In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Priority of Prayer

 

Luke 11:1-4

Prayer is not optional for a Christian. In fact, Jesus considered it essential, even for Himself. Though He was God’s Son, He still took time to be alone with His Father in prayer. His disciples saw this and asked Him to teach them how to pray. The prayer Jesus taught them is a model for every believer. It shows us how to:

  • Come with a focus on the heavenly Father. When you praise the Lord, your mind lets go of earthly concerns and centers on His desires and glory.
  • Surrender to Him as Lord and King. The goal of prayer is not to get God to do what you want but to align your desires and requests with His will. Such prayers are the ones He promises to answer.
  • Approach the Lord with a humble, dependent spirit. Recognize that He is the one who provides for your needs and sustains your life.
  • Seek His forgiveness and protection from temptation.Ask God to uncover anything unholy in your life and replace it with righteousness.

Developing a consistent prayer life takes commitment. Daily activities will crowd out time with the Lord unless you reserve a segment of each day to pray.

Bible in One Year: Judges 10-12

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — A Strong Heart

 

Bible in a Year:

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:26

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Psalm 73:21–28

In his book Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, co-authored with Philip Yancey, Dr. Paul Brand observed, “A hummingbird heart weighs a fraction of an ounce and beats eight hundred times a minute; a blue whale’s heart weighs half a ton, beats only ten times per minute, and can be heard two miles away. In contrast to either, the human heart seems dully functional, yet it does its job, beating 100,000 times a day [65–70 times a minute] with no time off for rest, to get most of us through seventy years or more.”

The amazing heart so thoroughly powers us through life that it has become a metaphor for our overall inner well-being. Yet, both our literal and metaphorical hearts are prone to failure. What can we do?

The psalmist Asaph, a worship leader of Israel, acknowledged in Psalm 73 that true strength comes from somewhere—Someone—else. He wrote, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (v. 26). Asaph was right. The living God is our ultimate and eternal strength. As the Maker of heaven and earth, He knows no such limitations to His perfect power.

In our times of difficulty and challenge, may we discover what Asaph learned through his own struggles: God is the true strength of our hearts. We can rest in that strength every day.

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

How is your metaphorical heart like your spiritual heart? When you feel like you’re “losing heart,” how can you find strength in your loving, caring Father?

Heavenly Father, I thank You that when I’m weak, You’re strong. That when I’m overwhelmed, You’re enough. That when I’m confused, You have perfect clarity.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Threats to Humility: Doctrine and Hypocrisy

 

“Walk . . . with all humility” (Ephesians 4:1-2).

Avoid pride in your position, intelligence, or spirituality.

Years ago, when my children were young, my son Mark told my youngest child, Melinda, to take something out of the room. She said, “You’re not my boss.” Mark replied, “Dad is the boss of Mom, Mom is the boss of Matt, Matt is the boss of Marcy, Marcy is the boss of me, and I am the boss of you.” So Melinda obeyed. After that, Melinda decided she was the boss of the dog, and the dog was boss of nobody. No one wants to be on the bottom rung of the ladder!

Everyone holds a certain position in life, and everyone is tempted to take advantage of it. Look at Herod in Acts 12:21-22: “Herod, having put on his royal apparel . . . began delivering an address to them. And the people kept crying out, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’” He loved the attention. What happened? “Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died” (v. 23).

Intellectual pride can also be a stumbling block. It’s easy for Christians to think their theology is perfect and they have all the answers. But the more I study the Bible, the more I realize how little I know. I feel like a child who fills a pail in the ocean. My learning is only a small bucket of water compared to the vast sea of knowledge. I know very little, and I’m still learning.

The worst type of pride is external spirituality without internal holiness. Jesus reserved His greatest condemnations for those who had such pride: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matt. 23:27-28). You may look spiritual on the outside, going to church and acting “Christianly,” but your heart may be full of sin.

Suggestions for Prayer

Examine your heart, and confess any pride in your position, intelligence, or spirituality.

For Further Study

Read in Daniel 5 about what happened to a king who took pride in his position. Notice how God humbled him. Such sin wasn’t trivial to God; it shouldn’t be to us either.

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – When Someone Fails

 

Well then, you who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you teach against stealing, do you steal (take what does not really belong to you)? You who say not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery [are you unchaste in action or in thought]? . . . You who boast in the Law, do you dishonor God by breaking the Law [by stealthily infringing upon or carelessly neglecting or openly breaking it]? For, as it is written, the name of God is maligned and blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you!

— Romans 2:21-24 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind – by Joyce Meyer

Paul’s words remind me of a saying I used to hear often: “Don’t do as I do—do as I say.” The people who say this expect others to live according to rules that they themselves aren’t willing to follow, which is often frustrating to those around them.

This is something many Christians are dealing with today. When they see church leaders or those in authority doing things they know aren’t right, they think, Well, if they’re such great Christians and they can do that . . . it must be okay. This attitude can either lead them to do the same things or even turn away from God altogether.

We need to remember that God has called us to be responsible for our actions. God holds us accountable for every thought, word and action—but our responsibility doesn’t stop with our own lives. We’re also responsible to help lift up others when they fall.

Paul explained this in detail in Galatians 6:1-3, where he laid down three important principles that the enemy doesn’t want us to grasp. First, when we become aware that another believer has fallen into sin, we’re to do whatever we can to help that person get back up.

If any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another’s load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself.

– Galatians 6:1-3 AMPC

Even the best of us fail at times, but it’s important to know that the word overtaken doesn’t mean a deliberate, intentional sin. The original meaning is like when someone is walking down an icy sidewalk, and slips and falls. That’s how the Christian life works—everyone slips unintentionally sometimes.

Knowing that, what should be our attitude when see someone else slip? We should offer to help, of course. If someone slips on the ice, don’t you naturally rush over to help that person get up? That’s a basic expression of Christ’s love in us, but the enemy wants to make sure that you don’t reach out or help. He might even whisper something like this, “Just don’t look in her direction. Ignore her. You’re not obligated to help her get up. Why, you don’t even know her.” If we listen to these thoughts long enough, it becomes easier and easier to ignore people in need of help.

The Greek word translated restores was once a medical term used by a surgeon to describe medical procedures like removing a growth from a body or setting a broken arm. The goal is not to see that the person gets punished, but that the person gets healed.

The second point Paul made is that when we find out someone has fallen, instead of pointing fingers and looking down on them, we should look at ourselves. The enemy could’ve tempted us to do the same thing or something else just as bad, or even worse. We all experience temptation and slip ourselves at times, so we need to look with compassion on those who fall and remind ourselves, “Without the grace of God, I would be there.”

The third thing we need to do is to refuse to hold on to pride in our own achievements. If we think we’re more spiritual than someone else, we’re deceiving ourselves. Proverbs 16:18 gives this warning: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” We shouldn’t spend our time comparing our achievements with others’, but instead ask ourselves, Have I really done all that I could have done? When we compare ourselves with the standards Jesus sets for us, we have no reason to be conceited or prideful, but instead we can be humble and thankful that God is at work in our lives.

Prayer Starter: Father, please remind me to help those who have fallen and to see them with compassion, not pride or judgment. Show me how I can help, and give me the strength to come alongside people when they need it. Thank You for Your grace and for lovingly guiding my steps. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – A Stranger with You

 

I am a sojourner with you.

 Psalm 39:12

Yes, O Lord, with You, but not to You. All my natural alienation from You, Your grace has effectually removed; and now, in fellowship with Yourself, I walk through this sinful world as a pilgrim in a foreign country. You are a stranger in Your own world. Man forgets You, dishonors You, sets up new laws and alien customs, and knows You not.

When Your dear Son came unto His own, His own received Him not. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world did not recognize Him. There was never a foreigner who stood out from the inhabitants of any country as much as your beloved Son among His mother’s brethren. It is no marvel, then, if I who live the life of Jesus should be unknown and a stranger here below. Lord, I would not be a citizen where Jesus was an alien. His pierced hand has loosened the cords that once bound my soul to earth, and now I find myself a stranger in the land. My speech seems to these pagans among whom I dwell a strange tongue; my manners are singular, and my actions are outlandish. A prince would be more at home in the ghetto than I could ever be in the haunts of sinners.

But here is the sweetness of my circumstance: I am a stranger with You. You are my fellow-sufferer, my fellow-pilgrim. Oh, what joy to wander in such blessed company! My heart burns within me on the journey when You speak to me, and though I am a traveler, I am far more blessed than those who sit on thrones, and far more at home than those who live in their comfortable homes.

To me remains nor place, nor time:
My country is in every clime;
I can be calm and free from care
On any shore, since God is there.

While place we seek, or place we shun,
The soul finds happiness in none:
But with a God to guide our way,
‘Tis equal joy to go or stay.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God’s Stories Teach Us What To Do

 

“But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)

Tyrell and Tia couldn’t wait to get to Sunday School. Last week, the teacher, Mrs. Naginflagin, had told them that each person in the class could get up in front of the class and tell his or her favorite Bible story. So, all week long, Tyrell and Tia had been getting ready to tell their favorite Bible story.

Tyrell’s favorite Bible story was David and Goliath. Tyrell wasn’t very tall; in fact he was the shortest in his class–even the girls were taller than him! He liked the story of a small boy taking down a big giant.

Tia’s favorite story was about the birth of Moses. She loved the fact that Moses’ mother gave up her baby so that his life would be saved. She liked seeing how God made it possible for Moses’ mother to get Moses back, in a way. She got to raise her own son because Pharaoh’s daughter found him floating in the basket and wanted one of his own people to help her care for him.

Sunday morning finally came. As Tyrell and Tia took their seats, they looked around wondering what was everyone else’s favorite story would be. “Good morning, class,” said Mrs. Naginflagin. “Today, each of you will get to tell the rest of the class your favorite Bible story. Who wants to go first?”

Immediately Tyrell’s hand shot up into the air. Mrs. Naginflagin invited him to walk to the front of the room, and he began to tell the class the story of David and Goliath. And Tyrell got excited! He went into all the great details of the story, even bringing up other classmates to help act out the awesome fight scene (of course, Tyrell was “David” and the biggest boy on the class had to be “Goliath”). It made Tyrell feel good when his “stone” (it was really a crumpled up piece of paper) hit the “giant” in the forehead and knocked him to the ground.

One by one, each kid in the class told his or her favorite story. When it was all done, Mrs. Naginflagin began to teach the Sunday School lesson. She began with a question. “What do you think God wants you to do because of the story you just told?” Tyrell and Tia had never thought about that before; they just liked the stories.

Mrs. Naginflagin told them to turn to James 1:22–“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Mrs. Naginflagin began to teach the class a very important lesson. She said that God’s Word does not have these stories in it only because they are “cool stories.” God’s stories are wonderful stories, but they are more than that! These stories are actual events–they really did happen! And God included them in the Bible so that we would learn about Him from them, and so that we would know how we should act.

Tyrell and Tia had never really thought of God’s stories that way before. Now as they remembered their favorite stories, they paid attention. They thought about how God might want them to act based on the truths they learned about Him from the stories. Tyrell leaned that God can give strength to fight His battles, even when the chances of winning seem impossible, and no matter how hard it seems. And Tia learned from what happened with Moses’ mom that she should rely on God for protection and blessing, even when everything seems hopeless. Both of them saw good reasons in their favorite stories for trusting God and obeying God.

God gave us His stories to teach us about Himself, and we should act on what we learn from them.

My Response:
» What is my favorite Bible story?
» Have I ever thought about what my favorite Bible story teaches me about God?
» Have I changed my behavior based on what God has taught me about Himself from His Word?

Read in browser »

 

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Denison Forum – D. Michael Lindsay to lead Taylor University: Why a Christian higher education is crucial today

 

Evangelical Christians are facing opposition on a level unprecedented in American history. Our religious liberty is under attack; biblical morality is being assailed as bigoted, homophobic, and dangerous.

It should not surprise us that God is raising up evangelical leaders “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).

The great need of our day is for Christians who are equipped to use their influence in engaging and shaping the culture for Christ. If these leaders have credentials and capacities that our secular culture honors, all the better. And if these leaders are investing not just in the present generation but in generations to come, their calling and influence are even more crucial.

It is in this context that we are publishing today’s Daily Article Special Edition highlighting the ministry of Dr. D. Michael Lindsay. 

With degrees from Baylor University, Princeton Seminary, Oxford University, and a Ph.D. from Princeton University, he is one of the most significant and celebrated thought leaders of our day. His first solo book was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; he has lectured on six continents.

He was an honored professor of sociology at Rice University before being chosen ten years ago to lead Gordon College as president. Gordon is one of the leading educational institutions in America and the only evangelical college in New England.

And he is my dear friend. I have known Michael and his wife, Rebecca, for many years. I know them to be deeply passionate Christians with a fervent commitment to equipping the present and future generations to think biblically and act redemptively.

I am honored to speak with Dr. Lindsay in the video below about his new appointment as president of Taylor University—news that will make headlines later today in the evangelical world. 

As you watch him engage the challenges and opportunities of our day, I believe you will be encouraged and inspired to use your influence more effectively to the glory of God.

Paul’s prayer for the Philippians is my prayer for you as you watch our video:

“It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9–11).

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado – Stunned by God’s Grace

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I’ve never been surprised by God’s judgment, but I’m still stunned by his grace. David the psalmist becomes David the voyeur, but by God’s grace becomes David the psalmist again. Peter denied Christ before he preached Christ. Zacchaeus the crook: the cleanest part of his life was the money he’d laundered, but Jesus still had time for him. The thief on the cross: hell bent and hung-out-to die one minute, heaven-bound and smiling the next.

 

Story after story, surprise after surprise. Seems that God is looking more for ways to get us home than for ways to keep us out. I challenge you to find one soul who came to God seeking grace and did not find it. Search the pages, read the stories. Find one person who came seeking a second chance and left with a stern lecture. I dare you! You won’t find it.

 

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