In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Good News About Death

 

1 Corinthians 15:50-58

The Bible teaches that death is only the beginning for believers. God has prepared an eternal home for us, and the condition for entry is clear: Believe that Jesus died for your sins, and receive His forgiveness. Some people consider this narrow-minded and unfair. But God set up that condition for a reason.

Way back in the garden of Eden, the Lord established a rule to protect His creation: Do not disobey Me. Sin was such a serious matter in His eyes that He determined it deserved the death penalty. Yet ever since Adam and Eve’s transgression, we’ve been bound to slip up because we’re flawed human beings. And God knew that. So, to save us from the consequence of sin, He sent His Son to die in our place. Jesus fulfilled the law while taking our punishment. And three days later He rose again.

God promised in His Word that those who receive Jesus as Savior share in His resurrection. When a believer dies, the heavenly gates open, and he or she has the same triumph over death that Jesus did. In other words, when we leave this world, we do not simply disappear. We continue to worship the Lord in heaven.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 15-17

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Facing Fear

 

Bible in a Year:

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Psalm 56:3

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 56:3–11

Warren moved to a small town to pastor a church. After his ministry had some initial success, one of the locals turned on him. Concocting a story accusing Warren of horrendous acts, the man took the story to the local newspaper and even printed his accusations on pamphlets to distribute to local residents by mail. Warren and his wife started praying hard. If the lie was believed, their lives would be upended.

King David once experienced something similar. He faced an attack of slander by an enemy. “All day long they twist my words,” he said, “all their schemes are for my ruin” (Psalm 56:5). This sustained assault left him fearful and tearful (v. 8). But in the midst of the battle, he prayed this powerful prayer: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. . . . What can mere mortals do to me?” (vv. 3–4).

David’s prayer can be a model for us today. When I am afraid—in times of fear or accusation, we turn to God. I put my trust in you—we place our battle in God’s powerful hands. What can mere mortals do to me?—facing the situation with Him, we remember how limited the powers against us really are.

The newspaper ignored the story about Warren. For some reason, the pamphlets were never distributed. What battle do you fear today? Talk to God. He’s willing to fight it with you.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

What real fears do you face? How can David’s prayer help you deal with them?

Loving God, I’m afraid—and so today I put my trust in You. What can mere mortals do to me when You’re fighting for me? Thank You for the coming victory.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – God Is Faithful to Keep Us

 

“Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

God is faithful in forgiving our sins and securing our salvation.

We have learned that God protects us from temptation, but what happens when we don’t rely on God and give in to sin? John has the answer: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The Lord says in Jeremiah 31:34, “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” God has promised to forgive, and He is faithful to do so.

God’s faithfulness stands out especially in His preserving His people for glory. He secures our salvation. Paul says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God will preserve us so that we may be “without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” because He is “faithful” (1 Thess. 5:23-24).

There was once a boy whose dad left him on a downtown street corner and told him to wait there until he returned in about half an hour. But the father’s car broke down, and he could not get to a phone. Five hours went by before the father managed to get back, and he thought his son would be in a state of panic. But when the father returned, the boy was standing in front of the corner dime store, looking in the window and rocking back and forth on his heels. The father threw his arms around him, apologized, and said, “Weren’t you worried? Did you think I was never coming back?” The boy replied, “No, Dad. I knew you were coming. You said you would.”

God is always faithful to His promises. The father in the story was unable to keep his promise because of circumstances out of his control. But God is able to overcome any circumstances to keep His word. With a simple faith like that boy’s, we can always say, “I knew you would do it, God. You said you would.”

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God for simple faith to trust Him whatever the situation.

For Further Study

David rejoices in God’s faithfulness in Psalm 103. Make a list of all the ways God demonstrates His faithfulness in this psalm.

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Checks and Balances

 

Great peace have they who love Your law…

— Psalm 119:165 (AMPC)

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

I’ve written several times about how God will sometimes lead us through circumstances. This is certainly true, but we also need to be balanced in the way we discern God’s will. We shouldn’t only consider circumstances, but we also need peace and wisdom, which are major ways we can hear from God—we should never ignore them. A circumstance might look like an open door, but we shouldn’t walk through the door unless we have peace.

Following circumstances alone can get us into real trouble. Satan can arrange circumstances sometimes as well, but his intentions are always to distract us from God’s will, not to help us find it. Therefore, if we follow circumstances alone without listening for God’s direction through peace, wisdom, or His Word, we can be deceived.

I want to encourage you to develop the habit of doing a quick “inner check” to test the level of peace in your heart before allowing circumstances to lead us. The safest way to hear from God is to combine biblical methods of being led by the Spirit and allow them to serve as checks and balances for one another. It’s always best to consider the whole counsel of God’s Word, not merely trying to find portions of it that agree with what you already want to do.

When you take God’s Word in context, looking through it for wisdom, watching the peace level of your heart, and listening for the Holy Spirit’s voice, He’ll guide you into all truth (see John 16:13).

Prayer Starter: Father, please teach me the right way to discern what to do, and how to allow peace, wisdom, circumstances and Your Word to guide me. Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit to lead me in every moment. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –God’s Work in Salvation

 

Salvation belongs to the Lord!

 Jonah 2:9

Salvation is the work of God. It is He alone who quickens the soul “dead in…trespasses and sins,”1 and He it is who maintains the soul in its spiritual life. He is both “Alpha and Omega.”

“Salvation belongs to the LORD!” If I am prayerful, God makes me prayerful; if I have graces, they are God’s gifts to me; if I hold on in a consistent life, it is because He upholds me with His hand. I do nothing whatever toward my own preservation, except what God Himself first does in me. Whatever I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone. Whenever I sin, that is my own doing; but when I act correctly, that is wholly and completely of God. If I have resisted a spiritual enemy, the Lord’s strength nerved my arm.

Do I live before men a consecrated life? It is not I, but Christ who lives in me. Am I sanctified? I did not cleanse myself: God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies me. Am I separated from the world? I am separated by God’s chastisements sanctified to my good. Do I grow in knowledge? The great Instructor teaches me. All my jewels were fashioned by heavenly art. I find in God all that I want; but I find in myself nothing but sin and misery. “He only is my rock and my salvation.”2

Do I feed on the Word? That Word would be no food for me unless the Lord made it food for my soul and helped me to feed upon it. Do I live on the bread that comes down from heaven? What is that bread but Jesus Christ Himself incarnate, whose body and whose blood I eat and drink? Am I continually receiving fresh supplies of strength? Where do I gather my might? My help comes from heaven’s hills: Without Jesus I can do nothing.

As a branch cannot bring forth fruit except it abide in the vine, no more can I, except I abide in Him. What Jonah learned in the ocean, let me learn this morning in my room: “Salvation belongs to the LORD.”

1) Ephesians 2:1
2) Psalm 62:2

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Holds Everything Together

 

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do not appear.” (Hebrews 11:3)

Did you ever wonder what holds this world together? Why don’t we fall apart as we walk around? Why don’t the planets spin out of their orbits? What keeps the sun (a huge flaming ball of gases) all together instead of splitting up into thousands of flaming little sun-balls? What holds our insides in and keeps the outsides out? If you think of water in a pitcher, the pitcher holds the water in and keeps everything else out, right? But what is it that holds the pitcher together? As we walk around outside, we do not fall apart. Why? Because our skin holds us together! But what really is it that keeps your skin holding together?

Some say that Newton’s Law of Gravity holds us together, or a bunch of other recognized scientific laws. Isaac Newton did not create gravity, though; he just discovered it. Who invented gravity and designed it to do what it does? Some people say they just don’t know what keeps the universe running.

We are able to learn the true answer to the question of how the world keeps going, because the Bible tells us. It is God Who holds your skin together and keeps the planets in their proper orbits. God created the whole universe by simply speaking, as He tells us in Genesis 1. In the thousands of years since He first made Creation, God has been holding it together. He created our bone structures and skin. He created gravity. He created created solids and gases and powders and globby things and sticky things.

God is a very powerful God, and He is also good. By His providence and power, He keeps everything and everybody going. The next time you step out into your yard, be glad that your lungs and liver don’t fall into the grass! Be thankful that your lips and teeth are there to keep your tongue from sliding out. And take a moment to remember that God created this world in a very specific way so that things would work just right. Everywhere we look, we can see reminders that God is a great God and a good God Who not only created the world, but keeps on taking care of it.

As the sovereign Creator and Sustainer, God gets the credit for keeping everything together.

My Response:
» How can remembering that God is in charge help me respond rightly when things in my life seem out of control?
» Can I point to things in my life that help me see God taking care of even today?

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Denison Forum – Cadbury urged to drop ad featuring same-sex kiss: The courage we need and the Source of our hope

 

Richard Cadbury created the first-ever heart-shaped box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day in 1861. He and his family were deeply committed to their Christian faith. Morning prayers and daily Bible readings were conducted for their entire workforce. They used their influence and resources to serve those in need.

That was then; this is now.

The company, which was sold to Kraft Foods in 2010, dropped the word Easter from its annual Easter Egg Trail event in 2017. Now they have released a commercial including a same-sex kiss. The group CitizenGo describes the ad as “a highly-charged sexually provocative act.”

If you’re not shocked by this news, your reaction makes my point.

Church raises $2 million to provide counseling services 

In an ever more secularized society, it is urgent that Christians redouble our commitment to the personal integrity that enables our public witness. As I noted yesterday, sin always affects more than the sinner. To stand publicly for Jesus, we must first spend time privately with Jesus.

The converse, however, is true: when we meet Jesus in person, we will stand for him in public.

John Baker experienced Jesus in a way that “transformed him from a driven businessman with an addiction to alcohol, a failing marriage, and alienated children to a Christ-follower with a passion to help others with their ‘hurts, habits, and hangups’ through the principles of recovery.” This is how Kay Warren, cofounder of Saddleback Church, described Baker, the founder of Celebrate Recovery, a biblical twelve-step program used by more than seven million people.

Baker died unexpectedly this week at the age of seventy-two, but not before God used his personal transformation to offer hope to the world.

In response to the psychological impact of the pandemic, an Arizona megachurch raised nearly $2 million to help people receive counseling services. In a similar response to the pandemic’s economic impact, a megachurch in Florida recently paid off approximately $38,000 in lunch debts for students in two local public schools.

Such commitments transcend even the enormous impact they make on those they serve by showing our skeptical culture the practical and redemptive difference our faith makes in the world.

 

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and this cultural moment 

We have focused this week on the character and commitment required to stand for biblical morality in our post-Christian culture. Let’s close by considering the courage such a stand demands.

The evangelical Christian worldview is now in clear conflict with established public policy on a level unprecedented in American history. Our culture has previously embraced unbiblical immorality with regard to sexual promiscuity, LGBTQ issues, pornography, divorce, abortion, and euthanasia, but we were free to practice biblical morality in response. No one made us choose or provide an abortion. No one required us to sell pornography in a Christian bookstore. No one forced doctors to participate in assisted suicides or pastors to conduct same-sex weddings.

Now, however, the law of the land has endorsed same-sex marriage and may soon elevate LGBTQ persons to a protected class. The Equality Act was adopted by the House of Representatives yesterday; if it passes the Senate and becomes law, there will be no recourse to religious liberty.

As I have written previously, evangelicals are viewed as intolerant and discriminatory by our society just as if we were racists appealing to religious liberty to protect our bigotry. Refusing to perform a same-sex wedding is seen as prejudiced just as if we refuse to perform an interracial wedding.

My wife and I watched Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln again last weekend. The film, which tells the story of Lincoln’s resolve to pass the Thirteenth Amendment outlawing slavery in 1865, is one of my all-time favorite movies. I found myself cheering all those who worked so hard to support the amendment and condemning those who opposed it.

Now I find myself on the other side of such a divide. Millions of Americans view me as I viewed the racists in the movie. Standing for clear biblical truth in the face of such opprobrium will require consistent courage over many years to come.

An urgent fact for all Christians 

Such courage is vital because the faith we offer is so vital. Jesus is the way, truth, and life (John 14:6). Biblical morality is the best way to live for all of us, including LGBTQ individuals.

It is urgent that Christians understand this fact. If many roads lead up the same mountain, there is no reason to pay a price to convince others to take our road. If there were many ways to resolve World War II, the military sacrifices paid by so many were unnecessary.

If Jesus is not the only way to heaven, we need not face the ridicule of our secular culture for seeking to win others to him. If Peter was wrong in declaring that “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12), there was no reason for him to give his life to share that salvation with the Roman world.

If Satan cannot convince you that Jesus is unnecessary for life and eternal life, he’ll try to convince you that Jesus is optional.

 

“Ashes in the embers of history” 

In The Wisdom Pyramid: Feeding Your Soul in a Post-Truth World, Brett McCracken notes: “Everything ever tweeted and the most-viewed viral videos will be forgotten ashes in the embers of history, but the church will remain.” Even in our fallen culture, Jesus is building his church, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

Let’s close this week with an invitation to join him. Let’s seek the character, commitment, and courage we need from “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). When we work, he works. When we resolve to be like Jesus and to share the love of Jesus, we can ask Jesus to give us his strength and peace.

Paul said of our Savior: “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (vv. 28–29).

For what or whom will you “toil” today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –God’s Marvelous Love

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

 

In his letter to Ephesians Paul urged, “May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves,…” (Ephesians 3:17-18).

Let God love you. Let Him love you dearly, let Him love you daily, let Him love you deeply. Grab hold of His love and never let go. “God is love” (1 John 4:16). One word into the passage reveals the supreme surprise of God’s love—it has nothing to do with you. Some people love you because of you. Not God – He loves you because He is He. He loves you because he decides to. Self-generated, uncaused, spontaneous. His constant-level love depends on his choice to give it.

Read more Begin Again

 

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

 

 

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