Charles Stanley – The Tragedy of a Wasted Life

 

Luke 12:15-21

Death is inevitable, but at times it surprises us. Perhaps you can relate because you know someone who died unexpectedly.

Today’s parable describes one such situation. It tells of a man who acquired comfort and wealth but thought only of his time on earth. Death came without warning, and he could take nothing with him. God called him a fool for living focused only on himself.

Though rich in the world’s eyes, the man had no relationship with God and hadn’t invested anything in Christ’s kingdom. All the treasures he stored here were worthless once he died. What’s even worse is that without Jesus, he’d be separated from God forever. Think about the tragic waste of such a life.

As I consider the choices this man made, two questions come to mind that are important for us all to contemplate. First, if you were to die today, would you go to heaven? Salvation is a free gift for those who trust in Jesus as the acceptable sacrifice for sin. He is the only way—no excuses or even sincere beliefs in other ways will work. And Scripture teaches that when believers die, they immediately find themselves in the Lord’s presence (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Second, what is your life accomplishing? Are you driven by selfish purposes, storing security and wealth for yourself? Or is your motivation to further God’s kingdom?

Like the man in this parable, we don’t know when we will die. We do know, however, that death is inescapable. Dying is an unpleasant topic, but eternity is a long time and worthy of our attention. It’s definitely a wise investment to make sure of your salvation and to invest in God’s kingdom.

Bible in One Year: Micah 1-4

 

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Our Daily Bread — Walking God’s Way

 

Read: Isaiah 30:15–21 | Bible in a Year: Song of Solomon 4–5; Galatians 3

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

“We’re going this way,” I said as I touched my son’s shoulder and redirected him through the crowd to follow his mom and sisters in front of us. I’d done this more often as the day wore on at the amusement park our family was visiting. He was getting tired and more easily distracted. Why can’t he just follow them? I wondered.

Then it hit me: How often do I do exactly the same thing? How often do I veer from obediently walking with God, enchanted by the temptations to pursue what I want instead of seeking His ways?

Think of Isaiah’s words from God for Israel: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’ ” (Isaiah 30:21). Earlier in that chapter, God had rebuked His people for their rebelliousness. But if they would trust His strength instead of their own ways (v. 15), He promised to show His graciousness and compassion (v. 18).

One expression of God’s graciousness is His promise to guide us by His Spirit. That happens as we talk to Him about our desires and ask in prayer what He has for us. I’m thankful God patiently directs us, day-by-day, step-by-step, as we trust Him and listen for His voice.

Father, You’ve promised to guide us through the ups and downs and decisions we face in life. Help us to trust and follow You, and to actively listen for Your guiding voice.

God patiently directs us as we trust Him and listen for His voice.

By Adam Holz

INSIGHT

In today’s passage, a resurgent militant Assyria threatened to conquer all of Israel. But instead of trusting God to deliver them, Judah turned to Egypt for help. God had explicitly prohibited Israelite kings from trusting in anything other than God for deliverance (Deuteronomy 17:16). Isaiah warned that it’s futile to trust Egypt instead of the Lord (Isaiah 30:1–19; 31:1). The psalmist also warned of the futility of putting our trust in something other than God: “No king is saved by the size of his army . . . . A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save” (Psalm 33:16–17).

When have you placed your trust in something other than God?

  1. T. Sim

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Lightening the Darkness

They told me to give it three weeks. “Your eyes and your brain are getting reacquainted again,” he said. “Your eyesight will fluctuate for the next few days.” Less than a week after eye surgery, I was tired of fluctuating. At times my vision was so crisp that it was almost too much for me—like I was somehow seeing more than I should. But this clarity came and went; I was sometimes far-sighted, sometimes near-sighted, sometimes neither very well. Perfect sight was not as immediate as I anticipated.

My inhabiting of faith and belief is not so far from this. Fittingly, I was given the charge of writing about my meandering path toward Christian belief the same week of my eye surgery. The reflective task of peering into my life, looking at patterns and history with the hope of illumination seemed ironic as I squinted to see my computer screen. But it served as a helpful metaphor. My vision of Jesus has been far from immediate. It has been much closer to a fluctuating timeline of beholding and squinting, seeing, not-seeing, and straining to see. My experience has been something more like the blind man’s from Bethsaida:

“Do you see anything?” Jesus asks after placing his hands on the man’s eyes.

The man looks up and says, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

Jesus puts his hands once more on the man’s eyes, and then “his eyes were opened; his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.”(1)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Lightening the Darkness

Joyce Meyer – God Will Brighten Your Day

 

He continued to seek God…and as long as he sought (inquired of, longing for) the Lord, God caused him to prosper.  — 2 Chronicles 26:5 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource Starting Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Jesus got up early in the morning, long before daylight, and went out to a deserted place, and prayed—He got alone (see Mark 1:35). There were so many people who followed Jesus everywhere He went that He probably wouldn’t have had any time alone if He hadn’t gotten up really early.

If you aren’t a morning person, the thought of getting up early may make you nervous. But you can decipher for yourself what “early” means for you. Nine o’clock is early if you are used to staying in bed until noon. Even if you only get up 15 minutes earlier than usual to have some time alone with God, you will still honor Him, and that time with Him will make your whole day brighter.

Prayer Starter: Father, I need Your strength to have success today. Help me to make a habit of spending time with You and keeping You first in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Key to Real Joy

 

“Remember what Christ taught and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, and come with Him into the presence of God the Father to give Him your thanks” (Colossians 3:16,17).

As I travel and speak throughout the world, I meet many individuals who are caught up in the emotionalism of a religious experience which they attribute to the Holy Spirit. They live from experience to experience, with little knowledge of what the Bible teaches. As a result, they seldom grow past the baby stage. They are seeking and talking about their experiences with the Holy Spirit instead of the Lord Jesus, forgetting that the Holy Spirit came to glorify Christ.

At the other extreme, I find that most Christians seldom mention the Holy Spirit. The supernatural life is a life of balance.

Notice the close parallel between Ephesians 5:18-20 and Colossians 3:16-17. The Spirit-filled person and the one whose mind and heart are saturated with the person and the Word of Jesus Christ will be joyful and thankful, and he will do all as a testimony of love to Him who is our Lord and Savior.

We can no more live a joyful, abundant, fruitful, victorious, supernatural life apart from the Word of God than we can do so apart from the Spirit of God. They are like the two wings of an airplane; a plane cannot fly with only one wing. Neither can we live balanced, victorious lives if we do not invest time in reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on God’s Word, while at the same time depending on the Holy Spirit, who inspired its writing centuries ago, to illuminate its truth to our minds and hearts.

Bible Reading:I Corinthians 10:31-33

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today – and every day – I will claim the Holy Spirit’s power to enable me to read, study, memorize and meditate on God’s holy, inspired Word with comprehension. I will claim by faith the help of the Holy Spirit to live in accordance with the teaching of God’s revealed truth. With His help, I will live a balanced, Spirit-controlled, supernatural life.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Unity of the Spirit

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Ephesians 4:3 says to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”  The Holy Spirit of God is the mother hen, urging the church to gather together in safety!  We’re never told to create unity but rather to keep the unity the Spirit provides.

Harmony is always an option, because the Spirit is always present.  Gone is the excuse, “I just can’t work alongside so-and-so.”  Maybe you can’t, but the Spirit within you can!  To say otherwise is to say that the Holy Spirit cannot do what he longs to do. “We were all given the one Spirit to drink,” the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:13-14…“even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”  The Holy Spirit unifies the church, the body.  Let the Holy Spirit do its unification work through you!  And because God’s promises are unbreakable our hope in him is unshakable!

Read more Unshakable Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Why is Mr. Rogers back in the news?

The news is filled with unlikely stories this morning.

Two years ago, who would have imagined that Donald Trump would be addressing tomorrow’s United Nations General Assembly as US president? Bill Cosby was once a cultural icon; now he faces years in prison as his sentencing hearing starts today. A year ago, Tiger Woods couldn’t sit or walk because of back pain; his victory yesterday is being called “the greatest comeback story in sports history.”

And Mr. Rogers is back in the news.

Google honored Fred Rogers on the homepage of its search engine last Friday to celebrate the filming of his first episode on September 21, 1967.

I encourage you to watch the short video. You’ll learn that Mr. Rogers often named his characters for real people in his life (Queen Sara was named after his wife, for instance). His mother hand-knit all the cardigans he wore on his show, including a red sweater that is now at the Smithsonian. And the stoplight at the opening of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood always blinked yellow to remind kids and parents to slow down a little.

Fred Rogers was not the only television personality to begin a show fifty years agoHawaii Five-ORowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, and The Mod Squad would qualify as well. But Google chose to honor Mr. Rogers instead.

What does Fred Rogers’ abiding popularity say about our troubled times?

“I like you just the way you are”

Fred Rogers’ message was simple: “I like you just the way you are.” We are starved for such unconditional affirmation because we find it so seldom in this world.

The root of our problem is not just that others condemn us for our failures. It is that we condemn ourselves for our failures.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Why is Mr. Rogers back in the news?