Charles Stanley – Failing to Listen to God

 

Genesis 3:1-13

Today’s passage offers a picture of what can happen when believers don’t listen to God. Eve knew the Lord’s instructions so well that she repeated them almost verbatim to the serpent. However, pride and desire got the better of her, and she was deceived. Eve stopped listening to God and opened her ears to the wrong voice.

Think about how many voices we hear in a given day. Articles, podcasts, and even friends and family bombard our minds with ideas and philosophies. We hear superficial messages wrapped up in pretty language. It’s easy to fall prey to deception unless we renew our mind with God’s Word.

Eve got into trouble simply by pausing long enough to take in the serpent’s words. Satan twisted God’s meaning sufficiently to tempt her away from truth and into error. He assured Eve that instead of falling over dead, she would become like God: Her eyes would open, and she would know truth!

In one way, Satan’s words were accurate, but they weren’t true. Eve’s eyes were opened; however, the knowledge wasn’t as wonderful as the serpent implied. She was awakened to her own sinful nature and the chasm that had developed between her and God. Moreover, Eve’s physical body would undergo death as a result of her sin.

Exercise caution when messages vie for your attention. Satan, who is as crafty today as he was in Eden, dresses up deception so that it sounds like truth. But the Evil One lies when he speaks (John 8:44). Tune into God and the principles of His Word instead. He speaks only what is right.

Bible in One Year: John 14-16

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Do the Next Thing

 

Bible in a Year:

If you love me, keep my commands.

John 14:15

Today’s Scripture & Insight:John 14:15–21

When was the last time you felt compelled to help someone, only to let the moment pass without a response? In The 10-Second Rule, Clare De Graaf suggests that daily impressions can be one of the ways God calls us to a deeper spiritual walk, a life of obedience prompted by love for Him. The 10-Second Rule encourages you to simply “do the next thing you’re reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do,” and to do it right away “before you change your mind.”

Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15). We might think, I do love Him, but how can I be certain of His will and follow it? In His wisdom, Jesus has provided what we need to better understand and follow the wisdom found in the Bible. He once said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and will be with you forever—the Spirit of truth” (vv. 16–17). It’s by the work of the Spirit, who is with us and in us, that we can learn to obey Jesus and “keep [His] commands” (v. 15)—responding to the promptings experienced throughout our day (v. 17).

In the big and little things, the Spirit motivates us to confidently do by faith what will honor God and reveal our love for Him and others (v. 21).

By: Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

Reflect & Pray

Why is it important for you to follow through on promptings that line up with Scripture? How can you seek to live a more obedient life by the power of the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit provides what we need to follow Jesus in obedience.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Sheep Gate

 

“Shepherd” is not a career choice you often hear children dreaming about. Tending sheep is not as adventurous as being an astronaut or as glamorous as being a movie star. But to one small child in a Sunday school classroom, “shepherd” seemed the most logical answer. What do you want to be when you grow up? She wanted to be a shepherd because “Jesus is good at it and it makes him happy.” This, I thought self-assuredly, was a child who was paying attention in my class.

Later, as I put the crayons back in the cupboard and turned to get the kids in line for church, my eyes caught the picture that hung on the wall behind me each week. It was one of Jesus, holding a lamb in his arms, smiling.

The Christian narrative is full of images of sheep and shepherding. The ancient prophet writes of God, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”(1) The gospel writer notes similarly of Christ, “When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”(2) Hearing such descriptions, perhaps you recollect images of a Good Shepherd similar to the painting in my Sunday school classroom: Jesus standing peacefully among his flock, keeping watch and taking care. It is an image not far from some of those carefully painted in well-told stories: The LORD is my shepherd I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

 

When Jesus stood among crowds and spoke of sheep, familiar images of fields and grazing sheep would have come to the minds of his hearers as well. For some, the biblical images of God gathering lambs into his arms would have crossed their minds. But these wouldn’t have been the only images that came to mind, particularly for those who heard Jesus in Jerusalem. “My sheep listen to my voice,” he said, “I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”(3)

Standing in the temple of Jerusalem, preaching to worshipers and religious leaders, these words of Jesus about sheep would have evoked a bold awareness of sounds and activities all around them. At tables nearby, bleating sheep were being sold and carried further into the temple, where they were led through a door to the place of sacrifice. Far from the peaceful setting of a pasture, Jesus spoke of sheep in the place where they were about to be slaughtered. Unlike the shepherd among passive lambs in many of our pictures, tending these sheep requires something more than a gentle hand and a watchful eye. These sheep needed to be saved.

So it is quite telling that Jesus first identifies himself, not as the Good Shepherd, but as the gate for the sheep. In the ancient walls of Jerusalem, there was a gate on the north of the city, by which animals were brought in from the countryside for sacrifice. It was called the Sheep Gate. Once inside the city and within the temple courts, there was only one door where the sheep went in, and no lamb ever came back out after entering the temple. They traveled in only one direction, and there they were sacrificed for the sins of men and women. For first-century hearers of Jesus’s words about sheep, such knowledge added to the shock of Christ’s words: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep…. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”(4)

In the temple filled with sheep on their way towards death, Jesus declared there was a way out: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the Good Shepherd.”(5)

Like the child in my Sunday school class, I readily imagine the Good Shepherd delights in the task of caring for his flock. He goes willingly to search for the one that has gone astray. He gently offers his arms and guidance through valleys and beside still waters. He calls us by name and smiles at recognition of his voice.

But he also breaks into courtyards where there is no longer hope. He refuses to cower through the course of our rescue, though he is accosted by our sin and humiliated by our denials. He provides a way, though it costs him everything. He is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his friends, so that even one lamb can get away.

 

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

 

 

(1) Isaiah 40:11.
(2) Matthew 9:36.
(3) John 10:27-28.
(4) John 10:7,9.
(5) John 10:11.

 

Read in browser »

http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – Choose Life!

 

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live. — Deuteronomy 30:19

Adapted from the resource New Day New You Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

We will never enjoy life unless we make a quality decision to do so. Satan is an expert at stealing, and our joy is one of his favorite targets. Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. In John 10:10 we are told that “the thief ” comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but that Jesus came that we might have and enjoy life. Satan is the thief, and one of the things he seeks to steal is our joy. If he can steal our joy from us, we will be weak, and when we are weak, the enemy takes advantage of us.

Weak believers are no threat to him and his work of destruction. In order to live as God intends for us to live, the first thing we must do is truly believe that it is God’s will for us to experience continual joy. Then we must decide to enter into that joy.

Experiencing enjoyment in our souls is vitally important to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Proverbs 17:22 (AMPC) says, A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. It is God’s will for us to enjoy life! Now it is time to decide to enter into the full and abundant life that God wills for us.

Joy and enjoyment are available just as misery is available. Righteousness and peace are available and so are condemnation and turmoil. There are blessings and curses available, and that is why Deuteronomy 30:19 tells us to choose life and blessings.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to enjoy this day to the fullest—help me to “choose life” and make the most of what You have given me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Obey God’s Laws

 

“So now we can obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us” (Romans 8:4).

Are you not glad that the Word of God make things so simple? If we really want to obey God’s laws, His resources are available to us. First and foremost, the Holy Spirit abides within to guide us. While it is true that we have all of the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion, we cannot expect the full blessing and power of God until the Holy Spirit has full control of all of us.

As we appropriate the fullness of His Holy Spirit by faith, we are supplied with supernatural power to obey God’s laws. That supernatural power, even, is contingent upon our cooperation in that we must not only commit ourselves to the Holy Spirit but we must also be familiar with the Word of God if we are indeed to obey its commands.

Obedience is a key word in the Christian life. This verse points it out quite clearly, for we either obey God’s laws or we obey the old evil nature. The choice is ours as we are controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Someone has well pointed out that all of life, really, is nothing more nor less than a series of choices. The secret of the successful Christian life is in making the right choices. And even the wisdom to make the right choices is available – as a gift from God.

That leaves us, you and me, without excuse. We can, if we choose, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, obey God’s laws and thus accomplish His purpose for us as believers.

Bible Reading: Galatians 5:16-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Drawing upon the supernatural resources of the Holy Spirit I choose to obey God’s laws rather than yield to the pull of my old evil nature

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – A Lesson in Prayer

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

We can’t even get the cable company to answer us, yet God will?  The doctor’s too busy, but God isn’t?  We have our doubts about prayer!

Jesus raised people from the dead. But a “How to Vacate the Cemetery” seminar?  His followers never called for one.  But they did want Him to do this:  “Lord, teach us to pray.”  Might their interest have something to do with the jaw-dropping promise Jesus attached to prayer?  “Ask and it will be given to you.”

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray He gave them a prayer Could you use the same?

Father, You are good.  I need help.  Heal me and forgive me.

They need help.  Thank You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Before amen—comes the power of a simple prayer.

Punctuate your day with it!

Read more Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

Home

Denison Forum – Employee saves man who falls on train track, video goes viral: The irony of sacrificial courage

 

An intoxicated man fell onto a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) track in Oakland last Sunday afternoon. He landed in front of an approaching train. A BART employee named John O’Connor grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him to safety.

The now-viral video shows how close the man came to death.

We are all in this story. We are the man who is about to die, or the man who did what he could to save him, or the people who did not try to help.

“The antagonism between life and conscience”

I recently read a statement by Randy Alcorn that has bothered me ever since. He quoted Leo Tolstoy: “The antagonism between life and conscience may be removed either by a change of life or by a change of conscience.”

Alcorn then commented: “Many of us have elected to adjust our consciences rather than our lives. Our powers of rationalization are unlimited. They allow us to live in luxury and indifference while others, whom we could help if we chose to, starve and go to hell.”

His assessment seems harsh. Surely, I would not let someone starve or go to hell if I could help them. But Alcorn forces me to ask: Am I giving all I should to help those who are starving? Am I doing all I should to share Christ with those who are going to hell?

Are you?

“Let’s Call ‘Religious Freedom’ by Its Real Name”

I’m not sure Christians in America have ever been as tempted to privatize our faith as we are today.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Employee saves man who falls on train track, video goes viral: The irony of sacrificial courage