Charles Stanley – Triumph Through Failure

 

John 21:1-9

We’ve all left footprints in the valley of failure. What matters is how we respond afterwards. Do we give up and live a defeated life, or do we believe God can restore us?

The story of Peter’s failure and subsequent restoration gives us tremendous encouragement. Jesus warned that Peter would fall short, but He also prayed for the disciple’s faith not to fail. Jesus assured Peter ahead of time that his failure would not be the end of the story—he would stand up again and strengthen the others (Luke 22:31-32).

The Lord knew that before Peter could be molded into a strong yet humble leader, his pride and self-confidence had to be brought low and his heart broken. Although Satan wanted to sift the disciple to make him useless, Christ commandeered the process to make Peter useful.

In the same way, God can use our failures to prepare us to be more effective servants for Him. Although we may feel as though we have slipped from His grasp, Jesus has promised that nothing and no one can separate us from His love. He sits at the Father’s right hand, always interceding for us (Rom. 8:34).

When we wallow in our failures and build walls around our heart to deny the Lord access, we are resisting much-needed brokenness and healing. If we want God to use us, we must allow Him to get rid of the chaff that keeps us from being who He desires us to be. But if we will humbly turn to the Lord, He’ll give us a fresh start and a renewed understanding of His goodness and purpose.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 6-7

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Reason to Sing

 

Read: Psalm 98 | Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 27–29; Luke 13:1–22

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. Psalm 98:1

When I was thirteen, my school required students to take four exploratory courses, including home economics, art, choir, and woodworking. On my first day in choir, the instructor called each student to the piano individually to hear their voices and place them in the room according to their vocal range. During my turn at the piano, I sang the notes she played multiple times, but wasn’t directed to a section in the room. Instead, after repeated tries, she sent me to the counseling office to find a different class to take. From that moment on, I felt I shouldn’t sing at all, that my voice shouldn’t be heard in song.

I carried that thought with me for more than a decade until I read Psalm 98 as a young adult. The writer opens with an invitation to “sing to the Lord” (Psalm 98:1). The reason offered has nothing to do with the quality of our voices; He delights in all His children’s songs of thanksgiving and praise. Instead, we are invited to sing because God “has done marvelous things” (v. 1).

Take a moment to joyfully praise the Lord for all He has done.

The psalmist points out two wonderful reasons to joyfully praise God in song and in attitude: His saving work in our lives and His ongoing faithfulness toward us. In God’s choir, we each have a place to sing of the marvelous things He has done.

Lord, You have done great things in my life. Even if my voice isn’t one that would be heard on stage, I want to join the choir in thanking You for the amazing things You’ve done.

God loves to hear the voices of His children.

By Kirsten Holmberg

INSIGHT

Hallel is the Hebrew word for “praise” and aptly describes many of the psalms, including Psalm 98. Within the Hebrew psalter, however, there is a subset of hymns called the Hallel Psalms (Psalms 113–118). These psalms were normally sung or recited during high feast times, including Passover—Psalms 113–114 before the meal and Psalms 115–118 after it. The Jewish day begins at dusk, so when Jesus shared a final Passover with His men, crucifixion day had already begun. In the context of the cross, the impact of singing Psalm 118:24 takes on new meaning: “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (nasb). And knowing these words would have been on the Savior’s lips as He moved toward Calvary provides vivid commentary on Hebrews 12:2: “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Why not take a moment to joyfully praise the Lord for all He has done?

Bill Crowder

 

http://www.odb.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Don’t Fret

 

Psalm 37:1

What in the world does “fret” mean? Here is a little word that doesn’t have any positive definitions. It means “to worry, to be discontent, to have something be eaten away by something else.” It means, “to torment or irritate or upset someone or yourself.” So when the Bible says not to “fret” it means “quit worrying about it.” That’s not always easy to do, is it?

Here’s another little word with a negative definition: Envy. Envy is a kind of jealousy. The dictionary defines it as the “resentful or unhappy feeling of wanting somebody else’s success, good fortune, qualities, or possessions.” We can envy someone else’s clothes, their looks, their friendships, their talents, or their achievements. For example, when a friend does well on an exam, instead of being happy for her, you feel jealous and you wish it could have been you instead. That’s envy.

The Bible says that we shouldn’t fret about or envy the apparent success of people who do wrong. Do you know someone who got rewarded for cheating? How did it make you feel? Did you fret and feel envious? Unfortunately, fretting and envy don’t change the situation, but they do make us miserable. That’s why the Bible says not to fret or envy. And although people who cheat to get ahead appear to be getting away with it, they’re losers in the long run.

Dear Lord, I admit I have both fretted and been envious. Please help me to be content with doing honest work and to trust you with the rest. Amen.

Joyce Meyer – Receive God’s Healing and Restoration

 

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me…to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted, to proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives and freedom to prisoners. — Isaiah 61:1

If you are struggling with emotional distress or a broken heart, God wants to renew your mind, restore your soul, and give you a fresh start.

I don’t know your circumstances, past or present, but you may have hurts that are holding you back and keeping you captive.

I know firsthand how that feels. But I also know what it’s like to be healed and restored. As I received the truth of God’s Word and began to understand that I didn’t have to stay trapped in my past, I experienced emotional healing and deliverance from bondage.

God loves you unconditionally and He wants to do the same for you. So, learn how to receive from God…and be made whole.

Prayer Starter: Father, Your Word says You know everything about me, including all of my pain and disappointments. Help me to begin receiving your unconditional love and healing for the wounded places in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – His Rich Storehouse 

 

“However, Christ has given each of us special abilities – whatever He wants us to have out of His rich storehouse of gifts” (Ephesians 4:7).

Roger and Len read a popular book on spiritual gifts. Instead of being blessed, they were distressed. They came for counsel.

“What is our gift?” they pleaded, as though I had the ability to immediately discern God’s supernatural provision for them.

“First of all,” I explained, “you should not be exercised over the undue emphasis on gifts, which has been of somewhat recent origin. For centuries, until recent times, men did not make a great deal of that particular emphasis in the Word of God.

“The emphasis was on the authority of the Scripture, the lordship of Christ, the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Great servants of God were mightily used as preachers, missionaries, teachers and godly laymen, without ever being made particularly aware that spiritual gifts were something that needed to be emphasized. The feeling was, ‘Whatever God calls me to do, He will enable me to do, if I am willing to surrender my will to Christ, study the Word of God, obey the leading of the Holy Spirit, work hard and trust God to guide me.'”

I gave them my own testimony of how, though I had been a Christian for more than 30 years and God had graciously used my life in many ways – sometimes my preaching, other times my teaching or administrative gifts, or in the area of helps – I quite honestly did not know my spiritual gift nor did I seek to “discover” my gift. I was very content to know, with the apostle Paul, that I could do all things through Christ who strengthened me, who keeps pouring His power into me. I showed them a quotation from a book on gifts, in which a famous Christian leader declared that for 25 years he had believed he had a particular gift but recently had cause to question whether he possessed it, and concluded finally that he did not.

My word to you, then, as to Roger and Len, is not to be distressed if you do not know your gift. Simply continue to walk in faith and obedience, make Christ the Lord of every part of your life, be sure you are filled with the Spirit, and hide the Word of God in your heart daily.

Bible Reading:Ephesians 4:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  For the rest of my life I shall seek the Giver and not the gift, depending upon Him to give me the necessary wisdom and ability and whatever else is needed to accomplish the task which He has called me to do. I shall share this concept with other Christians who are confused over the matter of spiritual gifts.

 

http://www.cru.org

Wisdom Hunters – Family of Faith 

 

For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.  Matthew 12:50

Sometimes I forget to thank the Lord for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are like family. They are there to check on me, pray for me, encourage me, and hold me accountable. Blood is thicker than water, but the bond around the blood of Christ can be even thicker. My family in the faith is a gift from God not to be taken for granted.

Are you engaged with a community of Christ followers? Some of your family members may have forsaken you for your faith, but Jesus can more than compensate with those who love Him and His children. You have a family of faith that longs to love you. Have you initiated relationships at church or a Bible study? Look around you to love and be loved.

“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47).

Be with those who want to do the will of their heavenly Father, and you will want to do the will of your heavenly Father. The family of faith is contagious in its commitment to Christ. But how do you respond to relatives who want to pull you away from the presence of Jesus? How do you stay true to the Lord when there is tension over your trust in Him?

You cannot ignore them, even when they are unruly, because God has family in your life to be a reflection of Him. Your behavior may be the only Bible they read, and your words may be the only Jesus they hear. You know better, so you forgive and extend grace while unbelieving family members do not know any better than to be harsh and hold grudges.

Lean into your family of faith so you in turn can lovingly serve your family outside the faith. Moreover, look for believers in your life who need family and invite them into yours. We need each other for the body of Christ is connected and sensitive to one another’s needs. When you have Jesus as a friend, you have a family in the faith.

Paul said, “To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior” (Titus 1:4).

 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for my fellow followers of Jesus who inspire me to remain faithful and to rest in Your love and comfort, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Whom do I count as family in the faith? How can I bless them? Who needs me to be family for them?

Related Readings: Ruth 3:13; Matthew 19:29; Luke 2:49; 1 Timothy 5:8

 

http://www.wisdomhunters.com/

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS TEACHES US TO FORGIVE

 

Matthew 9:1–8

To be forgiven changes us. Nelson Mandela spent decades imprisoned by his political enemies. Upon his release in 1994, he chose to devote his life to helping the people of South Africa forgive one another: “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

For the next few days, we’ll study how Jesus teaches us to forgive. In today’s passage, Jesus offers both physical and spiritual healing. Just after Jesus arrived by boat, He was approached by several men carrying a paralyzed man lying on a mat. The effect of the physical healing was obvious—at their request, Jesus healed the paralyzed man, and the previously incapacitated man was able to walk home (v. 7). But before healing the man physically, Jesus healed him spiritually—forgiving his sins.

This act of forgiveness and spiritual healing angered the religious leaders. They did not object to a paralyzed man being healed, but they drew the line at Jesus’ declaration of forgiveness: “This fellow is blaspheming” (v. 3). To blaspheme means to show irreverence for God or to disrespect the sacred. When Jesus said He forgave the man’s sins, they thought Him presumptuous. How could He claim to do the work God alone could do?

Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Which is easer: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?” (v. 5). We might also ask, which healing is more necessary? Jesus had the power to free the man from physical pain, but He also had the authority to forgive his sin and heal him spiritually. The crowd was “filled with awe” and praised God after seeing this miraculous display of forgiveness (v. 8).

APPLY THE WORD

When we pray and bring our requests to God, we often focus on our physical need, such as physical illness or financial needs. While these are worthy concerns, we should also be mindful that God’s healing power extends far beyond our external needs. He is the One who can heal our hearts and forgive our sins. Praise Him today!

 

http://www.todayintheword.org