Monthly Archives: May 2022

At the Feet of Jesus

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At the Feet of Jesus

praying at the altar
Kimberly Poteet – Prayer Center Coach, cbn.com

Have you ever been at the right place, doing the right thing, yet you were still misunderstood?

The Bible records three times that Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, spent at the feet of Jesus. Each time, Jesus welcomed her presence. Yet each time, there was a misunderstanding.

In Luke 10:38-42, when Jesus and His disciples visited Mary’s family in Bethany, Mary’s sister Martha criticized her as she sat at Jesus’ feet instead of helping her prepare the meal.

But Jesus corrected Martha, telling her that while she was busy with many unnecessary things, Mary had chosen the better thing by spending time with Him. And He said that what Mary chose would not be taken away from her.

The second time we see Mary at Jesus’ feet, her brother Lazarus has died. She and Martha had called for Jesus to come heal their brother. But as days passed without Jesus appearing, Lazarus grew more ill and eventually died. It was day four after his death that Jesus finally appeared.

In John 11:32, we read how Mary fell at Jesus feet in grief, saying

“Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Such grief of Mary and others truly touched the heart of Jesus, and he wept — even though He would soon ask for the stone to be rolled from the tomb and call for Lazarus to be raised from the dead (John 11:35, 43-44).

Jesus realized — better than anyone — that this state of death was only temporary. So why did He cry? Maybe it was hurt at the pain that death caused those He loved. Maybe it was having those He loved to wonder why He had delayed coming – perhaps misunderstanding His delay as a lack of care. Such misunderstandings of our motives are hurtful, especially when our intent is only for the good.

Finally, in the first few verses of John 12, we see Mary at the feet of Jesus one more time as Jesus and His disciples arrive for a special dinner. Mary broke open a jar of expensive perfume, pure nard, which was worth a year’s wage for most people. And she anointed Jesus’ feet with the precious ointment, while also pouring out tears of thankfulness and worship.

But once again there was a misunderstanding as the disciple, Judas Iscariot — who would later betray Jesus — commented on the wastefulness of Mary’s act. He said that a better use of the oil would have been selling it and giving the money to the poor. But the Bible shares his true, selfish motive, which was to steal the money for himself (John 12:4-6).

And just as Jesus had previously corrected Martha for criticizing her sister, He, too, corrected Judas. “Leave her alone,” Jesus said in John 12:7“She did this in preparation for my burial.” He also noted how the poor would always be with them, but He would not always be with them. So once again, He recognized how Mary had chosen the better option.

How precious it is to know that Jesus recognized Mary’s true motives and even defended her when others only criticized. And how wonderful that Mary came to better understand Jesus’ purpose as she spent time at His feet.

The Reality of God’s Love

No matter what our circumstances might suggest, God still loves us and will never stop.

May 31, 2022

2 Corinthians 11:23-27

Have you ever wondered why a God of love lets bad things happen to you? Or whether your past keeps Him from loving you? But just because you may feel unloved doesn’t mean that you actually are. The apostle Paul could probably relate. In today’s reading we see that he encountered hardship after hardship while following God. And his past was so checkered with sin (Acts 8:1-3Acts 9:1-2) that he could have assumed he had good reason to feel unloved.

Yet Paul kept spreading his message of hope—that God loves us and sent His Son to die for our sins. The situation we find ourselves in may be unfair, painful, or humiliating, but it doesn’t mean God has stopped loving us. Sometimes we face difficulty because He is smoothing our rough edges and molding us into His image. Other trials are instigated by Satan but are allowed through the Lord’s permissive will.

Either way, God is working everything out for our good, according to His specific purposes for each believer’s life (Romans 8:28). The key to accepting the truth of God’s unconditional love is to focus attention on Him rather than on your circumstances. When you are learning of Him, talking with Him, and sharing your life with Him, trust and faith will replace doubt and fear.

Streams in the Desert – May 31

  • 202231 May

You will come to your grave in a full age, As stacks of grain are harvested in their season. (Job 5:26)

A gentleman, writing about the breaking up of old ships, recently said that it is not the age alone which improves the quality of the fiber in the wood of an old vessel, but the straining and wrenching of the vessel by the sea, the chemical action of the bilge water, and of many kinds of cargoes.

Some planks and veneers made from an oak beam which had been part of a ship eighty years old were exhibited a few years ago at a fashionable furniture store on Broadway, New York, and attracted general notice for the exquisite coloring and beautiful grain.

Equally striking were some beams of mahogany taken from a bark which sailed the seas sixty years ago. The years and the traffic had contracted the pores and deepened the color, until it looked as superb in its chromatic intensity as an antique Chinese vase. It was made into a cabinet, and has today a place of honor in the drawing-room of a wealthy New York family.

So there is a vast difference between the quality of old people who have lived flabby, self-indulgent, useless lives, and the fiber of those who have sailed all seas and carried all cargoes as the servants of God and the helpers of their fellow men.

Not only the wrenching and straining of life, but also something of the sweetness of the cargoes carried get into the very pores and fiber of character.
—Louis Albert Banks

When the sun goes below the horizon he is not set; the heavens glow for a full hour after his departure. And when a great and good man sets, the sky of this world is luminous long after he is out of sight. Such a man cannot die out of this world. When he goes he leaves behind him much of himself. Being dead, he speaks.
—Beecher

When Victor Hugo was past eighty years of age he gave expression to his religious faith in these sublime sentences: “I feel in myself the future life. I am like a forest which has been more than once cut down. The new shoots are livelier than ever. I am rising toward the sky. The sunshine is on my head. The earth gives me its generous sap, but Heaven lights me with its unknown worlds.

“You say the soul is nothing but the resultant of the bodily powers. Why, then, is my soul more luminous when my bodily powers begin to fail? Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart. I breathe at this hour the fragrance of the lilacs, the violets, and the roses as at twenty years. The nearer I approach the end the plainer I hear around me the immortal symphonies of the worlds which invite me. It is marvelous, yet simple.”

Praising Jesus

From: Inspiration.org

g, ‘Praise God for the Son of David!’ […] Jesus replied, ‘Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, “You have taught children and infants to give you praise.”‘” – Matthew 21:9, 16 NLT

An unknown German writer declared that we should praise Him constantly. He expressed this conviction in a hymn known in English as “When Morning Gilds the Sky.”

In the title, the translator used a word that means to overlay with a thin covering of gold. The picture is a colorful sunrise. It is a reminder that we should start each day praising Jesus.

We should praise Him morning and evening. We should praise Him at home or work. We can speak or sing His praises. With “the hosts of angels cry,” we can praise Him with instruments. We praise Him in fellowship with other believers or by ourselves. We praise Him when we are old and young.

If we are sad, we find solace in praising Him. As the anonymous writer knew, we praise Him when we face opposition, knowing that “the powers of darkness fear” when we praise Him. When we think about His blessings, we should never tire of praising Him.

The throngs praised Jesus when He approached Jerusalem for the last time on earth. But while we live, we have the opportunity to praise Him anytime. We never should stop. Every stanza of this hymn ends with the phrase, “May Jesus Christ be praised.”

As we praise Him, we are joining the heavenly choir, remembering that we will spend eternity praising Him. Today, spend time praising Jesus. He is worthy!

 

Reflection Question: Write your own hymn of praise for the day’s sunrise and sunset.

Radically Changed Through Salvation

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Radically Changed

from death to life

 

Maria Stockman – Digital Copywriter cbn.com

Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43).

I was in my early 20s when Jesus transformed my life. As a sinner, separated from God, I lived as if I was the god of my life. Yet, I’m sure it looked like I lived well from an outsider’s perspective! I wasn’t committing any crimes; I had my family and friends, a great job, and was on track with what every 20-something was supposed to do.

After experiencing a time of loss and turmoil in my family, I remember sitting with my sister in her room and feeling an overwhelming need to pray. I knew who God was, but He was more of a magic genie rather than the Lord of my life. I felt like God was someone you pray to when you want something or to Whom you make empty promises. Nonetheless, I asked God if He would take over. I felt the weight of trying to do things on my own for so long, and I knew I couldn’t keep doing it on my own.

I quickly got involved with a local church, started serving, reading the Bible, and really the outside began to reflect the changes that God had made within. I can only imagine what it looked like to my friends and family to see such a change from the old me!

The transformation of a new believer is very much like what I imagine Martha and Mary must have felt after their brother Lazarus died. He had been in the grave for four days when Jesus came and “shouted, Lazarus, come out!”

We have expectations of what people should be or even what we should be, but when you encounter Jesus, and He radically changes you, it’s as if you were dead like Lazarus and are now alive, walking out of the grave and into a new life!

 

Streams in the Desert – May 30

By: L.B. Cowman

And they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one was able to learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth. (Rev 14:3)

There are songs which can only be learned in the valley. No art can teach them; no rules of voice can make them perfectly sung. Their music is in the heart. They are songs of memory, of personal experience. They bring out their burden from the shadow of the past; they mount on the wings of yesterday.

St. John says that even in Heaven there will be a song that can only be fully sung by the sons of earth—the strain of redemption. Doubtless it is a song of triumph, a hymn of victory to the Christ who made us free. But the sense of triumph must come from the memory of the chain.

No angel, no archangel can sing it so sweetly as I can. To sing it as I sing it, they must pass through my exile, and this they cannot do. None can learn it but the children of the Cross.

And so, my soul, thou art receiving a music lesson from thy Father. Thou art being educated for the choir invisible. There are parts of the symphony that none can take but thee.

There are chords too minor for the angels. There may be heights in the symphony which are beyond the scale—heights which angels alone can reach; but there are depths which belong to thee, and can only be touched by thee.

Thy Father is training thee for the part the angels cannot sing; and the school is sorrow. I have heard many say that He sends sorrow to prove thee; nay, He sends sorrow to educate thee, to train thee for the choir invisible.

In the night He is preparing thy song. In the valley He is tuning thy voice. In the cloud He is deepening thy chords. In the rain He is sweetening thy melody. In the cold He is moulding thy expression. In the transition from hope to fear He is perfecting thy lights.

Despise not thy school of sorrow, O my soul; it will give thee a unique part in the universal song.
—George Matheson

 

How to Handle Praise, May 30

By: Intouch Ministries

Proverbs 27:21

How do you respond when someone compliments you? Some people absolutely love receiving praise because it lifts their spirits and makes them feel valuable. Others are uncomfortable with it. They look down at their feet or offer reasons why they really don’t deserve such praise.

For Christians, there’s another dilemma. We’re called to be humble, so what are we to do when others say good things about us? Because pride is always waiting to raise its ugly head, we need to be careful not to let praise puff us up. Some believers think that accepting a compliment is a sign of pride, so they make a big show of giving all the glory to God. That’s fine, if it’s really what’s in their hearts, but too often it becomes a rote “Christian” response that’s geared to impressing others.

My advice is simply to say, “Thank you very much.” Then whisper a prayer in your heart to the Lord, thanking Him for the blessing, recognizing that anything worthy of praise ultimately comes from Him. If you felt encouraged, let the person know how the comment blessed you. If you receive praise for an achievement that was really a group effort, be sure to redirect the compliment to all those who were involved. A blessing is always more enjoyable when it’s shared.

Our character is tested by the praise that comes to us. Every compliment that bounces into our ears should quickly rebound up to the Father. If we hold onto it, the poison of pride will begin to infect our hearts. But if we pass the praise to God, humility takes up residence in our souls.

A Day to Remember

From: Today Devotions

“Since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus.” – Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB

On May 30, 1868, Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army proclaimed that a day be set aside to honor those who died “in defense of their country” during the American Civil War. This memorial day was first known as Decoration Day, a time to remember those who had died in that conflict on both sides.

This national call for remembrance was preceded by the Southern states electing to honor their own dead from the Civil War. Gradually this celebration become accepted as a national day to remember all Americans who died in all wars. (We now celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday in May following an act of Congress in 1971.)

We pause to remember on days like this because it is easy to take the blessings of life for granted and forget how much we owe to others. We also commemorate the many freedoms and conveniences we enjoy and often take for granted.

Hebrews reminds us about the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us: martyrs who defended the faith, people who prayed, preached, sacrificed, and refused to compromise, including people who have shared their testimony. We need to be grateful for their lives.

Think about all the people who have been influential in your spiritual life. Be thankful for their impact. And remember to be an example, so others might come to know Jesus through your life.

An Old-Time God

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An On-Time God

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Diane Stevenson – Prayer Center Chaplain/Recruiting Manager, cbn.com

I remember being in church singing the words to Dottie Peoples’ Gospel song, “He’s an On-Time God” as I played my tambourine. In my life, God comes right on time and rescues me. If you are like me, you have found yourself in a position where only God could rescue you.

In John 11:1-29, there was a situation that only Jesus the Messiah could fix. The two sisters were worried and sad because their brother was deathly ill. The brother of Mary and Martha needed a miracle from Jesus. The sisters sent for Jesus to come right away and heal their brother so that he would not die. When Jesus got the message, He waited four days before heading their way. I am sure everyone thought Jesus missed His opportunity to show His healing power and compassion. Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, yet He knew His assignment.

There was a specific time I remember crying out to God in prayer, asking Him to make a way out of my situation. I had bills to pay and not enough money to pay them. My electricity was going to be turned off by the end of the week. I tried to figure out what I could do to keep it on; I had used up my extensions and grace period. I could not think of what to do except pray for God’s intervention. All I knew to do was trust God and listen to His instructions.

I love the words Martha said to Jesus when He finally arrived. It reads,

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask” (John 11:21-22).

It was the “But I know” that I had to grab ahold of in my greatest time of need. Although she was upset that He did not come sooner, she composed herself and remembered who He was and what He could do. I knew that Jesus was not limited in His power, compassion, or resources for me. So, like Martha, I had to trust He knew what was best and not lean on my own understanding as it says in Proverbs 3:5-6.

After the conversation, Jesus sent Martha to get Mary and come to Him. And like Martha, I listened and obeyed His instructions when He told me to contact a family member from whom I usually wouldn‘t ask for money. Because of my faith that God can meet my needs, I could pay my electricity bill and rest easy.

Jesus loves us and wants the best for us. John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept.” Although He has the power to perform miracles, He empathizes with what we are going through. He loves us with an everlasting love.

In John 11:43, Jesus called for Lazarus to come out of the grave, and he was made alive. We must remember to have faith and believe in God. With every situation you may be going through that seems hopeless and even dead, just know that He is an on-time God.

Same Terms – Streams in the Desert – May 29

  • 202229 May

I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father. (John 15:15)

Years ago there was an old German professor whose beautiful life was a marvel to his students. Some of them resolved to know the secret of it; so one of their number hid in the study where the old professor spent his evenings.

It was late when the teacher came in. He was very tired, but he sat down and spent an hour with his Bible. Then he bowed his head in secret prayer; and finally closing the Book of books, he said,

“Well, Lord Jesus, we’re on the same old terms.”

To know Him is life’s highest attainment; and at all costs, every Christian should strive to be “on the same old terms with Him.”

The reality of Jesus comes as a result of secret prayer, and a personal study of the Bible that is devotional and sympathetic. Christ becomes more real to the one who persists in the cultivation of His presence.

Speak thou to Him for He heareth,
And spirit with spirit will meet!
Nearer is He than breathing,
Nearer than hands and feet.

—Maltbie D.

Sunday Reflection: Wonderfully Made

God designed you unlike anyone else, and your role in His kingdom is just as unique.

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

Have you ever considered that fingerprints are an amazing example of how much God cares for us? Each of us is born with a certain arrangement of arches, loops, and whorls on our hands, and they don’t change as we grow or age. They are also exclusive. Think about that for a moment: Out of roughly eight billion people on earth, no two of us have the same fingerprint.

We’ve each been uniquely created by God. What’s more, He has a singular plan for every life (Jeremiah 1:5Proverbs 16:3-4Proverbs 16:9). There is no such thing as a non-valuable person in God’s eyes—He loves every single one of us equally and is personally involved in seeing His plans for our lives come to fulfillment. In fact, it brings Him joy to do so! So instead of comparing yourself to others or feeling inconsequential, look at the intricacy of your fingertips and remember: You are one of a kind and well-loved by the Creator God who brought you into being.

Think about it

• Have you recently spent time considering what God has planned for your life? Sit down with Him in prayer and ask for guidance and clarification to get on the right track.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

May 29

2 Samuel 6:14-16 (KJV) 14And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. 15So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. 16And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.

Once David saw that the home in which he left the ark was blessed, He decided to go ahead and bring it to the tabernacle in Jerusalem. This time, he had it carried correctly by the priests. As it was arriving in Jerusalem, he was so overjoyed that he leaped and danced in only an ephod. An ephod was a worshiper’s vest that was highly decorated. It may have come down to the waist or have covered the hips. Either way, his leaping and dancing about must have exposed him. Michael, Saul’s daughter, saw her husband and dancing before the LORD with the women of Jerusalem looking on and became very jealous. She put a damper on David’s joy by rebuking him when he came to bless her. She despised him and became barren.

There is a great variety of worship styles in the church today. Some would get almost as wild as David. The conservatives despise them because of it. If it is to the LORD, and only God can judge that, the conservative camp had better be careful that they do not end up barren like Michael. If they are worshiping the LORD with all their heart and focused upon Him, they are pleasing the heart of God. You don’t have to be expressive to worship with all your heart, but sincere and deep emotion is often expressive.

“Who are we to judge another man’s servant,” the Apostle Paul wrote (Romans 14:4). The worshiper is God’s servant, and whatever style he worships in, God will be the judge as to whether it is appropriate. Mankind judges according to appearance, but God judges the heart. However you worship, let’s catch the excitement that David had for the presence of God within us. Never be complacent about that.

Chose Life

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Choose Life

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Mark Dijkens – Regional Director CBN Europe, cbn.com

Much depends on the choices we make. Every day is a new day where we can make decisions that influence our lives, either positively or negatively.

Every day we make many choices. For example, what to wear in the morning, our priorities for the day, and choosing how we respond to things around us.

We choose how to respond to one another, and much depends on it. We can all remember choices we made, poor choices or great choices. The principle is that we have a choice in most things and the freedom to make decisions that impact our lives and those around us.

One of the big red lines through the Bible is about choices. In many places, God puts the question in front of us; what do we choose? Do we choose life or the opposite?

When we choose life, God also promises us His blessings.

I have recently read about Abraham’s journey and how he started on this amazing God adventure. In Genesis 12, God calls Abraham to

“Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:1-3).

What do you do when God calls you to make the biggest decision in your life? What do you do when your mind throws up obstacles about how, where, and why? Abraham had a choice to make. He chose to trust God and follow His direction.

I read through the chapters about Lot and the difference between Abraham and Lot in decision making. When there was a fight between the herdsman of Lot and Abraham, they decided to separate as the land where they lived was not large enough to accommodate both families. In his generosity and being a gentleman, Abraham offered Lot the first choice.

Lot looked at the land long and hard and chose what he thought was the best land he could identify, which looked like the ‘Garden of the Lord’ as the Bible says (Genesis 13:10). It must have been an oasis, with enough grazing for his herds and plenty of water and other resources. So he decided to settle in Sodom. He might not have known at the time that the people there were very wicked.

Sometimes our decision-making capacity becomes clouded by outside influences when we do not hear God’s voice clearly anymore. This was the case for Lot.

Later in the story, we see how Abraham rescues Lot from a vile and wicked place. I thought about this. How, in his right mind, could Lot have settled in the center of this wicked city? I think it started with the first decision to settle in a land that seemed beautiful on the surface but was a wicked place. Then he did not adjust his thinking but went along with his first choice. More choices must have followed, and his judgment became clouded, causing him to end up in a real pickle.

God is merciful, and He sent a rescue team. Then, God Himself and two angels visited the city, and the angels got Lot and his family out. But unfortunately, Lot’s wife made a poor choice to disobey God’s instruction and turned into a salt pillar. So much we can learn from this story if only we spent more time.

I would like to briefly share about choices impacting not only our lives but also those around us and generations after us. Abraham chose to obey God and trust Him, and He received the blessings. Because of Abraham’s obedience, the Saviour of all mankind came from his lineage, as we read in Matthew 1. God promised Abraham to make him a father of nations, and it is because of his faithfulness and obedience to God that you and I are now part of God’s eternal family.

Lot made poor decisions that reflected how his daughters acted, like getting him drunk to lie with him to preserve their family line. The older daughter gave birth to a son and named him Moab. He became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Moabites. The younger daughter gave birth to a son named Benammi, who became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Ammonites. The Moabites and the Ammonites were enemies of Israel, causing much trouble down the line. All results of disobedience to God and His ways: making poor decisions that impact generations to come.

When Jesus was tempted in the desert, He chose to obey His Father alone. He declared God’s Word and His commandments and did not cave into temptation.

“Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart’” (John 7:38).

Father, help us to make our decisions rooted in who we are in Jesus. Help us to choose the path of life each day and follow hard after You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Characteristics of faith

By: Charles Spurgeon

“Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” John 4:48

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 12:38-42

Trust in the Lord; wait patiently for him; cast all thy confidence where he put all thy sins, namely, upon Christ Jesus alone, and thou shalt be saved, with or without any of these signs and wonders. I am afraid some Christians in London have fallen into the same error of wanting to see signs and wonders. They have been meeting together in special prayer-meetings to seek for a revival; and because people have not dropped down in a fainting fit, and have not screamed and made a noise, perhaps they have thought the revival has not come. Oh that we had eyes to see God’s gifts in the way God chooses to give them! Where the Spirit works in the soul, we are always glad to see true conversion, and if he chooses to work in the church in London, we shall be glad to see it. If men’s hearts are renewed, what matter it though they do not scream out. If their consciences are quickened, what matters it though they do not fall into a fit; if they do but find Christ, who is to regret that they do not lie for five or six weeks motionless and senseless. Take it without the signs and wonders. For my part I have no craving for them. Let me see God’s work done in God’s own way—a true and thorough revival, but the signs and wonders we can readily dispense with, for they are certainly not demanded by the faithful, and they will only be the laughing-stock of the faithless.

For meditation: A demand for signs and wonders regularly meets with the same response in the New Testament—Matthew 12:38-4016:1-4John 2:18-221 Corinthians 1:22-24.

Forgiveness of Sins

  PSALM 103:1-5

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. . . .

—  Psalm 103:2-3

We don’t always like to bring up the topic of sin. But in our life of faith it’s necessary to face up to our desperate predicament. Sadly, none of us acts the way we should toward God, others, ourselves, and God’s creation. We persistently choose to disregard our maker, contend with others, deceive and harm ourselves, and mistreat creation. Our sin not only leads to trouble and misery but also shows that we rightfully deserve punishment.

So with great relief and joy we confess, with the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in . . . the forgiveness of sins.” The heart of the creed’s teaching emphasizes our need for the Savior, Jesus Christ. Through his atoning sacrifice, Jesus washed away our sin. Even though we still continue to struggle with sin, Jesus assures us that God will not judge us as we deserve because we have been forgiven.

The forgiveness of sins stands at the core of following Jesus. Because we have been for­given, we can, through the power and help of the Holy Spirit, strive each day to faithfully serve Jesus.

As he gave himself for us, out of thanksgiving we can live for him.

Life’s Passing Storms

No storm in life will last forever, and when it passes, we can thank the Lord for His rescue and constant watchfulness.

Psalm 107:23-32

Everyone experiences storms in life—occasions that bring pain, suffering, or loss. And it’s in these turbulent times that all sorts of questions come to mind: Where is God? Why has this happened? Was it something I did? Did God cause it, and if so, why? When we find ourselves in tumultuous situations, the safest place to go for answers is God’s Word.

The literal storm described in today’s passage provides insight about the Lord’s role in the various upheavals that come our way. According to verse 25, God was responsible for this storm because He was the one who raised the winds and waves that frightened the sailors.

Turbulent times encourage us to do what those sailors did—in their misery and helplessness, they cried out for God’s help. He then rescued them from their distress by calming the storm and guiding them to a safe haven. In response, they thanked the Lord for His lovingkindness and wondrous deliverance and praised Him publicly.

No storm lasts forever, and there’s nothing like the sense of relief that comes once violent weather is past. Let’s remember to respond like those grateful sailors when the time comes, and until then to endure with our eyes on the Lord.

I Am Weak and God Knows

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For when I am weak then I am strong." 1 Corinthians 12:10 (Scripture doodle of encouragement) in 2021 | Scripture doodle, Bible inspiration, Scripture14 Bible Verses about Weakness - DailyVerses.net
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I Am Weak and God Knows

 

How God Displays His Power in Our Weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) - Your  Daily Bible Verse - October 28 - Daily Devotional
Ana Paola Romero – Office Manager, CBN Mexico

A few weeks ago, I talked with a friend about the Women’s Day demonstrations in Mexico. Without a doubt, they are a series of controversial and often very violent events in my country. Unfortunately, it becomes more of a show of forces instead of a request for recognition of rights, which should be noted, that God granted many centuries ago.

The world has made us believe that being weak is bad, and even more so, being a woman and being weak can seem worse. That is why, lately, we have seen so many social movements that want to “empower” women, losing sight of God´s original plan that is different, in a good way. In the eyes of God, women are just as valuable, created with a special purpose because that is His plan. Galatians 3:28 says,

“…There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

So, thinking that I am weaker (physically) is not something that affects me; instead, I try every day to remember that God has endowed me with the ability to say no to what is wrong and say yes to what is right. Therefore, I live my life consciously for His glory.  Satan is the master of manipulation, and he knows that if he succeeds in diverting my thoughts, in time, he will succeed in diverting my life. So, with determination, I submit my mind to that of Christ so that all my thoughts have His touch. I often do an exercise of sincerity before God and ask him to examine me and show me what I must do and I would like to share it with you.

Put the Word of God into practice. In the long run, your entire life will be strengthened in God and you will not depend on your own strength. Everything we have and everything we are comes from Him, so let us take hold of Him who created the heavens and the earth, to fulfill with determination everything He has commanded us.

For me, I realize that everything I live for is God, by God, and for God. He created me, and I surround myself with more people with the same mission: to spread the Glory of God on this earth and that is why I serve so gratefully at CBN. From a telephone, we can do missions, we can also be the hands of God with every help that we deliver, and we are the voice of God in every word of encouragement that our partners share. What a privilege to be considered for the perfect work of God and yet be weak.

I gladly accept that I am weak, that I am not in control of anything, and I pray God would allow me to see Him work. So, let us strengthen ourselves in the great power of God, because the Lord will accompany us wherever we go. In his Word, Jesus promises:

“All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture” (John 10:8-9).

His power is evident in my weakness, so anyone of us can gladly say now: I am weak, and God knows it!

Today’s Devotions

Morning

May 27

1 Samuel 30:22-24 22But all the evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers said, “Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered. However, each man may take his wife and children and go.” 23David replied, “No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the LORD has given us. He has protected us and handed over to us the forces that came against us. 24Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.”

David and his men returned from a predicament of marching with the Philistines against Judah. The commanders of the Philistines feared David would turn on them so they sent them back before the battle began. Delivered from that situation, they came home to find their city burned and their families taken captive. David didn’t act without consulting the LORD. The LORD sent him against the Amalekites that had burned their city. It is interesting that Saul lost the kingdom over sparing the Amalekite king, while David is about to come into power after a battle with them.

They had marched so long that one-third of David’s men could not go on. Two-thirds marched on and fought for 24 straight hours, recapturing everything and taking a huge amount of spoil. On returning to the others, some did not want to share the spoils of war. David had the right perspective. He insisted the victory was from God and so all had a right to the spoils. Those who stayed behind and took care of their home are as deserving as those who went into battle.

Some people think that missionaries and pastors will have all the heavenly rewards. They would not be where they are without the prayer and financial support of those who stay behind. The spoils will be shared by all. Even the angels in heaven rejoice over every soul that comes into the Kingdom.

Consider: We are in this together regardless of our part. Am I doing my part?

The Affliction of Paul

From: InTouch Ministries

People’s problems may be different, but God’s response is the same: His strength is enough.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

It’s easy to assume that problems in biblical days were nothing like ours. So, what can a first-century missionary possibly teach us about the adversity we face in the year 2022?

Though Paul’s culture was quite different from ours, some things were the same—like temptation, hardship, and sin. Satan was a threat then as he is today. Therefore, when the apostle wrote of being burdened beyond his strength, he had experience to back up his words.

Though Paul may have “despaired even of life” (2 Cor. 1:8), he believed God would sustain him during difficult seasons. As Jesus taught, divine strength can overcome worldly tribulations (John 16:33). That isn’t to say believers can avoid all sorrow and pain, but we know the Lord will meet our needs in every heartache and trial (Philippians 4:19). Our faith grows stronger when we trust Him in times of affliction.

God’s strength is available to all believers who confess their weakness and inadequacy. Sometimes a troubled soul has only enough stamina left to admit, “Father, I absolutely cannot. If You don’t, it is simply not going to happen.” And that’s okay because in this mindset, we surrender ourselves to God. And as we wait, we’re in a good position to watch Him keep His promise.

The Communion of Saints

From: Today Devotions

  ROMAN 12:3-21

In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

—  Romans 12:5

Many years ago I heard someone say, “I believe in the communication of the saints.” While good communication is essential in all kinds of relationships, our connectedness in Christ goes beyond communicating well with each another.

When we say, with the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in . . . the communion of saints,” we are saying that through Jesus’ blood we not only belong to him but also to each other. Our blood relationship in Jesus transcends even the real blood we share with our own family members.

And our communion with each other is more than just a statement of fact. Paul goes on to explain that belonging to one another has a crucial function. Each of us has been given gifts by the Holy Spirit. Though our gifts vary, the purpose for them is the same: to build one another up in service to the Lord and for the benefit of all. Using our gifts leads to all kinds of ways in which we can show God’s love to one another and to all the people around us.

The gifts we have may include preaching (prophesying—bringing God’s Word to people), teaching, leading, serving, giving, or a number of other abilities. Jesus wants us to use these gifts with thanksgiving and love to strengthen his body so that all can join in the communion of saints.

Lord Jesus, just as we belong to you, we belong to each other. Help us to use our gifts faithfully to build up your body and share your love with everyone. Amen.

 

Carry Out His Plans

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Carry Out His Plans

Quotes about God's Plan (148 quotes)

Jesus rose so we could live the life He has planned for us. Jeremiah 29:11 says,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

His plan is for us to reach out to the world, and we see in Mark 16:15 that Jesus commands this of us by saying,

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

What are you called to do for Christ? What are you called to do for the kingdom? Whatever it is, you need to rise up and do it. I’m speaking to myself when I say no more slumber and sleeping. Proverbs 6:4 tells us,

“Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do” (NLT).

If you don’t know what you are called to do, speak with your Pastor and ask if they could help you.

David had the vision of the temple, but Solomon rose up to build the temple. In 1 Chronicles 28:6-10 and 20, Soloman was given a task. He did everything to make his father, King David, and his Heavenly Father proud. Once we are given our mission, we should do it with excellence. I plan to open a faith-based salon and spa next year. I chose this year to design this vision so I can rise up. To rise up, I must die to self and crucify my flesh; this is my dream and God’s gift of ministry to the women of His body and a sacrifice of money and time. But in the end, God will get the victory. When we pray about this, we should pray David’s prayer…

David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name” (1 Chronicles 29:10-13).

In the end, 1 Chronicles 29:25 says,

The Lord highly exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel and bestowed on him royal splendor such as no king over Israel ever had before.

As you rise up to do what He has called you to do, He will bless you.

The two effects of the gospel

By: Charles Spurgeon

“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish; To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?” 2 Corinthians 2:15,16

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 13:42-52

The Gospel produces different effects. It must seem a strange thing, but it is strangely true, that there is scarcely ever a good thing in the world of which some little evil is not the consequence. Let the sun shine in brilliance—it shall moisten the wax, it shall harden clay; let it pour down floods of light on the tropics—it will cause vegetation to be extremely luxuriant, the richest and choicest fruits shall ripen, and the fairest of all flowers shall bloom, but who does not know, that there the worst of reptiles and the most venomous snakes are also brought forth? So it is with the gospel. Although it is the very sun of righteousness to the world, although it is God’s best gift, although nothing can be in the least comparable to the vast amount of benefit which it bestows upon the human race, yet even of that we must confess, that sometimes it is the “savour of death unto death.” But we are not to blame the gospel for this; it is not the fault of God’s truth; it is the fault of those who do not receive it. It is the “ savour of life unto life” to every one that listens to its sound with a heart that is open to its reception. It is only “death unto death” to the man who hates the truth, despises it, scoffs at it, and tries to oppose its progress.

For meditation: There is hope for one in whom the law of God produces a sense of death (Romans 7:10); it is a fearful thing when the life-giving Gospel is rejected and hardens the dead sinner.

The River of Blessing beneath the Desert – Streams in the Desert – May 26

  • 202226 May

Then Israel sang this song: “Spring up, O well, sing to it! (Num 21:17)

This was a strange song and a strange well. They had been traveling over the desert’s barren sands, no water was in sight and they were famishing with thirst. Then God spake to Moses and said:

“Gather the people together, and I will give them water,” and this is how it came.

They gathered in circles on the sands. They took their staves and dug deep down into the burning earth and as they dug, they sang,

“Spring up, O well, sing ye unto it,” and lo, there came a gurgling sound, a rush of water and a flowing stream which filled the well and ran along the ground.

When they dug this well in the desert, they touched the stream that was running beneath, and reached the flowing tides that had long been out of sight.

How beautiful the picture given, telling us of the river of blessing that flows all through our lives, and we have only to reach by faith and praise to find our wants supplied in the most barren desert.

How did they reach the waters of this well? It was by praise. They sang upon the sand their song of faith, while with their staff of promise they dug the well.

Our praise will still open fountains in the desert, when murmuring will only bring us judgment, and even prayer may fail to reach the fountains of blessing.

There is nothing that pleases the Lord so much as praise. There is no test of faith so true as the grace of thanksgiving. Are you praising God enough? Are you thanking Him for your actual blessings that are more than can be numbered, and are you daring to praise Him even for those trials which are but blessings in disguise? Have you learned to praise Him in advance for the things that have not yet come?
—Selected

Miracles Happen When We Least Expect Them

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Miracles Happen When We Least Expect Them

miracles happen

 

Whitney Ballard – Social Media Marketing Producer

We see them every day. On television, online, in books, and sometimes, in our very own lives. The question is—what do we do with these miracles that we see, or read about, or most importantly, experience ourselves?

God has performed countless miracles in my life. Looking back, my first human instinct is to ask “how” and “why”? I tried to find reason within the miracles of my life. Instead, God met me in my darkest moments.

I was a teen, finding out I would soon become a mother. Alone. I was sure my life was over. But God!

There was no luck about it. God carried me emotionally and spiritually, and He provided financially. During the most trying days of my life, God filled in the gaps and performed an absolute miracle in my life! I founded a relationship with God during this time … which is a miracle in itself.

You see, God performs miracles out of our realm of understanding. They don’t always make sense to the human eye. They don’t always follow the trends or statistics.

He is the one you praise; He is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.” Deuteronomy 10:21

Your eyes are not deceiving you. God creates miracles from scratch, with no need for reason and logic. He is capable of all things!

When I begin to doubt the miracles in my life, big or small, I think back to the story of the blind man that Jesus healed. Jesus used mud to cover this man’s eyes and then told him to wash his eyes at the river. Once the man washed his eyes, he could see!

In John 9:3, Jesus assured us that this man was not blind because of sin, as many of his peers had suspected:

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

This reminds us that God does not put us through trials out of punishment but because He is using us so that others may see Him through us.

In John 9, the Pharisees question HOW this man could now SEE. It didn’t make sense to them! It couldn’t be!

Oh, how often I have acted like the Pharisees when something just didn’t make sense to me, questioning just how God orchestrated everything out for my good.

But God reminds us In Mark 9:23, “All things are possible to him who believes.”

ALL things are possible, not just the things that can be explained, understood, or broken down. God said, ALL things. Let’s believe him. If he can heal a blind man, what can He do for us?

Today’s Devotions

Morning

May 25

1 Samuel 26:10, 24 10As surely as the LORD lives,” he said, “the LORD himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.

24As surely as I valued your life today, so may the LORD value my life and deliver me from all trouble.”

David learned from his experience with the wicked Nabal, that the LORD is more than capable of dispensing justice. He learned from his past experience and applied it to his present circumstance. That is something we all need to do. In verse 10 David’s friend wanted to kill the sleeping Saul. This is the second time God had delivered Saul into David’s hands, but he left vengeance to God. He will let the LORD take care of him.

David knew that when he became king others would treat him the way he treated the king. He believed in the law of sowing and reaping. If he is faithful to obey the LORD in not harming Saul, God would preserve his life. We see that in the New Testament lesson of the measuring cup. The same measure you use toward your brother will be used toward you (Mark 4:24). If you use a spoon of grace toward others, you will receive a spoon back from them and from God. David looked for the biggest measure of grace and mercy he could find, for he wanted that from others and from God. He certainly would need it in the future, and he did receive it. To think you won’t need it is foolish. Be gracious toward those who have wronged you, and the LORD will be gracious to you.

Prayer: Lord, help me to trust You to deal with those who do me wrong.

Streams in the Desert – May 25

The Power of Silence

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).

Is there any note of music in all the chorus as mighty as the emphatic pause? Is there any word in all the Psalter more eloquent than that one word, Selah (Pause)? Is there anything more thrilling and awful than the hush that comes before the bursting of the tempest and the strange quiet that seems to fall upon all nature before some preternatural phenomenon or convulsion? Is there anything that can touch our hearts as the power of stillness?

 

There is for the heart that will cease from itself, “the peace of God that passeth all understanding,” a “quietness and confidence” which is the source of all strength, a sweet peace “which nothing can offend,” a deep rest which the world can neither give nor take away. There is in the deepest center of the soul a chamber of peace where God dwells, and where, if we will only enter in and hush every other sound, we can hear His still, small voice.

 

There is in the swiftest wheel that revolves upon its axis a place in the very center, where there is no movement at all; and so in the busiest life there may be a place where we dwell alone with God, in eternal stillness, There is only one way to know God. “Be still, and know.” “God is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” –Selected

 

“All-loving Father, sometimes we have walked under starless skies that dripped darkness like drenching rain. We despaired of starshine or moonlight or sunrise. The sullen blackness gloomed above us as if it would last forever. And out of the dark there spoke no soothing voice to mend our broken hearts. We would gladly have welcomed some wild thunder peal to break the torturing stillness of that over-brooding night.

 

“But Thy winsome whisper of eternal love spoke more sweetly to our bruised and bleeding souls than any winds that breathe across Aeolian harps. It was Thy ‘still small voice’ that spoke to us. We were listening and we heard. We looked and saw Thy face radiant with the light of love. And when we heard Thy voice and saw Thy face, new life came back to us as life comes back to withered blooms that drink the summer rain.”

 

The Truth Will Set You Free

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The Truth Shall Make You Free

prayer circle of people holding hands

 

Lina Johnson – Prayer Center Coach, cbn.com

Have you ever heard of the sinner’s prayer? It’s not found in Scripture, but it’s an introductory prayer that many use to lead someone to Christ. Typically, the prayer may look like this:

Lord Jesus, I ask you to come into my life. I want to turn from living my life under my control. Come now and live in me. Cleanse me from my sins. I receive you as my Lord and Savior. I will live for you and serve you all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

I have led people in such prayer and will continue to do so. However, that prayer is not the end of the matter, but rather the beginning!

Jesus never told us to go and make converts. Instead, he commanded us to make disciples:

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matthew 28:18-20).

So, what’s the difference between converts and disciples? John 8:31-32 tells us how to be a disciple:

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

As we share the good news of Jesus, let us remember that while the moment of salvation comes by believing and confessing (Romans 10:9), God wants so much more. He wants us to grow. He wants us to learn. He wants us to be disciples, and just like with the first twelve, He wants our fellowship and friendship. And He also wants us to be free. Remember John 8:32:

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

As His disciples, we grow in freedom. What a blessing! I know there have been many times when I felt bound to a sin or a mindset that caused me pain. God does not want us to remain in pain. We receive freedom from pain, sin, hopelessness, and shame when we allow His truth in our lives.

My hope for you today is that you will allow God, through His word and through His Spirit, to lead you into all truth so that you may indeed be His disciple and reap every benefit He has for you. (John 16:13)

Lord, help us be your disciples and help us to make disciples. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

May 24

1 Samuel 24:5-7 5Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.” 7With these words David rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.

After all that Saul had done to David, trying to kill him with a javelin three times, promising one wife and not delivering, giving away his wife to another, and having David’s priestly friends killed, David will not do a thing against him. In fact, just cutting off the corner of his robe caused his conscience to be stricken. He recognized Saul as the one on whom the anointing of God had been placed. Even though the anointing is on David now, he still respects Saul. Perhaps David realizes that what he does to Saul will set an example for others behavior toward him when he becomes king.

All of your brothers and sisters in Christ has been anointed. Do you treat them with as much respect and fear of the LORD as David did with Saul? It is no different. We are given opportunities to slander our brothers, even speak the truth that would damage their reputations. Are you convicted to take even a corner from their robe, so to speak? Has any of them done even half the wrongs that Saul did toward David? No? Then consider the example of David here. Remember your brothers and sisters have the same anointing you have. They may be side-tracked, but that is for God to deal with. They may be in your hand, so to speak, but that is a test for you. Will you come away with a testimony like David’s? His action and words were a rebuke to his soldiers.

Streams in the Desert – May 24

  • 202224 May

Sarah bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him (Gen. 21:2).

The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:11). But we must be prepared to wait God’s time. God has His set times. It is not for us to know them; indeed, we cannot know them; we must wait for them.

If God had told Abraham in Haran that he must wait for thirty years until he pressed the promised child to his bosom, his heart would have failed him. So, in gracious love, the length of the weary years was hidden, and only as they were nearly spent, and there were only a few more months to wait, God told him that “according to the time of life, Sarah shall have a son.” (Gen. 18:14). The set time came at last; and then the laughter that filled the patriarch’s home made the aged pair forget the long and weary vigil.

Take heart, waiting one, thou waitest for One who cannot disappoint thee; and who will not be five minutes behind the appointed moment: ere long “your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”

Ah, happy soul, when God makes thee laugh! Then sorrow and crying shall flee away forever, as darkness before the dawn.
–Selected

It is not for us who are passengers, to meddle with the chart and with the compass. Let that all-skilled Pilot alone with His own work.
–Hall

“Some things cannot be done in a day. God does not make a sunset glory in a moment, but for days may be massing the mist out of which He builds His palaces beautiful in the west.”

Some glorious morn–but when? Ah, who shall say?
The steepest mountain will become a plain,
And the parched land be satisfied with rain.
The gates of brass all broken; iron bars,
Transfigured, form a ladder to the stars.
Rough places plain, and crooked ways all straight,
For him who with a patient heart can wait.
These things shall be on God’s appointed day:
It may not be tomorrow–yet it may.

Learning to Forgive

Forgiveness means sharing the same gift Jesus extended to us—regardless of the offense.

Colossians 3:12-15

We’ll often try to justify an angry, unforgiving heart by thinking, Well, the Lord knows what that person did to me. So He gets why I feel this way. Certainly Jesus—who was fully God and fully man—knows human emotions inside and out. In fact, He Himself experienced betrayal and abandonment, so it’s true that He understands our pain. Nevertheless, He does not approve of an unforgiving attitude.

Through the Savior, we see how God views forgiveness, even when it comes to the vilest offenses. And consider this: We are the ones who continually betray Him. How? We’ve denied Him His rightful place in our life, doubted His Word, and ignored His instruction. There are times we kick Him out of our daily activities and decisions so we can pursue things more to our own liking. What’s more, we have sinned against both Him and other people.

And what is Jesus’ disposition towards us? “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Now, do you really believe He will justify our unforgiveness? No, He wants us to instead look at the cross. There we will discover the price that was paid for our own forgiveness. Just as we have been forgiven, so we must now become forgivers (Col. 3:13).

Bible in One Year: Ezra 5-7

From Darkness To Light

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From Darkness to Light

small light in the darkness

 

Lorie Hartshorn – Co-Host – The 700 Club Canada

I remember a few years ago when I was at our cottage with my kids, and we drove the boat down the lake to visit some people at a nearby camp. By the time we left, it was dark. I hadn’t thought of what it would be like to be on the water in the dark. There were not many cottages on our lake at the time, so the shoreline was pitch black. I couldn’t tell the difference between the water and the land. The sky was also pitch black, clouded over with no shining moon. It was frightening, to say the least. To make matters worse, I could not find the flashlight that was supposed to be in every boat as a safety requirement! And I hadn’t remembered to leave a light on in my own cottage to guide me home.

As I headed out on the water in total blackness, I strained to look ahead. Suddenly, a small light appeared, coming from a cottage up on a hill not too far from our cottage. That little beacon became my guide. I knew if I pointed the boat directly in line with it, I would avoid any shorelines and I could then find my dock. I remember the relief when I slowly came up to our dock and parked the boat without incident. That small light from that cottage broke through all the surrounding darkness and showed us the way home.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Jesus broke through the darkness of this world, the darkness of sin that had separated us from God, the darkness of the demonic forces that were working against our knowledge of God to show us the way home. Without Jesus, we would be lost in the dark, out on the water, floating aimlessly, afraid and alone. He shows us the way out of our darkness and our brokenness. And in the next chapter, Jesus demonstrated this by healing a blind man:

“While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing (John 9:5-7).

When we follow Jesus, who is the light, He frees us from darkness, heals our spiritual blindness, and leads us safely home to the Father. Unfortunately, not everyone welcomes the light:

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19).

Satan wants to keep us away from the light, and sin has a way of blinding us. Because of our shame, we choose to hide in the dark. We don’t want to be exposed. When Jesus says He is light, it is to deliver us to safety, free us from shame, and bring us home to the Father. Just as a boat needs a lighthouse to safely reach a port at night, we need Jesus to light the way for us through the Bible and by His Spirit. If you’re feeling lost on the waters of life, look to Jesus who is the way home—because that’s courageous living:

Jesus, Light of the World, guide my steps. When the way is unclear and darkness surrounds me, light my path and grant me wisdom and trust to follow You.

 

Living in Grace

By Kyle Norman,   crosswalk. com

“May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” – 2 Corinthians 13:14

As an Anglican, the words “The Grace” are ingrained in how we do Church. Many of our church services either begin or end, with these words. These words do not just appear in our services; they are also the standard close for any Bible study, meeting, or potluck. In fact, so familiar are we with these words, that some may not even recognize them as a passage of scripture.

Of course, when Paul penned these words, he did not have in mind potlucks, Bible studies, or liturgical services; nor were these words designed simply to conclude his letter in a crisp and poetic fashion. Rather, in writing these words, Paul pronounces a reality which encompasses the lives of all Christians. Simply, the words of the grace declare a truth about your life. This truth has three components.

Firstlythe grace of Jesus Christ is upon you. Scripture uses the word “grace” as a shorthand for the entire redemptive activity of our Lord. The entire arc of salvation history is contained in this small 5-letter word. Grace is Jesus entering your world in the most vulnerable of fashions; It is him walking toward you amid threatening storms; It is Jesus touching you in the place of your brokenness and offering his healing presence. Grace is Jesus weeping with you as you mourn the losses and struggles of life; It is Jesus journeying into the place of death and sin, violence and pain, to dethrone their power over your life; It is Jesus rising in the power of God, and extending that resurrection like a blanket over you. Grace is the intimate presence of the Lord precisely in the places where you feel that you do not, or cannot, deserve it.

When Paul writes “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. . .be with you” everything stated above is declared to be a truth for your life. In hearing these words, you are invited to live in this reality and to allow these promises to enfold you. Jesus, the exalted Lord, surrounds you.

Paul does not stop there. Paul also writes about the reality of God’s love over you. I encourage you to sit with the awesomeness of this proclamation. Consider the sheer delight in being able to declare, under the authority of scripture, that the love of the creator surrounds you. The declaration of God’s love isn’t just something quaint we say. It is not a slogan of faith that sounds nice but lacks reality. No, God’s love is extended to you. This is a fact.

Scripture is replete with declarations regarding the activity of God’s love upon our lives. No matter what is going on in life, no matter how far off course one may have gone, God surrounds us with the deepest expression of love that we can ever imagine. And to top it all off, such love will not change or diminish.  It will not lessen in degree or intensity.  The love of God is constant.

LastlyPaul concludes this life-giving verse by invoking the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. This statement refers to an active engagement with the Holy Spirit in our lives. This flows naturally out of the other two statements. If we truly recognize that we are immersed in our Lord’s redemptive work, and rooted in the sacrificial love of God, then how can we not see ourselves as filled with the power of Spirit? The Spirit invites us to participate in God’s activity in the world.  We are invited to share in the work of the Kingdom.

Spurgeon at the New Park Street Chapel

By: Charles Spurgeon

Looking unto Jesus

“They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.” Psalm 34:5

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-7

See there he sits in heaven, he has led captivity captive, and now sits at the right hand of God, for ever making intercession for us. Can your faith picture him today? Like a great high priest of old, he stands with outstretched arms: there is majesty in his demeanour, for he is no mean cringing suppliant. He does not beat his breast, nor cast his eyes upon the ground, but with authority he pleads, enthroned in glory now. There on his head is the bright shining mitre of his priesthood, and look you, on his breast are glittering the precious stones whereon the names of his elect are everlastingly engraved; hear him as he pleads, hear you not what it is?—is that your prayer that he is mentioning before the throne? The prayer that this morning you offered before you came to the house of God, Christ is now offering before his Father’s throne. The vow which just now you uttered when you said, “Have pity and have mercy,”—he is now uttering there. He is the Altar and the Priest, and with his own sacrifice he perfumes our prayers. And yet, mayhap, you have been at prayer many a day, and had no answer; poor weeping suppliant, you have sought the Lord and he has not heard you, or at least not answered you to your soul’s delight; you have cried unto him, but the heavens have been as brass, and he has shut out your prayer, you are full of darkness and heaviness on account of this, “Look to him, and be lightened.” If you do not succeed, he will; if your intercession be unnoticed, his cannot be passed away; if your prayers can be like water spilt on a rock which cannot be gathered up, yet his prayers are not like that, he is God’s Son, he pleads and must prevail.

For meditation: The prayers of the true seeker and of believers are not a waste of effort; they are not like letters lost in the post, but reach the throne of God (Acts 10:4Revelation 5:8). But only praying in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is accepted; prayers addressed to saints, to false gods or to the dead are always turned away—“not known here.”

 

Thirst for Living Water

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Thirst for Living Water

drinking water from hands

 

Lina Johnson – Prayer Center Coach

In John 4, we read that Jesus met a Samaritan woman at “Jacob’s well,” and asked her for a drink of water. When she questioned His behavior, He engaged her in conversation:

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water” (John 4:10).

Wait a minute. Why would she ask Him for “living water”? I mean, even if she knew Jesus was the Messiah or if she had known He was God, why would she think to ask for that?

John 7:37-39 reveals the answer.

On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

The prophet Jeremiah had this insight. God revealed to him that God alone is the source of living water. We see this in Jeremiah 2:13,

For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me—the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!

We see it again in Jeremiah 17:13,

O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who turn away from you will be disgraced. They will be buried in the dust of the earth, for they have abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living water.

Wow! Jesus basically came straight out and told the woman in John 4, “I am God.” We know from Jeremiah that no one else can give living water. However, the poor woman missed it. Have we missed it? What is God really saying here? We know from John 7:39 that this living water is, in fact, the Holy Spirit. God wants to satisfy our thirst for His presence through the gift of His Spirit.

Some years ago, while fasting, I felt God’s leading for me to take Communion alone, just He and I. This was not like any other time I’ve participated in Holy Communion. As I sat alone in my room eating that bread, I became very aware of how thirsty I suddenly became. I then drank the grape juice, and hunger returned for the first time since starting the fast. I ate more bread. Again, I thirsted, so I drank–only to hunger again. I repeated this several times while asking the Lord, “What are You trying to show me?”

The Lord spoke to my spirit through His Spirit: Jesus is the bread, Jesus is the Word. The Bible is My Word. I want you to read my Word until you thirst for Me. Then I want you to sit in My presence until your thirst is satisfied and your hunger returns. I want you to repeat this and make it a lifestyle.

Prayer:
Oh God, forgive us for not seeking more of You. We need Your living water. We need Your Word, the “bread of life.” How quickly we have forgotten Your words in John 6:35:

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Lord, You want to satisfy us, but we get busy following our own plans. Help us to yield to You and let You satisfy our hunger and thirst.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

May 22

1 Samuel 18:7-9 7As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” 8Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.

Jealousy, the green-eyed monster, reared its ugly head in the heart of King Saul. On the return from the battlefield, the maidens sang this song. Saul may have been a bit on edge because of Samuel’s prediction about the kingdom no longer belonging to him. This song stirred an ugly spirit up in him. He was the one they sang praise about before. Now someone else is the chief person in the song, and he is credited with more than the king! Be careful with your words of praise for men. The enemy can use them in destructive ways.

“Welcome home pastor. Your assistant did such a great job that we forgot you were gone,” a well-meaning board member says. The enemy places a wedge of competition between two people who are striving for the Kingdom of God. If one of them has an ear that will listen to the flesh, he will never be striving together again. Friendly voices have unwittingly sowed the seed of competition. Saul could never look at David the same way again.

There may have been more to it than that. It may have also been backed by the fact that Saul saw in David what he had lost. He saw the love for God and faith in God’s word that once was so real to him but now seemed so distant. He saw the humility of this young man and recognized his was gone. Those are the assets that put him on the throne. Those are the assets that make you useful to God. Don’t allow words of praise for others become that to you.

Consider: Rejoice when others pass you up in service to our King. He is the cause we fight for, not self!

Streams in the Desert – May 22

Leave It To God

“Roll on Jehovah thy way” (Ps. 37:6).

Whatever it is that presses thee, go tell the Father; put the whole matter over into His hand, and so shalt thou be freed from that dividing, perplexing care that the world is full of. When thou art either to do or suffer anything, when thou art about any purpose or business, go tell God of it, and acquaint Him with it; yes, burden Him with it, and thou hast done for matter of caring; no more care, but quiet, sweet, diligence in thy duty, and dependence on Him for the carriage of thy matters. Roll thy cares, and thyself with them, as one burden, all on thy God. –R. Leighton

 

***

 

Build a little fence of trust

Around today;

Fill the space with loving work

And therein stay.

Look not through the sheltering bars

Upon tomorrow;

God will help thee bear what comes

Of joy or sorrow. –Mary Butts

 

***

 

We shall find it impossible to commit our way unto the Lord, unless it be a way that He approves. It is only by faith that a man can commit his way unto the Lord; if there be the slightest doubt in the heart that “our way” is not a good one, faith will refuse to have anything to do with it. This committing of our way must be a continuous, not a single act. However extraordinary and unexpected may seem to be His guidance, however near the precipice He may take you, you are not to snatch the guiding reins out of His hands. Are we willing to have all our ways submitted to God, for Him to pronounce judgment on them? There is nothing a Christian needs to be more scrutinizing about than about his confirmed habits and views. He is too apt to take for granted the Divine approbation of them. Why are some Christians so anxious, so fearful? Evidently because they have not left their way with the Lord. They took it to Him, but brought it away with them again. –Selected

Burdened for Souls

From: Inspirational Ministries

“There is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us and have surrendered us into the power of our wrongdoings.” – Isaiah 64:7 NASB

Did people really care? Isaiah wondered. Even though there were countless problems, no one cared enough to call on God.

Frank Bartleman had a similar perspective. In December 1904, he and his family moved to Pasadena, California. They had no income and were forced to live by faith. But he believed God had called him there. Within two weeks, their youngest child, Esther, died. It was a devastating moment. But he continued to serve God faithfully.

He felt God was preparing him for a new ministry. Longing “to know Him in a more real way,” he cried for God to do a mighty work. He prayed for revival. Although still filled with grief, he began to preach at a local mission.

Inspired by Isaiah 64, he felt that few believers were moved by the spiritual needs of the community or the presence of sin. But Bartleman was determined to intercede. “Greatly burdened for souls,” he preached nearly every day. He also passed out tracts and witnessed.

Soon, revival broke out in Pasadena, sweeping through Southern California. God moved, in part, because Bartleman had a burden for souls.

Today, what is God saying to you? Ask that He might give you a burden for souls. People all around you are lost. Pray that He would send His Holy Spirit to bring salvation. And give of your time and resources that He might use you to spread the Good News.