In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – A Passion to Obey

 

Romans 6:16-23

A passion to obey God doesn’t come naturally. Salvation may spark love and a desire to please Him, but a passionate fire is built slowly from the timbers of spiritual knowledge, faith, and devotion.

Obedience usually begins with a fear of the consequences of disobeying. That is, newer believers can at least enjoy the safety of avoiding repercussions until they develop better reasons to follow God. Thankfully, as we mature and build a scriptural foundation, fear is replaced by both recognition of God’s sovereignty and submission to His wisdom.

Over time, following the Lord becomes less about consequences for disobeying and more about blessings for obeying. Once we taste His goodness, we learn that obedience and God’s best are natural partners—good derives from following divine commands, while suffering results when we demand our own way. This irrevocable principle plays out in the Bible as well as in day-to-day life, and the more we observe it, the more we realize the Lord’s will is the wisest choice.

All the promised blessings in the world cannot make a believer follow God into some frightening places. But that’s where love for our Father comes in, as it compels us toward obedience no matter what is at stake.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 3-5

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Like Jesus

 

Bible in a Year:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.

Romans 8:29

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Romans 8:22–30

As a boy, theologian Bruce Ware was frustrated that 1 Peter 2:21–23 calls us to be like Jesus. Ware wrote of his youthful exasperation in his book The Man Christ Jesus. “Not fair, I determined. Especially when the passage says to follow in the steps of one ‘who did no sin.’ This was totally outlandish . . . . I just couldn’t see how God could really mean for us to take it seriously.”

I understand why Ware would find such a biblical challenge so daunting! An old chorus says, “To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus. My desire, to be like Him.” But as Ware rightly noted, we are incapable of doing that. Left to ourselves, we could never become like Jesus.

However, we’re not left to ourselves. The Holy Spirit has been given to the child of God, in part so that Christ can be formed in us (Galatians 4:19). So it should come as no surprise that in Paul’s great chapter on the Spirit we read, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). God will see His work completed in us. And He does it through the Spirit of Jesus living in us.

As we yield to the Spirit’s work in us, we truly become more like Jesus. How comforting to know that’s God’s great desire for us!

By:  Bill Crowder

What attribute of the fruit of the Spirit would you like to live out to a greater degree? (see Galatians 5:22–23). What will help you do so?

Father, I long to be more like Your Son but so often fall short in word, thought, or deed. Forgive me, and help me to yield to the work of Your Spirit so that Jesus might be formed in me.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Cultivating the Fruit of Righteousness

 

“Having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:11).

Bearing spiritual fruit is the acid test of a true believer.

After facing life-threatening situations, people often say, “I saw my entire life flash before my eyes.” That’s the picture we get in Philippians 1:11.

“The fruit of righteousness” refers to what is produced in you as you operate in love, pursue excellence, and maintain your integrity. It includes every attitude and action consistent with God’s standard of what is right.

“Having been filled” speaks of something that happened in the past with continuing results. At your salvation the seed of righteousness was planted within you. It bears righteous fruit throughout your lifetime. On the day of Christ that fruit will confirm your salvation.

Fruitfulness has always been the acid test of true salvation. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). When John the Baptist admonished his followers to “bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8), he was speaking of good deeds (vv. 10-14). Paul said we are God’s workmanship, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10) John said that all who profess Christ should live as He lived (cf. 1 John 2:6).

Bearing spiritual fruit is not something you can achieve on your own. It “comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:11). Jesus Himself said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

You were redeemed to glorify God through righteous deeds. Make that your priority today.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Psalm 71 is a psalm of praise to God for His righteousness and faithful provisions. Read it and meditate on its truths. Then praise God for His righteousness toward you.
  • Ask for opportunities to demonstrate righteousness to others today.

For Further Study

Read Proverbs 11:1-9, 15:8-9, and 21:2-3, noting the characteristics and benefits of righteousness.

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – The Purpose of Faith

 

. . . Be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset— rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined] . . .

— 1 Peter 5:8-9 (AMPC)

 

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

Oftentimes we make the mistake of expecting that our faith will get us to a place where there’s total freedom from trouble. But the purpose of faith is not always to keep us from having trouble—it’s often to carry us through trouble. If we never had any trouble, we wouldn’t need any faith.

Even when we’re tempted to run away from our problems, God says that we need to go through them. The good news is that He’s promised to stick with us all the way through them, so we’ll never have to go through anything alone. He will always be there to help us and empower us to make it through (see Philippians 2:13; 4:13). He has said to us, “Fear not, for I am with you” (see Isaiah 41:10).

As we learn to stand our ground and effectively resist the enemy, we’ll come closer to God than we ever could if we had no challenges. Whatever you’re facing right now, know that God is with you to help you, so don’t give up! If you’ll keep going, He’ll increase your faith and bring you to the other side.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me trust You when I’m going through things that are hard or frustrating. Increase my faith so I’ll be ready for the challenges I’m about to face. Thank You for carrying me through the things I thought I’d never make it through, and for bringing me closer to You in every moment. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Mighty One

His bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the mighty one of Jacob.

 Genesis 49:24

The strength that God gives to His Josephs is real strength; it is not a boasted valor, a fiction, a thing of which men talk but which ends in smoke; it is true—divine strength.

Why does Joseph stand against temptation? Because God enables him. There is nothing that we can do without the power of God. All true strength comes from “the Mighty One of Jacob.” Notice in what a blessedly familiar way God gives this strength to Joseph—“His arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob.” God is represented as putting His hands on Joseph’s hands, placing His arms on Joseph’s arms. Just as a father teaches his children, so the Lord teaches them that fear Him. He puts His arms upon them. Marvelous condescension! God Almighty, Eternal, Omnipotent, stoops from His throne and lays His hand upon the child’s hand, stretching His arm upon the arm of Joseph, that he may be made strong!

This strength was also covenant strength, for it is ascribed to “the Mighty One of Jacob.” Now, wherever you read of the God of Jacob in the Bible, you should remember the covenant with Jacob. Christians love to think of God’s covenant. All the power, all the grace, all the blessings, all the mercies, all the comforts, all the things we have flow to us from the fountainhead, through the covenant. If there were no covenant, then we should fail indeed; for all grace proceeds from it, as light and heat from the sun. No angels ascend or descend except by the ladder that Jacob saw, at the top of which stood a covenant God. Christian, it may be that the archers have sorely grieved you and shot at you and wounded you, but still your bow remains unmoved. Be sure, then, to ascribe all the glory to Jacob’s God.

 

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God is the King of Glory

“Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle  Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24: 8, 10)

Have you ever imagined that you were a prince or a princess? Have you ever imagined that someday you would rule a kingdom all your own? Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be princes and princesses? Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. We can’t ALL be princes and princesses.

One of the songwriters in the Bible called God the “King of glory.” What do you suppose it means to be the “King of glory”? Doesn’t a king normally have a kingdom and people to rule? How do you rule over glory? The word “glory” means “great honor, praise, or distinction.” The word “king” means “one who is supreme or preeminent.” If you put the two words together, “king of glory” means “one who is supreme or preeminent in great honor, praise, or distinction.”

God is the one and only true King of glory. He is the only One Who deserves our worship and honor. We can praise people and things, but God deserves our highest praise much more than people or things do.

The world does praise movie stars and sports players, talking all the time about how great so-and-so is. Someone who has a unique skill might be called “king” of it as a way of showing that he has earned high honor for himself. A great basketball player might be called “King of Hoops,” or a great baseball player might be called “King of Diamonds.” Usually, when a human being is famous for being good at something, he is only good at that one thing. Some basketball players could never fix their car’s engine. Some movie stars could not swing a baseball bat.

Whose greatness should believers be constantly talking about? Who is the King Who deserves the highest glory? That is really the question that the songwriter is asking in Psalm 24: “Who is this King of glory?” And both of these verses answer the same way: “The LORD.” Each of the verses gives different characteristics of God. He is “strong and mighty,” “strong in battle,” and “the LORD of hosts.” But the King Who has all these characteristics is just one Person–the one true God.

How should we honor and praise the “King of glory”? We can start by admitting God is Who He says He is, and obey Him and behave toward others as though God really exists. We can sing songs to praise God, tell God we love Him, and tell other people about how God is the one and only “King of glory.” When we do right, we are giving praise to the Lord.

God is the King of glory, and we ought to honor Him.

My Response:

» Am I admitting and acting like God is the King of glory?

 

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Denison Forum – Dak Prescott and Matthew McConaughey joined storm relief efforts: Choosing character today for the crisis tomorrow

 

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and actor Matthew McConaughey were two of many athletes and celebrities making donations for those in need during last week’s winter crisis in Texas. The Mavericks’ Mark Cuban and Luka Doncic were among team members who contributed $1.25 million to help.

CNN reports that, like these celebrities, neighbors across the state stepped up to serve others.

One such neighbor is Jim McIngvale. The Houston furniture store owner who opened his stores in previous years to those fleeing Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey opened them again last week to those seeking warmth, shelter, and food. While driving to church on Valentine’s Day, he said, “I saw some cops putting a sheet over a homeless guy who had frozen to death. That really got me. I decided then that I’d open the stores to everyone if it got really bad, and it did.”

One lesson from the crises of the present is that we must prepare for the crises of the future.

The New York Times reports that “extreme cold killed Texans in their bedrooms, vehicles, and backyards.” What we saw last week is not an isolated case: scientists are warning that an overall rise in extreme weather is creating new risks to America’s aging infrastructure.

More Americans have died from COVID-19 than perished on the battlefields of World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War—combined. And like the weather crisis in Texas, the current pandemic may portend the future: the Wall Street Journal warns that “the world must move urgently in 2021 to develop strategies and systems for fighting diseases that could be even deadlier than COVID-19.”

In other words, the time to prepare for a crisis is before it happens. When it strikes, it will be too late.

 

Women dressed as elderly adults to get vaccines 

A jet engine caught fire after takeoff Saturday, scattering debris in an area north of Denver, but the plane was able to return safely to the airport. The flight did not cause the flaw in the engine—it revealed it. Meanwhile, two women who dressed up to appear as older adults in order to get coronavirus vaccinations were caught by authorities. The pandemic did not create their character—it revealed it.

In better news, today is the anniversary of the US hockey team’s astonishing victory over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. Years of preparation and sacrifice we did not see led to the victory that made history.

Pipes that were exposed before last week’s polar vortex burst when it arrived. To see what is in a tea bag, put it in hot water. To see what is inside a bottle, shake it up.

I’m sure that my wife, Janet, is looking forward to my return to the office this morning after a week of extreme “togetherness.” However, I am grateful to report that days spent huddling in front of our fireplace drew us closer together. Fault lines in our marriage would have been exposed and exacerbated.

The Bible is filled with examples of people who were transformed by God and whose character then rose to meet dire challenges. Moses the murderer met God at the burning bush and stood up to Pharaoh, rebellions, and crises. Peter the denier (Matthew 26:69–75) became the preacher of Pentecost (Acts 2:14–36). Paul the persecutor became God’s apostle to the Gentile world.

How can we join them?

How to “teach transgressors your ways” 

Crisis is inevitable in this broken world (John 16:33), but preparing for it is optional. Our problem is that change is hard. Paying a price today to face a crisis tomorrow requires discipline and sacrifice.

But the cost is worth paying. Not only will tomorrow be better if we seek character today—today will be better as well.

David looked to the day when “I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you” (Psalm 51:13). But first, David had to return to God. After his catastrophic sin with Bathsheba, he had to pray, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions” (v. 1). He had to ask the Lord to “create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (v. 10).

Then he could “teach transgressors,” for he had been one. He could lead “sinners” back to God, for he had returned to God.

The most powerful witness is not the person who has never fallen but the person who is empowered to get back up. That is the person other fallen people see and seek to emulate. The student who makes an A on the test is the best student to help others prepare for the test. The cancer survivor is the best encourager of cancer patients.

 

How to make headlines in heaven 

Do you want character that triumphs in crisis? Do you want your life to make a transforming difference in the lives of others?

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the urgency of character for the future of our culture. For today, let’s focus on our next personal step. If you were to be more the person Jesus intends you to be, what would need to change? What is your next step into Christlike character?

Ask God if you, like David, have “transgressions” to confess, then confess what comes to your mind and claim your Father’s forgiving grace (1 John 1:9). Now ask him for strength where you are weak, courage where you are afraid (2 Corinthians 12:9). Live in submission to his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) that you might manifest the character of his Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23).

And when the next storm arrives, you will be the one making headlines of grace—if not in the news on earth, in the hallways of heaven. And in the eternal souls you will draw closer to Jesus.

Including your own.

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –The Work of the Spirit

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Suppose a person never learns about the sealing and intercession of the Spirit. This individual thinks that salvation security resides in self, not in God. That prayer power depends on the person, not the Spirit. What kind of life will this person lead? A parched and prayer-less one.

 

But what about the person who believes in the work of the Spirit? Suppose you let the Spirit saturate you with this assurance. After all, “we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 5:5). Your shoulders will lift as you release the buckling weight of self-salvation. Your knees will bend as you discover the buoyant power of praying in the Spirit. New beginnings, higher walk, deeper prayers. And, most of all, a quiet confidence that comes from knowing it’s not up to you.

 

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