TODAY’S DAILY PRAYER
Lord our God, rule over us in strength, and grant us your light. Let your Spirit be with us to confirm what has already taken place in our hearts, so that we have joy and trust even under all the strain and stress of this life. Shine into the darkness of the world. Shine for all people. May we be shown more and more clearly what we have been created for. Strengthen our faith for the future, our faith in everything good, for however hidden the good may be, it must at last come to the light. May we and all the world bring praise and honor to you. Amen.
Caffeine for your conscience
TODAY’S DAILY DIG
Verse of the Day
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
Jesus did what we could not do; he lived perfectly before God. He showed that sin isn’t a necessity in our lives and that it does not have to hold us captive. He poured out his Spirit on us so that we could not only share in his forgiveness and cleansing grace, but also so that we could have power to live in a way that pleases God. Jesus is our sin offering and our Savior.
Thank you Father for providing the sacrifice for my sin. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being willing to pay the awful price to ransom me from that sin. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for living in me and empowering me to live for God. Thank you, O God, for your salvation! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
BIBLE STUDY BUDDY
Read Genesis 39:7-23…
and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, ”Come to bed with me!” 8. But he refused. ”With me in charge,” he told her, ”my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10. And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
11. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12. She caught him by his cloak and said, ”Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
13. When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14. she called her household servants. ”Look,” she said to them, ”this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 15. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
16. She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17. Then she told him this story: ”That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
19. When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, ”This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21. the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
v19-23 Joseph’s master believed the accusation. Potiphar, it is likely, chose that prison, because it was the worst; but God designed to open the way to Joseph’s honour. Joseph was owned and righted by his God. He was away from all his friends and relations; he had none to help or comfort him; but the Lord was with Joseph, and showed him mercy. Those that have a good conscience in a prison, have a good God there. God gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison; he trusted him to manage the affairs of the prison. A good man will do good wherever he is, and will be a blessing even in bonds and banishment. Let us not forget, through Joseph, to look unto Jesus, who suffered being tempted, yet without sin; who was slandered, and persecuted, and imprisoned, but without cause; who by the cross ascended to the throne. May we be enabled to follow the same path in submitting and in suffering, to the same place of glory.
When It All Goes Wrong…
Have you ever done everything right, only to see it all turn out wrong? Does that mean you’re a bad person? Does it mean God has rejected you?
Joseph may have had similar questions during the events recorded in Genesis 39. His problems began when he was sold into slavery by his own brothers. Then, no matter what right move he made, trouble kept stalking him. For instance, despite his integrity, Joseph was falsely accused of committing a serious crime against the wife of Potiphar, his master.
Potiphar responded by throwing Joseph into prison. There he was- a good, honest, God-trusting man- languishing in an Egyptian jail. Why didn’t God get him out? Why wasn’t the truth investigated? How unfair it must have seemed!
For quite some time, nothing happened. But here’s what’s important: ”The Lord was with Joseph” (39:21). God was working out His plan, and for a while it called for Joseph to be in an Egyptian prison. What seemed to be bad was actually good, because it was part of God’s perfect plan.
Are things not going your way? Make sure you’re doing what is right. Obey the Lord and stay close to Him. Then, stand back and watch Him work His perfect plan!
WHAT’S YOUR STRUGGLE?
They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.Psalm 73:4
An Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the following insight from his teaching, “Why I need to encounter the Persecuted Church.”
I’m often questioned about the main difference between a persecuted Christian and a western Christian. My answer has not changed in twenty years. In the persecuted church, Christians realize they are in trouble, and go to God about it. In the western Church, Christians forget they are in a fight, and even if they do remember, never manage to find the time to go to God about it.
Persecuted Christians know they are in a fight. Every day they struggle. Not being conscious of a daily struggle may be sure sign that one is losing the battle of life. The ancient Psalmist looked at the rich elite of Israel and said, “they have no struggles.” They should have struggles if they wish to please God. But so many Christians in the world today seem surprised at the language of struggle today.
What struggles do the persecuted awaken us to? There is, first of all, the struggle we are always in. Everyone that visits persecuted communities comes away with a renewed appreciation of the spiritual battle we are always engaged in.
Secondly, there is, the struggle we must awaken to. A persecuted Christian in Palestine said, “When you become a real Christian, you get reawakened to the fact that ‘the whole world lies in the hands of the evil one,’ and this reflects in your own culture.” She added, “What your culture worships, you have to struggle against.” In her case, it was a worship of extremist terrorists, who risked everything to kill Israelis. In standing out against that, she struggled to communicate to her neighbors who thought she was being “unpatriotic.”
We have to face up the same question. What is our culture worshipping? Is it, as Francis Schaeffer once said, “the god of personal peace and affluence,” where we don’t mind what goes on in the world so long as our space and prosperity is not affected?
Finally, there is, the struggle we must create. Brother Andrew tells the story of meeting Pastor Haik of Iran, who said to him in 1993, “Andrew, when they kill me, it will be for speaking, not for being silent.” Haik was killed in 1994. If he had stayed silent about the treatment of his Christian friend, Mehdi Dibaj, Haik would be alive. But he chose to enter, even create, the conflict. The fact is we can avoid struggle if we want. Each of us has to make a choice to speak up, defy the powers-that-be, and bring a struggle into being. Otherwise Satan wins.
Persecuted Christians are always in a fight. They struggle all the time, against their own sins, against idolatries in their own societies, and against the orchestration of the evil one who is out to take our worship away from God. Yet these struggles should mark our own lives and churches as surely as the devil does not live exclusively in China or Columbia. This world is the place of struggle.
What’s your struggle? The persecuted force us to ask. Everyone ought to have one!
RESPONSE: Today I will affirm and engage in the struggles I face in standing strong againstthe enemy.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the struggles the persecuted awaken in me. Help me not avoid them.
Quote of the Day
“You cannot effectively live the Christian life without a love for, and obedience to, God’s Word. All true disciples of Jesus Christ will be students of Scripture and will walk according to its teaching.”
~Greg Laurie (from “What Makes for an ‘Authentic’ Christian?“)
Fishing for Souls?
Jesus asked His disciples to follow Him and fish for eternal souls at perhaps the loveliest spot on earth, a lake in a land called Galilee. The spot is a blue-green lake called the Sea of Galilee or Kinneret as the locals call it. The Sea of Galilee is an oval-shaped body of water about eight miles wide and thirteen miles long, and is nearly 700 feet below sea level.
A fisherman of Century One Galilee was a hard working, skilled business man who knew all about international trade, fishing techniques, and the tools of his demanding trade. Today we are going to walk by the Sea and listen to Jesus as He asked His followers 20 centuries ago, and us who have joined them, to follow Him as a fisher of the eternal souls of mankind.
Jesus spoke these words as He walked around that beautiful lake and demonstrated what fishing for eternal souls of mankind was all about. Against the background of these cities lining the Sea Jesus performed 60% of all His earthly ministry. He raised the dead, He gave sight to the blind, He gave health to the sick, and He replaced the decay of the lepers, and unshackled the demonized. And all this as He fished for the eternal souls of mankind.
To a handful of these men came an itinerant preacher who asked them to use their skills in becoming fishermen of the eternal souls of mankind.
Jesus still is extending the same call to us as His followers. It is a call to believe. Do you believe? It is a call to repent. Do you need to repent? It is a call to follow him. Have you made this commitment?
Taken from “Are You Fishing For Eternal Souls?” by Discover the Book Ministries (used by permission).
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.–EPH. iv. 25.
In conversation be sincere;
Keep conscience as the noontide clear;
Think how All-seeing God thy ways
And all thy secret thoughts surveys.
The essence of lying is in deception, not in words; a lie may be told by silence, by equivocation, by the accent on a syllable, by a glance of the eye attaching a peculiar significance to a sentence; and all these kinds of lies are worse and baser by many degrees than a lie plainly worded; so that no form of blinded conscience is so far sunk as that which comforts itself for having deceived because the deception was by gesture or silence, instead of utterance.
He that is habituated to deceptions and artificialities in trifles, will try in vain to be true in matters of importance; for truth is a thing of habit rather than of will. You cannot in any given case by any sudden and single effort will to be true, if the habit of your life has been insincerity.
F. W. ROBERTSON.
The future of America is an uncertain one. That old crafty serpent, the devil, has slithered his way into the core of our culture and is busy eroding the moral values that once made our nation great. America is no longer great because she is no longer good.
A nation that outlaws the mention of God in the public square, celebrates the killing of its own children and destroys the most basic unit of society, the family, cannot survive much longer. I’m afraid that unless there is major heartfelt repentance and the glory of God is restored to the church, she will have to go underground, and our children and grandchildren will be living in a very different America than our ancestors knew.
A recent Barna poll divides Americans into four religious categories, measuring their percentages of the American population:
Evangelical Christians (6 percent)
Non-evangelical born-again Christians (25 percent)
Notional or Mythical Christians (42 percent)
Adherents of non-Christian faiths (6 percent)
Religious skeptics (23 percent)
A most shocking belief system has been uncovered in the significant number of non-evangelical “born-again” Christians, which represents one quarter of the American population, or approximately 81 million people. This group claims to have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today, and believe that when they die they will go to heaven because they’ve confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.”
Sounds right, doesn’t it? They differ, however, from the 6-percent evangelicals in these areas:
- They do not believe all Scripture is inspired of God.
- They do not believe in the existence of Satan as a real being.
- They do not believe that Jesus lived a sinless life and that salvation is only through Him, but that other religions also lead to God.
- They do not believe it is their personal responsibility to share their faith.
These are people who claim to be born again! If Barna’s research is accurate this is quite shocking. Those in this category are a great liability in the church and in our nation. They are like a sore in the eye. They are a virus in our immune system. They are a bacterial infection in the bloodstream of Christianity. They are imaginary, delusional, cosmic “Christians” who live in a make-believe spiritual world.
We can understand the other religious categories of people whose belief systems are grossly skewed. We certainly don’t expect the skeptics, and those from other religions—even the substantial number of notional Christians, many of them from very liberal mainline denominational churches, to be any kind of asset to the true church of Jesus Christ. But the 25 percent who lay claim to a born-again experience but do not adhere to the basic and elementary tenets of the Christian faith are like a cancer in the church. A significant change in them would mean a significant change in our nation.
How do we explain the existence of this substantially large group, four times larger than the evangelical group, who believe they’ve obtained salvation and the hope of heaven, all without a spiritually and bblically sound belief system? Their denial of the most foundational Christian concepts of the faith such as the inspiration and authority of Scripture calls into question the very basis of their salvation.
Are they really born again? Are they really going to heaven? What is their basis for going to heaven? If you asked them, they would probably say one of two things:
- I’m a good person. I don’t hurt anyone. I support many charities and humanitarian projects. I help old ladies cross the street, and I’ve never killed anyone (I’m sure in eternity the angels and the greatest of saints will praise them for exercising such kindness and self-restraint). Fine and well and dandy they claim to do these things, but many atheists do the same.
- I believe in God. But even the demons believe (James 2:19). These people’s belief is a passive acknowledgement of God with no fruit or life change. To them, heaven is a reward for their intellectual assent of God’s existence.
This 25 percent categorical group reassures themselves that they believe in God and are good people. They believe heaven is guaranteed and never even consider the possibility that they are closer to hell. What evidence is there in their nature that they even want to go to heaven? A general mental belief and acknowledgement of God without a love for Him is empty and useless.
Frankly, this group is further from heaven than an atheist, who at least are true to their godless belief system. Conversely, these people mentally acknowledge God, but don’t love Jesus, His Son. They don’t do what He says, which is proof they don’t love Him (John14:15, Luke 6:46). To this category of people, heaven is like some kind of token or plaything little children receive as a prize for good behavior in kindergarten.
Whom Is Heaven For?
Heaven is for those who are enjoying Jesus right now, not for those who treat Him as only an incidental part of their existence and who relegate Him to an insignificant role in their lives. If Christ is not even close to being the primary pursuit and chief joy of your life here on the earth, how can you be ready to go to a place where He is the only joy throughout all eternity?
This 25 percent professing “born-again” group imagine heaven to be some sort of resort of self-centered pleasure—a place where they watch the latest Netflix or Hallmark movies, play sports in the holy city where all the saints can admire their talents and eat the most mouth-watering, sumptuous food served by angels. It’s a fantasy paradise which draws its beliefs from shallow earthly concepts that falsely tell us that heaven is a self-indulgent kind of place that caters to our own happiness. What a narcissistic concept that includes no love and burning longing for Jesus!
If in your earthly life you don’t love Jesus, you don’t love to pray, share your faith, read the Bible with the intent to obey it, and go to a church that teaches it, what makes you think you are ready for heaven? If you find pleasure in sin and carnal pursuits now and wander to places where evil passions reign, and you detest preaching and conversations of Jesus, and are only stimulated by what is selfish and secular—do you really expect to enjoy heaven, where Jesus is the beauty and fascination of our existence forever?
Here’s what I believe is the biggest problem in our nation: The curse of our nation is the presentation of the “free gift” dimension of the gospel without the Lordship factor and the surrender and submission component. It’s the gospel on our own terms. This contemporary gospel is a huge factor in the moral erosion of our culture, especially as it relates to social issues. Among the number of non-evangelical professing “born-again” Christians, only slightly more than 50 percent identify as social conservatives, and even that number is suspect, based on recent elections. Additionally, on the abortion issue, 37 percent are not pro-life, and 27 percent advocate gay rights. Remember, these are the people who claim to be born again and who say they are good people and never hurt anyone. The absence of a true moral compass in their lives is glaring. The salt has lost its savor. The light they claim to have is great darkness.
Although there is a godly, committed remnant that is alive and well in our nation, imagine if just this 25 percent group presented and practiced a gospel that included a solid commitment to Christ and biblical values, how much more faith would be interjected into the American culture? Visualize how different of a nation America would be.
The Spirit of Repentance Is the Key to Turning the Church and the Nation
There is a destructive mindset in carnal professing Christians today that is at the root of this great deception and keeps them from going “all in” for Jesus.
They believe that there can be no real enjoyment in life if they stop sinning and pursuing happiness and carnal pleasures. They honestly believe that life would be a killjoy if they repented. These people do not seem to realize that the person who has truly repented has no desire to sin, and that the grace of God changes a person’s desires and empowers him to live for Christ. It is an inward transformation. That’s the miracle of salvation.
I dare to say that if the desire to sin is still in the heart of a professing Christian then he has not yet tasted of the real salvation. New life has not yet begun. Regeneration has not taken place.
Listen to the voice of one of the great revivalists of the past:
“Christianity does not make the believer unhappy by keeping him away from the sinful things he loved because the believer has changed his opinion on those things.” —Charles G. Finney
Finney defined repentance as a change of the ultimate preference or choice of the soul and of action. He taught that repentance is a change of will, feeling and of life in respect toward God. Finney believed that true repentance involves more of the person’s will and conscience than his natural feelings. Feelings are involuntary and have no moral character except what they derive from the action and the will. He would admonish sinners to submit and commit their entire being to God at once, obey their conscience and the feelings would soon follow (for more on this theme refer to the following books: The Real Gospel, The Real Salvation and The Real Jesus).
The spirit of repentance is the missing ingredient in much of the American church and in our society that will save us and restore the glory of the Lord in our lives, our churches, and in our land.
Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, has authored several books with an emphasis on helping to restore the true spirit of Christianity in the Church today, including the newly released, Passing on The Move of God to The Next Generation and the highly sacred book, The Journal Of A Journey To His Holiness. An anointing of fire marks his ministry with frequent demonstrations of the Spirit and power of God. He ministers interdenominationally and cross-culturally in nations, churches, conferences, on the streets and in homes. He and his wife Carolyn also host The Holy Ghost Forum – a school of the Spirit. Follow him at Bert Farias and Holy Fire Ministries on Facebook and @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.
A Prayer to Remind You of Your Worth
By Julie Sunne
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14
For years, I had secretly thought that if I accomplished enough I’d be accepted and worthy. Each day I spent trying to please others by earning enough money, making a name for myself and providing for every need that crossed my path.
I believed I should be the greatest mom, the perfect wife, the best friend, the hardest worker, the one who had all the answers and cared enough to respond to everyone’s requests. I bought into the lie that success equals validation.
It was beginning to strangle me. Then the thought snuck in that my worth isn’t something to be found or earned, but it’s innate because of who God created me to be.
Each of us is created in the image of God — remarkably and wonderfully made. We don’t need to prove ourselves or earn our worth. And as today’s key verse reminds us, God’s works are wonderful. We already have worth in our Creator and Redeemer. That realization alone should give us peace as we live out who we are freely in Christ.
Who are you trying to prove your worth to? Today, embrace the truth that in Christ you are already worthy.
Dear Lord, Thank You for fearfully and wonderfully creating each of us. Thank You for giving us worth in Your eyes. Help us live as the one You uniquely intended us to be. Help us abide instead of strive, living peacefully and joyfully as heirs to Your Kingdom and co-heirs with Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Facing Adversity and Being in God’s Will
Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. 1 Samuel 19:1
David was minding his own business one day, tending sheep, when God called him to be a king. Talk about a God moment.
He didn’t ask to be king, but God said he was the one. He turned out to be a great king. Imagine that? God made a good pick! David had a heart modeled after God’s, according to the Bible.
So, since God had chosen to bless David in such a way, why do we later find Saul trying to kill David?
In fact, for some time Saul chased David. David hid out, all alone, which is the setting we find him in during the writings of many of the Psalms. David was God’s choice for king and yet he was placed in incredible adversity.
What does this tell us?
I think it says to me that sometimes God’s will for us will find us in the middle of trials in life.
That’s right. His will for our lives.
More importantly, I am learning that I cannot determine whether I am in God’s will based on whether or not my life is peaceful. Just because I have trials in my life, doesn’t mean I am not in the center of God’s will for my life.
I love how Alistair Begg once said it.
“We should not seek to confirm God’s will by the absence of adversity.”
Think about Biblical characters who faced great trials.
All of these great servants of God faced persecution, heartache, and trials beyond most of our imaginations. Yet all them, during the adversity, were right where God wanted them to be, in the center of His will.
Yes, we would all like life to be peaceful. It is true that we can have inner peace and joy even in the middle of the storms of life. But God has not promised us a life free of problems.
In fact, we can be perfectly within His will and still be facing adversity. It is often through the process of life’s difficulties that God makes us more like Jesus, teaches us more about Him and ourselves.
Trust Him today, regardless of your circumstances! He is always working a plan!
Mystery is to be Sought Out
One of the most scandalous truths of the gospel is that our Creator longs to be encountered by his creation. God longs to meet with us. His greatest desire is for relationship with us. I can’t fathom why God in all his holiness and goodness makes himself available to us, but it is the powerful truth of Scripture. God is pursuing each of us with his relentless love, seeking out those who might respond to his open invitation by opening the door of their hearts to him. My prayer is that in response to God’s desire to meet with his people we would be those who say yes to centering our lives around his nearness. May your week be marked by the reality of God’s presence and love.
Scripture:“It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” >Proverbs 25:2
The fact that God conceals things in mystery for his children to search out is one of the most curious and wonderful truths of Scripture.Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” We who have been made kings and queens by the blood of Jesus have been granted access to the mysteries of God. God in his grace has given us the right to know the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
What would relationship with the God of the universe be without mystery? What would it be like to know the God who has formed galaxies and planets beyond anything we will ever discover without that which remains unknown? We are made to be enthralled by the mysteries of our heavenly Father. We are created to search out that which is not made plain to us. God is inviting us to ask, question, seek, and find that which transcends the natural and stretches into the unknown: the eternal.
Colossians 2:1-3 says,
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
All mystery finds its resolve in the person of Jesus Christ. Within him dwells “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” And the more we get to know the living, active person of Jesus through his Spirit, the more we receive important, transformative revelation. You see, even something as foundational to the Christian faith as grace is laden with mystery. The powerful effects of Jesus’ grace-filled sacrifice baffle the mind. How could one man in laying down his life make righteousness and salvation available to all? But in God’s grace this is wholly possible. And only when we truly seek out the mysteries laden within grace will we begin to experience all the powerful effects it has to offer us.
May we as God’s children grow to love the mysteries laid open for us by our loving heavenly Father. May we enjoy the process of searching out the deeper things within God’s heart with the help of the Holy Spirit. And may that which is unseen, heavenly, and eternal begin to have a profound impact on our perspectives, emotions, thoughts, and actions. Search out the mysteries of your faith today and discover just how vast and available the love of your heavenly Father is for you.
1. Meditate on the call before you to search out the deeper things of God. Allow Scripture to stir up your desire for the mysteries of your faith.
“It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” Proverbs 25:2
“In my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”Colossians 1:24-27
2. What parts of your faith have you yet to fully search out? Ask God to reveal what mysteries he’s laying open before you that you might walk in a deeper revelation of who he is and what he’s done.
3. Take time to search out an aspect of your relationship with God. It might be something about his creation or an aspect like grace, forgiveness, or love.
“You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek.’” Psalm 27:8
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:1-3
Coupled with God’s desire for us to seek out mystery is the truth that we are not meant to fully grasp every part of God and Christianity. Part of the beauty of our relationship with an omnipotent, omnipresent, and eternal God is that there will always be parts of him that are a mystery to us. How God has always existed and is both three and one are paradoxes too great for comprehension. We must simply trust the truth of Scripture for what it is at times and not dwell on that which we cannot attain. We must reconcile only that which is intended to be reconciled. May you search out all the mysteries opened to you by the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit who dwells within you, while at the same time enjoying all the unknowables meant to stir up awe and wonder within you.
Extended Reading: Colossians 1
By Sarah Young
Sometimes My Sovereign hand—My control over your life—places you in humbling circumstances. You feel held down, held back, and powerless to change things. You long to break free and feel in control of your life once again. Although this is an uncomfortable position, it is actually a good place to be. Your discomfort awakens you from the slumber of routine and reminds you that I am in charge of your life. It also presents you with an important choice: You can lash out at your circumstances—resenting My ways with you—or you can draw closer to Me.
When you are suffering, your need for Me is greater than ever. The more you choose to come near Me, affirming your trust in Me, the more you can find hope in My unfailing Love. You can even learn tobe joyful in hope while waiting in My Presence—where Joy abounds. Persevere in trusting Me, and I will eventually lift you up. Meanwhile,cast all your anxiety on Me, knowing that I care for you affectionately and am watching over you continually.
Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. —Psalm 32:10
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. —Romans 12:12
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. —Psalm 16:11 NKJV
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. —1 Peter 5:6–7
© 2012 by Sarah Young
Prayer and Meditation
But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him. – >Habakkuk 2:20
Although we don’t think about it much, our communication with God consists of two equally important parts: prayer and meditation. Prayer is talking to God. Most of us have this aspect down. Meditation is listening to God. And it’s here that most of us need a bit of work.
Have you ever been in a relationship where the other person does all the talking? It gets old fast, doesn’t it? The one up side is you become a good listener while the other person gets everything off his/her chest. But there’s a down side too: always listening and never talking leads you to begin to feel unknown, a little unloved, and sometimes, even used.
Now, think about how this applies to your relationship with God. Are you doing all the talking, without ever taking the time to listen? If you’re sharing with Him from the depths of your heart, that’s fantastic! By all means, keep it up. Just make sure, that you also take the time to use the ears of your heart to listen to God as well.
Remember, God tends to speak with a still, small voice; He very rarely shouts at His children. I heard it explained this way once, “God is a gentleman.” That’s why meditation is such an important aspect of prayer. It teaches you to develop a quiet, patient heart and an open, attentive ear. These are essential components to growing in your walk with the Lord.
“Silence is deep as eternity; speech is shallow as time.” – Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)
The Daily Word of Hope Devotional
Bible Fun Fact: God had a wash pot (Psalms 60:6-8).
Septic Tank Technicians
God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way. God relented of the disaster which he said he would do to them, and he didn’t do it. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. Jonah 3:10 WEB
There is nothing quite like cracking open a septic tank first thing in the morning, especially during a hot summer in the South. When you get a whiff of the fresh sewage, it will not be a pleasant aroma, but I can tell you that it will be a lasting one. For a period of my life, that is what I did to earn a living. I was a septic tank technician that pumped out septic tanks and grease traps with a vacuum truck. We would often do five or six a day, and many times when we arrived, they were running over. It was a dirty job.
One thing that I soon noticed was this: They all smelled alike. Whether it was a church, a country club, a mansion on a hill, or a trailer park, when you opened up that septic tank, they all had the exact same smell coming out of them, and they all reeked.
Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh and preach, but God persuaded him to go anyway. After Jonah delivered his message of destruction, the entire city repented of their wicked ways and turned to God. He showed them mercy and spared them from the coming destruction. This made Jonah angry because Nineveh did not get what they deserved.
When God looked down, they all smelled alike. Sin is bad and everyone has it. There is no need to point at someone else’s sin while God is nearly heaving from the smell of yours, unless you are covered by the blood of Jesus.
It took me a long time to figure out that God did not dislike the same people that I did, and that the people that have wronged us will get the same forgiveness that we do if they just ask for it. All of their past deeds will be wiped out if they repent, just like ours will.
It is not that people are good, it is because God is good. Before, during, and after a divorce, God loves both parties involved, and it is His wish that none would ever be lost. God loves you, those that dislike you, and those that vote differently from you. None that repent will get what they deserve. Mankind has a lot in common, we all need forgiveness. Thank God it is there for the asking and completely free.
Prayer: Heavenly Father please forgive me for judging others and help me clean up my own life first. Thank You for having mercy on us and please give me the grace to show that mercy to others, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
DAILY DEVOTIONAL NOVEMBER 3, 2017
Behold, he is praying.
Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven. The moment Saul began to pray, the Lord heard him. Here is comfort for the distressed but praying soul. When our hearts are broken and we bow in prayer, we are often only able to employ the language of sighs and tears; still our groaning has made all the harps of heaven thrill with music.
That tear has been caught by God and treasured in the receptacle of heaven. “Put my tears in your bottle”1 implies that they are caught as they flow. The petitioner, whose fears prevent his words, will be well understood by the Most High. He may only look up with misty eye; but “prayer is the falling of a tear.”
Tears are the diamonds of heaven; sighs are a part of the music of Jehovah’s court and are numbered with “the sublimest strains that reach the majesty on high.” Do not think that your prayer, however weak or trembling, will be unregarded.
Jacob’s ladder is lofty, but our prayers shall lean upon the Angel of the covenant and so climb its starry rounds.
Our God not only hears prayer but also loves to hear it.
He does not forget the cry of the humble. True, He does not regard high looks and lofty words; He does not care for the pomp and pageantry of kings; He does not listen to the drums of war; He does not regard the triumph and pride of man.
But wherever there is a heart enlarged with sorrow or a lip quivering with agony or a deep groan or a penitential sigh, the heart of Jehovah is open.
He marks it down in the registry of His memory; He puts our prayers, like rose leaves, between the pages of His book of remembrance, and when at last the volume is opened, there will be a precious fragrance springing from it.
Faith asks no signal from the skies,
To show that prayers accepted rise.
Our Priest is in His holy place,
And answers from the throne of grace.
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” – Ephesians 2:4-5 NLT
Thoughts for Today
As problem behaviors and dependencies progress in our life through the phases of experimentation and social use, we move into the third stage: daily preoccupation. Now we begin to lose control over the problem and violate our value system. We cannot block out the emotional pain, and our lifestyle is centered on this compulsive behavior. Unresolved problems produce more stress and pain. We break our self-imposed rules and our life deteriorates in all areas including our health and our relationships with God and others.
Consider this …
If you have reached this point with a life-controlling problem, you may feel as though you’ve messed up so badly that it’s too late to turn back. But it’s not. Today‘s scripture reminds us that God is rich in mercy and love. It’s only by God’s grace that any of us are saved. None of us deserves his love and forgiveness … but he offers it to all. Don’t let this problem turn you away from his love–run to his open arms. He loves you no matter what and he wants to help you get back on track.
Father, thank you for your love and for reminding me that you are rich in mercy. I know I don’t deserve your forgiveness for my failures, but because of Jesus I can come to you. I’m so sorry for this behavior that has taken control of my life. Please forgive me. Help me find my way out of this. In Jesus’ name …
The Root of Bitterness
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
November 03, 2017
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15
The enemy of our souls has a very specific strategy to destroy relationships. Whether these relationships are in business, marriage, or friendships, the strategy is the same. A conflict arises, judgments are made, and feelings are hurt. What happens next is the defining point of whether the enemy gains a foothold, or the grace of God covers the wrong.
When a root of bitterness is allowed to be planted and grown, it not only affects that person, but it also affects all others who are involved. It is like a cancer. Breaking satan’s foothold requires at least one person to press into God’s grace. It cannot happen when either party “feels” like it, for none of us will ever feel like forgiving. None of us feel like talking when we have been hurt. Our natural response is to withdraw or lash out at the offending party. It is only obedience that allows God’s grace to cover the wrongs incurred. This grace prevents the parties from becoming victims who will seek compensation for their pain.
The next time you are hurt by someone, realize the gravity of the crossroads where you find yourself. Choose grace instead of bitterness. Then you will be free to move past the hurt, and a root of bitterness will not be given opportunity to grow.
Passion for Praise: ‘Good People See’
Friday, November 3, 2017