Charles Stanley – Loving God

 

John 14:21-24

If you ask a young man how he knows he’s in love with his girlfriend, there’s a good chance he won’t be able to explain but will simply say, “I just know it.” And those of us who have experienced the joy of falling in love will understand what he means.

But how do we know if we love God? Even though we can’t physically see, hear, or touch Him, our life should contain evidence that testifies to our love for Him.

Jesus’ love for His heavenly Father was perfectly demonstrated by His obedience. Every word, thought, and deed—from the time He left heaven to be born as a baby until His ascension—was done according to His Father’s will and instructions. Their relationship was so intimate that Jesus not only knew exactly what His Father desired but also delighted in obeying Him. (See Psalm 40:7-8; John 6:38.)

If we want to grow in our love for the Lord, we must draw near to Him through His Word. As we learn to know Him intimately, our love will increase and we’ll desire to obey. Unless we invest in Scripture, our fervor for the Lord will fall short of what it could be.

What does your lifestyle reveal about the depth of your devotion to Christ—can others see it clearly in your conversation, character, and conduct? And if you ever feel disappointed that your love for Christ seems small, open the Word of God and obey whatever He says. He will abide with you and disclose Himself, thereby increasing your capacity to love and know Him more.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 30-31

 

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Our Daily Bread — Sweet and Bitter

Read: Psalm 119:65–72 | Bible in a Year: Judges 19–21; Luke 7:31–50

You are good, and what you do is good. Psalm 119:68

Some people like bitter chocolate and some prefer sweet. Ancient Mayans in Central America enjoyed chocolate as a beverage and seasoned it with chili peppers. They liked this “bitter water,” as they called it. Many years later it was introduced in Spain, but the Spaniards preferred chocolate sweet, so they added sugar and honey to counteract its natural bitterness.

Like chocolate, days can be bitter or sweet as well. A seventeenth-century French monk named Brother Lawrence wrote, “If we knew how much [God] loves us, we would always be ready to receive equally . . . from His hand the sweet and the bitter.” Accept the sweet and the bitter equally? This is difficult! What is Brother Lawrence talking about? The key lies in God’s character. The psalmist said of God, “You are good, and what you do is good” (Psalm 119:68).

You are good, and what you do is good. Psalm 119:68

Mayans also valued bitter chocolate for its healing and medicinal properties. Bitter days have value too. They make us aware of our weaknesses and they help us depend more on God. The psalmist wrote, “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (v. 71). Let us embrace life today, with its different flavors—reassured of God’s goodness. Let us say, “You have done many good things for me, Lord, just as you promised” (v. 65 nlt).

Father, help me to see Your goodness even in times of trouble.

God is good.

By Keila Ochoa INSIGHT

Psalm 119 expresses a deep longing to be transformed by the riches of God’s truth. The psalm echoes the theme of Psalm 1—that walking with God in integrity results in being “blessed,” having a flourishing life (v. 1).

Yet even as the psalm vividly describes pursuing God wholeheartedly, it also emphasizes that a rich life with God isn’t based on us. We are always in desperate need of God’s loving guidance to lead us into ever-greater depths of His truth (119:35–37, 88). The beauty of life with God is always based on His goodness (v. 68).

That is why—even in hard times—we can still find joy and hope. Even when our struggles are caused by our own sin (vv. 67, 71), we can trust in His mercy (v. 132). Because He is good and does what is good (v. 68), we can trust that He is always at work, drawing us closer to Him (v. 58).

Reflect on the intimate way Psalm 119 unites our calling to pursue God with our complete dependence on Him. Are you prone to emphasize one over the other? How might God be calling you to a deeper walk with Him?

Monica Brands

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Dying into Life

The glory of God is the human person fully alive.

I first read this quote by Irenaeus of Lyons while still a graduate student. In my early rendering of this evocative statement, I imagined people at play in a field of flowers, the sun shining brightly. Everyone is happy and smiling, laughing even, as they dance and play in the fields of the Lord. As I pictured it in my mind’s eye, the human person fully alive was a person alive to possibility, never-ending opportunities, and always happy. How could it be otherwise with God’s glory as the enlivening force?

It is easy to envision this kind of reality in the early days of spring. All of creation coming alive again coinciding with the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus and the Jewish celebration of Passover. Yet, I am often perplexed as to just what “fully alive” looks like for many people in our world. How would this read to women in the Congo, for example, whose lives are torn apart by tribal war and violence against their own bodies? What would this mean to an acquaintance of mine who is a young father recently diagnosed with lymphoma? What about those who are depressed or homeless? Or those who live with profound disabilities?

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Dying into Life

Joyce Meyer – Praise Your Way to Victory

 

Be not afraid or dismayed…for the battle is not yours, but God’s. — 2 Chronicles 20:15

If life sometimes seems to be a battle that causes you to feel upset and fearful, you’ll be glad to know you were not meant to fight the battle alone. The Bible says the battle is God’s.

God never loses a battle. And when you work with Him according to His plan, you won’t either.

During trying times, do you worry or worship? Praise and worship should not be limited to a few minutes in church. If you’re not worshipping at home on a regular basis, you may feel like the victim instead of the victor.

But God’s Word clearly details the Holy Ghost-anointed battle plan to combat every challenge you face. When you begin to substitute praise for petition and worship for worry, God will move on your behalf.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for always being with me. Please help me to praise and worship You in the midst of life’s “battles” and keep my eyes focused on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Gift of His Spirit

 

“This is what God has prepared for us and, as a guarantee, He has given us His Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 5:5).

A dynamic young business man sat across from me in my office. By almost every standard of human measure he was an outstanding success in both his business and his religion.

He was one of the leading men in his field of specialty in the world. A highly moral, religious person, he was very active in his church. And yet, he was not sure that he was a Christian.

He wanted desperately – more than anything else in the world – to have real assurance, but he did not know how to go about obtaining it. Step by step, I explained to him from the Bible how he could receive Christ into his life and be sure of his salvation.

Soon we were on our knees in prayer, after which he went on his way rejoicing in the assurance of his salvation to begin a supernatural walk with God.

Many pastors and other Christian leaders, I have discovered, also have this same gnawing doubt about their salvation. One pastor who had preached the Bible-centered gospel for 40 years told me that he was still unsure of his salvation.

The wife of an evangelist confided, “During the past 30 years, my husband and I have introduced thousands of people to Christ, but I have never been sure of my own salvation. Never before have I had the courage to share this concern with anyone, but now I am so desperate that I have come to seek your help.”

I explained that we receive Christ as our Savior by faith or on act of the will; then, as a guarantee, He gives us His Holy Spirit.

Bible Reading:II Corinthians 5:6-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  With God’s Holy Spirit as my constant witness, I will daily give thanks to Him for assurance of my salvation.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Peace That Passes Understanding

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

My friend, Christyn, can honestly say she discovered a peace that passes understanding. Little by little the gray clouds lifted, and the blue sky began to peek through. Recently she and her family went back to see her daughter’s doctors in Minnesota. Seven months earlier, Rebecca was barely surviving. Now, one day before her thirteenth birthday, she was vibrant and full of life. She was named the hospital’s walking miracle. Christyn wrote, “I watched these interactions with a silent sense of awe. It’s easy to praise God during seasons of wellness. But it was during my greatest distress when I felt the Lord’s presence poured upon me. And it was in those heartbreaking moments I learned to trust this God who provided unimaginable strength during unimaginable pain.”

He will help you as well, my friend. Guard your thoughts and trust your Father!

Read more Anxious for Nothing

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Villanova beats Michigan: what the experts got wrong

The experts were right: favored Villanova defeated Michigan last night to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship. But they were wrong about how the Wildcats won their second title in three years.

Their best player wasn’t the best player in college basketball. Jalen Brunson has been named AP’s Player of the Year, the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year, and the Naismith Men’s Player of the Year. But he scored only nine points in last night’s game.

It turned out, a player who didn’t start the game dominated it. Donte DiVincenzo scored thirty-one points and was named Most Outstanding Player.

Market predictions were “pathetically wrong”

Continue reading Denison Forum – Villanova beats Michigan: what the experts got wrong