Monthly Archives: October 2022

God Won’t Trick You

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God Won’t Trick You

hands holding a cup of hot coffee in an autumn setting


Lori Wilkerson Stewart – 700 Club Producer,

It was Halloween night, 1985, and I was home alone. Only 16 at the time, I was tasked with passing out candy to the trick-or-treaters while my parents went out for the evening. Around 10 o’clock, I climbed into bed and turned out the lights. Immediately I began to hear tapping on my window, which was strange since I was on the second floor. Every few minutes, I heard what sounded like pebbles hitting my window, but when I looked through my curtains, there was no one there. It was unsettling.

Soon after, the doorbell rang. I thought my parents must have forgotten their keys, so I headed downstairs and opened the front door. I was startled by two 4-foot-tall boys in frightening masks standing there. My heart started to pound. I asked them, “Isn’t it a little late to be trick-or-treating?” As they silently shook their heads “no,” someone started beating on my back door. This completely freaked me out, and I let out a small scream. That’s when one of the boys took off his mask, and I instantly recognized my boyfriend’s younger brother. When my boyfriend appeared—laughing hysterically—from around the corner, I realized two things: I had been tricked, and I really needed to break up with my boyfriend!

It’s fun to participate in harmless shenanigans and mischief from time to time. On the other hand, sometimes people play tricks on us that can cause real harm. Phishing, spoofing, ghosting, and catfishing—new terms are popping up left and right—it’s hard to keep up with all the ways people can hurt you these days! The enemy is always coming up with diabolical schemes to wreak havoc on us. In fact, you can trace all lies and partial truths back to him:

He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44 NLT).

Thankfully, there is One who will never prank you, deceive you, or have a big laugh at your expense. God won’t trick you because it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18)!

Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true (Romans 3:4).

In Matthew 7:9-10Jesus presents a scenario that sounds a little bit like “trick-or-treating”:

“You parents, if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!”

Jesus is making the point that if we ask God for something good and necessary, He’s not going to trick us and give us something terrible! We serve a kind and loving God who wants to give good gifts to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:11).

I love to pray the promises of God. The Bible is packed with promises for healing, for provision, for protection, for peace, etc. And since God cannot lie, I know in God’s time, they will all come to pass. What are you praying and believing God for today? Be assured that a good answer is on the way. God won’t trick you.

Today’s Devotions


October 31

Psalms 127:1-2 1Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. 2In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat– for he grants sleep to those he loves.

One of the most repeated messages in the Bible is our helplessness without God. I can build a dwelling. I can create a family. But if God is not in it, all my work is without meaning. It is utterly unproductive. Man has the idea that if he relies on himself, he will surely get things done. The Gospel message tells us that without the LORD we will accomplish nothing (John 15:5).

We can’t even protect ourselves. Unless God is watching over us, we are clear targets for the enemy of our soul. Consider the infant in the manger. If God were not watching over that helpless baby, what chance would he have had of surviving Herod’s extermination of every infant in the area? The Destroyer is held at bay by God. We forget to thank God for that daily protection.

The psalmist speaks of a house and a city. The New Testament uses both as an analogy to the church. Today we have many men building churches. There are formulas that work to gather large numbers of people. If God is not the builder, if the work is the work of man and not the Holy Spirit, we will see it end in vanity. Is the LORD building the church you attend? Is the leadership following the Holy Spirit? Encourage that by letting your household be built by God. Let God build your home by faithfully hearing from God and following through on His leading.

You can work eighteen hours every day. You can do your best as if all success depended on you, but success comes from the LORD. He doesn’t drive His sheep. He calls to them to follow Him. He promises them rest.

Consider: Are you cognoscente of the fact that success in God’s eyes is not dependent on how hard you labor, but on your obedience in the little things? As you obey in the little things, He works out the big issues, and the fruit of that cooperation is eternal.

Streams in the Desert – October 31

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Likewise also the Spirit helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what to pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).

This is the deep mystery of prayer. This is the delicate divine mechanism which words cannot interpret, and which theology cannot explain, but which the humblest believer knows even when he does not understand.

Oh, the burdens that we love to bear and cannot understand! Oh, the inarticulate out-reachings of our hearts for things we cannot comprehend! And yet we know they are an echo from the throne and a whisper from the heart of God. It is often a groan rather than a song, a burden rather than a buoyant wing. But it is a blessed burden, and it is a groan whose undertone is praise and unutterable joy. It is “a groaning which cannot be uttered.” We could not ourselves express it always, and sometimes we do not understand any more than that God is praying in us, for something that needs His touch and that He understands.

And so we can just pour out the fullness of our heart, the burden of our spirit, the sorrow that crushes us, and know that He hears, He loves, He understands, He receives; and He separates from our prayer all that is imperfect, ignorant and wrong, and presents the rest, with the incense of the great High Priest, before the throne on high; and our prayer is heard, accepted and answered in His name.
–A. B. Simpson

It is not necessary to be always speaking to God or always hearing from God, to have communion with Him; there is an inarticulate fellowship more sweet than words. The little child can sit all day long beside its busy mother and, although few words are spoken on either side, and both are busy, the one at his absorbing play, the other at her engrossing work, yet both are in perfect fellowship. He knows that she is there, and she knows that he is all right.

So the saint and the Saviour can go on for hours in the silent fellowship of love, and he be busy about the most common things, and yet conscious that every little thing he does is touched with the complexion of His presence, and the sense of His approval and blessing.

And then, when pressed with burdens and troubles too complicated to put into words and too mysterious to tell or understand, how sweet it is to fall back into His blessed arms, and just sob out the sorrow that we cannot speak!


From: Today’s Devotion

  ROMANS 2:1-4

Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

—  Romans 2:4

Romans 2:4 reveals the path by which we and others come to repentance. It’s all because of God’s kindness.

But too often we assume that the threat of judgment is what leads to repentance. “If only we can show people how bad they are, then they will be sorry,” we think. Or perhaps if we can show them the consequences of their actions—like some negative life outcomes, or the ultimate punishment of going to hell—then they will repent, right?

But the path to repentance is quite different. Instead, God is kind with us. And God waits patiently for us to notice his kindness. And rather than showing us our consequences, God actually holds back our consequences—at least many of the worst ones. Holding back consequences is called forbearance. God forbears with us until we see his kindness.

It is God’s kindness that leads to our repentance. God’s example challenges us to somehow forbear with other people’s unrepentant attitudes. It’s not our place to judge them or bring about their conse­quences. In fact, perhaps, like Christ, we ought to help bear ­others’ consequences. We should show the kindness, ­patience, and forbearance that God has shown us.

Dear Jesus, this world is still full of vices. Help us to endure in forbearing with others, just as you have endured with us. Amen.

His Message

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His Message

woman public speaking


Nia Taylor – Trainer – Virginia Beach Prayer Center

Recently, I had the privilege to preach at our church conference for the first time. It was not my first time speaking to a group, but it was my first time speaking in front of them. I was so nervous, frightened, and scared. I knew I should not be scared because God was with me. His word says:

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry (2 Timothy 4:2-5 NIV).

This was His message, not mine but it had taken me so long to get a word. I had sat before Him praying “Lord send me a word for your people” and I had gotten nothing. Slowly and steadily the message came—2 Timothy 4:2-5. It was brief but I had wished there were more.

Little did I know I was going first. I was going to start off the conference. My word from God was going to set the stage for everyone else. The pressure was on. When I took the podium to start my message, I started to shake but no one noticed. I also had a quiver in my voice; they did not notice that either. I yelled out, “Now at the count of three scream ‘All Aboard’”! And they did.

Then the message began to flow. It was one of encouragement and bravery to equip the people of God for these coming times. We know we are in a world that is turning away from God. We are the saints called to equip the body whether it is preaching, teaching, evangelizing, prophesying, or praying. As long as we do our job God will do His.

No matter what He has called you to do, do not be afraid. He will equip you for the work. He will give you everything you need, even the words you need. He has gotten it all under control. He called you for the time and for this season.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for such a clear and powerful word for Your people. Help us to hear this message deep in our souls and always be ready to share Your truth. It’s not well received at times and many have turned away from it and embraced myths. Pour out Your Word through us through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Give us courage, strength, and wisdom. Amen.

Streams In The Desert – October 30

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Let us run with patience (Hebrews 12:1).

To run with patience is a very difficult thing. Running is apt to suggest the absence of patience, the eagerness to reach the goal. We commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet, I do not think the invalid’s patience the hardest to achieve.

There is a patience which I believe to be harder–the patience that can run. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a strength greater still: It is the power to work under a stroke; to have a great weight at your heart and still to run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily task. It is a Christlike thing!

Many of us would nurse our grief without crying if we were allowed to nurse it. The hard thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience, not in bed, but in the street. We are called to bury our sorrows, not in lethargic quiescence, but in active service–in the exchange, in the workshop, in the hour of social intercourse, in the contribution to another’s joy. There is no burial of sorrow so difficult as that; it is the “running with patience.”

This was Thy patience, O Son of man! It was at once a waiting and a running–a waiting for the goal, and a doing of the lesser work meantime. I see Thee at Cana turning the water into wine lest the marriage feast should be clouded. I see Thee in the desert feeding a multitude with bread just to relieve a temporary want. All, all the time, Thou wert bearing a mighty grief, unshared, unspoken. Men ask for a rainbow in the cloud; but I would ask more from Thee. I would be, in my cloud, myself a rainbow — a minister to others’ joy. My patience will be perfect when it can work in the vineyard.
–George Matheson

Today’s Devotions


October 30

Psalms 119:67, 71 67Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.

71It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

There are times when we need affliction, be it physical, mental, or emotional. If it is indeed good for us, as the psalmist here declares, we should be careful not to ask to be delivered from it too soon. We are to pray for the healing of one another, yet we need to discern God’s timing for that healing. Some would consider all afflictions the work of Satan that must be rebuked and immediately healed. There are times when Jesus healed all, that is, all that came to Him (Luke 6:19). There are other times when He walked through a crowd of sick folks to pick out one person who was to be healed (John 5:3).

When we are afflicted we should look for a lesson to be learned or an insight to be gained. We learned from Job that even though Satan may bring the affliction, God uses it to reveal Himself to us. It may be a time of stretching your faith and trust in God. It may be an opportunity to be still and learn in what way your decisions have varied from God’s leading.

In this passage the psalmist implies he was not obeying the Word of God. His illness was due to his straying from God’s Word. So, when we are ill, we should look to see if our lives are lined up with the Word of God. In the second verse he said the affliction was good for him because through it he learned what God had decreed. Our lives often get in such a busy state that we tend to run on autopilot. An affliction stops us in our tracks and shows us that life goes on even when we stop our busyness. If we are too busy to hear, God may, in His mercy, stop us with affliction so that we will take time to get His direction. Which would you prefer, a week of the flu, or a fatal head-on?

Remember: Next time you are afflicted, first ask what God wants to work in your life through the affliction. Recognize it is good for you. Then, after you have heard God’s answer, pray for healing.


From: Today Devotions

  ROMANS 1:28-2:4

They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil.

—  Romans 1:29-31


Ever since sin came into our world, we human beings have been thinking up new ways to do bad things or to do things badly. And if we think we are immune from this, we are only deceiving ourselves.

Creativity is part of the image of God given to human beings, and, sadly, we have put our creativity to use to destroy as much of the rest of God’s image in us as possible. That’s what our passage today in Romans warns about.

God has always been there for us to find, but until the Lord came into our lives, we refused to find him. We didn’t want to. Our sinful nature turned us away from God. We wanted to pursue bad things, or if we wanted to pursue anything good, we wanted to do it our way.

In the opening chapter of Romans, Paul is clearly angry about all the evil that people have done in the world, and then in chapter 2 he turns a corner. Every person has had some part in this creative sinfulness we’ve brought into the world, and if any of us thinks we can judge another, we are condemning ourselves.

Even so, God has been kind and merciful to forgive us and show us a better way. And since God has been kind to us, we can and must spread that kindness to everyone else as well.

Crossroads of Character

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Crossroads of Character

car driver


Vernell Windsor – Prayer Center Coach,

Have you ever wanted the Lord to punish someone because they mistreated you? Or perhaps experienced road rage? Maybe you argued with the other driver like they could hear you from the confines of your car? Or perhaps you “retaliated” by making hand symbols they could “read” in any language? The struggles of humankind are real.

Do not worry! My road rage days ended one morning years ago when my tween daughter said to me, “Mom, two wrongs don’t make a right.” Ouch! I was deeply convicted for my tongue-lashing and worked diligently to not speak against anyone on the road again. This new way of driving required a lot of intentionality. And I had to replace the habit with something else. You guessed it; I began to pray for them instead.

The prophet Jeremiah had much to say about those who gave him a hard time. Consider his response in the following verse:

Yet You, O Lord, know all their deadly designs against me; do not forgive their iniquity or blot out their sin from Your sight. But may they be overthrown before You; deal with them in the time of Your anger! (Jeremiah 18:23 NASB)

Jeremiah’s outburst sounded like road rage. He was confronted by angry men who meant him great harm and responded like David did in many of the Psalms. This was not his finest moment. We have all been in that place of desperation at some point or another. There is a crossroads, and we must decide which path to take. The Bible has a lot to say about anger but much more about love. May we always remember that God is love!

For me, the whole road rage path became easy to turn away from because I wanted to demonstrate good character before God and my children. The Holy Spirit really does convict us of sin and helps us overcome it. He helped me to bridle my tongue and refocus on compassion for others. After all, Jeremiah 18 was all about the Lord’s desire to bless, not curse. I love that we “get to” choose the outcome. May we always choose life and blessings.

Let’s pray. Father, our desire is to please You in all that we say and do. Help us to guard our hearts so that our manner of speech honors You and others. Allow us to see others with Your heart of compassion. Deliver us from every evil way. Help us to bridle our tongues so that they only speak to give You glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

Today’s Devotions


October 29

Psalms 119:9-11 9How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in our Bible. It is believed to have been written by Ezra during the restoration period, when the Jews returned to Israel from Babylon. The entire psalm is about the Word of God. Each section is entitled with a Hebrew letter, and each verse in that section begins with that letter. Every verse mentions the Word of God in some form.

Ezra asks how it is possible for young men to keep their way pure. Youth are changing physically and have little experience to know how to deal with those changes. The world today is of no help. It encourages them to sin against God and not consider it wrong to do so. What would your advice be to young men who wanted to serve God in all their ways? The Holy Spirit says that the one way is by living according to God’s Word. There must be time spent in God’s Word and the contemplation of what it is saying. That must be accompanied by desire to keep what one hears from the Word. But that alone is not enough. The next verse shows us that even though we seek God with all our heart, we need to ask God to keep us obedient to what we have heard. “God, don’t let me stray from your commands. I understand what You are saying, but I need Your help. I recognize that without Your help I would not be able to do it.”

But the author didn’t just leave it at that. He memorized what God was saying to Him. He kept the words like a hidden treasure locked in his heart, brought out to enjoy and examine often. Each day you can take a treasure from your morning time with God and place it within your heart to help guide you through the day. Carry those verses in your mind. Share them with friends. Let the Word be the thought that is the backdrop of your whole day. Sin will keep you from the Word, or the Word will keep you from sin.

Challenge: Young or old with a young heart, take time to gather treasure to take with you through each day. Make some of them a part of your permanent collection by committing them to memory.


  2 PETER 1:1-10

Make every effort to add to your faith goodness . . . knowledge . . . self-control . . . perseverance . . . godliness . . . mutual affection . . . love.

—  2 Peter 1:5-7

Have you ever stopped to think about what “goodness” actually is? It was probably one of the earliest concepts we learned. Something was good if we felt positively about it. And later, as we grew, we learned to add descriptions such as beautiful, healthy, pleasant, and more.

The kind of goodness that Peter describes here was prized in the Greek culture. It pointed to a kind of excellence that could overcome a great difficulty. For example, this would describe a Greek athlete who gained a victory despite an injury that would have kept most others from competing.

Christ challenges us to make our best efforts in striving with excellence to live like him. By his Spirit, he has given us the power—and even the victory. And in line with our being made in God’s image, I believe, we can find great satisfaction in our productive efforts to live as we are called. The level of goodness described in this passage is about doing our very best to live for Christ, and at the end of the day we can look back with satisfaction on the spiritual challenges we have faced and thank God for helping us.

Lord, help us to strive for goodness/excellence as we seek to live for you each day. Amen.

Satanic hindrances

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘Satan hindered us.’ 1 Thessalonians 2:18

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 11:1–15

How may I tell when Satan hinders me? I think you may tell thus: first by the object. Satan’s object in hindering us is to prevent our glorifying God. If anything has happened to you which has prevented your growing holy, useful, humble, and sanctified, then you may trace that to Satan. If the distinct object of the interference to the general current of your life has been that you may be turned from righteousness into sin, then from the object you may guess the author. It is not God who does this, but Satan. Yet know that God does sometimes put apparent hindrances in the way of his own people, even in reference to their usefulness and growth in grace, but then his object is still to be considered: it is to try his saints and so to strengthen them; while the object of Satan is to turn them out of the right road and make them take the crooked way. You may tell the suggestions of Satan, again, by the method in which they come: God employs good motives, Satan bad ones. If that which has turned you away from your object had been a bad thought, a bad doctrine, bad teaching, a bad motive—that never came from God, that must be from Satan. Again, you may tell them from their nature. Whenever an impediment to usefulness is pleasing, gratifying to you, consider that it came from Satan. Satan never brushes the feathers of his birds the wrong way; he generally deals with us according to our tastes and likings. He flavours his bait to his fish. He knows exactly how to deal with each man, and to put that motive which will fall in with the suggestions of poor carnal nature. Now, if the difficulty in your way is rather contrary to yourself than for yourself, then it comes from God; but if that which now is a hindrance brings you gain, or pleasure, or emolument in any way, rest assured it came from Satan.

For meditation: Satan’s devices during his attempts to hinder the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:1–1116:21–23). Jesus was aware of Satan’s devices (Luke 22:31). You need to be aware of them too, if Satan is not to take advantage of you (2 Corinthians 2:11).

Be Compassionate

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Be Compassionate

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By Mary Southerland,

“Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2 (NLT)

I was worried about our daughter. Danna has a severe case of endometriosis. She is often in so much pain that her husband finds her is curled up in a ball on her bathroom floor. Her OB/GYN is beginning to talk with her about having a hysterectomy. She is only 35! So, I struggle with worrying about her instead of trusting God to care for her. But I’m trying! For weeks, Danna has had severe pain in her shoulder that radiates under her arm into her upper back. She has tried just about everything – hot showers and baths, massage therapy, stretches, her husband trying to work out the knots with a handheld massager, using a Tens unit – but nothing has worked. So finally, her doctor prescribed physical therapy.

Physical therapy is usually painful. I have had to go through physical therapy after shoulder surgery for my back which is riddled with arthritis, Scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, and stenosis. And there are my knees – which are bone-on-bone, they tell me. Other than those issues, nothing hurts. But the fact is that physical therapy is usually painful. I know it is for my good, but it still hurts! I did not tell Danna that physical therapy can be painful because I didn’t want her to worry, and just maybe it wouldn’t be so excruciating. I was wrong. She called me in tears, describing all of the horrible things they did to her.

Danna’s youngest son, Hudson, is a walking heart. He knows my back always hurts, so whenever I am with him, he eventually stands beside me and lightly rubs my back. His love does lessen the pain. He especially does not like it when anyone hurts his mom – doctors included. So, when Danna picked the boys up from school, Hudson wanted to know every detail about what they had done. Hudson adores Danna. They have the most precious relationship.

When Danna described the physical therapy she had just experienced, she said Hudson’s eyes got bigger and bigger. Then came the question that undid him. “Mom, where did they do those things to you?” When Danna lightly touched the places on Hud where she had just gone through so many painful therapies, including dry needles, inserting a needle into the trigger points, and then turning on the electrical current, Hudson started crying. I asked, “Danna, did you poke him when describing the therapy? She said, “No! I just barely touched the spots where I was in pain. He started crying because someone had hurt his mom, and he could not stand it!” I had just been schooled in the true meaning of compassion – by my 9-year-old grandson.

Hudson reminded me of the Good Samaritan, with whom I have a love-hate relationship. The Samaritan decided to use his pain to help someone else who had been wounded. The Samaritan had experienced pain in his own life. He could have surrendered to that pain, as so many people do. But he made a different choice. You see, all Jews hated all Samaritans. It was just a fact. Jews had absolutely nothing to do with Samaritans. And here was the problem. The man lying on the road was indeed a Jew.

Think about that fact for a moment and let it sink in. There was no logical reason for this Samaritan to change his plans and spend his money to help this “enemy” or “sandpaper person” in need. But compassion doesn’t look for reasons to look for boundaries or restrictions. Instead, it pursues every opportunity to help those in need.

Together in Heavenly Places – Streams in the Desert – October 28

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But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ… and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6).

This is our rightful place, to be “seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” and to “sit still” there. But how few there are who make it their actual experience! How few, indeed think even that it is possible for them to “sit still” in these “heavenly places” in the everyday life of a world so full of turmoil as this.

We may believe perhaps that to pay a little visit to these heavenly places on Sundays, or now and then in times of spiritual exaltation, may be within the range of possibility; but to be actually “seated” there every day and all day long is altogether another matter; and yet it is very plain that it is for Sundays and week-days as well.

A quiet spirit is of inestimable value in carrying on outward activities; and nothing so hinders the working of the hidden spiritual forces, upon which, after all, our success in everything really depends, as a spirit of unrest and anxiety.

There is immense power in stillness. A great saint once said, “All things come to him who knows how to trust and be silent.” The words are pregnant with meaning. A knowledge of this fact would immensely change our ways of working. Instead of restless struggles, we would “sit down” inwardly before the Lord, and would let the Divine forces of His Spirit work out in silence the ends to which we aspire.

You may not see or feel the operations of this silent force, but be assured it is always working mightily, and will work for you, if you only get your spirit still enough to be carried along by the currents of its power.
–Hannah Whitall Smith

There is a point of rest
At the great center of the cyclone’s force,
A silence at its secret source;
A little child might slumber undisturbed,
Without the ruffle of one fair curl,
In that strange, central calm, amid the mighty whirl.

It is your business to learn to be peaceful and safe in God in every situation.


  MATTHEW 24:1-14

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.”

—  Matthew 24:12

As time passes, this passage becomes more frightening. Perhaps every generation feels that the signs of the end times are increasing. Perhaps the signs are increasing. Certainly the generations that are still living have seen plenty of earthquakes, famines, and wars. And certainly today we see an increase in wickedness, at least in some places.

The particular wickedness Jesus warns about in verse 12 could be called “lawlessness.” It goes beyond refusing to live God’s way, and it basically refuses to live according to anyone’s rules. It’s the attitude that believes “It’s only illegal if I get caught.”

The problem with this wickedness, according to Jesus, is that it works against love. It holds no commitment to another and has no willingness to sacrifice for anyone. In the end times most people will care only about themselves, and most people’s love will grow cold.

Taken to the extreme, that’s a bone-chilling thought. It will be “survival of the fittest” among people who are most violent and crafty. May Christ return before we become so lawless.

Spirit of Jesus, guide our lives to save us from lawlessness. Fill us with your love and wisdom, we pray. Amen.

Today’s Devotions


October 28

Psalms 118:6-8 6The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 7The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. 8It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

We have come to the center of the Bible. Here is the core of it all. The LORD is with those who call on Him in truth. If the Creator of heaven and earth is with you, what have you to fear? Throughout Scripture, God’s promise to those who sought Him was, “I will be with you.” As long as the LORD is with us, we can be certain that things will turn out in the end. Emmanuel, God with us. It is an incredible thing that God would dwell with man, but He has since creation and He always will, for He has set His love on us.

The world will always look to man, man’s wisdom, man’s counsel, and man’s strength. That often sets believers at odds with the world. But why fear or be concerned? What is the worst man can do to you? As the Apostle Paul said, (forgive my loose paraphrase) “If you kill me, I get to go home to be with Jesus. If you beat me, I just keep laying up treasures in heaven. Take your pick, either way the LORD is with me and I get blessed.”

The enemies of the LORD will be defeated, but even now, I am more than a conqueror. I’m a mega-conqueror, because the LORD is with me! Because He is with me, I have the victory in life and in death. You can trust in men if you want, but that is a losing bet. He will lose in the end, guaranteed. Or you can trust in the LORD. That is a guaranteed win. What is your situation in life today? Where are you placing your trust? I hope it is not in man and man’s best, even if that man is you. The old expression, “You can only trust yourself,” is pathetic.

Remember: Trust in God! Let Him be your helper. Let go of fear and watch the God of all creation show you His ways.


What Does It Mean to Be Brave?

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What Does It Mean to Be Brave?

call center woman wearing a headset and talking


Norma Martinez – Prayer Center Coordinator – CBN Mexico

Over 10 years ago, I worked for a company that was dedicated to conducting telephone surveys. I remember fearing rejection when I was conducting surveys lasting anywhere from seven to 20 minutes. I just thought that after I started, they would end my call without finishing the survey.

Now I am serving in CBN Mexico, where I started in the ministry as a volunteer answering calls for Club 700 Hoy. I pray for people who contact us and need a word of encouragement. During my first week of taking calls, I experienced the same fear of being rejected—but not anymore. God made me brave by speaking on God’s behalf through His written Word. Through what I have experienced in each call and hearing how God can use us, I have learned to leave timidity behind and face risky situations.

In Jeremiah chapters 12 to 14, we read about the kingdom of Judah and their society’s idolatry, immorality, and disregard for God´s ways. It is in the midst of such turbulent times that God asked the prophet, Jeremiah, to deliver a tough message to the people of Judah. Jeremiah loved the people of Judah, but he loved God much more and chose to obey Him by calling the nation to repent of their evil ways and seek the Lord, warning them of destruction to come if the nation did not repent.

As painful as it was to deliver the message, Jeremiah still prayed for God’s mercy toward Judah, trusting that God was good, just, and upright:

“We acknowledge our wickedness, LORD, and the guilt of our ancestors; we have indeed sinned against you. For the sake of your name do not despise us; do not dishonor your glorious throne. Remember your covenant with us and do not break it” (Jeremiah 14:20-21 NIV).

Just as Jeremiah was brave to deliver God´s message to His beloved people, we too must be brave and do what God asks of us. Even when it is difficult or uncomfortable, if we trust God’s infinite wisdom and great love, we will see the best for us, His children.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Being brave is having the virtue or quality of showing courage and strength in the face of people, circumstances, and the problems of life. It is a psychological quality comparable to strength, but it is also a virtue that is acquired through the repetition of courageous acts.

In Joshua 1:9, God commands us to be strong and courageous, but he also reminds us that in those moments when courage is required, we are not alone.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Being brave is having the courage to overcome what we have in front of us. It is the opportunity to face that situation that life offers us, or that we have chosen. Courage is a challenge to which we expose ourselves to grow, learn, and improve ourselves; and it is what God has given me.

As you reflect on these words today let’s ask the question, In what area of life do you feel that you need to be brave? Where do you need the courage to overcome what is in front of you?  My prayer for your life is that fear would depart as you place your trust in God and step forward in faith.

Today’s Devotions


October 27

Psalms 116:12-13 12How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? 13I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.

God is good! When I am in touch with reality enough to see how good God has been to me, I am convicted to respond in some way. A vision of the goodness of God comes only by the grace of God. Left to ourselves, we would only focus on what was not pleasing us at the moment. Our old nature is extremely negative and loves to be critical. But when the grace of God opens our eyes for a moment, when He breaks through that veil of darkness that our carnal nature casts over our vision, then we see His great goodness. Once we see it, we are overwhelmed with wonder that He could be so good to rebellious creatures like us.

Then we start to think about the appropriate response. If someone lavished sacrificial goodness upon you after you have ignored his or her attention a thousand times before, if your heart is somehow enabled to see the love that prompted all that goodness, you would want to respond. Take a moment to look at the cross. Can you see Him hanging there in agony for YOU? Now open the eyes of your spirit and see Him standing in front of you with His nail pierced hands stretched out to receive you into His loving embrace. How will you respond?

Take the cup of salvation! Drink it to the last drop. Call on His name, Jesus/ Yeshua, salvation of Jehovah! “Save me, cleanse me, make me wholly Yours. Fill me, change me, use me as You will. I give you this life that has lived selfishly up till now, to do with as You will.

Consider: That is my only appropriate response to all the goodness the Lord has lavished upon me. “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.”

None but Jesus

By: Charles Spurgeon

“He that believeth on him is not condemned.” John 3:18

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 12:5-11

You are never liable as a believer to punishment for your sins. You will be chastised on account of them, as a father chastises his child; that is part of the gospel dispensation; but you will not be smitten for your sins as the lawgiver smites the criminal. Your Father may often punish you as he punished the wicked, but never for the same reason. The ungodly stand on the ground of their own demerits; their sufferings are awarded as their due deserts. But your sorrows do not come to you as a matter of desert; they come to you as a matter of love. God knows that in one sense your sorrows are such a privilege that you may account of them as a boon you do not deserve. I have often thought of that when I have had a sore trouble. I know some people say, “You deserved the trouble.” Yes, my dear brethren, but there is not enough merit in all the Christians put together, to deserve such a good thing as the loving rebuke of our heavenly Father. Perhaps you cannot see that; you cannot think that a trouble can come to you as a real blessing in the covenant. But I know that the rod of the covenant is as much the gift of grace as the blood of the covenant. It is not a matter of merit; it is given to us because we need it. But I question whether we were ever so good as to deserve it. We were never able to get up to so high a standard as to deserve so rich, so gracious a providence as this covenant blessing—the rod of our chastening God.

For meditation: When disciplined by his heavenly Father, the Christian is experiencing a beatitude (Job 5:17Psalm 94:12)

Faith or Feelings?

Since God is faithful to equip us, we don’t have to fear difficulties in our path.

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

Trusting God is easy when life’s good or we’re feeling competent. But is that genuine faith or a form of self-reliance? The apostle Paul said, “Our adequacy is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5). If the Lord calls us to do something that seems impossible or unreasonable, He will equip us for it. However, if we let feelings of fear, inadequacy, or unworthiness cause us to doubt Him, we could miss the opportunity.

Sometimes we’re afraid to venture into a new endeavor, because we’re listening to the wrong voices. The devil is always trying to deceive us and plant doubts in our mind so we won’t trust the Lord (John 8:44). He hates to see a believer put aside fear, choose to believe God, and move forward in obedience.

A challenging assignment from the Lord is often a fork in the road. When God presents an opportunity to serve Him, we must decide if we’ll take His path even though we might feel unqualified. We’re called to live by faith, not fear. If you are standing at a crossroads, remember that your adequacy is not in yourself but in God, and nothing is too difficult for Him. Trust Him and take a step.

Does God Really Want to Meet with Me?

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Does God Really Want to Meet with Me?

7 Things that Will Keep Me from Coming Back to Your Church

By Megan Evans,

“How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
I long, yes, I faint with longing
to enter the courts of the Lord.
With my whole being, body and soul,
I will shout joyfully to the living God.” – Psalm 84:1-2 (NLT)

Messy moments and seasons of life when we have strayed can leave us wondering if God even wants to be around us anymore. Perhaps your heart has asked the question, “does God really want to talk to someone like me right now?” Though the shame of our sin may tell us no, God’s faithful love screams a victorious yes! So then, what does a Holy God do with sinful people like you and me? Thankfully, as He has always done, our Heavenly Father calls us to His side. What a tender welcome into His unfailing love! Like the generations who came before us, He scoops us up, washes us clean, and teaches us how to live under His refuge and blessing.

God went to great lengths to prepare His people to be able to meet with Him. All throughout the Bible we see a Holy God pursuing unholy hearts in need of saving. Even when God’s people wandered and strayed, He never stopped loving them and still seeks our hearts to this day. God wants to spend time with us and promises forgiveness and redeeming love when we come to Him. This relationship is the only way our hearts can ever be truly satisfied. The presence of the Lord is indeed a lovely dwelling place and our spirit yearns for it because His presence is where God created us to live out our days.

One such account of God’s extensive preparation to dwell and meet with His people regularly can be found in the Old Testament book of Numbers. This certainly isn’t the most action packed book of the Bible, but nestled amidst the bookkeeping and records are tender moments between God and man.

If anyone could have pushed the limits of the Father’s love it would have been the Israelites, yet the Bible chronicles His unfailing love and desire for relationship with man. God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, gave them law and instruction, and prepared to dwell in their midst by way of the Tabernacle. When it came time to dedicate the altar to God, each tribe committed to serve the Lord by presenting their offering. This demonstrated not only obedience, but hearts that were finally ready for relationship.

God spoke to Moses there at the tabernacle, or Tent of Meeting as it is also called. Scripture tells us, “Whenever Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—that rests on the Ark of the Covenant. The Lord spoke to him from there” (Numbers 7:89 NLT).  

We were made for so much more than just the ordinary sin of this broken world.  We were meant to enjoy God’s perfect love, joy, hope, and peace and to dwell in His extraordinary presence. The Lord pursued and redeemed this ragtag group of Israelites and He wants to spend time with us too. Yes, God really wants to meet with you and me regardless of where our hearts have wandered, so it’s time to come back home. Like Jesus tells of the prodigal son who returned home to his welcoming father, “…He was lost, but now he is found” (Luke 15:32).

If your heart is longing for God’s tender presence then meet with Him right now. Spend time with God in prayer and rest there lingering in His love and forgiveness. If you’ve surrendered the throne of your life to Jesus Christ, then His dwelling place is no further than your heart. You are welcome in His courts today, so enter with praise shouting joyfully to the living God.

He is ready to meet with us anyplace, anytime, anywhere. So don’t wait! Talk to God in prayer and listen to His Living Word through the pages of your Bible. Jesus is the answer to anything our body and mind are longing for today. Our spirit is yearning for time with God, and we can rest assured we are welcome in His lovely dwelling place.

The Need of Perfect Solitude – Streams in the Desert – October 26

  • 202226 Oct

He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when evening was come, he was there alone (Matthew 14:23).

The man Christ Jesus felt the need of perfect solitude–Himself alone, entirely by Himself, alone with Himself. We know how much intercourse with men draws us away from ourselves and exhausts our powers. The man Christ Jesus knew this, too, and felt the need of being by Himself again, of gathering all His powers, of realizing fully His high destiny, His human weakness, His entire dependence on the Father.

How much more does the child of God need this–himself alone with spiritual realities, himself alone with God the Father. If ever there were one who could dispense with special seasons for solitude and fellowship, it was our Lord. But He could not do His work or maintain His fellowship in full power, without His quiet time. Would God that every servant of His understood and practiced this blessed art, and that the Church knew how to train its children into some sense of this high and holy privilege, that every believer may and must have his time when he is indeed himself alone with God.

Oh, the thought to have God all alone to myself, and to know that God has me all alone to Himself!
–Andrew Murray

Lamertine speaks in one of his books of a secluded walk in his garden where his mother always spent a certain hour of the day, upon which nobody ever dreamed for a moment of intruding. It was the holy garden of the Lord to her.

Poor souls that have no such Beulah land! Seek thy private chamber, Jesus says. It is in the solitude that we catch the mystic notes that issue from the soul of things.


My soul, practice being alone with Christ! It is written that when they were alone He expounded all things to His disciples. Do not wonder at the saying; it is true to thine experience. If thou wouldst understand thyself send the multitude away. Let them go out one by one till thou art left alone with Jesus… Has thou ever pictured thyself the one remaining creature in the earth, the one remaining creature in all the starry worlds?

In such a universe thine every thought would be “God and I! God and I!” And yet He is as near to thee as that – as near as if in the boundless spaces there throbbed no heart but His and thine.

Practice that solitude, O my soul! Practice the expulsion of the crowd! Practice the stillness of thine own heart! Practice the solemn refrain “God and I! God and I!” Let none interpose between thee and thy wrestling angel! Thou shalt be both condemned and pardoned when thou shalt meet Jesus alone!
–George Matheson


 Scott DeVries, author, Today Devotions

  ISAIAH 47:8-15

“Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries. . . . Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror.”

—  Isaiah 47:12

It may be surprising to hear that sorcery is still practiced today, not just in remote parts of the world but even in towns and cities in the Western world, and among well-educated people. Some sources say it’s actually on the rise.

Ancient Babylon was full of sorcery in Isaiah’s time. And many people credited sorcery for the rise of Babylon. But God showed Isaiah that Babylon would fall, and it did—and no amount of sorcery could save it.

Through Isaiah, the Lord mocks sorcery in this passage. It has no power over the true God. Babylon’s downfall came not from a lack of sorcery or misreading the stars. Babylon fell because all its attention to manipulating natural and super­natural forces came down to selfishness, which leads only to ruin.

Modern sorcery or witchcraft is no different. It misses the big picture. And even if it saw the big picture, it would be powerless to bring it about or stop it.

Don’t fall prey to the promises of today’s sorcerers and their crafts. In the end all true good is in the hands of God.

Lord and God, protect and strengthen us with your true goodness. Though strange and powerful forces may be at work around us, help us always to trust in you. Amen.

God Our Comforter

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God Our Comforter

baby hand in an adult hand

Every single one of us, at some point or another, has felt sorrow. Just as we go through times of joy and beauty, we will also experience pain and sorrow in this lifetime. While sorrow is unavoidable, we can find hope in our sorrow when we lean on the Lord as our comforter.

The example of the Lord as our comforter often reminds me of how a child seeks comfort from a parent. Since becoming a parent, I have experienced this many times. I have two little boys and every time one of them wakes up from a bad dream, gets a bad “owie,” or is feeling pain in any way, they immediately run to me, throw up their arms, and want to be cuddled and receive comfort. They know as my children that I will comfort them and take care of them. Even though they are young, they know I will always be there waiting to help them when they need it.

Jeremiah knew this when he declared in Jeremiah 8:18 (NIV), “You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me.” Jeremiah had been in lament over the nation of Judah and their lack of repentance towards God. While the nation of Judah may not have found God as their comforter, Jeremiah did and sought the Lord on their behalf. Even though destruction and pain were upon the nation of Judah, Jeremiah cried out to the Lord and declared that He was his comforter.

We too can trust that we serve a God and heavenly Father who is our comforter. He will always be there waiting for us when we call on Him. We can call on him in the highs, and also in the lowest valleys. And when we do, we can in show that same love and comfort to those needing it around us. Just like 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

So today, if you need comfort, run to the Father. He is waiting with arms wide open, just like a parent will wait for their child. He is ready to comfort you and be there for you in your time of need.

And if you have received God’s comfort in the past, choose today to find someone else to extend that same comfort to. Remind them that the God of all comfort is on their side.

Today’s Devotions


October 25

Psalms 105:5 5 Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

Psalms 106:12-13 12Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. 13But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel.

How soon we forget. God is always working in our lives, but sometimes it is very evident. There is no way we could deny it. That is when we believe Him, and doubt is the farthest thing from our minds. We sing a song of praise. We make vows that we intend to fulfill.

We should believe without the miracles, or seeing His hand against our enemy. We should know He is capable of healing, even if He chooses not to. But we are weak and easily swayed by our circumstances. When the miracle is fresh, when the healing has occurred, then we are totally convinced. But how soon we forget.

We are no different than the Children of Israel who sang praise for an incredible rescue one day, and murmured and whined the next. What is wrong with us? We have a sin nature! What can we do about it? We take the sin nature to the cross, but we so readily take it back up again. God tells us to remember what He has done. Keep a journal. Flag those days in which God moved. Review those times when His presence was so real that you could touch Him. Write down the words He spoke to your heart and review them often.

When Joshua led the Children of Israel across the Jordan at flood stage, the LORD had him make a memorial mound of stones. When someone in the future asked about that pile of rocks, they were to tell them about the mighty power of God that stopped the river at flood stage so that all could cross. You probably need to make a few memorial mounds to remind you of the Jordans God parted for you. Pass on to your children and grandchildren the things God has done in your life. Leave a written legacy of the mighty works of God. Most will not care much about the details of your life, but reading about God’s intervention in your life will give them hope and faith to see Him working in their lives.

Remember the mighty works of God. It will keep the fire in your heart stoked. It will inspire future generations.

Please Receive Him as Myself – Streams in the Desert – October 25

  • 202225 Oct

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:24).

During the Civil War, a man had an only son who enlisted in the armies of the Union. The father was a banker and, although he consented to his son’s going, it seemed as if it would break his heart to let him go.

He became deeply interested in the soldier boys, and whenever he saw a uniform, his heart went out as he thought of his own dear boy. He spent his time, neglected his business, gave his money to caring for the soldiers who came home invalid. His friends remonstrated with him, saying he had no right to neglect his business and spend so much thought upon the soldiers, so he fully decided to give it all up.

After he had come to this decision, there stepped into his bank one day a private soldier in a faded, worn uniform, who showed in his face and hands the marks of the hospital. The poor fellow was fumbling in his pocket to get something or other, when the banker saw him and, perceiving his purpose, said to him: “My dear fellow, I cannot do anything for you today. I am extremely busy. You will have to go to your headquarters; the officers there will look after you.”

Still the poor convalescent stood, not seeming to fully understand what was said to him. Still he fumbled in his pockets and, by and by, drew out a scrap of dirty paper, on which there were a few lines written with a pencil, and laid this soiled sheet before the banker. On it he found these words:

“Dear Father: “This is one of my comrades who was wounded in the last fight, and has been in the hospital. Please receive him as myself. –Charlie.”

In a moment all the resolutions of indifference which this man made, flew away. He took the boy to his palatial home, put him in Charlie’s room, gave him Charlie’s seat at the table, kept him until food and rest and love had brought him back to health, and then sent him back again to imperil his life for the flag.

Now you will see what I will do (Exodus 6:1).

Trust All

By: Scott Devries, Today Devotions

  1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-13

Love . . . always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

—  1 Corinthians 13:7

We talked earlier about the power of God’s love and how amazing it is (Oct. 19). Let’s look today at what love does to trust.

Our passage tells us that “love . . . always trusts.” Other translations say that “love trusts all things.” The original Greek text says, more simply, “trusts all”—always and all things. When I first noticed that, it seemed impossible to me.

Have you ever been let down by someone only to find that it was because they never trusted you? You might want to scream about who turned out not to be trustworthy! I learned early in life not to trust people that I sensed didn’t trust me. But that can lead to a destructive cycle in which people begin to trust each other less and less.

Love offers a different approach. Love says, “I’ll give you trust.” Period.

An unrelenting effort to “trust all” moves us to dig as deep as we need to in order to find what is trustworthy. And that always brings us to God.

The world will let you down, and you should feel free to move yourself to safety when you need to. But God’s perfect love can drive us to look constantly for new ways to trust.

God, in and through your perfect love, help us to find trust that doesn’t depend on circumstances but on you. Amen.


Living Under a Microscope

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Trust in the Lord Proverbs 3:5


Living Under a Microscope

science student looking into a microscope


Vernell Windsor – Prayer Center Coach,

Are there any science nerds out there? Does anyone remember learning how to use a microscope in biology class? We were empowered to inspect those tiny cells of life smeared on a tiny glass plate. Or maybe you auditioned for a part in a play, or some other type of performance? You diligently prepared for the big moment, and it was quite exhilarating. All eyes were on you!

In 1 Timothy 4, the Apostle Paul tells of one disciple encouraged to live his life “under the microscope,” or on the “stage of life.” Could this exhortation apply to the rest of us? Let us look at it:

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given to you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers (1 Timothy 4:13-16 ESV).

Did you catch it? He wrote, “so that all may see your progress.” This sage exhortation serves us well. In a sense, we’re living life under a microscope. Scientists have learned valuable information through microscopic research. Another way to understand this is to see oneself as on the stage called life. What we do matters to God, our family, and our community. Others are affected by our personal decisions.

I remember one of my siblings being quite disturbed because I did not go to law school when accepted (back when the dinosaurs roamed). This was a classic “microscopic” moment in time. I had no idea she had held this thing so tightly (it was my life, right?). She saw something in me that I did not. I will always love her for it!

We do live in glass houses! The earth is not as big as we once thought (thanks to high-speed internet). Not only are we to live for God, but other believers need to see our progress as we follow Christ through both the good and the more challenging times of our lives. Discipleship may cost us something! It takes time to read Scripture regularly and to exercise all those God-given gifts like exhortation and teaching. Nor does progress happen all by itself. We have a great responsibility to persist! Are you up for the challenge?

Today’s Devotions


October 24

Psalms 103:10-12 10he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

These songs of praise are rich with teaching. In this psalm the writer tells us a fact we need to remember. We never get what we deserve. Never ask for justice, or you may get it. We always forget our sins and remember our good deeds with a little embellishment. If we got what we deserve, we would all be cast into the Lake of Fire. We are by nature rebels against the loving goodness of our Creator. Instead of giving us what we deserve, God lavished His love upon us by sending His one and only Son to take what we deserved. Only Jesus could bear it.

How did we ever learn to fear Him, that is, to reverence His just nature that will not let sin go unpunished? It is only an undeserved gift of grace! It is an expression of His great love. That love is much greater than you or I could ever muster. What is your attitude toward those who have betrayed your love for them? God just continues to love us to the fullest extent of His love.

Satan would try to get us to dwell on all our failures and past mistakes. God doesn’t, so why should we? Satan’s accusations are true, but so is the fact that those sins are covered by the sacrifice of Jesus. They are removed from us as far as east is from west. That is a long ways! Next time the enemy tries to get you down about a past sin, remind him of this verse. The future is as bright as the promises of God. You are a work in transition, but the debris that has been chiseled away is already cleaned up and hauled off.

Remember: Look forward, not back, and praise God for loving you so! Praise Him for sending Jesus to bear what you deserved.

Streams in the Desert – October 24

  • 202224 Oct

I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument (Isa. 41:15).

A bar of steel worth five dollars, when wrought into horseshoes, is worth ten dollars. If made into needles, it is worth three hundred and fifty dollars; if into penknife blades, it is worth thirty-two thousand dollars; if into springs for watches it is worth two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. What a drilling the poor bar must undergo to be worth this! But the more it is manipulated, the more it is hammered, and passed through the fire, and beaten and pounded and polished, the greater the value.

May this parable help us to be silent, still, and longsuffering. Those who suffer most are capable of yielding most; and it is through pain that God is getting the most out of us, for His glory and the blessing of others.

Oh, give Thy servant patience to be still,
And bear Thy will;
Courage to venture wholly on the arm
That will not harm;
The wisdom that will never let me stray
Out of my way;
The love that, now afflicting, knoweth best
When I should rest.

Life is very mysterious. Indeed it would be inexplicable unless we believed that God was preparing us for scenes and ministries that lie beyond the veil of sense in the eternal world, where highly-tempered spirits will be required for special service.

“The turning-lathe that has the sharpest knives produces the finest work.”

The fulness of Christ—received

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘And of his fulness have all we received.’ John 1:16

Suggested Further Reading: Colossians 2:1–10

The text informs us that there is a fulness in Christ. There is a fulness of essential Deity, ‘for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead.’ There is a fulness of perfect manhood, for in him ‘bodily’ that Godhead was revealed. Partaker of flesh and blood, made in all things like unto his brethren, there was nothing lacking that was necessary to the perfection of human kind in him. There is a fulness of atoning efficacy in his blood, for ‘the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ There is a fulness of justifying righteousness in his life, for ‘there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.’ There is a fulness of divine prevalence in his plea, for ‘he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.’ There is a fulness of victory in his death, for ‘through death’ he destroyed ‘him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.’ There is a fulness of efficacy in his resurrection from the dead, for by it we are begotten ‘again unto a lively hope.’ There is a fulness of triumph in his ascension, for ‘when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.’ There is a fulness of blessings unspeakable, unknown; a fulness of grace to pardon, of grace to regenerate, of grace to sanctify, of grace to preserve, and of grace to perfect. There is a fulness at all times, a fulness by day and a fulness by night; a fulness of comfort in affliction, a fulness of guidance in prosperity, a fulness of every divine attribute, of wisdom, of power, of love; a fulness which it were impossible to survey, much less to explore.

For meditation: Praise God that he did not keep his fulness to himself. The church is described as Christ’s body and fulness (Ephesians 1:23). We can actually receive of his fulness (John 1:16), be filled with it (Ephesians 3:19) and make progress towards it (Ephesians 4:13).


Setting the Captives Free

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Image result for picture verses on freeing the captivesit is for freedom that christ has set us free stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery

Setting the Captives Free

woman reading in a field of flowers


Every October, many Americans are bewitched by Halloween. They dress their kids like cute little witches, devils and goblins … but there’s really nothing cute about Satan.

Matthew, Mark and Luke* give horrifying descriptions of a demon-possessed man who lived naked in a cemetery, gashing himself with stones — so wild that no chains could restrain him, and so violent that no one could safely pass by.

But even the strongest demons are no match for God’s power! Jesus looked beyond that man’s revolting appearance and saw a pitiful human being, made in the image of God but held captive by Satan.

When Jesus cast out the man’s demons,

“They began screaming at Him, ‘Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?’” (Matthew 8:29 NLT)

The demons referred to God’s timetable, knowing they are limited in how long they can roam the earth, trying to deceive and trap people with lust, alcohol, drugs, crime, and false beliefs like New Age — attempting to destroy souls by leading them away from God. But when their time is up — and that may be very soon! — they face eternal torture. Satan knows it, Jesus knows it, and we ought to know it, too.

Jesus sent the demons into some pigs, which instantly went crazy and rushed down a steep hill to drown themselves.

The whole city came to see the demonized man clothed and miraculously sane. But instead of being happy for him, they were outraged about their pigs — and rudely sent Jesus away!

Similarly today, it’s sad how some folks care more about their pets and possessions than suffering people. I’ve been to places in Africa and around the world where men, women and children live in abject poverty, afflicted with hunger, thirst and disease. What joy to bring them nourishing food, clean water, essential medicine — and above all, the life-giving Gospel.

In God’s eyes, just one human life is worth far more than any earthly treasure — and Jesus showed that divine love on the cross.

Today’s Devotions


October 23

Psalms 100:2, 4-5 2Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs

4Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Our coming together to worship should be a joyful event. The LORD desires that we worship with gladness. That does not mean that we will never be downcast or troubled, but when we come to worship Him, to turn our eyes from the world to our great God, it should fill our hearts with joy. There is an answer to the world’s condition. He should be the subject of our joyful songs of worship.

As they entered the gates of the temple, they were to enter with thanksgiving. Even in the worst of personal or national situations, God has still blessed you with life, breath, and so many good things. Prayer is coming into the heavenly temple. When we come, we need to come thanking God for His goodness in our lives, before we present our burdens. They were to enter the courts of the LORD with praise. When we come together in our churches or in united prayer, praise should always be the first thing from our lips. If we could see in the spirit, we would see our blessings far outweigh our troubles. In case we didn’t get the point, the psalmist repeats the theme, “give thanks to him and praise His name.”

Then he tells us why. The LORD is good. It is not the LORD who has brought evil into your life. If it is chastening from the LORD, it is for your eternal good. Only good comes from His hands to his children. That is because His love endures forever. You may have turned from Him, ignored His love, and broken His heart, but His love endures forever. In every generation He is faithful. That is why you should come to Him with praise, with joy and gladness. If He was in the least bit different, or changed, you might have reason to be gloomy, but He is the LORD. He never changes. That is something to be joyful about regardless of present circumstances.

Remember: You can count on His love! Come to Him with a thankful heart of praise today!


  1 TIMOTHY 1:12-17

I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience. . . .

—  1 Timothy 1:16

Earlier this month we looked at the virtue of steadfast endurance (Oct. 5), a sort of super-patience. Today our attention is on the more normal patience we need as we deal with waiting in everyday life. Perhaps the most common example of this is the patience that parents and teachers hopefully showed us while they were waiting for us to grow smarter and wiser.

It’s heartwarming that Paul uses this type of patience to describe Jesus’ waiting before we repent and commit our lives to him. It suggests that Jesus never lost sight of our future in him. He knew he would win us over; it was just a matter of time. So he was patient, being the best of teachers, even when we insisted on doing things our own wrong way.

This passage prompts us not to hide the patience we needed from Christ. We should be open about our sinfulness and repentance and faith so that the patience Jesus had with us will be on full display. And as we share the story of Christ’s patience with us, we will grow in patience and understanding toward others who still need to “believe in him and receive eternal life.”

Dear Jesus, many of us have come so far because of your patience with us. Help us to grow more and to share your patience with others. Amen.

Sunday Reflection: Giving in Community

How can you share with someone today?

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

We all know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the cold-hearted miser who hoarded wealth and refused to share with people in need. He’s an extreme case, but let’s be honest—aren’t we all tempted to be a little like him at times?

Feeling overextended, tired, or worried about our circumstances, we want to keep our time and resources for ourselves—even though we know we’re called to give generously (Matthew 5:422 Corinthians 9:6). Despite realizing that all we have is from God and that believers are to give because He gave first, we find generosity to be a struggle.

It’s important to remember no individual can answer every need—and it’s rarely possible for one person to fully address even a single need. But the community of faith can help. By each of us doing our part in answering God’s call for generosity, we become more effective at bearing one another’s burdens.

When we realize those needs aren’t ours to handle alone, we’ll more likely feel liberated to give what we can—openly, sacrificially, and without shame or resentment.

Think about it

  • What can you share with others? What could you offer that might not have a financial cost?

Learning to Be a Follower and Leader

Dont Freak Out - Steven Furtick Always Pray - Heidi Baker

 Being With - Brian Clark Courage - Banning Liebscher

Learning to Be a Follower and Leader

What We Pray - Steve Backlund

By Laura Bailey,

“Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” – Luke 9:23 NLT

Are you a leader or a follower? Which would you say if you were asked? Do you identify as one over the other, or perhaps both, depending on your circumstances? A quick internet search and over 15 million quizzes, articles, and resources can help determine whether we tend to be leaders or followers. Why the interest in this subject?

Culturally leaders have been praised for bold words, brave actions, and boundary-pushing agendas. However, as Christians, we see numerous times to follow Christ, who walked humbly and elevated others. Does Scripture encourage us to be followers or leaders? It tells us to engage in both roles!

We see the importance of being a disciple of Christ throughout the New Testament. Jesus tells us, “ whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me (Luke 9:23 NIV). So we must do three things: deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. All commandments seem like a follower, so where do believers have the opportunity to lead?

Jesus tells his disciples that their job is to lead the charge in making more disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey God’s Word. Check out Matthew 28:18-20, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

For many Christians, we’ve heard the verses above; perhaps we have them written on a shirt or created a pretty post on social media with the scripture. But, we need to go deeper than just rote memorization; faith coupled with action, the call to follow Christ.  We need to do the deep heart work and ask, how does following Christ change how I live and equip and encourage me to fulfill the great commission to go and make disciples?

There are so many things competing for our time; for many of us, God has not called us to full-time ministry. But, He does invite us into a more profound commitment to serving Him. Being a disciple isn’t always easy. Jesus tells us it will be pretty tricky- but the reward is great. 1 Peter 2:19-25 outlines what it looks like to live godly lives. It also tells us three things; we should expect to suffer because Christ suffered, Jesus is our example, and He trusted himself to God, we were once lost sheep, but now we are under the protection of the Good Shephard.

Faith is not always easy, and happy obedience isn’t, at least for me. But just as Jesus had a greater plan for the disciples 2,000 years ago, He has a plan for us. He is working all things for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). While the original twelve disciples had particular roles, our jobs are no less important. We still exist for the same purpose, to know God and make Him known as we follow Christ and lead others to our  Lord and Savior.

Expect Him on the Ordinary Road – Streams in the Desert – October 22

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Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside, of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” (Exod. 3:1,2).

The vision came in the midst of common toil, and that is where the Lord delights to give His revelations. He seeks a man who is on the ordinary road, and the Divine fire leaps out at his feet. The mystic ladder can rise from the market place to Heaven. It can connect the realm of drudgery with the realms of grace.

My Father God, help me to expect Thee on the ordinary road. I do not ask for sensational happenings. Commune with me through ordinary work and duty. Be my Companion when I take the common journey. Let the humble life be transfigured by Thy presence.

Some Christians think they must be always up to mounts of extraordinary joy and revelation; this is not after God’s method. Those spiritual visits to high places, and that wonderful intercourse with the unseen world, are not in the promises; the daily life of communion is. And it is enough. We shall have the exceptional revelation if it be right for us.

There were but three disciples allowed to see the transfiguration, and those three entered the gloom of Gethsemane. No one can stay on the mount of privilege. There are duties in the valley. Christ found His life-work, not in the glory, but in the valley and was there truly and fully the Messiah.


From: Today Devotions

  PSALM 37:7-11

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

—  Psalm 37:8

Injustice makes us angry. That’s okay, but we must be careful. Psalm 37:8 cautions us not to fuss so much about the evil we see that we become evildoers ourselves.

First, we see evil or injustice, and we begin to fret about it. It’s not fair that by doing evil things some people gain power and wealth. And what if that evil gets directed toward us? If we fret about it too much, we can begin to get angry. “Why doesn’t anyone stop them?” we cry. “We ought to put them in their place!” And if we stay angry, that can grow and become wrath. In wrath, we can be consumed by our anger. If we are not thinking straight and are not careful, we can fall into behavior that leads to evil.

A lot of research in past decades has shown that this kind of progression is behind a lot of criminal activity. Someone experiences injustice, and before you know it, they are acting unjustly too. Maybe at first they directed their evil at people who were hurting them. But it doesn’t always end there.

Though wrath may not always lead to criminal activity, it is destructive. Wrath can cause things like mocking, bullying, and other unjust activities as well.

The solution is to avoid even fretting about evil. God will provide justice, and he will provide for our needs as well. We might not be able to stop everyone else’s evil, but we can at least stop ourselves by resting patiently in God.

Dear God, help us to trust that you will provide justice fittingly in your time. Amen.

The High Priest standing between the dead and the living

By: Charles Spurgeon

“And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.” Numbers 16:4748

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 4:14-5: 10

Jesus, the propitiator, is to be looked upon as the ordained one—called of God as was Aaron. Settled in eternity as being the predestined propitiation for sin, he came into the world as an ordained priest of God; receiving his ordination not from man, neither by man; but like Melchisedec, the priest of the most high God, without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, he is a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Stand back, sons of Korah, all of you who call yourselves priests. I can scarce imagine that any man in this world who takes to himself the title of a priest, unless he takes it in the sense in which all God’s people are priests,—I cannot imagine that a priest can enter heaven. I would not say a thing too stern or too severe; but I do most thoroughly believe that an assumption of the office of priest is so base an assumption of the priestly office of Christ, that I could as well conceive of a man being saved who called himself God, as conceive of a man being saved who called himself a priest; if he really means what he says, he has so trampled upon the priestly prerogative of Christ, that it seems to me he has touched the very crown jewels, and is guilty of a blasphemy, which, unless it be repented of, shall surely bring damnation on his head. Shake your garments, you ministers of Christ, from all priestly assumption; come out from among them; touch not the unclean thing. There are no priests now specially to minister among men. Jesus Christ and he only is the priest of his Church. He has made all of us priests and kings unto our God.

For meditation: Because the Christian has a Father in heaven, he is not to call any man his spiritual father on earth (Matthew 23:9); because the Christian has a great High Priest in heaven (1 Timothy 2:5), he is not to regard any man as his priest on earth. We are no longer living in Old Testament times!