Charles Stanley – Wisdom’s Benefit Package

Proverbs 2:1-22

When someone is interviewing for a new job, it’s common to ask, “What does the benefits package include?” We’d do well to consider a similar question about the value of living according to God’s wisdom—since the world’s advice about having a good life contrasts sharply with scriptural teachings, we might ask, “What are the benefits?” In other words, Why should we seek to live in obedience to the instructions given in the Bible?

First of all, in seeking God’s wisdom, we will acquire a deeper understanding and knowledge of the Lord. (See Prov. 2:4-6.) Our perspective on life is greatly enhanced when we have a close relationship with the Father. He’ll give us the ability to see ourselves, others, and circumstances the way He would view them. As biblical principles permeate our minds, they begin to shape our thinking and responses to all of life’s situations and challenges.

Second, God promises to guide and protect us if we walk wisely (Prov. 2:7-10). Nothing outside His will can penetrate the shield of protection around those who love and seek to obey Him. When we let His wisdom enter our hearts, discretion watches over our desires and emotions, preventing us from entering into foolish or sinful relationships that would draw us away from Him (Prov. 2:11-20).

Godly understanding and protection don’t become ours simply because we want them. Such benefits come to people who diligently seek divine wisdom. If you receive the words of Scripture and let them fill your heart and mind, the Lord will reveal Himself to you and give you His discernment.

Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 27-29

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Too Close

Read: Proverbs 3:1-18

Bible in a Year: Judges 16-18; Luke 7:1-30

In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. —Proverbs 3:6

I grew up in Oklahoma where severe weather is common from early spring through the end of summer. I recall one evening when the sky boiled with dark clouds, the TV weather forecaster warned of an approaching tornado, and the electricity went out. Very quickly, my parents, my sister, and I climbed down the wooden ladder into the storm cellar behind our house where we stayed until the storm passed by.

Today “storm chasing” has become a hobby for many people and a profitable business for others. The goal is to get as close as possible to a tornado without being harmed. Many storm chasers are skilled forecasters with accurate information, but I won’t sign up for a tornado tour anytime soon.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Peter’s Impulsive Self-Confidence

“Peter answered and said to Him, ‘Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away’” (Matthew 26:33).

Prior to Jesus’ death, Peter’s trust in himself rather than God distorted his judgment concerning loyalty to Jesus.

Like a self-willed child, Peter often heard and believed only what he wanted to. He failed to grasp the Lord’s warning that his faith would be severely tested. At the Last Supper Jesus told Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat” (Luke 22:31). But Peter was unfazed by these words. Instead, he boasted, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” (v. 33).

Christ in His divine wisdom knew that Peter’s claim would not hold true. Therefore, He went further and soberly predicted during the Supper that Peter would soon not only desert His Lord but also deny Him three times. Now in Matthew 26, following Peter’s latest outburst of overconfidence, Jesus is constrained to repeat His prediction. Amazingly, Peter did not believe the thrust of Jesus’ words. He would rather fool himself and believe that Jesus was mistaken about his faithfulness and loyalty.

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Peter’s Impulsive Self-Confidence

Wisdom Hunters – Faith Follows Jesus 

And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.   Luke 14:27

You follow Jesus because of His invitation and His worthiness. You follow Jesus because His way is the best way and because you are His disciples. You follow Jesus because there is none other who offers an abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven. You follow the Lord because He leads you toward His will. He is worth following because He can be trusted; He will never lead you astray. The Lord’s leadership is perfect, potent, and practical. Therefore, pursue Him as a faithful follower. Do not hold back one ounce of obedience and loyalty to your leader, Jesus Christ. Where He leads you, follow. Where He sends you, go. His path will be painful at times, but it is in your pain that He purifies. Follow Him and you will be forever grateful, for He does not disappoint.

Follow Him through your difficult days. Do not give in to the temptation to quit. Where else is there to go? This is the insightful question Peter posed out of frustration (John 6:68). It is in your adversity that you desire the Almighty. He is not occupied with a celestial distraction somewhere far away. He is still leading you through this valley of despair. Do not give up on Him, for He has not given up on you. He still lovingly leads even though your soul feels resistance. He will pull you through this present predicament. Use this time of challenge to strengthen your faith in Him.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Spring Cleaning: Shake the Dust Off—Read Your Bible

I am afflicted very much; revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.

Psalm 119:107

Recommended Reading

Proverbs 3:1-2

A distinguished professor at an evangelical seminary was invited to speak to an adult Sunday school class at a large, mainstream church. When he began his lesson, he noticed none of the class members had a Bible. He asked if there were any Bibles available that could be used during the class. An extensive search was made and finally, in a storage closet, a box of unused Bibles was discovered. Once this key tool for spiritual growth was distributed to the class, the professor proceeded to teach.

It has been said that a valid measure of a Christian’s spiritual growth is the amount of dust that has settled on his Bible. The Bible is considered food for the follower of Christ—the daily source of nourishment, counsel, inspiration, correction, and hope (2 Timothy 3:16). The Word of God can do what no other book can: penetrate deeply into our heart and soul and reveal our “thoughts and intents” (Hebrews 4:12). It can do that because it is “living and powerful,” empowered by the Spirit who inspired it (2 Peter 1:21).

Don’t let your Bible be hidden or dusty. Begin today to let God revive you according to His Word.

The Bible speaks to you in the very tone of God’s voice.

Charles Spurgeon

Read-Thru-the-Bible

2 Samuel 4 – 11

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

Joyce Meyer – Seek the Truth

The sower sows the Word. The ones along the path are those who have the Word sown [in their hearts], but when they hear, Satan comes at once and [by force] takes away the message which is sown in them.—Mark 4:14-15

If you hear or study the Word, the devil will immediately attempt to steal it from you. He does not want the Word to take root in your heart and begin to produce good fruit in your life. When you learn the truth, deception is uncovered and you are set free. Satan hates and fears the Word. He will do anything possible to prevent you from learning God’s Word.

The reason Satan works so hard to keep you from the Word is simple: He knows the Word of God is a powerful weapon against him. It assures his defeat! That is why it is imperative that you learn to wield the spiritual sword. Reading, hearing, believing, meditating on, and confessing the Word cancels Satan’s evil plan. Tonight, determine to make the Word of God a priority in your life.

From the book Ending Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Clothed in Christ

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves in Christ” (Galatians 3:27, NAS).

You may be surprised, as I was, at the result of our personal surveys having to do with church members and salvation.

Such surveys indicate that somewhere between 50 and 90% of all church members are not sure of their salvation. Like Martin Luther, John Wesley and many others who became mighty ambassadors for Christ, some spend many years “serving God” before they experience the assurance and reality of their salvation.

The pastor of a large fashionable church of 1,500 members once reacted negatively when I shared these statistics, doubting that such large percentages of church members lacked assurance of their salvation.

He decided personally to survey his own congregation at the church where he had served as senior pastor for 15 years. To his amazement and shock, more than 75% of the membership indicated they were not sure of their salvation.

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Clothed in Christ

Ray Stedman – The Need to Respond

Read: Leviticus 2

When anyone brings a grain offering to the Lord, their offering is to be of the finest flour. They are to pour olive oil on it, put incense on it and take it to Aaron’s sons the priests. Lev 2:1-2a

Now we come to the grain offering. Many versions call it the meal offering. In the King James Version it is called the meat offering because meat was the old English word for food, or meal. But there is no meat in it at all. In fact, this is the only one of the offerings that is bloodless. In all the others animals had to die but in this one no blood was shed.

It is obvious that the essence of this offering was that it was bread. It was food, the staff of life. This theme is the key to the grain offering. All through the Old Testament you find people offering meal offerings, often in the form of three loaves of bread. And in the tabernacle there was the showbread.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – The Need to Respond

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – In the Wilderness

Read: Mark 1:2-4

The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord.” (v. 3)

If Jesus’ arrival on earth is a new beginning, a new Genesis, then it makes sense that we begin in the wilderness. After humanity’s fall into sin, the wilderness became a symbol of brokenness. When God created the heavens and the earth, he began by having his Spirit hover over the primordial chaos when all was “formless and void” (Gen. 1:2). God imposed cosmos (order) on that chaos, but once sin came, chaos made a comeback. And nowhere in the Bible is this seen more clearly than in the desert wastes that often get described as being “formless and void.”

The wilderness is a reminder of all that is wrong with our world. So if God’s Christ is going to reestablish an ordered cosmos where life can flourish, then there is no better place to begin than the wilderness.

At one time or another we all find ourselves in situations where we feel trapped in some hot, dusty desert where the sun scorches and the demons howl. Death, unemployment, depression, loneliness: these are the deserts in which we find ourselves lost and wandering around. The good news, though, is that our God in Christ is still very good at entering the wilderness places to make a way for us that is straight and smooth once more. In fact, the wilderness may well be one of the more likely places where you will bump into Jesus even today.

Prayer:

When we are hot and lonely, O God, show us your face in the wilderness.

Author: Scott Hoezee

https://woh.org/

Greg Laurie – Character vs. Charisma

“The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.”—Proverbs 11:3

The stand you make today will determine what kind of stand you will make tomorrow. Character is not some mystical thing that you have no say in. You decide what principles you will live by, what road you will take.

The Bible is filled with examples of those who had character. But it is also filled with examples of those who did not. This is one of the reasons we can believe the Bible: it tells the truth without “airbrushing” the flaws and inconsistencies of the people found in its pages.

When Oliver Cromwell had his portrait painted, he said to the artist, “Paint me, warts and all!” The Bible gives us our heroes, “warts and all.”

Character isn’t just about starting the race well, but finishing it well. But sadly, many run strong at first but then slow down, quit, or are disqualified. King Saul comes to mind as an example.

Continue reading Greg Laurie – Character vs. Charisma

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Never Too Busy

“And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.” (John 9:1)

Have you ever wanted to talk to people, and found they were just too busy? Megan experienced that this past Christmas. The whole family was planning to meet at Grandma’s house for the holiday. This was the one time of the year where every uncle, aunt, and cousin got together. Megan was especially excited about it, because her older cousin Audrey was going to be there.

Megan had always looked up to Audrey. Audrey was the oldest cousin, the coolest cousin, and also the first cousin to go to college. Even though Megan was only in 6th grade, she still could hardly wait to hear all about college life.

The day finally came when Megan’s family loaded up the car and headed to Grandma’s house. Megan’s family was the first to arrive. One by one, the other families came, until finally Audrey’s family came. Megan ran out the door and into the snow without even bothering to put on her coat. As she ran up, she saw someone in the car that she did not recognize. Audrey climbed out of the car and gave Megan a big hug. “Hey, Megan! How are you doing?” Audrey said. “I want you to meet a friend of mine; his name is Derrick.”

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Knowing Our Motives

Today’s Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:7

“The Lord looks on the heart.”

Our motivation for commitment, discipline, and obedience is as important to God as our performance, perhaps even more so. As Ernest F. Kevan wrote, “The law’s demands are inward, touching motive and desire, and are not concerned solely with outward action.”

David said, “The Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought” (1 Chronicles 28:9). The apostle Paul echoed the importance of motives when he wrote that, at the Lord’s coming, he “will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart” (1 Corinthians 4:5).

To be acceptable to God, our motives must spring from a love for him and a desire to glorify him. Obedience performed from a legalistic motive—from fear of consequences or to gain favor with God—is not pleasing to him. Abraham Booth (1734?806), an English pastor and author, wrote, “To constitute a work truly good, it must be done from a right principle, performed by a right rule, and intended for a right end.” Booth defined a right principle as our love for God. He defined the right rule as God’s revealed will in Scripture. The right end—the right goal—is the glory of God.

Our good works are not truly good unless they’re motivated by a love for God and a desire to glorify him. But we cannot have such a Godward motivation if we think we must earn God’s favor by our obedience or if we fear we may forfeit his favor by disobedience. Such a works-oriented motivation is essentially self-serving, prompted more by what we think we gain or lose than by a grateful response to the grace he has already given us through Jesus Christ.

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Under God’s Gracious Hand

Today’s Scripture: Ezra 7-8

In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered. – 2 Chronicles 31:21

Have you ever looked at someone who was being used by God in a special way and wondered why the Lord seems to have His hand on that man or woman? Why is God using that person and not someone else? What is the secret of their spiritual success?

Ezra 7:9 says of Ezra, “The gracious hand of his God was upon him.” And the reason is found in the next verse: “For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.”

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Under God’s Gracious Hand

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST

Read Romans 4:13-25

Like many people in the 1990s, Chris Robinson loved Beanie Babies. He thought the small plush toys would increase in value, and he began devoting all his spare time—and money—to amassing a collection. He figured eventually he could sell them to pay college tuition. But after spending over $100,000 on some 15,000 Beanie Babies, the market for the toys plummeted, leaving Robinson with a whole lot of stuffed animals and debt.

Trying to invest money can be a wise decision, but the investment must be trustworthy. The object of our trust is important: faith in a worthless cure or risky business or unreliable person will do us no good. This is even more true in our spiritual lives. Merely having faith will not save us. Our faith must be placed in Jesus Christ.

As our text today makes clear, the object of faith was always supposed o be God, the Giver of the Law, not the Law itself. Only God can keep His promises. Only God could fulfill His word to Abraham to make him a father of many nations (v. 18).

Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST