In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Our Faithful God

 

Hebrews 13:5-9

In troubled times we may begin to think that God doesn’t care or has forsaken us, but that’s not true. If we’ve trusted Christ as our Savior, He promises never to desert or abandon us (Heb. 13:5). No matter how we may feel, God is always with us.

As great as this promise is, we have yet another foundational truth on which to rely. We can fully trust whatever our Savior says because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). He doesn’t save us one day and then abandon us later. Jesus said, “Everything the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37). He affirmed this same truth, saying that no one can snatch us out of His or the Father’s hands (John 10:28-29).

If we think that the Lord has suddenly abandoned us, we are walking by sight and not by faith. The reality is that we are the ones wavering, but Jesus and His promises have not changed. He is present, providing for our needs, and working for our good in every situation.

Bible in One Year: Judges 13-15

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — It’s Jesus!

 

Bible in a Year:

God has chosen to make known . . . the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:27

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Colossians 1:27–29; 2:6–10

During an episode of the popular US television talent competition America’s Got Talent, a five-year-old girl sang with such exuberance that a judge compared her to a famous child singer and dancer in the 1930s. He remarked, “I think Shirley Temple is living somewhere inside of you.” Her unexpected response: “Not Shirley Temple. Jesus!”

I marveled at the young girl’s deep awareness that her joy came from Jesus living in her. Scripture assures us of the amazing reality that all who trust in Him not only receive the promise of eternal life with God but also Jesus’ presence living in them through His Spirit—our hearts become Jesus’ home (Colossians 1:27Ephesians 3:17).

Jesus’ presence in our hearts fills us with countless reasons for gratitude (Colossians 2:6–7). He brings the ability to live with purpose and energy (1:28–29). He cultivates joy in our hearts in the midst of all circumstances, in both times of celebration and times of struggle (Philippians 4:12–13). Christ’s Spirit provides hope to our hearts that God is working all things together for good, even when we can’t see it (Romans 8:28). And the Spirit gives a peace that persists regardless of the chaos swirling around us (Colossians 3:15).

With the confidence that comes from Jesus living in our hearts, we can allow His presence to shine through so that others can’t help but notice.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

What blessing of Jesus’ presence in your life encourages you today? How might you share Him as the reason for your hope and joy?

Jesus, thank You for making my heart Your home. Please help my life to reflect Your presence.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Danger of Selfishness and Conceit

 

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself”
(Philippians 2:3).

Selfishness and conceit can prevent us from doing God’s will.

Selfishness and conceit are all too common among people today. It seems there is hardly a prominent entertainer or sports figure who doesn’t portray those characteristics to excess. Yet those traits are the very opposite of what should characterize the humble follower of Christ.

“Selfishness” in today’s passage refers to pursuing an enterprise in a factional way. It involves an egotistical, personal desire to push your own agenda in a destructive and disruptive way. “Empty conceit” describes the force behind such overbearing behavior—personal glory. A person driven by such motivation thinks he is always right.

Paul’s opening phrase in Philippians 2:3 has the force of a negative command: believers are never to act out of selfish ambition with the goal of heaping praise upon themselves. To do so inevitably leads to one of the common sin problems in our churches: factionalism, accompanied by jealousy, strife, disharmony, and partisanship. Paul knew what harm factionalism could do within a church. It was the primary problem he addressed in his letter of 1 Corinthians. The apostle summarized the Corinthian church’s condition this way: “For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” (1 Cor. 3:3). It is spiritually immature to be jealous of and to cause strife among fellow Christians, and it reveals a fleshly perspective.

Because our flesh (sinfulness) produces selfishness and conceit, it is vitally important to keep it under control (Gal. 5:16). Plans and agendas by themselves are valid, and they are not necessarily incompatible with humility in the Christian life. But if our goals and objectives are driven by selfishness, they become competitive and harmful. One key of dealing with selfishness is realizing that others also have goals and desires. Such a realization will help you go a long way toward killing the monster of selfishness in your life.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that God’s Spirit would rid your heart and mind of any attitudes of selfishness and conceit.

For Further Study

  • The beginning of 1 Corinthians deals with the subject of factionalism. Read chapter 1. What perspective does Paul have regarding church divisions?
  • What does the second half of the chapter offer as a prime reason for divisions within the church?

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Rededicate Yourself

 

O Lord, [earnestly] remember now how I have walked before You in faithfulness and truth and with a whole heart [entirely devoted to You] and have done what is good in Your sight…

— 2 Kings 20:3 (AMPC)

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

And Jacob awoke from his sleep and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it (Genesis 28:16 AMPC). Many times God is with us and we don’t even know it. Even when circumstances seem out of control, even when we feel overwhelmed, confused, or overcome with pain, He’s there to help and work everything together for our good. A great way to stay aware of God’s presence in our lives is to rededicate ourselves to Him on a regular basis.

And Jacob rose early in the morning and took the stone he had put under his head, and he set it up for a pillar (a monument to the vision in his dream), and he poured oil on its top [in dedication] (Genesis 28:18 AMPC). Like Jacob, we should rededicate ourselves to God every day, inviting Him into every part of who we are and how we live. When we do, His love and presence become more real than ever.

Prayer Starter: Father, I give myself to You anew today. Thank You for sticking with me, even when I’m hurting, even when I’m confused, and even when I feel alone. Please help me remember You’re always here and working in my life for good. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Why Are People Poor?

 

Remember the poor.

 Galatians 2:10

Why does God allow so many of His children to be poor? He could make them all rich if He pleased; He could lay bags of gold at their doors; He could send them a large annual income; or He could scatter around their houses abundance of provisions, as once he made the quails lie in heaps around the camp of Israel and rained bread out of heaven to feed them. There is no necessity that they should be poor, except that He sees it to be best. “The cattle on a thousand hills”1 are His—He could supply them; He could make the rich, the great, and the mighty bring all their power and riches to the feet of His children, for the hearts of all men are in His control. But He does not choose to do so. He allows them to experience need; He allows them to struggle in poverty and obscurity.

Why is this? There are many reasons. One is, to give us, who are favored with enough, an opportunity of showing our love to Jesus. We show our love to Christ when we sing of Him and when we pray to Him; but if there were no needy people in the world, we should lose the sweet privilege of displaying our love by ministering by our gifts to His poorer brethren. He has ordained that in this way we should prove that our love stands not only in word, but in deed and in truth.

If we truly love Christ, we will care for those who are loved by Him. Those who are dear to Him will be dear to us. Let us then look upon it not as a duty but as a privilege to relieve the poor of the Lord’s flock, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”2 Surely this assurance is sweet enough, and this motive strong enough to lead us to help others with a willing hand and a loving heart—recollecting that all we do for His people is graciously accepted by Christ as done to Himself.

1) Psalm 50:10
2) Matthew 25:40

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Sees All Our Actions

 

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)

Carrie’s dad used to tease her that he had eyes in the back of his head. It seemed like he could be driving the truck or watching TV, totally paying attention to something else, but if she tried to untie his shoelace or sneak off with a cookie, he could always catch her in the act! Have you ever noticed that in your own parents? They might be cooking, cleaning or reading the paper, but they just seem to know magically whenever you are planning to do something you do not want them to notice.

God is our Heavenly Father, and just like a parent, He always watches over us. Even when you don’t think He sees you, He does! The Bible says “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” God is actually far more watchful and aware than your parents ever could be, because He is God! He knows everything. He sees everything.

God spots sin immediately. In the book of Joshua, God strictly forbid anyone from taking gold, silver or clothing from Jericho. But do you know that is just what Achan did anyway! Achan stole from God, thinking God was not watching or that God did not really mean what He said when He commanded them not to take anything. Achan buried his stolen treasure under the ground, in his tent, which was only one tent in the middle of the huge Israelite campground. Surely God would not see him there. Surely God would not mind that he took a few things and hid them away. But God saw. And God did mind. Achan had disobeyed and then tried to cover up his disobedience.

God’s watchful eyes do not let anything slip by. God showed Joshua exactly where to find Achan and the stolen goods. Achan and his whole family had to pay for his sin of disobeying God.

The Lord’s eyes are in “every place” throughout the world. He will not let sin and wrongdoing slip by. God cares about His glory. He expects us to obey Him. God cares about His people. He watches out for them like a father watches out for a child. He is seeing you now, and He wants to see you doing right.

Are you like Achan, trying to get away with something? Are there sins you are trying to hide from God? If so, you are showing that you do not really believe that God is Who He is. You are acting like God cannot see you, or like God’s knowledge is limited.

Remember that God’s eyes can see every hidden thing. He has no limits. Confess your sins and live before God in trust and obedience.

The eyes of God are in every place, all the time.

My Response:
» Am I trying to get away with something before God?
» When I’m fighting temptation to sin, does it help me to take the time to acknowledge that God sees everything I do?
» Have I started thinking of God as though He had limits like I do?

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Denison Forum – Don Lemon condemns Vatican’s stance on same-sex marriage: Why St. Patrick is a hero we need to emulate today

 

CNN commentator Don Lemon made headlines last year with his announcement that Jesus “was not perfect when he was here on this earth.” Now he’s back in the news for his attack on the Vatican’s refusal to bless same-sex marriages.

In an interview he gave last Monday, Lemon stated that the Catholic Church and other churches should “reexamine themselves and their teachings because that is not what God is about. God is not about hindering people or even judging people.”

Lemon’s belief that he can dictate theology to the Catholic Church reflects the postmodern claim that personal beliefs are truth. If he says that God is “not about hindering people or even judging people,” it must be so, at least in his mind.

This despite the biblical fact that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10). And the biblical fact that “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). We could go on (see Revelation 20:12Matthew 25:461 Peter 4:171 Corinthians 4:5Revelation 22:12).

Lemon’s belief that his beliefs reflect reality is akin to the man who once told me “I don’t believe in hell” as though his belief changed the existence of hell. If I were to claim that “I don’t believe in Canada,” does that change the existence of Canada?

But there’s a larger story behind this story, one that we urgently need to understand.

The “god” of American culture 

Dr. Albert Mohler published an article this week in Public Discourse that every Christian should read. Titled “The Equality Act and the Rise of the Anti-Theological State,” it sets out in stark terms the unprecedented threat this radical legislation poses for all religious freedoms in America. I have issued the same warning repeatedly in the past.

Here is how the Equality Act’s attack on religious liberty and Don Lemon’s attack on the Vatican are related: if we agree with the latter, we are exempt from the threat of the former.

Don Lemon’s “god” is the god of American culture today. He said in his interview, “I respect people’s right to believe in whatever they want to believe in their God, but if you believe in something that hurts another person or does not give someone the same rights and freedoms—not necessarily under the Constitution because this is under God—I think that that’s wrong.”

I am certain that a large number of Americans would agree. You are welcome to your beliefs in God unless someone disagrees. If anyone considers your beliefs to be hurtful to anyone, they must therefore be hurtful. And if they are hurtful, they must be disallowed.

The Equality Act poses no threat to such a religion. Rising opposition to biblical morality as homophobic and dangerous poses no threat to those who abandon such morality. The simplest, easiest thing for Christians to do in the months and years to come will be to agree with Don Lemon.

 

“We must obey God rather than men” 

This choice between compromise and courage is not new for God’s people.

Think of the prophet Jeremiah, imprisoned in a cistern because he would not stop preaching God’s word (Jeremiah 38:1–6). Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3), Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel 6), Peter in Herod’s prison (Acts 12), and John exiled on Patmos (Revelation 1).

The compromise we will be encouraged to make was just what the apostles were ordered to do by the supreme court of their day: “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching” (Acts 5:28). If these believers would keep their beliefs to themselves and go along to get along, they would get along.

However, the apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men” (v. 29). When the council then “beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus” (v. 40), they left “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (v. 41).

The real story of St. Patrick 

Such courageous faith is on display around the world today, though most don’t know it.

St. Patrick’s Day is being celebrated with green rivers and beer, shamrocks and Irish folklore. But many do not know that the historical St. Patrick was a hero for his time and ours.

Patrick was born in England around AD 389 but enslaved at the age of sixteen and sold to a farmer in Ireland. Somehow, he came to faith in Christ. Six years later, in response to a vision from God, he risked his life and returned home to England.

However, God gave him a deep burden for the salvation of the Irish people.

He spent seven years in Bible study, then returned to Ireland, not as a slave but as a missionary. He founded two hundred churches and led one hundred thousand people to Christ over his career, surviving twelve attempts on his life along the way. His death on March 17, 461, is the historical reason today is St. Patrick’s Day.

Patrick’s courageous compassion for people who had enslaved and threatened him is a model God invites us to imitate today. (For more, see my paperWho was St. Patrick? What does the Bible say about luck and divine providence?)

 

“I am greatly a debtor to God” 

Tomorrow, we’ll explore practical ways we can emulate St. Patrick.  For today, we’ll close with a call to the humility that empowers courageous compassion.

Standing for biblical truth does not mean that we condemn others or consider ourselves to be better than them. It means that we love them enough to tell them the truth even—and especially—when they do not want to hear it. It means that we share with them the good news that has given us hope in the belief that it will do the same for them.

In his Confessions, Patrick made such humility clear: “I am greatly a debtor to God, who has bestowed his grace so largely upon me, that multitudes were born again to God through me. The Irish, who had never had the knowledge of God and worshiped only idols and unclean things, have lately become the people of the Lord, and are called sons of God.”

St. Patrick said of his ministry, “Let it be most firmly believed, that it was the gift of God.”

How will you share your gift today?

 

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Upwords; Max Lucado –The Surprise of Grace

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Seems to me God gives a lot more grace than we’d ever imagine. We could do the same. Now, I’m not for watering down the truth or compromising the Gospel. But if a fellow with a pure heart calls God Father, can’t I call that man Brother? If God doesn’t make doctrinal perfection a requirement for family membership, should I? If God can tolerate my mistakes, can’t I tolerate the mistakes of others? If God can overlook my errors, can’t I overlook the errors of others? If God allows me, with my foibles and failures, to him Father, shouldn’t I extend that same grace to others?

 

One thing is for sure: when we get to heaven, we’ll be surprised at some of the folks we see. And some of them will be surprised when they see us!

 

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