Charles Stanley – Grace-Filled Speech

 

Titus 2:7-8

Words are powerful. Harsh remarks can cause a destructive chain reaction, like a match in the forest during a drought. Kind comments, on the other hand, feel like a light summer rain that brings relief from the heat of day.

We can know our words are refreshing and seasoned with grace when …

Our tone and manner reflect the way we want others to speak to us. The behavior of others shouldn’t determine whether we speak kindly to them.  If we want people to talk to us gently, we should consistently present positive body language and speak with a gentle voice.

What we say about others is similar to what we would want said of us. We all need to have our strengths emphasized by friends and family so we can be confident of the gifts God has given us.

We speak only words we know to be true. Gossip and lies have no place in a Christian’s conversation. The Lord opposes lying tongues and false witnesses (Prov. 6:16-19).

Our speech is edifying. Speaking fairly and positively about others is part of godly speech.

Transforming our conversation begins with the right heart attitude. When we spend time in the Word of God, our hearts will soften and we’ll begin to respond differently. The Holy Spirit will convict us when our speech is inappropriate. He’ll also teach us to be aware of which words we use and when to stop talking. God will be glorified and others will be blessed when we practice grace-filled speech.

Bible in One Year: Luke 2-3

 

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Our Daily Bread — A Feast of Love

 

Bible in a Year:

I am the living bread that came down from heaven.

John 6:51

Today’s Scripture & Insight:John 6:47–59

In the Danish film Babette’s Feast, a French refugee appears in a coastal village. Two elderly sisters, leaders of the community’s religious life, take her in, and for fourteen years Babette works as their housekeeper. When Babette comes into a large sum of money, she invites the congregation of twelve to join her for an extravagant French meal of caviar, quail in puff pastry, and more.

As they move from one course to the next, the guests relax; some find forgiveness, some find love rekindled, and some begin recalling miracles they’d witnessed and truths they’d learned in childhood. “Remember what we were taught?” they say. “Little children, love one another.” When the meal ends, Babette reveals to the sisters that she spent all she had on the food. She gave everything—including any chance of returning to her old life as an acclaimed chef in Paris—so that her friends, eating, might feel their hearts open.

Jesus appeared on earth as a stranger and servant, and He gave everything so that our spiritual hunger might be satisfied. In John’s gospel, He reminds His listeners that when their ancestors wandered hungry in the wilderness, God provided quail and bread (Exodus 16). That food satisfied for a time, but Jesus promises that those who accept Him as the “bread of life” will “live forever” (John 6:48, 51). His sacrifice satisfies our spiritual cravings.

By:  Amy Peterson

Reflect & Pray

How has God satisfied your hunger? What might it look like for you to give sacrificially?

Jesus, thank You for giving Your body and blood for us.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Reflecting Significance

 

English author Owen Barfield, who was a longtime friend of C.S. Lewis, once stated that what Lewis thought about everything was secretly present in what he said about anything.

He did not mean that Lewis went about giving the same tired message every time he opened his mouth. On the contrary, he was paying this prolific thinker one of the greatest compliments. What Lewis said about Christ with the utmost of passion was somehow present in the way he discussed his love for long walks or medieval literature, or in the way he stated his distaste for helping with the dishes. (Lewis once acknowledged that he found it was easier to pray for his wife than to help her with the dishes.) What Lewis thought about everything was that mere Christianity—the truth of the person of Christ—is something that no reasonable or responsible mind can ignore.

Today it seems that such singleness of mind is a rarity. In a world where we have carefully drawn lines around religious thought, it has become easier to accept the categories: Thinking about God and thinking about work are conducted from two separate frames of mind; loving God and loving your spouse are two different kinds of love. But is this true? Is it possible?

One of the most vocalized reasons for rejecting Christianity is the hypocrisy of its followers. And where it is not sound reasoning to reject a religion by its abuse, the thought is perhaps a legitimate expression of confusion. When what we think about God does not inform what we think about people or child rearing, business or pleasure, how can we proclaim the eternal importance of the message? Doesn’t it follow that something of eternal significance is significant enough to permeate every moment of time? It is like operating as if the underpinnings of a house have nothing to do with the shape or characteristics of any of the rooms. When the wind blows would we feel the same?

Our daily life is a reflection of what we hold most significant. G.K. Chesterton once said that there are no partial philosophies. There are well-formed philosophies and there are poorly formed philosophies that either knowingly or unknowingly govern all of life. But a philosophy by its very nature cannot merely inform the parts of life we want it to. In this sense, what we think about everything is present in what we say about anything. What we think about God, how we answer the deepest questions of life and meaning, informs what we think about work, how we love our spouse, and respond to the driver that cut us off.

In Christ, followers hold a promise that commands a singleness of heart and mind, and a faith that thoroughly informs all of life, for he has flooded all of life with a message of eternal significance: “Whosoever is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:38). Might our lives reflect the magnitude of this invitation and the hope of one with streams of living water flowing from within.

 

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

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Joyce Meyer – You Were Made for Something More

 

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. — Isaiah 40:31

Adapted from the resource Trusting God Day by Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Do you ever feel you are like an eagle in a chicken yard—grounded and pent up when you should be soaring? You know there is much more within you than you are experiencing and expressing in your life right now. You know God has a great purpose for your life—and you cannot escape or ignore the inner urge to “go for it.”

Know this: all eagles are uncomfortable in a barnyard; they all long for the clear, blue, open skies. When you are living in a place that keeps you from being who you were made to be and doing what you are meant to do, you will be uncomfortable, too. But also realize that people around you may not understand your desire to break out of the box. They may want to clip your wings.

When you hear their comments and questions, something inside of you may ask, “What is wrong with me? Why do I think as I think? Why do I feel this way? Why can’t I just settle down and live a normal life like everybody else?” The reason you cannot just settle down is that you are not a chicken; you are an eagle! You will never feel at home in that chicken yard, because you were made for something bigger, more beautiful, and more fulfilling.

I encourage you today to fan the flame inside of you. Fan it until it burns brightly. Never give up on the greatness for which you were created, never try to hide your uniqueness, and never feel you cannot do what you believe you were made to do. Realize that your hunger for adventure is God-given; wanting to try something new is a wonderful desire, and embracing life and aiming high is what you were made for. You are an eagle!

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for the greatness You have placed inside of me—the desire to be more, do more, and soar higher. Help me to approach life with boldness and never settle for anything less than what You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Greater Harvest

 

“He has already tended to you by pruning you back for greater strength and usefulness by means of the commands I gave you” (John 15:3).

My friend was in the process of pruning his vineyard, and it appeared to me – in my limited knowledge of vineyards – that the pruning was too severe. Only the main stump remained. I inquired, “Why have you pruned the vine back to just the main stump?”

“Because,” he said, “that is the way to ensure that it will produce a greater harvest. Otherwise the nourishment flowing up through the roots would be dissipate in keeping the vines alive. It could not produce the maximum number of grapes.”

It is my regular prayer that God will keep both me as an individual and the movement of which I am a part well pruned that we may not waste time, energy, talent and money producing beautiful foliage with no fruit. Our subjection to that pruning can be either voluntary or reluctant. How much better is it for us to invite the Lord to do the pruning than to have the pruning forced upon us over our protests.

The best possible way to cooperate in God’s pruning is to study His Word. Memorize and meditate upon His truths, obey His commandments and claim His promises. Jesus taught the disciples personally, by word and model, over a period of more than three years. Yet, Judas betrayed the Lord and committed suicide and the others denied Him and deserted Him at the cross. It was not until the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost that their lives were really transformed and the things He had taught them became a reality to them.

The same Holy Spirit who transformed their lives and gave them the courage to die as martyrs proclaiming God’s truth dwells within you and me. He wants to bear much fruit through us and He did through them. I encourage you to make that time, when you study the commands that Jesus gave us and apply His truths to your heart, the most important part of your day.

Bible Reading: John 15:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the pruning process of my life by spending much time studying, memorizing and meditating on the Word of God, applying its truths to my life as I claim the supernatural resources of the living Christ for supernatural living.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Path of Forgiveness

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Resentment sucks satisfaction from the soul.  Bitterness consumes it.  Revenge has a monstrous appetite.  One act of retaliation is never enough.  Grudges send us on a downward spiral.

Some people perceive the path of forgiveness to be impossibly steep.  So let’s be realistic.  Forgiveness does not pardon the offense, excuse the misdeed, or ignore it.  Forgiveness is not even necessarily reconciliation.  The phrase “forgive and forget” sets an unreachable standard.  Painful memories are not like old clothing, easily shed.

Forgiveness is simply the act of changing your attitude toward the offender; it’s moving from a desire to harm toward an openness to be at peace.  A step in the direction of forgiveness is a decisive step toward happiness.

 

Read more How Happiness Happens – Finding Lasting Joy in a world of Comparison, Disappointment, and Unmet Expectations

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – Meghan Markle’s ‘gut-wrenching’ interview: How to notice the hurt in others

Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are no strangers to the media. As part of the royal family, Harry and his brother have been lightning rods for global attention since their birth. That attention only increased after their mother, Princess Diana, died in a car accident while trying to get away from the paparazzi.

As an actress prior to becoming a princess, Meghan Markle was also no stranger to being the center of attention, whether it was wanted or not. As a recent interview with British television channel ITV demonstrates, however, experience with being trapped in the public eye does not make it any easier to bear.

The couple recently took a ten-day trip to Africa to work with several charities and check up on much of the work that Harry’s mother began prior to her tragic death. They spoke excitedly about all the progress being made and the joy they felt in getting the chance to be part of it, but there were also candid moments of grief when the conversation veered toward their strained relationship with the media. The most poignant was Meghan’s reply to anchor Tom Bradby’s question regarding how she was holding up after recently giving birth to the couple’s first child.

The Duchess replied, “Thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I’m OK, but it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”

Bradby followed up with “Would it be fair to say, not really OK, as in it’s really been a struggle?” to which she simply responded yes.

The exchange was a fairly minor part of the larger documentary, but it’s received quite a bit of attention, with the hashtag #WeLoveYouMeghan trending on Twitter and hundreds of thousands expressing their support for the princess.

And while we probably shouldn’t be surprised that there would be an outpouring of love for such comments, the degree to which people genuinely seem to feel for the Duchess is worth noting. CNN‘s Kara Alaimo spoke for many when she called the interview “gut-wrenching.”

Low-hanging fruit

It’s easy for any parent to sympathize with the trials that come from having a newborn in the house. Those relatively sleepless nights, constant demands on your time and attention, and the way that anyone else who has ever even seen a baby can feel entitled to tell you how to better raise yours make it an inescapably trying time, even though it’s still worth every second.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Meghan Markle’s ‘gut-wrenching’ interview: How to notice the hurt in others