Charles Stanley –Brokenness: The Plan

 

1 Thessalonians 5:21-23

Humans are born “bent away” from the Lord. Our natural inclination is to please and serve self, which is the opposite of a God-honoring lifestyle. When we become believers, our Father begins to bend our will and ways back towards Him. But we must cooperate and yield to the process; otherwise, we are of little use to the kingdom.

The Lord wants to eradicate every thought pattern and activity promoting dependency on anything other than Him. This means that relying on oneself for security, salvation, or physical and emotional comfort are outside His will. Actions that advance a person at the expense of others are also ungodly.

In areas where we resist bending toward the Lord, He may break us by allowing pain into our life. As a result, we are driven to Him in surrender. To break a person may sound harsh, but God does this work in love. He sees beyond the hurt to the outcome—we will be more mature and faithful servants for having walked through trial (Rom. 8:28). And our loving Father takes each hard step with us, offering guidance and comfort. Seeing the benefits He has brought about through my own hardships, I can honestly thank Him for every period of brokenness I’ve experienced.

The truth is that we all have areas of self-focus that need to be bent or broken by God’s hand. When we honestly look inward to discover wrong habits and thought patterns, our heavenly Father will bring them to our mind. Then, we must surrender to His work in our lives so we can become wise and useful servants.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 6-8

 

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Our Daily Bread — Living in God’s Story

 

Bible in a Year:Numbers 7–8; Mark 4:21–41

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.

Romans 13:12

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Romans 13:8-14

Ernest Hemingway was asked if he could write a compelling story in six words. His response: “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Hemingway’s story is powerful because it inspires us to fill in the details. Were the shoes simply not needed by a healthy child? Or was there a tragic loss—something requiring God’s deep love and comfort?

The best stories pique our imagination, so it’s no surprise that the greatest story ever told stokes the fires of our creativity. God’s story has a central plot: He created all things; we (the human race) fell into sin; Jesus came to Earth and died and rose again to save us from our sins; and we now await His return and the restoration of all things.

Knowing what has come before and what lies ahead, how should we now live? If Jesus is restoring His entire creation from the clutches of evil, we must “put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). This includes turning from sin by God’s power and choosing to love Him and others well (vv. 8–10).

The specific ways we fight with Jesus against evil will depend on what gifts we have and what needs we see. Let’s use our imagination and look around us. Let’s seek out the wounded and weeping, and extend God’s justice, love, and comfort as He guides us.

By Mike Wittmer

Today’s Reflection

Father, may Your kingdom come and may it come in me.

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Joyce Meyer – Good from Bad

 

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. — Genesis 50:20

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

God wants to restore your soul. The closer you get to Him, the more you experience His healing, strengthening, restoring power. He’ll take you back to where your life got off track and make everything right from that moment forward.

Joseph is the classic biblical example of how God takes what was meant for evil against us and works it for our good. In that dramatic scene where Joseph is speaking in Genesis 50:20, he tells his brothers that the evil they meant to do to him (and it was truly evil), God had used for good to save them and their families and hundreds of thousands of others in a time of famine.

In my own life, I cannot truthfully say I am glad I was abused. But through the power of forgiveness and yielding my pain to God, He has healed me and made me a better, stronger, more spiritually powerful and sensitive person. He has restored my soul and driven out the fear and insecurity.

I can trust, love, forgive, and live with simplicity in my approach to life because God has restored my soul, and He can do the same thing for you.

Prayer Starter: Thank You, Father, for being a God of restoration. Right now, I commit all of my pain and disappointments to You. I ask You to take the negative things that have happened in my life—including any difficult circumstances in the present—and work them out for my good. I know You love me and that You always have my best interest in mind. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Kingdom of Heaven

 

“Happy are those who are persecuted because they are good, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs” (Matthew 5:10).

Have you ever been persecuted because of your faith in Christ? If so, how did you respond?

While Francis Xavier was preaching one day in one of the cities of Japan, a man walked up to him as if he had something to say to him privately. As the missionary leaned closer to hear what he had to say, the man spat on his face.

Without a word or the least sign of annoyance, Xavier pulled out a handkerchief and wiped his face. Then he went on with his important message as if nothing had happened. The scorn of the audience was turned to admiration.

The most learned doctor of the city happened to be present.

“A law which teaches men such virtue, inspires them with such courage, and gives them such complete mastery over themselves,” he said, “could not but be from God.”

Supernatural power and enablement by God’s Holy Spirit make that kind of behavior possible for every believer. Furthermore, that kind of behavior probably will do more to attract and influence an unbelieving world than words ever can.

With Christ as our example, love as our motive, and humility as our covering, let us depend on God’s Holy Spirit for the wisdom and strength required to respond to mistreatment in a Christ-like way. Then, and only then, are we in a position to reflect honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible Reading: Matthew 5:7-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Mindful that millions of Christians have died as martyrs getting the message of God’s good news through to men, and remembering that “all who live godly lives in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution, “I will not shrink from whatever the Lord may have in store for me today as His witness. Drawing upon the supernatural resources of God, I will demonstrate by my words and witness that I belong to Christ

 

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