you feel unloved, take a trip to the cross and look at Jesus, cross-nailed and thorn-crowned.  Choose God’s love.  For the sake of your heart.  The prayer is powerful and simple:  “Lord, I receive your love.  Nothing can separate me from your love.”  Take a breath and descend so deeply into his love that you see nothing else.

Read more Come Thirsty

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

Home

Denison Forum – The conflict with Iran: How we got here and what could come next

Nik and Lijana Wallenda safely crossed Times Square last night on a high wire twenty-five stories above the pavement. Their feat feels like a parable for escalating tensions in the Middle East.

What has led to the present crisis with Iran? Why would the Iranians escalate conflict with the US? What could come next? Where is God at work?

How we got here

Two oil tankers were attacked in the Strait of Hormuz recently, following attacks on four commercial ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates last month. The US, Saudi Arabia, and the UK blame Iran.

Last Monday, Iran stated that it would soon surpass the previously imposed three hundred-kilogram limit on its stockpiles of enriched uranium. The Pentagon then announced plans to send approximately a thousand more troops to the Middle East “for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats.”

Last Thursday, Iran shot down an unmanned US surveillance drone. The US claims that the aircraft was in international airspace; Iran claims that it was flying over their territory.

Later that day, the United States Cyber Command conducted online attacks against an Iranian intelligence group that American officials believe helped plan the oil tanker attacks. This was meant to be a direct response to the downing of the drone as well.

President Trump also approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for the drone attack, then canceled the strike. However, he announced over the weekend that the US is “putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – The conflict with Iran: How we got here and what could come next