Charles Stanley – Listening to our Appetites

 

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

What words would you say describe our society? Materialistic, sensual, impatient, indulgent, undisciplined—these are just a few. We’re also a “have it now” culture. Satan specializes in presenting us with opportunities for instant gratification while promising that indulging our appetites will bring us satisfaction.

Human appetites in themselves are not sinful. In fact, they’re God-given. However, because we are human, we can’t always trust them. When our appetites have complete authority, we’re in trouble. The apostle Paul likened the Christian life to that of athletes who are so focused on winning the race that they devote every aspect of their lives to that goal.

That’s how we’re called to live, yet we lack the power to do so in our own strength—and sometimes the motivation as well. For this reason, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit within us. If we yield our lives to Him and obey, He will be our strength, and we can say no when fleshly desires feel overpowering (Gal. 5:16).

Another key to success is keeping our focus on the eternal instead of the temporal. Many decisions that seem mundane are, in fact, spiritually significant. Are you indulging an appetite that could result in the sacrifice of an imperishable reward in heaven?

When the enemy tempts us, he tries to keep our attention on our desire and the pleasure of indulgence rather than on the eternal rewards and blessings we’re forfeiting. Just remind yourself how quickly immediate gratification wanes and how long eternity lasts.

Bible in One Year: Joshua 1-3

 

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Our Daily Bread — When You’re Not Chosen

 

Bible in a Year:Numbers 34–36; Mark 9:30–50

Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias.

Acts 1:26

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Acts 1:15-26

My friend’s Facebook post announced he had finished a project. Others congratulated him, but his post knifed my heart. That project was supposed to be mine. I had been passed over, and I wasn’t sure why.

Poor Joseph. He was passed over by God, and he knew why. Joseph was one of two men in the running to replace Judas. The disciples prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen” (Acts 1:24). God chose the other guy. Then He announced His decision to the group, when “the lot fell to Matthias” (v. 26).

As the disciples congratulated Matthias, I wonder about Joseph. How did he handle his rejection? Did he feel jilted, wallow in self-pity, and distance himself from the others? Or did he trust God and cheerfully remain in a supportive role?

I know which option is best. And I know which option I’d want to take. How embarrassing! If you don’t want me, fine. Let’s see how you do without me. That choice might feel better, but only because it’s selfish.

Joseph isn’t mentioned again in Scripture, so we don’t know how he reacted. More relevant is how we respond when we’re not chosen. May we remember that Jesus’s kingdom matters more than our success, and may we joyfully serve in whatever role He selects.

By Mike Wittmer

Today’s Reflection

How do you feel when you’re not chosen or are left out? How could your attitude be hindering you from seeing God’s direction for your life?

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Face of Personhood

In our contemporary world, a great deal of cultural discussion revolves around the nature of human dignity and human rights. Sadly, there is not a day that passes in which news concerning human trafficking, gross negligence, or large-scale violent oppression/suppression of human thriving arrests attention. International organizations like Human Rights Watch make it their mission to expose and bring to justice all those who would jeopardize the rights of the weakest members of human society. They act, in part, as a result of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948 as a result of the experience of the Second World War. This Declaration called the international community to a standard that sought to prevent atrocities like those perpetrated in that conflict from happening again.

Unfortunately, conflicts and atrocities committed against the citizens of the world continue in our day. Yet, this standard assumption of basic human rights enables the international community to act when those rights are violated. And indeed, human rights—for most people—are a basic assumption in the concern for and treatment of others. One might ask from where the deep concern for human rights comes? How is it that the concern for human dignity has become a conversation—welcomed or suppressed—in all cultures? Is it simply the result of the Second World War?

In seeking to answer these questions, many would be incredulous if the suggestion came that the Judeo-Christian tradition grounds the concern for human rights today. After all, the pages of the Bible are filled with narratives of slavery and oppression, bloodshed and violence. How could this tradition be the ground for human rights?

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Joyce Meyer – Wait Patiently

 

So wait patiently, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord… — James 5:7 (AMP)

From the book James: The Biblical Commentary – by Joyce Meyer

James starts his epistle writing about patience, and here in the last chapter he writes about patience again. Patience is not just the ability to wait; it is the ability to keep a good attitude while we are waiting.

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that can only be developed under trial. That is the reason God permits us to go through times of testing and difficulty instead of delivering us from them as quickly as we would like. God always has a plan for our deliverance, but He wants us to grow and stretch so we will be stronger when we come out of the trial.

Isaiah 40:31 is a well-known verse about waiting on the Lord: But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power; they will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not grow tired (AMP).

This verse teaches us that waiting on God is expecting, looking for, and hoping in Him. It is spending time with Him in His Word and in His presence. We do not worry while we wait on God; we do not get frustrated while we wait on God; we do not get upset while we wait on God. We rest in faith believing God will do what needs to be done for us at the right time.

Learning to wait with patience and hopeful expectation is a mark of spiritual maturity. When we find ourselves having to wait on something, we can patiently take a seat in Him and rest in God’s presence. The promise of God’s peace is not made to those who work and struggle in their own strength but to those who rest in Christ Jesus. As we wait on Him, our strength is renewed.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to wait well—with patience and hopeful expectation. Help me to use the challenging times in life as opportunities to grow closer to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Love Means Obedience

 

“The one who obeys Me is the one who loves Me; and because he loves Me, My Father will love him; and I will too, and I will reveal myself to him” (John 14:21).

A Campus Crusade staff member handed me a copy of Sports Illustrated with a cover picture of the Heisman Trophy winner.

Proudly, he said, “I would like to introduce you to your great-grandson.”

When I asked him what he meant, he explained, “You led Jim to Christ, Jim led me to Christ, and I led Steve [the Heisman Trophy winner] to Christ.”

What a joy to see God’s wonder-working power in this chain reaction of spiritual multiplication.

There is something exciting and wonderfully rewarding about seeing one whom you have discipled grow and mature, and lead others to Christ and disciple them, generation after generation. Such an experience often brings even more fulfillment than you derive from your own personal ministry of introducing others to the Lord Jesus.

For example, I have always taken special delight and pleasure whenever Vonette, our sons Zachary and Bradley, or many others whom I have discipled through the years, do something special for the Lord – much more than as though I were doing it personally.

By investing your life in helping others to receive Christ and grow in the Lord, you will in turn be helping still others to experience the abundant life which only true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ experience. Today’s verse equates love for Christ with obedience to His commands. Two of the most important commands our Lord has given to His followers, which will result in His revealing Himself to us, are “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 28:19, NAS). He is saying to us, “Teach the things that I have taught you.”

Bible Reading: John 14:22-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Today I will seek to obey my Lord by telling others about Him and by seeking to disciple others who have already committed their lives to Christ. I have the assurance that my Lord will manifest Himself to me in special ways as I walk in faith and obedience.

 

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Max Lucado – Don’t Miss the Party

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Perhaps the best-known of Jesus’ parables is found in the fifteenth chapter of Luke—the story of the lost son.  It’s also the case of the elder brother.  While his brother sowed wild oats, he stayed home and sowed the crops.  But when the rebellious son returned, the father threw a party!  And the elder son sat outside and pouted.

Bitterness is its own prison.  You can choose to chain yourself to your hurt.  Or you put away your hurts and go to the party.  How does God deal with your bitter heart?  He reminds you that you still have your relationship with God. No one can take that. We are wise if we rise above our hurts.  For if we do, we’ll be present at the Father’s final celebration.  A party where no pouters will be present.

Read more He Still Moves Stones

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – AI-powered grocery stores and Chip and Joanna Gaines: How to use the temporal for the eternal

Imagine a day when your grocery cart will scan and weigh items, alert you to sales, suggest items based on what you’ve already chosen, and help locate products in the store. It will then scan your credit card to check out.

Here’s an even-easier fantasy: You could download a free app, scan a QR code at the store’s entrance, grab items off the shelves, then exit through the turnstiles. By the time you’re halfway to your car, you’ll receive a receipt in the app.

Sounds like science fiction? It’s actually just science. The Wall Street Journal tells us that AI-powered shopping is already here and coming to stores nationwide this year.

Will a robot drive your next taxi?

Here’s another fiction-to-fact story: According to Bloomberg Businessweek, robot-driven taxis will soon make travel in a driverless cab much cheaper than owning our own car. Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft are making personal car ownership less attractive as well.

FedEx is testing autonomous delivery robots that will bring products from Pizza Hut, Walmart, Walgreens, and other companies to your door. AutoZone, Lowe’s, and Target have also signed on to the program.

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