Charles Stanley – Listening to God

 

Proverbs 2:1-7

Psychologists refer to a phenomenon known as dissociation to describe a mental state in which someone inhabits two worlds simultaneously. Many of us might have experienced this in its mildest form while driving. Our thoughts drift, and we fly right by our exit, traveling many miles before we recognize our mistake.

As Christians, we sometimes suffer from spiritual dissociation. With good intentions, we open our Bibles and begin reading only to realize several verses later that we have no idea what we just read. Although God was speaking, we failed to hear His voice. Usually, this situation can be easily remedied by rereading with focused concentration, but there are other times when we fail to hear God for more serious reasons.

Sometimes an inability to hear the Lord is simply the result of spiritual immaturity, but it could also indicate a perilous state of spiritual indifference or, worse still, rebellion. In that state, we run the risk of becoming like the man who hardens his neck after much reproof and is suddenly broken beyond remedy (Prov. 29:1).

Let’s not make it difficult for God to get through to us. He’s a loving Father who keeps speaking in order to turn us away from evil and direct us back to Himself. His goal is to transform us from stubborn children needing firm control to mature followers who can be counseled merely by a word or a nudge from Him. The more receptive we become to His instructions, the more we’ll experience His lovingkindness and the joy of obedience and righteousness.

Bible in One Year: Proverbs 5-8

 

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Our Daily Bread — Be Still, My Soul!

 

Read: Psalm 131 | Bible in a Year: Job 38–40; Acts 16:1–21

I have calmed and quieted myself. Psalm 131:2

Picture a parent poised lovingly over a child, finger gently placed in front of nose and lips softly speaking the words—“hush,” “shhhh.” The demeanor and simple words are meant to comfort and quiet anxious little ones in the midst of disappointment, discomfort, or pain. Scenes like this are universal and timeless and most of us have been on the giving or receiving end of such loving expressions. When I ponder Psalm 131:2, this is the picture that comes to mind.

The language and flow of this psalm suggest that the writer, David, had experienced something that provoked serious reflection. Have you experienced a disappointment, defeat, or failure that prompted thoughtful, reflective prayer? What do you do when you are humbled by life’s circumstances? When you fail a test or lose a job or experience the end of a relationship? David poured out his heart to the Lord and in the process did a bit of honest soul-searching and inventory (Psalm 131:1). In making peace with his circumstances, he found contentment like that of a young child who was satisfied with simply being with his or her mother (v. 2).

Life’s circumstances change and sometimes we are humbled. Yet we can be hopeful and content knowing that there is One who has promised to never leave or forsake us. We can trust Him fully.

Father, when things change in my life, help me not to be anxious but to trust You and find contentment in You alone.

Read more: Cultivating a Heart of Contentment at discoveryseries.org/hp052.

Contentment is found in Christ alone.

By Arthur Jackson

INSIGHT

The theme of Psalm 131 is rest or spiritual contentment. Verse 2 says, “I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.” This idea of rest connects to the preceding song (Psalm 130) whose theme is forgiveness. Psalm 130:4 affirms, “But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.” It is forgiveness that gives us true, lasting rest because it brings us into relationship with the God who made us.

This was voiced beautifully by the church father Augustine who said, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

Bill Crowder

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – None so Obscure

Dutch painter Jan Vermeer is remembered as a master of light and color. Long before his contemporaries, Vermeer was painting light, seeing not the object he was painting but the light that brought it to life. Yet like many of his contemporaries he died poor, without distinction, and without the slightest intimation of the reputation he would come to bear. He died young, leaving his wife and eleven children in financial ruin and the majority of his art claimed by creditors. Two hundred years, his paintings gained recognition and Vermeer became known as one of Holland’s greatest painters.

There seems to run a common thread through many of the artists, musicians, and writers that history has come to recognize as its most influential: they never lived to see their own influence. Countless lives now celebrated, once lived in need and died in obscurity. Only one of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings sold while he was yet living. William Blake, one of England’s great figures of art and literature, dwelled in near poverty and died unrecognized. Emily Dickinson’s talent was unmatched in its day, and yet she lived a life unknown and undiscovered. Only seven of her poems were published in her lifetime, all of which were altered by her publishers to match the style and form of the time.

There are many reputations that will die with the person to which they once belonged. There are many others who seem to be birthed posthumously, lives discovered in death, yet forever leaving a mark on humanity. To those of us living, it seems somehow unfair. They never lived to see how deeply their presence was felt. Their life’s significance was birthed only after their death.

The writers of Scripture seem to describe the lives of those who follow Christ in a similarly seemingly tragic way. They remind us without apology that humanity passes through its days like evening shadows and withers away like grass. And they claim paradoxically that somehow to die is gain and that in death is new life. To those who die with Christ, even what is withered will be raised–a promise both real in life and profoundly true in death. “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” asks the apostle Paul. “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”(1) In the words of Emily Dickinson, to some a death-blow is mysteriously and thoroughly a life-blow.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – None so Obscure

Joyce Meyer – Seeing in the Darkness

 

God is faithful [He is reliable, trustworthy and ever true to His promise—He can be depended on], and through Him you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. — 1 Corinthians 1:9 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Ending Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

There are times you just can’t see through the darkness that seems to be closing in around you. It is in those times of endurance and patience that your faith is stretched and you learn to trust God even when you can’t hear His voice.

You can grow in your confidence level to the point where “knowing” is even better than “hearing.” You may not know what to do, but it is sufficient to know the One Who does know.

Everyone likes specific direction; however, when you don’t have it, knowing God is faithful and ever true to His promise, and that He has promised to be with us always, is comforting and keeps us stable until His timing comes to illuminate the situation.

Prayer Starter: Father, You know exactly where I am today. Help me to continually put my confidence in Your faithfulness, even when I don’t know what the next step is. I know You are with me always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Rescued from Darkness

 

“For He has rescued us out of the darkness and gloom of Satan’s kingdom and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13).

A famous general invited me to his office. He was hungry for God and eager to become a Christian. Yet as we counseled together, he seemed reluctant to pray. I inquired as to his reluctance, and he said, “I don’t understand myself. I want to receive Christ, but I can’t.”

I turned to Colossians 1:13,14 and asked him to read it aloud. Then I asked him to tell me what he thought it meant. The light went on. Suddenly he realized that he was a member of Satan’s kingdom, and Satan was trying to hinder his being liberated from darkness and gloom into the glorious light of the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Satan did not want him to receive Christ into his heart.

As soon as the man realized he was a member of Satan’s kingdom, he was ready to pray and receive Christ into his life so that he would then become a member of God’s kingdom.

I, too, was once in Satan’s kingdom – not a very pleasant thought, but true. And so were you if you are a Christian. Every person born into this world is a part of Satan’s kingdom; all who are not now experiencing the saving grace and love of Christ are a part of his kingdom.

It is God the Holy Spirit who enables men to comprehend spiritual truth. It is God the Holy Spirit who liberates men from darkness into light. It is God the Holy Spirit who is responsible for the new birth that brings men into the kingdom of God.

When we go out to witness, it is not enough to know God’s plan. It is not enough to know the Four Spiritual Laws. It is not enough for us to be nicely groomed and properly scented. We need to go in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. He alone can change men.

Bible Reading:Ephesians 6:10-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: My first concern in everything I do and every contact I make today will be that the power of God’s Holy Spirit will be operative in my life, so that others will see His supernatural qualities in my life and want to join me in following Him.

 

 

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Max Lucado – God Heals Family Through His Family

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

“God’s family is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). The term family far and away outpaces any other biblical term to describe the church. “Brothers” or “brothers and sisters” appears a whopping 148 times between the book of Acts and the book of Revelation.

In the church we use our gifts to love each other, honor one another, and carry each other’s burdens. Do you need encouragement, prayers, or a hospitable home? God entrusts the church to purvey these treasures. Consider the church God’s treatment center for the common life. Don’t miss the place to find your place and heal your hurts. Oh, the immensity, the beauty, and the surprises of family life. In God’s church, may you find them all.

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Another boy rescued, 8 still inside Thailand cave

The second phase is underway in the rescue of eight boys and their coach trapped in a cave in northern Thailand. Divers resumed their work around midnight ET; Reuters is reporting that one person has already been brought from the cave this morning. The operation is expected to last several hours.

A team of ninety expert divers—forty from Thailand and fifty from other countries—has been working in the cave system. The process includes walking, wading, climbing, and diving along guide ropes already in place.

As oxygen levels in the cave continued to drop and monsoon rains threatened to flood the cave system, the first efforts to rescue the boys began over the weekend. Thirteen specialist divers and five Thai Navy SEALs descended into the watery network of underground tunnels.

They rescued four boys, each of whom wore a full-face mask attached to an air bottle. Two divers accompanied each boy, one carrying his air supply. About halfway through the ordeal, they had to navigate a section called “T-Junction.” It is so tight that divers must remove their air tanks to get through.

The escape route is extremely dangerous. A former Thai Navy SEAL, thirty-eight-year-old Saman Gunan, died last Friday while trying to reach the group with oxygen.

Christians around the world have been praying for the boys and their coach. Now we must intercede for the divers as well. Each of them is risking his life to rescue someone he did not know before the ordeal began.

“Let your heart take courage” Continue reading Denison Forum – Another boy rescued, 8 still inside Thailand cave