Charles Stanley – How to Reach Your Goals

 

1 Kings 5:1-12; 1 Kings 6:38

When setting goals, here are five things to consider:

Cooperation is needed. First, we cooperate with God by agreeing to His plan. Second, we enlist the cooperation of others, starting with prayer support.

Reaching a goal requires consistency. Since God is involved in establishing our goals, we can remain fixed on accomplishing them. Even if others discourage us, we stay the course as the Lord has asked.

Clear focus means staying fixed on our purpose. By remembering that God set the goal for us, we will not allow others to change our direction.

Courage is often necessary to reach a God-given goal. Being courageous involves a willingness to take action without knowing the outcome—and we can do that because it is God who asks. As we deepen our trust in Him, boldness will come.

Developing a lifestyle of dependence on God is important. When aiming for a goal, it’s easy to rely on our own strength and forget about leaning on God. True success requires dependence.

These items aren’t a standard by which to measure ourselves; they’re pointers to help us move in the right direction. If you’re not sure how best to set and reach goals, seek out someone with experience and be open what God might teach you through him or her.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 35-36

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Take Your Tears to God

 

Bible in a Year:

My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees.

Lamentations 3:49–50

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Lamentations 3:49–66

Last summer, an orca named Talequah gave birth. Talequah’s pod of killer whales was endangered, and her newborn was their hope for the future. But the calf lived for less than an hour. In a show of grief that was watched by people around the world, Talequah pushed her dead calf through the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean for seventeen days before letting her go.

Sometimes believers in Jesus have a hard time knowing what to do with grief. Perhaps we fear that our sorrow might look like a lack of hope. But the Bible gives us many examples of humans crying out to God in grief. Lament and hope can both be part of a faithful response.

Lamentations is a book of five poems that express the sorrow of people who have lost their home. They’ve been hunted by enemies and were near death (3:52–54), and they weep and call on God to bring justice (v. 64). They cry out to God not because they have lost hope, but because they believe God is listening. And when they call, God does come near (v. 57).

It’s not wrong to lament the broken things in our world or in your life. God is always listening, and you can be sure that God will look down from heaven and see you.

By:  Amy Peterson

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Embodied Truth

 

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.

 

The first and most important step to understanding the nature of truth is exemplified in a conversation between Jesus and Pilate. The conversation began with Pilate asking Jesus if indeed he was a king. The very surprising answer of Jesus was, “Are you asking this of your own, or has someone else set you up for this?”

In effect, Jesus was asking Pilate if this was a genuine question or purely an academic one. He was not merely checking on Pilate’s sincerity. He was opening up Pilate’s heart to himself, to reveal to Pilate his unwillingness to deal with the implications of Jesus’s answer. In the pursuit of truth, intent is prior to content, or to the availability of it. The love of truth and the willingness to submit to its demands is the first step.

But second, Jesus said something even more extraordinary. After claiming his lordship was rooted in a kingdom that was not of this world, he said, “They that are on the side of truth, listen to me.”(1) Jesus was not merely establishing the existence of truth, but his pristine embodiment of it. He was identical with the truth. This meant that everything he said and did, and the life he lived in the flesh, represented that which was in keeping with ultimate reality. And therefore, to reject him is to choose to govern one’s self with a lie.

 

God’s answers to life’s questions of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny are not just proven by the process of abstract reasoning, but are also sustained by the rigors of experience. And in the reality of history, God has demonstrated empirically the living out of truth in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of his Son, recently celebrated. In short, the intimations of truth come in multisensory fashion. God as guardian of reason leads us to check the correspondence of his word with reality and to ascertain the coherence of the assertions. But our experience in life proves those truths in concrete reality. Our grand privilege is to know God, to bring our lives into conformity with truth, which leads us to that coherence within. Christ has said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” In a world increasingly enslaved by error and alienation and seduced by ideas and images to believe a lie, how wonderful to be freed by the truth to Christ’s peace. The Scriptures tell us that the enemy of our souls is the father of all lies. He will do anything to keep us from coming to the truth because it is the most valuable thing in the world, and leads us to the source of all truth, to God alone.

To all of this the skeptic might say that such conclusions may be drawn only if the God of the Bible exists. To that I heartily answer, Absolutely! And on numerous campuses around the world it has been my thrilling privilege to present a defense for the existence of God, the reality of the resurrection, and the authority of the Scriptures unique in their splendor and convincing in the truth they proclaim. But let us not miss what the skeptic unwittingly surrenders by saying that all this could be true only if God exists. For implicit in that concession is the Law of Non-contradiction and the Law of Rational Inference, which exist only if truth exists. Truth, in turn, can exist only if there is an objective standard by which to measure it. That objective, unchanging absolute is God, further revealed to us in the person of Christ.

I heard a cute little story, growing up in India. It is the story of a little boy who had lots of pretty marbles. But he was constantly eyeing his sister’s bagful of candy. One day he said to her, “If you give me all your candy, I’ll give you all of my marbles.” She gave it much thought, and agreed to the trade. He took all her candy and went back to his room to get his marbles. But the more he admired them the more reluctant he became to give them all up. So he hid the best of them under his pillow and took the rest to her. That night, she slept soundly, while he tossed and turned restlessly, unable to sleep and thinking, “I wonder if she gave me all the candy?”

I have often wondered, when I see our culture claiming that God has not given us enough evidence, if it is not the veiled restlessness of lives that live in doubt because of their own duplicity. The battle in our time is posed as one of the intellect, in the assertion that truth is unknowable. But that may be only a veneer for the real battle, that of the heart, which even now the risen Christ pursues.

 

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

(1) John 18:37.

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Joyce Meyer – Watch and Pray

 

Keep awake (give strict attention, be cautious and active) and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. — Matthew 26:41 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Ending Your Day Right – by Joyce Meyer

Suppose you knew your house was surrounded by thieves, and at any moment they might break through the door and attack you. Do you think you’d be likely to stay awake and watch the door?

What would you do if for some reason you couldn’t stay awake and watch? Wouldn’t you make sure someone else in your house was awake and alerted to the danger?

Just like we’re careful to guard our homes, we need to be careful to guard our hearts against any attacks from the enemy of our soul. The devil is out to destroy us, so we need to watch and pray at all times, looking to God for help when we feel weak.

When you feel willing but exhausted, ask God to give you the strength you need to overcome any temptation or attack the enemy brings your way. As you take refuge in Him, He’s promised to help you and rescue you, so you can trust Him (see Psalm 37:40).

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to be aware and intentional to stay on guard against the enemy’s attacks. Thank You for watching out for me and always being there to help. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – First Step to Wisdom

 

“How does a man become wise? The first step is to trust and reverence the Lord! Only fools refuse to be taught” (Proverbs 1:7).

In 1787, the Constitutional Convention was on the verge of total failure. The issue: whether small states should have the same representation as large states.

From the wisdom of his 81 years, Benjamin Franklin recalled the Scriptures which says, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1), and in this hopeless situation, he offered a suggestion.

“Gentlemen,” he said, “I have lived a long time and am convinced that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?

“I move that prayer imploring the assistance of heaven be held every morning before we proceed to business.” God heard their prayers and the conflict was soon resolved. To this day, all legislative sessions continue to be opened with prayer, with God’s blessing.

“Reverence of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” reads the Modern Language translation of this verse – a preamble to wise living a good motto for life.

Someone has said, “The eternal task of religion is the conquest of fear.” Men fear many things – bacteria, losing their jobs, being dependent in old age, giving offense to their neighbors, war, failure, death.

Fear (worshipful reverence) of God represents a different kind of fear – the kind a child shows toward wise and loving parents when he shuns acts of disobedience to avoid both grieving those parents whom he loved and suffering the inevitable discipline which follows disobedience. Perhaps if we feared God more, we would fear everything else less.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 1:8-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: My fear and reverence of God is the beginning of supernatural living and will result in worship of Him – by walk as well as by talk.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Trust God’s Training

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Each day has a pop quiz, and some seasons are like final exams.  Brutal, sudden pitfalls of stress, sickness, or sadness.  What is the purpose of the test?  James 1:3-4 says, “For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”  Test, test, test!

This chapter in your life may look like rehab, smell like unemployment, sound like a hospital, but you’re in training.  God hasn’t forgotten you, just the opposite.  He has chosen to train you. Forget the notion that God doesn’t see your struggle.  Quite the contrary—God is fully engaged.  He is the Potter, we are the clay.  He’s the Shepherd, we’re the sheep.  He’s the Teacher, we’re the students.  Trust His training.  You’ll 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 a time capsule from 1915 contained: The power of loving God with all your heart

A copper box was recently removed from the century-old amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery. It had been sealed in 1915. Among its contents were a signed photograph of President Woodrow Wilson, copies of Washington’s four newspapers, a tiny American flag, a Washington city directory, and a Bible wrapped in brown paper and tied up in a red string.

The time capsule, officially called a “memorabilia box,” had been placed in the original cornerstone for the amphitheater in 1915. The structure was not completed for five years. When the cemetery celebrated the amphitheater’s centennial, the box was opened.

Cemetery command historian Steve Carney noted that the box is a chance “to reflect on, what was the world like in 1915.” He noted: “Within three years, the United States is a completely different place. We’ve seen the horrors of World War I, and we’re in the midst of the Spanish influenza. . . . What a different place and what a different memorabilia box that would have been if it was placed in 1920.”

A surprise came when the capsule was removed and a strange container was found sitting next to it. In the 1990s, when the capsule was moved to its present location, there was some extra space beside it. Workers took the opportunity to add a mini time capsule of their own. They gathered their business cards and wrote some notes, then they looked for a container.

Continue reading Denison Forum – What a time capsule from 1915 contained: The power of loving God with all your heart