Charles Stanley – The Spiritual Fruit of Patience

 

Romans 5:1-4

The list known as “Fruit of the Spirit” includes patience (Gal. 5:22-23), but that does not mean the Holy Spirit wills it into the believer’s life. Instead, He acts as our ever-dependable teacher and the one who enables our growth. Spiritual fruit is something that matures over time as we obey the heavenly Father and surrender to His will.

Patience with both God and our fellow man is an outgrowth of deepening faith. The Holy Spirit urges believers to take note of the Lord’s handiwork on the journey through life. Our confidence in Him is nurtured by answered prayer, the rich blessings that arise unexpectedly from difficult circumstances, and every trace of good that God salvages from a bad situation. As our trust in His goodness and sovereignty grows, we find ourselves more willing to wait for God’s solutions and outcomes.

In fact, I believe that recognizing God’s sovereignty is key to developing patience. A significant part of surrendering to His absolute control is waiting upon Him to do what He will. It is wisdom to realize that our lives unfold according to His master plan—exasperated toe tapping doesn’t make Him speed up one bit. God expects His children to step into His timeline and practice patience no matter what pace He sets.

Patience doesn’t come naturally. That’s why we have the Holy Spirit. He strengthens our resolve to endure without complaint when progress seems sluggish. After all, God is slow only from a human standpoint. From a divine, eternal perspective, He’s always working at the perfect speed.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 24-25

 

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Our Daily Bread — Breaking the Chains

 

Read: Ephesians 1:3–14 | Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 8–9; Luke 21:1–19

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. Ephesians 1:7

We found our visit to Christ Church Cathedral in Stone Town, Zanzibar, deeply moving, for it sits on the site of what was formerly the largest slave market in East Africa. The designers of this cathedral wanted to show through a physical symbol how the gospel breaks the chains of slavery. No longer would the location be a place of evil deeds and horrible atrocities, but of God’s embodied grace.

Those who built the cathedral wanted to express how Jesus’s death on the cross provides freedom from sin—that which the apostle Paul speaks of in his letter to the church at Ephesus: “In him we have redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:7). Here the word redemption points to the Old Testament’s notion of the marketplace, with someone buying back a person or item. Jesus buys back a person from a life of slavery to sin and wrongdoing.

Jesus redeems us from the slavery of sin.

In Paul’s opening words in this letter (vv. 3–14), he bubbles over with joy at the thought of his freedom in Christ. He points, in layer after layer of praise, to God’s work of grace for us through Jesus’s death, which sets us free from the cords of sin. No longer do we need to be slaves to sin, for we are set free to live for God and His glory.

Lord God, through the death of Your Son, You have given us life forever. Help me to share this gift of grace with someone today.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Matchless Wonder

For anyone who has ever been troubled by the lone sock left at the end of the laundry, help is on the way, and it comes in the form of indignation: Who ever said socks had to come in pairs anyway? At least that is the rebellious philosophy of one sock manufacturer who is single handedly trying to change the way we see “the sock problem.”(1) “The missing sock is never going to go away,” said one of the company’s founders, insisting that this is a way to have fun with one very small real-world problem: “People lose their socks… Let’s embrace the problem, and run with it.”(2) Currently they have in circulation over six hundred thousand socks, all sold without matches in packages of 1, 3, or 7.

Type A personalities aside, the embracing of mismatched socks actually seems to be catching on. I happen to think the idea is clever, particularly among the target market (girls age 9-13), but I also think it may indeed be one more logical outworking of a current philosophical state of mind. “Imbalance by design—and the studied quirkiness it reveals—is everywhere,” notes one cultural observer.(3) Random is the new order, as Apple insisted a few years ago. Whether selling music or socks, in the constant undertow of marketing, the spirit and mood of the age is keenly, if cleverly, seen. But imbalance by design is still by design.

Physicist and Nobel laureate Leon Lederman once jokingly remarked that the real goal of physics was to come up with an equation that could explain the universe but still be small enough to fit on a T-shirt—or perhaps a twitter feed. With such a challenge in mind, Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins offers up his own one-lined slogan: “Life results from the non-random survival of randomly varying replicators.” This is to say, as he has said elsewhere, the watchmaker is blind. The universe has neither design nor purpose; it exhibits nothing but blind pitiless indifference.

But if the universe has always been a disordered series of time and matter and chance, I’m not alone in my need to understand how we account for the intricate orderedness to life, the uniformity of nature, even the intricacy of the very mind that asks the question. How is it that we can ever accept the non-random consistency of nature in a random world? And what would it really look like if random was the new order? Even in the nonconforming concept of mismatched socks, the factories making them still exhibit a scrupulous degree of order; each random sock is designed and produced with creativity and intent.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Matchless Wonder

Joyce Meyer – Wait on God

…For you [and only You] I wait [expectantly] all the day long. — Psalm 25:5

I am a person of action, and when there is a problem, I am ready to take action, but sometimes I make the situation worse because I didn’t wait to get God’s plan. Being aggressive has many benefits, but it can also cause problems if we are acting independently of God.

I am reminded today of the importance of maintaining an attitude of waiting on God. I am not suggesting inactivity but rather the highest form of spiritual activity, that of trusting God in every area of life. Wait on Him for strength, healing, wisdom, and opportunity. Wait on God to reveal Himself to you and to show you His amazing favor. God is waiting to be good to us, and He looks for those who are waiting on Him (Isaiah 30:18).

Waiting on God is mostly an attitude of the heart. One that is fully aware that God is everything and we are nothing without Him. We should pray and refuse to take action without assurance that God is leading. Go to Him as early as possible each day, which is the moment you wake up. He is always near, and you need no special preparation to begin fellowshipping with Him. Always remember that God loves you unconditionally and is with you at all times.

Prayer Starter: Father God, I desire to form a habit of waiting on You all throughout the day. Help me not to rush ahead into activities and decisions without acknowledging You. Thank You for Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Self-Control Is Better

“It is better to be slow-tempered than famous; it is better to have self-control than to control an army” (Proverbs 16:32).

You and I know from experience that it is not easy to discipline our emotions, our passions or our self-will. In fact, apart from God’s help, it is an impossibility.

  • A lustful person who does not control his thoughts quenches and grieves the Spirit.
  • An overweight person, because he cannot control his appetite, quenches and grieves the Spirit.
  • A Christian who places undue emphasis on material possessions quenches and grieves the Holy Spirit.
  • A gossip who cannot control his tongue quenches and grieves the Spirit.
  • A husband, wife, or child who fails to live according to the commands of Ephesians chapter 5 quenches and grieves the Holy Spirit.
  • A student who fails to study adequately because of poor discipline quenches and grieves the Spirit.

Many pages would be required to list all the ways in which lack of self-control quenches and grieves the Holy Spirit.

The spirit, mind and body are the three aspects of our being over which we are told to practice self-control.

What is man’s spirit?

It is his immaterial being – man without his body, if you will. The Bible gives many characteristics of the spirit of man. It is that which communicates with the Spirit of God.

Man’s spirit is the center of emotions (1 Kings 21:5), the source of passions (Ezekiel 3:14) and the seat of volition or exercise of the will (Proverbs 16:32). Our spirit is subject to divine influence while housed in our mortal body (Deuteronomy 2:30 and Isaiah 19:14), and leaves the body at the time of physical death (Ecclesiastics 12:7 and James 2:26).

Bible Reading:Proverbs 15:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Drawing upon this enabling power of the Holy Spirit, I will practice the vital discipline of self-control.

 

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Max Lucado – When Everything Changes

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Are you on the eve of change? A new chapter? A new season? Heaven’s message for you is clear: when everything else changes, God’s presence never does. You journey in the company of the Holy Spirit, who “will teach you everything and will remind you of everything” he has told you (John 14:26 NLT). So, make friends with whatever’s next.

Change is a part of life, and a necessary part of God’s strategy. To use us to change the world, he alters our assignments. But, someone might ask, what about the tragic changes God permits? Some seasons make no sense. They do, however, if we see them from an eternal perspective. What makes no sense in this life will make perfect sense in the next. As Paul wrote, “These troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing”  (2 Corinthians 4:17 CEV).

Read more Fearless

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – The story of Alfie Evans: A tale of two Kates

“My gladiator laid down his shield and gained his wings at 2:30.” This is how Alfie Evans’s father described the death of his twenty-three-month-old son early Saturday morning.

Alfie suffered from a degenerative neurological condition. His doctors in Great Britain said he was in a “semi-vegetative state” with almost no brain function.

His parents, Tom and Kate, wanted to provide further care in line with their Catholic faith. Pope Francis and Italian authorities supported their desire to have their son treated in Italy, where their wishes would have been honored.

Italy had a military plane on standby to take Alfie to Rome. He had also been granted Italian citizenship to facilitate his transport and arrival.

However, his British doctors believed that further treatment was futile and petitioned the courts to end his medical care. Under British law, it is common for courts to intervene when doctors and parents disagree on the treatment of a child. In such cases, the rights of the child (as determined by the court) are given primacy over the parents’ right to decide what’s best for their children.

Alfie’s life support was withdrawn last week after the courts sided with the doctors.

Conversely, Kate Middleton made global headlines Friday morning with the announcement that she and Prince William had decided on a name for their newborn son. Prince Louis has received the best of medical care, of course, and will live in the spotlight of fame accorded the British royal family.

In God’s eyes, which baby is more sacred?

Valuing life by its utility

Continue reading Denison Forum – The story of Alfie Evans: A tale of two Kates

Charles Stanley – Developing Patience

 

James 1:1-4

When people confide in me that they are praying for patience, I often ask what else they’re doing to acquire a calm and gentle heart. Patience isn’t so much something believers receive as it is an attribute that they develop over time and through experience.

Think of patience as a muscle that you have to use in order to see it build. To that end, believers should recognize difficulty as an opportunity to flex their patience. The human instinct is to cry out to God in bewilderment when tribulation comes knocking. We blame. We resist. We complain. What we don’t do is say, “Thank You, Father—it’s time to grow in patience!” People aren’t trained to think that way, but according to the Bible, that is exactly how Christians are to respond.

The book of James tells us to consider trials a joy (James 1:2). But we often fail at this, don’t we? Humanly speaking, praising the heavenly Father for tribulation is unnatural. However, doing so begins to make sense to believers when they cling to God’s promise that good comes from hardship. (See Rom. 8:28.) We are not waiting on the Lord in vain. We can praise Him for the solution He will bring, the lives He will change, or the spiritual fruit He will develop in our life.

Accepting hardship as a means of growth is a radical concept in this world. Even more extreme is the believer who praises the Lord for the storm. But God’s followers have cause to rejoice. Tribulation increases our patience so that we can stand firm on His promises and await His good timing.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 21-23

 

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Our Daily Bread — Take Another Look at Jesus!

 

Read: Hebrews 3:1–6 | Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 6–7; Luke 20:27–47

But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. Hebrews 3:6

If there ever was a faithful person, it was Brother Justice. He was committed to his marriage, dedicated to his job as a postal worker, and each Sunday stood at his post as a leader in our local church. I visited my childhood church recently, and perched on the upright piano was the same bell that Brother Justice rang to notify us that the time for Bible study was about to end. The bell has endured the test of time. And although Brother Justice has been with the Lord for years, his legacy of faithfulness also endures.

Hebrews 3 brings a faithful servant and a faithful Son to the readers’ attention. Though the faithfulness of Moses as God’s “servant” is undeniable, Jesus is the one believers are taught to focus on. “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters . . . fix your thoughts on Jesus” (v. 1). Such was the encouragement to all who face temptation (2:18). Their legacy could come only from following Jesus, the faithful One.

Father, through Your Spirit, empower us to courageously love, honor, and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

What do you do when the winds of temptation are swirling all around you? When you are weary and worn and want to quit? The text invites us to, as one paraphrase renders it, “Take a good hard look at Jesus” (3:1 The Message). Look at Him again—and again and again. As we reexamine Jesus, we find the trustworthy Son of God who gives us courage to live in His family.

Father, through Your Spirit, empower us to courageously love, honor, and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

Looking to Jesus can give us courage to face the challenges in our lives.

By Arthur Jackson

INSIGHT

The book of Hebrews was written to encourage Jewish Christians who were facing persecution and hardship for their faith and who were now in danger of drifting away and reverting back to Judaism. The writer warns them against abandoning Christ (2:1–3; 3:7–15; 6:4–6; 10:26–31) and presents the absolute supremacy of Jesus as Savior. Jesus is superior to the angels (chs. 1–2), to Moses (chs. 3–4), and to the Aaronic priesthood (chs. 5–7), and He is the perfect High Priest (chs. 8–10). In today’s passage Moses is compared with Christ. While Moses was one of God’s most faithful servants, Jesus is far greater than Moses because Jesus is God’s Son (3:5–6).

How does reflecting on the supremacy of Jesus encourage you to trust Him in your trials?

  1. T. Sim

 

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Rome at Last


Read: Acts 28:11-16

And so we came to Rome. (v. 14)

When the apostle finally reached Rome, Nero was emperor—a chilling thought, considering that he was the Caesar to whom Paul had appealed his case. But Paul’s arrival looks something like a triumphal entry, which is no less encouraging to the apostle.

Rome was much more than just another stop on Paul’s missionary itinerary. It marks the climax of Paul’s career, as he finally is able to realize his long-time ambition of preaching the gospel in the capital of the empire. But Paul’s arrival in Rome is also the fulfillment of Luke’s plan for the book of Acts.

We could read Acts as “A Tale of Two Cities.” The book begins in Jerusalem and ends in Rome. Luke’s agenda for Acts is spelled out in Jesus’ final instructions to his disciples, recorded in Acts 1:8: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” So why does Rome serve as the climax of the story? There was a well-known saying that is still familiar to us: “All roads lead to Rome.” That was literally true. A golden post set in the middle of the Roman Forum was “Mile Marker 0” for every road throughout the Empire. But if all roads led to Rome, then roads from Rome led everywhere! So in a symbolic sense Paul’s arrival in the capital represented the goal of taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. —David Bast

Prayer: Lord, may the good news of Jesus continue to go to the ends of the earth, until your triumphant return.

 

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Joyce Meyer – Give Your Soul A Break

 

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. — Psalm 62:5 NIV

When you take a vacation, do you give your soul a break, just as you give your body some rest, recreation, and refreshment?

Your soul is comprised of your mind, will, and emotions, and it is a very important part of your entire being. You are a spiritual being, and you live in a physical body. But if you don’t understand your soul’s needs, you will not be a whole, healthy individual.

When we are weary, exhausted in strength, endurance, and vigor, we need help. We need to be refreshed not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Being weary is not something to be ashamed of; it’s simply a sign that we need a break.

You can take a vacation thinking you need a physical rest, but if you don’t let your soul rest at the same time, you will return home just as exhausted as you were when you left. Lying on the beach worrying does not equal a day of vacation. If you take a day off and spend it trying to deal with personal problems, traffic, high prices, and rude people—you’d have been better off at work!

Learning to let our souls rest is vitally important. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28–30 that if we are overburdened, weary, and worn out, we should spend time with Him and see how He handled life. He promises to give us rest. The Amplified Bible’s translation of these verses indicates that the type of rest He is talking about is refreshment, renewal and blessed quiet for our souls. Jesus is really offering us a vacation for our souls, our inner lives.

Prayer Starter: Father, I take this moment to offer You all of my stress, worries, and cares. Please refresh my mind and emotions. Help me to run to You when I am weary and worn out from life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Protects Worshipers

 

“He protects all those who love Him, but destroys the wicked” (Psalm 145:20).

Throughout Scripture one is reminded over and over again that when a person obeys Him, God blesses that person. And when a person – or a nation – disobeys Him, God disciplines, just as a loving father disciplines his disobedient child because he loves him, not because of his wrath or any evil intent.

The Israelites, though warned many times that if they disobeyed God He would destroy them, finally had to be destroyed – after numerous warnings and disciplinings (including grievous plagues) – because of their disobedience (Deuteronomy, chapters 8 and 28; Amos, chapter 4). God still disciplines men and nations. It is a sobering thing to disobey God.

Someone has said, “We do not break God’s laws, but God’s laws break us.” If we obey them, we are blessed. If we disobey them, we must suffer the consequences.

Scripture suggests that what applies to individuals and to nations also applies to Christian movements or organizations such as the one with which I have the privilege of serving our Lord. So long as I and the now more than 16,000 full-time and associate staff members continue to obey God, His hand of blessing will remain upon our worldwide efforts. If we disobey Him, He will not only withhold His blessings, but will discipline us as individuals and as a movement.

I pray daily that each one of us may determine to obey God implicitly.

Bible Reading:Psalm 45:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Recognizing that the laws of God in the spiritual realm are just as inviolate as the laws of the physical realm, and that God blesses those who obey Him and disciplines those who are disobedient, with the enabling of the Holy Spirit I will seek to express my love for God by living a life of faith and obedience for His glory.

 

http://www.cru.org

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – OUT OF OUR MINDS FOR CHRIST

 

2 Corinthians 5

Francis Chan, pastor and author of Crazy Love, said this about the reputation of Christ-followers: “The world is not moved by love or actions that are of human creation. And the church is not empowered to live differently from any other gathering of people without the Holy Spirit. But when believers live in the power of the Spirit, the evidence in their lives is supernatural. The church cannot help but be different, and the world cannot help but notice.”

In today’s passage, Paul contrasts our earthly existence with the heavenly, observing that when we live out our faith as God’s new creation, we will be viewed as “different” by the world. He says, “If we are ‘out of our mind,’ as some say, it is for God” (v. 13). This contrast between the old and the new is evident to others and a result of the transformation we experience in Christ.

We have heard stories of believers who chose forgiveness when from an earthly perspective it did not seem to make sense. Paul explains that Christians experience a pull between these two contrasting worlds. The earthly “tent” is our present condition, our physical body. But in Christ, we are a new creation and long for heaven (v. 2).

We are called to live by faith and not merely by sight (v. 7). We exist on this earth and in an earthly body, but our heavenly destination changes everything. Christ’s love enables us to follow the path of forgiveness. It persuades others to believe (v. 11). Paul rejoices that, because of Christ, “the old has gone, the new is here!” (v. 17). Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we could be made righteous in Him (v. 21). Is it any wonder that we are considered “out of our mind” for God?

APPLY THE WORD

Has anyone ever called you crazy for a decision based on your belief in Christ? It should not surprise us when heavenly motivated decisions are questioned or even scorned by those who prioritize the things of this earth. We are indeed heavenly citizens and we operate by different rules. Ask God to keep you heavenly minded today.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Wisdom Hunters – Transforming Power of Truth Applied 

 

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

Truth applied makes us fully alive. Indeed, most people know enough truth to live a worthwhile life. They know to be honest and not lie. They know to be content and not covet another person’s house, car, or spouse. They know to be patient and wait on the Lord to do a work of grace in a loved one’s life. They know to take responsibility and not blame someone else. They know to believe Jesus and to trust Him with their life.

If we know the truth, why do we sometimes struggle with its application? Perhaps we are self-deceived to think the truth of Scripture is needed for someone else, but not for us. Truth is right and good— not just right and good for me to practice, or worse, to think I’m living it out, when I’m not. Feeling good or bad, or being educated doesn’t transform behavior. What alters our actions is an inward change expressed in outward obedience. The wonderful benefit of this practical process is that truth applied makes us fully alive.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Truth is like a vaccination—that when administered—prevents you from being infected with foolish living. It is like a life-saving serum applied to sin’s poisonous snakebite—potentially healing you from relational, emotional, physical and spiritual death. There is no downside to honestly gazing into the mirror of truth—assessing your life—better yet inviting godly friends to look with you, and then by God’s grace, applying truth for change.

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Is there a dark area of your life that needs the bright light of truth to expose it and root it out? Are there bad attitudes and habits you blame on past pain and injustice? If so, lean into the truth and do not be satisfied until truth’s application frees you from mediocre living. Truth applied does make you fully alive—it is a dependable friend who walks with you through wise decision-making. Dismiss dishonest living and invite freedom in honest living. Ask the Lord to reveal truth to you and empower you to live out the truth.

“When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:21-24).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my application of truth through my growing relationship with Jesus, who is the Truth, in His name I pray, amen.

Application: What truth do I need to embrace and celebrate in the transformation of my life?

Related Readings: Isaiah 1:19; Proverbs 23:22; Acts 6:7; Romans 6:16

Worship Resource: 4-minute music video- Hillsong Worship: Lord of Lords

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

http://www.wisdomhunters.com/

Charles Stanley – The High Cost of Compromise

 

1 John 2:15-29

In the world of politics, compromise is the name of the game. One thing must be surrendered in order to gain something else that is desired. We also make concessions in many other areas of life. Some compromises are good, such as giving up our desire to watch television when our children ask us to play a game with them. However, anytime we compromise issues of morality, integrity, obedience to God, or the truth of Scripture, we will pay a high price.

There is a battle going on within each of us. As believers, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who convicts us of sin, prompts us toward obedience, and teaches us truth. However, there is also a fleshly part of us that longs for selfish pleasures and values the priorities of this fallen world. As much as we may try, we cannot straddle the fence between the flesh and the Spirit. James 4:4 says that friendship with the world is enmity toward God. We must make a choice—and not just one time but daily and even hourly.

Compromising by giving in to our fleshly desires leads to internal corruption (Eph. 4:21-24). We may not notice it at first, but stepping beyond the boundary of obedience affects our mind and future choices. Each concession makes the next one easier. Satan first gains a toehold, which eventually becomes a foothold and then a stronghold. The final result is ruin, as God allows us to reap what we’ve sown.

Instead of sitting on the fence, let’s make up our mind ahead of time to follow the Lord wholeheartedly and reap the benefits of a life fully devoted to Christ.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 18-20

 

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Our Daily Bread — n-the-Job Training

Read: 2 Timothy 1:6–14 | Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 3–5; Luke 20:1–26

Of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 2 Timothy 1:11

When my son’s teacher asked me to serve as a chaperone for their science camp, I hesitated. How could I be a role model when mistakes littered my past, when I still struggled, stumbled, and slipped into old bad habits? God helped me love and raise my son, but I often doubted He could use me to serve others.

Sometimes I still fail to recognize that God—the only perfect One, the only One who can change hearts and lives—transforms us over time. Then the Holy Spirit reminds me how Paul encouraged Timothy to embrace his on-the-job training, persevere in faith, and use the gifts God had given him (2 Timothy 1:6). Timothy could be courageous because God, his power source, would help him love and be disciplined as he continued to grow and serve those within his sphere of influence (v. 7).

We can persevere with confidence when we know our role is to simply love God and others.

Christ saves and empowers us to honor Him with our lives, not because we have special qualifications but because we’re each valuable members of His family (v. 9).

We can persevere with confidence when we know our role is to simply love God and others. Christ’s role is to save us and give us a purpose that extends beyond our small vision of the world. As we follow Jesus daily, He transforms us while using us to encourage others as we share His love and truth wherever He sends us.

Lord, thanks for affirming we can depend on You completely as we share You cheerfully, confidently, and courageously.

Knowing our Power-Source personally gives us confidence in our role as servants to the King.

By Xochitl Dixon

INSIGHT

In today’s reading Paul notes how God has “called us to a holy life” (2 Timothy 1:9)—a life set apart for Him. Such a life involves God’s calling and our obedience. So Paul urged Timothy to “fan into flame” his spiritual gift (v. 6).

What does it mean to “fan into flame” our gift? One key is to acknowledge God in everything. Perhaps we need to trust Him in a big trial. We may need to acknowledge Him in “trivial” matters. As we give Him our huge challenges and the aggravating details, He completes His work in us. He loves us enough to work on us for a lifetime.

Tim Gustafson

 

http://www.odb.org

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Shipwreck!

Read: Acts 27:13-44

So take heart. (v. 25)

Luke’s account of his and Paul’s (notice the “we” in verses 16 and 27) voyage and shipwreck on the way to Rome is one of the great narrative passages in the Bible. But what is the point? Two complementary truths emerge from the story. The first is that God is always in control. Storms may come, we might even have to go through a shipwreck, but God is managing it all. It’s as if the Lord says, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this. You’ll make it.” “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar” (v. 24).

The second great truth is that our actions matter. We may be tempted to think that because God is sovereign and is working out his purposes, it doesn’t really matter whether we do anything or not. We can just sort of sit back and let God do his thing. But that’s not what we see in Acts 27. I’m especially impressed by something Paul says. When the sailors try to steal the lifeboat and sneak off to shore, Paul grabs the centurion. He knows that without the crew to man the ship, they won’t last the night. So he tells the Roman soldier, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved” (v. 31). Wait, didn’t God assure Paul everyone would be saved? Yes. But if the sailors leave, they won’t be saved? Yes, again. Here’s the point. God works his will through us.God’s purpose is invincible, but our efforts are indispensable. —David Bast

Prayer: Lord, help me to do my part in what you are doing in the world.

 

 

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Joyce Meyer – Trust God Completely

 

In You, O Lord, I have placed my trust…. — Psalm 31:1

I remember when God told me to quit my full-time job where I was making very good money. He began to deal with me, saying, “You’re going to have to put that down and stay home and prepare for ministry.”

I didn’t obey quickly because I was afraid to leave my job. After all, how did I even know for sure that I was hearing from God? He continued dealing with me so I finally tried to make a deal with Him, saying, “I won’t work full-time, but I’ll work part-time.”

So, I went to work part-time because I was afraid to trust God completely. Dave and I didn’t have as much income as we had before, but I found we could survive on less money than we had previously. We had to cut down on expenses, but we were able to pay our bills. I also had more time to prepare for ministry. This seemed like a good plan, but it was not God’s plan.

I learned that God doesn’t want to make “deals” and I ended up getting fired from my part-time job. I was a good worker and had never been fired from a job before. Even though I didn’t like my circumstances, I was finally where God wanted me to be all along—totally dependent on Him.

Without a job, I had to learn to trust God for every little thing I needed. For six years, we needed divine intervention each month just to be able to pay our bills, but during that time I learned a lot about God’s faithfulness. He always provided, and what we learned through our experience enabled us to trust Him for the resources we now need to run an international ministry. I encourage you to obey God completely and don’t try to make deals with Him because they never work.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to trust You more. Help me not to “lean on my own understanding” (see Proverbs 3:5) but instead fully depend on Your guidance and direction. In Jesus’ Name, Amen..

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Fullness of Joy

 

“Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11, KJV).

“If you have lost the joy of the Lord in your life,” someone once observed, “who moved, you or God? For in His presence is fullness of joy.”

That saint and prophet of earlier years, A. W. Tozer, suggested several ways for the believer to achieve real joy:

  1. Cultivate a genuine friendship with God. He is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  2. Take time to exercise yourself daily unto godliness. Vow never to be dishonest about sin in your life, never to defend yourself, never to own anything (or let anything own you), never to pass on anything hurtful about others, never to take any glory to yourself.
  3. No known sin must be allowed to remain in your life. “Keep short accounts with God” – never allow unconfessed sins to pile up in your life.
  4. Set out to build your own value system based on the Word of God. Meditate on the Word; practice the presence of God. Set priorities as you realize what is truly important. It will be reflected in the standard of values you set for yourself.
  5. Share your spiritual discoveries with others.

Bible Reading:John 15:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Knowing that the best witness in the world is a joyful, radiant Christian, I will try to be that kind of believer, trusting the indwelling Holy Spirit to thus empower me and radiate His love and joy through me. I will share my spiritual discoveries with others.

 

http://www.cru.org

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE PATH OF FORGIVENESS

2 Corinthians 2

After a gunman killed 26 worshipers at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the pastor preached a message of forgiveness. Pastor Frank Pomeroy, whose teenage daughter had also been killed in the attack, said, “We have the freedom to take that building that was attacked, transform it with the love of God into a memorial to remind everyone that we will never forget. And if anybody knows me, what is my verse? Love never fails.”

The pastor preached a message of the freedom to choose between hate and love. Do we react to sin with rage and anger, or do we choose the path of forgiveness?

Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians addresses a number of difficult church disciplinary situations. Wrong had been done within the church, and someone had offended and been punished. But rather than continue to condemn and hold a grudge against the offender, Paul advises the church that the punishment itself was sufficient, and “now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him” (v. 7). This forgiveness was an expression of their Christian love and fellowship: “I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him” (v. 8).

The impulse to refuse to forgive the offender, Paul pointed out, is from Satan himself, who wants to “outwit us” (v. 11). A lack of forgiveness causes division and pain to linger. The path of forgiveness instead provides healing and restoration.

While the human urge is to hold on to hatred, forgiveness becomes part of our regular practice as believers because we are part of the triumphal procession of Christ (v. 14). This stunning willingness to forgive does not go unnoticed by the world; it is an “aroma” that points them to God Himself (v. 15).

APPLY THE WORD

Do your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers smell the sweet fragrance of Jesus’ forgiveness in your life, or the stench of harsh judgment and refusal to extend mercy to others? Prayerfully consider whether your next conversation, meeting, or social media post can share the “aroma that brings life” to those around you (v. 16).

 

http://www.todayintheword.org