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Have You Ever Felt Disqualified?

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 Have You Ever Felt Disqualified?

 

woman on couch praying

Daniel Yanez – Vive Mas Social Media Coordinator, cbn.com

Have you ever felt the pressure to reach new goals, meet certain objectives, or simply seek to be a better person with God? Although there are probably success stories that we remember, there are moments we feel frustrated to the point of feeling discouraged or disqualified to move forward.

When I find myself in this situation, thoughts of defeat have made me feel disqualified to be used by God. However, I have great news; our past mistakes do not define how God sees us because Jesus died on the cross to redeem us from our sins.

The Bible tells us about Saul, the controversial character who persecuted believers and whom everyone feared. Then, one day, on the road to Damascus, Jesus met him, and his life took a 180° turn. Although he became a new person, many weren’t convinced of Saul’s transformation:

“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name” (Acts 9:13-14).

I’ve often found myself in the role of Ananias, trying to disqualify myself for the mistakes I’ve made, but if God did not disqualify a man as terrible as Saul, He wouldn’t do it with us either.

But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.’ At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 9:15, 20).

It is likely that you will hear voices that will try to discourage you throughout your life, but remember that God created you from the beginning with a great purpose and nothing can bring down or overcome what He says. God has the last word:

To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land. To him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are his (Job 12:13, 15-16).

Dear friend, I can say with certainty when I feel most disqualified, that is when I have experienced the grace of God the most! A year ago, I was so frustrated over not seeing specific goals and dreams fulfilled in my life, but today, I can testify of His great love and care for me, even during one of the lowest valleys of my life. The Lord opened the doors, and I am confident of His great plan for my life! So, whenever you feel disqualified, whenever you think you are not able, keep these words in your heart:

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Glory to God for His great love for us!

Prayer:
Father, thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for being strong when I am weak. Help me to trust in Your plan and purpose for my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

June 28

1 Kings 19:20-21 20Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother good-by,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?” 21So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.

Elijah left Mount Horeb with fresh inspiration. He was going to train someone to take his place. He saw the man God had told him to call and threw his cloak upon him. It was a picture of the anointing of God coming upon him and covering him. We have the same picture in the New Testament when the Apostle Paul says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14).

Elisha wanted to say good-bye to his parents, but Elijah asked him to consider what had just happened. He was called of God. What would hold him back or deter him? We read nothing of him saying good-bye. That reminds us of the person that wanted to follow Jesus but wanted to wait until his parents died. Jesus told him to let the dead bury the dead, but come and follow him (Matthew 8:22).

Elisha must have considered this to be a great calling. He burned the implements that he used to make a living and roasted the oxen. He fed the people with the meat. He no longer had anything to go back to. Today we would call this “burning our bridges.” Elisha planned to go forward and never look back. If God wanted to use him, he wanted to be undistracted and completely available to God. We will see in coming devotions how he highly prized the calling and anointing of God. His training started as a servant to Elijah. He would observe the man that God was using and learn from him.

Consider: Many of us need a mentor to give us an example of what it is to walk in the Spirit. We often have such poor examples that we may need to search for a life we respect and can learn from. Do you have a godly mentor?

A Servant’s Rewards

Rewards for our kingdom work await us in heaven, but God also blesses us in this life for our service.

June 28, 2022

Hebrews 6:10

In His grace, God freely gives salvation to those who believe in Jesus. We can’t earn it, nor do we deserve it. However, our Father does notice when we live according to His will, and He promises to reward us according to what we have done for Him.

Revelation 22:12 says, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to reward each one as his work deserves.” Whether large or small, service done in Jesus’ name will be blessed. We must be careful, though, that our actions are for Christ’s glory. If motives are self-serving, the only benefit we receive is the praise (if any) that we hear from people in this life.

While we look forward to rewards that will be given in heaven, some blessings can be experienced now. For example, there’s great joy in allowing God to bless others through us. In addition, there’s a profound sense of fulfillment when we lead a person to Jesus and teach him or her how to walk by faith.

Serving others is both a great benefit and a responsibility. We should prayerfully consider our motives to make sure that our goal is to glorify Christ. Only then will we receive God’s full blessings—rewards given not just in eternity but on earth as well.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 90-94

Streams in the Desert – June 28

  • 202228 Jun

A door opened in heaven (Rev. 4:1).

You must remember that John was in the Isle of Patmos, a lone, rocky, inhospitable prison, for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. And yet to him, under such circumstances, separated from all the loved ones of Ephesus; debarred from the worship of the Church; condemned to the companionship of uncongenial fellow-captives, were vouchsafed these visions. For him, also a door was opened.

We are reminded of Jacob, exiled from his father’s house, who laid himself down in a desert place to sleep, and in his dreams beheld a ladder which united Heaven with earth, and at the top stood God.

Not to these only, but to many more, doors have been opened into Heaven, when, so far as the world was concerned, it seemed as though their circumstances were altogether unlikely for such revelations. To prisoners and captives; to constant sufferers, bound by iron chains of pain to sick couches; to lonely pilgrims and wanderers; to women detained from the Lord’s house by the demands of home, how often has the door been opened to Heaven.

But there are conditions. You must know what it is to be in the Spirit; you must be pure in heart and obedient in faith; you must be willing to count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ; then when God is all in all to us, when we live, move and have our being in His favor, to us also will the door be opened.
–Daily Devotional Commentary

Serving Others

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Sitting With Others: Who Is God Sending You To?

visiting the elderly

 

Rich Miller – Manager, CBN Prayer Center Digital Interactions, cbn.com

When you think of who God used to lead you to Jesus, who comes to mind? When you think of who reflected Jesus to you in how they loved others, who do you picture?

I imagine quite a few that I know would answer with my father’s name. My dad was a hero at spending time with people through home visitations. While pastoring for over two decades, he was known just as much for taking time to visit people as he was for being a pastor. The personal touch came easy to him; he was able to lead several people to Jesus on their deathbeds because he had taken the time to sit with them through the years.

My father reminds me of Philip in Acts 8. Here, God sets up a divine appointment for Philip to share the Gospel with an important eunuch from Ethiopia who oversaw the queen’s treasury. This devout eunuch had just finished a trip to Jerusalem to worship and was a true seeker of God. When Philip approaches him, directed by the Spirit, the eunuch is meditating on a prophetic passage from Isaiah 53. However, he is not aware that the passage is a messianic prophecy that points to Jesus.

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Acts 8:30-31 (NIV)

Like this Ethiopian eunuch, many today seek to know God but lack the revelation of who He revealed Himself to be in Jesus. As Jesus declared, when you have seen Him, you have seen the Father (John 14:9). The Apostle Paul makes clear that it is our responsibility as believers to proclaim this good news:

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Romans 10:13-14

God was drawing this eunuch to Himself and was willing to chase him down, through Philip. The eunuch invites Philip to sit with him in his chariot and help him understand what he is reading. Sitting with someone involves taking the time to be with them. It’s an invitation to fellowship. Philip accepts the offer and shares the good news of Jesus Christ with him. Historians claim that once this eunuch returned home, he was the first to share about Jesus in Ethiopia.

In your life, who is the Lord leading you to who is searching for Him? Whether it is a divine appointment that is momentary, or someone that you’ve “sat” with through the years, He wants to work through your testimony to fill in the blanks to the questions they have about Him. Like Philip, may you be sensitive to His promptings and recognize these eternal moments.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

June 27

1 Kings 19:13b,14,18 13bThen a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

18“Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel–all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”

God asked Elijah what he was doing on Horeb. Of course God knew the answer, but Elijah needed to express it. I think this is a common tool that God uses to get us to assess what is real. What are you doing where you are, reader? Take a moment to think how you would respond to your Maker if He were to ask you that right now.

Elijah told God how zealous he had been for God and how alone he felt because of it. He told how he was fleeing again for his life. God had news for Elijah. He told him to anoint the coming kings and his own successor. That was a vision for the near future and motivation to get back to work. Then God had a correction to make to Elijah’s pity party. He was not alone. There were 7000 people who had not worshiped Baal.

At times we get discouraged and think we are the only ones that are serious about God. Individuals and churches can feel that way, but there are always others that love God. He always keeps a remnant for Himself. They may not look and act like you do, but God has kept their hearts, and they are not going the way of the world.

Consider: Do you feel like you are all alone, like your work is done and you haven’t been successful? Don’t worry or fear. God is at work. He has more for you to do. He has a disciple waiting for instruction. He has thousands that love Him more than the world. The work is not up to you. It is up to God.

The conversion of Saul of Tarsus

By: Charles Spurgeon

“And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” Acts 26:14

Suggested Further Reading: John 15:16-25

When you were first pricked in the heart, how personal the preacher was. I remember it well. It seemed to me that I was the only person in the whole place, as if a black wall were round about me, and I were shut in with the preacher, something like the prisoners at the penitentiary, who each sit in their cell and can see no one but the chaplain. I thought all he said was meant for me; I felt persuaded that some one knew my character, and had written to him and told him all, and that he had personally picked me out. Why, I thought he fixed his eyes on me; and I have reason to believe he did, but still he said he knew nothing about my case. Oh, that men would hear the word preached, and that God would so bless them in their hearing, that they might feel it to have a personal application to their own hearts. But note again—the apostle received some information as to the persecuted one. If you had asked Saul who it was he persecuted, he would have said, “Some poor fishermen, that had been setting up an impostor; I am determined to put them down.” “Why, who are they? They are the poorest of the world, the very scum and dregs of society; if they were princes and kings we perhaps might let them have their opinion; but these poor miserable ignorant fellows, I do not see why they are allowed to carry out their infatuation, and I shall persecute them. Moreover, most of them are women I have been persecuting—poor, ignorant creatures. What right have they to set their judgement up above the priests? They have no right to have an opinion of their own, and therefore it is quite right for me to make them turn away from their foolish errors.” But see in what a different light Jesus Christ puts it. He does not say, “Saul, Saul, why didst thou persecute Stephen?” or “Why art thou about to drag the people of Damascus to prison;” No—“Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”

For meditation: What a personal Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ is! He personally calls his people to himself (Luke 19:5) and he takes it personally when they are persecuted (Luke 10:16).

Without Compromise

“They took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern … they let Jeremiah down with ropes. Now in the cistern there was no water but only mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud.” – Jeremiah 38:6 NASB

As an elite artist, pianist Maria Yudina was under the spotlight. Millions in her home country of Russia had died or been imprisoned. Believers faced pressure to be silent about their beliefs. Yudina, a devout Christian, could have stayed silent like many others. But she refused to compromise.

The authorities watched her closely, but she would not back down. She always wore a cross when performing, not concerned that government officials might be offended.

Her example inspired many believers. The great Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich said her concerts were her way to proclaim her faith: “She always played as though she were giving a sermon.”

She even defied atheistic dictator Josef Stalin. After receiving money from Stalin for a recording, she donated it to a church and replied: “I will pray for you day and night and ask the Lord to forgive your great sins before the people and the country. The Lord is merciful, and he will forgive you.”

The prophet Jeremiah, too, faced pressure to compromise. Refusing to yield, he was let down into a deep hole filled with mud. Officials wanted to silence him, but he remained faithful and obedient to God.

You may face pressure to compromise your faith. No matter the opposition, stay true to God. Trust in Him. Don’t allow circumstances or the reactions of others to influence you. Stay faithful to Him.

Salvation Is By Faith In Christ Alone

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By His Grace Alone

woman reading

 

Tori Troncone – Email Analyst, cbn.con

When I first got my dog, I was determined to teach him all kinds of tricks. We’d spend summer evenings out in the backyard with my pockets full of little training treats. I taught him to sit, shake, lay down, and roll over. I never taught him anything more extravagant than that, but now he’s really good at the basics. Actually, maybe too good at the basics.

Nowadays, anytime anyone is anywhere near his treat jar, or even just snacking on something that he’d like a bite of, he starts running through all of the tricks he knows. Without being asked he’ll sit, offer his right paw to shake, followed by his left, he’ll lay down, and finally roll over. He does whatever he thinks will please you enough to earn him a treat.

Unfortunately, this is a lot like what my relationship with God used to look like. Instead of walking in loving relationship with my Creator, I was just constantly trying to please Him, running through all of the “tricks” I knew. I thought if I could just please God enough, if I could prove myself to Him, then He would love me and bless me.

God is our loving Father. He does not desire this type of transactional relationship with us! We cannot earn or bribe our way to His love and blessings.

Simon the magician learned this lesson when he ran into the apostles in Samaria. When he saw the works that the apostles were doing by the power of the Holy Spirit, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power!” (Acts 8:18-19). But Peter said to him:

“May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.” (Acts 8:20-21)

I never tried to bribe God with physical money, but my heart was in the same place as Simon’s. God cannot be bribed with money, actions, good intentions, or anything else that we think will gain us His favor and blessing. As Jesus reminds us in John 14:6, HE is the way. HE is the truth. HE is the life. No one comes to the Father except through HIM!

May God bless us with the wisdom and humility to remember that we are saved by His grace alone. There is nothing we can do to earn or purchase our own way into the Lord’s favor. The price for our salvation has already been paid by Jesus Christ. Lord, help us to trust in You fully!

A home mission sermon

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” Ecclesiastes 9:10

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 22:24-27

George Washington, the commander-in-chief, was going around among his soldiers. They were hard at work, lifting a heavy piece of timber at some fortification. There stood the corporal of the regiment calling out to his men, “Heave there, heave ahoy!” and giving them all kinds of directions. As large as possible the good corporal was. So Washington, alighting from his horse, said to him, “What is the good of your calling out to those men, why don’t you help them yourself and do part of the work.” The corporal drew himself up and said, “Perhaps you are not aware to whom you are speaking, sir; I am a corporal.” “I beg your pardon,” said Washington; “you are a corporal are you; I am sorry I should have insulted you.” So he took off his own coat and waistcoat and set to work to help the men build the fortification. When he had done he said, “Mr Corporal, I am sorry I insulted you, but when you have any more fortifications to get up, and your men won’t help you, send for George Washington, the commander-in-chief, and I will come and help them.” The corporal slunk away perfectly ashamed of himself. And so Christ Jesus might say to us, “Oh, you don’t like teaching the poor; it is beneath your dignity; then let your commander-in-chief do it; he can teach the poor, he can wash the feet of the saints, he can visit the sick and afflicted—he came down from heaven to do this, and he will set you the example.” Surely we should each be ashamed of ourselves, and declare from this time forward whatever it is, be it great or little, if it comes to our hand, and if God will but give us help and give us grace, we will do it with all our might.

For meditation: Our Master knew how to be humble (Philippians 2:6-9); he also knows how to deal with people who are proud or humble (1 Peter 5:5-6).

Unbelief – Streams in the Desert – June 26

  • 202226 Jun

For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (Rom. 3:3).

I think that I can trace every scrap of sorrow in my life to simple unbelief. How could I be anything but quite happy if I believed always that all the past is forgiven, and all the present furnished with power, and all the future bright with hope because of the same abiding facts which do not change with my mood, do not stumble because I totter and stagger at the promise through unbelief, but stand firm and clear with their peaks of pearl cleaving the air of Eternity, and the bases of their hills rooted unfathomably in the Rock of God. Mont Blanc does not become a phantom or a mist because a climber grows dizzy on its side.
–James Smetham

Is it any wonder that, when we stagger at any promise of God through unbelief, we do not receive it? Not that faith merits an answer, or in any way earns it, or works it out; but God has made believing a condition of receiving, and the Giver has a sovereign right to choose His own terms of gift.
–Rev. Samuel Hart

Unbelief says, “How can such and such things be?” It is full of “hows”; but faith has one great answer to the ten thousand “hows,” and that answer is–GOD!
–C. H. M.

No praying man or woman accomplishes so much with so little expenditure of time as when he or she is praying.

If there should arise, it has been said–and the words are surely true to the thought of our Lord Jesus Christ in all His teaching on prayer—if there should arise ONE UTTERLY BELIEVING MAN, the history of the world might be changed.

Will YOU not be that one in the providence and guidance of God our Father?
–A. E. McAdam

Prayer without faith degenerates into objectless routine, or soulless hypocrisy. Prayer with faith brings Omnipotence to back our petitions. Better not pray unless and until your whole being responds to the efficacy of your supplication. When the true prayer is breathed, earth and heaven, the past and the future, say Amen. And Christ prayed such prayers.
–P. C. M.

Nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.

Beautiful Community

  ACTS 2:42-47

By:  Rebecca Jordan Heys, Today’s Devotions

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

—  Acts 2:42

God has redeemed us in Jesus and called us to live beautiful lives of gratitude and joy.

Each of us can do that alone in some ways. Alone, I can pray to God, read Scripture, and enjoy and care for God’s creation.

However, God also calls us to live beautiful lives of gratitude and joy together, as a community.

The first followers of Jesus provide us a model of how to do this well. Their ordinary, everyday habits helped to make this community beautiful. They committed their time to doing ordinary things like learning from their teachers, spending time together, eating together, and praying together. They didn’t worry about accumulating money and possessions; they shared with anyone who was in need. They celebrated the Lord’s Supper and shared celebratory meals together.

Participating in a local church is the best way to live out this kind of beautiful Christian community today. And if that isn’t possible, perhaps you can connect with a Christian ministry online or by phone or mail. Join with others in correspondence and prayer, and try to participate in Christian community as much as possible, expressing the beauty of life together in the name of Jesus.

God, thank you for the gift of Christian community. Show us opportunities to follow you in the way we live our lives together. Shape us into a beautiful community, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

His Sovereign Hand

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His Sovereign Hand

hopeless to hopeful

 

Kenneth Porter – Prayer Center Assistant Coach, cbn.com

When I came to Virginia in 2019, CBN wasn’t on my radar. I didn’t have any direction or purpose at that time. I had been falsely accused and fired from my teaching position. I interviewed everywhere but to no avail, there were no openings. I did Lyft driving for a while until I couldn’t afford to do it anymore. At my lowest point, I was looking on CBN’s website for encouragement and I saw job openings. I told myself, I can at least pray for someone.

Eventually, CBN’s human resources department contacted me. I was interviewed by a representative and soon hired.

When I came on as a new hire, I prayed for a woman from California who had an outreach ministry. Toward the end of the call, she asked me if I had something in the courts. (FYI: I never told her about my situation. And I was not a firm believer in prophecy at that time.) I told her yes. She prophesied over me. She mentioned that the decision will be overturned. A week later, my attorney called me. He told me that I was exonerated from all charges concerning my former employer. I was ecstatic!

God has blessed me ten times over since being at CBN. In 2019, I was a broken man who lost his teaching position because of false accusations. Now, in 2022, I am a revived man in Christ. I’ve also been promoted while serving at CBN. And, exonerated!

I am reminded of a Scripture in Job:

After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. He said: “May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’ That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it” (Job 3:1-4).

He was so frustrated that he wanted to curse the day that he was born. I was there in 2019. Job had a problem trying to comprehend his circumstances. His circumstances appeared to be very bad. But He did not know what was happening from God’s perspective. Job did not know that there was a commotion in the heaven between God and Satan, that Satan was challenging God about Job’s faith. He could not recognize God’s sovereign hand.

When we are faced with hardship and difficult situations, they can overwhelm us. When we look at God from the middle of our circumstances, we will have a distorted understanding of Him. We may say a statement like “God doesn’t love me” or “God is unfair.” It can easily come out of our mouths. However, it is vital to understand our painful circumstances through God’s perspective to understand His character and His will. He can turn everything around for good.

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).

We must recognize God’s hand in our circumstances. He can do exceedingly and abundantly above what we ask or think

 

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

By Veronica Neffinger, crosswalk.com

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (Psalm 27:14)

Did you ever realize how good things nearly always take time?

As children, waiting can seem like agony. We don’t want to think about the hours that must slowly slip by until school lets out, until summer comes back around, or until our favorite uncle comes to visit again. As adults, our impatience is little lessened, albeit perhaps better concealed.

In our culture of immediacy, having patience is even more difficult and out of reach. We are used to multitasking and packing each day with so much busyness that we seldom have time to hear our own voices.

This impatience for results, for productivity is, I believe, something that we, as Christians, must learn to surrender, will have to learn to surrender if we are going to keep growing.

Have you ever noticed that good things nearly always come about because of a process; oftentimes, a long process?

Conversely, it seems many bad things are those that happen in an instant: a car crash that turns your life upside down, a quick word hurled out in anger which breaks a relationship, a split-second decision to give in to peer pressure.

Now, of course, not all split-second decisions lead to negative consequences, but there is a striking parallel here:

As we are jumping from one thing to the next on a continual cycle of busyness, spiraling away from deep understanding and hovering on the periphery of thought, God is seeking to work against the entropy we have created, making the disparate parts of our life into something beautiful.

God is very comfortable working slowly (or what appears as slowly to us).

We all want this transformation God promises us in His Word, but are we willing to wait for it?

After the moment of salvation, God desires to sanctify us–to make us holy–but this takes time and daily repentance, submission, and prayer, all things that themselves require us to be in for the long haul if we hope to see fruit.

God does not take His sweet time making us more like Himself because He enjoys seeing our impatience; He is patient in perfecting us because, for any truth to truly take hold in us, takes time.

Although we are creatures who have no problem proclaiming an opinion in an instant, we also recognize that dearly-held beliefs are not easily relinquished.

In His infinite mercy, God takes upon Himself the process of gently wrestling our most dearly-held but harmful, selfish, and just plain false beliefs from the intense grip we have on them.

Our stubbornness to begin the growing process is often a reason why we do not spring forward in our Christian life in leaps and bounds.

But that is okay. God knows our frame, and His patience and lovingkindness never fails, even when ours does.

The sound in the mulberry trees

By: Charles Spurgeon

“When thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the Lord go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.” 2 Samuel 5:24

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Timothy 2:14-19

If any of your acquaintance have been in the house of God, if you have induced them to go there, and you think there is some little good doing but you do not know, take care of that little. It may be God has used us as a foster mother to bring up his child, so that this little one may be brought up in the faith, and this newly converted soul may be strengthened and edified. But I’ll tell you, many of you Christians do a deal of mischief, by what you say when going home. A man once said that when he was a lad he heard a certain sermon from a minister, and felt deeply impressed under it. Tears stole down his cheeks, and he thought within himself, “I will go home to pray.” On the road home he fell into the company of two members of the church. One of them began saying, “Well, how did you enjoy the sermon?” The other said, “I do not think he was quite sound on such a point.” “Well,” said the other, “I thought he was rather off his guard,” or something of that sort; and one pulled one part of the minister’s sermon to pieces, and another the other, until, said the young man, before I had gone many yards with them, I had forgotten all about it; and all the good I thought I had received seemed swept away by those two men, who seemed afraid lest I should get any hope, for they were just pulling that sermon to pieces which would have brought me to my knees. How often have we done the same! People will say, “What did you think of that sermon?” I gently tell them nothing at all, and if there is any fault in it—and very likely there is, it is better not to speak of it, for some may get good from it.

For meditation: If you must have the sermon for Sunday lunch, beware of devouring someone’s faith along with it (Mark 4:4,15).

Surfing 101

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Surfing 101

child surfing

 

Beth Patch – Senior Internet Editor & Producer, cbn.com

My sister and I stood knee-deep in restless water at the ocean’s edge, jumping over each incoming wave, squealing and laughing as we held hands and learned the art of not getting knocked down.

As we got older we ventured deeper and instead of jumping the waves, we rode them. The precise timing of wave riding challenged us to be in sync with the rhythm of the ocean. Too far behind the rise of the wave and you go nowhere. Too early ahead of the wave and you get creamed by the churning, white, foamy aftermath, sometimes pummeled to the ocean floor in its harshness. However, when we strategically positioned ourselves just behind the cap of the wave and were propelled by the current’s natural forces; we commandeered a smooth ride to shore.

At times, I feel life is like an ocean. Some waves are pretty rough, then a few gentle waves; and then it seems the waves are trying to drown me.

Have you felt this way at times? That life is determined to beat you up? That it’s difficult to get a moment between the onslaught of waves to catch your breath?

In Job 1, we read that Job suffered tremendous losses all in one day: his property, animals, servants, and all of his children. Talk about feeling like you’re drowning! Yet, this is what Job said,

“I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21 NLT).

Wait a minute! Job praised the name of the Lord after all that? How can that be? I would say it’s because Job was certain to his core that God is good and worthy of praise and honor, regardless of any circumstance. When we love God and trust Him as the Master of our lives, just as He is the Master of the ocean, we do not drown in despair. He provides the Holy Spirit to give His children courage and strength and to position us as professional wave riders. We can expect the waves of life to keep coming and look for opportunities to ride each wave triumphantly to the shore.

Job endured all of these sorrows without blaming God. He wins the surfer of all-time award! And in the second half of Job’s life, the Lord not only restores what Job lost but gives him twice as much as he had before, as well as seven more sons and three more daughters (Job 42:10-13).

God does not seek to destroy us with rough seas. However, the evil one would like us to think the waves will be our undoing. Satan’s purpose is to have us focus on and fear them. God’s purpose is the opposite.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life (John 10:10).

For all of us who are feeling the effects of rough waves, we can agree together these waves will not overtake us. Almighty God, Jehovah, is the Master of the ocean of our lives and gives us the victory through our faith in His only begotten Son, Jesus, who was sacrificed for our sins and rose again to rule the oceans and the universe with His righteousness.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

June 24

1 Kings 19:2-4 2So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” 3Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

When Ahab relayed the message of Elijah’s victory on Mt. Carmel to Jezebel, she promised to do to Elijah what he had done to the prophets of Baal. In doing so, she made an oath common at the time. She vowed that if she couldn’t do it to him, then the gods could do it to her. God took her up on that. We need to watch carefully the vows that come from our lips. God hears them.

It is hard to imagine her heart being so hard that even after hearing of a mighty miracle of God, she would attempt to murder the instrument of that miracle. Elijah took her threat seriously. He faced the false prophets, but he was afraid to face Jezebel and her army. Going off into the desert, he found a bit of shade to rest under and asked God to take him home. He must have thought that after the great victory, things would suddenly change. The people knew Jehovah was God, so why didn’t they overthrow Ahab and Jezebel? Elijah was burned out. He had fought for his life and the cause of the LORD and came to the climactic point, yet nothing seemed to have changed. Even great men of God despair of life. In God’s time there will be a change in the nation. Elijah had to train a disciple before he could go to his heavenly home. Despair comes upon us at times, but don’t give up. There are things yet to be done. (To be continued.)

Remember: When you are discouraged and downhearted, know that God is sovereign over all. Circumstances will change in His perfect time.

Streams in the Desert – June 24

  • 202224 Jun

This is what the Lord says, the Holy One of Israel, the one who formed him, concerning things to come: “How dare you question me about my children! How dare you tell me what to do with the work of my own hands! (Isa 45:11)

Our Lord spoke in this tone when He said, “Father, I will.” Joshua used it when, in the supreme moment of triumph, he lifted up his spear toward the setting sun, and cried, “Sun, stand thou still!”

Elijah used it when he shut the heavens for three years and six months, and again opened them.

Luther used it when, kneeling by the dying Melanchthon, he forbade death to take his prey.

It is a marvelous relationship into which God bids us enter. We are familiar with words like those which follow in this paragraph: “I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.” But that God should invite us to command Him, this is a change in relationship which is altogether startling!

What a difference there is between this attitude and the hesitating, halting, unbelieving prayers to which we are accustomed, and which by their perpetual repetition lose edge and point!

How often during His earthly life did Jesus put men into a position to command Him! When entering Jericho, He stood still, and said to the blind beggars:

“What will ye that I shall do unto you?” It was as though He said, “I am yours to command.”

Can we ever forget how He yielded to the Syrophenician woman the key to His resources and told her to help herself even as she would?

What mortal mind can realize the full significance of the position to which our God lovingly raises His little children? He seems to say, “All my resources are at your command.” “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.”
—F. B. Meyer

The desire of the soul in spiritual darkness

“With my soul have I desired thee in the night.” Isaiah 26:9

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 42

There are times when all the saints can do is to desire. We have a vast number of evidences of piety: some are practical, some are experimental, some are doctrinal; and the more evidences a man has of his piety the better, of course. We like a number of signatures, to make a deed more valid, if possible. We like to invest property in a great number of trustees, in order that it may be all the safer; and so we love to have many evidences. Many witnesses will carry our case in the courts better than a few: and so it is well to have many witnesses to testify to our piety. But there are seasons when a Christian cannot get any. He can get scarcely one witness to come and attest his godliness. He asks for good works to come and speak for him. But there will be such a cloud of darkness about him, and his good works will appear so black that he will not dare to think of their evidences. He will say, “True, I hope this is the right fruit; I hope I have served God; but I dare not plead these works as evidences.” He will have lost assurance, and with it his enjoyment of communion with God. “I have had that fellowship with him,” perhaps he will say, and he will summon that communion to come and be in evidence. But he has forgotten it, and it does not come, and Satan whispers it is a fancy, and the poor evidence of communion has its mouth gagged, so that it cannot speak. But there is one witness that very seldom is gagged, and one that I trust the people of God can always apply, even in the night: and that is, “I have desired thee—I have desired thee in the night.”

For meditation: The light shines best in the darkness (John 1:5); the people of God have proved it when all else has failed them (Psalm 73:21-26Jonah 2:1-7).

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Bible hands praying

 

Maria Stockman – Digital Copywriter, cbn.com

“Between a rock and a hard place” is a phrase I heard growing up that I never understood. I think of that phrase now a lot when I read Scripture, though; we see time and time again God’s people in seemingly hopeless scenarios—essentially between a rock and a hard place. But His plans are always better than ours. You think, there is no way they’re getting out of this one! But God always makes a way.

In Acts 7, Stephen is before the council, and in response to their questions, he tells account after account of their history of persecuted prophets. He starts with Abraham, works his way to Joseph, and then gets to Moses in verses 20-21.

At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house, and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son.

Moses’ story jumps out to me as a rock-and-hard-place situation. First, Pharaoh ordered all the Hebrew baby boys killed. Then, Moses’ mother hides him for three months, puts him in a basket in the river where she knows Pharaoh’s daughter will find him, and then God makes way for his mother to be his “nurse” and ensure his care at the beginning of his life (Exodus 2:1-10). Then, if that wasn’t enough, God continues to rescue Moses from a rock and a hard place, as we see later in Exodus 14.

As the Israelites flee Egypt, they’re standing at the Red Sea and see two options: drown in the Red Sea or go back to Egypt to be enslaved. The ultimate “between a rock and a hard place” scenario! But God made a way that wasn’t even an option. He parted the Red Sea, and the Israelites walked through on dry land.

How often have we been in situations where we felt like all the options were in front of us, and all seemed like hard choices, but God provided a path we didn’t see before? For me, I look back and can count a handful of times where I’ve experienced Moses and the Red Sea moments where God brought help through an avenue I didn’t know existed.

Remember that God is a God of love, kindness, and grace when you find yourself in a seemingly impossible situation. He is full of mercy and wisdom, and He is just. Ask Him to make a way for you to move forward in His will. Ask for guidance, direction, and wisdom. God is often working things out in ways we can’t yet see. So trust Him and lean on Him through these times.

Jesus, thank You for making a way when things seem hopeless. Help us never lose sight that your plans are greater than ours. When we think we’re in a rock-and-a-hard-place situation, bring us comfort and peace as we trust in You. In Your name. Amen.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

June 23

1 Kings 18:36-37 36At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

Elijah had given the prophets of Baal every advantage. He gave them most of the day. They had hundreds of Baal priests. When they had exhausted all their efforts he built an altar of twelve stones, arranged the wood, and placed the sacrificial bull. He dug a trough around the altar. Then he had the people drench the altar with water until the trough filled up.

It must have been 3PM, the time of the evening sacrifice. Elijah prayed the above prayer. He declared the reason for this test was that the people would know there is a God in Israel, and that he was doing these things at God’s command. He prayed that so that the people would know that the LORD (Jehovah, also YHWH) is God. He prayed that they would realize God was turning their hearts back.

A fire fell from heaven and consumed everything, including the altar stones! Then the people shouted, “Elijah, Elijah, Elijah!” Elijah’s name means God is Jehovah! They were declaring that God is Jehovah. Elijah’s prayer was answered.

If we operate at God’s command and pray with a heart to see people realize that the LORD is God, we can expect to see miracles also. We can expect God to turn hearts back to Him. If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Pray the above prayer for your family and nation.

The Service of Love

 Rebecca Jordan Heys , Today Devotions

  JOHN 13:1-17

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example. . . .”

—  John 13:14-15

A few days ago (June 19) we reflected on 1 Corinthians 13, which gives a picture of the beautiful love that Jesus calls us to live by. It’s a love that is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, and is not proud. We show this kind of love in humility and with acts of kindness and service.

Jesus showed this kind of love when he washed his disciples’ feet. John 13 tells us about it. Jesus dressed himself like a servant, wrapping a towel around his waist and getting down on the floor. The disciples felt embarrassed that Jesus would do such a thing. But he explained that a beautiful life consists of receiving this kind of servant-love from him and then sharing it with others.

This is one of the most direct commands that Jesus gives us in the Bible about how to follow his example. Though washing people’s feet may not be a part of our culture today, there are many other ways to serve people with the love of Christ. We can listen to them; we can advocate for them; we can share our time and gifts. We can show people every­where the humble love of Christ, and we can encourage them to show Christ’s love to others. In this way the love of Christ can spread everywhere and transform the world!

Jesus, our servant-King, we are so grateful for the humble love you have shown to us. Give us the humility to receive this love from you and to share it with others every­where. In your name, Amen.

What It Means to Believe in Jesus

Salvation begins with knowing who Jesus is and what He did for you.

June 23, 2022

John 3:16-18

Saving faith has three elements: knowledge, conviction, and trust. Today, let’s look at the first component: the knowledge required to believe in Jesus as our Savior.

Who is Jesus? He is the Son of God. At the request of God the Father, Jesus set aside His divine rights, took on human form, and dwelled on earth (Philippians 2:6-7).

What did He accomplish? To be acceptable to God, sacrifices had to be without defect (Leviticus 22:20). Jesus lived a perfect life, which qualified Him to be our substitute, bearing God’s judgment for our sins. Through His death on the cross, we are forgiven for our transgressions and have peace with God.

Why did He have to die? We could not save ourselves, since even our best deeds are marred by sin. When we accept Christ’s atoning work on our behalf, we are no longer God’s enemy but a member of His family.

When I was saved at age 12, I understood only the simplest aspects of these truths. I knew that I was a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness and that only Jesus could save me. But knowledge alone does not bring salvation—even the demons understood that Jesus was the Son of God (Luke 4:41). Salvation also requires conviction and trust. I believed these truths, and the Lord saved me. Do you believe the same is true for you?

Chosen To Serve

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Chosen to Serve

group-pray-people_SI.jpg

 

Maria Stockman – Digital Copywriter, cbn.com

In 2013, I had the privilege of being part of a church plant in an inner-city neighborhood. It was arguably the most challenging and rewarding spiritual experience I’ve ever faced. The hours were long, and the jobs were thankless; nonetheless, we were a joyful group of people!

It took four months of immersing ourselves in the community before we launched our first church service. We started with a children’s ministry, a mentoring program for youth, and a weekly Bible study. Our offerings fit our mission; for the first year, it felt like that was all we needed. Our church grew over the year, nothing major, but people in the community came to know Jesus and got plugged into the church.

At our weekly Bible study, I noticed the majority of the group were women. So, I approached my pastor and suggested that maybe we start a women’s ministry or at least a women’s Bible study. I thought he would say, “Yes, great idea! My wife could do that!” because isn’t that what pastors’ wives do; they run the women’s ministry? (All the pastor’s wives reading this are groaning right now, I’m sure!) However, he said that if you see a need, you should pray about filling it. Um, excuse me. I was coming to him with an excellent idea for someone else to do, not me!

I agreed to pray about it and revisit the conversation with him later. The Lord absolutely was putting it on my heart and used others in my life to confirm that this was my season to serve Jesus by leading a women’s Bible study. Our time together during this study was so precious, and I still remember many of the great meals, laughter, tears, and prayers we shared over the years.

We’re all chosen to serve, and each of us is called to different areas. In the early Church, in Acts 6, we see that some were neglected during the meal distribution. The apostles gathered all the disciples and basically said, “Hey, we are called to preach the Word of God, so we’re going to appoint some of you to serve” (Acts 6:2, authors paraphrase).

So, through prayer and the laying of hands, the apostles essentially commissioned these men to serve the church to meet all the needs. I love this line in Acts 6, and if you pay close attention, you’ll see a similar theme throughout the book:

And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7).

The Lord continued to add to the number daily of those who found faith in Jesus Christ. He was rapidly growing the church, and His followers were using their gifts and talents to not only share Jesus but to feed, clothe, and shelter His people.

Are there areas in your church or community where you see an unfulfilled need? Don’t wait for someone to ask! God has chosen you to be His child; therefore, let’s all serve Him and His Kingdom as part of our worship of Him!

Today’s Devotions

Morning

June 22

1 Kings 18:21 21Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.

Elijah had Ahab meet him on Mount Carmel with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah. The people of Israel gathered to watch the showdown. After three and a half years without rain, did they still believe Baal could bring the blessing of rain? He asked them point blank, but they did not answer him. What would it take? What will it take today, as we see the weather plaguing us instead of blessing us? How long will the people of the world look to the god of science? How long will we waver between two opinions? People do not want to believe in God because they intrinsically realize that if He is real He is worthy of our worship. If He is our Creator, then we owe all to Him.

God was wooing Israel back to Himself with a challenge to believe. He had showed the impotence of their supposed gods, just as He had done before when He brought them out of Egypt. What will it take? Though Israel’s false god could not perform for them, they refused to believe in the God that had already performed miracles throughout their history. How many times does God have to miraculously show us that He alone is God? We will look at history and take lessons of the past as valid instruction for politics. Why not learn from the history of the many ways that God has proven Himself to be the Almighty One?

Consider: If there are trials and circumstances in your life today, they may be the mercy of God asking you, “How long will you waver between two opinions?”

The majestic voice

By: Charles Spurgeon

“The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.” Psalm 29:4

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 1:1-4

In some sense Jesus Christ may be called the voice of God, for you know he is called the Word of God frequently in Scripture; and I am sure this Word of God “is full of majesty.” The voice and the word are very much the same thing. God speaks: it is his Son. His Son is the Word; the Word is his Son, and the voice is his Son. Truly the voice, the Word of God, “is full of majesty.” Angels! Ye can tell what majesty sublime invested his blest person when he reigned at his Father’s right hand; ye can tell what were the brightnesses which he laid aside to become incarnate; ye can tell how sparkling was that crown, how mighty was that sceptre, how glorious were those robes bedecked with stars. Spirits! Ye who saw him when he stripped himself of all his glories, ye can tell what was his majesty. And oh! Ye glorified, ye who saw him ascend up on high, leading captivity captive—ye beloved songsters, who bow before him, and unceasingly sing his love! Ye can tell how full of majesty he is. High above all principalities and powers ye see him sit; angels are but servants at his feet; and the mightiest monarchs like creeping worms beneath his throne. High there, where God alone reigns, beyond the sight of angels or the gaze of immortal spirits—there he sits, not majestic merely, but full of majesty. Christian! Adore your Saviour; adore the Son of God; reverence him, and remember at all seasons and times, how little so ever you may be, your Saviour, with whom you are allied, the Word of God, is essentially full of majesty.

For meditation: The Lord Jesus Christ is full of grace and truth (John 1:14); in him the fulness of God dwells bodily (Colossians 1:192:9). It should be a staggering thought that every Christian has received from his fullness (John 1:16Ephesians 1:22,23).

In the Sanctuary

  PSALM 27:1-6

From: Today Devotions

One thing I ask from the Lord . . . to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

—  Psalm 27:4

The word sanctuary can refer to two different things. It describes a place that is holy, set apart for worship. It also describes a place of safety, where someone in danger can go to find shelter and protection.

Psalm 27 helps us understand how the two meanings of this word overlap. When we have received salvation from God, we are called to worship God. We go to the sanctuary to offer God our worship. We do this not for our own sake, but for God’s sake. God is holy and beautiful and calls us to worship him, so we offer God our worship.

But when we give God our worship, we receive a wonderful gift as well. Psalm 27 describes the presence of God as a place of safety. Because God is our Savior, we receive comfort and security in God’s presence. When we go to the sanctuary to worship God, we give God worship, and we receive peace from God.

This is why the psalmist longs to worship God. The beauty of the Lord compels the psalmist to go to the sanctuary of the Lord and worship him.

We can rejoice in following God’s command to worship too. For as we worship God, we receive his comfort, peace blessing, strength, and renewed energy to live for him. God is our stronghold—of whom shall we be afraid?

Beautiful Lord, help me to worship you. May I humbly offer you all my praise. Thank you also for granting me peace and security in your presence. Amen.

Sing Praise To The Lord

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Sing Praise to God

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By Emma Danzey, Crosswalk.com

Psalm 59:16 says, “But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, For You have been my stronghold And a refuge in the day of my distress.”

As For Me, I Shall Sing of Your Strength
Have you ever noticed how young children will sing and hum without a care in the world? It just comes naturally. When they are happy or working on something, they cannot help but sing. Children are not worried about if their voices sound on pitch or if others are even listening, they are in their own world full of glee. Psalm 59:16 starts out saying, “As for me.” Even if the world around us is silent in acknowledging and worshiping the One true God, as for me, I will sing. We can have that child-like faith that leads us to sing and worship our Savior regardless if anyone around us even recognizes that Jesus is Lord. Our attitude of thankfulness and genuine praise will pour out regardless of what others think. We will not people please, we will honor God. We will sing of His strength because He is worthy of our worship and our song.

Yes, I Shall Joyfully Sing of Your Lovingkindness in the Morning
There is something about fresh dew, tweeting birds, and a brand new sunrise that creates a sense of hope for a new day. This Psalm reminds us that we can be joyful in singing about God’s lovingkindness in the morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” The forgiveness and mercies of our Savior give us reason to sing. He gives us hope and the encouragement to keep going and live in His grace each day. We can celebrate His great mercy towards us as we wake up each day and see just as the sun rises again, so His forgiveness remains and we can start afresh.

For You Have Been My Stronghold and a Refuge in the Day of My Distress
Lastly, we sing because God has been there for us in our troubles. He has been our safety and our protection when we have been in difficulties. He has never left our side in our darkest moments. Webster’s Dictionary says that stronghold means, “A place of security or survival.” When we ponder our most challenging days, we remember that we were never isolated in them. Our Stronghold, our Lord was our place of rescue and protection. John 16:33 reminds us that Jesus said, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He has been our refuge. He has held us in our sorrows and carried us in our weaknesses.

One of the worst things that we can do is forget how the Lord has been faithful with us throughout our lives. Looking back at our trials and how He was there helps us overcome the struggles of today. It is because of His presence in the difficulties that we have reason to sing. If it were not for the cross of Christ, we would not have the victory. If it were not for our sufferings, we would never see breakthroughs. The mountains we face to climb enable us to pour out praise in a meaningful way. He has given us the joy and ability to sing because He has been faithful not only in the good times but in the hard ones.

Streams in the Desert – June 21

Now after some days, when he returned to Capernaum, the news spread that he was at home. (Mark 2:1)

The polyps which construct the coral reefs, work away under water, never dreaming that they are building the foundation of a new island on which, by-and-by, plants and animals will live and children of God be born and fitted for eternal glory as joint-heirs of Christ.

If your place in God’s ranks is a hidden and secluded one, beloved, do not murmur, do not complain, do not seek to get out of God’s will, if He has placed you there; for without the polyps, the coral reefs would never be built, and God needs some who are willing to be spiritual polyps, and work away out of sight of men, but sustained by the Holy Ghost and in full view of Heaven.

The day will come when Jesus will give the rewards, and He makes no mistakes, although some people may wonder how you came to merit such a reward, as they had never heard of you before.
—Selected

The inspiring mountain top, the helpful fellowship of “just men,” and betake ourselves to our dim homely Emmaus, or to our dread public Colossae, or even to our far Macedonia in the mission field, quietly confident that just where He has placed us, in the usual round of life, He ordains that the borderland may be possessed, the victory won.
—Northcote Deck

Sanctified Living

Today Devotions, Source

  ROMANS 5:1-5

God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

—  Romans 5:5

In the film Tender Mercies, a man and a young boy are baptized. Afterward, the boy says, “Everybody said I was gonna feel like a changed person. I guess I do feel a little different, but I don’t feel a whole lot different. Do you?” The man responds: “Not yet.”

It’s a charming, light-hearted conversation, but it gets at something true about the Christian life. When you are saved by Jesus, or when you are baptized as a sign of your salvation, you do not instantly become a good person. We even notice that sometimes non-Christians are more kind or more generous than some Christians are.

The Bible explains that the Holy Spirit is at work in every person’s life. When a person is being transformed by Jesus, the process is gradual. The person’s life begins to change, to become more beautiful—and it might happen so slowly that we barely notice it. But Romans 5 promises that the Holy Spirit is at work both now and in the future, in good times and in bad. The Spirit uses even the suffering in our lives to shape us into people of perseverance, character, and hope.

If you have committed to following Jesus, you might not feel different yet. But you can trust that the Holy Spirit is working in your life.

Holy Spirit, change me to make me more like Jesus. Give me patience with your steady work in my life. Make my life a beautiful reflection of God’s love for me. Amen.

Abundance

“‘I will refresh the soul of the priests with abundance, and My people will be satisfied with My goodness,’ declares the LORD.” – Jeremiah 31:14 NASB

God’s people had rejected Him. As a consequence, they reaped what they had sown. But this was not His desire. He described how He would “build [them] and [they] will be rebuilt” (v. 4). There would be celebration and fruitfulness. God even promised they “will be satisfied with My goodness ” (v. 14). But this would only happen after they repented and returned to Him.

Here we see God’s designs and purposes. He desires to bless us. As He demonstrated in the Garden of Eden, He created an environment filled with abundance. But Adam and Eve had to obey God and not eat from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17). When they disobeyed, they experienced the fruit of their disobedience.

This pattern is repeated throughout the Bible. It still is true. God makes clear that He desires to bless us abundantly. But there are conditions and consequences for our actions. The choice is up to us, for we will reap what we sow.

Remember that God stands ready to bless you and fill your soul “with abundance” and satisfy you with His goodness.

If you have sinned, confess those sins and turn from them. Humble yourself before Him. Submit yourself completely to Him. Obey His Word. Be sure you are sowing seeds into His Kingdom from the resources He gives you. As you are faithful, expect and believe that He will bless you abundantly.

His Miracles and Wonders

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His Miracles and Wonders

joyful woman

 

Brenda Salguero – Coordinator of Orphan’s Promise Guatemala, cbn.com

All people — including Christians — go through moments of disbelief. We even use the common phrase, “I have to see it to believe it,” to express our need to see and understand something tangibly. We may have negative thoughts that separate us from what God wants to do in our lives.

Throughout my work in ministry supporting children, I have heard countless heartbreaking stories where it feels impossible to help improve their situation. However, I receive many good news reports that counteract the negative. God shows me His power and miracles through projects supported by CBN. Every time I encounter a difficult situation that is difficult for my human reasoning, the Lord reminds me:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2 NIV).

Recently, I discovered a project was ending due to a lack of resources for the children in the program. These children received their only meal thanks to this project. Volunteers joined in prayer to cry out to the Lord for His provision.

God made a way, and His miracles and wonders were on display as Orphan’s Promise was able to continue this program. It was there that God confirmed this teaching,

“The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people” (Acts 5:12).

Think about how many miracles we see daily. For me, it’s a miracle that God has chosen me as His daughter to be a blessing to others and thus be able to see and be a part of His wonders. For you, what miracles do you receive daily?

Think of the blessings God has given you, the battles you have fought, and the miracle of waking up each morning to a new day and the opportunity to see and be a part of God’s wonders. See that being alive is a miracle because God has a great purpose for you in His plans.

Father, thank you for loving me and setting me apart to be your child. Please help me see the wonders and miracles you pour out each day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

June 20

1 Kings 17:14-15 14For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.'” 15She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.

Once the Kerith Ravine dried up, the Lord sent Elijah to the home of a Gentile woman. If you thought ravens were stingy, try humans. But a few verses earlier the LORD said He had commanded her to feed Elijah. Elijah gave her a real test of faith by asking her to feed him first and then cook her and her son a meal from the little left in her jar. If the LORD had not commanded her to do this, I doubt she would have even considered it. Even though there was a promise that a miracle would happen, consider that this woman is not Jewish. The prophet before her had been camping out in a ravine for months. Who would give their last meal to him instead of feeding their own child? But just as the LORD commanded the ravens, so He commanded her.

When she obeyed, she found the promise was true. Imagine the surprise she must have experienced each time she reached in to scrape the bottom of the jars. Just enough for another meal, again, and again, and again!

We have the same experience when we abide in Christ. We think we have scraped the bottom of the mercy and grace jar with a certain brother or sister. We reach into the life of Christ within us and to our surprise there is just enough for the present situation. Then another situation comes along. The last time we knew we scraped the bottom and had just enough. Here this brother or sister is offending us again. How can we possibly find the mercy to forgive him? But we reach into the earthen vessel that holds the treasure and what do you know! It is just enough to meet the present circumstance.

Consider: If you will give love and mercy and grace to those around you first, there will always be enough for you when you have a need. Even when you think you have run out, reach down in there again and you will find it in Christ, the One who lives within you.

A Healthy Body

The Spirit of God dwells within us, and He is reflected in what we think, say, and do.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

We tend to separate our spiritual life from our physical life, but that’s not what God intended. He who carefully crafted each of us places high value on our physical being (Psalm 139:13). The human form is a masterpiece, which our Creator has entrusted to our care. And as with any other resource, He expects us to be wise stewards.

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians addresses some of the unsavory issues their city was known for. People in the church had been engaging in offensive practices, including sexual misconduct and gluttony (1 Corinthians 5:11 Corinthians 11:21). They incorrectly regarded this behavior as separate from their spiritual lives, as if they could do whatever they pleased with their bodies and still be considered “good Christians.”

But the body and the spirit are one. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul declares, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you?” The apostle reminds us that God’s Holy Spirit has come to indwell every believer. If you have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then His Spirit lives in you, and your body has become a walking testimony. What does your physical being say about your walk with Christ?

Bible in One Year: Psalm 50-54

Childlike Faith

“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.” – Mark 10:14 NLT

Although she wrote many poems and hymns, Dorothy Thrupp rarely identified herself publicly as the author. She desired to focus on the message, to let her words speak for themselves. Born in London in 1779, she often used pseudonyms as a way to avoid drawing attention to herself.

She wrote several of her hymns specifically for children. We see that emphasis in the collection Hymns for the Young. Like so much of her work, she published all the music without credit. A central message was communicated in the title of the hymn “God Loves the Child that Humbly Prays.”

She also desired for her hymns and poems to help adults realize the importance of childlike faith. That desire emerges, for example, in “Come, Holy Spirit, Come. Oh, Hear an Infant’s Prayer,” and “God Loves the Little Child that Prays.” In her hymn “See, My Child, the Mighty Ocean,” she sought to help adults and children grasp the depths of God’s love.

During His ministry, Jesus demonstrated just how important children were to Him and the Kingdom of God. After teaching important truths, He thanked the Father “for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike” (Matthew 11:25).

These still are important lessons. Remember the power of childlike faith. Simply believe God. Simply stand on His Word. Simply trust in Jesus. Pray with childlike confidence.

 

Precious Memories with My Father

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Precious Memories with My Father

father and daughter walking on pier

 

Tara Jackson – Telephony Project Assistant

As a proud veteran of the United States Marines Corps, my father loves to reminisce about his time in service. It was only fitting that our morning runs together were led with cadence calls. As a teen, I would rise and grab my shoes in eager anticipation of our runs. You see, our running times were something special—time exclusively reserved for him and me as we trod across the country roads. It was a daddy’s-girl dream. While I learned physical discipline, this developed over time into a spiritual discipline. I learned perseverance.

The lesson from our morning runs is one of many biblical lessons that my father has deposited into my heart. As I reflect on my dad this Father’s Day, I recall the many lessons I have learned through him. And whether he realizes it or not, he has shown me a glimpse of what my heavenly Father is like.

In my early years, I learned about the heart of God for orphans and the less fortunate as my dad cared for the children who lived next door to us and whose home was filled with drugs and chaos. Whether it was to the church, the playground, or the music store, he shepherded them alongside me as if they were his own.

On other occasions, I learned that God is to be prioritized first as my dad would honk our car horn and tell us to come outside for church. If we could be on time for work, school, or a hair salon appointment, we could surely be on time for God.

On still other occasions, I learned that God has given us life to glorify Him and enjoy it together as my dad would wake the entire family up on a Saturday morning to go play tennis. I could go on and on.

Fathers play a fundamental role in the lives of their children. They are to protect, provide, nurture and admonish, and point us to the ultimate source of life, our heavenly Father. While not perfect, they are to be an earthly representation of who God is. If our earthly fathers have such an impact on our lives, compare this to the bursting, unconditional love that our heavenly Father has for us:

“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” Matthew 7:11 (NLT)

Consider the many gifts God has given us. He has given us breath for our bodies. He has given us His creation: the beautiful sunset, the pleasure of delicious foods, the warmth of community, and fellowship. Most wonderfully, God has given us His Son:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

God does not stop there. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we not only have eternal life but have a rich, personal relationship with Him as Abba Father (Romans 8:15). With all the blessings our heavenly Father has given us, day by day our praises should echo what great love the Father has lavished on us! 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

This Father’s Day, let’s take time to recognize those who have taken on the role of fatherhood in our lives, whether a biological father, church father, etc. Lastly, let’s give thanks to our heavenly Father.

Streams in the Desert – June 19

  • 202219 Jun

Grain is crushed, though one certainly does not thresh it forever. The wheel of one’s wagon rolls over it, but his horses do not crush it. (Isa 28:28)

Many of us cannot be used to become food for the world’s hunger until we are broken in Christ’s hands. “Bread corn is bruised.” Christ’s blessing ofttimes means sorrow, but even sorrow is not too great a price to pay for the privilege of touching other lives with benediction. The sweetest things in this world today have come to us through tears and pain.
—J. R. Miller

God has made me bread for His elect, and if it be needful that the bread must be ground in the teeth of the lion to feed His children, blessed be the name of the Lord.
—Ignatius

“We must burn out before we can give out. We cease to bless when we cease to bleed.”

“Poverty, hardship and misfortune have pressed many a life to moral heroism and spiritual greatness. Difficulty challenges energy and perseverance. It calls into activity the strongest qualities of the soul. It was the weights on father’s old clock that kept it going. Many a head wind has been utilized to make port. God has appointed opposition as an incentive to faith and holy activity.

“The most illustrious characters of the Bible were bruised and threshed and ground into bread for the hungry. Abraham’s diploma styles him as ’the father of the faithful.’ That was because he stood at the head of his class in affliction and obedience.

“Jacob suffered severe threshings and grindings. Joseph was bruised and beaten and had to go through Potiphar’s kitchen and Egypt’s prison to get to his throne.

“David, hunted like a partridge on the mountain, bruised, weary and footsore, was ground into bread for a kingdom. Paul never could have been bread for Caesar’s household if he had not endured the bruising, whippings and stonings. He was ground into fine flour for the royal family.”

“Like combat, like victory. If for you He has appointed special trials, be assured that in His heart He has kept for you a special place. A soul sorely bruised is a soul elect.”

Sunday Reflection: The Promise of Giving

From: InTouch, ministeries.

Just like the God in whose image we’re made, we are to be generous givers.

June 19, 2022

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

In Acts 20:1-38, Paul met with the Ephesian church elders one last time. They all believed their next reunion would be in eternity, so the gathering closed with heartfelt prayer, tears, embraces, and Paul’s final encouragement: “You must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).

You may have heard this promise before, but have you ever put it to the test? Offering others our time, money, resources, and energy may feel risky, but Jesus Himself assured us it is not. In fact, He connected the idea of giving with blessing. What’s more, one reason we are blessed with ample supply is so that we can bless others (2 Corinthians 9:8-11).

Giving was always part of God’s divine purpose for us—which means we already have what we need in order to begin sharing with others. By doing so, we’re actually following Jesus’ example: We receive His generosity and His life and then let it flow through us like a river.

Think about it

• What can you share with someone today—good works (1 Timothy 6:18), comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), resources (Ephesians 4:28), or maybe patience (James 1:19)?

Bible in One Year: Psalm 44-49

Beautiful Love

 Rebecca Jordan Heys, Today Devotions

  1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-13

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

—  1 Corinthians 13:1

Imagine that you want to impress a friend with a special party. You put all your energy and attention into getting the details just right. But you get so stressed out in the process that you ignore your friend. Your friend might say, “I don’t want a fancy party; I just want to spend time with you!” In your efforts to make something beautiful, you end up missing the point. Your friend doesn’t require a lot of fanfare and expense; your friend just wants the beauty of your personal time and attention.

Some of the Christians in the city of Corinth had the special gifts of speaking in tongues and prophesying. They thought these gifts were impressive, and the whole community tended to focus on these displays of faith. As a result, though, they ended up missing the point of Christian community, which is to love one another. The apostle Paul wrote them a letter (1 Corinthians) to encourage them to get back to the basics. And in chapter 13 he describes the self-sacrificial kind of love (agape) that follows the pattern of Jesus himself.

Jesus has shown us the most beautiful way, the way of love. Following his example, we can let go of worrying about being impressive. Instead, we can focus on what’s truly beautiful—and that is self-sacrificial love.

God, sometimes we get distracted and forget about the most beautiful thing of all. Restore us again to the beauty of your love in Jesus. Amen.