Charles Stanley – Why We Must Guard the Heart

 

Psalm 139:17-24

We all have things we treasure, whether they are prize objects, activities, or experiences. And what we most value is what is closest to our heart.

Proverbs 4:23 admonishes us to keep watch over our heart because it holds our treasures, and in it is potential for good or evil. Originally, the heart is full of wickedness (Jer. 17:9), but when it is purified, we are able to see the very face of God (Matt. 5:8). With such possibilities within us, is it any wonder that we are exhorted to employ all diligence in guarding our heart?

So how do we remove the impurities and uncover those secrets of the heart spoken of in Psalm 44:21? The answer is through our omniscient Father. He knows what litters the landscape of our hearts. He tells us in Revelation 2:23 that “I am He who searches the minds and hearts” and again in Hebrews 4:13 that “all things are open and laid bare” to His eyes.

Our role in all of this is to ask the Lord for help. We may not know what sin lies within, but He does. Like David in today’s psalm, we too can say, “Search me, O God, and know my heart … and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24).

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 3-5

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Healing Words

 

Bible in a Year:

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 16:24

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Proverbs 16:20–24

A recent study has shown that encouraging words from a health-care provider can help patients recuperate faster from their ailments. A simple experiment exposed volunteer study participants to a skin allergen to make them itch and then compared the reactions between those who received assurance from their physician and those who didn’t. Patients who received encouragement from their doctors had less discomfort and itching than their counterparts.

The writer of Proverbs knew how important encouraging words are. “Gracious words” bring “healing to the bones,” he wrote (Proverbs 16:24). The positive effect of words isn’t limited to our health: when we heed the wisdom of instruction, we’re also more likely to prosper in our efforts (v. 20). So too encouragement buoys us for the challenges we face now and may encounter in the future.

We may not yet fully understand why or even how much wisdom and encouragement bring strength and healing to our daily lives. Yet the cheers and guidance of our parents, coaches, and colleagues seem to help us endure difficulty and steer us toward success. Similarly, the Bible brings us encouragement when we face trials, equipping us to bear up under even the most unthinkable circumstances. Help us, God, to be strengthened by Your wisdom and to, in turn, offer the healing and hope of “gracious words” to those You’ve placed in our lives.

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Disruption

The streets were cluttered with trash instead of decorated with flowers. The houses had tarps for roofs, and often no roofs at all. The river water served for bathing, elimination, and drinking water. Bloated stomachs were not full; they were ravaged by parasites. Giant sloths hung lazily from the lush trees seemingly unaware, unaffected, and unbothered by the poverty and disease around them, and pet monkeys and parrots had ample food thrown their way. Yet countless numbers of children searched for food or other treasures among the dirt and filth of garbage piles. Still, laughter, singing, and smiles abounded, and the diverse landscape exuded an exotic vibrancy.

These composite impressions come from a visit to Brazil, a vast country that is both geographically and culturally rich, and which has some of the most impoverished areas in the world. This visit to Brazil several years ago was a vivid example of the experience of personal disruption. Growing up in suburban Illinois, with uniformly similar looking roofed houses, and with more than enough resources to take care of my needs and wants did not prepare me for this encounter with a land of unspeakable beauty and desolation. My disruptive encounter prompted many questions: Why did I have so much when others had so little? What could I do to make any real difference in their situation, and if I could make a difference, what would that look like? More importantly, was this encounter for me to make a difference, or for a difference to be made in me?

Disruption, as Webster’s New Riverside Dictionary defines it, can either be seen as an event that creates confusion and/or disorder, or can be seen as something that interrupts.(1) Of course, disruption creates both. When our beliefs are contradicted by our experience or challenged by competing and compelling alternatives, we feel disruption. When we encounter something radically different than anything we’ve known or experienced, such as I did in Brazil, we experience disruption. Disruption upends assumed expectations, interrupts our perceived self-efficacy and control, and complicates all that we’ve come to rely on and trust.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Disruption

Joyce Meyer – Stay Humble

 

Talk no more so very proudly; let not arrogance go forth from your mouth . . . — 1 Samuel 2:3 (ESV)

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud – by Joyce Meyer

When we can do something well, or when we reach a personal goal, we tend to feel proud of those things. As long as we feel positively about ourselves in a balanced way, it’s a good thing. But if we start to be prideful and critical of others who are struggling with something we’ve mastered, it’s a big problem.

God has really helped me become more disciplined in my eating habits, and I recently spent a week with someone who really struggles in that area. She mentioned several times how disciplined I am and how undisciplined she is, and each time I would respond, “I have areas that are a battle for me too, and you will overcome this as you keep praying and making an effort to grow.”

There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have been as sensitive to my friend’s feelings—I probably would’ve given her a sermon about the dangers of overeating and poor nutrition. But if I’d done that, I wouldn’t have helped her do anything but feel more guilty and condemned. I’ve discovered that one of the best ways we can love people is to help them not feel worse about things they already feel bad about.

Meekness and humility are two of the most beautiful aspects of love. Paul said that love is not boastful (see I Corinthians 13:4). Love never wants to make others feel badly because they can’t do what we can do. Instead of bragging about our strengths, let’s thank God for them and be intentional to encourage those who are weak.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to be gracious and encouraging to those around me that are struggling in areas where I’m a little further along. Thank You for Your patience with me as I’m learning! In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Destroying the Devil’s Works 

 

“But if you keep on sinning, it shows that you belong to Satan, who since he first began to sin has kept steadily at it. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

A young Christian came to inquire of me one day, “How do you account for the fact that so many Christian leaders, many of them famous personalities, pastors and heads of Christian organizations are involved in moral and financial scandals?”

He named several well-known pastors and Christian leaders to illustrate his point.

Sadly I acknowledged his statement to be true. It seems there is an all-out attack of Satan to destroy the credibility of the Christian message. My explanation to him was that our Lord and the apostle Paul dealt with the same problem because, even though the disciples had been with the Lord Jesus three years or more, Judas betrayed Him and the others deserted Him.

The apostle Paul spoke of several who had deserted him. Those included Demas, who loved the present world, and Hymenaeus, Alexander and Philetus, who strayed from the truth.

Only one person can help us live holy lives that will honor our Lord, who came to destroy the works of the devil, and that is the third person of the Trinity – God the Holy Spirit. As long as we cast our ballot for the Spirit in our warfare against the flesh, we can live supernaturally every day in the joy, the wonder, the adventure and the power of the resurrection. It is simply a matter of our will; the decision is ours.

Bible Reading: I John 3:4-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  “Oh, God, thank You that You sent Your Son to destroy the works of the devil. I will claim the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit so that I may live victoriously and never bring scandal or disgrace to Your name.”

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God Has a Higher Purpose

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

No moment, event, or detail falls outside of God’s supervision.  God is the one who “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).  He isn’t making up this plan as he goes along.  Daniel 5:21 says, “The most High God rules the kingdom of men, and sets over it whom he will.”

So if God is in charge, why does he permit challenges to come our way?  Wouldn’t an almighty God prevent them?  Not if they serve his higher purpose!   The ultimate example is the death of Christ on the cross.  Everyone thought the life of Jesus was over.  Jesus was dead and buried, but God raised him from the dead.  God took the crucifixion of Friday and turned it into the celebration of Sunday.  Can he not do a reversal for you?

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 supernova ever discovered: How to experience omnipotence today

Astronomers say they have discovered the largest and brightest supernova ever seen.

A supernova is defined as an extremely bright and powerful explosion of a dying, massive star at least five times the mass of our sun. A study published yesterday reports that the mass of this supernova, labeled SN2016aps, was between fifty and one hundred times greater than our sun.

For a sense of scale: our sun could contain 1.3 million Earths and is about 333,000 times the mass of our planet. It contains 99.8 percent of the mass of the entire solar system. While it has burned off material that is more than 100 times the mass of the Earth, this is only about 0.05 percent of the sun’s total mass.

But our sun is only 1 to 2 percent the size of the supernova now being reported. And there are estimated to be 100 billion such stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and ten trillion such galaxies in the universe.

And our God made all of that.

A path to triumphant courage 

Nearly half the people in the US feel the coronavirus pandemic is harming their mental health. As the Washington Post notes, “If you’re scared, anxious, depressed, struggling to sleep through the night, or just on edge, you’re not alone.”

While COVID-19 is now the number one cause of death per day in the US, heart disease still kills 1,773 people every day and cancer causes 1,641 deaths a day.

In other words, there’s a lot to worry about. But there’s a way of dealing courageously and triumphantly with life on this broken planet, a source of strength and hope that is available to every child of God.

And we celebrated it just two days ago.

“Eternal life is the gift of God”  Continue reading Denison Forum – The brightest supernova ever discovered: How to experience omnipotence today