Our Daily Bread — The Smiling Jesus

 

Bible in a Year:

God . . . has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.

Hebrews 1:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Hebrews 1:8–12

If you were to play the part of Jesus in a movie, how would you approach the role? That was the challenge faced by Bruce Marchiano, who played Jesus in the 1993 Visual Bible movie Matthew. Knowing that millions of viewers would draw conclusions about Jesus based on his work, the weight of getting Christ “right” felt overwhelming. He fell to his knees in prayer and begged Jesus for—well, for Jesus.

Bruce gained insight from the first chapter of Hebrews, where the writer tells us how God the Father set the Son apart by anointing Him “with the oil of joy” (1:9). This kind of joy is one of celebration—a gladness of connection to the Father expressed wholeheartedly. Such joy ruled in Jesus’ heart throughout His life. As Hebrews 12:2 describes it, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Taking his cue from this scriptural expression, Bruce offered a uniquely joy-filled portrayal of his Savior. As a result, he became known as “the smiling Jesus.” We too can dare to fall to our knees and “beg Jesus for Jesus.” May He so fill us with His character that people around us see the expression of His love in us!

By:  Elisa Morgan

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Creative Evidence

 

We have been sharing some of our favorite A Slice of Infinity essays written by Ravi Zacharias over the years. Thank you for sharing your own stories, testimonies, reflections, and letters. Ravi’s family and the RZIM global team have been greatly encouraged by the outpouring of support during this difficult time.

 

This is where I think that the Christian faith rises to its most authentic. When Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, came down with a serious illness, his sisters Mary and Martha sent for Jesus.(1) Before Jesus arrived at their home in Bethany, Lazarus died, and the sisters greeted the Lord with the half indicting words, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Martha added, “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask” (John 11:21–22).

What an odd construction of thought. She is really saying, “Since you were not here to keep this tragedy from happening, it is now our expectation that you will reverse it.” Jesus did assure her that one day Lazarus’s death would be reversed (verse 23). But that was not good enough; Martha wanted it reversed right then. In effect, she was willing to let Lazarus die twice. (I have visited a grave in Cyprus that purports to be the grave of Lazarus. Inscribed on the grave are the words, “Lazarus, Friend of Jesus, Twice Dead.”)

In a dramatic move, Jesus went to the tomb. When he saw where his friend lay, Jesus wept (see John 11:35). He wept, even though he knew that, at least for then, he was going to reverse death. Death is powerful, but the power of God to raise us indeed shouts the triumph of love over sin.

Lazarus’s resurrection portended what would happen to Jesus himself. And here is the point: if Jesus were a charlatan or had deceived himself, he could have kept his plan going in perpetuity simply by saying, “I will spiritually rise again.” Such a claim could never be contradicted or proven false. But Jesus made no such promise. He promised a bodily resurrection—a concretely demonstrable falsehood if it were not to happen. This is vitally important. Jesus made an empirically verifiable claim and then fulfilled it. This statement has profound implications. It means that these bodies of ours, which the apostle Paul describes as a “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19) will some day be transformed to be like [Christ’s] “glorious body,” just as the Bible declares (Philippians 3:21). They will continue to exist and our individual identities and personalities will be translated into an eternal realm.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Creative Evidence

Joyce Meyer – Change Your Words

 

Hear, for I will speak excellent and princely things; and the opening of my lips shall be for right things. — Proverbs 8:6 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Power Thoughts – by Joyce Meyer

In today’s scripture, Solomon made a decision about how he would talk, and we should do the same thing. Just like we can direct our thoughts, we can also direct our words with God’s help; we can choose to speak excellent, positive things.

Our words affect us, the people around us, and even what God is able to do for us. You can’t have a negative mouth and a positive life; it just won’t work. In 1 Peter 3:10, the apostle Peter teaches us that if we want to enjoy life and see good days—even in the middle of trials—we have to keep our words free of evil. That means we need to choose to speak God-honoring, life-giving words that push us in the direction we want to go.

What kind of life do you want? Do you want an excellent life? If so, then you need to be speaking excellent words. As you’re intentional to change your words, you will change your life!

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to choose life-giving words today. Thank You for giving me such a great example to follow in Your Word! In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Max Lucado – You Will Never Go Wrong Doing What’s Right

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Dad, would you intentionally break the arm of your child?  Of course not!  Such an action violates every fiber of your moral being.  Yet if you engage in sexual activity outside your marriage, you’ll bring more pain into the life of your child than a broken bone.

Mom, would you force your children to sleep outside on a cold night?  By no means.  Yet if you involve yourself in an affair, you’ll bring more darkness and chill into the lives of your children than a hundred winters.

Actions have consequences.  Make this your rule of thumb: do what pleases God.  Your classmates show you a way to cheat, the Internet provides pornography to watch.  When these things happen, ask yourself the question, “How can I please God?”  Psalm 4, verse 5 says, “Do what is right as a sacrifice to the Lord.”  You will never go wrong doing what is right!

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 – From poison to Christ: How the life and legacy of Ravi Zacharias inspire us to love God with our minds

Ravi Zacharias, one of the most effective apologists and communicators in the Christian world, died yesterday at the age of seventy-four.

He was born on March 26, 1946, in Chennai, India. His family went to church and observed Christian rituals, but he said he never heard the gospel. “I attended more Hindu festivals and celebrations than I did Christian ones,” he wrote in Christianity Today.

As a young man, Zacharias attended a Youth for Christ rally, where he responded to the invitation with what he later termed “a kind of half-hearted commitment.” At the age of seventeen, in response to poor academic performance that he felt brought shame on his family, he took poison to kill himself.

He was rushed to the hospital, where a representative of Youth for Christ left him a Bible opened to John 14 and Jesus’ statement, “Because I live, you also will live.”

“Jesus,” he prayed, “if you are the One who gives life as it is meant to be, I want it. Please get me out of this hospital bed well, and I promise I will leave no stone unturned in my pursuit of truth.”

God answered his prayer, and Ravi Zacharias kept his promise.

“Let My People Think” 

Zacharias received a bachelor of theology degree from Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto) in 1972 and a master of divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, four years later. In 1984, he founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM).

Zacharias preached the gospel in more than seventy countries. He wrote or edited more than twenty-five books about theology, apologetics, comparative religion, and philosophy. RZIM has grown to about two hundred employees in sixteen offices around the world with twenty traveling speakers. Their ministry strategies include evangelism, apologetics, humanitarian aid, spiritual growth, and training institutes at Oxford University and elsewhere.

He wrote the bestseller, Can Man Live Without God? His most recent book, The Logic of God: 52 Christian Essentials for the Heart and Mind, won the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s 2020 Christian Book Award in the Bible study category.

Let My People Think, a weekly radio program, airs on more than two thousand outlets in thirty-two countries. A television program by the same name is broadcast on thirty-one stations in Canada and Belize, with global coverage into Africa, China, and Europe. A version of the program airs in his native India as well.  Continue reading Denison Forum – From poison to Christ: How the life and legacy of Ravi Zacharias inspire us to love God with our minds