Charles Stanley – One Big Request

 

John 15:16

Yesterday we looked at God’s promise in John 14:14. Too often people take the verse to imply, “If you ask anything, I will do it.” They overlook the most essential phrase: “in My name.”

Asking in Christ’s name has two meanings. First, believers are welcome to make requests that align with God’s purpose and plan. To do that, we need to ask Him if our prayers match His will. God has several ways of assuring followers that they are on the correct path. For instance, He may increase right desires or decrease wrong ones. Another possibility is that He will use His Word to redirect a Christian’s steps or confirm that the believer is going the right way. Either way, God will make a path for the man or woman who seeks to do His will.

Second, invoking Christ’s name means that we desire to glorify Him instead of ourselves. James gives this warning: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). To understand that, let’s consider those who are trying to pray their way out of a financial hole as an example. The question is, Does a person want to get out of debt so that he has more for himself or so that he can use the excess in God-honoring ways? Motives are apparent to God, and He will not encourage ones rooted in sin.

In the name Jesus Christ, there is abundant power. However, calling upon Him in prayer is not a magic charm to get what we want. Rather, it is a signal that we are laying down our personal desires and our own way of getting things done. In so doing, we commit to follow God and bring honor to Him.

Bible in One Year: Luke 2-3

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — My Real Face

 

Read: 1 Timothy 1:12–17 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 62–64; 1 Timothy 1

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 1 Timothy 1:12

For years, feelings of unworthiness and shame over my less-than-godly past had an adverse impact on every aspect of my life. What if others discovered the extent of my blemished reputation? Though God helped me muster up courage to invite a ministry leader to lunch, I strived to seem perfect. I scrubbed my house spotless, whipped up a three-course meal, and donned my best jeans and blouse.

I rushed to turn off the front-yard sprinklers. Twisting the leaking nozzle, I screamed when a gush of water drenched me. With towel-dried hair and smeared makeup, I changed into dry sweat pants and a T-shirt . . . just in time to hear the doorbell. Frustrated, I confessed my morning’s antics and motives. My new friend shared her own battles with fear and insecurity stemming from guilt over past failings. After we prayed, she welcomed me to her team of God’s imperfect servants.

The apostle Paul accepted his new life in Christ, refusing to deny his past or let it stop him from serving the Lord (1 Timothy 1:12­–14). Because Paul knew Jesus’s work on the cross saved and changed him—the worst of sinners—he praised God and encouraged others to honor and obey Him (vv. 15–17).

When we accept God’s grace and forgiveness, we’re freed from our past. Flawed but fiercely loved, we have no reason to be ashamed of our real faces as we serve others with our God-given gifts.

Lord, thanks for eliminating our shame and insecurities as You use us to serve You, no matter what our life looked like before You saved us.

God accepts us as we are, and changes us as we serve Him in love.

By Xochitl Dixon

INSIGHT

When Paul said he was shown mercy because he acted in ignorance and unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13), he was echoing a common theme of Scripture. Old Testament sacrifices were made for sins done in ignorance (see Leviticus 4:2, 13, 22; Hebrews 9:7). So was mercy only given to Eve who was deceived—and not to Adam? (1 Timothy 2:14). No. Even when we consciously do wrong, as Adam did, He still offers His mercy. Who doesn’t need to hear Jesus say, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Mart DeHaan

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Encourage, Don’t Criticize

 

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. — 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Adapted from the resource Starting Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers instead of critics.

It is the greater person who does the right thing; Christ’s righteousness dwells in you to help you do what is right. You are great in God’s eyes when you choose to do right and bless others.

No matter how rough your day is today, speak words that uplift and encourage those around you. Encourage others if you notice them doing a good job—not just those who work with you, but people wherever you go, such as store clerks, auto mechanics, and waiters.

Say something like, “I appreciate the extra effort you are making to do your job well.” You can change your life and someone else’s by choosing to speak positive words.

Prayer Starter: Father, please show me when I am being critical and negative toward others. Help me today to speak encouraging words of life to all those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Greater Harvest

 

“He has already tended to you by pruning you back for greater strength and usefulness by means of the commands I gave you” (John 15:3).

My friend was in the process of pruning his vineyard, and it appeared to me – in my limited knowledge of vineyards – that the pruning was too severe. Only the main stump remained. I inquired, “Why have you pruned the vine back to just the main stump?”

“Because,” he said, “that is the way to ensure that it will produce a greater harvest. Otherwise the nourishment flowing up through the roots would be dissipate in keeping the vines alive. It could not produce the maximum number of grapes.”

It is my regular prayer that God will keep both me as an individual and the movement of which I am a part well pruned that we may not waste time, energy, talent and money producing beautiful foliage with no fruit. Our subjection to that pruning can be either voluntary or reluctant. How much better is it for us to invite the Lord to do the pruning than to have the pruning forced upon us over our protests.

The best possible way to cooperate in God’s pruning is to study His Word. Memorize and meditate upon His truths, obey His commandments and claim His promises. Jesus taught the disciples personally, by word and model, over a period of more than three years. Yet, Judas betrayed the Lord and committed suicide and the others denied Him and deserted Him at the cross. It was not until the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost that their lives were really transformed and the things He had taught them became a reality to them.

The same Holy Spirit who transformed their lives and gave them the courage to die as martyrs proclaiming God’s truth dwells within you and me. He wants to bear much fruit through us and He did through them. I encourage you to make that time, when you study the commands that Jesus gave us and apply His truths to your heart, the most important part of your day.

Bible Reading:John 15:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the pruning process of my life by spending much time studying, memorizing and meditating on the Word of God, applying its truths to my life as I claim the supernatural resources of the living Christ for supernatural living.

 

 

http://www.cru.org