Charles Stanley – The Signs of Drifting

 

Hebrews 2:1-3

Regularly gathering in the house of the Lord with brothers and sisters in Christ provides an anchor of support and accountability. But skipping church in order to pursue other interests usually indicates a believer has begun to drift away from God. Less apparent are the men and women who mentally skip the worship service. The act of attending means nothing unless we make a deliberate decision to receive God’s Word and apply it to our life. As the writer of Hebrews warned, if we do not pay attention to what we have heard, we will drift away from it (Heb. 2:1).

However, Sunday morning is not the only time for nourishing our heart and mind with principles and encouragement from the Bible. We should be in its pages every day, reading and meditating for ourselves. When our interest in what God has to say decreases, we are already slipping out into troublesome waters. The only way to keep our way pure is by following His Word (Psalm 119:9).

A fading prayer life often accompanies neglected Bible reading. Prayer is the way believers communicate with the Navigator. If we stop talking with Him, the God who once seemed so close will soon feel far away. That chasm in our spirit is one more sign that we’re far from shore and safety.

I’ve watched many a captain guide his cruise ship through a narrow channel. The crew members are intensely focused on their tasks because drifting means disaster. Life is full of narrow channels to navigate. We cannot afford to drift away from God and His Word. Only He can bring us safely through.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 139-144

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Hidden Beauty

 

Read: 1 Samuel 16:1–7 | Bible in a Year: Job 32–33; Acts 14

People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

Our children needed a little coaxing to believe that it was worth putting on snorkeling gear to peer beneath the surface of the Caribbean Sea off the shore of the island of Tobago. But after they dove in, they resurfaced ecstatic, “There are thousands of fish of all different kinds! It’s so beautiful! I’ve never seen such colorful fish!”

Because the surface of the water looked similar to freshwater lakes near our home, our children could have missed the beauty hidden just below the surface.

When the prophet Samuel went to Bethlehem to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king, Samuel saw the oldest son, Eliab, and was impressed by his appearance. The prophet thought he had found the right man, but the Lord rejected Eliab. God reminded Samuel that He “does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

So Samuel asked if there were more sons. The youngest boy wasn’t present but caring for the family’s sheep. This son, David, was summoned and the Lord directed Samuel to anoint him.

Often we look at people only on a surface level and don’t always take the time to see their inner, sometimes hidden, beauty. We don’t always value what God values. But if we take the time to peer beneath the surface, we may find great treasure.

Heavenly Father, thank You for not valuing people based on outward appearances but instead by looking at our hearts. Help me to take the time to see beyond simply what my eyes can see in order to discover true and lasting beauty. 

God can help me to see the inner beauty in others.

By Lisa Samra

INSIGHT

Who taught you how to think about yourself and others?

Long before Samuel looked for a king among the sons of Jesse, God was teaching His children to see below the surface of our skin. From the days of Eden, He has been showing people like us that what happens in our hearts is more important than our outward appearance.

How has God’s interaction with the men and women of the Bible helped you to think about yourself and Him?

Mart DeHaan

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Beautiful Foolishness

“I don’t believe in God,” begins Julian Barnes in his book Nothing to Be Frightened Of, “but I miss him.” Though he admits he never had any faith to lose (a “happy atheist” as an Oxford student, Barnes now considers himself an agnostic), he still finds himself dreading the gradual ebbing of Christianity. He misses the sense of purpose that the Christian narrative affords, the sense of wonder and belief that haunts Christian art and architecture.

“I miss the God that inspired Italian painting and French stained glass, German music and English chapter houses, and those tumbledown heaps of stone on Celtic headlands which were once symbolic beacons in the darkness and the storm.” Such are the thoughts that surface as Barnes attempts to confront his fears of death and dying in this memoir. He believes Christianity to be a foolish lie, but insists, “[I]t was a beautiful lie.”(1)

There is certainly room for beauty in the description the apostle Paul gave of the gospel. Like Julian, Paul saw its foolishness clearly as well: “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). He also noted the weakness inherent in the Christian proclamation. At the heart of the Christian religion is one who “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness, and being found in human form” (Philippians 2:7). On this much Paul and Julian agree: however beautiful, foolishness and weakness imbibe the Christian story.

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Joyce Meyer – Pleasant Words, Healing Words

The mind of the wise instructs his mouth, and adds learning and persuasiveness to his lips. Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body. — Proverbs 16:23-24 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind Devotional

Our thoughts can either get us into trouble or elevate us above our problems. Too often, however, we allow our minds to linger over and ponder the wrong kind of thoughts. In the verse above, it says the mind (or the heart) of the wise teaches his mouth. This proverb means that the thoughts on which we dwell will eventually come out in our words. If our words are good and uplifting, they encourage others and us.

Those thoughts aren’t just about others—they are also about how we reflect on ourselves, as well. One of the smartest friends I had in school confessed one day that she felt intellectually inferior. Her words shocked me, and I told her so. I learned that her father used to call her stupid when she didn’t grasp something the first time he explained it to her. Eventually, her own thoughts said to her, You aren’t intelligent enough to understand this.

That’s a good example of how our words can tear down others. But we can also uplift others with our words. When we focus on the good, we see in people and tell them, we may well be God’s messenger to them.

For example, I’ve stood in front of a crowd and spoken many times. Because I have victory, they assume I’m always in victory, and that I never have to struggle the way they do. Sometimes a person will come to me and say, “Joyce, God really used you tonight. I came here discouraged and kept asking God what I should do. Right in the middle of your teaching, I heard God speak through you.”

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Pleasant Words, Healing Words

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Keeps His Promises

 

“Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is the faithful God who for a thousand generations keeps His promises and constantly loves those who love Him and who obey His commands” (Deuteronomy 7:9).

Torn between the desire to surrender his life to the Lord and the desire to be his own person, Tom gave vent to his frustration.

“I want to be a good Christian,” he said, “but I’m afraid of God and what He might do to change my plans. You see, I have great plans for my life and I don’t want to end up wasting it.

“For example, I don’t want to marry someone with whom I would be miserable or risk my opportunities for a successful business career.”

I asked Tom, as I have often asked others, “Do you really believe that God loves you?”

“Yes,” he replied – and that is the general response. Then I reminded him that Jesus Christ so loved him that He was willing to die on the cross for his sins.

“Do you believe that He died for you?”

“Yes,” Tom agreed, and that also is the general reply.

Then, my final question, “Don’t you think that you can trust the omnipotent Creator God, who so loved you that He sent His only begotten Son, who Himself loved you so much that He was willing to die on the cross for your sins, that you may have a full and abundant life here on earth and for all eternity?”

Tom’s response was, “I’d never thought of it that way before. Of course I can trust Him, and I will.”

Together we knelt in prayer, and God touched his life in such a dramatic way that he has since been used to introduce many thousands to our Savior.

Bible Reading:Deuteronomy 7:6-8, 10-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will surrender my will to do the will of God in all things, because I know that He is a God of love, wisdom, compassion and concern who wants the very best for me. I will share this good news with other Christians who are reluctant to surrender their wills to Him and with nonbelievers who have not yet entered into the joy and excitement of the supernatural life.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Preparing God’s Holy People

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

All the billions of Christ followers over the last two-thousand years have this in common:  “A spiritual gift is given to each of us” (1 Corinthians 12:7). God’s body has no nobodies. No exceptions…no exclusions. Our gifts make an eternal difference only in concert with the church. Apart from the body of Christ, we are like clipped fingernails or shaved whiskers and cut hair. Who needs them? He grants gifts so we can “prepare God’s holy people” (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Paul reached into a medical dictionary for this term. Doctors used it to describe the setting of a broken bone. Broken people come to churches. Not with broken bones, but broken hearts, broken homes, broken dreams, and broken lives. And if the church operates as the church, they find healing.  All members help to heal brokenness, “to make the body of Christ stronger!”

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – “Trump Baby” balloon to be flown near UK parliament when president visits

Donald Trump will become the twelfth US president to meet Queen Elizabeth when the two convene next week. However, Reuters reports that “no other US presidential encounter has generated the same level of opposition and controversy in Britain as Trump’s trip.”

After the president was invited last year, more than 1.86 million people signed a petition saying he should not be accorded a state visit because it could embarrass the queen. Yesterday, protesters were given permission by London’s mayor to fly a giant balloon dubbed the “Trump Baby” near Parliament during the president’s visit on July 13.

In other political news, the New York Daily News carried a July 4 cover depicting President Trump as “the clown who plays king.” On the other side of the aisle, PJ Media‘s July 4th cartoon depicts a donkey representing the Democratic Party blowing out the Statue of Liberty’s torch.

The political rancor of our day is the most divisive and demeaning I have ever seen. And it seems to be getting worse.

What is the key to humility?

Continue reading Denison Forum – “Trump Baby” balloon to be flown near UK parliament when president visits