Charles Stanley – Going Against the Flow

 

Psalm 62:1-6

A majority may rule in the culture, but in your personal life, there should be only one ruler—and that’s God. It makes no difference if 10,000 people tell you what you ought to do. Once you have decided to follow the Lord, it’s best to stand right where you are until you get marching orders from Him.

Does this mean we should never take godly counsel? Not at all. It simply means that when we know God hasn’t said to move, we shouldn’t yield to the temptation to please others by following their directives or timeline. In other words, while seeking scriptural advice, believers should also listen for the Holy Spirit’s promptings and warnings. For example, when dealing with your children, you may sense there’s a time to bring up an issue and a time to hold off (Eccl. 3:7).

Sometimes, however, a fear of failure may discourage us from doing things God’s way, making us think, What if things don’t turn out as I planned? What if I’m ridiculed by my peers? But ultimately, we must ask ourselves whether we’re going to listen to God or the world. Remember, you don’t have to fear failure when you obey the Lord. He’s the one who intervenes in times of hardship. And He promises to act in behalf of the one who waits for Him (Isa. 64:4).

Remaining steadfast takes courage. That’s why Paul said, “Be strong in the Lord” (Eph. 6:10). All the pressure in the world can’t make you budge when you trust the Rock upon which you stand. With God’s guidance, you can act with complete confidence of a successful outcome.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 27-29

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Anonymous Kindness

 

Read: Matthew 6:1–4 | Bible in a Year: Judges 16–18; Luke 7:1–30

When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3

When I first graduated from college, I found myself needing to adopt a strict grocery budget—twenty-five dollars a week, to be exact. One day, while entering the checkout line, I suspected the groceries I’d selected cost slightly more than my remaining money. “Just stop when we reach twenty dollars,” I told the cashier, and I was able to purchase everything I’d selected but a bag of peppers.

As I was about to drive home, a man stopped by my car. “Here’s your peppers, ma’am,” he said, handing the bag to me. Before I had time to thank him, he was already walking away.

We give only because of what our generous God has so lavishly given us

Remembering the simple goodness of this act of kindness still warms my heart and brings to mind Jesus’s words in Matthew 6. Criticizing those who made a show of giving to the needy (v. 2), Jesus taught His disciples a different way. Instead of making giving all about them and their generosity, He urged that giving should be done so secretly it’s like their left hand isn’t even aware their right is giving (v. 3)!

As one person’s anonymous kindness reminded me, giving should never be about us. We give only because of what our generous God has so lavishly given us (2 Corinthians 9:6–11). As we give quietly and generously, we reflect who He is—and God receives the thanksgiving only He deserves (v. 11).

Have you ever been the recipient of anonymous kindness? Share your story at Facebook.com/ourdailybread.

Giving quietly and generously reflects God’s generosity.

By Monica Brands

INSIGHT

Today’s article describes acts of giving motivated by humility and kindness. There is no greater example of kindness and generosity than our God. Paul wrote that God’s kindness was at the heart of our rescue: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us” (Titus 3:4–5). Peter challenged to spiritual growth those who had “tasted the kindness of the Lord” (1 Peter 2:3 NASB). And Paul wrote to the Romans: “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 NASB). Paul made it clear that God’s kindness is behind the call to repent—to change our minds about our sin and our need of God’s forgiveness. When we are generous to others, we model the generosity and kindness our loving God has shown to us.

 

Bill Crowder

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – With Us, For Us

There was a body on the cross. This was the shocking revelation of a 12 year-old seeing a crucifix for the first time. I was not used to seeing Jesus there—or any body for that matter. The many crosses in my world were empty. But here, visiting a friend’s church, in a denomination different from my own, was a scene I had never fully considered.

In my own Protestant circles I remember hearing the rationale. Holy Week does not end with Jesus on the cross. Good Friday is not the end of the story. Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. And on the third day, he rose again. The story ends in the victory of Easter. The cross is empty because Christ is risen indeed, as liturgies all over the world proclaimed yesterday.

In fact, it is true, and as Paul notes, essential, that Christians worship a risen Christ. “[For] if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith is in vain.”(1) Even walking through the events of Holy Week—the emotion of the Last Supper, the anguish in Gethsemane, the denials of the disciples, the interrogation of Pilate, and the lonely way to Golgotha—we are well aware that though the cross is coming, so is the empty tomb. The dark story of Good Friday will indeed be answered by the light of Easter morning.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – With Us, For Us

Joyce Meyer – Receive God’s Love

 

…God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. — Romans 5:5

The Bible teaches us that the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. That simply means that when the Lord, in the person of the Holy Spirit, comes to dwell in our heart because of our faith in His Son Jesus Christ, He brings love with Him, because God is love (see 1 John 4:8).

It’s important to ask what we are doing with the love of God that has been freely given to us. Are we rejecting it because we don’t think we are valuable enough to be loved? Do we believe God is like other people who have rejected and hurt us? Or are we receiving His love by faith, believing that He is greater than our failures and weaknesses?

With God’s help, we can love ourselves—not in a selfish, self- centered way that produces a lifestyle of self-indulgence, but in a balanced, godly way…a way that simply affirms God’s creation as essentially good and right.

God’s plan is this: for us to receive His love, love ourselves in a godly way, generously love Him in return, and then love all the people who come into our lives.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for Your unconditional love. Help me to receive Your love and see myself the way You see me. Please allow Your love to flow to me and through me to other people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Clothed in Christ

 

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves in Christ” (Galatians 3:27, NAS).

You may be surprised, as I was, at the result of our personal surveys having to do with church members and salvation.

Such surveys indicate that somewhere between 50 and 90% of all church members are not sure of their salvation. Like Martin Luther, John Wesley and many others who became mighty ambassadors for Christ, some spend many years “serving God” before they experience the assurance and reality of their salvation.

The pastor of a large fashionable church of 1,500 members once reacted negatively when I shared these statistics, doubting that such large percentages of church members lacked assurance of their salvation.

He decided personally to survey his own congregation at the church where he had served as senior pastor for 15 years. To his amazement and shock, more than 75% of the membership indicated they were not sure of their salvation.

The following Sunday, the pastor arranged for the Four Spiritual Laws booklet, which contains the distilled essence of the gospel, to be distributed to each member of the congregation.

For his sermon he read the contents of the booklet aloud, as the congregation followed him, reading from their own copies of the Four Laws. Then he invited all who wished to receive Christ as their Savior and Lord to read aloud with him the prayer contained in the booklet. Almost the entire congregation joined in the prayer audibly. As a result the church was changed, because changed individuals in sufficient numbers equal a changed church, a changed community and a changed nation.

Have you clothed yourself in Christ?

Bible Reading:Galatians 4:4-7

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will not take for granted that I have found faith in Christ simply because I belong to a church, nor will I assume that all church members have assurance of their salvation. I shall encourage all who are not sure to receive Christ and be clothed in His righteousness.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – There’s a Better Way

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Anxiety weighs down the human heart (Proverbs 12:25 NRSV). But there’s a better way. Invite God to speak to the problem.“ Capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NCV).

Slap handcuffs on the culprit, and march it before the One who has all authority! Jesus says, “Get away from here, Satan!” And as the discerning, sober-minded air traffic controller of your mind, you refuse to let the thought have the time of day.

Lay claim to every biblical promise you can remember, and set out to learn a few more. Give Satan no quarter. Give his lies no welcome. Resist the urge to exaggerate, overstate, or simplify. Focus on the facts. For all you know, God may want you to be a poster child for growth. What you can do is pray and trust!

Read more Anxious for Nothing

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Chinese space station has met its “fiery doom”

Lottie Williams is still the only person known to have been hit by falling space debris. She was struck but not injured by a falling piece of a US Delta II rocket while exercising in an Oklahoma park in 1997.

More famously, America’s seventy-seven-ton Skylab crashed to Earth in 1979. It spread wreckage near the Australian city of Perth, which fined the US $400 for littering.

Now we can add China’s Tiangong-1 space station to the growing list of spacecraft that have returned unceremoniously to our planet.

As Space.com headlines, it met its “fiery doom” last night, breaking apart and burning up in our atmosphere at 8:16 p.m. EDT. Some pieces of the school-bus-size craft “almost certainly survived the fall,” but they landed harmlessly in the South Pacific.

The Chinese space station’s demise points to the fact of mortality—ours and everything we make. No matter how sophisticated our technology, it has an expiration date. How many cell phones have you owned in your life?

Nothing on our fallen planet lasts forever. But the good news is that the worst thing is never the last thing: “The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).

We know this to be true because of Easter Monday.

“A European revival has started” Continue reading Denison Forum – Chinese space station has met its “fiery doom”