Charles Stanley – Blessing Our Enemies

 

Luke 6:27-28

As stories of the persecuted church reach us, we learn about Christians who respond to imprisonment, beatings, and harassment with unimaginable grace and dignity. These saints have learned to obey Christ’s command to “love your enemies” (Luke 6:27), even in the harshest of circumstances.

We may never face physical persecution for our faith, but we will run across people who hate and mistreat us. The most natural response is to dislike them in return, but harboring ill will and bitterness chokes our witness and poisons our souls. Instead, Jesus instructs us to love our adversaries and treat them well.

The Greek word for this kind of love is agape—this is not a feeling based on the other person’s likability or favor toward us but, rather, an action of the will that does what is best for the other person. It’s the type of love God has and, therefore, is not something we can muster within ourselves. But as the Holy Spirit produces His fruit in us, agape love will flow through us, even to our enemies.

When someone wrongs or hurts us, it’s an opportunity to be a witness for Christ. Rather than harboring animosity or seeking revenge, we are told to pray for our adversary. Instead of begging the Father to defeat our enemy, we can ask Him for the strength to express genuine Christlike love in the face of opposition. That’s the kind of prayer God is delighted to answer. And when we are privileged to meet the need of one who despises us, we might just see an amazing change in his life.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 25-27

 

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Our Daily Bread — Heart Hunger

 

Read: John 6:32–40 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 94–96; Romans 15:14–33

I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

Riding along with my husband on some errands, I scrolled through emails on my phone and was surprised at an incoming advertisement for a local donut shop, a shop we had just passed on the right side of the street. Suddenly my stomach growled with hunger. I marveled at how technology allows vendors to woo us into their establishments.

As I clicked off my email, I mused over God’s constant yearning to draw me closer. He always knows where I am and longs to influence my choices. I wondered, Does my heart growl in desire for Him the way my stomach did over the idea of a donut?

In John 6, following the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, the disciples eagerly ask Jesus to always give them “the bread that . . . gives life to the world” (vv. 33–34). Jesus responds in verse 35, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” How amazing that a relationship with Jesus can provide constant nourishment in our everyday lives!

The donut shop’s advertisement targeted my body’s craving, but God’s continuous knowledge of my heart’s condition invites me to recognize my ongoing need for Him and to receive the sustenance only He can provide.

Dear God, remind me of my need for Your daily bread of presence.

Jesus alone offers the only bread that truly satisfies.

By Elisa Morgan

INSIGHT

The heart hunger described in today’s devotional was modeled by Jesus. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus told the Enemy, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then in John 4:34, He told His followers, “My food . . . is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” Jesus’s passion for the Father and His purposes is the greatest example we can have of true spiritual heart hunger. While we cannot perfectly reflect that desire, we can learn to long for the Father’s presence and provision—just as Jesus did.

For more on spiritual hunger and spiritual satisfaction, check out the Discover the Word conversations “Satisfied” at https://discovertheword.org/series/satisfied-3.

Bill Crowder

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Emotional Intelligence

In Daniel Goleman’s excellent book Emotional Intelligence he writes about the last moments of Gary and Mary Jean Chauncey battling the swirling waters of the river into which the Amtrak train they were on had plummeted. With every bit of energy they had, both fought desperately to save the life of their young daughter Andrea, who had cerebral palsy and was bound to a wheelchair. Somehow they managed to push her out into the arms of rescuers, but sadly, they themselves drowned.

Some would like to explain such heroism as evolution’s imprint, that we humans behave this way by virtue of evolutionary design for the survival of our progeny. One is hard-pressed not to ask, “Why did the healthier preserve the weaker and not themselves?” But even the author was unable to explain it all in mere Darwinistic terms. He added that “only love” could explain such an act.

In another story, you may recall the chess victory of the computer “Deep Blue” over the world champion Gary Kasparov, which caused many to compare the similarities of machines and humans. Yale professor David Gelertner disagreed. He explained:

“The idea that Deep Blue has a mind is absurd. How can an object that wants nothing, fears nothing, enjoys nothing, needs nothing, and cares about nothing have a mind? It can win at chess, but not because it wants to. It isn’t happy when it wins or sad when it loses. What are its [post]-match plans if it beats Kasparov? Is it hoping to take Deep Pink out for a night on the town?”

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Emotional Intelligence

Joyce Meyer – Jesus’ Tough Love Tactics

 

…He then said to the paralytic—”Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” — Matthew 9:6

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

Although Jesus had compassion for hurting people, He never merely felt sorry for them. And whenever possible he helped them help themselves. He instructed them to take some particular action, and frequently His instructions were shocking.

For instance, He told a crippled man to rise, take up his bed, and go home (see Matthew 9:6). He told a man who had just received a report that his daughter was dead not to be afraid (see Mark 5:35-36). When Jesus saw a blind man, He spat on the ground, made some mud by mixing dirt with it, and then rubbed it on the blind man’s eyes. He then instructed the man to walk to the Pool of Siloam and wash himself in it. When the man did as Jesus had commanded, he was able to see (see John 9:1-7).

We see that Jesus often told people to do things that were not only surprising but seemingly impossible. How could a crippled man rise, take up his bed, and walk? After all, he was a cripple. How could a man who had just received a report of his daughter’s death be expected not to fear? How could a blind man see to get to a certain pool of water when he was blind?

Instead of merely feeling sorry for these people, Jesus moved them to action. He helped them get their minds off of themselves and their problems, and He motivated them to do something about them. Jesus was moved with pity (see Matthew 9:36). He was moved to do something besides enable people to stay the way they were.

At times we feel we are being mean if we confront people who have problems, when in reality “tough love” is what Jesus often used to set people free.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to love people well. Give me the wisdom to know when and how to help people take action so they can experience greater freedom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Perfect Healing 

 

“Jesus’ name has healed this man – and you know how lame he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name – faith given us from God – has caused this perfect healing” (Acts 3:16).

This is another of the great “3:16” verses of the Bible – with a truth and a promise that you and I need probably every day of our lives. Jesus claimed “all authority in heaven and earth” (Matthew 28:18). “In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9, KJV; see also 1:15-19).

There is a great power in the name of Jesus. Throughout Scripture that fact is emphasized. And I have seen it illustrated in miraculous ways through the Jesus film, which has been used of God to introduce tens of millions of men, women, young people, and children to Christ in most countries of the world.

The promise, equally clear, is that if we exercise faith in that wonderful name of Jesus – faith that is a gift from God – we can see healing, both physical and spiritual.

I sit in astonishment often as I try to comprehend such great love that would give us the very gifts He requires of us – faith, in this instance. We need not conjure up such faith; it is made available on simple terms: Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

And we may appropriate this truth and this promise today.

Bible Reading:Acts 3:12-18

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: “Dear Lord, I dare to believe that You are still the same yesterday, today and forever, so I can trust you to heal, and to enable me to live a supernatural life.”

 

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Max Lucado – You Have An Inheritance

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Let’s talk about your inheritance. As a child of God, you have one, you know. You aren’t merely a slave, servant, or saint of God. No, you have legal right to the family business and fortune of heaven. The will has been executed. The courts have been satisfied. Your spiritual account has been funded. He “has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

Need more patience? It’s yours. Need more joy? Request it. Running low on wisdom? God has plenty. You will never exhaust his resources. At no time does he wave away your prayer with Oh, I’m too tired…or I’m weary… or I’m depleted. God is wealthy in love, in hope, and overflowing in wisdom.

“No one has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him!” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Because God’s promises are unbreakable our hope is unshakable!

Read more Unshakable Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – The good news behind good news

If you were to stop what you’re doing right now to view the latest headlines, you wouldn’t see much worthy of a parade. The political climate is as volatile as ever, devastating fires are impacting the West Coast, and we’re stuck watching baseball until football and basketball season start back.

But take a closer look.

Scroll down past the main headlines to read some of the less publicized pieces.

Like the story of Ricky Smith, a thirty-six-year-old father who works at McDonald’s, Popeyes, and Circle K, and who surprised his daughter with her dream dress for her eighth-grade dance.

Or what about the NYC Public Library’s willingness to let cardholders check out neckties and briefcases for job interviews?

Try to tell Cristina Muneton, a fifty-eight-year-old ovarian cancer patient, that there isn’t anything in life worth having a parade about. Her family and friends literally held a parade for her in her hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

Stories of people doing good are out there. We just have to keep scrolling.

A story of victory

Just like the news headlines of our day, the farther we read into Scripture, the more stories of God’s goodness we find. He was good when he created the heavens and earth in Genesis 1:1. He was good when Jesus breathed his last breath as a man in Mark 15:37. He will be good when Jesus returns as promised in Revelation.

Continue reading Denison Forum – The good news behind good news