Charles Stanley – A Gift for Every Believer

 

1 Peter 4:10-11

Even though the Bible clearly states that every believer receives a spiritual gift, some people nevertheless think they were overlooked. So these men and women meander through life refusing opportunities to serve. Other folks are so busy wishing they had a different ability that they do not use the one bestowed by the Holy Spirit. Both of these attitudes hinder the body of Christ.

God has a specific purpose and ministry for every Christian. Our spiritual gifts help us to fulfill His plan. We learn which one (or ones) we possess by getting involved in the life of the church. In other words, a believer will know his divinely appointed abilities when he begins to exercise them.

Moreover, the Lord has a purpose in mind when He bestows spiritual gifts on His children. Christians are to exercise their special skills for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7), and everyone profits when believers do God’s work though the power of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are used in a variety of ways, including to equip, edify, and encourage one another (Eph. 4:11-13).

To appreciate how various gifts work to build up the body of Christ, we may have to broaden our understanding of words like evangelist, prophet, and teacher. Biblically, these terms describe co-laborers who share Christ, spiritual mentors who explain biblical truths to new believers, friends who uplift the discouraged, and others doing similar work.

Every member of the Christian fellowship is important, and each one has a task to do. Where God has gifted us and opened doors of opportunity for ministry, He also provides the strength and courage to exercise our abilities.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 14-16

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Battle

 

Bible in a Year:Leviticus 14; Matthew 26:51–75

But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.

Psalm 39:7

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 39:1-7

As artillery rounds fell around him with an earth-shaking whoomp, the young soldier prayed fervently, “Lord, if you get me through this, I’ll go to that Bible school Mom wanted me to attend.” God honored his focused prayer. My dad survived World War II, went to Moody Bible Institute, and invested his life in ministry.

Another warrior endured a different kind of crisis that drove him to God, but his problems arose when he avoided combat. As King David’s troops fought the Ammonites, David was back at his palace casting more than just a glance at another man’s wife (see 2 Samuel 11). In Psalm 39, David chronicles the painful process of restoration from the terrible sin that resulted. “The turmoil within me grew worse,” he wrote. “The more I thought about it, the hotter I got” (vv. 2–3 nlt).

David’s broken spirit caused him to reflect: “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is” (v. 4). Amid his renewed focus, David didn’t despair. He had nowhere else to turn. “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you” (v. 7). David would survive this personal battle and go on to serve God.

What motivates our prayer life doesn’t matter as much as the focus of our prayer. Godis our source of hope. He wants us to share our heart with Him.

By Tim Gustafson

Today’s Reflection

Father, our hope is in You. Forgive us for seeking answers apart from You. Draw us close to You today.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – From the Fringes

Author A.J. Jacobs admits that he was agnostic before he even knew what the word meant. For all the good God seemed to invoke, the potential for abuse was far too high in his mind for God to be taken seriously. In a book exploring religion and religiousness, Jacobs describes an uncle who seemed to confirm this for him. Dabbling religiously in nearly every religion, his uncle went through a phase where he decided to take the Bible completely literally. Thus, heeding the Bible’s command in Deuteronomy 14:25 to secure money in one’s hand, he tied bills to his palms. Heeding the biblical command to wear fringes at the corners of one’s garment, he bought yarn from a kitting shop, made a bunch of tassels, and attached them to every corner he could find on his clothes.(1) While his uncle sought faithfulness to the letter, Jacobs was left with the impression that his uncle was “subtly dangerous.”

There are certainly sections of the Bible that when stripped of context and read in a lifeless vacuum can lead a mind to extremes. Like Jacobs, it is easy to conclude that religion and religiousness are completely ridiculous; or like his uncle, it is possible to assume complete literalism and run in ridiculous directions. The practice of making and wearing tassels on the corners of one’s garment, for instance, commanded in Numbers 15:37, is one such peculiar biblical decree easily dismissed in the name of reason or disemboweled in the name of faithfulness. Yet neither response truly yields an honest view of the command.

In fact, what seems an entirely curious fashion tip for the people of Israel was a common sight in many ancient Near Eastern cultures. Fringed garments were considered ornamental and illustrative of the owner; they were also were thought to hold certain spiritual significances.(2) In Assyria and Babylonia, for instance, fringes were believed to assure the wearer of the protection of the gods. Thus, God’s command of the Israelites to “make fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations” took something familiar to the nations and gave it new significance for the nation God called his own. “39You will have the fringe so that, when you see it, you will remember all the commandments of the LORD and do them, and not follow the lust of your own heart and your own eyes” (Numbers 15:39). Like many of the commands and rituals described in Jewish and Christian Scriptures, the instruction of tassels is about remembrance. The perpetual presence of fringe and tassel was a tangible reminder that all of life, not only moments of piety or prayer, was an opportunity to be in the presence of God. To miss the rich substance of this divine petition is to miss it—and its petitioner—entirely.

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Joyce Meyer – Fear Not!

 

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. — Psalm 27:1-2

Adapted from the resource The Confident Woman – by Joyce Meyer

Satan is a liar. He lies to people and places images on the picture screen of their minds that show defeat and embarrassment. For this reason, we need to know God’s promises (His Word) so we can cast down the lies of the enemy and refuse to listen to him.

Fear seems to be an epidemic in our society. Are you afraid of anything? Is it rejection, failure, the past, the future, loneliness, driving, aging, the dark, heights, life, or death? The list of fears that people experience can be endless.

Satan never runs out of new fears to place in any individual’s life. At least not until they firmly make their mind up that they will not live in fear.

You can trade in pain and paralysis for power and excitement. Don’t allow feelings of any kind to dominate you, but instead remember that God says, “Fear not.” We must be determined that we will obey Him in this area. Fear may present itself as a feeling, but if we refuse to bow down to it, that is all it is… a feeling!

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to “fear not” as I go about my day. When I am anxious, nervous, worried or fearful, remind me of Your great love. Help me to lean on Your Word and constantly expose the lies of the enemy. Thank You for being with me today and always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Bears and He Gives

 

“What a glorious Lord! He who daily bears our burdens also gives us our salvation” (Psalm 68:19).

Did it ever occur to you that you are disobeying God when you carry your own burdens, when you are worried, frustrated and confused over circumstances? That is exactly what God’s Word says.

In 1 Peter 5:7, God gives a specific command to His children, “Cast…all your cares upon Him; for He careth for you” (KJV). Not to cast all of one’s cares upon the Lord is to disobey Him and to deny oneself that supernatural walk with God among men.

Is it not logical to believe that He who loved us so much that He was willing to give His only begotten Son would also be faithful to keep His promise to bear our burdens daily?

As the psalmist so aptly states, the Lord bears our burdens on a daily basis for the believer, the day will never come when God fails to carry our load, to strengthen us, to impart power to us through His indwelling Holy Spirit – if we but ask.

Marvel of marvels, the psalmist points out, our heavenly Father not only is our great burden-bearer; He is also the very one who gives us our salvation and the assurance of eternal life. How could anyone ask for more!

With the sure knowledge that our sins are forgiven (salvation) and the assurance that He knows all about every burden we face – more important, He bears them for us – our lives should reflect honor and glory to Him by the way in which we share His blessings and the message of His great love with others.

Provision for the supernatural life is promised in the Old Testament as well as the New, as evidenced by this glorious promise in the Psalms.

Bible Reading:Psalm 68:15-18

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will take careful inventory of my burdens and my worries and be sure that I am casting them all on the Lord with the certain knowledge that He cares for me. I will also encourage those around me to cast their cares upon the Lord.

 

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Max Lucado – Spending Time With God

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Some of us have tried to have a daily quiet time with God and have not been successful.  And all of us are busy.  So we let others tell us what God is saying. Isn’t that why we pay preachers?  Isn’t that why we read Christian books?  If that is your approach, your spiritual experiences are second-hand.  Do you do that with other parts of your life—vacation, romance, eating?  I don’t think so.  There are certain things no one can do for you.

When God asks for your attention, he doesn’t want you to send a substitute.  He invites you to vacation in his splendor.  He invites you to feel the touch of his hand. He invites you to feast at his table.  He wants to spend time with you.  And with a little training, your time with God can be the highlight of your day.

Read more Just Like Jesus

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Why was a newborn baby in a storm drain?

The good news: A newborn baby was pulled from a storm drain in South Africa on Monday. Emergency responders heard a baby crying from deep inside the concrete structure. After working four hours to dig up the area and chisel into the drain, they were able to rescue the baby.

The bad news: according to the Associated Press, paramedics say “it is unclear why the baby was ‘dumped’ and . . . police are investigating.”

The good news: Smithsonian Magazine reports that “Southern California will soon see another booming superbloom.” If rains continue, the desert landscape will come alive with blossoming wild poppies, verbena, lilies, primroses, prickly pear, and dozens of other species of ephemeral native spring wildflowers. Rare species that only bloom every few years or decades may appear.

The bad news: the “superbloom” will result from recent, massive wildfires that created the heat and smoke necessary for the flowers to germinate.

The good news: tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, a wonderful day of celebration with those we love.

The bad news: tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, a difficult day of grief for those who have lost someone they love.

A day I’ll never forget

This week, we’ve been discussing the painful issue of innocent suffering. From clergy abuse scandals to natural disasters and diseases, such suffering makes the news every day. Judging by the response of our readers, this is an issue that resonates deeply with us all.

On Monday, we prayed for victims of clergy sexual abuse. Yesterday, we focused on ways God can redeem our suffering as we trust him in hard places.

Today, I’d like us to consider one of the most significant yet overlooked ways our Lord helps those who hurt.

When my father died ten days before Christmas during my senior year of college, a friend from school drove across town the next day and spent the day with me. He didn’t offer advice or theological wisdom. He was just there. I’ll never forget his presence.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Why was a newborn baby in a storm drain?