In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – God’s Shaping Tools

 

Romans 12:1-5

God’s kindness is demonstrated by the fact that He doesn’t leave us in the condition we were in before salvation. Throughout our life, the Lord uses certain tools to shape us into the image of His Son.

God’s Word. We grow in Christ when we spend time reading the Bible, because Scripture is like food that nourishes our soul (Matt. 4:4). Yet sadly, some Christians rely only on the Sunday dinner of the Word served up by a pastor.

Prayer. We learn to depend on the Lord by coming to Him with our needs and concerns as well as our praise and gratitude. As we regularly draw near, our intimacy and love for Him grows. Instead of seeing prayer as a duty, we’ll realize our time with the Lord has become a delight.

The Church. The body of believers is another important factor in our transformation because that’s where we learn to love one another.  It’s also where we find encouragement, receive biblical instruction, and experience accountability.

Our culture has no shortage of worldly voices and pressures that fill minds and influence behavior. But when we intentionally schedule time for God, His Word, and His people, He does His transforming work in our life.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 24-27

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Never Give Up

 

Bible in a Year:

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips.

Joshua 1:8

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Joshua 1:1–9

“Time went by. War came in.” That’s how Bishop Semi Nigo of the Keliko people of South Sudan described delays in his church’s long struggle to get the Bible in their own language. Not one word, in fact, had ever been printed in the Keliko language. Decades earlier, Bishop Nigo’s grandfather had courageously started a Bible translation project, but war and unrest kept halting the effort. Yet, despite repeated attacks on their refugee camps in northern Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the bishop and fellow believers kept the project alive.

Their persistence paid off. After nearly three decades, the New Testament Bible in Keliko was delivered to the refugees in a rousing celebration. “The motivation of the Keliko is beyond words,” said one project consultant.

The commitment of the Keliko reflects the perseverance God asked of Joshua. As God told him, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8). With equal persistence, the Keliko pursued the translation of Scripture. Now, “when you see them in the camps, they are smiling,” said one translator. Hearing and understanding the Bible “gives them hope.” Like the Keliko people, may we never give up seeking the power and wisdom of Scripture.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What will help you persist in reading Scripture? How could another person help you better understand it?

Loving God, stir up in me a greater hunger to seek, study, and know the Bible, never giving up my quest to understand Your wisdom.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Our Confidence Is in Jesus

 

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

— Philippians 4:13 (AMPC)

– by Joyce Meyer

The last thing Satan wants is for you to fulfill God’s plan for your life, because he knows that you’re part of his ultimate defeat. If he can make you think and believe that you’re incapable, then you won’t even try to accomplish anything worthwhile. And if you’re convinced that you can’t, even if you do make an effort, your fear of failure will seal your defeat, which, because of your lack of confidence, you probably expected from the beginning. This is what’s often referred to as the “failure syndrome.” The enemy wants us to feel so bad about ourselves that we have no confidence and make no progress.

But here’s the good news: We don’t need confidence in ourselves—we need confidence in Jesus! I have confidence in myself only because I know that Christ is in me, always present and ready to help me with everything I attempt to do for Him. A believer without confidence is like a brand-new jet parked on the runway with no fuel; it looks good on the outside, but has no power on the inside. With Jesus inside us, though, we have the power to do what we could never do on our own.

Once you learn this truth, when the devil lies and says, “You can’t do anything right,” your response to him can be, “Maybe not, but Jesus in me can, and He will, because I’m relying on Him and not myself. He’s the one who causes me to succeed in everything that I put my hand to” (see Joshua 1:7). Or if the enemy says to you, “You’re not able, so don’t even try—you’ll only fail again, just like you always do,” your response can be, “It’s true that without Jesus I’m not able to do anything, but with Him and in Him I can do not just some, but all the things that I need to do” (see Philippians 4:13).

The more you speak the truth out loud, the more it will shape and affect your life for the better!

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You that I can put my confidence in You, and that because You’re able to do all things (and You’re in me), I can do everything that I need to do. Please help me remember to speak the truth out loud anytime the enemy tries to convince me of a lie. Thank You for giving me all the grace and wisdom I need for today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Means of Sanctification

Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden, let its spices flow.

 Song of Songs 4:16

Anything is better than the dead calm of indifference. Our souls may wisely desire the north wind of trouble if that is to become the means of our sanctification. So long as it cannot be said, “The Lord was not in the wind,” we will not shrink from the most wintry blast that ever blew upon plants of grace.

Did not the spouse in this verse humbly submit herself to the reproofs of her Beloved, only entreating Him to send forth His grace in some form, and making no stipulation as to the peculiar manner in which it should come? Did she not, like ourselves, become so utterly weary of deadness and unholy calm that she sighed for any visitation that would brace her to action? Yet she desires the warm south wind of comfort too, the smiles of divine love, the joy of the Redeemer’s presence; these are often mightily effectual to arouse our sluggish life. She desires either one or the other, or both, so that she may but be able to delight her Beloved with the spices of her garden. She cannot endure to be unprofitable, nor can we.

How cheering a thought that Jesus can find comfort in our poor feeble graces. Can it be? It seems far too good to be true. We may even court trial or death itself if by doing so we gladden Immanuel’s heart. O that our heart were crushed to atoms if only by such bruising our Lord Jesus could be glorified. Graces unexercised are as sweet perfumes trapped in the bottle: The wisdom of God overrules diverse and opposite causes to produce the one desired result and makes both affliction and consolation produce the grateful aroma of faith, love, patience, hope, resignation, joy, and the other fair flowers of the garden. May we know by sweet experience what this means.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Always With Us

 

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

Have you ever been lost? Isn’t it a scary feeling?

When Philip was five, he lived on a ranch in California. Philip loved riding around the ranch with his dad, who oversaw the care of the cattle and sheep. He almost always had another companion with him–his dog, Rusty. Rusty was a German shepherd and a “working dog” on the ranch. Philip’s dad would give Rusty specific commands, and Rusty would help him herd the cattle and sheep. But whenever Rusty wasn’t needed on the ranch, he could always be found at Philip’s side. Rusty was very protective of the boy. If Rusty ever sensed that something was threatening Philip, he would get in front of him and not move until everything was ok.

One day, Philip was with his parents on a part of the ranch with which he was unfamiliar. Somehow, he wandered away from his parents, so far away that he finally couldn’t find the way back to the family car. Fortunately, Rusty was with Philip when he got lost. Although Philip didn’t realize it as he was trying to find his way back to his family, Rusty had been leading him in the right direction, almost like he was herding lost sheep or cattle. Eventually, Philip became very tired and had to sit down on the ground. When his parents found him, it was two hours later, and Rusty was almost covering Philip. Philip did not know where he was, but it was a comfort to be able to put his arms around his dog and know that Rusty would never leave him there alone.

Do you ever find yourself in situations that make you feel afraid or confused? Perhaps you have felt lonely, or even lost. Psalm 23:4 assures believers that no matter where they go or what they have to face, they can depend on God. God stays continually with those who trust Him and obey Him. He gives comfort and guidance. He is there anytime to hear those who call upon Him for help. Are you dealing with really hard things right now? You do not have to deal with them all by yourself. You can count on God, anytime and anywhere.

God is always present to help, guide, and protect me in any situation.

My Response:
» When I am in the middle of a difficult time, do I think biblically about God’s character and remember to call on Him for help?
» What other verses in God’s Word help me to know that I can turn to God at any time and anywhere?

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Denison Forum – Church helps mosque rebuild: Responding to the Equality Act and those with whom we disagree

 

Former President Donald Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday, criticizing President Biden on a variety of issues and pledging not to create a new party. In other news, Chadwick Boseman won last night’s Golden Globe for Best Actor in a motion picture-drama, six months after he died of colon cancer at the age of forty-three. And Emma Corrin paid tribute to Princess Diana after winning a Golden Globe for portraying her in Netflix’s The Crown.

While these stories are leading the national news this morning, another story received only local coverage in my area but deserves our attention.

When winter storms devastated our state recently, First United Methodist Church of Denton (north of Dallas-Fort Worth) started a GoFundMe campaign to help the Islamic Society of Denton pay for repairs to its building. This is just one expression of what a minister at the church calls a “longstanding friendship” with the mosque.

Did the church’s action endorse a religion that expressly rejects the Trinity (Qur’an 4:171) and deity of Jesus (Qur’an 5:72–73)? Did it send a signal of doctrinal compromise and unbiblical tolerance? Or did it build a relational bridge across which the gospel can travel, bringing the good news of Jesus’ love to Muslims in our region?

I do not know the Denton church, but I am confident that the third option is true. If so, these believers are following in the steps of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), Paul with Greek philosophers (Acts 17), and a host of other biblical and historical examples.

The lesson is both simple and profound: to win people to Jesus, we must love and serve them where they are, not where we wish them to be.

 

Why a gay writer opposes the Equality Act 

This principle is on my mind in light of the House of Representatives’ adoption of the so-called Equality Act last week, legislation which has been called “the most invasive threat to religious liberty ever proposed in America.” It amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act by forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. However, it also forbids appeal to the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act on the part of individuals and organizations.

As a result, faith-based hospitals could be forced to provide gender-transition therapies. Children could change their gender without parental knowledge or consent. Faith-based adoption agencies could be forced to assign children to same-sex couples. Biological females could be forced to compete with biological males in sports and to share bathrooms and locker rooms with them. And the list goes on. (For a larger discussion of the Act and its consequences, please see my latest website paper, “The Equality Act: What Christians need to know.“)

I am adamantly opposed to the Act, as you might imagine. But this is not only because of my concerns regarding religious liberty. It’s also because I am convinced it is bad for those it is intended to protect.

A gay writer notes: “This bill will not protect our rights but destroy them for many members of our communities and society at large.” He observes that the Act will “lead to the erasure of women by dismantling sex-specific facilities such as bathrooms, locker rooms, prisons, battered women’s shelters, and other vital female-only spaces” and notes that “the same would apply to men.”

He warns that “mixing the biological sexes in such a way will enable and facilitate sexual harassment and assault.” For example, he cites a transgender person who “preyed on women at two Toronto shelters. He has been convicted of sexually assaulting a girl as young as five years old. His victims include a deaf and homeless Quebec woman and a Toronto survivor of domestic violence.”

How Christians impressed Romans 

Experts agree that the Equality Act jeopardizes parental rights, women’s rights, and children’s rights. And, as constitutional legal scholar David French notes, the Act contains core substantive flaws. He states, “It is possible to protect LGBTQ Americans from invidious discrimination while still preserving religious liberty and recognizing material biological distinctions.”

Here’s my point: Christians should go beyond opposing the Equality Act on the basis of religious liberty. We should also make clear our concern for those it would harm, including the LGBTQ individuals its supporters claim to be protecting. And we should respond to these supporters by “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

Jesus taught us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). He demonstrated his compassion by washing the feet of men who would abandon, deny, and betray him (John 13:1–12), then he called us “to wash one another’s feet” (v. 14). Paul grieved for the Jews who rejected his message (Romans 9:2) and even testified, “I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (v. 3).

Eusebius, the early church historian, records that when plague afflicted Caesarea and Romans fled the city, Christians stayed behind and “tended to the dying and to their burial, countless numbers with no one to care for them. Others gathered together from all parts of the city a multitude of those withered from famine and distributed bread to them all.”

Such compassion so impressed the pagans that the Christians’ “deeds were on everyone’s lips, and they glorified the God of the Christians. Such actions convinced them that they alone were pious and truly reverent to God.” A few decades later, the pagan emperor Julian the Apostate observed that Christians “support not only their poor, but ours as well.”

 

How to know if you’re a true servant 

I plan to say more tomorrow about specific ways we can support religious freedom while extending biblical truth and compassion to LGBTQ persons. For today, let’s decide that we want to do both. Let’s decide that we want to emulate the One who “came not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). Let’s pray for those with whom we disagree, then seek practical ways to be the answer to our prayers.

The great British preacher Charles Spurgeon observed: “I think you may judge of a man’s character by the persons whose affection he seeks. If you find a man seeking only the affection of those who are great, depend upon it he is ambitious and self-seeking; but when you observe that a man seeks the affection of those who can do nothing for him, but for whom he must do everything, you know that he is not seeking himself, but that pure benevolence sways his heart.”

Here’s a shorter version of the same truth: to see if you’re a true servant, watch how you respond when someone treats you like one.

Will you be a servant today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –A Fountain of Love That Won’t Run Dry

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

You don’t influence God’s love. You can’t affect the love of God. If your actions altered his devotion, then God would not be love; instead, he would be a human, for this is human love. Don’t you need a fountain of love that won’t run dry? You’ll find one on a stone-cropped hill outside Jerusalem’s walls where Jesus hangs, cross-nailed and thorn-crowned.

 

When you feel unloved, ascend this mount and meditate long and hard on heaven’s love for you. Both eyes beaten shut, shoulders as raw as ground beef, lips bloody and split. Fists of hair yanked from his beard. Gasps of air escaping his lungs. As you peer into the crimsoned face of heaven’s only Son, remember this: “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8 NLT).

 

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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