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Daily Devotion

boldstardex

Moderator
Abby’s Prayer
Bible in a Year:

2 Chronicles 32–33; John 18:19–40


I urge . . . that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.



1 Timothy 2:1

Today's Scripture & Insight:
Ephesians 6:16-20
When Abby was a sophomore in high school, she and her mom heard a news story about a young man who’d been critically injured in a plane accident—an accident that took the lives of his father and stepmother. Although they didn’t know this person, Abby’s mom said, “We just need to pray for him and his family.” And they did.

Fast forward a few years, and one day Abby walked into a class at her university. A student offered her the seat next to him. That student was Austin Hatch, the plane crash victim Abby had prayed for. Soon they were dating, and in 2018 they were married.

“It’s crazy to think that I was praying for my future husband,” Abby said in an interview shortly before they were married. It can be easy to limit our prayers to our own personal needs and for those closest to us, without taking the time to pray for others. However, Paul, writing to the Christians at Ephesus, told them to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kind of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18). And 1 Timothy 2:1 tells us to pray “for all people,” including those in authority.

Let’s pray for others—even people we don’t know. It’s one of the ways we can “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2).

By Dave Branon


Reflect & Pray
Who are the people—some you may not even know personally—who need your prayers today? How will you carve out some time to talk with God about their needs?

Jesus, open my heart to the needs of people around me—even those I don’t know. Take my heartfelt concern and intervene for them as only You can
 

boldstardex

Moderator
Destroying the Shroud
Bible in a Year:

Ezra 3–5; John 20


[God] will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples.



Isaiah 25:7

Today's Scripture & Insight:
Isaiah 25:1-9
A brutal car wreck devastated Mary Ann Franco. Though she survived, the injuries left her completely blind. “All I could see was blackness,” Franco explained. Twenty-one years later, she injured her back in a fall. After waking from surgery (which had nothing to do with her eyes), miraculously, her sight had returned! For the first time in more than two decades, Franco saw her daughter’s face. The neurosurgeon insisted there was no scientific explanation for her restored vision. The darkness that seemed so final gave way to beauty and light.

The Scriptures, as well as our experience, tell us that a shroud of ignorance and evil covers the world, blinding all of us to God’s love (Isaiah 25:7). Selfishness and greed, our self-sufficiency, our lust for power or image—all these compulsions obscure our vision, making us unable to clearly see the God who “in perfect faithfulness [has] done wonderful things” (v. 1).

One translation calls this blinding shroud a “cloud of gloom” (nlt). Left to ourselves, we experience only darkness, confusion, and despair. We often feel trapped—groping and stumbling, unable to see our way forward. Thankfully, Isaiah promises that God will ultimately “destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples” (v. 7).

God will not leave us hopeless. His radiant love removes whatever blinds us, surprising us with a beautiful vision of a good life and abundant grace.

By Winn Collier


Reflect & Pray
Where do you sense the darkness in your world? How do you imagine Jesus destroys that place?

God, the gloom is everywhere these days. It’s so difficult to see Your truth and love. Will You help me? I’m hopeless without You.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
"Without consultation, plans are frustrated. But, with many counselors they succeed." - Proverbs 15:22

GOOD LEADERS RECOGNIZE THEIR NEED FOR OTHERS
June 17, 2019

Back in the 1990’s, President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were often considered “soul mates.” As the first Baby Boomer leaders of their nations, they also had similar political philosophies. People marveled at how well these two charismatic leaders got along. But it’s also interesting to note that when George Bush succeeded President Clinton, Tony Blair reached out to him, as well. The two also seemed to get along splendidly and worked together quite well. Blair proved that he was not just a friend of the President, but really, a friend of the United States.

There was a similar relationship between Solomon and Hiram, the king of the Phoenicians. Solomon recognized that he needed others to help him fulfill his mission. He needed people with insight and resources he did not have. The Phoenicians were great ship builders and a great seafaring people. Hiram had been a friend of King David and when he heard that Solomon was the new king, he reached out to him and offered his assistance.

Solomon had enough humility as a leader to recognize that he not only needed people within his own nation, but people of other nations – people outside his place of responsibility.

Good leaders reach out to others, collecting wisdom and support from every source available. Remember, God’s Word tells us to seek wise counsel. It worked for Solomon and it will work for you.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
"I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places." - Ephesians 3:7-10

THE UNSTOPPABLE MISSION
June 22, 2019

I was sitting in a Rotary Club meeting. It was the late 1980s. The man that was giving the talk that day was from a new and very small division of BellSouth called BellSouth Mobility. And he held up a Seinfeld-sized cell phone and said, “Folks, it won’t be long before all of you have one of these.” Then he said something reallyoutrageous. “Not only that. It won’t be long before you’ll be using one of these more than your landlines, because we believe that we have an unstoppable mission to get one of these in every one of your hands.”

Many snickered that day and thought, “That will be a really long shot.” Yet, he was exactly right. Even though cell phones are not Seinfeld-sized, we would be hard pressed to find anyone reading this that doesn’t use a cell phone far more than a landline. It was really an unstoppable mission that has been fulfilled.

A little over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ gathered His remaining eleven specially chosen disciples. And He gave them an unstoppable mission of taking the good news of Jesus Christ to every people group on the face of the earth. Can’t you imagine how overwhelmed they were? (Getting the message to the whole world?) These eleven ordinary guys had never been out of Israel and He was giving them the charge to spread the good news of the Gospel to every people group on the face of the earth. Yet, Christ assured the disciples that His power would be their power and that He would be with the disciples every step of the way.

Jesus began an unstoppable mission that continues to this day as thousands of missionaries live all over the world, striving to fulfill Jesus’ commission. Yet, you don’t have to go to another country to be part of this effort to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. We have signs posted at the exits to our church parking lots that read, “You are now entering the mission field.” That means that our neighborhoods, our friends and families, co-workers, even people we might meet today are our mission field. The church’s unstoppable mission is to take the Good News to EVERYONE. It is the most important work on the face of the earth. So, followers of Jesus, it’s time to get started!
 

boldstardex

Moderator
As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, and they said to Moses, 'Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us?.... It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!'” Exodus 14:10 – 11a,12b

WHAT TO KNOW WHEN STEPPING INTO THE UNKNOWN
July 5, 2019

Hind sight is 20/20. It’s always easier to look back at a situation with clarity – especially once we know the outcome. Like that time your company downsized and your job was suddenly gone. In the months following, you were consumed with fear and uncertainty. Only when looking back, could you see how the experience brought you closer to God, as you had no choice but to trust Him to provide. And He did – that unexpected job loss gave you the push you needed to pursue that career change in a new industry. But in the moment? Fear, panic, uncertainty… the future was anything but clear.

As Moses led the children of Israel from captivity in Egypt, they faced a similar situation. Would they trust God to lead them into the unknown or remain stuck in Egyptian captivity? Knowing the full story of how God miraculously provided and ultimately led them into the promised land, it’s hard to imagine anyone longing to remain in slavery. After all, they were abused, mistreated and had spent years crying out to God for help. But in the moment, all they could see was a powerful army behind them and the Red Sea before them. In their fear, the known pain and suffering at the hands of the Egyptians was more appealing than the unknown into which God was calling them to step.

Thankfully, Moses chose to trust God to provide a way. And the same God who demonstrated His power before Pharaoh in the form of ten plagues, split the sea so that the children of Israel could step into freedom. Knowing how the story ends, it’s difficult to imagine Moses succumbing to the fears of the people, but place yourself in Moses’ shoes. What courage it must have taken to move forward in faith!

We’ve all had moments in life when we’re confronted with a choice: step into the unknown or let fear keep you trapped. Where is God asking you to follow Him into the unknown? For the follower of Jesus, following God’s call into the unknown means trusting Him to fill the gap where your strength, abilities, and wisdom ends. Let God step in – because if God is asking you to move, He will make a way. You can be sure of that!


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boldstardex

Moderator
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

WALKING IN GRATITUDE WHEN LIFE HITS HARD
July 15, 2019

Can a person be truly thankful in times of suffering? Thank back on your past year. Very often there’s a mix of uplifting highs and frustrating lows. But perhaps your 2018 was more lows than highs: losing a loved one, a career or financial setback, a serious health crisis, or a relationship falling apart. Get hit by one or more of these challenges and walking in gratitude is probably not high on your list of priorities – but maybe it can be.

Gratitude is a God-given command for followers of Jesus (1 Thess. 5:18), but this doesn’t mean being thankful for a particular tragedy, suffering, or difficulty. It’s about shifting our focus from our current suffering and focusing on God. It’s about remembering WHO God is and WHAT He’s capable of, no matter how circumstances may appear. It’s remembering that when Jesus Christ went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, He promised eternal life which means victory over suffering, sin, and even death itself – for those who put their trust in Him.

In other words, all our pains, disappointments, and sufferings are temporary – but our hope through Jesus is eternal.

Are you walking through a season of grief and suffering? Are you struggling to get back up after being hit by one difficulty after another? Take your eyes off the problem and look to God. Ask God for HIS strength and guidance to persevere. Because for the Jesus follower, even when everything that could go wrong does, the hope of Jesus never waivers. Hope and trust in Jesus is the key to being thankful!
 

boldstardex

Moderator
Precious
Bible in a Year :

Psalms 16–17; Acts 20:1–16


You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.



Psalm 16:2

Today's Scripture & Insight:
Psalm 16:1–11
“My precious . . .” First portrayed in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the image of the emaciated creature Gollum in his maniacal obsession with the “precious ring of power” has become an iconic one today—for greed, obsession, even insanity.

It’s also a troublingly relatable image. In his tormented love-hate relationship with both the ring and with himself, Gollum’s voice echoes the hunger in our own hearts. Whether it’s directed at one thing in particular, or just a vague longing for “more,” we’re sure that once we finally get our own “precious,” we’ll be satisfied. But instead, what we thought would make us whole leaves us feeling even emptier than before.

There’s a better way to live. As David expresses in Psalm 16, when the longings in our hearts threaten to send us on a desperate, futile quest for satisfaction (v. 4), we can remember to turn to God for refuge (v. 1), reminding ourselves that apart from Him we have nothing (v. 2).

And as our eyes stop looking for satisfaction “out there” to gaze instead on God’s beauty (v. 8), we find ourselves finally tasting true contentment—a life of basking in the “joy [of God’s] presence,” walking with Him each moment in “the way of life”—now and forever (v. 11 nlt).

By Monica Brands


Reflect & Pray
What’s the thing you often turn to for satisfaction when you lose sight of God? Who can be a source of support and love for you when you feel trapped in your addiction to “more”?

God, forgive me for thinking I can find what I need apart from You. Thank You for always being there even when I forget to look for You. Draw me to Your side to live in the joy of walking with You.
 

boldstardex

Moderator



Psalms 18–19; Acts 20:17–38


But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession.



2 Corinthians 2:14
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
2 Corinthians 2:14–17
In 2016 when the Chicago Cubs baseball team won the World Series for the first time in more than a century, some sources said that five million people lined the parade route and gathered at a downtown rally to celebrate the championship.

Victory parades are not a modern invention. A famous ancient parade was the Roman Triumph, in which victorious generals led a procession of their armies and captives through crowded streets.

Such parade imagery was likely in Paul’s mind when he wrote to the Corinthian church thanking God for leading believers “as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession” (2 Corinthians 2:14). I find it fascinating that in this imagery, followers of Christ are the captives. However, as believers we’re not forced to participate, but are willing “captives,” willingly part of the parade led by the victorious, resurrected Christ. As Christians, we celebrate that through Christ’s victory, He’s building His kingdom and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

When we talk about Jesus’s victory on the cross and the freedom it gives believers, we help spread the “aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14). And whether people find the aroma to be the pleasing reassurance of salvation or the odor of their defeat, this unseen but powerful fragrance is present everywhere we go.

As we follow Christ, we declare His resurrection victory, the victory that makes salvation available to the world.

By Lisa M. Samra


Reflect & Pray
What does Jesus’s victory on the cross mean to you? How are you living out the power of His resurrection?

Jesus is our victorious King.

For further study, see christianuniversity.org/NT109-06.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
PSALM 62:5





Psalms 20–22; Acts 21:1–17


Encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.



1 Thessalonians 5:14

Today's Scripture & Insight:
1 Thessalonians 5:12–15
As I stopped my car at a red light, I saw the same man standing beside the road again. He held a cardboard sign: Need money for food. Anything helps. I looked away and sighed. Was I the kind of person who ignored the needy?

Some people pretend to have needs but are actually con artists. Others have legitimate needs but face difficulties overcoming destructive habits. Social workers tell us it’s better to give money to the aid ministries in our city. I swallowed hard and drove past. I felt bad, but I may have acted wisely.

God commands us to “warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). To do this well we must know who belongs in which category. If we warn a weak or disheartened person, we may break her spirit; if we help an idle person, we may encourage laziness. Consequently, we help best from up close, when we know the person well enough to know what he needs.

Has God burdened your heart to help someone? Great! Now the work begins. Don’t assume you know what that person needs. Ask her to share her story, and listen. Prayerfully give as seems wise and not merely to feel better. When we truly aim “to do what is good for each other,” we will more readily “be patient with everyone,” even when they stumble (vv. 14–15).

By Mike Wittmer


Reflect & Pray
When have others most helped you? What did you learn about how best to help others?

Father, help me to help wisely, and often.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
Faithful in Captivity
Bible in a Year :
Psalms 31–32; Acts 23:16–35

While Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him.

Genesis 39:20–21


Today's Scripture & Insight:
Genesis 39:6–12, 20–23
Haralan Popov had no idea what turn his life would take when the doorbell rang early one morning in 1948. Without any warning, the Bulgarian police took Haralan away to prison because of his faith. He spent the next thirteen years behind bars, praying for strength and courage. Despite horrible treatment, he knew God was with him, and he shared the good news of Jesus with fellow prisoners—and many believed.
In the account from Genesis 37, Joseph had no idea what would happen to him after he was mercilessly sold by his angry brothers to merchants who took him to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, an Egyptian official. He found himself in a culture surrounded by people who believed in thousands of gods. To make things worse, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph. When Joseph refused repeatedly, she falsely accused him, leading to his being sent to prison (39:16–20). Yet God didn’t abandon him. Not only was He with Joseph, but He also “gave him success in everything he did” and even “showed him kindness and granted him favor” with those in authority (39:3, 21).
Imagine the fear Joseph must have felt. But he remained faithful and kept his integrity. God was with Joseph in his difficult journey and had a master plan for him. He has a plan in mind for you too. Take heart and walk in faith, trusting He sees and He knows.
By Estera Pirosca Escobar

Reflect & Pray
What difficult situation have you experienced—perhaps one in which you were falsely accused? Why is it vital for you to maintain your integrity?
God, thank You for being with me always, even when life’s circumstances cause me to be uncomfortable. Help me to be faithful to You.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
Devotional Image



July 29
All for Nothing
Bible in a Year :
Psalms 49–50; Romans 1

Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.

Proverbs 7:27
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Proverbs 7:10–27
Heroin addiction is poignantly tragic. Users build tolerance, so larger hits are required for the same high. Soon the dosage they seek is more than enough to kill them. When addicts hear someone has died from an exceptionally strong batch, their first thought may not be fear but “Where can I get that?”
C. S. Lewis warned of this downward spiral in Screwtape Letters, his imaginative look at a demon’s explanation of the art of temptation. Start with some pleasure—if possible one of God’s good pleasures—and offer it in a way God has forbidden. Once the person bites, give less of it while enticing him to want more. Provide “an ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure,” until finally we “get the man’s soul and give him nothing in return.”
Proverbs 7 illustrates this devastating cycle with the temptation of sexual sin. Sex is God’s good gift, but when we seek its enjoyment outside of marriage we’re “like an ox going to the slaughter” (v. 22). People stronger than us have destroyed themselves by pursuing highs that are harmful, so “pay attention” and “do not let your heart turn to [wrongful] ways” (vv. 24–25). Sin can be alluring and addicting, but it always ends in death (v. 27). By avoiding—in God’s strength—the temptation to sin, we can find true joy and fulfillment in Him.
By Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray
When and where do you face temptations? How can you seek God’s wisdom and help in turning from them?
Holy Spirit, I know that I am powerless in myself to resist temptation. I need You. Help me. For more on overcoming addiction, see When We Just Can't
 

boldstardex

Moderator
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” - Genesis 2:24
THE BOND BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE
July 31, 2019
God has decreed that the most important human relationship in a marriage is our spouse. Men and women, we are to leave our father and mother and be joined to our spouse. It doesn’t mean that we love our parents or our children less, but the priority should always be with our spouse. In other words, the husband and the wife are called to be best friends. There should not be a person on this earth that we are closer to than our spouse. And if there is, our priorities have gotten out of whack and we need to confess our sin to God and ask Him to forgive us and help us reprioritize our life.
I speak often about the importance of a weekly date for a husband and wife. I call it the ‘falling in love all over again’ time. Anne and I still have our weekly date after 40 years of marriage. Every time, it’s like we are bonded together once again. This continues to amaze me that after all these years I can look at her and say, “Anne, isn’t it amazing? We’ve spent all this time together, and there’s nobody we want to be with more than each other.” There is nothing like having your spouse as your best friend. It’s a real key to marriage — as God designed it to be.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." - Psalm 118:22
RELIGION VERSUS CHRISTIANITY
August 4, 2019
The number-one enemy to Christianity is religion, not unrepentant sinners. It always has been. Why? Because Jesus didn’t offend sinners…He offended the religious men of His day. He was the cornerstone rejected not by the passers-by, but by the builders themselves.
In the person of Jesus, religion and Christianity are tackled head-on. How can you distinguish religion from authentic Christianity? Here are a few clues.
  • Religion loves ritual. Religion delights in the status quo. Change makes it uncomfortable. Religion is a commitment to a system of beliefs, attitudes and practices.
  • Religion responds to challenge with intimidation. Challenge religion, and it will attempt to intimidate you into submission. What does an attorney do when he suspects that truth may not be on his side? He buys time, attacks procedure and assassinates character. Religion is defended the same way.
  • What about Christianity? Well, Christianity loves the truth. Aristotle defined the truth, as “saying of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not.” In other words, truth has a standard, and it’s not relative. Christianity responds to this challenge with boldness. Why? Because knowing the truth and embracing it gives us courage.
  • When religion and Christianity clash, what happens? Many times, people come to know Christ. When Peter and John were arrested for the first time (Acts 3-4), five thousand people were saved!
Don’t be afraid when your faith is challenged by religion. When this happens, the stage is set for blessing, not for defeat.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
Will You Come Back?
Bible in a Year :
Psalms 70–71; Romans 8:22–39

Love [your wife] as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods.

Hosea 3:1
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Hosea 3:1–5
Ron and Nancy’s marriage was deteriorating rapidly. She had an affair, but after some time she admitted her sin to God. She knew what He wanted her to do, but it was difficult. She shared the truth with Ron. Instead of asking for a divorce, Ron chose to give Nancy a chance to win his trust back by showing that she’d changed. In a miraculous way God restored their marriage.
Ron’s actions are a picture of God’s love and forgiveness shown toward sinners like you and me. The prophet Hosea understood this well. He was commanded by God to marry an unfaithful woman as a way to show Israel their status of unfaithfulness before Him (Hosea 1). If that wasn’t heartbreaking enough, when Hosea’s wife left him, God told him to ask her to come back. He said, “Show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress” (3:1). After all their disobedience, God longed for a close relationship with His people. Just as Hosea loved his unfaithful wife, pursued her, and sacrificed for her, so God loved His people. His righteous anger and jealousy were motivated by His great love.
This same God longs for us today to be near Him. As we come to Him in faith, we can trust that in Him we will find complete fulfillment.
By: Estera Pirosca Escobar
Reflect & Pray
How will you respond to God’s love today? Is there someone you can share His great love with?
God in heaven, how great and amazing is Your love, even for a sinner like me! For all the wrong I’ve done, I don’t deserve Your love. Thank You for forgiving me, for buying me back, for restoring our relationship.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
"Jesus answered, 'The most important [commandment] is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your SOUL and with all your mind and with all your strength.'" - Mark 12:29-30
WITH ALL YOUR SOUL
August 6, 2019
To continue from yesterday’s devotion, what is our SOUL?
Our soul is our personality and the seat of our will. Confused? Think about it this way. When a man and woman fall in love, they get married. While passion may have drawn them together, it is a decision of the will that keeps them together in a committed relationship. The fact is that sinful human nature often causes us to be tempted to be unfaithful to our spouse. And if we act by our feelings alone, we would follow the temptation!
It’s during those times that we have to completely ignore temporary feelings and by an act of the will, decide to stay faithful. We express our love through this long-term faithfulness, loyalty, and devotion.
It’s the same with God. When we give our heart to God, we begin that relationship with Him. Then along the way, we’re tempted to fall into sin. And if we simply follow our feelings, we might give into the temptation. But if we’re really going to love God, we will choose to be faithful to Him, no matter what we’re feeling at the moment.
So, how do we love God with all our soul? We do it with our will.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6: 14-15
FORGIVENESS – IS IT SIMPLE?
August 12, 2019
Believe it or not, the concept of forgiveness is very simple. Forgiveness is letting go of your anger, bitterness, sense of justice and desire for revenge. It’s giving the issue to God and letting Him deal with it – just let it go.
In theory, forgiveness is so basic that even a child can understand it, but once emotions get involved, everything becomes more difficult. Then forgiveness requires trusting in God’s providence, in God’s justice, and that He’s actually paying attention to the situation. And this is where the battle begins. You see, our instinct is to trust ourselves rather than God. We fear that if we give control to God, He might not do what we are sure needs to be done. So, we hold tight to our anger and our lack of forgiveness. We want to be sure the bad guys get their due – that the jerks always pay.
Knowing that we would struggle with forgiveness, Jesus was pretty clear in the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew chapter 6. It’s simple: If you want forgiveness from God, then forgive others. It’s the foundation of the Christian faith that everyone needs forgiveness. When we aren’t willing to forgive others and recognize how seriously every man, woman and child needs forgiveness – then we won’t experience it ourselves.
Everyone needs forgiveness because we were born with a sinful nature. All of us willingly follow that nature from one sin to another. We all mess up at one time or another, so we all need forgiveness. It’s with that in mind that we make the choice to forgive others – just like Christ forgave us.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
3 ATTITUDES THAT HINDER FORGIVENESS
August 13, 2019
One thing is certain: Everyone will offend someone at one time or another and need forgiveness. In fact, no relationship can survive a lack of forgiveness. But as prideful sinners, seeking forgiveness when we’ve messed up isn’t always easy. It isn’t even natural. So why do we struggle so much to ask for forgiveness when we’ve messed up? Well, there are a few attitudes that often get in the way.
  1. Asserting Imperfection: The thought process goes like this: “Well, I’m only human. And because I’m imperfect, you’re holding me to an impossible standard. You’re the one with the problem. Just get over it and move on. I don’t need forgiveness.”
  2. Comparison: This attitude compares my actions with those around me. It says, “I’m really not so bad when you look at what everyone else is doing.”
  3. Entitlement: This attitude asserts a right to be forgiven. Feeling entitled to forgiveness says, “I’m generally a good person who only messes up from time to time. So, I deserve to be forgiven, no matter the hurt I caused. I don’t need to seek forgiveness because you’re simply obliged to get over it.”
Jesus spoke a lot about forgiveness. In fact, forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian faith. The key is recognizing that we are all sinners in need of forgiveness. There’s no entitlement, no comparison, and no action that earns us God’s forgiveness – apart from the cross. Jesus took upon Himself our sin, our shame and our guilt in order to offer us forgiveness and a restored relationship with God.
If you are ready to receive God’s saving grace and forgiveness, it begins with setting aside your pride and saying, “God, I need your forgiveness.” The key to seeking forgiveness from those we’ve wronged is to know the extent of how God’s forgiven us.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
“For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the created things rather than the Creator, who is forever praised.” Romans 1: 25
OBJECTION #2: THE TRUTH ARGUMENT
August 18, 2019
In the world of “moral relativism,” absolute truth doesn’t exist. So when Jesus said, “I am the truth” (John 14: 6), what Jesus really said was that absolute truth does exist and that He is it. In other words, truth isn’t found in knowledge or in a philosophy, but in a person – in Jesus.
Today, we often look to higher education for truth. Harvard University’s seal includes the Latin word for truth, VERITAS. The implication is that at Harvard, you’ll gain great knowledge and discover truth. That mentality has become the basis of many Universities and academics in society today; from knowledge comes truth. But Jesus said something completely contrary. He said that absolute truth is found in a person – in Him.
Why do so many struggle with this concept of truth? Because we’ve accepted a lie. We’ve exchanged the truth of God for a lie that says ultimate meaning comes from creation rather than from the Creator. In other words, people only believe what can be seen, touched, and felt, versus the One who created what we see, touch and feel. And just like the church in first century Rome struggled with this understanding of truth, much of the world does today.
People buy into this lie and focus on “stuff,” on materialism, on things we can see and explain, rather than on God. As a result, life becomes a never ending saga of searching for fulfillment. The search for truth feels hopeless and unattainable. Yet, Jesus is clear: He is both the way to God and the ultimate truth. Do you believe Him?
 

boldstardex

Moderator
“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19
RADICAL LIVING – VENGEANCE IS NOT YOURS
August 27, 2019
Life is not fair – that much is clear. It takes simply glancing at the news headlines or walking out the door to see that bad things happen to good people. But God is just, and God’s Word calls followers of Jesus to trust God rather than seeking revenge when wronged. Talk about countercultural.
In a world based on defending my rights, fighting for what’s fair, seeking justice or at the very least getting even – surrendering control is anything but easy.
God never promised an easy life when we choose to trust in Him- but He does promise us a radically counter-cultural life if we live for Him. Remember one thing: The wrath of God is very real for those who never come to repent for their actions. They will eventually face God’s vengeance. No amount of our own personal justice or revenge will come close to measuring up to God’s justice. So, when life is unfair and you’re tempted to seek revenge, choose to live differently. Choose to act counter culturally by choosing to trust in God’s timing and justice over your own.
What helps me is looking at the example of Jesus. When our sins were unjustly murdering Him on the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.” If Jesus can forgive me for sending Him to His death on the cross, then I can forgive those who treat me wrong or unfairly. What about you?
 

boldstardex

Moderator
A Lasting Legacy
Bible in a Year :
Psalms 137–139; 1 Corinthians 13

[Eve] said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.”

Genesis 4:1
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Genesis 4:1–2
Thomas Edison invented the first practical electric light bulb. Jonas Salk developed an effective polio vaccine. Amy Carmichael penned many of the hymns we sing in worship. But what about you? Why were you put on earth? How will you invest your life?
Genesis 4 tells us that Eve “became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.” After holding Cain for the first time, Eve announced, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man” (v. 1). In an effort to explain the surprising experience of the very first birth, Eve uses a phrase dripping with dependency on the sovereign aid of God: “With the help of the Lord.” Eventually, through Eve’s seed, God would provide rescue for His people through another Son (John 3:16). What a legacy!
Parenthood is just one of many ways people make lasting contributions to this world. Perhaps your offering will burst forth from a room where you write or knit or paint. You might be an example for another who is deprived of godly influence. Or your investment might even come after your death in ways you could never imagine. It may be the work you leave behind or your reputation for integrity in business. In any case, will your words echo Eve’s dependency on God? With the help of the Lord, what will you do for His honor?
By: Elisa Morgan
Reflect & Pray
How do you want to be remembered after you leave this world? In what ways will you seek God’s help to make that happen?
Dear God, may I lean into You in all I do, because it is only with Your help that I can bring forth a lasting legacy.
 
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