Charles Stanley – Citizens of Heaven

 

Philippians 3:7-21

An old gospel song says, “This world is not my home. I’m just a-passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.” Does this describe how you think about life? As believers, we face the danger of forgetting that our citizenship is in heaven—it’s all too easy to start thinking of this world as our home.

Whenever anyone turns from sin and trusts in Jesus for salvation, that person’s name is forever recorded in heaven. It’s as if the new believer is already there. Ephesians 2:5-6 puts it this way: God has “made us alive together with Christ … raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” As a further guarantee of our spiritual position in heaven, we’ve been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise as a pledge of our inheritance (Eph. 1:13-14).

But for now, we live here on earth and are subject to pain, illness, infirmities, and death. However, when Christ returns, He will transform these weak, mortal frames into glorious bodies like His. Although we don’t know exactly what we’ll look like, we can be sure that our new heavenly bodies will far exceed the ones we have now.

Are you eagerly awaiting that day, or have you been captivated by the fleeting pleasures and pursuits of this world? Since the earth is only our temporary home, we must be careful not to become too attached to the things it offers. A right understanding of our eternal citizenship changes our perspective and priorities in this life, prompting us to lay up treasures in heaven rather than on earth.

Bible in One Year: Romans 14-16

 

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Our Daily Bread — He’s Got This

 

Bible in a Year:

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Peter 3:14–18

Pastor Watson Jones remembers learning to ride a bike. His father was walking alongside when little Watson saw some girls sitting on a porch. “Daddy, I got this!” he said. He didn’t. He realized too late he hadn’t learned to balance without his father’s steadying grip. He wasn’t as grown up as he thought.

Our heavenly Father longs for us to grow up and “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). But spiritual maturity is different from natural maturity. Parents raise their children to become independent, to no longer need them. Our divine Father raises us to daily depend on Him more.

Peter begins his letter by promising “grace and peace . . . through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,” and he ends by urging us to “grow in” that same “grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:2; 3:18). Mature Christians never outgrow their need for Jesus.

Watson warns, “Some of us are busy slapping Jesus’s hands off the handlebars of our life.” As if we didn’t need His strong hands to hold us, to pick us up, and to hug us when we wobble and flop. We can’t grow beyond our dependence on Christ. We only grow by sinking our roots deeper in the grace and knowledge of Him.

By: Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

Where do you feel your dependence on Jesus? How is that a sign of maturity?

Jesus, thank You for walking alongside me as I grow in my relationship with You.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Weight of Giving Thanks

Amid the darkness of the Thirty Years’ War, German pastor Martin Rinkart is said to have buried nearly five thousand fellow citizens and parishioners in one year, including his young wife. Conducting as many as fifty funerals a day, Rinkart’s church was absolutely ravaged by war and plague, famine and economic disaster. Yet in the midst of that dark year, he sat down with his children and wrote the following lines as a prayer for the dinner table:

Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In Whom his world rejoices.
Who, from our mother’s arms,
Hath led us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.

Rinkart’s expressions of thankfulness seem either incredibly foolish or mysteriously important. On the eve of a national holiday aimed at gratitude and thankfulness, an article in The New York Times questions similarly: “For many families—too many, really—across an America battered by wildfires, hurricanes and mass shootings, this Thanksgiving is the first major holiday since life was ripped apart. There will be familiar meals and rituals. And a haunting new question this year: How does one give thanks after losing so much?”(1)

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Joyce Meyer – Dreams and Visions

 

Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish. — Proverbs 29:18 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Ending Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

The Israelites had no positive vision for their lives—no dreams. They knew where they came from, but they did not know where they were going. Everything was based on what they had already seen and could see. They did not know how to see with “the eye of faith.”

Jesus came to open the prison doors and set the captives free. You will only begin to progress when you start to believe you can experience freedom. You must have a positive vision for your life—a vision for a future that is not determined by your past or even your present circumstances.

Exercise your faith tonight and take a positive look at the possibilities God has planned for you. Begin to “call those things that be not as though they are” (see Romans 4:17). Think and speak about your future in a positive way, according to what God has placed in your heart.

Prayer Starter: Father, I thank You for the wonderful things You have planned for my future. Help me to see beyond where I am right now. Help me to take hold of the dreams You have placed in my heart and move forward with faith and expectation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Calm in the Storm

 

“Immediately after this, Jesus told His disciples to get into their boat and cross to the other side of the lake while He stayed to get the people started home. Then afterwards He went up into the hills to pray. Night fell, and out on the lake the disciples were in trouble. For the wind had risen and they were fighting heavy seas. About four o’clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water! They screamed in terror, for they thought He was a ghost. But Jesus immediately spoke to them, reassuring them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ He said” (Matthew 14:22-27).

I had flown at least a couple of million miles in the last thirty years, but this was the most violent storm I had ever encountered. Vonette and I were on our way from New York City to Washington, when suddenly the airplane began to buck like a wild mustang with its first rider. It felt as though no one was in control. The lightening was constant and for nearly fifteen minutes we seemed to be surrounded by a ball of fire. We had good reason to believe that the plane would soon plummet to earth.

The disciples had shouted to the Lord, “Save us, we’re sinking!” In the same manner, Vonette and I began to pray.

Then, as we called upon God, our petitions turned to praise and thanksgiving. We were reminded of the biblical storm and we prayed, “Oh Lord, You have not lost Your power over nature. We ask You to still the storm and to save us, though we’re ready to meet with You if need be. If You have something yet for us to do in this life, we ask You not to allow the enemy to destroy us and all these other passengers.”

Almost immediately the turbulence stopped. The plane was righted, and we continued on our course, though we discovered later that the plane had been severely damaged.

One of the greatest blessings to come from this experience was the indescribable peace that enveloped us as we considered that at any moment we could plummet to earth and our lives could be snuffed out. I asked the Lord why the disciples were so fearful during the storm while Vonette and I had such peace and confidence that He was in control. The answer was that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc, and the disciples had not yet been filled with the Spirit at the time of their Galilean storm experience. Later they went to their martyrs’ deaths with the same peace that God gives to all who place their faith and trust in Him.

Bible Reading: John 6:16-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: The mighty power which Jesus demonstrated when He walked this earth centuries ago still abides in Him, and He abides in me. Therefore, I shall claim supernatural miraculous power whenever the occasion demands

 

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Max Lucado – The Power of a Moment

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

A lot of us make unnecessary messes.  But we can change that.  May I make a suggestion?  Before you face the world, face your Father.  Take this pocket prayer:  Father. . .You are good  Your heart is good.  The words come slowly at first, but stay at it. . . Your ways are right.  The weather’s bad, the economy is bad, but God, you are awesome.

Don’t underestimate the power of this moment.  You just opened the door to God and welcomed truth to enter your heart.  Who knows, you might even start to worship.  Is your world different because you prayed?  In one sense, no.  But you are different.  You have peace.  You’ve talked to your Father.

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 – Megachurch pastor killed on way home from church: Thanking God when it’s hard to be grateful

“Pastor Dimitri was one of the brightest, most intelligent, and most innovative leaders I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.” This is how one pastor remembers Dr. Dimitri Bradley, the founder of a megachurch in Virginia who was killed in a car crash last Wednesday night while driving home from church.

The fifty-one-year-old pastor and his wife started City Church in Richmond in 1998 in the living room of their home, growing it to nearly four thousand members. A memorial service for Dr. Bradley will be held this Saturday at 11 a.m.

In other news, a pilot was flying his single-propeller airplane in rural Minnesota last Saturday when disaster struck. According to the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, the plane “hit a cluster of power lines and became suspended on a guideline, upside down.” The pilot was inside, hanging upside down as well.

Workers de-energized the power line and rescued the pilot. He was uninjured.

“So this is what God is really like.”

It’s easy to give thanks to God for remarkable stories such as the rescue of the stranded pilot. I’m sure you have your own examples of wonderful provisions that make thanksgiving joyful this Thanksgiving week. As we learned from Mister Rogers yesterday, ten seconds is enough time to remember those whose love has been instrumental in our lives.

However, the Lord states that neither his capacities nor his character change with changing circumstances (cf. Malachi 3:6). It is therefore just as logical and plausible to view him through the prism of Dr. Bradley’s tragic death as through our gratitude for the pilot’s survival. I’m sure you have your own circumstances that make thanksgiving challenging this week.

After C. S. Lewis’ wife died, he wrote in A Grief Observed that he was not in danger of ceasing to believe in God. Rather, he was in danger of believing “such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God is really like. Deceive yourself no longer.’”

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