Charles Stanley – Does God Have Favorites?

 

James 2:18-23

God doesn’t play favorites. He makes choices and decrees, but Scripture repeatedly testifies to His impartiality (Deut. 10:17; Rom. 2:11; Col. 3:25). Sometimes, though, it doesn’t seem that way. Look at the nation of Israel—God even says that He chose them to be His people (Deut. 7:6).

So, what does this mean? Did God change His mind? No, actually it’s simply a way of saying that God selected Israel for a purpose within His divine plan. Look at Israel’s history. Consider her sorrows and setbacks. It certainly doesn’t appear that God is playing favorites with Israel. Rather, He has a specific plan for this chosen nation, just as He has a specific will and plan for each of us. 1 Peter 1:17 states: “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth.”

Remember that “from everyone who has been given much, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). God’s judgment is righteous and perfect, and He knows exactly what should be given to each person. Take heart in knowing that God loves everybody in His creation equally. He doesn’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9), and He has gone to the greatest lengths imaginable to prove it.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 18-19

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Singing Revolution

 

Bible in a Year:

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:5

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 42:1–5

What does it take to ignite a revolution? Guns? Bombs? Guerrilla warfare? In late-1980s Estonia, it took songs. After the people had lived under the burden of Soviet occupation for decades, a movement began with the singing of a series of patriotic songs. These songs birthed the “Singing Revolution,” which played a key role in restoring Estonian independence in 1991.

“This was a non-violent revolution that overthrew a very violent occupation,” says a website describing the movement. “But singing had always been a major unifying force for Estonians while they endured fifty years of Soviet rule.”

Music can also play a significant part in helping us through our own hard times. I wonder if that’s why we so readily identify with the psalms. It was in a dark night of the soul that the psalmist sang, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5). It was in a season of deep disillusionment that Asaph, the worship leader, reminded himself, “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart” (73:1).

In our own challenging times, may we join the psalmists with a singing revolution for our hearts. Such a revolution overwhelms the personal tyranny of despair and confusion with faith-fueled confidence in God’s great love and faithfulness.

By:  Bill Crowder

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Thrown Off Balance

The earliest creeds of the Christian church confess that Jesus “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.” It is then confessed, “On the third day, he rose again.”(1) While modern presuppositions may tempt us to interpret the death and resurrection of Jesus as symbolic or spiritual in nature, there was nothing abstract about the events and details confessed by those who first beheld them. Jesus’s suffering was an actual, datable event in history, his crucifixion a sentence inflicted on an actual body; the proclamation of both was the remembrance of a cold reality, something akin to remembering the Holocaust or the Trail of Tears. Likewise, “the third day” was a tangible, historical occasion—albeit an occasion of unfathomable proportions.

Yet the resurrection of Jesus was not viewed as merely a static fact on this particular third day, a fixed event to remain in this history alone. “We believe that Jesus died and rose again” wrote the apostle Paul, “and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”(2) For those who first beheld it, the resurrection was an event with inherent consequences for everything—for order and purpose, for what it means to be human itself. The earliest confessions of Christ’s death, burial, and third day rising from the dead are immediately followed by certain understood implications. As the Misfit in Flannery O’Connor’s short story observes of this resurrected one, Jesus went and “thrown everything off balance.” The unlikely prophet reasons, “If He did what He said, then it’s nothing for you to do but throw away everything and follow Him, and if He didn’t, then it’s nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can.”

 

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Thrown Off Balance

Joyce Meyer – It’s Never Too Late

 

Be of good courage and let us behave ourselves courageously for our people and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what is good in His sight. — 1 Chronicles 19:13 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful – by Joyce Meyer

Are you doing what you really believe you should be doing at this stage in your life? Or have you allowed fear to keep you from stepping out into new things—or maybe higher levels of old things? If you don’t like your answer, I have good news for you: It is never too late to begin again!

Thankfully, you don’t have to spend one more day living a narrow, closed-in life that is controlled by your fears. You can make a decision right now to begin learning to live boldly, aggressively, and confidently. Because Jesus paid for your freedom, you don’t have to let fear rule you any longer! It’s important to be intentional about overcoming fear—don’t just sit around, waiting for it to go away. There will be times when you’ll have to move forward even when you feel afraid. Courage is not the absence of fear; courage is action in the presence of fear.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for making a way for me to live free from fear! Please fill me with Your strength and boldness to begin doing it afraid today. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright –Place of Privilege

 

“For because of our faith, He has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be” (Romans 5:2).

Interesting, is it not, that because of our faith, which is really His faith imparted to us, He has brought us, you and me, to a place of highest privilege.

What are some of the benefits that constitute this highest privilege?

First, we are justified – considered righteous in God’s sight.

Second, we are admitted into His favor and we abide there.

Third, we have the hope and prospect of even higher and richer blessings, in the fullness of His glory, when we are admitted into heaven.

Strange, then, that you and I often chafe at the bit when things become a little rough. At such time as that, I need to remind myself that I do not deserve any better. All the mercies and blessings of God are undeserved – gifts of God’s grace (“God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense,” as the apt acrostic expresses it).

What, really, is the “bottom line” of everything that happens to the believer – to you and me? After confessing that we are receiving our just deserts, we must always go back to the all-inclusive promise: “All things are working together for our good.” They may not feel good, they may not seem good, they may not even be good, but they are accomplishing good in us.

Bible Reading: Ephesians 3:8-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will meditate on the rare and high privilege that is mine as a child of God and look forward to becoming all that God wants me to be.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – As Near as Our Next Breath

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God repeatedly pledges his presence to his people.  To Abram, God said, “Do not be afraid. . .I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” (Genesis 15:1).  God told Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).  In the ultimate declaration of communion, God called himself Immanuel, which means, God with us.  He became flesh.  He became sin.  He defeated the grave.  He is still with us.  In the form of his Spirit, he comforts, teaches, and convicts.

Don’t assume God is watching from a distance.  Isolation creates a downward cycle of fret.  Choose instead to be the person who clutches the presence of God with both hands.  We can calmly take our concerns to God because he is as near as our next breath.  And because the Lord is near, we can 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 – John Krasinski hosts a national prom: What can you do that you couldn’t do before the pandemic?

If you’ve not been watching John Krasinski’s Some Good News YouTube show, let me encourage you to start today. Past episodes have featured a hilarious interview with Steve Carell (of course) and a performance by the Hamilton cast from their homes. To thank a group of frontline medical personnel in Boston, he arranged an experience I won’t give away here but that is worth watching with gratitude.

Now Krasinski has done something memorable for high school seniors: he hosted a virtual senior prom and was the DJ as well. He was joined by Chance the Rapper, Billie Eilish, and the Jonas Brothers. High school seniors and their families across the country were able to participate in a variety of ways.

On the other end of the generational spectrum, Captain Tom Moore is a ninety-nine-year-old British World War II veteran. He broke his hip and must use a walker with wheels for mobility. Did this stop him from doing what he can to combat the pandemic? Not at all.

He set a goal of walking the twenty-five meters around his garden one hundred times before his one hundredth birthday on April 30. He completed his task last Thursday. In so doing, he raised more than $31 million for the British health service.

When a new field hospital opens in response to the coronavirus outbreak next week, the retired army officer will be the guest of honor. Capt. Moore said in a statement over the weekend, “I am still amazed by the amount of kindness and generosity from the UK public who continue to give despite it being an uncertain time for many.”

Reframing in the light of God’s sovereignty

Tragedies always make us feel frustrated that we cannot do more to help. A gunman in Nova Scotia killed at least sixteen people over the weekend. A man hijacked a public transit bus in Dallas yesterday and wounded two officers. We can read the news and pray for the victims, but we want to do more.

In the same way, one of our frustrations with social distancing is that it feels so hard to help those in need. We cannot visit senior adults isolated in nursing homes, many of whom do not have the technological means to FaceTime or text with us. It’s hard to volunteer at food banks or rescue missions when we’re not allowed out of our homes.

Continue reading Denison Forum – John Krasinski hosts a national prom: What can you do that you couldn’t do before the pandemic?