Charles Stanley –The Need for Spiritual Discernment

 

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

John tells us that the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One (1 John 5:19). For this reason, spiritual discernment is of utmost importance. Thankfully, Hebrews 5:11-14 reminds us of believers “who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong” (NLT). In other words, we can get better at distinguishing between truth and error through practice.

In today’s passage, Paul mentions he was dealing with false apostles disguising themselves as servants of righteousness. The same thing happens today: Such servants are all around, “peddling their wares.” It’s their attempt to carry away those who are always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7).

We may find it challenging to match wits with false apostles, but we can subject them to the obedience test found in 1 John 2:4: “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” However, this test works only if we ourselves know the truth. Dive into Scripture today so that you can “examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Knowing God’s Word is what will help our quest for godly wisdom.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 15-17

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — In Tune with the Spirit

 

Bible in a Year:

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:25

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Galatians 5:16–26

As I listened to the piano tuner work on the elegant grand piano, I thought about the times when I’d heard that very same piano pour out the incredible sound of the “Warsaw Concerto” and the rich melody of “How Great Thou Art.” But now the instrument desperately needed to be tuned. While some notes were right on pitch, others were sharp or flat, creating an unpleasant sound. The piano tuner’s responsibility wasn’t to make each of the keys play the same sound but to assure that each note’s unique sound combined with others to create a pleasing harmonious whole.

Even within the church, we can observe notes of discord. People with unique ambitions or talents can create a jarring dissonance when they’re joined together. In Galatians 5, Paul pleaded with believers to do away with “discord, jealousy, fits of rage, [and] selfish ambition,” which would destroy fellowship with God or relationships with others. Paul went on to encourage us to embrace the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (vv. 20, 22–23).

When we live by the Spirit, we’ll find it easier to avoid unnecessary conflict on nonessential matters. Our shared sense of purpose can be greater than our differences. And with God’s help, each of us can grow in grace and unity as we keep our hearts in tune with Him.

By:  Cindy Hess Kasper

 

 

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Joyce Meyer – As We Focus

 

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. … — Proverbs 23:7 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind – by Joyce Meyer

Years ago, I learned a priceless lesson: Whatever we focus on, we become. That simple statement taught me a great deal. Wherever we put our energy or attention, those things will develop. Another way I like to say it is, “Where the mind goes, the man follows!”

If I begin to think about ice cream, I will soon find myself in my car pursuing ice cream. My thought will stir my desires and emotions, and I’ll make the decision to follow them.

As another example, if we focus only on the negative things in our lives, we become negative people. Everything, including our conversation, becomes negative. Before long, we lose our joy and end up living miserable lives—and it all started with our own thinking.

You might be experiencing some problems in life, not realizing that you’re creating some of them by what you’re choosing to think about. That’s why I want to challenge you to think about what you’re thinking about!

You might be discouraged, or even depressed without knowing why. One thing that can help is taking an inventory of your thoughts. If you’ll examine your thought life, you’ll find that you are feeding the negative emotions you are feeling by focusing on negative things. Negative thoughts are fuel for discouragement, depression, and many other unpleasant emotions.

We should choose our thoughts carefully. We can think about what’s wrong with our lives or about what’s right with them. We can think about what is wrong with all the people we’re in relationship with, or we can choose to focus on the good in them. The Bible teaches us to always believe the best. When we do that, it makes our own lives happier and more peaceful.

I have a great life, with a loving husband and children, and I am privileged to be used by God to bless millions of people around the world through the wonderful ministry He has given me. But even now, life isn’t perfect, and if I’d allowed the devil to fill my mind with negative thoughts—as he did years ago—I would have been defeated.

That’s why I want to focus on God’s grace and give thanks for all the good things in my life. I don’t want to focus on what I don’t have.

An old friend used to quote this saying: “As you wander on through life, brother, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole.” Too many people focus on what’s not there and what’s not right (the hole) instead of the blessings that they do have (the donut). Let’s be the kind of people who keep our eyes on the donut!

All of this is to say that our thoughts largely determine our destiny, and our happiness. Proverbs 23:7 (today’s verse) is one of my favorites, because it reminds us that thoughts are powerful. They’re not just words that flow through our heads, so it’s very important for us to decide on purpose what we’ll allow to rest inside our minds. We have to remember that the mind is a battlefield, and our enemy will use it in any way he possibly can to trap us.

I’m reminded of a man who came to one of our meetings several years ago—we’ll call him John. John wanted to be free from pornography. He said that one time he had seen something online after accidentally logging on to a site that was filled with explicitly sexual pictures. The next day he laughed about it to one of his coworkers. “Who wants to watch that stuff?” he asked.

The next night John was back on the site again. And many nights after that. He started purchasing more pornographic material, and always had it sent to his office, keeping the stash hidden from his family. “What’s a little thing like that going to hurt?” he reasoned.

John confessed that the more he saw the images, the more he thought of women as objects—objects for his pleasure. One day his wife said, “I don’t know what’s happened to you, but you can either deal with your attitude or I’m leaving.”

His life was rapidly going downhill before he asked for prayer. “I never thought just watching a couple of porno sites like that could be so addictive,” John said.

To put it another way, we can’t have a positive life and a negative mind. Because our focus is what determines where we end up, shifting our thoughts to positive, godly things will help us dramatically as we’re learning to change the direction of our lives.

If you’re struggling with an addiction (or any kind of negative mindset), know that changing the direction of your thoughts is the first step to getting free, and Jesus is ready and waiting to help you. He wants you to be free, and for your mind to be filled with positive, true, beautiful, and healthy thoughts (see Philippians 4:8). The more you focus on those things, the more readily you’ll be able to defeat Satan’s attacks.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me today. I want my thoughts to be true, healthy and beautiful, and free of negativity, and I know You do, too. Thank You for giving me the wisdom I need to recognize unhealthy thoughts and the strength to replace them with truth. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Godly Shall Flourish

 

“But the godly shall flourish like palm trees, and grow tall as the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted into the Lord’s own garden, and are under His personal care. Even in old age they will still produce fruit and be vital and green” (Psalm 92:12-14).

John Vredenburgh preached in a Somerville, New York church for many years, often feeling that his ministry was a great failure even though he preached the gospel faithfully. His death came amidst discouragements, and even some of his members wondered about his success and effectiveness as a minister.

Not long after his death, however, spiritual revival came to Somerville. On one Sunday alone, 200 people came to Christ – most of whom dated their spiritual stirrings from the ministry of John Vredenburgh.

Faithfulness and persistence are great virtues in the service of Jesus Christ. “Pay Day, Some Day” was a significant theme and message of that great Southern Baptist pastor, R. G. Lee – and since God’s timing is always perfect, it surely will come in good time.

“Even in old age they will still produce fruit.” Though the outward man may be pershing, the inward man is renewed day by day. When the outward ear grows deaf, the inward man hears the voice of God. When the eye grows dim, the mind is enlightened with God’s Word.

When the flesh becomes weak, we are “strengthened with might in the inner man.” Older Christians look toward heaven, where they again shall see family and friends; meanwhile, the share their maturity and good judgment with others, knowing that God still rewards the faithful. Until that dying breath, the supernatural life on earth can continue.

Bible Reading: Psalm 92:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that even in old(er) age my life can produce fruit, I will persevere and remain faithful to our Lord and His commands.

 

 

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Max Lucado – God Is Waiting on You

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Whatever it is that’s troubling you, you’ll get through this.  Cancel your escape to the Himalayas. Forget the deserted island.  This is no time to be a hermit.  Pray.  Lean on God’s people.  Be a barnacle on the boat of God’s church.  Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Don’t quit, don’t hide.  Would the sick avoid the hospital?  The hungry avoid the food pantry?  Would the discouraged abandon God’s Hope Distribution Center?  Only at great risk. God is waiting on you, my friend.  He is with you.  Your family may have left.  Your supporters may be gone.  Your counselor may be silent.  But God has not budged.  His promise in Genesis 28:15 still stands: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go!”  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 – Why baseball’s highest paid player hasn’t played in four years: Four reasons to trust God’s providence with patience

Prince Fielder is owed $24 million in the final year of his contract with the Texas Rangers. This would put him nowhere near the top ten current salaries in the sport. But it’s not bad for a player who has not appeared in a game since 2016, when injuries forced his early retirement.

Here’s why Fielder’s salary is newsworthy: As Major League Baseball works on a plan to play a shortened season, current players could receive less than their salaries dictate. But because the sport’s collective-bargaining agreement seems to protect guarantees in contracts such as Fielder’s, he will probably receive the full amount.

This is just one illustration of the fact that COVID-19 is affecting far more people than it is infecting.

Here’s a tragic example: an American missionary pilot named Joyce Lin died in a plane crash Tuesday. She was transporting coronavirus rapid test kits and school supplies to a village in Papua, the easternmost province of Indonesia. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, she was forty years old.

The “principle of calculated risk” 

A fifty-five-year-old person from the Hubei province in China may have been the first person to contract COVID-19. The case dates back to November 17, 2019, nearly six months ago. As mortality from this horrible disease passes 302,000 deaths as of this morning, why is it taking so long to develop effective therapies?

George Friedman is one of the most astute geopolitical analysts of our day. In a recent article, he discussed the medical system in the context of risk. He noted that “the moral foundation of science is that it must, first of all, do no harm.” As a result, “no drug is released until it is certain that it will do no harm. This requires meticulous testing and evaluation, and that takes time.”

By contrast, “other systems operate not on a zero-risk principle but on the principle of calculated risk.” In a military operation, for instance, “the risk is calculated with care, but so is the consequence of inaction.”

In most structures, “an emergency means the acceptance of a degree of failure that would not be acceptable otherwise in order to gain time. In the military, such shortcuts may well cause deaths, even to civilians. But not taken, these risks certainly increase deaths.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – Why baseball’s highest paid player hasn’t played in four years: Four reasons to trust God’s providence with patience