Charles Stanley – The Consequences of Sin

 

Genesis 3:14-19

Christians tend to categorize sins, rating some as small and inconsequential, and others as huge and far-reaching in the damage they cause. In reality, no one sins in isolation. Each act of disobedience affects not only the sinner but also others in both the present and the future.

If we were to separate Adam and Eve’s sin from its context, few of us would convict them of great transgression. All they did was swallow some fruit from a tree with a “do not eat” sign. Today people think nothing of ignoring commands—even biblical ones.

But God has a totally different view of our sins. Each one is followed by negative consequences. Adam and Eve’s disobedience led to pain and frustration in two basic areas of fulfillment—relationships and meaningful work. The whole earth fell under sin’s curse, and all people born since then have entered the world with a sin nature that alienates them from the Lord.

That first rebellion plunged humanity into a terrible condition. Civilization is now plagued by ramifications of the sins committed by millions of human beings throughout the ages. Is it any wonder the world is in such sad shape? Sin not only causes suffering; it also robs us of God’s best. The Garden of Eden is closed and locked to sinful mankind.

The good news of Christ’s grace and forgiveness is our only real hope in this fallen world. Though unpleasant, focusing on sin’s consequences is necessary at times to remind us of the greatness of our salvation and to move us to obey God, even in the small things.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 22-24

 

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Our Daily Bread — Lincoln’s Pockets

 

Bible in a Year :Psalms 91–93; Romans 15:1–13

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.

Romans 15:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Romans 15:1–6

The night US president Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theater in 1865, his pockets contained the following: two spectacles, a lens polisher, a pocketknife, a watch fob, a handkerchief, a leather wallet containing a five-dollar Confederate bill, and eight newspaper clippings, including several that praised him and his policies.

I wonder what the Confederate money was doing in the president’s pocket, but I have little doubt about the glowing news stories. Everyone needs encouragement, even a great leader like Lincoln! Can you see him, in the moments before the fateful play, perhaps reading them to his wife?

Who do you know who needs encouragement? Everyone! Look around you. There isn’t one person in your line of vision who is as confident as they seem. We’re all one failure, snide comment, or bad hair day away from self-doubt.

What if we all obeyed God’s command to “please our neighbors for their good, to build them up”? (Romans 15:2). What if we determined only to speak “gracious words” that are “sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”? (Proverbs 16:24). What if we wrote these words down, so friends could reread and savor them? Then we’d all have notes in our pockets (or on our phones!). And we’d be more like Jesus, who “did not please himself” but lived for others (Romans 15:3).

By:  Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

Whose words have most encouraged you? Who might need encouragement that you’ve been overlooking?

Loving God, help me to encourage others with my words, actions, and presence.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Indicators of Need

The difficult question of pain forms a thorny question on which volumes have been written. Why do the innocent suffer? Why do we face all these diseases? Why the suffering of millions because of natural disasters or the tyranny of demagogues? I do not pretend to have the answers, but one thing I know: pain is a universal fact of life. Likewise, there are moral dimensions in the way we phrase our questions concerning pain, and every religion explicitly or implicitly attempts to explain pain.

But why do we even ask these questions about suffering within the context of morality? Why have we blended the fact of physical pain with the demand for a moral explanation? Who decided that pain is immoral? Indeed, almost every atheist or skeptic you read names this as the main reason for his or her denial of God’s existence.

In the Judeo-​Christian framework, pain is connected to the reality of evil and to the choices made by humanity at the beginning of time. The problem of pain and the problem of evil are inextricably bound. So when we assume evil, we assume good. When we assume good, we assume a moral law. And when we assume a moral law, we assume a moral law-​giver.

You may ask, Why does assuming a moral law necessitate a moral lawgiver? Because every time the question of evil is raised, it is either by a person or about a person—and that implicitly assumes that the question is a worthy one. But it is a worthy question only if people have intrinsic worth, and the only reason people have intrinsic worth is that they are the creations of One who is of ultimate worth. That person is God. So the question self-​destructs for the naturalist or the pantheist. The question of the morality of evil or pain is valid only for a theist.

And only in Christian theism is love preexistent within the Trinity, which means that love precedes human life and becomes the absolute value for us. This absolute is ultimately found only in God, and in knowing and loving God we work our way through the struggles of pain, knowing of its ultimate connection to evil and its ultimate destruction by the One who is all-​good and all-​loving; who in fact has given us the very basis for the words good and love both in concept and in language.

Not far from my home lives a young woman who was born with a very rare disease called CIPA, congenital insensitivity to pain with anhydrosis. Imagine having a body that looks normal and acts normally, except for one thing: You cannot feel physical pain. That sounds as if it would be a blessing. But the reason it’s a problem is that she lives under the constant threat of injuring herself without knowing it. If she steps on a rusty nail that could infect her bloodstream, she wouldn’t even realize it by sensation. If she placed her hand on a burning stove, she would not know she had just burned her hand except by looking at it. She needs constant vigilance because she could sustain an injury that could take her life or cause serious debilitation. When her family was interviewed some years ago, the line I most remember is the closing statement by her mother. She said, “I pray every night for my daughter, that God would give her a sense of pain.”

If that statement were read in a vacuum, we would wonder what sort of mother she is. But because more than anyone else she understands the risks of this strange disease, there is no greater prayer she can pray than that her daughter feel pain and be able to recognize what it portends.

I ask you this simple question: If, in our finitude, we can appreciate the value of pain in even one single life, is it that difficult to grant the possibility that an infinite God can use pain to point us to a greater malady? We see through a glass darkly because all we want is to be comfortable. We cannot understand the great plan of an all-​knowing God who brings us near through the value of pain—or of disappointment with pleasure.

And yet the very thing that enslaves and traps us becomes the indicator of our need for God and the means to draw us to the recognition of our own finitude and to the rescuing grace of God. The pain of pain may well clasp the lifesaving hand of God and draw us into God’s arms.

 

Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

 

http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – God Will Help You

 

The Lord will give [unyielding and impenetrable] strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace. — Psalm 29:11 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource Starting Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

God has been showing me that we need to be aware of His present provisions now, and not just in the future. In Psalm 28:7, David said of God…I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I shall thank Him and praise Him (AMP). He did not say, “I will be helped.”

Wait on God, because God’s help will strengthen you to behave in a godly way all day long if you trust in Him. Even while you wait on God to manifest His plan, your heart can greatly rejoice in His presence. Tell someone something good that God has done for you, and then watch Him move in the presence of your praise.

Prayer Starter: Father, You are the great “I am,” and I thank You for being with me…right here, right now. Help me today to recognize Your goodness and begin expecting You to show up in my life in mighty ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Shine Like the Sun 

 

“And those who are wise – the people of God – shall shine as brightly as the sun’s brilliance, and those who turn many to righteousness will glitter like stars forever” (Daniel 12:3).

Did it ever occur to you that as a child of God you are to radiate in your countenance the beauty and glory of God? Have you ever considered the inconsistency of having a glum expression while professing that the Son of God, the light of the world, dwells within you?

Proverbs 15:13 reminds us that a happy face means a glad heart; a sad face means a breaking heart.

When missionary Adoniram Judson was home on furlough many years ago, he passed through the city of Stonington, Connecticut. A young boy, playing about the wharves at the time of Judson’s arrival, was struck by the missionary’s appearance. He had never before seen such a light on a man’s face.

Curious, he ran up the street to a ministers’s home to ask if he knew who the stranger was. Following the boy back, the minister became so engaged in conversation with Judson that he forgot all about the lad standing nearby.

Many years later that boy – unable to get away from the influence of what he had seen on the man’s face – became the famous preacher, Henry Clay Trumbull. One chapter in his book of memoirs is entitled, “What a Boy Saw in the Face of Adoniram Judson.”

A shining face – radiant with the love and joy of Jesus Christ – had changed a life. Just as flowers thrive when they bend toward the light of the sun, so shining, radiant faces are the result of those who concentrate their gaze upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

May we never underestimate the power of a glowing face that stems from time spent with God. Even as Moses’ countenance shone, may your face and mine reveal time spent alone with God and in His Word.

Bible Reading: Matthew 5:13-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will spend sufficient time with the Lord each day to insure a radiant countenance for the glory of God and as a witness to those with whom I have contact each day.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – You Were Made for This

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Listen to the way God described the builder Bezalel, “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, intelligence and skill in all kinds of crafts. . .” (Exodus 31:3-5). Can you hear the pleasure in God’s voice?

When you do the most what you do the best, you pop the pride buttons on the vest of God.  In the movie Chariots of Fire Eric Liddell defended his devotion to running by telling his sister, “God made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure.”  When do you feel God’s pleasure?  When do you look up into the heavens and say, “I was made to do this?”  When it comes to being you, you were made for the part.  So speak your lines with confidence!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Police attacked in Philadelphia: Three vital responses

 

“I thank God for these cops.”

That’s the sentiment of a woman protected by police officers amid an unfolding crisis in Philadelphia last night.

Officers went to a house to serve a state narcotics warrant when they came under fire. Nearby daycare centers with dozens of children inside were evacuated. Women were escorted from the building where the suspect was located. Police urged residents to avoid the area.

Some of the officers responding to the incident had to escape the building through windows and doors. Six officers were injured, but the Philadelphia mayor said they have been released from the hospital and are in “good spirits.” SWAT officers helped evacuate two other officers and four women who had been trapped inside the home.

After almost eight hours, the suspect surrendered just after midnight. The city’s police commissioner identified him as Maurice Hill, age thirty-six, and stated that he has an extensive criminal history.

The death of Officer Andre Moye, Jr.

Much attention has been focused recently on those killed by police officers. Scrutiny has especially centered on allegations of police misconduct.

But much less attention has been paid to officers who have died in the line of duty.

As the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) notes, “When a police officer is killed, it’s not an agency that loses an officer, it’s an entire nation.” The ODMP lists seventy-three line of duty deaths this year, 163 last year, and 908 in the last five years.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Police attacked in Philadelphia: Three vital responses