Charles Stanley – The Spiritual Fruit of Patience

 

Romans 5:1-4

The list known as “Fruit of the Spirit” includes patience (Gal. 5:22-23), but that does not mean the Holy Spirit wills it into the believer’s life. Instead, He acts as our ever-dependable teacher and the one who enables our growth. Spiritual fruit is something that matures over time as we obey the heavenly Father and surrender to His will.

Patience with both God and our fellow man is an outgrowth of deepening faith. The Holy Spirit urges believers to take note of the Lord’s handiwork on the journey through life. Our confidence in Him is nurtured by answered prayer, the rich blessings that arise unexpectedly from difficult circumstances, and every trace of good that God salvages from a bad situation. As our trust in His goodness and sovereignty grows, we find ourselves more willing to wait for God’s solutions and outcomes.

In fact, I believe that recognizing God’s sovereignty is key to developing patience. A significant part of surrendering to His absolute control is waiting upon Him to do what He will. It is wisdom to realize that our lives unfold according to His master plan—exasperated toe tapping doesn’t make Him speed up one bit. God expects His children to step into His timeline and practice patience no matter what pace He sets.

Patience doesn’t come naturally. That’s why we have the Holy Spirit. He strengthens our resolve to endure without complaint when progress seems sluggish. After all, God is slow only from a human standpoint. From a divine, eternal perspective, He’s always working at the perfect speed.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 24-25

 

http://www.intouch.org/

 

Our Daily Bread — Breaking the Chains

 

Read: Ephesians 1:3–14 | Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 8–9; Luke 21:1–19

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. Ephesians 1:7

We found our visit to Christ Church Cathedral in Stone Town, Zanzibar, deeply moving, for it sits on the site of what was formerly the largest slave market in East Africa. The designers of this cathedral wanted to show through a physical symbol how the gospel breaks the chains of slavery. No longer would the location be a place of evil deeds and horrible atrocities, but of God’s embodied grace.

Those who built the cathedral wanted to express how Jesus’s death on the cross provides freedom from sin—that which the apostle Paul speaks of in his letter to the church at Ephesus: “In him we have redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:7). Here the word redemption points to the Old Testament’s notion of the marketplace, with someone buying back a person or item. Jesus buys back a person from a life of slavery to sin and wrongdoing.

Jesus redeems us from the slavery of sin.

In Paul’s opening words in this letter (vv. 3–14), he bubbles over with joy at the thought of his freedom in Christ. He points, in layer after layer of praise, to God’s work of grace for us through Jesus’s death, which sets us free from the cords of sin. No longer do we need to be slaves to sin, for we are set free to live for God and His glory.

Lord God, through the death of Your Son, You have given us life forever. Help me to share this gift of grace with someone today.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Matchless Wonder

For anyone who has ever been troubled by the lone sock left at the end of the laundry, help is on the way, and it comes in the form of indignation: Who ever said socks had to come in pairs anyway? At least that is the rebellious philosophy of one sock manufacturer who is single handedly trying to change the way we see “the sock problem.”(1) “The missing sock is never going to go away,” said one of the company’s founders, insisting that this is a way to have fun with one very small real-world problem: “People lose their socks… Let’s embrace the problem, and run with it.”(2) Currently they have in circulation over six hundred thousand socks, all sold without matches in packages of 1, 3, or 7.

Type A personalities aside, the embracing of mismatched socks actually seems to be catching on. I happen to think the idea is clever, particularly among the target market (girls age 9-13), but I also think it may indeed be one more logical outworking of a current philosophical state of mind. “Imbalance by design—and the studied quirkiness it reveals—is everywhere,” notes one cultural observer.(3) Random is the new order, as Apple insisted a few years ago. Whether selling music or socks, in the constant undertow of marketing, the spirit and mood of the age is keenly, if cleverly, seen. But imbalance by design is still by design.

Physicist and Nobel laureate Leon Lederman once jokingly remarked that the real goal of physics was to come up with an equation that could explain the universe but still be small enough to fit on a T-shirt—or perhaps a twitter feed. With such a challenge in mind, Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins offers up his own one-lined slogan: “Life results from the non-random survival of randomly varying replicators.” This is to say, as he has said elsewhere, the watchmaker is blind. The universe has neither design nor purpose; it exhibits nothing but blind pitiless indifference.

But if the universe has always been a disordered series of time and matter and chance, I’m not alone in my need to understand how we account for the intricate orderedness to life, the uniformity of nature, even the intricacy of the very mind that asks the question. How is it that we can ever accept the non-random consistency of nature in a random world? And what would it really look like if random was the new order? Even in the nonconforming concept of mismatched socks, the factories making them still exhibit a scrupulous degree of order; each random sock is designed and produced with creativity and intent.

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Joyce Meyer – Wait on God

…For you [and only You] I wait [expectantly] all the day long. — Psalm 25:5

I am a person of action, and when there is a problem, I am ready to take action, but sometimes I make the situation worse because I didn’t wait to get God’s plan. Being aggressive has many benefits, but it can also cause problems if we are acting independently of God.

I am reminded today of the importance of maintaining an attitude of waiting on God. I am not suggesting inactivity but rather the highest form of spiritual activity, that of trusting God in every area of life. Wait on Him for strength, healing, wisdom, and opportunity. Wait on God to reveal Himself to you and to show you His amazing favor. God is waiting to be good to us, and He looks for those who are waiting on Him (Isaiah 30:18).

Waiting on God is mostly an attitude of the heart. One that is fully aware that God is everything and we are nothing without Him. We should pray and refuse to take action without assurance that God is leading. Go to Him as early as possible each day, which is the moment you wake up. He is always near, and you need no special preparation to begin fellowshipping with Him. Always remember that God loves you unconditionally and is with you at all times.

Prayer Starter: Father God, I desire to form a habit of waiting on You all throughout the day. Help me not to rush ahead into activities and decisions without acknowledging You. Thank You for Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Self-Control Is Better

“It is better to be slow-tempered than famous; it is better to have self-control than to control an army” (Proverbs 16:32).

You and I know from experience that it is not easy to discipline our emotions, our passions or our self-will. In fact, apart from God’s help, it is an impossibility.

  • A lustful person who does not control his thoughts quenches and grieves the Spirit.
  • An overweight person, because he cannot control his appetite, quenches and grieves the Spirit.
  • A Christian who places undue emphasis on material possessions quenches and grieves the Holy Spirit.
  • A gossip who cannot control his tongue quenches and grieves the Spirit.
  • A husband, wife, or child who fails to live according to the commands of Ephesians chapter 5 quenches and grieves the Holy Spirit.
  • A student who fails to study adequately because of poor discipline quenches and grieves the Spirit.

Many pages would be required to list all the ways in which lack of self-control quenches and grieves the Holy Spirit.

The spirit, mind and body are the three aspects of our being over which we are told to practice self-control.

What is man’s spirit?

It is his immaterial being – man without his body, if you will. The Bible gives many characteristics of the spirit of man. It is that which communicates with the Spirit of God.

Man’s spirit is the center of emotions (1 Kings 21:5), the source of passions (Ezekiel 3:14) and the seat of volition or exercise of the will (Proverbs 16:32). Our spirit is subject to divine influence while housed in our mortal body (Deuteronomy 2:30 and Isaiah 19:14), and leaves the body at the time of physical death (Ecclesiastics 12:7 and James 2:26).

Bible Reading:Proverbs 15:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Drawing upon this enabling power of the Holy Spirit, I will practice the vital discipline of self-control.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – When Everything Changes

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Are you on the eve of change? A new chapter? A new season? Heaven’s message for you is clear: when everything else changes, God’s presence never does. You journey in the company of the Holy Spirit, who “will teach you everything and will remind you of everything” he has told you (John 14:26 NLT). So, make friends with whatever’s next.

Change is a part of life, and a necessary part of God’s strategy. To use us to change the world, he alters our assignments. But, someone might ask, what about the tragic changes God permits? Some seasons make no sense. They do, however, if we see them from an eternal perspective. What makes no sense in this life will make perfect sense in the next. As Paul wrote, “These troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing”  (2 Corinthians 4:17 CEV).

Read more Fearless

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – The story of Alfie Evans: A tale of two Kates

“My gladiator laid down his shield and gained his wings at 2:30.” This is how Alfie Evans’s father described the death of his twenty-three-month-old son early Saturday morning.

Alfie suffered from a degenerative neurological condition. His doctors in Great Britain said he was in a “semi-vegetative state” with almost no brain function.

His parents, Tom and Kate, wanted to provide further care in line with their Catholic faith. Pope Francis and Italian authorities supported their desire to have their son treated in Italy, where their wishes would have been honored.

Italy had a military plane on standby to take Alfie to Rome. He had also been granted Italian citizenship to facilitate his transport and arrival.

However, his British doctors believed that further treatment was futile and petitioned the courts to end his medical care. Under British law, it is common for courts to intervene when doctors and parents disagree on the treatment of a child. In such cases, the rights of the child (as determined by the court) are given primacy over the parents’ right to decide what’s best for their children.

Alfie’s life support was withdrawn last week after the courts sided with the doctors.

Conversely, Kate Middleton made global headlines Friday morning with the announcement that she and Prince William had decided on a name for their newborn son. Prince Louis has received the best of medical care, of course, and will live in the spotlight of fame accorded the British royal family.

In God’s eyes, which baby is more sacred?

Valuing life by its utility

Continue reading Denison Forum – The story of Alfie Evans: A tale of two Kates