Charles Stanley – Our Choices in the Midst of Tragedy

 

Job 1:6-22, Job 2:1-10

Imagine what it felt like to be in Job’s shoes. Warriors, fire, and wind wiped out his fortune and killed his children. Then, his body was so covered with boils that he scratched at the inflamed skin with broken pottery. Had Job not believed in the Lord’s faithfulness, he probably would have taken his wife’s advice to just “curse God and die” (Job 2:9).

Job was brought low, and he didn’t know why—nor did he ever find out the reason. Thanks to Scripture, we are privy to the conversation between God and Satan, but the Lord didn’t share those details with Job. Left in the dark, he had to decide if his faith in God’s goodness would stand.

Job decided to trust God in the midst of tragedy (Job 42:2). He could have railed against the Lord, as his wife suggested. Or he might have followed his friends’ advice and racked his brain for some unconfessed sin. But neither of those actions would have been fruitful. Instead, Job chose to view everything as part of the divine plan, acknowledging the Lord’s right to do whatever He wanted for the glory of His name (Job 1:21).

Accepting the good that God sends our way is easy. Our challenge is to receive tragedy with a willing attitude and a teachable spirit. Chance is not part of the equation—nothing comes into our life except through the Lord’s permission.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 14-16

 

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Our Daily Bread — Freed from Our Cage

 

Bible in a Year:

  • Leviticus 14
  • Matthew 26:51–75

[God] brought me out into a spacious place.

Psalm 18:19

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 18:3–6, 16–19

While out taking walks, writer Martin Laird would often encounter a man with four Kerry Blue Terriers. Three of the dogs ran wild through the open fields, but one stayed near its owner, running in tight circles. When Laird finally stopped and asked about this odd behavior, the owner explained that it was a rescue dog that had spent most of his life locked in a cage. The terrier continued to run in circles as though contained inside a confined box.

The Scriptures reveal that we’re trapped and hopeless unless God rescues us. The psalmist spoke of being afflicted by an enemy, entrapped by “the snares of death” with the “cords of death . . . coiled around” him (Psalm 18:4–5). Enclosed and shackled, he cried to God for help (v. 6). And with thundering power, He “reached down . . . and took hold” of him (v. 16).

God can do the same for us. He can break the chains and release us from our confining cages. He can set us free and carry us “out into a spacious place” (v. 19). How sad it is, then, when we keep running in small circles, as if we’re still confined in our old prisons. In His strength, may we no longer be bound by fear, shame, or oppression. God has rescued us from those cages of death. We can run free.

By: Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

What are the cages that have you confined? How are you living as though an old cage still traps and holds you?

God, You say You set the captives free. Help me to believe it. Help me to live it. I want to be free. I want to be in Your spacious place.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Why Isn’t God More Obvious?

Why is it that God does not seem to approach in a much more obvious way? One answer has been that God’s existence is not a matter of reality and facts. Isn’t it more of a faith position, anyway? Isn’t it more about a leap in the dark than an embrace of evidence?

I would agree that God isn’t “forcefully obvious,” but I don’t think that this confines God to being a “take-it-or-leave-it” matter of faith. I think it makes more sense to see God as clearly visible, whilst not being forcefully obvious.

Did you know that the Bible actually recognizes the validity of this question? First, we see passages that affirm the human perception that God seems hidden. In Job 23:8-9 we read, “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.”

Interestingly, there are also many examples of God appearing as if veiled in darkness, whilst still simultaneously offering his presence.(1) For instance we read that, “The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.” Jesus, too, invites people to trust in him and then leaves and hides himself. In John we find the story of a paralytic man who is healed, but then Jesus slips away into the crowd. Luke records that as news about Jesus spread, “he often withdrew to lonely places.” Later, Jesus tells the disciples that, “Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me.” Interestingly in many of these cases, God provides a clear sense of presence, while at the same time veiling the fullness of that presence.

So perhaps an unavoidable part of the Bible’s answer to why God seems hidden is because it’s true. But why? And what about those times when we need a present God most, when God could offer us real hope in times of suffering?

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Joyce Meyer – Choose Inner Purity

 

The inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit . . . is very precious in the sight of God.— 1 Peter 3:4 (AMPC)

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

How would you label your thoughts, attitudes, imaginations, opinions, and judgments? Are they clean or corrupt? Pure or carnal?

Inner purity is a challenge that requires you to pay attention to your inner life with determination and diligence. In the beginning, it may feel like most of your thoughts, imaginations, and attitudes are corrupt. But as you keep at it (with the Holy Spirit’s help), new habits will develop, and you’ll be able to enjoy inner purity.

What you do outwardly—the things that people see—determines your reputation with people, but your inner life determines your reputation with God.

Choosing inner purity is something you do to honor God. No wonder He says a pure heart is precious in His sight!

Prayer Starter: Father, please give me grace to pay close attention to my inner life, and to consistently choose pure, positive thoughts. Thank you for helping me to walk in greater levels of purity and closeness with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Bears and He Gives

 

“What a glorious Lord! He who daily bears our burdens also gives us our salvation” (Psalm 68:19).

Did it ever occur to you that you are disobeying God when you carry your own burdens, when you are worried, frustrated and confused over circumstances? That is exactly what God’s Word says.

In 1 Peter 5:7, God gives a specific command to His children, “Cast…all your cares upon Him; for He careth for you” (KJV). Not to cast all of one’s cares upon the Lord is to disobey Him and to deny oneself that supernatural walk with God among men.

Is it not logical to believe that He who loved us so much that He was willing to give His only begotten Son would also be faithful to keep His promise to bear our burdens daily?

As the psalmist so aptly states, the Lord bears our burdens on a daily basis for the believer, the day will never come when God fails to carry our load, to strengthen us, to impart power to us through His indwelling Holy Spirit – if we but ask.

Marvel of marvels, the psalmist points out, our heavenly Father not only is our great burden-bearer; He is also the very one who gives us our salvation and the assurance of eternal life. How could anyone ask for more!

With the sure knowledge that our sins are forgiven (salvation) and the assurance that He knows all about every burden we face – more important, He bears them for us – our lives should reflect honor and glory to Him by the way in which we share His blessings and the message of His great love with others.

Provision for the supernatural life is promised in the Old Testament as well as the New, as evidenced by this glorious promise in the Psalms.

Bible Reading: Psalm 68:15-18

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will take careful inventory of my burdens and my worries and be sure that I am casting them all on the Lord with the certain knowledge that He cares for me. I will also encourage those around me to cast their cares upon the Lord.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – When It’s Time to Grow Up

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Children have a tendency to say, “Look at me!”  On the tricycle– “Look at me go!”  On the trampoline– “Look at me bounce!”  On the swing set– “Look at me swing!”  Such behavior is acceptable for children.  Yet many adults spend their grown-up years saying the same thing.  “Look at me drive this fancy car!”  “Look at me make money!”  “Look at me wear provocative clothes, or use big words, or flex my muscles.  Look at me!”

Isn’t it time we grew up?  We were made to live  a life that says, “Look at God!”  People are to look at us and see not us but the image of our Maker.  This is God’s plan.  2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “We…are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  Because God’s promises are unbreakable our hope is unshakable!

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For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – ‘The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake’: My response to an article of seismic significance

David Brooks is one of the best-known public intellectuals in America. A longtime columnist for the New York Times and a contributing writer at the Atlantic, he is also the author of several best-selling books. I have found him gracious and humble in person and have followed his writing with appreciation over the years.

However, I was more than surprised by the headline of his latest Atlantic essay: “The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake.” His article is receiving so much attention this week that I’ve chosen to summarize it and then respond to it biblically. Given the significance of this issue, today’s Daily Article is a little longer than usual.

From farms to factories 

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