Charles Stanley – What Disciples Need

 

Colossians 1:25-29

We’re all familiar with Jesus’ last instructions to His followers: Matthew 28:19 says to make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But the next verse contains a second aspect of the directive: “Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” The Great Commission is usually associated with world evangelism, but baptism and obedience to Christ are also important because they are outward signs of a disciple’s inward faith.

In today’s passage, Paul explains the reason for proclaiming Christ and admonishing and teaching believers: “That we may present every man complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28). To simply lead someone to salvation without teaching him God’s Word is equivalent to leaving a newborn baby to fend for himself. Salvation begins the lifelong process of learning obedience and growing into spiritual maturity.

Furthermore, we can’t limit the task of teaching to pastors and missionaries any more than we can say that they alone are called to evangelize the lost. The entire church is given the assignment of making disciples and teaching them to obey the Lord. Instead of simply sitting in church services, Sunday schools, and Bible studies to soak up more truth for our own benefit, let’s pass on to others what we have learned.

Teaching isn’t the exclusive role of those who stand at podiums in front of large groups. It’s something that can be done one-on-one over coffee. Think about all that you have learned since you were saved. What can you share with someone else that will help him or her grow in Christ?

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 41-45

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — A Prayer to Point Us Home

 

Read: Luke 23:44–48 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 107–109; 1 Corinthians 4

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

One of the first prayers I learned as a little boy was “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep . . .” It was a prayer I learned from my parents, and I taught it to my son and daughter when they were little. As a child, I found great comfort in placing myself in God’s hands with those words before I fell asleep.

There’s a similar prayer neatly tucked away in the “prayer book” of the Bible, the Psalms. Some biblical scholars suggest that the phrase “Into your hands I commit my spirit” (Psalm 31:5) was a “bedtime” prayer taught to children in Jesus’s day.

You may recognize that prayer as Jesus’s final cry from the cross. But Jesus added one more word to it: Father (Luke 23:46). By praying that word in the moments before His death, Jesus demonstrated His intimate relationship with the Father and pointed believers toward their home with Him (John 14:3).

Jesus died on the cross so we could live in the wonder of a relationship with God as our heavenly Father. How comforting it is to know that because of Jesus’s sacrificial love for us, we can rest in God’s care as His children! We can close our eyes without fear because our Father watches over us and has promised to wake us up to life with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:14).

Lord Jesus, I receive the gift of forgiveness You offer me through the cross. Help me to turn from my sins and follow You, all the way home.

A bright new morning awaits us in Jesus.

By James Banks

INSIGHT

In Luke’s account of Christ’s death, we see several dramatic events. A seemingly inexplicable darkness was present over the entire earth—not just over Jerusalem where the crucifixion took place (vv. 44–45). Inside the temple in Jerusalem the curtain that separated worshipers from the holy of holies was torn in two, symbolizing that through Christ our access to God has been opened (v. 45). After Christ died, a Roman soldier who had participated in His execution declared, “Surely this was a righteous man” (v. 47). And others watching lamented and beat their breasts (v. 48).

The witness in the sky, within the temple, and by people at the foot of the cross demonstrate that this was no ordinary death. It was the death of the loving God-Man who shed His blood to redeem all who would believe in Him.

For further study, see The Passion of Christ at discoveryseries.org/q0210.

Dennis Fisher

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Black Swan

Actuarial science is the discipline that applies statistical methods to assess risk of disability, morbidity, mortality, fertility, and other life-contingencies. Generally, actuaries are employed by insurance companies or risk management firms to calculate the “risks” associated with insuring individuals against life’s catastrophes. Actuarial science offers accurate and razor-sharp predictive power in order to prevent capital loss for those very companies.

There are always exceptions, of course, that confound even actuaries. These “outlier” events come unannounced. So rare are these exceptions that a theory was developed to explain their occurrence. The Black Swan Theory developed by Nassim Nicolas Taleb suggests that surprise events have major and long-lasting impact.(1) The 2001 terrorist attacks; the Pacific tsunami in 2004; the stock-market crash of 1987; not even a seasoned actuary could have predicted these events with any level of confidence.

The result of the unexpected can be a deep and pervading fear. In my own life, for example, I have come to fear airplane travel—particularly, I fear the worst possible scenarios regarding airplane travel—despite the fact that the odds are much higher for my getting in a car accident when I go to the grocery store. When I swim in the ocean, I fear a shark-attack more than I fear the more likely event of drowning. These are the “black swan” events that haunt me. They are rare and infrequent outliers but their impact on me is as significant as the potential sighting of a real black swan in my front yard, an unlikely but extraordinary occurrence, indeed.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Black Swan

Joyce Meyer – A Natural Expression of Thanksgiving

 

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! — Psalm 107:1

Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Thanksgiving can be a part of who we are deep down in our hearts; it is a type of prayer and it should flow out of us in a natural way that is simple and genuine.

Being thankful does not mean merely sitting down at the end of a day, trying to remember everything we need to be thankful for because we think we have to thank God in order to make Him happy, or to satisfy some spiritual requirement, or try to get Him to do something else for us.

Instead, it means having a heart that is sensitive to God’s presence in our everyday lives, and just breathing out grateful prayers of thanksgiving every time we see Him working in our lives or blessing us.

Prayer Starter: Father, I am thankful that prayer is not some ritual or formula that I am required to follow. I am grateful that prayer is a comfortable, ongoing conversation with You based on an intimate relationship with You. I love You, Father, and I am excited to give You thanks all day long. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – His Ways Will Satisfy 

 

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how His ways will really satisfy you” (Romans 12:2).

“The trouble with living sacrifices,” someone has well said, “is that they keep crawling off the altar.” That may be true. We “crawl off the altar” when we sin, and the only way to put ourselves back on the altar is to breathe spiritually – confess our known sins in accordance with the promise of 1 John 1:9 and appropriate the fullness of the Holy Spirit as we are commanded to do by faith (Ephesians 5:18).

When we do this, we will be living supernaturally and our lives will produce the fruit of the Spirit in great abundance.

Only by being filled with the Spirit, and thus realizing the fruit of the Spirit, can spiritual gifts be effectively utilized in witnessing and building up the Body of Christ.

We begin by totally yielding ourselves by faith to Christ in a full irrevocable surrender to His lordship.

“He died once for all to end sin’s power, but now He lives forever in unbroken fellowship with God. So look upon your old sin-nature as dead and unresponsive to sin, and instead be alive to God, alert to Him, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“Do not let sin control your puny body any longer; do not give in to its sinful desires. Do not let any part of your bodies become tools of wickedness, to be used for sinning; but give yourselves completely to God – every part of you -for you are back from death and you want to be tools in the hands of God, to be used for His good purposes” (Romans 6:10-13).

Bible Reading:Romans 12:3-18

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that God’s ways will really satisfy me, I will seek first His kingdom, resist the devil at his every appearance and watch with joy as he flees.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Choose Your Inheritance

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

One of the most famous stories in the Bible has to do with inheritance.  The Hebrews had just been delivered from Egyptian captivity.  God led them and Moses to the edge of the promised land and made this offer.  “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders” (Numbers 13:1-2).

God didn’t tell the Israelites to conquer, invade, or secure the land.  He told them he was giving it to them.  Their choice was clear:  promises or circumstances?  The circumstances said, No way.  Stay out. There are giants in the land. God’s promise said, The land is yours. The victory is yours.  Take it.

Circumstances say, cower to your fears.  Your inheritance says otherwise:  You are a child of the King.  And 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 – Is All the News Fake?

Last week it was reported that Malaysia repealed its “fake news” law.

This Asian nation is one of the first countries in the world to reconsider how to control this societal nemesis. But, aren’t you already wondering whether that story is also fake news?

Since Missourians live in the Show-Me State, I wonder how they’re dealing with this dilemma. Is seeing believing?

There’s a scam going around currently where people are called by someone claiming to be an official with the IRS. That “official” claims that the victim owes a bogus tax bill. Often, the victim is conned into sending cash through wire transfers or prepaid debit cards to settle a fake debt. The IRS has told the public time and again that they will not use this kind of tactic.

In an age when pictures are photoshopped, stories are spun, and anonymous slander is rampant, who or what can you believe?

Last week I received a notice by email that a well-known bank had sent over $1,000 out of my account to a named payee. The email asked me to verify the transaction by replying to the email.

Trouble is, I don’t have any accounts at that particular bank. Upon closer inspection of the email, the bank’s logo was not authentic, and the email address of the sender was in no way connected to that bank.

Now, more than ever, caveat emptor: buyer beware. Fake news is everywhere.

Fake news is not new

But, fake news is NOT new. In 1981, Janet Leslie Cooke won a Pulitzer Prize for an article titled “Jimmy’s World” written for the Washington Post. It was later discovered to be fake. After admitting she had fabricated the story, she returned the prize.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Is All the News Fake?