An Advent Prayer to Our Prince of Peace
by Lisa Appelo
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD.” Isaiah 11:1-2 [NIV]
This passage talks about stumps and shoots. We have several big oak trees in our yard and when one of them started endangering the house, we had it cut all the way down to a stump. A few months later? New green shoots with glossy green leaves began growing right out of that stump.
That’s the picture that the prophet Isaiah uses. Seven hundred years before Jesus was ever born, Isaiah prophesied that a Messiah would come from the root of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David, an ancestor of both Mary and Joseph. While nearly all of King David’s royal line would be wiped out, God promised a Messiah would come from the stump of Jesse.
Out of what looked like a dead royal line — when a pagan, Roman government rather than a Hebrew king ruled over Israel — God brought about that new shoot: the Messiah – Jesus.
Jesus, didn’t rule like King David with an earthly palace or majestic throne or royal robes conquering enemy nations through a mighty army. Instead, Jesus came in poverty and humility, to reveal a heavenly kingdom and to conquer the curse of sin through his own death.
O Father, we praise you that before the foundation of the world You chose Jesus, our Messiah, to come to earth and show us the Way to the heavenly kingdom and to be the Way to the heavenly kingdom. We thank you for making room for us who are redeemed in Your heavenly Kingdom.
Jesus, we worship you as King of Kings and Lord of lords. You are my King. You have rule over my heart and my life, my thoughts and time and goals. I bow to You only and give you full and free reign over my life. Help me not to grip anything so tightly that I am unwilling to release it to You. You are a just King; our Prince of Peace. Help me to desire Your kingdom above that of my own making and bow to Your will above my own.
Holy Spirit, lead me in the ways of the heavenly kingdom. Teach me wisdom from above and guide me in truth. Help me to have eyes that see and ears that hear all that God has for me. Help me to know the Lord, to fully understand His might, to fear turning away from Him and to know His grace.
We love you Lord. With all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind and all of our strength we love you. We lavish you with our worship. We come to adore You today. Amen.
Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth of nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Victory Over Temptation
If God really loves us, why doesn’t He make it impossible for us to be tempted? Well, if God did that, you and I would lose something.
I played football back in the old days, and we would practice long hours to take a bag of air across a white line in a pasture. While we were trying to do that, there was a group of fellows on the other side who were saying we couldn’t do that. And we’d go back and forth to get our way.
Now, I have figured it out: what football teams need to do is come up to the field about 2 a.m. when the other team is not out there. Then they can take that ball and shove it over that white line as many times as they want.
But where is the victory in that? You’re right—there is no victory without opposition
God has not called you to a life of ease. He has called you to a life of victory through His Son Jesus Christ. “Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place” (2 Corinthians 2:14).
BIBLE STUDY BUDDY
Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-11…There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9. to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10. to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
We Need One Another…
The Peterson ranch in Wyoming is framed by mile after mile of fencing. Not only is the entire spread fenced in, Clyde Peterson has it subdivided with barbed-wire so he can move the cattle from section to section. A single grazing spot may be bordered by as many as 600 fenceposts. Each cedar post is important. If one is knocked down, the entire herd can escape over the fallen section.
The same principle holds true in other areas of life. If one machine breaks down, the whole assembly line grinds to a halt. If one screw drops out of a carburetor, the car runs erratically. If a single microchip fails, an entire computer system may malfunction.
A local church is no different. Every worker is vital: the Sunday school teacher, the organist, the sound-system operator, the nursery worker, the greeter. If one slacks off, the entire effort suffers.
Are you feeling unimportant- as if you’re just one more fencepost in a long row? Does it seem that what you’re doing is hardly worth the effort? Remember what the apostle Paul wrote: No matter what your capacity, if you are working for the Lord, it is ”for the profit of all” (1 Cor. 12:7).
As one single fencepost is crucial to the rancher, you too are important to God- and to the rest of us!
Verse of the Day
“He humbled Himself.”
Jesus is the great teacher of lowliness of heart. We need daily to learn of Him. See the Master taking a towel and washing His disciples’ feet! Follower of Christ, wilt thou not humble thyself? See Him as the Servant of servants, and surely thou canst not be proud! Is not this sentence the compendium of His biography, “He humbled Himself”? Was He not on earth always stripping off first one robe of honour and then another, till, naked, He was fastened to the cross, and there did He not empty out His inmost self, pouring out His life-blood, giving up for all of us, till they laid Him penniless in a borrowed grave? How low was our dear Redeemer brought! How then can we be proud? Stand at the foot of the cross, and count the purple drops by which you have been cleansed; see the thorn-crown; mark His scourged shoulders, still gushing with encrimsoned rills; see hands and feet given up to the rough iron, and His whole self to mockery and scorn; see the bitterness, and the pangs, and the throes of inward grief, showing themselves in His outward frame; hear the thrilling shriek, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” And if you do not lie prostrate on the ground before that cross, you have never seen it: if you are not humbled in the presence of Jesus, you do not know Him. You were so lost that nothing could save you but the sacrifice of God’s only begotten. Think of that, and as Jesus stooped for you, bow yourself in lowliness at His feet. A sense of Christ’s amazing love to us has a greater tendency to humble us than even a consciousness of our own guilt. May the Lord bring us in contemplation to Calvary, then our position will no longer be that of the pompous man of pride, but we shall take the humble place of one who loves much because much has been forgiven him. Pride cannot live beneath the cross. Let us sit there and learn our lesson, and then rise and carry it into practice.
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
Christianity is not for wimps or the faint of heart. Our example is described by words like… “made himself of no reputation” …”servant” …”humbled himself” …”became obedient” …”death on a cross!” That’s tough stuff. And that is our example. The story of the Jesus may begin with a sweet child, but it also begins with him being placed where animals ate their food. While it may be powerful and precious, it is not saccharine and fake sentiment. It is about the price paid to redeem and the people who are different because they know their Redeemer.
Almighty God, loving Father, thank you for placing the Gospel story in the real world where I live. Jesus, thank you for being a Savior who has come into my world and faced its toughest edges. Help me as I learn to be sacrificial, obedient, and humble so that I can be used to help others find your grace. In the name of Jesus, the Lord. Amen.
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown(Revelations 3:11).
George Mueller bears this testimony, “When it pleased God in July, 1829, to reveal to my heart the truth of the personal return of the Lord Jesus, and to show me that I had made a great mistake in looking for the conversion of the world, the effect that it produced upon me was this: From my inmost soul I was stirred up to feel compassion for perishing sinners, and for the slumbering world around me lying in the wicked one, and considered, ‘Ought I not to do what I can for the Lord Jesus while He tarries, and to rouse a slumbering church?”‘
There may be many hard years of hard work before the consummation, but the signs are to me so encouraging that I would not be unbelieving if I saw the wing of the apocalyptic angel spread for its last triumphal flight in this day’s sunset; or if tomorrow morning the ocean cables should thrill us with the news that Christ the Lord had alighted on Mount Olivet or Mount Calvary to proclaim universal dominion.
O you dead churches wake up! O Christ, descend! Scarred temple, take the crown! Bruised hand, take the sceptre! Wounded foot, step the throne! Thine is the kingdom.
–Rev. T. DeWitt Talmage, D. D.
It may be in the evening,
When the work of the day is done,
And you have time to sit in the twilight,
And watch the sinking sun,
While the long bright day dies slowly
Over the sea,
And the hours grow quiet and holy
With thoughts of Me;
While you hear the village children
Passing along the street
Among those passing footsteps
May come the sound of My Feet.
Therefore I tell you, Watch!
By the light of the evening star
When the room is growing dusky
As the clouds afar,
Let the door be on the latch In your home,
For it may be through the gloaming
I will come.
How to Stay Connected
By Janet Conley
Yesterday we discovered the second key to effective prayer is to stay connected to God. The critical question is: How do we do that?
While there are many things we can do, I want to focus on two things. First of all, if you want to have a close relationship with God, it is important to realize just how much He desires to have a close relationship with you.
This is an amazing truth when you stop to think about it. He is Almighty God, and yet He wants to have a close relationship with you.
Romans 5:11 in the New Living Translation says, Now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Through Jesus, God made us to be His friends! So connecting with God starts with remembering He desires to be your closest friend.
Second, you need to practice His presence. Right now God is with you. He is everywhere you go. He is at your job; He is at your home; He is with you wherever you might be, even in the hardest time of your life.
The last part of Hebrews 13:5 says, For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
There was a monk in the seventeenth century named Brother Lawrence who wrote a book called The Practice of the Presence of God. In the monastery there were chimes that rang every hour, and Brother Lawrence would use that as a reminder to connect with God.
If you have a PDA or a wristwatch or a cell phone, you might consider setting it to go off throughout the day to remind you that God is with you. Each time it goes off, spend a few moments communing with Him. Practice His presence. That will help you stay connected to God.
This God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death.–PS. xlviii. 14.
For the Lord shall be thy confidence.–PROV. iii. 26.
Be still, my soul! Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past:
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake,
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
He has kept and folded us from ten thousand ills when we did not know it: in the midst of our security we should have perished every hour, but that He sheltered us “from the terror by night and from the arrow that flieth by day”–from the powers of evil that walk in darkness, from snares of our own evil will. He has kept us even against ourselves, and saved us even from our own undoing. Let us read the traces of His hand in all our ways, in all the events, the chances, the changes of this troubled state. It is He that folds and feeds us, that makes us to go in and out,–to be faint, or to find pasture,–to lie down by the still waters, or to walk by the way that is parched and desert.
H. E. MANNING.
We are never without help. We have no right to say of any good work, it is too hard for me to do, or of any sorrow, it is too hard for me to bear; or of any sinful habit, it is too hard for me to overcome.
Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5, “remembering the genuine faith that first lived in your grandmohter Lois and your mother Eunice and that I am persuaded lives in you also.”
I sense the Father saying, “I am downloading the faith of grandmothers not only into their children, but unleashing a major downloading of their faith into the third generation–their grandchildren!”
I was reading recently in Francis Frangipane’s book, This Day We Fight!, that Francis wondered how he was drawn to the Lord like many of us in the early ’70s when there seemed to be no corporate prayer from pastors or churches praying for an outpouring upon young people. Upon asking the Lord what activated this major move of the Spirit, the Lord responded to Francis, “I heard the cries of a million praying mothers crying out to Me for their children, across all denominations!”
A Mother’s Prayers Are Powerful, but Oh, the Power of a Grandmother’s Prayers
You have probably heard it said that parents are the “law” and grandparents are “grace.” I believe perhaps grandparents, especially grandmas, may have an edge of prayer-power to influence their grandchildren because “with years comes understanding, and with the ancient there is wisdom.”
I wonder why so many grandparents seem to be having to raise their grandchildren because of broken marriages today. In spite of these tragedies, I sense these grandchildren are being greatly influenced through godly grandparents, especially grandmothers. And God is turning it around for good.
Grandmothers Not Only Spoil Their Grandchildren, They Spoil the Enemy’s Plans for Them
I saw bloodhounds from heaven being released to pursue this “third” generation. I saw grandmothers pleading the blood of Jesus over their grandchildren, and these bloodhounds were picking up the scent of that blood as they began to outrun and overtake them at every turn, for there was now no more hiding place!
Some grandchildren were climbing up trees to escape these eternal prayers, but these bloodhounds were at the bottom, barking and out-waiting many of them as they began to cry out and call upon the name of the Lord to be saved!
We are now in the “third” day move of God on the earth. Watch and expect the third generation to come in, hounded by the prayers of their grandmothers.
As Christmas is approaching, I hear the angels singing over this third generation, “Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go. We’ll be home with bells on.”
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.
The Majesty of God’s RuleThe LORD is king, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed, he is girded with strength. He has established the world; it shall never be moved; your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord the floods
have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters, more majestic than the waves of the sea, majestic on high is the LORD! Your decrees are very sure; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore. Note: Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 16:1-8. Find a Bible translation.
A Prayer to Keep the Enemy from Stealing Your Joy
By Debbie McDaniel
“The joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
Don’t let the enemy steal your joy today. He’ll try you know. You may not even realize it until it’s too late.
From the moment your feet hit the floor, he’ll do all that he can to distract you, to overwhelm you, to frustrate you, and to stir up worry and strife. Often his ways are subtle, other times they’re clearer. It’s what he does best. Stealing. Killing. Destroying.
Just say “no.” Don’t let him win.
We have a choice of who we listen to and what we believe. Recognize who is at the root of it all, and push past his lies; step over his traps.
God gives us the power through His Holy Spirit to live free from the entanglement of sin. He gives us the power to live strong. He gives wisdom and discernment to make the right choices. He gives joy deep inside. He offers the assurance, that no matter what we face, He is with us.
May His grace, peace, and joy cover your day. He is with you.
Dear God, at the start of each day, help us to recognize you above all else. Enlighten the eyes of our heart that we might see you, and notice how you’re at work through our lives. Give us wisdom to make the best choices, fill us with a desire to seek after you more than anything else in this world. Let your Spirit and power breathe in us, through us, again, fresh and new. Thank you that you are greater than anything we may face in our day. Thank you that your presence goes with us, and that your joy is never dependent on our circumstances, but it is our true and lasting strength, no matter what we’re up against. We ask that your peace lead us, that it would guard our hearts and minds in you. We ask for your grace to cover our lives this day. We love you Lord…we need you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
12 Things to Thank God for in the Midst of Affliction
One of the most important things we must do when we suffer is to give thanks. I don’t say this lightly and I know many believers who have endured unimaginable pain and tragedy. Giving thanks in the midst of agony and affliction is certainly not easy to do.
Yet Ephesians 5:20 tells us we should give thanks “always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” and 1 Thess 5:18 says to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Giving thanks helps us focus on God in our affliction, steers us away from complaining, strengthens our faith, and brings glory to Jesus.
There are many things we can give thanks for when we suffer, but here are 12 that I try to remember:
1) That God is sovereign and in complete control of the intensity and the duration of your affliction.
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose’ Is 46:9-10
2) That God’s love and mercies never cease
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. Lam 3:22-23
3) That Jesus will never leave nor forsake you.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Heb 13:5
4) That God is with you in your affliction
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Is 43:2
5) That God hears your every prayer
The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry. Ps 34:15
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles. Ps 34:17
6) That God is using this affliction to make you like Christ.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:28–29
7) That this affliction is momentary and light compared to the eternal reward it is producing
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison… 2 Cor 4:17
8) That Jesus is your sympathetic High Priest who intercedes for you constantly
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4:15
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Heb 7:25
9) That God is near you in your pain
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit. Ps 34:18
10) That Jesus is your refuge, strength, and strong tower you can run to.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Ps 46:1, ESV
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. Pr 18:10
11) That God has saved you, washed away your sins, and adopted you as his own child.
Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Rom 4:7
12) That someday Jesus will wipe away every tear from your eyes and you will see his glorious face.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Rev 21:4
Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter. Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.
What Are You Telling Yourself?
By Savannah Parvu
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
I’m not good enough. Nobody loves me. I’m worthless. I can’t believe I did that again. I am such a failure. Everyone is better off without me. I will never be good enough. It’s all my fault.
Does that sound familiar?
Those are some of the things that I used to tell myself all the time and occasionally one or two still slip into my mind from time to time. As women we are so hard on ourselves and we beat ourselves up over the little things.
Our Scripture today says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Our mind becomes stuck in this negative way of thinking and it can become a form of self-destruction.
After all, our thoughts lead to our feelings and our feelings lead to our actions. It all begins with a thought and the only way to change that is to renew our minds.
How do you renew your mind?
By taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ, as 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to do. Rather than telling yourself that nobody loves you, replace that thought with God loves you.
You’re not worthless, Christ died for you. You are good enough because God made you complete and lacking nothing.
You will never be happy if you continue to beat yourself up with negative thoughts.
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, make your thoughts obedient to Christ and focus on the truth and in doing so you will in turn be happier.
It doesn’t happen overnight and is a continual process, but with the help of the Lord you can do it!
What are the things you are telling yourself?
Write down the negative things that you are telling yourself and then look in scripture to find TRUTH to replace that thought with.
Dear Lord, thank You for making us complete and lacking nothing. Help us not to be so hard on ourselves and beat ourselves up. Help us to transform our minds by focusing on Your truths. Amen.
(c) 2017 by Savannah Parvu. All rights reserved.
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From The Joshua Code by O.S. Hawkins
“Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” —Mark 1:17 NASB
Follow Me. Those were two words spoken so often by our Lord. He came upon a group of fishermen who were engrossed in their lifetime fishing business, looked them squarely in the eyes, and called them to put away their nets and follow Him on a life-transforming journey. In Capernaum, Jesus saw a Jew taking up tax money for the Roman oppressors. Again, He spoke those two simple words, and Matthew put down his money pouch and followed after Him. Over and over in the Gospels we hear this simple call. When we heed Jesus’ call today and become His followers, we then become interested in what He is interested in. Jesus revealed to us that He had “come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). The truth is, if we are genuinely following Jesus, we are also fishing.
It has always been of peculiar interest to me that, when it came time to pick His team, whom He would train and then send out with a commission to reach entire nations, Jesus picked rough, callous-handed men who had spent their lives in the fishing business. He did not go to the institutions of higher learning looking for the best and the brightest. He did not go to the halls of government looking for those with gifted persuasive powers. He did not go to the yeshivas and pick those most knowledgeable in the Torah. He went to Galilee, to a bunch of ragtag fishermen, and called them to follow Him with the promise that He would make them become “fishers of men.” Why them? Why fishermen?
My family and I lived on the Atlantic coast for fifteen years among many people whose livelihoods were related to fishing. On occasion I would take a seaplane from Fort Lauderdale to the little island of Bimini in search of the elusive bonefish of the Bimini flats, pound for pound the greatest sport fish anywhere. My guide was always the legendary “Bonefish Sam” Ellis. He was old even then, but he could still spot a dorsal fin from a football field away. We would fish all day under the blistering island sun. Once, while on my way home, flying back toward the sunset, I wrote down a few words in my journal to describe this seasoned legend of the flats. It dawned on me that what I saw in Bonefish Sam is what Jesus is looking for in His followers today. And these traits are at the very heart of why He called fishermen to follow Him.
©Joshua Code 2012 by O.S. Hawkins
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. – 1 Timothy 6:12
In the Bible, the word “confess” means “to speak the same thing.” So when it tells us to confess, it means we’re to say the same thing God says–to agree with Him–about the attitudes and actions of our lives.
As you can see, then, confession has two aspects: speaking the truth about ourselves and the truth about God.
For example, if we’re confessing greed, we can also confess God’s promise to supply our needs. The Bible says the same God who takes care of you will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to you in Christ Jesus.
“We own up to minor failings, but only so as to convince others that we have no major ones.” – La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)
The Daily Word of Hope Devotional
Bible Fun Fact: The 7th verse of the 7th chapter of the 7th book is Judges 7:7
Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of Yahweh, and your words, because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. 1 Samuel 15:24 WEB
The Lord sent Saul on a quest, but he failed because of his fear of man. The Lord told Saul through the prophet Samuel to completely wipe out the Amalekites, but for a short-term gain, Saul ‘overlooked’ the commands of the Lord and kept the best cattle, the sheep, and the enemy king as plunder.
The Lord wanted them all destroyed as they were probably demon-infested just like the swine became in Gerasenes (Mark 5:13). Saul wanted to please the people more than God, so he allowed them to keep the live stock as plunder, and they brought the demons home with them. When they killed the live stock and the demons lost their current house, they just wandered around until they could enter the people around them. (Luke 11:24).
Samuel told Saul ‘Because you have rejected Yahweh’s word, he has also rejected you from being king’. Then Saul pleaded with him to stay so that he would not be embarrassed in front of the people. What the people would think was on the forefront of his mind, not that he had just lost the kingship. After this, God moved on and anointed David. Where Saul was fearful and failed, David had a strong faith in God and even faced Goliath as a youth, when Saul and his army would not.
A mentor of mine worked at an electronics repair shop when he was a young man. One day his boss told him to be sure and replace a certain part on every radio that came through, whether it needed it or not, simply because the part had a good markup. He silently ignored the request and after a couple of weeks, the boss came back and asked him why he was not doing what he had told him.
My friend was married with young children, so he really need the job, but he explained to them that he was a Christian and he could not do that. He told them that he would understand if they needed to let him go, but that he could not compromise on this because it was against his faith. They became angry at first, and he thought that he was on his way out. Instead of firing him, they promoted him and gave him a key to the shop because they knew that he could be trusted.
If you are ever given a choice between obeying God or man, always choose God. It will work out for your good regardless of what may happen in the short term, for He has your back when you are obedient to His word. The fear of man is always a short-term gain, but God’s plan is for eternity.
Prayer: Heavenly Father please guide me today and help me make the right decisions. Let Your voice ring through in such a way that I cannot miss it, and give me the grace and wisdom to do what is right. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
“If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins–make a clean breast of them–he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God–make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows our ignorance of God.” 1 John 1:8-10 MSG
Thoughts for Today
Overcoming life-controlling problems is a process. It is important to acknowledge that you have a problem and come to Jesus for help. Your next step should be to get real–with yourself and with God.
Take an inventory of your life. Think about the ways you have been denying the reality of your condition. Have you been isolating yourself? Keeping your struggle a secret? Making light of it or rationalizing that it is OK?
Have you blamed other people and circumstances for your problem instead of accepting responsibility? Perhaps you point your finger at your parents or spouse or friends. Maybe you blame a job loss or even your childhood.
Consider this …
Think about the ways your behavior has affected other people. Have you lost their respect and confidence? Are you experiencing strained relationships or problems with your children?
Determine to be honest about your problem and to accept responsibility for your behavior. Repent for what you’ve done and turn to Jesus for the hope that only he can give. Change won’t be easy. And you may suffer natural consequences of past failures. But begin to focus on your new hope in Christ. He will not disappoint you in your time of personal searching and change.
Father, forgive me for blaming people and circumstances for my behavior. I’m ready to accept responsibility for my situation. Forgive me for my sin. I thank you for helping me through this time of change. In Jesus’ name …
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
December 06, 2017
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12
Life is filled with disappointments. Many of God’s greatest servants experienced deep disappointment in their journeys of faithfulness to God. Joseph, after spending years as a slave and in jail for crimes that he did not commit, revealed deep disappointment when he was forgotten another two years in prison. John the Baptist, when awaiting execution, doubted whether Jesus was, in fact, the Christ because he was sitting there awaiting his death. Elijah, losing all hope and despondent to the point of death, asked God to take his life in the desert; and Peter, who left his fishing business and invested three years of his life only to watch his Savior crucified, wondered whether the purpose of those three years could be justified.
When life doesn’t add up, it leaves the heart sick. When we have done all we know to do and the formula has not worked, it leaves us questioning. These are times that try the very souls of men. There is no human sense to be made of it. We are left with a choice: to cling or not to cling. There are times when holding on to our Master’s robe is all that we can do. It is all that He wants us to do.
The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not obtained by sudden flight;
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
Standing on what too long we bore,
With shoulders bent and downcast eyes,
We may discern-unseen before-
A path to higher destinies!
There is only one answer to life’s disappointments. Like the psalmist, we must “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken” (Ps. 62:5-6).
Passion for Praise: ‘Not to Us!’
Wednesday, December 6, 2017