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Devotional 2016

Valvoja: Annukka

Love Not the World

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 20.05.2016 11:47

Friday 20th May 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Love Not the World

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
1 John 2:15, NIV

How is our walk with God? Are we following the way of the masses, dabbling thoughtlessly into whatever pleasing idea comes along? Are we burdened by the cares of the world, stumbling from one obstacle to another? Or do we temper our thoughts and movements by the righteousness of Christ? Does it sometimes seem so much easier to ‘follow the crowd’ than to walk by the Spirit?

Many take the wrong turning at the crossroads, taking the way of pride, self-satisfaction and greed. Some drift off the road altogether, blinded by the temptations of life. Others are bewildered by uncertainty and end up in the long grass, among the weeds. ‘For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life’ (Matthew 7:13-14).

We, who follow Christ, walk that narrow path, being careful where we tread and very much aware of the dangers lurking in the bushes (1 Peter 5:8). Our confidence is in the One who made the way open for us by His death. We’ve been lifted out of the uncertainty and confusion of our destiny and have become ‘fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God’ (Ephesians 2:19). We know who we are and where we’re going, ‘for our citizenship is in heaven’ (Philippians 3:20).

Let’s immerse ourselves in this precious truth. Because it’s the truth that sets us free from the shackles of this world (John 8:32). We’re loved, protected and guided by a Creator God, who, having been so grieved by the consequences of our disobedience and sin through Adam, sent His Son to overcome the power of death, that we may live in His fullness forever.

We need to grasp this with both hands, not looking to the right or to the left, or inward to ourselves, but taking hold of that precious lifeline that we’re offered and walking boldly ‘into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you’ (1 Peter 1:4). We’re clothed with a righteousness we don’t deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21), and are seated alongside the King of kings in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6).

It’s not that we are to live only in the hope of that which is to come. We can now live for that which we already have. ‘He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you’ (Romans 8:11). Let’s walk with care, with the assurance that He walks with us. ‘Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature’ (Galatians 5:16). Then we can confidently say, along with Christ, ‘I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).

Prayer: Father, please forgive me for straying off the path and drifting into the wilderness of sin and confusion. I remember that, when Jesus found Himself in the wilderness, He stood firmly on righteousness and the truth of God’s Word. Help me, Father, to do the same. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Today's Writer : Ron Scurfield
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Focus

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 21.05.2016 10:57

Saturday 21st May 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Focus

"Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith."
Hebrews 12:1b-2a, NLT

I've been thinking a lot lately about vision and focus, and what we see. It’s amazing how we can see some things, and not see other things that are right in front of us.

Several years ago we were looking for a new car for our family. We were trying to pick one that would fit our family well. One day I saw a model of car I’d never noticed before. I saw it was small, but had seven seats. It looked just right for us. After I saw that car, suddenly I was seeing it everywhere we went! I was amazed, because I’d never noticed it before. I realise that there weren’t suddenly more of those cars on the road, but my observation had changed.

I enjoy playing ‘hidden-object’ games in my free time. I’ve found that, the first time I look at a picture, I have a hard time finding objects when I’m just given the name of the object to find, but, if I choose to use a hint, and see the picture, suddenly it’s much easier to find the object. And once I’ve seen the object, I find it quicker each time.

Have you ever looked at a blotch on the wall and suddenly it looks like an object to you? Or maybe you’ve seen the ink-blot tests. Different people see different things in those random spots. Once I see a spot as something, I keep seeing the same object every time I look at it.

I’ve discovered that we tend to see what we’re looking for. The same is true with seeing the good or bad character traits of others. When we focus on something that bothers us in another person, suddenly that’s all we can see. And we keep seeing things that reinforce our negative view of that person. When that’s the case, we may begin to tear that person down with our words. But 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us that we should encourage one another and build each other up. In order to do that, we need to look for the good in each other. As Romans 15:7 says, ‘Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God’. Christ accepted us as we are, with our faults, and encourages us to grow in Him. He doesn’t leave us in that state, but He accepts us as we are, in that place.

As we keep our eyes on Jesus, He’ll help us to see others through His eyes. If we do this, the things of this world won’t be able to cause us to stumble. Let me encourage you today to focus on Jesus.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please help me to refocus on You, that You would be the first thing I see wherever I look, and that You would let me see others through Your eyes. Forgive me for the times I’ve judged others and only seen the negative things in them. Teach me how to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.
Today's Writer : Tanya Person
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

God’s School of Waiting

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 22.05.2016 11:17

Sunday 22nd May 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
God’s School of Waiting

"But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord. I say, ‘You are my God’. My times are in Your hand."
Psalm 31:14-15, ASV

I think I’m a very slow learner when it comes to waiting. There’ve been many times in my life when God has had to put me in His school of waiting to learn how to wait patiently. With hindsight, I can see that it was in those times that God has really been at work in me, causing me to learn to persevere and to grow in character. But when I’ve actually been waiting, it’s been tough. Sometimes, it’s been plain boring, and sometimes, it’s been very painful and distressing.

At different times in our lives, we all have to face the challenge of waiting, and it’s never easy. When the Lord highlights an area in our lives that He wants to deal with – perhaps it’s an issue where we need His healing touch, or perhaps it’s a sin we’re trapped in – then it’s hard to wait. We want the healing now. We want to be rid of the thing that’s keeping us in bondage. And yet, the waiting can be part of God’s healing process for us.

I’ve been experiencing problems with stomach pain and indigestion. After two trips to the GP and two lots of pills that didn’t work, I was sent to the hospital for an ultrasound scan. The problem was revealed: a 20cm cyst on my kidney, which is pressing on my stomach and liver.

I was relieved when I knew what the problem was, but not too happy about a large cyst pressing on my stomach and liver! I want it out, the sooner the better. Now, I’m waiting for another scan. Then there’ll be another trip to see a consultant, and then, perhaps, something will be done. Meanwhile, life goes on, and I eat small amounts of food, and rest when the discomfort is bad. I need to guard my heart against getting impatient, or fearful as to what might happen. My times are in God’s hands.

If, like me, you’re in a time of waiting, be it a physical circumstance you’re waiting to be resolved, or perhaps something spiritual that’s afflicting you, then perhaps you could join me in this prayer:

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You know what I’m going through right now, what I’m facing and what I’m suffering. I know that You love me and You always want what’s best for me. Help me to trust You in this time of waiting, and never to doubt Your goodness. I thank You that You’re working all things together for good in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Today's Writer : Gemma Gardner
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Thou Shalt Rebuke Thy Neighbour!

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 24.05.2016 12:36

Tuesday 24th May 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Thou Shalt Rebuke Thy Neighbour!

"You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbour, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord."
Leviticus 19:17-18, NKJV

Most of us are familiar with the injunction which Jesus calls the greatest commandment of all: to love our neighbour as ourselves. As Paul has added: ‘whoever loves others has fulfilled the law’ (Romans 13:8). But what does genuine love mean, and how is it expressed? Is it possible that we’ve been wrongly influenced by popular culture to see love as something it isn’t?

At our centres we teach quite a lot on God’s love. We understand that in God’s love, we find answers for our questions, healing for our wounds, and direction for our lives. But God’s perfect fatherly love includes (but isn’t limited to) godly discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11). Not only do we teach this on our courses, but also several ‘Seeds of the Kingdom’ have been devoted to this wonderful subject. Today I’m going to look at what ‘tough’ kind of love means in our interpersonal relationships.

Today’s scripture teaches us that an important aspect of loving our neighbour is rebuking them when that’s needed. How contrary to popular culture this is! The world wants to teach that tolerance is life’s highest virtue, and that condemning sin is an awful, unloving vice. But in God’s Kingdom it’s exactly the other way around! Whenever we steer someone away from sin, we bless them. Also, whenever we willingly condone sin, we’re liable to ‘bear sin because of them’.

We know that whenever God exposes something in us, He does so ‘unto life’. He does it lovingly, without condemnation, accusation or judgement of us. He always extends forgiveness. He encourages us to come to Him for help. He gets personally involved in our process of restoration. How good it would be if we could be more like our heavenly Father, and treat our family in Christ in a similar fashion!

If I’m really honest, I’d say I find loving confrontation really hard. Personally, I tend to either quietly condone sin (due to a fear of confrontation), or I sway the other way and harshly condemn or judge those who’re in the wrong. I wonder if anyone else struggles the same way. As I’m pondering today’s scripture, I feel a rising urge to ask our Father to help us love our neighbour as ourselves in the area of godly confrontation. Whenever someone’s pointed out an error in me (it has happened), and they do it in a kind and loving way, this has always resulted in me receiving and coming more into my godly inheritance. Surely this is something we should want for others as well.

It probably wouldn’t help much if we all ventured on a self-appointed mission to rebuke everyone else’s sin at all times. Also, it would probably be more appropriate to ensure we have a good relationship with the person we’re seeking to confront. We might need to ‘earn the right’ first to speak into someone’s life, by unconditionally loving them; in other words, by being a true neighbour. There really are many additional aspects to consider. But, after having done all, may God help us in loving our neighbours, even when this means confronting sinful behaviour.

Prayer: Father in heaven, thank You that Your motivation in confronting sin is Your perfect love. Please help me to receive Your correction (even if it comes through other people), and to extend Your love in the best ways possible, even when this means kindly confronting sinful behaviour in those that I love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today's Writer : Peter Brokaar
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

The Body, in God’s eyes

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 29.05.2016 11:21

Sunday 29th May 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
The Body, in God’s eyes

"For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into[a]one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many"
1 Corinthians 12:12-27, NKJV

We have a multitude of denominations, each formed for different reasons, which includes disagreements and differences in interpretation of Scripture and doctrine.
The one thing that remains the same is how God sees His church. We can easily become focused on our different denominations and churches rather than focused on what the Lord sees.

As I worked through a jigsaw puzzle I was amazed when to find a piece which looked so different I couldn’t imagine it fitting into the same puzzle. But, as I worked my way putting the pieces together, there it was fitting in perfectly!

After I finished and looked at what I had done, I saw a beautiful picture, perfect with nothing missing. A thought came into my mind, and I believe it was inspired by God. This is how He sees His Church, a big beautiful picture. Not because we’re perfect, but because it’s Jesus’ blood which makes as one.

The way we see the Church is not clear. It’s like looking at the pieces of a jigsaw. Each piece looks so different and distorted in shape. Sometimes we even wonder how this or that piece can possibly be part of the bigger picture. But God is the architect of the Church, and knows exactly where each piece belongs, even if we can’t see it.

God has a purpose for each part of His body. Through many parts we have different functions, but the same Lord and head. This is the view we should see, not our differences. We’re the body of Christ, because ‘for as many as have received him He gave the right to be children of God’. Nothing more! That’s what we are, children of God, and members of His body, gathering in different places to worship Him.

We should search our hearts in times when we’ve been judgemental of other believers because of denomination, or because they understand a verse of the Bible differently from the way we do. We should ask the Lord to help us to see through His eyes, and not our own.

I’m amazed to see that God uses anyone who yields to Him, despite personal limitations, denominations or beliefs!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross and birthing Your Church. I’m sorry where I’ve been judgemental, and ask You to help me see Your Church as You see her, and not my vague way. I want to see, through Your eyes, the beauty of Your Church, and how unique and important each member is. Amen.
Today's Writer : Joan Rono
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

How much do you need hope?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 30.05.2016 10:03

Monday 30th May 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
How much do you need hope?

‘Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.’
Psalm 62:5, NIV

Do you have hope in your heart … I mean real hope? Hope of a broken relationship being mended … hope of a loved one receiving Jesus … … hope of finding the right marriage partner … hopes for your children … hope of recovery from sickness … or hope of receiving real emotional or spiritual healing … hope that life will be different?

There are many, many reasons for needing hope in our lives, yet despite being Bible-believing Christians and the Bible telling us that hope comes from God, we can sometimes be devoid of hope that the painful realities of our lives will actually change.

As hard and painful as our personal situation may be, I wonder if sometimes the reason we don’t have hope is, we’re not yet desperate enough. That sounds so harsh. But as I look back on my own life I realise that real hope in God only came when I reached that place of true desperation. Until then, much as I cried out to Him, even railed at Him, I didn’t have hope because I never really needed it. That’s not to say I didn’t have problems. I did. But I was pedalling so hard on the treadmill of trying to solve them my way.

It took a lot of wrestling until I finally got to the point of utter frustration with all my self-effort, and confessed, ‘God, I can’t do this anymore … striving … trying so hard to fix it all my way. It’s too hard … too much. I’m tired. I’ve come to the end of it ... I need something more!’ The something more was Jesus. Now I was desperate for Him … for His answer … for His way ... without my conditions. And, praise God, that’s when real hope came ... hope in Him.

It was the hardest struggle of my healing journey, but it ushered in the very best. As false hope in the treadmill of self-effort dies, true hope in God is birthed. And, as Romans 5:5 tells us, that’s the hope that does not disappoint, but unlocks the gateway for God to bring healing and restoration and begin His incredible redemptive work, giving glory back to Him.

Prayer: Father God, I’m sorry for all the ways I’ve striven to fix my problems – all the inner heartache and struggle - my way. Thank you for your grace and mercy: that you don’t tear down those false ways, but you understand how I’ve clung onto them for dear life and you wait patiently until I’m ready. Please help me to come to the end of it all. It’s a hard prayer to pray, but please bring me to the place of desperation, and to grasp hold of the true hope in you so that I can humbly and honestly bring my real problems to you. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken … he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Amen.
Today's Writer : Julie Smith J
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

If I Had Been There

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 21.12.2016 21:53

If I Had Been There

by Joni Eareckson Tada

"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger." Luke 2:16

Of Christmas Eve, Martin Luther once wrote, "There are some of us who think to ourselves, 'If I had only been there! How quick I would have been to help the Baby. I would have washed his linen. How happy I would have been to go with the shepherds to see the Lord lying in the manger!' Yes, we would say that. And we say it because we know now how great Christ is. But had we been there at that time, I don't think we would have done any better than the people of Bethlehem."

Martin Luther has a good point. And I'm afraid he's got my number. I'd like to think that had I seen a young couple wandering into town, the wife ready to deliver and with nowhere to go, that I would have said to the innkeeper, "Now see here, you must have a room somewhere!" or if that didn't help, to turn to Joseph and say, "Please come with me to my house." Or, had I encountered Mary and Joseph with their baby in the stable, I'd like to think I would have brought candles to brighten up the place, swept the floor, sprayed Lysol on the manger... anything to spruce up things to welcome the newborn.

But Martin Luther was right. Now that we realize who that Baby was, sure we would roll up our sleeves to make a difference.

Here's the irony: Why don't we do it now? Jesus says that whatever kindness we extend any neighbor in need, we do it to Him. We can help that homeless couple with nowhere to stay. We can lend the pregnant woman a hand. We can make a difference for a baby in need. We can use our time, prayers, finances, creative thinking, and our homes. And the Lord will count it all as service to Himself.

In the rush to accomplish everything on my list of tasks, Lord, don't let me hurry past You in the form of a needy person. Give me eyes to see You and a heart of compassion. Give me the spirit -- Your Spirit -- of Christmas.

Blessings,

Joni and Friends
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Re: Devotional 2016

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 21.12.2016 21:56

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” Psalm 116:8

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
I believe that the holidays are the loneliest time of the year. Everywhere you look, people are told they’re supposed to be happy and they realize they’re not. They see everybody else acting happy, and they feel so lonely. Just walking down the mall can make you feel lonely.

But Jesus has said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). When I’m discouraged, His presence sees me through. When I’m lonely His presence cheers me up. When I’m worried, His presence calms me down. And when I am tempted, His presence will help me out.

ACTION POINT:
Write down the last portion of this devotional thought and personalize it. Now use it as a prayer of faith and trust.

Adrian Rogers
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Finding the Truth

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 22.12.2016 12:02

Thursday 22nd December 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries
Finding the Truth

"Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long."
Psalm 25:4-5, ESV

We all want to make sense of our lives and the world in which we live. The question “What is truth?” is posed by us in a world which generates more questions than answers. We may live years looking for truth and never really find it. This is the journey we’re all on, but the solution is not to find out where truth is, but who is truth. All over the world, we’re all bombarded with sources claiming to have the truth, and the answers to the questions of how to make sense of our lives.

As I travel around the nations, I find that many good people are trying to discover what truth is, but they’re attempting to do this without the influence of God in their lives.

At the age of sixteen, I found myself heading towards a logjam. God saved me from drowning under it, but, even after that, I still chose to follow the same path, and told the Lord that I was having too much fun to follow Him then. You see I didn’t want to know the truth; I wanted to do it my way. I thought that I was my own teacher, I knew what was best for me, and I didn't need any help. I was travelling my own paths and finding my own ideas in search of life. I was trying in my own strength to make sense of life.

After five years, God approached me again through a series of events, and I began to examine the path I’d chosen. It was almost as if Jesus was saying to me, “I let you go your own way. How’s that been going for you?” He even showed me where I would end up if I stayed on my own path. My path had been a series of conflicts and destructive actions, which left me empty and lonely. That day, in mercy, He displayed what lay ahead of me. But in His grace He revealed the way out from the destruction.

For the last thirty-five years, since that second encounter of grace, Jesus has been leading me on the Lord’s path, and His truth is teaching me, for He’s the God of my salvation. In these years, His grace and truth have been my constant companions. He teaches me daily the way to go, and the route I need to walk. He makes His ways known to me. I’ve found the truth.

What path have you chosen? What’s your truth? Are you looking to your own hands to accomplish it? Make a choice to ask the Lord to show you His ways, to teach you His paths, to lead you in His truth, and save your life from destruction.

Prayer: Jesus, teach me, lead me, hold me and guide me. I want to lay down my own truth on which I’ve based my life, and I want to know Your truth for me. Lead me, Lord. Make my path smooth and tangle-free. I accept Your grace for me, and choose to listen to Your instruction, as I step out in faith, on Your path to truth. Amen.
Today's Writer : Jim Person Jim Person Jim grew up in Alaska and from a small child commercial fished every summer with his family. God called him, his wife Tanya, and their four children to move to Hungary as missionaries in 2003. God then led him to join Ellel Ministries in 2005. Jim is now the Director of Ellel Ministries Central & Eastern Europe Development Centre, where he shepherds and disciples the teams and students under his care.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Re: Devotional 2016

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 25.12.2016 19:17

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Christmas is spelled L-O-V-E. What is the Christmas message? John 3:16. God gave us the gift of love on Christmas Day.

It is truly said, “What the world needs now is love.” I need it. You need it. Your spouse needs it. Your child needs it. An elderly man or woman sitting alone in a nursing home today needs it. A child abandoned and alone in a children’s home needs it, too.

God sent His one and only Son as the Savior. He knew we couldn’t save ourselves. So He sent His Son to be born in a manger, to die on a cross, to rise again into glory, and to come again to redeem His church.

ACTION POINT:
Where are you spending your Christmas day? Maybe you can spare a few minutes with your family and friends to share His gift of love with someone who is all alone today.

Adrian Rogers
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

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