Tag Archives: lord jesus christ

Charles Stanley – The Consequences of Anger

 

Proverbs 19:19

God feels anger, and He has given us this same ability. Anger is a common emotion that arises when we encounter threats, insults, injustices, or frustrations. However, because of our fallen nature, we often respond in a sinful manner when this intense feeling overwhelms us.

One sinful response is to hold on to anger until it becomes part of our character, taking up residence in our innermost being. There, it starts to twist thinking and agitate emotions. Peace and joy are noticeably absent because they can’t coexist with the anxiety and frustration that accompany bitterness.

After poisoning the character, anger spills over and affects others. We might throw hurtful words like flaming arrows, even at those who weren’t the cause of the rage. And then we raise shields of self-protection in an effort to avoid future hurts. But sadly, these behaviors lead to stressed relationships and isolation.

While anger can damage our character and connections with others, its most tragic consequence is broken fellowship with God. Wrath not only hinders His work in and through believers; it also grieves the Father’s heart. He desires to shower His children with blessings, but angry fists cannot receive His riches of character and calling.

Are you harboring anger? It could be so deeply buried within your soul that you are unaware of its presence. Since sustained, unresolved bitterness will affect every area of your life, ask God to reveal any hidden resentment. Then release it, and take hold of the riches of Christ.

Bible in One Year: Mark 13-14

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — A Piercing Thorn

 

Read: Isaiah 53:1–6 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 53–55; 2 Thessalonians 1

But he was pierced for our transgressions . . . and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

The thorn pricked my index finger, drawing blood. I hollered and then groaned, drawing back my hand instinctively. But I shouldn’t have been surprised: trying to prune a thorny bush without gardening gloves was a recipe for exactly what just happened.

The pain throbbing in my finger—and the blood flowing from it—demanded attention. And as I searched for a bandage, I found myself unexpectedly thinking about my Savior. After all, soldiers forced Jesus to don an entire crown of thorns (John 19:1–3). If one thorn hurt this much, I thought, how much agony would an entire crown of them inflict? And that’s just a small portion of the physical pain He suffered. A whip flogged His back. Nails penetrated His wrists and ankles.

But Jesus endured spiritual pain too. Verse 5 of Isaiah 53 tells us, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him.” The “peace” Isaiah talks about here is another way of talking about forgiveness. Jesus allowed Himself to be pierced—by nails, by a crown of thorns—to bring us spiritual peace with God. His sacrifice, His willingness to die on our behalf, paved the way to make a relationship with the Father possible. And He did it, Scripture tells us, for me, for you.

Father, I can’t imagine the pain Your Son endured to wash away my sin. Thank You for sending Him for me, to be pierced for my sins that I might have a relationship with You. 

Jesus allowed Himself to be pierced to bring us spiritual peace with God.

By Adam Holz

INSIGHT

Isaiah 53:1–6 is part of a section of the book known as the Servant Songs. There are four Servant Songs in Isaiah that describe the service, suffering, and triumph of the servant of the Lord—Jesus the Messiah. These songs are found in Isaiah 42:1–9, 49:1–13, 50:4–11, and 52:13–53:12.

This last servant song describes the suffering and triumph of the servant. Though He is pierced, crushed, punished, and wounded, it’s His suffering that brings us peace and healing (53:5). The ultimate purpose for this suffering is outlined in verse 10—His life is an offering for sin. The servant takes our place—suffering for us and bearing our sins. And by His suffering and death, we are given life and peace. But death is not the end for the servant: “After he has suffered, he will see the light of life” (v. 11). In His suffering and resurrection, Jesus reconciles humanity to God (see Matthew 8:17; Acts 8:30–35; Romans 10:15–17; 15:21).

How can you celebrate the life that Jesus died to give you?

For more on the book of Isaiah, see Old Testament Survey: Ecclesiastes–Isaiah at christianuniversity.org/OT224.

J.R. Hudberg

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Tearing Down the House of Cards

“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” was a slogan I heard over and over again as I grew up. As a young person, this slogan meant that all my plans would be wonderful because God loved me. Now that I am older, I understand that this slogan had more to do with the Christian Gospel’s understanding of salvation than it did with guiding me down the primrose path of life. Yet, it still reverberates in my head when I experience hardship, pain, and loss. For it is often difficult to square a belief in the love of God with a series of life experiences that run counter to the expectations for a wonderful plan.

The seeming contradictions between stated beliefs and life experience often make faith complicated. For me, many of the cherished beliefs I held imploded and what I once thought was an invincible fortress came crashing down as life experience smashed up against them like a battering ram. C.S. Lewis described his own spiritual dismantling after the death of his wife, Joy, this way: “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”(1) Yet having to dwell in the rubble of what is left of one’s faith doesn’t feel as if it is the work of a God who desires to smash all our false conceptions.

There is a “great cloud of witnesses” who have also experienced the difficult conflict between what was held to be the truth and reality. Knowing this can give comfort for all who experience the collapse of all they hold dear. I am reminded of the biblical narrative of Joseph, as one example. He was told by God through a sequence of dreams that he would be great one day—so great, in fact, that his own brothers would come and bow down out of reverence for him. He had been given a glimpse of his destiny as Jacob’s dearly loved child, and perhaps he believed his path to that destiny would be won with ease. Instead, his path took many unexpected turns. First, his own brothers attempted to murder him, he was enslaved, and he spent a large portion of his life in prison having been falsely accused of various crimes he did not commit. Surely, Joseph must have had days where he wondered if God’s plan for his life was a wonderful one.

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Joyce Meyer – Double Blessing

 

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. — Zechariah 9:12

Adapted from the resource My Time with God Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Hope is a powerful force that will bring you through any storm. Our hope is in God; therefore, we can hope without any natural reason to do so. Hope is a positive expectation of good.

Practice saying, “Something good is going to happen to me today, and something good is going to happen through me today.” God is good, and He wants to shower His goodness on you.

There are times of difficulty, loss, illness, and disappointment in life, but if we will endure with hope in our hearts, we will be rewarded with a double blessing for our former trouble.

Let me strongly encourage you to refuse to be hopeless. Put your hope in God and things will always come around to being right in due time. I can’t guarantee how long it will take, and it may not be quick, but hope will strengthen you to face life with joy even in the midst of trouble.

Live daily thinking, Today may be the day of my breakthrough. It could happen suddenly…at any moment.

Hope is the anchor of our souls. It keeps us from giving in to wild emotions that attempt to lead us to do things we will regret later on. The wise man puts His hope in God. He listens for God’s voice and follows it, knowing that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. God is that Light, and He is urging you to be a prisoner of hope.

Prayer Starter: Father, anytime I feel discouraged or weary, help me remember that there is always hope. Help me to be filled with hope in You and positive expectation. You are good, and I believe You want to be good to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – His Life in Us

 

“Jesus said, ‘I will only reveal Myself to those who love Me and obey Me. The Father will love them too, and We will come to them and live with them. Anyone who doesn’t obey Me doesn’t love Me” (John 14:23,24).

Millions of Christians throughout the world profess their love for Christ each week by attending church services, singing songs, studying their Bibles, attending prayer meetings, etc. Yet, all the talk in the world will never convince anyone that you or I truly love the Lord unless we obey His commandments.

How can we know His commandments unless we study His word? When we study His Word, how can we comprehend what He is saying unless the Holy Spirit illumines our minds and teaches us? It is God the Holy Spirit who inspired the writing for His holy Word through holy men. He alone can help us understand the true meaning of the Scripture and enable us to obey His commands.

Thus, the reality of Christ abiding in us is made possible through a supernatural enabling of the Holy Spirit who came to glorify Christ and through whose indwelling presence the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to us.

Is Jesus Christ a reality in your life? If not, it is quite likely that you are not demonstrating your love for Him by studying His Word and obeying His commandments.

Bible Reading:John 14:15-22

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With the help of the Holy Spirit who enable me to live the supernatural life, I will endeavor to demonstrate my love for Christ by studying His word and obeying His commandments.

 

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Max Lucado – Just Believe Jesus

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Suppose you give me a gift.  Let’s say you present me with a new tie.  I take it out of the box, examine it and say thank you, and then reach for my wallet.  “Now, how much do I owe you?” I ask.

You think I’m kidding. “It’s a gift,” you say, “you don’t need to pay me.”

“I understand,” I respond, but show I really don’t by asking, “Could I write you a check?”

In trying to buy your gift, I’ve degraded your grace.  I’ve robbed you of the joy of giving.  How often we rob God.  Have you considered what an insult it is to God when we try to pay him for his goodness?  Sly is the scheme of Satan!  He causes us to question grace, to earn it.  What is it God wants us to do?  Just believe…believe the One he sent.  And receive the gift he gives. “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”  John 6:29.

Read more A Gentle Thunder

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Why a journalist’s disappearance is globally significant

 

Jamal Khashoggi, a famous journalist and critic of Saudi Arabia’s leadership, walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain some documents. He has not been seen since.

His fiancée is afraid he has been kidnapped or killed. Turkish authorities claim to have evidence that he was tortured and murdered by Saudi agents. Saudi officials insist he left the consulate shortly after arriving.

Let’s survey what we know this morning, then we’ll explore the reasons why his disappearance is so significant to the Middle East and to the West.

Who is Jamal Khashoggi?

Jamal Khashoggi was born in Medina in 1958. His grandfather was the personal physician of King Abdulaziz Al Saud, the founder of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His cousin, Dodi Fayed, was dating Princess Diana when the two were killed in 1997.

A longtime critic of the Saudi government, he relocated to the US in 2017 and began writing for the Washington Post. He founded a new political party this year directly opposing the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

On the afternoon of October 2, he went inside the main entrance of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul to obtain a document proving he was divorced. He could then marry his fiancée, a Turkish citizen, who waited outside. After he did not come back out, she reported him missing. The Saudi government claims he left the consulate through a back entrance.

What happened to Khashoggi?

CNN reported on Monday that the Saudis were preparing a statement acknowledging that Khashoggi’s death was the result of an interrogation gone wrong. According to CNN’s sources, the interrogation was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey. The report would likely conclude that the operation was carried out without clearance and that those involved will be held responsible.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Why a journalist’s disappearance is globally significant

Charles Stanley – How to Strengthen Faith

 

Matthew 17:14-20

How do you know whether your faith is strong or weak? We realize that as believers, we’re supposed to trust God with every aspect of life, but circumstances may cause us to waver. This is not a new problem—five times in the book of Matthew, Jesus pointed out examples and symptoms of what He called “little faith.”

Anxiety. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addressed people who were worried about their basic needs being met (Matt. 6:25-34). He assured them of divine provision if God’s kingdom was their top priority.

Fear. When a storm arose, the disciples were afraid even though the Creator of the wind and the sea was with them, asleep in the boat (Matt. 8:23-27).

Focus. As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he had faith to walk on water. But when he focused on his circumstances, he began to sink. (Matt. 14:24-33).

Forgetfulness. Despite the feeding of thousands, the disciples failed to remember Christ’s past provision in their current situation (Matt. 16:5-12).

Inadequacy.  Although Jesus had given His disciples authority to cast out demons, they felt inadequate and lacked divine power when faced with a particularly difficult situation (Matt. 17:14-20).

In each case, the wrong mindset resulted in a lack of confidence in Christ. Diminished faith begins not with circumstances but with our thinking and focus. Therefore, if we want to increase our trust in God, we must fill our minds with the truth of Scripture, remember our Father’s faithfulness to us in the past, and look for His hand working in our present situation. When our minds are renewed, our faith will be also.

Bible in One Year: Mark 10-12

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Prayer and the Chain Saw

 

Read: Nehemiah 1 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 50–52; 1 Thessalonians 5

Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant. Nehemiah 1:11

I respect my Aunt Gladys’s intrepid spirit, even if that very spirit concerns me sometimes. The source of my concern came in the form of news she shared in an email: “I cut down a walnut tree yesterday.”

You must understand that my chainsaw-wielding aunt is seventy-six years old! The tree had grown up behind her garage. When the roots threatened to burst through the concrete, she knew it had to go. But she did tell us, “I always pray before I tackle a job like that.”

While serving as butler to the king of Persia during the time of Israel’s exile, Nehemiah heard news concerning the people who had returned to Jerusalem. Some work needed to be done. “The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire” (Nehemiah 1:3). The broken walls left them vulnerable to attack by enemies. Nehemiah had compassion for his people and wanted to get involved. But prayer came first, especially since a new king had written a letter to stop the building efforts in Jerusalem (see Ezra 4). Nehemiah prayed for his people (Nehemiah 1:5–10), and then asked God for help before requesting permission from the king to leave (v. 11).

Is prayer your response? It’s always the best way to face any task or trial in life.

Father, Your Holy Spirit reminds us to pray first. Today, we commit to doing so as Your Spirit prompts us.

Make prayer a first priority, instead of a last resort.

By Linda Washington

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Does Religion Oppress Women?

A New York Times blog written by Nicholas Kristof recently caught my attention.  “Does Religion Oppress Women?” was the question and the title of the article.  As someone who speaks and writes on behalf of the Christian faith, I have often heard this asserted as a reason against belief in the Christian faith—or any faith at all.  But I am also a woman and I wondered how a secular journalist like Kristof might answer this question.  Moreover, I wondered what in his travels and experience he had seen that made him write about this topic in particular.

Kristof has traveled extensively across the African continent and has spent time in some of Africa’s poorest communities.  In his many essays documenting these experiences, he often talks about the role of faith, acknowledging both its positive role and its negative contribution in the life of African women specifically.  He writes, “I’ve seen people kill in the name of religion… But I’ve also seen Catholic nuns showing unbelievable courage and compassion in corners of the world where no other aid workers are around, and mission clinics and church-financed schools too numerous to mention.”(1)  So, is religion, and Christianity in particular, good for women?  Kristof does not offer an easy answer to this question.

And of course, there are not easy answers.  As recently as April 2010, as reported in Christianity Today magazine, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that Christians in some countries in Africa still practiced female genital mutilation.(2)  For many, and particularly persons of faith, these findings are very troubling.

In fact, these findings take on doleful irony when one looks at the earliest Christian movement and its attraction for women in particular.  The world of the Roman Empire, filled with a diverse array of religious options, could not compete with the growing Christian movement in its appeal to women.  So many women were becoming Christians, in fact, that pagan religious leaders used its attraction to women as an argument against Christianity.  In his treatise, On True Doctrine, the pagan leader Celsus wrote in alarming terms about the subversive nature of Christianity to the stability of the Empire and regarded the disproportionate number of women among the Christians as evidence of the inherent irrationality and vulgarity of the Christian faith.  Historian David Bentley Hart writes of Celsus’s alarm:  “It is unlikely that Celsus would have thought the Christians worth his notice had he not recognized something uniquely dangerous lurking in their gospel of love and peace… [A]nd his treatise contains a considerable quantity of contempt for the ridiculous rabble and pliable simpletons that Christianity attracted into its fold: the lowborn and uneducated, slaves, women and children.”(3)  Indeed, Christianity attracted women and others deemed on the bottom rung of society because it elevated their status from an often oppressive Roman patriarchy.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Does Religion Oppress Women?

Joyce Meyer – Break Your Box

 

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He [Jesus] sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask [box] of very costly oil of spikenard [perfume]. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. — Mark 14:3 (NKJV)

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

I believe that breaking (saying no to) the flesh is what today’s Scripture is about. The woman broke that box so the expensive perfume could be poured out. In the same way, we have to “break” our flesh.

We all have sweet perfume in us. But our alabaster box (our flesh) has to be broken so the perfume (the good things of God) can flow out of us.

We are “pregnant” with the good things of God. We each have the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faith, meekness, and temperance. But many times, our alabaster box (our flesh) keeps them from being poured out.

Oh, but we love our alabaster box. We don’t want to break it because, after all, it is such a pretty box. We spend so much time taking care of it; we don’t want it to be broken.

But we must love God more than we love anything else. We need to circumcise our flesh and be willing to let go of the things of the flesh, so God’s blessings can flow to us and through us.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I choose to break my alabaster box in order to express my love for You and receive everything You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Brings You Comfort

 

Jesus said, “But I will send you the Comforter – the Holy Spirit, the source of all truth. He will come to you from the Father and will tell you all about Me” (John 15:26).

For years I was among the more than 95 percent of church members who, according to various surveys, are not knowledgeable concerning the person and ministry of the Holy spirit. Then God, in His gracious love and wisdom, showed me how simple it is to release His power into and through my life by faith, just as years before I had received assurance of my salvation by faith.

If I had only one message to proclaim to the Christian world, it would be this: how to know and experience, moment by moment, day by day, the reality of the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit. Everything that has to do with the Christian life involves God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.

We are born again through the ministry of the Spirit (John 3). The Holy Spirit inspired men of old to record the holy, inspired Word of God (2 Peter 1:21). Only those who are filled, controlled and empowered with His presence can comprehend what He communicated to those writers centuries ago, which is the message that He has for us today (1 Corinthians 2:14).

We cannot live holy lives apart form the Holy Spirit, for He alone can produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) in our lives. We cannot pray intelligently unless the Holy Spirit enable us, for He makes intercession for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26). We have no power to witness for Christ apart form His power (Acts 1:8). Only the Holy Spirit can enable us to live a supernatural life.

Bible Reading:John 14:16-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I determine to learn everything I can about the Holy Spirit. I will refer to the concordance in my Bible and study every reference to Him in the Scriptures, and ask my pastor, or other spiritual leaders in whom I have confidence, to recommend books on the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. I will not be satisfied with anything less than the love, joy, peace, victory and power that comes from living daily in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

 

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Max Lucado – Let Prayer Be Our First Option

Listen to Today’s Devotion

It was a tense deacon’s meeting.  Apparently there was more agitation than agreement, and after a lengthy discussion someone suggested, “Why don’t we pray about it?”  To which another questioned, “Has it come to that?”

What causes us to think of prayer as the last option rather than the first?  I can think of two reasons: feelings of independence and feelings of insignificance. We think, God doesn’t want to hear my problems. He’s got famine and the Mafia to deal with. I don’t want to trouble him with my mess. The last thing you should worry about is being a nuisance to God.  If that’s your thought, may I share with you a favorite verse of mine? “Because He delights in me, He saved me” (Psalm 18:19).

God can live anywhere in the universe and he chose your heart.  He’s crazy about you!  Why don’t you talk to him?

Read more A Gentle Thunder

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Is your sports team killing you?

Steven Clary and his friends were ecstatic at halftime of the 2017 Super Bowl: his Atlanta Falcons were up 28-3 over New England. By the time the Patriots came back to defeat his team, he was in the hospital with chest pain.

A study published last year suggests that the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat can substantially affect the cardiovascular system. Heart rates peak most often during scoring opportunities and overtime.

September and October are the only months when you can watch baseball, basketball, hockey, and football. But our fixation with athletics is not confined to this season of the year: Americans spend $100 billion on sports each year.

According to a Barna study, 64 percent of Americans think pro athletes have more influence in society than pastors. We commonly refer to “idolizing” sports figures and other celebrities. Perhaps we’re more right than we know.

The sin at the heart of all sins

I have a wooden idol on one of the shelves in my library. I purchased it nearly forty years ago when I was a missionary in East Malaysia. It is a hand-carved image of a bird with a large beak. I was told that some of the natives viewed it as a nature god.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Is your sports team killing you?

Charles Stanley – Returning to God

 

Malachi 3:7-12

Many Christians are familiar with God’s words in verse 7 of today’s reading: “Return to Me, and I will return to you.” When Malachi delivered this message to Israel, they seemed ignorant of the fact that they had left the Lord. Throughout the book, God made statements about their poor spiritual condition, and they always responded by asking how they had offended Him.

In this passage, God accuses them of robbing Him by withholding the tithes and offerings required by the Law to support the Levites and priests. God viewed their persistent disobedience to His commands as theft because they were keeping for themselves what belonged to Him. If we consider all that the Lord has given us, we must ask ourselves whether we’re robbing Him in any way. Consider these examples:

  • God has given us life and determined the number of our days (Psalm 139:16). Yet some of us claim that we don’t have time to read the Bible or pray. We may be busy, but it’s our responsibility to prioritize time with the Lord in the 24 hours He has allotted to us each day.
  • Our Father has also given us abilities, talents, and spiritual gifts, yet we oftentimes reserve their use for our career or hobby rather than for serving Him.
  • God is the one who has given us the ability to work and earn an income, and all He asks of us is the first portion.

Is there anything of the Lord’s that you’ve been keeping for yourself? With an obedient and grateful heart, you can joyfully give back to Him a fraction of whatever He has given you.

Bible in One Year: Mark 8-9

 

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Our Daily Bread — Terrible and Beautiful Things

 

Read: Psalm 57 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 47–49; 1 Thessalonians 4

Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. Psalm 57:8

Fear can leave us frozen. We know all the reasons to be afraid—everything that’s hurt us in the past, everything that could easily do so again. So sometimes we’re stuck—unable to go back; too afraid to move forward. I just can’t do it. I’m not smart enough, strong enough, or brave enough to handle being hurt like that again.

I’m captivated by how author Frederick Buechner describes God’s grace: like a gentle voice that says, “Here is the world. Terrible and beautiful things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you.”

Terrible things will happen. In our world, hurting people hurt other people, often terribly. Like the psalmist David, we carry our own stories of when evil surrounded us, when, like “ravenous beasts,” others wounded us (Psalm 57:4). And so we grieve; we cry out (vv. 1–2).

But because God is with us, beautiful things can happen too. As we run to Him with our hurts and fears, we find ourselves carried by a love far greater than anyone’s power to harm us (vv. 1–3), a love so deep it fills the skies (v. 10). Even when disaster rages around us, His love is a solid refuge where our hearts find healing (vv. 1, 7). Until one day we’ll find ourselves awakening to renewed courage, ready to greet the day with a song of His faithfulness (vv. 8–10).

Healer and Redeemer, thank You for holding us and healing us with Your endless love. Help us find in Your love the courage to follow You and share Your love with those around us.

God’s love and beauty make us brave.

By Monica Brands

INSIGHT

In the book of Psalms, superscriptions often precede the actual text. These notes shed light on the individual or group designated to lead the composition, the author, or the situation that inspired the lyrics. The superscription for Psalm 57 tells us David wrote this psalm “when he had fled from Saul into the cave.” Scripture records two times when David found refuge from Saul in a cave (1 Samuel 22 and 24). While there is uncertainty as to which of these two incidents is in view here, the truth of the psalm is crystal clear—the fearful, the anxious, the fleeing can find ultimate safety in the Lord (Psalm 57:1).

When was the last time a difficult situation caused you to call out to “God Most High”? (v. 2).

Arthur Jackson

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Bittersweet

In today’s world, it is often difficult to summon optimism. Bad news swirls around us blowing our hopes and dreams like leaves in the fall wind. In this gale, we often find it hard to cling to hope and to a sense that the future will be a bright one. In general, I see myself as an optimistic person. I try to find the bright side of bad situations, and I work hard to walk the extra mile to give others the benefit of the doubt in personal relationships. I am not a naïve optimist like the character Pangloss in Voltaire’s biting satire Candide. When it is clear the ship is sinking, I don’t believe everything will be alright nor do I believe, as Pangloss would, that the sinking ship is the best thing that could happen to me. I do all that I can to bail out the rising water, even as I wrestle against the fear and anxiety that accompanies impending disaster!

Yet despite my generally optimistic attitude and outlook, there are times when sadness overwhelms me. It may be a growing storm of weary longing or a tide of lonely isolation that sweeps over me, drowning me with a dolor that submerges my hope. Sometimes it occurs when I think about the aging process and our hopeless fight against it. Sometimes it occurs when I am in the grocery line, looking at the baggers and clerks who wonder if this is all they will ever do for work. Oftentimes, it occurs when I cannot see the good through all the violence and evil that oppresses the world and its people. I can easily become overwhelmed by the numbers of people who are forgotten by our society—the last, the least, and the lost among us—and wonder who is there to help and to save them from drowning.

It is in these times that I befriend lament. And I take great comfort in the loud cries and mourning that have echoed throughout time and history as captured in the poems, songs, and statements of lament. Indeed, a great portion of the Hebrew Scriptures comes in the form of lament, both individual and communal lament. The Psalms, as the hymnal of Israel, record the deepest cries of agony, anger, confusion, disorientation, sorrow, grief, and protest. In so doing, they express hope that the God who delivered them in the exodus from Egypt, would once again deliver by listening and responding to their lament.(1) The prophets of Israel, who cry out in times of exile, present some of the most heart-wrenching cries to God in times of deep sorrow and distress. One can hear the anguish in Jeremiah’s cry, “Why has my pain been perpetual and my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will God indeed be to me like a deceptive stream with water that is unreliable?” (Jeremiah 15:18). In addition, Jeremiah cries out on behalf of the people of Judah: “Harvest is past, summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the brokenness of the daughter of my people I am broken; I mourn, dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored?” (Jeremiah 8:20-22).

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Bittersweet

Joyce Meyer – Just Give It Time

 

Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people. — Exodus 33:13

Adapted from the resource Hearing from God Each Morning Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

When you spend time with God, it becomes evident. You become calmer, you’re easier to get along with, you are more joyful, and you remain stable in every situation.

Spending quality time with God is an investment that yields rich benefits. You begin to understand what He likes and what offends Him. As with any friend, the more time you spend with God, the more like Him you become.

Spending time with God causes you to become more sensitive to the love He wants to demonstrate to you and to others. Your conscience alerts you when you’re talking to someone in a way that does not please Him.

Your heart grieves when He grieves, and you quickly pray, “Oh, God, I’m sorry.” You soon want to apologize to the person you have offended and discover that saying, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you,” isn’t so difficult after all.

When God told Moses he had found favor in His eyes (see Exodus 33:12), Moses understood that God was telling him he could ask for anything his heart desired.

Moses responded by saying that he simply wanted to become more intimately acquainted with God. Moses had seen God perform history’s most magnificent miracles, yet what he wanted most of all was to know God intimately.

I pray that knowing God is the desire of your heart. You can know Him and hear His voice as clearly and as intimately as you want to. All it takes is spending time with Him.

Prayer Starter: Father, like Moses, I want to know You more intimately. Help me to take time to grow closer to You and develop a deep, personal relationship. Help me to become more like You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Are Indwelt by God Himself!

 

“Haven’t you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that He lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

The Bible teaches that there is one God manifested in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and that God lives within everyone who has received Christ.

One of the most important truths I have learned as a Christian is that this omnipotent, holy, righteous, loving, triune God – our heavenly Father, our risen Savior and Holy Spirit, Creator of heaven and earth – comes to dwell within sinful man at the moment he receives Christ! And, through Christ’s blood, sinful man is made righteous at the moment of the new birth!

Meditate with me upon what this means. When you fully grasp that the God of love, grace, wisdom, power and majesty dwells within you waiting to release His matchless love and mighty power is absolutely awesome.

You are His temple, and if you invite Him to, He will actually walk around in your body, think with your mind, love with your heart, speak with your lips and continue to seek and save the lost, for whom He gave His life 2,000 years ago. Incredible! Incomprehensible to our finite minds, this truth is so clearly emphasized in the Word of God and demonstrated in the lives of all who trust and obey Him that there can be no doubt. If you have received Christ, God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – now indwells you and your body has become His temple.

Bible Reading:Acts 2:37-40

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will begin every day by acknowledging that my body is a temple of God. I will invite the Lord Jesus Christ to walk around in my body, think with my mind, love with my heart, speak with my lips and continue to seek and save the lost through me. I will invite the Holy Spirit to empower and enable me to live a holy, supernatural life and be a fruitful witness of God’s love and grace – that my life will bring praise, honor, worship and glory to God the Father.

 

 

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Max Lucado – God is Patient With Us

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God is more patient with us than we are with ourselves.  We assume if we fall, we aren’t born again.  If we have the old desires, we must not be a new creation.  If you’re anxious please remember what Paul said in Philippians 1:6, “God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.”

In many ways your new birth is like your first.  In your new birth God provides what you need; someone else feels the pain, and someone else does the work. And just as parents are patient with their newborn, so God is patient with you.  But there’s one difference.  The first time you had no choice about being born. This time you do.  The power is God’s.  The effort is God’s.  The pain is God’s.  But the choice is yours.

Read more A Gentle Thunder

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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