Charles Stanley – Getting Our Attention Through Adversity

 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

When facing adversity or hardship, some Christians ask, “Why is this happening to me?” Others think they are being really spiritual when they suffer in silence or say things like, “God knows what He is doing. He doesn’t have to explain anything to me.”

It is true that our heavenly Father knows what He is doing and does not owe us any explanations, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss our hardship or avoid thinking about what He might want to accomplish through it. On the contrary, the Bible tells us to remember that God is sovereign, even over our adversities (Eccl. 7:14). This was the case in today’s reading, where Paul says God sent an affliction—which he describes as a “messenger of Satan”—to keep him from exalting himself (2 Corinthians 12:7). The apostle admits pride is a problem for him and acknowledges that God is justified in dealing with him to correct it.

Such a truthful confession does not eliminate suffering but sweetens it until we can say with Paul, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 13-15

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Strength for the Journey

 

Bible in a Year:

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”

1 Kings 19:5

Today’s Scripture & Insight:1 Kings 19:1–9

One summer, I faced what seemed an impossible task—a big writing project with a looming deadline. Having spent day after day on my own, endeavoring to get the words onto the page, I felt exhausted and discouraged, and I wanted to give up. A wise friend asked me, “When’s the last time you felt refreshed? Maybe you need to allow yourself to rest and to enjoy a good meal.”

I knew immediately that she was right. Her advice made me think of Elijah and the terrifying message he received from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:2)—although, of course, my writing project wasn’t anywhere near the cosmic scale of the prophet’s experience. After Elijah triumphed over the false prophets on Mount Carmel, Jezebel sent word that she would capture and kill him, and he despaired, longing to die. But then he enjoyed a good sleep and was twice visited by an angel who gave him food to eat. After God renewed his physical strength, he was able to continue with his journey.

When the “journey is too much” for us (v. 7), we might need to rest and enjoy a healthy and satisfying meal. For when we are exhausted or hungry, we can easily succumb to disappointment or fear. But when God meets our physical needs through His resources, as much as possible in this fallen world, we can take the next step in serving Him.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Most Important of the Least Important Things

To say I was looking forward to watching my team play was an understatement. My excitement was heightened by the fact that the value of the tickets I possessed far outweighed what I had actually paid for them. The high demand and difficulty in obtaining them meant they were worth much more financially than the purchase price. They were also of personal value, as this was to be our oldest son’s first game, to mark his tenth birthday, and I have only ever been a handful of times in my life myself. Lastly, the game had taken on a much greater historical significance, as my club appeared to be on the brink of winning the league for the first time in 30 years, and there was even the possibility that the championship might be clinched at the match we were going to. Everything seemed perfectly poised. Everything, that is, until the world suddenly changed…

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across the globe and has caused some of the richest and most technologically advanced nations to grind to a halt. Sporting fixtures were of course one casualty of the chaos, prompting the coach of my team to reflect that the game was simply the “most important of the least important things.”

This succinct reflection perfectly captures the way in which the on-going tragedy has put everything else into perspective. It has given us all pause for thought about how we spend our time and what we consider valuable in normal life. Has the crisis caused you to think about or re-evaluate what or who is important in your life?

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Joyce Meyer – A Conversation with God

 

The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me. — John 10:27 (AMP)

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

It’s so important to remember that prayer is meant to be a conversation. When you’re praying, make sure to listen to what God tells you, either through His Word or His still, small voice in your heart (which will always line up with His Word).

Communication is a two-way street—it doesn’t consist of one person doing all the talking while the other does all the listening. The best conversations happen when both people are fully engaged in both listening and speaking. You may need to develop your ability to listen, but boy is it worth it when you start hearing the awesome things God has to say! He’s invited us into an authentic, intimate relationship with Him where we’re free to share absolutely everything.

God is not someone we visit for one hour on Sunday morning and ignore the rest of the week unless we have an emergency—He is Someone we live with. He’s our home, our safe place, and we can be comfortable with Him.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You so much that talking to You doesn’t have to be a ritual or formula! Today, help me to be aware and intentional to thank You for the blessings in each moment, and to listen closely when You speak. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Be Fearless

 

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1).

The psalmist David did not choose words carelessly – but under divine inspiration – when he spoke of light and salvation.

Of all the memorials in Westminster Abbey, not one has a nobler thought inscribed on it than the monument to Lord Lawrence – simply his name, with the date of his death, and these words:

“He feared man so little because he feared God so much.”

Charles H. Spurgeon gives some helpful insights into Psalm 27:1.

“In the New Testament, the idea which is hinted at in the language of David is expressly revealed as a truth. God does not merely give us His light. He is light, just as He is love in His own uncreated nature.

“God is light, ‘John writes in his epistle,’ and in Him is no darkness at all.’ When John sought to teach us our Lord’s Godhead as clearly and as sharply as possible, he calls Him the ‘light,’ meaning to teach us that as such He shares the essential nature of the Deity.”

How wonderful that we need not live in darkness – in any sense of the word – but that we immediately can have the Light of Life, God Himself, available to us in the person of His indwelling Holy Spirit as well as in His inspired Word. Every prerequisite for the abundant, supernatural life has been made available to us, and access is immediate if we come to Him immediately with our needs.

Bible Reading: Psalm 27:2-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With God’s help, I will follow Him who is my light and my salvation. I will have no fear of men or circumstances.

 

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Max Lucado – Sometimes God Takes His Time

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Sometimes God takes His time.  One-hundred and twenty years to prepare Noah for the flood. Eighty years to prepare Moses for his work.  God called young David to be king, but returned him to the sheep pasture.  He called Paul to be an apostle and then isolated him in Arabia for fourteen years.

How long will God take with you?  His history is redeemed, not in minutes, but in lifetimes.  We fear the depression will never lift, the yelling will never stop, the pain will never leave.  Will this sky ever brighten?  This load ever lighten?

Life in the pit stinks.  Yet for all its rottenness, doesn’t it do this much?  Doesn’t it force us to look upward?  The Bible promises, at the right time, in God’s hands, intended evil becomes eventual good.  You will get through this!

 

Read more You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Turbulent Times

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Tom Hanks’s virtual commencement address and Star Wars Day: Are you trusting the Force more than the Father?

Tom Hanks delivered a virtual commencement address last weekend for the graduates of Ohio’s Wright State University. He called them the “chosen ones” in part because of the pandemic that has changed our lives so dramatically.

The actor explained: “You are the chosen ones because of a fate unimagined when you began your Wright State adventures.” As a result, he predicted, “You will be enlightened in ways your degree never held in promise. You will have made it through a time of great sacrifice and great need. No one will be more fresh to the task of restarting our normalcy than you—our chosen ones.”

What Warren Buffett thinks about our future 

Yesterday was Star Wars Day with its annual slogan, “May the Fourth be with you.” But today is also special for Star Wars fans, since the fifth rhymes with Sith (the ancient enemies of the Jedi Order).

The Star Wars universe has been a cultural phenomenon for more than four decades in large part because of its assurance that “the Force will be with you, always.” This “Force,” however, is not a personal God but, as Obi-Wan Kenobi explained, an impersonal “energy field created by all living things.” It is available to us as we seek to defeat the “dark side.”

In this sense, the Star Wars worldview reinforces and amplifies our belief in ourselves. A single Jedi knight can destroy a Death Star. People passionately committed to good can defeat those committed to evil.

What Tom Hanks told the graduates of Wright State University is what Americans believe about ourselves: we can persevere through pain and triumph over tragedy. Warren Buffett made the same optimistic claim during a recent company shareholders meeting: “Nothing can basically stop America. The American miracle, the American magic, has always prevailed, and it will do so again.”

This can-do spirit fueled the pioneers who risked their lives and families to come to this New World, the settlers who pushed its frontiers from the East Coast to the West, and the entrepreneurs who built the greatest economic force the world has ever seen. Every time I travel overseas, I am deeply grateful to return to this country. My father and grandfather fought for our nation. I will always love America.

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