Charles Stanley – Our Rich Home in God’s Grace

 

Ephesians 1:11-14

Because of God’s grace, we are extremely wealthy people. No amount of earthly riches can compare. At salvation, God …

Freed us from sin’s power. Although the flesh remains, it no longer rules over us. As new creations indwelt by God’s Spirit, we have His power to resist temptation and to obey.

United us with our Savior. Since the moment we first believed, we’ve been living in Christ and He’s been living in us. And we are sealed in Him by the Spirit.

Made us part of God’s family. God has become our Father, and we are His adopted sons and daughters. Our spiritual family extends all over the world.

Translated us into the kingdom of light. The kingdom of darkness, which includes this world and all its unsaved inhabitants, is under Satan’s rule. (See Acts 26:18.) When someone receives Jesus Christ as Savior, his or her home becomes the kingdom of light (Col. 1:12-13). From then on, that person is a citizen of heaven, who is called to serve as Jesus’ ambassador to the unsaved (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Gave us an eternal inheritance. The precious promises of Scripture are one part of our birthright. More awaits us in heaven, where it cannot fade away or be defiled (1 Peter 1:4).

Started the sanctification process. To sanctify means “to set apart for God’s use” and “to make holy.” With our cooperation, the Spirit works to transform us into Jesus’ likeness.

When life is pressing you down, ponder the riches of divine grace. Discouragement will lift, and spiritual joy will take over.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 36-39

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Sinners Like Us

 

Read: Luke 15:1–7 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 54–56; Romans 3

This man welcomes sinners and eats with them. Luke 15:2

I have a friend—her name is Edith—who told me about the day she decided to follow Jesus.

Edith cared nothing for religion. But one Sunday morning she walked into a church near her apartment looking for something to satisfy her discontented soul. The text that day was Luke 15:1–2, which the pastor read from the King James Version: “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.”

That’s what it said, but this is what Edith heard: “This man receives sinners and Edith with them.” She sat straight up in her pew! Eventually she realized her mistake, but the thought that Jesus welcomed sinners—and that included Edith—stayed with her. That afternoon she decided to “draw near” to Jesus and listen to Him. She began to read the Gospels, and soon she decided to put her faith in Him and follow Him.

The religious folks of Jesus’s day were scandalized by the fact that He ate and drank with sinful, awful people. Their rules prohibited them from associating with such folk. Jesus paid no attention to their made-up rules. He welcomed the down-and-out and gathered them to Him, no matter how far gone they were.

It’s still true, you know: Jesus receives sinners and (your name).

Heavenly Father, we can’t thank You enough for the radical love of Your Son, who drew all of us outcasts and moral failures to Him, and made the way for us to come to You in joy and boldness.

God pursues us in our restlessness, receives us in our sinfulness, holds us in our brokenness.  Scotty Smith

By David H. Roper

INSIGHT

The parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1–7) is the first in a series of parables about lost things. It’s followed by the parable of the lost coin (vv. 8–10) and the parable of the lost son, better known as the prodigal son (vv. 11–32).

Although each of the parables is about something lost, there’s also something in each that isn’t lost—the sheep safe in the pen, the remaining coins, and the elder son at home. Yet the shepherd, the woman, and the father are not content with what they have; their concern is for that which is lost.

Is someone in your life lost and waiting to be found by the Savior? Whom can you trust to God’s loving and searching ways?

J.R. Hudberg

 

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Spiritual Geography

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to travel across the country from Massachusetts to Montana. While I had often traveled across the country on family vacations, I had never driven through South Dakota. But on this trip I was able to see quite a bit of the state that makes up part of the Great Plains in the United States. Having lived near the city, I remember being struck by the vast expanses of what appeared to be uninhabited land. Rolling grasslands, without many trees, offered a view of the landscape that was as far as it was wide. I remember wondering why anyone would make a home in such a desolate place.

Several years after this trip, I read Kathleen Norris’s book Dakota and marveled at her poignant description of this land. Her memoir both enticed me and made me wary of life in the Dakotas. The opening paragraphs of her book explain why:

“The high plains, the beginning of the desert West, often act like a crucible for those who inhabit them. Like Jacob’s angel, the region requires that you wrestle with it, before it bestows a blessing… This book is an invitation to a land of little rain and few trees, dry summer winds and harsh winters, a land rich in grass, and sky and surprises.”(1)

She concludes by saying that “the land and the sky of the West often fill what Thoreau termed our ‘need to witness our limits transgressed.’ Nature, in Dakota, can indeed be an experience of the holy.”(2)

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Joyce Meyer – Relationship, Not Rules

 

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. — Ezekiel 36:26

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Many times, when somebody is born again, the first things they are told are: “You need to change your hairstyle, or dress differently. You have a tattoo that needs to be covered up. You’ve got an earring in the wrong place.” Their introduction to Christianity is a list of rules, things they must do, and things they must not do, according to what people think is right and wrong.

Sadly, too many times no one talks to them at all about their heart or their relationship with God. Instead it’s about all these things they have to do if they want to be part of a particular religious organization. Although God will lead us to make positive changes in our lives, He totally accepts us as we are, and we need to do the same for new Christians. Give them time, and God will lead them by giving them new desires.

Jesus died so we could have a deep, passionate, personal relationship with God. He didn’t die to give us a list of rules. He gave us something much deeper and much better—He gave us access to God so that we could be in close personal relationship with our heavenly Father.

Prayer Starter: Thank You, Lord, that You want a close, intimate relationship with me, and that You patiently change me from the inside out. Help me to remember this when I’m tempted to be too hard on myself or others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – It All Belongs to Him

 

“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10, KJV).

Gently chiding a Christian worker for praying that God might give him a second-hand car to use in his service for the Lord, Dr. A.W. Tozer reminded the man:

“God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and the Cadillacs, too. Why not ask Him for the best?”

That same principle might apply to many areas of our lives today. If we truly believe that “according to your faith be it unto you,” then it is imperative that we trust God for greater things than normally we might.

Motive, of course, is supremely important in our asking from God. If the thing asked is clearly for God’s glory, to be used in His service, the motivation is good. If pride or any other motive plays a part in the decision, then we do well to think twice before asking great things from God.

What man owns, we do well to remember, we own under God. And God has never given to man the absolute proprietorship in any thing. Nor does He invade our rights when He comes and claims what we possess, or when He in any way removes what is most valuable to us.

God owns all things – let’s leave to Him the right to do whatever He wishes with the things He owns.

Bible Reading:Psalm 50:7-15

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Since my receiving is “according to my faith,” I will with proper motive for His glory believe God in a large manner this day – for whatever needs may arise.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Love the Overlooked

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

May I urge you to love the overlooked? When you talk to the lonely student or befriend the weary mom, you love Jesus. He dresses in the garb of the overlooked and ignored. “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me,” Jesus said (Matthew 25:40).

You can do that. Don’t so focus on what you love to do that you neglect what needs to be done. Everyday do something you don’t want to do. Pick up someone else’s trash. Call the long-winded relative. Don’t be too big to do something small. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Throw yourself into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” A good action brings God’s attention. He notices the actions of his servants. He sent his Son to be one!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Marital affair could cost man nearly $9 million

Keith King sued Francisco Huizar III for “alienation of affection,” among other complaints, after Huizar had an affair with King’s wife. King filed his lawsuit in North Carolina, one of a few states where a person can sue another person for breaking up his or her marriage.

A North Carolina judge has now ruled that Huizar should pay $8.8 million. He plans to appeal.

Meanwhile, CBS executive Leslie Moonves stands to lose as much as $300 million if the network cancels his contract. Six women are alleging that they were sexually harassed by Moonves over the years.

In other news, several states joined efforts yesterday to block a Texas man from offering instructions online for making plastic guns using 3-D printers. However, CNN reports today that more than a thousand people have already downloaded plans to print an AR-15-style assault rifle.

The weapons could never be traced if used in a crime since they have no serial number. They could slip more easily through metal detectors and would enable criminals to circumvent background checks.

What do these stories have in common? The power of words.

Words can be miraculous

Emily Dickinson: “I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – Marital affair could cost man nearly $9 million