Author Topic: Devotional for the day  (Read 52779 times)

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Devotional for the day
« Reply #1340 on: March 01, 2012, 08:02:05 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     


The Piercing Question
Do you love Me? -John 21:17


Peter's response to this piercing question is considerably different from the bold defiance he exhibited only a few days before when he declared, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" (Matthew 26:35 ; also see Matthew 26:33-34). Our natural individuality, or our natural self, boldly speaks out and declares its feelings. But the true love within our inner spiritual self can be discovered only by experiencing the hurt of this question of Jesus Christ. Peter loved Jesus in the way any natural man loves a good person. Yet that is nothing but emotional love. It may reach deeply into our natural self, but it never penetrates to the spirit of a person. True love never simply declares itself. Jesus said, "Whoever confesses Me before men [that is, confesses his love by everything he does, not merely by his words], him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8).

Unless we are experiencing the hurt of facing every deception about ourselves, we have hindered the work of the Word of God in our lives. The Word of God inflicts hurt on us more than sin ever could, because sin dulls our senses. But this question of the Lord intensifies our sensitivities to the point that this hurt produced by Jesus is the most exquisite pain conceivable. It hurts not only on the natural level, but also on the deeper spiritual level. "For the Word of God is living and powerful . . . , piercing even to the division of soul and spirit . . ."- to the point that no deception can remain (Hebrews 4:12). When the Lord asks us this question, it is impossible to think and respond properly, because when the Lord speaks directly to us, the pain is too intense. It causes such a tremendous hurt that any part of our life which may be out of line with His will can feel the pain. There is never any mistaking the pain of the Lord's Word by His children, but the moment that pain is felt is the very moment at which God reveals His truth to us.
 

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 Spiritual Treasure
In 2 Corinthians 4:7, Paul tells us,

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

If you look at this chapter, Paul helps us understand that this treasure is ministry, the gospel, the Word of God, and the light and the glory of God, God's presence.

Paul wants us to understand that God has placed in us an incredible spiritual treasure...a treasure residing in these earthen vessels...our bodies. The treasure is in you and me!

But that treasure needs to be poured out.

I can't help but think that Paul was thinking of two particular earthen vessels that were used in his day. One was the vessel of mercy and the other the vessel of honor.

One place you would find the vessel of honor was around the home. People would use the water to wash their feet after traveling the dusty roads before they would enter your house, or they would use the water to quench their thirst. Like the vessel of honor, we are to wash the feet of our family, to humbly serve them and to help quench their thirst for more of God.

The vessel of mercy looked identical to the vessel of honor, but it was located in public places like the town square, so that any traveler coming through that arid land would be guaranteed to find a fresh drink of water. It was placed where the needs were. We need to take mercy where mercy is needed most-out onto the highways of humanity.

You are an earthen vessel filled with His spiritual treasure, so start pouring it out-in your home and out where the people are.
 

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How Do You Give?

In His Presence: Mark 8:36

Jesus not only closely watched people give their offerings, He watched them critically. He went beyond their visible actions and looked into their hearts. Jesus called His disciples over and said: "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury" (Mark 12:43). He didn't want them to miss seeing the heart of the widow, or to miss the lesson that her giving provided.

Most of us would miss watching the widow. Instead, we would be watching the bigwigs in the temple, the ones who made large offerings from their ample funds. We would be impressed by how much they gave. We might even suggest honoring them for their giving, maybe naming a building after the donor. But Jesus didn't call the disciples over to see the big givers. He called them over to notice a poor widow who gave less than a penny.

Why did Jesus fix His attention on the widow? Because she gave more. "She, out of her poverty, put in all she owned" (v. 44), while the rich men gave out of their surplus. The rich gave what they had left over. This woman didn't have anything extra; she gave everything she had. Jesus knew this, and He saw her heart. God measures our gift not by its amount, but by our motive. A godly steward will give with the motivation to honor God rather than just to tip Him with what he has left over after the bills are paid.

One Minute Please

God is not only interested in what you give; He also wants to know why you give it.
 

God bless
 :angel:
 
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Devotional for the day
« Reply #1341 on: March 02, 2012, 08:45:47 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
Have You Felt the Pain Inflicted by the Lord?
He said to him the third time, '. . . do you love Me?' -John 21:17


Have you ever felt the pain, inflicted by the Lord, at the very center of your being, deep down in the most sensitive area of your life? The devil never inflicts pain there, and neither can sin nor human emotions. Nothing can cut through to that part of our being but the Word of God. "Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, 'Do you love Me?' " Yet he was awakened to the fact that at the center of his personal life he was devoted to Jesus. And then he began to see what Jesus' patient questioning meant. There was not the slightest bit of doubt left in Peter's mind; he could never be deceived again. And there was no need for an impassioned response; no need for immediate action or an emotional display. It was a revelation to him to realize how much he did love the Lord, and with amazement he simply said, "Lord, You know all things . . . ." Peter began to see how very much he did love Jesus, and there was no need to say, "Look at this or that as proof of my love." Peter was beginning to discover within himself just how much he really did love the Lord. He discovered that his eyes were so fixed on Jesus Christ that he saw no one else in heaven above or on the earth below. But he did not know it until the probing, hurting questions of the Lord were asked. The Lord's questions always reveal the true me to myself.

Oh, the wonder of the patient directness and skill of Jesus Christ with Peter! Our Lord never asks questions until the perfect time. Rarely, but probably once in each of our lives, He will back us into a corner where He will hurt us with His piercing questions. Then we will realize that we do love Him far more deeply than our words can ever say.
 

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You're Not Stuck

1 Corinthians 10:13 says,

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.

The word temptation in this verse also means test or trial. With that in mind, here are a couple of thoughts to encourage you today.

1. Whatever test, trial, or temptation you are facing today, it is "common to man." That means that you are not the only one who has gone through whatever you are facing. It is comforting to know that others have faced similar problems before us and made it through!

2. God makes a way of escape with the trial or temptation. That means you're not stuck! Before your difficulty ever arose, God designed a way of escape. And that means of escape comes with the problem.

So if you find yourself embroiled in trials, tests, or temptations today, start looking for God's way of escape-it exists. Trust Him to guide you safely through and out of your difficulties!

 
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Giving Reflects the Spiritual
In His Presence: 1 Kings 17:1-16

Giving is a value issue, not simply a money issue. God wants your love for Him to be reflected in the way you give. When faced with the choice of using her two lepta for survival or giving them to God, the widow chose to trust God to provide and gave all her money to Him. She did it without the promise of any reward, simply because she knew she needed God above all else and wanted to give to Him. She made a spiritual decision which she reflected in her physical actions. She completely entrusted herself to God to meet her need. She was banking on God.

Our love for God is measured and tested by the hold we have on our wallets. If we simply give out of our surplus, Jesus said we are not grateful. Giving God the leftovers expresses the lack of value we place on Him. The poor widow not only gave all she had, she gave more than those rich men, not in portion, but in proportion. She gave 100 percent, while all they gave were leftovers.

Everything we have starts with God. He gives us the money we receive because of the jobs He provides for us. Everything is rooted in God's provision.

If your offering is insignificant to you, it is also insignificant to God. If we put God first in our lives, we will give Him the firstfruits, not the leftovers. Do we trust that if we put Him first, He will take care of us?

One Minute Please

If Jesus Himself passed you the offering plate with His nail-scarred hand, would it affect your giving?

God bless
  :angel:
 
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!


Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Devotional for the day
« Reply #1342 on: March 05, 2012, 08:38:34 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
Is He Really My Lord?
. . . so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus . . . -Acts 20:24


Joy comes from seeing the complete fulfillment of the specific purpose for which I was created and born again, not from successfully doing something of my own choosing. The joy our Lord experienced came from doing what the Father sent Him to do. And He says to us, "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you" (John 20:21). Have you received a ministry from the Lord? If so, you must be faithful to it- to consider your life valuable only for the purpose of fulfilling that ministry. Knowing that you have done what Jesus sent you to do, think how satisfying it will be to hear Him say to you, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21). We each have to find a niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive a ministry from the Lord. To do this we must have close fellowship with Jesus and must know Him as more than our personal Savior. And we must be willing to experience the full impact of Acts 9:16 - "I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."

"Do you love Me?" Then, "Feed My sheep" (John 21:17). He is not offering us a choice of how we can serve Him; He is asking for absolute loyalty to His commission, a faithfulness to what we discern when we are in the closest possible fellowship with God. If you have received a ministry from the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is not the same as the call- the need is the opportunity to exercise the call. The call is to be faithful to the ministry you received when you were in true fellowship with Him. This does not imply that there is a whole series of differing ministries marked out for you. It does mean that you must be sensitive to what God has called you to do, and this may sometimes require ignoring demands for service in other areas.
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The Road to Perfect and Complete

I want us to focus our attention today on James 1:2-4,

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

What I want to look at today is how God seeks to bring us to maturity by building patience into our lives. If there is one thing I have learned in my Christian walk, it is that God is not in as much of a hurry as I am!

Now, what is patience? Patience is the long-lasting quality of your faith. If you let go of your patience, your faith falls to the floor.

The end result God is looking for is that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. The word perfect here means mature. God is developing maturity in us by working on our patience.

I have a dear friend who has a great church. They endeavored to build another building on their property and it ended up being a major undertaking. In fact, it turned out to be the most difficult thing he had ever done. I mean, it took a strip out of his hide.

Eventually it got built, but you know what my friend says about it? He says, "You see that building? I didn't build that building. It built me."

Going through those trials, facing those difficulties, having his faith tested, having to trust God when it seemed like there was a lack of finances, having to hold onto God's Word when he was a laughing stock with some people, all of that built character in him as he stood the test.

I have a question for you: Has anything been building you lately? If so, rejoice, because God is working maturity in you!

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Giving Our Firstfruits
In His Presence: Matthew 22:37

The Bible calls the priorities of stewardship our "firstfruits." In the agricultural environment of the biblical times, people lived on the food they grew. Giving God their firstfruits would mean giving Him the best and the first of what they had to give.

Giving your firstfruits is a tangible, visible way of telling God that He is first in your life. God has always demanded that He be first because He is God. In Revelation 2:4, Jesus told the church: "You have left your first love." Jesus had slipped into second or third place. When God stops being first, we have a problem.

Colossians 1:18 tells us we should live in such a way "that [Jesus] Himself might come to have first place in everything." Jesus wants to be the focus of every aspect of your life all the time, without exception. Why? Because everything we have and ever will have is rooted in God. He deserves to be the focus because He is the Creator, Sustainer, Source, Savior, and King.

A passage from Haggai demonstrates where our priority as stewards should be: "You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; ... he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes" (Haggai 1:6). When God is not first, we can't possibly enjoy the stuff of life. Whenever the provisions of God become your god, you have replaced the true God with your own god.

One Minute Please

How dare we live for everything else and forget the Source.
 
God bless
 :angel:
 
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Devotional for the day
« Reply #1343 on: March 06, 2012, 08:48:48 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
Taking the Next Step
. . . in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses -2 Corinthians 6:4


When you have no vision from God, no enthusiasm left in your life, and no one watching and encouraging you, it requires the grace of Almighty God to take the next step in your devotion to Him, in the reading and studying of His Word, in your family life, or in your duty to Him. It takes much more of the grace of God, and a much greater awareness of drawing upon Him, to take that next step, than it does to preach the gospel.

Every Christian must experience the essence of the incarnation by bringing the next step down into flesh-and-blood reality and by working it out with his hands. We lose interest and give up when we have no vision, no encouragement, and no improvement, but only experience our everyday life with its trivial tasks. The thing that really testifies for God and for the people of God in the long run is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others. And the only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to discourage you. Never allow yourself to think that some tasks are beneath your dignity or too insignificant for you to do, and remind yourself of the example of Christ inJohn 13:1-17 .
 

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It Will All Work Out

Ephesians 1:11 is a powerful verse with a vital lesson,

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.

Over the 30 years of my Christian life, I have come to have great confidence in God's ability to work things out. No matter what is going on or how obscured my understanding of a situation is, I believe God is always working things according to His great sovereign plan.

It is as if there is this giant tapestry that God is weaving, and my life is a part of it. I sometimes get caught up with the temporal things and the stuff that is happening, but God reminds me, "Hey, nothing is taking Me by surprise. I'm weaving all of these things into this great pattern. Your mistakes, the stuff that happens to you, it is all going to turn out alright!"

Has it ever occurred to you that nothing occurs to God? The thing you are embroiled in right now did not take God by surprise. He did not look at your situation and say, "Oh no! I didn't figure on that! Gabriel, do you have any suggestions? What are we going to do?"

I know that sometimes in my microscopic view of things I have said, "Lord, such and such has got to happen." And God has replied, "Well, you don't have the big picture." Then, as time went on, God pulled the camera back, and I got the wide view, and I realized God was up to something very cool-totally apart from what I thought "had to happen."

Whatever your situation, you can rest assured that God has plans to work things out. God is working all things after the counsel of His own will. So relax! Even if your present circumstances have totally taken you by surprise, God saw it coming and made provision far ahead of time.

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Firstfruits Are the Best
In His Presence: Leviticus 22:17-25

Whenever you give God your firstfruits, you not only give Him the first, you give Him the best. In Malachi 1 the Israelites brought God the worst of their leftovers for their sacrifices-the sick, blind, and lame animals. Sometimes that is what we bring God-our leftover time, energy, and devotion. We come to God when we're not at our peak.

The story of Cain and Abel serves as a reminder that God is not pleased with those who do not offer firstfruits. "Abel, on his part also brought the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard" (Genesis 4:4-5). Cain wound up killing his brother over this incident. Abel brought God the best because he believed God desired and deserved the best. By his offering, Cain showed that he thought God only deserved something, not the best.

If we're not worshiping God by bringing Him our firstfruits, we are likely giving our firstfruits to something else. What gets your best time and your undivided attention? You give those to whatever is your priority.

Regarding money, "firstfruits" refers to the tithe, or the tenth. You must bring the whole tithe before you bring an offering. Deuteronomy 14:23 says we are to give the tithe "that [we] may learn to fear the Lord." Whenever we give the tenth first, we're honoring God as God.

One Minute Please

God wants the prime cut of your life; He doesn't want the leftovers.

God bless
  :angel:
 
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Devotional for the day
« Reply #1344 on: March 07, 2012, 08:15:59 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
The Source of Abundant Joy
In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us -Romans 8:37


Paul was speaking here of the things that might seem likely to separate a saint from the love of God. But the remarkable thing is that nothing can come between the love of God and a saint. The things Paul mentioned in this passage can and do disrupt the close fellowship of our soul with God and separate our natural life from Him. But none of them is able to come between the love of God and the soul of a saint on the spiritual level. The underlying foundation of the Christian faith is the undeserved, limitless miracle of the love of God that was exhibited on the Cross of Calvary; a love that is not earned and can never be. Paul said this is the reason that "in all these things we are more than conquerors." We are super-victors with a joy that comes from experiencing the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.

Huge waves that would frighten an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. Let's apply that to our own circumstances. The things we try to avoid and fight against- tribulation, suffering, and persecution- are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. "We are more than conquerors through Him" "in all these things"; not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. A saint doesn't know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it. Paul said, "I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation" (2 Corinthians 7:4).

The undiminished radiance, which is the result of abundant joy, is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can change. And the experiences of life, whether they are everyday events or terrifying ones, are powerless to "separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
 

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The Prayer of Personal Edification

Today's devotional brings us to the prayer of personal edification. In 1 Corinthians 14:4, Paul writes,

He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

In verse 14, Paul says, If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays. Coupled together with his statement in verse 4, we can see that praying in tongues edifies our spirit.

Edifies is actually an old English word. It means to build an edifice or building higher and higher. The closest modern way to say that would be "charges himself with energy," just like you would recharge a battery.

When I pray in other tongues, I charge my spirit with energy. I build myself up. It is like my cell phone. It needs to be recharged, or before long it will cease to work.

Sometimes I keep my phone on and talk on it while it is recharging, but when I do that it takes a whole lot longer to recharge. If I turn it off and plug it in, the charging process happens much quicker.

Sometimes you just need to shut everything down, turn everything off, and go get away with God and pray. Build yourself up in the Holy Spirit, especially praying in other tongues.

Sometimes after a long day I will come home just drained, tired inside and out. Eating a good meal and getting some rest takes care of my physical tiredness, but in order to replenish my inner resources, I need to do something else.

For me, reading His Word is food for my spirit, and praying in tongues brings inward rest and rejuvenation.

Even as the Scripture declares in Isaiah 28:11-12, For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, to whom He said, "This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest," and, "This is the refreshing."

Take the time to get away and recharge your spiritual batteries.
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 Do You Need to Change Your Expectations?
As a pastor, I witness people accepting their circumstances with a "crippling" mindset rather than believing God for something better in life.

They are like the lame man in Acts 3 who sat by the gate, Beautiful, begging for money. His only expectation was that a passerby will take pity on him and toss a coin his way. He never expected anything better. He was crippled in his body and his mind.

That's the mindset of those who don't expect things can change in their lives. We all face bad days, but we don't have to let them turn into a bad life.

Do you know anyone like that? Is that you? Jesus' disciples offered the lame man miraculous healing in both his body and his mind. You too can move forward no matter what you face in life.

Scripture Reading: Acts 3:1-9; 16
 

God bless
 :angel:
 
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Devotional for the day
« Reply #1345 on: March 08, 2012, 08:41:52 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
The Surrendered Life
I have been crucified with Christ . . . -Galatians 2:20


To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. The first thing we must surrender is all of our pretense or deceit. What our Lord wants us to present to Him is not our goodness, honesty, or our efforts to do better, but real solid sin. Actually, that is all He can take from us. And what He gives us in exchange for our sin is real solid righteousness. But we must surrender all pretense that we are anything, and give up all our claims of even being worthy of God's consideration.

Once we have done that, the Spirit of God will show us what we need to surrender next. Along each step of this process, we will have to give up our claims to our rights to ourselves. Are we willing to surrender our grasp on all that we possess, our desires, and everything else in our lives? Are we ready to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?

We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sins of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. When they see themselves in the light of the Lord, the shame, horror, and desperate conviction hit home for them.

If you are faced with the question of whether or not to surrender, make a determination to go on through the crisis, surrendering all that you have and all that you are to Him. And God will then equip you to do all that He requires of you.
 

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The Remnant

Today, I want you to read Romans 11:2-5,

God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, "LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life"? But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

When Elijah pleads with God, he is physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted. Jezebel is after his head and he has run into the wilderness. He is sitting down under a tree, and he is crying to God, "I'm the only one. Nobody else is serving You."

But God says, "Hey, wait a minute, Tiger. I have seven thousand more who haven't bowed their knee to the false idol. You're not the only one."

God is saying, "I have a remnant." And then Paul brings it right into present day, and says, "Just like God had a remnant then, God has a remnant today."

A remnant is a small group that has remained. That is where the word remnant comes from. It comes from the root "to remain." God always has a remnant. A remnant that remains faithful, committed, on course, obedient to God. That does not get discouraged, quit, or give up because of life's many turns.

Life has its share of setbacks and unexpected turns, and many people give up because of those setbacks. But those who stay on course and remain faithful will experience God's richer blessings.

God blesses all of His children. But those who stay the course are rewarded for their faithfulness.

So stay on track, hold course, stay steady, and remain faithful. Be a part of the remnant.

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 Reaping What You Sow
In His Presence: John 12:24-26

An axiom is a governing principle or rule of thumb. Examples of axioms include: birds fly; water is wet; fire is hot; what goes up must come down; and-the one relevant to our study of stewardship-a man reaps what he sows. That axiomatic statement is as real as any of the others, but it's not believed to the same degree. We reap what we sow in all of life, not just where money is concerned. What we plant determines what we harvest.

A little boy was told by his father to go outside and do some planting in the garden. The boy was lazy and didn't feel like doing all that work, so he dug one hole, dumped all the seeds in, and covered them up. He went back inside and told his dad the work was done, forgetting that what he planted would reveal itself-and his laziness-in time. He would one day reap what he sowed.

According to our axiom, if there is no sowing of seeds, there can be no expectation of harvest. There are many Christians who want a great harvest from God, but they have sown very few seeds for God. Second Corinthians 9:6 says: "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." Your harvest depends on what you sow. If you plant potatoes, potatoes will grow. To plant the flesh means you will simply live to gratify yourself. But to plant the Spirit is to live for the glory of God.

One Minute Please

If we make no spiritual investment, we should not expect a spiritual return.
 
God bless
  :angel:
 
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Devotional for the day
« Reply #1346 on: March 09, 2012, 09:01:16 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
Turning Back or Walking with Jesus?
Do you also want to go away? -John 6:67


What a penetrating question! Our Lord's words often hit home for us when He speaks in the simplest way. In spite of the fact that we know who Jesus is, He asks, "Do you also want to go away?" We must continually maintain an adventurous attitude toward Him, despite any potential personal risk.

"From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more" (John 6:66). They turned back from walking with Jesus; not into sin, but away from Him. Many people today are pouring their lives out and working for Jesus Christ, but are not really walking with Him. One thing God constantly requires of us is a oneness with Jesus Christ. After being set apart through sanctification, we should discipline our lives spiritually to maintain this intimate oneness. When God gives you a clear determination of His will for you, all your striving to maintain that relationship by some particular method is completely unnecessary. All that is required is to live a natural life of absolute dependence on Jesus Christ. Never try to live your life with God in any other way than His way. And His way means absolute devotion to Him. Showing no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead is the secret of walking with Jesus.

Peter saw in Jesus only someone who could minister salvation to him and to the world. But our Lord wants us to be fellow laborers with Him.

In John 6:70 Jesus lovingly reminded Peter that he was chosen to go with Him. And each of us must answer this question for ourselves and no one else: "Do you also want to go away?"
 

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Not There Yet

In Philippians 3:12-13, Paul gives us an important insight into becoming complete or mature in Christ,

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected (or complete); but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.

As believers, we must realize that we have a way to go. We have not arrived. There are still some things ahead. We still must press on.

But some people have the idea they have arrived. They don't need to grow anymore; they don't need to study anymore; they don't need to increase anymore.

It is like the true story of a young neighbor who was talking to Albert Einstein at a dinner party. She asked, "What is it exactly that you do as a profession?" Einstein looked at her and said, "I've devoted myself to the study of physics." And in shock she replied, "Studying physics at your age? I finished my studies a year ago!"

Unfortunately, that is the attitude many Christians have today about their spiritual growth. They think they have finished. Instead, our attitude should be like 95-year-old Pablo Casals, considered to be the greatest cellist that the world has ever known.

A young reporter asked him one day, "You're 95. The world considers you to be its greatest cellist; and still, at 95, you practice six hours a day. Why?" To which he responded, "Because I think I'm making progress."

Friend, you have not arrived. Set your goal to be making progress every day. That is how you will become mature in Christ.
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The Law of the Harvest

In His Presence: Mark 10:29-30

Scripture says that when you sow, you will reap a harvest, and the harvest depends on how much you sow. Once you determine what you want to harvest, you will know what you need to sow. If you want supernatural and spectacular things from God, you won't just sow ordinary seeds. "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7).

The harvest also depends on where you sow. The seeds must be planted in "good soil" (Matthew 13:8). When we invest in the kingdom of God, He returns our investment in abundance. We must plant our seeds in fertile ground, in ministries that are actually about ministry instead of money. Matthew 6:33 tells us that we can maintain the growth of our crop when we "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness."

The harvest also depends on when you sow-different crops demand different amounts of time to grow. If we plant in the spring, we won't see a crop in the spring. We must be patient and wait for God to bring the harvest in due time.

Finally, your harvest depends on why you sow. Is the motivation for seed-planting so that you can benefit from the prosperity of the harvest, or so that God will be glorified by a large harvest? Motivation is everything in stewardship, and if we trust God, we will sow great things and reap great things by His grace.

One Minute Please

Give and it will be given unto you because of the glory of God.
 
God bless
 :angel:
 
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Devotional for the day
« Reply #1347 on: March 12, 2012, 09:35:27 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
Total Surrender
Peter began to say to Him, 'See, we have left all and followed You' -Mark 10:28


Our Lord replies to this statement of Peter by saying that this surrender is "for My sake and the gospel's" (10:29). It was not for the purpose of what the disciples themselves would get out of it. Beware of surrender that is motivated by personal benefits that may result. For example, "I'm going to give myself to God because I want to be delivered from sin, because I want to be made holy." Being delivered from sin and being made holy are the result of being right with God, but surrender resulting from this kind of thinking is certainly not the true nature of Christianity. Our motive for surrender should not be for any personal gain at all. We have become so self-centered that we go to God only for something from Him, and not for God Himself. It is like saying, "No, Lord, I don't want you; I want myself. But I do want You to clean me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I want to be on display in Your showcase so I can say, 'This is what God has done for me.' " Gaining heaven, being delivered from sin, and being made useful to God are things that should never even be a consideration in real surrender. Genuine total surrender is a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself.

Where does Jesus Christ figure in when we have a concern about our natural relationships? Most of us will desert Him with this excuse-"Yes, Lord, I heard you call me, but my family needs me and I have my own interests. I just can't go any further" (see Luke 9:57-62). "Then," Jesus says, "you 'cannot be My disciple' " (see Luke 14:26-33).

True surrender will always go beyond natural devotion. If we will only give up, God will surrender Himself to embrace all those around us and will meet their needs, which were created by our surrender. Beware of stopping anywhere short of total surrender to God. Most of us have only a vision of what this really means, but have never truly experienced it.
 

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God's GPS

Hebrews 13:20-21 are two verses that give me great encouragement,

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

These verses teach us that God is working in us all the time to bring us to maturity-our destiny in Christ.

A friend of mine shared a brilliant illustration of this one time. He likened God's guidance to that of the Global Positioning System (GPS), one of those systems they now have in cars that guides you to your destination.

A GPS system uses a satellite to give an aerial view, and its sole function is to get you to your destination, your "destiny."

As you travel to your destination, you have a map on the screen, and this little annoying voice talking to you through the whole trip, "Left turn a quarter mile ahead; left turn 150 feet ahead; left turn 50 feet ahead."

If you miss your turn, it immediately computes a new course for you so you can get back to where you are supposed to be. And if you mess up on those directions, it then computes another new course.

In the same way, God has a destiny for us to fulfill, something that fits into His great master plan. By His grace, He is guiding us all the way, even when we get off track. God just readjusts and says, "This is the next thing you need to do to get back into My plan."

Through His "GPS," He is always working to get us where we need to be. Praise God!
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 Abuse of Stewardship

In His Presence: Matthew 19:23-25

We are living in a day of the commercialization of God, where people go to church to find out what God will do for them. Instead of focusing on the goodness of giving to God, some focus on receiving blessing from God. These people have betrayed God for a price, expecting Him to act like Santa Claus, dispensing blessing because of their giving. There are many names for this-prosperity theology, name-it-and-claim-it theology-but it's all the same in that people relate to God simply because of the goodies He provides.

In Acts 8:14-24, me meet possibly the first prosperity gospel preacher, Simon. According to verse 13, Simon believed and was baptized, so we know he was a believer. But he brought with him into the church the materialistic mentality of the culture. Through this passage, we can examine some of the problems of materialism that can infiltrate our church today.

First, Simon brought the crisis of materialism, which was idolatry. When Simon saw Christianity, he saw dollar signs. He worshiped the almighty dollar. "When Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money" (v. 18). Simon wanted the power, prestige, and income that could come from Christianity; he wanted to make his own profit from God's work.

At the heart of materialism is greed. There is nothing wrong with having or wanting things, but when those things take precedence in your life over invisible things, like your relationship with God, you have become greedy.

One Minute Please

If your financial life is going up and your spiritual life is going down, you are probably greedy.

God bless
  :angel:
 
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Devotional for the day
« Reply #1348 on: March 13, 2012, 07:38:11 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
God's Total Surrender to Us
For God so loved the world that He gave . . . -John 3:16


Salvation does not mean merely deliverance from sin or the experience of personal holiness. The salvation which comes from God means being completely delivered from myself, and being placed into perfect union with Him. When I think of my salvation experience, I think of being delivered from sin and gaining personal holiness. But salvation is so much more! It means that the Spirit of God has brought me into intimate contact with the true Person of God Himself. And as I am caught up into total surrender to God, I become thrilled with something infinitely greater than myself.

To say that we are called to preach holiness or sanctification is to miss the main point. We are called to proclaim Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 2:2). The fact that He saves from sin and makes us holy is actually part of the effect of His wonderful and total surrender to us.

If we are truly surrendered, we will never be aware of our own efforts to remain surrendered. Our entire life will be consumed with the One to whom we surrender. Beware of talking about surrender if you know nothing about it. In fact, you will never know anything about it until you understand that John 3:16 means that God completely and absolutely gave Himself to us. In our surrender, we must give ourselves to God in the same way He gave Himself for us- totally, unconditionally, and without reservation. The consequences and circumstances resulting from our surrender will never even enter our mind, because our life will be totally consumed with Him.
 

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An Encouraging Word

A while back I ran into a woman who I hadn't seen in quite some time. Being my friendly self I said, "Hi!"

The moment I said that she replied, "Oh, Bayless!" and proceeded to open her purse and pull out a letter I had written to encourage her three years earlier. She said, "I take this with me everywhere I go."

I wanted to cry! I mean, I was touched. But then I thought, "Is there no one else who comforts you? Is there no one else who speaks encouraging words into your life?" And I wonder the same about you.

Are you needing some encouragement today? I don't know what you may be faced with, but I personally find comfort and encouragement in the following passage. It is 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11,

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

Think about this for a moment. As you look into eternity, which is what ultimately matters, you and I are not appointed to wrath! That is good news! That is great news! That is encouraging news! And that is great comfort!

God is storing up wrath against the ungodly. But, just like in ancient Egypt when the death angel passed over every home where the blood of the Lamb was, I thank God the wrath of God passes over us!

It is being stored up, but not for me or for you. As believers in Jesus Christ, we have escaped the wrath of God.

Thank you, Jesus!
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The Cure for Materialism
In His Presence: 3 John 2

When Simon offered money to the disciples, Peter responded: "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!" (Acts 8:20). Materialism carries with it a heavy curse. It began when Adam and Eve wanted to satisfy their own appetites, and the whole world fell under the curse of sin. Materialism causes people to forget about God, and where God is not the focus, life will be pointless. Matthew 13:22 says: "The worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful."

The good news is that there is a cure for materialism. The cure is repentance. In Acts 8:22-23, the disciples told Simon: "Repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity."

God doesn't want money to bind you or chain you down. Deuteronomy 8:18 says: "It is [God] who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant." His blessings are meant to free us up to do more for Him. Giving of our blessings means that people are saved, the gospel is preached, and the poor are helped. God never blesses us to keep it for ourselves; He blesses us to share that blessing with others. Our financial prosperity and our spiritual prosperity are intertwined; they go hand in hand.

One Minute Please

If we repent and make God's glory our motivation, He will be honored in our stewardship.

God bless
 :angel:
 
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Devotional for the day
« Reply #1349 on: March 14, 2012, 09:36:14 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
Yielding
. . . you are that one's slaves whom you obey . . . -Romans 6:16


The first thing I must be willing to admit when I begin to examine what controls and dominates me is that I am the one responsible for having yielded myself to whatever it may be. If I am a slave to myself, I am to blame because somewhere in the past I yielded to myself. Likewise, if I obey God I do so because at some point in my life I yielded myself to Him.

If a child gives in to selfishness, he will find it to be the most enslaving tyranny on earth. There is no power within the human soul itself that is capable of breaking the bondage of the nature created by yielding. For example, yield for one second to anything in the nature of lust, and although you may hate yourself for having yielded, you become enslaved to that thing. (Remember what lust is- "I must have it now," whether it is the lust of the flesh or the lust of the mind.) No release or escape from it will ever come from any human power, but only through the power of redemption. You must yield yourself in utter humiliation to the only One who can break the dominating power in your life, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. ". . . He has anointed Me . . . to proclaim liberty to the captives . . ." (Luke 4:18 and Isaiah 61:1).

When you yield to something, you will soon realize the tremendous control it has over you. Even though you say, "Oh, I can give up that habit whenever I like," you will know you can't. You will find that the habit absolutely dominates you because you willingly yielded to it. It is easy to sing, "He will break every fetter," while at the same time living a life of obvious slavery to yourself. But yielding to Jesus will break every kind of slavery in any person's life.
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Forever With Him

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 gives us powerful prophetic words,

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Jesus Christ will return, and the church will be caught away! We will meet the Lord in the clouds and in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we will be changed. From that moment on, we will always be with the Lord.

Maybe you are going through a rough patch right now. If so, let me remind you that this earthly life is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. But we have eternity in store. Thank God we will ever be with the Lord!

If He tarries and we die before He returns, we get to go to heaven. But I have a feeling, with the way things are shaping up, that we will be the generation that sees His return.

Have you noticed how the eyes of the world are on the Middle East? This is all end times stuff. Also, one of the things that Jesus said would be a precursor to the end is that the Gospel of the Kingdom would be preached to every nation, literally, to every language group.

And you know what? That will be completed in our generation.

So keep your eyes fixed on His return, and that day you will meet Him in the air and be with Him forever!
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 The Purpose of Stewardship
In His Presence: Genesis 12:2-3

What is God's purpose for stewardship? We can sum it up in one verse, Deuteronomy 8:18: "You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day." To put it simply, the reason God blesses us and the purpose of stewardship is the covenant.

The covenant is the program of God's kingdom. The principle of the covenant is that God expands His program of His kingdom rule in history through His servants. When God first made His covenant with Abraham, He promised to bless him, but not only that, He promised to bring blessingsthrough him.

We often hear Acts 20:35 quoted: "It is more blessed to give than to receive," but we don't really understand it. This verse means that if you are giving, it is only because God has given to you. If we receive blessings from God, we are obligated to be a blessing to someone else.

Deuteronomy 8:18 also emphasizes that it is God who gives us power to make wealth. God does not want us to forget the source of our blessings. It is He who allows us to work and be productive. Work has always been in God's plan for mankind, starting with Adam and Eve, who had the job of tending the garden and its inhabitants. There is no quick way to make a buck-true wealth is provided by God.

One Minute Please

When we give of our blessings, God will expand our roles as givers and allow us to keep on giving.

God bless
  :angel:
 
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!