Charles Stanley – The Nature of Discouragement

 

Psalm 16:7-11

Discouragement is a powerful, destructive force. Before we can understand how to rid our life of this common temptation, we must recognize its harmful nature.

Understand that discouragement…

Is something we choose. While it’s a natural response to difficult circumstances, we have the power to choose a different response. No one else is responsible for our discouragement.

Is universal. At times, everybody will face periods of disappointment and discouragement because we live in a flawed world filled with flawed people.

Can recur. Sometimes we think we’ve settled an issue, which later resurfaces when we least expect it. Or we may have old emotional wounds triggered by something a person says or does.

Can be temporary or lifelong. Refusing to face discouragement head-on can open the door for it to influence our decisions, actions, and relationships as long as we live.

Is conquerable. With the Father’s help, we can get through seasons of discouragement. He wants His children to have a rich and fulfilled life. If we trust in His promises and His character, our feelings of discouragement will slowly be replaced by hope.

Are you stuck in the throes of discouragement? If so, the Lord wants to lift your spirits. Let Him help you out of that lowly state: Start by believing that the Father wants to encourage you and get your life back on track with Him.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 12-14

 

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Our Daily Bread — Celebrating God’s Creativity

 

Bible in a Year :Psalms 84–86; Romans 12

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

Romans 12:6

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Romans 12:3–8

As music filled the church auditorium, color-blind artist Lance Brown stepped onstage. He stood in front of a large white canvas, with his back to the congregation and dipped his brush into black paint. With smooth swipes, he completed a cross. Stroke after stroke with brushes and his hands, this visual storyteller created images of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. He covered the large patches of the canvas with black paint and added blue and white to finish a now abstract painting in less than six minutes. He picked up the canvas, turned it upside down, and revealed a hidden image—a compassion-filled face—Jesus.

Brown said he’d been reluctant when a friend suggested he speed-paint during a church service. Yet he now travels internationally to lead people into worship as he paints and shares Christ with others.

The apostle Paul affirms the value and purpose of the diverse gifts God has dispersed to His people. Every member of His family is equipped to glorify the Lord and build others up in love (Romans 12:3–5). Paul encourages us to identify and use our gifts to edify others and point to Jesus, serving diligently and cheerfully (vv. 6–8).

God has given each of us spiritual gifts, talents, skills, and experiences to serve wholeheartedly behind the scenes or in the forefront. As we celebrate His creativity, He uses our uniqueness to spread the gospel and build up other believers in love.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

Who can you encourage to use their God-given gifts to serve others? How will you do the same?

God, thank You for Your creativity. May I reflect it today.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – This Kingdom

 

“The ‘kingdom of God’ is for the gullible,” I read recently.  “You enter by putting an end to all your questions.”

It is true that Jesus moved all over Judea pronouncing the reign of God and the kingdom of heaven as if it were a notion he wanted the simplest soul to get his mind around.  But simplicity was not what hearers walked away with. With great disparity, he made it clear that this kingdom was approaching, that it was here, that it was among us, that we needed to enter it, that we need to wait for it, that we desperately need the one who reigns within it. The tension within so many different and dynamic realities turned the clarity of each individual picture into a great and ambiguous portrait. He insisted, the kingdom “has come near you.” Yet he prayed, “Thy kingdom come.“(1) Paul, too, described the placement of believers in the kingdom as something established: “God has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son.”(2) While the writer of Hebrews described the kingdom as an ongoing gift we must accept: “Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us therefore give thanks.”(3) To make matters all the more complex, Jesus also assigned the kingdom imagery such as a mustard seed, a treasure in a field, and a great banquet, among others.

Contrary to putting an end to one’s questions, the kingdom of God incites inquiry all the more. What is the nature of this kingdom? Can it be all of these things? Who is this messenger? And what kind of proclamation requires the herald to pour out his very life to tell it? Whatever this kingdom is, it unmistakably introduces to a world far different from the one around us, one we cannot quite get our minds around, with tensions and dynamisms reminiscent of the promise of God to answer our cries “with great and unsearchable things you do not know.”(4) It is a kingdom that tells a story grand enough to master the metanarratives which otherwise compel us into thoughtless, gullible obedience. It is a kingdom with a king whose very authority exposes our idols as wood and reforms our numbed minds with great and surprising reversals of reality.

In this kingdom Jesus proclaims we are shown a God who opens the eyes of the blind and raises the dead, who claims the last will be the first, and the servant is the greatest. But his proclamations did not cease with mere easy words. Jesus put these claims into action, placing this kingdom before us in such a way that forbids us to see any of it as mere religion, abstraction, gullibility, or sentimentality:

“Then the whole assembly rose and led Jesus off to Pilate.  And they began to accuse him, saying, ‘We have found this man subverting our nation.  He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.’

So Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’

‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied.

Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, ‘I find no basis for a charge against this man.’

But they insisted, ‘He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching.  He started in Galilee and has come all the way here…’ So with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.”(5)

The way of proclamation led to the way of the passion, the path of commotion to the path of accusation, a road strewn with signs of the authority of another kingdom to a road that demanded death and mocked a king. And yet this man is still subverting nations. The kingdom he proclaimed in life and in death continues to unravel our own.

In this world of gullibility, crafted ignorance, and much distraction, there sounds a clarion call for a new means of perception. Living somewhere between this foreign kingdom of God’s reign and the familiar kingdom of earth, some of us never fully see or live in either. Still others somehow find themselves moved beyond the familiar borders of the world they know, to the very threshold of the kingdom of God where, longing to see in fullness and relishing here and now, they discover the one who reigns.

 

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

(1) Luke 10:9 and Matthew 6:10.
(2) Colossians 1:13.
(3) Hebrew 14:28.
(4) Jeremiah 33:3.
(5) Luke 23:1-23, emphasis mine.

 

http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – I Am Protected

 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand]. — Psalm 91:1 (AMP)

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

Spending time with God protects us from the attacks of our enemies. When I remember this, it helps me feel safe, and that is something we all desire.

Take a moment several times a day to simply turn your attention toward the Lord and say, “I know You are with me and that You are my Protector.” Then, take a few moments to dwell in that thought and let it comfort you. There is never a moment in your life when God is not with you.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for being with me at all times. Your Word says You will never forsake me, and You will protect me from those who would harm me (see Hebrews 13:5). Help me to regularly spend time with You and daily focus on Your love and protection. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Blameless Watchman

 

“If you refuse to warn the wicked when I want you to tell them, You are under the penalty of death, therefore repent and save your life – they will die in their sins, but I will punish you. I will demand your blood for theirs. But if you warn them and they keep on sinning, and refuse to repent, they will die in their sins, but you are blameless – you have done all you could” (Ezekiel 3:18-19).

One of the most sobering messages I find in all the words of God is this terrible warning found in the book of Ezekiel. God commanded Ezekiel to warn the people of Israel to turn from their sins. Some would argue that this has no application for the Christian. I would disagree. In principle this is exactly what our Lord commands us to do – to go and make disciples of all nations, to preach the gospel to all men, to follow Jesus and He will make us to become fishers of men.

It is a sobering thing to realize that all around us there are multitudes of men and women, even loved ones, who do not know the Savior. Many of them have never received an intelligent, Spirit-filled, loving witness concerning our Savior. Who will tell them? There are some people whom you and I can reach whom nobody else can influence.

I am writing this day’s devotion while in Amsterdam where I am speaking at an international gathering of Christian evangelists. During the course of my days here I have talked with many taxi drivers, maids, waiters and other employees of the hotel. Only one professed to be a believer and we had good fellowship together. Some were openly defiant, even angry at the name of Jesus. But in each case I have shared the gospel, constrained by the love of Christ out of a deep sense of gratitude for all that He has done for me, and as an act of obedience to His command to be His witness.

I pray that God will give me a greater sense of urgency to warn men that unless they turn to Christ they will die in their sins. I do not want to be responsible because I failed to warn them. They must know that there is a heaven and a hell and that there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved but the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible Reading: Ezekiel 3:15-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will ask the Holy Spirit to quicken within my heart, out of a deep sense of gratitude for all He has done for me and from a desire to obey our Lord’s commands, a greater sense of urgency to be His witness and to warn men to turn from their wicked ways and receive Christ, the gift of God’s love.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Life in Your Sweet Spot

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Are you living in your sweet spot?  Doing what you do well—what  you’ve always loved to do?

That last question trips up a lot of folks.  God wouldn’t let me do what I like to do—would he?  Yes he would.  “God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13).  “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart”  (Psalm 37:4).

Your Father is too gracious to assign you to a life of misery.  See your desires as gifts to heed rather than longings to suppress.  What have you always done well and loved to do?  Read your life backward.  Re-relish your moments of success and satisfaction.  In the merger of the two, you find your uniqueness!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – A true American hero comes home: The power of community

 

“Dad has come home.”

With these words, Roy Knight III described the remarkable funeral service held last Saturday for his father, Roy Knight Jr.

Col. Knight’s homecoming made national headlines last week, and for good reason.

A true American hero

Roy A. Knight Jr. enlisted in the United States Air Force just days after his seventeenth birthday, following the example of his five older brothers, all of whom served in World War II. He served in the Philippines, Japan, and Korea, then became a fighter pilot, serving in Germany and France.

He and his family returned to Texas in 1963. He completed his bachelor’s degree, then received orders for Southeast Asia. He reported in January 1967 and flew combat missions almost daily until he was shot down on May 19, 1967.

Col. Knight was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, and six Air Medals for his bravery. His remains were recovered and identified in February 2019.

“Dallas Love Field fell absolutely quiet”

A reporter named Jackson Proskow was at Love Field Airport in Dallas last Thursday. He had been covering the shooting in El Paso and was waiting for his connecting flight to New York City. There, he said, “Dallas became the place where the weight of the world seemed to melt away—the place where the good outweighed the bad for the first time in days.”

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