Charles Stanley – Understanding God’s Promises

 

2 Corinthians 1:20

God’s Word is our source of comfort and hope because the Lord always does what He says. Every prophecy in the Bible either has come to pass or will be fulfilled in the future. In fact, Scripture is so trustworthy that Jesus said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail” (Luke 16:17).

However, we must not assume that every promise recorded in the Bible is for us. The Lord’s biblical pledges fall into several categories, and it’s important to understand the difference so we don’t mistakenly claim one that is not meant for us. When we misapply Scripture, we can develop an inaccurate view of God, and that usually leads to disappointment and distrust of Him.

Some biblical promises are limited—they apply to a specific person, nation, time, or purpose. For instance, in Genesis 18:10, the Lord assured Abraham that Sarah would have a son, but we cannot presume that He will do the same for us. He can certainly use this passage to teach us about His providential care and provision, but we shouldn’t grab verses and expect them to be fulfilled in our life regardless of their context.

Other promises in the Word are conditional and apply only if we meet the qualifications, as in Proverbs 3:5-6 and 1 John 1:9. However, there are some  promises that apply to all believers—these are assurances that are certain because of our union with Christ (Eph. 1:7-14). They have been given to us by our loving heavenly Father for our benefit, hope, and encouragement.

Bible in One Year: Mark 3-5

 

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Our Daily Bread — Strengthened in Song

 

Bible in a Year:

I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress.

Psalm 59:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Psalm 59:1, 14–17

When French villagers helped Jewish refugees hide from the Nazis during World War II, some sang songs in the dense forest surrounding their town—letting the refugees know it was safe to come out from hiding. These brave townspeople of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon had answered the call of local pastor André Trocmé and his wife, Magda, to offer wartime refuge to Jews on their windswept plateau known as “La Montagne Protestante.” Their musical signal became just one feature of the villagers’ bravery that helped save up to 3,000 Jews from almost certain death.

In another dangerous time, David sang when his enemy Saul sent nighttime assassins to his house. His use of music wasn’t a signal; rather, it was his song of gratitude to God his refuge. David rejoiced, “I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 59:16).

Such singing isn’t “whistling in the dark” during danger. Instead, David’s singing conveyed his trust in almighty God. “You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely” (v. 17).

David’s praise, and the villagers’ singing in Le Chambon, offer an invitation to bless God today with our singing, making melody to Him despite the worries of life. His loving presence will respond, strengthening our hearts.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

How do you feel when you’re singing your favorite praise song? Why do praise songs inspire us to feel stronger?

Dear God, strengthen my heart with praises that transform my fears and worries into worship of You.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Real and Unsearchable

 

Common is the sentiment among recent college graduates that they went in feeling like they knew something, and leave realizing, in fact, how little they know. I remember what this felt like, walking down the aisle to accept my diploma,  wondering at the irony. Yet as uncomfortable as that moment of recognition might be, I am convinced that the thought is an important place at which to arrive.

Ravi Zacharias tells of being a graduate student when the new encyclopedia Britannica was released in its fifteenth edition. It was a massive collection that had taken fourteen years to produce, and he remembers being fascinated by the statistics: two hundred advisors, three hundred editors, four thousand contributors, over a hundred thousand entries, thirty-four million dollars, forty-three million words. Even so, in the last pages of that work, one of the editors had the audacity to conclude: “Herein contains the entirety of human knowledge.” The number of outdated encyclopedias lying in thrift stores and recycling bins does not help their point.

In the stories of Scripture where God is encountered, we find men and women who, having come in contact God, find themselves blown away by the notion that they didn’t know all that they didn’t know. As Jacob lay dreaming, he saw God appear above a great ladder where God was introduced as the God of his ancestors. Upon waking, Jacob’s his first words were filled with astonishment: “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”(1) Hagar, the maidservant of Sarah, had a similar reaction after she encountered God in the desert. Having run away from Sarah’s abuse, Hagar was resting beside a spring when God spoke to her and told her to return. We read that she was amazed: “And she gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the one who sees me.’”(2)

Whatever we see—in the midst of uncertainty, for the year ahead, in life, truth, faith, reality—there is almost always more. In fact, it is probably the one thing we can count on—and the one thing we do not. Christian philosopher Esther Lightcap Meek writes, “We labor under the misimpression that we see what we see, that seeing is believing, that either I see it or I don’t.”(3) Perhaps seeing is not always about 20/20, and seeing God is something else altogether.

Christianity and its stories introduce a God who makes known God’s surprising and sustaining presence again and again, a God whose revelation is both piecemeal and profound. “O LORD,” proclaims David, “for your servant’s sake and according to your own heart, you have done all this greatness, in making known all these great things. There is none like you, O LORD, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”(4) God is well worth our efforts in learning to see, and it is the Spirit who moves to open eyes. Whether in Jacob’s dream or in Hagar’s distress, God seeks to be known and seeks to gather. The Spirit seeks to comfort, reveal, and recreate. The Son seeks to be near. Says the LORD, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”(5)

There is actually something relieving in knowing that there is much that we do not know. It keeps us grounded in reality and hoping toward the real and unsearchable, the Source of which is uncontainable. It keeps us with a grateful eye toward things of mystery and beauty and kindness and truth revealed. It keeps us looking toward the maker of heaven and earth and the one who wills to be known. When Job was confronted by God with the great thunder of 62 questions about the foundations of the world and the inner workings of life, he realized that he may have spoken out of turn. Confronting the reality of all that he did not know brought Job to a deeper, kinder encounter with God and himself. “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you,” he said. There is no more grateful, humble stance before the God who sees.

 

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

(1) Genesis 28:16.
(2) Genesis 16:13.
(3) Esther Lightcap Meek, Longing to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2003), 99.
(4) 1 Chronicles 17:19,20.
(5) Jeremiah 33:3.

 

http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – Seek the Truth

 

The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.— Mark 4:14-15

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

If you hear or study the Word, the devil will immediately attempt to steal it from you. He does not want the Word to take root in your heart and begin to produce good fruit in your life. When you learn the truth, deception is uncovered and you are set free. Satan hates and fears the Word. He will do anything possible to prevent you from learning God’s Word.

The reason Satan works so hard to keep you from the Word is simple: He knows the Word of God is a powerful weapon against him. It assures his defeat! That is why it is imperative that you learn to wield the spiritual sword. Reading, hearing, believing, meditating on, and confessing the Word cancels Satan’s evil plan. Today, determine to make the Word of God a priority in your life.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to make Your Word a priority. Help me to take the necessary time to read it, meditate on it, and apply it to my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Never Alone

 

“No I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm, I will come to you” (John 14:18).

“I feel so alone,” Bev said,” with my husband gone and all my children married. Sometimes I can hardly bear the pain, the anguish. At times its as though I am about to suffocate – I am so lonely!”

Bev was in her late 70’s. Her husband was dead, and the other members of her family had become involved in their own careers and activities. Though they loved her, they were so busy they seldom saw her to express that love.

I shared with her the good news of the one who loved her so much that He died on the cross for her and paid the penalty for her sins, the one who promised to come to her and, once He came, never to leave her.

There in the loneliness of her living room, she bowed with me in prayer and invited the risen living Christ to take up residence in her life, to forgive her, to cleanse her, to make her whole, to make her a child of God. When she lifted her face, her cheeks were moist with tears of repentance and her heart was made new with joy.

“I feel so different,” she said. “Already I feel enveloped with the sense of God’s presence, His love and His peace.”

As the months passed, it became increasingly evident that she was not alone. He who was with her had been faithful to His promise never to leave her.

Do you feel deserted, alone, rejected? Do you have problems with your family, work, school, or health? Whatever may be your need, Jesus is waiting to make His presence as real to you as if He were with you in His physical body.

There are five things that I would encourage you to do to enhance the realization of His presence. (1) Meditate upon His Word day and night. (2) Confess all known sins. (3) Aggressively obey His commandments. (4) Talk to Him about everything as you would your dearest friend. (5) Tell everyone who will listen about Him so that they too can experience with you the supernatural life which comes only from allowing the supernatural power of the indwelling Christ to be reflected in and through you.

Bible Reading: Psalm 68:3-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: In order to enhance the Lord’s presence in my life, I will practice the five recommendations knowing that as I walk in this vital personal relationship with the risen Christ, the supernatural qualities that characterize His life will become more and more apparent in time.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Speak Up

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Not only did Jesus not make it to the deathbed of Lazarus, he didn’t make it to the burial.  He was four days late.  Martha was forthright.  “Lord, if only you had been here my brother would not have died” (John 11:21).  Martha was to Jesus what your hurting friend is to you.  How can we respond when our friend is undone?

Here is what Jesus did.  He looked Martha in the face and said these starchy words: “I am the resurrection and the life. . . . Do you believe this?” (vv. 25–26).  The Bible’s word for such a response is admonishment.  Above all, admonishment is truth spoken into a difficult circumstance.  Yes, we hold the hand of the struggler.  And yes, yes, yes, we speak words of truth into moments of despair.

Read more How Happiness Happens – Finding Lasting Joy in a world of Comparison, Disappointment, and Unmet Expectations

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – All three capitals of the Confederacy now have black mayors: Bending the ‘arc of the moral universe’

 

Montgomery, Alabama, was known as the first capital of the Confederacy in the early Civil War period. Richmond, Virginia, served as the Confederacy’s second capital from 1861 to 1865. Danville, Virginia, was the capital for eight days after Richmond fell.

With the election of Steven Reed in Montgomery last week, all three cities now have black mayors for the first time.

Martin Luther King Jr. believed that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” However, Dr. King did not mean that the “arc of the moral universe” can be trusted to bend itself. That’s why he devoted his life to seeking justice for African Americans and the poor.

And it’s why Christians must take Christ to our culture as passionately and compassionately as we can. Let me illustrate.

Bride includes husband’s girlfriend in her wedding

This New York Times headline caught my eye: “Happily, Ever Open. What’s the wedding like when the couple is in an open or polyamorous relationship?” The article tells us that a woman named Daley South had six bridesmaids in her wedding to Logan South; one of them was her husband’s girlfriend. “I really enjoyed having her be part of our big day,” the bride said.

At another wedding, this one inside a New Hampshire church two days ago, a gunman shot the presiding bishop in the chest and the bride in her arm. Guests then tackled the shooter and pinned him to the ground until police arrived. Bishop Stanley Choate is in critical condition in a Boston hospital; Claire McMullen was expected to be released from the hospital yesterday.

The day before, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill requiring public universities to provide medical abortion on their campuses. Since these universities are funded by California’s taxpayers, abortions are now being funded by California’s taxpayers, whether they object personally or not.

Scientists have discovered twenty new moons around Saturn

Reading the news can be discouraging. It seems easier to retreat from the “culture wars,” but the wars will not retreat from us.

Continue reading Denison Forum – All three capitals of the Confederacy now have black mayors: Bending the ‘arc of the moral universe’