Charles Stanley –The Call to Serve

 

Galatians 5:13

Jesus commanded that we serve one another, but obeying this is not natural for us. Sure, there are times we like to help others. But service that involves self-sacrifice—especially for someone we deem undeserving—is much more difficult to do.

What does it mean to serve? Consider Christ’s example. He gave up everything in heaven to live among us, subjecting Himself to dishonor and human frailty. And He loved even those who rejected Him. Think about how He humbled Himself and washed the disciples’ feet at Passover. This was a disgusting, lowly task that a slave might be assigned—far from anything a king should do. He even knew these men were about to abandon Him but served them anyway.

Ultimately, Christ gave His life for us. And He did so while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). Serving others was His lifestyle—part of who He was and what He did. As His followers, we should strive to be like Him.

Therefore, service involves first dying to our selfish attitudes and motives. Only then can we live to glorify Christ. Jesus said that the greatest commandments are to love God wholeheartedly and to love others (Matt. 22:37-39). Ironically, it is only when we humbly serve others that we experience God’s fullness in our own lives.

Many try to achieve happiness by striving after their own desires. The result? Tired, unsatisfied people. True contentment happens only when we walk closely with Jesus. He shows where we can humble ourselves and take care of others. These actions, done through His strength, will be blessed.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 76-78

 

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Our Daily Bread — Saying Grace

 

Read: Colossians 3:12–17 | Bible in a Year: Job 3–4; Acts 7:44–60

Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

For many years, I’ve enjoyed the writings of British author G. K. Chesterton.  His humor and insight often cause me to chuckle and then pause for more serious contemplation. For example, he wrote, “You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the play and the opera, and grace before the concert and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing; and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

It’s good for us to thank the Lord before every meal, but it shouldn’t stop there.  The apostle Paul saw every activity, every endeavor as something for which we should thank God and that we should do for His glory. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). Recreation, occupation, and education are all avenues through which we can honor the Lord and express our gratefulness to Him.

Paul also encouraged the believers in Colossae to “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (v. 15).

The best place to “say grace” is anywhere and anytime we want to give thanks to the Lord and honor Him.

Thank You for Your gift of life eternal. May we acknowledge and honor You throughout this day.

In all we do, let’s give thanks to God and honor Him.

By David C. McCasland

INSIGHT

Could anything make whatever we do better? When the apostle Paul wrote to readers in Colossae, he described an alternative to any and all attitudes that are harmful to us and others (Colossians 3:5–10). In his letter to the Philippians he uses the word whatever as he describes his personal accomplishments. Whatever he once considered gained, he now considers loss for the sake of Christ (Philippians 3:7). For reasons he never expected, he found a way to move on to something better than his own efforts to be seen as a good, moral, and religious person.

Many of us know the story behind Paul’s change. After an unforeseen encounter with the resurrected Christ (Acts 9:1–6), he thought differently about anything and everything. Seeing the failure of his own efforts, he learned to live by the grace of God. By relying on the presence of Jesus, Paul discovered the means by which any of us can live with divine help and thankfulness in anything and everything worth doing.

What will we face today that will give us a chance to see and say “grace” in whateverwe encounter?

Mart DeHaan

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Losing Consciousness

The line between real and imagined is sometimes a little blurry. At least this is the conclusion of one report on the business of cyberspace, where thousands of people have imaginary lives and some are actually making a living at it. The creators of several popular online role-playing games completed a year-long study of the very real transactions that are taking place in their imaginary worlds. The results portray a flourishing economy that is rapidly grabbing advertisers’ attention. The sellers are role players who have taken the time to find marketable goods in their virtual worlds—and they are clearly putting in the time. In one popular game, a gnome is sold with a basic skill set for $214; in another, a virtual cherry dining set for a virtual home runs about 250 actual dollars. Between June 2005 and June 2006, 9,042 role players spent $1.87 million dollars on virtual goods from swords to special powers. According to analyst estimates this year, U.S. virtual goods revenue alone will top $1 billion and could even rake in over $2 billion.

It is entertainment I don’t claim to fully understand. But it is fascinating (and maybe frightening) to see how integrated the real and the virtual can become. Of course, this idea applies to far more than online games. What we imagine can become so enmeshed with what is real that we scarcely notice a difference. That is, until something real reminds us otherwise—like an outsider’s perspective or a credit card receipt.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Losing Consciousness

Joyce Meyer – Run Your Race

 

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. — Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)

Adapted from the resource Closer To God Each Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

If we are going to run our race in life, if we want to fulfill our destiny and do God’s will, it is important that we lay aside every weight and sin and run the race with patience.

In the days this verse was written, runners conditioned their bodies for a race just as we do today. But at the time of the race, they stripped off their clothing except for a loincloth, so that when they ran there would be nothing to hinder them. They also oiled their bodies with fine oils.

In our Christian life, we are called to remove anything that hinders us from running the race that God has set before us. It is essential to be well oiled, or anointed, with the Holy Spirit (often symbolized by oil) if we are going to win our race.

Our enemy, Satan, has many ways to entangle us and prevent us from living in obedience to God’s Word, developing an intimate relationship with Him. There are many distractions and requirements on our time. But with God’s guidance, we can strip away the things that will hinder us. Keep your eyes on your goal and learn to say “no” to things that distract you and keep you from fulfilling your full potential.

Be determined that nothing is going to hinder you from fulfilling God’s plan and purpose for your life.

Prayer Starter: Father, I want to run my race and fulfill the plan You have for my life. Help me not to be distracted by anything that will take my focus away from You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Crown of Life

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him” (James 1:12, KJV).

In Christian art, the crown is usually pictured entwined with the cross. This suggests that endurance of trial leads to victory, as the above verse indicates.

Temptation often comes at our weakest – rather than our strongest – moments. When we have reached the limit of our love and our patience, for example, we are tempted to be unlike Christ in one way or another. Remember, Jesus’ temptation began after forty days of fasting.

People usually are impressed – favorably or unfavorably – when they see how we act under pressure. It is possible for one weak act to spoil a whole lifetime of witness.

The beatitude, or blessing, in Matthew 5:10; says, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (KJV). The crown of life is promised to those who successfully stand up under the testing of their faith. The Christian life is a spiritual conflict from the moment of birth until we go to be with the Lord. The flesh wars against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. There is absolutely no hope for victory until one discovers the availability of the supernatural resources of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

A young student who came to me for counsel said, “I have given up. I can’t live the Christian life. There is no hope for me.”

“Good,” I replied. “At last you have recognized that you cannot live the Christian life. Now there is hope for you, for the Christian life is a supernatural life and the only one who can live it is Jesus Christ Himself.”

Surrender your life totally, completely to Him and recognize moment by moment, day by day, that the Holy Spirit is the only one who will enable you to endure temptation. By faith you must draw upon His supernatural resources to live a supernatural life. Only then will you be victorious and fruitful for the glory of God.

Bible Reading:James 5:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today and every day I will remember to draw upon the supernatural resources of the indwelling Christ who will enable me to be victorious over temptation and to live the supernatural life as a testimony to His faithfulness.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – The Language of Loneliness

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

We may relish moments of solitude—but a lifetime of it?  No way. Many of us, however, are too fluent in the language of loneliness. The kids used to need me…the business once needed me…my spouse never needs me.  Lonely people fight feelings of insignificance.

What do you do? How do you cope with such cries for significance? Well, some stay busy; others stay drunk. Some buy pets; others buy lovers. Some seek therapy. Yet only a few seek God. He invites all of us to do so. God’s ultimate cure for the common life takes you to a manger. “…and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). There’s no withholding tax on God’s with promise. He is with us. God is with us!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused service: Political discrimination?

Racial discrimination is in today’s news after the shooting of teenager Antwon Rose in East Pittsburgh. Religious discrimination has been in the news with the recent Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court ruling.

Gender-based discrimination has been much-discussed with Saudi Arabia’s recent decision to allow women to drive. Socioeconomic discrimination is a fact of life in many cultures around the world.

Now there’s a new kind of discrimination in the news.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has served as President Trump’s press secretary since July 2017. She made headlines over the weekend when she was refused service by a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia.

The issue was not her race, her religious commitments, her gender, or her social or economic status. It had to do with her political positions. In her job, she explains and defends the president’s beliefs and actions on various issues.

Sanders was asked to leave the Red Hen specifically because the owner and some of her employees disagreed with some of these political positions.

Is political discrimination legal?

Disparaging people on the basis of their political beliefs happens routinely on late-night television and in the news. For instance, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and White House senior advisor Stephen Miller were recently heckled at restaurants by protesters objecting to the administration’s “zero tolerance” border policy.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused service: Political discrimination?