VIDEO Road to Redemption

Mar 25, 2017

A woman in need of a miracle finds one in an unexpected manner in this inspirational comedy-drama. Amanda (Julie Condra) works as a secretary for Sully (Leo Rossi), a mid-level mobster working out of Las Vegas. Amanda, who seems to be perpetually at the end of her rope, and her spineless live-in boyfriend Alan (Jay Underwood), have a habit of living beyond their means, and they find themselves deep in debt.

Living With Lions

He is the living God and He endures forever. Daniel 6:26

When I visited a museum in Chicago, I saw one of the original Striding Lions of Babylon. It was a large mural-type image of a winged lion with a ferocious expression. Symbolizing Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of love and war, the lion was an example of 120 similar lions that would have lined a Babylonian pathway during the years of 604–562 bc.

Historians say that after the Babylonians defeated Jerusalem, the Hebrew captives would have seen these lions during their time in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. Historians also say it’s likely that some of the Israelites would have believed Ishtar had defeated the God of Israel.

Dear God, give me the strength to continue to trust in You when I am discouraged.

Daniel, one of the Hebrew captives, did not share the doubts that might have troubled some of his fellow Israelites. His view of God and his commitment to God stayed steady. He prayed three times a day—with his windows open—even when he knew it would mean entering a den of lions. After God rescued Daniel from the hungry animals, King Darius said, “[Daniel’s God] is the living God and he endures forever . . . . He rescues and he saves” (Dan. 6:26–27). Daniel’s faithfulness allowed him to influence Babylonian leaders.

Staying faithful to God despite pressure and discouragement can inspire other people to give Him glory.

Dear God, give me the strength to continue to trust in You when I am discouraged. Help me to experience Your never-ending love and stay close to Your side.

Faithfulness to God inspires others.

INSIGHT:Daniel’s brave faith has inspired countless generations. Not only was his deliverance rightly perceived by the pagan king as a miracle, but it also resulted in a public declaration of the incomparable greatness of Yahweh. Do you need courage to face a trial today? By faith commit it to our faithful God.

We Can Advance Through Adversity

Psalm 56:3-4

There is a slogan that has worked its way into popular usage over the past few years: the stalwart cry, “No Fear!” Generally, this phrase is attached to some daring athletic attempt. But can the expression also find a deeper meaning related to our Christian life?

Clearly, it is impossible to live in this world without ever facing uncertainty, doubt, confusion, and even honest fear. Scripture does not dismiss these concerns. Instead, the Word is truthful about the adversity that we all face. The right response to these hardships is to admit our fears to the Lord and trust that He will work the situation out for His own glory and our good. (See Psalm 56:11.)

Too many people try to excuse God from responsibility when they come up against an apparently immovable obstacle. What we often fail to realize is that God may desire to use that hardship to shape us into the person He wants us to be.

You see, adversity is an opportunity for God to purify our faith. Because God alone is sovereign in the universe, He desires to be sovereign in our individual lives as well. If we place our faith in anything other than God, He is swift to remove those obstructions that hinder our walk with Him.

If you are going through adversity, pray for the discernment to ask yourself, Is this something that God may be allowing to occur in my life in order to bring me closer to Him? If so, trust Him to reorder your life so He may remain Lord of your faith.

Careful for Nothing

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Many of us know those types of precious people who seem to thrive on making sure the details are right. They keep us careful, ensure our safety, and strengthen our plans, and yet that same strength can lead to anxiety, troubling our souls and dominating our lives. Our verse today warns us about this facet.

Our Lord gently admonished in Luke 10:41: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things.” Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazurus were longtime associates of the Lord Jesus. He had spent many hours in their home and had come to love them as close friends. No doubt Martha had often “given thought” to Christ’s visits and had been “in turmoil” over the details many times. But our gracious Lord saw the circumstances controlling Martha, and He softly insisted that she not lose the thing of greatest value by sacrificing the permanent on the altar of the immediate.

And that is the admonition in our text. Nothing should absorb us so much that we attempt to solve things on our own before submitting our requests to our Lord. Jesus made it pretty clear: “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on” (Matthew 6:25). Look around, our Lord insisted. The birds and the flowers can’t be altered by our “thoughts.”

After all that Job’s friends did to “encourage” him, our great Creator reminded Job of the many wonders that he could see if he paid attention. Nothing is beyond the care of our Lord. Sometimes, we need reminding, too. HMM III

The Eternal God is my refuge

Numbers 35:9-16, 19, 22-28

Numbers 35:9-11

The Israelites, in common with other nations, had among them the institution of blood-revenge, by which the nearest relative was bound to revenge a mans death. To meet the evils connected with this deep-seated custom, places were appointed to which the manslayer might flee, and be secure till the time came for a fair trial.

Numbers 35:12, 14

These were chosen on each side of the river, that a refuge might be accessible to every man; even so is Jesus a Saviour freely presented to all who desire him. The roads were repaired, and hand-posts set up to direct fugitives, and thus the gospel is made plain, so that he who runs may read.

Numbers 35:15

No sooner had the fearful deed been done than the unhappy manslayer hastened at full speed to the nearest refuge, for the blood-avenger was sure to pursue him and demand life for life. Oh! that sinners would up and away to Jesus, their sole and sure salvation.

Numbers 35:19

God provided no sanctuary for real guilt, murder was not winked at, else had the land become both polluted and unsafe. Mercy to murderers would be cruelty to the innocent. It was accidental or unpremeditated killing which here found shelter. The spiritual fact, however, far excels the type, for in Jesus, the real sinner finds pardon and safety.

Numbers 35:22-25

There he was safe, no avenging hand could touch him—Fair picture of the security of those who rest in Jesus, the refuge of guilty souls;

Numbers 35:22-25

The death of the high priest brought freedom to the man who had fled for refuge. The instruction here lies upon the surface.

Numbers 35:28

We are not now under the restraints and conditions which were imposed upon a dweller in a refuge city; for our Great High Priest is dead, we are liberated unconditionally, we have no avenger to fear, but may possess our inheritance in peace. This, however, is only true of believers—are we all such?

 

When God’s right arm is bared for war,

And thunders clothe his cloudy car,

Where? Where? Oh where shall man retire

To escape the horror of his ire?

 

‘Tis he, the Lamb, to him we fly,

While the dread tempest passes by:

God sees His Well-Beloved’s face,

And spares us in our hiding-place.

 

When You’re Discouraged And Ready To Give Up, Here’s What You Should Do!

Hebrews 10:32

What should you do when you’re feeling discouraged and dangerously close to doubting God’s integrity—when you start thinking He just might not come through for you? Hebrews 10:32 tells us what we are to do when we find ourselves in this situation. It says, “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated….”

This verse was written to believers who were so discouraged that they were tempted to give up and throw away their strong position of faith. They had been waiting a long time to see God’s promises come to pass, and they had begun to feel like their answer would never come. But just when they were about to give up, they read this verse that reminded them of when they were first “illuminated.”

The word “illuminated” comes from the Greek word photidzo, which means to lighten up, to shine, to illuminate, to make visible, or to radiate. It gives the impression of a brilliant flash of light that leaves a permanent and lasting impression. We get “photography” from this word, which calls to mind the blinding flash on a camera. This word is used here in order to help these struggling believers put their present hardships “on pause” for a few minutes so they can remember what they experienced when they heard the Word of God for the first time and were “illuminated.”

Maybe you can remember a time in your own life when it was as if someone suddenly flipped the light switch and turned on the light, removing the darkness from your eyes so you could see things clearly? That’s exactly how I felt when the Spirit of God finally revealed the truth of the baptism in the Holy Spirit to me. I saw it! I understood it! I was illuminated by that truth. The Spirit’s brilliant flash of light upon my mind was so strong that it made a permanent and lasting impression on my life. In fact, I’ve never been the same since!

Can you think of a time in your life when the Holy Spirit “illuminated” you regarding some truth? Perhaps He illuminated you regarding healing. Did it feel like your eyes were finally opened and you understood the work of the Cross in a new and different light? Or perhaps you were illuminated about the power of giving. After struggling with giving for all those years, it was like someone pulled back the veil that blinded your understanding—and boom! You saw it! You were illuminated about giving, and the light of that truth made a permanent and lasting impression on your life!

Do you remember the first time the Word of God shot through your being like a bolt of lightning? You saw the truth, and it brought perfect order out of the chaos in your life! How about the first time God spoke to your heart about His dream of greatness for your life? Do you remember the joy you felt?

When you get discouraged and are tempted to give up—when times are tough and your faith isn’t finding its fulfillment as quickly as you desire—you must decide to put everything on hold. Tell your mind to be silent; command your emotions to be stilled; and remember when you were first illuminated to the truths of God’s Word.

That is precisely why Hebrews 10:32 urges us, “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated….” The words “former days” is from the Greek word proteron. This word points the readers back to earlier times when they first met the Lord and when they were filled to overflowing with joy, hope, and faith. But now, years have passed. These believers have gone through a lot of struggles, and weariness has set in. Many of their prayers remain unanswered; the devil is telling them that none of the answers they are waiting to see manifested will ever come to pass; and they are tempted to quit.

Sometimes when you are discouraged, it’s good to hit the rewind button in your mind and drift backward to earlier experiences with the Lord when faith was simple and life was uncomplicated. Do you remember how precious those days were? Do you recall how changed you were by the power of God? Do you remember the laughter and joy you experienced? It’s good for you to rehearse those experiences because they stir you up, encourage you, and summon strength for the battle you are facing right now.

 

In light of these Greek words, Hebrews 10:32 conveys this idea:

“You need to remember and never forget what it was like back in the early days—how your eyes were opened and you really saw the truth for the first time….”

Your divine calling, your God-given dream, must be an illumination in your heart that you can call to remembrance over and over again. Call to remembrance how God first spoke to you, and meditate on the promise He made to you. This will help you get past the weariness that’s trying to pull you down. Keep your dream shining brilliantly in your heart and minda powerful illumination and revelation that lights your way through any darkness the enemy might bring against you!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, help me to never forget those early experiences I had with You after I first got saved. I’m so sorry I’ve allowed the complexities of life to steal my joy, and today I ask You to help me return to the simplicity of faith I once enjoyed. I admit I’ve been discouraged, but today I am deciding to get encouraged! Thank You for helping me to refocus and to remember that Your Word is unchanging and Your promises are true!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I boldly confess that discouragement has no place in me! God’s Word is true; the devil is a liar; and my circumstances are not permanent. And with God’s power, I will rise above the situations I face today! I decide it; I declare it; and I pronounce it to be true!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. What thoughts stir in your heart when you stop and remember the early days after you first came to the Lord? Can you remember how precious and exciting it was back in those days?
  2. What one word would you use to describe what your Christian life was like in those early days after you were first illuminated?
  3. Can you recall a time when you were specially “illuminated” by the Spirit of God regarding some Bible truth? What was that truth, and how did this “illumination” affect your life?

 

Understanding The People We Are Seeking To Influence

How do we communicate the Gospel in a society where God is increasingly perceived as irrelevant and Jesus Christ is little more than a vacation school character or a swear word? A good place to start is to try to understand current cultural shifts and respond accordingly. Consider the fact that:

 

1. THE PEOPLE AROUND US ARE BUSIER TODAY THAN THEY WERE IN THE 1980’s ; working harder and longer for less.

 

Therefore: We need to declare the truth in short sound/time bytes. Like it or not, longwinded, complicated, or arduous approaches to communicating the Gospel no longer work.

 

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possibleI have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:19, 22)

 

2. THEY ARE MORE BROKEN AND “DYSFUNCTIONAL” – individually, socially, and in the family.

 

Therefore: The process of winning and healing will generally take more patience and a longer period of time then it did previously.

 

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (Romans 15:1, 2)

 

3. THERE IS A NEW INTEREST IN UNSEEN AND SPIRITUAL THINGS, and willingness to talk about them. However, this interest does not necessarily extend to the Bible or Jesus.

 

Therefore: They need to see in us the authentic love of Christ in such a way that validates true Christianity over New Age and other ideologies — particularly those in the metaphysical realm.

 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34, 35)

 

4. MANY HAVE A MARGINALIZED VIEW OF CHURCH AND RELIGION.

 

Therefore: We must model and proclaim Christ to them in their world, rather than expecting them to enter ours.

 

Therefore we are Christs ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christs behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

 

 

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