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God’s Provision in the Midst of Suffering

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 26.06.2014 16:01

God’s Provision in the Midst of Suffering

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Over and over again, people will ask me this question, “If there is a God, why is there so much suffering?” There’s never an easy answer to that question when someone is grieving or suffering, but God has taught me that the universe has a disease. And God cannot remove the pain until the last vestige of sin is gone. The worst thing that could happen to human beings would be if we were to live in a world cursed by sin, and yet the world seem to be a paradise. We would never come to God.

ACTION POINT:
God has showered this world with immeasurable mercies. Focus today, not on the suffering, but on the provision of God’s grace.

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

Christianity, More Than a Creed or Code

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 27.06.2014 14:31

Christianity, More Than a Creed or Code

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“...and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Are Christians fools for believing in Jesus? Are we serving a false God? If you go to the tomb of Confucius, you’ll find it’s occupied. If you go to the tomb of Buddha, you’ll find it’s occupied. If you go to the tomb of Jesus, you’ll find it empty. He is a risen Savior. Now that’s very important, because you can take Confucius out of Confucianism and still have Confucianism, and you can take Buddha out of Buddhism and still have Buddhism. But you cannot take Jesus Christ out of Christianity and still have Christianity because Christianity is not a code. It’s not a creed. It’s not a cause. It is Christ Himself.

ACTION POINT:
You have a hope that the world needs to hear about. Who can you share that hope with today?

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

What Was Jesus Looking For? (Part 1)

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 28.06.2014 13:29

28 June, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
What Was Jesus Looking For? (Part 1)

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet."
Luke 7:44-46, NIV

The full story is found in Luke 7:36-50 with the title, ‘Jesus anointed by a sinful woman’. As I studied it I found that, as is often the case, there are so many deep truths contained here. I found myself asking the question, what was Jesus looking for when he visited the house of Simon the Pharisee?

Up until verse 44 we would have assumed that Jesus was treated as any normal guest would have been in the society of that day. But it seems He wasn’t. Jesus uses the woman’s extravagant acts of love to highlight Simon’s failings as a host: no water provided to wash His feet; no towel; no kiss of greeting; no oil for His head to bring coolness after the heat of the day. Jesus was invited as a guest, yet treated as a stranger.

It’s as if Simon regarded his dinner invitation to his house as doing Jesus a great honour. Perhaps he was emphasizing just how powerful he was and that Jesus should be grateful. Little did he know that his guest that evening was the Messiah, the Lord Almighty Himself. Wouldn’t that knowledge have changed things just a bit; the best of everything for the King of kings. But for the Rabbi with unconventional teaching, let’s not put ourselves out too much!

What about us? We who own the name ‘Christians’ have invited the King of kings into our lives, and He has willingly entered. How welcome do we make Him? Do we treat Him as He deserves? Do we give Him the best seat in our homes and lives, and treat Him with honour, respect, love and reverence? Or do we behave as if we’re doing Him a favour? I believe Jesus was looking for the honour due Him by Simon the Pharisee, but it was sadly lacking. Yet He did find it in abundance from the very person that Simon despised.

Prayer: Dear Lord. I’m truly sorry for the times I’ve treated You as a stranger living within me; dragged You along to places I shouldn’t; made You listen to conversations that are unworthy of You; failed to give You the honour, respect and love that is the very least You deserve. Please forgive me for my unwelcoming behaviour, and help me to remember just who it is who dwells within me. Amen.

Today's Writer : Philip Asselin
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

What Was Jesus Looking For? (Part 2)

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 29.06.2014 10:01

29 June, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
What Was Jesus Looking For? (Part 2)

Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said."
Luke 7:40-43, NIV

The full story is found in Luke 7: 36-50 with the title, ‘Jesus anointed by a sinful woman’. Simon the Pharisee was appalled to see the well-known local sinner, a woman, find her way into his house and behave in such an outrageous manner. With hair unbound (decent women were never seen like that in public), she wept over Jesus’ feet, dried them with her hair and anointed them with precious oil. “So much for being a great prophet!” thought Simon, “This Jesus can’t even spot a sinful woman when she’s right in front of Him!”

Jesus, knowing what Simon was thinking, told him a short story about money owed to two different people. The question He then asked Simon was a simple one. If one debt is much larger than the other, and both are forgiven, who will love the person discharging the debts the most? Simon’s response is an interesting one. “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” It’s as if the response is given grudgingly, cagily, unsure where all this was heading.

Jesus affirms the answer is correct. He then draws Simon’s attention to the woman lying at His feet. Jesus then says, ‘Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little’ (Luke 7:47). Simon had great wealth, status, and power, but lacked the one thing that Jesus was looking for, the one thing that this poor woman had in great abundance, and which she lavished on Jesus, freely, totally and with abandon. It was love. ‘Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins’ (1 Peter 4:8).

Prayer: Dear Lord, please forgive me for the many times I’ve known the price of many things, but the value of none; for the times I’ve forgotten just how much I’ve needed Your forgiveness; for the times I’ve sat and judged others when I should have been on the floor at Your feet. I chose to go there now, and ask You to remind me just how much I’ve been forgiven, and just how much I’m loved. Amen.

Today's Writer : Philip Asselin
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

God Sings

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 29.06.2014 13:04

Joni and Friends Daily Devotional June 29, 2014

God Sings

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

When my heart is restless and my soul is downcast, I often surround myself with the calming strains of a favorite hymn. Sometimes when I want to express sheer praise, I'll pick a happy psalm and just put it to any old tune that comes to mind. I sing to myself. I sing to God. But I'm astonished to think that God sings to me.

God sings! Do you think He sings all four parts at once? Maybe His music, so celestial and heavenly, resounds like a great choir. No doubt He has invented chords and dischords, major and minor keys that our ears have never heard. And I'm touched that He rejoices over you and me with an actual melody. What's more, He quiets us with His loving song.

I have often thought of this when a beautiful hymn keeps rolling over and over in my mind. Always, its tune lifts my spirit and carries me through the day. No, I'm not playing a broken record in my head; the song, I'm convinced, is God's melody to me direct from His heart. He is rejoicing over me with singing, hallelujah, and all I need to do is listen and be inspired.

O Love that will not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in Thee;

I give Thee back the life I owe,

That in Thine ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be.*

__________________________________

Put a song in my heart today, Lord, a praise song or a hymn that You wish to sing to me. May I enjoy Your melody and may I remember throughout the day that it is Your song. It is Your singing. My, You sing beautifully!

__________________________________________________________________

* Alexander, Cecil F., "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go," The Hymnal, Word Publishing, Waco, Texas,

1986, p. 374


Blessings,

Joni and Friends

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

No More Crying There

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 30.06.2014 10:08

30 June, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
No More Crying There

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:3-4, ESV

The most wonderful of all God’s promises of what’s to come in the New Jerusalem are contained in Revelation Chapter 21. On this side of eternity there’s so much pain and suffering, so I’m encouraged by knowing that we’ll be set free from it all. ‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”’

And yet there’s a foretaste of all this in those times when heaven seems to come down to earth. There’s the time when I gave my life to Jesus and asked Him to be my Saviour. That was like passing from death to life. The burden of guilt for sins was lifted off me and my name was written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Then there’s the time when I was first filled with the Holy Spirit and entered into experiencing God’s Kingdom in a new way. Many other times have followed in which I’ve known the Lord’s healing touch on my life and when He started to use me in His purposes and plans. It’s been a great privilege to see many others finding new life, abundant life. The Lord Jesus wipes the tears from their eyes as the former things pass away.

One of the greatest joys I ever have is to hear the testimonies of others who are healed and set free from all kinds of troubles and burdens. Some of them have had these problems for many long years, but then there’s breakthrough and there’s joy. Sometimes it’s physical healing, other times it’s the end of tormenting thoughts and emotional turmoil. Without exception it’s a new closeness to God as their heavenly Father and a reality of feeling His love as never before.

An old gospel song my husband and I like to sing is ‘Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King’. The second verse is ‘No more crying there, we are going to see the King’, and the third is ‘No more dying there, we are going to see the King’. We were singing this song in our prayer meeting on the last day of a Healing Retreat at Ellel Grange recently, and shortly afterwards were excited to hear the reality of the foretaste of this, as many shared testimony of what the Lord had done for them.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we really want to thank You for allowing us to see and hear the wonderful outpouring of Your love upon Your children these days. As the world grows ever darker and filled with despair, may we be more fully focussed on Your purposes and plans so we can do the work that You call us to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Today's Writer : Liz Griffin
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Romans 12:3

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 01.07.2014 17:20

Today's Verse for 07/01/2014

By the grace given me I say to everyone of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. — Romans 12:3

Thought

Pride does go before a fall! Try balancing these two truths: "I must not be prideful, but I must understand just how much God values me." It's not easy. Satan can use our self denigration, what I call the worthless worm syndrome, to discourage us and keep us from using our gifts and knowing our value to God for Kingdom work. On the other hand, pride takes God out of the picture and attributes any contribution to God's Kingdom to us and not to God. To be both bearer of the image of God and part of fallen humanity is more than a theological issue; it is the daily struggle of being a disciples. But we maintain the proper balance by praising the One who made us his child and adopted us into his family.

Prayer

Holy Father, as your child, redeemed at the cost of Jesus' life, I know I am loved and valuable to you. I know you have given me abilities and gifts to use for your glory and to bless your church. But Father, I do not want to ever think that my abilities are somehow tied to my superiority or work. I know you have given me the gifts, abilities, and experiences that have shaped me, so please empower me to your glory. But Father, I never want the glory that is achieved from your gifts to puff me up or rob from me the realization that I am what I am, I have what I have, and I do what I do, because of your grace and your generous gifts. May I ever be your humble but valuable child at work in your Kingdom. I pray in the name of Jesus, my older brother and your Son. 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


ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 02.07.2014 09:19

02 July, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
The Treasure Within

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed."
2 Corinthians 4:7-9, NIV

New covenant servants (followers of Jesus) are ‘earthen vessels’ (ordinary clay pots). Yet, in the container of their redeemed humanity dwells ‘this treasure’ (the Son of God Himself). This fact is reason enough to entirely trust and glorify the treasure within (Jesus) and not the vessels (you and me): ‘that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.’ According to Romans 8:11 and 1 Corinthians 3:16 God dwells within us through His Holy Spirit, with all His glory and power.

And God has also set up a process that magnifies this treasure within. This process involves the everyday pressures of life, which come from all sides. ‘We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed.’ As His treasured possession God Himself will keep us and sustain us, as it is written in Isaiah 43:1-2. Clay pots can’t withstand much pressure, but the treasure within us (Jesus) is able to keep us from being crushed or smashed. ‘Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus’ (2 Timothy 2:1)

The process involves us going through many troubles. ‘We are troubled but not in despair.’ We face challenging circumstances, difficult decisions and impossible issues, but our wonderful Counsellor protects us from hopelessness. For Him nothing is impossible and He can enable us to tackle and overcome every hurdle, even the ones the enemy puts on our way. Our God is able to do this, because in Him ‘are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Colossians 2:3).

Persecutions are included in the process: ‘persecuted, but not forsaken’. People accuse us, misunderstand us, or lie about us. Still, we know we’re not abandoned by our Lord who lives within us. For He Himself has promised us in Hebrews 13:5, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’. Even catastrophes are a part of the process, magnifying the treasure within us: ‘struck down, but not destroyed.’ Circumstantial upheavals and overwhelming heartaches occur, but the Lord strengthens our soul and our spirit, so we don`t `tip over` under the weight of circumstances. Whether we’re going through the dark valley, or whether the enemy is pressing in, Jesus is with us to comfort and to protect us (Psalm 23).

At times life comes at us like an overpowering military tank, ready to flatten us. There’s no natural hope. Clay pots can’t handle tanks. Yet, as the dust clears, the flower pot of our lives can remain intact if we’re trusting in the able and faithful One who lives in our hearts. And where the enemy’s been able to crush us, or to even break us, Jesus is able to restore us, as a potter restoring a clay pot. There’s no attacking tank that can overcome the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world’ (1 John 4:4).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You’re my indwelling treasure. You live within me, with all Your glory and power. When pressures, troubles, persecutions, or catastrophes come my way, teach me to trust in You, and not to lean on my own understanding. You’re far bigger than any of my circumstances and you’re able to make a way through any of them. When I’m weak You’re strong. When others ask how I’m sustained through these difficulties, remind me to give all glory and honour to You. In Your name I pray, Amen.

Today's Writer : Andreas Hefti
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

The light from which nothing is hidden

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 03.07.2014 09:11

03 July, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
The light from which nothing is hidden

"Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence."
Psalm 89:15, NIV

In Salisbury Cathedral there is a striking display which was put in the Cathedral for Pentecost. It is of large terracotta figures representing the disciples on the Day of Pentecost. Each figure supports a primitive oil lamp backed by a halo of beaten metal, which reflects a pulsating light. The display is most thought provoking. Each disciple has an individual light representing the light of God’s presence. The lights spoke to me of the holiness, awesomeness and power of God in the life of weak, sinful, ordinary people who are illuminated by Him.

I guess we all want to experience God’s blessing. That is what He promises to those who welcome Him, praise Him and walk in the light of His presence, as today’s verse says. God is light, unsullied and undiluted. In Him there is no darkness at all, so it is impossible for us to be deliberately walking in any degree of darkness and have fellowship with Him. Light represents what is good, true and holy and darkness represents what is evil and false. Walking in light and walking in darkness represent two lifestyles and there is no middle lane. There are no twilight zones with God! There is absolutely no possibility that we can live a compromise existence with one foot in the light with God and the other in the darkness of the world.

To walk in the light of God’s presence means to live in a place of intimacy with Him. In His presence nothing is hidden – He searches the heart and sees every motive. He knows every thought and emotion. Self- sufficiency, self-centredness and self-dependence are not conducive to the nature of light, because light shows all sin for what it really is. The light of God pierces our darkness unless we deliberately shut it out. It even exposes the hidden things that we might want to hide from ourselves. "You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence" (Psalm 90:8)

In the New Testament, walking in the light is directly connected to relinquishing sin and following Jesus who said “He who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” When this amazing truth of walking in the light of God’s presence is revealed to us, we will live life with nothing held back and nothing hidden. The love of God working in us will cause us to hate sin, because it is only sin that will keep us from His holiness. We will have an instinct for the light and will gladly open up every inch of our being to God’s scrutiny.

We who belong to Him who is light, not only have our lives illuminated by Him, but in the power of the Holy Spirit we can be the means of introducing that light in the darkness around us.

Prayer: Father, give me grace today to allow you to search the inner recesses of my heart. Let your light shine into any hidden darkness and reveal it for what it is, so that I may walk freely and joyfully in the light of your presence in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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

What is Your Default Setting?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 04.07.2014 10:03

04 July, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
What is Your Default Setting?

"We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance."
Romans 5:3, GNB

Somehow the sentiment of this verse really challenged me. I couldn’t help wondering whether troubles that come my way really do produce endurance in me or whether, initially at least, they tend to bring out something quite different and not nearly as helpful. I’d like to feel that after many years as a Christian I am more able to resist the carnal reactions (that would undoubtedly have surfaced freely in the past) but maybe only those who know me very well would be able to judge whether that is indeed the case!

So today, I am challenging you to consider, what is your default setting when trouble comes? It might be a relatively small trouble or something that threatens health and happiness. What is your initial reaction? Do you start moaning that it isn’t fair and lapse into self-pity? Do you blame God for letting you down and allowing this problem to affect you? Do you become angry and aggressive- and heaven help the cat who is near enough to be kicked? Do you desperately strive to control, in whatever way you can, to try to find your own solution? I expect some of us do a mixture of more than one of these. The problem is after these reactions. We don’t just have the original trouble, but now we have added to that trouble with our ungodliness.

It seems to me that if I want this verse to be true for me I need to recognise what is my default reaction, when trouble strikes. Then I can repent of these ungodly ways of reacting and ask the Holy Spirit to help me to choose to respond in a more God-centred way. If I can do this then the trouble becomes a moment of personal spiritual warfare through which I can grow in trusting in God. It is this trust that develops endurance, a steadfast holding on to what is right and godly, even in the midst of the trouble. This also means I can channel my energy, not to try to fight against the circumstances in my own strength, but to cling to God’s purposes, whatever they may be.

The truth is that troubles of many kinds will affect us in this world. Jesus says so in John 16:33, but He also says that He has overcome the world. The question is can we trust Him? Can we let Him work His work in the midst of our troubles? Or does our, often unrecognised, default setting, (our carnal reaction to problems) get in the way of His comfort for us, and His trouble-solving on our behalf?

Prayer: Father when trouble comes help me to recognise my carnal reactions. I desire to change my old habits which have been my default setting in times of trouble, and learn to turn more readily to You. May I find peace in You and be able to grow in godly endurance, even in the midst of my troubles. 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

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