In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Struggle With Jealousy

 

1 Samuel 18:5-16

Jealousy is an emotion of displeasure over someone else’s good fortune. Constantly comparing ourselves to others leads to discontent, resentment, and bitterness. If these negative emotions remain unchecked, they can poison our relationships. What’s more, they can eventually flare into suspicion, anger, and hostility.

This is what happened to King Saul. His jealousy caused him to distrust David, who had served him faithfully. Saul’s suspicious attitude led to hostility and irrational behavior—so much so that he hurled a spear at David while the young man was playing music (1 Samuel 18:10-12). Instead of being grateful for David’s loyalty and steadfast service, the king repaid him with animosity and death threats. As a result, David was eventually forced to flee and hide in the wilderness (1 Samuel 23:15-26).

Jealousy is not something to be excused or rationalized. Ask the Lord to examine your heart and show you if any of these symptoms of jealousy are present in your life.  If they are, confess them as sin and ask Him to uproot them from your heart. Then focus on God’s faithfulness instead of comparing yourself with others.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 31-32

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Preserved

 

Bible in a Year:

The Lord himself goes before you.

Deuteronomy 31:8

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Deuteronomy 31:1–8

While I was clearing out the garden in preparation for spring planting, I pulled up a large clump of winter weeds . . . and leapt into the air! A venomous copperhead snake lay hidden in the undergrowth just below my hand—an inch lower and I would have grabbed it by mistake. I saw its colorful markings as soon as I lifted the clump; the rest of it was coiled in the weeds between my feet.

When my feet hit the ground a few feet away, I thanked God I hadn’t been bitten. And I wondered how many other times He had kept me from dangers I never knew were there.

God watches over His people. Moses told the Israelites as they prepared to enter the promised land, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). They couldn’t see God, but He was with them nonetheless.

Sometimes difficult things happen that we may not understand, but we can also reflect on the number of times God has preserved us without our ever being aware!

Scripture reminds us that His perfect, providential care remains over His people every day. He’s always with us (Matthew 28:20).

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

How does the biblical truth that God watches over His people comfort you? Who can you tell about His faithfulness today?

Faithful Father, thank You for watching over me every day. Please give me grace to walk closely with You in everything I do today.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Uncompromising Prayer

 

“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus . . . I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer” (Dan. 9:1-3).

Uncompromising prayer brings glory to God.

Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:1-19 illustrates the key elements of effective intercessory prayer. Those elements will serve as the focus of our studies for several days, but first some background to Daniel’s prayer will be helpful.

Verse 1 says that Daniel prayed in the first year of the reign of King Darius, the first great king of the Medo-Persian Empire. About sixty-five years earlier, God had punished the sinful kingdom of Judah by allowing King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to conquer Jerusalem and take Israelite captives back to Babylon.

Subsequently the Babylonian Empire fell to the Medo-Persian Empire. Darius conquered Babylon on the night King Belshazzar threw a drunken festival at which God wrote the doom of his kingdom on the wall (Dan. 5:24-28).

Daniel was among the captives originally transported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. Throughout the lengthy captivity period, he never forgot he was God’s child and always represented God properly despite his difficult circumstances. He was a man of uncommon wisdom and courage. His trust in God was unwavering and his commitment to prayer uncompromising—even when his prayers could have cost him his life (Dan. 6:4-11).

As a result, God protected him, exalted him, and was glorified through him—as evidenced by King Darius’ decree that everyone in the kingdom was to fear and tremble before Daniel’s great God (Dan. 6:26).

Since Daniel understood the priority of prayer, he refused to be intimidated or distracted from it. His commitment is worthy of imitation. Can that be said of you? If everyone followed your pattern of prayer, would God’s Kingdom be strengthened?

Suggestions for Prayer

Consistency is important in prayer. You might try praying for different requests on specific days. For example, on Mondays you could pray for your governmental leaders, on Tuesdays for your pastor and the ministries of your church, etc.

For Further Study

Read Daniel 6.

  • What rank did Daniel hold?
  • Why did King Darius want to promote Daniel?
  • What was the reaction of the commissioners and satraps to Daniel’s popularity?
  • How did they deceive the king?
  • How did God protect Daniel?

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Know God Intimately

 

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

— James 4:7 (NIV)

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

In Philippians 3:10 the apostle Paul wrote, [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers].

I want to encourage you today to focus on knowing Jesus a little better than you did yesterday. Study His Words. Begin to watch for the ways He’s working in your life. Decide to keep your mind on whatever is right, true, lovely, pure, and of good report (see Philippians 4:8). The more you grow in your knowledge of Him, the more you’ll start to see His power working on your behalf, and the more your life will be full of His freedom and joy.

Prayer Starter: Jesus, I want to know You better than I ever have before. Please help me learn to recognize and celebrate all the ways You’re working in my life. Thank You for Your grace and power to grow more like You. In Your name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Chosen for Affliction

 

I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

 Isaiah 48:10

Comfort yourself, tried believer, with this thought: God says, “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction” [KJV]. Does not the Word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yea, is it not a protective shield, against which the heat has no power? Let affliction come—God has chosen me. Poverty, you may stride in at my door, but God is in the house already, and He has chosen me. Sickness, you may intrude, but I have balsam ready—God has chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this vale of tears, I know that He has “chosen” me.

If, believer, you require still greater comfort, remember that you have the Son of Man with you in the furnace. In that silent chamber of yours, there sits by your side One whom you have not seen, but whom you love; and often when you do not know it, He comforts you in your affliction and softens the place of rest. You are in poverty; but in your lovely house the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor. He loves to come into these desolate places, that He may visit you. Your friend sticks closely to you. You cannot see Him, but you may feel the pressure of His hands. Do you not hear His voice? Even in the valley of the shadow of death He says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.”1

Remember that noble speech of Caesar: “Fear not, you carry Caesar and all his fortune.” Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with you. In all your difficult trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own. “Fear not, for I am with you” is His sure word of promise to His chosen ones in the “furnace of affliction.” Will you not, then, take hold of Christ and say:

Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,
I’ll follow where He goes.

1) Isaiah 41:10

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God’s Word Is Our Treasure

 

“Thy word have I hidden in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11)

Do you have a “treasure-keeper”? Most of us have a place where we keep those things that are special to us. Your special “treasure-keeping” place might be a shoebox on the top shelf of your closet, a locked safebox, a trophy case, a diary, a cookie tin, a dresser drawer–or maybe even under your bed! Our “treasures’ can be all sorts of things: baseball cards, jewelry, a souvenir from a favorite vacation, a photo of your grandpa and grandma on their wedding day, a letter from a friend you met at camp, or maybe a medal you won in a competition. Whatever form your “treasure-keeper” takes, it is the treasure kept inside it that really is special to you.

Think now about a different kind of treasure–the “treasure of the heart” that is mentioned in God’s Word (Matthew 12:35). In Proverbs, the writer is instructing us that our real treasure ought to be God’s Word. The writer also tells us that our hearts ought to be our treasurer-keepers when it comes to this kind of treasure-keeping: Proverbs 2:1,3,5, and 6 say, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hidden treasures; then thou shalt understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”

There is no treasure on Earth as precious as the Word of God. As you study the Bible and memorize verses, you are storing away treasure that can never be stolen or destroyed. (See Matthew 6:19!) Keep hiding away the treasures of God’s Word in your heart!

No treasure we have compares to the Word of God.

My Response:
» Do I treasure anything more than I treasure God’s Word?
» How can I hold on to and use the treasure God has provided for me?

Read in browser »

 

Home Page

Denison Forum – America’s largest Christian adoption agency will now work with LGBTQ parents: The peril of separating values from actions

 

Bethany Christian Services is the largest Christian adoption agency in the United States. This week, the organization announced that it would begin providing its services to LGBTQ parents nationwide. Their decision is in response to requirements from various states that agencies serve such couples to maintain their governmental contracts.

In 2007, the organization specified that “God’s design for the family is a covenant and lifelong marriage of one man and one woman.” However, two years ago, the Michigan chapter changed its policy to begin placing foster children with same-sex couples.

At the time, the CEO wrote: “At Bethany, we believe the Bible is the living Word of God, and we still believe in God’s plan for marriage and family as it is outlined in the Scriptures. At the same time, it is clear to us that Bethany cannot cede the foster care space completely to the secular world and leave children without the opportunity to experience Jesus through our loving care.” (As we will note below, numerous Christian ministries do not believe this to be a binary choice and are continuing to be faithful to their biblical mission in the face of governmental pressure.)

The organization added: “The mission and beliefs of Bethany Christian Services have not changed. We are focused on demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by serving children in need, and we intend to continue doing so in Michigan.”

On Monday, Bethany announced that it would make this change nationwide. Bethany’s vice president stated, “Faith in Jesus is at the core of our mission. But we are not claiming a position on the various doctrinal issues about which Christians of mutual good faith may disagree. We acknowledge that discussions about doctrine are important, but our sole job is to determine if a family can provide a safe, stable environment for children.”

Beware of “redefining civilization” 

This tragic announcement proves at least three points.

One: Government intrusion on religious liberty is escalating. 

Jim Daly, head of Focus on the Family, is right: “Bethany Christian Services should not have to choose between holding to their deeply held religious convictions and serving children and families. No government should tell any ministry how to run their ministry, let alone violate deeply held biblical principles.”

Two: Our culture and civilization are at stake. 

Al Mohler responded to the announcement: “The moral revolutionaries are now demanding that every single individual in this society, every single institution, every single school, every single religious denomination, every single adoption and foster care agency must pivot.” He added that “Christians have to understand: If you’re redefining marriage, if you’re redefining parent and family, you are redefining civilization.”

Three: We need to support ministries who stay faithful to their mission. 

Ethicist Russell Moore responded: “The need is great for distinctively Christian adoption and foster care services” who believe that “children need both mothers and fathers.” He added that “many evangelical orphan care ministries are working, and will continue to work, for vulnerable children in need of families, while still holding to the faith.” I am grateful for Buckner International and other Christian agencies who refuse to mortgage their mission in the face of social and governmental pressure.

 

“The most potent way Christianity is marginalized” 

This story also highlights a critical principle for all Christians seeking to navigate our anti-Christian culture.

Bethany claims to “believe in God’s plan for marriage and family as it is outlined in the Scriptures,” but it will now adopt children to families who reject that plan. The organization claims that their “mission and beliefs . . . have not changed,” but they have adopted policies that clearly violate them. How are we to understand these contradictions?

One of the most tempting ways for Christians to deal with the opposition we face today is to separate our private beliefs from our public actions.

In Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, apologist Nancy Pearcey states: “The most potent way Christianity is marginalized in modern society is through the division of life into two separate spheres: a sacred realm of prayer, worship, and personal morality against a secular realm of politics, business, academia, and so on.” According to this division, our personal values regarding same-sex marriage or any other biblical moral issue should be kept separate from our public actions in secular society.

This juxtaposition allows us to tell churches, donors, and other supporters that our biblical values remain intact while bowing to cultural pressure to conform to unbiblical requirements. Bethany is not the first ministry to strike such a Faustian bargain; I fear that they will not be the last.

 

“May we be so bold as to set our eyes on heaven” 

Let’s close by making today’s article personal: Are you being tempted to separate your personal beliefs from your public life?

For example, are your thoughts about others different from your actions toward them? Jesus correlated anger with murder (Matthew 5:22) and defined lust as adultery (v. 28). Paul exhorted us: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Are you willing to pay any price to share your faith with others? Craig Denison asks, “Are the opinions of others really so important to me that I would withhold from them eternal, abundant life with a God who loves them relentlessly and perfectly?”

He adds: “May we be those who set aside our pride, seek humility, and love others whatever the cost. May we be so bold as to set our eyes on heaven and sacrifice this life for the sake of eternity.”

Will you be so bold today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –Make Christ’s Love Your Home

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

To abide in the love of Christ is to make his love your home.  You rest in him.  His fireplace warms you from the winters of life.  You abandon the old house of false love and move into his home of real love.

 

Adapting to this new home takes time.  You’ve lived a life in a house of imperfect love.  You think God is going to abandon you as your father did, or judge you as false religion did, or curse you as your friend did.  He won’t, but it takes time to be convinced.

 

For that reason abide in him.  Hang on to Christ the same way a branch clutches the vine.  According to Jesus:  “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).

 

Home