Charles Stanley – True Worship

 

Exodus 20:1-7

Most of us go to church on Sundays to worship God, but is worship truly what we are doing? Often we associate the word with music in a service, but its meaning involves much more than that. An adequate definition may be difficult to express concisely, but think of worship this way: When one’s mind is occupied with thoughts of God, the heart overflows in an outpouring of awe, adoration, and praise to Him.

It’s helpful to notice the order so that our expressions of worship may be most pleasing to God—starting in the mind, moving to the heart, and working itself out in words and action. Therefore, the accuracy of our perception of God determines the validity of our response.

In other words, it’s essential to pay attention to what God has revealed about Himself. And that’s why the Lord spoke to the Israelites shortly after delivering them from Egyptian bondage—they needed to understand who He was so they could worship Him appropriately.

Today we have more revelation about God than they did, because He’s given us His inspired Word and His Son Jesus. Yet even an entire lifetime spent studying the Scriptures would give us only a glimpse of our infinite, transcendent, eternal, all-powerful Father. However, the more we seek to understand and know Him, the deeper and more meaningful our worship will be.

We all need to grow in this area, and the best way to begin is in our private time with the Lord. Each time you read a Bible passage about Him, let it take root in your mind, overflow to your heart, and pour out in worship.

Bible in One Year: John 4-5

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Door of Reconciliation

 

Bible in a Year:

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:18

 

Today’s Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 5:14–21

Inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland, there’s a door that tells a five-century-old tale. In 1492 two families, the Butlers and the FitzGeralds, began fighting over a high-level position in the region. The fight escalated, and the Butlers took refuge in the cathedral. When the FitzGeralds came to ask for a truce, the Butlers were afraid to open the door. So the FitzGeralds cut a hole in it, and their leader offered his hand in peace. The two families then reconciled, and adversaries became friends.

God has a door of reconciliation that the apostle Paul wrote passionately about in his letter to the church in Corinth. At His initiative and because of His infinite love, God exchanged the broken relationship with humans for a restored relationship through Christ’s death on the cross. We were far away from God, but in His mercy He didn’t leave us there. He offers us restoration with Himself—“not counting people’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). Justice was fulfilled when “God made [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us,” so that in Him we could be at peace with God (v. 21).

Once we accept God’s hand in peace, we’re given the important task of bringing that message to others. We represent the amazing, loving God who offers complete forgiveness and restoration to everyone who believes.

By: Estera Pirosca Escobar

Reflect & Pray

What does God’s offer of reconciliation mean to you? How will you extend His offer to those who need to hear it today?

God, thank You for not leaving me in a place of no hope, separated from You forever. Thank You that the sacrifice of Your beloved Son, Jesus, has provided the way for me to come to You.

To learn more about forgiveness, see bit.ly/2F5wVhT.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Windows of Something Other

A single plastic lawn chair sits small and unbefitting in the jungle of massive concrete pillars Atlantans know as Spaghetti Junction. A tangled intersection of two major interstates and its deluge of exits, onramps, over- and underpasses, Spaghetti Junction is a colossal picture of ordered chaos, the arteries and veins of a massive, active organism. To say the least, the small chair positioned to sit and watch from the side of the road, its matching side table suggesting space for a cup of tea, is incongruous of the congested, noxious web of concrete and frustrated motorists. Spaghetti Junction is far from relaxing, and people who sit still on Atlanta highways sit with enormous risk.

As I drove, I was immediately struck by the ridiculousness of the chair from the perspective of a driver. Who would sit in the middle of a knotted mess of highways? But as I sat in my car, barely inching forward, with a scowl on my face as I watched the car in front of me trying to cut off the merging motorist in front of him, it occurred to me how ridiculous I must have looked from the perspective of the chair. Taking in the soaring overpasses and congested ramps of an anxious world always on the move is perhaps to see some of the absurdity in our distracted lives.

One could say that King Solomon spoke as if a man sitting in a chair under Spaghetti Junction: “What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity”(1) It was from such a perspective that Solomon concluded wisely, “I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. God has made everything suitable for its time; moreover, he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end”(2)

Every so often in our busy lives there comes a moment of heightened perspective. Life is grasped in a way that usually goes unnoticed. What is usually unseen becomes jarringly visible. Such moments, if helpful, even beautiful, are disruptive when they come, and we often seem to position our lives so that they will not come. I had never looked at Spaghetti Junction through the eyes of a still and silent observer; I had never considered the absurdity of my own frantic scurrying to get nowhere on that tangled patch of highway. But I have seen it habitually as an impatient motorist inching along without seeing much at all. “Look at the birds,” theologian Miroslav Volf writes, quoting the invocation of Jesus, “our lives are more like the frantic scurrying of rats and disciplined marching of ants than the joyous singing of birds.”(3)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Windows of Something Other

Joyce Meyer – Get Plugged In

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. — John 15:5

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day – by Joyce Meyer

In our Christian walk, many times we end up with a lot of principles, formulas, and methods, but no real power. That may be true for teachings on faith, prayer, praise, meditation, Bible study, confession, spiritual warfare, and all the other precepts we have been hearing about and engaging in. They are all good, and we need to know about them, but they alone cannot solve our problems.

It’s important to remember that, as good as these disciplines are, they are only channels to receiving from the Lord. They are of no help unless we are plugged in to the divine power source.

We get plugged in through a personal relationship with God, which requires time. We will never have any real lasting victory in our Christian life without spending time in personal, private fellowship with the Lord. He has an individual plan for you. If you ask Him, He will come into your heart and commune with you. He will teach and guide you in the way you should go.

Learn to respond quickly to the promptings of the Holy Spirit for an intimate relationship with God. Come apart with Him privately, and you will be rewarded in abundance. It is only in the presence of the Lord that we receive the power of the Lord.

Prayer Starter: Father, I can’t do anything without You. Help me to put You first in my life and make a habit of spending time with You. You are truly my one and only Source of joy and fulfillment. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Place Prepared for You

 

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3, KJV).

Recently my 93-year-old father went to be with the Lord. Though I was saddened to realize that I would never see him again in this life, and I shed a few tears of sorrow for myself, at the same time I rejoiced in the knowledge that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

My father is now rejoicing in the presence of our wonderful God and Savior. One day I shall join with him, my mother (who is still living at 93), all my brothers and sisters who have declared their faith in Christ, and multitudes of other loved ones, friends and saints to spend eternity in that place where “eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard…what God hath prepared for those who love Him.”

“I cannot think what we shall find to do in heaven,” mused Martin Luther. “No change, no work, no eating, no drinking, nothing to do.”

“Yes,” responded a friend, “‘Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.'”

“Why, of course,” said Luther, “that sight will give us quite enough to do!”

Joy of joys, you and I not only have been given purpose and power for living the supernatural, abundant life – by the indwelling Holy Spirit – but we have also been promised a place in His presence when this life is over. And, as Luther realized, we will then worship Him face to face throughout the endless ages of eternity.

We need not know exactly what heaven will be like; we need only know who will be there – our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. That assurance and anticipation should motivate us to live the kind of supernatural life that burdens and concerns us about the needs of others, moment by moment, day by day.

Bible Reading: John 14:27-31

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will meditate on the glory and beauty of my heavenly Father and my eternal home where I shall worship and have fellowship with my Lord throughout eternity. I will encourage loved ones, friends and strangers alike to prepare to go there also when their work on earth is done

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Tune Up Your Prayer Life

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I’m a recovering prayer wimp.  For years my prayers seemed to zig, then zag, then zig again.  Maybe you can relate.  Perhaps your prayer life could use a tune up, a reboot?  If that sounds overwhelming, I’m inviting you to a simpler plan.  Four minutes, plus four weeks, equals forever change!  Every day for four weeks, pray for four minutes, focusing on these core elements of prayer:

“Father, You are good.

I need help.

They need help.

Thank you.”

It’s that simple.  Really!  Talking with God doesn’t have to be complicated or complex.  The power isn’t in the words we pray—but in the One who hears them.

Here’s my challenge for you!  Every day for four weeks, pray four minutes.  Then get ready to connect with God like never before!

 

Read more Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Joe Biden denied communion because of abortion stance: Speaking truth in a ‘post-truth’ culture

Joe Biden is a lifelong Roman Catholic, a commitment he has made public on numerous occasions across his long career in public service. He and his wife regularly attend Mass at a Catholic church in Greenville, Delaware.

However, he is also a strong supporter of abortion on demand. Earlier this year, he even reversed his support for the Hyde Amendment, legislation that bars federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or risk to a woman’s life.

When the presidential candidate was campaigning in South Carolina last weekend, he attended Sunday Mass at St. Anthony Catholic Church in the Diocese of Charleston. However, the priest later stated that he “had to refuse Holy Communion” to the former vice president. The priest explained: “Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”

Backlash was quick and severe. An Esquire article suggested, “Maybe the Catholic church should worry less about Joe Biden and more about the abuse of children.” A liberal group launched an online petition calling on South Carolina’s bishop to direct the priest to apologize to Biden and direct other priests in the state not to deny communion based on politics.

“A crucial eccentricity of the Christian faith”

Today is All Saints Day. As we noted yesterday, the term saints in the Bible applies to all Christians. Scripture teaches that we are all saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9).

Frederick Buechner: “A crucial eccentricity of the Christian faith is the assertion that people are saved by grace. There’s nothing you have to do. There’s nothing you have to do. There’s nothing you have to do” (his italics).

Continue reading Denison Forum – Joe Biden denied communion because of abortion stance: Speaking truth in a ‘post-truth’ culture