In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Acquiring Spiritual Discernment

We must know the truth of Scripture so the Holy Spirit can help us discern how it applies to our life.

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

With so much deception in the world, every believer needs spiritual discernment. Although we have access to God’s wisdom, it’s not something we automatically possess. Rather, it must be diligently sought. And His Word is the place to start, because spiritual discernment comes only when we know the truth and can think scripturally about every situation we encounter. 

It’s foolish to think that our own wisdom is sufficient to guide us. The human mind, while rational, is incapable of seeing the true nature of many situations and events. What is good may not always be best, and what is presented as truth is sometimes a lie. Pride in our own judgment hinders access to godly wisdom. 

In contrast, regularly partaking of God’s Word develops our insight. As the Holy Spirit of truth illuminates our mind and interprets the Scriptures, we increasingly see life from God’s perspective. Through the Spirit and the Word, we have a direct link to the very mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). From Genesis to Revelation, God is revealing His thoughts, principles, and wisdom so we can live accordingly in any situation. 

Bible in One Year: Genesis 46-48 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Practice What You Preach

Bible in a Year:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

James 1:22

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

James 1:19–27

I started reading the Bible to my sons when my youngest, Xavier, entered kindergarten. I would look for teachable moments and share verses that would apply to our circumstances and encourage them to pray with me. Xavier memorized Scripture without even trying. If we were in a predicament in which we needed wisdom, he’d blurt out verses that shined a light on God’s truth.

One day, I got angry and spoke harshly within his earshot. My son hugged me and said, “Practice what you preach, Mama.”

Xavier’s gentle reminder echoes the wise counsel of James as he addressed Jewish believers in Jesus scattered in various countries (James 1:1). Highlighting the various ways sin can interfere with our witness for Christ, James encouraged them to “humbly accept the word planted in them” (v. 21). By hearing but not obeying Scripture, we’re like people who look in the mirror and forget what we look like (vv. 23–24). We can lose sight of the privilege we’ve been given as image-bearers made right with God through the blood of Christ.

Believers in Jesus are commanded to share the gospel. The Holy Spirit changes us while empowering us to become better representatives and therefore messengers of the good news. As our loving obedience helps us reflect the light of God’s truth and love wherever He sends us, we can point others to Jesus by practicing what we preach.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

In what ways have you struggled to obey Scripture? In what ways has God transformed you?

Loving God, please make me more like You so I can use every opportunity You give me to share Your love with others.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Identifying with Those in Need

“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body” (Hebrews 13:2).

Because we too are human beings, God makes it possible for us to empathize with others who might be enduring hardship.

The Apostolic Confession, an ancient church confession, says, “If any Christian is condemned for Christ’s sake to the mines by the ungodly, do not overlook him, but from the proceeds of your toil and sweat, send him something to support himself, and to reward the soldier of Christ.” You can see from this quote that the early church took seriously its responsibility to help people who were suffering persecution. To obtain money to free a fellow believer, some early Christians even sold themselves into slavery.

It’s unlikely we’ll ever have to face such extreme measures. But we can definitely learn from the heart attitude that prompted such an action. The point is, we should do whatever we can to understand what others are going through. We don’t necessarily have to experience the same starvation, imprisonment, or harsh treatment that they are enduring in order to sympathize. Being human—“in the body,” as today’s verse says—and suffering our own hurts and hungers should be enough incentive for us to help others.

You can have loving empathy for someone in at least three ways. First, you can simply “be there” as a friend to encourage the other person when he is in trouble.

A second way to show empathy is by giving direct help. The Philippians shared with the apostle Paul in his affliction by financially supporting his ministry in other places (Phil. 4:14-16). In this way they also encouraged him spiritually.

Third, you can give empathy through prayer. Paul’s closing words to the Colossians, “Remember my imprisonment” (Col. 4:18), were an appeal for prayer. It was the only means remaining by which the church could effectively support him.

If we have Christ’s example, who is not “a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15), how can we possibly ignore the hurts of others, especially those of fellow believers? Instead, sincere empathy should be a regular part of our service for the Lord.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray for a greater alertness and sensitivity to those you know who might be hurting.

For Further Study

Based on the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10:29-37, what are the essential attitudes and actions of a good neighbor?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Get Some Rest

As for me, I will continue beholding Your face in righteousness (rightness, justice, and right standing with You); I shall be fully satisfied, when I awake [to find myself] beholding Your form [and having sweet communion with You].

— Psalm 17:15 (AMPC)

Each evening the sun sets on all of our problems and on all of the mistakes we made that day. But something marvelous happens to us as we sleep—the Lord gives us rest physically, mentally, and emotionally. We are renewed and rejuvenated to face the next day.

Today we may wake up with the same problems we had when we went to bed, problems that yesterday we felt we just couldn’t take anymore. But somehow today, after proper rest and sleep, we think, I can do it; I can face it again. God promises to renew our strength when we rest in Him.

Prayer Starter: Lord, help me to turn all my troubles over to You so that I can rest physically and emotionally. I know You are working on my behalf, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Enlist God’s Aid through Prayer

Beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’

Matthew 14:30

Sinking times are praying times with the Lord’s servants. Peter neglected prayer at starting upon his venturous journey, but when he began to sink, his danger made him a suppliant, and his cry, though late, was not too late.

In our hours of bodily pain and mental anguish, we find ourselves as naturally driven to prayer as the wreck is driven upon the shore by the waves. The fox runs to its hole for protection; the bird flies to the wood for shelter; and even so the tried believer hastens to the mercy-seat for safety. Heaven’s great harbor of refuge is All-prayer; thousands of weather-beaten vessels have found a haven there, and the moment a storm comes on, it is wise for us to make for it with full sail.

Short prayers are long enough. There were but three words in the petition that Peter gasped out, but they were sufficient for his purpose. Not length but strength is desirable. A sense of need is a mighty teacher of brevity. If our prayers had less of the tail feathers of pride and more wing, they would be all the better. Verbiage is to devotion as chaff to the wheat. Precious things lie in small compass, and all that is real prayer in many a long address might have been uttered in a petition as short as that of Peter.

Our extremities are the Lord’s opportunities. Immediately a keen sense of danger forces an anxious cry from us, the ear of Jesus hears, and with Him ear and heart go together, and the hand does not long linger. At the last moment we appeal to our Master, but His swift hand makes up for our delays by instant and effectual action. Are we nearly engulfed by the boisterous waters of affliction? Let us then lift up our souls unto our Savior, and we may rest assured that He will not suffer us to perish. When we can do nothing, Jesus can do everything; let us enlist His powerful aid upon our side, and all will be well.

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 Is Immutable

“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6)

When was the last time you used the word immutable in a sentence? It probably wasn’t recently! But can you guess what immutable means?

If you guessed not changing, you’re right. If something is immutable, it is the same all the time. Of course, human beings (including you) are not immutable. Sometimes you do right, and sometimes you do wrong. You grow and you change. Your looks and likes change.

But God doesn’t change. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Think of it:

» The same God who created the universe listens to your prayers.
» The same God who protected Noah on the ark protects you.
» The same God who gave Moses the power to part the Red Sea gives you strength.
» The same God who gave Solomon wisdom gives you wisdom.

You know that the Bible is full of wonderful stories – true stories of battles and courage and love. And God weaves all these stories together to make one magnificent story of deliverance. But did you know that the same God who wrote these stories wants you to be part of His wonderful story?

God is not a myth (a character who existed in a pretend world). God is real; He really is the same God who has always been. And He is the God who will always be. Count on it: God will always be God. He is immutable.

If God did everything He said He did in the Bible, what do you think He wants to do for you? Maybe you should ask Him about it.

God never changes.

My Response:
» Am I depending on the same powerful God that Noah depended on, the same God that Moses and Solomon depended on?
» Am I depending on God to help me as much as He helped them?

Denison Forum – What we’re reading: “The Intolerance of Tolerance” by D. A. Carson

D. A. Carson, a distinguished theologian and author, got the idea for his book The Intolerance of Tolerance on the college lecture circuit.

Whenever he spoke on the subject, the crowds were large and the discussion lively. Eventually, as he continued to mull over the topic, he realized he had to put his thoughts into book form.

“It does not take much cultural awareness to see that the difficulties surrounding this subject are eating away at both Western Christianity and the fabric of Western culture,” he wrote.

In his view, a seemingly subtle shift in the way we define tolerance, from the old meaning of “accepting the existence of different views” to the new one of “accepting different views,” has had profound cultural implications.

“To accept that a different or opposing position exists and deserves the right to exist is one thing; to accept the position itself means that one is no longer opposing it,” he wrote. “The new tolerance suggests that actually accepting another’s position means believing that position to be true, or at least as true as your own. We move from allowing the free expression of contrary opinions to the acceptance of all opinions; we move from permitting the articulation of beliefs and claims with which we do not agree to asserting that all beliefs and claims are equally valid. Thus we slide from the old tolerance to the new.”

And anyone who believes in absolute truth is considered intolerant.

Why Christians should read “The Intolerance of Tolerance”

You will gain a greater understanding of why biblical truth is under assault and be better equipped to defend it.

The big takeaway

In this era of moral relativism, when your truth is considered just as valid as mine, tolerance is regarded as the supreme virtue.

In their own words

“This older view of tolerance makes three assumptions: (1) there is objective truth out there, and it is our duty to pursue that truth; (2) the various parties in a dispute think that they know what the truth of the matter is, even though they disagree sharply, each party thinking the other is wrong; (3) nevertheless they hold that the best chance of uncovering the truth of the matter, or the best chance of persuading most people with reason and not with coercion, is by the unhindered exchange of ideas, no matter how wrongheaded some of those ideas seem.”

“The new tolerance argues that there is no one view that is exclusively true. Strong opinions are nothing more than strong preferences for a particular version of reality, each version equally true.”’’

“Christians do think that Jesus is the only way to God. But does that make them intolerant? In the former sense of ‘intolerant,’ not at all; the fact remains, however, that any sort of exclusive truth claim is widely viewed as a sign of gross intolerance. But the latter depends absolutely on the second meaning of ‘tolerance.’”

Read the first chapter

http://www.denisonforum.org/