Charles Stanley –Relying Upon the Holy Spirit

 

John 16:5-15

When the Lord told His disciples he was going away, Peter didn’t take it well—he rebuked Jesus! (See Matt. 16:21-23.) The impulsive disciple had a tough enough time following when the Lord was standing ten feet away; how much more difficult would obedience and loyalty be if Christ wasn’t physically present? We can certainly understand the disciples’ fear and frustration. But Jesus promises to leave them—and us—with a Helper.

For many years I had the idea that though my salvation was by faith, God’s approval had to be earned. So I did my best but never felt it was good enough. I struggled, failed, tried again, and failed some more. I am grateful the Lord directed me to His better way.

Because God wants His children to experience victory, He equips us with the Holy Spirit. When we yield to Him, He empowers us, guides us, and expresses the ways of Jesus Christ through our character, conversation, and conduct. On paper, this looks like a passive sort of existence, but in fact, we are constantly confronted with the responsibility to make a choice: We can either follow the Spirit’s promptings or act in our own strength. The latter frequently ends in despair, disaster, or both.

Think about those days when you are “too busy to pray”—or the times you think, Why bother God when there isn’t much going on? The truth is, you’re then relying on yourself. But even when life is routine and boring, the Father wants us depending upon His Spirit to guide us on paths of righteousness.

Bible in One Year: Romans 4-6

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Approval of One

 

Bible in a Year:

We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:1 Thessalonians 2:1–4

When the legendary composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) was young, a hunger for approval drove him toward success. Warren Wiersbe wrote of him: “When Verdi produced his first opera in Florence, the composer stood by himself in the shadows and kept his eye on the face of one man in the audience—the great Rossini. It mattered not to Verdi whether the people in the hall were cheering him or jeering him; all he wanted was a smile of approval from the master musician.”

Whose approval do we seek? A parent’s? A boss’s? A love interest’s? For Paul, there was but one answer. He wrote, “We speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

What does it mean to seek God’s approval? At the very least, it involves two things: turning from the desire for the applause of others and allowing His Spirit to make us more like Christ—the One who loved us and gave Himself for us. As we yield to His perfect purposes in us and through us, we can anticipate a day when we will experience the smile of His approval—the approval of the One who matters most.

By: Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

Whose approval do you find yourself seeking and why is their validation so important to you? How could God’s approval satisfy even more deeply?

Father, it’s far too easy to seek the applause of those around me and to desire their praise. Help me to lift my eyes to You, the One who knows me best and loves me most. For further study, read Living an Authentic Christian Life at discoveryseries.org/hp111.

 

http://www.odb.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Night Songs

 

Psalm 77:6

Animals that are active at night rather than during the day are called nocturnal. For example, nightingales are birds that sing at night. That’s how they got their name. People aren’t like that: we’re awake and working while the sun shines, and we go to bed and sleep during the night.

Do you ever have trouble sleeping at night because you are worried about something? David, the man who wrote the psalm above, sometimes couldn’t sleep. While he was awake at night, he used the time to pray, sing, and think about God. In another place David says, “My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises” (Psalm 119:148). Instead of worrying about his problems, David took the time to think about God’s promises.

The next time you are lying awake, try singing a song from church. Or ask Mom or Dad to pray with you. Perhaps it would help just to remember that God said he would never leave you alone.

Dear Lord, Your promises are just as good in the night as they are in the daytime. Thank you for your love. Amen.

 

Joyce Meyer – Forethought

 

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? — Luke 14:28

Adapted from the resource Wake Up to the Word Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Forethought means “a thinking beforehand; anticipation; prescience; premeditation.” Before you make any commitment—even a small one—ask yourself if you truly believe you can and will actually follow through with it.

Some people set unrealistic goals, and they always fail. A little bit of forethought could have saved them lots of trouble and frustration. Be realistic about how long it takes to do things, and allow yourself enough time to do them without being stressed-out about them.

If you need to say no to a request, don’t hesitate to do so. We are responsible to follow God’s expectations of us, not everyone else’s. If you’ll take time to think ahead before committing yourself to things, you’ll be surprised at how much time, energy, and peace of mind you will save in the long run.

Prayer Starter: Father, I thank You for Your wisdom that helps us to manage our time, our work and our lives. Help me to plan wisely so I can live with joy and do everything You have called me to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Filled With Good Things

 

“He fills my life with good things! My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” (Psalm 103:5).

One day a poor woman greatly desired and sought a bunch of grapes from the king’s conservatory for her sick child.

Taking a half a crown, she approached the king’s gardener and tried to purchase the grapes. Rudely repulsed, she made a second effort – with more money. Again she was refused.

Finally, the king’s daughter heard the crying of the woman and the angry words of the gardener. When she inquired into the matter, the woman told her story.

“My dear woman,” said the princess, “you are mistaken. My father is not a merchant, but a king. His business is not to sell, but to give.”

Plucking a bunch of grapes from the vine, she gently dropped it into the woman’s apron.

What a picture of goodness and bounty of our wonderful Lord! He fills our lives with good things, and even as we approach and reach old age, He renews our strength and vigor so that in effect we become young again.

This truth was impressed upon me anew when I reached my 60th birthday in late 1981. Age really did not seem to matter at all; God continues to give liberally – not only all good things that are needful, but also a renewal of strength and vigor for each day and for each task. I seem to have as much strength and energy at 60 as when I was 30 – with far more experience and wisdom.

Bible Reading: Psalm 103:1-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will dare to believe God is filling my life with good things. Even when a particular thing may not seem good at the moment, I will still praise and thank Him as an expression of my love, gratitude and faith

 

http://www.cru.org