Charles Stanley – Fully Submitted

 

Philippians 2:1-11

The Bible tells us that though Jesus was “in very nature God” (Phil. 2:6 NIV), He left heaven to come to earth, where He lived in submission to His Father’s plans. Giving the Father complete control over everything He did, the Son held nothing back—not even His life, which He sacrificed on the cross for our sake.

Why did Jesus do this? Because He had perfect trust in His Father—He knew that God has sovereign control over everything and that all His decisions are good, as they are based on divine love, mercy, and justice. He was also certain that God always takes into account what is best for us, and His will is to lead His children towards repentance and growth. Jesus obeyed to bring glory to the Father’s name (John 17:4).

We are to live the same way—surrendered to God’s will. This means acknowledging that He has the right to order our life, and we are to give Him control over every aspect, including finances, family, friends, and fun.

By submitting to God, we declare our trust in Him and our willingness to accept whatever He sends us—riches or poverty, health or sickness, marriage or singleness. Full submission is how we glorify the Father, grow in Him, and receive His favor.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 6-7

 

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Our Daily Bread — In It Together

 

Bible in a Year:

  • Leviticus 8–10
  • Matthew 25:31–46

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Romans 12:15

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Romans 12:9–16

During a two-month period in 1994, as many as one million Tutsis were slain in Rwanda by Hutu tribe members bent on killing their fellow countrymen. In the wake of this horrific genocide, Bishop Geoffrey Rwubusisi approached his wife about reaching out to women whose loved ones had been slain. Mary’s reply was, “All I want to do is cry.” She too had lost members of her family. The bishop’s response was that of a wise leader and caring husband: “Mary, gather the women together and cry with them.” He knew his wife’s pain had prepared her to uniquely share in the pain of others.

The church, the family of God, is where all of life can be shared—the good and not-so-good. The New Testament words “one another” are used to capture our interdependence. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. . . . Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:10, 16). The extent of our connectedness is expressed in verse 15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

While the depth and scope of our pain may pale in comparison with those affected by genocide, it’s nonetheless personal and real. And, as with the pain of Mary, because of what God has done for us it can be embraced and shared for the comfort and good of others.

By: Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

When have you allowed someone else to share your sorrow? How does the body of Christ—the church—help you deal with the hard times in life?

Gracious God, forgive me for my reluctance to enter the pain of others. Help me to live more fully as a connected member of Your church.

Learn about loving as Jesus does at discoveryseries.org/q0208.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Telling Stories

A British journalist by the name of Christopher Booker argues that all of literature can be classified into seven basic narratives. Though many would deem the idea itself deficient, Booker exhaustively identifies each category in his book The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories. One such category he describes is the “Voyage and Return” plot. Here, Booker catalogs, among other works, Alice and Wonderland, Peter Rabbit, and Gone with the Wind, each of these stories chronicling a hero who travels away from the familiar and into the unfamiliar, only to return again with new perspective.

Among his list of “Voyage and Return” plots, Booker also identifies Jesus’s parable of the Prodigal Son. He describes the parable as many of us understand it. The younger son demands his inheritance, travels to another country, squanders his money until he has nothing left, and finally decides to come home again pleading for mercy. When told or heard like this, it is a story that indeed fits neatly into Booker’s category, and perhaps neatly into visions of the spiritual journey. Journeys to faith and to God are often stories of coming and going and returning again.

But is this an accurate understanding of the parable of Jesus? Is the story of the prodigal son really about the son? Is the spiritual journey about our coming and going or God’s?

My story of faith and belief, like many others, cannot be told without some admittance of wandering to and from that faith, in and out of God’s presence, walking with and without Father, Son, or Spirit. When I think of my place among the spiritually vibrant, I am immediately aware of my drifting soul and less than heroic role in the story. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it; prone to leave the God I love, sings the hymnist. I imagine the assembly of the faithful as a grand ballroom of crowned guests with beautiful robes while I find an inconspicuous place in the back of the room. The world of beautiful souls—with its ardent disciples from early centuries and suffering saints from today—does not seem a place in which some of us feel we belong. Some of us feel a bit more like humorist Groucho Marx, who once declined the offer of membership into an organization with the reply: “I don’t care to belong to any club that would have someone like me as a member.” If I myself am the main character in my story of faith, this is the story I must tell.

Thankfully, I am not.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Telling Stories

Joyce Meyer – God’s Timing

 

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. — Galatians 6:9 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource The Confident Women Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

The proper time for things is God’s time, not ours. We are usually in a hurry, but God never is. We’re often impatient and ready for everything to happen right now, but God, in His wisdom, makes sure that we’re prepared for what He wants to do in our lives, and preparation takes time.

God takes time to do things right—He always lays a solid foundation before He attempts to build a building. We are God’s building under construction. He’s the Master Builder, and He knows what He’s doing.

God’s timing seems to be His own little secret. The Bible promises that He’ll never be late, but I’ve also discovered that He’s usually not early. The thing to remember is that He’s always right on time, and His timing is perfect.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me cooperate with You as You’re preparing me for the good things ahead. Thank You for actively working in my life, and for giving me the ability to trust You with the things I’m waiting for. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – God’s Word Gives Joy and Light

 

“God’s laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light” (Psalm 19:7,8).

Professor William Lyon Phelps, one of Yale University’s most famous scholars, said, “A knowledge of the Bible without a college education is more valuable than a college education without the Bible.”

Why would he say this? Our verse gives us the answer. The Word of God (1) protects us, (2) makes us wise, (3) gives us joy, and (4) gives us light.

There are many other benefits that come from reading the Word of God. With dividends like these, we are indeed robbing ourselves of untold blessings when we neglect His holy, inspired Word for any reason whatever.

It is my privilege to counsel many thousands of people with just about every kind of problem conceivable – need for salvation, poor self-image, marital problems, financial problems, health problems, loss of loved ones, insecurity, fear, and on and on. One could think of every kind of personal need and problem that man faces, and inevitably there is an answer in the Word of God.

I do not know of any individual who has ever received Christ without some understanding of the Word of God. It is for this reason that I included in The Four Spiritual Laws booklet, which I wrote in the 1950’s, the parenthetical statement on page 2: “References contained in this booklet should be read in context from the Bible wherever possible.”

By 1983, it was estimated that more than a billion copies of The Four Spiritual Laws, which contains the distilled essence of the gospel, had been printed (including translations into every major language) and distributed throughout the world, resulting in many millions of people responding to Christ. Still, it cannot compare with God’s Word, nor can any other piece of Christian or secular literature. There is something unique and powerful about holding the Bible in your hand and reading it with your own eyes, for it speaks with authority and power possessed by no other book ever written.

Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: God’s Word is the most important book ever written, and the most important book that I could possibly read. Today I will read it for at least 15 minutes with renewed devotion, dedication and sensitivity to its mighty revolutionary power to transform lives and enable children of God to live supernaturally.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God’s Image and Likeness

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

We are all made in God’s image and in his likeness!  Sin has distorted this image, but it has not destroyed it.  Our moral purity has been tainted, but do not think for a moment that God has rescinded his promise or altered his plan.  He still creates people in his image to bear his likeness and reflect his glory.

As we fellowship with God, read his Word, obey his commands, and seek to reflect his character, something wonderful emerges.  We say things God would say.  We do things God would do.  We forgive, we share, and we love.  In time an image begins to appear.  God’s goal is simply to rub away anything that is not of him so the inborn image of God can be seen in us!  Because God’s promises are unbreakable our hope is unshakable!

Read more Unshakable Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Brad Pitt wins first acting Oscar: Movies, culture, and the wisdom of Frederick Douglass

Brad Pitt won an Academy Award last night for Best Supporting Actor. (He won an Oscar in 2014 as a producer.) In his acceptance speech, he said, “They told me I only had forty-five seconds up here, which is forty-five seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week.” Thus began a night of awards juxtaposed with politics and surprises.

Joaquin Phoenix won the Best Lead Actor award for Joker and spoke out against artificially inseminating cows. Parasite became the first non-English-language film to win the best picture award. Presenter Natalie Portman wore a cape on which were written the names of women who weren’t nominated for an Academy Award for best director.

The Oscars felt to me like an evening of cultural commentary interspersed with occasional awards. The popularity of many of the actors and presenters can delude us into thinking Hollywood speaks for us.

The opposite is actually more the case.

What percentage of women have been nominated for Best Director? 

Of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture, Joker made the most money, ranking ninth in box office sales for 2019Avengers: Endgame grossed more than twice that much.

Women make up 50.8 percent of the American population, but they have received .01 percent of Best Director nominations in Oscars history (five out of 447 official nominations in ninety-two years). People of color comprised nearly 37 percent of the American population in the 2010 census, but only one person of color was nominated in the four major acting categories (actress Cynthia Erivo for her lead performance in Harriet).

Of the nine movies nominated for best picture, seven are set in the past. Eight are about white people; six of the eight are about white men.

In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first black actor to win an Academy Award. That year, the Oscars were held in a “no blacks” hotel. After accepting her award, she was made to sit at a segregated table away from the rest of the Gone With the Wind cast.

We would like to think that the Academy Awards have become more representative of our society since then, but of the 276 acting Oscars given since 1940, only sixteen went to black actors (5.8 percent). Seven went to Latin American and Asian American actors (2.54 percent).

What percentage of Americans are gay or lesbian? 

Some demographics are woefully underrepresented by Hollywood, while others are hugely overrepresented.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Brad Pitt wins first acting Oscar: Movies, culture, and the wisdom of Frederick Douglass