Charles Stanley –Every Christian Rewarded

 

1 Corinthians 3:5-15

Scripture is very clear about the fact that wonderful benefits await believers who obey and bring glory to God. In Psalm 19, David wrote that there is great reward in keeping the Lord’s precepts (Psalm 19:11). What’s more, the promise of heavenly gifts comes straight from Jesus Christ’s mouth in the Sermon on the Mount. (See Matt. 5:12.)

Reread today’s passage, and notice Paul’s assertion that he and Apollos would each receive rewards for their service to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:8). God neither offers group prizes nor reserves treasure only for those who work in ministry. We are all ministers of the gospel, whose good works store up heavenly treasure. God sees our Spirit-led decisions and actions as worthy of reward. You may not feel particularly important or essential in this big world, but your every action and word matter to God. What He values is the believer yielding to the Holy Spirit’s direction.

The motivation behind our actions is important too—sometimes good works are done for the wrong reasons. For example, Jesus revealed that some religious leaders were fasting to gain attention, not to please God (Matt. 6:16). When a person seeks the applause of men, their adulation is the sole reward. While this may feel good for a while, flattery is not eternal.

I suspect that one day we’ll all shed tears of regret over the righteous acts we neglected or the work we did for personal glory. We will realize how much more we could have done for the Lord. But then He will dry our tears and make us new, as He promised (Revelation 21:4-5).

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 26-28

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Beyond the Stars

 

Read: Psalm 8:1–9 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 143–145; 1 Corinthians 14:21–40

You have set your glory in the heavens. Psalm 8:1

In 2011, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration celebrated thirty years of space research. In those three decades, shuttles carried more than 355 people into space and helped construct the International Space Station. After retiring five shuttles, NASA has now shifted its focus to deep-space exploration.

The human race has invested massive amounts of time and money, with some astronauts even sacrificing their lives, to study the immensity of the universe. Yet the evidence of God’s majesty stretches far beyond what we can measure.

When we consider the Sculptor and Sustainer of the universe who knows each star by name (Isaiah 40:26), we can understand why the psalmist David praises His greatness (Psalm 8:1). The Lord’s fingerprints are on “the moon and the stars, which [He] set in place” (v. 3). The Maker of the heavens and the earth reigns above all, yet He remains near all His beloved children, caring for each intimately and personally (v. 4). In love, God gives us great power, responsibility, and the privilege to care for and explore the world He’s entrusted to us (vv. 5–8).

As we study our star-spattered night skies, our Creator invites us to seek Him with passion and persistence. He hears every prayer and song of praise flowing from our lips.

Loving Creator of the universe, thank You for being mindful of us.

The greatness of God is evident in His awesome vastness and intimate nearness.

By Xochitl Dixon

INSIGHT

Paul wrote that the sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another, and the stars in their differing sizes and brightness, still another (1 Corinthians 15:40–41). The varying wonders of the night sky, however, are only a hint of the differences we see in the glory of God. While the cosmos stretches our mind with its evidence of unlimited space and power, the heart of God contains a far greater wonder. Beyond the unbounded expanse, colors, and wonders of the cosmos is the hidden glory of the love of God on the cross.

Father, when we consider the universe Your hands have made and the face that bore the spit and fists of those who mocked Jesus, what is man that You are mindful of us?

Mart DeHaan

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Ordinary Greatness

As one who spends a fair bit of time sitting in airports, I have the opportunity to people watch. There are the elite travelers who emerge from airline lounges with their power suits and designer cases, and then there are those who are traveling for leisure, souvenirs and gifts in tow. I love seeing the variety of clothing styles depending on what region I am in, and listening in on conversations betrays regional dialects and phrases. Business deals are made or broken, discussions over the day’s events all done in the parlance of the place.

More often than not, my attention is drawn to those who sit alone, as I do. In the smaller, regional airports I see the elderly gentleman in the wheelchair, alone. I look at the gate agent as she texts on her phone after yet another flight delay, hoping to hide from the ire of the passengers who needed to arrive at their destination hours ago. There is the single mother trying to corral her children, the slouched, sad looking twenty-something with a melancholic and listless gaze. There we all sit waiting. Wondering. Is there anything more than this?

The inherent routine, mundane tasks and waiting for whatever is next on the agenda can fill the days with a deepening ennui and a longing for something greater—something like a sense of finding and fulfilling one’s potential. As one who sits anonymously in airports watching and waiting, what does “potential” even mean? In a world of social media where status is measured by the number of friends or followers, likes or shares there is often a feeling that one’s life just doesn’t measure up. And in a celebrity culture, where success is measured by beauty, wealth, or status how can one ever feel she has reached her potential? If the exceptional is the guide for achievement, how will those of us who live somewhere between the average and the ordinary ever feel we’ve arrived?

Most of us occupy an existence often filled with the mundane or the banal. Never ending housework, constant bills, and running endless errands do not make one feel substantial. These are the daily details that make up often dulling routines. Indeed, for artists and bus drivers, homemakers and neurosurgeons, astronauts and cashiers repetitive motion is more the norm than moments of great challenge or extraordinary success. With endless quotidian tasks, is it any wonder that reaching one’s potential serves as an ideal to free us from the constraints of such ordinary lives?

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Joyce Meyer – “I Want a Mind Change”

 

And you [He made alive when you] were [spiritually] dead and separated from Him because of your transgressions and sins. — Ephesians 2:1 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource – by Joyce Meyer

I find a great deal of comfort in thinking about who I used to be and who I have become. It helps me not to be discouraged when I make mistakes or find that I still struggle over some issues. I’m greatly encouraged when I consider where I started and where I am now.

In Ephesians 2, Paul described those outside of Christ. He wrote that unbelievers follow the prince of the power of the air, who is Satan, and they follow the way their master leads. In verse 1, he pointed out that all were once dead through their sins, but believers are now alive in Jesus Christ. He tells us we’re not governed or led by our lower nature—the impulses of the flesh.

Many Christians have trouble in this area because they haven’t learned to control their thoughts. A lady once told me, “It simply didn’t occur to me that I needed to direct my mind and keep it healthy and positive. If ministers preached or taught about the control of our thoughts, I never heard it. One day, however, I read an article about the power of thoughts, and God convicted me. That’s when I knew I needed to change my thinking.”

This lady said she drove down the street of a busy city and she spotted a sign, a cartoon of a car with big eyes for the front lights and tears flowing, and the words, “Please help me! I need an oil change.”

As she passed by, she thought, I need a mind change. I don’t like being the way I am, letting my mind go wherever it wants. Part of my responsibility as a child of God is to keep my thoughts healthy and strong.

“I want to make it clear that I went to church,” she said, “and I had been active for years. I knew a lot of Scripture, and I even did some volunteer work at the church. But I didn’t control my thoughts. Even when I sang in church, my mind jumped from subject to subject. We’d be singing about joy and grace, and I’d think about the dishes still in the sink, the unfinished laundry, or what I wanted to eat for lunch.

“I attended church and I was faithful, but I was not faithful in attending to the Word. I listened when the preachers quoted Scripture. I usually followed along with my own Bible, but I didn’t really think about what I was hearing or what my eyes were reading. I was doing the right things outwardly, but I wasn’t thinking the right things. My mind was a mess, and I didn’t know what to do about it.”

“I need a mind change,” she suddenly said aloud to herself. Just then, she actually pondered the words she had spoken. She was like the car on the sign—she needed a change—a mind change. She needed to let the Holy Spirit direct her thoughts instead of the devil. As she prayed, she felt confident there would be a positive change.

She thought to herself, Is there anything I am supposed to do? She realized that if she didn’t make lifestyle changes, the devil would soon make the new thinking as muddy and gunky as the old thinking was.

For the next several days, she looked up all the scriptures she could find that used the word study or meditate. She also looked up scriptures that talked about the mind or thoughts. She read those verses, wrote them on slips of paper, and pondered them.

Here are three of them:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he… (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV).

And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude] (Ephesians 4:23 AMPC).

My hands also will I lift up [in fervent supplication] to Your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on Your statutes (Psalm 119:48 AMPC).

The more she meditated on the right things, the less trouble she had with Satan trying to control her thoughts. That’s how it works with all of us: The more we focus on God, the less often the devil can defeat us.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for the power in Your Word to renew my mind. Please help me to stay focused on You and choose positive, faith-filled thoughts that will propel my life in the right direction. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Blessed are the Humble

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

A young Christian leader, who was probably more impressed with himself than he should have been, shared with me one day how he had difficulty in being humble about all of his talent. He was a better than average speaker and a reasonably gifted singer, he had a good mind and personality, and in his heart of hearts he knew that as a Christian he should be humble.

He said, “I spend many hours on my knees asking God to make me humble.” I responded, “I can save you a lot of prayer time in that regard if you are interested.” He assured me that he was. Whereupon I explained to him that every gift he possessed – personality, good mind, his ability to sing, speak, and other qualities – were all gifts of God and could be taken from him at any moment by a brain tumor or a car accident or plane crash or any of a thousand different things. Furthermore I reminded him that Scripture admonishes us to humble ourselves.

“Humility is perfect quietness of heart,” Andrew Murray said. “It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or irritated or sore or disappointed. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed hope in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness when all around and above is trouble.”

Few Christians achieve such high standards, nevertheless it is an objective toward which we all should strive as long as we live, following the example of our Lord recorded in Philippians, chapter 2.

To be poor in spirit implies not only that we have a humble opinion of ourselves, but also that we recognize that we are sinners and have no righteousness of our own; that we are willing to be saved only by the grace and mercy of God; that we are willing to serve where God places us, to bear the burdens He allows and to stay in His hands and admit that we deserve no favor from Him.

As commonly interpreted, the word “blessed” means “happy.” You and I are assured of happiness when we are making conscious strides toward humility. All of this becomes possible as we yield to God’s indwelling Holy Spirit.

Bible Reading:Matthew 5:17-20

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With the help of the Holy Spirit I will consciously humble myself, asking Him to enable me to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and my neighbor as myself as an act of humility and as a major factor in achieving the supernatural life.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – The Debt Clock

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

If you want to be utterly distraught, spend a few moments in the presence of the U.S. National Debt Clock in New York City. It uses 306 light bulbs to endlessly declare the U.S. debt and each family’s share. As I pondered the clock this question came to me. What if heaven had one of these?  A marquee that measured our spiritual debt?  Does it click at each infraction?  We lie…click.  We gossip…click. We demand our way…click.

A financial liability is one matter, but a spiritual one?  The debt of sin has a serious consequence.  It separates us from God.  What do we do? The apostle Paul said, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).  Paul knew that 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 missing Dallas priest

Father Edmundo Paredes disappeared from Dallas six months ago.

The Roman Catholic priest stands accused of financial theft and sexual abuse. Earlier this summer, his diocese reached a financial settlement with three males who accused him of molesting them when they were teenagers.

Paredes was suspended in June 2017. Earlier this year, church officials lost touch with him. They sent certified letters to him and went to his house but could not find him.

One church member said of the now-missing priest, “Let’s say he avoids man’s law. He can’t avoid God’s.”

Is the pope facing a “watershed moment”?

Father Paredes is just one example of the sexual abuse scandal enveloping the Roman Catholic Church. This morning’s Washington Post carries a headline asking if Pope Francis is facing a “watershed moment” for his handling of the crisis.

Princeton legal scholar Robert George, who is Catholic, asked recently in the Wall Street Journal, “Is it time for Pope Francis to resign?” The Journal reports that US bishops are deeply divided over the pope’s handling of the crisis.

Whatever our view of the pope’s response, we would all agree that abusing even one child is an unspeakable sin that deeply grieves the One who loves and welcomes children (Matthew 19:13-15) and denounces all who harm them (Matthew 18:5-6).

There is another issue at work here as well. To the degree that Catholic officials protected the institution of the church rather than those it is called to serve, they committed the sin of idolatry.

Tragically, they are not the first to commit this sin. Nor is this sin limited to Catholic officials.

“He burned the house of the Lord”

“In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month–that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon–Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who served the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. And he burned the house of the Lord, and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down” (Jeremiah 52:12-13).

Continue reading Denison Forum – The missing Dallas priest