Charles Stanley – The Importance of Motive

 

1 Samuel 17:20-30

Our culture is action-oriented. Generally, when we see a problem, we plunge ahead with a solution. But before taking action, it would be wise to examine our motives. Not every good deed is prompted by a good motive.

When David arrived at the scene of Israel’s battle against the Philistines, he saw Goliath for the first time and heard the Philistine’s insults and mockery of the Israelites. Then someone told him about the rewards King Saul had promised to the man who would kill Goliath—great riches, the king’s daughter for a wife, and freedom from taxation.

Such a generous reward was certainly a great motivator, and it obviously piqued David’s interest. However, what ultimately propelled him onto the battlefield was the desire to defend God’s name: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26).

As maturing Christians, we must examine our motives for desiring victory in any battle we face. Too often we are seeking a selfish end, such as release from our discomfort and a return to an easier way of life. But God is more interested in molding us into Christlikeness than He is in keeping us comfortable.

Think about the last conflict you faced, or maybe the one you’re experiencing right now. Are God’s honor and your spiritual growth the focus of your desires? If not, then you are at odds with what He is trying to accomplish in your life. But if His will is more important to you than your own agenda, you can be certain that He will use the battle for your good and His glory.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 22-24

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Responding to God’s Leading

 

Read: Exodus 3:7–14 | Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 4–6; Luke 24:36–53

At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:20

In August 2015, when I was preparing to attend a university a couple of hours from home, I realized I probably wouldn’t move back home after graduation. My mind raced. How can I leave home? My family? My church? What if God later calls me to another state or country?

Like Moses, when God told him to go “to Pharaoh to bring [His] people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10), I was afraid. I didn’t want to leave my comfort zone. Yes, Moses obeyed and followed God, but not before questioning Him and requesting that someone else go instead (vv. 11–13; 4:13).

No matter how difficult it may be, following Jesus is worth it.

In Moses’s example, we can see what we shouldn’t do when we sense a clear calling. We can instead strive to be more like the disciples. When Jesus called them, they left everything and followed Him (Matthew 4:20–22; Luke 5:28). Fear is natural, but we can trust God’s plan.

Being so far from home is still difficult. But as I continually seek God, He opens doors for me that confirm I am where I’m supposed to be.

When we are led out of our comfort zone, we can either go reluctantly, like Moses, or willingly like the disciples—who followed Jesus wherever He led them. Sometimes this means leaving our comfortable life hundreds or even thousands of miles behind us. But no matter how difficult it may be, following Jesus is worth it.

Lord, help me to follow You wherever You lead.

We are not called to be comfortable.

By Julie Schwab

INSIGHT

Do events from our past make it hard to go forward? The first time Moses tried to stand up for his people, he ended up killing an Egyptian slave master and had to run for his life (Exodus 2:11–15). That moment may have prepared him for what he was about to experience. He’d seen how badly he had messed up on his own. Now he was about to see what God could do.

What about us? Have we tripped over ourselves enough, even in trying to help others, that we’re ready to see what God can do through us as we respond to His lead?

Mart DeHaan

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Paradoxical Presence

For many Jewish people living after the Holocaust, God’s absence is an ever-present reality. It is as tangible as the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Dachau, and as haunting as the empty chair at a table once occupied with a loved one long-silenced by the gas chambers. In his tragic account of the horror and loss in the camps at Auschwitz, Elie Wiesel intones the cries of many who likewise experienced God’s absence: “It is the end. God is no longer with us… I know that Man is too small, too humble, and inconsiderable to seek to understand the mysterious ways of God. But what can I do? Where is the divine Mercy? Where is God? How can I believe? How can anyone believe in this merciful God?”(1)

This experience of absence, dramatic in its implications for the victims of the Holocaust, has repeated itself over and over again in the ravaged stories of those who struggle to hold on to faith, or those who have lost faith altogether in the face of personal holocaust. In a world where tragedy and suffering are daily realities seemingly unchecked by divine government, the absence of God seems a cruel abdication.

The words of Job, ancient in origin, speak of this same kind of experience:

Behold, I go forward, but He is not there,

And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;

When He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him;

He turns on the right, I cannot see Him.(2)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Paradoxical Presence

Joyce Meyer – Using Your Gifts Wisely

 

I, [godly] wisdom, reside with prudence [good judgment, moral courage and astute common sense], and I find knowledge and discretion. — Proverbs 8:12

A word you don’t hear very much teaching about is prudence. In Scripture, prudence or prudent means being good stewards of the gifts God has given us to use. Those gifts include abilities, time, energy, strength, and health as well as material possessions. They include our bodies as well as our minds and spirits.

God has given each of us different gifts and grace according to how He wants us to use them. One person may be gifted to sing and does so in their local area, while another person’s singing ability is known in most of the world. The Bible tells us to use our gifts according to the grace given to us (see Romans 12:6).

Each of us would be wise to know how much we are able to handle, to be able to recognize when we are reaching “full capacity” or “overload.” Instead of pushing ourselves into overload to please others, satisfy our own desires, or reach our personal goals, we can learn to listen to the Lord and obey Him. If we follow the Lord’s leading, we will enjoy blessed lives.

We all experience stress and at times we feel the effects of it, but we should learn to manage it well. Ask God to show you areas in your life that could be changed to help you eliminate excess stress better. God is good, and He wants you to enjoy a peaceful life.

Prayer Starter: Father, I ask for Your help to be a good steward of my time, energy, and talents. Help me to live a balanced lifestyle and be sensitive to Your direction in every area of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Gives Attention

 

“For the eyes of the Lord are intently watching all who live good lives, and He gives attention when they cry to Him” (Psalm 34:15).

A mother and her little 4-year-old daughter were preparing to retire for the night. The child was afraid of the dark, and the mother, on this occasion alone with the child, also felt fearful.

After the light was turned out, the child glimpsed the moon outside the window.

“Mother,” she asked, “is the moon God’s light?”

“Yes,” replied the mother.

“Will God put out His light and go to sleep?”

“No, my child,” the mother replied, “God never goes to sleep.”

“Well,” said the child, with the simplicity of childlike faith, “as long as God is awake, there is no sense in both of us staying awake.”

God expects you and me – with that same kind of childlike faith – not only to live good lives but also to cry out to Him in our times of need, knowing that He watches intently and gives attention to our every cry.

Again we have that helpful imagery of guiding eyes, the eyes of Him who rules and reigns over all – who is concerned about each one of His children, and equally concerned about those who have not yet trusted in Him for He is not willing that any should perish.

Bible Reading:Psalm 34:16-22

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I shall not be afraid to cry out to the Lord when circumstances warrant a call to the Almighty. In the meantime I will devote special time today to worship, praise and thank Him for His goodness to me.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – The Kindness of Jesus

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

We are quick to think of Jesus’ power, his passion, and his devotion. But those near him knew and know God comes cloaked in kindness. “Love is kind” writes Paul. David agrees, “Your lovingkindness is better than life” (Psalm 63:3). But Jesus’ invitation offers the sweetest proof of the kindness of heaven: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

I wonder, how many burdens is Jesus carrying for us that we know nothing about? He carries our sin. He carries our shame. But how often do we thank him for his kindness? Hasn’t he helped you out of a few jams? And has there ever been a time when he was too busy to listen to your story? And since God has been so kind to you, can’t you be kind to others?

Read more A Love Worth Giving

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Celebrating VE Day and winning the spiritual war

Today is VE Day, short for “Victory in Europe.” On this day in 1945, Great Britain and the United States celebrated their victory over Nazi Germany and its allies.

German troops throughout Europe laid down their arms. Surrender documents were signed in Berlin and eastern Germany.

But there was much more fighting still to come.

Six hundred Soviet soldiers died the next day in Silesia, a region now in southwest Poland, before the Germans fighting there finally surrendered. The war would continue in the Pacific until Imperial Japan surrendered on August 15 (now known as VJ Day).

Hundreds of battles preceded VE Day as well. We owe the men and women who fought this horrendous war an undying debt of gratitude. They won the victory, not in a single day or in a single battle, but in stages.

It is the same with our war against “the spiritual forces of evil” today (Ephesians 6:12).

No war is won in a day

For people who try to live by Scripture, these are frustrating days.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Celebrating VE Day and winning the spiritual war