Charles Stanley – Biblical Characteristics of Prayer

 

Matthew 6:5-8

Prayer is simply talking with God. Yet with regard to consistency or how to approach Him, we sometimes struggle—especially when we’ve observed other Christians pray and assume theirs must be the “right” way. That’s probably how people felt watching the Pharisees, who’d corrupted this priceless privilege by turning it into a hypocritical, ritualistic performance of self-righteousness. In contrast, Jesus taught that God-pleasing prayers have the following characteristics:

Sincerity. Coming before a holy God should fill us with humility rather than a self-focused desire to be perceived favorably by others.

Secret. Although there is always a place for humble public prayer, we also need to have personal time alone with our heavenly Father.

Simple. The pagans often used meaningless repetition of words or phrases to get their gods’ attention and persuade them to grant requests. But since we know that the Lord always hears us, we can plainly present our concerns and petitions.

Serenity. Our heavenly Father loves us and knows what we need, so we don’t have to worry that He’ll ignore our prayers.

To follow Jesus’ guidelines, we must see ourselves as weak, dependent children coming to our loving Father for help.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 35-38

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Dancing Before the Lord

 

Bible in a Year:

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume?”

Mark 14:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Mark 14:1–9

A number of years ago, my wife and I visited a small church where during the worship service a woman began to dance in the aisle. She was soon joined by others. Carolyn and I looked at each other and an unspoken agreement passed between us: “Not me!” We come from church traditions that favor a serious liturgy, and this other form of worship was well beyond our comfort zone.

But if Mark’s story of Mary’s “waste” means anything at all, it suggests that our love for Jesus may express itself in ways that others find uncomfortable (Mark 14:1–9). A year’s wages were involved in Mary’s anointing. It was an “unwise” act that invited the disciples’ scorn. The word Mark uses to describe their reaction means “to snort” and suggests disdain and mockery. Mary may have cringed, fearing Jesus’ response. But He commended her for her act of devotion and defended her against His own disciples, for Jesus saw the love that prompted her action despite what some would consider the impractical nature of it. He said, “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me” (v. 6).

Different forms of worship—informal, formal, quiet, exuberant—represent a sincere outpouring of love for Jesus. He’s worthy of all worship that comes from a heart of love.

By:  David H. Roper

 

 

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Joyce Meyer – Follow Peace

 

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.

— James 1:5 (AMPC)

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

Be careful when someone makes a suggestion that sounds good; not every good idea is a God-idea. Don’t rush into making a decision or accepting a new responsibility without praying about it first. Slow down long enough to ask God for wisdom, and listen for His guidance. Doing this before you decide will save you a lot of grief on the other side!

When you’re presented with an opportunity or a task, take a little bit of time to see if you have peace about the idea (see Colossians 3:15). If you have peace, go for it all the way. If you don’t have peace, you don’t even have to understand why you don’t have peace—just don’t do it!

Prayer Starter: Jesus, please help me be wise as I’m making decisions today. Thank You for promising to lead and direct my steps with Your peace. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Spiritually Minded

 

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6, KJV).

I believe the truth of this verse may speak to a common cause of depression among Christians who allow their minds to dwell on ungodly thoughts and/or over-introspection.

Paul writes: “I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to.

“For we naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do, and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has His way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires” (Galatians 5:16,17).

Our minds are susceptible to the influence of our old sin- nature and, as such, can pose real dangers to us. As soon as we get out of step with the Holy Spirit and get our focus off the Lord, our minds begin to give us trouble.

“The Christian life is really simple,” I heard a pastor say recently. “It’s simply doing what we’re told to do.” And he is right. We will be spiritually minded, not carnally minded, if we obey the simple commands of God’s Word.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:5-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I will give the spiritual mind priority over the carnal mind in my life.

 

 

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Max Lucado – That’s God’s Job

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Seems too easy.  Doesn’t mom need to experience what she gave?  A few years wondering if she’ll see her daughter again, some pain-filled nights, a bit of justice.  Isn’t some vengeance in order?  Of course it is.  God cares about justice more than we do.  In Romans 12, Paul says, “Never pay back evil for evil.  Leave that to God, for He has said that he will repay those who deserve it.”

We fear the evildoer will slip into the night, unknown and unpunished.  Not to worry.  God will repay—not He might repay.  God will execute justice on behalf of truth and fairness.  Fix your enemies?  That’s God’s job.  Forgive your enemies?  Ahh, now that’s where you and I come in: we forgive.  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 – President Trump signs police reform order and Dr. Fauci predicts when we will return to ‘normal’: How awareness can lead to hope

 

President Trump signed an executive order on police reform yesterday. He stated that “chokeholds will be banned except if an officer’s life is at risk.” In addition, the federal government will provide funding for “co-responders” like social workers to help police officers deal with issues such as homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse.

The order also mandates that departments share information on officers accused of abusing power. The National Fraternal Order of Police praised the president’s action.

In other news, Dr. Anthony Fauci told a British newspaper, “I would hope to get to some degree of real normality within a year or so. But I don’t think it’s this winter or fall.”

Two days that revealed the world 

March 11 was a day that changed the world. That was the day Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, announced they had been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and the day the NBA suspended its season.

Actually, March 11 was the day when the world became aware of a reality that already existed. A disease that began in China the previous year has now infected more than eight million people and caused more than 443,000 deaths as of this morning.

May 25 was a second day that changed the world. That was the day George Floyd died in the custody of Minneapolis police officers. The response to his tragic death has become a global movement to combat racism in all its forms.

Actually, May 25 was the day when the world became aware of a reality that already existed. African slaves were first imported into what we know as America four hundred years earlier. Racial minorities have been dealing with discrimination for centuries.

Awareness of racism in the past 

If you’re like most of us, you wish we were making more progress than we are on both fronts. To that end, let’s consider a call issued last Sunday by former New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson at an event he hosted called Boston Pray. As I noted in the Monday Daily Article, the hour of prayer, worship, and Bible study was remarkably powerful and hopeful.

At one point, Watson stated that to make progress on racial justice, we need awareness, advocacy, and action. Today and for the rest of this week, we will focus on all three.

Let’s begin with awareness.

Mark Noll is one of America’s preeminent church historians. A recipient of the National Humanities Medal, he has taught at Wheaton College, Notre Dame, and now at Regent College.

Over the weekend, I read his remarkable study, God and Race in American Politics: A Short History. He notes that many Europeans came to the New World with the firm belief that they were racially superior to the indigenous people they found here and to the millions of Africans who were eventually enslaved in America.

Slavery was legally abolished in the US with the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment in December 1865. The Fourteenth Amendment extended the rights of citizenship to African Americans; the Fifteenth Amendment extended to them the right to vote. But the racial prejudice that had empowered slavery remained.

Awareness of racism in the present 

Noll writes that less than a decade after the end of the Civil War, “the unleashing of lynch-law terrorism, the general lack of concern for black civil rights in the North, and the imposition in the South of Jim Crow laws to quash black political participation” were inflicted on the nation’s African American population. (“Jim Crow laws,” named for a black minstrel show character, were a collection of state and local statutes that legalized racial segregation.)

As Noll notes, the consequence was a functional repeal of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. It took almost one hundred years after the Civil War ended for civil rights legislation to ban racial discrimination and remove legal barriers to voting by African Americans.

Unfortunately, many white Americans think this legislation ended the problem of racism in our country. As African Americans across our country have been saying in the wake of George Floyd’s death, this is tragically far from true.

A yard sign offers transforming hope 

I am convinced that until our nation embraces our Father’s love for all people of all races, we cannot be the nation he wants us to be. Since “God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34), we must reject all prejudice. Since he “made from one man every nation of mankind” (Acts 17:26), we must embrace all men and women as our brothers and sisters.

The good news is that our living Lord stands ready to empower us as we seek to make true our nation’s founding claim that “all men are created equal.”

As I was walking in my neighborhood this week, a yard sign caught my eye: “Hope is alive. Jesus is alive!” I noted on Instagram that because Jesus is alive, we have hope for our past, since Jesus died for our sins (Romans 5:8) and rose from our grave. We have hope for our present, since the living Lord is praying for us right now (Romans 8:34). And we have hope for our future, since Jesus will return for us (John 14:3) and will one day create “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).

Here’s my invitation to you: Ask Jesus to show you if there are racial sins in your past, then repent of anything he brings to your mind and claim his forgiving grace (1 John 1:9). Ask Jesus to show you ways you can respond to racism in the present, then obey his call at all costs (cf. Romans 12:1–2). Ask Jesus to show you ways you can help build a more just future, then follow his Spirit’s leading (John 16:13).

I am joining you in all three prayers today in the assurance that hope is alive because Jesus is alive.

Who will experience hope because Jesus is alive in you?

 

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