Charles Stanley – Knowing God’s Ways

 

Psalm 25:4-11

Having facts about someone is not the same as truly knowing the person. For instance, if a friend you know relatively well were to come and live with you for several months, you would discover his or her ways—that is, habits, preferences, attitudes, and priorities.

When Scripture speaks of God’s ways, it’s referring to much more than His actions or facts about His nature. His ways include His manner, motivations, desires, thoughts, and purposes. One of the reasons believers often become discouraged is that they don’t understand what God is doing in their life. That’s why it’s essential to learn how the Lord operates. As long as we remain ignorant of His ways as revealed in His Word, we won’t trust or know Him intimately.

The Bible is such a big book that some believers may be tempted to give up, thinking it will take too long to learn how God works. But it’s important to remember that we all have the same starting point. When we’re born again, God doesn’t automatically download everything we need to know about Him into our brains. Learning to understand the Lord and how He does things is a process; He teaches us as we continue to read, obey what we know of Scripture, and spend time with Him.

Do you find yourself longing to grow in intimacy with the Lord? If so, you must live closely with Him by listening as He speaks through His Word—and by humbling yourself to learn, accept, and delight in His ways above your own.

Bible in One Year: Exodus 4-6

 

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Our Daily Bread — What Can’t You Give Up?

 

Bible in a Year:Genesis 41–42; Matthew 12:1–23

[Nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God.

Romans 8:39

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Hosea 11:8-11

“What’s one thing you can’t give up?” the radio host asked. Listeners called in with some interesting answers. Some mentioned their families, including a husband who shared memories of a deceased wife. Others shared they can’t give up on their dreams, such as making a living in music or becoming a mother. All of us have something we treasure dearly—a person, a passion, a possession—something we can’t give up.

In the book of Hosea, God tells us that He won’t give up on His chosen people Israel, His treasured possession. As Israel’s loving husband, God provided her with everything she needed: land, food, drink, clothing, and security. Yet like an adulterous spouse, Israel rejected God and sought her happiness and security elsewhere. The more God pursued her, the further she drifted away (Hosea 11:2). However, though she had hurt Him deeply, He would not give her up (v. 8). He would discipline Israel so as to redeem her; His desire was to re-establish His relationship with her (v. 11).

Today, all God’s children can have the same assurance: His love for us is a love that will never let us go (Romans 8:37–39). If we’ve wandered from Him, He yearns for us to return. When God disciplines us, we can be comforted that it’s a sign of His pursuit, not of His rejection. We are His treasure; He won’t give up on us.

By Poh Fang Chia

Today’s Reflection

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that never gives up on me. Help me to love You wholeheartedly.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Hunger and Thirst

Experts mark the absence of desire as a sign of dis-ease. This lack of desire or enjoyment in what was formerly pleasurable or enjoyable is one of the chief symptoms of depression. For example, distress can be so great for an individual that she cannot eat. The typical desire for preparing and eating food disappears under great duress. During those times, individuals can have an abundance of food, but no desire to eat or feelings of hunger.

Of course, there are other times where out of a matter of principle, for special focus or discipline, one might routinely abstain. Ironically, desire often increases and can feel all-consuming when one willingly chooses to abstain. And perhaps this heightened focus hints at the experience of those who deal with deprivation and near-starvation. Despite not having any means to satisfy real hunger, the gnawing pangs for food grow louder and louder.

The experience of hunger and its absence serves to illustrate the complicated nature of human desire—desire that is often unwieldy and seemingly beyond one’s control. Coping with our innate desires is hard enough, but then there are societal values and pressures that blur the line between genuine need and want. Regardless, desire alerts us to a deep hunger or longing that resides at the core of human beings. These longings often reveal a restlessness even where there is abundance.

Arguments from desire are often invoked as evidence for the existence of God. The argument states that every natural, innate desire in us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire. But within humans exists a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, and no creature can satisfy. Therefore, something exists that is more than time, earth, and creatures to satisfy this desire. This “real object” is the being people call “God” or “a life with God forever.” Indeed, Saint Augustine, who was no stranger to unwieldy desire, confessed that “Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; Thou has made us for thyself and our heart is restless until it repose in Thee.”(1)

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Joyce Meyer – See the Good in People

 

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person… — 1 Corinthians 13:7 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource My Time with God Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

God is reminding me today to look for the good in everyone I meet. I have no difficulty locating what is wrong with people, and in fact, I sometimes seem to be an expert at it!

I don’t like being that way and am thankful that in Christ, I can choose another way of living. If you struggle with this, then you can too.

Jesus has given us a new nature (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), and we can purpose to live out of it and actually learn to treat people the way Jesus would.

I am asking for the “gift of awareness.” I want to be aware of what is right and good about people and not merely what is wrong with them. I don’t want to try and take the speck out of my brother’s eye when I have a log in my own (see Matthew 7:4).

Let’s make this year one of believing the best of everyone we know. It will help us have more joy, and we will enjoy the people in our lives much more than ever before.

Prayer Starter: Dear Jesus, I long to be like You and see people the way You do. Help me take the time to really get to know people and not merely judge them at first glance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Skip Judgment

“Now I say that each believer should confess his sins to God when he is aware of them, while there is time to be forgiven. Judgment will not touch him if he does” (Psalm 32:6).

Mary had rebelled against the preaching of her Nazarene father, a godly pastor. She lived with her boy friend in open defiance of her biblical teaching. Now, God was disciplining her because of disobedience. She was miserable, filled with hate and resentment, when a mutual friend brought her to my office for counsel.

I shared with Mary that just as a loving father disciplines a disobedient child, so God in His love for us disciplines us when we are disobedient. Actually, “child training” would be a more accurate way of describing what God does for us when we are disobedient.

Like Mary, many Christians unnecessarily go through all kinds of adversity: financial, emotional, marital and family problems, and even physical illness. More often than not, God is trying to get their attention. But because they refuse to listen and obey Him, they are disciplined and their misery continues.

Beware, of course, that you do not assume that every time friends or loved ones have difficult experiences, they are being disciplined by God because of disobedience. It may well be that God is working in their lives as He did in Job’s not because of disobedience but to help them mature and become more fruitful and effective witnesses or models of His grace to others.

When you personally, like Mary, are going through adversity, however, and problems continue to plague your life, you would do well to look into the mirror of God’s Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you if there is any unconfessed sin in your life. If there is, be quick to turn to the Lord, confess your sins and receive His forgiveness and cleansing in order to avoid further chastening.

Bible Reading:Psalm 32:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will write down on paper, for my own personal information only, any known weakness, sin or sins that are plaguing me today. I will confess that sin, or those sins, and receive by faith God’s forgiveness and cleansing. (If you are continuing to breathe spiritually, you will not allow sins to accumulate, for the moment you become aware of sin you confess it to the Lord and keep on walking in the light as He is in the light.)

 

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Max Lucado – Seeing Jesus in the Storm

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Peter and his fellow storm riders knew they were in trouble.  According to Matthew 14:24, “But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.”  About 4:00 a.m. the unspeakable happened.  They spotted someone walking on the water.  “‘A ghost!’ they said, crying out in terror.”

They didn’t expect Jesus to come to them this way.  Neither do we.  We expect to find Jesus in morning devotionals, church suppers, and meditation.  We never expect to see him in a storm.  But that’s where he does his finest work, for it is in storms that he has our keenest attention.  He said.  “Take courage.  I am here!”  Look over your shoulder, friend, that’s God following you.  Look into the storm, friend, that’s Christ coming toward you.

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For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Ronald McDonald depicted as ‘McJesus’ on a cross

Christians in Israel are protesting a sculpture in a museum depicting Ronald McDonald as “McJesus.” The artwork displays the clown crucified on a wooden cross. It is part of an exhibition called “Sacred Goods,” which is intended to highlight ways our faith is dominated by the consumer culture.

Christians have been demonstrating in front of the Haifa Museum of the Arts, demanding that it remove the artwork. In response, the museum posted signs at the exhibit entrance warning that it contains content some might find disturbing.

As usual, relational challenges are dominating the news.

Citing security concerns, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked President Trump to reschedule his State of the Union address or deliver it in writing if the government remains shut down. The spouses of Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez reportedly knew about their affair for months before it was made public. And The Bachelor‘s Colton Underwood has told reporters that gymnast Aly Raisman was his “first love” and “worst heartbreak.”

Are your friends really your friends?

Relational health is more important to our health than we might imagine.

Think of those you consider to be friends. Studies show that only 34 percent to 53 percent feel the same way about you.

This is important for obvious reasons related to honesty and psychological well-being, but also to physical health. Research indicates that those with stronger social relationships are 50 percent more likely to live longer.

A new report further documents the link between relational health and physical health. It shows that international students moving to an unfamiliar socio-cultural context can experience significant anxiety. That’s not news. But this is: such anxiety is correlated to systemic inflammation in their bodies, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and poor overall health.

Why am I afraid to tell you who I am?

Our greatest desire is to be fully known and fully loved. But our culture teaches us that the two are adversaries. The more you know me, the less you will love me. The more you love me, the less you know me.

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