In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Faith: A Fixed Focus

 

Genesis 39:1-20

Abiding in God’s will requires a steady, trust-filled focus upon Him. The life of Joseph is a good example.

Joseph’s brothers hated him so much that they sold him to a caravan on its way to Egypt. There, he became the slave of Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh’s guard. Despite all of his misfortune, Joseph performed his duties with excellence and as a result was promoted to oversee Potiphar’s household. Throughout it all, Joseph kept his gaze centered on the Lord.

Focus helps us choose godliness over temptation. Potiphar’s wife attempted to seduce Joseph, but he rejected her advances. When he refused to sin against God (Gen. 39:9), she falsely accused him, and her lies were believed. Ignoring Joseph’s record of hard work and faithful service, Potiphar imprisoned him. Had we been in Joseph’s place, we might at this point be asking our heavenly Father why this happened. However, Joseph endured and continued believing God had neither abandoned him nor lost control of the situation.

In stressful times, we discover how much we really trust the Lord. If doubt about His promises takes root in our thinking, it can lead us off His chosen path. But with steady belief, we can recognize God’s presence and persevere wherever we are.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 12-14

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — To Be Human

 

Bible in a Year:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.

Matthew 23:37

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Matthew 23:37–24:2

“Mr. Singerman, why are you crying?” asked twelve-year-old Albert as he watched the master craftsman construct a wooden box.

“I cry,” he said, “because my father cried, and because my grandfather cried.” The woodworker’s answer to his young apprentice provides a tender moment in an episode of Little House on the Prairie. “Tears,” explained Mr. Singerman, “come with the making of a coffin.”

“Some men don’t cry because they fear it is a sign of weakness,” he said. “I was taught that a man is a man because he can cry.”

Emotion must have welled up in the eyes of Jesus as He compared His concern for Jerusalem to the care of a mother hen for her chicks (Matthew 23:37). His disciples were often confused by what they saw in His eyes or heard in His stories. His idea of what it meant to be strong was different. It happened again as they walked with Him from the temple. Calling His attention to the massive stone walls and magnificent decor of their place of worship (24:1), the disciples noted the strength of human accomplishment. Jesus saw a temple that would be leveled in ad 70.

Christ shows us that healthy people know when to cry and why. He cried because His Father cares and His Spirit groans for children who couldn’t yet see what breaks His heart.

By:  Mart DeHaan

Reflect & Pray

In what situations in your life might you be avoiding grief? How can your faith in a Savior who cries (John 11:35) help you express your grief in a healthy way?

Father, please replace any cold illusions of strength I cling to with a growing understanding of the cares and concerns that break Your heart for children like me. 

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – God Is Faithful to Care for Us

 

“God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9).

God is completely faithful to do what He has promised.

We live in a day of unfaithfulness, don’t we? Some husbands and wives are unfaithful to their marriage vows. Children are often unfaithful to the principles taught by their parents. Parents are often unfaithful to meet the needs of their children. And all too frequently we are unfaithful to God.

Only God is always faithful, a fact often celebrated in Scripture: “Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God” (Deut. 7:9). “Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Thy faithfulness reaches to the skies” (Ps. 36:5). “Great is Thy faithfulness” (Lam. 3:23).

Let’s look at several areas in which God is faithful to us. First, He’s faithful in taking care of us. Peter says, “Let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right” (1 Peter 4:19). The word translated “entrust” is a banking term that speaks of a deposit for safekeeping. We’re to give our lives to our “faithful Creator,” who is best able to care for us because He created us. “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).

God is also faithful in helping us resist temptation: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13). No believer can legitimately claim that he was overwhelmed by temptation or that “the Devil made me do it.” When our faithfulness is tested, we have God’s own faithfulness as our resource. “The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thess. 3:3).

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for His faithfulness in taking care of you and protecting you from temptation.

For Further Study

  • God had promised Abraham a son, and He finally gave him Isaac. But God made a strange request. Read Genesis 22:1-18 and Hebrews 11:17-19. How did Abraham demonstrate his trust?
  • In what areas do you have trouble trusting God?

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – True Love

 

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

— 1 Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)

Adapted from the resource Healing the Soul of a Woman – by Joyce Meyer

Human beings crave love. When a person’s soul has been wounded, that craving for love often takes one of two forms. Some people develop hard or harsh personalities so other people won’t want to get close to them. For instance, if the wounds in a woman’s soul are related to men (or vice versa), she may make firm decisions not to trust men or not to build relationships with them at all. Others may be excessive in their desires to have a romantic relationship, to the point that they’re willing to enter one with anybody who pays attention to them. Maybe you know someone like this, who seems to go from one unhealthy relationship to the next. Or maybe you’ve been stuck in this pattern yourself, constantly thinking the next relationship will finally be the “right” one, only to find yourself disappointed.

When a person has a string of relationships that never satisfy them, two things are usually true. One, they haven’t yet found their fulfillment in God alone; and two, they haven’t yet learned what real love is. In order to stop the cycle of craving love, seeking it from a person, and being disappointed, a person’s soul needs to be healed. Part of that healing comes from first receiving God’s unconditional love, and then understanding what it really means to love and be loved by another person.

I want to share something I hope will help you in your love relationships with other people. Only God can love us perfectly, but 1 Corinthians 13, which is called “the love chapter” of the Bible, helps us understand what real love is. If someone says, “I love you,” but isn’t demonstrating the attributes of love in this chapter, you might want to think twice before believing that person and going very far in a relationship. Love is something that can be seen and felt, and it can be shown in a variety of ways. When you’re trying to discern whether someone genuinely loves you, and whether you love that person, you can use the qualities mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13 as a guide. It says that love is patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, and not arrogant or rude. It also doesn’t demand its own way and is not irritable. It doesn’t harbor resentment. Love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (see 1 Corinthians 13:6–7).

Love helps others; it gives and is quick to forgive. This requires intentionality and saying no to selfishness regularly. The basic qualities of love in 1 Corinthians 13 give us a great standard to help us know whether we love someone and whether they love us. Remember, only God can love you perfectly. Other people will let us down, but when we know what true love looks like, we can be wise in our relationships.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for the gift of Your perfect love, and for healing my heart. Please teach me how to spot real love in others, and help me love them the way You love me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Storm of God’s Wrath

 

. . . The wrath to come.

 Matthew 3:7

It is pleasant to pass over a country after a storm has spent itself—to smell the freshness of the herbs after the rain has passed away, and to note the drops while they glisten like purest diamonds in the sunlight.

That is the position of a Christian. He is going through a land where the storm has spent itself upon His Savior’s head, and if there be a few drops of sorrow falling, they distill from clouds of mercy, and Jesus cheers him by the assurance that they are not for his destruction.

But how terrible it is to witness the approach of a tempest—to note the forewarnings of the storm; to mark the birds of heaven as they droop their wings; to see the cattle as they lay their heads low in terror; to discern the face of the sky as it grows black, and to find the sun obscured, and the heavens angry and frowning! How terrible to await the dread advance of a hurricane, to wait in terrible apprehension till the wind rushes forth in fury, tearing up trees from their roots, forcing rocks from their pedestals, and hurling down all the dwelling-places of man!

And yet, sinner, this is your present position. No hot drops have fallen as yet, but a shower of fire is coming. No terrible winds howl around you, but God’s tempest is gathering its dread artillery. So far the water-floods are dammed up by mercy, but the floodgates will soon be opened: The thunderbolts of God are still in His storehouse, the tempest is coming, and how awful will that moment be when God, robed in vengeance, shall march forth in fury!

Where, where, where, O sinner, will you hide your head, or where will you run to? May the hand of mercy lead you now to Christ! He is freely set before you in the Gospel: His pierced side is the place of shelter. You know your need of Him; believe in Him, cast yourself upon Him, and then the fury shall be past forever.

 

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Omnipresent

 

“Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I fell from thy presence?” (Psalm 139:7)

Did you ever want to be in two places at once? Well, it is actually possible to say you have been in two places at once. You could travel to Colorado and stop at the Colorado and Wyoming state line. You could put your left foot on the Colorado state side and your right foot on the Wyoming state side. Then you would be standing in two places at once!

OK, so technically that is cheating a little. Truly, it is impossible for us human beings to be in more than two places at once. We have only one body, and only two feet! Being everywhere at once would be even more difficult for us than being only two places at once. What truly is amazing is that God has no problem being two places at once, or five, or thirty, or thirty-five thousand places at once. Why? Because God is God, it is more than possible for Him to be present in every possible place at once. He is everywhere!

The dictionary defines “omnipresent” as “present everywhere simultaneously.” That means God is everywhere, all the time, at the same time. He is with you when you are sleeping, when you are at school, and when you are outside playing. How can that be? Because He is everywhere, all at once. At the same time that He is with you at your house, He is also present in your best friend’s home.

Omnipresence is a hard thing for us as humans to understand, but God is God, and we have to remember that God can do and be what is impossible for humans. When we pray, He hears us; but he also hears the other people that are praying at the same time. Can you listen when two people are talking at the same time? Have you ever tried to hear and understand 10 or 15 people talking all at the same time? That could get confusing for us, but God is never confused. God is right beside you listening to your prayer, and at the same time, He is across the room or across town listening to your best friend’s prayers. When you feel alone, or when you think you are by yourself, remember: God is with you! He is the only One Who can be with us anytime, anywhere. What a great God He is.

The God of the Bible is present everywhere, all the time.

My Response:
» How can remembering that God is omnipresent be a comfort to me?
» How can remembering that God is omnipresent help me say “no” to sin?

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Denison Forum – Amazon cancels evangelical book on the transgender issue: A “digital book-burning” and the power of holiness

 

Ryan T. Anderson is one of the most perceptive writers and thinkers in the evangelical world. His research has been cited by two US Supreme Court justices. A magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University with a doctoral degree in political philosophy from Notre Dame University, his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and numerous other outlets.

His book on the transgender issue, When Harry Became Sally, is one of the foundational works on the subject. I have found it enormously helpful in my work. I agree with Anderson’s description of his book as “a thoughtful and accessible presentation of the state of the scientific, medical, philosophical, and legal debates.” In 2018, it hit No. 1 on two of Amazon’s bestseller lists before it was even released.

However, you can no longer order his book on Amazon. If you search for it there, you’ll see “Sorry, we couldn’t find that page” and a picture of a dog. You can, however, find Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and Ted Kaczynski’s Unabomber Manifesto on Amazon. Both have an average rating of 4.5 stars.

John Stonestreet and David Carlson explain why Anderson’s book is so important and compelling, perhaps the very reasons Amazon blocked it. The Federalist calls Amazon’s cancelation of Anderson’s book a “digital book-burning.” The Wall Street Journal responds to Amazon’s action by warning that “tech censorship is accelerating.”

 

Bill Hybels’ daughter apologizes for her silence 

Willow Creek Community Church Senior Pastor Bill Hybels stands before his congregation, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in South Barrington, Ill. (Mark Black/Daily Herald via AP)

Amazon clearly intends fewer people to read Anderson’s seminal work on the transgender issue. To the degree that their intention becomes reality, their sin will affect far more people than the sinner.

That’s how sin always works.

No pastor in the evangelical Christian world was better known or more trusted than Bill Hybels. Hybels founded Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago, creating a model for relevance in ministry that has been studied and emulated around the globe. Then came the horrible news: Hybels was accused of sexual misconduct three years ago and forced into early retirement.

Now Bill Hybels’ daughter, Shauna Niequist, has apologized for her silence following the allegations against her father. Niequist explains that they “shook me to the core, & I shut down.” Since then, she has been “trying to find the words to write about my dad & our church.” She was taking time to “grieve & listen & recover,” but stated, “I now understand that my silence communicated to many that I defend my father’s actions and his ongoing silence. I don’t. I grieve both of those things.”

She is just one of the innocent people who have been injured by sins they did not commit.

Restitution and Step Nine 

How should Christians respond when Christians sin?

As I noted yesterday, we need to separate the message from the messenger, hold each other to the standards of Christ, and balance grace and consequences. To the last point, I wrote that “sinners can be forgiven, but they must seek restitution.”

Let’s expand on that fact.

We know that God will forgive all we confess (1 John 1:9). Why, then, should we not simply sin and confess, sin and confess, sin and confess? One reason is that God also calls us to make restitution to those we have harmed.

Jesus taught us, “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23–24). As an example of such restitution, when the notorious tax collector Zacchaeus came to repentance and faith in Jesus, he announced: “If I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold” (Luke 19:8; cf. Exodus 22:1).

Of course, there are circumstances where seeking restitution may harm further those we have hurt. Step Nine of Alcoholics Anonymous’ famous Twelve Steps is to “make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” We should seek the wisdom of God and the counsel of others in knowing how best to help those we have harmed.

Our works “will be revealed by fire” 

Restitution is one aspect of repentance. The loss of rewards is another.

While God forgives all we confess, he cannot reward sinful behavior. His word is clear: “Each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on that foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:13–15).

Every hour we spend in sin is an hour we lose forever. Every time we refuse to obey Jesus, we forfeit the eternal reward we would have received for such obedience.

So, the time to refuse sin is before we commit it. The next time you are tempted, turn immediately to your Lord. Ask him for the strength to defeat your enemy (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13Philippians 4:13), then join him in choosing the holiness that leads to freedom and joy.

If you are living with unrepented sin, the time to repent is now. The cancer will only spread; more innocent people will be hurt; more restitution will be owed; more reward will be lost. Turn to God now, knowing that he has already turned to you.

 

The hand that held the nail 

The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson’s deeply moving depiction of Jesus’ trials and crucifixion, opened on this day in 2004. Gibson personally invested millions of dollars in the movie and directed it. His face nowhere appears on screen, but he does make a very strategic cameo: his hand holds the nail driven into Jesus’ hand on the cross.

His point was simple: Jesus died for his sins. And for yours and mine.

Will you choose holiness in gratitude to your Savior today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –God Sees You

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Make a list of God’s mistakes. Pretty short, huh? Now make a list of the times he has forgiven you for yours. Who on earth has such a record?  You can depend on him. “[He] is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Trust him, trust him. Join with Isaiah, who resolved, “I will trust in him and not be afraid” (Isaiah 12:2).

Psalm 37:23–24 says God is directing your steps. He delights in every detail of your life. Doesn’t matter who you are. Potbellied pig or prized purebred, God sees no difference. But he sees you. In fact, that’s his car pulling over to the side of the road. That’s God opening the door. And that’s you climbing into the passenger seat to see how he will write the next chapter in your story.

Read more Begin Again

 

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

 

 

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