Tag Archives: love

Max Lucado – Going Deep

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

In Ephesians 3:17, Paul says, “May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.”  The supreme surprise of God’s love is that it has nothing to do with you.  “God is love” the scripture says.  God loves you because he is he.  You don’t influence God’s love.  Your actions don’t alter his devotion.  Success signals God’s love no more than struggles indicate the lack of it.

When you feel unloved, take a trip to the cross and look at Jesus, cross-nailed and thorn-crowned.  Choose God’s love.  For the sake of your heart.  The prayer is powerful and simple:  “Lord, I receive your love.  Nothing can separate me from your love.”  Take a breath and descend so deeply into his love that you see nothing else.

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Denison Forum – The conflict with Iran: How we got here and what could come next

Nik and Lijana Wallenda safely crossed Times Square last night on a high wire twenty-five stories above the pavement. Their feat feels like a parable for escalating tensions in the Middle East.

What has led to the present crisis with Iran? Why would the Iranians escalate conflict with the US? What could come next? Where is God at work?

How we got here

Two oil tankers were attacked in the Strait of Hormuz recently, following attacks on four commercial ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates last month. The US, Saudi Arabia, and the UK blame Iran.

Last Monday, Iran stated that it would soon surpass the previously imposed three hundred-kilogram limit on its stockpiles of enriched uranium. The Pentagon then announced plans to send approximately a thousand more troops to the Middle East “for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats.”

Last Thursday, Iran shot down an unmanned US surveillance drone. The US claims that the aircraft was in international airspace; Iran claims that it was flying over their territory.

Later that day, the United States Cyber Command conducted online attacks against an Iranian intelligence group that American officials believe helped plan the oil tanker attacks. This was meant to be a direct response to the downing of the drone as well.

President Trump also approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for the drone attack, then canceled the strike. However, he announced over the weekend that the US is “putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – The conflict with Iran: How we got here and what could come next

Charles Stanley – Sharing the Good News

 

Romans 10:8-17

Can you imagine filling a ship with precious cargo and launching it into the sea, only to watch it repeatedly dock without offloading anything? I imagine silent Christians are much like this ship. God has personally blessed believers with salvation and eternal life and entrusted to them the message of the gospel, yet too few of His children are willing to share with others the good news of salvation in Christ.

What causes us to stay silent? We know that Jesus has commanded us to go and make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). Furthermore, He has assured us that we will be empowered by His authority and presence with us. God is offering the invitation of salvation to “whoever will call on the name of the Lord.” He has even made it clear that our communicating the good news is the means by which people will come to saving faith (Rom. 10:13-14).

Sometimes Christians who don’t share their faith defend that choice by saying, “My faith is private. It’s between me and my God.” But that is not the model we see in Scripture. Genuine faith is confessed with the mouth and shared with the world.

Every believer has been entrusted with the good news of salvation through Christ. It is unquestionably the single most important piece of information we have, because it offers the only door to heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” We have to courageously step forward in faith, be willing to set aside worldly concerns, obey God, and tell someone about Jesus.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 44-49

 

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Our Daily Bread — In Our Weakness

 

Bible in a Year:Nehemiah 12–13; Acts 4:23–37

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.

Romans 8:26

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Romans 8:1–2, 10–17

Although Anne Sheafe Miller died in 1999 at the age of 90, she nearly passed away in 1942 after developing septicemia following a miscarriage and all treatments proved to be unsuccessful. When a patient at the same hospital mentioned his connection to a scientist who’d been working on a new wonder drug, Anne’s doctor pressed the government to release a tiny amount for Anne. Within a day, her temperature was back to normal! Penicillin had saved Anne’s life.

Since the fall, all human beings have experienced a devastating spiritual condition brought about by sin (Romans 5:12). Only the death and resurrection of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit has made it possible for us to be healed (8:1–2). The Holy Spirit enables us to enjoy abundant life on earth and for eternity in the presence of God (vv. 3–10). “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (v. 11).

When your sinful nature threatens to drain the life out of you, look to the source of your salvation, Jesus, and be strengthened by the power of His Spirit (vv. 11–17). “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” and “intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (vv. 26–27).

By Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

Reflect & Pray

In what area do you need to experience the life of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit? How can you be more aware of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit?

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son and the power of the Holy Spirit who enables me to enjoy real life in You.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Practical Atheism

There is no mistaking the presence of unique challenges to belief in our modern day world. Our secular, privatized, consumerist affections have wielded a religion (indeed many religions) that has little or nothing to do with life itself. Coupled with secularism’s privatizing of religion from the public realm, consumerism’s pull creates a context whereby the choice of belief is not only a personal matter, but a matter entirely divorced from the history and communities that inform these beliefs. As professor David Wells notes, “God has been evacuated from the center of our collective life, pushed to the edges of our public square to become an irrelevance to how our world does its business. Marxism rested on a theoretical atheism; our secularized world rests on a practical atheism in the public domain, though one that coexists with private religiosity.”(1) This chasm between public and private, sacred and secular, forces a theology whereby God is largely absent, unknown in the public arena, and silent unless spoken to.

Meanwhile, in conjunction with our evacuation of God and subsequent practical atheism, we live within an understanding of unbounded freedom to pursue and consume whatsoever we will. While we may recognize secularism for what it is, Wells warns: “[W]e do not recognize the corrupting power of our affluence for what it is…. We consider our abundance as essentially harmless and, what is just as important, we have come to need it. The extraordinary and dazzling benefits of our modernized world, benefits that are now indispensable to our way of life, hide the values which accompany them, values which have the power to wrench around our lives in very damaging ways.”(2) Far more than a matter of wealth, our sheer appetites, which we readily appease as if angry gods, bring us to the conclusion that we ourselves are the center of collective life, echoing the call of secularism that God is exactly where God belongs—in quiet, private corners. Even within the church, this outlook is often practically lived if not publicly admitted.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Practical Atheism

Joyce Meyer – Heaven

 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. — Revelation 21:4

Adapted from the resource Wake Up to the Word Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Heaven is the abode of God, the angels, and the souls of those who are granted salvation.

Heaven, the eternal home of the believer in Jesus Christ, is described in the Bible as not only totally peaceful, but also stunningly beautiful (see Revelation 21 and 22).

Having faith that this is our destiny delivers us from the fear of death. Death is not an unknown nothingness, but a graduation into better things than what we have experienced on earth.

As Christians, we can truthfully say, “I will live in heaven forever!” Your address will change someday from earth to heaven, but you will never really die.

What a joy to know that we have the hope of a beautiful, peaceful place where there will be no more tears, pain, or dying, and we will live in the actual presence of God.

Prayer Starter: O, Lord, thank You for eternal life through Jesus! When life is difficult, help me to remember that it won’t last forever, but I will one day know the joy of living with You in heaven. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Is Ours

 

“So don’t be proud of following the wise men of this world. For God has already given you everything you need. He has given you Paul and Apollos and Peter as your helpers. He has given you the whole world to use, and life and even death are your servants. He has given you all of the present and all of the future. All are yours, and you belong to Christ, and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 3:21-23).

A famous scholar and statesman called me aside to offer his counsel. “As the head of a great worldwide Christian student movement,” he said, “you should be more scholarly, more of a philosopher. Your approach is too simple. Your critics and even some of your friends feel that your writings and your speaking should be more profound as befits one of your stature and position.” He continued in this vein for some time. I heard him out, prayerfully asking God to give me the wisdom to respond.

When he finished I said to him, “There was a time when I wanted to impress people with my intellect, my learning. I spent many years in graduate school including two theological seminaries where I had the privilege of sitting at the feet of some of the most learned theologians of our time.”

I confessed to him that there was a period in my student life when I became intoxicated with learning and could have spent the rest of my life in the ivory tower. Then it occurred to me in a very definite, dramatic way that one of the reasons the Christian message was not better understood by every Christian and the reason the Christian church was making such little impact upon a worldly society was that many theologians, and consequently their students, pastors and missionaries, had complicated the good news of God’s love and forgiveness. I reminded my friend that Jesus, the greatest teacher of all, taught in such a way that the masses, largely illiterate and unlearned, heard Him gladly. I went on to explain that I had made a concerted effort all through my ministry to try to communicate clearly by eliminating big words and philosophical and theological jargon, the kind of “Christianese” that does not communicate except to those who are familiar with the usage.

This famous scholar seemed to understand for the first time the importance of following the example of our Lord and other great teachers through the centuries who sought to communicate clearly to the masses.

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 3:16-20

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Remembering that God has given me everything I need, I will look to Him to guide my steps and enable me to live the supernatural life. I will also keep the message simple as I communicate the good news of God’s love in Christ.

 

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Max Lucado – You Don’t Have to Worry

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything” (Philippians 4:6).  God offers you and me the possibility of a worry-free life.  Jesus said, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life!  Of course not” (Matthew 6:27).  Worry is irrelevant.  You don’t add one day to your life or one bit of life to your day by worrying.

Worry is also irreverent; it’s distrusting God…an “unconscious blasphemy.”  The Apostle Paul urges us to “be anxious for nothing.”  How?  Our part includes prayer and gratitude.  Instead of looking forward in fear, look upward in faith and backward in appreciation of past victories. God’s part is peace and protection.  God enjoys perfect peace because he enjoys perfect power.  And he offers his peace to you to guard your heart.  Do your part, and God will do his.

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Denison Forum – Why Juneteenth is a holiday every American should celebrate

Today is Juneteenth (“June” plus “nineteenth”). The less you know about this holiday, the more you need to know.

On June 19, 1865, two months after the Confederacy surrendered, Union General Gordon Granger led a group of federal troops into Galveston, Texas.

Maj. Gen. Granger issued this declaration: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, ‘all slaves are free.’ This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

An annual rite and a century of waiting

As Henry Louis Gates, Jr. notes, Maj. Gen. Granger had no idea that his order would establish the most popular annual celebration in the United States of emancipation from slavery. The newly freed black men and women of Texas made the date into their own annual rite, beginning one year later in 1866.

Informal celebrations of the date continued until, in 1980, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Forty-five states recognize the holiday today.

President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier, but it freed only slaves within Confederate states who were liberated by Union troops. Even after Granger’s proclamation, many of the 250,000 slaves in Texas were mistreated for decades to come.

African Americans would wait nearly one hundred years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Tragically, much of the prejudice African Americans have faced in our nation has come from white Christians.

“The Color of Compromise”

In The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism, historian Jemar Tisby surveys four hundred years of American church history. He shows that white American Protestants in both the North and the South repeatedly used their theology and church institutions to perpetuate racial power imbalances.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Why Juneteenth is a holiday every American should celebrate

Charles Stanley – Dying to Serve: A Parable

 

John 12:23-26

Imagine two grains of wheat lying on the floor of a warm and cozy barn. One day, the farmer comes in and tells them, “I want to take you out of this comfortable barn and plant you in the earth. I’m going to place you in the cold ground and cover you with soil. It will be dark, and you will die. But I promise that you will multiply and become very fruitful.”

The first grain of wheat turns down the suggestion. “No way!” he says. “Count me out. I like my comfort, and I don’t want to die.” But the second one, after carefully considering the pain and discomfort of dying, decides the promise of a future harvest is worth the sacrifice. So the farmer takes him outside and plants him in the ground, while allowing the first grain of wheat to remain inside the barn.

A few days later, a small green sprout begins to appear over where the seed has been planted. Then it grows and becomes a tall stalk of wheat that produces one hundred more grains. For the next 40 years, the farmer plants all the seeds that originated from that first grain of wheat, and year after year the harvest multiplies. Meanwhile, the grain of wheat that stayed in the barn remains there all alone, never growing or multiplying—but he has stayed very comfortable.

Which grain of wheat are you? Are you playing it safe, or have you let Christ plant you in the world? The only way you’ll become useful and fruitful in God’s kingdom is by abiding in Him and trusting that His desires for your life are worthwhile.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 39-43

 

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Our Daily Bread — Rescuing Villains

 

Bible in a Year:Nehemiah 10–11; Acts 4:1–22

Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants!

Daniel 3:28

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Daniel 3:26–30

The comic book hero is as popular as ever. In 2017 alone, six superhero movies accounted for more than $4 billion (US) in box office sales. But why are people so drawn to big action flicks?

Maybe it’s because, in part, such stories resemble God’s Big Story. There’s a hero, a villain, a people in need of rescue, and plenty of riveting action.

In this story, the biggest villain is Satan, the enemy of our souls. But there are lots of “little” villains as well. In the book of Daniel, for example, one is Nebuchadnezzar, the king of much of the known world, who decided to kill anyone who didn’t worship his giant statue (Daniel 3:1–6). When three courageous Jewish officials refused (vv. 12–18), God dramatically rescued them from a blazing furnace (vv. 24–27).

But in a surprising twist, we see this villain’s heart begin to change. In response to this spectacular event, Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego” (v. 28).

But then he threatened to kill anyone who defied God (v. 29), not yet understanding that God didn’t need his help. Nebuchadnezzar would learn more about God in chapter 4—but that’s another story.

What we see in Nebuchadnezzar isn’t just a villain, but someone on a spiritual journey. In God’s story of redemption, our hero, Jesus, reaches out to everyone needing rescue—including the villains among us.

By Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

Who do you know in need of God’s rescue? What can you do to help?

Jesus prayed for those who persecuted Him. We can do the same.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Creation and Destruction

 

The capture of one of the most notorious drug loads—leader of the Sinaloa Cartel—El Chapo, Joaquin Guzman made global headlines. Guzman was captured without the firing of a single bullet. This was quite a feat given that he kept an arsenal of weapons around him at all times: semi-automatic rifles, hand-grenades, rocket-launchers, and other weapons of mass-destruction. Yet, he was completely caught off guard when police arrested him in his home in the early dawn of 2014. He escaped not five months later by creating a tunnel from his shower. While the media hailed his capture and re-capture in January 2016 as well as his recent trial and upcoming sentencing as huge successes in the fight against drug trafficking, most citizens in Mexico are less sure. There is little confidence that Guzman’s capture will slow the traffic or violence of the drug trade and its cartels, which for many seems an intractable feature of Mexican life.

The moral depravity of the real-life drug cartels has often been fictionalized in television and film. Whether the popular television show Breaking Bad or the 2007 film No Country for Old Men (adapted from the novel by Cormac McCarthy), the violence intertwined with the illegal drug trade has often been used as a metaphor for exploring the underbelly of evil just below the surface of ‘civilized’ life. Specifically, it is a force that seems to advance without end or solution. The recent news about heroin epidemics and overdoses in typically “middle-American” towns is a chilling example. Given the chaotic elements inherent in addiction and violence, it is understandable how a kind of nihilistic despair can take hold. As the sheriff laments in the film No Country for Old Men:

“I was sheriff of this county when I was twenty-five years old. Hard to believe. My grandfather was a lawman; father too. You can’t help but compare yourself against the old-timers. Can’t help but wonder how they would have operated these times. The crime you see now, it’s hard to even take its measure. It’s not that I’m afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job. But, I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don’t understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He’d have to say, ‘O.K., I’ll be part of this world [emphasis mine].’”(1)

When I read the headlines or encounter some of the ways in which these realities are depicted in film, television, novels, and other artistic media, I wonder with the Sheriff in McCarthy’s novel how to make a difference in the kind of world most would be terrified to enter. Is there any hope for redemption, transformation, and justice that goes beyond simply punishment? As a Christian, I wonder what difference the good news of Jesus can make in a world of drug lords, traffickers, and violence?

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Creation and Destruction

Joyce Meyer – He Cares for You and Wants to Comfort You

 

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. — Psalm 34:17-18

Adapted from the resource Trusting God Day by Day – by Joyce Meyer

I believe God mourns with us when we suffer a great loss. After all, when Jesus taught us to pray, He told us to call God “Abba,” which is best translated as “Daddy.”

What daddy doesn’t ache when his little boy comes home defeated after striking out at his Little League game? What mother doesn’t feel her own heart break as her little girl comes home from school having been taunted on the playground?

In the overall scheme of things, these are tiny losses and hurts, and the parent knows that. But the pain of seeing your child suffering is piercing nonetheless.

Immediately after teaching the disciples to pray what we know as the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus asked, What man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent? (Matthew 7:9–10AMPC).

In other words, because He is our Father, God suffers when we suffer. And while He could change our circumstances in an instant, more often than not, He doesn’t. But when He sees His child suffer, He suffers, too.

When you are feeling loss and sorrow, ask God to hold you in the hollow of His hand, to whisper His comfort and to stroke your head, like a parent fussing over his fevered child. You may or may not feel that comfort, but God’s Word is true, and so is He.

Prayer Starter: Thank You, Father, that You are the God of all comfort and You suffer when I suffer. Please comfort me today. Help me to sense Your loving presence in everything I do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Gave His Son

 

“Since He did not spare even His own Son for us but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also surely give us everything else?” (Romans 8:32).

George was very faithful in his Christian walk. In fact, he had a little black book in which he recorded all of his activities for each day. These included daily devotions, note-taking, verses to be memorized, appointments to be kept and every activity of his life. Outwardly he seemed so perfect that I, as a young Christian, wanted to be like him. Then one day he had a nervous breakdown. As he told me later, the last thing he did before he went to the hospital was to throw away his little black book and tell his wife he never wanted to see it again. Without realizing it, he had become very legalistic in his relationship with God rather than accepting, by faith, what God had already done for him. while in the hospital he began to recall some of the thousands of verses which he had memorized through the years. It was then that he relaxed enough to allow the Holy Spirit to illumine his mind to comprehend the importance of living by faith.

As Paul writes to the Galatians in the third chapter: “What magician has hypnotized you and cast an evil spell upon you? For you used to see the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death as clearly as though I had waved a placard before you with a picture on it of Christ dying on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by trying to keep the Jewish laws? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you heard about Christ and trusted Him to save you. Then, have you gone completely crazy? For if trying to obey the Jewish laws never gave you spiritual life in the first place, why do you think that trying to obey them now will make you stronger Christians?”

I ask you again: Does God give you the power of the Holy Spirit as a result of your trying to obey His laws? No, of course not. He gives that power when you believe in Christ and fully trust Him. The greatest heresy of the Christian life is legalism; and yet, it inevitably seems to attract dedicated, committed Christians. They are happy to accept salvation as a gift of God by faith. But like the Galatians, they insist on earning their way thereafter.

We must never forget that salvation is a gift of God which we receive by faith. Nothing can be earned. If we believe God, we will want to work to please Him, not to earn His favor.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:33-39

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will invite the Holy Spirit to protect me from becoming legalistic in my walk with Christ. Having received salvation by faith, I shall claim each day’s blessings by faith as I live the supernatural life.

 

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Max Lucado – In God We (Nearly) Trust

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Drink deeply from God’s Lordship.  He authors all itineraries.  He knows what is best.  No struggle will come your way apart from His purpose, presence, and permission.  What encouragement this brings.  You are never the victim of nature or the prey of fate.  Chance is eliminated.

You are more than a weathervane whipped about by the winds of fortune.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, he promises.  And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched; nor will the flame burn you.  “For I am the Lord your God.” (Isaiah 43:2-3).

We live beneath the protective palm of the sovereign king who super intends every circumstance of our lives, and delights in doing us good.  Be encouraged.  God’s ways are always right.

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Denison Forum – A shooting in Dallas and the death of Gloria Vanderbilt: Reading the world through God’s word

A gunman opened fire on the Earle Cabell Federal Building in downtown Dallas yesterday morning. According to the Dallas Police Department, the heavily armed, masked suspect was shot in an “exchange of gunfire” with federal officers.

He was reportedly taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities identified the suspect as twenty-two-year-old Brian Isaack Clyde. A bomb squad also examined his vehicle, later detonating a device in a controlled explosion.

As of this morning, federal authorities leading the investigation have not offered a motive for the shooting.

“They can’t take what’s hidden in your heart”

The bad news is that another shooting occurred in a public space. The good news is that the shooter harmed no one.

We can carry this bipolar theme into nearly any story in today’s news.

For example, Wayne Cordeiro, a well-known Hawaiian pastor, met recently with twenty-two Christian leaders in China. Eighteen had been imprisoned. They told him that Christians headed for prison smuggle in pieces of paper with portions of Scripture on them which they memorize.

“Even though they can take the paper away, they can’t take what’s hidden in your heart,” one told Cordeiro.

We should grieve with and intercede for our sisters and brothers suffering such horrific persecution. But we can rejoice in their faith and choose to emulate their courage.

The death of Gloria Vanderbilt

On the other side of the news, Gloria Vanderbilt died yesterday at the age of ninety-five.

She was the great-great-granddaughter of famous financier Cornelius Vanderbilt and the mother of CNN newsman Anderson Cooper. Hers was a story of remarkable fame and financial means.

However, her father was a gambler and an alcoholic dying of liver disease when he married her mother. Gloria was one year old when he died.

Continue reading Denison Forum – A shooting in Dallas and the death of Gloria Vanderbilt: Reading the world through God’s word

Charles Stanley – Healing for Inferiority

 

Ephesians 3:14-21

The world bombards us with messages that can trigger feelings of inferiority. Happiness and satisfaction are promised if we will only drive the latest car, wear the newest styles, or build up those muscles while shedding pounds. If we do not guard ourselves from commercialism, it will drive the truth of God from our mind, and we will pursue a fruitless search for adequacy and value.

So often we look at externals to prove to ourselves and others that we’re valuable. Or we think, If only I were better-looking, richer, or smarter, I would be accepted and esteemed. It’s not wise to let others’ opinions and standards determine our feelings about ourselves; the only accurate assessment of our worth comes from looking into the eyes of the One who loved us enough to die in our place.

Paul told his readers that true significance comes from knowing and understanding the full dimensions of God’s love for them. This knowledge is our anchor when feelings of worthlessness overwhelm or failures tempt us to berate ourselves and withdraw in defeat. Notice that the Lord doesn’t say He’ll give us all the qualities and possessions we think will overcome our sense of inferiority. Instead, He promises to strengthen us “in the inner man” (Eph. 3:16).

God is “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think,” but His method is to work from the inside out, “according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:20). If you struggle with feelings of inferiority, ask God to heal your soul by doing a great work within.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 1-7

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — God of All People

 

Bible in a Year:Ezra 1–2; John 19:23–42

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.

Acts 2:5

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Acts 2:1-12

Former Newsboys lead vocalist Peter Furler describes the performance of the band’s praise song “He Reigns.” The song paints a vivid picture of believers from every tribe and nation coming together to worship God in unity. Furler observed that whenever the Newsboys sang it he could sense the moving of the Holy Spirit in the gathering of believers.

Furler’s description of his experiences with “He Reigns” would likely have resonated with the crowds who converged on Jerusalem at Pentecost. When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4), things began to happen beyond anyone’s experience. As a result, Jews representing every nation came together in confusion, because each one heard their own language being spoken to make God’s wonders known (vv. 5–6, 11). Peter explained to the crowd that this was in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy in which God said, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people” (v. 17).

This all-inclusive display of God’s awesome power made the crowd receptive to Peter’s declaration of the gospel, leading to three thousand converts that day alone (v. 41). Following this spectacular kickoff, these new believers then returned to their corner of the world, taking the good news with them.

The good news still resounds today—God’s message of hope for all people. As we praise God together, His Spirit moves among us, bringing people of every nation together in wonderful unity. He reigns!

By Remi Oyedele

Reflect & Pray

In what ways do you see God’s image in other people? How can you view people from every tribe and nation through the lens of Jesus?

Dear heavenly Father, help me to reflect Your heart for all of Your people.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Solidarity

In 1943, two hundred and thirty women were arrested as members of the French Resistance and sent to Birkenau. Only 49 survived, but this in itself is remarkable. These women were as diverse a group as could be imagined. They were Jews and Christians, aristocrats and working class, young and old. Yet they were united by their commitment to the French Resistance and to one another.(1) In her book A Train in Winter, Caroline Moorhead reconstructs the story of these women through the journals and memoirs of survivors. Noting the mutual dependence that made the difference between living and dying, Moorhead highlights how the solidarity of these women to one another and to their mutual survival sustained them through unspeakable horror and torture.

In many accounts of Holocaust survivors, the hellish conditions of extreme deprivation and torture drove many to hoard whatever meager resources they could save for themselves. And how could they be blamed? Survival became the only goal—no matter what the cost, even to others. Yet, in most of the cases with these French women in Birkenau, their solidarity toward each other trumped the selfishness that engulfed so many others. As Moorhead writes, “Knowing that the fate of each depended on the others… egotism seemed to vanish and that, stripped back to the bare edge of survival, each rose to behavior few would have believed themselves capable of.”(2) Moorhead recounts that when unrelieved thirst threatened to engulf one of their members in utter madness, the women pooled together their own meager rations to get her a whole bucket of water.

Altruism of this magnitude is seldom seen. Putting one’s own needs first is as natural as breathing, and just as unconscious. Yet adversity sometimes coaxes out the best and the most beautiful in human beings.

In the ancient biblical account of Ruth, three women are left widows, and one, Naomi, has lost her sons as well. Bereft of their economic and financial support, the women instinctively stay together even as Naomi insists they return to their homeland of Moab, where the prospect of finding a husband would be more likely. But the women insist on staying. “No, we will surely return with you to your people.”

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Joyce Meyer – First Response

 

O God, You are my God; early will I seek You…. — Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

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

Sometimes I marvel at how long we can struggle in a situation before we think to talk to God about it and listen for His voice. We complain about our problems; we grumble; we murmur; we tell our friends; and we talk about how we wish God would do something about it.

We struggle with situations in our minds and in our emotions, while we often fail to take advantage of the simplest solution there is: prayer. But worse than that, we then make perhaps the most ridiculous statement known to man: “Well, I guess all I can do is pray.”

I am sure you have heard that before, and maybe you have even said it. We all have. We are all guilty of treating prayer as a last-ditch effort and saying things like, “Well, nothing else is working, so maybe we should pray.”

Do you know what that tells me? It tells me that we really do not believe in the power of prayer as we should. We carry burdens we do not need to bear—and life is much harder than it has to be—because we do not realize how powerful prayer is.

If we did, we would talk to God and listen to what He says about everything, not as a last resort, but as a first response.

Prayer Starter: Father, I take a moment right now to pray for the needs in my life. I know that You love me, You see what I’m going through, and You delight in helping me. Please help me to always run to You first. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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