Charles Stanley – Accepting Criticism

 

Proverbs 10:17

Nobody likes criticism. It can hurt, especially when unsolicited, and is sometimes delivered with unkind words and a harsh spirit. However, we must be careful not to reject the reproof without first considering whether it’s valid.

God can use an honest, direct person to convey something we need to hear. Criticism forces us to examine ourselves. God’s goal is that we grow in spiritual maturity and holiness, but we all have blind spots that keep us from seeing the areas He wants to transform. If we fail to listen to a reproof He allows to come our way, our spiritual growth could be stunted. However, this doesn’t mean all critiques are valid. That’s why it’s important to respond well and evaluate criticism correctly.

  • Do not immediately reject the comment, blame the person, or defend yourself. Instead, consider what was said, and ask God to help you discern if it’s true.
  • Thank the person for his interest in you and explain that you’ll reflect on his observation. If he was sincere, he’ll be appreciative, but if his intentions were negative, this may disarm him.
  • Evaluate the criticism and determine what exactly is under scrutiny—your beliefs, your character, God … ?
  • View this as an opportunity for growth, and if necessary, apologize.

Instead of allowing criticism to lead us into anger and self-pity, we should let it do its work in our life. We can’t allow hurt or anger to derail what God wants to do in us—namely, make us more Christlike. And isn’t that what we all want?

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 63-66

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — When the Bottom Drops Out

 

Read: 1 Kings 17:15–24 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 72–73; Romans 9:1–15

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

During the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, more people were looking for work than there were jobs available. I was one of those job seekers. After nine anxious months, I landed employment as a copywriter. But the company soon fell on bad times and I was jobless again.

Ever been there? It seems like the worst is over when suddenly the bottom drops out on you. The widow at Zarephath could relate (1 Kings 17:12). Due to a famine, she was preparing the last meal for herself and her son when the prophet Elijah requested a bite to eat. She reluctantly agreed and God provided a continuous supply of flour and oil (vv. 10–16).

But then her son fell ill. His health declined until he stopped breathing. The widow cried out, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?” (v. 18).

At times, we may want to respond like the widow—wondering if God is punishing us. We forget that bad things can happen in this fallen world.

Elijah took the concern to God, praying earnestly and honestly for the boy, and God raised him up! (vv. 20–22).

When the bottom drops out on us, may we—like Elijah—realize that the faithful One will not desert us! We can rest in God’s purposes as we pray for understanding.

For help on the topic of peace, read discoveryseries.org/q1126.

God is good in both the good times and the bad.  

By Poh Fang Chia

INSIGHT

It can be easy to think that life will go well if we do everything we’re supposed to do. But today’s story reminds us that life isn’t a formula. The widow was faithful and obedient, and yet her son died. But we can be encouraged that there’s nothing too hard for God, for He is the one who can even bring the dead back to life (v. 23).

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Commit your situation to our faithful God.

For more about the book of Kings, check out our free online course at christianuniversity.org/OT219.

J.R. Hudberg

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Three Questions

As a Christian writer and speaker, I am often asked what the most frequent questions are regarding the Christian faith. Of course, I am frequently asked questions of an intellectual or historic nature: Did Jesus of Nazareth really exist? Is his resurrection from the dead a historical event? How is one to understand the Bible as the Word of God? For some, the questions never go beyond intellectual curiosity or pursuit. For others, these questions need to be answered for constructing a sound apologetic.

Probe a bit deeper, however, and it isn’t difficult to discover that many questions come from the deepest places of the heart. They come because of personal experience with suffering of one form or another. Is there a God? If so, does that God care about me, know me? If so, why does God seemingly allow so much suffering? When the fervent prayers of righteous men and women do not prevent the cancer from spreading, or the child from dying, or the plane from crashing, or the marriage from failing, these more existential questions come like water bursting through the dam.

The kinds of questions I receive are not unique to my contemporary context. They have been asked for millennia. The technical term for the theist’s response to the issue of suffering is called theodicy. Theodicy is the word given in the seventeenth century by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, one of the great intellectual thinkers of the Enlightenment period.(1) Theodicy attempts to explain how and why there can be suffering in the world if God is all-powerful and loving. In trying to solve this problem, some thinkers have denied the omnipotence of God; God is all-loving, but not able to do anything about suffering. Others dispense of the notion that God is all-loving, at least in any conventional understanding. But neither of these alternatives provides a satisfactory answer.

Intellectual wrangling over this problem, aside, the experience of suffering in light of both the goodness and power of God has caused many to doubt God, and others to walk away from faith altogether. If God does not prevent suffering, and if God does not care about the sufferer, then for some, the only alternative appears to be that God cannot exist in any meaningful way.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Three Questions

Joyce Meyer – Today May Be “One of Those Days”

 

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. — 1 Corinthians 16:13

Adapted from the resource Starting Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Have you ever had “one of those days” where nothing went right, yet you were hesitant to pray because you didn’t know where God might lead you? God won’t always ask you to do something; sometimes He just wants to talk to you.

If He does ask you to do something, He will anoint you to do it. You will enjoy the presence of His power, and someone will be blessed by your obedience. Those are the best days of your life. Take time to pray this morning. Today may be “one of those days” that God has a special assignment for you.

Prayer Starter: Father, I offer myself up to You today. I want to delight in Your presence…and fulfill Your good plan for my day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – His Mighty Power Within

 

“Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you” (Ephesians 6:10).

When my saintly mother became a Christian at 16, she immediately determined to become a woman of God with the help of the Holy Spirit. She devoted her life to my father and to the rearing of seven children.

Through the years, as I have observed her attitudes and actions closely, I have never seen her do anything that reflected negatively on the Lord.

As a result, my life has been greatly affected in a positive way. There is no question in my mind that everything God has done and ever will do in and through me will be, in no small measure, a result of those unique, godly qualities of my mother, and especially of her prayers.

In today’s world, there often is considerable criticism of a woman who finds her fulfillment as a wife, mother and homemaker, as though such roles are demeaning to the woman. The popular thought is that there is something better, such as a professional career.

I would not minimize the fact that there are gifted women who should be involved in business and professional life, but in most cases this would be a secondary role compared to the privilege of being a mother, especially a godly Christian mother in whose life the fruit of the Spirit is demonstrated.

What I can say about my mother, I believe my sons can say about theirs, for Vonette has demonstrated those same godly, Christlike qualities toward them as a mother – and , as a wife, toward me.

These two examples underscore a wonderful, basic truth of supernatural living: As we continue to live supernaturally, walking in the power and under the guidance and control of the Holy Spirit, the personality and character of Christ become more and more a part of us.

Bible Reading:Ephesians 6:11-20

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: When I need special strength – whether physical or spiritual – I will claim by faith the Lord’s mighty power within me to meet the need

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – In the Image of God

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

We all ask the question, “Am I somebody important?” It’s easy to feel anything but important when your ex takes your energy, or old age takes your dignity.  Somebody important?  Hardly. But remember this promise of God: you were created by God, in God’s image, for God’s glory.

God spoke.  “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature, so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea; the birds in the air; the cattle; and, yes, the Earth itself and every animal that moves on the face of the Earth” (Genesis 1:26).  God never declared, “Let us make oceans in our image,” or “birds in our likeness.”  The heavens above reflect the glory of God, but they are not made in the image of God.  Yet, you are!  And because God’s promises are unbreakable, our hope in unshakable.

Read more Unshakable Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Bill Hybels and the illusion of “private” sin

 

Bill Hybels is making headlines again. The New York Times tells the story of a woman who worked as his personal assistant at Willow Creek Community Church. She is now describing multiple occasions in which he behaved toward her in extremely inappropriate ways I will not describe here.

Hybels denies her allegations. “I never had an inappropriate physical or emotional relationship with her before that time, during that time or after that time,” he stated in an email to the Times. He has already taken early retirement following other allegations of misconduct. Ten women in total have now made such accusations.

Willow Creek’s elders have stated: “We now believe Bill entered into areas of sin related to the allegations that have been brought forth.” Yesterday, the church announced that it plans to launch a new independent investigation into the charges against Hybels.

After Hybels took early retirement, Steve Carter became Lead Teaching Pastor at Willow Creek last October. He resigned his position on Sunday, stating that he and church elders disagree about ways the church can move forward. “I cannot, in good conscience, appear before you as your Lead Teaching Pastor when my soul is so at odds with the institution,” he wrote in a letter to the congregation.

The personal assistant making the latest allegations against Hybels worked with him some thirty years ago. Whether we believe he is guilty or not, we should take note of this fact: the public consequences of personal sin can come to light years after the sin is committed.

A satanic strategy

Satan loves to tempt us to sin, then use the consequences of our sins against us. But he wants these consequences to devastate us and the people of God as much as possible.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Bill Hybels and the illusion of “private” sin