Tag Archives: god

Denison Forum – When is the next royal baby due?

Meghan Markle is having twins, or she’s not. Her baby will be named Victoria, or it will be named Diana, or Albert, or Philip. Her sister-in-law is pregnant with her fourth child, or not.

Now we have more “news”: Meghan is due in late April or early May. Or so we’re told.

Expect much fake news about the royal family in the coming months. And about nearly everything else in the news as well.

Unsurprisingly, only 45 percent of Americans say they trust the mass media. Like nearly everything else today, our opinions fall into political categories: 76 percent of Democrats say they trust the media, while only 21 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Independents agree.

Fake news can be used to inflame or suppress social conflict. It undermines trust in the media and in government. Fake news aimed at senior adults is such a problem that the FBI has created a web page designed to protect seniors against this threat.

In an age that declares all truth to be subjective, we should not be surprised when our “news” is subjective. This is not just a problem for today–it is an issue that affects eternity.

But in the chaos of our times, there’s a path to the unchanging truth we need today.

What ideology caused 100 million deaths in the 20th century?

According to Pew Research Center, 80 percent of Americans believe in God. That’s the good news.

Continue reading Denison Forum – When is the next royal baby due?

Charles Stanley – Assurance for Trials

 

Psalm 121:1-6

Trials will surface in our life. Thankfully, though, we can rely on our Father to help in times of need, as today’s passage from Psalm 121 assures us.

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (vv. 1-2). When frightened about dangers and difficulties that might befall him, the psalmist knew where to turn for help. Similarly, when we encounter uncertainty, fears, or trials, our sovereign Lord will sustain us (Psalm 103:19)—even when others let us down or our own strength fails.

“He who keeps you will not slumber” (Psalm 121:3). With billions of people in the world, it is difficult to comprehend how the Lord could possibly know every detail of our lives—or why He would care enough to number all the hairs on our heads. But this passage confirms that God is alert to every aspect of each life and attentive to our every need.

“The Lord is your keeper” (v. 5). In Hebrew, the word for “keep” comes from the same root as “guard” and “protect.” We use this term when parents ask a trusted person to keep their child while they are away temporarily. The childcare provider is expected to protect and provide for needs. God promises to keep His children, which means that He will defend us, give us what we need, grow us into His likeness, and guard us from evil.

Without these promises, the world could seem dangerous and lonely. But we can face unknowns and difficult times with confidence, knowing that the Lord will keep us and help us.

Bible in One Year: Genesis 46-48

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Hope’s Sure Foundation

 

Bible in a Year:Genesis 33–35; Matthew 10:1–20

My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Hebrews 11:1-6

Lessons on faith can come from unexpected places—like the one I learned from my 110-pound, black Labrador retriever, “Bear.” Bear’s large metal water bowl was located in a corner of the kitchen. Whenever it was empty, he wouldn’t bark or paw at it. Instead, he would lie down quietly beside it and wait. Sometimes he would have to wait several minutes, but Bear had learned to trust that I would eventually walk into the room, see him there, and provide what he needed. His simple faith in me reminded me of my need to place more trust in God.

The Bible tells us that “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). The foundation of this confidence and assurance is God Himself, who “rewards those who earnestly seek him” (v. 6). God is faithful to keep His promises to all who believe and come to Him through Jesus.

Sometimes having faith in “what we do not see” isn’t easy. But we can rest in God’s goodness and His loving character, trusting that His wisdom is perfect in all things—even when we have to wait. He is always faithful to do what He says: to save our eternal souls and meet our deepest needs, now and forever.

By James Banks

Today’s Reflection

Almighty Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to always take care of me. Help me to trust You and to rest in Your perfect love today.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Public Realms, Quiet Gifts

 

“I didn’t even know he was sick.”

In public spaces the day after news of pop icon David Bowie’s passing became public information, it was a common sentiment. It was the sentiment of flabbergast, as if death seemed irreconcilable with a persona so large. It was a sentiment that seemed to fit with my own most vivid memory of Bowie, trapped somewhere between fantasy and reality, with those eyebrows and that hair and the gaze of the Goblin King in Jim Henson’s 1987 film Labyrinth.

He died three years ago. But I still remembering being struck by how many times I heard the statement. “I didn’t even know he was sick.” “I didn’t even know he had cancer.” It is the honest shock of a public so accustomed to the knowledge of everything and anything filed away in public realms of accessible information and social media over-sharing. The shock of the death of an icon is compounded by the shock that we somehow missed the immensely personal news of his diagnosis, followed by the shock that we didn’t know because it actually wasn’t trending news, that we didn’t know because that he didn’t actually share it in the first place.

There are times when we are given glimpses of the status quo and invited to see it somewhere beyond “life as usual.” If ever so briefly, like fish learning to see the very water in which they are submersed, it is a gift if we will receive it. We live in a world of news feeds that never stop offering us something on which to comment, something to forward or post, tweet or retweet, something to fleetingly consume like ravenous furnaces burning through information in kindling-like segments at a time. We are expected to share everything with friends defined by our social media circles, people who, in the original sense of the word, are likely closer to strangers. What once would have been understandably and guardedly private is now fodder for sharing on public walls, “walls” we are so at home with that we fail to question how they are changing the very people they contain. Our own walls included, we seem somehow less able to imagine what might exist on the other side.

An unlikely, counterintuitive practice of prayer called the examen may offer to train our eyes to see beyond the barrage of public news-feeds which invite us to imagine that we can know everything, have a right access anything, and a need to share it all. I say unlikely because in a world obsessed with a public domain for sharing self-made profiles and walls of endless information, prayer, or any such habit that smacks of religion, is strictly restricted to private realms, stored quietly somewhere behind our public personas. Prayer as a solution is further unlikely because by the world’s standards it is at the very least unproductive, if not crazy: What utility does prayer serve? What information is gleaned? And with whom are we sharing if it’s not actually made “public”? But I also say counterintuitive because the examen is a practice that looks backward on the day as a way of learning to see presently. Quite counterintuitively, we listen to our lives by coming “in secret” to the one who sees the public and the private—the one for whom there is no division between these realms in the first place.(1)

First practiced by Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Christian Jesuit movement in the fourteenth century, the examen asks two questions at the day’s end, though these questions can be asked in various ways: Where did I most experience consolation today? Where did I experience desolation? What was the most life-giving encounter today? What was not life-giving? For what was I most grateful today? For what was I least grateful? Conjuring the word “examination,” the word examen comes from Latin and refers to the weight indicator on a balance scale. The word itself conveys the idea of an accurate assessment of the true situation and the hope that over time and in the quiet repetition of withdrawing, Christ, self, and neighbor come more openly and truly into focus. Prayer indeed sets aside the demand for utility and the lure of publicity to quietly and wastefully be present with the God of abundance. The examen is a means of listening to and looking after the places where this God is at work giving life, which is what the Father has done abundantly in Christ, and conversely, those areas that are drawing us away from God’s life-giving presence. It is a means of silencing the barrage of public information and the temptation to share ourselves in a way that draws attention. Prayer fills us instead with a quiet gratitude, so that we learn to tend closer to these spaces privately and corporately, and in turn, to bring the very countenance of the one who gives life back into the public domain.

In the words of the late David Bowie, I know something is very wrong/ The pulse returns for prodigal sons/ I can’t give everything away.” Thankfully, we were not meant to give everything away. Mercifully, there is one who has shared so abundantly of himself that it is worth silencing our public clamor to listen more intently for these signs of life. The very human pulse of the Son of God brings us back to ourselves and into the kind arms of the one who sees most clearly.

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

(1) “Do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:5-6).

 

http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – What Is Confidence?

 

Hezekiah trusted in, leaned on, and was confident in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that neither after him nor before him was any one of all the kings of Judah like him. — 2 Kings 18:5 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource The Confident Women Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

What is confidence? I believe confidence is all about being positive concerning what you can do—and not worrying over what you can’t do.

A confident person is open to learning because they know that their confidence allows them to walk through life’s doorways, eager to discover what waits on the other side. They know that every new unknown is a chance to learn more about themselves and unleash their abilities.

Confident people do not concentrate on their weaknesses; they develop and maximize their strengths.

For example, on a scale of one to ten, I might be a three when it comes to playing the piano. Now, if I were to practice long and hard—and if my husband could put up with the racket—I could, maybe, transform myself into a middle-of-the road, level-five pianist.

However, as a public speaker, I might be an eight. So, if I invested my time and effort into this ability, I might just be able to get to a level ten. When you look at it this way, it’s easy to see where you need to invest your efforts.

Prayer Starter: Lord, if Hezekiah could learn to lean upon and be confident in You, I know that it’s also possible for me. Enable me to focus on developing and maximizing my strengths rather than concentrating on my weaknesses. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Blessing So Great

 

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so that there will be food enough in my Temple; if you do, I will open up the windows of heaven for you and pour out a blessing so great you won’t have room enough to take it in” (Malachi 3:10).

Tom and Marti were newlyweds. They were just getting started in business and had all the expense of setting up housekeeping. So they found their budget severely strained. In fact, the bills were piling up. Then they were challenged to tithe their gross income. Their first response was, “Impossible! We can’t even pay our present bills, let alone take 10 percent off the top.”

As they prayed together, however, they felt definitely led that this was God’s will. Since they wanted to please Him by obeying His command, they began systematically and faithfully to give priority to their tithe. At first, it was nip and tuck, and some of the other obligations had to wait. But after a few months they were amazed to see how they were able to accomplish more with the nine-tenths than they had previously been able to accomplish with the total amount.

Now they are enthusiastic over the privilege of laying up treasures in heaven, seeking first the kingdom of God. Tithing was only the beginning. Now they are giving 40 percent off the top because God has prospered them so abundantly.

I began to tithe as a new Christian when I was made aware of the scriptural principle that everything belongs to God and we are only stewards during our brief time here on earth. Actually a tithe is the Old Testament concept and according to the New Testament concept every believer has the privilege of laying up treasures in heaven far beyond the amount of the tithe. There is a law of sowing and reaping: The more you sow, the more you reap.

To the Christian, it is not how much we give to God; it is how much we have left after we have given to Him – and to His kingdom.

Bible Reading:Malachi 3:5-9

Today’s Action Point: Today I will take inventory of my giving to the Lord. I will begin at least to tithe, expecting that God, as He promised Malachi, “will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing so great that I won’t have room enough to take it in.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Are You Afraid You Won’t Protect Your Kids?

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Parenting comes loaded with fears.  Dangers buzz in the background.  No parent can sit still while his or her child suffers.  Luke Chapter 8 tells us that Jairus couldn’t.  “Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him.  His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying” (vs. 40-42).

Jesus heeded his fears…he still does.  Jesus heeds the concerns in the parent’s heart.  After all, our kids were his kids first.  Even as they are ours, they are still his.  We forget that fact.  Wise are the parents who regularly give their children back to God.

Parents, we can be loyal advocates, stubborn intercessors; and we can take our parenting fears to Christ.

Read more Fearless

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – A kicker’s failure became eternally significant

After last weekend’s divisional round, the Chiefs, Rams, Patriots, and Saints are the last four of the NFL’s thirty-two teams still in this year’s playoffs. The combined population of their cities equals 1.57 percent of the US population.

In other words, as pro football fans go, there are far more losers than winners this morning.

In our “winning isn’t everything–it’s the only thing” culture, this is tough for those of us who live in Dallas and other losing cities to wake up to. But we can learn an important life lesson from the player who epitomized losing this season.

A kick that defied all odds

Cody Parkey is a kicker for the Chicago Bears. He set an NFL rookie scoring record in 2014 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015. Earlier this season, he was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against the Vikings.

In the first round of this year’s playoffs, his Chicago Bears played last year’s Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. At the end of the game, the Bears were poised to win as Parkey lined up a forty-three-yard field goal. He had already kicked three field goals in the game. His fourth was right down the middle, but the Eagles had called time out just before the play began.

When the game resumed, Parkey’s kick struck the left upright of the goalpost. Then, defying all odds, it struck the crossbar. Then it fell backwards to the ground. The Bears lost.

The team and their fans were devastated. Only later did they learn that an Eagles player got a hand on the ball, deflecting the kick.

Continue reading Denison Forum – A kicker’s failure became eternally significant

Charles Stanley –Evidence of a Proud Heart

 

Matthew 23:1-12

Pride is deceptive. In fact, a proud person is often the last one to know the contents of his or her own heart. This was definitely true of the scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus confronted. They thought of themselves as good people who kept God’s law but failed to see their desire for prominence and respect as evidence of pride.

The same is true today—our quest for recognition and validation still flows from pride. Perhaps we want someone to thank us for the work we’ve done behind the scenes, and if it’s not forthcoming, we become resentful or self-pitying. Or maybe our pride manifests itself with a superior attitude of self-importance, and we secretly consider ourselves to be better than those around us. We may even choose to associate with prominent, well-liked people while ignoring those who are less admired.

However, while we chase after prominence externally, our spirits are becoming shriveled internally because we’ve become proud. The only solution is to turn back to God and humble ourselves before Him. We do this by confessing our sin and recognizing the specific parts of our life that have been damaged by it. Then we must ask the Lord to make us continually alert to any self-glorifying attitudes that pop up so we can quickly confess and walk in obedience once again.

One of the most effective ways to overcome pride is to look at Christ’s example. There was absolutely nothing in us that warranted His love and salvation. We were worthy only of hell, yet He humbled Himself to become a man, die in our place, and offer us salvation. To Him be all the glory!

Bible in One Year: Genesis 42-45

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Plight of the Crawdads

 

Bible in a Year:Genesis 31–32; Matthew 9:18–38

Always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

1 Thessalonians 5:15

Today’s Scripture & Insight: 1 Thessalonians 5:11-18

When my cousin invited me to join him to fish for crawdads (crayfish), I couldn’t help but be excited. I grinned when he handed me a plastic pail. “No lid?”

“You won’t need one,” he said, picking up the fishing rods and the small bag of chicken chunks we’d use for bait.

Later, as I watched the small crustaceans climbing over one another in a futile attempt to escape the almost-full bucket, I realized why we wouldn’t need a lid. Whenever one crawdad reached the rim, the others would pull it back down.

The plight of the crawdads reminds me how destructive it is to be selfishly concerned about our own gain instead of the benefit of a whole community. Paul understood the need for uplifting, interdependent relationships when he wrote to the believers in Thessalonica. He urged them to “warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak,” and “be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Commending their caring community (v. 11), Paul spurred them toward even more loving and peaceful relationships (vv. 13–15). By striving to create a culture of forgiveness, kindness, and compassion, their relationships with God and others would be strengthened (vv. 15, 23).

The church can grow and witness for Christ through this kind of loving unity. When believers honor God, committing to lift others up instead of pulling them down with words or actions, we and our communities thrive.

By Xochitl Dixon

 

http://www.odb.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Happy Just to Be … Myself

 

Philippians 4:11

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to compare yourself to others? Even if we know better, we look at someone else and think he or she has it better. How many times have you thought: If only I had the right hair or clothes or shape … If only I were taller or faster or bolder or funnier …

There’s an old story of a king who went to his garden and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak tree what was wrong. The oak tree said it was sick of living because it was not as tall and beautiful as the pine tree. The pine was dropping needles because it couldn’t grow grapes like the grapevine. And the grapevine let itself shrivel up because it couldn’t stand straight and tall like the peach tree. Every plant in the garden was discontented and wanted to be something different, except the violet. There it stood with its happy face turned toward the sun. The king asked the little flower why it was so happy and content when every other plant in the garden was so miserable. “Well,” said the flower, “I figured that if you had wanted a big oak tree or a pine tree or a peach tree in my spot, you would have planted one; but you planted me—a violet. Since I knew you wanted a violet, I’ve made up my mind to be the best little violet I can be.”

You were made by the almighty Creator with a purpose in mind. Wishing to be anything other than who you are does nothing more than steal your time, energy, and joy. But when you see yourself how God does, you realize how great you really are. So you can stop concentrating on other people and instead focus on your own blessings. Only then will you find you are ready for all the plans and adventures God has for you.

Dear Lord, Help me stop comparing myself to other people and worrying about the things I think I lack. Thank you for all of the gifts you have given me. Show me how I can best use them for your glory. Amen.

 

Joyce Meyer – Always Constant

 

Jesus Christ is [eternally changeless, always] the same yesterday and today and forever. — Hebrews 13:8 (AMP)

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

What is the main thing you love so much about Jesus? There are many answers to that question, of course, such as the fact He died for you on the cross so you wouldn’t have to be punished for your sins; then He rose again on the third day.

But in your daily relationship with Him, one of the things you will appreciate most about Him is the fact you can count on Him not to change.

You love Jesus and are able to trust Him because He is never changing. He has said in His Word, “This is the way I was, and this is the way I’m always going to be.”

If you can count on anything, you can count on Jesus never changing. He can change anything else that needs to be changed, but He always remains constant.

Prayer Starter: Jesus, thank You for being the constant in my life! You never change, but You are always working in my life and helping me to change. Today, I pray that You will open my spiritual eyes even further and help me to understand Your unchanging love and faithfulness in a greater way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Perfect in His Sight Promise

 

“But Christ gave Himself to God for our sins as one sacrifice for all time, and then sat down at the place of highest honor at God’s right hand, waiting for His enemies to be laid under His feet. For by that one offering He made forever perfect in the sight of God all those whom He is making Holy” (Hebrews 10:12-14).

All the sins you and I have ever committed or ever shall commit – past, present and future – are forgiven the moment we receive Christ, according to God’s Word. Think of it and rejoice!

Then you may rightly ask, “If all of my sins – past, present and future – are forgiven, why do I need to confess my sins?”

According to God’s Word, confession is an act of obedience and an expression or demonstration of faith that makes real in our experience what is already true concerning us from God’s point of view.

Through the sacrifice of Christ, He sees us as righteous and perfect. The rest of our lives on earth are spent maturing and becoming in our experience what we already are in God’s sight.

This maturing process is accelerated through the faithful study of God’s Word, prayer, witnessing for Christ, and spiritual breathing – exhaling through confessing our sins and inhaling by appropriating the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit by faith.

If you retake the throne, the control center, of your life through sin (a deliberate act of disobedience) breath spiritually. First, exhale by confession. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, KJV).

Next, inhale by appropriating the fullness of God’s Spirit by faith. Trust Him now to control and empower you by faith according to His command to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

Bible Reading:Hebrews 10:19-25

Today’s Action Point: Today I will study God’s Word, pray and invite the Holy Spirit to lead me to someone whose heart He has prepared to receive Christ. Also, I will practice spiritual breathing whenever any attitude, action, motive or desire that is contrary to God’s will short-circuits God’s power in my life. I will confess it and by faith inhale by appropriating the fullness and power of God’s Holy Spirit.

 

http://www.cru.org

Charles Stanley –The Landmine of Pride

 

Proverbs 16:17-20

The Christian life is like a long walk that begins at salvation and ends in heaven, and along the way are obstacles to overcome and dangers to avoid. One such hazard is the spiritual landmine of pride. It is like an explosive device that’s been buried in the ground to cause great physical harm—pride may lie hidden and unrecognized in our heart, causing great spiritual damage in both our life and our relationship with the Lord.

Our enemy Satan lays spiritual landmines in our path to trip us up, and one of his most effective ones is pride. Therefore, it’s imperative that we learn to detect it quickly in order to guard against sin. Often we are slow to see and admit that we have a problem with pride, because it tends to hide behind feelings of inadequacy.

Whatever the form, pride is all about self. It may be displayed with loud self-promotion or quiet self-reflection, but the root is the same. It’s a vain attempt to fill an area of personal emptiness. But God alone can fill that void, and the only way to come to Him is in humility.

Proverbs 16:5 says, “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.” That’s why we cannot serve Him while clinging to our own self-importance. When God is given second place in our life, the work of the Holy Spirit is hindered. Then we make foolish mistakes because we are focused not on Him but on ourselves.

The key to overcoming pride is to fix our eyes on God and the depth of His character. He alone is worthy of all exaltation.

Bible in One Year: Genesis 39-41

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Jesus Is Right Behind You

 

Bible in a Year:Genesis 29–30; Matthew 9:1–17

Whatever you did for one of the least of these . . . you did for me.

Matthew 25:40

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Matthew 25:37-40

My daughter was ready for school a little earlier than usual, so she asked if we could stop by the coffee shop on our way. I agreed. As we approached the drive-thru lane, I said, “Do you feel like spreading some joy this morning?” She said, “Sure.”

We placed our order, then pulled up to the window where the barista told us what we owed. I said, “We’d like to pay for the young woman’s order behind us too.” My daughter had a huge smile on her face.

In the grand scheme of things, a cup of coffee may not seem like a big deal. Or is it? I wonder, could this be one way we carry out Jesus’s desire for us to care for those He called “the least of these”? (Matthew 25:40). Here’s a thought: How about simply considering the person behind us or next in line a worthy candidate? And then do “whatever”—maybe it’s a cup of coffee, maybe it’s something more, maybe something less. But when Jesus said “whatever you did” (v. 40) that gives us a great deal of freedom in serving Him while serving others.

As we drove away we caught the faces of the young woman behind us and the barista as she handed over the coffee. They were both grinning from ear to ear.

By John Blase

Today’s Reflection

Lord, help me not to overthink serving others. Sometimes the small, simple things mean more than I’ll ever know. And help me to remember that whatever I do for others, I’m doing for You.

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – No More Self-Doubt

 

And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. — 1 Samuel 30:6

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

If we don’t believe in ourselves—in the talents and abilities God has given us—who is going to? God believes in us, and it’s a good thing too; otherwise, we might never make any progress. We cannot always wait for someone else to come along and encourage us to be all we can be.

When David and his men found themselves in a seemingly hopeless situation, which the men blamed on him, David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord. Later on, that situation was totally turned around (see 1 Samuel 30:1–20).

When David was just a boy, everyone around him discouraged him concerning his ability to fight Goliath. They told him he was too young and too inexperienced, and he didn’t have the right armor or the right weapons. But David was close to God and had confidence in Him. David believed that God would be strong on his behalf and give him the victory.

Self-doubt is absolutely tormenting, but we can rid ourselves of it. Like David, we can learn to know our God—about His love, His ways, and His Word—then ultimately we can trust that He will provide us with the strength we need.

Prayer Starter: Father, You know everything about me—every insecurity, weakness and fear. Help me to be sufficient in Your love and strength today. Help me to grow stronger and more confident as I continue to know You in a greater way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Be Strong in Character

 

“Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete” (James 1:2-4).

A friend of mine had been very successful in business, but after he became a Christian everything seemed to go wrong. Problem after problem seemed to plague him. Yet he never seemed to be discouraged or defeated.

As we counseled together, he assured me that there was no unconfessed sin in his life. So I rejoiced with him that God was preparing him for a very important responsibility in His kingdom. That is exactly what happened. He is now the director of a very fruitful ministry for our Lord. The problems and testing served to help equip him to be a better ambassador for Christ.

If you are experiencing difficulties in your life – physical illness, loss of loved ones, financial adversity – remember the above admonition from God’s Word. Be happy, knowing that God will work in your life to accomplish His holy purpose.

You can decide how you will respond to problems and temptations – you can either become critical and cynical, or as an act of the will, by faith, you can choose to believe that our sovereign, loving God is allowing this to happen in your life for your own good and for His glory.

Even the hairs of your head are numbered. “His eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9, KJV). He is tender, loving and compassionate, concerned about your every need.

Bible Reading:James 1:5-12

Today’s Action Point: When difficulties and temptations enter into my life I will – as an act of the will, by faith in God’s faithfulness to His promises – rejoice and be glad, knowing that He is always with me and will never forsake me. As I trust Him and obey Him, he will supernaturally turn tragedy to triumph, and He will change heartache and sorrow to joy and rejoicing. I will trust Him in the darkest night of circumstances.

 

http://www.cru.org

Charles Stanley –Longing for the Word

 

1 Peter 2:1-3

If you’ve ever had a newborn baby in your home, you understand the concept Peter is conveying in today’s passage. A baby doesn’t care how pretty mom is or how delightfully the nursery is decorated. There is one thing a newborn wants above all else—milk.

Is that how you feel about God’s Word? Do you long for it so that you may grow spiritually mature? Is hearing Scripture explained and taught at church something you look forward to with eagerness? Or have you lost your appetite and gotten used to digesting only on Sundays?

Often, right after someone has come to faith, there’s an initial hunger to read the Bible because everything about salvation is new and exciting. But as time passes, the novelty wears off, the problems and daily pressures of life continue just as they did previously, and passion for the Word may be replaced with the cares of this life.

If someone has truly been saved, a hunger for the Word should be evident. That’s because as believers, we have tasted the kindness of the Lord and, therefore, long to know Him more fully. Habitually nibbling on Scripture doesn’t do much to stimulate our appetite. God’s Word is an acquired taste, and the more we consume it, the greater our hunger for it will become.

If you’ve lost your desire for the Word, ask the Lord to restore your appetite, and begin reading every day. As you become more familiar with Scripture, you’ll notice your understanding and desire for it increase. Best of all, your love and devotion for your Savior and will grow as well.

Bible in One Year: Genesis 36-38

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Infinite Dimensions

 

Bible in a Year: Genesis 27–28; Matthew 8:18–34

I pray that you . . . [will] grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

Ephesians 3:17–18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Ephesians 3:16-21

I lay still on the vinyl-covered mat and held my breath on command as the machine whirred and clicked. I knew lots of folks had endured MRIs, but for claustrophobic me, the experience required focused concentration on something—Someone—much bigger than myself.

In my mind, a phrase from Scripture—“how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18)—moved in rhythm with the machine’s hum. In Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church, he described four dimensions to God’s love in order to stress the unending parameters of His love and presence.

My position while lying down for the MRI provided a new image for my understanding. Wide: the six inches on either side of where my arms were tightly pinned to my body within the tube. Long: the distance between the cylinder’s two openings, extending out from my head and feet. High: the six inches from my nose up to the “ceiling” of the tube. Deep: the support of the tube anchored to the floor beneath me, holding me up. Four dimensions illustrating God’s presence surrounding and holding me in the MRI tube—and in every circumstance of life.

God’s love is ALL around us. Wide: He extends His arms to reach all people everywhere. Long: His love never ends. High: He lifts us up. Deep: He dips down, holding us in all situations. Nothing can separate us from Him! (Romans 8:38–39).

By Elisa Morgan

Today’s Reflection

What situations cause you to question God’s love? How will you choose to trust Him?

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Think Again: An Indispensable Prerequisite

Being raised in India while my wife, Margie, was raised in Canada, I have learned that sometimes words and ideas can get lost in translation, even with those closest to you. Often when I am with Indian friends or colleagues, one of them will make a remark in Hindi that elicits fits of laughter among those of us who understand the language.

Margie will invariably ask, “What did he say?” I attempt to translate the humor, knowing very well her predictable reaction: a blank stare followed by, “But what was so funny?”

Language and culture have that unique capacity to open a world of imagination and a wealth of memory. Even though I left India several decades ago, there are some concepts the Hindi language captures for me that English cannot.

Similarly, the same word may mean different ideas to different people. To a professor of philosophy, “reason” may mean a sound argument. To a high school teacher in India, “reason” may mean cultural respect for one’s own ancestral beliefs.

So, whether we are expressing humor or discussing ultimate issues, we are wise to heed the psalmist’s injunction: “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3). “The tongue has the power of life and death,” wrote Solomon (Proverbs 18:21). A few verses earlier he cautions, “To answer before listening—that is folly and shame” (verse 13).

With this biblical wisdom, we must keep in mind that behind every belief is a believer and behind every question is a questioner. The belief is part of the worldview, and the worldview is not always well scrutinized by reason. Cultures carry huge connections to the past. Respect must be given.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Think Again: An Indispensable Prerequisite