Charles Stanley – Advancing Through Adversity

 

Philippians 3:7-11

One of the hardest things for Christians to understand is how to find joy in suffering. Yet we know it can be done, because James tells us, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2). And Peter says, “To the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing” (1 Peter 4:13). What’s more, with regard to persecution, Jesus said, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great” (Matt. 5:12). But how is this possible?

Paul offers a clue in Philippians, where he talks about “the fellowship of [Jesus’] sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). In this part of the letter, the apostle’s objective is to know Christ and know Him thoroughly. If the Lord is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, then can we truly know Him while ignoring these attributes?

When we view hardships as windows into the heart of our Savior, our perspective changes: Suffering begins to feel more like an opportunity than a curse. It gives us access to intimate fellowship with Jesus that comes only through shared suffering.

Are you struggling in a trial today? I pray for your strength to endure so that you might discover more of who Jesus truly is.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 10-12

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Eclipse

 

Bible in a Year:

I will restore David’s fallen shelter—I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins—and will rebuild it as it used to be.

Amos 9:11

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Amos 8:9–12; 9:11–12

I was prepared with eye protection, an ideal viewing location, and homemade moon pie desserts. Along with millions of people in the US, my family watched the rare occurrence of a total solar eclipse—the moon covering the entire disk of the sun.

The eclipse caused an unusual darkness to come over the typically bright summer afternoon. Although for us this eclipse was a fun celebration and a reminder of God’s incredible power over creation (Psalm 135:6–7), throughout history darkness during the day has been seen as abnormal and foreboding (Exodus 10:21Matthew 27:45), a sign that everything is not as it should be.

This is what darkness signified for Amos, a prophet during the time of the divided monarchy in ancient Israel. Amos warned the Northern Kingdom that destruction would come if they continued to turn away from God. As a sign, God would “make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight” (Amos 8:9).

But God’s ultimate desire and purpose was—and is—to make all things right. Even when the people were taken into exile, God promised to one day bring a remnant back to Jerusalem and “repair its broken walls and restore its ruins” (9:11).

Even when life is at its darkest, like Israel, we can find comfort in knowing God is at work to bring light and hope back—to all people (Acts 15:14–18).

By:  Lisa M. Samra

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Myth of Safety

In the January 2, 2015 issue of Science magazine, I read a troubling article. Two researchers—one a cancer geneticist and the other a biostatistician—found that approximately two-thirds of all cancers are the result of “biological bad luck.”(1) The ‘bad luck’ they describe is simply the random genetic mutations that happen as a result of healthy cells dividing. Utilizing a statistical model to analyze historical literature on cancer, they examined the rates of cell division in 31 types of bodily tissue. Focusing specifically on stem cells—the specialized population of cells within each organ tissue that provide replacements when cells wear out—they found that the higher the rate of stem-cell division the more increased the risk of cancer. The reason why? Dividing cells must make copies of their DNA. The more they divide (over time), the higher the risk that errors in the copying process could set off the uncontrolled growth that leads to cancer.(2)

These findings are troubling because they create doubt as to whether preventative controls matter at all in the fight against cancer. They are troubling especially as I thought of all those who have come face to face with the “randomness” of cancer. They are more than just statistics; they are family members, friends, and colleagues who struggle with this often-deadly disease. Confidence erodes in any sense of control over one’s safety and health in light of findings like these.

As I read studies like this, or simply look out on the world around me, it is sometimes difficult not to collapse under the weight of what appears to be random catastrophic events. Mistaken identity, for example, was the “reason” a classmate and dear friend of my brother was murdered, not two-weeks into his new marriage. Working as an urban missionary, he was murdered at the front door of a home in which he was coming to share the Christian faith. Those inside mistook him for someone who had done harm to them in the past. In another seemingly random event, two wilderness experts/enthusiasts river-rafting in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge awoke to find a grizzly bear in their campsite. Though they were armed with a rifle and other necessary protection, they were mauled and killed by the bear. They startled the bear as they emerged in the morning to prepare some breakfast. Apparently, being in the wrong place at the wrong time can get one killed. But the ‘wrong’ place often seems to be as arbitrary as a roll of the dice. Now as I write this, a microorganism has spread around the globe and erased all notions of being in the ‘right’ place.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Myth of Safety

Joyce Meyer – It Won’t Last Forever

 

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. — James 1:2–3 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Trusting God Day by Day – by Joyce Meyer

I’ve heard many people who live in places where there are four distinct seasons talk about how much they enjoy winter, spring, summer, and fall. They like the variety and the unique beauty, qualities, and opportunities of each season. The Bible tells us God Himself changes times and seasons (see Dan. 2:21).

Seasons change, both in the natural world and in our lives. We all have off days, tough weeks, bad months, or even sometimes a whole year that seems way too full of troubles, but thankfully every difficult situation will come to an end.

Some of the trying situations we find ourselves in seem to go on way too long. When this happens, we’re often tempted to complain or get discouraged. Instead of giving in, though, the best thing we can do is look to God for strength and ask Him to teach us something valuable as we press through each day. According to James 1:2–3, God uses trials and pressure to produce character and growth in us.

Sometimes His blessings come through unexpected circumstances that appear negative, but if we choose to trust God and keep a positive attitude in the middle of those situations, we’ll experience the blessings He wants to give us. If you’re going through a difficult time right now, let me remind you that this probably isn’t the first challenge you’ve ever faced. You overcame the last one (and probably learned some valuable lessons through it), and you will make it through this one, too.

Your trials are temporary—they will not last forever. Better days are coming. Keep your focus on Jesus, let Him strengthen you, and remember that this is just a season, and it will pass.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to grow, even in the middle of the difficult things I’m dealing with. Thank You for strengthening me, for staying by my side, and for the blessings You have ahead. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Ways That Are Right and Best

 

“He will teach the ways that are right and best to those who humbly turn to Him” (Psalm 25:9).

A guide, taking some tourists through Mammoth Cave, reached a place called “The Cathedral.”

Mounting a rock called “The Pulpit,” he said he wanted to preach a sermon, and it would be short.

“Keep close to your guide,” he said.

The tourists soon found it was a good sermon. If they did not keep close to the guide, they would be lost in the midst of pits, precipices and caverns.

It is hard to find one’s way through Mammoth Cave without a guide. It is harder to find one’s way through the world without the lamp of God’s Word.

“Keep your eye on the Light of the World (Jesus) and use the Lamp of God’s Word” is a good motto for the Christian to follow.

Humbly turning to God is one of the most meaningful exercises a person can take. We come in touch with divine sovereignty, and we become instant candidates to discern God’s will for our lives.

Humbling ourselves is clearly in line with God’s formula for revival:

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV).

Bible Reading: Psalm 25:1-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I will fix my heart and mind on Jesus first and others second, which is true humility.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Deliverance Comes

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

You’ll get through this!  You fear you won’t.  We all do.  We feel stuck, trapped, locked in.  Will we ever exit this pit?  Yes!  Deliverance is to the Bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras— bold, brassy, and everywhere.

Out of the lion’s den for Daniel, the whale’s belly for Jonah, and prison for Paul. Through the Red Sea onto dry ground. Through the wilderness, through the valley of the shadow of death. Through! It’s a favorite word of God’s! Isaiah 43:2 says,  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.”

It won’t be painless. Have you wept your final tear, received your last round of chemotherapy?  Not necessarily. Does God guarantee the absence of struggle?  Not in this life.  We see Satan’s tricks and ploys but God sees Satan tripped and foiled.  You’ll 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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Denison Forum – High school principal visits 612 graduating seniors: Reframing the depth of the pandemic to experience God in depth

Wylie, Texas, is a town of fifty thousand people twenty-eight miles northeast of Dallas. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, none of the students graduating from Wylie High School will have a traditional graduation ceremony or other end-of-year events.

Since they could not come to the school, the school’s principal came to them. All 612 of them.

Virdie Montgomery spent 80 hours driving 800 miles over 12 days to visit each high school senior at their home. He explained, “The most valuable gift any of us can give anyone that isn’t replaceable is time. Where one spends one’s time says a lot about what they value.”

One of the seniors told CNN, “It kind of shows people that somebody does care for you out there. Most principals wouldn’t do that.”

Hiker posing for photo falls to her death 

COVID-19 is affecting everyone, even those it does not infect. Some responses are positive, as Principal Montgomery shows. Others are tragic.

A hiker celebrating the end of her area’s coronavirus pandemic posed for a cliffside photo in Antalya, Turkey. She climbed over a safety fence to take the picture on the edge of a cliff in front of its scenic waterfalls. She then slipped on grass and fell roughly 115 feet to her death.

The US aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman began its deployment last November before the coronavirus outbreak began. Its 4,500 crew members are thus free of infection. As a paradoxical result, they cannot go home to their families because their ship is too valuable to end its deployment.

The hope is that once the Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group is up and running, the crew of the Truman can finally come home. But no one knows when that day will come.

Continue reading Denison Forum – High school principal visits 612 graduating seniors: Reframing the depth of the pandemic to experience God in depth