Monthly Archives: July 2022

The Warrior’s Key to Peace

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The Warrior’s Key to Peace

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Andrew Knox – Vice President, The 700 Club, cbn.com

The warrior is in hiding. Pleading with God, he cries out for deliverance and admits his weakness. He is troubled and distraught. This is the scene we encounter as David begins Psalm 55. In his anguish, the battle-hardened man pursues God with earnestness, asking his Lord to listen. David proceeds to state he is living in terror, anguish, and fear. He is overwhelmed. The turmoil he finds himself in is due to violence, betrayal, and a family in ruins — and it has crushed David to the point of envying the birds of the air, who can fly away and flee to deserts and places of shelter.

Yet in the midst of his lament, he speaks light to the darkness in his own soul. David states he calls to God, morning, noon, and night. He reminds himself that God hears his cries of distress, saves him, and keeps him from harm. In this moment, David has benefitted so greatly from vocalizing his pain, heartbreak, and fear to the God he knows hears him, he concludes his Psalm by encouraging us centuries later to

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you (Psalm 55:22 NIV).

In fact, the heart cry that began in terror, concludes with the declaration,

As for me, I trust in you (v.23).

There is power in expressing our pain, anxiety, and fear to our loving Lord. I’ve experienced this many times. On one occasion just a few years ago, one of my children was involved in a terrifying accident. Doctors gave grim reports. I was living in terror. I was distraught. Heartbroken.

However, like David in Psalm 55, I reminded myself I not only have a direct audience before God; He also loves me and my family. So, I cried out. Literally. I screamed. I voiced my deep pain and anguish — told Him I was terrified. I then experienced what David described in the psalm, as my soul was encouraged that as I cry out, no matter the time of day, the Father hears, cares, and sustains.

Emotionally exhausted, I felt my fear subside and give way to comfort and an infusion of faith. I am humbled to say my son made a full and complete recovery, thanks to doctors, my amazing wife and son, and the power of prayer. I moved forward understanding it is a life-changing experience to pour out my heart before the Lord. David knew this, and his reminder is spread throughout his psalms.

David was brave, a man of action, who surprises us with his vulnerability and fear in his writings. We too will have these moments of trouble in our soul. Voice your heart cry to God, knowing He hears and cares. In those moments, He will meet with you. And instead of desiring to flee like a bird, you also can rise from your knees and declare, “As for me, I trust in You.”

Today’s Devotions

Morning

July 31

1 Chronicles 29:1 Then King David said to the whole assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the LORD God.

David gave, and then he gave some more. The tonnage of precious metals is incredible! And when David asked, “Now, who is willing to consecrate himself today to the LORD?” 1 Chronicles 29:5, the leaders also gave in abundance. The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly. 1 Chronicles 29:9 (NIV)Everyone seemed to be totally devoted to making the house of the LORD the most amazing and costly structure ever built.

This passage is a favorite of those raising funds to build new church buildings. Let us never forget that we are speaking of people, living stones, who make up the temple today. The temple Solomon built was a wonderful divinely inspired illustration of what God desires. David referred to it as God’s footstool. The prophet said that heaven is God’s throne and earth His footstool so what kind of house can you build Him? (Acts 7:48) The task is indeed great. In fact, all this gold and silver and precious stones, all the labor of gifted and anointed men could only erect a shadow of the real temple.

The task is great, but now we have the Son of David (Jesus) to do the building. Unlike Solomon, the Son of David is experienced. Will we give of ourselves and our resources to see that the real temple of living stones is built, like they gave to see a passing shadow built? How much more should we be willing to give our treasures and talents to the real task!

Consider: There is surely someone in your life that the Master Builder is transforming into a living stone. How can you give to see the work is completed?

Streams in the Desert – July 31

  • 202231 Jul

David cared for them with pure motives; he led them with skill.  Ps 78:72

When you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to shut against you every door but the right one…Meanwhile keep on as you are, and consider the absence of indication to be the indication of God’s will that you are on His track…As you go down the long corridor, you will find that He has preceded you, and locked many doors which you would fain have entered; but be sure that beyond these there is one which He has left unlocked. Open it and enter, and you will find yourself face to face with a bend of the river of opportunity, broader and deeper than anything you had dared to imagine in your sunniest dreams. Launch forth upon it; it conducts to the open sea.

God guides us, often by circumstances. At one moment the way may seem utterly blocked; and then shortly afterward some trivial incident occurs, which might not seem much to others, but which to the keen eye of faith speaks volumes. Sometimes these things are repeated in various ways, in answer to prayer. They are not haphazard results of chance, but the opening up of circumstances in the direction in which we would walk. And they begin to multiply as we advance toward our goal, just as the lights do as we near a populous town, when darting through the land by night express.
—F. B. Meyer

If you go to Him to be guided, He will guide you; but He will not comfort your distrust or half-trust of Him by showing you the chart of all His purposes concerning you. He will show you only into a way where, if you go cheerfully and trustfully forward, He will show you on still farther.
—Horace Bushnell

As moves my fragile bark across the storm-swept sea,
Great waves beat o’er her side, as north wind blows;
Deep in the darkness hid lie threatening rocks and shoals;
But all of these, and more, my Pilot knows.

A Safe Place

From: Intouch ministries

God is our safe place when the storms of life rage around us.

July 31, 2022

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

We’re currently enjoying the warm, seemingly endless days of summer, but this season isn’t all sunshine and beauty. It’s also known for severe storms that bring lightning, thunder, and heavy rainfall. When they pop up, isn’t it wonderful to be able to run into a dry, comfortable shelter and be protected until the sun begins shining again?

Life is like that, too, sometimes. All is well until, suddenly and often without warning, difficulties arise. Our lives are full of “storms” of one kind or another. Regardless of what caused them, there’s seldom much we can do to stop them from running their course. All we can control is how we respond moving forward. Rather than face these troubles alone, we run to our heavenly Father, the One who deeply loves and cares for us—and waits with open arms. (See Proverbs 18:241 Peter 5:6-7; 1 John 3:1; Revelation 3:20.)

Think about it

  • How would you describe your relationship with God? Does He feel distant or is He close, like a loving friend ready to listen? Spend some time in prayer this week, asking God to help you sense just how near He is.

A Clean Heart

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A Clean Heart

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Vernell Windsor – Prayer Center Coach, cbn.com

Have you ever met someone you would consider to be a snob? There was just something so condescending about the person, but you could not figure out why. They say that confession is good for the soul. Well, I was a big spiritual snob. I could look down upon those who did not know the Bible or serve God as legalistically as I did.

I can hardly believe I just shared this publicly! Truly, God has been at work. I have no idea how I ended up that way, but I thank God that He circumcised my heart. This confession comes after reading Romans 2:1-3:

Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? (NASB1995).

This Scripture took away all excuses! Is it even possible to say one loves Jesus and looks down upon someone else?

In Psalm 51:1-4, we see a penitent King David:

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge.

God has been gracious to me too. He took me by the hand and led me out of the darkness into the light. Holy Spirit’s conviction brought me to that place of “sackcloth and ashes.” King David tried to cover up his sin. Far be it from me to judge him, but I can relate with his agony in Psalm 51:10-11 because I have been there too:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

David must have been terrified about the thought of life without the Spirit of God, and so am I. The Lord already knows all the skeletons in our closets, and He still loves us! Confession really is good for the soul. It cuts the enemy off and helps us find our way to Jesus.

When I tried to wash my sins away in the shower, it did not work. A “broken and contrite spirit,” and a heart of “repentance” can set us free from a plethora of maladies. We can all come before the Lord with humility. He will not turn us away. This reality has washed away that stain of sin I foolishly tried to cleanse in the shower!

Today’s Devotions

Morning

July 30

1 Chronicles 28:12, 19 12He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the LORD and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasuries for the dedicated things… 19“All this,” David said, “I have in writing from the hand of the LORD upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.”

There is a tendency to think God was more visible and directly involved in the Old Testament in more dramatic ways than in this age. As David was sharing the plans of the temple with Solomon, he told how he received the inspiration for the plan. He did not have a vision or experience autonomic writing. He did not have a vivid dream or travel in his spirit to heaven. The Spirit of God put it into his mind. The hand of the LORD was upon him and gave him understanding of the details.

The LORD often works with us in the same way. If (and that is a great big if) we are seeking Him and His will with all our heart and have been walking with Him for some time to learn discernment, the Spirit inspires our thoughts. As we walk with the hand of the LORD upon us, we will have Spirit inspired thoughts.

Thoughts come from one of three sources: attacks of the enemy, our own soul, or the Spirit of God. As we mature, we learn to discern the difference, and become more and more attentive and obedient to Spirit inspired thoughts and quick to reject the enemy’s temptations. When we pray, we will notice the thoughts of whom to pray for enter our mind. As we approach daily difficulties, we will notice solutions that we would never have come up with on our own. Be careful to give God all the credit and all the glory. That is what David was doing when he said, “He gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.” “I can’t take credit for one little detail. God inspired my thoughts.” We find the same experience today as we go about working on the temple with living stones.

Remember: Grab those God inspired thoughts and give Him all the glory when you see the good fruit.

God Is Near

By Jessica Van Roekel, Crosswalk. com

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV).

Broken hearts are one of the heavier burdens we carry. Unanswered prayers, unfulfilled longings, and unmet expectations can lead our hearts to brokenness. Elijah, an Old Testament prophet, knew brokenheartedness too. His people, the Israelites, continually turned away from God and they rejected his message to return. How his heart must of broke for them.

God revealed himself to his people over and over again and for a time, they served him, but then fell back into idol worship. This led to the famous encounter on Mount Carmel between the prophets of Baal and the lone prophet of God. Fire fell from heaven and consumed the drenched altar, the wood, the stones, and licked up the water that remained in the trench. The people rose up and proclaimed, “The Lord is God,” and killed the prophets of Baal. Once Jezebel heard this news, she vowed to kill Elijah. And Elijah ran away. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it, and prayed that he might die. He had had enough.

Elijah struggled with broken heartedness. And if he can struggle with it, then it shouldn’t surprise us when we struggle with it too. Living for the Lord and seeking to be obedient to him carries with it its own set of difficulties. We wrestle against our old nature that rises to demand its own way, whether it’s through wanting recognition for a job well done or revenge against those who stand against us. We grow weary and declare that we’re done. We have had enough.

There are times when God doesn’t feel near. He feels far off and we wonder where he went. This happened to Elijah too. Imagine standing alone against an entire group of Baal prophets and a people who toggled between serving the Lord and serving idols. Visibly you are outnumbered except you have God—the Everlasting God who has no beginning and no end—on your side. To the human eye, victory looks impossible, but God fights for you and makes victory possible. Elijah didn’t do anything except obey the Lord. And God won the victory. But then Elijah got scared and ran away.

But in the wilderness, God came near. Under that broom tree, God provided sustenance and rest for Elijah’s refreshment. When we’re under duress of heart, we need to take time to satisfy our needs for refreshment too. Our broken hearts can cause us to throw up our hands in defeat and run away, and when we do, Jesus meets us in that moment, ready to remind us that victory is found in him and that he gives us the courage to stand and face the giants once again. Jesus is our bread and living water and his yoke is easy. When we turn toward him instead of away, we find that he satisfies the weariness in our heart. When we state that we have had enough, Jesus becomes enough for us. We can taste and see that the Lord is good, and he is everything we need.

Elijah left his broom tree of despair and traveled deeper into the wilderness to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. Again, God met him there and asked him, “What are you doing here?” It is here that Elijah finally gives words to his broken heart. He says, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me” (1 Kings 18:10 NIV). And the Lord drew near. The wind came and shattered rocks, but the Lord was not in the wind. Then the earth shook and fire fell, but the Lord was not in either. Instead, the Lord arrived in a gentle whisper.

It is in gentleness that the Lord draws near. A broken heart doesn’t need more devastation like windstorms, earthquakes, or fire. It needs tenderness, and that’s what the Lord brings to us when our hearts are broken. He is gentle with our heart. He draws near. Will we come out of our caves of brokenness long enough to see his gentle ways with our hearts?

Sin slain

Author: Charles Spurgeon

“And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples.” Judges 4:22

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 12:1-4

Rest not content till the blood of your enemy stains the ground, until he is crushed, and dead, and slain. Oh, sinner, I beseech you, never be content until grace reign in your heart, and sin is altogether subdued. Indeed, this is what every renewed soul longs for, and must long for, nor will it rest satisfied until all this shall be accomplished. There was a time when some of us thought we would slay our sins. We wanted to put them to death, and we thought we would drown them in floods of penitence. There was a time, too, when we thought we would starve our sins; we thought we would keep out of temptation, and not go and pander to our lusts, and then they would die; and some of us can recollect when we gagged our lusts, when we pinioned their arms, and put their feet in the stocks, and then thought that would deliver us. But brethren, all our ways of putting sin to death were not sufficient; we found the monster still alive, insatiate for his prey. We might rout his hired ruffians, but the monster was still our conqueror. We might put to flight our habits, but the nature of sin was still in us, and we could not overcome it. Yet did we groan and cry daily, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” It is a cry to which we are accustomed even at this day, and which we shall never cease to utter, till we can say of our sins, “They are gone,” and of the very nature of sin, that it has been extinguished, and that we are pure and holy even as when the first Adam came from his Maker’s hands.

For meditation: We should never underestimate the power of sin, but we can never overestimate the power of the Lord Jesus Christ to conquer sin. Sin may remain, but it need not reign (Romans 6:12).

Celebrating Creation

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Celebrating Creation

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Ian Walton – Regional Director, Southern Africa, cbn.com

A few days ago, I had the chance to get into the mountains around Cape Town, eager to be alone for a few hours with just my small backpack and the Lord. As I drank in the crisp winter air and clambered over the wind-worn rocks, I was reminded of Paul’s stirring words about nature and how it constantly proclaims His presence and goodness to those who are listening:

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Romans 1:20 (NLT)

I scrambled up a huge cluster of granite boulders and they whispered to me about His faithfulness, His immovability, and His trustworthiness. My Father was reassuring me, and I felt strength entering me again with each panting step I took. And as I mounted the top and caught my first glimpse of the vast Atlantic Ocean stretching out beyond the horizon, it shouted to me about His majesty, artistry and goodness. My God was reminding me just how great and holy and beautiful He is. I felt exhilarated as I took in the view above and below me—and worshipped Him.

All around us, God is speaking about His glory, character and love. His Word, the Bible, is speaking through every chapter. The Word (Jesus), is speaking through His life on earth and directly into our hearts by His Spirit. And creation is singing His praises and declaring His majesty with each sunrise, wave, growl, chirp, and baby’s cry!

God is speaking so powerfully—through the Bible, through the life of Jesus, and through creation—and we need ears to hear. You see, what sets us apart from the rest of creation is our free will. This is perhaps the most affirming gift that God gave us, yet also the one that can keep us humans, the crown of His creation, apart from Him. His desire is that we listen to Him in all the ways He is speaking to us. He invites us to believe Him, to love Him and to follow Him. But we have to choose to do so. Each day, each step, each moment.

Are you choosing to listen to His voice during the noise of this busy year? Are you still celebrating creation, despite everything going on around us? Are you living with fear, or living by faith in His strength and hope? These are questions I am asking myself right now, even as I write this.

A prayer for myself, for my family—and for you—is that we fight to keep listening for the voice of the Lord. And when there seems to be only silence, that we lean in and seek it out in His Word, as we worship His Son and as we continue to celebrate His amazing creation.<< 

God Is Near

By Jessica Van Roekel, Crosswalk. com

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV).

Broken hearts are one of the heavier burdens we carry. Unanswered prayers, unfulfilled longings, and unmet expectations can lead our hearts to brokenness. Elijah, an Old Testament prophet, knew brokenheartedness too. His people, the Israelites, continually turned away from God and they rejected his message to return. How his heart must of broke for them.

God revealed himself to his people over and over again and for a time, they served him, but then fell back into idol worship. This led to the famous encounter on Mount Carmel between the prophets of Baal and the lone prophet of God. Fire fell from heaven and consumed the drenched altar, the wood, the stones, and licked up the water that remained in the trench. The people rose up and proclaimed, “The Lord is God,” and killed the prophets of Baal. Once Jezebel heard this news, she vowed to kill Elijah. And Elijah ran away. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it, and prayed that he might die. He had had enough.

Elijah struggled with broken heartedness. And if he can struggle with it, then it shouldn’t surprise us when we struggle with it too. Living for the Lord and seeking to be obedient to him carries with it its own set of difficulties. We wrestle against our old nature that rises to demand its own way, whether it’s through wanting recognition for a job well done or revenge against those who stand against us. We grow weary and declare that we’re done. We have had enough.

There are times when God doesn’t feel near. He feels far off and we wonder where he went. This happened to Elijah too. Imagine standing alone against an entire group of Baal prophets and a people who toggled between serving the Lord and serving idols. Visibly you are outnumbered except you have God—the Everlasting God who has no beginning and no end—on your side. To the human eye, victory looks impossible, but God fights for you and makes victory possible. Elijah didn’t do anything except obey the Lord. And God won the victory. But then Elijah got scared and ran away.

But in the wilderness, God came near. Under that broom tree, God provided sustenance and rest for Elijah’s refreshment. When we’re under duress of heart, we need to take time to satisfy our needs for refreshment too. Our broken hearts can cause us to throw up our hands in defeat and run away, and when we do, Jesus meets us in that moment, ready to remind us that victory is found in him and that he gives us the courage to stand and face the giants once again. Jesus is our bread and living water and his yoke is easy. When we turn toward him instead of away, we find that he satisfies the weariness in our heart. When we state that we have had enough, Jesus becomes enough for us. We can taste and see that the Lord is good, and he is everything we need.

Elijah left his broom tree of despair and traveled deeper into the wilderness to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. Again, God met him there and asked him, “What are you doing here?” It is here that Elijah finally gives words to his broken heart. He says, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me” (1 Kings 18:10 NIV). And the Lord drew near. The wind came and shattered rocks, but the Lord was not in the wind. Then the earth shook and fire fell, but the Lord was not in either. Instead, the Lord arrived in a gentle whisper.

It is in gentleness that the Lord draws near. A broken heart doesn’t need more devastation like windstorms, earthquakes, or fire. It needs tenderness, and that’s what the Lord brings to us when our hearts are broken. He is gentle with our heart. He draws near. Will we come out of our caves of brokenness long enough to see his gentle ways with our hearts?

Everywhere and yet forgotten

“Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:9,10

Suggested Further Reading: Deuteronomy 8:11-20

This forgetfulness of God is growing upon this perverse generation. Time was, in the old puritanic days, when every shower of rain was seen to come from heaven, when every ray of sunshine was blessed, and God was thanked for having given fair weather to ingather the fruits of the harvest. Then, men talked of God as doing everything. But in our days where is our God? We have the laws of matter. Alas! Alas! That names with little meaning should have destroyed our memory of the Eternal One. We talk now of phenomena, and of the chain of events, as if all things happened by machinery; as if the world were a huge clock which had been wound up in eternity, and continued to work without a present God. Nay, not only our philosophers, but even our poets rant in the same way. They sing of the works of nature. But who is that fair goddess, Nature? Is she a heathen deity, or what? Do we not act as if we were ashamed of our God, or as if his name had become obsolete? Go abroad wherever you may, you hear little said concerning him who made the heavens, and who formed the earth and the sea; but everything is nature, and the laws of motion and of matter. And do not Christians often use words which would lead you to suppose that they believed in the old goddess, Luck, or rested in that equally false deity, Fortune, or trembled before the demon of Misfortune? Oh for the day when God shall be seen, and little else beside! Better, my brethren, that philosophical discoveries were lost, than that God should be concealed behind them. Better that our poets had ceased to write, and that all their flaming words were buried with their ashes, than that they should serve as a cloud before the face of the eternal Creator.

For meditation: When men replace Father God by mother nature, God leaves them to behave in ways which are unnatural and opposed to their false new deity (Romans 1:21-27).

Our Lives Are in God’s Hands

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Our Lives Are in God’s Hands

open hands

 

Emmanuel de la Fuente Monforte – Accountant – CBN Mexico

What are God’s plan and purposes for your life?

Whenever I ask myself this question and then learn about the life of God’s servants in the Bible, He always reminds me that it is about Him — for His glory, for His plans to be fulfilled and His will to be done.

Personally, my understanding is that God doesn’t just have plans for my life, but rather, He has plans with my life. This plain and simple word that I have come to understand has changed my way of seeing what God reveals to me every day and what He does.

A person like Paul became an instrument in the hands of God, who sought above all to make the name of Jesus known to non-Jews. God completely changed who he was and accomplished His will with him.

As we read the 28th chapter of Acts, we can see that everything that is written there is fulfilling God’s purpose with Paul’s life. God preserved his life and that of those who accompanied him in the storm and the shipwreck. Arriving on an island to testify, he did not die of a snake bite because God’s plan with his life had not yet been fulfilled. He preached about Jesus on his way from Malta to Rome and the times he was in those places, God’s plan was being fulfilled with the life of Paul and with the people who heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Arriving in Rome, he spoke to the Jews who were there and continued to fulfill God’s purpose. And so, it was with Paul until the end of his days and in his letters to the people in the places where he had been, leaving instructions on life and doctrine for the church of God.

And this is only what is mentioned in chapter 28 of Acts. But if we remember everything Paul experienced to fulfill what God had commanded him, we know that he was stoned, persecuted, imprisoned, a couple of times they already left him for dead, more than once he received 39 lashes, and all this just to win Christ, leaving everything aside, even his titles and position to serve God.

Something I learn from the life of Paul is to accept and endure what God allows, to let God perfect Himself in weakness, and also to wait for God’s will with me. Today, I can practice my career and serve others and work for God, leaving my life in His hands and always giving glory to God in everything, and for everything.

Our great and wonderful God used and will always use his children to fulfill His plans and purposes.

Perhaps, instead of thinking about what God has for our lives, we should consider what God is going to do with our lives, serve Him and believe that this is the best for us. Paul did what God had told him to do and was diligent in doing His will. God’s will is pleasing and perfect (Romans 12.2).

I think we must understand that following His path, living our lives only for God and serving Him, is to know and understand that God is doing His will with us, as Paul writes:

It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13 NKJV).

And for this reason, we must always be ready and attentive, able to raise our hands and say, “send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Would you pray a prayer to the Lord to use your life and place you in His perfect will, with Him?

We can learn to be always grateful for the will of God because we are instruments in His hands.  We can also say that God’s plan with our lives is being fulfilled for His glory, understanding that when those plans are fulfilled, we will also say:

I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).

 

Today’s Devotions

Morning

July 28

1 Chronicles 22:5,14 5David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his death.

14“I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the LORD a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighed, and wood and stone. And you may add to them.

Before David’s death he had one great vision. He wanted to prepare everything for a house of God, the temple. The tabernacle (tent of meeting) had served the purpose of a place to meet and worship up until this time. Now that they had settled and defeated their enemies, a fixed place could be constructed. David was not allowed to build it because of all the blood he had shed in battle. The house of the LORD was to be a place of peace. But David didn’t just leave it all up to his son, Solomon. He did all that he could to amass the materials and laborers and create the plans.

The record of the amount of materials collected is staggering! David gave it his all. In life we will have God given desires that we cannot work directly on. That does not mean we cannot give and help in many ways. David appointed singers, made instruments, wrote psalms, appointed construction workers, imported materials and many other things that became a part of the temple, even though he would never see it. Most of the fruit from a surrendered life will not be seen in our lifetime. Only the view from eternity will tell the real tale of our life’s investment in heaven.

David invited his son to add even more. He was not making a monument to self. He wanted the very best for the worship of God, and the more added the better. He encouraged others to give to the great cause. Though that building was temporal, it was a picture of an eternal one.

Consider: How much more zealous should we be to see the temple of living stones built!

Streams in the Desert – July 27

  • 202227 Jul

Prove me now (Malachi 3:10).

What is God saying here but this: “My child, I still have windows in Heaven. They are yet in service. The bolts slide as easily as of old. The hinges have not grown rusty. I would rather fling them open, and pour forth, than keep them shut, and hold back. I opened them for Moses, and the sea parted. I opened them for Joshua, and Jordan rolled back. I opened them for Gideon, and hosts fled. I will open them for you–if you will only let Me.

On this side of the windows, Heaven is the same rich storehouse as of old. The fountains and streams still overflow. The treasure rooms are still bursting with gifts. The lack is not on my side. It is on yours. I am waiting. Prove Me now. Fulfill the conditions, on your part. Bring in the tithes. Give Me a chance.
–Selected

I can never forget my mother’s very brief paraphrase of Malachi 3:10. The verse begins, “Bring ye the whole tithe in,” and it ends up with “I will pour” the blessing out till you’ll be embarrassed for space. Her paraphrase was this: Give all He asks; take all He promises.”
–S. D. Gordon

The ability of God is beyond our prayers, beyond our largest prayers! I have been thinking of some of the petitions that have entered into my supplication innumerable times. What have I asked for? I have asked for a cupful, and the ocean remains! I have asked for a sunbeam, and the sun abides! My best asking falls immeasurably short of my Father’s giving: it is beyond that we can ask.
–J. H. Jowett

All the rivers of Thy grace I claim,
Over every promise write my name.
(Ephesians 1:8-19).

Music Everywhere

From: Intouch ministries

“From the outside to the inner gate were chambers for the singers in the inner courtyard.” – Ezekiel 40:44 NASB

In the vision God gave Ezekiel about the temple, he saw chambers for singers. These were places just for musicians. We have a sense that music was everywhere! We can imagine how glorious the sounds must have been as the music echoed throughout the chambers.

This picture reminds us of the importance of music to God. Admonitions to worship God through music fill the Bible. The Bible also calls us to praise Him with instruments and voices (Psalm 150:3-5).

We are told to “sing for joy” (Psalm 5:11). Music fills Heaven itself. There, “a new song” declares the Lamb is worthy (Revelations 5:9). There, all who were victorious “sing the song of Moses” (Revelation 15:3).

Music has been central to revivals throughout the centuries. In 1538, Martin Luther wrote, “With all my heart I would extol the precious gift of God in the noble art of music.” He described how God gave this precious gift to remind us that we are created to praise and magnify the Lord.

The world often uses music to entertain and celebrate the flesh, to exalt performers. But we need to remember that God created music and that music is part of His creation!

Today remember that God gave you music to provide an instrument of praise for you to worship Him with words and instruments. Celebrate the wonders of His creation through music!

Reflection Question: How do your favorite worship songs praise God?

God Is In Control

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God Controls the Outcome

ink-pen-writing

Nia’s been at CBN for almost seven years. She’s pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communication with a minor in Leadership at Regent University. She lives in Virginia with her husband and family.

Nia Taylor – Trainer – Virginia Beach Prayer Center, cbn.com

How do you gain favor in bad situations? It’s easy! You trust and obey God. Sometimes God uses you to save others, and sometimes He uses others to save you. We can never understand the fullness of His reasons, but we need to trust it even if the situation turns dire. You may be the reason some people are thriving.

I look back at my life, and I have been in some shady situations. I know myself and the people around me only made it out by the grace of God. Maybe the favor on my life saved us, but there was no doubt it was God.

I grew up in a rough neighborhood, and even when God delivered me from it, I found a way to get in the middle of trouble. I caused a lot of my problems. I remember when I was falsely accused and facing legal troubles, God used my cousins – who were not Christians – to save and help me in my time of need. God allowed me to have supernatural favor with them, and they were able to help me. What the devil meant for evil, God turned it around for my good. The charges were dropped, and my record was clean. God cleared my name, and I learned a huge lesson about being with the wrong people. God spared my life may be to do what I am doing now, sharing my testimony to bless someone else’s life.

In Acts 27:27-44, Paul was the reason everyone on a shipwreck survived. He was favored and blessed, so those around him received the blessing.

“The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way, everyone reached land safely” (Acts 27:42-44).

Paul’s wisdom from God helped keep them alive. The soldier didn’t understand, but God was using him. Even if you are with people who don’t know Jesus, God can use them. He may give you favor with them to save your life and to be a testimony to someone else. Paul was spared to save another. Know that your life is not your own. God controls all things for His Will. How cool that we get to be part of His story!

Today’s Devotions

Morning

July 27

1 Chronicles 21:22-24 22David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.” 23Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.” 24But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

Because of David’s sin in numbering the people (see previous two days), he had chosen between three possible curses. He chose three days of plague. When the angel stood over Jerusalem with his sword drawn, David knew he must act. 70,000 had already died. He interceded for the people and asked that the curse fall on him and his family since he had committed the sin. The LORD told David, through the prophet Gad, to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah.

This was the same place that Abraham had offered Isaac. It is the same ridge upon which the Lamb of God would be offered for the sins of the world. It is where the chaff is blown away, and what is of value remains. For Abraham, the hope in his son was blown away and trust in God remained. For Jesus, the sins of the world were blown away with his blood, and the redeemed children of God remained. For David, the guilt was about to be blown away, and a forgiven man would remain. David wanted to purchase the ground upon which to build the altar and later the Temple. Araunah offered to give it to him. You might say he was generous, but remember that he is standing in the shadow of an angel with a sword. David insisted on paying full price. Though Jesus paid our sin debt, it was not as if it were inexpensive. He paid the full price in our place. Offerings cost. It cost God the greatest price that could be paid. When we give to God our own hearts, we, too, should be willing to pay with lives of service.

Consider: Will you sacrifice to God what costs you nothing or will you give Him your all?

Streams in the Desert – July 27

  • 202227 Jul

Prove me now (Malachi 3:10).

What is God saying here but this: “My child, I still have windows in Heaven. They are yet in service. The bolts slide as easily as of old. The hinges have not grown rusty. I would rather fling them open, and pour forth, than keep them shut, and hold back. I opened them for Moses, and the sea parted. I opened them for Joshua, and Jordan rolled back. I opened them for Gideon, and hosts fled. I will open them for you–if you will only let Me.

On this side of the windows, Heaven is the same rich storehouse as of old. The fountains and streams still overflow. The treasure rooms are still bursting with gifts. The lack is not on my side. It is on yours. I am waiting. Prove Me now. Fulfill the conditions, on your part. Bring in the tithes. Give Me a chance.
–Selected

I can never forget my mother’s very brief paraphrase of Malachi 3:10. The verse begins, “Bring ye the whole tithe in,” and it ends up with “I will pour” the blessing out till you’ll be embarrassed for space. Her paraphrase was this: Give all He asks; take all He promises.”
–S. D. Gordon

The ability of God is beyond our prayers, beyond our largest prayers! I have been thinking of some of the petitions that have entered into my supplication innumerable times. What have I asked for? I have asked for a cupful, and the ocean remains! I have asked for a sunbeam, and the sun abides! My best asking falls immeasurably short of my Father’s giving: it is beyond that we can ask.  –J. H. Jowett

Getting Back on Course

If your relationship with God has grown stale, make this the day that you return to Him.

July 27, 2022

2 Peter 3:17-18

No matter how far away from God you have drifted, you’re always welcome back. That’s the lesson from Jesus’ parable about the prodigal son—the foolish boy who followed a pleasure-filled path to ruin before returning to his father and finding redemption (Luke 15:11-32). Whatever your drifting story, make this the day that you return to God.

As with any sin, the first move toward getting back on course is to confess your sin, acknowledging that you have slipped away from the Lord. Then you repent. If you’re wondering exactly how to do that, here’s my practice: Every morning, I surrender my life to the Lord. During the day, if I consider pursuing something that runs counter to His plan, the Holy Spirit reminds me that I am not my own.

In today’s passage, Peter gives a warning to be on guard against attitudes and ideologies that would carry you away from truth (2 Pet. 3:17). Instead, choose to paddle your lifeboat in the Lord’s direction by meditating on Scripture, praying, and living obediently. Practicing these spiritual disciplines keeps a heart warm toward God.

I Will Praise Him

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I Will Praise God

11 Bible verses about Worship With The Heart

Lorie Hartshorn – Co-Host – The 700 Club Canada, cbn.com

All of us have moments when we feel discouraged by life’s circumstances. People may try to lighten our load or lift our spirits, but sometimes their efforts fall short. In these times, we wonder if we will ever emerge from our struggle with our joy intact. Instead, we can find ourselves in despair. In Psalm 42, the psalmist questions the reason for his despair:

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:5 NIV).

Maybe this is you today; you’re in despair over circumstances in your life. Lean in and listen to what the psalmist says. Note those two little words, “I will.” This is a determination, a choice, not a feeling. It’s a forward-facing outlook versus a downcast perspective. The psalmist is choosing in the middle of his struggle and emotional despair to praise God, lift his perspective, and focus on the One who has victory. He reminds himself to put his hope in God, not in anything or anyone else. So often, our disappointments in life are based on unmet expectations of ourselves or others because we put our hope in circumstances and people.

When we choose to put our hope in God, it’s not wishful thinking but an expectant hope, a confident hope. God is faithful, and He will come through for me. Jesus’ last words to His disciples were a promise to always be with them.

Praising God in the hard times doesn’t minimize or deny our heaviness of heart. Instead, it redirects our focus to our Savior and God. He promised never to leave or abandon His children, so we can count on His presence, even when our emotions can’t confirm it.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).

God sees our despair, but He doesn’t want us to stay there, looking down. Instead, he tells us to look at Him. We can be people who say, “I will.” Choosing to give thanks in the middle of sorrow is the key to experiencing hope. It gives us perspective in our trouble. It can be a habit that becomes our natural response over time. Even when circumstances don’t change, we will find ourselves choosing to praise God because He is a good Savior, our God. He’s got this!

This releases the power of the Holy Spirit in us so that the fruit of the Spirit will overflow in us even in troubled times—yes, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control! That is supernatural living right here, today.

So, if today you’re asking yourself that same question — “why am I downcast?” — then start a new habit today and lift your head and say with the psalmist, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5). And I will praise him again and again and again because He’s my Savior and my God! That’s courageous living!

Streams in the Desert – July 26

  • 202226 Jul

For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness (Galatians 5:5, RV).

There are times when things look very dark to me–so dark that I have to wait even for hope. It is bad enough to wait in hope. A long-deferred fulfillment carries its own pain, but to wait for hope, to see no glimmer of a prospect and yet refuse to despair; to have nothing but night before the casement and yet to keep the casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my heart and yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior presence–that is the grandest patience in the universe. It is Job in the tempest; it is Abraham on the road to Moriah; it is Moses in the desert of Midian; it is the Son of man in the Garden of Gethsemane. There is no patience so hard as that which endures, “as seeing him who is invisible”; it is the waiting for hope.

Thou hast made waiting beautiful; Thou has made patience divine. Thou hast taught us that the Father’s will may be received just because it is His will. Thou hast revealed to us that a soul may see nothing but sorrow in the cup and yet may refuse to let it go, convinced that the eye of the Father sees further than its own.

Give me this Divine power of Thine, the power of Gethsemane. Give me the power to wait for hope itself, to look out from the casement where there are no stars. Give me the power, when the very joy that was set before me is gone, to stand unconquered amid the night, and say, “To the eye of my Father it is perhaps shining still.”

I shall reach the climax of strength when I have learned to wait for hope.
–George Matheson

Strive to be one of those–so few–who walk the earth with ever-present consciousness–all mornings, middays, star-times–that the unknown which men call Heaven is “close behind the visible scene of things.”

From death to life

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.’ 1 Samuel 2:6

Suggested Further Reading: John 14:4–11

I heard the other day a trembling woman—I hope she will yet be rejoicing in the Lord—I heard her saying she was afraid she never should be saved, and I told her I was afraid so too, for she would not believe in Christ, but was always raising questions, and doubts, and peradventures. Well, she said, she did not know whether the Lord had begun a good work in her. I told her I did not know that either, and that I did not enquire about it; I knew what the gospel said, and that was, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’ But she said, perhaps it was not God’s time. I said, ‘Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’ Ah! she said, but she could not believe. I asked her why she could not believe. Could she not believe what Christ said? Was he a liar? Could she dare to say that she could not believe her God? Well, she did not exactly mean that, but then there were her sins. But, said I, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ Well, she said, she hoped she should have the strivings of the Spirit, and that one day she should get right. ‘My sister,’ said I, ‘I charge you before God, do not get any hope out of that; your business is to come to Christ and to come to Christ now; but if you stop anywhere short of that, in any sort of feelings or experience, then you will never get to your journey’s end.’ A believing sinner’s business is with Jesus and not with the Spirit’s operations. The Spirit works salvation in him, but he is nowhere bidden to look to the Spirit for salvation. No man can come to the Father but by Christ.

For meditation: The fact that we cannot ‘save ourselves’ but have to ‘be saved’ is no excuse for anyone to sit back and hope for the best. God has revealed to us the way to be saved—by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 16:16John 3:16–17Romans 10:9Ephesians 2:8) —and that step of faith is commanded, not suggested (Acts 16:30–31).

Keep On Asking

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Keep on Asking

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Allen Carter – Head of Development/ CBN Europe

There is something about being a child that intrigues me: the simplicity of childlike faith that doesn’t take time to reason or to filter what is said—and has the confidence to ask and the simplicity to believe that they will receive. Childlike faith asks from a place of vulnerability with the expectation of an answer.

I can remember living on a farm as a child, and my brother and I coming up with an idea to ask our parents for a horse. It had always been our dream, so we came up with a plan: We would ask, and if the answer was no, we would pray and ask. We even came up with a chant which, looking back, was quite annoying: “We want a horse; we want a horse!” After many weeks of asking and using the power of persuasion, Dad and Mum eventually gave in, and we became the owners of a beautiful horse.


In Matthew 7:7-8 AMP there is a familiar passage of Scripture: “Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.”

There is something about asking that opens doors of opportunity—doors that probably won’t open without an initial, persistent ask. When we choose to ask, it creates a God-given moment and space for Him to demonstrate His goodness and kindness toward us.

In these verses notice how many times the phrase “keep on” is mentioned after the ask, seek, and knock. To “keep on” speaks of persevering and continuing. Whenever we ask and keep on asking, God’s Word says “it will be given to you.” And that “when you seek and keep on seeking you will find, when you knock and keep on knocking the door will be opened to you.” There isn’t any suggestion of perhaps or possibly or it might happen. There is absolute certainty that God will respond with, “It will be given, it will be opened to you.”

A – ASK
S – SEEK
K – KNOCK

Verse 11 reads: “If you then, evil (sinful by nature) as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give what is good and advantageous to those who keep on asking Him.”

God already knows the secret desires of our heart, and yet He wants us to communicate and ask Him. Our heavenly Father longs, and desires, to give good gifts and things; however, there are times that we are reluctant to ask because we are uncertain of the outcome, or we don’t realize that the thing we want is freely available.

I wonder how many gifts and answers to prayers are stored up in heaven simply waiting for us to ask?

John 15:7 reads: “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.”

When we have a living, vibrant relationship with Jesus and allow His Word to abide and remain within us, there is a flow that proceeds from His heart toward us. Every day is a new adventure filled with opportunities and possibilities.

Children have no problem in asking; it’s in their nature. However, as adults, we somehow lose the desire to ask. We need to learn to pray big, audacious prayers, believing that our Heavenly Father can and will answer with no strings attached.

James 1:17 reads: Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes].

God is a good God, and an incredible Father—and everything good within our lives comes from Him. He is the source, and we cannot take any credit. His goodness and free-flowing, extravagant grace are freely available every day.

Can I encourage you to be childlike and to continue asking your heavenly Father, believing that you will receive? You won’t be disappointed!

Streams in the Desert – July 25

  • 202225 Jul

What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter (John 13:7).

We have only a partial view here of God’s dealings, His half-completed, half-developed plan; but all will stand out in fair and graceful proportions in the great finished Temple of Eternity!

Go, in the reign of Israel’s greatest king, to the heights of Lebanon. See that noble cedar, the pride of its compeers, an old wrestler with northern blasts! Summer loves to smile upon it, night spangles its feathery foliage with dewdrops, the birds nestle on its branches, the weary pilgrim or wandering shepherd reposes under its shadows from the midday heat or from the furious storm; but all at once it is marked out to fall; The aged denizen of the forest is doomed to succumb to the woodman’s stroke!

As we see the axe making its first gash on its gnarled trunk, then the noble limbs stripped of their branches, and at last the “Tree of God,” as was its distinctive epithet, coming with a crash to the ground, we exclaim against the wanton destruction, the demolition of this proud pillar in the temple of nature. We are tempted to cry with the prophet, as if inviting the sympathy of every lowlier stem–invoking inanimate things to resent the affront–“Howl, fir tree; for the cedar has fallen!”

But wait a little. Follow that gigantic trunk as the workmen of Hiram launch it down the mountain side; thence conveyed in rafts along the blue waters of the Mediterranean; and last of all, behold it set a glorious polished beam in the Temple of God. As you see its destination, placed in the very Holy of Holies, in the diadem of the Great King–say, can you grudge that “the crown of Lebanon” was despoiled, in order that this jewel might have so noble a setting? That cedar stood as a stately prop in Nature’s sanctuary, but “the glory of the latter house was greater than the glory of the former!”

How many of our souls are like these cedars of old! God’s axes of trial have stripped and bared them. We see no reason for dealings so dark and mysterious, but He has a noble end and object in view; to set them as everlasting pillars and rafters in His Heavenly Zion; to make them a “crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of our God.”
–Macduff

I do not ask my cross to understand,
My way to see–
Better in darkness just to feel Thy hand,
And follow Thee.

Clearing Up Conversation Confusion

Our feelings can mislead us; confidence comes when we choose to trust what the Word of God says.

1 John 5:10-15

We have an Enemy who wants to undermine our confidence in salvation. We’ve all been there—joyfully moving along through life, sure of our standing as God’s children, when all of the sudden we sin and our feelings take over. Satan can use our remorse and conflicting emotions to eat away at our assurance. We think, There’s no way I can be saved. If I were truly saved, I would never have done such a thing. Overwhelmed by feelings of regret and shame, we find our faith coming under fire.

It is amazing how effectively our fleeting human emotions can undermine our certainty about God’s promises. We should remember that feelings can be unreliable; the Lord, however, says only what is true and never seeks to confuse us. Anytime your emotions contradict the Word of God, you can be sure the Scriptures are reliable. For a believer, “feeling saved” is like a husband or wife “feeling married.” You either are or you’re not; your feelings do not make it so.

Has a sense of regret stolen your confidence in God’s eternal salvation? Lay your feelings before the Lord today, and embrace the certainty that comes only with His truth. Our loving Father longs for you to trust Him without wavering.

Salvation altogether by grace

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.’ 2 Timothy 1:9

Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 2:11–22

To say that we save ourselves is to utter a manifest absurdity. We are called in Scripture ‘a temple’—a holy temple in the Lord. But shall any one assert that the stones of the edifice were their own architect? Shall it be said that the stones of the building in which we are now assembled cut themselves into their present shape, and then spontaneously came together, and piled this spacious edifice? Should anyone assert such a foolish thing, we should be disposed to doubt his sanity; much more may we suspect the spiritual sanity of any man who should venture to affirm that the great temple of the church of God designed and erected itself. No: we believe that God the Father was the architect, sketched the plan, supplies the materials, and will complete the work. Shall it be also said that those who are redeemed have redeemed themselves? That slaves of Satan break their own fetters? Then why was a Redeemer needed at all? How should there be any need for Jesus to descend into the world to redeem those who could redeem themselves? Do you believe that the sheep of God, whom he has taken from between the jaws of the lion, could have rescued themselves? It were a strange thing if such were the case. We cannot believe that Christ came to do what the sinners might have done themselves. No. ‘I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me;’ and the redemption of his people shall give glory unto himself only. Shall it be asserted that those who were once dead have spiritually quickened themselves? Can the dead make themselves alive?

For meditation: The Greek usually translated ‘save yourselves’ in Acts 2:40 should be translated ‘be saved’ as found in other places in the New Testament (cf. Acts 2:21,474:1216:30–31Ephesians 2:8). Have you been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18–19) and built into God’s church (Ephesians 2:221 Peter 2:5)?

God’s Steadfast Love

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Your Steadfast Love

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Maria Stockman – Digital Copywriter, cbn.com

Do you ever feel like everything in this world changes so rapidly that it feels almost impossible to keep up? With 24/7 news, social media, family, friends, and co-workers with solid opinions, how hard is it to keep up with what’s happening today?

I remember in early 2020 there was a massive debate about whether zinc would help build your immune system. Some experts said yes; others said don’t waste your money. Is cow’s milk better than nut milk? What about raw dairy? Or one of my favorite debates is whether carbs or fat are the true enemies of weight loss!

There’s just so much new information, outdated information, and old ways of thinking that it’s hard to make informed decisions and opinions today. Not only is it hard to make an informed decision, but many are looking for the next best thing, which typically leaves us feeling empty and defeated. But what we can always count on is God’s love for us. King David says of the Lord,

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord. Psalm 36:5-6 (ESV)

While the world always has something new, God is steadfast and unchanging. His love for us is precious and strong. So, if you feel overwhelmed with what’s on the news or the latest press release from the White House, remember that God is constant. He does not change. In Hebrews 13:8, the writer sums this up so well, saying,

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

What a relief that the God of the universe is unchanging. He does not get swayed by politics, feelings, or world events. He is constant, and He is good.

How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 36:7). Thank You for being constant in a changing world. Thank You for allowing us to take refuge in you when we feel overwhelmed by the world. Thank You for providing all the answers we need. Father, when we get caught up in the world’s ways, remind us that You are steadfast, and we can always find refuge in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Passing Through the Waters

Roy Berkenbosch, author, Today Devotions

  ISAIAH 43:1-7

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. . . .”

—  Isaiah 43:2

These words about passing through waters had a special meaning for the people of Israel. When they fled from Egypt, they came to the impassable Red Sea, and it seemed they would be trapped by the pursuing Pharaoh and his army. But God miraculously opened a way so that they could cross on dry land (Exodus 14). Later they also crossed the Jordan River on dry ground to enter the promised land (Joshua 3-4). So the idea of passing through waters became a shorthand way of saying that God would watch over them through all kinds of adversity.

These words have special meaning for the people of Satkhira in southern Bangladesh. They live on a huge flood plain near the world’s largest mangrove forest. They often experience cyclones and storm surges that cause massive flooding. Rising sea levels are also flooding miles of rice paddies with saltwater, destroying farmland, displacing families, and leading to economic hardship, food insecurity, and climate refugees.

As these folks “pass through the waters,” they are not alone but are being accompanied by Christian organizations who help them learn new skills, find new employment, and adapt their farming techniques. And they are learning to trust God.

All of us can trust God in the storms and challenges of life. He is right there with us.

God, grant your mercy in the lives of everyone facing challenges. As you promise, be with us all as we “pass through the ­waters.” Amen.

Believing is Seeing – Streams in the Desert – July 24

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Then believed they his words; they sang his praise. They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel; but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul (Psalms 106:12-15).

We read of Moses, that “he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” Exactly the opposite was true of the children of Israel in this record. They endured only when the circumstances were favorable; they were largely governed by the things that appealed to their senses, in place of resting in the invisible and eternal God.

In the present day there are those who live intermittent Christian lives because they have become occupied with the outward, and center in circumstances, in place of centering in God. God wants us more and more to see Him in everything, and to call nothing small if it bears us His message.

Here we read of the children of Israel, “Then they believed his words.” They did not believe till after they saw–when they saw Him work, then they believed. They really doubted God when they came to the Red Sea; but when God opened the way and led them across and they saw Pharaoh and his host drowned–“then they believed.” They led an up and down life because of this kind of faith; it was a faith that depended upon circumstances. This is not the kind of faith God wants us to have.

The world says “seeing is believing,” but God wants us to believe in order to see. The Psalmist said, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

Do you believe God only when the circumstances are favorable, or do you believe no matter what the circumstances may be?
–C. H. P.

Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.
–St. Augustine

~

Acknowledge God’s Presence Each Day

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You Are What You Behold

arms lifted ocean

 

Robyn Hattingh – Communications Manager – CBN South Africa

According to the KJV dictionary, to behold is to “fix the eyes upon; to see with attention; to observe with care.” The actions used to describe beholding (fix, see with attention, and observe) all take time to do. As with paintings in an art gallery, beholding involves time—to fully take in and comprehend what is being seen.

This concept of beholding is one that many of us have heard before. Even more likely, you’ve heard it in a Christian context. Hearing it challenges us to question where we are focusing our time and energy. What do we spend most of our time doing? What consumes most of our thoughts? And most importantly, are we good stewards of what has been placed in our hands?

If we are honest with ourselves, we get carried away with work, social activities, family, ambitious ventures, mindless scrolling and watching our screens, and so much more. Our lives are so fast-paced. It has become normal to celebrate the “busyness” as a victory, as a sign of success. But is it?

I’ve found that we get so carried away with this busyness that we miss God. And people I’ve been chatting with also feel the noise of busyness drowns out His voice. In the small moments where He delights in the daily pleasures with us, and in the big moments that we will remember for a long time. In the moments with our families, in the quiet of the morning, in the challenging times. We miss God in it all because we get so caught up in the busyness, that we forget to take a step back and behold what He has placed around us and how He is working every single day.

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame (Psalm 34:5 NIV).

As you look to Him more and more every day, His radiance falls on you. There will be a glow about you. I imagine it to be like gazing upon something that makes us happy, like in an art gallery, and you walk away from it radiating the joy of gazing upon something truly beautiful. And God certainly is beautiful… just look at His creation.

As a team at CBN South Africa, we’ve been encouraged to lean into God in the small moments — the mundanity of the day-to-day, the busyness, the quiet at the end of the day. To not only wait for and rely on the big moments, but to be consistent and look for those small moments with God. Often, the small moments lead to bigger ones. So today, as you read this, start thinking about how you can seek more of the small, precious moments with God as you tackle the rest of this year so that you may radiate Him wherever you go.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

July 23

1 Chronicles 17:20 20“There is no one like you, O LORD, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.

David is told that God is the One who will build a house for David, not David for God. God promised to have David’s descendant reign forever. That descendant is Jesus, the son of David. I doubt David understood all the implications of what God spoke to him. We rarely do. Still, even in our limited and sometimes faulty understanding, we are in awe that the Creator of the universe would bother with us and even honor us so. Perhaps David thought of an earthly dynasty. That would have been wonderful enough. But I don’t think he could have conceived that the Son of God would be born through his line to bring salvation to all mankind.

There is no one like God. He is the only God. He is the only One who could make such an amazing promise and fulfill it in ways beyond David’s comprehension. He is more wonderful than we can perceive. Our understanding of Him is always limited, for He is infinite. Our appreciation will always fall short.

Whatever your situation or need, know that God is more than sufficient. He can work in ways you cannot understand. When Judah went into captivity, they must have wondered what happened to these promises. God was still keeping them.

Consider: In our darkest nights we can know God is still on the throne of heaven working all things together for our good and His eternal glory.

Giving Thanks – Streams in the Desert – July 23

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Giving thanks always for all things unto God (Ephesians 5:20).

No matter what the source of the evil, if you are in God and surrounded by Him as by an atmosphere, all evil has to pass through Him before it comes to you. Therefore you can thank God for everything that comes, not for the sin of it, but for what God will bring out of it and through it. May God make our lives thanksgiving and perpetual praise, then He will make everything a blessing.

We once saw a man draw some black dots. We looked and could make nothing of them but an irregular assemblage of black dots. Then he drew a few lines, put in a few rests, then a clef at the beginning, and we saw these black dots were musical notes. On sounding them we were singing,

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below.”

There are many black dots and black spots in our lives, and we cannot understand why they are there or why God permitted them to come. But if we let God come into our lives, and adjust the dots in the proper way, and draw the lines He wants, and separate this from that, and put in the rests at the proper places; out of the black dots and spots in our lives He will make a glorious harmony.

Let us not hinder Him in this glorious work!
–C. H. P.

Friendship: A Help to Holiness

From: Intouch Ministries

Strong friendships allow us to have tough conversations and also challenge us in our walk with God.

John 15:12-15

Of all that God created, one thing did not meet with His approval. With regard to Adam, He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). The Creator designed people for emotional, mental, and physical intimacy—to share their innermost selves with one another.

Jesus taught His disciples that they should love each other as He had loved them. (John 15:12). In a God-honoring friendship, two people build each other up and spur one another toward Christlikeness. Many people, however, don’t have relationships that sharpen their faith (Proverbs 27:17). They instead settle for the trivial talk of casual acquaintances, about things like the weather or world news.

But the best relationships don’t shy away from vulnerable conversations. Fruitful friendships can begin when men and women risk their pride and comfort to discuss accountability, biblical living, or anything meant to motivate one another in holiness. When there’s trust and submission, two people can confess sin, offer gentle reproof, and share burdens.

The walls we build to keep people at a distance are often defenses against God as well—to keep Him out of our dearest personal business. But if we share openly with a brother or sister in Christ, we will learn to be more honest with God too.

Trusting God During Grief

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Trusting God During Grief

holding-hands-grief

 

Several years ago, more than 10 close family members, friends, co-workers, and ministry team members died in less than 24 months. It was a difficult time. At times, the grief was tremendous and, in my exhaustion, all I could do was cry out to God. The psalmist David shared a similar experience as he lamented,

“Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress, my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing” (Psalm 31:9-10 ESV).

During this time, I began to wonder how long my season of grief would last. As I walked through my mourning, I asked God to lead me and be my strength as I processed my emotions and slowly moved forward with my life, dreams and goals. The words of the psalmist David once again echoed my own experience as he wrote,

For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me. Psalm 31:3

Often the Lord would lead me to Scriptures, and even to people, that encouraged me through empathetic words, prayers, meals, housework help, and errands. All of this encouraged me to trust in God even more as my healing continued.

Through my time of grief, I also experienced God’s peace and comfort. As He comforted me, he reassured me through His Word that grief was a normal human reaction to loss. I also came to the realization that losses of many kinds can lead to grief. Whether it is a job loss, a relationship loss, or even loss of a favorite regular routine such as many of us experienced during the pandemic, a form of grief often follows.

Trust God in hard times. Even when times are hard and grief seems to be a constant companion, trusting God is possible. In my time of loss, I chose to trust that God was still with me and still had a glorious plan for my life. As David said in Psalm 31:14,

But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.”

With tears streaming down my cheeks, sometimes I would just whisper, “I trust in You, God.” Those words encouraged me to continue to trust God, and they were also my way of saying to God that I still trusted Him even when I did not understand why I was experiencing such tremendous loss.

May the following prayer encourage you if you find yourself experiencing grief of any kind.

 

Today’s Devotions

Morning

July 22

1 Chronicles 16:8-11 8Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. 9Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 10Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. 11Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

Chronicles records the story of the ark coming to Jerusalem. The first time they tried to bring it their own way, and Uzzah died. The second time they did it according to the Word of the LORD. There was great rejoicing. David danced so all-out that his wife despised him. Musicians were appointed to play before the ark on a regular basis. David gave gifts of food to everyone. It was truly a festive occasion.

At that time David committed a psalm to his worship leader, Asaph. He didn’t just give it to him, but committed it to him. Asaph had this Spirit inspired song and was now responsible to see it sung. Is that how we feel about Spirit inspired music? It is committed to our worship leaders so that they see it is sung to the LORD.

In this psalm David commands us to give thanks to the LORD, to call on His name and to tell the nations what God has done. He is commanding us to send out missionaries. We are to sing to Him! We often sing about Him, telling of His wonderful acts, but we need to sing to Him also. We are to glory in His holy name. His name is the sum of His attributes. Glory in all that God is! If you seek the LORD, your heart should rejoice.

Then David told a lesson that was just reinforced. He sought God when the Philistine army came against Israel. The first time God directed them one way to victory. The second time God directed them in a different way, and they defeated the enemy again. Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always. That is something Saul did not do, but David was determined to do.

 

Seeing and not seeing, or men as trees walking

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘He took the blind man by the hand …; when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, … and he … saw every man clearly.’ Mark 8:23–25

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 5:11–14

Be not satisfied, my dear friends, with being saved; desire to know how you are saved, why you are saved, the method by which you are saved. It is a rock on which you stand, I know, but think upon the questions—how you were put upon that rock, by whose love you came there, and why that love was set on you. I would to God that all the members of this church were not only in Christ Jesus, but understood him, and knew by the assurance of the understanding whereunto they have attained. Recollect there are many grave distinctions in Scripture which will save you a world of trouble if you will know and remember them. Try to understand the difference between the old nature and the new. Never expect the old nature to improve into the new, for it never will. The old nature can never do anything but sin, and the new nature never can sin. These are two distinct principles; never confound them. Do not see men as trees walking. Do not confuse sanctification and justification. Recollect that the moment you trust in Christ you are justified as completely as you will be in heaven, but sanctification is a gradual work, which is carried on from day to day by God the Holy Spirit. Distinguish between the great truth that salvation is all of God, and the great lie that men are not to be blamed if they are lost. Be well assured that salvation is of the Lord, but do not lay damnation at God’s door. Be not ashamed if men call you a Calvinist, but hate with all your heart Antinomianism. On the other hand, while you believe human responsibility, never run into the error that man ever turns to God of his own free will. There is a narrow line between the two errors; ask for grace to see it.

For meditation: Recently born again believers cannot be expected to be experts in doctrine, but long-standing converts ought to know better (1 Corinthians 3:1–213:1114:20Ephesians 4:14–15).

Wait on the Lord (for He Waits for You) – Streams in the Desert – July 22

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And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you… blessed are all they that wait for him (Isaiah 30:18).

We must not only think of our waiting upon God, but also of what is more wonderful still, of God’s waiting upon us. The vision of Him waiting on us will give new impulse and inspiration to our waiting upon Him. It will give us unspeakable confidence that our waiting cannot be in vain. Let us seek even now, at this moment, in the spirit of waiting on God, to find out something of what it means.

He has inconceivably glorious purposes concerning every one of His children. And you ask, “How is it, if He waits to be gracious, that even after I come and wait upon Him, He does not give the help I seek, but waits on longer and longer?” God is a wise husbandman, “who waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it.” He cannot gather the fruit till it is ripe. He knows when we are spiritually ready to receive the blessing to our profit and His glory. Waiting in the sunshine of His love is what will ripen the soul for His blessing. Waiting under the cloud of trial, that breaks in showers of blessings, is as needful.

Be assured that if God waits longer than you could wish, it is only to make the blessing doubly precious. God waited four thousand years, till the fullness of time, ere He sent His Son. Our times are in His hands; He will avenge His elect speedily; He will make haste for our help, and not delay one hour too long.
–Andrew Murray