In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Relying on Christ

Instead of focusing on our self-esteem, let’s rely on Jesus in our inadequacy.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Our world emphatically proclaims the importance of self-esteem, which is a favorable impression of oneself. It’s not unusual to hear that an individual who values himself will accomplish much. Yet Scripture warns us not to think too highly of ourselves (Rom. 12:3). We should have far greater confidence in Christ than in ourselves.

Despite his impressive credentials (Phil. 3:4-5), Paul knew he was inadequate to complete the ministry God gave him. In fact, today’s passage says that when preaching the gospel to the Corinthians, he came in fear and trembling (1 Cor. 2:3). His message wasn’t delivered with self-confidence but in complete reliance upon the Spirit. And that’s exactly how we should live as well. 

When we rely on God’s power instead of our own abilities, He produces supernatural boldness in us. Even in the midst of difficulty, we can live with confidence because the indwelling Spirit of the living God enables us to follow Him. He directs and strengthens us in every situation as we humble ourselves in dependence upon Him.

Are you facing situations that make you feel inadequate? Instead of shrinking back, consider them as opportunities to put your confidence in the Lord. You can trust the One who is your Creator, Redeemer, and Friend. 

Bible in One Year: Exodus 7-9 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Love’s Greatest Gift

Bible in a Year:

We all, like sheep, have gone astray.

Isaiah 53:6

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Isaiah 53:1–6

My son Geoff was leaving a store when he saw an abandoned walking frame (a mobility aid) on the ground. I hope there isn’t a person back there who needs help, he thought. He glanced behind the building and found a homeless man unconscious on the pavement.

Geoff roused him and asked if he was okay. “I’m trying to drink myself to death,” he responded. “My tent broke in a storm, and I lost everything. I don’t want to live.”

Geoff called a Christian rehabilitation ministry, and while they waited for help, he ran home briefly and brought the man his own camping tent. “What’s your name?” Geoff asked. “Geoffrey,” the homeless man answered, “with a G.” Geoff hadn’t mentioned his own name or its uncommon spelling. “Dad,” he told me later, “that could have been me.”

Geoff once struggled with substance abuse himself, and he helped the man because of the kindness he’d received from God. Isaiah the prophet used these words to anticipate God’s mercy to us in Jesus: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

Christ, our Savior, didn’t leave us lost, alone, and hopeless in despair. He chose to identify with us and lift us in love, so that we may be set free to live anew in Him. There’s no greater gift.

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

Where would you be without Jesus? How can you be His hands and feet for someone in need?

Thank You, Jesus, for coming to rescue me. Help me to join in Your search-and-rescue mission and to share Your love with someone who needs You today.

Read Remade in the Image of Jesus .

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Righteous Anger

“Walk . . . with all . . . gentleness” (Ephesians 4:1-2).

Our anger must be under control and should occur only for the right reason.

After the previous lesson, you might think that Christians must always be quiet and passive, never getting upset or angry about anything. Actually, believers do have the right to get angry, but only under certain conditions. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” So there is a certain kind of anger that isn’t sinful. It must be under control, and it must be resolved expeditiously.

Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.” Someone who is out of control is vulnerable. He falls into every temptation, failure, and weakness. On the other hand, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (16:32). One who rules his spirit has power and energy, but it’s under control. That same power and energy out of control creates nothing but chaos and sinfulness. Those who are easily angered are not gentle.

Gentle people, on the other hand, control their energies and strengths, but they do have a tough side. They don’t back away from sin or cease to condemn evil. Since the gentle person submits himself to God, he becomes angry over things that offend God, not himself. If someone offends him personally, he doesn’t seek revenge. But when God is maligned, the lion in him roars. Such anger is called righteous indignation. Under God’s control, anger reacts when it ought to react, for the right reason, and for the right amount of time.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask forgiveness if you are apt to get angry for the wrong reasons. Commit yourself to being gentle when you ordinarily would flare up in anger. If you don’t get angry when you see evil, ask God to make you sensitive to what He hates.

For Further Study

  • At the very time Moses was receiving God’s Law on Mount Sinai, the Israelites were involved in idolatry and debauchery. Read Exodus 32. What was Moses’ reaction to their sin?
  • Did he hold a grudge against them (vv. 31-32)?
  • How can Moses’ example be a pattern for your life?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Take Control of Your Anger

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, he who rules his [own] spirit than he who takes a city.

— Proverbs 16:32 (AMPC)

This verse illustrates the power of controlling your anger. God gave us self-control (see Galatians 5:23) to monitor our mouths, thoughts, passions, emotions, and tempers, yet many people don’t know that controlling their emotions is an option. They think the way they feel must dictate their actions. When they get mad, they let the feeling of anger decide how long they will stay angry, and all the while it is stealing their joy from them. In Scripture, we read about Absalom, who held on to his anger for two years, allowing it to build until he ended up killing his own brother (see 2 Samuel 13). 

You need to know that with God’s help, you can get over your anger. Study the Word about anger and the importance of forgiving those who hurt you and pray and ask God to give you grace and strength to forgive (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). Don’t let anger shut down the power of God in your life. 

Power Thought: I forgive quickly and never allow emotion to rule my actions.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me get control over my anger and lean on You and Your Word, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Be Wise Unto Salvation

He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:27

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus had a most profitable journey. Their companion and teacher was the best of tutors, the interpreter one of a thousand, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The Lord Jesus condescended to become a preacher of the Gospel, and He was not ashamed to exercise His calling before an audience of two persons. Neither does He now refuse to become the teacher of even one. Let us court the company of so excellent an Instructor, for till He is made unto us wisdom we shall never be wise unto salvation.

This unrivaled tutor used as His class-book the best of books. Although able to reveal fresh truth, He preferred to expound the old. He knew by His omniscience what was the most instructive way of teaching, and by turning at once to Moses and the prophets, He showed us that the surest road to wisdom is not speculation, reasoning, or reading human books, but meditation upon the Word of God. The readiest way to be spiritually rich in heavenly knowledge is to dig in this mine of diamonds, to gather pearls from this heavenly sea. When Jesus Himself sought to enrich others, He mined in the quarry of Holy Scripture.

The favored pair were led to consider the best of subjects, for Jesus spoke of Jesus and expounded the things concerning Himself. Here the diamond cut the diamond, and what could be more admirable? The Master of the House unlocked His own doors, conducted the guests to His table, and placed His own choice foods upon it. He who hid the treasure in the field Himself guided the searchers to it. Our Lord would naturally discourse upon the sweetest of topics, and He could find none sweeter than His own person and work. With an eye to these we should always search the Word. O for grace to study the Bible with Jesus as both our teacher and our lesson!

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 a Tenderhearted Father

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.” (Psalm 103:13)

One day Laurie and her sister Caroline came home from school, and both of their parents met them at the door. Their dad never came home from work in the middle of the day. They knew something must be wrong.

“Girls,” said their dad without his usual smile, “I have some sad news. Your grandpa died this morning.”

They sat down on the couch, their daddy in the middle with an arm around each of them. And Laurie and Caroline cried. Caroline looked up finally and noticed a tear rolling down her daddy’s cheek. She could hardly believe her eyes! She had never seen her daddy cry before. “He must really miss Grandpa too,” she thought. Later she realized that her dad was crying, not just because he missed Grandpa. He was crying for his daughters because they were sad.

Did you know that God is just as tenderhearted as a loving father? He feels every painful thing that you feel. He wants you to draw near to Him and let Him comfort you.

Maybe you do not have an earthly father in your home protecting, providing, and tenderly caring for you. God wants you to enjoy that special father-child relationship with Him alone. He promises in His Word to be a Father to the fatherless child (Psalm 68:5).

God is a tenderhearted Father who shares His children’s griefs and longs to comfort them.

My Response:
» Have I become God’s child by faith in His Son, Jesus Christ?
» Do I go to my heavenly Father when I need comfort?

Denison Forum – 28 murdered, 57 houses destroyed in Jihadist attack on South Sudanese Christians

At roughly eleven years old, South Sudan is the youngest country in the world. The Christian-majority nation gained independence from Muslim-majority Sudan in 2011 but has seen little peace in the years since. 

In recent months, jihadists have made a more concerted effort to expand their influence in the area. As Bishop Joseph Mamer Manot relayed to the Barnabus Fund earlier this month, “massive displacement has happened, and the humanitarian situation is alarming as food and other property have been burned down into ashes, leaving survivors with no shelters, no food and no safe drinking water.”

After a recent attack left twenty-eight dead and fifty-seven homes destroyed, a Christian from the area added that “Islam is now invading South Sudan. They’re saying South Sudan is a strategic place and that [it] will be the gate to Africa [so that] Islam can go to all of Africa.” Located in Central Africa, South Sudan shares borders with Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, the DRC, and the Central African Republic. 

That the jihadists’ goal is not simply to persecute Christians is an important component of what’s going on. 

Geography often has as much to do with these attacks as religion. For example, the atrocities committed by Boko Haram and the Fulani Herdsmen against Christians in Nigeria—located roughly 1,500 miles due west from South Sudan—are as much about conflicting ways of life and land as they are about their spiritual differences. At the same time, it is far less likely that those recently killed in South Sudan would be dead if they were Muslims, so the religious component should by no means be dismissed. 

I bring all of this up today, though, for two reasons. 

Praying for the persecuted

First, we can intercede for our persecuted brothers and sisters far more effectively when we understand more about the nature of what they’re facing. 

It’s one thing to pray that God would protect them and bring their attackers to justice. But our hearts and minds engage with their suffering on another level when we know enough about them to better empathize with what they’re going through. 

Taking the time to prayerfully research the events and people about whom we pray will add a level of depth to our intercession and help them remain on our hearts and minds longer than if we simply pray and then go on with our day. Those suffering from the threats of death, starvation, and homelessness deserve that from us. 

And that is true for the tragedies we see closer to home as well, which leads to the second purpose. 

As threats of persecution and discrimination increase closer to home, we must become even more intentional about modeling Christ’s care and concern to those suffering elsewhere.

The human mind has a finite capacity for worry and distress. As the causes for such emotions increase at home, we will have to be more intentional about paying attention to the needs God puts on our hearts and minds from other places as well. It’s not that our hearts won’t still break for the persecuted Christians in South Sudan, but we’re likely to move on much faster than when we had more margin. 

When we get to that point and it feels like we just don’t have the words or energy that our brothers and sisters in Christ deserve, remember that God doesn’t evaluate our prayers by how long they are or how impressive others might find them (Matthew 6:7). And his word promises that when we go to him in prayer, the Spirit will intercede on our behalf, ensuring that God doesn’t need words to understand what’s in our heart (Romans 8:26–27). 

So the next time you see or read something that prompts you to pray, take the time to learn more about the people for whom you are interceding. 

And when it feels like you just don’t have the energy or the words to do justice to their needs, remember that we never pray alone. Find peace and reassurance in the fact that the Spirit prays alongside us, and that God knows what’s in our hearts and minds even when we can’t fully express it.

http://www.denisonforum.org/