TODAY’S DAILY PRAYER
Lord God Almighty, whose eyes keep watch over the whole world, we come before you with the evil from our surroundings still clinging to us. Grant that our lives may be in your hands. Give us your strength to find the way, even through suffering and distress. For we are yours, O Lord our God, and you have chosen your people to be strong and to be freed from all evils. Help us, we beseech you. May we know that you are with us and may your Word bring us blessing, to the glory of your name forever. Amen.
Caffeine for your conscience
TODAY’S DAILY DIG
Verse of the Day
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
Paul reminds us that our baptism was more than just a dunking in water. In baptism, we shared in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. What he did to save us is now shared with us. We die to sin and are raised to be a new person, cleansed and made holy, empowered by the Holy Spirit. We have been set free from the power and the penalty of sin.
Father, thank you for giving me new life in Jesus. I am truly thankful that my guilt is covered by your grace. I ask for the power to live my life of freedom from sin. Forgive me for my times of mediocrity and flirtation with sin. Give me a strong sense of revulsion toward anything that would pollute my soul or distract my heart from your will. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
BIBLE STUDY BUDDY
Read Ephesians 1:3-14…
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5. he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- 6. to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8. that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9. he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10. to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment- to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12. in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14. who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession- to the praise of his glory.
“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance.”
When Jesus gave Himself for us, He gave us all the rights and privileges which went with Himself; so that now, although as eternal God, He has essential rights to which no creature may venture to pretend, yet as Jesus, the Mediator, the federal Head of the covenant of grace, He has no heritage apart from us. All the glorious consequences of His obedience unto death are the joint riches of all who are in Him, and on whose behalf He accomplished the divine will. See, He enters into glory, but not for Himself alone, for it is written, “Whither the Forerunner is for us entered.” Heb 6:20. Does He stand in the presence of God?—”He appears in the presence of God for us.” Heb 9:24. Consider this, believer. You have no right to heaven in yourself: your right lies in Christ. If you are pardoned, it is through His blood; if you are justified, it is through His righteousness; if you are sanctified, it is because He is made of God unto you sanctification; if you shall be kept from falling, it will be because you are preserved in Christ Jesus; and if you are perfected at the last, it will be because you are complete in Him. Thus Jesus is magnified—for all is in Him and by Him; thus the inheritance is made certain to us—for it is obtained in Him; thus each blessing is the sweeter, and even heaven itself the brighter, because it is Jesus our Beloved “in whom” we have obtained all. Where is the man who shall estimate our divine portion? Weigh the riches of Christ in scales, and His treasure in balances, and then think to count the treasures which belong to the saints. Reach the bottom of Christ’s sea of joy, and then hope to understand the bliss which God hath prepared for them that love Him. Overleap the boundaries of Christ’s possessions, and then dream of a limit to the fair inheritance of the elect. “All things are yours, for ye are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.”
“Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.”
Our belief in God’s wisdom supposes and necessitates that He has a settled purpose and plan in the work of salvation. What would creation have been without His design? Is there a fish in the sea, or a fowl in the air, which was left to chance for its formation? Nay, in every bone, joint, and muscle, sinew, gland, and blood-vessel, you mark the presence of a God working everything according to the design of infinite wisdom. And shall God be present in creation, ruling over all, and not in grace? Shall the new creation have the fickle genius of free will to preside over it when divine counsel rules the old creation? Look at Providence! Who knoweth not that not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father? Even the hairs of your head are all numbered. God weighs the mountains of our grief in scales, and the hills of our tribulation in balances. And shall there be a God in providence and not in grace? Shall the shell be ordained by wisdom and the kernel be left to blind chance. No; He knows the end from the beginning. He sees in its appointed place, not merely the corner-stone which He has laid in fair colours, in the blood of His dear Son, but He beholds in their ordained position each of the chosen stones taken out of the quarry of nature, and polished by His grace; He sees the whole from corner to cornice, from base to roof, from foundation to pinnacle. He hath in His mind a clear knowledge of every stone which shall be laid in its prepared space, and how vast the edifice shall be, and when the top-stone shall be brought forth with shoutings of “Grace! Grace! unto it.” At the last it shall be clearly seen that in every chosen vessel of mercy, Jehovah did as He willed with His own; and that in every part of the work of grace He accomplished His purpose, and glorified His own name.
Paid In Full…
With credit-card debt going through the roof and offers of new cards coming every week, many people have adopted a risky practice known as ”rolling over” or ”flipping.” They routinely transfer their debt to a new card offering a temporary low interest rate. When the introductory period expires, they ”flip” their debt to a new card. The danger, according to one analyst, is getting into a mode ”where you move your debt around rather than paying it down. It’s a lot easier to switch credit cards than to tackle your debt.”
Is it possible to approach our spiritual account the same way? Could we be lulled into thinking that promising to change or trying harder is enough for the moment, like making minimum payments on a maxed-out credit card? What does it take to tackle the enormous debt of our failure and sin?
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ, by His death on the cross, has done something we could never do- He paid the debt in full. ”In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).
How’s your spiritual ledger? Dotted with minimum payments of human effort? Or cleared by God’s grace?
SINGING IN THE STORM
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:5-6
The Psalmist expresses his praise in the context of asking God for deliverance from his enemies. His trust results in rejoicing; which then results in singing God’s praises.
A simple peasant girl from the countryside in China has used her musical creativity to encourage the house church movement all across China and touch the lives of millions of believers. Xiao Min was born in a village in Henan Province in central China and has experienced much persecution. Though only receiving a junior high level education, she has been able to compose over 1,270 different hymns – both music and lyrics — that are sung by the Chinese churches in China and now throughout the world. They are known as the Canaan Hymns. Amazing creativity for a young lady with no musical training!
Xiao Min shares that twenty years ago many believers were arrested by the Chinese government. At that time, she prayed to the Lord asking if she could also be arrested and suffer together with these fellow believers. Soon after, she was arrested and sent to prison. She says that she wasn’t scared at all.
One summer day in prison when it was extremely hot she requested the guard to let everyone wash their hair. But she received a rude response telling her to ask the Lord Jesus to wash their hair for them. She used this discouraging response as an inspiration to write hymn number 56, “Lord, We Know Deeply” in the Canaan Hymns series.
In this hymn, Xiao Min sings:
Lord we know deeply that in every moment Your love never, never diminishes.
Lord we know deeply that in every moment, our only friend is You.
Our hearts long for You, our hearts long for You,
Because You’re the first in millions, no one can be compared with You,
No one can be compared with you.”
Not only was Xiao Min arrested because of her faith, she was also persecuted by her family members. But she still testified to them that God healed her sinusitis and that He is her Savior. She concludes, “Even though we experience suffering, the Lord Jesus gives us strength.” Her strength enables her to sing to the Lord in the face of all difficulties.
RESPONSE: Today I will sing praises to the Lord no matter how difficult the journey.
PRAYER: I ask, Lord, for the grace to be able to vocalize my trust and joy and praise of You!
The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.–I COR. iii. 17.
Now shed Thy mighty influence abroad
On souls that would their Father’s image bear;
Make us as holy temples of our God,
Where dwells forever calm, adoring prayer.
C. J. P. SPITTA.
This pearl of eternity is the church or temple of God within thee, the consecrated place of divine worship, where alone thou canst worship God in spirit and in truth. When once thou art well grounded in this inward worship, thou wilt have learned to live unto God above time and place. For every day will be Sunday to thee, and, wherever thou goest, thou wilt have a priest, a church, and an altar along with thee. For when God has all that He should have of thy heart, when thou art wholly given up to the obedience of the light and spirit of God within thee, to will only in His will, to love only in His love, to be wise only in His wisdom, then it is that everything thou dost is as a song of praise, and the common business of thy life is a conforming to God’s will on earth as angels do in heaven.
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.
Guts, Grace, & Glory
by Jim Grassi
Many people attribute the phrase “All glory is fleeting” to General George S. Patton, but it didn’t originate with him. In Roman times, a conquering general was allowed a parade of “triumph” through the streets of Rome. But Caesar ordered that a slave stand next to the general in his chariot and continuously whisper in his ear, “All glory is fleeting.”
In the realm of football, as it is played out in front of millions of fans in stadiums and on television screens throughout the living rooms of the world, it seems that “all glory is fleeting” is a phrase unknown by many NFL players. In the Christian community though, it’s refreshing and encouraging to watch players come into the game who are willing to truly give the glory to God. One such player has become a primary focus of NFL fans.
One of the most decorated college football players over the last decade, Tim Tebow is now a steady force in the NFL. Much has been written about this young man and his fervent dedication to Jesus Christ. The legacy he left at the University of Florida is one that speaks of integrity and character. To this day, his words and actions, both on and off the field, are consistent. There is no doubt that Tebow lives out his faith well. Now, as he faces the challenges of the NFL, there is a great deal of anticipation as fans watch to see how he will live out his faith in such a bright spotlight.
Tebow’s heroics with the Denver Broncos during the 2011 season made a definite impression upon football enthusiasts everywhere. Despite the fact the Broncos traded Tim to the Jets it doesn’t take away from the spectacular outcomes associated with many of his performances. “There is no ego with Tim,” said Brian Dawkins, a former teammate and nine-time Pro Bowl free safety. “He wants to work, he wants to learn, asks a lot of questions—not just from the offensive side of the ball, but he’s asking me questions; he’s trying to learn as much as he can to make himself a better player. And that’s always an encouraging sign: to see a young guy who’s been a star to come in and be a humble player.”
Josh McDaniels, former head coach of the Denver Broncos said this of Tebow:
[Tim’s] confidence affects everybody. We could see it last week at rookie camp. There were a bunch of rookies out there with no confidence, except him. He’s got such confidence that he will just not let himself fail. And that quality sometimes is very underrated. There are people with a great deal of God-given ability who are fun to watch, and it’s really interesting to see what kind of seasons they’ll put together. Then there are guys who will say they won’t fail, our team’s not going to fail, and they have an “I’m not going to let you down” attitude. And that’s what you notice with Tim.
Already Tebow’s character and strong work ethic are speaking volumes for him and for his Savior Jesus Christ. According to Tebow, “Football gives me a platform and with that platform comes a responsibility and obligation to make a difference in people’s lives.”
God has truly blessed this young man with physical talent and a desire to use his abilities to glorify and honor Jesus Christ. Are you using the talents and platform God has given you to boldly proclaim His love? Do you strive to live out a Christlike testimony in front of your coworkers, clients, and customers? I encourage you to dig into God’s Word, meet regularly with other believers, and establish accountability with them that will spur you on to glorify the name of God. And remember, all glory is fleeting for us here on earth, but thankfully we are able to glorify and honor God while we’re here as a witness of the grace and mercy He has extended to us.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
© 2013 by Dr. James E. Grassi
A Better Way
I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. – >Malachi 3:6
Let me be honest. Too many of you travel through life basing every decision you make upon how you feel and what you experience. You don’t study God’s Word, and you spend very little time talking and listening to the Lord. Consequently, you don’t know much about the Good Shepherd who is expecting you to follow Him, no matter how you feel and regardless of your circumstances.
Now let me give you some encouragement. If you place your focus squarely upon Christ and you try to see things around you as He would, it will become second nature to look to Him and depend upon Him rather than yourself. And you won’t get lost when you walk through dark seasons of life. Jesus will be your unshakable strength. And your focused gaze upon Him will keep you from altering your direction due to momentary discomfort–and from drifting off into spiritual shipwreck!
In a world that is endlessly fickle and fleeting, God is an immovable Rock.
Our faith, when focused on the true God, will not be shaken by adversity or unexpected turbulence. As long as we hold tightly to Him by faith–trusting in His goodness and love–we can come through pain and struggle with a deeper and richer relationship with Jesus, rather than a strained faith resulting from a prolonged failure to seek the one true God.
“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” -J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973)
The Daily Word of Hope Devotional
Bible Fun Fact: Who were the two men in the Bible who never died but were caught up to heaven? Enoch, who walked with God and was no more (Genesis 5:22-24). Elijah, who was caught up by a whirlwind into heaven (II Kings 2:11).
The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever. 1 John 2:17 WEB
Standing in the parking lot, I felt like a fish out of water. Panic, fear, abandonment, hatred, and a few other strong emotions rolled over me as I watched her car drive away. It was my first day of school and I was dumped off in the parking lot at Kingston Elementary. Six years old, completely lost, knowing no one, and starting in the first grade. I had lived my whole life up to that point barefoot on a farm.
This particular stepmother had kept me out of kindergarten the year before because it was too much trouble. They would probably have kept me out of school altogether if not for the truant officer, but that morning she drove me to school, pushed me out of the car, and drove away.
Eventually a teacher found me wandering around and helped me get to the right class. Each day became easier and soon I enjoyed school. Now that first day is only a distant memory and something bad, turned out to be something good.
There are many things in my past that were traumatic or seemed like the end of the world while they were happening, but now they are only a memory. All of the troubles and trials that we go through in this life are temporary and they will pass.
Be encouraged today because even if the world passes away, to those with eternal life, it will just be a memory. None of it is the end for us, not even death. We will spend eternity with the Lord Jesus, making more memories. So keep a positive attitude and trust God to work it out for the best. Don’t let a fearful situation get the best of you, for this too will soon pass.
Prayer: Heavenly Father my eyes are on You. Walk with me today and let me know that You are there. Send me the Comforter like You promised for I need You more than ever, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
DAILY DEVOTIONAL NOVEMBER 5, 2017
No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed.
The 5th of November is notable in English history for two great deliverances granted by God for us. On this day the plot of the Papists to destroy the Houses of Parliament was discovered, 1605.
While for our princes they prepare
In caverns deep a burning snare,
He shot from heaven a piercing ray,
And the dark treachery brought to day.
And secondly, today is the anniversary of the landing of King William III, at Torbay in 1688, which was crucial for the establishment of religious liberty.
This day should be celebrated not by the revelry of youth, but by the songs of saints. Our Puritan forefathers most devoutly made it a special time of thanksgiving. There is public record of the annual sermons preached by Matthew Henry on this day. Our convictions and our love of liberty should make us regard its anniversary with holy gratitude. Let our hearts and lips exclaim, “We have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old.”1
You have made this nation the home of the Gospel; and when the enemy has risen against her, You have shielded her. Help us to offer repeated songs for repeated deliverances.
Grant us more and more a hatred of sin, and hasten the day of your coming. Till then and ever, we believe the promise, “No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed.” Should it not be laid upon the heart of every lover of the Gospel of Jesus on this day to plead for the overturning of false doctrines and the extension of divine truth? Would it not be well to search our own hearts and turn out any of the lumber of self-righteousness that may lie concealed within?
EDITOR’S NOTE: Every day throughout November, we’ll bring you one devotional from our archives about Thanksgiving, giving thanks, gratitude, or giving of ourselves. Check back every morning as you thank the Lord for your many blessings!
Encountering God through Thanksgiving
Having consistent and transformational encounters with God while on earth is meant to be foundational to the Christian life. Our God has not left us. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we’ve been filled with the very Spirit of God who longs to reveal to us daily the nearness and love of our heavenly Father. We are never alone. There is nowhere we can flee from the presence of our God. May this week be filled with transformational encounters with the living God as we learn what it is to seek the face of the one who has formed us, knows us, and loves us unconditionally.
Scripture: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Psalm 100:4
Thanksgiving is a gift given to us by the good and loving nature of our heavenly Father. In and out of every season of life, we have a reason to give thanks because we serve a wholly faithful, good, and loving God. We serve the only King who would lay down his life for his unworthy, rebellious servants. We serve a God perfectly worthy of all the thanksgiving and praise we could possibly give.
In using the incredible gift of thanksgiving, we remind ourselves of how truly good our Father is. In thanksgiving, we experience the joy of a proper perspective and have our hearts stirred by the renewing of our minds. Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” When we come before God with thanksgiving, we seek the face of our Father while grounding ourselves firmly in the truth of his perfect nature. When we begin our days, prayers, worship, reading, and fellowship with a heart of thanksgiving, we live out of a place of faith and reality found in the kingdom of God come to earth.
Our God is bigger and better than our circumstances, fears, wounds, misconceptions, and past failures. There is security and joy in declaring the goodness, kindness, loving, and eternal nature of our Father. We dictate the emotions we feel by what we choose to dwell on and believe. Our minds are the battleground for our emotions, actions, and desire to dwell in communion with our good God.
Ephesians 5:20 says we are to be “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”And Psalm 92:1-5 says:
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep!
Our hearts become glad when we offer continual thanksgiving. Five minutes of thanksgiving and praise has the power to change the direction of each day. It has the power to stir our hearts and make us open to and aware of God’s will for us in every situation. It fills us with an atmosphere of joy and of the Spirit. And it can greatly assist us in choosing the life of communion with the Father over the pursuits of the world as temptations and situations arise. May you be empowered and filled with transcendent joy as you engage in continual thanksgiving.
Take time in guided prayer to practice thanksgiving and enjoy the fruits of a renewed mind and a heart filled with joy and truth.
1. Meditate on the importance of thanksgiving. Allow Scripture to stir up your desire to offer thanksgiving in every season.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”Colossians 4:2
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Psalm 103:2
“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”Psalm 95:1-2
2. Take time to give thanks to God. Think about how he sent Jesus to die for you. Think about how faithful he is and always will be. Think about how good heaven will be. Give thanks for any gift he’s given you.
“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.” Psalm 69:30-31
“We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.” Psalm 75:1
3. How do you feel after taking time to engage in thanksgiving?Have your concerns, desires, and perspectives shifted? Journal about the effects of thanksgiving on your heart and mind.
We are continually commanded by Scripture to remember the deeds of our God. When the world comes crashing down around us, it’s hard sometimes to remember how faithful God has been and will be. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the fleeting cares and problems of this life and forget how perfect and never-ending the next life will be. Psalm 103:2 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” May you be quick to remember the benefits of restored relationship with your heavenly Father today as you take time to bless and thank the Lord for all the wonderful things he’s given you.
Extended Reading: Deuteronomy 8
Laying Down Our Life for the Bride
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
November 05, 2017
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:17,18).
Jesus was called to lay down His life for His bride, the Church. Men are called to emulate this same “laying down” our lives for our wives – our earthly brides. Men are to be a physical representation of what Christ has done for each of us. As we men do this, we experience the love of the Father. Wives will experience the love of the Father as husbands do this. Most of us men fight this process due to our own insecurities, independence, pride and ego. However, it is the very laying down our lives that allows us to connect to the Father just as Jesus connected to His Father.
It is in the sacrificial, free will act that this occurs. This activates in the woman a response of love that allows the man to experience a deep love that is rooted in the Father but channeled from the wife, the one we lay our lives down for. Jesus did not feel something was being taken from Him because He chose to give it willingly. Conversely, if husbands lay down willingly their lives, they will not feel something is being taken. It is when husbands defend, negotiate and withdraw from the needs of a woman that it negates this process. When we think we are being used or manipulated against our will, we believe others are trying to control us and we resist. Jesus did not do this. He gave willingly. Men must realize they are the initiators called to lay down their lives for their wives. Women respond to this sacrificial act by giving their heart and physical love to their husbands. Both husband and wife experience the love of the Father when this happens.
Giving up our lives for our wives feels like just that – giving up our life. We give up rights, privileges, and desires. We focus only on them. When we become dead, God loves us by giving us the desires of our heart. We give up life, in order to gain it. “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
This is what it means when Jesus laid down His life for His bride. This is what it means when Paul said: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:25-28).
This principle is key to impacting the marketplace for Jesus Christ. The family has been greatly wounded by a failure to understand this principle. This has also led men and women to become slaves instead of sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Today, if you are a husband, commit yourself to laying down your life for your bride.
Passion for Praise: ‘Secure Promises’
Sunday, November 5, 2017