Charles Stanley – Contentment in All Circumstances

 

Philippians 4:10-13

Think about the times when you have felt truly satisfied. What caused you to feel that way? For most people, a sense of well-being comes when their environment is just the way they want it, but that wasn’t the case with Paul. He learned to be content in every circumstance, good or bad.

We’d do well to learn a few lessons from him. After all, we can’t avoid all difficult situations, so we might as well discover how to face them with a tranquil, settled spirit rather than with frustration and anxiety.

Contentment isn’t governed by external circumstances. Changing the situation may bring temporary relief, but satisfaction based on circumstances will always be sporadic and fleeting. It’s a matter of how you think, not what you have.

Contentment flows from an inward attitude. The apostle’s inner calm came from a mind set on Christ. Choosing to trust the Savior no matter what, Paul allowed the Holy Spirit within him to rule his emotions and shape his responses.

Contentment is learned experientially. This isn’t something you can acquire from a book or sermon, because it’s a process that must be lived out. Paul learned contentment—in persecution, suffering, and prison. The Lord used every difficulty to transform him.

Situations that cause frustration, anxiety, and displeasure are also the ones God uses to produce contentment in us. When you are fed up with your own grumbling, disappointment, and dissatisfaction, then you are ready to let the Lord teach you His new way of living—in joyous trust.

Bible in One Year: Acts 23-24

 

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Our Daily Bread — Hard Conversations

 

Read: 1 Samuel 25:21–35 | Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 11–13; James 1

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

I once drove fifty miles to have a hard conversation with a remote staff person. I had received a report from another employee that suggested he was misrepresenting our company, and I was concerned for our reputation. I felt nudged to offer an opinion that might change his choices.

In 1 Samuel 25, an unlikely person took great personal risk to confront a future king of Israel who was about to make a disastrous choice. Abigail was married to Nabal, whose character matched the meaning of his name (“fool”) (vv. 3, 25). Nabal had refused to pay David and his troops the customary wage for protecting his livestock (vv. 10–11). Hearing that David planned a murderous revenge on her household, and knowing her foolish husband wouldn’t listen to reason, Abigail prepared a peace offering, rode to meet David, and persuaded him to reconsider (vv. 18–31).

How did Abigail accomplish this? After sending ahead donkeys loaded with food to satisfy David and his men and settle the debt, she spoke truth to David. She wisely reminded David of God’s call on his life. If he resisted his desire for revenge, when God made him king, he wouldn’t “have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed” (v. 31).

You might also know someone dangerously close to a mistake that could harm others and compromise their own future effectiveness for God. Like Abigail, might God be calling you to a hard conversation?

Dear God, please help me know when to lovingly confront others.

 

Sometimes following God means difficult conversations.

By Elisa Morgan

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – This Is a Human

The recognition of one’s humanity can be an uncomfortable pill to swallow. Life’s fragility, life’s impermanence, life’s intertwinement with imperfection and disappointment—bitter medicines are easier to accept. The Romantic poets called it “the burden of full consciousness.” To look closely at humanity can indeed be a realization of dread and despair.

For the poet Philip Larkin, to look closely at humanity was to peer into the absurdity of the human existence. Whatever frenetic, cosmic accident that brought about a species so endowed with consciousness, the sting of mortality, incessant fears of failure, and sieges of shame, doubt, and selfishness was, for Larkin, a bitter irony. In a striking poem titled “The Building,” he describes the human condition as it is revealed in the rooms of a hospital. In this vast building of illness and waiting, one finds “Humans, caught/On ground curiously neutral, homes and names/Suddenly in abeyance; some are young,/ Some old, but most at that vague age that claims/The end of choice, the last of hope; and all/ Here to confess that something has gone wrong./ It must be error of a serious sort,/ For see how many floors it needs, how tall…”(1)

With or without Larkin’s sense of dread, this confession that “something has gone wrong” is often synonymous with the acknowledgment of humanity. “I’m only human,” is a plea for leniency with regards shortcoming. In Webster’s dictionary, “human” itself is an adjective for imperfection, weakness, and fragility. There are, nonetheless, many outlooks and religions that stand diametrically opposed to this idea, seeing humanity with limitless potential, humans as pure, the human spirit as divine. In a vein not unlike the agnostic Larkin, the new atheists see the cruel realities of time and chance as reason in and of itself to dismiss the rose-colored lenses of God and religion. Yet quite unlike Larkin’s concluding outlook of meaninglessness and despair, they often (inexplicably) suggest a rose-colored view of humanity.(2) In the other side of this extreme, still other belief-systems emphasize the depravity of humanity to such a leveling degree that no person can stand up under the burden of guilt and disgust.

In deep contrast to such severe or optimistic readings, Jesus of Nazareth adds an entirely different dimension to the conversation. The divine and human Jesus brings before us the notion that while there is indeed an error of a serious sort, the error is not in “humanness” itself. In his own flesh, he provides a way for the great paradox of humanity to be rightly acknowledged: both the deep and sacred honor of being human and yet the profound lament and disgrace of all that is broken. So the Christian’s advantage is not that they find themselves less fallen or closer to perfection than others, nor that they find in their religion a means of simply escaping this world of fragility, brokenness, guilt, suffering, and error. The Christian’s advantage is Christ himself. The human Son of God mediates on our behalf, bringing us back to a full and forgiven humanity. We are, in Christ, re-humanized not dehumanized. In his life, death, and resurrection, Christ shows a world that has gone awry in light of God’s severe and merciful pursuit. In his vicarious humanity, we encounter our own.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – This Is a Human

Joyce Meyer – Heaven

Joyce Meyer, Truth, theology, spirituality, religion, prayer, peace, nature, Love, lord Jesus Christ, Joy, Jesus Christ, Jesus, human rights, holy spirit, God, faith, daily devotion, current events, church, Christianity, Bible

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. — Revelation 21:4

Adapted from the resource Wake Up to the Word Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Heaven is the abode of God, the angels, and the souls of those who are granted salvation.

Heaven, the eternal home of the believer in Jesus Christ, is described in the Bible as not only totally peaceful, but also stunningly beautiful (see Revelation 21 and 22).

Having faith that this is our destiny delivers us from the fear of death. Death is not an unknown nothingness, but a graduation into better things than what we have experienced on earth.

As Christians, we can truthfully say, “I will live in heaven forever!” Your address will change someday from earth to heaven, but you will never really die.

What a joy to know that we have the hope of a beautiful, peaceful place where there will be no more tears, pain, or dying, and we will live in the actual presence of God.

Prayer Starter: O, Lord, thank You for eternal life through Jesus! When life is difficult, help me to remember that it won’t last forever, but I will one day know the joy of living with You in heaven. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Like a Sweet Perfume

 

“But thanks be to God! For through what Christ has done, He has triumphed over us so that now wherever we go He uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Gospel like a sweet perfume” (2 Corinthians 2:14).

We can certainly learn a lesson from the apostle Paul. He frequently begins a chapter or a verse with a note of praise. To say that he had a thankful spirit would be understating the case. That perhaps is the key to victory in every area of our lives, to begin with thanksgiving.

It is God who leads us to triumph over principalities and powers. And in leading us to triumph, He is then able to use us to tell others of His love and forgiveness through the Lord Jesus. As we rest in His victory and in His command, with its promise of “Lo, I am with you always,” we spread the gospel like a sweet perfume.

In your own home and in your own neighborhood, perhaps, are those who need the sweet perfume of the gospel, that heavenly aroma that comes first from God, then through us as His servants, and finally in the message itself: the good news of sins forgiven and a heavenly home assured.

Around the world, literally, I personally have seen multitudes of men and women, old and young, become new creatures in Christ. The aroma indeed is one of sweet perfume, for tangled lives have become untangled to the glory of God, and joy abounds in hearts and lives where only sadness and despair had been known.

Bible Reading:2 Corinthians 2:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: “Dear Lord, help me to bear a heavenly aroma as I share the sweet perfume of the gospel with others.”

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – A Fountain of Love

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

You’ve had enough of human love…haven’t you?  Enough tabloids telling you that true love is just a diet away. Enough mornings smelling like the mistakes you made while searching for love the night before. Don’t you need a fountain of love that won’t run dry?

You’ll find one on a stone-cropped hill outside Jerusalem’s walls where Jesus hangs, cross-nailed and thorn-crowned.  When you feel unloved, ascend this mount.  Meditate long and hard on heaven’s love for you.  Both eyes beaten shut, shoulders as raw as ground beef, lips bloody and split.  Fists of hair yanked from his beard.  Gasps of air escaping his lungs.  As you peer into the crimsoned face of heaven’s only Son, remember this:  “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).

Read more Grace for the Moment II

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Why doesn’t Disney World celebrate Thanksgiving?

My wife marked a significant birthday last week. I offered to take her anywhere to celebrate and she chose Disney World. Since she grew up just a few blocks from Disneyland in California and we visited Disney World often while living in Atlanta, the trip was a nostalgic and fun week for us both.

However, one part of our vacation was a new experience: we had never visited Disney World in mid-November. We saw Christmas decorations everywhere we looked. Wreaths on the doors, garlands on the light poles and attractions, Christmas parades in the streets. We were told that more than 1,500 Christmas trees were placed on the various Disney World properties.

The decorations were beautiful. The parades, light shows, and fireworks were stunning. Disney World celebrates Christmas in grand style.

But another holiday was noteworthy for its absence.

A holiday or a holy day?

I don’t remember a single reference to Thanksgiving. Not one pilgrim or turkey on the grounds. It was as though this Thursday’s celebration of gratitude does not exist.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Why doesn’t Disney World celebrate Thanksgiving?