Charles Stanley – Can We Trust Our Conscience?

 

2 Corinthians 1:12

The conscience looks at thoughts and actions to determine if they are in line with a person’s principles. It is important to keep our internal monitoring system well maintained so it will be trustworthy. For our moral alarm to sound at the right time and for the right reason, we must:

Accept Scripture as our standard for behavior. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” If we choose to adopt our culture’s values, which are often at odds with the Lord’s, our conscience will be unreliable. Instead, we want our radar to alert us to the possibility of going off course.

Align our thinking with the Lord’s. Romans 12:2 says to renew our minds. It is necessary and ongoing work to combat what this unbelieving world accepts as true and right.

Apply God’s Word to daily living. When our habits reflect godly values, our conscience will become more sensitive to what is right and wrong.

In addition, it is essential that we rely on the Holy Spirit for understanding. Our conscience by itself is of some usefulness, but it becomes indispensable when accompanied by the Spirit’s guidance (John 16:13).

The Scriptures teach us how to live—with regard to our thought life, conduct, and emotions. As we fill our mind with the Lord’s standards and wisdom, our conscience will become increasingly trustworthy because it is based on what’s important to our heavenly Father.

Bible in One Year: Ecclesiastes 1-4

 

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Our Daily Bread — Victory Parade

 

Bible in a Year :Psalms 18–19; Acts 20:17–38

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession.

2 Corinthians 2:14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Corinthians 2:14–17

In 2016 when the Chicago Cubs baseball team won the World Series for the first time in more than a century, some sources said that five million people lined the parade route and gathered at a downtown rally to celebrate the championship.

Victory parades are not a modern invention. A famous ancient parade was the Roman Triumph, in which victorious generals led a procession of their armies and captives through crowded streets.

Such parade imagery was likely in Paul’s mind when he wrote to the Corinthian church thanking God for leading believers “as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession” (2 Corinthians 2:14). I find it fascinating that in this imagery, followers of Christ are the captives. However, as believers we’re not forced to participate, but are willing “captives,” willingly part of the parade led by the victorious, resurrected Christ. As Christians, we celebrate that through Christ’s victory, He’s building His kingdom and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

When we talk about Jesus’s victory on the cross and the freedom it gives believers, we help spread the “aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14). And whether people find the aroma to be the pleasing reassurance of salvation or the odor of their defeat, this unseen but powerful fragrance is present everywhere we go.

As we follow Christ, we declare His resurrection victory, the victory that makes salvation available to the world.

By Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

What does Jesus’s victory on the cross mean to you? How are you living out the power of His resurrection?

Jesus is our victorious King.

For further study, see christianuniversity.org/NT109-06.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Unsolved Mystery

Long before Horatio Caine or Gil Grissom made crime scene investigating a primetime enterprise, the Bloodhound Gang was “there on the double” “wherever there’s trouble,” a doughty group of junior detectives who used science to solve crimes. Written by Newbery Medal-winning children’s author Sid Fleischman, the Bloodhound Gang was a beloved segment on the PBS television program 3-2-1 Contact, and my first encounter with the almost unbearable suspension, “To be continued.” Thankfully, with the help of their knowledge of science, no mystery remained unsolved for long.

What I did not realize at the time, or through years of absorbing Unsolved Mysteries, CSI, and my own scientific pursuits, was the hold that simple word “solve” would have on my understanding of mystery. For the Bloodhound Gang, as much as for the philosophers of science who have given rise to the notion, science is the invasion and defeat of mystery. That is to say, for many scientists (though certainly not for all historically), mysteries are there to be solved and put finally beyond us.

One can see how such a notion fuels the perception that science and faith are at odds with one another; science being the conquest of mystery and faith the act of making room for it. For Steven Pinker, Harvard Professor and cognitive scientist, certain aspects of religious belief can be thought of as “desperate measure[s] that people resort to when the stakes are high and they’ve exhausted the usual techniques for the causation of success.”(1) In other words, religion, like the story of the stork for parents not ready for their kids to know where babies come from, is simply a desperate attempt to explain away mystery, even if only by making space for it. And faith is thus seen as the grossly inferior CSI agent.

But what if mystery is less like a case for the Bloodhound Gang and more like the molecule of DNA they use to solve the crime? In so much of the culture in which we operate today, mystery is thought of in reductionistic terms. It is a momentary fascination that needs some higher reasoning, future information, or an hour of crime scene investigating to solve and explain. Everything we do technologically, medically, and scientifically is an attempt to put an end to mystery—to explain everything. But is that remotely possible? And would a reasonable explanation always dispel the mystery in the first place? As Thomas Huxley once put it, “[H]ow is it that anything so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about as a result of irritating nervous tissue?”(2) Is mystery always something to be solved?

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Unsolved Mystery

Joyce Meyer – Break Your Box

 

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He [Jesus] sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask [box] of very costly oil of spikenard [perfume]. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. — Mark 14:3 (NKJV)

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

I believe that breaking (saying no to) the flesh is what today’s scripture is about. The woman broke that box so the expensive perfume could be poured out. In the same way, we have to “break” our flesh.

We all have sweet perfume in us. But our alabaster box (our flesh) has to be broken so the perfume (the good things of God) can flow out of us.

We are “pregnant” with the good things of God. We each have the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faith, meekness, and temperance. But many times, our alabaster box (our flesh) keeps them from being poured out.

Oh, but we love our alabaster box. We don’t want to break it because, after all, it is such a pretty box. We spend so much time taking care of it; we don’t want it to be broken.

But we must love God more than we love anything else. We need to circumcise our flesh and be willing to let go of the things of the flesh, so God’s blessings can flow to us and through us.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I choose to break my alabaster box in order to express my love for You and receive everything You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Glory Will Be Ours

 

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later” (Romans 8:18).

In Sydney, Australia, a taxi driver to whom I witnessed became very angry.

“I was in World War II,” he exploded, “and I saw thousands of people die. I don’t want to have anything to do with a God who allows war.”

“Don’t blame God for war and the slaughter of millions of people,” I explained. “War is the result of man’s sin. Man does what he does because of his selfishness and pride. God does not desire that man should destroy men. God is not in favor of war. But sickness, death, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods are all a part of God’s judgement because of man’s sin, because of man’s disobedience to His commands.

The problem of suffering is a mysterious one, but for the Christian there is a good, logical answer. All creation waits patiently and hopefully for that future day when God will resurrect His children. On that day, thorns and thistles, sin and death and decay – the things that overcome the world will disappear at God’s command.

The world around us then will share in the glorious freedom from sin which God’s children enjoy. Even the things of nature, animals and plants which now suffer deterioration and death, await the coming of the time of this great glory.

We Christians – though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory – also groan to be released from pain, heartache, sorrow and suffering. We too wait anxiously for that day when God will give us full rights as His children, including the new bodies He has promised us – bodies that will never suffer again, and that will never die.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:24-27

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will rejoice in the certainty that glory is ahead for me as a believer, and as a result I am willing to joyfully endure whatever suffering comes my way. I will also encourage others in their times of sorrow to consider God’s love and plan for them, and will help them to understand the scriptural reason for man’s suffering.

 

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Max Lucado – Let Grace Happen

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I became a Christian about the same time I became a Boy Scout, and I made the assumption that God grades like the Boy Scouts do– on a merit system.  Good scouts move up.  Good people go to heaven.

So I worked toward the day when God, amid falling confetti and dancing cherubim, would drape my badge-laden sash across my chest and welcome me into his eternal kingdom where I would humbly display my badges for eternity.  But some thorny questions surfaced.  How many badges does He require?  How good is good?

Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”  Unearned.  A gift.  Our merits merit nothing.  So, let grace happen.  Of all the things you must earn in life, God’s unending affection is not one of them.  You have it!

Read more GRACE

 

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Denison Forum – President Trump’s tweets and critics: Four categories and a biblical response

President Trump’s tweets and statements about four Democratic congresswomen have been dominating the news this week.

Critics are decrying his rhetoric as racist. Several Republicans joined a wide range of Democrats in criticizing the president’s comments. Democrats in the House of Representatives (joined by four Republicans and one Independent) passed a resolution yesterday condemning his statements. Historian Jon Meacham claimed that Mr. Trump is the most racist president since Andrew Johnson.

However, the president denies that he or his statements are racist. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a news conference yesterday that he did not believe the president is a racist. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy agreed, stating: “I believe this is about ideology; this is about socialism versus freedom.” Others are defending Mr. Trump and criticizing his opponents.

Four responses to Donald Trump

As the leader of a nonpartisan ministry with readers in 203 countries, my purpose today is not to take a side in this debate. Rather, my goal as a cultural theologian is to offer context and analysis and then to consider biblical responses.

With regard to Mr. Trump’s presidency and the current controversy, there are four broad categories on a spectrum of response.

One: Some are opposed to Mr. Trump himself. They consider the current controversy to be another example of character unfit for the office of president.

Two: Some are opposed to the president’s policies. They disagree with him on abortion, border security, transgender persons in the military, and a host of other issues. Continue reading Denison Forum – President Trump’s tweets and critics: Four categories and a biblical response