Charles Stanley – Keep Praying

 

Matthew 7:7-11

The most powerful thing a Christian can do is pray. Yet how often are we guilty of making prayer our last resort or giving up on it if the answer isn’t immediately forthcoming? Perhaps it’s this human tendency that prompted Jesus to remind us to persevere in speaking with our Father.

The verb tenses of today’s passage in the original Greek could be translated as “keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking.” To persevere means to continue firmly on a particular course despite the obstacles or difficulties. It’s not a passive approach of asking once and sitting back to wait for the Lord’s intervention. The words seek and knock imply action and effort in discerning God’s will and moving in that direction.

In fact, discovering God’s will is the very purpose of perseverance—not to override it or get Him to change His mind and do things our way. Through steadfastness in prayer, we learn to focus on the Lord’s faithfulness instead of our circumstances, which may show no signs of changing. Praying tenaciously builds our trust and at the same time teaches us to depend on God instead of rushing ahead to get what we want.

God promises that in time we will be given an answer, find what we seek, and walk through an open door. That’s when we discover our heavenly Father always gives us what is good, even if it doesn’t look exactly the way we expect or fit our timetable. Through His answers, we gain greater faith in Him and insight into what He deems good. Then we’ll know how to pray more wisely according to His will the next time we have a need.

Bible in One Year: Judges 18-19

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Marked by Momma

 

Bible in a Year:Joshua 1–3; Mark 16

Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it.

2 Timothy 3:14

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

Her name was long but her years were even longer. Madeline Harriet Orr Jackson Williams lived to be 101 years old, outliving two husbands. Both were preachers. Madeline was my grandmother, and we knew her as Momma. My siblings and I got to know her well; we lived in her home until her second husband whisked her away. Even then she was less than fifty miles away from us. Our grandmother was a hymn-singing, catechism-reciting, piano-playing, God-fearing woman, and my siblings and I have been marked by her faith.

According to 2 Timothy 1:3–7, Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice had a huge impact on his life. Their living and teaching were rooted in the soil of Scripture (v. 5; 2 Timothy 3:14–16) and eventually their faith blossomed in Timothy’s heart. His biblically based upbringing was not only foundational for his relationship with God, but it was also vital to his usefulness in the Lord’s service (1:6–7).

Today, as well as in Timothy’s time, God uses faithful women and men to mark future generations. Our prayers, words, actions, and service can be powerfully used by the Lord while we live and after we’re gone. That’s why my siblings and I still rehearse things that were passed on to us from Momma. My prayer is that Momma’s legacy will not stop with us.

By Arthur Jackson

Today’s Reflection

How are you using your prayer, words, actions, and service to grow others in Jesus? What would you like your legacy to be?

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Comfortable Assumptions

Cognitive dissonance, the study of psychology tells us, is the internal tension that results when our experience doesn’t match our beliefs and values. It is that sense of unease when we encounter something that contradicts what we have held to be true. We often experience this tension in as we learn new ideas. Cognitive dissonance can also be felt acutely within the realm of faith commitments. Can one be free if God is sovereign? How can suffering and evil coexist with a loving and good God? How can scientific knowledge be reconciled with supernatural events?

Now, those who have never experienced (or noticed) cognitive dissonance might be quick to offer all kinds of explanations for those who don’t find it quite as easy to reconcile the gaps between beliefs and experience: We have drifted away from our moral center. We have not studied enough or prayed enough. We have not understood right teaching. And surely there are times when all of these explanations may contribute to dissonance.

But the Bible itself often challenges an easy dismissal of one’s cognitive dissonance. The gospels depiction of John the Baptist offers a compelling example. The gospel writers placed John in the tradition of the Hebrew prophets. Here was a man filled with all the intensity and moral outrage of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or Malachi—zealous prophets from the days of ancient Israel prone to weeping and crying out with zeal and tenacity. John, who was the cousin of Jesus of Nazareth, preached a hell-fire and brimstone message of repentance. Those who truly repented of their sins would come to him to be baptized, washed in the river Jordan as a sign of their cleansing from sin. He stood against the immorality and hypocrisy of those who were religious and political leaders. John was resolute in his ministry as the forerunner to the Messiah. Even as his own disciples came undone and complained that the crowds who once clamored to see him were now flocking to his cousin Jesus, John stood clear in his calling: “You yourselves bear me witness, that I have said, ‘I am not the Messiah,’ but ‘I have been sent before him.’”(1)

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Joyce Meyer – Energize

 

And there are [distinctive] ways of working [to accomplish things], but it is the same God who produces all things in all believers [inspiring, energizing, and empowering them]. — 1 Corinthians 12:6 (AMP)

Adapted from the resource Wake Up to the Word Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

To energize means, “to give strength or force to; to give active vigor to.”

All of our thoughts, good or bad, have an effect on our physical being. The mind and body are definitely connected. Positive, hopeful thoughts energize our soul and physical bodies, whereas negative, hopeless thoughts drain our energy.

Physical tiredness is not always a result of wrong thinking. We can certainly have a sickness or disease that leads to a loss of energy, or we may even wake up tired for no known reason. But we do know that science and medical technology verify that the mind and body have a close connection, and that our thinking does have a direct effect on our body.

Our bodies are like automobiles that God provides for us to drive around on earth. If we want them to perform to their maximum ability and be energized, then we need to choose to think in ways that will help fuel them.

Prayer Starter: Lord, please help me to choose positive, hopeful, faith-filled thoughts today—thoughts that agree with Your Word and will energize my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Not Hard at All

 

“Loving God means doing what He tells us to do, and really that isn’t hard at all; for every child of God can obey Him, defeating sin and evil pleasure by trusting Christ to help him” (1 John 5:3,4).

I believe that we are on the threshold of witnessing the greatest spiritual revival in the history of the church. I believe that the Great Commission will indeed be fulfilled before the return of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19,20).

Today, however, because of the subtle ways of the world system, there are more carnal Christians than at any other time in history. But the Bible tells us that the tide will turn and that the church will soon enter its finest hour.

We are beginning to see that turning of the tide. More and more Christians are discovering how to live supernaturally in the power and control of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is being spread throughout the world by many committed Christians who are determined, by faith, to help fulfill the Great Commission in this generation, whatever the cost.

I do not know anyone, however, who loves this world system who has ever been used of God in any significant way. There is nothing wrong with money and other material success. However, we are to wear the cloak of materialism loosely. We are to set our affection on Christ and His kingdom, not on the material things of this world.

The Lord left us with this wonderful promise…”every child of God can obey Him, defeating sin and evil pleasure by trusting Christ to help him”. Inviting Christ to help us is our decision to make. It is simply a matter of the will.

Bible Reading: I John 5:1-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will obey God and trust Christ to defeat sin and evil pleasure in my life, so that I can live a supernatural life and help take His gospel to all men throughout the world.

 

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Max Lucado – Legalism Versus Grace

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Nicodemus was a Pharisee.  Pharisees measured spirituality by outer appearance, rules and standards. Legalism versus grace. The legalist looks at salvation as a wage earned on deeds done.  Grace sees salvation as a gift based on Christ’s death.

Jesus told Nicodemus, “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.” Nicodemus had never heard such words, but they bore fruit.  We see him again in John 19:39-42, and this time he appears in the light of day.  He and Joseph of Arimathea claimed the body of Jesus and placed it in the tomb.  The one who had received the seed of grace now plants the greatest seed of all—Jesus, the seed of eternal life.

Read more He Still Moves Stones

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – A goat who became mayor and the full worm supermoon: The eternal purpose of this life

A goat named Lincoln was recently sworn in as honorary mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont.

The town’s government does not include an actual mayor. The Town Manager says the honorary pet mayor idea was conceived to raise funds for a playground, but it became a civics lesson for kids.

On his way out of the town offices, the new mayor defecated on the floor, leaving the cleanup to the police chief and city officials.

In other news from nature, tomorrow we will be treated to a “full worm supermoon.” We understand a “full” moon. Most of us are even familiar with a “supermoon,” where the moon is so close to the earth that it appears larger and brighter in the night sky.

But why a “full worm supermoon”?

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, Native Americans gave the full moons of the year specific names to track the seasons. The March full moon was called the “full worm moon” because it comes at a time when the ground softens and earthworms begin appearing. They bring robins and other birds to feed, marking the start of spring.

Humans can give names to natural and celestial phenomena, but, as the mayor of Fair Haven reminds us, we cannot always control them.

Greetings from Israel

I am writing this morning from the Sea of Galilee in Israel. Leading study tours to the Holy Land is one of my favorite experiences each year. My wife and I traveled from Dallas through London into Tel Aviv over the weekend to join our group.

A few days earlier, rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. A Palestinian is suspected in the killing of two Israelis in the West Bank last Sunday.

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