Charles Stanley – When We Cry Out to God

 

Psalm 57:1-3

When you face a crisis, what is your first line of defense? The natural response is to attempt to fix the problem on your own. God, however, gives us a different way to handle difficulty.

David was no stranger to pressure or sudden appearances of evil. When he wrote Psalm 57, he was facing many hardships—including pursuit by King Saul, who wanted to kill him (1 Samuel 24:1-22). The shepherd’s response was to cry out to God and take refuge in Him until the calamity had passed.

Let’s learn from David’s example by exploring his words. Today’s passage has much to teach about the One to whom he cries.

First, David refers to God as El Elyon, or the Most High God. With all power and wisdom, He is the only one who can help us in our need.

Second, God is said to be our refuge. If He is a place of shelter for our soul, then we need not fear. He hovers over us and protects us when crises arise and leave us feeling helpless.

Third, the psalm expresses complete confidence that the Almighty can and will accomplish anything it takes for His purpose to be fulfilled. He’ll do whatever is necessary to intervene on our behalf, to hold accountable those who oppose us, and to surround us with His love and truth.

During His time on earth, Jesus brought great passion to His life and ministry . Therefore, we can approach Him when emotions run high. If your heart is troubled, cry out to the Lord. Know that you come before the throne of Him who is a powerful protector, capable and willing to do all you need.

Bible in One Year: Proverbs 26-28

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Out of the Trap

 

Bible in a Year :Psalms 13–15; Acts 19:21–41

I have learned the secret of being content.

Philippians 4:12

Today’s Scripture & Insight:1 Timothy 6:6–10

The Venus flytrap was first discovered in a small area of sandy wetlands not far from our home in North Carolina. These plants are fascinating to watch because they’re carnivorous.

Venus flytraps release a sweet-smelling nectar into colorful traps that resemble open flowers. When an insect crawls inside, triggering sensors along the outer rim, the trap clamps shut in less than a second—capturing its victim. The trap then closes further and emits enzymes that consume its prey over time, giving the plant nutrients not provided by the sandy soil.

God’s Word tells of another trap that can capture unexpectedly. The apostle Paul warned his protégé Timothy: “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” And “some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:9–10).

Money and material things may promise happiness, but when they take first place in our lives, we walk on dangerous ground. We avoid this trap by living with thankful, humble hearts focused on God’s goodness to us through Jesus: “godliness with contentment is great gain” (v. 6).

The temporary things of this world never satisfy like God can. True, lasting contentment is found only through our relationship with Him.

By James Banks

Reflect & Pray

Which do you think more about—money or your relationship with God? How can you give Him the highest priority today?

Loving Lord, You are the greatest blessing of my life! Help me to live contentedly with all that You are today.

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Jars of Clay

I am often asked in conversations with people outside of Christian faith why I am a Christian. Sometimes, before I am finished with an explanation, a litany of offenses associated with Christianity pours out as evidence against believing: all the bloodshed and religious wars, the Inquisition, anti-Semitism, etc. I actually don’t mind these kinds of critiques or questions. They are very important, and it would be foolish of me to pretend that the record of Christendom in the world was spotless. Much has been done in the name of Jesus by those who claim to be Christians, for which there should be collective shame.

Sometimes my honest acknowledgement of historic faults isn’t enough for my skeptical friends. Next, they scrutinize the Bible. Who wrote it? Can we trust it? How do we know it is God’s word? When it comes to the Bible, I also understand why these kinds of questions are raised. There are some fairly difficult passages, culturally specific events and contexts that can make the work of translation and understanding in this contemporary time—let alone for those who are completely unfamiliar with it—complicated at best. Again, it would be untruthful if those who studied the Bible pretended to understand everything within its narrative perfectly or completely.

One thing that is not difficult to see or understand, however, is all the humanity on display throughout the biblical narrative. Even the most ‘heroic’ or ‘epic’ of biblical characters are shown with their flaws and their weaknesses on display as much as their strengths. For example, Israel’s great deliverer Moses is called long past his prime and after having been exiled from the royal life in Egypt. We find him tending sheep in the middle of the wilderness. By his own admission, he is not a great public speaker, likely suffering from a speech impediment, and he struggles with his temper; he had killed an Egyptian and struck a rock with such force and violence that he was not permitted to enter the Promised Land. King David, the great king of Israel, was actually the youngest of his family when he is anointed as king. He is tasked to keep the flocks. The first born son was the normal and rightful heir to inheritance and leadership. He committed murder and adultery, conducted a census against God’s specific prohibition, yet he is the one described as a ‘man after God’s heart.’

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Joyce Meyer – God Blesses Obedience

 

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine. — Exodus 19:5

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

God’s grace and power are available for us to use. God enables us or gives us an anointing of the Holy Spirit to do what He tells us to do.

Sometimes after He has prompted us to go another direction, we still keep pressing on with our original plan. If we are doing something He has not approved, He is under no obligation to give us the energy to do it. We are functioning in our own strength rather than under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Then we get so frustrated, stressed, or burned out, we lose our self-control, simply by ignoring the promptings of the Spirit.

Many people are stressed and burned out from going their own way instead of God’s way. They end up in stressful situations when they go a different direction from the one God prompted. Then they burn out in the midst of the disobedience and end up struggling to finish what they started outside of God’s direction, all the while begging God to bless them.

Thankfully, God is merciful, and He helps us in the midst of our mistakes. But He is not going to give us strength and energy to disobey Him. We can avoid many stressful situations simply by obeying the Holy Spirit’s promptings at all times.

Prayer Starter: Father, I know Your plan is always best for my life. Please help me today and every day to obey the promptings of Your Holy Spirit in every area. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Lord Will Pay

 

“Remember, the Lord will pay you for each good thing you do, whether you are slave or free” (Ephesians 6:8).

When I proposed to Vonette I told her that I loved her dearly, and I wanted her to be my wife. I promised to do everything I could to make her happy and that she would always be the most important person in my life. But I further explained that my first allegiance was to the Lord, for I had already made that commitment to Him and could not and would not violate that promise to follow Him whatever the cost. She agreed, and we were married on those conditions.

My love for Vonette is far greater today because Jesus Christ is first in my life, and her love for me is far greater because He is first in her life. Our relationship is infinitely richer and more meaningful than it would have been had she been master of her life, and I the lord of my life, or if we had made each other first in our lives and the Lord Jesus Christ second.

The apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is affirming the promise of our Lord recorded in Matthew 6:32-33, “Your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well what you need and He will give it to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as He wants you to.”

In the context of this verse in Ephesians, Paul is dealing with family relationships – authority within the family. If we can grasp the concept of God as our paymaster, it will make a vast difference in the way we respond to the authority of men.

Christ knows everything you endure. He gives you your full portion of all that He owns. He is really the one for whom you are working. Wherever you are working, you may have assignments and responsibilities which you do not enjoy. But if Christ is truly the one for whom you work, then you will undertake His assignments cheerfully.

If we choose to be rebellious, we face the danger of a reward from our paymaster that might not be at all to our liking. Let us be about our Father’s business – willingly, joyfully, enthusiastically.

Bible Reading: Ephesians 6:1-7

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Though I may have a boss or leader who tells me what to do, and when to do it, I will always remember that my first allegiance is to the Lord Jesus Christ, and by putting Him first, even above my loved ones who surround me, I can serve others with greater joy, confidence and enthusiasm.

 

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Max Lucado – Set Free From Guilt

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

We are incarcerated by our past.  We have been found guilty!  Our executioner’s footsteps echo against stone walls.  We sit on the floor of the dusty cell, awaiting our final moment.  We don’t look up as he opens the door.  We know what he’s going to say.

“Time to pay for your sins.”  But we hear something else!

“You’re free to go. They took Jesus instead of you!”

The door swings open, the guard barks, “Get out.”

And we find ourselves shackles gone, crimes pardoned, wondering what just happened?  Grace just happened!  Christ took away your sins. Romans 3:24 says, “God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins.  We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.”  What happened?  Grace happened!

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Denison Forum – Novak Djokovic, floods in Louisiana, and outages in NYC: The power of perseverance

 

Novak Djokovic won the longest Wimbledon final in tournament history yesterday by defeating Roger Federer in a match lasting nearly five hours. “I hope I give some people a chance to believe that at 37 it’s not over yet,” Federer said after losing the fifth set, thirteen games to twelve. “I gave it all I had and I still feel alright.”

There are times when perseverance is the only way to confront adversity. Consider two other examples in the news.

Forecasters are warning of the potential for “dangerous, life-threatening flooding” as Tropical Storm Barry continues to creep northward across Louisiana. Coast Guard helicopters rescued people stranded on rooftops while Louisiana’s National Guard deployed some three thousand soldiers around the state. More than 51,000 customers in the state are still without power this morning.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers are recovering from a massive blackout over the weekend that affected more than 72,000 Con Edison customers along thirty blocks from Times Square to the Upper West Side. The outage shut down Broadway shows and a Jennifer Lopez concert in Madison Square Garden.

After Hamilton was canceled, its cast sang from the windows of their theater to crowds on the street below. When Carnegie Hall was evacuated, the musicians moved their concert to the street outside. The cause of the outage is still under investigation this morning.

Landing on an asteroid

In a day when humans can land a spacecraft on an asteroid and cameras can automatically translate signs for travelers, it is hard to understand why we must live at the mercy of forces we cannot predict or control. But we do.

Neither Novak Djokovic nor Roger Federer deserved to lose yesterday’s magnificent Wimbledon final. Victims of the storms in Louisiana and power outages in New York City did nothing to cause their plight. You are probably dealing with challenges today you did not expect or deserve.

When we are treated unfairly, it’s only natural to blame someone. In the Garden of Eden, Adam blamed Eve, then Eve blamed the serpent (Genesis 3:12–13). When Cain killed Abel, he blamed God for his punishment (Genesis 4:13–14). The Israelites in the wilderness complained to Moses when they ran out of water (Exodus 17:1–3); Moses then complained to God (v. 4).

“You have not passed this way before”

In Seven Types of Atheism, John Gray defines an atheist as “anyone with no use for the idea of a divine mind that has fashioned the world.” Some atheists consider religion to be an erroneous hypothesis and want to deify science; others claim humans are gradually improving and have no need of a deity; still others believe that the world is nothing more than “a progress towards death.”

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