Charles Stanley – Choosing Eternal Life

 

Romans 1:15-23

Let’s start with the bad news: We are all born physically alive but dead to the things of God. Every one of us starts existence in a condition of sinfulness that separates us from the Lord. Our unrighteousness automatically places us under His judgment and wrath.

Now for the good news: Salvation means communion with God forever. By trusting in the Savior’s sacrifice on our behalf, we are saved—in other words, we receive the eternal life of Jesus through His Spirit. At that moment, intimacy with God begins here on earth, and it continues forever in heaven.

Keep in mind that there is an enemy who wants us to think physical death is the end of life. But Scripture tells us the truth: Eternity will be spent either with God in heaven or in a permanent hell, separated from Him.

Our response to the salvation Jesus offers is the deciding factor with regard to our ultimate destination. If we reject His sacrifice, then there is no forgiveness of sins and no relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. But if, by faith, we accept Christ’s payment for our sins and receive Him as Lord, then we will enter into an everlasting home with our heavenly Father.

The choice is yours to make: What will eternity look like for you?

Bible in One Year: Job 35-38

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Our Reason for Joy

 

Bible in a Year:

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King.

Psalm 149:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 149:1–5

When the school year began, fourteen-year-old C.J. would hop off the bus every afternoon and dance down his driveway. His mom recorded and shared videos of C.J.’s after-school boogie time. He danced because he enjoyed life and “making people happy” with every move. One day, two garbage collectors took time out of their busy work schedule to stomp, spin, and sway with the young boy who inspires others to dance with him. This trio demonstrates the power of sincere and infectious joy.

The writer of Psalm 149 describes the original source of enduring and unconditional joy—God. The psalmist encourages God’s people to join together and “sing to the Lord a new song” (v. 1). He invites Israel to “rejoice in their Maker” and “be glad in their King” (v. 2). He calls us to worship Him with dancing and music (vv. 1–3). Why? Because “the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory” (v. 4).

Our adoring Father created us and sustains the universe. He delights in us just because we’re His beloved children. He designed us, knows us, and invites us into a personal relationship with Him. What an honor! Our loving and living God is our reason for everlasting joy. We can rejoice in the gift of His constant presence and be grateful for every day our Maker has given us.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – From the Inside Out

 

Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart]. — Matthew 3:8 (AMPC)

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

Our society places so much importance on the way things look that appearances often take priority over true quality. One time I saw some big, perfect-looking oranges at the grocery store and decided to buy one. I was sure the orange would taste as good as it looked, but when I peeled that beautiful thing and took a bite, it was dry and bitter.

Taking time to consider whether you’re as good on the inside as you look on the outside is a serious matter. Many people are searching for God today, and there are countless teachings about how to find Him that sound right. That’s why when people are attracted to your fruit, you need to make sure it tastes as good as it looks. Only then will people see Jesus in you and realize He loves them, and that He is the one true God.

Prayer Starter: Father, please show me where I need to take inventory of the fruit in my life; help me fix anything inside that isn’t what it needs to be. Thank You for giving me grace to be authentic and genuinely like You, inside and out. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Cannot Outgive God

 

“For if you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give – large or small – will be used to measure what is given back to you” (Luke 6:38).

R.G. Le Tourneau was one of God’s great businessmen. He wrote a book, entitled God Runs My Business. Though he had little formal training, he became one of America’s leading industrialists, developing and securing patents for many major improvements in earth-moving equipment. He gave away millions of dollars, and he founded a wonderful Christian college which bears his name. I had known and admired him for many years, but one of my most memorable experiences with him was at his plant in Longview, Texas. As we chatted, I was captivated by this exuberant, joyful layman who was overflowing with the love of God, still creative in his later years, and always proclaiming the truth that you cannot outgive God – the more you give away the more you receive. He had discovered a law of the universe.

The giving of the tithe (ten percent of our increase) is an Old Testament principle. The New Testament principle of giving is expressed in this passage: “The more you give, the more you will receive.” I personally do not believe that that involves indiscriminate giving, but rather that we should prayerfully evaluate all the various opportunities that are available to further the cause of Christ and His kingdom.

New Testament concept makes clear that everything belongs to God. We are custodians, stewards, of that which is entrusted to us for only a brief moment of time. Three-score and ten years (or possibly a little more), and then all that we possess will pass on to another. We are not to hoard, nor are we to pass on large estates to our heirs. That which is entrusted to God’s children is given to them to be used while they are still alive. We are to care for our own, and make provision for their needs, but all that is entrusted to us beyond that amount should be spent while we are still alive, while we can guarantee proper stewardship.

Bible Reading: II Corinthians 8:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Mindful of this spiritual principle, that everything belongs to God and He has entrusted me with the privilege and responsibility of being a good steward, I will seek every opportunity to invest all the time, talent and treasure available to me while I am still alive, for the enhancement of the kingdom of God.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Pursue Gratitude

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

If you feel the world owes you something, brace yourself — you’ll never get reimbursed.  Henry Ward Beecher said, “A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.”  The sky’s never blue enough, the steak isn’t cooked enough, the universe isn’t good enough to deserve a human being like you.

Pursue gratitude.  The grateful heart is like a magnet, sweeping over the day, collecting reasons for gratitude.  Thank you, God.  Your lungs inhale and exhale 11,000 liters of air every day. Thank you, God.  For the jam on the toast and the milk on the cereal and the blanket that calms us and the joke that softens us and the warm sun that reminds us of God’s love. Gratitude leaves us looking at God and away from dread.  It does to anxiety what morning sun does to valley mist: it burns it up.  Thank you, God.

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 – What does it mean to defund the police? How to respond with reason rather than fear

Minneapolis is back in the news after nine of the city’s twelve city council members voted to defund their police department. Calls to disband or defund the police have become a common occurrence throughout many of the protests around the country, but they have grown in intensity over the last week. But just what do people mean when they speak of defunding police departments?

It turns out, no one is really quite sure.

In Minneapolis, for example, the city council admitted that while they have some early thoughts, there is not a clear plan in place. They hope to work with representatives from the community over the coming months to develop a system of public safety that places a greater emphasis on community policing efforts and programs aimed at more specific problems. At this point, however, it’s still not clear if the city council even has the legal authority to take this step.

Regardless of the ultimate legality, though, the city’s decision has made national headlines and brought the conversation closer to reality than it has been before. As such, let’s take a closer look at the subject and, ultimately, what we can learn from it to better advance God’s kingdom in our culture.

Reform vs. replace

First, calls to defund or disband police have been around for many years, but they’ve always stayed on the periphery of the conversation because they were seen as both extreme and unnecessary. The argument was that greater accountability and better training would be enough to curb, though not eliminate, the tendencies at the heart of the problem.

Minneapolis city council member Jeremiah Ellison spoke for many, though, when he expressed the need “to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response. It’s really past due.” For those who agree with Ellison, the police have been given enough chances at reform, and substantive change is needed.

There are many reasons to think Ellison and those who agree with him are wrong in that assumption, but it points to the basic reality that we only get so many chances to do better before people assume that what’s broken simply can’t be fixed.

Defund doesn’t always mean the same thing

The second point is that not all calls to defund the police have the same goal. While the Minneapolis example paints a fairly clear picture of one extreme, most advocates for change seem wary to go that far.

A more common proposal centers on removing some funding from police departments, as well as certain responsibilities, and reallocating both to other groups. Issues involving mental illness, homelessness, and social services are often cited as examples of jobs that currently fall to the police in many cities but could perhaps be better handled by nonprofits or other groups focused on a single task.

Advocates for these policies also frequently argue that by refining the responsibilities of the police, it could help them better focus on the issues they are best equipped to handle without adding the undue pressure of tasks that might fall outside of their true calling.

Can more police equal better police?

Lastly, a common argument among those who disagree with efforts to defund the police is that the best way to avoid the kinds of abuses and harassment at the heart of recent protests is to hire more police rather than less.

Studies have shown that not only does a larger police presence reduce crime, but it can also mitigate the need for overtime and added responsibilities among those who serve on the force. Research in 2017, moreover, demonstrated that “a single hour of overtime led to a 2.7 percent increase in the odds that the officer would be involved in a use-of-force incident the following week.”

As Matthew Yglesias concluded, “What’s helpful is more officers, not more harassment.” However, those who have been on the receiving end of such harassment counter that it’s hard to have one without the other.

Choosing reason instead of fear

Regardless of what comes from the current conversation about police reform, the manner in which people engage in the discussion is likely to have as great an impact on the outcome as the decisions that are ultimately reached. Fear, rather than reason, is often the motivating factor for people as they think about the future of law enforcement.

For some, that fear is based on negative experiences with the police. For others, the prospect of a future without cops leads to visions of unchecked violence and disorder. As a result, it’s incredibly easy to leave God out of the ensuing discussion.

As Paul taught the Philippians, fear and logic can seldom coexist. Rather, he instructed them, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5–7).

Our culture could really use the protection of Christ Jesus for our hearts and minds at this point. Decisions will likely be made across the coming weeks and months with regards to a number of issues—the future of law enforcement among them—that will greatly impact the future of our society for years to come.

As we seek the Lord’s wisdom and discernment in knowing how to engage in those discussions, it’s vital that we follow Paul’s advice and be reasonable voices guided by the peace of God. That won’t happen, though, if we allow ourselves to be driven by fear instead.

Which will guide your response today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/