Starbucks has unveiled its new holiday campaign. It features what appears to be an affectionate lesbian couple in its promotional video. Some believe that the design of the new cup includes a same-sex couple as well.
The British LGBT Awards tweeted, “We’re loving @Starbucks’ new festive ad with a lesbian couple.” Other LGBT advocates are cheering the Holiday Cup design that seems to incorporate the couple. Predictably, those who oppose such “inclusiveness” are being labeled as “closed-minded” and ridiculed.
As unbiblical morality becomes increasingly popular, it’s worth asking: Why should Christians stand up against cultural trends?
The popularity of popularity
I often write about our culture’s postmodern belief that truth is what we believe it to be. Here’s a corollary consequence: popularity has become our definition of success.
Possessions are measured by popularity. Why do we want to drive and wear what is fashionable? Why do we care what other people think of our cars and clothes so long as they do their job?
Social media is driven by popularity measured in “likes,” “click-throughs,” and “follows.” The larger your audience, the more valuable your message. Or so we think.
Morality is driven by popularity as well. Since 61 percent of Australians voting in a recent election supported same-sex marriage, lawmakers will now change the centuries-old definition of marriage to accommodate the popular vote. Whether gay marriage is actually harmful to gay people and society at large is not a factor in the conversation.
Many of the people who call In Touch have questions about their salvation. They’re frustrated to feel uncertainty about such an important issue. Today’s devotion is a three-part salvation assessment. If you answer yes to every question, you can be sure that you are in God’s family and destined for an eternity in His presence. If you answer no, you’ll know exactly which issue(s) to talk over with your pastor or spiritual mentor.
- Do I trust Scripture? Salvation is a one-step process: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Either we trust that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world (including ours), or we don’t (John 3:16).
- Do I accept the witness of the Holy Spirit? Anyone who believes in Jesus has the Spirit dwelling within his or her being. That is, the Holy Spirit testifies with regard to our identity as God’s children (Rom. 8:16). It’s not about whether we feel saved; God’s Spirit offers an abiding conviction that we are.
- Do I walk like a follower of Jesus? Those who are in Christ are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). If we have been transformed, then there are going to be changes in our life. Simply put, true believers are creatures who seek the things of God—they desire to read and understand His Word, they want to gather with His people, etc.
Confirmed Christ-followers still sin. Some even backslide for a time. No matter how meandering our walk of faith may be, the Holy Spirit continues to convict. He won’t allow us to be satisfied with wrongdoing. That tug of guilt over sin is yet another assurance that you’ve placed yourself in God’s grip.
Bible in One Year: Acts 23-24
Read: Psalm 139:11–18
Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 11–13; James 1
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.—Psalm 139:13
My father creates custom quivers designed for archers to carry their arrows. He carves elaborate wildlife pictures into pieces of genuine leather, before stitching the material together.
During a visit, I watched him construct one of his works of art. His careful hands applied just the right pressure as he pressed a sharp blade into the supple leather, creating various textures. Then he dipped a rag into crimson dye and covered the leather with even strokes, magnifying the beauty of his creation.
As I admired my dad’s confident craftsmanship, I realized how often I fail to acknowledge and appreciate my heavenly Father’s creativity manifested in others and even in myself. Reflecting on the Lord’s magnificent workmanship, I recalled King David’s affirmation that God creates our “inmost being” and that we’re “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:13–14).
We can praise our Creator in confidence because we know His “works are wonderful” (v. 14). And we can be encouraged to respect ourselves and others more, especially when we remember that the Maker of the Universe knew us inside and out and planned our days “before one of them came to be” (vv. 15–16).
Like the pliable leather carved by my father’s skilled hands, we are each beautiful and valuable simply because we are God’s one-of-a-kind creations. Each one of us, intentionally designed to be unique and purposed as God’s beloved masterpieces, contributes to reflect God’s magnificence. —Xochitl Dixon
Lord, thank You for creating us in Your perfect love. Please help us to see ourselves, and others, as Your unique masterpieces.
God masterfully creates each person with uniqueness and purpose.
INSIGHT: Like a potter, God shaped man from clay (Isa. 64:8) and breathed into him the breath of life (Gen. 2:7; Job 33:4). Humans are the only creatures privileged to have the breath of God, setting us apart from other creatures, for only humans are created “in the image of God” (Gen. 1:27). Each person is a unique individual, possessing the mental, emotional, and spiritual consciousness of our Creator and the capacity to have a personal relationship with Him. The Old Testament patriarch Job may be the first person to acknowledge that “[God’s] hands shaped me and made me. . . . [You clothed] me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews” (Job 10:8, 11-12). The prophet Jeremiah proclaimed that God had preordained his destiny and life even before he was formed in his mother’s womb! (Jer. 1:5). David, celebrating himself as one of God’s masterpieces, says that he has been “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God (Ps. 139:13-16).
Do you see yourself as God’s masterpiece? Reflect on how God has uniquely created you. Sim Kay Tee
2 Peter 3:8–14
David Nasmith had a heart to bring the gospel to the poor in Glasgow, Scotland. On January 1, 1826, he opened the first city mission known in the Protestant world. This organization ministered to spiritual and physical needs, including preaching, worship services, literature distribution, health care and medical services, schools, visiting prisoners, and legal advocacy. His model inspired many other city missions around the world.
Nasmith shared God’s heart for all to be saved. It should encourage us that waiting is not only a human experience. In some mysterious way, it is a divine experience as well. God waits patiently because He wants “everyone to come to repentance” (v. 9). He “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). Though lengths of time mean nothing to Him (v. 8), He still chooses to “wait” as part of His plan. To us, this may feel “slow,” but it just means that God is patient in His promise-keeping. Patience is the virtue or attribute that empowers waiting.
God desires for His gift of salvation to be received by as many as possible. As the apostle Paul described it, He desires “the full number of the Gentiles [to] come in” (Rom. 11:25). He takes no pleasure in sending people to hell. Without this patience and love, there would be no reason for time to continue. The Day of the Lord might as well arrive immediately. When it does arrive, it will do so suddenly and disastrously, “like a thief” (v. 10).
How should we live while God waits (vv. 11–14)? We should live “holy and godly lives.” We should joyfully anticipate the Day of the Lord, for the old will be destroyed and “a new heaven and a new earth” will be born.
APPLY THE WORD
If God wants “everyone to come to repentance,” how can we want any less? Sharing the good news with others is an excellent way to learn and reflect the heart of God. Consider unbelievers He’s put in your life, such as family, friends, neighbors, or work colleagues. Pray for opportunities to witness through words and actions.
Give, and [gifts] will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will they pour into [the pouch formed by] the bosom [of your robe and used as a bag]. For with the measure you deal out [with the measure you use when you confer benefits on others], it will be measured back to you.— Luke 6:38
Some put money or the world’s system of commerce before God. But the Bible states in Revelation 18, that if we put our trust in money it’s going to fail. I’ve found that the way to deal with money, instead of struggling with it, is to try and out-give God…because we can’t.
The more we give away…the more we obey Him with our finances, the more He blesses us. As we do more for other people, we will find we are happier and more fulfilled than we were before.
Society tells us to invest everything in the world’s system and work all the time to make more money. But if we do, we’ll never really have anything that matters, especially joy. And we won’t be able to enjoy the money we have because we won’t be using it God’s way.
It may not make sense according to the world’s system, but God doesn’t want you to simply make money and hoard it away. God says that by giving it away, you will have more in the end. I challenge you to increase your generosity today. Trust me—you can’t out-give God.
“But thanks be to God! For through what Christ has done, He has triumphed over us so that now wherever we go He uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Gospel like a sweet perfume” (2 Corinthians 2:14).
We can certainly learn a lesson from the apostle Paul. He frequently begins a chapter or a verse with a note of praise. To say that he had a thankful spirit would be understating the case. That perhaps is the key to victory in every area of our lives, to begin with thanksgiving.
It is God who leads us to triumph over principalities and powers. And in leading us to triumph, He is then able to use us to tell others of His love and forgiveness through the Lord Jesus. As we rest in His victory and in His command, with its promise of “Lo, I am with you always,” we spread the gospel like a sweet perfume.
In your own home and in your own neighborhood, perhaps, are those who need the sweet perfume of the gospel, that heavenly aroma that comes first from God, then through us as His servants, and finally in the message itself: the good news of sins forgiven and a heavenly home assured.
Around the world, literally, I personally have seen multitudes of men and women, old and young, become new creatures in Christ. The aroma indeed is one of sweet perfume, for tangled lives have become untangled to the glory of God, and joy abounds in hearts and lives where only sadness and despair had been known.
Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: “Dear Lord, help me to bear a heavenly aroma as I share the sweet perfume of the gospel with others.”
Read: Nehemiah 1:1-11
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. (v. 4 NIV)
- M. Bounds once said, “The church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.” There are plenty of how-to guides out there on prayer, but in the Bible God gives us his servant Nehemiah whose life and prayers challenge us to be people who pray.
When should we pray? When Nehemiah hears that Jerusalem is in ruins, the first thing he does is sit down and weep. Then for several days he mourns and fasts and prays. He doesn’t try to “fix” things. Instead, he gets alone with God. True disciples of Jesus do more than pray, but they don’t do anything until they pray.
Why should we pray? Nehemiah has a huge weight on his heart because of this news. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, he goes straight to the Lord. This shows Nehemiah’s dependence on God while allowing God to lighten Nehemiah’s load. His prayer of faith permits God’s power to be released.
How should we pray? If we look at today’s passage, we see that Nehemiah adores God’s character (v. 5). He focuses on God’s position, power, and promises to his people. Furthermore, instead of passing the blame, he admits to God that the Israelites, including himself and his father’s family, have sinned and need God’s forgiveness. And lastly, he claims God’s promises to the people of Israel. This reminds him of God’s faithfulness. —Bob Bouwer
Prayer: Father, thank you for godly examples of people who pray.
Today we call pressure stress. You hear many people talking about stress. Stress can be bad if all we do is worry. It can be good if it pushes us toward the only One who has answers for our stress—God our Father.
Once a stressful situation has passed, you come out of it with the ability to help other people. Think about the last time you had to study for a hard test. You probably felt pressure until you finished the test. But now when a friend talks about being stressed out about an exam, you know exactly how he or she feels.
Or do you remember a time when your mom got really sick or your dad traveled away for several weeks? Was it stressful for the rest of your family? But when the sickness or travel was over, you were relieved. Now, you can be understanding when others face a similar situation.
The most important thing to remember is that any time you face pressure, turn to God first. If you learn to rely on him, you will experience his peace and the stress won’t be as overwhelming. Then you will have a truly helpful answer to offer others—God’s strength.
Dear Lord, Everybody talks about being “stressed out.” I’m so glad you are the answer to all stressful situations. Amen.
Peter wrote his first letter to build up readers in their Christian walk. That purpose still applies today. Let’s take a look at some of the key points in today’s passage.
Our life is to be based on the atoning work of Jesus Christ, who died to redeem us from bondage to sin. His precious blood paid in full the cost of all our transgressions—past, present, and future (Eph. 1:7). Upon acceptance of the Lord’s sacrificial death on our behalf, we experience a second birth and become spiritually alive (John 3:3).
At that moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. His presence is proof of our new position in Christ, as well as a guarantee of our future inheritance and our place in heaven. As God’s children, we’re commanded to live a life of holiness, marked by a deep reverence for the Lord.
Our desire for holy living comes from knowing our Father’s character, understanding what it cost for us to be saved, and recognizing we will face a future judgment. Though we won’t face condemnation, we will one day stand before our Lord so He can assess our work and determine our heavenly rewards (Rom. 8:1; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15). He will examine our inner feelings as well as our outward behavior. Acts of obedience will be rewarded; times of rebellion will not. In other words, our attitudes and choices really do matter, both in this life and in the future.
Take time regularly to ponder these truths. Use them to increase your desire to follow God, to make changes in your conduct, and to be His faithful, obedient servant.
Bible in One Year: Acts 21-22
Read: Ezekiel 8
Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 8–10; Hebrews 13
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.—1 Peter 1:3
“You can’t see me!”
When small children play “hide and seek,” they sometimes believe they’re hiding just by covering their eyes. If they can’t see you, they assume you can’t see them.
Naïve as that may seem to adults, we sometimes do something similar with God. When we find ourselves desiring to do something we know is wrong, our tendency may be to shut God out as we willfully go our own way.
The prophet Ezekiel discovered this truth in the vision God gave him for his people, exiled in Babylon. The Lord told him, “Have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The LORD does not see us’” (Ezek. 8:12).
But God misses nothing, and Ezekiel’s vision was proof of it. Yet even though they had sinned, God offered His repentant people hope through a new promise: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you” (36:26).
For us, God met the brokenness and rebellion of sin with His tender mercy at the cross, paying the ultimate penalty for it. Through Jesus Christ, God not only offers us a new beginning, but He also works within us to change our hearts as we follow Him. How good is God! When we were lost and hiding in our sinfulness, God drew near through Jesus, who “came to seek and to save” us (Luke 19:10; Rom. 5:8). —James Banks
Thank You for Your kindness to me, Lord. Help me to seek You and follow You faithfully today.
God knows us completely . . . and loves us just as much.
Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (vv. 16-18)
For many of us, learning to pray involved certain fixed times of prayer: before meals, before bedtime, and during church. The apostle Paul encourages something more in our prayer life: “pray without ceasing.” This biblical command draws us toward a lifetime of continual conversation with God. But how is this possible?
Does praying without end mean that we are to spend our waking hours with our eyes closed and hands folded? By no means! Paul encourages us to be in a continual, ongoing dialog with God our loving Father. Imagine reserving times of communication with our closest friends or family to only a few fleeting moments in a day. Or worse, suppose we limited those conversations to a set of memorized sentences that we simply repeat every day.
Our lives are meant to be a steady stream of conversation with our ever-present Lord. In times of fear, anxiety, or want, we must turn to the Lord as our comforter, helper, and provider. In times of gladness and joy, we should celebrate with him and share our thankfulness. When we’re angry and upset, we must seek his wisdom and guidance. “Do not be anxious about anything,” Paul says elsewhere, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil. 4:6) —Brad Haitsma
Prayer: Father, keep us closely connected to you in prayer at all times. Amen.
Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].— Romans 8:6
Right now, you and I are in the middle of a war. It’s a spiritual warfare, and we wrestle against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV). We need to have the mind of the Holy Spirit to win the battle.
Sadly, there are many believers who operate with the mind of the flesh. But if we want to live in a way that can change our world, then we have to stop living in the flesh and start living in the Spirit.
Every one of us needs to continually make adjustments to put our fleshly desires under the Holy Spirit’s control and not let our emotions or mind rule us. Scripture explains that the spirit wages war against the flesh and the flesh wages war against the spirit, so they are continually antagonistic toward each other.
It’s a war! The devil hates us, and he is constantly working overtime, trying to make sure that we give in to the flesh.
Ultimately, you decide who wins in your life. The good news is, you don’t have to be subject to your flesh. You can live in the Spirit, bringing your flesh in line with His Will. You can win the battle today!
“What a wonderful God we have – He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does He do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:3,4).
Whatever God does for you and me is without merit on our part and by pure grace on His part, and it is done for a purpose. Here the apostle Paul tells the Corinthian believers why God so wonderfully comforts and strengthens them, and us, in our hardships and trials.
This scriptural principle is a good one to remember: God never gives to or benefits His children solely for their own selfish ends. We are not comforted and strengthened in our hardships and trials just so that we will feel better.
Eleven out of the 13 Pauline epistles begin with the exclamations of joy, praise and thanksgiving. Second Corinthians, obviously, is one of those. Though Paul had been afflicted and persecuted, he had also been favored with God’s comfort and consolation.
Paul delighted in tracing all his comforts back to God. He found no other real source of happiness. The apostle does not say that God’s comfort and strength is given solely for the benefit of others, but he does say that this is an important purpose. We are not to hoard God’s blessings.
Bible Reading: Hebrews 13:15-19
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: As I live in the supernatural strength of the Lord God, I will make an effort, with His help, to share that strength (and other blessings) with others
Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 2 John 8
Success is wise stewardship; so do not take it for granted. God has blessed you for a purpose, and success is part of His purpose for you. However, if you do not steward wisely and responsibly the blessing of His success, you may very well lose it. Success means you have the attention of your peers and others in your industry and community. Your success over the years may have even gained the respect of many you have never met. Your family respects you; your church respects you; your friends respect you; your work associates respect you. But success is not designed to lull you into apathetic work and lazy living.
Success is meant to drive you to your knees in gratitude to God. Success is an opportunity to seek God for His wisdom regarding a new set of problems and opportunities. Normally, current issues require different answers from those in the past. The process of solving them may be similar, but the solutions are different. You have fared well until now without a structured board of directors or advisory board, but because of your level of success, one or both of these may be necessary, so you have expert advisors and wise counsel surrounding you.
Accountability and wise counsel are big parts of stewarding success. Also, use fiscal restraint. It may take you five years instead of two years for you to reach certain financial milestones. It is better to extend your goals, and avoid unnecessary leverage. Even if people want to throw debt at you, reject the flattery and “just say no.” This is wise stewardship of success.
In his classic devotional book Morning and Evening, Charles Spurgeon wrote: “[Waiting] is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns not without years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier to God’s warriors than standing still. . . . But wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in him; for unfaithful, untrusting waiting is but an insult to the Lord. Believe that if he keep you tarrying even till midnight, yet he will come at the right time.”
Christ brings salvation to those who wait. In one sense, our redemption is already accomplished, but in another sense, its full realization lies in our future (v. 28). It is both “now” and “not yet.” “To bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” means to bring the fulfillment or results of salvation, its full accomplishment, the completion of God’s currently ongoing redemptive work in our lives (see Phil. 1:6).
Christ’s work of redemption required the offering of His blood. The blood of animal sacrifices had purified, though imperfectly. Christ offered Himself as the superior sacrifice needed to purify perfectly. He was in fact both sacrifice and priest, mediating between God and man (vv. 22–24; see 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 9:15). Unlike the previous inferior sacrifices, Jesus’ sacrifice needed to happen only once. It occurred “once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin” (vv. 25–26).
In Christ’s first advent, He bore our sins, rose victorious, and ascended to the Father. In His Second Coming, He will bring the fullness of salvation. These are two sides of the same coin, and they are as certain as death and judgment (vv. 27–28). For “so great a salvation” (Heb. 2:3) we can indeed wait in hope and faith!
APPLY THE WORD
Have you joined the fellowship of “those who are waiting” (v. 28)? Have you trusted in Christ for salvation? He died so we wouldn’t have to pay the penalty for sin. He rose again so we can receive His gift of eternal life. We have a choice: Wait for death and judgment, or wait for life, love, and eternity with the Lord. Choose Him today!
Today’s passage describes a vision God gave to Zechariah. In it, the mountain is an illustration of a barrier or hindrance. We might wonder what these strange dreams can teach us today, but though the imagery is foreign, the principles are repeated throughout the Bible and are still relevant for our lives.
Zerubbabel, leader of Judah, and a group of 50,000 people had been released by their Babylonian captors to return to Jerusalem. There, God’s people began to rebuild the walls of the temple, but they were attacked by those living nearby. Consequently, the people became discouraged and were ready to give up.
In verse 6, God reminded Zerubbabel through Zechariah that progress is made “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.” In other words, when God calls us to a task, He Himself assumes responsibility for removing hindrances. God went on to ask, “What are you, O great mountain?” (v. 7). Nothing but flatland would remain once He worked through Zerubbabel.
We are not to face seemingly insurmountable tasks in our own strength. Instead, we’re to rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit within us. We are like the lampstand that was to be kept continually burning in the temple. In Zechariah’s dream, the olive trees on each side of the lampstand were pouring oil directly into its bowl, with no help from the priests. The Holy Spirit was acting as the olive trees—He was God’s promise of continual help to the weary people. We, too, can trust the Lord to pour His Spirit into our life for help when we face a mountain of an obstacle.
Bible in One Year: Acts 18-20
Read: Philippians 4:10–19
Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 5–7; Hebrews 12
You were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. —Philippians 4:10
Marilyn had been ill for many weeks, and many people had encouraged her through this difficult time. How will I ever repay all their kindnesses? she worried. Then one day she read the words of a written prayer: “Pray that [others] will develop humility, allowing them not only to serve, but also to be served.” Marilyn suddenly realized there was no need to balance any scale, but just to be thankful and allow others to experience the joy of serving.
In Philippians 4, the apostle Paul expressed his gratitude for all those who shared “in [his] troubles” (v. 14). He depended on people to support him as he preached and taught the gospel. He understood that the gifts provided for him when he was in need were simply an extension of people’s love for God: “[Your gifts] are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” (v. 18).
It may not be easy to be the one on the receiving end—especially if you’ve usually been the first one to help other people. But with humility, we can allow God to gently care for us by a variety of means when we need help.
Paul wrote, “My God will meet all your needs” (v. 19). It was something he had learned during a life of trials. God is faithful and His provision for us has no limits. —Cindy Hess Kasper
Dear Lord, thank You for caring for us through Your people. May we graciously give and receive help.
Receive love. Give love. Repeat.
INSIGHT: Paul was a tentmaker by trade and often worked to support himself while he ministered to people in various cities (see Acts 18:3). However, at times Paul relied on the giving and generosity of others (see Phil 4:14-16). He also encouraged generosity among the churches, calling on members of the global body of Christ to meet each other’s needs (see 1 Cor. 16:1-4).
Many times God provides for us through the giving of others. Reflect on how God has provided for you or used you to meet the needs of others. J.R. Hudberg
There are a few great lines I know by memory simply because my boss is fond of repeating them. Ravi Zacharias often quotes a song titled The Lost Chord, which was penned by Adelaide Proctor and later set to music by Arthur Sullivan. It is a hymn that describes a moment of transcendence, a hint of wonder that appeared momentarily and left the narrator yearning for more. The song tells her story:
Seated one day at the organ
I was weary and ill at ease,
and my fingers wandered idly
over the noisy keys.
And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).— Colossians 1:17
Colossians 1:17 is a pretty awesome scripture. It tells us Jesus is holding EVERYTHING together. Wow! Even people who don’t realize this are held together by Him.
Think about it. We can’t have good marriages if Jesus isn’t holding them together. If Jesus isn’t developing our personal relationships, then we aren’t going to have good ones. Our finances would be a mess without Jesus. Our minds and emotions would be a wreck without Him. Everything would be a mess without Jesus.
If Jesus is not the most important thing in our lives, then we need to rearrange our priorities. Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek God and His kingdom first because if we don’t have first things first, then everything else will also be out of order and cause us problems. God’s way of being, doing and seeking His kingdom is to find out how He wants things done—how to treat people, how to act in situations, how to spend money, what kind of attitude to have, and what kind of entertainment He approves of.
Start today by giving Him first place in your life. He’s holding you together…He created You to follow Him. Put Him first in your life.
“But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).
A dear friend and Christian leader from another country hated and resented his father, who was an alcoholic. Through the years, my friends had been humiliated and embarrassed by his father’s conduct. He wanted nothing to do with him.
As he grew more and more mature in his faith, and the Christlike qualities began to develop in his life, he began to realize that his attitude toward his father was wrong. He knew well that God’s Word commanded him to love and honor his mother and father, with no conditions.
Then he began to comprehend and experience the truth of loving by faith after a message which he had heard me give. As a result, he went to his father and, as an act of the will, by faith – because at that point he did not honestly feel like doing so – he expressed his love.
He was amazed to discover that his father had been hurt for years because he had sensed that his son despised and rejected him.
When the son began to demonstrate love for him – to assure him that he cared for him, whether he drank or did not drink – it prompted the father to commit his life to Christ and to trust Him to help him overcome the problem which had plagued him most of his life.
Through this new relationship with the Lord, my friend’s father became a new creature and was able to gain victory over the addiction to alcohol several years before he died – a dramatic example of the power of love.
Bible Reading: Romans 5:9-15
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing Christ’s great love for me, I will claim His supernatural love for others today