Tag Archives: Bible

Upwords; Max Lucado –White Flag of the Heart

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Maybe your past isn’t much to brag about. So do you rise above the past and make a difference? Or do you remain controlled by the past and make excuses? Many choose the latter. Lean closely and you will hear them say, “If only…” If only I’d been born somewhere else… If only I’d been treated fairly…  If only: the white flag of the heart.

 

Maybe you have every right to use those words. For you to find an ancestor worth imitating you’d have to flip way back in your family album. If that’s the case, let me show you were to turn. Put down the scrapbook and pick up your Bible. Go to John’s gospel and read Jesus’ words: Human life comes from human parents, but spiritual life comes from the Spirit” (John 3:6). God is willing to give you what your family did not.

 

Home

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Freedom From False Guilt

 

1 John 3:18-24

Is there something from your past that continues to stir up feelings of guilt? Unless you rest in God’s complete forgiveness, you won’t experience the fullness of His divine grace.

If you feel ashamed but don’t know why, the problem could be a false sense of guilt. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin so we can repent and be free. But guilt that persists with no specific cause comes from the devil. Ask the Lord to cleanse of you of any false guilt today.

Another source is legalistic teaching. Many people have been taught a distorted version of the gospel and think, I’ll never measure up. For example, the religious leaders of Jesus’ time followed a code of man-made rules, and they communicated the idea that “unless you do this, God won’t accept you.” Righteous deed by righteous deed, they tried to earn the Lord’s acceptance—and sometimes so do we. But this legalistic view always becomes an enslaving vicious cycle.

Remember, Jesus came to liberate us. The Bible says that when you are set free by Christ, your freedom is complete (John 8:36). It’s time to let His grace cleanse you from any shame. Ask the Lord to help you walk in this truth—and enjoy unhindered fellowship with your Savior.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 4-6

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Something Much Bigger

 

Bible in a Year:

We are co-workers in God’s service.

1 Corinthians 3:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:1 Corinthians 3:5–9

More than two hundred volunteers assisted October Books, a bookstore in Southampton, England, move its inventory to an address down the street. Helpers lined the sidewalk and passed books down a “human conveyor belt.” Having witnessed the volunteers in action, a store employee said, “It was . . . a really moving experience to see people [helping]. . . . They wanted to be part of something bigger.”

We can also be part of something much bigger than ourselves. God uses us to reach the world with the message of His love. Because someone shared the message with us, we can turn to another person and pass it on. Paul compared this—the building of God’s kingdom—to growing a garden. Some of us plant seeds while some of us water the seeds. We are, as Paul said, “co-workers in God’s service” (1 Corinthians 3:9).

Each job is important, yet all are done in the power of God’s Spirit. By His Spirit, God enables people to thrive spiritually when they hear that He loves them and sent His Son to die in their place so that they can be free from their sin (John 3:16).

God does much of His work on earth through “volunteers” like you and me. Although we’re part of a community that’s much bigger than any contribution we may make, we can help it grow by working together to share His love with the world.

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

Do you see yourself as a part of God’s plan or as someone who works alone in your service for Him? How does this affect the way in which you serve Him and others?

Dear God, thank You for including me in Your plan to tell everyone about Your love. Help me to represent You well with my words and actions.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Receiving God’s Provisions

 

“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).

God is glorified when He meets your needs.

In America, praying for our daily bread hardly seems necessary. Most people need to pray for self-control to avoid overeating! But Matthew 6:11 isn’t talking about food only. It is a statement of dependency on God and an acknowledgment that He alone provides all of life’s basic necessities.

Sad to say, however, many people today have reduced prayer to a means of self-fulfillment. Recently a woman sent me a booklet and wrote, “I don’t think you understand the true resource we have in prayer. You should read this booklet.” The booklet repeatedly emphasized our right as Christians to demand things of God. But that misses the point of prayer altogether, which is to glorify God (John 14:13). We are to give God the privilege of revealing His glory by meeting our needs in whatever way He chooses. If we demand things of Him, we are likely to become frustrated or to question Him when we don’t get what we want. That’s a serious sin!

David G. Myers, in his book The Human Puzzle (N.Y.: Harper and Row, 1978) said, “Some petitionary prayers seem not only to lack faith in the inherent goodness of God but also to elevate humankind to a position of control over God. God, the Scriptures remind us, is omniscient and omnipotent, the sovereign ruler of the universe. For Christians to pray as if God were a puppet whose strings they yank with their prayers seems not only potentially superstitious but blasphemous as well. “When prayer is sold as a device for eliciting health, success, and other favors from a celestial vending machine, we may wonder what is really being merchandised. Is this faith or is it faith’s counterfeit, a glib caricature of true Christianity?”

Guard your prayers! Always be aware of the enormous privilege you have to approach the infinite God and receive His gracious provisions. Yet always do so with His glory as your highest goal.

Suggestions for Prayer

Read Proverbs 30:8-9. What attitude toward God do those verses convey? Is that your attitude in prayer?

For Further Study

Read Matthew 6:19-34 and James 4:3. How might you respond to someone who says Christians have the right to demand favors from God?

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Higher Things

 

If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.

— Colossians 3:1-2 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource The Confident Woman – by Joyce Meyer

A confident person doesn’t live in a mindset of “if only” or “what if.” The world is filled with people who feel empty and unfulfilled because they’ve spent their lives bemoaning what they didn’t have instead of using what they do have. They often think things like, If only I’d had a better start in life…if only I hadn’t been abused…if only I were taller…if only I weren’t so tall… if only I had more education, more money, more opportunity or someone to help me… if only, if only, if only . . .

Today I want to encourage you not to live in the tyranny of “if only”, because where the mind goes, the person follows. When you pay more attention to your thoughts and choose to focus on how you can make the most of where you are, God’s power will be released to help you become the strong, confident man or woman He wants you to be. Think confident and you will be confident!

Prayer Starter: Father, please show me where I’m hanging on to old, frustrating thoughts of “if only” or “what if”, and teach me how to harness my thoughts to help me make the most of what I have and where I am. Thank You for the grace to learn and grow! In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Heard in His Trial

 

He was heard because of his reverence.

 Hebrews 5:7

How amazing is this reverence in light of the infernal suggestion that He was utterly forsaken. There may be sterner trials than this, but surely it is one of the worst to be utterly forsaken. “See,” said Satan, “you have a friend nowhere! Your Father has closed the door of His compassion against you. Not an angel in His courts will stretch out his hand to help you. All heaven is alienated from You; You are left alone. The companions from whom You have taken sweet counsel, what are they worth? Son of Mary, see there Your brother James, see there Your loved disciple John, and Your bold apostle Peter, how the cowards sleep when You are in Your sufferings! Look! You have no friend left in heaven or earth. All hell is against You. I have stirred up my infernal den. I have sent my letters throughout all regions summoning every prince of darkness to set upon You this night, and we will spare no arrows—we will use all our infernal might to overwhelm You; and what will You do, You solitary one?”

In the face of his cruel trial an angel appears to strengthen Him. “He was heard because of His reverence.” He was no more alone, but heaven was with Him. Perhaps this is the reason why He came three times to His disciples.

Backwards and forwards thrice He ran,
As if He sought some help from man.

He would see for Himself whether it were really true that all men had forsaken Him. He found them all asleep; but perhaps He gained some faint comfort from the thought that they were sleeping not from treachery, but from sorrow; the spirit indeed was willing, but the flesh was weak. In that dark valley He was heard because of His reverence. Jesus was heard in His deepest trial; my soul, you shall be heard also.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Can Give You Perfect Peace

 

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” (Isaiah 26:3-4)

Raging waves slammed up against the body of the boat, and the worn-out sailors tried to keep it from capsizing. They had spent the whole last month traveling up the east coast of the United States, visiting different harbors on their way to Cutler, Maine. As they neared their final destination, a storm broke out, sending the ship into a furious fight for its survival.

The crew members ran back and forth from the stern to the bow of the ship, trying to secure the sails. To arrive at the harbor, the ship had to get around or between two huge rock formations that were jutting dangerously out of the water. The sailors knew the danger–these rocks could smash the whole ship into smithereens! As the sailors were about to lose hope that they could get the ship around the rocks, they looked up and saw an amazing sight. There, at the wheel, was their captain. He stood calm and looked straight ahead, as though he was not even aware that a dangerous storm raging all around them.

Confused, the crew turned around to see what what their captain was staring at. The captain was watching directly ahead, right along a bright path of light that stretched out over the waves in front of the ship. The light came from a lighthouse on the shore. For years, this lighthouse had been guiding ships through the dangerous rock formations.

When they saw the light and they saw their captain trusting the light’s guidance, the sailors understood why he could act so calm, and they felt more calm, too. As long as their captain was watching for the light and following it, he knew that he could steer his ship safely through the rocks. Soon, they would be on shore. Believing that, the captain could have peace, even in the middle of the storm! As long as he kept his eyes on that path of light from the lighthouse, things were going to be fine.

The Bible gives us many examples of men and women who experienced scary trials in their lives: Esther pleaded for her people’s lives before an unbelieving king. Gideon had to go into battle against the Midianites with only 300 men. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were sent to burn in a deadly furnace because they refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s idol. However, each one survived and saw God’s blessings. They were able to experience peace, because they put their trust in God.

Before you shrug your shoulders and think, “Well, of course they had peace. God took care of them!” –remember that they did not know what was going to happen to them. They trusted that God would take care of them, but the Hebrew boys did not know for sure whether God would take them to heaven by dying in a fiery furnace. Esther knew she was supposed to go before the king, but she also knew that it was at the risk of death. Gideon knew God wanted him going into battle with a tiny army, but he had no idea why God chose that. Think about how scary each of those things must have been for these people! They did not know the future. They did not know whether or not it was God’s will to protect them or to let them die. But they trusted Him, no matter what. And they had peace. How could they have that kind of peace?

They could have that kind of peace because they were not looking at their own plans or at the storm going on around them. They were looking at their Guide–their all-powerful, perfect, all-knowing God. They did not know what He was going to do with them, but they knew that He was their God and that they were in His good and great hands.

Just as that ship captain had peace while looking at the lighthouse’s light, Isaiah 26:3-4 says that you can have perfect peace when your mind is fixed on the LORD. We all go through situations in life that cause us to be afraid. Just like the captain, you might be going through a “storm.” Maybe your dad has just lost his job. Maybe your mom or another family member is battling a serious illness. Maybe you’re having trouble making friends in your new school, church, or neighborhood. You might be trying to solve your “storm” in your own way, running around like the frightened sailors doing everything they could to save their ship from capsizing–but your own efforts are not working. When you keep your mind on the LORD and remember everything that He is and does, He has promised to give you peace. He does not promise physical comfort or that we will get everything we want. He does not even promise safety. But He promises never to leave us or forsake us. He promises to be the same God yesterday, today, and forever. God wants you to be still, even in the very middle of your storms, and to know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Trust in the LORD always, for God alone can give you perfect peace (Isaiah 26:4).

Trust God alone to give you perfect peace.

My Response:
» Am I focusing my mind on the Lord?
» Am I in the middle of a “storm” that I need to trust God with?
» How can I practice the commands to “be still and know” that God is God?

Read in browser »

 

Home Page

Denison Forum – Facts you didn’t know about “Pretty Woman”: Proof that the Bible is right about sexual morality and practical steps into personal purity

 

The movie Pretty Woman came out thirty-one years ago yesterday. The film’s subtitle describes the plot: “She walked off the street, into his life, and stole his heart.”

People magazine reports some facts you may not have known about the popular film: Burt Reynolds was initially offered the lead role that Richard Gere made famous; the director’s son plays a drug-dealing skateboarder in the movie; and the film was originally titled 3000—the price of one night with Vivian, the prostitute played by Julia Roberts.

Here are some facts the article leaves out: the homicide rate among active female prostitutes is seventeen times higher than that of the age-matched general female population; the average prostitute is physically attacked once a month; one study found that 89 percent of women in prostitution want to escape but are trapped.

An article I hope you’ll read

The glorification of prostitutes in popular media is just one example of our broken sexual ethic. Yesterday, we discussed our culture’s clear rejection of biblical morality with regard to sex outside of marriage. I stated my intention to look today at “the practical consequences of the sexual revolution: broken lives, broken homes, and broken souls.”

We will do so with the help of the finest article on the subject I have found, one I encourage you to read today.

Steven R. Tracy, PhD, is professor of theology and ethics at Phoenix Seminary, where he has taught since 1995. He has also served as a church pastor for fifteen years and is the author of seven books and numerous journal articles.

His article on premarital sexual abstinence and the Bible shows clearly that God intends us to abstain from all sexual relations outside of marriage. He counters the argument that the New Testament does not actually condemn non-married adults having consensual sex and the claim that the biblical authors wrote from a pre-modern perspective which need not be accepted wholesale by Christians today.

As he demonstrates, “The overwhelming consensus of historical Christian teaching, as well as modern evangelical biblical scholarship, is that sexual relations are only appropriate in marriage.”

 

Five consequences of disobeying God’s word

Dr. Tracy’s article is especially helpful with regard to the consequences of disobeying the biblical ethic regarding premarital sexual relationships. Consider five examples.

One: “In terms of marital satisfaction, one of the most widespread modern myths is that couples need to live together before they get married to see if they are sexually and relationally compatible and thus to enhance future marital health and satisfaction. In reality, research shows that couples that live together before marriage have higher infidelity rates, lower marital satisfaction rates, and higher divorce rates than those who don’t live together before marriage.”

For instance, a study of 1,425 couples found that those who cohabited before marriage “reported poorer marital quality and greater marital instability.” A study of over four thousand Swedish women reported that women who cohabit before marriage have an 80 percent higher marital failure rate than those who did not cohabit with their future spouse. Dr. Tracy adds: “This dynamic of cohabitation having a negative impact on subsequent marriage has been replicated in so many different studies that some social scientists have labeled it ‘the cohabitation effect.’”

Two: Cohabiting couples are much more likely to physically abuse each other than are non-cohabiting dating couples or married couples. A Department of Justice report notes that unmarried women are almost five times more likely to experience violence at the hands of their sexual partner than are married women.

Three: Cohabitors have been found to be almost twice as likely to be unfaithful to their partner as those who were married.

Four: Sexual abstinence before marriage is the only 100 percent effective method of birth control, guaranteeing that women will not have to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. Since many researchers consider out-of-wedlock births to be the single most significant factor influencing long-term poverty in America, this is a very significant issue.

Five: Sexually transmitted diseases in the US are among the highest in the industrialized world. In addition to their health consequences, they create a great economic burden, with direct medical costs in the US of $15.5 billion.

 

Grace is “supernatural empowerment not to sin”

The consequences of breaking God’s word are all around us today, from the public health crisis that is our pornography epidemic, to the threat of rising sexually transmitted infections as the coronavirus pandemic lessens, to the explosion of child pornography on the internet.

Once again, God’s word is right. As I have noted in the past, human nature does not change, which means that we still face the same issues our ancestors faced in biblical times. Divine nature does not change, which means that God’s answers to our issues are the same today as when he first revealed them. Today and every day, his word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

If you are struggling with sexual temptation or sin, I urge you to act now. Speak with your pastor or another trusted counselor. Develop an accountability relationship with someone who will help you think and live biblically. Take all necessary steps with regard to software and technology protections for you and your family.

If this is not a “besetting sin” for you, identify those that are. Take them to the cross, claiming Jesus’ atoning sacrifice as payment for your debt. Ask for his forgiveness and cleansing grace (1 John 1:9). And claim his strength in partnership with others to “be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15).

Randy Alcorn is right: “Grace doesn’t make people less holy—it makes them more holy. Grace doesn’t make people despise or neglect truth—it makes them love and follow truth. Grace isn’t a free pass to sin—it’s a supernatural empowerment not to sin. . . . Grace raises the bar—but it also enables us to joyfully jump over that bar.”

What “bar” do you need to “joyfully jump over” today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –Resurrection Power

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Faith is trusting what the eye cannot see! Eyes see storms; faith sees Noah’s rainbow. Your eyes see your faults; your faith sees your Savior. Your eyes see your guilt; your faith sees his cleansing blood. Your eyes look in the mirror and see a sinner, a failure. But by faith you look in the mirror and see a robed prodigal bearing the ring of grace on your finger and the kiss of your Father on your face.

 

“God’s power is very great for those who believe,” Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:19-20. “That power is the same as the great strength God used to raise Christ from the dead!” So the next time you wonder if God can forgive you, read that verse again.  The power that raised Christ from the grave is the power that resurrects hope in our hearts.

 

Home

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – When We Feel Frustrated

 

Numbers 22

Most of us have experienced frustration when it comes to personal issues. But what do we do when we are frustrated and the roadblock comes from God Himself?

Sometimes God uses frustration to get our attention. It can help us think about things we wouldn’t otherwise consider and perhaps redirect our path toward something new or different. So when you are harried by feelings of anxiety or restlessness, don’t rush to bury or escape them. Instead, consider them internal signals, as if your conscience is saying, “It’s time to turn inward, listen, and process your feelings.”

Rest assured, if these stirrings are from God, they will not go away, and when they recur, we need to give Him our undivided attention. We will begin to see that He loves us enough to send something very specific to set us on a new path with Him.

It is an honor to have our sovereign Creator invested in our personal life–so invested, in fact, that He may frustrate us in order to show us a better way. At the end of the day, it’s all because of His great love and His commitment to conform us to the image of His Son.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 1-3

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — The Reason to Rest

 

Bible in a Year:

What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?

Ecclesiastes 2:22

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Ecclesiastes 2:17–26

If you want to live longer, take a vacation! Forty years after a study of middle-aged, male executives who each had a risk of heart disease, researchers in Helsinki, Finland, followed up with their study participants. The scientists discovered something they hadn’t been looking for in their original findings: the death rate was lower among those who had taken time off for vacations.

Work is a necessary part of life—a part God appointed to us even before our relationship with Him was fractured in Genesis 3. Solomon wrote of the seeming meaninglessness of work experienced by those not working for God’s honor—recognizing its “anxious striving” and “grief and pain” (Ecclesiastes 2:22–23). Even when they’re not actively working, he says their “minds do not rest” because they’re thinking about what still needs to be done (v. 23).

We too might at times feel like we’re “chasing after the wind” (v. 17) and grow frustrated by our inability to “finish” our work. But when we remember that God is part of our labor—our purpose—we can both work hard and take time to rest. We can trust Him to be our Provider, for He’s the giver of all things. Solomon acknowledges that “without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” (v. 25). Perhaps by reminding ourselves of that truth, we can work diligently for Him (Colossians 3:23) and also allow ourselves times of rest.

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

How can you invite God into your labors? How might you allow Him to be your satisfaction even when your work isn’t “finished”?

God, You bring meaning and purpose to all my labors.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Jesus’ Humble Identification with Sinners

 

“. . . Emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).

Except for sin, Jesus experienced the everyday things of a normal man; but He was often not appreciated as the God-man.

Jesus could understand what people around Him were dealing with because He lived under the same conditions. He can also identify with us today. It is true that He never married, never went to college, and never used a computer or a VCR. But He still has perfect knowledge about such things, and more. The point is, Christ knows firsthand about our basic physical and emotional needs because He actually lived and worked in a world affected by the Fall.

But there was one element of our world Jesus did not partake in: sin. The conclusion of Hebrews 4:15 says He was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Even though Jesus never sinned, He knows the struggles and temptations we face daily. Otherwise, He could not be the sympathetic High Priest that the first part of verse 15 mentions.

Although Jesus was a man who identified profoundly with those He came to serve, people around Him did not naturally see the most important thing about Him. Philippians 2:8 views Jesus from the perspective of those people. It says His human appearance was so authentic that most of them didn’t know that He was also God. Many of them simply could not accept that a man like Jesus could also be higher than them: “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” (John 6:42).

Christ’s close identification with mankind elicited a tragic response for people such as those in John 6. But for us, His humility is a great model and a heart-felt reassurance that He was perfectly man and perfectly God.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God that you can freely approach Him in prayer through Jesus, who can identify so closely with all our struggles as human beings.

For Further Study

Read John 11:1-45, which describes the death and resurrection of Lazarus. How did Jesus demonstrate His humanity and deity to the disciples and other eyewitnesses?

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Eliminate the Negative

 

The communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

— Philemon 1:6 (KJV)

Adapted from the resource Ending Your Day Right – by Joyce Meyer

Your faith is shown and built up when you focus on all the good things that are in you through Christ, not when you’re acknowledging everything that’s wrong with you.

The enemy wants you to spend every waking moment focusing on and talking about how awful you are. He’s constantly trying to redirect your focus from who you are in Christ back to your weaknesses and past mistakes. He wants to deceive you into believing that your faults make you worthless, but nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus paid the highest price—His life—to redeem you and be in a relationship with you, which means you’re immeasurably precious to Him!

Even if you’ve struggled with self-esteem in the past, I have good news: you can learn to accept yourself, and even love yourself in a healthy way! How? By deciding right here and now not to entertain one more negative thought, or allow one more negative word about yourself to come out of your mouth. As you start acknowledging the strengths and grace that God has placed in you, you’ll start to walk in them more and more each day.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me not to focus on my weaknesses and struggles and mistakes. Thank You for placing strengths in me and for the amazing gift that it is to be Your child, and for teaching me more and more each day what it means to be in Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –His Great Agony

 

His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

 Luke 22:44

The mental pressure arising from our Lord’s struggle with temptation so forced his frame to an unnatural excitement that his pores sent forth, as it were, great drops of blood, which fell down to the ground. This proves how tremendous must have been the weight of sin, that it was able to crush the Savior to this extent! This demonstrates the mighty power of His love.

It is a very helpful observation that the sap, which exudes from the tree without it being cut, is always the best. This precious camphor tree yielded sweet spices when it was wounded by the whips and pierced by the nails on the cross; but consider how it produces its best spice when there is no whip, no nail, no wound. This presents the voluntariness of Christ’s sufferings, since without a lance the blood flowed freely. No need to put on the leech or apply the knife; it flows spontaneously. No need for the rulers to cry, “Spring up, O well”; of itself it flows in crimson torrents.

When men suffer great pain of mind, the blood apparently rushes to the heart. The cheeks are pale; a fainting fit comes on; the blood has gone inward as if to nourish the inner man while passing through its trial. But look at Christ in His agony; he is so utterly oblivious of self that instead of His agony driving His blood to the heart to nourish Himself, it drives it outward falling to the ground. The agony of Christ, inasmuch as it pours Him out upon the ground, pictures the fullness of the offering that He made for men.

Can we fathom how intense the wrestling must have been through which he passed, and will we not hear its voice to us? “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”1 Behold the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and sweat even to blood rather than yield to the great tempter of your souls.

1) Hebrews 12:4

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Glorified in Life or Death    

 

“Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:20-21)

John and Betty Stam were missionaries to China in the 1930s. China was a dangerous place to be. The Communist army did not want foreign people in the country, and they did not like Christians. One day the Communists captured the Chinese city where the Stams lived. They took John, Betty, and their baby girl, Helen, captive.

That night, John, Betty, and Helen were locked in a room together. Sometime during the night, Betty found a way to leave baby Helen some things she would need if they were separated. She tucked a clean nightdress, diapers, and two five-dollar-bills into the blankets where Helen slept.

The next morning, John and Betty Stam were led outside the city and killed by Communists. They became martyrs, people who lose their lives because of their faith in Christ. Baby Helen was left alone in that little room. But God had not forgotten the baby. A whole day and night passed. The next day, Christian friends of the Stams found Helen after she had been left alone for thirty hours! The money that her mother had hidden in her blankets was enough to provide for these Chinese Christians to carry her to safety.

God’s plan for John and Betty Stam was to glorify Himself through their death. The Stams went to be with Him. They joined the great chorus of praise around His throne. Through all eternity, they will keep praising Him. Many people have been awakened to the needs on the mission field by hearing their story. Thousands have carried God’s Word to the dark places of the earth because of the Stams’ sacrifice.

But God’s plan for Helen was to glorify Himself through keeping her alive. People all over the world heard about Helen’s rescue and praised God for His care for that helpless little baby.

God might lead you to a dangerous place someday in your service for Him. Are you willing to trust Him and follow Him so that He might be glorified—whether in your life or your death?

God chooses life or death for His children that He might receive glory.

My Response:
» Am I afraid to follow God? Can I trust that His choice—life or death—is best for me?
» Do I want His glory more than I want anything else?

Read in browser »

 

 

 

Home Page

Denison Forum – Police officer, father of seven, killed in Boulder shooting: Honoring a “good and faithful servant” today

 

Officer Eric Talley was one of ten people killed yesterday afternoon when a shooter attacked a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.

Officer Talley joined the Boulder police department a decade ago. He had seven children; the youngest was seven years old. According to his father, “He loved his kids and family more than anything. He was looking for a job to keep himself off the front lines and was learning to be a drone operator. He didn’t want to put his family through something like this and he believed in Jesus Christ.”

Nonetheless, Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold told reporters that Officer Talley “was the first on the scene, and he was fatally shot.” Holding back tears, she added, “My heart goes out to the victims of this incident. And I’m grateful to the police officers that responded. And I am so sorry about the loss of Officer Talley.”

His father said, “Didn’t surprise me he was the first one there.” Chief Herold called Talley’s actions “nothing short of heroic.”

A friend described him: “He was a devout Christian. He had to buy a fifteen-passenger van to haul all his kids around, and he was the nicest guy in the world.”

 

Willing to die that we might live 

CNN reports that the Colorado tragedy is the seventh mass shooting in the US in the past seven days. According to Wikipedia, there have been 107 mass shootings in the US so far this year, killing 122 people and wounding 325 others. There have only been five days this month without such a tragedy.

The Officer Down Memorial Page lists seventy-nine police officers who have died in the line of duty so far this year. Sergeant Gordon William Best of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was the first. He was killed in a vehicle crash while responding to a call at about 4 a.m. on January 1 and is survived by his wife and two children. Officer Talley is the last, so far.

There are more than eight hundred thousand sworn law enforcement officers serving in the US. Since the first recorded police death in 1786, more than twenty-two thousand have been killed in the line of duty.

What kind of courage is required for police officers to risk their lives every day for people they do not know? What depth of commitment to their shared calling enables their spouses and children to watch them leave each day with no assurance that they will return?

What kind of person runs toward a shooting when everyone else is running away?

Each police officer and each officer’s family member deserves our deepest gratitude and highest respect, today and every day. The next time and every time you see a police officer, please thank them for their courageous service. They are willing to die that you might live.

Do you know your cross? 

I do not expect to risk my life today in the service of others. But I should be willing to do so or to pay any other price to fulfill God’s calling in my life.

Luke 9:23 records that Jesus “said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” Note that this is said to all, not just some. There is a cross for everyone who would follow Jesus.

  • It is a personalcross: “take up his” Your cross may not be mine, and mine may not be yours.
  • It is a constantcross: “take up his cross daily.” This is a decision we must make every day of our lives. There is a cross for us every day that we live.
  • It is an imperativecross: Jesus said that we must take up our cross in order to “follow me.” We are not following Jesus unless we are bearing a cross to do so.

Do you know your cross? It might be a temptation you must pay a price to refuse, or a calling you must pay a price to fulfill, or both. Would you ask the Lord to identify your cross today? Then would you ask him to give you the strength to bear it?

 

“Well done, good and faithful servant” 

John 21:15 reads: “Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’”

In today’s First 15, Craig Denison responds: “Jesus is looking for disciples who will say yes to that which is greater than they could have ever imagined doing. He’s looking for friends like Simon Peter who will follow him wherever he leads, even it if means to their death. He’s looking for those who are so in love with him that at a single statement from his lips we willingly and obediently respond by taking up our cross as he did and living a surrendered, purposeful life.”

Craig then invites us to “assess whether Jesus truly is your greatest love. If he isn’t—if you wouldn’t follow him anywhere—take time to surrender anything you’ve placed above him. Confess any idols you have in your life that he might truly be crowned King of your heart today.”

Officer Eric Talley paid the highest price to fulfill his calling on behalf of those he served. The best way I know to honor his commitment is by emulating it. Then, one day, I hope Jesus will say to me what I am confident he said to Eric Talley yesterday: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).

By his courage and his sacrifice, Officer Eric Talley was a “good and faithful servant,” indeed. How will you follow his example today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –God Will Do What Is Right

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

If you’re rehashing the same hurt every chance you get with anyone who will listen, I have a question: why are you doing God’s work for him? “Vengeance is mine,” God declared. “I will repay” (Hebrews 10:30). To assume otherwise is to assume God can’t do it. When we strike back we are saying, “I know vengeance is yours, God, but I just didn’t think you’d punish enough. I thought I’d better take this situation into my own hands.”

 

May I restate the obvious? If vengeance is God’s, then it is not ours. God has not asked us to settle the score or get even. Ever. Forgiveness is not saying the one who hurt you was right. Forgiveness is stating that God is fair and he will do what is right. After all, don’t we have enough things to do without trying to do God’s work too?

 

Home

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – An Illusion of Control

 

Daniel 4:28-37

We like to believe we’re in charge of our life, but when trouble inevitably comes our way, we’re reminded that’s not true. Yet even in times of difficulty we quickly try to regain control. In an attempt to put all the pieces back together, we may resort to manipulating circumstances or people, devising strategies, or using our own efforts to fix matters.

Helplessness is one of the means God uses to break pride and produce humility. This was certainly true in Nebuchadnezzar’s life. He was a very proud Babylonian king whom God humbled through the loss of his reason. He came out of the experience a changed man who worshipped and praised the Lord, recognizing that God alone controls everything in heaven and on earth.

Think about your response when you are powerless to change a bad situation. Do you blame God or praise Him? Do you submit to whatever He allows or try to find your own way out of it? Or are you like Nebuchadnezzar, whose life was transformed by increased understanding and reverence for the Lord? Weakness is an opportunity to rely on almighty God and see how He will work out His good plan and mature you in the process.

Bible in One Year: Ruth 3-4

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Sweeter than Honey

 

Bible in a Year:

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Psalm 119:103

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 119:97–105

On Chicago Day in October 1893, the city’s theaters shut down because the owners figured everyone would be attending the World’s Fair. Over seven hundred thousand people went, but Dwight Moody (1837–1899) wanted to fill a music hall at the other end of Chicago with preaching and teaching. His friend R. A. Torrey (1856–1928) was skeptical that Moody could draw a crowd on the same day as the fair. But by God’s grace, he did. As Torrey later concluded, the crowds came because Moody knew “the one Book that this old world most longs to know—the Bible.” Torrey longed for others to love the Bible as Moody did, reading it regularly with dedication and passion.

God through His Spirit brought people back to Himself at the end of the nineteenth century in Chicago, and He continues to speak today. We can echo the psalmist’s love for God and His Scriptures as he exclaims, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). For the psalmist, God’s messages of grace and truth acted as a light for his path, a lamp for his feet (v. 105).

How can you grow more in love with the Savior and His message? As we immerse ourselves in Scripture, God will increase our devotion to Him and guide us, shining His light along the paths we walk.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

In what ways does your life change when you read the Bible regularly? How could you ensure you don’t lose this practice in the busyness of your daily life?

Gracious God, You’ve given me the gift of Scripture. Help me to read it and digest it, that I might serve You faithfully.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Praying with Commitment

 

“Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

Your prayers make a difference!

Matthew 6:10 literally says, “Whatever you wish to have happen, let it happen immediately. As your will is done in heaven, so let it be done on earth.” That’s a prayer of active commitment to God’s will.

Many people don’t pray like that because they don’t understand God’s character. They think their prayers don’t matter and that God will impose His will on them no matter what they do. They tend to pray with passive resignation, indifference, or resentment.

I remember praying such a prayer. After my freshman year in college, I was in a serious auto accident. The driver lost control of the car at about seventy-five miles per hour and it rolled several times before coming to a stop. I was thrown clear of the vehicle and ended up sliding down the highway on my backside for about 100 yards. I lost a lot of skin and had some third-degree burns and other injuries, but fortunately I didn’t break any bones.

I was conscious during the entire ordeal and vividly remember thinking, All right God. If you’re going to fight this way, I give up! I can’t handle this! I knew God was calling me into the ministry, but I was focusing my life in another direction.

I think God used that experience to get my attention, and my prayer of passive resignation soon turned to active commitment as He refined my heart and drew me to Himself.

Perhaps God has dealt severely with you, too. If so, it’s only because He loves you and wants to produce the fruit of righteousness in you (Heb. 12:11). Don’t despise His chastening, and don’t be fatalistic or resentful in your prayers. Godly prayers make a difference (James 5:16), so commit yourself to praying expectantly, knowing that God is gracious and wise and always responds for His glory and your highest good (Rom. 8:28).

Suggestions for Prayer

If you tend to pray with indifference, passive resignation, or resentment, ask God’s forgiveness. Study His character and cultivate deep communion with Him through disciplined, trusting prayer.

For Further Study

Read Luke 18:1-8.

  • Why did Jesus tell this parable?
  • What principles do you see that apply to your life?

 

 

http://www.gty.org/