Charles Stanley – Living by Our Convictions

 

Romans 14:22-23

Have you ever had to take a stand against a barrage of opposing opinions in order to be true to Christ? Or has a group of friends or coworkers ever wanted to cut corners or participate in a sinful activity—and you were the only one saying no? When the godly voice is outnumbered, it can be challenging to speak up for righteousness.

We all have convictions that define who we are and determine our lifestyle and choices. We may like to think that these are a private matter, but in reality, they are constantly on display for all to see. That’s because we live them out each day with our words and actions.

Since convictions have a powerful influence, we should examine what ours are saying about us. Are they leading us to a righteous life in accordance with God’s will, or are they so weak that our life is dominated by the old fleshly nature?

God has given us principles from His Word to guide, protect, and help us lead godly lives. These standards are like guardrails that keep us from veering off track when temptations beckon. By holding firmly to these convictions, we follow a path that fits our identity in Christ. Instead of going along with the crowd, we’re to walk in God’s will and abstain from the sins that surround us in the world.

The time to establish our convictions is before we face temptations, not in the midst of them. We need solid, immovable biblical principles to shape what we believe and how we live.

Bible in One Year: Esther 6-10

 

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Our Daily Bread — Here for You

 

Bible in a Year:2 Chronicles 13–14; John 12:1–26

I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

Deuteronomy 15:11

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Deuteronomy 15:7-11

On the outskirts of Paris, as in other cities around the globe, people are coming to the aid of the homeless in their communities. Clothing, covered in waterproof bags, is hung on designated fences for those living on the streets to take according to their needs. The bags are labeled, “I’m not lost; I’m for you if you’re cold.” The effort not only warms those without shelter, but also teaches those in the community the importance of assisting the needy among them.

The Bible highlights the importance of caring for those who are poor, instructing us to be “openhanded” toward them (Deuteronomy 15:11). We might be tempted to avert our eyes to the plight of the poor, holding tightly to our resources instead of sharing them. Yet God challenges us to recognize that we will always be surrounded by those who have needs and therefore to respond to them with generosity, not a “grudging heart” (v. 10). Jesus says that in giving to the poor we receive an enduring treasure in heaven (Luke 12:33).

Our generosity may not be recognized by anyone other than God. Yet when we give freely, we not only meet the needs of those around us but we also experience the joy God intends for us in providing for others. Help us, Lord, to have open eyes and open hands to supply the needs of those You place in our paths!

By Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

Are you holding too tightly to your resources? If yes, why? What need can you fill today?

Generosity displays confidence in God’s loving and faithful provision.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – His Human Face

Most of us likely missed it. Couched between Wednesday’s building crescendo of assignments and Friday’s promise of their demise, Thursday hardly seems more than a means to an end. Though the day is every bit as holy as Easter Sunday, most of the world moves through it unsuspectingly—even those who have confessed the momentous lines of the Apostles’ Creed: “On the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.”

Yesterday was Ascension Day, the day that marks the ascension of Jesus Christ. Forty days after the celebration of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus, the church around the world holds in remembrance this eventful day. The gospel writer records: “Then [Jesus] said to his disciples…. ‘See, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’ Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.”(1)

The ascension of Christ may not seem as momentous to the Christian story as the resurrection or as rousing as the image of Jesus on the cross. After the death and resurrection, in fact, the ascension might even seem somewhat anti-climatic. The resurrection and ascension statements of the Apostles’ Creed are essentially treated as one in the same: On the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. One might even think that the one miraculous act flowed immediately into the other: as if the death of the body of Jesus was answered in the resurrection, a presence who then floated onto heaven. Unfortunately, the result of this impression is that many think of the ascension as somehow casting off of Christ’s human nature, as if Jesus is a presence that only used to be human. Hence, Jesus seems one more fit to memorialize than one we might expect to actually see face-to-face one day.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – His Human Face

Joyce Meyer – A New Thing

 

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. — Isaiah 43:19

Adapted from the resource Ending Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Do you ever get really tired of doing the same old thing all the time? You want to do something different but you either don’t know what to do, or you are afraid to do the new thing you are thinking about doing?

You often get into ruts. You do the same thing all the time even though you are bored with it because you are afraid to step out and do something different. You would rather be safe and bored than excited and living on the edge. There is a certain amount of comfort in sameness you may not like it, but you are familiar with it.

God has created you to need and crave diversity and variety. You require freshness and newness in your life. As this year and this day come to an end, make a quality decision to step out into the new thing God has for you. And don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for the new and exciting things You have for me this coming year! Help me to boldly step out and obey what You put in my heart. I know that Your plans always lead to joy, fulfillment, and good things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Stay Pure

 

“How can a young man stay pure? By reading Your Word and following its rules” (Psalm 119:9).

I can live a pure life if I follow God’s Word. That seems to be the clear import of the psalmist’s message in this verse. And if that is true – and I have no doubt it is – then certain things surely should follow.

I will begin today by determining to know His Word and to obey it. Simple logic would dictate that I cannot and will not obey His Word if I am not familiar with it.

In a day when immorality is rampant and divorce is becoming commonplace even among Christians, how important it is that I seek to keep my life pure. Surely I cannot expect to be used of God in a supernatural way to help fulfill the Great Commission unless I am pure. And there seems to be no better way to accomplish that desired end than by reading, studying – even memorizing – His Word, and then, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, by claiming God’s promises and obeying His commandments.

Earlier (Day 18) we mentioned the importance of hiding God’s Word in our hearts, that we might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). Again I would emphasize the value of committing to memory many verses – and even chapters – from the Word of God. In that way, we will have them stored in our minds so that God can bring them to our minds in time of special need and can use them to enable us to live supernaturally.

Basic to living the supernatural life is this matter of spending time in God’s Word, which is quick and powerful.

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:10-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will spend quality time in the Word of God and begin to memorize favorite passages, especially Psalm 119.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – To Hear the Applause of Heaven

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

The Beatitudes end with this compelling promise— “Great is your reward in heaven!” (Matthew 5:12).

The Book of Revelation could be called the Book of Homecoming.  In Revelation 21 verse 2, John describes heaven as a “bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  Verse 4 says “there will be no more death.” The most hopeful words are in verse 5 , “I am making everything new.”  The Master Builder will pull out the original plan and restore the vigor, the energy, the hope, and the soul.

Each step you take brings you closer to home.  Before you know it, you’ll enter the City.  You’ll hear your name spoken by those who love you.  And maybe, just maybe—in the back, behind the crowds—the One who would rather die than live without you will remove his pierced hands from his heavenly robe and…applaud.

Read more Applause of Heaven

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Oregon lawmakers require schools to teach about the Holocaust: Fourteen-year-old helped make it happen

Alter Wiener was imprisoned in five different concentration camps during the Holocaust. Most of his family was killed, including his father. He weighed eighty pounds when he was liberated in 1945. Wiener moved to the US after the war and eventually made his home in Oregon.

High school freshman Claire Sarnowski first met Wiener at one of his talks about the Holocaust when she was a fourth-grader. The two became friends. According to Claire, it was Wiener’s lifelong dream to confront anti-Semitism by implementing mandatory curriculum standards for teaching students about the Holocaust.

She reached out to a state senator, Rob Wagner, who then co-sponsored a bill requiring such instruction. Wiener and Claire testified at a hearing last September.

“Learning about the Holocaust is not just a chapter in recent history, but a derived lesson how to be more tolerant, more loving and that hatred is, eventually, self-destructive,” Wiener told lawmakers. “Remember, be better, rather than bitter.”

Wiener died last December. The Oregon Senate passed Wagner’s legislation last March; the House passed the bill unanimously last week. If Gov. Kate Brown signs it, Oregon will begin providing such instruction in the 2020–2021 school year.

The world will be better because a fourteen-year-old did what she could to make it so.

The solution is solutions

David Brooks recently cited his New York Times colleague David Bornstein, who points out that much of American journalism is based on a “mistaken theory of change.” The theory: “The world will get better when we show where things have gone wrong.” As a result, Brooks notes, much of what journalists do is “expose error, cover problems and identify conflict.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – Oregon lawmakers require schools to teach about the Holocaust: Fourteen-year-old helped make it happen