Charles Stanley – Spreading the Good News

 

Acts 14:19-23

Saul of Tarsus, the zealous persecutor of Christians, underwent a radical transformation and became a passionate follower of Christ. Later known as Paul, he dedicated his time, energy, and talent to spreading the gospel message. What motivated him to surrender his life wholeheartedly to Jesus?

Jesus’ sacrifice of love. Paul realized that Jesus left His heavenly home, suffered, and died so we might be reconciled to God. This sacrifice moved the apostle to tell others about the Savior’s all-encompassing love (Eph. 3:18).

Gratitude for salvation. Calling himself the worst of sinners, Paul acknowledged that he was unworthy of salvation and undeserving of mercy or favor (1 Timothy 1:15-16). It was gratitude for salvation that fueled his devotion and dedication to the cause of Christ.

Power of the gospel to transform lives. The apostle’s own experience made him long to see others rescued from slavery to sin so they might experience God’s grace. He wanted many to benefit from the saving and transforming power of the gospel.

When inadequacy or doubt keeps us silent, let’s remember what motivated Paul to share the gospel. Then imagine a day when loved ones will experience the peace of God, the love of Christ, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 22-24

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Man Who Couldn’t Talk

 

Bible in a Year:

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.

Psalm 96:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 96

Sitting in his wheelchair at a senior citizens home in Belize, a man joyfully listened as a group of American high school teenagers sang about Jesus. Later, as some of the teens tried to communicate with him, they discovered he couldn’t talk. A stroke had robbed him of his ability to speak.

Since they couldn’t carry on a conversation with the man, the teens decided to sing to him. As they began to sing, something amazing happened. The man who couldn’t talk began to sing. With enthusiasm, he belted out “How Great Thou Art” right along with his new friends.

It was a remarkable moment for everyone. This man’s love for God broke through the barriers and poured out in audible worship—heartfelt, joyous worship.

We all have worship barriers from time to time. Maybe it’s a relationship conflict or a money problem. Or it could be a heart that’s grown a bit cold in its relationship to God.

Our non-talking friend reminds us that the greatness and majesty of our almighty God can overcome any barrier. “O Lord, my God—when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made!”

Struggling in your worship? Reflect on how great our God is by reading a passage such as Psalm 96, and you too may find your obstacles and objections replaced by praise.

By:  Dave Branon

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Embodied Empathy

 

In the still of the night, in the world’s ancient light
Where wisdom grows up in strife
My bewildered brain, toils in vain
Through the darkness on the pathways of life
Each invisible prayer is like a cloud in the air
Tomorrow keeps turning around
We live and we die, we know not why
But I’ll be with you when the deal goes down.(1)

In just a few lines, Bob Dylan describes much of modern dread: every road a path of resistance, every work a Sisyphean exercise in futility, every pathway littered with burnt out lamps, every prayer a fleeting vapor, every tomorrow suddenly a forgotten yesterday, every death impersonal and frighteningly mysterious. These all speak to the deep psychological wounds of life and vulnerability, the trauma of living and loving, the thick of despair and depression. But the ending is what all who long wish to hear: “I’ll be with you when the deal goes down.”

It is hard and uncomfortable to be with people when they face these defeats, though. One of the reasons for this is that, simply put, we don’t want to be dragged down into the pit of despair with anyone. No one wants to be in that pit: neither the person who is in it, nor those of us who can’t imagine why they seem to want to stay there. (Hint: They don’t.)(2)

It is hard to describe depression to one who has not felt it in their bones. It is not mere sadness or pessimism, as I learned but a few years ago. The words that best describe the overwhelming and unshakable darkness inside of my head at the time are hopeless, forsaken, worthless, and guilty. Mere words can never express this extreme despair, though. It was this feeling deep within my soul of being separated from the world, my own self, and my God. Intellectually, perhaps, I knew of my status before God, but I did not feel it at all. One cannot simply “snap out of” this predicament. Most of the time, it feels utterly uncontrollable, and yourself inconsolable.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Embodied Empathy

Joyce Meyer – You Can Trust His Timing

 

…I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord; I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands… — Psalm 31:14-15 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Ending Your Day Right – by Joyce Meyer

Trust requires us to place our times in God’s hands, believing that His timing is perfect for all things in our lives. Our human nature wants good things to happen now, not later. But as we mature in our walk with Jesus, we learn to believe for things not immediately, but in God’s perfect timing.

Trusting God often means not knowing how He’s going to accomplish something, and not knowing when He will do it. But not knowing how or when stretches our faith and teaches us to how to trust. Remember: Trust isn’t inherited—it is learned.

Timing plays an important part in learning to trust God. As you experience His faithfulness over and over, you’ll be able to give up trusting in your own understanding or ability, and place your life in His more-than-capable hands. What a wonderful place to be!

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me not to be in a rush, or try to make something happen too soon. Thank You for having the best plan, and for helping me trust Your timing. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Gives Attention

 

“For the eyes of the Lord are intently watching all who live good lives, and He gives attention when they cry to Him” (Psalm 34:15).

A mother and her little 4-year-old daughter were preparing to retire for the night. The child was afraid of the dark, and the mother, on this occasion alone with the child, also felt fearful.

After the light was turned out, the child glimpsed the moon outside the window.

“Mother,” she asked, “is the moon God’s light?”

“Yes,” replied the mother.

“Will God put out His light and go to sleep?”

“No, my child,” the mother replied, “God never goes to sleep.”

“Well,” said the child, with the simplicity of childlike faith, “as long as God is awake, there is no sense in both of us staying awake.”

God expects you and me – with that same kind of childlike faith – not only to live good lives but also to cry out to Him in our times of need, knowing that He watches intently and gives attention to our every cry.

Again we have that helpful imagery of guiding eyes, the eyes of Him who rules and reigns over all – who is concerned about each one of His children, and equally concerned about those who have not yet trusted in Him for He is not willing that any should perish.

Bible Reading: Psalm 34:16-22

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I shall not be afraid to cry out to the Lord when circumstances warrant a call to the Almighty. In the meantime I will devote special time today to worship, praise and thank Him for His goodness to me.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Faith No One Can Take

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Ginger was six years old when she and her Sunday school class made get well cards for church members.  Hers was a bright purple card that said, “I love you, but most of all God loves you!”  She and her mom made the delivery.

My dad was bedfast, the end was near.  He could extend his hand, but it was bent to a claw from disease.  Ginger asked him a question as only a six-year-old can,  “Are you going to die?”  “Yes. When, I don’t know.”  She asked if he was afraid to go away.  “Away is heaven,” he told her.  “I’ll be with my Father.  I’m ready to see Him eye to eye.”

A man near death, winking at the thought of it.  Stripped of everything?  It only appeared that way. In the end, Dad still had what no one could take: faith.  And in the end, that’s all he needed!

 

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 – A celestial Mother’s Day gift: How to go ‘through’ hard times

If you’re looking for something unusual to give your mother this Sunday, you might consider a gift that is truly celestial: Christie’s auction house is selling a twenty-nine-pound lump of moon rock for $2.5 million.

The rock, technically called NWA 12691, was found two years ago in the Sahara Desert, where it probably crash-landed during an ancient meteor shower. It is exceedingly rare: less than 1,500 lunar meteorites have been discovered over the years, just enough to fit inside a small car. NWA 12691 is the fifth-largest piece of the moon on earth, dwarfing even those returned by Apollo astronauts.

“We should always think of helping others” 

You don’t need to spend $2.5 million, however, to give someone a gift they will truly appreciate. Thousands of American graduates are writing the slogan “Gowns 4 Good” on their mortarboards after donating their gowns to healthcare workers to use as personal protective equipment in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Gowns 4 Good is the name of a charity begun three weeks ago by Nathaniel Moore, a frontline physician assistant in Vermont. He is asking graduates to donate their gowns to more than seventy-five thousand frontline responders. Such gowns worn backwards, with the zippered opening in the rear and the high collar in front, meet the CDC requirements for covering the body.

On the theme of selfless service, consider Galina Yakovleva. As a child during the World War II siege of Leningrad, she learned to make the best of fearful times. Today, she’s using these lessons as she delivers food and supplies to needy people locked down because of the pandemic.

The eighty-year-old drives a white minivan every day through the streets of St. Petersburg. She was helping others for a decade before the pandemic struck and continues to serve in these difficult times. One of her care recipients said, “I don’t know how I’d live here indoors for a month if not for Galina. She brings me milk, bread, everything so I won’t die from hunger. I’m amazed. This person lives only for others, not for herself.”

Yakovleva explains her motive: “We should always think of helping others, at least a bit. Not just lie on the sofa.”

We are often the answer to our prayers 

Yesterday was the annual National Day of Prayer. Millions of Christians across the country prayed for our leaders and for our nation.

Continue reading Denison Forum – A celestial Mother’s Day gift: How to go ‘through’ hard times