Charles Stanley –When Others Fail Us

 

2 Timothy 4:9-18

A disappointing friendship is one area of life that causes great distress. Companionship is one of our essential needs, and when friends fail us, we feel wounded, rejected, and alone. We’ve probably all experienced this to one degree or another, and the apostle Paul was no exception.

Although he’d surrounded himself with friends and had sacrificed greatly to take the gospel throughout the Roman world, when Paul neared the end of his life, he was basically alone. As he spent his last days in prison, only Luke was with him.

Some of the apostle’s friends were ministering in other parts of the world, but others, like Demas, had deserted him. When Paul stood at his preliminary trial, no one supported him. In fact, everyone had abandoned him. To associate with Paul at this point was risky.

It would have been understandable for Paul to complain about friends who’d let him down in his time of need. But instead, he displayed a forgiving spirit by saying, “May it not be counted against them” (2 Timothy 4:16). Although betrayal or abandonment hurts, we will never heal if we yield to bitterness and resentment. Forgiveness is our only solution.

Like Paul, we need an eternal perspective when facing disappointment. Nothing comes into our life without first passing through the hands of our heavenly Father, and no experience of ours is wasted. His ways may not make sense to us, but He uses every painful situation to accomplish His will in our life—and He’ll walk through it with us.

Bible in One Year: 2 Timothy 1-4

 

http://www.intouch.org/

 

Our Daily Bread — Mosaic of Beauty

 

Read: Luke 1:46–55 | Bible in a Year: Amos 1–3; Revelation 6

My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Luke 1:46–47

Sitting in the courtyard of the Church of the Visitation in Ein Karem, Israel, I was overwhelmed with the beautiful display of sixty-seven mosaics containing the words of Luke 1:46–55 in as many languages. Traditionally known as the Magnificatfrom the Latin “to magnify,” these verses are Mary’s joyous response to the announcement that she will be the mother of the Messiah.

Each plaque contains Mary’s words, including: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. . . . For the Mighty One has done great things for me” (vv. 46–49). The biblical hymn etched in the tiles is a song of praise as Mary recounts the faithfulness of God to her and the nation of Israel.

A grateful recipient of God’s grace, Mary rejoices in her salvation (v. 47). She acknowledges that God’s mercy has extended to the Israelites for generations (v. 50). Looking back over God’s care for the Israelites, Mary praises God for His powerful acts on behalf of His people (v. 51). She also thanks God, recognizing that her daily provision comes from His hand (v. 53).

Mary shows us that recounting the great things God has done for us is a way to express praise and can lead us to rejoice. This Christmas season, consider God’s goodness as you reflect on the year. In doing so, you may create a mosaic of great beauty with your words of praise.

Father, we praise You for the great things You’ve done in our lives this year. We rejoice in Your mercy and care for us.

Make a list of the ways God has blessed you this year and reflect on it in silence. Then share stories of His goodness with someone.

By Lisa Samra

INSIGHT

The birth of Jesus was a miracle because the Holy Spirit formed the body of Jesus in the womb of a young virgin girl. That this information comes to us from Luke is significant, because Luke was a doctor (Colossians 4:14) and understood the audacity of the claims of Jesus’s virgin conception and birth. But Luke first tells of another miraculous conception that predated Jesus by six months—that of John the Baptist (Luke 1:24–26). By human standards, his parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, were too old to have a baby (vv. 7, 18). But in both the birth of Jesus and John the Baptist we see the working of God for whom nothing is impossible (v. 37 nasb).

For more, see Mary and Joseph: Reflecting on the Wonder of Christmas at discoveryseries.org/hp074.

Bill Crowder

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids – The Choir to End All Choirs

 

Revelation 14:3

Once in a while a writer in the Bible pulls the curtain back and we get to look into heaven. That’s what happens in Revelation 14. Wow! What a sight!

Picture this: There are 144,000 believers standing on top of a mountain. Soon there is the sound of harps being played before the throne of God and before the thrones of the twenty-four elders who are nearby. There are four creatures near the throne that are covered with eyes—even under their six wings. All these creatures constantly give glory, honor, and thanks to God. (See Revelation 4:4–11.) Then the 144,000 begin to sing a song about how they had been redeemed (saved) from the earth.

It is a song that only they can sing. It is a song of redemption. The angels cannot sing it. Only those who have experienced God’s grace and transforming power can sing this kind of song. What a choir!

Our life on earth, including the hardships, is part of our “training” to sing songs of redemption in heaven. When we accept salvation, we become part of the future choir. God’s Spirit says, “Let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17). That’s all we have to do to join in the celebration around the throne of God at the end of time.

Dear Lord, I want to be a part of the great choir that sings around your throne in heaven. Amen

Joyce Meyer – Leading

 

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. — Psalm 23:1-2

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

In order to reach our goals, you and I must follow God’s leading. People will offer us a lot of advice, and some of it may be good, but some of it may not. Or it may be good advice, but simply not what will work for us.

It’s important that we always look to God first and listen for His guidance and instruction.

God has created us as unique individuals, and He does not lead us all in the same way. So, if you want to win your race, you will need to find your own running style or your own way of doing things.

Of course, we can learn from other people, but we dare not try to copy them at the cost of losing our own individuality. Appreciate the advice and example of others, but follow God’s leading in your life.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I know You have a great plan for my life, and You desire to lead and guide me every step of the way. Help me to seek and follow Your leadership in my life more than anyone or anything else. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Learn to Be Patient

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us – they help us learn to be patient” (Romans 5:3).

A Christian family was struggling with the trials of being parents (they had four young children – two of them in diapers). One day the wife, who was frustrated to her wits’ end, came to me for spiritual counsel. As she phrased it, she was at the point of losing her sanity.

How could she cope with rearing her children? She told how angry she got with the children when they disobeyed her. In fact, she indicated there were times when she feared she might physically harm her children, though she loved them dearly.

How could she cope with rearing her children? She needed the fruit of the Spirit, patience and love. The only way she could obtain such patience was by faith, confessing her sins and appropriating the fullness of the Holy Spirit. This she began to do, continually. Today, she is a women of godly patience, and being a parent has become a joyful privilege for her.

All of us need Christ’s patience, regardless of who we are or in what circumstances we find ourselves. Patience is granted to us by the grace of God through the Holy Spirit. It is produced by faith as a fruit of the Spirit, and it is granted in times of great crises (Luke 21:15-19); in dealing with church situations (2 Corinthians 12:12); in opposing evil (Revelation 2:2), for soundness of faith (Titus 2:2) and in waiting for the return of Jesus Christ (James 5:7,8).

Bible Reading:Romans 5:1-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will look on trials and problems as a forerunner of great patience in my life, while claiming the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen me.

 

http://www.cru.org