Blog: Matthew 5:44-45 – Verse for Nov. 16th

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Matthew 5:44-45

Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.

Source: Daily Wisdom from Heartlight

Blog: Quote for Nov. 16th, 2018

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them — every day begin the task anew."

—Francois de Sales

Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.

Source: Quotemeal from Heartlight

Blog: Quote for Nov. 15th, 2018

"Jesus hath many lovers of His heavenly Kingdom, but few bearers of His Cross. He hath many desirous of consolation, but few of tribulation. Many love Jesus so long as no adversities befall them."

—Thomas Kempis

Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent.

Source: Quotemeal from Heartlight

War Room’s T.C. Stallings Only Takes Roles that Bring Glory to God

T.C. Stallings planned on utilizing his talents on the football field on Sundays in the NFL, but the course of his life changed when he saw the movie Fireproof. Moved by what he saw on the screen, his “heart started thumping to act.”

Stallings explained that he spent time praying and asking God to help him discern if his newfound desire truly came from him. After landing a role in Courageous and seeing how God worked through that film, he committed to his craft whole-heartedly. He said, “I don’t care where I’m going. I just care who’s leading.”

Stallings said he now sees making movies with a positive message as his calling from God. With so many movies and television shows advocating negative messages, he believes that “We need something to go up against that.” He wants to be an actor who uses “all my gifts and talents to glorify God and lift him up.”

Stallings uses his commitment to making positive movies that bring glory to God as a filter for deciding which movie roles he will accept. He said that “When someone approaches me with a project, I give it to the Lord.” He further explained that “If I ever took a role where it makes it difficult for me to tell people about Jesus then it’s a for sure ‘no’ for me.”

Stallings shared how he came to understand grace and became a Christian in the interview. He explained that he lived for himself in college, but also claimed to be a Christian. Then, a young man spoke to him about the life he lived, which caused him to seek God’s grace. He said he now understands that no one can work for his salvation, but that the life a person lives after being saved says “thank you” to God for grace and brings honor to him.

In addition to his roles in Courageous, Stallings also starred in God’s Compassand War Room, which spent time in 2015 as the #1 movie in the country.

Scott Slayton writes at One Degree to Another.


Tuesday Vesper

To each according to his own ability.  Matthew 25:15

What an encouraging fact this is! Yet, it is one which carries with it a real responsibility. For “according to his own ability,” the Lord requires His portion. There is no genuine servant of the Lord who has not been given his talent or talents. To suggest that there is would be to refute the Word of God and to cast a doubt on the grace of God.

The Word declares, concerning gifts, the “Spirit… [distributes] to each one individually as He wills” (1 Cor. 12:11). Moreover, as is emphasized in this parable, God never expects interest from what He has not given. It is true the slothful servant tried to cast a doubt on the love and justice of God by calling Him “hard” (Matt. 25:24), but his own injustice condemned him in the end. The Lord Jesus says, “My yoke is easy” (Matt. 11:30).

May I be abundantly faithful with the precious gifts God has entrusted to me, for His Name’s sake. Hear my confession that I may remain faithful.  Amen.

According to Your Word

Your Gift is Waiting

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you—I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, for now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do, you will believe in me.

“I don’t have much more time to talk to you, for the evil prince of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will freely do what the Father requires of me so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.”

As God the Son, Jesus willingly submits to God the Father. On earth, Jesus also submitted to many of the physical limitations of his humanity (Philippians 2:6-7). (See verse 31)The Peace of God
Sin, fear, uncertainty, doubt, and numerous other forces are at war within us. The peace of God comes into our hearts, helping to restrain these hostile forces and offering comfort in place of conflict. Jesus says he will give us that peace if we are willing to accept it from him.

The end result of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives is deep and lasting peace. Unlike worldly peace, which is usually defined as the absence of conflict, this peace is confident assurance in any circumstance; with Christ’s peace, we have no need to fear the present or the future. If your life is full of stress, allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with Christ’s peace.

One Year with Jesus

6 Devastating Effects of Sexual Assault and How the Gospel Answers Them

Victims of sexual assault experience many devastating physical, psychological, and emotional effects. The most prevalent responses include denial, distorted self-image, shame, guilt, anger, and despair. If this is you (or someone you love), you need to understand that the gospel of Jesus applies to each of these.

1. Denial
Sexual assault makes you feel alone, unimportant, and unworthy of sympathy. It tempts you to deny and minimize what happened to you to cope with the pain and trauma. It might initially help to create a buffer while you start dealing with the difficult emotions, but eventually denial and minimization will actually increase the pain because it keeps you from dealing with the psychological destruction and trauma of the assault.

God does not deny, minimize, or ignore what happened to you. Through Jesus, he identifies with you, and he has compassion. He knows your suffering. He does not want you to stay silent or deny, but to feel and express your emotions, to grieve the destruction you experienced. The cross shows that God understands pain and does not judge you for feeling grief. The resurrection shows that God conquered sin—that he is reversing sin’s destruction and restoring peace.

Because of Jesus, you have the privilege to confidently go to God and receive grace and mercy. Your need and your cries don’t make God shun you. He has compassion on you (Hebrew 4:14-16).

2. Identity
Sexual assault attacks your sense of identity and tells you that you are filthy, foolish, defiled, and worthless. It makes you feel that you are nothing.
The gospel gives you a new identity through the redemptive work of Jesus. Through faith in Christ, you are adopted into God’s family. You are given the most amazing identity: child of God (1 John 3:1–2). God adopted you and accepted you because he loves you. You didn’t do anything to deserve his love. He loved you when you were unlovable.

The gospel also tells you that through faith in Christ, his righteousness, blamelessness, and holiness is attributed to you (2 Cor. 5:21). If you are in Christ, your identity is deeper than any of your wounds. You can be secure in this new identity because it was achieved for you by God—you are his, and he cannot disown himself.

3. Shame
Sexual assault is shameful and burdens you with feelings of nakedness, rejection, and dirtiness. Shame is a painfully confusing experience—it makes you acutely aware of inadequacy, shortcoming, and failure. Jesus reveals God’s love for his people by covering their nakedness, identifying with those who are rejected, cleansing their defilement, and conquering their enemy who shames them. God extends his compassion and his mighty, rescuing arm to take away your shame.

Jesus both experienced shame and took your shame on himself. Jesus, of all people, did not deserve to be shamed. Yet he took on your shame, so it no longer defines you nor has power over you. Because of the cross, we can be fully exposed, because God no longer identifies us by what we have done or by what has been done to us. In Jesus, you are made completely new.

4. Guilt
Sexual assault attacks you with guilt that leads to feelings of condemnation, judgment, and self-blame.

You are not guilty of the sin that was committed against you—and this realization alone can bring great freedom. Yet the reality is that your sense of guilt goes deeper than what was done to you. You know that you have sinned against God and others—both before your assault and in response to what happened to you.

The shocking message of grace is that Jesus was forsaken for us so we could be forgiven. God turned his wrath away from you and toward Christ on the cross. If you trust in Christ, all your sins—past, present, and future—are forgiven. All of them. All threat of punishment, or sense of judgment, is canceled. Through faith in Christ, you are loved, accepted, and declared innocent.

5. Anger
Sexual assault creates anger at what has been done to you. While anger can be a natural and healthy response to the unquestionable evil of sexual assault, most victims express it poorly or feel they have to suppress it. You have probably been discouraged from expressing your anger, but suppressed anger holds you hostage and leaves you vindictive, addicted, embittered, immoral, and unbelieving.

God is angrier over the sin committed against you than you are. He is angry because what happened to you was evil and it harmed you. Godly anger is participating in God’s anger against injustice and sin, crying out to him to do what he promised: destroy evil and demolish everything that harms others and defames God’s name.

Anger expressed to God is the cry of the weak one who trusts the strong One, the hurting person who trusts the One who will make it all better. Because vengeance is God’s, you can be free from the exhaustive cycle of vindictive anger.

6. Despair
Sexual assault can fill you with despair. Feeling that you’ve lost something, whether it’s your innocence, youth, health, trust, confidence, or security, can deepen into hopelessness and despair. And then depression can add seemingly inescapable weight to the experience of despair.
The gospel gives you hope. Biblical hope is sure because God is behind his promise of a future for you. The hope you need right now is grounded in God’s faithfulness in the past and anticipation of it in the future.

Because of Jesus’ resurrection, all threats against you are tamed if you trust in Christ. Jesus conquered death and evil, so evil done to you is not the end of the story and you can have hope. Because Jesus rose from the dead, he ascended to heaven and is “making all things new.” Your God is strong, and he, not the evil done to you, will have the final say about you. That hope animates the “groans within ourselves” that everything will someday be renewed. We will be delivered from all sin and misery. Every tear will be wiped away when evil is no more.

Justin Holcomb