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Devotional 2016

Valvoja: Annukka

Come Down from Your Tree!

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 03.04.2016 11:19

Sunday 3rd April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Come Down from Your Tree!

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me."
1 Corinthians 13:11, NIV

Bear cubs can climb trees! When the mother bear senses danger, she gives a warning call to her cubs and they climb up the nearest tree. When the danger is past, she calls to the cubs and they climb down again.

There is a story that when the cubs are reaching maturity, the mother bear teaches them to stop relying on her protection in a seemingly heartless way. She makes the danger call – and then simply walks away, leaving the cubs stranded.

After a while, desperate hunger drives the cubs finally to come down from the tree. Now as young adult bears, they have to put into practice everything that their mother has taught them about survival, no longer just relying on her for everything.

Could this be a parable?

Of course, it’s good for us to rely on God to direct our steps in life. He always knows better than we do! But maybe you’re feeling that God has walked away and is strangely silent right now. You obeyed His last command, you’re exactly where He told you to be, but now … nothing.

It could be that He’s waiting for you to “come down from your safe tree” and start to use what you’ve learned. You’re no longer a child. You have the mind of Christ, and wisdom is yours for the asking. There’s also another big difference between you and a bear cub – your heavenly Father has promised that He’ll never leave you nor forsake you. You can’t see Him, but He’s still there, waiting with pride and joy for you to step out in faith. Come on down!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You ask me to trust You like a small child, and at the same time You ask me to step out in faith as a mature believer. Help me now to conquer my childish fears and to live the way that You’ve taught me, mature in Christ. Amen.
Today's Writer : Roger Pook
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Overcoming Fears

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 04.04.2016 10:30

Monday 4th April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Overcoming Fears

"Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!"
Psalm 27:14, ESV

King David wrote Psalm 27 for the people of God to sing whenever they were afraid. I call it ‘the overcoming-fear psalm’. It starts out so boldly as David says ‘The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’ (Psalm 27:1). And I wonder how many of us could go so far as to say ‘Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident’ (Psalm 27:3).

What is the basis of this declaration of David’s? We find out in verse 5 where he explains ‘For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock’. Also he goes on to say in verse 13 ‘I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!’ What a massive step of faith when facing an attack from enemy forces!

In the last verse of this psalm David exhorts the people of God ‘Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!’ (Psalm 27:14). How often do I need to remind myself of this? It’s a decision I must take despite any feelings of fear, anxiety, pain and disappointment. There is a time when it’s best not to let our feelings lead.

I like the acrostic I learnt from Nicky Gumbel; ‘F.A.I.T.H’ which means ‘Feeling afraid I trust I Him’. It really does remind me of how I need to focus on trusting the Lord and having faith, instead of looking being overcome by emotions of fear. I often turn to Psalm 27 and read the words of encouragement from David, written so long ago.

Waiting for the Lord is not a passive activity. It’s looking to Him and trusting Him and depending on Him. It enables us to be strong and courageous.

Moses told the whole of Israel to be strong and courageous just before they went over the River Jordan into the Promised Land. ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you’ (Deuteronomy 31:6). Then Moses tells Joshua to be strong and courageous because he will lead the people into the conquest of the Promised Land. After the death of Moses God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous and promises to be with him just as He was with Moses.

Joshua might have been tempted to think he could never be as great a leader as Moses, and it can be the same for us. Instead of trusting in the Lord we can be tempted to shift our dependence on to a person, an organisation, a church, a healing ministry, a pastor or some kind of spiritual leader. We can put our hope in a person who we think is much stronger than we are and whom we respect as a man or woman of God.

Yet each one of us needs to have a personal encounter with God for ourselves. Although we are inspired and encouraged by the example of strong Christian leaders we need to get a revelation for ourselves, directly from the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Loving heavenly Father, Thank You for the encouragement from Your Word and the example David gives us in Psalm 27 to live out our faith in our daily lives. Thank You that wedon’t need to be passive and allow fear to overcome us. Help us to always choose to put our trust in You. Help us to remember Your promise to always be with us and never leave us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today's Writer : Liz Griffin
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Thought

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 05.04.2016 11:57

Today's Verse for 04/05/2016
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. — Colossians 4:5-6

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Thought

Jesus warned about our giving account for every idle word (Matthew 12:36-37). Paul takes it a step further and emphasizes how important this is with those who don't know Christ. We want to seize every opportunity when around those who are not Christians and show kindness, care, and control in the way we use our speech. Someone's eternal destiny may be resting on our conversations with them.
Prayer

Holy and Righteous God, I know you hate it when your people wound and drive unbelievers away. Please help me display a winsome attitude with all people, but especially those who do not yet know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. 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

Do You Have a Burning Heart?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 07.04.2016 10:55

Thursday 7th April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International

Do you have a Burning Heart?

Their eyes were opened and they recognised Him and He disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:32-32, NIV

On Good Friday, in the Guildhall Square of the city near where I live, nearly 200 people from churches across the city were involved in an outdoor Passion Play. It drew great crowds, and is estimated to have reached 10,000 people. The aim was to put Jesus at the heart of Easter by telling the story of the events that led up to His crucifixion and resurrection. Many went forward to receive Him into their lives in response to the powerful message given - Jesus died, arose from the dead and is alive for evermore.

On the resurrection day the risen Jesus met two disciples on the road to Emmaus as they walked and talked about Him and the things that had recently happened. They were disappointed and disillusioned men. Their faith was at low ebb and their hopes were dashed. Though Jesus had told them He would rise on the third day, they seemed not to have grasped the reality of this, and they were kept from recognising Him on the road.

Jesus asked them what they were talking about and why they were so sad. In reply they told Him the things He already knew. The disciples didn’t know it was Jesus, even as He began to explain the Old Testament Scriptures concerning Himself. When they came to the village to which they were travelling they convinced the stranger to stay the night with them, and as He broke bread and gave it to them, their eyes were opened and they knew it was Jesus. As He disappears from them they make this powerful statement, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

A burning heart is a heart which is set on fire and consumed with Jesus. Someone has said that every Christian should have a burning heart, and yet few Christians do have a burning heart. So many things can have the effect of quenching the fire for Jesus in our hearts, - for instance holding to the values of the world; failing to recognise ungodly heart attitudes; discontentment with the circumstances of life; self-centredness and selfishness; bitterness, the fiery darts of the devil and much more.

The fire in the burning heart has two main sources - firstly, the Word of God. Those first disciples found their hearts burned as they listened to Jesus open up the Scriptures to them. A Christian magazine recently did a survey which revealed that 80% of church-goers don’t read the Bible daily, and another survey said that most Christians don’t read the Bible much. Jeremiah said, “His word is in my heart like a fire.” Love for God’s Word is evidence of our love for Him. It fuels the fire in the burning heart.

Secondly, God’s Spirit is a fire. On the Day of Pentecost small flames of fire rested on each person present. From that day on they were set on fire, their hearts burning with love and passion for Jesus, which compelled them to make Him know to a lost world, and fulfil the great commission.

In two thousand years nothing has changed. We too are called to be men and women with burning hearts. Sometimes we need to meet Jesus anew, have our eyes opened afresh to who He is and what He has done, for the fire in our hearts to be rekindled.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, please change my heart. I ask for a deep love for Your Word, and the sensitivity to listen to what You say to me through it. I pray that the refining fire of the Holy Spirit will continually burn away the things in my heart which limit my passion for Jesus and grieve the Holy Spirit. As I surrender to Your will and purposes, please give me a heart which burns with passionate love for Jesus and compassion for those who don’t yet know Him. I ask You, today, to fulfill Your purposes through my life. For Your glory alone. Amen.

Today's Writer : Margaret Silvester
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Philippians 4:9

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 09.04.2016 12:08

Today's Verse for 04/09/2016
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. — Philippians 4:9

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Thought

I don't know about you, but I truly hope that my life reflects what I say and teach. What a great statement to be able to make to those we lead, whether it is in the classroom, in our families, at work, or at church.
Prayer

Almighty and Most High God, please bless me with the integrity that comes when my convictions, my words, and my actions are consistent and righteous. In Jesus' name. 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

How Do You Know?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 10.04.2016 10:57

Sunday 10th April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
How Do You Know?

"Don’t you wives realise that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realise that your wives might be saved because of you?"
1 Corinthians 7:16, NLT

This verse was highlighted again to me recently. I think that when Paul wrote it he was talking to people who had become Christians after they were married and their spouse had not come to faith in Christ. They were wondering in the light of his other teaching: ‘Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?’ (2 Corinthians 6:14), if they should stay married or separate from their spouse.

However, it reminded me of a testimony I heard recently from someone who’s been in full time Christian ministry, with a heart and gifting for evangelism, for twenty-five or more years. He said that many years ago he’d been invited, by a colleague from work in the city, to go to a lunchtime meeting at a local church. The meeting was led by a young clergyman. Although he didn't become a Christian that day he saw something in that man which he knew he didn't have, but he really wanted.

The testimony went on that he’d recently met up again, through the course of work, with this clergyman (who is now a bishop). He’d been able to tell him that it was largely through his witness all those years ago that he’d come to faith in Christ. Naturally the bishop was pleased to hear this, as any of us would be. But the interesting thing was that he said that he’d never known why he was in that place at that time. He’d always thought that year of his life had been wasted.

Wow! That really challenged me and made me think. Sometimes we’re busy working away, trying to witness to someone or help them, and we wonder if we’re doing any good or being any help. At other times we feel that nothing’s happening we’re not being used by God, and think perhaps we’re in the wrong place. Or maybe we’re just taking time out to rest and enjoy ourselves, and we discover, or maybe we don’t till we get to heaven, that God has used us in a way we didn't know, and certainly didn't plan.

God is sovereign. He does things His way. How do you know how God will use YOU?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I delight to be used by You and I pray now that I may become more like You, so Your love and resurrection life will shine through and be a witness to others. Amen.
Today's Writer : Dotty Cockcroft
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

The Gift of Pain

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 11.04.2016 10:30

Monday 11th April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
The Gift of Pain

"He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. [curing their pains and their sorrows]"
Psalm 147:3, Amplified

I’ve had to re-learn a valuable lesson of late on the subject of pain. This isn't a lesson you want to revisit, far from home and in a country where you don’t understand the language, but God took me on this journey nevertheless. For the record, I'm actually grateful! Let me explain what happened.

Over twenty-five years ago I had a root canal treated on an infected tooth, and it has periodically continued to trouble me ever since. I’d grown accustomed to the tenderness and the earache the tooth caused from time to time, and foolishly ignored both warning signs. Finally, I relented and agreed to see a dentist, discovering to my horror, that my ‘little tooth problem’ had evolved into two abscesses.

Two attempts to fix the offending tooth failed and I eventually required surgical intervention. The pain that I viewed as a nuisance and an inconvenience was actually a gift from God, alerting me that something more sinister was going on. I ignored the situation to my peril and am now nursing a sore mouth and six stitches.

Physical pain is very unpleasant but so is inner pain that involves our emotions. This pain is a gift from God as well and an invitation to come to Him and allow Him to heal. When I told one my friends about my problem with my tooth, she told me that the surgery would hurt a lot but that I would heal quickly. I was not at all happy with her response, as it confirmed my fear that before I received any relief, there would be even more pain!
I wanted a quick fix that was painless and required no vulnerability on my part. Isn't this exactly what we want when dealing with our inner pain as well? We cry, “God just fix it, and leave me, as much as possible, out of the process”. By doing so, we actually tie God’s hands and He has no choice but to stand back and patiently wait. He needs our co-operation, just as the dentist needed mine. Our priority is healing, but God’s priority is relationship. He wants to heal us of course, but, more importantly, ‘meet with us’ as we journey together through the healing process.

Once I believed that God didn't care about my pain, but I know better now. A quote by Selwyn Hughes really challenged me. He said that ‘God not only looks down in love when we are caught up in tragedy, not only weeps with us as we are surrounded by the flames, but reaches down into the flames to soothe and support, and his own hands get scorched in the process… Some think God is impervious to the pains that afflict our lives. I tell you He is affected by them, - and affected deeply. He hurts in our hurts… Our sufferings are His sufferings’ (Every Day with Jesus Devotional). God does care about your pain and is able to heal it.

I'm really grateful for the dentist that brought me to my senses and helped me deal with my problem. When I first sat in her chair, she said to me in broken English, “Sue I understand fear and I understand pain. I will go slowly”. Her words were reassuring and I made a decision to trust her judgement.

Likewise, God knows you’re hurting and that you fear further pain, but He’s asking you to trust Him anyway. He’s the only one who can heal your broken heart and binds up your wounds. He may need to lance the wound to deal with the infection, but He’ll also pour in His healing balm and surround you with His comfort. Will you trust Him today?

Prayer: Father God, please help me to run to You with my pain and not away from You. Thank You that You understand and beckon me near. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Today's Writer : Sue Dare
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

1 Timothy 4:12

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 12.04.2016 12:43

Today's Verse for 04/12/2016
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. — 1 Timothy 4:12

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Thought

The idealistic passions of youth must not be rationalized away or patronizingly pushed to the side. If you are younger, you are not only part of the church of tomorrow, you are also God's servant today. Serve him mightily and be an example to those who are older! If you are older, don't look down on the enthusiasm of youth, but encourage it and be inspired to emulate it! Let's remember, some of our best examples are those who are younger who serve our Lord with a vibrant faith!
Prayer

Father, thank you so much for energetic, enthusiastic, and passionate Christians who are in the younger years of their adulthood. Empower their witness, bless their service, and keep their hearts pure as they grow and mature in your service. 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

Moving Lights

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 13.04.2016 09:54

Wednesday 13th April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Moving Lights

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
Proverbs 4:23, NKJV

In my Maasai culture it’s the responsibility of the young boys in the family to take care of their father’s cattle. Being a culture where one’s wealth is measured by the number of cattle one has, the boys have a significant responsibility to ensure that the cattle are safe out in the pasture and back home.

A young Maasai boy I read about in an article struggled to keep his father’s cattle safe from attacks from lions. It was hard for him to stay up and watch the cattle. So he built a fire to keep the lions off, but despite this he realised the lions were still attacking the cattle. After a lot of thought he decided to create a device with ‘moving lights’ to fool the lions into thinking that someone was protecting the cattle. His invention is now being used a lot in his community, and he’s now travelling the world, inspiring people.

As I read this story, the Lord put in my heart the words in Proverbs 4:23, ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it’. It’s important to realise that the enemy is moving around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Just like these lions lay waiting to attack the cattle, so is the enemy waiting to attack. We need to be wiser in this day and age. Wisdom comes from having the fear of God.

There’s a lot of pressure from the world to the Church, pushing the Church into a place of compromise. The pressure grows and grows, as the world seeks to lead the Church in its way and paths. I’m aware this is the agenda of our enemy. We shouldn’t be ignorant of the schemes of the enemy as a church, and as individuals.

It’s necessary to have the Word of God as ‘moving lights’ in our hearts. The Lord has given us His Word as a sword in our hands, so we can be on guard against the schemes of the enemy.

I believe it’s the time that we hold up the plumb-line of truth and refuse to bow to the pressure to conform to the patterns of the world. As we stand by the truth, and call what’s right, right, and what’s sin, sin, then we’re in a better position to be the kind of witnesses that God’s called us to be. A light set on a hill that can’t be hidden! His salt to the world!

Let's learn to guard our hearts!

Prayer: Lord, please help me to learn how to guard my heart. May Your word be a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path. I refuse to compromise my faith for the ways of the world and ask for Your strength and grace, Amen.
Today's Writer : Joan Rono
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

The Missing Piece

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 14.04.2016 10:23

Thursday 14th April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
The Missing Piece

"Jesus came and stood among them."
John 20:19, NIV

We’ve just had granddaughter, who’s nearly three years old, staying with us for two nights, while her Mummy and Daddy have been away. One of the many and varied activities we’ve been engaged in during this time has been doing jigsaws. However simple or complicated a jigsaw is, it’s the sense of achievement and satisfaction which comes when the final piece is put in place, and the picture is complete, that makes all the effort and patience worthwhile.

Many people today are looking for that final ‘piece’ for the jigsaw of their lives, seeking the fulfilment and satisfaction of a life which makes sense and has purpose. We know of someone, and I expect there are many like her, who’s been a regular church member for many years, a member of the choir, is on the flower arrangement rota, and is very much engaged in church activities. This lady readily admits to finding the presence and peace of God in church. Sadly, as far as we are aware, she has no personal relationship with God Himself through the Lord Jesus. Yes, it is possible to experience something of the presence and peace of God and still not know Him as a person. Yet it’s this relationship with God as our loving heavenly Father which makes all the difference to our lives, and completes the picture.

All through Scripture we see how God’s heart is to restore the relationship with man, which was broken in the Garden of Eden when man turned away from God. God’s desire is for all to enjoy the relationship with Him for which we were created. To this end Jesus came, so that, through His death on the cross, all those who believed in Him could enjoy that restored relationship with God (John 3 :16).

The real presence of Jesus in our lives makes all the difference, just as His disciples discovered on the evening of the day He rose from the dead. In John 20 we’re told that the risen Jesus brought His followers peace (verse 19), promised them power (verse 22) and gave them purpose (verse 21). May we all acknowledge our need for the presence of Jesus in our lives and learn to accept more of Him day by day. Then we shall know His peace, experience His power, and fulfil His purpose in our lives, all in increasing measure.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for Your death on the cross. Please help me to appreciate the relationship with Father God that Your sacrifice made possible, and enter more fully into it, knowing Your peace, experiencing Your power, and fulfilling Your purposes in my life. Amen.

Today's Writer : Malcolm Wood
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

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