In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – When We Feel Frustrated

 

Numbers 22

Most of us have experienced frustration when it comes to personal issues. But what do we do when we are frustrated and the roadblock comes from God Himself?

Sometimes God uses frustration to get our attention. It can help us think about things we wouldn’t otherwise consider and perhaps redirect our path toward something new or different. So when you are harried by feelings of anxiety or restlessness, don’t rush to bury or escape them. Instead, consider them internal signals, as if your conscience is saying, “It’s time to turn inward, listen, and process your feelings.”

Rest assured, if these stirrings are from God, they will not go away, and when they recur, we need to give Him our undivided attention. We will begin to see that He loves us enough to send something very specific to set us on a new path with Him.

It is an honor to have our sovereign Creator invested in our personal life–so invested, in fact, that He may frustrate us in order to show us a better way. At the end of the day, it’s all because of His great love and His commitment to conform us to the image of His Son.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 1-3

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — The Reason to Rest

 

Bible in a Year:

What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?

Ecclesiastes 2:22

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Ecclesiastes 2:17–26

If you want to live longer, take a vacation! Forty years after a study of middle-aged, male executives who each had a risk of heart disease, researchers in Helsinki, Finland, followed up with their study participants. The scientists discovered something they hadn’t been looking for in their original findings: the death rate was lower among those who had taken time off for vacations.

Work is a necessary part of life—a part God appointed to us even before our relationship with Him was fractured in Genesis 3. Solomon wrote of the seeming meaninglessness of work experienced by those not working for God’s honor—recognizing its “anxious striving” and “grief and pain” (Ecclesiastes 2:22–23). Even when they’re not actively working, he says their “minds do not rest” because they’re thinking about what still needs to be done (v. 23).

We too might at times feel like we’re “chasing after the wind” (v. 17) and grow frustrated by our inability to “finish” our work. But when we remember that God is part of our labor—our purpose—we can both work hard and take time to rest. We can trust Him to be our Provider, for He’s the giver of all things. Solomon acknowledges that “without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” (v. 25). Perhaps by reminding ourselves of that truth, we can work diligently for Him (Colossians 3:23) and also allow ourselves times of rest.

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

How can you invite God into your labors? How might you allow Him to be your satisfaction even when your work isn’t “finished”?

God, You bring meaning and purpose to all my labors.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Jesus’ Humble Identification with Sinners

 

“. . . Emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).

Except for sin, Jesus experienced the everyday things of a normal man; but He was often not appreciated as the God-man.

Jesus could understand what people around Him were dealing with because He lived under the same conditions. He can also identify with us today. It is true that He never married, never went to college, and never used a computer or a VCR. But He still has perfect knowledge about such things, and more. The point is, Christ knows firsthand about our basic physical and emotional needs because He actually lived and worked in a world affected by the Fall.

But there was one element of our world Jesus did not partake in: sin. The conclusion of Hebrews 4:15 says He was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Even though Jesus never sinned, He knows the struggles and temptations we face daily. Otherwise, He could not be the sympathetic High Priest that the first part of verse 15 mentions.

Although Jesus was a man who identified profoundly with those He came to serve, people around Him did not naturally see the most important thing about Him. Philippians 2:8 views Jesus from the perspective of those people. It says His human appearance was so authentic that most of them didn’t know that He was also God. Many of them simply could not accept that a man like Jesus could also be higher than them: “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” (John 6:42).

Christ’s close identification with mankind elicited a tragic response for people such as those in John 6. But for us, His humility is a great model and a heart-felt reassurance that He was perfectly man and perfectly God.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God that you can freely approach Him in prayer through Jesus, who can identify so closely with all our struggles as human beings.

For Further Study

Read John 11:1-45, which describes the death and resurrection of Lazarus. How did Jesus demonstrate His humanity and deity to the disciples and other eyewitnesses?

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Eliminate the Negative

 

The communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

— Philemon 1:6 (KJV)

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

Your faith is shown and built up when you focus on all the good things that are in you through Christ, not when you’re acknowledging everything that’s wrong with you.

The enemy wants you to spend every waking moment focusing on and talking about how awful you are. He’s constantly trying to redirect your focus from who you are in Christ back to your weaknesses and past mistakes. He wants to deceive you into believing that your faults make you worthless, but nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus paid the highest price—His life—to redeem you and be in a relationship with you, which means you’re immeasurably precious to Him!

Even if you’ve struggled with self-esteem in the past, I have good news: you can learn to accept yourself, and even love yourself in a healthy way! How? By deciding right here and now not to entertain one more negative thought, or allow one more negative word about yourself to come out of your mouth. As you start acknowledging the strengths and grace that God has placed in you, you’ll start to walk in them more and more each day.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me not to focus on my weaknesses and struggles and mistakes. Thank You for placing strengths in me and for the amazing gift that it is to be Your child, and for teaching me more and more each day what it means to be in Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –His Great Agony

 

His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

 Luke 22:44

The mental pressure arising from our Lord’s struggle with temptation so forced his frame to an unnatural excitement that his pores sent forth, as it were, great drops of blood, which fell down to the ground. This proves how tremendous must have been the weight of sin, that it was able to crush the Savior to this extent! This demonstrates the mighty power of His love.

It is a very helpful observation that the sap, which exudes from the tree without it being cut, is always the best. This precious camphor tree yielded sweet spices when it was wounded by the whips and pierced by the nails on the cross; but consider how it produces its best spice when there is no whip, no nail, no wound. This presents the voluntariness of Christ’s sufferings, since without a lance the blood flowed freely. No need to put on the leech or apply the knife; it flows spontaneously. No need for the rulers to cry, “Spring up, O well”; of itself it flows in crimson torrents.

When men suffer great pain of mind, the blood apparently rushes to the heart. The cheeks are pale; a fainting fit comes on; the blood has gone inward as if to nourish the inner man while passing through its trial. But look at Christ in His agony; he is so utterly oblivious of self that instead of His agony driving His blood to the heart to nourish Himself, it drives it outward falling to the ground. The agony of Christ, inasmuch as it pours Him out upon the ground, pictures the fullness of the offering that He made for men.

Can we fathom how intense the wrestling must have been through which he passed, and will we not hear its voice to us? “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”1 Behold the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and sweat even to blood rather than yield to the great tempter of your souls.

1) Hebrews 12:4

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Glorified in Life or Death    

 

“Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:20-21)

John and Betty Stam were missionaries to China in the 1930s. China was a dangerous place to be. The Communist army did not want foreign people in the country, and they did not like Christians. One day the Communists captured the Chinese city where the Stams lived. They took John, Betty, and their baby girl, Helen, captive.

That night, John, Betty, and Helen were locked in a room together. Sometime during the night, Betty found a way to leave baby Helen some things she would need if they were separated. She tucked a clean nightdress, diapers, and two five-dollar-bills into the blankets where Helen slept.

The next morning, John and Betty Stam were led outside the city and killed by Communists. They became martyrs, people who lose their lives because of their faith in Christ. Baby Helen was left alone in that little room. But God had not forgotten the baby. A whole day and night passed. The next day, Christian friends of the Stams found Helen after she had been left alone for thirty hours! The money that her mother had hidden in her blankets was enough to provide for these Chinese Christians to carry her to safety.

God’s plan for John and Betty Stam was to glorify Himself through their death. The Stams went to be with Him. They joined the great chorus of praise around His throne. Through all eternity, they will keep praising Him. Many people have been awakened to the needs on the mission field by hearing their story. Thousands have carried God’s Word to the dark places of the earth because of the Stams’ sacrifice.

But God’s plan for Helen was to glorify Himself through keeping her alive. People all over the world heard about Helen’s rescue and praised God for His care for that helpless little baby.

God might lead you to a dangerous place someday in your service for Him. Are you willing to trust Him and follow Him so that He might be glorified—whether in your life or your death?

God chooses life or death for His children that He might receive glory.

My Response:
» Am I afraid to follow God? Can I trust that His choice—life or death—is best for me?
» Do I want His glory more than I want anything else?

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Denison Forum – Police officer, father of seven, killed in Boulder shooting: Honoring a “good and faithful servant” today

 

Officer Eric Talley was one of ten people killed yesterday afternoon when a shooter attacked a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.

Officer Talley joined the Boulder police department a decade ago. He had seven children; the youngest was seven years old. According to his father, “He loved his kids and family more than anything. He was looking for a job to keep himself off the front lines and was learning to be a drone operator. He didn’t want to put his family through something like this and he believed in Jesus Christ.”

Nonetheless, Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold told reporters that Officer Talley “was the first on the scene, and he was fatally shot.” Holding back tears, she added, “My heart goes out to the victims of this incident. And I’m grateful to the police officers that responded. And I am so sorry about the loss of Officer Talley.”

His father said, “Didn’t surprise me he was the first one there.” Chief Herold called Talley’s actions “nothing short of heroic.”

A friend described him: “He was a devout Christian. He had to buy a fifteen-passenger van to haul all his kids around, and he was the nicest guy in the world.”

 

Willing to die that we might live 

CNN reports that the Colorado tragedy is the seventh mass shooting in the US in the past seven days. According to Wikipedia, there have been 107 mass shootings in the US so far this year, killing 122 people and wounding 325 others. There have only been five days this month without such a tragedy.

The Officer Down Memorial Page lists seventy-nine police officers who have died in the line of duty so far this year. Sergeant Gordon William Best of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was the first. He was killed in a vehicle crash while responding to a call at about 4 a.m. on January 1 and is survived by his wife and two children. Officer Talley is the last, so far.

There are more than eight hundred thousand sworn law enforcement officers serving in the US. Since the first recorded police death in 1786, more than twenty-two thousand have been killed in the line of duty.

What kind of courage is required for police officers to risk their lives every day for people they do not know? What depth of commitment to their shared calling enables their spouses and children to watch them leave each day with no assurance that they will return?

What kind of person runs toward a shooting when everyone else is running away?

Each police officer and each officer’s family member deserves our deepest gratitude and highest respect, today and every day. The next time and every time you see a police officer, please thank them for their courageous service. They are willing to die that you might live.

Do you know your cross? 

I do not expect to risk my life today in the service of others. But I should be willing to do so or to pay any other price to fulfill God’s calling in my life.

Luke 9:23 records that Jesus “said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” Note that this is said to all, not just some. There is a cross for everyone who would follow Jesus.

  • It is a personalcross: “take up his” Your cross may not be mine, and mine may not be yours.
  • It is a constantcross: “take up his cross daily.” This is a decision we must make every day of our lives. There is a cross for us every day that we live.
  • It is an imperativecross: Jesus said that we must take up our cross in order to “follow me.” We are not following Jesus unless we are bearing a cross to do so.

Do you know your cross? It might be a temptation you must pay a price to refuse, or a calling you must pay a price to fulfill, or both. Would you ask the Lord to identify your cross today? Then would you ask him to give you the strength to bear it?

 

“Well done, good and faithful servant” 

John 21:15 reads: “Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’”

In today’s First 15, Craig Denison responds: “Jesus is looking for disciples who will say yes to that which is greater than they could have ever imagined doing. He’s looking for friends like Simon Peter who will follow him wherever he leads, even it if means to their death. He’s looking for those who are so in love with him that at a single statement from his lips we willingly and obediently respond by taking up our cross as he did and living a surrendered, purposeful life.”

Craig then invites us to “assess whether Jesus truly is your greatest love. If he isn’t—if you wouldn’t follow him anywhere—take time to surrender anything you’ve placed above him. Confess any idols you have in your life that he might truly be crowned King of your heart today.”

Officer Eric Talley paid the highest price to fulfill his calling on behalf of those he served. The best way I know to honor his commitment is by emulating it. Then, one day, I hope Jesus will say to me what I am confident he said to Eric Talley yesterday: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).

By his courage and his sacrifice, Officer Eric Talley was a “good and faithful servant,” indeed. How will you follow his example today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –God Will Do What Is Right

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

If you’re rehashing the same hurt every chance you get with anyone who will listen, I have a question: why are you doing God’s work for him? “Vengeance is mine,” God declared. “I will repay” (Hebrews 10:30). To assume otherwise is to assume God can’t do it. When we strike back we are saying, “I know vengeance is yours, God, but I just didn’t think you’d punish enough. I thought I’d better take this situation into my own hands.”

 

May I restate the obvious? If vengeance is God’s, then it is not ours. God has not asked us to settle the score or get even. Ever. Forgiveness is not saying the one who hurt you was right. Forgiveness is stating that God is fair and he will do what is right. After all, don’t we have enough things to do without trying to do God’s work too?

 

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