Tag Archives: current-events

Our Daily Bread — More than a Symbol

 

Bible in a Year:Deuteronomy 28–29; Mark 14:54–72

In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:3–4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Samuel 23:13-17

On the verge of making team history, University of Iowa basketball star Jordan Bohannon intentionally missed the free throw that would have broken a twenty-five-year-old school record. Why? In 1993, days after Iowa’s Chris Street had made thirty-four free throws in a row, he lost his life in a car crash. Bohannon chose to honor Street’s memory by not breaking his record.

Bohannon showed a keen awareness of things more important than his own advancement. We see similar values in the life of the young warrior David. Hiding in a cave with his ragtag army, David longed for a drink from the well in his hometown of Bethlehem, but the dreaded Philistines occupied the area (2 Samuel 23:14–15).

In a stunning act of bravery, three of David’s warriors “broke through the Philistine lines,” got the water, and brought it to David. But David couldn’t bring himself to drink it. Instead, he “poured it out before the Lord,” saying, “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” (vv. 16–17).

In a world that often rewards those who seize whatever they can grasp, how powerful acts of love and sacrifice can be! Such deeds are much more than mere symbols.

By Tim Gustafson

Today’s Reflection

Instead of advancing your own agenda, how can you celebrate someone else and their efforts? How do our acts of love reflect God’s own?

 

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Joyce Meyer – Unseen Promises Exist

 

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. — Matthew 21:22

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

Before the fulfillment of God’s promise to multiply Abram, He changed his name from Abram (“high exalted father”) to Abraham, (“father of a multitude”) (See Genesis 17:1–6). God spoke the promise long before it was visible to anyone.

Anything that is in the Word of God is a promise that be can rightfully and legally spoken forth even before it visibly exists.

Reach into the spiritual realm, that you cannot see, and pull the promises of God out of there, with the words of your mouth, and prophesy them into existence. Read God’s Word, and speak as the Holy Spirit leads you to do so today.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for all of the promises in Your Word. Help me to fill my thoughts and words with the great things You want to do in my life. Help me to declare Your good plan over my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Praying for Me

“Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25, KJV).

George had tried to live a Christian life for many years, but finally gave up.

“It’s no use,” he said. “I have tried and tried and failed and failed. I have dedicated, rededicated, consecrated and reconsecrated my life to Christ, and nothing happens. I am a total failure.”

Whereupon I read him this and several other key verses of Scripture, emphasizing the role that Christ plays in our behalf at the right hand of the Father.

“Did it ever occur to you,” I asked, “that Jesus right now is aware of your every need and is interceding for you?”

That very thought overwhelmed him, and he fell to his knees with tears of gratitude.

“Oh,” he said, “I knew that Jesus died for me and shed His blood for my sins. But somehow I had never made the connection between the cross and His present role of interceding for me.”

“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room,” declared the famous Christian statesman, Robert Murray McCheyne, “I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me. ‘He ever liveth to make intercession.'”

When Satan tempts me with discouragement and frustration, often I can visualize a scene that brings instant victory over the enemy. At the right hand of God is a room – a prayer room, if you please – and kneeling there is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, praying specifically for me and my needs. He is interceding for me!

Bible Reading: Romans 8:31-34

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will allow no burden or problem or need or frustration or discouragement to defeat me any longer. Instead, I will visualize Christ Himself praying for me, and since all authority in heaven and earth belongs to Him, I will expect victory over Satan and all the unseen forces of evil in order that I may live a supernatural life according to my spiritual heritage. I will also seek to share this exciting truth with someone else today. Oh, what good news to share!

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Charles Stanley – Dealing With Debt

 

Romans 13:1-8

citizens have the responsibility to submit to governmental authority. Obeying the laws of the land that do not contradict scriptural commands is an essential part of honoring the Lord. Verse 7 of today’s passage says, “Render to all what is due them.” Just as we are obligated to pay our taxes, we’re also to repay all of our debts (Rom. 13:8).

The Lord expects anyone who borrows money to be respectful of his neighbor and diligently repay him. By withholding what is rightfully due, we are guilty of stealing from the lender, which can influence our testimony for Christ. Since defaulting on a loan is serious and can ruin relationships, we need to responsibly get out of debt and stay out.

Perhaps this is hitting close to home. As daunting as the task of debt reduction may seem, you are not alone. God wants you to be financially free, and He will show you the way. However, it’s usually not a fast fix but a slow and steady approach that will prepare you to avoid future debt. Confess that you haven’t been a good steward of your resources, commit to making some sacrificial changes, and consistently work toward your goal. But above all else, rely on the Lord, and He will be faithful.

Does your mountain of debt seem bigger to you than your almighty heavenly Father? If so, your focus is on your own inabilities instead of the Lord’s faithfulness. For those who turn to God in genuine repentance and surrender, He will supply the needed resources as well as the persistence to repay what is owed.

Bible in One Year: Judges 7-9

 

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Our Daily Bread — Keep On Going

 

Bible in a Year:Deuteronomy 26–27; Mark 14:27–53

By faith [Moses] left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger.

Hebrews 11:27

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Exodus 10:21-29

Working in the corporate world allowed me to interact with many talented and levelheaded people. However, one project led by an out-of-town supervisor was an exception. Regardless of our team’s progress, this manager harshly criticized our work and demanded more effort during each weekly status phone call. These run-ins left me discouraged and fearful. At times, I wanted to quit.

It’s possible that Moses felt like quitting when he encountered Pharaoh during the plague of darkness. God had hurled eight other epic disasters at Egypt, and Pharaoh finally exploded, “[Moses,] get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die” (Exodus 10:28).

Despite this threat, Moses eventually was used by God to free the Israelites from Pharaoh’s control. “[By faith] Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27 nlt). Moses overcame Pharaoh by believing that God would keep His promise of deliverance (Exodus 3:17).

Today, we can rely on the promise that God is with us in every situation, supporting us through His Holy Spirit. He helps us resist the pressure of intimidation and wrong responses to it by granting us supernatural power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). The Spirit provides the courage we need to keep going and to follow God’s leading in our lives.

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Today’s Reflection

What types of situations upset you? How can you rely on God?

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Remember Me

There is something comforting about the many characters in the Christian story of which we know very little. There was more to the story of the woman who knew that if she could just touch the fringe of Jesus’s robe she would be well. There was more to tell about the woman who anointed Jesus with a jar of perfume, or the thief who hung beside Jesus on the cross. Yet, we are told only that they will be remembered. And they are. However insignificant their lives were to society, they have been captured in the pages of history as people worth remembering, people who had a role in the story of God on earth, people remembered by God when multitudes wished them forgotten. It is to me a kind reminder that our fleeting lives are remembered by God long before others notice and long after they have stopped.

We know very little about the man named Simeon, but we know he was in the temple when he realized that God had remembered him. Reaching for the baby in the arms of a young girl, Simeon was moved to praise. As his wrinkled hands cradled the infant, Simeon sang to God: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:29-30).

Simeon uses the language of a slave that has been freed. There is a sense of immediacy and relief, as if a great iron door has been unlocked and he is now free to go through it. God had remembered his promise even as God remembered the aging Simeon. The Lord had promised he would not die before he saw the Lord’s salvation. Now seeing and holding the child named Jesus, Simeon knew he was dismissed to death in peace.

Marveling at the bold reaction of a stranger, Mary and Joseph stood in awe. Upon laying eyes on their child, a man unknown to them pronounced he could now die in peace. They were well aware of God’s hand upon Jesus; yet here they seem to discover that the arm of God, which is not too short to save, extends far beyond anything they imagined.

Simeon’s blessing and words to Mary only furthered this certainty: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:34-35). To these words as well, Mary and Joseph stood in awe.

In this Lenten season, followers of Jesus recall the symbol of the cross, the sword that pierced a mother’s heart, and the passion of the one who will continue to be spoken against. An old man in the temple hundreds of years ago, through a fraction of a scene in his life, reminds us still today that to look at Jesus is to physically look at the salvation of God. Whether peering at the child in the manger or the man on the cross, the human heart is yet revealed in its response to him. This is, in fact, our most memorable feature.

Perhaps the small excerpts of the many fleeting lives we find throughout the Christian story were meant to capture this very sentiment. As the thief peered into the bruised eyes of Jesus, like Simeon, he saw the salvation of God. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). And it was so.

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

 

http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – Are God’s Thoughts Your Thoughts?

 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. — Isaiah 55:8

Adapted from the resource Power Thoughts Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Whose thoughts are you thinking? If your thoughts are not God’s thoughts, I recommend changing your thinking! If we want to have what God wants us to have, then we will need to learn to think the way He thinks.

In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you… (KJV). God has thoughts for you. Do you think about you and your life the way God is thinking about you?

If you’re not thinking the way God is thinking, you are not going to end up with God’s plan for you. The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7For as he thinks in his heart, so is he… (AMPC).

You can stop God’s plan by thinking your own fleshly thoughts, or agreeing with others’ or Satan’s thoughts, or you can think God’s thoughts and believe and receive the good plan He has for your life. Who are you in agreement with?

Prayer Starter: Father, Help me to think positive thoughts today that agree with Your Word and the good plan You have for my life. Please help me to be more aware of the thoughts I think and the words I speak, knowing they have tremendous power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Supernatural Wisdom – by Faith

 

“If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him, and He will gladly tell you, for He is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him; He will not resent it” (James 1:5).

Often – many times a day – I need divine wisdom, not only in the multitudes of decisions that I must make daily, but also in the witnessing situations the Lord brings across my path. No doubt you recognize a similar need in your life.

All I have to do to have His presence guide me, if my heart is right with Him, is to ask in faith, and He promises the wisdom I need for each day and for each moment of the day.

If we are going to live supernatural lives, and if we are going to demonstrate to others that they, too, can live such a life, then we must begin to think and act differently. And that is possible only as we go to the source of all divine wisdom.

This verse from Scripture assures us that God’s ear is always open to this kind of prayer. And of course the wisdom to which James refers is more than factual knowledge. It is the light of life, in which we can walk without stumbling.

Why does one need to pray to gain this wisdom? Perhaps because prayer is humbling and involves an acknowledgment of our inadequacy. Prayer opens our hearts and lives to the transforming influence of the Spirit of God.

Bible Reading: James 1:6-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Knowing that I need God’s wisdom if I am to serve Him effectively and please Him today, I will obey Him – and claim His supernatural work in my life – by asking for His wisdom when I face a decision.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – When You Are Out of Choices

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

In the fifth chapter of John we find the story of an invalid.  He couldn’t walk.  He couldn’t work.  He couldn’t even get into the pool of Bethesda.  He was out of options.  But God’s efforts are strongest when our efforts are useless.  Jesus told the man, “Stand up.  Pick up your mat and walk.”  And the man immediately obeyed.

I wish we would do that.  I wish we would take Jesus at his word.  What is this peculiar paralysis that confines us—this stubborn unwillingness to be healed?  When he says we’re forgiven, let’s unload the guilt.  When he says we’re valuable, let’s believe him.  When he says we’re provided for, let’s stop worrying.  When he says, “Stand up,” let’s do it.

Is this your story?  A gentle stranger has stepped into your hurting world and offered you a hand.  Now it’s up to you to take it.

Read more He Still Moves Stones

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – A massacre in New Zealand, fighting in Israel, and a redemptive lesson from an unlikely source

 

Forty-nine people were killed in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, this morning. Twenty more were seriously wounded.

Four people, including three men and one woman, have been taken into custody. One man in his late twenties has been charged with murder. He reportedly posted a white-nationalist manifesto on Twitter.

This tragedy was the largest massacre in New Zealand history. It reminds us that Satan “comes to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). God is weeping with those who weep today and calls us to join him (Romans 12:15).

In other news, Israeli warplanes struck some one hundred Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, responding to a rocket attack on the Israeli metropolis of Tel Aviv. The fighting broke out as Egyptian mediators were in Gaza working to broker an expanded cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

In a world filled with violence and chaos, we can learn a redemptive lesson from an unlikely source.

“The Ides of March are come”

Today is known as the “Ides of March.” In the Roman world, the “Ides” was the midpoint of their months. The date we know as March 15 was marked by several religious ceremonies and was a Roman deadline for settling debts.

This day is especially known to history as the day Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. The back story is remarkable.

According to the Roman biographer Plutarch (died AD 119), “A certain seer warned Caesar to be on his guard against a great peril on the day of the month of March which the Romans call the Ides; and when the day had come and Caesar was on his way to the senate-house, he greeted the seer with a jest and said: ‘Well, the Ides of March are come,’ and the seer said to him softly: ‘Ay, they are come, but they are not gone.’”

Later that day, Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as sixty conspirators led by Brutus and Cassius.

Most people know the story of his death. But why was Caesar murdered on this day?

And why is his death relevant to our broken world today?

An assassination and stray cats

The Roman Republic was founded in 509 BC. Governed by leaders elected by the people, their representative model influenced the founders of the American republic. Over time, however, the aristocratic leaders of the Republic became less focused on the people and more concerned for their own power and agendas.

Julius Caesar (100–44 BC) rose to power as an accomplished military conqueror. With chaos in Rome, Caesar led his army south across the Rubicon, the northern barrier of Italy, on January 10, 49 BC. By 45 BC, he had become the sole dictator of Rome.

Brutus, Cassius, and the senators who conspired to execute Caesar claimed they were liberating the people from dictatorship. He was killed in a place known as Pompey’s Theater.

The area fell into ruins over the centuries and is currently fenced off from the public and occupied by stray cats. However, the mayor of Rome announced last week that the site will undergo renovation and be opened to the public in 2021.

“We are all slaves of the laws”

What can we learn from the Ides of March?

Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny is a new history of the fall of the Roman Republic. Its author, Edward J. Watts, earned his PhD in history from Yale and has received numerous awards for his research and writing.

He notes that “the men who led the Republic in the third century [before Christ] also understood that their personal achievements had meaning only when they served the larger goals of Roman policy.” There was “a shared understanding that the Republic was a political system subject to no one but the community as a whole.”

To illustrate, Watts cites the famous statement by Cicero: “We are all slaves of the laws so that we might be free.”

Over time, however, Roman political life devolved into “a struggle among individuals seeking honor and power through the complete control of the city and the resources of the empire.” Eventually, Romans would have “a new sort of liberty . . . Freedom from fear, freedom from famine, and freedom from danger now all came from [Emperor] Augustus and Augustus alone.”

When churches and Christians plateau

When the Roman Republic became a means to the end of personal advancement for its leaders, its decline began. The same can happen to us.

When churches are started, they must focus on evangelism and ministry to their communities in order to grow. After a few years, many have gained so many members that some begin focusing on what the church can do for them.

Parents want better programs for their children; adults want programming focused on their needs. The church stops focusing externally on those it is called to reach and starts focusing internally on itself. And it plateaus and often declines.

The same can happen to individual Christians when we focus more on what Jesus can do for us than what we can do for him. We come to church and to God for what we can receive. And we stop fulfilling the Commission to which we are called.

How to experience the joy of Jesus

The good news is that what happened to Rome doesn’t have to happen to us. Churches can renew their commitment to serve the community they are commissioned to reach. Christians can renew our commitment to the One who came not to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45).

Every day, we must decide whether we will live for Jesus or for ourselves (Romans 12:1–2). The tragedies that fill each day’s news show us that this decision is urgent for us and for the broken world we are called to serve.

Here’s the paradox: when we serve God and others, we find a greater significance than we can ever experience by serving ourselves. The disciples received power from the Spirit so they could be witnesses for our Lord (Acts 1:8). When we share the joy of Jesus, we experience the joy of Jesus. When we bless others, we are blessed.

In terms of the Ides of March, we can be an Empire or we can be a Republic, but we cannot be both.

Which do you choose today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Charles Stanley – Our Source of Hope in Trials

 

1 Peter 1:3-9

Are you presently going through any difficulties?  Maybe you’re experiencing a trial so intense that you wonder whether it’s possible to survive. Or perhaps you’re troubled by a particular hardship that drags on with no end in sight. And sometimes it’s the small, daily problems and stresses that wear us down and cause us to become discouraged.

Whatever the source of our adversity may be, Peter offers insight to help us recover hope and joy. He reminds us:

  • God has reserved an inheritance for us in heaven, which is imperishable, pure, and eternal (1 Peter 1:3-5). We must lift our eyes upward instead of focusing on our troubles. If we’ve placed all our hopes in this life, trials will continue to lead us to despair. But as children of God, we have an inheritance that will far outweigh any temporal suffering.
  • God is in control of our trials. Nothing comes our way randomly. Our loving Father ensures that our tribulations accomplish His unique purpose for each one of His children. He is sovereign over every adversity, including its duration, which is “for a little while” when compared to eternity (1 Peter 1:6).
  • God uses trials to strengthen our faith. Jesus said those who don’t truly believe fall away when afflictions arise (Matt. 13:20-21). To go through suffering and remain true to Christ testifies to others about our salvation. And each test makes our faith stronger.

So, how should we respond in trials? Peter says we are to rejoice in our eternal hope, endure hardships, love Jesus, and keep trusting Him.

Bible in One Year: Judges 4-6

 

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Our Daily Bread — Life Beyond Compare

 

Bible in a Year:Deuteronomy 23–25; Mark 14:1–26

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.”

Genesis 29:35

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Genesis 29:31-35

In a TV program, young adults posed as high school students to better understand the lives of teenagers. They discovered that social media plays a central role in how teens measure their self-worth. One participant observed, “[The students’] self-value is attached to social media—it’s dependent on how many ‘likes’ they get on a photo.” This need for acceptance by others can drive young people to extreme behavior online.

The longing for being accepted by others has always been there. In Genesis 29, Leah understandably yearns for the love of her husband Jacob. It’s reflected in the names of her first three sons—all capturing her loneliness (vv. 31–34). But, sadly, there’s no indication that Jacob ever gave her the acceptance she craved.

With the birth of her fourth child, Leah turned to God instead of her husband, naming her fourth son Judah, which means, “praise” (v. 35). Leah, it seems, finally chose to find her significance in God. She became part of God’s salvation story: Judah was the ancestor of King David and, later, Jesus.

We can try to find our significance in many ways and things, but only in Jesus do we find our identity as children of God, co-heirs with Christ, and those who will dwell eternally with our heavenly Father. As Paul wrote, nothing in this world compares with the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

By Peter Chin

Today’s Reflection

In what or whom have you been striving to gain your value and acceptance? How does faith in Jesus open the door to your true identity?

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Christ in Public

God has been in the news a lot lately. From Christian prayers in council meetings, to statements from the highest echelons of the Royal Family and the government, discussion of the place of God and in particular the role of Christianity in Britain today has been in the news on a daily basis. Professor Richard Dawkins continues to argue that religion has no place in the 21st century and debates over his anecdotes continue to capture the twittersphere. It seems it is now acceptable to discuss the Christian faith and belief in God in public. From radio studios to the school gate I have enjoyed being a part of this. The role of God in Britain is being discussed up and down the country in government, education, legislation, and community life in a way that I can’t remember in recent history.

While secularism insists that nothing good comes from religion, isn’t it actually the case that it is a Christian heritage that actually provides us with this free and open society—encouraging people to question and reason for themselves? For many, religious faith is a process, a journey of discovery on the basis of evidence, reason, and personal experience. Christianity has provided the foundation in Britain for an open and tolerant society. It was the great Christian leader Augustine who coined the phrase tolerare malus. He claimed that political structure influenced by the Christian faith must tolerate that which it disagreed with and perceived as wrong for the greater good of freedom.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Christ in Public

Joyce Meyer – Follow God, Not People

 

Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue. — John 12:42

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

The Bible teaches us in John 12:42-43 that many of the leading men believed in Jesus but would not confess it for fear that if they did, they would be expelled from the synagogue. For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God (John 12:43).

In this example, we see that some people were hindered from a relationship with Jesus because they were addicted to approval. Although they wanted a relationship with the Lord, they loved the approval of man more. That is sad, but it happens all the time.

The people mentioned in John 12 knew that Jesus was real. They believed in Him, but the love of approval would not permit them to have a true relationship with Him.

I wonder how their lives turned out. What did they miss because they said yes to people and no to God? I wonder how many of them were never mentioned in the Bible again. I wonder if they faded into oblivion and never fulfilled their destiny because they loved the approval of men more than the approval of God. How many of them spent their lives disrespecting themselves because they were people-pleasers?

Follow God, not people!

Prayer Starter: Lord, I want to put You first in my life. Please continue to change me and help me to care what You think more than I care what other people think. I sincerely want to grow in You and seek to please You in everything I do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Truly Rich

 

“Do you want to be truly rich? You already are if you are happy and good. After all, we didn’t bring any money with us when we came into the world, and we can’t carry away a single penny when we die” (1 Timothy 6:6,7).

If you had the choice of choosing between great wealth and good health and a happy, joyful relationship with our Lord, which would you choose? Though many would choose wealth, I am sure that if you are a Christian, you would gladly choose to live modestly the rest of your life if necessary in order to experience daily the joy of your salvation.

During all of my career, I, an agnostic, had worked hard to successfully develop my business interests. Then, in the providence of God, I was brought face to face with Christ and His Word. “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

It was as though God touched my mind to enable me to understand that I could eat only one meal at a time, wear one suit of clothes at a time and take nothing with me when I die. I understood for the first time that being truly rich does not involve the accumulation of vast wealth, but it involves knowing and doing the will of God – in walking in intimate, vital, personal fellowship with Him daily as a way of life.

Fanny Crosby, the hymnwriter, gave us more than eight thousand gospel songs. Although blinded at the age of six weeks, she never held any bitterness in her heart because of it.

“I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when He showered so many other gifts upon you,” a friend once said to her.

“Do you know,” she responded quickly, “that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I should be born blind.”

“Why?” asked the astounded clergyman.

“Because,” she replied, “when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”

Bible Reading: Luke 12:25-31

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  As I figuratively sit at God’s banquet table today, I will feast upon His spiritual bounties and not be satisfied with the crumbs of materialism.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Do Our Prayers Matter?

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

“If you can do anything for him, please have pity on us and help us.” This prayer in Mark 9:22 doesn’t sound courageous or confident.  It was the prayer of a desperate parent with a demon-possessed son in need of a miracle.

Most of our prayer lives could use a tune-up.  Some prayer lives lack consistency.  Others need sincerity.  And some honestly wonder if prayer makes a difference. We are tempted to wait to pray until we know how to pray.

Notice that Jesus responded to the man’s prayer. God is more moved by our hurt than our eloquence. Our prayers may be awkward.  Our attempts may be feeble.  But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.

Read more He Still Moves Stones

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – The college scam, Felicity Huffman, and Lori Loughlin: Two biblical responses

Felicity Huffman is an Emmy winner and Oscar-nominated actress who is best known for her role in Desperate Housewives. She is also married to acclaimed actor William H. Macy.

Lori Loughlin has been known to most Americans as “Aunt Becky,” the wholesome maternal influence on ABC’s Full House. She has also starred in numerous Hallmark movies.

On Tuesday, as the Washington Post reports, “both actresses had their reputations shattered as they were charged with fraud and conspiracy.”

Their stories will forever be linked to a scandal that has made global headlines this week.

“Operation Varsity Blues”

Huffman was reportedly met by FBI agents with their guns drawn Tuesday morning at her Los Angeles home. She was later released on a $250,000 bond. She allegedly paid $15,000 disguised as a charitable donation so her daughter could participate in a college entrance-exam cheating scam.

According to the FBI, Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer J. Mossimo Giannulli, paid bribes totaling $500,000 “in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team—despite the fact that they did not participate in crew—thereby facilitating their admission to USC.” Giannulli was released on a $1 million bond; Loughlin surrendered to authorities yesterday and was released on a $1 million bond as well.

Continue reading Denison Forum – The college scam, Felicity Huffman, and Lori Loughlin: Two biblical responses

Charles Stanley – Acquiring Wisdom

 

Proverbs 4:20-27

The most obvious source of godly wisdom is the Bible. There we find the Lord’s principles for right character, conduct, and conversation, which apply to the situations and decisions that confront every human being.

We’re all able to recall times when we didn’t respond wisely. Those incidents can be traced back to one of two possibilities—either we didn’t know a certain biblical principle or we knew the principle that applied but chose to ignore it. To ensure that we’re familiar with God’s standards and the importance of following them, we have to spend time reading and understanding His Word.

For example, suppose that you walk into the office and a coworker verbally assaults you with undeserved blame for a costly mistake. Your flesh and the world would have you respond in kind with anger and malice. But Luke 6:27-29 offers a different approach, that might go something like this, spoken gently: “Is there anything else? Thank you for telling me how you feel about this.”

Knowledge comes from learning biblical principles; wisdom has to do with applying them. The Lord cautions us to keep His Word in our heart and in our head so we will heed His instructions (Josh. 1:8; Prov. 8:33).

In pursuing the Christian life, we acquire wisdom by absorbing Scripture, doing what it says, and observing the result, which is for our good even when consequences appear less than favorable. Special classes aren’t required; God simply wants an obedient heart and willing spirit.

Bible in One Year: Judges 1-3

 

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Our Daily Bread — Homeless by Choice

 

Bible in a Year:Deuteronomy 20–22; Mark 13:21–37

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Hebrews 2:18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Hebrews 2:9-18

Keith Wasserman has chosen to be homeless for a few days every year since 1989 in order to grow in love and compassion. “I go to live on the streets to expand my perspective and understanding” of people who have no homes to live in, says Keith, executive director of Good Works, Inc.

I’m wondering whether Keith’s approach to become one with those he’s serving might be a small picture of what Jesus did for us. God Himself, the Creator of the universe, chose to confine Himself to the vulnerable state of a baby, to live as a human, to experience what we all experience, and to ultimately die at the hand of humans so that we can experience a relationship with God.

The writer of the book of Hebrews stated that Jesus “shared in [our] humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil” (2:14). Jesus was made lower than the angels, even though He’s their Creator (v. 9). He became human and died, even though He’s immortal. And He suffered for us, even though He’s the all-powerful God. Why would He do this? So that He could help us when we go through temptations and bring reconciliation between us and God (vv. 17–18).

May we experience His love today, knowing He understands our humanity and has already provided the way for us to be cleansed from our sins.

By Estera Pirosca Escobar

Today’s Reflection

Have you come to Jesus and experienced His love and forgiveness? If yes, how does this reality affect your life today? If not, will you receive Him today?

 

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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 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)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – In Defiance, Hope?