Charles Stanley –Programming a Good Conscience

 

1 Timothy 1:3-7

God gave mankind the capacity to discern right from wrong. For each person, this inner compass—known as a conscience—is programmed with a distinct belief set and therefore functions differently from everyone else’s. From the moment we begin processing instructions and warnings, our conscience is developing a code of conduct by which we live.

Whether the authority figures in your life offered sound life principles and fair consequences or provided little guidance of real value, your conscience collected the data. As children grow to adulthood, they pay attention to the words and actions of others. Both positive and negative results are added to the data. People who disappoint us teach just as much as those who impress. The programming continues throughout life, so every situation we encounter has the capacity to affect our decisions and actions.

The conscience is a flexible tool; it can absorb new data and adjust a person’s values and perspective. That’s good news for those who begin with poor programming but find valuable biblical guidance later on. Yet flexibility is potentially bad news for those who expose themselves repeatedly to falsehood and vain philosophies. If they ignore wisdom and truth, they will assimilate the deceptive viewpoints of modern culture.

The conscience itself isn’t a wholly reliable resource, but it’s a tool of the One who is completely trustworthy. The Holy Spirit works in conjunction with our inborn moral compass, giving direction when the conscience blares a warning and interpreting God’s Word when a course correction is needed.

Bible in One Year: Mark 3-5

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Ask the Animals

 

Read: Job 12:7–10 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 43–44; 1 Thessalonians 2

Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you. Job 12:7

Our grandkids, enraptured, got a close-up look at a rescued bald eagle. They were even allowed to touch him. As the zoo volunteer told about the powerful bird perched on her arm, I was surprised to learn this male had a wingspan of about six and one-half feet, yet because of its hollow bones it weighed only about eight pounds.

This reminded me of the majestic eagle I had seen soaring above a lake, ready to swoop down and snatch its prey in its talons. And I pictured in my mind another big bird—the spindly legged blue heron I had spied standing motionless on the edge of a pond. It was poised to dart its long beak into the water. They’re just two among the nearly 10,000 species of birds that can direct our thoughts to our Creator.

In the book of Job, Job’s friends are debating the reasons for his suffering and ask, “Can you fathom the mysteries of God?” (see 11:5–9). In response Job declares, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you” (Job 12:7). Animals testify to the truth that God designed, cares for, and controls His creation: “In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind” (v. 10).

Since God cares for birds (Matthew 6:26; 10:29), we can be assured He loves and cares for you and me, even when we don’t understand our circumstances. Look around and learn of Him.

God’s world teaches us about Him.

By Alyson Kieda

INSIGHT

Gaining a good grasp of the book of Job requires us to understand its literary structure. Though the book begins (chs. 1–2) and ends (42:7–16) in narrative format, the bulk of the book is comprised of speeches packaged in poetry (3:1–42:6), including the stunning monologue of the Almighty Himself (38:1–41:34). By the time the reader comes to chapter 12, all three of Job’s friends—Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar—have spoken once. Two more series of speeches follow, and in the last series a fourth counselor (Elihu) enters the picture (chs. 32–37). In their well-ordered and reasoned speeches, each friend offers explanations for Job’s calamities and prescriptions for a remedy. Job himself is the speaker in chapter 12, where he indicts the denseness of his first three accusers. He directs them to nature which teaches us about the supremacy and sovereignty of God. In verses 7–8, the language of instruction is quite clear: Animals “will teach”; birds “will tell”; the earth “will teach”; the fish will “inform.” Without a word they witness to the wisdom and greatness of God.

Can you recall a time when you were prompted to reflect on God’s greatness by something in nature?

Arthur Jackson

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – What Will It Profit You?

Read: Matthew 16:24-28

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? (v. 26)

Recently, I had to confront a student over an issue of academic misconduct. The individual was an excellent student, a record-breaking athlete, and an engaging person. And yet, during a time when she felt pulled in several directions, she made a bad decision. As we sat and had a difficult conversation, I reminded her of all of her strengths and asked, “Was it worth risking all of that for a relatively minor assignment?”

In Matthew 16, Jesus is teaching the disciples about self-denial. Following Jesus requires his disciples—then and now—to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him. In fact, the one who abandons the path of Christ in an effort to save their soul will be the very one who loses it. In a sense, Jesus is engaging in a difficult conversation with those who are considering the pursuit of other options, asking, “Is it worth risking your soul for such minor attainments?”

Our culture is designed for immediate gratification. Fast food, TV shows that are on demand, and—in some markets—printed books that can be ordered and delivered the same day. These things are not bad in and of themselves. But the nurturing of a soul occasionally requires the denial of that which we long for. This is analogous to the spiritual discipline of fasting. Are we able to abstain from the good in order to attain the best? —Duane Loynes

Prayer: Father, give us the strength to deny ourselves and run after you.

 

https://woh.org/

Joyce Meyer – Nothing But Christ

 

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. — 1 Corinthians 2:2

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

I’ve tried to imagine what it would have been like to go to Corinth or other Greek cities at the time of Paul and try to speak to those wise, brilliant thinkers. After studying every parchment given to me, and gaining knowledge of all their arguments, I would have prayed for God to help me overcome their objections.

We don’t know what Paul did, but his answer is astounding. Instead of going after them with great reasoning and sharp logic, he went in exactly the opposite direction. He stayed in Corinth a year and a half, and many came to Christ because of him.

Later, when he wrote 1 Corinthians, he said, For I made the decision to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified (2:2).

That’s amazing. If any man had the ability to reason with those Greeks and could show them the fallacies of their logic, surely that man was Paul. But, being led by the Holy Spirit, he chose a defenseless presentation—to let God speak through him and touch the hearts of the people.

Now, centuries later, I appreciate his approach—although I didn’t always feel this way. For a long time I wanted to explain and reason out everything, but when that didn’t work, I ended up feeling miserable.

I’ve always been curious, always wanted to know, and always wanted to figure out the answer. Then, God began to work in my life. He showed me that my constant drive to figure it out caused me confusion and prevented me from receiving many of the things He wanted me to have. He said, “You must lay aside carnal reasoning if you expect to have discernment.”

I didn’t like loose ends, so I felt more secure when I figured things out. I wanted to be in control of every detail of every situation. When I didn’t understand or was unable to figure things out, I felt out of control. And that was frightening to me. Something was wrong—I was troubled and had no peace of mind. Sometimes, frustrated and exhausted, I would just give up.

It was a long battle for me because I finally admitted something to myself (God knew it all along): I was addicted to reasoning. It was more than a tendency or desire to figure out things. It was a compulsion. I had to have answers—and had to have them right now. When God was finally able to convince me of my addiction, I was able to give it up.

It wasn’t easy. Like people who withdraw from drugs or alcohol, I had withdrawal symptoms. I felt lost. Frightened. Alone. I had always depended on my ability to figure things out. Now, like Paul, I had to depend on God.

Too many people assume that relying only on God is something we do easily and naturally. It didn’t work that way with me. But God was gracious and patient with me. It was as if He’d whisper, “You’re not there yet, Joyce, but you’re making progress. It’s uncomfortable because you’re learning a new way to live.”

God wants us to be victorious—and I knew that all along. Now I walk in greater victory than ever before—and I no longer try to reason out everything before I act.

Prayer Starter: Heavenly Father, thank You for being so patient with me and people like me who feel we must have all the answers before we can act or trust. In the name of Jesus, help me to simply trust in You, knowing that You will give me what is best for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Never Alone

 

“No I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm, I will come to you” (John 14:18).

“I feel so alone,” Bev said,” with my husband gone and all my children married. Sometimes I can hardly bear the pain, the anguish. At times its as though I am about to suffocate – I am so lonely!”

Bev was in her late 70’s. Her husband was dead, and the other members of her family had become involved in their own careers and activities. Though they loved her, they were so busy they seldom saw her to express that love.

I shared with her the good news of the one who loved her so much that He died on the cross for her and paid the penalty for her sins, the one who promised to come to her and, once He came, never to leave her.

There in the loneliness of her living room, she bowed with me in prayer and invited the risen living Christ to take up residence in her life, to forgive her, to cleanse her, to make her whole, to make her a child of God. When she lifted her face, her cheeks were moist with tears of repentance and her heart was made new with joy.

“I feel so different,” she said. “Already I feel enveloped with the sense of God’s presence, His love and His peace.”

As the months passed, it became increasingly evident that she was not alone. He who was with her had been faithful to His promise never to leave her.

Do you feel deserted, alone, rejected? Do you have problems with your family, work, school, or health? Whatever may be your need, Jesus is waiting to make His presence as real to you as if He were with you in His physical body.

There are five things that I would encourage you to do to enhance the realization of His presence. (1) Meditate upon His Word day and night. (2) Confess all known sins. (3) Aggressively obey His commandments. (4) Talk to Him about everything as you would your dearest friend. (5) Tell everyone who will listen about Him so that they too can experience with you the supernatural life which comes only from allowing the supernatural power of the indwelling Christ to be reflected in and through you.

Bible Reading:Psalm 68:3-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: In order to enhance the Lord’s presence in my life, I will practice the five recommendations knowing that as I walk in this vital personal relationship with the risen Christ, the supernatural qualities that characterize His life will become more and more apparent in time.

 

http://www.cru.org

Box Office Fail: Flag-Free ‘First Man’ Flops

First Man tanked at the box office, coming in well below expectations, with just a $16.2 million opening weekend.

 

At worst, the story of Neil Armstrong’s historic trip to the moon was projected to do much better, anywhere between $19 million and $21 million. Keep in mind, though, that those projections are usually downplayed as a means to save face and to inspire free publicity when a film over-performs.

In other words, $16 million is a catastrophe for a movie that probably cost $100 million to $125 million to produce and publicize.

Directed by Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle, First Man roared out of elite film festivals with a ton of buzz and rave reviews. The movie took a big tumble, though, when moviegoers learned that one of the most iconic moments of the last century was arrogantly removed for touchy-feely and oh-so woke globalist purposes.

First Man tells the story of astronaut Armstrong and the 1969 Apollo 11 mission that ensured his place in history as the first man to walk on the moon. This was not only a triumph for Armstrong, his pilot Buzz Aldrin, and NASA, it was the single most important moment of the Space Race, which itself was a hugely important battle in the overall Cold War.

In the late ’50s and early ’60s, the Soviets were kicking American butt, which was a much bigger deal than a blow to U.S. pride. After Russia launched the first satellite and man into space, it was President John F. Kennedy who understood the existential stakes and directed NASA to do the impossible.

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” Kennedy famously said in late 1962.

But in a Special Message to Congress the previous year, just months after assuming office, Kennedy made clear to lawmakers that the Space Race was something bigger than bragging rights.

“If we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have made clear to us all, as did the Sputnik in 1957, the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take,” Kennedy wrote.

“Now it is time to take longer strides — time for a great new American enterprise — time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on Earth,” he added.

After explaining how far ahead the Soviets were, Kennedy urged Congress to understand the importance of this in the larger picture.

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” Kennedy urged. “No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space, and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”

And this is why the planting of the American flag on the moon is so important. Not out of some sense of patriotism (though that matters), not for jingoistic reasons, and not even for American reasons. As Kennedy so eloquently put it, with the whole world watching, the planting of that flag was about the choices people would make between tyranny and freedom, about which side they would choose.

America did not win the Space Race only for Americans, we defeated the evil Soviets to send a message to the whole world.

And this is why the clueless explanations surrounding the omission of this moment are not only tone deaf, but reflect a shocking ignorance of what Armstrong’s mission, a mission he volunteered for, was all about.

Ryan Gosling, who plays Armstrong said, “I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it.”

Chazelle tried to dig his way out with this rubbish, “I wanted the primary focus in that scene to be on Neil’s solitary moments on the moon — his point of view as he first exited the LEM, his time spent at Little West Crater, the memories that may have crossed his mind during his lunar EVA.”

It is simply absurd for Chazelle to argue that Armstrong’s “memories” would omit the inspiration behind the Apollo 11 mission, the key moment that solidified the whole reason for it. Everything Armstrong and his fellow pioneers risked their lives for was about getting to that moment, and the omission of that moment is not only arrogance on the part of Chazelle and his screenwriter, it informs us that this a story told by storytellers who are way out of their depth.

Yes, as has been tirelessly noted by reactionaries, there are other shots of Old Glory in First Man, but this argument is insulting and condescending, as though we are just a bunch of censorious rubes counting shots of the flag. Our criticism, though, is not about some hollow rush of shallow patriotism at the sight of the stars and stripes, it is about TRUTH, about what matters, about accuracy, and most of all, it is about what Neil Armstrong and these other brave men risked and lost their lives for.

As we have come to expect from the corrupt entertainment media, no one dares suggest that the omission of the planting of the American flag might have had something to do with the box office failure, but of course it did…

To begin with, to put it as simply as possible, I think the American people are just tired of this shit, tired of Hollywood celebrating every culture in the world while denigrating ours. Hollywood enjoys the best of America — wealth, fame, personal freedom, artistic freedom — they are the freest and most spoiled culture in the history of the world, and still they shit all over of us — and we are sick of it.

Who wants to waste a Friday night and $50 to sit through yet-another clueless act of narcissism, 140 minutes of smug pretension and ignorance and ingratitude.

Thanks to New Media, the era of the sucker punch is over. We know what these charlatans are up to before we drop our hard-earned money.

We don’t hate Hollywood, we are just hating them back.

There’s a difference.

P.S. Check out Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff, his 1983 masterpiece about the Mercury 7 astronauts and a reminder that Hollywood used to be great.

 

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNCFollow his Facebook Page here.

 

Source: Box Office Fail: Flag-Free ‘First Man’ Flops