Charles Stanley – God’s Plan of Crucifixion

 

Acts 2:22-36

Who was responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion? Though both the Jews and the Romans played a role in putting Him on the cross, God was the one who had already planned His Son’s death as atonement for mankind’s sin.

Peter made this very clear in his first sermon, and he also affirmed it many years later in his first epistle, saying of Christ, “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God” (Acts 1:20-21). Even before creation and the entrance of sin into the world, God already had a plan in place for the redemption of those who would believe in Him.

The Father’s plan for the crucifixion of His Son was motivated by the sinful, hopeless condition of mankind, His love for us, and His justice. God could neither ignore our sin nor simply decide to forgive us, because those options would be unjust, and He cannot act contrary to His nature. The cross was God’s way of fulfilling His predestined plan of salvation. Now all who trust in Christ can be forgiven and receive eternal life. Have you done this?

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 26-28

 

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Our Daily Bread — Where Choices Lead

 

Bible in a Year:

The Lord watches over the way of the righteous.

Psalm 1:6

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 1

With no cell service and no trail map, we had just our memory of a fixed map at the trailhead to guide us. More than an hour later, we finally emerged from the woods into the parking lot. Having missed the turn-off that would have made for a half-mile hike, we took a much longer trek.

Life can be like that: we have to ask not simply if something is right or wrong, but where it will lead. Psalm 1 compares two ways of living—that of the righteous (those who love God) and that of the wicked (the enemies of those who love God). The righteous flourish like a tree, but the wicked blow away like chaff (vv. 3–4). This psalm reveals what flourishing really looks like. The person who lives it out is dependent on God for renewal and life.

So how do we become that kind of person? Among other things, Psalm 1 urges us to disengage from destructive relationships and unhealthy habits and to delight in God’s instruction (v. 2). Ultimately, the reason for our flourishing is God’s attentiveness to us: “The Lord watches over the way of the righteous” (v. 6).

Commit your way to God, let Him redirect you from old patterns that lead to nowhere, and allow the Scriptures to be the river that nourishes the root system of your heart.

By:  Glenn Packiam

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Obituary: Ravi Zacharias (1946 – 2020)

When Ravi Zacharias was a cricket-loving boy on the streets of India, his mother called him in to meet the local sari-seller-turned-palm reader. “Looking at your future, Ravi Baba, you will not travel far or very much in your life,” he declared. “That’s what the lines on your hand tell me. There is no future for you abroad.”

By the time a 37-year-old Zacharias preached, at the invitation of Billy Graham, to the inaugural International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam in 1983, he was on his way to becoming one of the foremost defenders of Christianity’s intellectual credibility. A year later, he founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), with the mission of “helping the thinker believe and the believer think.”

In the time between the sari seller’s prediction and the founding of RZIM, Zacharias had immigrated to Canada, taken the gospel across North America, prayed with military prisoners in Vietnam and ministered to students in a Cambodia on the brink of collapse. He had also undertaken a global preaching trip as a newly licensed minister with The Christian and Missionary Alliance, along with his wife, Margie, and eldest daughter, Sarah. This trip started in England, worked eastwards through Europe and the Middle East and finished on the Pacific Rim; all-in-all that year, Zacharias preached nearly 600 times in over a dozen countries.

It was the culmination of a remarkable transformation set in motion when Zacharias, recovering in a Delhi hospital from a suicide attempt at age 17, was read the words of Jesus recorded in the Bible by the apostle John: “Because I live, you will also live.” In response, Zacharias surrendered his life to Christ and offered up a prayer that if he emerged from the hospital, he would leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of truth. Once Zacharias found the truth of the gospel, his passion for sharing it burned bright until the very end. Even as he returned home from the hospital in Texas, where he had been undergoing chemotherapy, Zacharias was sharing the hope of Jesus to the three nurses who tucked him into his transport.

Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias was born in Madras, now Chennai, in 1946, in the shadow of the resting place of the apostle Thomas, known to the world as the “Doubter” but to Zacharias as the “Great Questioner.” Zacharias’s affinity with Thomas meant he was always more interested in the questioner than the question itself. His mother, Isabella, was a teacher. His father, Oscar, who was studying labor relations at the University of Nottingham in England when Zacharias was born, rose through the ranks of the Indian civil service throughout Zacharias’s adolescence.

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Joyce Meyer – A Pure Heart

 

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. — Psalm 51:10 (AMPC)

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

God’s Word says that His eyes are always roaming around the earth, looking for someone whose heart is pure before Him (see 2 Chronicles 16:9). A pure heart is much more important to the Lord than a perfect record of good works (see Matthew 5:8).

Although it’s not possible to reach perfection in all our behavior, it is totally possible to have a perfect heart toward God! A person with a perfect heart is someone who deeply desires to please God in everything they do, and is always open to the Holy Spirit’s leading to grow and change.

Don’t live in fear that you haven’t done enough, or that God is mad at you, or that the door to His presence is closed to you. Ask Him to help you develop a pure heart as you trust and believe that the work Jesus did on your behalf was enough. He loves you more than you know, and He wants to be there for you.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You that I don’t have to have perfect behavior to have a perfect heart toward You. Please help me cultivate a pure heart—I want to grow closer to You. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Overflowing Blessings

 

“Lord, I am overflowing with Your blessings, just as You promised” (Psalm 119:65).

As the father of Dr. Harry Ironside, famous Christian leader, pastor and author, lay dying, he seemed to have a recurring view of the descending sheet which Peter saw in a vision.

“A great sheet and wild beasts,” he mumbled, over and over, and…and…and.”

The next words would not come, so he would start over again.

“John,” a friend whispered to him, “it says, ‘creeping things.'”

“Oh, yes,” the dying man said, “that’s how I got in – just a poor, good-for-nothing creeping thing. But I got in, saved by grace.”

And considering the fact that each one of us, in ourselves, outside the Lord Jesus Christ, is but a poor creeping thing saved by grace, we must marvel anew as we overflow with His blessings.

What an exalted place we can have Children of God, heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, indwelt by His Holy Spirit, we are recipients of eternal life, given supernatural, abundant life as we yield ourselves to Him.

God has dealt well with each one of His children. He has given us work to do – to serve Him is to reign. He has given us provision. He has given us encouragement. He has given us many tokens of the pay we shall receive at the end of life’s journey. He has dealt with us according to His Word.

Even the testings and trials are for a divine purpose: to conform us to His image; to make us more Christlike. Truly, we are on the winning side; how important it is that we tell men and women, boys and girls, around us each day, that they too can be on the winning side.

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:66-72

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will make a special effort to count my blessings today, and in deep gratitude share the good news of the gospel with others.

 

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Max Lucado – Choose What Pleases God

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Don’t make matters worse by doing something you’ll regret.  Years ago, a friend gave me this counsel: “Make a list of all the lives you would impact through your sexual immorality.”  I did.  Every so often I re-read it: Denalyn.  My three daughters.  My son-in-law.  My yet-to-be-born grandchildren.  Every person who’s ever read one of my books or heard my sermons.  My publishing team.  Our church staff.

The list reminds me: one act of carnality is a poor exchange for a lifetime of lost legacy.  You don’t fix a struggling marriage with an affair, a drug problem with more drugs.  You don’t fix stupid with stupid.  Do what pleases God.  Turbulent times will tempt you to forget Him. Shortcuts will lure you. But don’t be foolish, don’t be naïve.  Do what pleases God.  Nothing more, nothing less.

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 – Ten-year-old’s ‘Joke of the Day’ is making a difference: A practical way to ‘know God’s presence’

 

“Why are ghosts such bad liars? Because you can see right through them.”

Ethan LyBrand has been supplying a “Joke of the Day” such as this one during the pandemic. His audience is part of what makes this such a terrific story: Ethan is filming his jokes to share through the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) social channels.

Another aspect of the story is that Ethan is only ten, but he is finding a way to make a difference. Here’s yet another: Ethan has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Diagnosed two days before his second birthday, he tires easily and periodically uses a motorized chair for mobility.

Despite his challenges, Ethan intends to tell jokes “as long as the quarantine lasts.”

“Young trailblazers” who are “stepping up” 

Ethan is not the only young person taking the initiative to help others during this crisis: Forbes is reporting on eight “young trailblazers stepping up during the pandemic.” One built a grocery delivery robot. Another is making see-through masks for the hearing impaired. Another is 3D-printing face shields.

On the other end of the spectrum, an eighty-eight-year-old Air Force veteran named Bob Coleman is sharing his love for country music on a new online radio hour known as “Radio Recliner.” He is one of several retirees serving as DJs for the sixty-minute show. Listeners can send song requests dedicated to friends or family.

Volunteers are stepping up to serve seniors as well. For example, employees of the city of Plano, Texas, launched bi-weekly Senior Care Calls. City staff are asking how older people are doing and connecting them to community resources as needed. The AARP has a similar service for senior adults.

Loving God with “all your strength” 

Yesterday, we focused on the second Great Commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31). Today, we’ll begin discussing the first Great Commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (v. 30).

Continue reading Denison Forum – Ten-year-old’s ‘Joke of the Day’ is making a difference: A practical way to ‘know God’s presence’