In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Promise of Christ’s Return

Jesus’ triumphant return to Earth is a day that we can and should all look forward to.

Revelation 19:11-21Revelation 20:1-6

The return of Jesus Christ is a vital part of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. That’s why the event was foretold by prophets, proclaimed by angels, and taught by Jesus and the apostles. In fact, more Old Testament passages are devoted to Christ’s second coming than to His first. And in the New Testament, the Lord mentions His return more frequently than He speaks of His death. 

The second coming defeats Satan’s earthly reign and establishes Christ’s kingdom of peace and righteousness in its place. Saints from all the ages will be gathered together to reign with the Lord. And the Father wants us to be excited and hopeful about Jesus’ return, recognizing it as the culmination of His plan for the world. In order to keep our hope alive, Scripture tells us what to expect, though we don’t know the exact timing.

Are you eagerly anticipating Christ’s return, or do you seldom think about it? The apostle John warns us not to love the world or the things it contains, because they are passing away (1 John 2:15-17). Instead, we are to long for our Savior’s return and rejoice in His coming kingdom.

Bible in One Year: Hebrews 1-3

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Beautifully Broken

Bible in a Year:

I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.

Psalm 31:12

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 31:12–24

Our bus finally arrived at our much-anticipated destination—an archaeological dig in Israel where we would actually do some excavation work of our own. The site’s director explained that anything we might unearth had been untouched for thousands of years. Digging up broken shards of pottery, we felt as though we were touching history. After an extended time, we were led to a workstation where those broken pieces—from huge vases shattered long, long ago—were being put back together.    

The picture was crystal clear. Those artisans reconstructing centuries-old broken pottery were a beautiful representation of the God who loves to fix broken things. In Psalm 31:12, David wrote, “I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.” Though no occasion is given for the writing of this psalm, David’s life difficulties often found voice in his laments—just like this one. The song describes him as being broken down by danger, enemies, and despair.

So, where did he turn for help? In verse 16, David cries out to God, “Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.”

The God who was the object of David’s trust is the same One who still fixes broken things today. All He asks is that we call out to Him and trust in His unfailing love.

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

What areas of brokenness have you experienced? How has God helped you through those difficult times?

God of my help, I thank You for all the times I’ve fallen and been broken—times when You’ve put me back together.

For further study, read Understanding the Bible: The Wisdom Books.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Meaning of Christ’s Exaltation

“God highly exalted Him” (Philippians 2:9).

The Father exalted the Son as the God-man.

A question that often springs to mind regarding the exaltation of Christ is how Jesus could be exalted since He is already God. We find the answer in Jesus’ High-Priestly prayer in John 17, where He asked the Father to restore to Him the glory He had with the Father before the world began (v. 5). Christ’s request shows that He gave up something that God would give back to Him. Christ gave up His glory in the Incarnation. Beyond glorification, in His exaltation Christ would receive more than He had before.

How is that possible? God has it all. Christ didn’t become any more God or any more perfect; He was already the Most High God—King of kings and Lord of lords. But as the God-man, a new state of being for Him, He suffered things and was given things He would not otherwise have had if He had not become the God-man. For example, He never would have had the privilege of being the interceding High Priest for His people if He had never been touched with the feelings of their infirmities—tempted in all points like them. If He had not become the God-man, He would never have become our substitute by bearing our sins in His own body on the cross. As God He was incapable of elevation, but as the God-Man He could be lifted up from the lowest degradation to the highest degree of glory. So in a sense He received from the Father privileges He didn’t have before—privileges He gained because of His incarnation.

At His ascension Christ was seated at the Father’s right hand. He was elevated to that position as the God-man—a state of being that was His only because of His incarnation. Thus He entered upon the rights and privileges not only of God as God, but of God as the God-man. His exaltation was not with regard to His nature or eternal place within the Trinity but with regard to His new character as the God-man.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank the Father for exalting His Son to His rightful place in Heaven.

For Further Study

According to Acts 5:31, in what two ways did God exalt Christ to His right hand? Why?

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Chasing Joy and Enjoyment

A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.

— Proverbs 15:13 (AMPC)

Difficulty is never enjoyable, but right thinking in the midst of it will cheer us up. Even though we have trials, we can face them with courage, being confident of God’s love and His promise to help us. It seems to me that joy and happiness come more from what we believe than from what is happening to us.

Would you be willing to make some changes in your approach to life and even develop some new habits if it would enable you to have more joy and enjoyment?

Perhaps if we studied the habits and attitudes of happy people, we would be able to see some of the things we might need to change if we truly want to be happy. If we value joy, then we cannot just passively sit and wish to be happy; we can aggressively pursue it and be willing to make adjustments where they are needed.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me make the necessary changes in order to find more joy and enjoyment! In Jesus’ name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –He Never Ceases to Remember

I remember the devotion of your youth.

Jeremiah 2:2

Let us note that Christ delights to think upon His Church and to look upon her beauty. As the bird returns often to its nest, and as the traveler hurries to his home, so the mind continually pursues the object of its choice. We cannot look too often upon the face we love; we continually desire to have what is precious to us.

This is also true with our Lord Jesus. From all eternity He has been “delighting in the children of man.”1 His thoughts rolled onward to the time when His elect would be born into the world; He viewed them in the mirror of His foreknowledge. “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Ps. 139:16). When the world was set upon its pillars, He was there, and He set the boundaries of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. Many a time before His incarnation, He descended to this lower earth in the similitude of a man—on the plains of Mamre (Gen. 18), by the brook of Jabbok (Gen. 32:24–30), beneath the walls of Jericho (Josh. 5:13), and in the fiery furnace of Babylon (Dan. 3:19, 25).

The Son of Man visited His people. Because His soul delighted in them, He could not stay away from them, for His heart longed for them. They were never absent from His heart, for He had written their names upon His hands and had graven them upon His side.

As the breastplate containing the names of the tribes of Israel was the most brilliant ornament worn by the high priest, so the names of Christ’s elect were His most precious jewels and glittered on His heart. We may often forget to meditate upon the perfections of our Lord, but He never ceases to remember us. Let us chide ourselves for past forgetfulness, and pray for grace that we might constantly and fondly remember Him. Lord, paint upon the eyeballs of my soul the image of Your Son.

1) Proverbs 8:31

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Gives Us Everything We Need

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” (2 Peter 1:3)

Do you think your mom has the ability to feed you every day at dinner? Does she ever tell you, “I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t get up the strength to feed you today”?

Does your mom ever send you to school without any clothes on because she just doesn’t want to buy you clothes? Of course not. Your mom wants you to get everything you need to live.

Your mom might be able to give you everything you need for living life in the earthly sense (clothes to wear, medicine when you need it, a warm house, good home-cooked food). But God gives you everything you need for living life both in this world and in heaven. God is more powerful than anything or anyone – He made the universe, after all! He gives you everything you need to make it through this life – including your mom! He is the ultimate Provider of food, clothes, home, family, and so much more.

But God doesn’t stop at giving you things you need to live your physical life. He gives you things you need for your spiritual life too – strength, faithfulness, love, and grace – every day. How does God give you these wonderful gifts? By the knowledge of His Son, Jesus. Jesus knows what people need. He lived on Earth, too. But God’s gifts to you come when you know Who Jesus is and what He has done. It’s not just knowing about Jesus. It’s knowing Jesus.

Think of it this way: You know that people live down the street from you; that’s a clear fact. You probably don’t know every single person on your street. But you do know your mom. She’s the one that gives you all those good things. You know who she is and what she does. That’s the way you should know Jesus – as Someone Who can provide for you and Someone Who loves you with a love that never ends. God will provide everything you need to get through life, both physically and spiritually, as you come to know His Son more and more.

God provides physical and spiritual needs through Jesus.

My Response:
» How does my mom provide for my needs?
» How does God provide for my needs?
» Am I taking time to thank God for providing my needs?
» Am I taking time to learn more about Jesus today?

Denison Forum – The remaining kidnapped missionaries have been released

The twelve remaining members of a group of seventeen North American missionaries kidnapped in Haiti two months ago were released yesterday. Five of the hostages had been let go earlier.

In other news, a man in Western Kentucky played the gospel hymn “There’s Something about That Name” on a piano amid the wreckage of his home caused by last weekend’s tornadoes. He did not know that his sister was capturing the video, which has now gone viral.

We can use such good news amidst the hard news of the day:

Why did Jesus do it this way?

Hard news always seems harder when it comes during the Christmas season. However, paradoxically, difficult times are precisely why Christmas happened the way it did.

We know that Jesus came at Christmas because “God loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10) so we could receive forgiveness (1 John 1:9) and eternal life (John 3:16) as the children of God (John 1:12).

So, Jesus came to earth to die for us. But why did he have to die the way he did?

Crucifixion is the most horrific, brutal form of tortured execution ever devised. Why did Jesus not die by hemlock like Socrates or a lethal injection such as is common today? “He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5), which shows that you will never face greater physical pain than Jesus bore for you. He died on a cross in solidarity with your suffering and mine.

But why did Jesus not go directly to the cross? Why his three years of public ministry?

Our Lord spent this time “teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people” (Matthew 5:23). Because he healed the sick and raised the dead, we can know that he is our Great Physician today.

But why did Jesus not come to earth at the age of thirty to launch this ministry? Why come as a baby who grew as a child into a man (cf. Luke 2:52)?

“In every respect [he] has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Because Jesus experienced the full gamut of humanity, he faced every temptation we face and can empower us to achieve victory whenever we are tempted today (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:12).

But why did Jesus come, not just as a baby, but as an infant born to a peasant teenage girl in a cow stall outside an inn in an out-of-the way village?

In The Hungering Dark, Frederick Buechner wrote: “Those who believe in God can never in a way be sure of him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of man. If holiness and the awful power and majesty of God were present in this least auspicious of all events, this birth of a peasant’s child, then there is no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there too.”

“It’s more challenging to serve him when times are bad”

Christmas proves that the creator and ruler of the universe (Colossians 1:16) is aptly called “Immanuel,” a name which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). If you need forgiveness, you can go to your crucified Savior. If you need healing, you can go to your Great Physician. If you are facing temptation, you can go to your sinless High Priest. If your circumstances are difficult, you can go to the manger-born Child of Christmas.

However, an unbelieving world doesn’t know what we know. For them to turn to Jesus for the grace they need, they must see his grace at work in us.

Rev. Wes Fowler is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Mayfield, Kentucky. After a tornado devastated their town last Friday night, the Associated Press reports that he and his church members immediately began the work of ministry, mobilizing to “provide whatever they can to help survivors cope with the disaster’s aftermath and stay afloat—gift cards, food, generators, water, a listening ear, and more.”

The congregation quickly formed three teams: one to help affected church members, a second to work on repairing the church campus, and a third to serve the broader community and coordinate offers of aid.

Pastor Fowler said, “It’s easy to serve the Lord when things are good. It’s more challenging to serve him when times are bad, and I think that’s really when people are looking to see if our faith is genuine, if our faith is true.”

Because of Christmas, we know that the Object of our faith is genuine and true. However, we must experience his reality if we would lead others to experience his reality. As Patty Hammond noted, “Your ministry will never be bigger than your vision of Jesus.”

How big is your vision of Jesus today?

http://www.denisonforum.org/