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Devotional

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Giving Thanks Always

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 27.11.2014 21:58

Giving Thanks Always

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
There are four types of people. There are those who are constantly complaining and grumbling. Have you met any of these folks? I mean, they can brighten up a room just by leaving it. That’s the lowest level. Then there are others who live lives of ingratitude. They don’t complain, but they never thank God for His obvious blessings. That’s a little better, but not much better. Then there are people who thank God for obvious blessings. When something good happens, they’re grateful. That’s a better level. But the highest level is to be grateful for all things at all times. That is the secret of a happy and productive life.

ACTION POINT:
On the basis of our Scripture today, go before the Lord and begin to think about difficult circumstances you’re facing. Now, thank Him for each one.

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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

Free Gifts From God

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 28.11.2014 10:37

28 November, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Free Gifts From God

"I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him."
1 Corinthians 1:4-5, NKJV

One simple truth stands out to me in today’s Bible verse: grace is given. It isn’t earned, deserved or bought. It is given. Many people have tried to seek the grace of God in other ways, and not as a gift coming to us through Jesus Christ.

As believers we’ve inherited eternal life as a free gift which comes out of the richness of the grace of God. Yet most of us (or could it perhaps be all of us?) at times seek to receive just a little bit more grace in our own way. And guess what - it doesn’t work!
We can easily end up frustrated with God, angry, feeling rejected and unloved. We might feel like this: “Doesn’t He see how hard we try? Isn’t He aware of how much effort we put in? Is He ignorant of the sacrifices we’re giving? God, notice me!”

Yet God always sees us, and forever longs to give us more of His grace, but He only gives it when it can come to us freely, at no cost to us. His good gifts come to us through His Son Jesus, and we receive them through the Spirit of Grace, the Spirit of God.

Do you remember Cain and Abel? Both brought sacrifices, but only one was accepted. What did God say to Cain? ‘If you do well, will you not be accepted?’ God longs to lavish His love on us and give us more of His grace. And He has an incredibly rich inheritance for all His children. But He wants us to know the primary qualification for receiving is ‘believing’. It’s trusting we can’t earn anything, but that He gives us all things for free, through His Son Jesus.

God’s so kind, so forgiving, so loving, so free with His giving! But He’s utterly inflexible on this one point - it all has to flow from His grace. He will never let us earn anything!

May we today find God’s help to ‘do well and be accepted’, not by trying harder, or paying some kind of spiritual price, but by allowing God to freely give us more of His grace!

Prayer: Father in heaven, thank You that You gave us Jesus and that You give me ALL other things freely, by Your gracious Spirit. Please help me to stop trying to earn anything and to freely receive all that You have for me in Your heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

Zealous For the Honor of God

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 29.11.2014 10:31

29 November, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Zealous For the Honor of God

"In earlier times Phinehas son of Eleazar was in charge of the gatekeepers, and the Lord was with him."
1 Chronicles 9:20, NIV

The first nine chapters of first Chronicles can be quite hard to read as it contains one list of genealogy after another. It is easy to skip over to Chapter ten and read about the life of King David instead, but I found that there is hidden treasure in these previous chapters if you have eyes to see. I hit on one of those precious jewels this morning when I read today’s verse. In the few verses preceding, there is recorded a list of gatekeepers who were responsible for guarding the thresholds of the Tent. Their position was a position of trust and not to be taken lightly or flippantly(1 Chronicles 9:22). In days past, Phinehas had been in charge of the gatekeepers and the Lord was with him. These last five words jumped out at me as I read them and I started to research the life of Phinehas.

Why was he given special mention in this narrative? In Numbers 25 we discover that he was zealous for the honour of his God and had made atonement for the Israelites after they had gravely sinned. God not only commended Phinehas for this but made a covenant of peace and lasting priesthood with him (Numbers 25:10-13). He had sided with God and now God was siding with him. After reading this narrative, I stopped momentarily and asked myself whether I was as zealous for the honour of my God as Phinehas was. Unfortunately, the answer was no. How about you? I am not recommending that we take up a spear like Phinehas did and thrust it through the bodies of those who are defying the word of our God. His actions were appropriate for that situation and for that time, but not for now. We are New Covenant believers and Phinehas was living under the Old. I still believe that God calls each of his people to be ‘zealous for his honour’ though.

“What does that look like practically, in the twenty first century?” you may very well ask. That is a very good question and one that I have been pondering on. Firstly, I think it is about priorities and heart attitude. Do we put the worship of God, His will and His perspective above all else? Do we desire to please Him above pleasing all others? Secondly, are we grieved by the things that grieve Him and do we hate the things that God hates? Thirdly, are we offended when others ‘touch His glory’ and attempt to elevate themselves above Him? God makes it quite clear in Scripture that He will not share His glory with another! (Psalm 115:1). May God help each one of us to be men and women who are zealous for His honour.

Prayer: God, I want to be like Your servant Phinehas – zealous for Your honour. I declare Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all. Amen.

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

Words

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 30.11.2014 11:30

30 November, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Words

"Take with you words and return to the Lord."
Hosea 14:2, NIV

I recently watched a movie on television of a man who teaches deaf students to speak, and of the difficulties he had persuading one young lady to learn to speak instead of using sign language. Because she wasn’t willing to learn to use audible words and read lips, this caused her to be cut off from a large part of society around her.

When I read the scripture in Hosea 14:2, I found it very interesting that God asked His people to bring with them WORDS as they repented and returned to Him. Our words are very important to God. But where do they come from? What is the source of our words?

Our words reflect our hearts and our hearts produce our words. Luke 6:45 says, ‘A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of’. David understood this very well, and said in Psalm 19:14 ‘May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer’. What we meditate on in our hearts will be mirrored in what we say and speak, and what we say has great significance to both God and the enemy!

We were created in God’s image – the God who spoke the world into existence. Our words have creative power. Our words establish things in the spiritual realm. ‘You will also declare a thing, and it will be established for you’ (Job 11:28). In fact, our very salvation was sealed and established in the heavenlies as we believed in our hearts, and confessed with our mouths (Romans 10:9-10). Jesus taught that ‘if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him’ (Mark 11:22).

As I pondered these truths, I was challenged again to make sure the meditations of my heart are pleasing to God. Moreover, I was encouraged to use my words to confess and declare and speak His life and blessing over situations and people along my way. I was reminded that the words I bring with me when I come to God matter. They need to be filled with love for Him, adoration for His greatness, but at times expressing heartfelt repentance for going my own way. Equally important, I need to guard my heart and the things I allow my thoughts to dwell on, as this affects my outlook on life, my belief system and ultimately the words I speak.

Prayer: Father, You know me so well, and You know every word that is on my tongue before I speak it. Help me to keep my heart tender before You, and to guard what I allow entrance to my heart, so that the words I speak will glorify You, edify others, and produce blessing in my life. Amen.

Today's Writer : Christel Baxter
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Columba’s Dying Gift!

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 01.12.2014 10:31

01 December, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Columba’s Dying Gift!

“The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
Psalm 34:10, NIV

On the 9th June, AD 597, Columba, the extraordinary Irish saint who became God’s apostolic messenger to Scotland, through his work at Iona, was writing out a copy of Psalm 34. He reached our Scripture for today and knew that the Lord was telling him to write no more, as from that day on he would lack no good thing. The time of his calling home had come. A few hours later, surrounded by his brother monks, he waved his hand in an act of farewell blessing and went to be with the Lord.

A few days later some visiting monks arrived to see St. Columba and asked some brothers if Columba was well. Their reply was simple but profound. “Yes, truly he is well – for he is with Christ!” All his life Columba had sought the Lord and the Lord assured him at the moment of his passing that he would lack no good thing – all was indeed well. For those who love the Lord, this is their inheritance as saints of God.

But before he died Columba passed on an instruction for his successor. When he had stopped transcribing Psalm 34 at verse 10, he said, “let Baithene write what follows,”. This is what the next verse says: “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord”. In this very simple instruction Columba was not only passing on to Baithene a request to finish the work of transcribing the psalm, but showing Baithene how he must live in order that his life and ministry should be fruitful.

There are several places in Scripture where we read words such as “the fear of the Lord is beginning of wisdom.” Such holy fear is not a response to the fist-shaking of a fearsome despot, but is the deepest response we can ever make to the love of God. When He loves us so much, why would we ever want to do anything but walk in His ways?. But the truth is, our carnal nature constantly trips us up and we are prone to temptation and sin. So what is it that will constantly keep us in tune with God and walking with him? The answer is contained in the first verse that Baithene had to transcribe after succeeding Columba at Iona. It was the ongoing key to God’s blessing for the brothers in the community – and it is the ongoing key for each one of us as we seek to respond to the love of God in our daily service of Him – the fear of the Lord.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the amazing work of the early pioneers of Christian truth. Thank you for their extraordinary example of holy living. Teach me, Lord, how to love and serve You in holy fear and in my generation to be a pioneer of truth to a very needy world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Practising His Presence

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 02.12.2014 10:20

02 December, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Practising His Presence

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the Shadow of the Almighty."
Psalm 91:1, NKJV

There are times when we fully concentrate on requesting the Lord’s help to intervene urgently in our own or someone else’s life. These are precious times and cause us to draw near to God, seeking that oneness with Him and wanting to really know His will.
This oneness is what the Lord desires with us constantly. He’s big enough to be there for us at all times, not just at our point of need. The Holy Spirit brings to our minds the perfect time to intercede for certain situations, but His greater desire is that we’re in constant communion with Him. We’re not big enough for this, but we can be willing to grow into it.

My daughter and her husband are able to keep in close communion with each other during the day by text messages and telephone calls, keeping each other fully informed of all decisions and situations. Out of love they’re in contact whenever possible. Obviously this is only possible for certain people, as many have busy jobs where their mind must be fully engaged in their work.

Scripture says that God is concerned about everything that happens to us. How He’d love us to have more conversation with Him. Some people walk along talking on their phone to others. Well I know there’s someone who’s always on the end of a ‘spiritual telephone’ and wants us to use it to talk with Him about everything. He’s then able to make us more aware of the dangers, or opportunities, that we face. This isn’t a ‘one way’ telephone either. We never have to leave a message because the person’s unavailable. He’s always there.

And if we find there’s a fault on this line so we can’t communicate, there’s a way to put it right. We need to go to Calvary and repent of our sins, and He’ll be able to listen to us and we’ll be able to hear His voice. ‘If I regard sin in my heart, the Lord will not hear me’ (Psalm 66:18).

‘When my soul is faint and thirsty, ‘neath the shelter of His wing, There’s a cool and pleasant fountain, and a fresh and crystal spring. And my Saviour rests beside me as we hold communion sweet. If I tried I could not utter what He says when, thus, we meet’
(by Ellen Lakshmi Goreh).

Prayer: Lord, make me aware of your Spirit in my life, so I’d grow more and more in the constant practice of being in Your presence, and talking to You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

Light in Darkness

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 03.12.2014 10:28

03 December, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Light in Darkness

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12, ESV

It was such an amazing experience to get out of a mini bus into the drizzling rain on a dark November night and see the Blackpool illuminations hanging as beautiful diamond necklaces and jewelled crowns outside the Tower Ballroom. The anticipation was high as a crowd of two thousand slowly made its way up the steps and into the big auditorium.

The name of the Archbishop of York’s Mission to Blackpool was ‘Light in darkness’ and there had been a torchlight procession through the streets led by Christians from various churches and denominations. The great electronic organ on the stage played the tune of ‘O I do like to be beside the seaside’ but instead we sang different words, ‘Oh we praise God in many sounds of music’.

November is not only physically dark, but Halloween comes just before it, introducing spiritual darkness in the disguise of fun. On the 31st October I stuck a prayer on my door before I went out. It was a prayer for people to find out the truth of Jesus’ words, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). At Ellel Grange we were busy teaching about the deliverance ministry of Jesus and celebrating the 28th birthday of the healing ministry there.

Just before the archbishop gave his testimony and evangelistic address we heard from a young woman who shared how her life had been put back together again from the horrible mess of rebellion, drug addiction, mental health problems and going to hospital after an overdose. She told us how she found Jesus was the light in her darkness showing her the way out. Bit by bit her life changed and she was healed, as she learnt to bring her wounds to Him. I love testimonies and I’ve heard many brilliant ones recently describing how people came out of the darkness of addictions of all kinds, and into God’s wonderful light.

The archbishop shared that Jesus brings a light to show us the amazing reality of the meaning of our lives. Jesus forgives our past, brings new life in the present and gives us hope for the future. In 55 years John Sentamu has never stopped commending Jesus to people. Even though he was put in prison he knew that Jesus is the God who became human, and then died for us, and that, once we put our life in Him, He never abandons us.

‘Light in my darkness, Peace for my soul.
You are my rescue. You`ve never let go
All my hope is in You. All my strength is in You.
With every breath, my soul will rest in You.
Here in my weakness, always the same.
Your love is my shelter. Your life is my way.
Constant Saviour, friend forever, Lord You have my heart.
Sure foundation, never failing. Lord, You have my heart’.

Jason Ingram , Reuben Morgan (Hillsong).

Prayer: Loving heavenly Father, we pray for the light of Jesus to shine so brightly that the darkness will have to flee. We pray particularly for those who are trapped by all kinds of addictions to find the way out of the spiritual darkness of their lives through giving their lives to Jesus and trusting Him. Amen.

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

It Ended with a Party

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 04.12.2014 10:40

04 December, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
It Ended with a Party

"Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate."
Luke 15: 23b – 24, NIV

The story of the prodigal son is one of the most famous parables of the Bible. For many years, it has been a source of endless lessons for me personally, many of which I have shared in my teaching. Recently, however, there is one aspect that has been brooding in my heart and it all began when I heard the song, ‘God’s Great Dance Floor’ by Chris Tomlin. On first hearing this song, I was slightly perturbed by the dance vibe to the song. It was more akin to something I would listen to as a teenager but there was something about it that made me listen time and time again.

Eventually it clicked; there was something in this song that I was missing... celebration! I have always associated repentance with a sombre mood, gazing at a carpet, saying sorry and feeling absolutely terrible for all my sins. This is all valid, important even, but it isn’t the end of the story... there is more and that is a celebration! The story of the runaway boy who squandered his father’s money and behaved in abominable ways ended with a party, a celebration, a time when the sins were unimportant, in the past and never to be spoken of again and life began afresh with a full and abundant future before him.

The question that I have been holding in my heart is simply this, “Do I respond to God’s forgiveness this way?” I know that very often I continue to hold myself back in my own judgement, knowing God has forgiven me but I don’t allow myself to enter the fullness of his freedom and even celebrate his grace and mercy.

The deeper question is something that challenges my heart all the more, “If I don’t enter into the fullness of God’s grace and mercy, what am I saying to Jesus who died so that I could live in that freedom?” This is something that has shaken me... that I have unwittingly invalidated the depth of the Cross of Jesus in my life by holding onto self-judgement and self-recrimination.

Now I realise it ended with a party and that hasn’t changed... it isn’t just the angels who celebrate when we repent, we should celebrate too. What better response to the Cross than to celebrate the full freedom it won for each and every one of us!

Prayer: Jesus, you died to give me full, everlasting and abundant freedom and life. I am sorry that I have not entered into the fullness of this by holding myself into judgement of my own sins. Teach me to celebrate life and freedom in your grace and mercy. Amen.

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

What Does the Lord Require of You?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 05.12.2014 10:55

05 December, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
What Does the Lord Require of You?

"Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the Lord."
Jeremiah 8:7, NIV

I recently heard a fascinating talk on bird migration in which the speaker said that the first recording of this is in the Bible. He quoted the text above. I have wondered how migratory birds find their way year by year to the exact place in the two countries where they spend their lives. Many young birds make their first migration without their parents, while others learn the route from their parents during their first migration. In any event they obey their God-given instincts to take them on a safe journey.

Jeremiah compared migratory birds to God’s people. He says that, unlike the birds, His people did not know His requirements; they went their own way and did not obey Him. So, what about us today? Do we know in our innermost being that the one thing God requires of us is obedience? Uncalculated, spontaneous obedience like that of a child to its Father; obedience that comes from heart relationship with Him, not calculated obedience which argues with Him, nor from a divided heart that says, “What’s in this for me?”

Much prayer takes place for many good things, but even prayer can’t be a substitute for obedience. Jesus spoke much about it to His disciples. He told them that if they loved Him they would obey Him; His words are still the same for us today. Obedience is not doing what is good in your own eyes – it is abandoning your own good ideas and doing what He says, however costly it may appear, and however foolish it may seem to others.

It doesn’t make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the lesser things God asks of us today. If Jesus is Lord He demands all and deserves all. In a heart that truly loves Him there is real desire to please Him. Obedience is the proof of love; it is also a foundation of security. If I desire His will alone and am prepared to obey Him utterly, what have I to fear? What does the Lord require of you? Simple, childlike, uncompromised, loving obedience!

Prayer: Father, thank You for making Your ways so clear in Your word. Please forgive me for the times I have gone my own way for my own gain. Purify my heart and fill it with divine love. I choose to surrender myself to You, so that, day by day, I can live in the joy of obedience, for the glory of Jesus. Amen.

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

When I am Weak, Then I am Strong

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 06.12.2014 20:29

06 December, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
When I am Weak, Then I am Strong

“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 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 12:8-10, NLT

I have been thinking lately about the many paradoxes that are in the Bible. Last month I talked about ‘unless a seed dies it cannot live’ and how that applied to Jesus when He died on the cross. Without dying He could not have been raised to life again. The kingdom of God is filled with these paradoxes. They are kingdom truths and completely contrary to the thinking of the world. As believers in Christ we need to understand these kingdom truths and how to apply them in our lives.

Today I wanted to talk about another kingdom truth. Paul so beautifully compacts it in the final sentence of today’s scripture: ‘For when I am weak, then I am strong’. Paul has been struggling with what he describes as a thorn in the flesh and he’s not only asked, but begged, the Lord three times to take it away. Then Paul hears the Holy Spirit tell him a mind blowing truth, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness’. The Lord actually said this back to Paul three times; each time he asked. I’ve found that when something is repeated three times in the Bible the Lord really wants us to take notice. Paul came to such a place of humility that, instead of boasting of all the wonderful heavenly visions he’d seen and the revelations he had, all he wanted to boast about was his own weakness. Why would you want to boast about your weakness? The world only wants to boast about its achievements. But Paul realises that when he boasts of his weaknesses, then the power of Christ can work through him!

So many times in my life I`ve felt weak. It’s not a place that I’ve ever felt like boasting about. Life can be a real struggle. We can face so many challenges and I know sometimes what we’re facing can be too much. But in that place of weakness the Lord wants us to surrender our pride and He provides for us a heavenly exchange. We give him our weakness, then by his grace He gives us His strength. So many of you may be feeling weak today. That’s the best place to be, because now the power of Christ can work through you. So don’t despise your weakness, but, like Paul, boast, or rejoice in it. For when you’re weak then He’s strong!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, today I’m feeling very weak. I thank You that You’ve provided for me a heavenly exchange - my weakness for Your strength. So right now I give You the weakness, and ask You to empower me by Your grace. Let Your power work through me. Thank You that, when I’m weak, then I’m strong. What a wonderful Saviour You are. Amen.

Today's Writer : Lynda Scott
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

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