Charles Stanley –The Passion to Serve Him

 

2 Corinthians 11:22-31

In today’s passage, Paul’s description of his suffering is remarkable in two ways. First of all, he had obviously faced considerable torment for his faith. Second, he refused to whine or seek pity—if this was the price for passionately serving Christ, Paul was willing to pay. In our own faith walk, we can learn from the apostle’s commitment.

We serve according to God’s will, not our own. On the road to Damascus, Jesus said to Paul, “It will be told you what you must do” (Acts 9:6). We are to seek the Lord’s direction and timing instead of choosing the ministry that seems best to us. Committing to do whatever He asks requires courage, but anything less amounts to putting limitations on our obedience.

We serve according to our gifts, not our talents. A spiritual gift is the special endowment God gives us to serve where He calls. Talents may be useful in His work, but His gifts equip us for success. Natural skill wasn’t what made Paul a powerful preacher. In fact, he spoke of the uselessness of his abilities and pedigree in comparison with knowing and serving Christ (Phil. 3:4-9).

We are to serve with a focus on God, not on the work. Paul excelled at remaining Christ-centered, but this is where many people fall short. We get caught up in scheduling, responsibility, and accolades, which can make us lose sight of the true purpose: reaching the needy and those who need Christ.

Doing “church work” can stroke the ego but drain the body. If we keep focused and serve out of our gifts, service will be satisfying, even when it is hard or painful.

Bible in One Year: Leviticus 18-20

 

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Our Daily Bread — Begin Where You Are

Read: Psalm 136:1–9

Bible in a Year: Exodus 36–38; Matthew 23:1–22

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.—Psalm 19:1

I came across a solitary flower growing in a meadow today—a tiny purple blossom “wasting its sweetness in the desert air,” to borrow from the poet Thomas Gray’s wonderful line. I’m sure no one had seen this particular flower before, and perhaps no one will see it again. Why this beauty in this place? I thought.

Nature is never wasted. It daily displays the truth, goodness, and beauty of the One who brought it into being. Every day nature offers a new and fresh declaration of God’s glory. Do I see Him through that beauty, or do I merely glance at it and shrug it off in indifference?

All nature declares the beauty of the One who made it. Our response can be worship, adoration, and thanksgiving—for the radiance of a cornflower, the splendor of a morning sunrise, the symmetry of one particular tree.

Author C. S. Lewis describes a walk in the forest on a hot summer day. He had just asked his friend how best to cultivate a heart thankful toward God. His hiking companion turned to a nearby brook, splashed his face and hands in a little waterfall, and asked, “Why not begin with this?” Lewis said he learned a great principle in that moment: “Begin where you are.”

A trickling waterfall, the wind in the willows, a baby robin, the blue sky, a tiny flower. Why not begin your thankfulness with this? —David Roper

Father, may we always be reminded that You have placed beauty here because it reflects Your character. We praise You!

[God] is the beauty behind all beauty.  Steve DeWitt

INSIGHT: This worship song praises the wonders of God’s creation and His providential intervention for His people. The repeating refrain is, “His love endures forever.” The list of items for which to thank God, our Creator, are vast and extensive: God is good (v. 1), He is over all other “gods” (v. 2), He is the Lord of lords (v. 3), God alone does great wonders (v. 4), God by His understanding made the heavens (v. 5), He placed the earth on the waters (v. 6), He made the great lights (v. 7), He made the sun to govern the day (v. 8), and He made the moon and stars to govern the night (v. 9). As we behold the wonders of nature, we marvel at their Creator.  Dennis Fisher

 

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Joyce Meyer – Waiting Well

 

But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.—James 1:4

Patience is extremely important for people who want to glorify God and enjoy their lives. If we are impatient, the situations we encounter in life will certainly cause us to react emotionally.

The next time you have to wait on something or someone, instead of just reacting, try reminding yourself, Getting upset will not make this go any faster, so I might as well enjoy the wait. Then perhaps say out loud, “I am developing patience as I wait, so I am thankful in this situation.” If you do that, you will be acting on the Word of God rather than reacting to the unpleasant circumstance.

Remember, patience is a fruit of the Spirit that God wants to develop in your life. Don’t merely think about how hard and frustrating it is, but think about how blessed you can be as you learn the art of waiting well.

Prayer of Thanks: Father, I am grateful that You have planted patience in my spirit and that through You, I can react properly to any situation. Help me today, and every day, to exercise patience in all things.

From the book The Power of Being Thankful by Joyce Meyer.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Maintains the Seasons

“As long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night” (Genesis 8:22).

On his way to a country church one Sunday morning, a preacher was overtaken by one of his deacons.

“What a bitterly cold morning,” the deacon remarked. “I am sorry the weather is so wintry.”

Smiling, the minister replied, “I was just thanking God for keeping His Word.”

“What do you mean?” the man asked with a puzzled look on his face.

“Well,” the preacher said, “more than 3,000 years ago God promised that cold and heat should not cease, so I am strengthened by this weather which emphasizes the sureness of His promises.”

It is most reassuring to realize that we serve a God who keeps His promises, for He is the same God who makes possible the supernatural life for the believer. Part of that supernatural life is the ability to accept our lot in life, to be able to say with the psalmist:

“This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24, KJV).

“Springtime and harvest” reminds us that as we sow the seed of the Word of God, He is faithful to give the increase – in His own good time. He simply asks and expects that we be faithful in our part, which is to give out His Word – to plant – at every possible opportunity.

The Christian who lives the supernatural life is enabled by the Holy Spirit to rejoice under all circumstances and to interpret every problem, adversity, heartache and sorrow in a positive light.

Bible Reading: Genesis 8:15-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will give thanks to the Lord for His faithfulness, no matter what the circumstances. I will faithfully plant the Word of God today whenever and wherever possible, realizing that our faithful God will produce the promised harvest.

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Times of Trouble 

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.     Psalms 59:16

Times of trouble are ever looming in our life. They are approaching us, surrounding us, or engulfing us. Times of trouble are never too far off, so we should not be surprised when they arrive. It may be relational trouble born of a marriage gone bad. Maybe you’re in trouble at work because of someone else’s choices. You trusted a peer to perform with excellence, but they let you and the company down with a subpar performance. Now some hard decisions have to be made. Perhaps financial cuts and layoffs are the reality of the situation. The business has gone from times of abundance to times of trouble. Indeed, the naïve act as if things will always be all right, while the prudent plan ahead (Proverbs 22:3). Wise is a leader and his team who plan for lean times with prayerful and financial forethought.

Times of trouble can take us down if we are not rooted in the Word of God. God’s Word is our anchor in adversity. It reminds us to place our hope in heaven, and not on earth. The principles of Scripture teach us how to act and what we need to do while we wait on God. The Bible is our blanket of comfort and security. We gain our strength from our Savior Jesus, as He is defined and described in Holy Writ. We trust Him when we know Him, and we come to know Him through His Word. Times of trouble tempt us to lose our trust in God. However, trust looks trouble in the eye and is not terrified. Trust trumps trouble. This was Daniel’s demeanor in the lion’s den (Daniel 6:22).

Furthermore, there is an urge to overreact during times of trouble. Instead of giving God control, we try to seize it and won’t let go. A closed hand cannot trust, while an open hand releases control to Christ. Let go, and let the Lord lead you through this time of trouble. We think we are in control, but in reality we never have been and never will be. Christ is in control. You can sing to heaven and quit murmuring to man because God is omnipotent. The Almighty is all-powerful.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Times of Trouble 

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is All-Wise

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33)

Do you know someone you consider to be very wise? Wise people always seem to give good advice about a problem, and they always seem to make good choices. When you take questions to a wise person for advice, you are confident that the person will give you a very good answer.

But no matter how wise a person may be, God is far wiser. The apostle Paul tells us that God’s wisdom and knowledge are so deep, no man could ever even begin to understand them. Sometimes we show that we cannot understand God’s wisdom because we question why He made us a certain way or why He allows certain things to happen in our lives.

Even though we don’t understand God’s ways sometimes, we can still believe in His wisdom. God has all knowledge and all wisdom, and He’s always doing the very best thing in our lives.

Don’t doubt God when His plan for your life doesn’t seem to make sense to you. Trust Him, knowing that He is all-wise and all-knowledgeable.

God is all-wise, and He is bringing the best things for me into my life.

My Response:

» Do I doubt God when He brings something into my life that I don’t understand, or do I rest in Him, knowing He is all-wise?

 

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Streams in the Desert for Kids – When Life Gets Tough—Hang On!

 

Mark 4:37

Storms are scary. They are destructive and they can threaten life. When a huge hurricane named Katrina swept ashore in New Orleans, it just about ruined the city. Jesus’ disciples knew all about storms, so when they got caught in a furious squall on the Sea of Galilee, they were sure they were about to die. They expected their boat to be demolished by the storm. Jesus was asleep in their boat, so they woke him up and asked him to save them. And that’s what Jesus did. He spoke to the storm and told it to be quiet.

Tough times come to everyone. Sometimes someone we love gets sick. Sometimes a friend betrays us. Sometimes there are real storms like hurricane Katrina. There are lots of scary things that can happen, but just like the disciples, we have Jesus in the boat of our life. We just have to call out to him. He will help us find a way through the worst problems we could ever have.

Dear Lord, Thank you for being there through the good times as well as the bad. I know that with your help I can overcome anything that comes into my life. Help me trust you more. Amen.