Charles Stanley – Standing on Your Convictions

 

2 Timothy 3:1-17

When we watch the news, whether domestic or international, we can sometimes detect initiatives to bring down the Christian faith. The church is constantly under attack by the enemy, who influences the world to fight against our beliefs. Therefore, we must be willing to stand for our biblical convictions.

Ideological threats are a very real part of the arsenal used against Christians. As believers, we are under the guidance of Jesus Christ, and the way we fight is not with physical weapons but with the Word of God. We are His representatives, and there isn’t room for compromise with a self-indulgent culture. Instead, we should live in obedience to God and His Word. Therefore, we must be careful not to get caught up in the widely accepted values of our culture and those around us.

We need to remain strong regarding God’s truth. Then we’ll know what’s true and what’s not and be willing to take a stand for Him, regardless of the consequences. Genuine convictions are unaffected by the times, the values of the culture, or the popularity of current ideas. Christian beliefs aren’t always popular, and defending them can be uncomfortable. But remember that the Lord promises to be with us.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 8-9

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Hungry for God

 

Bible in a Year:

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.

Jeremiah 15:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Jeremiah 15:15–21

A new believer in Jesus was desperate to read the Bible. However, he’d lost his eyesight and both hands in an explosion. When he heard about a woman who read Braille with her lips, he tried to do the same—only to discover that the nerve endings of his lips had also been destroyed. Later, he was filled with joy when he discovered that he could feel the Braille characters with his tongue! He had found a way to read and enjoy the Scriptures.

Joy and delight were the emotions the prophet Jeremiah experienced when he received God’s words. “When your words came, I ate them,” he said, “they were my joy and my heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15:16). Unlike the people of Judah who despised His words (8:9), Jeremiah had been obedient and rejoiced in them. His obedience, however, also led to the prophet being rejected by his own people and persecuted unfairly (15:17).

Some of us may have experienced something similar. We once read the Bible with joy, but obedience to God led to suffering and rejection from others. Like Jeremiah, we can bring our confusion to God. He answered Jeremiah by repeating the promise He gave him when He first called him to be a prophet (vv. 19-21; see 1:18–19). God reminded him that He never lets His people down. We can have this same confidence too. He’s faithful and will never abandon us.

By:  Poh Fang Chia

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Messianic Images

When considering the Christian message, it is important to remember that the disciples of Jesus were totally surprised by the events that took place in Jerusalem. After the crucifixion of Jesus, the apostles rightfully believed that all was lost.

Though some have argued that the disciples merely refused to accept failure after Jesus’s death and made up the story of the resurrection, a crucified and risen Messiah simply did not fit into Jewish expectations for the one who was to come. Though there was no single understanding of what the Messiah would be like, there were common elements that every Jew would have assumed within their messianic expectations.

First, the Messiah was closely linked to Jewish beliefs regarding the place of worship. He was to institute a renewal of the temple in Jerusalem. It was also commonly understood that the Messiah would be a royal military leader who would overthrow Israel’s enemies and prove his lordship through conquest. Jesus clearly did neither of these things; rather, he came in peace and died in his youth like a criminal. Why, then, would his followers maintain that he was the Messiah? Why did they not just cut their losses after his death and move on?

New Testament scholar N.T. Wright explains:

“There were, to be sure, ways of coping with the death of a teacher, or even a leader. The picture of Socrates was available, in the wider world, as a model of unjust death nobly borne. The category of ‘martyr’ was available, within Judaism, for someone who stood up to pagans… The category of failed but still revered Messiah, however, did not exist. A Messiah who died at the hands of the pagans, instead of winning [God’s] battle against them, was a deceiver… Why then did people go on talking about Jesus of Nazareth, except as a remarkable but tragic memory? The obvious answer is that… Jesus was raised from the dead.”(1)

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Joyce Meyer – Follow God, Not People

 

And yet [in spite of all this] many even of the leading men (the authorities and the nobles) believed and trusted in Him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that [if they should acknowledge Him] they would be expelled from the synagogue. — John 12:42 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource My Time with God – by Joyce Meyer

The Bible teaches us in John 12:42-43 that many leading Jewish men believed in Jesus, but they wouldn’t admit it out of fear that they would be expelled from the synagogue.

…They loved the approval and the praise and the glory that come from men [instead of and] more than the glory that comes from God… (v. 43, AMPC).

In this example, we see that several people were kept from knowing Jesus because they were addicted to approval. Although they wanted a relationship with the Lord, they loved the approval of man more. This is a heartbreaking situation, and one that’s still happening today.

The people mentioned in John 12 knew that Jesus was real—they believed in Him—but the love of approval wouldn’t allow them to have a true relationship with Him. I wonder how their lives turned out. What did they miss because they said yes to people and no to God? I wonder how many of them were never mentioned in the Bible again. Did they fade into oblivion and never fulfill their destiny?

Thank God their story doesn’t have to be ours! When we follow God, not people, we’ll be able to live at peace and carry out the amazing purpose He has for each of our lives.

Prayer Starter: Father, please give me the wisdom to recognize where people’s approval is motivating my decisions, and the strength to start living to please You first. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Healthy, Growing Body 

 

“Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of His body, the church. Under His direction the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love” (Ephesians 4:15-16).

I am concerned, as you no doubt are, that God’s ideal church, in which the whole body is fitted together perfectly, becomes a reality. And if that is to happen, it will mean that I must become a part of that perfect fit.

Within the body of Christ, each of us has a unique function. True, two people might have similar functions just as a body has two hands that function similarly. But those two hands are not identical. Just try to wear a lefthand glove on your right hand!

The hands have similar functions, not identical functions. You and I might have similar abilities, but we are not identical. We are unique creations of God.

Therefore, we should not look upon our abilities with pride or be boastful of them. On the other hand, we should not be envious or look with disdain on others because of their different abilities.

Spiritual gifts include (1 Corinthians 12): wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues, apostleship, teaching, helping, and administration; (Romans 12, additional): leadership, exhortation, giving and mercy.

Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:7-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  So that I might fit more perfectly into God’s whole body, I will prayerfully seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit to enable me to make a maximum contribution to the body of Christ.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – It Is Well

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Sometime ago I made a special visit to the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem.  I wanted to see the handwritten lyrics that hang on the wall, framed and visible for all to see.  Horatio Spafford wrote them, never imagining they would become the words to one of the world’s best-loved hymns.

On December 2, 1873, he received a telegram from his wife that began, “Saved alone.  What shall I do?”  The ship she was on had collided with another ship and had sunk.  Their four daughters drowned and Anna survived.  While sailing on the ship to bring her home, Spafford wrote the lyrics to a song that would become an anthem to the providence of God.  “Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say. . .it is well with my soul!”

 

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

 

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Denison Forum – Dr. Fauci on how to bring back sports: The path to God’s ‘perfect peace’

Dr. Anthony Fauci is not only America’s top infectious disease doctor, he has also become one of the most trusted people in the US. So, when he suggested a way to bring back sports during the coronavirus pandemic, his opinion made national news.

“There’s a way of doing that,” he said in an interview. “Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [athletes] in big hotels, wherever you want to play. Keep them very well surveilled . . . and have them tested like every week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family and just let them play the season out.”

Of course, some will complain that sports without spectators is not sports. Dr. Fauci disagrees: “I think you’ll probably get enough buy-in from people who are dying to see a baseball game. Particularly me. I’m living in Washington—we have the world champion in the Washington Nationals. I want to see them play again.”

The latest on when we’ll have a vaccine 

As the coronavirus pandemic passed two million cases yesterday, Dr. Fauci’s comments point to one aspect of the topic on everyone’s mind these days: How do we return to “normal,” whatever that looks like?

President Trump said this week he is close to completing a plan to end the COVID-19 shutdown and reopen the battered US economy. He believes that some parts of the country may be ready to go before May 1.

According to the president, roughly twenty states have avoided the crippling outbreaks that affected others and could be opened “very quickly.” He plans to work with the various governors to implement “a very powerful reopening plan” at a specific time and date for each state.

For instance, the Texas governor announced that he will release details Friday on his plan to jumpstart his state’s economy. By contrast, California’s governor expects to ban mass gatherings of hundreds or thousands of people in his state at least through summer.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Dr. Fauci on how to bring back sports: The path to God’s ‘perfect peace’