Source of True Joy

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Source of True Joy

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Lorie Hartshorn – Co-Host – The 700 Club Canada,

We all want to experience joy in our lives, but the truth is there are things that can rob us of joy. Not too long ago I put out a question on our 700 Club Canada Facebook page asking, what steals your joy? These were some of the responses:

  • Comparison, when I feel less than others
  • Competition, when I feel I can’t keep up
  • Unmet expectations
  • Disappointment
  • Stress
  • Busyness
  • Sickness
  • Regret
  • Fear

That’s quite a list. Can you relate to any of those things stealing your joy? I’m sure we all can to one degree or another.

There is good news today. We can have joy in spite of any of those things! True joy is not dependent on whether I’m experiencing stress, sickness, regret, fear, unmet expectations or feeling like I’m not measuring up. True joy is a frame of mind, not a feeling.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul uses the word joy 16 times! He tells us that we find joy even in the middle of difficult circumstances. The joy-stealers above are all situations that can change from one day to the next. But the source of true joy is not transient or changing, because the source of our joy is Jesus, and He is eternal and unchanging.

The Bible says:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

He does not change! Because He does not change, He is able to be the source for unchanging, unending, indestructible joy for us no matter what is happening in our life.

Paul was not a happy-go-lucky, nothing-bad-ever-happens-to-me type of person. His freedom was denied, his finances were dwindling, his future was in doubt. Yet, it was Paul who wrote such things as

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)


I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (Philippians 4:11)

Paul could write those things because the eternal, unchanging Jesus was the source of his joy.  We can make Him the source of our joy and experience joy in any circumstance as well.

What do we do when life is unfair? Do we grumble? Do we become bitter and angry? Do we say, “Why me?” If our joy is centered on transient things, that’s most likely what we do. Paul, though, centered his joy on Jesus and his relationship with Him. That’s why he wrote,

Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! (Philippians 3:1)

When Jesus is our source, our joy does not have to dissipate when problems come our way, because Jesus never changes. We can rejoice in Him, even when our lives get rocky. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is our stability, our hope and our joy. So don’t let those joy-stealers gain any ground in your life, because that’s courageous living.

Prayer of Commitment
Father, thank You for being my stability and source of joy. I focus on You and not my changing circumstances and rejoice in You today.

Today’s Devotions


August 12

2 Chronicles 20:21-22 21After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” 22As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

Yesterday we read about the people waiting upon God and getting His instructions on how to face the vast army coming against them. They believed and began to obey God. Jehoshaphat consulted with the people to see if they had the faith to put singers out front. Apparently, they liked the idea. Since they truly believed that God was going to fight the battle and deliver them, they thought they might as well sing praise for the splendor of His holiness on the way there. This huge men’s choir sang the same chorus that was sung at the dedication of the temple. It must have been the national anthem of Judah.

If you ever attended a Promise Keeper event and heard tens of thousands of men sing praises to God, you have a taste of what this must have been like. The praise was not a part of the LORD’s instruction, but it was a natural response when they believed He was delivering them from their enemy. As they sang, the LORD turned the enemy upon one another. There was not one enemy soldier left alive. Judah took three days to gather all the spoils of war. There was more than they could carry away. On the fourth day they held a great praise festival in the Valley of Praise.

The people’s response to God’s word in the face of a major threat upon their lives is an example to us. They didn’t mope around or complain and whine; instead they sang their thanks to God for who He is.

Consider: It is often during an expression of faith that the LORD delivers us from that which we fear.

Streams in the Desert – August 12

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Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises2 Peter 1:4

When a shipwright builds a vessel, does he build it to keep it upon the stocks? Nay, he builds it for the sea and the storm. When he was making it, he thought of tempests and hurricanes; if he did not, he was a poor shipbuilder.

When God made thee a believer, He meant to try thee; and when He gave thee promises, and bade thee trust them, He gave such promises as are suitable for times of tempest and tossing. Dost thou think that God makes shams like some that have made belts for swimming, which were good to exhibit in a shop, but of no use in the sea?

We have all heard of swords which were useless in war; and even of shoes which were made to sell, but were never meant to walk in. God’s shoes are of iron and brass, and you can walk to Heaven in them without their ever wearing out; and His life-belts, you may swim a thousand Atlantics upon them, and there will be no fear of your sinking. His Word of promise is meant to be tried and proved.

There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for His people to make a show-thing of Him, and not to use Him. He loves to be employed by us. Covenant blessings are not meant to be looked at only, but to be appropriated. Even our Lord Jesus is given to us for our present use. Thou dost not make use of Christ as thou oughtest to do.

O man, I beseech you do not treat God’s promises as if they were curiosities for a museum; but use them as every day sources of comfort. Trust the Lord whenever your time of need comes on.
–C. H. Spurgeon

Go to the deeps of God’s promise,
And claim whatsoever ye will;
The. blessing of God will not fail thee,
His Word He will surely fulfill.

How can God say no to something He has promised?

God’s people in the furnace

“I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10

Suggested Further Reading: Isaiah 43:1-7

Beloved, the first thing I will give you is the comfort of the text itself—election. Comfort yourself with this thought: God says, “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” “The fire is hot, but he has chosen me; the furnace burns, but he has chosen me; these coals are hot, I do not love the place, but he has chosen me.” Ah! It comes like a soft gale assuaging the fury of the flame. It is like some gentle wind fanning the cheeks; yes, this one thought arrays us in fireproof armour, against which the heat has no power. “Let affliction come—God has chosen me. Poverty, you may come in at the door—God is in the house already, and he has chosen me. Sickness, you may come, but I will have this by my side for a balsam—God has chosen me. Whatever it is, I know that he has chosen me.” The next comfort is that you have the Son of man with you in the furnace. In that silent bedchamber of yours, there sits by your side one whom you have not seen, but whom you love; and often when you know it not, he makes your bed in your affliction, and smooths your pillow for you. You are in poverty; but in that lonely house of yours that has nothing to cover its bare walls, where you sleep on a miserable straw mattress, you know that the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor; he often treads those bare floors, and putting his hands upon those walls he consecrates them! If you were in a palace he might not come there. He loves to come into these desolate places that he may visit you. The Son of man is with you, Christian.

For meditation: There are some things that can only be proved in times of trouble (Daniel 3:17,25,28,29James 1:121 Peter 1:6,7).

Pay Attention to the Bereans

Evan Heerema , Today Devotions

  ACTS 17:10-15

The Berean Jews . . . received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

—  Acts 17:11

A class I taught at a local Chris­tian college was called “Gateway to Excellence.” It was an introductory class for all new students. When asked by others what the class was about, I would initially say that it was meant to equip students to become better thinkers and responsible followers of Jesus in their career choices.

As a follower and servant of Jesus, I must be fully committed to his cause. Because of his love for me, Jesus died for me and equipped me with spiritual gifts so that I can serve him here on earth. And through his Spirit, Jesus promises to be with us until he comes again.

When Paul went to Berea, he taught these things to the people there. And the Bereans were good thinkers who did not just take information at face value; they also examined the Scriptures to confirm what Paul was saying. Recognizing the truth of God in Paul’s message, many of them became believers in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Savior.

Smart people need to be wise people, and wise people need to be listened to, talked with, questioned, and accepted if what they are saying is the truth.

Be a student and thinker who digs into God’s Word, finding the way, the truth, and the life.

God of wisdom, fill our hearts with the truth of your Word so that we will be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (James 1:19), showing grace and patience for your sake. Amen.

Return To Sender

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Return to Sender

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Diane Stevenson – Prayer Center Chaplain/Recruiting Manager,

Have you ever received a package that was sent to you in error?

When that happens, we usually leave the post carrier a note that says, “return to sender.” There are several reasons a package can be returned to the sender; however, one common reason is that the receiver did not accept it.

When I thought about the process of sending things back to the sender, I began looking at my life’s journey and reflecting on those times when I wanted desperately to put “return to sender” on the gifts and calling God had given me. Like the person who returns a package, I felt like the “Sender” must have made a mistake.

For most of my childhood, I was a quiet and shy girl. As a teenager, I accepted Jesus Christ into my life and fell in love with sharing the word of God. My heart was overwhelmed that God chose to use me to teach and preach His Word.

Initially, I was like Peter in the gospel of Mark, full of passion and faith to serve Jesus at all costs and to operate in my gifts. In Mark 14:29 (NIV), Peter said to Jesus, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” I had experienced the mighty hand of God in my life, and I was excited to share my experience with all that would listen and receive. There were powerful times of miracles, signs, and wonders.

Through life’s journey, I experienced many challenging times that left me with battle scars and brokenness, and I eventually reverted to the quiet, shy girl of my yesteryears. I wanted to run and hide like Elijah did in 1 Kings chapter 19 and return my gifts and callings to the Sender.

During those times, I had low self-esteem; I did not believe I was smart enough or good enough to carry out such an awesome plan of God. But one day, while reading the Bible, I came across the Scripture in Romans 11:29 (NKJV) that said, “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Irrevocable can be defined as final and not able to be changed, reversed, or recovered. God was not waiting for the gifts and calling to be returned. He had given them to me, and He had no intentions of changing His plan for my life. Instead, He was waiting to give me instructions and help me carry out His purpose and plan. After praying and praising God, I knew I was ready to walk in my calling and use my gifts again. But now I allow every scar to represent my victory and my testimony is of God’s love, grace, mercy, and faithfulness.

Each of us has gifts and a calling that God wants us to use to bring Him glory and to be a blessing to others. We will have His presence, promise, and provision when we are faithful to His plan.

Your gifts and calling are not a mistake, and they are not to be hidden or discarded. I realized, and I pray you will, also, that “Return to Sender” is not an option.

Streams in the Desert – August 11

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Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  Habakkuk 3:17-18

Observe, I entreat you, how calamitous a circumstance is here supposed, and how heroic a faith is expressed. It is really as if he said, “Though I should be reduced to so great extremity as not to know where to find my necessary food, though I should look around about me on an empty house and a desolate field, and see the marks of the Divine scourge where I had once seen the fruits of God’s bounty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”

Methinks these words are worthy of being written as with a diamond on a rock forever. Oh, that by Divine grace they might be deeply engraven on each of our hearts! Concise as the form of speaking in the text is, it evidently implies or expresses the following particulars: That in the day of his distress he would fly to God; that he would maintain a holy composure of spirit under this dark dispensation, nay, that in the midst of all he would indulge in a sacred joy in God, and a cheerful expectation from Him.

Heroic confidence! Illustrious faith! Unconquerable love!

The Ancient of Days

“The Ancient of Days took His seat … His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him … and the books were opened.” – Daniel 7:9-10 NASB

God gave Daniel a dream about a time in the future of turmoil and strife. Daniel saw God in His glory, sitting on a throne, described as “the Ancient of Days.” This title and picture put everything in perspective.

The title reminds us that God is beyond time. He is never worried or caught up in the world’s troubles. He is the perfect judge, always pure, holy, and objective, and He always brings an eternal perspective to every situation.

Daniel saw His throne “ablaze with flames” and “a river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him.” This was a place of absolute purity where sin cannot be tolerated. Throngs of people surrounded the throne. As they stood before Him, “the books were opened.” These books were the history of what these people had done, not just some things but everything.

Think about this picture. God is on the throne. He is to be worshiped and praised! He is the “Ancient of Days.” He is completely objective, beyond time, and holy. He knows everything you have said and done.

Humble yourself and seek Him. Ask Him to burn away any sin. Commit yourself to serve Him. Fill your life with His Word. Surrender to His Spirit. Ask Him to fill you with His miracle-working power. Reach out to others, so they might be ready when the books on their lives are opened.

Reflection Question: What will you hear when God opens the book of your earthly deeds?


Demand for a Sign

By:  Evan Heerema

  MATTHEW 16:1-4

“When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’”

—  Matthew 16:2-3

The month of August provides some of the warmest days of the year where I live. And in the morning, if the sky is red in the east, there is a good chance of stormy weather, just as people said in Israel back in Jesus’ day.

Jesus used that well-known pattern as a “heads up” to the Pharisees and Sadducees who had asked him to show them a sign from heaven. In return he used a sign of the heavens to test them about their belief in him as God’s anointed King.

They had already seen and heard about Jesus’ teaching and healing miracles, and they were inclined to dismiss them—and him as well. When it came to the gift that God had given them in Jesus, they had ears but could not hear, and they had eyes but could not see.

Jesus predicted another sign as well—not to satisfy their question but to announce that he would rise from the dead. Did you notice that he mentioned “the sign of Jonah”? This meant that just as Jonah was in the belly of a great fish for three days before being spit out on the shore, Jesus would be in a tomb, and on the third day he would rise from the dead.

Many of Jesus’ challengers missed that sign too. People still miss it today, but many see, believe, and live the resurrected life with Jesus. Are you living that life too?

Risen Lord, you are the giver of abundant life. Thank you for your amazing gifts. May we help others to see who you real­ly are. Amen.

God’s Remnant

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The Remnant

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Vernell Windsor – Prayer Center Coach,

Did you ever want to belong to the “cool kids’ club” when you were younger? Or perhaps your home was where everyone hung out all summer? This elite status had the potential to cloud one’s vision of reality just as much as not belonging to it. Let me explain. But, full disclosure, I did not have a membership card to the “cool kids’ club” (sigh).

I know what rejection by your own people, whether friends, family or strangers, feels like. I used to end up in a state of depression and did not even know it. I thank God for praying friends around me who would always intervene at just the right moment. They helped to rescue me from a dangerously slippery slope!

Today, I am honored to belong to a wonderful group called “the remnant.” This unique group has a special place in God’s heart. The Scriptures speak of a remnant in various places (whether explicitly or not). Romans 11 has a timely message for us all.

Elijah was a formidable prophet whom God used mightily. Something about him reminds me of John the Baptist as dire circumstances (rejection?) caused them both to lose sight of God’s heart. Paul quoted from 1 Kings 18 in his message to the church in Romans 11:2,

God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? (nasb)

Elijah had been “hiding” from King Ahab when he made this lament to the Lord. Just in case anyone missed the revelation in 1 Kings (like I did), Paul made it clear that Elijah spoke against Israel. God’s reply was classic and reverberated through the ages into the New Testament!

These next verses not only correct Elijah’s misconception, but reveal God’s omniscience. Romans 11:3-5 says,

“Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.

Newsflash: We have been kept by our heavenly Father. The Creator of the universe chose us! This is good news because inclusion in the remnant brings a strong sense of belonging, purpose, peace, and protection. As God-fearing believers, we have been “grafted in” to the family of God to fulfill His plan and purpose for humanity. Feelings of rejection and depression become a distant memory when we realize that God chose to keep us for Himself! No matter how real the rejection is, let us focus our affections on the One who keeps us from falling (Jude 24).

Let us pray! Oh Father, we pray that we can sense Your great love and acceptance. Help us to know that Your love covers us in every dimension, and we can thereby rest in You! Expose the lies of the enemy, that we may live free of his schemes for our demise. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen!

Today’s Devotions


August 10

2 Chronicles 19:9-10 9He gave them these orders: “You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the LORD. 10In every case that comes before you from your fellow countrymen who live in the cities–whether bloodshed or other concerns of the law, commands, decrees or ordinances–you are to warn them not to sin against the LORD; otherwise his wrath will come on you and your brothers. Do this, and you will not sin.

Jehoshaphat appointed judges according to the Law of God and ordered them to act in the fear of God, not taking bribes, and being impartial. He warned them that they were not judging for men but for God who placed them in their positions. We could say the same for any Christian in any activity. We should all do our work in the fear of God, knowing that we represent Him and not ourselves.

Then Jehoshaphat gave them the instructions in our text for today. Serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the LORD. Whatever work we are called to do, we, too, should serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the LORD. Is that how you would describe your work ethic? If it is, God is glorified in your work.

The fear of the LORD is rarely mentioned today. The judges were supposed to make judgments in the fear of the LORD and to warn people that the wrath of God would come upon those who sin against the LORD. The fear of the LORD and His judgments were motivating factors of that day. Because we have a greater revelation of the love of God, should the fear of the LORD motivate us any less? I believe they should go hand in hand. As we read of kings whose hearts turned away from God and faced defeat and disease, we should recognize that it is love that brings wrath to turn us. We should do all things in the fear of the LORD. That is having a healthy respect for His holiness and His Fatherly love (Psalm 34:11-22).

Meditation: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs

Deliver Me From Evil

  PSALM 19:7-14

 Evan Heerema author, Today Devotions

Who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.

—  Psalm 19:12

When I was in grade school, there were many times that I thought a teacher or a parent had eyes in the back of their head. I could not get away with anything I was not supposed to be doing. Sometimes my hidden thoughts were identified by those who were not even looking at me. And to prevent me from even trying something out of line, they said, “Just remember, God sees everything you do.”

Having someone watching our every move can help to keep our actions in check, but what about our thoughts and the things we are tempted to say? When we allow the bright light of God’s law to shine into our inner self, it illuminates our hidden faults and lights up a warning. Without God’s law we are blind to what separates us from God.

The psalmist knows that he cannot see his faults by looking into a mirror. He looks instead into God’s law and asks God to forgive not only his visible sins but also his hidden faults.

And the God of the Bible does forgive. Knowing the fact of God’s forgiveness assures the psalmist that he will be blameless in God’s sight. Not perfect yet, but blameless now.

Father God, even though your law is good and I want to obey it, I know I do not. Thank you for Jesus, who kept it perfectly so that by faith I can become one with him in your eyes. I love you, Jesus, and I thank you for loving me. Amen.

The Night Is Flying

“The kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins … Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. […] The groom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.” – Matthew 25:1-2, 10 NASB

Religious wars and violence swept throughout Europe. During these traumatic times, Philipp Nicolai fled for his life on several occasions. Nicolai, a pastor born in Germany on this day in 1556, at times went into hiding, forced to preach in secret house meetings.

Compounding these problems, a plague swept through the area around Westphalia where he was pastoring, killing more than a thousand church members.

To comfort his people, he wrote a hymn called “Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying.” It reminded everyone of life’s brevity and the importance of eternal things.

Referencing Jesus’ story of the ten virgins, Nicolai wrote, “Wake, awake, for night is flying, the watchmen on the heights are crying; ‘Awake, Jerusalem, at last!’” He urged them to focus on God’s Kingdom and have joy in their salvation. This gave them perspective on things happening in the world and their lives.

This perspective can help us be ready for Jesus’ return. When the groom comes, we can be glad for we are ready for the marriage feast He has prepared! We can go and meet Him and cry, “Alleluia!” Make sure you are ready for His coming. Look around and think about the people who are not ready. Remember that midnight is striking all around the world for millions of people who do not know Jesus, who aren’t ready. Dedicate yourself to being His witness, and be an example of Christ’s love.

Reflection Question: What do you need to do to make sure you’re ready for Jesus’ return?


Remembering God’s Deeds

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Remembering God’s Deeds

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Ilia Mendoza Gómez – Bilingual Interaction Analyst,

How often do we consider all the things God does for us? Many times we only talk or think about them when He gives us what we want and life looks good, but what happens when we go through a hard time or when we don’t receive what we ask for in prayer?

Since I gave my life to God, I’ve been on a learning path. I feel how He guides me, consoles me, and yes, sometimes I get scolded too! I can feel His love for me, and I have learned to trust Him.

Most of the years that I have walked with the Lord have been good years, there have been some troubles along the way but nothing major, and so all looked fantastic until four years ago when I learned that my mom had dementia. What I thought would be a slow and lengthy process turned out to be a short and very aggressive one. Once my mom started to show signs of the illness, it took a very short time for her to be bedridden and pass away.

It was the worst time of my life. My mom, my closest friend, my first love, was totally dependent on me… I was not sure that I would know how or even if I would be able to take care of her. Working a full-time job and caring for my mom, I was alone, scared, upset, and very confused; I couldn’t understand why my mom was going through this illness. I had so many questions.

I prayed and pleaded with God to heal her, but nothing was changing. As time passed, I was feeling tired and frustrated. I never stopped praying, reading my Bible, and on the days that I couldn’t pray because I just didn’t have anything left in me, I worshiped with tears streaming down my face.

One morning as I was getting ready to start my day and feeling very bad about myself, I started thinking about the Scripture,

For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing (Romans 7:19 NIV).

Immediately came the answer from God telling me, My grace is sufficient for youFrom that moment on I started to learn to let God do what I can’t and just rest and trust that everything will be ok.

I lost my mom a few months ago, but I often think about not only what God did for me while I cared for my mom, but all He has done for me even when I didn’t know Him. I think of all the times He carried me, blessed me, provided for me, loved me and my heart fills with a profound gratitude and a passion to share all the amazing things that God has done for me.

I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds (Psalm 77:12).

God Is Our Confidence

By Jessica Van Roekel,

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the days of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock” (Psalm 27:4-5 ESV).

At different points in my spiritual journey, I’ve needed to reorient my heart’s confidence in the Lord. Distractions abound and take the form of disappointments and discouragement. I grow weary of trying to work in peace with those who seek to destroy it. Difficult situations stretch on without an end in sight, and I lose sight of God. Friends turn to enemies as they seek to destroy my reputation. It’s in these moments that I reach for the Psalms and remember how God fights for me and fills me with confidence.

The title of Hebrews chapter 11 is called “By Faith” or “The Hall of Faith” and contains many stories of faith in action. Faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” coupled with obedience. Abraham left the land of his ancestors to journey to a new land at the command of God. This journey of his led him into a foreign land filled with unknown enemies. His life serves as a reminder that we are not to look for unending security in this present world but that we are traveling through on our way to God’s city and home for us in heaven.

Yet, the present world is hard, and eternity seems a long way off, so what can we do? By faith, we can believe that God responds to us when we sincerely look to him. He gives us his presence—his very self to us—and his joy becomes interwoven into our lives so that we can face our difficult circumstances with confidence. God’s promises apply to our hearts and can carry us through the hard parts of life.

Through faith, we pursue a deeper relationship with God so that we grow in our desire for his presence, power, and purpose in our lives. Our confidence isn’t in getting what we want in this life but in getting more of God in our lives. He is the reason we can stand in front of our enemies and say, with confidence, “I believe the Lord is with me and because of him I can stand.”

God is our confidence. He is our shield and refuge. In him, we find hope in the face of a hopeless situation. Because of God, we can remain at peace when those around us attack. It is God who hides us when we run toward him instead of away. He is our rock and refuge, an everlasting God who has no beginning and end.

True enduring faith that grows our confidence involves trusting God in every circumstance, even the bone-crushing disappointing ones like an unwanted diagnosis or a friendship gone awry. Confidence grows when we take God at his word and remain loyal to him when things don’t go our way. We can move forward when we choose to make God our refuge and believe that he will lift us up in his way and time.

Love thy neighbour

By: Charles Spurgeon

“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matthew 19:19

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 12:6-13

Remember that man’s good requires that you should be kind to your fellow creatures. The best way for you to make the world better is to be kind yourself. Are you a preacher? Preach in a surly way, and in a surly tone to your church; a pretty church you will make of it before long! Are you a Sunday-school teacher? Teach your children with a frown on your face; a fine lot they will learn! Are you a master? Do you hold family prayer? Get in a passion with your servants, and say, “Let us pray.” A vast amount of devotion you will develop in such a manner as that. Are you a warder of a gaol, and have prisoners under you? Abuse them and ill-treat them, and then send the chaplain to them. A fine preparation for the reception of the word of God! You have poor around you; you wish to see them elevated, you say. You are always grumbling about the poverty of their dwellings, and the meanness of their tastes. Go and make a great stir at them all—a fine way that would be to improve them! Now, just wash your face of that black frown, and buy a little of the essence of summer somewhere, and put it on your face; and have a smile on your lip, and say, “I love you. I am no cant, but I love you, and as far as I can I will prove my love to you. What can I do for you? Can I help you over a stile? Can I give you any assistance, or speak a kind word to you? Perhaps I could look after your little daughter. Can I fetch the doctor to your wife now she is ill?” All these kind things would be making the world a little better.

For meditation: The effectiveness of what we say and do can depend to a large extent on how we say and do it (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience and godliness are to be supplemented by brotherly kindness and love (2 Peter 1:5-7).

Unshakeable God

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Unshakeable God

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Jessica Teed – Well & Clean Water Coordinator – OB Headquarters,

There is so much uncertainty in this world we live in. The rising costs of gasoline and groceries and the increasing division and violence around us are enough to make anyone wonder, where is God in all this?

Sometimes, we all need a reminder that we are not alone. Even if you do not have someone physically right next to you, the Bible tells us that God is with us. In fact, He has promised to never leave us and to never abandon us and He has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age (See Hebrews 13:5-6 and Matthew 28:20).

When you feel the most alone, the most forgotten, the most abandoned, the most rejected, the most unloved, God is there. When you are fearful of what is unknown or even of what is known, God is there, and He knows all about it.

What a relief it is to know that God is with us and that He is near to us no matter where we are and no matter what we are going through.

We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 75:1 nlt)

Regardless of what is going on around us, we can give thanks because God is with us. He hears us when we pray, and He knows what we need before we even speak it. In a world full of uncertainty, He is an unshakeable God.

When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm. (Psalm 75:3)

He alone is our solid rock and firm foundation. When trouble comes, we can give thanks and look to Him because He is with us, and He is immovable. He knows what is going on and He is not changed or overwhelmed by it. When we are faced with uncertainty, we can be certain that God is right there. He is in our midst, and He is waiting for us to come to Him to rest and lay our burdens down at His feet.

In my own life, when I have found myself discouraged by what I see going on around me, I have found encouragement in time spent alone with Abba Father. When I am overwhelmed, spending time in prayer and in worship and sitting in His presence brings so much peace and strength and it is always exactly what I need in that moment.

Friends, we were never meant to carry the weight of this world alone. As we take the time to lay our fears and the worries of the day at the feet of Jesus, that weight is lifted from us. God is entirely faithful and as we trust in Him to come through for us, He strengthens us and takes care of us.

Whatever fears and worries you are carrying with you today; I encourage you to lay them at the feet of Jesus. If you are overwhelmed and discouraged by what is going on in the world today, come and find rest at the feet of Jesus. He is waiting for you with open arms, and He loves you so very much. Will you pray with me?

Father God, the weight of this world tries to drag me down and sometimes I find myself discouraged and overwhelmed by it. God, I believe that You are entirely faithful, and nothing is impossible for You. Lord, I surrender these burdens that I have carried for far too long to You and I trust You to come through for me because You love me. Lord, thank You for never leaving me or forsaking me. Thank You for being my solid rock, my firm foundation, and my unshakeable God. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. 

But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob (Psalm 75:9).

God Is My Rock

  PSALM 18:1-6, 16-19

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. . . .

—  Psalm 18:2

David, who was anointed to become king of Israel, had many enemies, and he wrote the words of Psalm 18 at a time when God delivered him from those enemies, including Saul, the king he would replace (see 2 Samuel 22).

At times David was so overwhelmed by his enemies that he felt as if “the cords of death entangled” him. He felt that his end was near. In response, David called on the only one who could help. “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.”

David displayed great courage based on his trust in God, his rock and deliverer. David had been taught and had learned from experience that the Lord was always present for him. No enemy could separate him from the care of the Lord.

When we know that we depend on God for all good things, as David did, we know that calling on God will help to bring the solutions we need. This doesn’t mean we should ignore emergency services or other kinds of help that are available when we might need them. God provides those resources in our communities for the good of everyone. But realizing that we can rely on God to help us with all our needs is a great comfort today just as it was for David. Let’s be sure to call on God whenever we need help of any kind.

O God, often we forget to look to you for help when we need it. Teach us to lean on you for protection, guidance, and all that we need, knowing you provide all good things. Amen.

Righteous hatred

“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Psalm 97:10

Suggested Further Reading: Genesis 39

With regard to some sins, if thou wouldst avoid them, take one piece of advice—run away from them. Sins of lust especially are never to be fought with, except after Joseph’s way; and you know what Joseph did—he ran away. A French philosopher said, “Fly, fly, Telemaque; there remains no way of conquest but by flight.” The true soldiers of Christ’s cross will stand foot to foot with any sin in the world except this; but here they turn their backs and fly, and then they become conquerors. “Flee fornication,” said one of old, and there was wisdom in the counsel; there is no way of overcoming it but by flight. If the temptation attack thee, shut thine eye and stop thy ear, and away, away from it; for thou art only safe when thou art beyond sight and earshot. “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil;” and endeavour with all your might to resist and overcome it in yourselves. Once again, ye that love the Lord, if ye would keep from sin, seek always to have a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, never trust yourselves a single day without having a fresh renewal of your piety before you go forth to the day’s duties. We are never safe unless we are in the Lord’s hands. No Christian, be he who he may, or what he may, though he be renowned for his piety and prayerfulness, can exist a day without falling into great sin unless the Holy Spirit shall be his protector. Old master Dyer says, “Lock up your hearts by prayer every morning, and give God the key, so that nothing can get in; and then when thou unlockest thy heart at night, there will be a sweet fragrance and perfume of love, joy, and holiness.”

For meditation: There are two sides to victory over temptation—resisting the flesh and yielding to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). Sometimes the emphasis will be to flee, sometimes to follow, sometimes to fight (1 Timothy 6:11-12), but neither side will be effective without the other.

A Helper for All Occasions

You never have to face any situation alone.

August 8, 2022

John 14:16-18

Did you ever wish for an emergency telephone line that rang in heaven? The truth is that we have something much better. The Holy Spirit lives inside us to be our helper in every situation.

The night before His crucifixion, Jesus warned the disciples that He was about to depart. The news confused and frightened them, even though it wasn’t the first time He’d spoken of His death. But the Lord offered His followers assurance that He would send them another Helper.

In this passage, the Greek word for “another” means “one of the same kind,” signifying that the new Helper would be like the Son of God—a divine being. As promised, God’s Spirit came to dwell in Christ’s followers at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).

Without the Holy Spirit, we’d never be able to live the Christian life. That’s why Jesus told the disciples to delay spreading the gospel until after the Holy Spirit’s arrival. Our Helper not only empowers obedience but also teaches, guides, intercedes, comforts, transforms, and gifts us for service. Whenever we’re beset by tough times or temptations, He provides strength, endurance, hope, and encouragement. We’re so privileged to have a divine Helper who is personally assisting us every minute of every day.

Compelled by Compassion

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Compelled by Compassion

Bible Verses about 'Compassion'


Have you ever wondered why wicked people prosper?  A psalmist named Asaph asked that very question in Psalm 73.

“Does God realize what is going on?  Look at these arrogant people — enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.  They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others” (vs. 11a, 12, 8)

It’s not wrong to ask these difficult questions; the problem arises when we allow them to hinder our faith.

Asaph complains,

“Was it for nothing that I kept my heart pure and kept myself from doing wrong?  For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.  They seem to live such a painless life; their bodies are so healthy and strong.  They aren’t … plagued with problems like everyone else” (vs. 13, 3-5)

But he realizes the peril of his path just in time.

“I came so close to the edge of the cliff!  My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone” (vs. 2b)

Suddenly, his perspective pivots from fleshly envy to divine understanding.  Why?

“I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny” (vs. 17, NIV)

In the light of heaven’s infinite glory, he clearly sees the folly of people living for earth’s fleeting pleasures.

“Their present life is only a dream that is gone when they awake” (vs. 20a)

Asaph repents for his bitterness and envy, trusting the Lord to establish His sovereign order and priorities.

In God’s presence, he enters a miraculous dimension and comprehends the matchless inheritance of the righteous.

Then, in a magnificent affirmation of trust, he declares:

“Whom have I in heaven but You?  I desire You more than anything on earth.  My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever” (vs. 25-26)

It’s easy to be tainted by envy in a modern world plagued with materialism and corruption.  But as we spend time in the Lord’s cleansing presence, we see the lost through His eyes — with compassion.

Transformed by grace, the psalmist concludes,

“I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do” (vs. 28b)

And so God is urgently compelling us to reach out with His love to a tragically deceived world, revealing the reality of eternal life.

Today’s Devotions


August 7

2 Chronicles 16:7-9 7At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. 8Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. 9For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”

Asa was one of the good kings of Judah. He restored the temple and encouraged the nation to return to the worship of Jehovah. While he was earnestly working on the temple, God gave him peace for ten years. When an enemy finally did come to attack, he relied upon God and completely defeated them. He had set his heart to seek the LORD.

After Asa had reigned thirty-five years, the king of Israel Baasha began to fortify cities along the border. This was indication that he was preparing for war. Instead of seeking God as he had done earlier, he took the treasures from the temple and bribed the king of Aram to break his treaty with Israel. The tactic was successful in that Baasha gave up his plan to attack Judah. It was not a success in the eyes of God who sent Hanani the seer with these words of instruction. Had Asa forgotten how God helped him when he was small and unsure of himself? God is always searching the earth to find hearts fully committed to Him. Those are the hearts He strengthens.

Sometimes we attain immediate success, but because we did not do things God’s way we end up with long-term problems. Asa later came down with a disease in his feet. He would not seek God for that either, but only sought help from the doctors. That resulted in his death. Asa’s legacy was a good one, but it would have been even better if he had stayed dependent on God.

Consider: As God blesses your life, recognize that strength is from Him. Stay fully dependent on Him.

Take Time for the Holy One

Evan Heerema author, Today Devotions

  MARK 1:35-39

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

—  Mark 1:35

In the streaming series The Chosen, one episode depicts Jesus returning to a camp where he and his disciples are staying for the night. It is late, and Jesus has spent the day healing crowds of people. He stumbles into camp, exhausted from the day’s ministry. The disciples can only watch him, surprised at how tired he is. His teaching and healing work must have been exhausting. Though he was fully God, Jesus was also fully human, so he got tired and needed sleep (see Mark 4:38John 4:6).

Our reading for today explains that after a long day of teaching and healing, Jesus rose early in the morning to pray. Jesus needed time to connect with his Father in prayer, resting in his Father’s presence and focusing on his purpose. He had come to do much more than heal people in Capernaum, even though that was clearly important while he was there. When the disciples went out and found him, he said, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

Jesus spent time in prayer with his Father, and he remained focused on his purpose. If this was important to Jesus, it is certainly important for his followers too. Let’s be sure to spend personal time with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each day.

Father, I need to spend time with you, just as Jesus did. Lord, lead me, guide me, and give me the strength I need for the work you have planned. Amen.

The blind beggar

By: Charles Spurgeon

“And as he went out of Jericho…. blind Bartimaeus…. sat by the highway side begging.” Mark 10:46

Suggested Further Reading: John 9:39-41

To be both blind and poor, these were a combination of the sternest evils. One thinks it is scarcely possible to resist the cry of a beggar whom we meet in the street if he is blind. We pity the blind man when he is surrounded with luxury, but when we see a blind man in want, and following the beggar’s trade in the busy streets, we can hardly forbear stopping to assist him. This case of Bartimaeus, however, is but a picture of our own. We are all by nature blind and poor. It is true we account ourselves able enough to see; but this is just one phase of our blindness. Our blindness is of such a kind that it makes us think our vision perfect; whereas, when we are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, we discover our previous sight to have been blindness indeed. Spiritually, we are blind; we are unable to discern our lost estate; unable to conceive the blackness of sin, or the terrors of the wrath to come. The unrenewed mind is so blind, that it perceives not the all-attractive beauty of Christ; the Sun of righteousness may arise with healing beneath his wings, but this is all in vain for those who cannot see his shining. Christ may do many mighty works in their presence, but they do not recognise his glory; we are blind until he has opened our eyes. But besides being blind we are also by nature poor. Our father Adam spent our birthright, lost our estates. Paradise, the homestead of our race, has become dilapidated, and we are left in the depths of beggary without anything with which we may buy bread for our hungry souls, or clothing for our naked spirits; blindness and beggary are the lot of all men after a spiritual fashion, till Jesus visits them in love.

For meditation: Spiritually the unconverted are very often exactly the opposite of what they think they are. It can also be true of Christians, for better or worse (Revelation 2:93:1,8,17,18).

Hope in the Waiting

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Hope in the Waiting

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Roy Cameron Kennedy – Digital Media Coordinator for Latin America.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I’d find myself awake at 3 a.m. Unable to sleep, I’d go out to our family room and sit on the couch to pray, weep, and groan for our three prodigal children who were running from God. I felt hopeless. Cheated. My expectations for what my life would be like in that season were blown apart. I couldn’t see an end in sight. My husband and I prayed, wept, talked, listened… yet no breakthrough. I asked myself, what good can come of this?

Have you ever asked that? Maybe you’ve experienced a loss of relationship, an illness or a death. Have you felt cheated, ripped off, or disappointed?

This is where we need hope. In the waiting. In the praying. Scripture tells us how to wait when it seems like no good can come of our pain.

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are (Romans 8:18-19 NLT).

A little later in the same chapter, Paul adds,

We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children. Romans 8:23

Did you notice how we are to wait? Eagerly! With eager expectation. Not just trying to get through it, but more like Christmas morning.

As a kid, I felt like Christmas would never come. Remember trying to sleep on Christmas Eve, waking up at 2 or 4 a.m. only for your parents to send you back to bed? You were bursting with eager expectation! You couldn’t wait, couldn’t sleep, and could hardly wait to see what was in those wrapped packages! When Christmas finally came, the wait was over. You leapt out of bed in jubilation and raced downstairs to tear open the gifts.

This is how we are to live in the middle of a season of suffering, with eager anticipation for the good thing that God will do with our pain, our suffering. So how can we do that?

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).

We wait with the help of God’s Spirit, which is better than me trying to keep my chin up in my own strength. He takes on our groaning and communicates directly to the Father on our behalf. Prayer is not about having the right words. Prayer is often welcoming the Holy Spirit to pray through us. He knows what’s in our hearts and the will of God for us.

So, can anything good come of what you’re going through? The answer is a resounding YES!

And we know that God causes everything to works together works for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28).

Not that all things are good, but God is at work in all things—the good, the bad and the ugly. God is working out His purposes in our lives for our good, for His glory, and so the world will see Jesus. God changed me in my season of suffering. He took my weakness and taught me to pray and wait with eager expectation for the good thing that He would do in my life and the life of my kids. My mindset changed. Instead of, “What good can come of this?” I began asking, “God, what good thing will You bring from this?”

Do you hear the difference? That’s courageous living.

Today’s Devotions


August 6

2 Chronicles 13:5 5Don’t you know that the LORD, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?

Abijah inherited the throne of Judah after his father Rehoboam’s death. When war came between the northern tribes of Israel and southern Judah, Abijah found that his troops were outnumbered two to one. He climbed a hill and shouted out to the army of Israel the above passage. Little explanation is given in Scripture about the salt covenant, but we can piece together from other texts what it must have meant. When two parties sat down and ate salted bread they entered into a peace agreement. It implied that they were friends and were bound to defend one another. When did David do this with God? It was when he ate the shewbread while fleeing from Saul. God promised to make David king and later promised his descendants would reign. Abijah was reminding Israel that God was on their side because God keeps His word.

He went on to describe how their leader Jeroboam had forsaken God and made his own gods. If that weren’t enough to cause them to doubt, he described how you could buy the priesthood with a certain number of sacrifices.

While Abijah was declaring his right to rule, Israel was sending troops behind him. Suddenly Israel attacked from both directions, but the house of Judah had placed its trust in God. When the army shouted out their battle cry, God turned the troops of Israel. Abijah’s troops soundly defeated Israel that day, destroying over half their army. In our day the idea of having God on your side is laughed at. It still makes the difference.

Remember: You can always count on the promises of God.

Streams In The Desert – August 6

  • 20226 Aug

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south, blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out! (Song of Solomon 4:16).

Look at the meaning of this prayer a moment. Its root is found in the fact that, as delicious odors may lie latent in a spice tree, so graces may lie unexercised and undeveloped in a Christian’s heart. There is many a plant of profession; but from the ground there breathes forth no fragrance of holy affections or of godly deeds. The same winds blow on the thistle bush and on the spice tree, but it is only one of them which gives out rich odors.

Sometimes God sends severe blasts of trial upon His children to develop their graces. Just as torches burn most brightly when swung to and fro; just as the juniper plant smells sweetest when flung into the flames; so the richest qualities of a Christian often come out under the north wind of suffering and adversity. Bruised hearts often emit the fragrance that God loveth to smell.

Word and Deed

  MARK 1:21-28

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”

—  Mark 1:27

When God’s enemy and ours, the devil, tempted Adam and Eve and humanity fell into sin (Genesis 3), all of our relationships were broken—with God, with each other, with ourselves, and with creation. Temptation and sin opened the way for the devil and his followers—impure spirits—to attack and influence our lives, sometimes even taking possession of people’s hearts, minds, and bodies.

God’s Son, Jesus, came into the world to rebuild what was broken and to restore the goodness of creation, healing many people’s bodies and minds. Jesus came as God’s authoritative Word, and with power he drove impure spirits out of the people they had possessed.

The crowd in Capernaum heard the Word of God and saw the power of God that Sabbath day. They were amazed to see God’s love presented to them in the person of Jesus. And as he worked wonders in God’s great plan of salvation, Jesus showed that his power was far greater than any demonic presence.

The people heard Jesus speak God’s Word, and they saw his amazing acts of restoration. They witnessed “God with us,” Immanuel, and they spread the news about him everywhere.

Lord, thank you for showing your love in the person of Jesus Christ. May we seek him in the written Word you have given us, and may we tell of your power and love every­where. Amen.

The Best Job in the World

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The Best Job in the World

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Roy Cameron Kennedy – Digital Media Coordinator for Latin America.

“If you like what you do, you’ll never have to work…” Those were the wise words of my dad the day I was preparing to enter my first day of work at the CBN offices in Costa Rica. And when I think about it, my father was referring to the attitude that I should have in the face of any task that was going to be assigned to me, whether it seemed pleasant or not. The type of work to be done should not be an issue, but rather my heart in going about it.

We all dream of an ideal job where we get paid for doing what we love, where we have fun every day, have good colleagues, a good salary, and we do not feel like it is a burden or an obligation. But the reality is that for most people it is the opposite—a job that seems more like hard labor, because they must support their home no matter what.

Although we cannot always change jobs, we decide what attitude to take. We can see work and the circumstances of life as a burden; or we can decide to see it as a blessing from our heavenly Father, one that allows us to get closer to Him.

Romans 8:15 reminds us of what we have received from God:

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (ESV).

Thank God we have His Spirit — one that makes us part of His family. One that allows us to change our way of living, if not our standard or circumstances of living. We live not in bondage or fear, but in the closeness and love of God.

And just like my dad counseled me about what my attitude should be even when I don’t have the best job in the world, God also gives us clues on how to do our best every day, whether as housewives, carpenters, salesmen, police officers, doctors or students. It applies to everyone:

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).

When we do it from the heart we go far: As small as a task may seem, the impact can be bigger and more important than what you may see. On one occasion, we shared some cookies and juice in a children’s kitchen that partners with CBN and Orphan’s Promise in Costa Rica. At first glance, it did not seem like the most important job. However, we found out later that those little treats were the answer to the prayer of a child who had not eaten them for a long time and that simple gesture allowed him to experience the truth that God listens to him and cares about him.

The true reward comes from the Lord: Sometimes we think that salary is the most important thing, when in reality it is only a tool. We must remember that we are more than our work and more than a salary, our value and identity is not in what we do, but in Him who created us, in God, the one we can call Father.

The way we work will show not only the quality of what we do, but whose children we are. So, pray that in everything you do, big or small, those around you can see your heavenly Father at work.

Do you find yourself burdened down by the tasks of life? Pray with me, that God would lift your feelings and thoughts and help you to see His hand at work in your life; your reward is with Him!

Today’s Devotions


August 5

2 Chronicles 12:12,14 12Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the LORD’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah…

14He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the LORD.

We all have an immediate testimony and a life testimony. At this point, near the end of Rehoboam’s life, he had a good testimony. It took being conquered and nearly destroyed to turn him from pride to humility, but at least he turned in the right direction unlike some of the kings that followed him. This was really the spiritual high point of his life. We can only guess what Israel would have been like had he served the LORD all his life, following the example of his grandfather David.

From this point forward, the kings will have one of two epitaphs. They have this one that Rehoboam had of doing evil and not setting his heart on seeking the LORD or one of walking in the path of King David. In the north they were likened to Jeroboam who led the nation into idolatry. It was black and white. The testimony of our life is good or evil. It has to do with where we have set our heart. Where is your compass pointed? On what tower have you leaned your life’s ladder?

Rehoboam had set his course for greed and self-fulfillment early on and stayed with that coarse almost to the end. Only disaster and the threat of destruction would turn him at the end of his life. What will it take to turn you? If you are set on self and not your Creator, you will have the same epitaph as Rehoboam.

Consider: The sooner you turn and set your heart upon God, the more likely your life’s testimony will be changed.

My Grace IS Sufficient – Streams in the Desert – August 5

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My grace is sufficient for thee (2 Corinthians 12:9).

It had pleased God to remove my youngest child under circumstances of peculiar trial and pain; and as I had just laid my little one’s body in the churchyard, on return home, I felt it my duty to preach to my people on the meaning of trial.

Finding that this text was in the lesson for the following Sabbath, I chose it as my Master’s message to them and myself; but on trying to prepare the notes, I found that in honesty I could not say that the words were true; and therefore I knelt down and asked God to let His grace be sufficient for me. While I was thus pleading, I opened my eyes and saw a framed illuminated text, which my mother had given me only a few days before, and which I had told my servant to place upon the wall during my absence at the holiday resort where my little one was taken away from us. I did not notice the words on returning to my house; but as I looked up and wiped my eyes, the words met my gaze, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

The “is” was picked out in bright green while the “My” and the “thee” were painted in another color. In one moment the message came straight to my soul, as a rebuke for offering such a prayer as, “Lord, let Thy grace be sufficient for me”; for the answer was almost as an audible voice, “How dare you ask that which is?”

God cannot make it any more sufficient than He has made it; get up and believe it, and you will find it true, because the Lord says it in the simplest way: “My grace is (not shall be or may be) sufficient for thee.” “My,” “is,” and “thee” were from that moment, I hope, indelibly fixed upon my heart; and I (thank God) have been trying to live in the reality of the message from that day forward to the present time.

The lesson that came to me, and which I seek to convey to others, is, Never turn God’s facts into hopes, or prayers, but simply use them as realities, and you will find them powerful as you believe them.
–Prebendary H. W. Webb

“Get Behind Me, Satan”

Evan Heerema author, Today Devotions

  MATTHEW 16:21-28

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” . . . You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

—  Matthew 16:23

The words of Jesus to Peter here came soon after the faith-filled profession Peter had made when he said to Jesus, “You are the Messiah” (Matt. 16:16). Jesus was now teaching his disciples that he had come to suffer, be killed, and rise again. He would offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Hearing that, Peter rebuked Jesus, saying, “Never, Lord! . . . This shall never happen to you!” So Jesus called Peter out and revealed that he had missed the main point of Jesus’ mission. From a human standpoint we can sympathize with Peter. We too would likely be shocked to hear that Jesus had come to suffer and die in order to rise again and give us new, abundant life.

Today, though, we know how important it is to discern truth from lies, listening for God’s Word rather than listening to the lies of false religions and false teachers around us—don’t we? It should be clear to us that it takes effort and perseverance to prepare ourselves to discern properly.

So until Jesus returns to make all things new, we must read the Bible and listen to Jesus, who died because he loved us, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven to make his abundant life available for all who believe in him. Trust the truth, the way, and the life.

Risen and ascended Lord, you are the Messiah, and I confess that my actions and words do not always confirm that. Give me the strength and courage to stand up for you always. Amen.

I Wish I Hadn’t Said That

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I Wish I Hadn’t Said That

Bible clasped hands


Angela Darby – Prayer Center Coach,

I remember watching a funny TV show where the main character was a genius nerd. He was infamous for lending a helping hand with great intentions, but somehow things always ended up in mayhem. After making his big mistakes, he would get this incredulous look on his face and say, “Did I do that?”

That’s how I felt recently when someone gave me and my team at church this compliment after a successful event, “This is skilled and meticulous work they do.”

I interrupted his compliment and said, “That is a high compliment coming from you because you are a perfectionist!

An awkward pause ensued, he gave a half smile and replied, “No. I like to do things with excellence.”

Immediately, I had all types of responses floating around in my head. I wanted to explain what I meant and how highly I esteem him, but alas, I’d already said what I said. Anything I added would not have changed what was said.

Maybe you have had moments where you say or do things with good intentions, but it goes a little off course. It is often a challenge for me to say the right things the right way so it will bless those who hear. My heart is always willing, but my lips might slip a bit.

Paul talks about this in the Bible.

“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (Romans 7:21-25 ESV).

We don’t always get it right, even when our intentions are good. We miss the mark, but there is this awesome thing called Grace! Jesus’s sacrifice in dying on the Cross and my acceptance of His gift of salvation does not make me perfect, but it helps me to grow free of guilt and condemnation.

What I did was not evil, but the slip of my lip bothered me so much. It frustrated me that I missed a moment to really show how much I admire another brother in Christ. This Scripture gives me joy and helps me show compassion to myself knowing that Jesus has delivered me from the power of sin.

What do you struggle with? What do you say you’re going to stop doing, but sometimes find yourself doing it anyway? No worries! God has already made provision to cover you and help you grow. Just receive the redemptive Love and Grace Jesus offers and be patient with your growth in Him!

Streams in the Desert – August 4

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And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me (John 11:41).

This is a very strange and unusual order. Lazarus is still in the grave, and the thanksgiving precedes the miracle of resurrection. I thought that the thanksgiving would have risen when the great deed had been wrought, and Lazarus was restored to life again. But Jesus gives thanks for what He is about to receive. The gratitude breaks forth before the bounty has arrived, in the assurance that it is certainly on the way. The song of victory is sung before the battle has been fought. It is the sower who is singing the song of the harvest home. It is thanksgiving before the miracle!

Who thinks of announcing a victory-psalm when the crusaders are just starting out for the field? Where can we hear the grateful song for the answer which has not yet been received?

And after all, there is nothing strange or forced, or unreasonable in the Master’s order. Praise is really the most vital preparatory ministry to the working of the miracles. Miracles are wrought by spiritual power. Spiritual power is always proportioned to our faith.
–Dr. Jowett


Nothing so pleases God in connection with our prayer as our praise, and nothing so blesses the man who prays as the praise which he offers. I got a great blessing once in China in this connection. I had received bad and sad news from home, and deep shadows had covered my soul. I prayed, but the darkness did not vanish. I summoned myself to endure, but the darkness only deepened. Just then I went to an inland station and saw on the wall of the mission home these words: “Try Thanksgiving.” I did, and in a moment every shadow was gone, not to return. Yes, the Psalmist was right, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.”
–Rev. Henry W. Frost

Today’s Devotions


August 4

2 Chronicles 12:1,5 1After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the LORD…

5Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah who had assembled in Jerusalem for fear of Shishak, and he said to them, “This is what the LORD says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak.'”

Rehoboam began with greed and immediately lost two-thirds of the nation. That did not humble him. He continued in his pride. After strengthening his army and defenses, he abandoned the law of the LORD. As the leader went, so went the nation. They followed his bad example in forsaking God.

An innumerable army, led by the king of Egypt, came against him and captured all the cities he had fortified and armed. One by one they fell. Then the prophet Shemaiah came and told Rehoboam that since they had abandoned God, God had abandoned them. Since they wanted to proceed without God, God allowed them to. What would our life be like without the protection of the hand of God? When a man or family or nation is walking in the fear of the LORD, they are surrounded by a protecting influence. You will never know all the things the LORD spared you from that the enemy planned against your life. That is why the end of the LORD’s prayer says, “Deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13).

When we step outside of a trusting dependent relationship with God, that invisible hand of protection is lifted and the enemy is allowed in to bring us to our senses. It worked for Rehoboam. He along with his leaders humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is just.” Then God could have mercy on them and allowed Jerusalem to remain, though subjugated. All the treasure amassed in the temple was carried away by the enemy. Sin has consequences, and though we are allowed to continue and are restored relationally, there is a great loss because of our rebellion.

Consider: Draw near to God now so that He does not have to use tragedy to draw you back.

Hidden Things

By: Inspiration org.

It seemed an impossible request. King Nebuchadnezzar demanded his advisors provide the correct explanation of a disturbing dream and describe that dream in detail. When his wise men complained, the king became angry and ordered them all killed, including Daniel.

Daniel knew no man could fulfill the king’s request, but he knew God and had faith He could do anything. God revealed every detail of this dream to Daniel in a vision.

After listening to Daniel’s vivid description, Nebuchadnezzar “fell on his face and paid humble respect to Daniel.” Knowing he had experienced a miracle, he proclaimed, “Your God truly is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of secrets” (vs. 46-47).

Daniel, too, knew he had been given insights that were not humanly possible, but he knew God could reveal “profound and hidden things.” He knew God heard his prayers and could answer them in miraculous ways.

We might conclude that such miracles are possible only for select people, but we serve the same God. He is willing to reveal these “profound and hidden things” to us.

What questions do you have? What problems do you face? Are there challenges that seem too difficult? Commit every need to God in humble, sincere prayer. Have the faith to believe He can reveal anything to you. Be bold to ask for revelation and insight. He is still a “revealer of secrets.”

Reflection Question: What circumstances are you facing that seem beyond comprehension?

The God Who Quenches Thirst

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The God Who Quenches Thirst



I enjoy long distance running. There is something exhilarating about the sound of my feet hitting the pavement whether it is the hottest day of summer, the coldest chill in the winter, or the most comfortable temperatures of spring or fall. In addition, the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits that a run provides me are amazing. Whether my running pace is my fastest yet or my slowest in months, I often receive clarity about concerns that I was uncertain about before my run. Some of my sweetest moments with God have occurred during my hardest runs as my body was tired but my mind recalled Bible verses that not only encouraged me to endure my run but also to endure life’s hardships.

One thing that most of my runs have in common, no matter the level of difficulty, is thirst. After exerting energy and sweat, I long for a cold drink of water to quench my thirst. On days with dry air and over 90-degree temperatures, my thirst is even greater, and I seek water immediately after the run concludes.

In Psalm 63:1 the psalmist David said,

God, you are my God; I earnestly seek you. I thirst for you; my body faints for you in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. (CSB)

David acknowledges his relationship with God and then reveals that he seeks God earnestly amid everything that is occurring in his life. He even compares his seeking of the Lord to thirst that can only be quenched by finding God.

Can you remember a time when you were thirsty? After you took a drink, it was likely satisfying and relieving.

If I run and do not properly hydrate with water and other nutrients, I may feel faint until I properly replenish. The psalmist David shared that his body faints for God in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water (Psalm 63:1). David’s longing for God was deep enough to touch both his spirit and body. Like David, we should long for replenishment of our weary spirits and bodies through spending time with God.

I have often gone to worship God in my home or in church feeling weary in my body and have come away with a renewed strength not only to run a physical race as a long-distance runner but to also run my most important race—a spiritual race as a Christian. Hebrews 12:1 says,

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us.

During my time of worship, I am reminded that I must lay aside all things that hinder me from running this Christian race and any sin that threatens to trap me and keep me from doing God’s will within my life. The only way that we can live a life that aims to be free from sin is to keep our focus on God and to receive His strength to turn away from sin. David said in Psalm 63:2,

Today’s Devotions


August 3

2 Chronicles 7:11-12 11When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace, 12the LORD appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.

After Solomon finished praying, fire fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifices. It was a sign that God was involved in all that was done, and it was acceptable as a shadow of the heavenly temple. The glory of the Lord so filled the temple that the priests could not minister. Everyone fell on their faces and worshiped with the words they had sung earlier, “He is good; His love endures forever.” Then Solomon sent the people home, and they were full of joy because of all God had done for David and Solomon and for His people. When we know God is at work in our lives for our good, we can be full of joy. When we see He is involved in lives of our leaders, we can be full of joy for we know they will be leading according to His direction.

Then when all the festivity was over, the LORD appeared to Solomon. He promised that He had heard the prayer of Solomon. He gave Solomon the assurance that his eyes and ears would be open toward prayers directed to that place. Even today the Jews claim this promise, praying at the Western Wall.

God chose that place for Himself as a temple of sacrifice. Almost 1000 years later, on that same mountain, He would present Himself as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He had indeed chosen that place as a temple of sacrifice. Sometimes, when the LORD speaks, He has much more in mind than we can fathom. His words are always filled with a depth that is beyond our comprehension. We do as He leads, and then He does the impossible and fills our meager labor with greater importance than we can imagine. Then He says, “Well done”, as if we had a hand in all the greatness He accomplishes. He is good and His love endures forever!

Consider: Your obedience results in more fruit than you can imagine. Praise God!

Streams in the Desert – August 2

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Launch out into the deep (Luke 5:4).

How deep He does not say. The depth into which we launch will depend upon how perfectly we have given up the shore, and the greatness of our need, and the apprehension of our possibilities. The fish were to be found in the deep, not in the shallow water.

So with us; our needs are to be met in the deep things of God. We are to launch out into the deep of God’s Word, which the Spirit can open up to us in such crystal fathomless meaning that the same words we have accepted in times past will have an ocean meaning in them, which renders their first meaning to us very shallow.

Into the deep of the Atonement, until Christ’s precious blood is so illuminated by the Spirit that it becomes an omnipotent balm, and food and medicine for the soul and body.

Into the deep of the Father’s will, until we apprehend it in its infinite minuteness and goodness, and its far-sweeping provision and care for us.

Into the deep of the Holy Spirit, until He becomes a bright, dazzling, sweet, fathomless summer sea, in which we bathe and bask and breathe, and lose ourselves and our sorrows  in the calmness and peace of His everlasting presence.

Into the deep of the Holy Spirit, until He becomes a bright, marvelous answer to prayer, the most careful and tender guidance, the most thoughtful anticipation of our needs, the most accurate and supernatural shaping of our events.

Into the deep of God’s purposes and coming kingdom, until the Lord’s coming and His millennial reign are opened up to us; and beyond these the bright entrancing ages on ages unfold themselves, until the mental eye is dazed with light, and the heart flutters with inexpressible anticipations of its joy with Jesus and the glory to be revealed.

Into all these things, Jesus bids us launch. He made us and He made the deep, and to its fathomless depths He has fitted our longings and capabilities.
–Soul Food

Its streams the whole creation reach,
So plenteous is the store;
Enough for all, enough for each;
Enough forevermore.

The deep waters of the Holy Spirit are always accessible, because they are always proceeding. Will you not this day claim afresh to be immersed and drenched in these waters of life? The waters in Ezekiel’s vision first of all oozed from under the doors of the temple. Then the man with the measuring line measured and found the waters to the ankles. Still further measurement, and they were waters to the knees. Once again they were measured and the waters were to the loins. Then they became waters to swim in–a river that could not be passed over. (Read Ezekiel 47).

How far have we advanced into this river of life? The Holy Spirit would have a complete self effacement. Not merely ankle-deep, knee-deep, loin-deep, but self-deep. We ourselves hidden out of sight and bathed in this life-giving stream. Let go the shore-lines and launch out into the deep. Never forget, the Man with the measuring line is with us today.

Trust Your Navigation

By: Evan Heerema, author, Today devotions

  PROVERBS 16:25

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

—  Proverbs 16:25

On family road trips we would use a map so that we could know where we were, how far we had gone, and how far we needed to go. Those trips provided opportunities for addition and subtraction problems (especially in trying to figure out signs like one on Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania that read, “Mile Run – 2 miles”).

Today GPS services and electronic maps make those old maps nearly obsolete. The mapping service gives us options for the fastest route and some alternate routes—with and without tolls. Travelers soon learn that there is often more than one way to their destination. And, who knows? The one you choose might just become your favorite way.

The Bible shows that there are right roads and wrong roads when it comes to recognizing and following God’s way. A discerning mind will seek to determine if an opportunity honors God or not. That opportunity might look good at first, but it could end up at a dead end spiritually, emotionally, and even physically.

The Spirit of God equips us with eyes to see and ears to hear what God says is the right way. If there is no confirmation of God’s approval, then it might be better to look for another route.

God of wisdom, fill us with your Spirit so that the direction of our lives will stay on course with your will and way. Bring us home to you, for your glory. Amen.