Charles Stanley – Salvation Is From God

 

Ephesians 2:1-9

Do you ever doubt that you’re saved? Once we ask Jesus into our heart, we’re saved. He never leaves us. John 10:28 says that nothing can snatch us out of His hand, but sometimes we might still feel uncertain. Maybe we can’t remember the specific time and place of our decision to follow Him. Or perhaps we’ve messed up and sinned so badly that we wonder how He could forgive us. Let’s see what the Bible says about it.

God made us alive Together with Christ by raising Him from the dead (Eph. 2:4-5). We’re all born dead in our sins. There’s nothing we can do to make ourselves spiritually alive; our salvation is the result of God’s love and mercy. And once He makes us alive, we can never become spiritually dead again.

We’re saved by God’s grace, not by our goodness or performance. Ephesians 2:8-9 tell us, “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.” We didn’t do anything to deserve or earn God’s grace, yet He still chose to save us.

Our salvation isn’t because of our goodness or works, nor is it maintained by us. We’re saved simply through faith and should recognize that as God’s gift. As a result, we enjoy the blessings of belonging to His family, and one day we will know the full reality of being seated with Jesus in heaven (Eph. 2:6).

Bible in One Year: Numbers 11-13

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — The Miracle of White Snow

 

Bible in a Year:

  • Leviticus 13
  • Matthew 26:26–50

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.

Isaiah 1:18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Isaiah 1:15–20

In the seventeenth century, Sir Isaac Newton used a prism to study how light helps us see different colors. He found that when light passes through an object, the object appears to possess a specific color. While a single ice crystal looks translucent, snow is made up of many ice crystals smashed together. When light passes through all of the crystals, snow appears to be white.

The Bible mentions something else that has a certain color—sin. Through the prophet Isaiah, God confronted the sins of the people of Judah and described their sin as “like scarlet” and as “red as crimson.” But God promised they would “be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). How? Judah needed to turn away from wrongdoing and seek God’s forgiveness.

Thanks to Jesus, we have permanent access to God’s forgiveness. Jesus called Himself “the light of the world” and said whoever follows Him “will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). When we confess our sins, God forgives us and we’re seen through the light of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. This means that God sees us as He sees Jesus—blameless.

We don’t have to wallow in the guilt and shame of what we’ve done wrong. Instead, we can hold on to the truth of God’s forgiveness, which makes us “white as snow.”

By: Linda Washington

Reflect & Pray

What does it mean to be completely forgiven? What helps you remember that God has forgiven you?

Heavenly Father, thank You for the forgiveness You freely offer.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – God’s Two Poems

Typically, people think science and miracles are at odds. That’s what I once thought. But in fact, it’s only within the regularity of science that God can reveal Himself to us mirac­ulously. It is science that makes miracles possible. It’s only because scientifically virgins don’t get pregnant that God can reveal Him­self in a virgin birth. It’s only because scientifically people don’t rise from the dead that God can reveal Himself through a resurrection. And likewise, God can reveal Himself in each of our lives.

The more I talk with people, the more convinced I am that the experience of miracles is universal. I like asking people, even the most scientific of people, “Have you ever had an experience that made you think there might be a God?” Usually there is an awkward lull and then some nervous laughter, but, if you wait long enough, almost without fail the person will say, “Well, there was this one time when…” And then they will tell you a remarkable story that has God’s signature all over it!

Most of the people I speak to have amazing stories, but they’re worried that they are the only one. They’re worried that others will think they’re weird. They start to wonder if maybe it’s all just in their heads. We need to share our stories, and we need to invite others to share their stories as well.

Here’s a story of seeing God’s finely tuned design in an individual life. A student from China showed up at a university open forum where I was speaking. One of my colleagues, Daniel, greeted her, and she said her name was “Alva.” My colleague replied, “That’s an interesting name; what does it mean?” Alva responded, “It means ‘by grace washed white as snow.’”

Daniel’s eyes went wide, and he asked Alva if she was a Chris­tian. She said, “No, not at all.” Daniel said, “Do you realize that your name is basically the heart of the Christian message?” She had no idea; she had just chosen this for her English name because she liked the sound of it.

Daniel began to explain the Christian message to her, and she was increasingly being drawn to God. Then the talk started, and halfway through the talk I quoted and put up on a PowerPoint slide, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). Daniel excitedly tapped the shoulder of Alva, who looked astonished and said, “I told you; that’s your name!”

At the end of the talk, Daniel and another of our colleagues con­tinued to explain to Alva the love that God has for her and the sacri­fice that God made for her. Alva decided she wanted to be a Christian, and my friends had the supreme privilege of praying with her to affirm that commitment.

There is one more detail to the story that fills me with awe. My talk for that night was already typed and printed before the week began, and the PowerPoint was done. But at lunchtime of that same day, my wife, Jo, and I had a distinct sense that something was miss­ing from the talk. So we rushed home after a lunchtime event, and we added just one additional handwritten page to the talk and just one additional PowerPoint slide.

What did that slide read? Isaiah 1:18: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” God beautifully crafted all the details of that day so Christ could reach out to that one young woman named Alva.

There are two things in the Bible that are spoken of as God’s poem. First, Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world God’s invis­ible qualities…have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” The Greek word for “what has been made” is poiemasin, from which we get the word poem. God’s creation is the poem of God.

Second, there is Ephesians 2:8–10: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” For we are God’s “handi­work.” Another translation says we are God’s “masterpiece,” and this is the same word—poiema.

God not only designed the universe; God designed Alva and named her, and God has plans for her life as carefully fine-tuned as God’s plan for the cosmos. The same is true of each of us.

Vince Vitale is director of the Zacharias Institute at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

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http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – Simple Believing Prayer

 

And when you pray, do not heap up phrases (multiply words, repeating the same ones over and over) as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their much speaking. — Matthew 6:7 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource The Confident Women Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

I was dissatisfied with my prayer life for many years. I was committed to praying every morning, but I always felt something was missing. I finally asked God what was wrong, and He responded in my heart by saying, “Joyce, you don’t feel that your prayers are good enough.” I wasn’t enjoying prayer because I had no confidence that my prayers were acceptable.

Too often we get caught up in our own works concerning prayer. Sometimes we try to pray so long, loud, or fancy that we lose sight of the fact that prayer is really just conversation with God. The length or loudness or eloquence of our prayer is not the issue. The only important elements to prayer are the sincerity of our hearts and a confidence that God hears and will answer us.

We can be confident that even if we simply say, “God help me,” He hears and will answer. We can depend on God to be faithful to do what we have asked Him to do as long as what we’re asking is in agreement with His will.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to pray in line with Your Word, and to let go of the pressure to pray perfectly. Thank You for loving me, and for hearing and answering my prayers! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Set Upon a Rock

 

“For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5, KJV).

Doug and Judy stood at the graveside of their little Timothy – their only child – who had been run over by a drunken driver while riding his tricycle on the sidewalk. It was a senseless, one-in-a-million, freak kind of accident, but their little lad was gone forever from their loving embraces.

As they wept, I consoled them with the promises of God’s Word: “In the time of trouble, He shall hide us in His pavilion, in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide us. He shall set us upon a rock.”

In the words of Jesus, I shared with them His promise, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, KJV). “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27, KJV).

Man’s words are never adequate in a time like this. Only the holy, inspired Word of God, revealed through the indwelling Holy Spirit, can help us to comprehend and experience the reality of His promises.

What a joy to be able to tell people – burdened people, grieving people – that we serve God, who not only saves to the uttermost, but who also is the God of all comfort. As His Holy Spirit empowers us, let us share the good news of an all-loving, ever-wise Savior.

Bible Reading: Psalm 27:1-4

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will ask God to help me to be sensitive to the hurts and heartaches of others, so that I can comfort them with the Word of God through the enabling of the Holy Spirit. And when I face grievous troubles, I too will look to the rock, Christ Jesus, and claim His wonderful promises for comfort and strength.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – You Are Worth Dying For

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Has someone called you a lost cause?  A failure?  Has someone dismissed you as insignificant?  Don’t listen to them.  They don’t know what they’re talking about.  You were conceived by God before you were conceived by your parents.  You were loved in heaven before you were known on earth.  You aren’t an accident.

When you say yes to God you are being made into God’s image.  Print that on your resume!  In the eyes of God you are worth dying for.  Would you let this truth define the way you see yourself?  Would you let this truth define the way you see other people?  Every person you see was created by God to bear his image and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.  This is God’s plan.  This is God’s promise.  And he will fulfill it!  And because God’s promises are unbreakable our hope is unshakable!

Read more Unshakable Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Bernie Sanders wins New Hampshire: The fallacy of generic compassion and healing power of grace

New Hampshire, with a population of 1,359,711, is smaller than forty-one other American states. Manchester is its largest city, with a population of 111,196. It would be the thirteenth-largest city in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, smaller than Denton but larger than Richardson.

And yet, all eyes today are on this state after yesterday’s Democratic Party primary won by Bernie Sanders. Although Pete Buttigieg finished a close second and Amy Klobuchar surged to third place, today’s New York Times is calling Sanders “the new front-runner of the 2020 Democratic primary.”

However, some caveats are worth noting.

Since 1976, only five of the nine Democratic candidates who won in New Hampshire eventually won their party’s nomination. And only one (Jimmy Carter) went on to become president. However, no modern Democrat has won the party’s nomination without finishing first or second in the state.

Whatever the future significance of yesterday’s primary, one lesson is that the anti-Sanders vote splintered, leading to his victory. Democrats who consider Bernie Sanders unelectable are going to have to find a way to consolidate around candidates who were not their first choices.

Such compromise, however, is at the heart of American democracy. Here we can learn a surprising lesson from history with strategic significance for Christians today.

The surprising sources of our republic 

What source did the writers of the Constitution quote more than any other? The Bible. Who came in second? Charles de Montesquieu (1689–1755).

Historian William Federer notes that the French political philosopher was a favorite of Thomas Jefferson (who translated a commentary on his thought from the French). His ideas about governance were formative for Jefferson and others who formed our nation.

Montesquieu divided governments into three categories: republics, which rely on moral virtue; monarchs, which rely on honor and shame; and despots, which rely on pleasure and fear. In his view, citizens in a republic typically act as co-kings in society, remembering that they will be held individually accountable to God and behaving morally and virtuously as a result.

Monarchs working within a Christian worldview (such as the British monarchy in Montesquieu’s day) exercise unilateral authority but remember that they are accountable to the King of kings in the next life. Despots, however, rule without reference to the biblical worldview and thus reward their supporters with pleasure while dominating their other subjects through fear.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Bernie Sanders wins New Hampshire: The fallacy of generic compassion and healing power of grace