In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Persevering in Prayer

Romans 8:26-28

A common hindrance to our prayer life is a lack of perseverance. Many Christians feel that once they’ve prayed for something, the answer should immediately be forthcoming. But God is not a bellhop, waiting to give us what we want the moment we petition Him. Imagine if the Lord instantly provided whatever we request—we might not develop virtues like patience, trust, and dependence upon Him.

The Lord is faithful to answer our prayers, but not always in the way we expect. Yet even when the answer is no, we can be sure that what He gives is better than what we requested. Consider the apostle Paul—though he repeatedly asked for relief from his “thorn in the flesh,” he was given something more spiritually beneficial. God not only protected Paul from pride but also used the apostle’s weakness to display divine power (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Since Paul’s prayer wasn’t answered the way he’d originally hoped, you might wonder about the requests you bring to the Lord. The truth is, we don’t always know how to pray as we should, but thankfully, we have a Helper in the Holy Spirit, who intercedes for us according to God’s will. If we don’t receive what we hoped, we can be sure that the Spirit knew exactly what to ask on our behalf—and that what we received as a result was best. 

Bible in One Year: Ecclesiastes 9-12


http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Firm Refusal

Bible in a Year:

Daniel . . . still pray[ed] three times a day.

Daniel 6:13

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Daniel 6:10–23

When the Nazis drafted Franz Jägerstätter during World War II, he completed military basic training but refused to take the required pledge of personal loyalty to Adolf Hitler. Authorities allowed Franz to return to his farm, but they later summoned him to active duty. After seeing Nazi ideology up close and learning of the Jewish genocide, however, Jägerstätter decided his loyalty to God meant he could never fight for the Nazis. He was arrested and sentenced to execution, leaving behind his wife and three daughters.

Over the years, many believers in Jesus—under peril of death—have offered a firm refusal when commanded to disobey God. The story of Daniel is one such story. When a royal edict threatened that anyone “who pray[ed] to any god or human being except [the king]” (Daniel 6:12) would be thrown into the lions’ den, Daniel discarded safety and remained faithful. “Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (v. 10). The prophet would bend his knee to God—and only God—no matter the cost.

Sometimes, our choice is clear. Though everyone around us implores us to go along with prevailing opinion—though our own reputation or well-being may be at risk—may we never turn from our obedience to God. Sometimes, even at great cost, all we can offer is a firm refusal.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

Where are you sensing that obedience to God will require your firm refusal? What might this refusal cost you? What will you gain?

God, I know my loyalty to You will at times mean saying no to others’ expectations or demands. It may cost me dearly. Give me courage.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Discernment Between Truth and Error

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:1-3).

God’s children are able to discern false doctrine.

A sure mark of every false religious system is doctrinal error, particularly about the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Those systems deny that He is Savior and Lord, God in human flesh, the only way to the Father (John 14:6) because salvation comes only through Him (Acts 4:12).

A sure mark, then, of all true children of God is that they believe the truth about Jesus Christ and do not deviate into doctrinal error. Although they may be temporarily duped by false teaching, they will not be permanently deceived by it. The apostle John wrote, “[False teachers] are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:5-6).

When you were saved, you were clear about who Christ was. “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ,” writes John, “is born of God” (1 John 5:1). Had you not passed that doctrinal test, you wouldn’t have been saved. God’s children distinguish spiritual truth from doctrinal error because the Spirit of truth (John 14:16) indwells them.

“O Timothy,” Paul exhorted his beloved son in the faith, “guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’” (1 Tim. 6:20). I pray that you will guard the precious treasure of truth entrusted to you in the Scriptures and so assure your heart that you belong to the God of truth.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for revealing His truth to us in the Bible.

For Further Study

Read John 1:1; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 2:9. What do they teach about the Person of Christ?

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Resisting the Temptation to Worry

For You make him to be blessed and a blessing forever; You make him exceedingly glad with the joy of Your presence.

— Psalm 21:6 (AMPC)

It is a learning process to keep the devil from stealing your joy, because he constantly tempts you in new ways to lose your peace. If Satan gets your peace, then he will get your joy. Be strong and resist his temptation to make you worry.

God never intended for you to worry! In fact, when the circumstances of life begin to overwhelm you or when feelings of dread attack your mind, the Lord wants you to pray and release your burdens to Him.

Spend time studying the Word. It’s literally full of ways to help you fight the temptation to worry.

Prayer Starter: God, thank You for your Word and for all the ways that You give me peace and help me fight the devil. Amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Glory of God

The Lord our God has shown us his glory.

Deuteronomy 5:24

God’s great design in all His works is the manifestation of His own glory. Any aim less than this would be unworthy of Himself.

But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man’s eye is not single in its focus; he always has a side glance toward his own honor, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord. It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted. And this is the reason why He often brings His people into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when He comes to work their deliverance. He whose life is one even and smooth path will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying and hence but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God. They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks know but little of the God of tempests; but they who are “doing business on the great waters”1 see “his wondrous works in the deep.”2 Among the huge waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.

Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: It is this that has given you your experience of God’s greatness and loving-kindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: Your trials have been the crevice of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as He did His servant Moses, that you might behold His glory as it passed by. Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance that continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction you have been qualified for the outshinings of His glory in His wonderful dealings with you.

1) Psalm 107:23
2) Psalm 107:24

C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Faithful and Just To Forgive

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

The puppy looked up at them with big sad eyes and let out something between a yelp and a yawn. When he opened his mouth, a well-chewed science book fell out and thudded on the floor.

“Aw, who couldn’t forgive a face like that!” Lizzy leaned down and rubbed his ears.

Jacob bent over and grabbed his puppy’s collar.

“That’s it, Charlie. You’re sleeping outside tonight!”

Lizzy used a sock to wipe the puppy-slobber off Jacob’s science book, while he wrestled Charlie out the back door and into his doghouse.

“Don’t be so hard on him, Jacob,” she said when he came stomping back into the kitchen. “Charlie’s just doing what puppies do. They chew things and make messes. You’ve heard people joke about telling the teacher ‘the dog ate my homework.’ It’s just his nature.”

Jacob got a glass down from the cabinet. “My teacher isn’t going to believe me when I say that my dog ‘ate my science book’!” He slammed the cabinet door shut and threw open the refrigerator. “I’m sure she will just nod and smile and say, ‘Oh, that’s just fine, Jacob. You know that’s just what puppies do.’”

As it turned out, Miss Albert was surprisingly understanding when he told her what had happened to his science book. She did not say “that’s just what puppies do,” but she did nod and smile knowingly. Jacob wondered if Miss Albert might have had a puppy sometime in her life.

Animals do crazy things sometimes. Well, they do things that might seem crazy to us humans. You might get angry when a cat scratches your arm or when a dog makes a mess or when a parakeet will not be quiet. If you want to keep a pet, though, eventually you get over annoying animal habits, because, after all, they are just being what they are!

We humans have a lot of habits, too – things that we are and do because we are human. We like to eat several times a day. We like to sleep, usually at night. We tend to hate pain. We like to have friends and family who care about us. We like to think about things, and we like to have fun hobbies. There is a famous saying that “to err is human.” That means all humans make mistakes.

Not only do we make mistakes, but all of us are born with a sinful nature that we inherited from Adam. To sin is to do something much worse than just an accidental mistake. To sin is to do anything that falls short of God’s glory. We are all born sinners, which means that our natural tendency is to disobey God, to sin against Him. Those of us who trust Christ as Savior get a new nature, and they have a growing desire to live without sinning, like Christ lived. But since we are all still human, none of us are able to be that perfect yet. Even Christians who love God fail Him. When we sin against God, we need to repent and ask Him for forgiveness.

God has certain characteristics about His nature, too. Because He is God, He is perfect in His holiness – He never breaks His own laws! Because He is God, He is powerful and wise – He never messes up! Because He is God, He is good and gracious enough to help us sinning humans – He forgives us when we ask Him!

You may have heard this verse many times before, but have you really thought about what it means that God is faithful and just to forgive us? That means that, no matter what we do to make Him mad, God has promised to forgive us of that and of all our sinfulness – so long as we confess our sins to Him.

Charlie did a puppyish thing when he chewed up Jacob’s science book. He was doing what puppies do, but one thing puppies do not do is ask forgiveness. Jacob lost his temper when he saw what Charlie had done. To lose your temper when something bad happens is a natural human reaction, but it is also actually a sin against God. Jacob is a sinner because he is human. That is how humans are. If Jacob is a Christian, he should try not to sin, and if he does sin, he ought to confess it and ask God’s forgiveness.

If Jacob does confess his sin and ask God to forgive him, God will. That is what this verse teaches – that forgiving people who ask is part of God’s nature. He does it because His nature is to be faithful to His promises. He does it because His nature is to be just and righteous. That is the kind of God we have.

Because of Who He is, God is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse sinners who trust Him.

My Response:
» Am I trying not to sin against God?
» When I do sin, am I making it a habit to go to Him and confess and ask Him to forgive me and to cleanse me from all my unrighteousness?
» Do I have faith that He will do what He has promised?

The post God Is Faithful and Just To Forgive appeared first on EquipU Online Library.


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Denison Forum – Australian officials seek to rebrand shark attacks: Three satanic deceptions and the privilege of sharing life’s greatest gift

Australian officials would like us to rebrand shark attacks as “negative encounters.” The swimmer who was bitten by a great white shark at a beach near San Francisco last month may not agree.

Officials in Texas are assuring the public that the Dallas resident who has the first-ever case of monkeybox in our state is “not a reason for alarm.” The infected patient in isolation at a Dallas hospital may not agree.

It is human nature to downplay threats we cannot control. For example, we say of those who die that they “departed” or “passed on.” But euphemisms cannot change the reality they describe.

As of this morning, 188 people have died in massive flooding in Europe. The death toll in the Surfside, Florida, condominium collapse stands at ninety-seven. At least sixty-five people underwent decontamination on Saturday following a chemical leak at a Six Flags water park near Houston.

Three people were wounded in a shooting outside the Washington Nationals baseball stadium that caused the game to be suspended. At least two people were killed and several others were wounded by shootings at three locations in Tucson, Arizona, yesterday afternoon. And the global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic stands at 4,089,175 at this writing.

American Christians are under unprecedented pressure by our secularized culture to compromise biblical truth and morality. But the inescapable realities of death and eternity beyond the grave demonstrate conclusively that every person we know needs to know what we know about death.

Martin Luther said, “Every man must do two things alone: he must do his own believing and his own dying.” Let’s see how the first helps us with the second.

Why nonbelievers fear death

It’s human nature to fear the unknown. The dread we feel that keeps us from venturing into a cave where a predator is waiting is a God-given response that may save our lives.

Even when our lives are not at risk, we understandably fear what we cannot predict. From going to a new school to beginning a new job or moving to a new city, we are naturally apprehensive of the future.

Death, of course, is the greatest unknown. Nonbelievers do not believe anyone has ever come back from the other side, so they have no empirical way to know what happens when we die. Do we simply cease to exist? Are we reincarnated? Do we spend eternity in heaven? In hell?

However, our post-Christian society has devised a solution. Postmodernism has taught us that our reality is the reality. Truth is “our truth.” Therefore, if we don’t believe there is an afterlife, we don’t need to be concerned with an afterlife. The man who declared to me “I don’t believe in hell” was convinced that his opinion settled the matter.

“I consider eternity as another possibility”

This is illogical in the extreme, of course. Denying that cancer exists doesn’t keep me from getting cancer.

Even more, this is a satanic deception. Our enemy wants nothing more than to delude us into thinking we don’t need what Jesus came to give. We are unlikely to repent of our sins and seek forgiveness if we don’t think we need to repent of our sins or seek forgiveness. We would not turn to Christ as our Lord if we do not need a Lord. If we can be our own god (Genesis 3:5), we’ll try to be our own god.

The poet Mary Oliver wrote: “When death comes / like an iceberg between the shoulder blades, / I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering: / what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?” As a result, she continues, “I look upon time as no more than an idea, / and I consider eternity as another possibility.”

She concludes: “When it’s over, I want to say all my life / I was a bride married to amazement. / I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. / When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder / if I have made of my life something particular and real. / I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened / or full of argument. / I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

Nor do I. Nor do you, I suspect. But her plan for being “married to amazement” and “taking the world into my arms” is to “consider eternity as another possibility.” If we see eternity as only a “possibility,” we will assuredly not be ready when we experience it as a reality.

Are you a practical universalist?

I hope you do not share nonbelievers’ agnosticism or atheism with regard to death and eternity. If you are not certain that you have made Jesus your Savior and Lord, please turn to him today. (For answers to frequent questions about Jesus and a way to trust him for salvation, please see my website article, “Why Jesus?”)

As we have seen, one of Satan’s great deceptions is convincing lost people that they are not lost. A second deception is convincing Christians that lost people are not truly lost.

Based on the clear teaching of Scripture (cf. John 14:6Acts 4:12John 3:18Revelation 20:15), we may agree theologically that lost people need Jesus. But if we are not taking the risk to share Christ with them, our actions betray our supposed convictions.

In this case, we are practical universalists. We are not so certain that our lost neighbors, friends, and family members need Jesus to avoid hell and go to heaven that we are willing to share God’s love with them.

Here we face one more satanic deception: that sharing the gospel is “imposing” our beliefs on others. Postmodern secularists have convinced many Christians that tolerance is the highest value, that telling people they risk eternity separated from God in hell is intolerant and bigoted.

In fact, it is just the opposite. Sharing God’s love in Christ offers others the greatest gift they could ever receive. It is giving people the only key that opens the door to heaven. It is sharing the cure for spiritual cancer with people who are dying of the disease whether they know it or not.

We will say more tomorrow about what happens to Christians when we die. For now, would you ask God to help you help someone you know be ready to die today?

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado – Let Jesus Take Your Sins

LET JESUS TAKE YOUR SINS – July 19, 2021

Denalyn and I had enjoyed a nice dinner at a local restaurant. As we received our bill, a church member spotted us and came over. After we chatted a few moments, he took our bill. “I’ll take this,” he said. Guess what? I let him do what he wanted to do. I let him take it away.

Someday we will stand before God. All of us will be present. All of us will have to give an account for our lives. Every thought, every deed, every action. Were it not for the grace of Christ, I would find this to be a very terrifying thought. Yet, according to Scripture, Jesus came to “take away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). On that day, I will point to Christ. When my list of sins is produced, I will gesture toward him and say, “He took it.” Let him take yours.

http://www.MaxLucado.com

The ‘Silent Majority’ Is Rapidly Becoming the ‘Angry Majority’

 

The “silent majority” was mentioned by President Nixon in 1969, who labeled middle Americans who weren’t protesting the Vietnam war or joining the counter culture — two activities being over-reported by the media of the day.  The silent majority didn’t speak up much but respected traditional American values with a good-natured approach to political issues.

They were silent, but they voted.  In 1972, Nixon was re-elected with one of the largest landslides in U.S. history — 520 electoral votes to only 17 for McGovern.

Today, most Americans focus on work and family and trust that our elected officials will work for us, and if they don’t, the folks who pay attention to such stuff will vote them out.

But after five years of hysteria over Donald Trump, the media have hyped so many radical liberal causes to the point where many conservative Americans feel they are an endangered minority.  If we speak up, we feel we will be ridiculed or ostracized by our friends and co-workers or even lose our jobs.  People with conservative bumper stickers have had their cars vandalized, and those wearing patriotic clothing have been harassed and physically assaulted.

There are so many issues that face us that we can easily be overwhelmed and simply give up on political discourse, which furthers the idea that liberals rule the day.

But the silent majority in the United States is waking up — not in a uniform manner, but on an issue-by-issue basis.  They know what their eyes are seeing on the nightly news, and they aren’t fooled one bit by blatant liberal spin.

If they have young children, they have been outraged by sex education initiatives that teach masturbation and promote gay and transgender lifestyles to kindergarteners.  Or their children participate in sports where boys who think they may be girls are competing in female activities and are given free access to girls’ locker rooms.  And of course, locking down schools for over a year has caused irreparable damage to their kids’ education, with mountains of evidence saying staying home was completely unnecessary.

Parents of college-aged kids are now seeing “Critical Race Theory” being taught, claiming that whiteness alone causes unavoidable unconscious racism, and nothing can be done to fix it, but giving special privileges to everyone who isn’t white can help.

If they live in border states, they have been horrified by the policies of the new administration, which are leading to massive increases in local crime, horrible hardships for women and children, and a free flow of drugs into our country.

Things came to a head with the George Floyd riots, where Democrat mayors and governors gave out-of-state agitators free rein to incite locals to loot and burn businesses.  Anyone with eyes could see that protesting is not stealing flat-screen TVs and designer tennis shoes.  They saw footage from New York of organized thieves driving up to electronics and jewelry stores while police were ordered to stand by.

Those who were arrested were released immediately, and the charges were later dropped.  New laws were passed in liberal cities ending cash bail “in the interest of fairness to minorities,” which has led to an unprecedented level of crime and violence in our most vulnerable populations.  Then came ridiculous demands to “defund police” while 70% of the minorities in affected districts want more policemen, not fewer.

The 2020 elections were a turning point.  Everyone watched Trump rallies with tens of thousands of enthusiastic supporters and contrasted them with Biden’s events with 20–30 people in six-foot circles.  On Election Night, they saw videos of Republican poll-watchers being thrown out of Democrat-controlled districts and windows being papered to hide what was going on.  They saw videos of ballots being counted late at night when no one was watching, and the same stacks were run through the machines multiple times.  Ballot counting was halted simultaneously in five liberal states, and when things started up again, the results magically shifted to Biden.

Americans are not stupid.  They know that the fix was in.  They know that lying and corruption at the highest levels were involved.

But by far the strongest reaction has come from the government and medical communities’ response to the COVID-19 “pandemic.”  When it was first noticed in March of 2020, we were told it was 5% fatal, and the only way to stop it was to stay home for 15 days, and everything would be fine.

Those 15 days extended to 490 days of lockdowns, closed businesses, closed schools, and emergency regulations, often delivered by governors with no authority.  The arbitrary nature of the dictates — churches shut down while casinos stayed open, small businesses closed while big box stores thrived — outraged the silent majority.

When concerned doctors spoke out on the front steps of the Supreme Court, their videos were censored and deleted, doctors were fired and websites taken down, just for suggesting safe and effective treatments for COVID.

They now see the mounting pressure for every American, including children and babies, to take a vaccine that is experimental.  They know that if a medicine is safe and effective, people don’t need to be pressured, threatened, or bribed to take it.  Their warning bells ring when they see million-dollar lotteries for vaccine recipients, coupled with threats that they won’t be allowed to travel, or their college-age kids won’t be able to return to school.

They have seen our government’s own VAERS reports showing unprecedented side-effects and deaths from the vaccines, and firsthand video accounts from real people detailing stories of their horrific symptoms.

The idea that an experimental vaccine that could now be made mandatory has turned the silent majority into the Angry Majority.  It reminds one of the famous line from the movie Network, where the hero shouts, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

The Angry Majority are now realizing they are not as powerless as they have been led to believe.  Their ballots may have been stolen, but they can vote with their voices, their wallets, their feet, and their shoulders.

Outraged parents are showing up at school board meetings, shouting for teachers to stay out of their children’s sexual morality, that boys stay out of girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms, and that normal class schedules resume immediately.  College parents are demanding that critical race indoctrination be halted, giving less to liberal colleges, or switching schools altogether.

State legislatures have been pressured into changing restrictive COVID rules and opening up schools and border state citizens are demanding completion of border walls and that illegals be sent back where they came from.

The Angry Majority is turning out to city council meetings in record numbers to oppose any plans to defund the police.

Private corporations that have taken pro-vaccine and anti-freedom positions have been boycotted.

Cities and states with restrictive COVID policies and liberal law enforcement have seen people move out en masse to more conservative areas with law and order and where our police are respected.

And when it comes to mandatory vaccines, the Angry Majority is just saying “no” to injections of experimental drugs with horrific side-effects.

The days of the easygoing silent majority are over.  It’s time to raise your voice and take action.  Otherwise, the country you love will be lost forever.

 

By Jack Gleason

Source: The ‘Silent Majority’ Is Rapidly Becoming the ‘Angry Majority’ – American Thinker