Charles Stanley – The Hope for Peace

 

Romans 15:4-13

One day Christ will return and make everything right, and until that time believers are called to be His ambassadors of peace. But salvation doesn’t automatically change us into people of kindness and unity. At times we may be quick-tempered and impatient, struggling to live in harmony with others. What’s more, letting go of ingrained attitudes or habits can be difficult, even when clinging to such things causes hurt.

Thankfully, God knows this about us. That’s why He has sent His Holy Spirit to help us understand and apply Scripture, say no to temptation, and replace our priorities with Christ’s. Only He can produce spiritual fruit in us, which includes love, joy, and peace (Gal. 5:22-23). And with His help, we become peacemakers who work to bring about reconciliation between God and others (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). When our hearts are ruled by His peace, our relationships reflect His spirit of oneness (Col. 3:15).

The world may hope to find peace through man-made solutions, but you and I know the only source of lasting unity is Jesus Christ. Let’s pray that believers and nonbelievers alike witness the power of God that reconciles marriages, families, and churches.

Bible in One Year: Leviticus 5-7

 

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Our Daily Bread — Going, Going, Gone

 

Bible in a Year:

  • Exodus 25–26
  • Matthew 20:17–34

Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone.

Proverbs 23:5

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Proverbs 23:1–5

The mischievous artist Banksy pulled off another practical joke. His painting Girl with Balloon sold for one million pounds at Sotheby’s auction house in London. Moments after the auctioneer yelled “Sold,” an alarm sounded and the painting slipped halfway through a shredder mounted inside the bottom of the frame. Banksy tweeted a picture of bidders gasping at his ruined masterpiece, with the caption, “Going, going, gone.”

Banksy relished pulling one over on the wealthy, but he need not have bothered. Wealth itself has plenty of pranks up its sleeve. God says, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich . . . . Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” (Proverbs 23:4–5).

Few things are less secure than money. We work hard to earn it, yet there are many ways to lose it. Investments go sour, inflation erodes, bills come, thieves steal, and fire and flood destroy. Even if we manage to keep our money, the time we have to spend it continually flies. Blink, and your life is going, going, gone.

What to do? God tells us a few verses later: “always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off” (vv. 17–18). Invest your life in Jesus; He alone will keep you forever.

By: Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

Where does your life feel insecure? How might that lead you to Jesus?

God, help me to give my insecurities to You and to trust in Your goodness and faithfulness.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Storied Recollection

 

Aldous Huxley likened a person’s memory to one’s own collection of private literature. Housed within the confines of memory are countless pages of our own stories, perspectives, and thoughts—vast libraries uniquely existing within our own heads. It is this personal nature of memory that no doubt feeds our dismay when minds begin to slip. Forgetfulness is a fearful quality particularly because it is a quality that seems to erase part of the very person it describes.

The implications of memory are made known in the earliest pages of God’s story as told in scripture. But added to the cultural adage of Aldous Huxley is the idea that this “private literature’”can be edited. In other words, what we choose to remember affects who we are. And at that, our private literature is not entirely private; there is a communal aspect to memory as well.

Surely we see this played out within the grumblings of the rescued Israelites. From the wilderness, the writer of Numbers reports:

“Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, ‘Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.’”(1)

Recollection, like resentment, is often contagious. In this moment of hunger, Israel together remembered Egypt as a place of produce instead of prison, and together they declared their longing to return to the very place from which they had been rescued. Together they wept; together they remembered; and together they remained lost in the wilderness. What we choose to remember indeed affects who we are—individually, collectively, boldly.

The great creeds of Christianity aim themselves at a similar principle. The Church confesses what we need to remember, what we long to remember. We confess the promises of God; we confess who God is; we confess who we are. The word “creed” comes from the Latin credo, meaning “I believe.” Confessed in unison, we follow the command of God to remember collectively: “These truths I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”(2)

The earliest creeds were used precisely with this power of memory in mind. Affirmations of belief in God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit were bound to the hearts and minds of those who longed to remember. For persons standing on the precipice of faith, the creed was the statement with which they prepared themselves to jump, and in so doing, found they had been given something on which to stand—and to stand in good company.

What Christians remember in creed and confession is a vast library accounting for an exciting narrative we recollect together. As novelist Dorothy Sayers wrote more than 50 years ago:

“The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man—and the dogma is the drama…. Now we may call that doctrine exhilarating or we may call it devastating; we may call it revelation or we may call it rubbish; but if we call it dull, then words have no meaning at all. That God should play the tyrant over man is a dismal story of unrelieved oppression; that man should play the tyrant over man is the usual dreary record of human futility; but that man should play the tyrant over God and find Him a better man than himself is an astonishing drama indeed.”(3)

The things we choose to house within the confines of memory are like a great collection of stories—stories that tell who we are personally, collectively, eternally. What the Christian remembers in doctrine and history, faith and belief, so holds his identity within this great drama. God has offered a story worth remembering, and God invites each of us to remember it together, participating in the good news we proclaim in good company: “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.”(4)

 

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

 

(1) Numbers 11:4-6.
(2) Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
(3) Dorothy Sayers in Creed or Chaos (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1949), 3-7, as quoted by Michael Horton in “Creeds and Deeds: How Doctrine Leads to Doxological Living,” Modern Reformation Magazine, Vol. 15, Number 6.
(4) 1 Thessalonians 4:14.

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Joyce Meyer – What do you prefer?

 

Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor. — Romans 12:10 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource New Day New You Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Giving preference to others requires a willingness to adapt and adjust. It means to allow another to go first or to have the best of something.

We show preference when we give someone else the best cut of meat on the platter instead of keeping it back for ourselves. We show preference when we allow someone with fewer groceries in his cart than we have in ours to go in front of us at the supermarket checkout counter, or when we are waiting in line to use a public restroom and someone behind us in line is pregnant or elderly and we choose to let that individual go ahead of us.

Each time we show preference we have to make a mental adjustment. We were planning to be first, but we decide to be second. We are in a hurry, but we decide to wait on someone else who seems to have a greater need. A person is not yet rooted and grounded in love until they have learned to show preference to others (see Ephesians 3:17).

Don’t just learn to adjust, but learn to do it with a good attitude. Learning to do these things is learning to walk in love.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to truly prefer other people today with a good attitude. Help me to humble myself and love others the way You do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – God’s Secret Plan for You

 

“God has told us His secret reason for sending Christ, a plan He decided on in mercy long ago; and this was His purpose: that when the time is ripe He will gather us together from wherever we are – in heaven or on earth – to be with Him in Christ, forever” (Ephesians 1:9,10).

One day a distinguished scientist questioned Michael Faraday, chemist, electrician and philosopher.

“Have you conceived to yourself what will be your occupation in the next world?” he asked.

Hesitating a moment or two, Faraday replied, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him.” And then he added, in his own words, “I shall be with Christ, and that is enough.”

Although nearly two thousand years have passed since He walked this earth, Jesus still stands as the ultimate expression of ethics and morality. Whatever one might think about Christians or the church, he will find no blemishes in the character of Jesus.

Perhaps the greatest testimony that can be given regarding the character of Jesus’ teachings is that they are still changing men and nations throughout the world today. Now, as before, those who listen to Him inevitably say “No man ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46, RSV).

God’s Word tells us that Jesus had the same temptations we do, though He never once gave way to them and sinned (Hebrews 4:15). Our Lord thus stands out as the supreme example of one who practiced the things that He taught to others and that He expects of His followers.

We still stand today in the shadow of God’s sure promise: “For God has allowed us to know the secret of His plan, and it is this: He purposes in His sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in Him. And here is the staggering thing that in all which will belong to Christ we have been promised a share” (Ephesians 1:9-11, Phillips).

Bible Reading: Ephesians 1:11-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will meditate upon the fact that I am a child of God, and heir of God and joint-heir with Christ; and upon the startling, incredible fact that I am related to Him and share with Him in all of this indescribable privilege and blessing. As a result I will claim His supernatural love and power and will speak more freely to others of my relationship with Him.

 

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Max Lucado – Stephen Remembered

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

The greatest example of humility is none other than Jesus Christ.  Who had more reason to boast than he?  Yet he never did.  He was utterly reliant upon the Father and the Holy Spirit.

What gift are you giving that he did not first give?  You love. But who loved you first?  You serve. But who served the most?  What are you doing for God that he could not do alone?  How kind of him to use us.  How wise of us to remember.

Stephen remembered.  As Stephen’s accusers reached for their rocks, he looked toward Christ. “Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God; he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand” (Acts 7:55).  Stephen stood on behalf of Christ, and in the end, Christ returned the favor.

Read more Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference

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Denison Forum – One senator could decide impeachment process: History turns on tiny hinges

 

The impeachment trial continued yesterday as senators asked more questions of the House Democratic managers and President Trump’s defense team. The Senate will vote today on whether to introduce additional evidence in the trial.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R–Tennessee) announced late last night that he would vote against such a motion. His decision is considered a “strong indication” that Republicans have the votes to block such a step. If this proves true, the Senate could complete the trial later today, though Democrats have indicated they may force additional votes that could extend the process into early Saturday.

One senator could shorten the impeachment trial 

We will discuss the implications of the trial’s conclusion after it occurs. In the meantime, let’s consider a strategic factor at this stage of the trial.

The Senate is composed of fifty-three Republicans, forty-five Democrats, and two Independents. For the Senate to call further witnesses, all the Democrats and Independents would have to be joined by four Republicans. Sen. Susan Collins (R–Maine) said last night that she would vote in favor of new witnesses; Sen. Mitt Romney (R–Utah) has said he would like to hear testimony from John Bolton, President Trump’s former national security advisor.

This leaves Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R–Alaska), another swing vote, who said she would announce her position today. If she intends to vote in favor of more witnesses, the decision would likely result in a fifty-fifty tie. The tie could be broken by the presiding officer, Chief Justice John Roberts, but observers believe he would abstain. The motion would then fail because it did not succeed.

In other words, Sen. Alexander’s decision not to seek further witnesses could prove decisive in concluding the trial.

When the final vote comes, sixty-seven senators will be required to convict the president. While this is considered highly unlikely, note that a number of Americans smaller than the smallest county in America (Kalawao County, Hawaii, with eighty-eight residents) could remove a president from office for the first time in US history.

Players in the Super Bowl comprise 5.4 percent of the NFL 

Sen. Alexander’s announcement is just one example of the fact that history turns on tiny hinges.

A second example is the China coronavirus, which the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency yesterday. (For my response, please see my website article, “The WHO declares China virus a global health emergency: Two biblical responses.”) The crisis likely started at a seafood market in Wuhan, China, and has now spread to at least twenty-three other countries.

Continue reading Denison Forum – One senator could decide impeachment process: History turns on tiny hinges