Charles Stanley – Life’s Number One Priority

 

Luke 10:38-42

Churches are filled with believers who have a go-go-go attitude. Serve in this way! Go on that mission! Teach a class! Lead worship! These are good things, but the activity of doing can overshadow the power of being and get us off track.

Today’s passage offers a perfect picture of this “doing versus being” dichotomy, as it reveals Martha and Mary’s unique responses to Jesus’ visit. We immediately see that Martha is the doer. She runs around, cleaning, making the meal, and operating in a whirlwind of activity. Mary, however, is more concerned with simply being—she wants to be near Jesus and absorb every moment of His presence.

Neither sister was necessarily wrong in her response. Martha is often looked down upon in this scene, but the truth is, her heart was in the right place in wanting to meet the needs of her Master. She was going about the ministry, while Mary was engaged in worship.

In His rebuke of Martha in Luke 10:41-42, Jesus never said Martha was wrong for what she was doing; He said only that her busyness wasn’t the best thing at the moment. This interaction is a message for the church, as the Lord calls us first to honor Him. Only then—once we are fueled by His Spirit and an intimate encounter with God—are we best prepared to go about the activity of ministry.

The church needs both Marthas and Marys. Thinking about whom you identify with more, ask, Do I keep an intimate relationship with God in the midst of my activity? Do I allow private worship to fuel my ministry fire?

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 17-18

 

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Our Daily Bread — Bright Lights

 

Bible in a Year:Judges 7–8; Luke 5:1–16

You are the light of the world.

Matthew 5:14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Philippians 2:12–18

In the summer of 2015, a group from our church was sobered by what we saw in Mathare, one of the slums in Nairobi, Kenya. We visited a school with dirt floors, rusting metal walls, and wooden benches. But against the backdrop of extremely humble surroundings, one person stood out.

Her name was Brilliant, and the name couldn’t have fit her better. She was an elementary school teacher who possessed joy and determination that matched her mission. Colorfully dressed, her appearance and the joy with which she instructed and encouraged the children were stunning.

The bright light Brilliant brought to her surroundings resembles the way Christians in Philippi were to be positioned in their world when Paul wrote to them in the first century. Against the background of a spiritually needy world, believers in the Lord Jesus were to shine “like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:15). Our assignment hasn’t changed. Bright lights are needed everywhere! How encouraging it is to know that through the One “who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (v. 13) believers in Jesus can sparkle in ways that fit Jesus’s description of those who follow Him. To us He still says, “You are the light of the world. . . . Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14–16).

By Arthur Jackson

Today’s Reflection

How can you reveal the light of Christ to others? What can you do to bring His joy to those who desperately need it?

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Resonate Gifts

 

There are a few poetic lines I know by memory simply because my boss is fond of repeating them. Ravi Zacharias often quotes a song titled The Lost Chord, which was penned by Adelaide Proctor and later set to music by Arthur Sullivan. It is a hymn that describes a moment of transcendence, a hint of wonder that appeared momentarily and left the narrator yearning for more. The song tells her story:

Seated one day at the organ
I was weary and ill at ease,
and my fingers wandered idly
over the noisy keys.
I know not what I was playing
or what I was dreaming then,
but I struck one chord of music
like the sound of a great “Amen.”

It flooded the crimson twilight
like the close of an angel’s psalm,
and it lay on my fevered spirit
like the touch of infinite calm.
It quieted pain and sorrow
like love overcoming strife;
it seemed the harmonious echo
of our discordant life.

It linked all perplexed meanings
into one perfect peace,
and it trembled away into silence
as if it were loathe to cease.
I have sought but I seek it vainly—
that one lost chord divine—
that came from the soul of the organ
and entered into mine.

It may be that death’s bright angel
will speak in that chord again;
it may be that only in heaven
I shall hear that grand “Amen.”

The wonder of this world is amplified by the fact that it ends, that it “trembles away into silence.” But what are these fleeting moments, which touch us with an infinite calm, and link perplexed meanings with peace? In our lost chords, something comes and vanishes. But it creates a hunger for more, a longing for something that we can almost taste, a thirst that points us to what we were ultimately made to hold and know and be. God has set eternity in our hearts, Solomon said; in moments such as these, we seem to know it.

Tellingly, Arthur Sullivan actually tried to set Proctor’s words to music for years, but he was unsuc­cessful un­til he faced the death of his brother. Painfully aware of the fragility of life, grieving the untimely death of one he dearly treasured, Sullivan was able to pen the magnificent music to words that were undoubtedly of great comfort. Through tears he looked toward a God preparing many rooms, and it quieted pain and sorrow like love overcoming strife.

Through music, his grief found expression; the possibilities in the words he loved were finally enacted for him. Love overcoming strife. This is the certain and resonating song of God in our lives: one who values creation so much that he joins it, hence, enabling possibilities, signaling signs of the kingdom, embodying new life, cultivating life’s flourishing. In his place, the very particular past in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus meets us very presently. The vicariously human Son meets us as strength and peace for today, hope for what is to come.

The psalmist says of God, “You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.”(1) There are few analogies in language that lend a hand in our comprehending of eternal pleasures and fullness of joy. But there are sounds and glimpses all around us, the resounding gifts of life re-made by the God who comes near even in death.

 

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

(1) Psalm 16:11.

 

http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – Know Your Source

 

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. — John 15:5

It’s so important for us to remember that God is our Source and the key to winning life’s battles. He wants to fight our battles, but the choice is ultimately up to us. So, how do we let God fight our battles? Well, first, it means you don’t take matters into your own hands and do what you feellike doing.

For example, when someone hurts or offends me, what I feel like doing is retaliating—doing something to “make them pay” for what they did. But our way and God’s way are completely different!

We are in a spiritual battle, and it goes much deeper than what we see on the surface. That’s why knowing His Word is so incredibly important. The Bible clearly outlines God’s strategies for overcoming the enemy, and it contains His wisdom and the direction we need for every problem we face. Because knowing what God’s Word says—and then doing what it says—is the greatest weapon we have to winning life’s battles!

God’s Word shows us who we are in Christ and teaches us how to defeat the enemy through His strength. His Word has the power to renew our mind, heal our brokenness and change our lives (see Romans 12:2Hebrews 4:12). Simply put, God’s Word is our protection. We must know it, love it, obey it…and use it against the enemy when he comes against us.

Prayer Starter: Father, You are my Source and Strength. Teach me through Your Word how to depend on You completely. Help me to renew my mind daily. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – As a Man Thinketh

 

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…. (Proverbs 23:7, KJV).

“Every day in every way I am becoming better and better,” declared the French philosopher Emile Coue. But it is said that he committed suicide.

Positive thinking by a nonbeliever without a biblical basis is often an exercise in futility. Though I agree with the basic concept of positive thinking, so long as it is related to the Word of God, there is a difference between positive thinking and supernatural thinking. We do not think positively so that we can know Christ better; we come to know Christ better, which results in supernatural thinking. The basis of our thinking is God’s Word; supernatural thinking is based upon the attributes of God.

When a man says, “I am going to be enthusiastic, by faith, as an act of the will,” or “I am going to rejoice, by faith, as an act of the will,” he is simply drawing upon his rights as a child of God, according to the promises of God.

In supernatural thinking, we apply the promises of God, knowing with certainty that if we ask anything according to His will, He will hear and answer us.

Some well-known Christian leaders emphasize “positive thinking” and “possibility thinking.” They are men whom I admire and with whom I agree basically in this regard because the Christian life is a positive life. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

But I prefer to use what I believe to be the more scriptural definition of the Christian life – supernatural thinking, which includes – but goes far beyond – both positive thinking and possibility thinking.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 23:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Today I will claim by faith a promise or promises from God’s Word which will help me to live a supernatural life.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – He Still Moves Stones

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Why did God leave us one tale after another of wounded lives being restored?  It isn’t to tell us what Jesus did.  It’s to tell us what Jesus does.  Paul says in Romans 15:4, “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us.  The Scripture gives us patience and encouragement so that we can have hope.”

Reflect on your own journey.  What was it like before you met Christ?  And share your story; not with everyone necessarily, but with someone.  Your honest portrayal of your past may be the courage for another’s future.  But don’t just depict the past.  Depict the present.  Describe his touch and the difference Jesus has made in your life.  He’s not finished with you yet!   Ah, but look how far you’ve come!  What God begins, God completes.  The God who spoke still speaks.  The God who forgave still forgives.  He still moves stones.

Read more He Still Moves Stones

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – ‘Unplanned’: A movie about abortion that changes everything

 

If you’re like most of us, you’d rather not read another article about abortion this morning.

The subject is divisive, the debate vitriolic. If you haven’t had an abortion, if you don’t love someone who has, or if you’re not considering an abortion personally, it can be tempting to ignore the issue.

Then comes a movie that changes everything.

Startling abortion statistics

Unplanned is being released today. My wife and I were invited to attend an advance screening of the film a few weeks ago. It makes the issue of abortion so real and relevant that everyone should see the film.

Here’s what I mean.

According to Planned Parenthood, one in four American women will have an abortion by the age of forty-five. How many actual women is this?

Here are my calculations:

In other words, only 8.5 percent of the American female adult population and 4.3 percent of the entire American adult population has personally experienced an abortion.

Continue reading Denison Forum – ‘Unplanned’: A movie about abortion that changes everything