In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Why Does God Still Speak?

Isaiah 30:18-21

The Bible is God’s Word, so does He still want to speak to us personally? The answer is yes, and there are several reasons why.

First, His guidance is a necessity for our lives. In Scripture, we see the Lord giving specific directions to His servants, and we often forget that we, too, need His instructions.

Second, we rely on the Lord’s power just as much as the Israelites. We all have “Red Sea” experiences, when we don’t know where to turn. But just as the Lord parted the waters for Israel, He will act in our lives, too.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him. The heavenly Father loves us just as much as He loved His children in biblical times. And He desires fellowship and honest conversation with today’s believers, just as He did with Abraham, Moses, and the prophets. So our priority should be to know Him and, once we do, to continually know Him better and better.

Our connection with God cannot be a one-way street. There must be a continual flow of back-and-forth communication—and that means we don’t do all the talking. We will get to know our Father more intimately when we learn to listen.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 21-23

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Working Together

Bible in a Year:

If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.

Exodus 18:23

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Exodus 18:13–23

Joe worked more than twelve hours a day, often without taking breaks. Starting a charitable business demanded so much time and energy that he had little left to offer his wife and children when he got home. After the toll of chronic stress landed Joe in the hospital, a friend offered to organize a team to help him. Though he dreaded giving up control, Joe knew he couldn’t keep up his current pace. He agreed to trust his friend—and God—as he delegated responsibilities to the group of people they chose together. A year later, Joe admitted that the charity and his family could never have prospered if he’d refused the help God had sent him.

God didn’t design people to thrive without the support of a loving community. In Exodus 18, Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness. He tried serving God’s people as a teacher, a counselor, and a judge all on his own. When his father-in-law visited, he offered Moses advice: “You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out,” said Jethro. “The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone” (Exodus 18:18). He encouraged Moses to share the workload with faithful people. Moses accepted help and the whole community benefited.

When we trust that God works in and through all His people as we work together, we can find true rest.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How can you trust God by asking for help or offering help to someone in leadership this week? How has He provided you the support of trustworthy people?

Father God, thank You for never asking me to handle life without Your help or the support of others.

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Spice Things Up!

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.

— Matthew 5:13 (AMPC)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like bland food. My husband once had a stomach problem, and the doctor put him on a totally bland diet for a few days. At every meal, I heard him say over and over, “This stuff has no taste at all.” His food needed a bit of salt, a little spice—and that is exactly what the world needs.

Each day as you leave your home to go into a dark, tasteless world, you can be the light and flavor it needs. You can bring joy to your workplace by being determined to consistently have a godly attitude. You can be “salt” through simple things like being thankful rather than complaining like most people do, being patient, merciful, quick to for¬give offenses, kind, and encouraging. Even simply smiling and being friendly is a way to bring flavor into a tasteless society.

Without love and all of its magnificent qualities, life is tasteless and not worth living. I want you to try an experiment. Just think—I am going to go out into the world today and spice things up. Then get your mind set before you ever walk out your door that you are going out as God’s ambassador and that your goal is to be a giver, to love people, and add good flavor to their lives. You can begin by smiling at the people you encounter throughout the day. Deposit yourself with God and trust Him to take care of you while you sow good seed everywhere you go.

Prayer Starter: Father, show me ways I can spice of the lives of those around me. I want to be Your ambassador. In Jesus’ name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –An Explanation of Trials

You are my refuge in the day of disaster.

 Jeremiah 17:17

The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. It is true that God’s Word says, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace”;1 and it is a great truth that faith is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above. But life confirms that if the experience of the righteous is “like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day,”2 sometimes that light is eclipsed. At certain periods clouds cover the believer’s sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light.

There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the early stages of their Christian life; they have walked along the “green pastures” by the side of the “still waters.” But suddenly they find that the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the promised land they have to endure the wilderness; in place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, “Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen.” Do not say that if you are walking in darkness. The best of God’s saints must drink the bitter potion; the dearest of His children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his heart in constant tune.

Perhaps the Lord gave you in the beginning a smooth and unclouded path because you were weak and timid. He moderated the wind on account of your weakness, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God’s full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten branches of self-reliance, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.

1) Proverbs 3:17
2) Proverbs 4:18

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

http://www.truthforlife.org

Denison Forum – President Biden delivers first joint address to Congress: Two lessons on God’s calling to serve others

The Constitution requires the president to “from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union.” Though technically not a State of the Union address, President Biden fulfilled this obligation last night in front of a joint session of Congress. While most recent presidents have delivered such an address earlier in the year, the Coronavirus and other factors combined to delay last night’s report.

Biden began his speech with an update on where the country stands with vaccines before moving on to a general overview of his legislative priorities going forward. Among the most discussed were jobs, healthcare, immigration reform, climate change, foreign policy, and education.

He spoke for just over an hour and took a generally optimistic and conciliatory tone, with the phrase “the country supports it” used several times to portray a general agreement among Americans on several of the issues he discussed.

But while Americans may agree on the problems that need to be addressed, there remains a general lack of consensus on how to best address them. Tim Scott, in his response to the president on behalf of the Republican party, emphasized that reality on several occasions.

Scott spent much of his speech lamenting the partisan divides that still exist and outlining how the disparate views on how to move forward have often been at the heart of such conflict. He argued for a greater emphasis on taking a bipartisan approach to crafting legislation rather than just in support of legislation as a key component of the solution.

That emphasis is one of two I would like to highlight from last night’s affairs that can help us better understand how God is calling us to serve others and advance his kingdom today.

Focus on the issues

President Biden began his speech by stating, “Tonight, I come to talk about crisis and opportunity.” And while segments of his speech sought to depict a unifying path forward, he could not seem to consistently avoid relying on unnecessarily extreme rhetoric and examples to help elucidate how he views our current situation as a country.

In his depiction of the January 6th assault on the Capitol, for example, he stated it was “the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” While what occurred that day was both embarrassing for our country and frightening for what could have happened, placing it above events like the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the September 11th attacks is needlessly reckless and inaccurate.

Senator Ted Cruz’s description of what Americans could expect from the speech, published in an opinion piece yesterday morning, was not much better. The tone and content of the article, in which he began by stating “Let me save you an hour of your time this evening and sum up President Biden’s speech in three words: boring, but radical,” included little intended to bring Americans together unless they were coming together in opposition to the president.

In both cases, we see either the inability or the disinterest of political leaders to disagree in a way that does not give the other side cause to disengage from the conversation. And while that hardly makes either man unique in recent times, it does reinforce that we should probably look elsewhere for our examples of how to engage with others.

Fortunately, the Bible gives us a much better option.

As Christians—literally, “little Christs”—our example is Jesus. And while he was hardly above engaging in spirited debate with others, he never did so in a way that deviated from the truth or inaccurately maligned the other person. He kept his focus on the most important issues and spoke in such a way as to foster understanding and growth for everyone involved.

If we can learn to model that in our conversations with others, even if they choose not to return the favor, then we are far more likely to give God room to use that discussion to advance his kingdom.

Find real solutions

Our second point for today is closely related to the first.

Conducting our conversations in a way that avoids extreme examples and demeaning characterizations, while important in its own right, will make the greatest impact if those discussions are intended to find real solutions.

One of Senator Scott’s critiques in his response to President Biden’s speech was that, in regard to the problem of racism, “My friends across the aisle seemed to want the issue more than they want a solution.”

While that may be true for some, it is an approach that is hardly unique to the Democrats. Abortion and immigration, for example, are issues that Republicans rely heavily upon to generate support in their campaigns, but often seem less concerned about when it comes time to craft policy.

And it’s understandable why this approach would be tempting: it tends to work.

Unfortunately, it also makes it difficult to trust that either side really wants the changes they so eloquently describe.

Are we any different, though, when we spend more time complaining about a problem or lamenting its existence than we do trying to fix it?

If you hear of a need at your church or a hurting family in your neighborhood, is your first instinct to talk with other people about how tragic the situation is, or do you take steps to help make a real difference? It could be that such conversations are an important first step, but if that’s where our commitment level ends, then it’s quite possible that we have stopped short of God’s will.

Model what you wish to see

George Bernard Shaw once noted that “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”

Regardless of what you think about President Biden, Senator Scott, or the speeches they gave, last night served as an important reminder that our political climate is largely a reflection of our culture. Perhaps it’s because the issues in Washington are often easier to see than the ones in our own communities, but we must learn not to focus so much on the speck in our politicians’ eyes that we ignore the plank in our own (Matthew 7:3–5).

Far too often, we make a habit of the very same behavior that we lament in others. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

So take some time today and ask the Lord to help you reflect on your recent interactions to see how closely they align with the example of Christ. Then commit to making whatever changes are necessary to model the conduct you wish you could see in others.

After all, chances are good that it won’t be long before God gives you the chance to do just that.

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –God’s Plan in God’s Land

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Joshua 21:45 says, “Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” Joshua and his men went from dry land to the Promised Land. From manna to feasts. From arid deserts to fertile fields. They inherited their inheritance: the glory days of Israel.

This is God’s vision for your life. You at full throttle. You as victor over the Jerichos and giants. Paul describes it as a life in which “Christ’s love has the first and last word in everything we do.” A life in which Paul says, “We do not lose heart.” A life defined by grace, refined by challenge, and aligned with a heavenly call. In God’s plan in God’s land, God’s promises outweigh personal problems, and victory becomes a way of life. Your glory days await you!