Charles Stanley – The High Cost of Compromise

 

1 John 2:15-29

In the world of politics, compromise is the name of the game. One thing must be surrendered in order to gain something else that is desired. We also make concessions in many other areas of life. Some compromises are good, such as giving up our desire to watch television when our children ask us to play a game with them. However, anytime we compromise issues of morality, integrity, obedience to God, or the truth of Scripture, we will pay a high price.

There is a battle going on within each of us. As believers, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who convicts us of sin, prompts us toward obedience, and teaches us truth. However, there is also a fleshly part of us that longs for selfish pleasures and values the priorities of this fallen world. As much as we may try, we cannot straddle the fence between the flesh and the Spirit. James 4:4 says that friendship with the world is enmity toward God. We must make a choice—and not just one time but daily and even hourly.

Compromising by giving in to our fleshly desires leads to internal corruption (Eph. 4:21-24). We may not notice it at first, but stepping beyond the boundary of obedience affects our mind and future choices. Each concession makes the next one easier. Satan first gains a toehold, which eventually becomes a foothold and then a stronghold. The final result is ruin, as God allows us to reap what we’ve sown.

Instead of sitting on the fence, let’s make up our mind ahead of time to follow the Lord wholeheartedly and reap the benefits of a life fully devoted to Christ.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 18-20

 

http://www.intouch.org/

 

Our Daily Bread — n-the-Job Training

Read: 2 Timothy 1:6–14 | Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 3–5; Luke 20:1–26

Of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 2 Timothy 1:11

When my son’s teacher asked me to serve as a chaperone for their science camp, I hesitated. How could I be a role model when mistakes littered my past, when I still struggled, stumbled, and slipped into old bad habits? God helped me love and raise my son, but I often doubted He could use me to serve others.

Sometimes I still fail to recognize that God—the only perfect One, the only One who can change hearts and lives—transforms us over time. Then the Holy Spirit reminds me how Paul encouraged Timothy to embrace his on-the-job training, persevere in faith, and use the gifts God had given him (2 Timothy 1:6). Timothy could be courageous because God, his power source, would help him love and be disciplined as he continued to grow and serve those within his sphere of influence (v. 7).

We can persevere with confidence when we know our role is to simply love God and others.

Christ saves and empowers us to honor Him with our lives, not because we have special qualifications but because we’re each valuable members of His family (v. 9).

We can persevere with confidence when we know our role is to simply love God and others. Christ’s role is to save us and give us a purpose that extends beyond our small vision of the world. As we follow Jesus daily, He transforms us while using us to encourage others as we share His love and truth wherever He sends us.

Lord, thanks for affirming we can depend on You completely as we share You cheerfully, confidently, and courageously.

Knowing our Power-Source personally gives us confidence in our role as servants to the King.

By Xochitl Dixon

INSIGHT

In today’s reading Paul notes how God has “called us to a holy life” (2 Timothy 1:9)—a life set apart for Him. Such a life involves God’s calling and our obedience. So Paul urged Timothy to “fan into flame” his spiritual gift (v. 6).

What does it mean to “fan into flame” our gift? One key is to acknowledge God in everything. Perhaps we need to trust Him in a big trial. We may need to acknowledge Him in “trivial” matters. As we give Him our huge challenges and the aggravating details, He completes His work in us. He loves us enough to work on us for a lifetime.

Tim Gustafson

 

http://www.odb.org

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Shipwreck!

Read: Acts 27:13-44

So take heart. (v. 25)

Luke’s account of his and Paul’s (notice the “we” in verses 16 and 27) voyage and shipwreck on the way to Rome is one of the great narrative passages in the Bible. But what is the point? Two complementary truths emerge from the story. The first is that God is always in control. Storms may come, we might even have to go through a shipwreck, but God is managing it all. It’s as if the Lord says, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this. You’ll make it.” “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar” (v. 24).

The second great truth is that our actions matter. We may be tempted to think that because God is sovereign and is working out his purposes, it doesn’t really matter whether we do anything or not. We can just sort of sit back and let God do his thing. But that’s not what we see in Acts 27. I’m especially impressed by something Paul says. When the sailors try to steal the lifeboat and sneak off to shore, Paul grabs the centurion. He knows that without the crew to man the ship, they won’t last the night. So he tells the Roman soldier, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved” (v. 31). Wait, didn’t God assure Paul everyone would be saved? Yes. But if the sailors leave, they won’t be saved? Yes, again. Here’s the point. God works his will through us.God’s purpose is invincible, but our efforts are indispensable. —David Bast

Prayer: Lord, help me to do my part in what you are doing in the world.

 

 

https://woh.org/

Joyce Meyer – Trust God Completely

 

In You, O Lord, I have placed my trust…. — Psalm 31:1

I remember when God told me to quit my full-time job where I was making very good money. He began to deal with me, saying, “You’re going to have to put that down and stay home and prepare for ministry.”

I didn’t obey quickly because I was afraid to leave my job. After all, how did I even know for sure that I was hearing from God? He continued dealing with me so I finally tried to make a deal with Him, saying, “I won’t work full-time, but I’ll work part-time.”

So, I went to work part-time because I was afraid to trust God completely. Dave and I didn’t have as much income as we had before, but I found we could survive on less money than we had previously. We had to cut down on expenses, but we were able to pay our bills. I also had more time to prepare for ministry. This seemed like a good plan, but it was not God’s plan.

I learned that God doesn’t want to make “deals” and I ended up getting fired from my part-time job. I was a good worker and had never been fired from a job before. Even though I didn’t like my circumstances, I was finally where God wanted me to be all along—totally dependent on Him.

Without a job, I had to learn to trust God for every little thing I needed. For six years, we needed divine intervention each month just to be able to pay our bills, but during that time I learned a lot about God’s faithfulness. He always provided, and what we learned through our experience enabled us to trust Him for the resources we now need to run an international ministry. I encourage you to obey God completely and don’t try to make deals with Him because they never work.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to trust You more. Help me not to “lean on my own understanding” (see Proverbs 3:5) but instead fully depend on Your guidance and direction. In Jesus’ Name, Amen..

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Fullness of Joy

 

“Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11, KJV).

“If you have lost the joy of the Lord in your life,” someone once observed, “who moved, you or God? For in His presence is fullness of joy.”

That saint and prophet of earlier years, A. W. Tozer, suggested several ways for the believer to achieve real joy:

  1. Cultivate a genuine friendship with God. He is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  2. Take time to exercise yourself daily unto godliness. Vow never to be dishonest about sin in your life, never to defend yourself, never to own anything (or let anything own you), never to pass on anything hurtful about others, never to take any glory to yourself.
  3. No known sin must be allowed to remain in your life. “Keep short accounts with God” – never allow unconfessed sins to pile up in your life.
  4. Set out to build your own value system based on the Word of God. Meditate on the Word; practice the presence of God. Set priorities as you realize what is truly important. It will be reflected in the standard of values you set for yourself.
  5. Share your spiritual discoveries with others.

Bible Reading:John 15:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Knowing that the best witness in the world is a joyful, radiant Christian, I will try to be that kind of believer, trusting the indwelling Holy Spirit to thus empower me and radiate His love and joy through me. I will share my spiritual discoveries with others.

 

http://www.cru.org

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE PATH OF FORGIVENESS

2 Corinthians 2

After a gunman killed 26 worshipers at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the pastor preached a message of forgiveness. Pastor Frank Pomeroy, whose teenage daughter had also been killed in the attack, said, “We have the freedom to take that building that was attacked, transform it with the love of God into a memorial to remind everyone that we will never forget. And if anybody knows me, what is my verse? Love never fails.”

The pastor preached a message of the freedom to choose between hate and love. Do we react to sin with rage and anger, or do we choose the path of forgiveness?

Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians addresses a number of difficult church disciplinary situations. Wrong had been done within the church, and someone had offended and been punished. But rather than continue to condemn and hold a grudge against the offender, Paul advises the church that the punishment itself was sufficient, and “now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him” (v. 7). This forgiveness was an expression of their Christian love and fellowship: “I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him” (v. 8).

The impulse to refuse to forgive the offender, Paul pointed out, is from Satan himself, who wants to “outwit us” (v. 11). A lack of forgiveness causes division and pain to linger. The path of forgiveness instead provides healing and restoration.

While the human urge is to hold on to hatred, forgiveness becomes part of our regular practice as believers because we are part of the triumphal procession of Christ (v. 14). This stunning willingness to forgive does not go unnoticed by the world; it is an “aroma” that points them to God Himself (v. 15).

APPLY THE WORD

Do your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers smell the sweet fragrance of Jesus’ forgiveness in your life, or the stench of harsh judgment and refusal to extend mercy to others? Prayerfully consider whether your next conversation, meeting, or social media post can share the “aroma that brings life” to those around you (v. 16).

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Wisdom Hunters – Trained and Mentored 

Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.” Acts 22:2–3

What does it mean to be trained and mentored in the ways of Jesus? Over the years men and women invested in me by being my mentor. In one case it was a businessman who met me before sunrise. We steeped in the Scripture, and like the effects of a potent tea bag, Christ colored my heart. We prayed on our knees before the start of the day and walked with our Savior throughout the remainder of the day. My mentor made time for me.

How can we be mentored or how can we train and mentor others? It may be a role model from a distance; however, virtual mentors have their limitations. We only see them at their best and rarely learn how to handle struggles and disappointments. Some others have influenced us through their writings and inspired us by their insightful biographies.

Do you have a seasoned saint up close and personal, one who can pray with you, instruct you, challenge you, encourage you, and give you wisdom for wise decision making? “My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge” (Proverbs 5:1–2).

Moreover, mentors alert you to sin crouching at the door of your heart and mind. Perhaps they nearly lost their marriage to avoidance of responsibility and being lured away by adultery’s illusion. They can instruct you in what to do and not to do. Paul, Moses, and David’s murderous mistakes did not disqualify them from mentoring and training others out of their repentant hearts. Brokenness is required to mentor well.

However, it is not enough for us to just enjoy the benefits of mentoring without seeking out men and women to mentor. Jesus told His mentees, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Luke 10:2).

Then these reluctant and unproven disciples of Christ were empowered by the Holy Spirit to become workers for God. Pray to the Lord for a mentor, and He will lead and equip you to be an answered prayer.

“And the [instructions] which you have heard from me along with many witnesses, transmit and entrust [as a deposit] to reliable and faithful men who will be competent and qualified to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2 AMPLIFIED).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for those who have poured into my life with the life of Christ, in Jesus name, amen.

Application: What profile of mentor makes sense for this season of my life? Whom can I mentor?

Related Readings: Exodus 18:1–27; Judges 4:4–28; 2 Kings 2:1–15; Acts 9:26–30

Worship Resource: 8-minute music video- All Sons and Daughters: Your Glory

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

http://www.wisdomhunters.com/