Tag Archives: lord jesus christ

Charles Stanley – God Acts on Our Behalf

 

Lamentations 3:19-26

We’re so used to a hurried world that we sometimes expect speed in our spiritual life, too. However, God “acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isa. 64:4 NIV). Let’s look at three reasons believers are called upon to wait.

God may be preparing us to receive His blessings. Perhaps we need new skills, maturity, or a particular spiritual insight before we’re ready for God’s plan. For example, David waited years to sit on his appointed throne. But when he did, he was stronger, wiser, and a battle-tested king.

Our Father is often teaching us to have confidence in Him. How would we learn faith if He immediately fulfilled our every request? In my own life, the Lord has often said two words: “Trust Me.” And He has never been late to meet my needs. No matter how we justify rushing ahead of God, doing so amounts to saying, “I don’t trust You.”

The Lord will sometimes withhold blessing to protect us. We may never find out why, but be assured that God carefully decides whether to place the object of our desire in our hands.

Waiting isn’t easy, but rushing ahead of the Lord can short-circuit His plan. When that happens, believers are left unsatisfied, and they often live with the consequences. Be patient while God works out details. His best is on the way.

 

Bible in One Year: Zechariah 1-5

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Eyes to See

 

Bible in a Year:

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

Psalm 119:18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 119:97–104

I recently discovered the wonder of anamorphic art. Appearing at first as an assortment of random parts, an anamorphic sculpture only makes sense when viewed from the correct angle. In one piece, a series of vertical poles align to reveal a famous leader’s face. In another, a mass of cable becomes the outline of an elephant. Another artwork, made of hundreds of black dots suspended by wire, becomes a woman’s eye when seen correctly. The key to anamorphic art is viewing it from different angles until its meaning is revealed.

With thousands of verses of history, poetry, and more, the Bible can sometimes be hard to understand. But Scripture itself tells us how to unlock its meaning. Treat it like an anamorphic sculpture: view it from different angles and meditate on it deeply.

Christ’s parables work this way. Those who care enough to ponder them gain “eyes to see” their meaning (Matthew 13:10–16). Paul told Timothy to “reflect” on his words so God would give him insight (2 Timothy 2:7). And the repeated refrain of Psalm 119 is how meditating on Scripture brings wisdom and insight, opening our eyes to see its meaning (119:18, 97–99).

How about pondering a single parable for a week or reading a gospel in one sitting? Spend some time viewing a verse from all angles. Go deep. Biblical insight comes from meditating on Scripture, not just reading it.

Oh, God, give us eyes to see.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Why Isn’t God More Obvious?

 

Why is it that God does not seem to approach in a much more obvious way? One answer has been that God’s existence is not a matter of reality and facts. Isn’t it more of a faith position, anyway? Isn’t it more about a leap in the dark than an embrace of evidence?

I would agree that God isn’t “forcefully obvious,” but I don’t think that this confines God to being a “take-it-or-leave-it” matter of faith. I think it makes more sense to see God as clearly visible, whilst not being forcefully obvious.

Did you know that the Bible actually recognizes the validity of this question? First, we see passages that affirm the human perception that God seems hidden. In Job 23:8-9 we read, “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.”

Interestingly, there are also many examples of God appearing as if veiled in darkness, whilst still simultaneously offering his presence.(1) For instance we read that, “The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.” Jesus, too, invites people to trust in him and then leaves and hides himself. In John we find the story of a paralytic man who is healed, but then Jesus slips away into the crowd. Luke records that as news about Jesus spread, “he often withdrew to lonely places.” Later, Jesus tells the disciples that, “Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me.” Interestingly in many of these cases, God provides a clear sense of presence, while at the same time veiling the fullness of that presence.

So perhaps an unavoidable part of the Bible’s answer to why God seems hidden is because it’s true. But why? And what about those times when we need a present God most, when God could offer us real hope in times of suffering?

Well, when Jesus resisted the crowd, he concealed his identity until exactly the right moment in time to explicitly disclose it. This was a wise decision as the consequences of more explicit or obvious disclosure led fairly quickly to a successful campaign to have him executed. Could it be that God isn’t unavoidably obvious, but clear in a more qualified sense? Crucially, there is also no reason why something of this nature might not require some learning to begin to perceive or see on our part.

For example, imagine that I said that it is obvious, but not forcefully so, that you will need your passport to fly internationally. Now, notice carefully that you have to learn this bit of information. It is certainly not like a forcefully obvious brick wall that you cannot avoid. But it would still perhaps be a case of a failure to grasp the obvious if you arrived at the airport with your bags packed but without your passport. It’s this second sense (of non-forceful obviousness or avoidable clarity) that the case for God can be confidently approached.

But might this idea of God hiding merely provide a clever way for Christians to cling onto God in a scientific and evidence demanding age? This has been argued. Yet Christians do not claim that God doesn’t show himself, but rather that God chooses the means of the showing. And hiddenness may well be necessary to bring focus to the way God declares his existence through Jesus Christ. In fact, divine hiding creates the possibility of a more obvious disclosure or uncovering.

Atheist Bertrand Russell famously quipped that if he were faced with God when he died, he would demand an explanation for why God made the evidence of his existence so insufficient. We might be tempted to think he was being entirely reasonable. But perhaps the evidence we demand for God is directly related to who we think God is and what we think God’s purposes are. Hiddenness would make no sense if God’s aim was simply to relate to us as an object of knowledge that offered no real relational connection or friendship. If this was the divine purpose—that we would simply acknowledge God’s existence—then I am sympathetic to Russell’s demand for more evidence.

But let us suppose that God was unwilling to make an approach to human life merely through the intellect. Instead, let us imagine that God is seeking a relationship that is based upon a deeper and more profound personal insight or perception. Have you ever asked what kind of a relationship God might want with you?

Moreover, God has indeed been revealed plainly in the reality of a redemptive plan and action. The gospel is described as a mystery now made known. Many Christians can recall moments, or even seasons spanning years, where God has been plainly and clearly at work and life has been saturated with the presence and grace of Father, Son, and Spirit. Faith isn’t a blind faith, but a response to the evidence. It is based on real events that can be investigated. A leap in the dark has never been the offer, as it is about stepping into the light.

So perhaps the evidence that we demand is a consequence of who we think God is and what we think God’s purposes are? If God loves you and wants you to freely choose to return that love then perhaps sending his Son for you is enough to catch your attention.

 

(1) Cf. Psalm 10:1; 22:1-2; 30:7; 44:23-24; 88:13-14; 89:46; Isaiah 45:15.

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Joyce Meyer – No More Excuses

 

Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! — 2 Corinthians 5:17 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind – by Joyce Meyer

“I’ve always had a short temper. That’s just the way I am.”

“I’m a straightforward person. That’s who I am, and that’s how people need to accept me.”

“I call things as I see them. I don’t sugarcoat anything.”

This list could go on endlessly, but the one thing these excuses have in common is that each is meant to justify people remaining the way they are. It’s a way of resisting change.

Making excuses also creates space for Satan to creep into our minds. Being the deceiver that he is, he tells us that we’re not rude—we’re just being honest, and people need to respect that quality in us. We think we speak the truth as we see it, and we’re not cowards or hypocrites. If the devil can convince us that we don’t need to grow—that we’ll always be fine exactly the way we are—he’s won a serious battle in our lives.

In fact, the devil can give us a lot of excuses for not changing. If he convinces us that other people are at fault because “they’re just too sensitive” or “they don’t want to hear the truth and face reality,” we don’t feel responsible to grow in the way we communicate, and we think it’s all right to say whatever we want, which isn’t true.

Another example is this: No matter how negative we might be in our thinking, most of us wouldn’t call ourselves “negative.” We’d prefer words like logicalrealisticforthright, or candid. Not facing the truth about ourselves is one part of Satan’s deceptive work.

When I went through a season where I was extremely negative, I wouldn’t have thought of myself as a negative person—I thought I was just being honest. If I saw something wrong, I spoke up, and often offered my counsel on ways for people to change. Because I could see the weaknesses and problems of others, I was happy to show them how they could overcome. On my worst days, I found things wrong with all my friends and everything they did. I didn’t have to look for things to criticize—they just appeared without me having to look for them. I didn’t consider it negative because I thought I was merely trying to be helpful. I was so full of pride at the time that it never occurred to me that people didn’t really want my help. They wanted acceptance and encouragement, not judgment and criticism.

As I said, I had never thought of myself as being negative—that is, until God dealt with me and convicted my heart about the way I was treating people.

I’m not trying to condemn anyone for being negative, frank, blunt, candid, or whatever term you use for it, because condemning is in itself being negative. Instead, I want to help believers recognize if this is an attitude problem for them, and help them know that God is willing and able to help them get free from it. The path to freedom begins when we face our problems—without making excuses—and invite Him to help us overcome them.

We start the Christian life as new creations of God. Our past is wiped away. Our walk with God is one of change—of growth—of moving onward. We know what we’ve been in the past, but we also know that we don’t have to remain that way now or in the future. With Jesus’ help, we can have our minds renewed with His Word and always be growing.

The most difficult part may be to say to God, “I’m a negative person, but I want to change.” Once you’re honest with Him about your struggle, you can begin to win the battle and see more freedom in your thoughts, words and attitudes.

Prayer Starter: Father, please give me the grace to let go of negative, critical thinking, and help me see people and situations the way You do. Thank You for helping me renew my mind with truth, and to use my words to encourage and build others up. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Holy Spirit Will Speak

 

“But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry about what to say in your defense. Just say what God tells you to. Then you will not be speaking, but the Holy Spirit will” (Mark 13:11).

Have you even had the experience of trying to say a word for the Lord, just sharing your faith, and breathing a prayer for guidance – then marveling as the Lord Himself, by His indwelling Holy Spirit, put the very words in your mouth that needed to be said?

Such has been my experience – many times. And I marvel and rejoice each time. On some occasions, I have addressed crowds of varying sizes, often not only feeling totally inadequate but also concluding my message of the evening with the feeling that I had been a poor ambassador of Christ. Then, someone had approached me after the service and thanked my for saying just the word he needed at that moment.

We serve a faithful God. That neighbor who needs a word of encouragement – ask the Lord to give you the right words to say to him or her. That correspondent hundreds of miles away – trust God for His message to him or her through you.

Certain conditions must prevail, of course, before the Holy Spirit can speak through us. But they are easily met. I must come with a clean heart, surrendered to the Holy Spirit, with my sins forgiven, having forgiven other people, holding no resentment or ill feeling against anyone. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18, KJV).

Let us trust God and His indwelling Holy Spirit for the very words of counsel we should say to a loved one or friend today.

Bible Reading: Acts 2:1-4

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will trust God and His Holy Spirit to put the very words in my mouth this day that need to be said to others whose lives I touch.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devos – God Is Kind to Sinners

 

 

“For we ourselves were sometimes foolish, disobedient, . . . but after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared” (Titus 3:3a–4).

Have you disobeyed your parents recently? How did they treat you the day after you disobeyed? They probably gave you food to eat, provided you with clothing to wear, and allowed you to keep living under their roof—at the very least. They may even have done something especially nice for you. Your parents’ love for you does not change after you disobey them. They continue to show love and kindness to you, day after day, even when you disappoint or disobey them. That’s because loving you is natural for them. You are in their family. Loving you is part of who they are as your parents.

God loved us even when we were not in His family. Romans 5:8 says He showed His love for us while we were outside His family, still lost in our sins. Titus 3:3–4 tell us that He loved us even after we had been foolish, disobedient, and hateful. If you are saved today, God loved you and showed mercy to you after you had sinned against Him thousands of times. He brought you into His family and gave you eternal life (Titus 3:7). He saved you just because of His mercy. He showed kindness and love to you—because that is His nature. It is part of Who He is. God is kind to sinners.

Are you ever tempted to think God is not kind? Have you ever thought that because He has not given you some of the things you want, He does not love you? God has already proven His love and kindness toward you. He has already shown you much greater love and kindness than you could ever deserve. He will not keep back His kindness from you now. Sometimes God waits to give us good things, and sometimes He refuses to give us things we want because He knows they would harm us. When you are tempted to doubt God’s kindness and love, just look back to the day He saved you. He loved you when you were still a sinner—and He will always love you. It is part of Who He is.

God is kind and loving toward sinners.

My response:

» Have I remembered God’s gift of salvation today?

» Have I thanked Him for His love and kindness?

The post God Is Kind to Sinners appeared first on EquipU Online Library.

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Denison Forum – Amy Coney Barrett and the People of Praise: How to respond when critics don’t understand our faith

 

Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett are set to begin on October 12. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the committee should clear her nomination by October 26, leaving the Republican-led Senate roughly a week to confirm Barrett before the November 3 election.

Attacks on her family and faith have already begun.

Focusing on the fact that she and her husband adopted two children from Haiti, one critic suggested without any evidence the possibility that “her kids were scooped up by ultra-religious Americans, or Americans who weren’t scrupulous intermediaries & the kids were taken when there was family in Haiti.” Judge Barrett and her husband have also been likened to “White colonizers” for adopting “Black children.”

If past is prologue, we can expect more character assassination attempts in the weeks ahead.

Many critics have focused on the fact that Judge Barrett is a member of a group called People of PraiseNewsweek headlined: “How Charismatic Catholic Groups Like Amy Coney Barrett’s People of Praise Inspired ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’” Their original headline incorrectly claimed that People of Praise directly inspired the dystopian novel; editors were forced to issue a retraction and change their headline (though not the “reporting” in the article itself).

Such guilt by association was echoed by other outlets but has been soundly debunked. This controversy illustrates an important point about the state of our culture and the best way for Christians to respond.

“Glaring gaps in religious knowledge” 

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan explains that People of Praise is part of the Charismatic Renewal movement that began in the 1970s and “emphasizes personal conversion and bringing forward Christ’s teachings in the world.” Noonan notes: “Members include Protestants as well as Catholics. They have joined together intentionally, in community, to pray together, perform service, and run schools. They’re Christians living in the world.”

David French’s response is especially helpful. He quotes this New York Times description of the group in 2017: “Members of the group swear a lifelong oath of loyalty, called a covenant, to one another, and are assigned and are accountable to a personal adviser, called a ‘head’ for men and a ‘handmaid’ for women. The group teaches that husbands are the heads of their wives and should take authority over the family.”

French responds: “The more I looked into People of Praise, the more I had two simultaneous thoughts: First, many millions of American Christians see echoes of their lives in Judge Barrett’s story. And second, lots of folks really don’t understand both spiritual authority and spiritual community. The concerns about Barrett reflect in part the glaring gaps in religious knowledge in elite American media.”

He’s precisely right.

“A war for worldview dominance” 

People of Praise took “handmaid” from Mary’s response to Gabriel’s announcement that she would become the mother of God’s Son: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38 KJV). (The group later changed the term to avoid confusion after The Handmaid’s Tale came out.)

French reports that the group has been lauded by Cardinal Francis George; one of its members was appointed by Pope Francis as auxiliary bishop of Portland. It has founded three schools that have won nine Department of Education Blue Ribbon awards.

The furor sparked by misunderstandings of Judge Barrett’s faith illustrates an admission New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet made to NPR’s Terry Gross, “We don’t get religion. We don’t get the role of religion in people’s lives.” They’re not alone.

A recent study reported that only 2 percent of America’s millennials hold a biblical worldview. Among Gen X (thirty-seven to fifty-five years of age), only 5 percent subscribe to such a worldview. Only an estimated 9 percent of adults over the age of fifty-six hold a biblical worldview.

George Barna noted that the report “suggests a nation that is at war with itself to adopt new values, lifestyles, and a new identity. In other words, there is a war for worldview dominance.”

How do we win this “war”? Let’s close by focusing on an important part of the answer.

“His kingdom shall never be destroyed” 

Across the coming weeks of divisiveness over confirmation hearings and the presidential election, my prayer for Judge Barrett and for all believers is that we will demonstrate the integrity of Daniel.

His political opponents “could find no ground for complaint or any fault” (Daniel 6:4), so they reverted to attacking him “in connection with the law of his God” (v. 5). However, the Lord redeemed Daniel’s faithfulness so miraculously that King Darius eventually proclaimed: “He is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end” (v. 26).

Like Daniel, we face opposition that does not understand our faith or believe in our God. They need and deserve our compassion and our witness. But they will receive neither unless we live with such integrity that they see the unmistakable imprint of Jesus on our lives.

If skeptics are going to find fault with us, let them say that we are too committed to our Lord.

Is this what the world would say of you?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Charles Stanley – Ministers of Comfort

 

Psalm 72:12-14

During hard seasons or times of disaster—whether natural or man-made, national or local—we are called to show kindness. True compassion tries to understand people’s pain, but it also provides practical help. So, how we can express care and concern for others?

First, remember we have the wonderful privilege of prayer anytime, anywhere. As soon as word of a tragedy reaches you, lift up the victims, rescue workers, and others involved. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in petitioning God for protection, provision, comfort, awareness of His presence, and whatever else He deems fitting (Rom. 8:26).

Second, labor and donations of money, food, clothing, or household goods are usually high priority. So donations of time and resources are helpful (after wisely consulting trusted sources about what’s needed). You also can express compassion with words of comfort, a warm embrace, or a listening ear. Through this kind of love, the world will recognize the true Light—Jesus Christ, who brings good news, binds up the brokenhearted, and comforts all who mourn (Isa. 61:1-2).

We should notice the needs around us and reach out with Christ’s love. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal ways to pray for those around you. Your concern can have a profound impact.

 

Bible in One Year: Zephaniah 1-3, Haggai 1-2

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Never Enough

 

Bible in a Year:

The eye never has enough of seeing.

Ecclesiastes 1:8

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Ecclesiastes 1:1–11

Frank Borman commanded the first space mission that circled the moon. He wasn’t impressed. The trip took two days both ways. Frank got motion sickness and threw up. He said being weightless was cool—for thirty seconds. Then he got used to it. Up close he found the moon drab and pockmarked with craters. His crew took pictures of the gray wasteland, then became bored.

Frank went where no one had gone before. It wasn’t enough. If he quickly tired of an experience that was out of this world, perhaps we should lower our expectations for what lies in this one. The teacher of Ecclesiastes observed that no earthly experience delivers ultimate joy. “The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing” (1:8). We may feel moments of ecstasy, but our elation soon wears off and we seek the next thrill.

Frank had one exhilarating moment, when he saw the earth rise from the darkness behind the moon. Like a blue and white swirled marble, our world sparkled in the sun’s light. Similarly, our truest joy comes from the Son shining on us. Jesus is our life, the only ultimate source of meaning, love, and beauty. Our deepest satisfaction comes from out of this world. Our problem? We can go all the way to the moon, yet still not go far enough.

By:  Mike Wittmer

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – On Creativity

 

I remember the mixed feelings of setting up the nativity scene at home for Christmas. My mum was always so excited that she made a special appointment for us every year, and she would come up with creative ideas on how to build up Joseph and Mary’s cave. As my twin brother and I grew up, she let us help her in making the river and the sky more realistic, or in better securing the angel so it wouldn’t fall from the mountain. One of my favorite parts was the task of carrying the magi figurines every day closer and closer to the manger. For my brother and me, it was a special time and we used to fight for the responsibility because it made the story so real.

But I mentioned that I had mixed feelings, and that is because my dad didn’t like this tradition of ours one bit. Every year I saw his face, filled with worry for us, keeping a distance from these plastic dolls as if they were something dangerous, as if somehow they would put us all in trouble. I couldn’t understand why he told us we shouldn’t focus our attention on the scene or the images, why he was so worried we would end up worshiping that baby plastic Jesus. I was shocked to hear him say so, and I kept asking myself: Why would I worship a plastic thing? I knew that was not Jesus.

I knew this, but I also knew that his anguish was real.

Years later at art school, we studied artists in history who illustrated and decorated churches since the early times of Christianity. As some of you know, in Spain, there are Catholic churches in almost every town. Many of these buildings are ancient, and whenever I went to visit one I admired with wonder all the artistic finery. I couldn’t help but connect my childhood memories, those marvelous structures, and the emptiness my local church seemed to have in comparison. Added to this, while I learned more and more history of my country, some of this imagery became loaded with the civil war memories, and the scars of war that as a country we are carrying still. So, yes. I still have mixed feelings of wonder, terror, and sadness.

But in the midst of it all, a question started to form in my head, as I struggled to cope what God was calling me to do and be, what I was learning of art, illustration, and painting, what my parents and church expected, and what society was telling me I should do. And that is: why and when did being an artist become something wrong in the church? Why and when did only certain forms of creativity become acceptable in the church? When did we start thinking imagination was a bad thing? When did we become afraid of images, of figures, of color and gold and wood and structures made in the divina proportione?

 

I study with nostalgia all those artists who were paid to portray the glory of God, artists who impacted their culture and led the thinkers of yesterday to make changes in their society. Like me, many artists today long to live into the call to creativity while keeping our core beliefs. It is not an easy task. We struggle to pay bills or maintain ourselves and receive little support from our churches. Many end up quitting; others have to leave. Then I look at the men and women who actually are influencing the culture with who they are and what they do, and I wonder: Where are the Christians, followers of Jesus, sons and daughters of the most high king, priests and priestesses, church leaders, missionaries, created in the image of God? Where are those who should be the light of the world and not be hidden under a bowl? And when did we forget the first revelation we received from God: that God is a Creator?

Since deciding to follow Jesus at the age of 19, I have wrestled with understanding what it means to be who God has called me to be: an artist in this world in need of his light and his colors. I struggle because I feel what the prophets sometimes described. I have a torrent in me that shakes my view of the world, that wants to come out, but I have often had to silence it because it has brought me nothing more than suffering and incomprehension from my family, friends, and church.

But I cannot be silent. This call to participate in God’s creative work in the world is like a fire burning in me and I know that I cannot not write. I cannot not paint. I cannot look at the world through creative eyes and suppress how God created me. I am filled with imagination. For so many years, I have been taught that this was a dangerous business. But God is filled with imagination too! The universe and everything in it springs from the voice of a creative God. And graciously, we are invited to join in this very creativity. If everything God created was good, how can imagination itself be a bad thing? Sin has made things complicated, yes. But if leadership offered in reverence to God and empowered by the Holy Spirit helps to build Christ’s church, then why not imagination?

How might the church and the culture be different if we empowered artists and their imaginations to speak to this generation? Why not empower, support, and free creatives to be who God called them to be to impact the world? The world needs it. And the crops are ready.

Today, I still sometimes feel misunderstood. I also must tell you that my dad continues to worry (a little less though) when my mum, my brother, and I build onto Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus’s cave. But what I also will tell you is that as I embrace my artistic call, I see and understand God in ways I never could have imagined. I understand God’s heart a little more. And my own heart bends toward the world and the church, praying that we could grasp how deep, how high, how vast is the love of the Father, how kind the Spirit, and how creative the gift and work of the Son.

Noemi Navarro is an artist and the Administrative Manager of RZIM Academy in Spanish at Fundación RZ in Madrid, Spain.

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Joyce Meyer – Manifesting Your Reality

 

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. — Philippians 4:8 (AMPC)

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

“Manifesting your reality” might sound like something from a contemporary self-help course, but the concept comes straight from Scripture: As he thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7 AMPC). I like to say it like this: “Where the mind goes, the man follows.”

Positive thoughts play a huge role in creating a positive life. On the other hand, our lives can also become miserable by having a mind full of anxious thoughts and negative expectations. We usually think our problems are the thing ruining our life, but our attitude toward them is often the bigger problem that keeps us from enjoying our lives.

I’m sure we’ve all encountered people who have a great attitude despite being in extremely trying circumstances. We’ve also probably met those who have seemingly endless money and privilege, yet they’re negative, critical, and filled with self-pity and resentment. Like it or not, we actually have more to do with how our lives turn out than we realize. Thoughts affect emotions, and both affect the body, so learning how to think right is actually mandatory for good health.

Today you can make a decision that you’re going to have a healthy, positive mind. Renewing your mind will take some time and effort, but it’s more than worth it. As you ask God for His grace and study His Word, you’ll grow and experience more and more freedom.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for giving me the ability to enjoy my life. Please teach me how to renew my mind with Your Word, and help me focus on life-giving thoughts. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – So He May Forgive Us

 

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25, KJV).

You and I have a way by which we can be absolutely certain of God’s forgiveness. It is two-fold.

First, we must be sure that we have forgiven anyone and everyone against whom we may have anything or hold any resentment.

Second, we must believe His Word unquestioningly – and His Word does indeed tell us we will be forgiven when we ask under these conditions.

Most familiar, of course, is the glorious promise of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (KJV).

Though today’s verse uses the word stand in reference to praying, Scripture clearly states that the posture in prayer was sometimes standing. God, however, looks on the heart rather than on our position as we pray.

If the heart is right, any posture may be proper. All other things being equal, however, the kneeling position seems more in keeping with the proper attitude of humility in our approach to God. (Physical condition, of course, sometimes makes this inadvisable or impossible.)

Most important, we are to forgive before we pray. That much is certain.

Bible Reading: Matthew 6:9-15

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will examine my heart throughout the day to be sure I have forgiven any who should be forgiven – before I pray.

 

 

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Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devos – God Wants Us to Trust Him

 

By Kids4Truth Clubs on 09/28/20

“Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you” (Exodus 16:4a).

“And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey” (Exodus 16:31).

Every evening at dusk, I fill my bird feeders with bird seed. In the morning—to the birds’ amazement, I’m sure—there is more seed for them to eat. If they could talk, I wonder if they might say, “Where did this come from? It was almost gone when we went to bed. Does the seed grow overnight? This is a mystery we don’t understand. But we sure are happy when we see the food again!” I give my birds food because I care about them.

When Moses was leading the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land, the people were hungry and needed food for their health and strength. Moses couldn’t go to the grocery store to buy food. Instead, He depended on God to supply what the people needed. But the Israelites were unhappy with Moses. They accused him of taking them into the wilderness to kill them (Exodus 16:4b).

God heard the complaint from His people and told Moses that He would “rain bread” from Heaven. God also gave strict instructions, telling the Israelites how much food they could have each day, but some did not obey Him. They did not believe there would be enough food for them the next day, so they gathered more than God had instructed, and they kept some overnight. During the night worms infested it, and the next day it stank and had to be thrown away. God provided manna during the morning, but as soon as the sun came out, the manna melted. In the evening God provided meat. He wanted the Israelites to know “that I am Lord your God” (Exodus 16:12b). The Israelites did not have to worry about food again. They knew exactly where it had come from.

God wants us to trust Him and believe that He will provide all that we need. Today, thank God for all the provisions that He gives you daily. Can you name some of His blessings?

My response:

» Do I tell God my needs and trust Him to provide them?

» Do I thank God for the blessings He has already given me?

» When God meets one of my needs, do I remember to thank Him?

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Denison Forum – What a self-described liberal said about Amy Coney Barrett: Fighting for truth with courageous grace

 

It’s not often that we get to see history being made, but that’s what happened Saturday afternoon when President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court of the United States.

Any nomination to our nation’s highest court is historic. If confirmed, Judge Barrett will become only the 115th person in American history to sit on this court and only the fifth woman. Moreover, she will be the first person with school-age children to serve.

But what most concerns opponents of the president’s nomination is another historic fact: she would give the court a six-to-three conservative majority by replacing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, long considered the leader of the liberal faction of the court. This could be crucial with upcoming cases on the Affordable Care Act, abortion restrictions, and perhaps the 2020 presidential election.

Much has already been said in opposition to this outcome. Today, I’d like to explain why this opposition is so heated and what it means for every evangelical in America today.

“A brilliant and conscientious lawyer” 

Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s judicial qualifications to serve on the court are beyond dispute. Harvard law professor Noah Feldman, a self-described liberal who is “devastated” over Justice Ginsburg’s death and “revolted by the hypocrisy” of considering the president’s nomination, nonetheless writes: “I want to be extremely clear. Regardless of what you or I may think of the circumstances of this nomination, Barrett is highly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.”

He explains: “I disagree with much of her judicial philosophy and expect to disagree with many, maybe even most of her future votes and opinions. Yet despite this disagreement, I know her to be a brilliant and conscientious lawyer who will analyze and decide cases in good faith, applying the jurisprudential principles to which she is committed. Those are the basic criteria for being a good justice. Barrett meets and exceeds them.”

If a self-described liberal would endorse Judge Barrett in such strong terms, why is opposition to her nomination mounting so quickly? Their problem lies not with her capacities or qualifications, but with her faith.

“The dogma lives loudly within you” 

Friday night, HBO’s Bill Maher called her a “****ing nut” and said she was “Catholic—really Catholic. I mean really, really Catholic—like speaking in tongues.” Although Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was deeply influenced by her Jewish faith, such faith was acceptable to Maher and those like him since they shared her liberal worldview.

In 2018, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) confronted Brian Buescher, a nominee to the US district court in Nebraska, over his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a faith-based service organization that supports traditional Catholic positions on marriage, abortion, and human sexuality. The senator asked if the nominee would terminate his membership in this organization since it had taken “a number of extreme positions” on social issues including abortion and marriage.

When Amy Coney Barrett was nominated for the Seventh Circuit Court in 2017, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) stated, “Whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different. And I think in your case . . . the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern when you come to the big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”

The senator added: “Over time, we learn to also judge what they think, and whether their thoughts enable them to be free to observe the law.”

The senator’s statement crystallized the problem I’m addressing today.

“A judge must apply the law as written” 

Following the president’s announcement Saturday, Judge Barrett stated: “I clerked for Justice Scalia more than twenty years ago, but the lessons I learned still resonate. His judicial philosophy is mine, too. A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.”

This is known as “originalism,” the theory that “the constitutional text ought to be given the original public meaning that it would have had at the time that it became law.” Justice Ginsburg, by contrast, was a staunch advocate of the “living” Constitution theory, which holds that the meaning of the text changes over time as social attitudes change.

Originalists focus not on what “they think” (to quote Sen. Feinstein) but on what the law says. This is why Judge Barrett’s personal Catholic beliefs on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage should be irrelevant during her confirmation hearing since they have no bearing on decisions based strictly on the law as it currently exists.

The fact that her beliefs have been and will be attacked says more about her attackers than it does about her. They clearly would judge based not on the original meaning of the Constitution but according to their personal beliefs. Here we find the larger problem in our culture: we now live in a postmodern culture in which all truth, whether found in the US Constitution or claimed by your neighbor, is deemed personal and subjective.

This is why the Supreme Court has become so legislative in the postmodern era, making laws Congress did not enact when the unelected justices discovered “rights” to abortion and same-sex marriage that are clearly not in the text of the Constitution. And it is why critics of unchanging biblical morality are becoming more vociferous in their opposition with each passing day.

“Holding fast to the word of life”

We will have reason to say much more about the debate over truth as Judge Barrett’s confirmation process moves forward. For today, let’s deepen our resolve to obey and share the word of God, remembering the psalmist’s prayer that “the sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever” (Psalm 119:160).

Let’s intercede for those who consider Judge Barrett’s nomination, praying that they conduct themselves with the decorum and civility befitting their positions and that the hearings do not further fracture our divided culture. And let’s pray for Judge Barrett to manifest the character of Christ (Romans 8:29) and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23) as she faces intense scrutiny and global attention.

“Holding fast to the word of life” is our mission and should be our mantra (Philippians 2:16). Is it yours today?

 

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Charles Stanley – God Alone Deserves Worship

 

James 4:4-8

For us, jealousy isn’t attractive, but for God, it’s a holy attribute. God is unhappy when we worship anyone besides Him. Only He deserves our praise.

When reading in the Old Testament, we may not understand why people would bow before idols—surely they didn’t think that these objects were living and powerful. But we make a similar mistake, placing too high a value on money, relationships, power, and the like. Though not bad in themselves, such things can become the focus of our worship. That’s why the Father is jealous for our heart.

There are two reasons God won’t tolerate our misplaced devotion. First, He deserves the glory. And second, there is nothing better for us than His love. Praising Him above all else is actually in our own best interest. Therefore, when our heart doesn’t belong solely to Christ, He will use discipline and reminders so we will prioritize Him.

This week, notice where you spend your time and money and what dominates your thoughts. Even if your pursuits seem good on the surface, pray about what might be an idol in your life. Confess any misplaced affection, and ask the Lord for help in making Him the object of your devotion.

 

Bible in One Year: Micah 1-4

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Never Too Sinful

 

Bible in a Year:

You are a forgiving God . . . abounding in love.

Nehemiah 9:17

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Nehemiah 9:17, 27–31

“If I touched a Bible, it would catch fire in my hands,” said my community college English professor. My heart sank. The novel we’d been reading that morning referenced a Bible verse, and when I pulled out my Bible to look it up, she noticed and commented. My professor seemed to think she was too sinful to be forgiven. Yet I wasn’t bold enough to tell her about God’s love—and that the Bible tells us we can always seek God’s forgiveness.

There’s an example of repentance and forgiveness in Nehemiah. The Israelites had been exiled because of their sin, but now they were allowed to return to Jerusalem. When they’d “settled in,” Ezra the scribe read the law to them (Nehemiah 7:73–8:3). They confessed their sins, remembering that despite their sin God “did not desert” or “abandon them” (9:17, 19). He “heard them” when they cried out; and in compassion and mercy, He was patient with them (vv. 27–31).

In a similar way, God is patient with us. He won’t abandon us if we choose to confess our sin and turn to Him. I wish I could go back and tell my professor that, no matter her past, Jesus loves her and wants her to be part of His family. He feels the same way about you and me. We can approach Him seeking forgiveness—and He will give it!

By:  Julie Schwab

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Defining Atheism

 

A popular tendency among some atheists these days is to define atheism, not as the positive thesis that God does not exist, but as the neutral claim that an atheist is one who simply lacks belief in God. If we could scan the mind of the atheist and catalogue all the beliefs the atheist holds, we would not find a belief of the form, “God exists.” Those who insist on defining atheism in this manner want to avoid the implications of having to defend the claim that God does not exist. They demand justification for faith in God while insisting that they bear no rational burdens in the debate since they are not making any positive claims on the question of God’s existence.

This strategy is mistaken on several levels. To begin with, there is no logical connection between a lack of belief about God in someone’s mind and the conclusion that God does not exist. At best, this definition leads us to agnosticism, roughly the view that we do not know whether or not God exists. For example, there are millions of people on this planet who hold no belief about the Los Angeles Lakers. But it would be quite a stretch to conclude from that empirical fact that the Lakers therefore do not exist.

 

Additionally, atheism thus defined is a psychological condition, not a cognitive thesis. Conduct a quick search on the Internet, and you will even find atheists who claim that babies are atheists because they lack belief in God. But, as some philosophers have pointed out, that is not a flattering state of affairs for the atheist, for, strictly speaking, a cow, by that definition, is also an atheist. For someone who is intent on merely giving a report about the state of his or her mind, pity, or an equivalent emotion, is the appropriate response, not a reasoned exchange. But nobody who has reflected long and hard about the issues and is prepared to argue vehemently about them should be let off the hook that easily.

In any case, such a definition of atheism goes against the intuitions held by almost everyone who has not been initiated into this way of thinking. In spite of the myriads of nuances one can give to one’s preferred version of denying God’s existence, the traditional view has been that there are ultimately only three attitudes one can take with regard to a particular proposition. Take the proposition, “God exists”. One could (1) affirm the proposition, which is theism, (2) Deny the proposition, which is atheism, or (3) withhold judgment with regard to the proposition, which is agnosticism. Those who affirm the proposition have to give reasons why they think it is true. Those who deny it have to give reasons why they think it is false. Only those who withhold judgment have the right to sit on the fence on the issue. Thus J. J. C. Smart states matter-of-factly, “‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God.”(1)

Nor will an attempt to defend this new definition on the basis of the etymology of the word “atheist” work. The word “atheist” is from the Greek word “Theos” which means “God”, and the “a” is the negation. The “a” is taken to mean “without”, and hence “atheism” simply means “without belief in God”. But this will not do. Even if we grant that the “a” means “without”, we will still not arrive at the conclusion that atheism means “without belief in God”. What is negated in the word “atheism” is not “belief” but “God”. Atheism still means “without God”, not “without belief”. There is no concept of “belief” in the etymology of the word – the word simply means the universe is without God, which is another way of saying that God does not exist.

Semantic quibbles aside, there are deeper problems with this position. The same atheists who decry the irrationality of believing in God still insist on shoehorning theistic ideas into their ontology. Most of them continue to defend the meaning and purpose of life, the validity of objective morality and the assurance that humanity is marching on towards progress and would move thus faster were it not for the shackles of religion. Such cosmic optimism would be unrecognizable to the most prominent atheists of yesteryear, not to mention the many in our day who say as much. It is recognized as a remnant of a biblical tradition that still has some of its grip on the western psyche.

Speaking about the belief that every human life needs to be protected, Richard Rorty wrote, “This Jewish and Christian element in our tradition is gratefully invoked by free-loading atheists like myself.”(2) But if God does not exist, theists live on false hope, and the freeloaders fair no better. Sever the cord between God and those elements of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and the honest among us fly into oblivion with shrills of despair to which only a Nietzsche or a Jean Paul Sartre can do full justice; for the validity of such positive attitudes about life is directly propositional to the plausibility of the existence of a caring God who directs the affairs of humanity.

J.M. Njoroge is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Nairobi, Kenya.

 

(1) J. J. C. Smart, “Atheism and Agnosticism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).

(2) Richard Rorty, “Postmodernist Bourgeois Liberalism,” in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 80, No. 10, Part 1: (Oct., 1983), pp. 583-589.

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Joyce Meyer – Let Your Tears Flow

 

As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. — Nehemiah 1:4 (ESV)

Adapted from the resource Healing the Soul of a Woman – by Joyce Meyer

Nehemiah was not afraid of emotion, or reluctant to show it. Notice that he “wept and mourned.” Some of us flat-out refuse to show any of our emotions, which is not healthy. Pent‑up feelings are harmful if not dealt with, and need to be released in healthy ways. If we don’t release our emotions at appropriate times, as Nehemiah did when he heard the walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed, our emotions will eat away at us on the inside.

Stuffing or suppressing our feelings can also cause physical problems like trouble sleeping, or even digestive issues. Maybe you know someone who went to the doctor because they felt so bad and were convinced something was wrong with them, only to find out—after all kinds of medical tests—that the doctor found nothing and simply said their symptoms were related to stress or anxiety.

Our emotions will always manifest in some way, so it’s best to deal with them before they deal with us. God created us with tear glands and the ability to cry, which must mean there will be times in life when we, like Nehemiah, need to cry. In the Old Testament, Hannah wept and even stopped eating because she was brokenhearted over not having a child (see 1 Samuel 1:7). When David and the men with him discovered the Amalekites had burned the city of Ziklag and taken everyone in it (including their own wives and children) captive, they “raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep” (1 Samuel 30:4). David also wept when his son became deathly ill (see 2 Samuel 12:21–22). Even Jesus wept over the death of His friend Lazarus (see John 11:35).

Tears are certainly part of the process of healing in our soul. God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah: “Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the LORD” (Lamentations 2:19). This proves to us that God wants us to bring our pain to Him. We can tell Him everything, holding nothing back. He knows it all anyway, but getting it out in the open is incredibly helpful to us.

Though it is important to express our deep feelings through tears at times, God didn’t create us to stay in a season of weeping forever. There is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). God’s Word promises us that “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5 NKJV). Whatever you’re going through right now, ask God to help you deal with it in a healthy way. Cry when you need to, and know that this season of sadness will come to an end. As you walk with God, He will heal your heart and lead you into new seasons with joy.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me express and deal with my emotions in a healthy way. If there’s anything I’ve been putting off dealing with, please show me and give me the strength to deal with it. Thank You for being there for me, for listening, and for healing me from the inside out. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Key to Real Joy

 

“Remember what Christ taught and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, and come with Him into the presence of God the Father to give Him your thanks” (Colossians 3:16,17).

As I travel and speak throughout the world, I meet many individuals who are caught up in the emotionalism of a religious experience which they attribute to the Holy Spirit. They live from experience to experience, with little knowledge of what the Bible teaches. As a result, they seldom grow past the baby stage. They are seeking and talking about their experiences with the Holy Spirit instead of the Lord Jesus, forgetting that the Holy Spirit came to glorify Christ.

At the other extreme, I find that most Christians seldom mention the Holy Spirit. The supernatural life is a life of balance.

Notice the close parallel between Ephesians 5:18-20 and Colossians 3:16-17. The Spirit-filled person and the one whose mind and heart are saturated with the person and the Word of Jesus Christ will be joyful and thankful, and he will do all as a testimony of love to Him who is our Lord and Savior.

We can no more live a joyful, abundant, fruitful, victorious, supernatural life apart from the Word of God than we can do so apart from the Spirit of God. They are like the two wings of an airplane; a plane cannot fly with only one wing. Neither can we live balanced, victorious lives if we do not invest time in reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on God’s Word, while at the same time depending on the Holy Spirit, who inspired its writing centuries ago, to illuminate its truth to our minds and hearts.

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 10:31-33

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today – and every day – I will claim the Holy Spirit’s power to enable me to read, study, memorize and meditate on God’s holy, inspired Word with comprehension. I will claim by faith the help of the Holy Spirit to live in accordance with the teaching of God’s revealed truth. With His help, I will live a balanced, Spirit-controlled, supernatural life.

 

 

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Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devos – Don’t Get Lost!

 

By Kids4Truth Clubs on 09/24/20

https://equipu.kids4truth.com/podcast-player/10888/dont-get-lost-2.mp3

 

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6).

Have you ever been lost? I have. When I was a young boy, about eight- or nine-years-old, my brother and I were walking home from school. Instead of walking down the streets we knew, we followed a creek for a while, thinking it would take us toward home. But it didn’t. It went another direction. When we realized we were lost, I got a little scared. We finally asked a man where the street we lived on was, and he told us. As we followed his guidance, we got back to familiar territory and home!

What my brother and I did is what Proverbs 3:5 tells us not to do. We leaned on our own understanding. We thought we knew what we were doing, but we didn’t. This is how most people are for most of their lives. They think they know what they are doing, and instead of getting their guidance from the Lord, they go their own direction. And they get lost—every time! Why is that? It is because no one has the ability in himself to go the right direction, to do the right thing. The prophet Jeremiah even admitted this fact to God when he said, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

If we don’t have the ability in ourselves to go the right way or do the right thing, how can we get it? We must believe, obey, and honor the Lord, and He will make sure we go the right direction and do the right thing. That is what Proverbs 3:6 tells us. The Lord has already given us the guidance we need. We just have to find out what it is and do it.

God’s guidance will always take us in the right direction. It will always take us home—to Him.

My response:

» Do I ask God for guidance or lean on my own understanding—on what seems right to me?

» When I sin, do I confess it to God and turn back to Him, or do I try to fix it myself (leaning on my own understanding)?

» Do I learn God’s Word, obey it, and use it to guide me?

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