Tag Archives: faith

Responding to Rejection By Charles F. Stanley

 

How are you to respond when you experience times of rejection? Should you curl up in a dark corner and engage in self-pity? Will you withdraw from life completely and disown the people who love and accept you? No!

You are to do three specific things when you feel an intense need to belong.

1. Believe what God says about you.

Through the years, I have had a number of divorced or widowed people say to me, “I feel like a nobody.” My response to them is, “That’s not what God says about you.”

God says you are a somebody. You are so special and valuable to Him that He sent His Son to die for your sins, and He made it possible for the Holy Spirit to come and dwell within you. He did that to remind you on a daily basis that you are valuable beyond measure in His eyes.

“But I feel so all alone in the world,” someone might say.

You aren’t alone, because God is with you. He has promised to stay right by your side, regardless of what happens to you. Even if everybody you know has rejected you, God will not leave you. Be assured that you are forgiven and a full-fledged member of God’s family. In Christ, we are His children, never to be denied, rejected, or turned away from His presence.

2. Seek God’s acceptance first.

Divorce is devastating because it destroys a person’s sense of belonging. It creates an even greater need to belong, a need that isn’t felt as keenly or as deeply when a person is happily married.

A woman whose husband had recently divorced her confessed to me, “I don’t feel as if I belong anyplace anymore. My life has been ripped apart. What can I do?”

“Go to Christ,” I said. “Trust the Lord to be the One who provides for you. He alone can give you identity and supply comfort in your loneliness. Do everything obediently in service to Him, trusting Him to direct your path. Know that He will shelter you from evil, uphold you, and provide daily guidance. Depend on Him with your entire being, and surrender completely to His will.”

Is God’s acceptance of you more important than acceptance by other people? You have been given the ability and prerogative to ignore God, continue on your own way, and rebel against His desire enjoy a growing relationship with you. But why not spend time in His Word to see the deep, unconditional love He has for you? Why not give in and yield to His compassionate, fatherly embrace?

3. Recognize that God will never reject you.

Perhaps you are afraid that you might one day lose God’s acceptance and love. Nothing, my friend—absolutely nothing—can destroy your standing in Christ or diminish the love He extends to you. Not now, not ever.

When my grandson was very young, the first thing he would do when he came to my house was demand to sit on my lap. He had a sense—rightly so—that there was no other person I would rather have been with in that moment.

Friend, that’s the way God feels about you and me. He delights in being with us. He holds us tenderly. And there is no other person in the world He would rather be with. The amazing truth about our infinite God is that He is capable of expressing to us all His love and attention. In our finite minds, we can not grasp that. But in God’s great and infinite love, He can completely meet my need for belonging, just as surely as He can fully meet yours.

When you feel as if you don’t belong, come to God with a desire to sit for a while in His presence. Come with a willingness to be held, like a child, in His everlasting arms. Allow yourself to relax. You are 100 percent welcome there. The Father longs for you to be with Him.

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Extravagant Gifts

 

Luke 21:1-4

All these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had. —Luke 21:4

When I was pastoring a small church, we faced a huge crisis. Unless we could complete the extensive renovations necessary to bring our building up to the proper safety codes, we would lose our place of worship. A desperate time of fundraising ensued to pay for those renovations; but of all the money given, one gift captured our leadership’s attention.

An elderly woman in the church donated several hundred dollars to the project—money we knew she could not spare. We thanked her for her gift but wanted to return it, feeling that her needs were greater than the church’s. However, she refused to take the money back. She had been saving for years in order to buy a stove and was cooking on a hot plate in the meantime. Yet she insisted that she needed a place to worship with her church family more than she needed a stove. We were astounded by her extravagant gift.

When our Lord observed a widow putting two mites (the smallest of coins) into the temple offerings, He praised her for her extravagance (Luke 21:3-4). Why? Not because of how much she gave, but because she gave all she had. It’s the kind of gift that not only honors our God, but also reminds us of the most extravagant of gifts to us—Christ. —Bill Crowder

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a wise man, I would do my part;

Yet what can I give Him—give my heart. —Rossetti

 

Gratitude of heart can often be seen in a generous spirit.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning “In my prosperity I said I shall never be moved.” / Psalm 30:6

“Moab settled on his lees, he hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel.” Give a man wealth; let his ships bring home continually rich freights; let the winds and waves appear to be his servants to bear his vessels across the bosom of the mighty deep; let his lands yield abundantly: let the weather be propitious to his crops; let uninterrupted success attend him; let him stand among men as a successful merchant; let him enjoy continued health; allow him with braced nerve and brilliant eye to march through the world, and live happily; give him the buoyant spirit; let him have the song perpetually on his lips; let his eye be ever sparkling with joy–and the natural consequence of such an easy state to any man, let him be the best Christian who ever breathed, will be presumption; even David said, “I shall never be moved;” and we are not better than David, nor half so good. Brother, beware of the smooth places of the way; if you are treading them, or if the way be rough, thank God for it. If God should always rock us in the cradle of prosperity; if we were always dandled on the knees of fortune; if we had not some stain on the alabaster pillar; if there were not a few clouds in the sky; if we had not some bitter drops in the wine of this life, we should become intoxicated with pleasure, we should dream “we stand;” and stand we should, but it would be upon a pinnacle; like the man asleep upon the mast, each moment we should be in jeopardy.

We bless God, then, for our afflictions; we thank him for our changes; we extol his name for losses of property; for we feel that had he not chastened us thus, we might have become too secure. Continued worldly prosperity is a fiery trial.

“Afflictions, though they seem severe,  In mercy oft are sent.”

 

Evening “Man … is of few days, and full of trouble.” / Job 14:1

It may be of great service to us, before we fall asleep, to remember this mournful fact, for it may lead us to set loose by earthly things. There is nothing very pleasant in the recollection that we are not above the shafts of adversity, but it may humble us and prevent our boasting like the Psalmist in our morning’s portion. “My mountain standeth firm: I shall never be moved.” It may stay us from taking too deep root in this soil from which we are so soon to be transplanted into the heavenly garden. Let us recollect the frail tenure upon which we hold our temporal mercies. If we would remember that all the trees of earth are marked for the woodman’s axe, we should not be so ready to build our nests in them. We should love, but we should love with the love which expects death, and which reckons upon separations. Our dear relations are but loaned to us, and the hour when we must return them to the lender’s hand may be even at the door. The like is certainly true of our worldly goods. Do not riches take to themselves wings and fly away? Our health is equally precarious. Frail flowers of the field, we must not reckon upon blooming forever. There is a time appointed for weakness and sickness, when we shall have to glorify God by suffering, and not by earnest activity. There is no single point in which we can hope to escape from the sharp arrows of affliction; out of our few days there is not one secure from sorrow. Man’s life is a cask full of bitter wine; he who looks for joy in it had better seek for honey in an ocean of brine. Beloved reader, set not your affections upon things of earth: but seek those things which are above, for here the moth devoureth, and the thief breaketh through, but there all joys are perpetual and eternal. The path of trouble is the way home. Lord, make this thought a pillow for many a weary head!

 

John MacArthur – Relying on God’s Character

 

“Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments . . . righteousness belongs to Thee. . . . To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness” (Dan. 9:4, 7, 9).

Prior to the Babylonian Captivity God had warned His people not to adopt the idolatrous ways of their captors. Their gods were idols that could neither hear nor deliver them from distress (Isa. 46:6-7).

In marked contrast, our God loves us and delivers us from evil. When we confess our sins and intercede for others, He hears and responds. In Isaiah 45:21-22 He says, “There is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

In his prayer Daniel mentions several attributes of God that have a direct bearing on answered prayer. In verse 4 he calls Him “the great and awesome God.” That speaks of His power and majesty. You can pray with confidence because God is powerful enough to change your circumstances when it serves His purposes.

God’s faithfulness is reflected in the phrase “who keeps His covenant” (v. 4). He always keeps His promises. He made a covenant with Israel that if they repented He would forgive them (Deut. 30:1-3). He promised never to forsake them (Deut. 31:6; cf. Heb. 13:5).

God’s love is seen in His acts of mercy toward those who love Him (v. 4). His justice and holiness are inherent in the phrase “righteousness belongs to Thee” (v. 7). God’s actions are always loving and righteousness. He never makes a mistake (Gen. 18:25).

Verse 9 mentions two final attributes: compassion and forgiveness. Compassion is a synonym for mercy. Forgiveness means He pardons your wrongdoings by canceling the penalty sin has charged to your account. He reconciles you to Himself in sweet communion.

What a gracious God we serve! Rejoice in His love and lean on His promises. He will never fail you.

Suggestions for Prayer: Praise God for His attributes of power, majesty, faithfulness, love, holiness, compassion, and forgiveness.

For Further Study: Read Isaiah 44 which contains a stern warning for Israel to avoid the idolatry of Babylon during the Babylonian Captivity.

What promises did God make to Israel?

How did God characterize idolaters?

 

Joyce Meyer – Mountains into Molehills

 

For who are you, O great mountain [of human obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who with Joshua had led the return of the exiles from Babylon and was undertaking the rebuilding of the temple, before him] you shall become a plain [a mere molehill]! And he shall bring forth the finishing gable stone [of the new temple] with loud shoutings of the people, crying, Grace, grace to it! —Zechariah 4:7

The Samaritans who came against the Israelites as they were building the temple of the Lord had become like a mountain of human obstacles, frustrating them and preventing them from doing what God had commanded them to do. That may be the situation in which you find yourself right now as you read these words. You may feel that the Lord has told you to do something but that the enemy has thrown up a mountain in your path to frustrate you and prevent you from carrying out the Lord’s will. If so, I know just how you feel because that is exactly the way I used to feel. The problem is one of perspective. In this passage the Lord tells Zechariah that the problem facing the Israelites, although it may appear to be a mountain, is actually a molehill. How would you like for all your mountains to become molehills? They can, if you will do what God is saying here and look not at the problems but at the Lord and His power. If God has told you to do something, it is certainly His will not only that you begin it but also that you finish it.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – His Power to Change

 

“But our homeland is in heaven, where our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ is; and we are looking forward to His return from there. When He comes back He will take these dying bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same mighty power that He will use to conquer all else everywhere” (Philippians 3:20,21).

George Gallup, Jr., a deeply religious and dear personal friend, has just completed a very important survey asking people, in face-to-face, in-depth interviews, key questions about heaven and hell and other aspects about life beyond death.

One result indicated that two-thirds of all American adults – or 100 million people – believe in an after-life. But what was surprising, said Gallup, was that about 15 percent of those surveyed in one poll indicated they had had an unusual near-death experience – seeing figures or objects that beckoned them to a world beyond life on earth.

Dwight L. Moody caught a glimpse of the glory awaiting him a few hours before leaving this earth for his heavenly mansion.

“Earth recedes, heaven opens before me,” he said, awakening from a sleep. “If this is death, it is sweet. There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go.”

A son stood by his bedside. “No, no, father,” he said, “you are dreaming.”

“No,” said Moody, “I am not dreaming. I have been within the gates. I have seen the children’s faces.”

A short time passed, then followed what his family thought to be the death struggle. “This is my triumph,” Moody said. “This is my coronation day. It is glorious!”

Nothing in that true story contradicts Scripture in any way. One of God’s choice saints simply had a foretaste of his heavenly home, related for our joy and encouragement and edification.

Bible Reading: John 14:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Realizing afresh that my homeland is in heaven with my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the time of my departure from this earth is unknown but certain, I shall take advantage of every opportunity to encourage others to be ready for their time of departure, as I prepare for my own.

Presidential Prayer Team – Faith over Funds

 

During the recent presidential campaign, donors in California paid $40,000 each for the opportunity to eat dinner with George Clooney and President Obama. Meanwhile in Florida, supporters of Governor Mitt Romney paid $50,000 a plate for lunch with the Republican nominee. Getting access to important people in this world can be difficult, and sometimes it takes money – a lot of it.

All the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him.Luke 6:19

As Jesus ministered in Galilee, people scrambled to be close to Him. But their motives did not involve a quest for influence, fame or prestige. They simply wanted to be healed. Scripture tells you their faith was immediately rewarded. You can’t physically reach out and touch Jesus as they did during His earthly ministry, but still…He’s just that close. The Savior is ready to minister to you, as He has always been.

Will you take the time to reach out in prayer for His power? Today, ask God to touch your neighborhood and your nation with His truth and love. You can be sure He will respond – not to your funds, but to your faith.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 86:1-10

He Gave Up His Rights – Bryant Wright

 

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14 ESV

Jesus, the Word, 100% God, stepped out of heaven, took on the flesh of humankind, and entered our world. With this huge step of becoming flesh, we see that Jesus willingly set aside His divine rights.

To be clear, Jesus did not suffer from any type of divine identity crisis. He was very clear on who He was and is. Yet, Jesus did not hold onto this equality with God the Father, but made Himself nothing. Literally, He emptied Himself of His divine rights to take on the form of mankind. He took on the limitations of space and time, and in some cases limitations of knowledge and power, so that He could identify with us.

Now, to follow Jesus, to experience God at work in and through us, we must also be willing to give up our “rights.” If we are not very, very careful, these “rights” will create an actual barrier between us and Jesus. They will become a weight that hold us back. One of the greatest tragedies of Western Christianity, and especially American Christianity, is that we allow God’s blessings to hold us back from following Him.

If we look through the gospels, we see Jesus challenging people who want to follow Him to give up specific “rights” or “blessings.” He asked them to set aside or leave behind family, occupations, homes, money, safety, security and comfort. His challenge was clear: if they decided to follow Him, it could cost them everything…but they would gain eternity with Him.

Do you accept the challenge?

Don’t Bow Down – Rod Parsley

 

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.Exodus 20:4-6

Why did God give a command against making a form of things in the heavens above or the earth below?

It is because needing a physical form to bow down to and worship diminishes faith, even if that physical form is an attempt to represent God Himself. The need for the physical is of the flesh, but we are to live and know God in the Spirit.

Romans 8:13 teaches, “By the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body.” Our “religious” behavior can take our church buildings, our list of “ministries” and accomplishments and put them in place of a relationship with God.

God’s primary commandment is that we love Him! Even in this commandment He is calling upon us to love Him, and in return He promises to love us to a thousand generations.

Have you forgotten God today in favor of the physical forms of worship? Don’t get stuck on earthly things just because you can see them. Today, I challenge you to just spend some time with Him in quiet, putting aside all outward forms of worship and prayer. Allow Him to work within you during this time.

Further Reading

Deuteronomy 6:5

Hosea 3:1

Jude 1:21

Charles Stanley – Hope: The Anchor of the Soul

 

Hebrews 6:13-20

Many people in the world—maybe even you—are facing terrible storms in their lives: broken homes, joblessness, loneliness, loss, world crises. These things slash at the very fabric of our hope in Christ. It may even seem as though we are lost, adrift at sea in a small boat during a hurricane. How on earth will we be able to reach the shore safely?

The disciples faced this fear as well. While they were crossing a lake in their small ship, the weather took a frightening turn for the worse, endangering the vessel and, the men assumed, their very lives. In desperation, they went to Jesus for help, but were surprised to find Him asleep. They cried out, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” (Matt. 8:25 niv).

When Jesus awoke, He rebuked them for their lack of faith. Then He proceeded to calm the storm. Through this dramatic demonstration of His power, He showed Himself to be Lord over all creation. It was also a clear lesson about where we are to turn when storms arise in our lives.

Sometimes people think their challenging circumstances mean that God isn’t paying attention. That’s what the disciples thought—until Christ rose to calm the turbulent waters. Nothing is beyond the control of our sovereign Lord.

When the world—or even just our own personal “world”—seems out of control, Jesus is still Lord of all. So what should you do when you think He is sleeping? The answer is simple: Thank God that He is in the boat with you. And then look at your situation through eyes of hope and trust.

Our Daily Bread — Praying Friends

 

1 Thessalonians 3:6-13

Brethren, pray for us. —1 Thessalonians 5:25

I met my friend Angie for lunch after having not seen her for several months. At the end of our time together, she pulled out a piece of paper with notes from our previous get-together. It was a list of my prayer requests she had been praying for since then. She went through each one and asked if God had answered yet or if there were any updates. And then we talked about her prayer requests. How encouraging to have a praying friend!

The apostle Paul had a praying relationship with the churches he served, including the one at Thessalonica. He thanked God for the faith, love, and hope of the people (1 Thess. 1:2-3). He longed to see them, and asked God “night and day” that he might be able to visit them again (3:10-11). He requested that the Lord would help them “increase and abound in love to one another and to all” (v.12). He also prayed that their hearts would be blameless before God (v.13). They must have been encouraged as they read about Paul’s concern and prayers for them. Paul knew too his own need for God’s presence and power and pleaded, “Brethren, pray for us” (5:25).

Loving Father, thank You for wanting us to talk with You. Teach us all to be praying friends. —Anne Cetas

I need the prayers of those I love

While traveling on life’s rugged way,

That I may true and faithful be,

And live for Jesus every day. —Vaughn

 

The best kind of friend is a praying friend.

 

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning “Yea, he is altogether lovely.” / Song of Solomon 5:16

The superlative beauty of Jesus is all-attracting; it is not so much to be admired as to be loved. He is more than pleasant and fair, he is lovely. Surely the people of God can fully justify the use of this golden word, for he is the object of their warmest love, a love founded on the intrinsic excellence of his person, the complete perfection of his charms. Look, O disciples of Jesus, to your Master’s lips, and say, “Are they not most sweet?” Do not his words cause your hearts to burn within you as he talks with you by the way? Ye worshippers of Immanuel, look up to his head of much fine gold, and tell me, are not his thoughts precious unto you? Is not your adoration sweetened with affection as ye humbly bow before that countenance which is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars? Is there not a charm in his every feature, and is not his whole person fragrant with such a savour of his good ointments, that therefore the virgins love him? Is there one member of his glorious body which is not attractive?–one portion of his person which is not a fresh lodestone to our souls?–one office which is not a strong cord to bind your heart? Our love is not as a seal set upon his heart of love alone; it is fastened upon his arm of power also; nor is there a single part of him upon which it does not fix itself. We anoint his whole person with the sweet spikenard of our fervent love. His whole life we would imitate; his whole character we would transcribe. In all other beings we see some lack, in him there is all perfection. The best even of his favoured saints have had blots upon their garments and wrinkles upon their brows; he is nothing but loveliness. All earthly suns have their spots: the fair world itself hath its wilderness; we cannot love the whole of the most lovely thing; but Christ Jesus is gold without alloy-light without darkness–glory without cloud–“Yea, he is altogether lovely.”

 

Evening “Abide in me.” / John 15:4

Communion with Christ is a certain cure for every ill. Whether it be the wormwood of woe, or the cloying surfeit of earthly delight, close fellowship with the Lord Jesus will take bitterness from the one, and satiety from the other. Live near to Jesus, Christian, and it is a matter of secondary importance whether thou livest on the mountain of honour or in the valley of humiliation. Living near to Jesus, thou art covered with the wings of God, and underneath thee are the everlasting arms. Let nothing keep thee from that hallowed intercourse, which is the choice privilege of a soul wedded to the well-beloved. Be not content with an interview now and then, but seek always to retain his company, for only in his presence hast thou either comfort or safety. Jesus should not be unto us a friend who calls upon us now and then, but one with whom we walk evermore. Thou hast a difficult road before thee: see, O traveller to heaven, that thou go not without thy guide. Thou hast to pass through the fiery furnace; enter it not unless, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, thou hast the Son of God to be thy companion. Thou hast to storm the Jericho of thine own corruptions: attempt not the warfare until, like Joshua, thou hast seen the Captain of the Lord’s host, with his sword drawn in his hand. Thou art to meet the Esau of thy many temptations: meet him not until at Jabbok’s brook thou hast laid hold upon the angel, and prevailed. In every case, in every condition, thou wilt need Jesus; but most of all, when the iron gates of death shall open to thee. Keep thou close to thy soul’s Husband, lean thy head upon his bosom, ask to be refreshed with the spiced wine of his pomegranate, and thou shalt be found of him at the last, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Seeing thou hast lived with him, and lived in him here, thou shalt abide with him forever.

John MacArthur – Praying for Others

 

“We have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly, and rebelled, even turning aside from Thy commandments and ordinances. . . . We have not listened to Thy servants the prophets. . . . Open shame belongs to us, O Lord . . . because we have sinned against Thee. . . . Indeed all Israel has transgressed Thy law and turned aside, not obeying Thy voice. . . . Thy people have become a reproach to all those around us” (Dan. 9:5-16).

In verses 5-16 Daniel identifies with his people and intercedes on their behalf. That’s a common practice in Scripture. For example, Moses interceded for the Israelites after they sinned by worshiping the golden calf (Ex. 32:11- 13).

All Paul’s recorded prayers are intercessions. In Ephesians 6:18 he instructs us to “be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” In 1 Timothy 2:1-4 he says, “I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Similarly, the Lord’s prayers are replete with intercessions. Even when hanging in agony on the cross, He prayed for His persecutors: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

When God placed us into the Body of Christ, He made us dependent on one another. When one member suffers, all suffer with it. When one is honored, all rejoice with it (1 Cor. 12:26). That’s why Jesus instructed us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts. . . . And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:11-13, emphasis added).

Let your prayers reflect a corporate and selfless mentality that embraces the needs of others.

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for the people who have prayed for you over the years. Be aware of those for whom you should be praying.

Sometimes the demands of prayer can seem overwhelming because there’s so much to pray for, but be faithful, knowing that your prayers are a delight to the Lord (Prov. 15:8).

For Further Study: Read John 17, noting how Jesus interceded for His disciples.

Joyce Meyer – Right Action Follows Right Thinking

 

Do not be conformed to this world (this age) [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. —Romans 12:2

A friend once talked about a church building their congregation had bought. “Function follows form,” he said, as he explained that the shape of the building and the size of the rooms had already determined how they could best use the building.

As I thought about it, I realized that’s exactly how our lives work. Once we decide the form, the function follows. This could be stated another way by saying, once we set our minds to something—that’s the form—the function, or the action, follows.

Too many people want to change their actions but not their thoughts. They want to be free from anger, gossip, lust, dishonesty, or lying. They want the bad behavior to stop, but they don’t want to change their bad thinking.

The principle of God’s Word is simple: Right action ­follows right thinking. None of us ever walks in victory unless we understand and put this principle into practice. We won’t change our behavior until we change our way of thinking.

Many people struggle over trying to do the right thing. One woman told me that she had been a real gossip—not that her words were always evil, but she just liked to talk. It was as if she felt compelled to be the first person to know anything and then to pass it on as quickly as possible. She struggled with holding back or saying less, and it didn’t work.

My advice to her was, “Until you change your way of thinking, you won’t be free.” Then I said I would be glad to pray for her, but added, “You must be accountable.”

“I am—and I will be—” she interrupted.

“No, you haven’t heard me. You want deliverance from all the gossip, but you don’t want to make any changes in your thinking. It just doesn’t work that way. You need deliverance in your mind; then your words and actions will change.”

She resisted my words, but she did ask me to pray for her, which I did. When I finished, she began to cry. “As you prayed, I understood. God showed me how insignificant and unimportant I feel. When I’m the first to pass on in­formation, it makes me feel good—at least for a while—and important.”

She had been asking us to pray for her to change her behavior, but she still wanted to feel good about what she did. She had to shift her thinking and learn to accept that she was worthwhile and loved by God just for being who she was. Once she learned to change her way of thinking—and she did over a course of weeks—she no longer had a problem with her tongue.

It’s impossible to change wrong behavior to right behavior without an attitude adjustment, which means that first we change the way we think.

I like the way Paul taught in Ephesians 4. He contrasted the old nature with the renewed mind. He admonished his readers: “Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion; And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness (4:22–24).

Another translation puts it this way: “Let the Spirit change your way of thinking, and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy” (4:23–24 CEV).

There it is: Let the Holy Spirit change your way of thinking. That’s the only way you can make permanent changes in your life.

Holy Spirit, thank You for Your ability to help me change my thinking. Help me strip myself of the old ways of thinking so that You can work in me to make me more like Jesus Christ. It’s in His name that I pray. Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – More and More Like Him

 

“The Lord is the Spirit who gives them life, and where He is there is freedom (from trying to be saved by keeping the laws of God). But we Christians have no veils over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him” (2 Corinthians 3:17,18).

You and I can be mirrors that reflect the glory of the Lord, since we have no veils over our faces. As the Spirit of the Lord works within us and we mature, we become more and more like Him. What a tremendous truth!

Two tendencies to error occur as we consider the concept of law and grace. One is legalism; the other is license. Legalism is that means of seeking to live according to the law, trying to merit God’s favor by keeping rules and regulations in the energy of the flesh.

The other problem is license. Some Christians become so excited about their freedom in Christ that they go overboard and bring reproach and disgrace to the name of Christ. “Relax,” they say. “Do what comes naturally.” But they forget God’s warning in Romans 14. Anything we do that causes our brother to stumble is sin. Often these same Christians tell us, “Don’t witness for Christ unless you feel like it.”

Quite honestly, I would not witness very often if I waited until I felt like it. Why do I witness? Because our Lord modeled it and He commands His followers to witness, and out of a deep sense of gratitude and thanksgiving to God for what He has done for me. I do not wait until I feel like it; I have already been given the command.

Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” The apostle Paul said, “Everywhere I go I tell everyone who will listen about Christ.” We are not to wait for some emotional, mystical impression of the Spirit. Liberty is not legalism, nor is it license. It is the privilege of doing the will of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Bible Reading: II Corinthians 3:8-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  With all of my heart, I want to be more and more like Jesus Christ. To this end, I will avoid legalism and license and embrace the freedom I have in Him to live a holy life and to be a fruitful witness, and to reach out to the multitudes of unchurched men and women who are hungry to know the reality of the living God.

Presidential Prayer Team – Powerful Encouragement

 

There’s nothing more exciting! The last trumpet will sound and the dead in Christ will rise. And those who are alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (I Thessalonians 4:16-17). The God who raised Jesus from the tomb will come for you if you believe in Him.

And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power-I Corinthians 6:14

What power! What a glorious thought! What comfort it should give as you go through your day. If God has the power to do all that, does He not also have the ability to help you through a difficult time, a crippling illness, a grievous loss or a life-changing tragedy? He does, Beloved one, He does! Know it, believe it and take hold of that fact!

Understood in context, today’s verse also refers to how you conduct yourselves as believers. Christ dwells within you and desires that you maintain purity within and without. Develop that loving relationship He wants with you by keeping in His Word. Let His power and love for you be your encouragement. Then intercede for America’s leaders…that they may come to know Jesus and the life-altering impact He can have on their lives.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 73:1-4; 23-28

Greg Laurie – Always Fresh and New

 

Just about everything I can think of in this world of ours has its limits: wealth, time, wisdom, opportunities, even physical life itself. Paul wrote: “For this world in its present form is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:31). And John declared, “this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave” (1 John 2:17).

But I’ll tell you one thing in my experience that has no limits at all. It’s God’s Word. In one Bible paraphrase, the psalmist declares: “I see the limits to everything human, but the horizons can’t contain your commands!” (Psalm 119:96).

No matter how many times I read a passage of Scripture, there’s always something new, something I’d never seen or considered, some fresh Word from the Lord. It’s like peeling an onion, finding layer after layer—only the onion never grows smaller. With the Holy Spirit as our Guide and Teacher as we read and study the Word, we will never exhaust the Bible’s wisdom, beauty, and good counsel. No one will. Not ever.

The Bible is full of infinite wisdom, because our infinite God inspired it, word for word. As you read it, the Lord will speak to you, help you, sometimes warn you, but always draw you close to Himself. So take comfort in His words, which are the one and only Truth.

 

No Other Gods – Rod Parsley

 

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.Exodus 20:2-3

There are dozens of “little gods” in disguise in our lives, even if we are Christians, worshipping the one true God.

People’s opinions, our money, appearance, family, friends or entertainment can become other gods we put before God. The devil seeks to deceive us by trying to make us believe that having other gods is limited to worship of another deity instead of God.

God would not see fit to warn us about putting other gods before Him if there were no other gods to be worried about. Nor would He tell us, as He does in Deuteronomy 10:17, that He is the “God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome….”

Who or what is receiving the glory in your life today? Who or what is most important to you, and who or what do you seek to please above all else? If you cannot answer “God” to all of these, then I challenge you to sort through your priorities.

Place Him at the center of your life and bring yourself back into alignment with this blessed commandment.

Further Reading

Jeremiah 25:6

Deuteronomy 6:14

Luke 10:27-28

Right from the Heart – I Am Part Of Something Bigger Than Myself by Bryant Wright

 

“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.” – 1 Corinthians 12:14-15

Have you ever heard anyone say, “There’s nothing special I can do; I just don’t have any purpose in life?” We live in a culture today that puts so much emphasis on the wrong thing. After all, if you’re not young or beautiful, what is there for you?

I’ve noticed a very interesting thing among teenagers (this often goes for adults, too). Have you noticed, especially when talking about physical features, everyone will tell you what they think is their major physical defect? You look at this gorgeous person, and think, “Wow, what would it be like to look like that?”

I promise you, that person will tell you, “I’m not gorgeous, my nose is too long, or my eyes are too small, or my teeth are crooked, or I walk funny, or I’m too short, or I’m too tall.” Our own perspective of ourselves is often very negative. Yet, all of that is totally irrelevant, even though our culture does not view it that way. What does the Bible say about our purpose in life?

God has made you for a unique and special reason. Examine your own likes and dislikes: what you are really good at and what you are not good at, what is really interesting and fun to you and what is not. Do this! It’s extremely important!

“Why does it matter,” you ask me? It matters because you were designed by God to be you! You have a unique place and reason for being here that no one else has. You may think, “There are a million other people who are just like me.” Not true! Many people may be similar to you, but they are never exactly like you. You are a unique part of the world God has placed you in, and you are needed. No one else is exactly like you. So, without you, something would be missing. Examine just who you are, and you will have taken one gigantic step toward finding your purpose in life.

Charles Stanley – In God We Trust

 

Matthew 7:9-11

Even though we do not realize it as children, we all learn fundamental lessons about trust from our parents. If a person grew up with a kind, loving mom and dad, then trust seems to come more naturally later on. However, if parents are cold and distant, their grown children can find it difficult to have confidence in others.

That’s why many believers struggle with trusting God. In an age noted for broken homes and absent fathers, how is it possible to learn to trust our Father in heaven?

First, we must understand that God loves us unconditionally, just as we are. We don’t have to earn His favor; in fact, we are entirely incapable of doing so. God loves us, not because of what we can offer Him but because, as 1 John 4:16 tells us, His very nature is love. That love is the reason He provided our salvation at His own great expense—the life of His precious Son Jesus.

Second, we can trust God because He has given us exactly what we needed most: salvation. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). He did not do this because He owed us anything or because of any inherent good within us. He saved us for one reason: because of His all-surpassing love (1 John 4:9).

God knows everything about you, including the unseemly details, and loves you just the same. That alone is good reason to feel perfectly safe with Him. You can trust Him, not only with your future but also with whatever is facing you today. The Lord is worthy of your praise—and your openness with Him.