Charles Stanley –Does God Want You to Succeed?

 

Proverbs 16:1-3

Is success a legitimate goal for believers? Is this something God wants for His children? The answers depend upon your definition of success. Many people define it as the achievement of wealth, prominence, or fame. If that’s what you’re seeking, then you are following the world’s definition, not the Lord’s.

In His eyes, true success begins internally—the first step is a relationship with Jesus, whereby you have trusted Him as Savior and are following Him obediently. His goal for you is ongoing growth in Christlike character and spiritual maturity, but that’s not all. He also has some work for you to accomplish here on earth (Eph. 2:10). God planned these tasks specifically for you and designed them with your personality, talents, abilities, and spiritual gifts in mind. You could think of them as your unique calling and responsibility in life.

Genuine success involves doing what the Lord has called you to do, not just occasionally but continually. It has to do with persistence rather than perfection. When this is your definition of success, you can know that the Lord wants you to succeed. And He’s committed to helping you become the person He designed you to be—and to accomplish the goals He’s set for you.

The ultimate evaluation of our success will take place when we stand before God and give an account of our life (Rom. 14:12). Any self-centered earthly achievements will be left behind. But if we’ve lived by His definition of success, our treasure will await us in heaven—along with the words “Well done!”

Bible in One Year: Job 13-16

 

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Our Daily Bread — Can We Relax?

 

Bible in a Year:2 Chronicles 21–22; John 14

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27

Today’s Scripture & Insight:John 14:25-31

Darnell entered the physical therapist’s office knowing he would experience a lot of pain. The therapist stretched and bent his arm and held it in positions it hadn’t been in for months since his injury. After holding each uncomfortable position for a few seconds, she gently told him: “Okay, you can relax.” He said later, “I think I heard that at least fifty times in each therapy session: ‘Okay, you can relax.’ ”

Thinking of those words, Darnell realized they could apply to the rest of his life as well. He could relax in God’s goodness and faithfulness instead of worrying.

As Jesus neared His death, He knew His disciples would need to learn this. They’d soon face a time of upheaval and persecution. To encourage them, Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit to live with them and remind them of what He had taught (John 14:26). And so He could say, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. . . . Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (v. 27).

There’s plenty we could be uptight about in our everyday lives. But we can grow in our trust in God by reminding ourselves that His Spirit lives in us—and He offers us His peace. As we draw on His strength, we can hear Him in the therapist’s words: “Okay, you can relax.”

By Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

What causes you stress? What characteristics of God can help you learn to trust Him more?

Teach me, Jesus, to trust Your faithfulness, to know Your presence, to experience Your peace—to relax.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Reordering the Imagination

I shut my eyes in order to see, said French painter, sculptor, and artist Paul Gauguin. As a little girl, though completely unaware of this insightful quote on imagination, I lived this maxim. Nothing was more exhilarating to me than closing my eyes in order to imagine far away exotic lands, a handsome prince, or climbing down a deep enough hole leading straight to China!

In fact, like many, imagination fueled my young heart and mind. After reading C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, I would walk into dark closets filled with warm winter coats fully expecting to be transported like the Pevensie children into strange and wonderful land. Charlotte’s Web took me to a farm where I could talk to my dog, like Fern talked to Wilbur, or to the spiders that hung from intricate webs in my garage. Pictures on the wall came to life and danced before me; ordinary objects became extraordinary tools enabling me to defeat all those imaginary giants and inspiring me toward powerful possibilities fueled by vivid imagination.

Sadly, as happens to many adults, my imagination has changed. I don’t often view my closet as a doorway to unseen worlds, nor do I pretend that my dogs understand one word of my verbalizing towards them. Pictures don’t come to life, and I no-longer pretend my garden rake or broom is a secret weapon against fantastical foes. Often, I feel that my imagination has become nothing more than wishful thinking. Rather than thinking creatively about the life I’ve been given, I day-dream about what my life might be like if… I lived in Holland, for example, or could back-pack across Europe, or lived on a kibbutz, or was a famous actress, or a world-renowned tennis player, or any number of alternative lives to the one I currently occupy.

Sadly, the imagination so vital in my youth doesn’t usually infuse my life with creative possibility, but rather leads me only to wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. Mid-life regrets reduce imagination to restlessness and shrivel creative thinking to nothing more than unsettled daydreams. Rather than allowing my imagination to be animated with creative ideas about living in my life now, I allow it to be tethered to worldly dreams of more, or better, or simply other.

The psalmist was not in a mid-life imaginative crisis when he penned Psalm 90. Nevertheless, this psalm attributed to Moses, was a prayer to the God who inspires imagination for our one life to live. Perhaps Moses wrote this psalm after an endless day of complaint from wilderness-weary Israelites. Perhaps it was written with regret that his violent outburst against the rock would bar him from entry into the Promised Land. Whatever event prompted its writing, it is a song sung in a minor key, with regret so great he feels consumed by God’s anger and dismayed by God’s seeming wrath towards him.

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Joyce Meyer – The Key to Being Satisfied

 

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn…. — Isaiah 58:8

Adapted from the resource Trusting God Day by Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

We all probably want more light in our lives. That would mean more clarity, better understanding, and less confusion. The prophet Isaiah declared that if we would divide our bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into our homes, cover the naked and stop hiding ourselves from the needs around us, our light would break forth (see Isaiah 58:7–8). He also said our healing and restoration and the power of a new life would spring forth quickly. That sounds good to me, and I am sure it does to you also.

Isaiah also wrote of justice, and he said it would go before us and conduct us to peace and prosperity, and that the glory of the Lord would be our rear guard. If we are actively helping the oppressed, God goes before us and He also has our backs! I like that feeling of safety and certainty.

Isaiah further said if we would pour out that with which we sustain our own lives for the hungry, and satisfy the need of the afflicted, our light would rise in darkness and any gloom we experienced would be comparable to the sun at noon (see Isaiah 58:10). The sun is very bright at noon, so it sounds to me like helping people is the way to live in the light.

The Lord will guide us continually, and even in dry times He will satisfy us. He will make our bones strong and our lives will be like a watered garden (see Isaiah 58:11). All of this happens as a result of living to bring justice to the oppressed.

I hope you are seeing what I am seeing through these promises. I think most of us waste a lot of our lives trying to get what God will gladly give if we simply do what He is asking us to do: care about the poor, the hungry, the destitute, orphans, widows, the oppressed, and needy. Live your life to help others, and God will satisfy you in every way possible.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to always have compassion on those less fortunate…and take action to help them in their time of need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Praise Brings Results

 

“And at the moment they began to sing and to praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to begin fighting among themselves, and they destroyed each other!” (2 Chronicles 20:22).

The armies of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir had declared war on King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah. So Jehoshaphat called the people together and prayed, “Oh, our God. Won’t you stop them. We have no way to protect ourselves against this mighty army. We don’t know what to do but we are looking to You.”

Then the Lord instructed the people, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be paralyzed by this mighty army for the battle is not yours, but God’s! Tomorrow, go down and attack them!…But you will not need to fight. Take your places; stand quietly and see the incredible rescue operation God will perform for you” (2 Chronicles 20:15-17).

After consultation with the leaders of the people, Jehoshaphat determined that there should be a choir, clothed in sanctified garments and singing the song, “His Loving kindness Is Forever,” leading the march. As they walked along praising and thanking the Lord, He released His mighty power in their behalf.

One of the greatest lessons I have ever learned about the Christian life is the importance of praise and thanksgiving. The greater the problem, the more difficult the circumstances, the greater the crisis, the more important it is to praise God at all times, to worship Him for who He is; for His attributes of sovereignty, love, grace, power, wisdom and might; for the certainty that He will fight for us, that He will demonstrate His supernatural resources in our behalf.

As in the case of Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah when they began to praise God and He caused the three opposing armies to fight against each other and destroy one another, God will fight for us if we trust and obey Him. There is no better way to demonstrate faith and obedience than to praise Him and to thank Him, even when our world is crumbling around us and the enemy is threatening to destroy. God honors praise. Hebrews 13:15 reminds us, “With Jesus’ help, we will continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by telling others of the glory of His name.”

Bible Reading: Psalm 136:1, 21-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will continue to praise God and give thanks to Him for who He is. When difficulties arise, I will praise Him all the more and thank Him for His faithfulness. I will depend upon the supernatural resources of God which enable me to live the supernatural life, regardless of the circumstances.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – The Infection of Sin is Universal

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

No culture, no nation, no person sidesteps the infection of sin.  You can blame the plague of sin on a godless decision.  Adam and Eve ignored God’s will…and sin, with death on its coattails, entered the world.  The sinful mind dismisses God and becomes self-centered.  Sin, for a season, quenches thirst. But, given time, the thirst returns, more demanding than ever.

God refuses to compromise the spiritual purity of heaven.  Here’s the awful truth.  Lead a godless life, and expect a godless eternity.  Spend life telling God to leave you alone, and he will.  So what can we do?  Acts 16:31 says, “Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus.”  Christ not only became the sin offering, he overcame the punishment for sin—death—through his glorious resurrection from the dead.

Read more Come Thirsty

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Denison Forum – James Holzhauer and Susan B. Anthony: The privilege of eternal significance

 

James Holzhauer won Jeopardy! thirty-two straight times and was poised to take over the top spot on the show’s all-time, regular-play winnings list. That was before Emma Boettcher, a librarian from Chicago, defeated him in last night’s episode.

While Holzhauer’s loss is making headlines this morning, another event that happened a century ago today is receiving far less attention than it deserves.

A vote that changed history

A hundred years ago today, Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution and sent it to the states for ratification. It states simply: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

The amendment was adopted by the states the following year. While it obviously changed history, the history of the amendment is also worth our reflection this morning.

In the 1872 presidential election, Susan B. Anthony and fourteen other women cast votes. At the time, women were forbidden from voting. Three weeks later, Anthony was arrested. She was put on trial the next June.

Because she was a woman, she was forbidden from testifying in her own defense. She was found guilty of illegal voting but never paid the fine imposed by the judge.

“Women, their rights, and nothing less”

Four years later, Anthony led a protest at the 1876 Centennial celebrating America’s independence. She made famous the declaration, “Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.” Twelve years later, she helped form the National American Women’s Suffrage Association and led the group until 1900.

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