Charles Stanley – God’s Goodness in Discipline

 

Hebrews 12:1-13

When a parent uses negative consequences in disciplining a son or daughter, the child might think, If you really loved me, you wouldn’t ground me. And the truth is, we often feel the same way when God disciplines us. But like any loving human parent, God has a goal of helping us grow. As today’s passage in Hebrews says, discipline doesn’t feel good initially; it hurts. Yet if we learn to accept and be trained by it, our lives will be transformed and bear fruit.

Unfortunately, we sometimes mistake God’s discipline for punishment, especially when we’re distracted or consumed with busyness. It’s easier to consider that discipline a blessing if we’re looking for the big picture of how God works in our life. But instead, we often complain, “If You were good to me, You wouldn’t do this or that” and, as a result, completely miss out on what He is doing.

In Psalm 23:6, when David writes, “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,” he is expressing that God’s blessings are present with us every day we are alive. The Lord pours out His goodness upon us—in our trials just as much as in our ease and comfort. Let’s pray for eyes to see those blessings and evidence of God’s good character and purposes.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 10-12

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — A New Calling

 

Bible in a Year:

He has saved us and called us to a holy life.

2 Timothy 1:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Timothy 1:6–14

Teenage gang leader Casey and his followers broke into homes and cars, robbed convenience stores, and fought other gangs. Eventually, Casey was arrested and sentenced. In prison, he became a “shot caller,” someone who handed out homemade knives during riots.

Sometime later, he was placed in solitary confinement. While daydreaming in his cell, Casey experienced a “movie” of sorts replaying key events of his life—and of Jesus, being led to and nailed to the cross and telling him, “I’m doing this for you.” Casey fell to the floor weeping and confessed his sins. Later, he shared his experience with a chaplain, who explained more about Jesus and gave him a Bible. “That was the start of my journey of faith,” Casey said. Eventually, he was released into the mainline prison population, where he was mistreated for his faith. But he felt at peace, because “[he] had found a new calling: telling other inmates about Jesus.”

In his letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul talks about the power of Christ to change lives: God calls us from lives of wrongdoing to follow and serve Jesus (2 Timothy 1:9). Watch the story of Bernice Lee and Tan Soo-Inn in the devotional video, “Jesus, the Spiritual Leader.” Like Casey, they experienced God’s grace, and now the Holy Spirit empowers them to be living witnesses of Christ’s love. Through the Holy Spirit’s enabling, we too have a new calling to share the good news (v. 8).

By:  Alyson Kieda

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – A Lenten Lament

A Lenten Lament

Suffering blurs the vision. Through the fog of confusion or the veil of tears, afflictions obscure our lens of life. They tend to displace our emotions and reconstitute our rationale. Normality is often abruptly upended. Suffering becomes what feels like an inescapable labyrinth of lament.

This emotional entanglement is explored throughout various books of the Bible, but it is particularly palpable in the Old Testament. The Psalms, for example, express various authors’ raw feelings, and the unhinging nature of suffering is on full display:

“My soul pants for you, O God… My tears have been my food day and night… how I used to go with the multitude.”(1)

In our distressful moments, we long for this language of lament. We long for approval to voice our sorrows, an invitation to lament both individually and corporately. This invitation is found in the Christian religious tradition called Lent. This 40-day period is a time of spiritual and emotional preparation leading to the events of Holy Week and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is a time where all who lament can feel encouraged to do so. It is also a time where the suffering of Christ reorients our focus. We are not alone.

Jeremiah was arguably the biblical figure most known for his intimate relationship with sorrow. He was burdened with the unenviable task of prophesizing God’s justice and ultimate judgement against his fellow Israelites, who, despite warnings, were engaging in unjust practices and behaviors. Their disobedient hearts resulted in exile and the destruction of their beloved city. Throughout his lengthy book, Jeremiah endures rejection, suffers loneliness, languishes in isolation, and sustains beatings. Anguish is ever-present. “My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken… I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief.”(2)

In the midst of our current global crisis, we feel besieged by the presence of suffering, too. Like Jeremiah, our eyes may feel like fountains of tears. Perhaps it is the persistent prick of seclusion. In this time of social distancing, isolation can be even more discomforting. Perhaps the anguish of anxiety looms in a ubiquitous manner. Uncertainty and the unease that accompanies it have ironically become synonymous with regularity. Perhaps the loss of a loved one has soaked our joy in sadness. Hope can feel as fleeting and remote as the mandated lack of human embrace.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – A Lenten Lament

Joyce Meyer – Quit the Complaining

 

Who satisfies your mouth…with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]! — Psalm 103:5 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Wake Up to the Word – by Joyce Meyer

A lot of our problems are often a result of complaining when we could have been praising or thanking God. Excessive complaining is definitely not God’s will or purpose for His people. The whole world seems to be grumbling about something, but each of us can make the decision to set a different and more positive example.

The next time you’re tempted to complain, please remember that it’s a complete waste of time, and it says loudly and clearly to God that you’re not satisfied with the way He’s taking care of you. You may not be able to change the thing that’s bothering you, but you can choose to change the way you think about it. As you start to focus on and thank Him for what He’s done for you, you’ll become more content, and He’ll help you get from where you are to where you need to be.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to keep my focus on the right things, to stay away from complaining, and to choose to speak positive words. Thank You for taking care of me, and for always staying by my side. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Reap What You Sow 

 

“Don’t be misled; remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it: a man will always reap just the kind of crop he sows!” (Galatians 6:7).

Steve had just been introduced to this great and exciting law of sowing and reaping. “Is it really true,” he asked, “that I will always reap what I sow – and more than I sow – good or bad?”

I was able to assure him, from the authority of Scripture, from experience of 36 years of walking with Christ and by observing closely the lives of many thousands of Christians with whom I have counseled and worked, that the law of sowing and reaping is just as true and inviolate as the law of gravity.

If you want to judge a man, an American humorist once said, you should not look at him in the face but get behind him and see what he is looking at, what he is sowing.

For example, is he looking at God with reverence – or with no deference at all? Does he really believe God means what He says?

A student once asked, “If I give my life to Christ, do I become a puppet?”

The answer is a resounding no! We never become puppets. We have the right of choice; we are free moral agents. God’s Word assures us that He guides and encourages us, but we must act as a result of our own self-will. God does not force us to make decisions.

The more we understand the love, the wisdom, the sovereignty, the grace and power of God, the more we will want to trust Him with every detail of our lives. The secret of the supernatural life is to keep Christ on the throne of our lives and delight ourselves in Him as Lord.

We fail in the Christian life when we, as a deliberate act of our will, choose to disobey the leading of the Holy Spirit.

It is a tragedy of the human will that we often think we have a better way than God has for living the Christian life. But do not deceive yourself or allow Satan to mislead you: God’s way is best!

Bible Reading: Galatians 6:6-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will seek to sow seeds of love and kindness and faith knowing that as a result I will reap God’s best for my life.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Great Grace

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I can bear witness to the power of God’s grace!  I could take you to the church, to the section of seats in the church auditorium.  I might even be able to find the very seat in which I was sitting when this grace found me.  I was a twenty-year-old college sophomore, living with a concrete block of guilt that had made a mess of my life.

But then I heard a preacher describe the divine grace that is greater than sin.  At the end of the message he asked if anyone would like to come forward and receive this grace.  Iron chains couldn’t have held me back. Truth be told, chains had held me back.  But mercy snapped the guilt chains and set me free.  I know this truth firsthand– Guilt frenzies the soul; grace calms it!  The benefit of being a great sinner is dependence upon a great grace!

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 – The brightest supermoon of the year: A Holy Tuesday invitation to risk-taking faith that changes eternity

Many of us are praying for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to recover from COVID-19 after he was moved to intensive care yesterday. As of this morning, he is not yet on a ventilator but is receiving oxygen support.

Meanwhile, the “biggest, brightest supermoon of 2020” is rising tonight. April’s full moon is a supermoon, meaning that it is full while also in perigee (its closest approach to us). During a supermoon, the moon is about 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than a normal full moon.

The April full moon is called the “pink moon” because it coincides with the blooming of the moss pink wildflower. The best time to view it will be tonight after the sun goes down.

A trick question and a transforming answer 

On Holy Tuesday, Jesus returns to the now-cleansed temple to teach the people. His enemies cannot find a way to arrest him due to his popularity, so they try to lure him into committing blasphemy and defaming himself before the crowds.

Among their attempts is this question asked by a lawyer: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36). If Jesus names one of their 613 laws, they will accuse him of rejecting the others.

Our Lord replies: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (vv. 37–40).

Focusing our moon on the Son 

What does Jesus’ answer on Holy Tuesday have to do with the “biggest, brightest supermoon of 2020” that will appear tonight?

Continue reading Denison Forum – The brightest supermoon of the year: A Holy Tuesday invitation to risk-taking faith that changes eternity