Charles Stanley – Favorites Versus Intimates

 

Romans 8:26-30

We learned yesterday that God doesn’t show favoritism. However, He does enjoy closeness with His own—throughout the Bible, God had an intimate relationship with His people. And today, all who have received Jesus Christ as Savior have become part of God’s family.

The heavenly Father desires to have an intimate relationship with each one of His children. We get to enjoy this closeness by engaging with Him in His Word and in prayer. Intimacy comes from a deepening fellowship that leads to our greater understanding of God, His Word, and His will for our life. As we spend time with Him and obey Him, He begins to conform us to His image. Then He works through us, and we reflect Him to those around us, like a light set on a lampstand (Matt. 5:14-16).

Don’t allow yourself to be satisfied just with being saved from wrath. The Lord desires that we know Him intimately, and He calls each of us to step out in faith and commitment. He wants us to be characterized like Abraham, who is tenderly described as a friend of God (2 Chron. 20:7).

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 20-22

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Wounds Honored

Why Won’t God Heal Amputees, a popular website and one-time viral You Tube video, puts forward the basic premise that God doesn’t answer prayer since God has never healed an amputee. By extension, they make the assertion that since God doesn’t heal every person of every infirmity, God does not exist.

While there are obvious false assumptions made about God, prayer, and healing (how does one know that in the whole world God has not healed an amputee, for starters) many interesting questions are raised for those who believe in both God and prayer. Those who do pray for healing often fail to experience it in the way they expect—healing rarely parallels a conventional or traditional sense of that word. Loved ones die of cancer, friends are killed in car accidents, economic catastrophe befalls even the most frugal, and people in much of the developing world die from diseases long cured in the West. Beyond the realm of physical healing, many experience emotional and psychological trauma that leave open and festering wounds. Or, there are those perpetual personality ticks and quirks that seem beyond the reach of the supernatural. Given all of this contrary experience, what does it mean to receive healing, and should one hold out hope that healing can come in this world? Specifically, for those who pray, and for those who believe that God does heal, how might the persistence of wounds—psychological, emotional and physical—be understood?

In a memorable New York Times article, Marcia Mount Shoop writes of her horrific rape as a fifteen year old girl.(1) As the descendant of three generations of ministers she ran to the safest place she knew after suffering this horrific trauma—the church. Yet as she stood amid the congregants singing hymns and reciting creeds, she felt no relief. Even her favorite verse from Romans, “and we know that in all things God works for good with those who love him,” sounded hollow and brought little comfort. How could she ever be healed or experience “good” after this horrific act of violence?

Once at home, alone with the secret of her rape, Marcia Shoop found something that enabled her to survive. “I felt Jesus so close,” she recalled in an interview. “It wasn’t the same Jesus I experienced at church. It was this tiny, audible whisper that said, ‘I know what happened. I understand.’ And it kept me alive, that frayed little thread.”(2)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Wounds Honored

Joyce Meyer – A Fresh, New Day

 

To the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. — Psalm 30:12 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Wake Up to the Word – by Joyce Meyer

One of the fastest ways to a stagnant life is to find something wrong with everything and everybody, including yourself. On the other hand, those who make progress are usually intentionally thankful, happy people who look for the good in life.

Thank God for always being with you, and for the fact that all things are possible with Him. Thank Him for your life, your job, your family, your friends… whatever comes to your mind as you’re praying. As you cultivate thankfulness in your life, you’ll experience more and more of His presence (see 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Psalm 100:4).

God never changes, but everything else is subject to change. You’re not at a dead end; you are not stuck in a place you cannot escape. No matter how long you’ve been waiting, God has something fresh and new for you, and today is the day to start enjoying it (see Isaiah 43:18-19; John 10:10).

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to be intentionally thankful, and to watch for the fresh, new blessings You put in my path today. Thank You for making all things new, and for the work You’re doing in me. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Men Know What God Wants Them to Do

 

“But this is the new agreement I will make with the people of Israel, says the Lord: I will write my laws in their minds so that they will know what I want them to do without My even telling them, and these laws will be in their hearts so that they will want to obey them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people” (Hebrews 8:10).

Harry boasted that he was an atheist, that he could not believe in God – that there was no such thing as right and wrong. But as we counseled together, it became apparent that he lived a very immoral life, and the only way he could justify his conduct was to rationalize away the existence of God.

This he was unable to do. As God’s Word reminds us, His law is written in our minds, so that we will know what He wants us to do without His even telling us.

A very honest, frank, straightforward counseling session helped Harry to see that he was living a lie, a life of deceit and shame. All of this resulted in making him a very miserable person until he surrendered his life to Christ and became an honest, authentic, transparent disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible says that the mind of natural man is essentially disgusting (Ezekiel 23:17-22), despiteful (Ezekiel 36:5), depraved (Romans 1:28), hardened (2 Corinthians 3:14), hostile (Colossians 1:21) and defiled (Titus 1:15).

In contrast, the Scriptures show that the mind of the Christian is willing (1 Chronicles 28:9), is at peace (Romans 8:6), is renewed (Romans 12: 2), can know Christ’s mind (I. Corinthians 2:16) and can be obedient (Hebrews 8:10).

Our minds are susceptible to the influence of our old sin- nature and, as such, can pose some dangers to us. As soon as we get out of step spiritually with the Holy Spirit and get our focus off the Lord, our minds begin to give us trouble.

Bible Reading: Hebrews 8:7-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Claiming by faith the help of the Holy Spirit, I will discipline my mind to think God’s thoughts as expressed in His holy, inspired Word. In this way, I can be assured of knowing and doing His perfect will.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Start with Jesus

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

We can calmly take our concerns to God because he is as near as our next breath!  This was the reassuring message from the miracle of the bread and the fish.  In an event crafted to speak to the anxious heart, Jesus told his disciples to do the impossible: feed five thousand people.

Now you aren’t facing five thousand hungry bellies, but you are facing a deadline in two days, a loved one in need of a cure.  On one hand you have a problem.  On the other you have a limited quantity of wisdom, patience, or time.  Typically you’d get anxious.  You’d tell God, “You’ve given me too much to handle.”  This time, instead of focusing on what you don’t have, start with Jesus. Start with his wealth, his resources, and his strength.  Before you lash out in fear, look up in faith.  Turn to your Heavenly Father for help.

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 – Gov. Cuomo explains declining COVID-19 cases in New York: ‘God did not do that’

There is paradoxical good news in the news today.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that according to the latest coronavirus numbers, his state is on a downward descent from the curve. Unfortunately, he explained the good news this way: “The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that” (his emphasis).

Another paradoxical story: the final five hundred landmines at a historic baptism site on the Jordan River have been exploded and removed. The UK-based demining specialist HALO Trust group did the work at Qasr al-Yahud in preparation for Easter.

I have been to the site many times, but we always had to be very careful to stay on the one road, as mines remaining from earlier conflicts riddled the fields around us. Now they have been removed and churches can build and minister here far more effectively.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is now decimating travel to the Holy Land. I had to cancel trips to Israel planned for April and May. Closing the borders to tourism may cost $1.7 billion.

Joy in a jail cell

One of the paradoxes of the Christian faith is that believers often find the greatest joy in the most difficult circumstances. This is because joy is one of the “fruit of the Spirit” independent from any and all circumstances (Galatians 5:22). We find the joy of the Lord not in our lives but in our Lord.

Consider three examples from the life of Paul.

One: After he and Silas were arrested in Philippi and the magistrates “had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison” (Acts 16:23). But two verses later we read, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (v. 25). Their joy was not in their jail cell but in their Lord.

Two: When the Lord refused to remove Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” the apostle responded: “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). His joy was not in his pain but in his Provider.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Gov. Cuomo explains declining COVID-19 cases in New York: ‘God did not do that’