Charles Stanley – The Purpose of Life

 

2 Corinthians 3:12-18

Why am I here? Everyone wonders this at some point. Some theories suggest that we’re merely taking up space and will return to nothingness when we die. There are also people who say we are masters of our own destiny. Both are untrue! The Lord has placed you on earth to fulfill His purpose.

God has a unique plan for every person’s life, but Christians all share one goal: to be conformed to His image. This process begins here on earth and is finished when we reach heaven. Much of the work the Lord does in our earthly life centers on our character. He shows us how to be as loving, kind, and peaceful as Jesus.

We might think this is hard. But the truth is, the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and then lives the life of Christ through him or her. We should be submissive to His guidance. That means we should respond to situations in life with this question: “How can You use this to make me more like Jesus?”

The Lord is behind everything that happens to you—either He directly instigates the situation, or He allows it to take place. Both trials and triumphs are engineered to fulfill God’s great purpose: crafting a life that reflects His love and glory to the world.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 18-20

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Let Us Praise!

 

Bible in a Year:

May the nations be glad and sing for joy.

Psalm 67:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 67

When the alarm on Shelley’s phone goes off every day at 3:16 in the afternoon, she takes a praise break. She thanks God and acknowledges His goodness. Although she communicates with God throughout the day, Shelley loves to take this break because it helps her celebrate her intimate relationship with Him.

Inspired by her joyful devotion, I decided to set a specific time each day to thank Christ for His sacrifice on the cross and to pray for those who have yet to be saved. I wonder what it would be like if all believers in Jesus stopped to praise Him in their own way and pray for others every day.

The image of a beautiful wave of worship rolling to the ends of the earth resounds in the words of Psalm 67. The psalmist pleads for God’s grace, proclaiming his desire to make His name great in all the nations (vv. 1–2). He sings, “May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you” (v. 3). He celebrates His sovereign rule and faithful guidance (v. 4). As a living testimony of God’s great love and abundant blessings, the psalmist leads God’s people into jubilant praise (vv. 5–6).

God’s continued faithfulness toward His beloved children inspires us to acknowledge Him. As we do, others can join us in trusting Him, revering Him, following Him, and acclaiming Him as Lord.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Great Dichotomy

Most scholars agree that the Enlightenment or “Age of Reason,” which began in the early seventeenth century, set up a great dichotomy that persists in modern time.(1) The great “dichotomy” of the Enlightenment entailed the separation of the public and private realms. The public realm was the world of ascertained by reason alone. Missiologist Lesslie Newbigin explains, “The thinkers of the Enlightenment spoke of their age as the age of reason…by which human beings could attain (at least in principle) to a complete understanding of, and thus a full mastery of, nature—of reality in all its forms. Reason, so understood, is sovereign in this enterprise.”(2) In the realm of reason, therefore, revelation from a divine realm was not needed. Human reason could search out and know all the facts about reality, and “no alleged divine revelation, no tradition however ancient, and no dogma however hallowed has the right to veto its exercise.”(3)

The realm of religious belief was now relegated to the realm of private value and private purpose. It wasn’t that the Enlightenment dichotomy cut out God. Rather, it created a distinction between “natural” religion—God’s existence and the moral laws known by all and demonstrable by reason—and “revealed” religion—doctrines as taught by the Bible and the church. The latter realm, dominant in the Middle Ages and the Reformation, came under increasing attack and was eventually relegated to private expression and personal feelings.

Fueled by scientific and philosophical discoveries, the view of the world as the venue of God’s providence and rule, shifted to the view that sovereign reason could discover all that was necessary to advance humanity toward its highest destiny. All of Christianity’s supernatural claims and all of its revelatory content were unnecessary in a world where the Creator had endowed human beings with enough reason to discern what was important simply through the study of the natural world. As such, the autonomous, rational human became the center of truth and knowledge.

 

What emerged from this dichotomy was the belief that the real world was a world of cause and effect, of material bodies guided solely by mathematically stable laws. Discovering the cause of something was to have explained it in its totality. There was no need to invoke any supernatural “purpose” or “design” as an explanation any longer.

And yet, purpose remains an inescapable element in human life. Newbigin argues: “Human beings do entertain purposes and set out to achieve them. The immense achievements of modern science themselves are, very obviously, the outcome of the purposeful efforts of hundreds of thousands of men and women dedicated to the achievement of something that is valuable—a true understanding of how things are.”(4) Hence, persisting in the belief that science, for example, is value and purpose-free belies an intentional rejection of reality. The pursuit of science to find causes for effects devoid of any larger purpose seems self-defeating. Why study at all if there is no purpose for study?

Proclaiming that purpose infuses human endeavor, and as such, that purposeful human endeavor can point to purposeful design, and design gives rise to a Designer behind it all will not necessarily convince those who see a world only of mechanical cause and effect. Yet, scratch the below the surface of the most strident materialists, and one uncovers a yearning for something more than what can be understood by reason alone. As atheist Sam Harris wrote: “This universe is shot through with mystery. The very fact of its being, and of our own, is a mystery absolute….The consciousness that animates us is itself central to this mystery and the ground for any experience we might wish to call ‘spiritual.’”(5)

The Gospel of John suggests that reason and revelation need not be dichotomized. In this explanation of the significance of Jesus Christ, the objective and the subjective aspects of truth are revealed in a person: “The Word (logos) became flesh and dwelt among us.” The rational principle that undergirds all things, as the Greeks understood the Logos, is embodied in the human person, Jesus, according to John’s Gospel. And in the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus we have a new starting point for reason. The resurrection is indeed the very basis “for the perpetual praise of God who not only creates order out of chaos, but also breaks through fixed orders to create ever-new situations of surprise and joy.”(6) Ever-new situations of surprise and joy might involve breaking a false dichotomy between public and private faith and the objective and subjective aspects of reality, even between reason and revelation. This one who brings new life and new ways of knowing invites us to wholeness, and not dichotomy.

 

Margaret Manning Shull is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Bellingham, Washington.

 

(1) Stanley Grenz and Roger Olsen, 20th Century Theology (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 16-17.
(2) Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 25.
(3) Ibid., 25.
(4) Ibid., 35.
(5) Sam Harris, The End of Faith (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2004), 227.
(6) Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks, 150.

Read in browser »

http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – Loving Others with Your Words

 

…Love (affection and goodwill and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature]. — 1 Corinthians 8:1 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud – by Joyce Meyer

Are you part of God’s construction crew, or Satan’s destruc­tion crew? God’s Word teaches us to edify and build up people, because they need to hear our words of encouragement. We all like to have people say loving things to us, so we should do for others what we want them to do for us (see Matthew 7:12). We should never refuse to do something God asks us to do just because it doesn’t come easily.

Ask God to give you words that you can sincerely say to people that will build them up. You might be shopping for some new clothes and see a store clerk and think, That dress she’s wearing is really pretty. Your thought won’t help her, but saying it to her will. Tell people you appreciate their hard work, because you might be the only person who ever tells them.

Start encouraging the people in your family, then gradually expand to those at work or church, and eventually get extreme enough to try com­plimenting complete strangers (use wisdom when speaking to members of the opposite sex).

If you like to set goals for yourself, why not set one in this area? Start by committing to give three compliments each day and keep increasing the number until it becomes part of who you are and not just something you try to do.

Prayer Starter: Holy Spirit, I invite You to direct my words today. Thank You for teaching me in every moment how I can encourage those around me, and for giving me the right words for each person. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Fullness of Joy

 

“Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11, KJV).

“If you have lost the joy of the Lord in your life,” someone once observed, “who moved, you or God? For in His presence is fullness of joy.”

That saint and prophet of earlier years, A. W. Tozer, suggested several ways for the believer to achieve real joy:

  1. Cultivate a genuine friendship with God. He is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  2. Take time to exercise yourself daily unto godliness. Vow never to be dishonest about sin in your life, never to defend yourself, never to own anything (or let anything own you), never to pass on anything hurtful about others, never to take any glory to yourself.
  3. No known sin must be allowed to remain in your life. “Keep short accounts with God” – never allow unconfessed sins to pile up in your life.
  4. Set out to build your own value system based on the Word of God. Meditate on the Word; practice the presence of God. Set priorities as you realize what is truly important. It will be reflected in the standard of values you set for yourself.
  5. Share your spiritual discoveries with others.

Bible Reading: John 15:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Knowing that the best witness in the world is a joyful, radiant Christian, I will try to be that kind of believer, trusting the indwelling Holy Spirit to thus empower me and radiate His love and joy through me. I will share my spiritual discoveries with others.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Your Problem is a Prayer-Sized Challenge

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Praying specifically about a problem creates a lighter load.  Many of our anxieties are threatening because they are ill-defined and vague.  If we can distill the challenge into a phrase, we bring it down to size. It’s one thing to pray, “Lord, please bless my meeting tomorrow.”

It’s another thing to pray, “I have a conference with my supervisor at 2:00 PM tomorrow.  She intimidates me.  Would you please grant me a spirit of peace so I can sleep well tonight?  Grant me wisdom so I can enter the meeting prepared.  And would you soften her heart toward me and give her a generous spirit?  Help us have a gracious conversation in which both of us benefit and your name is honored.”

There!  You have reduced the problem into a prayer-sized challenge.  As God’s children we honor him when we tell him exactly what we need.

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

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

Home

Denison Forum – Holocaust survivor honored 75 years after his liberation: How people you don’t know change your world

 

Max Glauben was liberated from the Holocaust on April 23, 1945. His parents and brother were murdered by the Nazis.

He came to the US as an orphan, served in the US Army, met his wife Frieda, and started a family that now includes three children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He helped launch the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. Since 2005, he has returned to concentration camp sites fourteen times, leading March of the Living trips.

Each time, he goes to a mausoleum that holds seven tons of human ashes and recites a prayer for the dead. “I look at the ashes, the seven tons of ashes, and I wonder how many of the owners of these ashes, how many diseases they could’ve cured,” he says.

Mr. Glauben intended to spend the seventy-fifth anniversary of his liberation back overseas on his fifteenth March of the Living trip. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, the trip was canceled.

Last Thursday, he expected to spend the day at home with family but went outside to find an amazing surprise: a drive-by procession was held to celebrate him and his story of survival.

When asked how to move forward when you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, Mr. Glauben said, “Never, never, never, never give up. Enjoy life and try to treat everybody that you are surrounded with the way you’d like to be treated.”

A vaccine by October?

You may not have heard of Max Glauben before today. However, every person he teaches about the atrocities of the Holocaust who then works to confront anti-Semitism will benefit the world as a result of his efforts.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Holocaust survivor honored 75 years after his liberation: How people you don’t know change your world