Charles Stanley – A Courageous Life

 

Ephesians 1:18-21

When we recognize God’s presence with us, courage starts to develop in us. It grows as we draw on His strength. Without God’s power, we’ll find that hardship and stress drain us emotionally and hurt us physically, leaving us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks.

After 40 years of wandering, the nation of Israel was in such a state. They should have believed the two spies who trusted in the Lord’s presence and power. But instead, allowing their weakness to hold sway, the people sided with the remaining ten spies, who claimed the Canaanite obstacles were too great (Num. 13:26-32).

In contrast, Paul faced the Roman tribunal after enduring great hardship but was not dismayed, because God stood with him and strengthened him. Times of helplessness and weakness are in reality opportunities to receive an abundance of divine power (Phil. 4:13).

Being yielded to God’s purposes is essential for developing courage. Paul knew God had a plan for every event in his life—even the hardest ones. Instead of seeking a way out of trials, accept God’s way, and you’ll find courage welling up from within. Imagine yourself standing next to God, drawing on His strength.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 28-30

 

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Our Daily Bread — Grace Outside the Box

 

Bible in a Year:

Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.

2 Samuel 9:11

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Samuel 9:1–7

Tom worked for a law firm that advised Bob’s company. They became friends—until Tom embezzled thousands of dollars from the company. Bob was hurt and angry when he found out, but he received wise counsel from his vice president, a believer in Christ. The VP noticed Tom was deeply ashamed and repentant, and he advised Bob to drop the charges and hire Tom. “Pay him a modest salary so he can make restitution. You’ll never have a more grateful, loyal employee.” Bob did, and Tom was.

Mephibosheth, grandson of King Saul, hadn’t done anything wrong, but he was in a tough spot when David became king. Most kings killed the royal bloodline. But David loved King Saul’s son Jonathan, and treated his surviving son as his own (see 2 Samuel 9:1–13). His grace won a friend for life. Mephibosheth marveled that he “deserved nothing but death from my lord the king, but you gave your servant a place” (19:28). He remained loyal to David, even when David’s son Absalom chased David from Jerusalem (2 Samuel 16:1–419:24–30).

Do you want a loyal friend for life? Someone so extraordinary may require you to do something extraordinary. When common sense says punish, choose grace. Hold them accountable, but give the undeserving a chance to make things right. You may never find a more grateful, devoted friend. Think outside the box, with grace.

By:  Mike Wittmer

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Upending the Status Quo

 

Author Dorothy Sayers was never one to live by convention. The only child of an Anglican clergyman, she was one of the first women to graduate from Oxford University in 1915. After graduating from Oxford, she made her living writing advertising copy until she was able to publish more and more of her fiction. In the early stages of her career, she fell in love with a member of a motorcycle gang in England, and joined them in their travels far and wide.(1) Had she convinced C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams to ride with her, the Inklings group might have taken on an entirely different character!

Perhaps it was her unconventional life that led her to highlight the more unconventional side of Jesus’s own life and ministry. In a collection of essays published after her death, she wrote:

“He was emphatically not a dull man in his human lifetime, and if he was God, there can be nothing dull about God either. But he had ‘a daily beauty in his life that made us ugly,’ and officialdom felt that the established order of things would be more secure without him. So they did away with God in the name of peace and quietness.”(2)

Indeed, Jesus stormed into the temple—the site of religious convention—consumed by zeal. He upset the tables of the moneychangers and he drove the vendors out with righteous rage. There was nothing dull about this first act John’s Gospel records for us as Jesus entered Jerusalem for Passover. Perhaps it was the last act that finally got him killed. He upended the commoditization of temple worship, driving out those who would prevent prayer by charging a fee. He was anything but dull.

Jesus was disruptive. And his disruption disturbed the status quo. So disruptive was he that the religious leaders of his day feared the entire nation might perish as a result of his advent. As Caiaphas, the high priest warned, “It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish” (John 11:50).

Those who sought to kill him did so because they sought to protect law and order, tradition and teaching. It was not vice and corruption that sought him dead, but piety and due process. After all, wasn’t this man the one who allowed prostitutes and tax collectors into his presence, dining with them? Wasn’t this the man who allowed a pound of the finest perfume to be poured on his feet by Mary who then wiped his feet with her hair? Was this not the one of whom it was said, “Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax gatherers and sinners” (Matthew 11:19)! He was too much for the status quo to handle; “If we let him go on like this, all men will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation” (John 11:48). So they did away with God in the name of peace and quietness.

It is a painful irony that the ones who wanted him dead were not the lawless, but the pious and the righteous ones. These are the very ones Jesus argued for his followers to exceed in terms of the standards of righteousness: “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” But the righteousness that Jesus espoused looked radically different from the righteousness of the religious leaders who now called for his death. In his upending way, he revealed that those who often appeared to be righteous were really “white-washed sepulchers.” His was a righteousness of compassion and not sacrifice, of reconciliation with offended brothers and sisters, of faithfulness and not lust, of commitment to spouses and not divorce, of keeping one’s word and repaying evil with good.(3) His was a righteousness that pierced straight to the heart where the transformation of mind, body, and action began. His was a righteousness that did not maintain peace and quietness.

As Dorothy Sayers wisely noted in her life and her writing, into every generation and every life Jesus comes to upend and disrupt the status quo. He is not dull. And he calls those who would follow him to forsake self-righteousness and the pride of piety. Like those before us, would we instead do away with God in the name of whatever peace and quietness we now seek to maintain? The journey to Golgotha is lined with the righteous as well as with sinners.

 

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

(1) “Dorothy Sayers, Writer and Theologian,” Biographical Sketches of Memorable Christians of the Past, 17 December 1957.
(2) Dorothy Sayers, The Whimsical Christian: Eighteen Essays (New York: Macmillan, 1978), 17.
(3) See Matthew 12:7 and Matthew 5:20-48, the Sermon on the Mount.

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Joyce Meyer – You Can Be Whole Again

 

And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole . . . — Acts 9:34 (KJV)

Adapted from the resource My Time with God – by Joyce Meyer

Jesus offers us salvation, and that means wholeness. He didn’t die so we could be partially healed in one or two areas of life—His will for us is complete healing and wholeness! Jesus wants to heal us spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, socially, and financially. He is concerned about everything that concerns us, so we don’t have to settle for anything less than being made whole and complete.

Wherever your life is hurting or lacking something, ask Jesus to heal you in that area, as well as all other areas. Jesus is ready and waiting to make you whole!

Prayer Starter: Father, please heal and restore everything hurt or lost in me. Thank You for making me whole again in every area of my life! In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Everything I Need

 

“Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need!” (Psalm 23:1).

A minister telephoned his sermon topic to his local newspaper one day.

“The Lord is My Shepherd,” he said.

“Is that all?” he was asked.

“That’s enough,” the pastor replied.

The weekend church page carried his sermon topic as: “The Lord is My Shepherd – That’s Enough.”

Thoroughly satisfied with the meaning of the expanded title, he used it as his subject on Sunday morning – to the delight and great benefit of the congregation.

Surely the truth of this familiar verse, when properly assessed, should delight and benefit each one of us. Who but our wonderful Lord could serve as such a faithful shepherd? And what better description is there of His loving care for us than that which is implied in the word shepherd?

With Him as our Shepherd, what else could we possibly need? He has promised to be our daily provision, our healer, our all in all. Truly nothing happens to the genuine believer without the knowledge and permissive will of our heavenly Father.

Bible Reading: Psalm 23:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: “Dear Lord, help me to see You today as my Shepherd – gracious caretaker and friend, provider of everything I could ever possibly need.”

 

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Max Lucado – Be Quick to Pray

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

How do you handle your tough times?  When you’re tired of trying, tired of forgiving, tired of hard weeks or hard-headed people how do you manage your dark days?  With a bottle of pills?  Alcohol?  A day at the spa?  Many opt for such treatments.  So many, in fact, we assume they reenergize the sad life.  But do they?  They numb the pain, but do they remove it?

We, like sheep, follow each other off the ledge, falling headlong into bars and binges and beds. Is there a better solution?  Indeed there is.  Be quick to pray.  Talk to Christ who invites, “Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out?  Come to Me.  Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life.”  Jesus says, “I will show you how to take a real rest” (Matthew 11:28-20 The Message).  You see God who is never downcast, never tires of your down days, just go to Him.

Read more Facing Your Giants: God Still Does the Impossible

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – Barbecue Baptist Church delivers meals, hope, and levity: How being “guests” liberates us to speak biblical truth

Remember when you couldn’t find toilet paper?

Chad McMillan, the pastor of students, evangelism, and missions at First Baptist Church in Navasota, Texas, had a novel idea. He put his pastor on a trailer surrounded by plexiglass and armed him with a T-shirt gun to distribute toilet paper rolls wrapped with Bible verses. It went so well, they added a pulpit, piano, and sound system to do pop-up worship services while flinging the TP.

Then McMillan started Barbecue Baptist Church. The church borrowed a catering truck from a member and traveled around the county, serving about four meals a day, four days a week, along with a short worship service. Last month, they took the ministry on the road from Navasota to Nashville, visiting first responders and medical professionals across six states in seven days.

Along with the meals, they are offering a message of hope and some humor as well. “Not to make light of what’s happening,” McMillan explained, “but to try to give people a moment of levity and joy to know that God loves them, and we love them.”

A price it’s easy for me to ask you to pay 

When you’re offering free toilet paper and barbecue, people tend to be grateful. When you’re called to share unpopular biblical truth, they can be less so.

It is especially challenging to speak such truth to people when our success depends on their affirmation.

Most of you reading this article make your living in the secular world and are therefore measured by secular means. In such a culture, it can be risky to stand up for spiritual truth. As we’ve discussed before, if you defend biblical marriage, you’ll be branded a “homophobe.” If you advocate for life from conception, you’ll be accused of participating in a “war on women.” In these days of cancel culture (for more, see my paper here), those who oppose biblical truth have unprecedented means of attacking Christians.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Barbecue Baptist Church delivers meals, hope, and levity: How being “guests” liberates us to speak biblical truth