Charles Stanley – July 22, 2019

 

Assurance of Our Salvation

1 John 5:1-13

Do you ever wonder if you are truly saved? John wrote his first letter to give believers assurance of salvation by describing characteristics of those who have been born again (1 John 5:13). God wants us to know we are safe and secure in Him through the salvation provided at the cross to all who come to Christ in faith. A three-fold test can help you assess whether you’ve experienced spiritual rebirth.

What does the Word of God say? The best way to know about salvation is through the Bible’s teaching. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

What is the witness of the Spirit? When we by faith receive Jesus Christ as Lord, the Father sets His Holy Spirit within us. Romans 8:16 tells us, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” His internal witness assures us that we are saved—regardless of how our feelings ebb and flow.

What is the desire of my heart? When the Holy Spirit takes up residence within the human heart, powerful changes occur. We are given new desires to know God and His Word and to live in obedience to Him. We now have the capacity to hate the sin we once loved and to quickly repent when we feel the Spirit’s conviction.

If you’ve trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and can see the changes God’s Spirit has made in your life, then rejoice today as a saved and secure child of God.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 1-3

 

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Our Daily Bread — Faithful in Captivity

 

Bible in a Year :Psalms 31–32; Acts 23:16–35

While Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him.

Genesis 39:20–21

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Genesis 39:6–12, 20–23

Haralan Popov had no idea what turn his life would take when the doorbell rang early one morning in 1948. Without any warning, the Bulgarian police took Haralan away to prison because of his faith. He spent the next thirteen years behind bars, praying for strength and courage. Despite horrible treatment, he knew God was with him, and he shared the good news of Jesus with fellow prisoners—and many believed.

In the account from Genesis 37, Joseph had no idea what would happen to him after he was mercilessly sold by his angry brothers to merchants who took him to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, an Egyptian official. He found himself in a culture surrounded by people who believed in thousands of gods. To make things worse, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph. When Joseph refused repeatedly, she falsely accused him, leading to his being sent to prison (39:16–20). Yet God didn’t abandon him. Not only was He with Joseph, but He also “gave him success in everything he did” and even “showed him kindness and granted him favor” with those in authority (39:3, 21).

Imagine the fear Joseph must have felt. But he remained faithful and kept his integrity. God was with Joseph in his difficult journey and had a master plan for him. He has a plan in mind for you too. Take heart and walk in faith, trusting He sees and He knows.

By Estera Pirosca Escobar

Reflect & Pray

What difficult situation have you experienced—perhaps one in which you were falsely accused? Why is it vital for you to maintain your integrity?

God, thank You for being with me always, even when life’s circumstances cause me to be uncomfortable. Help me to be faithful to You.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Shadow and Influence

 

Ask an American about the most historically significant event of 1776 and you will most certainly hear about the signing of the declaration, independence from Great Britain, and the birthday of our nation. But 1776 also significantly marks the publication of Adam Smith’s influential Wealth of Nations, widely considered the first modern work in the field of economics and a work that remains widely influential today. Both Wealth of Nations and The Declaration of Independence are publications that have inarguably shaped the world in ways beyond even what the original authors imagined.

All the same, historian Mark Noll suggests there is a third publication of 1776 that may have been even more historically influential than both of these momentous options. In a lecture at Harvard University, he argued: “I say with calculated awareness of what else was going on in Philadelphia [the signing of the Declaration of Independence], and in Scotland, where Adam Smith published his Wealth of Nations, that of all world-historical occurrences in that year, the publication of August Montagu Toplady’s hymn [Rock of Ages] may have been the most consequential.”(1)

This may seem a surprising choice—particularly for those who want to relegate the role of religion to far more primitive histories and perhaps also for those who want to elevate nationalism to religious standing. Noll’s suggestion asks that we look not only beyond our national histories, but beyond the version of history that wants to claim that there has always been a split between the sacred and the secular. Toplady’s hymn is one of the two most reprinted hymns in Christian history, but its words remind us of a history far beyond even this:

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure, Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
Not the labours of my hands, Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;

Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone: Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy Cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace;

Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Shadow and Influence

Joyce Meyer – Humbly Leaning on the Lord

 

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” — 1 Peter 5:5

Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Humility is knowing we cannot succeed by trusting in ourselves and our own human effort. Instead, we trust in God, thankful that He does what we cannot.

As we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and lean on Him at all times, He always equips us to do what we should be doing. Most human failure comes from people trying to do things in their own strength without relying on God.

I have found that when I feel frustrated, it is because I am exerting fleshly effort trying to do something that only God can do. I suggest that when you feel frustrated that you stop and ask yourself if you are doing the same thing.

Works of the flesh equal frustration, and works of the flesh mean that I am working without God.

We can live the joyful, overcoming life God has for us when we realize God helps those who know they cannot help themselves—those who realize they are totally dependent on Him and are grateful that He will provide everything they need.

Prayer Starter: Father, I am thankful that I do not have to depend on my own strength or best effort to get through life. Thank You that You are here to guide me and help me each day. I trust You and I place my life in Your hands. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Glorious Future

 

“As for the one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; he will be secure, and will go out no more; and I will write my God’s Name on him, and he will be a citizen in the city of my God – the New Jerusalem, coming down from heaven from my God; and he will have my new Name inscribed upon him” (Revelation 3:12).

You and I shall some day be in that beautiful temple in Jerusalem – to rule and reign with the King of kings and Lord of lords forever and forever.

Can you see it now? While we do not know – and need not know – all the incidental details and circumstances, we know enough from God’s holy Word to know that some day we shall be with Him, never to be separated. That is the cause for shouting and rejoicing.

And we need not be terrified by the condition that we must be conquerors before we qualify for any of these promised blessings. Has He not told us that we are already “more than conquerors?”

Here again we have that promise of the new name, thought by some to be the very name of Christ Himself – certainly worthy of attainment, whatever its true meaning.

To be “heirs with God and joint-heirs with Christ” holds all the wonderful promise that the human mind can imagine. Just to be with Him is enough; to know that He adds blessing upon blessing as we rule and reign with Him – that is unparalleled joy indeed.

Bible Reading: Revelation 3:7-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With a quick look at the future, I’ll do my best to make this day all that God intends for me, especially in my outreach to others.

 

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Max Lucado – Grace Chooses Forgiveness

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Victoria Ruvolo doesn’t remember the 18-year-old boy leaning out the window, of all things, holding a frozen turkey.  He threw it at her windshield.  It shattered Victoria’s face like a dinner plate on concrete.

John 13:14 -15 says,  “Since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. Do as I have done to you.” And that’s what Victoria Ruvolo did. Months later, she stood face to face with her offender in court. He was given six months behind bars and five years’ probation. Everyone in the courtroom objected to the light sentence. He sobbed while she spoke. The light sentence was her idea. “I forgive you. I want your life to be the best it can be. God gave me a second chance at life, and I passed it on” she said!  Grace chooses to give the forgiveness that’s been received!

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Denison Forum – 32 million Americans think Apollo 11 was staged: Reaching the moon and finding true meaning on earth

 

My great-aunts Daisy and Clara were convinced that humans never went to the moon.

I asked them about the television broadcast we all watched; they claimed it was filmed by Hollywood actors on sand dunes in Arizona. I asked them about the testimony of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin that they had been to the moon; they said the astronauts had been paid to lie. I asked them about the moon rocks they brought back; they asked me, “How do you know they’re from the moon?”

My great-aunts were not alone in their skepticism.

A poll taken a year after Apollo 11 found that 30 percent of Americans believed the moon landing to be fake. Even today, as many as 10 percent of Americans (and 60 percent of Russians and 25 percent of Brits) believe the lunar landing was staged. Ten percent of Americans equates to thirty-two million people. That’s more than the population of our fifteen largest cities, combined.

Even though scientists have repeatedly debunked such conspiracy theories, they persist. And they tell us something important about faith in our culture.

Communion in space and atheism on earth

Buzz Aldrin celebrated communion aboard Eagle after he and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. (See Steve Yount’s excellent article on our website for more.) However, NASA officials decided not to broadcast his communion service back to earth, reportedly fearing a lawsuit from atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

This tension between communion in space and atheism on earth is a metaphor for American culture today.

Trust in government peaked at 77 percent in October 1964, a year after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The year before the moon landing, average trust in government had fallen to 62 percent. The year after the landing, when 30 percent of Americans believed Apollo 11 to have been staged by the government, it had fallen further to 54 percent.

Public trust in government today stands at 17 percent.

Continue reading Denison Forum – 32 million Americans think Apollo 11 was staged: Reaching the moon and finding true meaning on earth