Charles Stanley – The Truth About Self-Love

 

Galatians 5:13-26

In many places, the Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 19:19; Gal. 5:14), but we often overlook the “as yourself” part. We can’t fully love God or anyone else unless we love ourselves. This means realizing that we’re a child of God, created for fellowship with Him.

Everyone’s valuable to the Lord. But our self-worth is rooted in the fact that we have a relationship with God. We need to care for ourselves because He’s offered us salvation, given us the Holy Spirit, and developed a unique plan for our life.

Love of self is essential to God’s plan for every believer. He wants us to exercise proper care for ourselves, which helps us relate to Him. If we dislike ourselves, we may feel unworthy of God’s love and refuse to approach Him as Father. But love teaches us to see ourselves the way He sees us—as His beloved children, each with unique gifts and talents.

Whoever you are and whatever your circumstances may be, I can tell you something about yourself. God has a special plan for you. But He can’t set you on the path to achieving His goals for your life until you recognize your worth and learn to love the person He created you to be.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 17-19

 

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Our Daily Bread — When Life Is Hard

 

Bible in a Year:

  • Leviticus 15–16
  • Matthew 27:1–26

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

Psalm 16:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 16

Physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, I curled up in my recliner. Our family had followed God’s leading and had moved from California to Wisconsin. After we arrived, our car broke down and left us without a vehicle for two months. Meanwhile, my husband’s limited mobility after an unexpected back surgery and my chronic pain complicated our unpacking. We uncovered costly problems with our new-to-us, old home. Our senior dog suffered with health issues. And though our new pup brought great joy, raising a furry ball of energy was far more work than anticipated. My attitude soured. How was I supposed to have unshakable faith while traveling on a bumpy road of hardships?

As I prayed, God reminded me of the psalmist whose praise didn’t depend on circumstances. David poured out his emotions, often with great vulnerability, and sought refuge in the presence of God (Psalm 16:1). Acknowledging God as provider and protector (vv. 5–6), he praised Him and followed His counsel (v. 7). David affirmed that he would “not be shaken” because he kept his eyes “always on the Lord” (v. 8). So, he rejoiced and rested secure in the joy of God’s presence (vv. 9–11).

We too can delight in knowing our peace doesn’t depend on our present situation. As we thank our unchanging God for who He is and always will be, His presence will fuel our steadfast faith.

By: Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How can offering God praise for His unchanging character and wondrous works increase your faith during challenging circumstances? What situations do you need to place in God’s trustworthy hands?

Thanks for being You, Father!

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Every Problem of Pain

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your pain today, Sir?”

Ironically, the question, a hospital’s attempt to understand and manage the pain of cancer patients, only seemed to cause my father more pain. He hated the daily inquiry that seized him almost as consistently as the sting of the growing tumor. It aggravated him deeply, more than I could say I understood. It was a philosophical quagmire for him that somehow mocked pain and amplified the problem of suffering. If he answered “10” in the midst of a painful morning, only to discover a greater quantity of pain in the afternoon, the scale was meaningless. The numbers were never constant, and what is a scale if its points of measurement cannot stand in relation to one another? If he answered “10” on any given day would that somehow control the ceiling of his own pain? He knew it would not, and that uncertainty seemed almost literally to add painful insult to an already fatal injury.

Considerations of pain and suffering are among the most cited explanations for disbelief in God, both for professionally trained philosophers and for the general public. If a good, powerful, and present deity exists, why is there so much pain and suffering in the world? Even for those who argue that the existence of God and the presence of evil can be reconciled, the vast amount of suffering in the world certainly compounds the dilemma. We can sympathize with Ivan Karamazov in his depiction of the earth as one soaked through with human tears. Imagine not merely one person measuring their pain on a scale of 1 to 10 but innumerable individuals: the temptation is to add all of these scales together as one giant proof against God.

In his 1940 book The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis warns us against espousing such a temptation. “We must never make the problem of pain worse than it is by vague talk about the ‘unimaginable sum of human misery,’” he writes. “Search all time and space and you will not find that composite pain in anyone’s consciousness. There is no such thing as a sum of suffering, for no one suffers it.”(1) Or, said in another way, there are as many problems of pain as there are conscious beings—and God must deal with each and every one of them.

For someone like my dad, for whom weighing pain was both disparaging and unfeasible, this would perhaps have been one comfort in a maddening abyss of darkness. It means his own problem of pain was not lost in a sea of meaningless scales and indescribable measurements. It means that his frustrating, inconsistent ceiling of sorrow was itself held in the arms of God—and not vaguely absorbed in an immeasurable sum, nor given a distant, theoretical answer. It means that God had to come near not simply to pain in general, but to him and his cancer in person.

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Joyce Meyer – Cracked Pots

 

We possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves. — 2 Corinthians 4:7 (AMPC)

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

God works through jars of clay, or what I often call “cracked pots.” This means we are flawed, so when people look at us and see amazing things happening, they know it must be God at work because it certainly could not be us.

I believe anyone who really knows me does not have any difficulty realizing the work I am doing on earth today certainly must be God at work in and through me. They give Him the glory, not me, because they see my imperfections and know my limitations. God chooses the weak and foolish things on purpose so no human can have reason to boast in His presence (1 Corinthians 1:27–29).

Imagine a pot with a lamp in it and a lid on it. Even though it may be filled with light, no one can see the light within it. Yet if the pot is cracked, the light will shine through the cracks. In the same way, God works through our imperfections.

Can you love a cracked pot? God can! It is godly to love yourself in a balanced, healthy way. It is ungodly to reject and despise yourself.

Prayer Starter: Father, You and I are both well aware of my imperfections. Please shine Your light through my life, and help me remember that You get every ounce of glory for it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Deliverance from Fears

 

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4, KJV).

Susie seemed outwardly to be a well-poised, lovely young wife and mother with everything under control. She was active in her church and attended other Christian gatherings during the week. But secretly she was filled with fear from which psychologists and psychiatrists with whom she consulted were unable to set her free.

She became very discouraged and depressed. “What can I do?” she asked through her tears. “I have everything to live for and no real reason to be afraid, but my days are consumed with worry and dread and fear, as I anticipate all kinds of evil things happening to me, to my husband , to my children.”

“Do you believe that God in heaven has the power to remove your fears, Susie?” I asked.

“Yes, of course,” she replied.

“Do you believe He loves you?”

“Yes, I believe that.”

“Do you believe He wants to remove that fear from you?” And I read her the above passage.

We turned together to 1 John 5:14, 15: “If we ask anything according to God’s will, He hears and answers.” This is the promise that every believer can claim whenever there is a command or another promise. I asked her if she would like to join with me in a prayer of faith that God would deliver her according to this promise.

Together we prayed, and though there was no immediate, dramatic deliverance, with the passing of days God set her free. Day after day she claimed by faith this and other promises from God’s holy, inspired Word.

Are you plagued with fears? Are your days consumed with worry? Saturate your mind with God’s truth — God’s supernatural promises – and begin to claim by faith this supernatural life which is your heritage in Christ.

Bible Reading: Psalm 34:1-7

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: At the first sign of a fear in my life, I will commit it to the Lord and trust Him for deliverance, and I will seek to help others whose hearts are filled with fear. I will seek to introduce them to the Prince of Peace – the God of all comfort.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God’s Truth Defines All People

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Every person you see was created by God to bear his image and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.  Imagine the impact this promise would have on the society that embraced it.  What civility it would engender.  What kindness it would foster.  Racism will not flourish when people believe their neighbors bear God’s image.

Will society write off the indigent, the mentally ill, the inmate or the refugee?  Not if we believe, truly believe, that every human being is God’s idea.  And he has no bad ideas.  High IQ or low standing—doesn’t matter.  First string or cut from the squad—doesn’t matter.  You are a diamond, a rose, and a jewel, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ.  And 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 – ‘Bachelor’ contestant makes her faith public: A Valentine’s Day call to courageous love

Madison Prewett is a contestant on The Bachelor. For those of us who don’t know how the show works (myself included until I did research for this article), a single bachelor meets a pool of eligible women. He then eliminates candidates, culminating in a marriage proposal to his final selection.

During the process, a one-on-one date with a candidate is a significant step forward for her. Thus, when Madison secured such a date with Peter Weber (this season’s bachelor) in last Monday’s show, she needed things to go well in order to stay in the competition.

This is what she told him: “Faith is more than just this passed-down thing to me, it’s literally my whole life and all of who I am. I want, in a marriage, someone who also has that relationship with the Lord and loves that about me and wants to raise a family in that way.”

Of course, ABC cut out her spiritual confession.

In the network’s preview for the next episode, Prewett also says she is saving sex for marriage. “If he sleeps with anybody else, it’s gonna be hard for me to continue to move forward,” she added.

Let’s hope Prewett keeps embracing her faith as the show continues.

Did Geoffrey Chaucer invent today’s holiday? 

Valentine’s Day, as everyone knows, is named for St. Valentine. Except we’re not sure which one.

Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were both early Christians who died for their faith.  However, according to legend, St. Valentine of Rome signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and healed from blindness. Another legend says he defied the emperor’s orders and secretly married couples to spare husbands from war.

Continue reading Denison Forum – ‘Bachelor’ contestant makes her faith public: A Valentine’s Day call to courageous love