Charles Stanley – A Father’s Influence

 

Malachi 4:5-6

Have you ever wondered why a priority of Elijah’s ministry in the last days involves restoring the relationship between fathers and children (Mal. 4:6)? Perhaps it’s because the father has a powerful role, both in the development of emotional health in his offspring and in the shaping of their perceptions about God. By his example, a dad can either draw his children to God or push them away. Sometimes the easiest way to understand this is to look at negative paternal examples:

  • The angry, unpredictable father instills fear in his children and conveys to them that God is a tyrant who lashes out unexpectedly.
    A critical, demanding dad makes his kids feel inadequate. They see God as a taskmaster who’s never pleased.
    The uninvolved or absent father sends the message that his children are unimportant, and both he and God are too busy for them.
    An arrogant dad’s tough, uncaring nature leads his children to feel unloved and conclude that the Lord doesn’t love them either.
    A fault-finding or abusive father communicates that his child is worthless and God is full of condemnation.

But a man with Christlike character provides children with a healthy connection, not only to their earthly dad but also to their heavenly Father.

Think about how your earthly father helped to shape your perception of God. The Bible will reveal whether your understanding of the Lord is rooted in truth or error. If your own father distorted your view of God, know that God is the perfect Father—and ask Him to help you see that truth.

Bible in One Year: Leviticus 21-23

 

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Our Daily Bread — Moves of the Heart

 

Bible in a Year:Exodus 36–38; Matthew 23:1–22

Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped.

Numbers 9:17

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Numbers 9:15-23

According to the US Census Bureau, Americans move from one address to another an average of eleven to twelve times during the course of a lifetime. In a recent year, 28 million people packed up, moved, and unpacked under a new roof.

During Israel’s forty years in the wilderness, the cloud of God’s presence led a whole family nation to make one move after another in anticipation of a new homeland. The account is so repetitious, it reads almost like a comedy. Over and over the huge family packed and unpacked not only its own belongings but also the tent and furnishings of the tabernacle, where the God of the cloud met with Moses (see Exodus 25:22).

Many years later, Jesus would give fuller meaning to the story of Israel’s moving days. Instead of leading from a cloud, He came in person. When He said, “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19), He began showing that the most important changes of address happen on roads of the heart. By leading both friends and enemies to the foot of a Roman cross, He showed how far the God of the cloud and tabernacle would go to rescue us.

Like changes of address, such moves of the heart are unsettling. But someday, from a window in our Father’s house, we’ll see that Jesus led us all the way.

By Mart DeHaan

Today’s Reflection

In what ways does choosing to follow God unsettle you? How might prayer help to strengthen your faith and trust in Him?

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Who’s In, Who’s Out?

Every society has insiders and outsiders. Groups of people or individuals are defined by a particular characteristic, belief, ethnicity, or behavior marking them as winners and losers. If one was a Jew in Nazi Germany, for example, she was an “outsider” and branded as such by a yellow Star of David sewn into her garments. If one was a Tutsi in Rwanda in the 1990s, he would be forced to use an ID card which specified his ethnic group. In addition, his skin color was a general physical trait that was typically used to designate him an ethnic “outsider.”

But just who is inside and who is outside in particular cultures is often a matter of perspective. Many Anabaptist communities, for example, intentionally live as “outsiders” eschewing many of the modern trappings of secular culture. Being outsiders is their purposeful identity. In the button-down-shirt-world of suits and ties, tattoos and multiple piercings define one as an outsider, using body art as a means of “dressing” apart from the rest of society. It seems that the boundaries around who is in and who is out shift and change constantly.

Jesus, as presented in the gospel accounts of his life, often blurred the lines between who was inside and who was outside. Indeed, he often suggested in his teaching ministry that those deemed on the outside of the society were actually on the inside. In his “outside-in” perspective, the first would be last, and the last first. Rejecting the rules that kept the poor, the broken, the sick, the disabled, or the ethnically different person firmly on the outside, Jesus instead opened-wide his arms and extended the reach of his hospitality far beyond what would have been deemed acceptable in his day.

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Joyce Meyer – Keep Your Peace

 

Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. — 1 Samuel 12:24

Adapted from the resource Starting Your Day Right – by Joyce Meyer

To have peace, keep your eyes on God. Get alone to fellowship with Him. If you have to get in a closet and sit in the middle of all your shoes and hang clothes over your head to hide in order to find solitude, do it! Then focus on all that God has done for you.

Jesus said to go to your most private room when you pray to the Father, and He will reward you openly for the time you spend with Him (See Matthew 6:6). Don’t miss out on God’s abundant blessings for your life.

Prayer Starter: Father, in the midst of everything I have to do today, I ask You to fill my heart and mind with Your supernatural peace. Help me to continually grow closer to You and receive the peace and rest You have for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Maintains the Seasons

 

“As long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night” (Genesis 8:22).

On his way to a country church one Sunday morning, a preacher was overtaken by one of his deacons.

“What a bitterly cold morning,” the deacon remarked. “I am sorry the weather is so wintry.”

Smiling, the minister replied, “I was just thanking God for keeping His Word.”

“What do you mean?” the man asked with a puzzled look on his face.

“Well,” the preacher said, “more than 3,000 years ago God promised that cold and heat should not cease, so I am strengthened by this weather which emphasizes the sureness of His promises.”

It is most reassuring to realize that we serve a God who keeps His promises, for He is the same God who makes possible the supernatural life for the believer. Part of that supernatural life is the ability to accept our lot in life, to be able to say with the psalmist:

“This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24, KJV).

“Springtime and harvest” reminds us that as we sow the seed of the Word of God, He is faithful to give the increase – in His own good time. He simply asks and expects that we be faithful in our part, which is to give out His Word – to plant – at every possible opportunity.

The Christian who lives the supernatural life is enabled by the Holy Spirit to rejoice under all circumstances and to interpret every problem, adversity, heartache and sorrow in a positive light.

Bible Reading:Genesis 8:15-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will give thanks to the Lord for His faithfulness, no matter what the circumstances. I will faithfully plant the Word of God today whenever and wherever possible, realizing that our faithful God will produce the promised harvest.

 

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Max Lucado – The Heart of Jesus is Pure

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

The heart of Jesus was pure.  Peter traveled with Jesus for three and a half years, and he described him as a “lamb, unblemished and spotless.”  The heart of Jesus was peaceful.  The disciples shouted for fear in the storm, but Jesus slept through it.  Peter drew his sword to fight the soldiers, but Jesus lifted his hand to heal.

The heart of Jesus was purposeful.  He aimed at one goal—to save humanity from its sin.  “The Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.”  His heart was spiritual. He took his instructions from God.  It was his habit to go to worship.  He memorized scripture.  His times of prayer guided him.  John 5:19 says, “The Son does whatever the Father does.”  The heart of Jesus was spiritual.  Let ours be the same.

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For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Two responses to the Ralph Northam controversy

Ralph Northam served eight years as a United States Army medical officer, then became a pediatric neurologist. He served in Virginia’s state Senate and as lieutenant governor before becoming governor earlier this year.

On January 30, the governor voiced his support for legislation that would allow abortion until the point of birth. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) spoke for many when he responded: “In just a few years pro-abortion zealots went from ‘safe, legal, and rare’ to ‘keep the newborns comfortable while the doctor debates infanticide.’”

Then came the yearbook controversy. On February 1, images from Northam’s medical school yearbook were published. On his page in the yearbook, they picture an unidentified person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan hood.

After admitting that he was one of the figures in the photo and apologizing, Northam later denied that he was in the picture. However, he admitted to wearing blackface for a Michael Jackson dance contest around the same time the photo was taken.

Pressure to resign has been escalating since the yearbook picture was published.

“Seize the opportunity”

Harvard’s James Herron perceptively defines racism as “a lens through which people interpret, naturalize, and reproduce inequality.” Since 64 percent of Americans say racism remains a major problem in this country, we should not be surprised that such prejudice makes the news daily.

One response is African American History Month, which is observed each February. Its purpose is to “[pay] tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.”

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