In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – An Illusion of Control

 

Daniel 4:28-37

We like to believe we’re in charge of our life, but when trouble inevitably comes our way, we’re reminded that’s not true. Yet even in times of difficulty we quickly try to regain control. In an attempt to put all the pieces back together, we may resort to manipulating circumstances or people, devising strategies, or using our own efforts to fix matters.

Helplessness is one of the means God uses to break pride and produce humility. This was certainly true in Nebuchadnezzar’s life. He was a very proud Babylonian king whom God humbled through the loss of his reason. He came out of the experience a changed man who worshipped and praised the Lord, recognizing that God alone controls everything in heaven and on earth.

Think about your response when you are powerless to change a bad situation. Do you blame God or praise Him? Do you submit to whatever He allows or try to find your own way out of it? Or are you like Nebuchadnezzar, whose life was transformed by increased understanding and reverence for the Lord? Weakness is an opportunity to rely on almighty God and see how He will work out His good plan and mature you in the process.

Bible in One Year: Ruth 3-4

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Sweeter than Honey

 

Bible in a Year:

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Psalm 119:103

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 119:97–105

On Chicago Day in October 1893, the city’s theaters shut down because the owners figured everyone would be attending the World’s Fair. Over seven hundred thousand people went, but Dwight Moody (1837–1899) wanted to fill a music hall at the other end of Chicago with preaching and teaching. His friend R. A. Torrey (1856–1928) was skeptical that Moody could draw a crowd on the same day as the fair. But by God’s grace, he did. As Torrey later concluded, the crowds came because Moody knew “the one Book that this old world most longs to know—the Bible.” Torrey longed for others to love the Bible as Moody did, reading it regularly with dedication and passion.

God through His Spirit brought people back to Himself at the end of the nineteenth century in Chicago, and He continues to speak today. We can echo the psalmist’s love for God and His Scriptures as he exclaims, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). For the psalmist, God’s messages of grace and truth acted as a light for his path, a lamp for his feet (v. 105).

How can you grow more in love with the Savior and His message? As we immerse ourselves in Scripture, God will increase our devotion to Him and guide us, shining His light along the paths we walk.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

In what ways does your life change when you read the Bible regularly? How could you ensure you don’t lose this practice in the busyness of your daily life?

Gracious God, You’ve given me the gift of Scripture. Help me to read it and digest it, that I might serve You faithfully.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Praying with Commitment

 

“Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

Your prayers make a difference!

Matthew 6:10 literally says, “Whatever you wish to have happen, let it happen immediately. As your will is done in heaven, so let it be done on earth.” That’s a prayer of active commitment to God’s will.

Many people don’t pray like that because they don’t understand God’s character. They think their prayers don’t matter and that God will impose His will on them no matter what they do. They tend to pray with passive resignation, indifference, or resentment.

I remember praying such a prayer. After my freshman year in college, I was in a serious auto accident. The driver lost control of the car at about seventy-five miles per hour and it rolled several times before coming to a stop. I was thrown clear of the vehicle and ended up sliding down the highway on my backside for about 100 yards. I lost a lot of skin and had some third-degree burns and other injuries, but fortunately I didn’t break any bones.

I was conscious during the entire ordeal and vividly remember thinking, All right God. If you’re going to fight this way, I give up! I can’t handle this! I knew God was calling me into the ministry, but I was focusing my life in another direction.

I think God used that experience to get my attention, and my prayer of passive resignation soon turned to active commitment as He refined my heart and drew me to Himself.

Perhaps God has dealt severely with you, too. If so, it’s only because He loves you and wants to produce the fruit of righteousness in you (Heb. 12:11). Don’t despise His chastening, and don’t be fatalistic or resentful in your prayers. Godly prayers make a difference (James 5:16), so commit yourself to praying expectantly, knowing that God is gracious and wise and always responds for His glory and your highest good (Rom. 8:28).

Suggestions for Prayer

If you tend to pray with indifference, passive resignation, or resentment, ask God’s forgiveness. Study His character and cultivate deep communion with Him through disciplined, trusting prayer.

For Further Study

Read Luke 18:1-8.

  • Why did Jesus tell this parable?
  • What principles do you see that apply to your life?

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Stopping the Emotional Yo-Yo

 

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit . . . is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self control.

— Galatians 5:22-23 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day – by Joyce Meyer

I remember the years when I was what I call a “yo-yo Christian.” I was constantly up and down emotionally. If my husband, Dave, did what I liked, I was happy, but if he didn’t do what I liked, I would get mad. I hadn’t yet learned how to be led by the Holy Spirit, so I was letting my feelings control my behavior. This is actually a fairly common problem that people deal with. In fact, more than anything else, believers tell me how they feel. “I feel like nobody loves me.” “I feel my spouse doesn’t treat me right.” “I feel that I’ll never be happy.” “I feel . . . I don’t feel . . .” and on and on it goes.

God wants us to realize that our emotions are never going to go away, and He wants to help us learn to manage them rather than let them manage us. By His grace, we can choose to exercise self-control and not let our flesh drive our decisions. Not one of us will, or even should, get everything we want. A spiritually mature believer can be peaceful and happy even when they don’t get what they want. We can learn to tell ourselves that we’re not going to be able to say everything we want to say, eat everything we want to eat, or always do what we feel like doing…and that’s okay.

Today I want to challenge you to ask and let the Holy Spirit help you do what’s right, no matter how you feel. As Christians, instead of concentrating on how we feel, we can base our lives on what we know is true from God’s Word, which is stable and unmoving. Thank God we don’t have to live based on our ever-changing emotions!

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me learn to stay stable even when things aren’t going my way. Thank You for the truth of Your Word that doesn’t change, and for giving me the grace to handle my emotions in a healthy way. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Our Savior’s Prayer

 

And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed.

 Matthew 26:39

There are several instructive features in our Savior’s prayer in His hour of trial. It was lonely prayer. He withdrew even from His three favored disciples. Believer, be diligent in solitary prayer, especially in times of trial. Family prayer, social prayer, prayer in the church will not be sufficient; these are very precious, but the fragrance of heaven will be sweetest in your private devotions, where no ear hears but God’s. It was humble prayer. Luke says He knelt, but another evangelist says He “fell on His face.” Where, then, must be your place, you humble servant of the great Master? What dust and ashes should cover your head! Humility gives us a good foothold in prayer. There is no hope of prevailing with God unless we abase ourselves, that He may exalt us in due time.

It was filial prayer. “Abba, Father.” You will find it a stronghold in the day of trial to plead your adoption. You have no rights as a subject—you have forfeited them by your treason; but nothing can forfeit a child’s right to a father’s protection. Do not be afraid to say, “My Father, hear my cry.”

Observe that it was persevering prayer. He prayed three times. Do not stop until you prevail. Be like the importunate widow, whose continual coming earned what her first supplication could not win. Continue in prayer with a thankful heart. Lastly, it was the prayer of resignation. “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Let it be as God wills, and God will determine for the best. Be content to leave your prayer in His hands, who knows when to give, and how to give, and what to give, and what to withhold. So pleading, earnestly, importunately, yet with humility and resignation, you will surely prevail.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Wants Your Whole Heart

 

“With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.” (Psalm 119:10)

If you were participating in a Bible trivia game and were asked to name the first three kings of Israel, you would probably have no trouble jumping up and shouting out “Saul, David, and Solomon!” You have heard the stories of how Saul became king while looking for his father’s donkeys (1 Samuel 9), how David killed Goliath with his slingshot (1 Samuel 17), and how Solomon asked God for wisdom instead of riches (2 Chronicles 1). But have you ever thought about what kind of heart each of these three kings had for their God? Did they follow God with their whole hearts, just parts of their hearts, or none of their hearts?

King David had a whole heart for God. The Bible describes him as a man “who followed [God] with all his heart,” (1 Kings 14:8). You can open your Bible to the book of Psalms and read many of King David’s prayers to the Lord. David had a desire to follow God with everything that he had.

King Solomon had half a heart for God. He started out wanting to serve God with all his heart, but as he grew older, he became distracted by the world. When comparing King Solomon with his father, King David, 1 Kings 11:4 says, “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” King Solomon got sidetracked from following God. He lost his focus on God and wandered away from God’s commandments.

King Saul had no heart for God. God chose Saul to be the first king of Israel. But King Saul rejected the Lord, and the Lord rejected him. 1 Samuel 15:26, “And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.”

God wants you to seek Him and follow after Him with your whole heart! You must choose what kind of heart you are going to have for God. Will you be like King David, with a whole heart for God? Or will you be like King Saul and King Solomon, who both failed to follow God with their whole hearts?

The God of the Bible wants you to seek Him and follow after Him with your whole heart!

My Response:
» Does God want just part of my attention, or just some of my obedience?
» What kind of heart do I have for God?
» How can I change to have a whole heart for God?

Read in browser »

 

Home Page

Denison Forum – The first gay Captain America is coming: Four ways to care for our children and our future

 

Aaron Fischer is coming to comic books in June. Part of the “United States of Captain America” series, he is the “Captain America of the Railways,” protecting runaways and homeless youth. He is also openly gay. The comic featuring him will be published in June for Pride Month.

My point is not that the first LGBTQ-identifying Captain America will soon enter popular culture. Nor is it that we should be shocked, or that we should be shocked if we’re not shocked. It is that introducing a gay Captain America in a comic book aimed at youth is nothing if not strategic.

In other news, the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to Harvard University, has officially recognized polyamory. It is the second city in the state to do so. The Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition gave input concerning the change in Cambridge and hopes that it “will be a wave of legal recognition for polyamorous families and relationships in 2021.”

Meanwhile, a Canadian father was jailed for contempt of court after publicly objecting to his young daughter taking testosterone. A judge earlier warned him that if he did not affirm his daughter as male, he would be implicated in the criminal offense of “family violence.”

“That the next generation might know” 

Let’s think about what these stories mean not for the present but for the future.

Comic books normalizing and glorifying gay characters are strategically intended to persuade our children and grandchildren in intuitive and emotive ways. Polyamory proponents want a world in which children are brought up in polyamorous families and thus accept such relationships as normal and healthy. Courts that threaten parents who oppose their children’s gender transitions send signals far beyond the parents themselves.

Just as proponents of the sexual revolution intend to impact future generations with their version of sexual morality, so we must do the same. Such thinking is not only strategic for God’s people—it is biblical.

In words that could have been written last week, the psalmist reported that God “established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Psalm 78:5–7). This was so “they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God” (v. 8).

The only way the next generation will not follow this generation’s slide into moral relativism and decadence is if you and I act strategically and courageously to change their spiritual trajectory.

Four biblical responses 

What are some biblical ways we can use our influence to intervene for the sake of our children and their children?

The first is obvious: defend the unborn. 

In the face of plans to expand federal funding for abortion, it is vital that we stand and pray for life at its most perilous stage in our culture. The psalmist testified: “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). Ronald Reagan was right: “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

Second, defend girls and women. 

Female athletessurvivors of domestic violence, and civil rights for women and girls are all at greater risk because of recent governmental actions and the so-called Equality Act. God made “male and female” equally in his image (Genesis 1:27). We should pray and work for equality and opportunities for both.

Third, defend our children from immorality in our culture. 

The most recent Grammy Awards featured immorality I will not describe here. The good news is that advocates for sexual abuse survivors were quick to protest the show’s promotion of prostitution and pornography. We are called to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18) and should do all we can to protect our children from the decadence of our culture.

Fourth, defend freedom of speech in our schools. 

According to a recent report, 62 percent of college students surveyed “agreed the climate on their campus prevents students from saying things they believe.” The “Civics Secures Democracy Act,” educational legislation recently introduced in Congress, has been described as “a massive boondoggle in support of politicizing students and teaching them to trade away equality and individual liberty for identity politics” and “imposing a de facto national curriculum on the states.” The author calls this challenge “the greatest education battle of our lifetimes.” We are to “live as people who are free” and extend this freedom wherever we can (1 Peter 2:16).

 

A prayer worth praying every day 

We will say much more about these priorities in the future. For today, let’s close with a familiar prayer that has become very special to me in recent weeks.

You’ve no doubt seen a famous prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi; it has been set to music and published in a wide variety of media over the years. I have begun praying it every day, slowly and with attention to each word, and have found it to be encouraging and empowering. I invite you to pray these words intentionally with me today and in the days to come:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado – The Song He Longs to Hear

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

In his later years Beethoven spent hours playing a broken harpsichord. The instrument was worthless. Keys were missing, strings stretched. It was out of tune, harsh on the ears. Nonetheless, the great pianist would play till tears came down his cheeks. You’d think he was hearing the sublime, and he was. He was deaf. Beethoven was hearing the sound the instrument should make, not the one it did make.

 

Maybe you feel like Beethoven’s harpsichord. Out of tune, inadequate. Your service ill-timed, insignificant. Ever wonder what God does when the instrument is broken? How does the Master respond when the keys don’t work? Does he demand a replacement? Or does he patiently tune until he hears the song he longs to hear? I want you to know that the Master Musician fixes what we can’t and hears music when we don’t. And he loves to hear the music that comes from your life.

 

Home