Charles Stanley – Ignoring the Conscience

 

1 Timothy 1:18-19; 1 Timothy 4:1-2

Are you making certain choices today that your conscience would not have allowed in the past? If so, you may have become desensitized. That is a dangerous place to be.

As we discussed yesterday, God gave us an internal sense of right and wrong to use along with the Holy Spirit’s guidance when making daily choices. The conscience serves as an “alarm system,” intervening when a Christian is about to take part in ungodly behavior. In that way, it offers protection. But sin can throw off the system’s sensitivity.

The insidious process begins if we choose to disobey and then refuse to deal with our rebellion. The conscience warns us repeatedly, but it will eventually become silenced and ineffective if we persist in ignoring the distress signal. When that happens, there are no longer any signals from the heart to point us back toward godliness—in other words, the conscience has become seared.

This situation is akin to removing all traffic lights from a busy intersection: it is a recipe for disaster. If you are at this place, get on your knees and repent, immersing yourself in God’s Word and bathing your life in prayer. Pursue accountability and fellowship with other believers. A healthy conscience is worth the effort.

Are your internal signals in good working order, or have they been stifled? Don’t delay. Scripture warns us that we have a real enemy who desires to lure us away from godliness and into destruction. God uses a clear conscience to guide, protect, and lead us into His light and peace.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 15-18

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Our Daily Bread — Humble Love

 

Read: Philippians 2:1–11 | Bible in a Year: Ezra 6–8; John 21

The greatest among you will be your servant. Matthew 23:11

When Benjamin Franklin was a young man he made a list of twelve virtues he desired to grow in over the course of his life. He showed it to a friend, who suggested he add “humility” to it. Franklin liked the idea. He then added some guidelines to help him with each item on the list. Among Franklin’s thoughts about humility, he held up Jesus as an example to emulate.

Jesus shows us the ultimate example of humility. God’s Word tells us, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:5–7).

Jesus demonstrated the greatest humility of all. Though eternally with the Father, He chose to bend beneath a cross in love so that through His death He might lift any who receive Him into the joy of His presence.

We imitate Jesus’s humility when we seek to serve our heavenly Father by serving others. Jesus’s kindness helps us catch a breathtaking glimpse of the beauty of setting ourselves aside to attend to others’ needs. Aiming for humility isn’t easy in our “me first” world. But as we rest securely in our Savior’s love, He will give us everything we need to follow Him.

Beautiful Savior, I am Your servant. Please help me to live in Your love and be a blessing to someone today.

We can serve because we are loved.

By James Banks

INSIGHT

Philippians 2 teaches us that how we behave is rooted in what we believe. Paul says the call to humble love and service is built on the example of Jesus. We are to be “like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” He then adds, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (vv. 2–4). This type of living does not come naturally. Only when we allow the Holy Spirit to enable us can we live out the humble love expressed perfectly by Christ.

For more, get our free download, The Mind of Christ.

Bill Crowder

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Comprehending Darkness

Within the dark and heavy world of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, the coinciding stories of each character shift around themes of grace and legalism. The stories are immensely honest, such that we find ourselves somewhere in the novel, or perhaps all through it. The darkness is overwhelming because it is all too close to home, maybe as close as our own hearts. But the light is also real, and it stings our eyes and seeps into our hearts.

In this dark and honest world, life is not fair, it is not easy and the stories don’t always go where you want them to go. Yet, the words of Victor Hugo himself push further: “Will the future ever arrive?” he asks, “Should we continue to look upwards? Is the light we can see in the sky one of those which will presently be extinguished? The ideal is terrifying to behold, lost as it is in the depths, small, isolated, a pin-point, brilliant but threatened on all sides by the dark forces that surround it; nevertheless, no more in danger than a star in the jaws of the clouds.” The lives of Jean Valjean, Javert, and Cosette force us to perceive things we have maybe only half perceived, such that whatever we knew of shame and mercy and forgiveness are never the same. Their lives seemingly ask us to be aware of the brilliance of even the smallest of lights in the midst of a devastating darkness.

It is said of Christ in the Gospel of John, “In him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”(1) Literally, John says that the light shines and the darkness could not “lay hold of it”; the darkness could not master it. Undoubtedly, as John penned the words that testified to the events which had unfolded before his eyes, his mind hastened back to the Cross, the darkness of that day—the unfairness, the ugliness, the confusion and regret of that overwhelming scene. And then he says boldly: Even in the jaws of darkness on the cross, the light of the world did not go out. The Light was not mastered by even the darkest moment in time.

His illustration is weighted with the reality of the waves and particles of light. Darkness cannot overpower it. It cannot catch it. It cannot comprehend it. And so John begins his testimony: Darkness could not grasp the one who is the light and life of men. In Christ is the life that death cannot understand, the light that cannot be overcome.(2)

James Stewart, the great Scottish theologian, challenged readers to ponder this: Jesus Christ is light incomprehensible by darkness. Writes Stewart, “The very triumphs of his foes Jesus used for their defeat. He compelled their dark achievements to serve his ends, not theirs. They nailed him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to his feet. They gave him a cross, not guessing that Jesus would make it a throne.”(3)

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Joyce Meyer – Self-Acceptance

 

For those whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. — Proverbs 3:12

Perhaps you have been struggling with accepting yourself. You see the areas in yourself where change is necessary. You desire to be like Jesus. Yet it is very difficult for you to think or say, “I accept myself.” You feel that to do so would be to accept all that is wrong with you, but that is not the case. We can accept and embrace ourselves as God’s unique creation, and still not like everything we do.

God will change us, but we cannot even begin the process of change until this issue of self-acceptance is settled in our individual lives. When we truly believe that God loves us unconditionally just as we are, then we will have a closeness to Him, and we will be willing to receive His correction, which is necessary for true change.

Change requires corrections—people who do not know they are loved have a very difficult time receiving correction. Correction is merely God giving us divine direction for our lives. He is guiding us to better things, but if we are insecure we will always feel condemned by correction instead of joyfully embracing it.

God does not approve of all of our actions, but He does love and approve of us as His beloved children. Be patient with yourself. Keep pressing on and believe that you are changing every day.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for Your unconditional love and acceptance. Help me to receive Your love and truly love myself as Your beloved child. Allow me to always view Your correction as a sign of Your love and affection for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Produce Lovely Fruit

 

“You didn’t choose Me! I chose you! I appointed you to go and produce lovely fruit always, so that no matter what you ask for from the Father, using My name, He will give it to you” (John 15:16).

Some time ago I asked a leading theologian and dean of faculty of a renowned theological seminary if he felt that one could be a Spirit-filled person without sharing Christ as a way of life.

His answer was an emphatic, “No!” On what basis could he make such a strong statement? The answer is obvious. Our Savior came to “seek and to save the lost” and He has “chosen and ordained” us to share the good news of His love and forgiveness with everyone, everywhere.

To be unwilling to witness for Christ with our lips is to disobey this command just as much as to be unwilling to witness for Him by living holy lives is to disobey His command. In neither case can the disobedient Christian expect God to control and empower his life.

There are those who say, “I witness for Christ by living a good life.” But it is not enough to live a good life. Many non-Christians live fine, moral, ethical lives.

According to the Lord Jesus, the only way we can demonstrate that we are truly following Him is to produce fruit, which includes introducing others to our Savior as well as living holy lives. And the only way we can produce fruit is through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Bible Reading:John 15:7-15

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: My part of the “bargain” is to share the good news which will produce lovely fruit; God’s part is to provide the wisdom, love and power, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, to be a fruitful witness. “Lord help me to be faithful in my part, knowing You will be faithful in Yours.”

 

 

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Max Lucado – A Brand New Idea

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God made you and broke the mold! Every single baby is a brand-new idea from the mind of God. Scan history for your replica; you won’t find it. God tailor-made you. You aren’t one of many bricks in the mason’s pile or one of a dozen bolts in the mechanic’s drawer. You are it!  And if you aren’t you, we don’t get you. The world misses out.

You offer a gift to society that no one else brings. When you and I do the most what we do the best for the glory of God, the Bible says that we are “marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body” (Romans 12:5). You play no small part, because there is no small part to be played. God “shaped each person in turn” (Psalm 33:15). We need you to be you. And YOU need you to be you!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Transgender man’s baby could be first person without legal mother

My father was born on this day in 1924, one day after George H. W. Bush. While my father died in 1979, Mr. Bush is now the first US president to reach ninety-four years of age.

I turned sixty earlier this year. When my father and Mr. Bush were my age, it’s hard to imagine that they could have imagined a story like this one:

A transgender man recently gave birth to a baby in the UK. British law states that those who give birth to children can only be noted as mothers on official documents. The parent has complained of discrimination. As a result, the baby could become the first person born in England and Wales not to have a legal mother.

Two verses we need today

The twenty-first century has brought remarkable advances for advancing the Great Commission. Christians can use digital technology to reach people previously inaccessible to our mission. We can use social media to win the lost and technology to disciple believers.

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