Charles Stanley – The Resurrection and the Gospel

 

Romans 10:5-11

If you were to briefly explain the gospel to someone, what would you include? It would be necessary to explain: the reason we all need salvation—our sin; the identity of the Savior—God’s Son, who chose to become a man; and the price He paid for our forgiveness—His death on the cross. Another important thing to include would be how one can be saved—by repenting of sin, believing in Christ, and calling on Him for salvation.

However, there is one more essential aspect: belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9). If people deny this, they have rejected the gospel and cannot be saved. The resurrection proves that Jesus is the Son of God, who overcame death. It also affirms that God was satisfied with His Son’s death as the sacrifice for mankind’s sins.

The disciples considered Christ’s resurrection an essential part of the gospel they proclaimed. As eyewitnesses, they were so convinced of this that nothing could dissuade them. The resurrection was also the primary message Paul delivered as he traveled around the Roman world, preaching the gospel. And it should be our message as well. Because Christ rose from the dead, we have assurance of both God’s forgiveness and our own future resurrection.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 18-19

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Standing Firm

 

Bible in a Year:

Stand firm. Let nothing move you.

1 Corinthians 15:58

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Mark 15:33–41

In the Middle Eastern country where they live, Adrian and his family suffer persecution for their faith. Yet, through it all, they demonstrate Christ’s love. Standing in his church courtyard, which was pummeled by bullets when terrorists used it as training ground, he said, “Today is Good Friday. We remember that Jesus suffered for us on the cross.” And suffering, he continued, is something that believers in Jesus there understand. But his family chooses to remain in their homeland: “We’re still here, still standing.”

These believers follow the example of the women who stood watching as Jesus died on the cross (Mark 15:40). They—including Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and Salome—were brave to stay there, for friends and family members of an enemy of the state could be ridiculed and punished. Yet the women showed their love for Jesus by their very presence with Him. Even as they “followed him and cared for his needs” in Galilee (v. 41), they stood with Him at His hour of deepest need.

On this day when we remember the greatest gift of our Savior, His death on a cross, take a moment to consider how we can stand for Jesus as we face trials of many kinds (see James 2:2–4). Think too about our fellow believers around the world who suffer for their faith. As Adrian asked, “Can you please stand with us in your prayers?” Watch Moti Vaknin’s devotional video, “Jesus, the Divine,” to learn more about Christ’s death and resurrection.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – In the Depths

“My baby’s dead! My baby’s dead! My baby’s dead!” This is the cacophonous refrain playing from the living room as I am jolted out of slumber by my father. What is this awful sound? Why is my mom screaming?

“Mikey’s dead, son.” Mikey? My dad never called Mike Mikey, but there is no easy way to tell a 5-year-old child that their brother has died. Adding a “yto the end of his name was about the best he could do to soften the blow. As the reality of the situation sank in, the world began to taste and feel a little different. There had been an irreversible rupture in the cosmos. My brother, Mike, in his senior year of high school, had just been killed in a car accident along with one of his best friends. Jesus did not, so far as we can tell, take the wheel, as the song goes. The wheel stayed on its path to destruction, reminding us all that chaos lurks behind every façade of safety in a broken world. April 28, 1988: The day my mother entered into Mary’s Good Friday passion.

Mom was not the same for a very long time. My father tells me that we would often find her crying alone. By some sort of inner prompting, my 5-year-old self would sit on her lap and hug her, tell her everything would be okay, and that I loved her. These moments were very special and cemented a close bond between mom and me. Sometimes we need someone to mourn with us, sometimes to encourage us, and sometimes both. Christians may take some sort of pride in looking different from the world, but when it comes to death we often look very much the same: afraid.

For centuries, theologians overlooked the question of how Mary might have felt, but debated whether one could use the phrase “God died on the cross.” The most debated portion of the Apostle’s Creed is that portion which affirms that Jesus did, in fact, go to the land of the dead after his death. Jesus died. The Messiah died. God’s chosen one, the Son of God, the Son of Man suffered, died, and was buried. But long before this became a confession that the church would uphold through centuries, plagues, and persecution, Mary was not thinking of doctrines. She was agonizing over the loss of her son. She was present at the crucifixion, one of the few remaining people from his life to see him off. Mary was thinking: my baby is dead. He was alive. Now he is not.

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Joyce Meyer – Small Beginnings

 

Who [with reason] despises the day of small things? … — Zechariah 4:10 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Ending You Day Right – by Joyce Meyer

Right now, you’re probably believing God for something big to come to pass in your life—maybe a job, a relationship, a dream, or something else deep in your heart. If you look, you’ll find evidence of a small beginning. God always gives you seed—even if only a little, tiny seed—something that causes you to hope. Focus on that seed. Rejoice over that seed. It’s a sign of greater things to come.

When you despise something, you regard it lightly; you count it as nothing and don’t take care of it. But if you don’t take care of what God gives you, you will lose it. That’s why we have to learn to be content while things still seem small.

You know God is the Author and the Finisher of our faith, and everything else in our lives (see Hebrews 12:2). What He starts, He always completes (see Philippians 1:6). Don’t kill your seed by complaining or speaking negative things over it. Instead, say things like, “Lord, this is only a little thing right now, but thank You for giving me some hope, something to hold on to. Thank You, Jesus, for a beginning.”

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for the beginnings You’ve placed in my life, even though they may be small. Please help me to care for those seeds well, and to trust You to bring the big dreams in my heart to life. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – His Gifts and Powers 

 

“It is the same and only Holy Spirit who gives all these gifts and powers, deciding which each of us should have” (1 Corinthians 12:11).

As I counsel in the area of Christian service, I find much confusion among many Christians regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Believers often are so involved in trying to discover or receive additional spiritual gifts that they are not developing and using their known gifts and abilities to do God’s will.

For this reason, I caution against going to great lengths to discover one’s spiritual gifts. Rather than emphasize gifts, I encourage a person to surrender fully to the lordship of Jesus Christ and appropriate by faith the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Then, by faith and hard work, while depending on the Holy Spirit, a person can set out with determination to accomplish that to which God has called him.

Paul wrote about this important principle in his letter to the Philippians:

“Dearest friends, when I was there with you, you were always so careful to follow my instructions. And now that I am away you must be even more careful to do the good things that result from being saved, obeying God with deep reverence, shrinking back from all that might displease Him….

“For I can do everything God asks me to do with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power” (Philippians 2:12; 4-13). This, of course, can be done only if a Christian totally submits himself to the lordship of Jesus Christ and the control of the Holy Spirit.

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 12:1-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I’ll be more concerned about being yielded to the moment-by-moment direction and control of God’s Holy Spirit than about discovering my spiritual gift(s).

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – A Lesson in Trust

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

In one of Henri Nouwen’s books, he tells about the lesson of trust he learned from a great trapeze artist.  The acrobat said, “The flyer does nothing and the catcher does everything.  I have simply to reach out my arms and hands and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely over the apron.”  The flyer must trust, with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him.”

In the great trapeze act of salvation, God is the catcher, and we are the flyers.  We trust.  Period.  We rely solely upon God’s ability to catch us.  And as we trust him, a wonderful thing happens– we fly!  Your Father has never dropped anyone.  He will not drop you.  His grip is sturdy and his hands are open.  Place yourself entirely in his care.  As you do, you will find it is possible, yes possible, to be anxious for nothing!

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 – Meet the Christ family, who worship in a prairie chapel: A Good Friday meditation

This is the first Good Friday in Christian history to be observed primarily online. Millions of Christians are attending worship services through digital means.

Unless they have their own chapel, that is.

The Christ family (pronounced “Crist”) lives on a slice of pastureland an hour southeast of Oklahoma City. They usually worship with the Wewoka Church of Christ. But three years ago, Ryan Christ constructed a tiny chapel, about twelve feet wide and twenty-five feet long, on their property. It has six small pews and can hold about a dozen non-social-distancing adults.

As the Christian Chronicle article notes, “That’s more than enough for a family of four, stuck at home in the midst of a pandemic.”

According to his wife, Ryan is always looking for ways to share his faith. His last name helps. When people ask him if he’s related to Jesus Christ, “he always comes back with, ‘I’m not him, but I know him,’” she says.

“The symbol of Christianity is an instrument of death” 

So can we, because of what happened on this day twenty centuries ago.

Karl Barth is often considered the most important theologian of the twentieth century. In 1962, on his one visit to America, he was asked how he would summarize the millions of words he had published. Barth replied, “Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so.”

And what the Bible tells us is that Jesus loves us enough to die for us.

Frederick Buechner observed: “A six-pointed star, a crescent moon, a lotus—the symbols of other religions suggest beauty and light. The symbol of Christianity is an instrument of death.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – Meet the Christ family, who worship in a prairie chapel: A Good Friday meditation