Charles Stanley – God’s Compass for the Heart and Mind

 

Proverbs 3:7-12

Yesterday we discussed the importance of depending on Scripture as our compass throughout life. Following God’s directions will change our behavior and challenge our attitudes, desires, and thought processes. He leads us to think differently about ourselves, our values, and even the difficulties facing us.

We naturally want to determine our own course in life. It seems like the only logical way to get where we want to go. But being wise in our own eyes is pride. To combat this tendency, the Lord instructs us to fear Him and turn away from evil (Prov. 3:7). This “fear” is not a horrified dread of the Father, but an attitude of respect that motivates us to obey Him for both our good and His glory.

We naturally want to keep our money for ourselves. A desire for a better lifestyle or fear of not having enough leads us to hang on to everything we get. But our compass directs us to honor God by giving Him the first part of all we have, trusting Him to provide for our needs (Prov. 3:9-10).

We naturally dislike God’s discipline. His painful reproofs seem to imply that He doesn’t care about us. But our heavenly Father says His discipline is evidence of His love and delight in us as His children (Prov. 3:11-12).

Sometimes in our desire to follow the Lord, we focus on obedient actions—doing what He says—yet miss His directions concerning our attitudes and thought patterns. To stay on God’s path for our lives, we must make course corrections not only in our behavior but also in our heart and mind.

Bible in One Year: Job 17-21

 

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Our Daily Bread — A Blind Man’s Plea

 

Read: Luke 18:35–43 | Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 23–24; John 15

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! Luke 18:38

Some years ago a traveling companion noticed I was straining to see objects at a distance. What he did next was simple but life changing. He took off his glasses and said, “Try these.” When I put his glasses on, surprisingly my blurred vision cleared up. Eventually I went to an optometrist who prescribed glasses to correct my vision problem.

Today’s reading in Luke 18 features a man with no vision at all, and living in total darkness had forced him to beg for a living. News about Jesus, the popular teacher and miracle worker, had reached the blind beggar’s ears. So when Jesus’s travel route took Him by where the blind man was sitting, hope was ignited in his heart. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (v. 38) he called. Though without sight physically, the man possessed spiritual insight into Jesus’s true identity and faith in Him to meet his need. Compelled by this faith, “He shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (v. 39). The result? His blindness was banished, and he went from begging for his living to blessing God because he could see (v. 43).

In moments or seasons of darkness, where do you turn? Upon what or to whom do you call? Eyeglass prescriptions help improve vision, but it’s the merciful touch of Jesus, God’s Son, that brings people from spiritual darkness to light.

Father, open the eyes of my heart to clearly see who Jesus is and what He can do.

The Father’s delight is to give sight to those who ask Him.

By Arthur Jackson

INSIGHT

From the gospel of Mark we learn the blind man’s name is Bartimaeus (10:46). Bible scholar Kenneth Bailey, in Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, tells us that Bartimaeus’s story is best understood in the context of what happens next—Jesus’s encounter with Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector of Jericho (Luke 19). With these two men, Jesus is reaching out to the extremes of the social context of first-century Israel—a blind beggar and a wealthy publican. Christ shows profound grace to both by giving Bartimaeus his sight and bringing salvation to the house of Zacchaeus (19:9–10).

A key element that connects these stories is the word son. Bartimaeus calls Jesus “Son of David,” a title identifying Jesus as the Messiah that Israel had longed for. Jesus calls Zacchaeus a “son of Abraham” (v. 9). This was not an ethnic description but an affirmation that Zacchaeus had come to faith (Galatians 3:7). The stories close with Jesus’s self-identification as “the Son of Man”—another title with Messianic implications (Luke 19:10).

On the cross Christ would complete His work of seeking and saving those who are lost—like Bartimaeus, Zacchaeus, and us.

Bill Crowder

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – To Love a Flower

The poet Emily Dickinson loved her garden. Though famously reclusive, she spent countless hours admiring and caring for her garden of flowers. Many of her poems reflect on her love of the outdoor world even if it only consisted of the wonders of her own yard. She writes whimsically of bees, clover, honey, and the summer grasses that grew green and lush around her Amherst, Massachusetts home. One of Dickinson’s most well-known poems speaks of her garden as the location of worship—with church, preaching, and heaven all represented by creatures in the natural world:

Some keep the Sabbath going to church

I keep it staying at home,

With a bobolink for a chorister,

And an orchard for a dome….

So instead of getting to heaven at last

I’m going all along!(1)

For Dickinson, the kingdom of God was as close as the bird’s song in her yard. The experience of heaven was not something awaiting her after death, but an experience available to her as she worshipped God in her orchard sanctuary. Her poems often affirmed God’s presence and grace communicated through the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

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Joyce Meyer – When You Are Dealing with Pain

 

He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness…. — Isaiah 53:3 (AMPC)

If you are in pain of any kind, Jesus knows how you feel! Always remember that all healing comes from Jesus. He is our compassionate Healer. He may work through some type of medical care, but He and He alone is the Source of healing!

Even though we seek professional help when we are sick or in pain, we should keep our eyes on Jesus to make us whole, and when we are well again, be sure to give Him the praise. Thank God in the midst of trouble, and trust and thank Him that His healing power is working in you. God’s Word says to thank Him at all times, in all things (see 1 Thessalonians 5:18). You may not be thankful for your pain and discomfort, but you can be thankful that God is with you and that He will cause all things to work together for your good as you continue loving Him and doing His will (see Romans 8:28).

When you are sick, it is an especially good time to pray for others you may know who are sick. During our own pain, we tend to have greater compassion for others who are also hurting. Prayer is sowing seed into the lives of others, and seed always produces a harvest. So, keep on trusting God and expect to get better and better every day!

Prayer Starter: Father, I ask You to heal me from all sickness, pain, and disease. I trust You to be my healer and I give You praise for my restoration. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Most Vital Food

 

“Your words are what sustain me; they are food to my hungry soul. They bring joy to my sorrowing heart and delight me. How proud I am to bear Your name, O Lord” (Jeremiah 15:16).

In my earlier years – as perhaps was true of yours – one thing that seemed to sustain me more than anything else was food: three square meals a day, and sometimes something in between. Food is still vital – I would not understate its value – but I have found something far more vital to my happiness and success as a believer in Christ.

Now, I can truly say with the weeping prophet, Jeremiah, that the very words of God are what really sustain me. They are food to my hungry soul. And they accomplish immeasurable good in my life, and thus in the lives of thousands of people whom I am privileged to meet throughout the world.

God’s Word brings joy to my sorrowing heart. Why? Because it has an answer – the answer – to every need, every burden, every problem I will face this day, and in the days to come. Furthermore, it will provide the answers for others whom I contact.

God’s Word truly delights me, as it did Jeremiah. When I need encouragement, I turn to the Psalms. When I need practical wisdom for daily decisions, I turn to the Proverbs of Solomon. And so on with every kind of need I face.

All of this being true – God’s Word sustaining me, being food to my hungry soul, bringing joy to my sorrowing heart, and delighting me – “How proud I am to bear your name, O Lord!”

Bible Reading:Jeremiah 15:15-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: My spiritual food must take priority over all other considerations in my life.

 

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Max Lucado – Making a Big “To Do” of God

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God endows us with gifts so we can make him known. Period! God endues the Olympian with speed, the salesman with savvy, the surgeon with skill. Why? The big answer is to make a big to-do out of God. To brandish him…to herald him.

God has given gifts to each of us from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well, then God will be given glory. Make it your life’s encore to the end of time that “he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything! (I Peter 4:10-11). When you magnify your Maker with your strengths, your days will grow suddenly sweet. And to really sweeten your world, use your uniqueness to make a big deal about God—every day of your life!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Supreme Court rules for Christian baker

“The government, consistent with the Constitution’s guarantee of free exercise, cannot impose regulations that are hostile to the religious beliefs of affected citizens and cannot act in a manner that passes judgment upon or presupposes the illegitimacy of religious beliefs and practices.”

With these words, the Supreme Court issued a major ruling yesterday regarding religious freedom. What does it mean for us as we engage a culture that is in many ways “hostile” to our “religious beliefs”?

The story in brief

In 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins made plans to be lawfully married in Massachusetts, then return to Colorado for a wedding reception. They visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, to order a custom cake.

Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips declined their request, explaining that his Christian beliefs kept him from using his artistic abilities to create such a cake. Over the years, he has declined to create many custom cakes that would display unbiblical messages. He wouldn’t make a cake celebrating a divorce, for instance.

He offered to sell the couple other baked goods in the store, but they declined and filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Commission decided in their favor and ordered Masterpiece to take steps to ensure future compliance with its ruling. Phillips appealed that ruling and chose to stop making wedding cakes, costing him 40 percent of his business. He has also faced death threats.

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