Charles Stanley – The Rewards of Truth

 

Proverbs 2:1-9

Seeking God’s truth is like digging for gold: If we find a tiny flake, we keep scraping and shoveling until we come upon another, which may be a morsel no bigger than an apple seed. That little bit keeps us searching until we find a chunk the size of a marble, and so on. Each new nugget of God-experience is so exciting that we can’t stop excavating for more.

Just think of the advantages of this pursuit. First of all, seeking truth about the Lord naturally results in a more intimate relationship with Him. And aligning our life with these discoveries brings us confidence and the assurance that He is always guarding and guiding us.

Learning about God leads to an additional benefit: the development of spiritual discernment. This is the capacity to distinguish truth from falsehood even when the latter is presented as supportable fact. Having this type of godly insight in turn equips us for greater kingdom service, especially with regard to discipling others.

When it comes to our infinite God, there are always new and exciting treasures for us to unearth. So make it your goal to build a foundation of His truth for your life. By doing so, you will gain wisdom and discover new opportunities to serve Him.

Bible in One Year:   1 Samuel 23-24

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Inheritance Isn’t Earned

 

Bible in a Year:

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

Ephesians 1:5

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Ephesians 1:3–14

“Thanks for dinner, Dad,” I said as I set my napkin on the restaurant table. I was home on a break from college and, after being gone for a while, it felt strange to have my parents pay for me. “You’re welcome, Julie,” my dad replied, “but you don’t have to thank me for everything all the time. I know you’ve been off on your own, but you’re still my daughter and a part of the family.” I smiled. “Thanks, Dad.”

In my family, I haven’t done anything to earn my parents’ love or what they do for me. But my dad’s comment reminds me that I haven’t done anything to deserve to be a part of God’s family either.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul tells his readers that God chose them “to be holy and blameless in his sight” (1:4), or to stand without blemish before Him (5:25–27). But this is only possible through Jesus, in whom “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (1:7). We don’t have to earn God’s grace, forgiveness, or entrance into His family. We simply accept His free gift.

When we turn our lives over to Jesus, we become children of God, which means we receive eternal life and have an inheritance waiting for us in heaven. Praise God for offering such a wonderful gift!

By:  Julie Schwab

Reflect & Pray

In what ways do you feel or act as if you have to earn God’s love? How can you practice living in the freedom of His love?

Faithful God, thank You for freely giving Your Son so I can be a part of Your family. Help me to honor You in all You’ve done for me.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Day Four

It was a day without hope: March 11, 2011. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake set off a devastating tsunami that washed away coastal cities in Northeastern Japan. Thousands of homes were destroyed. Roads were impassable, transportation destroyed or shut down, and power remained down for weeks in the cold temperatures of early spring. All around were scenes of desperation, as stranded survivors cried for help, buried alive under the rubble of what remained of their cities, communities, and homes. Things couldn’t get much worse when the damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor was discovered, making it impossible to return home. Over three hundred thousand were left homeless and over eighteen thousand people died.

March 11, 2011 was a day without hope for me, as well. Like many around the world, I couldn’t believe that yet another massive earthquake and tsunami of such magnitude—like the Southeast Asian tsunami of 2004—had wrought so much destruction and devastation. Yet on this same day, I attended the funeral for my husband who had died suddenly on March 2, 2011. I felt as if I was buried by the rubble of grief over his lost life and the life we shared together for nearly twenty years.

Even those unacquainted with the biblical narrative have likely heard the familiar story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. It is one of the critical events in John’s Gospel for it is the last miracle Jesus performs prior to his entry into Jerusalem and his crucifixion.(1) As readers of this story, we have the privilege of knowing the triumphant ending, but for Mary, Martha, and all who loved Lazarus, his death and burial must have also felt like a day without hope. Mary and Martha had sent word to Jesus informing him of their brother’s illness. Surely he would rush to their aid and save their ailing brother. Lord, he whom you love is ill.

But rather than rushing to their side, or simply speaking the words of healing as he had done for others, Jesus delays going to them. The Gospel reads: Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, so when he heard that he was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Jesus delays going to them and this sets up one of the difficult tensions in this passage. Jesus loves this family, and yet his delay means Lazarus will die, and worse, his delay will prompt the grief, heartache, and misunderstanding that must have arisen by his absence.

When Jesus does arrive, Lazarus has been dead for four days. Jewish belief taught that after three days the soul would leave the body and corruption would set in. So for those who mourned Lazarus, there was no hope of resuscitation or of saving him now. The fourth day was truly a day without hope. And yet this is the day Jesus shows up.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Day Four

Joyce Meyer – Love Includes Everyone

 

But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. — Luke 6:32 (NIV)

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud – by Joyce Meyer

The Bible teaches us that love is the most important thing—”the main thing”—and we should let the main thing be the main thing in our lives. Are you majoring in things that really don’t matter and paying very little attention to walking in love? For many years that was exactly what I did, and as a result I constantly felt unfulfilled and dissatisfied. I had a relationship with God; I even had a ministry to others! But I wasn’t happy, and I couldn’t understand why. It seemed like I had most of what I wanted in life, but joy evaded me. As I cried out to God to help me, He showed me that my priorities were out of line—I was more concerned with how I was being treated than with how I treated others.

I believe our level of love for others can be seen (or not seen) in how we treat people, espe­cially people who don’t particularly interest us or have the ability to do anything for us. According to Jesus, our love should include everybody, not just those who can pay us back. He said if you only love those who love you, what credit do you get? Even a sinner can do that!

We don’t have the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to help us do easy things, but to do things that are hard and sacrificial. Loving some people is very hard. They don’t act lovable, they don’t seem to want to be loved, and they certainly don’t return any love shown to them. But when we start treating others as we want to be treated and not as they treat us, we’re obeying a principle that releases countless blessings and joy into our lives and makes God smile.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me love everyone, even those who are the hardest to love. Thank You for giving me strength to show Your love to the people around me today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – To Encourage Us

 

“These things that were written in the Scriptures so long ago are to teach us patience and to encourage us, so that we will look forward expectantly to the time when God will conquer sin and death” (Romans 15:4).

Tom had a “short fuse” and frequently exploded in anger when he was disappointed with himself or others. Then he received Christ and began to study the Word of God, obey its commands and walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

His life began to change, gradually at first, until, as he told me recently, it has now been a long time since he has allowed his old nature to express his impatience.

The story is told of an impatient man who prayed and kept praying for God to grant him the virtue he so desperately needed.

“Lord,” he prayed, “give me patience, and give it to me now!”

Patience, however, is a virtue that is developmental in nature, to a large degree. It is the result of walking in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). It develops out of a good heart and a godly attitude (Luke 8:15). It is spawned sometimes during times of tribulation. Remember, it is a fruit of the Spirit.

Paul writes, “If we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently” (Romans 8:25).

So patience comes from hope and trust in God. And finally, we learn patience through the study and personal application of God’s Word in our lives, as suggested in Romans 15:4, “These things that were written in the Scriptures so long ago are to teach us patience and to encourage us.”

Bible Reading: Romans 15:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  When delays and seeming denials occur, I will exercise patience, with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God is Always Sovereign

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I love what Chuck Swindoll always says.  That “God is not sometimes sovereign.  He is always sovereign.”  The challenge that awaits us is to not give in to despair…to not do foolish things, but to trust.

The key question that we all need to be asking right now is, “What is God saying to us?”  I think He’s talking to the whole world.  I think He’s telling us that our priorities have gotten misplaced.   We need to dislodge those priorities and return to our heavenly Father.  I think He’s calling us back to Himself.  I do…I do.

Is this a signal of end times as some people are saying?  I do not know.  But I do know God is doing something in the world and He’s calling upon us.  He’s talking to the whole world.   And we are going to get through this.  It may not be quick.  It may not be easy.  But God is going to use this for good.

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Vin Scully predicts more Americans will respond to COVID crisis with faith: An atheist doctor comes to faith through a dying priest

Vin Scully is a legendary baseball broadcaster, the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1950 to 2016. Now ninety-two years old, he joined Fox News on Monday to discuss the delayed start to this year’s Major League Baseball season.

Scully, a devout Christian, said, “Now that I have some leisure time and we’re all locked in at home, I read an article and it was talking about what happened to Americans in World War II. It was such a terrible time.”

He added, “Three-quarters of Americans belonged to a house of worship. Today . . . half of Americans are involved in a house of worship, prior to this pandemic. So there’s your answer . . . Although they might not be able to go to a house of worship, probably more Americans will be praying since World War II.”

“More people will be coming back to the faith,” Scully went on. “And now that this terrible thing is upon us, people might very well get back to the center. And it’s a better world. We’ll see . . .”

“With the humble is wisdom” 

I referenced the same Wall Street Journal column in yesterday morning’s Daily Article. Scully is right: the anxiety of this crisis may well be a catalyst for the spiritual renewal we need so urgently.

As the saying goes, sometimes we need to get so far down that we have nowhere to look but up. Such humility is the foundational step to the spiritual awakening we need so urgently today.

As we noted yesterday, God’s promise to his people that he would “heal their land” is tied directly to their response to his call: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turned from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

First, they must “humble” themselves. The Hebrew word means “to bow the knee” or “to submit with humility.”

Continue reading Vin Scully predicts more Americans will respond to COVID crisis with faith: An atheist doctor comes to faith through a dying priest