Charles Stanley –The Value of Endurance

 

James 1:2-3

There are so many virtues Christians aspire to have. Who doesn’t want to be known as a loving, compassionate, or gracious person? Yet I don’t think there are very many who long to endure. This word brings up images of hardship, because endurance is often how we cope with things we don’t like, such as criticism, conflict, pain, or illness. If we could get through life without ever having to undergo difficulty, we’d rejoice.

Yet James says we are to consider it joy when we encounter trials. He’s not saying that we should be happy about the suffering we face; rather, we should rejoice in what the Lord does in our lives through hardship. All those circumstances we dread are the means God uses to bring us to spiritual maturity, and the only way to get to the good is to endure what seems bad from our perspective.

Think of an athlete who trains for a marathon. He has to hit the streets day after day in all kinds of weather, follow a strict training plan, and push through physical and mental exhaustion. If that was all he ever did, it would be drudgery with no reward, but he does it for the goal set before him.

When our goal is to grow in Christ and become who He wants us to be, we’ll find ourselves willing to endure the pain—because the outcome will be worth it. We can be sure that every situation the Lord allows in our life is intended to develop something we lack spiritually. Knowing that enables us to submit to whatever He chooses for us. And as we see our trials from God’s perspective, we can even rejoice in what He is doing.

Bible in One Year: Job 31-34

 

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Our Daily Bread — Faces

 

Read: Galatians 5:22–26 | Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 30–31; John 18:1–18

We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory. 2 Corinthians 3:18

When our granddaughter Sarah was very young, she explained to me what happens when you die: “Only your face goes to heaven, not your body. You get a new body, but keep the same face.”

Sarah’s concept of our eternal state was a child’s understanding, of course, but she did grasp an essential truth. In a sense, our faces are a visible reflection of the invisible soul.

My mother used to say that an angry look might someday freeze on my face. She was wiser than she knew. A worried brow, an angry set to our mouths, a sly look in our eyes may reveal a miserable soul. On the other hand, kind eyes, a gentle look, a warm and welcoming smile—despite wrinkles, blemishes, and other disfigurements—become the marks of inner transformation.

We can’t do much about the faces we were born with, but we can do something about the kind of person we’re growing into. We can pray for humility, patience, kindness, tolerance, gratefulness, forgiveness, peace, and love (Galatians 5:22–26).

By God’s grace, and in His time, may you and I grow toward an inner resemblance to our Lord, a likeness reflected in a kind, old face. Thus, as English poet John Donne (1572–1631) said, age becomes “loveliest at the latest day.”

Lord Jesus, I want to be more like You each day. Help me to cooperate with the work You want to do in my heart.

There’s nothing like the beauty of a loving heart.

By David H. Roper

INSIGHT

Policemen, firemen, doctors, and nurses put on clothes that distinctively identify them. What about the Christian? What distinguishes us as followers of Jesus? Paul tells us to “clothe [ourselves] with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14). Earlier in Romans Paul says, God “predestined [us] to be conformed to the image of his Son” (8:29). It was God’s intention when He saved us that we would become like His Son. Our spiritual transformation is a process, however (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Holy Spirit works in us to increasingly make us more like Christ (1 John 3:2). To be like Jesus is “to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (Ephesians 4:24 nlt). Our transformation will only be fully completed at the second coming of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:49–53).

As you reflect on your spiritual transformation since coming to Jesus, in what areas have you seen growth? Can others say, “I can see Christ in you”?

  1. T. Sim

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Sitting in the Dark

In a poem titled “Moments of Joy,” Denise Levertov tells the story of an old scholar who takes a room on the next street down from his grown children—”the better to concentrate on his unending work, his word, his world.” And though he comes and goes while they sleep, his children feel bereft. They want him nearer. But at times it happens that a son or daughter wakes in the dark and finds him sitting at the foot of the bed, or in the old rocker—”sleepless in his old coat, gazing into invisible distance, but clearly there to protect as he had always done.” The child springs up and flings her arms about him, pressing a cheek to his temple and taking him by surprise: “Abba!” the child exclaims, and Levertov concludes:

“And the old scholar, the father,

is deeply glad to be found.

That’s how it is, Lord, sometimes;

You seek, and I find.”(1)

Though many would like to say that the majority of our lives have been spent searching for God, perhaps it is more accurate to say that we have been sought. Even so, like the children in Levertov’s poem, time and again I know I find myself bereft of God’s presence. Sometimes it just feels like I am sitting in the dark.

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Joyce Meyer – Start Your Day Right

 

If I say, “My foot has slipped,” Your compassion and lovingkindness, O LORD, will hold me up. — Psalm 94:18

Adapted from the resource Starting Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Some people seem to start their day on the “wrong foot.” They feel all right when they wake up, but as soon as something goes wrong they lose their footing and walk with a “loser’s limp” the rest of the day. Once they are off to a bad start, it seems they never catch up.

If someone offends us early in the morning, our anger can keep us defensive all day. If we start the day rushing, it seems we never slow down. But today our feet can be firmly planted in God’s Word. There will be no “bad day” when God’s Word supports, strengthens, and directs us.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I lift my day up to You and ask for Your help to get off on the right foot. Help me to go forward with a clean heart and a positive mindset focused on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – In the World to Come

 

“And Jesus replied, ‘Let me assure you that no one has ever given up anything – home, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or property – for love of Me and to tell others the Good News, who won’t be given back, a hundred times over, homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land – with persecutions! All these will be his here on earth, and in the world to come he shall have eternal life'” (Mark 10:29,30).

What a wonderful promise. God will return to you and me a hundred times over what we invest for Him and His kingdom.

I believe that millions of Christians like ourselves are awakening to the fact that we must be about our Father’s business. As I observe God’s working in the lives of people around the world through many movements, I am persuaded that the greatest spiritual awakening since Pentecost has already begun.

Jesus said, “Go…and make disciples in all nations.” In order to make disciples, we must be disciples ourselves. Like begets like. We produce after our own kind.

The man who is committed to Christ, who understands how to walk in the fullness of the Spirit, is going to influence others and help to produce the same kind of Christians. Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).

For some, such a call to discipleship may sound too hard. However, in these verses Jesus tells us that we must be willing to give up everything. That this promise has been fulfilled in the lives of all who seek first Christ and His kingdom has been attested to times without number – not always in material things, of course, but in rewards far more meaningful and enriching.

Bible Reading:Luke 9:23-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Realizing that God has promised manifold gifts, persecutions, eternal life in exchange for faithfulness and commitment to Him, I vow to make that surrender real and meaningful in my life every day.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Sculpted From Nothing Into Something

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

You are more than statistical chance, a marriage of heredity and society. Thanks to God, you have been “sculpted from nothing into something.” (Psalm 139:15). He made you you-nique. Secular thinking, as a whole, doesn’t buy this. Society simply says, “You can be anything you want to be.” But can you?

God never prefabs or mass-produces people. “I make all things new,” he declares! Revelation 21:5). So, you can do something no one else can do in a fashion no one else can do it.  “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that” (Galatians 6:4). When you do the most what you do the best, you put a smile on God’s face. What could be better than that?

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Man bitten by severed head of rattlesnake

A man in Texas nearly died when he was bitten by the severed head of a four-foot rattlesnake.

Jennifer Sutcliffe told a Corpus Christi news station that her husband had been clearing their yard over Memorial Day weekend when he saw and decapitated the snake. When he picked up the dead rattlesnake to dispose of it, the head bit him and released an almost fatal amount of venom.

He was flown to a hospital and treated with twenty-six doses of antivenom.

“When poisons become fashionable”

Like the dead rattlesnake, our crucified “old self” can still attack us.

Paul declared, “We know that our old self was crucified with [Christ] in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin” (Romans 6:6–7).

And yet the apostle admitted, “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (Romans 7:18–20).

Is his dilemma familiar to you? It is to me.

Some sins in the news are beyond our comprehension. For instance, an Arkansas man admitted in court this week that he intentionally contracted HIV so he could expose others to the virus. He also pled guilty to several other heinous crimes.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Man bitten by severed head of rattlesnake