Charles Stanley – A Clear Conscience

 

Acts 24:10-16

When facing hard decisions, do you pay attention to your conscience? And is it necessarily wise to trust this inner voice?

God gave everyone an internal sense of right and wrong. In fact, reflecting His truth inwardly is one way that He reveals Himself to mankind. The conscience is a divine alarm system that warns us of oncoming danger or consequences. Its primary purpose is protection and guidance.

The problem, however, is that sin warps perception and can lead us astray. So it’s important to understand the difference between following your heart and allowing a clear conscience to help with decisions. To make a determination, ask, What is the greatest influence on my morality? If the world’s system of what is acceptable has infiltrated your heart, then your conscience cannot be trusted. But if you have allowed God’s Word to permeate and transform your thinking (Rom. 12:2), that inner voice is likely trustworthy.

The Holy Spirit, along with a divinely informed conscience, guides believers. In order to keep that internal guidance system healthy, we should continually meditate on Scripture. The Ten Commandments are a solid basis for morality, and we are wise to internalize them—especially the two Jesus highlighted: to love God above all else and to love others (Matt. 22:36-40).

What would you say has the greatest impact on your belief system? Is it the truth of Scripture? Or do the world’s standards of right and wrong infect your heart? Almighty God knows what is best for you, His child—and He provided a conscience to guide you toward wise decisions.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 8-14

 

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Our Daily Bread — Called by Name

Read: John 20:11–18 | Bible in a Year: Ezra 3–5; John 20

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” John 20:16

Advertisers have concluded that the most attention-grabbing word that viewers react to is their own name. Thus a television channel in the UK has introduced personalized advertisements with their online streaming services.

We might enjoy hearing our name on television, but it doesn’t mean much without the intimacy that comes when someone who loves us says our name.

Mary Magdalene’s attention was arrested when, at the tomb where Jesus’s body had been laid after He was crucified on the cross, He spoke her name (John 20:16). With that single word, she turned in recognition to the Teacher whom she loved and followed, I imagine with a rush of disbelief and joy. The familiarity with which He spoke her name confirmed for her beyond a doubt that the One who’d known her perfectly was alive and not dead.

Although Mary shared a unique and special moment with Jesus, we too are personally loved by God. Jesus told Mary that He would ascend to His Father (v. 17), but He had also told His disciples that He would not leave them alone (John 14:15–18). God would send the Holy Spirit to live and dwell in His children (see Acts 2:1–13).

God’s story doesn’t change. Whether then or now, He knows those whom He loves (see John 10:14–15). He calls us by name.

Loving Father, living Jesus, comforting Holy Spirit, thank You that You know me completely, and that You love me unceasingly.

The God who created the cosmos also made you, and He calls you by name.

By Amy Boucher Pye

INSIGHT

God knows us, and He loves us. That’s easy to say but harder to believe sometimes—especially when we feel crippled by grief, when we feel completely alone.

This beautiful passage (John 20:11–18) can remind us that we can be honest with God. We don’t need to pretend to be happy. We can bring our pain to Him, exactly as it is. Tell Him why we’re crying (vv. 13, 15); tell Him when He seems far away. He loves us and wants us to run to Him in our pain (1 Peter 5:7). When we do, we can experience the tender love of our Father knowing and holding us in even those most painful places (John 20:16). And we can share with others how He brought joy even out of our weeping (v. 18).

Monica Brands

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Great Dichotomy

Most scholars agree that the Enlightenment or “Age of Reason,” which began in the early seventeenth century, set up a great dichotomy that persists in modern time.(1) The great “dichotomy” of the Enlightenment entailed the separation of the public and private realms. The public realm was the world of ascertained by reason alone. Missiologist Lesslie Newbigin explains, “The thinkers of the Enlightenment spoke of their age as the age of reason…by which human beings could attain (at least in principle) to a complete understanding of, and thus a full mastery of, nature—of reality in all its forms. Reason, so understood, is sovereign in this enterprise.”(2) In the realm of reason, therefore, revelation from a divine realm was not needed. Human reason could search out and know all the facts about reality, and “no alleged divine revelation, no tradition however ancient, and no dogma however hallowed has the right to veto its exercise.”(3)

The realm of religious belief was now relegated to the realm of private value and private purpose. It wasn’t that the Enlightenment dichotomy cut out God. Rather, it created a distinction between “natural” religion—God’s existence and the moral laws known by all and demonstrable by reason—and “revealed” religion—doctrines as taught by the Bible and the church. The latter realm, dominant in the Middle Ages and the Reformation, came under increasing attack and was eventually relegated to private expression and personal feelings.

Fueled by scientific and philosophical discoveries, the view of the world as the venue of God’s providence and rule, shifted to the view that sovereign reason could discover all that was necessary to advance humanity toward its highest destiny. All of Christianity’s supernatural claims and all of its revelatory content were unnecessary in a world where the Creator had endowed human beings with enough reason to discern what was important simply through the study of the natural world. As such, the autonomous, rational human became the center of truth and knowledge.

What emerged from this dichotomy was the belief that the real world was a world of cause and effect, of material bodies guided solely by mathematically stable laws. Discovering the cause of something was to have explained it in its totality. There was no need to invoke any supernatural “purpose” or “design” as an explanation any longer.

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Joyce Meyer – Reminders

 

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]. — 2 Timothy 1:7

Adapted from the resource Battlefield Of The Mind Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

It doesn’t matter what kind of problem we have in our lives, we need self-control and discipline to gain and maintain the victory. I believe this is especially true with regard to our thought life and the battle for our mind. What begins in the mind eventually comes out of the mouth, and before we know it, we’re telling anyone who will listen how we feel. We have to discipline our mind, our mouth, our feelings, and our actions so that they are all in agreement with what the Word of God says.

Every quality of God that is in you and me, God Himself planted in us in the form of a seed the day we accepted Christ (see Colossians 2:10). Over time and through life’s experiences, the seeds of Christ’s character begin to grow and produce the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22–23).

I have found that it is virtually impossible to operate in any of the other eight fruit of the Spirit unless we are exercising self-control. How can you and I remain patient, for example, in the midst of an upsetting situation unless we exercise restraint? Or how can we walk in love and believe the best of someone after they have repeatedly hurt us unless we use the fruit of self-control?

As Christians, we have the fruit of the Spirit in us, but we must purposely choose to exercise them. Not choosing to exercise the fruit of the Spirit is what produces carnal Christians—those who are under the control of ordinary impulses and walk after the desires of the flesh (see 1 Corinthians 3:3). Whatever we exercise the most becomes the strongest.

Our thoughts and words are two areas in which the Holy Spirit is constantly prompting us to exercise self-control. The Bible says that “. . . as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he,” and “out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks” (Proverbs 23:7Luke 6:45 AMPC). Satan is constantly trying to get us to accept wrong thoughts about everything from God’s love for us to what terrible thing is going to happen to us next. Why? Because he knows that once we start accepting and believing his lies, it is just a matter of time until we begin to speak them out of our mouths. And when we speak wrong things, we open the door for wrong things to come into our lives (see Proverbs 18:20–21).

What if, instead of allowing our minds to go over all of the things that have hurt us, we would remind ourselves to think about all the good things God has brought into our lives? When we allow Satan to fill our minds with worry, anxiety, and doubt, we wear out our ability to make good decisions. Worry is also thankless by nature. I’ve noticed that people who worry rarely see much good in life. They talk about tragedy, failures, sickness, and loss. They seem unable to focus on the good things that they still have in life.

Try this. Each day, focus on the things God has done for you in the past. This will make it easier for you to expect good things in the future. As I wrote those words, I thought of the memorials mentioned in the Old Testament. Often the people stacked up heaps of stones as reminders that God had delivered them or appeared to them. As they looked backward and remembered, they were able to look forward and believe.

The psalmist wrote, “O my God, my life is cast down upon me [and I find the burden more than I can bear]; therefore will I [earnestly] remember You from the land of the Jordan [River] and the [summits of Mount] Hermon” (Psalm 42:6 AMPC). He was reminding himself of past victories. When he was having problems, he recalled God’s great work in the lives of the people.

When doubts try to sneak in, you can do what the psalmist did: You can look back and remember that God has always been with His people. All of us have had times when we wondered if we’d make it. But we did. So will you.

Prayer Starter: My great God, forgive me for allowing the little things of life to distract me and to take my thoughts away from You. Through Jesus Christ, help me always to remember that You are with me in the good times and in the bad times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Real Freedom

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36, KJV).

A dedicated, but defeated, young missionary returned from the field devastated because of his failure; first, to live the Christian life; and second, to introduce others to the Savior. He came to my office for counsel.

I explained to him that the Christian life is simply a matter of surrendering our lives to the risen Christ and appropriating the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit by faith. “Relax,” I said. “Let the Lord Jesus Christ live and love through you. Let Him seek and save the lost through your life.”

He became very impatient with me. “You dilute and distort the gospel,” he insisted. “It really costs to serve Jesus. I have made great sacrifices on the mission field. I have worked day and night. I struggled. It has cost me my health – though I am prepared to die for Christ – but you make it too easy, and I cannot accept what your are saying.” He left my office in anger.

Later he called for another appointment, saying, “I don’t agree with you, but there’s a quality in your life that I want for myself, and I’d like to talk further.”

Again I explained, “The just shall live by faith. All the supernatural resources of God are available to us by faith, not by our sacrifice and good works – though good works must follow faith, for faith without works is dead.”

As we talked, his attitude began to change. Then some days later I received a letter filled with praise, worship and adoration to God as he described the miracle that had taken place in his life. He had discovered the liberating truth of the principle that God’s grace is available to us by faith. The Christian life is supernatural. No individual is capable of living it apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus explains it in John 15:4,5: “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches…without Me ye can do nothing.”

It is His supernatural life, in all of its resurrection power, released through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, that enables us to live supernatural lives for the glory of God. Only then can we be free, for the Son alone can liberate us.

Bible Reading:Romans 8:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: By faith, I shall act upon my rights as a child of God and claim the supernatural power of the Son of God. Knowing that He has already set me free, through His death and resurrection, I am confident that He will enable me to experience that freedom, moment by moment, so that I may live the supernatural life to which I have been called.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Living in Your Sweet Spot

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Are you living in your sweet spot? Doing what you do well—what you’ve always loved to do? That last question trips up a lot of folks. God wouldn’t let me do what I like to do—would he?  Yes, he would. “God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13).   Scripture says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

Your Father is too gracious to assign you to a life of misery. See your desires as gifts to heed rather than longings to suppress. What have you always done well and loved to do? Read your life backward. Re-relish your moments of success and satisfaction. In the merger of the two, you will find your uniqueness!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – My reflections on the Singapore Summit

“Nice to meet you, Mr. President.” With these words, Kim Jong Un shook hands with Donald Trump as the two made history in Singapore.

Before the summit, the sitting heads of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had never met. The summit began last night at 9 p.m. ET (9 a.m. Tuesday morning in Singapore) and lasted for four hours. The two met before a row of alternating US and North Korean flags, then sat down for a thirty-eight-minute, one-on-one meeting.

Their top advisers then joined them for another two hours of talks. The delegations concluded by sharing lunch together. Afterward, Mr. Kim announced, “The world will see a major change.”

“We’re going to have a great discussion”

Mr. Trump told reporters at the outset of the summit, “We’re going to have a great discussion. It’s my honor and we will have a terrific relationship, I have no doubt.” Mr. Kim added that “old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles in our way forward, but we overcame all of them and we are here today.”

The two signed a “joint statement” in which “President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – My reflections on the Singapore Summit