Charles Stanley – Letting Go of Unforgiveness

 

Ephesians 4:30-32

It’s a common dilemma: Someone has hurt us, and we know we should forgive but just can’t. Despite all our promises to God about letting go of the offense, we find ourselves mentally rehearsing the event until we’re once again consumed with anger and hurt.

God has not simply called us to relinquish our bitterness; He’s given us the means to do it. The Spirit empowers us to forgive others just as God has forgiven us (Eph. 4:32). However, it’s not always a quick process—especially if the offense is great and the hurt is deep. Sometimes we must work through steps until we can finally release the burden.

  • First, we must confess to God that we have sinned against Him with our unforgiving attitude and ask Him to help us repent of it.
  • Next, we should acknowledge that the basis for forgiving others is God’s forgiveness of us. We didn’t deserve to be pardoned, yet Christ’s sacrifice has released us from our guilt. And it’s good to remember that while offenses against us may seem to be the most grievous, we usually underestimate the magnitude of our own sins against God.
  • Finally, we must let the Bible renew our minds. Instead of allowing ourselves to dwell on the wrong done to us, we can surrender those thoughts to God and replace them with biblical truths about Him, His promises, and His ways.

So how will you know when you have truly forgiven your wrongdoer? The negative emotions that once arose at the thought of the offender will subside, and you’ll be at peace.

Bible in One Year: Matthew 1-4

 

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Our Daily Bread — Asking for Help

 

Read: Mark 10:46–52 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 17–19; Ephesians 5:17–33

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. Mark 10:51

Her email arrived late in a long day. In truth, I didn’t open it. I was working overtime to help a family member manage his serious illness. I didn’t have time, therefore, for social distractions.

The next morning, however, when I clicked on my friend’s message, I saw this question: “Can I help you in any way?” Feeling embarrassed, I started to answer no. Then I took a deep breath to pause. I noticed then that her question sounded familiar—if not divine.

That’s because Jesus asked it. Hearing a blind beggar call out to Him on the Jericho Road, Jesus stopped to ask this man, named Bartimaeus, a similar question. Can I help? Or as Jesus said: “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51).

The question is stunning. It shows the Healer, Jesus, longs to help us. But first, we’re invited to admit needing Him—a humbling step. The “professional” beggar Bartimaeus was needy, indeed—poor, alone, and possibly hungry and downcast. But wanting a new life, he simply told Jesus his most basic need. “Rabbi,” he said, “I want to see.”

For a blind man, it was an honest plea. Jesus healed him immediately. My friend sought such honesty from me too. So I promised her I’d pray to understand my basic need and, more important, I’d humbly tell her. Do you know your basic need today? When a friend asks, tell it. Then take your plea even higher. Tell God.

Lord, I am needy. I want to share my heart with You now. Help me to humbly receive the help of others also.

Welcome to Patricia Raybon! Meet all our authors at odb.org/all-authors.

God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5

By Patricia Raybon

INSIGHT

Today’s story is a beautiful picture of the compassion of our Savior. Even to those He initially refused to help (see the story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21–28), He stretched out a merciful and loving hand. All of His actions proved the claim He made at the beginning of His ministry—He was anointed by God and came “to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19).

But while Jesus is the epitome of mercy, He didn’t heal everyone. In the stories recorded in Scripture, we are told He healed all who came to him (see Matthew 8:16). But that’s the qualification—they came to Him. He healed all who admitted their need of something only He could provide.

Jesus still welcomes everyone who comes to Him. He may not always heal in the same way He did while He was here on Earth, but He still offers forgiveness and salvation to anyone who asks.

J.R. Hudberg

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Story and Ice

 

Robi Damelin knows it is all too alluring for the media to depict an extremist screaming at the top of a mountain about a greater nation or the mother of a suicide bomber saying she’s proud to have given her child; the alternative does not sell as well as the sensational. “But I can tell you of all these mothers who’ve lost children,” she says. “I don’t care what they say to the media. I know what happens to them at night when they go to bed. We all share the same pain.”(1)

Damelin is a mother who knows this pain well. Sitting beside her, Ali Abu Awwad, a soft-spoken young man thirty years her junior, knows a similar pain. Robi and Ali each tell stories of loved ones lost to violence, stories that happen to intersect at a place that puts them at painful odds with one another. Each grieves the loss of a family member caused at hands on opposite sides of the same violent conflict. For Ali, filled with the loss of his beloved younger brother, that place of intersection was once filled with thoughts familiar to many in his situation: How many from the other side need to die in order to make my pain feel better? Yet bravely, he began to notice something else at the crossroads of his side and theirs. For both Robi and Ali, it was the tears of the other side that would change the way they tell their stories.

Some stories, as Kafka prescribed, indeed provide the ax for the frozen sea inside us. Rather than crafting for themselves stories that add to the cold sea of hatred and despair which devastated them, Robi and Ali tell of the common grief that cracks the frozen wall between them. They are now a part of a growing network of survivors on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict who share their sorrow, stories of loved ones, and ideas for lasting change. “It’s the shared pain that allows you to open to another place completely,” says Robi. “If you want to be right it’s very easy,” adds Ali. “But to be honest is very difficult. Being honest means to be human.”(2)

 

Their story brings something I have been thinking about personally into a much broader place. Namely, the stories we tell ourselves powerfully shape our worlds:  I am right. I am wounded. I am entitled. I am abandoned. I am in control. These simple narratives rest at the heart of the things we do and say, quietly but decidedly shaping our worldviews, our identities, our humanity. They at times act as self-fulfilling prophecies, narratives which keep us locked in worlds we may even claim we want to leave: I am devastated. I am betrayed. I am on my own. The tale of Ali and Robi shows two people willing to change the more common narratives of power and prerogative to the much less comfortable narratives of shared loss and weakness: We are human. We are grieving. We know the same pain. And as such, they are finding humanity where there was once only suspicion, relationship where a great divide often reigns, and a common story which chips away at a great frozen sea.

Unfortunately, ours is a world often suspicious with regards to common narratives. Even common stories of human existence can be seen as controlling attempts to manipulate or undermine the individual’s story, which is viewed as supreme. The master narrative is similarly dismissed, rejected on grounds of totalitarianism. According to Robert Royal in The New Religious Humanists, the current philosophy is one that favors “petites histoires, that is, personal stories as the only locus of rich meaning open to us.” In this view, he continues, “all the old grands recits—Christianity, Hegelianism, Marxism, even liberalism—are dangerous totalizing and potentially terroristic illusions.”(3) The pervasive postmodern mindset prefers an individual approach to seeing the world, speculating on our origins, perceiving our destinies—independently.

But without undermining the power of personal stories, can we be satisfied with them alone? If petites histoires are really the only locus of meaning open to us, are we content with the effects of being held within those walls? Is the world the better for it? Robi and Ali, for one, would remain enslaved and frozen in a bitter conflict without the commonality that opened their eyes to a deeper humanity. Moreover, without a grand narrative that can truly answer humanity’s grand questions, the individual story only axes away futilely at a frozen abyss it can never crack.

The most remarkable gift of the master narrative I have chosen to tell and retell is that the storytelling is not over. I am instead freed to hear and tell my petites histoires in light of the whole story, which is yet unfolding even as it proclaims a definitive end. Which means, that sometimes the stories I tell myself are mercifully corrected by far greater I am statements than my own. That is to say, the quiet narrative that insists I am alone is told beside, “I am the good shepherd who searches for even one that is lost.”(4) The subtle fable of personal control is confronted by a story of life, death, and resurrection; a remarkable beginning and a far more remarkable end. Stepping both into history and petites histoires, God as storyteller shows us what it means to be human: with one Word, breaking through every frozen barrier.

 

 

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Robi Damelin and Ali Abu Awwad with Krista Tippett “No More Taking Sides,” Speaking of Faith, February 18, 2010.

(2) Ibid.

(3) Gregory Wolfe Ed., The New Religious Humanists (New York: Free Press, 1997), 98.

(4) Cf. John 10:11-14, Luke 15:1-10

 

http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – Peace of Mind

 

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:7 (NKJV)

Adapted from the resource My Time with God Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Did you know that when you have lost your peace of mind, you have the power to regain it? Anytime you find that you are worrying, fretful, or anxious about anything, release the problem to God through a simple heartfelt prayer and purposely think about something in your life that is good!

Worrying is completely useless. It wears you out mentally, emotionally, and physically, and it doesn’t make your problem any better at all.

Peace of mind is valuable, and it is quite impossible to enjoy life without it. Seek and pursue the peace that is yours through Jesus Christ. Don’t be deceived into believing that you can’t help what you think, because you absolutely can.

You can change your mind about anything! Practice “on purpose” thinking instead of being passive and merely waiting to see what thoughts fall into your mind.

I can share with you that I experience the same mental battles that many people do, and I have to practice having peace on purpose. You are a child of God, and His peace is in you. I recommend that you start recognizing the things that are stealing your peace and deal with them so they can no longer torment you.

Prayer Starter: Father, I love You very much, and I want to enjoy peace of mind. I know that worry is useless, but I often do it and I am sorry. Work with me and teach me how to trust You enough to enjoy Your peace at all times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Key to Blessing

 

“He replied, ‘Yes, but even more blessed are all who hear the Word of God and put it into practice'” (Luke 11:28).

If you and I could know only one rule that would guarantee us real happiness, no doubt this should be it. Because the meaning of this promise is the same in or out of context, we shall share briefly the out-of-context guarantee contained therein.

Man’s chief happiness – his, or her, highest honor – is to obey the Word of God. No earthly honor or achievement can compare with the blessing, meaning in and fulfillment that come from obeying the Word and Will of God.

Implicit in putting into practice – or obeying – the Word of God is the matter of knowing the Word of God. This, of course, implies reading, studying, meditating upon and even memorizing the Scriptures. If we are neglecting this phase of the Christian life, we are omitting a vitally important part of spiritual nurture, without which it is impossible to live a supernatural life.

Something about the Word refreshes, cleanses, uplifts the heart and soul of each one of us when we spend time in its pages. God made it – and us – that way. No matter how many times we may have read the Word of God, even the entire Bible, there is something remarkably fresh and new about it every time we read it.

If somehow we lack the discipline to do what we should about the Word, we may pray ceaselessly for the Holy Spirit to illumine its truths to our minds and apply them to our lives.

Bible Reading:James 1:22-25

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will not neglect God’s Word but will consider it a necessary ingredient to the life of the Spirit -supernatural living.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Jesus is Coming

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Are you in the midst of a storm?  The followers of Jesus were.  And through the midst of the storm, He came.  Matthew 14:25-26 says, “Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him they were terrified.  ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.”  Jesus turned the water into a walkway.  His followers called him a ghost, but Jesus still came.

Jesus was not distracted from his mission.  After Jesus stilled the storm, the disciples worshipped him.  “Truly you are the Son of God,” they said.  With a stilled boat as their altar and beating hearts as their liturgy, they worshipped Jesus.  May you and I do the same.  Storms still come but so does Jesus!

Read more Unshakable Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Why you’ll receive a text from the president today

 

If you live in the United States, you’ll receive an unprecedented text on your cell phone today.

In 2016, President Obama signed a law requiring the Federal Emergency Management Agency to create a system allowing the president to send cellphone alerts regarding public safety emergencies. The Wireless Emergency Alert System has now been created as a result.

Americans can opt out of natural disaster or missing children alerts, but we are not able to avoid the presidential alert system. The president has sole responsibility for determining when such alerts are to be used.

But don’t read your text expecting to hear President Trump’s opinion on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process or other news. The presidential alerts can be used only for national emergencies.

Fifteen words are making headlines

Today’s text will state, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” These fifteen words have drawn national attention all out of proportion to their size and urgency.

In other news, the FBI could finish its probe of Judge Brett Kavanaugh today. The White House authorized the agency to interview anyone it deems necessary. However, even an expanded process would include only a few of the multiplied thousands of people Kavanaugh has met and worked with over his life.

The FBI investigation is partially the result of a now-viral conversation between Sen. Jeff Flake and two women in an elevator after last Thursday’s confirmation hearing. Their appeal played a role in his decision to request the FBI probe before moving forward with the process.

Here’s my point: Small things can make a big impact, for bad or for good. When the news makes us feel discouraged and powerless, we can remember that one person can change the world. And we can decide to be that person, to the glory of God.

Two priests who changed the world Continue reading Denison Forum – Why you’ll receive a text from the president today