Charles Stanley – The Christ-Centered Life

 

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

If someone asked if your life is centered on Christ, how would you respond? Oftentimes a Christ-centered life is equated with going to church, giving, praying, reading the Bible, and talking to other people about Jesus. However, did you know that even if you do every one of these things, it’s still possible to live a life that is controlled by self rather than Christ?

This is because our motives may be self-centered. Religious activities can be done for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with our love for Jesus. We could be seeking to relieve feelings of guilt or to make ourselves feel better or look more righteous. Perhaps we read the Bible to quickly find a verse that affirms us. Or prayer might be our attempt to get God to do what we want.

The answer is not to give up on these good activities but to shift our focus to Christ and what He desires. Our battle with self is one that will continue as long as we live in these earthly bodies. That’s why Paul tells us to “lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted,” and to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:22; Eph. 4:24).

A Christ-centered life is fueled by love for the Savior, which flows from increasing knowledge of Him. And we learn to know Jesus more intimately through reading, praying, and quietly abiding in His presence. As Christ increases in our mind and heart, we’ll discover that our self-focus decreases and He becomes the delight of our lives.

Bible in One Year: Ezra 5-7

 

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Our Daily Bread — “God Saved My Life”

 

Bible in a Year:1 Chronicles 22–24; John 8:28–59

When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44

Today’s Scripture & Insight:John 8:42-47

When Aaron (not his real name) was 15, he began praying to Satan: “I felt like he and I had a partnership.” Aaron started to lie, steal, and manipulate his family and friends. He also experienced nightmares: “I woke up one morning and saw the devil at the end of the bed. He told me that I was going to pass my exams and then die.” Yet when he finished his exams, he lived. Aaron reflected, “It was clear to me that he was a liar.”

Hoping to meet girls, Aaron went to a Christian festival, where a man offered to pray for him. “While he was praying, I felt a sense of peace flood my body.” He felt something “more powerful, and more liberating,” than what he felt from Satan. The man who prayed told Aaron God had a plan and Satan was a liar. This man echoed what Jesus said of Satan when He responded to some who opposed him: “He is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Aaron turned to Christ from Satanism and now “belongs to God” (v. 47). He ministers in an urban community, sharing the difference following Jesus makes. He’s a living testament of God’s saving power: “I can say with confidence that God saved my life.”

God is the source of all that is good, holy, and true. We can turn to Him to find truth.

By Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How have you experienced God rescuing you from evil? Who can you share your story with this week?

God is more powerful than the father of lies.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – God at Terminal Five

 

I wrote one of the last sections of the book Why Suffering? on a plane flight from London to New York.(1) As I came through security at Heathrow Airport, I had about an hour until my departure, and I had it in mind to find a quiet spot and make a start on the writing I had planned.

As I began to walk toward the departure gates, a small sign for the “Multi-Faith Prayer Room” caught my eye, and instantaneously—though I have never before had an urge to visit an airport prayer room—I felt this conviction that there was someone in that room whom I was supposed to talk with. It was as if someone had just told me, “There is someone waiting to speak with you there,” even though I had not audibly heard those words.

I did an about-face and walked a good distance away from my departure gate to the arrivals terminal where the prayer room was located. When I walked in, there was one man in the room, sitting in a corner on the floor. He appeared to be about my age. When he saw me looking around the prayer room, he asked, “Are you religious?” We began speaking about what it means to be religious, and he soon shared with me that he was going through the worst suffering of his life.

Mohammed fought back tears as he shared about what no one would ever want to go through. He expressed that he never talks about such things with anyone, but that he just needed to get it out. He told me that he used to pray five times a day, but that now the suffering is too much; he opens his mouth to pray and nothing comes out. Finally, Mohammed challenged me, “If God exists, why is there so much suffering? And where is he amidst it all?”

Now I understood why we were supposed to meet. I told Mohammed that the one person of whom he finally asked “Why suffering?” was currently writing a book by that very title, and in fact was walking in the opposite direction toward the departure gates when God turned him around and led him to this specific room to share that God does care and that he is present.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – God at Terminal Five

Joyce Meyer – Acknowledge God

 

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. — Proverbs 3:6

Adapted from the resource Power Thoughts Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

It is so easy to start making a plan instead of waiting on God to give us His plan. Sometimes we are so entrenched in our own plans that we don’t even sense the leading of the Holy Spirit.

But the proverb says to acknowledge God in all our ways, and that means to care about what He thinks and submit our plans to Him for approval.

Having a plan is not a bad thing, but we can simply say to God each day, “Lord, I have a plan for today, but I acknowledge You in it. And if You don’t approve of any part of it, then I am willing to change and do what You want.”

If you truly care about what God desires, He will direct you in the way you should go if any changes need to be made to your plans.

Prayer Starter: Father, I lift my plans up to You for this day. Please lead me by Your Spirit and direct me in the way I should go. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Long, Satisfying Life

 

“If you want a long and satisfying life, closely follow my instructions” (Proverbs 3:2).

A famous children’s specialist declared, “When it comes to a serious illness, the child who has been taught to obey has four times the chance of recovery that the spoiled and undisciplined child has.”

Every parent should consider well the implications of that statement. We have all been taught that one of the Ten Commandments was for children to obey their parents.

But it is doubtful that many of us have ever considered that obedience might mean the difference between the saving or losing of a child’s life.

The hymnwriter who said that we should “trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus” well knew what he was saying. A “long and satisfying life” certainly would be synonymous with a “happy life.”

Many Christians have every intention of following God’s instructions – without ever really knowing what those instructions are. That is why it is supremely important for every believer to spend time in God’s Word, the book of instructions for Christians.

Are you one of those who truly want a long satisfying life? Then, are you willing to follow God’s instructions for your life? Are you willing to familiarize yourself thoroughly with His instructions so that you will have no difficulty knowing and following them?

Bible Reading: Proverbs 3:1-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will follow closely God’s instructions in order that I may live a long and satisfying life.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – The Power of a Seed

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” (Matthew 5:9).  Jesus said.  The principle for peace is the same as the principle for crops–  Never underestimate the power of a seed.  Somebody in your world desperately needs a word of peace.  Want to see a miracle?  Plant a word of love heart-deep in that person’s life.  Nurture it with a smile and a prayer, and watch what happens.

When God’s people had forgotten his name, he planted the seed of his own self in the womb of a Jewish girl.  The seed shoved away the stones of legalism, oppression and prejudice.  Then the stone of death was rolled by humans and sealed by Satan in front of the tomb.  But the seed of God shoved, the ground trembled, the rock tumbled, and the flower of Easter blossomed.  Never underestimate the power of a seed.

Read more Applause of Heaven

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Truck driver survives Missouri tornado: ‘I’m just glad God was with me tonight’

 

David Bell was in his truck on the side of a highway when a tornado struck Jefferson City, Missouri, Wednesday night. Houses collapsed around him. Poles snapped and transformers blew out. The tornado sent debris thirteen thousand feet into the air.

Bell had pulled over to the shoulder of Highway 54 with 44,500 pounds of soda in his trailer, not knowing he’d be in the path of the tornado. “That storm picked me up and slammed me down like I was nothing but a soda can,” he told CNN‘s John Berman yesterday.

He added: “It definitely gave me a new outlook on life. Very grateful that I’m alive. I should have been smarter and heeded the warnings. I’m just glad God was with me tonight.

“Rats are taking over New York City”

I can hear skeptics across the country asking, “But what about the people whose homes were destroyed? If we praise God for the good, shouldn’t we blame him for the bad?”

There’s much they could cite in today’s news.

According to the United Nations, drug-resistant infections could kill ten million people annually by 2050. A ten-foot great white shark has been spotted in the Long Island Sound.

And the New York Times reports that “rats are taking over New York City.” Increased construction is digging up burrows, forcing more rats into the open. Mild winters and more trash from tourists are contributing to the problem as well.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Truck driver survives Missouri tornado: ‘I’m just glad God was with me tonight’