Charles Stanley – Called to Edify One Another

 

Colossians 3:12-17

Your spiritual growth isn’t just about you—it affects your entire church. Consider this: What would your church be like if everyone in it was as hungry for God’s Word as you are? I’m not saying we must all be spiritual giants, but we should all be growing and increasing in our knowledge and love for Christ, as well as in our love for each other.

One of our responsibilities as members of Christ’s body is to edify each other in the faith. Sometimes we think this is just the role of those in ministry and assume the rest of us can sit back and take it easy. But today’s passage clearly says to “let the word of Christ richly dwell” in us so we can teach and admonish one another with wisdom (Col. 3:16).

Opinions and advice are often casually dished out without much thought, but as believers, we’re called to give wise counsel based on God’s Word. There is no other source that’s as sound, because Scripture alone is absolute truth. Building others up could simply be a matter of pointing out a passage that speaks to an issue they are facing, or it could involve admonishing or warning against an action or attitude the Bible condemns.

To some people, this kind of care for one another may seem unwanted or intrusive, but it’s actually an act of obedience to the Lord. It demonstrates our love for others and our desire to see them become the people that the Lord designed them to be—believers who accomplish what He’s called them to do. And if we are on the receiving end of such care, it helps us develop a humble, teachable attitude.

Bible in One Year: Genesis 8-11

 

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Our Daily Bread — Eyes Tightly Shut

 

Read: Genesis 3:1–10 | Bible in a Year: Genesis 7–9; Matthew 3

They hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8

He knew he shouldn’t have done it. I could clearly see he knew it was wrong: it was written all over his face! As I sat down to discuss his wrongdoing with him, my nephew quickly squeezed his eyes shut. There he sat, thinking—with three-year-old logic—that if he couldn’t see me, then I must not be able to see him. And if he was invisible to me, then he could avoid the conversation (and consequences) he anticipated.

I’m so glad I could see him in that moment. While I couldn’t condone his actions, and we needed to talk about it, I really didn’t want anything to come between us. I wanted him to look fully into my face and see how much I love him and was eager to forgive him! In that moment, I caught a glimmer of how God might have felt when Adam and Eve broke His trust in the garden of Eden. Realizing their guilt, they tried to hide from God (Genesis 3:10), who could “see” them as plainly as I could see my nephew.

When we realize we’ve done something wrong, we often want to avoid the consequences. We run from it, conceal it, or close our eyes to the truth. While God will hold us accountable to His righteous standard, He sees us (and seeks us!) because He loves us and offers forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

Father, thank You for seeing me and loving me even when I do wrong.

God views us through eyes of love.

By Kirsten Holmberg

INSIGHT

As the book of beginnings, Genesis gives us our first look at how God responds to our sin with a just balance of mercy and consequence. Our Father’s ability to judge sin while loving the sinner shows up in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:14–21) and later when Cain kills his brother (4:8–16). We see it again and again in a pattern that leads through Sinai (Exodus 34:5–7), the songs of Israel (Psalm 99:8), and most completely in the crucifixion of Jesus (Luke 23:34).

Mart DeHaan

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Confirmation Bias 

Shankar Vedantam is the host of NPR’s show The Hidden Brain. The show explores the unseen, largely unconscious, cognitive processes that often shape our decisions, impact our emotions, and inform our thinking. Vedantam began his exploration into the social sciences by examining research on implicit bias—and it was from this study that he wrote his book on the subject—also called The Hidden Brain. Psychologists posit that implicit biases are influenced by experience and are often formed as a result of learning associations between qualities and categories including race and gender.(1)

There are many ways in which implicit biases function in our lives. Confirmation bias, for example, is the tendency to search for, interpret, focus on, and remember information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.(2) People tend to react more favorably to information that supports their own point of view. Another example of a more insidious bias is the fundamental attribution error in which an observer ascribes to a subject fundamental or inherent deficiencies rather than to situational contexts that might also be at work. In addition, the observer is more likely to attribute his or her own deficiencies to circumstances or situational contexts, rather than to his or her own personal short-comings.

Many authors attribute the fundamental attribution error to a lack of empathy or the inability to take another person’s perspective. How does this cognitive error play out in real life? In a CBS News article from 2016, Stephanie Pappas reported on the widespread tendency to blame, rather than to empathize with individuals, when accidents happen.(3) She cites the horrific news story of the two-year old who died by alligator attack while playing next to a pond at Disney World. While she notes that there was some initial sympathy for the parents, the overall tone quickly moved to blame them for negligence. Clearly, it was their fault that their son had died. People ignored the numerous reports of the parents being right next to the child and of the father’s desperate attempts to pry his son from the alligator’s jaws. Rather than looking at broader circumstances or explanations—namely, that accidents do happen—most blamed the event on the inherent flaws of the parents.

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Joyce Meyer – The Power to Do Good

 

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. — Psalm 82:3-4

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

I heard a story about former New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. One winter night in 1935, LaGuardia paid a visit to night court in the poorest section of the city. He told the judge to take the night off, took his seat on the bench, and presided over the night’s cases himself.

Soon a tired, despondent elderly woman appeared before him because she had been charged with stealing a loaf of bread. In her own defense, she said, “My daughter’s husband left her. She is sick, and her children are hungry.”

The storekeeper had no mercy. With a sigh, LaGuardia said to the woman, “The law is clear. I have to punish you.” He fined her ten dollars. As he was pronouncing the woman’s sentence, LaGuardia was simultaneously reaching into his pocket to pull out a ten-dollar bill. He dropped it into his hat and said:

“Here’s the ten-dollar fine, which I now remit, and furthermore, I’m going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant!”

The total collected for the grandmother was $47.50.

I like the fact that the mayor of New York City used his position of authority to influence others to help the poor grandmother. Any time we can inspire or provoke others to do good, we need to do so.

Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, help me to use my influence to help others to do good. Let my heart break with compassion for those in need. Help me to always stand up for the rights of the innocent. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Abundant Life for the Asking

 

“The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness” (John 10:10).

For me, the Christian life is an exciting, joy-filled adventure. It has been that way through more than 30 years of walking with the Lord. If you are not already experiencing such a life, it can be the same for you today, tomorrow and the rest of your days, no matter what the circumstances.

Jesus promised the full and abundant life for all those who walk in faith and obedience. His “exceeding great and precious promises” include every kind of provision for you – spiritual, emotional, material.

You start by getting to know God – who He is, what He is like and the benefits we enjoy when we belong to Him. Your view of God influences all the rest of your relationships. Scripture says the righteous shall live by faith. Faith must focus on an object, and the object in which we have our faith is God and His inspired Word.

But how do we acquire that kind of faith? “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17, NAS). It is as simple as that. You are building up your storehouse of faith every time you read the Word of God, every time you hear the Word of God and every time you memorize the Word of God.

Our view of God determines the quality and degree of our faith. A small view of God results in a small faith. Great faith is the result of a correct biblical view of God – recognizing Him as great, mighty, all-wise and worthy of our trust.

Our view of God as sovereign, holy, loving, righteous, just and compassionate produces these same qualities in our lives. If we view Him as a God of love and forgiveness, we are prompted to love and forgive others also.

Bible Reading:John 7:36-39

Today’s Action Point: Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I determine to begin practicing the presence of God in my life – every moment of the day. I will begin by meditating on His attributes through storing portions of His Word in my heart and mind. As a result, by faith I expect to experience and share with my family friends the full and abundant life which Jesus promised to all who are His.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Fear Can Cause Us to Worship Safety

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

When fear shapes our lives, safety becomes our god.  We worship the risk-free life.  The fear-filled cannot love deeply because love is risky.  They cannot give to the poor because benevolence has no guarantee of return.  The fear-filled cannot dream wildly.  What if their dreams fail?

No wonder Jesus wages such a war against fear.  In Matthew 8:26, “Jesus got up and gave a command to the wind and the waves, and it became completely calm.”  The sea becomes as still as a frozen lake, and the disciples are left wondering, “What kind of man is this?  Even the winds and the waves obey him!”  What kind of man, indeed.  Turning typhoon time into nap time.  Silencing waves with one word.

Read more Fearless

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

 

Denison Forum – What Mitt Romney’s niece thought of his editorial on Trump

Conflicting values are generating many of today’s headlines.

For instance, Mitt Romney wrote a Washington Post op-ed advocating decorum in the White House and claiming that President Trump “has not risen to the mantle of the office.” His niece, Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairs the Republican National Committee. She responded in a tweet claiming that her uncle’s editorial “feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive.”

In other political news, President Trump and congressional leaders met yesterday afternoon, but the two sides could not reach an agreement to end the partial government shutdown. The president insists on funding for the border wall; Democratic leaders offered a package of bills without such funds. Talks will resume tomorrow.

Our culture is locked in an ongoing conflict between those who value “civil rights” for LGBTQ persons and those who value religious rights for Americans who affirm biblical morality. Pro-choice advocates value the woman’s right to choose; pro-life advocates value the unborn child’s right to life.

We all view life through the prism of our values. Which leads to the question: What does God value most?

“The seventh day still continues”

Each day of creation ends with the refrain, “And there was evening and there was morning” (cf. Genesis 1:5813192331). However, after God created the seventh day and “rested from all his work that he had done in creation” (Genesis 2:3), we find no such closing refrain. According to the English Standard Version Study Bible, this fact “prompt[s] many to conclude that the seventh day still continues.”

Across Scripture, God kept working within the universe he created so long ago. He judged sin through the Flood, spoke to Moses in a burning bush, liberated his people from Egyptian bondage, and established the Jewish nation in the Promised Land.

Then the One through whom “all things were created” (Colossians 1:16) entered his creation at Christmas. Now the Holy Spirit continues Jesus’ ministry on earth (John 16:7-14) until the day when “a new heaven and a new earth” replace our fallen world (Revelation 21:1).

All that to say, the Creator is just as present in his creation as when he first spoke the universe into being. Whether we see the Artist in his painting is another matter.

“The sky above proclaims his handiwork”

Frederick Buechner: “There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognize him or not to recognize him, but all the more fascinatingly because of that, all the more compellingly and hauntingly.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – What Mitt Romney’s niece thought of his editorial on Trump