Charles Stanley –Unshakeable Faith

 

Daniel 1:1-20

Daniel had unshakeable faith. His trust in the Lord sustained him when he was uprooted from his home, taken into captivity, and sent to a foreign country. It strengthened him as he served under several kings and faced many challenges.

Knowing God and trusting Him are the two key elements of deep faith. Daniel, who was part of the Israelite nobility, apparently learned about the Lord from a young age. While he was in captivity, his words and actions demonstrated that he knew the Scriptures and wanted to obey God. When offered a meal that was incompatible with the dietary laws, he took a great risk by requesting other food. In verse 9 of today’s passage, we see that God caused the official to show favor to him. Like Daniel, we are to spend our lives learning and carrying out what pleases our heavenly Father (Col. 1:10).

Not only did this young man know what the Scriptures said, but he also trusted the Lord to do as He had promised. Every time Daniel took a stand for godliness, he was demonstrating his confidence in the heavenly Father. And his friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—had unwavering faith as well. They did not know for sure that the Lord would rescue them from the fiery furnace, but they believed He could and trusted that He’d do what was right (Dan. 3:16-18).

Barriers to unshakeable faith include pride (I won’t admit I need God’s help), arrogance (I know a better way—I don’t have to ask God), and self-sufficiency (I can do it myself without His help). Which of these is keeping you from becoming a person of strong faith? Confess it and turn toward the Lord.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 28-30

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — The Lighthouse

Read: Isaiah 61:1–6

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 23–24; Mark 1:1–22

[The Lord bestows] on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning.—Isaiah 61:3

By its very existence, a ministry center in Rwanda called the “Lighthouse” symbolizes redemption. It sits on land where during the genocide in 1994 the country’s president owned a grand home. This new structure, however, has been erected by Christians as a beacon of light and hope. Housed there is a Bible institute to raise up a new generation of Christian leaders, along with a hotel, restaurant, and other services for the community. Out of the ashes has come new life. Those who built the Lighthouse look to Jesus as their source of hope and redemption.

When Jesus went to the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath, He read from the book of Isaiah and announced that He was the Anointed One to proclaim the Lord’s favor (see Luke 4:14-21). He was the One who came to bind up the brokenhearted and offer redemption and forgiveness. In Jesus we see beauty coming from the ashes (Isa. 61:3).

We find the atrocities of the Rwandan genocide, when intertribal fighting cost more than a half-million lives, mind-boggling and harrowing, and we hardly know what to say about them. And yet we know that the Lord can redeem the atrocities—either here on earth or in heaven. He who bestows the oil of joy instead of mourning gives us hope even in the midst of the darkest of situations. —Amy Boucher Pye

Lord Jesus Christ, our hearts hurt when we hear about the pain and suffering that some endure. Have mercy, we pray.

Jesus came to bring us hope in the darkest of circumstances.

INSIGHT: Jesus announced His mission by reading from this messianic prophecy in Isaiah 61, a text that clearly anticipated His ministry to the marginalized and hurting (Luke 4:18-19). He offers good news, healing, freedom, release, and joy to supplant the heartaches that inevitably come our way. Jesus went to the cross to deal with the root cause of our brokenness—sin—so that one day we could experience an eternity where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev. 21:4). Jesus-followers can likewise be involved in important ministries of help and encouragement for the hurting. In what ways has Jesus responded to your own hurts and needs? In what ways can you respond to the needs of those around you who are hurting? Bill Crowder

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Sanctification of the Soul

So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls. —James 1:21

Once you are born again, your spirit has been reborn and you will go to heaven when you die. But God is not finished—He is just beginning. You need to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12 KJV). In other words, your soul needs to be saved. The 14 soul is often defined as the mind, the will, and the emotions. Each of these areas needs salvation.

The Holy Spirit works relentlessly to transform the whole man into God’s perfect will. This process is called sanctification. When your soul is renewed with His Word, you think His thoughts and not your own. Submit yourself to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to change every thought and motive.

From the book Ending Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Is Your Faith Worth Sharing?

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18, KJV).

I had just finished giving a message, challenging students and young executives to commit their lives to helping to fulfill the Great Commission when Steve approached me with words that shocked me. I had known him for a long time and believed his life to be totally committed to Christ.

“If I were to respond to your challenge to take what I have to the rest of the world,” he said, “I’m afraid not much would be accomplished, because my brand of Christianity -quite frankly – is not that attractive, exciting or fruitful.”

He went on to share how he was not experiencing the joy of the resurrection in his life. The study of the Word of God had no appeal, his prayer life was nil and it had been a long time since he had introduced anyone to Christ. His outward evidence of being a man of God was just a facade, by his own admission.

What about you? Is your brand of Christianity truly the revolutionary, first-century kind that helped turn the world upside down and that changed the course of history? If not, it can be – and that is what this daily devotional guide is all about.

Every Christian needs to echo daily the sentiments of an unknown poet:

My life shall touch a dozen lives
Before this day is done,
Leave countless marks of good or ill,
Ere sets the evening sun.
This, the wish I always wish,
The prayer I always pray;
Lord, may my life help other lives
It touches by the way.

That goal should reign supreme during my waking hours – to touch lives for eternity. For if the all-powerful God, in the Person of His Holy Spirit, truly lives and reigns and triumphs, surely I can tap into that supernatural power and give evidence of it in my life.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 4:14-19

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that this dark world desperately needs light, I will trust God to let His light shine through me today. I pray that my life will be so radiant, joyful, attractive and fruitful for Christ that it will demonstrate the kind of Christianity that can be exported to others, to members of my family, neighbors and friends, as well as to people in other countries.

 

http://www.cru.org

Greg Laurie – A Surprising Place for Spiritual Growth

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.—1 Corinthians 15:58

Sometimes we think the only place to flourish spiritually is in the midst of other Christians. We want to listen to Christian music, watch Christian television, and wear Christian clothes.

I’m not knocking those things. It’s great to be surrounded by Christians and to seek out fellowship with other believers. But you also can flourish spiritually in a difficult situation. Maybe you’re in a school where you’re not surrounded by people who love the Lord. Maybe you’re in a job where they say the name of God, but not the way you like to hear it. Or maybe you’re in some other situation where you’re saying, “I can’t survive here spiritually.”

It may be that He has you there for a reason. Or, you may need to move out of that place, and you will have to ask God to give you wisdom. But you can grow and sometimes even become stronger in an environment like that.

Daniel was a spiritual man in spite of the environment he was in. Carried away captive to Babylon, he could have easily fallen into compromise. There in the palace, he literally lived in the lap of luxury. It was a place of rampant idolatry, incredible cruelty, and sexual immorality. Yet in the midst of it all, Daniel remained a righteous man and flourished spiritually.

Sometimes when we are in an environment around Christians all the time, we can put our lives on spiritual cruise control. On the other hand, when we are in a secular environment, it forces us to do one of two things: either blend into the woodwork or stand up and be counted.

Persecution, which is harassment from nonbelievers, can cause us to draw closer to the Lord. So don’t give up. Take heart. Stand firm. He will see you through.

 

https://www.harvest.org/

Wisdom Hunters – Love is Slow to Anger 

It is not easily angered.  1 Corinthians 13:5

Love is slow to anger and it is not easily angered. It is not in a hurry to get angry because it knows God is at work. Love knows God can handle the irregular person and the stressful situation. Most of the time, the best thing love can do is refrain from anger. A calm response diffuses an angry outburst (Proverbs 15:1). Poverty, injustice, and terrorism should work us up much more than traffic, forgetful waiters, and not getting our way.

Indeed, apply anger appropriately and proportionately to the degree of injustice to the underdog. But love overlooks the silly things that really don’t matter that much in the big scheme of things. A friend or family member who is rarely on time is no reason to get angry. Instead, adjust your expectations and build a time buffer into your schedule. Why get angry when a little bit of adjustment remedies the situation? Love adjusts rather than stews in anger; it calms the nerves, while anger wreaks havoc with your blood pressure. Love-filled living is by far a healthier way to live physically and emotionally.

Love is able to keep the big picture in mind. It understands that tomorrow is another day and there is no need to stress over this temporary setback. God will work things out in His timing, for He can be trusted. It is much wiser to trust God with your spouse, instead of attempting to whip him or her into shape with your anger. God’s discipline is much more thorough and precise. He puts His finger on an attitude or action and won’t let up until He is satisfied with the resulting change. Love knows how to trust God.

Therefore, pray to God before you get angry. Ask the Lord to increase your love quotient before you lash out in anger. Love understands there are better ways and a better day ahead. However, there are times love sees the need for anger. Your love needs to rise up in anger over the abuses of drugs and alcohol. These are enemies of the state and deceivers of unsuspecting souls that wreck relationships and take lives. Your love can confidently invite anger to rise up and rebuke these artificial enhancers of hope that logically lead to death. Love doesn’t stick its head in the sand of isolation and detachment, but engages by offering wise choices and compassionate counseling.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Love is Slow to Anger 

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – HAGAR AND SARAH AND OUR STATUS AS CHILDREN OF GOD

Read GALATIANS 4:28–31

Swimmer Maya DiRado, a gold medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games, said her athletic pursuits are rooted in her faith: “Knowing that I’m a child of God and that his love for me is determined by nothing I can achieve or do on my own has given me a quiet confidence. . . . Jesus’ love for me and all humanity is something that always helps me better love people around me when things get difficult.”

Being a child of God is an incomparable privilege! In today’s reading, Paul took the parable or analogy from yesterday and applied it to the Galatians’ situation. Their identity as believers in Christ aligned them with Sarah and Isaac and the promise God made to Abraham (v. 28). They should not “switch sides,” as it were. To go back to the Law and try to live by merit would actually work against the gospel in their lives. The legalists were tempting the Galatians to choose the wrong mother, along with slavery and immaturity. No doubt the Judaizers were stunned to find themselves assigned to the line of Ishmael.

Historically, Ishmael had persecuted Isaac, and now history was repeating itself (v. 29). Salvation by works is the enemy of salvation by faith, and confidence in the flesh is utterly opposed to confidence in the Spirit. The solution is the same now as it was then, to “get rid of the slave woman” (v. 30; Gen. 21:9–14). There can be no compromise. Legalism must be rejected!

Followers of Christ are children of the free woman (v. 31). God’s promise to Abraham has been fulfilled in Christ, and as a result we’ve come by grace into our spiritual inheritance of salvation. Only one path leads to freedom and redemption: justification by faith alone in Christ alone.

APPLY THE WORD

Our status as God’s children should be a daily cause for amazement and rejoicing! Memorizing Scripture helps us remember and reflect on this truth. John 1:12–13, 1 John 3:1–2, or 1 John 5:1–2 are all excellent choices to memorize so we can marinate in these blessings. God’s words have the power to transform us to be more like Christ!

 

http://www.todayintheword.org