TODAY’S DAILY PRAYER
Lord our God, your kingdom is coming. Your help reaches us. However much we must suffer, we look to you, for you have given us your promise. You have promised that all shall go well with us. You have promised that while still on earth your people may have strength to trust in you and wait for you in patience and joy. So lay your hands upon us, O Lord our God, and let your redeeming strength be revealed in us. You know all our needs. You see into each heart and know how to help, as you have promised. Bless us and help us, and may your name be honored among us. May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.
Caffeine for your conscience
TODAY’S DAILY DIG
Verse of the Day
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
How can we be confident in what happens today? What is our assurance for tomorrow? Where do we muster excitement about eternity? The Lord is our helper! Fear will not be our master because our future, our destiny, our eternity rest in the hands of the eternal Lord. The worst that man can do is to send me home to my Lord.
Almighty God, my Father and my helper, I place my trust in you. As the Alpha and Omega, I trust you for all of my tomorrows and place my trust and dependence in you for today. In Jesus’ name I praise you. Amen.
BIBLE STUDY BUDDY
Read John 14:5-11…Thomas said to him, ”Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6. Jesus answered, ”I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8. Philip said, ”Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9. Jesus answered: ”Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10. Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.
When he was only 13 years old, violinist Yehudi Menuhin was invited to perform with the Berlin Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. With distinguished musicians in the audience listening to him, the youthful genius played some of the most difficult compositions by Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms.
The response was so enthusiastic that the management called in the police in case the crowd got out of control. Albert Einstein, who had listened with utter delight to the prodigy, avoided the authorities by running across the stage into Yehudi’s dressing room. He embraced the surprised violinist and exclaimed, ”Now I know there is a God in heaven!”
While the beauty of music does indeed bear witness to God’s reality, it takes more than a concert to convince us there’s a God in heaven. It takes God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:9). Only through the supernatural life and ministry of Christ recorded in the Gospels are we able to know God with unshadowed certainty. We read the Gospels and we exclaim with awe and adoration, ”Now we know there is a God in heaven!”
If you are troubled by an attack of doubt, read the Bible and have your faith renewed and strengthened.
Be A Good Steward Of Your Trials
Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 2 Thessalonians 1:4
The Apostle Paul praises the church in Thessalonica for their faith and love in the face of persecutions and trials. In essence he is telling them that they are good stewards of their trials, not letting them impact their faith negatively.
I recently heard Gospel singer Lynda Randall express this same thought of “being a good steward of the trials I face,” as she introduced her next solo “It is Well With My Soul.” The lyrics of this hymn were written by Horatio Spafford, a lawyer of some prominence in Chicago. He and his wife Anna had one son and four daughters, and were good friends of D.L. Moody and Ira Sankey for many years. Mr. Spafford’s children had come to Christ through the influence of Ira Sankey’s music. When the Spafford’s son died, the family went into deep mourning.
After two years of ministering to the homeless and needy people of Chicago, Mr. Spafford thought his family needed a vacation. D. L. Moody and Ira Sankey were in England holding evangelistic so Mr. Spafford decided to take his family to England, where they could vacation and also be a help to his friends Moody and Sankey.
He booked passage for his family on the ship SS Ville de Havre, but at the last minute was unable to go with his family due to business. He promised to follow them within a few weeks and they would all be reunited in England.
As the ship sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, it collided with the English ship Lochearn, and sank within 12 minutes. 226 lives were lost, including the four Spafford daughters. Mrs. Spafford was rescued from a floating piece of debris. When she arrived in Wales 10 days later she cabled a message to her husband, “Saved Alone…”
Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next ship heading to England. As the ship crossed the area where the SS Ville de Havre sank, taking his daughters to the ocean’s depths, Mr. Spafford felt the Holy Spirit fill him with a comforting peace. Leaving the ship’s railing he went into his cabin where he penned the hymn that has soothed so many souls who have been brokenhearted…and one which I often hear sung in the meetings of the Persecuted Church:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
RESPONSE: Today I will be a good steward of the trials I face…with faith, love and perseverance.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord for Your faithfulness in all the trials I face. Help me not waste them.
Quote of the Day
“Rather than trying to live in two worlds, it is far better to live as close to God as you possibly can.”
~Greg Laurie (from “can a christian lose his or her salvation?“)
What Makes for an “Authentic” Christian?
Let’s take a look at five earmarks of authentic christianity, taken from 1 John.
First, an authentic Christian confesses Jesus Christ as Lord (1 John 4:15). Christianity must begin with a verbal acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life. The Bible says that even the demons believe and tremble (James 2:19). True Christians should be able to say that Jesus Christ is their Lord.
Second, if you are a true Christian, you will be unhappy or miserable when you’re sinning (1 John 3:9). This doesn’t mean you will never sin if you are a Christian (1 John 1:8). But there is a difference between recognizing that we will fail in some way, shape, or form in the future and going on a willful, continual track of sin. If you really are a child of God, you will have a sense of discomfort when you sin, because you know in your heart of hearts that what you are doing is wrong.
Third, an authentic Christian enjoys fellowship with other believers (1 John 5:1). A true Christian will want to be around other Christians. Those who isolate themselves from other believers do so at their own peril, because the Bible tells us that it is important to get together, encourage one another, and correct one another (Hebrews 10:24). After all, why should God go to your house if you won’t go to His? A lot of us want all of the fringe benefits of Christianity without applying ourselves.
Fourth, an authentic Christian obeys the commands of Jesus Christ. If you are a true believer, then you will obey the commands of Jesus Christ (1 John 5:3). I will not deny that the Bible is filled with so-called rules, but their purpose is not to make our lives miserable. Rather, they protect us from potential harm. The person who blatantly and continually breaks the commandments of God simply does not know Him.
Finally, an authentic Christian loves and obeys the Word of God (1 John 2:5). 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. This is vital to authentic Christian living, because the Bible is indeed the very textbook of life (2 Timothy 3:16). Yet so many believers will not read the Bible. They don’t realize that success or failure in the Christian life depends on how much of the Bible they get into their hearts and minds on a regular basis. We have to do it.
Taken from “authentic christianity” (used by permission).
He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them;–PS. cxlv. 19.
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.–PS. xxxvii. 4.
Though to-day may not fulfil
All thy hopes, have patience still;
For perchance to-morrow’s sun
Sees thy happier days begun.
His great desire and delight is God; and by desiring and delighting, he hath Him. Delight thou in the Lord, and He shall give thee thy heart’s desire,–HIMSELF; and then surely thou shall have all. Any other thing commit it to Him, and He shall bring it to pass.
All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired, although not in the hour or in the measure, or the very thing which they ask; yet they will obtain something greater and more glorious than they had dared to ask.
Are you humbly grateful? Or grumbly hateful?
7 Symptoms of the Prideful Heart
- Jaquelle Crowe
- Pride is universal—something we all deal with, as ancient as Adam and as relevant as the morning news. Yet we don’t always see our own pride, which weaves like weeds around our lives.
Oh, we see it in the obvious ways, but we can be blind to its deceptive, subversive way in our hearts. We know the disease, but we don’t recognize the symptoms. And that’s why we need the insight of our spiritual Great Physician to reveal symptoms of pride and rescue us from it.
Here are seven symptoms of pride I’ve been seeing in God’s Word as his Spirit works in my own life:
Milton Hershey was a great man. Milton Hershey’s wife, Catherine, couldn’t have children, so they adopted four orphans. When Milton Hershey died, he left a large sum of money to orphanages.
Today, there are 10,000 acres of land near Hershey, Pennsylvania, with 130 homes that house 8-10 children each, and more homes are being built all the time. There are over 1200 students living there (orphans and underprivileged children). They have their own school (first grade through twelfth grade) and community. I once ministered at one of the homes, and two small children opened up the meeting by blowing shofars.
Catherine Hershey had a progressively deteriorating muscular disease that doctors were unable to diagnose. They said it would eventually take her life. This motivated Milton Hershey to have the best doctors available to Catherine, and later, funds to have a research hospital in Hershey. The Hershey Medical Center, which the Hershey Trust funds today, was started with $50 million.
Milton Hershey had a ticket to go on the Titanic, but at the last minute, his wife became ill, and he missed his trip. The Titanic went down, and his life was spared. God had his hand on this man. Milton came to the Lord in later years.
A Healing Zone Is Being Erected
I saw one of the greatest outpourings of healing being erected as a healing zone, invading and surrounding the community at large (I do mean large!) of Hershey, Pennsylvania. I heard a strong angel decreeing: “And there shall be ‘drive thru’ healings taking place in this city and surrounding its borders!”
A ‘Womb of Healing’ is Now Being Opened to Give Birth to ‘Hershey Healings and Cures’ for the Nations
I heard the enemy complaining and regretting the days that the womb of Milton Hershey’s wife could not conceive. “Now we have a ‘womb of healing’ opening up in this place, where multitudes will conceive their healing for the nations!” I heard the stronghold spirit over Hershey crying out to hell, “It’s Hershey; we’ve got a problem!”
I saw the angels of orphans and underprivileged children standing before the face of the Father, bringing their cries of “Abba, Father,” and their tears for Daddy to come home to Hershey to be with them.
I heard the Father dispatching something like a news alert back to these orphans and children, “I’ll be there with bells on! I am coming to bless the day Milton Hershey blessed my orphaned, fatherless children. I am coming to bless the whole town, city and beyond its borders! Its fame will go throughout the earth to break the orphan spirit off of nations in this last day, as I am turning the hearts of the children to their fathers and the hearts of the fathers to their children!”
Cures Being Dropped into the Hershey Medical Center
I saw angels dropping cures of diseases into the Hershey Medical Center. Unknown sicknesses and diseases were being given names. And angels were dropping these names down, and cures were following behind them to be released to the world!
The Power of the Cries of the Fatherless
I heard the enemy proclaiming throughout all of hell: “We have been working overtime to stop those praying Christians and to bring division to those churches and families, but we have overlooked the power of the cries of the fatherless! Those cries were coming from outside of the church and ascending straight to the throne of their real Father! And He’s coming to Hershey with full force!”
‘A Little Child Shall Lead Them’
As a sweet-smelling aroma ascended from Hershey, Pennsylvania, to the throne, trembling words from hell came screaming: “I smell chocolate, I smell milk and I smell honey. It smells like the promised land!”
Bill Younthas been a member of Bridge of Life in Hagerstown, Maryland, for the past 36 years, where he is now an elder and a home missionary. He is currently an adviser at large for Aglow International. Bill faithfully served in prison ministry at Mount Hope for 23 years and now travels full-time, both in the U.S. and internationally, ministering in churches and Aglow circles. Humility and humor characterize his ministry as he brings forth a fresh word that is “in season,” proclaiming the word of the Lord. The shofar, or ram’s horn, is often used in his meetings, breaking the powers of darkness over regions, churches and households. The shofar represents God’s breath blowing into the nostrils of His people, reviving them and awakening the lost. Many of God’s messages, which Bill ministers prophetically, come out of his everyday life with his family and friends. Please visit Bill’s website atbillyount.com.
A Prayer for When You Want to Be Loved
By John Ortberg
“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” 1 John 4:11 (NLT)
Everyone wants to be loved, to be liked, to be celebrated, to have someone who accepts us no matter what. We want to have people to turn to when a crisis hits. We want to have someone in whom we can safely confide our secrets. And there’s a reason for that.
We were made for connection.
We were made for intimacy.
When we experience intimacy, we can take on whatever life throws at us. Without it, even our greatest accomplishments ring hollow. After all, where’s the joy in success if we don’t have someone we love with whom to share it? That’s why I believe the pursuit of intimacy is the greatest, most worthwhile pursuit there is.
Granted, for most of us, pursuing intimacy is not as simple as adding more fiber to our diets. We have to work at it. But it’s worth it because deep down, we know being close to another human being matters like nothing else in the world. And being close to God? That takes things to a whole new level.
Maybe having an “intimate relationship with God” feels like one more obligation in an already-overwhelmed life. After all, intimacy is tricky enough to pull off with a real, live, flesh-and-blood person. How can we hope to have an intimate relationship with someone we can’t even see?
It’s not as hard as you might think — especially when you stop to consider what intimacy really is.
Intimacy isn’t built on grand, elaborate gestures. Rather, it’s made up of a thousand tiny, everyday moments of interaction. Every time we share an experience with someone, we build intimacy.
It’s asking your kids how their day went when they get home. It’s asking — and caring about — what your spouse wore to an event. It’s noticing a downcast face and offering a word of encouragement. It’s a private wink to a stressed-out colleague in a fractious meeting that says, “We’ve got this.”
A single note of music is an insignificant thing. But if you put enough of them together in the right way, you get Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Likewise, a single encounter may not amount to much, but if we share enough experiences with someone … that’s how we build intimacy.
And it’s what God’s Word urges us to do, as seen in today’s key verse: “Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other” (1 John 4:11).
Because God is always present, intimacy with Him is possible every moment of our lives. He’s already here. We just have to show up and spend time with Him.
When you need help, tell Him. When you are joyful, recognize His goodness behind the joy, and take time to praise Him. When you see beauty, recognize the hand of the Artist and thank Him.
Give it a try. You may just find that an ordinary day — such as today — can become the most intimate day with God you have ever spent.
But wait — there’s more.
If intimacy is a shared experience, then perhaps the ultimate example of an invitation to intimacy is the Incarnation — that mystical, miraculous moment when God chose to become more like us.
He could have loved us from a distance. But God wanted to do more than just love us. He wanted to be intimate with us. Through Jesus, God shared our loneliness, fatigue, anxiety and sorrow. He shared in our joy and our pain. He provided comfort in our despair at feeling forsaken.
The Incarnation tells us that the story of our world is the story of God’s hunger for intimacy. His pain over the loss of intimacy in the Fall, His determination to recapture it and His fierce joy at its redemption.
If that’s the case, then maybe we’re already closer to God than we think we are.
Maybe intimacy with God isn’t just something we can do, but something we can also receive.
And maybe, just maybe, we can rest in that for a while.
Lord, thank You that we were made for connection and intimacy with others and with You. We pray You help us grow closer to those who matter most in our lives. Thank You for loving us so deeply. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
3 Things I’ll Tell My Daughters about Modesty
I have three daughters, the oldest of whom is seven, so we haven’t had to spend a whole lot of time talking about modesty. Yet. But I know without a doubt that the time is coming when we will be having many, many discussions about modesty. How do I know this time is coming? Because our culture is becoming increasingly comfortable with a highly sexualized version of womanhood. The pornification of society is showing up everywhere, from Miley Cyrus performing in front a national audience to the magazines that show up in grocery stores. As my daughters grow older, they will be increasingly encouraged to use their bodies in ways which don’t please the Lord.
So what will I say to my daughters when I talk to them about modesty? Instead of presenting them with a lengthy list of rules and checklists, I hope to keep things pretty straightforward. I’ll tell them that modesty is a way of life in which they seek to honor God andserve others with their bodies.
MODESTY IS A WAY OF LIFE
When it comes to modesty, it’s easy to gravitate toward one of two extremes. On one end are those who say that modesty doesn’t matter at all (see Miley, Beyonce, et al.). On the other end are those who try to codify modesty into a set of very precise directives (skirts must be at least one inch below the knee, tank tops are strictly forbidden, etc.). I would venture to say that those of us in the church tend to gravitate toward the precise directives end of the scale. In an effort to keep our daughters from immodesty, we are tempted to prescribe all sorts of laws about what clothes can and cannot look like.
While I certainly want to help my daughters think through their wardrobe choices, I want them to understand that modesty is, most importantly, a way of life. True modesty is a heart disposition before it is a particular wardrobe choice. A woman with a modest heart is first and foremost concerned about serving the Lord and serving others. She will certainly make particular wardrobe choices, but those choices will flow out of a heart attitude rather than a set of arbitrary rules.
The reality is, my daughters could follow all my rules for modesty and yet still behave in a way that is both sexually alluring and sexually immoral. This is why Peter writes:
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (>1 Peter 3:3–5)
Peter understands that modesty is, above all else, something that is internal rather than external. If my instruction regarding modesty focuses primarily on creating rules or checklists for my daughters, than I’ve failed as a dad. I want them to understand that modesty is a way of living before God. Modesty is about God before it is about them.
MODESTY IS ABOUT SERVING GOD
In the midst of all the confusion about what articles of clothing are too short, or too tight, or too revealing, it’s easy to forget that modesty is primarily about serving God.
God created each of my daughters, and he gave each of them a wonderful, female body. Because God created my daughters, they belong to him. Their bodies belong to Him, and their bodies are to be used in ways which honor and please him. Lord willing, each of my daughters will grow up and marry a godly man (I don’t want to think of that day!). When one my daughters gets married, she will give herself fully (including her body) to her husband (and vice versa). She will present herself to her husband in ways that are sexually delightful to him. God is so very pleased when a man and wife present themselves to each other in sexually alluring ways. With all our emphasis on concealing the body, we can inadvertently make it sound like sex is a bad thing. It’s not! Sex is a God thing when it takes place in the context of marriage.
As my daughters get older, I want to help them understand that they are only to present themselves as sexually alluring to their husbands. Any other attempts to be sexually alluring are not honoring to God.
So does this mean that I will only let my daughters wear frumpy sweaters and ratty jeans until they get married? Absolutely not! Beauty is a gift from God, and I want my daughters to highlight that gift without flaunting the gift. I want them to present themselves to the world as beautiful, feminine, smart, and attractive, without being intentionally sexually alluring. How will we achieve such a balance? I don’t know yet! Achieving such a delicate balance obviously requires some serious, Proverbs-like wisdom, which can only be obtained through large doses of Scripture and a whole lot of prayer.
MODESTY IS ABOUT SERVING OTHERS
I don’t care what people say—the reality is that if a woman dresses in a way that reveals significant portions of her body, it will tempt most men to lust after her. To quote Bruce Hornsby, “That’s just the way it is, some things will never change.” I’m not commenting on whether this reality is good or evil, I’m simply stating the facts. Anyone who argues those facts doesn’t know men very well.
With this reality in mind, modesty becomes a way of serving others. Modesty is a way of treating others as we desire to be treated. Modesty is a way of demonstrating Christ-like love, which puts the interests of others above our own interests. All of which matters very much to Jesus.
Before I talk to my daughters about necklines or the length of shorts, I want to help them cultivate a desire to serve their fellow brothers in Christ. Yes, I realize that last sentence sounds totally sexist and misogynistic, but I don’t know any other way to put it. As Christians, we live in community with each other, and our actions directly effect those around us. The way my daughters dress really will effect those around them. Causing someone else to be tempted is serious business to Jesus. In Matthew 18:6 he says:
…but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Before anything else, modesty is about serving others. It is about sacrificing our own personal preferences for the sake of those around us.
Will I talk to my daughters about specific items in their wardrobe? Sure. It’s inevitable. But I want my daughters to see that individual wardrobe choices are part of a much bigger picture. I want them to understand that the clothes they wear in this life echo into eternity. I want them to understand that modesty isn’t just dad flipping out over a shirt that is too tight, but rather, is about using their bodies to bring maximum honor and glory to God. Will I get this right every time? Of course not! I desperately need God’s grace and wisdom to navigate this issue.
I’m confident he will supply me with all I need.
The Joshua Code
By O.S. Hawkins
The Forgotten Word in Our Christian Vocabulary
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” –Matthew 4:17
“Repent” This call from the lips of our Lord is not offered as anoption but as a command. And that command gives rise totwo important questions: What is repentance? and Where is repentance?
What is repentance? First, note what it is not. Repentance is not remorse. It is not simply being sorry for our sin. The rich young ruler went away “sorrowful,” but he didn’t repent (Luke 18:23). Repentance is not regret, or merely wishing that the deed had not happened. Pontius Pilate, who betrayed the Lord, washed his hands in regret over his turning Christ over to the crowds (Matthew 27:24). Repentance is not resolve. It is not like a New Year’s resolution where we resolve to take on a new set of moral standards. And repentance is not reform—it’s not just turning over a new leaf. Judas Iscariot reformed. He took the thirty pieces of silver, the payment for his betrayal of Jesus, and flung them down the corridors of the temple. Judas reformed, but he did not repent (Matthew 27:3).
Repentance comes from a Greek word that literally means “to change one’s mind.” It is a change of mind that affects a change of will and, in turn, brings about a change of action. This process is beautifully illustrated in the old and often repeated story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 After finding himself broke and broken, in the company of a bunch of hogs in a pig pen, the son “came to himself” (v. 17). This change of mind brought about a change of volition, a change of will. In the next verse he exclaimed, “I will arise and go to my father.” Once he had changed his mind and changed his will, his actions were sure to change as well. Thus, in verse 20 we read, “And he arose and came to his father.”
Repentance is a change of mind. That is it. And how do we know if we have truly come to a change of mind? Our volition will be changed as well, and our changed actions will follow.
Where is repentance? That is, where is repentance in salvation? Does repentance precede faith? Or does faith come before repentance? Repentance and faith are both gifts of God’s grace. They are different sides of the same coin. Charles Spurgeon, author of the classic devotional Morning and Evening, says they are “Siamese twins . . . vitally joined together.” Repentance and faith are inseparable. Repentance alone will not get you to heaven, but you cannot get there without it. Jesus’ personal mandate commands it: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
© 2012 by O.S. Hawkins
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. – >Hebrews 3:1
Has it ever been easier than now for a believer to become distracted and lose focus on God? If the apostle Paul found himself “greatly distressed” that Athens was “full of idols” (Acts 17:16), what would he think after checking out today’s culture–the internet, TV, movies, DVD’s, video games, radio, faxes, email, cell phones, etc.?
A recent Wall Street Journal article quotes an Internet guru who plugged the word “God” into a popular search engine. He received 600,000 responses–remarkably close to the 775,000 sites listed for “sex.” Yahoo lists 17,000 sites devoted to religion and spirituality, compared with 12,000 about movies.
And these figures are expanding exponentially. We’re only a mouse click away from countless links, Web pages, and chat rooms, that attempt to define God, recast Him into our own image, or explain Him away altogether.
With all this at your fingertips, it’s more important than ever to stay connected to and focused on the true God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked by things that aren’t true. In other words, hold onto God’s Son for dear life! Even when the distractions of the world are tugging at your sleeve to let go.
“We can tell from our experience that His light is more powerful than the deepest darkness. . . How wonderful that the reality of His presence is greater than the reality of the hell about us. – Betsie ten Boom, to her sister, Corrie (1930-1944)
The best way to learn the Word of God
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
>2 Timothy 4:1-2
I was meeting with a friend years ago who felt like God was calling him to be a Bible teacher. This guy was brilliant, and it was clear he had been blessed with the ability to communicate truth to others. He was hesitant, though, because as he told me, “I need to grow first in God’s Word before I share it with others.”
So I looked him in the eye and I said, “Do you know who gets the most out of the messages I preach? It’s not the person on the front row. It’s me!” I went on, “I’m the one who puts the time into learning the Scripture before I preach it. And if I’ve done that properly, I’m going to grow more than anyone else.”
My point was that when it comes to the Word of God, you can’t give without receiving. In preparing to share the Bible with others, you’re going to soak it in yourself. This is true of the most seasoned teacher of the Word!
Now, you may not be called to preach or teach, but all of us have the responsibility to share God’s truth. So equip yourself to share God’s Word with others. It’s the best way for you to soak it in as well!
SOAK IN THE WORD OF GOD TO THE FULLEST BY BEING READY TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS!
The Daily Word of Hope Devotional
Bible Fun Fact: Psalms is the largest book in the Bible.
In God We Trust
I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging for bread. Psalm 37:25 WEB
David had been through a lot when he wrote this verse. He had been anointed by Samuel as a young boy and went on to kill lions, bears, and giants. As he grew, David became an experienced shepherd, an accomplished musician, and an excellent soldier.
He had to run and hide from Saul, his own father-in-law, who had become so jealous of David that he sought to kill him. For years, David had to hide in caves, live with Philistines, and the lowest of the low. Those who were outcast from society and in trouble began to gather around him and soon became an army of mighty men.
In time, Saul died and David became king, reigning for forty years. When King David passed away, he left his son Solomon 3,000 talents of gold, and 7,000 talents of silver from his personal treasury to help build the new temple. One talent of gold (75 pounds) in 2016 would be worth around 1.25 million USD.
David began life as a poor shepherd boy, the least in his family, but God took care of him all the way through and he ended well. During that time David wrote that not once did he ever see the righteous forsaken, or their children begging for bread. Though at times things looked bad, there would always be enough to eat when it became needed.
If you serve God, He will take care of you. The things that you suffer will be for your own development. Every child needs discipline and we are no different, but God will provide for His people. So many times in my life, tomorrow looked terrifying, but when it arrived, so did an unexpected blessing that countered the bad. I have put my trust in God. What can man do to me?
Prayer: Heavenly Father I thank You for remembering me today and I choose to put my trust in You. Please lead me into all that You have for me and teach me what I need to know. Fulfill Your will in my life, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
“We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” (Ephesians 4:15NLT)
Thoughts for Today
Effective communication is important for every relationship. Nowhere is that more true than in a relationship with a loved one who is struggling with a life-controlling problem. But communication in that kind of a relationship can be especially challenging.
Effective communication with a person enslaved by a stronghold can be difficult because they are likely blinded to the reality of their condition and living in denial and delusion.
Jim Holwerda and David Egner express this well in their work on addiction:
The fantasy world of an addict is more important to him than the real world. As he lets his thoughts go, he becomes convinced that the scenario he constructs to support his addiction is true. . . . Along with distortion is a breakdown in logical thinking. The addicted person, for example, refuses to link alcohol abuse with impaired driving. Or sexual sin with a threat to his marriage. Or compulsive spending with bankruptcy.
Consider this …
When we have a friend or family with a life-controlling problem, we need to learn to get out of the way and allow God to work in their life. But even then, we need to communicate with them. Each effective communication chips away at their denial system.
Effective communication will lessen their defense mechanism and allow them to hear the truth in a caring way. We can help our loved one tear down a wall of defenses, brick by brick, until they can see themselves as they really are.
In his book Caring Enough to Confront, David Augsburger originates the term “care-fronting.” He describes care-fronting as a communication technique that brings together the positive idea of caring with the negative idea of confronting. When we are motivated by caring, not anger, confronting our loved one with the truth can be the most loving thing we can do.
Lord, forgive me for the times I have confronted my loved one in anger. Teach me to speak the truth in love. In Jesus’ name . . .
Join us on our podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.
Preliminary reports say 27 people were shot dead while attending a Sunday morning service at a Baptist church just outside San Antonio.
A witness told KSAT that a man walked into the church about 11:30 a.m. Sunday and opened fire at the crowd of people. The church holds morning worship services at 11 a.m., according to its website.
Fox reports the shooter is now dead.
Prayers on behalf of the victims are already going up around the globe. Take a look:
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez told Charisma News, “Here we are again broken-hearted by evil and, this time, in a sanctuary for the Prince of Peace. We pray, we cry and we plead with God for mercy on our land. We thank Him for the first responders, and we trust Him to comfort those whose pain is unbearable. May our nation pray.”
Jessilyn Justice @jessilynjustice is the director of online news for Charisma.
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
November 06, 2017
“Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
Have you ever perceived yourself to be at one place spiritually only to discover that you were actually far from this place? Peter perceived himself to be so spiritually strong that he was prepared to suffer greatly for his Master. Yet Jesus knew where Peter really was in his own pilgrimage. He knew that Peter’s enthusiasm did not match his reality. He was suffering from an attitude of self-righteousness. So, how did Jesus help Peter match his perception to his reality? Peter was the object of a divine setup.
First, notice that satan asked permission to sift Peter as wheat. Jesus determined that satan would be used to bring Peter to the maturity level both Jesus and Peter really desired. And Jesus was praying that Peter would pass the test. Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times that very day. Peter could not believe what Jesus was saying.
Sometimes the lessons we must learn are very painful. This experience was necessary in Peter’s life. It was necessary to purge Peter from his sin of self-righteousness. This very lesson would allow Peter to come face to face with his own misperception of where he was in his relationship and devotion to Jesus. When he was forced to confront this, it nearly broke him apart. He wept bitterly once he realized he had done just as Jesus had predicted.
This confrontation with reality is necessary at times in our lives. Do not be surprised if Jesus allows you to experience some painful circumstance. You may be the subject of a divine setup designed to bring you to a greater maturity level in your walk with Jesus. It may not be a fun experience when you go through it, but you will, like Peter, become a leader whom God will use to lead others.
Passion for Praise: ‘Supreme Over All the Earth’
Monday, November 6, 2017