Charles Stanley – Developing Patience

 

James 1:1-4

When people confide in me that they are praying for patience, I often ask what else they’re doing to acquire a calm and gentle heart. Patience isn’t so much something believers receive as it is an attribute that they develop over time and through experience.

Think of patience as a muscle that you have to use in order to see it build. To that end, believers should recognize difficulty as an opportunity to flex their patience. The human instinct is to cry out to God in bewilderment when tribulation comes knocking. We blame. We resist. We complain. What we don’t do is say, “Thank You, Father—it’s time to grow in patience!” People aren’t trained to think that way, but according to the Bible, that is exactly how Christians are to respond.

The book of James tells us to consider trials a joy (James 1:2). But we often fail at this, don’t we? Humanly speaking, praising the heavenly Father for tribulation is unnatural. However, doing so begins to make sense to believers when they cling to God’s promise that good comes from hardship. (See Rom. 8:28.) We are not waiting on the Lord in vain. We can praise Him for the solution He will bring, the lives He will change, or the spiritual fruit He will develop in our life.

Accepting hardship as a means of growth is a radical concept in this world. Even more extreme is the believer who praises the Lord for the storm. But God’s followers have cause to rejoice. Tribulation increases our patience so that we can stand firm on His promises and await His good timing.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 21-23

 

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Our Daily Bread — Take Another Look at Jesus!

 

Read: Hebrews 3:1–6 | Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 6–7; Luke 20:27–47

But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. Hebrews 3:6

If there ever was a faithful person, it was Brother Justice. He was committed to his marriage, dedicated to his job as a postal worker, and each Sunday stood at his post as a leader in our local church. I visited my childhood church recently, and perched on the upright piano was the same bell that Brother Justice rang to notify us that the time for Bible study was about to end. The bell has endured the test of time. And although Brother Justice has been with the Lord for years, his legacy of faithfulness also endures.

Hebrews 3 brings a faithful servant and a faithful Son to the readers’ attention. Though the faithfulness of Moses as God’s “servant” is undeniable, Jesus is the one believers are taught to focus on. “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters . . . fix your thoughts on Jesus” (v. 1). Such was the encouragement to all who face temptation (2:18). Their legacy could come only from following Jesus, the faithful One.

Father, through Your Spirit, empower us to courageously love, honor, and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

What do you do when the winds of temptation are swirling all around you? When you are weary and worn and want to quit? The text invites us to, as one paraphrase renders it, “Take a good hard look at Jesus” (3:1 The Message). Look at Him again—and again and again. As we reexamine Jesus, we find the trustworthy Son of God who gives us courage to live in His family.

Father, through Your Spirit, empower us to courageously love, honor, and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

Looking to Jesus can give us courage to face the challenges in our lives.

By Arthur Jackson

INSIGHT

The book of Hebrews was written to encourage Jewish Christians who were facing persecution and hardship for their faith and who were now in danger of drifting away and reverting back to Judaism. The writer warns them against abandoning Christ (2:1–3; 3:7–15; 6:4–6; 10:26–31) and presents the absolute supremacy of Jesus as Savior. Jesus is superior to the angels (chs. 1–2), to Moses (chs. 3–4), and to the Aaronic priesthood (chs. 5–7), and He is the perfect High Priest (chs. 8–10). In today’s passage Moses is compared with Christ. While Moses was one of God’s most faithful servants, Jesus is far greater than Moses because Jesus is God’s Son (3:5–6).

How does reflecting on the supremacy of Jesus encourage you to trust Him in your trials?

  1. T. Sim

 

http://www.odb.org

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Rome at Last


Read: Acts 28:11-16

And so we came to Rome. (v. 14)

When the apostle finally reached Rome, Nero was emperor—a chilling thought, considering that he was the Caesar to whom Paul had appealed his case. But Paul’s arrival looks something like a triumphal entry, which is no less encouraging to the apostle.

Rome was much more than just another stop on Paul’s missionary itinerary. It marks the climax of Paul’s career, as he finally is able to realize his long-time ambition of preaching the gospel in the capital of the empire. But Paul’s arrival in Rome is also the fulfillment of Luke’s plan for the book of Acts.

We could read Acts as “A Tale of Two Cities.” The book begins in Jerusalem and ends in Rome. Luke’s agenda for Acts is spelled out in Jesus’ final instructions to his disciples, recorded in Acts 1:8: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” So why does Rome serve as the climax of the story? There was a well-known saying that is still familiar to us: “All roads lead to Rome.” That was literally true. A golden post set in the middle of the Roman Forum was “Mile Marker 0” for every road throughout the Empire. But if all roads led to Rome, then roads from Rome led everywhere! So in a symbolic sense Paul’s arrival in the capital represented the goal of taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. —David Bast

Prayer: Lord, may the good news of Jesus continue to go to the ends of the earth, until your triumphant return.

 

https://woh.org/

Joyce Meyer – Give Your Soul A Break

 

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. — Psalm 62:5 NIV

When you take a vacation, do you give your soul a break, just as you give your body some rest, recreation, and refreshment?

Your soul is comprised of your mind, will, and emotions, and it is a very important part of your entire being. You are a spiritual being, and you live in a physical body. But if you don’t understand your soul’s needs, you will not be a whole, healthy individual.

When we are weary, exhausted in strength, endurance, and vigor, we need help. We need to be refreshed not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Being weary is not something to be ashamed of; it’s simply a sign that we need a break.

You can take a vacation thinking you need a physical rest, but if you don’t let your soul rest at the same time, you will return home just as exhausted as you were when you left. Lying on the beach worrying does not equal a day of vacation. If you take a day off and spend it trying to deal with personal problems, traffic, high prices, and rude people—you’d have been better off at work!

Learning to let our souls rest is vitally important. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28–30 that if we are overburdened, weary, and worn out, we should spend time with Him and see how He handled life. He promises to give us rest. The Amplified Bible’s translation of these verses indicates that the type of rest He is talking about is refreshment, renewal and blessed quiet for our souls. Jesus is really offering us a vacation for our souls, our inner lives.

Prayer Starter: Father, I take this moment to offer You all of my stress, worries, and cares. Please refresh my mind and emotions. Help me to run to You when I am weary and worn out from life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Protects Worshipers

 

“He protects all those who love Him, but destroys the wicked” (Psalm 145:20).

Throughout Scripture one is reminded over and over again that when a person obeys Him, God blesses that person. And when a person – or a nation – disobeys Him, God disciplines, just as a loving father disciplines his disobedient child because he loves him, not because of his wrath or any evil intent.

The Israelites, though warned many times that if they disobeyed God He would destroy them, finally had to be destroyed – after numerous warnings and disciplinings (including grievous plagues) – because of their disobedience (Deuteronomy, chapters 8 and 28; Amos, chapter 4). God still disciplines men and nations. It is a sobering thing to disobey God.

Someone has said, “We do not break God’s laws, but God’s laws break us.” If we obey them, we are blessed. If we disobey them, we must suffer the consequences.

Scripture suggests that what applies to individuals and to nations also applies to Christian movements or organizations such as the one with which I have the privilege of serving our Lord. So long as I and the now more than 16,000 full-time and associate staff members continue to obey God, His hand of blessing will remain upon our worldwide efforts. If we disobey Him, He will not only withhold His blessings, but will discipline us as individuals and as a movement.

I pray daily that each one of us may determine to obey God implicitly.

Bible Reading:Psalm 45:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Recognizing that the laws of God in the spiritual realm are just as inviolate as the laws of the physical realm, and that God blesses those who obey Him and disciplines those who are disobedient, with the enabling of the Holy Spirit I will seek to express my love for God by living a life of faith and obedience for His glory.

 

http://www.cru.org

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – OUT OF OUR MINDS FOR CHRIST

 

2 Corinthians 5

Francis Chan, pastor and author of Crazy Love, said this about the reputation of Christ-followers: “The world is not moved by love or actions that are of human creation. And the church is not empowered to live differently from any other gathering of people without the Holy Spirit. But when believers live in the power of the Spirit, the evidence in their lives is supernatural. The church cannot help but be different, and the world cannot help but notice.”

In today’s passage, Paul contrasts our earthly existence with the heavenly, observing that when we live out our faith as God’s new creation, we will be viewed as “different” by the world. He says, “If we are ‘out of our mind,’ as some say, it is for God” (v. 13). This contrast between the old and the new is evident to others and a result of the transformation we experience in Christ.

We have heard stories of believers who chose forgiveness when from an earthly perspective it did not seem to make sense. Paul explains that Christians experience a pull between these two contrasting worlds. The earthly “tent” is our present condition, our physical body. But in Christ, we are a new creation and long for heaven (v. 2).

We are called to live by faith and not merely by sight (v. 7). We exist on this earth and in an earthly body, but our heavenly destination changes everything. Christ’s love enables us to follow the path of forgiveness. It persuades others to believe (v. 11). Paul rejoices that, because of Christ, “the old has gone, the new is here!” (v. 17). Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we could be made righteous in Him (v. 21). Is it any wonder that we are considered “out of our mind” for God?

APPLY THE WORD

Has anyone ever called you crazy for a decision based on your belief in Christ? It should not surprise us when heavenly motivated decisions are questioned or even scorned by those who prioritize the things of this earth. We are indeed heavenly citizens and we operate by different rules. Ask God to keep you heavenly minded today.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Wisdom Hunters – Transforming Power of Truth Applied 

 

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

Truth applied makes us fully alive. Indeed, most people know enough truth to live a worthwhile life. They know to be honest and not lie. They know to be content and not covet another person’s house, car, or spouse. They know to be patient and wait on the Lord to do a work of grace in a loved one’s life. They know to take responsibility and not blame someone else. They know to believe Jesus and to trust Him with their life.

If we know the truth, why do we sometimes struggle with its application? Perhaps we are self-deceived to think the truth of Scripture is needed for someone else, but not for us. Truth is right and good— not just right and good for me to practice, or worse, to think I’m living it out, when I’m not. Feeling good or bad, or being educated doesn’t transform behavior. What alters our actions is an inward change expressed in outward obedience. The wonderful benefit of this practical process is that truth applied makes us fully alive.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Truth is like a vaccination—that when administered—prevents you from being infected with foolish living. It is like a life-saving serum applied to sin’s poisonous snakebite—potentially healing you from relational, emotional, physical and spiritual death. There is no downside to honestly gazing into the mirror of truth—assessing your life—better yet inviting godly friends to look with you, and then by God’s grace, applying truth for change.

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Is there a dark area of your life that needs the bright light of truth to expose it and root it out? Are there bad attitudes and habits you blame on past pain and injustice? If so, lean into the truth and do not be satisfied until truth’s application frees you from mediocre living. Truth applied does make you fully alive—it is a dependable friend who walks with you through wise decision-making. Dismiss dishonest living and invite freedom in honest living. Ask the Lord to reveal truth to you and empower you to live out the truth.

“When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:21-24).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my application of truth through my growing relationship with Jesus, who is the Truth, in His name I pray, amen.

Application: What truth do I need to embrace and celebrate in the transformation of my life?

Related Readings: Isaiah 1:19; Proverbs 23:22; Acts 6:7; Romans 6:16

Worship Resource: 4-minute music video- Hillsong Worship: Lord of Lords

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

http://www.wisdomhunters.com/