Today’s MP3 Do you want to know how to deepen your prayer life? At the risk of sounding like a preacher—which I am—may I make a suggestion? Why don’t you check your habits?
In Romans 12:12, Paul says, “When trials come endure them patiently; steadfastly maintain the habit of prayer.” Prayer is a habit worth having. Don’t prepare to pray. Just pray. Don’t read about prayer. Just pray. Don’t attend a lecture on prayer or engage in discussion about prayer. Just pray.
Posture, tone, and place are personal matters. Select the form that works for you. But don’t think about it too much. Don’t be so concerned about wrapping the gift that you never give it. Better to pray awkwardly than not at all. And if you feel you should only pray when inspired, that’s okay. Just see to it that you are inspired every day.
What kind of Treasure Hunter are You?
If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you. – John 15:19MSG
It’s difficult to race headlong after material possessions and focus on building character at the same time. But, society encourages us to chase a long string of material possessions while paying precious little attention to the accumulation of spiritual rewards.
All of mankind is engaged in a colossal, worldwide treasure hunt. Some people seek treasure from earthly sources, treasures such as material wealth or public acclaim; others seek God’s treasures by making Him the cornerstone of their lives.
What kind of treasure hunter are you? Are you so caught up in the demands of everyday living that you sometimes allow the search for worldly treasures to become your primary focus? If so, it’s time to reorganize your daily to-do list by placing God in His rightful place: first place.
The world’s treasures are difficult to find and difficult to keep; God’s treasures are ever-present and everlasting. Which treasures, then, will you claim as your own?
Because the world is deceptive, it is dangerous. The world can even deceive God’s own people and lead them into trouble. ~ Warren Wiersbe
Every Christian is a contradiction to this old world. He crosses it at every point. He goes against the grain from beginning to end. From the day that he is born again until the day that he goes on to be with the Lord, he must stand against the current of a world always going the other way. ~ Vance Havner
Give me Your grace, good Lord, to count the world as nothing; to set my mind firmly on You and not to hang on the blasting words of men’s mouths. ~ St. Thomas More
Dear Lord, thank you that you are enough for me. I thank you that there is no earthly treasure or fame that is more worthy of my affections and heart. Help me to make my relationship with you more important than being popular with my peers. Amen.
TODAY’S VERSE "Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." Proverb 3:5-6
TODAY’S THOUGHT We never seem to run out of opportunities to "trust" God. That doesn’t mean we actually choose to trust Him. In fact, if we were honest with ourself, we would admit that most of the time we choose to fear, run, hide, get mad, pout, strike out at others and a myriad of other reactions to the many stresses in our life. But this is not what God wants. God wants us to trust Him. Solomon, knew this and shared their secret to trusting with us. Trusting is the result of drawing near to God with your heart. Trust is choosing to move from fear to faith, anger to peace and doubt to certainty. Solomon warned about depending only on our own understanding. He encouraged us to move toward God, seeking His will in everything that is going on. It is in "trusting God with all of our heart" that we find Him near, showing us which way to go. Today, when you find yourself in a quandary, stop! Draw near to God, seek His will and trust in Him.
TODAY’S PRAYER Lord, I come to You, drawing as near as I can. Here is my heart. I come seeking Your will and will trust in You. AMEN
Today’s MP3 Our problem is sin. Not finances. Not budgets. Not overcrowded prisons. Our problem is sin. We are in rebellion against our Creator. We’re cut off from the source of life. A new president or policy won’t fix that. It can only be solved by God. That is why the Bible uses drastic terms like conversion, repentance, and lost and found. Society may renovate, but only God re-creates.
Ask yourself three questions:
1. Is there any unconfessed sin in my life? Confession is telling God you did the thing He saw you do.
2. Are there any unresolved conflicts in my world? Go and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.
3. Are there any un-surrendered worries in my life? Worry is a noose on the neck and a distraction of the mind.
Sometimes the problem’s out there. More often, it’s in here..in us!
Originally posted on Spiritual Musings:
Discern who you allow into your personal situations and circumstances. This is not a judgmental act but a discerning act. Nobody is good or bad and or right or wrong….. HOWEVER, There is a special type of faith that only a true believer has access to… A faith that is supernatural in HIS ways that CAN move mountains……. A Christian’s Faith must be protected because many times the world can’t comprehend it….. BUT JESUS!!!!!
1 Timothy 6:20 -Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge,
Originally posted on flourish:
In life we can struggle with insecurity. We can worry that we don’t measure up or that we don’t fit in. The truth is if we feel our worth lies in another person’s opinion then it will always be on shaky ground.
As we come to see ourselves through God’s eyes we will see that we are intrinsically valuable. God created us for the purpose of love. He made us in His own image for relationship, so that we could be His children forever.
As we come into this divine relationship through accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can rest in Him. We didn’t do anything to earn this right standing with God, and we don’t have to do anything to keep it. We just simply trust and believe in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.
The more we catch a glimpse of God’s massive…
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Originally posted on My Lord, My Friend:
1 Chronicles 28 verse 9; “Know God, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you.”
There is more to know about God than just a belief. We are created for intimacy, intimacy in life, where a man and a woman come together and the life cycles start all over, though the expression of love they have for each other.
Intimacy with God, knowing His ways deeper, where we learn to understand the very heart of God. As we do this, all other intimacy takes on new and even greater meaning. God crested us for intimacy, we a lonely people longing for relationship.
Our Lord and Our Friend is waiting for us to come to Him with repentance and acceptance, to be able to enter…
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Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation
Friday, July 25, 2014
Perhaps the most difficult forgiveness, the greatest letting go, is to forgive ourselves for doing it wrong. We need to realize that we are not perfect, and we are not innocent. “One learns one’s mystery at the price of one’s innocence” says Robertson Davies. If I want to maintain an image of myself as innocent, superior, or righteous, I can only do so at the cost of truth. I would have to reject the mysterious side, the shadow side, the broken side, the unconscious side of almost everything. We have for too long confused holiness with innocence, whereas holiness is actually mistakes overcome and transformed, not necessary mistakes avoided.
Letting go is different than denying or repressing. To let go of it, you have to admit it. You have to own it. Letting go is different than turning it against yourself. Letting go is different than projecting it onto others. Letting go means that the denied, repressed, rejected parts of myself are seen for what they are. You see it and you hand it over to Go
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Friday, July 25, 2014
Pride Resists Godly Wisdom
God’s Word gives perspective for our lives: He directs our paths by His Spirit and Word—a Lamp for feet and Light for paths; without His shining we cannot see and without sight we settle . . . for whatever light we can get.
To compare what we settle for to what He planned is like comparing inches to miles, towns to nations, or a newborn to a wise experienced elder.
Conviction of this perspective is the Spirit’s gift; without the Spirit we are unconvinced, and unconvinced, we choose based on our own wisdom and inevitably pride has its way.
Pride governs the low path but on the heights of God we see clearly—He is for us!! God is Father, Son and Spirit—knowing Him is to know His Word perspective: “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness . . .”
Father, I pray… Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in my life—today! I ask for leading by Your Spirit and for the Light of Your Presence to fill my life. Forgive me – pride kept and restrained me because I did not receive Your Wisdom. I turn. I turn. I turn. Today, I turn from pride and into Your Word . . . into Your Light.
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God Often Leads Us Through Trouble, Not Around
by Kevin Malarkey from A Beautiful Defeat
A successful confrontation will always involve balancing grace and truth.
Grace is your being on the side of, or “for,” the other person as well as the relationship. Truth is the reality of whatever you need to say about the problem.
This balancing combination is referred to as being neutralized. Being neutralized doesn’t mean being neutral about the problem – not taking a side or expressing an opinion. In fact, the clearer you express your opinion, the better your chances of success.
A choice faces us every time we are in a mess, entrapped in sin, or confronting our enemy in the world: Will I believe that God can find mehereand find a way forward in the mess or will I harden my heart, protect my pride, and simply wish I were somewhere else?
Keep yourself open to some amazing possibilities.
No question, Satan is at work trying to destroy, but God is at work too. He has an alternative purpose in the worst things we face. He’s a specialist at taking the darkest day and turning it into something beautiful in your life.
This is exactly what the Bible is all about. God is a savior – the Savior. Most times His salvation takes a path we didn’t anticipate, and almost always it’s through, not around, our problems… and only when we yield our hearts and surrender our wills to Him.
We’ve all had what might be referred to as a “Red Sea” moment – our backs against the wall, where every option seems to lead to disaster – but how about the real thing? Several million people without any ability to defendthemselves and the army of Pharaoh bearing down on them with one purpose: slaughter. The Red Sea stood to their backs like a prison wall. There was nothing to do but wait for the inevitable. The people cried out against Moses, and Moses cried out to God for mercy, for help, for salvation.
How big are your problems? Impossible? Insurmountable? A complete disaster? Gut-wrenchingly hard? This isn’t necessarily the bad news. When the scale of our troubles is beyond our abilities to do anything about them, God has the perfect opportunity to teach us something important. It’s as if God allows the trauma to escalate until we are forced to rely on Him.
When God is our only answer, we are right where He wants us.
And, again, remember His path is almost always through the trouble, through the bitter circumstances, through the impossible relationship, through the deep water, not the easy path around our troubles… just like it was for the Israelites.
God opened the sea before His chosen people and they walked through the midst of the waters, on the sea bed, to the other side. This is what God will do for you and for me, if we let Him. Without fail, God will take our struggles, our problems, our trials and make them the place where He does His work – we just need to be open to it. This is the powerful and important message of Romans 8:28:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who loveHim, who have been called according to His purpose.
Did you catch that – “all things”? That includes the worst stuff your life has dished up to you, including the worst circumstances you’ve gotten yourself into. God says those things will work together for good.
It’s hard to accept, but will you believe what God is saying here? Will you give Him your worst and let Him make something good out of it? He will manifest His power in the middle of your mess.
It’s not about desiring to get away from your circumstances but drawing near to God in the middle of them.
When we come to the place where we are willing to give God our struggles, burdens, trials, messes, it’s a place of great release. Have you ever been under water for too long and then finally made it to the surface? Surrendering to God is like that, and He wants us to breathe in the life-giving air. I’m guessing it’s a lot like the Israelites felt when they made it to the other side of the Red Sea.
But God didn’t want them to stop their journey. They still had a long way to go… and so do you and I.
God never covers us with His mercy only to leave us.
It’s just one stop on the journey – a great place to rest and get our bearings -but He has something more for you and me. And everything in us is going to resist it because, humanly speaking, it’s unnatural, ugly even. But when wesee this step through the eyes of the Spirit, something that was at first repulsive becomes a thing of breathtaking beauty.
Determine to live through your struggles rather than around them.
Try not to eliminate struggle, but ask God to help you discover His purpose in it.
Lord, please forgive me for constantly running from You at the times when I need You most. Remind me of the times You have rescued me in the past. Thank You for showing me in the Bible where You did the same for yourpeople. Help me realize that all life events are not about me and that there is much going on that I do not understand or even see. Most importantly, God, please help me remember that when You say all things will work together You are talking about Your perfect plan for eternity and not my immediate need for comfort. Thank You for including me in your plans, and give me wisdom and insight so that I can play my role as You have designed it for me.
* * *
Everyone wants a way out of difficulty, rescue from the struggle, freedom from heartbreak. Have you ever prayed that God would help you through trouble instead and bring redemption as only He can do? ~ Devotionals Daily
Total surrender to God: the surprising key to experiencing the sense of peace and purpose you crave.
There is a gnawing feeling inside all of us that says we could be better. If we would just be more organized or work a little harder, we’d finally have the rich and fulfilling life we want.
But the message of the cross is different.
Discover the message in A Beautiful Defeat!
Inspired by today’s devotion? Please share it with someone!
© 2014 HarperCollins Christian Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214, USA
Originally posted on nuggets4u:
By Alfred H. Ells, M.C.
Volume II, Issue 2
“What can we do? He is wandering the streets of downtown LA.”
The caller was a worried mother whose adult son had been drinking heavily. The family had tried to get him into treatment but he refused help and continued to abuse alcohol. Even though I was Director of an alcohol and drug abuse facility, I had no answers for this family. What do you do when someone refuses help?
Before hanging up the phone I offered to pray for the mother and her alcoholic son. It then came to me to suggest that the family organize a prayer campaign, asking God’s help. Encouraged, she agreed to organize all the relatives into teams to fast and pray one day a week for the problem son.
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Originally posted on My Lord, My Friend:
To be tempted is not the same as sinning. God created Adam and Eve to be free so they could worship Him freely. God did not want coerced worship; He wanted authentic worship. So God gave Adam and Eve a free will to worship Him. If they were forced to worship God, it would not have been authentic worship; that is not true freedom.
For Adam and eve to be free, they had to have the ability to both reject God and worship Him freely. Adam and Eve fully understood what God expected of them. If Adam and eve were never tempted in their loyalty to their Creator, they would have remained in immaturity. God only put condition on them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God created all the trees in the garden, and told them to freely eat of all the…
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Originally posted on Three Iron Nails:
Contribute to the needs of the saints.
Rom 12:13 NET
Then David asked, “Is anyone still left from the family of Saul, so that I may extend kindness to him for the sake of Jonathan?”
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ’Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ … And the king will answer them, ’I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did…
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Originally posted on This Thing Called Life...:
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
“Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying,
‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel.
You shall say to them:
The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’
So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel,
and I then will bless them.”
by Max Lucado
Goliaths still roam our world. Debt. Disaster. Dialysis. Danger. Deceit. Disease. Depression. Super-size challenges still swagger and strut, still pilfer sleep and embezzle peace and liposuction joy. But they can’t dominate you. You know how to deal with them. You face giants by facing God first.
Focus on giants—you stumble.
Focus on God—your giants tumble.
You know what David knew, and you do what David did. You pick up five stones, and you make five decisions. Ever wonder why David took five stones into battle? Why not two or twenty? Rereading his story reveals five answers. Use your five fingers to remind you of the five stones you need to face down your Goliath. Let your thumb remind you of …
1. THE STONE OF THE PAST
Goliath jogged David’s memory. Elah was a déjà vu. While everyone else quivered, David remembered. God had given him strength to wrestle a lion and strong-arm a bear. Wouldn’t he do the same with the giant? A good memory makes heroes.
“Remember His marvelous works which He has done” (1 Chronicles 16:12). Catalog God’s successes. Keep a list of his world records. Has he not walked you through high waters? Proven to be faithful? Have you not known his provision? How many nights have you gone to bed hungry? Mornings awakened in the cold? He has made roadkill out of your enemies. Write today’s worries in sand. Chisel yesterday’s victories in stone. Pick up the stone of the past. Then select …
2. THE STONE OF PRAYER
Note the valley between your thumb and finger. To pass from one to the next you must go through it. Let it remind you of David’s descent. Before going high, David went low; before ascending to fight, David descended to prepare. Don’t face your giant without first doing the same. Dedicate time to prayer. Paul, the apostle, wrote, “Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long” (Eph. 6:18 MSG).
Prayer spawned David’s successes. His Brook Besor wisdom grew out of the moment he “strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6). When Saul’s soldiers tried to capture him, David turned toward God: “You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble” (Ps. 59:16).
Invite God’s help. Pick up the stone of prayer. And don’t neglect …
3. THE STONE OF PRIORITY
Let your tallest finger remind you of your highest priority: God’s reputation. David jealously guarded it. No one was going to defame his Lord. David fought so that “all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Sam. 17:46-47).
David saw Goliath as a chance for God to show off! Did David know he would exit the battle alive? No. But he was willing to give his life for the reputation of God.
What if you saw your giant in the same manner? Rather than begrudge him, welcome him. Your cancer is God’s chance to flex his healing muscles. Your sin is God’s opportunity to showcase grace. Your struggling marriage can billboard God’s power. See your struggle as God’s canvas. On it he will paint his multicolored supremacy. Announce God’s name and then reach for …
4. THE STONE OF PASSION
David ran, not away from, but toward his giant. On one side of the battlefield, Saul and his cowardly army gulped. On the other, Goliath and his skull-splitters scoffed. In the middle, the shepherd boy ran on his spindly legs. Who bet on David? Who put money on the kid from Bethlehem? Not the Philistines. Not the Hebrews. Not David’s siblings or David’s king. But God did.
And since God did, and since David knew God did, the skinny runt became a blur of pumping knees and a swirling sling. He ran toward his giant.
Do the same!
Let your ring finger remind you to take up the stone of passion.
One more stone, and finger, remains:
5. THE STONE OF PERSISTENCE
David didn’t think one rock would do. He knew Goliath had four behemoth relatives. For all David knew, they’d come running over the hill to defend their kin. David was ready to empty the chamber if that’s what it took.
Imitate him. Never give up. One prayer might not be enough. One apology might not do it. One day or month of resolve might not suffice. You may get knocked down a time or two … but don’t quit. Keep loading the rocks. Keep swinging the sling.
Excerpted fromDavid took five stones. He made five decisions. Do likewise. Past. Prayer. Priority. Passion. And persistence.
Next time Goliath wakes you up, reach for a stone. Odds are, he’ll be out of the room before you can load your sling.
by Teresa Bell Kindred
My grandparents’ house sits empty now. However, if walls could speak I’m sure there are lots of stories they could tell. The main part of the house is more than 100 years old. The steps to the upstairs are steep and narrow, not meant for my family’s oversized feet. Parts of the floor are rotting, and the plumbing and wiring need work as well. It would cost a fortune to restore the old house, so it will probably continue to sit empty. Its secrets will be safe from future generations.
My grandmother always said it would be up to my cousin Sarah and me to “clean up the mess upstairs.” Few things in my life have been as difficult as cleaning out that house after my grandmother died.
It was the house where my grandmother came to live as a young bride. At that time, her mother-in-law was still alive and my grandparents cared for her until she died at the ripe old age of 96. “Don’t ever live with your in-laws,” Grandma advised. “You never have a thing that feels like your own.” That was as close as she ever got to complaining about the fact that she rarely left the side of my great-grandmother, who was bedfast for the last 10 years of her life.
The house has been closed up for over a year, but from time to time I still go there, raise the windows to air it out, and walk through the empty rooms. Yes, it makes me sad, but it also brings back so many memories.
I’m remembering things through rose-colored glasses.
My favorite part of the house has always been the front porch. When I was a little girl, my grandmother and I would sit on the front porch swing together and watch the world go by. The chains would clink and clang softly while the swing creaked beneath our weight. We’d guess what color car would come down the road next. We’d pick out animal shapes in the clouds.
Maybe I’m remembering things through rose-colored glasses, but it seems as if the sky was always blue, the birds were always singing, and I was always safe, loved, and at peace when I was there. As I got older, that peaceful feeling became more elusive. There’s always somewhere I’m supposed to be or something I’m supposed to do. At times, I yearn for that kind of peace.
Paul spoke about finding peace. He said:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)
When I remember to do this, when I pray and thank God, I can find a peace more wonderful and serene than even the peace I felt on my Grandma’s porch swing. It’s truly a feeling more wonderful than the human mind can understand.
from New Life
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10
Finding a way to help others is an expression of faith. It shows that we believe in the sovereignty of God. We don’t’ have to wait until the pain in our life is gone, because we know God can use it for good.
Finding a way to help others requires that you ask two questions: “What is God doing?” and “How can I get into the flow of His activity?” When we ask these questions, ideas will come. And once we begin doing this, the ‘why is this happening’ question, which once seemed so important, becomes irrelevant.
The best answer to why is always what. When we stop asking, “Why has God allowed this?” And begin asking, “What does He want me to do with it?”, we’re ready for God to start His work in us, and that prepares us for service.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. – Galileo Galilei
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. – Charles Dickens
by Tim Archer
It’s interesting to watch my dogs when I go out to work in our yard. At first, they are thrilled that I am spending time with them. They dance and jump and beg for attention.
Then I pick up a tool, and everything changes. Their joy turns to terror. One of our dogs lived on the street before we took her in; I’m guessing she suffered some abuse during that time. The other dog, her daughter, follows her mother’s lead, fleeing in fear when they see me armed with a shovel or a rake.
It is a continuous cycle of rejoicing and fear. I put down the tool for a moment, and they are immediately there, craving my affection. As soon as I start back to work, they run for cover.
The thought crossed my mind that this was how ancient peoples lived. They had deities that they looked to for provision and protection. Yet the ancients saw these gods as easily angered, quick to lash out capriciously. The people praised their gods and gratefully accepted the blessings of rain and a bountiful crop. But they fled from them when the deities seemed to be displeased.
We don’t have to live in fear of him, waiting for him to zap us when we make a mistake. Thinking about this almost schizophrenic relationship between worshipers and their gods, I realized that some people still view our God that way. If you do everything just right, God will be pleased with you, allowing you to enjoy his blessings. But if you do something to displease him, he will strike you down or bring disaster on your loved ones.
That’s not who God is. We don’t have to live in fear of him, waiting for him to zap us when we make a mistake. Yes, our God is a just God who will punish sin. But for those of us who seek him, who enter into a relationship with him, he is merciful and good. His love frees us from fear.
The apostle John wrote: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).
Seek God. Run to him with all the enthusiasm my dogs show when I step out the back door. Love him and learn to live in his love. John also recorded these words of Jesus: “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). We’ll learn to do what Jesus wants; not out of fear of a heavenly thunderbolt, but out of love.