All posts by broboinhawaii

Bible believing christian worshiping God in Hawaii

Charles Stanley – A Divine Demonstration of Love

 

1 John 4:7-19

To better understand divine love, consider its opposite —false “love,” which sets limitations and always withholds something. This so-called love clings to control and gives only in order to manipulate. It is emotionally detached and unwilling to be vulnerable.

Genuine love, on the other hand, respects people as they are. It means understanding who the other person really is and loving without restriction. If you must be in control and your heart is not 100% in it, you’re missing true love.

Looking at the love of Jesus Christ on the cross, I see the most perfect demonstration of love anywhere. The Savior showed us how unlimited His love is: He gave His life for us and withheld nothing (Rom. 8:32)! He did not give His love to manipulate us but instead gave us free will to accept or reject Him. And He loved us with vulnerability, already knowing His love would be rejected—even ignored or mocked. In loving with His whole heart, Jesus was willing to be turned down.

If you’re ever unsure about what true love really looks like, turn to the cross. Jesus gave His best—His all—to love us so that we could become children of God (1 John 3:1).

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 30-31

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — What Comes Next?

 

Bible in a Year:

There is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord . . . will award to me on that day.

2 Timothy 4:8

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Timothy 4:1–8

On the night of April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King gave his final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” In it, he hints that he believed he might not live long. He said, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. . . . [But] I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” The next day, he was assassinated.

The apostle Paul, shortly before his death, wrote to his protégé Timothy: “I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. . . . Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day” (2 Timothy 4:68). Paul knew his time on earth was drawing to a close, as did Dr. King. Both men realized lives of incredible significance, yet never lost sight of the true life ahead. Both men welcomed what came next.

Like them, may we “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

By:  Remi Oyedele

Reflect & Pray

What is your understanding of this life’s temporary nature? How do you think it plays into the life that comes next?

Heavenly Father, help us to keep our eyes on You and not on the troubles and trials of this life.

Read Life to Come: The Hope of the Christian Faith at discoveryseries.org/q1205.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Giving Up the Self

In his 1989 book, In the Name of Jesus, Henri Nouwen recounts a time of grave spiritual atrophy. Nouwen was a highly regarded Ivy League professor as well as an in-demand speaker and author. He was the toast of any town. And most impressive of all (to me), he was personal friends with Fred Rogers.

Nouwen was also growing increasingly empty inside. When an opportunity arose to work with Daybreak in Toronto, Henri bravely walked away from his old life and jumped into service for the intellectually disabled. He had gone from the pinnacle of renown in Christian circles to serving a marginalized group where there was sure to be little thanks and even less fame. And yet, he was revitalized during this time.

Once Henri had to go to a speaking engagement but did not want to go alone. He ended up taking “Bill” with him, one of the permanent residents at Daybreak, and the two had a great time. During breakfast the next day, Bill asked Henri if he had liked the trip. Henri said that, yes, he had enjoyed the trip very much. Bill responded with, “And we did it together, didn’t we?”

Henri writes: “Then I realized the full truth of Jesus’ words, ‘Where two or three meet in my Name, I am among them’ (Matthew 18:20). In the past, I had always given lectures, sermons, addresses, and speeches by myself. Often I had wondered how much of what I had said would be remembered. Now it dawned on me that most likely much of what I said would not be long remembered, but that Bill and I doing it together would not easily be forgotten. I hoped and prayed that Jesus, who had sent us out together and had been with us all during the journey, would have become really present to those who had gathered in the Clarendon Hotel in Crystal City.”(1)

I saw this up close and personal when a Lutheran pastor I worked for (whose name really is Bill) answered the call to lead a diminished and declining flock in a smaller town. No one wanted to lose this talented teacher and preacher. And this was not the best career decision to make; in the metrics of worldly success, this was a demotion. That was the point, though. He told me that we must truly go where God leads us and anything else is simply career advancement. We need be people who proclaim with Isaiah, “Here am I. Send me!”

These counterintuitive stories are reflections of Christ’s example. In the Lenten origin story, Jesus goes without food for 40 days, and so Lent is typically a time of “fasting” from certain foods, although now someone may choose to fast from social media, watching Netflix, etc. If we look deeper into the narrative, though, we are introduced to some of the most grand paradoxes. There is something fascinating taking place behind the fast.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Giving Up the Self

Joyce Meyer – Overcome Fear with Faith

 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. — Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

Fear can take many forms—worry, anxiety, panic or even dread. But it’s so important for us to get the upper hand on fear because it does not come from God.

Even when we face uncertainty or difficulties in life, God wants us to have faith that He is with us in the struggle and that He can do great things. He wants us to remain positive and full of hope!

Faith is the opposite of fear. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith allows us to believe that God is going to do something great even before it comes to pass. Faith enables us to believe things that may not make sense to our natural minds.

One of the main ways we release our faith is through what we say. So, even when it doesn’t look like good things are happening, it’s important to say what God’s Word says about our situation.

When you are going through a difficult time or find yourself expecting the worst, I encourage you to say things like:

“God has a great plan for my future, and I believe something good is going to happen today!” (See Jeremiah 29:11.)

“My future is bright, and I have nothing to worry about—God is taking care of me. The Lord’s goodness and mercy follow me every single day of my life!” (See Philippians 4:6; Psalm 23:6.)

“I don’t have to fear, because God is always with me.” (See Joshua 1:9.)

Living by faith doesn’t mean that we ignore our circumstances, but it means that we choose to focus on God and believe that He is greater than anything we are going through (see Ephesians 3:20).

Pray: “God, thank You for watching over every detail of my life. When things are uncertain, help me to believe Your Word more than my doubts and fears. Help me to speak words of faith and say what You say about my situation. I know that You are greater than my fears and You have good things planned for my future. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Clothed in Christ

 

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves in Christ” (Galatians 3:27, NAS).

You may be surprised, as I was, at the result of our personal surveys having to do with church members and salvation.

Such surveys indicate that somewhere between 50 and 90% of all church members are not sure of their salvation. Like Martin Luther, John Wesley and many others who became mighty ambassadors for Christ, some spend many years “serving God” before they experience the assurance and reality of their salvation.

The pastor of a large fashionable church of 1,500 members once reacted negatively when I shared these statistics, doubting that such large percentages of church members lacked assurance of their salvation.

He decided personally to survey his own congregation at the church where he had served as senior pastor for 15 years. To his amazement and shock, more than 75% of the membership indicated they were not sure of their salvation.

The following Sunday, the pastor arranged for the Four Spiritual Laws booklet, which contains the distilled essence of the gospel, to be distributed to each member of the congregation.

For his sermon he read the contents of the booklet aloud, as the congregation followed him, reading from their own copies of the Four Laws. Then he invited all who wished to receive Christ as their Savior and Lord to read aloud with him the prayer contained in the booklet. Almost the entire congregation joined in the prayer audibly. As a result the church was changed, because changed individuals in sufficient numbers equal a changed church, a changed community and a changed nation.

Have you clothed yourself in Christ?

Bible Reading: Galatians 4:4-7

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will not take for granted that I have found faith in Christ simply because I belong to a church, nor will I assume that all church members have assurance of their salvation. I shall encourage all who are not sure to receive Christ and be clothed in His righteousness.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Cast Yourself Upon the Grace of Christ

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Guilt sucks the life out of our souls.  Grace restores it.  No one had more reason to feel the burden of guilt than did the apostle Paul.  He had orchestrated the deaths of Christians—he was an ancient version of a terrorist.

Paul gave his guilt to Jesus.  Period.  He surrendered it to Jesus.  As a result he could write, “I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.”  (Philippians 3:13-14).

What would the apostle say to the guilt-ridden?  Simply this: Rejoice in the Lord’s mercy.  Trust in his ability to forgive. Cast yourself upon the grace of Christ and Christ alone!

Read more Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

Home

Denison Forum – Funerals in the Holy Land and a virtual tour of Jerusalem: Using the pandemic for eternal good

There is nothing like being in the Holy Land during the Easter season. After leading more than thirty study tours to Israel, I can tell you that each time feels like the first time. There is something miraculous and transforming about this ancient land, especially during this season.

This year, April is not only the month of Easter for Christians, but of Passover for the Jewish people and the beginning of Ramadan for Muslims. Because of the pandemic, however, the streets of Jerusalem are virtually empty. Churches and other religious sites are closed. Even burials are different.

In Israel, Jewish dead are typically laid to rest in a cloth smock and shroud without a coffin. Now, the bodies of COVID-19 victims are taken for ritual washing, which is performed in full protective gear, wrapped in impermeable plastic, and wrapped again in plastic before interment. Muslim bodies are not washed or shrouded but buried in a plastic body bag. Funerals can be attended by no more than twenty people in an open space. The bereaved are not embraced.

Here’s some good news, however: Israel’s Tower of David Museum is using virtual reality to allow us to visit the Western Wall during Passover, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during Easter, and the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.

The museum has created an immersive 360-degree virtual reality experience for anyone with internet access. We will be able to see the Holy City as it is today and as it looked twenty centuries ago. The link will be available free of charge from the first day of Passover to the first day of Ramadan (April 9–24).

“Our routine is the scaffolding of life”

The philosopher Walter Benjamin noted, “History is made up of images, not stories.” The images coming out of the coronavirus pandemic, like empty streets in Jerusalem, tell the story of this unfolding tragedy.

In addition to the escalating numbers of victims and patients and its devastation of our economy, the pandemic is disrupting our daily lives in unprecedented ways. Adrienne Heinz, a clinical research psychologist at the Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, notes: “Our routine is the scaffolding of life. It’s how we organize information and our time. And without it, we can feel really lost.”

As a result, she says, “I’m . . . really worried about families. I’m worried about increases in alcohol use. I’m worried about domestic violence. I’m worried about child abuse, because parents are under-resourced.”

Psychologist Susan Clayton adds: “Most of us have not faced a situation like this. So we have no previous experience that we can use to interpret it. We have no guidance about how we should be responding.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – Funerals in the Holy Land and a virtual tour of Jerusalem: Using the pandemic for eternal good

Charles Stanley – How Do We Seek God?

 

Deuteronomy 4:21-31

We will find God when we seek Him with all our heart. That is a biblical promise we can depend on. But how do we go about seeking Him?

First, we must exhibit certain attitudes. Scripture implores us to pursue wholeheartedly, diligently, continually, confidently, and humbly. These qualities are essential for learning and spiritual growth.

Then we get into God’s Word, studying and meditating upon it with a receptive heart. We also take up the discipline of prayer, because it’s the primary way we communicate with Him, and He with us.

The next step is to consider how God is operating in our circumstances. Think back on His patterns of faithfulness to you in the past, and you’ll see glimpses of how He worked, even during times of adversity in your life. You may even be able to recognize His involvement in the lives of other believers, and that awareness can also enrich your growth.

When we seek God, we find the capacity to love and serve Him. If you’ve been feeling apathetic towards the Father, consider pursuing Him in one of the ways described above, and pray that it ignites your passion.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 27-29

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Cheerful Givers

 

Bible in a Year:

God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Corinthians 9:6–9

Years ago, my wife received a small rebate from something she’d purchased. It wasn’t something she’d expected, it just showed up in the mail. About the same time, a good friend shared with her the immense needs of women in another country, entrepreneurial-minded women trying to better themselves by way of education and business. As is often the case, however, their first barrier was financial.

My wife took that rebate and made a micro-loan to a ministry devoted to helping these women. When the loan was repaid, she simply loaned again, and again, and so far has made twenty-seven such investments. My wife enjoys many things, but there’s rarely a smile as big on her face as when she receives an update on the flourishing taking place in the lives of women she’s never met.

We often hear emphasis on the last word in this phrase—“God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7)—and rightly so. But our giving has a specific quality about it—it shouldn’t be done “reluctantly or under compulsion,” and we’re called not to sow “sparingly” (vv. 6–7). In a word, our giving is to be “cheerful.” And while each of us will give a little differently, our faces are places for telling evidence of our cheer.

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

When did you last “cheerfully” give? Why do you believe God loves a cheerful giver?

Generous Father God, thank You for the joy that comes in giving from a cheer-filled heart. And thank You for the ways in which You provide abundantly for our needs.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Giving Up Chocolate

Confession: I love Tom Waits. How do you classify him? He has been many things: a lounge singer, a street poet, actor, songwriter. He has the voice of a rusty exhaust manifold. One aspect of his persona(s) over the years that is endlessly fascinating is his way of tapping into the words and thoughts of the common sense of common man. Some of his characters are salt of the earth; others are down-on-their-luck lovable outcasts or outsiders.

In his song “Chocolate Jesus,” Tom describes a divine confection for those who cannot or do not want to go to church on Sundays:

Well, I don’t go to church on Sunday
Don’t get on my knees to pray
Don’t memorize the books of the bible
I got my own special way

I know Jesus loves me
Maybe just a little bit more
Fall down on my knees every Sunday
At Zerelda Lee’s candy store

Well, it’s got to be a chocolate Jesus
Make me feel good inside
Got to be a chocolate Jesus
Keep me satisfied.(1)

Much of the song is up to interpretation: Is he describing the one with a young, innocent faith? The one who would rather do their own thing because church has too many rules? The apathetic? The one who wants salvation without sacrifice? The one who wants God without the pain of past church experiences? Sometimes there are understandable reasons why people want the chocolate Jesus, the one who just loves them, makes them feel good inside, and keeps them satisfied.

This has been me before. Perhaps you can relate. Before I became a Christian, I would visit churches from time to time looking for something, but it was never there. That might have been a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it was the honest feeling. Years later, after becoming a Christian, I felt lost in a discipleship-less church that was big on rule-following but felt very small on love. Eventually I left and fell back into old patterns of a life without God. I tried church and it wasn’t for me. Wearily, I just wanted the God who loved me as I was.

Looking back, though, I notice something about that young man: I wanted the chocolate Jesus, sweetness without nutrition. God did love me as I was, but I started to get the impression that that was the end of the story.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Giving Up Chocolate

Joyce Meyer – You Are Not Alone

 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God…. — Isaiah 43:2-3 (NIV)

When you’re going through difficult times, it’s so important to remember that God is right there with you, and you can trust Him to help you through it.

God never promised us a trouble-free life, but He does promise to never leave us or forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5). In the hard times, we can take comfort knowing that He loves us tremendously, He has His eye on us, and He is already working behind the scenes to help us (see Romans 8:38-39; Psalm 33:18).

I’ve also learned from experience that we can trust God to use these times for our benefit (see Romans 8:28). When everything seems uncertain and unstable, He helps us draw closer to Him and hang on to the rock of our salvation—Jesus Christ—who cannot be moved or shaken!

When we’re hit by life’s storms or experience things we don’t understand, that’s when we have to remember that God is always with us—no matter what we think or feel, and no matter what our circumstances look like.

Jesus is with you through every storm, and you are going to come out stronger on the other side. He’s the One Who loves you unconditionally, and He’s the One Who can turn your difficult times into something great.

And as you trust God through it all, He will give you something stable—He will give you more of Himself.

Pray: “God, I thank You for always being with me—in the good times and also when life gets difficult. Please help me to draw closer to You when life doesn’t make sense. I trust You, and I know that You will work everything out for My good. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – His Mark of Ownership

 

“He has put His brand upon us – His mark of ownership – and given us His Holy Spirit in our hearts as guarantee that we belong to Him, and as the first installment of all that He is going to give us” (2 Corinthians 1:22).

Some time ago, a young Christian came to share his problems. He was very frustrated and confused, and he spoke of the constant defeat and fruitlessness which he experienced in the Christian life.

“You don’t have to live in defeat,” I said to him.

The young man registered surprise.

“You can live a life of victory, a life of joy, a life of fruitfulness,” I assured him. “In fact, by the grace of God – and to Him alone be the glory – for more than 25 years as a Christian I do not recall a single hour of broken fellowship with the Lord Jesus.”

He was really shocked at that.

“Do you mean you haven’t sinned in 25 years?” he asked.

“No, that’s not what I mean, I replied. “I have sinned regrettably, I have grieved and quenched the Spirit at times with impatience, anger or some other expression of the flesh. But when I grieve the Spirit, I know exactly what to do. I breathe spiritually. I confess my sin to God and immediately receive His forgiveness and cleansing, and by faith I continue to walk in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit.”

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 12:3-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Realizing that a believer can live a supernatural, holy life only as he yields to the control of the Holy Spirit, I will seek to practice holiness in my personal life and encourage other Christians to do the same.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Our Sovereign God

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Many years ago I spent a week visiting the interior of Brazil with a longtime missionary pilot.  Just to say, Wilbur and Orville had a sturdier aircraft!  I could not get comfortable.  I kept thinking the plane was going to crash in the jungle and I’d be gobbled up by piranhas.  I kept shifting around, looking down and gripping my seat—as if that would help.

Finally the pilot had enough of my squirming.  He looked over at me and shouted over the airplane noise, “We won’t face anything that I can’t handle.  You might as well trust me to fly the plane.”  Is God saying the same to you?  Examine those poles of your faith, those truths which sustain your belief in God.  Make sure one of them is etched with the words, “My God is sovereign!”  Then be anxious for nothing!

Read more Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

Home

Denison Forum – Joe Buck will make your home movie: Finding meaning in crisis through solitude with God

Joe Buck has one of the best-known voices in America. He has called twenty-two World Series and six Super Bowls. The son of legendary announcer Jack Buck, he is ubiquitous in the world of sports broadcasting.

Now you can have his voice on your home videos.

People are sending him videos of dogs chasing each other in an empty field, chickens on a seesaw, and an airline employee guiding a plane to its gate. For each, Buck provides his very funny personal analysis.

This is his way of helping people deal with the anxiety and loneliness of these days.

Advice from “the world’s foremost expert on grief” 

One of the most-read articles ever on Harvard Business Review is an interview with David Kessler on the grief we are feeling in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The article describes Kessler as “the world’s foremost expert on grief.”

He notes that “we’re feeling a number of different griefs. We feel the world has changed, and it has. We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different. . . . The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.”

In addition, we’re feeling what Kessler calls “anticipatory grief,” which he defines as “that feeling we get about what the future holds when we’re uncertain. . . . There is a storm coming. There’s something bad out there. . . . I don’t think we’ve collectively lost our sense of general safety like this. Individually or as small groups, people have felt this. But all together, this is new. We are grieving on a micro and a macro level.”

When asked what we can do to manage such grief, Kessler applies the well-known stages of grief: “There’s denial, which we say a lot of early on: This virus won’t affect us. There’s anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities. There’s bargaining: Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right? There’s sadness: I don’t know when this will end. And finally there’s acceptance: This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.”

Kessler adds a sixth stage: meaning. He explains: “I did not want to stop at acceptance when I experienced some personal grief. I wanted meaning in those darkest hours. And I do believe we find light in those times.”

What it means to seek God’s “face” 

The US topped one thousand coronavirus deaths in a single day for the first time yesterday. Officials say the daily death toll could more than double by mid-April.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Joe Buck will make your home movie: Finding meaning in crisis through solitude with God

Charles Stanley – When We Seek God

 

2 Chronicles 34:1-33

Take a moment to clear your mind, and breathe. Now ask yourself this question with the intention of being completely honest: What am I seeking most in life?

The majority of people in the world are seeking things they will never be able to keep once this lifetime is over. However, true fulfillment comes only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and that is eternal. Like Josiah in today’s passage, we too can seek that relationship with the Lord. It requires a desire to …

Find out what He is like. Examining God’s Word in depth gives us more understanding of who God is and how He relates to His creation.

Fellowship with Him intimately. Spending time alone with God reorients our heart with His, but it must be quality time—consistent, alone, quiet, and unhurried.

Follow Him more closely. The more you allow the Holy Spirit to work His Word into your heart, the more you will want to obey and please our heavenly Father.

These three things undoubtedly bring us closer to God, but we have to make the decision to pursue them. Do you want to seek God? Let us resolve to know and love Him more today, and turn to Him for help.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 25-26

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Praying Like Jesus

 

Bible in a Year:

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.

Luke 22:42

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Luke 22:39–44

Every coin has two sides. The front is called “heads” and, from early Roman times, usually depicts a country’s head of state. The back is called “tails,” a term possibly originating from the British ten pence depicting the raised tail of a heraldic lion.

Like a coin, Christ’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane possesses two sides. In the deepest hours of His life, on the night before He died on a cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). When Christ says, “take this cup,” that’s the raw honesty of prayer. He reveals His personal desire, “This is what I want.”

Then Jesus turns the coin, praying “not my will.” That’s the side of abandon. Abandoning ourselves to God begins when we simply say, “But what do You want, God?”

This two-sided prayer is also included in Matthew 26 and Mark 14 and is mentioned in John 18. Jesus prayed both sides of prayer: take this cup (what I want, God), yet not My will (what do You want, God?), pivoting between them.

Two sides of Jesus. Two sides of prayer.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

What might we learn if we prayed honestly and with complete abandon, as Jesus did? What situation are you facing right now where you can pray honestly yet with abandon to God?

Father, help me follow the example of Your Son, who spent everything so that I might possess real life that includes experiencing intimate prayer with You.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Man of Sorrows

 

“Prosperity, pleasure, and success may be rough of grain and common in fibre, but sorrow is the most sensitive of all created things.”

Those are the words of the famed pleasure seeker, Oscar Wilde. In his De Profundis, written in prison, he wrote with profound earnestness about how much sorrow had taught him. He went on to add, “Where there is sorrow there is holy ground. Some day people will realize what that means. They will know nothing of life till they do.”

As I reflect on those words, I take note first of the one who wrote them. A life of pain was the farthest thing from his mind when he made his choices. In that sense, none of us ever really choose sorrow. But I take note of something else in his words. His claim is bold; he is not merely confessing an idea written across his worldview, but one he insists is written across the world: Sorrow is holy ground and those who do not learn to walk there know nothing of what living means. What he means at the very least is that some of life’s most sacred truths are learned in the midst of sorrow. He learned, for example, that raw unadulterated pleasure for pleasure’s sake is never a fulfilling pleasure. Violation of the sacred in the pursuit of happiness is not truly a source of happiness. In fact, it kills happiness because it can run roughshod over many a victim. Pleasure that profanes is pleasure that destroys.

Sorrow on the other hand—while never pursued—comes into one’s life and compels us to see our own finitude and frailty. It demands of us seriousness and tenderness if we are to live life the way it is meant to be lived. One of the most important things sorrow does is to show us what it needs and responds to. Wilde said it himself: “Sorrow is a wound that bleeds when any hand but that of love touches it, and even then must bleed again, though not in pain.”

Of all the descriptions given about Jesus, there is one that unabashedly stands out to confront us. It is a description uttered by the prophet Isaiah, prodding mind and heart at once: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Like one from whom men hide their faces; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:3). Whether holding glimpses of global suffering or personal pain and loss or both, Isaiah’s is a fitting description to reflect upon.

Maybe you are at a time in your life when hurt is writ large upon your thoughts. Jesus is not unacquainted with your pain. In fact, he draws near particularly with a hand of love. Your wound may still bleed for a while to remind you of your weakness. But he can help carry the pain to carry you in strength. This could indeed be holy ground for you. It most certainly was for him.

 

Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

Read in browser »

http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – I Will Not Fear!

 

The Lord is my helper; I will not fear…. — Hebrews 13:6 (ESV)

There was a time in my life when I had more fears than I could count. I was always afraid the absolute worst would happen. I worried about our finances, our kids, the state of the world and what tomorrow would bring. As a result, I couldn’t enjoy my life or have the peace God wanted to give me.

Fear is one of the primary weapons Satan uses to keep us from moving forward and enjoying the good life God has for us. Especially when something negative happens, the enemy wants us to focus on all of the “what ifs” and fill our lives with worry and anxiety. He desires to pull our focus away from God’s love and faithfulness.

The Bible says, There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… (1 John 4:18 NIV). Understanding God’s love is the antidote for fear! God wants us to know just how much He loves us and desires to help us.

When I think of my own children, especially when they were younger, there’s almost nothing I wouldn’t do to help them if they were in trouble. Or if someone tried to harm them, they’d better watch out…because no one gets between a mom and her kids!

If we feel this way about our children, then how do you think God feels about us? And unlike us, He has no limitations. Nothing is impossible with Him—He can help us in every situation, on every occasion.

Hebrews 13:5-6 (AMP) is one my favorite passages of Scripture. Just look at what God says about you: “…I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless, nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!

Remember, whatever you’re facing today, God is bigger than your worries, your problems and your fears. He knows every one of your needs before you ever have them, and He delights in taking care of you.

Pray: “God, when I am fearful, help me to focus on Your love and faithfulness. Especially during times of difficulty or uncertainty, fill my heart with Your peace and help me to place my trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Clothed in Christ

 

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves in Christ” (Galatians 3:27, NAS).

You may be surprised, as I was, at the result of our personal surveys having to do with church members and salvation.

Such surveys indicate that somewhere between 50 and 90% of all church members are not sure of their salvation. Like Martin Luther, John Wesley and many others who became mighty ambassadors for Christ, some spend many years “serving God” before they experience the assurance and reality of their salvation.

The pastor of a large fashionable church of 1,500 members once reacted negatively when I shared these statistics, doubting that such large percentages of church members lacked assurance of their salvation.

He decided personally to survey his own congregation at the church where he had served as senior pastor for 15 years. To his amazement and shock, more than 75% of the membership indicated they were not sure of their salvation.

The following Sunday, the pastor arranged for the Four Spiritual Laws booklet, which contains the distilled essence of the gospel, to be distributed to each member of the congregation.

For his sermon he read the contents of the booklet aloud, as the congregation followed him, reading from their own copies of the Four Laws. Then he invited all who wished to receive Christ as their Savior and Lord to read aloud with him the prayer contained in the booklet. Almost the entire congregation joined in the prayer audibly. As a result the church was changed, because changed individuals in sufficient numbers equal a changed church, a changed community and a changed nation.

Have you clothed yourself in Christ?

Bible Reading: Galatians 4:4-7

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will not take for granted that I have found faith in Christ simply because I belong to a church, nor will I assume that all church members have assurance of their salvation. I shall encourage all who are not sure to receive Christ and be clothed in His righteousness.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God is Testing the Church

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I think God is testing the church.  By that I mean He is strengthening us.  He’s calling upon us to be the people He desires for His church to be.

You will remember that when Jesus fed that crowd of 5,000 men plus women and children, the gospel tells us that Jesus tested his followers by telling them to feed those people.  They could have and they should have looked to him and said, “Lord, you can do this.”  And so that’s the call of the church right now…to be the people who come to God and say, God we cannot solve this but you can.

Bless our leaders.  Bless those in research.  Bless those who are vulnerable, we ask you Lord.  So let’s be that people, folks.  Let’s be people who call out to God in asking for help. We’re gonna get through this.  I’m not saying it’s going to be easy.  I’m not saying it’s gonna be quick.  But God will take this and He will use it for good.

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

Home