Charles Stanley –Sunday Reflection: The Pursuit of Righteousness

 

Jesus speaks about righteousness many times in the Sermon on the Mount—from pursuing it to being persecuted because of it (Matt. 5:6; Matt. 5:10; Matt. 5:20).  We can easily think of pursuing righteousness in terms of following rules or abiding by the law. But it’s much more than that. To pursue righteousness is to live with an unrelenting desire for justice and holiness. It’s like selling all our possessions in order to buy the field where we know treasure is buried (Matt. 13:44-46).

But we don’t engage in this pursuit out of obligation or anxiety. Jesus taught that the man who sold everything to buy the field did it out of joy (v. 44). You would be joyful, too, if you believed you were gaining something worth more than all your possessions combined. And this is how we should understand God’s love for us: Nothing on earth can compare to the riches we have in Him.

Think about it
• Is there a difference between those who seek righteousness and those who are righteous?

  •  What does a hunger and thirst for holiness and justice look like in today’s world?  How would you describe what it means to be satisfied in that pursuit?

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 7-9

 

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Our Daily Bread — The One Who Sees

 

Bible in a Year:

You may be sure that your sin will find you out.

Numbers 32:23

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Numbers 32:16–24

“Oh no!” My wife’s voice rang out when she stepped into the kitchen. The moment she did, our ninety-pound Labrador retriever “Max” bolted from the room.

Gone was the leg of lamb that had been sitting too close to the edge of the counter. Max had consumed it, leaving only an empty pan. He tried to hide under a bed. But only his head and shoulders fit. His uncovered rump and tail betrayed his whereabouts when I went to track him down.

“Oh, Max,” I murmured, “Your ‘sin’ will find you out.” The phrase was borrowed from Moses, when he admonished two tribes of Israel to be obedient to God and keep their promises. He told them: “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

Sin may feel good for a moment, but it causes the ultimate pain of separation from God. Moses was reminding his people that God misses nothing. As one biblical writer put it, “Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

Though seeing all, our holy God lovingly draws us to confess our sin, repent of it (turn from it), and walk rightly with Him (1 John 1:9). May we follow Him in love today.

By:  James Banks

 

 

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Joyce Meyer – I’m a Friend of God

 

I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (working out). But I have called you My friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father. … — John 15:15 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful – by Joyce Meyer

One of the biggest keys to effective prayer is approaching God as a friend, because that is who you are (see John 15:15). When we go to God believing that He sees us as His friends, countless new wonders are opened to us. We experience real freedom and boldness, which are both priceless gifts to be grateful for.

If we do not know God as a friend, we’ll be hesitant, not bold, in asking for what we need. But if we go to Him as our friend—without losing our awe of Him—our prayers will stay fresh, exciting, and intimate.

A friendship is about loving and being loved. It means knowing that God is on your side, wanting to help you, cheering you on, and always working things together for your good.

Today, know that God loves you deeply and wants your friendship more than anything.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for calling me Your friend. Help me to come to You confidently, knowing that You love me and You are for me. Thank You that I’m never alone, because You’re always with me. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Perfect Harmony

 

“Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14).

Martha had a very poor self-image. The distress she felt because of her physical appearance was compounded by the guilt of being grossly overweight. She hated herself and was despondent to the point of seriously considering suicide.

I counsel many students and older adults who are not able to accept themselves. Some are weighted down with guilt because of unconfessed sins. Others are not reconciled to their physical handicaps or deformities. Still others feel inferior mentally or socially.

My counsel to such people is this: God loves you and accepts you as you are. The love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit enables us to love ourselves as God made us. We can be thankful for ourselves, loving ourselves unconditionally as God does, and we can love others unconditionally, too.

It is Satan who is the great accuser, causing us to hate ourselves and others. God, having commanded us to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, and our enemies, will enable us to do what He commands us to do as we claim His promise.

The great tragedy of many families is that resentment, bitterness and hate overtake their members like an all-consuming cancer, ultimately destroying the unity among husband, wife and children. Love of the husband and wife for each other, and of parents and children for one another, is so basic that it should not need to be mentioned. Yet, sadly and alarmingly, children are alienated from their parents, and even many Christian marriages are ending in divorce – in fact, in greater numbers today than at any other time in history.

God’s kind of love is a unifying force. Paul admonishes us to “put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”

Bible Reading:Colossians 3:18-25

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Since God commands us to love Him, our neighbors, our enemies and ourselves, today I will claim that supernatural love by faith on the basis of God’s command to love and the promise that if I ask anything according to His will, He will hear and answer me.

 

 

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Streams in the Desert for Kids – Pit Crew

 

John 10:41

In the world of professional auto racing, only a few people get to be drivers and have their names splashed across the newspapers and TV. But for every successful racecar driver, there are dozens of back-up people, many of whom are called the “pit crew.” Pit crews are vital to the success of any racer. When the driver comes off the track and heads to the pit, the crew springs into action. They fuel the car and change all the tires in seconds. They make minor adjustments and get the driver back out on the track. Time spent in the pit impacts the outcome of the race. A slow pit crew can cause a driver to lose.

In the Bible, John the Baptist is an example of someone who never got to be the “driver.” He was more like part of Jesus’ pit crew. John’s role was to tell everyone that Jesus was coming and they should get ready. While John did not perform any miracles, he had an important job to do by alerting everyone that someone was coming soon who would take away the sin of the world. When some people asked John if he was the Christ, he simply replied, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” It takes a really big person to step back and let someone else shine in the spotlight. But when we perform the most everyday, insignificant tasks, God still sees what we are doing.

Dear Lord, Sometimes I want to be the person everyone talks about and praises, but help me to be humble. Amen.