Charles Stanley – The Path of Life

 

Jeremiah 10:23-24

Life is like an untraveled trail with twists and turns. Appealing activities can become detours that lead to the quicksand of sin. And engaging philosophies may start as small interests but turn into a mire of muddled thinking. Even the best route isn’t always sun-dappled meadows and quiet riverside lanes; we may have to journey over hard terrain or shadowed valleys. The only way to be sure we’re walking correctly is to follow one who knows the way perfectly.

God is the perfect full-service guide. No one can go wrong by keeping to the pathways He selects. Consider that He lovingly and intentionally created you for this time and this place. The Lord watches over your steps because He desires to see your purpose fulfilled and His plan come to fruition through you (Prov. 3:5-6). He has promised to counsel those who follow Him (Psalm 25:12), so when you sense God warning you away from a tempting sidetrack, realize it is because He foresees the dangers that lurk on that road.

There’s a correlation between ignoring the Lord’s guidance and ending up in trouble: The one who stumbles off course has trusted his own “sense of direction”—his emotions, desires, or personal version of morality. He has been pursuing what feels good or looks right instead of seeking the heavenly Father’s will.

God has mapped out the path before you. He is aware of every obstacle and miry pit, and He knows exactly which sidetracks will tempt you. What’s more, He has committed to walk beside you as a guide and comforter so that you never face the twists and turns of this life alone.

Bible in One Year: Genesis 42-45

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — An Angry God?

 

Read: Exodus 33:18–19; 34:1–7

Bible in a Year: Genesis 31–32; Matthew 9:18–38

The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.—Exodus 34:6

When I studied Greek and Roman mythology in college, I was struck by how moody and easily angered the mythological gods were in the stories. The people on the receiving end of their anger found their lives destroyed, sometimes on a whim.

I was quick to scoff, wondering how anyone could believe in gods like that. But then I asked myself, Is my view of the God who actually exists much different? Don’t I view Him as easily angered whenever I doubt Him? Sadly, yes.

That’s why I appreciate Moses’s request of God to “show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). Having been chosen to lead a large group of people who often grumbled against him, Moses wanted to know that God would indeed help him with this great task. Moses’s request was rewarded by a demonstration of God’s glory. God announced to Moses His name and characteristics. He is “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (34:6).

This verse reminded me that God is not impulsive, suddenly striking out in anger. That’s reassuring, especially when I consider the times I’ve lashed out at Him in anger or impatience. Also, He continually works to make me more like Himself.

We can see God and His glory in His patience with us, the encouraging word of a friend, a beautiful sunset, or—best of all—the whisper of the Holy Spirit inside of us. —Linda Washington

Father God, I’m grateful that You are always compassionate, forgiving, and faithful.

Though we often change, God never does.

INSIGHT: Being exposed to God’s perfect character drew two responses from Moses. He first responded with worship (34:8), and then he acknowledged the need for forgiveness (v. 9). These continue to be important responses toward our loving God who is perfectly holy, compassionate, and forgiving.

What is your response to God’s loving forgiveness? Bill Crowder

 

http://www.odb.org

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Learning to Ask for Help

Read: Romans 12:1-8

In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (v. 5 NIV)

The more people who found out I had cancer, the more offers for help I received. People like to have something they can do for me: meals, chores, driving. For a while I tried to find ways to turn down these offers with creative ways to keep doing everything myself. However, pain and exhaustion are insistent and instructive teachers. The lesson I had to learn was twofold: I needed other people and I was not in control.

In Romans 12, Paul tells us not to think of ourselves more highly than we should. Every person has a God-given gift and should use that gift for the body of Christ. Even when we are most able to do things, we shouldn’t try to do everything ourselves. And if we think we are, we are deluding ourselves. Few of us grow and make all the food we eat, pave the roads we drive, or even take note of the thousand ways we depend on other people every day. It isn’t a matter of “asking” for help when we need it. We always need help.

So eventually, when my sister offered to help weed my garden, I said yes. When my grandson said he would mow the lawn, I said yes. Each time I accepted help I saw that unless I asked for help, these people wouldn’t be able to use their God-given gift. Who can help you today? —Karen Bables

Prayer: Teach me, Lord, to ask for help when I need it.

 

https://woh.org/

Joyce Meyer – Take Down the “Do Not Disturb” Sign

preach the word [as an official messenger]; be ready when the time is right and even when it is not [keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome]; correct [those who err in doctrine or behavior], warn [those who sin], exhort and encourage [those who are growing toward spiritual maturity], with inexhaustible patience and [faithful] teaching. — 2 Timothy 4:2

I frequently stay in hotels when I’m traveling for ministry purposes. When I am in my room, I usually put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door so nobody will bother me. Hanging this sign on my hotel room door is acceptable. But putting it on my life isn’t.

Have you ever noticed that God doesn’t always do things on our timetable or in ways that are convenient for us? Paul told Timothy that as a servant of God and a minister of the Gospel, he needed to fulfill his duties whether it was convenient for him or not.

I doubt Timothy was nearly as addicted to convenience as we are today. But if he needed to hear that, then I’m sure we need to hear it frequently.

It’s so easy to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign over our hearts for fear that God’s call will inconvenience us, but we miss out on so many great opportunities when we do this. We need to remember that whatever God asks us to do, it’s always worth any inconvenience or difficulty we face in the process. And He will always make a way for us to accomplish His will when we are obedient to Him.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Perfect in His Sight Promise

 

“But Christ gave Himself to God for our sins as one sacrifice for all time, and then sat down at the place of highest honor at God’s right hand, waiting for His enemies to be laid under His feet. For by that one offering He made forever perfect in the sight of God all those whom He is making Holy” (Hebrews 10:12-14).

All the sins you and I have ever committed or ever shall commit – past, present and future – are forgiven the moment we receive Christ, according to God’s Word. Think of it and rejoice!

Then you may rightly ask, “If all of my sins – past, present and future – are forgiven, why do I need to confess my sins?”

According to God’s Word, confession is an act of obedience and an expression or demonstration of faith that makes real in our experience what is already true concerning us from God’s point of view.

Through the sacrifice of Christ, He sees us as righteous and perfect. The rest of our lives on earth are spent maturing and becoming in our experience what we already are in God’s sight.

This maturing process is accelerated through the faithful study of God’s Word, prayer, witnessing for Christ, and spiritual breathing – exhaling through confessing our sins and inhaling by appropriating the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit by faith.

If you retake the throne, the control center, of your life through sin (a deliberate act of disobedience) breath spiritually. First, exhale by confession. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, KJV).

Next, inhale by appropriating the fullness of God’s Spirit by faith. Trust Him now to control and empower you by faith according to His command to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

Bible Reading: Hebrews 10:19-25

Today’s Action Point: Today I will study God’s Word, pray and invite the Holy Spirit to lead me to someone whose heart He has prepared to receive Christ. Also, I will practice spiritual breathing whenever any attitude, action, motive or desire that is contrary to God’s will short-circuits God’s power in my life. I will confess it and by faith inhale by appropriating the fullness and power of God’s Holy Spirit.

 

http://www.cru.org

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – PAUL’S PASSION: TO SERVE AND PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL

 

Ephesians 3:7–13

Isabella Thoburn was a pioneering missionary to India from 1870 until her death from cholera in 1901. She shared the gospel, opened a school for girls, and started a Hindi-language newspaper called Women’s Friend—all in a society in which women were powerless and unvalued.

Isabella Thoburn shared Paul’s passion to serve and proclaim the gospel. This was the cause to which he had given his life, yet at the same time his ministry, like salvation itself, was a gift of God’s grace (v. 7). He didn’t assert any kind of superiority or even intrinsic worthiness. He wasn’t looking for personal fame or influence. He didn’t think God was lucky that Paul had joined His team. Instead, he understood the tremendous privilege and responsibility he had been given as the apostle to the Gentiles (vv. 8–9). The message of God’s grace is the most important one ever preached! Even so, the focal point was not himself as messenger but rather God’s plan of salvation, the good news of the gospel, the “boundless riches of Christ.”

The revelation of the mystery of God’s plan is intended not only for people but also for Satan and his fallen angels (vv. 10–11). The Lord’s sovereignty includes not only what happens but also who, when, and why. To at last perceive the incredible wisdom and power of God’s plan, and the absolute superiority of the Son (1:20–21), must have been a severe blow to the rebel spirits. And notice how they recognize this truth: “through the church” (v. 10).

In our everyday personal spiritual lives, these cosmic truths mean that we can “approach God with freedom and confidence” (v. 12). Jesus has opened the way to the throne of grace (see Heb. 4:14–16). Suffering for Him should not make us discouraged but give us hope in which to glory (v. 13).

APPLY THE WORD

Do you think God can’t save you? That you’ve said too much, done too much, been His enemy for too long? Then your view of His love and forgiveness is far too small! Paul himself started out a rabid anti-Christian. He pursued the early Christians in order to imprison and persecute them. If God can save a person like that, He can save you!

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Happy Just to Be … Myself

 

Philippians 4:11

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to compare yourself to others? Even if we know better, we look at someone else and think he or she has it better. How many times have you thought: If only I had the right hair or clothes or shape … If only I were taller or faster or bolder or funnier …

There’s an old story of a king who went to his garden and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak tree what was wrong. The oak tree said it was sick of living because it was not as tall and beautiful as the pine tree. The pine was dropping needles because it couldn’t grow grapes like the grapevine. And the grapevine let itself shrivel up because it couldn’t stand straight and tall like the peach tree. Every plant in the garden was discontented and wanted to be something different, except the violet. There it stood with its happy face turned toward the sun. The king asked the little flower why it was so happy and content when every other plant in the garden was so miserable. “Well,” said the flower, “I figured that if you had wanted a big oak tree or a pine tree or a peach tree in my spot, you would have planted one; but you planted me—a violet. Since I knew you wanted a violet, I’ve made up my mind to be the best little violet I can be.”

You were made by the almighty Creator with a purpose in mind. Wishing to be anything other than who you are does nothing more than steal your time, energy, and joy. But when you see yourself how God does, you realize how great you really are. So you can stop concentrating on other people and instead focus on your own blessings. Only then will you find you are ready for all the plans and adventures God has for you.

Dear Lord, Help me stop comparing myself to other people and worrying about the things I think I lack. Thank you for all of the gifts you have given me. Show me how I can best use them for your glory. Amen.