Charles Stanley – Taking Risks of Faith

 

Matthew 14:22-33

Have you ever taken a risk in your obedience to God? Perhaps He’s given you an assignment that strikes you as beyond your abilities. Demonstrating faith in God may appear to be risky business, but it’s actually the safest thing to do. Furthermore, it’s the way the Lord expects His followers to live.

Can you imagine what the other disciples thought when Peter stepped out of the boat? It seemed like a crazy thing to do, yet Peter trusted that Jesus would keep him from sinking into the raging water.

And Peter did a pretty good job of walking on the water until he took his eyes off Jesus. As long as his total focus was on Christ, he was fine. Yet when he allowed himself to be distracted by human fears, he fell deep into trouble—literally!

This demonstrates an important principle: When doubts prevent us from obeying God, we are doomed to failure. But when we step out in faith, God always assumes full responsibility for the consequences of our obedience.

The story of Peter’s walk on the sea teaches us three things.

  • God will lead us into challenging situations that call us to walk by faith.
    • Christ stands ready to rescue us when we cry out to Him.
    • The Spirit of God will never let us fall beyond His reach.

Are you facing a situation that requires full trust in the Lord as you step out in obedience to Him? The real risk lies in your temptation not to obey Him. Keep your eyes on the heavenly Father, and He’ll see you safely to the other side.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 79-84

 

http://www.intouch.org/

 

Our Daily Bread — Set Free

 

Read: Romans 8:1–2, 15–17 | Bible in a Year: Job 5–7; Acts 8:1–25

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

When I was a boy in the village, something about chickens fascinated me. Whenever I caught one, I held it down for a few moments and then gently released it. Thinking I was still holding it, the chicken remained down; even though it was free to dash away, it felt trapped.

When we put our faith in Jesus, He graciously delivers us from sin and the hold that Satan had on us. However, because it may take time to change our sinful habits and behavior, Satan can make us feel trapped. But God’s Spirit has set us free; He doesn’t enslave us. Paul told the Romans, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1–2).

Through our Bible reading, prayer, and the power of the Holy Spirit, God works in us to cleanse us and to help us live for Him. The Bible encourages us to be confident in our walk with Jesus without feeling as if we are not set free.

Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). May the freedom we have in Christ spur us on to love Him and serve Him.

Lord, forgive me for sometimes revisiting my past and forgetting that You have washed away my sins. Thank You for taking my burden and setting me free to enjoy living for You.

My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee. Charles Wesley

By Lawrence Darmani

INSIGHT

Romans 8 is one of the theological highpoints of the Bible, specifically as it relates to the Holy Spirit. Of the many references to the Holy Spirit in the book of Romans, over half are found in Romans 8! The life-giving Spirit liberates from sin and death and empowers believers to live in ways that honor God, which includes the reorientation of our thinking (vv. 2–8). God’s Spirit is the seal of God’s ownership and those so sealed are destined for future resurrection (vv. 9–11). God’s children are not under obligation to slavish, sinful desires (vv. 12–13); rather, like Jesus, they are led by the Spirit of God (v. 14). As those in God’s family, believers in Jesus have the Spirit as their internal witness of their privileged status (vv. 15–16). Painful circumstances that make us groan and pray are our lot in this fallen world (vv. 18–25). Though sometimes our prayers are weak, we are not helpless. The Spirit of God is our prayer-helper whose intercession targets the will of God (vv. 26–27).

How have you seen the Holy Spirit working in your life?

Arthur Jackson

 

 

http://www.odb.org

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – To Fear or to Follow

I travel the same route every day as I head into school. It takes me through one of the nicest parts of town where million-dollar houses line the cliffs overlooking Bellingham Bay. Manicured lawns and pristine exteriors beckon all passersby to admire their beauty. But this same route also traverses one of the poorest sections of town where the skeletal remains of warehouses and manufacturing plants sit like open tombs. Among these abandoned ruins, solitary figures hover. The shelter of our local rescue mission is here. It is often the place where these otherwise solitary figures gather. Often, I have to steer my bike around a person jaywalking. Ambling with a slow gate or running with hands thrown in the air screaming at some unseen foe, they are quite often figures for whom reality seems as blurred as the transition from sidewalk to street.

When I am stopped at the traffic light just beyond the day shelter, it is difficult for me to avert my gaze from the macabre spectacle in front of me. Yet, I often feel afraid and hope that the light changes quickly so that I can be on my way. As I pedal hurriedly, trying to avoid road debris and traffic, I seek to escape their haunting presence. But I cannot escape wondering about whether or not there are families who love them and still worry about them. What were the legion of forces that contributed to their plight? As I wonder, I cannot help but ask what glimmer of hope there might be for these who are dependent on the mercy of a handout or who suffer the indifference of others like me?

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – To Fear or to Follow

Joyce Meyer – Dreams and Visions

 

Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish. — Proverbs 29:18 (AMPC)

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

The Israelites had no positive vision for their lives—no dreams. They knew where they came from, but they did not know where they were going. Everything was based on what they had already seen and could see. They did not know how to see with “the eye of faith.”

Jesus came to open the prison doors and set the captives free. You will only begin to progress when you start to believe you can experience freedom. You must have a positive vision for your life—a vision for a future that is not determined by your past or even your present circumstances.

Exercise your faith tonight and take a positive look at the possibilities God has planned for you. Begin to “call those things that be not as though they are” (see Romans 4:17). Think and speak about your future in a positive way, according to what God has placed in your heart.

Prayer Starter: Father, I thank You for the wonderful things You have planned for my future. Help me to see beyond where I am right now. Help me to take hold of the dreams You have placed in my heart and move forward with faith and expectation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Knowledge and Wisdom

 

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere” (James 3:17).

“Donkeys laden with books,” a phrase in rabbinical literature, is descriptive of those who know much but still remain fools.

Another expression says that “knowledge is power.” True, but how is the knowledge used – beneficially or malevolently? That is a vitally important question. We have more knowledge than ever before, but a few would claim that we have more wisdom.

Going faster and faster, we may be still going astray. Just as grapes are not picked from a bramble bush, neither can the good life be harvested from sowing wild oats.

For a nation of people, many of whom are “educated beyond their intelligence,” as an anonymous wit once observed, America sorely lacks a sufficiency of men with real wisdom – that which is given by the Lord Himself.

In our modern education, we seem to be preoccupied with the accumulation of knowledge, to the neglect of that wisdom which alone can save us from the misuse of knowledge.

William Lyon Phelps, famous English professor at Yale University and a godly statesman, once said, “If I could choose between a knowledge of the Bible and a college education, I would readily choose the knowledge of the Bible.”

If we lack wisdom, God’s wisdom, we need only ask of Him and He will grant it when we ask in faith, according to His promise in James 1:5.

Bible Reading:James 3:13-18

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: In order to live a supernatural life I’ll look for divine wisdom from the proper source – God, His Word, and His indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God’s Great Gospel

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

No one knows me, we think. People know my name, but not my heart. They know my face but not my feelings. I have a social security number, but not a soul mate. No one really knows me.

The response of heaven is that God does! Prophets weren’t enough. Apostles wouldn’t do. Angels won’t suffice. God sent more than miracles and messages. He sent himself; he sent his Son. In God’s great gospel, he not only sends, he becomes…he lives with. He lives as one of us. He knows our hurt. He knows our hunger. He knows betrayal. Most of all, he knows sin. He knows them better than you do. He knows their price because he paid it. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18). God knows you!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Political hostility escalates: “Is America headed toward a civil war?”

“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” This is how Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D–Calif.) urged protesters in Los Angeles to treat Trump administration officials in public.

This after White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant last Friday. That same day, Florida attorney general Pam Bondi was bullied at a movie screening in Tampa by hecklers who had to be deterred by her security personnel. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was jeered at a restaurant, as was White House official Stephen Miller.

The rancor may not stop with political officials. MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch: “If you vote for Trump then you, the voter, you, not Donald Trump, are standing at the border, like Nazis, going ‘you here, you here.'”

By this logic, attacks on Trump administration officials are likely to extend to Trump supporters. And they are likely to respond in kind.

Is this a civil war? Continue reading Denison Forum – Political hostility escalates: “Is America headed toward a civil war?”