Charles Stanley – The Challenge to End Well

 

2 Timothy 4

In a race, how you begin is not as important as how you finish. And this same principle is also true to a large degree in the spiritual realm. That’s why the writer of Hebrews reminds us to “lay aside every encumbrance” that hinders us in the race set before us (12:1). A believer’s lifetime is not a sprint but a marathon walk with Christ, and our goal should be the same as Paul’s—to fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith (2 Tim. 4:7).

Today’s passage contrasts two runners. After a great start as a fellow worker with Paul (Philem. 1:24), Demas later deserted the cause because of his love for the world (2 Tim. 4:10). Instead of enduring to the end, he gave up and didn’t finish the course.

Mark, on the other hand, started poorly. When Paul and Barnabas went on their first missionary journey, they took the young man with them, but after the first leg of the trip, he returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:5, Acts 13:13). Because Mark had deserted them on that first trip, Paul refused to take him on the second (15:36-40). However, when Paul was nearing death, he wanted Mark, whom he now considered “useful for service” (2 Tim. 4:11). Mark had proven himself faithful by persevering in obedience and service to the Lord, and eventually he wrote the one of the four gospels.

It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuits and pleasures of this life and forget that we have a higher goal. Once we cross the finish line and see Christ face-to-face, everything else will fade in comparison. So let’s run with endurance the race set before us.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 46-49

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — For Love or Money

 

Bible in a Year :Psalms 63–65; Romans 6

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.

Luke 12:15

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Luke 19:1–10

Irish poet Oscar Wilde said, “When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.” His comment was made tongue-in-cheek; he lived only to age forty-six, so he never truly was “old.” Wilde fully understood that life is not about money.

Money is temporary; it comes and it goes. So life must be about more than money and what it can buy. Jesus challenged the people of His generation—rich and poor alike—to a recalibrated value system. In Luke 12:15, Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” In our culture, where there’s an abiding focus on more and newer and better, there’s something to be said both for contentment and for perspective about how we view money and possessions.

Upon meeting Jesus, a rich young ruler went away sad because he had many possessions he didn’t want to give up (see Luke 18:18–25), but Zacchaeus the tax collector gave away much of what he’d spent his life acquiring (Luke 19:8). The difference is embracing the heart of Christ. In His grace, we can find a healthy perspective on the things we possess—so they don’t become the things that have us.

By Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

What can’t you live without? Why? Is it something that lasts forever, or just for a moment?

Father, give me Your wisdom that I might keep the things of life in the right perspective—and have a value system that reflects eternity.

Listen to “God and Money” at discovertheword.org/series/god-and-money/.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Invest in Someone

 

The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and kind and gives. — Psalm 37:21

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

Take chances today and invest in someone else’s life, especially if God tells you to do so. You may give them something of value only to learn they waste it as they have always done in the past. But remember that God made an investment in you, and He wants you to be willing to make an investment in somebody else.

Jesus died to give everybody a chance. Not everyone takes advantage of His provision, but we all have an equal opportunity to enjoy the abundant life. If you help someone, and they end up not doing what is right with it, that is between them and God. Give thanks that you are able to give, and then do whatever God tells you to do.

Prayer Starter: Father, show me ways to purposely be a blessing today. Help me to be gracious and kind, and invest in others the way You have invested in me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Authority Over the Enemy

 

“And I have given you authority over all the power of the Enemy” (Luke 10:19).

By nature I am a very shy, reserved person. But I can look the world in the face and say, “I’m a child of the King. There is royal blood in my veins.”

Because of our identification with Christ, we are no longer ordinary people. The authority of God is available to those who believe in Christ. What a promise!

“Authority over all the power of the Enemy!” That is His promise, but it is something you and I must claim each time we face the enemy. We are to believe this; it is an intellectually valid fact. It is not exercising positive thinking and blindly hoping for the best; rather, it is claiming and leaning on the promises of God by faith.

Supernatural authority belongs to the believer, and there is a difference between authority and power. A policeman standing at a busy intersection has no physical power that would enable him to stop cars coming from all directions. But that little whistle he blows and the uniform he wears represent authority, and because of that authority the drivers know that they had better stop.

You and I have authority – given to us by the Lord Himself – over all the power of the enemy. He may tempt us; he may attack us; he may sorely try us. But victory is assured us as we continue to trust and obey our Lord and claim by faith His supernatural resources for our strength.

Bible Reading: Luke 10:20-24

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Because I have been given authority over the enemy, by faith I will exercise that authority on behalf of others as well as myself, believing God for ultimate victory in each situation.

http://www.cru.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Shout for Joy

 

Isaiah 24:15, The Message

When your favorite team wins a huge victory, you just can’t help shouting for joy. When you are given an important award, you jump up and down in happiness. When you get a gift you have been wanting for a long time, you want to tell all your friends about it. You want to broadcast the good news.

When we take the time to think about all God has done for us, there is so much good stuff that we could certainly shout for joy about it. What has God done for you that could make you jump for joy? Has he healed a grandparent from a scary illness? Has he given your mom or dad a job or a better job? Has he helped you improve your grades or your basketball game when you prayed and asked him?

Even if he hasn’t done any of those things for you, he has made a way for you to go to heaven with him. Also remember that in tough situations, God is doing good things. He loves you even when you act ugly. When you are sick, he may use it to help you rest or to encourage someone else who is ill. Maybe you don’t feel like yelling out loud to God in all situations, but look for reasons to praise him. Something about giving thanks and praise to God out loud makes us feel better.

Dear Lord, As the writer of Isaiah said, “All praise to the Righteous One!” You are my God, and you are mighty. Thank you for loving me. Amen.