Charles Stanley – Choosing to Forgive

 

Ephesians 4:31-32

Isn’t it interesting that young children generally don’t hold grudges? They may cry and throw tantrums, but once their anger has been vented, they let it go. Adults, however, have a tendency to hang on to offenses. When people wrong us or our loved ones, we want them to pay for what they’ve done, to suffer as we have. It only seems fair to expect restitution of some kind, and unless that occurs, we withhold forgiveness.

As Christians, however, we are called to a different standard and way of thinking—one that’s consistent with God’s character. He is a merciful Father who wants His children to show mercy to others (Luke 6:36). His Son’s life on earth demonstrated this. As Jesus hung on the cross, He prayed for those who crucified Him, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). God expects us to forgive as Jesus did, regardless of circumstances.

This command seems impossible to carry out until we start to grasp the enormity of what took place on the cross. Christ’s death made us recipients of a mercy so great it defies comprehension. The Savior took all our sin upon Himself and died in our place. He experienced the outpouring of God’s wrath so we might be forgiven and reconciled to the Father. Although we deserve condemnation, through Jesus Christ we have instead received God’s mercy.

Now as new creations in Christ who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we have His power to truly let go of the wrongs done to us and extend mercy to others, just as God has given mercy to us.

Bible in One Year: Ecclesiastes 1-4

 

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Our Daily Bread — I Just Can’t Do It

 

Read: 1 Corinthians 1:26–31 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 18–19; Acts 20:17–38

The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24 nkjv

“I just can’t do it!” lamented the dejected student. On the page he could see only small print, difficult ideas, and an unforgiving deadline. He needed the help of his teacher.

We might experience similar despair when we read Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). Anger is as bad as murder (v. 22). Lust equals adultery (v. 28). And if we dare think we can live up to these standards, we bump into this: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (v. 48).

“The Sermon on the Mount produces despair,” says Oswald Chambers. But he saw this as good, because at “the point of despair we are willing to come to [Jesus] as paupers to receive from Him.”

In the counterintuitive way God so often works, those who know they can’t do it on their own are the ones who receive God’s grace. As the apostle Paul put it, “Not many of you were wise by human standards. . . . But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” (1 Corinthians 1:26–27).

In God’s wisdom, the Teacher is also our Savior. When we come to Him in faith, through His Spirit we enjoy His “righteousness, holiness and redemption” (v. 30), and the grace and power to live for Him. That’s why He could say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

Thank You, Lord, for blessing those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, and who hunger and thirst for Your righteousness. You are our righteousness!

Read more from Oswald Chambers at utmost.org.

Through the Son we can enjoy life in God’s kingdom. 

By Tim Gustafson

INSIGHT

The Bible is filled with stories of how God used weak, unlikely, or flawed characters to bring about His purposes. Included in that lineup are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, and Peter—just to name a few. God chose elderly Abraham and his barren wife to be “the father [and mother] of many nations” (Genesis 17:5). He used Isaac, who played favorites (25:27–28), and Jacob, a deceiver, to continue that line (25:29–34; 27:1–29). God called the reluctant Moses, a murderer on the run, to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 2:11–15; 14:1–31). God chose the prostitute Rahab to hide the spies in Jericho (Joshua 2) and to be included in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:5); He called Gideon, who cowered in fear, to serve as judge and rescue the Israelites from the Midianites (Judges 6–8); and He appointed Peter, an outspoken fisherman, to be His disciple (Matthew 16:22). God still uses flawed characters—you and me—to fulfill His purposes.

For more on how God can use you, check out christianuniversity.org/SF212.

Alyson Kieda

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – In the Silence

“Silence is golden” flashes across the theater screen just before a film begins. In other words, stop talking, listen to the film, and allow others to listen as well! Yet, for many used to the relentless noise in our lives, silence is far from golden. Silence is disruptive, even threatening to us. When I lost my husband several years ago, I was struck by how loud the silence had become in my own life. Days would go by without my having spoken audibly to anyone, save my two dogs.

Yet, I was not without sound during this period of my life. I began to pay attention to all the sounds that made up my day to day existence. The din of traffic noise, airplanes, and nautical sounds from the harbor all made for a symphony of sound. Because I wasn’t speaking out loud to anyone, I was able to intentionally listen to a whole new world of natural sounds. I heard the wind in the trees, or the soft patter of my dogs’ feet as they walked across the hardwood floors. I listened for the distinctive sounds of a variety of birds as they went about foraging for food or calling for a mate. At the time, I didn’t realize how unique it was to be able to truly listen because I was by myself, nor would I have viewed it, as I now do, as a gift.

According to audio-ecologist, Gordon Hempton, it’s not easy to find silence in the modern world. “If a quiet place is one where you can listen for 15 minutes in daylight hours without hearing a human-created sound, there are no quiet places left in Europe. There are none east of the Mississippi River. And in the American West? Maybe 12.”(1) We live in a noisy world.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – In the Silence

Joyce Meyer – Equal

 

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. — Colossians 3:11

Adapted from the resource Wake Up to the Word Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Equal means “just; equitable; giving the same or similar rights or advantages.”

The world places labels and assigns varying values to almost everything, but in God’s eyes, we are all equal. He loves and values each of us equally. We are all one in Christ!

Don’t spend your time thinking over and over about your faults. And don’t compare yourself with other people, thinking that you should strive to be like them. Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

I strongly suggest that you make peace with yourself, if you haven’t already done so, and learn to think about yourself the way God does. Remember, God loves you just as much as He does everyone else. We are all equal in His sight.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for loving me…and for making me a unique and special individual. Help me to receive Your love more and more each day. Help me to truly love myself and break free from comparing myself to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Glory Will Be Ours

 

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later” (Romans 8:18).

In Sydney, Australia, a taxi driver to whom I witnessed became very angry.

“I was in World War II,” he exploded, “and I saw thousands of people die. I don’t want to have anything to do with a God who allows war.”

“Don’t blame God for war and the slaughter of millions of people,” I explained. “War is the result of man’s sin. Man does what he does because of his selfishness and pride. God does not desire that man should destroy men. God is not in favor of war. But sickness, death, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods are all a part of God’s judgement because of man’s sin, because of man’s disobedience to His commands.

The problem of suffering is a mysterious one, but for the Christian there is a good, logical answer. All creation waits patiently and hopefully for that future day when God will resurrect His children. On that day, thorns and thistles, sin and death and decay – the things that overcome the world will disappear at God’s command.

The world around us then will share in the glorious freedom from sin which God’s children enjoy. Even the things of nature, animals and plants which now suffer deterioration and death, await the coming of the time of this great glory.

We Christians – though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory – also groan to be released from pain, heartache, sorrow and suffering. We too wait anxiously for that day when God will give us full rights as His children, including the new bodies He has promised us – bodies that will never suffer again, and that will never die.

Bible Reading:Romans 8:24-27

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will rejoice in the certainty that glory is ahead for me as a believer, and as a result I am willing to joyfully endure whatever suffering comes my way. I will also encourage others in their times of sorrow to consider God’s love and plan for them, and will help them to understand the scriptural reason for man’s suffering

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Our Work Can Be Worship

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Many people dread their work.  If you’re one of them, try changing your attitude toward your work! God’s eyes fall on the work of our hands. One stay-at-home-mom keeps this sign over her sink:  “Divine tasks performed here, daily.”  Indeed, work can be worship.

Peter wrote, “You are a chosen people.  You are a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.  This is so you can show others the goodness of God.” (1 Peter 2:9). So, let every detail in your life—your words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus. (Colossians 3:17). You don’t drive to an office, you drive to a sanctuary. You don’t attend a school, you attend a temple.  You may not wear a clerical collar, but you could, because your work is God’s pulpit!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Trump–Putin press conference: “Disgraceful” or “Trump derangement syndrome”?

Like millions of others, I watched the press conference between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday. Then I watched reactions in the press, and it was as if there were two different events.

Fox News reports that the president is facing “harsh bipartisan criticism back home” from lawmakers who claimed he “missed a chance to ‘stand up’ to the Russian president on election meddling.” Sen. John McCain, R–Ariz., was especially critical, calling the president’s statements “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

By contrast, several Republican leaders were supportive of Mr. Trump’s meeting with Mr. Putin. For instance, Sen. Rand Paul, R–Ken., called critics of President Trump’s approach to Russia “mistaken” and said, “We should look for ways to make the dialogue better.” He described the president’s critics as victims of “Trump derangement syndrome.”

Our “post-truth” culture

Oxford Dictionaries selected “post-truth” as its international word of the year in 2016. The decision seems appropriate in our relativistic culture.

For example, Episcopal Church leaders decided last week to allow same-sex couples to marry in their home parish, even if their local bishop objects morally to gay marriage. This despite objections from some bishops that such a move would force Episcopalians “to accept social and cultural practices that have no Biblical basis in Christian worship.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – Trump–Putin press conference: “Disgraceful” or “Trump derangement syndrome”?