In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – A Godly Response to Criticism

Proverbs 15:31-33

No one likes criticism, but since it’s inevitable, we should learn how to respond in a godly way. Our natural reaction to hurtful comments is anger or defensiveness, but there can be great benefits for those who calmly listen and carefully consider the critique. In fact, we might limit our spiritual growth if we aren’t open to reproof.

Some of life’s best lessons come through difficult words. If God allowed the situation, you can be sure He wants to use it to help transform you into His Son’s image. Whether the criticism is valid or not, whether it’s delivered with kindness or harshness, your goal should always be to respond in a way that glorifies the Lord. You are responsible only for how you handle yourself, not for how the other person acts.

Every rebuke is an opportunity from God. Ask Him if the accusation is valid. It may be time to humble yourself and accept the Lord’s correction. A moment of criticism could also be a chance to show love to your critic. If he or she is angrily attacking you, your respect and kindness become a powerful testimony. Whatever the circumstances, let the Lord search your heart and either affirm your innocence or convict you.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 19-21


http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — The Right Words

Bible in a Year:

Pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan.

Ephesians 6:19 nlt

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Ephesians 6:10–20

In the past year or so, a number of authors have urged believers to take a fresh look at the “vocabulary” of our faith. One writer, for example, emphasized that even theologically rich words of faith can lose their impact when, through overfamiliarity and overuse, we lose touch with the depths of the gospel and our need for God. When that happens, he suggested, we may need to relearn the language of faith “from scratch,” letting go of our assumptions until we can see the good news for the first time.

The invitation to learn to “speak God from scratch” reminds me of Paul, who devoted his life to “[becoming] all things to all people . . . for the sake of the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:22–23). He never assumed he knew best how to communicate what Jesus had done. Instead, he relied on constant prayer and pleaded for fellow believers to pray for him as well—to help him find “the right words” (Ephesians 6:19 nlt) to share the good news.

The apostle also knew the need for each believer in Christ to remain humble and receptive each day to their need for deeper roots in His love (3:16–17). It’s only as we deepen our roots in God’s love, each day becoming more aware of our dependence on His grace, that we can begin to find the right words to share the incredible news of what He’s done for us.

By:  Monica La Rose

Reflect & Pray

When have you had an experience of seeing the gospel in a new way for the first time? How can prayer keep your heart receptive to your constant need for God’s grace?

Loving God, forgive me for, far too often, taking Your grace and goodness for granted. Help me to daily grasp in new ways the depths of Your grace and love. And help me find the right words to share what You’ve done.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Building a Leader: The Right Raw Material (Peter)

The twelve apostles included “Simon, who is called Peter” (Matt. 10:2).

God can use your natural abilities as a basis for your spiritual service.

Peter is a good illustration of how God builds a spiritual leader. He begins with a person’s natural traits and works from there. Natural traits alone don’t make a spiritual leader—the person must also be gifted and called by the Holy Spirit to lead in the church and be a model of spiritual virtue. But often God endows future leaders with natural abilities that constitute the raw materials from which He builds spiritual ministries. That was certainly the case with Peter, who demonstrated the leadership qualities of inquisitiveness, initiative, and involvement.

Peter was always asking questions. In fact, the gospel records show he asked more questions than all the other disciples combined! People who aren’t inquisitive don’t make good leaders because they’re not concerned about problems and solutions.

Initiative was another indicator of Peter’s leadership potential. He not only asked questions, but also was often the first to respond when Jesus asked the questions (e.g., Matt. 16:15-16; Luke 8:45).

Also, Peter loved to be in the middle of the action, even when it got him into trouble. For example, we might criticize his lack of faith when he sank after walking on water, but remember, the rest of the disciples never even got out of the boat.

Peter was inquisitive, showed initiative, and sought to be involved. How about you? Are you inquisitive about God’s truth? Do you take the initiative to learn about Him? Do you want to be involved in what He is doing? If so, you have the raw material for spiritual leadership. Continue to cultivate those qualities, allowing the Spirit to use you for God’s glory.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Pray for your spiritual leaders.
  • Ask God for opportunities to lead others in the way of righteousness. Use every opportunity to its fullest.

For Further Study

Read the following verses, noting the kinds of questions Peter asked: Matthew 15:15; 18:21; 19:27; Mark 13:2-4; John 21:20-22.

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Love, Trust and Faith

For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.

— Galatians 5:6 (AMPC)

Instead of trying so hard to work up faith, we would be wise to spend that time and effort simply receiving God’s love and loving Him in return. We are only going to be able to walk in faith based on whatwe believe about the Father’s love.

Galatians 5:6 says that faith works by love. Faith will not work without love. This scripture is telling us that if we don’t know how much God loves us, we have nothing to base our faith on.

Trusting God and walking in faith is leaning on Him and trusting Him for everything. You can only do that with someone when you know you are loved unconditionally. God’s love is His free gift to us, and we simply need to receive it, be thankful for it, and let it bring us closer to Him.

The Bible says, We love Him, because He first loved us (1 John 4:19 AMPC). When you are assured of the fact that God loved you first, you are excited to love Him in return— you are excited to live your life completely for Him.

Nobody in all the world will ever love you as God loves you.


http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Then and Now

Many followed him, and he healed them all.

Matthew 12:15

What a variety of sickness must have been presented to the gaze of Jesus! Yet we do not read that He was disgusted but patiently waited on every case. What a combination of evils must have met at His feet! What sickening ulcers and putrefying sores! Yet He was ready for every new shape of the monster of evil and was victor over it in every form. Wherever the arrow landed, He quenched its fiery power. Fevers, lameness, sadness, or the cold of dropsy; the lethargy of madness, leprosy, and blindness—all knew the power of His word and fled at His command. In every aspect of the battle He was triumphant over evil and received the homage of delivered captives. He came, He saw, He conquered everywhere.

It is still the case today. Whatever my own condition may be, the beloved Physician can heal me; and whatever may be the state of others whom I may remember at this moment in prayer, I may have hope in Jesus that He will be able to heal them of their sins. My child, my friend, my dearest one—I can have hope for each, for all, when I remember the healing power of my Lord; and on my own account, however severe my struggle with sins and infirmities, I can still rejoice and be confident. He who on earth walked the hospitals still dispenses His grace and works wonders among the sons of men: Let me go to Him immediately and earnestly.

Let me praise Him this morning as I remember how He worked His spiritual cures, which brings Him the most renown. It was by taking upon Himself our sicknesses. “With his stripes we are healed.”1 The church on earth is full of souls healed by our beloved Physician; and the inhabitants of heaven confess that “he healed them all.”

Come, then, my soul, declare far and wide the virtue of His grace, and “it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”2

1) Isaiah 53:5
2) Isaiah 55:13

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Loves You Unconditionally

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Have you ever had a dog? Jake had a dog, and he loved that dog. Her name was Daisy. She was a cute little white dog with black ears and a brown spot in the middle of her back. She had a cute little tail that curled up over her back. Jake would feed her and give her water every day. He would give her a bath when she was dirty, brush her fur when she had been outside, and take her for walks after school. Jake loved Daisy very much, and he showed her that he loved her by taking care of her. Even when she was bad and misbehaved, he still loved her. Who do you think takes care of us and loves us, even when we do wrong? Your parents do, but Who else? God does, and He loves us, too! God loves us unconditionally.

Do you know what it means to love “unconditionally”? The word “unconditional” means “without limitations, perfect in quality or nature.” Basically, it means that God love has no strings attached and there is nothing we can do to earn it or lose it. God’s love never changes! No matter what you do, you cannot make God love you any more than He does right now. You cannot do anything to make God love you any less than He does right now, either!

God’s love is even stronger than that bond between Jake and his dog Daisy. Why? Because God is God! His unconditional love has no bounds, because it is just as infinite (never-ending) as God is! God always loves His people, no matter what. Because of His unconditional love, He sent His Son to die on the cross. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Do you love God in the same way? Would you do anything for God? Probably, if you were being honest, you would have to say no. That kind of love is not easy for human beings to have. We can try, though. God is the One Who has shown His love to us, and He wants us to love others and forgive others as He has forgiven and loved us: Unconditionally! Because God loves us unconditionally, we should love him and serve him with our lives.

God’s love for His people is unconditional.

My Response:
» Do I ever meditate on how wonderful God must be to love me unconditionally?
» Am I willing to love and serve God even when I do not always understand what He is doing in my life?
» How can I demonstrate (show) unconditional loving like God’s in my relationships with my friends and family members?


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Denison Forum – A mother’s “Traveling Diary” goes global: The empowering path to “spiritual beauty”

Kyra Peralte is a mother of two in Montclair, New Jersey. A year ago, she started keeping a journal about the challenges of juggling marriage, work, and motherhood during a global crisis. She found the experience cathartic and wondered how other women were dealing with the overwhelming stress of the pandemic.

So she decided to invite women from around the world to fill the remaining pages of her composition notebook with their own pandemic stories. She wrote an article about her idea, then created a website so participants could add their names to the queue. Each person was allowed to keep the diary for up to three days and fill in as many pages as they wished, then mail it to the next person, whose address Peralte provided.

Her journal became “The Traveling Diary,” traversing the globe via snail mail and collecting handwritten stories. A year later, seven notebooks have circulated in locations from the United States to Australia, Canada, and South Africa. So far, 115 women have signed up to participate.

Creating a way for people to deal with their challenges in community is just what a mother would do.

The help mothers need

Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Anna Jarvis initiated the idea of a Mother’s Day in 1905 to honor the memory of her deceased mother. Nine years later, President Woodrow Wilson made the day a national observance. By Ms. Jarvis’ death, forty-three countries around the world had joined in the holiday.

The impulse behind such a day is obvious: except for Adam and Eve, every human being in human history had or has a mother. While some never knew their mothers and others had very difficult childhoods, most of us experienced the kind of compassion Kyra Peralte modeled. And we are grateful for a day to express our gratitude.

Godly mothers especially deserve our support in these challenging days.

According to a national poll, 46 percent of parents say their teenagers’ mental health has worsened during the pandemic. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the proportion of twelve- to seventeen-year-olds visiting emergency rooms for mental health reasons rose 31 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. This is in addition to the ongoing mental health crisis among young people and other challenges mothers have been facing during the pandemic.

Where can they find help? A research study of more than two thousand mothers reported that being well-adjusted as a mother depended largely on how much emotional support was available from other people in their lives. The study showed that mothers especially need to feel unconditionally loved for their “core” selves with a reliable source of emotional comfort and authentic relationships with family and friends.

Here’s the good news: No matter how family and friends encourage or discourage us, our heavenly Father will always love us for who we are. He is always there for us. He seeks nothing other than an authentic relationship with us.

A lesson from a gas cap

As we close our weeklong focus on personal spirituality as the basis for public courage in the face of an antagonistic culture, let’s apply our discussion to mothers and families.

During one of my pastorates, I borrowed our church van to drive to a distant university for a board meeting. Unfortunately, I failed to pick up the gas cap key from the church office before leaving. When the van needed gas, I had no ability to open the cap and had to find a locksmith. I learned practically what every driver knows intellectually: vehicles need the fuel they were designed to use.

It is the same with our souls.

Most mothers can identify with Mark 6:31: “‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Jesus’ purpose in calling us from the world is to call us to himself. He promises that those who “abide” in him will bear “much fruit,” but he also warns us that “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Oswald Chambers was right: “Every element of self-reliance must be slain by the power of God. Complete weakness and dependence will always be the occasion for the Spirit of God to manifest his power.”

Our Father’s invitation to mothers is his call to us all: identify our challenges, admit that we cannot face them without God’s help, bring them to him in faith, and trust him for the resources and encouragement we need.

Finding “the world of spiritual beauty”

Henri Nouwen observed: “Contemplative life is a human response to the fundamental fact that the central things in life, although spiritually perceptible, remain invisible in large measure and can very easily be overlooked by the inattentive, busy, distracted person that each of us can so readily become.

“The contemplative looks not so much around things but through them to their center. Through their center he discovers the world of spiritual beauty that is more real, has more density, more mass, more energy, and greater intensity than physical matter. In effect, the beauty of physical matter is a reflection of its inner content.”

Whatever our circumstances, Jesus will reveal the empowering “world of spiritual beauty” within them to all who make time to seek it with him.

Will you accept his invitation today?

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –Jesus Spread Happiness


JESUS SPREAD HAPPINESS – May 7, 2021

Jesus was accused of much, but he was never described as a grump or sourpuss or self-centered jerk. People didn’t groan when he appeared. He called them by name. He listened to their stories. He answered their questions. He visited their sick relatives, and he helped their sick friends. He fished with fishermen, he ate lunch with the little guy, and he spoke words of resounding affirmation.

He went to weddings. He went to so many parties that he was criticized for hanging out with questionable people. Thousands came to hear him. Hundreds chose to follow him. They walked away from careers to be with him. His purpose statement read “I came to give life with joy and abundance” (John 10:10 The Voice). Jesus was happy and wants us to be the same.

politicians = Doublespeak 

As a retired clinical psychologist, I’ve always been fascinated with how language is not just the result of thought but can actually shape thought and behavior.  But as an American, I am distressed over how language is being used to control thought and behavior among our population in ways that are toxic to our culture, counter to our God-given rights, and destructive to our nation.

In George Orwell’s prophetic novel 1984, the fictional totalitarian government maintained control of the thought processes of its population largely through use of “doublespeak.”  American politicians, especially Democrats and those on the political left, have mastered the art of doublespeak and have been pumping it out through all available media outlets for decades.

Consider the left’s use of the terms:

a) “Liberal” to describe an ideology which, if anything, opposes and goes to extremes to quash diversity of thought and behavior that threatens its authority and definition of “truth.”

b) “Progressive” for agendas and policies that have over time effectively killed creativity, rewarded mediocrity and dumbed down our society to maintain control through mandatory, unquestioning conformity.

c) “Inclusiveness” and “diversity” that have spawned an explosion of laws and a burgeoning industry based upon discrimination against and exclusion of major segments of the population according to race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion and other personal attributes.

d) “Justice” not as noble pursuit of equity and fairness based upon law and order and God’s ultimate truth, but as an excuse for wanton, violent revenge and unbridled thirst for wealth and power.

e) “Socialist” to soft-soap the harsh, often lethal realities of communism by connoting opportunities to interact and bond with well-intentioned others for presumably positive, altruistic, common good purposes, and

f) Even “Democrat” as a false representation of a political party which, according to emerging evidence and growing public consensus, is being discovered to have been, in a most undemocratic manner, rigging elections in their favor for many years.

Doublespeak can also be seen in the way the Democratic left, the Biden administration, and the Democrat-controlled Congress spin their radical legislative and policy initiatives.  They know the majority of Americans would never support these initiatives on their own merit, so they try to snow the public with pretty titles.  Examples:

1) H.R. 1, the “For the People Act,” designed to let Democrats take control of federal elections away from the states so they can continue to rig the outcomes.

2) H.R. 5, the “Equality Act,” designed to allow biological men who “identify” as women into women’s sports, locker rooms, restrooms, and other private settings and to undo decades of progress in women’s rights.

3) Biden’s proposed “American Rescue Plan Act,” designed to spend $1.9 trillion of our taxpayer dollars, allegedly to aid recovery from the so-called “pandemic,” but with only 10% actually directed toward COVID mitigation and the rest going to a new type of social “welfare” that pays people more to not go back to work and to Democrat-favored businesses looking to pad their assets.

4) Biden’s proposed  “American Jobs Plan” which would spend only 5% of its budget-busting $2.25 trillion price tag on infrastructure but mostly funds “Green New Deal” and other Democrat pet political causes, and

5) Biden’s proposed “American Families Act” which is a thinly veiled plot to push government-approved propaganda throughout the U.S. educational system starting at age three, while seducing us with unsustainable promises of free child care, free education through two-year college, free money for just having more children, and other “free stuff,” all for $1.8 trillion (recently upgraded to $2.5 trillion) of money that, like with the aforementioned spending packages, doesn’t even exist.

Look at the pattern here:  Pleasant-sounding words to hide evil intent to establish a godless totalitarian communist government like that in China right here in the United States of America.  Don’t let the language fool you.  The illegitimate, incompetent, amoral, anti-America Biden administration and the Democrat/Pelosi/Schumer-controlled Congress are out to destroy our constitutional republic by spending us into oblivion and outlawing the fundamental rights and freedoms of future generations of Americans.

Don’t let yourself be seduced and manipulated by the left’s doublespeak.  Question everything and think for yourself.  Speak up publicly without fear and contact your state and federal legislators to express your opinions.  Don’t let the lying left get away with this “1984-style” mass brainwashing and rape of our nation.

By Larry Cesare

Source: The Democrats and Doublespeak – American Thinker