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God Sees You

Job 13:27

“You put my feet in the stocks And watch all my paths; You set a limit for the soles of my feet,

Job 16:9

“His anger has torn me and hunted me down, He has gnashed at me with His teeth; My adversary glares at me.

Psalm 139:16

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

2 Corinthians 12:19

All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. Actually, it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ; and all for your upbuilding, beloved

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I See You

From: Our Daily Bread

I See You
Read: Psalm 121 | Bible in a Year: Job 25–27; Acts 12

The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:8

When Xavier was two, he darted into one aisle after another in a small shoe store. Hiding behind stacks of shoeboxes, he giggled when my husband, Alan, said, “I see you.”

Moments later, I saw Alan dash frantically from aisle to aisle, calling Xavier’s name. We raced to the front of the store. Our child, still laughing, ran toward the open door leading to the busy street outside.

Within seconds, Alan scooped him up. We embraced as I thanked God, sobbed, and kissed our toddler’s chubby cheeks.

A year before I became pregnant with Xavier, I’d lost our first child during the pregnancy. When God blessed us with our son, I became a fearful parent. Our shoe store experience proved I wouldn’t always be able to see or protect our child. But I discovered peace as I learned to turn to my only sure source of help—God—when I struggled with worry and fear.

Our heavenly Father never takes His eyes off His children (Psalm 121:1–4). While we can’t prevent trials, heartache, or loss, we can live with confident faith, relying on an ever-present Helper and Protector who watches over our lives (vv. 5–8).

We may encounter days when we feel lost and helpless. We may also feel powerless when we can’t shield loved ones. But we can trust that our all-knowing God never loses sight of us—His precious and beloved children.

Thank You for watching over our loved ones and us, Lord.

God always keeps His eye on His children.

 

The Concentration of Personal Sin

By Oswald Chambers

The Concentration of Personal Sin

When I come into the very presence of God, I do not realize that I am a sinner in an indefinite sense, but I suddenly realize and the focus of my attention is directed toward the concentration of sin in a particular area of my life. A person will easily say, “Oh yes, I know I am a sinner,” but when he comes into the presence of God he cannot get away with such a broad and indefinite statement. Our conviction is focused on our specific sin, and we realize, as Isaiah did, what we really are. This is always the sign that a person is in the presence of God. There is never any vague sense of sin, but a focusing on the concentration of sin in some specific, personal area of life. God begins by convicting us of the very thing to which His Spirit has directed our mind’s attention. If we will surrender, submitting to His conviction of that particular sin, He will lead us down to where He can reveal the vast underlying nature of sin. That is the way God always deals with us when we are consciously aware of His presence.

This experience of our attention being directed to our concentration of personal sin is true in everyone’s life, from the greatest of saints to the worst of sinners. When a person first begins climbing the ladder of experience, he might say, “I don’t know where I’ve gone wrong,” but the Spirit of God will point out some definite and specific thing to him. The effect of Isaiah’s vision of the holiness of the Lord was the directing of his attention to the fact that he was “a man of unclean lips.” “He touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged’ ” (Isaiah 6:7). The cleansing fire had to be applied where the sin had been concentrated.

God’s Independence Day

By: Beth Patch, Author

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Independence Day — burgers and hot dogs sizzle on grills and fireworks burst in the sky. We eat, maybe hear The Star Spangled Banner, watch fireworks, and go home. July fourth has become commonplace, another day for big sales events and flying an American flag; far removed from the early celebrations marking the end of the Revolutionary War and founding a new country.

However, an Independence Day celebration approaches that will impress the whole world and never be diminished! We don’t know its date and shouldn’t believe anyone who tells us they do. But, no one on earth or in heaven will miss its importance; and it will mark a day of freedom from the greatest oppressor ever – Satan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Directions To Heaven

HOW DO I GET TO HEAVEN?  PLEASE GIVE ME DIRECTIONS?

You get there through faith in Jesus Christ.

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”Acts 16:31.

 

John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 10:9-16

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

( People giving directions)
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A New Language

From: Our Daily Journey

A New Language

Read:

Acts 2:1-13
Everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages (Acts 2:4).

Many years ago, a hurricane forced my wife Miska and me to evacuate a resort in Cancun, Mexico, where we were celebrating our tenth anniversary. On our way to the airport, I got lost and stopped for directions. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand the people who tried to help since they were speaking in Spanish. Finally, I called a bilingual friend and had them talk to the clerk at a service station. Fortunately, we made it in time for the last flight out that day.

I remember how lost I felt with no way to communicate, and when in desperation I landed on the idea of calling my friend, it was like a whole new way opened up. When I got him on the phone, I sensed we were going to be okay.

On the day of Pentecost, thousands of Jewish pilgrims descended on Jerusalem. Using modern geography, people had gathered from Iran, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Turkey, North Africa, Rome, and beyond (Acts 2:9-11). And remarkably, when Peter began to proclaim the story of Jesus, the Holy Spirit wove the words in such a beautiful way that these disparate travelers “came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken” (Acts 2:6 NIV). It was astounding.

Over the course of that miraculous day, thousands came to believe in and follow Jesus (Acts 2:41). When the Holy Spirit came, people spoke in new languages, but even more important was what those new languages made possible. Those who had been enemies were now friends. Those who had been confused now saw the truth clearly. Those who had been far from God were now drawn into God’s powerful story. We hear God’s new language every time He opens our eyes or ears, and we understand His love as if for the very first time.

 

The church’s love to her loving Lord

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From: Charles Spurgeon

‘Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?’ Song of Solomon 1:7

Suggested Further Reading: Mark 9:2–9

When Tigranes and his wife were both taken prisoners by Cyrus, turning to Tigranes, he said, ‘What will you give for the liberation of your wife?’ The king answered, ‘I love my wife so that I would cheerfully give up my life if she might be delivered from servitude;’ whereupon Cyrus said that if there was such love as that between them, they might both go free. So when they were away and many were talking about the beauty and generosity of Cyrus, and especially about the beauty of his person, Tigranes, turning to his wife, asked her what she thought of Cyrus, and she answered that she saw nothing anywhere but in the face of the man who had said that he would die if she might only be released from servitude. ‘The beauty of that man,’ she said, ‘makes me forget all others.’ And verily we would say the same of Jesus. We would not decry the angels, nor think ill of the saints, but the beauties of that man who gave his life for us are so great that they have eclipsed all others, and our soul only wishes to see him and not another; for, as the stars hide their heads in the presence of the sun, so may you all be gone, delights and excellencies, when Christ Jesus, the chief delight, the chief excellency, makes his appearance. Seeing him, you must love him. It was said of Henry VIII, that if all portraits of tyrants, and murderers, and thieves were out of existence, they might all be painted from the one face of Henry VIII; and turning that round another way, we will say, that if all the excellencies, beauties, and perfections of the human race were blotted out, they might all be painted again from the face of the Lord Jesus.

For meditation: The Lord Jesus Christ really did give up his life to deliver his bride, the church (Ephesians 5:25), from the dominion of darkness and sin (Colossians 1:13–14). Do you express appropriate wonder, love and gratitude (Galatians 2:201 Peter 1:8)?

 

A present religion

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From: Charles Spurgeon

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” 1 John 3:2

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 13:1-8

We need not talk of walking righteously, and soberly, in the world to come—

“There all is pure, and all is clear, There all is joy and love.”

There will be no duty to discharge between the tradesmen and the customers, between the debtor and the creditor, between the father and the child, between the husband and the wife, in heaven, for all these relationships will have passed away. Religion must be intended for this life; the duties of it cannot be practised, unless they are practised here. But besides these, there are other duties devolving upon the Christian. Though it is every man’s duty to be honest and sober, the Christian has another code of law. It is the Christian’s duty to love his enemies, to be at peace with all men, to forgive as he hopes to be forgiven; it is his duty not to resist evil, when smitten on the one cheek to turn the other also; it is his duty to give to him that asketh of him, and from him that would borrow of him not to turn away—he is to be a liberal soul, devising liberal things. It is the Christian’s duty to visit his Master’s children when they are sick, so that it may be said to him at last, “I was sick, and naked, and in prison, and ye visited me, and ministered to my necessities.” Now, if religion be not a thing for this world, I ask you how it is possible to perform its duties at all? There are no poor in heaven whom we can comfort and visit; there are no enemies in heaven whom we can graciously forgive; and there are not injuries inflicted, or wrongs endured, which we can bear with patience. Religion must have been intended in the very first place for this world, it must have been meant that now we should be the sons of God.

For meditation: Faith in Christ is the qualification for a place in heaven; work for Christ is the qualification for rewards in heaven in addition to a place in heaven (Matthew 10:40-42).

Amnesia

Nebuchadnezzar was a great general and king. God taught him who He was after 
he lost his mind, acted like an animal, and later was restored as king of Babylon. You find
this story in Daniel chapter 4.
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Amnesia

From: Our Daily Bread

Amnesia

My understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High. Daniel 4:34 nkjv

Emergency Services in Carlsbad, California, came to the rescue of a woman with an Australian accent who couldn’t recall who she was. Because she was suffering from amnesia and had no ID with her, she was unable to provide her name or where she had come from. It took the help of doctors and international media to restore her health, tell her story, and reunite her with her family.

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, also lost sight of who he was and where he had come from. His “amnesia,” though, was spiritual. In taking credit for the kingdom he’d been given, he forgot that God is the King of Kings, and everything he had was from Him (Daniel 4:17, 28–30).

God dramatized the king’s state of mind by driving him into the fields to live with wild animals and graze like a cow (vv. 32–33). Finally, after seven years Nebuchadnezzar looked up to the skies, and his memory of who he was and who had given him his kingdom returned. With his senses restored, he declared, “I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven” (v. 37).

What about us? Who do we think we are? Where did we come from? Since we are inclined to forget, who can we count on to help us remember but the King of Kings?

Father, we are so inclined to forget who we are, where we’ve come from, and that we belong to You. Help us to remember that in Christ we are Your children—known, loved, gifted, and cared for—now and forever.

When we forget who we are, our Father cares.

Comes in Pretty Handy

From: Our Daily Journey

Comes in Pretty Handy

Read:

Romans 15:23-33
Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well.” . . . What good does that do? (James 2:15-16).

“We don’t use money in heaven,” says Clarence the angel in the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life. “It comes in pretty handy down here, Bub!” replies an exasperated, earthbound George Bailey.

Joe Holman could relate to George. He needed $700 to fund a medical-mission event in a remote region. By posting the need online, he raised $210. At the same time, a friend of Joe’s posted that he needed $4,000 to make a music CD. He received $4,300.

Joe doesn’t like to discuss finances. As a missionary, he says, “We have to appear above money.” But money does matter. And it especially matters to those who serve at the front lines of our poorest areas.

As the apostle Paul wrapped up his letter to the church in Rome, he touched on this practical matter. He was about to take a financial gift to the believers in Jerusalem from Gentile believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Gentiles had heard the good news about Jesus from Jerusalem missionaries and now wanted to help in some small way (Romans 15:26). “They feel the least they can do in return is to help them financially,” Paul wrote (Romans 15:27).

Remarkably, the church in Macedonia gave out of their poverty (2 Corinthians 8:1-3). Paul used their generosity to challenge wealthier churches to give as well. (Note that the apostle wasn’t asking for money for himself.)

It isn’t all about the money, of course. When Paul asked for his own needs, he said, “Join in my struggle by praying to God for me” (Romans 15:30). But money does indeed “come in pretty handy down here.” By using it wisely as our generous God provides, we bless others even while we serve Him. Consider helping missions or a faith-based charity in a tangible way today as He supplies what you need.

 

High-Tech Communication

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

Now we have received . . . the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. —1 Corinthians 2:12

When it comes to communication, our world is becoming increasingly high-tech. The popularity of things like Twitter and Facebook might cause some to think the Bible is too old-school. The tech-savvy people of our world might feel deterred because there are no sounds and no nifty graphics in the Bible. But the truth is, there’s more high-tech power in God’s Word than in any cutting-edge communication tool our world will ever know.

It’s not uncommon for a pastor to be told, “When you said that in your message, it was just what I needed.” Somehow during the sermon, God spoke to the person’s heart with a message tailor-made for him or her. If you’ve ever read the Bible and sensed God speaking directly to you, you know what I’m talking about. God has hard-wired you with His Spirit, who illumines your mind to understand His Word.

Imagine getting a “text message” directly from the Creator of the universe telling you exactly what you need at exactly the right time. No matter how high-tech this world gets, you’ll never experience a more powerful mode of communication!

Rejoice in the reality that “we have received . . . the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Cor. 2:12).

Give me the insight, Lord,
As I hear Your Word today,
So I will truly understand
Your message and Your way. —Monroe

The Bible may be old, but its truths are always new.

God Is With Us

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With Us in Our Suffering

From: Our Daily Journey

With Us in Our Suffering

Read:

Isaiah 43:1-13
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you (Isaiah 43:2).

Poet Christian Wiman, some time after being diagnosed with an incurable form of blood cancer, reflected on his ordeal, writing, “I have passed through pain I could never have imagined, pain that seemed to incinerate all my thoughts of God and to leave me sitting there in the ashes, alone.” But he found hope in the powerful presence of Jesus. “I am a Christian because of that moment on the cross when Jesus, drinking the very dregs of human bitterness, cries out, ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?’ ” (Matthew 27:46). In times of great suffering, Wiman realized, only the One who carried all human suffering can sustain us.

While experiencing the hardships of captivity, the Israelites needed reassurance of His presence, and the prophet Isaiah gave them that encouragement. Although they were enduring the consequences of their sin, Isaiah still told them not to fret or fear. God had created them with painstaking care and redeemed them with His power (Isaiah 43:1). Despite everything they were going through, they were still loved by and precious to God (Isaiah 43:4). And no matter what they endured in the future—whether “rivers of difficulty” or “fire of oppression”—God would be with them (Isaiah 43:2). He had sustained them with His presence in the past, and He could be trusted to do so again in the future (Isaiah 43:3-4).

Whether we’re suffering from the consequences of our sin or, like Christian Wiman, suffering pain that is simply a result of living in a fallen world, we need more than glib answers. In the face of overwhelming dread and pain, we can find strength and hope only through the powerful presence of the One who will never let us go (Isaiah 43:13).

 

Well-Seasoned in the Word

From: Cathy Irvin, Author

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15, NLT)

As the world grows darker in sin, we must find time to trim our wicks and fill our lamps with oil. We are to be light to the world and salt to the earth. But have we lost our flavor? If we are well-seasoned in the Word and we maintain our prayer life, we will be making an obvious difference.

It takes soaking up the Word of God daily for the words that flow from our lips to be a sweet savor, an encouraging word to the hearer. It is so easy to become dull and bland without those times of refreshing in God’s presence. Nobody likes plain ‘ole, plain ‘ole anything.

Many times, even a good steak needs some seasoning salt, a little garlic, butter, or steak sauce while it is marinating on the grill. The flavor of the meat is greatly enhanced. And so it is with us. When our lives reflect Christ, it will be evident after we have spent time with Him, because we will manifest His glory. The light will shine brightly for all to see.

People need to see Christ in us, the hope of glory, for them to want Him. Who wants what we have if we are not positive, and not full of joy and peace? I hear some Christians who always speak negatively. They are worrying all the time, and they are sad and gloomy. I think they must be lacking in some quality Bible study time, prayer, and church fellowship. We want those who do not know Him to say, “I know there is something different about you” or ask, “Why are you so happy?” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear them say, “I want whatever it is that you have”?

I remember that I said those very words more than 29 years ago. I gave my heart to the Lord while watching The 700 Club. I went to visit a local church. The people there were singing and clapping, and some even danced in the aisle to the songs. I was overwhelmed. I had always attended a very traditional church while growing up, and I felt no enthusiasm or joy in it at all. I recall listening to the message intently; I had blocked out everything and had focused intently on the preacher as he spoke. I sat on the edge of my seat like I was at a long-awaited concert.

At the close of the service, I remember a lady asking me if I wanted to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I didn’t even know what she was talking about, but I said, “Whatever you people have, I want it!” I was gloriously filled that very evening and spoke in tongues. My life was changed forever, and I have felt the joy ever since.

We can share the things we have learned by being salt and light with other believers so that they can enjoy their Christian walk and be better witnesses. It is important to remember that we are not offering a “religion” to anyone. We are telling them about a relationship with a loving, living Savior who can transform their lives and not only give them the gift of eternal life, but also the abundant life while here on planet earth. Jesus wants to add some seasoning to a bland spiritual life.

Got your lamps filled with oil? Follow me! Let’s shine our lights and pour out some salt on those who need to taste and see that the Lord is good.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him. (Psalm 34:8, NKJV)

 

Readiness

By Oswald Chambers

 Readiness

When God speaks, many of us are like people in a fog, and we give no answer. Moses’ reply to God revealed that he knew where he was and that he was ready. Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. Yet the man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who receives the prize when the summons comes. We wait with the idea that some great opportunity or something sensational will be coming our way, and when it does come we are quick to cry out, “Here I am.” Whenever we sense that Jesus Christ is rising up to take authority over some great task, we are there, but we are not ready for some obscure duty.

Readiness for God means that we are prepared to do the smallest thing or the largest thing— it makes no difference. It means we have no choice in what we want to do, but that whatever God’s plans may be, we are there and ready. Whenever any duty presents itself, we hear God’s voice as our Lord heard His Father’s voice, and we are ready for it with the total readiness of our love for Him. Jesus Christ expects to do with us just as His Father did with Him. He can put us wherever He wants, in pleasant duties or in menial ones, because our union with Him is the same as His union with the Father. “…that they may be one just as We are one…” (John 17:22).

Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God. A ready person never needs to getready— he is ready. Think of the time we waste trying to get ready once God has called! The burning bush is a symbol of everything that surrounds the person who is ready, and it is on fire with the presence of God Himself.

Love God Not The World

 

Do Not Love the World    I John 2:15

14  I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

15   Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world,the love of the Father is not in him.

16   For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world.…

 

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She Loves Me, . . . She Loves Me Not

From: Get more Strength

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15

Did you ever try to figure out whether or not someone you loved, loved you in return? Who knows when, but a long time ago some romantic had the idea that you could solve the dilemma by pulling petals off of a daisy. Remember how it works? “She loves me, she loves me not . . .” When you got to the last petal, you’d have it figured out. And, the beauty of it was, if you didn’t like the outcome, you could grab another flower and start over!

Sometimes I wonder if that’s how God feels about our love for Him. We know from Scripture that God’s love toward us is faithful, undaunted, and unchanging (Lamentations 3:22-23). But, quite frankly, our love for Him is often fickle and erratic. One day it’s “we love Him,” and a couple of days later it looks like “we love him not.” And while we would never say it that way, sometimes that’s really what it is! One day we resonate with intimacy toward God, and the next, we feel distant and disconnected.

I suspect that part of the problem is our understanding of the word love. We use the same English word to speak about so many things. I could say, “I love the Chicago Cubs; I love deep-dish pizza; I love the family dog; and I love my wife” using the same word for all, but meaning dramatically different things. Then we take that same word and say, “I love God.” No wonder the meaning gets lost!

That’s why I’m thankful for the writings of the apostle John. He moves the discussion about our love for God from the realm of our fickle feelings to tangible, practical ways that we can express our love to God regardless of how we feel. John tells us that God feels loved by us when we surrender to Him and obey (1 John 5:3). He also tells us that loving God is expressed to Him by loving our brothers and sisters in Christ (1 John 4:21). And in today’s verse we see that our love for God is also proven when we choose to love God more than the world! “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

So, thankfully, our love for God doesn’t need to rise and fall on how we feel on a given day. Loving Him is about our choice to put Him first and care about the things He cares about! And that is something we can do on a regular basis regardless.

If you’ve been caught in a “petal-pulling” love relationship with Jesus, set yourself free by choosing to express your love to Him in concrete ways every day. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the good feelings follow your good choices!

 

Covenant Relationship

From: Our Daily Journey

Covenant Relationship

Read:

Malachi 2:10-16
So guard your heart (Malachi 2:16).

Two different friends from different spheres of my life—one a man, one a woman—told me about their unfaithful spouses during the same week. Both felt betrayed and angry. They wondered if they would ever feel whole again.

The book of Malachi is about another broken relationship. As part of the line of Abraham, the people of Judah shared a covenant—a special agreement of commitment—with God (Genesis 12:1-3; Malachi 2:10). They were meant to show the world what it looks like to love and serve Him, but they were straying. Additionally, some of Judah’s men were committing adultery. Malachi speaks of their two betrayals at the same time, using their adultery to help them understand the severity of their sin against God (Malachi 2:11-14).

Can the same thing be said of some followers of Jesus? Am I sometimes the same as the people of Judah? Do I strive after things that lead me away from God?

Jesus calls His followers out of faithless living and into a covenant relationship with Him (Hebrews 10:16-18; 1 Peter 2:9-10). He also equips His followers to serve Him and promises that the Holy Spirit will indwell them (John 14:15-17). If you’re a disciple of Jesus, He truly has these things for you.

In a counterintuitive way, today’s passage reminds us of what a covenant relationship with God looks like. Judah’s disobedience helps us understand God’s faithfulness. Their corruption illumines God’s holiness (His perfect, transcendent nature), and their betrayal underscores His righteousness.

Worship God because He has—and always will—keep His covenants. “Guard your heart,” confess any sin that lingers, and enjoy the peace and love of a committed relationship with God today (Malachi 2:16).

 

The Ministry of the Inner Life

From: Utmost.org

The Ministry of the Inner Life

By what right have we become “a royal priesthood”? It is by the right of the atonement by the Cross of Christ that this has been accomplished. Are we prepared to purposely disregard ourselves and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual inner-searching we do in an effort to see if we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, sickly type of Christianity, not the vigorous and simple life of a child of God. Until we get into this right and proper relationship with God, it is simply a case of our “hanging on by the skin of our teeth,” although we say, “What a wonderful victory I have!” Yet there is nothing at all in that which indicates the miracle of redemption. Launch out in reckless, unrestrained belief that the redemption is complete. Then don’t worry anymore about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ has said, in essence, “Pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints of God, and pray for all men.” Pray with the realization that you are perfect only in Christ Jesus, not on the basis of this argument: “Oh, Lord, I have done my best; please hear me now.”

How long is it going to take God to free us from the unhealthy habit of thinking only about ourselves? We must get to the point of being sick to death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God might tell us about ourselves. We cannot reach and understand the depths of our own meagerness. There is only one place where we are right with God, and that is in Christ Jesus. Once we are there, we have to pour out our lives for all we are worth in this ministry of the inner life.

Point The Way To Salvation

God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Show people the way to Jesus Christ for salvation.

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Finding the Way Out

From: Our Daily Bread

Finding the Way Out

God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

There’s a street with an intriguing name in the city of Santa Barbara, California. It’s called “Salsipuedes,” which means “leave if you can.” When the street was first named, the area bordered on a marsh that sometimes flooded, and the Spanish-speaking city planners dubbed the location with a not-so-subtle warning to stay away.

God’s Word cautions us to stay away from the “wrong road” of sin and temptation: “Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way” (Prov. 4:15). But Scripture doesn’t just say “leave if you can.” It offers assurance and tells us where to turn: “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

The promise that God will not allow us to be tempted above our ability to withstand is an encouraging reminder. When we turn to God in the moments when temptation comes, we know He is more than willing to help us stay away.

The Bible affirms that Jesus is able “to empathize with our weaknesses.” But He was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Heb. 4:15). Jesus knows the way out of every temptation. He will show us as we run to Him!

Thank You, Lord, for Your promise to be faithful to me and provide a way out whenever I face temptation. I praise You that You are willing to give me all the strength I need!

God promises to help us when we are tempted.

 

Faith and Love

From: Our Daily Journey

Faith and Love

Read:

1 Thessalonians 1:2-10, 2:1-14
As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:3).

As we drove past a semi on the highway, my father mentioned that some large trucks have an extra set of wheels. Heavily loaded trailers require additional weight distribution over an increased number of wheels. So, when needed, the retractable set is lowered. When the trailer is empty, however, the additional wheels are raised to improve fuel efficiency and decrease wear and tear on the tires. The wheels are always available, yet their true purpose and value is only revealed when the truck is fully loaded.

Just as additional wheels are essential to pull a loaded truck trailer, so too faith and love are necessary for believers in Jesus to keep moving forward in their walk with God. The early church leaders regularly commended the believers for these two spiritual qualities (Ephesians 1:15; Colossians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:3). They’re often mentioned in relation to what is required to face trials and persecution. Faith and love grew strong and carried the early church through difficult times, spurring them on in their walk with God and in their effectiveness as His “true ministers” (2 Corinthians 6:4-7).

Although Paul, Silas, and Timothy suffered opposition to the good news of Jesus Christ in Thessalonica, there were those who received the message, accepted, and believed it as coming from God (1 Thessalonians 1:6, 2:13). The apostles applauded the believers for their “faithful work . . . . loving deeds, and . . . enduring hope . . . because of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3, emphasis added). These actions flowed from genuine faith.

As believers in Jesus, may we grow in faith and love as He works through us to establish His kingdom on earth.

 

Taking Possession of Our Own Soul

From: Utmost.org

Taking Possession of Our Own Soul

When a person is born again, there is a period of time when he does not have the same vitality in his thinking or reasoning that he previously had. We must learn to express this new life within us, which comes by forming the mind of Christ (see Philippians 2:5). Luke 21:19 means that we take possession of our souls through patience. But many of us prefer to stay at the entrance to the Christian life, instead of going on to create and build our soul in accordance with the new life God has placed within us. We fail because we are ignorant of the way God has made us, and we blame things on the devil that are actually the result of our own undisciplined natures. Just think what we could be when we are awakened to the truth!

There are certain things in life that we need not pray about— moods, for instance. We will never get rid of moodiness by praying, but we will by kicking it out of our lives. Moods nearly always are rooted in some physical circumstance, not in our true inner self. It is a continual struggle not to listen to the moods which arise as a result of our physical condition, but we must never submit to them for a second. We have to pick ourselves up by the back of the neck and shake ourselves; then we will find that we can do what we believed we were unable to do. The problem that most of us are cursed with is simply that we won’t. The Christian life is one of spiritual courage and determination lived out in our flesh.

Only God Satisfies Your Soul

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2

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Intimacy That Satisfies

From: Get More Strength.com

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2

In my opinion, intimacy is a really attractive word. Deep down inside, all of us long for meaningful connections that satisfy our souls and chase away the shadows of aloneness. But if we’re not careful, we may be looking for true intimacy in all the wrong places. Thoughts of intimacy often conjure up mental pictures of close encounters of the physical kind or the shallow, shabby offers of alluring lingerie, one-night stands, colognes, video titles, evenings of candlelight and red wine, or voyeuristic exchanges on the Internet. More innocently, your thoughts of intimacy may be about just finding a good friend that can be a soul mate. But even deep friendships can be sometimes fleeting and fickle.

It’s easy to be lured into counterfeit offers of intimacy only to find that they are not what our soul really craves. In fact, every time we dip into these buckets, we eventually come up empty, disappointed, and frequently left with shame and regret. Accept no substitutes! Don’t stop looking until you have found the soul mate that will truly satisfy.

You ask, “Who would that be?” Search no more, the offer of fulfilling intimacy is found in a deepening relationship with God Himself. After all, you were built for intimacy with Him. That’s what Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden of Eden until sin blocked access to God. But thankfully, God didn’t give up on His desire for intimacy with you. He stepped in and removed the barrier through the death of His Son so that intimacy with Him could be restored! And now He welcomes you to Himself by saying, “Come near to [me] and [I] will draw near to you” (James 4:8) and “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock” (Revelation 3:20). He’s wanting and waiting to come in and dine with you!

God is the only One perfectly suited to satisfy and sustain us. The joy of true intimacy is ours as we grow more deeply conscious of, connected to, and confident in God—and Him alone—as our unfailing resource in life.

As in any relationship, intimacy with God has some dynamics that make it grow. We don’t experience His nearness by just telling Him that we love Him, as important as that is. Intimacy is cultivated by drawing near to Him in obedience; by loving what He loves and hating what He hates; by sharing our deepest desires and struggles with Him in prayer; and by expressing our love to Him by acts of loyalty, sacrifice, and service to others. These attitudes and actions all say to God, “I love you!” in clear and compelling ways. Hebrews assures us that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Indeed, intimacy with God will reward your spirit with peace, confidence, a sense of direction and purpose, and the blessing of knowing that you are loved, really loved, by the one who promises that He will never leave you nor forsake you!

Intimacy with God can’t be bought at the corner newsstand. Nor can it be purchased at the mall, found on an exotic vacation, or acquired in developing the most impressive of social calendars. When it comes to the joy of intimacy, these things are the small talk of life compared to the deep satisfaction that comes from the privilege of knowing that “in a love that cannot cease, I am His and He is mine!”

 

Arlene Pellicane November 23, 2016
How to Turn Around a Downhill Day
ARLENE PELLICANE

“The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him — may your hearts live forever!” Psalm 22:26 (NIV)

When was the last time you had one of those days?

Sometimes that downhill day teaches us a lesson that sticks with us forever. For me, a pivotal day like that happened a few years ago. I walked into the post office mid-morning with my preschooler. It wasn’t the holidays, so I expected to get in and out quickly.

It turned out lots of people must’ve had the same thought because the post office was packed. The line was to the door and moving slowly. Two post office clerks worked as swiftly as they could, but there were just too many people.

“Did you bring a snack?” my little Lucy asked immediately.

Usually I was stocked like a well-appointed pantry for long outings, but I thought the post office would be a quick errand. I didn’t have a cracker to my name.

Lucy whined, “I’m hungry, Mommy!”

A few minutes turned into 25. Lucy and I were both unhappy campers. My day’s schedule was thrown out of balance. Later in the day, it was time for Lucy’s afternoon nap. She is usually great about taking her naps. But of course, on this non-perfect post office kind of day, she resisted. Protested. Fought. Struggled.

Finally, Lucy was sleeping soundly.

I work from home, but there was not any work getting done that day. Once Lucy was asleep, I turned toward the kitchen to prepare dinner.

I’m not really a cook; I’m more of a food assembler. But on this particular day, I had planned to make a casserole. Standing at my kitchen counter, chopping up pieces of chicken, I again realized why I don’t cook complex recipes (read here: things with more than five items). They take too much time!

I felt incredibly irritated about my wasted day.

My husband James was in the next room practicing his guitar. He’s a beginner, so insert creaky chords here. He was learning a praise song and without even thinking about it, I began to sing along.

Within just a few minutes of singing praises to God (I’m still chopping chicken), my whole demeanor changed.

The unfulfilled to-do lists and the burdens of the day lifted off my shoulders.

I was filled with gratitude instead of grumbling.

My irritation disappeared.

Instantly I was at peace. All my striving could not produce happiness, but when I looked to Jesus and sang praises to Him, all of a sudden, everything was made right.

I was satisfied just like the key verse says, “The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him” (Psalm 22:26a).

When you praise God for who He is, even when the day has left your soul poor and hungry, you turn that downhill day around. God has given us the gift of song to praise Him. Our key verse of praise from Psalm 22 is sung even when everything is going wrong in the writer David’s life.

Psalm 22:1 opens the chapter with painful words that will be quoted by Jesus on the cross, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” (NIV)

But the perspective shifts in verse 3, “Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.” (NIV)

“Yet you …”

Let those two little words grab a hold of your heart today. You may be working in a dead-end job. You may be in a cloud of sadness. You may feel stuck in the kitchen or a crazed post office line: “Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One”(Psalm 22:3a, NIV).

Jesus Christ is worthy of all praise. The first verse of Psalm 22 speaks of despair. But the last verse, Psalm 22:31, speaks of praise and victory: “They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!” (NIV)

That day at my kitchen counter, I learned praise was the key to turning a downhill day around. Don’t use your circumstances to measure your days. Instead turn your eyes upon Jesus Christ.

When you praise Him, no matter what’s happening in your life, He will give you divine perspective. Peace. Calm. Joy. Even when you’re chopping chicken.

Dear Jesus, I worship You because You are worthy of praise. You have defeated death, and You can turn around my downhill days. Dominion, power, glory and blessing belong to You alone. Set my soul free from anxiety as I praise. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

Fame and Humility

From: Our Daily Bread

Fame and Humility

He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2:8

Many of us are obsessed with fame—either with being famous ourselves or with following every detail of famous people’s lives. International book or film tours. Late-night show appearances. Millions of followers on Twitter.

In a recent study in the US, researchers ranked the names of famous individuals using a specially developed algorithm that scoured the Internet. Jesus topped the list as the most famous person in history.

Yet Jesus was never concerned about obtaining celebrity status. When He was here on earth, He never sought fame (Matt. 9:30; John 6:15)—although fame found Him all the same as news about Him quickly traveled throughout the region of Galilee (Mark 1:28; Luke 4:37).

Wherever Jesus went, crowds soon gathered. The miracles He performed drew people to Him. But when they tried to make Him a king by force, He slipped away by Himself (John 6:15). United in purpose with His Father, He repeatedly deferred to the Father’s will and timing (4:34; 8:29; 12:23). “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8).

Fame was never Jesus’s goal. His purpose was simple. As the Son of God, He humbly, obediently, and voluntarily offered Himself as the sacrifice for our sins.

You are to be celebrated, Lord, above all others. You have been highly exalted and given a name that is above every name. One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that You are Lord.

Jesus came not to be famous, but to humbly offer Himself as the sacrifice for our sins.

 

The Distraction of Contempt

The Distraction of Contempt

What we must beware of is not damage to our belief in God but damage to our Christian disposition or state of mind. “Take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously” (Malachi 2:16). Our state of mind is powerful in its effects. It can be the enemy that penetrates right into our soul and distracts our mind from God. There are certain attitudes we should never dare to indulge. If we do, we will find they have distracted us from faith in God. Until we get back into a quiet mood before Him, our faith is of no value, and our confidence in the flesh and in human ingenuity is what rules our lives.

Beware of “the cares of this world…” (Mark 4:19). They are the very things that produce the wrong attitudes in our soul. It is incredible what enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention away from God. Refuse to be swamped by “the cares of this world.”

Another thing that distracts us is our passion for vindication. St. Augustine prayed, “O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.” Such a need for constant vindication destroys our soul’s faith in God. Don’t say, “I must explain myself,” or, “I must get people to understand.” Our Lord never explained anything— He left the misunderstandings or misconceptions of others to correct themselves.

When we discern that other people are not growing spiritually and allow that discernment to turn to criticism, we block our fellowship with God. God never gives us discernment so that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.

Fill Your Life With Goodness

“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.” Acts 9:36 (NIV)

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Karen Ehman November 15, 2016

From: Crosswalk.com
Your One-Sentence Eulogy 
KAREN EHMAN

“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.” Acts 9:36 (NIV)

My kitchen contains some of my favorite things.

My big red Dutch oven where a batch of cheesy potato-corn chowder simmers. A watercolor painting of a bowl of fruit, purchased at an estate sale. And my aqua hand mixer. Because, well, I like to bake, and I love the color aqua! But the object I adore most is a lettered sign my mother-in-law gave me, made from rustic barnwood and stenciled with this simple phrase: “Scatter Kindness.”

I hung this inspiring inscription above the kitchen door that leads to the garage, so I’m sure to see it every time I exit my home. We live in a world filled with turmoil, sadness and despair. Of course, there are pockets of happiness too. On many days, though, it feels like the sadness overshadows the joy. It doesn’t take much looking around to find a soul in need of a little encouragement or a healthy dose of hope.

I was once told that there are two types of people in the world: those who enter a room full of people and announce, “Here I am!” and those who walk into a room, seek out another soul and lovingly declare, “Oh … there you are!” It makes me wonder, someday — when I am long gone — will I be remembered as someone who sought to encourage others or sought only to make herself known? Which one will be said of you?

The Bible tells detailed stories of the titans of the faith: Abraham, Joseph, Esther and Mary, to name a few. But sometimes it gives us an intriguing glimpse of some lesser-known characters, sketching their stories in a simple sentence or two. One such character is the New Testament woman named Tabitha.

We meet Tabitha in Acts, where the story of the birth of the Christian church is recorded by a doctor named Luke. Acts also introduces us to the founders of the church, including Peter and Paul. But tucked away in its pages we also find a portrait of a woman who demonstrated how to put others first and scatter kindness. I love her one-sentence description: “In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor” (Acts 9:36, emphasis added).

What a beautiful and unusual introduction! While most personal descriptions mention relationships (such as “a wonderful wife and mother”) or career accomplishments (“a dedicated nurse”) this woman was known for continually looking for ways to scatter kindness. Concerned about the poor, she actively worked to make their lives better. In fact, her actions so radiated Christ’s love that the author of Acts recorded these words for us to read 2,000 years later in our Bibles.

One reason we know about Tabitha today is because she died, and Peter raised her from the dead. But as glorious as her resurrection was, her character is what impresses me: “She was always doing good and helping the poor.” Oh, how this one sentence shakes my soul and stirs my heart!

If someone were going to record a one-sentence eulogy about us, what would they say? Would they observe about us — like Tabitha — that we were “always doing good” to others? Were we on the lookout for those who had a much harder row to hoe, or were we more concerned about our own safety and comfort, giving little thought to others?

While sometimes we may think our life is boring, could we see our humble and common circumstances as an opportunity for God’s eternal purposes, just as Tabitha did? Could we seek to scatter kindness, discovering an important and fulfilling ministry as we do?

Years from now, how will you be remembered? As a, “Here I am!” person or as an, “Oh … there you are!” sort of soul?

What will be your one-sentence eulogy?

Father, may I make it my aim today to scatter kindness as I go through life, reflecting to others Your kindness to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

From: Streams in the Desert

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, regarding the affliction that happened to us in the province of Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of living. (2 Cor 1:8)

But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. (2 Cor 12:9)

God allowed the crisis to close around Jacob on the night when he bowed at Peniel in supplication, to bring him to the place where he could take hold of God as he never would have done; and from that narrow pass of peril, Jacob became enlarged in his faith and knowledge of God, and in the power of a new and victorious life.

God had to compel David, by a long and painful discipline of years, to learn the almighty power and faithfulness of his God, and grow up into the established principles of faith and godliness, which were indispensable for his glorious career as the king of Israel.

Nothing but the extremities in which Paul was constantly placed could ever have taught him, and taught the Church through him, the full meaning of the great promise he so learned to claim, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

And nothing but our trials and perils would ever have led some of us to know Him as we do, to trust Him as we have, and to draw from Him the measures of grace which our very extremities made indispensable.

Difficulties and obstacles are God’s challenges to faith. When hindrances confront us in the path of duty, we are to recognize them as vessels for faith to fill with the fullness and all-sufficiency of Jesus; and as we go forward, simply and fully trusting Him, we may be tested, we may have to wait and let patience have her perfect work; but we shall surely find at last the stone rolled away, and the Lord waiting to render unto us double for our time of testing.
A. B. Simpson

Sweeter Than Honey

From: Get more Strength.org

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103

I wonder how many of us got tired of hearing our moms tell us, “Eat this, it’s good for you!” And you can bet that if it required a lot of coaxing, it wasn’t the most appetizing dish on the table!

Thankfully, there are a few items on the good-for-you menu that go down a little easier than eggplant or brussels sprouts. Like honey, for example. Who doesn’t love a glob of honey slathered thickly on buttered toast? And not only does it taste good, but scientific studies show that honey has great medicinal value. For one thing, it helps reduce cholesterol. It’s loaded with antioxidants that help fight cancer. And a bit of honey and lemon mixed with hot water has a sure soothing effect on a sore throat. In food world, there’s nothing else quite like honey. No wonder the psalmist David used it to describe God’s Word when he exclaimed, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).

If we’re honest, our attitude doesn’t usually match up to David’s. Can we really say that God’s Word is “sweet” or, for that matter, “sweeter than honey”? Usually it’s more like, “Oh, I guess it’s good for me, so I have to read it.” When we engage the Bible with that attitude, it’s no wonder that it seems like a bland, flavorless experience.

So let’s start reading the Word expecting to have a meaningful, personal encounter with God. For me, it cannot be just an exercise in reading through the Bible in a year or making sure I read a chapter a day, or any other system that allows me to put a tic mark on my spiritual checklist next to the “Bible reading” obligation. Each encounter with Scripture has to be a search for something that is relevant to my life. I need to read until I hear Him speak in a way that reaches to the core of me. If it comes quickly, I may not need to read further. But if it takes more time than I had planned, I need to keep reading until my soul, heart, and mind have been revitalized.

When I read about the fact that God is sovereign and fully in control of everything that is happening in my life (Jeremiah 10:23) and ultimately manages the whole universe (Colossians 1:16-17), how sweet is that? When I read that He will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5), and that He works everything to a good conclusion (Romans 8:28), it settles my spirit with a sweet taste. When I read that this world is not my home (1 Peter 2:11) and that my home is heaven, a place where God will wipe away every tear (John 14:3Revelation 21:4), there could be nothing sweeter!

The more we read the words and promises that fill our hungry hearts and provide healing antidotes to our wounded souls, the more we will understand the psalmist’s enthusiasm for God’s Word. I’m telling you right now, when your life goes south, when you are confused and don’t know what to do, your next best meal is not going to help you at all. But the words of God will be just what you need. So, go ahead—eat it—not only is it good for you, it’s sweet!

Whatever your approach, reading the Bible should be a dynamic experience that is alive with flavor and excitement. As you continue to connect with God through His Word, relish every morsel. After all, His words are sweeter than honey!

 

“What Is That to You?”

From: Utmost.org

One of the hardest lessons to learn comes from our stubborn refusal to refrain from interfering in other people’s lives. It takes a long time to realize the danger of being an amateur providence, that is, interfering with God’s plan for others. You see someone suffering and say, “He will not suffer, and I will make sure that he doesn’t.” You put your hand right in front of God’s permissive will to stop it, and then God says, “What is that to you?” Is there stagnation in your spiritual life? Don’t allow it to continue, but get into God’s presence and find out the reason for it. You will possibly find it is because you have been interfering in the life of another— proposing things you had no right to propose, or advising when you had no right to advise. When you do have to give advice to another person, God will advise through you with the direct understanding of His Spirit. Your part is to maintain the right relationship with God so that His discernment can come through you continually for the purpose of blessing someone else.

Most of us live only within the level of consciousness— consciously serving and consciously devoted to God. This shows immaturity and the fact that we’re not yet living the real Christian life. Maturity is produced in the life of a child of God on the unconscious level, until we become so totally surrendered to God that we are not even aware of being used by Him. When we are consciously aware of being used as broken bread and poured-out wine, we have yet another level to reach— a level where all awareness of ourselves and of what God is doing through us is completely eliminated. A saint is never consciously a saint— a saint is consciously dependent on God.

Say Yes To God’s Will

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.     Luke 1:38

Mary the mother of Jesus said this in agreement to God’s will. Mary showed great faith to believe God. God gave her the greatest blessing a woman could have. That blessing was the Son of God. Wonderful blessings come through saying yes to God.

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Lynn Cowell August 26, 2016

He Said Yes
LYNN COWELL

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 (ESV)

The day had finally come and it was none too soon! My husband and I had stalled on making needed repairs to our backyard, and I was happy to see the repair crew arrive.

As the workers sweated away outside, inside, I typed away in my office. I ended the article I was working on with this challenge: “Today, let’s you and I look for someone who needs our prayers.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Almost immediately, I looked back out into the yard and noticed a new worker, so I headed out.

That’s when I struck up a conversation with Johnny.

After exchanging greetings, it didn’t take long to learn Johnny was fairly new to our community. We swapped stories of what brought us to the area and how we both had to make major life adjustments when we moved.

Then that nagging, I’ve got to get back to work feeling crept in my mind. Just as I was about to say goodbye and make my way back into the house, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit in my heart: Pay attention to the person in front of you.

I spent a few more moments listening to Johnny before heading inside to locate our checkbook. As I began writing the check, I noticed my pen that had our church information on it.

Ask Johnny to church came a second nudge in my heart. Honestly, this one scared me, so I told God, “I’ll ask Johnny to church if I see him again.”

After writing the check, I looked around but there was no Johnny. I’m sorry to say I felt relieved. I don’t have to do the hard thing, I thought.

I stepped back into our home and my eyes saw something through the windows to our front yard. Johnny’s truck. He was still at our home, packing up his tools.

You can see Johnny, I felt the Holy Spirit pointing out to me.

I needed to obey.

“How am I going to do this, Lord? It’s so unnatural to just walk down there and start talking to him?”

Then the idea came: Go down the driveway, get the mail and start a conversation. And that’s what I did.

“Johnny, you said you were new here. Have you found a church, because you should check out mine?” I blurted, as I stuck out my pen.

Johnny looked at the pen. He looked at me. Then, like a volcano oozing lava, Johnny poured out his heart. He’d been hurt by a relationship in his church, but he wanted to believe God was still good. He was searching for God to speak to him.

I was stunned. To think I had almost missed this opportunity because of fear and my preoccupation with my own affairs!

After a few minutes, I attempted to wrap up our talk when I sensed God wasn’t finished yet.

You didn’t pray for Johnny. I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to my spirit.

“Here, Lord? In the middle of my cul-de-sac? What if my neighbors see me and wonder what I’m doing talking to a man?”

That’s for me to deal with, I felt Him reassure me.

So, I simply said, “Johnny, can I pray for you?”

He said, “Yes!”

And right there, in my cul-de-sac, God showed me what happens when we look not only to our own interests, “but also, to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).

Friends, if we will slow down, stop and listen, we will see that God has an assignment for us today. Let’s look for someone who needs us to pray for them. May our eyes and ears be open to the Holy Spirit and boldly ask the question: “Can I pray for you?”

Father, those five words, “Can I pray for you?” seem so intimidating. Yet when spoken, they can open doors for You to do Your work through us. Empower us, Holy Spirit, to be brave and be bold today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Are You Ever Troubled?

From: Utmost.org

Are You Ever Troubled?

There are times in our lives when our peace is based simply on our own ignorance. But when we are awakened to the realities of life, true inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus. When our Lord speaks peace, He creates peace, because the words that He speaks are always “spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Have I ever received what Jesus speaks? “…My peace I give to you…”— a peace that comes from looking into His face and fully understanding and receiving His quiet contentment.

Are you severely troubled right now? Are you afraid and confused by the waves and the turbulence God sovereignly allows to enter your life? Have you left no stone of your faith unturned, yet still not found any well of peace, joy, or comfort? Does your life seem completely barren to you? Then look up and receive the quiet contentment of the Lord Jesus. Reflecting His peace is proof that you are right with God, because you are exhibiting the freedom to turn your mind to Him. If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself. Allowing anything to hide the face of Jesus Christ from you either causes you to become troubled or gives you a false sense of security.

With regard to the problem that is pressing in on you right now, are you “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) and receiving peace from Him? If so, He will be a gracious blessing of peace exhibited in and through you. But if you only try to worry your way out of the problem, you destroy His effectiveness in you, and you deserve whatever you get. We become troubled because we have not been taking Him into account. When a person confers with Jesus Christ, the confusion stops, because there is no confusion in Him. Lay everything out before Him, and when you are faced with difficulty, bereavement, and sorrow, listen to Him say, “Let not your heart be troubled…” (John 14:27).

 

Honorable Living

From: Our Daily Bread

Honorable Living

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession. 1 Peter 2:9

While delivering a well-publicized speech, a respected leader and statesman got the attention of his nation by declaring that most of his country’s honorable Members of Parliament (MPs) were quitedishonorable. Citing lifestyles of corruption, pompous attitudes, unsavory language, and other vices, he rebuked the MPs and urged them to reform. As expected, his comments didn’t go well with them and they dispatched counter-criticisms his way.

We may not be public officials in positions of leadership, but we who follow Christ are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9). As such, our Lord calls us to lifestyles that honor Him.

The disciple Peter had some practical advice on how to do this. He urged us to “abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul” (v. 11). Although he didn’t use the word honorable, he was calling us to behavior worthy of Christ.

As the apostle Paul phrased it in his letter to the Philippians, “Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Phil. 4:8). Indeed, these are the characteristics of behavior that honor our Lord.

Lord, when we are honest with You, we understand how often we fall far short of honorable behavior. We know how much we need You. By Your Spirit, help us replace any selfish thoughts, words, and actions with things that please You and draw others to You.

We honor God’s name when we call Him our Father and live like His children.

Godly Women Are To Be Praised

Proverbs 31

30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.

Image result for pictures of woman virtuousImage result for pictures of woman virtuous
Image result for pictures of woman virtuousImage result for pictures of woman virtuous
Image result for pictures of woman virtuousImage result for pictures of woman virtuous
Image result for pictures of woman virtuousImage result for pictures of woman virtuous

 

 A WOMAN’S JOURNEY TO GODLINESS

From: Crosswalk.com

Author: Dr. Richard G. Lee  

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”  Proverbs 31:10

 

What is a godly woman? Proverbs 31 describes the value of a godly woman as “far above rubies.” Simply put, to her husband and children, to her friends and even to society as a whole, a godly women is of priceless value. But such value is gained only along the road to godliness, a journey that continues throughout a lifetime. While each woman’s journey is unique and personal, here are a few vital steps that lead to godliness.

1. The journey begins with a personal encounter with God through Jesus Christ.

The first step on the journey to become a godly woman is to have a personal encounter with God through Jesus Christ, His Son. As Christians, we believe what is written in Romans 5:8: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

For us to have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ means we recognize that we are sinners and believe the declaration of the Scriptures that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for our sins through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. We then repent of our sins, commit our lives to Christ, and confess faith in God’s willingness to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

2. A godly woman embraces the freedom from her past and her new beginnings in Christ.

The promise of God in 2 Corinthians 5:17 is that at the moment we have a personal encounter with God, everything is new. It tells us that “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have

become new.” What a glorious promise! No matter what we have done in our past, God sees us as new people through Jesus Christ. Imagine! The Creator of heaven and earth sees you as pure and holy through Jesus. As the writer of the book of Isaiah put it, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” We do not have to hold on to our pasts. We can let it go and know without a shadow of a doubt that we are forgiven and look forward to a brand new beginning in Jesus Christ.

3. A godly woman becomes intimately familiar with the Holy Spirit, who is her Guide.

A journey is pointless unless it has a destination and road map to get there. The journey to godliness requires more than head knowledge about God or a sincere desire to follow Christ. The pursuit of godliness is a daily yielding to the direction of God’s Holy Spirit who is within the believer’s heart guiding her to joy and spiritual prosperity. Jesus proclaimed this truth in John 14:16, 17. “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth . . . you will know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” Also, John 16:13 says, “However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth . . . and will tell you things to come.”

4. A godly woman surrounds herself with friendships of strong believers.

There is no more powerful influence in our lives than that of the people we surround ourselves with on a daily basis. Jesus recognized the power of friends and acquaintances when He said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). It is important for both new believers and mature women in God to continually surround themselves with others who are firm in their faith. In both the good times and in the difficulties of life this circle of influence is vital to the foundation and growth of a godly woman.

More often than not among Christians, friendship with mature believers is found by becoming a member of a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. The church is often referred to as the “family of God.” It is the local body of believers who come together to worship God that is enormously important to every person’s journey of growth in faith.

The local church is also important for uplifting each other and encouraging one another in opportunities to do good works together. As Hebrews 10:24-25 explains, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another.”

 

Keep Recognizing Jesus

From: Utmost.org

Keep Recognizing Jesus

The wind really was boisterous and the waves really were high, but Peter didn’t see them at first. He didn’t consider them at all; he simply recognized his Lord, stepped out in recognition of Him, and “walked on the water.” Then he began to take those things around him into account, and instantly, down he went. Why couldn’t our Lord have enabled him to walk at the bottom of the waves, as well as on top of them? He could have, yet neither could be done without Peter’s continuing recognition of the Lord Jesus.

We step right out with recognition of God in some things, then self-consideration enters our lives and down we go. If you are truly recognizing your Lord, you have no business being concerned about how and where He engineers your circumstances. The things surrounding you are real, but when you look at them you are immediately overwhelmed, and even unable to recognize Jesus. Then comes His rebuke, “…why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). Let your actual circumstances be what they may, but keep recognizing Jesus, maintaining complete reliance upon Him.

If you debate for even one second when God has spoken, it is all over for you. Never start to say, “Well, I wonder if He really did speak to me?” Be reckless immediately— totally unrestrained and willing to risk everything— by casting your all upon Him. You do not know when His voice will come to you, but whenever the realization of God comes, even in the faintest way imaginable, be determined to recklessly abandon yourself, surrendering everything to Him. It is only through abandonment of yourself and your circumstances that you will recognize Him. You will only recognize His voice more clearly through recklessness— being willing to risk your all.

 

Defeat or Victory?

From: Our Daily Bread

Defeat or Victory?

Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.1 John 5:4

Each year on June 18 the great Battle of Waterloo is recalled in what is now Belgium. On that day in 1815, Napoleon’s French army was defeated by a multinational force commanded by the Duke of Wellington. Since then, the phrase “to meet your Waterloo” has come to mean “to be defeated by someone who is too strong for you or by a problem that is too difficult for you.”

When it comes to our spiritual lives, some people feel that ultimate failure is inevitable and it’s only a matter of time until each of us will “meet our Waterloo.” But John refuted that pessimistic view when he wrote to followers of Jesus: “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).

John weaves this theme of spiritual victory throughout his first letter as he urges us not to love the things this world offers, which will soon fade away (2:15–17). Instead, we are to love and please God, “And this is what he promised us—eternal life” (v. 25).

While we may have ups and downs in life, and even some battles that feel like defeats, the ultimate victory is ours in Christ as we trust in His power.

Lord Jesus, Your ultimate victory in this fallen world is assured, and You ask us to share in it each day of our lives. By Your grace, enable us to overcome the world through faith and obedience to You.

When it comes to problems, the way out is to trust God on the way through.