Charles Stanley – How to Develop a Heart for God

 

Psalm 119:9-16

What is your response when you read that David was a man after God’s own heart? (See 1 Samuel 13:14.) Many of us look up to him as a spiritual giant and think to ourselves, I could never be like that.

But the Lord hasn’t reserved this title for just one man. He wants all of us to seek Him as David did. One of our problems is the tendency to focus on just part of his story. We tend to forget that the scriptural account gives a record of David’s lifetime. He had to begin pursuing the Lord the same way we do—one step at a time.

A hunger for the heavenly Father doesn’t ordinarily appear all of a sudden, fully matured, in one’s heart. Most of the time, it’s something that must be cultivated, and the best place to begin is the Bible. That’s where we listen to the Lord as He speaks to us in His Word.

Another essential element is prayer. As you read His words, start talking to Him. If it all seems dry and meaningless, ask Him to work in your life to make Scripture come alive. He loves to answer prayer in accordance with His will.

The next step is meditation. Don’t “put in your time” so you can say you’ve read your Bible. Slow down and deliberately think about what you’ve read, asking, What am I discovering about God?

The last step is to commit. A hunger for God may not develop right away, but remember, you’re working for a changed heart that will last a lifetime, not a fleeting emotional experience. Continue to fill up with the fuel that brings transformation—the Word, prayer, and meditation.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 23-24

 

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Our Daily Bread — When One Hurts, All Hurt

Read: 1 Corinthians 12:14–26 | Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 22–24; Luke 12:1–31

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 1 Corinthians 12:26

When a coworker called in sick due to extreme pain, everyone at the office was concerned. After a trip to the hospital and a day of bed rest, he returned to work and showed us the source of that pain—a kidney stone. He’d asked his doctor to give him the stone as a souvenir. Looking at that stone, I winced in sympathy, remembering the gallstone I had passed years ago. The pain had been excruciating.

Isn’t it interesting that something so small can cause a whole body so much agony? But in a way, that’s what the apostle Paul alludes to in 1 Corinthians 12:26: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” Throughout chapter 12, Paul used the metaphor of a body to describe Christians around the world. When Paul said, “God has put the body together” (v. 24), he was referring to the entire body of Christ—all Christians. We all have different gifts and roles. But since we’re all part of the same body, if one person hurts, we all hurt. When a fellow Christian faces persecution, grief, or trials, we hurt as if we’re experiencing that pain.

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 1 Corint

My coworker’s pain drove him to get the help his body needed. In the body of Christ, someone’s pain ignites our compassion and moves us toward action. We might pray, offer a word of encouragement, or do whatever it takes to aid the healing process. That’s how the body works together.

Lord, please give peace to those who are persecuted or in pain. Your family is my family too.

We’re in this together.

By Linda Washington

INSIGHT

Paul often uses the metaphor of the body to represent the church (see Romans 12:3–5; Ephesians 1:22–23; 4:12–13; Colossians 1:18; 2:19). In today’s passage he makes the observation that we’re not only to share each other’s pain but also to rejoice in the blessings other believers receive. Surprisingly we may find that more difficult.

Do you find it easier to share in others’ pain or in their joy?

Tim Gustafson

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Dead Don’t Bleed

For one family in Venezuela, the space between death and life was filled with more shock than usual. After a serious car accident, Carlos Camejo was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials released the body to the morgue and a routine autopsy was ordered. But as soon as examiners began the autopsy, they realized something was gravely amiss: the body was bleeding. They quickly stitched up the wounds to stop the bleeding, a procedure without anesthesia which, in turn, jarred the man to consciousness. “I woke up because the pain was unbearable,” said Camejo.(1) Equally jarred awake was Camejo’s wife, who came to the morgue to identify her husband’s body and instead found him in the hallway—alive.

Enlivened with images from countless forensic television shows, the scene comes vividly to life. Equally vivid is the scientific principle utilized by the doctors in the morgue. Sure, blood is ubiquitous with work in a morgue; but the dead do not bleed. This is a sign of the living.

Thought and practice in Old Testament times revolved around a similar understanding—namely, the life is in the blood. It is this notion that informs the expression that “blood is on one’s hands” when life has wrongfully been taken. When Cain killed his brother Abel, God confronted him in the field, “Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” For the ancient Hebrew, there was a general understanding that blood is the very substance of our createdness, that in our blood is the essence of what it means to be alive. There is life in the blood; there is energy and power.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Dead Don’t Bleed

Joyce Meyer – Don’t Quit!

 

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. — Galatians 6:9 (AMPC)

“I’ve been a Christian for twenty-three years,” Cheryl said. “I’m just not getting anywhere. I’m as weak as I was when I first accepted Christ as my Savior. I still fail. I just don’t know if it’s worth it.”

Tears streamed down her cheeks as she continued to talk about her failures. “By now I know all the right things to do, but I don’t do them. Sometimes I deliberately do something mean-spirited or unkind. What kind of Christian am I?”

“Probably a growing Christian,” I said.

A startled look appeared on Cheryl’s face. “Growing? Did you hear—?”

“Yes, I heard. But if you weren’t growing, you wouldn’t lament your failures. You’d be satisfied about your spiritual level or tell yourself how good you are.”

“But I’m so discouraged, and I fail God so many times.”

I went on to tell Cheryl she was correct—that she had failed. All of us do at times. None of us is perfect. If we’re not careful, we allow Satan to point to what we haven’t accomplished and where we have been weak. When that happens, it’s easy to feel bad or want to give up.

That’s not the way of the Spirit. No matter how we mess up our lives, God doesn’t give up on us. The Spirit constantly nudges us.

We can allow our thoughts to dwell on what we haven’t done, why we ought to be more spiritual, or how spiritual we ought to be after all these years in our Christian faith. That’s a trick of the enemy—to make us think of our defects and shortcomings. If we focus on what we’re not or what we haven’t accomplished, we are allowing Satan to make advances on the battlefield of our minds.

The fact that my troubled friend was upset was a healthy sign, even though she didn’t see it that way. With the Holy Spirit’s help, she can push back the enemy. She can regain the territory Satan has stolen from her.

Cheryl seemed to think that holy, victorious living came from one major victory after another. Yes, we do have times when we have great breakthroughs; however, most of our victories come slowly. They come little by little. It’s as if we inch forward.

Because we move slowly in our spiritual growth, we are often unaware of how far we have moved. If the enemy can make us think that we must have one decisive spiritual victory after another or we’re losers, he has gained an important stronghold.

My advice to Cheryl, and to all Christians who face those dark moments, is to listen to the words of the apostle Paul. He exhorted us not to grow weary, or as another translation says it, “not to lose heart.” He’s saying, “Don’t quit. Keep fighting.”

Life is a struggle, and Satan is determined to defeat and destroy us. We don’t ever reach the place where we never have to fight. But it’s not just our fight. Jesus is not only with us, but He is for us. He’s at our side to strengthen us and to urge us onward.

My friend kept remembering the times she had failed, but I reminded her of the times she had succeeded. “You think the enemy is in control, but that’s not true. You have failed, but you have also succeeded. You have stood your ground and you have made progress.”

“Don’t quit. Don’t give up.” That’s the message we need to hear. I think of the words of Isaiah: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you…; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you” (Isaiah 43:1b–2).

This is God’s promise. He doesn’t promise to take us completely out of troubles or hardships, but He does promise to be with us as we go through them. “Fear not,” He says. That’s the message we need to ponder. We don’t need to fear because God is with us. And when God is with us, what is there to worry about?

Prayer Starter: God, despite my failures, I know You are with me, encouraging me to never give up. Please help me to focus on how far I have come and strengthen me to keep moving forward and make progress, even in the tough times. Thank you for never giving up on me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Inner Strengthening 

 

“That out of His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you the mighty inner strengthening of His Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 3:16).

In Christ are all the attributes and characteristics promised to His children as the fruit of the Spirit. And the Holy Spirit was given to glorify Christ.

  • Do you need love?

The Lord Jesus Christ is the incarnation of love. Paul prays that our roots may “go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep and how high His love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves (though it is so great that you will never see the end of it, or fully know or understand it”) (Ephesians 3:17-19).

  • Do you need peace?

Christ is the “Prince of Peace.” “I am leaving you with a gift,” said Jesus, “peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives” (John 14:27).

  • Do you need joy?

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Inner Strengthening 

Max Lucado – Let Him Fix It

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I’m sure you’ve had an appliance you may have tried to fix, but with no success. So you took it to the specialist. You explained the problem and then…offered to stay and help fix it? or hovered at the workbench asking questions about the progress? How about threw a sleeping bag on the floor so you could watch the repairman at work?  If you did any of these things, you don’t understand the relationship between client and repairman. The arrangement is uncomplicated. Leave it with him to fix it!

Our protocol with God is equally simple. Leave your problem with him. God doesn’t need our help, counsel, or assistance. Please repeat this phrase: I hereby resign as ruler of the universe. When God is ready for us to re-engage, he will let us know. Until then, replace anxious thoughts with grateful ones. God takes thanksgiving seriously!

Read more Anxious for Nothing

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Do you have paraskevidekatriaphobia?

Welcome to the first Friday the 13th this year. (You can look forward to another one in July.) If you’re afraid of today, you might have “paraskevidekatriaphobia” (from the Greek words for “Friday” and “thirteen”).

If so, you’re not alone.

The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute estimates that seventeen to twenty-one million people in the US are afraid of this day. Some avoid doing business, taking flights, or even getting out of bed. As much as $900 million is lost in productivity as a result.

Here’s the good news: studies seem to indicate that fewer calamities occur on this day, perhaps because people are more careful or choose to stay home.

“Unease and fears of misfortune”

I can see why people would feel afraid today.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron says he has “proof” that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to attack the town of Douma last weekend. According to today’s BBC News, Russia is warning the US that retaliatory air strikes in Syria could spark a war between the two countries.

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that the White House plans to escalate trade pressure against China. In response, the Chinese are aligning countries against the US, especially in Europe.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Do you have paraskevidekatriaphobia?