Denison Forum – Commencement speaker pays student debt for graduating class

There are more than four thousand colleges and universities in the United States. I’m guessing that none of them heard a commencement address quite like the one delivered at Morehouse College yesterday.

Robert F. Smith, a billionaire investor known as the wealthiest black man in America, told the crowd that he and his family would pay off the entire graduating class’s student debt. David A. Thomas, president of Morehouse, called Mr. Smith’s generosity “a liberation gift, meaning this frees these young men from having to make their career decisions based on their debt. This allows them to pursue what they are passionate about.”

Mr. Smith’s gift may be worth about $40 million, according to Morehouse officials.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love”

Imagine that you were one of the 396 young men graduating from Morehouse yesterday. I can think of three reasons you might decline Mr. Smith’s remarkable generosity.

You could do so out of a self-reliant determination to pay your debts yourself. You could refuse to feel indebted to Mr. Smith. Or you could consider yourself unworthy of such grace.

Now let’s consider Robert Smith’s gift to the Morehouse graduates as a parable.

The Creator of the universe considers our eternal life worth the death of his Son: “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Our Father loves us unconditionally: “Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37–39).

God’s love for us is unwavering: “His steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:26). It “surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19). It is inclusive: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1).

In short, God says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).

Anything God has ever done, he can still do.

However, for most of my life, I have struggled to accept God’s grace. It’s not that I think I can pay my spiritual debts myself and earn my way into heaven, or that I don’t want to be indebted to God. Rather, it’s hard for me to see myself as worthy of such love.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Commencement speaker pays student debt for graduating class

Charles Stanley – Those Who Have Never Heard

 

Romans 1:16-25

In many countries, the gospel cannot be shared freely. Repressive governments and religions stop Christians from telling others about Jesus. However, God is mightier than oppression. Where human messengers can’t carry the good news, the Lord is revealing Himself to those whose hearts are open.

God wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Him (1 Timothy 2:4). But because He is holy and just, He can’t overlook man’s sinful condition, which renders all guilty and without excuse (Rom. 1:18-20). That is, He will not admit people into heaven unless they have acknowledged their need for a Savior (Rom. 3:20-23). However, our Father is also fair and merciful. He makes His presence known to every person so that each one can recognize His sovereignty.

The Lord does this by revealing Himself to all mankind in two ways: through conscience and creation. First, He has imbedded His basic moral guidelines in the human conscience (Rom. 1:19). In other words, at some point in life, people generally have an innate sense that certain actions are right and others are wrong. Second, the Creator displays His power and divine nature through what He has made (Rom. 1:20). The complexity, variety, order, and beauty of the world all point to a Designer.

We can’t pinpoint every method the Lord uses to reveal Himself. Yet we can be sure nothing will stop Him from reaching out to people who follow conscience and creation to the logical conclusion—the existence of a loving, sovereign God.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 26-28

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Crooked Steeple

 

Bible in a Year:1 Chronicles 7–9; John 6:22–44

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Turns out that crooked church steeples make people nervous. When we visited some friends, they shared how, after a fierce windstorm, their church’s proud steeple was crooked, causing some alarm.

Of course, the church quickly repaired the flagging spire, but the humorous image got me thinking. Often church is seen as a place where everything is expected to look perfect; it’s not seen as a place where we can show up crooked. Right?

But in a fallen, broken world, all of us are “crooked,” each with our own collection of natural weaknesses. We might be tempted to keep our vulnerabilities under wraps, but Scripture encourages the opposite attitude. In 2 Corinthians 12, for example, Paul suggests that it’s in our weaknesses—for him, an unnamed struggle he calls a “thorn in my flesh” (v. 7)—that Christ is most likely to reveal His power. Jesus had told Paul, “My power is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9). So Paul concluded, “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (v. 10).

We may not like our imperfections, but hiding them only denies Jesus’s power to work within those aspects of ourselves. When we invite Jesus into the crooked places in us, He gently mends and redeems in ways our effort could never accomplish.

By Adam Holz

Reflect & Pray

What are some of the “crooked” places in your life? In what ways have you seen God work through your imperfections?

Invite Jesus into your imperfections for His mending.

 

http://www.odb.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids   A-Mazed

 

Ecclesiastes 7:13

Have you ever been in a maze—the real kind that’s made out of hedges and paths? There’s one at a palace in England called Chatsworth House. It is a very complicated maze. Every hedge is the same height so there are no identifying features to help you even go back the way you went in.

It could be frightening to get into a maze and not be able to find your way out. Life is like that sometimes. We find ourselves in situations where we don’t know where to turn, and when we do make a choice of which way to go, it ends up being the wrong way. It’s scary when our situation gets worse and worse. But there is someone who knows every turn, every path of our life. Jesus is that someone, and he came to guide us through life. When you are confused and don’t know which way to turn or which decision is best, you can rely on Jesus to lead you. Isn’t a relief to know you don’t have to make decisions on your own? Ask for his guidance and wait patiently for him to show you the way out of your problems.

Dear Lord, Sometimes I really get mixed up when I’m trying to make decisions about my life. Please guide me and help me to listen for your voice telling me the right way to go. Amen.

Joyce Meyer – A Big, Rewarding Life

 

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. — James 1:6

Adapted from the resource The Confident Women Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

People with low confidence are double-minded, indecisive people who constantly get frustrated with life. If they do make a decision, they are tormented by self-doubt. They second-guess themselves. As a result, they don’t live boldly. They live little, narrow lives, and they miss out on the big, rewarding lives God wants them to enjoy.

You may be aware of some of God’s promises for His people—promises for peace, happiness, blessings, and so on. But did you know that all of God’s promises are for every person?

That’s right—when it comes to fulfilling promises, God does not discriminate. However, God requires us to approach Him in faith—the deeply held confidence that God is trustworthy and will always make good on His promises.

God loves you; He wants you to relax in the knowledge of that love. God wants you to experience the peace of mind that comes from resting in His love and living without the torment of fear and doubt.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I hate all the second-guessing and the wavering that come with a lack of confidence in You. I know that You want me to enjoy a big, rewarding life, and I know that Your promises of blessings and joy and peace are for me. By faith I receive all that You have for me now. Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Overflowing Blessings

 

“Lord, I am overflowing with Your blessings, just as You promised” (Psalm 119:65).

As the father of Dr. Harry Ironside, famous Christian leader, pastor and author, lay dying, he seemed to have a recurring view of the descending sheet which Peter saw in a vision.

“A great sheet and wild beasts,” he mumbled, over and over, and…and…and.”

The next words would not come, so he would start over again.

“John,” a friend whispered to him, “it says, ‘creeping things.'”

“Oh, yes,” the dying man said, “that’s how I got in – just a poor, good-for-nothing creeping thing. But I got in, saved by grace.”

And considering the fact that each one of us, in ourselves, outside the Lord Jesus Christ, is but a poor creeping thing saved by grace, we must marvel anew as we overflow with His blessings.

What an exalted place we can have Children of God, heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, indwelt by His Holy Spirit, we are recipients of eternal life, given supernatural, abundant life as we yield ourselves to Him.

God has dealt well with each one of His children. He has given us work to do – to serve Him is to reign. He has given us provision. He has given us encouragement. He has given us many tokens of the pay we shall receive at the end of life’s journey. He has dealt with us according to His Word.

Even the testings and trials are for a divine purpose: to conform us to His image; to make us more Christlike. Truly, we are on the winning side; how important it is that we tell men and women, boys and girls, around us each day, that they too can be on the winning side.

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:66-72

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will make a special effort to count my blessings today, and in deep gratitude share the good news of the gospel with others.

 

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Charles Stanley – Remembering God’s Priority

 

Numbers 15:37-41

At times, people will say, “I’ve made Jesus a part of my life.” But this statement reveals that they have missed the point. The truth is, Jesus can never be simply a part of life; at salvation, Jesus becomes our life—everything revolves around Him because He is the central focus.

For the believer, the essence of living is to walk in childlike obedience to Christ. That means we express His righteous life simply by faith. To do this, we depend on the power of the Holy Spirit for enablement and divine grace for forgiveness when we stumble. And stumbling will occur because we live amidst two kingdoms that are in constant conflict. On the one hand, there’s the pull of the world, and on the other, the pull of God. In other words, Satan throws temptations our way, but from our Father comes the appeal of holiness, peace, and joy in Christ.

That’s why Jesus taught, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). The way to do this is by spending time with our Father in prayer and in His Word. Doing so will not only clear from our thinking anything that doesn’t fit with God’s priorities; it will also serve to remind us of His commands and His greatness (Rom. 12:2; Psalm 105:4-5).

The battle is ongoing. And it rages not just in the realms of education, science, politics, and finances but also within every human heart. To be successful in God’s eyes, it’s critical that we keep His priorities as our own and make continual course corrections to stay on track.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 24-25

 

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Our Daily Bread — We Need Each Other

 

Bible in a Year:1 Chronicles 4–6; John 6:1–21

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.

Colossians 3:15

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Colossians 3:12-17

While on a hike with my kids, we discovered a light, springy green plant growing in small clumps on the trail. According to a signpost, the plant is commonly called deer moss, but it’s not actually a moss at all. It’s a lichen. A lichen is a fungus and an alga growing together in a mutualistic relationship in which both organisms benefit from each other. Neither the fungus nor the alga can survive on its own, but together they form a hardy plant that can live in some alpine areas for up to 4,500 years. Because the plant can withstand drought and low temperatures, it’s one of the only food sources for caribou (reindeer) in deep winter.

The relationship between the fungus and the alga reminds me of our human relationships. We rely on each other. To grow and flourish, we need to be in relationship with each other.

Paul, writing to believers in Colossae, describes how our relationships should look. We are to clothe ourselves with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). We ought to forgive each other and live in peace “as members of one body” (v. 15).

It’s not always easy to live in peace with our families or friends. But when the Spirit empowers us to exhibit humility and forgiveness in our relationships, our love for each other points to Christ (John 13:35) and brings glory to God.

By Amy Peterson

Reflect & Pray

In what ways do your relationships point to Jesus? How can you pursue peace? 

Holy Spirit, fill us with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience toward each other so the world may see Your love in us.

 

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Joyce Meyer – Getting Off the Performance Treadmill

 

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. — 1 John 4:9

Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

As long as we are on what I call the “performance treadmill,” we will inevitably suffer with disappointment in ourselves. We will feel that we have not performed as expected. We did not get an “A” on our spiritual tests, we fell short of our goals, we lost our tempers, and now we are disappointed with ourselves, and we are sure that God is disappointed too.

The truth that we can be grateful for is that God already knew that we wouldn’t perform as expected when He chose to love us. And it is His love that is the basis for our relationship with Him, not our works. When our relationship with God is a solid foundation in our lives, we will be free to do the best we can, and not get stressed out about our imperfections. It’s time to get off the treadmill and run in the freedom of His grace.

Prayer Starter: I thank You, Father, that You are not disappointed with me. You knew what You were getting when You chose me. Thank You for choosing me anyway and for loving me perfectly in the midst of my imperfections. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Best Counsel

 

“The godly man is a good counselor because he is just and fair and knows right from wrong” (Psalm 37:30,31).

Mary had gone to several psychologists and psychiatrists, and even religious leaders, seeking help, but no one had been able to help her. Consequently, she had been committed to a mental institution. Now, in desperation her family had come to seek help.

It did not take long to discover the root of her problem – she was plagued with a deep sense of guilt. Mary had been sexually promiscuous as a teenager, and prior to that she had been violated by her step-father who had taken advantage of her when she was a very young girl.

All of this tormented her greatly, but no one had taken her to the Word of God to help her understand that she did not have to carry the burden of her own sin. There is forgiveness. Scripture teaches that if we confess our sins, God is waiting to forgive and cleanse us.

There are three things we need to know about confession. First, the word “confess” means, in the original Greek language, “to agree with.” If I agree with God concerning my immorality, stealing, dishonesty, whatever it may be, I am saying, “Lord, I know it is sin.” Second, we know from Scripture that Christ has paid the penalty for our sins by shedding His blood on the cross. And third, we must repent, which means we change our attitude toward that sin. This results in a change of action. When we do this, we have the promise that what we confess, God forgives, and He cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

When Mary understood the truth of God’s promise, she and I knelt together and by faith she surrendered all of her guilt and frustration to Christ, who died for her, and she claimed God’s forgiveness.

Only God could liberate her from the darkness and gloom of Satan’s kingdom and bring her into kingdom of light – the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mary sensed God’s immediate liberation and began to rejoice in the assurance of forgiveness and eternal life with Christ. She became a radiant, joyful and victorious witness for our Savior.

Bible Reading: Psalm 37:22-40

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Not only will I seek the counsel of godly men and women, but I will, with God’s help, become a godly person myself. I will saturate my mind with the truth of His holy Scripture, so that I will know what is right and wrong according to the Word of God, and I will then be able to give wise counsel to others.

 

http://www.cru.org

Charles Stanley – Building on Christ

 

1 Corinthians 3:9-15

Have you ever seen an elaborate, masterfully crafted sandcastle? That’s one of the most delightful experiences of a trip to the beach. The best builders are painstaking in every detail as they craft these beautiful works of art. The towers are straight, the windows are even, and sometimes the outline of individual bricks can be seen on each wall. The end result is often stunning, rivaling the elegance of homes in the wealthiest neighborhoods of the world.

But for all a sandcastle’s splendor, its hours are numbered. From the moment the first grain of sand is set in place, the miniature building is on its way to oblivion. Within hours the details are destroyed by wind, rain, and the incoming tide. There is simply no future for a house of sand.

Sometimes believers’ lives are like sandcastles. Even though everything looks perfect on the outside, their life’s pursuits and activities will be revealed as worthless in the fire of God’s judgment. Although their eternal destiny is secure, they will suffer the loss of heavenly rewards because they used inferior building materials.

The most important thing in life is to make sure we have the right foundation. Church attendance, ministry work, discipleship programs, or community service are no substitute for the rock-solid foundation of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We also need to build our life with faithful, obedient service to the Lord. The goal is not to have the most impressive-looking life in this world but to build one that demonstrates our devotion to the Savior who died to rescue us.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 21-23

 

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Our Daily Bread — God’s Amazing Hands

 

Bible in a Year:1 Chronicles 1–3; John 5:25–47

Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

Psalm 31:5

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 31:1-8

Twenty minutes into a flight from New York to San Antonio, the flight plan changed as calm gave way to chaos. When one of the plane’s engines failed, debris from the engine smashed through a window causing the cabin to decompress. Sadly, several passengers were injured and one person was killed. Had not a calm, capable pilot been in the cockpit—one trained as a Navy fighter pilot—things could have been tragically worse. The headline in our local paper read, “In Amazing Hands.”

In Psalm 31, David revealed that he knew something about the Lord’s amazing, caring hands. That’s why he could confidently say, “Into your hands I commit my spirit” (v. 5). David believed that the Lord could be trusted even when life got bumpy. Because he was targeted by unfriendly forces, life was very uncomfortable for David. Though vulnerable, he was not without hope. In the midst of harassment David could breathe sighs of relief and rejoice because his faithful, loving God was his source of confidence (vv. 5–7).

Perhaps you find yourself in a season of life when things are coming at you from every direction, and it’s difficult to see what’s ahead. In the midst of uncertainty, confusion, and chaos one thing remains absolutely certain: those who are secure in the Lord are in amazing hands.

By Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

Have you committed your life—your earthly and eternal existence and well-being—to God? How are you showing that you are trusting Him in good times and bad?

Father, help me to be encouraged knowing that Jesus prayed Psalm 31:5 when He was on the cross. In the midst of pain and suffering, He committed His life into Your hands.

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Thrown Off Balance

The earliest creeds of the Christian church confess that Jesus “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.” It is then confessed, “On the third day, he rose again.”(1) While modern presuppositions may tempt us to interpret the death and resurrection of Jesus as symbolic or spiritual in nature, there was nothing abstract about the events and details confessed by those who first beheld them. Jesus’s suffering was an actual, datable event in history, his crucifixion a sentence inflicted on an actual body; the proclamation of both was the remembrance of a cold reality, something akin to remembering the Holocaust or the Trail of Tears. Likewise, “the third day” was a tangible, historical occasion—albeit an occasion of unfathomable proportions.

Yet the resurrection of Jesus was not viewed as merely a static fact on this particular third day, a fixed event to remain in this history alone. “We believe that Jesus died and rose again” wrote the apostle Paul, “and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”(2) For those who first beheld it, the resurrection was an event with inherent consequences for everything—for order and purpose, for what it means to be human itself. The earliest confessions of Christ’s death, burial, and third day rising from the dead are immediately followed by certain understood implications. As the Misfit in Flannery O’Connor’s short story observes of this resurrected one, Jesus went and “thrown everything off balance.” The unlikely prophet reasons, “If He did what He said, then it’s nothing for you to do but throw away everything and follow Him, and if He didn’t, then it’s nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can.”

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Thrown Off Balance

Joyce Meyer – Hang Tough

 

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. — Galatians 6:9 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

In Galatians 6:9, “losing heart” and “fainting” refer to giving up in the mind. The Holy Spirit tells us not to give up in our mind, because if we hold on, we will eventually reap good things.

Think about Jesus. Immediately after being baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit, He was led into the wilderness to be tested and tried by the devil. He did not complain and become discouraged and depressed. He did not think or speak negatively. He did not become confused trying to figure out why this had to happen. He went through each test victoriously (Luke 4:1–13).

Can you imagine Jesus traveling around the country, talking with His disciples about how hard everything was? Can you picture Him discussing how difficult the cross was going to be…or how He dreaded the things ahead…or how frustrating it was to have no roof over His head, no bed to sleep in at night?

Jesus drew strength from His heavenly Father and came out in victory. We have His Spirit dwelling in us and the strength available to make it through whatever we are facing.

We can handle our situations the same way Jesus did—by being mentally prepared through “victory thinking” rather than “give-up thinking.”

Prayer Starter: Father, I thank You for the power of Your Holy Spirit that strengthens me to keep pressing on. Please help me to not “faint” in my mind when things get difficult. Thank You that I will reap a reward if I keep moving forward and refuse to give up! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Today’s Promise

 

Dr. Bill Bright 4 Minute Read

Freedom From Fear

“He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him” (Psalm 112:7).

Sarah was a hypochondriac, a bundle of nerves, plagued by all kinds of fears – fears that she would become ill, fears that she would have an accident, fears that something would happen to her husband or children or that they would experience financial reverses. Her every conversation was negative. And of course, her attitude alienated her from others, and the more isolated she found herself, the more fearful she became.

Completely absorbed with her own problems, she was seriously thinking of committing suicide when a Christian couple moved in next door to her. They began to demonstrate the love of God and share the good news of His forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Few people had taken an interest in Sarah, but this godly, Christian couple, especially Mary, the wife, embraced her with understanding compassion and a loving heart.

Together they began to study the Bible and after a brief time, Sarah received Christ and began to grow as a Christian. She began to memorize Scripture and took great delight in hiding large quantities of the Word in her heart. Now her mind and her conversation were saturated with the things of God – His attributes, His holiness, His love – and His promises became a joyful reality to her.

A year had passed when one day she remarked to me with great enthusiasm, “I have been liberated. Christ has set me free. I seldom think of my own problems anymore, but find my mind absorbed with God and His truth, and how I might reach out in love and compassion to others as Mary reached out to me in my deepest need.”

Sarah was no longer afraid. The fears that had plagued her were gone, because it was settled in her mind that Jehovah would take care of her and her family. No matter what happened, she knew that she could trust a loving, gracious, holy, righteous God, who had become her very real heavenly Father. Jesus Christ had become more real to her than her own flesh and blood.

Bible Reading: Psalm 112:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will seek to know more and more about my Lord by hiding His Word in my heart and meditating upon His many attributes. For I am convinced that He will watch over me, protect and care for me so that nothing can happen to me that He does not allow for my good.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Hungering and Thirsting

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

For what are you hungering and thirsting?   The way we clutch our possessions and our pennies, you’d think we couldn’t live without them.  The problem is, the treasures of earth don’t satisfy.  The promise is, the treasures of heaven do.  Blessed are those, then, who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Blessed are those who are totally dependent upon Jesus for their joy.

Let today be marked by a deep hunger, a craving for God.  May you live this day thirsty… thirsty for what is right. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

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Denison Forum – Wearable phone bags and foldable PCs: Responding to a brilliant article with news everyone needs

 

Would you pay hundreds of dollars for something that lets you hang your mobile phone around your neck? Retailers are hoping so. As clothing fashions get tighter and cellphones get larger, manufacturers have developed phone bags we can wear. The Wall Street Journal recommends options ranging from $18 in nylon to $890 in woven leather.

In other technology news, Walmart will soon begin testing autonomous home delivery. A German company plans to make flying taxis a reality in the next six years. The first phone that doesn’t require accessories to work on a 5G network went on sale yesterday. And the world’s first foldable PC was announced this week, with deliveries slated for next year.

It seems I could report on new technology every day. This is good news for Christians, but in a way that might surprise us.

“The sum of human ingenuity”

Paul Ford is a technology company CEO and a software engineer. He is also an award-winning writer with articles in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Businessweek, NPR, and others.

His latest article in Wired is not just a brilliant, often funny literary experience—it’s also a profound statement about where we are and why we’re here. Ford begins with this description of how far technology has come in our lifetime:

“When I was a boy, if you’d come up behind me (in a nonthreatening way) and whispered that I could have a few thousand Cray supercomputers in my pocket, that everyone would have them, that we would carry the sum of human ingenuity next to our skin, jangling in concert with our coins, wallets, and keys? And that this Lilliputian mainframe would have eyes to see, a sense of touch, a voice to speak, a keen sense of direction, and an urgent desire to count my actual footsteps and everything I read and said as I traipsed through the noosphere [the sphere of human thought]? Well, I would have just burst.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – Wearable phone bags and foldable PCs: Responding to a brilliant article with news everyone needs

Charles Stanley – Responding to Accusation

 

Luke 12:11-12

When conflict occurs, the natural reaction is to blame someone else and defend yourself. But believers must respond differently. Once, I was publicly chastised for a wrong I had not committed. Thankfully, the Lord enabled me to remain calm rather than react angrily. Praying before doing anything else is the best response in a crisis. When we do, God supernaturally provides that which we can’t muster up ourselves.

Spiritual discernment. The Lord, who perfectly understands the source of every problem, can give us insight beyond our limited perspective. Perhaps there’s been a communication breakdown, a feeling of jealousy on the other person’s part, or a mistake we unknowingly made. The Holy Spirit can show us how to approach our accuser and see beyond hurtful words or actions.

A quiet spirit. Our human nature wants to react quickly so that we can defend ourselves. That’s why we must first deliberately focus our attention on the Lord and experience the inward peace He alone makes available to us (John 14:27).

Wisdom. Jesus told His disciples the Holy Spirit would give them wise words to say when they faced hostile authorities. He’ll do the same for you. Ask Him to put a seal on your lips until He shows you what to say and when (Psalm 141:3).

We don’t have to react to criticism with anger and self-protection the way the world does. Instead, we are called to represent Christ in every situation by depending on Him. In responding as He directs, we bring Him glory and cause unbelievers to want to know the source of our strength.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 15-17

 

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Our Daily Bread — When All Seems Lost

 

Bible in a Year:2 Kings 22–23; John 4:31–54

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Psalm 22:1

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 22:1-5

In just six months, Gerald’s life fell apart. An economic crisis destroyed his business and wealth, while a tragic accident took his son’s life. Overcome by shock, his mother had a heart attack and died, his wife went into depression, and his two young daughters remained inconsolable. All he could do was echo the words of the psalmist, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1).

The only thing that kept Gerald going was the hope that God, who raised Jesus to life, would one day deliver him and his family from their pain to an eternal life of joy. It was a hope that God would answer his desperate cries for help. In his despair, like the psalmist David, he determined to trust God in the midst of his suffering. He held on to the hope that God would deliver and save him (vv. 4–5).

That hope sustained Gerald. Over the years, whenever he was asked how he was, he could only say, “Well, I’m trusting God.”

God honored that trust, giving Gerald the comfort, strength, and courage to keep going through the years. His family slowly recovered from the crisis, and soon Gerald welcomed the birth of his first grandchild. His cry is now a testimony of God’s faithfulness. “I’m no longer asking, ‘Why have you forsaken me?’ God has blessed me.”

When it seems there’s nothing left, there’s still hope.

By Leslie Koh

Reflect & Pray

What will help you to remember and cling to God’s sure and certain hope of deliverance? How has trusting in God sustained you in a difficult challenge?

Whenever I feel abandoned and alone, I cling to the hope You’ve given me through Christ’s resurrection, that I will be delivered to eternal joy one day.

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Spiritual Geography

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to travel across the country from Massachusetts to Montana. While I had often traveled across the country on family vacations, I had never driven through South Dakota. But on this trip I was able to see quite a bit of the state that makes up part of the Great Plains in the United States. Having lived near the city, I remember being struck by the vast expanses of what appeared to be uninhabited land. Rolling grasslands, without many trees, offered a view of the landscape that was as far as it was wide. I remember wondering why anyone would make a home in such a desolate place.

Several years after this trip, I read Kathleen Norris’s book Dakota and marveled at her poignant description of this land. Her memoir both enticed me and made me wary of life in the Dakotas. The opening paragraphs of her book explain why:

“The high plains, the beginning of the desert West, often act like a crucible for those who inhabit them. Like Jacob’s angel, the region requires that you wrestle with it, before it bestows a blessing… This book is an invitation to a land of little rain and few trees, dry summer winds and harsh winters, a land rich in grass, and sky and surprises.”(1)

She concludes by saying that “the land and the sky of the West often fill what Thoreau termed our ‘need to witness our limits transgressed.’ Nature, in Dakota, can indeed be an experience of the holy.”(2)

It is here that Norris intricately connects a geographical place with the possibility for spiritual revelation, a phenomenon often termed “spiritual geography.” A spiritual geography is recognition of the intersection of one’s physical geography with an internal or spiritual geography. Norris describes, for example, the fierce independence of those who reside in the Dakotas and their fortitude in response to the harsh conditions of climate and terrain.

A sense of place, land, and geography also fills the pages of the Bible. There is hardly a description given of persons and events without also discussing the physical landscape. Particularly in the narrative of the Exodus from Egypt and the subsequent sabbatical in the wilderness, one is struck by how much the geography functions as a character in the grand story of the redemption of Israel. It is the wilderness, this wild place of drought and barrenness that God chooses as a place for revelation. In fact, throughout the spiritual geography of Scripture, God consistently shows up in arid regions—in the brutality of loss, the determination of suffering, and the thirst for healing.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Spiritual Geography

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