Charles Stanley – Searching for Unforgiveness

 

Luke 17:3-4

Unforgiveness is like fertile soil for a crop of noxious weeds. It is the source of much that can go sour in personal relationships and, therefore, impacts our relationship with God. Sometimes it’s disguised—for instance, if people say in an angry tone that they have forgiven past offenses, their obvious bitterness betrays them. Unforgiveness can sink into your heart and hide from you; then it can hurt relationships without you ever being aware of it.

Consider these following questions to see if you need to forgive someone:

  •  Have you been hoping that a certain person will get what he or she deserves?
  •  Do you talk negatively about this individual to others?
  •  Do you indulge in fantasies of revenge—even mild ones?
  •  Do you mull over what someone did to you?
  •  How do you feel if a good thing happens to that individual?
  •  Do you blame him or her for how your life turned out?
  •  Do you find it hard to be open and trusting with people?
  •  Are you frequently angry, depressed, or bitter?
  •  Do you find it difficult or impossible to thank God for your offender?

 

Take a moment to let God examine your heart. Will He find any unforgiveness there?

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 1-4

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Learning from Little Ones

 

Bible in a Year:

From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise.

Matthew 21:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Matthew 21:8–16

When a friend and I rode into one of the slums in Nairobi, Kenya, our hearts were deeply humbled by the poverty we witnessed. In that same setting, however, different emotions—like fresh waters—were stirred in us as we witnessed young children running and shouting, “Mchungaji, Mchungaji!” (Swahili for “pastor”). Such was their joy-filled response upon seeing their spiritual leader in the vehicle with us. With these tender shouts, the little ones welcomed the one known for his care and concern for them.

As Jesus arrived in Jerusalem riding on a donkey, joyful children were among those who celebrated Him. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! . . . Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matthew 21:915). But praises for Jesus were not the only sounds in the air. One can imagine the noisiness of scurrying, money-making merchants who were put to flight by Jesus (vv. 12–13). Furthermore, religious leaders who had witnessed His kindness in action “were indignant” (vv. 14–15). They voiced their displeasure with the children’s praises (v. 16) and thereby exposed the poverty of their own hearts.

We can learn from the faith of children of God of all ages and places who recognize Jesus as the Savior of the world. He’s the One who hears our praises and cries, and He cares for and rescues us when we come to Him with childlike trust.

By:  Arthur Jackson

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Cries of the Heart

Some time ago my wife, Margie, returned from an errand visibly shaken by a heartrending conversation she had experienced. She was about the very simple task of selecting a picture and a frame when a dialogue began with the owner of the shop. When Margie said that she would like a scene with children in it the woman quite casually asked if the people for whom the picture was being purchased had any children of their own. “No,” replied my wife, “but that is not by their choice.” There was a momentary pause. Suddenly, like a hydrant uncorked, a question burst with unveiled hostility from the other woman’s lips: “Have you ever lost a child?” Margie was somewhat taken aback and immediately sensed that a terrible tragedy probably lurked behind the abrupt question.

The conversation had obviously taken an unsettling turn. But even at that she was not prepared for the flood of emotion and anger that was yet to follow, from this one who was still a stranger. The sorry tale quickly unfolded. The woman proceeded to speak of the two children she had lost, each loss carrying a heartache all its own. “Now,” she added, “I am standing by watching my sister as she is about to lose her child.” There was no masking of her bitterness and no hesitancy about where to ascribe the blame for these tragedies. Unable to utter anything that would alleviate the pain of this gaping wound in the woman’s heart, my wife began to say, “I am sorry,” when she was interrupted with a stern rebuke, “Don’t say anything!” She finally managed to be heard just long enough to say in parting, “I’ll be praying for you through this difficult time.” But even that brought a crisp rejoinder, “Don’t bother.”

Margie returned to her car and just wept out of shock and longing to reach out to this broken life. Even more, ever since that conversation she has carried with her an unshakable mental picture of a woman’s face whose every muscle contorted with anger and anguish—at once seeking a touch yet holding back, yearning for consolation but silencing anyone who sought to help, shoving at people along the way to get to God. Strangely, this episode spawned a friendship and we have had the wonderful privilege of getting close to her and of praying with her in our home. We have even felt her embrace of gratitude as she has tried in numerous ways to say, “Thank you.” But through this all she has represented to us a symbol of smothered cries, genuine and well thought through, and of a search for answers that need time before that anger is overcome by trust, and anguish gives way to contentment.

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Joyce Meyer – A Bold Approach

 

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

Adapted from the resource Hearing from God Each Morning – by Joyce Meyer

Once we begin to see ourselves as God’s friends, our prayers become more Spirit-led, more faith-filled, and much bolder. Right after He taught His disciples to pray using what we call the “Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus told a story to illustrate His lesson on prayer. He said:

Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and will say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves [of bread], for a friend of mine who is on a journey has just come, and I have nothing to put before him; and he from within will answer, Do not disturb me; the door is now closed, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and supply you [with anything]? I tell you, although he will not get up and supply him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his shameless persistence and insistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

– Luke 11:5–8 (AMPC)

Notice that the man who needs bread gets it “because of his shameless persistence and insistence.” We will only “shamelessly persist” with our closest friends—because friendship makes us bold, and the more we grow and progress in our friendship with God, the bolder and more confident we can be as we approach Him.

Prayer Starter: Lord, thank You for seeing me as Your friend, and that because of You, I can come to you with boldness and confidence for whatever I need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Recognizing False Teachers

 

“Beware of false teachers who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are wolves and will tear you apart. You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. You need never confuse grapevines with thorn bushes or figs with thistles” (Matthew 7:15,16). 

The secular press frequently quoted a famous professor in one of the most prestigious theological seminaries in the world, referring to him as the Protestant theologian of our time. As I talked with two of his students, whom I had the privilege of introducing to Christ, I asked, “What is your impression of Professor So-and-so?” They replied, “If the Bible is true, he is not a Christian.”

They went on to explain that he denied the deity of Christ, the authority of Scripture and all the basic tenets of the Christian faith. Yet he was so subtle, so brilliant and profound, that many pastors and Christian leaders who were not biblically oriented were deceived and looked upon him as a great scholar and theologian.

However, after he died, his wife wrote a highly revealing book in which she described his many sexual exploits as well as his other wrongdoings that were inconsistent with what the Bible teaches.

There are many false teachers in the seminaries and pulpits of the world, who represent another master, not our Lord Jesus Christ. They do not preach the inspired Word of God. Often brilliant, loving, gracious, considerate people, they are, nevertheless, well-described by our Lord as false teachers, wolves disguised as harmless sheep.

How can you recognize false teachers? The test is threefold: (1) What is their view of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is He truly the Son of God? Did He die on the cross for our sins? Was He raised from the dead? (2) Do they profess that the Bible is the authority of God, divinely inspired? (3) Do they live lives that are consistent with the teachings of Scripture? Or do they condone practices that are contrary to the Word of God? If they do the latter, beware, for they will rob you of the supernatural resources of God that are available to you.

As you meditate upon the entire passage of scripture for today, ask God to give you a discerning spirit that you may not be deceived by false teachers.

Bible Reading: Matthew 7:13-23

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I shall meditate upon God’s Word and weigh those who profess to be His followers in light of their view of the Lord Jesus Christ, His holy, inspired Word, and how their lives are a witness to what God’s Word commands us to be I will instruct other believers and non-believers alike to be alert to the influence of false teachers.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God’s Unchanging Character

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

We pass much of life at mid-altitude.  Most of life is Monday-ish obligations of carpools, expense reports, and recipes.  Occasionally we summit a peak: our wedding, a promotion, the birth of a child.  But when the housing market crashes or a test report comes back negative, before we know it, we discover what the bottom looks like.

In Psalm 139:7 David asked, “Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Where can I flee from Your presence?”  You’ll never go where God is not.  Acts 17:27 reminds us, “He is not far from each of us.”  The Psalmist determined, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.  When all around my soul gives way, He then is still my hope and stay!” Remember the song? Let it encourage you, let it remind you to cling to His unchanging character.  God is faithful.  He is not caught off guard. He uses everything for His glory and your ultimate 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 – The shooting of Ahmaud Arbery: Eradicating the virus of racism

Ahmaud Arbery would have turned twenty-six last Friday. People across the US commemorated his life by running 2.23 miles, referencing the day he died.

A former high school football star, he was jogging near his home on the outskirts of Brunswick, Georgia, on Sunday, February 23. According to authorities, he was shot and killed after being pursued by two white men with guns.

The men were charged last Thursday with murder and aggravated assault, two days after a shocking video of the shooting of Mr. Arbery became public. This tragedy is raising once again the specter of racism in our culture.

Coronavirus as a metaphor for racism 

Administration officials announced Saturday that three members of the White House coronavirus task force, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, would self-quarantine after contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. Let’s take a moment to consider the pervasiveness of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as a metaphor for racism.

Both are unseen in a person’s life until they become symptomatic. Both can infect people who do not recognize symptoms of the disease in their lives and thus think they are free of infection. Both often produce symptoms that worsen over time. And both can infect people who become carriers who infect others.

A year ago, I wrote a white paper that examines the issue of racism in depth. I reported that slavery began in the New World in 1619 when the first group of African slaves arrived at Jamestown, Virginia. Many Europeans argued that Africans were inferior and declared that they were better off enslaved by whites than living in freedom in their homelands.

Planters also quickly realized that they could make enormous profits by importing and using enslaved laborers. Such laborers could be made to work longer and harder in the fields. Since they were so far from their African homes, they could not easily escape and return home. They came from a variety of nations and cultures, so they could not easily communicate with one another to organize resistance against their enslavers.

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