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Remembering God’s Deeds

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Remembering God’s Deeds

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Ilia Mendoza Gómez – Bilingual Interaction Analyst, cbn.com

How often do we consider all the things God does for us? Many times we only talk or think about them when He gives us what we want and life looks good, but what happens when we go through a hard time or when we don’t receive what we ask for in prayer?

Since I gave my life to God, I’ve been on a learning path. I feel how He guides me, consoles me, and yes, sometimes I get scolded too! I can feel His love for me, and I have learned to trust Him.

Most of the years that I have walked with the Lord have been good years, there have been some troubles along the way but nothing major, and so all looked fantastic until four years ago when I learned that my mom had dementia. What I thought would be a slow and lengthy process turned out to be a short and very aggressive one. Once my mom started to show signs of the illness, it took a very short time for her to be bedridden and pass away.

It was the worst time of my life. My mom, my closest friend, my first love, was totally dependent on me… I was not sure that I would know how or even if I would be able to take care of her. Working a full-time job and caring for my mom, I was alone, scared, upset, and very confused; I couldn’t understand why my mom was going through this illness. I had so many questions.

I prayed and pleaded with God to heal her, but nothing was changing. As time passed, I was feeling tired and frustrated. I never stopped praying, reading my Bible, and on the days that I couldn’t pray because I just didn’t have anything left in me, I worshiped with tears streaming down my face.

One morning as I was getting ready to start my day and feeling very bad about myself, I started thinking about the Scripture,

For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing (Romans 7:19 NIV).

Immediately came the answer from God telling me, My grace is sufficient for youFrom that moment on I started to learn to let God do what I can’t and just rest and trust that everything will be ok.

I lost my mom a few months ago, but I often think about not only what God did for me while I cared for my mom, but all He has done for me even when I didn’t know Him. I think of all the times He carried me, blessed me, provided for me, loved me and my heart fills with a profound gratitude and a passion to share all the amazing things that God has done for me.

I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds (Psalm 77:12).

God Is Our Confidence

By Jessica Van Roekel, cbn.com

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the days of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock” (Psalm 27:4-5 ESV).

At different points in my spiritual journey, I’ve needed to reorient my heart’s confidence in the Lord. Distractions abound and take the form of disappointments and discouragement. I grow weary of trying to work in peace with those who seek to destroy it. Difficult situations stretch on without an end in sight, and I lose sight of God. Friends turn to enemies as they seek to destroy my reputation. It’s in these moments that I reach for the Psalms and remember how God fights for me and fills me with confidence.

The title of Hebrews chapter 11 is called “By Faith” or “The Hall of Faith” and contains many stories of faith in action. Faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” coupled with obedience. Abraham left the land of his ancestors to journey to a new land at the command of God. This journey of his led him into a foreign land filled with unknown enemies. His life serves as a reminder that we are not to look for unending security in this present world but that we are traveling through on our way to God’s city and home for us in heaven.

Yet, the present world is hard, and eternity seems a long way off, so what can we do? By faith, we can believe that God responds to us when we sincerely look to him. He gives us his presence—his very self to us—and his joy becomes interwoven into our lives so that we can face our difficult circumstances with confidence. God’s promises apply to our hearts and can carry us through the hard parts of life.

Through faith, we pursue a deeper relationship with God so that we grow in our desire for his presence, power, and purpose in our lives. Our confidence isn’t in getting what we want in this life but in getting more of God in our lives. He is the reason we can stand in front of our enemies and say, with confidence, “I believe the Lord is with me and because of him I can stand.”

God is our confidence. He is our shield and refuge. In him, we find hope in the face of a hopeless situation. Because of God, we can remain at peace when those around us attack. It is God who hides us when we run toward him instead of away. He is our rock and refuge, an everlasting God who has no beginning and end.

True enduring faith that grows our confidence involves trusting God in every circumstance, even the bone-crushing disappointing ones like an unwanted diagnosis or a friendship gone awry. Confidence grows when we take God at his word and remain loyal to him when things don’t go our way. We can move forward when we choose to make God our refuge and believe that he will lift us up in his way and time.

Love thy neighbour

By: Charles Spurgeon

“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matthew 19:19

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 12:6-13

Remember that man’s good requires that you should be kind to your fellow creatures. The best way for you to make the world better is to be kind yourself. Are you a preacher? Preach in a surly way, and in a surly tone to your church; a pretty church you will make of it before long! Are you a Sunday-school teacher? Teach your children with a frown on your face; a fine lot they will learn! Are you a master? Do you hold family prayer? Get in a passion with your servants, and say, “Let us pray.” A vast amount of devotion you will develop in such a manner as that. Are you a warder of a gaol, and have prisoners under you? Abuse them and ill-treat them, and then send the chaplain to them. A fine preparation for the reception of the word of God! You have poor around you; you wish to see them elevated, you say. You are always grumbling about the poverty of their dwellings, and the meanness of their tastes. Go and make a great stir at them all—a fine way that would be to improve them! Now, just wash your face of that black frown, and buy a little of the essence of summer somewhere, and put it on your face; and have a smile on your lip, and say, “I love you. I am no cant, but I love you, and as far as I can I will prove my love to you. What can I do for you? Can I help you over a stile? Can I give you any assistance, or speak a kind word to you? Perhaps I could look after your little daughter. Can I fetch the doctor to your wife now she is ill?” All these kind things would be making the world a little better.

For meditation: The effectiveness of what we say and do can depend to a large extent on how we say and do it (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience and godliness are to be supplemented by brotherly kindness and love (2 Peter 1:5-7).

Unshakeable God

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Unshakeable God

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Jessica Teed – Well & Clean Water Coordinator – OB Headquarters, cbn.com

There is so much uncertainty in this world we live in. The rising costs of gasoline and groceries and the increasing division and violence around us are enough to make anyone wonder, where is God in all this?

Sometimes, we all need a reminder that we are not alone. Even if you do not have someone physically right next to you, the Bible tells us that God is with us. In fact, He has promised to never leave us and to never abandon us and He has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age (See Hebrews 13:5-6 and Matthew 28:20).

When you feel the most alone, the most forgotten, the most abandoned, the most rejected, the most unloved, God is there. When you are fearful of what is unknown or even of what is known, God is there, and He knows all about it.

What a relief it is to know that God is with us and that He is near to us no matter where we are and no matter what we are going through.

We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 75:1 nlt)

Regardless of what is going on around us, we can give thanks because God is with us. He hears us when we pray, and He knows what we need before we even speak it. In a world full of uncertainty, He is an unshakeable God.

When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm. (Psalm 75:3)

He alone is our solid rock and firm foundation. When trouble comes, we can give thanks and look to Him because He is with us, and He is immovable. He knows what is going on and He is not changed or overwhelmed by it. When we are faced with uncertainty, we can be certain that God is right there. He is in our midst, and He is waiting for us to come to Him to rest and lay our burdens down at His feet.

In my own life, when I have found myself discouraged by what I see going on around me, I have found encouragement in time spent alone with Abba Father. When I am overwhelmed, spending time in prayer and in worship and sitting in His presence brings so much peace and strength and it is always exactly what I need in that moment.

Friends, we were never meant to carry the weight of this world alone. As we take the time to lay our fears and the worries of the day at the feet of Jesus, that weight is lifted from us. God is entirely faithful and as we trust in Him to come through for us, He strengthens us and takes care of us.

Whatever fears and worries you are carrying with you today; I encourage you to lay them at the feet of Jesus. If you are overwhelmed and discouraged by what is going on in the world today, come and find rest at the feet of Jesus. He is waiting for you with open arms, and He loves you so very much. Will you pray with me?

Father God, the weight of this world tries to drag me down and sometimes I find myself discouraged and overwhelmed by it. God, I believe that You are entirely faithful, and nothing is impossible for You. Lord, I surrender these burdens that I have carried for far too long to You and I trust You to come through for me because You love me. Lord, thank You for never leaving me or forsaking me. Thank You for being my solid rock, my firm foundation, and my unshakeable God. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. 

But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob (Psalm 75:9).

God Is My Rock

  PSALM 18:1-6, 16-19

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. . . .

—  Psalm 18:2

David, who was anointed to become king of Israel, had many enemies, and he wrote the words of Psalm 18 at a time when God delivered him from those enemies, including Saul, the king he would replace (see 2 Samuel 22).

At times David was so overwhelmed by his enemies that he felt as if “the cords of death entangled” him. He felt that his end was near. In response, David called on the only one who could help. “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.”

David displayed great courage based on his trust in God, his rock and deliverer. David had been taught and had learned from experience that the Lord was always present for him. No enemy could separate him from the care of the Lord.

When we know that we depend on God for all good things, as David did, we know that calling on God will help to bring the solutions we need. This doesn’t mean we should ignore emergency services or other kinds of help that are available when we might need them. God provides those resources in our communities for the good of everyone. But realizing that we can rely on God to help us with all our needs is a great comfort today just as it was for David. Let’s be sure to call on God whenever we need help of any kind.

O God, often we forget to look to you for help when we need it. Teach us to lean on you for protection, guidance, and all that we need, knowing you provide all good things. Amen.

Righteous hatred

“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Psalm 97:10

Suggested Further Reading: Genesis 39

With regard to some sins, if thou wouldst avoid them, take one piece of advice—run away from them. Sins of lust especially are never to be fought with, except after Joseph’s way; and you know what Joseph did—he ran away. A French philosopher said, “Fly, fly, Telemaque; there remains no way of conquest but by flight.” The true soldiers of Christ’s cross will stand foot to foot with any sin in the world except this; but here they turn their backs and fly, and then they become conquerors. “Flee fornication,” said one of old, and there was wisdom in the counsel; there is no way of overcoming it but by flight. If the temptation attack thee, shut thine eye and stop thy ear, and away, away from it; for thou art only safe when thou art beyond sight and earshot. “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil;” and endeavour with all your might to resist and overcome it in yourselves. Once again, ye that love the Lord, if ye would keep from sin, seek always to have a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, never trust yourselves a single day without having a fresh renewal of your piety before you go forth to the day’s duties. We are never safe unless we are in the Lord’s hands. No Christian, be he who he may, or what he may, though he be renowned for his piety and prayerfulness, can exist a day without falling into great sin unless the Holy Spirit shall be his protector. Old master Dyer says, “Lock up your hearts by prayer every morning, and give God the key, so that nothing can get in; and then when thou unlockest thy heart at night, there will be a sweet fragrance and perfume of love, joy, and holiness.”

For meditation: There are two sides to victory over temptation—resisting the flesh and yielding to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). Sometimes the emphasis will be to flee, sometimes to follow, sometimes to fight (1 Timothy 6:11-12), but neither side will be effective without the other.

A Helper for All Occasions

You never have to face any situation alone.

August 8, 2022

John 14:16-18

Did you ever wish for an emergency telephone line that rang in heaven? The truth is that we have something much better. The Holy Spirit lives inside us to be our helper in every situation.

The night before His crucifixion, Jesus warned the disciples that He was about to depart. The news confused and frightened them, even though it wasn’t the first time He’d spoken of His death. But the Lord offered His followers assurance that He would send them another Helper.

In this passage, the Greek word for “another” means “one of the same kind,” signifying that the new Helper would be like the Son of God—a divine being. As promised, God’s Spirit came to dwell in Christ’s followers at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).

Without the Holy Spirit, we’d never be able to live the Christian life. That’s why Jesus told the disciples to delay spreading the gospel until after the Holy Spirit’s arrival. Our Helper not only empowers obedience but also teaches, guides, intercedes, comforts, transforms, and gifts us for service. Whenever we’re beset by tough times or temptations, He provides strength, endurance, hope, and encouragement. We’re so privileged to have a divine Helper who is personally assisting us every minute of every day.

Compelled by Compassion

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Compelled by Compassion

Bible Verses about 'Compassion'

 

Have you ever wondered why wicked people prosper?  A psalmist named Asaph asked that very question in Psalm 73.

“Does God realize what is going on?  Look at these arrogant people — enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.  They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others” (vs. 11a, 12, 8)

It’s not wrong to ask these difficult questions; the problem arises when we allow them to hinder our faith.

Asaph complains,

“Was it for nothing that I kept my heart pure and kept myself from doing wrong?  For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.  They seem to live such a painless life; their bodies are so healthy and strong.  They aren’t … plagued with problems like everyone else” (vs. 13, 3-5)

But he realizes the peril of his path just in time.

“I came so close to the edge of the cliff!  My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone” (vs. 2b)

Suddenly, his perspective pivots from fleshly envy to divine understanding.  Why?

“I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny” (vs. 17, NIV)

In the light of heaven’s infinite glory, he clearly sees the folly of people living for earth’s fleeting pleasures.

“Their present life is only a dream that is gone when they awake” (vs. 20a)

Asaph repents for his bitterness and envy, trusting the Lord to establish His sovereign order and priorities.

In God’s presence, he enters a miraculous dimension and comprehends the matchless inheritance of the righteous.

Then, in a magnificent affirmation of trust, he declares:

“Whom have I in heaven but You?  I desire You more than anything on earth.  My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever” (vs. 25-26)

It’s easy to be tainted by envy in a modern world plagued with materialism and corruption.  But as we spend time in the Lord’s cleansing presence, we see the lost through His eyes — with compassion.

Transformed by grace, the psalmist concludes,

“I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do” (vs. 28b)

And so God is urgently compelling us to reach out with His love to a tragically deceived world, revealing the reality of eternal life.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

August 7

2 Chronicles 16:7-9 7At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. 8Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. 9For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”

Asa was one of the good kings of Judah. He restored the temple and encouraged the nation to return to the worship of Jehovah. While he was earnestly working on the temple, God gave him peace for ten years. When an enemy finally did come to attack, he relied upon God and completely defeated them. He had set his heart to seek the LORD.

After Asa had reigned thirty-five years, the king of Israel Baasha began to fortify cities along the border. This was indication that he was preparing for war. Instead of seeking God as he had done earlier, he took the treasures from the temple and bribed the king of Aram to break his treaty with Israel. The tactic was successful in that Baasha gave up his plan to attack Judah. It was not a success in the eyes of God who sent Hanani the seer with these words of instruction. Had Asa forgotten how God helped him when he was small and unsure of himself? God is always searching the earth to find hearts fully committed to Him. Those are the hearts He strengthens.

Sometimes we attain immediate success, but because we did not do things God’s way we end up with long-term problems. Asa later came down with a disease in his feet. He would not seek God for that either, but only sought help from the doctors. That resulted in his death. Asa’s legacy was a good one, but it would have been even better if he had stayed dependent on God.

Consider: As God blesses your life, recognize that strength is from Him. Stay fully dependent on Him.

Take Time for the Holy One

Evan Heerema author, Today Devotions

  MARK 1:35-39

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

—  Mark 1:35

In the streaming series The Chosen, one episode depicts Jesus returning to a camp where he and his disciples are staying for the night. It is late, and Jesus has spent the day healing crowds of people. He stumbles into camp, exhausted from the day’s ministry. The disciples can only watch him, surprised at how tired he is. His teaching and healing work must have been exhausting. Though he was fully God, Jesus was also fully human, so he got tired and needed sleep (see Mark 4:38John 4:6).

Our reading for today explains that after a long day of teaching and healing, Jesus rose early in the morning to pray. Jesus needed time to connect with his Father in prayer, resting in his Father’s presence and focusing on his purpose. He had come to do much more than heal people in Capernaum, even though that was clearly important while he was there. When the disciples went out and found him, he said, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

Jesus spent time in prayer with his Father, and he remained focused on his purpose. If this was important to Jesus, it is certainly important for his followers too. Let’s be sure to spend personal time with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each day.

Father, I need to spend time with you, just as Jesus did. Lord, lead me, guide me, and give me the strength I need for the work you have planned. Amen.

The blind beggar

By: Charles Spurgeon

“And as he went out of Jericho…. blind Bartimaeus…. sat by the highway side begging.” Mark 10:46

Suggested Further Reading: John 9:39-41

To be both blind and poor, these were a combination of the sternest evils. One thinks it is scarcely possible to resist the cry of a beggar whom we meet in the street if he is blind. We pity the blind man when he is surrounded with luxury, but when we see a blind man in want, and following the beggar’s trade in the busy streets, we can hardly forbear stopping to assist him. This case of Bartimaeus, however, is but a picture of our own. We are all by nature blind and poor. It is true we account ourselves able enough to see; but this is just one phase of our blindness. Our blindness is of such a kind that it makes us think our vision perfect; whereas, when we are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, we discover our previous sight to have been blindness indeed. Spiritually, we are blind; we are unable to discern our lost estate; unable to conceive the blackness of sin, or the terrors of the wrath to come. The unrenewed mind is so blind, that it perceives not the all-attractive beauty of Christ; the Sun of righteousness may arise with healing beneath his wings, but this is all in vain for those who cannot see his shining. Christ may do many mighty works in their presence, but they do not recognise his glory; we are blind until he has opened our eyes. But besides being blind we are also by nature poor. Our father Adam spent our birthright, lost our estates. Paradise, the homestead of our race, has become dilapidated, and we are left in the depths of beggary without anything with which we may buy bread for our hungry souls, or clothing for our naked spirits; blindness and beggary are the lot of all men after a spiritual fashion, till Jesus visits them in love.

For meditation: Spiritually the unconverted are very often exactly the opposite of what they think they are. It can also be true of Christians, for better or worse (Revelation 2:93:1,8,17,18).

Hope in the Waiting

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Hope in the Waiting

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Roy Cameron Kennedy – Digital Media Coordinator for Latin America. cbn.com

I remember it like it was yesterday. I’d find myself awake at 3 a.m. Unable to sleep, I’d go out to our family room and sit on the couch to pray, weep, and groan for our three prodigal children who were running from God. I felt hopeless. Cheated. My expectations for what my life would be like in that season were blown apart. I couldn’t see an end in sight. My husband and I prayed, wept, talked, listened… yet no breakthrough. I asked myself, what good can come of this?

Have you ever asked that? Maybe you’ve experienced a loss of relationship, an illness or a death. Have you felt cheated, ripped off, or disappointed?

This is where we need hope. In the waiting. In the praying. Scripture tells us how to wait when it seems like no good can come of our pain.

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are (Romans 8:18-19 NLT).

A little later in the same chapter, Paul adds,

We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children. Romans 8:23

Did you notice how we are to wait? Eagerly! With eager expectation. Not just trying to get through it, but more like Christmas morning.

As a kid, I felt like Christmas would never come. Remember trying to sleep on Christmas Eve, waking up at 2 or 4 a.m. only for your parents to send you back to bed? You were bursting with eager expectation! You couldn’t wait, couldn’t sleep, and could hardly wait to see what was in those wrapped packages! When Christmas finally came, the wait was over. You leapt out of bed in jubilation and raced downstairs to tear open the gifts.

This is how we are to live in the middle of a season of suffering, with eager anticipation for the good thing that God will do with our pain, our suffering. So how can we do that?

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).

We wait with the help of God’s Spirit, which is better than me trying to keep my chin up in my own strength. He takes on our groaning and communicates directly to the Father on our behalf. Prayer is not about having the right words. Prayer is often welcoming the Holy Spirit to pray through us. He knows what’s in our hearts and the will of God for us.

So, can anything good come of what you’re going through? The answer is a resounding YES!

And we know that God causes everything to works together works for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28).

Not that all things are good, but God is at work in all things—the good, the bad and the ugly. God is working out His purposes in our lives for our good, for His glory, and so the world will see Jesus. God changed me in my season of suffering. He took my weakness and taught me to pray and wait with eager expectation for the good thing that He would do in my life and the life of my kids. My mindset changed. Instead of, “What good can come of this?” I began asking, “God, what good thing will You bring from this?”

Do you hear the difference? That’s courageous living.

Today’s Devotions

Morning

August 6

2 Chronicles 13:5 5Don’t you know that the LORD, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?

Abijah inherited the throne of Judah after his father Rehoboam’s death. When war came between the northern tribes of Israel and southern Judah, Abijah found that his troops were outnumbered two to one. He climbed a hill and shouted out to the army of Israel the above passage. Little explanation is given in Scripture about the salt covenant, but we can piece together from other texts what it must have meant. When two parties sat down and ate salted bread they entered into a peace agreement. It implied that they were friends and were bound to defend one another. When did David do this with God? It was when he ate the shewbread while fleeing from Saul. God promised to make David king and later promised his descendants would reign. Abijah was reminding Israel that God was on their side because God keeps His word.

He went on to describe how their leader Jeroboam had forsaken God and made his own gods. If that weren’t enough to cause them to doubt, he described how you could buy the priesthood with a certain number of sacrifices.

While Abijah was declaring his right to rule, Israel was sending troops behind him. Suddenly Israel attacked from both directions, but the house of Judah had placed its trust in God. When the army shouted out their battle cry, God turned the troops of Israel. Abijah’s troops soundly defeated Israel that day, destroying over half their army. In our day the idea of having God on your side is laughed at. It still makes the difference.

Remember: You can always count on the promises of God.

Streams In The Desert – August 6

  • 20226 Aug

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south, blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out! (Song of Solomon 4:16).

Look at the meaning of this prayer a moment. Its root is found in the fact that, as delicious odors may lie latent in a spice tree, so graces may lie unexercised and undeveloped in a Christian’s heart. There is many a plant of profession; but from the ground there breathes forth no fragrance of holy affections or of godly deeds. The same winds blow on the thistle bush and on the spice tree, but it is only one of them which gives out rich odors.

Sometimes God sends severe blasts of trial upon His children to develop their graces. Just as torches burn most brightly when swung to and fro; just as the juniper plant smells sweetest when flung into the flames; so the richest qualities of a Christian often come out under the north wind of suffering and adversity. Bruised hearts often emit the fragrance that God loveth to smell.

Word and Deed

  MARK 1:21-28

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”

—  Mark 1:27

When God’s enemy and ours, the devil, tempted Adam and Eve and humanity fell into sin (Genesis 3), all of our relationships were broken—with God, with each other, with ourselves, and with creation. Temptation and sin opened the way for the devil and his followers—impure spirits—to attack and influence our lives, sometimes even taking possession of people’s hearts, minds, and bodies.

God’s Son, Jesus, came into the world to rebuild what was broken and to restore the goodness of creation, healing many people’s bodies and minds. Jesus came as God’s authoritative Word, and with power he drove impure spirits out of the people they had possessed.

The crowd in Capernaum heard the Word of God and saw the power of God that Sabbath day. They were amazed to see God’s love presented to them in the person of Jesus. And as he worked wonders in God’s great plan of salvation, Jesus showed that his power was far greater than any demonic presence.

The people heard Jesus speak God’s Word, and they saw his amazing acts of restoration. They witnessed “God with us,” Immanuel, and they spread the news about him everywhere.

Lord, thank you for showing your love in the person of Jesus Christ. May we seek him in the written Word you have given us, and may we tell of your power and love every­where. Amen.

The Best Job in the World

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The Best Job in the World

15 Amazing Quotes about the Christian Journey | ChristianQuotes.info

 

Roy Cameron Kennedy – Digital Media Coordinator for Latin America. cbn.com

“If you like what you do, you’ll never have to work…” Those were the wise words of my dad the day I was preparing to enter my first day of work at the CBN offices in Costa Rica. And when I think about it, my father was referring to the attitude that I should have in the face of any task that was going to be assigned to me, whether it seemed pleasant or not. The type of work to be done should not be an issue, but rather my heart in going about it.

We all dream of an ideal job where we get paid for doing what we love, where we have fun every day, have good colleagues, a good salary, and we do not feel like it is a burden or an obligation. But the reality is that for most people it is the opposite—a job that seems more like hard labor, because they must support their home no matter what.

Although we cannot always change jobs, we decide what attitude to take. We can see work and the circumstances of life as a burden; or we can decide to see it as a blessing from our heavenly Father, one that allows us to get closer to Him.

Romans 8:15 reminds us of what we have received from God:

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (ESV).

Thank God we have His Spirit — one that makes us part of His family. One that allows us to change our way of living, if not our standard or circumstances of living. We live not in bondage or fear, but in the closeness and love of God.

And just like my dad counseled me about what my attitude should be even when I don’t have the best job in the world, God also gives us clues on how to do our best every day, whether as housewives, carpenters, salesmen, police officers, doctors or students. It applies to everyone:

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).

When we do it from the heart we go far: As small as a task may seem, the impact can be bigger and more important than what you may see. On one occasion, we shared some cookies and juice in a children’s kitchen that partners with CBN and Orphan’s Promise in Costa Rica. At first glance, it did not seem like the most important job. However, we found out later that those little treats were the answer to the prayer of a child who had not eaten them for a long time and that simple gesture allowed him to experience the truth that God listens to him and cares about him.

The true reward comes from the Lord: Sometimes we think that salary is the most important thing, when in reality it is only a tool. We must remember that we are more than our work and more than a salary, our value and identity is not in what we do, but in Him who created us, in God, the one we can call Father.

The way we work will show not only the quality of what we do, but whose children we are. So, pray that in everything you do, big or small, those around you can see your heavenly Father at work.

Do you find yourself burdened down by the tasks of life? Pray with me, that God would lift your feelings and thoughts and help you to see His hand at work in your life; your reward is with Him!

Today’s Devotions

Morning

August 5

2 Chronicles 12:12,14 12Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the LORD’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah…

14He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the LORD.

We all have an immediate testimony and a life testimony. At this point, near the end of Rehoboam’s life, he had a good testimony. It took being conquered and nearly destroyed to turn him from pride to humility, but at least he turned in the right direction unlike some of the kings that followed him. This was really the spiritual high point of his life. We can only guess what Israel would have been like had he served the LORD all his life, following the example of his grandfather David.

From this point forward, the kings will have one of two epitaphs. They have this one that Rehoboam had of doing evil and not setting his heart on seeking the LORD or one of walking in the path of King David. In the north they were likened to Jeroboam who led the nation into idolatry. It was black and white. The testimony of our life is good or evil. It has to do with where we have set our heart. Where is your compass pointed? On what tower have you leaned your life’s ladder?

Rehoboam had set his course for greed and self-fulfillment early on and stayed with that coarse almost to the end. Only disaster and the threat of destruction would turn him at the end of his life. What will it take to turn you? If you are set on self and not your Creator, you will have the same epitaph as Rehoboam.

Consider: The sooner you turn and set your heart upon God, the more likely your life’s testimony will be changed.

My Grace IS Sufficient – Streams in the Desert – August 5

  • 20225 Aug

My grace is sufficient for thee (2 Corinthians 12:9).

It had pleased God to remove my youngest child under circumstances of peculiar trial and pain; and as I had just laid my little one’s body in the churchyard, on return home, I felt it my duty to preach to my people on the meaning of trial.

Finding that this text was in the lesson for the following Sabbath, I chose it as my Master’s message to them and myself; but on trying to prepare the notes, I found that in honesty I could not say that the words were true; and therefore I knelt down and asked God to let His grace be sufficient for me. While I was thus pleading, I opened my eyes and saw a framed illuminated text, which my mother had given me only a few days before, and which I had told my servant to place upon the wall during my absence at the holiday resort where my little one was taken away from us. I did not notice the words on returning to my house; but as I looked up and wiped my eyes, the words met my gaze, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

The “is” was picked out in bright green while the “My” and the “thee” were painted in another color. In one moment the message came straight to my soul, as a rebuke for offering such a prayer as, “Lord, let Thy grace be sufficient for me”; for the answer was almost as an audible voice, “How dare you ask that which is?”

God cannot make it any more sufficient than He has made it; get up and believe it, and you will find it true, because the Lord says it in the simplest way: “My grace is (not shall be or may be) sufficient for thee.” “My,” “is,” and “thee” were from that moment, I hope, indelibly fixed upon my heart; and I (thank God) have been trying to live in the reality of the message from that day forward to the present time.

The lesson that came to me, and which I seek to convey to others, is, Never turn God’s facts into hopes, or prayers, but simply use them as realities, and you will find them powerful as you believe them.
–Prebendary H. W. Webb

“Get Behind Me, Satan”

Evan Heerema author, Today Devotions

  MATTHEW 16:21-28

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” . . . You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

—  Matthew 16:23

The words of Jesus to Peter here came soon after the faith-filled profession Peter had made when he said to Jesus, “You are the Messiah” (Matt. 16:16). Jesus was now teaching his disciples that he had come to suffer, be killed, and rise again. He would offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Hearing that, Peter rebuked Jesus, saying, “Never, Lord! . . . This shall never happen to you!” So Jesus called Peter out and revealed that he had missed the main point of Jesus’ mission. From a human standpoint we can sympathize with Peter. We too would likely be shocked to hear that Jesus had come to suffer and die in order to rise again and give us new, abundant life.

Today, though, we know how important it is to discern truth from lies, listening for God’s Word rather than listening to the lies of false religions and false teachers around us—don’t we? It should be clear to us that it takes effort and perseverance to prepare ourselves to discern properly.

So until Jesus returns to make all things new, we must read the Bible and listen to Jesus, who died because he loved us, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven to make his abundant life available for all who believe in him. Trust the truth, the way, and the life.

Risen and ascended Lord, you are the Messiah, and I confess that my actions and words do not always confirm that. Give me the strength and courage to stand up for you always. Amen.

I Wish I Hadn’t Said That

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I Wish I Hadn’t Said That

Bible clasped hands

 

Angela Darby – Prayer Center Coach, cbn.com

I remember watching a funny TV show where the main character was a genius nerd. He was infamous for lending a helping hand with great intentions, but somehow things always ended up in mayhem. After making his big mistakes, he would get this incredulous look on his face and say, “Did I do that?”

That’s how I felt recently when someone gave me and my team at church this compliment after a successful event, “This is skilled and meticulous work they do.”

I interrupted his compliment and said, “That is a high compliment coming from you because you are a perfectionist!

An awkward pause ensued, he gave a half smile and replied, “No. I like to do things with excellence.”

Immediately, I had all types of responses floating around in my head. I wanted to explain what I meant and how highly I esteem him, but alas, I’d already said what I said. Anything I added would not have changed what was said.

Maybe you have had moments where you say or do things with good intentions, but it goes a little off course. It is often a challenge for me to say the right things the right way so it will bless those who hear. My heart is always willing, but my lips might slip a bit.

Paul talks about this in the Bible.

“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (Romans 7:21-25 ESV).

We don’t always get it right, even when our intentions are good. We miss the mark, but there is this awesome thing called Grace! Jesus’s sacrifice in dying on the Cross and my acceptance of His gift of salvation does not make me perfect, but it helps me to grow free of guilt and condemnation.

What I did was not evil, but the slip of my lip bothered me so much. It frustrated me that I missed a moment to really show how much I admire another brother in Christ. This Scripture gives me joy and helps me show compassion to myself knowing that Jesus has delivered me from the power of sin.

What do you struggle with? What do you say you’re going to stop doing, but sometimes find yourself doing it anyway? No worries! God has already made provision to cover you and help you grow. Just receive the redemptive Love and Grace Jesus offers and be patient with your growth in Him!

Streams in the Desert – August 4

  • 20224 Aug

And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me (John 11:41).

This is a very strange and unusual order. Lazarus is still in the grave, and the thanksgiving precedes the miracle of resurrection. I thought that the thanksgiving would have risen when the great deed had been wrought, and Lazarus was restored to life again. But Jesus gives thanks for what He is about to receive. The gratitude breaks forth before the bounty has arrived, in the assurance that it is certainly on the way. The song of victory is sung before the battle has been fought. It is the sower who is singing the song of the harvest home. It is thanksgiving before the miracle!

Who thinks of announcing a victory-psalm when the crusaders are just starting out for the field? Where can we hear the grateful song for the answer which has not yet been received?

And after all, there is nothing strange or forced, or unreasonable in the Master’s order. Praise is really the most vital preparatory ministry to the working of the miracles. Miracles are wrought by spiritual power. Spiritual power is always proportioned to our faith.
–Dr. Jowett

PRAISE CHANGES THINGS

Nothing so pleases God in connection with our prayer as our praise, and nothing so blesses the man who prays as the praise which he offers. I got a great blessing once in China in this connection. I had received bad and sad news from home, and deep shadows had covered my soul. I prayed, but the darkness did not vanish. I summoned myself to endure, but the darkness only deepened. Just then I went to an inland station and saw on the wall of the mission home these words: “Try Thanksgiving.” I did, and in a moment every shadow was gone, not to return. Yes, the Psalmist was right, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.”
–Rev. Henry W. Frost

Today’s Devotions

Morning

August 4

2 Chronicles 12:1,5 1After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the LORD…

5Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah who had assembled in Jerusalem for fear of Shishak, and he said to them, “This is what the LORD says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak.'”

Rehoboam began with greed and immediately lost two-thirds of the nation. That did not humble him. He continued in his pride. After strengthening his army and defenses, he abandoned the law of the LORD. As the leader went, so went the nation. They followed his bad example in forsaking God.

An innumerable army, led by the king of Egypt, came against him and captured all the cities he had fortified and armed. One by one they fell. Then the prophet Shemaiah came and told Rehoboam that since they had abandoned God, God had abandoned them. Since they wanted to proceed without God, God allowed them to. What would our life be like without the protection of the hand of God? When a man or family or nation is walking in the fear of the LORD, they are surrounded by a protecting influence. You will never know all the things the LORD spared you from that the enemy planned against your life. That is why the end of the LORD’s prayer says, “Deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13).

When we step outside of a trusting dependent relationship with God, that invisible hand of protection is lifted and the enemy is allowed in to bring us to our senses. It worked for Rehoboam. He along with his leaders humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is just.” Then God could have mercy on them and allowed Jerusalem to remain, though subjugated. All the treasure amassed in the temple was carried away by the enemy. Sin has consequences, and though we are allowed to continue and are restored relationally, there is a great loss because of our rebellion.

Consider: Draw near to God now so that He does not have to use tragedy to draw you back.

Hidden Things

By: Inspiration org.

It seemed an impossible request. King Nebuchadnezzar demanded his advisors provide the correct explanation of a disturbing dream and describe that dream in detail. When his wise men complained, the king became angry and ordered them all killed, including Daniel.

Daniel knew no man could fulfill the king’s request, but he knew God and had faith He could do anything. God revealed every detail of this dream to Daniel in a vision.

After listening to Daniel’s vivid description, Nebuchadnezzar “fell on his face and paid humble respect to Daniel.” Knowing he had experienced a miracle, he proclaimed, “Your God truly is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of secrets” (vs. 46-47).

Daniel, too, knew he had been given insights that were not humanly possible, but he knew God could reveal “profound and hidden things.” He knew God heard his prayers and could answer them in miraculous ways.

We might conclude that such miracles are possible only for select people, but we serve the same God. He is willing to reveal these “profound and hidden things” to us.

What questions do you have? What problems do you face? Are there challenges that seem too difficult? Commit every need to God in humble, sincere prayer. Have the faith to believe He can reveal anything to you. Be bold to ask for revelation and insight. He is still a “revealer of secrets.”

Reflection Question: What circumstances are you facing that seem beyond comprehension?

The God Who Quenches Thirst

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The God Who Quenches Thirst

runner-woman

 

I enjoy long distance running. There is something exhilarating about the sound of my feet hitting the pavement whether it is the hottest day of summer, the coldest chill in the winter, or the most comfortable temperatures of spring or fall. In addition, the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits that a run provides me are amazing. Whether my running pace is my fastest yet or my slowest in months, I often receive clarity about concerns that I was uncertain about before my run. Some of my sweetest moments with God have occurred during my hardest runs as my body was tired but my mind recalled Bible verses that not only encouraged me to endure my run but also to endure life’s hardships.

One thing that most of my runs have in common, no matter the level of difficulty, is thirst. After exerting energy and sweat, I long for a cold drink of water to quench my thirst. On days with dry air and over 90-degree temperatures, my thirst is even greater, and I seek water immediately after the run concludes.

In Psalm 63:1 the psalmist David said,

God, you are my God; I earnestly seek you. I thirst for you; my body faints for you in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. (CSB)

David acknowledges his relationship with God and then reveals that he seeks God earnestly amid everything that is occurring in his life. He even compares his seeking of the Lord to thirst that can only be quenched by finding God.

Can you remember a time when you were thirsty? After you took a drink, it was likely satisfying and relieving.

If I run and do not properly hydrate with water and other nutrients, I may feel faint until I properly replenish. The psalmist David shared that his body faints for God in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water (Psalm 63:1). David’s longing for God was deep enough to touch both his spirit and body. Like David, we should long for replenishment of our weary spirits and bodies through spending time with God.

I have often gone to worship God in my home or in church feeling weary in my body and have come away with a renewed strength not only to run a physical race as a long-distance runner but to also run my most important race—a spiritual race as a Christian. Hebrews 12:1 says,

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us.

During my time of worship, I am reminded that I must lay aside all things that hinder me from running this Christian race and any sin that threatens to trap me and keep me from doing God’s will within my life. The only way that we can live a life that aims to be free from sin is to keep our focus on God and to receive His strength to turn away from sin. David said in Psalm 63:2,

Today’s Devotions

Morning

August 3

2 Chronicles 7:11-12 11When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace, 12the LORD appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.

After Solomon finished praying, fire fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifices. It was a sign that God was involved in all that was done, and it was acceptable as a shadow of the heavenly temple. The glory of the Lord so filled the temple that the priests could not minister. Everyone fell on their faces and worshiped with the words they had sung earlier, “He is good; His love endures forever.” Then Solomon sent the people home, and they were full of joy because of all God had done for David and Solomon and for His people. When we know God is at work in our lives for our good, we can be full of joy. When we see He is involved in lives of our leaders, we can be full of joy for we know they will be leading according to His direction.

Then when all the festivity was over, the LORD appeared to Solomon. He promised that He had heard the prayer of Solomon. He gave Solomon the assurance that his eyes and ears would be open toward prayers directed to that place. Even today the Jews claim this promise, praying at the Western Wall.

God chose that place for Himself as a temple of sacrifice. Almost 1000 years later, on that same mountain, He would present Himself as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He had indeed chosen that place as a temple of sacrifice. Sometimes, when the LORD speaks, He has much more in mind than we can fathom. His words are always filled with a depth that is beyond our comprehension. We do as He leads, and then He does the impossible and fills our meager labor with greater importance than we can imagine. Then He says, “Well done”, as if we had a hand in all the greatness He accomplishes. He is good and His love endures forever!

Consider: Your obedience results in more fruit than you can imagine. Praise God!

Streams in the Desert – August 2

  • 20222 Aug

Launch out into the deep (Luke 5:4).

How deep He does not say. The depth into which we launch will depend upon how perfectly we have given up the shore, and the greatness of our need, and the apprehension of our possibilities. The fish were to be found in the deep, not in the shallow water.

So with us; our needs are to be met in the deep things of God. We are to launch out into the deep of God’s Word, which the Spirit can open up to us in such crystal fathomless meaning that the same words we have accepted in times past will have an ocean meaning in them, which renders their first meaning to us very shallow.

Into the deep of the Atonement, until Christ’s precious blood is so illuminated by the Spirit that it becomes an omnipotent balm, and food and medicine for the soul and body.

Into the deep of the Father’s will, until we apprehend it in its infinite minuteness and goodness, and its far-sweeping provision and care for us.

Into the deep of the Holy Spirit, until He becomes a bright, dazzling, sweet, fathomless summer sea, in which we bathe and bask and breathe, and lose ourselves and our sorrows  in the calmness and peace of His everlasting presence.

Into the deep of the Holy Spirit, until He becomes a bright, marvelous answer to prayer, the most careful and tender guidance, the most thoughtful anticipation of our needs, the most accurate and supernatural shaping of our events.

Into the deep of God’s purposes and coming kingdom, until the Lord’s coming and His millennial reign are opened up to us; and beyond these the bright entrancing ages on ages unfold themselves, until the mental eye is dazed with light, and the heart flutters with inexpressible anticipations of its joy with Jesus and the glory to be revealed.

Into all these things, Jesus bids us launch. He made us and He made the deep, and to its fathomless depths He has fitted our longings and capabilities.
–Soul Food

Its streams the whole creation reach,
So plenteous is the store;
Enough for all, enough for each;
Enough forevermore.

The deep waters of the Holy Spirit are always accessible, because they are always proceeding. Will you not this day claim afresh to be immersed and drenched in these waters of life? The waters in Ezekiel’s vision first of all oozed from under the doors of the temple. Then the man with the measuring line measured and found the waters to the ankles. Still further measurement, and they were waters to the knees. Once again they were measured and the waters were to the loins. Then they became waters to swim in–a river that could not be passed over. (Read Ezekiel 47).

How far have we advanced into this river of life? The Holy Spirit would have a complete self effacement. Not merely ankle-deep, knee-deep, loin-deep, but self-deep. We ourselves hidden out of sight and bathed in this life-giving stream. Let go the shore-lines and launch out into the deep. Never forget, the Man with the measuring line is with us today.
–J.G.M.

Trust Your Navigation

By: Evan Heerema, author, Today devotions

  PROVERBS 16:25

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

—  Proverbs 16:25

On family road trips we would use a map so that we could know where we were, how far we had gone, and how far we needed to go. Those trips provided opportunities for addition and subtraction problems (especially in trying to figure out signs like one on Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania that read, “Mile Run – 2 miles”).

Today GPS services and electronic maps make those old maps nearly obsolete. The mapping service gives us options for the fastest route and some alternate routes—with and without tolls. Travelers soon learn that there is often more than one way to their destination. And, who knows? The one you choose might just become your favorite way.

The Bible shows that there are right roads and wrong roads when it comes to recognizing and following God’s way. A discerning mind will seek to determine if an opportunity honors God or not. That opportunity might look good at first, but it could end up at a dead end spiritually, emotionally, and even physically.

The Spirit of God equips us with eyes to see and ears to hear what God says is the right way. If there is no confirmation of God’s approval, then it might be better to look for another route.

God of wisdom, fill us with your Spirit so that the direction of our lives will stay on course with your will and way. Bring us home to you, for your glory. Amen.

Let Hope Arise

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Let Hope Arise

So let hope rise and darkness tremble | Picture Quotes

Are you going through a time of trial or testing? Take heart! Trials produce perseverance, and perseverance produces victory. Instead of giving up hope, realize that you’re on the brink of a breakthrough!

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:3-5 NKJV).

We don’t want to be like the Israelites when they first reached the edge of the Promised Land. They were too afraid to enter because they heard reports about giants in the land — and so they had to wander aimlessly in the wilderness for 40 years — all because they lost their hope in God.

As Hebrews 6:19 tells us:

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.

It is our hope in God, His provision for our salvation through Jesus Christ, the hope of our eternal home in heaven, and the power of His promises found in His Word that keep us full of faith and firmly rooted in His love.

Of course, sin can cause us to lose hope. So, we must be sure to repent and take our sins and shortcomings to the cross, where we receive forgiveness and mercy. Then we need to be single-minded in believing God, receive His forgiveness, and return to rejoicing in hope.

Romans 15:4 reminds us:

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

When you are feeling cast down, remember the words of the psalmist:

Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance (Psalm 42:5).

Set your thoughts on the hope you have in God and let His Word comfort you. Soon you’ll be praising Him, firmly anchored in His love and care. God bless you.

The Beginning of Wisdom

By: Evan Heerema, Today Devotions

  PROVERBS 9:10-12

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

—  Proverbs 9:10

I tend to err on the side of caution. If there is risk involved, I will pause and evaluate the situation so that I can make a decision that will keep me as safe as possible. At an early age I learned that respecting things like the law of gravity and the authority of people in charge was better than disrespecting things that I cannot control.

That helps me understand what the author of Proverbs is saying here. Fearing the Lord does not mean being scared of God, as if he were a tyrant waiting to take his anger out on us. To fear the Lord is to give him respect and reverence. After all, God is the Creator who graciously made a covenant with his people. He deserves our respect. God has promised to provide his people with all that they need. He deserves our reverence.

Revering the Lord is the first step in developing a vibrant relationship with him. Revering God calls for us to submit ourselves humbly to him—seeking him, listening to him, and obeying him. Fearing the Lord puts us in the position of a servant who loves God and trusts God. That is where God wants us to be, and that is where we need to be.

Creator God, you are good, and you are great. Thank you for letting me know you, and thank you for always being willing to know me. Amen.

Streams in the Desert – August 2

  • 20222 Aug

Launch out into the deep (Luke 5:4).

How deep He does not say. The depth into which we launch will depend upon how perfectly we have given up the shore, and the greatness of our need, and the apprehension of our possibilities. The fish were to be found in the deep, not in the shallow water.

So with us; our needs are to be met in the deep things of God. We are to launch out into the deep of God’s Word, which the Spirit can open up to us in such crystal fathomless meaning that the same words we have accepted in times past will have an ocean meaning in them, which renders their first meaning to us very shallow.

Into the deep of the Atonement, until Christ’s precious blood is so illuminated by the Spirit that it becomes an omnipotent balm, and food and medicine for the soul and body.

Into the deep of the Father’s will, until we apprehend it in its infinite minuteness and goodness, and its far-sweeping provision and care for us.

Into the deep of the Holy Spirit, until He becomes a bright, dazzling, sweet, fathomless summer sea, in which we bathe and bask and breathe, and lose ourselves and our sorrows  in the calmness and peace of His everlasting presence.

Into the deep of the Holy Spirit, until He becomes a bright, marvelous answer to prayer, the most careful and tender guidance, the most thoughtful anticipation of our needs, the most accurate and supernatural shaping of our events.

Into the deep of God’s purposes and coming kingdom, until the Lord’s coming and His millennial reign are opened up to us; and beyond these the bright entrancing ages on ages unfold themselves, until the mental eye is dazed with light, and the heart flutters with inexpressible anticipations of its joy with Jesus and the glory to be revealed.

Into all these things, Jesus bids us launch. He made us and He made the deep, and to its fathomless depths He has fitted our longings and capabilities.
–Soul Food

Its streams the whole creation reach,
So plenteous is the store;
Enough for all, enough for each;
Enough forevermore.

The deep waters of the Holy Spirit are always accessible, because they are always proceeding. Will you not this day claim afresh to be immersed and drenched in these waters of life? The waters in Ezekiel’s vision first of all oozed from under the doors of the temple. Then the man with the measuring line measured and found the waters to the ankles. Still further measurement, and they were waters to the knees. Once again they were measured and the waters were to the loins. Then they became waters to swim in–a river that could not be passed over. (Read Ezekiel 47).

How far have we advanced into this river of life? The Holy Spirit would have a complete self effacement. Not merely ankle-deep, knee-deep, loin-deep, but self-deep. We ourselves hidden out of sight and bathed in this life-giving stream. Let go the shore-lines and launch out into the deep. Never forget, the Man with the measuring line is with us today.
–J.G.M.

Sanctification: God’s Grand Plan

From: Intouch ministries

We are called to forsake our plans in order to pursue God’s will.

August 2, 2022

Jeremiah 29:11

The Lord has a grand plan for the life of every believer, and it can be summed up in the term we looked at yesterday: sanctification. This refers to the process by which something is made holy—in other words, separated from its former common usage and dedicated to God for His purposes.

Every person is born spiritually dead and an enemy of God (Ephesians 2:1Romans 5:10). But the moment we trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, our sins are wiped away, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, and we’re adopted into God’s family. From that moment on, we are set apart as God’s children for His sacred purposes.

This means we are here on earth not to chase after pleasure and personal gain but to serve and obey the Lord. And in so doing, we bring Him honor and glory. As members of God’s family, we are called to reflect Christ’s character. The Lord now calls us saints—a term that shares its root with sanctification—not because we live sinlessly, but because that’s our position in Christ and should be our practice as well. No longer are we to give ourselves to sin; instead, we should present ourselves to God as slaves of obedience.

 

Confident Hope

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Confident Hope

woman on couch praying

 

Jessica Teed – Well & Clean Water Coordinator – OB Headquarters, cbn.com

Waiting on God’s timing isn’t easy. When the Lord first called me into full-time ministry in the summer of 2010, I was ready to go right then and there, or so I thought. That year had been a tough one for me. God was beginning a new work within me and as part of that work, He called me out of the church I had been faithfully attending for nearly a decade.

At first, I ignored His gentle whisper. I didn’t understand why God would want me to leave my church family, whom I loved dearly. As His voice became louder, I knew I needed to listen. I decided to talk to my pastor about how God was leading me not only into full-time ministry but also to leave the church I had called home.

I expected to get the green light and to be sent on my way with no questions asked. What I experienced that day was the exact opposite. I was wounded so deeply that it took a lot of healing for me to fully trust the body of Christ again.

Deep down, I knew that God wouldn’t ask me to leave my church without a plan. Even though I couldn’t see what He was doing, I needed to be obedient and trust Him.

Abraham knew God was faithful and believed that God would come through for him.

Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises (Romans 4:18-21 NLT).

Finding a new church home wasn’t a quick process. After more than two months, I started to grow weary. I prayed and asked God for wisdom and to make it clear to me where He wanted me to be. That Sunday, I visited a church that was held in an old armory. This church was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I could hear the voice of the Lord so clearly.

As I started to leave that Sunday, the pastor stopped to greet me. He said, “Jessica, 2011 is going to be better than 2010 for you. God has you exactly where He wants you to be.”

I could feel the tears well up and I knew that the Lord had brought me to this church. Over the next four years, God brought tremendous healing into my life and helped to equip me for the plans He has for me.

If you are waiting on God, know that God is faithful to keep every promise He has made to you. God’s plans for your life are good because He is good. His love isn’t contingent on what you do for Him, and it doesn’t change. You can trust Him to come through for you, just as He did for Abraham and just as He did for me.

Streams in the Desert – August 1

  • 20221 Aug

And do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness.(Rom 6:13)

I went one night to hear an address on consecration. No special message came to me from it, but as the speaker kneeled to pray, he dropped this sentence: “O Lord, Thou knowest we can trust the Man that died for us.” And that was my message. I rose and walked down the street to the train; and as I walked, I pondered deeply all that consecration might mean to my life and—I was afraid. And then, above the noise and clatter of the street traffic came to me the message: “You can trust the Man that died for you.”

I got into the train to ride homeward; and as I rode, I thought of the changes, the sacrifices, the disappointments which consecration might mean to me and—I was afraid.

I reached home and sought my room, and there upon my knees I saw my past life. I had been a Christian, an officer in the church, a Sunday-school superintendent, but had never definitely yielded my life to God.

Yet as I thought of the darling plans which might be baffled, of the cherished hopes to be surrendered, and the chosen profession which I might be called upon to abandoned—I was afraid.

I did not see the better things God had for me, so my soul was shrinking back; and then for the last time, with a swift rush of convicting power, came to my innermost heart that searching message:

“My child, you can trust the Man that died for you. If you cannot trust Him whom can you trust?”

That settled it for me, for in a flash I saw that the Man who so loved me as to die for me could be absolutely trusted with all the concerns of the life He had saved.

Friend, you can trust the Man that died for you. You can trust Him to baffle no plan which is not best to be foiled, and to carry out every one which is for God’s glory and your highest good. You can trust Him to lead you in the path which is the very best in this world for you.
—J H. McC

“Just as I am, thy love unknown,
Has broken every barrier down, 
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine ALONE,
O Lamb of God, I come!”

“Life is not salvage to be saved out of the world, but an investment to be used in the world.”

Sovereign grace and man’s responsibility

By: Charles Spurgeon

“But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” Romans 10:20,21

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 26:20-25

I see in one place, God presiding over all in providence; and yet I see, and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions to his own will, in a great measure. Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act, that there was no control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I declare that God so overrules all things, as that man is not free enough to be responsible, I am driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and that man is responsible, are two things that few can see. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory; but they are not. It is just the fault of our weak judgment. Two truths cannot be contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one place that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find in another place that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is my folly that leads me to imagine that two truths can ever contradict each other. These two truths, I do not believe, can ever be welded into one upon any human anvil, but one they shall be in eternity: they are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the mind that shall pursue them farthest, will never discover that they converge; but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth springs.

For meditation: The Bible does not tell us everything; nor does it give a full explanation of what it does tell us. But it tells us more than enough to give us a sound foundation for our faith and obedience (Deuteronomy 29:29John 20:30,31).

Love That Abounds

  PHILIPPIANS 1:3-11

From: Today Devotions

This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best. . . .

—  Philippians 1:9-10

The apostle Paul and the church in Philippi shared a great love for each other. Because of his love for them, Paul wanted the Philippians’ love to abound in knowledge and insight so that they could live more like Jesus. With knowledge and insight, the Christians in Philippi could better discern all that is true and good. Knowing what is true and good would prepare them to love as Jesus does. The focus for a follower of Jesus is to love God above all and to love your neighbor as yourself.

How can I love God and my neighbor without knowing the will of God? To try to love God and my neighbor apart from knowing God’s will and his ways would put me in a battle against God—with my will versus God’s will. But that would be a battle I would always lose. Thankfully, I do not have to take on that kind of battle.

In his love for us, God gave us his Word (the Bible), and he sent Jesus (the living Word) to show us how to live. Following Jesus’ example, we too, like Paul and the Philippians, can grow to abound in knowledge and insight as we humbly seek to love God and our neighbor.

Gracious Father, thank you for sending us Jesus to reveal your love and to show us a new way of life. Fill us with your Spirit, that we may strive to follow Jesus today. Amen.

The Warrior’s Key to Peace

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The Warrior’s Key to Peace

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

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

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

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

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

As for me, I trust in you (v.23).

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

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

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

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

Today’s Devotions

Morning

July 31

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

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

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

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

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

Streams in the Desert – July 31

  • 202231 Jul

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

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

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

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

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

A Safe Place

From: Intouch ministries

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

July 31, 2022

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

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

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

Think about it

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