In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – God’s Plan for Our Life

We may wonder what God’s plan is for our life, but we can be certain it includes our spiritual development.

1 Peter 2:1-12

Many Christians today want to find God’s plan for their life but, sadly, often overlook the one place it’s revealed—the Bible. His overall goal for each of us is that we would bring Him glory, and He uses both His Spirit and Word to accomplish this. 

Today we’re going to focus on three ways we glorify God. 

1. With our behavior. Righteous living stands out in stark contrast to lifestyles of the world around us. Godliness shines like a light pointing others to Christ and bringing glory to the Father.

2. With our character. God’s purpose is to conform us to the image of His Son. As the Spirit’s fruit is produced in us, we display Christ’s likeness in our attitudes and responses to people and situations.

3. With our obedience. Scripture reveals what God has commanded and how He wants us to live. When we do what He says, we glorify Him.

We usually focus on finding God’s plan for our life with regard to circumstances, relationships, and other practical matters. But the Lord’s priority is our spiritual development. When we obey what His Word reveals to be His will, He’ll sovereignly direct our path in every other matter. 

Bible in One Year: Genesis 39-41 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Hearing Us from Heaven

Bible in a Year:

Hear from heaven their prayer and their plea.

1 Kings 8:45

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

1 Kings 8:37–45

At eighteen months old, little Maison had never heard his mother’s voice. Then doctors fitted him with his first hearing aids and his mom, Lauryn, asked him, “Can you hear me?” The child’s eyes lit up. “Hi, Baby!” Lauryn added. A smiling Maison responded to his mother with soft coos. In tears, Lauryn knew she’d witnessed a miracle. She’d given birth to Maison prematurely after gunmen shot her three times during a random home invasion. Weighing just one pound, Maison spent 158 days in intensive care and wasn’t expected to survive, let alone be able to hear.

That heart-warming story reminds me of the God who hears us. King Solomon prayed fervently for God’s attuned ear, especially during troubling times. When “there is no rain” (1 Kings 8:35), during “famine or plague,” disaster or disease (v. 37), war (v. 44), and even sin, “hear from heaven their prayer and their plea,” Solomon prayed, “and uphold their cause” (v. 45).

In His goodness, God responded with a promise that still stirs our hearts. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Heaven may seem a long way off. Yet Jesus is with those who believe in Him. God hears our prayers, and He answers them.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What troubling situation can you pray about today, believing God is hearing you from heaven? What help from God can you thank Him for because He hears your plea?

Heavenly Father, during my toughest struggles and troubles, I thank You for hearing my humble cry.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Importance of Brotherly Love

“Let love of the brethren continue” (Hebrews 13:1).

Genuine love among Christians is a testimony to the world, to ourselves, and to God.

The importance of brotherly love extends well beyond the walls of your local church or fellowship hall. In John 13:35 Jesus says, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” In effect, God has made love for one another the measuring stick by which the world can determine if our Christian profession is genuine. That’s why it’s so important that we have a selfless attitude and sincerely place the interests of our brothers and sisters in Christ ahead of our own.

If you are a parent, you know what a delight it is when your children love and care for one another. Such harmonious relations make for a close-knit family and fulfill the words of the psalmist: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1). God is both pleased and glorified when Christian brothers and sisters love each other and minister together in harmony.

Neither the author of Hebrews nor the apostle John is equating love with a sentimental, superficial affection. As already suggested, practical commitment marks true brotherly love. If you do not have such commitment, it is fair to question your relationship to God (1 John 3:17). Refusing to help a fellow believer when you can, John reasons, reveals that you don’t really love him. And if you don’t love him, God’s love can’t be in your heart, which proves that you don’t belong to Him. This logic is sobering and persuasive. It should motivate us all the more to see the importance of practicing brotherly love: “Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him” (1 John 3:18-19).

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord’s forgiveness for times when you did not show brotherly love or when you were reluctant to help another Christian in need.

For Further Study

Read Luke 6:31-35 and notice how our duty to love extends even beyond the sphere of fellow believers. What kind of reward results?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – The Beauty in Silence

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

— Psalm 62:5 (ESV)

My favorite part of the day is early in the morning when I get up before anyone else and the house is totally silent. I spend that time with God, and I find that the silence strengthens me and helps me get focused for the day. I spend some time just sitting and enjoying it.

Our world today is very noisy, busy, and at times stressful. When you feel stressed or frustrated, go somewhere that is silent and just enjoy it for a few minutes; I believe you will find that your soul begins to calm down. Inner peace and quiet are vital for hearing from God or sensing the direction He wants us to take.

Outer silence helps promote inner silence. Learn to love silence and you will be more inclined to hear the still, small voice of God. At a time when Elijah desperately needed to receive direction from God, he had to wait until all the noise passed, and only when he was in a gentle stillness did he hear the still, small voice of God speaking to him (see 1 Kings 19:11–12).

Prayer Starter: Father, help me learn to love the silence so I can hear Your voice and sense Your presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Speak for God

I have yet something to say on God’s behalf.

Job 36:2

We ought not to court publicity for our virtue or notoriety for our zeal; but at the same time it is a sin to be always seeking to hide what God has bestowed upon us for the good of others. A Christian is not to be a village in a valley, but “a city set on a hill” 1; he is not to be a candle under a bushel, but a candle in a candlestick, giving light to all.

Retirement may be lovely in its season, and to hide one’s self is doubtless modest, but the hiding of Christ in us can never be justified, and the keeping back of truth, which is precious to ourselves, is a sin against others and an offense against God.

If you have a nervous temperament and a retiring disposition, take care that you do not indulge this trembling propensity, lest you should be useless to the church. Seek in the name of Him who was not ashamed of you to do some little violence to your feelings and tell others what Christ has told to you.

If you cannot speak with trumpet tongue, use the still small voice. If the pulpit must not be your tribune, if the press may not carry on its wings your words, yet say with Peter and John, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you.” 2

By Sychar’s well talk to the Samaritan woman, if you cannot preach a sermon on the mountain; utter the praises of Jesus in the house, if not in the temple; in the field, if not in the public square; in your own household, if you cannot in the great family of man. From the hidden springs within, let sweetly flowing streams of testimony flow forth, giving drink to every passerby. Hide not your talent; trade with it, and you shall bring in good interest to your Lord and Master. To speak for God will be refreshing to ourselves, cheering to saints, useful to sinners, and honoring to the Savior.

1) Matthew 5:14
2) Acts 3:6

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Knows His Creation

“He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.” (Psalm 147:4)

Molly loved to visit her grandma on her farm in Missouri. Because Grandma lived so far away from all the city lights, Molly could see many more stars there than she could at her house in the city. She would lie in the grass on a summer night, just staring into the sky. It seemed like the longer she looked, the more stars there were. Millions and billions and trillions of stars.

The Scripture says that God, the Creator, knows the number of the stars. And not only that, but He also knows all of their millions and billions and trillions of names! His knowledge of His creation is infinite.

The God who created each of the stars created you, too. He knows your name, too. And He knows you – from the inside out. He knows all of your thoughts, good and bad. He knows your fears and your desires. He knows what makes you cry. He knows what you love most. He knows things about you that you don’t even know yourself! He knows all this – and He loves you.

God’s knowledge of His creation is both infinite and personal.

My Response:
» Am I willing to ask God to show me things about myself that need to change?

Denison Forum – President Biden calls for amending the filibuster to pass “voting rights” bills

President Biden delivered a speech on voting rights in Atlanta yesterday afternoon. He called for the Senate to amend its filibuster rules to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which the Washington Post describes as restoring “the federal government’s authority to review certain state voting laws to prevent discrimination,” and the Freedom to Vote Act, which the Post calls “a broader bill that would create national rules for voting by mail, early voting, and other parts of the electoral process.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell disagrees with the Democrats’ efforts to amend the filibuster, of course. He threatens to place a spate of Republican-backed bills on the legislative calendar in response, stating, “Since Sen. Schumer is hell-bent on trying to break the Senate, Republicans will show how this reckless action would have immediate consequences.”

So, which side is right? 

Your answer probably depends on which side is yours.

Why the founders intended political conflict

Why does your answer depend on your side? 

Because “sides” are an intentional part of our governance. Humor me with a very brief Civics 101 overview.

America is not a true “democracy.” If it were, the majority would win every argument. Rather, we are a republic in which the minority has guaranteed rights as well. We have therefore chosen to govern ourselves through political leaders we elect to represent us. Members of the House of Representatives represent geographical districts within the various states; members of the Senate represent the states that elected them; and the president represents the entire nation.

Our elected officials are supposed to advocate for us as if we were in Washington advocating for ourselves. When you wish the government would do something I wish it would not do, our representatives are supposed to find compromises that advance the common good in a collective manner. But when my position cancels yours, as is the case for so many of our issues today, compromise becomes difficult to find.

For example, evangelical Christians have First Amendment religious liberty protection to lead their ministries according to their biblical convictions with regard to LGBTQ issues, or they do not. (The so-called Equality Act says they do not.) Abortion on demand is either a constitutionally guaranteed “privacy right” or it is not. (The Supreme Court will rule on this question later this year.)

Why our divisions are deeper than ever

Add the fact that fewer Americans than ever before trust the “other side” to do the right thing. For instance, CNN reports that the percentage of Americans who strongly dislike the opposition party has risen by 400 percent in the last two decades.

Social media plays an outsized role here as well. Christianity Today public theologian Russell Moore recently pointed readers to a relevant article by Robert Wright, who in turn quoted psychologist Leon Festinger: “People who make public commitments to a position are going to be motivated to bolster it. They’re going to become better and better at generating reasons why they’re right and their would-be critics are wrong.”

As Wright then observes, this is a greater problem than ever. Thirty years ago, it was difficult to make such public commitments. You had to get on television or radio, get a book or article published, and so on. Now anyone with a cell phone can be “on stage.” They can (and often do) voice their opinions on any subject they wish to address. And once they do, they become hardened in defending their position against its critics. And they are more likely to build “echo chambers” whereby they listen only to those who agree with them.

Rather than the consensual process of compromise for the greater good that our founders envisioned, we have a “zero-sum” battle of adversaries who can win only if the other side loses.

Why the God of the Bible is relevant today

Why is the God of the Bible uniquely relevant to such a conflicted culture?

Because this God loves “the world” (John 3:16). He proved it when he chose us long before we chose him: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Whatever your position on abortion, this God loves you. Whatever your thoughts about same-sex marriage and LGBTQ activism, he loves you. Even if you reject his love or deny his existence, he loves you.

Unlike any other supposed deity or entity in the universe, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, my emphasis). Because he is love by his intrinsic nature, there is literally nothing you can do to make him love you any more or less than he does at this moment.

Furthermore, the God of Scripture calls his followers to follow his example: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

Why our faith is vital to America’s future

This is why a spiritual awakening is so urgent for America’s future. Consensual governance requires consensual morality. If we cannot agree on our most fundamental goods and rights (or even if there are fundamental goods and rights), how can we govern ourselves accordingly?

Our founders knew that, as John Adams stated, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” He noted that “the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality.”

And he warned, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.”

Is this what we are witnessing today?

Will you ask God’s Spirit to fill you with God’s love even (and especially) for those with whom you disagree?

Will you ask him to help you use your influence to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) wherever and however you can today?

Will you be part of the problem, or will you be part of the solution to the glory of God?

http://www.denisonforum.org/