Charles Stanley –Running Back to God

 

Luke 15:11-24

The story of the Prodigal Son is probably the best known of Jesus’ parables. Perhaps we love it so much because we can each find ourselves in the narrative since we have all moved out of our Father’s will at one time or another.

The King James Bible says the prodigal son went away to a “far country.” When we reject God’s will, we also enter a “far country,” even if we never leave our hometown. Satan beckons with promises of new experiences and entertainment, whispering, “Come satisfy your curiosity—this is the way to really live.” But the reality of the “far country” doesn’t fulfill those empty promises. Sin distorts our thinking, causing us to lose our sense of what is right and good. We squander time, money, and relationships. God-given talents, ambitions, and opportunities are wasted on pointless pursuits as we pour days and dollars into things that bring only temporary satisfaction.

Outside of God’s will, it’s easy to make foolish decisions and end up in trouble. That could involve some physical or financial need. Or it might even be a wretched emotional state, in which we feel isolated, unloved, or rejected.

The ultimate end to such a journey is our personal “hog pen”—the place where we finally realize sin doesn’t pay. Having traveled so far to reach this new low, we may wonder if the Lord can ever love us again. The answer is yes. Our sin can never outdistance the reach of God’s grace. If we, like the prodigal son, will turn around, repent, and come home to our Father, we’ll receive His restoring forgiveness and be welcomed with rejoicing.

Bible in One Year: Joshua 13-15

 

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Our Daily Bread — Welcoming Strangers

 

Bible in a Year:Deuteronomy 8–10; Mark 11:19–33

You are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

Deuteronomy 10:19

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Deuteronomy 10:12-19

When my friends lived in Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe, they were overwhelmed by the warm welcome they received there, especially from other Christians. Once they took some clothes and provisions to a couple from their church who were very poor, yet who were fostering several children. The couple treated my friends like honored guests, giving them sweet tea and, despite their protests, something to eat. As my friends left with gifts of watermelons and other fruits and vegetables, they marveled at the hospitality they experienced.

These believers embody the welcome that God commanded His people, the Israelites, to exhibit. He instructed them “to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 10:12). How could the Israelites live this out? The answer comes a few verses later: “You are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt” (v. 19). By welcoming strangers, they would be serving and honoring God; and in showing them love and care, they would demonstrate their trust in Him.

Our circumstances might differ from the Moldovans or the Israelites, but we too can live out our love for God through our welcome to others. Whether through opening our homes or smiling a greeting to those we meet, we can extend God’s care and hospitality in a lonely, hurting world.

By Amy Boucher Pye

Today’s Reflection

When you receive the gift of hospitality, how does that affect you? When you think about welcoming someone, does a specific person come to mind?

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – The Great “I Am”

 

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” — Exodus 3:14

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

This awesome scripture holds much more than you may realize at first glance. God is so great there is no way for us to describe Him properly. What was God really saying when He referred to Himself as I AM?

Moses asked a question about God’s identity, and evidently the Lord did not want to get into a long dissertation about who He was. It was as if God was saying:

“You don’t have to worry about Pharaoh or anybody else, I AM able to take care of anything you encounter. Whatever you need, I AM it. Either I have it or I can get it. If it doesn’t exist, I will create it. I have everything covered, not only now but for all time. Relax!”

Prayer Starter: Father, please open my eyes to Your greatness and Your ability to provide every single thing I need. When the cares of this world press in on me, help me to remember that You are the great “I AM” and nothing is impossible with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Can Bear It

 

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able: but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, KJV).

I find great comfort and encouragement in this promise from God, one of my favorite Scriptures. Believing in this promise has saved me from falling into sin more times than I could ever begin to count.

As Christians, we are on the offensive. We do not have to cringe, trembling in our boots, wondering when Satan is going to attack again and what form it will take. We are the ones on the move. We are to be the aggressors, for we have God’s promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against us (Matthew 16:18).

There is no stronghold of Satan that cannot be recaptured for our Lord, who promises to fight for us. God’s Word reminds us that all authority in heaven and on earth is given to the Lord Jesus, and He promises always to be with us, never to leave us.

Satan would have you believe that there is no hope for you. You are discouraged, you have financial problems physical problems, sorrow from losing loved ones. The whole world seems to be caving in on you, and Satan says, “God doesn’t love or care for you. He can’t help you. You’re on your own. You might as well give up.”

When that temptation comes, we cry out to God in believing prayer and we resist the enemy who is the author of depression. He is the author of negative thinking. He is the author of criticism, lies and all things that are contrary to the will of God.

If we are going to take a proper offense, we must live in the power of the Holy Spirit. That is the reason our Savior – after commanding the disciples to go and preach the gospel to all men everywhere – also commanded them to wait in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Act 1:8, KJV).

The key to escaping temptation and resisting sin is faith in the faithfulness of God to keep His promise that you will not be tempted more than you are able to bear.

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 10:9-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will not go into the spiritual battle unarmed, but will count on God’s Holy Spirit to make a way of escape when temptation comes. I will tell others how they too can be victorious over temptation.

 

http://www.cru.org