Procrastination can be a big problem: Important tasks are neglected, and the benefits of finished work never come to pass. Even worse, though, procrastinating in spiritual matters can be disastrous.
Every person is going to spend eternity somewhere. The destination is determined in this lifetime by a choice to either accept or reject Jesus’ offer of forgiveness. But eternity seems distant, and there is so much to enjoy in this life, so some people feel that they can delay this decision until later. They assume, I’ll just wait until I’m closer to death. Then I’ll ask Jesus to save me.
The problems with this reasoning are obvious. First of all, there is no guarantee that you will have any warning before death. Second, by spending a lifetime rejecting Christ’s offer, you run the risk of developing a hardened heart. Hebrews 3:13 says, “Encourage one another … so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Saying no to God frequently throughout your life may result in being unable to say yes when death comes knocking at the door. In fact, you may not even be interested in Christ’s offer anymore.
Continue reading Charles Stanley – Today Is the Day of Salvation
Read: Genesis 39:1-12
Bible in a Year: Deuteronomy 32-34; Mark 15:26-47
God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. —1 Corinthians 10:13
When my father became a Christian in his old age, he fascinated me with his plan for overcoming temptation. Sometimes he just walked away! For example, whenever a disagreement between him and a neighbor began to degenerate into a quarrel, my father just walked away for a time rather than be tempted to advance the quarrel.
One day he met with some friends who ordered pito (a locally brewed alcoholic beer). My father had formerly struggled with alcohol and had decided he was better off without it. So he simply stood up, said his goodbyes, and left the gathering of old friends for another day.
Continue reading Our Daily Bread — When to Walk Away
A single plastic lawn chair sits small and unbefitting in the jungle of massive concrete pillars Atlantans know as Spaghetti Junction. A tangled intersection of two major interstates and its deluge of exits, onramps, over- and underpasses, Spaghetti Junction is a colossal picture of ordered chaos, the arteries and veins of a massive, active organism. To say the least, the small chair positioned to sit and watch from the side of the road, its matching side table suggesting space for a cup of tea, is incongruous of the congested, noxious web of concrete and frustrated motorists. Spaghetti Junction is far from relaxing, and people who sit still on Atlanta highways sit with enormous risk.
As I drove, I was immediately struck by the ridiculousness of the chair from the perspective of a driver. Who would sit in the middle of a knotted mess of highways? But as I sat in my car, barely inching forward, with a scowl on my face as I watched the car in front of me trying to cut off the merging motorist in front of him, it occurred to me how ridiculous I must have looked from the perspective of the chair. Taking in the soaring overpasses and congested ramps of an anxious world always on the move is perhaps to see some of the absurdity in our distracted lives.
Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Windows of Something Other
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself” (Philippians 2:3).
One important way to prevent factionalism in the church is to regard other members as more important than yourself.
“Humility of mind” is a distinctive New Testament expression. There were similar terms in secular writings, but none that exactly fit the purposes of the New Testament writers. One form of the Greek word was used to describe the mentality of a slave. It was a term of derision, signifying anyone who was considered base, common, shabby, or low. Among pagans before Christ’s time, humility was never a trait to be sought or admired. Thus the New Testament introduced a radically new concept.
In Philippians 2:3 Paul defines “humility of mind” simply as seeing others as more important than yourself. But how often do we really consider others that way? Frequently, even within the church, we think just the opposite of what Paul commands. For example, we are sometimes prone to criticize those with whom we minister. It is naturally easier for us to speak of their faults and failures than it is to refer to our own.
Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Placing Others Above Yourself
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Proverbs 12:25
Letting someone go at work or trying to correct a friend’s unhealthy habit—having a heated budget or calendar discussion with your spouse or a hard conversation with a truant teenager—all of these scenarios require confrontation. To avoid confrontation when it is necessary, can be unkind—even cruel in some cases. But to confront someone with a caring spirit and helpful attitude is the best approach in dealing with a detrimental issue. It is better to lovingly address a problem early on, while it is fresh, than to ignore and confuse communication. Quick, compassionate confrontation clarifies.
Many people are overweight with anxiety, some obesely so! The frontline of fear is the battle over trust and distrust. Can the Lord be trusted totally or are their occasions to distrust Him? It’s in the middle of these tense, potentially anxious moments that a kind word reminds us of the goodness of God—and our good God can be trusted 100% of the time. Christ followers are kindness ambassadors—for our kind heavenly Father. An attentive word helps shed the weight of worry and replace it with the muscle mass of faith. Compassionate confrontation brings relief.
Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Compassionate Confrontation
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.
As you read the Gospels, notice that some of Jesus’ sharpest rebukes were directed to those He loved the most. He told Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23) To Martha he said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part” (Luke 10:41-42). He told His disciples, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith” (Matthew 8:26). In Luke 9:55, Jesus turned and rebuked James and John, telling them, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.”
Continue reading Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – The Lord’s Rebuking Ministry
Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.— Jeremiah 1:5
Every day you need to give yourself entirely to God. Say, “Lord, I am Yours. I want to be a vessel fit for Your use. I dedicate myself to You: I give You my hands, my mouth, my mind, my body, my money, and my time. Father, here I am. I am Yours; do with me whatever You want to do today.”
Once you dedicate yourself to God, then go on about your business. But expect His leading all day long. Listen for His voice to direct you in the way you should go. Accept the challenge to be an instrument for the Lord’s use today.
From the book Starting Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Friend to Friend
We live in a competitive world. The pressures to be thin, beautiful, fit, smart, sexy, funny, rich, and popular trap us in a relentless vise-grip. Anyone can become gripped by a disorder or an addictive lifestyle. You could be a college student, a businesswoman, a nurse, a mom, a dance instructor, a retail clerk, or a Sunday school teacher. No one is exempt. Feelings of inadequacy and inferiority ravage hearts of Christians and non-Christians alike.
Our attempts to measure up are all-consuming traps. They focus our attention inward verses upward. When we get caught in the trap of striving to measure up, we focus on ourselves. That was never God’s plan. We were designed to focus on Him. Shifting our attention from ourselves to God will change our perspective. God longs for our obsession to be Him.
Continue reading Girlfriends in God – The Comparing Game
“For a person who doesn’t believe in Christ, God’s Son, can’t have God the Father either. But he who has Christ, God’s Son, has God the Father also” (1 John 2:23).
An angry young student leader of a leftist movement approached me after one of my lectures on campus. “I resent your poisoning the minds of these students with your religious ideas,” he said, obviously trying to start an argument.
Instead of responding in kind, I asked him to come to our home for dinner where we could talk quietly and more in depth. He accepted the invitation.
After dinner, we discussed our individual views concerning God and man and the way we felt our ideas could best help man to maximize his potential. He objected when I started to read from the Bible.
Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Father and Son
Read: Philippians 3:2
Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. Phil 3:2
This is a warning about the menace of external religion. This seems like a rather abrupt change of subject, but there is a very vital connection with the previous verse. What is it that destroys rejoicing in the Lord? It’s dwelling on external circumstances as being the important thing. It’s looking away from the indwelling Lord to the outward event with which you are concerned, and counting that the important thing. That will inevitably destroy a spirit of rejoicing. So he warns against certain false teachers who were posing as Christians, who went about trying to get peoples’ faith centered on outward things.
The terms he uses to describe these men are bold and blunt, because in matters of this importance the apostle never minces words. He calls them three things: dogs, evil-doers, mutilators. The reference to dogs is not to the pampered, shampooed, manicured pets we have today. These were not cultured canines. These were the snarling, half-wild curs found on the streets of the city. They can still be found today. The term dogs is a term of reproach used by both Jew and Gentile. Because of what the dogs fed on, they were regarded as unclean animals. They fed on the refuse of the streets, the garbage, decayed meat, rotten vegetables that had been disposed.
Continue reading Ray Stedman – The Menace of External Religion
Read: Luke 19:28-34
He set his face to go to Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51)
It had been a long journey for the disciples following Jesus. Ever since the whirlwind of events in Luke 9 his disciples had been waiting for Jesus to become Israel’s king. Instead, the ragtag little band wound their way through Samaria, trying to make sense of their master’s stories and confrontations, while dealing with their disappointed expectations.
With the capital just beyond the next hilltop, maybe the disciples finally dared to think, “This is it. Now Jesus is going to bust out the dissident politics, the blazing rhetoric, and start the radical revolution.” And it looked promising. Jesus sent some disciples up ahead to bring him “a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat” (v. 30). Based on the word used for “colt,” the disciples may not have been sure whether Jesus was looking for an unbroken stallion or some other four-legged animal.
Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Not What We Expected
The proliferation of media today – round-the-clock news channels, the Internet, and armies of professional pundits – has polarized America and made it nearly impossible for the government to get anything done. How much easier it would be if we could return to the days of the nation’s founding when George Washington was president and the nation was united. Right?
While I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the Lord. How much more after my death!
Wrong. During Washington’s presidency, notes one of his biographers, “the number of newspapers printed in the United States exploded…from under 50 newspapers around 1776 to over 250 by 1800, encouraged by new federal laws that made it cheaper to send newspapers through the postal system. Newly aggressive newspaper editors spurned the old standard of impartiality, taking a stronger role in shaping the newspaper’s message in support of, or in opposition to, the government.”
Continue reading Presidential Prayer Team; – Dead Men Redemptions?
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ” —John 20:17
On the morning of the Resurrection, Jesus didn’t allow Mary to touch Him. He was essentially saying, “It’s not going to be the way it used to be. You can’t hold on to Me in the old way. It’s a new covenant.”
Then He made a radical statement: “Go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God’ ” (John 20:17). For Jesus to call God His Father was one thing. But He said, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father. . . . ” In other words, “He is your Father now too.”
Continue reading Greg Laurie – A New Relationship
“For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.” (1 Kings 17:14-16)
1 Kings is one of the Bible’s historical books, which means that it tells us the stories of what actually happened during the time those kings and prophets lived. What good can those old stories do for us now? Some of those things that happened back then would never happen now, in the 21st century! God probably has never told your pastor to pray for a river to dry up so you could walk across it, and God probably will not tell your pastor to pray that it would not rain for three years!
Even though some of these historical stories could probably never happen nowadays, God had good reasons for including them in His Word. For one thing, we can learn a lot about God’s character and His works through reading those stories. Think about when someone at your church stands up and gives a “testimony.” What is it? It is just that person’s story of something God has done, and it gives praise to God for being the kind of God He is. We listen to testimonies of people who believe in God, and they remind us that God is powerful and cares about His people. The historical stories in the Bible are often testimonies about the greatness and goodness of God.
Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God Wants Me To Trust Him To Provide
Today’s Scripture: Romans 4:8
“Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
God has given each of us a conscience, a moral compass within our hearts, bearing witness to his law. In sinful or self-righteous people (those whose dominant characteristics are either obvious sin or obvious self-righteousness), the conscience is to some degree “hardened.” But in a growing Christian the conscience becomes more and more sensitive to violations of God’s law. As a result, our consciences continually indict us, accusing us not only of particular sins, but, more important, of our overall sinfulness. We recognize that specific sins are simply the expressions of our still-wicked hearts. Our sinfulness is very real to us, and we find it difficult to believe God would no longer remember each offense.
It’s here that I find it helpful to visualize the Old Testament scapegoat carrying away the people’s sins that have been laid on its head. This is an accurate picture of what Jesus did with my sin.
Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Clean Conscience
Today’s Scripture: Zechariah 3-4
“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty. – Zechariah 4:6
One of the best-known verses in the Bible regarding the Holy Spirit is recorded in Zechariah 4:6. The word might comes from a Hebrew word meaning “a powerful force, an army, a band of trained, valiant soldiers.” It also encompasses other resources, such as riches. The word translated power means “to be able to reach our goals by human ability–our own wisdom or clever manipulation of others.” Zechariah is saying that we do not do the work of God by either great human strength or great human ability; we do it by the enabling of the Holy Spirit.
Exodus 31:1 says: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have chosen Bezalel…and I have filled Him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts–to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship… Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you.’”
Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Empowered by the Spirit
Editor’s note: Fox News is reporting this morning that Secretary of State John Kerry will declare today that ISIS is committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities.
In the mid-1940s, Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish lawyer born and raised in Poland, coined a name for what prior to the 20th century had been unthinkable. He combined the Greek word for “family,” “tribe,” or “race,” and the Latin word for “killing,” to describe events like the Nazi extermination campaign against his fellow Jews, Stalin’s starvation of millions of Ukrainians, and the Turkish cleansing of their Armenian and Assyrian subjects. The word: genocide.
Lemkin defined genocide as more than the “mass killings of all members of a nation.” Genocide, he suggested, was a “coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.”
So in addition to physical attacks, genocide could also include “the disintegration of the political and social institutions” and attempts to suppress things like the culture, language, and of course, the religion of the targeted group.
Continue reading BreakPoint – Congress Finally Acknowledges Genocide in Middle East
JESUS, THE VINE
Whenever a tragedy causes the deaths of many people—a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, a building or bridge collapse—some people speculate about the deeper causes. Is it God’s punishment? Did sin cause this suffering?
When we try to determine the meaning of historical calamity, at best we can usually offer only guesses. In today’s reading, Jesus rebukes those in His day who would blame all suffering on sin (vv. 2–4). We can’t assume a mechanistic connection between sin and tragedy, although it’s true that without repentance, everyone will die. But those who are victims of tragic events are not inherently more sinful. Indeed, as Jesus reminds us, every human life, like a fig tree, will be uprooted when it fails to produce the fruit of repentance (v. 7).
Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – Read Luke 13
March Madness began yesterday for men’s college basketball teams. There are more winners and losers than the sixty-four teams that began the tournament, however.
If you’re one of the forty million people who filled out a bracket, know that your odds of predicting the winner of every game are one in 9.2 quintillion. (Baylor’s loss yesterday ended my chances.) But beer and pizza companies always win during March—beer consumption escalates nearly thirty percent, while pizza orders increase by nineteen percent.
Meanwhile, productivity in America loses. Experts estimate that lost wages paid to distracted and unproductive workers could reach as high as $1.9 billion. That amount of cash stacked in dollar bills would reach approximately 120 miles into the atmosphere. That’s seventeen times higher than the altitude at which commercial jetliners fly.
Clearly, what we do in private affects what we accomplish in public.
This fact relates to our spiritual lives as well. In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers claims that “my worth to God in public is what I am in private.” Why is this true?
Continue reading Denison Forum – HOW MUCH WILL MARCH MADNESS COST OUR ECONOMY?