Tag Archives: Bible

Charles Stanley – Peace at Any Price?

 

Romans 12:17-21

Relationships are one of life’s greatest sources of joy. Yet they can also lead to some of our biggest trials. Let’s face it—we won’t be able to get along with everyone, because we live in an imperfect world. Every human being has been affected by the fall and enters this life as a sinner. Furthermore, the fact that we are Christians is itself a source of conflict: Jesus tells us the world will hate us because we are His (John 15:18-20).

Despite all these obstacles, we are to try to be at peace with all men. This means we should seek to resolve conflicts and do what we can to live in harmony. Scripture gives us the following guidelines:

These principles all run counter to human nature; therefore, the only way to successfully apply them is through the power and grace of Jesus Christ. Yet despite our best efforts, peace is not always possible. When our overtures are repeatedly rejected, ending the quest may be appropriate. Or if harmony is possible only by violating Scripture, we must refuse to compromise.

God is the only one who can change the heart of someone who refuses to be reconciled. Our responsibility is to faithfully represent Christ to that person with our words, attitudes, and behavior. The Lord’s job is to produce the fruit.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 29-34

 

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Our Daily Bread — As Advertised

 

Read: John 16:25–33 | Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 4–6; Acts 2:22–47

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

During a vacation, my husband and I signed up for a leisurely rafting tour down Georgia’s Chattahoochee River. Dressed in sandals, a sundress, and a wide brimmed hat, I groaned when we discovered—contrary to the advertisement—that the trip included light rapids. Thankfully, we rode with a couple experienced in whitewater rafting. They taught my husband the basics of paddling and promised to navigate us safely to our destination. Grateful for my life jacket, I screamed and gripped the plastic handle on the raft until we reached the muddy bank downriver. I stepped onto the shore and dumped water from my purse as my husband helped me wring out the hem of my soaked dress. We enjoyed a good laugh, even though the trip had not turned out as advertised.

Unlike the tour brochure, which clearly left out a key detail about the trip, Jesus explicitly warned His disciples that rough waters were ahead. He told them that they’d be persecuted and martyred and that He would die and be resurrected. He also guaranteed His trustworthiness, affirming that He would guide them toward undeniable triumph and everlasting hope (John 16:16–33).

Although it would be nice if life were easier when we follow Jesus, He made it clear that His disciples would have troubles. But He promised to be with us. Trials won’t define, limit, or destroy God’s plan for us, because Jesus’s resurrection has already propelled us to eternal victory.

Lord, thank You for the promises in Your Word that assure us You’ve planned our path and remain with us and for us, no matter what comes.

Jesus promises to be with us through the roughest waters.

By Xochitl Dixon

INSIGHT

Hours before His death, Jesus spoke of difficult times ahead (John 13:21, 31–33; 15:20; 16:2, 32). Jesus comforted the distraught disciples with the provision of heaven, the promise of the Holy Spirit, and His abiding presence. And He offered them and us a most needed gift—peace (John 14–16). Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 nlt). Living in a world broken by sin and devastated by suffering, we have the promise of Jesus’s peace.

As you cope with life’s troubles and pain, how does Jesus’s peace of mind and heart give you confidence and hope? (John 14:27; 16:33).

  1. T. Sim

 

 

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C.S. Lewis, the Great War, and the Road to Narnia: Finding Our Deepest Longings

One hundred years ago this spring, a ferocious battle raged in in the French village Riez du Vinage. Amidst the savage German bombardment, a shell exploded near a young British lieutenant, plunging shrapnel into his body.

The soldier—an atheist named Clive Staples Lewis—survived, and went on to write many books on Christian apologetics—books that would likely not have been written had he not known the horrors of warfare.

As my friend Joe Loconte writes in National Review, “The experience of war would transform [Lewis], launching him on a spiritual journey that culminated . . . in his conversion to Christianity.”

That transformation began with mechanized butchery on an unprecedented scale. Lewis, a lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry, spent five miserable months in the trenches. He later described “the frights, the cold, the smell of [high explosives], the horribly smashed men still moving like half-crushed beetles, the sitting or standing corpses.”

By war’s end, most of Lewis’s friends lay dead, and in the years that followed, the West became disillusioned with war. But for Lewis, as Loconte writes, “the war and its aftermath seemed to have stirred [his] spiritual longings.”  Traveling by train to a London hospital, the wounded lieutenant “was seized by a sense of the transcendent as he beheld the natural beauty of the English countryside.”

Lewis later described this experience to a friend, writing, “You see the conviction is gaining ground on me that after all Spirit does exist. I fancy that there is Something right outside time and place….”

This transformation continued through new friendships at Oxford, where Lewis taught English literature. J.R.R. Tolkien, a Catholic who had also fought on the Western Front, shared Lewis’s love for ancient myths and the “truth” hidden within them. Lewis read philosophy, and books explaining the nature of atonement and of God Himself.

Lewis told a friend, “Now that I have found, and am still finding more and more of the element of truth in the old beliefs I feel I cannot dismiss, there must be something in it, only what?”

Continue reading C.S. Lewis, the Great War, and the Road to Narnia: Finding Our Deepest Longings

Joyce Meyer – Take Care of Your Body

 

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? — 1 Corinthians 6:19

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud Devotional

I want to ask you today the same question Paul asked the believers in Corinth centuries ago: Do you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? You are the home of God! Are you loving yourself, God, and others by caring for your physical body, treating it well, and using it for God’s purposes?

Some Christians focus only on the spiritual side of life and they fail to properly care for their bodies. Other people have such low self esteem or a shame based nature that they don’t feel their bodies are worth caring for. But God’s plan for us involves maintaining spiritual, emotional, and physical health. He wants us strong in every way! He wants us to feel good physically so we can serve Him and others, and be able to enjoy the life He has provided for us.

No matter what shape you are in physically, it’s never too late to improve and do some repair or maintenance on your temple. You can start by learning the basic principles of good nutrition, drink lots of water, employ stress management, exercise, and rest. Laughter is also important. It has been scientifically proven to improve your health. It’s amazing how much better you can feel if you will begin to make positive changes in these areas. Give it a try; I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

Prayer Starter: Father, I ask for Your grace to take practical steps toward good physical health. Help me to treat my body with respect so I can serve you to the best of my ability. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Forgets Our Sins

 

“And then he adds, ‘I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds'” (Hebrews 10:17).

We were seated at the breakfast table, talking about the exciting adventure of the Christian life. Chuck and Mary were just discovering new facets and understanding of the life in Christ.

“Can you tell us in a few words what should be our objective as Christians?” they asked me.

In very brief summary, I replied, “The Christian life is the process of becoming in our experience through the enabling of the Holy Spirit what we already are in God’s sight, in order to bring maximum glory, honor and praise to His name.”

Christ gave Himself to God for our sins – as one sacrifice for one time. Then He sat down at the place of highest honor at God’s right hand. For by that one offering He made forever perfect in the sight of God all those whom He is making holy.

I am perfect in God’s sight, because in His sight there is no such thing as time and space. Let me hasten to all: I know that I am not perfect in my experience. That is a process which takes time, knowledge of God and His Word, and growth in faith in order to claim these truths as reality in our lives.

I am perfect in God’s sight because He sees me in Christ, and in Christ, who is perfect and without sin. He sees me without spot or blemish. Someone has referred to this great experience of being crucified, baptized and enthroned with Christ as a different life altogether. As we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV), “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Bible Reading:Hebrews 8:8-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Because God has forgiven and forgotten all my sins and lawless deeds. I will now, through the enabling of His Holy Spirit, receive His forgiveness and cleansing and never again be burdened with those sins of the past. I will claim my new supernatural life in Christ for the glory of God. Because this is such great good news, I will not keep it to myself. I must tell others.

http://www.cru.org

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – One More Chance


Read: Luke 13:6-9

If it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down. (v. 9)

“You had your chance, and you still haven’t delivered!” Ever said something like that? The results you expected just weren’t forthcoming. You gave the offender another chance, and then another. Finally, your patience ran out. No more second chances.

For three years the landowner has been coming to his vineyard at harvest time, expecting to find fruit. But the fig tree seemingly is sterile. Finally, the landowner has had enough. Why should this unproductive tree go on stealing sun and space, water and nutrition? “Cut it down!” he says to the gardener. But the gardener begs for one last chance to coax the tree into production. He asks for a stay of execution: “Sir, let it alone this year also.” Like Abraham interceding for the city of Sodom, so the gardener wins a reprieve for the unproductive fruit tree.

Jesus the gardener doesn’t give up on us. He doesn’t give up on you, me, or the church, despite our frustrating lack of fruit. There is a lot of hope in this parable—don’t cut down the tree. But there is also urgency—just one more year! The deadline has been pushed back. We’ve been spared the ax. But with this new opportunity there had better come a new seriousness. We are on trial right now, today. God expects fruit from his fruit trees. “If it should bear fruit next year, well and good,” says the gardener. “But if not, you can cut it down.” —Lou Lotz

Prayer: Lord, help me to produce the fruits of righteousness.

 

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Streams in the Desert for Kids – Heavenly Music

 

Revelation 15:3

We cannot even begin to understand what God is going to do in the future. The book of Revelation gives us a tiny peek into that time. People who are believers will stand beside a sea that looks like glass mixed with fire. These believers will be singing praises to God.

Here is the praise song that they will sing:

Great and marvelous are your deeds,

Lord God Almighty.

Just and true are your ways,

King of the nations.

Who will not fear you, Lord,

and bring glory to your name?

For you alone are holy.

All nations will come

and worship before you,

for your righteous acts have been revealed.

Revelation 15:3–4

On earth and in heaven we get to trust and praise God for who he is and what he has done for us. During good days or bad, peaceful times or stormy ones, God is always good, always in control, always with us.

Dear Lord, It is wonderful to know that we don’t have to wait for heaven or even for good days to sing songs of praise to you. Thank you for saving us. Amen.

Charles Stanley – Peace With One Another

 

2 Corinthians 13:11

As Christians, we have a special relationship with each other because of our union with Jesus. You’ve probably experienced this if you’ve met a stranger with whom you sensed a bond and soon discovered that you were both Christians.

Scripture calls us to be a source of encouragement and help to our brothers and sisters in Christ, yet most of us know at least one believer with whom we have more conflict than comfort. Perhaps our personalities don’t mesh, or we have different convictions that sometimes result in arguments. The problem could also be a matter of miscommunication or misunderstanding.

Whatever our natural differences may be, we can overcome them through Jesus Christ and live in peace with one another. Instead of building walls, we can express grace to others in the following ways:

Prayer. Make it a habit to lift up the other person in prayer to the Father.

Communication. Discuss the relational issue openly and honestly. Clear up any incorrect assumptions and uncover the source of conflict. Be willing to share concerns and listen to the other point of view.

Counsel. To work though the conflict, it may sometimes be necessary to enlist the aid of a godly counselor.

Restoration. Once the root issue is resolved and harmony is restored, both parties should agree to address new conflicts promptly as they arise.

God calls us to live in peace, and He has provided everything we need to obey Him. When we allow His indwelling Holy Spirit to control us, His goodness and grace will flow through us to others, creating harmony.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 23-28

 

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Our Daily Bread — “Lovable!”

 

Read: Jeremiah 31:1–6 | Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 1–3; Acts 2:1–21

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3

“Lovable!”

That exclamation came from my daughter as she got ready one morning. I didn’t know what she meant. Then she tapped her shirt, a hand-me-down from a cousin. Across the front was that word: “Lovable.” I gave her a big hug, and she smiled with pure joy. “You are lovable!” I echoed. Her smile grew even bigger, if that was possible, as she skipped away, repeating the word over and over again.

I’m hardly a perfect father. But that moment was perfect. In that spontaneous, beautiful interaction, I glimpsed in my girl’s radiant face what receiving unconditional love looked like: It was a portrait of delight. She knew the word on her shirt corresponded completely with how her daddy felt about her.

How many of us know in our hearts that we are loved by a Father whose affection for us is limitless? Sometimes we struggle with this truth. The Israelites did. They wondered if their trials meant God no longer loved them. But in Jeremiah 31:3, the prophet reminds them of what God said in the past: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” We too long for such unconditional love. Yet the wounds, disappointments, and mistakes we experience can make us feel anything but lovable. But God opens His arms—the arms of a perfect Father—and invites us to experience and rest in His love.

Lord, hard things in our lives can tempt us to believe we are unlovable. But You say otherwise. Please help us to receive the life-transforming gift of Your everlasting love for us.

No one loves us like our Father.

By Adam Holz

INSIGHT

Much of the book of Jeremiah deals with the prophet’s anguished appeal for God’s people to turn back to Him. Those pleas were ignored, making judgment inevitable. But God’s love is relentless, and in chapters 30–31 Jeremiah gives hope to the remnant who would live through the coming invasion. “The people who survive the sword will find favor in the wilderness,” God said (31:2). This “favor” would show up in ways the scattered survivors likely thought no longer possible. What the invading horde destroyed, God would rebuild, causing the people to “take up [their] timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful” (v. 4). Their farmers would plant fruitful vineyards (v. 5). No longer would watchmen cry out in warning, but would instead call the people to Zion (Jerusalem) for worship (v. 6).

When we begin to understand the scope of God’s love, we can accept His correction and learn from it. As we embrace His everlasting love, we find that God’s discipline is for our good and is proof that we are His children (see Hebrews 12:5–7).

Do you see God as our gentle and loving heavenly Father? In what ways have you sensed His loving correction?

Tim Gustafson

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – If God, Then Why?

My wife, Ono, is someone who has been through quite a bit of physical distress and lives with some measure of disability. In one of her old Bibles is a fading scrawl that she made during one of her bouts of illness. It is a quote by Joni Eareckson Tada: “When we learn to lean back in God’s sovereignty, fixing and settling our thoughts on that unshakable, unmovable reality, we can experience inner peace. Our trouble may not change, our pain may not diminish, our loss may not be restored, our problems may not fade with the new dawn. But, the power of those things to harm us is broken as we rest in the fact that God is in control.”(1)

As is well known, Joni Eareckson has lived with unimaginable handicap for the most part of her remarkable life. In the book Indelible Ink, where 22 prominent Christian leaders discuss the one book (apart from the Bible) that has most influenced each of their lives, Joni Eareckson’s pick was Loraine Boettner’s The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.(2)

The epigraph that Joni Eareckson used for her chapter in Indelible Ink is also from Boettner’s book: “History,” Boettner says, “in all its details, even the most minute, is but the unfolding of the eternal purposes of God. His decrees are not successively formed as the emergency arises, but are all parts of one all-comprehending plan, and we should never think of Him suddenly evolving a plan or doing something which He had not thought of before.”(3)

For Boettner, God is in ultimate control of, and has decreed, everything—not just the larger scheme of things, but also the minutest details and the apparent happenchance of our lives, including the mad, the bad, and the sad. It is in knowing and believing this that lies the secret of rest and strength in the midst of life’s vicissitudes. This is the existential implication and practical application that Eareckson draws from Boettner’s work—and, presumably, Ono from Eareckson’s words. Stumbling upon Ono’s scribble of Eareckson’s words has, however, given me a different (not necessarily contrary) perspective on handling pain and suffering—a perspective that Eareckson or Boettner’s words do not exactly state or bear out.(4)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – If God, Then Why?

Joyce Meyer – Stay Safe in God’s Word

 

But test all things carefully [so you can recognize what is good]. Hold firm to that which is good. — 1 Thessalonians 5:21

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

Hearing from God clearly and avoiding the possibility of deception comes only from spending regular time with Him and learning His Word. Listening for God’s voice without having knowledge of His Word is a mistake. Knowing God’s written Word protects us from deception.

Trying to hear from God without knowing His Word is irresponsible and even dangerous. People who want to be led by the Spirit but are too lazy to spend time in the Word and in prayer set themselves up for deception because evil spirits are eager to whisper to listening ears. The devil tried to say things to Jesus and He always replied, “It is written,” and then quoted Scripture to refute the lies of the enemy (see Luke 4).

Some people seek God only when they are in trouble and need help. But if they are not used to hearing from God, they will find recognizing His voice difficult when they really need Him.

We need to compare any idea, prompting, or thought that comes to us with God’s Word. If we don’t know the Word, we won’t have anything against which to measure theories and arguments that rise up in our thoughts. The enemy can present wild ideas that make sense to us. The fact that thoughts are logical doesn’t mean they are from God. We may like what we hear, but the fact that something appeals to us doesn’t mean it is from God. We may hear something that feels good to our emotions, but if it fails to give us peace it is not from God. God’s advice to us is to always follow peace and let it be an umpire in our lives (see Colossians 3:15).

Test everything you hear against the Word of God, because that is the only standard of truth that exists.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to hear from You more clearly. Help me to always test everything I believe against the perfect standard of Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – We Are Kings

 

“The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to be king over all, but all who will take God’s gift of forgiveness and acquittal are kings of life because of this one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17).

Jack protested angrily, “Why should I be held accountable for the sin of Adam? Why should I be judged and condemned to eternal punishment because of the disobedience of someone who lived centuries ago? I resent that his action should involve me.” I asked my young student friend if he remembered the infamous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor followed by the declaration of war by then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. “Yes,” he said, “I’m a student of history and I remember that event very well.” I reminded Jack that every able-bodied man who was of age was automatically conscripted to join the United States Army to do battle against Japan. “Yes,” he said, “I know.”

“Don’t you think it unfair, following your logic, that the President of the United States should make a decision that would affect young men like yourself? Remember that tens of thousands of them died on the field of battle. Was that fair?”

“Well,” he replied, “that was the only decision that could be made. We had to protect our homeland. We had been attacked and had to defend ourselves.”

“So it was with Adam,” I explained. “The wisdom of the Almighty Creator was attacked by Satan in the Garden of Eden and the battle was lost when Adam and Eve, the epitome of God’s creation, surrendered to Satan’s tempting lies. God, in His sovereignty, wisdom and grace caused the results of the disobedience of Adam to be borne by the rest of us in the human race. But the judgement of God which demands penalty for sin was intercepted by God’s love. while we were yet in our sins God proved His love for us by sending the Lord Jesus Christ to die for us. Now, through accepting God’s free gift by faith, we can become kings of life because of this one man, Jesus Christ.”

Simply stated, one man, Adam, through his disobedience to God, introduced sin into the world, and one man, Jesus Christ, through his obedience to God, paid the penalty for that sin for all who would believe and trust in Him.

Bible Reading:Romans 5:14-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Christ has overcome the sin I inherited from Adam by liberating me from the king of death, and making me a king of light. As an expression of my deep gratitude for His love and grace, I will seek every opportunity to communicate this good news to others who still live in darkness that they, too, may enjoy the abundant supernatural life which I now enjoy.

 

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Max Lucado – You Were Made for the Part

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Listen to the way God described the builder, Bezalel, “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, intelligence and skill in all kinds of crafts…” (Exodus 31:3-5). Can you hear the pleasure in God’s voice?

When you do the most what you do the best, you pop the pride buttons on the vest of God. In the movie, Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell defended his devotion to running by telling his sister, “God made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure.” When do you feel God’s pleasure? When do you look up into the heavens and say, “I was made to do this?” When it comes to being you, you were made for the part. So speak your lines with confidence!

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – Man pushes woman home after her wheelchair breaks; video goes viral

Bilal Quintyne of Smyrna, Georgia, was headed out for a morning jog with a friend. He came upon a woman in an electric wheelchair stranded on the side of the road. Her chair’s engine had died, leaving one wheel on the busy street and the other on the sidewalk.

Quintyne took off his shirt in deference to the heat and pushed the woman for thirty minutes until they arrived at her home. His friend shot a video of the incident. As of this morning, it has been viewed more than three million times.

Why does this story resonate with so many people? I think its hero explained it best: “There’s so much hatred in the world and it costs nothing to love someone.”

How Muslims earn joy

The Muslim observance of Ramadan began this year on May 16. Since that time, observant Muslims around the world have abstained from eating, drinking, and sexual relations from sunup to sundown.

Ramadan ended yesterday with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr (“feast of breaking the fast”) that began at sundown and continues until this evening. Different countries and sects observe the holiday in different ways. Most include family and social gatherings, traditional sweet dishes, feasting, wearing new clothes, shopping, and gift-giving.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Man pushes woman home after her wheelchair breaks; video goes viral

Charles Stanley – Secure Hope

 

Psalm 42:1-11

God wants His children to have desires and expectations that are motivating as well as enriching. However, some disappointment is inevitable in this fallen world. So how can we determine where to place our hope—and the way to respond if it is not fulfilled?

Hope is secure when it is aligned with the Lord’s desires, which are revealed in Scripture. However, many of our expectations are based on wishes or feelings. We long for job promotions, good health, or quick solutions to our problems. Though these are things we want, we have no absolute promise from the Lord that they’re part of His will for us.

Disappointment with God can occur whenever our expectations do not coincide with His plan. Even when hope is based on a scriptural promise, the Lord may not fulfill it in the way or the time that we expect. We should remember that though God may appear inactive, He is moving beneath the surface, preparing us for the future.

The key to contentment and joy lies in placing all our personal hopes under the umbrella of our ultimate hope in the Lord. God is sovereign and good. He always wants what is best for us and never makes a mistake. His ways are higher than ours and, in many ways, beyond human understanding.

From a limited and fallen perspective, we may be like a 5-year-old who wants candy at every meal. Sometimes God has to dash our hopes in order to give us what He knows is best. Ask Him to clarify and direct your desires to coincide with His way. Then rest in His goodness and keep your hope in Him.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 19-22

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Quieting the Critic

 

Read: Nehemiah 4:1–6 | Bible in a Year: Ezra 9–10; Acts 1

Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Nehemiah 4:4

I work with a team to put on an annual community event. We spend eleven months plotting many details to ensure the event’s success. We choose the date and venue. We set ticket prices. We select everything from food vendors to sound technicians. As the event approaches, we answer public questions and provide directions. Afterward we collect feedback. Some good. Some that is hard to hear. Our team hears excitement from attendees and also fields complaints. The negative feedback can be discouraging and sometimes tempts us to give up.

Nehemiah had critics too as he led a team to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. They actually mocked Nehemiah and those working alongside him saying, “Even a fox climbing up on it would break down [your] wall of stones” (Nehemiah 4:3). His response to the critics helps me handle my own: Instead of feeling dejected or trying to refute their comments, he turned to God for help. Instead of responding directly, he asked God to hear the way His people were being treated and to defend them (v. 4). After entrusting those concerns to God, he and his co-laborers continued to work steadily on the wall “with all their heart” (v. 6).

We can learn from Nehemiah not to be distracted by criticism of our work. When we’re criticized or mocked, instead of responding to our critics out of hurt or anger, we can prayerfully ask God to defend us from discouragement so we can continue with a whole heart.

Help me to evaluate the good and bad in the criticism, to trust You, and to continue in my work wholeheartedly.

God is our best defense against criticism.

By Kirsten Holmberg

INSIGHT

Have you noticed how criticism seems so justified when we give it—but so wrong when we receive it?

As Jewish families returned to their homeland after seventy years of exile in Babylon, they faced strong criticism. Current residents believed it was in their own interest to resist the returning exiles. They saw the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls as a threat to their own homes and families.

Just as understandably, Nehemiah and his friends felt they had a God-given right to regard as enemies those who opposed their effort to rebuild Jerusalem’s broken-down walls (Nehemiah 4:4).

Nehemiah’s courageous prayer of faith is a chapter in a bigger story that leads us to even higher ground. Many years later, by His own example, Jesus calls all people on both sides of conflict to find security in more than walls of self-interest. He taught all of us to pray for those who abuse us and to bless those who curse us (Matthew 5:9–12, 44). In His kingdom, it’s a heart of mercy that Christ desires.

Mart DeHaan

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Into the Waste Land

“April is the cruellest month…” begins the first line of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. The poem is thought to be a portrayal of universal despair, where we lie in wait between the unrelenting force of spring and the dead contrast of winter, and the casualty of the warring seasons is eventually hope. In the bold display of life’s unending, futile circles, one can be left to wonder at the point of it all. Does everything simply fade into a waste land? Is death the last, desperate word? Perhaps it was somewhere between the war of winter and spring when the prophet reeled over life’s abrupt and senseless end. “In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death and be robbed of the rest of my years? For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise. The living, the living—they praise you as I am doing today.”(1)

Though differing in degree and conclusions, literature is unapologetically full of a sense of this deep irony, at times expressing itself in futility. Euripides, writing in the fifth century, remarks:

“…and so we are sick for life, and cling

On earth to this nameless and shining thing.

For other life is a fountain sealed,

And the deeps below us are unrevealed

And we drift on legends for ever.”(2)

Shakespeare, on the lips of Macbeth, is struck by the monotonous beat of time and the futile story it adds up to tell:

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Into the Waste Land

Joyce Meyer – You Reap What You Sow

 

Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. — Galatians 6:7

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

As God’s representative here on earth, your purpose is to do right and glorify God. When you do right, you bring God glory by manifesting His excellence in a tangible way.

One way you can bring Him glory is in the way you treat people. There are many practical ways you can be a blessing to others. You can build others up by giving them a compliment. You can express your appreciation and acknowledge people by giving them a pat on the back or writing them a note of encouragement.

You can also take advantage of opportunities to listen to people and lend a helping hand when they need it. You can believe the best of others and offer forgiveness to those who have offended you.

I encourage you to treat everybody with love and respect. You will not only glorify God, you will also receive blessings by reaping what you sow.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to sow seeds of Your love and kindness today. Make me aware of the needs of others, and show me opportunities to offer encouragement, appreciation, forgiveness, and respect. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Simple, Wonderful Message

 

“He brought them out and begged them, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, and your entire household” (Acts 16:30- 31).

The story is told of a man who was very fond of the famous general, Robert E. Lee. He was eager for his four-year-old son to admire and respect this great, southern, Civil War general as much as he did. So every day, as they strolled through the park near their home, they would stop in front of the statue of General Lee astride his beautiful horse, Traveler, and the father would say to his little David, “Say good morning to General Lee,” The little lad would dutifully wave his hand in obedience to his father’s instructions and say, “Good morning, General Lee.” Months passed and one day, as they again stood in front of the statue of General Lee, the father said, “Say good morning to General Lee,” which the boy did. But as they walked on through the park together, David asked, “Daddy, who is that man riding General Lee?”

One of the biggest problems we have in life is communication. To David’s young mind the horse was more important that the rider. We all have a tendency to filter information through our own experiences. What I say is not necessarily what you hear, and what you say may not be what I hear. This is true even in communicating the gospel.

The most joyful news ever announced is found in Luke 2:10,11:” ‘Don’t be afraid!’ the angel said. ‘I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone! The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born tonight in Bethlehem!'” Yet that simple message has been diluted and profaned through the centuries.

One evening, I presented this message to a very mature, intelligent layman.

“Does it make sense?” I inquired.

It was as though a light suddenly went on and, for the first time, he understood what the gospel was all about. “Of course it does,” he answered.

“Would you like to receive Christ right now?”

“Of course I would. If what you say is true, I should think everyone would want to know Christ.”

If Spirit-filled, trained communicators properly presented the gospel, the majority of people would want to receive Christ.

Bible Reading:John 1:9-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will seek to present the good news of God’s love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ in such a logical, joyful, Spirit-filled way that those who hear will want to know my wonderful Savior. And I will trust God to use me to train other Christians as well to be better communicators of the greatest news the world has ever heard.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Don’t Compare Yourself With Others

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

The apostle Paul said, “Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life” (Galatians 6:4-5 MSG).

Before Thomas Merton followed Christ, he followed money, fame and society. He shocked many of his colleagues when he exchanged it all for the life of a Trappist monk. Many years later a friend visited the monastery and could see no important difference in him. “Tom,” he said, “you haven’t changed at all.” “Why should I?” Tom responded. “Here, our duty is to be more like ourselves, not less.”

God never called you to be anyone other than you. But he does call you to be the best you that you can be. The big question is, at your best, who are you?

Read more Cure for the Common Life

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