Charles Stanley – The God Who Meets All Needs

 

Ephesians 1:3-8

People tend to divide life into categories, distinguishing between issues related to work, home, faith, and leisure. Yet that’s not how the Lord sees us. His interest in His children is not confined to spiritual matters; He cares about the details of daily living as well.

Scripture shows that God is in the business of keeping our bodies fed (Luke 12:29), our minds wise (James 1:5), and our hearts at ease (Phil. 4:7). And since believers are in union with Jesus Christ through His indwelling Spirit, every aspect of a Christian’s existence has a spiritual connection. There’s no time in the day when the believer’s life separates into “sacred” and “secular” components. The anxious heart that distracts us from prayer is as much God’s concern as the tired mind that easily drifts into temptation.

Scripture emphasizes God’s commitment to the believer’s whole self: “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). The Lord doesn’t limit Himself to building godliness in us. Day-to-day particulars of life matter, too. We need never wonder if God can or wants to meet our needs. Our all-sufficient Father, whose kindness never ceases (Lam. 3:22), gives believers whatever is required to grow their faith—whether that means food, comfort, knowledge, or peace.

The loving heavenly Father sees His children in their entirety, not physical beings with a spiritual life on the side. We cheat ourselves when we think God is interested solely in our spiritual needs. He has many kinds of blessings to offer, if we will but ask.

Bible in One Year: Zephaniah 1-3, Haggai 1-2

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Asking God First

 

Read: Psalm 37:3–7, 23–24 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 5–6; Ephesians 1

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Early in our marriage, I struggled to figure out my wife’s preferences. Did she want a quiet dinner at home or a meal at a fancy restaurant? Was it okay for me to hang out with the guys, or did she expect me to keep the weekend free for her? Once, instead of guessing and deciding first, I asked her, “What do you want?”

“I’m fine with either,” she replied with a warm smile. “I’m just happy you thought of me.”

At times I’ve wanted desperately to know exactly what God wanted me to do—such as which job to take. Praying for guidance and reading the Bible didn’t reveal any specific answers. But one answer was clear: I was to trust in the Lord, take delight in Him, and commit my way to Him (Psalm 37:3–5).

That’s when I realized that God usually gives us the freedom of choice—if we first seek to put His ways before our own. That means dropping choices that are plainly wrong or would not please Him. It might be something immoral, ungodly, or unhelpful toward our relationship with Him. If the remaining options please God, then we’re free to choose from them. Our loving Father wants to give us the desires of our hearts—hearts that take delight in Him (v. 4).

Teach me, O God, to put You first in everything I do. Show me how to take delight in You, that my heart will be transformed to be like Yours.

Do your decisions please God?

By Leslie Koh

INSIGHT

A prayerful reading of Psalm 37 yields increased joy, assurance, and confidence in the Lord. After an opening exhortation to not be upset by the short-lived vitality and success of those who ignore the Lord (vv. 1–2), a series of commands follow that call for faithful dependence on Him (vv. 3–8). The remainder of the psalm includes commentary about the conduct of two kinds of people (the righteous and the wicked), who follow two different paths and end up at two different places (vv. 9–11, 20). In various ways, the wicked harass and prey upon the righteous (vv. 12–15, 32). But the righteous are not alone. The Lord—in whom they trust and delight and upon whom they wait—protects them, making them safe and secure and stable (vv. 16–17, 23–26, 32–33). The conclusion of the psalm speaks powerfully to those who place their faith in God. “The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him” (vv. 39–40).

Arthur Jackson

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Seen. Known. Understood.

“Do you see this woman?” For some reason, the familiar question confronted me this time as if it were aimed as much at me as the guests around the table. Jesus was eating at the house of a religious man who had invited him to dinner. They were reclining at the table when a woman who is very easily remembered for her flaws came stumbling over the dinner guests, making her way to the feet of Jesus. Weeping over them, she broke a costly vial of perfume, wiping his feet dry with her hair. Who didn’t see her? Who didn’t notice her strange commotion? Who among them didn’t immediately recognize how out of place she really was? Yet he asks, “Do you see this woman?”(1) He was either speaking ironically or he saw something the rest did not.

The late seventeenth century poet George Herbert once described prayer in a detailed list of stirring metaphors.  Among the first lines, prayer is described as “the soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage.” At those words I cannot help but picture this woman lying prostrate at Christ’s feet. As she poured out the perfume, so she poured out her soul. Her prayer was one without words, her worship spilled out as tears upon his feet. Onlookers saw a fallen and foolish woman, an extravagant waste. Jesus saw a heart in pilgrimage, a prayer understood.

I remember the first time I was unapologetically honest with God. My head was bowed but inwardly I was somewhat closer to pounding fists against a divine chest. In silent reflection, I shouted internally. Everyone around me seemed to be experiencing the still, small voice, the gentle touch of a Father’s hand, the assurance of God’s glory and power, the confirmation of a hope and a future, answered prayers, even dramatic miracles. But I couldn’t sense God’s presence, or hear God’s voice at all. I had more questions and uncertainty than answers and assurance. It seemed as though I was relating to an empty throne. Like an attention-starved child, I yelled at God for existing, for forgetting to love me, for failing to understand or care.

In Herbert’s list of words, my prayer this day was perhaps more fitting “reversed thunder” or “Christ-side-piercing spear.” My words pled for the presence of God, for the love and will of a good creator in my life, for complete access to the loving Father I believed was real but just not to me. But what I was asking for sharply (and probably quite irreverently) required the wedge that stood between us to be obliterated, the chasm crossed—indeed, the human death of the incarnate Son to show how deeply the Father longs to gather us up like a hen gathers her chicks, whether we are willing or not. I likely spoke in ignorance and in anger, making claims like Job without understanding. I was likely not as interested in hearing at that point as I was at shouting. But God heard. Responding to my interrogation, God revealed my true question. I was tired of being the stepchild, and yet I had been keeping the Father in my mind as something more like a distant uncle. Seeing me, God showed me what I did not.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Seen. Known. Understood.

Joyce Meyer – Doing the Word

But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. — James 1:22 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

As a Christian, for a long time I didn’t understand that believers could know what God wanted them to do and then deliberately say no. I’m not talking about those who turn their backs on Jesus and want nothing to do with His salvation. I’m talking about those who disobey in the seemingly little things and don’t seem to be troubled by doing so.

In verses 23 and 24, James went on to say that if we only listen to the Word, but don’t obey it, it’s like looking at our reflection in a mirror and then going away and forgetting what we saw. But a doer of the Word, he says, is like one who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience) (v. 25 AMPC).

Whenever Christians are faced with God’s Word, and it calls them to action but they refuse to obey, their own human reasoning is often the cause. They have deceived themselves into believing something other than the truth. It’s as if they think they are smarter than God.

I’ve met people who seem to think that God always wants them to feel good, and if something happens to make them feel bad, they don’t believe it is God’s will for them. Or they dismiss what they read in the Bible by saying, “That doesn’t make sense.” One woman, referring to Paul’s instruction to “be unceasing in prayer” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), said that verse kept coming to her every time she prayed. “What do you think that means?” I asked her.

“Oh, I think it means that day in and day out, we are to pray when we feel a need or when we want something.”

Her words shocked me. “What about fellowship with the Lord?” I asked. “Isn’t that a good reason? Or maybe God just wants you to spend time reading His Word and praying about what you read.”

“I have too many things to do,” she said. “That’s fine for people who like to sit and read and pray for hours every day, but that’s not the way for me.”

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Doing the Word

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – So He May Forgive Us

 

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25, KJV).

You and I have a way by which we can be absolutely certain of God’s forgiveness. It is two-fold.

First, we must be sure that we have forgiven anyone and everyone against whom we may have anything or hold any resentment.

Second, we must believe His Word unquestioningly – and His Word does indeed tell us we will be forgiven when we ask under these conditions.

Most familiar, of course, is the glorious promise of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (KJV).

Though today’s verse uses the word stand in reference to praying, Scripture clearly states that the posture in prayer was sometimes standing. God, however, looks on the heart rather than on our position as we pray.

If the heart is right, any posture may be proper. All other things being equal, however, the kneeling position seems more in keeping with the proper attitude of humility in our approach to God. (Physical condition, of course, sometimes makes this inadvisable or impossible.)

Most important, we are to forgive before we pray. That much is certain.

Bible Reading:Matthew 6:9-15

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will examine my heart throughout the day to be sure I have forgiven any who should be forgiven – before I pray.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Heaven’s Tribunal

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Some people will stand before God on the judgement day who didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him.  They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand. They spent a lifetime dishonoring God and hurting his people. They mocked his name and made life miserable for their neighbors.

Even our judicial system forces no defense on the accused. The defendant is offered an advocate, but if he chooses to stand before the judge alone, the system permits it.  So does God.  He offers his Son as an advocate.  At the judgment Jesus will stand at the side of every person except those who refuse him.  When their deeds are read, heaven’s tribunal will hear nothing—but silence!  It’s a sobering truth in Acts 17:31, “The day is coming when God will judge the world.”

Read more Unshakable Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

 

Denison Forum – Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh testify: My response

 

In breaking news, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote this morning on whether to recommend Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the full Senate.

I watched yesterday’s Committee hearings. The senators were sharply contentious; the two witnesses were deeply emotional.

As conflicted as the day was, however, this thought prevailed in my mind: the process worked.

An American citizen was able to bring her concerns about a federal judge and now Supreme Court nominee before United States senators charged with investigating his candidacy. He was able to respond publicly to her allegations.

The number of countries across world history where such a scene would be possible is indeed small.

“Democracy is the worst form of Government”

Seven decades ago, Winston Churchill stated: “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

  1. S. Lewis testified that he believed in democracybecause “I believe in the Fall of Man.” He disagreed with “people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that every one deserved a share in the government. The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they’re not true.”

What is his evidence? “I find that they’re not true without looking further than myself. I don’t deserve a share in governing a hen-roost. Much less a nation.” Lewis concluded: “Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows.”

The best government is one that holds leaders accountable. Not dynastic rule as in North Korea, or one-party rule as in China, or one-man government as in Russia.

But we also need a system in which leaders hold us accountable. William Wilberforce used the governmental system of his day to abolish slavery. American leaders used our legislative process to enact civil rights. I am glad that sex trafficking and illegal drugs are illegal. I am grateful for police officers who enforce the law for the benefit of those who obey it.

And we need an adversarial judicial system. I am glad we have both prosecutors and defense attorneys so that anyone can gain a fair hearing and anyone can defend himself or herself in such a context.

“The Kingdom of God will not arrive on Air Force One”

But none of these advantages found in a democracy can repair what is truly broken about our society.

Our root problem is spiritual. It is a disease no doctor can cure, a brokenness no law can repair, a condition no judge can reverse.

Even if a conservative majority on the Court makes abortion illegal, there will still be abortions (as there were before 1973). The Supreme Court infamously advanced slavery in the horrific Dred Scott case of 1857.

Time notes that in 1973 the justices “discovered an unwritten ‘right to privacy’ in the Constitution” when they legalized abortion, resulting in the deaths of more than sixty million babies. The Court discovered a right to same-sex marriage in the Constitution, overturning centuries of precedent for traditional marriage.

As Chuck Colson famously noted, “The Kingdom of God will not arrive on Air Force One.”

Human words cannot change human hearts

Christians can make two mistakes in response to yesterday’s hearings.

One: We can shake our heads at the chaos of the system and retreat from engagement in governance. But Plato was right (as paraphrased by Ralph Waldo Emerson): “The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men.”

God calls us to pray “for kings and all who are in high positions” (1 Timothy 2:2). We are to speak biblical truth to them, as Paul did to Roman leaders (Acts 24-26). And we are to engage in the political process as God directs.

Two: We can ask our government to do what it cannot. A fallacy popular in evangelical circles is that if we can just elect enough evangelicals, we can “turn around” our country.

While we need more evangelicals in office, human words cannot change human hearts. Laws can regulate society, but they cannot transform it.

“How do you know when the gold is pure?”

Let’s invert the pyramid that puts governmental leaders at the top and citizens at the bottom. In a democracy, our leaders serve us. That’s why they’re called “public servants.” We elect them, and we can remove them.

The esteemed former Congressman Frank Wolf notes that “Congress is downstream from culture.” Beyond participating in our democracy, Christians have a high calling to be the change we wish to see.

As the “body of Christ,” we continue the earthly ministry of Jesus today (1 Corinthians 12:27). The apostles were so Christlike that their enemies saw their “boldness” and “recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Now our Father wants us to know him so intimately that his Son is displayed in our lives and our influence advances his kingdom in our culture.

A group watching a goldsmith at work asked, “How do you know when the gold is pure?”

His answer: “When I can see my face in it.”

How pure is your “gold” today?

 

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