Charles Stanley – The Believer’s Security System

 

2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Peter 2:18-22

Spiritual dangers are all around, but God has given believers a “spiritual security system.” He’s also provided godly shepherds in the church to protect the flock from spiritual predators.

These predators are false teachers who exploit the ignorance of immature believers. They also hunt down people with unresolved guilt and use phony remedies in an attempt to soothe consciences.

Churchgoers who fail to confess and forsake sin according to Scripture are highly susceptible to such trickery. Also at risk are those who know about Jesus and religious practices but are not genuinely saved—they might even be baptized church members, but unless they have the Holy Spirit, they cannot discern truth or live holy lives.

Thankfully, God has provided a way for believers to avoid these dangerous spiritual potholes. First and foremost, we have to saturate our mind continually with God’s Word. In so doing, we will eventually develop a mental filter that reacts in alarm when something false comes our way. In this manner, we become rooted and grounded in the truth.

Christians also have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who gives understanding of God’s Word, directs our way, and enables us to distinguish truth from error. He educates our conscience to provide timely warnings when we start down the wrong path.

The Lord has provided everything we need to avoid deception, but our spiritual security system will protect us only if it is well tuned with the Word of God and obedient to His Spirit.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 95-102

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Pictures of Love

 

Read: 2 John 1:1–6 | Bible in a Year: Job 14–16; Acts 9:22–43

I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 2 John 1:5

My children and I have started a new daily practice. Every night at bedtime, we gather colored pencils and light a candle. Asking God to light our way, we get out our journals and draw or write answers to two questions: When did I show love today? and When did I withhold love today?

Loving our neighbors has been an important part of the Christian life “from the beginning” (2 John 1:5). That’s what John writes in his second letter to his congregation, asking them to love one another in obedience to God (2 John 1:5–6). Love is one of John’s favorite topics throughout his letters. He says that practicing real love is one way to know that we “belong to the truth,” that we’re living in God’s presence (1 John 3:18–19). When my kids and I reflect, we find that in our lives love takes shape in simple actions: sharing an umbrella, encouraging someone who is sad, or cooking a favorite meal. The moments when we’re withholding love are equally practical: we gossip, refuse to share, or satisfy our own desires without thinking of others’ needs.

Paying attention each night helps us be more aware each day, more tuned in to what the Spirit might be showing us as we walk through our lives. With the Spirit’s help, we’re learning to walk in love (2 John 1:6).

Lord, let us not love just in words, but in actions and in truth. Teach us to be obedient to Your call to love.

How can I show love today?

By Amy Peterson

INSIGHT

Love is a prominent theme in the apostle John’s writings. In today’s reading (2 John 1:1–6) John writes: “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us” (v. 4). Just as caring parents delight in the development of the gifts and character of their children, John had a father’s pride in those who walked in love. It is interesting to contemplate what John means by “walk in love” (v. 6). The Greek word translated “walk” can also mean a consistency one exhibits in speech, attitudes, and behavior. It’s clear that we’re being told to make sure the words we say, the attitudes we have toward others, and our general behavior be characterized by sensitivity and generosity. Of course, the ultimate example of love is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (1 John 4:10). We love others because Christ first loved us.

Dennis Fisher

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Faithful Inconvenience

On December 1, 1955, she was asked with three others to relinquish her seat on a crowded bus for a white man who had just boarded. Though they were already seated in the section reserved for blacks, they were ordered by the bus driver to stand in the aisle to make room. Three complied. Rosa Parks remained seated. Recalling the incident for a television series in 1987, Parks said quietly: “When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And he said, ‘Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested.’ I said, ‘You may do that.’” She was immediately arrested and ordered to pay a fine of fourteen dollars.

Mrs. Parks died at the age of 92, a woman history will remember for her courage and conviction. As she hurriedly left the department store where she worked as a seamstress that day in December, the last thing she was thinking about was becoming a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement. She had errands to run and preparations to make for a workshop that she was organizing for teenagers that weekend.  “So it was not a time for me to be planning to get arrested,” she said in the interview.

No matter who you are or what you believe, there are moments in life that will call you out of your daily life and into something beyond it, denying yourself for the sake of another. Almost always these moments will come with a certain degree of inconvenience. The soft spoken Montgomery seamstress who refused to give up her seat could have given heed to injustice with the rationale of not wanting to get involved just then or the daunting thought of all the things she had to get done that day. Instead, she brought about the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 and ignited the Civil Rights Movement.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Faithful Inconvenience

Joyce Meyer – Living Life on Purpose

 

Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is. — Ephesians 5:17

Adapted from the resource My Time With God Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Are you living the life you truly want to live? If not, is it because you allow your life to rule you instead of you ruling it? When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He instructed them to subdue it and be fruitful. God has given us a free will and He wants us to use it to choose His will for us. When we make choices according to the will of God, He empowers us to live a life that is truly amazing.

What do you want to accomplish today? Pray, make a plan, stay focused, and go for it! Put your time into what you want to do and don’t let circumstances and people derail you. Fight for yourself! Fight for your right to follow your heart instead of being controlled by outside forces.

Be determined; be strong. Don’t be vague and thoughtless, but have a plan and work your plan. God, through Christ, has provided a way for us to live an amazing life, but we need to continually make choices that agree with God. You have one life to live, so live it fully and refuse to drift along, letting other people and circumstances make your decisions for you.

Prayer Starter: Father, show me Your will for me and help me be courageous enough to make choices that agree with You. I want the life that You want for me! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Inspiration of God

 

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV).

Recently, it was my privilege to be chairman of a national congress on the Bible, which was held in San Diego, California. Thousands of Christian leaders came from across the nation and from other countries. More than fifty leading scholars addressed the various plenary and seminar sessions.

We were there to affirm our confidence that the Word of God is holy, inspired and without error. God’s Word is unlike any other book ever written. It is full of power and transforms the lives of all who read and obey its commandments. Many scholars read it without understanding, while others with little or no formal education comprehend its truths and are transformed in the process because they walk with God in humility and in the fullness and control of the Holy Spirit.

The story is told of a famous actor who attended a party one evening. A minister, who was also present, asked him if he would be kind enough to recite the 23rd Psalm. The actor, a famous and eloquent star of stage and screen, agreed on one condition – that the minister, a man in his eighties who had served God faithfully and humbly for half a century, would also recite the psalm.

The minister agreed, and the actor began. The words came like beautiful music, and everyone was enthralled at his beautiful presentation of the 23rd Psalm. A standing ovation greeted him at the finish.

Then the minister stood. He was not polished or eloquent. But as he began to recite the 23rd Psalm, a holy hush fell over his listeners and tears began to fill their eyes. When he finished, there was no applause – only silence. The actor stood to his feet. “I have reached your eyes and your ears and your emotions,” he said. “But this man of God has reached the very depths of your being.”

Bible Reading:II Peter 1:19-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will seek to become familiar with God’s Word, and obedient to its precepts, that my life will reflect its teachings. I will encourage others to join me in this great adventure of getting to know God and His holy, inspired Word.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God Brings Gifts

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Long before you knew you needed grace, your Father had you covered! “Christ died for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). Before you knew you needed a Savior, you had one. And when you ask him for mercy, he answers, “I’ve already given it, dear child. I’ve already given it.”

There’s more!  When you place your trust in Christ, he places his Spirit in you.  And when the Spirit comes, he brings gifts, housewarming gifts of sorts.  A spiritual gift, the Bible says, is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church. (1 Corinthians 12:7). When you become a child of God, the Holy Spirit requisitions your abilities for God’s kingdom, and they become spiritual gifts. No one is gift deprived. Are you weary of an ordinary existence?  Your spiritual adventure awaits. The cure for the common life begins and ends with God.

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – The Maryland shooting and “Searching for God at Ground Zero”

“There’s nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.” This is how Phil Davis, a reporter at the Capital Gazette in Maryland, responded to yesterday’s shooting in his newspaper building as it happened.

The acting police chief told a news conference last night, “This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette.” CNN reports this morning that a gunman, armed with a shotgun, opened fire through the front doors of the newsroom around 3 p.m.

Four employees died at the scene; a fifth person died at a hospital. Three others were wounded.

Authorities have identified the suspect as Jarrod Warren Ramos. According to court documents, he filed a defamation suit against the newspaper in 2012 for an article describing his guilty plea in a harassment case. His case against the paper was dismissed.

As I watched the shooting in Maryland unfold yesterday, I began asking the Lord what I could say that I have not already said about similar horrific events in the past. My attention was drawn to a book in my library I purchased shortly after 9/11 but had not read.

James Martin is a Jesuit priest and writer. He was editor of a Catholic magazine in New York City when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. Searching for God at Ground Zero describes firsthand his experiences volunteering at the site in the days following the worst terrorist attack in American history.

His book led me to focus this morning not on the shooter in Maryland but on those who responded to his violence. In their presence and courage, I found encouragement from God.

“Working together for a common good”

Continue reading Denison Forum – The Maryland shooting and “Searching for God at Ground Zero”