Friday Follies

Prayer4

TODAY’S DAILY PRAYER

three orange and red leaves with a few red berries“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8, NIV

Lord our God, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, who was and is and is to come, the Almighty, we thank you for this wonderful message, which is meant for us too, even though our lives often seem empty and sad. But behold, you make all things new for each one of us. Even though we have long tormented ourselves, the light of life will dawn at last and we will be able to rejoice. Continue to protect us and our community. Wake us to new life, for you have called us to believe and to endure to the end. Whatever sorrows and hardships may come, we will remain faithful, O Lord our God. This is our promise to you. We will persevere and say joyfully, “Jesus Christ is coming to make all things new.” Amen.

Daily Dig

Caffeine for your conscience

TODAY’S DAILY DIG

BowlOur job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy if anything can.

 

 

Verse of the Day

Inspirational illustration of Matthew 11:28-30

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

I guess we could call it the irony of discipleship. To follow Christ means that we give up everything and follow him. To follow Christ means that we receive untold blessings in this life and eternal life with God in the life to come. So is it hard? Yes, sometimes it is. But life is hard. Is the burden light as Jesus promised? Yes, because we know our lives are not lived in vain, that we are living life as God intended it, and when life is over, it isn’t really over! We get to go home and be with our Lord!

My Prayer…

Give me courage, O God, to face the challenges that I must confront. Give me charity to deal appropriately with those I meet. Give me thankfulness for all that you have done to bless me. Give me clarity to see that living for Jesus is the best of all choices. In the name of the Lord Jesus I pray. Amen.

 

 

BIBLE STUDY BUDDY

Read 2 Peter 1:1-21…

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2. Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

 

5. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6. and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7. and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

 

10. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11. and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

12. So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14. because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.16. For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ”This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18. We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

 

19. We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Knowledge1

Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotional

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge, etc.”
2Pe 1:5-6

If thou wouldest enjoy the eminent grace of the full assurance of faith, under the blessed Spirit’s influence, and assistance, do what the Scripture tells thee, “Give diligence.” Take care that thy faith is of the right kind—that it is not a mere belief of doctrine, but a simple faith, depending on Christ, and on Christ alone. Give diligent heed to thy courage. Plead with God that He would give thee the face of a lion, that thou mayest, with a consciousness of right, go on boldly. Study well the Scriptures, and get knowledge; for a knowledge of doctrine will tend very much to confirm faith. Try to understand God’s Word; let it dwell in thy heart richly.

When thou hast done this, “Add to thy knowledge temperance.” Take heed to thy body: be temperate without. Take heed to thy soul: be temperate within. Get temperance of lip, life, heart, and thought. Add to this, by God’s Holy Spirit, patience; ask Him to give thee that patience which endureth affliction, which, when it is tried, shall come forth as gold. Array yourself with patience, that you may not murmur nor be depressed in your afflictions. When that grace is won look to godliness. Godliness is something more than religion. Make God’s glory your object in life; live in His sight; dwell close to Him; seek for fellowship with Him; and thou hast “godliness”; and to that add brotherly love. Have a love to all the saints: and add to that a charity, which openeth its arms to all men, and loves their souls. When you are adorned with these jewels, and just in proportion as you practise these heavenly virtues, will you come to know by clearest evidence “your calling and election.” “Give diligence,” if you would get assurance, for lukewarmness and doubting very naturally go hand in hand.

How Do You Know?

An early evening thunderstorm provided the setting for the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen. But when I tried to describe it to my wife, I was thoroughly frustrated, for its beauty defied words. In an attempt to understand what I had observed, I read an article in the encyclopedia. The article increased my understanding, but it offered only cold facts. It didn’t capture the rainbow’s glory. Abstract knowledge about a rainbow is one thing; experiencing its beauty is another.

Two different kinds of knowledge are mentioned in 2 Peter 1. In verses 5 and 6 the author used a Greek word for knowledge that means the abstract information needed for spiritual growth. But in verses 2, 3, and 8, he used the Greek word that denotes a more complete, practical knowledge of Christ, which is actually the goal of such growth. These two terms differ in the same way that reading about a rainbow differs from seeing its beauty.

Job spoke of that distinction when after his testing he said to the Lord, ”I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:5). As you increase your knowledge about God, pray that you may also grow in your experience and appreciation of Him.

-Mart DeHaan

 

 

November 10
Do All Things to the Glory of God
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well- being.
Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness.”
If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness.” “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.
1 Corinthians 10:1-13, 23-33; 11:1-2, 23-34
WORSHIP
Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul keeps them.
The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
I opened my mouth and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments.
Psalm 119:129-131
WISDOM
By humility and the fear of the LORD
Are riches and honor and life.
Proverbs 22:4

Quote of the Day

“This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” ~John 2:11

Today’s Answer

What is the Goal of Evangelism?
John Piper

evangelism is a word used to describe the different ways God uses us, along with His Word and Spirit, to transform unbelievers into people whose great delight in life is to know and trust in him. Therefore, under God, our goal in evangelism is to be his instruments in creating new people who delight in God through Jesus Christ and who thus bring us great joy. There is no escape: if we, by God’s grace, are successful in evangelism we will be happier. Our joy in God will be increased. Does this imply that we are only out to get notches on our fishing pole that we can boast about without really caring for the other person’s good? No! It is that person’s infinite and eternal welfare that makes us happy. The only boasting we care for is in the glorious grace of God. He is at work in us and in the new convert to make us gradually into the kind of people who love God more and who, therefore, will inevitably make each other glad.

Do we not admire people who have the virtues we value most? And is not admiration a tremendous pleasure? (Witness how people love to cheer and talk about their heroes). Can you not then feel a desire kindling in your heart for God to use you to create out of unbelievers people who have the virtue you value the most—a joyful trust in God? It is a tragic thing to let so many people go on without admiring God. We could be enjoying their worship of God instead of lamenting the dishonor they do to him.

So evangelism is not necessarily aimed at people we like; it is aimed to create people we like—people we admire for their love of God. Evangelism is done in the hope of creating new people whom it will be a pleasure to be with because they admire most the one we admire most. There is every reason for a Christian Hedonist to bear witness to his faith and thus be like the Apostle John in his first letter, who said, “we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:4).

By John Piper. © desiring god. Website: www.desiringgod.org. Email: mail@desiringgod.org. Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

 

 

November 10

In Him we live, and move, and have our being.–ACTS xvii. 28.

Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?–PS. cxxxix. 7.

Yea! In Thy life our little lives are ended,
Into Thy depths our trembling spirits fall;
In Thee enfolded, gathered, comprehended,
As holds the sea her waves–Thou hold’st us all.
E. SCUDDER.

Where then is our God? You say, He is everywhere: then show me anywhere that you have met Him. You declare Him everlasting: then tell me any moment that He has been with you. You believe Him ready to succor them that are tempted, and to lift those that are bowed down: then in what passionate hour did you subside into His calm grace? in what sorrow lose yourself in His “more exceeding” joy? These are the testing questions by which we may learn whether we too have raised our altar to an “unknown God” and pay the worship of the blind; or whether we commune with Him “in whom we live, and move, and have our being.”
J. MARTINEAU.

 

FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. – Hebrews 12:2-3

The letter to the Hebrews was written to first century Jewish background believers who were being severely persecuted. Some were even considering giving up their faith in Jesus. The unknown author pens what many Bible scholars feel was originally a sermon about the superiority of Jesus over anyone else and everything else.

He slowly builds his case to culminate in the great faith chapter. In this chapter, he also points out that some great men and women of faith lived to see the fruit of their faith while many others— also men and women of faith—died prematurely because of persecution. Now in chapter twelve, the author makes what I think is his critical statement or main point of the letter. How do we walk by faith? We walk by faith by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus! Not fixed on our problems or difficult environment of opposition. Jesus was the pioneer and perfecter of faith. He endured opposition to the point of crucifixion. So we follow His example and we will also patiently endure because of the joy we know is to come.

In a Communist country, a Christian girl named Viorica was beaten harshly in school because she had invited her schoolmates to church. She fainted during the beating, and an ambulance had to take her to hospital. Two days passed before she regained consciousness. When she did, the doctor at her bedside said, “You poor girl, at last you’ve opened your eyes. All this time I’ve been thinking of the cruelty of the Director who beat you like this. My heart has been bitter with hatred. I wish I could take revenge on him.”

Viorica smiled. “There is no need to hate him,” she replied. Jesus taught us to love everyone. Just before I opened my eyes, I saw Him and talked to Him. He asked me whether it still hurts. And He told me that in heaven I will receive a very beautiful crown, which is reserved only for those who have suffered for Him. He told me to pray for those who mistreated me, and to love them, because our influence will help them to give their lives to God and so become His children.”

From the mouths of children! KEEP YOUR EYES FIXED ON JESUS!

RESPONSE: Today I will take my eyes off my surroundings, my problems, my fears and my suffering. I will keep them fixed on Jesus my Lord.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me keep my focus on You and in so doing bring glory and honor to You.

 

TODAY‘S

Christian Quote

Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks.

– Phillips Brooks
Your Daily Prayer Devotional Banner

A Prayer for Loving the Life You Have
By Nicki Koziarz

“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.” – Galatians 6:4

Today’s generation seems to be filled with more opportunities to compare ourselves with each other than ever before. We are constantly bombarded with social media feeds that tempt us to compare. Reality TV show us everything BUT reality. And advertisers tease us with promises that their products will provide perfection.

The reality is, comparison can compromise the individual calling and beautiful life God has given each of us.

If we spend more time looking at what others are doing or have, we could miss what we have and are supposed to do. Staying focused on what good things are happening in and through us will help keep this inner battle of comparison at bay.

Our culture will always try to tempt us with comparison, but God never does. He wants us to love our life just as much as He does. Even if the shoes are scuffed and tight … God helps us love where we are, not where we wish we could be.

What is one thing you are grateful for about the life you live?

Prayer:

God, help me love the life I live right now. Show me the good things I often overlook and help me be content with what I have. Forgive me when I compare myself to others, forgive me for longing for things outside of you and your kingdom. Thank you for loving me right where I am, right as I am. Help me keep my eyes on you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

right-where-we-are

 

 

NOV
10
THIS DAY IN HISTORY

1969

Sesame Street debuts

On this day in 1969, “Sesame Street,” a pioneering TV show that would teach generations of young children the alphabet and how to count, makes its broadcast debut. “Sesame Street,” with its memorable theme song (“Can you tell me how to get/How to get to Sesame Street”), went on to become the most widely viewed children’s program in the world. It has aired in more than 120 countries.

The show was the brainchild of Joan Ganz Cooney, a former documentary producer for public television. Cooney’s goal was to create programming for preschoolers that was both entertaining and educational. She also wanted to use TV as a way to help underprivileged 3- to 5- year-olds prepare for kindergarten. “Sesame Street” was set in a fictional New York neighborhood and included ethnically diverse characters and positive social messages.

Taking a cue from “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” a popular 1960s variety show, “Sesame Street” was built around short, often funny segments featuring puppets, animation and live actors. This format was hugely successful, although over the years some critics have blamed the show and its use of brief segments for shrinking children’s attention spans.

From the show’s inception, one of its most-loved aspects has been a family of puppets known as Muppets. Joan Ganz Cooney hired puppeteer Jim Henson (1936-1990) to create a cast of characters that became Sesame Street institutions, including Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Grover and Big Bird.

The subjects tackled by “Sesame Street” have evolved with the times. In 2002, the South African version of the program, “Takalani Sesame,” introduced a 5-year-old Muppet character named Kami who is HIV-positive, in order to help children living with the stigma of a disease that has reached epidemic proportions. In 2006, a new Muppet, Abby Cadabby, made her debut and was positioned as the show’s first female star character, in an effort to encourage diversity and provide a strong role model for girls.

Since its inception, over 74 million Americans have watched “Sesame Street.” Today, an estimated 8 million people tune in to the show each week in the U.S. alone.

 

 

Putting the “Thanks” Back in Thanksgiving

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalms 118:1

An old pastor and his wife invited a new young couple in the church over for Thanksgiving dinner. As the couple entered the home, they smelled the wonderful turkey and all the trimmings in the kitchen. As the four made their way to the dining room table, there was a great feast before them!

But as the young wife scanned the table, she noticed something out of place. Among the turkey, dressing, casseroles, and pies were three Chinese takeout cartons and a plate of egg rolls!

“I know what you’re thinking,” the old pastor said. “Why is there Chinese takeout on the table?”

“You see,” he continued, “23 years ago on Thanksgiving Day, my dear wife burned the turkey and started a fire in our kitchen! In fact, our entire kitchen nearly caught fire and the whole Thanksgiving meal was charred black!”

“So after the fire department left,” he chuckled, “we ordered Chinese takeout and that was our Thanksgiving meal! And every year since, we’ve had Chinese takeout as a part of our meal to remind us to be thankful for what we have!”

This year, I hope Thanksgiving isn’t just a holiday for you. It should be a way of life for every Christian. We serve a wonderful God who sent his Son to die for you. So as you continue to reflect on what you are thankful for this year, remember God’s blessings in your life!

GIVE THANKS TO GOD FOR HOW HE HAS BLESSED YOU IN YOUR LIFE AND ESPECIALLY FOR SENDING CHRIST TO DIE FOR YOU!

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5 Destructive Lies You Tell Yourself Every Day

Inside BST

Just go ahead and admit it. You’re lying to yourself today. Life gets complex, relationships get sticky, loneliness creeps in—and sometimes we just feel the need to bend the truth to make it through the week. We need our lies to keep the pain tucked away where it can’t get to us. That deceitful heart of ours has a way making it easy for us to be okay with these lies (Jeremiah 17:9)—that is, until they’re drawn out by God’s scalpel (Psalm 139:23).

These lies don’t just cover up the pain of life, though. They actually make it harder for us to grow in our faith and in our connection with others. We’ve gotten so numb to them that we don’t necessarily even see the damage they do.

But here’s one time when it’s definitely okay to “name it and claim it.” If we’re to get beyond these lies that we drag around with us, we have to identify them and call them what they are.

Have you seen any of these 5 lies in yourself today?

1. I’m Okay.

We don’t like to dig around inside and examine what’s going on. Why? Because when we start looking, we often find areas that need some major renovations. That gets messy, and most of us are far too busy to go and look for things to fix.

So, we just tie on the “I’m okay” superhero cape and trudge onward. It’s usually only when some sort of tragedy strikes that we finally realize we aren’t as okay as we thought.

But that’s not the biblical model. In the Bible, the Psalmist continually cries out for God to search him and test him and examine him so that He can keep doing the necessary renovation work (for example, Psalms 11, 17, and 26). The attitude of Scripture is more like this:

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:40)

Honestly, admitting daily that we’re not okay and that we need God’s help can be scary. It means owning our weaknesses and doing the hard work of self-examination on a regular basis. But thankfully for us, God specializes in weakness, especially when we aren’t sure where to start:

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26)

We’re weak. He’s strong. And that’s the best truth there is.

2. No One Will Ever Find Out.

If we’re ever looking for justification to do something dumb, we usually start here: No one will ever know. True, there might be a thousand variations on that theme, but it almost always comes back to anonymity. That’s why private browsing on the Internet and personal devices such as smartphones and tablets can be some of the most dangerous tools known to humanity. (They’re not necessarily bad, but “personal” devices do have drawbacks.)

No one will know if I watch this. No one will know if I go here while I’m on that work trip. No one will know if I post this anonymous and hurtful comment. No one will ever know.

First of all, there’s no such thing as true anonymity in our world. What we do in “private” very often has a way of being found out and exposed. (Just pay attention to all those hacking breaches you see in the news.)

More importantly, though, God has a way of making our “no one knows” sins come out—and He doesn’t miss any:

“You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” (Psalm 90:8)

Day by day, we let this lie bring us low and keep us from living the life God has planned. You see, God knows—He always knows the dumb things we do.

But He still loves us:

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

You can’t hide… and you don’t need to.

3. No One Will Get Hurt.

This lie really could be 2b, since these two excuses are like twins. If it’s not enough that no one will know, we also like to tell ourselves that no one will get hurt. If it’s behind closed doors, if it only involves two responsible adults, if it only impacts me, then it’s got to be okay.

However, what we usually mean is that no one will get hurt that we can see right now. We often don’t like to follow the chain of problems beyond the moment or the immediate circumstances. But what we don’t always consider are the spiritual ramifications that could pop up or the problems that might not be so obvious.

We also don’t take into account that God Himself is grieved and pained by our bad choices. God felt major pain because of raging sin before the Flood (Genesis 6:6), the rebellious grieved His Holy Spirit in Israel (Isaiah 63:10), and Jesus longed to gather His people to Him when they refused to accept Him (Matthew 23:37).

In other words, our sins always inflict grief and pain. And they do so to the very one we should want to please.

4. That’s Just the Way I Am.

Often, the easiest way out of dealing with a destructive pattern in our lives is simply to make it an acceptable or unchangeable part of who we are. Whether we see it as a part of our nature or simply as something we “can’t fix,” this lie helps us avoid feeling responsible. We can’t stop it because it’s just too deeply embedded.

But what we don’t like to admit is that God is the one who made us. We were intended to look like, act like, and be like Him (Genesis 1:27; 1 John 3:2). Sure, we all trip up somewhere on the way to that goal, but saying something is “just the way I am” means saying that God messed up or was taken by surprise by our struggles. We’re really just saying that He can’t change us.

Thankfully, we’re wrong. He specializes in making broken things new.

Your struggles are real. Just confess that first. They stink; they hurt; they mess us up. Once you get that out of the way, you can begin the often very long, very painful process of being made like Christ. Just keep this promise in mind:

“… he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Got that? He’s not going to give up halfway through because you mess up or because you’re just a special case. He will complete the work.

We just have to admit that it is a problem before we’ll ask and seek transformation.

5. I Can Do That Tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the time for Bible study, for that new morning prayer routine, for that meeting with our pastor or Christian friend. Tomorrow is when we’ll tell our spouse the truth. Tomorrow is when we’ll get honest with God.

But—and this is the truth—many times that “tomorrow” never comes. Even in the midst of how miserable some of our bad life choices make us, we just don’t like to make changes today. We look for a more opportune time—when it won’t be so hard.

That’s why the Psalmist and the writer of Hebrews make sure that we get focused on today:

“So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Psalm 95; Hebrews 3)

Telling yourself that you’ll make a change tomorrow certainly makes you feel better about today’s failures, but it rarely ever changes us. We must remember that a lack of commitment to change today comes with a steep price:

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)

We don’t even know if we’ll have a tomorrow, but we do know we have a right now. And God is faithful in that right now.

“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1 Corinthians 5:8–9)

Article first appeared on BibleStudyTools.com.

 

Devotionals Daily: A Year with Jesus

Go for the Green
By Jeff Hopper

Out of My Way

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

One glaring difference among golfers is that some wear watches, never remove their bulging wallets, even dangle large towels from their belt loops, whereas others avoid every possible disturbance from extraneous objects. In golf, this difference does not matter much; in life, it may matter greatly.

Scripture teaches that we are to recognize the many things that keep us from running the race that is marked for us. This is the race for eternity. Knowing Christ was completely righteous, we can be assured that He did not carry with Him the weight of sin or the distraction of fruitless pastimes. And as men and women of God, we must stick to our purpose: to become like Christ, running an unhindered path to our heavenly Father. To those other things we say, “Out of my way!”

© 2004, 2012 by Jeff Hopper

 

Trust and Obey

If you love me, you will obey what I command. – >John 14:15

“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.” Simple words from a simple hymn. Yet these simple words contain incredible insight into the essential elements of the Christian life.

Trust and obedience are your allies when you surrender your life to God. “For it’s God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” That’s what the apostle Paul teaches in the book of Philippians.  But if we don’t trust that God loves us, that He is all-wise and all-powerful, and that He cares for us; we won’t be very likely to obey Him, will we?

When it comes to our formal theology, we confess a belief which says that obedience is born out of trust. Yet in our day-to-day life, we’re too often disobedient in spite of giving lip-service to trust.

So the question remains: can you truly trust your Lord without obeying Him?

In Luke 11:28 Jesus calls those who hear the word of God and obey it “blessed.” In other words: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”

“Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. ” – Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

 

The Daily Word of Hope Devotional

Bible Fun Fact: To the Lord the nations are a drop in the bucket (Isaiah 40:15).

Hard Times

You therefore put your belt on your waist, arise, and say to them all that I command you. Don’t be dismayed at them, lest I dismay you before them. For, behold, I have made you today a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against its princes, against its priests, and against the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they will not prevail against you; for I am with you’, says Yahweh, ‘to rescue you.’ Jeremiah 1:17 WEB

Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet because the Lord gave him a very difficult mission: To warn His people that their wicked ways would eventually bring their destruction. Almost everyone was against him, and Jeremiah spent a lot of his time in pits, and in jail. Even the other prophets in the city disagreed with him.

Jeremiah represented the Lord, while everyone else was against him, and he did not want the job. When Jeremiah prophesied, the people did not cheer, instead they wanted to kill him. Yet he did prophesy for over forty years because the Lord was with him.

As a prophet, that was Jeremiah’s job. A prophet hears the word from God, and then tells it to the people. They face the people, with the Lord behind them. A priest is the opposite, and takes the needs of the people to God. The priest stands with the people behind him, facing the Lord.

Sometimes you can try your best to serve God, but it can feel like it is just you against the entire world, especially in the workplace. The more that you do right, the more that seems to go wrong, and you may begin to wonder if you are on the right side of this at all.

I once went through a personal revival, set out on a two week fast, and made it a goal to listen to the Bible twenty four hours a day. At the end of the two weeks, I was laid off from my job, completely unexpected. It worked out fine in the long run, but with a new house payment, it was not a pleasant experience. But that was the path that led me to owning my own computer business, which prepared me for the ministry that we do today, and our online church.

If you are you facing a battle today, I have good news: You don’t have to face this one alone. Even if you dug this pit yourself, the Lord is more than willing to help you climb out of it, if you sincerely ask Him. He is with you: To save you, to deliver you, and to spare you today. You will still be standing when all those who wish you were gone, are gone.

Prayer: Heavenly Father I thank You so much for being there for me. I look to You to take care of me today. You can see the big picture of time, where I can only see the past. Please lead me and help me to make the right decisions in my life, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.

 

The Grace of Christ

Guilt sucks the life out of our souls. Grace restores it. No one had more reason to feel the burden of guilt than did the apostle Paul. He had orchestrated the deaths of Christians–an ancient version of a terrorist. Yet, Paul gave his guilt to Jesus, period. He surrendered it to Jesus! As a result he could write, “I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us” (Philippians 3:13-14TLB).

What would the apostle say to the guilt-ridden? Simply this: Rejoice in the Lord’s mercy. Trust in his ability to forgive. Cast yourself upon the grace of Christ and Christ alone!

 

Truth For Life

—Alistaire Biggs

DEVOTIONALS  

God, Our Refuge

The eternal God is your dwelling place.

 Deuteronomy 33:27

“Dwelling place” may be translated “refuge” or “abiding-place” and provides the thought that God is our abode, our home. There is a fullness and sweetness in the metaphor, for our home is dear to our hearts, although it may be the humblest cottage or the tiniest loft; and dearer still is our blessed God, in whom we live and move and have our being.

It is at home that we feel safe: We shut the world out and dwell in quiet security. So when we are with our God we fear no evil.

He is our shelter and retreat, our abiding refuge. At home we take our rest; it is there we find repose after the fatigue and toil of the day. And so our hearts find rest in God when, wearied with life’s conflict, we turn to Him, and our soul dwells secure.

At home also we relax; we are not afraid of being misunderstood, nor of our words being misconstrued. So when we are with God we can commune freely with Him, laying open all our hidden desires; for if the Lord gives favor to the humble, then they may share their secrets with Him, confident in His love.

Home, too, is the place of our truest and purest happiness: And it is in God that our hearts find their deepest delight. We have joy in Him that far outweighs all other joy.

It is also for home that we work and labor. The thought of it gives strength to bear the daily burden, and quickens the hands to perform the task; and in this sense we may also say that God is our home.

Love for Him strengthens us. We think of Him in the person of His dear Son, and a glimpse of the suffering face of the Redeemer constrains us to work in His cause. We feel that we must work, for there are many still to be saved, and we desire to gladden our Father’s heart by bringing home His wandering sons; we would fill with holy laughter the sacred family among whom we dwell. Happy then are those who have the God of Jacob for their refuge!

 

 

Today’s Scripture

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” – (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Thoughts for Today

“Why did you do that?”

Ever cringe when someone has asked you that question? Did it make you feel defensive? Angry?

When you are care-fronting someone struggling with a life-controlling problem, they are likely to respond to why questions the same way.

Why may create instant barriers to communication. You are questioning their motives–and that can make defenses spring to life.

Instead of “Why did you . . .” or “Why didn’t you . . .,” talk about observable behaviors. What . . . how . . . when . . . where.

Your loved one’s motives for their behavior may be wrong, but calling those motives into question doesn’t help anyone. You can best penetrate their delusions by presenting facts in a nonthreatening way.

Consider this …

This week we’ve addressed several ways to care-front someone with a life-controlling problem. A balance between truth and love is vital. Make a commitment to speak the truth no matter how painful it may be to bring the facts out into the open. Always speak respectfully and lovingly. Avoid opinions or judgments. Stick to the facts.

Here is the most important thing to remember: don’t depend on your own wisdom, your timing, your way. Always depend on the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Seek God’s will in all you do.

Prayer …

Father, I need your help. I cannot do this on my own. Help me speak the truth no matter how painful it may be. And help me always speak in love. In Jesus’ name . . .

 

How God Makes Fishermen
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
November 10, 2017

“‘Come, follow Me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.'” Matthew 4:19

Our calling has three distinct stages, which we can see in the lives of many called before us, to become mature fishers of men who greatly impact God’s Kingdom. First, there is the gestation period. This is the development stage of our lives. It may involve years of normal work experiences. You may be a Christian during this time, or you may be following after worldly success as a non-Christian. Paul spent years in religious and political training, persecuting believers most of his early life. Moses spent years in the court of Pharaoh and 40 years tending flocks in the desert. Jesus spent 30 years living at home and working in His father’s carpentry business. However, all these years were part of their preparation.

Next is the crisis stage. Sooner or later, God calls you into relationship with Him. For many, like Paul, it comes through dramatic encounters like being knocked off a horse, blinded and spoken to personally by God. Some people are more difficult than others to reach and so require this level of crisis. This is a time when God requires major changes so that you follow Him fully. It can be a time in which God harnesses years of experience for a new life purpose. Paul’s earthly experiences would be used in his calling to the religious and political leaders of his day. For Moses, the burning bush experience would begin his journey in which he would discover his ultimate calling after years of preparation. For Peter, it was his denial of Jesus three times that allowed him to face his shallow commitment to Christ. For Jesus, it was the garden of Gethsemane. These were the benchmark turning points for men who made an impact on their world.

Last is the fruit-bearing stage. In it, God’s power is manifested in your life like never before. God takes all your experiences and uses them to build His Kingdom in and through your life. Your obedience to this final call results in fruitfulness you could never imagine without the long preparation process. For Abraham, it resulted in becoming the father of many nations. For Paul, it resulted in bringing the gospel to the Gentiles. And for Peter, it meant becoming the leader of the Church. For Jesus, it was salvation for the entire world.

What does God want to achieve through your life? God has a plan that is so incredible you cannot comprehend it. It requires only that you love Him and follow Him. Then you will become fishers of men like the world has never known.

 

Passion for Praise: ‘He Alone is Your God!’

Friday, November 10, 2017

He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes.

Notes
Yes, last night was another rough night…..I lay in bed with thoughts swirling in my head……I went from hurting to being angry to being resentful to justifying myself and back to hurting and sadness…….why do I let it all eat me up so badly?  I had a daughter…..I don’t think I have her anymore…in fact, I wonder if I should even want her anymore!  When she was diagnosed with her breast cancer, she turned to me— then I was her Mom and she told me she was scared….she NEEDED me THEN…..I am about to undergo a battery of all sorts of tests to find out what’s wrong with me……I have no daughter to turn to……….I’m scared but I only have my man and my two sons here……..but, I don’t want her that way……….I didn’t deserve her daughters’ disrespect but I guess I shouldn’t have said so online……this is what she taught them……this is hypocrisy……..will her daughter treat HER husband the way my daughter treated and still treats HER’S?  Probably………
Robert-H.-Schuller-quote-Let-your-hopes-not-your-hurts-shape-your-future
Deserae-Turner-Heavenly-father
Martin-Luther-King-quote-We-must-accept-finite-disappointment-but-never-lose-infinite-hope
Unfollow1
BuildingAHouse1
God bless you all!!!!

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