Charles Stanley – The Sufficiency of God’s Grace

 

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

The Lord pledges to give us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). It’s a promise He always keeps. Yet when life hits us hard, we may be tempted to doubt and give up. If our faith starts to waver, we need to think about what we have already received from Him and then look for evidence that He’s at work.

We should remember that we’ve been freed from sin’s penalty. Because Jesus paid the full price by dying on the cross in our place, we owe nothing for our wrongdoing. God now regards us as blameless—at salvation, we each became a new creation and were given Christ’s righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30). Originally, we were headed toward permanent separation from the Lord, but our eternal destiny has been changed to a heavenly home in His presence. And God’s Holy Spirit lives within us as our constant companion and source of strength.

We also should keep in mind that even in the worst of situations, our Father works to accomplish His will. Joseph experienced betrayal when his brothers sold him into slavery, and later he suffered injustice when imprisoned for doing the right thing. In the end, he realized that the Lord had graciously used those circumstances to rescue his family from a life-threatening famine (Gen. 45:5). In a similar way, God uses adversity to develop our character and dependence on Him. He works through trials to bless us and others.

Because of the Lord’s sustaining grace, we have access to His power, wisdom, and guidance. When we ask, God’s Spirit will provide the strength to persevere and help us fight doubt.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 15-17

 

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Our Daily Bread — Working off Bad Information

 

Bible in a Year:Numbers 15–16; Mark 6:1–29

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.

Proverbs 23:12

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Proverbs 23:9-12

On a recent trip to New York City, my wife and I wanted to brave a snowy evening and hire a taxi for a three-mile ride from our hotel to a Cuban restaurant. After entering the details into the taxi service’s app, I gulped hard when the screen revealed the price for our short jaunt: $1,547.26. After recovering from the shock, I realized I had mistakenly requested a ride to our home—several hundred miles away!

If you’re working with the wrong information, you’re going to end up with disastrous results. Always. This is why Proverbs encourages us to “apply [our] heart to instruction and [our] ears to words of knowledge”—God’s wisdom (Proverbs 23:12). If we instead seek advice from those who are foolish, those who pretend to know more than they do and who have turned their back on God, we’ll be in trouble. They “scorn . . . prudent words” and can lead us astray with unhelpful, misguided, or even deceptive advice (v. 9).

Instead, we can bend our “ears to words of knowledge” (v. 12). We can open our heart and receive God’s liberating instruction, words of clarity and hope. When we listen to those who know the deep ways of God, they help us receive and follow divine wisdom. And God’s wisdom will never lead us astray but always encourages and leads us toward life and wholeness.

By Winn Collier

Today’s Reflection

God, bend my ears and heart toward wisdom. Help me be open to Your truth and push away every kind of foolishness.

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Find Friends Who Hear God

 

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. — Proverbs 27:17

Adapted from the resource Hearing from God Each Morning Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

If we listen, God will speak to us about our relationships—our marriages, friendships, business associations, and even casual acquaintances. He may ask us to sever friendships or relationships with people who can tempt us to stray from His plan for our lives.

We can easily become like those we spend time with. If we spend time with people who are selfish and self-centered, we may soon find ourselves often focused on ourselves, thinking about what we can do or get for ourselves. In contrast, God may encourage us to make friends with someone who is a giver. If we spend time with such a person, before long, we will be givers, too.

It is enjoyable and beneficial to spend time with someone who really hears from God, someone who truly senses what the Holy Spirit is saying and doing. It is not fun to spend time with people who are dull in their spiritual hearing, and we can tell when we are with someone like that.

The verse for today says that “iron sharpens iron,” and we can sharpen our ability to hear the right things by being with people who practice listening for God’s voice and obeying Him.

Prayer Starter: Father, I lift my relationships up to you. Help me to know who I should spend time with—the people who will influence me in a positive way and deepen my relationship with You. Help me to also be a positive influence in the lives of others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Great and Mighty Things

 

“Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3, KJV).

How long has it been since you have prayed for great and mighty things – for the glory and praise of God?

I find in God’s Word at least six excellent reasons you and I should pray for “great and mighty things”: to glorify God; to communicate with God; for fellowship with God; because of Christ’s example; to obtain results; and to provide spiritual nurture.

There is a sense in which I pray without ceasing, talking to God hundreds of times in the course of the day about everything. I pray for wisdom about the numerous decisions I must make, for the salvation of friends and strangers, the healing of the sick and the spiritual and material needs of the Campus Crusade for Christ ministry – as well as for the needs of the various members of the staff and leaders of other Christian organizations and the needs of their ministries.

I pray for the leaders of our nation and for those in authority over us at all levels of government. I even pray about the clothes I wear, on the basis of the people I am to meet – that the way I dress, as well as my words and actions, will bring glory to God.

But there is another sense in which there is a set-apart time each day for prayer – I often kneel quietly before the open Bible and talk with God as I read His Word.

Before I begin to read the Bible, I ask the Holy Spirit, who inspired its writing, to make my reading meaningful. Throughout the reading I often pause to thank God for His loving salvation and provision, to confess the lack in my own life revealed by the Scriptures, to ask Him for the boldness and faith His apostles displayed and to thank Him for new insights into His divine strategy for reaching the world with the gospel.

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 33:4-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will call unto God, expecting Him to show me great and mighty things beyond anything I have ever experienced, for His glory and for the blessing of those about me, that they may know that God does supernatural things in response to the faith and obedience of His children.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – A Hope-Filled Heart

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Jesus said, “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.  If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar.”

In Gethsemane, Jesus faced betrayal on all levels.  The disciples ran away.  The people rejected him.  And God didn’t answer his anguished appeal to avoid “the cup of suffering.”  So, what did Christ do?  He found enough good in the face of Judas to call him friend, and he can help us do the same with those who hurt us.  He found purpose in the pain, seeing it as a necessary part of God’s greater plan.

Wouldn’t you love to have a hope-filled heart? God never promises to remove us from our struggles.  He does promise, however, to change the way we look at them.

Read more Just Like Jesus

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Christian receives $21 million after 39 years in prison

 

Craig Richard Coley was twenty-three years old when he moved to Simi Valley, California. A Vietnam veteran and the son of a retired Los Angeles police officer, he was newly married with no criminal record.

Coley managed several restaurants over the years. After a divorce, he dated for a time Rhonda Wicht, a twenty-four-year-old waitress who shared an apartment with her four-year-old son, Donald.

On November 11, 1978, Wicht and her son were killed in their beds. Coley, who had broken up with her, was arrested and charged with their murders. After two trials, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Both of his parents died while he was imprisoned.

Talking to an innocent man

Meanwhile, Michael Bender had started a career as a police officer. In 1989, he looked into the Coley case and was shocked by what he found. Coley’s alibi seemed strong; there were viable suspects who were never pursued; and hair and fingerprint evidence was not analyzed properly and then went missing.

Two years later, Bender met Coley in prison and knew he was talking to an innocent man. “In dealing with a lot of bad guys over the years, there are mannerisms and body language you come to know. He didn’t have that,” Bender explained.

In 1991, his superiors ordered him to stop pursuing Coley’s case or face termination, so he quit his job and became a theft investigator. In 2003, he moved his family to Carlsbad, California, where he continued to pursue the case in his spare time.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Christian receives $21 million after 39 years in prison