Charles Stanley – Overcoming Life’s Ups and Downs

 

Philippians 4:10-13

Contentment is something we all desire yet too seldom have. If it comes, it usually seems short-lived. And often we think that contentment is possible only if all our circumstances are comfortable and there are no conflicts or misunderstandings in our relationships.

The apostle Paul proves that perfect conditions are not the source of contentment. He wrote his letter to the Philippians while he was in a Roman prison. Contentment was something he had to learn, not through comfort but through hardship and suffering. Paul relied on spiritual truths to enable him to face his difficulties God’s way—without complaint, worry, or fear.

In every trial, we have a choice to view the situation from our perspective or from God’s. Depending on our focus, we either react emotionally or respond spiritually, based on God’s Word and promises. Inner turmoil and outward agitation result when we focus on feelings instead of spiritual principles. But when we habitually see every matter from God’s point of view, then irritation, anger, and blame will be replaced by an inner quietness and confidence.

Is it really possible to face serious trials and have God’s peace? According to Paul, the answer is yes. We can be content in all circumstances through Christ’s strength (Phil. 4:13). This isn’t a natural response but a supernatural one, which God alone can produce in the lives of His children. If we’ll let divine truths interpret our trials and trust the Holy Spirit to empower us to respond in faith, our heart will find rest no matter what goes on around us.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 13-15

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Widow’s Faith

 

Read: 2 Kings 4:1–7 | Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 23–24; Luke 19:1–27

The pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Matthew 6:32

It is pitch dark when Ah-pi starts her day. Others in the village will wake up soon to make their way to the rubber plantation. Harvesting latex is one of the main sources of income for people living in Hongzhuang Village, China. To collect as much latex as possible, the trees must be tapped very early in the morning, before daybreak. Ah-pi will be among the rubber tappers, but first she will spend time communing with God.

Ah-pi’s father, husband, and only son have passed away, and she—with her daughter-in-law—is providing for an elderly mother and two young grandsons. Her story reminds me of another widow in the Bible who trusted God.

We may face situations beyond our reserves, but never beyond God’s resources.

The widow’s husband had died and left her in debt (2 Kings 4:1). In her distress, she looked to God for help by turning to His servant Elisha. She believed that God cared and that He could do something about her situation. And God did. He provided miraculously for the dire needs of this widow (vv. 5–6). This same God also provided for Ah-pi—though less miraculously—through the toil of her hands, the produce from the ground, and gifts from His people.

Though life can make various demands on us, we can always draw strength from God. We can entrust our cares to Him, do all we can, and let Him amaze us with what He can do with our situation.

Father, thank You for Your patience when I trust in my own resources and turn to You only as a last resort. Teach me to seek Your help in all I do.

We may face situations beyond our reserves, but never beyond God’s resources.

By Poh Fang Chia

INSIGHT

Can you remember a time when you thought that without a miracle you might not make it?

The Old Testament story of Elijah and Elisha speaks to such fears and the need for faith. Through signs and wonders Elijah called a nation back to its God (1 Kings 18:21, 38–39). Elisha, in turn, inspired hope by miraculously purifying water, multiplying food, and raising the dead.

This is the backstory that according to the New Testament was preparing the way for Jesus. With echoes of Elisha, Jesus filled the stomachs of more than 5,000 hungry people with a little boy’s lunch (Matthew 14:15–21).

Are you troubled by overwhelming needs that keep you awake at night? How does reflecting on God’s miraculous power give you hope?

Mart DeHaan

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Love that Followed

Writer Philip Yancey tells of his experience playing chess against a master player. He explains his rapid realization that no matter what move he made, no matter what strategy he chose, the master seemed to turn his play around to serve his own purposes. As I look back upon my life, it is so evident that the Master, that Hound of Heaven, has been on my trail, working all things out for God’s own ends—God’s own good and perfect ends, I might add.

In studying when the gospel first made inroads into my lineage, I have found that on both sides of my family, the first believers came from the highest cast of the Hindu priesthood six generations ago. The first Christian was a woman. She was interested in the message brought by missionaries, in spite of her family’s terrible displeasure. One day as she was about to leave the missionary compound in order to return home before her family found out, the doors of the compound were shut because of a cholera epidemic. Remaining with the missionaries until the time of the quarantine was past, she committed her life to God. Threat of disease and the walls of a closed compound were the freeing means of her coming to Christ.

Readers of English poetry will recall the turbulent life of Francis Thompson. His father wanted him to study at Oxford, but Francis lost his way in drugs and failed to make the grade time and again. This was a slumbering genius, if only his life could be rescued. When Francis finally succumbed to the pursuing Christ, he penned his immortal “Hound of Heaven”:

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Love that Followed

Joyce Meyer – Enjoying the Journey

 

But Martha was very busy and distracted with all of her serving responsibilities; and she approached Him and said, “Lord, is it of no concern to You that my sister has left me to do the serving alone?…” — Luke 10:40

I believe that life should be a celebration. Far too many believers don’t even enjoy life, let alone celebrate it. Many people truly love Jesus Christ and are on their way to heaven, but very few are enjoying the trip. For many years I was one of those people…I was like Martha!

Martha was busy doing what I used to do—running around trying to make everything perfect in order to impress God and everyone else. I complicated my relationship with the Lord because I had a legalistic approach to righteousness. I only felt good about myself when I was accomplishing something. And I resented people like Martha’s sister, Mary, who enjoyed themselves. I thought they should be working like I was working.

My problem was that I was all Martha and no Mary. I loved Jesus, but I had not learned about the simple life He desired me to live. The answer, I discovered, was rooted in faith, discovering what it means to sit at the feet of Jesus, listen to His words, and trust God with all my heart and soul.

Prayer Starter: Father, I ask for Your grace to truly enjoy and celebrate life. Help me to also enjoy my relationship with You and always remember what is truly important. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – No Darkness in Him

 

“This is the message God has given us to pass on to you: That God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. So if we say we are His friends, but go on living in spiritual darkness and sin, we are lying. But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:5-7).

One of the first passages of Scripture that I memorized as a new Christian was the first chapter of 1 John. This passage has been a beacon to me through the years as a simple reminder that in God is light and the only reason that I do not live perpetually in that light is because at times I deliberately sin.

Steve had lost his joy and enthusiasm for Christ, and as a new Christian was perplexed. He could not understand what had happened to him. As we counseled together, it became apparent that he had allowed some of his old natural habit patterns to creep back into his life.

I suggested that he make a list of all the things that were wrong in his life and confess them to the Lord in accordance with 1 John 1:9. A few days later, with joyful enthusiasm he came to share with me how his heart had been kindled afresh with the love of God as he was now walking in the light as God is in the light, having wonderful fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

How does one walk in the light? Do not tolerate unconfessed sin. Meditate upon the Word of God. Spend time in prayer talking to God and letting Him talk to you. Share your faith in Christ with others. Obey the commandments of God.

Are you walking in the light as God is in the light? Are you experiencing the joy of the Lord? Are you constrained by the love of Christ to share Him with others?

Bible Reading:I John 1:6-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I shall always seek to walk in the light as God is in the light in order that I may experience wonderful fellowship with my Lord. When I find myself walking in darkness, I shall pause to confess my sins and by faith claim God’s forgiveness and cleansing so that I may be restored to once again walk in the light with God.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – In the Storm

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

After Jesus’ disciples fought a raging storm for nine cold hours, at about 4:00 AM the unspeakable happened. They spotted someone coming on the water. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror. (Matthew 14:26 MSG). They didn’t expect Jesus to come to them this way.

Neither do we. We expect him to come in the form of peaceful hymns on Easter Sundays or quiet retreats. We expect to find Jesus in morning devotionals and meditations. We never expect to see him in a divorce or a foreclosure. We never expect to see him in a storm. But it’s in a storm that he does his finest work, for it is in storms that he has our keenest attention.

Jesus replied to the disciples’ fear with an invitation worthy of inscription on every church cornerstone and residential archway, “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” (Matthew 17:27).

Read more Fearless

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Professor who reviled Barbara Bush will not be punished

 

A California State University, Fresno, professor will not be punished for calling Barbara Bush “an amazing racist” and cheering her death.

The university’s president condemned Randa Jarrar’s statements as “insensitive, inappropriate and an embarrassment to the university.” However, he stated that she was acting as a private citizen using her personal Twitter account, so her statements didn’t violate school policies.

In other California news, a former police officer has been identified as the so-called “Golden State Killer.” He is believed to have committed twelve killings and at least fifty rapes across California from 1976 to 1986.

Closer to home, Dallas police officer Rogelio Santander died yesterday. He was one of three victims of a gunman who was caught shoplifting at a Home Depot in our area.

His tragic death reminds us that our police officers are on the front lines every day, willing to die so we can live. They deserve our intercession and encouragement today.

And the husband of the woman killed last week on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 has now spoken to reporters. When Michael Riordan learned that his wife had died, “I immediately thought of the kids and how do you tell your kids their mom was gone.”

A very hard question

Continue reading Denison Forum – Professor who reviled Barbara Bush will not be punished