Charles Stanley – An Unforgiving Spirit

 

Matthew 18:21-35

Because of man’s propensity to sin, we’re surrounded by opportunities to forgive others. Perhaps we’ve been unfairly criticized, disappointed by a broken promise, or harmed financially or physically. In this broken world, the list of wrongdoings is endless. The question is: How are we to deal with the offenses of others?

Peter was wondering the same thing, so He asked Jesus how often he should forgive a brother who sins against him. He probably thought he was being very generous by suggesting, “Up to seven times?” But Jesus replied, “Up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:21-22). In other words, forgive every single time you’re wronged. Forgiveness doesn’t mean finding reasons to justify or excuse someone’s behavior, nor is it about forgetting what happened or pretending it never occurred.

Genuine forgiveness requires deliberate action on our part. While acknowledging that a wrong has been committed, we choose to release the offender from any obligation toward us and surrender our perceived right to hurt him or her back. In essence, we’re no longer holding the unfair, hurtful behavior against the person but are extending mercy, just as God has done toward us.

The only alternative is to hold onto anger and bitterness. Though we may think we are punishing the wrongdoer, we’re actually hurting ourselves. Resentment is like sludge that contaminates the mind, clogs the heart, and poisons the soul. Untreated anger turns into bitterness, which hinders our relationship with God and others and leaves us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks (Eph. 4:26-27). The only remedy is forgiveness.

Bible in One Year: Ecclesiastes 5-8

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — What’s Your Passion?

 

Read: Psalm 20:6–9 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 20–22; Acts 21:1–17

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

One of the tellers at my bank has a photograph of a Shelby Cobra roadster on his window. (The Cobra is a high-performance automobile built by the Ford Motor Company.)

One day, while transacting business at the bank, I asked him if that was his car. “No,” he replied, “that’s my passion, my reason to get up every morning and go to work. I’m going to own one someday.”

I understand this young man’s passion. A friend of mine owned a Cobra, and I drove it on one occasion! It’s a mean machine! But a Cobra, like everything else in this world, isn’t worth living for. Those who trust in things apart from God “are brought to their knees and fall,” according to the psalmist (Psalm 20:8).

That’s because we were made for God and nothing else will do—a truth we validate in our experience every day: We buy this or that because we think these things will make us happy, but like a child receiving a dozen Christmas presents or more, we ask ourselves, “Is this all?” Something is always missing.

Nothing this world has to offer us—even very good things—fully satisfies us. There is a measure of enjoyment in them, but our happiness soon fades away (1 John 2:17). Indeed, “God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself,” C. S. Lewis concluded. “There is no such thing.”

I have found Him whom my soul so long has craved! Jesus satisfies my longings—through His blood I now am saved. Clara Williams

There is a longing in every heart that only Jesus can satisfy.

By David H. Roper

INSIGHT

Psalm 20 warns against idolatry—worshiping and trusting in human objects instead of the Lord Himself. King David saw how easy it could be to shift his trust in the Lord to trust in military might: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses,   but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (v. 7). In our culture, idolatry can take many different forms. But for the believer there’s only One who should be the object of our adoration and the One in whom we place our trust. It’s Christ who is the supreme example of courage, character, and compassion.

How is God teaching you that He’s the only true source of satisfaction?

Dennis Fisher

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Wakeful Awareness

Few of us would be able to recollect from our childhoods the moment when consciousness first came into being and the process of waking to self began. For most of us, awareness broke through in pieces. We found ourselves then as we continue to find ourselves now: at times stirringly wakeful to what it means to be human, aware of self and lifetime, and startled by the abruptness of its end. Essayist Annie Dillard articulates the progression of consciousness with stirring lucidity:

“I woke in bits, like all children, piecemeal over the years. I discovered myself and the world, and forgot them, and discovered them again. I woke at intervals until, by that September when Father went down the river, the intervals of waking tipped the scales, and I was more often awake than not. I noticed this process of waking, and predicted with terrifying logic that one of these years not far away I would be awake continuously and never slip back, and never be free of myself again.”(1)

Dillard describes the rousing of self as strangely recognizable—”like people brought back from cardiac arrest or drowning.” There is a familiarity in the midst of the foreignness. We wake to mystery, but so somehow we wake to something known—and knowing.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Wakeful Awareness

Joyce Meyer – Positive Minds

 

And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.”… — Matthew 8:13

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Sometimes when I stand behind the pulpit, and before I speak, I pause and my gaze sweeps across the audience. I look at the faces of the people. I love to see the bright smiles and expressions of anticipation, but there are always a few who look downtrodden and discouraged. I don’t know anything about them and I don’t want to judge them, but their faces look sad. They look as if they have lost hope and expect nothing positive to happen—and too often, they get exactly what they expect.

I understand those discouraged people; I was once one of them.

Here’s a simple fact I’ve learned: Positive minds produce positive lives, but negative minds produce negative lives. The New Testament tells the story of a Roman soldier whose servant was sick, and the soldier wanted Jesus to heal him. That wasn’t uncommon—many wanted Jesus to heal them or their loved ones in those days.

But this soldier, instead of asking Jesus to come to his servant, expressed his belief that if Jesus would just speak the word, his servant would be healed (see Matthew 8:8). Jesus marveled at his faith and sent out His word to heal the servant. The soldier’s positive mindset—his faith—brought positive results. He expected healing, and that’s exactly what happened.

Too often, we cry to Jesus to heal us, to take care of our finances, or to deliver us from problems, but we don’t fully expect the good things to happen. We allow our minds to focus on the negative aspects. Doubt and unbelief war against our minds and steal our faith if we allow it.

As I wrote in my book Battlefield of the Mind, many years ago I was extremely negative. I used to say that if I had two positive thoughts in a row, my mind would get in a cramp. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but that’s how I saw myself. I lived with the same philosophy that other people have: If we don’t expect anything good to happen, we won’t be disappointed when it doesn’t.

I could have excused my negative attitude by telling everyone about my disappointments in life—and I had many. It wasn’t just my lack of expectation. It was more than that. Because I thought negatively, I spoke negatively. When people told me of their spiritual victories, I’d think, That won’t last. When people spoke of their faith, I’d smile, but inwardly I would think that they were gullible. I could always figure out ways that plans would go wrong or people would disappoint me.

Was I happy? Of course not. Negative thinkers are never happy. It’s too long of a story to explain how I came to face that reality, but once I realized what a negative person I was, I cried out to the Lord to help me.

I learned that if I kept studying the Word of God, I could push away negative thoughts. God’s Word is positive and uplifting. My responsibility was to become the kind of believer who honors God with her thoughts, as well as with her actions and her deeds.

I understood the remorse David must have felt when he wrote Psalm 51 (AMPC): Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your steadfast love… is the way he starts. I especially meditated on verse 9: Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my guilt and iniquities. I hadn’t sinned the same way David did, of course, but my negative thinking and bad attitude was sin. It wasn’t just weakness or a bad habit. When I focused on negative thinking, I was rebelling against God.

The Lord had mercy on me. As I continued in His Word and in prayer, He freed me from Satan’s stronghold. Freedom is available for all of us.

Prayer Starter: Gracious God, thank You for every deliverance in my life. Thank You for setting me free from negative and wrong thinking and for defeating Satan in this area of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Worthy of Trust

 

“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead” (Hebrews 11:1).

Frequently, individuals make gifts of property or stocks and bonds to the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. I am notified by our legal department that the papers have been received, confirming our ownership. Then, on the basis of their word, I consider the value and the potential sale of these properties in light of our budget for this worldwide ministry.

Can you imagine? I make decisions involving literally millions of dollars based upon a word or a memo. I do not see the stocks and bonds. I do not visit the property. I do not even see the papers. But I can take the word of my associates, whom I have learned to trust, and, predicated on their recommendations, I can determine how many missionaries we can send to the field.

That is what faith is all about. I have faith in my beloved colleagues because they have demonstrated themselves to be trustworthy. How much more should I have faith in our loving, holy, gracious, God and Father who has demonstrated His faithfulness and trustworthiness innumerable times? How much more should I believe His holy, inspired Word – His many promises?

However, God’s promises do not become reality unless we act upon them, claiming them in faith, any more than the word of my associates would be of any value unless I acted upon that information.

Vast resources of heaven are available to us. We appropriate them by faith. Consider the following illustration: Suppose I have $1,000 in the bank. I go to the bank with a check for $100 in my hand. I hand it to the teller, get on my knees and begin to beseech the teller to cash my check for $100. This would seem unusual to the teller and to all who might observe me for that is not the way to cash a check. Rather, I place it before the teller with the assurance that I have ten times the amount of the check on deposit and therefore without any hesitancy can expect my check to be cashed.

So it is with the bank of heaven. I know that the promises of God are faithful and true. God does not lie. God is worthy of my trust and, therefore, whatever He promises, He will perform if only I will trust and obey him.

Bible Reading:Psalm 11:89-96

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will claim the promises of God by faith with the joyful assurance that whatever God promises, He is faithful to perform. I will claim His supernatural resources for supernatural living.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Exercise Crowd Control

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Look over your shoulder.  The crowd is one step back. They don’t consult your strengths or know your story. Still, they seem to know more about your life than you do.  They’ll lead your life if you allow them.

Jesus didn’t. “When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he told his followers to go to the other side of the lake” (Matthew 8:18). After a day of teaching, “Jesus left the crowd and went into the house” (Matthew 13:36). Christ repeatedly escaped the noise of the crowd in order to hear the voice of God.  He resisted the undertow of people by anchoring to the rock of his purpose—employing his uniqueness to make a big deal out of God.  Jesus said no to good things so he could say yes to the right thing—his unique call!  And He calls on you and me to do likewise.

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Pro football player rescues man trapped in car that plunged off parking garage

New Orleans Saints defensive end Mitchell Loewen was eating brunch with his wife and son last Sunday afternoon in downtown New Orleans. Suddenly he heard what sounded like “a bomb or an earthquake.”

He and others ran outside to find a silver Mercedes SUV lying upside down in the middle of the street. It had just plummeted from the fourth floor of an adjacent garage building.

Loewen later told reporters, “There were a bunch of people standing around, but not approaching the car and I was like, ‘What’s up, let’s help this guy.’ I mean, obviously there was someone in there. I wasn’t going to just stand by and watch. It was a life or death situation.”

The football player called people to help, and together they flipped the car onto its side and then upright. Loewen wrenched the door open, ripping it off its hinges, and leaned into the car to speak with the driver.

“He didn’t say much, he was just thanking us all. I hugged him and told him he was going to be OK, and then I prayed with him,” Loewen said. Paramedics arrived and took the man to the hospital; a police spokesman said he is expected to survive.

“A world of wealth for an inch of time”

We live in a dangerous world in need of more heroes.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Pro football player rescues man trapped in car that plunged off parking garage