Don’t Look Back

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TODAY’S DAILY PRAYER

yellow and red maple leavesBehold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20, RSV

Lord our God, we are your children, who come before you and stand in your presence. Be with us and be our light in all situations of life, in all hardships and grief. Be our light, as you have always been. Reveal your power so that the world may know you as we have come to know you. Give us joyful readiness to persevere until your day comes, for the brightness of your day will shine through all darkness and will end all evil, to the glory of your name. Amen.

 

 

Daily Dig

Caffeine for your conscience

TODAY’S DAILY DIG

Three AcornsPeople have turned away from the clarity of Jesus, who challenged us to say either yes or no and not something in between. People turn from the way of Jesus, weakly accepting a paradoxical situation in relation to God; all they can say in their vanity is “yes and no” or “no and yes” simultaneously. We must fight against this. We were once challenged, “Surely you don’t want to wage a general campaign against all evil?” Yes, this is exactly what it is all about. That is why Jesus came into the world; he called us and sent us out to take up this campaign against all evil in all things. He came to destroy the works of the devil. “God is light and in him there is no darkness.”

 

 

Verse of the Day

Inspirational illustration of Psalm 23:6

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

God is our Shepherd. Our destiny is tied to his goodness and mercy which he longs to shower upon us until he brings us home to dwell with him forever.

My Prayer…

Father God, please bathe my heart in your goodness and reach through me and my influence to extend your love to others. Make my heart and hope find its hope in you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

BIBLE STUDY BUDDY 

Read Jude 1:1-25…

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: 2. Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. 3. Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. 5. Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. 8. In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, ”The Lord rebuke you!” 10. Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct-as irrational animals do-will destroy them. 11. Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. 12. These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm-shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted-twice dead. 13. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. 14. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: ”See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15. to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16. These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. 17. But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18. They said to you, ”In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19. These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20. But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21. keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22. Be merciful to those who doubt; 23. save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. 24. To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy- 25. to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotional
“Able to keep you from falling.”
 In some sense the path to heaven is very safe, but in other respects there is no road so dangerous. It is beset with difficulties. One false step (and how easy it is to take that if grace be absent), and down we go. What a slippery path is that which some of us have to tread! How many times have we to exclaim with the Psalmist, “My feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipped.” If we were strong, sure-footed mountaineers, this would not matter so much; but in ourselves, how weak we are! In the best roads we soon falter, in the smoothest paths we quickly stumble. These feeble knees of ours can scarcely support our tottering weight. A straw may throw us, and a pebble can wound us; we are mere children tremblingly taking our first steps in the walk of faith, our heavenly Father holds us by the arms or we should soon be down. Oh, if we are kept from falling, how must we bless the patient power which watches over us day by day! Think, how prone we are to sin, how apt to choose danger, how strong our tendency to cast ourselves down, and these reflections will make us sing more sweetly than we have ever done, “Glory be to Him, who is able to keep us from falling.” We have many foes who try to push us down. The road is rough and we are weak, but in addition to this, enemies lurk in ambush, who rush out when we least expect them, and labour to trip us up, or hurl us down the nearest precipice. Only an Almighty arm can preserve us from these unseen foes, who are seeking to destroy us. Such an arm is engaged for our defence. He is faithful that hath promised, and He is able to keep us from falling, so that with a deep sense of our utter weakness, we may cherish a firm belief in our perfect safety, and say, with joyful confidence,
“Against me earth and hell combine,
But on my side is power divine;
Jesus is all, and He is mine!”
“Faultless before the presence of His glory.”
Revolve in your mind that wondrous word, faultless!” We are far off from it now; but as our Lord never stops short of perfection in His work of love, we shall reach it one day. The Saviour who will keep His people to the Lend, will also present them at last to Himself, as “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy and without blemish.” All the jewels in the Saviour’s crown are of the first water and without a single flaw. All the maids of honour who attend the Lamb’s wife are pure virgins without spot or stain. But how will Jesus make us faultless? He will wash us from our sins in His own blood until we are white and fair as God’s purest angel; and we shall be clothed in His righteousness, that righteousness which makes the saint who wears it positively faultless; yea, perfect in the sight of God. We shall be unblameable and unreproveable even in His eyes. His law will not only have no charge against us, but it will be magnified in us. Moreover, the work of the Holy Spirit within us will be altogether complete. He will make us so perfectly holy, that we shall have no lingering tendency to sin. Judgment, memory, will—every power and passion shall be emancipated from the thraldom of evil. We shall be holy even as God is holy, and in His presence we shall dwell for ever. Saints will not be out of place in heaven, their beauty will be as great as that of the place prepared for them. Oh the rapture of that hour when the everlasting doors shall be lifted up, and we, being made meet for the inheritance, shall dwell with the saints in light. Sin gone, Satan shut out, temptation past for ever, and ourselves “faultless” before God, this will be heaven indeed! Let us be joyful now as we rehearse the song of eternal praise so soon to roll forth in full chorus from all the blood-washed host; let us copy David’s exultings before the ark as a prelude to our ecstasies before the throne.

To Pray or To Prey….

A local official sadly observed, ”The place to pray has now become a place to prey that’s P-R-E-Y.”

 

When Jesus lived on earth, He said to the money changers in the temple, ”It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves”’ (Lk. 19:46). And Jude spoke of another kind of thievery. He referred to certain men in the church who had ”crept in unnoticed” and were motivated by greed (v.4).

 

Still today, dishonest and scheming men lurk within the church. They use their positions to prey on the unsuspecting with their false teaching. Jude exhorted believers to be strong in their faith so they could repel these ”ungodly men” (v.4).

 

We thank God for every born-again servant of the Lord who preaches the gospel and teaches the Word, and whose methods are consistent with His message. We must beware of ”thieves and robbers,” however, who are more interested in preying on people than in praying for people.

 

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LIGHTHOUSE

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”                                                                      John 12:46

One of the strongest images of standing strong in a storm is the lighthouse. In the era before radar, satellite navigation and GPS systems, lighthouses were vital to protect ships from crashing onto rocks, shoals and shores. Building lighthouses can be considered one of man’s most noble endeavors. Since the beginning of seafaring, families and friends have lit bonfires at night to guide sailors home.

George Bernard Shaw said, “I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse. They were built only to serve.”

And evangelist D.L. Moody commented, “Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining—they just shine.”

Jesus used this imagery of light to describe our role in His kingdom. We are the light of the world, He said, after claiming Himself to be the true light. Therefore we function much like a lighthouse, both internally and externally.

The first aspect of a lighthouse is the internal function of generating light. Early lighthouses used a literal fire that had to be constantly fed and watched. Later electric lights were utilized and ultimately laser lights. But this light still has to be internally projected. So we too as followers of Jesus project internal light, the outer expression of the inner life under the control of the Holy Spirit.

The other aspect of a modern lighthouse is that it also is an external reflector. Over the years of improvements, revolving lenses have been developed to reflect that internally generated light further into the darkness. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, so we reflect the light of the Son in a world of darkness.

And finally, lighthouses remind us of God’s love. Like the bright shining beam of a lighthouse, His love reaches out…piercing through the darkness of any storm.

RESPONSE:  Today I will be a lighthouse for Jesus, projecting His inner light and reflecting His light externally.

PRAYER: Lord, may Your love and Your light pierce the darkness of the world around me as I stand strong and faithful for You today like a lighthouse.

 

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Quote of the Day

“In a way, persecution will separate the real from the false, the genuine from the fake.”

-Greg Laurie (from Polycarp: Our Example in Persecution)

Today’s Answer

Have You Performed a Spiritual Checkup?

Greg Laurie

I don’t look forward to getting my physical. They do a lot of tests, and they always check my blood pressure. The last time I went, they told me, “You know, your blood pressure is a little high.” I told them it was high because I knew they were going to take it.

So I told my doctor, “You walk into the room, and my blood pressure goes up. It is your fault. You need to sneak up sometime when I am not looking and then take it. I bet it will be lower.” We kind of joke back and forth a little. But we know it is an exam. I fill out a questionnaire, and he asks a lot of questions: Are there any lumps? Are there any growths? Are there any things out of the ordinary? It is an exam to determine my physical state.

There is a spiritual exam as well. The Bible says, “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). In other words, are you really a Christian? Or are you just pretending? You are really a Christian when you have put yourfaith in Jesus Christ and Christ alone to save you, and you are trusting in Him and walking with Him. It will show itself in the way that you live.

Sometimes when people go through hardship, they say that event or tragedy has shaken their life; it has shaken their faith. In fact, they say they have lost their faith. But the faith that can’t be shaken is the faith that has been shaken. If it is genuine faith, then it will stand up to the test.

Taken from “A Spiritual Checkup” by Harvest Ministries (used by permission).

 

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September 26

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.–PS. xxiii. 4.

O will, that wiliest good alone,
Lead Thou the way, Thou guides! best;
A silent child, I follow on,
And trusting lean upon Thy breast.
And if in gloom I see Thee not,
I lean upon Thy love unknown;
In me Thy blessed will is wrought,
If I will nothing of my own.
GERHARD TERSTEEGEN.

The devout soul is always safe in every state, if it makes everything an occasion either of rising up, or falling down into the hands of God, and exercising faith, and trust, and resignation to Him. The pious soul, that eyes only God, that means nothing but being His alone, can have no stop put to its progress; light and darkness equally assist him: in the light he looks up to God, in the darkness he lays hold on God, and so they both do him the same good.
WM. LAW.

 

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A subtle deception is sweeping the nation—one of self-service over self-sacrifice. Even churches are captivated by the lie, allowing what was once a godly nation to fall to its knees.

In Saving a Sick America, cultural commentator Dr. Michael Brown addresses the root of the moral decline.

“I believe that the reason America is in such critical condition is largely the fault of the sleeping compromised church. And I lay the blame for the state of the church on many of the leaders in the church that we have not awakened, we have not challenged,” Brown tells Charisma News. “Many times, we’ve preached a politically correct message. Many times, we’ve gone away from the controversial subjects. Many times, we’ve preached a message just to build up self-esteem rather than being repentant because of which the church is in a lethargic church, because of which we’re not salt and light in the world because of which the society is lacking moral clarity.”

Brown penned the book after the Holy Spirit stirred his heart to write about the fall and rise of America, that the best days are yet to come.

“Naturally, it’s easy to think about the rise and fall of the nation, and look back to our better days, and just think we’re on a steady decline either till we collapse or Jesus returns. And yet I felt the Lord stir me to write a book on the fall and rise of America. I believe through great awakening and through transformation in the church and through a return to the Word, that American’s greatest days could actually be ahead of us, and that’s why the last chapter of the book is called the ‘Church’s Great Opportunity.’ While this book is tremendously sobering, readers are coming away filled with fresh hope, and that’s why I wrote the book.”

Such a proclamation could be a daunting task when, from 1960-2000:

  • Doubled divorce rate
  • Tripled teen suicide rate
  • Quadrupled rate of reported violent crime
  • Quintupled prison population
  • Sextupled percent of babies born to unmarried parents
  • Sevenfold increase in cohabitation (a predictor of future divorce)
  • Soaring rate of depression—up to 10 times the pre-World War II level, by some accounts

But don’t let the pessimistic trap ensnare you.

“Sometimes people have no historical perspective, and they look at every new crisis as the end of the world,” Brown says. “Think of America during the Civil War; that was a darker time for us in many ways than things are today. We’ve had very dark moments in our history, and throughout world’s history, there have been times that have been very chaotic and very destructive. It’s wrong to look at everything happening in society and think this is the end of the world. It’s also wrong to look at all the downward trends as if they’re irreversible. And to just be a gloom-and-doom pessimist and say this must mean Jesus is coming at any moment, we might as well capitulate, throw in the towel in fighting the culture war. So in point of fact, the whole push in some Christian circles saying it’s too late for America—I don’t hear that in my spirit at all, so the difference is, one person saying everybody’s going to die, there’s no hope, I’m saying people are really sick, but there is hope. It’s going to take a serious turn, but there is hope.”

Jessilyn Justice is the director of online news for Charisma. Born and raised in a pastor’s family in Alabama, she attended Lee University and the Washington Journalism Center. She’s passionate about sharing God’s goodness through storytelling. Tell her what you think of this story on Twitter @jessilynjustice.

 

 

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26

Crossing Cultural Divides

READ

Ruth 2:1-18

I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done (vv.11-12).

The Institute of International Education revealed that more than one million international students studied in US universities and colleges during the 2015-16 academic year. As a former international student myself, I know how difficult it is to enter a different culture, to learn to communicate in another language, and to experience culture shock and homesickness. I also know how wonderful it feels to be welcomed and loved by believers in Jesus from a local community.

The story of Ruth is a beautiful illustration of God’s people caring for outsiders. Ruth was a foreigner in Israel who had traveled from her homeland of Moab to the land of Israel (Ruth 1:6-7). Although her circumstances were different from an international student, she had taken a huge risk to travel with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to her homeland and join her people (v.16). Moreover, Ruth was a citizen of a nation that had experienced hostility with Israel in the past. So the potential for her to be treated badly was even greater than for some foreigners.

Yet God was aware of her situation. Each step of the way He placed the right people in her path so that Ruth would be welcomed and loved. Upon her arrival, Ruth worked hard gathering grain in the fields owned by Boaz. He was a wealthy man and also a relative of Ruth’s deceased father-in-law. He showed amazing kindness and hospitality to Ruth even though she was a foreigner (2:8-10).

Immigrants, refugees, and international students with many needs and challenges are present in our communities. As God provides for us, may we use this God-given opportunity to show the same kindness and hospitality that Boaz showed Ruth.  —Estera Pirosca Escobar

MORE

Read Deuteronomy 10:17-19 and notice God’s attitude toward foreigners and consider what He wants our attitude to be.

NEXT

What foreigners are in your community? How can you cross cultural divides and engage with the strangers next door?

 

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4 Words That Change Every Situation

Stephen Altrogge

Have you ever had one of those, “Woah, wait a minute!” times when reading the Bible? You’re slowly meandering your way through a chapter, trying to clear your sleep-fogged head, when suddenly a verse jumps out and slaps you in the face. I had one of those moments this morning.

I was making my way through Psalms 54, trying to shake off a slight headache, when I read Psalms 54:4:

“Behold, God is my helper…”

Bam! Bible verse to the face (in a good, sweet way). The words “God is my helper” are astonishing. Think about them for a moment. They literally change every situation. God, the God of the universe, the omnipotent, all-wise, all-loving, righteous, true, angel terrifying, sinner saving, God is MY HELPER. Woah. Woah!

There is no situation too great for God. There is no heart too hard for God. There is no budget too tight for God. There is no boss too difficult for God. God is your helper! He is my helper! Those four words change every situation.

Do you need wisdom today? God is your helper. Do you need strength today? God is your helper. Do you need patience today? God is your helper. If God is your helper, that changes everything!

 

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Six Reasons Why We Must Be Fruitful

 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 15:16)

In another hard saying of Jesus (as quoted above), Jesus told the apostles when they understood that He chose them to be fruitful God would answer their prayers! Jesus told them they did not choose Him to be part of their plans. He chose them to be part of His plans and when they got that God would answer their prayers.

The three years Jesus had been with them were like a seminary. These four chapters (13-16), of the Gospel of John record His commencement address to them. In Chapter 15 He gave them at least six reasons why they mustbe fruitfulThose reasons were:

They must be fruitful because there is no such thing as a disciple of His who is not fruitful. This is how they show they are His disciples. They must be fruitful because this is how they glorify God. They must be fruitful that their joy might be full. They must be fruitful because He chose them to be fruitful. Finally, they must be fruitful because He is the Vine and they are the branches. That is, He has no other way to accomplish His work in this world.

In His metaphor about the Vine and the branches the fruit does not grow on the Vine. This means the risen Christ has limited Himself to faithful branches. Although we may not have done it that way it is the plan of the risen Christ to use His power in His disciples to accomplish His work and speak His word in this world.

 

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From Grace Happens Here by Max Lucado

TRUSTING GOD’S GRACE

You need to trust God’s grace.

Follow the example of the Chilean miners. Trapped beneath two thousand feet of solid rock, the thirty three men were desperate. The collapse of a main tunnel had sealed their exit and thrust them into survival mode. They ate two spoonfuls of tuna, a sip of milk, and a morsel of peaches—every other day. For two months they prayed for someone to save them.

On the surface above, the Chilean rescue team worked around the clock, consulting NASA, meeting with experts. They designed a thirteen-foot-tall capsule and drilled, first a communication hole, then an excavation tunnel. There was no guarantee of success. No one had ever been trapped underground this long and lived to tell about it.

Now someone has.

On October 13, 2010, the men began to emerge, slapping high fives and leading victory chants. A greatgrandfather. A forty-four-year-old who was planning a wedding. Then a nineteen-year-old. All had different stories, but all had made the same decision. They trusted someone else to save them. No one returned the rescue offer with a declaration of independence: “I can get out of here on my own. Just give me a new drill.” They had stared at the stone tomb long enough to reach the unanimous opinion: “We need help. We need someone to penetrate this world and pull us out.” And when the rescue capsule came, they climbed in.

Why is it so hard for us to do the same?

We find it easier to trust the miracle of resurrection than the miracle of grace. We so fear failure that we create the image of perfection, lest heaven be even more disappointed in us than we are. The result? The weariest people on earth.

Attempts at self-salvation guarantee nothing but exhaustion. We scamper and scurry, trying to please God, collecting merit badges and brownie points, and scowling at anyone who questions our accomplishments. Call us the church of hound-dog faces and slumped shoulders.

Stop it! Once and for all, enough of this frenzy. “Your hearts should be strengthened by God’s grace, not by obeying rules” (Hebrews 13:9 ncv). Jesus does not say, “Come to me, all you who are perfect and sinless.” Just the opposite. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NASB).

-FromGrace

Order your own copy of Grace Happens Here by Max Lucado

 

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Humor

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21
I’m always looking for humor in every situation. No matter where I’m ministering, I like to find something funny in a given set of circumstances and talk about that.
When I first came to faith in Christ, however, I was under the impression that I had to give up humor and become very solemn and serious. Soon the part of me that loved to smile and laugh began to wither.
But I didn’t want that aspect of my personality to die. It was a unique part of me that God had created. In reality, it was one of my best strengths. So, over time, I began to let my humor come out again, and I discovered its strength in communicating truth and grace to others.
“God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.” – Voltaire (1694-1778)

The Daily Word of Hope Devotional

Bible Fun Fact: Solomon had black, wavy hair (Song 5:11).

Many times we are looking for the supernatural, but His word often comes to us in such a natural way that we miss it. We expect a booming voice from God, but instead we hear the words of a mentor, or a friend, or a song comes to our mind. For wisdom on hearing God’s voice, read this message!

The Gentle Whisper

He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before Yahweh.’ Behold, Yahweh passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before Yahweh; but Yahweh was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake; but Yahweh was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire passed; but Yahweh was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a still small voice. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle, went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave. Behold, a voice came to him, and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ 1Kings 19:11 WEB

Elijah was a seasoned prophet that knew the voice of God. When he was told to go and stand before God on the mountain, Elijah remained inside the cave until he knew that the Lord was there.

Elijah ignored the tornado or strong wind that came by. He ignored the earthquake that shook the mountains. He ignored the fire that passed by. Finally, he heard the sound of a low whisper, and He knew that it was indeed God Almighty speaking. Elijah arose and went out to meet Him.

The still small voice was a gentle whisper. The soft voice of God that speaks to your conscience and illuminates your mind. We are meant to hear His voice, created to hear His voice. That was His original plan, that each person listened to the Voice of God and obeyed, but in Exodus 20:19 the people were afraid and said: ‘Do not let God speak to us, let Him speak to you.’

Jesus said: ‘My sheep hear My voice’ (John 10:27). Hearing the gentle whisper yourself changes things and will give you an edge that no one can take away.

Often when the Lord speaks to us, it is easily drowned out by our busy lives and He does not shout over the noise. I find that I have to get quiet so that I can listen. This includes an inner calmness, a place of rest, so that you can hear Him. A quiet room is nice, but if your life is in turmoil, there will still be noise in your head. I have been there and done that. You will have to fix what is wrong.

Many times we are looking for the supernatural, but His word often comes to us in such a natural way that we miss it. We expect a booming voice from God, but instead we hear the words of a mentor, or a friend, or a song comes to our mind. Maybe something they once told us in the past.

That is the Holy Spirit whispering to you. Jesus said: ‘But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you’ (John 14:26). The reminding of past things spoken to us is some of the work of the Holy Spirit, the breath of God.

Listen for the voice of the Lord always and try to be sensitive to the Spirit. That gentle whisper will make all the difference and can turn disaster and terror, into peace and joy.

Prayer: Heavenly Father please teach me to hear Your voice and to recognize when You are speaking. Help me make the right decisions and guide my steps today. Speak to me and through me Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.

 

 

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL SEPTEMBER 26, 2017

God’s Church

He was standing among the myrtle trees in the glen. 
Zechariah 1:8

The vision in this chapter describes the condition of Israel in Zechariah’s day; but being interpreted in its aspect toward us, it describes the Church of God as we find it now in the world. The Church is compared to a myrtle grove flourishing in a glen.

It is hidden, unobserved, courting no honor and attracting no attention from the careless gazer. The Church, like her Head, has a glory, but it is concealed from carnal eyes, for the time of her breaking forth in all her splendor is not yet here.

The idea of tranquil security is also suggested to us, for the myrtle grove in the glen is still and calm, while the storm sweeps over the mountaintops. Tempests spend their force upon the craggy peaks of the Alps, but down where the stream flows that makes glad the city of our God, the myrtles flourish by still waters and are unshaken by the impetuous wind. How great is the inward tranquillity of God’s Church! Even when opposed and persecuted, she has a peace that the world does not give and that, therefore, it cannot take away: The peace of God that passes all understanding keeps the hearts and minds of God’s people.

Doesn’t the metaphor forcefully picture the peaceful, perpetual growth of the saints? The myrtle does not shed her leaves-she is always green; and the church in her worst time still has a blessed covering of grace about her; indeed, she has sometimes exhibited most vegetation when her winter has been sharpest. She has prospered most when her adversities have been most severe.

Hence the text hints at victory. The myrtle is the emblem of peace and a significant token of triumph. The brows of conquerors were wreathed with myrtle and with laurel; and isn’t the church always victorious? Isn’t every Christian more than a conqueror through Him who loved him? Living in peace, don’t the saints fall asleep in the arms of victory?

 

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Today‘s Scripture

“As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.” Ephesians 5:31-32 NLT

Thoughts for Today

In Ephesians 5:22-33 we see the apostle Paul presenting Christ and the Church as a pattern for marriage. God shows the importance and high standing of marriage by using Christ and the Church as a pattern to follow.

As you look at Christ and the Church as the model for marriage, the principles involved can take your union with your spouse to another plane of living. A Spirit-filled marriage, one controlled by the Holy Spirit and patterned after these scriptures in Ephesians, can become a miracle relationship. You can experience marriage as “the best thing this side of heaven.”

The atmosphere in a Spirit-filled marriage involves more than exercising spiritual gifts or having Scripture verses plastered on the walls. It is a husband wife sharing a daily walk with Christ in prayer, meditation, and Bible reading–communion with God and with each other.

Consider this …

Marriage according to God’s plan is a union of unconditional love, forgiveness, and service to each other . . . all leading to intimacy. The partners continually draw closer to each other. They know each other. They are truly “one flesh.” There is no hidden agenda–they can share openly with each other about everything.

Every marriage faces challenges. This kind of union does not happen easily, and it does not happen overnight. It takes a lifetime of learning and building. But if you both commit fully to God’s way . . . you can be united as one and lead your entire family into the blessings of God’s family plan.

Prayer

Lord, help us to grow in unconditional love, forgiveness, and service to each other. Help us find the kind of intimacy you planned for marriage. And help us lead our children according to your plan. In Jesus’ name . . .

 

HeyItsMe

Personal5

Another day……….and yes, this is MY journey, and sometimes it’s so hard, and it causes such pain!  Yesterday, I used Facebook to vent, as lots of others do….I posted a message meant for my granddaughter, and my daughter-in-law, and even my daughter….but, I doubt they even saw it since none of them follow me and I unfollowed them….no, they just “spy” on my page, to see if I’ve posted anything that they can use to pick on me some more….they ARE so dang cruel!  I can’t believe that they are related to ME!!!  Heartless and cold…….did I truly bring the wrong baby girl home from the hospital?  Her blood type is not in either mine or her Dad’s families anywhere……..oh, now I’m really getting nutty!

But, oh God, my sweet Mariah……what happened to you……..when you were little, you used to cry to me, and tell me that your Mommy and Daddy didn’t love you because you were fat and not pretty like Mindy….yes, they DID say these things to you back then…….and I would scold your Mom and Dad, and defend you……yes, I favored you, because you were so like I had been when I was a small child…..I can still remember how lonely I always felt…….always choosing to stay at home with baby sis, Nan, because the other children made fun of me and picked on me……and now……now, Mariah, you hate me and I can only assume it’s because your Mom told you all the bad stuff about me, and I wasn’t there to defend you anymore…..I’m so sorry……..but, do I really deserve your ridicule and disrespect?  You all treated your other Grandma the same way, and this was wrong, too….I used to scold your Mom about this, too……..

Mindy, you have become the woman that I knew you would……dependent on your good looks….what would you do if God stripped you of your physical beauty?  Also, you overvalue THINGS…….yes, you are what your Mom meant you to be……did she even handpick your future husband, I wonder……yes, I’m sorry I missed that wedding, but, don’t you see that I couldn’t bear to be there?  I felt out of place during my entire last visit, and I felt Mariah’s hatred, and even your distaste……tell me, would your new husband treat HIS grandparents the way you people treat ME?  Or, are there no values at all left up there???

Jenny, I will always love and be proud of you……but, I think you’ll never see me again…..you taught your children, MY grandchildren, to hate me, and you allow them to show me disrespect, and you join them in making fun of me……..no, I can’t visit…….if I ever come back up there for a visit, it will be to see Charlie and his family, and my sisters and families……hopefully, I’ll get to see all of them before anymore die! You know, daughter, remember your words to me once….”I hope you die a slow, very painful death!”  You said these words to me online…..Duane read them…….and though I understood why you said this, he said there is NO reason for someone to wish such a thing on their Mother, no matter what she did…….well, my Mom always said, “What goes around, comes around.”  Do you think this had anything to do with why you got cancer?  

I will say that all of you up there need to get right with God……going to Church on Sunday just for show, as we all did as kids, doesn’t guarantee your salvation………..

You’ll be in my prayers…..God bless!!

Respect1

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