Tag Archives: Bible

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.

 

http://www.odb.org

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.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

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

 

http://www.intouch.org/

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.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

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.”

Read more Applause of Heaven

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

Home

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

 

http://www.intouch.org/

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.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

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

Joyce Meyer – Leading

 

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. — Psalm 23:1-2

Adapted from the resource Wake Up to the Word Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

In order to reach our goals, you and I must follow God’s leading. People will offer us a lot of advice, and some of it may be good, but some of it may not. Or it may be good advice, but simply not what will work for us.

It’s important that we always look to God first and listen for His guidance and instruction.

God has created us as unique individuals, and He does not lead us all in the same way. So, if you want to win your race, you will need to find your own running style or your own way of doing things.

Of course, we can learn from other people, but we dare not try to copy them at the cost of losing our own individuality. Appreciate the advice and example of others, but follow God’s leading in your life.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I know You have a great plan for my life, and You desire to lead and guide me every step of the way. Help me to seek and follow Your leadership in my life more than anyone or anything else. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Godly Shall Flourish

 

“But the godly shall flourish like palm trees, and grow tall as the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted into the Lord’s own garden, and are under His personal care. Even in old age they will still produce fruit and be vital and green” (Psalm 92:12-14).

John Vredenburgh preached in a Somerville, New York church for many years, often feeling that his ministry was a great failure even though he preached the gospel faithfully. His death came amidst discouragements, and even some of his members wondered about his success and effectiveness as a minister.

Not long after his death, however, spiritual revival came to Somerville. On one Sunday alone, 200 people came to Christ – most of whom dated their spiritual stirrings from the ministry of John Vredenburgh.

Faithfulness and persistence are great virtues in the service of Jesus Christ. “Pay Day, Some Day” was a significant theme and message of that great Southern Baptist pastor, R. G. Lee – and since God’s timing is always perfect, it surely will come in good time.

“Even in old age they will still produce fruit.” Though the outward man may be pershing, the inward man is renewed day by day. When the outward ear grows deaf, the inward man hears the voice of God. When the eye grows dim, the mind is enlightened with God’s Word.

When the flesh becomes weak, we are “strengthened with might in the inner man.” Older Christians look toward heaven, where they again shall see family and friends; meanwhile, the share their maturity and good judgment with others, knowing that God still rewards the faithful. Until that dying breath, the supernatural life on earth can continue.

Bible Reading: Psalm 92:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that even in old(er) age my life can produce fruit, I will persevere and remain faithful to our Lord and His commands.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – The Bandit of Joy

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

The bandit of joy is Fear.  Fear of death, fear of failure, fear of God, and fear of tomorrow.  His arsenal is vast.  His goal?  To create cowardly, joyless souls.

We try unsuccessfully to face our fears with power, possessions, or popularity.  Only inward character creates courage.  And it is those inward convictions Jesus is building in the Beatitudes.  The result of this process is courage—“they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).  No longer shall the earth and its fears dominate us, for we follow the one who dominates the earth.

If you are in Christ, you are guaranteed that your sins will be filtered through, hidden in, and screened out by the sacrifice of Jesus.  That means failure is not a concern for you. Your victory is secure.  How could you not be courageous?

Read more Applause of Heaven

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

Home

Denison Forum – Keanu Reeves on the afterlife: The urgency and joy of biblical wisdom

The actor Keanu Reeves (of The Matrix fame) was on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert recently. At one point, Colbert asked his guest, “What do you think happens when we die, Keanu Reeves?”

Both men are no stranger to tragedy. Colbert lost his father and two of his brothers to a plane crash when he was ten. Reeves and his girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, lost their daughter a month before she was due. Syme later died in a car accident.

Reeves paused, considered, then replied simply: “I know that the ones who love us will miss us.”

After Reeves answered Colbert’s question, the host paused, looked into the camera, and smiled.

“If a man dies, shall he live again?”

A twenty-four-year-old Norwegian woman rescued a puppy she found while vacationing in the Philippines. She brought the puppy back to her resort, where she washed it and played with it. Her family later told reporters that she received “small scrapes” from the dog.

When she returned home, she fell ill. She was admitted to a hospital on April 28, where physicians determined she had contracted rabies from the dog. She died on May 6.

In other news, two sightseeing planes collided Monday afternoon off the coast of Alaska. Six people were killed. And a traveling carnival worker has confessed to killing two women and a teenager within an eighteen-day period in Virginia.

Humans face no more relevant question than the one asked by Job so long ago: “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14).

“Be not wise in your own eyes”

As John F. Kennedy noted, “We are all mortal.” Given the reality of death, I am amazed by the degree to which people are willing to bet their eternity on their personal opinion.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Keanu Reeves on the afterlife: The urgency and joy of biblical wisdom

Charles Stanley – God’s Ways Revealed

 

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Just when we think we’re growing in our understanding of God, something happens that causes us to wonder if we know Him very well at all. Perhaps it was an unanswered prayer request, an accident, an illness, or some loss that shook our faith. What are we to think when the events in our life seem to contradict our understanding of God?

This basic truth may sound paradoxical, but we’re wise to keep it in the forefront of our thinking: We have a God who is far beyond human comprehension, yet He wants us to know Him and understand His ways. Even the apostle Paul—who had an intimate relationship with God—exclaimed, “How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord?” (Rom. 11:33-34).

So how can we know our unfathomable God? The only way is if He reveals Himself to us—and that’s exactly what He has done. Every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit “so that we may know the things freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12). That’s why the apostle Paul said, “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). Although we’ll never know or understand all that God does, we can be confident that as we read the Scriptures and walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit, He will teach us God’s ways.

We have a priceless treasure within us. The Spirit is the only reason we can understand spiritual concepts that are hidden from those who don’t know Jesus. But with this privilege comes the responsibility to let God’s Word dwell richly within us, because that’s how the Spirit teaches us the Father’s ways.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 28-29

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Minister of Loneliness

 

Bible in a Year:2 Kings 10–12; John 1:29–51

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.

Hebrews 13:1

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Hebrews 13:1-8

Following her husband’s death, Betsy has spent most days in her flat, watching television and boiling tea for one. She’s not alone in her loneliness. More than nine million Brits (15 percent of the population) say they often or always feel lonely, and Great Britain has appointed a minister of loneliness to find out why and how to help.

Some causes of loneliness are well known: We move too often to put down roots. We believe we can take care of ourselves, and we don’t have a reason to reach out. We’re separated by technology—each of us immersed in our own flickering screens.

I feel the dark edge of loneliness, and you may too. This is one reason we need fellow believers. Hebrews concludes its deep discussion of Jesus’s sacrifice by encouraging us to meet together continually (10:25). We belong to the family of God, so we’re to love “one another as brothers and sisters” and “show hospitality to strangers” (13:1–2). If we each made an effort, everyone would feel cared for.

Lonely people may not return our kindness, but this is no reason to give up. Jesus has promised to never leave nor forsake us (13:5), and we can use His friendship to fuel our love for others. Are you lonely? What ways can you find to serve the family of God? The friends you make in Jesus last forever, through this life and beyond.

By Mike Wittmer

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – House and Ladders

I am not sure what it is that makes us readily picture God as seated high above us. But from childhood, we seem to nurture pictures of heaven and all its wonderment as that which spatially exists “above,” while we and all of our joys and worries exist on earth “below.” While this may simply illustrate our need for metaphors as we learn to relate to the world around us, there is also biblical imagery that seems to authenticate the portrayal. Depicting the God who exists beyond all we know, the Scripture writers describe the divine throne as “high and lofty,” the name of the LORD as existing above all names. Yet even metaphors can be misleading when they cease to point beyond themselves. Though the Bible uses the language and imagery of loftiness, it also pronounces that God’s existence is far more than something “above” us. The startling image of the Incarnation, for instance, radically erases the likeness of a distant God. The message that comes again and again from the mouth of God on earth is equally startling: The kingdom of God is among us!

Of the many objections to Christianity, there is one in particular that stands out in my mind as troubling. That is, the argument that to be Christian is to withdraw from the world, to follow fairy tales with wishful hearts and myths that insist you stop thinking and believe that all will be right in the end because God says so. It was in such a vein that Karl Marx depicted Christianity as a kind of drug that anesthetizes its consumers to the suffering in the world and the wretchedness of life. Sigmund Freud argued similarly that belief in God functions as an infantile dream that helps us evade the pain and helplessness we both feel and see around us. I don’t find these critiques and others like them troubling because I find them an accurate picture of the kingdom Jesus described. Rather, I find them troubling because so many Christians, myself included, find it easy to live as if Freud and Marx are quite right in their analyses.

In impervious boxes and minimalist depictions of the Christian story, we can live comfortably as if in our own worlds, intent to tell our feel-good stories while withdrawing from the harder scenes of life, content to view the kingdom of God as a world far away from the present, and the rooms of heaven as mere futuristic promises. The kingdom is seen as the place we are journeying toward, the better country the writer of Hebrews describes. In contrast, our place on earth is viewed as temporary, and therefore somehow less vital; like Abraham, we are merely passing through. And as a result, we build chasms that stand between kingdom and earth, today and tomorrow, the physical and the spiritual, the believing world and its world of neighbors. Whether articulated or subconscious, the earth itself even becomes something fleeting and irrelevant—one more commodity here for our use, like shampoo bottles in hotel bathrooms—while Christ is away preparing our permanent, more luxurious rooms.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – House and Ladders