Charles Stanley – The Courage to Obey

 

Daniel 6:10-28

Daniel is a great example of living with scriptural convictions even when doing so could put one’s life at risk. His experience in the lions’ den took place when he was old, but it wasn’t the first time he’d chosen to obey God rather than man. In fact, standing for his convictions had become the pattern rather than the exception of his life.

A look at Daniel’s life reveals the fruit of living in faithful obedience to God.

He had wisdom beyond his years. After Daniel stood up for his convictions regarding food, the Lord gave him greater knowledge, wisdom, and understanding than all the king’s other advisors (Dan. 1:17-21).

God granted him favor with the kings. Instead of persecuting him for speaking truth, kings promoted Daniel to the highest place of authority, even though he was a Jewish foreigner (Dan. 2:46-48).

His obedience presented opportunities to speak about God. If Daniel had chosen to blend into the culture, the Babylonian and Persian kings probably wouldn’t have noticed him. But since he didn’t back down from his convictions, the phrase “the God of Daniel” echoed in the chambers of those kingdoms, and God was glorified (Dan. 6:26).

God used him to write Scripture. Daniel was a trustworthy and obedient servant in the midst of a pagan culture, and God revealed amazing future prophesies in the book he penned. (See chapters 7-12.)

Although we may not stand before kings in palaces or lions in a den, we too can be used by God when we practice uncompromising obedience to Him.

Bible in One Year: Luke 6-7

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — This Is Me

 

Bible in a Year:

Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

James 3:10

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

James 3:7–12

The powerful song “This Is Me” is an unforgettable show tune featured in The Greatest Showman, the smash movie musical loosely based on the life of P. T. Barnum and his traveling circus. The lyrics, sung by characters in the film who’d suffered verbal taunts and abuse for failing to conform to societal norms, describe words as destructive bullets and knives that leave scars.

The song’s popularity points to how many people bear the invisible, but real, wounds caused by weaponized words.

James understood the potential danger of our words to cause destructive and long-lasting harm, calling the tongue “a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). By using this surprisingly strong comparison, James emphasized the urgent need for believers to recognize the immense power of their words. Even more, he highlighted the inconsistency of praising God with one breath and then injuring people who are made in God’s image with the next (vv. 9–10).

The song “This Is Me” similarly challenges the truth of verbal attacks by insisting that we’re all glorious—a truth the Bible affirms. The Bible establishes the unique dignity and beauty of each human being, not because of outward appearance or anything we have done, but because we are each beautifully designed by God—His unique masterpieces (Psalm 139:14). And our words to each other and about each other have the power to reinforce that reassuring reality.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

Whose forgiveness might you need to seek for using damaging words? How might you encourage someone today?

Creator God, thank You for creating each of us. Help us to use our words both in praise of You and to encourage the people You expertly designed.

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – People With a Past

 

I confess that I have never been a student especially enticed by the subject of history. Whether studying the history of the Peloponnesian War or the history of Jell-O, I associate the work with tedious memorization and an endless anthology of static dates and detail. But this stance toward history, coupled with our cultural obsession with the present moment, is a force to be reckoned with and an outlook I have come to recognize as dangerous. It is a thought to let go, lest it produce a sense of forgetfulness about who we are and from whence we have come.

Richard Weaver is one among many who have warned about the dangers of presentism, the cultural fixation with the current moment and snobbery toward the past. More than fifty years ago, Weaver warned of the discombobulating effects of living with an appetite for the present alone:

“A frank facing of the past is unpleasant to the tender-minded, teaching as it does sharp lessons of limitation and retribution. Yet, the painful lessons we would like to forget are precisely the ones which should be kept for reference. Santayana has reminded us that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, and not without reason did Plato declare that a philosopher must have a good memory.”(1)

Weaver contends that carelessness about history is in fact a type of amnesia, producing a mindset that is both aimless and confused. For how can we understand the current cultural moment without at least some understanding of the moments that have preceded it? History is not a static bundle of dates and details anymore than our own lives are static bundles of the same. On the contrary, history is the vital form in which we both take account of our past and fathom the present before us.

This point was driven home for me in a church history class full of future pastors. We were studying the fourth century, which was privy to a great influx of believers who left their communities behind and fled to the desert in search of solitude. To a group of people called and passionate about the church as a community, the great lengths some of these pilgrims went to live solitary lives was hard for some to understand. Words like “abandonment” and “responsibility” readily crept into our conversations.

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Joyce Meyer – A Wondering Mind

 

In the morning, when they were passing along, they noticed that the fig tree was withered [completely] away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to Him, Master, look! The fig tree which You doomed has withered away! And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly]. Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].— Mark 11:20-24 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

When you say the words, “I wonder,” they sound innocent and honest. They also represent the way we avoid certainty in making decisions.

Suppose you’re the CEO of a business. Every day 20 people come to your office and ask you to make decisions. Yours is the final answer on everything that goes on in the corporation. Instead of giving decisive answers, you rub your chin, stare out the window, and say, “I wonder. I wonder what we should do about that?”

An indecisive CEO wouldn’t stay in that position very long. The position is much too important to the overall success and well-being of the organization and all who are associated with it. You are not in that position to wonder—you’re there to act.

Too many of us forget that this is the way it is with the Christian life, as well. Too often, instead of choosing what we need to do, we avoid facing the situation and say, “I wonder.”

I know because I’ve done it. In times past, when I’ve been invited to a party or to be the featured speaker at a banquet, I’ve said, “I wonder what I should wear.” It’s easy for me to waste a lot of time looking through my closet, considering the color and style, as I try to choose just the right outfit for a particular occasion.

This may seem like such a small thing—and it really is. The problem, however, is that if we allow enough of these “wonderings” in our lives, we not only fail to accomplish the things we need to do, but wondering becomes the normal way our minds function. Being indecisive keeps us from moving forward and can eventually defeat us.

In the verses quoted earlier, the incident started with a fig tree that wasn’t bearing fruit. The disciples could have wasted time wondering about the particulars of why the tree didn’t bear fruit. They could have wondered if it hadn’t received enough sunlight or water. They might have wondered why the owner hadn’t cut it down since it wasn’t productive. But wasting time wondering really wasn’t necessary.

When Jesus spoke and doomed the tree, He put a stop to any mental speculation. He used the incident as an object lesson for the disciples, encouraging them to believe. He wanted them to understand that if they truly believed, they could have whatever they asked of Him.

Sometimes God’s people are reluctant to ask boldly for big things. But Jesus has given us permission to step out in faith and ask boldly. And yet some still waste time just wondering. They wonder what it would be like if God would give them a better job. They wonder what it would be like if God would give them a larger house.

I can tell you that wondering is a waste of time. So, stop wondering and start acting! That’s one of the most important things I’ve learned about the wondering mind. Rather than wondering what I should wear to a banquet, I look at my clothes and I decide. God gave me the ability to make wise choices, so I can just do it instead of wasting my time wondering.

Wondering and indecision can become strongholds in our minds that can leave us feeling confused, insecure, and ineffective. But that’s not God’s plan. He wants us to overcome the wondering thoughts by believing and then receiving the answer to our prayers from God, by faith.

Notice that Jesus did not say, “Whatever things you wonder when you pray, you will have.” Instead, He said, Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].

Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, help me to overcome any wondering tendencies that keep me from moving forward in Your good plan. In Your name, I ask You to help me reach out in faith, boldly asking for what I need. Then help me to believe it and receive it. Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Can Be Found

 

“And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13, KJV).

Halfhearted efforts, I have found from personal experience, seldom bring success and victory. The difference between a successful person and a failure is that the successful person is always willing to do more than the unsuccessful person is willing to do.

In spiritual matters, in particular, this is true, as evidenced scores of times in the Word of God. This is one of the most expressive of those passages that major on this theme.

Another is: “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6, KJV).

But one point needs to be made abundantly clear: This promise is not only to the unbeliever, though it is often taken that way. It applies equally to the believer, who may be searching after God for a variety of reasons.

The key word here, of course is heart. “As [a man] thinketh in his heart,so is he” (Proverbs 23:7, KJV). “Out of the abundance of the heartthe mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34, KJV).

What do you need from God today? Wisdom? Peace? Courage? Love? To find God in such a real way that you know He is meeting that need for you, you must really mean business with Him. Then He will indeed do business for you.

A doubter, or an unbeliever, reading this has a wonderful assurance: He can find God if he truly seeks Him with his whole heart.

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 29:10-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I’ll begin right at home by personally seeking God for myself with my whole heart,and I will remind others how God can be real to them.

 

 

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Max Lucado – The Upper Room of Mercy

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Jesus has seen every backstreet, back-seat, backhanded moment of our lives.  And he has resolved, “My grace is enough.  I can cleanse these people.  I will wash away their betrayals.”  For that reason we must make the Upper Room of Mercy our home address.

Jesus said, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14–15).

You are the creation of a good God, made in his image.  You are destined to reign in an eternal kingdom.  Secure in who you are, you can do what Jesus did.  Throw aside the robe of rights and expectation and make the most courageous of moves.  Wash feet.  This is how happiness happens

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 – John MacArthur tells Beth Moore ‘Go home’: 3 ways to disagree better

 

John MacArthur is a prominent Baptist pastor and biblical scholar who is currently celebrating fifty years in pulpit ministry at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California.

Sadly, that legacy is only part of why he’s in the news today.

Last week, MacArthur took part in a panel discussion at a Truth Matters Conference hosted by his home church. Emcee Todd Friel asked the panel for a one-word or “pithy” response to certain names.

Friel then started the discussion by saying “Beth Moore,” in reference to the prominent Southern Baptist author and speaker who has made waves recently by teaching at churches on Sunday mornings.

MacArthur responded by simply but clearly saying, “Go home.”

Those in attendance responded with laughter and applause.

While some might be tempted to dismiss MacArthur’s statement as playing to the crowd or the result of poor judgment in the moment—it certainly fit the “pithy” characterization that Friel was looking for—it’s important to note that the pastor took more than thirty seconds to craft his response. It was clear, in both his answer and the later explanation, that his words represent what he believes.

My purpose today is not to expound upon the proper role of women in the ministry (for more on that question, see Dr. Denison’s “What should be the role of women in Church?“). Rather, it’s to look at the way John MacArthur delivered his indictment and see what lessons we can learn regarding how to better disagree with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Can we still agree to disagree?

As Dr. Todd Still wrote concerning MacArthur for the Baptist Standard, “Even if MacArthur were to be correct in his assertions and assessments, in his disparaging remarks and condescending comments regarding Moore he fails to follow the very Scripture he proclaims.”

Dr. Still is correct, and I encourage you to read the entirety of his response.

We cannot afford to miss his point considering that, both inside and outside of the church, we seem to have forgotten how to disagree with people without vilifying them in the process. If we cannot engage with different views on their merits alone, then it speaks volumes to just how loosely and poorly we hold those views.

Continue reading Denison Forum – John MacArthur tells Beth Moore ‘Go home’: 3 ways to disagree better