Tag Archives: god

Charles Stanley – Because He Is Risen

 

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

Jesus is alive. He was resurrected from the dead and lives in heaven, interceding on our behalf. Because He is risen, we can have confidence that . . .

• Our sins are forgiven. Jesus came into this world to give His life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28). Through His death on the cross, the debt for our iniquities has been paid completely. We are a forgiven people.

• The Lord is actively involved in our lives. Jesus made many promises to His followers of all generations. He pledged that those who abide in Him and do His will would bear much fruit for God’s kingdom, enjoy spiritual blessings, and have guidance from the indwelling Holy Spirit, who is ever-present (Matt. 5:1-12; John 15:5).

Jesus spoke several times about the power of prayer for those who believe—we have assurance that our petitions will be heard and answered. When our requests are in accordance with the Lord’s will, we’ll receive what we have asked for (1 John 5:14-15).

Jesus gave His word that He would prepare a place for us in heaven and return one day to bring us to our everlasting home. Then we will live with Him forever. We can face each day secure in the knowledge of these truths. We can face each day secure in the knowledge of these truths.

Because Jesus has accomplished all this for us, He deserves our steadfast allegiance. Our worldview is to be framed by His life and words. We must stand firm and not compromise when the world tries to draw us away. Honor our risen Savior by following Him wholeheartedly (1 Cor. 15:58).

Our Daily Bread – You Can Beat It!

 

Matthew 28:1-10

O Death, where is your sting? —1 Corinthians 15:55

The radio ad for an upcoming seminar sounded intriguing. The announcer said, “You can beat death—for good! Attend my seminar and I’ll show you how.” I wondered for a few moments what the speaker would claim could beat death and what his suggestions might be. Perhaps something about diet or exercise or freezing our bodies? After listening a little longer, though, I realized he had said, “You can beat debt—for good.”

The most wonderful news is that we can beat death because Jesus paid our debt! (1 Cor. 15:55-57). Our debt of sin meant separation from God, but Jesus willingly gave up His life and was crucified on a cross to pay what we owed. As Mary Magdalene and another Mary went to the tomb on the third day to anoint His body, an angel told them: “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said” (Matt. 28:6). With great joy they ran to bring His disciples the word. On their way, Jesus met them and said, “Rejoice!” (v.9). Jesus had risen, and His followers had reason for rejoicing.

Jesus has removed the sting of death (1 Cor. 15:55). Now we too have victory by believing in the Son of God’s death and resurrection for us. Through Jesus’ perfect work, we can beat death—for good!

Dear Lord, thank You for sacrificing Your life for our

sins so that we might live. We’re thankful that because

You died and rose again, we can have assurance that

one day we’ll be with You in a place of no more death.

We owed a debt we couldn’t pay; Jesus paid a debt He didn’t owe.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – When Forgiveness Is Impossible

 

In war-torn relationships of Northern Uganda, forgiveness is complicated. Betty was a teenager when her village was raided by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel army known for its brutal tactics and widespread human rights violations. She was kidnapped as a sex slave for a commander and ordered to commit callous acts of violence as a child soldier, until gradually she was broken and became an active member of the LRA.

After six years of bloodshed, however, Betty managed to escape, running across the country to freedom. But coming home would not be a simple matter of returning. She had committed violence against the very people she hoped to rejoin. Her own guilt and shame was as palpable as the mistrust and anger of her village. In her absence, two of her own brothers had been killed by the same army Betty fought alongside.

In the midst of such loss, with so many permanent scars, forgiveness might seem hopeful, but naïve at best. Is reconciliation even to be desired when brokenness is so irreversible? Does forgiveness cease to be hopeful when neither party can ever be the same again? From where I stand, these are painful questions to even begin to answer.

But the people of Uganda are trying. For hundreds and hundreds of children like Betty, terrorized by crimes they were forced to commit and returning home to terrorized villages, tribal elders have adapted a ceremony to make it possible for both. In a ceremony that includes the act of breaking and stepping on an egg and an opobo branch, the returnee is cleansed from the things he or she has done while away. The egg symbolizes innocent life, and by breaking and placing themselves in its broken substance, returnees declare before their village their desire to be restored to the way they used to be. In a final step over a pole, the returnees step into new life. In many cases, women returnees come home with babies who were born in the bush, usually a result of rape. When they arrive at the broken egg, the child’s foot is placed in the substance, too. The spirit of reconciliation, like warfare, must touch everyone.

In a single week, Christians around the world remember the last moments of Jesus, the betrayals and predictions, the march to crucifixion, his burial on Good Friday, the silence of Holy Saturday, and the terror and amazement of Easter Sunday. In a week, we are reminded how the disciples failed him miserably, falling asleep when he needed them most in prayer, denying ever knowing him as he was convicted for being himself, watching him die alone from a distance. In a single week, Christians move from recognizing ourselves in this list of failures to sensing the hopeful confusion of the disciples, the overwhelm of Thomas, and the timid longing of the women at the tomb. In a single week, we move from complete despair to shocking hope, total darkness to surprising light, the finality of death to the reordering of reality, from broken and sinful to restored and somehow forgiven.

In this solitary week, Christians remember a story that should make the bold and touching forgiveness of war-torn Ugandans seem natural, expected, and necessary, however shocking or complicated or slow-coming it might be. After the egg-breaking ceremony with her village, Betty went from rebel to ex-rebel, from shamed to restored. “I feel cleansed,” she said of the ceremony. After a day of being welcomed and celebrated, she adds, “Some of the bad things in my heart: they are gone.”(1) Alex Boraine, deputy chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, notes of such radical forgiveness: “[With its] uncomfortable commitment to bringing the perpetrator back into the family, Africa has something to say to the world.”(2)

Indeed, it might. And so does Christ. In one eventful, holy week, we remember the ugly depths of our sin and stare into the deep scars of the servant who bore it away. This utter shift in our condition is as overwhelming as this Good Friday, as disquieting as Holy Saturday, and as inconceivable as Easter Sunday. But it is our ceremony. Christ is broken, we are covered in his blood, and we emerge as dead men and women walking. How beyond our knowing, how inexplicable is this gift. Yet because it was given, in a single week, we can claim again the mystery; we can claim the power of reconciliation; we can claim Christ, who moves us from perpetrator to family.

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

(1) Abe McLaughlin, “Africa After War: Paths To Forgiveness—Ugandans Welcome ‘Terrorists’ Back” International Center for Transitional Justice, October 23, 2006.

(2) Ibid.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning  “He was numbered with the transgressors.” / Isaiah 53:12

Why did Jesus suffer himself to be enrolled amongst sinners? This wonderful  condescension was justified by many powerful reasons. In such a character he  could the better become their advocate. In some trials there is an  identification of the counsellor with the client, nor can they be looked upon  in the eye of the law as apart from one another. Now, when the sinner is  brought to the bar, Jesus appears there himself. He stands to answer the  accusation. He points to his side, his hands, his feet, and challenges Justice  to bring anything against the sinners whom he represents; he pleads his blood,  and pleads so triumphantly, being numbered with them and having a part with  them, that the Judge proclaims, “Let them go their way; deliver them from  going down into the pit, for he hath found a ransom.” Our Lord Jesus was  numbered with the transgressors in order that they might feel their hearts  drawn towards him. Who can be afraid of one who is written in the same list  with us? Surely we may come boldly to him, and confess our guilt. He who is  numbered with us cannot condemn us. Was he not put down in the transgressor’s  list that we might be written in the red roll of the saints? He was holy, and  written among the holy; we were guilty, and numbered among the guilty; he  transfers his name from yonder list to this black indictment, and our names  are taken from the indictment and written in the roll of acceptance, for there  is a complete transfer made between Jesus and his people. All our estate of  misery and sin Jesus has taken; and all that Jesus has comes to us. His  righteousness, his blood, and everything that he hath he gives us as our  dowry. Rejoice, believer, in your union to him who was numbered among the  transgressors; and prove that you are truly saved by being manifestly numbered  with those who are new creatures in him.

 

Evening  “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.” / Lamentations  3:40

The spouse who fondly loves her absent husband longs for his return; a long  protracted separation from her lord is a semi-death to her spirit: and so with  souls who love the Saviour much, they must see his face, they cannot bear that  he should be away upon the mountains of Bether, and no more hold communion  with them. A reproaching glance, an uplifted finger will be grievous to loving  children, who fear to offend their tender father, and are only happy in his  smile. Beloved, it was so once with you. A text of Scripture, a threatening, a  touch of the rod of affliction, and you went to your Father’s feet, crying,  “Show me wherefore thou contendest with me?” Is it so now? Are you content to  follow Jesus afar off? Can you contemplate suspended communion with Christ  without alarm? Can you bear to have your Beloved walking contrary to you,  because you walk contrary to him? Have your sins separated between you and  your God, and is your heart at rest? O let me affectionately warn you, for it  is a grievous thing when we can live contentedly without the present enjoyment  of the Saviour’s face. Let us labour to feel what an evil thing this  is–little love to our own dying Saviour, little joy in our precious Jesus,  little fellowship with the Beloved! Hold a true Lent in your souls, while you  sorrow over your hardness of heart. Do not stop at sorrow! Remember where you  first received salvation. Go at once to the cross. There, and there only, can  you get your spirit quickened. No matter how hard, how insensible, how dead we  may have become, let us go again in all the rags and poverty, and defilement  of our natural condition. Let us clasp that cross, let us look into those  languid eyes, let us bathe in that fountain filled with blood–this will bring  back to us our first love; this will restore the simplicity of our faith, and  the tenderness of our heart.

Alistair Begg – Jesus Our Counselor

 

He poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors.  Isaiah 53:12

Why did Jesus cause Himself to be enrolled among sinners? This wonderful condescension was justified by many powerful reasons. By doing so He could better become their advocate. In some trials there is an identification of the counselor with the client, nor can they be looked upon in the eye of the law as separate from each other. Now, when the sinner is brought to the bench, Jesus appears there Himself. He stands to answer the accusation. He points to His side, His hands, His feet, and challenges Justice to bring anything against the sinners whom He represents. He pleads His blood, and pleads so triumphantly, being numbered with them and having a part with them, that the Judge proclaims, “Let them go, deliver them from the pit, for He has provided a ransom.”

Our Lord Jesus was numbered with the transgressors in order that they might feel their hearts drawn toward Him. Who can be afraid of one whose name appears on the same list with us? Surely we may come boldly to Him and confess our guilt. He who is numbered with us cannot condemn us. Was He not entered in the transgressor’s list that we might be written in the red roll of the saints? He was holy and written among the holy; we were guilty and numbered among the guilty. He transfers His name from that list to this dark indictment, and our names are taken from the indictment and written in the roll of acceptance, for there is a complete transfer made between Jesus and His people.

All our condition of misery and sin Jesus has taken; and all that Jesus has comes to us. His righteousness, His blood, and everything that He has He gives us as our dowry. Rejoice, believer, in your union to Him who was numbered among the transgressors; and prove that you are truly saved by being clearly identified with those who are new creatures in Him.

John MacArthur – Avoiding Temptations

 

“Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13).

When we hear the English word temptation, we usually think of a solicitation to evil. But “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 translates a Greek word that can refer either to a trial that God permits to refine your spiritual character (James 1:2-4), or a temptation that Satan or your flesh brings to incite you to sin (Matt. 4:1; James 1:13- 15). Both are valid translations.

I believe “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 refers to trials. Even though we know God uses trials for our good, it’s still good to pray that He won’t allow us to be caught in a trial that becomes an irresistible temptation. That can happen if we’re spiritually weak or ill-prepared to deal with a situation.

God will never test you beyond what you’re able to endure (1 Cor. 10:13), but resisting temptation requires spiritual discipline and divine resources. Praying for God to deliver you from trials that might overcome you is a safeguard against leaning on your own strength and neglecting His power.

God tested Joseph by allowing him to be sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused by an adulterous woman, and unjustly imprisoned by a jealous husband. But Joseph knew that God’s hand was on his life. That’s why he could say to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to . . . preserve many people” (Gen. 50:20). Joseph was ready for the test and passed it beautifully!

Jesus Himself was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matt. 4:1). God wanted to test Him to prove His virtue, but Satan wanted to tempt Him to destroy His virtue. Jesus, too, was victorious.

When you experience trials, don’t let them turn into temptations. Recognize God’s purposes and seek His strength. Learn from the example of those who have successfully endured the same trials. Be assured that God is in control and is using each trial to mold your character and teach you greater dependence on Him.

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for the trials He brings your way.

Ask Him to help you see your trials as means by which He strengthens you and glorifies Himself.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 119:11, Matthew 26:41, Ephesians 6:10-18, and James 4:7. What do those verses teach you about dealing with temptation?

Joyce Meyer – Seek to Do Good

 

See that none of you repays another with evil for evil, but always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody. —1 Thessalonians 5:15

The Bible is filled with instructions for us to be active. The direction to be active instead of passive is rather simple, but millions of people totally ignore it. Maybe they think things will get better on their own. But nothing good happens accidentally. Once I learned that, my life changed for the better.

The Bible says we are to seek to be kind and good (see 1 Thess. 5:15). Seek is a strong word meaning “to crave, pursue, and go after.” If we seek opportunities, we are sure to find them and that will protect us from being idle and unfruitful. We must ask ourselves if we are alert and active or passive and inactive? God is alert and active! I am glad He is; otherwise, things in our lives would deteriorate rapidly. God not only created the world and everything we see and enjoy in it, He also actively maintains it because He knows that good things do not simply occur; they happen as a result of right action (see Heb. 1:3).

God-inspired, balanced activity keeps us from being idle and unfruitful and thereby serves as a protection for us. Actively doing right things continuously will prevent us from doing wrong things.

Trust in Him: Are you pursuing goodness and kindness? Be alert and active, trusting God to inspire right action in your life while you seek to be kind and good.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Rivers of Living Water

 

“For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me” (John 7:38).

I was explaining to a group of Christians the meaning of Proverbs 15:13-15, “A happy face means a glad heart, a sad face means a breaking heart. When a man is gloomy, everything seems to go wrong and when he is cheerful everything seems to go right.”

God’s Word reminds us that the source of joy is the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:6). So if a man is filled with the Spirit, he will have a joyful heart. When we are filled with the Spirit, we will express love by singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord. A happy heart will inevitably produce a joyful countenance (Ephesians 5:18-21).

If we do not have a joyful, peaceful countenance, there is reason to question whether we have a loving, joyful heart. And if we do not have a loving, joyful heart, it is not likely that we are filled with the Spirit.

One Christian leader, who had heard me speak, approached me later. He just happened to have a very somber, stern countenance. He explained to me that this was a new concept to him, and since he was reared in another culture, he felt that his somber countenance was a cultural thing.

“In our part of the world [the Middle East],” he said, “we don’t smile and express ourselves like American Christians.”

Together we analyzed the Scripture and concluded that culture has nothing to do with this truth, since Jesus, Paul and other writers of the New Testament were also born in the Middle East. If we truly understand the Spirit-filled life, whatever our cultural background, the joy of the Lord will flow from us – from our “innermost being shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38, NAS).

Bible Reading: John 7:33-37

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Recognizing love, joy and peace as trademarks of the Spirit-filled life, I will consciously seek to be Spirit-controlled so that these expressions will be a natural overflow of my life. I will teach this spiritual truth to others today.

Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – No Comparison

 

Coming back from the dead makes for a compelling story. Recent bestsellers provide riveting reports of people who were clinically dead but saw Jesus – or heaven or something like it – and then were brought back to life under unusual or miraculous circumstances. Many believe in these accounts wholeheartedly. Others are skeptical. And some think they are complete nonsense.

Born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:3

Whatever your view on these stories, no account can compare to the resurrection of Christ. Not only was Jesus dead in His tomb for three days, Scripture also tells you He also carried with Him into death the sin of all mankind. Christ was crushed by the weight of every evil deed, from the littlest white lie to the greatest mass murder – committed throughout history. And yet the Spirit of God reached into the tomb and brought Him back from the dead. Think of the kind of supernatural power it would take to do that…and then think about the marvelous fact that you received that same power when you were born again.

Today, pray for America’s leaders to know the power of His resurrection, and ask God to make you a worthy illustration to others of His living hope through your own life.

Recommended Reading: Colossians 1:21-29

Charles Stanley – Destined for the Cross

 

Romans 6:8-11

When you saw the title for today’s devotion, I imagine that you thought it was about Jesus. If so, you’re half right. The cross is always about Jesus, but believers are also destined for sacrifice and death.

“Death to self” happens at the moment of salvation, when we are crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6). The old self dies, and we are given a new nature as the Holy Spirit comes to live within us (John 14:17). At times it takes a bit longer to get to the sacrifice—the moment when we hand over to God everything we love and value.

God doesn’t stop at salvation; His purpose is to conform believers to the likeness of His Son (Rom. 8:29). So He gives us a new nature—then we can experience freedom because Jesus has triumphed over sin. But in order to live as God intends, we must be willing to give Christ the centermost position in our lives. As a result, the Lord calls us to the cross on a daily basis to lay down the things that might distract us from our purpose to serve and follow Him.

Don’t misunderstand what it means to be destined for the cross. God isn’t going to take away everything and leave us as lonely paupers. Putting our valuables on the cross—whether they are possessions, people, or dreams—frees us from the attachments of this world.

When we lay down worldly attachments, our self-esteem isn’t tied to “stuff” and our sense of acceptance doesn’t come from people. We are complete in the Lord. Or as Paul said, we are “alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11). Enjoying a new life in Christ is worth a daily trip to the cross.

Our Daily Bread – Shout Of Triumph

 

John 19:30

Recently I read about Aron Ralston, a hiker who was trapped alone at the bottom of a remote canyon. With scant hope of being found and his strength ebbing away, he had to take drastic measures to save his life. During a moment of excruciating pain, he shouted in agony and in victory, because he had freed himself and now had a chance to escape and live.

Those who witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus saw His hours of agony and heard Him cry out in a loud voice, “It is finished!” as He gave up His spirit (John 19:30). His final words from the cross were not a cry of painful defeat but a shout of triumph, because He had accomplished all that the Father sent Him to do.

When Jesus died, He shared in what all of us must experience. But far beyond that, He did what none of us can do. He paid the price for our sins that we might be forgiven and have eternal life through faith in Him.

“It is finished!” was the Lord’s shout of victory because now, through Him, we can escape the power of sin; we can live and be free.

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we call the day of His death Good Friday.

I have been to the cross where my Savior died,

And all of my life is made new—

In the person of Him I am crucified.

I have been to the cross. Have you?

—Helen Frazee-Bower © 1956 Helen Frazee-Bower

Jesus died that we might live.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he

suffered.” / Hebrews 5:8

We are told that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through  suffering, therefore we who are sinful, and who are far from being perfect,  must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering too. Shall the head  be crowned with thorns, and shall the other members of the body be rocked upon  the dainty lap of ease? Must Christ pass through seas of his own blood to win  the crown, and are we to walk to heaven dryshod in silver slippers? No, our  Master’s experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true-born  child of God must not, would not, escape it if he might. But there is one very  comforting thought in the fact of Christ’s “being made perfect through  suffering”–it is, that he can have complete sympathy with us. “He is not an  high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” In  this sympathy of Christ we find a sustaining power. One of the early martyrs  said, “I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and he suffers in me now; he  sympathizes with me, and this makes me strong.” Believer, lay hold of this  thought in all times of agony. Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you  follow in his steps. Find a sweet support in his sympathy; and remember that,  to suffer is an honourable thing–to suffer for Christ is glory. The apostles  rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do this. Just so far as the Lord  shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ, just so far  does he honour us. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia  of the kings whom God hath anointed are their troubles, their sorrows, and  their griefs. Let us not, therefore, shun being honoured. Let us not turn  aside from being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us up. “If we  suffer, we shall also reign with him.”

 

 

Evening  “I called him, but he gave me no answer.” / Song of Solomon 5:6

Prayer sometimes tarrieth, like a petitioner at the gate, until the King  cometh forth to fill her bosom with the blessings which she seeketh. The Lord,  when he hath given great faith, has been known to try it by long delayings. He  has suffered his servants’ voices to echo in their ears as from a brazen sky.  They have knocked at the golden gate, but it has remained immovable, as though  it were rusted upon its hinges. Like Jeremiah, they have cried, “Thou hast  covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.” Thus  have true saints continued long in patient waiting without reply, not because  their prayers were not vehement, nor because they were unaccepted, but because  it so pleased him who is a Sovereign, and who gives according to his own  pleasure. If it pleases him to bid our patience exercise itself, shall he not  do as he wills with his own! Beggars must not be choosers either as to time,  place, or form. But we must be careful not to take delays in prayer for  denials: God’s long-dated bills will be punctually honoured; we must not  suffer Satan to shake our confidence in the God of truth by pointing to our  unanswered prayers. Unanswered petitions are not unheard. God keeps a file for  our prayers–they are not blown away by the wind, they are treasured in the  King’s archives. This is a registry in the court of heaven wherein every  prayer is recorded. Tried believer, thy Lord hath a tear-bottle in which the  costly drops of sacred grief are put away, and a book in which thy holy  groanings are numbered. By and by, thy suit shall prevail. Canst thou not be  content to wait a little? Will not thy Lord’s time be better than thy time? By  and by he will comfortably appear, to thy soul’s joy, and make thee put away  the sackcloth and ashes of long waiting, and put on the scarlet and fine linen  of full fruition.

John MacArthur – Seeking God’s Protection

 

“Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13).

At the moment of your salvation, judicial forgiveness covered all of your sins–past, present, and future. Parental forgiveness restores the joy and sweet fellowship broken by any subsequent sins. But concurrent with the joy of being forgiven is the desire to be protected from any future sins. That’s the desire expressed in Matthew 6:13: “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

That petition seems simple enough at first glance, but it raises some important questions. According to James 1:13, God doesn’t tempt anyone to commit sin, so why ask Him to protect us from something He apparently wouldn’t lead us into in the first place?

Some say the word “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 means “trials.” But trials strengthen us and prove the genuineness of our faith. We are to rejoice in them, not avoid them (James 1:2-4).

The solution to this paradox has to do with the nature of the petition. It is not so much a technical theological statement as it is an emotional plea from one who hates sin and wants to be protected from it. Chrysostom, the early church father, said it is a natural appeal of human weakness as it faces danger (Homily 19.10).

I don’t know about you, but I have a healthy sense of self-distrust. That’s why I carefully guard what I think, say, watch, read, and listen to. If I sense spiritual danger I run into the presence of God and say, “Lord, I will be overwhelmed by this situation unless You come to my aid.” That’s the spirit of Matthew 6:13.

We live in a fallen world that throws temptation after temptation our way. Therefore it’s only natural and proper for us as Christians to continually confess our sins, receive the Father’s forgiveness, and plead with Him to deliver us from the possibility of sinning against Him in the future.

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord that He loves you and ministers through you despite your human weaknesses.

Ask Him to protect you today from any situation that might cause you to sin.

For Further Study: Read 1 Corinthians 10:13 and James 1:13-16.

To what degree will God allow you to be tempted?

What is a common source of temptation?

Joyce Meyer – Let God Do the Healing

 

O Lord my God, I cried out to You and You have healed me. —Psalm 30:2

James A. Garfield became president of the United States in 1880 and was shot in the back six months later, in July 1881.

After the shooting, a doctor tried to remove the bullet, but couldn’t. In the following weeks, more doctors probed his wound to try to locate the bullet, to no avail. Eventually, Alexander Graham Bell provided an electrical device doctors thought might locate the bullet, but that didn’t work. Doctors later learned that sometimes removing a bullet causes more trouble than leaving it alone.

Garfield died on September 19, 1881, not as a result of his wound, but because of infection and hemorrhage that probably developed after so much probing for the bullet. The very thing physicians thought would heal Garfield ended up killing him.

When you have a “wound” of some sort, whether it’s a disappointment, a betrayal, being abandoned or rejected or some other hurtful situation, don’t keep probing it. Go to God and ask Him to heal you in the way He knows is best for you. Then take your hands off. Don’t try to “fix” yourself, but do follow the Holy Spirit as He leads you into healing and wholeness.

Love Yourself Today: Is there a wound in your heart that you have probed too much?  Ask God to heal it; stay sensitive to His Spirit; and let Him bring new life and strength to you.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – As a Man Thinketh

 

“Every day in every way I am becoming better and better,” declared the French philosopher Emile Coue. But it is said that he committed suicide.

Positive thinking by a nonbeliever without a biblical basis is often an exercise in futility. Though I agree with the basic concept of positive thinking, so long as it is related to the Word of God, there is a difference between positive thinking and supernatural thinking. We do not think positively so that we can know Christ better; we come to know Christ better, which results in supernatural thinking. The basis of our thinking is God’s Word; supernatural thinking is based upon the attributes of God.

When a man says, “I am going to be enthusiastic, by faith, as an act of the will,” or “I am going to rejoice, by faith, as an act of the will,” he is simply drawing upon his rights as a child of God, according to the promises of God.

In supernatural thinking, we apply the promises of God, knowing with certainty that if we ask anything according to His will, He will hear and answer us.

Some well-known Christian leaders emphasize “positive thinking” and “possibility thinking.” They are men whom I admire and with whom I agree basically in this regard because the Christian life is a positive life. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

But I prefer to use what I believe to be the more scriptural definition of the Christian life – supernatural thinking, which includes – but goes far beyond – both positive thinking and possibility thinking.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 23:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Today I will claim by faith a promise or promises from God’s Word which will help me to live a supernatural life.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Gone with the Wind

 

People puzzled over why artists Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude would put up a 400 meter-long orange curtain across Rifle Gap near Rifle, Colorado. The project, done in the early 1970s, took two years in the planning and implementation and cost $700,000. With the first attempt, rocks and wind immediately tore the curtain to shreds. The second try lasted 28 hours. Of his work Christo said, “I think it takes much greater courage to create things to be gone than to create things that will remain.” Though Christo, Jeanne-Claude and the people of Rifle were satisfied with their success, many people thought their artwork useless.

For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. I Corinthians 15:21

This Good Friday, you’re not in the position of the disciples when they wondered if their belief in Jesus had come to nothing – like Christo’s curtain disintegrating in the wind. Paul reminded the early Christians that putting their faith in Jesus was not in vain. It was God’s plan all along for Jesus to die, resurrect and offer believers eternal life.

This Easter season, remember your faith in Christ is not futile…and pray that the Gospel will be clearly preached in America and many will turn to Him.

Recommended Reading: John 6:35-51

Greg Laurie – Finished!

 

When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit—John 19:30

The cross was the goal of Jesus from the very beginning. His birth was so there would be His death. The incarnation was for our atonement. He was born to die so that we might live. And when He had accomplished the purpose He had come to fulfill, He summed it up with a single word: “finished.”

In the original Greek, it was a common word. Jesus probably used it after He finished a project that He and Joseph might have been working on together in the carpentry shop. Jesus might have turned to Joseph and said, “Finished. Now let’s go have lunch.” It is finished. Mission accomplished. It is done. It is made an end of.

So what was finished? Finished and completed were the horrendous sufferings of Christ. Never again would He experience pain at the hand of wicked men. Never again would He have to bear the sins of the world. Never again would He, even for a moment, be forsaken of God. That was completed. That was taken care of.

Also finished was Satan’s stronghold on humanity. Jesus came to deal a decisive blow against the devil and his demons at the cross of Calvary. Hebrews 2:14 says, “Only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.” This means that you no longer have to be under the power of sin. Because of Jesus’ accomplishment at the cross, finished was the stronghold of Satan on humanity.

And lastly, finished was our salvation. It is completed. It is done. All of our sins were transferred to Jesus when He hung on the cross. His righteousness was transferred to our account.

So Jesus cried out the words, “It is finished!” It was God’s deliberate and well-thought-out plan. It is finished—so rejoice!

 

Max Lucado – Six Hours, One Friday

 

Six hours, one Friday.  Mundane to the casual observer.   A shepherd with his sheep, a housewife with her thoughts, a doctor with his patients.  But to a handful of awestruck witnesses, the most maddening of miracles is occurring. God is on a cross.  The creator of the universe is being executed.

It is no normal six hours.  It is no normal Friday.  Far worse than the breaking of his body is the shredding of his heart.  And now his own father is beginning to turn his back on him, leaving him alone. What do you do with that day in history?  What do you do with its claims?  They were the most critical hours in history.

Nails didn’t hold God to a cross.  Love did. The sinless One took on the face of a sinner so that we sinners could take on the face of a saint!

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Charles Stanley – Lessons We Learn in Gethsemane

 

Matthew 26:36-46

When you are suffering, do you turn to God’s Word? That is the only source we can count on to bring life, hope, and promise to otherwise hopeless situations. Its principles illustrate how to—and how not to—deal with trials. When we respond God’s way, the difficulty that threatened to harm us actually enriches our character and enables us to do greater works for Him.

I believe that the most intense suffering ever recorded was that of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Christ knew that by bearing our sin, He was about to endure not only a gruesome and horrific crucifixion but also the full force of God’s wrath. Even more devastating, He’d be separated from His Father for the first and only time since eternity past. That’s something no other child of God will ever have to endure, because Jesus’ agony achieved mankind’s redemption. So we know that whatever trial faces us, God will be by our side, supporting us through it.

Let Jesus’ Gethsemane experience be your example in times of trouble. Our Savior trusted His Father fully and accepted His will. Remember, the Father is in control. He limits the length and intensity of the pain. And, while He hurts to see His children suffer, He loves us enough to allow the difficulty. There is a beautiful harvest of growth and purpose if we embrace His road for us.

What trial are you facing? Do you trust that God is in control? Our Father allows pain because He loves us. Only He knows whether hardship or blessing will bring about the needed changes in our lives. And He will spare no experience, effort, or heartache to conform us to His Son’s likeness.

 

 

Our Daily Bread – “And It Was Night”

 

John 13:21-30

Having received the piece of bread, [Judas] then went out immediately. And it was night. —John 13:30

During a business trip to Philadelphia, I attended an evening service on the Thursday before Easter—a service of Communion and Tenebrae (darkness) held in a small chapel lit by candles. Following the bread and the cup, a passage was read aloud from the gospel of John, one candle was extinguished, and we sang a verse from a hymn about Jesus’ journey to the cross. This was repeated 14 times until the chapel was completely dark. In silence we knelt in prayer and then left one by one without speaking.

The darkness of this type of service can remind us of the dark elements surrounding Jesus’ death. Think of His last meal with the disciples (John 13:21-30) as He explained that one of them would betray Him. Only Jesus knew it was Judas. “Having received the piece of bread, [Judas] then went out immediately. And it was night” (v.30).

On the darkest evening of Jesus’ life, He agonized in prayer in the Garden, faced a wrongful arrest, endured humiliation at the hands of religious leaders, and winced at Peter’s denials. Yet He moved faithfully toward the cross where He would die for our sins.

Jesus endured darkness and death to give us light and life. Praise Him for what He went through for us!

See, from His head, His hands, His feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down;

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown? —Watts

Calvary reveals the vileness of our sin and the vastness of God’s love.