Charles Stanley –The Foundation of Wisdom

 

Proverbs 9:7-12

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). Initially, the connection between these two concepts may be difficult to grasp. How can fearing God make us wise?

First, we need to understand what it means to fear the Lord. This term is used to describe an awesome reverence for God that moves us to acknowledge Him as the sovereign ruler of heaven and earth, submit to His will, and walk in obedience. The result of such a response will be the acquisition of wisdom.

If we commit ourselves to living for God’s purposes rather than our own, we will gain greater understanding of Him. The Holy Spirit will enable us to see circumstances and people from His divine perspective. This kind of wisdom reaches beyond human perception and gives us discernment to make decisions that fit into the Lord’s plans for our life. Knowing that He always works for our best interests, we are empowered to walk confidently through both good and bad times.

But if we reject God’s instructions, we dishonor Him with our refusal to acknowledge His right to rule our life. It’s foolish to rebel against His authority and think we can ever win. Those who won’t fear God will never know real wisdom.

What is your attitude toward the Lord? If you truly revere Him, you will listen for His directions and heed His warnings. A desire to honor and please Him will motivate you to turn from evil and seek to live in obedience. The result will be wisdom beyond human understanding.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 18-20

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Ring of Invisibility

Read: John 3:16–21

Bible in a Year: Numbers 17–19; Mark 6:30–56

Everyone who does evil hates the light.—John 3:20

The Greek philosopher Plato (c. 427-c. 348 bc) found an imaginative way of shining light on the dark side of the human heart. He told the story of a shepherd who innocently discovered a golden ring that had been hidden deep in the earth. One day a great earthquake opened up an ancient mountainside tomb and revealed the ring to the shepherd. By accident he also discovered that the ring had the magical ability to enable the wearer to become invisible at will. Thinking about invisibility, Plato raised this question: If people didn’t have to worry about being caught and punished, would they resist doing wrong?

In John’s gospel we find Jesus taking this idea in a different direction. There, Jesus, known as the Good Shepherd, speaks of hearts that stay in the cover of darkness to hide what they are doing (John 3:19-20). He isn’t calling attention to our desire for cover-up to condemn us, but to offer us salvation through Him (v. 17). As the Shepherd of our hearts, He brings the worst of our human nature to light to show us how much God loves us (v. 16).

God in His mercy calls us out of our darkness and invites us to follow Him in the light. —Mart DeHaan

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the light of Your presence in my life. May I walk obediently in the light of Your truth in all that I do this day.

Sin’s darkness retreats when Christ’s light is revealed.

INSIGHT: Often we think of judgment and eternal life as primarily future realities, but John’s gospel emphasizes that each person experiences either judgment or eternal life now, based on how we respond to Jesus. People experience judgment, are “judged already” (v. 18), when they reject Jesus—through the pain and emptiness of life outside of the fellowship of God. This judgment is not because God is eager to judge. If He was, He would not have sent Jesus (v. 17). Jesus was a pure gift from the heart of a God who loves His creation (v. 16). Those who reject Jesus condemn themselves by rejecting the only solution to the evil and brokenness in the world (v. 18), choosing darkness when God has made His light freely available in Jesus (vv. 19-20). But when anyone turns to Jesus, they experience life—overwhelming, overflowing, abundant life (see 4:14, 10:10).Questions to consider: Why do we sometimes struggle to believe that God is more eager to show us love than judgment? How can we be more rooted in Christ’s love?   Monica Brands

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Hunger and Consumption

At the death of Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, the world of economics lost one of its most influential thinkers. He is perhaps best known for popularizing the saying “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” which is now a common English dictum.

Though consumer-trained eyes, we understand this phrase as Friedman intended: Anything billed “free of charge” still has a bill attached. It is both economic theory and lay opinion. Whatever goods and services are provided, someone must pay the cost. Thus, economically, we see that the world of business is first and foremost about profit and market share. And cynically, we suspect that every kind gesture or free gift has a hidden motive, cost, or expectation attached.

It was strange, then, to find myself thinking of “free lunches” as I was approaching the meal Christians call communion, the Lord’s Supper, or Eucharist, which comes from the Greek eucharistia, meaning thanksgiving. I approached the altar, hands outstretched to receive a broken piece of unleavened bread and I wondered if my consumer mindset applied to this table as well? How much might this ‘free’ meal cost? Certainly the compulsion many feel to drudge up a sense of guilt at this table could be one sign of its costliness. But is this cost the host’s or a fee self-imposed? Extended in his invitation to the table is the very freedom this man said he came to offer: “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away.”(1)

Jesus spoke readily of the cost of the cross, but his is not a description of the kind of transaction consumer-hungry minds are quick to expect. He is clear that the cost is his, even as he both describes and extends meals in which everyone is invited: Go out into the streets and the hedges and invite everyone so that the table is filled. Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any hear my voice and open the door, I will come and eat with them and them with me. I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I won’t send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.

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Joyce Meyer – Fellowship with the Lord

Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.—Jeremiah 29:13

No matter how many principles and formulas you and I learn, we will never have lasting victory in our Christian life without spending time in personal, private fellowship with the Lord. The victory is not in methods; it is in God. If we are to live victoriously, we are going to have to look beyond ways to eliminate our problems and find the Lord in the midst of our problems.

The good news is that when we set aside time with God, He meets with us. We can be grateful, knowing that when we seek Him, we will find Him. God has a personalized plan for each of us, a plan that will lead us to victory. That is why principles, formulas, and methods are not the ultimate answer, because they do not allow for the individual differences in people. As good as all these things may be as general guidelines, they are not substitutes for personal fellowship with the Living God.

Prayer of Thanks: Thank You, Father, that I can meet with You at any time of the day or night. You’re always here for me and You desire to spend time with me. Your Word says that when I seek You, I will find You. So help me, Lord, to find You in every part of my life today.

From the book The Power of Being Thankful by Joyce Meyer.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The End Will Come

“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it, and then, finally, the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

I applaud every effort to warn Christians and nonbelievers to be ready for our Lord’s return, as Scripture clearly teaches that He will come again and has delayed His return in order that more people might have a chance to hear the gospel. To this end, we must give priority to taking the gospel to all men everywhere throughout the world.

However, we dare not wrongly interpret the Scriptures, as so many in previous generations have done, resulting in a lack of concern for the souls of men and a failure to correct the evils of society.

God expects us as His children to be His representatives here on earth. We are to love with His love, sharing the message of salvation with all who will listen and helping to meet the needs of widows, orphans and prisoners in His name.

True believers in previous generations have always been at the forefront of moral and social reforms as well as being active in evangelism. Child labor laws, women’s suffrage and abolition of slavery, for example, grew out of a mighty spiritual awakening that swept England through the ministry of John Wesley, George Whitefield and their colleagues.

We in our generation must be no less concerned about injustice wherever we find it. The most important way to solve our social ills, however, is to change the hearts of men by introducing them to our Lord Jesus Christ. Our priority commitment as Christians must be to disciple and evangelize in obedience to our Lord’s command.

Then we should instruct new believers that “loving our neighbors as ourselves” includes helping them where they hurt. But remember, the Lord cares more about the soul than He does about the body. The body will soon perish but the soul will live forever.

Bible Reading: Matthew 24:7-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will keep my priorities straight – first sharing the good news of salvation to as many as possible, but at the same time demonstrating love and compassion to widows, orphans, prisoners and all who are in need, in obedience to our Lord’s command.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Obedience Opens the Door

Heeding God’s Word is more critical than fighting God’s war. Indeed, heeding God’s Word is fighting God’s war. Conquest happens as the covenant is honored. Do you want the abundant life that Jesus promised (John 10:10)? Obey God’s commands!

What’s that? You thought that the abundant life was birthed from ecstatic utterances, or midnight messages from heaven? Sorry to disappoint you. “Obedience,” wrote C.S. Lewis, “is the key to all doors.”

Don’t think for a second that you can heed the wrong voice, make the wrong choice, and escape the consequences. At the same time, obedience leads to a waterfall of goodness not just for you but for your children, your children’s children, and great-grand-children. God promises to show “love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:6 NIV).

From God is With You Every Day

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – ‘The most shocking moment in Oscars history’

The Washington Post calls it “the most shocking moment in Oscars history.” One TV critic called it “an Oscar moment that will live forever in clip-reel infamy.”

I was staying up for the end of the Academy Awards last night so I could write about them this morning. It finally came time for the final award of the evening, for Best Picture. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were the presenters.

However, Beatty was given the wrong envelope. It was a duplicate Best Actress envelope and contained a card announcing that Emma Stone had won Best Actress for La La Land. Beatty and Dunaway assumed the card meant that La La Land also won for Best Picture, so she announced the Oscar accordingly.

Accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers then took the stage to reveal the mistake and announce that Moonlight had won. The shocking blunder called to mind Steve Harvey’s gaffe at the Miss Universe pageant and reminded us that even professional actors sometimes get their biggest lines wrong. Reality intruded on the fiction of film as we witnessed the fallenness of humanity.

Such realism was the theme of the night to me.

I expected the usual political rancor and commentary supporting the usual liberal causes. But there were also moments of genuine goodwill. I especially enjoyed the part where a group of tourists visiting Hollywood was unknowingly ushered into the awards show. They found themselves meeting Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep, receiving sunglasses from Jennifer Aniston and touching Mahershala Ali’s newly-won Oscar. They were obviously surprised, which lent a note of realism to what is usually a scripted celebration of scripted pseudo-reality.

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