Tag Archives: christianity

Charles Stanley – Solving Problems Through Prayer


2 Chronicles 20:1-32

Problems are an inevitable part of life whether a person is saved or not. The difference is that once a man or woman becomes a believer, the Father strengthens His child to face every difficulty.

Our omniscient and omnipotent God is greater than any problem. He knows our future circumstances and equips our heart and mind to withstand the coming trial. The moment we encounter a problem, we can turn to His omnipotence. He promised to meet believers’ needs and, therefore, is under His own divine obligation to give guidance and direction. Our first response should always be to call out “Father!” and pray. Immediately, two things take place: The problem’s growth is stunted, and God’s child is reminded of the unique position given those who trust in the sovereign Lord.

God always provides when we face problems. However, that doesn’t mean we should be sitting back and waiting for Him to work out the details. His provision may require an act of faith from us in order to reach a resolution. Experience and Scripture tell us that His solutions are always best, but human strength may falter when we hear what He asks of us in response to our prayers. Thankfully, He also offers the courage to act at the right moment.

Long before a crisis arises or a solution is needed, a wise believer will be seeking God in prayer. In trouble-free times, we can build a foundation of trust and communion with Him that can withstand any hardship. Problems are unavoidable, but as we seek our Father in prayer, He is faithful to deal with our difficulties.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 1-3



Our Daily Bread — Second-Wind Strength


Bible in a Year:2 Samuel 14–15; Luke 17:1–19

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Isaiah 40:27–31

At the age of fifty-four I entered the Milwaukee marathon with two goals—to finish the race and to do it under five hours. My time would have been amazing if the second 13.1 miles went as well as the first. But the race was grueling, and the second-wind strength I’d hoped for never came. By the time I made it to the finish line, my steady stride had morphed into a painful walk.

Footraces aren’t the only things that require second-wind strength—life’s race does too. To endure, tired, weary people need God’s help. Isaiah 40:27–31 beautifully weds poetry and prophecy to comfort and motivate people who need strength to keep going. Timeless words remind fatigued and discouraged people that the Lord isn’t detached or uncaring (v. 27), that our plight doesn’t escape His notice. These words breathe comfort and assurance, and remind us of God’s limitless power and bottomless knowledge (v. 28).

The second-wind strength described in verses 29–31 is just right for us—whether we’re in the throes of raising and providing for our families, struggling through life under the weight of physical or financial burdens, or discouraged by relational tensions or spiritual challenges. Such is the strength that awaits those who—through meditating on the Scriptures and prayer—wait upon the Lord.

By Arthur Jackson

Today’s Reflection

When have life circumstances taken the wind out of you? In what particular area do you need God’s strength today?



Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Presente


In the 70s and 80s when death squads were operating in countries of South and Central America, a liturgy emerged in the church by which Christians dramatically enacted faith amidst the pervasive fear perpetuated by the imagination of the nation state. Where death squads spread fear by “disappearing” those bodies that stood in their way, the church saw the resurrection of Christ and his own fatally wounded and “disappeared” body as a dramatic counter-narrative of resistance. Thus, at the liturgy, someone would read out the names of those killed or disappeared, and for each name someone would call out from within the congregation, presente, “Here!”

My work brings me face to face with many who would meet this liturgical act with a dismissal of some sort. It might be a hostile dismissal or simply one expressing doubt or dismay. Like words of comfort at a difficult funeral, while the sentiment might be needed, it will not undo what has been done. Here, the objection from a place of cynicism is not unlike the one from sorrow: The death squads were hardly deterred by this communal act of rallying around a consoling word. Bodies were—and are—still disappearing. These names were the names of people actually lost. On this, determined atheists, material humanists, and despairing Christians might agree: In a heartbreakingly real sense, the disappeared were most definitely not presente.

We might think similarly when we consider the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide or Easter church bombings—or any number of stories of the displaced or tragically lost that sadly do not make their way into our attention spans or news feeds. It is not hard to tend to the imagination that tells us that the “disappeared” belong to a group that will never stop growing. It is an imagination that seems sympathetic and human, and in some important ways it is. The nameless lives wasted, violently cut short, are buried and gone. But whether confessed in sorrow or cynicism, the assumption behind this imagination is that the dead can be buried once and for all and forgotten.

What the churches facing the death squads seemed to understand better than most of us is that Easter proclaims something entirely to the contrary. The violence and death that made Jesus “disappear” did not stand. He would not be buried once and for all and forgotten. In the aftermath of another bloody Easter Sunday, I suspect our Sri Lankan brothers and sisters hold the same conviction. The resurrected presence of the once disappeared Jesus proclaims many things to this wounded world, but this is perhaps the most shocking of all. The cultural notion that human value can be extinguished by death and violence was irreversibly shifted by Easter. The pervasive imagination that insists there are some lives that are expendable was upended by the shocking return of the one they tried to silence. The injustice and apathy that perpetuate this imagination stand vehemently convicted. The gospel of the resurrection proclaims that God holds on to the lives of all the departed, that injustice and apathy will not have the last word, and the dead and disappeared are never forgotten.

In my own liturgical tradition, during the season of Lent as the church prepares for the feast of Easter, there is a practice called “burying the hallelujahs.” We refrain from saying hallelujah during Lent, hallelujah being an ultimate expression of rejoicing that means “God be praised.” For the forty days of Lent we are invited instead to remember our deaths, to call to mind our need, our sin, our apathy, our complicit disinterest in the disappearance of others. During Lent, we fast as a means of preparing ourselves for the promise that hunger itself will one day be satisfied. We mourn with the world, with the church far and wide, and we challenge ourselves to sit with those struggling under silencing injustice and violence, with those we forget and treat as if expendable. Last Lent, as we learned of the deadly bombings that targeted Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday, I was thankful for the burying of our hallelujahs and a ready language to lament with brothers and sisters I will never meet but with whom I grieved. Lent reminds us that God was buried and that we, too, will be buried, that death comes before life, and that before there is rejoicing, Jesus grieves with those who grieve. We don’t bury the hallelujahs in cynicism or despair. We bury them because this is precisely where Easter itself begins: in grief and darkness with those easily overlooked, with those disappearing and those disappeared. For Jesus himself was one of them.

When Mary arrived at the tomb on Easter morning only to be told that the body of Jesus body was missing, she was distraught at his disappearance. She at first could not see resurrection; she saw emptiness. I imagine her grief was not unlike the mothers of missing sons during the reign of the death squads or the mothers and fathers of Alexandria and Tanta who lost children in worship on Palm Sunday last year. It was not enough that they violently killed him; they disappeared him.

But then the body of the resurrected Jesus was suddenly standing before her. The one who leaves no human soul in nameless and forgotten oblivion spoke Mary’s name aloud and she realized that he was there. Presente. In the midst of her devastating encounter with darkness, he is there in the midst of it. And his presence undoes the fixtures of fear and violence that continue to say there are some bodies that don’t matter, showing us not only how to die but how to rise and how to live. This darkness shall not overcome. Not in Golgotha. Not in South America. Not in Sri Lanka. Presente.


Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.



Joyce Meyer – Decide to Be Second


Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor. — Romans 12:10 (AMP)

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

Giving preference to others requires a willingness to adapt and adjust. It means to allow another to go first or to have the best of something. We show preference when we give someone else the best cut of meat on the platter instead of keeping it back for ourselves. We show preference when we allow someone with fewer groceries in his cart than we have in ours to go in front of us at the supermarket checkout counter, or when we are waiting in line to use a public restroom and someone behind us in line is pregnant or elderly and we choose to let that individual go ahead of us.

Each time we show preference, we have to make a mental adjustment. We were planning to be first, but we decide to be second. We are in a hurry, but we decide to wait on someone else who seems to have a greater need. A person is not yet rooted and grounded in love until they have learned to show preference to others (see Ephesians 3:17). Don’t just learn to adjust, but learn to do it with a good attitude. Learning to do these things is learning to walk in love.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to truly show preference to other people today with a good attitude. Help me to humble myself and love others the way You do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – We Need the Word


“And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit – which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

In my own life, as I have come to know God better and to live more fully in the power and control of the Holy Spirit, my daily devotional Bible reading and study is not a duty or a chore, but a blessing; not an imposition on my time, but an invitation to fellowship in the closest of all ways with our holy, heavenly Father and our wonderful Savior and Lord.

Remember, God delights to have fellowship with us. The success of our studying God’s Word and of prayer is not to be determined by some emotional experience which we may have (though this frequently will be our experience), but by the realization that God is pleased that we want to know Him enough to spend time with Him in Bible study and prayer.

Here are some important, practical suggestions for your individual devotional reading and study of the Bible:

  1. Begin with a prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you an understanding of God’s Word.
  2. Keep a Bible study notebook.
  3. Read the text slowly and carefully; then reread and take notes.
  4. Find out the true meaning of the text. Ask yourself:
    (a) Who or what is the main subject?
    (b) Of whom or what is the writer speaking?
    (c) What is the key verse?
    (d) What does the passage teach you about Jesus Christ?
    (e) Does it bring to light personal sin that you need to confess and forsake?
    (f) Does it contain a command for you to obey?
    (g) Does it give a promise you can claim?
  5. List practical applications, commands, promises.
  6. Memorize the Scriptures – particularly key verses.
  7. Obey the commands and follow the instructions you learn in God’s Word.

Bible Reading: II Timothy 3:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  With His help, I will begin to make time in God’s Word – quality time – a priority in my life.



Max Lucado – The Sparkle of Eternity


Listen to Today’s Devotion

The fifth chapter of Mark tells the story of a synagogue leader who reached the point where desperation exceeded dignity.  He begged Jesus to heal his dying daughter.  And Jesus did, with a look on his face that said, Come here. I’ve got a secret.

I’ve seen that sparkle of eternity in the eyes of a cancer patient who said, “I’m ready to go.”  I saw it at a funeral.  The widower didn’t weep like the others.  “Don’t worry about me,” he said.  “I know where she is.”  Peace where there should be pain.  Hope defying despair.  That’s what that look says.  It is a look that knows the answer to the question asked by every mortal:  Does death have the last word?  I can see Jesus wink as he answers, “Not on your life.”

Read more Six Hours One Friday

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.


Denison Forum – Baptist pastor grieves for Notre Dame burning: How to prove that every day is Easter

Pastor Harry Richard grieved as he watched flames consume Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Just two weeks earlier, his church in Louisiana was set ablaze. It was one of three predominantly black churches in his area that were intentionally burned down, according to police.

But the Baptist minister sensed the Lord at work: “I think that God is using these moments to bring us closer together as a world. This is God’s hand on our lives to make us realize that we are all connected in some form or fashion.”

Meanwhile, Islamic militants are being blamed this morning for the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed at least 290 people. Devastating floods have left millions in Iran facing a humanitarian crisis. And the CDC says this flu season is now the longest in a decade.

The news reminds us every day that we need the redemptive work of the risen Christ every day. Unfortunately, our secular culture is less convinced than ever that Jesus is relevant today.

How can we show the world that every day is Easter?

Imagine a world without Easter

John S. Dickerson’s latest book is titled Jesus Skeptic: A Journalist Explores the Credibility and Impact of Christianity. As with his other work, Dickerson’s insights are extremely insightful and relevant.

He states that a ten-year investigation led him to conclude: “My generation of Americans—those born in the 1980s and younger—have been largely denied the truth about Christianity’s influence and record on social justice.”

For instance, Dickerson notes that nine of the ten best nations on earth for women’s rights, according to the World Economic Forum, have majority Christian populations. Followers of Jesus such as Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, and Blaise Pascal also played an essential role in launching the Scientific Revolution.

This tradition continues with Dr. Francis S. Collins, leader of the Human Genome Project and now head of the National Institutes of Health. He states: “God can be found in the cathedral or in the laboratory. By investigating God’s majestic and awesome creation, science can actually be a means of worship.”

Schools, medicine, and slavery

Dickerson also notes that “nearly every leading university in the world was founded by Christians.” He cites the fact that the first nine colleges in the US were founded by Christians. He also found that each of the top ten universities in the world, according to the Center for World University Rankings, was begun by Christians.

Christians “planted the seeds of modern medicine” as well. Dickerson references Edward Jenner (the father of immunology), Florence Nightingale (the founder of modern nursing), and Johns Hopkins (whose bequest founded one of the most innovative hospitals in modern medicine). He adds that the top ten hospitals in the US, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, were all founded by Christians.

And Dickerson reports that Christians played an essential role in ending slavery in most parts of the world. In fact, he could not find a single abolitionist in the US who was not a follower of Jesus. And, of course, there is the example of William Wilberforce in the UK.

None of this would have happened without Easter.

Making every day Easter

Here’s our challenge: convincing the culture that Jesus’ resurrection is as relevant to our present and future as it was to our past. This calling requires us to be as engaged in human rights, scientific and medical progress, advancing educational excellence, and ending racial discrimination as the Christians who came before us.

In addition, it is vital that we live in ways that contradict the caricature our critics have drawn of us. Consider two imperatives.

One: Respect those who do not respect our Lord.

When pagans in Ephesus started a riot against Christians in their city, an official scolded the crowd: “You have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess” (Acts 19:37). We are to defend our faith boldly, but we are to do so “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). The more people criticize us, the more they need our Lord.

Two: Be joyful in a joyless world.

Solomon observed: “Everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man” (Ecclesiastes 3:13). If I do not find joy in the vocation to which God has called me, I dishonor the One who has assigned it to me. William Barclay was right: “A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms.”

“Death is strong, but life is stronger”

Phillips Brooks: “Tomb, thou shalt not hold him longer; death is strong, but life is stronger. Stronger than the dark, the light; stronger than the wrong, the right.”

When Christians are relevant, gracious, and joyful followers of the risen Christ, the world will know: He is risen, indeed.



Charles Stanley – Going Home


Revelation 21:1-21

The longer we live as Christians, the more we should feel like strangers in this world. Something within us recognizes that we’re outsiders here, and we yearn for that day when Jesus opens the door of heaven and welcomes us home. Although everything that God has prepared for us is beyond our comprehension, John helps us catch a glimpse by describing the contrast between what we know in this world and what it will be like in heaven.

God will dwell among us. Throughout history, no human being could see God, but that barrier won’t remain, because sin will be eradicated in us. Since we will be completely righteous forever, we will no longer have to continually fight off unholy urges.

Sin’s consequences will pass away. All the suffering that has afflicted us will end. There will be no more tears, death, mourning, or pain. That is when we will discover firsthand the truth of Psalm 16:11: “In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

Our new home will be glorious. Jesus assured His disciples He was going to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house (John 14:2-3). The location is the New Jerusalem, and since it’s a cube 1,500 miles on a side (Revelation 21:16), there’ll be plenty of room for every believer. That remarkable place radiates the brilliance of God’s glory like a large multi-faceted diamond—John compared its beauty to a bride who’s adorned for her husband on their wedding day.

Fix a mental image of John’s description in your mind. In those moments when this life disappoints you, remember that you’re not home yet.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 13-14



Our Daily Bread — In the Moment


Bible in a Year:2 Samuel 3–5; Luke 14:25–35

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life . . . . No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.

John 10:17–18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Luke 23:32–46

The ambulance door was about to close—with me on the inside. Outside, my son was on the phone to my wife. From my concussed fog, I called his name. As he recalls the moment, I slowly said, “Tell your mom I love her very much.”

Apparently I thought this might be goodbye, and I wanted those to be my parting words. In the moment, that’s what mattered most to me.

As Jesus endured His darkest moment, He didn’t merely tell us He loved us; He showed it in specific ways. He showed it to the mocking soldiers who had just nailed Him to a cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). He gave hope to a criminal crucified with Him: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43). Nearing the end, He looked at His mother. “Here is your son,” He said to her, and to His close friend John He said, “Here is your mother” (John 19:26–27). Then, as His life slipped from Him, Jesus’s last act of love was to trust His Father: “Into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

Jesus purposefully chose the cross in order to show His obedience to His Father—and the depth of His love for us. To the very end, He showed us His relentless love.

By Tim Gustafson

Today’s Reflection

What matters most to you? How do love and obedience fit together?



Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Scars of New Creation

One of the most terrifying and deeply troubling news stories for me of the past few years has been one that has escaped broad notice by the Western media. It is the story of extreme and widespread violence against women in Eastern Congo. Raped and tortured by warring factions in their country, women are the victims of the most horrific crimes. As one journalist reported, “Many have been so sadistically attacked from the inside out, butchered by bayonets and assaulted with chunks of wood, that their reproductive and digestive systems are beyond repair.”(1) They bear their wounds in their own bodies, permanent scars of violence and oppression.

In this holiest week for Christians around the world, the broken and wounded body of Jesus is commemorated in services of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. The broken body and spilled blood of Jesus is remembered in the symbols of bread and wine on Maundy Thursday, and in the black draping of curtains and cloths on Good Friday. Jesus suffered violence in his own body, just as many do around the world today.

Even as Christian mourning turns to joy with Easter resurrection celebrations, it is important to note that Jesus bore the wounds of violence and oppression in his body—even after his resurrection. When he appeared to his disciples, according to John’s gospel, Jesus showed them “both his hands and his side” as a means by which to identify himself to them. Indeed, the text tells us that once the disciples took in these visible wounds “they rejoiced when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20).

The resurrection body of Jesus contained the scars from nail and sword, and these scars identified Jesus to his followers. And yet, the wounds of Jesus took on new significance in light of his resurrection. While still reminders of the violence of crucifixion his wound-marked resurrection body demonstrates God’s power over evil and death.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Scars of New Creation

Joyce Meyer – Only God Can Truly Satisfy


My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. — Isaiah 26:9

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

Nothing can satisfy your longing for God except communion and fellowship with Him. The apostle John wrote, And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever (1 John 2:17 AMPC).

The world makes it easy for you to fill your ears with all kinds of things that drown out the voice of God and push Him far into the background of your life. However, the day comes for every person when only God remains. Everything else in life eventually passes away; when it does, God will still be there. Seek God earnestly today, and He will abide in you.

Prayer Starter: Father, I desire a deeper, closer relationship with You. Help me to make You a priority today and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Source of Joy 


“So you became our followers and the Lord’s; for you received our message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the trials and sorrows it brought you” (1 Thessalonians 1:6).

Mary was so radiant it was as though she had swallowed a light bulb. Wherever she went, there was the radiance of the Lord’s presence about her. She literally bubbled over with joy, and whenever she talked about the Lord her words came so quickly they practically tumbled over each other. She was an exciting, contagious person to be around, and many nonbelievers inquired of her, “Why are you so happy? What makes you so different?”

To which, of course, she would always respond by telling them about our wonderful Lord and how He had filled her heart with His joy.

The verse for today clearly indicates that joy comes from the Holy Spirit, who came into this world to glorify Christ. We are told in Galatians also that the fruit of the Spirit is joy, among other things.

When we are filled with the Spirit and thus growing in the fruit of the Spirit – which includes joy – then we will express that joy by singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord. A happy heart inevitably will be reflected in a joyful countenance.

“I presume everybody has known someone whose life was just radiant,” R. A. Torrey said. “Joy beamed out of their eyes; joy bubbled over their lips; joy seemed to fairly run from their fingertips. The gladdest thing on earth is to have a real God.”

In the words of an unknown poet:

“If you live close to God and His infinite grace,
You don’t have to tell; it shows on your face.”

Bible Reading: Nehemiah 8:9-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will not expect to find joy in things, or even in other people primarily, but rather in the source of all joy – God’s Holy Spirit. With His help, I will share His supernatural joy wherever I go.




Max Lucado – God vs. Death


Listen to Today’s Devotion

Death is the bully on the block of life.  “Your time is coming,” he taunts.  Oh, we try to prove him wrong.  We jog.  We diet.  But we know that we will only, at best, postpone it.  That is why you should never face him alone.  That is why you need a big brother.

Take heart from these words,  “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-16).

Yes, the Christian can face the bully nose to nose and claim the promise that echoed in the empty tomb. My death is not final!

Read more Six Hours One Friday

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.



Denison Forum – Waiting for the Mueller Report and examining five cultural lies: Is your Savior your Lord?

America is waiting for the redacted version of the Mueller Report to be published later this morning. We will not be able to read the report in its entirety since it contains information that was presented to a grand jury and is therefore subject to secrecy rules.

In addition, intelligence officials will redact information that could compromise sensitive sources and methods or hamper other current investigations. And the Justice Department will redact information it believes unfairly infringes on the privacy of “peripheral third parties” and damages their reputations.

What difference, then, will the report make?

Not much in the minds of most voters, apparently. A recent survey found that the report “may not change the minds of many Americans about the president. Barring a bombshell revelation, voters are likely to view the report through the prism of their partisan identities.”

Five lies that explain our culture

Pick a subject, from the president to abortion to gender identity to the environment. Can you think of a single significant issue on which Americans are largely agreed?

What is causing our nation’s cultural divides to grow ever deeper and more vitriolic?

Writing for the New York Times, columnist David Brooks offers some diagnoses of our cultural condition that merit significant attention and personal application. His bottom line: “We’ve created a culture based on lies.” Five of them, to be specific.

Here they are:

One: Career success is fulfilling. Brooks notes that such success “alone does not provide positive peace or fulfillment. If you build your life around it, your ambitions will always race out in front of what you’ve achieved, leaving you anxious and dissatisfied.”

Two: I can make myself happy. This is the lie of self-sufficiency and the deception that happiness is an individual accomplishment. By contrast, “happiness is found amid thick and loving relationships. It is found by defeating self-sufficiency for a state of mutual dependence. It is found in the giving and receiving of care.” Continue reading Denison Forum – Waiting for the Mueller Report and examining five cultural lies: Is your Savior your Lord?

Charles Stanley – Standing in the Storm


Psalm 62:1-8

“What am I going to do?” How many times have we all uttered this cry of despair? Sometimes the storms of life come without letup; they seem endless, successively crashing against us until we feel as though we can’t take any more. In those times of desperation, Psalm 62 offers three valuable lessons.

First, we must wait. It’s understandable that we want answers and relief immediately, but the Lord acts in His own perfect time, and He’s never late. Therefore, we must wait for Him to guide us to the next step—even when that means resisting our natural desire to react quickly and take control of circumstances.

Second, we must wait in silence. When we quiet our mind and tongue, we give God an opportunity to speak His words of hope and trust to our heart. Instead of letting anxiety and worry occupy our thoughts, we must focus on God’s promises from Scripture. Then He will give us patience, trust, courage, and the assurance that He cares and is in control.

Third, we must keep in mind the motivation for this waiting—God’s intervention. Our focus is to be on the Lord, not on our troubles, ourselves, or other people. We must learn to filter out whatever is pulling our attention away from trust in almighty God, who is working according to His will and timing.

When the storms of life batter you, make sure that your feet are planted on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Do not despair, asking, What am I going to do? Rather, ask, What is God doing? And be assured—He is doing something.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 10-12




Our Daily Bread — Flourishing Like a Flower


Bible in a Year:2 Samuel 1–2; Luke 14:1–24

The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field.

Psalm 103:15

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 103:13–22

My youngest grandson is only two months old, yet every time I see him I notice little changes. Recently, as I cooed to him, he looked up at me and smiled! And suddenly I began crying. Perhaps it was joy mixed with remembering my own children’s first smiles, which I witnessed so long ago, and yet it feels like just yesterday. Some moments are like that—inexplicable.

In Psalm 103, David penned a poetic song that praised God while also reflecting on how quickly the joyful moments of our lives pass by: “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone” (vv. 15–16).

But despite acknowledging the brevity of life, David describes the flower as flourishing, or thriving. Although each individual flower blossoms and blooms swiftly, its fragrance and color and beauty bring great joy in the moment. And even though an individual flower can be quickly forgotten—“its place remembers it no more” (v. 16)—by contrast we have the assurance that “from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him” (v. 17).

We, like flowers, can rejoice and flourish in the moment; but we can also celebrate the truth that the moments of our lives are never truly forgotten. God holds every detail of our lives, and His everlasting love is with His children forever!

By Alyson Kieda

Today’s Reflection

In what way can you flourish in this moment? How can you bring joy to another?




Joyce Meyer – Looking Forward


And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” — Revelation 21:5

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

So many people live miserable lives because they are conflicted and feel burdened about the mistakes of their past. If you have been unhappy or discouraged because of the things that have happened in your past, I encourage you to change your thinking and set your focus in a whole new direction. Determine to be what God wants you to be, to have what God wants you to have, and to receive what Jesus died to give you.

Your new life in Christ means that you have been completely forgiven of all your sins. God has wiped your slate clean and taken up residence in your heart. You can let the past go and begin to get excited about your future.

When you feel discouraged, say, “I am not going to live in bondage anymore. I cannot do anything about what I have done in the past, but I can do something about my future. I am going to enjoy my life and have what Jesus died for me to have. I am going to let go of the past and go on pursuing God from this day forth!”

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift from God.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for new beginnings and for making all things new. Please help me to let go of the past and embrace the good plan You have for my future. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Listens and Answers


“Mark this well: The Lord has set apart the redeemed for himself. Therefore He will listen to me and answer when I call to Him” (Psalm 4:3).

My 93-year-old mother has known and walked with the Lord since she was 16. In all the years that I have known her, now more than 60, I have never known her to say an unkind or critical word or do anything that would be contrary to her commitment to Christ, made as a teenage girl.

Hers has been a life of prayer, study of God’s Word and worship of Him. The radiance and joy of her godly life has inspired not only her husband and seven children, but also scores of grandchildren and great and great-great grandchildren, and thousands of neighbors and friends.

A few days ago I invited her – for the hundredth time, at least – to come and live with us, knowing that all the rest of the children have made similar invitations. She responded, “No, I prefer to live alone. But I am not really alone, for the Lord Jesus is with me, comforting me, giving me His peace and assurance that He will take care of me.”

So she spends her days in prayer, in study of the Word and in being a blessing to all who enter her home, as the love of God flows through her. Only eternity will record the multitudes of lives that have been transformed through her godly example and her dedicated prayers of intercession.

Surely every Christian needs a daily engagement – with priority claim over everything else – to meet the Lord in the secret place if his life is to be a benediction to others.

Bible Reading: Psalm 5:1-7

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I recognize that if I am going to live a supernatural life, I must set aside time which will take priority over every other consideration. Only a genuine emergency will take precedence over such an engagement of prayer, study of God’s Word, worship and praise of my wonderful Lord.



Max Lucado – An Eleventh Hour Gift


Listen to Today’s Devotion

“We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done one thing wrong.”  These words were spoken on Skull’s hill by a thief.  After a life of crime, he’s reached the bottom—a crossbeam and three spikes.  He begins to wonder who Jesus might be, and he hears the whisper, “Father, forgive them.”

When the other criminal hurls an accusation at Jesus, this thief defends him.  His statement includes facts that anyone needs to recognize to come to Jesus.  We are guilty and he is innocent.  He is not on that cross for his sins.  He is there for ours.  And Jesus performs the greatest miracle of the cross—the miracle of forgiveness.  “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”  A sin-soaked criminal is received by a blood-stained Savior.  Such is the definition of grace.

Read more Six Hours One Friday

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Denison Forum – Buying a T. rex and restoring Notre Dame: Our quest for legacy


Would you pay $2.95 million for a baby Tyrannosaurus rex?

The sixty-eight-million-year-old skeleton was discovered in Montana in 2013 by Alan Detrich and his brother. Detrich loaned the fossil to the Kansas University Natural History Museum, then decided to put it up for sale on eBay. Paleontologists warn that the bones are incomplete and shattered in parts. “The asking price is just absurd,” one said.

In other financial news, French President Emmanuel Macron made a televised address yesterday stating that he hopes to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral within five years. “That’s what the French expect; that’s what our history deserves,” he stated. As of this morning, nearly $1 billion has been raised for the project.

Building cathedrals and taking selfies

There’s something about us that wants to own, build, or achieve something of significance that outlives us.

We purchase artifacts and other iconic objects of historic value. We erect massive cathedrals that stand long after those who build them. Those of us with lesser gifts as engineers and builders trace our initials in tree trunks and on concrete. We etch the names of those we love on tombstones made of rock.

And we want to memorialize not just our lives but also our memories and will pay a high price to do so.

Sydney Monfries was just weeks from graduation at Fordham University in New York when she died Sunday after falling from the iconic campus clock tower. She was trying to take a picture of the Bronx under moonlight.

Andrea Norton, a twenty-year-old college student from South Dakota, died last Saturday when she fell one hundred feet off a cliff in Arkansas. She had been taking a group photo with her friends.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Buying a T. rex and restoring Notre Dame: Our quest for legacy