Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt
The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing. Proverbs 10:28, NIV
Lord our God, we wait for you night and day. We believe in you and we long for your righteousness. You will answer our prayer. Bless us, we pray. May your name be kept holy and your kingdom come. O Lord our God, may your will be done among the nations. May your will be done in each of us and be plainly seen, as it is in heaven. Look upon the nations. Watch over all humankind. Let a new path be broken so that a peace that passes all understanding may come, a peace from you, the Lord our God. Amen.
TODAY’S DAILY DIG
Source: Wisdom of the Sadhu
Friday Morning Prayer – Start Your Day with God and Prayer
The best way to start your Friday morning is with prayer. Give the Lord thanks for everything. Wake up to some great Scriptures that you can meditate on, and prayer to set your mind on God.
Seek God’s plan for the day ahead, seek His Glorious presence. Pour your heart out to God and connect with the Lord to start your day off in the best way.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For You are with me. Heavenly Father, I thank You for the dawn of a new day! Thank You for Your blessings upon my life and my family.
I give You all the praise and honor, because this is the day You’ve made, and You are mighty and worthy indeed! All honor and glory belongs to You.
With You, I will do the impossible, I will not fail. My past is no longer important, because You, Oh Lord, are my future.
Psalm 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Psalm 143:8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
Bless this day, Oh Lord. Protect and guide me. Lead me in Your way of righteousness.
Even as the weekend approaches, prepare my mind and thoughts for work today. Comfort my mind and take away all worry. Because You are the great provider and You never fail me.
Psalm 86:2 Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God.
Psalm 5:3 In the morning, O LORD, hear my voice. In the morning I lay my needs in front of you, and I wait..
Psalm 119:147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.
I come to You with an open heart, oh Lord. Search me and remove anything that is not of You, that is not pleasing in Your sight.
Cover me with the blood of Your Blessed Son Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!
Verse of the Day
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
“The Lord is my strength!” Wow, what power we have in his abiding and empowering presence in the Holy Spirit.
Sovereign God and Almighty Father, be not only my strength, but the strength of those battling depression, grief and despair. I ask your blessings especially and specifically for _________ at this time of difficulty and struggle. Through Jesus I ask this. Amen.
How Can I Overcome Addictions? What Does The Bible Say Can Help?
It seems like addictions are growing as are the number of things we can become addicted to, so how do we overcome addictions?
Addictions are those things we just can’t seem to live without. It might be shopping, smoking, exercise, drinking, drugs, or some other addiction, but not all addictions are bad. For example, I’m addicted to reading my Bible every morning and evening, and if I don’t, I feel like I’ve missed something (and I have!), but strictly speaking, addictions are described as a medical condition that is characterized by a compulsive engagement in rewarding certain stimuli, and despite the adverse consequences, so it can be thought of as a disease or biological process leading to such behaviors, but there are good addictions and bad addictions at different times, but I believe we can swap out the bad and insert the good, but we’re going to need help! Truth be told, every Christian that is not in heaven still struggles with sin. Some have addictions to marijuana, to alcohol, to pornography, to gambling, to overeating, to shopping, and many other things, so is there any hope for breaking these addictions? Since many Christians struggle with addictions, they also begin to doubt their own salvation, so what can a believer do to escape or to overcome their sinful addictions? What does the Bible say can be our source of help?
If anyone could overcome sin, surely it would have been the great Apostle Paul. He wrote more books in the New Testament and founded more churches than any other apostle. Even though this great man of faith was a spiritual giant, he also struggled with sin, and even regarded himself as the chief of sinners (1 Tim 1:15), so if Paul calls himself the chief of sinners, what does that make us?! Don’t let anyone tell you, you won’t struggle with overcoming sin once you’ve been saved. For one thing, before the Spirit of God dwells in us, we sin with little or no conviction, but when the Spirit of God abides in us after conversion, we are convicted of sin, and now we know we must repent of it. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19), and all of God’s people can say “Amen” to that because what Christian has not battled with the flesh? And this is written in the present tense, not past, so we often end up doing just what we don’t want to do. Paul understood that “nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (Rom 7:18), so even Paul needed help, but from where?
Even though Paul said that he knew better, he still fell into sin…just like every other believer after conversion (1 John 1:9, 10). The thing is, he didn’t stay there. He acknowledged it and repented of it, and he moved on. He has the desire to do the right thing, but he still cannot carry it out…that is, in his own strength. This takes the very power of God: God the Holy Spirit (Rom 12:2). Even though Paul said, “I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand” (Rom 7:21), he still recognizes that he wants “to do good.” That is hopeful because he understands that the law is at work in him. The Law is a mirror, showing us our sins, and he recognizes the evil being there (James 1:23).
At one point, Paul almost seems to have given up, pleading to God, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death” (Rom 7:24), but then he answers his own question by saying, it is “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:25a) that he can overcome his “body of death.” There are many resources available to help people overcome addictions to drugs, pornography, and alcohol. From various addictions help centers to 12-step programs. I’ve known people who have gone through these programs numerous times, and yet they still struggled. Some insurance companies will even pay for profession recovery centers. One person I had the opportunity to interview who went through one of these programs, later realized that overcoming their addiction is only possible through a full surrender to God. Most of us cannot overcome a marijuana addiction on our own or an addiction to pornography, and we can’t defeat the enemy of alcohol, gambling, overeating, or depression all by ourselves either. God wants to help you overcome the powerful addictions in your life. Think about the God Who created the entire universe; all the stars, the galaxies, the sun…everything! He knows the innumerable stars all by name, so is anything really too hard for God?! No! We have no power in ourselves, but the Holy Spirit is God and the very power of God working in us. The first thing we need to do is to acknowledge our inability to overcome on our own, and that victory will only come through surrendering to God. When you feel you’re in over your head, remember God is over all things.
Pray day and night for the help you need and ask others to pray for you, even if it’s unspoken needs. God can deliver you. For some, its instant deliverance, but for others, it takes time, so don’t lose heart. You will slip and fall, as we all do, but you’ll get back up, however, God expects us to be part of the process. We can’t do it on our own, but that doesn’t mean we sit back and “just let God!” We must ask God to cut off all the sources of our addiction, whatever that addiction might be. If you are addicted to pornography, get rid of the Internet or find a friend who can put a password protected filter on your computer. Jesus said, “if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell” (Matt 5:30). This means we must cut it off at the source. If you are addicted to drugs, turn in the illegal drug dealers. The main point is, we can do nothing on our own (John 15:5), but we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Phil 4:13).
Think you’re alone in your struggle? Nope. Evidence shows that 47% of all Christians say that they have major problems with pornography. Even among the discipleship group of the Promise Keepers, 53% of these men viewed pornography in the last week! An April 6th, 2007 CNN poll revealed that over 70% of Christian men and over 20% of Christian women are already addicted to some sort of Internet pornography. In the year 2000, Christianity Today completed a shocking survey that revealed 33% of the clergy (pastors and priests) admitted that they had visited a sexually explicit Internet website in the past week. Fifty-three percent of the clergy had visited pornographic websites several times in the past year. In a recent survey of pastors by the National Coalition in Seattle, a full 98% had been exposed to porn, intentionally or not, while 43% intentionally accessed a sexually explicit website. Clearly, we all struggle with addictions and it runs from the pulpit to the pew.
A web filter is a great way to screen out potential Internet websites that contain pornography. One of my friends has let me set the password an Internet filter, and I promised him that I would not reveal the password, no matter what he tells me. Of course, in this world, he’ll have no trouble finding other sources, so I used to check up on him at least twice a week. He said it was a small price to pay for having the protection that he so desperately needed. I also recommended putting the computer the in the living room. When our children were young, we had the computer in the living room so that we could easily monitor their sites. There primary use of it was for homework, but of course they were allowed to spend some free time browsing or playing games. There are dozens of free or inexpensive Internet filters out there.
If you are struggling with a powerful addiction like drugs, alcohol or pornography, find a trusted Christian friend (of the same sex) who can be an accountability partner for you. Have them call you every few days or so (at least once a week), and ask them how their week went. If you’re battling an addiction or some deeply entrenched sin, please don’t lose heart. The very fact that you searched over the Internet or wanted to read this is evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in you. It may be that God brought you here today for the very specific purpose of seeking God’s help. God will never, ever give up on you.
I have a close friend who battled with pornography for over thirty years, and he prayed, “Lord, please help me, I am weak. I can’t do this on my own!” You know what? He’s right, and it worked. He surrendered to God, found some help from a friend, and God heard his prayer and answered it. It took him a very long time, but today, he says, “I am clean and sober, but still sort of a train wreck…a sinner, yet saved.” I know exactly what he means. Jesus’ blood covers past, present, and future sins…so the very fact that you have a sin or addiction weighing heavily on your mind should encourage you. You know the Spirit of God is working in you. Being saved doesn’t mean you’ll never sin again. We will all still sin, again and again…but also, again and again, we will repent of it. We’ll never be sinless this side of the veil, but we will begin to sin less. Paul’s question is for all who have trusted in Christ: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death” (Rom 7:24). Of course we know the answer is, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:25).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.
Saint William of York
Saint of the Day for June 8
(c. 1090 – June 8, 1154)
Saint William of York’s Story
A disputed election as archbishop of York and a mysterious death. Those are the headlines from the tragic life of today’s saint.
Born into a powerful family in 12th-century England, William seemed destined for great things. His uncle was next in line for the English throne—though a nasty dynastic struggle complicated things. William himself faced an internal Church feud.
Despite these roadblocks, he was nominated as archbishop of York in 1140. Local clergymen were less enthusiastic, however, and the archbishop of Canterbury refused to consecrate William. Three years later a neighboring bishop performed the consecration, but it lacked the approval of Pope Innocent II, whose successors likewise withheld approval. William was deposed, and a new election was ordered.
It was not until 1154—14 years after he was first nominated—that William became archbishop of York. When he entered the city that spring after years of exile, he received an enthusiastic welcome. Within two months he was dead, probably from poisoning. His administrative assistant was a suspect, though no formal ruling was ever made.
Despite all that happened to him, William did not show resentment toward his opponents. Following his death, many miracles were attributed to him. He was canonized 73 years later.
“Good things come to those who wait” might be the catch phrase for today’s saint. We don’t always get what we want when we want it. Sometimes we have to wait patiently, trusting that if it is for our good, God will bless us.
What Jesus Did! ‘Destroying People to Settle Arguments’
As [Jesus] was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.
Note: The oldest and best Greek copies of John do not have verses 7:53-8:11. Nevertheless, they are in nearly all translations because the content is certainly consistent with Jesus’ ministry.
O LORD, God of Israel and Father of my Lord Jesus, please forgive me. I fear, dear Father, that I haven’t treated all people as you would have had me treat them. That is especially true with some people who didn’t fit into my religious comfortability, I haven’t treated them as you would have had me treat them. Please give me a more compassionate heart to better say and do the redemptive things in the lives of those who need your grace. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
Spiritual Warfare: ‘Our Refuge Who Drives Our Enemies Away’
God’s Power for Our Battles
There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. He drives out the enemy before you; he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’
Lord, there is none other like You. You own the earth and You ride the clouds across the sky in majestic splendor! You are Deed Holder of planet earth, and command the elements. You look after Your own and give us a place of refuge. Thank You for that place of safety. Thank You for holding me up when I can’t even hold myself up. Thank You for driving out all my enemies and giving me the victory through Jesus Christ. Thank You for loving me and doing all of them for me in spite of my faults. I give You credit for my victory. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
A Year with Jesus: ‘Goodness and Deception’
Note from Jesus
Key transitions in the life and faith of My people need to be protected. In the early days of My church, this need for safety was especially true. My new disciples in Jerusalem endured repeated attacks from the Jewish religious leaders and those in power. The disciples persevered through threats, even death threats, beatings, and imprisonments from the same people who had Me crucified. Nothing outside their church family could derail this new movement of the Spirit. My message of good news triumphed throughout Jerusalem.
However, My disciples soon faced critical junctures that you see described in the verses below and in the verses tomorrow. They faced several difficult challenges from inside My family of disciples. Pressure from the outside would continue to erupt. But, the more dangerous threats came from inside My household of faith. Some folks needed the basic necessities of life — food, water, and a place to stay. With people becoming disciples so quickly and many being from outside of Jerusalem, the challenge of caring for needy people became a valid concern.
Because “the entire community of believers was deeply united in heart and soul,” My disciples effectively and lovingly addressed these needs. Notice what Luke says:
Not a single person in the community was in need because those who had been affluent sold their houses or lands and brought the proceeds to the emissaries of the Lord.
Notably, Barnabas — who would become a great leader among My disciples — was exceedingly generous. The compassion that Barnabas and other disciples displayed was glorious! The principles of My kingdom were clearly in evidence as needs were soon addressed with grace and generosity.
However, the devil was not content to let any great movement of My grace go unchallenged. So My disciples had to face two tough tests back-to-back. I will speak about the first challenge today and the second one tomorrow.
Seeing Barnabas held in such high esteem, a couple named Ananias and Sapphira sold a piece of property. That was great. Unfortunately, these two schemed and said that they had given all their proceeds from this sale to the apostles — My emissaries — when they hadn’t. Their gift was given so that the poor among My people would receive care. Although they said that they had given all the proceeds from the sale, they secretly kept back part for themselves. On one hand, their generosity was incredibly good. They gave a great amount to the needs of others. On the other hand, they lied. They lied to My people. They lied to My apostles. Most of all, they lied to Us — Father, Son, and Spirit.
At this crucial moment in the early church, We protected the integrity of the disciples’ generosity and the apostles’ leadership. Our actions were quick, decisive, and firm. We wanted everyone to know that generosity is important, but duplicity is not tolerated.
Why did we react so strongly, as you see revealed in the verses below? Why did we take such drastic measures?
What is one of the most frequent criticisms hurled at My followers today? It’s that you are hypocrites. How many people have been turned away from faith in Me because of hypocritical people claiming to be My disciples? How many have ruled out learning about Me and becoming part of My people because of hypocrisy, especially hypocrisy and greed among leaders? My answer is simple: way too many!
So in the early days of the church, We acted to protect this fresh movement of grace. We wanted the disciples to practice undiluted goodness and honesty. Such blatant hypocrisy, lying, and duplicity would not be tolerated. (The Father acted in a very similar fashion in the early days of the conquest of Canaan concerning the sin of Achan at Jericho (Joshua 7:1-26).)
There are several truths in the Scripture below that I want you to realize from this episode in the life of the early church.
First, generosity is necessary if My movement is going to grow and reach the hearts of all people. When people are generous above their tithes, people are saved, lives are rebuilt, and My movement grows.
Second, during any great Spirit-empowered movement, the evil one will do all he can to divert, distract, and derail My people. While the outside attacks of the enemy are obvious, the inside attacks are often more subtle and potentially more damaging. Examine your own heart. Look carefully at your own attitudes, motivations, and desires. Especially watch out for the lure of greed and the desire to be seen as important. There are plenty of warnings in the Scriptures against both of these sins!
Third, don’t let the false motives and bad behaviors of others keep you from continuing your walk of faith. Unfortunately, the evil one will lead some astray — sometimes even well-known or beloved leaders. Don’t let that disillusion you. For every Ananias and Sapphira, there are others who are like Barnabas. For every hypocrite, there are unnamed others who do loving and sacrificial things for Christian brothers and sisters without recognition.
Fourth, when My people are led by the Holy Spirit, nothing can stop My work through them. What Satan intends for harm can be turned around and used by the Father for good!
Verses to Live
During those days, the entire community of believers was deeply united in heart and soul to such an extent that they stopped claiming private ownership of their possessions. Instead, they held everything in common. The apostles with great power gave their eyewitness reports of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Everyone was surrounded by an extraordinary grace. Not a single person in the community was in need because those who had been affluent sold their houses or lands and brought the proceeds to the emissaries of the Lord. They then distributed the funds to individuals according to their needs. One fellow, a Cyprian Levite named Joseph, earned a nickname because of his generosity in selling a field and bringing the money to the apostles in this way. From that time on, they called him Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement.”
Once a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira fully cooperating, committed fraud. He sold some property and kept some of the proceeds, but he pretended to make a full donation to the Lord’s emissaries.
Ananias, have you allowed Satan to influence your lies to the Holy Spirit and hold back some of the money? Look, it was your property before you sold it, and the money was all yours after you sold it. Why have you concocted this scheme in your heart? You weren’t just lying to us; you were lying to God.
Ananias heard these words and immediately dropped to the ground, dead; fear overcame all those who heard of the incident. Some young men came, wrapped the body, and buried it immediately. About three hours had passed when Sapphira arrived. She had no idea what had happened.
Did you sell the land for such-and-such a price?
Yes, that was the price.
Why did the two of you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Do you hear those footsteps outside? Those are the young men who just buried your husband, and now they will carry you out as well.
She — like her husband — immediately fell dead at Peter’s feet. The young men came in and carried her corpse outside and buried it beside her husband. The whole church was terrified by this story, as were others who heard it.
(Acts 4:32-37; Acts 5:1-11)
Response in Prayer
Holy Father, I know that I am vulnerable to the sins of greed and the lust to feel important. Help me resist these temptations. I don’t want these sins to steal my integrity or compromise my generosity. Neither do I want to grow skeptical when I see these sins in others. I want to honor You in every area of my life and bring Your grace to those in need. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not. Numbers 11:23
God had made a positive promise to Moses that for the space of a whole month He would feed the vast company in the wilderness with meat. Moses is then overtaken by a fit of unbelief, looks to the outward means, and is at a loss to know how the promise can be fulfilled. He looked to the creature instead of the Creator. But does the Creator expect the creature to fulfill His promise for Him? No; He who makes the promise always fulfills it by His own unaided omnipotence. If He speaks, it is done—done by Himself. His promises do not depend for their fulfillment upon the cooperation of the puny strength of man. We can immediately see the mistake that Moses made. And yet how routinely we do the same!
God has promised to supply our needs, and we look to the creature to do what God has promised to do; and then, because we perceive the creature to be weak and feeble, we indulge in unbelief. Why do we look in that direction at all? Will you look to the North Pole to gather fruits ripened in the sun? You would be acting no more foolishly in doing this than when you look to the weak for strength, and to the creature to do the Creator’s work. Let us, then, put the question on the right footing. The ground of faith is not the sufficiency of the visible means for the performance of the promise, but the all-sufficiency of the invisible God, who will definitely do what He has said.
If after clearly seeing that the onus lies with the Lord and not with the creature we dare to indulge in mistrust, the question of God comes home forcefully to us: “Is the LORD’s hand shortened?” May it also be that in His mercy the question will be accompanied by this blessed declaration: “Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
June 08, 2018
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
The apostle Peter was one of three disciples who walked with Jesus closer than the other nine. He was the most enthusiastic and the one man who was willing to step into territories where others would not dare. He was the first to step out of the boat and walk on water. He wanted to protect Jesus at times when Jesus rebuked him for having a demon influence him. He cut off the ear of the guard who wanted to arrest Jesus in the garden. As Peter matured, the Holy Spirit harnessed his many extreme emotions.
The greatest trial for Peter was when he denied the Lord just before Jesus was crucified. Three times he denied knowing Jesus. Jesus predicted that the cock would crow after the third time just to reinforce the prophecy to Peter. Peter was crushed when he realized he had failed His Lord so badly.
The Lord forgave Peter for his denial. However, gaining forgiveness from Jesus was not the most difficult part for Peter. The hard part was forgiving himself. As we mature in the faith, we begin moving in victory after victory with our Lord. Then out of nowhere, an event happens that reveals our true sin nature, and we are confronted face to face with this reality. We cannot believe that we are capable of such sin. There is no good thing in us save the grace of Jesus Christ and His blood that cleanses us. When God looks at us, He looks at the blood of Christ that has covered our sin. He does not look at our sin once we confess it.
When we have difficulty forgiving ourselves, this is pride at its deepest level. We are making an assumption that we should never have sinned and that we are too mature to sin. This is a trap from the enemy of our souls. People who cannot forgive do not recognize from what they have been forgiven. That includes us.
BEST FRIENDS DAY
On June 8, honor your closest and dearest friend on Best Friends Day.
The relationship between best friends is often fierce and can withstand distance, storms and silence. Whether we’ve known them all our lives or they are more recently acquired, best friends make tough times bearable, fun times memorable and memorable times priceless.
Maybe there are several best friends in your life. No matter how many there are, get together and celebrate the day!
HOW TO OBSERVE
Celebrate National Best Friends Day by letting your best friends know how much they mean to you! Share some Jody’s Gourmet Popcorn with your best friend to celebrate! Use #BestFriendsDay to post on social media.
Within our research, we were unable to find the creator of National Best Friends Day.
Anthony Bourdain Has Died at 61
We’re devastated to report that Anthony Bourdain was found dead on Friday in France, where he was filming Parts Unknown. CNN confirmed the cause of Bourdain’s death was suicide, and shared the following statement: “It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain. His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time.” Click here to read heartfelt memories from chefs, friends, celebrities, and writers who are mourning and remembering Bourdain on social media.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 1-800-273-talk (8255), or the Suicide Crisis Line, at 1-800-784-2433, or text 741741.