Charles Stanley –Bad News, Good News

 

Ephesians 2:1-9

When it comes to salvation, it’s difficult to truly appreciate the good news until we understand the bad news of our spiritual condition—namely, we all come into this world dead in our transgressions and sins. In the Scriptures, there are different meanings for death. Physical death is what everyone experiences at the end of earthly life. Spiritual death is alienation from God because of sin, and it’s the inherent condition of all mankind. Eternal death is the final outcome without salvation, and it results in everlasting separation from the Lord. Without Christ, the situation is hopeless, which is grim news indeed.

But there’s good news. Jesus did what was necessary to bring us back into a relationship with God. He was the only person who ever lived a completely righteous life, and as He hung dying on the cross, the Father placed all the guilt of our sins upon Him. Christ’s death was …

Sacrificial. The animal sacrifices in the Old Testament foreshadowed the perfect Lamb of God, who would make the final atonement for sins.

Substitutionary. Since Jesus bore the punishment for us, we no longer have to pay the penalty for our sins.

Sufficient. We can’t earn salvation because we will never be holy like God. But since Jesus was perfect, His sacrifice on our behalf proved acceptable to the Father. His blood adequately covers our sins.

Everyone dies, but those of us who have been saved are no longer alienated from God. Believers will never suffer eternal death but instead are given everlasting life.

Bible in One Year: Acts 3-4

 

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Our Daily Bread — Lava in Paradise

 

Bible in a Year:

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Samuel 6:1–9

All is quiet, save for slowly stretching tentacles of hissing lava nipping at the edges of the tropical foliage. Residents stand grim-faced yet amazed. Most days they call this “paradise.” On this day, however, the fiery fissures in Hawaii’s Puna district reminded everyone that God forged these islands via untamable volcanic power.

The ancient Israelites encountered an untamable power too. When King David recaptured the ark of the covenant (2 Samuel 6:1–4), a celebration broke out (v. 5)—until a man died suddenly when he grabbed hold of the ark to steady it (vv. 6–7).

This may tempt us to think of God as being as unpredictable as a volcano, just as likely to create as He is to destroy. However, it helps to remember that God had given Israel specific instructions for how to handle the things set apart for worshiping Him (see Numbers 4). Israel had the privilege of drawing near to God, but His presence was too overwhelming for them to approach Him carelessly.

Hebrews 12 recalls a mountain “burning with fire,” where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. That mountain terrified everyone (vv. 18–21). But the writer contrasts that scene with this: “You have come to . . . Jesus the mediator of a new covenant” (vv. 22–24). Jesus—God’s very Son—made the way for us to draw near to His untamable yet loving Father.

By: Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

How often am I tempted to think of God’s love without considering His power? Why is His power a crucial aspect of His character?

How great to know that our all-powerful God also loves us with infinite love!

 

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Joyce Meyer – Four Principles for Successful Daily Living

 

For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good—whether apparent or not] keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile (treachery, deceit). Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, and let him do right. Let him search for peace…and seek it eagerly…. — 1 Peter 3:10-11 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Trusting God Day by Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

I enjoy just reading over this passage and soaking up the power from its principles for successful daily living. It gives four specific principles for those who want to enjoy life:

  1. Keep your tongue free from evil.God’s Word states clearly, the power of life and death is in the mouth. We can bring blessing or misery into our lives with our words. When we speak rashly we often get into arguments, so choose your words carefully.
  2. Turn away from wickedness.We must take action to remove ourselves from wickedness or from a wicked environment. The action we must take could mean altering our friendships; it could even mean loneliness for a period of time. But you can always trust God to be with you.
  3. Do right.The decision to do right must follow the decision to stop doing wrong. Both are definite choices. Repentance is twofold; it requires turning awayfrom sin and turning to righteousness.
  4. Search for peace.Notice that we must search for it, pursue it, and go after it. We cannot merely desirepeace without any accompanying action, but instead we must desire peace with action. We need to search for peace in our relationship with God and with others.

When I started living by these principles, not only did my relationships improve, but so did my health, my attitude, and all areas of my life. The same will be true for you.

Prayer Starter: Father, Your Word has all of the answers for a great life. Help me to put Your principles into practice, today and every day. I can’t do it alone—I can only do it through Your strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Before We Even Call

 

“I will answer them before they even call to Me. While they are still talking to Me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” (Isaiah 65:24).

Allenby’s Bridge, which spans the Jordan River, was built to honor the man whom God used to lead the miraculous conquest of Jerusalem with the firing of a single gun.

Allenby recalled how, as a little boy when he use to lisp his evening prayers, he was taught to repeat after his mother the closing part of the prayer:

“And, O Lord, we will not forget They ancient people, Israel. Lord, hasten the day when Israel truly shall be thy people and shall be restored to They favor and to their land.”

“I never knew then,” Allenby said at a reception in London, “that God would give me the privilege of helping to answer my own childhood prayers.”

Even more wonderful than that kind of divine providence is the truth expressed in Isaiah 65:24 (KJV): “Before they call I will answer.” I have seen this promise fulfilled many times in the global program of Campus Crusade for Christ. Even during the time we have prayed for desperate needs – financial and otherwise – God was already laying it upon the hearts of His faithful people to respond.

What a great comfort to know that we serve that kind of God!

Bible Reading: Isaiah 65:18-25

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Even as I pray for the needs of others and myself today, I will remember the power and faithfulness of God who has already begun to answer even before I ask

 

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