In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Passionate Obedience

 

Acts 5:17-42

Yesterday, we studied passionate obedience and how it develops over time. The apostles reached the pinnacle of submission. Without being compelled by fear or the hope of reward, they faced shame, pain, and death. Why? Because they loved Christ too much to stay quiet.

People who receive salvation and then sit back, content that they’ll go to heaven when they die, have missed the point. Salvation isn’t just about heaven; it also allows us to be used for God’s glory here on earth. He lives through us, expressing His life-changing truth so that we can impact others. The only hindrance is the restriction we set on our own usefulness.

Limitations and passionate obedience can’t coexist. Life might seem easier if we choose when to obey God, but that type of existence won’t ever prove totally satisfying. Instead, we will tend to wonder why the Lord doesn’t use us or bless us more.

Passionate obedience begins with commitment. Our dedication may at first be based on the promised reward, which is acceptable because blessing is part of obedience. But as we mature, we’re likely to experience increasingly difficult challenges relative to our submission. And then our devotion also grows until we, too, can rejoice when we suffer for Jesus’ name.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 6-8

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Turn on the Light

 

Bible in a Year:

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Matthew 5:14–16

As my husband and I prepared for a cross-country move, I wanted to ensure that we kept in touch with our grown sons. I found a unique gift, friendship lamps connected by wireless internet, which can be turned on remotely. When I gave the lamps to my sons, I explained that their lamps will turn on when I touch my lamp—to provide a shining reminder of my love and ongoing prayers. No matter how great the distance between us, a tap on their lamps would trigger a light in our home too. Though we knew nothing could replace our more personal moments of connection, we could be encouraged by knowing we’re loved and prayed for every time we turned on those lights.

All God’s children have the privilege of being light-sharers powered by the Holy Spirit. We’re designed to live as radiant beacons of God’s everlasting hope and unconditional love. When we’re sharing the gospel and serving others in the name of Jesus, we become brilliant spotlights and living testimonies. Every good deed, kind smile, gentle word of encouragement, and heartfelt prayer produces a beaming reminder of God’s faithfulness and His unconditional and life-transforming love (Matthew 5:14–16).

Wherever God leads us, and however we serve Him, we can be used by Him to help others shine His light. As God, by His Spirit, provides the true illumination, we can reflect the light and love of His presence.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How can you be a light for Christ, intentionally expressing His love to those in your sphere of influence this week? How can you shine a light on God’s love as you serve people who don’t know Him?

Loving Father, please fuel me with Your perfect truth and love so I can shine a spotlight on You by loving You and others wherever I go.

 

 

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Grace to You; John MacArthur – Realizing Our Ultimate Priority

 

“To the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:11).

To glorify God is to reflect His character in your words and deeds.

Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-11 closes with a reminder that love, excellence, integrity, and righteousness bring glory and praise to God.

God’s glory is a recurring theme in Paul’s writings, and rightly so because that is the Christian’s highest priority. But what is God’s glory and what does it mean to bring Him glory? After all, He is infinitely glorious in nature, so we can’t add anything to Him. His glory is never diminished, so it doesn’t have to be replenished or bolstered.

In Exodus 33:18-19 Moses says to God, “‘I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!’ And [God] said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.'” In effect God was telling Moses that His glory is the composite of His attributes.

That suggests we can glorify God by placing His attributes on display in our lives. When others see godly characteristics like love, mercy, patience, and kindness in you, they have a better picture of what God is like. That honors Him. That’s why it’s so important to guard your attitudes and actions. Paul admonished Timothy to be exemplary in his speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity (1 Tim. 4:12). That should be true of every believer!

Another way to glorify God is to praise Him. David said, “Ascribe to the Lord, O sons of the mighty, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in holy array. . . . In His temple everything says, ‘Glory!'” (Ps. 29:1- 2, 9).

You cannot add to God’s glory, but you can proclaim it in your words and deeds. What picture of God do others see in you? Does your life bring glory to Him?

Suggestions for Prayer

In 1 Chronicles 16:8-36 David instructs Asaph and Asaph’s relatives on how to glorify God. Using that passage as a model, spend time in prayer glorifying God.

For Further Study

Reread 1 Chronicles 16:8-36, noting any specific instructions that apply to you.

 

 

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Joyce Meyer – Possessing the Land

 

The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, You have dwelt long enough on this mountain . . . Behold, I have set the land before you; go in and take possession of the land which the Lord swore to your fathers…

— Deuteronomy 1:6,8 (AMPC)

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

In Deuteronomy 1:2, Moses pointed out to the Israelites that it was only an 11day journey to the border of Canaan (the promised land), yet it had taken them forty years to get there. 40 years is long enough to be on any mountain!

Many of us find it easy to judge the Israelites harshly, but the truth is, we do the same thing they did. We keep going around and around the same mountains (issues) instead of making progress and moving forward. The result? It often takes years for us to experience victory over something that could have been dealt with quickly.

Think about it for a minute: have you spent 40 years trying to make an 11 day trip? Whatever your mountain is, begin to walk away from it today. Ask God for His grace to start moving in the right direction, and make up your mind not to quit until you’re in possession of what God has promised you: freedom (see Galatians 5:1).

Prayer Starter: Father, please show me any “mountains” I’ve been circling for too long. Thank You in advance for giving me the strength I need to start walking away from them and toward the freedom You have for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –He Promises You

 

I will never leave you.

 Hebrews 13:5

No promise is for private application. Whatever God has said to one saint, He has said to all. When He opens a well for one, it is that all may drink. When He opens a granary-door to give out food, there may be one starving man who is the reason for it being opened, but all hungry saints may come and feed too. Whether He gave the word to Abraham or to Moses matters not, believer; He has given it to you as one of the covenanted seed.

There is not a high blessing too lofty for you, nor a wide mercy too extensive for you. Lift up your eyes now to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west, for all this is yours. Climb to the mountaintop, and view the utmost limits of the divine promise, for the land is all your own. There is not a brook of living water of which you may not drink. If the land flows with milk and honey, eat the honey and drink the milk, for both are yours. Be bold to believe, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

In this promise, God gives His people everything. “I will never leave you.” Then no attribute of God can cease to be engaged for us. Is He mighty? He will show Himself strong on behalf of them that trust Him. Is He love? Then with loving-kindness will He have mercy upon us. Whatever attributes may compose the character of Deity, every one of them to its fullest extent shall be engaged on your side.

To summarize, there is nothing you can want, there is nothing you can ask for, there is nothing you can need in time or in eternity, there is nothing living, nothing dying, there is nothing in this world, nothing in the next world, there is nothing now, nothing at the resurrection-morning, nothing in heaven that is not contained in this text—“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

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Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Heals Broken Hearts

 

“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

What is a “broken heart”? Have you ever had one? We use the expression when we talk about the deepest kind of grief a heart can feel. Broken hearts are often caused by a hurtful change in a relationship with another person. If someone you love dies, or if you have to say good-bye to a friend, or if someone close to you does something to hurt you deeply, you might say that you have a broken heart. But those are just the surface causes for a broken heart. Do you know what really causes broken hearts? All of the grief, death, and sadness we experience came into our world as the result of human sin.

Jesus’ heart was broken once too. Psalm 69:20 looks ahead to the time when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness.” Jesus’ heart was not broken because of His own sin; He never sinned. It was broken because of ours. All the sins of the whole world were laid on Him when He suffered and died. During those hours on the cross, He endured the awful wrath of God the Father in our place. The precious relationship Jesus had with His Father, closer and more satisfying than anything we could know, was broken while He bore our sin.

Does your God understand what your broken heart feels like? He not only understands, but He also knows how to heal it. Through Jesus Christ’s suffering and death on the cross, He made a way for you to come directly to Him with your broken heart. Your grief may be the result of your own sin or someone else’s. Or it may be the result of sin’s effects on our fallen world. Whatever the cause, God promises to gently care for your hurting heart.

The God whose heart was broken for sin will heal your broken heart.

My Response:

» Have I brought my broken heart to God for healing?

 

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Denison Forum – Cocaine on corn flakes: Our moral crisis and our nation’s only hope

 

US Customs and Border Patrol recently seized a forty-four-pound shipment of corn flakes from South America. The reason: its flakes were covered in cocaine instead of sugar. Bico, a narcotic detector dog, flagged the shipment in Cincinnati, Ohio.

As long as there have been laws, humans have attempted to break them. The first humans broke the first law in human history (Genesis 2:173:6–7). The first child ever born murdered the second child ever born (Genesis 4:1–8).

From then until now, our story is one of laws and lawbreakers. Criminals are sometimes caught, as with the ninety-five-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard who was deported from Tennessee back to Germany last Saturday. Many are not: according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, fewer than half of crimes in the US are reported; according to the FBI, fewer than half of reported crimes are solved.

Every day’s news brings further proof that our secular culture desperately needs a great spiritual awakening. This is why, as I noted yesterday, you and I need to live in submission to the Holy Spirit out of a passion for Christlike character (Romans 8:29). And why we need to pray and work with urgency to help everyone we influence do the same.

The hour is later than we know. But the hope we offer is the hope our nation needs today.

The only nation founded on a creed 

Britannica defines “government” as “the political system by which a country or community is administered and regulated.” It lists monarchy (rule by a monarch), oligarchy (rule by a small group), and democracy (rule by the people) as the main approaches across history. For most of Western history, the first two forms were predominant.

In fact, the article states that the Constitution of the United States “opened the door to modern liberal democracy—democracy in which the liberty of the individual is paramount.” As British writer G. K. Chesterton noted on his first visit to our shores in 1921, “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed.” That creed is contained in five words enshrined in our Declaration of Independence: “All men are created equal.”

Because we are all “created equal,” none of us has the right or the capacity to rule another. The American solution is to enact laws by the consent of the people, then to elect leaders to enforce them, again by the consent of the people. If we see that our laws need to be changed, we amend our Constitution or otherwise enact legislative remedies. If we see that our leaders need to be changed, we elect new ones.

The entire enterprise rests upon the belief, radical and nearly unprecedented in history, that people can govern each other.

However, we cannot govern each other if we cannot govern ourselves.

 

Abraham Lincoln predicted our future 

Abraham Lincoln gave his first major speech on January 27, 1838, shortly before reaching his thirtieth birthday. In it he asked, “At what point shall [America] expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?”

He expanded his question: “Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years.”

Lincoln continued: “At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

He claimed that “general intelligence, sound morality, and, in particular, a reverence for the Constitution and laws” would be essential to our survival. Then he closed: “Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest, as the rock of its basis; and as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’”

Mr. Lincoln was right: Character is essential to democracy. A free people can govern each other only if they can govern themselves.

 

Our nation’s “indispensable supports” 

Our Founding Fathers were clear on this fact. Of the scores of founders and quotes I could offer to prove this point, let’s focus today on our first president. George Washington stated in 1796, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

Lest we think that the latter can stand without the former, Mr. Washington continued: “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

I will say it again: a free people can govern each other only if they can govern themselves. And because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), we cannot govern ourselves unless we submit to the governance of God by his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and his word (Hebrews 4:12).

The good news is that the Spirit of God can transform us into a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and empower us as “ambassadors for Christ” to be the change our culture needs (v. 20). We have great hope, so long as our hope is in Christ (Colossians 1:27).

A warning we must heed 

Today we are claiming the hope we find in Jesus. Tomorrow we will see why this is our only hope as a people.

For now, I will close with a biblical text that grieves me for the nation I love and motivated today’s Daily Article. What God said to the children of Israel he says to us today: “If you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish” (Deuteronomy 8:19).

Clearly, the greatest service you and I can render our nation is to be catalysts for spiritual and moral awakening before it is too late.

How will you answer this call today?

 

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Upwords; Max Lucado –God Will Guard You

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

 

“If you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you” (Psalm 91:9-10). Your serenity matters to heaven, and God guarantees he will guard you. Separating you from evil is God, your guardian. “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings” (Psalm 91:4).

From how many winds is God protecting you? His wing, at this moment, shields you. A burglar en route to your house has a flat tire, a drunk driver runs out of gas before your car passes his. If God is our guardian, you ask, why do bad things happen to us? Well you and God may have different definitions for the word bad. He’s not only read your story, he wrote it. His perspective is different, and his purpose is clear. God uses struggles to toughen our skin. What matters most is this: you will never face a challenge without receiving His help.

Read more Begin Again

 

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

 

 

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