All posts by broboinhawaii

Bible believing christian worshiping God in Hawaii

Charles Stanley – God’s Purpose

 

Romans 8:28-30

What is the purpose of life? Throughout human history, people have been trying to answer that question. Books have been written on the subject, and philosophers have postulated many answers. But for Christians, God’s purpose is concisely outlined in today’s passage.

Believers are called according to His purpose and are foreknown by Him. God’s foreknowledge is much more than His ability to see future events in advance. It also includes bringing to pass what He has chosen to do for those He has called. He has predestined them to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). This will be fully accomplished in the resurrection, but until then, God is progressively transforming His children right now. These are the ones He calls, justifies (declares righteous), and ultimately glorifies.

If you are a Christian, this is God’s purpose for you. That means everything He allows into your life is designed to shape you into a glorious reflection of Christ. Although you cannot fully understand how God brings about salvation and how believers are responsible to respond in faith, there is great comfort in knowing that He who began this good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6).

 

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 37-39

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Loving Others with Our Prayers

 

Bible in a Year:

This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

2 Corinthians 1:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Corinthians 1:8–11

“Are people still praying for me?”

That was one of the first questions a missionary asked his wife whenever she was allowed to visit him in prison. He had been falsely accused and incarcerated for his faith for two years. His life was frequently in danger because of the conditions and hostility in the prison, and believers around the world were earnestly praying for him. He wanted to be assured they wouldn’t stop, because he believed God was using their prayers in a powerful way.

Our prayers for others—especially those who are persecuted for their faith—are a vital gift. Paul made this clear when he wrote the believers in Corinth about hardships he faced during his missionary journey. He “was under great pressure,” so much that he “despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8). But then he told them God had delivered him and described the tool He’d used to do it: “We have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers” (vv. 10–11, emphasis added).

God moves through our prayers to accomplish great good in the lives of His people. One of the best ways to love others is to pray for them, because through our prayers we open the door to the help only God can provide. When we pray for others, we love them in His strength. There’s none greater or more loving than He.

By:  James Banks

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Re-imagining Life

“I shut my eyes in order to see,” said French painter, sculptor, and artist Paul Gauguin. As a little girl, though completely unaware of this insightful quote on imagination, I lived this maxim. Nothing was more exhilarating to me than closing my eyes in order to imagine far away exotic lands, a handsome prince, or a deep enough hole that would take me straight to China!

In fact, like many, imagination fueled my young heart and mind. After reading C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, I would walk into dark closets filled with warm winter coats fully expecting to be transported like the Pevensie children into strange, new worlds. Charlotte’s Web took me to a farm where I could talk to animals, like Fern to her pet pig Wilbur or to the spiders that hung from intricate webs in my garage. Pictures on the wall came to life and danced before me; ordinary objects became extraordinary tools enabling me to defeat all those imaginary giants and inspiring me toward endless possibility.

Sadly, as happens to many adults, my imagination has changed. I don’t often view my closet as a doorway to unseen worlds, nor do I pretend that my dogs understand one word of my verbal affection towards them. Pictures don’t come to life and I no longer pretend my garden rake or broom is a secret weapon against fantastical foes. Often, I feel that my imagination has become nothing more than wishful thinking. Rather than thinking creatively about the life I’ve been given, I daydream about what my life might be like if I lived in Holland, for example, or could backpack across Europe, or lived on a kibbutz, or was a famous actress, or a world-renowned tennis player, or any number of alternative lives to the one I currently occupy.

Sadly, the imagination so vital in my youth doesn’t usually infuse my life with creative possibility, but rather leads me only to wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. Mid-life regrets reduce imagination to restlessness and shrivel creative thinking to nothing more than unsettled daydreams. Rather than allowing my imagination to be animated by living into my creativity, I allow it to be tethered to worldly dreams of more, or better, or simply other. Like so many others, the all too familiar experience of unrealized dreams withers my imagination and feeds a world-weary cynicism.

The psalmist was not in a mid-life imaginative crisis when he penned Psalm 90. Nevertheless, this psalm attributed to Moses was a prayer to the God who can redeem imagination for our one life to live. Perhaps Moses wrote this psalm after an endless day of complaint from wilderness-weary Israelites. Perhaps it was written with regret that his violent outburst against the rock would bar him from entry into the Promised Land. Whatever event prompted its writing, it is a song sung in a minor key, with regret so great he feels consumed by God’s anger and dismayed by God’s wrath.(1)

Whether prompted by deep regret, disillusionment, or a creeping cynicism about reality, Moses reflects on the brevity of life. He compares it to the grass “which sprouts anew. In the morning it flourishes; toward evening it fades and withers away.”(2) Indeed, he concedes that a thousand years in God’s sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night. Before we know it, the psalmist concedes, our lives are past and what do we have to show for them? Have we lived creatively? Have we used our imagination to infuse our fleeting, one-and-only lives to bring forth anything that may offer beauty and blessing?

Imagination, like any other gift, has the potential for good or for ill. It has power to fill my one and only life with creative possibility, or it can become nothing more than wishful thinking, or nostalgia. As the psalmist laments, “All our days have declined…we have finished our years like a sigh.”

But imagination built upon a foundation of gratitude invites us to live our lives with hope and with possibility to imagine great things for our God-given lives. “So teach us to number our days that we may present to you a heart of wisdom” reminds all of the brevity of life and the importance of bringing that reality to the forefront of our imagination. Perhaps as we do, we might imagine ways to fill those brief days with possibility and wonder.

Margaret Manning Shull is a member of the writing and speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Bellingham, Washington.

(1) Psalm 90:7-8.
(2) Psalm 90:6.

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Joyce Meyer – Face the Truth and Find Freedom

But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth) …. — John 16:13 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Ending Your Day Right – by Joyce Meyer

Facing the truth about ourselves is a vital key to experiencing breakthrough and freedom. If you want to consistently live in new levels of victory, we need to remain open and receptive to the truth about ourselves.

This is not just a superficial acknowledgment of wrong thinking and behavior— it’s an open and honest recognition of your sin to God that brings an attitude of repentance, which is a willingness to go in the right direction.

It can be painful, but receiving the Holy Spirit’s direction and correction about your mindsets, motives, and methods of doing things will enable you to move beyond despair and experience a wonderful, deep fellowship with God. As you continue in His Word, the truth will set you free (see John 8:32).

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me be willing to face the truth about myself, no matter how much it might hurt. Thank You for always being there to help me grow and mature more and more every day. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Happiness for the Meek

 

“The meek and lowly are fortunate! for the whole wide world belongs to them” (Matthew 5:5).

When you think of the word “meek,” does the name Casper Milquetoast or some other similar figure come to your mind? True meekness in no sense means or implies spinelessness. In truth, genuine meekness is patience in the face of injuries, insults, abuse and persecution, whether physical or mental. It is not cowardice or a surrender of our rights. Rather it is the opposite of anger, malice, prejudice or resentment.

Meekness today is seen in the actions of believers who allow God to be their defense instead of making an effort to avenge real or imagined hurts. It is patience in the midst of extreme difficulties or humility under fire, as described in 1 Corinthians 13. It hardly even notices when others make a mistake.

Certainly this is one of the major characteristics of our Lord who claimed to be gentle and humble at heart. Matthew 11:28,29: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy- laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28,29, NAS).

The meek, like our Lord, are those who have remarkable, controlled strength and are calm and peaceful when all around there is confusion and chaos. These are the ones who will inherit the earth, who will be sought out as leaders. They are the ones who will help to build a better world.

Bible Reading: James 4:5-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Dear Lord, I pray that you will help me to be meek as You count meekness. Give me a right reaction to insult and injury, real or imagined, to demonstrate strength under control following the example of my Lord.

 

 

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Max Lucado – You are more

 

Listen to this Devotion

You are so much more than a few days between the womb and the tomb. Paul the Apostle says, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.  Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone” (Ephesians 1:11-12 MSG).

Above and around us God directs a grander saga, written by his hand, orchestrated by his will, and unveiled according to his calendar. Your life emerges from the greatest mind, the kindest heart in the history of the universe!  The mind and heart of God!  You are God’s idea.  And remember, God doesn’t have any bad ideas.

 

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Denison Forum – Why Candace Cameron Bure won’t return to “The View”: Two questions that can change your world

 

A gender reveal party sparked a wildfire that has grown to nearly ten thousand acres in California as of this morning. A woman died over the weekend while hiking amid a record-setting heatwave in the state. And at least 147 COVID-19 cases have been linked to a wedding reception in Maine.

In the midst of all the bad news, one Christian celebrity wants to focus on the good news.

Candace Cameron Bure was asked recently if she would ever reprise her role on the talk show The View. The actress chuckled and said, “No. I’m done with that chapter. I’m very grateful for that time in my life but I don’t want to talk about politics.” She explained: “Not because I don’t believe that my viewpoints and opinions are important, but I would much rather share Jesus with people. That’s really my passion.”

Notice that she doesn’t want to talk about religion or even Christianity, but about Jesus. That’s because Jesus is a real, living person, not just an idea or a worldview. He has changed her life, and she wants everyone to know that he can change their lives as well.

Over the Labor Day weekend, my wife and I watched A Rush of Hope, Greg Laurie’s marvelous and moving cinematic invitation to meet Jesus. After blending inspirational films and music about our Lord, the program then focused on the pastor as he explained who Jesus is and what he wants to do in our lives.

Laurie did what Candace Cameron Bure wants to do: share Jesus with people. In a broken world filled with disaster, disease, and despair, he is our only hope. Even more than we need a COVID-19 vaccine and solutions for the divisiveness of our day, we need to know him.

Not just about him. We need Jesus.

The danger of the Thomas theorem

Here’s our problem: secularization has convinced secular people that Jesus is merely an idea or historical figure they can ignore if they wish. Even Christians can fall for this deception, turning a personal relationship with their personal Lord into a religion about him they can observe on their terms.

Such decisions become tragically self-fulfilling.

In sociology, the Thomas theorem states: “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” For example, thousands of people over the Labor Day holiday refused to take precautions against the coronavirus pandemic. Their false belief that masks and social distancing are unnecessary will lead to very real consequences for them and for the rest of us as well.

Similarly, if like a majority of American adults you believe that Jesus is only a man, you will refuse the salvation only the Son of God can offer (cf. John 14:6). As a consequence, you will spend eternity separated from God and you will miss all that his divinity can do in your life today.

And if you believe that Christianity is about attending church and being religious, you will miss all that the living Lord Jesus wants to do in and through your life today.

The privilege of “unveiled encounters” with Jesus

Yesterday, we focused on the fact that God wants to use our temporal work for eternal purposes, noting with Oswald Chambers that “a river touches places of which its source knows nothing.”

Today, let’s focus on the work before the work.

Chambers encourages us to, “Never allow anything to come between yourself and Jesus Christ, no emotion or experience; nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.” When you are connected to the living Lord Jesus, “you will find that God has nourished in you mighty torrents of blessing for others.”

This is because, when we encounter Jesus, “we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Commenting on this astounding statement, Craig Denison notes: “When we spend time alone with God, the Holy Spirit longs to lead us into direct, tangible, and transformative encounters with the glory of God. Christian spirituality is all about direct connection with our heavenly Father and not about engaging in religious practices just because we feel we should.”

You might be thinking, But you don’t know my failures and mistakes. You don’t know all the ways I am unworthy to experience the holy God. You’re right. You are not worthy to experience God personally. Neither am I. This is one reason so many Christians settle for religion about God rather than an intimate relationship with him. It’s why we read the Bible, pray, and attend worship services, but when we’re done, we are the same as we were before we began.

Here’s the amazing good news: you do not have to be worthy to experience God, for he has made you worthy. As Craig explains, “The death of Christ has made unveiled encounters with God completely available to you whenever, wherever.”

Two questions that can change your world

All across the Gospels, whenever and wherever people chose to trust in Jesus and stepped into a personal relationship with him, he changed their lives. And he is still the same today as he was then (Hebrews 13:8).

As a result, let’s close with two questions.

First, when was the last time Jesus changed your life?

When we read the Bible with the prayer that Jesus would speak to us, he will. When we pray with the desire to speak to him and hear from him, he meets with us. When we worship for the purpose of connecting with the living Lord, we do. When we serve in submission to his calling and power, we experience him as we partner with him.

So, I’ll ask a second question: When next will Jesus change your life?

 

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Charles Stanley – Made in the Image of God

 

Genesis 1:26-27

In the beginning God created Adam and Eve in His image. That likeness, however, was soon marred by sin, and the ripple effect continues in humanity to this day. The Lord was gracious, however, and didn’t wipe out the human race; instead, He set in motion a redemptive plan to rescue anyone willing to repent.

Someday all who have trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation will be fully restored to God’s image. In the meantime, the heavenly Father is molding believers into the likeness of His Son. It’s a process that will continue until we each receive our new eternal body and, like a flawless mirror, reflect a true image of our Lord. But while we remain on earth, we are called to reveal Jesus to those in our sphere of influence.

Like any parent, God the Father is pleased to see His children maturing to look more like Christ, and to that end He continually works in us. Becoming more and more like Him should be our goal as well, because nothing can compare to the joy we will have when we eventually stand before God in heaven, fully restored to resemble Him.

 

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 34-36

 

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Our Daily Bread — Now, then Next

 

Bible in a Year:

He holds success in store for the upright.

Proverbs 2:7

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Proverbs 2:1–11

I recently attended a high school graduation during which the speaker provided a needed challenge for the young adults awaiting their diplomas. He mentioned that this was a time in their lives when everyone was asking them, “What’s next?” What career would they be pursuing next? Where would they be going to school or working next? Then he said that the more important question was what were they doing now?

In the context of their faith journey, what daily decisions would they be making that would guide them to live for Jesus and not for themselves?

His words reminded me of the book of Proverbs, which makes many pointed statements about how to live—now. For instance: practicing honesty, now (11:1); choosing the right friends, now (12:26); living with integrity, now (13:6); having good judgment, now (13:15); speaking wisely, now (14:3).

Living for God now, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, makes the decisions about what is next much easier. “The Lord gives wisdom; . . . He holds success in store for the upright, . . . he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones” (2:6–8). May God supply what we need for us to live by His guidelines now, and may He guide us into what’s next for His honor.

By:  Dave Branon

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Speechless

 

There are certain junctures in life when my pen stops moving, and my tangled thoughts seem to only find at their disposure fair-weathered words and deficient clichés. Trying to write a note of condolence, sending a thought of encouragement—sometimes even signing a birthday card—can stop me in my tracks. Looking for words in the midst of death and grief, or life and its best intensity, I often come up empty. Anything I might be able to scrape from my mind seems unbearably inadequate.

Nonetheless, I recognize that it is undoubtedly worse when during such times the words come easily. How do you, without difficulty, tell someone in the dregs of chemotherapy that you are sorry for them? How do you tell someone struggling with addiction to trust that things will work out, that goodness or grace, God or a higher power is with them? How do you offer anything to someone on the brink of death? How do you begin to put into words any sort of comfort that must be bigger than the sorrow—or even the abundance of life—your eyes can see? There are some words that just require our laboring over them, some truths that are too weighty to be tossed lightly into the laps of friend or enemy.

Yet, we do not always labor. Even Christians toss God’s wisdom as if it were something we could hold onto in the first place. I imagine, like Jesus among the Pharisees, God works to undo my well-worded mottos. I don’t understand the truth of incarnation just because I can quote John 3:16. And I can’t explain away the reality that life is hard or death is painful because I believe in the premise of resurrection. Whether our truth-tossing arises out of good intention or pride, Christ is always far more real than this. God will not allow ideas to remain as worthless idols—though shining or polished or well-meaning they are. Christ is more available than cliché, belief, or proverb. He is the living one our creeds will continue to speak of long after we live no more.

When the apostle Paul wrote that nothing can remove the love of Christ—neither “trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword”—he was referring to struggles that were dangerously real to him and the people to whom he was writing. He is insistent that God’s love is more enduring than famine or suffering, racism, cancer, or injustice. It is stronger than death, as unyielding as the grave. How do you put this in to words without trembling? How do we explain the crucifixion or the resurrection without falling to our knees in shock, in wonder, in speechless gratitude?

Stumbling over words to describe the hope we profess, we can be broken again by the mystery of it all and even our misplacing of it. We can be stopped by our loss of its realness, our overlooking of the immensity of Christ and the immovability of his love. Christ has died; Christ has risen; Christ will come again. In the silence of our tangled thoughts, the one behind the creeds calls to us over and above the words.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Joyce Meyer – Exceedingly, Abundantly, Above and Beyond

 

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]. — Ephesians 3:20 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day – by Joyce Meyer

Have you ever been praying about all the people who are hurting and had a strong desire to help every single one of them? I know I certainly have. In times like this I feel that my desire is bigger than my ability, and it is—but thankfully it isn’t bigger than God’s ability.

When the thing we’re facing in our life looms so huge in front of us that our mind goes “tilt,” we can remember to think with the mind of Christ. In the natural, many things seem impossible. But God wants us to believe for great things, make big plans, and expect Him to do things so amazing that our mouths hang open in awe.

God doesn’t usually call people who are capable; if He did, He wouldn’t get the glory. He frequently chooses those who, in the natural, feel as if they’re completely in over their heads, but who are ready to stand up and take bold steps of faith. They’ve learned the secret of staying close to God and trusting that His superabundant power will work in and through them.

When your desires seem overwhelmingly big and you don’t see how you can accomplish them, remember that even though you don’t know the way, you know the Way Maker!

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You so much for giving me desires that will help build Your kingdom. Help me trust You to lead, guide and strengthen me for each step of the process of seeing those dreams come to pass. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Supernatural Power of God’s Love

 

“For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39, KJV).

More than anything else, I was drawn to Christ because of His love for me. The Bible says that Christ proved His supernatural love for us by coming “to die for us while we were still sinners.”

Because of that great love, which draws me to Him and causes me to want to please Him and to love Him in return, I learned how to love supernaturally. In more than 30 years of counseling thousands of people about interpersonal conflicts, I do not know of a single problem that could not have been resolved if those involved had been willing to accept and respond to God’s love for them, and to love others as an act of the will by faith, as God commands.

Such a statement may sound simplistic and exaggerated, yet I make it after carefully reviewing in my mind all kinds of conflicts between husbands and wives, parents and children, neighbors, friends and enemies.

Think of it! Christ’s forgiveness is so great and compassionate that He will not allow anything or anyone to condemn us or separate us from His supernatural love. Even though He is “holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens,” He still loves and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. He gives us absolute assurance that nothing can ever “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Bible Reading: Romans 8:32-37

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I determine to express my gratitude to God for His great love for me by loving Him in return and by loving by faith everyone with whom I have contact today. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I will demonstrate that love by gracious acts of the will.

 

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Max Lucado – Let Jesus Heal You

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Would you like Jesus to heal you?  Then, ask Him. The four Gospels detail approximately 36 miracles and reference even more.  He changed water into wine, calmed more than one storm, restored sight to more than one blind man. Yet Jesus never grandstanded his miraculous powers. He performed miracles for two reasons–  to prove his identity and to help his people. Can you imagine the testimonies if you were a part of the crowd he fed, one of the dead he raised, or one of the sick he healed?

The church exploded like a fire on a West Texas prairie. Why? Because Jesus healed people. Why not let him heal you? You can be sure that, in the right time and in the right way, Jesus will respond.

Read more God is With You Every Day

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Denison Forum – An attorney visited a jeweler and received a new kidney: The power of working on purpose

 

Aaron Wiley and his wife Erleigh went to his favorite jeweler in May to get her diamond necklace upgraded. Their jeweler, Jennifer Pratt of JPratt Designs, helped them select a new motif for her necklace. The next day, Jennifer offered them something else: her kidney.

During their design appointment, she asked Aaron if he would like a glass of water. Erleigh said, “He can’t have any more water—he’s on dialysis and has to restrict his intake.” She had donated a kidney to her husband in 2008, but it failed in 2017 and he had been forced to live on dialysis. Aaron, a private practice attorney, continued to work, timing his travel schedule around four-hour dialysis treatments every other night.

Jennifer told a reporter that when she learned of Aaron’s plight, “I went home and told my husband, ‘I’m going to try and give Aaron my kidney.'” She added: “We were living a peaceful life, drinking wine and enjoying the pool in our backyard, and Aaron was in dialysis three or four times a week. I thought, ‘This is something I can do to fix that problem. I can make life better for him.'”

Rigorous testing showed she was a perfect match. On August 25, she gave one of her kidneys to Aaron during a four-hour transplant surgery at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, where she and the Wileys live.

She and Aaron are now recovering at home. Erleigh says, “Jennifer is proof that there truly are angels on Earth. She’s a person of action who never wavered. We’ll never be able to thank her enough.”

Partnering with our Maker 

Labor Day is the first Monday in September. According to the US Department of Labor, this day is “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” Some of these achievements are obvious and immediate. Other work creates outcomes we cannot measure on this side of eternity.

Every person Aaron Wiley helps as an attorney and influences as a person will be an extension of Jennifer Pratt’s selfless gift to him. As is every person who learns their story, including you and me today.

That’s the way work works.

God put the first man in the garden of Eden “to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). The Hebrew word translated “work” means to cultivate and improve. The word translated “keep” means to guard and nurture. Taking these verbs together, we learn that we are called to partner with the Creator of the universe by developing and protecting his creation.

Tragically, the Fall made this calling much more difficult and painful than it was originally designed to be (Genesis 3:17–19). As a result, it is easy to view work as an unfortunate but necessary means to an end. We work to make enough money to do what we want to do with the time when we’re not working. Many work during the week so they can live on the weekends.

This is the wrong way to view work.

Two reasons to sew clothes for a baby 

Philosopher Simone Weil believed that people need to work not only for income but also for the experience of work itself. In her view, we were not created for lives of idle pleasure. It is through work that people contribute to the lives of others. Work reminds us that we are part of something greater and provides a larger purpose for our lives.

She wrote of the calling to serve others: “Anyone whose attention and love are really directed toward the reality outside the world recognizes at the same time that he is bound, both in public and private life, by the single and permanent obligation to remedy, according to his responsibilities and to the extent of his power, all the privations of soul and body which are liable to destroy or damage the earthly life of any human being whatsoever.”

In other words, we are called to work to reverse the Fall. The more difficult the work, the more urgently it is needed. The sicker the patient, the more necessary the doctor.

Remembering that our work has a larger purpose than we know gives purpose to our work. For example, Weil asked us to imagine that two women are sewing clothes for a baby. One is pregnant and thinks about the unborn child for whom she is working. The other is a convict engaged in prison labor.

Each seems to be doing the same work, “but a whole gulf of difference lies between one occupation and the other.”

“Rivers of living water” 

On this Labor Day, I hope you’ll take some time to reflect on your labor. Is your work an unfortunate but necessary means to an end? Or do you see your work as your kingdom assignment, your unique way of loving your Lord and your neighbor?

It may be that, like Jennifer Pratt, you will meet someone in the midst of your labors this week whose life you can change with your service. Or it may be that your work will touch lives you will not meet on this side of eternity.

Oswald Chambers noted that “God rarely allows a soul to see how great a blessing he is.” This is because, as Chambers observed, “A river touches places of which its source knows nothing.”

If you will stay close to your Source, the Lord Jesus, “out of [your] heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38).

So, here’s the vital question we should ask ourselves on behalf of everyone for whom we work, whether we know them or not: How close are we to our Source today?

 

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Charles Stanley – Whom Will You Serve?

 

1 Kings 18:17-40

During the days of King Ahab, Israel was pulled in two directions. Ahab had instituted Baal worship, but Elijah challenged Israel to follow God. When He pressed the people to make up their minds about whom to serve, they were speechless.

The Old Testament presents idolatry as a serious issue, but in this modern civilized world worship of idols seems archaic and irrelevant. However, we are sometimes just like the Israelites—we can’t make up our minds about whom to serve.

If something or someone has higher value and priority to us than Christ, we are trying to serve two masters, which Jesus says is impossible. We will end up loving one and hating the other (Matt. 6:24). God’s generous gifts of relationships, possessions, and meaningful work should never be cherished more than the Giver.

The way your time is used reveals your heart’s priorities. Is a part of each day devoted to God, or is every minute consumed by the demands of life? Or consider the area of dependence. Is there anyone or anything you rely on more than God? If so, it’s time to stop straddling the fence and give your life wholly to God.

 

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 15-17

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — A Great Work

 

Bible in a Year:

“I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”

Nehemiah 6:3

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Nehemiah 6:1–4

The security guard found and removed a piece of tape that was keeping a door from clicking shut. Later, when he checked the door, he found it had been taped again. He called the police, who arrived and arrested five burglars.

Working at the Watergate building in Washington, DC, the headquarters of a major political party in the US, the young guard had just uncovered the biggest political scandal of his lifetime simply by taking his job seriously—and doing it well.

Nehemiah began rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem—a task he took very seriously. Toward the end of the project, neighboring rivals asked him to meet with them in a nearby village. Under the guise of a friendly invitation was an insidious trap (Nehemiah 6:1–2). Yet Nehemiah’s response shows the depth of his conviction: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (v. 3).

Although he certainly possessed some authority, Nehemiah may not have rated very high on the hero scale. He wasn’t a great warrior, not a poet or a prophet, not a king or a sage. He was a cupbearer-turned-contractor. Yet he believed he was doing something vital for God. May we take seriously what He’s given us to do and do it well in His power and provision.

By:  Glenn Packiam

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I’m at an age in life when enough of it has passed that I can make some comparisons. The last five to ten years have been strange. I recently read some essays by Timothy Garton Ash about the period he calls the decade with “no name”—the turn of the millennium to the present. It is indeed a decade in which we have seen some extraordinary events, some dreadful acts of violence, an ongoing range of catastrophes, and some of the worst economic and moral failures that burst the bubble of unending prosperity and further shuttered confidence in many of our institutions.

Many years ago, the Czech writer Milan Kundera wrote of “the unbearable lightness of being.” Like many others, he sensed the hollowing out of existence, the thinning out of life, the emptying of meaning that seems to occur under modern conditions. One friend of mine calls this “cultural vaporization.” The thing is, this is not some vague idea or esoteric notion. It is a description of how life is really being perceived.

Some today seem convinced that the point of life is that there is no point. We face what Nietzsche call “Das Nichte”—or, the nothing. Our public philosophy tells us that we are the result of blind force plus chance and/or necessity. Yet our movies are filled with romantic longings, visions of other worlds, the hunger for transcendence, and love stories from other worlds where there is a greater unity of life and being. In other words, we face a massive contradiction between what one set of experts tells us is real and what many artists compel us to hope for and reflect on. And somewhere in the middle are our own, normal, day-to-day lives—lives presently struggling to survive and make sense of a pandemic.

 

Chance and choice: is that it? Does all of life come down to this? A roll of the dice, the power of freedom, and the lottery of life? Many centuries ago, an honest voice cried, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Why? He was reflecting on life. He was seeking happiness. He sought justice, he sought satisfaction, he sought the meaning of it all. And his journey was conducted under the sun—in other words, he looked at life from within life. It was as Derek Kidner called it “a world without windows.”

However, his observations do not end there. This book opens us to another perspective, one in which there is a God, and a God that sees, knows, and acts. The book does not descend into some simple resolution of life’s hard problems nor its on-going ambiguities. But what it does do is add something. It adds a presence, it includes a perspective, it invites reflection: If there is more to life than meets the eye, more than can be measured or managed by the senses, then this indeed makes a big difference today.

With such a difference, weight or weightiness would be restored. Absence would be filled, space would be occupied, and meaninglessness confronted. As Nietzsche wrote, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” This is a far cry from the new atheists who invite us to shed the childish and wicked delusions of whys and hows and accept emptiness. But what if when the God who is there and is not silent is a God of grace, a God of love, and a God of justice? To those empty, confused, suffering, or seeking, the unbearable lightness of being can be met in the abundance of his fullness, a gift by the way of grace, not effort!

Stuart McAllister is global support specialist at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

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http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – Come Close

 

Come close to God and He will come close to you…. — James 4:8 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Hearing from God Each Morning – by Joyce Meyer

Exercising our bodies and caring for our souls takes time and effort. Our emotions need to be tended to, we need to have fun and be entertained sometimes, and we need to enjoy being with other people. Our minds need to grow and be renewed daily. We also have a spiritual nature that needs attention. To stay balanced and healthy, we must take time to take care of our whole being—body, soul (mind + will + emotions), and spirit.

I believe intimacy with God is also a matter of time. We may think we don’t have time to seek God, but the truth is that we take time for what’s most important to us. Even though we have to fight distractions every day, if knowing God and hearing from Him is important to us, then we will find the time to do it, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time.

I want to encourage you: Don’t try to work God into your schedule, but instead work your schedule around your time with Him. As you do that, you’ll begin to reap the benefits of more closeness with Him than you ever thought you could have.

Prayer Starter: Lord, please help me be intentional in my quiet times with You; I want to put You first in my time. Thank You in advance for giving me the grace to grow, and for coming closer to me as I come close to You. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Matter of the Will

 

“If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself” (John 7:17, KJV).

At the conclusion of an address I gave at M.I.T., a skeptical young man approached me. He said, “I am a scientist. I can’t believe anything that I can’t see. I must be able to go into the laboratory and test a proposition or a theory. I must prove its authenticity before I will believe and accept.

“Religion,” he said, “is a matter of faith. It has no substance and, as far as I’m concerned, no validity.”

I turned to the seventh chapter of John, verse 17 – our Scripture portion for today – and asked him to read it aloud.

“Do you understand what Jesus is saying here?” I asked.

“Well, I’m not sure,” he replied. “What is your point?”

“Your problem is not your intellect, but your will. Are you willing to do what God wants you to do? Are there relationships in your life that you’re not willing to surrender in order to do the will of God? Are there moral problems, problems of integrity that you are not willing to relinquish?”

An odd expression came over his countenance.

“How did you know?” Then he said, “I’d like to talk to you privately.” Later, as we sat together alone, he poured out his heart to me. He said, “I know that what you’re saying is true. I know that there’s a God in heaven, and I know that Jesus Christ is His Son and that He died on the cross for me.

“But,” he said, “there is sin in my life. I have been living with a young woman without the benefit of marriage for the last couple of years. Today you have exposed me for what I really am – a fraud, a sham, a hypocrite, and I want with God’s help to terminate my present relationship with this young woman and receive Christ into my life.”

I am happy to report that, soon after, he and the young woman both surrendered their lives to Christ and were married. Together they are making their lives count for the glory of God.

Bible Reading: John 7:14-18

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will confess – and turn from – all known sin that keeps me from knowing and doing the will of God. I will also share this message with others.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Jesus Knows the Value of Every Creature

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Denalyn and I have been married over 35 years. We no longer converse; we communicate in code. She walks into the kitchen while I’m making a sandwich. “Denalyn?” I ask.  “No, I don’t want one,” she says. I’ll open the refrigerator and stare for a few moments. “Denalyn?”  She’ll answer, “Mayo is on the top shelf; pickles on the door.”  She knows me better than anyone.  She is the authority on Max!

How much more does Jesus know God?  When Jesus says in Matthew 10:31, “You are worth more than many sparrows,” you can trust him.  He knows the value of every creature.  And when Jesus says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions,” you can count on it.  He knows; He has walked them. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish…” (John 3:16).  When Jesus speaks about God, he is the ultimate authority. Trust him!

Read more 3:16: The Numbers of Hope

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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