Charles Stanley – The Believer’s Valley Experiences

 

Psalm 23:1-6

Where there are mountains, there must also be valleys—it’s a simple fact of the created world. The same is also true in our spiritual life. To reach the place where the Lord is leading us, we must sometimes traverse “the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4).

Spiritual mountaintops are wonderful spots to rest. At such times, we feel close to God and sure of His love. But we get to those high places by toiling through the valley, where we discover His character, the truth of His promises, and our own weakness. There are aspects of the Lord that we see only as we journey through shadow.

God is a jealous shepherd—He wants His followers to rely entirely upon Him. He draws us through valleys in order to remove every habit, thought pattern, or external crutch that we use instead of trusting Him—those suddenly seem inadequate in the low places. That’s where we discover whether our faith, courage, and wisdom are self-created or from the Lord.

Though walking in valleys is an inevitable part of life, believers aren’t left comfortless. Verse 5 is about having needs met, including the desire to be soothed. Here is the image of a tender shepherd rubbing oil onto an animal’s skin. God promises assurance, healing, and safety, even in hardship.

Believers can shout, “I trust God” from the mountain because they have learned to live by faith in the valley. Walking in the shadow of evil is difficult and frightening work. But when we surrender to whatever the Lord has to teach us in this dark place, our spirit is quieted and our faith is strengthened.

Bible in One Year: Daniel 7-9

 

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Our Daily Bread — Good for You?

 

Read: Psalm 119:65–72 | Bible in a Year: Proverbs 22–24; 2 Corinthians 8

You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:68

Because I like dark chocolate, I once Googled “Is dark chocolate good for you?” I got a variety of results—some good, some bad. You can do the same for almost any food product. Is milk good for you? Is coffee good for you? Is rice good for you? There is a dizzying array of answers to these questions, so you have to be aware that the search itself may not be good for you. It may give you a headache!

But if you’re looking for something that’s one-hundred percent good for you all the time, can I recommend the Word of God? Listen to what it can do for the follower of Jesus who is seeking to build a relationship with God.

It can keep you pure (Psalm 119:9, 11).

It blesses you (Luke 11:28).

It makes you wise (Matthew 7:24).

It gives light and understanding (Psalm 119:130).

It helps you grow spiritually (1 Peter 2:2).

Our God is good: “The Lord is good to all,” says Psalm 145:9. And in His goodness, He’s provided those who love Him with a guide that helps us see how to enhance our relationship with Him. As we try to decide how to live in a world full of choices, praise God that He’s told us in Scripture what’s good for us. Let’s say with the psalm-writer: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psalm 119:103).

God, thank You for leaving us Your inspired Word. Help us to read it carefully, interpret it correctly, and apply it enthusiastically in our lives.

God’s Word is the only sure foundation for life.

By Dave Branon

INSIGHT

It’s easy to read through the twenty-two sections that comprise Psalm 119 and see them as repetitions of the same theme: love for God’s law (God’s Word). But each eight-verse stanza has its own distinctive flavor. Verses 65–72 carry the subtheme of affliction as the writer shows us a glimpse into his personal life: “Before I was afflicted I went astray” (v. 67). We don’t know precisely what sin the author means by “astray”; neither do we know with certainty the source or nature of the affliction. But we can identify with the situation. We all stray from time to time, and it’s part of the human condition to suffer—often unfairly. The psalmist says, “The arrogant have smeared me with lies” (v. 69). Yet each section always bends back to the larger theme of the whole psalm. Here it occurs in verse 70: “I delight in your law.” The stanza then highlights the value of suffering: “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (v. 71).

How can I apply God’s Word to every situation I face, even difficult ones?

Tim Gustafson

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids – He Can Do It

 

Romans 4:20-21

There is an old song that says God has promised us strength, rest, light, grace, help, sympathy, and love. Those are things we can count on. In addition God grants many of our requests by his power.

God hath not promised
Skies always blue
Flower-strewn pathways
All our lives through
God hath not promised
Sun without rain
Joy without sorrow
Peace without pain
But God hath promised
Strength for the day
Rest for the labor
Light for the way
Grace for the trials
Help from above
Unfailing sympathy
Undying Love
Annie Johnson Flint (1862–1932)

Like the song says, God’s resources are unlimited. He will take care of us and keep his promises. He will give us strength, rest, light, grace, help, and love.

Dear Lord, There isn’t anyone else I can count on to never fail me. You are our good God who has promised to care for us. Amen.

Joyce Meyer – Unoffended

 

Good sense and discretion make a man slow to anger, and it is his honor and glory to overlook a transgression or an offense [without seeking revenge and harboring resentment]. — Proverbs 19:11 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource Wake Up to the Word Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

One of our first responses when someone hurts or offends us can be to pray: “God, I choose to believe the best. My feelings are hurt, but You can heal me. I refuse to be angry; I refuse to be offended.” It’s important to be firm in your determination that you will not be offended because offense is a trap that pulls us away from God, His people, and His principles.

The word offense comes from the Greek word skandalon. A skandalon was the part of an animal trap that held the bait; its purpose was to lure a victim. Offense is bait that will lure us into a trap of full-blown bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness.

When you are tempted to be offended, choose to forgive right away. Don’t give the bitterness you feel a chance to take root in your life. Choosing to live without offense is one of the wisest choices you can make. If you need to forgive someone, today is the best day to do it!

Prayer Starter: Father, please show me any areas where I may be harboring bitterness or offense. Help me learn to be quick to forgive and hard to offend. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A New Quality of Life

 

“When the Holy Spirit, who is truth, comes, He shall guide you into all truth, for He will not be presenting His own ideas, but will be passing on to you what He has heard. He will tell you about the future. He shall praise Me and bring Me great honor by showing you My glory. All the Father’s glory is Mine: this is what I mean when I say that He will show you My glory” (John 16:13-15).

Steve asked me the question, “What is my number 1 priority as a Christian? I want to be a man of God, so I need counsel as to what I am to do first.” This is a good question for every Christian to ask.

The answer is simply: to glorify God. Jesus tells us how we can best do this in John 15:8, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (NASB). Or, as the Living Bible states it, “My true disciples produce bountiful harvests. This brings great glory to My Father.”

The Holy Spirit has come to be a witness to our Lord Jesus. When the Spirit controls our lives, we too will be witnesses for Him.

Witnessing for Christ with our lips is not only a natural result of being filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit, but also is a necessary act of obedience if we are to continue to experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

That which is most on our hearts is most on our lips, so if we truly love Christ, we will want to share Him with others. But God does not want or need the witness of individuals whose carnal lives fail to give credibility to their testimonies.

The greatest experience that has ever happened to any believer is to know Jesus Christ personally as Savior and Lord, to be forgiven of his sins and to have assurance of eternal life.

Therefore, the most important thing we can do to help another person is to introduce him to Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can empower us to live holy lives and be fruitful witnesses for Christ.

Bible Reading:John 14:16-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will ask the Holy Spirit to glorify God through the quality of my life and the witness of my words, as a demonstration of the supernatural life that I have received from God.

 

 

http://www.cru.org