Charles Stanley – Put On a Heart of Compassion

 

Colossians 3:12-14

Have you ever noticed that some people are more naturally compassionate than others? Maybe it’s their personality or upbringing. Nevertheless, in the church, every believer is told to “put on a heart of compassion” (Col. 3:12). When empathy doesn’t come naturally, some Christians may wonder if something is wrong with them. So, what can we do to develop a greater sense of caring?

While emotions cannot be manufactured on demand, we can change our thoughts, which in turn affect our emotions. Compassion, like all the other qualities listed in today’s passage, is possible only when we think of others before ourselves. Self-centeredness keeps us from seeing the needs and hurts of those around us and acting on their behalf. What we need is a renewed mind.

We are all born with a selfish, sinful nature, referred to as the “old self.” But when a person puts his trust in Jesus, he receives a “new self” created in righteousness by God. (See Eph. 4:22-24.) As our minds are renewed with His Word and we grow in obedience, Christ’s love and compassion begin to flow through us. Instead of our being oblivious to the pain and suffering around us, God will open our eyes and use us to comfort those in need.

A heart of compassion is achieved not through self-effort but through a God-focused life. As we draw near to Him through His Word and His Son, He transforms our focus, thoughts, and feelings. What a relief to know that God has provided everything we need to follow Jesus’ example of caring. He always equips us to obey His every command.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 112-118

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Living Out Loud

 

Read: 1 Peter 3:8–16 | Bible in a Year: Job 22–24; Acts 11

In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 1 Peter 3:15

While staying at a hotel in Austin, Texas, I noticed a card lying on the desk in my room. It said:

Welcome
Our prayer is that your stay here will be restful
and that your travels will be fruitful.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, and make
His face shine upon you.

This card from the company that manages the hotel made me want to know more, so I accessed their website and read about their culture, strength, and values. In a winsome way, they seek to pursue excellence and live out their faith in the workplace.

Their philosophy reminded me of Peter’s words to the followers of Jesus scattered throughout Asia Minor. He encouraged them to demonstrate their faith in Christ in the society where they lived. Even as they faced threats and persecution, Peter told them not to be afraid, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

A friend of mine calls this “living a lifestyle that demands an explanation.” No matter where we live or work, may we in God’s strength live out our faith today—always ready to reply gently and respectfully to everyone who asks the reason for our hope.

May our lives cause others to ask the reason we have hope.

By David C. McCasland | See Other Authors

INSIGHT

When we think of Peter, we often think of young Peter—his rash denials of Christ (John 18:17, 25, 27), his jumping out of the boat to walk on the water to Jesus (Matthew 14:22–31), or his cutting off a servant’s ear in the garden of Gethsemane (John 18:10). Yet aged Peter—mature Peter—is a much different man who wrote letters to encourage believers in Jesus. The man who called down a curse on himself as he denied Christ (Matthew 26:73–75) now writes that believers should be prepared to give an answer for their hope—something he was once unwilling to do. Such is the difference the Spirit makes in our lives.

How has the Spirit been transforming you and helping you to live out your faith?

J.R. Hudberg

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – In Critical Care

The “doorknob phenomenon” is an occurrence many physicians know well. Doctors can proceed meticulously through complete examinations and medical histories, taking care to hear a patient’s questions and concerns, but it is often in the last thirty seconds of the appointment that the most helpful information is revealed. When a doctor’s hand is on the doorknob, body halfway out the door, vital inquiries are often made; when a patient is nearly outside the office, crucial information is shared almost in passing. Many have speculated as to the reasons behind the doorknob phenomenon (which is perhaps not limited to the field of medicine), though a cure seems unlikely. Until then, words uttered on the threshold remain a valuable entity to the physician.

If I can speak on behalf of patients (perhaps I’ve been a perpetrator of the phenomenon myself), I would note that the doorway marks our last chance to be heard. Whatever the reason for not speaking up until that point—fear, discomfort, shame, denial—we know the criticalness of that moment. In thirty seconds, we will no longer be in the presence of one who might offer healing or hope or change. At the threshold between doctor’s office and daily life, the right words are imperative; time is of the essence.

One of the many names for God used by the writers of the Bible is the Great Physician. It is curious to think of how the doorknob phenomenon might apply. Perhaps there are times in prayer when the prayer feels as if we are moving down sterile lists of conditions and information. Work. Finances. Mom. Jack. Future. Of course, while bringing to God in prayer a laundry list of concerns with repeated perseverance is at times both necessary and helpful, perhaps there are also times when we have silenced the greater diagnosis with the words we have chosen to leave unspoken. Can a physician heal wounds we will not show, symptoms we will not mention?

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – In Critical Care

Joyce Meyer – Keep Your Promises

 

…but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.  — Psalm 15:4-5

Adapted from the resource Starting Your Day Right Devotional

There are times when I make a commitment to do something that later I regret. Then I try to figure out some way to get out of doing what I said I would do. I argue, “God, surely You don’t want me to do this thing and miss this other great opportunity.”

The only thing the Lord ever says to me is, “You gave your word, Joyce. Be a woman of integrity, and I will bless you.” If we are people of integrity, God will bring other good opportunities around another time with even more blessings.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to always be a person of integrity. Help me to honor You by keeping my word and doing what I say I’ll do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Finished with Sin

“He personally carried the load of our sins in His own body when He died on the cross, so that we can be finished with sin and live a good life from now on. For his wounds have healed ours!” (1 Peter 2:24).

Following one of my messages a young woman in her early 20’s asked for counsel. She was weighted down with her guilt and sin. In fact, she was so distraught that she would not look me in the eye. All the while I was counseling her she was under such deep conviction that all I could see was the top of her head.

I asked, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?” She nodded in the affirmative. “Do you believe that He died on the cross for your sins?” Again she responded affirmatively. “Would you like to invite Him into your life and ask Him to cleanse you with His precious blood, which He shed on the cross for your sins, and make you a new creature in Christ?” Again, she nodded. Together we knelt in prayer and through her sobs she surrendered to Christ, acknowledging the wickedness and filth of a life of gross immorality. She confessed to God her disobedience of her father and mother whose hearts had been broken by her prodigal ways.

After some time on our knees it was obvious that God had touched her, had forgiven and cleansed her. The sobbing had passed and now she was at peace. The Spirit within me bore witness that she had become a new creature in Christ. As we stood to our feet, she looked at me with her eyes still glistening with tears and her face radiant with joy. She now knew the reality of our promise for today. Jesus had taken the load of her sins on His own body and she was cleansed. With His wounds He had healed her and now she could live a life for the glory of God.

Who, but Jesus, could work such a miracle? Is it any wonder that those who know Him in this way want, like apostle Paul, to tell everyone who will listen about Him? He alone can forgive our sin and liberate us from the darkness and gloom of Satan’s kingdom.

Bible Reading:I Peter 2:21-25

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With great joy and deep gratitude I will praise the Lord that He has taken upon Himself the load of my sin and through His death on the cross has paid the penalty which I could never have paid through my own effort. As an expression of my gratitude and through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I commit myself to live a good life, a supernatural life that will glorify my God and Savior.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Worship Adjusts Us

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Worship adjusts us. It lowers the chin of the haughty and straightens the back of the burdened.  It bows the knees, singing to him our praise.  Opening our hearts, it offers to him our uniqueness. Worship properly positions the worshiper.  And oh how we need it!

We walk through life so bent out of shape.  Cure any flare up of commonness by setting your eyes on our uncommon King.  Worship lifts our eyes and sets them “on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power” (Colossians 3:1).

We worship God because we need to.  But our need runs a distant second to the thoroughbred reason for worship: God deserves it.  God would die for your sin before he’d let you die in your sin. What do you do with such a Savior?  You lift up your gift in worship.

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – John Adams thought today would be Independence Day

John Adams attended the Second Continental Congress, which began meeting in Philadelphia on July 1, 1776. The next day, the delegates voted in favor of America’s independence.

On July 3, Adams wrote to his beloved wife, Abigail: “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.”

He added: “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

He was off by two days.

John Adams was a Harvard-educated lawyer who led our nation’s negotiations for peace with Great Britain. From 1785 to 1788, he was minister to the Court of St. James’s in London. He returned to become our nation’s first vice president and later was elected our second president.

He was one of the most brilliant and accomplished men in American history. How could he have gotten the birthday of our nation wrong?

Continue reading Denison Forum – John Adams thought today would be Independence Day