Charles Stanley – How to Serve the Church

1 Corinthians 12:18-26

When I talk about Christians serving the church with their God-given talents and gifts, people oftentimes think too small, perhaps picturing the choir singer or the Sunday school teacher. But if they themselves aren’t naturally adept at singing or teaching, they give up.

It’s time that we stop thinking in terms of a “Sunday only” establishment. The church is not simply a place or a time; it is a body of believers, each one uniquely gifted by God to guide, help, challenge, and support the rest. In fact, most service to the Lord doesn’t take place inside the church building. It happens out in the world, where we do all the things that Scripture commands.

The majority of believers aren’t in a position to influence a lot of people. When we act or speak, only those closest to us notice, but a chain reaction ripples outward to affect an entire community. Paul’s metaphor of body parts working together harmoniously is a helpful description of how one small action can have a widespread impact. Consider the way tensing your toes will keep your foot stable and thereby steady your whole body. In the same way, a gentle rebuke, a listening ear, or a loving deed benefits the church by strengthening one brother or sister, who then supports another.

We are on this earth to serve the kingdom of God and His church. And we do that by ministering to each other in small ways that steady the whole body as we give extra support to one member. In talking about such service, I challenge you to find a need that God can meet through you.

Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 13-15

 

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Our Daily Bread — Prayer Marathon

`Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-28

Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 19-20; Luke 23:1-25

Pray continually. —1 Thessalonians 5:17

Do you struggle to maintain a consistent prayer life? Many of us do. We know that prayer is important, but it can also be downright difficult. We have moments of deep communion with God and then we have times when it feels like we’re just going through the motions. Why do we struggle so in our prayers?

The life of faith is a marathon. The ups, the downs, and the plateaus in our prayer life are a reflection of this race. And just as in a marathon we need to keep running, so we keep praying. The point is: Don’t give up!

That is God’s encouragement too. The apostle Paul said, “pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:17), “keep on praying” (Rom. 12:12 nlt), and “devote yourselves to prayer” (Col. 4:2). All of these statements carry the idea of remaining steadfast and continuing in the work of prayer.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Can You Believe This?

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

I shared these words of Jesus with the father of my oldest friend.(1) Chris’s father, Joe, was suffering from a brain tumor, and the doctors had given him only weeks left to live.

When I walked in to see Joe, I didn’t know if he would want to talk about his approaching death. Joe had always been strong and capable. He had a voice so deep that no matter what he was speaking about, it resounded with confidence and authority, leaving little room for vulnerability.

But as soon as Joe saw me he said, “Hey Vince. Good, I’m glad you’re here. I told Chris I wanted to talk to you.” Joe went on to tell me that although he had always been confident that God exists in some way, he was finding himself increasingly scared about what comes next.

As we spoke, what became clear to me was that Joe’s understanding of the central message of Christianity was that you should try to do more good than bad in your life, and then just hope that in the end your good deeds will outweigh your bad deeds. If they do, something wonderful awaits. But if they don’t, you’re in trouble. And as Joe reflected back over his life, he recognized that if that was the case, then he had reason to fear.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Trials’ Lessons: Humility

“To keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me” (2 Corinthians 12:7).

God sometimes uses trials to humble believers.

Professional athletics, as a whole, makes up one of the least humble sectors in modern American society. Players with multi-million dollar salaries and extravagant benefits have replaced those who played because they loved their sport and had great community loyalty.

One such noble model from the past was Lou Gehrig, the Hall of Fame first baseman with the New York Yankees, whose career ended in 1939 after he was stricken with a rare and always fatal neuromuscular disease. Throughout his ordeal, Gehrig conducted himself with dignity and humility, all of which culminated on July 4, 1939, before a capacity crowd at Yankee Stadium, with millions more listening on the radio. He concluded his special remarks on “Lou Gehrig Day” with this amazing statement: “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” He died approximately two years later.

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Wisdom Hunters – Witnesses or Stargazers? 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:8-10

As we encounter the ascension of Jesus, we reach the fulfillment of his earthly mission. However, so often this portion of the life and ministry of Jesus is overlooked, relegated to the footnotes section of history or viewed as a simple way to wrap the story up. Yet nothing could be further from the truth!

For us to understand the mission of the church and God’s ongoing work in the world, we have to see the crucial importance of the ascension of Jesus Christ.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Witnesses or Stargazers? 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Holy Matrimony

The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses; and Aaron was set apart, he and his sons forever, that he should sanctify the most holy things, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister to Him, and to give the blessing in His name forever.

1 Chronicles 23:13

Recommended Reading

1 Peter 1:13-16

It’s Saturday and you’re going to paint the bedroom. You choose your oldest pair of shorts, most faded T-shirt, and rattiest sneakers and dedicate them to painting; you set them apart forever, never to be nice clothes again. In biblical terms, you have made those clothes holy.

Continue reading Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Holy Matrimony

Joyce Meyer – Live One Day at a Time

So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble. —Matthew 6:34

Most of us have enough to handle today without worrying about tomorrow. God will give you grace for today, but He will not give you grace for tomorrow until tomorrow arrives.

So often people worry about something that never happens. When you begin to think about the “what ifs,” the door opens for fear and worry. Some people worry so much that their worries become fear, and often the things people fear manifest in their life.

Do not allow yourself to dread tomorrow. Just know that God is faithful. It is comforting to know that whatever tomorrow may hold, He holds tomorrow. His grace is sufficient to meet the need. Do not waste today’s grace by worrying about tomorrow. Live one day at a time and you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish for Christ.

From the book Ending Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer.

 

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Girlfriends in God – You’re Sitting on a Great Inheritance

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Ephesians 1:3

Friend to Friend

Unless you are a baseball fan, married to one, or mom to one, you probably haven’t heard of Matthew Joseph White. He signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1998, the Boston Red Sox in 2002, and the Colorado Rockies in 2003. But it is not his baseball career that captured my attention.

In 2003, Matt had an aunt who needed to go into a nursing home. She didn’t have the funds to make the move, but she did have a piece of land in his home state of Massachusetts. So Matt agreed to pay her $50,000 for the 45 acres of mountain real estate, which gave her enough to enter the nursing home and get the care she needed. (I love him already!)

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Be Fearless

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1).

The psalmist David did not choose words carelessly – but under divine inspiration – when he spoke of lightand salvation.

Of all the memorials in Westminster Abbey, not one has a nobler thought inscribed on it than the monument to Lord Lawrence – simply his name, with the date of his death, and these words:

“He feared man so little because he feared God so much.”

Charles H. Spurgeon gives some helpful insights into Psalm 27:1.

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Ray Stedman – Cut to the Heart

Read: Acts 2:32-37

Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, Brothers, what shall we do? Acts 2:36, 37

As Peter preaches the Gospel at Pentecost, he proclaims the authority of the Lord Jesus based on his resurrection from the dead. Suddenly all this made perfect sense to this multitude. The full force of Peter’s arguments thudded home, and they realized that they were in a very precarious position. This One whom he had proven, by indisputable evidence, to be Lord, was the One they had crucified 50 days earlier.

Can you imagine how they felt? It would be very much as if you went down to apply for a job, and on the way you got into an automobile accident. And when the other driver got out, you started beating and cursing and kicking him in anger. Then you got into your car and drove off, and went on to apply for the job. When you were all cleaned up and ready, you were ushered into the presence of the man whom you had just beaten and cursed out in the street. That is what these people felt. No wonder they were cut to the heart and cried out, Brothers, what shall we do?

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Kindness of God

Read: Ephesians 4:25-32

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted. (v. 32)

“Be kinder than necessary, because everyone is fighting some kind of battle.” It’s debated who originally offered this advice, but it’s good advice, because everyone has issues to face. Acquaintances mask their problems well, and we know nothing about the hurts or fears of strangers. Even good friends may hide their deepest pain.

Ever have someone pass you on the road, wildly blowing their horn, when you’re already going the speed limit? It’s aggravating. How rude, we think. But we have no idea what that driver’s day looks like. A phone call from a family member about a tragic event or being told, “You’re fired” may be causing the erratic behavior. Or, maybe it’s just rudeness!

Try this: instead of making an assumption about a person’s motives, pray for the person acting out. We only see negative outward actions and not the heart. We need to show grace to other people instead of judging them, especially when we don’t even know them. It takes much prayer for patience and self-control to be kind. Yet if you respond to people in a positive way when they are inconsiderate, it may make them reconsider their actions. After all, wasn’t it God’s kindness that led us to repentance (Rom. 2:4)?

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Presidential Prayer Team; A.W. – You Decide

Have you ever wondered how many decisions you make per day? Researchers estimate that a person makes approximately 35,000 choices each day – both big and small. Life is full of choices, and while some don’t make a huge difference, many can greatly alter the course of your future as well as that of others. The ability to choose is a great power given by your Creator. Each choice has consequences…and sometimes rewards.

I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life.

Deuteronomy 30:19

In today’s verse, Moses offers the Israelites a choice given by God. He promised that if they obeyed Him, He would bless and prosper them while defeating their enemies. However, if they turned away from Him and worshiped other gods, they would be cursed and perish.

God offers the same choice today to His followers. Pray that the citizens of the country and its leaders will return to the Lord and choose life – so that He may once again pour His blessings out upon the nation.

Recommended Reading: Deuteronomy 28:1-7, 15-20

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Greg Laurie – Simple Obedience

“Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.” —Acts 9:15

Prior to his conversion, Saul was a leading Pharisee and possibly even a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin. He presided over the death of Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian church. After his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road resulted in his conversion, the Christians of Saul’s day were initially suspicious of his conversion, and understandably so.

When God directed a believer in Damascus named Ananias to seek out Saul and pray for him, Ananias was reluctant, of course. But Ananias did what God told him to do. He found Saul in the place where God said he would be. He prayed that the Lord would restore Saul’s sight (he had been blinded by the light as Jesus spoke to him on the Damascus Road), which the Lord did.

It is interesting that when God wanted to use someone to minister to Saul, He didn’t call an apostle like Peter or John. He called an ordinary man. Ananias didn’t write any book of the New Testament, raise a dead person back to life, or give a notable sermon that we know of. But he did, by faith, take a man under his wing who would do all of the above and far more. Ananias discipled the newly converted Saul who, in time, became the legendary apostle Paul and probably the greatest preacher in the history of the church.

Thank God for the Ananiases of the kingdom, those who faithfully work behind the scenes to make such a difference in our lives. They may be

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Gives Direction

“And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.” (Luke 22:8-13)

If you look at verse 8 above, you see that Jesus asked Peter and John to go prepare a place where they could celebrate the Passover feast. This was the last meal Jesus would share with his twelve disciples, and it needed to be very special. He did not want a crowded place, but somewhere perfect for the occasion. On top of that, it was the day of the feast itself! Have you ever gone out to eat on an Easter Sunday or on Thanksgiving Day, only to find all the restaurant lobbies filled with people waiting to be seated?

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Only Two Options

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 119:104

“Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.”

In Romans 12:1, Paul made a strong appeal for us to commit ourselves to live holy lives pleasing to God. In the following verse, he begins telling us how to carry this out: “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

Paul established a contrast between conforming (or being conformed) to the pattern of this world and being transformed by the renewal of one’s mind. He assumed only two alternatives. Our convictions and values will come either from society around us (the world), or as our minds are renewed by the Word of God. There is no third option.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Only Two Options

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Imperishable Word

Today’s Scripture: Jeremiah 21-25

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. – Colossians 2:8-9

When I was growing up on the farm, we ran grain through a threshing machine. I can remember watching the wind carry the chaff away, and no one cared. Why? Because chaff is worthless.

God says that human opinion is like chaff, while His Word is like grain. The Lord said this because there were false prophets who claimed to have a message from God. In reality, what they spoke was nothing more than their own foolish dreams.

Sounds like today, doesn’t it? People speaking visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. In Jeremiah 23:28, we find these words from God: “‘Let the prophet who Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Imperishable Word

BreakPoint –  How to Pray for Our Nation: Today and Every Day

Let’s face it, as Thomas Paine once said, these are the times that try men’s souls. America is in crisis, from within and without. We face new threats of terrorism on our shores, millions of angry and disenfranchised citizens, a reduction in moral standards, a contentious and unpredictable election, and a secular elite intent on restricting foundational principles such as religious liberty and freedom of speech.

As my colleague and friend John Stonestreet says, “If there’s ever been a time to drop to our knees and pray for our nation, this is it.” Indeed.

And we’ll be in good company. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE CHURCH MUST DECLARE THE WISDOM OF GOD

Read 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

A typical first-century Greek or Roman person regarded the gospel with contempt. Commentator Leon Morris described an ancient picture of an early Christian standing before a crucified man who was represented with a human body but a donkey’s head. The inscription read, “Alexamenos worships his god.”

The message of the Cross is nonsense to unbelievers, both in the days of the Corinthians and now. Thankfully, we know the wisdom of God transcends human wisdom (see Prov. 9:10). We cannot grasp Him on our own any more than we can save ourselves from sin. He has revealed Himself most perfectly in His Son, who has accomplished our redemption. This is the good news that is the church’s mission and privilege to declare! But even when we faithfully declare it, we shouldn’t expect success by human means or standards. Gospel wisdom, as Paul wrote here, is qualitatively different.

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Denison Forum – A TALE OF TWO HOLIDAYS

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday that commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 defeat of France at the Battle of Puebla. This victory, where a rag-tag force of 2,000 overcame 6,000 well-trained French troops, bolstered the Mexican people in their resistance against the French. Six years later, French forces withdrew. Cinco de Mayo remains a symbol of the Mexican people’s struggle against imperialistic forces.

Celebrations will be held in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and other cities with large Mexican-American populations. Today’s festivities will include parades, mariachi music performances, and street festivals.

Contrast today in Mexico and the U.S. with May 5 in Israel. Holocaust Memorial Day, known as Yom HaShoah, begins each year with sundown on May 4 and concludes at sundown on May 5. I have been in Israel on this day several times over the years. It is always one of the most solemn experiences of my year (For more on Tom HaShoah, see Nick Pitt’s article Why it’s so important to take time out to remember the Holocaust).

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