Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions: How can I feel secure in the Lord during troubled times?

Psalm 20:1-5

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!
May He send you help from the sanctuary
And support you from Zion!
May He remember all your meal offerings
And find your burnt offering acceptable!  Selah.
May He grant you your heart’s desire
And fulfill all your counsel!
We will sing for joy over your victory,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.


When you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can be certain of one thing in times of trouble, suffering, hardship, difficulty, pain, or tragedy: The Lord is with you! Time and again in His Word, He assures you of His presence:

·      "The LORD is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him" (2 Chron. 15:2)
·      "Stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf... Do not fear or be dismayed" (2 Chron. 20:17)
·       "Do not be afraid of him," declares the Lord, ‘for I am with you to save you and deliver you from his hand" (Jer. 42:11) 
·       "...All you people of the land take courage," declares the Lord, "and work; for I am with you," declares the Lord of hosts (Hag. 2:4)

Jesus said the same thing to His disciples: "I am with you always" (Matt. 28:20).

The apostle Paul considered this truth and asked, "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom. 8:31). Don't answer his question too quickly. The truth is, many people can rise up against us. They can cheat us, harass us, persecute us, insult us, mock us, and even physically injure us. But here's the point: In the end, they cannot win.

That is why Jesus said, "You will be betrayed...and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name. Yet not a hair of your head will perish" (Luke 21:16-18). If you belong to God, He gives you the eternal victory. Period. No one can take away what He has so freely provided for you.

When rough times come, immerse yourself in God's Word. Read His promises to you, His beloved child. Read about His power, His strength, His wisdom, and His love. Read how He has helped countless men and women through the ages as they trusted in Him. Read about His saving, delivering, and restoring power.

The more you read and study God's Word, the stronger your faith will grow.

The more you trust God, the more you will grow in your understanding that He is trustworthy in all things, at all times.

The more you take courage in the Lord's presence with you, the more secure you will feel -- even in the most troubling of times and the most trying of circumstances. The Lord alone is your security, every moment of your life.

~ page 172 ~




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Another Divine Helper

August 26 from In Touch daily devotional


Have you ever wished you had a 911 number
that rang in heaven whenever you had a need?

Well, I have good news for believers.

We all have divine assistance that’s even closer than a phone call:
our Helper dwells within us.

But if we are unaware of Him,
we’ll miss many opportunities
to benefit from the greatest asset
in our Christian life
—the Holy Spirit’s presence.

Christ knew that when He left the earth,
His disciples would be totally inadequate
for the task He was giving them
—to evangelize the world.

Though they’d spent three years with Jesus,
all they had seen and learned
would still not sufficiently equip them
for what lay ahead.

They needed supernatural help, and so do we
—someone who will come to our aid,
empower our service,
and transform us from the inside out.

The Holy Spirit is the only one who can achieve all this.

Consider His qualifications:

1. He is a personal Helper, not some inanimate force.
God’s Spirit is a member of the Trinity and coequal with both the Father and Jesus Christ.
2. He is a practical Helper who involves Himself in every aspect of our lives.
3. He is an adequate Helper because He’s omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
4. He is an available Helper who permanently lives within us.

Do you have any need that requires more power than omnipotence?
Are you facing a decision that requires more knowledge than omniscience?

Nothing we encounter
is bigger than the omnipresent One
who lives within us.
Be calm and confident.
No matter what challenges you face,
He can help.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.





Greater than Moses

Daily Devotional for August 26, 2014 from Truth for Life
The crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him.  Mark 9:15

How great the difference between Moses and Jesus! 

When Moses had been forty days upon the mountain,
he underwent a kind of transfiguration,
so that his face shone with exceeding brightness,
and he put a veil over it because the people
were not able to look upon his glory. 

Not so our Savior.

He had been transfigured with a greater glory than that of Moses,
and yet we do not read that the people
were blinded by the blaze of His countenance,
but rather they were amazed
and ran to Him and greeted Him.

The glory of the law repels, but the greater glory of Jesus attracts. 

Though Jesus is holy and just,
yet blended with His purity there is so much truth and grace
that sinners run to Him amazed at His goodness,
fascinated by His love;
they greet Him, become His disciples,
and take Him to be their Lord and Master. 

Reader, it may be that just now you are blinded
by the dazzling brightness of the law of God.

 You feel its claims on your conscience,
but you cannot keep it in your life. 
Not that you find fault with the law;
on the contrary,
it commands your profoundest esteem.

Still you are not drawn by it to God;
you are rather hardened in heart
and tending toward desperation.

So turn your eye from Moses
with all his repelling splendor,
and look to Jesus,
resplendent with milder glories.

Look upon His flowing wounds
and thorn-crowned head!

He is the Son of God and greater than Moses,
but He is the Lord of love
and more tender than the lawgiver.

He bore the wrath of God
and in His death revealed more of God's justice
than Sinai displayed,
but that justice is now vindicated,
and it is the guardian of believers in Jesus.

Look, sinner, to the bleeding Savior,
and as you feel the attraction of His love,
run to His arms,
and you will be saved.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Enjoying God's Presence



Repeatedly in Scripture, we find there is great joy and awe for believers in the presence of the Lord:

Psalm 16:11 ~ You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 21:6 ~ For You make him most blessed forever; You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence.
Psalm 95:2 ~ Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
Isaiah 64:3-5 ~ When You did awesome things which we did not expect, You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence. For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him. You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, who remembers You in Your ways. Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, we continued in them a long time; And shall we be saved?
Jude 1:24-25 ~ Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

And Ecclesiastes 2:26 tell us in part, "To a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy..." 

Why, then, do so many people fail to enjoy God's presence?

First, some may not really know Him. Sometimes people mistakenly see God as an untouchable, invisible force caring very little about His creation. But nothing is further from the truth. He desires a close, abiding relationship with you. When you fail to realize the depth of His love, you miss a great blessing. He says to you today, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness" (Jer. 31:3). The Father cares for you deeply, and when you spend time with Him, He expresses that love to you.

Second, some have an erroneous view of God's attitude. Our heavenly Father is not legalistic, expecting you to live by rituals and regulations. Rather, he cares about your heart—about your love for Him and your sincere desire to obey Him. Remember, "God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him" (John 3:17). You do not have to earn His acceptance. You do not have to work for His care. When you spend time in His presence, He teaches you His ways and how to live each day.

Third, as hard as it is to imagine, some people are simply afraid of God. They see Him as unpredictable and full of wrath. Although He calls you to have reverence for Him—to respect His holiness—He does not want you to be afraid of Him with a human fear. He tells us to fear Him, but we do this with a reverent fear—one worships the Lord, acknowledging our love for Him.
1 John 4:18 tells us, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment." This is why He so often tells His people, "Do not fear" (Gen. 15:1; Joshua 8:1; Luke 1:30). Our lives are in His hands, and He will lead, protect, and provide for us when we seek Him—not punish us.

Fourth, sin breaks the fellowship God wants us to enjoy with Him. Sin not only blocks his best for us, it stops us from experiencing His wonderful presence. Yet not only does God extend forgiveness, He also promises restoration to us. When we forsake our sin—repenting of it—He brings us back into fellowship and the blessing of His love.

Fifth, some people refuse to believe that the Father accepts them. There is absolutely nothing you can do to save yourself or to become more acceptable to Him. The Lord loves you the way you are! He never approves of sin, but He also is committed to loving you and teaching you how to know Him better.



How can you begin to enjoy God?

Realize that He enjoys being with you, and then learn to spend time with Him—trusting Him to meet all your needs.



~ page 1076 ~




Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Side Effects of Fear....from InTouch.org

The Cure for Anxiety
"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"

"Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?"

"And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?"

"And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these."

"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!"

"Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' ”

"For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these thigs."

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day had enough trouble of its own."

 
Fear obviously produces anxiety, but it also creates chaos in our lives and even affects those around us.
 
Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.
 
Fear hinders us from becoming the people God wants us to be. When we are dominated by negative emotions, we cannot achieve the goals He has in mind for us. A lack of self-confidence stymies our belief in what the Lord can do with our lives.
 
Fear can drive people to destructive habits. To numb the pain of overbearing distress and foreboding, some turn to things like drugs and alcohol for artificial relief.
 
Fear steals peace and contentment. When we're always afraid, our life becomes centered on pessimism and gloom.
 
Fear creates doubt. God promises us an abundant life, but if we surrender instead to the chains of fear, our prayers won’t be worth very much.
 
What are you afraid of--loss, rejection, poverty, or death? Everybody will face such realities at some point. All you need to know is, God will never reject you. Whether you accept Him is your decision.
 
The Bible tells us that God will meet all our needs. He feeds the birds of the air and clothes the grass with the splendor of lilies. How much more, then, will He care for us, who are made in His image? Our only concern is to obey the heavenly Father and leave the consequences to Him.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions: What does God really think of me?

Romans 8: 38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I never thought much about whether God liked me or approved of me when I was a young man. I knew he loved me, but I never thought about whether He liked me. If someone had pressed me on the point, I probably would have concluded that the Lord "somewhat" liked me. I don't think I would have said that He liked me through and through.
Only after I truly experienced God's loveHis total, unconditional, overwhelming, abundant lovecould I say with all honesty, "Yes, God likes me. He approves of me. He likes spending time with me. He likes hearing me when I pray to Him, and He also enjoys talking with me through His Word. I believe He loves me. He knows I make mistakes, but He sees my heart and my desire to know Him better each day."
I didn't come to that position on the basis of things I had accomplished or actions I had taken. Rather, I came to that position solely because I had a new appreciation for God's grace at work in my life. The Lord certainly does expect obedience, but the fact is I had done nothing and could do nothing to win His approval. He likes me just the way I am because He created me to be just the way I am. His approval of me isn't based on anything I have accomplished or might accomplish in the future. He approves of me because I stand forgiven before Him, and I'm forgiven because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and have received His forgiveness. That makes me totally acceptable to Him.
The first four chapters of Romans make it very clear that we can't save ourselves. We are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross, by faith we are "justified as a gift by His grace" (Romans 3:24).
Jesus has done for you [and I] what you [we] cannot do. He purchased full approval and forgiveness for you. You cannot have grace without the Cross. But because of the Cross, you [we] have full access to His grace.
Grace is God's kindness and goodness toward you [us] without regard to worth or merit. As a believer, you [we] have a duty to obey the Lord. But you [we] can't earn grace, but it, or barter with God to receive it. Grace is His free gift to you [us]. There is only one thing you [we] can do in regard to grace: Receive it gladly!!
Praise God!!


~ page 1005 ~



Monday, August 18, 2014

Exercise Discernment with Entertainment

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
The most dangerous thing on television in my estimation today is the sitcom

Do you know what they’re doing? They’re getting you to laugh at sin. 

In fact, a Christian television and film writer attended a producers’ workshop one day. One of the keynote speakers was one of TV’s most successful producers of sitcoms. In his address, he stated that in order to have a commercially successful production, the characters in a sitcom must violate at least three of the Ten Commandments. 

How tragic. 

But what an opportunity for people like you and me to take a stand for the truth and for the glory of God in the film and television industry.

ACTION POINT:
Pray Joshua 1:7 for those who are in the television and movie industries—that they will be strong and courageous.



from Love Worth Finding email devotional


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Preparation for Greater Service


1 Kings 17:1-24 (NASB)
Elijah Predicts Drought
17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” 2 The word of the Lord came to him, saying, 3 “Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook. 7 It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” 12 But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. 14 For thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.’” 15 So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.
Elijah Raises the Widow’s Son
17 Now it came about after these things that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became sick; and his sickness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 So she said to Elijah, “What do I have to do with you, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my iniquity to remembrance and to put my son to death!” 19 He said to her, “Give me your son.” Then he took him from her bosom and carried him up to the upper room where he was living, and laid him on his own bed. 20 He called to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, have You also brought calamity to the widow with whom I am staying, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, I pray You, let this child’s life return to him.” 22 The Lordheard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived. 23 Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house and gave him to his mother; and Elijah said, “See, your son is alive.” 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”




In Luke 17:5, the apostles asked Christ to increase their faith. The Lord told them that if they had faith as small as a mustard seed, they could do great things. God does not enlarge our faith instantly. He begins with what little we have and proceeds to grow it.

Elijah was in a faith-building program. The Lord gave him increasingly difficult challenges of reliance and obedience. At the brook Cherith, the prophet had to depend on God for his own survival. Then, at Zarephath, he trusted the Lord to provide for both himself and a widow. Finally, he served her in an even larger way by raising her dead son to life.

Each act of believing God and the ensuing step of obedience resulted in increased opportunities for Elijah to serve the Lord and others. Raising the dead may seem like the height of his ministry, but it was to be followed by an even greater opportunity to influence an entire nation for God. Elijah was about to face the biggest spiritual battle of his life (1 Kings 18)—all his previous demonstrations of faith and obedience were the Lord’s way of preparing him.

God wants each of us to be influential in His kingdom. He knows which faith challenges to present so that we can be entrusted with even greater tasks.

The Lord will provide occasions for you to believe Him and respond in obedience. These situations are what we call “problems.” Begin to look at each difficulty as an opportunity designed by God specifically for the purpose of increasing your faith so He can do great things in and through you.



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