Charles Stanley – When We Seek God

 

2 Chronicles 34:1-33

Take a moment to clear your mind, and breathe. Now ask yourself this question with the intention of being completely honest: What am I seeking most in life?

The majority of people in the world are seeking things they will never be able to keep once this lifetime is over. However, true fulfillment comes only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and that is eternal. Like Josiah in today’s passage, we too can seek that relationship with the Lord. It requires a desire to …

Find out what He is like. Examining God’s Word in depth gives us more understanding of who God is and how He relates to His creation.

Fellowship with Him intimately. Spending time alone with God reorients our heart with His, but it must be quality time—consistent, alone, quiet, and unhurried.

Follow Him more closely. The more you allow the Holy Spirit to work His Word into your heart, the more you will want to obey and please our heavenly Father.

These three things undoubtedly bring us closer to God, but we have to make the decision to pursue them. Do you want to seek God? Let us resolve to know and love Him more today, and turn to Him for help.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 25-26

 

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Our Daily Bread — Praying Like Jesus

 

Bible in a Year:

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.

Luke 22:42

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Luke 22:39–44

Every coin has two sides. The front is called “heads” and, from early Roman times, usually depicts a country’s head of state. The back is called “tails,” a term possibly originating from the British ten pence depicting the raised tail of a heraldic lion.

Like a coin, Christ’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane possesses two sides. In the deepest hours of His life, on the night before He died on a cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). When Christ says, “take this cup,” that’s the raw honesty of prayer. He reveals His personal desire, “This is what I want.”

Then Jesus turns the coin, praying “not my will.” That’s the side of abandon. Abandoning ourselves to God begins when we simply say, “But what do You want, God?”

This two-sided prayer is also included in Matthew 26 and Mark 14 and is mentioned in John 18. Jesus prayed both sides of prayer: take this cup (what I want, God), yet not My will (what do You want, God?), pivoting between them.

Two sides of Jesus. Two sides of prayer.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

What might we learn if we prayed honestly and with complete abandon, as Jesus did? What situation are you facing right now where you can pray honestly yet with abandon to God?

Father, help me follow the example of Your Son, who spent everything so that I might possess real life that includes experiencing intimate prayer with You.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Man of Sorrows

 

“Prosperity, pleasure, and success may be rough of grain and common in fibre, but sorrow is the most sensitive of all created things.”

Those are the words of the famed pleasure seeker, Oscar Wilde. In his De Profundis, written in prison, he wrote with profound earnestness about how much sorrow had taught him. He went on to add, “Where there is sorrow there is holy ground. Some day people will realize what that means. They will know nothing of life till they do.”

As I reflect on those words, I take note first of the one who wrote them. A life of pain was the farthest thing from his mind when he made his choices. In that sense, none of us ever really choose sorrow. But I take note of something else in his words. His claim is bold; he is not merely confessing an idea written across his worldview, but one he insists is written across the world: Sorrow is holy ground and those who do not learn to walk there know nothing of what living means. What he means at the very least is that some of life’s most sacred truths are learned in the midst of sorrow. He learned, for example, that raw unadulterated pleasure for pleasure’s sake is never a fulfilling pleasure. Violation of the sacred in the pursuit of happiness is not truly a source of happiness. In fact, it kills happiness because it can run roughshod over many a victim. Pleasure that profanes is pleasure that destroys.

Sorrow on the other hand—while never pursued—comes into one’s life and compels us to see our own finitude and frailty. It demands of us seriousness and tenderness if we are to live life the way it is meant to be lived. One of the most important things sorrow does is to show us what it needs and responds to. Wilde said it himself: “Sorrow is a wound that bleeds when any hand but that of love touches it, and even then must bleed again, though not in pain.”

Of all the descriptions given about Jesus, there is one that unabashedly stands out to confront us. It is a description uttered by the prophet Isaiah, prodding mind and heart at once: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Like one from whom men hide their faces; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:3). Whether holding glimpses of global suffering or personal pain and loss or both, Isaiah’s is a fitting description to reflect upon.

Maybe you are at a time in your life when hurt is writ large upon your thoughts. Jesus is not unacquainted with your pain. In fact, he draws near particularly with a hand of love. Your wound may still bleed for a while to remind you of your weakness. But he can help carry the pain to carry you in strength. This could indeed be holy ground for you. It most certainly was for him.

 

Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

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http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – I Will Not Fear!

 

The Lord is my helper; I will not fear…. — Hebrews 13:6 (ESV)

There was a time in my life when I had more fears than I could count. I was always afraid the absolute worst would happen. I worried about our finances, our kids, the state of the world and what tomorrow would bring. As a result, I couldn’t enjoy my life or have the peace God wanted to give me.

Fear is one of the primary weapons Satan uses to keep us from moving forward and enjoying the good life God has for us. Especially when something negative happens, the enemy wants us to focus on all of the “what ifs” and fill our lives with worry and anxiety. He desires to pull our focus away from God’s love and faithfulness.

The Bible says, There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… (1 John 4:18 NIV). Understanding God’s love is the antidote for fear! God wants us to know just how much He loves us and desires to help us.

When I think of my own children, especially when they were younger, there’s almost nothing I wouldn’t do to help them if they were in trouble. Or if someone tried to harm them, they’d better watch out…because no one gets between a mom and her kids!

If we feel this way about our children, then how do you think God feels about us? And unlike us, He has no limitations. Nothing is impossible with Him—He can help us in every situation, on every occasion.

Hebrews 13:5-6 (AMP) is one my favorite passages of Scripture. Just look at what God says about you: “…I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless, nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!

Remember, whatever you’re facing today, God is bigger than your worries, your problems and your fears. He knows every one of your needs before you ever have them, and He delights in taking care of you.

Pray: “God, when I am fearful, help me to focus on Your love and faithfulness. Especially during times of difficulty or uncertainty, fill my heart with Your peace and help me to place my trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Clothed in Christ

 

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves in Christ” (Galatians 3:27, NAS).

You may be surprised, as I was, at the result of our personal surveys having to do with church members and salvation.

Such surveys indicate that somewhere between 50 and 90% of all church members are not sure of their salvation. Like Martin Luther, John Wesley and many others who became mighty ambassadors for Christ, some spend many years “serving God” before they experience the assurance and reality of their salvation.

The pastor of a large fashionable church of 1,500 members once reacted negatively when I shared these statistics, doubting that such large percentages of church members lacked assurance of their salvation.

He decided personally to survey his own congregation at the church where he had served as senior pastor for 15 years. To his amazement and shock, more than 75% of the membership indicated they were not sure of their salvation.

The following Sunday, the pastor arranged for the Four Spiritual Laws booklet, which contains the distilled essence of the gospel, to be distributed to each member of the congregation.

For his sermon he read the contents of the booklet aloud, as the congregation followed him, reading from their own copies of the Four Laws. Then he invited all who wished to receive Christ as their Savior and Lord to read aloud with him the prayer contained in the booklet. Almost the entire congregation joined in the prayer audibly. As a result the church was changed, because changed individuals in sufficient numbers equal a changed church, a changed community and a changed nation.

Have you clothed yourself in Christ?

Bible Reading: Galatians 4:4-7

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will not take for granted that I have found faith in Christ simply because I belong to a church, nor will I assume that all church members have assurance of their salvation. I shall encourage all who are not sure to receive Christ and be clothed in His righteousness.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God is Testing the Church

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I think God is testing the church.  By that I mean He is strengthening us.  He’s calling upon us to be the people He desires for His church to be.

You will remember that when Jesus fed that crowd of 5,000 men plus women and children, the gospel tells us that Jesus tested his followers by telling them to feed those people.  They could have and they should have looked to him and said, “Lord, you can do this.”  And so that’s the call of the church right now…to be the people who come to God and say, God we cannot solve this but you can.

Bless our leaders.  Bless those in research.  Bless those who are vulnerable, we ask you Lord.  So let’s be that people, folks.  Let’s be people who call out to God in asking for help. We’re gonna get through this.  I’m not saying it’s going to be easy.  I’m not saying it’s gonna be quick.  But God will take this and He will use it for good.

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – Woman allegedly tosses Molotov cocktail at boyfriend’s residence: April Fools and the urgency of collective prayer

April Fool’s Day has seldom seemed less appropriate than in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. But in the spirit of the day, let’s begin with the story of a woman in New Jersey who violated her state’s stay-at-home order when she allegedly tossed a Molotov cocktail at a boyfriend’s residence.

She has been charged with a disorderly persons offense for violating the governor’s order. As you might expect, she also faces arson and weapons charges. Fortunately, as the Attorney General’s office noted, her weapon “did not detonate.”

An asteroid the width of Manhattan Island 

For some more good news on this April 1: a giant, “potentially hazardous” asteroid will miss us this month. NASA has named the asteroid 1998 OR2. It is about the width of Manhattan Island and could wreak havoc if it crashed into Earth.

However, at its closest it will be 3.9 million miles from us (more than sixteen times the average distance between us and the moon). We won’t see it again until May 18, 2031. It will return again in 2048, 2062, and 2079, when it will only be 1.1 million miles away.

When I read about 1998 OR2, here was my thought: How do NASA’s experts know how far it will be from us? Or when it will return?

I had a similar question while walking early yesterday morning. Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter were all visible in the predawn sky. Or so a website told me. I would have otherwise been unable to name them or to know that they are planets in our solar system.

As I continued walking, I realized that I don’t know how to make anything that I saw. I don’t know how to make bricks, much less a brick house. I don’t know how to make a car’s fender, much less the entire car. I couldn’t make the concrete on which I was walking or the clothes I was wearing.

Nearly everything we take for granted is something some group of people didn’t take for granted. Rather, they pooled their experience and expertise to do what none of them could have done alone.

“The main business of their lives” 

I am taking us down this road to make a point that relates directly to our spiritual awakening series this week.

President Trump told Americans yesterday to brace for “a very painful two weeks” as public health officials warn that the coronavirus pandemic could leave 100,000 to 240,000 people in the US dead. We are responding to a crisis that is unprecedented in my lifetime by seeking a spiritual awakening that is also unprecedented in my lifetime.

We’re focusing on this familiar text: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Yesterday, we discussed the foundational urgency of humility, noting that God cannot give what we will not admit we need. Today we’ll consider God’s call to pray. The Hebrew word means to “entreat, supplicate, beg.” It is also collective, meaning to pray as a nation for the nation.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Woman allegedly tosses Molotov cocktail at boyfriend’s residence: April Fools and the urgency of collective prayer