In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Grace for Times of Trouble

 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Trouble is an ever-present reality in this fallen world, and there is no way to totally escape its grip. As believers in Jesus Christ, we usually turn to the Lord, praying that He will change the situation and release us from its clutches. That’s what Paul did when he suffered from what he called a “thorn in the flesh.” On three different occasions, he asked for it to be removed; however, the Lord’s final answer was that the thorn would remain.

The sufferings that the Lord allows in our life are given to us for His good purpose. The apostle’s thorn was designed to provide him with precisely what he needed—humility. The Lord likewise has care and concern for us, and His intention is for our benefit. When He says no to our requests for relief, He says yes to something even greater: His all-sufficient grace.

Perhaps you are in a season of adversity right now. Do you trust the Lord with your thorns, or are you trying to pull them out? Whenever God allows suffering to remain, He gives grace to endure it. Cooperate with Him and exult in His loving wisdom and sufficiency.

Bible in One Year: Judges 7-9

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Caring Letters

 

Bible in a Year:

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.

1 Peter 2:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:1 Peter 2:4–10

Decades ago, Dr. Jerry Motto discovered the power of a “caring letter.” His research found that simply sending a letter expressing care to discharged patients who had previously attempted suicide reduced the rate of recurrence by half. Recently, health care providers have rediscovered this power when sending “caring” texts, postcards, and even social media memes as follow-up treatment for the severely depressed.

Twenty-one “books” in the Bible are actually letters—epistles—caringly written to first-century believers who struggled for a variety of reasons. Paul, James, and John wrote letters to explain the basics of faith and worship, and how to resolve conflict and build unity.

The apostle Peter, however, specifically wrote to believers who were being persecuted by the Roman emperor, Nero. Peter reminded them of their intrinsic value to God, describing them this way in 1 Peter 2:9, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.” This lifted their gaze to God’s great purpose for them in their world: “that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Our great God Himself wrote a book filled with caring letters to us—inspired Scripture—that we might always have a record of the value He assigns us as His own. May we read His letters daily and share them with others who need the hope Jesus offers.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

How does reading the Epistles as caring letters help you receive God’s encouragement? How will you share the hope of God’s caring letters today?

Loving God, thank You for the caring letters in the Bible!

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Putting God First

 

“Hallowed be Thy name” (Matt. 6:9).

Prayer should always exalt God.

The Disciples’ Prayer illustrates the priority that God should hold in our prayers. Jesus began by exalting the Father: “Hallowed be Thy name” (v. 9), then requested that the Father’s kingdom come and His will be done (v. 10). He concluded with an anthem of praise: “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen” (v. 13). His prayer literally begins and ends with God.

“Hallowed be Thy name” exalts the name of the Lord and sets a tone of worship and submission that is sustained throughout the prayer. Where God’s name is hallowed, He will be loved and revered, His kingdom eagerly anticipated, and His will obeyed.

“Thy name” speaks of more than a title such as “God,” “Lord,” or “Jehovah.” It speaks of God Himself and is the composite of all His attributes. The Hebrews considered God’s name so sacred they wouldn’t even speak it, but they missed the point. While meticulously guarding the letters of His name, they slandered His character and disobeyed His Word. Because of them the name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles (Rom. 2:24).

Psalm 102:15 says, “The nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth Thy glory.” It’s not the letters of God’s name that the nations fear; it’s the embodiment of all He is. As Jesus prayed, “I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me” (John 17:6). He did that by revealing who God is. John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus told Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus is the manifestation of all who God is.

Manifesting the priority of God in your prayers involves acknowledging who He is and approaching Him with a reverent, humble spirit that is yielded to His will. As you do that, He will hallow His name through you.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise God for His holiness.
  • Ask Him to use you today to demonstrate His holiness to others.

For Further Study

Read Numbers 20. How did Moses show irreverence for God’s name?

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Releasing Joy

 

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence)…

— Galatians 5:22-23 (AMPC)

– by Joyce Meyer

Doubt and unbelief will steal our joy, but simple childlike believing releases the joy of God’s Spirit Who lives in us. As we see in today’s verse, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is joy, and since He lives in us, we as believers should be able to enjoy our lives and express His joy.

We might look at it like this: Joy is in the deepest part—the spirit—of the person who’s accepted Jesus as their Savior. But if that person’s soul (their mind, will, and emotions) is filled with worry, discouraging thoughts, excessive reasoning, doubt, and unbelief, these negative things will act like a wall and hold back the fruit of joy that God has for them.

The apostle Peter says to cast all our care (anxieties, worries, concerns) on the Lord (see 1 Peter 5:7). Paul encouraged the believers of his day to Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)

I want to challenge you today to begin to give God the things that are on your mind. Ask Him for the grace to trust Him with the things you can’t change. As you start to let go of worry, you’ll experience more and more of His joy.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me today to let go of the worries and doubts that crowd my mind. I want to trust You more and experience the joy You have for me. Thank You for helping me grow in this area, and for the gift of Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Be Strengthened by His Grace

 

Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

 2 Timothy 2:1

Christ has grace without measure in Himself, but He has not retained it for Himself. As the reservoir empties itself into the pipes, so Christ has emptied out His grace for His people. “From His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”1 He seems only to have all this in order to dispense to us. He stands like the fountain, always flowing, but only running in order to supply the empty pitchers and the thirsty lips that draw near to it. Like a tree, He bears sweet fruit, not to hang on branches, but to be gathered by those who need it.

Grace, whether its work be to pardon, to cleanse, to preserve, to strengthen, to enlighten, to quicken, or to restore, is ever to be had from Him freely and without price; nor is there one form of the work of grace that He has not bestowed upon His people. As the blood of the body, though flowing from the heart, belongs equally to every member, so the influences of grace are the inheritance of every saint united to the Lamb; and herein there is a sweet communion between Christ and His church, inasmuch as they both receive the same grace.

Christ is the head upon which the oil is first poured; but the same oil runs to the very skirts of the garments, so that the meanest saint has an unction of the same costly moisture as that which fell upon the head. This is true communion when the sap of grace flows from the stem to the branch, and when it is perceived that the stem itself is sustained by the very nourishment that feeds the branch. As we day by day receive grace from Jesus, and more constantly recognize it as coming from Him, we shall behold Him in communion with us and enjoy the joy of communion with Him.

Let us make daily use of our riches and constantly come to Him as our own covenant Lord, taking from Him the supply of all we need with as much boldness as men take money from their own wallet.

1) John 1:16

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Carries Our Burdens

 

“Casting all our care upon him, for he careth for you.” (I Peter 5:7)

Randy and his mom stepped into the hospital elevator, and he pushed button 5 to take them to the 5th floor, where Grandpa Jim’s room was. Randy normally liked elevators, but not this hospital one. Grandpa Jim’s cancer was getting worse every day, and Randy was pretty sad and scared about it. He could feel gravity weighing him down as the elevator carried them up, and he thought to himself, “That’s just how my heart feels right now. All weighted down.”

Has your heart ever felt heavy with sadness or worry because of the things going on around you? Have you ever been afraid or frustrated because of people around you? Randy was sad and scared about his grandpa’s pain and possible death. Maybe you have burdens that are hard for you to bear. If you have ever felt like your heart might break if it has to take one more thing, the God of the Bible is the One to Whom you should turn. He invites you to take your worry and sadness and fear and frustration to Him.

Did you know Jesus Christ calls us to come to Him when we are burdened down with cares? In Matthew 12:28-30, Jesus Himself says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Do you know what a “yoke” is? A yoke is a wooden frame to fasten two work animals together. A yoke joins or unites two horses or two oxen, so that those two will work together to pull a wagon or a plow. It spreads the weight across two sets of shoulders instead of one. If one animal is weaker than the other, the other pulls harder to keep up with the work load. Once they are working together, they can get the job done.

Does it seem odd to you that Jesus is calling already-tired laborers and people with burdens to come and put on a “yoke”? But the yoke of Jesus is a lightweight yoke. He says His yoke is easy to bear. Jesus is telling us that when we are afraid, or have something to do that seems impossible to us, we can rest if we are connected to Him. If we are walking with Jesus and going in the direction He wants us to go, we do not have to bear any of our burdens alone. The load Jesus has borne for us is heavier than anything we could ever endure. And there is no load God cannot bear. He wants us to know that He will bear the heavier load when we are “yoked” to Him. For Him, the load is easy and we can find rest.

Today, if you feel burdened by something that is happening in your life, take some time to think about what kind of God we have. Imagine that you are fastening Jesus’ “yoke” to your neck and ask Jesus to help you. Be “yoked” together with him and give Him all your cares. He promises that, with Him, the burden is bearable and you will have rest.

God invites us to rely on Him when our burdens are too much to bear.

My Response:
» Is my heart weighed down by things I cannot handle?
» Have I accepted Jesus’ invitation to come to Him with my burdens?
» Am I walking in step with Jesus, trusting in His strength, and obeying Him?

Read in browser »

 

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Denison Forum – School teaches kids to stop using “mom” and “dad”: Why this story matters and the rock on which we must stand

 

A private school in Manhattan is encouraging its students to stop using the terms “mom,” “dad,” and “parents” because the words make “assumptions” about kids’ home lives. Instead, children are encouraged to use the terms “grown-ups,” “folks,” “family,” or “guardians” as substitutes.

In its push for gender inclusion, the school wants its students to substitute “people” for “boys and girls.” Rather than lining up as boys and girls, they are to line up alphabetically or by types of shoes. If someone says, “a boy can’t marry a boy,” they are encouraged to respond by saying, “People can love and commit to whomever they please, it’s their choice who they marry.” Instead of wishing each other “Merry Christmas!” or even “Happy Holidays!,” they are to say, “Have a great break!”

When I saw the story, I assumed it was about another highly secularized school at war with Judeo-Christian morality. Multiple examples of such conflicts are in the news these days. For instance, a curriculum being considered in California seeks to displace Christian culture and recommends that teachers instead lead students in a series of songs and chants to the Aztec gods (whom the Aztecs traditionally worshiped with cannibalism and human sacrifice, by the way).

It turns out, the school in Manhattan is Grace Church School. A school official explained their language policy: “As part of our Episcopal identity, we recognize the dignity and worth common to humanity.”

 

Why we must be spiritual “fruit inspectors” 

There are two kinds of threats in our fallen world: those we can identify and those we cannot.

Examples of the former abound: a New York bill that could force schools to teach sex education to kindergartners and gender identity to second graders; the escalation of forced marriages and physical violence against Christian women around the world; and the Biden administration’s push for taxpayer-funded abortions, for instance. Like an Eiffel Tower-sized asteroid that missed our planet on March 5 but will return in eight years, we can see these threats coming.

Other threats are not obvious until they are dangerous, like a meteor that caused “Earth-shaking booms” over Vermont on March 7. Such threats are especially insidious because, by the time we know we are in a conflict, it can be too late to respond.

This is true medically of cancer, heart disease, and other ailments. It is true geopolitically with rising threats from China and elsewhere. And it is true spiritually as well.

In fact, I fear threats from within the body of Christ far more than those from without.

Jesus warned us to “beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). How are we to identify them? He told us, “You will recognize them by their fruits” (v. 16). Ultimately, our Lord assured us, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (v. 19).

In the meantime, it is vital that we be “fruit inspectors” of those who claim to serve and represent our Lord.

The Bible is an anvil 

Grace Church School is an example of this challenge. I wholeheartedly agree that we should “recognize the dignity and worth common to humanity.” Every human is created in the image of our Creator (Genesis 1:27), someone for whom Jesus died (Romans 5:8) and therefore a person of sacred worth.

However, we do not “recognize the dignity and worth common to humanity” by violating God’s word and will for humanity. Scripture not only tells us that we are loved by God (John 3:16)—it also tells us how to live our best lives and how to relate to others in truthful, redemptive ways. When we alter or reject biblical revelation on sexuality or any other issue, however kind our motive might seem, we do far more harm than good.

The Bible has been likened to an anvil—we do not break God’s word; we break ourselves on it.

This threat of internal compromise in the body of Christ is growing exponentially today. As I have written previously, for the first time we are facing widespread claims that religious freedom is being used by evangelicals to harm others and thus should be disallowed. We are being caricatured as homophobic, bigoted, and dangerous. We are seen as the majority oppressing the minority. If we stand for biblical truth, increasingly we will stand alone.

Such pressure is especially difficult for those whose institutional futures are in question. Religious schools who affirm biblical morality could risk the loss of Title VI federal assistance for their students, inclusion in the NCAA and other organizations, and even their tax-exempt status. Trustee boards composed primarily of businesspeople will be sorely tempted to concede their moral codes rather than risk their institution’s financial health. Similar risks await religious hospitals, adoption agencies, churches, and other ministries.

 

The time to choose is now 

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss practical responses for pastors and other evangelicals, focusing on an outstanding book I will review and recommend. Today, let’s close with this prediction by Jesus: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:24–25).

However, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it” (vv. 26–27).

The rain is falling, the floods are rising, and the winds are blowing.

The time to build your house on the rock is now.

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado – he Hero Next Door

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

A hero could be next door and you wouldn’t know it. The fellow who changes the oil in your car could be a hero in overalls. Maybe as he works he prays, asking God to do with the heart of the driver what he does with the engine. The daycare worker where you drop off the kids? Perhaps her morning prayers include the name of each child and the dream that one of them will change the world.

I know—those folks don’t fit our image of a hero. They are too, well, normal. Give us four stars, titles, and headlines. But we seldom see heroes in the making. And we seldom recognize heroes, but we’d do well to keep our eyes open. Tomorrow’s great preacher might be mowing your lawn. And the hero who inspires that person might be nearer than you think — maybe in your mirror.

 

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