Tag Archives: mental health

Let God Speak Through You

Acts 2:14-42

Peter Preaches to the Crowd

14 Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. 15 These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. 16 No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days,’ God says,
    ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
    Your young men will see visions,
    and your old men will dream dreams.
18 In those days I will pour out my Spirit
    even on my servants—men and women alike—
    and they will prophesy.
19 And I will cause wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below—
    blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
20 The sun will become dark,
    and the moon will turn blood red
    before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.
21 But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
    will be saved.’[a]

(Peter was not trained to speak. When the Holy Spirit came upon him, he spoke the truth with power. He was not afraid. He spoke and many souls were saved. )
Image result for pictures of people speaking in churchImage result for pictures of people speaking in church
Image result for pictures of people speaking in churchImage result for pictures of people speaking in church
Image result for pictures of people speaking in churchImage result for pictures of people speaking in church
Image result for pictures of people speaking in churchImage result for pictures of people speaking in church

 

Could I Say That?

From: Our Daily Bread

Could I Say That?

It was not you who sent me here, but God. Genesis 45:8

“The perception of favoritism is one of the biggest factors in sibling rivalry,” said Dr. Barbara Howard, a developmental behavioral pediatrician (“When Parents Have a Favorite Child” nytimes.com). An example would be the Old Testament character Joseph, who was his father’s favorite son, which made his older brothers furious (Gen. 37:3–4). So they sold Joseph to merchants traveling to Egypt and made it appear that a wild animal had killed him (37:12–36). His dreams had been shattered and his future appeared hopeless.

Yet, along Joseph’s journey of life, he chose to be true to his God and rely on Him even when it seemed to make his situation worse. After being falsely accused by his employer’s wife and imprisoned for something he didn’t do, Joseph struggled with the injustice of his situation but kept trusting the Lord.

Years later his brothers came to Egypt to buy grain during a famine and were terrified to discover that their despised younger brother was now the Prime Minister. But Joseph told them, “Do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you . . . . It was not you who sent me here, but God” (45:5, 8).

Joseph’s kind words cause me to wonder if I would be ready for revenge. Or would I be gracious because my heart had confidence in the Lord?

Dear Father, give us the faith to trust You today and the ability to see Your hand of good along our road of life.

In the darkest hours of life, only through the eyes of faith can we see the loving hand of God.

 

Limited View

From: Our Daily Journey

Limited View

Read:

1 Corinthians 4:1-16
So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.

The spot began as a small discoloration on the baseboard adjacent to one of our bedroom doors. Unsure of what caused it, we dismissed it as an unidentified spill. After a lengthy stretch of rainy days, however, the three-inch spot had not only grown, but the baseboard on the opposite side of the door began to yellow as well. The bowing wood and the musty smell of damp carpet hastened our investigation, and we discovered that our original assessment had neglected to capture the full picture. Overflow from the rain had seeped into the door frame of our back porch, resulting in damage that had now become plain to see.

We all see our own opinions quite clearly. We’re confident in assessing the reliability of what we see—especially in our appraisal of others. After all, we assure ourselves, we see what we see. Or do we?

In 1 Corinthians 3–4, Paul deals with a type of conflict that we still experience today among believers in Jesus: divisive, opinionated allegiance. We often fail to recognize our own limitations regarding the level of knowledge we possess. Paul’s admonishment of the Corinthian church is relevant: We’re not qualified to assess others because we rarely have total clarity of our own motives (1 Corinthians 4:2-4). Only God is qualified to evaluate and acknowledge what’s praiseworthy (1 Corinthians 4:5).

We desire security and sureness of truth, but setting our allegiances based on our human opinion is dangerous ground. Our perspective is limited, and even what insight we might possess is often not our own (1 Corinthians 4:7). True love for God is revealed in our sacrifices for the good of others, and the deeper proof of our wisdom is seen in our willingness to remain teachable (1 Corinthians 4:9-16).

 

Don’t Plan Without God

From: Utmost.org

Don’t Plan Without God

Don’t plan without God. God seems to have a delightful way of upsetting the plans we have made, when we have not taken Him into account. We get ourselves into circumstances that were not chosen by God, and suddenly we realize that we have been making our plans without Him— that we have not even considered Him to be a vital, living factor in the planning of our lives. And yet the only thing that will keep us from even the possibility of worrying is to bring God in as the greatest factor in all of our planning.

In spiritual issues it is customary for us to put God first, but we tend to think that it is inappropriate and unnecessary to put Him first in the practical, everyday issues of our lives. If we have the idea that we have to put on our “spiritual face” before we can come near to God, then we will never come near to Him. We must come as we are.

Don’t plan with a concern for evil in mind. Does God really mean for us to plan without taking the evil around us into account? “Love…thinks no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). Love is not ignorant of the existence of evil, but it does not take it into account as a factor in planning. When we were apart from God, we did take evil into account, doing all of our planning with it in mind, and we tried to reason out all of our work from its standpoint.

Don’t plan with a rainy day in mind. You cannot hoard things for a rainy day if you are truly trusting Christ. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled…” (John 14:1). God will not keep your heart from being troubled. It is a command— “Let not….” To do it, continually pick yourself up, even if you fall a hundred and one times a day, until you get into the habit of putting God first and planning with Him in mind.

Happy 4th Of July- Independence Day

Life Through the Spirit

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c]And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 

in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Image result for pictures of 4th of july picnicksImage result for pictures of 4th of july picnicks

Image result for pictures of 4th of july picnicksImage result for pictures of 4th of july picnicks
Image result for 4th of july picturesImage result for 4th of july pictures

Celebrate Freedom

From: Our Daily Bread

Celebrate Freedom
Read: Romans 6:15–23 | Bible in a Year: Job 28–29; Acts 13:1–25

The law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2

After being kidnapped, held hostage for thirteen days, and released, New Zealand news cameraman Olaf Wiig, with a broad smile on his face, announced, “I feel more alive now than I have in my entire life.”

For reasons difficult to understand, being freed is more exhilarating than being free.

For those who enjoy freedom every day, Olaf’s joy was a good reminder of how easily we forget how blessed we are. This is also true spiritually. Those of us who have been Christians for a long time often forget what it’s like to be held hostage by sin. We can become complacent and even ungrateful. But then God sends a reminder in the form of a new believer who gives an exuberant testimony of what God has done in his or her life, and once again we see the joy that is ours when we are “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).

If freedom has become boring to you, or if you tend to focus on what you can’t do, consider this: Not only are you no longer a slave to sin, but you are freed to be holy and to enjoy eternal life with Christ Jesus! (6:22).

Celebrate your freedom in Christ by taking the time to thank God for the things you are able and free to do as His servant.

Living for Christ brings true freedom.

 

 

Mercy’s Saving Call

Mercy’s Saving Call

Read:

Jonah 2:1-10
My salvation comes from the Lord alone (Jonah 2:9).

What is she thinking? The wedding is one week away! That thought raced through my mind as I worked on my piano music for a marriage ceremony. Though I’d tried for weeks to nail down song titles, keys, and more with the other wedding musician, the silence was deafening.

On the wedding day, part of me wanted to lash out at the other musician for keeping us from being prepared. But God enabled me to extend mercy. The woman told me she’d been working long hours, and I also learned she had recently been divorced. I thanked God for giving me a heart of mercy for a person whose life had simply been too full of pain and exhaustion to respond the way I would have liked.

God’s mercy flows today just as it did during the time of Jonah. Though the prophet got many things wrong, he was dead on when he stated, “My salvation comes from the Lord alone” (Jonah 2:9). Those words can also be translated, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.” God in His loving authority extends grace and mercy to those we might deem unworthy—like that heartless family member, mean-spirited co-worker, or unrepentant neighbor.

In fact, God’s mercy is so amazing He showered it on Israel’s enemies in the city of Nineveh. Listen to these words God spoke to Jonah (who wanted Him to lash out at the Ninevites and destroy them): “Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness . . . . Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” (Jonah 4:11).

May we extend mercy today to those who don’t deserve it. The people around us are broken just as we are. They need to be “snatched from the jaws of death”—spiritual death (Jonah 2:6). May we “[remember] the Lord,” turn to Him in prayer, and allow the beauty of His mercy to triumph (Jonah 2:7Jonah 4:2).

 

 

Exploding Prayer

From: Dee Aspen

fireworks-night-crowd_si.jpg

“Wow, I bet the stars are having a heart attack right now!” gasped Johnny, my girlfriend’s five-year-old son. His sparkling brown eyes scanned the night sky.

We marveled at the magnificent firework display above the football field where we sat on blankets, staring above us. It was our church’s annual Fourth of July picnic.

Each rocket projected skyward trailing an invisible line and paused before bursting downward like cascading leaves. The colors spiraled into the night or blossomed upward creating a beautiful multi-colored garden that lit the sky. How do they work? I wondered watching the smoke near the launching pad.

Prayer is described as earthly petitions rising up “as the smoke of incense together with prayers” (see Revelations 8:4). Suddenly I realized this was a new picture of prayer rising to God.

Again and again, each blast was accompanied by an unearthly silence — our eyes riveted to the small almost indiscernible streak paving its way to the heavens. The hush of anticipation broke into the “oohs and ahs” with each burst of color, sound and light. Not one pattern was alike: each was varied beautiful and powerful.

We pray, shooting earthly petitions up to God. Sometimes it feels seemingly insignificant down here and almost indiscernible … like the faint projectile. But once our prayers break through the Heavens — when God takes hold of them — something wonderful happens. Just like the fireworks, He responds to each prayer He receives producing powerful and varied results for all to see.

Sometimes after the initial blast, a frail wobbly line wiggled its way up to a black sky followed by silence.  “It’s a dud,” the crowd would grumble. Seconds more passed and “kaboom!” Every corner of the darkness filled with light, to our delight and surprise. We had written it off after waiting just a few seconds without seeing results! It’s our human nature. How quickly we give up praying if we feel our prayers are simply disappearing in thin air.

No wonder Jesus told his disciples, “Men should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1.

How does it happen? The power of God, described in Aramaic as dunamos is from the word dynamite. The hidden power of prayer waits with the potential of dynamite. As our hearts link to God He ignites prayer. We whisper that prayer and it shoots up to heaven. When God receives it, He opens it adding the power and the glory!

We see the answers come tumbling down from Heavenly places.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” James 1:16

This year as you follow those tiny ribbons heavenward, attach a small prayer in your heart to one or two. As the color bursts forth imagine God at work with your small act of faith. Be ready to wait and trust that it has reached its destination. God has heard your prayers and He is working on an answer.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us… Ephesians 3:20

Dear Lord, keep me praying, knowing it doesn’t matter how I feel—how great or small my prayers may sound. Each is answered and each is power-packed as it reaches you, Lord, in those heavenly places.

Living Free From Bondage

 I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. Joshua 7:12

Image result for pictures of fireworksImage result for pictures of fireworks
Image result for pictures of fireworksImage result for pictures of fireworks

Image result for pictures of fireworksImage result for pictures of fireworks
Image result for pictures of fireworksImage result for pictures of fireworks

Destroying the Divides

From: Our Daily Bread

Destroying the Divides
Read: Joshua 7:1–12 | Bible in a Year: Job 25–27; Acts 12

I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. Joshua 7:12

A writing deadline loomed over me, while the argument I had with my husband earlier that morning swirled through my mind. I stared at the blinking cursor, fingertips resting on the keyboard. He was wrong too, Lord.

When the computer screen went black, my reflection scowled. My unacknowledged wrongs were doing more than hindering the work before me. They were straining my relationship with my husband and my God.

I grabbed my cell phone, swallowed my pride, and asked for forgiveness. Savoring the peace of reconciliation when my spouse apologized as well, I thanked God and finished my article on time.

The Israelites experienced the pain of personal sin and joy of restoration. Joshua warned God’s people not to enrich themselves in the battle for Jericho (Josh. 6:18), but Achan stole captured items and hid them in his tent (7:1). Only after his sin was exposed and dealt with (vv. 4–12) did the nation enjoy reconciliation with their God.

Like Achan, we don’t always consider how “tucking sin into our tents” turns our hearts from God and impacts those around us. Acknowledging Jesus as Lord, admitting our sin, and seeking forgiveness provides the foundation for healthy and faithful relationships with God and others. By submitting to our loving Creator and Sustainer daily, we can serve Him and enjoy His presence—together.

Lord, please help us recognize, confess, and turn away from our sin, so that we can nurture loving relationships with You and others.

God can purge our hearts of the sin that destroys our intimacy with Him and others.

 

Man in the Middle

From: Our Daily Journey

Man in the Middle

Read:

Jeremiah 20:1-18

If I say I’ll never . . . speak in [God’s] name, his word burns in my heart like a fire (Jeremiah 20:9).I heard a story about a college student who became trapped in a 17-inch space between two buildings. After zigzagging up a fire escape, he planned to jump from one rooftop to another. Instead, he fell into the slim chasm—dropping three stories until he was wedged in the narrow space between the buildings, unable to move. Finally, rescuers bored a hole through one of the buildings and pulled him to safety.

As God’s prophet, Jeremiah also felt trapped. Should he choose to speak the messages God wanted him to deliver—which caused him to be a social outcast—or simply speak what the people wanted to hear?

Although Jeremiah chose to speak God’s words, the cost was difficult. At one point, after being released from prison, the prophet lamented over the ridicule he endured, saying, “These messages from the Lord have made me a household joke” (Jeremiah 20:8). But he found he couldn’t stay silent, “If I say I’ll never mention the Lord or speak in His name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. . . . I am worn out trying to hold it in!” (Jeremiah 20:9).

Jeremiah’s thoughts haunted him as he considered the rumors, name-calling, and threats he would receive if he continued to speak for God. Yet he acknowledged God’s protection and said, “The Lord stands beside me like a great warrior” (Jeremiah 20:11). Jeremiah stayed faithful to God and He sustained his prophetic ministry.

Many of us feel the tension between following God and the corresponding trouble that comes as we serve Him. Difficulty may continue, but God’s power can uphold us through all of it. He will enable us to prevail “not by force nor by strength, but by [His] Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6).

 

God’s Independence Day

Author: Beth Patch

american-flag-cross_si.jpg

Most Americans have celebrated Independence Day in their lifetime. Burgers and hotdogs sizzle on grills and fireworks burst in the sky. We eat, maybe hear The Star Spangled Banner, watch fireworks and go home. July fourth has become commonplace, another day for big sales events and flying an American flag.

However, an Independence Day celebration approaches to impress the whole world! We don’t know the date and shouldn’t believe anyone who tells us they do. But, no one on earth or in heaven will miss its importance; and it will mark a day of freedom from the greatest oppressor ever – Satan.

It is the day of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ’s return. It is the beginning of real freedom, like no one has ever had before (except Adam and Eve before they sinned). Those who have believed in Christ’s atoning blood for their sins and have trusted and believed in Him, might have what an old preacher of mine used to call “a Hallelujah breakdown!”

This Independence Day will release Christians from the many sins keeping them entangled. Imagine, no more sickness, no more addictions, no more gossip, no more unkindness, no more anything that does not reflect the positive attributes of the love of our Father God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Currently, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us, to strengthen us, to comfort us, and to give us power through Christ’s death and resurrection. However, we are still tripped up by sin as long as we live in this fallen world. When Jesus comes, all our ungodliness along with our negative baggage goes away. I can’t think of a better freedom than that.

Actually, the whole scene of Jesus’ return sounds so incredible, I doubt there are words to describe the immense emotional, spiritual, and physical response people will have.

The Bible tells us Jesus will return to earth just like He left, through the clouds (Acts 1:11b), with his angels (Matt 16:27), with the trumpet call of God and a loud command (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Scripture says believers in Christ will be changed in a twinkling of an eye and Jesus will destroy all dominion, authority and power standing in opposition to Almighty God (1 Corinthians 15:521 Corinthians 15:24).

Our earthly minds are limited in their comprehension of this miraculous time. It’s a God thing, and try as we may, we can’t peg down the details on how God will accomplish the return of Jesus Christ and the destruction of evil.

Picture the sky filled with God’s mighty angels, the sound of God’s trumpet, which has to be the most beautiful and loudest sounding instrument, and our Lord Jesus shining radiantly as He leads His mighty angelic troop in the sky.

Envision watching victory as Christ and his angels capture Satan and his demons, and justice is completed. It will be more graphic and stirring than any riveting movie Hollywood could ever think of producing.

Many theologians have studied the return of Christ and have disagreed about the order of when things happen or exactly how they happen. These varied opinions on the return of Christ and the disappearance of believers from the earth have created divisions among believers who desperately want to cling to one decided order of the end times.

My response to such division is that it won’t matter how we interpret end times scriptures when God’s day of Independence comes. Everything will be revealed in God’s perfect timing. The Independence Day of our God will come when we least expect it and we are instructed to be ready as if it were the next moment. So, in case it happens to be today, Happy Independence Day!

The Conditions Of Discipleship

John 15:10-11

 

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

Psalm 4:8

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.

Matthew 11:28-29

 

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.

John 16:33

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Image result for pictures of discipleshipImage result for pictures of discipleshipImage result for pictures of discipleshipImage result for pictures of discipleshipImage result for pictures of discipleship

Image result for pictures of discipleship

 

The Conditions of Discipleship

From: Utmost.org

The Conditions of Discipleship

The Christian life is a life characterized by true and spontaneous creativity. Consequently, a disciple is subject to the same charge that was leveled against Jesus Christ, namely, the charge of inconsistency. But Jesus Christ was always consistent in His relationship to God, and a Christian must be consistent in his relationship to the life of the Son of God in him, not consistent to strict, unyielding doctrines. People pour themselves into their own doctrines, and God has to blast them out of their preconceived ideas before they can become devoted to Jesus Christ.

 

Taking Shortcuts

From: Our Daily Bread

Taking Shortcuts
Read: Luke 9:57–62 | Bible in a Year: Job 22–24; Acts 11

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

Sipping her tea, Nancy gazed out her friend’s window and sighed. Spring rains and sunshine had coaxed a riotous expanse of color from a well-groomed flowerbed of lilies, phlox, irises, and evening primrose.

“I want that look,” she said wistfully, “without all the work.”

Some shortcuts are fine—even practical. Others short-circuit our spirit and deaden our lives. We want romance without the difficulties and messiness of committing to someone so different from ourselves. We want “greatness” without the risks and failures necessary in the adventure of real life. We desire to please God, but not when it inconveniences us.

Jesus made clear to His followers that there is no shortcut that avoids the hard choice of surrendering our lives to Him. He warned a prospective disciple, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). To follow Christ requires a radical altering of our loyalties.

When we turn in faith to Jesus, the work just begins. But it is oh-so-worth-it, for He also told us that no one who sacrifices “for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age . . . and in the age to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29–30). The work of following Christ is difficult, but He’s given us His Spirit and the reward is a full, joyful life now and forever.

Father, I will find the strength to do the work You have for me to do, only as I rely on Your Holy Spirit. Help me, please, to be sensitive to that today.

Most things worth doing are difficult.

 

 

A Laughing Faith

From: Our Daily Journey

A Laughing Faith

Read:

Genesis 17:15-19
Abraham . . . laughed to himself in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” (Genesis 17:17).

I remember where I was sitting in the cramped living room of our apartment when Miska told me she was pregnant with our first son, Wyatt. I must have sat mute for several moments because Miska asked, “Are you okay? What are you thinking?” In theory, I wanted to be a dad someday, but it had seemed like a distant possibility. But here it was . . . I was going to be a dad, and I was dumbstruck.

Abraham was in a very different situation. He was an old man, and for decades he’d wanted to father a son with his wife, Sarah. But of course, now it appeared to be too late. His body was withered and Sarah, at age 90, was advanced in years as well. It seemed that there would be no children for them.

God appeared to Abraham, however, and told him the most ludicrous, unexpected news: “I will bless [Sarah] and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants” (Genesis 17:16). Abraham “bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief” (Genesis 17:17). God must be mistaken, he thought; the idea was preposterous.

Of course, before too long, Abraham and Sarah did indeed have a son—Isaac. God revived their withered bodies and made them fertile again. He kept His promise.

Do any of God’s promises—such as “eternal life” (John 4:14) and a “satisfying life” (John 10:10)—seem so wonderful that you can’t help but laugh? Do any of God’s good and hopeful words seem impossible? Has it been difficult for you to hold on to belief in His kind intentions? Have you ever read a verse that contains a clear promise from Him—and couldn’t contain the laughter? If God has spoken, then hold on because His promises are true.

 

 

God Gives Us A Clean Heart

Proverbs 20:9

Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin”?

Matthew 23:26

“You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

Romans 14:14

I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

1 Corinthians 13:12

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

Image result for pictures of house cleaningImage result for pictures of house cleaning
Image result for pictures of house cleaningImage result for pictures of house cleaning

Image result for pictures of house cleaningImage result for pictures of house cleaning
Image result for pictures of house cleaningImage result for pictures of house cleaning

Cleaning House

From: Our Daily Bread

Cleaning House

Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 1 Peter 2:1

Recently, I switched rooms in the home I rent. This took longer than expected, because I didn’t want to simply transfer my (extensive) mess to a new room; I wanted a completely fresh and uncluttered start. After hours and hours of cleaning and sorting, bags of stuff sat by the front door to be thrown away, donated, or recycled. But at the end of this exhausting process was a beautiful room I was excited to spend time in.

My housecleaning project gave me a fresh perspective when reading 1 Peter 2:1, as paraphrased in The Message: “So, clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy, and hurtful talk.” Interestingly, it’s after a joyful confession of their new life in Christ (1:1–12) that Peter urges them to throw away destructive habits (1:13–2:3). When our walk with the Lord feels cluttered and our love for others feels strained, this shouldn’t cause us to question our salvation. We don’t change our lives to be saved, but because we are (1:23).

As real as our new life in Christ is, bad habits learned do not disappear overnight. So, on a daily basis, we need to “clean house,” throwing away all that prevents us from fully loving others (1:22) and growing (2:2). Then, in that new, clean space, we can experience the wonder of being freshly built (v. 5) by Christ’s power and life.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the new life You are building in us through our Lord Jesus. Help us to daily turn to You for cleansing and renewal.

Every day we can reject destructive habits and experience new life in Jesus.

 

The Inevitable Penalty

From: Utmos.org

The Inevitable Penalty

These sermons of Jesus Christ are meant for your will and your conscience, not for your head. If you dispute these verses from the Sermon on the Mount with your head, you will dull the appeal to your heart.

If you find yourself asking, “I wonder why I’m not growing spiritually with God?”— then ask yourself if you are paying your debts from God’s standpoint. Do now what you will have to do someday. Every moral question or call comes with an “ought” behind it— the knowledge of knowing what we ought to do.

 

The New Risky

From: Our Daily Journey

The New Risky

Read:

2 Corinthians 4:1-18
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves (2 Corinthians 4:7

“Safe is the new risky,” the speaker remarked. He was referring to the hidden costs of failing to incorporate people of diverse perspectives and ethnicity into the workplace, such as difficulty competing in a global marketplace. But I couldn’t help but think his point echoed the radically new perspective the gospel brings—that things are not as they seem and that there’s a hidden cost to not taking risks for the sake of the gospel.

That cost can be failing to experience the power of God through the “life of Jesus” in all its fullness (2 Corinthians 4:7-11). In His mercy (2 Corinthians 4:1), God has chosen broken, ordinary people like you and me to be the “clay jars” that carry the treasure of the good news. If we live “safe,” comfortable lives where we never really take risks—never bringing His love into the most broken places in our communities, never standing up against the injustices our culture normalizes, never trusting Him with our deepest fears—we can also miss fully tasting His love, joy, and justice. We can fail to really see the “glory of God . . . in the face of Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

The gospel invites us to “never give up,” to live with courage. But sharing God’s love to a world “blinded” to it is not easy (2 Corinthians 4:1,4). Even Paul in his deepest pain “despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8 NIV). Through his suffering, Paul came to understand more deeply the paradox that as we experience suffering, we also experience the resurrection life of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:10) and a taste of the day when an “eternal glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV)—the beauty of God’s future for creation—will be revealed for all to see. It’s in light of that reality that we can joyfully be ever-bolder witnesses to the relentless, death-defying love of our Savior

God Will Help You To Flourish

  • Job 14:7-9 ESV
    “For there is hope for a tree,
        if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
        and that its shoots will not cease.
    Though its root grow old in the earth,
        and its stump die in the soil,
    yet at the scent of water it will bud
        and put out branches like a young plant.
  • Zechariah 9:16-17 ESV
    On that day the Lord their God will save them,
        as the flock of his people;
    for like the jewels of a crown
        they shall shine on his land.
    17 For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty!
        Grain shall make the young men flourish,
        and new wine the young women.
Image result for pictures of gardens flourishingImage result for pictures of gardens flourishing
Image result for pictures of gardens flourishingImage result for pictures of gardens flourishing
Image result for pictures of gardens flourishingImage result for pictures of gardens flourishing
Image result for pictures of gardens flourishingImage result for pictures of gardens flourishing

Time to Flourish

From: Our Daily Bread

Time to Flourish
Read: Luke 13:1–9 | Bible in a Year: Job 17–19; Acts 10:1–23

“Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.” Luke 13:8

Last spring I decided to cut down the rose bush by our back door. In the three years we’d lived in our home, it hadn’t produced many flowers, and its ugly, fruitless branches were now creeping in all directions.

But life got busy, and my gardening plan got delayed. It was just as well—only a few weeks later that rose bush burst into bloom like I’d never seen before. Hundreds of big white flowers, rich in perfume, hung over the back door, flowed into our yard, and showered the ground with beautiful petals.

My rose bush’s revival reminded me of Jesus’s parable of the fig tree in Luke 13:6–9. In Israel, it was customary to give fig trees three years to produce fruit. If they didn’t, they were cut down so the soil could be better used. In Jesus’s story, a gardener asks his boss to give one particular tree a fourth year to produce. In context (vv. 1–5), the parable implies this: The Israelites hadn’t lived as they should, and God could justly judge them. But God is patient and had given extra time for them to turn to Him, be forgiven, and bloom.

God wants all people to flourish and has given extra time so that they can. Whether we are still journeying toward faith or are praying for unbelieving family and friends, His patience is good news for all of us.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5).

God has given the world extra time to respond to His offer of forgiveness.

 

Do It Now!

From: Utmost.org

Do It Now!

In this verse, Jesus Christ laid down a very important principle by saying, “Do what you know you must do— now. Do it quickly. If you don’t, an inevitable process will begin to work ‘till you have paid the last penny’ (Matthew 5:26) in pain, agony, and distress.” God’s laws are unchangeable and there is no escape from them. The teachings of Jesus always penetrate right to the heart of our being.

Wanting to make sure that my adversary gives me all my rights is a natural thing. But Jesus says that it is a matter of inescapable and eternal importance to me that I pay my adversary what I owe him. From our Lord’s standpoint it doesn’t matter whether I am cheated or not, but what does matter is that I don’t cheat someone else. Am I insisting on having my own rights, or am I paying what I owe from Jesus Christ’s standpoint?

Do it quickly— bring yourself to judgment now. In moral and spiritual matters, you must act immediately. If you don’t, the inevitable, relentless process will begin to work. God is determined to have His child as pure, clean, and white as driven snow, and as long as there is disobedience in any point of His teaching, He will allow His Spirit to use whatever process it may take to bring us to obedience. The fact that we insist on proving that we are right is almost always a clear indication that we have some point of disobedience. No wonder the Spirit of God so strongly urges us to stay steadfastly in the light! (see John 3:19-21).

“Agree with your adversary quickly….” Have you suddenly reached a certain place in your relationship with someone, only to find that you have anger in your heart? Confess it quickly— make it right before God. Be reconciled to that person— do it now!

 

Seeing like Jesus

From: Our Daily Bread

Seeing like Jesus

Read:

Hebrews 12:1-29

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith (Hebrews 12: 28

During his 100 years of life, renowned photographer Stanley Troutman has witnessed some profound events. In 1945, as a US Navy photographer, Troutman was deployed to Germany and Japan where he captured on film some of the most poignant images of World War II. After the war, as the official sports photographer for a large university, this believer in Jesus saw and documented amazing athletic feats.

Both experiences caused Stanley Troutman to recognize that in this complex world, the only way to steadily “run with endurance the race God has set before us” is by “keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Seeing the world through a camera lens can reveal much about people’s hearts, their ambitions, and the times we live in. When we focus on Jesus and God’s wisdom found in Scripture, however, we can also see a Savior who calls us to “take a new grip” with our tired hands and to find strength for our “weak knees” in Him (Hebrews 12:12).

Jesus meets us in life’s battlefields and arenas—inviting us to look to Him, the only One who “endured the cross, disregarding its shame” and who embraced hostility from sinful people on our behalf so that we “[wouldn’t] become weary and give up” as we live out His calling for our lives (Hebrews 12:2-3).

God graciously invites us to cast our eyes on Jesus and encourages us to “mark out a straight path for [our] feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong” (Hebrews 12:13). Through Christ, “We are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, [so] let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe” (Hebrews 12:28).

Today, may we fix our eyes on Jesus and see all of life through the lens of His love.

We Are God’s Masterpiece

We are God’s masterpiece Ephesians 2:10

 

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Image result for pictures of masterpiecesImage result for pictures of masterpieces
Image result for pictures of masterpiecesImage result for pictures of masterpieces
Image result for pictures of masterpiecesImage result for pictures of masterpieces
Image result for pictures of masterpiecesImage result for pictures of masterpieces

God’s Masterpiece

From: Our Daily Journey

God’s Masterpiece

Read:

Ephesians 2:8-10
We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10).

While watching top athletes compete in a global event, my family and I marveled at their incredible feats. But as a relatively sedentary person, I was equally awestruck by their training regimens. In interview after interview, athletes would share how they woke up early every morning and did nothing but work out for hours on end. Every calorie would be counted, every movement analyzed for maximum efficiency. But they didn’t talk about their training as if it were a hardship—something negative. No, they described it with pride and passion because they recognized the privilege of being one of the few athletes in the world capable of competing at the very highest level.

Believers in Jesus are certainly called to the privilege of serving God with passion. Ephesians 2 states that we’re created to do good works by His power and provision (Ephesians 2:10). And as clearly presented elsewhere in the New Testament, the work we’re called to do isn’t easy. Jesus Himself embraced a cross and called us to carry our own (Matthew 16:24). But when Paul talks about doing good works, he frames it as a privilege, not a burden. In Ephesians 2:10, he says that we’re God’s “masterpiece.” In this, he gives us the sense that we’ve been created and crafted by God to do good works. We were made in His image and are now new creations designed to reflect His ways (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I have to admit that far too often I view all that I’m called to do as a believer in Jesus as more of a burden than a privilege. That’s why Paul’s words in Ephesians are so important to keep in mind. When it comes to my calling to follow Christ, it’s not that I have to do it. By God’s provision, it’s pure privilege!

 

 

What will it take for others to believe I am a new creation, a changed person? Time is one answer, but there are others.

Acts 9:27
Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.

“Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the LORD on the way to Damascus and how the LORD had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.” Acts 9: 27NLT

Barnabas advocated for Paul. Like Paul, my friend needed an advocate to help her husband know she was serious about her new faith in her Savior. If only there was a person to speak to her husband on her behalf, he might believe. She knew just the person. Their pastor. They had met with him many times. He knew her story, and he had helped her through her confession, healing, and restoration.

They set up a meeting. Having their pastor verify her remorse and sorrow over her bad decision helped her husband understand her conversion was sincere. The pastor counseled them. There were tears of joy and reconciliation as her husband saw true transformation.

It has been 20 years. Their marriage is stronger than ever. People can change. Saul changed. My friend changed. While transformations can be genuine, people from our past may be reluctant to believe change is real. We may need a Barnabas, an advocate to verify our change and good standing.

Once my friend’s pastor convinced her husband to trust her, there was no stopping the restoration of their marriage. Once Barnabas convinced the apostles to trust Paul, there was no stopping the growth of the new church.

“The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the LORD. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.” Acts 9:31 NLT

It all began when Barnabas declared to the disciples what had taken place. The Apostle Paul went on to spend the rest of his life teaching, preaching, and baptizing.

For anyone who has had a transformation, they know they are a new creation. They know their past is gone. Having others see and believe the change may take some time, and it might help to find a Barnabas!

 

The Strictest Discipline

From: Utmost.org

The Strictest Discipline

When God changes you through regeneration, giving you new life through spiritual rebirth, your life initially has the characteristic of being maimed. There are a hundred and one things that you dare not do— things that would be sin for you, and would be recognized as sin by those who really know you. But the unspiritual people around you will say, “What’s so wrong with doing that? How absurd you are!” There has never yet been a saint who has not lived a maimed life initially. Yet it is better to enter into life maimed but lovely in God’s sight than to appear lovely to man’s eyes but lame to God’s. At first, Jesus Christ through His Spirit has to restrain you from doing a great many things that may be perfectly right for everyone else but not right for you. Yet, see that you don’t use your restrictions to criticize someone else.

The Christian life is a maimed life initially, but in Matthew 5:48 Jesus gave us the picture of a perfectly well-rounded life— “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Unfinished Works

At the Potter’s House

18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted,10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

11 “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways,each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ 12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’”

 

Image result for pictures of man working with clayImage result for pictures of man working with clay
Image result for pictures of man working with clayImage result for pictures of man working with clay

Image result for pictures of man working with clayImage result for pictures of man working with clay
Image result for pictures of man working with clayImage result for pictures of man working with clay

 

Unfinished Works

From: Our Daily Bread

Unfinished Works

Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24–25

At his death, the great artist Michelangelo left many unfinished projects. But four of his sculptures were never meant to be completed. The Bearded Slave, the Atlas Slave, the Awakening Slave, and the Young Slave, though they appear unfinished, are just as Michelangelo intended them to be. The artist wanted to show what it might feel like to be forever enslaved.

Rather than sculpting figures in chains, Michelangelo made figures stuck in the very marble out of which they are carved. Bodies emerge from the stone, but not completely. Muscles flex, but the figures are never able to free themselves.

My empathy with the slave sculptures is immediate. Their plight is not unlike my struggle with sin. I am unable to free myself: like the sculptures I am stuck, “a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me” (Rom 7:23). No matter how hard I try, I cannot change myself. But thanks be to God, you and I will not remain unfinished works. We won’t be complete until heaven, but in the meantime as we welcome the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, He changes us. God promises to finish the good work He has begun in us (Phil. 1:6).

God, thank You that You make us new creatures through the work of Your Son Jesus Christ, freeing us from our slavery to sin.

He is the potter; we are the clay.

 

 

Eternal Perspective

From: Our Daily journey

Eternal Perspective

Read:

Acts 7:54-60
“Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” (Acts 7:56).

Tricia Mingerink’s young adult Christian fantasy series The Blades of Acktar contains a scene where the protagonist is forced to watch friends and family martyred for their faith. A fearful person, she was struck by the peace with which each martyr faced death. In a moment of clarity, she realized that these believers were not bound by their immediate circumstances. The fear borne out of her exclusive focus on the present melted away as she embraced a perspective of eternity in God’s presence.

The story of Stephen demonstrates a similar response to suffering. While facing a group of irate Jewish leaders, Stephen lifted his eyes to heaven and saw a vision of Jesus standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:54-56). His joyous proclamation of this sight drove the leaders into such a murderous frenzy that “they rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him” (Acts 7:57-58).

But this assault didn’t cause Stephen to take his eyes off Jesus. “As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ He [then] fell to his knees, shouting, ‘Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!’ ” (Acts 7:59-60). Even when facing his own death, Stephen was able to follow Jesus’ example and intercede on his murderers’ behalf.

When Jesus said we should “seek the Kingdom of God above all else” (Matthew 6:33), He was challenging us to move away from an exclusive focus on the here and now. In seeking God’s kingdom here on earth, we prepare our hearts for the eternity beyond and understand that the present reality does not have the final say in our story.

May we adopt an eternal perspective as the Holy Spirit helps us see all of life through God’s eyes and heart.

 

Held by the Grip of God

From: Utmost.org

Held by the Grip of God

Never choose to be a worker for God, but once God has placed His call on you, woe be to you if you “turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (Deuteronomy 5:32). We are not here to work for God because we have chosen to do so, but because God has “laid hold of” us. And once He has done so, we never have this thought, “Well, I’m really not suited for this.” What you are to preach is also determined by God, not by your own natural leanings or desires. Keep your soul steadfastly related to God, and remember that you are called not simply to convey your testimony but also to preach the gospel. Every Christian must testify to the truth of God, but when it comes to the call to preach, there must be the agonizing grip of God’s hand on you— your life is in the grip of God for that very purpose. How many of us are held like that?

Never water down the Word of God, but preach it in its undiluted sternness. There must be unflinching faithfulness to the Word of God, but when you come to personal dealings with others, remember who you are— you are not some special being created in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do…I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

From Brokenness To Salvation

 

Luke 7:36-50

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred Roman coins,[a] and the other fifty.

42   Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

( The woman is this story may have gone from brokenness to salvation through faith in Christ. It is one of the greatest expressions of gratitude to God in the bible).

Image result for pictures of brokennessImage result for pictures of brokenness
Image result for pictures of brokennessImage result for pictures of brokenness
Image result for pictures of brokennessImage result for pictures of brokenness
  Image result for pictures of brokennessImage result for pictures of brokenness

Broken and Hurting

From: CBN and Paul Linzey

tears-sad-cry_SI.jpg

Every one of us is broken in some way. We might look fine on the outside, but inside we’re hurting. If we’re to find healing or any positive result from the pain, it might be helpful to take a look at Job, James, and Jesus to see how we can respond in painful circumstances.

Even though he did everything right, Job suffered terrible business losses, extreme physical pain, and undeserved accusations from his friends. His wife also lost everything, and chose to let go of hope and faith, suggesting that he do the same. Instead, Job turned to the Lord, and began to understand more fully his own weakness and need for God. These are important lessons that sometimes have to be learned the hard way. We have a tendency to be self-sufficient, unaware of our desperate need for God. In his darkest moments, Job chose to turn toward the Lord, and so can we.

The second possibility for meaning in our pain is character growth. James 1:2-4 tells us to remain joyful when we endure tests and trials, because they will help us mature. It is true that pain can break us, but it also has a way of strengthening us and deepening us. The difference is how we respond to the crisis and to the work of the Holy Spirit.

A third potential benefit of tribulation is that it can help us develop compassion for others. When Jesus looked at the crowds, he saw their need and was moved to compassion. He cared about people and saw their hurts. He felt their need, and acted. He fed them, healed them, taught them, loved them. The Apostle Paul picks up this theme in 2 Corinthians 1:4 when he says the Lord comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others.

Some people respond to pain by becoming hardened, bitter, or angry. Others are jealous of those who seem to have everything going right. If we want to grow in Christ and enjoy life to its fullest, however, we can’t afford to let either of those happen. Instead, we can turn to the Lord, mature as human beings, and develop a sense of compassion for others.

There’s a song in the musical version of Les Misérables that a Christian pastor sings to a hungry, homeless criminal, “Come in, sir, for you are weary, and the night is cold out there. There’s a bed to rest til morning, rest from pain and rest from wrong.”

That’s what the Lord is saying to us in Matthew 11:28 (Paraphrased), “Come to me, you who are tired, carrying a heavy load, and I will give you rest.” Rest from pain, and rest from wrong.

Get In The Game

From: Get More Strength

To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. —Colossians 1:29

I love going to Chicago’s Wrigley Field for a baseball game—sitting in the stands, downing a great hot dog, and cheering the Cubs on to victory!

Unfortunately, Christianity has become a lot like professional sports. As a friend of mine has observed, there are nine guys on the baseball field doing all the work and thousands in the stands just watching. And as you probably know, that’s not God’s game plan for His people. He wants us to climb out of the stands, get out on the field, and join the team.

If you are wondering what good you can do on the field, wonder no more. What about your financial resources? Jesus can take your “silver and gold” and use it to accomplish great things for His glory.

But more than just getting out your checkbook, you have gifts you can contribute. God has given each of us spiritual gifts that can help advance His kingdom. Whether it’s teaching, encouraging, serving, showing hospitality, or extending mercy, each ability can yield great dividends. Let’s follow the example of Paul, who tirelessly served on God’s field for the joy of being used by Him (Col. 1:28-29).

Believe me, it’s far more rewarding to be on the field than to sit in the stands.

Start where you are in serving the Lord,
Claim His sure promise and trust in His Word;
God simply asks you to do what you can,
He’ll use your efforts to further His plan. —Anon.

Don’t make a cemetery of your life by burying your talents.

 

Shameless Persistence

From: Our Daily Journey

Shameless Persistence

Read:

Luke 11:1-13
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you (Luke 11:9).

After 45 years of talking with God, I still find prayer to be an enigma. At times, I’ve felt as if I stopped praying too soon. If I had persevered, would the outcome have been different?

Like me, Jesus’ disciples needed to learn more about the nature of prayer. So He taught them how not to pray (Matthew 6:5-8), how they should pray (Matthew 6:9-13), and the confidence and persistence with which they were to call out to God (Matthew 7:7-11).

Once, after watching Jesus pray, one of His disciples requested, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). After instructing them how to pray (Luke 11:2-4), Jesus continued to teach “them more about prayer” with a story (Luke 11:5-8): A guest had unexpectedly turned up late at night, and the host—wanting to show hospitality—unfortunately had nothing to offer. So the host went to his friend nearby to borrow some food. Irritated at being awakened at midnight and having to leave his bed, the friend initially refused to help him (Luke 11:5-7). Undeterred, the needy host continuously and audaciously knocked on the friend’s door until he yielded and gave him the food he asked for (Luke 11:8-9). The friend didn’t help him out of friendship, but “because of [his] shameless persistence” (Luke 11:8).

Thankfully, God isn’t like that reluctant friend; He’s a generous and good Father (Luke 11:11-13). He is not annoyed by our persistence. On the contrary, He welcomes it, expecting us to “keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9).

God hears us (Luke 11:10). May we continue to seek His will even as we lift up our prayers with “shameless persistence.”

 

 

Recognizing Who Jesus Is

53   After Jesus’ resurrection, when they had come out of the tombs, they entered the holy city and appeared to many people.
55   And many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to minister to Him.…
 ______________________________________________________________________________
John 1:3          Through Jesus All Things Were Made
2   He was with God in the beginning.
4   In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.…
Image result for pictures of people cheeringImage result for pictures of people cheering
Image result for pictures of people cheeringImage result for pictures of people cheering
Image result for pictures of people cheeringImage result for pictures of people cheering
Image result for pictures of people cheeringImage result for pictures of people cheering

 

 

Very Good!

From: Our Daily Bread

Very Good!

Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! Genesis 1:31 nlt

Some days seem to have a theme running through them. Recently I had one of those days. Our pastor began his sermon on Genesis 1 with two minutes of breathtaking, time-lapse photography of blossoming flowers. Then, at home, a scroll through social media revealed numerous posts of flowers. Later on a walk in the woods, the wildflowers of spring surrounded us—trilliums, marsh marigolds, and wild iris.

God created flowers and every other variety of vegetation (and dry ground to grow in), on the third day of creation. And twice on that day, God pronounced it “good” (Gen. 1:10, 12). On only one other day of creation—the sixth—did God make that double pronouncement of “good” (vv. 25, 31). In fact, on this day when He created humans and His masterpiece was complete, He looked over all He had made and “saw that it was very good!” (nlt).

In the creation story, we see a Creator God who delighted in His creation—and seemed to take joy in the very act of creating. Why else design a world with such colorful and amazing variety? And He saved the best for last when He “created mankind in his own image” (v. 27). As His image-bearers we are blessed and inspired by His beautiful handiwork.

Dear Creator God, thank You for creating the world in all its beauty for our enjoyment—and Yours. Thank You too for making us in Your image so that we would be inspired to create.

All creation bears God’s autograph.

 

 

Faith In God Without Effect

From: Streams In The Desert

For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (Rom. 3:3).

I think that I can trace every scrap of sorrow in my life to simple unbelief. How could I be anything but quite happy if I believed always that all the past is forgiven, and all the present furnished with power, and all the future bright with hope because of the same abiding facts which do not change with my mood, do not stumble because I totter and stagger at the promise through unbelief, but stand firm and clear with their peaks of pearl cleaving the air of Eternity, and the bases of their hills rooted unfathomably in the Rock of God. Mont Blanc does not become a phantom or a mist because a climber grows dizzy on its side.
–James Smetham

Is it any wonder that, when we stagger at any promise of God through unbelief, we do not receive it? Not that faith merits an answer, or in any way earns it, or works it out; but God has made believing a condition of receiving, and the Giver has a sovereign right to choose His own terms of gift.
–Rev. Samuel Hart

Unbelief says, “How can such and such things be?” It is full of “hows”; but faith has one great answer to the ten thousand “hows,” and that answer is–GOD!
–C. H. M.

No praying man or woman accomplishes so much with so little expenditure of time as when he or she is praying.

If there should arise, it has been said–and the words are surely true to the thought of our Lord Jesus Christ in all His teaching on prayer—if there should arise ONE UTTERLY BELIEVING MAN, the history of the world might be changed.

Will YOU not be that one in the providence and guidance of God our Father?
–A. E. McAdam

Prayer without faith degenerates into objectless routine, or soulless hypocrisy. Prayer with faith brings Omnipotence to back our petitions. Better not pray unless and until your whole being responds to the efficacy of your supplication. When the true prayer is breathed, earth and heaven, the past and the future, say Amen. And Christ prayed such prayers.
–P. C. M.

Nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.

 

 

Drawing on the Grace of God— Now

From: Utmost.org

Drawing on the Grace of God— Now

The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. “…in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses”— that is where our patience is tested (2 Corinthians 6:4). Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? Are you saying to yourself, “Oh well, I won’t count this time”? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now. We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible. Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer.

“…in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors…” (2 Corinthians 6:5)— in all these things, display in your life a drawing on the grace of God, which will show evidence to yourself and to others that you are a miracle of His. Draw on His grace now, not later. The primary word in the spiritual vocabulary is now. Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself. One of the greatest proofs that you are drawing on the grace of God is that you can be totally humiliated before others without displaying even the slightest trace of anything but His grace.

“…having nothing….” Never hold anything in reserve. Pour yourself out, giving the best that you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful with the treasure God gives you. “…and yet possessing all things”— this is poverty triumphant (2 Corinthians 6:10).