Tag Archives: theology

Charles Stanley – Things That Cannot be Shaken

 

Hebrews 12:25-29

In general, people like security. We seek what is comfortable. Yet the reality of our world is that much instability exists. For example, finances, health, and even a country’s ability to survive are not guaranteed.

When our foundation is shaken, we often feel overwhelmed. Sometimes Satan causes the difficulty—with God’s permission, of course. At other times, challenging circumstances are brought about by the Lord’s hand. Regardless of the source, we have the promise in Romans 8:28 that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” And in either case, the Almighty’s purpose remains: to glorify Himself in our world and in our lives.

There are different reasons that the Lord permits turmoil, but for now, let’s focus on one: He will not allow anything that enables man to seem self-sufficient in his own eyes. Therefore, God may lovingly allow enough trouble for us to realize our need of Him. Consider the trials the Israelites faced each time they turned away from the Lord to worship other gods. In many ways, we do the same thing today. Individually, in our churches, and as a nation, we often glorify “gods” like money or status. But the One who created us will not tolerate this.

In our pride, we tend to think we’re able to manage without God. But out of love, He may stir up our life to reveal our dependence upon Him. If you are basing your security on anything except Jesus Christ—even something as seemingly innocent as comfort—it will prove to be sinking sand.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 76-78

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Vanity on Fire

 

Bible in a Year:Job 3–4; Acts 7:44–60

Create in me a pure heart, O God.

Psalm 51:10

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Matthew 5:21–30

In February 1497, a Monk named Girolamo Savonarola started a fire. Leading up to this, he and his followers spent several months collecting items that they thought might entice people to sin or neglect their religious duties—including artwork, cosmetics, instruments, and dresses. On the appointed day, thousands of vanity items were gathered at a public square in Florence, Italy, and set on fire. The event has come to be known as the Bonfire of the Vanities.

Savonarola might have found inspiration for his extreme actions in some shocking statements from the Sermon on the Mount. “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away,” said Jesus. “And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away” (Matthew 5:29–30). But if we interpret Jesus’s words literally, we miss the point of the message. The entire sermon is a lesson on going deeper than the surface, to focus on the state of our hearts rather than blaming our behavior on external distractions and temptations.

The Bonfire of the Vanities made a great show of destroying belongings and works of art, but it is unlikely that the hearts of those involved were changed in the process. Only God can change a heart. That’s why the psalmist prayed, “Create in me a pure heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10). It’s our heart that counts.

By Remi Oyedele

Reflect & Pray

What behaviors or distractions might be on your list of “vanities”? How do you try to “manage” them?

Holy God, please give me the grace to surrender my heart to You and yield my life’s vanities to the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Befriending Lament

 

I had dinner with my 84 year-old neighbor last week. Recently widowed, he has been alone and fending for himself. When we ran into him walking, I asked him what he might need. Immediately, he said that he had been eating the same thing for weeks and weeks because that is the only thing he knew how to make, and would we be willing to come and show him how to roast a chicken? So my husband and I showed up with ingredients in hand and set out to prepare a meal he could replicate so that he had some variety in his diet.

Not only was my neighbor recently widowed, but he had also had an orthopedic surgery that has left him in quite a bit of pain and without the strength and use of his bones and muscles in the way he once was able to use them. An avid tennis player all throughout his life, the agility that propelled him back and forth across the court had left him. What remained were brittle bones and fraying tendons. He could barely hobble around the night we made him dinner, and he had to keep sitting down because he was in so much pain. Even with two surgeries to correct the years of tennis playing, he still told me that he hoped he would die on the tennis court playing the game he loved.

While I know intellectually that bodies grow old and die, it is hard not to think of the aging process as a kind of betrayal. Those limbs, muscles, bones, and tendons that support and empower throughout life, now become the very instruments of treason as they tear, break, and decay, being worn down by life itself. While we fight the aging process in every conceivable manner, our bodies stay on automatic pilot and simply follow a course that is inevitable. To be sure, there are always those individuals who live long into their 90’s and 100’s—their bodies seemingly impervious to the ravages of aging. We marvel at their longevity, especially at those centenarians who drank pots of coffee, or ate bacon and eggs every day, ignoring their doctor’s warnings of a shortened life span. And yet, one day their bodies will also give them away to death.

But one doesn’t have to be old to experience bodily betrayal. The young succumb to various illnesses just as the old do. We all know those individuals who have died far too soon, the victims of cells gone awry or bodily system failure. And the mystery of ‘premature’ illness or death surely strikes at the confidence of all who appear healthy. Whether old or young, all go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Befriending Lament

Joyce Meyer – A Doubtful Mind

 

And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. — 1 Kings 18:21

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

Like many people, I assumed that doubt and unbelief were the same, because we usually put them in the same context. In recent years, however, I’ve learned that there is a difference. Obviously, doubt and unbelief do not honor God, but I want to show you how they function in different ways.

The story of the prophet Elijah is an excellent picture of doubt at work. King Ahab was the most evil leader the people had known. Elijah declared that because of Ahab’s wickedness, no rain would fall until he, the prophet, said so. For the next three-and-a-half years, drought scourged the land.

Now, that’s a pretty clear picture. There had been sufficient rain before Elijah’s declaration—but after he spoke, the skies quit yielding water. That is pretty obvious. Who would question God or His prophet? But apparently, the people’s fear of Ahab—as well as the lack of rainfall—caused their minds to be filled with questions.

Elijah finally called all the people together, along with the king and the false prophets, and asked them why they doubted. Why were they caught between two possible answers? That’s what doubt really is. Doubt isn’t simply unbelief—it’s more of an attitude that says, “I believe, but . . .” or, “I want to believe, but . . .”

Doubt often comes to reside where faith once lived. Doubt is active opposition to faith, and it tries to push faith aside. The people had believed the prophet, but as time wore on—three-and-a-half years—apparently questions arose, and uncertainty crept in.

If Elijah really did this, he ought to stop it right now. Maybe it just happened. Or, How do we really know that was the word of God? As soon as they seriously asked themselves these questions, they opened the door for Satan to bring doubt into their minds.

Doubt never comes from God—it is always in opposition to His will.

In writing to the Romans, Paul pointed out that the Lord gives each of us a measure of faith (see Romans 12:3). When we cling to that faith, we push away doubts. But when we allow questions to enter in—any kind of uncertainty that takes our minds away from God’s wonderful work in our lives—that’s doubt.

It is also a subtle, sneaky entry point for our enemy. He plants doubt in our minds, hoping it will cause us to oppose God. We probably don’t think of doubt as something that strong, but it is—it’s the first step of opposition to what God declares. That’s why we need to know God’s Word. If we know the Word, we can recognize it when the devil lies to us and causes us to question.

Elijah wouldn’t allow the people of his day to move back and forth from doubt to belief. He made the options clear: Believe the true God or believe a false idol. Don’t fall into the trap of saying you believe in God when your heart is filled with doubts and questions. Choose true faith and say, “Lord, I believe. I may not always understand, but I trust You.”

Prayer Starter: True and faithful God, in the past, I’ve been weak, allowing Satan to make me question You, Your love, and Your plans for my life. Not only do I ask You to forgive me, but I also ask You to teach me Your Word and strengthen me so that Satan can never trick me again. Thank You for hearing my prayer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Crown of Life

 

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him” (James 1:12, KJV).

In Christian art, the crown is usually pictured entwined with the cross. This suggests that endurance of trial leads to victory, as the above verse indicates.

Temptation often comes at our weakest – rather than our strongest – moments. When we have reached the limit of our love and our patience, for example, we are tempted to be unlike Christ in one way or another. Remember, Jesus’ temptation began after forty days of fasting.

People usually are impressed – favorably or unfavorably – when they see how we act under pressure. It is possible for one weak act to spoil a whole lifetime of witness.

The beatitude, or blessing, in Matthew 5:10; says, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (KJV). The crown of life is promised to those who successfully stand up under the testing of their faith. The Christian life is a spiritual conflict from the moment of birth until we go to be with the Lord. The flesh wars against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. There is absolutely no hope for victory until one discovers the availability of the supernatural resources of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

A young student who came to me for counsel said, “I have given up. I can’t live the Christian life. There is no hope for me.”

“Good,” I replied. “At last you have recognized that you cannot live the Christian life. Now there is hope for you, for the Christian life is a supernatural life and the only one who can live it is Jesus Christ Himself.”

Surrender your life totally, completely to Him and recognize moment by moment, day by day, that the Holy Spirit is the only one who will enable you to endure temptation. By faith you must draw upon His supernatural resources to live a supernatural life. Only then will you be victorious and fruitful for the glory of God.

Bible Reading: James 5:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today and every day I will remember to draw upon the supernatural resources of the indwelling Christ who will enable me to be victorious over temptation and to live the supernatural life as a testimony to His faithfulness.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Receive His Love

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

In Romans chapter 8,  Paul asks five life-changing questions:

  1. “Won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?”

God won’t leave us to fend for ourselves.

  1. “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”

God’s presence tilts the scales of security forever in our direction.

  1. “Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own?”

Once God accepts you, what other opinion matters?

  1. “Who then will condemn us? Will Christ Jesus?”

The answer is NO!  Christ sits next to God as our divine defense attorney who mutes the voices of our accusers.

  1. “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?”

Paul’s “Eureka!” conclusion:  Nothing and no one can drive a wedge between you and God’s love!

Read more Come Thirsty

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

Home

Denison Forum – Life on Mars and ‘hornlike spikes’: Why Americans trust science over religion

Is there life on Mars?

NASA’s Curiosity rover found what the New York Times calls “startlingly high amounts of methane in the Martian air” last week. As the Times explains, this type of gas on Earth is “usually produced by living things.”

The mission’s controllers sent new instructions to the rover to follow up on the readings. When the results came back yesterday, the methane spike had disappeared.

In addition, a glowing object was photographed hovering just above the surface of Mars earlier this month. Whatever it was, it seemed to be moving quickly.

However, NASA notes that such images are seen nearly every week and “can be caused by cosmic-ray hits or sunlight glinting from rock surfaces.” And methane gas can be produced by geological forces that have no connection to biological life.

Are “hornlike spikes” caused by cell phones?

In other science news that turned out not to be news, the Washington Post recently reported that “young people are developing hornlike spikes at the back of their skulls.” The Post cites researchers who argued that such bone growth points to shifting body posture brought about by the use of modern technology.

Not so fast, according to the Smithsonian. Other scientists noted that these bone growths have been known for centuries; one stated that she has seen “plenty” of them “in the early Medieval skulls I’ve studied.” They noted that such growths can be genetic or occur through trauma.

Such stories remind us that science is not infallible. Experts can interpret the same evidence in widely different ways.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Life on Mars and ‘hornlike spikes’: Why Americans trust science over religion

Charles Stanley – Jesus Identifies With Our Needs

 

Hebrews 4:14-16

We often forget that during His stay on earth, Jesus experienced need just as we do. Although Christ was fully God, He was at the same time completely human, with all of humanity’s weaknesses and shortcomings. Though He didn’t sin, He identified with our suffering.

When Jesus had finished a 40-day fast in the wilderness, He experienced physical hunger and an onslaught of temptation from the devil (Matt. 4:1-2). Later, after an exhausting day of healing people and feeding a crowd of more than 5,000, the Son of God required time alone with His Father for spiritual strength and refreshment (Matt. 14:23). And in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ was under tremendous spiritual and emotional pressure as He faced the daunting task of paying for the sins of mankind through His death on a cross (Matt. 26:38-39).

In each weakness, Jesus turned to His Father. The Word of God was His defense in temptation, prayer was His source of strength for ministry, and submission to the Father’s will was His pathway to victory over sin and death. By passing through every difficult situation without sin, He became our Great High Priest, who intercedes for us and invites us to draw near to God’s throne for help in time of need.

Whatever your needs may be, you can follow Christ’s example and experience the Father’s provision. The Word of God is your protection, prayer is your strength, and submission to the Father is the way to victory over sin. Draw near with confidence, and let the Lord shower you with His grace.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 71-75

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Playing with Joy

 

Bible in a Year:Job 1–2; Acts 7:22–43

The fruit of the Spirit is . . . joy.

Galatians 5:22

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Galatians 5:22–26

One of our sons, Brian, is a high school basketball coach. One year, as his team was dribbling its way through the Washington State Basketball Tournament, well-meaning folks around town asked, “Are you going to win it all this year?” Both players and coaches felt the pressure, so Brian adopted a motto: “Play with joy!”

I thought of the apostle Paul’s last words to the elders of Ephesus: “That I may finish my race with joy” (Acts 20:24 nkjv). His aim was to complete the tasks Jesus had given him. I have made these words my motto and my prayer: “May I run and finish my race with joy.” Or as Brian says, “May I play with joy!” And by the way, Brian’s team did win the state championship that year.

We all have good reasons to get grouchy: discouraging news, everyday stresses, health problems. Nevertheless, God can give us a joy that transcends these conditions if we ask Him. We can have what Jesus called, “my joy” (John 15:11).

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit of Jesus (Galatians 5:22). So we must remember each morning to ask Him to help us: “May I play with joy!” Author Richard Foster said, “To pray is to change. This is a great grace. How good of God to provide a path whereby our lives can be taken over by . . . joy.”

By David H. Roper

Reflect & Pray

What causes you to be discouraged? Where do you find your joy?

I turn my eyes to You, God. I’m grateful I can count on Your faithfulness to me. Please bring me into Your joy.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Foreign and Belonging

I have not spent much of my life as a foreigner, though my short bouts with being a cultural outsider remind me of the difficulty of always feeling on the outside of the circle. Just as the distance between outside and inside seems to be closing, something happens or something is said and you are reminded again that you do not really belong. On a visit with Wellspring International to Northern Uganda some years ago, the thought never left us. Everywhere the director and I went, children seemed to sing of “munos,” a term essentially (and affectionately) meaning “whiteys.” It made us smile every time we heard it. But even when communicated playfully, it can be both humbling and humiliating to always carry with you the sober thought: I am out of place.

The book of Ruth scarcely neglects an opportunity to point out this reality. Long after hearers of the story are well acquainted with who Ruth is and where she is from, long after she is living in Judah, she continues to be referred to as “Ruth the Moabite” or even merely “the Moabite woman.” Her perpetual status as an outsider brings to mind the vision of Keats and the “song that found a path/ through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home/ She stood in tears amid the alien corn.”

And yet, while Ruth was undoubtedly as aware of being the foreigner as much as those around her were aware of it, she did nothing to suggest a longing to return to Moab. Her words and actions in Judah are as steadfast as her initial vow to Naomi: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried” (Ruth 1:16-17a). This is Ruth’s pledge to her mother-in-law, repeatedly.

In these early pages of the story, little is known about Naomi’s God or her people. The brief mention of each comes as a distant report: “Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the LORD had visited his people and given them food” (1:6). Moreover, Naomi’s first mention of the God of her people holds a similar sense of detachment. Though she recognizes God’s sovereignty over her situation, it is blurred with bitterness: “The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. For I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty” (1:20-21). Her description was hardly a compelling glimpse for the outsider looking in.

And yet, Ruth clearly embraces all of Naomi: the people who would only see her as the foreigner and the God who was not her own. In fact, ironically, it is Ruth the Moabite whose voice is the first in the story to call on the divine name. After her resolute declaration of loyalty to her mother-in-law, Ruth adds the plea, “May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me” (1:17b). It is the foreigner who has taken Yahweh to be her God and calls on this God accordingly. In fact, it is this foreigner whose adoption into God’s presence can be traced in blood all the way to the throne of King David and to the reign of Christ. Ruth the Moabite is forever remembered an outsider. But at the same time, she is remembered a woman with a crucial link to the Son of God.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Foreign and Belonging

Joyce Meyer – God Knows You Intimately

 

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. — Psalm 139:4

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

Because we relate to God as individuals—and that’s the way He wants it—we also pray as individuals. Even when we pray corporately with others, we are still individuals; we simply join our hearts with others as one voice.

During these corporate prayer times, I believe God wants our hearts to be in unity much more than He wants our methods to be the same.

When we say, “Lord, teach me to pray,” we are asking Him to teach us to pray in a distinctly personal way and to enable our prayers to be easy, natural expressions of who we are. We are not supposed to check our individuality at the door of the prayer closet. We need to go to God just the way we are and give Him the pleasure of enjoying the company of the “original” He has made each of us to be.

We need to approach God with our strengths, weaknesses, uniqueness, and everything else that so wonderfully distinguishes us from all the other people in the world.

God enjoys meeting us where we are, developing a personal relationship with us, and helping us grow to become everything He wants us to be. It is refreshing to realize that we can come to God just as we are and be relaxed in His presence.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You that I can approach You just as I am and have a unique, personal relationship with You. Help me to continually be more comfortable as I come to You to talk, worship, or simply relax in Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Never Fails nor Forsakes

 

“Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never, never fail you nor forsake you'” (Hebrews 13:5).

Malcolm Muggeridge, one of England’s leading intellectuals, came to our Christian Embassy headquarters for lunch one day. Together we talked about the things of God – the Christian adventure. On that day, he offered little hope for the future of the Western world.

“We are,” he said, “like a pan of frogs in cold water placed over a low flame. As the flame warms the water, the frogs relax. And by the time the water is boiling, it is too late for them to jump out of the pan. They are boiled alive. In contrast, if the frogs were placed in a pan of boiling water, they would leap out instantly.”

He continued by explaining that the average person in America and in Western Europe was being destroyed by materialism, the love of money and the love of things. People are greedy and are grasping for more than they have. Our appetites know no bounds; we have become insatiable.

As a result, no doubt there is more vital Christianity in Eastern Germany than in Western Germany, in Poland than in Italy, in the Soviet Union than in England. The Christians who are willing to pay the price of persecution in these countries have learned to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and to be satisfied with what they have.

With the apostle Paul, they are able to say, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11, KJV). You will observe that the admonition was to stay away from the love of money. There is nothing wrong with money. Thank God for able, dedicated, godly men and women to whom God has given the ability to make money, but who recognize that there is no satisfaction or fulfillment in making money. It is in the stewardship of that which God has entrusted to them that they find fulfillment and true meaning to life.

Bible Reading: Ephesians 5:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With the certainty that God will never, never fail me nor forsake me, I will seek to find fulfillment and meaning in my life in Christ and not in materialism. I will encourage others to do the same today.

 

http://www.cru.org

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.

Read more Come Thirsty

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

Home

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

 

http://www.intouch.org/

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.

 

http://www.odb.org

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.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

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.

 

http://www.cru.org

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.

Read more Come Thirsty

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

Home