Charles Stanley – Unshakeable Foundations

 

Romans 8:35-39

Our world is a changing, uncertain place. Many people seek security in wealth, relationships, and power. These things, however, are not guaranteed from one day to the next. Watching the news provides enough proof that any of them can be taken away in a moment. No wonder there is such despair and fear.

For believers, thankfully, reality is not based on what we see. Nor is our foundation found in this world. We build our hope and trust on the Lord, and we believe the truth in His Word.

Even in chaotic times, our certainty is found in God’s loving relationship with us as His children. Today’s passage tells us that nothing can tear us away from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, in the midst of turmoil and trials, we have assurance that our lives are in the grip of the almighty God. We can rely not only on His love and presence but also on His uninterrupted attention, faithfulness, and perfect care.

When difficulty arises and circumstances seem overwhelming, we can respond with confidence and strength because of Jesus. Along with the psalmist, who also lived during times of war and stressful events, we can call the Lord “my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Psalm 91:2).

Consider where you find security. Is the foundation of your life built upon the solid rock of Jesus? Or is it planted in something as unstable as sand—like money or prestige? Placing hope and confidence in anything apart from the Lord will ultimately leave you feeling broken and defeated.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 43-45

 

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Our Daily Bread — How to Stand Firm

 

Read: Jude 1:24–25 | Bible in a Year: Proverbs 8–9; 2 Corinthians 3

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling. Jude 1:24

It was a cold, icy winter’s day, and my mind was focused on getting from my warm vehicle to a warm building. The next thing I knew I was on the ground, my knees turned inward and my lower legs turned outward. Nothing was broken, but I was in pain. The pain would get worse as time went by and it would be weeks before I was whole again.

Who among us hasn’t taken a spill of some sort? Wouldn’t it be nice to have something or someone to keep us on our feet all the time? While there are no guarantees of surefootedness in the physical sense, there is One who stands ready to assist us in our quest to honor Christ in this life and prepare us to stand joyfully before Him in the next.

Every day we face temptations (and even false teachings) that seek to divert us, confuse us, and entangle us. Yet, it’s not ultimately through our own efforts that we remain on our feet as we walk in this world. How assuring to know that when we hold our peace when tempted to speak angrily, to opt for honesty over deceit, to choose love over hate, or to select truth over error—we experience God’s power to keep us standing (Jude 1:24). And when we appear approved before God when Christ returns, the praise that we offer now for His sustaining grace will echo throughout eternity (v. 25).

Father, thank You for Your constant care for our souls.

Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. Edward Mote

By Arthur Jackson

INSIGHT

Assertiveness training often includes guidelines for approaching conflict. Instead of being reactive, we are taught to calmly articulate our viewpoint while showing respect to the other person, even if they are behaving badly.

In his letter to believers, Jude offers similar insights into how to respond to harmful influences, but offers a far more profound foundation. Responding to false teachers (Jude 1:4), Jude pulled no punches when it came to describing their behavior. He described them as people who lied (v. 10) and selfishly manipulated others (v. 16), concluding they were not living from the Spirit (v. 19).

But after exposing the false teachers’ dangerous character, Jude didn’t suggest the believers respond by aggressively fighting against them. He suggested, instead, that they focus on their own spiritual growth. Instead of being reactive or returning evil for evil, as they grew deep roots in God’s love (vv. 20–21), they could more naturally rely on the Spirit’s leading for how to best respond (vv. 22–23). But in every situation, they could remain unshaken, anchored in the rock-solid truth of God’s love, power, and beautiful future for them (v. 24).

Monica Brands

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Jesus à la Carte

There is a covered bridge in Georgia that extends over a scenic rushing stream. A well-worn trail leads its visitors to a succession of small cascading waterfalls over a series of massive rocks. Sitting atop one of these rocks, my husband turned to me and asked, “Do you ever think of the springs in France when you see a bottle of Evian for sale?”

My answer caught me more off guard than his question. No, I really hadn’t ever thought of the springs, or the production, or for that matter, the importing that goes into the twenty-some kinds of bottled water we see on our grocery store shelves. In fact, I don’t usually think about the origins of anything I consume.

Sociologists call this growing trend of perspective (or lack there of) commodification, the progression of thought whereby the commodities we consume are seen in abstraction from their origins. For instance, when most of us think of chocolate, we rarely see it as having a context beyond our consumption of it. The land where it came from, the conditions of its production, and the community or laborers who produce it are realities disassociated with the commodity. In a world dominated by consumption, commodification is becoming more and more of an unconscious worldview, and one which is shaping habits of interpretation across the board.

Author and cultural observer Vincent Miller writes of how such a manner of seeing and interpreting is also making us more comfortable with engaging religion as commodity, lifting certain portions of a religious tradition from its context and historical background for the sake of one’s individual use or interest.(1) Thus just as chocolate or bottled water is easily and unconsciously viewed as detached and even different from its origin and context, parts and pieces of religious traditions are increasingly being seen as goods from which we can pick and choose, commodities disassociated from the historical realities and contexts from which they arise. Such habits of interpretation might explain the current fascination with diverse and isolated spiritual practices; it could also explain the man on television who recently expressed his desire to design a tattoo portraying his version of the Crucifixion. Jesus, the cross, and the resurrection become commodities isolatable from first century Palestine, detachable from the context of the Old Testament, or optionally a part of the Christian story at all. When consuming religion, we prefer à la carte.

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Joyce Meyer – Find a Happy Medium

 

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. — 1 Peter 5:8 (AMP)

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

I remember sitting in my home looking up the word gentle in Strong’s concordance and saying, “Lord, You’ve got to help me!” I thought I could never be gentle. Finally, the Lord began to do a work in me in the area of gentleness. The only problem was that, like so many other people in the body of Christ, I was such an extremist that I couldn’t “strike a happy medium.”

Once I saw that I was overbalanced in one area, I thought I had to go totally in the other direction. I “adjusted” and “adapted” far too much. I became so “gentle” and “kind” and “patient” that I wouldn’t exercise any discipline over my youngest son, who was born after my other children were grown. I also went overboard in my relationship with others. I let things get out of hand in my marriage, my home, and my ministry. I learned from my experiences that one extreme is just as bad as the other. What we must learn in all this is balance.

On one hand, we must not be harsh and hard. But on the other hand, we must not be weak and excessively soft. We must not be irritable and impatient, flying off the handle and acting out of emotion. On the other hand, we must not be so mild mannered that we become doormats and whipping posts for those who will take advantage of us if we give them a chance. There is a time to be patient and forbearing, and there is a time to be firm and decisive. There is a time to “not be angry,” and there is a time to display righteous indignation. It is wisdom to know when to do which.

Prayer Starter: Lord, help me to live a balanced life in every area. Please show me any areas where I have gone to an unhealthy extreme. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

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

 

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7, KJV).

If you and I have a desire to imitate God, seldom do we accomplish that purpose more than in the practice of showing mercy.

God delights in nothing more than in the exercise of showing mercy. One of the clear prerequisites to real happiness is this display of genuine mercy. Surely God has given us the supreme example, by giving His only Son to die in our place. That is mercy beyond comprehension, beyond description.

The world speaks often of having someone at its mercy. In a very real sense, God has us at His mercy – but He chose to be merciful and make a way of escape for us. The decision to take that way is ours.

To the degree that we show mercy to the poor, the wretched, the guilty – to that degree we are like God. And if He keeps us here on earth to be conformed more and more to His image, how important it is that we trust Him – by His indwelling Holy Spirit – to make us merciful.

When we do something to glorify God, like giving a cup of cold water in His name, in obedience to His commandments, and with a desire that He should be honored, He will consider it as done unto Him and reward us accordingly.

The lesson is clear: the merciful shall obtain mercy. And who among us is not a candidate for more of God’s mercy?

Bible Reading:Luke 6:31-36

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: “Dear Lord, with Your great mercy as the supreme example, I resolve to allow your Holy Spirit to show mercy through me.”

 

 

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Max Lucado – What Will Happen When You Die?

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

What will happen when you die?  Scripture reveals some intriguing assurances! Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). “Today,” Christ promised. No delay. No pause.

The thief closed his eyes on earth and awoke in paradise. The soul of the believer journeys home while the body of the believer awaits the resurrection. Paradise is the first stage of heaven. But it’s not the final version of heaven.  The final age will begin when Christ returns on the final day. He who created us will collect us. Scripture says “The LORD who scattered his people, will gather them!” (Jeremiah 31:10). Just as a seed becomes a plant, our fleshly body will become a spiritual body. This is God’s promise to you. And because God’s promises are unbreakable our hope is unshakable!

Read more Unshakable Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Dallas police officer charged with manslaughter

Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger was charged last night with manslaughter in a tragedy that has gripped our city. Botham Jean, a twenty-six-year-old Dallas resident, was killed when Guyger entered his apartment, apparently by mistake, and shot him.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said that Jean’s death meant the loss of “a potential leader for this city for years to come.” Jean worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers in downtown Dallas and led worship in his church.

In other news, five people were wounded in a Tennessee nightclub shooting early this morning. Seven people were injured in a knife attack in Paris last night. An Australian man has been charged with murdering his three young daughters, their mother, and their grandmother.

And the National Hurricane Center announced this morning that Hurricane Florence poses “an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts” to the East Coast. South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia have already declared a state of emergency.

Are you “almost anxious”?

For those of us who follow the news, it’s not surprising that more Americans than ever before are stressed, depressed, and anxiety-ridden. Nearly forty million Americans experience an anxiety disorder in any given year. Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the US.

Some people struggle with anxiety on a level that becomes a barrier to their enjoyment of life, a condition known as being “almost anxious.” Others struggle with more serious issues that develop into debilitating anxiety disorders. Such people need to seek the help of medical and counseling professionals.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Dallas police officer charged with manslaughter