Charles Stanley – How to Listen to God’s Word

 

Nehemiah 8:1-9

In our culture, Bibles are so plentiful that we often take them for granted. This was not the case in Ezra’s day. After being exiled from Israel for many years, the Jews had finally returned to their land, and today’s passage describes their reaction to hearing the Scriptures. We may have easy access to Bibles today, but we’d do well to learn to approach God’s Word in the same manner as these Israelites did.

With eager attentiveness. The people listened attentively as Ezra read Scripture “from daybreak till noon” (Neh. 8:3 NIV). How eager are you each day to open God’s Word and devote time to reading and study?

With reverence and worship. When Ezra opened the scroll, all the people stood up in reverence and then bowed down to worship the Lord (Neh. 8:5-6). Scripture reveals who God is and increases our awe of Him and respect for His Word.

With understanding. There were people who helped others understand what they heard, similar to the way pastors and teachers do today (Neh. 8:7-8). Do you skim over passages you don’t understand, or do you rely on the many sound teaching resources available?

With repentance. After hearing God’s Law, they were convicted of sin and repented with mourning and weeping (Neh. 8:9). God’s Word is sanctifying, revealing sin and guiding us into righteousness.

It’s easy to take for granted what is commonly available, but we should never lose sight of the most valuable possession God has given us—His inspired, inerrant Word.

Bible in One Year: 1 Thessalonians 1-5

 

http://www.intouch.org/

 

Our Daily Bread — Expect the Messiah

 

Read: Matthew 13:53–58 | Bible in a Year: Hosea 5–8; Revelation 2

“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary?” Matthew 13:55

The repairman looked young—too young to fix our problem, a car that wouldn’t start. “He’s just a kid,” my husband, Dan, whispered to me, showing his doubt. His disbelief in the young man sounded like the grumbling in Nazareth where citizens doubted who Jesus was.

“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” they asked (Matthew 13:55) when Jesus taught in the synagogue. Scoffing, they were surprised to hear that someone they knew was healing and teaching, and asked, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” (v. 54). Instead of trusting in Jesus, they were offended by the authority He displayed (vv. 15, 58).

In this same way, we may struggle to trust in our Savior’s wisdom and power, especially in the familiar and ordinary details of our daily lives. Failing to expect His help, we may miss out on the wonder of His life transforming our own (v. 58).

As Dan found, the help he needed stood right in front of him. Finally agreeing to accept the young man’s aid, my husband allowed him to look at our old car’s battery. By switching just one bolt, the mechanic had the car running in seconds—engine humming and lights ablaze. “It lit up like Christmas,” Dan said.

So too may we expect and experience the Messiah bringing fresh light, life, and help into our daily journey with Him.

When I doubt You, Lord, help my unbelief.

What are some practical ways you can remind yourself or others that God is in control and He is able?

By Patricia Raybon

INSIGHT

Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, the one promised in the Old Testament who would rescue God’s people and rule them justly. The word Messiah (from the Greek messias) is found only twice in the New Testament—John 1:41 and 4:25. John is careful to translate this word for his readers: “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ)” (1:41). The word Christ (christos) means “anointed.” It’s the New Testament equivalent of Messiah and is found multiple times, beginning in Matthew 1:1: “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah (christos) the son of David, the son of Abraham.” The composite picture of the Messiah/the Christ is that He is Jesus, the God-man, the King who has been raised from death and exalted to the right hand of God (Acts 2:32–36).

Arthur Jackson

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Waiting for Hope

In the process of moving and reorganizing some bookshelves in the middle of October, I recovered something long out of place. Carved out of olive wood, a small nativity had been left behind from last year’s Christmas. I held it in my hand and cringed at the thought of digging through boxes in the garage long buried by post-Christmas storage. At this point, it seemed better to be two months early in setting it up than ten months late in packing it away.

Strangely enough, my decision then coincided with a friend’s mentioning of a good Christmas quote. Advent was suddenly all around me in October. In a Christmas sermon given December 2, 1928, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, who look forward to something greater to come. For these, it is enough to wait in humble fear until the Holy One himself comes down to us, God in the child in the manger. God comes. The Lord Jesus comes. Christmas comes. Christians rejoice!” To be early with my Nativity scene suddenly seemed a wise, but convicting thought. I had kept it around for the sake of convenience, what about for the sake of waiting? If Advent reminds us that we are waiting in December, what reminds us that we are waiting in October or February or July?

The story of the Nativity, though beautiful and familiar, and admittedly far-reaching, is as easily put out of our minds as Christmas decorations are put in boxes. On certain sides of the calendar, a nativity scene looks amiss. Sitting on my mantle in the fall or the spring, it seems somehow away from home, far from lights and greenery, longing for Christmas fanfare. But looking at it with thoughts of Advent near, I am struck by the irony that longing is often precisely the sentiment I am holding amidst the burgeoning lights, greens, and fanfare of Christmas.

As Bonhoeffer continues, “When once again Christmas comes and we hear the familiar carols and sing the Christmas hymns, something happens to us… The hardest heart is softened. We recall our own childhood. We feel again how we then felt, especially if we were separated from a mother. A kind of homesickness comes over us for past times, distant places, and yes, a blessed longing for a world without violence or hardness of heart. But there is something more—a longing for the safe lodging of the everlasting Father.”(1)

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Joyce Meyer – It’s Your Future

 

Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men. — Acts 24:16 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Power Thoughts Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

The Roman poet Horace wrote: “Rule your mind, or it will rule you.”

The enemy wants your mind; he wants to control or influence as much of your thinking as possible, but you do not have to let him. The key to overcoming him is learning to discipline your thinking, and disciplining yourself to believe you are disciplined is the beginning.

As my son once said, “Discipline is a discipline!” Most people don’t get excited when the subject of discipline comes up. However, if you learn to understand the power, the liberty, the joy, and the victory discipline brings to your life, you will embrace it eagerly.

Prayer Starter: Father, Your Word says You have given me a spirit of discipline and self-control (see 2 Timothy 1:7 AMPC). Help me today to choose my thoughts carefully and purposely dwell on things that are positive and full of hope. Help me to discipline my thoughts, words and actions so I can enjoy the great future You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Teach You Much

 

“But when the Father sends the Comforter instead of Me – and by the Comforter I mean the Holy Spirit – He will teach you much, as well as remind you of everything I myself have told you” (John 14:26).

Some years ago, at one of our week-long Lay Institutes for Evangelism, attended by more than 4,000 trainees, I gave a message on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Afterward, a missionary who had just retired after 20 years of service in Africa came to see me. He was very excited as he came to share how, during that meeting, he had finally found what he had sought throughout his entire Christian life.

“Today, as you spoke,” he said, “I was filled with the Spirit. For 20 years I have tried to serve God on the mission field, but I have served Him in the energy of the flesh and have had very little results. Now, though I have retired and returned to America, I want to go back to Africa.

“This time, I want to concentrate on working just with missionaries, because I know from experience that many of them are still searching for what I have sought all these years. The most important message I can take to them is how they can be filled with the Holy Spirit by faith.

“I want to teach them what you taught me so that they, in turn, will be able to teach the Africans how they too can be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Dr. J. Edwin Orr, a leading authority on spiritual revival, describes the Holy Spirit as “the Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Christ. He is the Lord of the harvest, supreme in revival, evangelism and missionary endeavor.”

“Without His consent, plans are bound to fail. It behooves us as Christians to fit our tactical operations into the plan of His strategy, which is the reviving of the church and the evangelization of the world.”

Bible Reading:John 14:13-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will look to God’s indwelling Holy Spirit for the spiritual lessons I need to learn today and claim His power to serve the Lord Jesus Christ supernaturally.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Would You Like to See God?

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Would you like to see God?  Take a look at Jesus!  Hebrews 1:3 says, “Jesus radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God.”  In John 14:9, Jesus himself said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”  Anyone who has seen me weep has seen the Father weep.  Anyone who has seen me laugh as seen the Father laugh.  Anyone who has seen me determined has seen the Father determined.

Everything changes when we see the face of God.  He came with tears too.  He knows the burden of a broken heart.  He knows the sorrow life can bring.  He could have come as a shining light or a voice in the clouds, but he came as a person.  Does God understand you?  Look into God’s face and be assured.  Find the answer in Bethlehem.

Read more Because of Bethlehem

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Teacher fired for not using transgender student’s preferred pronoun

Peter Vlaming teaches French at West Point High School in West Point, Virginia. He was fired by the school board last Thursday for refusing to use a transgender student’s preferred pronoun. (The student was born as a biological female but wishes to use the pronouns “he” and “him.”)

The school’s administration claims that Vlaming was told multiple times to refer to the student using male pronouns. “By failing to follow the directive, he was therefore discriminating and creating a hostile environment,” the superintendent told the board.

The next day, students at the school coordinated a walkout in support of Vlaming. Several held signs that read “Men are men and women are women and that is a fact!” and “You can’t impose delusion on us.”

Vlaming told the school board that his Christian faith was the reason for his refusal. “We are here today because a specific worldview is being imposed on me,” he said. “Even higher than my family ranks my faith.” Asked whether the debate was worth losing his job over, he told reporters, “There are some hills that are worth dying on.”

God “made them male and female”

My purpose today is not to focus on the transgender issue itself. (For an in-depth discussion of this subject, please see my chapter on the transgender debate in my book, 7 Crucial Questions.) Nor do I want to limit our discussion to the West Point controversy.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Teacher fired for not using transgender student’s preferred pronoun