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Devotional 2016

Valvoja: Annukka

It Is for Freedom That Christ Has Set Us Free!

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 23.03.2016 11:26

Wednesday 23rd March 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
It Is for Freedom That Christ Has Set Us Free!

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
Galatians 5:1, NIV

I’ve just watched one of those amazing wildlife programmes. It was about a woman called Petronel, who rescues orphaned rhinos in South Africa, and followed the story of a baby rhino called Manji who was left abandoned after his mother was poached. He was injured and very weak, but with veterinary treatment and lots of loving care Petronel slowly nurtured him back to full health.

The time eventually came for Manji to be released back into the wild, and Petronel opened the sanctuary gates. At first he was curious and ambled over to look outside the large pen which had been his home for many months. Slowly he ventured through the gates into the African bush of the outside world. But within seconds panic set in, he turned tail and stampeded back into the safety and familiar comfort of the confines of the sanctuary.

Petronel knew that keeping Manji in a pen any longer, no matter how much he wanted to stay, would be cruel: robbing him of any chance of being adopted into a family group of rhinos, having the freedom to roam wherever they went, grazing and eventually breeding and having his own young in the wild. So she persevered, every day opening the gates and gently encouraging him to venture out. Each time Manji stayed outside a little longer and wandered a bit further before returning to his pen, until one day he kept walking and didn’t come back. The TV cameras followed him and watched as he joined and was accepted into a family group.

It was a great story with a happy ending, and reminded me so much of the heart of God to rescue, heal and restore, and ultimately bring His release into true freedom. There are many people, who, like Manji, have been abandoned, not necessarily physically, but often emotionally and spiritually, and left damaged, hurting, alone and desperate. Maybe you’re one of them. But God knew in advance that through the bad choices mankind would make, this would happen, and out of His great love and compassion He sent Jesus for you and for me – yes, to pay the price for our sin – but also, as Isaiah 61 tells us, to bind up our broken hearts and release us into freedom.

What an amazing act of grace and mercy! Yet, we can so often be like Manji. We hear the message of hope and begin to receive the much-longed for healing, but then when the time comes to walk into the freedom Christ won for us, we want to run back to the safety of what has become familiar.

I remember well, reaching that point on my own healing journey, and the Lord said, “You’re finding your identity in the walk to healing; I want you to find your identity in Me.” At first I didn’t understand, and then when I did understand I didn’t want to move out of my comfort zone into that unknown territory. I was like Manji wanting to stay in his familiar pen.

But God, in His great love has so much more. I learned that receiving healing isn’t an end in itself, but a beginning. And the only way I could begin to move into my destiny was to walk through the gates He was opening, trusting that these weren’t gates that led to the abandonment and loneliness I feared, but gates to a world I’d never really known – a world of new relationships, freedom to grow and change, and enter into the abundant life Jesus won. Eventually, I did walk through the gates, and like Manji, I’ve never looked back.

I want to encourage you today to dare to walk out of the gates of any comfort zone you might be in. A comfort zone, in the end, can so easily become another place of captivity, and Paul urges us: ‘Do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!’

Prayer: Father God, Thank You for Your love, thank You for sending Jesus, and for the healing You have poured into my life. Please help me to take courage to walk forward in the healing I have received, and to truly live out of my new identity in You, that as I walk in all the freedom you have won for me, my life would give glory back to You. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.
Today's Writer : Julie Smith
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Our Majestic God

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 24.03.2016 10:53

Thursday 24th March 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Our Majestic God

"Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name."
Psalm 29:2, NIVUK

Nature enriches our lives beyond measure, although on the whole, we tend to take it for granted. It’s beautiful, and we’re in awe when we stop to a take second look at the wonders of creation, for we know, that it’s the handiwork of God. In our experience, the changing and the passing of the seasons has always been there, and when we take time out of our busy lives, we enjoy it. Although, there are other times, (usually in the winter months, when we slip and slide through the snow and ice during our daily routines) when we sometimes enjoy it more on picture postcards.

What we don’t usually think about is that, according to Psalm 29, it’s the voice of the Lord which brings about all the various changes. When we read this psalm we encounter the majesty of God through His voice. We read that the voice of the Lord ‘thunders over the waters’, ‘breaks the cedars’, ‘strikes with flashes of lightening’, ‘shakes the desert’, ‘twists the oaks and strips the forests bare’ and that ‘the Lord sits enthroned over the flood’. His voice through nature can, and often does, stop us in our tracks. Verse nine of Psalm 29 in the Amplified version also adds ‘the voice of the Lord makes the hinds to bring forth their young’. In other words, His voice signals the timing to the animal kingdom for the birth of their offspring.

We gasp in wonder, awe and praise, when we read and ponder on the magnificence of this great God whom we serve, and who loves us so utterly and unconditionally.

The psalmist opens the psalm exhorting us to give God the glory that’s due to His name, and rightly so, for He’s the Almighty and He sits enthroned forever over His creation, and there’s no other god like this God.

And yet it’s this majestic God who, as well as being ‘able to do far more than we can ask or think’ (Ephesians 3:20), stoops down to us, His people, to give us strength and bless us with His peace. This God, who in His majesty roars through nature, is gentle, compassionate, kind and aware of our frailty. The Scriptures declare ‘He knows our frame, He remembers that we are dust’ (Psalm 103:14). ‘A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out’ (Isaiah 42:4). Through Jesus He’s provided for our every need, and awaits the cry of the faintest voice at any time of the day or night.

As we view the beauty of creation afresh let’s also hear His voice resounding through the earth and skies and respond with adoration and praise. And let’s also respond to the still small voice as He whispers ‘My peace I give unto you’. For this God is our God – and there’s no-one like Him.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we join with the psalmist in giving You all the glory, for although You’re Lord of all creation, You love us with an everlasting love and have engraved us on the palm of Your hands. Thank You, God, for being our God. Amen.
Today's Writer : Patricia Lake :D
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

1 Corinthians 15: 14, 17

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 26.03.2016 18:24

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain…. ye are yet in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15: 14, 17

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
It’s an unthinkable question: what if there had been no Easter? Suppose Jesus had not risen from the dead? Our faith would be futile, death would have dominion, sin would be sovereign and the future would be fearful. His death without His resurrection cannot save anybody. Our faith is worthless if He is still in the grave.

How do we know that Jesus Christ was not just a religious fanatic, someone with a martyr complex who happened to get crucified? How do we know He is the Son of God, God incarnate? Romans 1:4 says He is “shown to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.”

How do we know that God accepted the sacrifice of Calvary? By the resurrection. The Bible says He was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification. No resurrection, no Savior. No Savior, no forgiveness. But Jesus went into the tomb and three days later walked out like a butterfly bursting from a cocoon. He is a risen Savior.

ACTION POINT:
Read 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and meditate on all it means for your salvation.
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Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Come! . . . See! . . . Go! . . . Tell!

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 27.03.2016 10:18

Sunday 27th March 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Come! . . . See! . . . Go! . . . Tell!

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him. Now, I have told.”
Matthew 28:5-7

This is the most wonderful and exciting day of celebration in the whole of the Christian Calendar. The day when, on that first Easter Day, every prophecy and every plan of God found its focus and fulfilment. And it’s the day for the whole of time when believers can look back with massive thanksgiving to the one day in history when the whole world was turned upside down.

What happened on that day was a tsunami of truth which shook the very gates of hell and had all the angelic hosts in awe and celebration of what God had done in raising His Son from the dead. Death had been conquered and a gateway was opened for fallen man to be freed from the curse of sin and death for ever and ever and ever and evermore.

But the day didn’t begin like that for the disciples. The two Marys were on their way to the tomb with the spices they had prepared (Matt 24:1). They were in mourning for the dead and in spite of what Jesus had said, they were completely unprepared for a personal encounter with an angelic messenger. The essence of the angel’s message is encapsulated in the title of today’s Seed – Come, See, Go and tell.

COME and see that His body is no longer there. SEE for yourself that He is risen from the dead. Then GO and finally TELL. The two Marys were commissioned by an angel to be the first evangelists who would be able to declare, first to the disciples, and then to the whole world that JESUS IS ALIVE!

And those four instructions still encapsulate a message from God to His people – you and I – and all the Church. Come and See, then Go and Tell. Believers have COME to the cross and found it empty. They have SEEN that Jesus is no longer in the grave, and we are now commissioned, just like the angels, to GO – into all the world – and TELL the glorious news that Jesus is risen from the dead. Death has been conquered and in Christ we have nothing to fear. For in Him is LIFE – eternal LIFE! This is Good News to be shared. Let us be determined to take every opportunity God gives us to GO and TELL others what He has done!

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus for being obedient – even unto death. And we are so thankful today that God raised You from the dead. Help us to always be ready to GO and TELL others this amazing good news – that YOU ARE ALIVE! Hallelujah! And that in YOU we, also, are alive for evermore! Amen.

Today's Writer : Peter Horrobin
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

God’s Love

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 28.03.2016 09:30

Monday 28th March 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
God’s Love

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:38-39, NIV

I noticed something very interesting in these verses in Romans 8. Paul, who wrote the book of Romans, speaks about God’s love and the absolute certainty of it. These verses mention in great detail the possible things that we may perceive to be barriers to the love of God. It speaks about death and life, angels and demons, present or future, powers, height or depth, and in case Paul missed anything, he mentions ‘anything in all creation’.

What caught my attention was the word LIFE. The issues of life can weigh so heavily on us that we can’t see God’s face and hear His voice clearly, and it may cause us to think He has abandoned us. In the parable of the sower, the cares of this life are named as one of the things that can cause the seed to be choked and become unfruitful (Mark 4:18).

Also, we may get so caught up in the busyness of this life that we lose sight of God and start neglecting our times with Him. God doesn’t set up barriers between us and Him, neither does He tear down barriers we erect. They’re our own doing.

God’s love is all encompassing. It spans from before your birth and reaches beyond the grave into eternity. Ephesians 1:4 says, ‘He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love’. Notice the words ‘in love’. 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. It is His very nature – part of His essence – and He is unchangeable. God’s love does not rely on our co-operation or response. It’s a given, unchangeable fact. Separation from relationship with God comes through our own wrong choices and sin, but separation from His love is impossible.’

Perhaps the cares of this life have caused you to feel removed from God’s love. He’s never given up on you, or taken His eyes off you. Nothing can separate you from His love – NOTHING. Rest and rejoice in this truth!

Prayer: Father, thank You that You’ve always loved me, even when I’ve felt unlovable and unloved. Thank You that Your love surrounds me in all the seasons of my life – even when the cares of this life presses in on me. I choose to rest in Your all-encompassing love, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Today's Writer : Christel Baxter
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

The Church

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 29.03.2016 10:38

Tuesday 29th March 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
The Church

"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."
1 Corinthians 12:27, NIV

What do you think of when I mention the word ‘church’? Perhaps you think of a building with a steeple. Or maybe you’ve known a church in a different setting like a theatre or a converted warehouse. What about the people? Some will immediately think of a small, close-knit gathering of believers, whereas others might be used to going to a church with thousands of other people, whose names they’ll never know.

Some of us have had wonderful experiences of church. It’s been a place where our deepest relationships have been formed, where we can laugh, cry and really be ourselves, and a place where we’ve felt God’s presence and grown in our relationship with Him. Others, if they’re really honest, have been bored at church, and sometimes wondered if they’re really getting anything out of it at all. Even worse, some have been badly hurt at church by other members, or even by their leaders. I don’t need to tell you that being a Christian isn’t a lifetime protection against being hurt! Thank God that He can heal our hearts as we choose to forgive.

Ever since I became a Christian, it was drilled into me how important it is to go to church and to fellowship with other believers. I agree wholeheartedly with that. We need each other, and meeting at least once a week is a healthy practice. However, I’ve also noticed that for many people, ‘going to church’ has become a substitute for being the Church.

We need to be constantly reminded that Jesus never actually told us to gather together once a week, sing songs, listen to a sermon, drink tea or coffee together and then go home. Don’t ge tme wrong, there’s nothing bad about any of these things. However, we have a serious problem if we’re ONLY doing these things! You see, the church isn’t really about us. I once heard it said that the church is the only institution in the world that exists for the benefit of its non-members. It was never supposed to be a social club for the born-again! We have a job to do.

Jesus is the head of the Church, and we’re His body. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we’ve been given the task of continuing Christ’s ministry on the earth. Before Jesus ascended to heaven He told His disciples very clearly what they were supposed to do. He said ‘go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28:19-20). Can you believe it? There wasn’t even a mention of buildings, musical worship or tea and cakes!

This is probably also a good time to mention that God never asked us to ‘build’ the Church for Him. Jesus said ‘I will build my church’ (Matthew 16:18). Our job is simply to carry out the commission He’s given us and He’ll do the rest.

Can I encourage you to keep going to church, but to put even more emphasis on being the Church. In my personal experience there is nothing more exhilarating than committing your life to fulfilling the simple commission of Jesus, all the time relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to enable you to do it.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You haven’t called me to live a boring life. Thank You that You have an amazing plan for me and that, as I walk in obedience to Your Word, it will come to pass. I’m sorry for the times I’ve settled for going to church when you’ve wanted me to focus on being the Church. Would You help me to live my life in such a way that You, Your Kingdom and Your purposes are at the top of my priority list. Would You empower me by Your Holy Spirit to be a living example to those around me, as I carry out the simple commands of Your Great Commission. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today's Writer : David Steele
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

John 3:30

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 30.03.2016 20:26

Today's Verse for 03/30/2016
He must become greater; I must become less. — John 3:30

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Thought

For John the Baptist, this ultimate formula for greatness did not take many words. What's your formula? Paul told the Galatians that a similar formula was needed for them (Galatians 4:19). He told the Colossians that this is what he expended every ounce of his energy to have happen in the lives of Christians (Colossians 1:28-29). Paul told the Corinthians that this was what the Spirit was doing in their lives (2 Corinthians 3:18). So, don't you think that maybe this is the real formula for your life?
Prayer

Dear Father in heaven, in my heart and in my life may Jesus become greater and I become less. In Jesus' name I ask it. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayers for Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Proverbs 3:31-32

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 31.03.2016 11:53

Today's Verse for 03/31/2016
Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways, for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence. — Proverbs 3:31-32

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Thought

While many are seeking a cure for the rampaging violence that destroys lives, threatens schools, and makes our streets unsafe, why has no one bothered to remind us what God's wise servant taught us centuries ago? Let's not let any person, real or fictional, be our hero if his or her fame is built on violence. The son of Israel's most famous warrior understood this better than anyone. Surely the Son of the Most Powerful on High said it best: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
Prayer

Almighty God, save us from the violence of our culture and the worship of violence that pervades our land. Please give us heroes who are true peacemakers. In addition, dear Father, please give us eyes to see them and the courage to honor them. In Jesus' name I ask it. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayers for Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Are You Offering a Taste?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 01.04.2016 11:53

Friday 1st April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Are You Offering a Taste?

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good."
Psalm 34:8, KJV

I recently read the passage of scripture about love. It starts with ‘Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up’ (1 Corinthians 13:4). The passage is well known but the word ‘kind’ just made me stop and think. What is kindness, and how is it different from other expressions of love? It’s clear that God is kind, since He’s love, and this includes kindness, and what’s more, the fruit of the Holy Spirit includes kindness. So it must be necessary to understand what kindness is, if we want to grow increasingly Christ-like.

Expressing God’s love seems a huge and demanding thing to do, especially as we know we should love everyone, even our enemies. God loves the ‘unthankful and evil’ according to Luke 6:35, but somehow this seems a rather daunting task for me. How can I possibly do it in my busy every-day life? Or maybe you find it easy to love others, but have a different problem with love. Perhaps you find it hard to receive love, especially when others overwhelm you with their desire to do something big to openly show how much they love you.

This is when kindness comes in handy. It can be a bite-sized expression of love which is more easily ‘tasted’. It’s not too big to receive, so most people will be open to taste it, even if it’s not usually easy for them to receive love. It’s like a ‘taster’, a small sample of a product which is handed out in the supermarket. It’s intended that this small taste will give people an appetite for more.

Kindness brings an aspect of love which enables us to be loving in our everyday life, even to strangers. Anytime, whatever you’re doing in your schedule, there could be an opportunity for you to be kind to someone, but we need to be awake, and watch out for that special moment.

An act of kindness isn’t usually planned. It’s an unexpected deed for that unique situation, where we can make a ‘mini-love’ response, which will be easier for a person to receive. It’s usually something they aren’t expecting, but which is exactly right for what they need that moment. It could be doing something thoughtful for a person in your family, smiling and thanking the girl on the checkout (even if she was a bit slow), opening a door for a bag-laden shopper, or letting someone in a hurry go ahead of you in the queue. The possibilities are endless, but we have to have our eyes wide open to spot them and act on them.

So are we willing to ask God to open our eyes for those moments when His loving-kindness could be passed on through us today? It could be someone’s first taste of truly undeserved love, the love of God. And who knows where it could lead them if they get to like the flavour?

Prayer: Dear Father, open the eyes of my heart today so I don’t miss any moments when I could be `kind’ with Your kindness. I pray that people I meet, known or unknown, will be touched in a unique way with a small and palatable taste of Your unending love. I pray this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
Today's Writer : Denise Cross
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Ephesians 4:2-3

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 02.04.2016 11:59

Today's Verse for 04/02/2016
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. — Ephesians 4:2-3

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Thought

Effort, sweat, and dedication seem to have become the profanity of western Christianity. To our age of grace-abusers, the Holy Spirit reaches out with his truth and reminds us that relationships on earth, even those in Jesus' Church, are going to require a lot of effort, gritty love, personal sacrifice, and rigorous determination. If we read Jesus' prayer for unity in John 17, how could we not make every effort to keep his Body unified and our relationship with his people loving and patient? Since our salvation was purchased at the cost of Jesus' sweat and blood, how can we balk when our best efforts are required to preserve the unity of his family?
Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive my impatience with others and lack of forgiveness for them. Stir your Spirit within me to curb my tongue, soften my heart, and extend more of an effort to others who need your blessing. Please use me to be a peacemaker in your Kingdom, O Lord. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayers for Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

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