Charles Stanley – Trust and Obey

 

1 Kings 18:1-16

Faith and obedience are traveling companions heading to the same destination of pleasing and glorifying the Lord. They grow together simultaneously as they are practiced but wither if neglected. Therefore, God sometimes brings new challenges into our lives to strengthen our trust and submission to Him.

Elijah was a prophet who had proven himself faithful to the Lord. Even when he was told to appear before King Ahab who was seeking to kill him, he obeyed. Obadiah was another faithful servant of God who had rescued other prophets, but when Elijah told him to report his presence to Ahab, Obadiah feared for his life.

Fear short-circuits faith when we begin to doubt that God’s way is really best. If we allow anxiety to gain a foothold in our mind, we’ll respond by refusing to do what the Lord says. The result is a change of traveling companions. Instead of faith and obedience, we start walking with doubt and rebellion.

Great faith begins with small steps. When you follow God’s Word, an ever-increasing cycle of faith and obedience begins. Don’t let fear rob you of the blessings God has planned for your life.

 

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 12-14

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Living on Purpose

 

Bible in a Year:

Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Romans 12:9–21

“We’re going on vacation!” my wife enthusiastically told our three-year-old grandson Austin as we pulled out of the driveway on the first leg of our trip. Little Austin looked at her thoughtfully and responded, “I’m not going on vacation. I’m going on a mission!”

We’re not sure where our grandson picked up the concept of going “on a mission,” but his comment gave me something to ponder as we drove to the airport: As I leave on this vacation and take a break for a few days, am I keeping in mind that I’m still “on a mission” to live each moment with and for God? Am I remembering to serve Him in everything I do?

The apostle Paul encouraged the believers living in Rome, the capital city of the Roman Empire, to “never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). His point was that our life in Jesus is meant to be lived intentionally and with enthusiasm. Even the most mundane moments gain new meaning as we look expectantly to God and live for His purposes.

As we settled into our seats on the plane, I prayed, “Lord, I’m yours. Whatever you have for me to do on this trip, please help me not to miss it.”

Every day is a mission of eternal significance with Him!

By:  James Banks

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Questions of Power

 

A story told in the Hebrew scriptures offers a dramatic interplay of manipulation and honor, kings and kingdoms, power and powerlessness. It is the story more commonly known as “Daniel and the Lion’s Den.” But this title, accurate though it is in terms of the dramatic climax, actually misses the main actors entirely. Ultimately, the story is a depiction of power and weakness at play in two very different kingdoms and communities. On one side stands Darius, the mighty king and ruler of the people and nations, powerful sovereign of the powerful majority. On the other side is the God of Daniel, king of a community in exile, the ruler of a minority people whose city lies in ruins. The question of sovereignty seems as though it has already been answered quite definitively.

Most of us are not familiar with the devastating encounter of the powerlessness of exile and the forcible display of the powers that created it. Nonetheless, every aspect of our lives is touched by issues of power and weakness. The question of control and power is common to our relationships, communities, politics, business, education, and religion. Unfortunately, our common experience of the struggle is not to say we are well or healthily adjusted to it, far from it. Of course, it is easiest for those who actually hold any given power to be the most unaware of the dynamics of powerlessness upon others. For others, the struggle to be in control, to challenge authority, to make a name for ourselves, is largely thought of as a dynamic that is outgrown with adulthood. So in the face of authority issues, we say things like, “Teenagers will be teenagers!” Or we diagnose the battle to be in control as “middle child syndrome” or “terrible twos,” all the while failing to see our own struggle with similar dynamics. Still for others, questions of power involve wondering if they will ever have a voice, if anyone with power is listening, or if they have been forgotten and silenced indefinitely. Admittedly, to be conscious of the struggle is far better than being complacent about the question of power in general.

 

The story told in Daniel 6 begins significantly with a king who is for all practical purposes very much in control. Daniel, a Hebrew slave in exile, is found by king Darius to be distinguished in a way the king believes he can make use of and Daniel is given a position of authority in the kingdom for the sake of the king. But as the story moves forward, we see king Darius played like a pawn and Daniel is found guilty by the law of the land. To his utter dismay, king Darius finds himself bound by the law that his own lips decreed. Darius is the most powerful king in the world, and yet he is powerless beside his own decree, powerless to save his trusted servant. Whether Darius himself sees the irony in his power and position, we are left to wonder.

Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel once noted that faith depends on what we do with our ultimate embarrassments. We are the greatest miracle on earth and do not see it; we search for sovereignty in things unsovereign and regard as ultimate what is not ultimate. We live in the shadow of a sovereign Creator, and we go on playing king and queen like we are in control anyway. In the face of injustice, with Jerusalem in ruins, the silenced Daniel nonetheless becomes a herald of God’s sovereignty, though control appeared to be so clearly in other hands. And to the exhilaration of Darius, Daniel emerges from the lion’s den unharmed, saved by the only one who could save him.

The story ends with the proclamation of a new decree by king Darius, the mighty one with power and a voice, here writing to “all peoples and nations of every language throughout the whole world” of a far greater power:

“May you have abundant prosperity! I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel:

For he is the living God,
enduring for ever.
His kingdom shall never be destroyed,
and his dominion has no end.”(1)

The act of God in the lion’s den is indeed a plot that shows God as faithful and just, aware of the plight of the weak and silenced. But the act of God in the eyes of the mighty king Darius, who has recognized the superior might of a greater Sovereign, is perhaps the true sign and wonder. At the heart of the Christian religion is a God able to wield what is foolish to disrupt the wise, what is weak to disrupt the strong. At the crux of every question of power and weakness, sovereignty and control, justice and injustice is the Son of God who “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness, and being found in human form.”(2) The throne of our hearts will not remain empty; the question of sovereignty must be answered.

 

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Daniel 6:25-27.
(2) Philippians 2:7.

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Joyce Meyer – Love Money? Don’t!

 

But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not receiving from his hands what he brought. But as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him. — 2 Kings 5:20 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud – by Joyce Meyer

One day a military official named Naaman, who had leprosy, went to the prophet Elisha for healing. After he was healed, he tried and tried to give Elisha a gift, but Elisha refused to receive anything. Elisha’s servant Gehazi, thinking that Elisha should have taken something, ran after Naaman, stopped him on his journey, and lied to him. Gehazi told Naaman that two “guests” had stopped in suddenly, so Elisha now needed some money and two changes of clothes. Naaman immediately sent the money and clothes back with Gehazi, who hid them as soon as he got home. When Elisha asked him where he’d been, Gehazi lied again, saying, “Nowhere.”

But Elisha knew better and said that because of Gehazi’s greed, Naaman’s leprosy would now latch on to Gehazi and all his descendants (see 2 Kings 5:27). Gehazi’s choice not only affected him, it affected the generations who came after him. I wonder how many times in his life Gehazi looked at his leprous spots and thought with regret about the man he could have been.

Gehazi allowed the love of money to keep him from reaching his destiny. In a similar way, how many people today lose their relationships with their families because of greed? This happens more than we’d like to admit. Working extra hard for a season of time is admirable, and it can be wise in certain situations. But working franti¬cally for decades on end out of an obsessive lust for more and more things is wrong, and always leads to trouble in the end. Take time to spend with those closest to you, and enjoy every moment God has given you.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to keep the right attitude toward money and possessions, and not to let greed drive my decisions. Thank You for providing everything I need! In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Blameless Watchman

 

“If you refuse to warn the wicked when I want you to tell them, You are under the penalty of death, therefore repent and save your life – they will die in their sins, but I will punish you. I will demand your blood for theirs. But if you warn them and they keep on sinning, and refuse to repent, they will die in their sins, but you are blameless – you have done all you could” (Ezekiel 3:18-19).

One of the most sobering messages I find in all the words of God is this terrible warning found in the book of Ezekiel. God commanded Ezekiel to warn the people of Israel to turn from their sins. Some would argue that this has no application for the Christian. I would disagree. In principle this is exactly what our Lord commands us to do – to go and make disciples of all nations, to preach the gospel to all men, to follow Jesus and He will make us to become fishers of men.

It is a sobering thing to realize that all around us there are multitudes of men and women, even loved ones, who do not know the Savior. Many of them have never received an intelligent, Spirit-filled, loving witness concerning our Savior. Who will tell them? There are some people whom you and I can reach whom nobody else can influence.

I am writing this day’s devotion while in Amsterdam where I am speaking at an international gathering of Christian evangelists. During the course of my days here I have talked with many taxi drivers, maids, waiters and other employees of the hotel. Only one professed to be a believer and we had good fellowship together. Some were openly defiant, even angry at the name of Jesus. But in each case I have shared the gospel, constrained by the love of Christ out of a deep sense of gratitude for all that He has done for me, and as an act of obedience to His command to be His witness.

I pray that God will give me a greater sense of urgency to warn men that unless they turn to Christ they will die in their sins. I do not want to be responsible because I failed to warn them. They must know that there is a heaven and a hell and that there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved but the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible Reading: Ezekiel 3:15-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will ask the Holy Spirit to quicken within my heart, out of a deep sense of gratitude for all He has done for me and from a desire to obey our Lord’s commands, a greater sense of urgency to be His witness and to warn men to turn from their wicked ways and receive Christ, the gift of God’s love.

 

http://www.cru.org

 

Max Lucado – God Claims You

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I have a feeling most people who defy and deny God do so more out of fear than conviction. For all our chest pumping and braggadocio, we’re anxious folk. We can’t see a step into the future, can’t hear the One who owns us. No wonder we try to bite the hand that feeds us. But God reaches and touches.

If he’s touching you, let him. Mark it down! God loves you, and He loves you with an unearthly love. You can’t win it by being winsome, you can’t lose it by being a loser. But you can be blind enough to resist it. Don’t, for heaven’s sake, don’t. For your sake, don’t. Others demote you. God claims you. Let the definitive voice of the universe say, “You are part of my plan.”

Read more 3:16: The Numbers of Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

 

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Denison Forum – Joe Biden nominates Kamala Harris for VP: What your place in the world says about your view of the world

Joe Biden named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate yesterday. If elected, she would be the nation’s first female, first Black, and first Asian American vice president.

Sen. Harris is a native of Oakland, California. Her father, who is Jamaican, taught at Stanford University. Her mother, the daughter of an Indian diplomat, was a cancer researcher. She served as attorney general for San Francisco and then the state of California before she was elected to the Senate in 2016.

She and Beau Biden, the presidential nominee’s late son, worked closely together when he was Delaware’s attorney general. She campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination and, after leaving the race in December, gave her full support to Mr. Biden.

Numerous Democratic leaders tweeted their support yesterday for Sen. Harris. By contrast, the Trump campaign responded much more critically.

Your position regarding Mr. Biden’s selection likely reflects your position regarding the election. Where we are in the world, both physically and ideologically, says a great deal about how we see the world.

If time is a line on a page, God is the page 

Yesterday, we explored the first part of 1 Peter 1:1, where the apostle addressed his letter “to those who are elect exiles.” We focused on our status as “exiles,” noting the importance of seeking the welfare of our society while we trust God with our future and seek his presence in the present.

Today, let’s think about the rest of Peter’s introductory paragraph: “of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood” (vv. 1b–2).

“Dispersion” (diaspora) refers to the “scattering” of Peter’s readers across modern-day Turkey. The locales he named comprise an area of nearly three hundred thousand square miles. I traveled through this part of Turkey some years ago when researching a book on the seven churches of Revelation; it is a beautiful region replete with artifacts of ancient towns and cultures.

Peter’s readers were exiled “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,” a reminder that we must never forget that God never forgets us. He sees the future more clearly than we see the present. As C. S. Lewis noted, if we view time as a line on a page, God is the page.

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