Charles Stanley – Wait Upon the Lord

 

Psalm 40:1-3

Patience is hard work! This is especially true when we are waiting on God, who keeps to His own timetable. But believers who trust Him to deliver can look forward to rich blessing.

A person’s willingness to be patient reveals the value of what he or she desires. No one goes wrong waiting for the Lord to send His best in His perfect timing. Of course, believers don’t receive everything they ask for. At times, God simply says no. Other times, He adjusts our desires to match His. In our humanness, we can’t possibly know all the details of a situation. So we ask for what we think we need, based on our limited information. A submissive heart accepts the Father’s gentle redirection. When the awaited object of desire comes, it may not look like what we originally requested, but it will be exactly what we need.

Another benefit is that waiting patiently on the Lord is an awesome witness. When He responds, others see the reality of God, His faithfulness, and the wisdom of our commitment. In addition, our own faith is strengthened. Fools rush to seize their prize, but wise believers know that blessing will come in God’s good time.

 

Bible in One Year: Zechariah 6-10

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Rooted in Love

 

Bible in a Year:

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power . . . to grasp . . . the love of Christ.

Ephesians 3:17–18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Ephesians 3:14–21

“That’s all it takes!” Megan said. She had clipped a stem from her geranium plant, dipped the cut end into honey, and stuck it into a pot filled with compost. Megan was teaching me how to propagate geraniums: how to turn one healthy plant into many plants, so I would have flowers to share with others. The honey, she said, was to help the young plant establish roots.

Watching her work, I wondered what kinds of things help us establish spiritual roots. What helps us mature into strong, flourishing people of faith? What keeps us from withering up or failing to grow? Paul, writing to the Ephesians, says that we are “rooted and established in love” (Ephesians 3:17). This love comes from God, who strengthens us by giving us the Holy Spirit. Christ dwells in our hearts. And as we begin to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (v. 18), we can have a rich experience of God’s presence as we’re “completely filled and flooded with God Himself” (v. 19 amp).

Growing spiritually requires rooting into the love of God—meditating on the truth that we are beloved by the God who is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (v. 20). What an incredible basis for our faith!

By:  Amy Peterson

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Unseen

 

There is something deeply unsettling about biological threats. The very idea of unseen but deadly toxins or viruses is a modern nightmare. The sad thing is that we have too many actual examples to fuel our fears. For multitudes in the industrial town of Bhopal, India, a normal working day turned into a catastrophe of biblical proportions as people were poisoned and killed by gas leaking from a local factory. Similarly catastrophic, the events surrounding the reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine combined the worst of leftover Soviet era paranoia and secrecy with a calamity of truly mind-boggling proportions. Hundreds of young men were ushered in to fight a fire, knowing nothing of the deadly radiation saturating the area, and as a result, thousands died. And of course, the recent chemical attacks in Syria were heartrending.

The weight and power of these deadly issues grips us. We feel it acutely. There are things in our universe that are invisible, but real and sometimes deadly. And there are few guaranteed fail-safe mechanisms to protect us, in all circumstances, from harm. This feeling of vulnerability, this sense that there are things beyond our control, this notion of powerlessness is something the modern mind finds repulsive. We want security, we demand certainty, and we feel entitled to assurance. But what is this assurance, and where is it to be found?

Several decades ago, Ernest Becker wrote a very challenging book called The Denial of Death. He showed how society works to create hero-systems and elaborate ways of suppressing or altogether avoiding the reality of death. Woody Allen adds degree of humor to the problem: “It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

Here the Christian story speaks clearly to the human dilemma. In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul writes, “As in Adam, all die.” There are no exceptions, no escape routes, and no exits. It is as inclusive as it gets. Death is the great leveler. It respects everyone.

However, the apostle does not stop here. He goes on to say that in Christ will all be made alive. This is the great distinction. Death occurs on a hundred percent scale. To put this in theological terms, our link to Adam is inviolable. We are all descendants and inheritors of all that this implies. Like those infected with a deadly virus, the issue is not morality or effort. We need a solution, an antidote beyond us. What Christ embodies is an answer that is a transfer.

What do I mean? We are all subject to the outworking of death, brokenness, and suffering that is a part of the human condition. But there is an invitation to a deeper humanity in the invitation Jesus embodies for us. What does this mean? Several things. It means the risen, human, incarnate Jesus provides what we cannot provide for ourselves—namely, healing and help. It means we can surrender our failings and seek his face. And it means we can open ourselves to receive a new kind of life within and without by means of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

These two great antagonists, life and death, are at play in the Christian story. As I watch ageing, decaying people, I recognize something sad and good at the same time. Death is unyielding, but the grave is not the end. Jesus is even now at work making all things new but we will also one day pass through death and into the fullness of resurrection. Joni Erickson Tada brought this home to me some years ago as she spoke from her wheel chair, testifying of a love for Jesus and her great expectations as a believer, despite her very real suffering and restrictions as a paraplegic. She announced to us all that when she sees Jesus face to face, she will dance. I believe it. This is a resurrection hope that brings assurance today and certainty tomorrow. There are many unseen but real threats, but there are also unseen but real promises. “Behold, I make all things new.”

Stuart McAllister is global support specialist at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

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http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – God’s Plan Always Wins

 

blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is everyone who fears, reveres, and worships the Lord, who walks in His ways and lives according to His commandments. — Psalm 128:1 (AMPC)

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

The Bible says, Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked . . . For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap”(Galatians 6:7 AMPC).

God’s Word is true, and He will not be overcome. Nothing can stop His plan, no matter how many obstacles might try to block the way (see Isaiah 54:17; 55:11; Psalm 33:11). Jesus has already completely defeated and disarmed Satan and all his demonic forces, so they cannot and will not win (see Colossians 2:15). If it seems like the enemy has built walls that are keeping you from your purpose, keep doing what’s right anyway—the harvest you’re waiting for will come at the right time (see Galatians 6:9-10).

When you’re feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, remember that God’s plan for you is good (see Jeremiah 29:11), He’s empowering you to do everything you need to (see Philippians 4:13), and nothing can snatch you out of His hand (see John 10:28). As you follow Him, He’s got your back—no matter what—and He’s the One who will give you the grace to keep going.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me trust You with my calling and purpose, even when I feel overwhelmed. Thank You that nothing can stop Your good plan from coming to pass in my life, and that You haven’t forgotten me. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Helping the Church

 

“The Holy Spirit displays God’s power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church” (1 Corinthians 12:7).

A friend once asked me, “Are all the spiritual gifts for today?” and “How can I discern my spiritual gifts?”

He had been reading a number of books with conflicting views on gifts and had heard sermons – some encouraging him to discover his gifts and others saying the gifts are not for today. He was woefully confused.

I shared with this friend that I have been a Christian for more than 35 years and have known the reality of the fullness of the Spirit for more than 30 years. I explained that I have seen God do remarkable – even miraculous – things in and through my life throughout the years.

Yet, I have not felt the need to “discover” my gifts, because I believe that whatever God calls me to do He will enable me to do if I am willing to trust and obey Him, work hard and discipline myself.

The Holy Spirit obviously controls and distributes all the gifts. So when I am filled, controlled and empowered with the Holy Spirit I possess all of the gifts potentially. God will give me any gifts I need.

I went on to tell my young friend that some of the gifts of the Spirit are supernatural enhancements of abilities common to all men, wisdom for instance. Other gifts, such as healing, are granted by the Holy Spirit to only a select few.

But the gifts differ in another way, too. Some are instantaneous, and others are developmental in nature. Primarily, we need to remember that whatever God calls us to do, He will enable us to do. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13, NAS).

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 12:24-31

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will dwell on God’s ability to do in and through me what ever He calls upon me to do, rather than to spend precious time seeking to discover my spiritual gifts.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devos – God Wants Us to Live by Faith

 

“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:38–39).

How is a person saved? You have probably memorized a verse that gives the answer to that question. Ephesians 2:8 says that we are saved by grace, through faith. If you are a Christian today, you were saved only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

But does that mean that we Christians don’t need faith anymore? No, we need faith for the rest of our lives! All of the Christian life is like a long journey toward Heaven, and the road that we’re traveling could be called “Faith.” God says that “the just,” or those who have been made righteous through Christ (Christians), will live by faith.

Faith, as Hebrews 11:1 explains, means being confident of something that we cannot see. If there is anything in your life right now that seems difficult, sad, or confusing, God is asking you to live by faith. You cannot see how the situation is going to turn out. You cannot see what direction your life will take in the future. Perhaps you are having trouble seeing anything good about the situation you are in. If that is the case, you are going through a trial that God is using to strengthen your faith. He wants to see whether—and how much—you will trust Him, even when you can’t see all of the answers, results, and reasons.

What do you know about the God you cannot see? You know that He is wise. You know that He loves you. You know that He wants you to grow into a stronger, more contented, and happier Christian. So exercise some faith! Believe that God is working for your good in ways that you cannot understand right now. Praise Him for the things He is doing and for the things He is going to do in the future. It takes faith to do this—but faith is what we live by!

God wants us to live by faith when things happen that we can’t understand.

My response:

» What do I need to have faith about?

» What seems sad, confusing, or difficult in my life today?

» Am I complaining and questioning God about it, or am I living by faith, trusting God even when I can’t see any good?

The post God Wants Us to Live by Faith appeared first on EquipU Online Library.

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Denison Forum – Who won the debate? Remembering how God measures success

 

The first of three scheduled presidential debates took place last night at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Chris Wallace of Fox News moderated the event, which took place over ninety minutes in six fifteen-minute blocks. President Trump and Vice President Biden were asked about their records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, the economy, race and violence in our cities, and the integrity of the election.

The debate was contentious from the beginning, with each candidate contradicting the other repeatedly throughout. Fox News is calling the debate “fiery”; CNN describes it as “rancorous and chaotic.” According to USA Today, it was “one of the most chaotic, insult-laden presidential debates in modern history.”

How Richard Nixon’s suit affected the 1960 election 

Before last night, more than 70 percent of Americans said the debate wouldn’t matter much to them. Fewer people than at any time since 2000 consider debates important to deciding how they will vote.

However, televised presidential debates have been changing history since 1960, when Richard Nixon’s light gray suit blended into the background on black-and-white television and his opponent, Sen. John Kennedy, began the ascendancy that led to his eventual victory.

Ronald Reagan’s memorable response in 1984 to a question about his age (“I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience”) led to his easy reelection. President Ford’s insistence that “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe” may have contributed to his loss in 1976; Ronald Reagan’s clear dominance of his debate with President Carter in 1980 likely contributed to his landslide victory.

The contentious nature of last night’s debate reflects the contentious nature of our culture. Our politics are locked in a zero-sum game: abortion is legal or it is not; LGBTQ rights and sexual liberty take precedence over religious liberty or they do not. More than ever before, Republicans and Democrats both consider the other side to be “brainwashed,” “hateful,” and “racist.”

Why these are good days for compassion and love 

In the midst of such political animosity, let’s gain a larger perspective.

The world passed one million confirmed coronavirus deaths on Monday, losing 3,819 lives per day since the start of the year (by comparison: 2,977 people were killed on 9/11). It has been estimated that the US has lost two million “years of life” from early deaths due to the pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning Americans to prepare for a second wave of COVID-19 this fall.

In other news, one of the largest medical cyberattacks in US history occurred last weekend. Multiple people died during a hostage situation in Oregon on Monday. A priest in China was reportedly abducted and tortured for refusing to join the government-controlled Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.

And a Texas pastor and his wife were killed when a driver crossed into their lane and struck their vehicle head-on. Their three small children survived.

I took you through these stories to make two related points.

One: Every day’s news reminds us that ours is a broken world. Many people are suffering in ways that far transcend political divisions. And such divisiveness is nothing new in America. We are fallen people living in a fallen culture.

Two: Tragedy and hatred are opportunities for compassion and love. The more acrimonious our country becomes, the more urgent and powerful our ministry becomes.

Let’s close by focusing on this fact.

“What is the invitation of God in your fear?” 

Not in my lifetime have I seen an election this intense, with supporters on each side convinced that our nation’s future depends on their candidate’s victory. We can and must vote, pray, and speak biblical truth to the issues of the day.

But it is vital to remember that God measures success not by outcomes in our world but by obedience to his word.

When Jeremiah warned his people not to flee to Egypt (Jeremiah 42), they “did not obey the voice of the Lord” (Jeremiah 43:7) and in fact forced the prophet to go with them (v. 6). This was not the outcome he wanted, but Jeremiah’s obedience resonates still today.

In fact, fear of failure can be reframed as an opportunity for greater faith.

Writing for the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Boston, Curtis Almquist notes: “Fear is not a sign of the absence of God. In our fear we rather find the bidding presence of God. Our fear most often arises out of something that is bigger than we are, and we find that in and of ourselves, there isn’t enough—not enough energy, or patience, or hope, or encouragement, or provision. We come up short.

“Where is God in your fear? What is the invitation from God in your fear?”

How would you answer his questions today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/