Charles Stanley –Created to Love God

 

Deuteronomy 5:6-11

Jealousy is an undesirable, negative emotion, which is fueled by anger or selfishness. According to James 3:16, “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” From today’s passage, however, we see that there is a different perspective on the word when it’s applied to God: “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Deut. 5:9).

This seems like a contradiction, but jealousy has a second, more positive meaning, which has almost been lost in our modern culture. It describes God’s vigilance in guarding our love for Him. Since we were created to love and worship Him, anything that competes for our devotion is a just cause for His jealousy.

The most important commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27). Without this complete devotion to Him, we will pursue our own interests and neglect godly principles and goals. No idol—whether a person, dream, pursuit, or possession—is worthy of worship. But a holy and just God, whose deep love for mankind moved Him to send His Son Jesus Christ to die in our place, deserves and demands our total love and loyalty.

God hates idols of every kind because He knows anything that draws our attention away from Him is dangerous. In fact, focusing only partially on the Lord is a sure way to stumble, get wrapped up in sin, and miss His blessings. For both our protection and His glory, the heavenly Father calls us to be true to Him by living in an obedient, loving, and worshipful manner.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 17-19

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Out of Context

 

Bible in a Year:Leviticus 15–16; Matthew 27:1–26

She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

John 20:14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:John 20:13-16

As I queued up to board my flight, someone tapped my shoulder. I turned and received a warm greeting. “Elisa! Do you remember me? It’s Joan!” My mind flipped through various “Joans” I’d known, but I couldn’t place her. Was she a previous neighbor? A past coworker? Oh dear . . . I didn’t know.

Sensing my struggle, Joan responded, “Elisa, we knew each other in high school.” A memory rose: Friday night football games, cheering from the stands. Once the context was clarified, I recognized Joan.

After Jesus’s death, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early in the morning and found the stone rolled away and His body gone (John 20:1–2). She ran to get Peter and John, who returned with her to find the tomb empty (vv. 3–10). But Mary lingered outside in her grief (v. 11). When Jesus appeared there, “she did not realize that it was Jesus” (v. 14), thinking He was the gardener (v. 15).

How could she have not recognized Jesus? Was His resurrected body so changed that it was difficult to recognize Him? Did her grief blind her to His identity? Or, perhaps, like me, was it because Jesus was “out of context,” alive in the garden instead of dead in the tomb, that she didn’t recognize Him?

How might we too miss Jesus when He comes into our days—during prayer or Bible reading, or by simply whispering in our hearts?

By Elisa Morgan

Today’s Reflection

Dear God, give us eyes to see Jesus, however He comes—in a familiar context or surprising us in an unexpected one.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Man of Sorrows

“Prosperity, pleasure, and success may be rough of grain and common in fibre, but sorrow is the most sensitive of all created things.”

Those are the words of the famed pleasure seeker, Oscar Wilde. In his De Profundis, written in prison, he wrote with profound earnestness about how much sorrow had taught him. He went on to add, “Where there is sorrow there is holy ground. Some day people will realize what that means. They will know nothing of life till they do.”

As I reflect on those words, I take note first of the one who wrote them. A life of pain was the farthest thing from his mind when he made his choices. In that sense, none of us ever really choose sorrow. But I take note of something else in his words. His claim is bold; he is not merely confessing an idea written across his worldview, but one he insists is written across the world: Sorrow is holy ground and those who do not learn to walk there know nothing of what living means. What he means at the very least is that some of life’s most sacred truths are learned in the midst of sorrow. He learned, for example, that raw unadulterated pleasure for pleasure’s sake is never a fulfilling pleasure. Violation of the sacred in the pursuit of happiness is not truly a source of happiness. In fact, it kills happiness because it can run roughshod over many a victim. Pleasure that profanes is pleasure that destroys.

Sorrow on the other hand—while never pursued—comes into one’s life and compels us to see our own finitude and frailty. It demands of us seriousness and tenderness if we are to live life the way it is meant to be lived. One of the most important things sorrow does is to show us what it needs and responds to. Wilde said it himself: “Sorrow is a wound that bleeds when any hand but that of love touches it, and even then must bleed again, though not in pain.”

Of all the descriptions given about Jesus, there is one that unabashedly stands out to confront us. It is a description uttered by the prophet Isaiah, prodding mind and heart at once: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Like one from whom men hide their faces; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:3). Whether holding glimpses of global suffering or personal pain and loss, Isaiah’s is a fitting description to reflect upon.

Maybe you are at a time in your life when hurt is writ large upon your thoughts. Jesus is not unacquainted with your pain. In fact, he draws near particularly with a hand of love. Your wound may still bleed for a while to remind you of your weakness. But he can help carry the pain to carry you in strength. This could indeed be holy ground for you. It most certainly was for him.

Ravi Zacharias is founder and president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – Start a Blessing Box

 

You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. — Deuteronomy 15:10

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud – by Joyce Meyer

Here’s an idea: Get yourself a big box and start going through your possessions, asking God to show you what you have that you can use to bless others. Fill it up with things that are nice but that you no longer need.

Look in cabinets, drawers, closets, the basement, and the garage. You will fill up your box quickly! Don’t keep something for years in case you ever need it—if you’re anything like me, by the time you need it, you will have forgotten that you have it and go buy another one anyway.

Take the clutter that is frustrating you and turn it into blessings. Keep the box in a handy place and start asking God to show you who needs to be blessed.

One woman I know, who is a radical giver, got all the things together she wanted to use to bless people and displayed them on her kitchen table. She invited several friends over and told them to take anything they wanted from the table. She urged them to keep on taking until everything was gone.

I encourage you to be a giver and look for ways in which you can use what you have to be a blessing to others.

Prayer Starter: Lord, thank You so much for Your goodness and blessings in my life. Help me to always be mindful of other people’s needs and look for creative ways to share Your blessing with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Deliverance from Fears

 

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4, KJV).

Susie seemed outwardly to be a well-poised, lovely young wife and mother with everything under control. She was active in her church and attended other Christian gatherings during the week. But secretly she was filled with fear from which psychologists and psychiatrists with whom she consulted were unable to set her free.

She became very discouraged and depressed. “What can I do?” she asked through her tears. “I have everything to live for and no real reason to be afraid, but my days are consumed with worry and dread and fear, as I anticipate all kinds of evil things happening to me, to my husband , to my children.”

“Do you believe that God in heaven has the power to remove your fears, Susie?” I asked.

“Yes, of course,” she replied.

“Do you believe He loves you?”

“Yes, I believe that.”

“Do you believe He wants to remove that fear from you?” And I read her the above passage.

We turned together to 1 John 5:14, 15: “If we ask anything according to God’s will, He hears and answers.” This is the promise that every believer can claim whenever there is a command or another promise. I asked her if she would like to join with me in a prayer of faith that God would deliver her according to this promise.

Together we prayed, and though there was no immediate, dramatic deliverance, with the passing of days God set her free. Day after day she claimed by faith this and other promises from God’s holy, inspired Word.

Are you plagued with fears? Are your days consumed with worry? Saturate your mind with God’s truth — God’s supernatural promises – and begin to claim by faith this supernatural life which is your heritage in Christ.

Bible Reading:Psalm 34:1-7

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: At the first sign of a fear in my life, I will commit it to the Lord and trust Him for deliverance, and I will seek to help others whose hearts are filled with fear. I will seek to introduce them to the Prince of Peace – the God of all comfort.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Learning to Listen to God

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I believe we can learn to listen to God if we are equipped with the right tools. The first tool is a regular time and place.  Select a slot on your schedule and a corner of your world, and claim it for God. Take enough time to say what you want and for God to say what he wants.

The second tool is an open Bible.  Pray first, asking God to help you understand it.  Study the Bible a little at a time.  Read until a verse “hits” you.  Then meditate on it and write it down.

The third tool is a listening heart.  We know we’re listening when what we read in the Bible is what others see in our lives.  If you want to be just like Jesus, spend time listening for him until you receive your lesson for the day—and then apply it.

Read more Just Like Jesus

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – How to get a marriage license at baggage claim

If you’re planning to get married today in Las Vegas, you can apply for your marriage license here, then pick it up at the baggage claim area at the airport. Alternately, if you or your travel partner is named “Valentine,” you can get free air travel to Iceland today.

A “Smooches from Pooches” kissing boooth is waiting for you at Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina. Master violinist Patrick Contreras will serenade you at Fresno Yosemite International Airport in California. If you forgot to get a Valentine’s Day card for your loved one, you might head to Chicago Midway Airport, where they’re distributing free cards today.

“Love others like God loves them.”

As Janet Denison noted in her blog, the history and legends surrounding Valentine’s Day remind us that today is “a perfect holiday to allow God to use you as a witness to his perfect love. Love God with everything in you. Love others like God loves them. Let people know you are a Christian this Valentine’s Day by sharing God’s perfect love with them.”

God’s word repeatedly calls us to love as we are loved:

  • “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34; cf. John 15:12).
  • “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
  • “Love one another with brotherly affection” (Romans 12:10).
  • “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly” (1 Peter 4:8).

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