Charles Stanley – Working Out Your Salvation

 

Philippians 2:12-13

What does it mean to “work out your salvation”? Many people mistakenly think Paul was telling us to work for our salvation. But the apostle was saying something completely different—that your salvation experience isn’t the end of your spiritual journey. Rather, it’s the catalyst that turned on your “operation mode.”

Once you have trusted Jesus as Savior, you can begin living out what He’s given you, which is His abundant life. If you’ve given your heart to Him, the Holy Spirit now indwells you—He is with you forever. It is God’s Spirit working in and through you that empowers you to live out your salvation. The degree to which you yield to Him impacts the work He’ll achieve through you and the changes He will effect in your life.

Let’s say you start reading the Bible and learning. As your faith and relationship with the Lord develop, you will begin to notice Him moving in your life. When you share your faith and your blessings with others, you’ll notice God working through even more avenues. Keep following Him, and you will see the seeds He’s planted within you flourish (Isaiah 55:10-11). So when Scripture says we’re to “work out [our] salvation,” it means we need to reverently live out what’s already been given to us—and allow the life of Christ to come fully to fruition.

Your salvation should become an expression of Jesus’ life wherever you are. As you work it out among your friends and family, on the job, in school, and even with strangers, God’s Spirit will energize you to make a difference and impact others—in other words, to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16).

Bible in One Year: Numbers 33-36

 

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Our Daily Bread — River Tree

Read: Jeremiah 17:5–10

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 26–27; Mark 2

They will be like a tree planted by the water.—Jeremiah 17:8

This was a tree to be envied. Growing on riverfront property, it didn’t have to worry about weather reports, withering temperatures, or an uncertain future. Nourished and cooled by the river, it spent its days lifting its branches to the sun, holding the earth with its roots, cleaning the air with its leaves, and offering shade to all who needed refuge from the sun.

By contrast, the prophet Jeremiah pointed to a shrub (Jer. 17:6). When the rains stopped and the summer sun turned the ground to dust, the bush shriveled into itself, offering no shade or fruit to anyone.

Why would the prophet compare a flourishing tree to a withering bush? He wanted his people to recall what had happened since their miraculous rescue from the slave yards of Egypt. For forty years in a wilderness, they lived like a tree planted by a river (2:4-6). Yet in the prosperity of their promised land they had forgotten their own story; they were relying on themselves and on gods of their own making (vv. 7-8), even to the point of going back to Egypt looking for help (42:14).

So God, through Jeremiah, lovingly urged the forgetful children of Israel, and He urges us, to hope and trust in the Lord and to be like the tree—not the bush. —Mart DeHaan

Father, in so many ways You have taught us that You alone can be trusted—even when it seems like You are nowhere to be seen. Please help us to recall today what You have already shown us along the way.

Let’s remember in good times what we have learned in days of trouble.

INSIGHT: Today’s Bible reading contrasts the life of the person devoted to God with the life of one who trusts in his own strength. Jeremiah uses incredibly strong language to differentiate between the two. One is blessed and one is cursed. It’s mind-boggling that we would choose to trust in ourselves instead of God, yet we all choose to do so from time to time. But verse 10 offers hope. It is not what we claim that determines whether we are a tree by the streams or a bush in the desert; it is the Lord who examines and rewards us. Are there any areas of your life you need to ask the Lord to examine? J.R. Hudberg

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The One She Followed

Mary Magdalene has been given a lot of publicity since her time, and like the tabloids, not much of it is true. Allegations that she was married to Jesus or founded a community steeped in Gnostic belief are unfounded historical claims when looking at the earliest sources. They have no basis in the New Testament and do not seem to have any foundation in traditions before the second century.

What we do know about Mary is that she was possessed by evil spirits—seven to be exact—before she met Jesus. Much speculation has been assigned to what this possession meant. Some have argued that she was a prostitute and thus was deemed filled with unclean spirits, though this is never stated. Regardless of whatever life she had come from, it is clear that everything changed when she met the one who healed her. Mary joined the ranks as a follower of Jesus, and she never left him, even to the end.

Scholars remind us that this says a great deal about Mary, but even more so about the one she followed. “The most striking thing about the role of women in the life and teaching of Jesus is the simple fact that they are there.”(1) Jesus stepped into a world that largely discriminated against women. Women were forbidden to go beyond a certain point in the Temple; they were excluded from conversations in public and restricted to roles as spectators. Jesus not only rejected this practice, he radically acted in opposition to it. He shocked his disciples by talking to those who typically were rejected—a hemorrhaging woman on the road, a Samaritan drawing water at the well. He brushed aside every discrimination and injustice, and received the courageous women who were a part of every event outlined in the New Testament.

Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, which is an unfathomable statement to make about oneself. But it is not the only inconceivable statement he made. To study him, as one might a loose cannon in the crowd, we find one who is entirely countercultural, who affirms those who are rejected and overlooked, who gives women a voice and safe place to be heard, and who calls everyone to transparency, speaking toward a broken world with all its pain and shortfall, sickness and sin. If this is indeed the Son of God, he is a God who not only can handle our unedited stories—but demands them—because he himself did not hold back from standing in the midst of it all.

Mary Magdalene’s is one such story. She left behind the life she knew to follow the one who knew her. To this day, her story of faith and discipleship remains the one God has deemed worth retelling:

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Joyce Meyer – Let God Interrupt You

…And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion? —Esther 4:14

Have you ever noticed that the men and women we read about in the Bible and consider “great” were all people who allowed God to interrupt their lives and were willing to make tremendous sacrifices for Him?

Joseph saved a nation from starvation, but not before God dramatically removed him from his comfortable home where he was his father’s favorite and allowed him to be imprisoned for many years. Joseph probably wasn’t planning a life of hardship and rejection, but God took him through those things in order to position him to be in the right place at the right time. But Joseph could only know that after the fact.

Esther was a young maiden who undoubtedly had plans for her future when suddenly, without warning, she was asked to enter the king’s harem and gain favor with him so she could reveal the plan of wicked Haman, who intended to slaughter the Jews. She was asked to do things that left her frightened for her life, but her wise uncle knew that God had brought her to this point in her life and allowed everything she had endured in the past to prepare her for a moment of greatness.

These people had plans, but they let God interrupt them and they followed Him instead. If you will decide that you don’t mind having God interrupt your life, He can prepare you too, for moments of greatness and use you in awesome ways.

Love God Today:“Lord, interrupt my life for Your purposes at any time and in any way You see fit.”

From the book Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Exalting a Nation

“Godliness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

God’s Word (1 Timothy 2:2) reminds us that we are to pray for those in authority over us, so that we can live in peace and quietness, spending our time in godly living and thinking much about the Lord.

We should pray daily for all those in authority over us, from the precinct to the White House, and we should seek through the writing of letters and personal appointments to communicate God’s love to each one of them, so that they may contribute to those qualities of godliness that will cause the blessing of God to continue to be poured out upon this nation.

One day I walked into a senator’s office in Washington, D.C. I had never met the man before, but a mutual friend had suggested that I drop by to see him.

Within a few minutes it seemed as if we had known each other for a lifetime. A natural opportunity arose for me to ask him if he were a Christian, and I was able to share the good news of the gospel with him through the Four Spiritual Laws. Before I left his office, the senator said he would like to receive Christ.

Another time, I spoke at a congressman’s home, to which several other congressmen and their wives had been invited. After the meeting, several individuals requested personal appointments.

I went by the office of one of the congressmen the next day.

“Did what I said last night make sense to you?” I asked him.

“It surely did,” he replied.

“Would you like to receive Christ?” I asked. He said that he would and knelt beside his couch to pray.

Down the hall, I shared Christ with still another congressman who had been present the night before. He too said he would like to receive Christ. All three of these men and many others continue to walk with God, seeking His wisdom to help them lead our nation wisely.

Because “godliness exalts a nation,” we feel it is important for every Christian to pray for and witness to all of our nation’s elected officials. Supernatural enablement of the Holy spirit is available to assist us in our communication.

Bible Reading: Psalm 33:12-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will pray today for one or more of our nation’s leaders, and I will seek opportunities to witness to them and other governmental leaders personally or through correspondence.

 

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Max Lucado – Stop Talking and Listen

 

There are times when silence represents the highest respect. The word for such times is reverence. This was a lesson Job learned—the man in the Bible most touched by tragedy and despair. Calamity had pounced on the man like a lioness on a herd of gazelles, and by the time the rampage passed, there was hardly a wall standing or a loved one living.

His four friends came with the bedside manner of drill sergeants. Each had their own interpretation of why God had done what he had done. When his accusers paused, Job spent six chapters giving his opinions on God. Job Chapter 38 begins with these words, “Then the Lord answered Job.” When the Lord speaks, it’s time to stop talking and listen!

From God is With You Every Day

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Human life begins in ‘bright flash of light’

Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago have documented an amazing fact. According to The Telegraph, when a human sperm meets an egg, “an explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.” Northwestern professor Teresa Woodruff calls the phenomenon “breathtaking.”

When I read the article, I thought immediately of John 1: “In [Jesus] was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (vv. 4–5).

Light always defeats darkness. It may take longer than we want to wait. It may happen in ways we can neither predict nor understand. But light wins.

Last Thursday, a panel gathered to discuss the topic, “Biology Isn’t Bigotry.” The five women who participated strongly criticized the notion that self-determined “gender identity” is the same as biological sex. One of the participants calls herself a “long-term leftist” and is on the board of Women’s Liberation Front, a feminist group. She and the rest of the panel warned that “gender identity” views amount to the erasure of women, voyeurism, and practicing eugenics on children.

The next day, Norma McCorvey died at the age of sixty-nine. She was better known by the pseudonym “Jane Roe.” The 1973 case that bears her name, Roe v. Wade, legalized abortion in the US. McCorvey later became one of America’s foremost proponents of life. In February 2005, she unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the legislation that bore her pseudonym. What changed her mind?

In her 1998 book, Won by Love, she explained:

“I was sitting in [Operation Rescue’s] offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. ‘Norma,’ I said to myself, ‘They’re right.’ I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth—that’s a baby!

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