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.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

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.

 

http://www.cru.org

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.

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 – 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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