Charles Stanley – Why Does God Allow Storms in Our Life?

 

Jonah 1:1-17

No one likes turbulent times, but until we reach heaven, they will be a part of our life. The underlying foundation for understanding the storms we encounter is found in Psalm 103:19. No matter what the apparent source is, God ultimately directs every situation, because His sovereignty rules over all.

He uses storms to …

Bring us to repentance. Sometimes we create chaotic conditions with our own sinful choices. Yet like Jonah, we’ll discover that the Lord is always with us—even in our disobedience—drawing us back to Himself.

Grow us spiritually. Trials force us to rely on God’s strength rather than our own. We learn to endure, persevere, and submit to the Father so He can make us more like Christ.

Reveal Himself to us. Turbulent times give us a more accurate perspective of God and the way He works. Sometimes this understanding comes when we look back on a storm and see how He brought us through. Then we realize His strength was sufficient and His purpose was good.

Take comfort in knowing that God controls your storms, and His mighty power and unfailing love govern whatever comes your way.

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 8-10

 

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Our Daily Bread — Good Measure

 

Bible in a Year:

Give, and it will be given to you.

Luke 6:38

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Luke 6:32–38

At a gas station one day, Staci encountered a woman who had left home without her bank card. Stranded with her baby, she was asking passersby for help. Although unemployed at the time, Staci spent $15 to put gas in the stranger’s tank. Days later, Staci came home to find a gift basket of children’s toys and other presents waiting on her porch. Friends of the stranger had reciprocated Staci’s kindness and converted her $15 blessing into a memorable Christmas for her family.

This heartwarming story illustrates the point Jesus made when he said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

It can be tempting to hear this and focus on what we get out of giving, but doing so would miss the point. Jesus preceded that statement with this one: “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (v. 35).

We don’t give to get things; we give because God delights in our generosity. Our love for others reflects His loving heart toward us.

By:  Remi Oyedele

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Beginning and the End

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me if you understand.”

—God to Job in the whirlwind

To a child of four or five, the rejoinder sounded something like the response of a parent who had reached the end of her rope with the current line of questioning.

“Mom, what happens when we die?”

“We go to heaven to be with Jesus.”

“What’s heaven like?”

“It’s a place where all of our tears are dried up, and we dance on golden streets in the presence of God.”

“For how long?”

“Forever.”

“But won’t we get tired of dancing?”

“No, we won’t.”

“But why not?”

“Because we’ll be with God.”

“But what if it’s boring?”

“It won’t be.”

“Why?”

“Because God said so.”

A child learns quickly that there are certain lines parents use to signal the end of the current arsenal of questioning. Coming from a parent, “Because I said so” is intended to be a conversation stopper. “Because God said so” is even trickier. There was nothing my five-year-old mind could even begin to conjure up to counter that one.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Beginning and the End

Joyce Meyer – Like a Child

 

[Jesus] called a little child to Himself and put him in the midst of them, And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all]. Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 18:2-4 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource New Day, New You – by Joyce Meyer

In Luke 18:17 (AMPC), Jesus talked about the importance of being childlike when He said,

Truly I say to you, whoever does not accept and receive and welcome the kingdom of God like a little child [does] shall not in any way enter it [at all].

As we can see, The Amplified Classic Bible translation of Matthew 18:3 states that the defining attributes of a child are these: trustinglowlyloving, and forgiving. How much more would we enjoy our lives if we operated in those four traits? Think about it: Children believe what they are told. Some people say children are gullible, or that they believe anything, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. But children are not gullible—they are trusting. It is a child’s nature to trust unless he or she has experienced something that teaches them otherwise.

Another thing we can all see in children is that they enjoy life. A child can find a way to enjoy almost anything. A child can turn work into a game, so they can enjoy it. I remember one time when I asked my son (who was about 11 or 12 at the time) to sweep the patio. Not long after, I looked outside and saw him dancing with the broom to the music playing on the headset he was wearing. I thought, Amazing! He’s managed to turn sweeping into a game. If he had to do it, he was determined to enjoy it. We should all have that attitude. We may not choose to dance with a broom, but we can choose an attitude of enjoying each moment in a new way.

Prayer Starter: Holy Spirit, please teach me and help me become more childlike in the way I trust You, and in the way I enjoy my life. Thank You for strengthening my faith and restoring my sense of fun. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Real Life, Radiant Health

 

“I have been crucified with Christ; and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

George Muller was asked the secret of his fruitful service for the Lord. “There was a day when I died,” he said, “utterly died.”

As he spoke, he bent lower and lower until he almost touched the floor.

“I died to George Muller,” he continued, “his opinions, preferences, tastes and will – died to the world, its approval or censure – died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends – and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God.”

With that kind of obedience to God and His inspired Word, it is small wonder that that great man of faith, George Muller, saw God perform miracle after miracle in his behalf, helping to support hundreds and even thousands of orphans simply by trusting God to provide.

Men and women of the world today would pay literally millions of dollars for the real life and radiant health promised in Proverbs 4:20-22 to the believer for simple faith and trust in God. “Listen, son of mine, to what I say. Listen carefully. Keep these thoughts ever in mind; let them penetrate deep within your heart, for they will mean real life for you, and radiant health.” To me, these verses encourage reading, studying, memorizing and meditating upon the Word of God.

Being crucified with Christ and hiding His Word in our hearts will not only keep us from sin, but it will also promote real life and radiant health for us, which we will want to share with others.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 4:23-27, 5:1-2

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: By faith, I will recognize that I have been crucified with Christ and will keep His thoughts in my mind throughout this day, meditating on His promises and faithfulness.

 

 

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Max Lucado – Your Mess Will Become Your Message

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I like the conversation Bob Benson recounts in his book, See You at the House, about his friend who had a heart attack.  For a while it seemed his friend wouldn’t make it, but he recovered.  Months later Bob asked him, “Well, how did you like your heart attack?”  “It scared me to death, almost.”  “Would you do it again?”  “No!”  “Would you recommend it?” Bob asked.  “Definitely not.”

And then Bob said, “Does your life mean more to you now than it did before?”  “Well, yeah.”  “You and your wife always had a beautiful marriage, but are you closer now more than ever?” “Yes.”  “Do you have a new compassion for people—a deeper understanding and sympathy?” “Yes, I do.”  “Do you know the Lord in richer fellowship than you’d ever realized?”  “Yes.”  And then Bob said, “So how did you like your heart attack?”

You know Deuteronomy 11:2 says, “Remember what you’ve learned about the Lord through your experience with Him.”  You do that, my friend, and your mess will become your message.

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Denison Forum – The death of George Floyd and confrontation in Central Park: Praying for a Pentecost miracle today

George Floyd was born in North Carolina and moved to Houston as a baby. He grew into a talented athlete who played football and basketball, receiving a basketball scholarship to Florida State University.

According to the mother of his six-year-old daughter, he didn’t finish school, eventually returning to Houston, where he became involved in music. He left the city for Minneapolis around 2018.

“Being black in America should not be a death sentence” 

On Monday, police officers responded to a “forgery in progress.” A police statement says they were “advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence. Two officers arrived and located the suspect, an African American male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step out of his car.

“After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance.”

However, the police statement left out a scene recorded by a bystander that has shocked the nation: a Minneapolis police officer keeps his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, during which the unarmed man repeatedly cried out, “I can’t breathe!”

“Please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man, please,” Mr. Floyd said to the officer. “I can’t move. Everything hurts. Give me some water or something, please. I can’t breathe, officer.” As the officer continued to crush his neck with his knee, Mr. Floyd added, “They’re going to kill me. They’re going to kill me, man.”

An ambulance then took Mr. Floyd to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

By Tuesday afternoon, the four officers involved had been fired. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called Mr. Floyd’s death “simply awful” and “wrong at every level.” He stated: “This man’s life matters, he matters. He was someone’s son, someone’s family member, someone’s friend. He was a human being and his life mattered.”

The mayor added: “Being black in America should not be a death sentence.”

“A punch in the gut for a lot of people” 

Christian Cooper is a Harvard graduate who serves on the board of the New York City Audubon Society and has long been a prominent bird watcher in New York City.

Continue reading Denison Forum – The death of George Floyd and confrontation in Central Park: Praying for a Pentecost miracle today

Charles Stanley – Life’s Passing Storms

 

Psalm 107:23-32

Everyone experiences storms in life—occasions that bring pain, suffering, or loss. It’s in turbulent times that all sorts of questions come to mind: Where is God? Why has this happened? Was it something I did? Did God cause it, and if so, why? When we find ourselves in tumultuous times, the safest place to go for answers is God’s Word.

The literal tempest described in today’s passage provides insight regarding the Lord’s role in the various upheavals we face. According to Psalm 107:25, God was responsible for this storm, as He was the one who raised the winds and waves that frightened the sailors.

Sometimes the Lord interrupts our life by sending turbulence so we will do what those sailors did—in their misery and helplessness, they cried for God’s help. He then brought them out of their distress by calming the storm and guiding them to a safe haven. In response, they thanked the Lord for His lovingkindness and wondrous deliverance and praised Him to other people.

There’s nothing like the sense of relief that comes when a storm is past. But let’s not forget to respond like those grateful sailors.

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 4-7

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Why Me?

 

Bible in a Year:

Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?

Job 7:20

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Job 7:17–21

The Book of Odds says that one in a million people are struck by lightning. It also says that one in 25,000 experiences a medical condition called “broken heart syndrome” in the face of overwhelming shock or loss. In page after page the odds of experiencing specific problems pile up without answering: What if we’re the one?

Job defied all odds. God said of him, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). Yet Job was chosen to suffer a series of losses that defied all odds. Of all people on earth, Job had reason to beg for an answer. It’s all there for us to read in chapter after chapter of his desperate struggle to understand, “Why me?”

Job’s story gives us a way of responding to the mystery of unexplained pain and evil. By describing the suffering and confusion of one of God’s best examples of goodness and mercy (ch. 25), we gain an alternative to the inflexible rule of sowing and reaping (4:7–8). By providing a backstory of satanic mayhem (ch. 1) and an afterword (42:7–17) from the God who would one day allow His Son to bear our sins, the story of Job gives us reason to live by faith rather than sight.

By:  Mart DeHaan

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Christianity Without Christ?

 

Paul Tillich, the noted existentialist theologian, traveled to Asia to hold conferences with various Buddhist thinkers. He was studying the significance of religious leaders to the movements they had engendered. Tillich asked a simple question. “What if by some fluke, the Buddha had never lived and turned out to be some sort of fabrication? What would be the implications for Buddhism?” Mind you, Tillich was concerned with the indispensability of the Buddha—not his authenticity.

The scholars did not hesitate to answer. If the Buddha was a myth, they said, it did not matter at all. Why? Because Buddhism should be judged as an abstract philosophy—as a system of living. Whether its concepts originated with the Buddha is irrelevant. As an aside, I think the Buddha himself would have concurred. Knowing that his death was imminent, he beseeched his followers not to focus on him but to remember his teachings. Not his life but his way of life was to be attended to and propagated.

So, what of other world religions? Hinduism, as a conglomeration of thinkers and philosophies and gods, can certainly do without many of its deities. Some other major religions face the same predicament.

Is Christianity similar? Could God the Father have sent another instead of Jesus? May I say to you, and please hear me, that the answer is most categorically No. Jesus did not merely claim to be a prophet in a continuum of prophets. He is the unique Son of God, part of the very godhead that Christianity calls the Trinity. The apostle Paul says it this way:

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Christianity Without Christ?

Joyce Meyer – Obeying God

 

But Peter and John replied to them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you and obey you rather than God, you must decide (judge). — Acts 4:19 (AMPC)

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

The apostles were often threatened with punishment if they continued to talk about Jesus, but because they valued their reputation with God more than their reputation with people, they kept speaking truth. In the same way, it’s extremely important that we obey God first, even if those around us aren’t always happy. This world is not our home—we’re just passing through.

We’ll all face times in life when we have to choose between doing what a friend or family member wants us to do and doing what we truly believe God wants us to do. Always choose God, and strive to keep a clear conscience with Him and others (see Acts 24:16). As you obey Him and let Him guide you with His peace, you’ll end up doing now what you’ll be happy with later on in life!

Prayer Starter: Father, please give me the grace I need to obey You, especially when that might make someone close to me unhappy. Thank You for having my back, and for the peace that You give me every day. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Wait Patiently and Confidently

 

“But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently” (Romans 8:25).

During my college days, I was not a believer. Only in retrospect can I appreciate in some measure the testimony of one of my professors, who was the head of the education department.

He and his wife were devout Christians. They had a Mongoloid child, whom they took with them wherever they went, and I am sure that their motivation for doing so – at least in part – was to give a testimony of the fruit of the Spirit, patience and love.

They loved the child dearly and felt that God had given them the responsibility and privilege to rear the child personally as a testimony of His grace, rather than placing her in a home for retarded children. The Bible teaches us that God never gives us a responsibility, a load or a burden without also giving us the ability to be victorious.

This professor and his wife bore their tremendous burden with joyful hearts. Wherever they went, they waited on the child, hand and foot. Instead of being embarrassed and humiliated, trying to hide the child in the closet, they unashamedly always took her with them, as a witness for Christ and as an example of His faithfulness and sufficiency.

They demonstrated patience and love by drawing upon the supernatural resources of the Holy Spirit in their close, moment-by-moment walk with God. Because of the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives, they were able to bear their trials supernaturally without grumbling or complaining. This is not to suggest that every dedicated Christian couple would be led of God to respond in the same way under similar circumstances. In their case, their lives communicated patience.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:18-24

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that God’s Holy Spirit indwells me and enables me to live supernaturally, I will claim by faith the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) with special emphasis on patience for today and every day.

 

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Max Lucado – Let God Train You

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

All tests are temporary, limited in duration.  1 Peter 1:6 says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”  Some tests end on earth, but all tests will end in heaven, right?  In the meantime, let God train you.  He watches the way you handle the little jobs.  Jesus promised in Matthew 25:21, “If you’re faithful over a few matters, I will set you over many.”

Do you aspire to do great things?  Excel in the small things.  Don’t complain.  Let others grumble, not you.  When you’re given a task, take it.  When you see a hurt, address it.  Compassion matters to God.  This is the time for service, not self-centeredness.  Cancel the pity party.  Love the people God brings to you.  He will work in you what is pleasing to Him.  You will get through this.

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Denison Forum – Christian singer announces, ‘I no longer believe in God’: How you can experience Jesus more personally than ever before

Jon Steingard is a pastor’s son and a musician, singer, and songwriter. He has been the lead singer for the Christian band Hawk Nelson since March 2012.

Now he has made an Instagram announcement that is generating headlines: “After growing up in a Christian home, being a pastor’s kid, playing and singing in a Christian band, and having the word ‘Christian’ in front of most of the things in my life—I am now finding that I no longer believe in God.”

He explained: “The process of getting to that sentence has been several years in the making. It’s more like pulling on the threads of a sweater, and one day discovering that there was no more sweater left.”

I am glad to report that several Christian musicians responded not with criticism or condemnation but with unconditional grace. Tenth Avenue North singer Mike Donehey wrote: “Man, I love that you shared this. You know I’m always around to talk about our belief in God or lack thereof. Love you and always will.” Another added: “To echo so many others here, I have nothing but love in my heart for [you], old friend.”

A foundational problem for the church in our culture 

I don’t know any more about Jon Steingard’s faith story than I have read today. I don’t know what issues caused him to come to this decision, whether they are personal, rational, cultural, or relational. My purpose is not to criticize him in any way.

Instead, I’d like to think with you about his statement, “I no longer believe in God,” since it’s a sentiment many share today.

One of C. S. Lewis’s most profound essays was titled “God in the Dock.” (In the British court system, the accused stands in the “dock”; we might change the title to “God on Trial.”)

According to Lewis, “The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man, the roles are quite reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge; if God should have a reasonable defense for being the god who permits war, poverty, and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the important thing is that man is on the bench and God is in the dock.”

The declaration, “I no longer believe in God,” or its opposite, “I believe in God,” identifies God as the object to my subject. I have the right and capacity to choose whether or not I believe in him, just as I can decide whether or not I believe in the internet or marriage.

This kind of relationship describes many people who would disagree with Jon Steingard’s statement but agree with its subject-object assumptions.

This is a foundational problem for the church in our culture.

Why I believe in the internet 

I believe in the internet, not because I can prove its existence on logical or scientific grounds (I don’t know enough about it to do so), but because I am experiencing it as I write this article on my Wi-Fi-connected computer. I believe in marriage not on logical grounds, but because I have experienced it for nearly forty years.

God does not seek to be an object in whom we choose to believe. He seeks to be a Father with whom we have a daily, transforming personal relationship.

Unfortunately, in our consumeristic, capitalistic culture, we have commodified this intimate relationship into a religion we can “buy” or “sell” as we wish. Inheriting Greco-Roman transactional religion, we have separated our souls from our bodies and Sunday from Monday.

As a result, too many of us see Jesus as our Savior but not as our friend (John 15:15). As we noted yesterday, he wants to lead us, empower us, and use us every moment of every day. But we must choose to be led, empowered, and used.

Your six-word mantra for today 

If you are experiencing Jesus as a living, daily presence in your life, you know what I’m talking about. You don’t need to tell us that you “believe in God” any more than you would say you believe in your spouse, child, parent, or best friend. If you’re experiencing someone personally, of course you believe that they exist.

If you have asked Jesus to be your Savior but you’re not experiencing him in this way, know that he is more available to you than even your spouse, child, parent, or best friend. That’s because his Spirit lives in you (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Jesus knows your past (cf. John 4:17–18), present (cf. John 1:48–50), and future (cf. Acts 9:6). He knows your thoughts (cf. Matthew 9:4) and secrets (cf. Luke 12:2). He will speak intuitively to your spirit by his Spirit (cf. Romans 8:16; Acts 16:6–10), practically through your circumstances (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:9), and rationally through his word and your reason (cf. Luke 24:27).

However, as with any relationship, we need time with Jesus to experience him more personally and powerfully. Let me encourage you to make some time for him today. Enter his presence in praise (Psalm 100:4), confess your sins and claim his forgiving grace (1 John 1:9), then ask him to speak to you through his word and your world. Tell him about your problems and fears and ask him for his guidance and help.

Now take note of the thoughts that enter your mind and the circumstances that change in your day. Envision Jesus walking beside you as your shepherd, leading and providing for you (John 10:27). Ask him to make himself more real to you than you have ever known him to be.

Make these six words your mantra today: “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10 NIV).

Why not right now?

 

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Charles Stanley – Don’t Neglect Your Spiritual Gift

 

1 Timothy 4:12-16

Every Christian is given a spiritual gift with which to serve and build up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7). Sadly, though, many believers neglect theirs. Timothy actually had some good reasons to forsake his calling, but Paul urged him not to “neglect [his] spiritual gift” (1 Timothy 4:14). We can learn from Timothy’s situation by asking ourselves if the following situations might be hindering us from fully serving God.

Age: Whatever our age, the Lord wants us to use our spiritual gifts. Because of his youth, Timothy could’ve been intimidated by those with more experience. Others think they’re too old to serve God, but we’re never called into spiritual retirement.

Inadequacy: Have you ever avoided a service opportunity simply because you felt totally unqualified? That’s probably how Timothy felt about leading the church at Ephesus. Our spiritual gifts rarely come to us fully developed. God often requires that we step out in faith and trust Him to work in and through us. Over time, as we obey and learn how to use our gifts, they become more effective for God’s kingdom.

Is anything keeping you from using your spiritual gifts? Though given to us, these abilities aren’t for us; they’re for the church. To neglect them not only deprives fellow believers; we ourselves are also robbed. We’ll find both joy and blessing by serving others and doing the work God has designated for us.

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 1-3

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Sweeter Than Honey

 

Bible in a Year:

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 16:24

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Proverbs 16:1–2, 21–24

His topic was racial tension. Yet the speaker remained calm and collected. Standing on stage before a large audience, he spoke boldly—but with grace, humility, kindness, and even humor. Soon the tense audience visibly relaxed, laughing along with the speaker about the dilemma they all faced: how to resolve their hot issue, but cool down their feelings and words. Yes, how to tackle a sour topic with sweet grace.

King Solomon advised this same approach for all of us: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). In this way, “The hearts of the wise make . . . their lips promote instruction” (v. 23).

Why would a powerful king like Solomon devote time to addressing how we speak? Because words can destroy. During Solomon’s time, kings relied on messengers for information about their nations, and calm and reliable messengers were highly valued. They used prudent words and reasoned tongues, not overreacting or speaking harshly, no matter the issue.

We all can benefit by gracing our opinions and thoughts with godly and prudent sweetness. In Solomon’s words, “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue” (v. 1).

By:  Patricia Raybon

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Space for Sorrow

 

Sitting with clients in therapy, I am frequently overwhelmed by their experiences of loss, heartache, and suffering. Many of my clients did not have the opportunity to grieve or feel the weight of their suffering. Messages sent and received with good intention functioned to suppress emotional expression. But suppressing emotions does not mean they go away. Sooner or later they come out and often in ways that end up being destructive to the individual and to her relationships. Within the safety of the therapeutic relationship, these emotions are encouraged towards an appropriate expression.

Giving voice to grief and sadness over the loss of Ravi Zacharias—particularly during the ongoing constraints of the COVID19 pandemic feels particularly important to me. I have found myself saying to many people that even though we do not grieve as those who have no hope, we still grieve. We still experience the emotions of those who are bereft of a dearly loved leader, friend, mentor, father, brother and spouse. We grieve the loss of his presence among us and the loss of his ongoing and influential ministry around the world as an author and speaker. Holding Christian hope in the resurrection of the body does not preclude feeling and giving expression to the sorrow that is felt over the loss of Ravi’s life and the huge absence left now that he is gone from our lives in the present.

As a young girl, one of my favorite bible stories was the epic encounter between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. With David meets Goliath odds, Elijah faces off against 450 prophets of Baal in a contest pitting the God of Israel against the Canaanite god Baal. Which deity would answer the prayers of the respective prophets to consume the altar sacrifice?

This is a narrative filled with dramatic tension and awesome displays of power. The Lord answers Elijah with fire from heaven that not only consumes the sacrifice, but also licks up every last drop of water poured out from not one, but four pitchers of water. The story ends with the destruction of the prophets of Baal and the peoples’ declaration that the Lord is God.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Space for Sorrow

Joyce Meyer – Don’t Fall for Pride

 

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. — Proverbs 16:18 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud – by Joyce Meyer

Pride is something God hates, and it’s easily one of the enemy’s greatest tools. Pride comes before destruction and pre­vents promotion in our lives. Pride erases our compassion for others and causes us to treat their problems and concerns like they don’t matter. Pride will always, always always bring us down.

It’s amazing how someone can have a kind heart and a right spirit while they’re in a lower position, then when they’re promoted, suddenly become a different per­son. He or she will begin to believe they’re better than everyone else, start mistreating others and put on airs. At that point, God has to deal with them.

The apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (NKJV). Being able to honestly say, “It is no lon­ger I” is a sign of real maturity because pride is all about “I.” Pride says, “I’m better than you. I’m smarter than you. My opinion matters, yours doesn’t.” Did you know that “me, myself, and I” are the greatest problems most people have? We are often full of ourselves, when in reality we’re supposed to be full of God and empty of ourselves. We need to have the same attitude as Jesus and esteem others more highly than we do ourselves, caring for their needs and interests (see Philippians 2:3-5). With God’s help we can learn to keep a humble attitude, love others, and keep pride from taking root in our hearts.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to keep a humble attitude, and to say no when pride tries to sneak into my life. Thank You for giving me the grace I need to grow. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Wisdom Brings Peace

 

“Wisdom gives a good, long life, riches, honor, pleasure, peace” (Proverbs 3:16,17).

High up in the Andes Mountains stands a bronze statue of Christ – the base of granite, the figure fashioned from old cannons – marking the boundary between Argentina and Chile.

“Sooner shall these mountains crumble into dust,” reads the Spanish engraving, “than Argentines and Chileans break the peace sworn at the feet of Christ the Redeemer.”

Peoples of these two countries had been quarreling about their boundaries for many years, and suffering from the resultant mistrust.

In 1900, with the conflict at its highest, citizens begged King Edward VII of Great Britain to mediate the dispute. On May 28, 1903, the two governments signed a treaty ending the conflict.

During the celebration that followed, Senora de Costa, a noble lady of Argentina who had done much to bring about the peace, conceived the idea of a monument. She had the statue of Christ shaped from the cannons that had been used to strike terror into Chilean hearts.

At the dedication ceremony, the statue was presented to the world as a sign of the victory of good will. “Protect, Oh Lord, our native land,” prayed Senora de Costa. “Ever give us faith and hope. May fruitful peace be our first patrimony and good example its greatest glory.”

The monument stands today as a reminder that only Christ – the Prince of Peace – can bring real peace to the world. And that refers as much to individual peace as it does to national and international peace.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 3:18-23

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Like Solomon of old, I shall seek the wisdom that brings a good, long life, riches, honor, pleasure and the lasting peace that comes from God’s indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God’s Delights in Our Development

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Howard Rutledge came to appreciate his time as a POW in Vietnam.  He wrote:  “After twenty-eight days of torture, I could remember I had children but not how many.  I prayed for strength. During long periods of enforced reflection it became so much easier to separate the important from the trivial.  My hunger for spiritual food soon outdid my hunger for steak.  It took prison to show me how empty life is without God.”

God is at work in each of us, whether we want it or not.  He takes no pleasure in making life hard. Philippians 1:6 says, “He doesn’t relish in our sufferings, but He delights in our development.”  No one said the road would be painless or easy, but God will use this mess for something good.  God is doing what is best for us, training us to live His holy best.  Have this assurance…you will get through this.

Read more You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Turbulent Times

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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