Charles Stanley – How Do We Seek God?

 

Deuteronomy 4:21-31

We will find God when we seek Him with all our heart. That is a biblical promise we can depend on. But how do we go about seeking Him?

First, we must exhibit certain attitudes. Scripture implores us to pursue wholeheartedly, diligently, continually, confidently, and humbly. These qualities are essential for learning and spiritual growth.

Then we get into God’s Word, studying and meditating upon it with a receptive heart. We also take up the discipline of prayer, because it’s the primary way we communicate with Him, and He with us.

The next step is to consider how God is operating in our circumstances. Think back on His patterns of faithfulness to you in the past, and you’ll see glimpses of how He worked, even during times of adversity in your life. You may even be able to recognize His involvement in the lives of other believers, and that awareness can also enrich your growth.

When we seek God, we find the capacity to love and serve Him. If you’ve been feeling apathetic towards the Father, consider pursuing Him in one of the ways described above, and pray that it ignites your passion.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 27-29

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Cheerful Givers

 

Bible in a Year:

God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Corinthians 9:6–9

Years ago, my wife received a small rebate from something she’d purchased. It wasn’t something she’d expected, it just showed up in the mail. About the same time, a good friend shared with her the immense needs of women in another country, entrepreneurial-minded women trying to better themselves by way of education and business. As is often the case, however, their first barrier was financial.

My wife took that rebate and made a micro-loan to a ministry devoted to helping these women. When the loan was repaid, she simply loaned again, and again, and so far has made twenty-seven such investments. My wife enjoys many things, but there’s rarely a smile as big on her face as when she receives an update on the flourishing taking place in the lives of women she’s never met.

We often hear emphasis on the last word in this phrase—“God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7)—and rightly so. But our giving has a specific quality about it—it shouldn’t be done “reluctantly or under compulsion,” and we’re called not to sow “sparingly” (vv. 6–7). In a word, our giving is to be “cheerful.” And while each of us will give a little differently, our faces are places for telling evidence of our cheer.

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

When did you last “cheerfully” give? Why do you believe God loves a cheerful giver?

Generous Father God, thank You for the joy that comes in giving from a cheer-filled heart. And thank You for the ways in which You provide abundantly for our needs.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Giving Up Chocolate

Confession: I love Tom Waits. How do you classify him? He has been many things: a lounge singer, a street poet, actor, songwriter. He has the voice of a rusty exhaust manifold. One aspect of his persona(s) over the years that is endlessly fascinating is his way of tapping into the words and thoughts of the common sense of common man. Some of his characters are salt of the earth; others are down-on-their-luck lovable outcasts or outsiders.

In his song “Chocolate Jesus,” Tom describes a divine confection for those who cannot or do not want to go to church on Sundays:

Well, I don’t go to church on Sunday
Don’t get on my knees to pray
Don’t memorize the books of the bible
I got my own special way

I know Jesus loves me
Maybe just a little bit more
Fall down on my knees every Sunday
At Zerelda Lee’s candy store

Well, it’s got to be a chocolate Jesus
Make me feel good inside
Got to be a chocolate Jesus
Keep me satisfied.(1)

Much of the song is up to interpretation: Is he describing the one with a young, innocent faith? The one who would rather do their own thing because church has too many rules? The apathetic? The one who wants salvation without sacrifice? The one who wants God without the pain of past church experiences? Sometimes there are understandable reasons why people want the chocolate Jesus, the one who just loves them, makes them feel good inside, and keeps them satisfied.

This has been me before. Perhaps you can relate. Before I became a Christian, I would visit churches from time to time looking for something, but it was never there. That might have been a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it was the honest feeling. Years later, after becoming a Christian, I felt lost in a discipleship-less church that was big on rule-following but felt very small on love. Eventually I left and fell back into old patterns of a life without God. I tried church and it wasn’t for me. Wearily, I just wanted the God who loved me as I was.

Looking back, though, I notice something about that young man: I wanted the chocolate Jesus, sweetness without nutrition. God did love me as I was, but I started to get the impression that that was the end of the story.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Giving Up Chocolate

Joyce Meyer – You Are Not Alone

 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God…. — Isaiah 43:2-3 (NIV)

When you’re going through difficult times, it’s so important to remember that God is right there with you, and you can trust Him to help you through it.

God never promised us a trouble-free life, but He does promise to never leave us or forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5). In the hard times, we can take comfort knowing that He loves us tremendously, He has His eye on us, and He is already working behind the scenes to help us (see Romans 8:38-39; Psalm 33:18).

I’ve also learned from experience that we can trust God to use these times for our benefit (see Romans 8:28). When everything seems uncertain and unstable, He helps us draw closer to Him and hang on to the rock of our salvation—Jesus Christ—who cannot be moved or shaken!

When we’re hit by life’s storms or experience things we don’t understand, that’s when we have to remember that God is always with us—no matter what we think or feel, and no matter what our circumstances look like.

Jesus is with you through every storm, and you are going to come out stronger on the other side. He’s the One Who loves you unconditionally, and He’s the One Who can turn your difficult times into something great.

And as you trust God through it all, He will give you something stable—He will give you more of Himself.

Pray: “God, I thank You for always being with me—in the good times and also when life gets difficult. Please help me to draw closer to You when life doesn’t make sense. I trust You, and I know that You will work everything out for My good. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – His Mark of Ownership

 

“He has put His brand upon us – His mark of ownership – and given us His Holy Spirit in our hearts as guarantee that we belong to Him, and as the first installment of all that He is going to give us” (2 Corinthians 1:22).

Some time ago, a young Christian came to share his problems. He was very frustrated and confused, and he spoke of the constant defeat and fruitlessness which he experienced in the Christian life.

“You don’t have to live in defeat,” I said to him.

The young man registered surprise.

“You can live a life of victory, a life of joy, a life of fruitfulness,” I assured him. “In fact, by the grace of God – and to Him alone be the glory – for more than 25 years as a Christian I do not recall a single hour of broken fellowship with the Lord Jesus.”

He was really shocked at that.

“Do you mean you haven’t sinned in 25 years?” he asked.

“No, that’s not what I mean, I replied. “I have sinned regrettably, I have grieved and quenched the Spirit at times with impatience, anger or some other expression of the flesh. But when I grieve the Spirit, I know exactly what to do. I breathe spiritually. I confess my sin to God and immediately receive His forgiveness and cleansing, and by faith I continue to walk in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit.”

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 12:3-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Realizing that a believer can live a supernatural, holy life only as he yields to the control of the Holy Spirit, I will seek to practice holiness in my personal life and encourage other Christians to do the same.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Our Sovereign God

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Many years ago I spent a week visiting the interior of Brazil with a longtime missionary pilot.  Just to say, Wilbur and Orville had a sturdier aircraft!  I could not get comfortable.  I kept thinking the plane was going to crash in the jungle and I’d be gobbled up by piranhas.  I kept shifting around, looking down and gripping my seat—as if that would help.

Finally the pilot had enough of my squirming.  He looked over at me and shouted over the airplane noise, “We won’t face anything that I can’t handle.  You might as well trust me to fly the plane.”  Is God saying the same to you?  Examine those poles of your faith, those truths which sustain your belief in God.  Make sure one of them is etched with the words, “My God is sovereign!”  Then be anxious for nothing!

Read more Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – Joe Buck will make your home movie: Finding meaning in crisis through solitude with God

Joe Buck has one of the best-known voices in America. He has called twenty-two World Series and six Super Bowls. The son of legendary announcer Jack Buck, he is ubiquitous in the world of sports broadcasting.

Now you can have his voice on your home videos.

People are sending him videos of dogs chasing each other in an empty field, chickens on a seesaw, and an airline employee guiding a plane to its gate. For each, Buck provides his very funny personal analysis.

This is his way of helping people deal with the anxiety and loneliness of these days.

Advice from “the world’s foremost expert on grief” 

One of the most-read articles ever on Harvard Business Review is an interview with David Kessler on the grief we are feeling in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The article describes Kessler as “the world’s foremost expert on grief.”

He notes that “we’re feeling a number of different griefs. We feel the world has changed, and it has. We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different. . . . The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.”

In addition, we’re feeling what Kessler calls “anticipatory grief,” which he defines as “that feeling we get about what the future holds when we’re uncertain. . . . There is a storm coming. There’s something bad out there. . . . I don’t think we’ve collectively lost our sense of general safety like this. Individually or as small groups, people have felt this. But all together, this is new. We are grieving on a micro and a macro level.”

When asked what we can do to manage such grief, Kessler applies the well-known stages of grief: “There’s denial, which we say a lot of early on: This virus won’t affect us. There’s anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities. There’s bargaining: Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right? There’s sadness: I don’t know when this will end. And finally there’s acceptance: This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.”

Kessler adds a sixth stage: meaning. He explains: “I did not want to stop at acceptance when I experienced some personal grief. I wanted meaning in those darkest hours. And I do believe we find light in those times.”

What it means to seek God’s “face” 

The US topped one thousand coronavirus deaths in a single day for the first time yesterday. Officials say the daily death toll could more than double by mid-April.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Joe Buck will make your home movie: Finding meaning in crisis through solitude with God