Charles Stanley – Look for the Good Way

 

Jeremiah 6:16-17

If you’re a hiker, you know how important it is to stick to the marked trails in unfamiliar territory. To venture off on your own could lead to disaster if you get lost and can’t find your way back to safety.

This is similar to what happened to the nation of Judah. They veered from the Lord to make their own way by adopting foreign gods. As a result, God told the prophet Jeremiah to point them back to Him. Sadly, they refused to listen and continued in the wrong direction.

But we don’t have to follow in their footsteps. The Lord will lead us onto His path if we’ll heed these commands from Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV):

“Stand at the crossroads and look.” God sometimes uses trouble to open our eyes and let us see we’re at an intersection. This is the time to stop and immerse ourselves in God’s Word so we can discern His way.

“Ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is.” Saints from the past have left footprints for us to follow. After meditating on psalms or prayers offered by people in the Bible, we should ponder how their petitions reveal trust in God. It’s also helpful to notice what happened next in the scriptural accounts.

“Walk in it, and … find rest for your souls.” With eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and with full reliance on the Holy Spirit’s strength, we can walk the road of obedience and follow Christ to sweet, soul-satisfying rest.

If you’re uncertain regarding God’s will, avoid the tendency to run faster. Pause, follow Jeremiah’s instructions, and trust the Lord to show you the good way. Then start walking.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 44-49

 

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Our Daily Bread — Impaired Judgment

 

Read: Matthew 7:1–6 | Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 12–13; Acts 4:23–37

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Matthew 7:1

I’ve been quick to judge anyone I saw walking in the street while staring at a phone. How could they be so oblivious to the cars about to hit them? I’ve told myself. Don’t they care about their own safety? But one day, while crossing the entrance to an alleyway, I was so engrossed in a text message, that I missed seeing a car at my left. Thankfully, the driver saw me and came to an abrupt stop. But I felt ashamed. All of my self-righteous finger-pointing came back to haunt me. I had judged others, only to do the same thing myself.

My hypocrisy is the kind of thinking that Jesus addressed in the Sermon on the Mount: “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). I had a huge “plank”—a blind spot through which I judged others with my own impaired judgment.

“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged,” Jesus also said (7:2). Recalling the disgusted look on the driver’s face that day, after having to make an abrupt stop when I walked in front of the car, I’m reminded of the disgusted looks I gave others engrossed in their phones.

None of us is perfect. But sometimes I forget that in my haste to judge others. We’re all in need of God’s grace.

Heavenly Father, please help me be quicker to console or encourage, and slower to judge someone else.

Be slow to judge others.

By Linda Washington

INSIGHT

In today’s reading we see our Lord’s condemnation of a judgmental attitude. It’s remarkable how we can have a perfectionistic attitude toward others yet ignore the glaring faults we possess. The Pharisees of Jesus day were scathing in their attack on the sins of others while seemingly unaware of their own faults. In seeing the pretense of these hypocrites, Jesus gave a series of rebukes such as: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (Matthew 23:25–26).

The Greek word hypocrite means “he that wears the mask” and was used of actors in plays. The private lives of hypocrites do not match the image they project for public view. The Christian walk should lead to greater integrity and transparency. To avoid hypocrisy, it’s essential that we confess our sin and rely on the Spirit to help us live holy lives (Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18; 1 John 1:9).

In what ways can you become more gracious in your response to the behavior of others?

Dennis Fisher

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Reflection

I wish it had been an unusual conversation. A group of close friends had gathered for dinner to catch up on life’s happenings and events. In the course of conversation, and it happens more often than I’d like to admit, the typical meanderings through each other’s lives shifted to calling out the particular character flaws of individuals we all knew, but who were not present with us. “She’s so judgmental,” one friend observed. “Well, she’s a perfectionist and hyper-critical” another added, and on and on it continued as the evening progressed. Never one to remain silent, I added my perspective that dissected personality peccadillos, all without a defense or a counter-narrative. How easy it was to evaluate another with surgical precision without stopping for a minute to think about how it might feel to be on the other side of the scalpel.

As I replayed the conversation in my mind, I was struck by the fact that the very nature of our conversation displayed the very same tendencies we had called out in these others. More than that, hadn’t we just demonstrated the very judgmental and critical spirits we had leveled against others? Psychologists have long understood this all too common tendency of identifying in others what we tend to struggle with in our own lives. We had all demonstrated the process of psychological projection by which individuals defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities by attributing them to others.(1) How easy it had been to deny the existence of these ugly qualities in ourselves by placing them (and blame) on others.

The psychoanalytic tradition defined projection as a defense mechanism which is understood as a largely unconscious strategy to avoid conscious conflict or anxiety. And what could cause more anxiety than having to face the truth about ourselves? As author Richard Rohr notes, “I am convinced that there is nothing on which people are so fixated as their self-image. We are literally prepared to go through hell just so we don’t have to give it up. We’re all affected by it.”(2) The people who irritate and frustrate, the ones with qualities we dislike so much, are in fact a mirror that reflects our own image. Yet, we find every conceivable way not to see that kind of ugly reflection staring back at us.

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Joyce Meyer – Emotions Are Here to Stay

 

Be self-controlled and alert…standing firm in your faith. — 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV)

Adapted from the resource Power Thoughts Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

We all have emotions, and we always will; they are part of being human. Since that is true, I believe emotional stability should be one of the main goals of every believer. We should seek God to learn how to manage our emotions and stop them from managing us.

I urge you to make emotional maturity a priority in your life. If you do not believe you are doing a good job of managing your emotions, begin to pray and seek God for emotional maturity. I also encourage you to learn what upsets you the most or prompts you to behave emotionally and be watchful during those situations.

Prayer Starter: Father, I ask for Your help to manage my emotions. Help me to mature in You and have a greater understanding of why I do the things I do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Is Ours

 

“So don’t be proud of following the wise men of this world. For God has already given you everything you need. He has given you Paul and Apollos and Peter as your helpers. He has given you the whole world to use, and life and even death are your servants. He has given you all of the present and all of the future. All are yours, and you belong to Christ, and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 3:21-23).

A famous scholar and statesman called me aside to offer his counsel. “As the head of a great worldwide Christian student movement,” he said, “you should be more scholarly, more of a philosopher. Your approach is too simple. Your critics and even some of your friends feel that your writings and your speaking should be more profound as befits one of your stature and position.” He continued in this vein for some time. I heard him out, prayerfully asking God to give me the wisdom to respond.

When he finished I said to him, “There was a time when I wanted to impress people with my intellect, my learning. I spent many years in graduate school including two theological seminaries where I had the privilege of sitting at the feet of some of the most learned theologians of our time.”

I confessed to him that there was a period in my student life when I became intoxicated with learning and could have spent the rest of my life in the ivory tower. Then it occurred to me in a very definite, dramatic way that one of the reasons the Christian message was not better understood by every Christian and the reason the Christian church was making such little impact upon a worldly society was that many theologians, and consequently their students, pastors and missionaries, had complicated the good news of God’s love and forgiveness. I reminded my friend that Jesus, the greatest teacher of all, taught in such a way that the masses, largely illiterate and unlearned, heard Him gladly. I went on to explain that I had made a concerted effort all through my ministry to try to communicate clearly by eliminating big words and philosophical and theological jargon, the kind of “Christianese” that does not communicate except to those who are familiar with the usage.

This famous scholar seemed to understand for the first time the importance of following the example of our Lord and other great teachers through the centuries who sought to communicate clearly to the masses.

Bible Reading:I Corinthians 3:16-20

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Remembering that God has given me everything I need, I will look to Him to guide my steps and enable me to live the supernatural life. I will also keep the message simple as I communicate the good news of God’s love in Christ.

 

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Max Lucado – Never Consult Your Greed

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Jesus warns, “Be on your guard against every form of greed” (Luke 12:15).  John D. Rockefeller was asked, “How much money does it take to satisfy a man?” He answered, “Just a little more.” Wise was the one who wrote, “Whoever loves money never has money enough money; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

Urge your mate to choose satisfaction over salary.  Better to be married to a happy person with a thin wallet than a miserable person with a thick one. As Proverbs 13:7 says, “a pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life.” Pursue the virtue of contentment because “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). Consult your design.  Consult your Designer.  But never consult your greed.

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Denison Forum – Separating children at the border: 3 options and my response

The immigration crisis unfolding on the US–Mexico border continues to dominate the news. Nearly two thousand children have been separated from their parents since a “zero tolerance” policy was adopted for those entering the US illegally.

One facility in McAllen, Texas, houses two hundred such children. According to a migrant rights worker who visited the facility, one girl “was so traumatized that she wasn’t talking. She was just curled up in a little ball.” A quiet boy was seen clutching a piece of paper that was a photocopy of his mother’s ID card.

The head of the American Academy of Pediatrics visited a similar shelter in Texas, where she saw a toddler crying uncontrollably and pounding her little fists on a mat. She had been taken from her mother the night before and brought to the shelter.

Staff members gave her books and toys, but they weren’t allowed to pick her up, hold her, or hug her to try to calm her. As a rule, staff are not allowed to touch the children in the facility.

A “zero tolerance” policy

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters last night that the “vast majority” of children being held in detention facilities were sent to the US alone by their parents. She stated that this issue “has resulted after years and years of Congress not taking action.” Others blame the Trump administration for the crisis.

My purpose is not to fix blame but to consider practical options. Let’s begin with some history.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Separating children at the border: 3 options and my response

Charles Stanley – When Burdens Seem Unbearable

 

Psalm 13:1-6

Which is more influential in your life—circumstances or your perspective? Although we may long for a pleasant life filled with abundance, comfort, and good experiences, the reality is that we live in a fallen world. Almost nothing is as it should be, but the way we perceive life’s hardships and burdens depends largely on our perspective.

For example, when we are overburdened, the world might look dark even when the sun is shining. The birds may be singing, but all we hear are the sorrowful cries of our own heart. The burdens seem so overwhelming that we may even distance ourselves from others, yet that only encourages us to dwell even more on our problems and leads us further into despair.

But when we open the book of Psalms, the words penetrate our bleak circumstances, inviting us to draw near and find rest in the Lord. How gracious of Him to give us this amazing book of comfort. But greater still are the lessons we learn from it.

In today’s psalm, David is weighed down with burdens. He asks, “How long?” Have you ever felt like that? He describes his troubles and pleads for an answer, but by the end of the psalm, his perspective shifts when he remembers that God is trustworthy.

If you feel as if you’re bearing the weight of the world on your shoulders, stop and look up to your heavenly Father. Remember a time in the past when God carried you through hard circumstances, and rejoice in His steadfast faithfulness. He didn’t fail you then, and He will not fail you now.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 39-43

 

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Our Daily Bread — Blessing in the Mess

 

Read: Genesis 28:10–22 | Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 10–11; Acts 4:1–22

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

I got myself into this mess, so I’d better get myself out, I sometimes find myself thinking.  Although I believe in a God of grace, I’m still prone to act as if His help is available only when I deserve it.

God’s first encounter with Jacob is a beautiful illustration of how untrue this is.

Jacob had spent a lifetime trying to alter his destiny. He’d been born second at a time when firstborn sons typically received their father’s blessing—believed to guarantee future prosperity.

So Jacob decided to do whatever it would take to get his father’s blessing anyway. Eventually, he succeeded—through deceit—obtaining the blessing intended for his brother (Genesis 27:19–29).

But the price was a divided family, as Jacob fled from his furious brother (vv. 41–43). As night descended (28:11), Jacob must have felt as far from a life of blessing as ever.

But it was there, leaving behind a trail of deception, that Jacob met God. God showed him he didn’t need desperate schemes to be blessed; he already was. His destiny—a purpose far greater than material prosperity (v. 14)—was held securely by the One who would never leave him (v. 15).

It was a lesson Jacob would spend his whole life learning.

And so will we. No matter how many regrets we carry or how distant God seems, He is still there—gently guiding us out of our mess into His blessing.

Lord, so often we feel trapped by our mistakes, thinking there’s no future left for us. Remind us that you are the God of Jacob, the God who will never give up on Your purposes for us.

God never gives up on His love and purposes for our lives.

By Monica Brands

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Like a Letter

The question is asked with both biting sarcasm and pained lament: Why isn’t God clearer? Why the complicated hunt for answers? Why not a God with far more interest in direct communication? Such questions are perhaps further disquieted by those who seem to claim precisely this experience—hearing God as surely as in a letter, as directly as any other conversation.

It also used to bother me that I couldn’t give an exact date for my conversion. I can’t describe the moment when I finally bowed and admitted God was God. The lack of anything precise to claim as my own troubled me particularly when it was my turn to speak in a room of believers with specific dates and encounters to tell—and the expectation that I could tell likewise. I’ve since learned that conversion is more than one moment of waking—even for those who indeed have one moment that stands out among all others. But I’ve also come to love the diversity of means and ways God appears before a life—gently beckoning one to follow, pursuing over a lifetime the one lost or running, dramatically opening the eyes of another in an instant.

But could this broadened picture itself not be direct communication from God? The apostle Paul describes the converted one “like a letter from Christ… written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”(1) In this description, we discover conversion is inherently personal—a letter from creator to creature, written not in ink but in God, not on paper or tablet, but on living flesh, through the vicariously human Son of God. Accordingly, there are as many stories of God drawing near a life as there are words one could put in a personal letter. Like Paul, I have come to expect and to admire the compilation. Some will speak of waking to God’s truth gradually; others will describe being moved nearly to blindness as they encounter Christ more fully than they have eyes yet to see.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Like a Letter

Joyce Meyer – Are You Not Worth Much More Than They?

 

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the harvest] nor gather [the crops] into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?” — Matthew 6:26

Adapted from the resource New Day New You Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

It might do all of us good to spend some time watching birds. That’s what our Lord told us to do. If not every day, then at least every now and then we need to take the time to observe and remind ourselves how well our feathered friends are cared for. They literally do not know where their next meal is coming from, yet, I have personally never seen a bird sitting on a tree branch having a nervous breakdown due to worry.

The Master’s point here is really very simple: “Are you not worth more than a bird?” Even though you may be wrestling with a poor self-image, surely you can believe that you are more valuable than a bird, and look how well your heavenly Father takes care of them.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for reminding me that when life is overwhelming or I’m tempted to worry, I have tremendous value in Your eyes, and You’ll never let me down. Help me to be mindful that You will always love me, provide for me, and take care of every need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Gave His Son

 

“Since He did not spare even His own Son for us but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also surely give us everything else?” (Romans 8:32).

George was very faithful in his Christian walk. In fact, he had a little black book in which he recorded all of his activities for each day. These included daily devotions, note-taking, verses to be memorized, appointments to be kept and every activity of his life. Outwardly he seemed so perfect that I, as a young Christian, wanted to be like him. Then one day he had a nervous breakdown. As he told me later, the last thing he did before he went to the hospital was to throw away his little black book and tell his wife he never wanted to see it again. Without realizing it, he had become very legalistic in his relationship with God rather than accepting, by faith, what God had already done for him. while in the hospital he began to recall some of the thousands of verses which he had memorized through the years. It was then that he relaxed enough to allow the Holy Spirit to illumine his mind to comprehend the importance of living by faith.

As Paul writes to the Galatians in the third chapter: “What magician has hypnotized you and cast an evil spell upon you? For you used to see the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death as clearly as though I had waved a placard before you with a picture on it of Christ dying on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by trying to keep the Jewish laws? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you heard about Christ and trusted Him to save you. Then, have you gone completely crazy? For if trying to obey the Jewish laws never gave you spiritual life in the first place, why do you think that trying to obey them now will make you stronger Christians?”

I ask you again: Does God give you the power of the Holy Spirit as a result of your trying to obey His laws? No, of course not. He gives that power when you believe in Christ and fully trust Him. The greatest heresy of the Christian life is legalism; and yet, it inevitably seems to attract dedicated, committed Christians. They are happy to accept salvation as a gift of God by faith. But like the Galatians, they insist on earning their way thereafter.

We must never forget that salvation is a gift of God which we receive by faith. Nothing can be earned. If we believe God, we will want to work to please Him, not to earn His favor.

Bible Reading:Romans 8:33-39

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will invite the Holy Spirit to protect me from becoming legalistic in my walk with Christ. Having received salvation by faith, I shall claim each day’s blessings by faith as I live the supernatural life.

 

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Max Lucado -Examine Your Gifts

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Be careful!  In a desire to be great, one might cease being any good. Not every teacher is equipped to be a principal.  Not every carpenter has the skill to head a crew. Not every musician should conduct an orchestra.  A promotion might promote a person right out of their sweet spot.  For the love of more, a person might lose their purpose. Greed makes a poor job counselor.

Examine your gifts; know your strengths. Romans 12:3 says, “Have a sane estimate of your capabilities.”  Proverbs 15:16 says, “It is better to have little with fear for the LORD than to have great treasure with turmoil.”  So, don’t let the itch for things or the ear for applause derail you from your God-intended design!

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Denison Forum – Jeff Sessions and Romans 13: Should Christians always obey the government?

 

I don’t remember the last time a biblical citation generated so many headlines.

Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sought to defend the Trump administration’s immigration policies, especially with regard to separating families. At one point, he stated, “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.”

His citation set off a firestorm of debate in the culture and among Christians.

My purpose today is not to discuss the multitude of ways Romans 13 has been interpreted through history. Rather, it is to consider the larger question: When should Christians obey or disobey the government?

Obeying the state

God’s word consistently calls us to obey and support our governing authorities.

Paul urged that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

His instruction to Christians living in Rome was clear: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Romans 13:1-2).

The apostle then stated that “the authorities are ministers of God” (v. 6) and urged his readers: “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (v. 7).

Peter added: “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good” (1 Peter 2:13-14).

It would seem clear, then, that Christians are to submit to the authority of the government, seeing its exercise of power as God’s will for us. However, there’s more to the story.

Choosing civil disobedience

In Acts 4, Peter and John were ordered to stop preaching the gospel by the Sanhedrin, the highest authority in Judaism. Their response: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (vv. 19-20).

After Peter was arrested again for preaching the gospel, he was again bold in his civil disobedience: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). His faithfulness to God led to his martyrdom by Rome. Paul suffered a similar fate: imprisonment (2 Timothy 4:6) and execution.

And so, two apostles who counseled Christians to obey the state were executed because they would not obey the state.

Theirs are not the only such stories in Scripture.

In Daniel 3, the Babylonian king erected a golden image and required all people to worship it. The Jewish exiles Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego testified before the idolatrous king: “We will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (v. 18). You know what happened to them.

Three chapters later, Daniel refused to pray to the Persian king and was thrown into the lions’ den as a result.

In Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. noted: “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” He agreed with St. Augustine, who claimed that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

John R. W. Stott was one of the most respected evangelical theologians of the twentieth century. In his commentary on Romans 13, he asks:

“Granted that the authority of the rulers is derived from God, what happens if they abuse it, if they reverse their God-given duty, commending those who do evil and punishing those who do good? Does the requirement to submit still stand in such a morally perverse situation? No. The principle is clear. We are to submit right up to the point where obedience to the state would entail disobedience to God. But if the state commands what God forbids, or forbids what God commands, then our plain Christian duty is to resist, not to submit, to disobey the state in order to obey God.”

Citizens of two countries

You and I are citizens of two countries. We live in a secular nation with secular leaders we are to support and obey. But we also live in a spiritual society with an omnipotent King whose authority is supreme (Psalm 2:10-11).

Jesus taught us to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21).

But when we are forced to choose, we must obey our highest authority.

Peter encouraged us to “show proper respect to everyone.” What does this entail? “Love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:17 NIV). We are to love each other, and we are to honor our secular leaders. But we are to fear only God.

On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued the first formal proclamation of Thanksgiving in the United States. He stated: “It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”

Let’s do our duty today

 

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Charles Stanley –How to Become a Successful Father

 

Ephesians 6:1-4

No human father is perfect. But with the guidance of the Spirit, Scripture, and godly mentors, a man can become a successful dad by intentionally leading his children in these areas:

Spirituality. Help your children to trust in Jesus Christ as early as possible, and they’ll grow with the understanding that He is to be at the center of everything they do.

Morality. In homes where honesty, purity, and loyalty are lived out, boys and girls learn to value integrity and listen to their conscience. This will also help them develop a habit of seeking the Holy Spirit’s direction.

Relationships. Teaching about love, respect, and mutual encouragement is good preparation for friendships and marriage.

Vocation. Model cooperation and the way to work “heartily, as to the Lord” (Col. 3:23 NKJV), and your children will form a healthy work ethic.

Finances. Teach the right way to handle money: to earn honestly, give generously, save intelligently, and enjoy heartily. (See 1 Tim. 6:17.)

Authority. Unless children learn how to function properly under authority—of parents, school, church, and government— rebelliousness can easily develop. Our sons and daughters notice when there’s a disconnect between our conduct and words, so setting a good example is essential.

The way to build guiding principles into a child’s life is by precept (teaching) and practice (modeling). Dads, if you plant these healthy concepts in your children’s hearts, what a joy it will be to see them equipped and motivated to fulfill God’s purpose for their life.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 35-38

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Our Safe Place

 

Read: Psalm 91 | Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 7–9; Acts 3

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2

My very first job was at a fast-food restaurant. One Saturday evening, a guy kept hanging around, asking when I got out of work. It made me feel uneasy. As the hour grew later, he ordered fries, then a drink, so the manager wouldn’t kick him out. Though I didn’t live far, I was scared to walk home alone through a couple of dark parking lots and a stretch through a sandy field. Finally, at midnight, I went in the office to make a phone call.

And the person who answered—my dad—without a second thought got out of a warm bed and five minutes later was there to take me home.

The kind of certainty I had that my dad would come to help me that night reminds me of the assurance we read about in Psalm 91. Our Father in heaven is always with us, protecting and caring for us when we are confused or afraid or in need. He declares: “When they call on me, I will answer” (Psalm 91:15 nlt). He is not just a place we can run to for safety. He is our shelter (v. 1). He is the Rock we can cling to for refuge (v. 2).

In times of fear, danger, or uncertainty, we can trust God’s promise that when we call on Him, He will hear and be with us in our trouble (vv. 14–15). God is our safe place.

Dear Father, thank You for being my Rock and my safe place.

The living God will always be our shelter.

By Cindy Hess Kasper

INSIGHT

Psalm 91 offers comfort no matter where we find ourselves in life. Notice how the author, line after line, encourages the reader by stating how the Lord will faithfully care for His children (vv. 3–13). These promises are not just wishful thinking on the psalmist’s part; God Himself confirms He will protect and rescue those who love Him and call on His name (vv. 14–16).

J.R. Hudberg

 

 

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Petulant Children


Read: Matthew 11:16-19

We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn. (v. 17)

Imagine a pouting, petulant child who does not want to play any game you suggest. Want to play with your blocks? No. Want to play with your trains? No. Coloring books? No. It doesn’t matter what activity you suggest, the petulant child refuses to go along.

“To what shall I compare this generation?” says Jesus. You are like petulant children, that’s what. In a pouty, little-boy voice—at least that’s how I imagine it—Jesus mimicked children calling to one another, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.” No matter how God reached out to the people, they wouldn’t respond. God sent the austere John the Baptist, and people said he was demon-possessed. God sent his very own Son, and people said he was a glutton and a drunk. There was just no satisfying these people.

Are we all that different? The pastor is either too young or too old, too conservative or too liberal. The worship style is too high or too low. If the church speaks out, it is meddling in politics; if it stays quiet, it is boring and irrelevant. We don’t dance, and we refuse to mourn. And Jesus calls us children—pouty, obstinate, petulant children.

Our response to God’s love is not a game to play when we are in the mood. “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” —Lou Lotz

Prayer: Lord, I give myself to you.

 

https://woh.org/

Joyce Meyer – Receive Mercy

 

Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].  — Hebrews 4:16

Adapted from the resource My Time With God Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

God is full of mercy and loving-kindness! He is extending His mercy to you right now, but you must believe it and receive it in order for it to bene t you. When we sin, we don’t need to punish ourselves, because Jesus already took our punishment and He now offers us His mercy. Amazing!

Mercy would not be mercy if it could be deserved, because it is said to be kindness that exceeds what could be expected. If you are suffering from guilt, shame, and condemnation, God is reaching out to you now and offering you mercy. Don’t turn away because you know you don’t deserve it. Receive it and let it make you fall more in love with Jesus than ever before.

We need mercy every day, and God has provided it because His Word says that His mercy is new every day and His faithfulness is great and abundant (see Lamentations 3:23). Our sin will never exceed God’s mercy because where sin abounds, grace abounds much more (see Romans 5:20).

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You very much for Your amazing mercy. Teach me how to receive not only mercy but also all of Your gracious benefits. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Spiritually Minded

 

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6, KJV).

I believe the truth of this verse may speak to a common cause of depression among Christians who allow their minds to dwell on ungodly thoughts and/or over-introspection.

Paul writes: “I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to.

“For we naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do, and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has His way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires” (Galatians 5:16,17).

Our minds are susceptible to the influence of our old sin- nature and, as such, can pose real dangers to us. As soon as we get out of step with the Holy Spirit and get our focus off the Lord, our minds begin to give us trouble.

“The Christian life is really simple,” I heard a pastor say recently. “It’s simply doing what we’re told to do.” And he is right. We will be spiritually minded, not carnally minded, if we obey the simple commands of God’s Word.

Bible Reading:Romans 8:5-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I will give the spiritual mind priority over the carnal mind in my life.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – SILENCE AND SPIRITUAL WALK: RESISTING CONVICTION

 

Psalm 32

Augustine said about confession of sin: “Because I have sinned, I must declare my unrighteousness, confess my sins to the Lord, and stop trying to hide my guilt. The emphasis must be on that I did it myself. It was not fate, not my horoscope, not the devil. He did not force me to sin, but I consented to his persuasive temptations. And when I confess my rebellion to the Lord, I can say with the psalmist, ‘And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.’”

Psalm 32 is a beautiful poem about the blessing and beauty of God’s forgiveness (vv. 1–2, 11). David had at first resisted this blessing—His silence here is the silence of resisting God’s conviction of sin. His rebellious refusal to confess his sin brought about much inner suffering (vv. 3–4). In the end, God broke through and David repented and experienced the profound relief and blessing of forgiveness (v. 5).

The psalmist exhorted his fellow worshipers to do the same (vv. 6–8). God loves us. He can be trusted with our shameful secrets—in fact, He already knows them. He’s not waiting to ambush or punish us, but to forgive us. Sin interferes with closeness to God, so He also wants to teach us how to avoid sin and live righteously. To be under conviction of sin means God is graciously driving us to do what’s right and what’s good for us.

Why, then, would we act like a stubborn mule (vv. 9–10)? Don’t do what I did, David warns. Only an idiot would refuse to confess and repent! The “woes of the wicked” and the unrepentant are self-inflicted, but if we confess and repent, we can trade inner anguish for being immersed in God’s unfailing love (v. 10).

APPLY THE WORD

Confession of sin should be a regular habit. Our society doesn’t talk much about sin, preferring to say people make mistakes or are trapped in systems or “act out” and need therapy. But by repenting of sin and accepting God’s forgiveness, we demonstrate that repentance brings peace and joy in our relationship with God and brings glory to Him.

PRAY WITH US

Please pray for the ministry of Mollie Bond, who serves in Foundations and Corporate Relations, as she establishes relationships with various companies and organizations, involving interested partners in Moody’s ministries.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

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