Charles Stanley – Walk in God’s Ways

 

Psalm 81:10-16

Most of us realize there’s no guarantee that life will be pleasant and easy. But when disappointment or hardship comes, we are often more preoccupied with finding a way out than with understanding how God is moving in our situation. One danger of this approach is that we might not recognize if we’ve gotten off course.

The Lord wants us to know His ways so that we can walk in them. Yet like Israel, we fail to listen to Him and instead plot our own course through life. As a result, we experience unnecessary suffering—a high price for disobedience. We should remember that though walking in God’s ways may lead us through painful valleys, His grace is always there to strengthen our faith and bring comfort and encouragement. But we forgo such mercies if we rebel and go our own way.

So consider whether your life is aligned with the Lord’s ways or aligned with your own. He always leads us in holiness, wisdom, faith, and obedience. But our ways are a result of convenience, self-interest, self-advancement, and human reasoning. The Lord’s path is always the best, and ours is usually costly.

No matter where you find yourself today, God is calling out to you, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10). The imagery is that of a baby bird with its beak stretched wide to receive the food its parent brings. The Lord wants to feed you with His Word so you can learn His ways. Are you open to receiving it? More importantly, are you willing to obey it?

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 25-27

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Best Strategy for Life

 

Bible in a Year:2 Kings 7–9; John 1:1–28

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Ecclesiastes 4:1-12

As we watched my daughter’s basketball game from the bleachers, I heard the coach utter a single word to the girls on the court: “Doubles.” Immediately, their defensive strategy shifted from one-on-one to two of their players teaming against their tallest ball-holding opponent. They were successful in thwarting her efforts to shoot and score, eventually taking the ball down the court to their own basket.

When Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, grapples with the toils and frustrations of the world, he too acknowledges that having a companion in our labors yields “a good return” (4:9). While a person battling alone “may be overpowered, two can defend themselves” (v. 12). A friend nearby can help us up when we fall down (v. 10).

Solomon’s words encourage us to share our journey with others so we don’t face the trials of life alone. For some of us, that requires a level of vulnerability we’re unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. Others of us crave that kind of intimacy and struggle to find friends with whom to share it. Whatever the case, we mustn’t give up in the effort.

Solomon and basketball coaches agree: having teammates around us is the best strategy for facing the struggles that loom large on the court and in life. Lord, thank You for the people You put in our lives to encourage and support us.

By Kirsten Holmberg

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Past, Present, Future

It is not very difficult for me to spend significant amounts of time dwelling on the past. Sometimes it is a rehearsal of prior conversations replaying in my mind; what should have been said and what could have been said. Or I ruminate on past regrets of what might have been had I chosen another path, or taken a different turn in the road of my life. Often I sift through memories of individuals who are long gone—either through death or some other forced absence from my life—wishing for more time with them or another opportunity to commune together. Regrets, nostalgic remembering, and wearying analytical thoughts collude to keep me bound in a place to which I can never return in real-time.

Dwelling in the past, as if one could take up residence there permanently, is a strategy I often employ when I find the present or the future daunting. Rather than face what it is I need to face, I retreat into my past searching for comfort or numbness. Part of the reason I do this lies in the simple fact that to move forward is to leave behind that which has become dear—whether that is a cherished memory or a cherished grudge. More important, however, to leave something of our past behind is to actually let go of part of our identity. It is the call into the wild and into becoming something—and someone—currently unknown to us. For most, it is a call too frightening and too challenging to heed. For some, however, it is a call that woos us to consider what more we are capable of doing and who we are capable of being, both now in the present and as we journey into an unknown future.

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Joyce Meyer – What Do You Think of Yourself?

 

Do two walk together except they make an appointment and have agreed? — Amos 3:3 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource My Time with God Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Your self-image is like a photo you carry of yourself in your wallet. How you see yourself is a determining factor in what you accomplish in life, so it’s important to learn to see yourself as God sees you.

God created you, and you are special to Him. He has a good plan for your life, and He loves you unconditionally. You may only think of what you do wrong and what you think you are not, but God sees what you will be as you and He work together to bring good changes in you.

You may not be where you should be, but if you are a Christian, you are a new creature in Christ and you are in the process of changing daily. Rejoice in how far you have come instead of being sad about how far you have to go.

Have a daily appointment with God and come into agreement with Him to see yourself as He does, and it will put a smile on your face and His!

Prayer Starter: Father, help me see myself through Your eyes, as the new creature You have made me to be. Help me let go of the old things and take hold of Your new plan for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Who Win Souls Are Wise

“Godly men are growing a tree that bears life-giving fruit, and all who win souls are wise” (Proverbs 11:30).

I have never led anyone to Christ, and I never shall.

However, I have had the privilege of praying with thousands of people who have received Christ as a result of my witness.

When a person receives Christ, it is the work of the Holy Spirit. That is why I cannot boast over much fruit or be discouraged over little fruit.

The responsibility for fruit belongs to the Holy Spirit who works in and through the believer, producing fruit and changing the lives of those who respond favorably to our witness.

The power of our Lord Jesus Christ is available to all who trust and obey Him. We need to “understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe Him.”

The Lord Jesus commissioned the disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel, with the promise that He would always be with them.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 11:24-31

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will consciously draw upon the supernatural resources of the Holy Spirit to obey God’s commands for holy living and fruitful witnessing.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Prisoners of Pride

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

You’ve seen the prisoners of pride.  The alcoholic who won’t admit his drinking problem.  The woman who won’t talk about her fears.  The businessman who rejects help while his dreams fall apart.

In 1 John 1:9, the apostle wrote “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just…”  The biggest word in Scripture might be that two-letter one, if.  For confessing sins—admitting failure—is exactly what prisoners of pride refuse to do.

The second beatitude says, “Blessed are those who mourn…” (Matthew 5:4).  When you get to the point of sorrow for your sins, when you admit that you have no other option but to cast all your cares on him, and when there is truly no other name that you can call, then God bless you.  You may feel weak.  But you are closer to finding strength than ever before.

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For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Is a school district favoring Muslims during Ramadan? Balancing truth and love

A religious liberty group claims that a school district in the Seattle area has urged teachers to bless Muslim students in Arabic during the month of Ramadan and give them preferential treatment.

The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) alleges that the Dieringer School District is following a script written by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Teachers are reportedly urged to make accommodations for Muslims fasting during Ramadan and to defer tests scheduled for upcoming Islamic holidays.

A CAIR official states: “Pluralism in America means recognizing the wide variety of holidays celebrated by students of different faiths and backgrounds, including by saying ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Happy Hanukkah,’ ‘Happy Diwali,’ or ‘Ramadan Mubarak.’”

The FCDF’s executive director disagrees: “A school district would never order teachers to ‘welcome’ Catholic students during Easter with ‘He is risen, alleluia!’ Singling out Muslim students for special treatment is blatantly unconstitutional.”

Are we “taking religious freedom too far”?

Continue reading Denison Forum – Is a school district favoring Muslims during Ramadan? Balancing truth and love