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Devotional

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Our Highest Calling

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 11.08.2014 09:30

11 August, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Our Highest Calling

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship."
Roman 12:1, NIV

The story of Noah and the ark has been a familiar one to most of us since childhood. However, it is amazing how God can continue to show us new things from even the most familiar of passages.

What impacted me recently from this story was the fact that the first thing Noah did when finally able to come out of the ark was to build an altar to worship God, sacrificing some of the animals and birds that he had rescued from the flood (Genesis 8:20). For some of us in that situation our first thought might have been to unpack our belongings, settle down and build a house to live in after all that time in the ark. We certainly might have been reluctant to kill any of the creatures we had spent a year feeding and saving! We might have been tempted to wait until the next breeding or nesting season, just to ensure the continuation of the species before sacrificing any of them!

However, it shows how important worship and sacrifice were, and still are, to God. In His meticulous instructions to Noah before the flood, God made provision for these sacrifices by commanding that seven of each clean animal and bird be taken into the ark, not just pairs as for all other species. As God prepared to spare Noah and his family from the catastrophe that He brought to the rest of His creation, His plan was for them to worship Him and sacrifice to Him. I believe that this is still the highest calling for mankind.

When we speak of “worship”, we often think of the time during a service when we sing hymns and songs. However, true worship is much more than that. In The Old Testament (and for Noah) worship involved sacrifice. Since Jesus became a sacrifice for us on the cross, we no longer have to offer bulls and goats, but it is the sacrifice of our lives that God seeks. Today’s verse from Romans speaks of the offering of our bodies being living sacrifices and a spiritual act of worship.

What does this mean for us in practical terms? In parts of the world today people are literally laying down their lives for their faith in Jesus Christ. This is the ultimate sacrifice. Thankfully we are not all having to make that kind of sacrifice, but every time we deny ourselves, laying down the desire for our self-centred carnal nature to be satisfied (for example through food and drink, sexual gratification, materialism or worldly comfort) this brings worship to God. Putting Him first, allowing Him to be Lord in our lives, doing what He wants and not what we want, brings honour and worship to Him.

Let’s broaden the way we think of worship and realise that as we offer our lives as living sacrifices, this is worship to God, and it is our worship above all that He desires. This is our highest calling as His people.

Prayer: Lord, I’m sorry for the way that my understanding of worship has been so limited. I want my whole life to be one of worship to You and I offer myself afresh to You now. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

Loved Beyond Measure

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 12.08.2014 10:20

12 August, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Loved Beyond Measure

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!"
1 John 3:1, NIV

You are loved! You are loved! You are loved! You are loved! You ARE loved! Why am I repeating the same statement so many times, you may be asking. Is it really necessary? Yes, I believe it is, and let me share with you why. Some of you reading this devotional don’t really believe it. I feel God yelling from within me, “Remind them that I love them, and after doing that, wholeheartedly embrace it yourself!” (Ouch! that touched a sore spot.)

So why do we struggle so much to believe and accept the unconditional love of God? Is it because, deep down inside, we still believe that we’re ‘unlovable?’ That lie can be so firmly rooted in our identity that no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise, it refuses to budge. Allow me to speak hope into despairing hearts today. You are greatly loved by your Heavenly Father, and if you will allow the Holy Spirit to deeply minister that truth into your inner being, the hardened soil holding that ugly lie in place will be removed. We’re not orphans anymore, but adopted into God’s family and loved, loved, loved, loved, loved! Children who know they’re loved by their parents are much more resilient and secure than children who don’t. And God doesn’t want any of His children walking through life, head bowed, steps faltering, and with no real assurance of who they belong to, or how He sees them. Our Heavenly Father wants us to accept and receive His love.

King David had a revelation of God’s love. He actually had the audacity to refer to himself as ‘God’s beloved’ and the ‘apple of God’s eye’ (Psalm 60:5 and Psalm 17:8). Is that how you see yourself? The Apostle John referred to himself as ‘the one Jesus loved’ (John 13:23). It wasn’t arrogance in King David or John, but rather divine revelation. They ‘got it’, and I expect God was ecstatic they did! He wants each one of us to ‘get it’, as He knows what a difference this revelation will make in our lives.

Prayer: Father God, I want to walk in the revelation that I’m loved by You and greatly valued. Help me to receive that love I pray. Amen.

Today's Writer : Sue Dare
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Knowing the Way

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 13.08.2014 09:29

13 August, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Knowing the Way

"He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way."
Psalm 25:9, NIV

The other day I had my son beside me as we were trying to avoid the traffic hold-ups on the busy Nottingham ring road. My son, who’s lived in Nottingham many years, is familiar with all the side roads and alternative routes. As he told me where to turn, which lane of traffic I should be in, and which exit of the roundabouts to take, I was so glad he was with me. His knowledge and experience of the area is much more than maps and Sat Navs are able to provide.

There are things in our lives which from time to time hinder us and prevent us from walking in our destiny. We need the help of a guide who can help us navigate an alternative route to avoid such obstructions. Jesus is our constant guide. He knows the way ahead and will help us find it if only we trust Him.

I trusted my son because I was sure he knew the way. I followed his instructions. The choice was mine. I could have decided not to. In the circumstances that would have been rather foolish. I could have let him drive, but it was my responsibility. It was my car. It was insured for me to drive. I was qualified and equipped to drive, and it was up to me to abide by the rules of the road to safeguard not only the occupants of the car but other road users as well.

In our lives God’s provided us with all we need to make it through, as long as we look to him. In Psalm 32:8 we read ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go’. Neither does He expect us to go it alone, because He’s promised ‘I am with you always, to the very end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20).

It’s not really an option to abdicate and take our hands off the wheel of our lives. God’s given us our lives and we’re responsible for what we do with them. Whatever our circumstances, and whoever has caused the pain and hurts we suffer, it’s our relationship with God and to others which is the crucial issue. With God’s help, it’s this issue that has to be dealt with if we are to move beyond the hindrances and get back on to the route that God’s planned for our lives. ‘For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end’ (Psalm 48:14).

Prayer: Dear Lord, please teach me Your way and help me to avoid those things in my life which would hinder me from attaining all You have for me. Amen.

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

Pilgrims on a Journey

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 14.08.2014 11:45

14 August, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Pilgrims on a Journey

"Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage."
Psalm 84:4-5, NIV

During a recent holiday I visited the fishing village of Staithes on the North East coast of Yorkshire and stood on the spot where God found me and saved me, as a teenager. It was there, for the first time in my life, I understood the Gospel and was overwhelmed. God’s amazing love and my sinfulness met at the cross, and my life was changed for ever. My husband and I gave thanks to God for that wonderful day so many years ago which has had far reaching results.

Standing outside the building where I was saved brought to mind the text above. I realised that in spiritual terms I made a pilgrimage because I went to ‘A place of particular interest and significance’. I also realised that on that August day so many years ago I’d became a pilgrim on the journey of life, with Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

Someone’s said that a heart set on pilgrimage is a heart always wanting more of God. It’s a heart fixed on Him and His purposes, finding strength in weakness and able to praise Him, despite the many stumbling blocks on the journey. Like Pilgrim in John Bunyan’s book, we are all on a journey to the heavenly city. Sometimes the way is smooth; sometimes it’s rough; sometimes it’s joyful and other times it’s sorrowful. We don’t walk alone on our pilgrimage, for the One who called us has promised never to leave us or forsake us, and we have countless brothers and sisters who’re alongside on the journey.

The Bible encourages us as God’s people to sometimes look back and remember the way that God has led us – to look back with gratitude for His faithfulness, grace, mercy and presence with us. It also encourages us to look forward to what lies ahead when we reach the end of our pilgrimage, for then we’ll see Him face to face and be with Him for evermore.

In 1874 the hymn writer Fanny Crosby wrote, ‘Towards the close of a day I was sitting in my room thinking of the nearness of God through Christ as the constant companion of my Pilgrim Journey, when my heart burst with the words –

Thou my everlasting portion, more than friend or life to me,
All along my pilgrim journey, Saviour let me walk with Thee.
Close to Thee, close to Thee, close to Thee, close to Thee.
All along my pilgrim journey, Saviour let me walk with Thee’.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thank You for revealing Yourself to me. Thank You for saving me and calling me to become a pilgrim on the journey to the heavenly city. Please put within my heart a deep longing to know You more nearly and to love You more dearly for the honour and glory of Jesus. Amen.

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

Losing focus

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 15.08.2014 09:43

15 August, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Losing focus

“The priest replied, "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one." David said, "There is none like it; give it to me."
1 Samuel 21:9, NIV

David is now on the run from King Saul. He heads to a town called Nob and makes up a pack of lies to the priest there. David is only focused on three things. Firstly, he has to escape Saul. Secondly, he needs food, so the previous days consecrated bread would do nicely. And lastly, he wants something to protect himself with. David is fearful, and when we become fearful we very easily lose focus on God and concentrate on our problems.

The dramatic change in David from giant-slayer (Goliath in chapter 17) to desperate runaway in chapter 21, is quite startling. When faced with Goliath David is totally God-focused. He particularly disparages what Goliath had to protect himself saying. “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come in the name of the Lord God Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel” – 1 Sam 21:45. The result is a resounding defeat of the ‘invincible’ Goliath. Now, in the verse we are considering, Goliath’s sword is the protection David seeks because “there is none like it.”

What was different between Goliath and Saul? Goliath was over and done with in a very short time, but Saul’s hatred for David went on for years. I think it wore away at David and turned his attention from God’s provision. How about you? Have you successfully faced your Goliath, only to be bogged down with your Saul? Who is your Saul? The belligerent boss at work, the antagonistic relative, the bullying partner, the inappropriate colleague at work. Saul’s are everywhere.

In the day-to-day grind our focus starts to shift. We become problem-focused instead of God-focused. Last thing at night and first thing in the morning, and through the day – a sense of dread. We look to what we can do to protect ourselves. God is subtly moved out of our focus, which is what the enemy wants. That change can also affect our actions, and we can find ourselves doing and saying things we would never have done or said before. All because we are trying to sort the problem out ourselves. Where is God in all this? Well, we can’t really expect God to intervene because we have taken full responsibility for sorting things out ourselves. From personal experience this seems to always end in failure, and I find myself coming back to the One I should have gone to in the first place – Almighty God. When I bring Him my Saul (or whatever problem it is) He does one of two things. Either He removes the problem. Or He gives me the grace to face the problem knowing He is on my side. He will do the same for you. Losing focus? Go to God!

Prayer: Father God. I find myself becoming so focused on my problem(s). They are with me when I go to bed at night, and there when I wake in the morning. They occupy so much of my time and in the process I am losing sight of You. I realize that I can’t resolve them on my own. I need You. So, now, I refocus my attention away from the problem(s) and turn to you. Please help me. Give me the strength for each day and the peace for each night. For you alone are my Helper in times of trouble. The One who has promised never to leave me nor forsake me. So, whom have I to fear! Amen.

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

Free from the Law!

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 16.08.2014 10:40

16 August, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Free from the Law!

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature . . . if you live by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
Galatians 5:16 and 18, NIV

There is only one way of never coming under the law and its consequences and that’s never to break it! If you are a driver and always observe the speed limit there will never be any danger of you seeing that blue flashing light in your rear view mirror which speaks of an impending speeding fine! A traffic policeman only ever has any authority over you when you break the law. When you break it, you come under it and have to face the consequences.

In his letter to the Galatians, who were clearly having some problems with ungodly behaviour, Paul makes it clear that those who pursue immorality in its variety of forms will not only suffer real consequences but says that “those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” These words of warning from Paul should be a salutary caution to believers who sometimes think it’s OK to play fast and loose with what God says in His Word.

Many times, however, people have asked me how, when there are so many temptations, it’s possible to live a pure and godly life? In our Scripture for today you will find the only real answer. These words are pure gold which, if we follow them, will not only prevent us from falling into many varied traps which the enemy lays for us in our daily walk, but will also save us from the eternal consequences as well. If we break the law we come under the law – but if we don’t break the law we are free from it!

So Paul tells us to live by the Spirit – which in very simple terms means listen to the voice of God’s Holy Spirit in your heart and take note of His warnings. The Spirit knows the heart of God and the laws of God. And He knows when we are thinking of trespassing across the boundaries of sin. If we ask Him to, He will speak those words of warning when we need them, and words of guidance as we move forward with all that God has laid before us for our lives.

We receive salvation when we receive Jesus, our Saviour. But when we receive the Spirit, God equips us to work out our salvation in the day-by-day experiences of life. And if we listen to the gentle voice of the Spirit and obey Him, we will not, as Paul tells us, come under the law. All of which is great news for believers who are desirous of living a godly and power-filled life. I pray that this is your desire.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that when You went back to Heaven You promised your people the gift of the Spirit. Thank You Lord that we can listen to His voice and be led along true and right paths. Help me. Lord, to always obey the voice of the Spirit and never to come under the law. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

Fear God

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 17.08.2014 09:54

17 August, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Fear God

"He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. Worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water”.
Revelation 14:7, NIV

What are we afraid of? Financial worries perhaps? Bills that come in faster than we are able to meet them? Relationship issues, marriage? Concerns over health, uncertain job prospects, insecurity, anxiety about the future?

We know God is with us, watching over us at all times, but there’s often confusion over whether we’re in God’s will or not. ‘“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord’ (Isaiah 55:8). This can sometimes add to the uncertainty.‘The righteous will live by faith’ (Romans 1:17). Is my faith secure and on a sound foundation? Do I truly trust Him?

Psalm 34:7 reads: ‘The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.’ In Proverbs 9:10: ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ And Psalm 34:9: ‘Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing.’ Do we really need to fear God?

In Paul’s letter to the Hebrews he encourages us to ‘worship God … with reverence and godly fear’ (Hebrews 12:28). That is, not to be afraid of Him, but acknowledge Him as Lord God Almighty, Creator of all things to whom our worship is due.

Living in reverential fear, or awe, of God draws us out of our own self-centredness and into the all embracing presence of God. Psalm 34 spells this out in practical terms: ‘Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.’ - Our conversation needs to be pure and honest. We must turn away from every kind of ungodly involvement and look for peace in all circumstances. As we walk in right standing with God He is constantly watching over us and hears our every cry. ‘The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all’ (Psalm 34:11-17).

In an article in Christianity Today I was reading it said ‘Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but love from the Lord is its completion’. Reverential fear is only the beginning. It’s the doorway through which we pass into the holiness of God. There we see Jesus and His incomprehensible love for us demonstrated on the cross. With a loud cry of ‘It is finished,’ love is complete. Then we can say, as Thomas did on recognising the true glory of Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). This is true worship.

Prayer: Lord, I come to You in weakness and humility. Please forgive me that I have taken You for granted and turned to You only for my own needs. I surrender all to You today, acknowledging Your Holiness, and submit all my hopes and fears to You. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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

Are We There Yet?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 18.08.2014 09:42

18 August, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Are We There Yet?

"And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”"
Luke 10:41-42, NKJV

As I was driving home from a day’s teaching recently, I kept looking at the milometer and working out how many miles I’d travelled and how far I still had to go. My mind was racing with all the jobs I needed to do when I got home and I wanted the miles to count down much quicker than they actually were. Unexpectedly my thoughts were interrupted as I heard a loving rebuke from the Lord, “You’re always rushing ahead to the next thing and the next. I want you to enjoy the journey with me”.

I felt a bit like Martha must have felt in our reading today, but the Lord is always so kind and gracious when He convicts us, and as I repented my mind went back to the time in my life when the Lord took me through an intense period of facing the wounds of my past and receiving His cleansing and healing into those areas. It was a tremendous privilege to walk that journey with Him, but as we all know, working through negative and painful emotions, coming to forgiveness and true repentance goes against our natural inclination, and in the struggle I would often complain, “I just want to be there!” I have often heard others express that heart cry too. It might even be something that resonates with you. Back in those days the Lord challenged me to look at what I really meant by ‘be there’, and I had to confess that ‘there’ for me, meant: all fixed and healed, no more issues, no more pain! Of course, it was an unrealistic, impossible expectation. No matter how much I wanted it, I was never going to be sinless perfection!

But the Lord clearly spoke to me at that time, saying, “It’s not about an end product of healing. This is all about the journey with Me.” I hadn’t understood that, but bit by bit I began to see that there was something even more precious to be sought after than the healing I so longed for – it was the relationship with my Heavenly Father.

Today's Writer : Julie Smith
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

True Freedom in Christ

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 19.08.2014 13:26

True Freedom in Christ

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Romans 6:22

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
When Jesus Christ comes into your life, He changes you. Maybe you have a problem with drugs or alcohol. Maybe you struggle with lust, fear, doubt, or self- pity. Maybe you’re a slave to public opinion or perfectionism. But I want to tell you that the Jesus Christ who set Adrian Rogers free is the Jesus Christ who will set you free.

Our freedom in Jesus Christ isn’t the privilege to do what we want. Instead it is the glorious, abundant, supernatural power to do what we ought.

It is saving grace that sets us free. It is sustaining grace that keeps us free.

ACTION POINT:
Bow before the Lord and thank Him for the freedom you’ve been given through the great price of Calvary.

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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

Ruins

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 20.08.2014 11:08

20 August, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Ruins

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11, NLT

Recently, on a trip in an Eastern European country, I saw a large building, which was mostly in ruins. Then I noticed that one small corner of the building was in good repair and a shop was using the space. It seemed such a waste that most of the building couldn’t be used, but I felt God was showing me a comparison with the lives of people.

Often when things happen to us, we close off the part of ourselves that’s damaged and go on with our lives. Like the building I saw, we can have part of our lives that looks good to everyone else, with business as usual, but it’s just one part of ourselves, while the rest of our lives are in crumbling ruins.

When I saw that building, I felt sadness for the wasted potential that was in it, and I wondered how long they would be able to keep the shop open. I realised the damage to the rest of the building would eventually affect the safety of the entire structure. As I felt God showing me the comparison between the building and people, I felt His compassion. God wants to restore the parts of your life that are falling into disrepair. He wants to make you whole, complete and able to reach your full potential.

Don’t be deceived into thinking that you’re fine to go on living as you are, with this corner shop that’s nicely painted and still in business. God has so much more in store for you! Are you willing to let Him come in, as the Master Builder, and restore the broken and damaged parts of your life? As our Scripture today says, He knows His plans for you. He has the blueprint for your life and He knows exactly what has damaged each area. In His love and compassion He longs for you to be restored and made whole. Can you feel Him calling to you? Are you ready to respond?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, my life is like that building. I’ve closed off damaged parts of myself thinking that I could survive without that part. But I hear You calling me, and I want You to come in and restore me to wholeness. Please start the work of restoration in my life. I give You permission to come into those areas that I closed, and make me new. Amen.

Today's Writer : Tanya Person
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

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