In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Why Do Believers Still Sin?

Though we are saved eternally, the flesh has potential to sin until our lifelong sanctification is complete.

Romans 7:14-25

Once we’re saved, it doesn’t take long to discover that we still sin. This can be confusing because 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away.” If that verse is true, why do we have the same old sin problem we had before following Christ?

In today’s passage, the apostle Paul describes this struggle in his own life and at one point says, “If I do the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me” (Rom. 7:20). 

Although we truly have been made new in our spirit, we continue to live in a fallen world and have a disposition toward sin. What we must understand is that our redemption, which began at salvation, will not be completed until Jesus returns and transforms these sinful bodies to be glorious like His own. (Phil. 3:20-21). 

At our conversion, we were set free from the penalty of sin, through justification. Now, through sanctification, we are being progressively delivered from the power of sin. But only when we are glorified will we be free from the presence of sin forever.  

Bible in One Year: Exodus 34-35 

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Our Daily Bread — True Happiness

Bible in a Year:

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.

Ecclesiastes 3:12

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Ecclesiastes 3:9–14

In the tenth century, Abd al-Rahman III was the ruler of Cordoba, Spain. After fifty years of successful reign (“beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies”), al-Rahman took a deeper look at his life. “Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call,” he said of his privileges. But when he counted how many days of genuine happiness he’d had during that time, they amounted to just fourteen. How sobering.

The writer of Ecclesiastes was also a man of riches and honor (Ecclesiastes 2:7–9), power and pleasure (1:12; 2:1–3). And his own life evaluation was equally sobering. Riches, he realized, just led to a desire for more (5:10–11), while pleasures accomplished little (2:1–2), and success could be due to chance as much as ability (9:11). But his assessment didn’t end as bleakly as al-Rahman’s. Believing God was his ultimate source of happiness, he saw that eating, working, and doing good could all be enjoyed when done with Him (2:25; 3:12–13).

“O man!” al-Rahman concluded his reflections, “place not thy confidence in this present world!” The writer of Ecclesiastes would agree. Since we’ve been made for eternity (3:11), earthly pleasures and achievements won’t satisfy by themselves. But with Him in our lives, genuine happiness is possible in our eating, working, and living.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

What do you turn to most to find happiness? How can you eat, work, and do good with God today?

Heavenly Father, today I will do all things with You by my side.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Bond of Peace

 “Being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

The key to peace in the church is selfless love.

People often delude themselves that there is peace when there is no real peace (Jer. 8:11). However, we can show the world that Jesus is the true peacemaker if we have a community of peaceful, loving, united believers. Others will realize then that Christ must be sent from God, because only God can make true, lasting peace.

“The bond of peace” is what holds our unity together. The Greek word translated “bond” refers to a belt. It pictures the Body of Christ being wrapped with the belt of peace, a peace that is born of love.

Our bond of peace is vital to our testimony. As Christians, we have “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1) and “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18), the privilege of telling others how they may have peace with God. If we don’t have peace among ourselves, why would unbelievers look to us to find peace with God?

The Corinthian church teaches us how not to have peace. Members would have a “love feast,” followed by Communion. Apparently, though, those who brought food gorged themselves and became drunk, leaving the poorer believers to go hungry (1 Cor. 11:17-22). Those gluttons not only dishonored the Lord but also hurt their fellow believers, causing resentment and conflict.

During their worship services, everyone wanted attention. Paul laments, “Each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation” (1 Cor. 14:26)—and they all wanted to speak at once. They weren’t interested in building up each other, only in being heard. The result was a loud, confusing mess.

The Corinthians’ disharmony was evident in different ways, but the root cause was the same: selfishness.

So where does peace come from? Selflessness, the primary characteristic of Christian love. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.” We must humble ourselves and focus on the needs of others. When that happens, there will be harmony and unity.

Suggestions for Prayer

Confess any selfishness, and ask God to help you grow in selfless love.

For Further Study

What does Romans 8:6 equate peace with? Memorize this verse during the next few days.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Gratitude Is the Fuel for Joy

Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks].

— 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (AMPC)

Just as the food we eat turns into energy for our bodies, gratitude is the fuel for joy. Ungrateful people only see and focus on what they do not have. Therefore, they are never able to be joyful in what they do have. One of the best habits you can develop is to begin each day with true gratitude. Be specific and thank God and people (when appropriate) for the blessings they provide. What are you thankful for? God tells us to be thankful and say so (Psalm 100:4 AMPC).

It is easy to find fault with your place of employment, but why not thank God and your employer for giving you a job instead? It is also easy to find fault with the people in our lives, and most of us are quite willing to voice our feelings. But I have found that my joy increases when I purposely find the things I appreciate and love about the people in my life and consider the blessings I would miss if those people were not part of my life.

Do you desire greater joy? If so, I encourage you to increase your gratitude, and it will turn into joy.

Prayer Starter Father, I have so much to be thankful for. Help me remember to be grateful and say so to You every single day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Great Marvels of Our God

And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

Luke 2:18

We must not cease to wonder at the great marvels of our God. It would be very difficult to draw a line between holy wonder and real worship; for when the soul is overwhelmed with the majesty of God’s glory, though it may not express itself in song or even utter its voice with bowed head in humble prayer, yet it silently adores.

Our incarnate God is to be worshiped as “the Wonderful.” That God should consider His fallen creature, man, and instead of sweeping him away with the broom of destruction should Himself undertake to be man’s Redeemer and to pay his ransom price is indeed marvelous!

But to each believer redemption is most marvelous as he views it in relation to himself. It is a miracle of grace indeed that Jesus should forsake the thrones and royalties above to suffer ignominiously below for you. Let your soul lose itself in wonder, for wonder is in this way a very practical emotion. Holy wonder will lead you to grateful worship and heartfelt thanksgiving.

It will cause within you godly watchfulness; you will be afraid to sin against such a love as this. Feeling the presence of the mighty God in the gift of His dear Son, you will put your shoes from off your feet, because the place whereon you stand is holy ground. You will be moved at the same time to glorious hope.

If Jesus has done such marvelous things on your behalf, you will feel that heaven itself is not too great for your expectation. Who can be astonished at anything when he has once been astonished at the manger and the cross? What is there wonderful left after one has seen the Savior? Dear reader, it may be that from the quietness and solitariness of your life you are scarcely able to imitate the shepherds of Bethlehem, who told what they had seen and heard, but you can at least fill up the circle of the worshipers before the throne by wondering at what God has done.

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’s Spirit Helps Us Know God

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:12)

Gordon’s best friend sometimes keeps secrets that he doesn’t want him to know. Gordon can’t read his mind, so he will never know those secrets. Nobody can know his friend’s mind except the friend himself (and God). Nobody knows God’s mind except for God.

So how are we ever supposed to know what God wants?

God has not given us the spirit of the world. If He gave us the spirit of the world we would never know what we need to know. God has given us the Spirit of God so we can know the mind of God. We will never know everything God knows, but we can know the things that are “given to us” from God. We can know everything we need to know.

God has given us knowledge about how to live, how to behave, how to treat our neighbors, and how to love each other. We can know how to help friends in need and how to respect our parents. God has “freely” given us all that knowledge.

God gave us the Spirit so we can know Him.

My Response:
» Do I act like I have the Spirit of God or the spirit of the world?

Denison Forum – Why should America care what happens in Ukraine?

NATO’s chief stated yesterday that the Western military alliance will send a written proposal to Moscow later this week to “try to find a way forward” amid growing tensions over Russia’s troop build-up on Ukraine’s border. He added that there is “still a diplomatic way out” of the growing crisis, but some NATO member countries are already putting forces on standby and sending additional ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe.

The second-largest nation on the European continent after Russia, Ukraine is roughly the size of Texas. It is surrounded by the Black Sea to the south, Russia to the east, Belarus to the north, Poland to the northwest, and Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova to the west. The territory has been ruled by various powers across its history, including Poland, Lithuania, the Ottoman Empire, and the Tsardom of Russia.

After World War II, the entire country became part of the Soviet Union. Ukraine gained its independence in 1991 after the dissolution of the USSR.

I have never been to Ukraine and don’t know anyone who has. The country is the second poorest in Europe and is only our sixty-seventh largest trading partner. According to the Department of Commerce, US exports to Ukraine support only an estimated five thousand jobs.

Why, then, should the US care what happens there? 

I am old enough to remember the Vietnam War; many Americans still do not understand why we defended a small nation on the other side of the world at the cost of more than fifty-eight thousand American lives. The US has put 8,500 troops on alert for possible deployment to Europe amid this crisis; what if one of them was your child or grandchild?

Why Ukraine matters to the US

At a press conference early this month, President Joe Biden stated that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be “the most consequential thing that’s happened in the world, in terms of war and peace, since World War II.” Analysts list these reasons why the US should be concerned:

One: An invasion could affect the global order. 

If Russia is allowed to invade, occupy, and annex its neighbor, “that’s an inherently very unstable international system, which will affect America’s security and its prosperity,” according to one geopolitical expert. Gas prices could spike and global commerce could be disrupted in significant ways.

Two: An invasion could spark a wider war. 

One foreign policy expert warns, “If the Russians succeed in reestablishing a sphere of influence or of dominating Ukraine, they won’t stop there. They will continue.” He believes Poland, Romania, and Slovakia could be next, all of which are NATO allies the US is sworn to defend. A successful invasion could also embolden Russia to be more aggressive in cyberattacks, election meddling, and influence campaigns designed to undermine Western democracies.

Three: Western credibility is on the line. 

The US has spent billions of dollars to help Ukraine build up its military defenses. NATO has warned that a Russian invasion would lead to devastating economic sanctions and additional shipments of weapons to Ukraine and other eastern European countries. If Russia successfully invades Ukraine, China and other adversaries will likely believe that the West is unwilling to defend its interests.

Four: Western security could be threatened. 

One of Vladimir Putin’s demands is that all nuclear weapons be removed from Europe, claiming that they constitute an offensive threat against his nation. If the US refuses, Russian officials indicate that he could counter by placing nuclear weapons in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba, within easy, short reach of American cities. A New York Times headline asks if this is a “Cuban Missile Crisis Redux?

Why Ukraine matters to Christians

We noted yesterday that 78 percent of Ukrainian adults, some thirty-five million people, are Orthodox Christians. Followers of Jesus everywhere should obviously be concerned about and praying for our sisters and brothers in this endangered country.

Christianity Today quotes the leader of one Ukrainian evangelical group: “Prayer is our spiritual weapon. God can undo what the politicians are planning.” Let’s make their “weapon” ours as well (cf. Ephesians 6:12).

In addition, Christians are called to care for hurting people anywhere and everywhere in the world. Unlike any other world religion, we worship a God who literally entered the human race and thus faced and felt every temptation, pain, and challenge we face (Hebrews 4:15).

He sent his followers to “heal every disease and every affliction” they encountered as they advanced his kingdom (Matthew 10:1). He then commissioned them to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19); nations translates ethnos, literally “people groups.” As a result, Christianity is the most global religion in human history. And it grows on the strength of its compassion for hurting people, remembering that what we do for those in need, we do for Jesus himself (Matthew 25:40).

What is true in Ukraine is true wherever you live today. Any problem or pain that is relevant to our Lord is relevant to his followers. Anyone he loves is someone we should love. And Jesus loves each of us as if there were only one of us (St. Augustine) and is praying for each of us right now with compassion and solidarity (cf. Romans 8:34).

“God’s solution for the ills of society”

Recent surveys show that millennials are “leading the shift away from organized religion” as they seek truth that seems more relevant to their personal lives and challenges. At the same time, studies demonstrate that young people value giving back to their communities in practical and relevant ways.

As a result, every problem Christians meet through intercession and personal engagement is an opportunity to show others the relevance of Jesus’ love and grace to our broken world.

Max Lucado writes: “When crowds of people came to Christ for healing, ‘One by one he placed his hands on them and healed them’ (Luke 4:40). Jesus could have proclaimed a cloud of healing blessings to fall upon the crowd. But he is not a one-size-fits-all Savior. He placed his hands on each one, individually, personally. Perceiving unique needs, he issued unique blessings.”

As a result, according to Lucado, “God’s solution for the ills of society is a quorum of unselfish, life-giving, God-loving folks who flow through the neighborhoods and businesses like cleansing agents, bringing in the good and flushing out the bad. They hail from all corners of the globe, reflect all hues of skin. Liberal, conservative, rural, metropolitan, young, old. Yet they are bound together by this amazing discovery: happiness is found by giving it away.”

How much happiness will you find today?

http://www.denisonforum.org/