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Devotion

DO YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN COME OUT OF THE STORM?

Years ago, I was enthralled as I listened to a pastor who for several years had faithfully served the church. His executive responsibilities had taken him all over this country. As he concluded his message, he told of one of the most frightening, yet thought-provoking, experiences of his life.

He had been on a long flight from one place to another. The first warning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on: Fasten your seat belts. Then, after a while, a calm voice said, “We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please be sure your seat belt is fastened.”

As he looked around the aircraft, it became obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive. Later, the voice of the announcer said, “We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us.”

Then the storm broke. The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightening lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if it were about to crash.

The pastor confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him. He said, “As I looked around the plane, I could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm.

Then, I suddenly saw a little girl. Apparently the storm meant nothing to her. She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; she was reading a book and every thing within her small world was calm and orderly. Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world. When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity, when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid.” The minister could hardly believe his eyes.

It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, our pastor lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid.

The child replied, “‘Cause my Daddy’s the pilot, and he’s taking me home.”

There are many kinds of storms that buffet us:
• Physical,
• Mental,
• Financial,
• Domestic, and…
Many other storms can easily and quickly darken our skies and throw our plane into apparently uncontrollable movement. We have all known such times, and let us be honest and confess, it is much easier to be at rest when our feet are on the ground than when we are being tossed about a darkened sky.

So please don’t worry… Our Father is the Pilot. He is in control and HE is taking us home! Have a blessed day!

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BIBLE STUDY

Will you trade God’s Approval for the People’s Praise, Or will you rather Please God even if it means Men will Reject you? Choose wisely

The difference between God approved men and Those who Failed God’s test of approval is usually very little.
There wasn’t too much between Betrayer Judas and Denier Peter.
There wasn’t too much between Sacrificer Abel and Murderer Cain.
There wasn’t too much between Supplanter Jacob and Profane Esau.

What may make all the difference is something too small for the physical eyes to observe, A heart reality and Posture that only God often notices.

The same is true of Political Saul and Shepherd David.
Both were Choosen by God into Leadership.
Both Were mentored by The Prophet Samuel.
Both made mistakes in their careers and ministries.

But while Political Saul was remembered for his witchcraft and Rebellion, Shepherd David is forever known as the King whose Government symbolized Christ’s eternal Rule!

A closer look at Saul’s Career reveals very interesting facts.

This is a man who was even too shy to accept his Kingship after he was anointed By Samuel.
He hid on the day of his Coronation and appeared to be very meek and humble, Perhaps he was just a pretender politician but Power and Influence eventually exposed his real heart disease which God wasn’t Blind to anyway.

Unlike Shepherd David who “Arrogantly” confronted Goliath, Political Saul seemed slow to have a firm grip on the throne but when he eventually Sat comfortably, His False Humility was exposed.

Nothing Exposed Saul’s political heart like the presence and Absence of People.
His major test was given when God instructed him to anhilate the Amelekites.
Amongst the many lame excuses for his partial obedience was the Phrase :

“…..But I have obeyed the Lord,”……..
And it was only WHEN MY TROOPS DEMANDED IT that I let THEM KEEP the BEST of the sheep and oxen and loot to sacrifice to the Lord.”(1 Sam 15:20-21)

Apparently, Saul’s political heart was rooted in his respect for the PEOPLE over the God who Appointed Him leader over His Flock.

And after Samuel pronounced God’s “Harsh Punishment” to the Political Saul, His chief Request was once again determined by “The People”
“………I have sinned; but oh, at least HONOR ME BEFORE THE LEADERS and BEFORE MY PEOPLE by going with me to worship the Lord your God.”(1 Sam 15:30)

Interestingly, that was Saul’s second failure but the first was also for similar reasons.

……. but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?”Saul replied, “I saw my MEN SCATTERING from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle.(1 Sam13:11)

Saul’s undoing was that He loved the People at the expense of His Lord. Saul became a Politician, A “Democrat”, A Man Pleaser, A servant of Men at the expense of His Service to God.

Shepherd David was loved by Many. Infact the women sang his praises after he conquered Goliath……”Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands!”(1 Samuel 18:7)
Shepherd David was loved by the People and although he wasn’t Politically intelligent, His leadership was accepted by Many.

……. Everybody, both the people in general and Saul’s servants, approved of and admired David’s leadership.(1Sam 18:5)

While Political Saul Chased the People’s favor even if it meant disobeying God, Shepherd David Obtained men’s favor by Pleasing the Lord.

David’s Reign was characterized by much loyalty from His mighty men. And for most part of his “Tenure” the people were solidly behind him. But that wasn’t the beginning of His story.

Shepherd David was actually a rejected stone.
Not even His family counted him worthy for the Throne.
Infact Jesse his father almost forgot he had a son in the wilderness when Samuel came visiting.

He didn’t begin as a People’s favorite, He didn’t begin as a Man loved by Men, He didn’t begin as Cult Hero, His beginning was spent in Becoming God’s favourite Vessel! And when that was completed, He became irresistible to Men.

The scriptural description of David Says it all: …He’s a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him.” (Acts 13:22)

His GOOD HEART made him a GOOD SHEPHERD;he guided the people wisely and well.(Psalm 78:72)

So “Political Saul” gained men, Lost God and lost the Kingdom.
“Shepherd David” Gained God, Gained the People and Gained the Kingdom.

The biggest test in life and ministry will be concerning “The People”

Will you trade God’s approval for the People’s Praise, Or will you rather Please God even if it means Men will Reject you.


Who will you rather Be?
POLITICAL SAUL or SHEPHERD DAVID?

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Devotion

The Power In The Name of Jesus

Philippians 2:8-11 KJV
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The Name of Jesus, has been given to us as a weapon, to conquer the devil, his agents and all his evil works. All authorities in heaven, on earth and beneath the earth, bows at the mention of the Name of the Lord. President’s, Kings and all those in authority, bow at the mention of the Name of Jesus. Witches and wizards bow at the mention of the Name of Jesus. Principalities, powers and spiritual wickedness in high places bow at the mention of the Name of Jesus. The occult and all secret societies bow at the mention of the Name of Jesus. Sicknesses and diseases bow at the mention of the Name of Jesus. The Bible says, all knees bow at the mention of the Name of Jesus. This is good news for every child of the Most High God.

Many have however called the Name, Jesus in their trying moments, with no positive results. This must be as a result of sin or unbelief. The Bible tells us: “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity”. (2 Timothy 2:19).

When you make your declarations in the Name of the Lord, you must do so by faith, believing that it is done, and it shall be unto you according to your word. The Bible puts it thus: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways”. (James 1:6-8).

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BIBLE STUDY

20 BIBLICAL WAYS OF WALKING WITH GOD

20 Important Bible Verses About Walking With God

When you’re constantly walking with someone you’re going to understand them better than you ever did. You’re going to know their heart. Walking with God is not just a time in the prayer closet, it’s a lifestyle that we can only obtain through Jesus Christ.

It’s a journey. Picture you’re going on a trip with your best friend who hates your pet alligator. You know that it doesn’t please him so because you love him so much you’re not going to bring it on the trip.

In the same way you’re not going to bring along sin, and things that will hold you back. When you walk with God you choose to imitate Him and glorify Him in every way.

In this evil generation it’s not hard to notice a man or woman of God whose heart is aligned with God’s heart because their light shines so bright and they’re set apart from the world.

Quotes

“Those who walk with God, always reach their destination.” ― Henry Ford

“If I walk with the world, I can’t walk with God.” Dwight L. Moody

“God’s mighty power comes when God’s people learn to walk with God.” Jack Hyles

“I’m here, Let’s walk together.” – God

“Walking with God doesn’t lead to God’s favor; God’s favor leads to walking with God.” — Tullian Tchividjian

“Don’t worry God has gone before you and prepared the way. Just keep walking.”

“We want more men and women who walk with God and before God, like Enoch and Abraham.” J. C. Ryle

“Smart men walked on the moon, daring men walked on the ocean floor, but wise men walk with God.” Leonard Ravenhill

“The more you walk with God, the harder it is to scrape your knee.”

What does the Bible say?

  1. Micah 6:8 “He has made it clear to you, mortal man, what is good and what the LORD is requiring from you— to act with justice, to treasure the LORD’s gracious love, and to walk humbly in the company of your God.”
  2. Colossians 1:10-11 “so that you might live in a manner worthy of the Lord and be fully pleasing to him as you bear fruit while doing all kinds of good things and growing in the full knowledge of God. You are being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, so that you might patiently endure everything with joy.”
  3. Deuteronomy 8:6 “Observe the commands of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.”
  4. Romans 13:13 “Let us walk with decency, as in the daylight: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy.”
  5. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”
  6. 2 Chronicles 7:17-18 “As for you, if you faithfully follow me as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty. For I made this covenant with your father, David, when I said, ‘One of your descendants will always rule over Israel.”

Jesus was never empty because He always walked with God doing His will.

  1. John 4:32-34 “But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about. Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
  2. 1 John 2:6 “The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked.”

When we walk with the Lord we draw closer to the Lord with all our heart. He becomes our focus. Our hearts longs for Him. Our heart seeks His presence. Our desire to have fellowship with Christ and be like Him will grow while our worldly desires will decrease.

  1. Hebrews 10:22 “let us continue to come near with sincere hearts in the full assurance that faith provides, because our hearts have been sprinkled clean from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.”
  2. Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
  3. Luke 10:27 “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”

When walking with God we desire to please God and we allow the Lord to work in our lives to make us into the image of His Son.

  1. Romans 8:29 “Because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
  2. Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

When walking with the Lord you will grow in your awareness of sin in your life and your need for a Savior. More and more we will grow in hatred for our sins and want to rid our lives of them. More and more we will confess and forsake our sins.

  1. Luke 18:13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even look up to heaven. Instead, he continued to beat his chest and said, ‘O God, be merciful to me, the sinner that I am!”
  2. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

When you’re walking with God you don’t let other things distract you from Christ.

  1. Luke 10:40-42 “But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”

We will walk by faith.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:7 “Indeed, our lives are guided by faith, not by sight.”
  2. Romans 1:17 “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

We can’t walk with the Lord if we’re living in darkness. You can’t have God and evil.

  1. 1 John 1:6-7 “If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

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HOW TO BECOME LIKE JESUS

Every child of God wants to be more like Jesus. And, by God’s grace, this actually happens. The name the Bible gives to this process of becoming more Christ-like is “sanctification.” To be sanctified is to become more dedicated to God and separated from sin (Rom. 6:22). It is to live out the deep principles of salvation. In sanctification, believers become more like their Savior.

But how does this happen?

In one of the most important biblical texts on sanctification, Paul says that growing in godliness takes work: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12–13). In sanctification, believers work and God works. But what do those two works look like and how do they relate to each other?

As we grapple with these questions, we should not soften the force of the Spirit’s words; any interpretation that minimizes either the work of man or of God in sanctification misses his point.

We Become Like Jesus by Working God’s Will

The main verb in verse 12 is plain: Work out your own salvation. Paul is definitely not saying, “Work at your own salvation,” or “Work up to earning salvation.” Paul is writing to those in whom God had already begun a work of salvation (cf. 1:6). God is not calling the lost to get saved; he’s calling the saved to get working.

What does it look like to work out salvation, to pursue sanctification?

  1. Sanctification Means Growing in Reverence

Sanctification is a serious work; believers work out their salvation in “fear and trembling.” Believers grow in godliness as they gain a deeper respect for God, a stirring sense of awe over his greatness. Like Joseph, we stubbornly resist offending God in any way (Gen. 39:9).

  1. Sanctification Means Growing in Obedience

Obedience and faith are not enemies—though this can be confusing. Whenever we put obedience prior to our acceptance by God we pervert the gospel. “By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in [God’s] sight” (Rom. 3:20).

Suppose someone told you, “I am terribly lonely and need a friend. I will do anything you tell me if only you’ll love me.” You would be repulsed. But it’s quite different to hear someone say, “I have a friend who loves me so much, I can’t imagine her asking me to do anything that I wouldn’t gladly do.”

It is in that latter sense that Paul talks about obedience as a reflection of a heart that is freed from sin’s bonds (Rom. 6:17; cf. Acts 6:7).

  1. Sanctification Means Growing in Integrity

Sanctification is not mere compliance when people are watching. Paul urged the Philippians to be more faithful in his absence than in his presence. Paul contrasts “eye service” with sincere, heartfelt reverence to God (Col. 3:22). Someone who only obeys when watched is serving himself; he obeys to gain praise or avoid a penalty. Coerced obedience is a sign of spiritual immaturity.

Bottom line: Growth in godliness is hard work.

We Become More Like Jesus by Trusting in God’s Work

Without minimizing believers’ responsibility to work out their salvation, Paul further describes sanctification as a work of God’s sovereign grace (cf. Phil. 2:1–11). “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (v. 13; cf. 1 Thess. 5:23).

God’s “good pleasure” is to renew his children in true godliness. In the words of the seventeenth century Canons of Dort, he “infuses new qualities into the will… whereupon the will thus renewed is not only [turned on] and influenced by God, but in consequence of this influence becomes itself active.”[1] Paul’s message is not, “Work hard because God is working hard too.” God is not merely an example of human work. Instead, God’s gracious work in us more deeply wins us over to God and sways us to do his will.

Have you ever felt discouraged—even disgusted—about your perceived lack of progress in holiness? Have you ever feared that perhaps in the future you will be more sinful, less sanctified than you are now? These thoughts can be paralyzing. And that is exactly what the devil wants. “There’s no hope for you,” he suggests. “You’ll never amount to much of a Christian if you even are one. You’re a slave to sin. You’ve tried to fight it. But it’s no use. You’ll never be like God.”

Who has the heart to engage in work that is sure to fail?

But that is exactly Paul’s point; there is hope in succeeding! Because God is working for and in his children, their work toward sanctification is not futile. God is working in his children both to will and to do for His good pleasure! As Ligon Duncan has said, “Paul’s teaching is not that God accepts you so no change is necessary, but that God accepts you and therefore change is now possible.”[2]

Believers must work to believe the gospel, love God, fight sin, desire eternity, and serve others cheerfully. We work to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word so that we can joyfully obey everything God says. We strive to respect our conscience when it convicts us of wrong or encourages us in well-doing. But all this work is driven by God’s work in us. God actually cares about our sanctification more than we do. God wants us to find our joy in him and to say no to everything that detracts from true happiness. Sometimes that takes a lot of work!

But here is Paul’s invigorating point: God never demands that we work for him harder than he’s working in us.

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REVIVAL HOUR

Revival Hour

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Confession of sin is necessary for fellowship with God and revival among God’s people.  The word “confess” has the root meaning of “to say the same as.” Confession, then, is agreeing with God about your sin.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 (TLB)

Below you will find a series of questions to help you think through areas of your life that may need cleansing. On reading these questions, as you are convicted of sin, confess it at once to God. Be willing to make it right. Then you can receive cleansing and forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”.

Be sure to name your sin to God. For example: Lord, I have not put You first in my plans, or, I have neglected Your Word and prayer. Do not make even one excuse for sin of any kind in your life. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He (or she) who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

You may wish to write down the specific sins that come to mind as you read the questions. Then, when you’re finished confessing, tear the paper into bits and throw it away as a reminder that God does indeed cleanse you from “all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9b). Embrace the promise of Psalm 103:12: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Step into personal revival today. Use these questions to brave the depths of your heart, knowing that as you do, your heart is safe and secure in God’s hands.

  1. Matthew 6:12-15
    • Is there anyone against whom you hold a grudge?
    • Anyone you haven’t forgiven? Anyone you hate? Anyone you do not love?
    • Are there misunderstandings that you are unwilling to forget?
    • Is there any person against whom you are harboring bitterness, resentment, or jealousy?
    • Anyone you dislike to hear praised or spoken well of?
    • Do you allow anything to justify a wrong attitude toward another?
  2. Matthew 6:33
    • Is there anything in which you have failed to put God first?
    • Have your decisions been made after your own wisdom and desires, rather than seeking and following God’s will?
    • Do any of the following, in any way, interfere with your surrender and service to God: ambition, pleasures, loved ones, friendships, desire for recognition, money, or your plans?
  3. Mark 16:15
    • Have you failed to reach out to the lost for Christ?
    • Have you failed to witness consistently with your mouth for the Lord Jesus Christ?
    • Has your life not been a witness to the lost?
  4. John 13:35
    • Are you secretly pleased over the misfortunes of another?
    • Are you secretly annoyed over the accomplishments or advancements of another?
    • Are you guilty of any contention or strife?
    • Do you quarrel, argue, or engage in heated discussions?
    • Are you a partaker in any division that creates animosity between people?
    • Are there people whom you deliberately treat as unimportant?
  5. Acts 20:35
    • Have you robbed God by withholding His due of your time, talents, and treasure?
    • Have you failed to support Kingdom work either by service, prayer, or giving?
  6. 1 Corinthians 4:2
    • Are you undependable so that you cannot be trusted with responsibilities in the Lord’s work?
    • Are you allowing your emotions to be stirred for things of the Lord, but doing nothing about it?
  7. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
    • Are you careless in any way with your body?
    • Do you fail to care for it as the temple of the Holy Spirit?
    • Are you guilty of excess in eating or drinking?
    • Do you have any habits which defile your body?
  8. 1 Corinthians 10:31
    • Do you take credit for anything good about yourself, rather than give all the glory to God?
    • Do you talk of what you have done rather than of what Christ has done?
    • Do your statements begin mostly with ‘I’?
    • Are your feelings easily hurt?
    • Have you made a pretense of being something that you are not?
  9. Ephesians 3:20
    • Are you self-conscious rather than Christ-conscious?
    • Do you allow feelings of inferiority to keep you from serving God in new ways?
  10. Ephesians 4:28
    • Do you underpay?
    • Do you do very little in your work?
    • Have you been careless in the payment of your debts?<
    • Have you sought to evade payment of debts?
    • Do you waste time? Do you waste others’ time?
  11. Ephesians 4:31
    • Do you complain?
    • Do you find fault?
    • Do you have a critical attitude towards any person or thing?
    • Are you irritable or cranky?
    • Do you ever carry hidden anger?
    • Do you become impatient with others?
    • Are you ever harsh or unkind?
  12. Ephesians 5:16
    • Do you listen to unedifying radio or TV programs?
    • Do you read degrading magazines or websites?
    • Do you find it necessary to seek satisfaction from any questionable source?
    • Are you doing certain things that show you are not satisfied in the Lord Jesus Christ?
  13. Ephesians 5:20
    • Have you neglected to thank Him for all things: the seemingly bad as well as the good?
    • Have you virtually called God a liar by doubting His Word?
    • Do you worry?
    • Is your spiritual temperature based on your feelings instead of on the facts of God’s Word?
  14. Philippians 1:21
    • Are you taken up with the cares of this life?
    • Is your joy found more in things than in the Lord and His Word?
    • Does anything mean more to you than living for and pleasing Christ?
  15. Philippians 2:14
    • Do you ever, by word or deed, seek to hurt someone?
    • Do you gossip?
    • Do you speak unkindly concerning people when they are not present?
    • Do you carry prejudice against Christians because they are of some different group than yours or because they do not see everything exactly as you do?
  16. Philippians 4:4
    • Have you neglected to seek to please God in all things?
    • Do you carry any bitterness toward God?
    • Have you been dissatisfied with His provision for you?
    • Is there any unwillingness in your heart to obey God fully?
    • Do you have any reservations as to what you would or would not do concerning anything that might be His will?
    • Have you disobeyed some direct leading from Him?
  17. Colossians 3:9
    • Do you engage in empty and unprofitable conversation?
    • Do you ever lie?
    • Do you ever exaggerate? Cheat? Steal?
    • Do you overcharge?
  18. 2 Timothy 2:22
    • Do you have any personal habits that are not pure?
    • Do you allow impure thoughts about the opposite sex to stay in your mind?
    • Do you read that which is impure or suggests unholy things?
    • Do you indulge in any entertainment that is unclean?
    • Are you guilty of looking lustfully at others?

If you are looking for a deeply satisfying relationship with God, I encourage you to pray by faith and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God has given you His Holy Spirit to help you live life according to His perfect plan. Why not pray this simple prayer and by faith invite Him to fill you with His Spirit:

Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.



Sending
© Thoughts about God




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Devotion

Know The Plans of God For You


With all the negative news in the media, today I want to share with you some good news. God is still God, and he knows the plans that he has for you. That doesn’t mean that life will get easier. The famous verse in Jeremiah we like to quote was written to people in captivity for seventy years! But it is still true. Regardless of what today brings, God is still God.Hear God’s Word in Jeremiah 29:11.

I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Precious one, be blessed with the love of Christ for emotional healing. The psalmist said that his body was troubled, and his soul was greatly troubled (Psalm 6:2-3). Be blessed with peace and hope being restored to you. The mind may have witnessed an event it can’t cope with. The body may react physically under duress, the soul weeps. It is a total body reaction. Be blessed, spirit, soul, and body, to be healed in the root cause of all disturbance of your peace. Be blessed to reject all lies at the root. Let the power of the Holy Spirit address the lie, and be set free.

Hear the Good news: It’s not too late. In the defining message of his life in Luke 4:18, Jesus said that he would set the captives free. If you feel captive in any way because of emotional wounding, be blessed with his love, redemption, and power to flood you and release you. Be blessed in your brain, your mind, and your memory, particularly the part that is holding on to any issues. Receive the compassion of Jesus to address any emotional concern. He is mighty to deal with any depression or other aftermath or backlash. Receive the light of his healing grace into everything that is out of God’s order.

Jesus opened the minds of the travelers on the way to Emmaus so that they could understand him in the Scriptures. Understand his words to you. Jesus said to Paul,

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And Paul replied, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9-12).

Precious one, boast in your wounds by declaring that the power of Jesus is in you to heal them. You have the treasure of your life in a human “jar of clay” to show that he is your all-surpassing power to accomplish his plans for your welfare (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Hear Jeremiah 29:12-14.

“‘In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord. ‘I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and bring you home again to your own land.‘”

God’s thoughts toward you are for peace. His plans in you are for healing, not for hurt or negativity or sadness. He promised the all-surpassing power of his love. He will accomplish his hope, his future, and his well-being in you. When you seek him, he hears you. He lets you find him to bring you back from your captivity, whatever it is. His best for you is peace, wholeness, and security.

Be blessed today in the name of the Prince of peace
(Isaiah 9:6)


If you have never surrendered your life to Christ, you can start today. Simply say this prayer and your journey with Christ will begin:

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I want to trust you from now on. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me be the person You want me to be. Thank you for enabling me to trust you in these uncertain times. Amen.

Another Sample Prayer:

Dear God, today I bring you my life, my hopes, my dreams, my deepest yearnings … You know me intimately. You knew me even before I was formed in the womb. You called me into this world to do good and live the life I was uniquely and specifically created for. I ask for Courage and Wisdom to live this life–the life of my dreams. Show me where to start and help me be open to hearing your Voice today. I ask for a greater consciousness of your Presence, today and every day of my life. Amen.

It starts now!


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


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Categories
Devotion

Simple Ways to Experience God’s Love and Forgiveness


Do you sometimes find it difficult to believe that you have total forgiveness for your sins in Jesus Christ? Intellectually you believe it, but how about deep within your heart?

Imagine yourself in the crowd as this story takes place as recorded in the Book of Luke:

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “My friend, your sins are forgiven!”

“Who does this fellow think he is?” the Pharisees and teachers of the Law exclaimed among themselves. “This is blasphemy! Who but God can forgive sins?”

Jesus knew what they were thinking, and He replied, “Why is it blasphemy? I, the Messiah, have the authority on earth to forgive sins…I’ll prove it to you by healing this man.” Then, turning to the paralyzed man, he commanded, “Pick up your stretcher and go on home, for you are healed!” (Luke 5:18-20,24, The Living Bible).

What a marvelous illustration of God’s willingness to forgive.

We Have Been Set Free
God’s holy Word tells us that Jesus Christ, through His death on the cross, has set us free – free from sin, free from the Law, free from the of guilt that sin and the Law bring.

Follow us on:

Maybe you are finding it difficult to believe in your heart that your sin has been paid for. Perhaps you are thinking, “I have lustful thoughts toward another person.” Or, “I’ve been taking the Lord’s name in vain. God won’t forgive that, will He?”

The fact is, He has forgiven you if you have placed your trust in Christ. You simply need to claim His forgiveness and believe His promise. And what a promise it is:

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:11,12).

That’s the forgiveness God offers. And think of it! It became yours the moment you believed in Jesus Christ as your Savior and as an act of your will received Him by faith into your life as your Lord and Master.

The Greatest Relationship You Will Ever Experience
Find out the reason Jesus came to earth
Jesus of Nazareth is unparalleled – He is the most remarkable, the most powerful and the most attractive personality of all time. To know Him personally as your Savior and Lord is the basis of the greatest relationship you can ever have, because only through Jesus can you experience God’s love and forgiveness.

Let me explain why.

Jesus Claimed to Be God
One winter during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), Jesus was walking in Solomon’s Colonnade of the temple in Jerusalem. A crowd gathered around Him demanding, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

“I did tell you,” He answered, “but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me…I and the Father are one” (John 10:22–25,30).

Our Lord’s claim is reinforced by the fact that He fulfilled prophecy. Hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth, various prophets of Israel foretold His miraculous birth, the place of His birth, His divine character, the purpose of His ministry, how He would die and that He would be raised to life. These prophecies represent only a few of the many predictions made about Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection. And He fulfilled every one down to the very last detail.

After His cruel crucifixion, Jesus demonstrated that He was God by rising from death and appearing over a period of forty days to hundreds of people, as many as five hundred in a single meeting. Then, as His followers watched in wonder, Jesus returned to heaven, having promised a continuing relationship with those who love Him.

God’s holy, inspired Word also affirms Jesus’ claim. The apostle Paul records,

“He promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:2–4).

Jesus Came to Provide the Life You Need
Jesus didn’t live on earth just to prove He is God. He came to give you eternal life, to offer you forgiveness and set you free from sin and guilt, to give you a full and meaningful life here on earth. And it’s because Jesus is God that He can provide forgiveness from sin and enable you to live abundantly.

In a conversation with a religious leader of His day, Jesus said,

“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16,17).

Paul wrote,

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1,2).

A rich and satisfying life is the heritage of every Christian. Jesus intended the Christian life to be an exciting, abundant adventure. He promised,

“I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

When you walk in a close relationship with our Lord, and in the control of God’s Holy Spirit, every day is filled with wonder, meaning, and purpose – your life overflows with desirable qualities:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23).

But most Christians don’t experience the abundant life. The life of joy and victory modeled and promised by our Lord is strangely foreign to them. Instead, they consider the Christian life a burden, a chore, a terrible cross to bear. They endure their Christianity on earth, hoping at last for relief in heaven.

Jesus never intended for you to live a defeated, dreadful existence. He called you to a life of joy and victory. Whatever the circumstance you are in – comfort or conflict, abundance or need, health or sickness, freedom or persecution – our Lord promises peace (John 14:27; 16:33). He said He would never leave you, and that He will do anything you ask in His name (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20; John 14:14).

God has promised you, as a Christian, a legacy of support, abundance and joy. Why, then, are so few Christians really enjoying their inheritance? Let me ask you: Are you living a joyous, fruitful life?

In his introduction to Letters to Young Churches, J. B. Phillips writes:

“The great difference between present-day Christianity and that of which we read in these letters [the New Testament epistles] is that to us it is primarily a performance, to them it was a real experience. We are apt to reduce the Christian religion to a code, or at best a rule of heart and life. To these men it is quite plainly the invasion of their lives by a new quality of life altogether. They do not hesitate to describe this as Christ “living in” them…Perhaps if we believed what they believed, we could achieve what they achieved.”

The first-century church rocked their world. Filled with the Spirit and compelled by the love of God, the early church took the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness to the entire known world. Never before had any small body of ordinary men and women made such an impact on the world.

Those Christians were a group of ordinary people, like you and me, who knew the love and forgiveness of God. Controlled and empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, they reached out in love to people living under the tyranny of an evil empire.

You Can Influence Your World
If you have experienced God’s love and forgiveness in your life, you too can influence your world.

The world today is filled with anxiety, fear and crisis. So much of the world is in a state of chaos. Nothing characterizes the mood of our day more than the word “upheaval.” In every facet of society and in every country of the world, there is upheaval – politically, socially, economically, even religiously.

In America, for example, we are witnessing epidemics of crime, drug addiction and alcoholism, ography, AIDS and venereal disease, abortion, broken homes and divorce – just to mention a few of the serious problems facing our nation.

Countless human solutions have been proposed, and yet the crisis becomes increasingly worse. People are searching as never before for peace in their troubled relationships, for answers to the gnawing emptiness in their lives, for something more.

Through the process of elimination, many are now beginning to turn back to God. Never before has there been such an ideal climate for presenting the claims of Christ. The Spirit of God has created an unprecedented hunger in hearts. People are turning to Christ in increasing numbers and are experiencing God’s marvelous love and forgiveness.

Even so, a relatively small number of Christians are involved in this great harvest. In the midst of these tremendous opportunities, most Christians have not entered into the joy of reaping the harvest God has prepared. The vast majority of believers live in spiritual impotence, defeat and sterility. The average lay person and even many pastors seldom, if ever, introduce another person to Christ.

Unfortunately, many Christians do not display a quality of life that encourages others to desire a relationship with our Lord. Some believers do not even display a quality of life that encourages others to have a relationship with them.

You Can Change from Living a Fruitless Life
Through Jesus Christ, you can experience the full and abundant life God promised.
In speaking to millions of Christians around the world, I have found that most defeated, frustrated, fruitless believers want to change, but they do not know what to do. I have a message of hope and help for them and for you: You can change from living a defeated, fruitless life. You can experience the full and abundant life God has promised to all of His children through Jesus Christ.

One day as I was driving in an unfamiliar city, I made a wrong turn and found myself driving against traffic on a one-way street. People on the sidewalk called to me that I was going the wrong direction. But I had already realized that in the split-second after I turned. My problem was not to decide whether I was going in the right direction – it was how to get turned around! Soon, through the help of a friendly policeman, I succeeded in changing my direction and went on my way relieved and happy, driving with the traffic. It is the same in the Christian life. If you make a wrong turn and find yourself defeated and frustrated, you do not just need to be told you are traveling in the wrong direction, you need someone to help you get turned around. In this article I want to show you how you can get turned around and follow God’s direction.

The Bible, God’s holy, inspired Word, provides this guidance. Paul wrote:

“The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone” (2 Timothy 3:16,17, TLB).

The Bible not only instructs you, but it can show where you have turned in the wrong direction, give you assistance in making your course correction, and then train you to continue in the right way.

To find the solution for misguided, unfruitful Christians, it is important to know what the Bible says about the source of the problem. It reveals that there are three kinds of people in the world:

the natural person,
the spiritual man,
and the worldly believer.

Let me share briefly the characteristics of these three types of people:

  1. The Natural Person
    Before you became a Christian, you were what the Scripture calls a “natural” person:

natural person

The circle represents your life, and the throne represents your control center or will. You were living under Satan’s dominance, and your fleshly nature – directed by Satan – was “on the throne,” controlling your life. Christ was outside of your life, knocking at the door, wanting to liberate you from Satan’s dominance through His love and forgiveness.

The Bible describes the natural person this way:

“You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts” (Ephesians 2:1–3).

The natural person considers the things of the Spirit of God as foolishness. Paul writes:

The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14, NKJ).

Relying entirely on your own resources, you were spiritually dead to God and separated from Him because of sin.

Then you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ.

  1. The Spiritual Man
    spiritual man

At your invitation, Christ entered your life and took the throne to guide you and strengthen you to live for Him. At that moment, His Holy Spirit came to live within you, gave you new birth, sealed you for heaven, and baptized you into the body of believers. With Christ (Spirit) on the throne, you are “filled” (directed and empowered) by the Holy Spirit.

The spiritual man understands the things of God. The apostle Paul records:

“God has actually given us his Spirit (not the world’s spirit) to tell us about the wonderful free gifts of grace and blessing that God has given us…. Only those who have the Holy Spirit within them can understand what the Holy Spirit means…. The spiritual man has insight into everything…. Strange as it seems, we Christians actually do have within us a portion of the very thoughts and mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:12,14–16, TLB).

The act of staying “filled” with the Spirit is the act of deliberately keeping Christ on the throne of your life. He will not demand control against your will. If, despite His guidance and warning, you wish to yield to the influence of your flesh and wrest control away from Him for a period of overt or covert sin, He will sorrowfully step down. When you are in this state of unconfessed sin, God’s Word describes you as one who is “worldly” or “carnal.”5

  1. The Worldly Believer
    worldly believer

There is a vast difference between a Christian and a non-Christian. The Scripture clearly teaches in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Also, “Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did” (1 John 2:6, TLB).

But often, as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3, the worldly Christian acts like the non-believer, and it is very difficult to tell the difference between them.

The worldly Christian is one who has received Christ but who also has allowed his sinful nature to reclaim the throne through sin. God still has possession of this person, and Christ is still in his life, but the individual has fallen into sin in one or more areas of his life. Not yielded to God, the worldly believer is in a period of stunted spiritual growth because he is not confessing and repenting of his sins, and Satan has succeeded in influencing and controlling him through the flesh.

Paul wrote to the Christians of Corinth:

“Dear brothers, I have been talking to you as though you were still just babies in the Christian life, who are not following the Lord, but your own desires; I cannot talk to you as I would to healthy Christians, who are filled with the Spirit. I have had to feed you with milk and not with solid food, because you couldn’t digest anything stronger. And even now you still have to be fed on milk. For you are still only baby Christians, controlled by your own desires, not God’s…In fact, you are acting like people who don’t belong to the Lord at all” (1 Corinthians 3:1–3, TLB).

The worldly or carnal Christian certainly experiences the conviction of the Holy Spirit and will not continue in his sins indefinitely; otherwise, he is possibly not a Christian at all. But defeated and fruitless, he depends on self-effort and energy to live the Christian life instead of drawing on the supernatural, inexhaustible resources of the Holy Spirit. Grasping self-interest in one hand and groping for God’s blessing with the other, this person fails again and again to live the Christian life in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit.

The state of carnality, or unconfessed sin, is a miserable existence. Yet, sadly, this is where millions of Christians rest today—back on the throne of their lives—and they often don’t realize that they are in this fleshly category. One man told me he had heard his pastor talk about worldly Christians all of his life, but he always thought his pastor meant somebody else. It surprised and shocked him to discover that he was a worldly Christian.

Paul knew what it meant to be worldly. In Romans 7 he records:

“The law is good, then, and the trouble is not there but with me, because I am sold into slavery with Sin as my owner.

I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to – what I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience proves that I agree with these laws I am breaking. But I can’t help myself, because I’m no longer doing it. It is sin inside me that is stronger than I am that makes me do these evil things.

I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn I can’t make myself do right. I want to but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. Now if I am doing what I don’t want to, it is plain where the trouble is: sin still has me in its evil grasp” (Romans 7:14–20, TLB).

Does this passage of Scripture describe your present relationship with God?

In Detroit, Michigan, an elderly couple was taken to the hospital, suffering from malnutrition and starvation. When police began to search through their rubbish-cluttered home, they discovered $40,000 in cash hidden away among their belongings. They had long since forgotten that they possessed such wealth.

In a similar manner, the worldly Christian lives in spiritual poverty, much like a practicing atheist: Professing to believe in God, he acts as though God doesn’t exist or is unwilling to help. He fails to understand the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Christ not only paid the price for his sins, but actually broke the power of sin in his life.

Paul understood the anguish and frustration of attempting to live the Christian life in the energy of self-effort. He records:

“It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin.

So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in. Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature?” (Romans 7:21–24, TLB).

Have you ever asked, “Who will free me from my ugly self, my failures and defeats?” There is good news! Look at Paul’s answer:

“Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free” (Romans 7:25, TLB).

Destructive Like a Spiritual Cancer
A pastor of a large church came to talk to me after I had presented a message on how to experience God’s love and forgiveness. He was filled with hatred and resentment toward the lay leaders of his previous church because he felt they had done him great harm and had even tried to destroy his ministry.

The pastor had now realized that in his attempts to get even he had turned into a mean, critical, worldly Christian. He had come to the point of either getting right with God or getting out of the pastorate. As he put it, “This cancerous worldliness is destroying my life and ministry.”

As we knelt together to claim the love and forgiveness of God, his tears of repentance were followed by tears of joy. Several days later he went to visit the church leaders whom he had hated before, and when he told them that he loved them and asked them to forgive him, the leaders responded with joy and Christian love. This dear pastor returned to his second church with a heart burning with love and zeal for our Lord.

A businessman from another church came to see me one day, greatly distressed because his church was splitting.

“Half of our members are going to move out and start another church,” he said.

This distressed me, too, because I cannot think of anything more tragic than for a body of Christians to be divided.

As we talked, the man discovered and admitted that he was a worldly Christian. I explained to him how God had made provision for him to be a spiritual person. He did not need to continue to live as a worldly, carnal Christian. Finally, we knelt together and prayed. He asked forgiveness for his sins and invited God to fill and control his life by the Holy Spirit. As we rejoiced together over what God had done, he said, “You know, there won’t be any problems in my church now. You see, I’m the one who has been causing all the trouble.”

Unfortunately, the acid of worldliness doesn’t just burn into churches. It also dissolves marriages, homes, families and jobs. You may have felt its affect in your life as relationships with loved ones have deteriorated and friends have become mere acquaintances.

Experience God’s Love and Forgiveness

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