Tag Archives: religion

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – God’s Shaping Tools

 

Romans 12:1-5

God’s kindness is demonstrated by the fact that He doesn’t leave us in the condition we were in before salvation. Throughout our life, the Lord uses certain tools to shape us into the image of His Son.

God’s Word. We grow in Christ when we spend time reading the Bible, because Scripture is like food that nourishes our soul (Matt. 4:4). Yet sadly, some Christians rely only on the Sunday dinner of the Word served up by a pastor.

Prayer. We learn to depend on the Lord by coming to Him with our needs and concerns as well as our praise and gratitude. As we regularly draw near, our intimacy and love for Him grows. Instead of seeing prayer as a duty, we’ll realize our time with the Lord has become a delight.

The Church. The body of believers is another important factor in our transformation because that’s where we learn to love one another.  It’s also where we find encouragement, receive biblical instruction, and experience accountability.

Our culture has no shortage of worldly voices and pressures that fill minds and influence behavior. But when we intentionally schedule time for God, His Word, and His people, He does His transforming work in our life.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 24-27

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Never Give Up

 

Bible in a Year:

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips.

Joshua 1:8

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Joshua 1:1–9

“Time went by. War came in.” That’s how Bishop Semi Nigo of the Keliko people of South Sudan described delays in his church’s long struggle to get the Bible in their own language. Not one word, in fact, had ever been printed in the Keliko language. Decades earlier, Bishop Nigo’s grandfather had courageously started a Bible translation project, but war and unrest kept halting the effort. Yet, despite repeated attacks on their refugee camps in northern Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the bishop and fellow believers kept the project alive.

Their persistence paid off. After nearly three decades, the New Testament Bible in Keliko was delivered to the refugees in a rousing celebration. “The motivation of the Keliko is beyond words,” said one project consultant.

The commitment of the Keliko reflects the perseverance God asked of Joshua. As God told him, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8). With equal persistence, the Keliko pursued the translation of Scripture. Now, “when you see them in the camps, they are smiling,” said one translator. Hearing and understanding the Bible “gives them hope.” Like the Keliko people, may we never give up seeking the power and wisdom of Scripture.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What will help you persist in reading Scripture? How could another person help you better understand it?

Loving God, stir up in me a greater hunger to seek, study, and know the Bible, never giving up my quest to understand Your wisdom.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Our Confidence Is in Jesus

 

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

— Philippians 4:13 (AMPC)

– by Joyce Meyer

The last thing Satan wants is for you to fulfill God’s plan for your life, because he knows that you’re part of his ultimate defeat. If he can make you think and believe that you’re incapable, then you won’t even try to accomplish anything worthwhile. And if you’re convinced that you can’t, even if you do make an effort, your fear of failure will seal your defeat, which, because of your lack of confidence, you probably expected from the beginning. This is what’s often referred to as the “failure syndrome.” The enemy wants us to feel so bad about ourselves that we have no confidence and make no progress.

But here’s the good news: We don’t need confidence in ourselves—we need confidence in Jesus! I have confidence in myself only because I know that Christ is in me, always present and ready to help me with everything I attempt to do for Him. A believer without confidence is like a brand-new jet parked on the runway with no fuel; it looks good on the outside, but has no power on the inside. With Jesus inside us, though, we have the power to do what we could never do on our own.

Once you learn this truth, when the devil lies and says, “You can’t do anything right,” your response to him can be, “Maybe not, but Jesus in me can, and He will, because I’m relying on Him and not myself. He’s the one who causes me to succeed in everything that I put my hand to” (see Joshua 1:7). Or if the enemy says to you, “You’re not able, so don’t even try—you’ll only fail again, just like you always do,” your response can be, “It’s true that without Jesus I’m not able to do anything, but with Him and in Him I can do not just some, but all the things that I need to do” (see Philippians 4:13).

The more you speak the truth out loud, the more it will shape and affect your life for the better!

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You that I can put my confidence in You, and that because You’re able to do all things (and You’re in me), I can do everything that I need to do. Please help me remember to speak the truth out loud anytime the enemy tries to convince me of a lie. Thank You for giving me all the grace and wisdom I need for today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Means of Sanctification

Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden, let its spices flow.

 Song of Songs 4:16

Anything is better than the dead calm of indifference. Our souls may wisely desire the north wind of trouble if that is to become the means of our sanctification. So long as it cannot be said, “The Lord was not in the wind,” we will not shrink from the most wintry blast that ever blew upon plants of grace.

Did not the spouse in this verse humbly submit herself to the reproofs of her Beloved, only entreating Him to send forth His grace in some form, and making no stipulation as to the peculiar manner in which it should come? Did she not, like ourselves, become so utterly weary of deadness and unholy calm that she sighed for any visitation that would brace her to action? Yet she desires the warm south wind of comfort too, the smiles of divine love, the joy of the Redeemer’s presence; these are often mightily effectual to arouse our sluggish life. She desires either one or the other, or both, so that she may but be able to delight her Beloved with the spices of her garden. She cannot endure to be unprofitable, nor can we.

How cheering a thought that Jesus can find comfort in our poor feeble graces. Can it be? It seems far too good to be true. We may even court trial or death itself if by doing so we gladden Immanuel’s heart. O that our heart were crushed to atoms if only by such bruising our Lord Jesus could be glorified. Graces unexercised are as sweet perfumes trapped in the bottle: The wisdom of God overrules diverse and opposite causes to produce the one desired result and makes both affliction and consolation produce the grateful aroma of faith, love, patience, hope, resignation, joy, and the other fair flowers of the garden. May we know by sweet experience what this means.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Always With Us

 

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

Have you ever been lost? Isn’t it a scary feeling?

When Philip was five, he lived on a ranch in California. Philip loved riding around the ranch with his dad, who oversaw the care of the cattle and sheep. He almost always had another companion with him–his dog, Rusty. Rusty was a German shepherd and a “working dog” on the ranch. Philip’s dad would give Rusty specific commands, and Rusty would help him herd the cattle and sheep. But whenever Rusty wasn’t needed on the ranch, he could always be found at Philip’s side. Rusty was very protective of the boy. If Rusty ever sensed that something was threatening Philip, he would get in front of him and not move until everything was ok.

One day, Philip was with his parents on a part of the ranch with which he was unfamiliar. Somehow, he wandered away from his parents, so far away that he finally couldn’t find the way back to the family car. Fortunately, Rusty was with Philip when he got lost. Although Philip didn’t realize it as he was trying to find his way back to his family, Rusty had been leading him in the right direction, almost like he was herding lost sheep or cattle. Eventually, Philip became very tired and had to sit down on the ground. When his parents found him, it was two hours later, and Rusty was almost covering Philip. Philip did not know where he was, but it was a comfort to be able to put his arms around his dog and know that Rusty would never leave him there alone.

Do you ever find yourself in situations that make you feel afraid or confused? Perhaps you have felt lonely, or even lost. Psalm 23:4 assures believers that no matter where they go or what they have to face, they can depend on God. God stays continually with those who trust Him and obey Him. He gives comfort and guidance. He is there anytime to hear those who call upon Him for help. Are you dealing with really hard things right now? You do not have to deal with them all by yourself. You can count on God, anytime and anywhere.

God is always present to help, guide, and protect me in any situation.

My Response:
» When I am in the middle of a difficult time, do I think biblically about God’s character and remember to call on Him for help?
» What other verses in God’s Word help me to know that I can turn to God at any time and anywhere?

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Denison Forum – Church helps mosque rebuild: Responding to the Equality Act and those with whom we disagree

 

Former President Donald Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday, criticizing President Biden on a variety of issues and pledging not to create a new party. In other news, Chadwick Boseman won last night’s Golden Globe for Best Actor in a motion picture-drama, six months after he died of colon cancer at the age of forty-three. And Emma Corrin paid tribute to Princess Diana after winning a Golden Globe for portraying her in Netflix’s The Crown.

While these stories are leading the national news this morning, another story received only local coverage in my area but deserves our attention.

When winter storms devastated our state recently, First United Methodist Church of Denton (north of Dallas-Fort Worth) started a GoFundMe campaign to help the Islamic Society of Denton pay for repairs to its building. This is just one expression of what a minister at the church calls a “longstanding friendship” with the mosque.

Did the church’s action endorse a religion that expressly rejects the Trinity (Qur’an 4:171) and deity of Jesus (Qur’an 5:72–73)? Did it send a signal of doctrinal compromise and unbiblical tolerance? Or did it build a relational bridge across which the gospel can travel, bringing the good news of Jesus’ love to Muslims in our region?

I do not know the Denton church, but I am confident that the third option is true. If so, these believers are following in the steps of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), Paul with Greek philosophers (Acts 17), and a host of other biblical and historical examples.

The lesson is both simple and profound: to win people to Jesus, we must love and serve them where they are, not where we wish them to be.

 

Why a gay writer opposes the Equality Act 

This principle is on my mind in light of the House of Representatives’ adoption of the so-called Equality Act last week, legislation which has been called “the most invasive threat to religious liberty ever proposed in America.” It amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act by forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. However, it also forbids appeal to the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act on the part of individuals and organizations.

As a result, faith-based hospitals could be forced to provide gender-transition therapies. Children could change their gender without parental knowledge or consent. Faith-based adoption agencies could be forced to assign children to same-sex couples. Biological females could be forced to compete with biological males in sports and to share bathrooms and locker rooms with them. And the list goes on. (For a larger discussion of the Act and its consequences, please see my latest website paper, “The Equality Act: What Christians need to know.“)

I am adamantly opposed to the Act, as you might imagine. But this is not only because of my concerns regarding religious liberty. It’s also because I am convinced it is bad for those it is intended to protect.

A gay writer notes: “This bill will not protect our rights but destroy them for many members of our communities and society at large.” He observes that the Act will “lead to the erasure of women by dismantling sex-specific facilities such as bathrooms, locker rooms, prisons, battered women’s shelters, and other vital female-only spaces” and notes that “the same would apply to men.”

He warns that “mixing the biological sexes in such a way will enable and facilitate sexual harassment and assault.” For example, he cites a transgender person who “preyed on women at two Toronto shelters. He has been convicted of sexually assaulting a girl as young as five years old. His victims include a deaf and homeless Quebec woman and a Toronto survivor of domestic violence.”

How Christians impressed Romans 

Experts agree that the Equality Act jeopardizes parental rights, women’s rights, and children’s rights. And, as constitutional legal scholar David French notes, the Act contains core substantive flaws. He states, “It is possible to protect LGBTQ Americans from invidious discrimination while still preserving religious liberty and recognizing material biological distinctions.”

Here’s my point: Christians should go beyond opposing the Equality Act on the basis of religious liberty. We should also make clear our concern for those it would harm, including the LGBTQ individuals its supporters claim to be protecting. And we should respond to these supporters by “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

Jesus taught us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). He demonstrated his compassion by washing the feet of men who would abandon, deny, and betray him (John 13:1–12), then he called us “to wash one another’s feet” (v. 14). Paul grieved for the Jews who rejected his message (Romans 9:2) and even testified, “I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (v. 3).

Eusebius, the early church historian, records that when plague afflicted Caesarea and Romans fled the city, Christians stayed behind and “tended to the dying and to their burial, countless numbers with no one to care for them. Others gathered together from all parts of the city a multitude of those withered from famine and distributed bread to them all.”

Such compassion so impressed the pagans that the Christians’ “deeds were on everyone’s lips, and they glorified the God of the Christians. Such actions convinced them that they alone were pious and truly reverent to God.” A few decades later, the pagan emperor Julian the Apostate observed that Christians “support not only their poor, but ours as well.”

 

How to know if you’re a true servant 

I plan to say more tomorrow about specific ways we can support religious freedom while extending biblical truth and compassion to LGBTQ persons. For today, let’s decide that we want to do both. Let’s decide that we want to emulate the One who “came not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). Let’s pray for those with whom we disagree, then seek practical ways to be the answer to our prayers.

The great British preacher Charles Spurgeon observed: “I think you may judge of a man’s character by the persons whose affection he seeks. If you find a man seeking only the affection of those who are great, depend upon it he is ambitious and self-seeking; but when you observe that a man seeks the affection of those who can do nothing for him, but for whom he must do everything, you know that he is not seeking himself, but that pure benevolence sways his heart.”

Here’s a shorter version of the same truth: to see if you’re a true servant, watch how you respond when someone treats you like one.

Will you be a servant today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –A Fountain of Love That Won’t Run Dry

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

You don’t influence God’s love. You can’t affect the love of God. If your actions altered his devotion, then God would not be love; instead, he would be a human, for this is human love. Don’t you need a fountain of love that won’t run dry? You’ll find one on a stone-cropped hill outside Jerusalem’s walls where Jesus hangs, cross-nailed and thorn-crowned.

 

When you feel unloved, ascend this mount and meditate long and hard on heaven’s love for you. Both eyes beaten shut, shoulders as raw as ground beef, lips bloody and split. Fists of hair yanked from his beard. Gasps of air escaping his lungs. As you peer into the crimsoned face of heaven’s only Son, remember this: “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8 NLT).

 

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Charles Stanley – Sunday Reflection: Facing Challenges

 

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

A few thousand years ago, the young shepherd David stepped forward to fight Goliath. We often speak of this story as a reminder of the young man’s bravery, even when the odds were against him. But David’s bravery—and success—came from His deep faith in God. (See 1 Samuel 17). And this faith helped him go on to become a successful warrior and king.

The Lord gave David many responsibilities during his reign, and he endured numerous trials—some due to his own sin. Through it all, the king returned to God again and again in humble dependence and repeatedly proclaimed his trust in the Lord’s faithfulness.

God calls us to abide in this kind of relationship with Him. In seasons of trial or abundance—and we’ll likely experience both, even simultaneously—we can cling to Him and trust that He is the source of all courage, perseverance, and abiding joy.

THINK ABOUT IT
• What do you do when you’re facing a challenge? How does your relationship with God factor into the choices you make?

  • Does your faith in Christ help you to feel courageous when facing something new, challenging, uncomfortable, or intimidating? Why or why not?

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 21-23

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — New Every Morning

 

Bible in a Year:

[God’s] compassions never fail. They are new every morning.

Lamentations 3:22–23

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Lamentations 3:19–26

My brother Paul grew up battling severe epilepsy, and when he entered his teenage years it became even worse. Nighttime was excruciating for him and my parents, as he’d experience continuous seizures for often more than six hours at a time. Doctors couldn’t find a treatment that would alleviate the symptoms while also keeping him conscious for at least part of the day. My parents cried out in prayer: “God, oh God, help us!”

Although their emotions were battered and their bodies exhausted, Paul and my parents received enough strength from God for each new day. In addition, my parents found comfort in the words of the Bible, including the book of Lamentations. Here Jeremiah voiced his grief over the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, remembering “the bitterness and the gall” (3:19). Yet Jeremiah didn’t lose hope. He called to mind the mercies of God, that His compassions “are new every morning” (v. 23). So too did my parents.

Whatever you’re facing, know that God is faithful every morning. He renews our strength day by day and gives us hope. And sometimes, as with my family, He brings relief. After several years, a new medication became available that stopped Paul’s continuous nighttime seizures, giving my family restorative sleep and hope for the future.

When our souls are downcast within us (v. 20), may we call to mind the promises of God that His mercies are new every morning.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How has God sustained you through the trials you’ve faced? How could you support someone who’s enduring a challenging time?

God, Your love will never leave me. When I feel spent and without hope, remind me of Your mercies and compassion.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Bearing Good Fruit

 

When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.

— John 15:8 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource My Time with God – by Joyce Meyer

Our lives are not given to us for us to waste them—God wants us to bear good fruit with our time on earth. Doing good, being creative, helping others, finishing goals, and other things like this give me an awesome feeling of accomplishment. On the other hand, when I waste a day doing nothing, feeling sorry for myself, being angry or lazy, that doesn’t feel good at all.

I’m not saying that we need to spend all of our time working, but we should be productive on a regular basis. Praying for others as we go about our day is productive. Being friendly and encouraging people is a simple way to bear good fruit. One day when I went to the hospital to visit my mother, a young woman was in her room administering a heart test. She had lovely skin and hair and a beautiful smile, and she was very kind. Instead of just thinking these things, I told her that she was really pretty. The look on her face let me know that she didn’t hear it nearly often enough, and that it made her feel really good about herself.

It’s easy to focus on people’s flaws and totally miss the good things about them, but we don’t have to be that way—we can decide to bear good fruit by making a big deal out of each good thing we notice about people. You and I have the power to make someone else’s day awesome by being God’s voice and letting them hear through us the good things He sees in them. Make today—and every day—a special day by bearing good fruit that honors God and shows His love to people.

Prayer Starter Father, please teach me how to bear good fruit today; show me opportunities to show Your love to people. Thank You for the gift of life, and for helping me seize every moment. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Where Is Your Hope?

 

My hope is from him.

 Psalm 62:5

It is the believer’s privilege to use this language. If he is looking for anything from the world, it is a poor hope indeed. But if he looks to God for the supply of his needs, whether temporal or spiritual blessings, his hope will not be in vain. He may constantly draw from the bank of faith and get his need supplied out of the riches of God’s loving-kindness. I know this: I would rather have God for my banker than all the Rothschilds.

My Lord never fails to honor His promises; and when we bring them to His throne, He never sends them back unanswered. Therefore I will wait only at His door, for He always opens it with the hand of abundant grace. At this hour I will turn to Him afresh.

But we have “hope” beyond this life. We will die soon; and still our “hope is from him.” May we not expect that when we face illness He will send angels to carry us to His bosom? We believe that when the pulse is faint and the heart is weak, some angelic messenger shall stand and look with loving eyes upon us and whisper, “Come away!” As we approach the heavenly gate, we expect to hear the welcome invitation, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”1 We are expecting harps of gold and crowns of glory; we are hoping soon to be among the company of shining ones before the throne; we are looking forward and longing for the time when we shall be like our glorious Lord—for “We shall see him as he is.”2

Then if these are your hopes, O my soul, live for God; live with the desire and resolve to glorify Him from whose grace in your election, redemption, and calling you safely ”hope” for the coming glory.

1) Matthew 25:34
2) 1 John 3:2

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Thinks About His Own

 

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” (Psalm 139:17-18)

When Heather was little, her family would go camping at the beach. They stayed in tents and cooked over an open fire. Every day, Heather and her twin brother Mitch would go swimming in the ocean! They had so much fun playing in the water, walking along the beach, and, of course, playing in the sand. Mitch and Heather built too many sand castles to count, and one time they even built a car made of sand! Sometimes, Heather wondered if it was possible to count all the grains of sand on that beach. She tried once to count just a bucket full of sand, but as you can imagine, she gave that up quickly! Why? Even in a single bucket, there was way too much sand to count!

The Bible says that God’s thoughts about His people are more in number than the sand. Imagine counting all the piles of sand on a beach. It would be hard to count all the piles of sand on just one single beach. Now imagine trying to count all the piles of sand on all the beaches of the world! Even more incredible is the thought of trying to count every single grain of sand in every pile of sand on every beach in the world! In our wildest imaginations, we could not pretend to understand a number that big!

Like Heather, we would probably give up counting before we got through just one small bucket of sand. The numbers are just too much. Those kinds of numbers are exactly how the Bible describes how many thoughts God has toward His people.

Not only are God’s thoughts toward His own countless, but they are also precious thoughts. That means He cherishes His people and that He plans only good things to do for them, and through them. Here on Earth, we may sometimes feel forgotten or left out, but we can always go back to God’s Word and remember that God is thinking precious thoughts about us!

Psalm 139 speaks of how closely God pays attention to those whom He created, and especially how He feels about people who trust Him and obey Him by His grace. There are many other Bible verses that describe how countless and wonderful God’s thoughts are toward His own. Psalm 40:5 says, “Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.”

What a great and good God He is!

God’s thoughts toward His people are countless and precious.

My Response:
» Is it easy to imagine how many grains of sand there are on a beach?
» Is it easy for me to believe that God thinks about those who trust and obey Him?
» How should it help me to remember that God thinks so often and so favorably toward His own?

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Charles Stanley – Resurrection: Our New Body

 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Scripture uses beautiful imagery to describe the return of Christ. Today’s passage, for example, says at the Lord’s shout and the sounding of a trumpet, the “dead in Christ” will emerge from their resting places and soar into the sky (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Close behind them will be believers who haven’t yet departed this life. They’ll be changed as they are “caught up … to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

Earthly flesh and bones age, lose vitality, and succumb to sin. So God promised that the body of every believer would be transformed into a glorious one like Christ’s after His resurrection. In heaven, we will no longer have to deal with temptations or limitations of our present time-bound existence. Perhaps we won’t even be restricted by space, since John 20:19 indicates that the resurrected Jesus didn’t bother with doors! Our new bodies will be suited for the environment where we are to dwell forever—an ageless eternity in which all of our needs are perfectly met.

Each believer will still be him- or herself. Friends and family long separated will recognize one another; our personalities will be unchanged, except that we’ll be sinless. And from then on, we will each be who God intends for us to be.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 18-20

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — No Longer Yourself

 

Bible in a Year:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Galatians 2:14–21

In the summer of 1859, Monsieur Charles Blondin became the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope—something he would go on to do hundreds of times. Once he did it with his manager Harry Colcord on his back. Blondin gave Colcord these instructions: “Look up, Harry . . . you are no longer Colcord, you are Blondin. . . . If I sway, sway with me. Do not attempt to do any balancing yourself. If you do, we will both go to our death.”

Paul, in essence, said to the Galatian believers: You can’t walk the line of living a life that is pleasing to God apart from faith in Christ. But here’s the good news—you don’t have to! No amount of attempting to earn our way to God will ever cut it. So are we passive in our salvation? No! Our invitation is to cling to Christ. Clinging to Jesus means putting to death an old, independent way of living; it’s as if we ourselves have died. Yet, we go on living. But “the life [we] now live in the body, [we] live by faith in the Son of God, who loved [us] and gave himself for [us]” (Galatians 2:20).

Where are we trying to walk the tightrope today? God hasn’t called us to walk out on the rope to Him; He’s called us to cling to Him and walk this life with Him.

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

How can you stop trying to please God on your own? Where do you need to cling to Jesus today, trusting His righteousness?

Dear Jesus, thank You for doing for me what I could never do for myself. I turn away from trying to please You on my own. I’m so glad I don’t need to earn Your love.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Attaining Spiritual Stability

 

“Strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience” (Col. 1:11).

God always empowers you to do what He commands you to do.

An alarming number of Christians seem to lack spiritual stability. Many are “carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14). Others lack moral purity. Many are driven by their emotions rather than sound thinking. Increasingly, therapists and psychologists are replacing pastors and biblical teachers as the heroes of the faith. While we still proclaim a sovereign, all- powerful God, our conduct often belies our creed.

Despite our inconsistences, the power for spiritual stability is ours in Christ as we allow the knowledge of His will to control our lives. Paul describes the working of that power in Colossians 1:11. There the Greek words translated “strengthened” and “power” speak of inherent power that gives one the ability to do something.

The phrase “according to” indicates that the power for spiritual stability is proportional to God’s abundant supply—and it is inexhaustible! The literal Greek says you are being “empowered with all power according to the might of His glory.” That thought is akin to Philippians 2:12-13, where Paul says that the power for working out your salvation comes from God, who is at work in you to will and to work for His good pleasure.

In Colossians 1:11 the result of God’s enabling is “the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.” “Steadfastness” speaks of endurance regarding people; “patience” speaks of endurance regarding things or circumstances. When you are steadfast and patient, you are spiritually stable. Your responses are biblical, thoughtful, and calculated; not worldly, emotional, or uncontrolled. You bear up under trials because you understand God’s purposes and trust His promises.

Paul said, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10). That is possible when you trust God and rely on the infinite power that is yours in Christ.

Suggestions for Prayer

Perhaps you know someone who is struggling with spiritual instability. Pray for him or her and ask God to use you as a source of encouragement.

For Further Study

Psalm 18 is a psalm of victory that David wrote after God delivered him from Saul. Read it, then answer these questions:

  • What characteristics of God did David mention?
  • How might those characteristics apply to situations you are facing?

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Don’t Be Afraid to Be Yourself!

 

He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

— Psalm 33:15 (NKJV)

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud – by Joyce Meyer

God created everything about you to be unique, and He wants you to build an honest relationship with Him based on who you really are, not who you think you should be, or who other people say you should be.

We relate to God as individuals. When we talk to God, we’re not supposed to leave our individuality at the door of our prayer closet. We need to go to Him just the way we are, because that gives Him the pleasure of enjoying the company of the “original” He has made each one of us to be. God enjoys meeting us where we are, developing a personal relationship with us, and helping us grow into the fullness of everything He wants us to be.

Our verse for today teaches us that God has fashioned our hearts individually. As we develop our individual styles of communication with God, we can learn from people who are more experienced than we are, but we need to be careful not to make them our standard.

Most people are afraid to not be like everyone else; many are more comfortable following established rules than daring to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. When we follow man-made rules, we please people, but when we step out and follow God’s Spirit, we please Him. So remember, come as you are!

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You that my relationship with You doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Help me remember that I can always come to You as I am, without trying to be perfect. Thank You for Your grace to grow today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Our Quiet Dwelling Place

 

You have made the Lord your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge.

 Psalm 91:9

The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change. Whenever the pillar of cloud stopped, the tents were pitched; but the next day the morning sun arose, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow mountain passes, up the hillsides, or along the arid wastes of the wilderness. They scarcely had time to rest a little before they heard the sound of “Onward! this is not your rest; you must keep journeying onward toward Canaan!” They never stayed for long in one place. Even wells and palm trees could not detain them.

They had an abiding home in their God; His cloudy pillar was their roof, and its flame by night their fireplace. They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle or to say, “Now we are secure; we will stay in this place.” Moses says, “Though we are always changing, Lord, you have been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.”1

The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich today and poor tomorrow; he may be sick today and well tomorrow; he may be happy today and sad tomorrow—but there is no change regarding his relationship to God. If He loved me yesterday, He loves me today.

My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Even when prospects are few and hopes are squashed and joy is waning, I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my refuge” to which I continually return. I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet dwelling place.

1) Psalm 90:1

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Wants Us To Trust Him

 

“And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” (John 10: 4-5)

 

Mary had a little lamb, her fleece was white as snow, and everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go. This nursery rhyme meant quite a bit to Mary, because she really did have a lamb that wanted to follow her everywhere. Her father wasn’t exactly a “shepherd,” but he was in charge of a ranch that raised sheep. Mary loved to go with her father whenever he would check on the flocks. One day, he asked Mary if she would like to help him take care of a special little lamb.

 

This little lamb’s mother had died, and the lamb had also been born blind. Mary’s job was to feed the lamb with a bottle every day. She also checked his coat too make sure it was not scratched or dirty. Mary named the lamb “Fluffy.” Soon, Fluffy learned to recognize Mary’s voice. Even though Fluffy was blind, as long as he could hear Mary, he would follow her anywhere she went.

 

Some of the ranch workers would try calling to Fluffy, to see if he would follow them, but he never did. He listened only to Mary, and he really did follow her voice anywhere. Once, Mary and Fluffy even got in trouble with Mary’s mom, because they came walking into the living room where Mary’s mom was having a meeting with some other ladies in the neighborhood!

 

Why do you think Fluffy would follow Mary, but not the ranch workers? Fluffy knew that Mary had been was the one who fed him and took care of him. Fluffy had learned that Mary would never hurt him in any way. Fluffy could tell Mary’s voice apart from any others, and there was no one else he cared to follow. Fluffy was just a lamb, and he was also blind; but he still knew enough to know he belonged to Mary and could trust her care.

 

In chapter 10 of John, Jesus refers to Himself as our Shepherd. As we experience God’s daily love and care for us, we learn that we can trust Him wherever He leads. By reading our Bibles and praying daily, we learn more of Him, which helps our trust grow even stronger. We can grow closer to Him every day, and we can learn to tune out the other influences in our lives that might lead us astray. What a wonderful Shepherd we have!

 

God has daily proven His love and power, and we can rest safely in His care.

 

My Response:

» Am I willing to submit to and follow a loving God?

» How can I draw nearer to God every day?

» How does God’s trustworthiness compare to the other “voices” and desires that call out for me to follow them?

 

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Denison Forum – What happened this week at Denison Forum?

 

I’m not sure what’s more surprising: what happens every day in the news or the wild temperature fluctuations in Texas. We were at -2° a week ago; we were at 82° a few days ago.

What I do know is that I prefer the latter over the former.

As for this week’s surprising news:

On Monday, as we Texans thawed out, Dr. Denison covered the generosity of athletes like Dak Prescott and celebrities like Matthew McConaughey who donated millions to help Texans in need.

On Tuesday, we witnessed the ingenuity of the criminal mind, as US Customs and Border Patrol seized a forty-four-pound shipment of cocaine-covered corn flakes.

On Wednesday, we awoke to the shocking news that Tiger Woods had suffered serious injuries in a single-vehicle wreck.

On Thursday, Dr. Denison considered the fact that Ryan T. Anderson’s book on the transgender issue can’t be found on Amazon—but works like Mein Kampf and The Unabomber Manifesto can be.

Finally, on Friday, the chocolate company Cadbury has released a commercial featuring a same-sex kiss, and many are calling for its removal. And this is occurring as the US House of Representatives just adopted the Equality Act, which, if it passes the Senate and becomes law, there will be no recourse to religious liberty.

No matter the news of the day or the temperature of the moment, I’m grateful that at least one certainty is always true: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

When the world has you stressed, lean into that fact.

  1. S. Grab your copy of our latest bookwhile you still can.

 

Hear Dr. Denison

Dr. Denison is routinely interviewed on radio shows and podcasts. Here’s where you can hear him from this past week:

As always, you can find Dr. Denison’s archive of interviews here.

What you may have missed

Ryan Denison asks a question we hope won’t incite you: “Why do so many people today seem to be in the business of making people angry?” A new study shows that angry people are easier to deceive.

Steve Yount offered a brief review of Jon Meacham’s book on John Lewis, calling it an “inspiring biography of one of the icons of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Are you “in the book”? Minni Elkins considers an old saying that still matters today.

 

Notable Quotables

  • “The most powerful witness is not the person who has never fallen but the person who is empowered to get back up. That is the person other fallen people see and seek to emulate.” — Jim Denison
  • “There are countless things in this world about which we have every right to be angry. If we want to actually make things better, though, anger cannot be the prism through which we approach our decisions. God has called us and equipped us to be better than that.” —Ryan Denison
  • “What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” — C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Parting thought

Here’s a sneak peek at our next “What does the Bible say about?” article. Only click if you feel lucky.

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Good News About Death

 

1 Corinthians 15:50-58

The Bible teaches that death is only the beginning for believers. God has prepared an eternal home for us, and the condition for entry is clear: Believe that Jesus died for your sins, and receive His forgiveness. Some people consider this narrow-minded and unfair. But God set up that condition for a reason.

Way back in the garden of Eden, the Lord established a rule to protect His creation: Do not disobey Me. Sin was such a serious matter in His eyes that He determined it deserved the death penalty. Yet ever since Adam and Eve’s transgression, we’ve been bound to slip up because we’re flawed human beings. And God knew that. So, to save us from the consequence of sin, He sent His Son to die in our place. Jesus fulfilled the law while taking our punishment. And three days later He rose again.

God promised in His Word that those who receive Jesus as Savior share in His resurrection. When a believer dies, the heavenly gates open, and he or she has the same triumph over death that Jesus did. In other words, when we leave this world, we do not simply disappear. We continue to worship the Lord in heaven.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 15-17

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/