Charles Stanley –The Struggle With Doubt

 

James 1:5-8

To trust that biblical promises are true requires faith. According to Hebrews 11:1, faith is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (NIV). At salvation, we believed through faith that we were saved by God through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus.

Since then, many of us have struggled to believe consistently that God’s promises are true—or that they apply to us. Our faith has been mixed with doubt. Sometimes we feel unsure of God’s love or forgiveness. At other times, especially when life gets hard, we question whether we’ve truly been given all that we need. If prayers are not answered as we expect, we wonder whether the Lord really cares about us. In such instances, our feelings and circumstances cloud what we truly believe.

The good news is that Scripture can help us gain confidence in times of uncertainty. It can be trusted because the author—God Himself—is trustworthy. As we study its pages, the Holy Spirit works through our doubt, and the promises of God begin to sink in.

Remember, Jesus invites us to bring our burden of doubt to Him. We can trust that He will give us rest from it (Matt. 11:28).

Bible in One Year: Proverbs 19-21

 

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Our Daily Bread — Look Up!

 

Bible in a Year:

There will be no night there.

Revelation 21:25

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 8:3–4; Revelation 21:22–25

When filmmaker Wylie Overstreet showed strangers a live picture of the moon as seen through his powerful telescope, they were stunned at the up-close view, reacting with whispers and awe. To see such a glorious sight, Overstreet explained, “fills us with a sense of wonder that there’s something much bigger than ourselves.”

The psalmist David also marveled at God’s heavenly light. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3–4).

David’s humbling question puts our awe in perspective when we learn that, after God creates His new heaven and earth, we’ll no longer need the moon or the sun. Instead, said John the apostle, God’s shimmering glory will provide all necessary light. “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. . . . There will be no night there” (Revelation 21:23–25).

What an amazing thought! Yet we can experience His heavenly light now—simply by seeking Christ, the Light of the world. In Overstreet’s view, “We should look up more often.” As we do, may we see God.

By:  Patricia Raybon

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Suffer the Children

 

What I remember most about Katie was her large, brown eyes.(1) From those large eyes fell even larger tears as she recounted the horrors perpetrated against her by her parents. She had suffered so much in her young life that she had difficulty recalling many moments of child-like play, imagination, adventure, or happy memories. Unlike Katie, my childhood was filled with many cherished memories—our two childhoods couldn’t be more different. While I certainly had my fair share of difficult memories—of getting lost at the shopping mall, getting into trouble for mischief gone too far, or arguments with my siblings, I look back on my childhood with fondness and an appreciation for a nurturing, caring home life.

Unfortunately, there are many other children like Katie. Their memories are filled with violence, neglect, and abuse. The Children’s Bureau of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families reports through the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System in 2012, “an estimated 3.4 million reports were received by Child Protective Service agencies in the United States alleging that 6.3 million children were maltreated by their parents or guardians. Nationally, approximately 1,560 children die each year as a result of maltreatment.” (1) And in my own home state, Child Protective Services received more than 88,709 reports of child abuse and neglect. (2) Around the world, according to the World Health Organization, one in five women and one in thirteen men were sexually abused as children.(3)

Many historians have noted how modern societies take for granted the innocence and vulnerability of children that makes them beings of particular value and entitled to particular protection and care. In an article entitled “How Christianity Invented Children” author Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry cites historians who suggest that children were considered non-persons in ancient Greece and Rome.(4) In these societies, Gobry notes, “the entire social worldview was undergirded by a universally-held, if implicit, view: Society was organized in concentric circles, with the circle at the center containing the highest value people, and the people in the outside circles having little-to-no value.”(5) At the center of value was the freeborn, adult male. The value of all other persons depended on their similarity to freeborn, adult males. Foreigners, slaves, women and children were at the periphery of those value circles. As a result of this kind of social structure, Gobry, citing historical sociologist Rodney Stark, highlights the frequent practice in the ancient world that involved the abandonment of unwanted infants—especially infant girls—because of their low status.(6)

This is the world into which Christianity emerged, condemning infanticide, calling attention to children and ascribing special worth to them. Following the example of Jesus, the earliest Christians moved children from the periphery of value into the center. For Jesus welcomed children, instructed his adult followers to imitate children in their devotion to God and said that “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Of course, Jesus’s welcome extended to other categories of vulnerable people—often the most marginalized in his society. And in our contemporary world, where the gift of hospitality seems a virtue on the verge of disappearing, might we return to that early Christian vision of creating space for welcome and room for inclusion of those on the margins?

The value of children, like Katie, as treasured human beings reflects a God who cherishes the least, the last, and the most vulnerable among us. This God chose to come as a child, as one who was vulnerable. All are invited to wonder and consider the mystery of a faith that proclaims the weakness of God and the foolishness of God to be strength and wisdom. The one who said, “suffer the children and do not hinder them from coming to me” is the God revealed as a vulnerable child in the person of Jesus.

 

Margaret Manning Shull is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Bellingham, Washington.

 

(1) Not her real name in order to protect her privacy.
(2) Washington State Department of Social & Health Services, Protecting the Abused and Neglected Child: A guide for recognizing & reporting child abuse & neglect, 2015.
(3) Ibid.
(4) “Child Maltreatment,” World Health Organization, 30 September 2016, www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/child-maltreatment, accessed January 5, 2019.
(4) Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, “How Christianity Invented Children,” The Week, April 23, 2015. Accessed December 22, 2018.
(5) Ibid.
(6) Ibid.

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Joyce Meyer – God Will Find You

 

Behold, the Lord’s eye is upon those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe], who wait for Him and hope in His mercy and loving-kindness. — Psalm 33:18 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Hearing from God Each Morning – by Joyce Meyer

I remember a time when I was trying so hard to hear from God, and was so scared of making a mistake. At the time, I was just starting to learn to hear God’s voice. Being led by the Spirit was new to me, and I was afraid because I didn’t have enough experience yet to know whether I was truly hearing Him or not, and I didn’t understand that God will redeem our mistakes if our hearts are right. He was speaking to me and trying to get me to step out in faith and do something, but I kept saying, “Lord, what if I miss You? What if I’m not really hearing You and I do the wrong thing? I’m scared I will miss You, God!”

He spoke to me and said gently, “Joyce, don’t worry. If you miss Me, I will find you.” Those words gave me the courage to do what God was calling me to do and brought great peace to my heart. They have encouraged me to step out in faith many, many times since I first heard them. I’m sharing them with you today to encourage you to take the steps of faith you need to take in response to what God is saying to you right now.

If you want God’s will in your life more than anything else, and if you’ve done everything you know to do to hear from God, then it’s time to take a chance, step out, and believe. Even if you do make a mistake, God will fix it and work it out for your good.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to not let fear of failure keep me from moving forward. Thank You for redeeming every mistake for my good and others’ good. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Spirit of His Son

 

“And because we are His sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, so now we can rightly speak of God as our dear Father.” (Galatians 4:6).

What would you say is the most sacred privilege and indescribable honor of your entire lifetime? If you are a Christian and you rightly understand the meaning of our verse for today, you will agree that nothing compares with presenting your body to the Holy Spirit to be His dwelling place here on earth.

Wherever I am in the world, whether speaking in meetings, reading the Bible, praying, counseling, attending various conferences, alone in my hotel room, or enjoying the company of my dearly beloved wife and family, I am always keenly aware that my body is a temple of God and there is no higher privilege.

I am reminded of the Virgin Mary’s response to the angel’s announcement that she would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit. “Oh, how I praise the Lord! How I rejoice in God my Savior, for He has taken notice of this lowly servant girl and now, generation after generation, forever shall be called blessed of God, for He, the mighty one, has done great things to me.”

“His mercy goes on from generation to generation to all who reverence Him,” she continues in triumphant, joyful expression of her grateful heart.

We, too, should praise and give thanks to God constantly for the privilege of being chosen to be a temple in which he dwells here on earth. As one meditates upon this fact, one becomes intoxicated with the realization that the infinite, omnipotent, holy, loving, righteous God and Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now dwell within us who have received Him.

There are many believers who are not fully aware of the significance of this fact, because though they as believers in Christ possess the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit does not possess all of them. Ours is the indescribable privilege of presenting our bodies to Him as a living sacrifice, as temples in which He will dwell. Only then, will we have the power to live the abundant, supernatural life promised to those who yield their hearts and lives to the control of the Holy Spirit.

Bible Reading: Galatians 4:7-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: As often as the thought comes to mind today, I will acknowledge the fullness and control of God’s Holy Spirit in my life. I will also encourage other Christians to claim by faith the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit for their lives.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God Is with You

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

You can’t control the weather, you aren’t in charge of the economy, you can’t un-wreck the car. But you can map out a strategy.  Remember, God is in this crisis.  Ask God to give you two or three steps you can take today.  Seek counsel from someone who’s faced a similar challenge.  Ask friends to pray.  Reach out to a support group.  Most importantly, make a plan.

You’d prefer a miracle for your crisis?  You’d rather see the bread multiplied or the stormy sea turned glassy calm in a finger snap?  God may do this.  Then again, He may say, “I’m with you.  I can use this for good.  Now let’s make a plan.”  God’s sovereignty doesn’t negate our responsibility, it just empowers it.  So don’t let the crisis paralyze you.  Trust God to do what you can’t.  Obey God, and do what you can.

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 – Former football player dove and caught a child dropped from a burning building: Joining God in sharing love that changes the world

Phillip Blanks is a retired Marine and was a star receiver in high school and college. He was at a friend’s apartment in Phoenix recently when he heard screaming and a commotion. He ran outside and saw the top floor of the apartment complex ablaze and enveloped in smoke.

He looked up and saw a petrified woman on the third-floor balcony with a child. Flames were creeping up behind her. “People started yelling for the lady to throw her kids down,” Blanks said.

The mother dropped her son over the third-floor railing. As Blanks saw the small child falling, he dove for him, arms out, and caught him just milliseconds before he would have hit the ground.

Blanks said his time in the Marines, along with his athletic training as a football player, prepared him for this moment. The Marines taught him to “always be on high alert, not be complacent, and to have discipline,” he said.

He was not the only hero that day, however.

The child’s mother ran back into the building where her eight-year-old daughter was. She never came out. Word spread below that a child was in the apartment. D’Artagnan Alexander heard screams and saw the flames. “I have a three-year-old and a nine-year-old, so when I heard there were kids in there, that really hit my heart,” he said later.

He immediately parked his car, ran toward the smoke-filled building, and made his way to the third floor, where he found the girl and carried her out.

“Saving this child changed my entire perspective,” Blanks said. “It made me realize how short life is, and how we need to protect each other and treat people better.” Alexander echoed his sentiments: “I couldn’t be more thankful that we both happened to be there.”

“It was not you who sent me here, but God” 

Morgue trucks are being ordered by counties in Texas and Arizona as their morgues are reaching capacity amid the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases in their states. Florida recorded 15,300 new coronavirus cases yesterday, the largest one-day increase in any state since the start of the pandemic.

In the midst of this crisis, it is easy to feel trapped and powerless. But God knew these days were coming before we did. He assured his people, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come” (Isaiah 46:10 NIV).

And as with Phillip Blanks and D’Artagnan Alexander, he was preparing us for this pandemic before it struck.

In the midst of a global famine, Joseph told his brothers in Egypt, “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:7–8).

“The reality of heaven touching the reality of earth” 

Now it’s our turn to believe that God was preparing us for this “famine” before it struck, that our past has prepared us for a present that can build a better future.

The Bible calls us “God’s fellow workers” (1 Corinthians 3:9). As we work, God works. As we experience God’s love, we are to share his love so that others can experience it as well. In fact, we cannot understand our faith fully until we share it.

If I serve those I love, I find that my love for them grows deeper. If I serve even those I dislike, I find myself liking them in a new way. It is the same way with God—when we serve him by serving those he loves, we find ourselves loving him in an indefinable but profoundly deeper way as well.

In The Seamless Life: A Tapestry of Love & Learning, Worship & Work, Regent College professor Steven Garber notes: “We think that worship and work are fundamentally different—one being more important to God than the other, one being ‘spiritual’ and one being ‘secular.’ Rather, if our truest vocation is the imitation of Christ, the very image of God, we see that everyone and everything matters, sacramental as it all is, holy as it must be.

“In a thousand ways, our human experience of this life in the world should be a window into the mystery and wonder of the reality of heaven touching the reality of earth, a ‘sacrament’ so to speak, if we have eyes that see.”

“Yearning for heaven and earth to touch” 

Your Father has entrusted you with gifts, abilities, education, experience, and relationships that are combined to make you the person you uniquely are. When you use them to help hurting people, your ministry advances his kingdom and draws suffering souls to our Savior.

Dr. Garber: “Whether our work is agricultural or academic, whether we are plumbers or carpenters, whether our labor is the law or the marketplace, whether our days take us into hospitals or schools, we want what we do with our lives to be born of something more, reflected, interpreted, and sanctified by the liturgical rhythms and realities of the truest truths of the universe. We are called to be like the Creator himself, yearning for heaven and earth to touch in and through the work of our hands.”

And when we love others as God loves us, they see his love in our compassion and are drawn to his saving grace.

Phillip Blanks and D’Artagnan Alexander are rightly being called heroes after what they did in Phoenix. But Blanks said it was the mother who saved her son but didn’t survive herself who is “the real hero.”

That’s the love of a mother for her children. And that’s the love of a Savior for those he died to save.

If you have experienced his love, with whom will you share it today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/