Charles Stanley – Finding Clear Guidance

 

Psalm 25:12

How can you be sure you’re making the right decision? Sometimes it may feel as if God plays hide and seek when you’re trying to know His will, but that’s not the way He operates. The heavenly Father wants to give His children clear direction. The real question is, What do you need to do to hear His voice?

Clear the pathway. We have two main obstacles that hinder our discernment: sin in our life and our strong desires about the situation. To receive the Lord’s guidance, we must repent of all known sin and make our desires secondary to His.

Exercise patience. Sometimes it takes a great deal of strength to stand still when everything within you is shouting, “Hurry! Time is running out!” But if you rush ahead of God, you may miss His will.

Persist in prayer. The Bible clearly instructs us to keep coming to the Lord with our concerns. As we continue to pray, He will gradually weed out anything confusing until we come to His conclusion about the matter.

Search the Scriptures. The Word of God has an answer for every need, and the Holy Spirit knows just how to point us in the right direction. I remember times while I was reading the Bible that a verse jumped off the page and supplied the exact answer I needed to make an important decision.

So often when we’re faced with a critical choice, all we want from the Lord is a quick answer. But He delights to meet with us in order to deepen our relationship with Him. Don’t let the urgency of your need keep you from enjoying the intimacy of God’s presence as you seek His will.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 12-14

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Wholehearted!

Read: Numbers 13:26–32; 14:20–24

Bible in a Year: Numbers 12–14; Mark 5:21–43

Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.—Numbers 14:24

Caleb was a “wholehearted” person. He and Joshua were part of a twelve-man reconnaissance team that explored the Promised Land and gave a report to Moses and the people. Caleb said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Num. 13:30). But ten members of the team said they couldn’t possibly succeed. In spite of God’s promises, they saw only obstacles (vv. 31-33).

Ten men caused the people to lose heart and grumble against God, which led to forty years of wandering in the desert. But Caleb never quit. The Lord said, “Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it” (14:24). Forty-five years later God honored His promise when Caleb, at the age of 85, received the city of Hebron “because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly” (Josh. 14:14).

Centuries later an expert in the law asked Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matt. 22:35-38).

Today Caleb is still inspiring us with his confidence in a God who deserves our wholehearted love, reliance, and commitment. —David McCasland

Lord, may we love You wholeheartedly today and follow You every day of our journey on this earth.

Commitment to Christ is a daily calling.

INSIGHT: The ten spies found the Anakim a daunting challenge because they viewed them in comparison to themselves. Joshua and Caleb, however, viewed them in comparison to God. Many of life’s circumstances—health concerns, relationship struggles, financial setbacks—can either be viewed in comparison to our own frailties or in the light of our all-powerful God. Bill Crowder

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Beautiful and Terrible

In one of Shakespeare’s most known and loved passages, the young heroine, Portia, urges Shylock, the moneylender, to show the kind of mercy that “droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven,” that “is enthroned in the hearts of kings,” and “is an attribute to God Himself.”(1) This arresting image of mercy is both noble and other-worldly, rousing images like that of Caravaggio’s “The Seven Acts of Mercy,” in which an angel’s outstretched hand reaches over seven scenes of mercy: burying the dead, feeding the hungry, refreshing the thirsty, harboring the stranger, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, and ministering to prisoners.  The seven scenes are based on the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:35-36: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Though Jesus does not specifically reference burial of the dead as an act of mercy, it was deemed merciful by the church during the time of plague, when care of the dead was literally care of one’s neighbors.

Similar depictions of sympathy, provision, and kind leniency often come to mind at the mere thought of mercy wherever it is found. As Caravaggio paints it and Shakespeare depicts it, mercy is beautiful. Images of quiet humanitarianism and heavenly acts of concern afford mercy a reputation worthy of Portia’s words.

Yet this is not the only perception of mercy in action. Even Shakespeare reasons elsewhere, “Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.”(2) There is perhaps no better representation of this contrasting perception than in the practice of “compassionate release” for convicted criminals. Every year, in each of the countries with compassionate release programs, thousands of requests are considered. Though few are granted, it is typically more than unpopular. At the release of the terminally-ill Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi, who was sentenced to life in prison for the 1988 bombing of a Pan American jetliner, mercy was justifiably detested. One headline described Megrahi’s release as “an ugly act of ‘mercy.’”(3) Mercy is indeed far less beautiful when its recipients mar the pictures.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Beautiful and Terrible

Joyce Meyer – Get Alone With God

 

But when you pray, go into your [most] private room, and, closing the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open. —Matthew 6:6

Jesus rose early to be alone with God, but Peter pursued Him to let Him know that everyone was looking for Him (see Mark 1:35-36). When you get alone to pray, it may seem that everybody tries to hunt you down. But Jesus sought time alone with God so He could focus on His purpose.

We see the scenario of Jesus praying alone and then meeting the needs of others again and again. Jesus went throughout Galilee preaching and driving out demons. When a leper begged to be clean, Jesus touched him, and the leprosy completely left him (see Mark 1:39-42). If Jesus needed to be alone with the Father before He ministered to others, so do we.

From the book Starting Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Anything You Ask

“You can get anything – anything you ask for in prayer – if you believe” (Matthew 21:22).

God’s Word reminds us that we have not because we ask not (James 4:2). Jesus said, “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7, KJV).

A godly widow with six children was facing great stress. The family had eaten their last loaf of bread at the evening meal. The next morning, with no food in the house, the trusting mother set seven plates on the table.

“Now, children,” she said, gathering them around her, “we must ask God to supply our need.”

Just as she finished her prayer, one of the children shouted, “There’s the baker at the door.”

“I was stalled in the snow,” the baker said, after entering the house,” and I just stopped by to get warm. Do you need any bread this morning?”

“Yes,” said the mother, “but we have no money.”

“Do you mean to say you have no bread for these children?” he asked.

“Not a bit,” said the mother.

“Well,” said the baker, “you will soon have some.” Whereupon he returned to his wagon, picked up seven loaves and brought them into the house. Then he laid one on each plate.

“Mama!” one of the children cried out. “I prayed for bread, and God heard me and sent me bread.”

“And me!” chorused each of the children, feeling that God had answered personally.

God does not require us to have great faith. We are simply to have faith in a great God.

Bible Reading: Mark 11:20-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will continue to abide in Christ and have His Word abide in my heart, so that when needs arise today – whether large or small; physical, material or spiritual – I will choose to place my simple faith in God, knowing that He is willing and able to hear and answer prayer. I will also encourage others to join me in the great adventure of prayer.

 

http://www.cru.org

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word –RESTORING ONE ANOTHER TO GOSPEL LIVING

Read GALATIANS 6:1–6

In No Other Gospel, pastor Josh Moody wrote about Galatians 6: “I used to think that these final verses of the teaching in Galatians were just helpful, practical instruction, but actually they are what the gospel looks like in community. And they are by contrast what legalism looks like. Paul is saying that a grace-filled community is a restorative community, whereas a legalistic community is a judgmental community.”

After giving two lists, “acts of the flesh” and “fruit of the Spirit,” and especially after his exhortation not to be conceited or contentious (5:26), Paul addressed what to do about sin in both ourselves and others. In relation to others, he instructed the church to restore sinning brothers and sisters gently (v. 1). The assumption was that they had already recognized and repented of their sin. Since God forgives them, so should we. We should not erect barriers but instead restore them to fellowship and heal the relationship. Paul also exhorted us to “carry each other’s burdens” (v. 2; Rom. 15:1–3). That is, we should help each other out in areas of moral or spiritual weakness, or when our problems become excessive.

In relation to ourselves, Paul warned that we must be on guard against temptation (v. 1). Getting close to sin might pull us in, or at least tempt us to pride. This can quickly lead us into being self-deceived or giving us a false sense of self-importance (v. 3). We should instead be self-aware and responsible, testing our actions against God’s standards instead of comparing them with or judging others (v. 4; Matt. 7:1–5). In this sense, we should carry our own loads (v. 5). While we live in community as the body of Christ, we also stand accountable before God as individuals.

APPLY THE WORD

In light of Galatians 5 and 6, today might be a good day to focus on allowing the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts. Do we struggle with any of the “acts of the flesh”? Which “fruit of the Spirit” is God seeking to cultivate in our lives these days? As the Holy Spirit guides you, confess, repent, take action, and praise Him for the joy of His presence.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Qualified to Love: I (Do) Love You . . . Unconditionally

[Jesus] said to [Peter] again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” [Peter] said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” [Jesus] said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

John 21:16

How would you feel about a good friend denying any knowledge of you? We know that’s what happened when Peter denied knowing Jesus. As a disciple, Peter was outspoken and impulsive. Perhaps a weakness like his was a wake-up call.

Recommended Reading: Luke 22:54-62

But how does one recover from such a failure? After having been given the keys to the kingdom of God and declared to be the foundation of Christ’s Church, how does one regain favor after failure? (Matthew 16:17-20) Favor is the word—favor as in grace. Grace is the unmerited (unconditional) favor of God, which is what Jesus showed to Peter after His crucifixion and resurrection. When Jesus met with Peter after the Resurrection, He didn’t say, “Peter, you can continue to serve Me if you promise never to deny Me again.” He simply recommissioned Peter with no strings attached. Jesus loved Peter unconditionally in spite of his failure.

That’s how God loves you today—unconditionally, no strings attached. Rest in His grace and love today.

Christianity does not think of man finally submitting to the power of God; it thinks of him as finally surrendering to the love of God.

William Barclay

Read-Thru-the-Bible: Deuteronomy 12 – 19

 

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/