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Devotional 2016

Valvoja: Annukka

Deep Cleansing

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 17.04.2016 10:53

Sunday 17th April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Deep Cleansing

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me."
Psalm 51:10, AMP

Just mention you’re going on a trip to a South African Home Affairs Office and you’ll draw quite a reaction. Sadly, it will be mostly negative. You’ll be told everything from the hours it took a person just to apply for the much needed document, to the quality of the service they received. In their time of need, potential applicants often try to find out which particular office is a bit faster and more efficient, and choose to drive a few extra kilometres in the hope of receiving good service.

Recently it was my turn to visit one of our local Home Affairs Offices. Aware of the negative comments that are often heard whilst standing in the queue, I chose to focus on other things, and I looked around at the surroundings of the rural office grounds. Since the office inside is really small, only a few people are allowed in at a time and the rest queue outside.

This is when I noticed the old, stationery caravan, a few metres away from me, which was being used as an ‘office’ for the taking of ID and Passport photos. I thought of how many people are showing entrepreneurial skills in a time when jobs are not a certainty anymore.
The owner of the business then began dusting his working space, took a broom and swept the steps as well as the strip of paving in front of the caravan. I was really impressed. He was ready for a day of business!

Taking in the whole scene, I then looked a bit further than the paving, to the grassy area the caravan was standing on. Much to my surprise I noticed some rubble underneath and around the caravan. The owner was quite happy with the job he’d done and wasn’t bothered about the pieces of plastic and paper still lying around. If I’d also not looked beyond the obvious, I would have left there with only the image of the swept paving and a job well done.

The Lord reminded me then that we so often do exactly the same. We’re aware of issues in our lives which need healing, and of hurts which need to be resolved, but we’re just not willing to go the extra mile.

It’s much easier, (we think), to put on a brave face, smile and make out we have everything under control. The world sees a competent, happy person whose life seems perfect. We believe the lie that if we ignore the issue, it’ll go away. Or maybe, like the person sweeping the paving, we’re in a comfort zone and not interested in looking further than the obvious. Sometimes we even find our identity in suffering and we’re afraid of letting go.

Some of the reasons for ignoring our hurts and issues are linked to pride, control, guilt, shame, fear and lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). We ignore the underlying issues in our lives because we need to live up to the image we’re portraying to the people around us. This becomes a way of survival in a harsh world. We’re either too proud to admit our problems, or we feel so guilty and ashamed that we keep them hidden. We’re afraid of people’s reactions, or we just don’t have the knowledge about the road towards healing.
These are all lies from the enemy to keep us in bondage, and they’re not from the Lord. The Lord’s desire for us is freedom from bondage, lies and hurt. He came so we could live lives of victory in Him.

‘The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly’ (John 10:10).

Prayer: Dear Lord, I come to You today just as I am. You know everything about me and still love me unconditionally. There are areas in my life which I’ve been ignoring, and I repent of that today. Please lead me on the path towards healing, and teach me the way forward. Forgive me for trying to cope by turning a blind eye to my hurts and issues. I bring them before You, Lord, and trust You for healing in every area of my life. I thank You for abundant life in You, and ask that You lead me towards Your plan for my life. Amen.

Today's Writer : Annalene Holtzhausen
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

No One Can Fathom

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 18.04.2016 10:31

Monday 18th April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
No One Can Fathom

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him?"
Psalm 8:3-4 NIV

Where is God? What’s our understanding of who He is? How can we reach Him?

Do we imagine an old man with a long white beard sitting on a throne up beyond the clouds? Ezekiel saw this vison; ‘Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him’ (Ezekiel 1:26-28).

Scripture tells us that God’s presence is so vast, ‘even the highest heavens cannot contain Him’ (2 Chronicles 2:6). ‘“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord’ (Jeremiah 23:24). He’s not a physical being who can be measured in space or time. ‘God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit’ (John 4:24). He’s everywhere, and not even restricted by time. ‘Before Abraham was, I am’ (John 8:58).

‘He has set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This is too much for my brain to handle. I’m lost within the limitless reaches of His Eternal Spirit. I can’t touch Him. I can’t see Him. How do I find Him?

It’s as if we’re bobbing about like a bucket on the surface of the ocean. He’s all around us. If the bucket fills with water it sinks. Now He’s in the bucket, but the bucket’s still in the ocean. In the same way, when we sink below the surface (as in baptism), we ‘die’ and are submerged into Him. We’re in Him and He’s in us. In His presence we have an intimate relationship with Him, through the Spirit (Ezekiel 36:27). He’s vast beyond measure, but intimate beyond understanding.

Science has lost God in the intricate mechanics of the world. We’re no longer looking for God. We’re looking for answers. We’re so busy trying to put together how it all works we’re missing the Creator Himself. We’re searching for the truth, but finding more and more questions, as we dig deeper into time and space. Jesus said simply, ‘I am the truth’ (John 14:6).

But we can’t find a tangible being. Our senses don’t recognise the spiritual realm. It’s only by our spirit that we become aware of His presence. When we find Him, were hungry for more. To taste is not enough. We want to immerse ourselves into Him, as He longs to fill us with Himself, like the bucket in the ocean.

‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:13). When we look for Him and not just for His benefits, strip away all preconceived ideas of what He may be like and pursue Him for Himself, we’ll find Him. ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled’ (Matthew 5:6).

A W Tozer writes: ‘When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself. In Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.

Prayer: Lord, when I look for You I can’t find You. But when I rest in Your presence, You are there. Help me to understand that Your Spirit is within me. I pray that as I look less to myself and my own resources, more of Your presence will fill me, so that I walk more by faith and less by sight, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today's Writer : Ron Scurfield
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Facing Tough Times

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 19.04.2016 10:10

Tuesday 19th April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Facing Tough Times

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.”
Psalm 42:5, NIV

David often talked to himself! No, not in the sense of being a little unbalanced, but when his spirit knew that his soul was struggling, he regularly spoke to his own soul. Here, he’s asking himself a question. What’s going on inside, what’s happening with me?

We can all go through times when we can’t easily make sense of how we’re feeling on the inside or the effect difficult relationships may be having on us. There are many things that can trip us up and distress us on the inside. It’s at times like this we need to keep on reminding ourselves of the reality of God’s faithfulness in the midst of the fallen world in which we all live. We have an enemy of souls who desires to do with us all what he tried to do with Simon Peter - sift him and throw him off course!

David had proven God over many years – he knew that God was dependable and trustworthy. He will never have forgotten what God did when Goliath the Philistine challenged the men of Israel. And there were many times in battle when God showed him exactly what to do to avoid defeat by the enemies of God’s people. Many times the Lord had shown him the way to go and what to do. Yes, God could be trusted – so, soul, even though you’re feeling down at the moment and circumstances seem to be getting on top of you, lift up your chin, look firmly ahead knowing that however long or dark the valley you’re in may be, God is still with you in it and you will yet praise Him.

There have been many times in my own walk with the Lord when I have been tempted to be depressed by the circumstances, and I have had to speak to my own soul – reminding myself of all that God has done in the past. He has been so utterly faithful! So, while your circumstances may currently be tough, remember that God hasn’t changed! Hope in God for you will yet praise Him, your help and your God!

Prayer: I’m so grateful, Lord, for the memories of times when you have been so very present in my life. Help me Lord not to give in to inner feelings when circumstances are tough. I choose now to trust You Lord afresh – my help and my God. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Today's Writer : Peter Horrobin
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

1 Peter 1:24-25

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 22.04.2016 20:23

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:24-25

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
The Bible is the incontestable, incorruptible, indestructible, and indispensable Word of God. No one can argue with it. Nothing can corrupt it. Nothing can destroy it. Nothing can replace it as the source and wellspring of life.

The late Dr. Robert G. Lee, a great preacher of the last generation, said this about the Bible:
“All of its enemies have not torn one hole in its holy vesture, or stolen one flower from its wonderful garden, nor diluted one drop of honey from its abundant hive, nor broken one string of its thousand-stringed harp, nor drowned one sweet word in infidel ink.”

ACTION POINT:
Tell God how much your life has changed because of His Word. Meet together with a group of friends or your family and discuss the ways God has ministered to you through His Word.
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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

Down but Not Out

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 23.04.2016 10:50

Saturday 23rd April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Down but Not Out

"But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head."
Psalm 3:3, ESV

My wife Gemma and I have lived in our present home for nearly two and a half years. Towards the end of last year I planted spring bulbs in our front and back gardens for the first time. Our back garden had been attractively landscaped by the previous owners, but our front garden is much plainer and barer, so we looked forward to some added colour when the bulbs grew.

It was with great excitement that we saw shoots begin to appear in February, and as more spring-like weather arrived, the shoots matured to stalks, and finally we saw the first daffodil open up in all its yellow glory. At the time of writing this Seed we now have a front garden bright with yellow daffodil heads. For me it’s been experiencing something of the satisfaction that keen gardeners must enjoy – seeing something you've planted as a seed or a bulb growing to display the beauty that was always locked up within it.

Perhaps my excitement and satisfaction reflects something of the character of God, in whose image we’re made. Jesus described his Father as a gardener who tends our lives in the same way a vine-dresser looks after a vine. Recently, when I looked out at the daffodils in our back garden I saw that two of them had fallen flat to the ground as though the flower heads were too heavy for the stalks – I felt sad that they couldn’t stand upright and show off their beauty.

I was amazed the next day to see that they had both begun to stand up again – perhaps it was the light rain that had fallen during the night, or the morning dew that had revived them. It seemed to me to be a picture of how our lives can be beaten down by the circumstances of life, but also of how God brings refreshment and encouragement through His word and the Holy Spirit to cause us to stand up again. In Hosea 14:5 we read the words of the Lord to his people Israel and to us: ‘I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon’ (Hosea 14:5).

Perhaps you feel like your head is down at the moment. Ask the Lord to refresh your spirit and your heart so you can lift it up again – He longs to do that.

Prayer: Father, Your word says that You've planted us as oaks of righteousness, and that even in our old age we can be like palm trees flourishing in Your courts. Help me to stay close to You, so my roots go deep into the soil of Your love and truth, and I bear fruit which glorifies You, even in dry and difficult times. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Today's Writer : Dean Gardner
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Discrimination

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 24.04.2016 11:05

Sunday 24th April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Discrimination

And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
John 8:11b, NASB

There is much spoken and written these days about the apparent evils of discrimination against people with certain backgrounds or lifestyles. In fact Christians are frequently accused of not being sufficiently inclusive of their fellow human beings, in a society with rapidly changing moral attitudes.

Actually, Jesus was remarkably inclusive in His relationships with people whatever their background, lifestyle or place in society, much to the bewilderment of the religious leaders and even, sometimes, His own disciples. Jesus never displayed the slightest prejudice in relating to anyone because of their race, religion or sex, for example. However, He was not indiscriminate when it came to reflecting on their righteousness or sinfulness, because He knew that the well-being of every human being was (and still is) ultimately dependent on being right with God’s laws.

The Body of Christ is, or at least should be, completely open to everyone who is needing the Saviour, but He has not asked us to be indiscriminate or inclusive in regard to what is right with God and what is not. Jesus broke most of the relational, religious and cultural norms of His day, enjoying the company of prostitutes, tax collectors and adulterers, to name but a few. He was probably the least discriminatory of individuals ever to have walked this earth, but this was never at the expense of condoning people’s sin. We see in John chapter 8 that Jesus was wonderfully inclusive and loving towards the woman caught in the act of adultery, giving her an amazing opportunity to get right with God through His intervention. However He did not leave her unaware of the seriousness and wrongfulness of her sin.

Like Him, the followers of Jesus need to bring a message of God’s radical and unconditional acceptance of all of humankind, while, at the same time, graciously voicing His clear differentiation between what is right and wrong in human behaviour.

Prayer: Father God, Jesus showed us how it is possible to indiscriminately love our fellow human beings whilst clearly discriminating against sin. Help us, Lord, to do this well and wisely. Amen.
Today's Writer : David Cross
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

A Very Present Help

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 26.04.2016 11:08

Tuesday 26th April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
A Very Present Help

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Psalm 46:1, ESV

The Lord has given so many wonderful promises for everyone who puts their trust in Him, but there’s one promise which Jesus made that we would, perhaps, rather not have. He told His disciples that in this world they’d have trouble.

My husband, Dean, recently wrote a Seed about an encounter he had with a vicious dog, as he was out walking with our dog, Sid. Fortunately, that dog was muzzled, and though he jumped up at Dean, who was holding Sid, he couldn’t harm them. God kept them safe.
One sunny Sunday afternoon recently, it was my turn to take Sid for his walk. I’d just turned the corner of our road and crossed to the other side, when I saw two white dogs. They weren’t on leads. They ran towards me. I quickly crossed back over the road to avoid them, but they caught up with me and started attacking Sid. He was crying out in pain, and I was terrified. I screamed, “Jesus, save me! Help!” I couldn’t get Sid away from the dogs – they would have killed him.

But then a lady suddenly appeared, and she drove the dogs away. She just happened to be driving by, and saw what was happening and intervened. She carried Sid to our home. Dean was there, and he examined Sid. He had one puncture bite, so we went to the vet and Sid was treated.

I’m glad to say, Sid has recovered. Dean prayed with me, asking the Lord to lift off the shock and trauma, but it did take me a while to fully recover, as I kept re-living the incident.

However, I determined not to let fear keep me from going out with Sid. I’ve been out with him now several times since, and the Lord has protected me. Sometimes, it seems, God delivers us from trouble, but at other times, He delivers us in trouble. I thank Him for that kind lady He sent along to rescue me and Sid.

If you’re facing trouble of any kind, God wants you to know that He is ‘our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’ (Psalm 46:1). He hears your cry, and He’ll either deliver you from the trouble, or else He’ll bring you safely through it, and you’ll look back in wonder and praise for what He’s done.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You that You are with me wherever I go. You never cease to care for me. Please help me to trust you when I find myself in any kind of trouble. Please be my ever-present help and protector, and I will give You all the glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Today's Writer : Gemma Gardner
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Don’t Drop the Ball

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 27.04.2016 10:09

Wednesday 27th April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Don’t Drop the Ball

"..fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.."
Hebrews 12:2, NIV

Recently, I have been watching the International Rugby, because my husband is a great fan.

As the English player was running to the touch line to score, my husband jumped out of his chair shouting, “Don't drop the ball! Don't drop the ball!”

This caused me to wonder if, when running our daily race for Jesus, he would shout to us today: “Keep your eye on the ball! Hang on to the ball! Don't drop the ball! Keep your eye on the ball!”

The Bible tells us in our verse today to fix our eyes on Jesus because He’s the author and perfecter of our faith. Jesus alone is the reason why we’re running our race at all. He’s the One who strengthens us to run to victory.

Jesus must be the source of our authority. Jesus is our head so we need to keep our eyes fixed on Him, because we’re His body, and therefore, must be obedient to what He tells us to do. We must have the mind of Christ in these dark days, and not be distracted by the enemy tactics, such as lies and deception, which he uses to intimidate us like a giant rugby player heading straight for us with the intention of getting us to drop the ball, and stealing it from us.

Hang on to the ball! To me, this means hanging on to the truth of God’s word in a hostile and unbelieving world. Maybe, as in the game of rugby, others are fighting us and making it difficult for us to hang on to the Word. An example is the ridiculing of the truth of God about creation, and replacing it with a man-made theory of evolution. Or when the politically correct laws of the country challenge us not to witness to God’s truth. This can sometimes be like a rugby tackle, or even a foul, as when, for instance, someone is in danger of losing her job as a nurse for praying in the name of Jesus for a sick person.

Don’t drop the ball! When the going gets really tough, don’t lose the ball. Don't walk away and give up. It may cost us everything to hang on to our faith in Jesus Christ when the enemy is doing all in his power to stop us from reaching the touch line, finishing our race, and hearing those wonderful words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:21).

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that You are the author and the perfector of our faith. Please help us not to take our eyes off you and so drop the ball, when running our race. When the enemy appears huge and intimidating, help us in those times not to focus on the enemy but to look to You, so we may finish well the race that You’ve set before us. Amen.

Today's Writer : Jill Southern-Jones
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

God’s Heart in His Commandments

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 28.04.2016 09:24

Thursday 28th April 2016
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
God’s Heart in His Commandments

"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law."
Psalm 119:18, NIV

Upon reading the Bible we could possibly perceive God's Word as a long list of difficult duties and near impossible commands to us. We might get the impression that the Lord is a harsh, exacting and demanding kind of person. We might see Him as someone who demands obedience from a distance. We might feel as if the Lord is asking us to do the impossible (to lift ourselves up by our bootstraps, as it were) yet giving us no means of help. But all these sort of thoughts are so far from the truth!

It’s helpful to remember that the Lord's will for us comes out of who He is; His good, essential and unchanging nature. Jesus taught us: be merciful, because Your Father is merciful (Luke 6:36). So when we see a demand from the Lord for us to be merciful, forgiving, kind or righteous we can rejoice in the fact that our God is just like that. He has absolute integrity and would never ask us to be something He Himself is not. Furthermore, because God is a certain way, it means that He will treat us accordingly. So when we come across a command to behave a certain way, we can learn that this is the way He wants to treat us. When we read, for example, that we should love our enemies, we can rejoice in the fact that God does just that when we occasionally behave like His enemies!

If we take a further look at some of the Ten Commandments we can rejoice even more. Each commandment that deals with human relationships doesn't only indicate how the Lord wants us to treat others, it also shows how He wants us to be treated. So looking at it from this perspective, we learn that God doesn't want you and me to be stolen from; He doesn't want us to be betrayed, and He doesn't want us to be lied to. Truly God's heart to us is good.

During His life on earth Jesus completely obeyed God and never broke His laws. I find this so encouraging. It means that everything the Lord asks of you and me He’s already done Himself (but perfectly). Then the Bible adds that He sympathises with the fact that we’re weak and feeble, and He promises to be near us to help us fulfil His will, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God's intention when giving His commandments is to instruct us, to teach us, to help us and to show us the way. He doesn't want us to become overwhelmed, discouraged or despondent because of them. The Bible says to fathers not to ‘exasperate your children’ (Ephesians 6:4). So surely He wouldn't surely treat us this way Himself. No, He loves to encourage us so He can see a heart that desires to fully love and obey Him. Be encouraged today to call out to Jesus and to ask Him to fill you with His mighty Holy Spirit so you’re empowered to do His will. May God help us to see His loving heart behind all of His instructions. The more we’re enabled to fulfil His commands, the more fulfilled our lives become.

Prayer: Father in heaven, I confess that sometimes I’ve seen your commands as burdensome. But You’re not an unkind God. ‘Open My eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law’, and fill my heart with the desire and ability to walk in Your ways. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

Psalm 42:5

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 29.04.2016 19:20

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? ... hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him.” Psalm 42:5

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Here’s an anchor for your soul in the storms of life: “I am growing by His plan.”

What is God’s plan for you? He wants to enlarge you, not indulge you. God is not so interested in making you happy and healthy as He is in making you holy. And so God will allow troubles to make you more like Christ.

Think about the times when you have grown the most. It is when your friend “Trouble” came along. I have grown the most in my own life in times of deepest despair.

ACTION POINT:
Can you look at the troubles in your life not as adversaries, but as friends? Take a second look and get a godly perspective of it. See how you can become holy through hardship.
Discover Jesus | Donate | Today's Message
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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

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