Monday, November 20, 2017
|DEVOTION FOR MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2017|
|GOD’S PATIENCE LEADS US TO REPENTANCE|
“The Savior Is Waiting” by Ralph Carmichael is a famous gospel song and hymn of invitation.
“If you’ll take one step toward the Savior, my friend,
You’ll find His arms open wide.
Receive Him and all of your darkness will end;
Within your heart He’ll abide.
Time after time He has waited before,
And now He is waiting again
To see if you’re willing to open the door—O how He wants to come in.”
How amazing that the Son of God Himself “waits”! As we saw yesterday, God’s waiting is not exactly the same as ours; all that happens is His plan, not ours. But in another sense, His patience is a model for our patience and waiting, because God’s desires should be our desires. What God desires is repentance, what He offers is grace.
Those who reject grace can expect only judgment. Unlike human judgment, which is flawed and hypocritical, divine judgment is consistent and truthful (vv. 1–3; see Matt. 7:1–2). That God’s judgment is delayed does not mean it has been escaped. No evasion or deception could do that. To even think that God will not hold sinners to account is to “show contempt for the riches of his kindness” (v. 4). The only reason that they’re not immediately judged is that God is patient. In His forbearance (also called “longsuffering”), He is waiting so that His love can lead more people to repentance.
Paul was writing here to moralists, that is, people who do their best and assume it will be good enough to get to heaven. But they’re wrong (v. 5). God will judge based on actions, but no one’s actions are good enough (vv. 6, 8). The only way to live as described in verse 7 is by faith!
|APPLY THE WORD|
Paul described his testimony as an example of Christ’s “immense patience” (see 1 Tim. 1:16). Sharing your testimony—the story of how you came to faith—is a great way to share the good news of salvation. Are you prepared and looking for opportunities to share your story in ways that make the gospel clear and show God’s patient love?
November 20, 2017
Strengthen Yourself in the Lord
After an exhausting three-day journey, David and his men finally arrived home to find a scene of devastation. Their homes were burned to the ground, and their families were missing. Utter despair engulfed them. David’s distress soon increased when his men’s grief turned into bitter anger and they spoke of stoning him.
Most of us won’t experience this extreme a situation, but we can identify with David’s discouragement. Sometimes despair follows a personal tragedy or loss, but it can also result from the weariness of ongoing daily pressures. Family problems, financial difficulties, and health issues may make discouragement a constant companion. The same can happen with emotional struggles over feelings of unworthiness, failure to overcome an addictive habit, the pain of criticism, or fear of inadequacy.
Despair can afflict anyone unexpectedly, but the Lord doesn’t want us to linger in a fog of depression. We often can’t avoid the situations that lead us into discouragement, but we do have a choice whether to stay in that condition. Instead of caving in to misery, David chose to strengthen himself in the Lord. He recognized that God was the only one who could give him the proper perspective on the problem and provide the guidance he needed.
When you’re discouraged, where do you turn? Perhaps the last thing you want to do is read Scripture and pray—initially, the passages may seem like meaningless words, and your prayers might feel empty. But if you persist in crying out to God, you’ll eventually experience His comforting strength.
Bible in One Year: Acts 25-26
Saudis, Iran on path to 'very, very bloody' war - Greg Corombos - http://www.wnd.com/2017/11/saudis-iran-on-path-to-very-very-bloody-war/
'This could get extraordinarily messy ... Israel may be drawn into it'
While the world tries to interpret Saudi Arabia's moves to clamp down on corruption and watches the kingdom accuse Iran of an "act of war," a former Reagan administration Pentagon official says Saudi Arabia is gearing up for the very real possibility of a "very, very bloody" war with Iran.
Within the past several days, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is next in line to the Saudi throne, has ordered the arrests of many government officials, including 11 princes, on allegations of corruption. More recently, the crown prince accused Iran of an "act of war" after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen launched an Iranian missile toward the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
The Houthis admit firing the missile, and Saudi investigators say the fragments prove the missile is from Iran. Furthermore, the Saudi-friendly prime minister of Lebanon abruptly resigned, and many other elements of the Lebanese government are loyal to the Shiite regime in Iran.
So are the events of the past week just the latest developments in an unstable region or something far more significant?
Frank Gaffney is president of the Center for Security Policy, and he served as an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration. He said these recent events are very significant.
"Something is moving, for sure," Gaffney told WND and Radio America. "I think this is a lot bigger than chess pieces. I think this is nothing less than tectonic shifts taking place throughout the region."
Gaffney said Iran's goal of creating a "Shiite Crescent" is greatly disturbing to the Saudis. The crescent is a continuous stretch of Iranian-dominated areas that stretches from the southern end of the Red Sea through Yemen to Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
He said Crown Prince Salman is bracing for a major fight to prevent Iran control of the entire region.
"I think what is teeing up, as I see it, is probably a very, very bloody war in that part of the world, and it may not be confined to that part of the world," Gaffney said.
He said the Iran threat is growing in multiple respects.
"The Iranians are establishing hegemonic control of large parts of this very strategically significant region," Gaffney said. "They aspire to do more, and I think they are willing to do everything from Shiite militia in Iraq and Syria through their own Quds force and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps."
He also also suspects Iran is prepared to use ballistic missiles with non-conventional warheads (chemical, biological or nuclear) in order to assert an iron grip on the region, and he would not be surprised to see the fighting spread to other parts of the Middle East.
"It could go beyond that," Gaffney explained. "Turkey is a factor in all of this. The central Asian republics beyond [are also at risk]. This could get extraordinarily messy, and then it goes without saying that Israel may be drawn into it."
So is this "tectonic shift" a result of the natural tides of history in the region, dating back to the Shiite-Sunni divide over a thousand years ago, or have specific policies accelerated the specter of an ugly sectarian war in the region?
Gaffney said the forces of history are obviously a major factor, but he said policy moves made in the Obama and George W. Bush administration are also coming back to haunt the neighborhood. Gaffney blasted Obama for the 2015 nuclear deal and slammed the Bush administration for eliminating the Iraq army in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"The principle impediment to Iranian ambitions (the Iraqi army) was removed," Gaffney said. "The damage done during the Bush years in that respect has been greatly compounded by the policy of Barack Obama in greatly enhancing the power of the Iranian regime."
But why is the crown prince focused on rooting out corruption when so many national security concerns are on the front burner?
"It seems pretty clearly aimed not so much at dealing with the corrupt officials, because, if that were in fact the object, I think every single one of them would be rounded up. It's about power. It's about consolidating his hold on it before his father (King Salman) passes from the scene," said Gaffney.
"He's clearing the decks for action against the principal, and increasingly existential threat to the kingdom, which is the Islamic Republic of Iran," he added.
Gaffney insists that labeling Iran an "existential threat" against Saudi Arabia is not an exaggeration.
"If they don't do something about this, presumably with the help of the United States, they will be encircled and the resources on which they still rely on very heavily - namely the sale of petroleum - can be cut off at will through the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea by the Iranians or their proxies," he said.
Even with massive military resources courtesy of the U.S., Gaffney does not believe the Saudis can match the Iranians without help. He said Egypt and Jordan would be heavily recruited to join the fray, along with possible U.S. air power.
Her said the Saudis don't have the personnel to do the job.
"They've got an enormous amount of very advanced equipment," Gaffney said. "They just don't have many people who have either the skills or the will to wield it in defense of the kingdom or their interests more broadly."
As for the Trump administration's position as events unfold in the Middle East, Gaffney said the U.S. ought to be publicly on the side of the Saudis. However, he said the most important tactical policy is to stop Iran's nuclear program.
"Our interests at the moment lie with trying to deprive the Iranians of their nuclear and other ambitions," he said. "And that's going to be vastly harder today than it was before Barack Obama started greatly enabling those ambitions."