Author Topic: Devotional for the day  (Read 54744 times)

Offline Judy Harder

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Re: Devotional for the day
« Reply #1350 on: March 15, 2012, 07:55:54 am »

Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
The Discipline of Dismay
As they followed they were afraid -Mark 10:32


At the beginning of our life with Jesus Christ, we were sure we knew all there was to know about following Him. It was a delight to forsake everything else and to throw ourselves before Him in a fearless statement of love. But now we are not quite so sure. Jesus is far ahead of us and is beginning to seem different and unfamiliar- "Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed" (Mark 10:32).

There is an aspect of Jesus that chills even a disciple's heart to its depth and makes his entire spiritual life gasp for air. This unusual Person with His face set "like a flint" (Isaiah 50:7) is walking with great determination ahead of me, and He strikes terror right through me. He no longer seems to be my Counselor and Friend and has a point of view about which I know nothing. All I can do is stand and stare at Him in amazement. At first I was confident that I understood Him, but now I am not so sure. I begin to realize that there is a distance between Jesus and me and I can no longer be intimate with Him. I have no idea where He is going, and the goal has become strangely distant.

Jesus Christ had to understand fully every sin and sorrow that human beings could experience, and that is what makes Him seem unfamiliar. When we see this aspect of Him, we realize we really don't know Him. We don't recognize even one characteristic of His life, and we don't know how to begin to follow Him. He is far ahead of us, a Leader who seems totally unfamiliar, and we have no friendship with Him.

The discipline of dismay is an essential lesson which a disciple must learn. The danger is that we tend to look back on our times of obedience and on our past sacrifices to God in an effort to keep our enthusiasm for Him strong (see Isaiah 1:10-11). But when the darkness of dismay comes, endure until it is over, because out of it will come the ability to follow Jesus truly, which brings inexpressibly wonderful joy.
 

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 Exceedingly Great and Precious Promises

2 Peter 1:2-4 says,

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

I want to draw your attention to verse 4 where the Scripture states that through the promises we partake of God's nature.

The promise is the connector, it is the pipeline through which God's nature flows to us.

"What is God's nature?" you might ask. It is the answer to everything you need! His nature is life, it is health, it is peace, it is wisdom, it is abundance. There is an answer in God's nature for every one of mankind's needs.

That is why the promises are called "exceedingly great and precious." Without a promise, there is no pipeline. Without a promise, we cannot partake.

But when you take a promise-an exceedingly great and precious promise-and act upon it in faith, God's nature is released into your situation.

Thank God for His promises!

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Covenant Blessings
In His Presence: Proverbs 19:17

We know that the covenant is central to God's purpose for stewardship. God uses His people to accomplish His purposes throughout history. In Old Testament times, God provided the tabernacle in the wilderness as the center of covenantal activity for the Israelites. The twelve tribes would situate themselves around the tabernacle where the cloud of glory was. When they went into the Promised Land, a temple was built, and this became the center of covenantal activity.

Today, the center of covenantal activity is the local church. This is the epicenter of God using the covenant to manage His kingdom. First Timothy 3:15 says the church is "the pillar and support of the truth." The local church holds God's Word, and His people are fed there by His Word. From that nourishment, the people should be engaged in dynamic ministry so that the impact of the kingdom spreads.

According to Deuteronomy 8:18, God gives His people the power to make wealth. God isn't against wealth, but He is against wasting it or letting it rule our lives. He wants to use what we have, and He wants to give us even more to use for the furthering of His kingdom. But the question is, can He trust us with more? Are we honoring Him with what we have right now? Ephesians 3:20-21 says: "To Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory." Your capacity will determine the level f your blessing.

One Minute Please

The role of God's people is to stand firm in His covenant.
 
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 #1351 on: March 16, 2012, 09:28:39 am »

Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
The Master Will Judge
We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ . . . -2 Corinthians 5:10


Paul says that we must all, preachers and other people alike, "appear before the judgment seat of Christ." But if you will learn here and now to live under the scrutiny of Christ's pure light, your final judgment will bring you only delight in seeing the work God has done in you. Live constantly reminding yourself of the judgment seat of Christ, and walk in the knowledge of the holiness He has given you. Tolerating a wrong attitude toward another person causes you to follow the spirit of the devil, no matter how saintly you are. One carnal judgment of another person only serves the purposes of hell in you. Bring it immediately into the light and confess, "Oh, Lord, I have been guilty there." If you don't, your heart will become hardened through and through. One of the penalties of sin is our acceptance of it. It is not only God who punishes for sin, but sin establishes itself in the sinner and takes its toll. No struggling or praying will enable you to stop doing certain things, and the penalty of sin is that you gradually get used to it, until you finally come to the place where you no longer even realize that it is sin. No power, except the power that comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit, can change or prevent the inherent consequences of sin.

"If we walk in the light as He is in the light. . ." (1 John 1:7). For many of us, walking in the light means walking according to the standard we have set up for another person. The deadliest attitude of the Pharisees that we exhibit today is not hypocrisy but that which comes from unconsciously living a lie.
 

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 Richer Blessings

Jeremiah 23:3-4 says,

"But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking," says the LORD.

As we discovered in one of our earlier devotionals, God gives richer blessings to these who remain faithful (the remnant). A good question to ask is, "What are the blessings for those who remain faithful?"

Jeremiah gives us a good clue,

They will have no fear.
They will lack for nothing.
They will be fruitful.
They will increase.
Are you interested in increasing? In fruitfulness? In not being afraid? God says those are things that happen to the remnant. These are the rich blessings you will receive if you stay faithful, committed, and obedient.

I once read a story about an old member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, a pitcher named Harry Hartman. In 1918, he was called up from the minors to pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was his dream come true! On his first pitch, the batter hit a single. No big deal.

The next batter hit a triple. Harry walked the next guy on four consecutive pitches. The next batter hit a single. Harry Hartman walked off the mound, went into the locker room, showered, put on his street clothes, went to a local naval recruiting office, and enlisted. The next day he was in uniform and was never seen again in professional baseball. He got discouraged and quit.

No matter what, do not give up! Remain faithful, because God promises great blessings to those who stay the course.
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Expecting God's Blessings
In His Presence: Luke 6:38

Sometimes people view working toward a reward as less than honorable. If your only reason for serving God is to get a reward, that's not right. But it's fine if the reward is only one reason for serving Him. God's Word shows us that He is vitally concerned about rewards. Jesus said: "There is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms will for My sake . . . but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age . . . and in the age to come, eternal life" (Mark 10:29).

God honors those who honor Him, and God wants you to expect to be blessed. If you are a Christian, you've already been blessed "with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:3). And if God can trust you to be generous with the earthly treasures He's given you, He won't forget where it started, and it will come back around to you.

Giving is the way to receiving. Most Christians have it backwards; they say, "Lord, give to me and then I will give to You." But the fundamental difference between us and God is that we can trust God, but He can't trust us. Many times He gives to us and never sees it again. When we honor Him first, He promises to respond to us. When we trust in His provision, He will determine what and how much we will receive.

One Minute Please

Ephesians 6:8 says: "Whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord."

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 #1352 on: March 19, 2012, 10:06:15 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
Abraham's Life of Faith
He went out, not knowing where he was going -Hebrews 11:8


In the Old Testament, a person's relationship with God was seen by the degree of separation in that person's life. This separation is exhibited in the life of Abraham by his separation from his country and his family. When we think of separation today, we do not mean to be literally separated from those family members who do not have a personal relationship with God, but to be separated mentally and morally from their viewpoints. This is what Jesus Christ was referring to in Luke 14:26.

Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason-a life of knowing Him who calls us to go. Faith is rooted in the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in the world.

The final stage in the life of faith is the attainment of character, and we encounter many changes in the process. We feel the presence of God around us when we pray, yet we are only momentarily changed. We tend to keep going back to our everyday ways and the glory vanishes. A life of faith is not a life of one glorious mountaintop experience after another, like soaring on eagles' wings, but is a life of day-in and day-out consistency; a life of walking without fainting (see Isaiah 40:31). It is not even a question of the holiness of sanctification, but of something which comes much farther down the road. It is a faith that has been tried and proved and has withstood the test. Abraham is not a type or an example of the holiness of sanctification, but a type of the life of faith-a faith, tested and true, built on the true God. "Abraham believed God. . ." (Romans 4:3).
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God's Priority

In Matthew 28:18-20, we have the top priority on God's list,

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  Amen.

Just imagine after the Resurrection that an angel comes up to Jesus and says, "Jesus, this is wonderful!  You have paid the price for mankind's sin.  What are You going to do to let the whole world know that they can be saved and they won't have to perish and spend an eternity without God?  What is Your plan?  How are You going to do it?"

And Jesus replies by saying, "Well, My few disciples are going to tell people, who in turn will tell other people, who are going to tell other people, who are going to tell other people."

Puzzled, the angel then asks, "Well, do You have a backup plan?"  And Jesus says, "No."  Still confused, the angel asks, "Well, no offense, Lord, but what if they fail?"  Jesus replies by saying, "I have confidence in them."

My friend, there is no Plan B.  God has no backup plan.  You and I are it!  We are Plan A!  The problem is, too many Christians today do not have God's priority as their priority.

Over the next few devotionals, I am going to share with you what I call the five "P"s of evangelism.  I pray they will encourage you to actively share the Good News of our risen Savior!
 

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Types of Blessings

In His Presence: Philippians 4:13-19 

What blessings will God give those who are good stewards and honor Him? The definition of blessing is the enjoyment of God's divine favor. Blessing isn't just having stuff; it's being able to enjoy the stuff you have. So blessings aren't necessarily material things.

First, you can expect God to hear your prayers. David said: "Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most High; call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me" (Psalm 50:14-15). When prayer is mixed with proper stewardship, God will answer.

Second, you can also expect God to meet your needs. Second Corinthians 9:8 says: "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed." God knows all we need even before we do, and He has all the resources of the universe at His disposal.

When you are a proper steward, you may also enjoy reversal of fortune, where God changes your circumstances. "God turned the curse into a blessing" (Deuteronomy 23:5). "[God] will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten (Joel 2:25). We so often try to lead ourselves, but if we will only let Him lead He can reverse our scenarios and make good come from them.

Another blessing of stewardship is emotional well-being. If you are serving God and value Him above all else, you don't need to worry about money-God will take care of you.

One Minute Please

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21).

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 #1353 on: March 20, 2012, 09:08:57 am »

Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
Friendship with God
Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing . . . ? -Genesis 18:17


The Delights of His Friendship. Genesis 18 brings out the delight of true friendship with God, as compared with simply feeling His presence occasionally in prayer. This friendship means being so intimately in touch with God that you never even need to ask Him to show you His will. It is evidence of a level of intimacy which confirms that you are nearing the final stage of your discipline in the life of faith. When you have a right-standing relationship with God, you have a life of freedom, liberty, and delight; you are God's will. And all of your commonsense decisions are actually His will for you, unless you sense a feeling of restraint brought on by a check in your spirit. You are free to make decisions in the light of a perfect and delightful friendship with God, knowing that if your decisions are wrong He will lovingly produce that sense of restraint. Once he does, you must stop immediately.

The Difficulties of His Friendship. Why did Abraham stop praying when he did? He stopped because he still was lacking the level of intimacy in his relationship with God, which would enable him boldly to continue on with the Lord in prayer until his desire was granted. Whenever we stop short of our true desire in prayer and say, "Well, I don't know, maybe this is not God's will," then we still have another level to go. It shows that we are not as intimately acquainted with God as Jesus was, and as Jesus would have us to be- ". . . that they may be one just as We are one . . ." (John 17:22). Think of the last thing you prayed about-were you devoted to your desire or to God? Was your determination to get some gift of the Spirit for yourself or to get to God? "For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him" (Matthew 6:8). The reason for asking is so you may get to know God better. "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4). We should keep praying to get a perfect understanding of God Himself.

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The Prerequisite of Prayer

In yesterday's devotional, I shared that God's priority is to see people come to know Him.  Today, I want to give you the first of the five "P"s of evangelism, which I hope will encourage you as you seek to share your faith.

The Scripture is 1 Timothy 2:1-6,

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

I want you to notice verse 4 in particular:  God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  He wants them saved and discipled.

As Jesus said, "Go into all the world, preach the gospel to every creature, and make disciples of all nations."  Those are our two main jobs.  Proclaim the gospel to see people get saved, and then disciple them.  God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

But did you notice that verse 1 preceded verse 4?  Verse 1 says, Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.  Verse 4 will not and cannot happen until verse 1 happens.  First there is prayer, then comes sharing the plan of salvation.

We must first talk to God about men before we talk to men about God.  We cannot be successful unless we talk to God about men first.
 
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 Committed for Blessing

In His Presence: Matthew 6:24

God has a blessing for everyone. We will all face trials and tribulations, but in those times, the joy of the Lord will be your strength. In Genesis 14, God promised Abraham that He would bless him and make him a blessing. Shortly thereafter,"Melchizedek, king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, 'Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.' [Abram] gave him a tenth of all. The king of Sodom said to Abram, 'Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself' " (vv. 18-21).

Sodom's king told Abraham he brought too much destruction, and said that if Abraham left, he would give him more money, power, and prestige. Look at Abraham's response:  "I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say 'I have made Abram rich' " (vv. 22-23).

Abraham refused to cut a deal just to get some more money in his pocket. He chose to trust God. When you are a good steward, you have options. You are no longer limited to earthly options; your trust is in God Most High. When you are a good steward, God is your option. You don't have to compromise what is right to get ahead.

One Minute Please

If you're not willing to plant your seed, you're not trusting Him to meet your need.

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

Offline Judy Harder

  • By the Grace of God I am what I am! 1 corinthians 15:10
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Re: Devotional for the day
« Reply #1354 on: March 21, 2012, 08:41:15 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
Identified or Simply Interested?
I have been crucified with Christ . . . -Galatians 2:20


The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature. I must take my emotional opinions and intellectual beliefs and be willing to turn them into a moral verdict against the nature of sin; that is, against any claim I have to my right to myself. Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ . . . ." He did not say, "I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ," or, "I will really make an effort to follow Him"-but-"I have been identified with Him in His death." Once I reach this moral decision and act on it, all that Christ accomplished for me on the Cross is accomplished in me. My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.

". . . it is no longer I who live . . . ." My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.

". . . and the life which I now live in the flesh," not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh-the life which others can see, "I live by faith in the Son of God . . . ." This faith was not Paul's own faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith the Son God had given to him (see Ephesians 2:8). It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits-a faith that comes only from the Son of God.
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Turning Desire into Prayer

I want to follow up yesterday's devotional by turning your attention to something I believe is very profound.  It is Romans 10:1, where Paul states,

Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.

It is important to pray that people be saved.  In fact, I want you to notice how Paul turned his desire into a prayer.

I think if I were to ask any believer, "Do you desire your family to be saved?" they would say yes.  Or, "Do you desire your friends to be saved?" they would answer yes.  Or, "Do you desire your coworkers to be saved?" they would reply yes.

Well, that is great.  That is to be commended, but it is not enough.  Your desire must be turned into a prayer.  It is not enough just to have a desire that they be saved.  That desire has to translate into prayer.  Prayer that they may be saved.

It's all right to pray generally, but it is better to pray specifically.  I encourage you to make a list of every unsaved person in your life.  Start with the network of relationships that already exist in your life.  Make a list of family members, friends, and associates who are not saved, and then do your best to pray for the people on that list every day.

Most Christians genuinely desire for folks to be saved, but not all Christians pray for the salvation of people that they love.  And even fewer pray for the salvation of folks that they work with.

Turn your desire for the unsaved people in your life to be saved into prayer for their salvation. And start today.
 
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The Ministry of Stewardship

In His Presence: Acts 4:32-37 

Understanding who we are as the people of God is critical for success as stewards of His kingdom. We are God's safety valve, the ones God has called to demonstrate what kingdom solutions look like. Ministry occurs when God's people serve others for eternal purposes. Ministry touches lives with eternity in mind.

Ministry takes place in God's house. In Old Testament times, this was the temple. In fact, Malachi 3:10, which talks about tithing, also refers to God's house: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house." Ephesians 2:19, 21-22 tells us that Christians are now God's temple: "You are . . . of God's household . . . the whole building, being fitted together, is growing unto a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you are also being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." If our church is the dwelling place of God, we will know because the Word will be taught, the needs of the saints will be met, and the community will be impacted.

Ministry also comes at a price. All ministry should be done because God's people are investing in the eternal perspective. To support the ministry of God, we must not neglect the house of God because it is the center of godly life. Haggai 1:4-6 is convicting: "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?  Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, 'Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little.' "

One Minute Please

Godly stewards cannot look after their own houses and ignore God's house.
 
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 #1355 on: March 22, 2012, 10:12:15 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
 
The Burning Heart
Did not our heart burn within us . . . ? -Luke 24:32


We need to learn this secret of the burning heart. Suddenly Jesus appears to us, fires are set ablaze, and we are given wonderful visions; but then we must learn to maintain the secret of the burning heart- a heart that can go through anything. It is the simple, dreary day, with its commonplace duties and people, that smothers the burning heart- unless we have learned the secret of abiding in Jesus.

Much of the distress we experience as Christians comes not as the result of sin, but because we are ignorant of the laws of our own nature. For instance, the only test we should use to determine whether or not to allow a particular emotion to run its course in our lives is to examine what the final outcome of that emotion will be. Think it through to its logical conclusion, and if the outcome is something that God would condemn, put a stop to it immediately. But if it is an emotion that has been kindled by the Spirit of God and you don't allow it to have its way in your life, it will cause a reaction on a lower level than God intended. That is the way unrealistic and overly emotional people are made. And the higher the emotion, the deeper the level of corruption, if it is not exercised on its intended level. If the Spirit of God has stirred you, make as many of your decisions as possible irrevocable, and let the consequences be what they will. We cannot stay forever on the "mount of transfiguration," basking in the light of our mountaintop experience (see Mark 9:1-9). But we must obey the light we received there; we must put it into action. When God gives us a vision, we must transact business with Him at that point, no matter what the cost.

We cannot kindle when we will The fire which in the heart resides, The spirit bloweth and is still, In mystery our soul abides; But tasks in hours of insight willed Can be through hours of gloom fulfilled.
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How to Pray for the Unsaved
In the last two devotionals, I have stressed the importance of praying for the unsaved people in our lives to be saved.  Today, I want to give you four ways you can pray for them:

1.      Pray for openness and understanding.  Acts 16:14 says the Lord opened the heart of Lydia to heed the things spoken by Paul.  Paul was speaking the gospel.  And if the Lord can open Lydia's heart, He can open your Aunt Mildred's heart.

2.      Pray that God would send laborers to them.  In Luke 10:2 Jesus said, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."  I am confident that God will answer any prayer He has commanded us to pray, and this prayer is not a suggestion.  Jesus commanded us to pray that God would send out laborers into the harvest.

3.      Pray that God will visit them and reveal Himself to them.  I do not know of a specific promise in the Bible where it says God is going to visit someone in a dream or give them a vision.  But I do see in Scripture where God reveals Himself to people in such ways, like Saul of Tarsus, who, on the Damascus Road, had a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ and was saved.

4.      Pray for personal direction and for personal opportunities to share.  Jesus, in Luke 10:2 said, "The harvest is great, laborers are few.  Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest."  In the next verse Jesus said, "Behold, I send you."  You can become the answer to your own prayer!

So pray for the unsaved people in your life, and do not stop praying until they get saved.
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The People of Ministry

In His Presence: Ephesians 2:10 

Some people believe Christianity is self-service only, but we can't just take in the gospel and not share it with others. God wants to empty us of ourselves so He can fill us with something new. Then we can give of what He has given us. This is accomplished through ministry, or as the Bible calls it, good works. A good work is always done to benefit someone else so that God publicly gets the glory. Matthew 5:16 says: "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Our good works give the world a glimpse of God. Hebrews 10:24 says that the church should "stimulate one another to love and good deeds."

What constitutes a good deed? Jesus said that anyone who gives a cup of cold water in His name will not be forgotten (Matthew 10:42). We do good works in the name of Jesus to give Him the credit and the proper due.

Ministry is for the benefit of several groups of people. We are to minister to those who minister to us, our preachers and congregational leaders (Galatians 6:6). We are to minister to the poor. Deuteronomy 15:11 says: "Freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land." And we are to minister to the unsaved by sharing the gospel and fulfilling the Great Commission. Men can recover from earthly circumstances, but there is no eternal solution outside of Jesus.

One Minute Please

Our churches should be a place of ministry, not merely a place of gathering.
 

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 #1356 on: March 23, 2012, 08:47:20 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
 

Am I Carnally Minded?
Where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal . . . ? -1 Corinthians 3:3


The natural man, or unbeliever, knows nothing about carnality. The desires of the flesh warring against the Spirit, and the Spirit warring against the flesh, which began at rebirth, are what produce carnality and the awareness of it. But Paul said, "Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). In other words, carnality will disappear.

Are you quarrelsome and easily upset over small things? Do you think that no one who is a Christian is ever like that? Paul said they are, and he connected these attitudes with carnality. Is there a truth in the Bible that instantly awakens a spirit of malice or resentment in you? If so, that is proof that you are still carnal. If the process of sanctification is continuing in your life, there will be no trace of that kind of spirit remaining.

If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn't ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and then He will make it right. A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God. But a child of the darkness will say, "Oh, I can explain that." When the light shines and the Spirit brings conviction of sin, be a child of the light. Confess your wrongdoing, and God will deal with it. If, however, you try to vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.

What is the proof that carnality has gone? Never deceive yourself; when carnality is gone you will know it-it is the most real thing you can imagine. And God will see to it that you have a number of opportunities to prove to yourself the miracle of His grace. The proof is in a very practical test. You will find yourself saying, "If this had happened before, I would have had the spirit of resentment!" And you will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside.
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 The Power of Your Presence

Jesus said in Matthew 5:16,

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."   

The way you let your light shine is just being yourself around people.  Witness everywhere you go through your life, and use words, if necessary.

You can sow seeds just by showing people that you are real.  Some people call it friendship evangelism:  being a genuine friend, touchable, genuinely caring for people, just letting your light shine.

Jesus also said you are a city set on a hill.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nobody lights a lamp and puts it under a basket.  You and I are to live a life that brightly shines the gospel to the unsaved.

I read a story years ago about a guy who had his doorbell hooked up to a big buzzer in the back room.  The buzzer was really loud.  He wanted to change it and put a light there instead that would illuminate when somebody pushed the doorbell.  So he rigged it up to do just that.

The problem was the light would barely illuminate.  He could not figure out what was wrong, so he called an electrician friend.  His friend looked at it and told him, "Oh, you don't understand.  It takes more power to shine than it does to make noise."

That is very true.  Jesus said, "Let your light shine."  Without having to necessarily confront people, they will just notice something different about you.  If you are walking with God, it is reflected in your attitude, your work ethic, and your countenance.  It is a discernable difference that will lead some people to ask about your faith.  You will be able to sow seeds just with your presence.
 

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 The Reality of Debt
In His Presence: Proverbs 13:22 

Financially speaking, there are three kinds of people: the haves, the have-nots, and those who have not paid for what they have! Debt has become a way of life in the American landscape. The average American household spends at least 20 percent of their net income on consumer debt. We must understand that when debt rules, debt ruins. Proverbs 22:7 says: "The borrower becomes the lender's slave." Debt controls your life, so it puts you in a kind of slavery. There are several reasons for debt: ignorance, indulgence, poor planning, and emergencies. All these things can contribute to the snowball of debt.

But I believe that God provides a way for us to live without being controlled by our debt. Debt is owing something you cannot pay, and that kind of debt should be abnormal for the Christian because it is outside God's will. Debt is first and foremost a spiritual issue-we are in debt because we have refused to obey God.

Psalm 37:21 says:"The wicked borrows and does not pay back."  Ecclesiastes 5:5 says: "It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay."But also: "TheLord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow" (Deuteronomy 28:12).

We can be set free from the tyranny of debt, and there are four steps that can help us: plant, plan, prioritize, and pray.

One Minute Please

Knowing the truth about debt is the first step toward financial freedom.
 
 



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 #1357 on: March 26, 2012, 10:05:56 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
 

Spiritual Vision Through Personal Purity (1)
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God -Matthew 5:8


Purity is not innocence- it is much more than that. Purity is the result of continued spiritual harmony with God. We have to grow in purity. Our life with God may be right and our inner purity unblemished, yet occasionally our outer life may become spotted and stained. God intentionally does not protect us from this possibility, because this is the way we recognize the necessity of maintaining our spiritual vision through personal purity. If the outer level of our spiritual life with God is impaired to the slightest degree, we must put everything else aside until we make it right. Remember that spiritual vision depends on our character- it is "the pure in heart " who "see God."

God makes us pure by an act of His sovereign grace, but we still have something that we must carefully watch. It is through our bodily life coming in contact with other people and other points of view that we tend to become tarnished. Not only must our "inner sanctuary" be kept right with God, but also the "outer courts" must be brought into perfect harmony with the purity God gives us through His grace. Our spiritual vision and understanding is immediately blurred when our "outer court" is stained. If we want to maintain personal intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ, it will mean refusing to do or even think certain things. And some things that are acceptable for others will become unacceptable for us.

A practical help in keeping your personal purity unblemished in your relations with other people is to begin to see them as God does. Say to yourself, "That man or that woman is perfect in Christ Jesus! That friend or that relative is perfect in Christ Jesus!"

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Power
In Acts 9:32-35, we are given the fifth and final "P" of evangelism, and that is power,

Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda. There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed." Then he arose immediately. So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

Two entire cities turned to Christ because of one display of God's power! One man who had been paralyzed was healed by the Lord Jesus Christ, and two cities came to God.

We have the same gospel. It is the same Holy Spirit; we serve the same blessed Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We have to pray that God will, if necessary, do the miraculous to save people.

Paul, writing in the book of Romans, says he fully preached the gospel with miracles, signs, and wonders. People will respond today just like they did then. But we need to be bold, step out, and pray for things to happen.

When I was living in Oregon, there was an Indian girl who was very sick and actually at the point of death. The doctors told her she was going to die. She came to a small meeting one night and the evangelist prayed for her. She was healed and then gave her life to Christ. As a result, her dad, a famous rodeo rider, got saved, and her mom was saved also. Then a large group of people from her tribe came to Christ as well.

Evangelism through power. We need to trust God for the supernatural.
 

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Planting and Planning
In His Presence: Psalm 50:14-15, 23

To get out of debt God's way, we must first learn how to plant. Any financial counselor will tell you to invest in that which gives you the greatest chance of a good return. And God will always give us the greatest return on anything in life. God is our greatest investor, and if He is not being honored by all He has given to us, everything else is out of line. God should be our first financial priority-His is the first bill we pay. Jesus said: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12:17). We are to give God His due, and to give the governing authorities their due in the form of our taxes. We may believe that the current tax system is unrighteous or unfair, but God is greater than the IRS, and we answer to Him. God is our greatest resource, and we should plant our investments in Him.

The second thing we must do to get out of debt God's way is to plan. Proverbs 27:23 says: "Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds." Proverbs 28:20 says: "A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished." We must stop guessing about the state of our finances and make a purposeful plan to use our resources wisely. A budget gives the guidelines for how each dollar will be allocated.

One Minute Please

"The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty" (Proverbs 21:5).

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 #1358 on: March 27, 2012, 08:57:02 am »
Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
 

Spiritual Vision Through Personal Purity (2)
Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place . . . -Revelation 4:1


A higher state of mind and spiritual vision can only be achieved through the higher practice of personal character. If you live up to the highest and best that you know in the outer level of your life, God will continually say to you, "Friend, come up even higher." There is also a continuing rule in temptation which calls you to go higher; but when you do, you only encounter other temptations and character traits. Both God and Satan use the strategy of elevation, but Satan uses it in temptation, and the effect is quite different. When the devil elevates you to a certain place, he causes you to fasten your idea of what holiness is far beyond what flesh and blood could ever bear or achieve. Your life becomes a spiritual acrobatic performance high atop a steeple. You cling to it, trying to maintain your balance and daring not to move. But when God elevates you by His grace into heavenly places, you find a vast plateau where you can move about with ease.

Compare this week in your spiritual life with the same week last year to see how God has called you to a higher level. We have all been brought to see from a higher viewpoint. Never allow God to show you a truth which you do not instantly begin to live up to, applying it to your life. Always work through it, staying in its light.

Your growth in grace is not measured by the fact that you haven't turned back, but that you have an insight and understanding into where you are spiritually. Have you heard God say, "Come up higher," not audibly on the outer level, but to the innermost part of your character?

"Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing . . . ?" (Genesis 18:17). God has to hide from us what He does, until, due to the growth of our personal character, we get to the level where He is then able to reveal it.
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The Snare of Fear
Proverbs 29:25 tells us,

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.

A snare is a noose used for catching an animal. Fear will cause you to be snared or trapped, just like an animal.

I have a friend in the church who has a very large nut tree in his yard, which the squirrels regularly raid. He put this big net over the tree, but it did not seem to deter the squirrels at all. So he finally got a trap and set it up on the roof right next to the nut tree. To date, he has caught about 120 squirrels.

When the squirrel is in the trap, it is totally at his mercy. It can't go anywhere. He happens to be a fairly merciful gentleman, so he takes them over to a local park and lets them go.

When fear gets a hold of your life, you become like one of those trapped squirrels-you are not going anywhere. You are at its mercy. You will not progress spiritually. It keeps you bound. The fear of man can keep you from obeying God; it will keep you from pleasing God. It will keep you from the joy you would experience when you trust God.

In fact, there is a contrast in our verse today. The man or woman who is bound by the fear of man, will not be trusting God in some area of his life. Look at the two parts of the verse together: The fear of man brings a snare, but... in contrast ...whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.

Do not allow the fear of man to control your life. Instead, trust in the Lord.
 

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Prioritizing and Praying
In His Presence: Proverbs 16:9

After you've planted and planned to use your resources in a way that glorifies God, you must prioritize. You will have to determine the difference between your needs, wants, and desires. The Bible says we have only three needs: food, clothes, and shelter. If all our needs are being met, we have plenty to praise the Lord for. Wants are based on the quality of our needs-we may need a house, but we want a big house. Desires are the things on our wish list that are covered by any surplus funds. Once the bills are paid, we might attend to our desires, but never before then.

Many of our debt problems come from trying to fill our desires with buying things. Proverbs 21:17 says: "He who loves pleasure will become a poor man." We must first prioritize those things we need, and if we don't have them, it might be necessary to sell some of the things we bought to meet our desires in order to meet our needs.

The fourth step in getting rid of debt really takes place while the other three are going on-it is prayer. Proverbs 16:3 says:"Commit your works to theLord and your plans will be established." When you mix prayer with planting, planning, and prioritizing, I guarantee that you will see God invade your circumstances and turn your debt around. I don't know what methods He will choose for you, but I know that He is able because He is all-powerful and all-knowing. He cares for you.

One Minute Please

God has a miracle waiting for you to get you out of debt and into freedom.
 
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 #1359 on: March 28, 2012, 09:06:15 am »
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers     
 

Isn't There Some Misunderstanding?
'Let us go to Judea again.' The disciples said to Him, '. . . are You going there again?' -John 11:7-8


Just because I don't understand what Jesus Christ says, I have no right to determine that He must be mistaken in what He says. That is a dangerous view, and it is never right to think that my obedience to God's directive will bring dishonor to Jesus. The only thing that will bring dishonor is not obeying Him. To put my view of His honor ahead of what He is plainly guiding me to do is never right, even though it may come from a real desire to prevent Him from being put to an open shame. I know when the instructions have come from God because of their quiet persistence. But when I begin to weigh the pros and cons, and doubt and debate enter into my mind, I am bringing in an element that is not of God. This will only result in my concluding that His instructions to me were not right. Many of us are faithful to our ideas about Jesus Christ, but how many of us are faithful to Jesus Himself? Faithfulness to Jesus means that I must step out even when and where I can't see anything (see Matthew 14:29). But faithfulness to my own ideas means that I first clear the way mentally. Faith, however, is not intellectual understanding; faith is a deliberate commitment to the Person of Jesus Christ, even when I can't see the way ahead.

Are you debating whether you should take a step of faith in Jesus, or whether you should wait until you can clearly see how to do what He has asked? Simply obey Him with unrestrained joy. When He tells you something and you begin to debate, it is because you have a misunderstanding of what honors Him and what doesn't. Are you faithful to Jesus, or faithful to your ideas about Him? Are you faithful to what He says, or are you trying to compromise His words with thoughts that never came from Him? "Whatever He says to you, do it " (John 2:5).

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Don't Lose Out
In 1 Samuel 15:18-19, 24-26, Samuel, the prophet, comes to King Saul, and this is what he says,

"Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, 'Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.' Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the LORD?"... Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD." But Samuel said to Saul, "I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel."

Saul disobeyed God and then lied about it, tried to cover it, and tried to shift the blame to the people. Did you notice that part? Why? Because he feared the people.

Because of the fear of man, Samuel said to him, "You have lost your place." Later on he says, "God has found a man better than you, a man after His own heart." And He chose David to replace Saul as the king of Israel.

I want you to think about this: God had promised Saul that his seed would sit on the throne, but it was a conditional promise God gave to him.

Saul lost out because of his disobedience caused by the fear of man, and so did his offspring! And David, a better man than Saul, ended up on the throne of Israel, through whom our Savior came.

If the fear of man can rob us of our destiny and affect our offspring, just think what faith in God can do!
 

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The Confidence of Stewardship
In His Presence: Mark 11:22

Being confident in stewardship is fundamentally an issue of faith. Faith relates to all of life. The definition of faith is "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Faith accepts that what God has said is as good as done. Faith lays claim on and stakes its existence on the person and purposes of God. Faith functions in the present, based on what God has said about the future.

In Matthew 13:58, we see "He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief." And without faith, there is substance that God has for you in the invisible realm that you will never see in the visible realm. Faith is a way of living: "The righteous man shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17).

Faith is powerful. Jesus said that whoever had faith the size of a mustard seed could move a mountain into the sea. The power of faith is not based on you or how much faith you have, it is based simply upon who God is. Your faith is as big as the God you believe in. If we focus on Him as the object of our faith, our faith will grow. The power of faith is serious for a godly steward because he or she is confident in the power of God. Luke 16:11 tells us that if we are faithful in the use of money, God will entrust "true riches" to us, meaning spiritual riches that are worth far more than worldly goods.

One Minute Please

If God can't trust you with earthly money, why should He trust you with kingdom riches?
 
 
God bless
  :angel:
 
Today, I want to make a difference.
Here I am Lord, use me!