Charles Stanley –From Emptiness to Fulfillment

 

John 4:3-18

As we saw in yesterday’s devotion, countless people go through life feeling empty, which is contrary to God’s design. The account of the Samaritan woman in John 4 teaches several important points about fulfillment.

Filling our emptiness is important to the Lord. As they journeyed, Jewish people bypassed Samaria because of their intense hatred for its inhabitants. Yet Jesus, a Jew, chose to travel there because He knew a hurting Samaritan was ready to hear about the Father’s love.

Our attempts at happiness often leave us feeling hopeless. The woman at the well had been wed five times, but all of her marriages had failed. Whether or not the problems were her fault, she was left without the love she sought. Most likely, each broken relationship left her feeling lonelier than before.

God knows our pain. When the woman admitted she didn’t presently have a husband, Jesus revealed that He already knew she and the man living with her were not married. By demonstrating His awareness of her hurt and pursuit of fulfillment, He helped the woman recognize her need for a Savior.

Jesus can satisfy our yearnings. Once the Samaritan woman realized what was missing, Jesus revealed how to live a full life: “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst” (John 4:13-14).

Do you ever feel like the Samaritan woman—dissatisfied with life and thirsty for love and fulfillment? Surrender to God, and allow His love to flow through you. Only then will you experience abundant life.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 26-27

 

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Our Daily Bread — Seeing to Tomorrow

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:1–9

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 21–22; Matthew 28

We live by faith, not by sight.—2 Corinthians 5:7

I enjoy gazing up at a cloudless blue sky. The sky is a beautiful part of our great Creator’s masterpiece, given for us to enjoy. Imagine how much pilots must love the view. They use several aeronautical terms to describe a perfect sky for flying, but my favorite is, “You can see to tomorrow.”

“Seeing to tomorrow” is beyond our view. Sometimes we even struggle to see or understand what life is throwing at us today. The Bible tells us, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

But our limited visibility is not cause for despair. Just the opposite. We trust in the God who sees all of our tomorrows perfectly—and who knows what we need as we face the challenges ahead. The apostle Paul knew this. That’s why Paul encourages us with hopeful words, “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

When we trust God with our day as well as our unseen tomorrows, we don’t need to worry about anything life throws at us. We walk with Him and He knows what is ahead; He is strong enough and wise enough to handle it. —Bill Crowder

Lord, I know I can trust You for today and tomorrow because You are kind, good, loving, wise, and powerful. Teach me not to worry.

God sees the beginning to the end.

INSIGHT: Often I muse, “What will happen in my life tomorrow?” Tomorrow could bring me trouble and suffering. Job, the great sufferer of the Old Testament, said, “Man is born to trouble” (Job 5:7). Our days are filled “grief and pain” (Eccl. 2:23). Tomorrow may even see my death. But death holds no terrors for us who are in the Lord. For “if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Cor. 5:1). I need not fear even that tomorrow; in fact, I can look forward to being with the Lord (5:8). What fears or worries about tomorrow do you need to bring to God? Sim Kay Tee

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – In Defense of Listening

“I like to listen,” said Ernest Hemingway. “I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.”

Hemingway speaks of a significant virtue, lamenting accurately, “Most people never listen.”

I wonder if he would feel differently if it were his books to which people were listening.

The popularity of audio books is redefining the notion of reading, and some authors—and readers—are unhappy about it. “Deep reading really demands the inner ear as well as the outer ear,” says literary critic Harold Bloom. “You need the whole cognitive process, that part of you which is open to wisdom. You need the text in front of you.” Others who doggedly defend the entire experience of reading—the feel of a book in their hands, the smell of its pages, the single-minded escape of delving into a story—find listening to a book something akin to cheating. “You didn’t read it,” they contest; “you only listened to it”—as if this somehow means they took in a different story.

For those who love the written word and printed page, for those who are elated at the sight of a bookstore, not only is listening to Hamlet or The Count of Monte Cristo something like picking up the cliff notes, e-books are almost equally offensive. There is no substitute for books, no surrogate for reading.

I mostly agree. I find myself responding to the question, “Have you read such and such?” with a similar admittance of guilt: “Well, I listened to it” (usually accompanied with a comment about Atlanta traffic). And yet, I am becoming more and more convinced that audio books definitely have their place in learning—with or without traffic. Auditory processing is vital to any learning. Hemingway is right; listening carefully is a vital skill to keep sharp.

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Joyce Meyer – Prudence

I, Wisdom [from God], make prudence my dwelling, and I find out knowledge and discretion.—Proverbs 8:12

A word you don’t hear very much teaching about is “prudence.” In the Scriptures “prudence” or “prudent” means being good stewards of the gifts God has given us to use. Those gifts include abilities, time, energy, strength, and health, as well as material possessions. They include our bodies, as well as our minds and spirits.

God has given each of us different gifts and grace according to how He wants us to use them. One person may be gifted to sing and does so in their local area, while another person’s singing ability is known in most of the world. The Bible tells us to use our gifts according to the grace given to us (see Romans 12:6).

Each of us would be wise to know how much we are able to handle, to be able to recognize when we are reaching “full capacity” or “overload.” Instead of pushing ourselves into overload to please others, satisfy our own desires, or reach our personal goals, we can learn to listen to the Lord and obey Him. If we follow the Lord’s leading, we will enjoy blessed lives.

We all experience stress and at times we feel the effects of it, but we should learn to manage it well. Ask God to show you areas in your life that could be changed to help you eliminate excess stress better.

From the book Closer to God Each Day by Joyce Meyer.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Singing Heart

“And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp and Saul would feel better, and the evil spirit would go away” (I Samuel 16:23).

King Saul had disobeyed God and the spirit of the Lord had left him. Instead, the Lord had sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear. As a result, some of Saul’s aides sent for David, who was not only a talented harp player but was handsome, brave and strong and had good, solid judgment. What is more, the Lord was with him.

Every believer experiences warfare between flesh and spirit. As an act of the will we decide whether we are going to allow the flesh or the Spirit to control our lives. One of the best ways to cause an evil spirit to go away is to listen to music of praise and worship and thanksgiving to God. The language of heaven is praise. Listen to music that causes your heart to sing praises to God. Also, saturate your mind with the Word of God. The psalms especially exalt and honor God and express the praise of the psalmist.

I like to begin the day praising God on my knees. During the course of the day, I listen to cassette tapes of praise music as well as recorded portions of Scripture that are appropriate and sermons that are helpful.

Are you discouraged, depressed, frustrated? Have problems in your life caused you to feel that God has left you? If so, may I encourage you to begin to praise the Lord. Purchase cassettes that honor our Lord, that cause your heart to sing and make melody to the Lord, and play them over and over again.

Bible Reading: Psalm 92:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will make a special point of praising the Lord not only through the reading of psalms but also by listening to music of praise. I will remember that praise is one of the expressions of a life that is lived in the supernatural power of God.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Remember Jesus

 

We can rise too high but we can never stoop too low. The Apostle Paul was saved through a personal visit from Jesus, granted a vision of the heavens, and given the ability to raise the dead. But when he introduced himself, he simply stated, “I, Paul, am God’s slave” (Titus 1:1 MSG).

John the Baptist is remembered in Scripture as the one who resolved: ”He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Humility is the appropriate response to God’s love. What gift are you giving that he did not first give? You love. But who loved you first?

As Stephen’s accusers reached for their rocks, the Scripture says, “Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit. . .saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand” (Acts 7:55 NLT).  If we will remember Jesus, he will remember us.

From God is With You Every Day

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – The ancient cure for work stress

Alexander Acosta is President Trump’s new nominee for Labor Secretary. If confirmed, he will head the Department of Labor, which advocates for American job seekers, wage earners and retirees, and ensures that US workers receive appropriate benefits and rights.

We can use the help.

ABC News reports that Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world. We take less vacation, work longer days, and retire later. It’s no wonder that, according to Forbes, 52.3 percent of us are unhappy at work.

After the president’s Labor Secretary announcement, I did a brief study of rest in the Bible. The concept appears early: “On the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done” (Genesis 2:2). Why would an omnipotent God need to rest?

The answer is found in the word “rested,” which translates the Hebrew term from which we get “sabbath.” Thus we read: “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation” (v. 3). God rested as an example for those made in his image. If he would observe a Sabbath, so must we.

His example later became our command: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). This commandment is so important that the text explaining it (vv. 9–11) comprises the longest commentary on any of the Ten Commandments.

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