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What's in a Look?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 08.03.2014 13:07

Joni and Friends Daily Devotional March 8, 2014

What's in a Look?

"Peter replied, 'Man, I don't know what you're talking about!' Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: 'Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.' And he went outside and wept bitterly." Luke 22:60-62

The eyes can give looks that love or looks that kill. When someone you love holds your eyes with his, you're enraptured. But when that same person looks at you in deep disappointment, it cuts to the core.

Suppose right now, your eyes met the Lord's. What would you see? Compassion and tenderness, yes. But suppose if, in a thoughtless moment of self-centered sin, you slapped the Lord? In that horrible instant, what would you read in His eyes?

This once actually happened. Peter angrily denied Jesus. At that instant, Scripture says the Lord looked straight at Peter. Perhaps Jesus caught Peter's eye through a window, or as he was being led through the court. Whatever, this much is sure: their eyes met.

It's impossible to say what was in the Lord's eyes. I would like to think the look Jesus gave was not cutting or judgmental. I choose to believe that He gave a look of hurt and disappointment, a sad yet tender expression in His eyes. And perhaps, for Peter, it was the look that both loved and killed.
________________________________________

Jesus always loves. That's why it's safe to say that the Lord was probably more concerned for Peter's pain and anguish than He was for His own plight. Like Peter, who wept bitterly, that fact alone should make us grieve all the more over our sins and offenses.

As you look into my eyes today, Jesus, I hope You will see my love and deep affection. May the light in my eyes be a reflection of Your light in my life.

Blessings,

Joni and Friends

www.joniandfriends.org
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 09.03.2014 11:18

09 March, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

"Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets."
2 Corinthians 7:10, (The Message)

I’ve experienced two particular episodes with my children in the past week or so, both of which involved them saying a very simple word: “Sorry.” The first incident involved my five year old son who was playing with a Lego spaceship I’d made, when we played Lego earlier in the week. It wasn’t long after asking me if he could play with it that Kyle came through, crying, and blurting out, “I’m sorry, it was an accident.”

As we sat on the floor, looking at my broken spaceship and Kyle crying into my shoulder, I asked if he thought I’d be angry with him. He acknowledged this was what his tears were mainly about, and I soon reassured him that I wasn’t angry. I knew by agreeing to let him play with my spaceship there was a chance it would break. We continued to cuddle until Kyle’s tears abated and the incident was over.

A few days later, our two year old daughter was playing with Daddy when, through the rough nature of their playing, she accidently bumped him quite hard on his nose. Immediately, Zoe started crying and Johann tried to cuddle her, but she wanted me, not him! I sat her on my knee and explained that, even though it was an accident, she needed to say sorry and give Daddy a cuddle. This situation continued, with each of us gently persuading her that all she had to do was give Daddy a cuddle, and then we could move on. Zoe steadfastly stood looking at Johann with her comfort blanket firmly in her grasp. Eventually, with the help of Kyle, she gave the all-important cuddle and the giggles soon returned and life moved on.

Whilst both of these incidents were accidents, the guilt felt was real and unbelievably powerful for such small children! I learned a lot through those incidents, not least of which is, that it’s our reaction to such happenings which is the most important element!

As children of our Father God, we can be held back in life by the guilt of our wrong-doings, afraid of His reaction, and just thinking we can get by without saying, “Sorry.” The reality is, we can’t move on properly, and we do hold ourselves back, because we misunderstand God’s love. If we expect an angry God, or a God who demands an explanation, or some form of payment, then we can find ourselves locked in an impasse, never really being able to move on.

As this scripture reminds us, regrets of life build up over time and lead to spiritual death. Life comes again as we experience the pain from sinful behaviour, take it to God and allow it to turn our lives around. This is the heart of God for us as children. He patiently waits for us to simply say, “Sorry,” and move on.

Prayer: Father God, I’m sorry that I’ve misunderstood Your love and Your reaction to my wrong behaviour. Please help me to move on from sin in a rightful way by saying sorry and accepting Your gracious love and forgiveness. Amen.

Today's Writer : Lindsey Hanekom
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

The Second Coming of Jesus

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 10.03.2014 10:06

10 March, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
The Second Coming of Jesus

"The coming of the Lord draws nigh."
James 4:8, NIV

From childhood, it seemed that the subject of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ was the most common thread of teaching I heard. Whether it was from a Sunday school teacher, or a Gospel preacher, this appeared to be the most burning issue of the teaching of the Church. And as I look at many of the disturbing events that are taking place across the world today, and compare these with the words of Jesus in relation to world events in Matthew 24, I can’t help thinking whether these things are now beginning to take place. Jesus spoke of famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places, and also of tribulation and the deceiving of believers. He said that when we see these things, we should know that His second coming is near.

In the United Kingdom, since December 2013, we’ve witnessed some most unusual weather situations which have devastated many people, leaving some homeless and taking the lives of others. As we consider these situations, should we be asking ourselves whether such things are just coincidences, or could it be that God is trying to say something to our nation and to us individually?

Then we look at what’s happening to Christians in many parts of the world, and the persecution and ostracism they’re experiencing for being Christians. Also we look at how so many former God-given principles and practices are becoming discarded. Could it be that these things are further signs pointing to Jesus’ return?

Whatever we might conclude, one thing remains certain, the words of Jesus have always proved to be true, and His forecasts will eventually be fulfilled. It’s therefore important that we’re prepared for when He returns, and do all we can to prepare others for it.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to make a way for us to be brought into Your presence when He returns. Please help me to remain faithful to Him until He returns I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

1 Peter 3:15

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 10.03.2014 19:01

Today's Verse for 03/10/2014

In your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. — 1 Peter 3:15


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Thought

We are to be ready and able to tell folks about the hope that Jesus has brought to our lives! But when we share this hope, two things are important: our credibility — is Jesus really Lord of our hearts — and our character — do we show gentleness and respect in our persuasion approach. The goal is not to win arguments but hearts to the God of character!

Prayer

Holy and Loving Father, thank you for speaking your grace in Jesus. I'm not sure I would have heard any other message. Give me the conviction I need to share my hope in Jesus, but in a way that reflects your grace. Through my Living Hope I pray. Amen.


The Thoughts and Prayers for Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Two Funerals, One Wedding

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 11.03.2014 19:45

Two Funerals, One Wedding

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” Ephesians 5:25

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Do you know what most marriages need? Two funerals and one wedding where both the husband and the wife die to themselves and come alive to Jesus Christ.

You see, when a man loves his wife passionately, there’s nothing too precious for that man to give up for his wife, except his relationship to Almighty God.

When there’s that kind of love shown to a woman, I dare say the topic of submission would not be an issue.

Most women don’t mind submitting to a man who loves her enough to die for her and shows it by the way he lives for her.

ACTION POINT:
Are you married? Then go on a date this week with your spouse. Are you single? Pray that God would prepare you to be the spouse your mate will need.

View or Share online | Discover Jesus | LWF.org | Today's Message

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AR_headshot.jpgDevotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

The Covenant of God

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 12.03.2014 11:24

12 March, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
The Covenant of God

"This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people."
Mark 14:24, NLT

Coming into a better understanding of the `New Covenant`, and the significance of the shedding of the blood of Jesus, made a huge difference to my life and my Christian walk.

A covenant in biblical times was a very solemn promise made by one person to another, or by a group of people to another group. The promise was made before God, who would then hold the people to account. It was sealed by the shedding of blood and by a covenant meal together. If it was made by a group of people one of them would be chosen as a representative of the rest who would seal the covenant on behalf of them all. A covenant is a serious thing. Look at the story of the Gibeonites in Joshua 9. Although they tricked the Israelites into a covenant, God honoured that covenant.

In the old covenant God`s people were required to keep the Law. But even God`s special friends, such as Moses (who was a murderer), David (who was an adulterer and murderer), and Abraham (who was dishonest and took matters into his own hands), all failed to keep it. So God made a new covenant, and sent Jesus to be the covenant representative. It was His blood that was shed to seal that new covenant.

It helps me to understand the point of Holy Communion. It`s the covenant meal, shared to celebrate the making of a new covenant. He made a covenant to love us with an everlasting love, not because He was in danger of failing to do that, or changing His mind, but so that we would know that whatever happens or whatever we do He won`t stop loving us.

I guess I`d believed deep down that God`s love is like ours, so often fickle, here today but gone tomorrow, affected by everything the other does, and withdrawn if the loved one is not dutiful and obedient. Thank God for His grace in choosing to make a covenant with us that we can`t break, because He sealed it with His own blood, that of Jesus.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your love for us. Thank You for Jesus who opened the way for us to enter into Your love, and for sending the Holy Spirit to bring us revelation about Your love. Please reveal more of Your love every day and enable me to walk confidently in the knowledge of Your love for me. Amen.

Today's Writer : Dotty Cockcroft
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Romans 8:28

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 13.03.2014 18:49

Today's Verse for 03/13/2014

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28


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Thought

God is in our lives. He is at work right now, undoing Satan's destructive messes and leading us to places he wants us to go. This is true in everything we do and everywhere we go. The key is for us to seek his purpose, to live his will. If that is our goal, then we can be sure our God is with us every step of our way.

Prayer

Thank you God for being at work in my life. Thank you for not leaving me alone to my limited best effort, insight, and choice. Thank you for having a plan for me and being the assurance that I can't mess that plan up if I seek your will. Thank you for being my God, my Father, and my Partner through all of life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.


The Thoughts and Prayers for Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Pass Along the Gift of Laughter

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 15.03.2014 09:35

Pass Along the Gift of Laughter

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” Psalm 32:11

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
A merry heart is the ability to capture and enjoy those wonderful times of life and let it turn to laughter.

Your sense of humor is a gift from God. Research studies have shown that laughter, along with a well-rounded sense of humor, is one of the sure signs of intelligence. It is also known to produce endorphins in your body that generate feelings of well-being.

Good, wholesome laughter is a gift from God. Abraham Lincoln said, “God must have meant for us to laugh, or else he would not have made so many mules, parrots, monkeys and human beings. God wants us to laugh.”

ACTION POINT:
Pass along the gift of laughter today to someone. Tell a good, wholesome joke. Send an email of a funny story to a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile.

View or Share online | Discover Jesus | LWF.org | Today's Message

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AR_headshot.jpgDevotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34


ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 16.03.2014 10:54

16 March, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
The Three Keys of Fruitfulness.

"But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop."
Luke 8:15, NIV

Our Scripture for today is the last verse in the parable of the sower. This is, perhaps, one of the most well-known teachings of Jesus, in which he talks about four different types of ground onto which seed is scattered. The four different types of ground are the hard path on which the seed is trampled under foot, rocky ground in which it is not possible for the seed to take root, thorny ground in which the seed is choked by the thorns which grow up, and finally the good ground in which the seed grows well, and produces a good crop.

It is generally assumed that if the seed falls on good ground, it will automatically produce a good crop. But when Jesus applies this teaching to the lives of believers, he expands on what he means by good ground. It is not simply ground that will produce a good crop without any effort. But the ground of our lives, and there are three keys. Jesus tells us, for ensuring that here there really is going to be a good crop.

The three keys are simple – the first is obvious, hearing the word. Unless we actually hear the words that Jesus says we will never be able to apply them in our lives. And I believe that when Jesus is talking about hearing, He is not simply referring to the hearing by our physical ears of a sound, but to the understanding deep in our hearts with the ears of the spirit so that what He said becomes real in our lives.

Jesus then says that the seed on good soil also represents those who retain the word that has been heard. It is so easy to hear something and even understand it, but then to move on in life and forget it. The things that Jesus said, are so important that we need to make every endeavour to not only hear them but also to remember them. If we remember the teaching of Jesus and retain it in our hearts. It will then always be available for us to use and apply in the ongoing changing situations of life.

The first key is, therefore, hearing the word; the second key is retaining it; and the third key which Jesus gives us, for ensuring that there is a good crop in our own lives is perseverance. Perseverance implies that there will be a need to press on and through opposition. It is certainly true that whilst the rain and the sun are essential for the growth of natural seed, the elements of the weather can also make for a hostile environment for a young plant to be growing in. The world in which we live is a hostile spiritual environment and it is increasingly being felt by believers across the world that the opposition to the truth is increasing. It is vital, therefore, that we learn to persevere in the journey of faith for it is only then that we will see the full release of God’s blessing producing a good crop in and through our lives. Without using the third key of perseverance, so much of what we longed for in life could be lost.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the teaching that you have given us through the parables you told. Help me to not only hear the word and retain it in my heart, but also to persevere through all the difficulties and opposition I may experience in life, so that at the end of my days there will be a good crop. In Jesus`s name, Amen.

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

A Case of the Wobbles

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 18.03.2014 11:54

18 March, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
A Case of the Wobbles

"Each time He said; My Grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NLT

When our boys were little many afternoons were spent wandering the aisles of Toys R Us. No matter where we visited – even overseas - those giant yellow letters would freakishly magnetise our children to them. Back in those days, when filling a few hours with a content child was the main objective of any day, I could have told you about all the latest toys and games. Our boys were huge Lego, Thomas, Action Man, Play Mobile fans – but one of my own personal favorites was a village of little people with rounded bottoms called the Weebles. The Weebles are funny little people with no legs that simply wobble side to side to get around their Weeble World to the strapline of; “The Weebles wobble but they won’t fall down”.

I feel like a weeble sometimes! I know what it feels like to wobble on the inside when life gets tough or fears and insecurities swirl. I used to worry it was only me that this happened to. It seemed to me all other Christians had life perfectly together and were rock solid on the inside, at every moment always trusting God and being strong for Him. Over the years, I’ve learnt two things about having the wobbles.

One, we all have a case of the wobbles at different times in our lives. None of us have it perfectly together and the enemy delights in making us feel we are the only ones who aren’t able to be fantastic all the time. If we think we are the only ones who struggle then we hide our wobbles, our weaknesses, and our struggles deep on the inside, making it harder to know freedom and healing in our hearts.

Two, God accepts us, loves us and knows all about our wobbliness. He isn’t at a distance waiting for us to fix ourselves and make ourselves sturdy, so that then we can come to Him. God wants to help us right in the midst of our wobbles and bring His strength, His security, His truth and His love. ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).

We can come to the Lord and bring all the wobbles of our hearts with no shame or fear of being rejected. We can admit to Him that we’re struggling, and ask Him to help us right in the midst of all that we’re wrestling with, no matter what it is. When we come to the Lord with our wobbles – our anxieties, fears, insecurities, doubts, disappointments, and weaknesses – we’re coming to the One who knows us so deeply and intimately. Our Father God who made us, sent His son for us and He cheers us on as we run this race of following Him in our lives.

Having the wobbles isn’t nice, but rather than hiding our weaknesses, we can learn a new way of bringing our needs to the Lord with a boldness and confidence that comes from knowing we’re coming to our Father God who accepts us. We don’t have to fix ourselves, but can instead recognise our need of His help and His touch. As we do this, over time, we find those wobbly places become strong places in our hearts. Instead of fear, insecurity and weakness we know more of the character of God – more of His trustworthiness, faithfulness, care and strength. What used to be wobbliness becomes strong and secure. Jesus came for this very reason. He came to help all of us who wobble, and to make the wobbly places strong! Or, in the much more profound words of Isaiah 61 - He came to rebuild ancient ruins, bring beauty from ashes and restore cities destroyed long ago!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to you just as I am. I come with all the wobbly places of my heart that need Your strength and Your love. Please will You meet me at my place of need and speak Your truth and Your love into my heart. I’m sorry for hiding these places in my heart from You and thinking I had to fix them myself, or simply being so ashamed of my need. Lord, please will You work in my life and meet me where I’m at. I love You, Lord Jesus, and thank You for dying for me, that I can truly know You and be known by You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Today's Writer : Cath Taylor
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

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