Max Lucado – It’s Not Up to You

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

None of us pray as much as we should, but all of us pray more than we think, because the Holy Spirit turns our sighs into petitions and our tears into entreaties.  He makes sure you get heard!

Now, suppose a person never learns about the sealing and the intercession of the Holy Spirit. This person may assume that salvation security resides in our works, not God’s; and that the power of prayer depends upon our prayer and not the prayers of the Spirit. What kind of life will this person lead?  A parched and prayerless one.  But what if you believe in the work of the Spirit?  Will you be different as a result? You bet your sweet Sunday you will. Your shoulders will lift and your knees will bend as you discover the buoyant power of praying in the Spirit. A higher walk…deeper prayers.  And most of all, a quiet confidence that comes from knowing it’s not up to you!

Read more Grace for the Moment II

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – Comedian ridicules wounded veteran

It took Pete Davidson twenty-five seconds to offend millions of Americans. The Saturday Night Live “comedian” was making fun of political candidates last weekend when he came to Dan Crenshaw, a Republican candidate for Congress from Texas.

Crenshaw is a former Navy SEAL who served five deployments overseas. In 2012, he was hit by an IED blast in Afghanistan. His right eye was destroyed in the blast and his left eye was severely damaged.

After several difficult surgeries, Lieutenant Commander Crenshaw eventually regained sight in his left eye. He deployed twice more, to the Middle East in 2014 and South Korea in 2016.

He was medically retired in September 2016 after ten years in the SEAL Teams. He was decorated with two Bronze Stars (one for Valor), the Purple Heart, and the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor. He then completed his master’s degree in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is now running for Congress in the Houston district where he grew up.

Davidson, commenting on the patch Crenshaw wears over his damaged right eye, made a remark about the veteran that is so offensive I won’t repeat it here. Crenshaw replied on Twitter: “Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – Comedian ridicules wounded veteran

Charles Stanley –Maintaining Church Unity

 

Philippians 2:1-2

Churches all around the world experience brokenness. Christians are divided over a whole range of things, such as whether the service should be contemporary or traditional. Paul points out that unity is crucial to achieving our purpose. So how is that possible when a disagreement arises?

It all depends on what the difference of opinion is about. The fundamental tenets of the faith (for example, that Jesus is the Son of God, who died for our sins and rose again) are not negotiable. However, if the dispute has to do with a nonessential issue—such as a hair-splitting interpretation of doctrine—some prayerful discussion in love is acceptable, but believers should not let it cause division. In cases like this, a consensus is likely to leave some people disappointed with the results. Yet both sides should be willing to accept differences without strife.

Years ago, I was at a rural Southern church whose congregation was divided into obvious sides. The factions were essentially separate churches. Instead of addressing lots of fringe issues, I simply began to preach the Word. Over time, people who hadn’t talked to one another in years began to unite. Why? The church is the body of Jesus Christ (Col. 1:24), so He can bring us together.

People selfishly believe their preferences are better than others’ opinions, and in human strength, there’s nothing we can do to mend our differences. But it pleases God when we sacrifice our desires for the greater good of a unified church. And obedience ultimately gives greater joy than getting our way.

Bible in One Year: John 12-13

 

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Our Daily Bread — Wisdom’s Source

 

Read: 1 Kings 3:16–28 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 34–36; Hebrews 2

Give your servant a discerning heart. 1 Kings 3:9

A man filed a lawsuit against a woman, claiming she had his dog. In court, the woman said her dog couldn’t be his and told the judge where she had purchased it. The real owner’s identity was revealed when the judge released the animal in the courtroom. Tail wagging, it immediately ran to the man!

Solomon, a judge in ancient Israel needed to settle a somewhat similar issue. Two women each claimed to be the mother of the same baby boy. After considering both arguments, he requested a sword to divide the infant in half. The real mother begged Solomon to give the baby to the other woman, choosing to save her son’s life even if she could not have him (1 Kings 3:26). Solomon gave the baby to her.

Wisdom is necessary as we decide what’s fair and moral, right and wrong. If we truly value wisdom, we can ask God for a discerning heart, like Solomon did (v. 9). God may answer our request by helping us balance our needs and desires with the interests of others. He may also help us weigh short-term benefits against long-term (sometimes eternal) gains so we can honor Him in how we live.

Our God is not only a perfectly wise judge, but He is also a personal counselor who is willing to give us godly wisdom in great amounts (James 1:5).

I worship You, God, as the true source of wisdom. Please show me how to make choices that bring honor to Your name.

Need wisdom? Seek it from the Source who alone can provide it—God.

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Unobscured

 

A trend continues to take place in the online world of anonymity. Several websites offer the opportunity to air one’s darkest secrets. Visitors put into words the very thing they have spent a lifetime wanting no one to know about themselves. While visiting, they can also read the long-hidden confessions of others, and recognize a part of humanity that is often as obscured as their own secrets—namely, I am not the only one with a mask, a conflicted heart, a hidden skeleton. “Every single person has at least one secret that would break your heart,” one site reads.  “If we could just remember this, I think there would be a lot more compassion and tolerance in the world.” Elsewhere, one of these sites made news recently when one of its anonymous users posted a cryptic message seemingly confessing to murder, catching the attention of Chicago Police.(1)

So often the world of souls seems to move as if instinctively to the very things asked of us by a sagacious God. The invitation to confess is present in the oldest stories of Scripture. After his defiance of God’s request, Adam is asked two questions that invite an admission of his predicament; first, “Where are you?” and later, “Who told you that you were naked?” God similarly inquires of Cain after the murder of Abel, “Where is your brother?” Through centuries of changing culture and the emerging story of faith, this invitation to confess is given consistently. “Therefore confess your offenses to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed,” writes the author of James 5:16. A similar thought is proclaimed in 1 John 1:7. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” Perhaps the call to transparency is not from a God who delights in the impoverishment of his subjects, but a God who knows our deepest needs.

The hope of an online confessional brings us one step nearer to meeting the need of bringing what is hidden to light, and it is commendable that so many are giving in to the impulse to explore the ancient gift of confession. But perhaps such an impulse to haul the truth from obscurity is worthy of something even greater than anonymity. Light is not meant to be kept in shadows; the benefit of openness is not meant to be experienced alone. The stories and scriptures mentioned above speak of the element of community in confession, the promise of fellowship where there is courage to be honest about our selves and our needs. On websites of nameless visitors, though I tell you my darkest secret, we remain nameless to one another. While it may help significantly to know that I am not the only one with a mask, my mask remains. The anonymity factor offers the glimpse of light while maintaining the security of darkness. But isn’t this undermining the very light we seek? It is akin to lighting a lamp and putting it under a bowl.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Unobscured

Joyce Meyer – From the Inside Out

 

All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. —Psalm 45:13

During the Christmas season, department store windows often feature bright, shiny presents with perfectly tied bows. These gifts may look desirable, but if we were to open them, we would find nothing inside. They are empty, just for “show.”

Our lives can be the same way, like beautifully wrapped packages with nothing of value inside. On the outside, our lives may look attractive or even enviable to others, but on the inside, we may be dry and empty. We can look spiritual on the outside but be powerless within if we do not allow the Holy Spirit to make His home in our hearts.

The verse for today emphasizes the importance of the inner life. God puts the Holy Spirit inside us to work on our inner lives—our attitudes, our responses, our motivations, our priorities, and other important things. As we submit to Christ’s Lordship in our innermost beings, we will sense when He is speaking to us, and we will experience His righteousness, peace, and joy rising up from within us to empower us for abundant living (see Romans 14:17).

The Holy Spirit lives inside us to make us more and more like Christ and to fill us with His presence and guidance, so we will have something to share with others, something that comes from deep in the core of our being and is valuable, powerful, and life giving to everyone with whom we interact.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Can Trust Him

 

“So don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing. Why be like the heathen? For they take pride in all these things and are deeply concerned about them. But your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and He will give them to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as He wants you to” (Matthew 6:31-33).

As a young businessman, I was strongly attracted to the material things of the world and worked very hard to achieve success. But when I became a Christian, I could not ignore the logic of Christ’s command, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33, KJV).

I made my commitment to obey His command. Since that day so many years ago, I have sought to be obedient to that command. The Lord has graciously and abundantly blessed me with the fulfillment of the promise of His supernatural provision which follows:

“Your heavenly father already knows perfectly well (the things you need), and He will give them to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as He wants you to.”

God is trustworthy, and the obedient, faithful Christian soon learns that he, like the psalmist of old, can proclaim:

“I have never seen the Lord forsake a man who loves Him, nor have I seen the children of the godly go hungry” (Psalm 37:25).

Bible Reading:Matthew 6:25-30

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Resting on the absolute certainties of the Word of God, I will refuse to worry about anything today (recognizing that concern involves others, while worry involves only myself). “All things work together for good to them that love God…” (Romans 8:28). “My God shall supply all your need…” (Philippians 4:19). By trusting these and other promises from God’s word, I have no reason to worry

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Courteous Conduct

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Those who don’t believe in Jesus take note of what believers do.  They make decisions about Christ by watching us. When we’re kind, they assume Christ is kind.  When we’re gracious, they assume Christ is gracious.  But when we’re dishonest, what assumption will an observer make about our Master?

No wonder the apostle Paul says to “be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity. When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should” (Colossians 4:5-6).  Courteous conduct honors Christ.  It also honors his children.  When you make an effort to greet everyone in the room, especially the ones others may have overlooked, you honor God’s children with a love worth giving!

Read more Grace for the Moment II

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Congressman forgives teenager who threatened to kill him

 

“I will kill Carlos Curbelo.” This was posted to Twitter on October 24. Curbelo, a Republican congressman in Florida, responded: “Political intoxication is making some Americans more prone to both verbal and physical violence. It’s a serious crisis and we all have to do our part to put an end to it. Not sure what’s more disturbing; the fact that someone tweeted this or that 4 accounts liked it.”

The next day, FBI and local police arrested nineteen-year-old Pierre Alejandro Verges-Castro of Homestead, Florida, for making the death threat on his Twitter account. Curbelo’s office thanked the police and said the congressman would continue with his schedule as planned.

But that’s not the end of the story.

A “really, really good kid”

Last Thursday, more than a week after the arrest, Curbelo held a news conference with the teenager who threatened to kill him.

Curbelo told reporters: “Today I want everyone to know that I forgave him. As for Pierre, I wish him the best. He made a mistake and his life shouldn’t be ruined because of it.” Verges-Castro stood silently next to the congressman, who explained that the state attorney still had an open case against the teenager and that Verges-Castro would not be speaking because of that.

The next day, Curbelo told CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time that he had called authorities to ask if the teenager was truly dangerous or “just some kid who said something I’m sure he really regrets right now.” Police told him it was the latter.

So Curbelo asked for a meeting with Verges-Castro. He learned that the teenager was a “really, really good kid” who played the piano and guitar and was going to school to earn an associate degree. “He explained to me that he had some issues in his personal life that he thinks pushed him to do something like this, and he also talked about the toxicity of our politics and how nasty and negative everything is.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – Congressman forgives teenager who threatened to kill him

Charles Stanley –Togetherness in the Body

 

1 Corinthians 1:10-11

Today’s passage comes from a letter Paul wrote to the divided body of Corinthian believers. That church was allowing a disagreement to hinder their fellowship. Paul knew the steep danger of dissension among believers.

Scripture is clear about the church’s mission. Some of its highest goals include sharing the gospel with all nations, caring for those in need, and worshipping together, along with loving, encouraging, and admonishing one another in God’s truth. Each of these requires the members of a church to be unified.

God wants His people to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3 NIV). So if all Christians base their beliefs on the Bible, they should be able to settle every argument according to its truth, right?

Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Our human nature, preferences, and different interpretations of Scripture can cause disagreements. Consider, for example, how many churches have strife over music styles.

Tragically, when differences are divisive, our mission becomes blurred and we are ineffective. Just as fishermen cannot catch fish with a broken net, we are unable to effectively share Jesus with the world when our fellowship is not intact.

Are your actions and words strengthening your fellow Christians? Or do you gossip, express negativity, and push for your own preferences and opinions? Be careful. God wants our conduct to positively impact the church’s unity. This is essential if we are to accomplish His purpose.

Bible in One Year: John 10-11

 

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Our Daily Bread — Still the King

 

Read: Psalm 74:4–8, 12–23 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 32–33; Hebrews 1

Rise up, O God, and defend your cause.  Psalm 74:22

One news report called it “the single deadliest day for Christians in decades.” The pair of attacks on Sunday worshipers in April 2017 defies our understanding. We simply don’t have a category to describe bloodshed in a house of worship. But we can find some help from others who know this kind of pain well.

Most of the people of Jerusalem were in exile or had been slain when Asaph wrote Psalm 74. Pouring out his heart’s anguish, he described the destruction of the temple at the hands of ruthless invaders. “Your foes roared in the place where you met with us,” Asaph said (v. 4). “They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name” (v. 7).

Yet the psalmist found a place to stand despite the awful reality—providing encouragement that we can do so too. “But God is my King from long ago,” Asaph resolved. “He brings salvation on the earth” (v. 12). This truth enabled Asaph to praise God’s mighty power even though His salvation seemed absent in the moment. “Have regard for your covenant,” Asaph prayed. “Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name” (vv. 20–21).

When justice and mercy seem absent, God’s love and power are in no way diminished. With Asaph, we can confidently say, “But God is my King.”

Lord, with the psalmist we pray for the honor of Your Name. Show Yourself strong and compassionate. Rise up and defend Your cause.

God will defend His Name.

By Tim Gustafson

INSIGHT

As the author of Psalm 74, Asaph helped Israel mourn the destruction of their temple by the Babylonians in 586 bc. Little did he know that someday his song would find an echo in an even more confusing loss. According to the New Testament, a greater temple of God (John 2:20–21) was nailed to a tree. This time, God Himself bore the loss. Where are we in the story?

Mart DeHaan

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Every Day Is Thanksgiving

 

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! —Psalm 95:2

Thanksgiving is not just a day to eat turkey and pumpkin pie. It was a day originally set aside to remember and give thanks to God for what He had done in protecting the first men and women who came to America, fleeing religious persecution in Europe. It was a type of harvest celebration like the one that the Jews celebrated; a day to give thanks for the crops they were able to harvest.

In addition to thanking God as we go through life, it is also a good idea to set aside special times of gratitude and giving thanks.

Sometimes our family sits together and remembers where God has brought us from, and we thank Him for all He has done. Dave and I talk about our life when our children were all young and we lived in a tiny three-room apartment and had to cash in soda pop bottles to make it through until payday.

I am sure you can recall times similar to those we had, and remembering them makes us thankful for how God brought us through them, and for all the progress we have made by His goodness.

Prayer of Thanks: Father, help me to realize that Thanksgiving is more than just a day on the calendar. I am grateful for all You have done in my life, not just today, but every day of the year.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Prayer Has Great Power

 

“Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results” (James 5:16).

“I can take my telescope and look millions and millions of miles into space,” said the great scientist Sir Issac Newton , “but I can lay it aside and go into my room, shut the door, get down on my knees in earnest prayer, and see more of heaven and get closer to God than I can assisted by all the telescopes and material agencies on earth.”

Among many other things, the carnal Christian is characterized by a poor prayer life. The spiritual Christian, on the other hand, is characterized by an effective fruitful prayer life.

Prayer is simply communicating with God by listening as well as talking. The acrostic ACTS is helpful in recalling the various components of effective prayer, though the order is not necessarily rigid.

“A” is for adoration – worship of God, first for who He is; and second for all of His benefits. He alone is worthy of our adoration and praise.

“C” stands for confession. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Sometimes this component should take priority, especially for the unbeliever and the disobedient believer, because God does not hear the prayers of the disobedient until they confess. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18, KJV).

“T” is for thanksgiving – gratitude to God for His blessings.

“S” represents supplication – expressing our petitions to God for individuals and specific things and events.

Bible Reading:James 5:13-18

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will claim great power and wonderful results for supernatural living by a righteous life and by giving priority to prayer. I will remember to bring my adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication to God throughout the day

 

http://www.cru.org

Charles Stanley – Growing From Our Hurts

 

Genesis 50:15-21

Throughout history, people have suffered tremendous injustice and pain at the hands of others. None of us are exempt from conflict, criticism, and mistreatment. The question is, Are we growing more or less like Christ as a result?

Nothing that happens in our lives is an accident. As children of God, we know that everything coming our way is filtered through our Father’s loving, sovereign hands. And He can use whatever we experience to grow us in grace and holiness—yes, even injustice and abuse.

Joseph endured more unfair treatment than most of us can even imagine: He was sold into slavery by his brothers, slandered by Potiphar’s wife, and forgotten in prison. For years, it seemed that no good would ever result, but there was divine purpose in it all. Joseph learned more about God’s ways and was also being trained for the future.

The same is true for each of us. The Lord doesn’t want us to focus on the wrongs done to us and the pain we’ve suffered. Instead, He wants us to keep our eyes fixed on Him. As we read God’s Word, He reveals His ways and purposes, giving us guidance to walk with Him and patience to wait for His timing. And His indwelling Holy Spirit enables us to respond in a godly manner by forgiving those who wrong us.

Think about Joseph’s words to his brothers: “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20). Remember, that is true in your life also. The pain you carry can be used for good if you’ll forgive your offenders and trust the Lord’s ways.

Bible in One Year: John 8-9

 

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Our Daily Bread — See Your City

 

Read: Genesis 12:1–3 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 30–31; Philemon

All peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Genesis 12:3

“See our city the way we do.” A Detroit, Michigan, urban development group used that slogan to launch its vision for the city’s future. But the project came to a sudden stop when members of the community noticed something missing in the campaign. African Americans make up a large majority of the city’s population and workforce. Yet people of color were absent from the crowd of white faces that showed up on signs, banners, and billboards urging all to see the city as they did.

The countrymen of Jesus also had a blind spot in their vision for the future. As children of Abraham, they were primarily concerned about the future of Jewish people. They couldn’t understand Jesus’s concern for Samaritans, Roman soldiers, or anyone else who didn’t share their family roots, rabbis, or temple worship.

I relate to the blind spots of Detroit and Jerusalem. I too tend to see only people whose life experience I understand. Yet God has a way of bringing about His unity amid our diversity. We’re more alike than we realize.

Our God chose a desert nomad by the name of Abram to bring blessing to all the people of the world (Genesis 12:1–3). Jesus knows and loves everyone we don’t yet know or love. Together we live by the grace and mercy of One who can help us see one another, our cities, and His kingdom—as He does.

Father in heaven, please open our eyes to people and hearts who are more like us than we are inclined to believe. Help us see our own need of You.

Everyone everywhere is more like us than less like us.

By Mart DeHaan

INSIGHT

Abram, Nahor, and Haran (the father of Lot) were the sons of Terah. The brothers grew up in Ur of the Chaldeans (Genesis 11:27–28), which archaeologists have revealed to be a flourishing city in its day. Haran died, and sometime later Abram married Sarai. Then Terah, Abram, Sarai, and Lot left Ur bound for Canaan. On the way, the group settled in Harran where Terah later died (vv. 31–32). Although God’s call to Abram to “go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” isn’t recorded until Genesis 12:1, Abram received this call earlier while still in Ur (see Acts 7:2–4). That’s why the family initially starts out for Canaan (Genesis 11:31). It’s believed the group stalled in Harran because Terah, who was named after the moon deity worshiped in Ur, may have had trouble leaving behind his idolatrous past (see Joshua 24:2). What’s most important is that Abram heard God’s call, left the familiar behind, and obeyed. “Abram went” (Genesis 12:4), and through him “all peoples on earth [would] be blessed” (v. 3).

Alyson Kieda

 

http://www.odb.org

Every Man Ministry – The Sword

 


“The word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrew 4:12)

Roman soldiers exercised and trained heavily with the sword. More specifically, they were trained to thrust the sword versus cut with it.  In fact, they made fun of those who preferred the cut to the thrust, and they relished a battle of styles.

The sword was the Roman soldier’s primary offensive weapon.  He trained with it more than any other and learned how to wield it lethally.  A thrust accomplished the job, where cutting gave the enemy a second chance.  The author of Hebrews shows that he also was intimate with a sword and how the sword of God’s man is best welded in battle.

There’s a compare and contrast going on here between only grazing evil and killing it with a deep penetration of the Word into the heart.  More profoundly, the end result of a strong thrust of God’s Word is a judgment. That is what God’s man is after in his fights with deception, temptation, and accusation on a personal level.  And that is what he’s after in a direct confrontation with evil.

A Roman soldier would move to parry a blow with his shield, create space and then step and thrust his sword strategically into the flesh of his enemy. Similarly, God’s man defends himself by moving into a blow with the shield of his faith, positioning the sword of God’s Word, and thrusting it into the heart of evil.
Father, thank you for giving me your word, and showing me how to use it.

 

The post November 3, 2018 appeared first on Every Man Ministries.

 

Joyce Meyer – Get Up and Get Going

 

I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping…Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. — Psalm 6:6,8

Adapted from the resource Starting Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Even before we are totally awake, Satan is bidding to deceive us and is ready to plant defeating thoughts in our mind. He wants us to be hopeless, faithless, and negative.

He definitely doesn’t want us to be positive when we get up. He wants us to have a bad attitude and be selfish and self-centered, full of hatred, bitterness, resentment, doubt, unbelief, and fear—to be mad at everybody.

But thank God, through Jesus Christ, we have been redeemed from all of those negative patterns. We can resist Satan and trust God’s power in or­der to live victoriously today.

Prayer Starter: Father, this is the day You have made! Help me to approach it with a positive attitude, full of faith and hope, knowing You have great things in store. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Welcomes You

 

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, KJV).

Several years ago I had the privilege of meeting with a world-famous theologian. This great scholar had denied the deity of Christ and had taught thousands of seminarians who had studied under him that Jesus was only a great man and a great teacher. He was not God incarnate, and surely could not forgive sin and provide rest to His followers. Yet, in a unique way God had created a hunger in his heart for truth and for two years he had done an in-depth study of the life of Jesus.

As we met together in his office, he asked, “What do you tell a student when he asks you how to become a Christian?”

When I realized he was sincere, I proceeded to explain why I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and why all men everywhere need Him as their Savior and Lord, and how anyone who wants to can receive Him.

“I am persuaded,” he said after a long while, “that no honest person who is willing to consider the overwhelming evidence for the deity of Christ can deny that He is the Son of God.”

This great scholar, who had denied the deity of Christ all his life and encouraged millions of others to think likewise, bowed in prayer and received Christ into his life as Savior and Lord.

Jesus Christ stands out clearly as the one supernaturally unique figure in all of history. He is incomparable. He invites all who will to experience His love and forgiveness. “Come unto Me.” He welcomes “all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Bible Reading:Matthew 11:23-27

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I will seek to make sure that every loved one, every friend, every contact I make today is fully aware of the fact that God loves him, that Jesus Christ died for him and will welcome him into His family through a simple act of faith. I will tell him that He offers peace and rest – from life’s burdens – to all who follow Him in faith and obedience

 

http://www.cru.org

Charles Stanley – A Root of Bitterness

 

Hebrews 12:12-15

If you’ve ever tried to get rid of weeds in your lawn or garden, you know what a big problem they can be. You pull them out, and everything looks really good for a while, but before long, the unwanted growth returns because the roots are still there.
An unforgiving spirit is like a root branching out in all directions, affecting every area of our life. Lopping off the leaves by repressing the pain and resentment isn’t a long-term solution, because like a weed, bitterness can continue to grow and reproduce as long as roots are in place.

When we’ve been deeply hurt, we sometimes resist offering forgiveness, thinking that a pardon excuses the wrongdoer and downplays the severity of the wrong done to us. But that’s not what forgiveness is—it’s letting go of both the offense and our right to demand payment, with the acknowledgment that vengeance is God’s responsibility, not ours (Rom. 12:17-21).

Stubbornly refusing to forgive may seem like a way to get even, but it’s actually a poison that harms us. It hampers our ability to enjoy life and, like any sin, erodes our fellowship with the Lord. Unforgiveness could even affect our health, resulting in physical illness, anxiety, or depression.

But roots of bitterness don’t stop with us; they reach into our relationships, causing trouble and defiling others (Heb. 12:15). An unforgiving spirit hinders our ability to love, poisoning the atmosphere in homes and workplaces.

Isn’t it time to deal with that root of bitterness? Lay down your grievances and refuse to rehearse your hurts. Then fill your mind with positive things instead—namely, truths about the Lord.

Bible in One Year: John 6-7

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Catching Foxes

 

Read: Song of Solomon 2:14–17 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 27–29; Titus 3

Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards. Song of Solomon 2:15

While talking on the phone with a friend who lives by the seaside, I expressed delight at hearing seagulls squawking. “Vile creatures,” she responded, for to her they’re a daily menace. As a Londoner, I feel the same way about foxes. I find them not cute animals but roaming creatures that leave smelly messes in their wake.

Foxes appear in the love poetry of the Song of Solomon, an Old Testament book that reveals the love between a husband and wife and, some commentators believe, between God and His people. The bride warns about little foxes, asking her bridegroom to catch them (2:15). For foxes, hungry for the vineyard’s grapes, could tear the tender plants apart. As the bride looks forward to their married life together, she doesn’t want vermin disturbing their covenant of love.

How can “foxes” disturb our relationship with God? For me, when I say “yes” to too many requests, I can become overwhelmed and unpleasant. Or when I witness relational conflict, I can be tempted to despair or anger. As I ask the Lord to limit the effect of these “foxes”—those I’ve let in through an open gate or those that have snuck in—I gain in trust of and love for God as I sense His loving presence and direction.

How about you? How can you seek God’s help from anything keeping you from Him?

Lord God, You are powerful and You are good. Please protect my relationship with You, keeping out anything that would take my eyes off You.

God can guard our relationship with Him.

By Amy Boucher Pye

INSIGHT

Although the author is not specifically named, Song of Songs is traditionally attributed to Solomon, who is mentioned in 1:1, 5; 3:7, 9, 11; 8:11, 12 and who is referred to as “King Solomon” in 3:9–11. Therefore, this book is also called “The Song of Solomon.” Solomon composed 1,005 songs (1 Kings 4:32), but this song is deemed to be “the best”—hence the appropriate title “Solomon’s Song of Songs” (1:1). It is one of two biblical books (the other is Esther) where God isn’t mentioned explicitly. Some interpret Song of Songs as an allegory of Christ’s love for the church; others consider it to be a poem describing the romance and relationship of two passionate lovers. Rich in nature metaphors—“Your eyes are doves” (1:15); “My beloved is like a gazelle” (2:9); “The little foxes that ruin the vineyards” (v. 15)—the song celebrates sexual love and physical intimacy within the bonds of marriage (4:8–5:1). Together husband and wife wield out “the foxes” (2:15), removing anything that threatens their loving union or hurts the exclusivity of their marriage.

  1. T. Sim

 

 

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