Charles Stanley – Our Struggle With the Flesh

 

Galatians 5:16-26

One of the most misunderstood concepts in the Christian life is that of “the flesh.” So, what is it? In today’s passage, flesh refers not simply to the physical body but also to the inner being, which is still subject to sin even though believers have a new nature given to them by God’s Spirit. Therefore, flesh refers to our entrenched habits of sinful thoughts, desires, and attitudes—which often lead to ungodly behaviors.

Paul presents, in a painfully honest way, the results of living according to the flesh: deeds including immorality, impurity, idolatry, anger, strife, dissensions, and other destructive attitudes and actions. In contrast, a life led by the Holy Spirit produces the rich spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).

Why do so many people who desire a godly, self-controlled life repeatedly fall to fleshly sin? Paul says the determining factor is whether or not they are being led by the Spirit. If Christians try to overcome sin on their own without submitting to the Spirit’s reproof and guidance, they will fail.

The flesh cannot be disciplined, rehabilitated, or improved. Instead, it must be put to death (Rom. 6:11). Then, through the power of the Spirit, we do not have to yield to sinful impulses but can instead present ourselves to God for obedience to His desires (Rom. 6:12-14).

Walking by the Spirit means submitting to the Lord when you feel tempted to follow your flesh. With His help, you can see your desires give way to obedience that pleases your heavenly Father.

Bible in One Year: Ecclesiastes 5-8

 

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Our Daily Bread — Wise Aid

 

Bible in a Year :Psalms 20–22; Acts 21:1–17

Encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

1 Thessalonians 5:14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:1 Thessalonians 5:12–15

As I stopped my car at a red light, I saw the same man standing beside the road again. He held a cardboard sign: Need money for food. Anything helps. I looked away and sighed. Was I the kind of person who ignored the needy?

Some people pretend to have needs but are actually con artists. Others have legitimate needs but face difficulties overcoming destructive habits. Social workers tell us it’s better to give money to the aid ministries in our city. I swallowed hard and drove past. I felt bad, but I may have acted wisely.

God commands us to “warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). To do this well we must know who belongs in which category. If we warn a weak or disheartened person, we may break her spirit; if we help an idle person, we may encourage laziness. Consequently, we help best from up close, when we know the person well enough to know what he needs.

Has God burdened your heart to help someone? Great! Now the work begins. Don’t assume you know what that person needs. Ask her to share her story, and listen. Prayerfully give as seems wise and not merely to feel better. When we truly aim “to do what is good for each other,” we will more readily “be patient with everyone,” even when they stumble (vv. 14–15).

By Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

When have others most helped you? What did you learn about how best to help others?

Father, help me to help wisely, and often.

 

http://www.odb.org

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Friends of the Cause

 

A popular group on Facebook hosted a collection of people very much opposed to the destruction of an historic fountain in downtown Copenhagen. The name of the group could be translated: “No to the Demolition of the Stork Fountain.” Its members’ outrage filled its Facebook wall. The creator of the group urgently spoke of the need for action, sounding the call to join the cause and get involved. Almost overnight, participation in the cause went viral, members joining and getting the word out to their friends. Click here, forward there, speak out.

Ironically (and more ironic than activism that only requires joining a Facebook group), the cause was completely fictitious. The creator of the page, Anders Colding-Jørgensen, is a professor of Internet psychology who was conducting a social experiment on activism and online behavior. Sadly, had these outraged activists searched just a bit more for information, they would have read on the page itself that it was an experiment and that, in fact, Anders knew of no plans to destroy the fountain. Yet by the end of the experiment, more than 27,000 people had joined the group with a click of outrage and a desire to join the cause.(1)

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Joyce Meyer – Double Blessing

 

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. — Zechariah 9:12

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

Hope is a powerful force that will bring you through any storm. Our hope is in God; therefore, we can hope without any natural reason to do so. Hope is a positive expectation of good.

Practice saying, “Something good is going to happen to me today, and something good is going to happen through me today.” God is good, and He wants to shower His goodness on you.

There are times of difficulty, loss, illness, and disappointment in life, but if we will endure with hope in our hearts, we will be rewarded with a double blessing for our former trouble.

Let me strongly encourage you to refuse to be hopeless. Put your hope in God and things will always come around to being right in due time. I can’t guarantee how long it will take, and it may not be quick, but hope will strengthen you to face life with joy even in the midst of trouble.

Live daily thinking, Today may be the day of my breakthrough. It could happen suddenly…at any moment.

Hope is the anchor of our souls. It keeps us from giving in to wild emotions that attempt to lead us to do things we will regret later on. The wise man puts His hope in God. He listens for God’s voice and follows it, knowing that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. God is that Light, and He is urging you to be a prisoner of hope.

Prayer Starter: Father, anytime I feel discouraged or weary, help me remember that there is always hope. Help me to be filled with hope in You and positive expectation. You are good, and I believe You want to be good to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Worthy of Trust

 

“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead” (Hebrews 11:1).

Frequently, individuals make gifts of property or stocks and bonds to the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. I am notified by our legal department that the papers have been received, confirming our ownership. Then, on the basis of their word, I consider the value and the potential sale of these properties in light of our budget for this worldwide ministry.

Can you imagine? I make decisions involving literally millions of dollars based upon a word or a memo. I do not see the stocks and bonds. I do not visit the property. I do not even see the papers. But I can take the word of my associates, whom I have learned to trust, and, predicated on their recommendations, I can determine how many missionaries we can send to the field.

That is what faith is all about. I have faith in my beloved colleagues because they have demonstrated themselves to be trustworthy. How much more should I have faith in our loving, holy, gracious, God and Father who has demonstrated His faithfulness and trustworthiness innumerable times? How much more should I believe His holy, inspired Word – His many promises?

However, God’s promises do not become reality unless we act upon them, claiming them in faith, any more than the word of my associates would be of any value unless I acted upon that information.

Vast resources of heaven are available to us. We appropriate them by faith. Consider the following illustration: Suppose I have $1,000 in the bank. I go to the bank with a check for $100 in my hand. I hand it to the teller, get on my knees and begin to beseech the teller to cash my check for $100. This would seem unusual to the teller and to all who might observe me for that is not the way to cash a check. Rather, I place it before the teller with the assurance that I have ten times the amount of the check on deposit and therefore without any hesitancy can expect my check to be cashed.

So it is with the bank of heaven. I know that the promises of God are faithful and true. God does not lie. God is worthy of my trust and, therefore, whatever He promises, He will perform if only I will trust and obey him.

Bible Reading: Psalm 11:89-96

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will claim the promises of God by faith with the joyful assurance that whatever God promises, He is faithful to perform. I will claim His supernatural resources for supernatural living.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Let’s Stop This Frenzy

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Attempts at “self-salvation” guarantee nothing but exhaustion.  We scamper and scurry, trying to please God, collecting merit badges and brownie points and scowling at anyone who questions our accomplishments.  The result?  We are the weariest people on earth. We so fear failure that we create the image of perfection. Call us the church of hound-dog faces and slumped shoulders.

Stop it!  Once and for all, enough of this frenzy!  Hebrews 13:9 tells us, “Your hearts should be strengthened by God’s grace, not by obeying rules.”  In Matthew 11:28  Jesus promises, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

There is no fine print.  A second shoe is not going to drop.  God’s promise has no hidden language.  Let grace happen.  You have His unending affection.  Stretch yourself out in the hammock of grace.  You can rest now!

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Denison Forum – How Michael Collins enabled Apollo 11 moonwalk: The way to change the world

Fifty years ago this Saturday, at 1:46 p.m., astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin separated the lunar landing craft from the Apollo 11 command module. As they moved toward the moon, astronaut Michael Collins stayed behind. He was 250,000 miles from earth.

While Armstrong and Aldrin received much of the attention for their magnificent feat, their journey to the moon and back would have been impossible without Collins.

He piloted the command module through maneuvers that detached it from the third stage of the rocket carrying them into space. He then pivoted the module and steered it as it docked with the lunar landing vehicle. When the lunar module returned from the moon, Collins directed the command module to reacquire it, enabling Armstrong and Aldrin to reenter the craft they would ride for the journey home.

In short, without Michael Collins there would be no lunar mission to celebrate this week.

The heroes who saved a cathedral

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died Tuesday at the age of ninety-nine. One of the longest-serving justices in US history, he was nominated by President Gerald Ford but eventually became the leader of the Court’s liberal faction. His support for abortion, gay rights, gun restrictions, limits on government aid for religion, and the legalization of marijuana influenced the Court and the culture.

In other news, the New York Times is reporting on its extensive investigation into the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It turns out, the firefighters who saved the cathedral did so at great risk to themselves.

According to the Paris mayor, “It was clear that some firefighters were going to go into the cathedral without knowing if they would come back out.” The iconic landmark is now being rebuilt and will be a lasting tribute to their sacrificial courage.

Continue reading Denison Forum – How Michael Collins enabled Apollo 11 moonwalk: The way to change the world