Charles Stanley – Purified Faith

 

Hebrews 11:32-40

Most Christians would love to have the heroic trust of the men and women mentioned in Hebrews 11. Few of us, however, would willingly undergo the process God uses to develop this kind of dynamic faith. We enjoy reading about the great victories and accomplishments of those who trusted the Lord, but we cringe at their hardships, listed in Hebrews 11:35-38. None of us want to go through suffering, yet adversity is one of the ways God purifies our faith.

Picture the Lord as a master sculptor standing before a block of marble—that slab is you! Envisioning the hidden work of art within, He lovingly and carefully chips away everything that does not fit the masterpiece He is creating.

Character. One of the first areas the Lord deals with is your character. His goal is to shape you into the image of His Son, and there are some traits and attitudes that must be chipped away in order for Him to accomplish the task. His chisel exposes imperfections like pride and selfishness.

Idolatry. When anything or anyone becomes more important to us than the Lord, it is an idol in our life. To protect us, God will sometimes use adversity to strip away everything we have relied upon so that we’ll cling only to Him.

The chisel hurts—it sometimes feels as if the Lord is taking away everything we hold dear. Unless you understand His goal and believe He’s working for your good, you’ll think He’s cruel. But if you trust Him and yield to His shaping tool of adversity, your faith will be purified and strengthened through affliction.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 54-57

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Hard Mysteries

 

Read: Nahum 1:1–7 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 68–69; Romans 8:1–21

The Lord is slow to anger but great in power. Nahum 1:3

As my friend and I went for a walk, we talked about our love for the Bible. She surprised me when she said, “Oh, but I don’t like the Old Testament much. All of that hard stuff and vengeance—give me Jesus!”

We might resonate with her words when we read a book like Nahum, perhaps recoiling at a statement such as, “The Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath” (Nahum 1:2). And yet the next verse fills us with hope: “The Lord is slow to anger but great in power” (v. 3).

When we dig more deeply into the subject of God’s anger, we understand that when He exercises it, He’s most often defending His people or His name. Because of His overflowing love, He seeks justice for wrongs committed and the redemption of those who have turned from Him. We see this not only in the Old Testament, as He calls His people back to Himself, but also in the New, when He sends His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins.

We may not understand the mysteries of the character of God, but we can trust that He not only exercises justice but is also the source of all love. We need not fear Him, for He is “good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (v. 7).

Father God, You are good. You are loving and You are merciful. Help me to understand more fully some of the mysteries of Your redeeming love today.

God’s justice and mercy intersect at the cross.

By Amy Boucher Pye

INSIGHT

Along with Nahum 1:3, we find eight other instances in the Old Testament where we read that the Lord is “slow to anger” (for example, Psalm 86:15; 103:8). But these passages also describe other attributes of God: He is “abounding [or rich] in love” (Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Psalm 145:8); He is “gracious and compassionate” (Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2); and He is a “forgiving God” (Nehemiah 9:17). If God were not both just and merciful, we would be without hope. Why? Because “everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt” (Psalm 53:3). “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). None of us deserve His love, compassion, or forgiveness. Apart from God’s love, through the incredible sacrifice of His Son who paid the price for our sins, we would have no opportunity to receive eternal life. But God loved us so very much He gave His only Son (John 3:16).

How can you express your gratitude to God?

Alyson Kieda

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Forgiven Much Loves Much

Read: Luke 7:36-50

Her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. (v. 47)

She bursts eagerly through the sanctuary doors straight up to the front. With disheveled dress, the woman falls to her knees. She worships with her head up, arms high and wide. For those of us coiffed and composed in the pews, the reckless worshiper pushes the boundaries. Her loving worship exposes our heart’s judgment and spirit’s lack. Quickly our conviction turns into her condemnation. When Jesus sees his beloved’s condemnation, he offers her grace-filled validation.

In Luke 7, a known prostitute boldly interrupts a dinner of Israel’s elite. Tension radiates heavily. In what appears wasteful, lavish love from an alabaster flask flows forth in recognition of Jesus’ grace. With all the shame and self-atonement one woman could pay, she pours it all out on Jesus’ dusty feet in worship for every guest to see. Sweetness wafts through the room. The fragrance of forgiveness cuts through the heart of condemnation and self-satisfaction. Jesus stamps her with approval like the dawning of a brand-new day. The voices of disapproval grow silent. “Your sins are forgiven” (v. 48).

It’s easy for us to judge what we don’t understand. Have we experienced Jesus’ forgiveness fully that we might worship him freely? Grace and love readily flow from the one forgiven much. We can be grateful Jesus takes our wanton ways and receives them in worship. —Michelle Christy

Prayer: Jesus, “Oh to grace how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be.” (Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

 

https://woh.org/

Joyce Meyer – Tear Down Your Walls with Faith

 

For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’ — Jeremiah 30:17

Adapted from the resource New Day, New You Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

To avoid pain, some of us build walls around ourselves so we will not get hurt, but that is pointless. God has shown me that it is impossible to live in this world if we are not willing to get hurt. People are not perfect; therefore, they hurt and disappoint us, just as we hurt and disappoint others.

I have a wonderful husband, but occasionally he has hurt me. Because I came from such a painful background, the moment that kind of thing happened, I used to put up walls to protect myself. After all, I reasoned, no one can hurt me if I don’t let anyone get close to me. However, I learned that if I wall others out, I also wall myself in. The Lord has shown me that He wants to be my protector, but He cannot do that if I am busy trying to protect myself.

He has not promised that I will never get hurt, but He has promised to heal me if I come to Him rather than try to take care of everything myself. If you build walls around yourself out of fear, then you must tear them down out of faith.

Go to Jesus with each old wound and receive His healing grace. When someone hurts you, take that new wound to Jesus. Do not let it fester. Take it to the Lord and be willing to handle it His way and not your own. Receive this scripture as a personal promise from the Lord to you:

“For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!'”(Jeremiah 30:17).

With the help of the Lord, you can survive hurt and disappointment and find your completion “in Him.”

Prayer Starter: Father, You have created me to have good relationships. Help me to step out in freedom. Please heal me of any wounds that are holding me back. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – To Seek and To Save

 

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10, KJV).

The Word of God clearly teaches that He wants His children to live supernaturally, especially in the area of living holy lives and bearing much fruit since that is the reason our Lord Jesus Christ came to this world.

Through the years I have prayed that my life and the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ would be characterized by the supernatural. I have prayed that God would work in and through us in such a mighty way that all who see the results of our efforts would know that God alone was responsible, and give Him all the glory.

Now as I look back – marveling at God’s miraculous working in our behalf – I remember earlier days which were also characterized by praise and glory to God, even though I was not privileged then to speak to millions or even thousands. At one point in our ministry, about the only understanding supportive listener I could find was my wife.

Vonette and I used to live mostly for material pleasures. But soon after our marriage we made a full commitment of our lives to the Lord. Now it is our desire (1) to live holy lives, controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit (2) to be effective witnesses for Christ, and (3) to help fulfill the Great Commission in our generation to the end that we may continue the ministry which our Lord began as He came to “seek and to save the lost.”

Bible Reading:Luke 19:1-9

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I determine to bring my priorities in line with those of my Lord and Savior, who came to seek and to save the lost and to encourage others to do the same.

 

http://www.cru.org