Charles Stanley – Our Anchor in Stormy Times

 

Hebrews 6:17-20

One thing common to everyone is the experience of going through storms. Whether these are literal weather events, personal trauma, or the turmoil caused by war and social unrest, we all face circumstances over which we have little control. Some storms are over quickly, whereas others seem unending. Some tempests cause little damage, but others leave great devastation in their wake.

  • Where do these storms come from? At times we bring them into our own life through choices we make, but other times they’re caused by someone else’s actions. It may even be that the devil has stirred up some adversity to distract or hinder us. And there are occasions when God’s work in our life requires a storm to fulfill a special purpose.
  • Why does the Lord allow storms in our life? Difficulties tend to turn our focus toward God. We either start questioning Him or go to Him for help and strength. He may want our attention because there’s a sin we need to deal with. Or perhaps He wants us to let go of something we need to surrender to Him. It could be that He wants to conform us to His image (Rom. 8:29) or equip us to serve Him.
  • How do we respond to storms? When we struggle against God because we don’t like the hardship we’re going through, that’s an indication we don’t trust Him. Instead of trusting that He is working good in our life, we may wrongly believe He’s trying to hurt us. At such times knowing Scripture is crucial for the believer. His Word is the immovable anchor in our storm. We can trust the Bible because, like God, it never changes!

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 11-14

 

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Our Daily Bread — Perfect Imperfection

 

Read: Ephesians 3:8–19 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 37–39; Acts 26

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being. Ephesians 3:16

A college professor of mine, picking up on my perfectionism-induced procrastination, gave me some wise advice. “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good,” he said, explaining that striving for perfect performance can prevent the risks necessary for growth. Accepting that my work would always be imperfect would give me the freedom to keep growing.

The apostle Paul explained an even more profound reason to let go of our own efforts to perfect ourselves: it can blind us to our need for Christ.

Paul had learned this the hard way. After years striving to perfectly obey God’s law, encountering Jesus changed everything (Galatians 1:11–16). Paul realized that if his own efforts were enough to be whole and right with God, “then there was no need for Christ to die” (2:21 nlt). Only by letting go of—dying to—self-reliance, could he experience Jesus living in him (v. 20). Only in his imperfection could he experience God’s perfect power.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t resist sin (v. 17); but it does mean we should stop relying on our own strength to grow spiritually (v. 20).

In this lifetime, we will always be works in progress. But as our hearts humbly accept our constant need for the only perfect One, Jesus makes His home there (Ephesians 3:17). Rooted in Him, we are free to grow ever deeper in the love “too great” to ever “understand fully” (v. 19 nlt).

Lord, so often we exchange the joy and freedom of life with You for the burden of relying on ourselves. Help us to humbly rely on You instead.

We are free to grow in Jesus’s love.

By Monica Brands

INSIGHT

Before his dramatic conversion to Christ, Paul relied on his observance of the law for right standing with God (Philippians 3:4–6). But we see in today’s passage that Paul’s focus has shifted from human effort to acknowledging the work of the Lord. Paul prays for the believers in Ephesus that God would strengthen them (v. 16) so that Christ may dwell in them (v. 17). Then they will be rooted in love (v. 17) and filled with the fullness of God (v. 19). These are things God does for the believer, not something we do.

Have you been tempted to rely on your own strength to please God?

J.R. Hudberg

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Pharisees

“You are nothing but a Pharisee,” said Maggie with vehemence. “You thank God for nothing but your own virtues; you think they are great enough to win you everything else.”(1)

Whether familiar or new to the scathing words of Maggie Tulliver to her brother Tom in George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, it is clear that she is not speaking complimentarily.

The word “Pharisee,” as this interchange illustrates, is often used as something of a synonym for hypocrite, a haughty individual with a holier-than-thou air about them. Webster’s dictionary further articulates this common usage, defining the adjective “pharisaical” as being marked by “hypocritical censorious self-righteousness,” or “pretending to be highly moral or virtuous without actually being so.”(2) To be called a Pharisee is far from a compliment; it is to be accused of living with a false sense of righteousness, being blind and foolish with self-deception, or carrying oneself with a smug and hypocritical legalism.

The etymology of the word from its roots as a proper noun to its use as an adjective is one intertwined with history, drawing on the very tone with which a rabbi from Nazareth once spoke to the religious group that bore the name. In seven consecutive statements recorded in the book of Matthew, Jesus begins his stern rebukes with the scathing introductions: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!” “Woe to you blind guides!” His conclusion is equally pejorative: “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to hell?”(3) The word “Pharisee” has become far more associated with this critique than its greater context. Thus Maggie can call her brother a Pharisee and not be thinking of the Jewish sect of leaders for which Jesus had harsh words, but of the harsh words themselves.

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Joyce Meyer – Love People in Your Thoughts

 

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”— John 13:35

Adapted from the resource Power Thoughts Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

One of the most valuable and beautiful things we can do is love others. We can purpose to think about the good things we find in all the people we know, and as we do, our attitudes toward them will improve.

Often we think about what is wrong with people and what we don’t like about them. Focusing on people’s faults is not showing love to them. We can choose to pray for them concerning any weaknesses they may have, and at the same time pray for ourselves that God will help us in our weaknesses also.

Focus on positive, loving thoughts about people. Then, when they do something you don’t like, you are already so full of good thoughts about them, it is easy to just let it go.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to think positive, loving thoughts about other people today. Help me to be patient, merciful, and always believe the best. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – On The Throne Beside Him

 

“I will let everyone who conquers sit beside Me on My throne, just as I took my place with My Father on His throne when I had conquered” (Revelation 3:21).

Can you imagine such glorious majesty as that which is promised in this verse?

In Revelation, Christ is frequently pictured as being on a throne, both in heaven and during His return to earth. More unusual is this promise to overcomers that, just as Christ is seated with God on His throne, they will sit on their thrones with Christ, but this is in keeping with the reward of a crown as described in chapter 2, verse 10.

In Mark 10:35-45, in response to the request of James and John that they be allowed to sit at His right and left in glory, Jesus replied that this was not in His power to grant. On the contrary, He reminded them that they were to be like Him, the “servant of all.”

Matthew 19:28 presents quite a different view, with Jesus telling his disciples that when the Son of man sits on His glorious throne, those who have followed Him “will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

In Luke’s parallel passage (22:30), the disciples are to eat with Christ at His table and also to sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes – a joyful combination similar to the one presented in Revelation 3:21. The promise that the overcomers will rule is to find its glorious fulfillment in their millenial reign with Christ (Revelation 20:4).

In our daily walk with Christ, this view of His grace and love and majesty should spur us on to holy living – to supernatural living.

Bible Reading:Acts 2:30-36

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will strive to express my gratitude and appreciation for God’s wonderful provision for His children by living in such a way that all I do and say will be pleasing to Him

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Not a Blank Slate But a Written Book

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Each year God gives millions of parents a gift—a brand-new baby. God pre-wired your infant. He scripted your toddler’s strengths. He set your teen on a trajectory. God gave you an eighteen-year research project. What sets this child apart?  You see, childhood tendencies forecast adult abilities. Read them. Discern them. Affirm them. Cheerlead them!

Even Jesus displayed an earthly bent.  Where did Joseph and Mary locate their lost twelve-year-old?  In the temple listening to the teachers and asking them questions.  Did this early interest play out later in life?  By all means. Even his enemies referred to him as Rabbi (Matthew 26:49).

Don’t see your child as a blank slate awaiting your pen, but as a written book awaiting your study!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Why was 3-year-old attacked with acid?

A three-year-old boy in a stroller was the victim of an acid attack in England last Saturday. The child suffered serious burns to his arms and face when a corrosive liquid was thrown or sprayed on him. Five men have been arrested in connection with the crime.

The boy was discharged from the hospital on Sunday, but police said his long-term prognosis is not known. Authorities believe the child was targeted as part of a wider community dispute. He and his mother have been placed under police protection.

In other news, Pepperidge Farms has recalled three million units of its Goldfish Crackers because of fears they could contain salmonella. The products were distributed in the US; no illnesses have been reported.

The same cannot be said of McDonald’s. A parasite in their salads has turned up across nine states, sickening 163 people and hospitalizing three. You may already be infected—it usually takes about a week after the infection for symptoms to occur.

Meanwhile, Ritz is recalling Ritz Bits and cracker sandwiches over fears of potential salmonella contamination. And we were warned this month not to eat Kellogg’s Honey Smacks after the cereal was linked to a salmonella outbreak spanning thirty-three states.

Enslaved to the devil?

Can you think of any place on our fallen planet that is truly safe? As of this morning, wildfires in Greece have killed at least seventy-nine people. Flooding today could impact more than thirty million people from North Carolina to central New York.

A bombing in Pakistan left thirty-one people dead this morning. There have been more than two hundred shootings in Toronto so far this year. Salads, crackers, and cereal can sicken us. Every day brings new reminders of our mortality.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Why was 3-year-old attacked with acid?