Charles Stanley –Rekindling the Fire

 

Luke 10:27

The Lord created us to live passionately for Him. In that way, we enjoy the blessings of an intimate relationship with our Creator. But there are other benefits as well. Just as the warmth and beauty of flames draw people toward a fireplace, God uses our passion to draw others to Himself.

So, not just for our sake but also for the sake of others, we must be careful not to let our fervor for God fade. Thankfully, the indwelling Holy Spirit nudges believers who start to head in the wrong direction. If you sense this to be the case, you can take several steps to realign yourself with Him.

First, evaluate where you are spiritually—ask God whether your fire has grown cold. Second, acknowledge any distance you have allowed to separate you from your heavenly Father, and repent. Third, refocus your attention on Jesus; meditate on how He teaches His followers to live. Spend quality time in Scripture daily, asking the Lord to speak to you through His Word. Pray, not by using fancy language but by crying out earnestly and seeking God’s face. Fourth, rely upon the Holy Spirit to guide you back to an intimate and exciting relationship with the Father. Finally, love and serve God by worshipping Him and reaching out to others.

What occupies the majority of your time and attention? Do your thoughts and conversation tend to revolve around worldly topics or the things of God? If your fire for the Lord has dwindled, take the necessary steps today to renew your passion. Living closely with Him is well worth the effort and discipline.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 1-2

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Read: 1 Samuel 20:35–42

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 4–5; Matthew 24:29–51

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.—Hebrews 13:5

A dear friend of mine sent me a text message that said, “I’m so glad we can tell each other the good, the bad, and the ugly!” We have been friends for many years, and we have learned to share our joys and our failures. We recognize we are far from perfect, so we share our struggles but we also rejoice in each other’s successes.

David and Jonathan had a solid friendship too, beginning with the good days of David’s victory over Goliath (1 Sam. 18:1-4). They shared their fears during the bad days of Jonathan’s father’s jealousy (18:6-11; 20:1-2). Finally, they suffered together during the ugly days of Saul’s plans to kill David (20:42).

Good friends don’t abandon us when external circumstances change. They stay with us through the good and the bad days. Good friends also may point us to God in the ugly days, when we may feel tempted to walk away from our Lord.

Real friendships are a gift from God because they exemplify the perfect Friend, who remains loyal through the good, the bad, and the ugly days. As the Lord reminds us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). —Keila Ochoa

Dear Lord, I thank You for the good friends You have placed in my life, but above all, I thank You for Your friendship.

A friend is the first person who comes in when the whole world has gone out.

INSIGHT: Although Jonathan was the son of the king and in line for the throne, he was willing to sacrifice his own advancement and, instead, promote David. Throughout the years of their relationship, Jonathan showed the hallmarks of a true friend and brother, regarding David as more important than himself and seeking to put David’s interest ahead of his own. What are some characteristics of lasting, meaningful friendships (see Prov. 17:17)? What kinds of sacrifices are necessary in order to build a significant friendship (see Phil. 2:3-4)? How can our friendships represent the heart of Christ for us? (see John 15:15). Bill Crowder

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Roses and Revolutions

Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in the world. I love the artistic history in Amsterdam, the architecture, the canals and winding stone streets, the gouda cheese and meats for breakfast, the helpfulness of the people walking down the street, the color of oranges, green apples, and ripe bananas at food stands peppering my path. I love the world famous gorgeous garden, the Keukenhof, filled with over seven million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth that I once visited with a friend. It’s a beautiful city and I have friends there that remain in my heart.

On my last trip to Amsterdam, I woke to a chilly morning in the city and the meaningful day before me. I hopped in a taxi and headed outside of the city to a secondary school for teens with special needs. I knocked on the locked double door and tried to explain why I was there to the teacher looking at me curiously, convinced I was at the wrong place. My accent needs more work than I realized as I repeated the name of my contact a few times before she was able to discern who I was looking for.

Walking into a classroom upstairs I saw my friend, Helene, a prevention worker with Scarlet Cord. She and her colleague were going to be teaching a “Beware of Loverboys” class to at-risk girls aged 14-16, discussing issues of sexuality, boundaries, and the common practices of pimps¬–termed “loverboys”–who use a lengthy and intentional process to manipulate girls into prostitution. Wellspring provides funding for this prevention program developed by Scarlet Cord and now taught in over 25 public schools annually around Amsterdam. I was there to observe, and finding a chair in an inconspicuous corner of the room I did my best create minimal intrusion.

Helene sat beside me whispering English interpretation to the Dutch instruction, but honestly it is quite amazing what can be understood through the PowerPoint imagery, written plan, and body language.

In this school of two hundred students and sixty females, there have been four known pregnancies and one abortion this year. Hesitant and shy at first, the girls began to respond, holding up a red card for boundaries they were comfortable holding, and a green card for behaviors they found acceptable. It always surprises and frightens me to hear the role of the internet—of Facebook, of Snapchat, of webcams–in a story where a young girl ultimately finds herself in prostitution; the stories that begin with meeting a charming guy who friends her on Facebook, and fast forwarding a few days later to a gang rape, physical abuse, and ending up behind a window for sale. I followed along as they showed photos of the various profiles a loverboy will set up, allowing him to tailor his approach to the vulnerabilities of each girl he targets.

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Joyce Meyer – A Lamp and a Light

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.—Psalm 119:105

There is nothing more supernatural than the Word of God, which is given to us by divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit speaking through His prophets and disciples. The Bible has an answer for every question we might ever have. The Word of God is full of life principles, true stories of God’s mercy toward human behavior, and rich parables filled with important truths for every person on Earth.

The Bible is a personal letter to you and me. It tells us everything we need to know. There may be times when God speaks something to us that is not in a specific chapter or verse, but if He is truly speaking, then what we hear will always be in agreement with His Word. God will speak to us and lead us in every situation as we seek Him through His Word. When I need to hear from God about something specific, He frequently reminds me of a scripture that clearly gives me the answer I am seeking.

Hearing God’s voice (being led by the Holy Spirit) throughout each day has become a natural way of life for me since I received the fullness of the Holy Spirit. God gives the gift of His Spirit to everyone who asks (see Luke 11:13), and the Holy Spirit helps us understand God’s Word so we can apply its wisdom to our lives.

God’s Word for You Today: Read God’s Word as a personal letter, written just for you.

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

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Hears Our Cries

“Lord, You know the hopes of humble people. Surely, You will hear their cries and comfort their hearts by helping them” (Psalm 10:17).

Some time ago Nancy DeMoss, who with her beloved husband, Art (one of my dearest friends), had launched a fruitful ministry to executives, called to share an exciting experience. It had been raining all day, and a downpour was predicted for that evening. More than 1300 guests were coming to their home for a lawn dinner to hear the gospel presented by the well-known Christian leader, Charles Colson.

They prayed that the rain would stop, and – miracle of miracles – except for only a few drops of moisture, the rain was held back, though around them, they later learned, there had been a downpour. The gospel had been presented and hundreds had responded to the invitation to receive Christ, and as the guests were on their way home, the rain came – but the harvest was over. The God of nature had heard their prayers and responded.

On another occasion, during EXPLO ’74 in Seoul, Korea, as over a million people came each of five evenings to the famous Yoida Plaza, we prayed God would hold back the rain – but He chose to bless us in other ways, and the rain came. As it fell, God overruled and the people were drawn closer to each other and to the Lord.

Literally hundreds of thousands claimed to have received Christ during the week. In fact, more than a million – according to the officials – indicated that they had received Christ in just one evening. As a result, we gladly praised and thanked God for the rain.

God always knows what is best. He knows the hopes of humble people, and He will hear our cries and comfort our hearts. Sometimes He withholds the rain; other times He sends the rain and with it the outpouring of His blessings.

Bible Reading: Psalm 10:12-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that God is worthy of my trust, that He controls not only the affairs of men and nations but also the laws of nature, I will submit my requests to Him today and be willing to abide by His decisions, knowing also that He makes no mistakes. I shall rejoice and give thanks to Him no matter what happens.

 

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Max Lucado – A Short-Term Condition

 

Perhaps you need the reminder that I need— Don’t put your trust in stuff!  Paul told Timothy, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17 NIV).

The “rich in this. . .world.” That’s you. That’s me. If you have enough education to listen to this program, enough resources to own a book, you likely qualify as a prosperous person. And that’s okay. Prosperity is a common consequence of faithfulness. Paul didn’t tell the rich to feel guilty about being rich; he just urged caution. Money is just a short-term condition. The abundance or lack of it will only be felt for one life. So, if you have a lot, don’t put your trust in it. Put your trust in God.

From God is With You Every Day

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Mike Pence makes history in a divided Washington

Yesterday, Mike Pence broke a 50–50 deadlock in the Senate to confirm Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. This was the first time in history that a vice president had to break a tie on a cabinet nomination.

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, himself a former Education Secretary, accused his Democratic colleagues of opposing Ms. DeVos because she was nominated by a Republican president. Opponents claimed that the nominee’s support for charter schools and vouchers made her unsuitable to lead the Education Department.

It’s another day in the dysfunctional life of American politics. Supporters of President Trump see the rancor of his critics as proof that he is doing what they elected him to do—change the status quo and return government to the people. Opponents of the president blame him for the bitterness of our political climate.

According to columnist Jim VandeHei, there are other factors involved as well. Consider his list:

•    There is no market today for normal politics, much less compromise. To get noticed, leaders must be extreme.
•    Centrism is nearly extinct at the national level. The Tea Party on the right and aggressive liberals on the left dominate our politics.
•    National political parties are shells of their former selves. Social media has rendered these gatekeepers of establishment order nearly obsolete.
•    Fake news fans the flames of partisanship as faith in traditional media declines.

I would add that the cultural dysfunction of our day is the logical consequence of a decades-old worldview called postmodern relativism. Since our minds interpret our senses to produce knowledge, we’re told that all truth claims must by definition be subjective and relative. According to conventional wisdom, since there can be no objective truth, we must tolerate all views (except those we consider intolerant, of course).

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