In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Unstoppable Love

God’s love for us never ends, but we must open our hearts to receive it.

Romans 8:31-39

God is love. It is His very nature to care for His creation unconditionally. This means that no matter what we do, the Lord will not stop loving us. After reading that sentence, many people are going to think of a dozen reasons why they are an exception. So let me make this clear: God loves each of us, and the only thing preventing us from experiencing that love is our own hesitation to accept it. 

The truth is, none of us deserve the Lord’s love, and yet He freely gives it anyway. Some people intellectually believe every word of the Bible but still feel unloved because they judge themselves unworthy. Their doubt acts like a dam, keeping the flow of God’s care from their heart—and the barrier will hold as long as the person believes divine love must be earned.  

Romans 8:32 tells the good news that “God is for us,” and the cross is a stunning example: Jesus died so we could be purified and enter into a relationship with the Father. The Savior’s atoning sacrifice is itself proof of God’s love, but there are many other expressions of it, including a unique purpose and plan for each of His children. And through His sovereign control, He works every situation—whether good or bad in itself—to our benefit. Won’t you ask the Lord to reveal and help you clear away anything that might be blocking the flow of His relentless love?

Bible in One Year: Esther 1-5 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Healing for the Whole World

Bible in a Year:

God . . . reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

2 Corinthians 5:11–19

Tucked into a remote gorge in western Slovenia, a secret medical facility (Franja Partisan Hospital) housed an extensive staff that tended to thousands of wounded soldiers during World War II—all the while staying hidden from the Nazis. Though avoiding detection from numerous Nazi attempts to locate the facility is in itself a remarkable feat, even more remarkable is that the hospital (founded and run by the Slovenia resistance movement) cared for soldiers from both the Allied and Axis armies. The hospital welcomed everyone.

Scripture calls us to help the whole world to be spiritually healed. This means we need to have compassion for all—regardless of their views. Everyone, no matter their ideology, deserves Christ’s love and kindness. Paul insists that Jesus’ all-embracing love “compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:14). All of us suffer the sickness of sin. All of us are in desperate need of the healing of Jesus’ forgiveness. And He’s moved toward all of us in order to heal us.

Then, in a surprising move, God entrusted us with “the message of reconciliation” (v. 19). God invites us to tend to wounded and broken people (like us). We participate in healing work where the sick are made healthy through union with Him. And this reconciliation, this healing, is for all who will receive it.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

Who are the people you think God won’t (or shouldn’t) heal? Where might He call you to be a reconciler and a healer?

God, I need healing. And so it shouldn’t surprise me that everyone else needs healing too. Help me be part of Your healing of others.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Learning from Judas (Judas Iscariot)

The twelve apostles included “Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him” (Matt. 10:4).

God can use even an apostate like Judas to teach us some important lessons.

Judas is history’s greatest human tragedy. He had opportunities and privileges known only to the other disciples, but he turned from them to pursue a course of destruction. Yet even from his foolishness we can learn some important lessons.

Judas, for example, is the world’s greatest example of lost opportunity. He ministered for three years with Jesus Himself but was content merely to associate with Him, never submitting to Him in saving faith. Millions of others have followed his example by hearing the gospel and associating with Christians, yet rejecting Christ. Tragically, like Judas, once death comes they too are damned for all eternity.

Judas is also the world’s greatest example of wasted privileges. He could have had the riches of an eternal inheritance but instead chose thirty pieces of silver. In that respect he is also the greatest illustration of the destructiveness and damnation greed can bring. He did an unthinkable thing, yet he has many contemporary counterparts in those who place wealth and pleasure above godliness.

On the positive side, Judas is the world’s greatest illustration of the forbearing, patient love of God. Knowing what Judas would do, Jesus tolerated him for three years. Beyond that, He constantly reached out to him and even called him “friend” after his kiss of betrayal (Matt. 26:50).

If you’ve ever been betrayed by a friend, you know the pain it can bring. But the Lord’s pain was compounded many times over because He knew He would be betrayed and because the consequences were so serious. Yet He endured the pain because He loved Judas and knew that His own betrayal was a necessary part of the redemptive plan.

The sins that destroyed Judas are common sins that you must avoid at all costs! Use every opportunity and privilege God gives you, and never take advantage of His patience.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank Jesus for the pain he endured at the hands of Judas.
  • Pray that you will never cause Him such pain.

For Further Study

Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19.

  • What perils await those who desire wealth?
  • Rather than pursuing wealth, what should you pursue?
  • What attitude should wealthy people have toward their money?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – For Such a Time As This

…Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

— Esther 4:14 (NKJV)

I doubt that Queen Esther, as a young orphan girl, had any idea that she would eventually become the wife of a king and that God would use her to save an entire nation. She probably never dreamed she would one day be considered one of the strongest women in biblical history. What was the source of Esther’s strength? Her faith in God.

When an evil man threatened to annihilate the Jewish people, Esther intervened, asking her husband, the king, to spare them. Approaching the king without an invitation was very brave of Esther, and it went against the custom of her day. Her risk came with a great reward, as the king received her warmly and granted her request.

We see from today’s scripture that Esther understood that saving her people was part of the reason she had become the king’s wife. When you find yourself in an unlikely or challenging situation, remember Esther and realize that being there may be part of God’s plan for your life. The source of your strength, like Esther’s, is in your faith in God.

Prayer Starter: Father, I am available to You, and I want to serve You with all my heart. Use me today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Deep Cost of Sin

… So that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Romans 6:6

Christian, why would you play with sin? Has it not cost you enough already? Burnt child, will you play with the fire? What! When you have already been between the jaws of the lion, will you step a second time into his den? Have you not had enough of the old serpent? Did he not poison all your veins once, and will you play at the cobra’s den and put your hand in the dragon’s lair a second time?

Do not be not so mad, so foolish! Did sin ever yield you real pleasure? Did you find solid satisfaction in it? If so, go back to your old drudgery, and wear the chain again, if it delights you. But inasmuch as sin never gave you what it promised to bestow but deluded you with lies, do not be snared by the old fowler: Be free, and let the memory of your enslavement prevent you from entering the net again!

It is contrary to the designs of eternal love, which are all focused on your purity and holiness; therefore do not run counter to the purposes of your Lord.

Another thought should restrain you from sin. Christians can never sin cheaply; they pay a heavy price for iniquity. Transgression destroys peace of mind, obscures fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer, brings darkness over the soul; therefore do not be the serf and slave of sin.

There is still a higher argument: Each time you serve sin you are “crucifying once again the Son of God … and holding him up to contempt.”1 Can you bear that thought? If you have fallen into any special sin during this day, it may be that my Master has sent this admonition this evening to bring you back before you have wandered very far. Turn to Jesus afresh. He has not forgotten His love for you; His grace is still the same. With weeping and repentance, come to His footstool, and you shall be reunited in His love; you will be set upon a rock again, and your goings shall be established.

1) Hebrews 6:6

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 – A Lying Snake and a Faithful God.

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.” (Genesis 1:24)

Have you ever wondered why snakes were created? Most people do not like snakes! And there are many other pesky little insects and rodents that are not our favorites. Why were they created? We really do not know the answer, but God is infinitely wise, and He does know. God wanted everything that He created to be observed and appreciated. Well, it can be hard to appreciate a mosquito, can’t it? Perhaps you are thinking right now of another “creature” that God created…and you can’t help but wonder “why?” In Genesis 3, we read about the first “serpent” (snake).

Did you know that the first “lie” happened in God’s own Garden of Eden? Eve was approached by the serpent, and she was sharing with the serpent the things God had told her. God had told her that if she ate of the fruit of a certain tree (the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil), then she would die.

Did you know that this snake could talk? Do you know what he told Eve in the garden that day? He said, “Ye shall not surely die.” In other words, he told Eve that God was lying to her! Does God lie?

Who was this serpent? This serpent was the Devil, the “Father of lies.” The snake was Satan himself in snake form! Because of what he did, lying to Eve and tempting her to disobey God, the serpent was kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:14 “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above the cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.”

Today, this same Devil wants us to believe in the lies he tells, just as he wanted Eve to believe him when he acted like he knew better than God. Like a slithering snake, Satan comes right up to us with his tempting lies. He comes with very clever words and tries to make us believe that God is wrong and he is right.

The Devil is not the only one who tempts us. Our own selfish, fleshly nature is a dangerous enemy, too! And the world wants us to have a worldly attitude that leaves God out or calls God a liar. God wants us to be aware of the dangers that are in this world and to run from them when we are tempted.

God is faithful. That means He is always true and trustworthy. You do not ever have to doubt (wonder) whether God is being honest with you or not. Do you remember that there are people who want you to doubt God? Do you keep in mind that you need to run from the Devil’s lies? The next time you see a snake slithering along a path, let it be a reminder to you. God never lies, but the Devil and others would have you think so. Do what Eve should have done when the serpent told his lies! Turn away and run from temptations to doubt God and His Word. Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

God is trustworthy because He is always faithful and never lies.

My Response:
» Do I ever start to doubt (wonder) whether something that God has said is really true?
» What should I do when I am tempted to think God might not be faithful?

Denison Forum – “The last full measure of devotion”: A Memorial Day reflection

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited Uvalde, Texas, yesterday to place flowers at a memorial for the nineteen children and two teachers who were murdered at Robb Elementary School last Tuesday. In related news, the Justice Department announced it will review law enforcement’s response to the mass shooting.

This review comes amid reports that some police officers apparently violated protocol by choosing not to risk themselves as the shooter was murdering children and teachers. The timing of this news was noteworthy, coming the day before America honors the men and women who died across our nation’s history to protect our freedoms.

Our greatest president’s greatest speech

On Memorial Day, these heroes are often described as giving “the last full measure of devotion.”

Our nation’s greatest president authored these words as part of what many consider his greatest speech, brief remarks we call the “Gettysburg Address.” Abraham Lincoln spoke on November 19, 1863, four and a half months after one of the fiercest battles of the Civil War took place in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The conflict led to more than fifty-one thousand casualties. My wife and I visited the battlefield several years ago and were deeply moved by the memory of what happened on its now-hallowed ground.

On that Thursday, the president called those assembled “to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

In the words of his speech, let us consider:

The strength of their courage 

As “these honored dead,” those who fell at Gettysburg typified the expression, “All gave some; some gave all.” Like them, more than one million Americans have made the courageous decision to risk themselves and then to die on our behalf.

The depth of their sacrifice 

By giving the “full” measure of their devotion, they paid the ultimate price to serve our nation. Each person we remember on this Memorial Day did the same for you and for me.

The cause for which they died 

President Lincoln memorialized those who died in the cause of “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Their sacrifice reminds us that freedom is not free, that the price of our freedom has been paid in the blood of our military heroes and the grief of those who loved them.

“Politics is not going to cure that”

Now it is our turn to “highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.” It falls to us to do all we can so that “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom” and that our democracy “shall not perish from the earth.”

Such “resolve” takes many forms: military, economic, political, and cultural among them. But most of all, it requires a spiritual commitment mirroring the commitment we remember today.

The historian Christopher Dawson defined culture as “an accumulated capital of knowledge and a community of folkways into which the individual has to be initiated.” To help initiate Americans into such a healthy “community,” Heritage Foundation President Kevin D. Roberts recently emphasized the role of faith and civic virtue in the American democratic experiment.

Roberts pointed to Alexis de Tocqueville, the nineteenth-century French scholar who affirmed the virtues inherent in American democracy. However, Roberts noted that de Tocqueville “never could have imagined that we would stop going to church, that we would have each year, as Pew Research Center documents in its studies of religiosity, fewer and fewer Americans who even claim a religious affiliation.”

According to Roberts, “Politics is not going to cure that. The handful of schools who inculcate a serious faith in their students can help cure it. But ultimately, you and I will fix that as evangelists living out the Gospel Commission.”

“Righteousness exalts a nation”

God’s word states, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). The Hebrew word translated righteousness refers to “things done justly, blameless behavior.” Such action exalts (“advances, elevates”) a nation.

This is a fascinating declaration since the Hebrew word translated nation (goy) typically refers not to Israel but to the Gentiles. It thus applies to every person on earth, whatever our ethnicity or background (cf. Galatians 3:28).

By contrast, “sin is a reproach to any people.” Reproach is the opposite of exalts—it refers to “shame” or “disgrace.” This is true of “any” people anywhere. As one commentator notes, “A nation’s political health depends to a great degree on the moral integrity of its people.” And as President George Washington observed, “reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lᴏʀᴅ

On this Memorial Day, how can you and I “take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion”?

By taking “increased devotion” to the One whose Spirit and word empower us to be a nation worth such sacrifice.

Would you ask God to help you choose and emulate the “righteousness” that “exalts a nation”?

Would you ask his Spirit to help you stand against the “sin” that “is a reproach to any people”?

Would you honor the sacrificial courage we remember today by the sacrificial submission of your life to your Lord on behalf of your nation (Romans 12:1–2)?

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lᴏʀᴅ” (Psalm 33:12). Let’s do all we can to help our nation be so “blessed” to the glory of God.

Denison Forum

The Woke Have Confused Sword and Sorcery 

The Woke Have Confused Sword and Sorcery

Know, O prince, that between the years after the USSR fell, and the years of the rise of Chaos, there was a global world undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars – Washington, Moscow, Beijing, London and Brussels – connected by a spider-web of container ships, floating cruise palaces, nonstop air transportation, fiber optic cables. But the proudest civilization of the world was Christendom, reigning supreme in the dreaming west. Hither rose a class of sullen-men, with the power of that great civilization in hand, with gigantic pathologies and gigantic visions, determined to replace the Western foundational principle “under God”, or at least “under reason” with “under us”.

That ruling elite was so bedazzled by its legacy that they felt unbound, even to the moral and intellectual legacy of the civilization on whose shoulders they perched upon. Psychologically freed at a stroke from the past, they embarked on projects to radically remake humanity and the planet, not according to possibilities, but according to desires. It was possible, through the use of information technology, to create a universe of illusion, “a single, universal and immersive virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)” in which we will all live; while underneath, unheeded and forgotten, hums a physical base layer providing power, water and food, perpetually maintained and renewed by marvelous automata. Voters living in this world of magic would lose track of sordid reality, while the Woke would be kings and the masses along for the ride.

The most singular aspect of the rise of Woke mumbo jumbo is its relationship with the astonishing technological development that sustains it; enabling what may be called a “sword and sorcery” regime. Quasi-theocracies are upheld by technology so advanced it appears to be magic, at least to the general public, who have only a vague and awestruck knowledge of the mechanisms involved. “This man is woman,” a counter disinformation bureaucrat might intone, and all would nod in assent. Those in the virtual crowd who disagree will remain mute, for they know that with a gesture, the functionary can zap any dissenter with cancelation, so that he can be excluded from the metaverse entirely, through a process few understand but all fear.

That very vagueness enhances their authority. No one knows how powerful the magi actually are, because no one is really certain how potent the magic is. At the minimum, defying the Woke could ruin your career and social standing. They claim to be actually powerful enough to conjure real wealth into existence — print money ex nihilo. Yet the technology behind this sorcery is at once both enemy and friend, simultaneously serving and menacing the Woke elite, an ambivalence nowhere more sharply drawn than in the phrase “woke math,” which limits or waters down student access to mathematics, in order that they might not fail the subject. Here magic and reality collide. Hundreds of university professors said in an open letter, “we write to express our alarm over recent trends in K-12 mathematics education in the United States… particularly the California Mathematics Framework (CMF). Such frameworks aim to reduce achievement gaps by limiting the availability of advanced mathematical courses to middle schoolers and beginning high schoolers.”

But why should the students need the actual “essential mathematical tools such as calculus and algebra” if the California Mathematics Framework will give them the credential in lieu; providing the magic cloak, the printed money, the “man is woman,” the authoritative statement of competence that makes anything real? Maybe magic is not enough, for as Helen Raleigh pointed out in a Newsweek article, if China taught algebra in 6th grade while Woke educrats never taught it at all then soon California would be out of magic. China would have all the magic. The fatal crisis at the heart of a sword and sorcery regime is sorcery cannot maintain its claim of primacy in the face of its dependence on the technological sword. And that sword is rooted in the intellectual soil of the past which they would remake.

For the sorcerers, the absence of roots is no disadvantage. Politicians seem to think it possible to conjure a carbon-free world into existence, with Joe Biden dismissing the nationwide gas shortage and price crisis in Newsweek as a temporary inconvenience on the road to the commanded state.  “And when it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over,” he said. Never mind Russia. Never mind the war in Ukraine. Never mind where the rare substances for batteries will come from. Shazaaam! If Woke politicians will it, it will come. That mindset lies at the heart of sorcery and it is profoundly antithetical to technology. Still the spells fly thick and fast. New York Goverrnor Kathy Hochul tweeted, “New Yorkers: You can now choose ‘X’ as a gender marker on your driver license. Every person deserves to have an identity document that reflects who they are. This is a historic change in our fight to make New York a more inclusive and just state for all.” And that’s what it takes to change who you are.

Or is it?

Magic, twentieth century authors observed, was mathematics with all the steps omitted, like a calculator. It Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel Orlando: A Biography, it describes how an imperfectly numerate person accepted the result of civilization without understanding. “Then she got into the lift, for the good reason that the door stood open; and was shot smoothly upwards. The very fabric of life now, she thought as she rose, is magic. In the eighteenth century, we knew how everything was done; but here I rise through the air; I listen to voices in America; I see men flying – but how it’s done I can’t even begin to wonder. So my belief in magic returns.”

What a wonderful feeling to be in command. The elevator rose because the passenger entered it. The radio spoke because someone turned the knob. The cellphone works because the On Switch was pressed. But change the problem a little, and because we have omitted all the understanding, the magical appliance may not work at all and we have no way to fix it. This is perhaps the reason why our politicians, the modern sorcerers with all the clanking machinery of the End of History at their disposal, are surprised when their confident plans to boost the economy, flatten the pandemic curve and replace nuclear plants with windmills unaccountably take off in unknown directions.  The usual explanation is it’s not that Woke sorcery has stopped working; it’s bad luck. Or maybe it’s because they forgot they were standing on the shoulders of giants and carelessly discarded what came before.

Perhaps the Woke have confused sword with sorcery all along. What they take to be sorcery is just technology; but there’s more to civilization. We have to accept that knowlege is hard won; our understanding imperfect and mutable; our survival always in question and never guaranteed. We have to rediscover our sense of numinous; find the hope to face a universe unfathomable save only by the lights we’ve kept burning. This strictly speaking is not even technology but it is the true magic. As for “bad luck” …

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.” — Robert Heinlein

Elon Musk tweeted on May 20, 2022 that “unless it is stopped, the woke mind virus will destroy civilization and humanity will never reach Mars.” Maybe Elon means it.

Books: Fossil Future: Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas–Not Lessby Alex Epstein. For over a decade, philosopher and energy expert Alex Epstein has predicted that any negative impacts of fossil fuel use on our climate will be outweighed by the unique benefits of fossil fuels to human flourishing–including their unrivaled ability to provide low-cost, reliable energy to billions of people around the world, especially the world’s poorest people..

BY RICHARD FERNANDEZ MAY 30, 2022 7:59 AM ET

Source: The Woke Have Confused Sword and Sorcery – PJ Media