Charles Stanley – Hindrances to Hearing

 

1 Samuel 3:1-10

How sharp is your spiritual hearing? Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How well do I know God? Not knowing God’s character and what pleases Him hinders listening.
  2. Have I been too busy to Make time for God? We can’t listen and respond to Him when there’s no breathing room in our schedules and mind.
  3. Do I believe God speaks through His Holy Spirit? Unless we believe that our heavenly Father speaks to us personally, we won’t hear His voice.
  4. Do I have a sense of guilt? If we don’t live in the freedom of God’s forgiveness—which Christ gained for us on the cross—we’ll experience false guilt, and our listening skills will diminish.
  5. Am I committing repeated sin in my life? Unless we repent of known transgressions, we will be harboring sin, which makes hearing the Lord difficult—like static in our ears.
  6. How well do I receive criticism and correction? Our tendency is to reject the messenger without determining if he or she was sent by God.

Believers have a responsibility to listen carefully and be self-aware (Luke 8:18). Consider these questions with an open heart, and God will guide you to the next steps He wants you to take.

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 13-14

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Innocence Found

 

Bible in a Year:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us.

1 John 3:1

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Corinthians 5:14–21

“I’m not who I once was. I’m a new person.”

Those simple words from my son, spoken to students at a school assembly, describe the change God made in his life. Once addicted to heroin, Geoffrey previously saw himself through his sins and mistakes. But now he sees himself as a child of God.

The Bible encourages us with this promise: “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). No matter who we’ve been or what we’ve done in our past, when we trust Jesus for our salvation and receive the forgiveness offered through His cross, we become someone new. Since the garden of Eden, the guilt of our sins separated us from God, but He has now “reconciled us to himself through Christ,” “not counting” our sins against us (vv. 18–19). We are His dearly loved children (1 John 3:1–2), washed clean and made new in the likeness of His Son.

Jesus is innocence found. He liberates us from sin and its dominating power, and restores us to a new relationship with God—where we are free to no longer live for ourselves but “for him who died for [us] and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:15). Watch Fernando Sosa’s devotional video, “Jesus, the Liberator.” As with Geoffrey, Christ’s transforming love gave him a new identity and purpose to point others to the Savior. And He does the same for us!

By:  James Banks

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The King Moves Still

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

These old words sprung to life when an awkward request from the Rabbi had to be carried out by a nervous disciple. Jesus, their teacher, asked them to go asking for a donkey, so he could ride into Jerusalem. I wonder if some knew that he was walking into a trap, or perhaps it would be a trap from which he would emerge and pull off that one hattrick that would prove him to be their radical warrior king. Is this where he would shame the empire and show its finite capability in quenching the coming kingdom? Jerusalem, a congested city of many reveries and divided allegiance, was alive with festivities. It was the Passover and its lamb was watching from a distance. He watched the city as though watching his path towards a lover for whom he would give everything to love, yet knowing that the ultimate act of his love would be unrequited. The elite of the city undermined him, with their eyes and scaling hands they had already weighed him.

But there was a place where this Savior was visible. Just like his entry into the world, he was shown to be of the highest order of royalty to the lowliest in society: the shepherds, the peasants Mary and Joseph, prophet Simeon and prophetess Anna. Throughout his life, these margin bodies, the adulteresses, tax payers, and outcasts, they saw God with them, talking to them, eating with them, putting their lives together. And there, at the edge of the city, they saw him. And so they did what the common people did in that culture when a king would grace their streets. They placed palms on the floor to let him triumphally parade himself among them.

In this hour of global crisis, this part of our Lenten journey finds us forced to pause with pain as we reflect again on this Holy Week entry into the city of Jerusalem. Covid-19 has dealt a global blow to us that has us feeling exceptionally out of control. Whether we have our social immersion at the margins of the city, where life is hard and poverty and lack of access makes room for more destruction, or in the heights of the affluence of the city, where consumption disguises itself as the acquisition of meaning, where anxiety and emptiness cause havoc, in this moment we have a common vantage point. We see that the flesh alone has no capacity to shield itself from forces bigger than itself. Our finiteness is on full display.

All of us would not be lost for words to describe our disorientation in this period. The haunting realization that there is no certainty around our approach and longing for a future after this virus calls us to find a more tangible and concrete point of reference for time and its motion towards purpose. It is this kind of Lenten season that invites us to re-enter into the story of Holy Week with a more humble posture. We all stand at the threshold of the city with him, hoping that somewhere in the distance, our warrior king could flip the script on us and give us a reprieve from this global nightmare.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The King Moves Still

Joyce Meyer – Be an Encourager

 

Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. — Luke 6:31 (NASB)

Adapted from the resource Power Thoughts Devo – by Joyce Meyer

The Bible teaches us to treat others the way we want them to treat us. Think about what you want to receive, and start to give that to those around you. For example, if you want to be encouraged, then be encouraging!

Be careful of your thoughts about people. If you think rude or critical thoughts, they’ll usually slip out of your mouth. Instead, look for and magnify the good in every person on purpose, and you’ll start to treat people better.

We all love to be encouraged and made to feel really good about ourselves. Compliments actually help us perform better, while nagging makes us behave worse. Choose a person you want to grow your relationship with, and begin to aggressively encourage and compliment him or her. I believe you’ll be amazed at how much better they respond to you.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me be more intentional to speak positively to and about the people in my life. Thank You for giving me the grace to be kind and encouraging today. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Bill Bright, Campus Crusade, God’s Home Is Holy

 

“Don’t you realize that all of you together are the house of God, and that the Spirit of God lives among you in His house? If anyone defiles and spoils God’s home, God will destroy him. For God’s home is holy and clean, and you are that home” (1 Corinthians 3:16,17).

At this writing, I am with the staff at our annual training on the campus of Colorado State University. In addition to the 3,000 United States and Canadian field staff of Campus Crusade for Christ who are here, thousands more are attending music workshops, summer school, numerous conferences and meetings on this campus. Also, the entire Denver Broncos professional football team is here for training.

Throughout the day, from early morning till late at night, the campus is alive with people jogging, roller-skating, playing tennis, walking and other physical activities. These people are disciplining their bodies, keeping them in good physical tone.

Sadly, however, I also witness many people who lack interest in physical well-being by smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages. A stroll down the sidewalks of this beautiful campus will reveal numerous smokers. And, in the early hours, before the clean-up crews go to work, one can see in the gutters the empty beer cans from the previous night’s revelry and carousing.

The body of the Christian is the temple of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19 and 1 Corinthians 3:16,17). For this reason, God asks us to present our bodies as “living sacrifices,” holy and righteous, for God could dwell in no less a temple.

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 3:11-15

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will take especially good care of my body – physically, mentally, spiritually – realizing it is the temple of God’s Holy Spirit.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – He Took My Sin

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Denalyn and I had enjoyed a nice dinner at a local restaurant. As we received our bill, a church member spotted us and came over. After we chatted a few moments, he took our bill.  “I’ll take this,” he said.  Guess what?  I let him do what he wanted to do.  I let him take it away.

Someday we will stand before God.  All of us will be present.  All of us will have to give an account for our lives.  Every thought, every deed, every action.  Were it not for the grace of Christ, I would find this to be a very terrifying thought.  Yet, according to Scripture, Jesus came to “take away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).  On that day, I will point to Christ.  When my list of sins is produced, I will gesture toward him and say, “He took it.”  Let him take yours!

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 – Is the government violating religious freedom by restricting church services? A Holy Wednesday invitation to solitude

This is the first Holy Week in Christian history to be observed primarily online.

From livestreamed services at the Vatican to video sermons recorded and shared on cell phones, Christians and Christian churches all over the world are meeting virtually these days.

This is a controversial subject. Some claim that governmental restrictions on worship services are an infringement of religious liberty and a violation of the separation of church and state. Others disagree, noting that such prohibitions do not single out religious gatherings but include all events at which people could become infected with coronavirus. Still others claim that church services should be classified as “essential” functions and allowed to continue under social distancing guidelines.

I agree with Dr. Albert Mohler and Kelly Shackelford’s statement in the Washington Post: “Asking houses of worship to briefly suspend large gatherings is neither hostile toward religion nor unreasonable in light of the threat. Rather, this is a time for all of us to exercise prudence over defiance. Love for God and neighbor demands nothing less.”

However, my purpose today is not to litigate this issue. Rather, it is to encourage us to reframe social distancing in a way that aligns with this day in Holy Week.

You might respond by noting that the Gospels do not record any activities of our Lord on the Wednesday before he died. I agree.

“God goes where he’s wanted” 

Jesus spent the first four nights of Holy Week in Bethany, a suburb east of Jerusalem, at the home of his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (cf. Matthew 21:17).

Making the homes of others his own was customary for our Lord. He stayed with Peter and his family when in Capernaum (cf. Matthew 8:14; Mark 1:29). He once said, “the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).

But as Philip Yancey noted, “God goes where he’s wanted.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – Is the government violating religious freedom by restricting church services? A Holy Wednesday invitation to solitude