TODAY’S DAILY PRAYER
Lord our God, you are our refuge. We wait for you, for your purpose will never fail and your promise will be fulfilled. This we may firmly believe, and from this we may draw strength every day. Even when our life brings sorrow, we do not want to grieve. We want to hope and believe and endure until your day comes. Your kingdom will come on earth, and in the meantime you are watching over your people. In the midst of the world’s daily affairs there will be people who hope in you, who belong to you, and who are firmly rooted in the grace of Jesus Christ until the time is fulfilled. Amen.
Caffeine for your conscience
TODAY’S DAILY DIG
Verse of the Day
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
God is with us! That’s the great message of the story of Jesus (Matt. 1:23). That’s the message of hope Zephaniah gives the defeated people of God. God is among us. He is mighty to save. He loves us. He delights in us. He stills the storms of our hearts with his loving touch. He sings us lullabies of joy. God longs to be close to us and invites us to draw near. What will your response be?
Father, strengthen my resolve as I turn away from evil and seek to draw near to you. I don’t want any imitation relationship with you. I don’t want some artificial symbol of you. I want to know you. I want to experience your presence and to be used as your tool of grace in the lives of others. I need your presence to settle the disquietude of my soul. Thank you for being near. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
BIBLE STUDY BUDDY
Read Philippians 3:7-16…
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9. and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ- the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10. I want to know Christ- yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11. and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
“I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”
Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with Him. No, I must know Him myself; I must know Him on my own account. It will be an intelligent knowledge—I must know Him, not as the visionary dreams of Him, but as the Word reveals Him. I must know His natures, divine and human. I must know His offices—His attributes—His works—His shame—His glory. I must meditate upon Him until I “comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” It will be an affectionate knowledge of Him; indeed, if I know Him at all, I must love Him. An ounce of heart knowledge is worth a ton of head learning. Our knowledge of Him will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Saviour, my mind will be full to the brim—I shall feel that I have that which my spirit panted after. “This is that bread whereof if a man eat he shall never hunger.” At the same time it will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I shall want to know. The higher I climb the loftier will be the summits which invite my eager footsteps. I shall want the more as I get the more. Like the miser’s treasure, my gold will make me covet more. To conclude; this knowledge of Christ Jesus will be a most happy one; in fact, so elevating, that sometimes it will completely bear me up above all trials, and doubts, and sorrows; and it will, while I enjoy it, make me something more than “Man that is born of woman, who is of few days, and full of trouble”; for it will fling about me the immortality of the everliving Saviour, and gird me with the golden girdle of His eternal joy. Come, my soul, sit at Jesus’s feet and learn of Him all this day.
The Testimony of a Tortoise…
Remember the tortoise and the hare in Aesop’s Fables? The hare boasted that he was the swiftest animal in the forest. When he challenged the others to a race, only the tortoise dared to try. To the hare, it seemed an unfair contest, since he would win easily. But off they started, with the tortoise soon trailing far behind.
On the way, the hare decided there was time for a nap, but the tortoise kept plodding along. When the hare awoke, he couldn’t see the tortoise anywhere, so he laughed and said, ”He still hasn’t caught up with me!” But as he ran toward the finish line, he saw the tortoise crossing it. Slowly and steadily, the tortoise had won!
Like that foolish hare, some believers are ”fast movers” whose Christian lives are full of stops and starts. But they often complain that they’re getting nowhere fast. The better testimony would be ”I’m getting somewhere slowly.” This is more realistic, for true learning, growing, and overcoming are gradual experiences.
A philosopher once said that the essential thing in heaven and on earth should be ”long obedience in the same direction.” Like the apostle Paul, make it your lifelong aim to press on toward your goal in Christ (Phil. 3:14). You’ll be the one to win the prize.
“When Jesus cried out ‘It is finished,’ he meant ‘It was finished in the past, it is still finished in the present, and it will remain finished in the future.'”
~Ray Pritchard (from “what was finished?“)
There Are No Untouchable People to Jesus?
It seems like an absurd question (Luke 8:45). With so many people pressing in upon Jesus, how could anyone know who touched him? With many people wanting to be near Him, it could have been any man or any woman in the crowd. But the Master knew that someone had touched the edge of His garment and at that moment a mighty miracle had occurred. A woman with a serious blood disorder had been instantly cured.
This woman had taken a real chance by touching Jesus. According to the law, her touch could make Jesus unclean. Because He was the Son of God, His power of healing overcame her uncleanness. But she did not know that when she touched Him.
What a crucial point this is. Our Lord Jesus was not ashamed to be touched by the untouchable, and He was not embarrassed to be publicly identified with the outcasts of this world. He was at home with sinners, He ate supper with gluttons and drunkards, He welcomed the prostitutes, He touched the lepers, and He is not ashamed to be touched by an unclean person.
Not ashamed? No, not at all. Delighted, I think, and glad to identify Himself with her. Delighted that she had the courage to reach out and glad that He could heal her. And He didn’t care who knew about it. No, that’s not strong enough. He wanted the whole crowd to know what He had done.
Why is this so important? Because with our Lord there are no “untouchable” people. In Jesus’ eyes, everyone is touchable. Thank God, there are no hopeless cases with Him.
Taken from “who touched me?” by Keep Believing Ministries (used by permission).
Every day will I bless Thee; and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever.–PS. cxlv. 2.
Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.–PROV. xvi. 3.
Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;
Disperse my sins as morning dew;
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with Thyself my spirit fill.
Morning by morning think, for a few moments, of the chief employments of the day, any one thing of greater moment than others, thine own especial trial, any occasions of it which are likely to come that day, and by one short strong act commend thyself beforehand in all to God; offer all thy thoughts, words, and deeds to Him–to be governed, guided, accepted by Him. Choose some great occasions of the day, such as bring with them most trial to thee, on which, above others, to commend thyself to God.
E. B. PUSEY.
Will you not, before venturing away from your early quiet hour, “commit thy works” to Him definitely, the special things you have to do to-day, and the unforeseen work which He may add in the course of it?
F. R. HAVERGAL.
THOSE WHO ARE MISTREATED
Continue to remember those…who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrew 13:3b
As we see in Hebrews chapter 12, once we “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus,” we will be aware of how we should then live. The writer now turns to the issue of remembering those who are mistreated. And again he adds an empathy and personalized application. Remember them as if you yourself were the one suffering!
Dr. Jan Pit often shared the poignant story of a young Christian in Egypt he met named Timothy. Through the Christian radio broadcasts of TWR Timothy was introduced to Jesus whom he received into his heart and began to follow.
But when he shared his new faith with his Muslim family, they reacted so strongly that he was told to leave home and never come back. After several years of living with other Christians, he decided to try and make contact with his family again. On his mother’s birthday, he bought some flowers and walked to his family’s home. When he knocked on the door, his mother opened it.
“Happy birthday, Mother!” Timothy said. “I brought you these flowers because I love you!”
Timothy’s mother turned to him with a stern look and said, “I don’t know who you are!” And she slammed the door.
Timothy said to Jan with tears streaming down his face, “I don’t have a family any more. Will you be my family?”
Today you can be a surrogate family for Christians treated this way. You can also remember to pray for Christians like fifteen-year-old Shirin who has gone through a difficult time of persecution.
When Shirin became a believer he also met with much opposition from his relatives. They shouted at him, threatened him and finally gave him a choice; Jesus or the family.
He chose Jesus and then left his home. He was living on the streets. Alone, hungry and very poor. A local Christian saw him, had pity on him and took him into his house.
Shirin loves God with all his heart! His mother and father are in prison now for being drug addicts, but he is witnessing to many about God’s great love which has been revealed to him.
RESPONSE: Today I will remember those believers who are mistreated and do everything possible to assist them in the way I would want assistance if I was in their shoes.
PRAYER: Lord, grant me empathy and a giving heart for those being severely persecuted today.
“Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that his time is short” (Rev. 12:12).
The above Scripture allows us to see through a window into the past when Satan was cast out of heaven. He was filled with great wrath. This gives us a picture of what is presently happening in America and the nations of the world through the spirit of Antichrist.
“Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and is already in the world” (1 John 4:3).
“For many deceivers, who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Each one is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 7).
A great anger and hatred has been unleashed in America against Christians and true conservatives. We are seeing this on every level—not just here, but as I stated, in the nations as well. There’s an irrational hatred evidenced here in the U.S. among the leftists for those who don’t believe as they do. This is the same spirit that has manifested at different times throughout history and was the common spirit in Rome where they accepted all gods and goddesses, yet rejected those who worshipped the true and living God.
This evil anti-Christ spirit is in manifestation all over the world from religions that kill anyone that do not agree with them, to political enemies who personally attack people’s words and actions rather than the content of their ideas, to even the body of Christ, which has caused division, church splits and the ending of many friendships. When you see irrational anger without any logical reason or justification for it, there is usually a very strong evil spirit behind.
Hatred and Anger Will Increase
As we near the return of the Lord, this anger and hatred will continue to increase throughout the nations. As a result, the persecution against the church shall also increase. It will be as it was in the early church. The good news is that persecution has a way of purifying and unifying the church with ensuing great signs, wonders and miracles usually resulting.
For many years, America has had its enemies from without, but never have we witnessed so many enemies from within. You watch, if our president does not get the cooperation necessary from Congress to pass the bills that need to be passed and signed in this hour, the heat of the anger and hatred his opposers have toward him will rise to yet another level. One such bill is tax reform. We need to be praying that this passes because if it doesn’t many people and investors will begin to lose confidence in this administration, and there will be a severe backlash. Trump’s enemies and those who already oppose his presidency will vehemently blame the conservatives, and it could result in the liberals winning in 2018 and racing forward with their anti-Christ agenda.
I have a few genuine prophet friends who have been sensing the same thing I’ve been sensing since Trump’s election. An initial relief that Hillary did not win the election and a gratitude for the window of opportunity extended to the church in this hour, followed by a recent blank feeling in our spirits beyond the first two years of this presidency. No joy. No excitement. A sense of things still very much hanging in the balance. I said earlier in the year that 2017 would be a very bad year for the world. It seems worse in 2018 with no sense beyond that. Just a blank feeling.
If and when liberals are back in charge, they will come with vengeance against conservatives and Christians and those who don’t agree with them. Conservatives and Christians will be blamed for the nation’s problems, as that spirit has done throughout the centuries, blaming others to justify its actions. Be mindful that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood and that this spirit of anger and hatred is the root motivator.
Pray that these bad things politically and economically be delayed or stopped altogether. Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves to discern that spirit of anger and hatred that works in all those who will yield to it.
This is the time for the church to shine with the glory of the Lord. The glorious church is the only hope of the world. This is the time to manifest the glory and power of God and reap a great harvest of souls, as those outside of Christ begin to sense the hopelessness and emptiness of life without Him. They, too sense the hatred and anger in the world. They are seeing that the answer is not in kings, and presidents, and the governments and economies of the world. They will discover that sin and religion can never satisfy. In fact, I believe that many traditional churches and those without the power in this hour will grow increasingly frustrated and seek a deeper experience in God. The glorious church must seize this opportunity. In spite of the grim and bleak circumstances and conditions in the world, I believe this is our finest hour.
Let God arise, and His enemies be scattered.
There is so much falsehood in the world and in the traditional church that many are seeking the real. This tetralogy of books will point you in that direction: The Real Salvation, The Real Gospel, The Real Jesus and The Real Spirit Of Revival.
Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, has authored several books with an emphasis on helping to restore the true spirit of Christianity in the Church today, including the newly released, Passing on The Move of God to The Next Generation and the highly sacred book, The Journal Of A Journey To His Holiness. An anointing of fire marks his ministry with frequent demonstrations of the Spirit and power of God. He ministers interdenominationally and cross-culturally in nations, churches, conferences, on the streets and in homes. He and his wife Carolyn also host The Holy Ghost Forum – a school of the Spirit. Follow him at Bert Farias and Holy Fire Ministries on Facebook and @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.
A Prayer to Catch Your Breath
By Max Lucado
“Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.” Exodus 23:12 (NIV)
God designed time for rest to be taken daily and weekly. He told Moses and the Israelites, “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed” (Exodus 23:12).
This was not a suggestion, recommendation or piece of practical advice. This was a command: Rest! Once a week let the system reboot. Once a week, let the entire household slow down. The Israelite who violated this law paid for the sin with his or her life.
Today the “death penalty” is still in effect, but it gradually comes from overwork, stress and anxiety.
The Bible doesn’t see rest as a sign of weakness or laziness, but as a mark of reverence. To observe a Sabbath day of rest is to announce, “God knows what I need more than I do. If He says to rest, I will rest.” And, as we do, our bodies and minds are refreshed.
Never has rest been more important. We move at too fast a pace and our adrenaline spigots seldom shut off. Racing for late-night flights and adding early-morning meetings, we’re stretched beyond our limits. High adrenaline output depletes the brain’s natural tranquilizers and sets the stage for high anxiety. Many of us learned to associate relaxation with irresponsibility, so we might need some rewiring.
These are some tips I’ve learned to try:
· Don’t overdo it.Understand your limits. If you think you have no limits, then you have more than most people.
· Once you reach your limits, stop. Don’t work until you drop. Find a pace of life that works for you, and stick to it.
· Maintain regular breaks during the day. Naps are biblical.
· Give your mind a rest from technology. Turn off, unplug, detach from social media, news and all the tech toys that deplete energy.
· Learn to relax. To relax is to disengage and let go. An hour or daylong Sabbath is not the time to catch up with work. It is a time to entrust my work to God. After all, He worked for six days and then rested. The world didn’t fall apart. It won’t for me either.
God promised to supply the Hebrews with manna each day. But He told them to collect only one day’s supply at a time. Those who disobeyed and collected enough for two days found themselves with rotten manna. The only exception was the day prior to the Sabbath. On Friday, they could gather twice as much. Otherwise, God gave them what they needed, in their time of need.
Doesn’t each day have its share of challenges? Some of them repeat themselves over time; others are one-day specials.
I’ve learned the key to tranquility and true rest is to face today’s problems and no more, to treat each day like a self-contained unit. Here are today’s problems. Meet them with God’s strength. But I don’t have to start tackling tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow. I don’t have tomorrow’s strength yet. I simply have enough for today. And I can’t cross a bridge until I reach it.
So what to do?
Find a parking place for tomorrow’s problems. When they surface, write them down, and mentally drive them into a parking garage and leave them there.
Don’t over-stress your coping skills. Emotional energy is finite. Give yourself permission to say, “I will solve this tomorrow. By sunrise I will be replenished physically and mentally. Every day is a fresh start, so I will start fresh in the morning.”
Shut the gate on yesterday, and don’t touch the gate on tomorrow.
You no longer have yesterday. You do not yet have tomorrow. You only have today. Live in it!
Dear Lord, break me of the need to be busy pursuing a sense of self-worth. Make me secure in who You are and who You’ve made me to be, and as a result, teach me what it means to truly rest. Help me catch my breath. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Reset Your Gratitude Meter
1 Thessalonians 5:18
What are you thankful for? We gather, every year at this time, to reflect on the blessings of God over the past year. But in most families, Thanksgiving is less about real gratitude and more about stuffing your face, watching football, and hanging with the family. Some actually dread Thanksgiving, because they’re forced to sit in a room with people they really don’t enjoy.
Now I’m all in favor of the food and the football. But this year, let’s make Thanksgiving about giving and about thanks. This year, more than any, might force us to dig deeper. For many, it will mark a year since they’ve had employment .For others, Thanksgiving will bring another reminder that they haven’t found that significant other. And there are those couples who have to face the family questions of why they still can’t have children.
For many, this was a year marked by pain. So how do we summon the gratitude? Well, if you’re a Christian, you’re basis is not your circumstances, but something greater. Paul tells the people of Thessalonica that they could “give thanks in everything.” Why? Because this was the “will of God in Christ.”
In other words, followers of Christ believe that every piece of hardship is a grace gift from the Lord, sent for their growth, sanctification, and further intimacy with the Almighty. We don’t believe we’re here on this earth all alone. We believe God is firmly in charge.
Though life may get hard–and it does–it all falls under God’s sovereign will. And so we give thanks.
As Americans, we really have cause for gratitude. I have to periodically remind myself of this and remind my family. We so easily get caught up in the easy lust for more stuff. Bigger house, nicer car, better clothes, newest gadgets. But then I remember my travels to third world countries, where I’ve seen real poverty–and real gratitude on the part of the Christians there.
Tonight, my kids will go to bed with full stomachs. They’ll have a roof over their heads. They will have two parents in the next room. They will ride in a nice car. They will have a future that includes a good education. All of those are things most kids in the world don’t have. And so, they should be grateful.
Let’s not sit around the table carping about the election, complaining about our job status, whining about injustices from friends. Let’s instead reset our gratitude meters and offer genuine, heartfelt thanks to God. For salvation in Christ. For His daily care. And for friends and family He graciously provides. Oh, and for wives that allow us to stuff our faces and watch football.
Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at twitter.com/dandarling, or check out his website: danieldarling.com.
5 Things You Won’t Believe are NOT in the Bible
Would you believe there are some secular sayings that sound so religious people often believe they came from the Bible?
These pieces of presumed Christian “wisdom” can sound biblical on the surface, but a closer look at Scripture will show you that some of them are actually far from the truth of God’s Word.
Here are five sayings that are NOT a part of Scripture:
1. God helps those who help themselves.
I’m sure you’ve heard it and possibly even said it to encourage someone to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get it done. But this verse is not in the Bible. And its premise is not true. To the contrary, God helps those who admit they can’t help themselves.
Scripture is loaded with examples of God calling weak, humble people who would have been inadequate for the Lord’s work without His enabling strength. Scripture says that Christ’s power is made perfect in our weakness. And Paul states “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV).
Furthermore, James 4:10 tells us “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” If God helped those who helped themselves, that verse would read: “Show yourself capable and God will come along and help.” Many times those of us who believe we can help ourselves don’t feel we need God and therefore, we don’t rely on Him. God wants us to admit we’re helpless so we can start depending on His strength to get us through situations. That is faith.
2. God won’t give you more than you can handle.
I think we’ve all said this at one time or another, primarily to comfort another believer or even an unbeliever who is struggling with something or fearful that something bad might happen. But this verse does not exist. And this statement doesn’t hold true. God will often give us more than we can handle so that we will depend on Him to carry the burden for us.
Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV), and Matthew 11:28-30 tells us to come to Him when we are weary and take His yoke upon us so we can bear a load that is too heavy to lift ourselves.
I believe we get the idea that God won’t give us more than we can bear from 1 Corinthians 10:13 which tells us “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.” That verse tells us God will not allow us to be temptedbeyond what we are able to resist. But He will allow us to struggle beyond our capacity in other aspects of life so we understand what it means to surrender and allow Him to carry the burden for us.
3. We are all God’s children.
Here’s another one that sounds true. And although God is the Creator of all, He is not the father of all. Romans 8:9 clearly tells us “if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”
Jesus said those who are apart from Him are children of Satan, the“father of lies” (John 8:44) and Romans 8:15 tells us when we receive God’s spirit we have received “a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’” God adopts us through our surrender to Christ Jesus. Therefore, a more accurate saying is: We are all God’s creation, but we are not all God’s children.
4. The sinner’s prayer.
As I was discipling a young believer, I asked her if she had ever said “the sinner’s prayer.” She read it in the discipleship material we had in front of us and then asked me where it was found in the Bible. “Well, it’s not. It’s implied,” I said.
This is a tough one for us because we want to point to something in the Bible that someone needs to actually say in order to be saved. However, Romans 10:9-10 says “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” No wordy prayer involving the words “repent” or “confess” or asking Jesus to “come into our hearts” exists in Scripture.
5. God works in mysterious ways.
This might be one of the most quoted sayings of all time when it comes to God. The only problem is that it isn’t a verse in the Bible. Yes, God does work in ways we don’t understand, but this saying is most likely a simplified paraphrasing of two verses.
Ecclesiastes 11:5 says,“As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” And Jeremiah 33:3 reads,“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” In this case, it’s not that this saying iswrong, it’s simply not in the Bible.
Can you think of some more sayings that people quote as if they’re Scripture? Include them in the comment section below as a way of letting others know what is not, in fact, in the Bible.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and best-selling author who helps women and couples find strength for the soul. She is the author of 15 books, including When Women Walk Alone, When Couples Walk Together, God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart, and her newest,10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. For more on her books, ministry, or free resources to strengthen your soul or marriage, see her website: StrengthForTheSoul.com
Right From the Heart
By Bryant Wright
Storms of Life
“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” –Matthew 7:26 NIV
Are you ready for the storms of life? Maybe you’re currently in a life storm or have recently endured one. One thing’s for sure: storms come to us all. The loss of a job, the death of a spouse, or the doctor’s words “You’ve got cancer” are all storms. When we live life, storms come.
Jesus told a story about two men. One man built his house on the sand. The winds and the rains came, and his house fell in. Another built his house on the rock, and the winds and the rains came, but it withstood the storm. The key difference was in the foundation. The greatest foundation for withstanding the storms of life is the rock of Jesus Christ. A close personal relationship with the Lord builds a solid foundation, and that relationship comes through trusting Him and following Him day by day. Storms come. Is your foundation secured, built on the rock of Jesus Christ?
The good news is, even if you’ve been blown away by a storm, it’s not too late to start rebuilding on the right foundation.
© 2011 by Bryant Wright
Nothing to Prove
I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, “Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?” Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. – >Job 42:2, 3, 5
Here’s a paradox for you. Those of you with a healthy sense of self are in the best position to exercise true humility. Why? Because the person with a healthy sense of self has nothing to prove. No agenda to push. No ego to shield. And no need to fret over what others think of you. When you encounter a problem that exceeds your knowledge, you admit without pretense that you don’t know the answer.
Sometimes we Christians can really fool ourselves. We think that since God is all knowledgeable and wise, and since we have His Holy Spirit within us, we should be able to dispense pearls of wisdom like spiritual gumballs. The truth is, the more we come to know God, the more we realize what we don’t know. And that’s O.K.!
The more we experience God’s grandeur and the more we understand our dignity as his sons and daughters, the lower we’ll bow before His throne–with nothing to prove and everything to gain.
“My dad used to say, You wouldn’t worry so much about what people thought of you if you knew how seldom they did.” – Phillip McGraw (1950- )
The Daily Word of Hope Devotional
Bible Fun Fact: An easy way to count the books of the Bible. Old (3 letters) Testament (9 letters). 3 & 9 =39 books. New (3 letters) Testament (9 letters). 3×9=27 books. 39+27=66 books.
The Wonderful You
Which commandment is the greatest of all? Jesus answered, ‘The greatest is, ‘Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one: you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:28 WEB
When they asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, He told them: ‘Love God, and Love others.’ This is first and foremost, but after that, be yourself. Some of the greatest people that I know are uniquely themselves. They try and be no one else, and they resist trying to fit into a Christian template that someone else created in their minds. Love God, love others, and be who He created you to be.
God created you with your personality, characteristics, skills, likes and dislikes, wants and desires. He crafted you with His loving hands to be who you are. You are not a mistake. Do not throw your uniqueness away by trying to be someone else. You can be a mediocre them, or a wonderful you.
I love electronics, always have. I also love the word of God and when I was young, I wanted to be in the ministry. When I tried to follow the path of others, I was like a fish out of water and every door was closed.
Most of the people that I went to Bible college with were proud to not own a computer then. People associated it with the mark of the beast, and they had no vision of it being used for good. I tried to give my pastor one and he said something like: ‘Ive heard bad things about those machines.’ People tried to make me feel ashamed of owning one.
I was on the other side of the spectrum, and my desk is commonly covered with broken computers. Macs, Linux, Windows, I use all three every day to do what we do here. Accompanied by Virtual machines, iPads, Androids, Chrome books, and a Raspberry Pi or two. The side is usually off of my computer, and it has a couple of hard drives hanging out of it.
When the Lord finally pushed us into ministry, it became an online church, and that fits who we are. I am no longer a fish out of water, and my peers would feel out of place if they were forced to be me. We are all created differently to fulfill a purpose that others cannot. So be yourself, and it is never too late for you to get started.
No matter what you have done, you can be forgiven. No matter how bad you have broken it, it can be repaired. No matter how far away that you have drifted, He is waiting for your return. God loves you and He still has a plan for your life. Do not look down on yourself because you do not fit inside of a mold that someone else created. Their clothes were never meant to fit you.
Prayer: Heavenly Father please lead me into all that You have for me. Help me find the place that I belong. Put Your desires in my heart, speak to me, and through me, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be the light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand–shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 MSG
Thoughts for Today
God calls us to be light to the world. We can hand out tracts, witness to people who cross our paths, and even go on mission trips … but if people cannot see the love and character of Christ growing in us, our light will be dim.
God is calling us to “keep open house–always making others welcome. That involves taking time to talk to people. To be sensitive to their needs. To really show that we care.
God is calling us to “be generous with our lives–to be willing to get involved with people, with church ministry, with whatever he is calling us to do.
God is calling us to “open up to others”–to be honest and real. To share what Jesus has done in our lives.
By doing these things we will “prompt people to open up with God.”
Consider this …
Teaching a class or sharing God’s Word with someone or serving in a ministry are vital ways to share the gospel–but all these things must be combined with sharing ourselves and allowing the love of Christ to flow through us through our caring and good deeds. In order for our light to truly shine, we need to focus on Jesus and grow in character, allowing the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in our lives.
Lord, I pray that my life might reflect your love and that the fruit of the spirit will be more and more evident in my life. May my light shine brightly and draw people to you. In Jesus’ name …
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
November 17, 2017
His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” – Matthew 25:21
Testing allows one to discover how well a product is made when placed under extreme stress. Increasing the pulling pressure between two objects reveals the amount of tension that can be withstood in a chain link. Eventually, the “choking” point occurs. In sports, we ascertain the “choking” point for athletes by putting them into a pressure situation. At what point will the athlete lose concentration and collapse under the pressure? It is under these stressful times that we discover how well we have been trained to withstand the pressure and make right decisions regardless of outside influences.
In my younger days I played sports. I came to observe that we fail under pressure usually because we reach a point where our ability to focus on execution yields to concern about outcome. This worry about outcome forces us to lose our concentration. The fear of failure begins to rule our emotions and actions, which ultimately results in our failure. What we fear has come upon us. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In life, we see giving in to pressure in the form of compulsive behavior, withdrawal, anger, abuse, moral failure, and dishonesty, to name just a few manifestations.
Jesus never yielded to pressure. He never made decisions based on outcome. He always made the right decision. He always performed the same no matter what the circumstance. He lived a life based on absolutes, not circumstances. He never gave in to “situational ethics.”
As God entrusts us with more and more responsibility, He brings more and more pressures into our lives to “test the product,” to make sure that He can give even more responsibility to us. This process helps us see where we are in our maturity and determines our level of future responsibility.
Are you a product that can withstand the product test? Will you perform as the Maker designed no matter what outside pressures come? Know that you cannot perform well unless you are continually in relationship with and obedient to the one who made you. Trust the product developer today. He has made you to perform well under pressure.
Passion for Praise: ‘Kneeling, Facing God’
Friday, November 17, 2017
Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in Scripture: “As I live and breathe,” God says, “every knee will bow before me; Every tongue will tell the honest truth that I and only I am God.”