Charles Stanley – Feasting on the Word

 

Deuteronomy 8:1-6

The Bible should be the main course in our literary diet. If we spent as much time in the Word as we do at the dinner table, our spirit and character would be strong and thriving. And no matter what our circumstances happened to be, we would experience an inner joy. The satisfaction that comes from living an obedient life is not possible apart from Scripture.

It is in God’s Word that we find out how He thinks and what He does. In those pages, we also discover the guiding principles for a successful life. After all, how can we trust our heavenly Father unless we know Him? And how can we become like Jesus unless we practice the habits He displays in Scripture?

Proverbs 4:25-27 says, “Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you … Do not turn to the right nor to the left.” What this means in practical terms is that every time we must make a decision, we’re to sift it through what we know of the Lord from Scripture. When we face a crisis, we dig into the Bible to answer the question, What would the Lord have me do? We do not live by reason, the opinion of others, or our own wisdom. Rather, we conform our mind, heart, and will to the biblical standard.

Bread will keep the stomach full, but life will be empty without a daily meal that includes reading and meditation. Learn to recognize spiritual hunger pains, such as vague discontent or animosity toward the things of God—and quickly begin to feast on the Word.

Bible in One Year: Acts 25-26

 

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Our Daily Bread — Sacrificial Faith

Read: Acts 6:8–15; 7:59–60

Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 14–15; James 2

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.—Matthew 5:10

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m sitting in the garden of our home, which is near the church where my husband is the minister. I hear wafts of praise and worship music floating through the air in the Farsi language. Our church in London hosts a vibrant Iranian congregation, and we feel humbled by their passion for Christ as they share some of their stories of persecution and tell of those, such as the senior pastor’s brother, who have been martyred for their faith. These faithful believers are following in the footsteps of the first Christian martyr, Stephen.

Stephen, one of the first appointed leaders in the early church, garnered attention in Jerusalem when he performed “great wonders and signs” (Acts 6:8) and was brought before the Jewish authorities to defend his actions. He gave an impassioned defense of the faith before describing the hard-heartedness of his accusers. But instead of repenting, they were “furious and gnashed their teeth at him” (7:54). They dragged him from the city and stoned him to death—even as he prayed for their forgiveness.

The stories of Stephen and modern martyrs remind us that the message of Christ can be met with brutality. If we have never faced persecution for our faith, let’s pray for the persecuted church around the world. And may we, if and when tested, find grace to be found faithful to the One who suffered so much more for us. —Our Daily Bread

Lord God, we believe You weep at the pain and anguish some of Your children experience because they love You. We pray that You will strengthen them in the midst of their suffering and send them Your grace.

May we find grace to walk in the Master’s steps.

INSIGHT: The name Stephen comes from the Greek word stephanos, which refers to a victor’s crown awarded in the ancient games. Stephen’s final words show how victorious he was. Acts 7:60 reads, “Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’” Even in the midst of a painful and unjust death, Stephen displayed a spirit of victory that reflected Jesus’s heart when dying on the cross (Luke 23:34). He also had a proven character. In Acts 6, when Stephen is selected to assist with the widows’ ministry, he is described as “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). Stephen lived a life of faith under the control of the Spirit. Bill Crowder

 

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Acting Responsibly

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).

Every believer is responsible to walk wisely.

I believe the moment an individual becomes saved, God deposits enough wisdom in him to make him absolutely responsible for his behavior. Someone may say, “Wait a minute! How can a brand-new believer walk in wisdom? Doesn’t he grow into that? Haven’t wise Christians been saved for many years?”

Such questions miss the point of Ephesians 5:15. The first word in this verse takes us back to Paul’s invitation to become saved in verse 14: “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” In other words, Paul is saying, “Because you are saved, you are to walk in wisdom.” When you received Christ, you simultaneously received wisdom and therefore are responsible to walk wisely. First Corinthians 1:30 says, “By [God’s] doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” At the moment of salvation you are made wise, righteous, and sanctified. You don’t get redeemed first and receive those things later. Colossians 2:3 says, “In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” You are in Christ, and all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Him; consequently, “in Him you have been made complete” (v. 10).

If you’re redeemed, you have wisdom. You don’t have to wait till you’ve been saved five, ten, or forty years. You’re no longer a fool— you’re wise. And on that basis Paul says, “Walk as wise. Live according to the wisdom that you possess.”

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for blessing you with His great salvation so that you can walk wisely.

For Further Study

Read Ephesians 1:7-8.

  • What did you receive at the moment of your salvation (v. 7)?
  • In what two ways were the riches of God’s grace lavished on you (v. 8)?
  • According to Titus 2:11-12, what does God’s grace teach you?

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Heavenly Heroes 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.    Hebrews 12:1

Dead heroes inspire you to live life to its fullest. Those who have endured hardship and were treated unfairly inspire us through our current tests and temporary trials. Most of us have not suffered to death because of our faith in Christ. But some have. Others have been down the road that denies earthly wealth, only to receive heaven’s riches. Heroes of the faith knew a better way. Theirs was the way of faith in God and obedience to His expectations. No temptation of the world was strong enough to pull them away from the moorings of their walk with God. With some, even on their deathbeds, there was an uncharacteristic unselfishness and generosity.

Heavenly heroes do not languish without hope on the eve of their home going. Instead, they are busy bestowing blessings on those who will be left behind. These heroes of the faith have an eye on heaven in worship, while they quietly wind down for the conclusion of their earthly assignment. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). Look for heavenly heroes who may have lived within your lineage. You may be surprised to discover the faith of former generations was robust and lively. Or, you may need to adopt one of heaven’s saints who can represent one of God’s finest heroes. Let them motivate you to live a life worthy of God’s calling. Let their past faithfulness propel you to do the same in the present.

We all need heroes who have overcome adversity by faith in God, and who knew how to enjoy Him whether in times of difficulty or times of peace. Your heavenly hero may be a godly grandparent who walked faithfully with the Lord and is now peering down from heaven’s portal. You watched your grandmother and/or grandfather persevere through adverse conditions. They kept a relationship with God that flourished and grew, up to the very end of their life on earth. Money was not an issue for them because they learned to be content with home, food, and clothing. Relationships are what mattered the most to them. They always seemed to have time for you. Phone conversations did not seemed rushed and their door was always open. In their presence there was a serenity and stability that had heaven as its origin. You experienced a little bit of heaven each time they graced your presence.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Heavenly Heroes 

Joyce Meyer – Alone with God

After He had dismissed the multitudes, He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was still there alone.—Matthew 14:23

Spending time alone with God in a quiet place is vital to me and I believe it is also vital for you. I have an office in my home where I go each morning to meet with God before I begin my day. In addition to that, about four times a year I like to get away for a few days and be alone. I enjoy and need the extended time of quiet and focusing on God.

Most people take vacations yearly and plan some type of entertainment each week. We want to have fun and relaxation, and there is nothing wrong with that. We need it in order to maintain balanced, healthy lives and emotions. But we actually need the spiritual vacations even more and they should be the first thing we put on the yearly calendar or our weekly schedules.

Just imagine how it would honor God if you booked your time with Him before booking anything else. I conduct conferences in the United States and abroad and I am always impressed by the number of people who travel and take vacation time to be at one of these conferences. I always compliment them and I know that God is proud of their choices. They will grow spiritually because they are sacrificing something in order to spend time with God.

Don’t wait until some difficulty or tragedy demands that you spend time with God in order to find answers to your situation. Seek God first and regularly, and then you will already be strong spiritually and enabled to deal with anything that comes. If Jesus needed to be alone with God the Father, then we certainly need it.

God’s word for you today: Get your calendar out right now and schedule some special time with God.

From the book Hearing from God Each Morning: 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – God Uses Sorrow for Good

“For God sometimes uses sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek eternal life. We should never regret his sending it. But the sorrow of the man who is not a Christian is not the sorrow of true repentance and does not prevent eternal death.” (II Corinthians 7:10).

Frank often referred to himself proudly as a self-made man. He bragged that in his youth he had been so poor he didn’t have two nickels to rub together. Now his real estate holdings and various business enterprises were worth tens of millions of dollars. He was a pillar in the community, able to give generously to civic and philanthropic causes.  His philosophy was that there was no God, and every man had to make it on his own. He laughed at the weaklings who needed the crutch of church.

Then his world began to fall apart. His only son was sent to prison for pushing drugs. His daughter had an automobile accident that left her partially paralyzed for life; and his wife, whom he had largely ignored for years, announced she was in love with someone else and demanded a divorce. Meanwhile, because he had become lax in his business dealings, one of his partners embezzled several million dollars from him.

By this time, he was devastated, and, therefore, was open to spiritual counsel. After the Holy Spirit showed him his spirit of pride and selfishness, he opened his heart to Christ and the miracle took place. Now, he frequently quotes this passage: “God sometimes uses sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek eternal life.”

Though his son is still in prison, and his daughter still paralyzed, he and his wife are reconciling, and his heart is filled with joy and thanksgiving to God. He is no longer a proud, “successful” businessman, but a humble child of God, a servant who discovered the hard way that everyone needs God.

For every Frank there are hundreds of others experiencing heartache and tragedy who have not repented. Yet, God offers to all men and women the priceless gift of abundant and supernatural life.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 28:12-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I shall seek to live the full, abundant, supernatural life, walking in faith and obedience, so that God will not find it necessary to discipline me in order to bless me.

 

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Ray Stedman – Conviction Based on God’s Word

Read: Romans 14:19-23

So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. Romans 14:22

This verse is not saying you are to keep quiet about your liberties, that you do not say anything to anybody, that you keep it between yourself and God. What Paul is saying is, if you have faith, have it between yourself and God. Let God’s Word be the basis for your faith, and nothing else. Be sure that what you are doing is not because of pride on your part, because you want to show off how free you are — you are doing this because God has freed you by his Word. If you have really based it on that, then your action will be one in which your conscience is free. You will not feel guilty and troubled as to whether you are acting beyond what the Word of God really says. You will be happy, free, blessed. But, if you do not, if you really have not settled this based on Scripture, but are acting only because you want to indulge yourself; if you like this thing but you still feel a bit troubled by it; if you act then, you are going to be condemned by your conscience. And if you are condemned by your conscience, you will feel guilty. And if you act because you feel guilty, you are not acting out of faith, and, therefore, you are sinning. This is Paul’s argument.

Without faith, Hebrews says, it is impossible to please God, (Hebrews 11:6a). Faith means believing what God has said. You must base your actions in Christian liberty on what the Word of God declares — not about any specific thing, but the great principle of freedom which is set forth. Now, if you understand that, fine, Paul says. But be sure that you yourself are acting not out of pride, not out of mere self-indulgence, but out of a deep conviction that rests upon the Word and revelation of God.

To sum up, what Paul has said to us is: Do not deliberately stumble or shock your brother or sister. Do not deliberately do things that will offend them, or even make them feel uncomfortable. Think about them, not yourself. Second: Give up your right when it threatens the peace or hinders the growth of another individual. Be alert to judge in that area. Third: Never act from doubt. Act only from conviction, by the Word, and by the Spirit of God. If these problems are all settled on that basis, you will be moving gradually toward the great liberty that we have as children of God.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – Conviction Based on God’s Word

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Power, and a Plan

Read: Acts 1:8

You will be my witnesses. (v. 8)

The job the Lord gave his disciples was huge–to reach the whole world with the gospel. But he didn’t expect them to do it on their own. Jesus promised a resource more than adequate for the work: the power of the Holy Spirit.

Then he added that they would be his witnesses “in Jerusalem . . . Judea . . . Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (v. 8 NIV). In one sense, this is a simple historical description of how the gospel spread throughout the world. It is effectively the table of contents of the book of Acts.

But it is also possible to read this as a plan for us to follow. Witness begins with local outreach; proceeds to those nearby, including people from different cultures; and doesn’t stop until “the ends of the earth.”

Past generations made that last step a priority, and were willing to pay the price it took to do it–not just the cost in dollars, but in prayer, hard work, and sacrifice. The ends of the earth are filled with missionary graves. Samuel Zwemer, the great Reformed Church missionary to the Muslim world, took his young family to the Middle East in the 1890s. Within a few years, Zwemer lost two young daughters to illness. What did he think then of his decision to go to that hard place with the gospel? A clue is given in the phrase from Revelation he in-scribed on their graves: “Worthy is the Lamb to receive riches.”

—David Bast

Prayer:

Pray for a missionary today.

 

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Available

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)

Imagine that you are in London, England. You are visiting Buckingham Palace. Inside the palace, you see a beautiful painting of a sunrise over the London Bridge. You think it is the most beautiful painting of a sunrise that you have ever seen! You learn from the tour guide that the Queen of England herself painted that picture when she was still just a young princess.

You say to yourself, “Wow! I’d sure like to tell her how much I like her painting!” And the next thing you know, a guard with a really tall furry black hat is escorting you through the palace halls and right up to the Queen, sitting on her royal throne. There you are, standing astonished before the Queen of England herself! What a privilege! What an honor!

Can you imagine how amazing that would be? Unfortunately, that probably wouldn’t happen. And even if you were to go home and write a letter to the Queen to tell her how much you liked her painting of the sunrise, the letter would probably be opened by a secretary or an assistant. The Queen might never even see your letter, and she might not ever take the time to meet you or hear what you have to say to her. She is just too busy and too important.

Three-year-old Erika and her baby sister were going to the bakery with their mother. Erika pointed out the van window and said, “Mommy, look at the beautiful sky!” And there was a beautiful sunrise painted across the whole sky.

“You know, honey, God made that sunrise!” said her mother.

The little girl leaned her forehead against the window and said wistfully, “I wish I could tell Him ‘thank you.’”

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Available

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Say No

Today’s Scripture: Titus 2:11-12

“The grace of God has appeared . . . training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions.”

Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness. Ungodliness in its broadest form basically comprises disregarding God, ignoring him, or not taking him into account in one’s life. It’s a lack of fear and reverence for him. The wickedness portrayed by Paul in Romans 1:18-32 all starts with the idea that “although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him” (verse 21, NIV). A person may be highly moral and even benevolent and still be ungodly.

When we trust in Christ as our savior, we bring a habit of ungodliness into our Christian lives. We were accustomed to living without regard for God. As unbelievers, we cared neither for his glory nor his will. Basically, we ignored him. But now that we have been delivered from the dominion of sin and brought under the reign of grace, grace teaches us to renounce this attitude (as well as actions) of ungodliness. Obviously this training does not occur all at once. In fact, God will be rooting out ungodliness from our lives as long as we live on this earth.

Grace also teaches us to say no to worldly passions, the inordinate desire for and preoccupation with the things of this life, such as possessions, prestige, pleasure, or power. “For this world in its present form is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:31, NIV).

Saying no to ungodliness and worldly passions basically means a decisive break with those attitudes and practices. In one sense, this decisive break is a divine act that occurred when we died to the dominion of sin in our lives. In another sense, we’re to work out this breach with sin by putting to death the misdeeds of the body (Romans 8:13).

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Lord of All

Today’s Scripture: Genesis 1-2

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

The Bible begins with a mystery: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” What’s so mysterious about that, you say? Did you know the Hebrew word for God in this passage is plural? All three persons of the Trinity were involved in the creation of the world.

The Bible says the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters and God the Father created all things by Jesus Christ. “For by him”–that is, by Jesus Christ–“all things were created” (Colossians 1:16). That means all things spiritual and physical, including your spiritual and physical life, came through Jesus Christ. Is it any wonder that God’s Word reminds us that in all things His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, must be preeminent in our lives. Just as He was Lord at creation, so He is Lord today.

Does Jesus Christ have priority in every area of your life? What about your appointment calendar? How are you spending your time? Is Jesus Christ squeezed out of your schedule because you’re too busy?

Christ is present in all Christians. In some, He is prominent. In only a few is He preeminent. Why not make sure the Lord Jesus Christ dwells supreme in the throne room of your heart.

Prayer

Lord, speak to me about the priorities of my day. Give me the power and wisdom to glorify You in my life today. Amen.

To Ponder

Our seemingly small troubles have eternal value with God, and He is lovingly fitting all things together for our good.

 

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – FAITH, CONTENTMENT, AND SPIRITUAL ROOTEDNESS

Read JEREMIAH 17:7–10

A forest of quaking aspens in Utah is known by the name Pando, meaning, “I spread.” It’s also called “the Trembling Giant.” This is because all the trees in this 106-acre forest are genetically identical and are believed to have a single, combined root system. In essence, this forest is a single tree with 40,000 trunks, each of which appears to be a separate tree from an aboveground perspective

Being firmly rooted is a spiritual necessity. In light of yesterday’s devotional, how can we put down roots that are not deceived by wealth or stressed out by worry over temporal needs? How can we cultivate roots that will help the Word grow and bear fruit in our lives? We want to be “rooted and built up” in Christ (Col. 2:6–7)!

Today’s reading pictures such a person as a “tree planted by the water” (v. 8). The roots take in the life-giving water, and therefore the tree remains green and fruitful even in extreme heat or drought conditions (cf. Ps. 1:3). This person is indeed “blessed,” meaning happy or content.

One key to rootedness is faith. The person who is like this green, well- rooted tree is “one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him” (v. 7). The sins of worry and anxiety fall short in precisely this area. Worry takes over when we do not truly believe that God can or will provide. That sort of person, one who turns away from God to trust in “mere flesh,” is “like a bush in the wastelands” (vv. 5–6).

Another key to rootedness is the heart. Unfortunately, our hearts are “deceitful” and “beyond cure” by any human means (v. 9). Only God, who made our hearts, can comprehend and heal them. Only He can plant us by streams of water and make us fruitful.

APPLY THE WORD

John 15:1–17 is an excellent related passage to read and meditate on today. Just as the fruitful tree is positioned near the stream, so also must we as branches “abide” or “remain” in Jesus Christ the Vine. These words indicate a close relationship in which we’re dependent on Him. As He taught: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

 

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Charles Stanley – Living in Grace

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Before the apostle Paul’s conversion, if someone had suggested that he would impact the world for Jesus, he’d probably have laughed. In fact, his original goal was to rid the world of Christians (Acts 22:19-20).

God’s grace can impact anyone; no sin is beyond the reach of His forgiveness. This amazing gift of redemption changes lives. Contrary to what many think, being a Christian does not mean adding good deeds to one’s life. Instead, by God’s grace, believers receive forgiveness and a completely new nature. Our inward transformation results in obvious outward changes.

The butterfly’s metamorphosis can serve as an illustration to help us understand this. Once it’s in a chrysalis, a caterpillar doesn’t merely act or appear different from the outside; it truly has changed inwardly as well.

Transformation for believers occurs in many areas. For example, our attitudes change—salvation by God’s grace results in humility and gratitude. Out of thankfulness for this undeserved free gift, compassion for the lost flows, along with a desire to share the gospel with them. Experiencing Christ’s forgiveness also results in a longing to serve Him. This does not need to be in a formal church setting; we serve Him by loving others, helping those in need, and telling them about salvation.

While there are still natural consequences for our sin, God offers us forgiveness and redemption through Jesus. He made a way to restore our broken relationship with Him. What’s more, our Father transforms our lives so we will become more like His Son and reflect His heart to others.

Bible in One Year: Acts 23-24

 

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Our Daily Bread — Skywatcher

Read: Isaiah 40:21–31

Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 11–13; James 1

He . . . brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name.—Isaiah 40:26

Unsettled by issues at work and at home, Matt decided to take a walk. The evening spring air beckoned. As the infinite sky deepened from blue to black, a thickening fog spilled slowly over the marsh. Stars began to glimmer, heralding the full moon rising in the east. The moment, for Matt, was deeply spiritual. He’s there, he thought. God is there, and He’s got this.

Some people look at the night sky and see nothing but nature. Others see a god as distant and cold as Jupiter. But the same God who “sits enthroned above the circle of the earth” also “brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name” (Isa. 40:22, 26). He knows His creation intimately.

It is this personal God who asked His people, “Why do you say, Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God’?” Aching for them, God reminded them of the wisdom in seeking Him. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? . . . He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (vv. 27-29).

We are easily tempted to forget God. Our problems won’t disappear with an evening stroll, but we can find rest and certainty that God is always working toward His good purposes. “I’m here,” He says. “I’ve got you.” —Tim Gustafson

Thank You, Lord, for a night sky that helps us glimpse eternity. We can’t begin to understand it fully, but we know it is there, and we know You are there. Help us trust You for what we don’t know.

We should give God the same place in our hearts that He holds in the universe.

INSIGHT: Isaiah’s reflections on the greatness of God are as powerful today as when penned centuries ago. Isaiah encourages the hearts of true believers to see the greatness of God in creation and how false, vain, and temporal substitute gods are. We are left with a wonderful awareness of our Creator’s nearness as well as His sustaining power to uphold us in trying circumstances. Dennis Fisher

 

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Being Different from the World

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men,  but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).

Living wisely will set you apart from the world.

Walking in wisdom is an element of the worthy walk that Paul has been describing since the beginning of Ephesians 4. He says in verse 1, “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” and then proceeds to describe this worthy walk with the following characteristics: It’s a humble walk (4:1-3), a united walk (4:4-16), a unique walk (4:17-32), a loving walk (5:1-7), an illuminated walk (5:8-14), and a wise walk (5:15-17). The point that Paul is making in describing the various elements of the worthy walk is that Christians are different from the world. The world can’t be humble because everyone is fighting for his rights. The world can’t be united because it celebrates and exalts differences. The world can’t be unique because it’s trapped in its own self-destruction. The world can’t love because it doesn’t have the life of God—the source of real love. The world can’t know light because it lies in the system of darkness. And the world can’t be wise because the wisdom of God is hidden from the mind of man. As Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:7, “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Realize that being different from the world is an asset to your Christian witness, not a hindrance. When others see you obeying Scripture—when they see you walking in wisdom—they’ll notice you’re not like them. That difference can create opportunities to tell them about your Savior. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Keep walking in wisdom, and let others be attracted to the light of Christ!

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you be a witness whose testimony shines brightly for Christ.

For Further Study

How does 1 Peter 2:12 say you are to live? Why?

 

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Wisdom Hunters – God’s Payment Plan 

For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:30-31

Someone may be in debt to you. They may owe you money, a reputation, an apology, a job, or a childhood. But God is asking you to let go and let Him. Let Him handle this. He has a payment plan for those who are in debt to his children. It may mean He wipes their slate clean with minimal repercussions. It may mean their stiff neck forces God to bring them to the end of themselves through trials and tribulations. Or, it may mean that what awaits them is an eternity of reaping in hell what has been sown on earth. But God’s position is one of judge and jury. You do not have to carry this burden or responsibility. Your role is to forgive and to trust God with the proper judgment and consequence.

Life gets complicated and draining when we take on the responsibility of making sure a person gets what he deserves. This is arrogant and unwise on our part. How can we know what others deserve for their injustices, neglect, and self-absorption? Our role is not to play God, but to serve God. Playing God provides never-ending disappointment. We were not made for that role. Only the Almighty can fill those shoes. And He does have it under control. There is no indiscretion or blatant injustice that is off His radar screen. He picks up on every “little” sin.

So, rest in the assurance of knowing God will pay back in His good timing and His good way. Give this person or issue over to God. Do not bear the responsibility of executing payback time. Your role is to forgive and let go. God’s role is to establish a payment plan of justice and judgment. Yes, your parents may have blown it through their own selfish tirades. Their immature choices may have built up over time and led to divorce. Because of their indiscretions and unwise decisions, you grew up in a less than favorable home environment.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – God’s Payment Plan 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Blessed! Precious Is Our Family

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

Colossians 1:9

How do you pray for family members? Our families are our greatest blessings—and sometimes our greatest burdens. When we have tension in our marriages or homes, we suffer deep pain, anger, or anxiety. When we’re worried about a loved one, the distress can become obsessive.

Recommended Reading: Colossians 1:9-11

There are four things we can do in every circumstance: (1) Love unconditionally. Remember, loving someone doesn’t mean endorsing his or her behavior. (2) Model the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When you’re loving, joyful, peaceful and patient, it always improves the climate. (3) As much as possible, keep open the lines of communication. (4) Pray. Convert the prayers of Paul into prayers for your family. For example, the churches in the Colossian region were troubled, but Paul prayed: “…that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord” (Colossians 1:9-10).

Our families are precious blessings that should be treated with prayer. Remember, God can do more with them than we can.

Jesus…is infinitely concerned about those we love and for whom we pray, and he wants to pray with us for them.

Jill Briscoe in “Prayer That Works”

Read-Thru-the-Bible: Acts 18 – 21

 

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

Joyce Meyer – Run to Him

 

For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him]. Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.—Romans 6:10-11

The devil delights in reminding us daily of all our mistakes from the past. One morning I was spending my time with the Lord, thinking about all the areas in which I had failed, when the Lord spoke to my heart: Joyce, are you going to fellowship with Me or with your problems? It is our fellowship with God that helps and strengthens us to overcome our problems. Our relationship and fellowship is to be with God, not with our sins.

How much do you fellowship with your sins, failures, and weaknesses? Whatever time it is, it is wasted. When you sin, admit it, ask for forgiveness, and then continue your fellowship with God. We are alive to God, living in unbroken fellowship with Him. Don’t let your sins come between you and the Lord. Even when you sin, God still wants to spend time with you, hear and answer your prayers, and help you with all of your needs. He wants you to run to Him, not away from Him!

Lord, I want to live in unbroken fellowship with You. I consider my relationship with sin to have been broken at the cross and behind me. Amen.

From the book The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Like a Sweet Perfume

“But thanks be to God! For through what Christ has done, He has triumphed over us so that now wherever we go He uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Gospel like a sweet perfume” (2 Corinthians 2:14).

We can certainly learn a lesson from the apostle Paul. He frequently begins a chapter or a verse with a note of praise. To say that he had a thankful spirit would be understating the case. That perhaps is the key to victory in every area of our lives, to begin with thanksgiving.

It is God who leads us to triumph over principalities and powers. And in leading us to triumph, He is then able to use us to tell others of His love and forgiveness through the Lord Jesus. As we rest in His victory and in His command, with its promise of “Lo, I am with you always,” we spread the gospel like a sweet perfume.

In your own home and in your own neighborhood, perhaps, are those who need the sweet perfume of the gospel, that heavenly aroma that comes first from God, then through us as His servants, and finally in the message itself: the good news of sins forgiven and a heavenly home assured.

Around the world, literally, I personally have seen multitudes of men and women, old and young, become new creatures in Christ. The aroma indeed is one of sweet perfume, for tangled lives have become untangled to the glory of God, and joy abounds in hearts and lives where only sadness and despair had been known.

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: “Dear Lord, help me to bear a heavenly aroma as I share the sweet perfume of the gospel with others.”

 

http://www.cru.org

Ray Stedman – What Matters

Read: Romans 14:13-18

Therefore, do not allow what you consider as good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Romans 14:16-18

If you are going to create division by arguing so hard for your rights, or your freedom, then you are distorting the gospel itself. The word Paul uses for evil means blaspheme. You are causing the good news about Christ to be blasphemed because you are making too much of an issue over a minor matter. You are insisting that your rights are so important that you have to divide the church over them. That is saying to the watching world around that Christianity consists of whether you do, or do not do, a certain thing.

I heard of a church that got into an argument over whether they ought to have a Christmas tree at their Christmas program. Some thought that a tree was fine; others thought it was a pagan practice, and they got so angry at each other and even got into fist fights over it. One group dragged the tree out, then the other group dragged it back in. They ended up suing each other in a court of law and this was spread in the newspapers for the entire community to read. What else could non-Christians conclude other than that the gospel consists of if you have a Christmas tree or not?

That is wrong. The main point of the Christian faith is not eating or drinking or Christmas trees. The main point is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. A non-Christian, looking at a Christian, ought to see righteousness, peace and joy, not wrangling and disputing and fighting and law courts. That word righteousness means that, because of the death of Jesus for you, you are loved and accepted by him. The world ought to see you confident about who you are, with an underlying assurance that shows you have a basis of self-acceptance that the world knows nothing about.

Another thing the world ought to see is peace. That comes across visibly as a kind of calmness, an inner core of unflappability that is undisturbed by the minor irritations of the moment. It is that quiet and calm assurance that God is present in the situation; that he will work it out for his glory, and we need not get upset or angry. It is hard for the world to get that impression of peace and calmness if they see two people screaming at one another. That does not look very calm.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – What Matters