Charles Stanley – A Foundation of Value

 

Matthew 7:24-27

The head of my seminary once commented that constructing anything worthwhile requires a firm foundation. So a chicken coop may not need much of a base, but a high-rise office building must be erected upon tons of buried steel and concrete.

The most valuable thing you can build is your life, which could be likened to a skyscraper. No foundation is stronger or steadier than Jesus Christ, so to build wisely, you must …

Apply the Word of God. Believers build a lasting scriptural structure through study and application of God’s Word. The Lord’s principles and commandments are the blueprint for an abundant life.

Give sacrificially, forgive willingly, and love extravagantly (Acts 2:45; Eph. 4:32; 1 Peter 1:22). Pride and selfishness have no place in this edifice. Using these as construction materials results in a teetering shack that is susceptible to fire.

Use your gifts to glorify God. The Holy Spirit has equipped every believer to serve the Lord. We want to use our time on this earth courageously, glorifying our Father with our talents and resources.

Share the gospel. Telling others about Jesus Christ is the greatest service we can offer to God and to our fellow man. The Lord Himself has called us to this task (Matt. 28:19).

Kingdom builders aren’t creating monuments for the world’s pleasure. Rather, they are raising spiritual skyscrapers that reflect God’s glory. The truth is, many acts of obedience are seen only by the Lord, but He remembers every grace-filled word and deed, and He intends to reward each one.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 29-31

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Building Bridges

 

Read: John 4:7–14, 39–42 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 146–147; 1 Corinthians 15:1–28

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

In our neighborhood, high concrete walls surround our homes. Many of these walls are enhanced with electric barbed wires lining the top. The purpose? To ward off robbers.

Frequent power outages are also a problem in our community. These outages render the front gate-bell useless. Because of the wall, a visitor may be kept out in the scorching sun or torrential rain during these outages. Yet even when the gate-bell works, to admit the visitor might depend on who they are. Our fence-walls serve a good purpose, but they can become walls of discrimination—even when the visitor is obviously not an intruder.

The Samaritan woman whom Jesus met at the well had a similar difficulty with discrimination. The Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans. When Jesus asked her for a drink, she said, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (John 4:9). As she began to open up to Jesus, she had a life-changing experience that positively affected her and her neighbors (vv. 39–42). Jesus became the bridge that broke the wall of hostility and favoritism.

The lure to discriminate is real, and we need to identify it in our lives. As Jesus showed us, we can reach out to all people regardless of nationality, social status, or reputation. He came to build bridges.

Lord, thank You for teaching me not to discriminate among people. Help me to see people through Your eyes so that I may honor You.

Jesus breaks down the walls of discrimination.

By Lawrence Darmani

INSIGHT

Jewish-Samaritan tension had a long history. When Israel was overrun by Assyria (743–720 bc; see 2 Kings 15–18), most of the people were taken into exile, but a small remnant stayed behind under Assyrian rule. In the ensuing years, these populations intermarried, producing the ethnically mixed group known as Samaritans. This perceived ethnic “impurity” was the basis for Jewish disregard for their northern cousins.

Are there people you’re disregarding because of perceived inferiority?

Bill Crowder

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Through Still Deeper Darkness

Professor and theologian James Loder was on vacation with his family when they noticed a motorist off to the side of the road waving for help. In his book The Transforming Moment, he describes kneeling at the front fender of this broken-down car, his head bent to examine the flat tire, when he was startled by the abrupt sound of screeching brakes. A motorist who had fallen asleep at the wheel was jarred awake seconds before his vehicle crashed into the disabled car alongside the road—and the man who knelt beside it. Loder was immediately pinned between two vehicles. The car he knelt to repair was now on his chest, his own vehicle underneath him.

Years after both the incident and the rehabilitation it required, Loder was compelled to describe the impact of that moment so marked by pain and tragedy, which was unexpectedly, something much more. Loder describes the incident: “At the hospital, it was not the medical staff, grateful as I was for them, but the crucifixes—in the lobby and in the patients’ rooms—that provided a total account of my condition. In that cruciform image of Christ, the combination of physical pain and the assurance of a life greater than death gave objective expression and meaning to the sense of promise and transcendence that lived within the midst of my suffering.”(1)

For the Christian, the crucifixion is the center of the whole, the event that gives voice to a broken, dark, and dying world, and the paradoxical suggestion of life somehow within it. The Christian marks steeples and graves in memory of the crucifixion. The death of Christ is the occasion that makes way for the last to be first, the guilty to be pardoned, the creature united again to its creator. The cross of Christ is the mysterious sign that stands in the center of the history of the world and changes everything. “I have been crucified with Christ,” said one of his transformed followers. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

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Joyce Meyer – The Power of a Renewed Heart

 

“…For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” — 1 Samuel 16:7 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

God is the God of hearts. He does not look only at the exterior of a person, or even the things a person does, and judge the individual by that criterion. Man judges the flesh, but God judges the heart.

It is possible to do good works and still have a wrong heart attitude. It is also possible to do some things wrong but still have a right heart on the inside. God is much more inclined to use a person with a good heart and a few problems than He is to use a person who seems to have it all together but who has a wicked heart.

It is very important that we get in touch with our inner life and our heart attitude, the way we feel and think about things (what the Bible calls the hidden man of the heart), if we want to hear from God and live in close relationship with Him.

When God seeks to promote someone, He chooses a person after His own heart.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to be a person after Your heart—to want what You want and view others with love and compassion. I can’t change myself, but with Your help, I can change from the inside out. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Mind of Christ

 

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we must have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16, KJV).

The first thing I do when I awaken each morning is to kneel before my Lord in humility, meditate upon His attributes, and praise, worship and adore Him.

The last thing I do before I go to bed at night is to kneel in prayer, to praise, worship and give thanks to Him. Thus, my first thoughts are automatically of Him when I awaken, because all night long my subconscious mind has been meditating on Him.

Every morning of every day, I acknowledge His lordship. I gladly surrender control of my life to Him acknowledging my dependence upon Him. Then, by faith, I claim His mind and His wisdom for direction in every detail of my life. I trust Him to influence and control my attitudes, my motives, my desires, my thoughts and my actions.

In different words and ways, I remind Him that I am a suit of clothes for Him and that He can do anything He wants in and through me. I invite Him to walk around in my body. I ask Him to think with my mind, to love with my heart, to speak with my lips, to lead me wherever He wants me to go, to seek and save the lost through me.

We should study the Word of God daily and diligently, determining as an act of the will to pattern our lives according to His commands and His example. We begin to experience the reality and the availability of the mind of Christ when we literally saturate our minds with His thoughts and spend much time meditating upon His Word.

Bible Reading:I Corinthians 2:9-15

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Consciously and deliberately I will begin each day by inviting Christ to walk around in my body, think with my mind, love with my heart, speak with my lips and continue to “seek and save the lost” through me

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – A God of Rest

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

When Christ died on the Cross, “He carried our sins in his body so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right” (1 Peter 2:24). Heaven’s work of redemption was finished.  Whatever barrier that had separated us, or might ever separate us from God was gone. The nagging questions are gone:  Am I good enough?  Will I achieve enough?

The legalist finds rest. The atheist finds hope. God is not a god of burdens but a God of rest. He knows we cannot achieve perfection.  Jesus invites, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-30).  What a promise! And because God’s promises are unbreakable our hope is unshakeable!

Read more Unshakable Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – “Mob rule” as Kavanaugh hearings begin

“I’ve covered five other Supreme Court confirmation hearings. None of them included anything like the chaos in the opening minutes of the Kavanaugh hearings this morning.”

This was New York Times legal reporter Adam Liptak’s response to the beginning of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s hearings yesterday. Today’s Washington Post reports that dozens of protesters were arrested; one senator complained of “mob rule” as the hearings began.

In other controversial news, Nike announced that former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be featured in its new advertising campaign. The company’s stock fell more than 3 percent on the news and some burned their Nike apparel in protest. Others applauded the company for its decision; some are calling Kaepernick “the face of the new civil rights movement.”

“You have wrapped yourself in a cloud”

As our society becomes more divided and divisive, Christians are tempted to withdraw from the acrimonious “culture wars.” The more secular our culture becomes, the more absent God seems.

But this is a self-fulfilling prophecy, like a horoscope that predicts the bad day its reader then expects and thus experiences. The less we look for God, the less we see him. And the less we see him, the less we look for him.

This cycle extends to our prayers as well.

The book of Lamentations describes its author’s grief over the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple in 586 BC. By chapter 3, the author’s mourning for his nation has affected his intercession.

Continue reading Denison Forum – “Mob rule” as Kavanaugh hearings begin