Charles Stanley –The Path of Compromise

 

1 Kings 11:1-13

Bible stories aren’t just interesting accounts of ancient people and events; they contain critical principles that apply to us all. For example, King Solomon’s life helps us see the progression of compromise and its disastrous results. Solomon began his kingship with devotion to God and righteous priorities (1 Kings 3:5-9). So what happened to change his desires and direction?

“King Solomon loved many foreign women” (1 Kings 11:1). Although this was an accepted practice for kings of that era, God had instructed His people not to intermarry with other nations (1 Kings 11:2) and had specifically prohibited Israel’s kings from taking multiple wives (Deut. 17:17).

“His wives turned his heart away after other gods” (1 Kings 11:4). Instead of holding fast to the Lord in love and devotion, Solomon let his wives lead him toward foreign deities.

“Solomon went after [their gods]” (1 Kings 11:5). At first he merely allowed his wives to worship their gods, but soon he was joining them in idolatry.

“The Lord said to Solomon, … ‘I will surely tear the kingdom from you’” (1 Kings 11:11). Because the king ignored reproof and continued to disobey, Israel experienced a civil war that divided the nation.

Compromise begins when we ignore God’s instructions and follow the world’s practices. Then we start loving people, activities, or things more than we love God and soon find ourselves pursuing what He has forbidden. If we don’t heed His discipline, we’re in danger of losing what He intended for our lives. But if we refuse to compromise, we’ll remain devoted to Him.

Bible in One Year: Matthew 22-24

 

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Our Daily Bread — Singing to the Firing Squad

 

Read: Mark 14:16–26 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 34–36; Colossians 2

I trusted in the Lord when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.” Psalm 116:10

Two men convicted of drug trafficking had been on death row for a decade. While in prison, they learned of God’s love for them in Jesus, and their lives were transformed. When it came time for them to face the firing squad, they faced their executioners reciting the Lord’s Prayer and singing “Amazing Grace.” Because of their faith in God, through the power of the Spirit they were able to face death with incredible courage.

They followed the example of faith set by their Savior, Jesus. When Jesus knew that His death was imminent, He spent part of the evening singing with friends. It’s remarkable that He could sing under such circumstances, but what’s even more remarkable is what He sang. On that night, Jesus and His friends had a Passover meal, which always ends with a series of Psalms known as the Hallel, Psalms 113–118. Facing death, that night Jesus sang about the “cords of death” entangling Him (Psalm 116:3). Yet He praised God’s faithful love (117:2) and thanked Him for salvation (118:14). Surely these Psalms comforted Jesus on the night before His crucifixion.

Jesus’s trust in God was so great that even as He approached His own death—a death He had done nothing to deserve!—He chose to sing of God’s love. Because of Jesus, we too can have confidence that whatever we face, God is with us.

God, strengthen our faith in You so that when we face trials, or even approach death, we can sing with confidence about Your love.

How sweet is the sound of God’s amazing grace!

By Amy Peterson

INSIGHT

It has been said that our songs are essentially our sung prayers. After having been severely beaten and unjustly arrested, Paul and Silas “were praying and singing hymns to God” in prison! (Acts 16:25). In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church he exhorts them to “[sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and [make] music to the Lord in your hearts” (Ephesians 5:19 nlt).

Are you going through a difficult time? Ask God to encourage you as you sing your favorite hymn or song.

  1. T. Sim

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Father Who Runs

The massive Rembrandt measures over eight and a half feet tall and six and a half feet wide, compelling viewers with a larger than life scene. “The Return of the Prodigal Son” hangs on the walls of the St. Petersburg Hermitage Museum depicting Christian mercy, according to one curator, as if it were Rembrandt’s last “spiritual testament to the world.” Fittingly, it is one of the last paintings the artist ever completed and remains one of his most loved works.

The painting portrays the reunion of the wayward son and the waiting father as told in the Gospel of Luke. The elderly father is shown leaning in an embrace of his kneeling son in ragged shoes and torn clothes. With his back toward us, the son faces the father, his head bowed in regret. Clearly, it is the father Rembrandt wants us most to see. The aged man reaches out with both hands, his eyes on the son, his entire body inclining toward him.

It is understandable that viewers have spent hours looking at this solemn reflection of mercy and homecoming. The artist slows unstill minds to a scene where the parable’s characters are powerfully still. The kneeling son leans silently toward the father; the father calmly and tenderly leans toward the son. All is at rest. But in fact, this is far from the scene Jesus portrays in the parable itself.

The parable of the prodigal son is a long way from restful, and the father within it is anything but solemn and docile in his embrace of the wayward son. In the story Jesus tells, while the son was “still a long way off,” the father saw him and “was filled with compassion for him” (Luke 15:20). This father was literally moved by his compassion. The Greek word conveys an inward movement of concern and mercy, but this man was also clearly moved outwardly. The text is full of dramatic action. The father runs to the son, embraces him (literally, “falls upon his neck”), and kisses him. Unlike the depiction of Rembrandt, Jesus describes a scene far more abrupt and shocking. It is not the son who we find kneeling in this picture, but the father. The characters are not at rest but in radical motion. The father who runs to his wayward son runs without any assurance of repentance; he runs without any promise that the son is even home to stay.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Father Who Runs

Joyce Meyer – t’s Your Time

 

Adapted from the resource The Confident Woman Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” —Matthew 14:30

The boat of my past that I needed to step out of was the childhood sexual abuse I suffered. I felt as though my dad stole my childhood, and I was so mistreated. I was bitter about the people who should have helped me and didn’t, and then there were the “could haves” and “would haves” and “wish I had.”

In my 30s, I was still taking it out on everybody who had anything to do with it. I didn’t trust men and had a chip on my shoulder. I was miserable, but I sat in the boat.

I remember how afraid I was when God told me that I was going to have to confront my dad about the sexual abuse of my childhood, because I was petrified of my father. The fear was rooted so deeply in me, even after I had been away from it for years. Whenever I would be around him or anyone who had a personality like his, I would feel the knot of fear come up in my gut.

Finally, God got in my face and said, “Look, you can be pitiful or you can be powerful.” Jesus was walking by my boat, and it was time to walk on water.

Prayer Starter: Lord, thank You that You won’t let me sink when I step out in obedience and deal with issues in my life. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Will Be Different

 

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV).

A prominent businessman, elder in a prestigious church, was impatient with “narrow-minded, born-again Christians.” “I am a Christian,” he said, “but I have never been born again, and frankly I’m not interested. We emphasize more important issues in my church.”

When I read the third chapter of John with him and explained that there is only one kind of biblical Christian, the one who is “born-again,” and that no other kind of “Christian” can enter into the kingdom of God according to the words of Jesus, the light suddenly went on. With this new insight he readily received Christ as his Savior and Lord.

A caterpillar is an ugly, hairy, earthbound worm – until it weaves a cocoon about its body. Then an amazing transformation takes place. Out of that cocoon emerges a beautiful butterfly – a new creature, able to live on another plane, to soar in to the heavens. So it is with man.

John 3 records Jesus’ explanation of how one becomes a new creature. Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews who tried to adhere meticulously to every detail of the law, had come to Jesus for counsel.

“‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:2,3, NAS).

Puzzled, Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (John 3:4, NAS). Then Jesus explained that physical birth alone does not qualify anyone to enter the kingdom of God. Since His is a spiritual kingdom, we must experience spiritual birth.

Bible Reading:Romans 6:4-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will read John’s gospel, chapter three, meditating especially on the first eight verses, and will consider again my relationship with the Lord. If I should die today, I want to be sure I would go to heaven, and through the enabling of the Holy Spirit I want to begin living the supernatural life.

 

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Max Lucado – Why Did Jesus Raise Only a Few?

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I’ve often thought it curious how few people Jesus raised from the dead.  He healed hundreds, fed thousands, but as far as we know He only raised three:  the daughter of Jairus, the boy near Nain, and Lazarus.  Why so few?

Could it be because He knew He’d be doing them no favors?

Could it be because He couldn’t get any volunteers?

Could it be that once someone is there, the last place they want to return to is here?

Isaiah said: “The good men perish; the godly die before their time and no one seems to care or wonder why.  No one seems to realize that God is taking them away from the evil days ahead.  For the godly who die will rest in peace.” Isaiah 57:1-2

What a thought. Could death be God’s grace? God’s protection from the future?  Trust in God, Jesus urges, and trust in Me!

From A Gentle Thunder

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Why did Nikki Haley resign as UN Ambassador?

The big news this morning is Nikki Haley’s decision to resign as US Ambassador to the United Nations. She reportedly suggested the idea to President Trump six months ago and plans to make her resignation effective at the end of the year.

Why is she leaving a position of such influence?

“It’s been eight years of intense time”

The president was effusive in his praise: “She’s done a fantastic job and we’ve done a fantastic job together. We’ve solved a lot of problems and we’re in the process of solving a lot of problems.”

However, skeptics immediately began speculating about the “real reasons” for Ambassador Haley’s decision. While some have pointed to the possibility that she might run for president in 2020, she stated clearly: “I can promise you what I’ll be doing is campaigning for this one [pointing to President Trump].”

Others are suggesting that her role has become limited since John Bolton took over as national security adviser. Critics have questioned her use of private airplanes last year. And some wonder if financial considerations were a factor since she has one child in college and another headed there soon.

Ambassador Haley’s explanation is simple: “It’s been eight years of intense time,” referring to her tenure as governor of South Carolina prior to joining the administration. She wants the president to have “the strongest person to fight” and believes “it’s good to rotate in other people who can put that same energy and power into it.”

It’s worth noting that her two-year tenure is exactly the average for a UN ambassador: Since the position was created in 1946, there have been thirty-six people to hold the office.

Hurricane Michael and political storms

In other news, Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall over the Florida Panhandle later today. Forecasters predict “a dangerous storm surge, flooding rainfall and damaging winds.” Total damage and economic impact in the US could approach $15 billion.

In this day of heightened political tensions, we should not be surprised that the approaching storm is sparking political storms as well. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is running for the US Senate, may see his favorability ratings rise as he responds to the natural disaster. Skeptics are already claiming that his hands-on response to the pending tragedy is politically motivated.

In addition, the Democratic nominee for governor pulled his TV spots from media markets set to be impacted by the storm, while his Republican opponent did not. Now both sides are accusing the other of using the storm for political purposes.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely”

Why are we so quick to ascribe political motives to political leaders? One reason is that we’re so often right when we do.

Lord Acton, a prominent British historian, famously remarked: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority. . . . There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – Why did Nikki Haley resign as UN Ambassador?