Charles Stanley – Don’t Neglect Your Spiritual Gift

 

1 Timothy 4:12-16

Every Christian is given a spiritual gift with which to serve and build up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7). Sadly, though, many believers neglect theirs. Timothy actually had some good reasons to forsake his calling, but Paul urged him not to “neglect [his] spiritual gift” (1 Timothy 4:14). We can learn from Timothy’s situation by asking ourselves if the following situations might be hindering us from fully serving God.

Age: Whatever our age, the Lord wants us to use our spiritual gifts. Because of his youth, Timothy could’ve been intimidated by those with more experience. Others think they’re too old to serve God, but we’re never called into spiritual retirement.

Inadequacy: Have you ever avoided a service opportunity simply because you felt totally unqualified? That’s probably how Timothy felt about leading the church at Ephesus. Our spiritual gifts rarely come to us fully developed. God often requires that we step out in faith and trust Him to work in and through us. Over time, as we obey and learn how to use our gifts, they become more effective for God’s kingdom.

Is anything keeping you from using your spiritual gifts? Though given to us, these abilities aren’t for us; they’re for the church. To neglect them not only deprives fellow believers; we ourselves are also robbed. We’ll find both joy and blessing by serving others and doing the work God has designated for us.

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 1-3

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Sweeter Than Honey

 

Bible in a Year:

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 16:24

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Proverbs 16:1–2, 21–24

His topic was racial tension. Yet the speaker remained calm and collected. Standing on stage before a large audience, he spoke boldly—but with grace, humility, kindness, and even humor. Soon the tense audience visibly relaxed, laughing along with the speaker about the dilemma they all faced: how to resolve their hot issue, but cool down their feelings and words. Yes, how to tackle a sour topic with sweet grace.

King Solomon advised this same approach for all of us: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). In this way, “The hearts of the wise make . . . their lips promote instruction” (v. 23).

Why would a powerful king like Solomon devote time to addressing how we speak? Because words can destroy. During Solomon’s time, kings relied on messengers for information about their nations, and calm and reliable messengers were highly valued. They used prudent words and reasoned tongues, not overreacting or speaking harshly, no matter the issue.

We all can benefit by gracing our opinions and thoughts with godly and prudent sweetness. In Solomon’s words, “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue” (v. 1).

By:  Patricia Raybon

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Space for Sorrow

 

Sitting with clients in therapy, I am frequently overwhelmed by their experiences of loss, heartache, and suffering. Many of my clients did not have the opportunity to grieve or feel the weight of their suffering. Messages sent and received with good intention functioned to suppress emotional expression. But suppressing emotions does not mean they go away. Sooner or later they come out and often in ways that end up being destructive to the individual and to her relationships. Within the safety of the therapeutic relationship, these emotions are encouraged towards an appropriate expression.

Giving voice to grief and sadness over the loss of Ravi Zacharias—particularly during the ongoing constraints of the COVID19 pandemic feels particularly important to me. I have found myself saying to many people that even though we do not grieve as those who have no hope, we still grieve. We still experience the emotions of those who are bereft of a dearly loved leader, friend, mentor, father, brother and spouse. We grieve the loss of his presence among us and the loss of his ongoing and influential ministry around the world as an author and speaker. Holding Christian hope in the resurrection of the body does not preclude feeling and giving expression to the sorrow that is felt over the loss of Ravi’s life and the huge absence left now that he is gone from our lives in the present.

As a young girl, one of my favorite bible stories was the epic encounter between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. With David meets Goliath odds, Elijah faces off against 450 prophets of Baal in a contest pitting the God of Israel against the Canaanite god Baal. Which deity would answer the prayers of the respective prophets to consume the altar sacrifice?

This is a narrative filled with dramatic tension and awesome displays of power. The Lord answers Elijah with fire from heaven that not only consumes the sacrifice, but also licks up every last drop of water poured out from not one, but four pitchers of water. The story ends with the destruction of the prophets of Baal and the peoples’ declaration that the Lord is God.

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Joyce Meyer – Don’t Fall for Pride

 

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. — Proverbs 16:18 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud – by Joyce Meyer

Pride is something God hates, and it’s easily one of the enemy’s greatest tools. Pride comes before destruction and pre­vents promotion in our lives. Pride erases our compassion for others and causes us to treat their problems and concerns like they don’t matter. Pride will always, always always bring us down.

It’s amazing how someone can have a kind heart and a right spirit while they’re in a lower position, then when they’re promoted, suddenly become a different per­son. He or she will begin to believe they’re better than everyone else, start mistreating others and put on airs. At that point, God has to deal with them.

The apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (NKJV). Being able to honestly say, “It is no lon­ger I” is a sign of real maturity because pride is all about “I.” Pride says, “I’m better than you. I’m smarter than you. My opinion matters, yours doesn’t.” Did you know that “me, myself, and I” are the greatest problems most people have? We are often full of ourselves, when in reality we’re supposed to be full of God and empty of ourselves. We need to have the same attitude as Jesus and esteem others more highly than we do ourselves, caring for their needs and interests (see Philippians 2:3-5). With God’s help we can learn to keep a humble attitude, love others, and keep pride from taking root in our hearts.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to keep a humble attitude, and to say no when pride tries to sneak into my life. Thank You for giving me the grace I need to grow. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Wisdom Brings Peace

 

“Wisdom gives a good, long life, riches, honor, pleasure, peace” (Proverbs 3:16,17).

High up in the Andes Mountains stands a bronze statue of Christ – the base of granite, the figure fashioned from old cannons – marking the boundary between Argentina and Chile.

“Sooner shall these mountains crumble into dust,” reads the Spanish engraving, “than Argentines and Chileans break the peace sworn at the feet of Christ the Redeemer.”

Peoples of these two countries had been quarreling about their boundaries for many years, and suffering from the resultant mistrust.

In 1900, with the conflict at its highest, citizens begged King Edward VII of Great Britain to mediate the dispute. On May 28, 1903, the two governments signed a treaty ending the conflict.

During the celebration that followed, Senora de Costa, a noble lady of Argentina who had done much to bring about the peace, conceived the idea of a monument. She had the statue of Christ shaped from the cannons that had been used to strike terror into Chilean hearts.

At the dedication ceremony, the statue was presented to the world as a sign of the victory of good will. “Protect, Oh Lord, our native land,” prayed Senora de Costa. “Ever give us faith and hope. May fruitful peace be our first patrimony and good example its greatest glory.”

The monument stands today as a reminder that only Christ – the Prince of Peace – can bring real peace to the world. And that refers as much to individual peace as it does to national and international peace.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 3:18-23

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Like Solomon of old, I shall seek the wisdom that brings a good, long life, riches, honor, pleasure and the lasting peace that comes from God’s indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

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Max Lucado – God’s Delights in Our Development

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Howard Rutledge came to appreciate his time as a POW in Vietnam.  He wrote:  “After twenty-eight days of torture, I could remember I had children but not how many.  I prayed for strength. During long periods of enforced reflection it became so much easier to separate the important from the trivial.  My hunger for spiritual food soon outdid my hunger for steak.  It took prison to show me how empty life is without God.”

God is at work in each of us, whether we want it or not.  He takes no pleasure in making life hard. Philippians 1:6 says, “He doesn’t relish in our sufferings, but He delights in our development.”  No one said the road would be painless or easy, but God will use this mess for something good.  God is doing what is best for us, training us to live His holy best.  Have this assurance…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 – A soldier lived because another soldier died: The transforming relevance of the Suffering Servant today

Yesterday was a Memorial Day unlike any in memory. Outdoor concerts and events were limited; parades to honor our fallen veterans were driven rather than walked. But the pandemic did not deter us from remembering with gratitude those who died for our freedoms.

As I reflected yesterday on more than one million women and men who died that we might live, I read John Stonestreet’s Memorial Day column. John’s BreakPoint articles are always excellent, but this one especially impressed me.

In it, John shared a story Chuck Colson once told to honor Memorial Day. It was February 1945, three months before World War II ended in Europe. Eighteen-year-old Sergeant Joseph George was stationed in France and was preparing to go out on evening patrol.

His friend, Private James Caudill, volunteered to take his place. He pointed out that, at age thirty-six, he was nearly twice as old as George. He told him, “You’re young. Go home. Get married. Live a full, rich life.” Then Private Caudill went out on patrol.

A few hours later, he was killed by a German sniper.

Sgt. Joseph George returned home safely. He married and fathered five sons. One of them, Princeton Professor Robert George, has been identified by the New York Times as “this country’s most influential conservative thinker.”

Dr. George and his brothers will always know that their father survived the war because his friend died in his place.

“I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting” 

Isaiah 50 is one of the “suffering servant” sections of the book (along with 42:1–4; 49:1–6; and 52:13–53:12). Each foretold what our Savior would experience centuries later.

In our text, the Servant (Jesus) testifies: “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught” (Isaiah 50:4).

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