Charles Stanley –Grounded in the Faith

 

Colossians 2:1-8

Do you remember what it was like when you got saved? You probably didn’t know much about the Bible, but you knew your life had changed forever. Your guilt was gone, and heaven was now your eternal destiny. The newness of salvation prompted you to want to tell whoever would listen to what had happened to you.

In time, however, we tend to settle down in our Christian life, get involved in church, and maybe even start to take our salvation for granted. Although we love and serve Jesus faithfully, we may be more interested in what the Bible says about how we’re to live than we are about the beliefs that form the foundation of our faith.

In Colossians, Paul emphasizes the importance of stability in our faith—stability that results from “the rich experience of knowing Christ with real certainty and clear understanding” (Col. 2:2 TLB). Knowing what Scripture says about the essentials of our faith guards us from deception. When we’re firmly rooted, built up, and established in biblical teachings, we’ll recognize when false teachers offer messages that don’t align with God’s Word. However, unless we know what we believe and why we hold these beliefs, we could become prime targets for cults that specialize in adding just enough truth to error to make their message seem believable.

Can you defend your faith? Do you know what the Bible teaches about Jesus, salvation, and the essentials of Christianity? Knowing the truth about these things protects you from deception and also allows you to knowledgeably share the message of salvation with others.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 85-89

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Unlocked

 

Read: Colossians 1:13–23 | Bible in a Year: Job 8–10; Acts 8:26–40

Once you were alienated from God . . . . But now he has reconciled you. Colossians 1:21–22

A boy born with cerebral palsy was unable to speak or communicate. But his mother, Chantal Bryan, never gave up, and when he was ten years old she figured out how to communicate with him through his eyes and a letter board. After this breakthrough, she said, “He was unlocked and we could ask him anything.” Now Jonathan reads and writes, including poetry, by communicating through his eyes. When asked what it’s like to “talk” with his family and friends, he said, “It is wonderful to tell them I love them.”

Jonathan’s story is profoundly moving and leads me to consider how God unlocks us from the prison of sin. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians at Colossae, once we were “alienated from God” (Colossians 1:21), our evil behavior making us His enemy, but through Christ’s death on the cross we are now presented to God as “holy in his sight” (v. 22). We may now “live a life worthy of the Lord” as we bear fruit, grow in the knowledge of God, and are strengthened in His power (vv. 10–11).

We can use our unlocked voices to praise God and share His good news that we are no longer bound to a life of sin. As we continue in our faith, we can hold firm to our hope in Christ.

Lord God, You have released us from our chains of unbelief and given us words to praise You. May we share this freedom with others for Your glory.

The Lord unlocks us from our prison of sin.

By Amy Boucher Pye

INSIGHT

These few verses (Colossians 1:13–23) in Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae are a theological goldmine! In them we read about Jesus’s relationship to God—His kingship, redemption, and forgiveness—and His role in creating and sustaining the universe. How amazing to see everything point to one thing—our reconciliation to God (v. 22).

Why not praise God today for unlocking you from the prison of sin and reconciling you to Himself.

J.R. Hudberg

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Images We Think We Are

Malcolm Muggeridge is remembered as one of the most notable figures of the twentieth century.  The wit and style of the self-dubbed “fatally fluent”” journalist made him as endearing as he was controversial.  His presence was a decipherable entity in print, over the radio, and on television. With over fifty years in the public eye, Muggeridge knew well the effect of publicity on the human ego.  In the words of one biographer, Muggeridge knew well “the strange metamorphosis that turns an individual into an image.”(1) He once confessed, “There is something very terrible in becoming an image… You see yourself on a screen, walking, talking, moving about, posturing, and it is not you. Or is it you, and the you looking at you, someone else? […] Once, sleeping before a television screen, I woke up to find myself on it.  The experience was quite terrifying—like some awful nightmare to which only someone like Edgar Allan Poe or Dostoevsky could do justice.”(2)

In our media-saturated, celebrity-producing, me-obsessed culture, the warning may well be appropriate.  Though I do not think it is only the televised that find themselves in danger of becoming an image.

Of course, some of the images we may have of ourselves obviously come with the territories. A student embraces the image of student; a new mom learns to see herself as a mom; a journalist sees himself as a journalist. Muggeridge was speaking of images beyond this—namely, a journalist who starts to see himself as an icon, or perhaps, a mom who starts to see herself as an image of success, or grief, helpfulness, or humility. This is perhaps where many of us can relate.

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Joyce Meyer – Lord, Teach Me to Pray

 

It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray…” — Luke 11:1

Adapted from the resource Hearing From God Each Morning Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

One of the most important, life-changing prayers a person can ever utter is: “Lord, teach me to pray.” It’s not simply, “Lord, teach me to pray,” but “Lord, teach me to pray.” You see, simply knowing about prayer is not enough; we have to know how to pray—to talk and listen to God—as individuals who are in an intimate, dynamic personal relationship with the God to Whom we pray. Although there are principles of prayer that apply to everyone, we are individuals and God will lead each of us to pray and communicate with Him in uniquely personal ways.

There was a time when I attended many “prayer seminars,” and then attempted to duplicate in my prayer experience what I heard others say about the way they prayed. Eventually, though, I realized God had a personalized prayer plan for me—a way for me to talk to Him and listen to Him most effectively—and I needed to find out what that was. I started by saying, “Lord, teach me to pray.” God answered me in a powerful way and brought wonderful improvements to my prayer life.

If you want to enjoy a deeper, intimate, powerful relationship with God through prayer, I encourage you to say, “Lord, teach me to pray.” He’ll do it, and you’ll soon find greater freedom and effectiveness in your prayer life. God will lead you in a unique, fresh plan that works wonderfully for you.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You that I can freely and confidently come to You and pray about anything. Teach me to pray. Help me to learn and enjoy the unique, personalized prayer plan You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Everything You Do

 

“But if anyone keeps looking steadily into God’s law for free men, he will not only remember it but he will do what it says, and God will greatly bless him in everything he does” (James 1:25).

Jim expressed his displeasure with the Epistle of James.

“I agree with Martin Luther,” he said. Bothered by the apparent contradiction between James and Paul, Luther for a long time rejected the Epistle of James. Later, however, he had become satisfied that it was a part of the inspired Scripture.

“I am no longer under law, but under grace,” Jim continued. “I feel free to do whatever I want to do, knowing that I have already found favor in God’s sight through what Christ has accomplished for me on the cross.”

Having been reared in a very legalistic church, he was now liberated. And, he said, the rest of his life he would emphasize the importance of grace and faith.

I endeavored to explain to him that he was allowing the pendulum of his life to swing to the other extreme. There had to be balance. “Faith without works is dead.” The extreme of either view leads to heresy. Trying to please God and earn salvation through works alone is impossible; it is an insult to God and leads nowhere.

But believing that Christ’s death on the cross had paid the penalty for all of our sins and that now we are free to live any way we like and do anything we want to do without any thought of obedience is also heretical. Throughout the Scriptures, from Genesis through Revelation, obedience is important. Our Lord emphasized that fact in John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (KJV).

We prove that we love Him by our actions, by our obedience. In this verse for today we have the promise, “God will greatly bless him [the believer] in everything he does,” when he obeys God’s commands.

Bible Reading:I Peter 2:9-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Since the supernatural life of the Christian is a life of good works, I will demonstrate my faith by my good works, for faith without works is dead. I will share this truth with someone who is living in the bondage of legalism.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God Knows You

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Christ takes away your sin, and in doing so, he takes away your common-ness.  You no longer need to say, “No one knows me” because God knows you.  “LORD, you…know all about me,” David discovered. “You know when I sit down and when I get up.  You know my thoughts before I think them.  You know where I go and where I lie down.  You know everything I do…You are all around me…and have put your hand on me” (Psalm 139:1-3, 5).

God knows you and he is near you.  See how these four words look taped to your bathroom mirror: “God is for me!” (Psalm 56:9). And his kingdom needs you to discover and deploy your unique skill. The poor need you; the lonely need you; the church needs you, the cause of God needs you. Get the word out. God is with us. We are not alone!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Supreme Court ruling is great news for free speech and for life

The Supreme Court continued its busy week yesterday. One of its rulings related to a California law requiring pro-life clinics to inform clients about state-funded abortions. Imagine a law requiring a Christian pastor to instruct the congregation about Islam or a Jewish rabbi to inform synagogue attenders about Buddhism.

The law violated the free speech of those who staff pro-life clinics, forcing them to deliver a message with which they personally disagreed. And, as best I can tell, it applied only to pro-life clinics. Abortion clinics were not required to notify patients of pro-life options.

I’m grateful to report that the US Supreme Court struck down this onerous law.

Making abortion unthinkable

The ruling highlights two facts.

One: It’s always too soon to stop fighting for life. Even though abortion has been legal in the US since 1973, pro-life supporters continue to make legal and cultural progress.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Supreme Court ruling is great news for free speech and for life