Charles Stanley – God’s Promise to Provide

 

Philippians 4:10-19

Today’s passage contains a marvelous promise—that “God will supply all your needs” (Phil. 4:19). Although these words bring great encouragement, we can’t afford to ignore the rest of the verse or the surrounding context.

“According to His riches in glory” (v. 19). This phrase emphasizes the sufficiency of God’s supply, but it also reveals that many of His provisions are spiritual. We usually want Him to provide physically—and He often does. However, He is more concerned with the condition of our spirit. Since He knows that trials assist in conforming us to the image of Christ, some difficulties may remain until they have accomplished His good purpose in us.

“In Christ Jesus” (v. 19). These may be the most important words of the verse, as they give the basis for the Lord’s abundant supply. It has nothing to do with our hard work or worthiness but is based only on our relationship with God through His Son. As our Father, He assumes the responsibility for meeting the needs of His children.

“You have done well to share with me” (Phil. 4:14). The Philippians were generous people who sent Paul gifts when they could. Their generosity enabled him to assure them of the Lord’s provision: “Give, and it will be given to you” (Luke 6:38).

Pulling verses out of context can distort our understanding of God’s promises. Resulting misconceptions may lead to disappointment and doubt, leaving us to wonder why God isn’t doing what He said. Knowledge of the context motivates obedience and helps us recognize God’s less obvious provisions.

Bible in One Year: Song of Solomon 1-4

 

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Our Daily Bread — Home Sweet Home

 

Read: John 14:1–14 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 26–28; Acts 22

I am going there to prepare a place for you. John 14:2

“Why do we have to leave our home and move?” my son asked. It’s difficult to explain what a home is, especially to a five-year-old. We were leaving a house, but not our home, in the sense that home is where our loved ones are. It’s the place where we long to return after a long trip or after a full day’s work.

When Jesus was in the upper room just hours before He died, He told His disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1). The disciples were uncertain of their future because Jesus had predicted His death. But Jesus reassured them of His presence and reminded them they would see Him again. He told them, “My Father’s house has many rooms . . . . I am going there to prepare a place for you” (v. 2). He could have used other words to describe heaven. However, He chose words that describe not an uncomfortable or unfamiliar place but a place where Jesus, our loved One, would be.

  1. S. Lewis wrote, “Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.” We can thank God for the “pleasant inns” in life, but let’s remember that our real home is in heaven where we “will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

Dear Lord, I thank You for heaven, my eternal home.

Read more about the life to come at discoveryseries.org/q1205.

We look forward to being with the Lord forever.

By Keila Ochoa

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Paradigms of Beauty

Dale Henderson gives cello concerts in New York City subway stations because he fears the day when classical music will be no more. He plays for free, focusing primarily on Bach Solo Cello Suites because their “power and beauty unfailingly inspire great appreciation, joy and deep emotion in those who hear them.”(1) Some commuters stop and stare, curious or captivated, many having never heard a cello or Bach concerto before. For Henderson, the music is an offering of something meaningful, seeds for future generations of classical music admirers who would not otherwise know it, beauty well worth lugging his heavy cello down into the subways to protect.

It is not always easy to talk about beauty without a minefield of objections or at best complicating list of qualifiers. Its modern place in the “eye of the beholder” gives it a tenuous feel at best. Its ancient place as a perfect and ancient ideal is equally held with abstraction. While Henderson describes a world without classical music as soul-less, others may not miss it so much. And the contrast of beauty in a broken and breaking world makes its distinctive encounters increasingly stand out.

One author describes the common, but individual, effect of our varied encounters of the beautiful this way: “‘Beauty’ seems suited to those experiences that stop us in our tracks. Whether it’s a painting called Broadway Boogie-Woogie or a scherzo by Paganini, the beautiful is conducive to stillness. It doesn’t excite us, or necessarily instill in us the desire to replicate it; it simply makes us exist as though we’re existing for that very experience.”(2) His words are rife with the power of beauty to create longing, a desire to somehow participate. Beauty indeed leaves us with the ache of longing for another taste, another glimpse. And for each of us, this longing can come at unique or unsuspecting times—at the spectacular sight of the giant sequoias or a tiny praying mantis, at a concert or watching a First Nation powwow and taking in the colors, the drums, the survival of a betrayed people.

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Joyce Meyer – From the Pit to the Palace

 

So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. — Genesis 37:23-24

Adapted from the resource Ending Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

When Joseph’s brothers threw him in the pit to die, God had other plans. Scripture says that even though Joseph was sold as a slave, he did not have a slave mentality. He still believed he could do great things. Ultimately, he ended up second in command to Pharaoh, the ruler over all Egypt.

How did Joseph get from the pit to the palace? It was by remaining positive, refusing to be bitter, being confident, and trusting God.

Make up your mind right now to do something great for God. No matter where you started, you can have a great finish. If people have mistreated you, don’t waste your time trying to get revenge—leave them in God’s hands and trust Him to bring justice in your life.

Prayer Starter: Lord, only You can take the bad things that have happened and work them out for my good. Help me to stay positive, trust in You, and refuse to give up. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – In the Book of Life

 

“Everyone who conquers will be clothed in white, and I will not erase his name from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and His angels that he is Mine” (Revelation 3:5).

Perhaps you have rejoiced – as I have – at the reminder that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, God’s heavenly record of the redeemed.

Here are two more promises to the conqueror, the overcomer, the victorious Christian – one having to do with future reign, the other with our security in Him.

Not only to the believers in Sardis who should be victorious, but also to those in every age and every land, lies the hope – indeed the promise – of appearing with Christ in white robes expressing holiness and joy in that future day when He shall rule and reign on this earth.

If you are a believer in Christ, your name is in the that book which contains the names of those who are to live with Him throughout eternity. Not to have our names erased, of course, means that the names will be found there on the great day of final account, and forever and ever.

What better way could we use our time today – and tomorrow – and the next day – than to add names to the Book of Life, by faithfully witnessing to others about the good news of the gospel? Our privilege and responsibility is to share; God’s Holy Spirit does the work of convicting and saving.

Bible Reading:Revelation 3:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: “Dear Lord, help me to add names to Your Book of Life by sharing my faith in You at every possible opportunity.”

 

 

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Max Lucado – Press the Pause Button

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Jesus repeatedly escaped the noise of the crowd in order to hear the voice of God! Which presupposes a decision on his part.  I need to get away…to think…to calibrate my course. With resolve, he pressed the pause button on his life.

Richard Foster hit the mark when he wrote,  “If our Adversary can keep us engaged in ‘muchness’ and ‘manyness,’ he will rest satisfied.” The devil implants taxi meters in our brains.  We hear the relentless tick, tick, tick telling us to hurry, hurry, hurry, time is money—resulting in this roaring blur called the human race.

Follow Jesus into the desert.  Accept your Master’s invitation to  “Come aside by yourself to a desert place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Free cheeseburgers and the secret to positive living

Cody is a ten-year-old boxer-lab mix who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. His owner, Alex Karcher, discovered that Cody would take his medicines more easily if he eats them with Burger King cheeseburgers.

When Alex told a restaurant employee his story, the manager told him that their location would provide free cheeseburgers for Cody for the rest of his life. After Alex wrote a letter to express his gratitude, the official Burger King Twitter account responded: “The world needs more kindness and empathy. Thank you for giving us the chance to do this for Cody.”

“The power of positive people”

The New York Times recently carried a fascinating article titled, “The Power of Positive People.” The writer focuses on research indicating that our well-being is significantly influenced by the company we keep.

For instance, positive friendships are especially common in regions of the world where people live far longer than the average. Experts are now encouraging us to create intentional networks of friends who will help us build long-term supportive relationships.

We can certainly use more positivity in our lives today. Consider this story in the news: Young adults are drinking themselves to death.

According to a new report, deaths from cirrhosis—the late stages of liver damage—rose by 65 percent between 1999 and 2016. Deaths from liver cancer doubled. From 2009 to 2016, the greatest increase in death rate from cirrhosis was among people between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-four, and the major cause was alcohol.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Free cheeseburgers and the secret to positive living

Charles Stanley – Jesus: A Servant

 

Matthew 20:20-28

Believers like to talk about Jesus as Lord, Master, and especially Savior, but rarely is He mentioned as Servant. Yet describing His own mission, Christ said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). He entered the world to offer Himself for the Father’s purpose and mankind’s need.

Because every human being is born enslaved to sin, Jesus came to set us free. He voluntarily exchanged His glory for flesh because only as a human could He die in our place to pay the penalty for our sin. The greatest service He offered was His sacrifice on the cross. He allowed His purity to be violated by our transgressions. In fact, God made Jesus “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf” so that we could gain His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Our sinless Savior suddenly and painfully felt the burden of guilt, the vileness of sin, the weight of a tarnished soul, and a wretched separation from His Father. He suffered the injustice of dying for our sins in order that God’s holiness and our imperfection could be reconciled, and we could be shown mercy.

Jesus was the Father’s servant, agreeing to an atonement plan that made Him a sacrifice. And He is your servant as well—He humbly endured the punishment you deserved. To receive the benefit of His sacrifice, you need only believe and call on Him for the forgiveness of your sins. When you receive Him into your life, then you too will know the Servant, Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord.

Bible in One Year: Ecclesiastes 9-12

 

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Our Daily Bread — Through the Cross

 

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:8–18 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 23–25; Acts 21:18–40

[Nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

My coworker Tom keeps an 8″ by 12″ glass cross on his desk. His friend Phil, who like Tom is a cancer survivor, gave it to him to help him look at everything “through the cross.” The glass cross is a constant reminder of God’s love and good purposes for him.

That’s a challenging idea for all believers in Jesus, especially during difficult times. It’s much easier to focus on our problems than on God’s love.

The apostle Paul’s life was certainly an example of having a cross-shaped perspective. He described himself in times of suffering as being “persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:9). He believed that in the hard times, God is at work, “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (vv. 17–18).

To “fix our eyes . . . on what is unseen” doesn’t mean we minimize the problems. Paul Barnett, in his commentary on this passage, explains, “There is to be confidence, based on the certainty of God’s purposes for [us] . . . . On the other hand, there is the sober recognition that we groan with hope mingled with pain.”

Jesus gave His life for us. His love is deep and sacrificial. As we look at life “through the cross,” we see His love and faithfulness. And our trust in Him grows.

Father, teach us who You are. Increase our trust in You. Fill our minds with Your perspective.

Look at everything through the cross.

By Anne Cetas

INSIGHT

Through the cross we see God’s loving payment for our sin. But it teaches us more. Jesus’s suffering also exposed the nature and cruelty of our sin against Him and against humanity. He endured the worst we could do to Him to expose Satan’s lie that our Creator isn’t as good as He says He is. He even suffered unimaginable wrongs to show us how to love those who hurt us.

What else does God want to teach us about cross-shaped love and what it can do in us and for others?

Mart DeHaan

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – God in the Pews

Why isn’t God more obvious? This question is often asked in many ways and in many contexts, by people of all levels of faith. When prayers go unanswered, why is God silent? When suffering or tragedy strikes, why would God allow this to happen? Why wouldn’t God want more people to know God’s good news? When all the “evidence” seems to counter the biblical narrative, why doesn’t God just give the world a sign? If God was revealed through many wondrous signs and miracles throughout the Bible, why doesn’t God act that way today? All of these examples get at the same issue: the seeming “hiddenness” of God.

Atheist Bertrand Russell was once asked what he would say if after death he met God. Russell replied that he would say: “God, you gave us insufficient evidence.”(1) While many who have found God quite evident would balk at Russell’s audacity, a similar struggle ensued between the psalmist and his hidden God. “Why do you stand afar off, O Lord? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” Indeed, the psalmist accuses God of being asleep in these plaintive cries: “Arouse, yourself, why do you sleep, O Lord? Awake, and do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face, and forget our affliction and our oppression?”(2)

In fact, belief in a God who can be easily found, a God who has acted in time and space, makes the hiddenness of God all the more poignant and perplexing. Theologians have offered many explanations for God’s hiddenness: because God seeks to grow our faith, because our sins and disobedience hide us from God and keep us from seeing God properly, or because God loves us and knows how much and how often we need to “find” God. If we are honest, we are just as likely to hide ourselves from God just as the first humans did in the Garden when God sought after them. Even so we cry out just like Job did and wonder why God stays hidden away in unanswered prayers and difficult circumstances: “Why do you hide your face, and consider me the enemy?”

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – God in the Pews

Joyce Meyer – What Is Grace?

 

. . . The [Holy] Spirit [Who imparts] grace (the unmerited favor and blessing of God). — Hebrews 10:29 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day Devotional

Grace is the power of the Holy Spirit available to you to do with ease what you cannot do by striving in your own strength. Grace is God’s power coming into our lives, freely enabling us to do whatever we need to do. God’s grace is always available, but we do need to receive it by faith and refuse to try to do things in our own strength without God.

The Holy Spirit ministers grace to us from God the Father. Grace is actually the Holy Spirit’s power flowing out from the throne of God toward people to save them and enable them to live holy lives and accomplish the will of God.

We can rejoice and be full of peace, joy, and contentment each day because of God’s grace in our lives. It is His grace that allows us to live in close fellowship with Him. With the grace of God, life can be enjoyed with an ease that produces rest and contentment.

Prayer Starter: Lord, help me to rely on Your grace to do everything. In my own strength, I can only do so much, but with You, all things are possible. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Things for Our Good

“And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plans” (Romans 8:28).

I waited and prayed in the chapel at the Loma Linda Hospital. My beloved wife, Vonette, had been in major surgery for four hours. Three weeks before, while I was in Brazil, she had gone to our doctor for a physical examination and he had informed her that she had a large growth that could be malignant.

Though he wanted to operate at once, the doctor agreed at Vonette’s insistence to wait until I returned from a tour of several Latin American countries. Vonette called to give me the doctor’s report while I was in Rio de Janerio. Naturally I wanted to return home at once. However, she assured me that she would be all right and encouraged me not to interrupt the meetings since they had the potential of ultimately helping to train hundreds of thousands of Christians to help reach millions for our Lord throughout all of Latin America (which they have subsequently done through a great Here’s Life movement in each of these countries).

We prayed together over the telephone, praising God for His faithfulness to us in the past. As an expression of our faith and an act of obedience to His holy, inspired Word, we thanked Him for this opportunity to trust Him, even though at the moment it seemed very difficult. Then as we praised and gave thanks to the Lord, His supernatural peace flooded our hearts. God always honors faith and obedience.

During the following weeks we continued to praise and thank God as we both continued to speak and witness for Him personally and at many meetings, recognizing that we are His servants, and that the Master is responsible for the welfare of His servants.

After the surgery the doctors assured us that the operation was a success and that there was no malignancy. We continue to thank and praise the Lord for His goodness to us. We know that, if we love God, all things really do work out together for our good regardless of the circumstances and regardless of the outcome. Why did God allow us to go through this experience? In order that we would be reminded of His faithfulness and learn to love, trust and obey Him.

Bible Reading:Romans 8:29-34

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Since I love God and am fitting into His plans, I will, by faith, count all things as working together for my good today and will thank God and praise Him in obedience to His command. I will encourage others to do the same, to trust and obey God as an expression of the supernatural life

 

 

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Max Lucado – A Purposeful Pause

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

It took a purposeful pause to pull me out of a spiritual desert! Standing in our new church building before a beaming congregation, I was thinking, I should be thrilled.  Instead I was hollow and mechanical.  A friend noticed and convinced me to do what I’m urging you to do—that is, clarify my sweet spot. Renewal began when I paused on purpose.

Do you sense a disconnect between your design and daily duties?  God may want you to leave but you’re staying.  How can you know unless you mute the crowd and meet with Jesus in a deserted place?  He says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus “often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:16). Why don’t you press the ‘pause button’ so you can contemplate the work of God.

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – UK ethics council decides altering human embryos is “morally permissible”

An ethics council in the United Kingdom has concluded that changing the DNA of a human embryo could be “morally permissible” if such changes are in the child’s best interests and do not create further inequalities in society.

This is a monumental and troubling announcement.

Embryonic genetic editing: the positives

Let’s begin with some background. In addition to my work at Denison Forum, I serve as the resident scholar for ethics with Baylor Scott & White Health. In this capacity, I am especially interested in the ethics of genetic medicine.

I have been following advances in genome-editing techniques that have made it possible to correct genetic defects in human embryos. Since inherited disorders affect millions of people around the world, such advances offer great potential.

According to the New York Times, one recently developed technique could conceivably apply to more than ten thousand conditions caused by specific inherited genetic mutations. This technique is relevant to certain breast and ovarian cancers and to diseases such as Huntington’s, Tay-Sachs, sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, and some cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Continue reading Denison Forum – UK ethics council decides altering human embryos is “morally permissible”

Charles Stanley – An Unforgiving Spirit

 

Matthew 18:21-35

Because of man’s propensity to sin, we’re surrounded by opportunities to forgive others. Perhaps we’ve been unfairly criticized, disappointed by a broken promise, or harmed financially or physically. In this broken world, the list of wrongdoings is endless. The question is: How are we to deal with the offenses of others?

Peter was wondering the same thing, so He asked Jesus how often he should forgive a brother who sins against him. He probably thought he was being very generous by suggesting, “Up to seven times?” But Jesus replied, “Up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:21-22). In other words, forgive every single time you’re wronged. Forgiveness doesn’t mean finding reasons to justify or excuse someone’s behavior, nor is it about forgetting what happened or pretending it never occurred.

Genuine forgiveness requires deliberate action on our part. While acknowledging that a wrong has been committed, we choose to release the offender from any obligation toward us and surrender our perceived right to hurt him or her back. In essence, we’re no longer holding the unfair, hurtful behavior against the person but are extending mercy, just as God has done toward us.

The only alternative is to hold onto anger and bitterness. Though we may think we are punishing the wrongdoer, we’re actually hurting ourselves. Resentment is like sludge that contaminates the mind, clogs the heart, and poisons the soul. Untreated anger turns into bitterness, which hinders our relationship with God and others and leaves us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks (Eph. 4:26-27). The only remedy is forgiveness.

Bible in One Year: Ecclesiastes 5-8

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Our Daily Bread — What’s Your Passion?

 

Read: Psalm 20:6–9 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 20–22; Acts 21:1–17

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

One of the tellers at my bank has a photograph of a Shelby Cobra roadster on his window. (The Cobra is a high-performance automobile built by the Ford Motor Company.)

One day, while transacting business at the bank, I asked him if that was his car. “No,” he replied, “that’s my passion, my reason to get up every morning and go to work. I’m going to own one someday.”

I understand this young man’s passion. A friend of mine owned a Cobra, and I drove it on one occasion! It’s a mean machine! But a Cobra, like everything else in this world, isn’t worth living for. Those who trust in things apart from God “are brought to their knees and fall,” according to the psalmist (Psalm 20:8).

That’s because we were made for God and nothing else will do—a truth we validate in our experience every day: We buy this or that because we think these things will make us happy, but like a child receiving a dozen Christmas presents or more, we ask ourselves, “Is this all?” Something is always missing.

Nothing this world has to offer us—even very good things—fully satisfies us. There is a measure of enjoyment in them, but our happiness soon fades away (1 John 2:17). Indeed, “God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself,” C. S. Lewis concluded. “There is no such thing.”

I have found Him whom my soul so long has craved! Jesus satisfies my longings—through His blood I now am saved. Clara Williams

There is a longing in every heart that only Jesus can satisfy.

By David H. Roper

INSIGHT

Psalm 20 warns against idolatry—worshiping and trusting in human objects instead of the Lord Himself. King David saw how easy it could be to shift his trust in the Lord to trust in military might: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses,   but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (v. 7). In our culture, idolatry can take many different forms. But for the believer there’s only One who should be the object of our adoration and the One in whom we place our trust. It’s Christ who is the supreme example of courage, character, and compassion.

How is God teaching you that He’s the only true source of satisfaction?

Dennis Fisher

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Wakeful Awareness

Few of us would be able to recollect from our childhoods the moment when consciousness first came into being and the process of waking to self began. For most of us, awareness broke through in pieces. We found ourselves then as we continue to find ourselves now: at times stirringly wakeful to what it means to be human, aware of self and lifetime, and startled by the abruptness of its end. Essayist Annie Dillard articulates the progression of consciousness with stirring lucidity:

“I woke in bits, like all children, piecemeal over the years. I discovered myself and the world, and forgot them, and discovered them again. I woke at intervals until, by that September when Father went down the river, the intervals of waking tipped the scales, and I was more often awake than not. I noticed this process of waking, and predicted with terrifying logic that one of these years not far away I would be awake continuously and never slip back, and never be free of myself again.”(1)

Dillard describes the rousing of self as strangely recognizable—”like people brought back from cardiac arrest or drowning.” There is a familiarity in the midst of the foreignness. We wake to mystery, but so somehow we wake to something known—and knowing.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Wakeful Awareness

Joyce Meyer – Positive Minds

 

And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.”… — Matthew 8:13

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Sometimes when I stand behind the pulpit, and before I speak, I pause and my gaze sweeps across the audience. I look at the faces of the people. I love to see the bright smiles and expressions of anticipation, but there are always a few who look downtrodden and discouraged. I don’t know anything about them and I don’t want to judge them, but their faces look sad. They look as if they have lost hope and expect nothing positive to happen—and too often, they get exactly what they expect.

I understand those discouraged people; I was once one of them.

Here’s a simple fact I’ve learned: Positive minds produce positive lives, but negative minds produce negative lives. The New Testament tells the story of a Roman soldier whose servant was sick, and the soldier wanted Jesus to heal him. That wasn’t uncommon—many wanted Jesus to heal them or their loved ones in those days.

But this soldier, instead of asking Jesus to come to his servant, expressed his belief that if Jesus would just speak the word, his servant would be healed (see Matthew 8:8). Jesus marveled at his faith and sent out His word to heal the servant. The soldier’s positive mindset—his faith—brought positive results. He expected healing, and that’s exactly what happened.

Too often, we cry to Jesus to heal us, to take care of our finances, or to deliver us from problems, but we don’t fully expect the good things to happen. We allow our minds to focus on the negative aspects. Doubt and unbelief war against our minds and steal our faith if we allow it.

As I wrote in my book Battlefield of the Mind, many years ago I was extremely negative. I used to say that if I had two positive thoughts in a row, my mind would get in a cramp. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but that’s how I saw myself. I lived with the same philosophy that other people have: If we don’t expect anything good to happen, we won’t be disappointed when it doesn’t.

I could have excused my negative attitude by telling everyone about my disappointments in life—and I had many. It wasn’t just my lack of expectation. It was more than that. Because I thought negatively, I spoke negatively. When people told me of their spiritual victories, I’d think, That won’t last. When people spoke of their faith, I’d smile, but inwardly I would think that they were gullible. I could always figure out ways that plans would go wrong or people would disappoint me.

Was I happy? Of course not. Negative thinkers are never happy. It’s too long of a story to explain how I came to face that reality, but once I realized what a negative person I was, I cried out to the Lord to help me.

I learned that if I kept studying the Word of God, I could push away negative thoughts. God’s Word is positive and uplifting. My responsibility was to become the kind of believer who honors God with her thoughts, as well as with her actions and her deeds.

I understood the remorse David must have felt when he wrote Psalm 51 (AMPC): Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your steadfast love… is the way he starts. I especially meditated on verse 9: Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my guilt and iniquities. I hadn’t sinned the same way David did, of course, but my negative thinking and bad attitude was sin. It wasn’t just weakness or a bad habit. When I focused on negative thinking, I was rebelling against God.

The Lord had mercy on me. As I continued in His Word and in prayer, He freed me from Satan’s stronghold. Freedom is available for all of us.

Prayer Starter: Gracious God, thank You for every deliverance in my life. Thank You for setting me free from negative and wrong thinking and for defeating Satan in this area of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Worthy of Trust

 

“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead” (Hebrews 11:1).

Frequently, individuals make gifts of property or stocks and bonds to the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. I am notified by our legal department that the papers have been received, confirming our ownership. Then, on the basis of their word, I consider the value and the potential sale of these properties in light of our budget for this worldwide ministry.

Can you imagine? I make decisions involving literally millions of dollars based upon a word or a memo. I do not see the stocks and bonds. I do not visit the property. I do not even see the papers. But I can take the word of my associates, whom I have learned to trust, and, predicated on their recommendations, I can determine how many missionaries we can send to the field.

That is what faith is all about. I have faith in my beloved colleagues because they have demonstrated themselves to be trustworthy. How much more should I have faith in our loving, holy, gracious, God and Father who has demonstrated His faithfulness and trustworthiness innumerable times? How much more should I believe His holy, inspired Word – His many promises?

However, God’s promises do not become reality unless we act upon them, claiming them in faith, any more than the word of my associates would be of any value unless I acted upon that information.

Vast resources of heaven are available to us. We appropriate them by faith. Consider the following illustration: Suppose I have $1,000 in the bank. I go to the bank with a check for $100 in my hand. I hand it to the teller, get on my knees and begin to beseech the teller to cash my check for $100. This would seem unusual to the teller and to all who might observe me for that is not the way to cash a check. Rather, I place it before the teller with the assurance that I have ten times the amount of the check on deposit and therefore without any hesitancy can expect my check to be cashed.

So it is with the bank of heaven. I know that the promises of God are faithful and true. God does not lie. God is worthy of my trust and, therefore, whatever He promises, He will perform if only I will trust and obey him.

Bible Reading:Psalm 11:89-96

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will claim the promises of God by faith with the joyful assurance that whatever God promises, He is faithful to perform. I will claim His supernatural resources for supernatural living.

 

 

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Max Lucado – Exercise Crowd Control

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Look over your shoulder.  The crowd is one step back. They don’t consult your strengths or know your story. Still, they seem to know more about your life than you do.  They’ll lead your life if you allow them.

Jesus didn’t. “When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he told his followers to go to the other side of the lake” (Matthew 8:18). After a day of teaching, “Jesus left the crowd and went into the house” (Matthew 13:36). Christ repeatedly escaped the noise of the crowd in order to hear the voice of God.  He resisted the undertow of people by anchoring to the rock of his purpose—employing his uniqueness to make a big deal out of God.  Jesus said no to good things so he could say yes to the right thing—his unique call!  And He calls on you and me to do likewise.

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