Charles Stanley – God Rules in Your Circumstances

 

Philippians 1:12-18

If you could change your circumstances, would you? Most of us would respond in the affirmative. Even if we’re experiencing relatively peaceful and comfortable conditions, we can always imagine a better life. And for those of us enduring difficult, painful, or trying situations, we long to see the burden lifted.

In reality, there are some circumstances over which we have no control. We can’t maneuver our way out, so our only option is to go through them. However, if we are redeemed children of God, we are exactly where He wants us, because His sovereignty rules over all our situations at all times.

This was true for Paul despite his being imprisoned, chained, and watched by the Roman guard. After a fruitful ministry of proclaiming the gospel and founding churches throughout the Roman Empire, he found himself under house arrest. But even during these difficult circumstances, God remained in control, and His work in and through Paul hadn’t stopped.

What seemed like a very negative aspect of the apostle’s life—being chained and watched—turned out to be the means God used to deliver the gospel to the entire praetorian guard. Paul’s imprisonment also prompted other believers to boldly proclaim Christ. Some did it out of love while others acted in envy; but in both cases, the goal of spreading the gospel was accomplished.

The same sovereign God who used Paul’s circumstances for His purposes can do so with yours. But like the apostle, you’ll have to trust that the Lord will comfort and strengthen you to endure, and yes, even to rejoice.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 26-27

 

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Our Daily Bread — Atmosphere of Encouragement

 

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 21–22; Matthew 28

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.

Romans 15:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Romans 15:1-7

I’m encouraged every time I visit the fitness center near our house. In that busy place, I’m surrounded by others who are striving to improve their physical health and strength. Posted signs remind us not to judge each other, but words and actions that reveal support for others’ conditioning efforts are always welcomed.

What a great picture of how things should look in the spiritual realm of life! Those of us who are striving to “get in shape” spiritually, to grow in our faith, can sometimes feel as if we don’t belong because we’re not as spiritually fit—as mature in our walk with Jesus—as someone else.

Paul gave us this short, direct suggestion: “Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). And to the believers in Rome he wrote: “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up” (Romans 15:2). Recognizing that our Father is so lovingly gracious with us, let’s show God’s grace to others with encouraging words and actions.

As we “accept one another” (v. 7), let’s entrust our spiritual growth to God—to the work of His Spirit. And while we daily seek to follow Him, may we create an atmosphere of encouragement for our brothers and sisters in Jesus as they also seek to grow in their faith.

By Dave Branon

Today’s Reflection

Lord, help me today to encourage others along the way. Guide me to say what will not discourage but will spur them toward a deeper walk with You in Your love.

 

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Joyce Meyer – Absolute Faith

 

For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] and of the love which you [have and show] for all the saints (God’s consecrated ones). — Colossians 1:4 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Power Thoughts Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

God’s will is for us to live by faith. You might be thinking of how far you have to go in order to be all God wants you to be, and you feel overwhelmed. Your mind wants to think, This is just too much; I will never be able to do all He needs.

This is where faith comes in. You can think, I don’t know how I am going to do it, but I am expecting God’s help. With God, all things are possible.

Just get started and keep going day after day. Be encouraged by any progress you make and refuse to be discouraged by how far you think you still have to go. God is pleased that you are on your way to perfection (see Philippians 3:12).

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for Your love and faithfulness in my life as I continue to grow in You. Help me to keep moving forward even when it doesn’t feel like I’m making progress. Help me to stay focused on You, knowing that You can do the impossible in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Singing Heart

 

“And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp and Saul would feel better, and the evil spirit would go away” (I Samuel 16:23).

King Saul had disobeyed God and the spirit of the Lord had left him. Instead, the Lord had sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear. As a result, some of Saul’s aides sent for David, who was not only a talented harp player but was handsome, brave and strong and had good, solid judgment. What is more, the Lord was with him.

Every believer experiences warfare between flesh and spirit. As an act of the will we decide whether we are going to allow the flesh or the Spirit to control our lives. One of the best ways to cause an evil spirit to go away is to listen to music of praise and worship and thanksgiving to God. The language of heaven is praise. Listen to music that causes your heart to sing praises to God. Also, saturate your mind with the Word of God. The psalms especially exalt and honor God and express the praise of the psalmist.

I like to begin the day praising God on my knees. During the course of the day, I listen to cassette tapes of praise music as well as recorded portions of Scripture that are appropriate and sermons that are helpful.

Are you discouraged, depressed, frustrated? Have problems in your life caused you to feel that God has left you? If so, may I encourage you to begin to praise the Lord. Purchase cassettes that honor our Lord, that cause your heart to sing and make melody to the Lord, and play them over and over again.

Bible Reading:Psalm 92:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will make a special point of praising the Lord not only through the reading of psalms but also by listening to music of praise. I will remember that praise is one of the expressions of a life that is lived in the supernatural power of God.

 

http://www.cru.org