Charles Stanley – Overcoming Giants

 

1 Samuel 17:31-52

The well-known story of David and Goliath teaches believers that obstacles in our life are no match for God. Whether our Goliath is a relational challenge or an overwhelming situation, we must realize that the Lord is sovereign over everything in heaven and on earth, and He has the power to give us the victory.

David had unshakeable trust because past experience had proven that God was faithful. The young shepherd recalled how the Lord gave him the victory on two separate occasions, when a lion and a bear threatened his flock (1 Sam. 17:37).

Our faith is bolstered in a similar way by remembering God’s provision in our own life and by reading about His faithfulness to men and women in the Bible. This is why it’s helpful to keep a record of God’s faithfulness. Then when facing a trial, we can look back at what we’ve journaled and be strengthened, knowing that God has proven trustworthy in the past.

Trusting in the Lord gives us the courage to face our giants. Being so armed, we can respond to challenges on the basis of three important truths:

  • Who Christ is in us—our Savior and Provider.
    • Who we are in Christ—God’s adopted children, eternally secure and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
    • What we have in Christ—the promise of access to almighty God.

Instead of fixing our attention on how big the obstacle is, let’s begin focusing on the greatness of our God. If we’ll trust and obey Him, His Spirit will equip us for the challenge, and our faith will glorify Him.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 19-21

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Fingerprint of God

 

Read: Ephesians 2:1–10 | Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 1–3; Luke 24:1–35

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Lygon Stevens loved to climb mountains with her brother Nick. They were experienced climbers and both had summitted Mt. McKinley (Denali), the highest point in North America. Then, in January 2008, they were swept off a Colorado mountain by an avalanche, injuring Nick and killing twenty-year-old Lygon. When Nick later discovered his sister’s journal in one of her satchels, he was deeply comforted by its contents. It was filled with reflections, prayers, and praise to God as seen in this entry: “I am a work of art, signed by God. But He’s not done; in fact, He has just begun. . . . I have on me the fingerprint of God. Never will there ever be another person like me. . . . I have a job to do in this life that no other can do.”

Although Lygon is no longer physically present on earth, through the legacy of her life and her journal she inspires and challenges those she left behind.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works. Ephesians 2:10

Because we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26), each person is a “work of art, signed by God.” As the apostle Paul says, “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

Praise God that He uses each of us, in His own time and way, to help others.

How would You like to use me, Lord? I am open and willing.

Each person is a unique expression of God’s loving design.

By Dennis Fisher

INSIGHT

Genesis 1:26–27 says we were created in God’s image. Similarly, Genesis 5:1 and James 3:9 tell us we were made in His “likeness.” What does it mean to be made in God’s image? We were created with characteristics that set us apart from other creatures. We have the capacity to reason, to make moral choices, and to be in relationship with others. We also have the capacity to do good works, and Jesus set the precedent: He “went around doing good” (Acts 10:38). Ephesians 2:10 tells us we were not only created “to do good works” but “God prepared in advance” the good works we would do. Our task is to stay near to God (Hebrews 10:22), be alert for opportunities, and rely on the Spirit for strength and help.

Alyson Kieda

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Faith as Faith

In a 2002 article in The Guardian, author Salman Rushdie, inspired by bouts of violence in his native India, articulated a now-common view on religion. The article was titled, “Religion, as ever, is the poison in India’s blood.” In it, Rushdie outlined the familiar stance of the vociferous new atheists, bidding the world to stop speaking of religion in the fashionable language of “respect” and skating around the obvious conclusions about both God and religion. He writes:

“What is there to respect in any of this, or in any of the crimes now being committed almost daily around the world in religion’s dreaded name? How well, with what fatal results, religion erects totems, and how willing we are to kill for them! […] India’s problem turns out to be the world’s problem. What happened in India has happened in God’s name. The problem’s name is God.“(1)

Rushdie’s voice is merely one among many in the increasingly prevalent conversation about God, religion, and violence. Against Christianity, the critiques come quite specifically. Richard Dawkins describes the Christian story as vicious, sado-masochistic, and repellent, symptomatic of a violent God, a Bible full of violence, and followers willing to overlook that violence, or worse, to embrace it. For Dawkins and his conspirators, God is the problem that initiates the problem of violence: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, blood-thirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynist, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sado-masochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. Those of us schooled from infancy in his ways can be desensitized to their horror.”(2)

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Joyce Meyer – Be Careful What You Think

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and by night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season; its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers [and comes to maturity]. — Psalm 1:2-3

In the early days of computers, they used to say, “Garbage in, garbage out.” That was a way of explaining that the computer only worked with the data put into the machine. If we wanted different results, we needed to put in different information.

With computers, most people have no trouble grasping that concept, but when it comes to their minds, they don’t seem to get it. Or perhaps they don’t want to get it. So many things demand their attention and beg for their focus. They’re not just sinful things. The apostle Paul said that although everything was lawful for him, not everything was helpful (see 1 Corinthians 6:12).

If you are going to win the battle of the mind and defeat your enemy, where you focus your attention is crucial. The more you meditate on God’s Word, the stronger you’ll become and the more easily you’ll win the victories.

Too many Christians don’t realize the difference between meditating on the Bible and reading the Bible. They like to think that whenever they read God’s Word, they’re absorbing the deep things of God. Too often people will read a chapter of the Bible, and when they get to the last verse, they have little idea of what they’ve read. Those who meditate on God’s Word are those who think—and think seriously—about what they’re reading.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Instruct, Teach, Guide

 

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye” (Psalm 32:8, KJV).

As an Eastern monarch, David was familiar with the thought behind this interesting expression: “guide thee with Mine eye.”

As he sat in state, David was surrounded by a number of servants who were eager to do his bidding. They constantly fixed their eyes on him, and when David wanted any service done, he rarely needed to speak. Each servant knew his post, and his eyes were dutifully fixed on his master. At a nod or a sign – a turn of the eye – he flew to complete the desired service.

How refreshing to know that our God keeps an eye on each one of us as His children. He knows the way we are going; He knows the way we should take – and with His watchful eye He promises to instruct us and to teach us.

When we become careless and stubborn, and thus are not observing the slightest indications of God’s will for us, we require the bit and bridle instead of the guiding eye. Great attentiveness and great desire are presupposed on the part of those who are led.

On some subjects, full directions and plain commands are not always given in the Word of God. In such cases, we must be especially sensitive to the guiding eye.

Similarly, we apply the truth of this passage to the truth of a particular providence. God’s guiding us with His eye often indicates to us His will by means of providential events. When we live and walk in the Spirit, by faith, we recognize His guiding eye.

Bible Reading:Proverbs 3:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will try to be more sensitive to God’s guiding eye, realizing that I will find proper direction in no other way.

 

http://www.cru.org

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – SPIRITUAL SLEEPWALKING

 

Revelation 3:1–6

A man walking home at 2 a.m. in Dulwich, England, happened to notice a girl asleep at the top of an inactive crane. It turns out she was a sleepwalker and had climbed 130 feet up and 40 feet across to get there. Sleepwalking is more common than one might think. According to one recent study, 8.4 million Americans—nearly 4 percent of all adults—sleepwalk each year.

The problem Jesus highlights in the church at Sardis could be characterized as spiritual sleepwalking. Sardis had once rivaled Smyrna and Ephesus, but its best days were now in the past. And the church in that city had a reputation for being alive, but was in fact dead (v. 1). It had the motions of a living church but lacked the vitality of the Spirit. This church had started well but had failed to follow through. As a result, Jesus found its deeds “unfinished” (v. 2).

Jesus commanded the church in Sardis to wake up and remember what they had “received and heard” (v. 3). This is the language of biblical tradition (see 1 Cor. 11:2, 23; 15:2–3). The way to break out of spiritual lethargy is to recall the truth of Scripture, hold fast to it, and repent.

Jesus promised to come to this church like a thief and catch those who were spiritually asleep (see Luke 12:39–40; 1 Thess. 5:2, 4; 2 Peter 3:10; Rev. 16:15). Despite some similarity in language, this warning likely does not refer to the Second Coming. It is a promise to discipline this church in a way that will be both certain and unexpected.

And those in Sardis who were spiritually alive need not be afraid. Jesus promised that they would be dressed in white, and their names would never be erased from the book of life (v. 5).

APPLY THE WORD

This is a sober warning for the church. Do we rely more on systems and structures than we do on God’s Spirit? Do you appreciate your church because it has exciting programs or because people are growing in the fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5:22–23)? It is possible to appear to be a “successful” church when we are really in spiritual decline.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Denison Forum – What Hawaii volcano survivors can teach the world

 

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano is spewing lava more than three hundred feet into the air—higher than the Statue of Liberty. As the eruption proceeds, lava fountains could shoot even higher, reaching up to a thousand feet.

There is no indication how far the lava will spread or when it will stop. At least twenty-six homes were destroyed yesterday, forcing more than 1,700 residents to evacuate.

Those who left their homes are resolute, however.

One resident grew up in the area and has lived in her house for nine years. “The volcano and the lava—it’s always been a part of my life,” she said. “It’s devastating . . . but I’ve come to terms with it.”

Another woman told a reporter, “We’ll be fine. We’ll just rebuild. We’ll just start again.” Her daughter added, “This island is so crazy. You have death around every corner. You have flash floods, tsunamis. Now we have lava. But I love it. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

A call to courage

Most of us cannot imagine choosing to live near the world’s most active volcano. We can shake our heads at the foolishness of such people.

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