Charles Stanley – The Consequences of Drifting

 

Hebrews 3:12-13

Spiritual drifting­—the gradual wandering away from God and His will—takes place when a believer ceases to steer toward the Lord. Like a boat without oars that is set loose upon the waters, he or she makes a slow and lazy glide away from good practices like obedience, regular Bible study, prayer, and assembling with fellow Christians. And there are consequences for slipping into uncharted, dangerous waters.

A life adrift is outside of God’s will and therefore in sin. The Holy Spirit pricks the conscience to send a message when a believer is off course, but a drifter is prone to ignore such warnings. If a Christian continually excuses his wandering ways and denies sin, his conscience gradually gets numbed. A person who becomes desensitized to wrongdoing has paved the way for more sinful behavior with less guilt. Can you imagine a more dangerous situation?

As the drifting believer’s conscience becomes anesthetized, his spiritual ears are also deadened—truth cannot gain entrance, because he has invited wrong attitudes and philosophies into his thinking process. What’s more, his heart hardens to the things of God. Shrinking away from testimonies about divine power, grace, and mercy, he avoids situations that might reawaken the conscience and stir his spirit to repentance.

People drift from God in search of more—more freedom, choices, and pleasure. But since the consequences are a hard heart, a numb conscience, and dead ears, what they end up with is less. The drifting believer sacrifices the victorious life in Christ for an existence devoid of permanent satisfaction.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 145-150

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Declaring Dependence

 

Read: John 5:16–23 | Bible in a Year: Job 34–35; Acts 15:1–21

Apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Laura’s mom was battling cancer. One morning Laura prayed for her with a friend. Her friend, who had been disabled for years by cerebral palsy, prayed: “Lord, you do everything for me. Please do everything for Laura’s mother.”

Laura was deeply moved by her friend’s “declaration of dependence” on God. Reflecting on the moment, she said, “How often do I acknowledge my need for God in everything? It’s something I should do every day!”

During His days on earth Jesus demonstrated continual dependence on His heavenly Father. One might think that because Jesus is God in a human body, He would have the best of all reasons to be self-sufficient. But when the religious authorities asked Him to give a reason for “working” on a legally ordained day of rest because He healed someone on the Sabbath, He responded, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing” (John 5:19). Jesus declared His dependence as well!

Jesus’s reliance on the Father sets the ultimate example of what it means to live in relationship with God. Every moment we draw breath is a gift from God, and He wants our lives to be filled with His strength. When we live to love and serve Him through our moment-by-moment prayer and reliance on His Word, we are declaring our dependence on Him.

I need You for everything, Lord! Help me to live to serve You. I praise You for being my Savior and my strength!

Prayerlessness is our declaration of independence from God. Daniel Henderson

By James Banks

INSIGHT

In John 5, Jesus had just performed a remarkable miracle by healing a man disabled for thirty-eight years. This feat indisputably established Jesus’s unprecedented power, yet He encountered controversy despite the miracle. When challenged by religious critics, the Lord didn’t grow defensive, as we might have. Nor did He flaunt His great power, though we are often tempted to boast of “our” abilities. Instead, the One who created everything directed attention away from His own remarkable works and toward His heavenly Father (v. 19).

Am I tempted to take credit for my abilities and deeds? Do I feel a need to vindicate myself? When we understand our inherent dependence on God, we are far less likely to boast in our accomplishments or to retaliate in the face of opposition.

Tim Gustafson

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Unclean?


Read: Mark 7:14-23

There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him. (v. 15)

To the Jew, it was a serious thing to be “unclean.” A person who was considered “unclean” was “defiled” and therefore in a dangerous predicament. You did not want to be “unclean.” It could lead to retribution or death. So under the Old Testament system, people avoided lepers or touching the body of a dead person. They also avoided certain “unclean foods” such as pork.

When Jesus came, he ushered in a whole new perspective on what it means to be clean, or righteous, in God’s sight. For him, “unclean” is a thing of the heart. That teaching is certainly in the Old Testament. Passages like Proverbs 4:23 and Psalm 51:10 speak about the importance of guarding our hearts (the wellspring of life) and asking God to create a clean heart within us. Unfortunately, these deep spiritual truths relating to the heart were overwhelmed by an outward legalistic system.

What Jesus says in today’s Scripture lesson should ring true to us. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah even said so: “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (17:9). That is the root problem that we all have. But God has a solution: “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

—John Koedyker

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, that when we confess our sins, you are faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteous. Amen

 

https://woh.org/

Joyce Meyer – Good Things to Come

 

Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. 30The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes. — Deuteronomy 1:29-30

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day Devotional

Do you look forward to every day with a spirit of joy and expectation of good things to come, or do you awake each morning in a state of dread? One might dread going to work, driving in traffic, cleaning the house, or dealing with difficult people. Dread is a subtle form of fear that the devil uses to steal our joy and prevent us from enjoying life. It prevents us from walking in the will of God and moving forward in the plans of God to receive His blessings.

Dread comes after us aggressively and cannot be defeated passively. Allowing negative feelings and thoughts into your mind will steal your joy and peace. But you can trust God to help you with anything you need to do. And as He gives you grace, the thing you were dreading turns out not to be so bad after all.

We can choose to believe that Jesus goes before us and makes a way for us. When a project seems difficult or unpleasant, don’t start dreading it. If you are going to do it anyway, you might as well enjoy it!

As Christians, we can find joy even in unpleasant circumstances because the presence of God is with us. We can enjoy our life with Him in the midst of adverse and difficult conditions. Our joy comes from Who is inside us, not in what is around us.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to set my mind to enjoying everything I do today. Please help me to form a habit of expecting good things each and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Riches in Glory

 

“And it is He who will supply all your needs from His riches in glory because of what Christ Jesus has done for us” (Philippians 4:19).

God has faithfully met the needs of this great worldwide ministry since its inception. He met our needs when there were only two of us – Vonette and I – on the staff. He meets our needs today (1983) with more than 16,000 full-time and associate staff members serving in most communities of America and in 151 other countries.

He met our needs when our budget was a few thousand dollars a year. He continues to meet our needs when our budget is approximately $100 million a year. During this exciting, incredibly rich and rewarding adventure with our gracious Lord, we have never had an extra dollar at the end of any day. We get only what we need – and no more.

During these years, there have been many dramatic demonstrations of His faithfulness, when He has led us to undertake major and frequently expensive projects. He has always supplied the funds to pay for what He orders. We have learned many lessons concerning God’s faithfulness.

First, whatever He leads us to do He will enable us to do by supplying the manpower, the finances and the know-how – oftentimes dramatically – if we continue to trust and obey Him.

Second, “we have not because we ask not” (James 4:2 KJV).

Third, we do not receive when our motives are impure.

But of this we can be sure: if our hearts are pure, our motives are pure and we do what we do for the glory of God – to help fulfill the Great Commission through the winning and discipling of men for Christ throughout the world -we can always be assured that God will supply our needs. Not to do so would be a contradiction of His attributes, for the idea of the Great Commission began with our Lord.

Bible Reading:II Corinthians 9:6-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will examine my heart to determine my motives and relate my needs to the scriptural commands with the confidence that God will supply all of my needs from His riches in glory, because of what Christ Jesus has done for me. I will thank Him in advance for meeting my needs, and encourage others to trust Him also. This is a part of my commitment to supernatural living.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – The Book of Isaiah: Seeing the Glory of God

 

WELLS OF SALVATION

Isaiah 11–12

In recent decades a number of groups have focused efforts on digging and maintaining wells for access to fresh water throughout the developing world. One group in Burkina Faso, in West Africa, says that a single well that is 50 meters deep can provide clean water for 2,000 people. The ability to drink, wash, and cook with clean water is a life-saving and life-changing opportunity for many.

In a similar way, God’s people had a life-changing experience with the Lord’s wells—the “wells of salvation.” Isaiah uses the metaphor to speak of the depths or greatness of the Lord’s salvation toward His people. The prophet considers the outpouring of God’s Spirit and the subsequent peace on the earth and restoration of the remnant. He sees salvation as deep wells of water, representing many aspects of salvation. Christ will gather Israel from the distant lands to which they have fled and plant them back in Jerusalem, the holy mountain of the Lord. The Lord will destroy the enemies of God’s people.

In the day of the Lord, the celebrations of Israel will exalt the depths of the Lord’s salvation. Isaiah foretells a day when the Lord’s people will rejoice in Him with thanksgiving, remember His mercy, ascribe strength to Him, sing songs of gladness, declare His deeds to the earth, and exalt the Holy One. In that day, the Lord will fulfill His covenant promises to make the nations of the earth know His glory, and to dwell forever in the midst of His people. As Paul writes, “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Eph. 2:22).

APPLY THE WORD

Look at your life prior to salvation, and sing to the Lord a song of praise or thanksgiving for turning away His anger from you by pouring out His wrath on Christ. Think of the many things the Lord has changed for you since you became a Christian. Rejoice in these wells of God’s salvation!

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids – A Good Lesson

 

Acts 7:30, 32, 34

Does time seem to pass slower when you’re at school? You’re watching the clock, waiting for recess or the end of the school day, and the hands don’t seem to be moving at all. It can be hard to pay attention in school when you’re focused on getting out of class as quickly as possible. But remember: this is your learning time. Fill it up with everything you can possibly learn. Then you will be ready for whatever God calls you to do.

Jesus was thirty years old before he started his ministry. Before that, he was learning. Before Moses led God’s people out of Egypt, he spent forty years in the desert herding sheep—and learning. Your days may seem hard. Or maybe school seems long and boring. But don’t be fooled—these are important times of learning. God has a plan for you, and you want to be ready. Learn everything you can in school so that you will be prepared to work in God’s kingdom.

Dear Lord, Help me to use well this time while I’m growing up. Help me to get ready for whatever you ask me to do. Amen.