Charles Stanley –Protection Through Strengthening

 

2 Timothy 4:9-18

When he wrote to timothy, the apostle Paul was in prison, where he experienced physical discomfort, personal attack, and desertion. For what reason would the Lord allow one of His most faithful servants to endure such suffering? Why didn’t He step in and protect him?

At times God doesn’t pull us out of hard situations, because He has a different plan. We may feel as if He’s abandoning us, but in reality, He is protecting us—not by deliverance but through strengthening.
When trouble and pain pay us a visit, we should seek to view the situation from God’s perspective, by asking ourselves these questions:

  • Which is a greater demonstration of the Lord’s power—changing something around me or changing something within my heart?
    Which is the greater faith builder—seeing God’s deliverance from every difficulty or experiencing His presence and strengthening in the midst of trials?
    Which reward is greater—immediate relief from discomfort or tested and refined faith that will result in praise and glory when Christ returns (1 Peter 1:7)?
    Which answer to prayer is greater—that God has removed something and given me external peace, or that He’s left me in a trial and given an internal peace that nothing can steal, not even my circumstances?

Does God have to fix something for you to be happy? If He removes the situation, you may never learn that He is sufficient for everything you need. Instead, let Him change you, and you’ll discover His joy in whatever circumstance comes your way.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 3-5

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Discovering My True Self

 

Bible in a Year:Leviticus 6–7; Matthew 25:1–30

We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

1 John 3:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 16:1-11

Who am I? That’s the question a faded stuffed animal asks himself in the children’s book Nothing by Mick Inkpen. Left in a dusty corner of an attic, the animal hears movers call him “nothing” and thinks that’s his name: Nothing.

Encounters with other animals spark memories. Nothing realizes that he used to have a tail, whiskers, and stripes. But it’s not until he meets a tabby cat who helps him find his way home that Nothing remembers who he truly is: a stuffed cat named Toby. His owner lovingly restores him, sewing on new ears, tail, whiskers, and stripes.

Whenever I read this book, I think about my own identity. Who am I? John, writing to believers, said that God has called us His children (1 John 3:1). We don’t fully understand that identity, but when we see Jesus, we will be like him (v. 2). Just like Toby the cat, we will one day be restored to the identity intended for us, which has been marred by sin. For now, we can understand that identity in part, and we can recognize the image of God in each other. But one day, when we see Jesus, we will be fully restored to the identity God intended for us. We will be made new.

By Amy Peterson

Today’s Reflection

Where do I find my identity? According to Scripture, how does God view me?

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Hold Your Tongue

 

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. — Psalm 34:13

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of The Mind Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

“You really have the gift of gab,” one man told me many years ago, when I first started in the ministry. He had pointed out something that I already knew: God had given me “a ready tongue.” That is, I speak easily. Words are my tools. The Lord first gave me that gift, and then He called me into the ministry to use that ability to work for Him.

I have no trouble talking. That’s my gift; that’s also been my greatest problem. Because I seem to always have something to say, I have struggled many, many years over the right use of my tongue. It has not been an easy battle.

Over the years, I heard various people saying things like, “Hold your tongue.” “Do you have to speak every word that comes to your mind?” “Do you always speak first and think later?” “Must you sound so harsh?”

Had I truly listened to what people were saying, I might have realized that God was trying to tell me something. But I ignored their comments and continued in my own stubborn ways. I know I have wounded people with my words in the past, and I am sorry for that. I’m also grateful that God has forgiven me.

Several years ago, I realized that if God was going to use my life, I had to gain control of my tongue—not to just stop talking, but to keep my tongue from evil, and my lips from speaking deceit, as the psalmist David says.

I had a choice. I could hurt people with my words—and I could do that well—or I could bring my lips into subjection to God. Obviously, I wanted to be subject to the Lord, but it was still a battle.

Our words are expressions of our hearts—of what’s going on inside us. If we want to know who a person really is, all we need to do is listen to their words. If we listen long enough, we learn a lot about them.

As I learned to listen to my own words, I also began to learn a lot about myself. Some of the things I learned did not please me, but they did help me realize that I had a character flaw that needed to be addressed. My words were not pleasing God, and I wanted them to. Once I confessed my failure to God, the victory came—not all at once and not perfectly, but God is patient with me. I’m growing, and part of my growth is keeping my lips from evil.

No matter how negative you are or have been, or how long you’ve been that way, God wants to change you. In the early days after my confession to God, I still failed more often than I succeeded, but every time I did succeed, I knew I was closer to God’s plan for my life. God can do the same for you.

It won’t be easy, but you can win. And the effort will be worth it.

Prayer Starter: Lord, help me use my mouth for right things. Put a watch over my mouth lest I sin against You with my tongue (see Psalm 141:3). Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You (see Psalm 19:14). I ask it in Jesus’ wonderful name. Amen

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Heavens Declare God’s Glory

 

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of His craftmanship” (Psalm 19:1).

When King David was a small lad, his father assigned him the care of the sheep. Day after day, night after night he cared for his sheep as a loving shepherd. No doubt on numerous occasions he would lie on his back and look up at the sun and the vastness of space, during the daytime. At night, the stars and the moon would seem so close that he could almost reach them, as he would talk to the God of his fathers.

The vast expanse of creation captivated him, and instinctively he knew that God, who created it all, was his God and he could trust Him with his life, so that just before he went against the giant Goliath he could say to King Saul, “When I am taking care of my father’s sheep and a lion or a bear comes and grabs a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club…I’ve done it to this heathen Philistine too, for he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who saved me from the claws and teeth of the lion and the bear will save me from this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:34-37). When David went out against Goliath, he said to the giant, “You come to me with a sword and a spear, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of the armies of heaven and of Israel” (1 Samuel 17:45). Then with a sling and a stone, he killed the Philistine.

I personally believe David triumphed because his confidence in God came not only from the teachings of the holy Scriptures, but also from the experience that he had had with God, who created all the heavens and the earth.

Bible Reading:Psalm 19:2-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will make a special point to study the vastness of God’s creation through books about science and to take time – not only in Scriptures, but also in books of science — to notice the handiwork of God’s beautiful creation, conscious that it will help me to become more sensitive and alert to the needs of others.

 

http://www.cru.org