Charles Stanley – Unshakeable Foundation

 

2 Peter 3:10-13

With each passing year, the instability in the world seems more and more apparent. Natural and man-made catastrophes claim lives; political balance shifts; wealth and status come and go. It all causes us to ask, Is anything unshakeable?

As overwhelming as these things seem, let me give you an even bigger example. In today’s passage, we read that the heavens and earth will be shaken. It will all be destroyed—burned, to be exact. Thankfully, we have the promise that God will create new heavens and a new earth, but in the meantime our world will undergo great turmoil.

Instability can create feelings of insecurity and fear unless we latch onto the truths God has given us. The Bible refers to Jesus as a rock and firm foundation (1 Corinthians 3:10-11; Eph. 2:20). And we know that God is unchangeable and sovereign; nothing can undermine or move Him. His Word is truth, and it will last forever.

As Christians, we know that our eternal relationship with God is secure. We’ve been adopted as His children, and nothing can rob us of this position. What’s more, believers are assured of an eternal home with Him. Though we may at times feel unsettled by our circumstances, we can rejoice when trials bring us humbly to the cross of Jesus, where we will find peace and safety.

What assurance we have as God’s children! We can rest in peace and full confidence, knowing that our hearts are secure in Jesus Christ. As King David said in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Bible in One Year: Psalm 79-84

 

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Our Daily Bread — Your Eulogy

 

Bible in a Year:Job 5–7; Acts 8:1–25

Death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.

Ecclesiastes 7:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Ecclesiastes 7:1–6

My heart is full from attending the funeral of a faithful woman. Her life wasn’t spectacular. She wasn’t known widely outside her church, neighbors, and friends. But she loved Jesus, her seven children, and her twenty-five grandchildren. She laughed easily, served generously, and could hit a softball a long way.

Ecclesiastes says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting” (7:2). “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning” because there we learn what matters most (7:4). New York Times columnist David Brooks says there are two kinds of virtues: those that look good on a résumé and those you want said at your funeral. Sometimes these overlap, though often they seem to compete. When in doubt, always choose the eulogy virtues.

The woman in the casket didn’t have a résumé, but her children testified that “she rocked Proverbs 31” and its description of a godly woman. She inspired them to love Jesus and care for others. As Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1), so they challenged us to imitate their mother’s life as she imitated Jesus.

What will be said at your funeral? What do you want said? It’s not too late to develop eulogy virtues. Rest in Jesus. His salvation frees us to live for what matters most.

By Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

Are you living out things that will affect your résumé or your eulogy? How would your life change if you lived each day with your eulogy in mind?

Father, give me the courage to live for what matters most.

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Another Transaction

There are a great many companies that think very highly of you and all that you deserve. You deserve the best. You have earned a vacation. You deserve to splurge on this because you’re worth it. Whether in plenty or times of economic downturn, flattery actually remains one of the most effective psychological drivers that compounds debt. In a HSBC Direct survey during one such downturn, forty-two percent of the consumers interviewed said they had splurged on themselves in the past month despite hardship. Twenty-eight percent cited their reason for the splurge as simply “because I deserve it.”(1)

Of course, each of us who has ever bought into the idea that L’Oreal thinks I am worth it or BMW believes I deserve the ultimate driving experience probably realizes that we have done exactly that: we have bought the idea, paid for both the product and the flattering suggestion. No one is giving away these things because they think we are worth it; their flattery is quite literally calculated. In effect, it’s not that they think so highly of us, so much as that they want us to think highly of ourselves. Whether we see through this empty sycophancy or not, Geoff Mulgan believes it is working: “‘[B]ecause you’re worth it’ has come to epitomise banal narcissism of early 21st century capitalism; easy indulgence and effortless self-love all available at a flick of the credit card.”(2) The enticing words are an invitation to reward ourselves, and it just so happens we agree that we’re worth it—and they are glad.

There is of course much that can be drawn from reflecting on the intemperate desires of a consumer culture and the imagination fostered within its confines. A consumerist view of the world holds a very particular view of humanity and its worth. Beside this prominent vision, the drama of the Christian story fosters another imagination, along with the space and invitation to try on its counterintuitive system of worth. The invitation of a creator who so values creation that he steps into it is one that presents every opportunity to question the psychological drivers of empty flattery and consumer seduction. The Father gives us in Christ a mediator, an advocate, a vicarious redeemer of human identity in human form. While the imagination of a consumer promises flattery, the free invitation of Christ gives a startling commentary on a similar kind of compliment, within a very different transaction. Choosing to become human, Christ has indeed proclaimed our worth. But there is nothing required to accept this unfathomable gesture of a God who takes on flesh.

Peering through the accolade proclaimed in Christ does, however, confront the very banal narcissism that epitomizes our numbed consumer hearts and imaginations. In the words of one observer: “When I look at narcissism I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”(3) Given the highly countercultural alternative of discovering worth in the son of an ordinary peasant woman, we may find that we in fact prefer the consumer transaction that tells us that being human is about what we can buy. We may find that there is something comforting and familiar in paying for our sense of worth and value. We might find it baffling to accept the idea that something deemed a gift could come to us fragile and broken. Or maybe it is the personal nature of his humanness that we find altogether unnerving—namely, Jesus was not simply born a child in first century Bethlehem; he was born a child in first century Bethlehem for you. It is perhaps far easier to accept an empty compliment.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Another Transaction

Joyce Meyer – You Are at a Place of Prayer

 

For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. — 1 Corinthians 3:9

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

Under the Old Covenant, the temple was the house of God, the place of prayer for His people, the children of Israel. The temple had three compartments, one of which was the Holy of Holies, and it held the presence of God! Amazingly, now our renewed and sanctified spirit is the place where His presence dwells!

Under the New Covenant, the apostle Paul tells us that God’s presence is now a mystery revealed, which is of Christ in us, “the Hope of glory” (see Colossians 1:27).

Because of the union you now have with Christ, you can be close to God because you are God’s living temple. You are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, a building still under construction, but nonetheless His house, His tabernacle. Paul goes to great length in encouraging us to live a holy life because we are the temple of God.

Whereas the children of Israel had to go to a specific place to offer their worship with detailed instructions, we have the incredible privilege of worshiping God anywhere and at any time. Therefore, we can be called a house of prayer.

Prayer Starter: Oh, Lord, I thank You for Your Holy Spirit Who lives inside of me. Thank You that Your awesome presence goes with me everywhere I go! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Knowledge and Wisdom

 

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere” (James 3:17).

“Donkeys laden with books,” a phrase in rabbinical literature, is descriptive of those who know much but still remain fools.

Another expression says that “knowledge is power.” True, but how is the knowledge used – beneficially or malevolently? That is a vitally important question. We have more knowledge than ever before, but a few would claim that we have more wisdom.

Going faster and faster, we may be still going astray. Just as grapes are not picked from a bramble bush, neither can the good life be harvested from sowing wild oats.

For a nation of people, many of whom are “educated beyond their intelligence,” as an anonymous wit once observed, America sorely lacks a sufficiency of men with real wisdom – that which is given by the Lord Himself.

In our modern education, we seem to be preoccupied with the accumulation of knowledge, to the neglect of that wisdom which alone can save us from the misuse of knowledge.

William Lyon Phelps, famous English professor at Yale University and a godly statesman, once said, “If I could choose between a knowledge of the Bible and a college education, I would readily choose the knowledge of the Bible.”

If we lack wisdom, God’s wisdom, we need only ask of Him and He will grant it when we ask in faith, according to His promise in James 1:5.

Bible Reading: James 3:13-18

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: In order to live a supernatural life I’ll look for divine wisdom from the proper source – God, His Word, and His indwelling Holy Spirit.

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Max Lucado – Filled Up With God’s Love

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

When Christ rose from the dead, he never reminded the disciples of their betrayal and desertion.  They outran the guards, but they couldn’t outrun the love of Christ.

Desert God—he’ll still love you.  Deny God—he’ll still love you.  Doubt God—he’ll still love you.  You have never lived a loveless day.  Not one!  You never leave God’s mind, escape his sight, or flee his thoughts.  He knows you better than you know you, and he loves you still.

The greatest discovery in the universe is the greatest love in the universe—and that is God’s love.  Remember Paul’s words in Romans 8:38,  “Nothing can separate us from his love.”  Step to the well of God’s love and drink up.  Once filled by his love, you’ll never be the same.

Read more Come Thirsty

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – The Democratic debates and becoming a ‘happiness hunter’: The surprising source of true happiness

 

The Democratic Party’s presidential debates begin tonight. According to the Wall Street Journal, this is the largest Democratic presidential field in modern history. The candidates are hoping to differentiate themselves from each other and make an impact on the voting public.

Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign manager, explains: “The biggest question is who is driving the news. Who is getting attention.” Dan Pfeiffer, a former adviser to Barack Obama, added: “They need moments to create attention and virality to increase their poll numbers and, more importantly, get the online donor number up.”

There is much in the news we could be discussing this morning, from the border crisis (which I plan to address later this week) to the ongoing tensions with Iran to the Middle East peace plan. But this week’s debates will make headlines both for what the candidates say that is memorable and what they say that is regrettable.

Meanwhile, a story receiving less attention caught my eye as a parable for our contentious times.

Finding the “secret to happiness” in Denmark

If you’re unhappy with your job, perhaps you’d like to become a “happiness hunter.” Furniture chain Ikea is looking for someone willing to live for two weeks in Denmark and get paid in money and meatballs to help them “find all the keys to a real home of happiness.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – The Democratic debates and becoming a ‘happiness hunter’: The surprising source of true happiness