Charles Stanley – Responding to Accusation

 

Luke 12:11-12

When conflict occurs, the natural reaction is to blame someone else and defend yourself. But believers must respond differently. Once, I was publicly chastised for a wrong I had not committed. Thankfully, the Lord enabled me to remain calm rather than react angrily. Praying before doing anything else is the best response in a crisis. When we do, God supernaturally provides that which we can’t muster up ourselves.

Spiritual discernment. The Lord, who perfectly understands the source of every problem, can give us insight beyond our limited perspective. Perhaps there’s been a communication breakdown, a feeling of jealousy on the other person’s part, or a mistake we unknowingly made. The Holy Spirit can show us how to approach our accuser and see beyond hurtful words or actions.

A quiet spirit. Our human nature wants to react quickly so that we can defend ourselves. That’s why we must first deliberately focus our attention on the Lord and experience the inward peace He alone makes available to us (John 14:27).

Wisdom. Jesus told His disciples the Holy Spirit would give them wise words to say when they faced hostile authorities. He’ll do the same for you. Ask Him to put a seal on your lips until He shows you what to say and when (Psalm 141:3).

We don’t have to react to criticism with anger and self-protection the way the world does. Instead, we are called to represent Christ in every situation by depending on Him. In responding as He directs, we bring Him glory and cause unbelievers to want to know the source of our strength.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 15-17

 

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Our Daily Bread — When All Seems Lost

 

Bible in a Year:2 Kings 22–23; John 4:31–54

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Psalm 22:1

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 22:1-5

In just six months, Gerald’s life fell apart. An economic crisis destroyed his business and wealth, while a tragic accident took his son’s life. Overcome by shock, his mother had a heart attack and died, his wife went into depression, and his two young daughters remained inconsolable. All he could do was echo the words of the psalmist, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1).

The only thing that kept Gerald going was the hope that God, who raised Jesus to life, would one day deliver him and his family from their pain to an eternal life of joy. It was a hope that God would answer his desperate cries for help. In his despair, like the psalmist David, he determined to trust God in the midst of his suffering. He held on to the hope that God would deliver and save him (vv. 4–5).

That hope sustained Gerald. Over the years, whenever he was asked how he was, he could only say, “Well, I’m trusting God.”

God honored that trust, giving Gerald the comfort, strength, and courage to keep going through the years. His family slowly recovered from the crisis, and soon Gerald welcomed the birth of his first grandchild. His cry is now a testimony of God’s faithfulness. “I’m no longer asking, ‘Why have you forsaken me?’ God has blessed me.”

When it seems there’s nothing left, there’s still hope.

By Leslie Koh

Reflect & Pray

What will help you to remember and cling to God’s sure and certain hope of deliverance? How has trusting in God sustained you in a difficult challenge?

Whenever I feel abandoned and alone, I cling to the hope You’ve given me through Christ’s resurrection, that I will be delivered to eternal joy one day.

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Spiritual Geography

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to travel across the country from Massachusetts to Montana. While I had often traveled across the country on family vacations, I had never driven through South Dakota. But on this trip I was able to see quite a bit of the state that makes up part of the Great Plains in the United States. Having lived near the city, I remember being struck by the vast expanses of what appeared to be uninhabited land. Rolling grasslands, without many trees, offered a view of the landscape that was as far as it was wide. I remember wondering why anyone would make a home in such a desolate place.

Several years after this trip, I read Kathleen Norris’s book Dakota and marveled at her poignant description of this land. Her memoir both enticed me and made me wary of life in the Dakotas. The opening paragraphs of her book explain why:

“The high plains, the beginning of the desert West, often act like a crucible for those who inhabit them. Like Jacob’s angel, the region requires that you wrestle with it, before it bestows a blessing… This book is an invitation to a land of little rain and few trees, dry summer winds and harsh winters, a land rich in grass, and sky and surprises.”(1)

She concludes by saying that “the land and the sky of the West often fill what Thoreau termed our ‘need to witness our limits transgressed.’ Nature, in Dakota, can indeed be an experience of the holy.”(2)

It is here that Norris intricately connects a geographical place with the possibility for spiritual revelation, a phenomenon often termed “spiritual geography.” A spiritual geography is recognition of the intersection of one’s physical geography with an internal or spiritual geography. Norris describes, for example, the fierce independence of those who reside in the Dakotas and their fortitude in response to the harsh conditions of climate and terrain.

A sense of place, land, and geography also fills the pages of the Bible. There is hardly a description given of persons and events without also discussing the physical landscape. Particularly in the narrative of the Exodus from Egypt and the subsequent sabbatical in the wilderness, one is struck by how much the geography functions as a character in the grand story of the redemption of Israel. It is the wilderness, this wild place of drought and barrenness that God chooses as a place for revelation. In fact, throughout the spiritual geography of Scripture, God consistently shows up in arid regions—in the brutality of loss, the determination of suffering, and the thirst for healing.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Spiritual Geography

Joyce Meyer – Leading

 

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. — Psalm 23:1-2

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

In order to reach our goals, you and I must follow God’s leading. People will offer us a lot of advice, and some of it may be good, but some of it may not. Or it may be good advice, but simply not what will work for us.

It’s important that we always look to God first and listen for His guidance and instruction.

God has created us as unique individuals, and He does not lead us all in the same way. So, if you want to win your race, you will need to find your own running style or your own way of doing things.

Of course, we can learn from other people, but we dare not try to copy them at the cost of losing our own individuality. Appreciate the advice and example of others, but follow God’s leading in your life.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I know You have a great plan for my life, and You desire to lead and guide me every step of the way. Help me to seek and follow Your leadership in my life more than anyone or anything else. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Godly Shall Flourish

 

“But the godly shall flourish like palm trees, and grow tall as the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted into the Lord’s own garden, and are under His personal care. Even in old age they will still produce fruit and be vital and green” (Psalm 92:12-14).

John Vredenburgh preached in a Somerville, New York church for many years, often feeling that his ministry was a great failure even though he preached the gospel faithfully. His death came amidst discouragements, and even some of his members wondered about his success and effectiveness as a minister.

Not long after his death, however, spiritual revival came to Somerville. On one Sunday alone, 200 people came to Christ – most of whom dated their spiritual stirrings from the ministry of John Vredenburgh.

Faithfulness and persistence are great virtues in the service of Jesus Christ. “Pay Day, Some Day” was a significant theme and message of that great Southern Baptist pastor, R. G. Lee – and since God’s timing is always perfect, it surely will come in good time.

“Even in old age they will still produce fruit.” Though the outward man may be pershing, the inward man is renewed day by day. When the outward ear grows deaf, the inward man hears the voice of God. When the eye grows dim, the mind is enlightened with God’s Word.

When the flesh becomes weak, we are “strengthened with might in the inner man.” Older Christians look toward heaven, where they again shall see family and friends; meanwhile, the share their maturity and good judgment with others, knowing that God still rewards the faithful. Until that dying breath, the supernatural life on earth can continue.

Bible Reading: Psalm 92:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that even in old(er) age my life can produce fruit, I will persevere and remain faithful to our Lord and His commands.

 

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Max Lucado – The Bandit of Joy

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

The bandit of joy is Fear.  Fear of death, fear of failure, fear of God, and fear of tomorrow.  His arsenal is vast.  His goal?  To create cowardly, joyless souls.

We try unsuccessfully to face our fears with power, possessions, or popularity.  Only inward character creates courage.  And it is those inward convictions Jesus is building in the Beatitudes.  The result of this process is courage—“they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).  No longer shall the earth and its fears dominate us, for we follow the one who dominates the earth.

If you are in Christ, you are guaranteed that your sins will be filtered through, hidden in, and screened out by the sacrifice of Jesus.  That means failure is not a concern for you. Your victory is secure.  How could you not be courageous?

Read more Applause of Heaven

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – Keanu Reeves on the afterlife: The urgency and joy of biblical wisdom

The actor Keanu Reeves (of The Matrix fame) was on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert recently. At one point, Colbert asked his guest, “What do you think happens when we die, Keanu Reeves?”

Both men are no stranger to tragedy. Colbert lost his father and two of his brothers to a plane crash when he was ten. Reeves and his girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, lost their daughter a month before she was due. Syme later died in a car accident.

Reeves paused, considered, then replied simply: “I know that the ones who love us will miss us.”

After Reeves answered Colbert’s question, the host paused, looked into the camera, and smiled.

“If a man dies, shall he live again?”

A twenty-four-year-old Norwegian woman rescued a puppy she found while vacationing in the Philippines. She brought the puppy back to her resort, where she washed it and played with it. Her family later told reporters that she received “small scrapes” from the dog.

When she returned home, she fell ill. She was admitted to a hospital on April 28, where physicians determined she had contracted rabies from the dog. She died on May 6.

In other news, two sightseeing planes collided Monday afternoon off the coast of Alaska. Six people were killed. And a traveling carnival worker has confessed to killing two women and a teenager within an eighteen-day period in Virginia.

Humans face no more relevant question than the one asked by Job so long ago: “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14).

“Be not wise in your own eyes”

As John F. Kennedy noted, “We are all mortal.” Given the reality of death, I am amazed by the degree to which people are willing to bet their eternity on their personal opinion.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Keanu Reeves on the afterlife: The urgency and joy of biblical wisdom