Thankfulness

 

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Psalms 23:5
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anoitest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Some people never find satisfaction in the things they do have, but spend their entire lives wishing for things they don’t have. They are never happy with where their lives are going, they feel empty in their relationships, and therefore they find it impossible to give thanks for the many blessings they have been given.

As Christians, we are people of praise. Every prayer we offer unto God should acknowledge the many wonderful things that He has done for us. Only a blind person can deny the beauty and splendor of this world. God gives good things to His children, and we should be thankful for all that we have.

Prayer: Lord, I cannot believe how much I have been given. Help open my eyes to the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me. Make me thankful, Lord. Amen.

~Wisdom from the Psalms

He is with us always

Christians who center their lives around the glorious promises of God find themselves blessed beyond all expectations. To live in the knowledge that Jesus is always with us. When His presence is the focal point in our life’s consciousness, all the pieces of our life fall into place. As you gaze at Christ through the eyes of your heart, you can see the world around you from His perspective. The fact that He is with us always only makes every moment of our life so much more meaningful. 🙂

~ Jesus Calling: Devotion, January 28 …Matthew 28:20; Psalm 139:1-4

The Power of Assumptions

nice_flowers_2-wide~picture isn’t mine.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

Assumption, we all do it all the time and it’s costly.

The assumption battle is one I have fought most of my life. I’ve questioned friends’ motives, assuming they were against me. To avoid being hurt, I’ve detached from relationships with no valid reasons.

Perhaps you’ve fought the same battle?

Your friend didn’t sit with you in Bible study like she usually does; she must be upset with you, so you avoid her at your weekly meetings. Another friend is invited to several parties you aren’t; obviously the two of you are drifting apart, so you don’t reach out any more. Your sister hasn’t responded to your text and phone messages; she must have found another friend in whom to confide, so you stop calling her.

It’s easy to assume others are upset, have “more important” friends, or are too busy for us when their behavior changes. Anger and hurt can well up in our hearts and we may pull away from friendships in order to protect ourselves. There is a danger in assumptions: they can destroy relationships.

Before we know it, even without proof, what we assume becomes our truth. Our misguided feelings lead to misguided thoughts, which cause misguided responses. The result: ruined relationships.

Living under the havoc of assumptions isn’t the way God intended it though. Second Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV). Looking at the last part of this verse, we see God gives us the ability to think, reason, and understand.

Through Christ, we have a mind that is well balanced and considers things in context. Our sound mind is stronger than our feelings, but we have to give our thoughts time to catch up with our emotions. A good way to do this is to pause and think clearly about the conclusions we’ve made.

When an assumption rears its ugly head, simply take a moment to ask if this assumption is consistent with your friend’s normal behavior. If it isn’t, this would be a good time to ask a few more questions: Is my friend okay? Have I done anything to hurt her? How can I pray for her? Do I believe the best before assuming the worst?

Repeat the pause until the assumption passes. The result: positive relationships.

Ruined relationships can be prevented and assumptions can be put to rest when we stop and focus on our thoughts. God has blessed us with a sound mind to surrender to the truth and not allow our imaginations to run wild.

Before the power of assumptions ruins a relationship in your life, pause. Settle your emotions and consider what you know to be true about your friend. Take a moment to pray for her and plan how to reach out to her. She might just be struggling with her own assumptions that you could help her clear up!

Dear Lord, thank You for empowering me to overpower assumptions. I commit to believe the best before assuming the worst, and to not allow my emotions to jump to conclusions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Would you like to bring the message of this devotion to the women of your church? Click here to find out more about considering Wendy Pope as your next retreat / key note speaker. And be sure to visit Wendy’s blog today as she shares how she overcame the power assumptions had on her life.

Trusting God for a Better Tomorrow Bible Study by Wendy Pope, available in a printable download, Kindle, Nook, and hardcopy.

The I Am His medallion necklace is a great reminder that we belong to Christ and His truths are ours to hold on to! Click here for more information.

Reflect and Respond:
What power have assumptions had on your life?

Reach out and make an attempt to reconcile with someone with whom you made an assumption.

Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (NIV)

Philippians 2:4, “Don’t be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.” (GW)

~Credit to Proverbs 31 Ministries

Doing What Is Right In God’s Sight

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~ Wallpaper is not mine. 🙂

 

Good morning, a great inspirational devotional message for you today:

“If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.” 

Exodus 15:26

In many ways, modern cultures are like the ancient society of Israel — everybody doing what is right in his or her own eyes. In pluralistic cultures where tolerance is the highest value, people hold dear the right to do whatever they want. And indeed, citizens have that right (up to a point). But it’s the consequences that arise over time that people don’t like.

When God brought the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, the people agreed to “do what is right in His sight” (Exodus 15:26). That was the covenant agreement the people entered into, God promising to bless them for their willingness, in essence, to set aside what they thought was right and do what God said is right. However, their commitment didn’t last long (Judges 17:6; 21:25). By the time Solomon became king he identified as fools those who do what is right in their own eyes (Proverbs 12:15; 21:2).

Wise are the people who are willing to believe that what God says is right, is right for them.

Nothing is right for a Christian if it is not God’s will for him. 
John Blanchard 

God’s Discrepancy?

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I  found this article to be very enlightening. There are some issues in life that we contemplate about but never really took the time to read or pray about it. This is one of them. I pray that this article will help shed a bright light on you as you walk in the path of righteousness towards Christ. Be encouraged friends, God didn’t leave you or me here to fend for ourselves alone but here to bring us the truth and live an abundant life. May you continually always seek God’s truth until the day you’re taken up to Heaven. 🙂 Btw, picture is not mine.

 

By Dr. Charles Stanley

Luke 6:27-31

One area of confusion about war is the apparent discrepancy between Jesus’ words and God’s approval of battle in the Old Testament. Can such dissimilar teachings be reconciled? How can the God who told Israel to destroy the Canaanites be the same one who said, “Love your enemies,do good to those who hate you” (v. 27)?

To clarify this issue, we must distinguish between commands issued to nations and instructions given to individuals. The Lord has bestowed certain responsibilities upon governments. He calls them ministers of
God for good and entrusts them with avenging evil (Rom. 13:4). But to individuals, He says, “Never take your own revenge” (12:19).

People are killed in war, but this isn’t the same as murder. A soldier on the battlefield carries out his duties under the authority of his government (Rom. 13:1-2). Murder, on the other hand, is an individual’s vengeful response to anger or jealousy and is motivated by a desire to destroy another person.

When governments avenge wrong, innocent people are protected, but when individuals seek their own revenge, they destroy themselves and others. In Luke, Jesus was speaking about personal conflicts, not national wars. He knows that loving our enemies is the only way to protect ourselves from bitterness.

Would we prefer to turn the responsibilities around—are we quick to fight personal battles, but slow to affirm the avenging of evil nationally? Sometimes the only way for a country to have peace is to go to war, but we’ll never experience inner peace if we battle with individuals who wrong us.

You Never Let Go

~I feel like I’m being washed and tossed in the chaos of this ugly world. This song depicts the image in my soul clinging to the hands of God. The God that I fear. The God that I love above all else. I know that He’s not letting go of my fingers. No, He will not let go.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know you are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

(Chorus:)
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We’ll live to know You here on the earth

(Chorus)

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

Christian lyrics – YOU NEVER LET GO LYRICS – MATT REDMAN

A Clear Conscience

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~Picture is not mine.

Our culture is so corrupt and debase that the consensus of the majority is not always right. It tends to lead us to death. Hence, having said that, how is your conscience? Is it aligned with God? Please read this article which I found to be very helpful and clear. 🙂

By Charles Stanley

When facing hard decisions, do you pay attention to your conscience? Is trusting this inner voice always wise?

God gave everyone an internal “moral compass.” In fact, reflecting His truth within all men is one way that He reveals Himself to mankind. The conscience is a divine alarm system that warns us of oncoming danger or consequences. Its main purpose is protection and guidance.

But sin warps perception and can lead us astray. So it’s important to understand the difference between following your heart and allowing a clear conscience to help with decisions.

To make a determination, ask, What is the greatest influence on my morality? If the world’s system of what is acceptable has infiltrated your heart, then your conscience cannot be trusted. But if you have allowed God’s Word to permeate and transform your thinking (Rom. 12:2), that inner voice is likely dependable.

The Holy Spirit, along with a divinely informed conscience, guides believers. In order to maintain a healthy internal compass, we should continually meditate on Scripture. The Ten Commandments are a solid basis for morality, and we are wise to internalize them—especially the way that Jesus summarized them: to love God above all else and to love others (Matt. 22:36-40).

What would you say has the greatest impact on your belief system? Is it the truth of Scripture? Or do the world’s standards of right and wrong infect your heart? Almighty God knows what is best for you, His child—and He gave you a conscience to aid in making wise decisions.

~Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Because of Jesus

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I had never heard anything like it.

In a village on the Gujarat-Madhya Pradesh border in India, 50 families came to know the Lord within a short period of time. These were very simple but God-fearing people who heard the Gospel and responded to Jesus—Jesus who forgave their sins and set them free from bondage.

In the midst of their celebration and joy, they received an ultimatum. Their village chief and a band of others rounded up these 50 families and told them that they could no longer live in the village.

These new Christians hurried to pack their tattered clothes, pots and pans and other few belongings, and then they walked away from everything they had known. Like refugees from a war zone, they trudged out of the village, along with the elderly who could hardly walk, little children and pregnant women.

As they were leaving, the village chief told them that they would be allowed back only on two conditions: payment of a 500-rupee penalty per family, plus each would have to deny Christ.

But not one of them returned. They walked until they finally crossed over the border into Madhya Pradesh, finding shelter under trees in the jungle.

Why Do They Press On?

I thought about these people and the suffering and hardship they went through just to survive and find a place to settle down. They were so new to the faith. None of them had any theological background or had had a chance to attend seminars, retreats or Bible studies.

They had never even heard about some of the most elementary truths of the Bible, much less complex issues such as eschatology with its pre-, mid- or post-trib viewpoints. I doubt that any of them knew the books of the Bible. In fact, most of them were illiterate.

What made them willing to walk away from their huts, fields, friends and relatives?

If you asked them, this is what they would tell you: “We are walking away because of one reason—Jesus.”

What causes a young brother in Maharashtra, India, to decide to return to the same village where he was nearly beaten to death for leading 25 people to Christ?

What gives African Christians in Sudan the endurance not to renounce their faith, but to go through continuous suffering, pain and death?

They all understand what it means when Jesus says: “Follow Me.” You see, Christianity is not following a system, theology, doctrines or some ideas. It is following Him.

It Takes Love for Jesus

In all things that we do, we must keep in mind that the highest, most sacred call the Lord gave us is to walk with Him, to love Him and to know Him.

That’s why Paul wrote to the Philippians: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). In chapter three, he explains the purpose for which he renounced all things—not to reach the whole world with the Gospel, not to become a revolutionary, not to travel all over the world and plant a thousand churches—no, none of those things, but “that I may know Him” (Philippians 3:10).

When we read through the book of Acts and all the letters Paul wrote, we see the result of one man’s commitment to know the Lord. Everything Paul did—evangelism, missions, sacrifice, hard work day and night—it all came out of one thing: loving Jesus, knowing the Lord.

Unless our knowledge of the Bible turns into a relationship with Jesus, the strong winds of persecution, discouragement, enticement from the world, a better job, higher salaries, concerns for the future, life struggles and relationship problems will knock us down; we will no longer closely follow the Lord.

There is no doubt that the three Hebrew young men survived the fiery furnace because of their love for the Lord. That’s the reason the fourth one, the unseen One, was there with them. And Moses rejected his position in Egypt, for by faith he saw “Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27).

Every individual in the Bible who really came through and was approved by the Lord didn’t get there because of his or her achievements. It was because of a close, personal relationship with the Lord. That was the sustaining power.

It takes this kind of love to go through trials and persecution just as those 50 families did who gladly walked away, willing to lose all and live and sleep under some trees in the jungle. Somehow, in their newfound faith, they saw “Him who is invisible” more visibly and tangibly than some of us do, who have learned everything and know our theology inside and out.

Today, the call of Jesus remains fresh and real: “Come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22). His footsteps will take us to the most unreached, to the suffering, to lost and dying millions. But serving them, interceding on their behalf and sacrificing to send missionaries to them will never be a burden for us because it’s all for Him. If we truly see the invisible One, all we do is because of Him, and it is truly our privilege and joy.

His arms are open wide—let us run after Him.

 

~ credit to: Destined to Soar, Chapter 36 © 2009 by Dr. K.P. Yohannan

The Ultimate Sacrifice

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~picture is not mine.

Dear friends, my heart is heavy and I feel the need to share this with you out of my concern and love for you:

As I daily continue to walk in intimacy with Jesus Christ, I am drawn back again to the scene of His crucifixion. Crucifixion in those days was a totally inhumane way for anyone to die. Today, I want you to sit down in a quiet place and travel this journey with me to Golgotha, the place where Christ was crucified. I want you to sit and “listen” to the sound of the hammer striking. I’m not trying to be melodramatic. I just want us to come as close as possible to being eyewitnesses. You don’t have to open your eyes and “look,” but I want you to open your spiritual ears and listen. Move close enough to hear the conversation of the marksmen as he positions the nail at the wrist of Christ. You’ll have to fight the crowd to get close enough. Then listen to every hammer hit the nail–several times at each hand and foot to make sure the nails are securely in place. I’m not trying to make you wince. I only want you to hear the sound as the nails are driven securely into the wood.

How do you feel? What’s going through your mind? Is your heart pounding loudly in your chest? Are your tears falling and dripping down your chin? Are you sad or are you sobbing? Or, do you not feel anything all? Are you feelings numb? Please, what are you thinking? The reason I ask you is because I want you to know that Jesus Christ was crucified because of us. Our sins put Him on the Cross. We are the bad people here. We are the one who inhumanely killed Him. He was punished for a crime He didn’t commit. He was punished for being “The King of the Jews,” the Son of God (Luke 23:38).

Ladies and gentlemen, let be frank with you. Are you walking with the Lord today? Are you in fellowship with Him this morning/afternoon/day? Are you aware that there is life after our death? Do you want to spend the rest of your life in Heaven or in Hell? Yes, these places do exist. Where would you like your destination to be?

I’m not trying to scare you but I want you to start thinking about these things. Our time is short. We’re like a flower that is slowly but surely fading away (Isaiah 40:8). We don’t have forever. Choose wisely. I pray that you choose Christ. Because you know what, no other religion or god will take you to Heaven. Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Not your good works, good deeds, tithing and good ethic or morals will get you to Heaven. Only through Jesus will you inherit the Kingdom of God. Only in Christ will you be saved from eternity in Hell.

Here is the Sinner’s prayer when you’re ready to receive Jesus into your life and live with Him for eternity:

Dear God,
I come to You in the Name of Jesus. I admit that I am not right with You, and I want to be right with You. I ask You to forgive me of all my sins. The Bible says if I confess with my mouth that “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, I will be saved (Rom. 10:9). I believe with my heart and I confess with my mouth that Jesus is the Lord and Savior of my life. Thank You for saving me!
In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

~Credits to LifeWay Biblical Solutions for Life, Kenneth Hagin Ministries and the New Testament.