Charles Stanley – Biblical Meditation

 

Joshua 1:1-9

If you’re facing a challenging situation, it may be tempting to immediately consult friends, professionals, or the latest book or article relating to the subject. Although none of these choices are bad in themselves, there is a greater source for guidance and assurance than any of these, and that’s God’s Word.

When Joshua took over the leadership of Israel after Moses’ death, he didn’t form a committee or read up on current leadership strategies. Instead, he relied on the instructions and assurances God gave him: “Be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left” (Josh. 1:7).

Implicit in this command is the obvious truth that we must read the Bible if we want to know what God would have us do. Then we must be careful to obey whatever it says without trying to alter it, soften it, or make excuses for partial obedience.

The Lord also told Joshua not to let God’s Word depart from his mouth but to “meditate on it day and night” (Josh. 1:8). Since our minds are easily distracted and often forgetful, we need more than a quick and perfunctory reading of Scripture. The best approach is to ask God to help us understand what He’s saying in His Word and then take time to think about it.

Biblical meditation isn’t an emptying of our mind but rather a filling of it with God’s Word. As we reflect upon scriptural truths, we gain a greater understanding of our Father’s ways and desires so we’ll know how to proceed according to His will.

Bible in One Year: Leviticus 24-25

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Love Changes Us

 

Bible in a Year:Exodus 39–40; Matthew 23:23–39

At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.

Acts 9:20

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Acts 9:1-22

Before I met Jesus, I’d been wounded so deeply that I avoided close relationships in fear of being hurt more. My mom remained my closest friend, until I married Alan. Seven years later and on the verge of divorce, I toted our kindergartner, Xavier, into a church service. I sat near the exit door, afraid to trust but desperate for help.

Thankfully, believers reached out, prayed for our family, and taught me how to nurture a relationship with God through prayer and Bible reading. Over time, the love of Christ and His followers changed me.

Two years after that first church service, Alan, Xavier, and I asked to be baptized. Sometime later, during one of our weekly conversations, my mom said, “You’re different. Tell me more about Jesus.” A few months passed and she too accepted Christ as her Savior.

Jesus transforms lives . . . lives like Saul’s, one of the most feared persecutors of the church until his encounter with Christ (Acts 9:1–5). Others helped Saul learn more about Jesus (vv. 17–19). His drastic transformation added to the credibility of his Spirit-empowered teaching (vv. 20–22).

Our first personal encounter with Jesus may not be as dramatic as Saul’s. Our life transformation may not be as quick or drastic. Still, as people notice how Christ’s love is changing us over time, we’ll have opportunities to tell others what He did for us.

By Xochitl Dixon

Today’s Reflection

To learn more about growing in your faith, see this free course at christianuniversity.org/SF104.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Kind, Beautiful, and Foolish

In his book The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoevsky sets forth the bold assertion that “beauty will save the world.” The sheer number of ways in which this quote has been applied attests to the risk inherent in the idea, and perhaps inherent in beauty itself. Certainly the church during the Reformation recognized the risks involved in imaging God, using beauty to communicate an incommunicable mystery, the impersonal to describe a Person. For good reason, many are cautious when we hear a statement such as the one in this novel.

But Dostoevsky did not pronounce the idea with the naïveté with which it is often quoted. He did not have in mind the kind of beauty we worship in the fashion or beauty industries nor did he have in mind an impersonal object or a purely abstract notion, a distinct but distant ideal. On the contrary, Dostoevsky entertains the idea in a person, in Myshkin, who lives the quality of beauty as if an inescapable quality of his inmost being. For Myshkin’s inclination is to help rather than to harm, to give mercy rather than malice, forgiving again and again, though surrounded by people who do not. In fact, it is this group who tirelessly labels Myshkin the “idiot” because he refuses to participate in the disparaging and destructive ugliness of their own ways but instead takes what is cruel and repulsive in them and their culture and dispels it. They hate him for it; they believe him a fool. But it is a kind and beautiful foolishness.

I sometimes wonder if we have so stripped away the possibility of actual beauty in our encounters with the divine that we not only miss something real of God and others to behold in the world, but we miss opportunities to show the world the beauty of God—in hands and faces, in people who bestow crowns of beauty instead of ashes, in communities that repair ruined cities instead of causing further devastation.(1) Theologian William Dyrness laments the modern mentality that has somehow lost the sense of the “wholeness that beauty reflects.”(2) We are so mindful of beauty’s limitations; but isn’t it we who are the limited as the depicters of God’s beauty? “[When I look at] the moon and the stars that you have established,” sang David, “what are human beings that you are mindful of them?” (Psalm 8:3). Describing the very wholeness that beauty reflects, Dyrness continues, “Based on God’s continuing presence in the Spirit of Christ, God is somehow present in all beauty.”(3)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Kind, Beautiful, and Foolish

Joyce Meyer – Join the Party

 

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. — Proverbs 15:13

Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful – by Joyce Meyer

When Jesus invited people to become His disciples and follow Him, He asked them if they wanted to join His party. I realize He was talking about His group, but I like to think that traveling with Jesus was probably a lot of fun as well as a lot of hard work.

Repeatedly throughout the gospels, we see Jesus invite people to leave their lifestyles and side with His party, and He is still issuing that invitation today. Yes, there is work to do for the kingdom of God, but thankfully we can have fun while we do it.

When we follow Jesus, we are not going to a solemn assembly or a funeral. We are joining His party that is full of life, peace, and never-ending joy!

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to lay aside the burdens and cares of this world and receive Your joy today. I thank You that You want me to have fun and enjoy the life You have given me. With Your help, I will celebrate Your goodness in my life today and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Children of God

 

“But to all who received Him, He gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust Him to save them” (John 1:12).

My wife, Vonette, had been active in the church since she was a little girl, and I assumed that she was a Christian. However, after my proposal and during our engagement, I realized she had never received Christ, though she was a very moral, religious person.

Because of the emotional involvement, I hesitated to press her to receive Christ because I was afraid she would go through the motions of receiving Him to please me, which certainly would not be pleasing to our Lord. So I asked the Lord to send someone who could introduce her to Christ. He clearly led me to call upon a dear friend, the late Dr. Henrietta Mears, who had played such a vital role in my own spiritual growth.

One day at Forest Home, a Christian conference center in California, Dr. Mears took time to talk with Vonette. “Receiving Christ,” she explained, “is simply a matter of turning your life – your will, your emotions, your intellect – completely over to Him.” With that, the great transaction took place and Vonette became a new creature in Christ.

Similarly, in India, a convert from Hinduism could neither read nor write, so he asked others to read the Bible to him. His favorite verse was John 1:12.

“I have received Him,” he said, “so I have become a son of God.”

Radiantly happy, he returned to his village.

“I have become a son of God,”he proclaimed. And his life was so transformed and his simple witness so effective that the other villagers all wanted to become “sons of God,” too.

That radiant convert led the whole village to Christ – and hundreds of others besides. A poor, illiterate, former Hindu, he realized that he had indeed become a son of God and he longed for others to become sons as well.

Bible Reading:John 1:6-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will make certain first of all that I have truly received Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord by faith – with the intellect, the emotions, the will. Then I will seek to be God’s instrument in helping to introduce others to Him as well.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Jesus’ Heart of Humility

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Jesus is pure; we are greedy.  He is peaceful; we are hassled.  He is spiritual; we are earthbound.  The distance between our hearts and his seems so immense.  How could we ever hope to have the heart of Jesus?

Ready for a surprise?  You already do.  If you have given your life to Jesus, Jesus has given himself to you.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:16, “Strange as it seems, we Christians actually do have within us a portion of the very thoughts and mind of Christ.” God has ambitious plans for us.  The same one who saved your soul longs to remake your heart.  Let’s imagine what it means to be just like Jesus.  Let’s look long into the heart of Christ.  Perhaps in seeing him, we will see what we can become.

Read more Just Like Jesus

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – The ‘State of the Union’ is divided: How should Christians respond?

President Trump delivered the 2019 State of the Union address last night before a joint session of the 116th Congress. I watched the address, then surveyed coverage of it this morning. It is as if there were two different speeches delivered.

The Blaze headlines: “An astounding number of viewers approved of Trump’s State of the Union speech–here are the results.” A Fox columnist claims that “once again, America saw that Trump on the stump is very, very good.”

By contrast, the Washington Post is carrying a column titled “More Trump fantasyland as the world fries.” CNN has an article titled “Critics laugh off Trump’s mispronunciations once again.” Van Jones claimed that the speech was “psychotically incoherent.”

None of this should surprise us.

Who is neutral about the president?

The New Yorker interviewed a Georgetown University scholar this week who called President Trump “an amateur in the White House” and claimed that he “looks hideously weak.” By contrast, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders recently called Mr. Trump “the most productive President in modern history” and claimed, “It’s indisputable that our country has never been stronger than it is today under the leadership of President Trump.”

It seems difficult to find someone who is neutral about the president. The latest poll shows that 39.9 percent of Americans approve of the job he is doing, while 55.6 percent disapprove. Only 4.5 percent are undecided.

Our divisions over the president reflect a growing partisan divide in our country. Pew Research Center asked more than five thousand people about several specific political issues and found that, on average, there was a thirty-six-point gap between Republicans and Democrats. This is up twenty-one points since Pew began tracking these questions twenty-three years earlier.

Continue reading Denison Forum – The ‘State of the Union’ is divided: How should Christians respond?