Tag Archives: christianity

Charles Stanley – The Family Influence

 

1 Kings 15:8-34

The environment in which children grow up influences the rest of their life. The family dynamic, particularly parental behavior, impacts their perspective about themselves, others, and the Lord. In today’s reading, for example, consider King Asa, a man in the royal line, who followed in David’s footsteps and pleased God. Now compare his story with that of Nadab, who provoked God’s anger by practicing the same evils as his father, King Jeroboam.

With those men in mind, we must consider what will become of our children if they follow in our ways. We are typically their first example of godly living, which means that they should see us praying, reading God’s Word, and communing with His people. Our families should see us turning to the Lord for strength and comfort whenever a problem or decision confronts us. Kids should see their mom and dad serving friends, neighbors, and enemies alike. And a child should always know by his parents’ actions and speech that Jesus Christ is valued above all else in their life.

If you want your family members to desire God, then you must live according to His will. Your modeling that priority can lead them directly to the ultimate example of true life—Jesus Christ.

Bible in One Year: Job 1-4

 

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Our Daily Bread — Needing His Leading

 

Bible in a Year:

From the ends of the earth I call to you.

Psalm 61:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 61

Uncle Zaki was more than a friend to scholar Kenneth Bailey; he was his trusted guide on challenging excursions into the vast Sahara. By following Uncle Zaki, Bailey says that he and his team were demonstrating their complete trust in him. In essence, they were affirming, “We don’t know the way to where we are going, and if you get us lost we will all die. We have placed our total trust in your leadership.”

In a time of great weariness and heartache, David looked beyond any human guide, seeking direction from the God he served. In Psalm 61:2 we read, “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” He longed for the safety and relief of being ushered afresh into God’s presence (vv. 3–4).

God’s guidance in life is desperately needed for people the Scriptures describe as sheep that have “gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). Left to ourselves, we would be hopelessly lost in the desert of a broken world.

But we are not left to ourselves! We have a Shepherd who leads us “beside quiet waters,” refreshes our souls, and guides us (Psalm 23:2–3).

Where do you need His leading today? Call on Him. He will never leave you.

By:  Bill Crowder

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – In Defiance, Hope?

For many Jewish people living after the Holocaust, God’s absence is an ever-present reality. It is as tangible as the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Dachau, and as haunting as the empty chair at a table once occupied with a loved one long-silenced by the gas chambers. In his tragic account of the horror and loss in the camps at Auschwitz, Elie Wiesel intones the cries of many who likewise experienced God’s absence: “It is the end. God is no longer with us….I know that Man is too small, too humble, and inconsiderable to seek to understand the mysterious ways of God. But what can I do? Where is the divine Mercy? Where is God? How can I believe? How can anyone believe in this merciful God?”(1)

This experience of absence, dramatic in its implications for the victims of the Holocaust, has repeated itself over and over again in the ravaged stories of those who struggle to hold on to faith, or those who have lost faith altogether in the face of personal holocaust. In a world where tragedy and suffering are daily realities seemingly unchecked by both local and divine government, the absence of God seems a cruel abdication.

The words of Job, ancient in origin, speak of this same kind of experience:

Behold, I go forward, but He is not there,
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
When He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him;
He turns on the right, I cannot see Him.(2)

The story of Job is at least in part a story of the experience of God’s absence. While the narrator of the story and the readers of the story know the beginning and the end, Job finds himself in the silent middle struck down by unjust suffering. His story poignantly explores the silent mystery of a God who seems to go missing in the moments of greatest need. Job’s cries out: “Oh that I knew where I might find Him that I might come to his seat” (Job 23:3). Somehow, Job clings tenaciously to the hope that he will find God, and find a just God in his case. “I am not silenced by the darkness,” Job proclaims, “nor deep gloom which covers me.”

Job’s anguished cries against God’s absence paradoxically assume God’s presence. There is no hint of atheism in his cries. Rather, Job cries out of a tenacious faith in God who seems distant from his pain, silent to his cries, and absent from his world. In the face of his suffering, Job affirms God’s presence by taking issue with the injustice of God’s apparent absence. He longs to plead his case with God as one would with a neighbor.

Surely, Job’s cries represent each and every person who protests God’s apparent abandonment in the midst of suffering and injustice. The current cries of racial injustice emerging from our hurting cities and communities ring with a similar weariness: How long, O LORD? As one author notes, “In a roundabout way, man’s indignant protest against God’s silence would be deprived of meaning if there were no Presence behind the Silence.”(3) And here, an unexpectedly encouraging apologetic is found in this paradox.

C.S. Lewis suggests that “the defiance…hurled at an apparently ruthless and idiotic cosmos is really an unconscious homage to something in or behind that cosmos which he recognizes as infinitely valuable and authoritative: for if mercy and justice were really only private whims of his own with no objective and impersonal roots, and if he realized this, he could not go on being indignant. The fact that he arraigns heaven itself for disregarding them means that at some level of his mind he knows they are enthroned in a higher heaven still.”(4)

Lewis goes on to argue that this is, in fact, a central offering from the book of Job. While no explanation of the problem of God’s absence in the face of unjust suffering is given, Job’s wrestling with God ultimately receives divine approval. Indeed, Job’s righteous friends who attempt to explain away Job’s pain and justify God are actually condemned. Lewis concludes: “Apparently the way to advance from our imperfect apprehension of justice to the absolute justice is not to throw our imperfect apprehensions aside but boldly to go on applying them.”(5)

In this season of uncertainty as we grope in the darkness of our own imperfect apprehension of God and all that is happening in the world, and as we wrestle with God’s absence as Job did, we might come to experience the presence of God in a different way. For it is also the season of Pentecost, where we remember the movement of the Spirit who changed the world by changing the hearts and minds of a handful of disciples. Perhaps we too might proclaim with Job: “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye has seen you.”(6)

Margaret Manning Shull is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Bellingham, Washington.

 

(1) Elie Wiesel, The Night Trilogy: Night, Dawn, The Accident (New York: Hill and Wang, 1972), 83.
(2) Job 23:8-9.
(3) Gary Henry, “Story and Silence: Transcendence in the Work of Elie Wiesel,” Public Broadcasting System, www.pbs.org, 2002.
(4) C.S. Lewis, “De Futilitate,” in Christian Reflections (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967), 69-70, cited by Gary Henry in “Story and Silence: Transcendence in the Work of Elie Wiesel,” appendix.
(5) Ibid., 69-70.

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Joyce Meyer – The Joy of Believing

 

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope. — Romans 15:13 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource New Day, New You – by Joyce Meyer

I remember an evening when I was feeling extremely frustrated and discontented. I had no peace or joy, and I felt absolutely miserable. Then I read Romans 15:13, and it was indeed “a word in season” for me (see Isaiah 50:4).

As I was reading, I realized my problem was simple: I was doubting instead of believing. I was doubting God’s unconditional love, doubting that I could hear from Him, doubting His call on my life, doubting that He was pleased with me. I was filled with doubt . . . doubt . . . doubt.

When I saw the problem, I decided to step back into faith and out of doubt. My joy and peace returned immediately. Ever since, I’ve found the same thing to be true again and again in my life. When joy and peace seem to be gone, I check my believing—usually it’s gone also. But when I choose to believe the truth of God’s Word over my feelings, His joy comes rushing back.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me be mindful to stay in a position of faith. Thank You for giving me the grace to believe truth over my feelings, and for being my hope! In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Life-giving Fruit

 

“Godly men are growing a tree that bears life-giving fruit, and all who win souls are wise” (Proverbs 11-30).

“The monument I want after I am dead,” said Dwight L. Moody, “is a monument with two legs going around the world – a saved sinner telling about the salvation of Jesus Christ.”

When a young minister asked the Duke of Wellington whether he did not consider it useless to attempt to evangelize India, the Iron Duke sternly replied:

“What are your marching orders, sir?”

No doubt one of Satan’s greatest weapons of deceit in the world today is that of procrastination. Tomorrow I am going to become a soul-winner. Next month, after an evangelistic training program, I will become a great witness. As soon as I finish seminary or Bible college, I’ll begin sharing the good news of the gospel.

But “today is the day of salvation, now is the accepted time,” declares the Word of God. Sensitivity to God’s Holy Spirit – dwelling within to give me supernatural ability – will enable me to tell others what Christ means to me, and what He has done for me.

In God’s economy, the truly wise person, is that one who is redeeming the time, buying up every opportunity to share his faith, refusing to put off that which he knows should become a natural, every-day, moment-by-moment part of his life. Wonder of wonders, God even promises to put the very words in our mouths, if we ask Him, as we go in His name.

Bible Reading: II Corinthians 5:11-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will do what God leads me to do this day to bear life-giving fruit.

 

 

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Max Lucado – Your Pain for a Higher Purpose

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God promises, “When you pass through the waters, I’ll be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:2)  Will your unhappy marriage become happy in a heartbeat? Well not likely.  Does God guarantee the absence of struggle?  Not in this life.  But He does pledge to reweave your pain for a higher purpose.

It won’t be quick.  Joseph was 17 years old when his brothers abandoned him.  He was 37 when he saw them again.  Another year passed before he saw his father.  Sometimes God takes His time.  But remember thatmyou are a version of Joseph in your generation.  His story is in the Bible for this reason: to teach us to trust God to trump evil.  And what Satan intends for evil, God redeems for good.  You will get through this.

Read more You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Turbulent Times

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Denison Forum – National Guard responds in Washington, DC: Three explanations for the crisis and Jesus’ solution that changes everything

I have never felt less qualified to write a Daily Article than I do this morning.

I am a white person who has never faced a single moment of racial discrimination in my sixty-one years of life. As a result, I cannot pretend to understand what it is like to be unfairly treated because of the color of my skin.

I grew up in a middle-class community. As a result, I cannot understand what it is like to despair of a better financial future.

I have never been treated unfairly by the criminal justice system. As a result, I cannot understand what it is like to fear the police and the courts.

I do not own or work at a business affected by the violence of recent days. As a result, I cannot understand what it is like to see my dreams and future destroyed in response to a tragic death in Minneapolis for which I am not at fault.

Fortunately, I do not write the Daily Article to offer my personal opinions. My mission is to help us interpret the news of the day in cultural and biblical context. This morning, I will draw on expert guides to help us do both.

Three explanations 

As I wrote last week, the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day was a horrible tragedy. Our Father hates racism and demands that we value each other as he loves us (Genesis 1:28; Galatians 3:28).

Last night, cities across America saw a sixth evening of mass demonstrations following Mr. Floyd’s death. The entire Washington, DC, National Guard was called in to respond to protests outside the White House and elsewhere in the nation’s capital. A tanker truck drove through thousands of people who were marching on a Minneapolis highway, though none of the protesters was injured. At least forty cities have imposed curfews.

Writing for Bloomberg Opinion, John Authers examines the way Americans are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I believe his insights apply just as perceptively to the crisis unfolding across our country after George Floyd’s tragic death. Authers utilizes the work of British political philosopher Steven Lukes to describe three schools of thought at work in our society. Each of them helps explain the unrest embroiling our cities.

Utilitarians seek the greatest good for the greatest number. This is the impulse behind majority-rule democracy. However, this approach can put minority populations at risk, a fact experienced by many racial minorities across our nation’s history.

Communitarians want us to do what advances the “common good” within our community. But when your community’s common good conflicts with mine, what do we do? Some are justifying the violence of recent days as necessary to effect change, even if minority-owned and operated businesses are among the victims of such violence. In this view, previous calls for change have gone unheeded, requiring an escalating response that causes majority populations to feel the pain of minority victims.

Libertarians insist that individual freedom is paramount. But as Authers notes, when citizens are left alone, “many are left to sleep on the street, city centers are full of sleaze, and a few rich people benefit from gambling.”

Each of these viewpoints is foundational to American society. Can they be reconciled? According to Isaiah Berlin, the twentieth-century British philosopher and essayist, the answer is no.

Responses to George Floyd’s death are making his point. Some minorities feel they must demonstrate in large numbers to bring about change with the utilitarian majority. Some are willing to march (and some even to perpetuate violence) in other communities to make themselves heard. Many are protesting the libertarian lack of resources and compassion for people in need.

Jesus’ solution 

I began today’s Daily Article by admitting that I do not know what it is like to experience racial discrimination, face systemic poverty, encounter injustice, or suffer as an innocent victim of violence.

But Jesus does.

He lived his life as a Jew under Roman occupation. He was so impoverished that he “nowhere to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). After his arrest, he was subjected to what has been called “the most unjust trial in human history.” He suffered and died in innocence (Isaiah 53:9; Hebrews 4:15), atoning for sins he did not commit to purchase our salvation (Romans 5:8).

As a result, Jesus has the moral authority to speak to this crisis in a way I do not. For the next few days, we’ll discuss his example and teachings as we seek his guidance together.

For today, let’s consider the single sentence that is often considered his foundational ethical principle: “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). This one maxim provides a way forward through the scourge of racism and violence in our day. And it reconciles the utilitarian, communitarian, and libertarian conflicts so endemic to our culture.

Consider: If every person did to others what they would want to be done to them, would racial prejudice exist? Or police brutality? Or violent responses?

Would a single person have ever been enslaved in this land or any other? Would even one of the 40.3 million people enslaved in the world today be victims?

Would the majority oppress the minority? Would members of one community oppress members of another? Would a single individual be left to face our fallen world alone?

My commitment 

I cannot force another person to choose Jesus’ rule for living, but I can choose it for myself. I can seek the most strategic, significant ways to use my influence in its service. I can pray for divine help as I love every person I meet as I want them to love me, modeling Jesus’ transformational love for us all.

This is my commitment today. Will you join me?

 

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Charles Stanley – Why Does God Allow Storms in Our Life?

 

Jonah 1:1-17

No one likes turbulent times, but until we reach heaven, they will be a part of our life. The underlying foundation for understanding the storms we encounter is found in Psalm 103:19. No matter what the apparent source is, God ultimately directs every situation, because His sovereignty rules over all.

He uses storms to …

Bring us to repentance. Sometimes we create chaotic conditions with our own sinful choices. Yet like Jonah, we’ll discover that the Lord is always with us—even in our disobedience—drawing us back to Himself.

Grow us spiritually. Trials force us to rely on God’s strength rather than our own. We learn to endure, persevere, and submit to the Father so He can make us more like Christ.

Reveal Himself to us. Turbulent times give us a more accurate perspective of God and the way He works. Sometimes this understanding comes when we look back on a storm and see how He brought us through. Then we realize His strength was sufficient and His purpose was good.

Take comfort in knowing that God controls your storms, and His mighty power and unfailing love govern whatever comes your way.

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 8-10

 

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Our Daily Bread — Good Measure

 

Bible in a Year:

Give, and it will be given to you.

Luke 6:38

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Luke 6:32–38

At a gas station one day, Staci encountered a woman who had left home without her bank card. Stranded with her baby, she was asking passersby for help. Although unemployed at the time, Staci spent $15 to put gas in the stranger’s tank. Days later, Staci came home to find a gift basket of children’s toys and other presents waiting on her porch. Friends of the stranger had reciprocated Staci’s kindness and converted her $15 blessing into a memorable Christmas for her family.

This heartwarming story illustrates the point Jesus made when he said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

It can be tempting to hear this and focus on what we get out of giving, but doing so would miss the point. Jesus preceded that statement with this one: “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (v. 35).

We don’t give to get things; we give because God delights in our generosity. Our love for others reflects His loving heart toward us.

By:  Remi Oyedele

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Beginning and the End

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me if you understand.”

—God to Job in the whirlwind

To a child of four or five, the rejoinder sounded something like the response of a parent who had reached the end of her rope with the current line of questioning.

“Mom, what happens when we die?”

“We go to heaven to be with Jesus.”

“What’s heaven like?”

“It’s a place where all of our tears are dried up, and we dance on golden streets in the presence of God.”

“For how long?”

“Forever.”

“But won’t we get tired of dancing?”

“No, we won’t.”

“But why not?”

“Because we’ll be with God.”

“But what if it’s boring?”

“It won’t be.”

“Why?”

“Because God said so.”

A child learns quickly that there are certain lines parents use to signal the end of the current arsenal of questioning. Coming from a parent, “Because I said so” is intended to be a conversation stopper. “Because God said so” is even trickier. There was nothing my five-year-old mind could even begin to conjure up to counter that one.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Beginning and the End

Joyce Meyer – Like a Child

 

[Jesus] called a little child to Himself and put him in the midst of them, And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all]. Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 18:2-4 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource New Day, New You – by Joyce Meyer

In Luke 18:17 (AMPC), Jesus talked about the importance of being childlike when He said,

Truly I say to you, whoever does not accept and receive and welcome the kingdom of God like a little child [does] shall not in any way enter it [at all].

As we can see, The Amplified Classic Bible translation of Matthew 18:3 states that the defining attributes of a child are these: trustinglowlyloving, and forgiving. How much more would we enjoy our lives if we operated in those four traits? Think about it: Children believe what they are told. Some people say children are gullible, or that they believe anything, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. But children are not gullible—they are trusting. It is a child’s nature to trust unless he or she has experienced something that teaches them otherwise.

Another thing we can all see in children is that they enjoy life. A child can find a way to enjoy almost anything. A child can turn work into a game, so they can enjoy it. I remember one time when I asked my son (who was about 11 or 12 at the time) to sweep the patio. Not long after, I looked outside and saw him dancing with the broom to the music playing on the headset he was wearing. I thought, Amazing! He’s managed to turn sweeping into a game. If he had to do it, he was determined to enjoy it. We should all have that attitude. We may not choose to dance with a broom, but we can choose an attitude of enjoying each moment in a new way.

Prayer Starter: Holy Spirit, please teach me and help me become more childlike in the way I trust You, and in the way I enjoy my life. Thank You for strengthening my faith and restoring my sense of fun. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Real Life, Radiant Health

 

“I have been crucified with Christ; and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

George Muller was asked the secret of his fruitful service for the Lord. “There was a day when I died,” he said, “utterly died.”

As he spoke, he bent lower and lower until he almost touched the floor.

“I died to George Muller,” he continued, “his opinions, preferences, tastes and will – died to the world, its approval or censure – died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends – and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God.”

With that kind of obedience to God and His inspired Word, it is small wonder that that great man of faith, George Muller, saw God perform miracle after miracle in his behalf, helping to support hundreds and even thousands of orphans simply by trusting God to provide.

Men and women of the world today would pay literally millions of dollars for the real life and radiant health promised in Proverbs 4:20-22 to the believer for simple faith and trust in God. “Listen, son of mine, to what I say. Listen carefully. Keep these thoughts ever in mind; let them penetrate deep within your heart, for they will mean real life for you, and radiant health.” To me, these verses encourage reading, studying, memorizing and meditating upon the Word of God.

Being crucified with Christ and hiding His Word in our hearts will not only keep us from sin, but it will also promote real life and radiant health for us, which we will want to share with others.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 4:23-27, 5:1-2

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: By faith, I will recognize that I have been crucified with Christ and will keep His thoughts in my mind throughout this day, meditating on His promises and faithfulness.

 

 

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Max Lucado – Your Mess Will Become Your Message

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I like the conversation Bob Benson recounts in his book, See You at the House, about his friend who had a heart attack.  For a while it seemed his friend wouldn’t make it, but he recovered.  Months later Bob asked him, “Well, how did you like your heart attack?”  “It scared me to death, almost.”  “Would you do it again?”  “No!”  “Would you recommend it?” Bob asked.  “Definitely not.”

And then Bob said, “Does your life mean more to you now than it did before?”  “Well, yeah.”  “You and your wife always had a beautiful marriage, but are you closer now more than ever?” “Yes.”  “Do you have a new compassion for people—a deeper understanding and sympathy?” “Yes, I do.”  “Do you know the Lord in richer fellowship than you’d ever realized?”  “Yes.”  And then Bob said, “So how did you like your heart attack?”

You know Deuteronomy 11:2 says, “Remember what you’ve learned about the Lord through your experience with Him.”  You do that, my friend, and your mess will become your message.

Read more You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Turbulent Times

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Denison Forum – The death of George Floyd and confrontation in Central Park: Praying for a Pentecost miracle today

George Floyd was born in North Carolina and moved to Houston as a baby. He grew into a talented athlete who played football and basketball, receiving a basketball scholarship to Florida State University.

According to the mother of his six-year-old daughter, he didn’t finish school, eventually returning to Houston, where he became involved in music. He left the city for Minneapolis around 2018.

“Being black in America should not be a death sentence” 

On Monday, police officers responded to a “forgery in progress.” A police statement says they were “advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence. Two officers arrived and located the suspect, an African American male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step out of his car.

“After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance.”

However, the police statement left out a scene recorded by a bystander that has shocked the nation: a Minneapolis police officer keeps his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, during which the unarmed man repeatedly cried out, “I can’t breathe!”

“Please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man, please,” Mr. Floyd said to the officer. “I can’t move. Everything hurts. Give me some water or something, please. I can’t breathe, officer.” As the officer continued to crush his neck with his knee, Mr. Floyd added, “They’re going to kill me. They’re going to kill me, man.”

An ambulance then took Mr. Floyd to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

By Tuesday afternoon, the four officers involved had been fired. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called Mr. Floyd’s death “simply awful” and “wrong at every level.” He stated: “This man’s life matters, he matters. He was someone’s son, someone’s family member, someone’s friend. He was a human being and his life mattered.”

The mayor added: “Being black in America should not be a death sentence.”

“A punch in the gut for a lot of people” 

Christian Cooper is a Harvard graduate who serves on the board of the New York City Audubon Society and has long been a prominent bird watcher in New York City.

Continue reading Denison Forum – The death of George Floyd and confrontation in Central Park: Praying for a Pentecost miracle today

Charles Stanley – Life’s Passing Storms

 

Psalm 107:23-32

Everyone experiences storms in life—occasions that bring pain, suffering, or loss. It’s in turbulent times that all sorts of questions come to mind: Where is God? Why has this happened? Was it something I did? Did God cause it, and if so, why? When we find ourselves in tumultuous times, the safest place to go for answers is God’s Word.

The literal tempest described in today’s passage provides insight regarding the Lord’s role in the various upheavals we face. According to Psalm 107:25, God was responsible for this storm, as He was the one who raised the winds and waves that frightened the sailors.

Sometimes the Lord interrupts our life by sending turbulence so we will do what those sailors did—in their misery and helplessness, they cried for God’s help. He then brought them out of their distress by calming the storm and guiding them to a safe haven. In response, they thanked the Lord for His lovingkindness and wondrous deliverance and praised Him to other people.

There’s nothing like the sense of relief that comes when a storm is past. But let’s not forget to respond like those grateful sailors.

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 4-7

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Why Me?

 

Bible in a Year:

Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?

Job 7:20

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Job 7:17–21

The Book of Odds says that one in a million people are struck by lightning. It also says that one in 25,000 experiences a medical condition called “broken heart syndrome” in the face of overwhelming shock or loss. In page after page the odds of experiencing specific problems pile up without answering: What if we’re the one?

Job defied all odds. God said of him, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). Yet Job was chosen to suffer a series of losses that defied all odds. Of all people on earth, Job had reason to beg for an answer. It’s all there for us to read in chapter after chapter of his desperate struggle to understand, “Why me?”

Job’s story gives us a way of responding to the mystery of unexplained pain and evil. By describing the suffering and confusion of one of God’s best examples of goodness and mercy (ch. 25), we gain an alternative to the inflexible rule of sowing and reaping (4:7–8). By providing a backstory of satanic mayhem (ch. 1) and an afterword (42:7–17) from the God who would one day allow His Son to bear our sins, the story of Job gives us reason to live by faith rather than sight.

By:  Mart DeHaan

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Christianity Without Christ?

 

Paul Tillich, the noted existentialist theologian, traveled to Asia to hold conferences with various Buddhist thinkers. He was studying the significance of religious leaders to the movements they had engendered. Tillich asked a simple question. “What if by some fluke, the Buddha had never lived and turned out to be some sort of fabrication? What would be the implications for Buddhism?” Mind you, Tillich was concerned with the indispensability of the Buddha—not his authenticity.

The scholars did not hesitate to answer. If the Buddha was a myth, they said, it did not matter at all. Why? Because Buddhism should be judged as an abstract philosophy—as a system of living. Whether its concepts originated with the Buddha is irrelevant. As an aside, I think the Buddha himself would have concurred. Knowing that his death was imminent, he beseeched his followers not to focus on him but to remember his teachings. Not his life but his way of life was to be attended to and propagated.

So, what of other world religions? Hinduism, as a conglomeration of thinkers and philosophies and gods, can certainly do without many of its deities. Some other major religions face the same predicament.

Is Christianity similar? Could God the Father have sent another instead of Jesus? May I say to you, and please hear me, that the answer is most categorically No. Jesus did not merely claim to be a prophet in a continuum of prophets. He is the unique Son of God, part of the very godhead that Christianity calls the Trinity. The apostle Paul says it this way:

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Joyce Meyer – Obeying God

 

But Peter and John replied to them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you and obey you rather than God, you must decide (judge). — Acts 4:19 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource My Time with God – by Joyce Meyer

The apostles were often threatened with punishment if they continued to talk about Jesus, but because they valued their reputation with God more than their reputation with people, they kept speaking truth. In the same way, it’s extremely important that we obey God first, even if those around us aren’t always happy. This world is not our home—we’re just passing through.

We’ll all face times in life when we have to choose between doing what a friend or family member wants us to do and doing what we truly believe God wants us to do. Always choose God, and strive to keep a clear conscience with Him and others (see Acts 24:16). As you obey Him and let Him guide you with His peace, you’ll end up doing now what you’ll be happy with later on in life!

Prayer Starter: Father, please give me the grace I need to obey You, especially when that might make someone close to me unhappy. Thank You for having my back, and for the peace that You give me every day. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Wait Patiently and Confidently

 

“But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently” (Romans 8:25).

During my college days, I was not a believer. Only in retrospect can I appreciate in some measure the testimony of one of my professors, who was the head of the education department.

He and his wife were devout Christians. They had a Mongoloid child, whom they took with them wherever they went, and I am sure that their motivation for doing so – at least in part – was to give a testimony of the fruit of the Spirit, patience and love.

They loved the child dearly and felt that God had given them the responsibility and privilege to rear the child personally as a testimony of His grace, rather than placing her in a home for retarded children. The Bible teaches us that God never gives us a responsibility, a load or a burden without also giving us the ability to be victorious.

This professor and his wife bore their tremendous burden with joyful hearts. Wherever they went, they waited on the child, hand and foot. Instead of being embarrassed and humiliated, trying to hide the child in the closet, they unashamedly always took her with them, as a witness for Christ and as an example of His faithfulness and sufficiency.

They demonstrated patience and love by drawing upon the supernatural resources of the Holy Spirit in their close, moment-by-moment walk with God. Because of the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives, they were able to bear their trials supernaturally without grumbling or complaining. This is not to suggest that every dedicated Christian couple would be led of God to respond in the same way under similar circumstances. In their case, their lives communicated patience.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:18-24

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that God’s Holy Spirit indwells me and enables me to live supernaturally, I will claim by faith the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) with special emphasis on patience for today and every day.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Let God Train You

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

All tests are temporary, limited in duration.  1 Peter 1:6 says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”  Some tests end on earth, but all tests will end in heaven, right?  In the meantime, let God train you.  He watches the way you handle the little jobs.  Jesus promised in Matthew 25:21, “If you’re faithful over a few matters, I will set you over many.”

Do you aspire to do great things?  Excel in the small things.  Don’t complain.  Let others grumble, not you.  When you’re given a task, take it.  When you see a hurt, address it.  Compassion matters to God.  This is the time for service, not self-centeredness.  Cancel the pity party.  Love the people God brings to you.  He will work in you what is pleasing to Him.  You will get through this.

Read more You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Turbulent Times

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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