Charles Stanley – Peace at Any Price?

 

Romans 12:17-21

Relationships are one of life’s greatest sources of joy. Yet they can also lead to some of our biggest trials. Let’s face it—we won’t be able to get along with everyone, because we live in an imperfect world. Every human being has been affected by the fall and enters this life as a sinner. Furthermore, the fact that we are Christians is itself a source of conflict: Jesus tells us the world will hate us because we are His (John 15:18-20).

Despite all these obstacles, we are to try to be at peace with all men. This means we should seek to resolve conflicts and do what we can to live in harmony. Scripture gives us the following guidelines:

These principles all run counter to human nature; therefore, the only way to successfully apply them is through the power and grace of Jesus Christ. Yet despite our best efforts, peace is not always possible. When our overtures are repeatedly rejected, ending the quest may be appropriate. Or if harmony is possible only by violating Scripture, we must refuse to compromise.

God is the only one who can change the heart of someone who refuses to be reconciled. Our responsibility is to faithfully represent Christ to that person with our words, attitudes, and behavior. The Lord’s job is to produce the fruit.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 29-34

 

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Our Daily Bread — As Advertised

 

Read: John 16:25–33 | Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 4–6; Acts 2:22–47

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

During a vacation, my husband and I signed up for a leisurely rafting tour down Georgia’s Chattahoochee River. Dressed in sandals, a sundress, and a wide brimmed hat, I groaned when we discovered—contrary to the advertisement—that the trip included light rapids. Thankfully, we rode with a couple experienced in whitewater rafting. They taught my husband the basics of paddling and promised to navigate us safely to our destination. Grateful for my life jacket, I screamed and gripped the plastic handle on the raft until we reached the muddy bank downriver. I stepped onto the shore and dumped water from my purse as my husband helped me wring out the hem of my soaked dress. We enjoyed a good laugh, even though the trip had not turned out as advertised.

Unlike the tour brochure, which clearly left out a key detail about the trip, Jesus explicitly warned His disciples that rough waters were ahead. He told them that they’d be persecuted and martyred and that He would die and be resurrected. He also guaranteed His trustworthiness, affirming that He would guide them toward undeniable triumph and everlasting hope (John 16:16–33).

Although it would be nice if life were easier when we follow Jesus, He made it clear that His disciples would have troubles. But He promised to be with us. Trials won’t define, limit, or destroy God’s plan for us, because Jesus’s resurrection has already propelled us to eternal victory.

Lord, thank You for the promises in Your Word that assure us You’ve planned our path and remain with us and for us, no matter what comes.

Jesus promises to be with us through the roughest waters.

By Xochitl Dixon

INSIGHT

Hours before His death, Jesus spoke of difficult times ahead (John 13:21, 31–33; 15:20; 16:2, 32). Jesus comforted the distraught disciples with the provision of heaven, the promise of the Holy Spirit, and His abiding presence. And He offered them and us a most needed gift—peace (John 14–16). Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 nlt). Living in a world broken by sin and devastated by suffering, we have the promise of Jesus’s peace.

As you cope with life’s troubles and pain, how does Jesus’s peace of mind and heart give you confidence and hope? (John 14:27; 16:33).

  1. T. Sim

 

 

http://www.odb.org

C.S. Lewis, the Great War, and the Road to Narnia: Finding Our Deepest Longings

One hundred years ago this spring, a ferocious battle raged in in the French village Riez du Vinage. Amidst the savage German bombardment, a shell exploded near a young British lieutenant, plunging shrapnel into his body.

The soldier—an atheist named Clive Staples Lewis—survived, and went on to write many books on Christian apologetics—books that would likely not have been written had he not known the horrors of warfare.

As my friend Joe Loconte writes in National Review, “The experience of war would transform [Lewis], launching him on a spiritual journey that culminated . . . in his conversion to Christianity.”

That transformation began with mechanized butchery on an unprecedented scale. Lewis, a lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry, spent five miserable months in the trenches. He later described “the frights, the cold, the smell of [high explosives], the horribly smashed men still moving like half-crushed beetles, the sitting or standing corpses.”

By war’s end, most of Lewis’s friends lay dead, and in the years that followed, the West became disillusioned with war. But for Lewis, as Loconte writes, “the war and its aftermath seemed to have stirred [his] spiritual longings.”  Traveling by train to a London hospital, the wounded lieutenant “was seized by a sense of the transcendent as he beheld the natural beauty of the English countryside.”

Lewis later described this experience to a friend, writing, “You see the conviction is gaining ground on me that after all Spirit does exist. I fancy that there is Something right outside time and place….”

This transformation continued through new friendships at Oxford, where Lewis taught English literature. J.R.R. Tolkien, a Catholic who had also fought on the Western Front, shared Lewis’s love for ancient myths and the “truth” hidden within them. Lewis read philosophy, and books explaining the nature of atonement and of God Himself.

Lewis told a friend, “Now that I have found, and am still finding more and more of the element of truth in the old beliefs I feel I cannot dismiss, there must be something in it, only what?”

Continue reading C.S. Lewis, the Great War, and the Road to Narnia: Finding Our Deepest Longings

Joyce Meyer – Take Care of Your Body

 

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? — 1 Corinthians 6:19

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud Devotional

I want to ask you today the same question Paul asked the believers in Corinth centuries ago: Do you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? You are the home of God! Are you loving yourself, God, and others by caring for your physical body, treating it well, and using it for God’s purposes?

Some Christians focus only on the spiritual side of life and they fail to properly care for their bodies. Other people have such low self esteem or a shame based nature that they don’t feel their bodies are worth caring for. But God’s plan for us involves maintaining spiritual, emotional, and physical health. He wants us strong in every way! He wants us to feel good physically so we can serve Him and others, and be able to enjoy the life He has provided for us.

No matter what shape you are in physically, it’s never too late to improve and do some repair or maintenance on your temple. You can start by learning the basic principles of good nutrition, drink lots of water, employ stress management, exercise, and rest. Laughter is also important. It has been scientifically proven to improve your health. It’s amazing how much better you can feel if you will begin to make positive changes in these areas. Give it a try; I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

Prayer Starter: Father, I ask for Your grace to take practical steps toward good physical health. Help me to treat my body with respect so I can serve you to the best of my ability. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Forgets Our Sins

 

“And then he adds, ‘I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds'” (Hebrews 10:17).

We were seated at the breakfast table, talking about the exciting adventure of the Christian life. Chuck and Mary were just discovering new facets and understanding of the life in Christ.

“Can you tell us in a few words what should be our objective as Christians?” they asked me.

In very brief summary, I replied, “The Christian life is the process of becoming in our experience through the enabling of the Holy Spirit what we already are in God’s sight, in order to bring maximum glory, honor and praise to His name.”

Christ gave Himself to God for our sins – as one sacrifice for one time. Then He sat down at the place of highest honor at God’s right hand. For by that one offering He made forever perfect in the sight of God all those whom He is making holy.

I am perfect in God’s sight, because in His sight there is no such thing as time and space. Let me hasten to all: I know that I am not perfect in my experience. That is a process which takes time, knowledge of God and His Word, and growth in faith in order to claim these truths as reality in our lives.

I am perfect in God’s sight because He sees me in Christ, and in Christ, who is perfect and without sin. He sees me without spot or blemish. Someone has referred to this great experience of being crucified, baptized and enthroned with Christ as a different life altogether. As we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV), “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Bible Reading:Hebrews 8:8-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Because God has forgiven and forgotten all my sins and lawless deeds. I will now, through the enabling of His Holy Spirit, receive His forgiveness and cleansing and never again be burdened with those sins of the past. I will claim my new supernatural life in Christ for the glory of God. Because this is such great good news, I will not keep it to myself. I must tell others.

http://www.cru.org

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – One More Chance


Read: Luke 13:6-9

If it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down. (v. 9)

“You had your chance, and you still haven’t delivered!” Ever said something like that? The results you expected just weren’t forthcoming. You gave the offender another chance, and then another. Finally, your patience ran out. No more second chances.

For three years the landowner has been coming to his vineyard at harvest time, expecting to find fruit. But the fig tree seemingly is sterile. Finally, the landowner has had enough. Why should this unproductive tree go on stealing sun and space, water and nutrition? “Cut it down!” he says to the gardener. But the gardener begs for one last chance to coax the tree into production. He asks for a stay of execution: “Sir, let it alone this year also.” Like Abraham interceding for the city of Sodom, so the gardener wins a reprieve for the unproductive fruit tree.

Jesus the gardener doesn’t give up on us. He doesn’t give up on you, me, or the church, despite our frustrating lack of fruit. There is a lot of hope in this parable—don’t cut down the tree. But there is also urgency—just one more year! The deadline has been pushed back. We’ve been spared the ax. But with this new opportunity there had better come a new seriousness. We are on trial right now, today. God expects fruit from his fruit trees. “If it should bear fruit next year, well and good,” says the gardener. “But if not, you can cut it down.” —Lou Lotz

Prayer: Lord, help me to produce the fruits of righteousness.

 

https://woh.org/

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Heavenly Music

 

Revelation 15:3

We cannot even begin to understand what God is going to do in the future. The book of Revelation gives us a tiny peek into that time. People who are believers will stand beside a sea that looks like glass mixed with fire. These believers will be singing praises to God.

Here is the praise song that they will sing:

Great and marvelous are your deeds,

Lord God Almighty.

Just and true are your ways,

King of the nations.

Who will not fear you, Lord,

and bring glory to your name?

For you alone are holy.

All nations will come

and worship before you,

for your righteous acts have been revealed.

Revelation 15:3–4

On earth and in heaven we get to trust and praise God for who he is and what he has done for us. During good days or bad, peaceful times or stormy ones, God is always good, always in control, always with us.

Dear Lord, It is wonderful to know that we don’t have to wait for heaven or even for good days to sing songs of praise to you. Thank you for saving us. Amen.