Charles Stanley – God’s Economy for Generosity

 

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

When I was a boy, my mother and I had barely enough money for food, shelter, and clothing, but that never stopped her from being generous. If one of my friends asked for some food, she always gave him something to eat, even if it was only a piece of bread. As a child, I was afraid we wouldn’t have enough for ourselves, but my mother knew that the Lord’s economy works differently from that of the world.

Worldly wisdom says, “Get all you can, and do all you can to keep it,” but God’s ways are the opposite. In today’s passage, Paul uses the natural laws of agriculture to teach us His principles for generosity. Farmers know that sowing seed sparingly will not result in a big crop, but that’s what some of us do when it comes to giving. We’d rather keep most of our seed in the barn just to make sure it’s safe.

However, when we do this, we become like the man we read about in yesterday’s parable—he tried so hard to keep all he had and yet ended up with nothing of eternal value (Luke 12:15-21). Living in God’s divine economy requires confident faith in His promises. As Christians, we readily believe Him for our eternal salvation, so why are we sometimes reluctant to trust Him with earthly things like money?

We are called to be vessels through whom the Father blesses His church and others. He has promised to provide us with enough bread to eat and more seed to sow. When we learn His ways and trust what He has written, He is glorified, and we reap a bountiful harvest of righteousness.

Bible in One Year: Micah 5-7

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Many Beautiful Things

 

Read: Mark 14:1–9 | Bible in a Year: Song of Solomon 6–8; Galatians 4

She has done a beautiful thing to me. Mark 14:6

Just before her death, artist and missionary Lilias Trotter looked out a window and saw a vision of a heavenly chariot. According to her biographer, a friend asked, “Are you seeing many beautiful things?” She answered, “Yes, many, many beautiful things.”

Trotter’s final words reflect God’s work in her life. Not only in death, but throughout her life, He revealed much beauty to her and through her. Although a talented artist, she chose to serve Jesus as a missionary in Algeria. John Ruskin, a famous painter who tutored her, is said to have commented, “What a waste,” when she chose the mission field over a career in art.

Similarly, in the New Testament, when a woman came to Simon the Leper’s house with an alabaster jar and poured perfume on Jesus’s head, those present saw it as a waste. This expensive perfume was worth a year’s common wages, so some of the people present thought it could have been used to help the poor. However, commending this woman’s deep devotion to Him, Jesus said, “She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Mark 14:6).

Every day we can choose to let Christ’s life shine in our lives and display His beauty to the world. To some, it may seem a waste, but let us have willing hearts to serve Him. May Jesus say we have done many beautiful things for Him.

Dear Father, help me express my love to You in beautiful ways.

May our lives display the beauty of God.

By Keila Ochoa

INSIGHT

How can we, like the woman in Mark 14, do beautiful things for Christ? We can offer the beauty of “a gentle and quiet spirit” which “is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3–4). Gentleness is one of the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22–23, a list of characteristics that display Christ at work in our lives. We are to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11). When we are willing to be used by Him, the Spirit produces fruit and can guide us to do beautiful things.

For more on the beauty of a Spirit-filled life, check out the online course “Foundations of Spiritual Formation I: The Work of the Spirit” at christianuniversity.org/SF507.

Alyson Kieda

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Age of Anxiety

Scott Stossel, the editor of The Atlantic Magazine, described his life-long struggle with anxiety in an article written in 2014. With incredible candor, Stossel described some of the most debilitating experiences with his illness:

“I wish I could say that my anxiety is a recent development, or that it is limited to public speaking. It’s not. My wedding was accompanied by sweating so torrential that it soaked through my clothes and by shakes so severe that I had to lean on my bride at the altar, so as not to collapse. At the birth of our first child, the nurses had to briefly stop ministering to my wife, who was in the throes of labor, to attend to me as I turned pale and keeled over… On ordinary days, doing ordinary things—reading a book, lying in bed, talking on the phone, sitting in a meeting, playing tennis—I have thousands of times been stricken by a pervasive sense of existential dread and been beset by nausea, vertigo, shaking, and a panoply of other physical symptoms… Even when not actively afflicted by such acute episodes, I am buffeted by worry.”(1)

While I often worry, I have never experienced the kind of crippling anxiety that Stossel describes in his article, or that I frequently hear about from dozens of individuals in search of relief from chronic anxiety. Yet many of us feel as if we are always on edge or we sense an underlying feeling of dread. For our world is often a very frightening place. Indeed, the time that we live in has been described as the “age of anxiety.” Perhaps this is true, in part, because our 24/7 access to technology ensures that we are immersed in global images and headlines of terrorism, epidemics, the threat of environmental collapse, violent crimes, economic woes, international conflict, and political strife. Particularly in the West, the incidence of anxiety-related diagnoses are increasing among individuals of all ages, including among teenagers, college-students and young adults who have grown up in a technological age full of anxiety-producing images.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Age of Anxiety

Joyce Meyer – Attitude of Gratitude

 

Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves]. — Philippians 2:14 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

You and I have many opportunities to complain on a regular basis. But complaining doesn’t do any good; all complaining does is open the door for the enemy. It doesn’t solve problems; it just creates a breeding ground for greater problems.

Instead of complaining, let’s choose to respond to the Lord each day by developing an attitude of gratitude. This is not just an occasional expression of thanks, but a continual lifestyle of thanksgiving. The person who has developed an “attitude of gratitude” is one who is thankful and grateful for every single thing that God is doing in his or her life day by day.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for the way You provide for every area of my life. Instead of complaining about what I want or about what I don’t have, I choose to be grateful for everything I do have. You have been good to me—thank You for Your goodness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – We Can Obey All

 

” ‘Sir, which is the most important command in the laws of Moses?’ Jesus replied, ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: “Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.” All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if your obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying the others'” (Matthew 22:36-40).

Steve came for counsel. “I want with all my heart to be a man of God,” he said. “Can you tell me how I can please the Lord and be everything He wants me to be? You have walked with the Lord for many years. Surely you have learned some lessons that would help me.” I turned to this passage, and we read it and discussed it together.

“Jesus has answered your question, Steve,” I said to him. “If you keep these two commandments, all the others and all the demands of the prophets will be fulfilled.” We turned to Exodus 20:1-17 and reviewed the Ten Commandments.

“You see, Steve, if your love God with all your heart, you will have no other god before Him. You will not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. You will remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. If you love your neighbor as yourself, you will honor your father and mother. You will not murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, or covet that which belongs to your neighbor.”

Think what would happen if every person who professed to be a follower of Jesus Christ would truly obey the two greatest commandments. Not only would the Ten Commandments be fulfilled, but so would the Golden Rule and every other command of God. The great miracle would result. The moral, spiritual and even the economical problems that plague the nations of the world would be resolved almost overnight.

This kind of love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. For the supernatural love of God (agape) is spread abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. It is only as we walk in the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit, fully surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ, that we can fulfill these commandments.

Bible Reading:Mark 12:28-34

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Through the supernatural enabling power of the Holy Spirit, I will love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and my neighbors as myself, knowing that as I do so, I will be fulfilling and obeying all the other laws.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Keep in Step With the Spirit

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I purchased a new cartridge for my printer, but until I removed the thin strip of tape covering the outlet of the cartridge, there was plenty of ink but no impression could be made on the page.

Is there anything in your life that needs to be removed?  We can grieve the Spirit with our rebellion and disobedience. We can even quench the Spirit by having no regard for God’s teaching.  The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20, “never damp the fire of the Spirit, and never despise what is spoken in the name of the Lord.”

Are you feeding your flesh and neglecting your faith? If the answer is yes, you are quenching the Spirit within you. Do you want his power? Direction? Strength?  Then keep in step with the Spirit.  He directs and leads; we obey and follow. 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 – How Ashley Kavanaugh defended her husband

“I know Brett. I’ve known him for 17 years. He’s decent, he’s kind, he’s good. I know his heart. This is not consistent with Brett.” This is how Ashley Kavanaugh described her husband last night as the two were interviewed by Fox News.

When asked how their daughters are dealing with accusations against their father, she said, “They know Brett and they know the truth.”

Why is character under attack today?

This is such a complicated issue. On one hand, the last thing I want to do is defend any kind of sexual abuse. No person is above the law, not even (or especially) those who interpret it on our nation’s highest levels of jurisprudence.

On the other hand, in a democracy with a free press, anyone can make an accusation against anyone. Gone is the day when a person is innocent until proven guilty. Today it seems that the accused is guilty until proven innocent.

This is bad news, for the accused and for the accuser.

In situations like these, it is difficult for the accused to prove their innocence without demonstrating the guilt of those accusing them. To debunk the charges they face often requires that they discredit their accusers. Consequently, victims of sexual abuse face unfair scrutiny and counter-allegations that make it harder for them to come forward.

But it is also unfair for victims of false accusations to be forced to prove their innocence. They bear the burden of guilt though they have done nothing wrong.

Add the fact that, in our 24/7 news cycle, with thousands of media outlets starved for stories, it’s easier than ever to generate a headline. In our bitterly polarized, highly politicized day, it’s hard to trust the motives of those who accuse or defend political figures.

As a result, personal character has never been more important–or more attacked–than today. How is this fact relevant to followers of Jesus?

Why is popularity so perilous? Continue reading Denison Forum – How Ashley Kavanaugh defended her husband