Charles Stanley –Evidence of a Proud Heart

 

Matthew 23:1-12

Pride is deceptive. In fact, a proud person is often the last one to know the contents of his or her own heart. This was definitely true of the scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus confronted. They thought of themselves as good people who kept God’s law but failed to see their desire for prominence and respect as evidence of pride.

The same is true today—our quest for recognition and validation still flows from pride. Perhaps we want someone to thank us for the work we’ve done behind the scenes, and if it’s not forthcoming, we become resentful or self-pitying. Or maybe our pride manifests itself with a superior attitude of self-importance, and we secretly consider ourselves to be better than those around us. We may even choose to associate with prominent, well-liked people while ignoring those who are less admired.

However, while we chase after prominence externally, our spirits are becoming shriveled internally because we’ve become proud. The only solution is to turn back to God and humble ourselves before Him. We do this by confessing our sin and recognizing the specific parts of our life that have been damaged by it. Then we must ask the Lord to make us continually alert to any self-glorifying attitudes that pop up so we can quickly confess and walk in obedience once again.

One of the most effective ways to overcome pride is to look at Christ’s example. There was absolutely nothing in us that warranted His love and salvation. We were worthy only of hell, yet He humbled Himself to become a man, die in our place, and offer us salvation. To Him be all the glory!

Bible in One Year: Genesis 42-45

 

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Our Daily Bread — Plight of the Crawdads

 

Bible in a Year:Genesis 31–32; Matthew 9:18–38

Always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

1 Thessalonians 5:15

Today’s Scripture & Insight: 1 Thessalonians 5:11-18

When my cousin invited me to join him to fish for crawdads (crayfish), I couldn’t help but be excited. I grinned when he handed me a plastic pail. “No lid?”

“You won’t need one,” he said, picking up the fishing rods and the small bag of chicken chunks we’d use for bait.

Later, as I watched the small crustaceans climbing over one another in a futile attempt to escape the almost-full bucket, I realized why we wouldn’t need a lid. Whenever one crawdad reached the rim, the others would pull it back down.

The plight of the crawdads reminds me how destructive it is to be selfishly concerned about our own gain instead of the benefit of a whole community. Paul understood the need for uplifting, interdependent relationships when he wrote to the believers in Thessalonica. He urged them to “warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak,” and “be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Commending their caring community (v. 11), Paul spurred them toward even more loving and peaceful relationships (vv. 13–15). By striving to create a culture of forgiveness, kindness, and compassion, their relationships with God and others would be strengthened (vv. 15, 23).

The church can grow and witness for Christ through this kind of loving unity. When believers honor God, committing to lift others up instead of pulling them down with words or actions, we and our communities thrive.

By Xochitl Dixon

 

http://www.odb.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Happy Just to Be … Myself

 

Philippians 4:11

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to compare yourself to others? Even if we know better, we look at someone else and think he or she has it better. How many times have you thought: If only I had the right hair or clothes or shape … If only I were taller or faster or bolder or funnier …

There’s an old story of a king who went to his garden and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak tree what was wrong. The oak tree said it was sick of living because it was not as tall and beautiful as the pine tree. The pine was dropping needles because it couldn’t grow grapes like the grapevine. And the grapevine let itself shrivel up because it couldn’t stand straight and tall like the peach tree. Every plant in the garden was discontented and wanted to be something different, except the violet. There it stood with its happy face turned toward the sun. The king asked the little flower why it was so happy and content when every other plant in the garden was so miserable. “Well,” said the flower, “I figured that if you had wanted a big oak tree or a pine tree or a peach tree in my spot, you would have planted one; but you planted me—a violet. Since I knew you wanted a violet, I’ve made up my mind to be the best little violet I can be.”

You were made by the almighty Creator with a purpose in mind. Wishing to be anything other than who you are does nothing more than steal your time, energy, and joy. But when you see yourself how God does, you realize how great you really are. So you can stop concentrating on other people and instead focus on your own blessings. Only then will you find you are ready for all the plans and adventures God has for you.

Dear Lord, Help me stop comparing myself to other people and worrying about the things I think I lack. Thank you for all of the gifts you have given me. Show me how I can best use them for your glory. Amen.

 

Joyce Meyer – Always Constant

 

Jesus Christ is [eternally changeless, always] the same yesterday and today and forever. — Hebrews 13:8 (AMP)

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

What is the main thing you love so much about Jesus? There are many answers to that question, of course, such as the fact He died for you on the cross so you wouldn’t have to be punished for your sins; then He rose again on the third day.

But in your daily relationship with Him, one of the things you will appreciate most about Him is the fact you can count on Him not to change.

You love Jesus and are able to trust Him because He is never changing. He has said in His Word, “This is the way I was, and this is the way I’m always going to be.”

If you can count on anything, you can count on Jesus never changing. He can change anything else that needs to be changed, but He always remains constant.

Prayer Starter: Jesus, thank You for being the constant in my life! You never change, but You are always working in my life and helping me to change. Today, I pray that You will open my spiritual eyes even further and help me to understand Your unchanging love and faithfulness in a greater way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Perfect in His Sight Promise

 

“But Christ gave Himself to God for our sins as one sacrifice for all time, and then sat down at the place of highest honor at God’s right hand, waiting for His enemies to be laid under His feet. For by that one offering He made forever perfect in the sight of God all those whom He is making Holy” (Hebrews 10:12-14).

All the sins you and I have ever committed or ever shall commit – past, present and future – are forgiven the moment we receive Christ, according to God’s Word. Think of it and rejoice!

Then you may rightly ask, “If all of my sins – past, present and future – are forgiven, why do I need to confess my sins?”

According to God’s Word, confession is an act of obedience and an expression or demonstration of faith that makes real in our experience what is already true concerning us from God’s point of view.

Through the sacrifice of Christ, He sees us as righteous and perfect. The rest of our lives on earth are spent maturing and becoming in our experience what we already are in God’s sight.

This maturing process is accelerated through the faithful study of God’s Word, prayer, witnessing for Christ, and spiritual breathing – exhaling through confessing our sins and inhaling by appropriating the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit by faith.

If you retake the throne, the control center, of your life through sin (a deliberate act of disobedience) breath spiritually. First, exhale by confession. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, KJV).

Next, inhale by appropriating the fullness of God’s Spirit by faith. Trust Him now to control and empower you by faith according to His command to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

Bible Reading:Hebrews 10:19-25

Today’s Action Point: Today I will study God’s Word, pray and invite the Holy Spirit to lead me to someone whose heart He has prepared to receive Christ. Also, I will practice spiritual breathing whenever any attitude, action, motive or desire that is contrary to God’s will short-circuits God’s power in my life. I will confess it and by faith inhale by appropriating the fullness and power of God’s Holy Spirit.

 

http://www.cru.org