Charles Stanley –The Purpose of Equipping

 

Ephesians 4:11-16

Have you given any serious thought lately to what the purpose of your life is? Our culture is full of distractions and activities that appear to promise fulfillment or pleasure. So it is easy to forget that we are living on this earth for God’s glory and purposes, not our own.

Besides endowing us with spiritual gifts to use in carrying out our calling, the Lord also gives the church gifted women and men who are entrusted with the responsibility of equipping believers (Eph. 4:11-12). This prepares us …

To serve in the body (Eph. 4:12). The church is edified when we each use our spiritual gifts to serve one another.

To attain the unity of the faith and knowledge of Christ (v. 13). This is the establishment of sound doctrine and truth by which the church is grounded and unified.

To achieve spiritual maturity (v. 13). Knowing truth helps us grow in Christlikeness and protects us from being deceived by false teaching (Eph. 4:14).

To hold fast to Christ as the head of the church (Eph. 4:15-16). When the believers are equipped by godly pastors through the Word of God and each one does his part in working together, the whole church functions according to Christ’s headship. Then the entire body exhibits growth that is from the Lord.

While God does give many things for our enjoyment, to live only for life’s pleasures is shortsighted; doing so would result in great disappointment when we stand before Christ to give an account of our life. But living with God’s purposes in mind will ultimately glorify Him and prove most satisfying.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 31-32

 

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Our Daily Bread — A Purpose in Pain?

 

Bible in a Year:Numbers 28–30; Mark 8:22–38

[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Corinthians 1:3-7

When Siu Fen discovered she had kidney failure and would need dialysis for the rest of her life, she wanted to give up. Retired and single, the longtime believer in Jesus saw no point in prolonging her life. But friends convinced her to persevere and go for dialysis and trust in God to help her.

Two years later, she found her experience coming into play when she visited a friend from church with a debilitating disease. The woman felt alone, as few could truly understand what she was going through. But Siu Fen was able to identify with her physical and emotional pain and could connect with her in a personal way. Her own journey enabled her to walk alongside the woman, giving her a special measure of comfort others couldn’t. “Now I see how God can still use me,” she said.

It can be hard to understand why we suffer. Yet God can use our affliction in unexpected ways. As we turn to Him for comfort and love in the midst of trials, it also empowers us to help others. No wonder Paul learned to see purpose in his own suffering: It gave him the opportunity to receive God’s comfort, which he could then use to bless others (2 Corinthians 1:3–­5). We’re not asked to deny our pain and suffering, but we can take heart in God’s ability to use it for good.

By Leslie Koh

Today’s Reflection

How has God used you to bring comfort to another? How has your faith helped you to persevere?

 

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Streams in the Desert for Kids – We Could Make Beautiful Music

 

2 Corinthians 11:2

A young man carefully held his kora harp in his hands. “If I were marooned on a desert island, the one thing I’d want with me is this harp,” he said.

The kora harp is a West African instrument and has twenty-one strings. Each string is attached to a tuning peg on a long neck of the harp. The young man held the instrument between his knees and, with his hands on two handholds on either side of the neck, plucked the strings to make a beautiful sound. As he plucked the strings, he often stopped to tighten or loosen one of those twenty-one tuning pegs. He knew exactly which string was out of tune. Most who listened had no idea there was anything wrong with the string, but the young man who knows his instrument well, and who is a master at playing this instrument, knew the sound it made could be better than it was. He loved his harp. He understood it and he wanted its music to be perfect.

That’s the way God is with us. He loves us so much, just like the kora harpist loves his instrument. He knows all about us. He knows when we are living a true life and when we are faking it. He knows what our lives can be if we let him correct us and tune us so we make music that is harmonious with his will for our lives. And he will never leave us. He’ll be close by to help us, always.

Dear Lord, Help me to let you change me into who you want me to be. I want to make beautiful music with my life. Let my life be like a love song to you. Tune me up so no ugly or unkind words come from my mouth. Thank you, Father, for loving me so much. Amen.

Joyce Meyer – Expect Something New

 

O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. — Psalm 5:3

From the book Starting Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

If you get up and do the exact same thing every morning, you may get pretty bored after a month or so. But seeking God when you first wake up is never boring. He will always have a new revelation ready for you to hear.

Keep your expectation fresh by changing what you do in your time with God. You might worship the Lord with singing one morning, listen to Christian music another morning, read God’s Word the third morning, and simply sit in His presence the following morning.

Let the Holy Spirit lead you as you learn to enjoy starting your day with God.

Prayer Starter: Father, I long to develop an even more intimate relationship with You. Help me to make a habit of spending time with You, knowing You have something new and exciting waiting for me each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Only Way

 

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the Way – yes, and the Truth and the life. No one can get to the Father except by means of Me'” (John 14:6).

Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, was conducting a great city-wide campaign in Tokyo and asked me to be in charge of the student phase of the crusade. So day after day, for more than a month, I spoke to thousands of students on many campuses, presenting the claims of Christ and challenging the students to receive Him as their Savior and Lord.

Many thousands responded, but occasionally a student would object and say that Jesus had no relevance for the Japanese – that Christianity is for the Westerner, not for the Asian. They were surprised when I reminded them that Jesus was born and reared in and carried out His ministry in the Middle East and that He was in many ways closer to them culturally and geographically that He was to me.

I reminded them, and I want to remind you, that though the Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth, in what is now Israel, He came to this world to die for all people in all lands.

The Scripture reminds us, “Whosoever will may come.” In addition to coming to Him for salvation, Christians have the privilege of coming to God the Father a thousand times, and more, each day in prayer in the name of Jesus. This is because He is our mediator, unlike anyone else who has ever lived – Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius. No other religious leader died for us and was raised from the dead.

Jesus alone can bridge the great chasm between the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man, because He personally has paid the penalty for our sins. God proved His love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still in our sins.

Bible Reading: John 14:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will ask the Holy Spirit to examine my heart to see if there be any wicked way in me, so that I can confess and turn from my sin. I will visualize our mediator – the Lord Jesus Christ – seated at the right hand of God making intercession for me. I will also ask the Lord to lead me today to someone who does not yet know our Savior, that I may share with him or her the most joyful news ever announced.

 

http://www.cru.org