Charles Stanley – What If Christ Hadn’t Been Resurrected?

 

1 Corinthians 15:12-20

Have you ever considered what your life would be like if Jesus had not been raised from the dead? Paul explained the dire consequences of such a scenario and the effect it would have on every believer.

The Christian faith would be worthless. There would be no gospel to preach and no reason to go to church. And if anyone did preach the resurrection, he’d be a false witness.

Jesus would be proved a liar, since He predicted His resurrection. He’d be just like any other sinful man who was crucified. Moreover, this lie would make it difficult to believe anything the Bible said.

There would be no pardon for sin. Without the resurrection, which was the proof that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice, there would be no basis for the forgiveness of our transgressions.

We would have no hope after death. Instead of being raised to eternal life in heaven, we’d all be doomed to eternal punishment and separation from God.

Seeing the horrible alternative often leads to greater appreciation of the truth. We can rejoice that Christ has been raised, our faith is valid, the Bible is true, our sins are forgiven, and our hope of resurrection is secure.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 15-17

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Surrendering All

 

Bible in a Year:

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

Mark 10:28

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Mark 10:26–31

Two men remembered for serving others for Jesus left careers in the arts to commit themselves to where they believed God had called them. James O. Fraser (1886–1938) decided not to pursue being a concert pianist in England to serve the Lisu people in China, while the American Judson Van DeVenter (1855–1939) chose to become an evangelist instead of pursuing a career in art. He later wrote the hymn “I Surrender All.”

While having a vocation in the arts is the perfect calling for many, these men believed God called them to relinquish one career for another. Perhaps they found inspiration from Jesus counseling the rich, young ruler to give up his possessions to follow Him (Mark 10:17–25). Witnessing the exchange, Peter exclaimed, “We have left everything to follow you!” (v. 28). Jesus assured him that God would give those who follow Him “a hundred times as much in this present age” and eternal life (v. 30). But He would give according to His wisdom: “Many who are first will be last, and the last first” (v. 31).

No matter where God has placed us, we’re called to daily surrender our lives to Christ, obeying His gentle call to follow Him and serve Him with our talents and resources—whether in the home, office, community, or far from home. Watch Annahita Parsan’s devotional video, “Jesus, the Revolutionary.” She surrendered to God’s call to share the gospel in Sweden. As we submit to His call, He’ll also inspire us to love others.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Longing for Restoration

My wife and I have now had the chance to attend a couple of performances by the excellent Atlanta Symphony Orchestra where we listened to the rarely performed Symphony No. 5 by British composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams. I have always enjoyed his music, but about halfway through each performance, I found myself wondering why I find it so gripping, soothing, and even a tad, well, unsettling. Throughout his music, there is a sense of unease with flashes of calm or peace or whatever you want to call it breaking through.

Vaughan Williams wrote with a sense of the ominous on the horizon. As a medic during the First World War, looking across the shredded French landscape, he surely considered that something so big was happening as to change the world forever. He struggled to reconcile something so heartbreaking with what was once pristine. This violent transition signaled the sad reality of loss.

These thoughts fueled his Symphony No. 3 also known as the Pastoral Symphony, which he completed after the war. Beset by trench warfare, Vaughan Williams produced one of the most memorable pieces of 20th century music: at turns slow and somber, haunting and full of melancholy, and yet containing moments of hope and even triumphalism. The piece aurally paints a picture of beauty slipping away never to be recovered. In so much of his music, one finds a sense of sadness. But even more than this is the constant feeling of universal longing. Longing for a place we once had or shared. Longing for a time unmarred by panic, whether made by humanity or nature. Longing toward restoration and wholeness.

One of the Bible’s most gripping descriptions of longing comes from Deuteronomy 28:32. With dramatic examples, Moses describes life as it might look apart from God, broken and marred. “Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and fail with longing for them all the day.” Here the Hebrew term translates “longing” (kaleh) to “failing with desire.”

What a vision for us today. We see a way of life we have enjoyed for a century, and we feel it slipping out of our hands. Falling stocks, a frozen housing market, retirement plans jettisoned, weddings and funerals conducted with no one in attendance. Not the life we were brought up to expect or for which most of us saved and looked toward. We long for what we thought was promised us. But right now, we look upon all of this with failing eyes.

The last weeks have been surreal. Videos of over-capacity emergency rooms. Government officials coming to grasp how to navigate an unseen enemy. Social distancing. “Stay-in-place” orders. Businesses closing. Death unfolding in real time. To be sure, we are not embroiled in a global military conflict. But we have lost our sense of normalcy, and we are grasping with how to cope with it.

The notion that we would long for something necessarily implies that we are not satisfied. C.S. Lewis is well-known for suggesting that our longings indicate that we are made for another place and time.(1) It is a natural state for our souls to long for something, and our earthly desires serve to alert us to a real, if eventual, fulfillment of what truly satisfies.

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Joyce Meyer – How Many Times Should I Pray?

 

Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened. — Matthew 7:7-8 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day – by Joyce Meyer

I don’t believe we can make any strict rules on how often we should pray about the same thing, but I do think there are some guidelines that might help us to have more confidence in the power of prayer.

For instance, if my children need something, I want them to trust me to do what they’ve asked me to do. I wouldn’t mind, and might even like it, if they occasionally said, “Boy, Mom, I’m sure looking forward to those new shoes.” That statement would tell me that they believed I was going to do what I promised. They would actually be reminding me of my promise, but in a way that didn’t question my integrity.

When I ask the Lord for something in prayer and that request comes to my mind later, I talk to Him about it again. But when I do, I ask Him confidently, not as if I think He didn’t hear me the first time. I thank God that He’s working on the situation, and then let Him know I’m anticipating that He’s going to take care of me.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to pray confidently, knowing that You know my needs and you’re working to meet each one. Thank You for being faithful! In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Examples of His Love 

 

“Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions” (1 John 3:18).

The story is told about two farmers. Every day, one of them would haul pails of water up the steep slope to his terraced field and irrigate his meager crop.

The second farmer tilled the terrace just below, and he would poke a hole in the dyke and let the other farmer’s water run down into his field.

The first farmer was upset. Being a Christian, he went to his pastor and asked for advice. The pastor told him to keep on watering as before and to say nothing. So, the farmer returned to his fields and the watering of his crop, but the farmer below him continued to drain off his water. Nothing had changed.

After a few days, the first farmer went to his pastor again. The pastor told him to go a step further – to water his neighbor’s crop! So the next day, the farmer brought water to his neighbor’s field and watered the crops. After that, he watered his own field.

This went on for three days, and not a word was exchanged between the two farmers. But after the third day, the second farmer came to the first farmer.

“How do I become a Christian?” he asked.

There is a saying, ‘Love your friends and hate your enemies.’ But I say: Love your enemies!…If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathens do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48).

Bible Reading: I John 3:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will make every effort to demonstrate the love of Christ by the way I act toward others.

RELATED TOPICS:

1 John 3 Devotional

 

 

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Max Lucado – But God is Good

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

There’s a reason the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror.  Your future matters more than your past!  God’s grace is greater than your sin.  You thought the problem was your calendar, your marriage, your job.  In reality, it’s this unresolved guilt!  Don’t indulge it.  Don’t drown in the bilge of your own condemnation.  What you did was not good.  But your God is good.  And He will forgive you.

He is ready to write a new chapter in your life.  Say with Paul, “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us” (Philippians 3:13-14). Your salvation has nothing to do with your work and everything to do with the finished work of Christ on the  cross.  Rejoice in the Lord’s mercy!

Read more Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – William and Kate made a video call to children of frontline workers: The best way to measure greatness

One of the most famous couples in the world went online this week to speak with school children whose parents are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, made a video call to pupils and staff from Casterton Primary Academy in Lancashire, in northwestern England.

The students wore Easter-themed bunny ears and presented them with a virtual bouquet of paper flowers. Their parents are working in the National Health Service and social care, as well as serving in supermarkets and making deliveries.

One of them told the duke that the “first William was called William the Conqueror.” The children then wanted to know, “What do you want to be called in a thousand years’ time?” He laughed and said he didn’t think he could answer that.

Your title is your towel 

On this Maundy Thursday, Jesus redefined greatness when he washed the dirty, smelly, mud-caked feet of men who would soon abandon, deny, and betray him. He then taught us, “I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:15).

And he added a “new commandment”: “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (v. 34). “Just as” means “in the same way” or “to the same degree.”

Here’s why obedience to his commandment is so crucial: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (v. 35). Not because we preach sermons or write Daily Articles. Not because we attend church services or work as elders or deacons. Not because we earn and donate large sums of money.

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