Charles Stanley – Momentary Pleasure

 

Genesis 25:19-34

Decisions have consequences. That can be a good thing, but at times we end up dealing with lifelong repercussions. Then we look back and wish our decision had been wiser.

For example, in exchange for a bowl of stew, Esau sacrificed his birthright. In other words, he gave up not only his wealth, inheritance, position, and prominence but also power and the right to lead the entire family.

Is there a “bowl of stew” in your life—something you want badly that’s right in front of you, there for the taking? At the moment, it may seem like the right decision, but later you could find you’ve traded something valuable for something with little or no worth.

Whenever we’re ruled by anything besides the Holy Spirit, we are more prone to sacrifice our future for immediate gratification. Appetites are God-given, but they aren’t designed to dominate us. That’s what caused Esau to lose his future. He wanted to satisfy his appetite right then and, at the time, was willing to pay the price.

We can endanger our future when we focus on the temporary instead of the eternal. What are you doing right now that could have lifelong consequences? Is it worth it? Ask God to help you see your situation from His perspective.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 32-34

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Knife Angel

 

Bible in a Year:

Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

Isaiah 2:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Isaiah 2:1–4

When knife crime rose across the United Kingdom, the British Ironwork Centre came up with an idea. Working with local police forces, the Centre built and placed two hundred deposit boxes around the country and ran an amnesty campaign. One hundred thousand knives were anonymously surrendered, some still with blood on their blades. These were then shipped to artist Alfie Bradley, who blunted them, inscribed some with the names of young knife-crime victims, plus messages of regret from ex-offenders. All 100,000 weapons were then welded together to create the Knife Angel—a twenty-seven-foot-high angelic sculpture with shimmering steel wings.

When I stood before the Knife Angel, I wondered how many thousands of wounds had been prevented by its existence. I thought too of Isaiah’s vision of the new heavens and earth (Isaiah 65:17), a place where children won’t die young (v. 20) or grow up in crime-breeding poverty (vv. 22–23), a place where knife crime is no more because all swords have been reshaped and given more creative purposes (2:4).

That new world isn’t yet here, but we are to pray and serve until its arrival (Matthew 6:10). In its own way, the Knife Angel gives us a glimpse of God’s promised future. Swords become plow shares. Weapons become artworks. What other redemptive projects can we conjure up to glimpse that future a little more?

By:  Sheridan Voysey

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Love That Followed

 

We have been sharing some of our favorite A Slice of Infinity essays written by Ravi Zacharias over the years. Thank you for sharing your own stories, testimonies, reflections, and letters. Ravi’s family and the RZIM global team have been greatly encouraged by the outpouring of support during this difficult time.

Writer Philip Yancey tells of his experience playing chess against a master player. He explains his rapid realization that no matter what move he made, no matter what strategy he chose, the master seemed to turn his play around to serve his own purposes. As I look back upon my life, it is so evident that the Master, that Hound of Heaven, has been on my trail, working all things out for God’s own ends—God’s own good and perfect ends, I might add.

In studying when the gospel first made inroads into my lineage, I have found that on both sides of my family, the first believers came from the highest cast of the Hindu priesthood six generations ago. The first Christian was a woman. She was interested in the message brought by missionaries, in spite of her family’s terrible displeasure. One day as she was about to leave the missionary compound in order to return home before her family found out, the doors of the compound were shut because of a cholera epidemic. Remaining with the missionaries until the time of the quarantine was past, she committed her life to God. Threat of disease and the walls of a closed compound were the freeing means of her coming to Christ.

Readers of English poetry will recall the turbulent life of Francis Thompson. His father wanted him to study at Oxford, but Francis lost his way in drugs and failed to make the grade time and again. This was a slumbering genius, if only his life could be rescued. When Francis finally succumbed to the pursuing Christ, he penned his immortal “Hound of Heaven”:

And he concludes:

Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest me.

I am utterly convinced that neither walls nor suffering, neither unfortunate mishaps nor poor decisions can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Perhaps you have noticed footprints of one following closely across your own life. Will you follow them?

Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

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Joyce Meyer – Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

 

And Peter answered Him, Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus. — Matthew 14:28-29 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day – by Joyce Meyer

When Peter stepped out of the boat at Jesus’ instruction, he was doing something he had never done before. As long as he remained in faith by keeping his eyes on Jesus, he was successful. It wasn’t until fear gripped his heart that he began to sink.

Peter’s mistake was that he became preoccupied with the storm. When he focused on the circumstances around him rather than the Savior close to him, he lost his faith and began to doubt. Romans 4:18– 21 tells us that Abraham did not waver in his faith when faced with difficult circumstances. He was aware of his situation, but instead of becoming preoccupied with it like Peter, he was determined to focus on God’s ability and presence in the middle of his situation.

I believe that you and I can learn from Peter’s mistake and Abraham’s example. We can be aware of our circumstances without being preoccupied with them. We can purposely keep our eyes on Jesus, trusting in faith that He’ll provide the miracle we need. When the storms come in your life, focus on Jesus. Stay determined to walk with Him no matter how high the waves are, and know that He’s always with you—no matter how strong the storm.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to keep my eyes fixed on You. Thank You for saving me when I feel like I’m drowning, and for keeping my faith strong. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – We can Have Real Peace

 

“So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in His promises, we can have real peace with Him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord had done for us” (Romans 5:1).

When Arthur DeMoss, one of my very best friends and one of our Lord’s choicest servants, went to be with the Lord, as the result of an unexpected heart attack, all of us were shocked. The word reached me in Austria, where I was meeting with our European staff. Immediately, I flew back to the United States for the memorial service.

As I participated in that service, I looked over the large audience, about half of whom had been introduced to Christ through the ministry of this man whom we had all come to honor.

In the crowd, I saw one face that stood out – a face that was most radiant of all. It was Art’s widow, Nancy. She was sitting in the front row with their seven children. Her radiant countenance was a demonstration to me of the supernatural joy and peace which God gives in such times of extreme grief.

Nancy and Art were the greatest of lovers and friends. They had been deeply in love since their courtship and were almost inseparable whether in the building of the business, in the rearing of their family or in their burden for evangelism and the souls of men.

Yet, in this time of Nancy’s greatest sorrow, the evidence that she was filled with the Spirit radiated from her countenance. She was experiencing the supernatural peace of God – love’s security, which is available to all of God’s children.

Bible Reading: Romans 5:2-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will claim by faith God’s peace – not only for me but also for family and friends in need of such peace – and seek to introduce others to the One who is the Prince of Peace.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – For God’s Purpose

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

In 1965 Howard Rutledge parachuted into North Vietnam and spent the next several years in a prison in Hanoi, locked in a filthy cell, breathing stale, rotten air, trying to keep his sanity.  Few of us will ever face the conditions of a POW camp.  Yet, to one degree or another, we all spend time behind bars.  After half-a-century of marriage, my friend’s wife began to lose her memory.  A young mother just called, diagnosed with lupus.  Why would God permit such imprisonment?  To what purpose?

Jeremiah 30 in verse 24 promises, “The Lord will not turn back until He has executed and accomplished the intents of His mind.”  This season in which you find yourself may puzzle you, but it doesn’t bewilder God.  He will use it for His purpose.  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 – What makes ‘The Voice’ winner so special: The joy of loving God with ‘all your soul’

 

Todd Tilghman grew up in Meridian, Mississippi. He and Brooke, his high school sweetheart, were married in 1998. He eventually became pastor of his home church.

Todd and Brooke had three children, then adopted a daughter from South Korea and her biological sister. The couple then had three more children for a total of eight.

Todd never sang outside of church services. However, his wife urged him to wait in line for hours at an open audition for the singing competition, The Voice. “I am really thankful that she believed in me in a place in my life where I didn’t even realize that I had sort of stopped believing in myself,” he said later.

As the competition progressed, whether viewers were Christians or not, they could tell that there was something different about him. His peace, serenity, humility, and humor came through all season long.

This week, he sang I Can Only Imagine during the show’s final competition. The next night, he became the oldest person ever to win The Voice.

Why we should love God with all our “soul” 

This week, we’re discussing ways to love our neighbor during this pandemic by loving God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30–31). We’ve seen that when we love God with our strength through practical commitment, we will love others in the same way. If we love him with our minds through biblical study and submission to his Spirit, we will love him with our strength and our neighbors as well.

Today, let’s think about what it means to love the Lord with “all your soul.” The word soul (psyche in the Greek) occurs about one hundred times in the New Testament. It points to the inner life, often with reference to the emotions.

Across Scripture, the psyche is associated with pleasure (Matthew 12:18), happiness (Luke 12:19), and sorrow (Mark 14:34; Luke 2:35). In contrast with our heart, mind, and strength, to love God with our soul is to love him emotionally and intuitively.

Such an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus will empower us to spend time in Scripture and to think biblically. It will move us to serve the One we love in practical ways. And it will motivate us to love others as we are loved.

This kind of deep relationship with Jesus will be obvious to others. As with Todd Tilghman, people will see the passionate joy in our lives, and they will want what we have.

Research shows the power of prayer 

Loving God with our souls is especially urgent in this difficult season.

Continue reading Denison Forum – What makes ‘The Voice’ winner so special: The joy of loving God with ‘all your soul’