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An Undivided Heart

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 13.01.2015 10:29

13 January, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
An Undivided Heart

"Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."
Psalm 86:11, NIV

I wonder how many of us struggle in our lives with conflict - the conflict between that part of us that wants to lay down our lives wholeheartedly for the Lord and be completely sold out for Him, and the part of us (our carnal nature) which is clamouring for self-gratification, comfort and an easy life. Paul obviously struggled in the same way (which is quite encouraging for us!). He says in Romans 7:15: ‘I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do’. And again in verse 19: ‘For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing’. Does anyone identify with this? I certainly do!

Many years ago, in my early days as a committed Christian, I remember hearing a talk on just this subject. The speaker was giving a strategy for dealing with the carnal nature. He likened it to owning two dogs, a white one and a black one. He said that if we wanted the white one to grow and flourish, we should feed and nourish it, and if we wanted the black one to die we should starve it. It is a simple picture, but one that has stayed with me for nearly fifty years!

The problem is that many of us do feed our carnal nature instead of starving it to death. The more we feed it, the more demanding it will become. We can gratify our flesh in many different ways – for instance through over-indulgence in food and drink, the desire for a comfortable or extravagant lifestyle, engaging in endless futile activities, or through more overtly sinful behaviour such as sexual sin or entertaining resentment and bitterness towards others. The more we give in to our selfish desires, behaviour and attitudes, the stronger our flesh life will grow and the weaker our walk with the Lord will become.

The start of a new year is a good time to take stock. Perhaps we could ask ourselves: Am I making it a priority to nurture my spirit, and to feed that part of me, so I will follow Jesus Christ wholeheartedly, or am I allowing my carnal nature to be gratified, so I become divided in my loyalties and purpose? In today’s verse David prays that God would give him an undivided heart, so that he may fear His Name. Let’s pray that for ourselves as we begin another year.

Prayer: Lord, please forgive me for the ways in which I’ve been feeding my carnal nature more than my spirit (be specific). Help me in this new year to turn my back on these habits and attitudes, to die to self and to nurture my new life in You. Please give me an undivided heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

DAY 10

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 13.01.2015 22:02

DAY 10

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6

Imagine yourself standing in the middle of a full auditorium, with thousands of people surrounding you. If every person there was speaking at the same time, would it be possible to hear any individual in the great crowd? More than likely, you would never be able to distinguish one voice from another.

In our normal, every day lives, we are surrounded by countless voices in need of our attention. Our children cry for it, our employers demand it, and our loved ones yearn for it. With all of these calls, it is no wonder that God’s voice sometimes seems so muffled and distant.

Effective meditation demands seclusion. Jesus was well aware of this need for isolation. He taught the disciples this truth because He knew that it was vital to take a break from the demands of life in order to truly commune with the Father. Our modern world works against this need, however. Technological advances have brought us the blessingand the curseof constant communication.

At some point today, turn off the television, cell phone, and computer, and simply listen for His voice. Your schedule will not surrender time easily, so make a decision to claim a block of time for the Lord.

Prayer

“Lord, I am surrounded by countless voices in need of my attention. Help me to stop, listen, and hear Your voice today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Same Question, Same Answer

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 14.01.2015 10:16

14 January, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Same Question, Same Answer

"And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’"
Luke 18:3, NIV

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only parent who’s heard them self say to their children, “When I say no, I mean no!” Or lately I found myself saying to our daughter, Zoe, “Stop asking the same question and expecting a different answer!”

This was one of those moments when I caught myself and started to think of the times I ask God time and time again for something, or the answer to something, and I don’t seem to hear the response. I have to be brutally honest with myself and the reality is that I don’t hear the answer because it isn’t what I’m expecting or wanting to hear!

I know my children like to keep asking the same question in the hope that I’ll finally weary of their incessant nagging and give in to whatever it is they want, or will somehow change the reality of what I’ve just told them. I suppose some of us aren’t too different in our way with God. We keep nagging Him as though we can wear Him down and affect His decision through emotional pleas and clever arguments, all in the vain hope that one day the answer will change. The reality is that the answer is the answer, because God only speaks truth and won’t tell us otherwise just to appease us or make us feel better.

However, there’s another side to this, that of the persistent widow in Luke 18. She was a woman who was seeking justice and wasn’t going to stop seeking until she found it! Justice is something very close to God’s heart, indeed it’s an intrinsic part of His very nature.

To seek true justice is very different to a person asking for what they want, even if they think it’s the right thing. Justice is something that we have to be so careful with – living in a culture where blame is key and everyone has a ‘right’ to recompense when things go awry or where we think that our point of view is the only right view. This is very different to the justice of God, and we must be extremely careful in being persistent in prayer about our own judgements and perceptions of people and situations, rather than submitting these to God`s perfect justice.

All in all, we need to learn to listen to every answer... even if that’s painful, seemingly wrong, and maybe even the very thing we don’t want. This is seeking true justice.

Prayer: Father God, please help me to seek only true justice and to know the difference between that and what I think is right. Amen.

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

DAY 11

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 14.01.2015 21:57

DAY 11

“...as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

An unforgiving spirit is like an insidious cancer that eats away at a person until it has a devastating impact. But while physical cancer often can’t be seen or felt until it is a real danger, the cancer of unforgiveness often steals a person’s joy for years. There is a sure healing process for this cancer:

Repentance: Assume responsibility for your unforgiving spirit toward someone and then have a change of mind. Ask forgiveness for your unforgiveness and then forgive the person in mind.

Release: No longer should you hold over someone the debt you feel they owe you. This release is an act of the will. Feelings have nothing to do with it, though some people sense a “release” of their own at this point.

Recognition: You acknowledge that the person’s wrongdoing toward you exposed a weakness in your life. Your resentment, hostility, bitterness, and desire to seek vengeance are areas God wishes to whittle away.

Remembrance: You should remember continuously how often God forgives you. How many times have you asked His forgiveness? How many times has He said no?

You cannot truly experience the joy of God’s forgiveness until you follow His model and forgive those who have wronged you.

Prayer

“Lord, I release my resentment towards _________________ and pray for healing for the damage that it has done to me and my relationships. I forgive _____________________and do not hold anything against them any more. Your forgiveness of me has set me free, and now I want to have a forgiving heart. In Jesus Name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

*Congratulations! You have reached the half way point. The commitment to your Sacred Season is making a difference. We know our enemy seeks to destroy us, but when we fast, it's a preemptive strike in spiritual warfare against the forces of darkness. Fasting is charging the gates of hell and ripping them off their hinges; allowing us to strike even before a crisis comes! Stay committed for the next half and lift your prayers with confidence knowing that God is listening!



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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

DAY 12

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 15.01.2015 20:51

DAY 12

“And 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

God’s ultimate goal is to transform us into His image so that we more vividly reflect His glory, and He will do whatever is necessary to achieve that within our hearts. This verse explains that God works in all things, even our failures. Sometimes, failure in our lives is essential for God to bring about a greater purpose. Above achieving victory, God wants to transform us into His likeness, and when we fail, self-reflection occurs. We look upon our hearts and wonder what we could have done differently.

If we are willing to ask God what He is trying to teach us through our failures, He gladly will reveal lessons. We begin to recognize that failure leads to victorythe triumphant transformation of our hearts to totally trust God with control of our lives.

Make a list of 5 things going on in your life right now, good or bad. Then take 5 minutes to thank God that He is working all of those things together for your good and His glory!

Prayer

“Lord, take my victories and my failures and shape them into paths that lead to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Default Setting

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 16.01.2015 11:43

16 January, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Default Setting

"I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."
Psalm 91:2, NIV

Psalm 91 is a very beloved Psalm and often quoted regarding God’s divine protection. I’ve even seen a sign on a shop window, and a bumper sticker on a car reading ‘Protected by Psalm 91’. But while reading Psalm 91 recently, the words of verse 2 – our key Scripture - struck me for the first time; ‘I will SAY of the Lord’.

What we say concerning the Lord influences our belief system, and the way we act upon it. We need to be especially aware of what we say in our hearts to ourselves. The apostle Paul spoke about ‘bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:15). The pronouncements we make inside our hearts - the things we believe about God, ourselves and others – can either strengthen us or set us up for a fall. Many times when we face times of trouble and adversity, and feel that God didn’t come through for us, we may believe lies about God, His goodness and His love. Our first response – our default setting – may be to doubt Him and His good plans for us.

Before Satan was cast out of heaven, he was a magnificent angel. The Word describes him as being adorned with jewels, and blameless in his ways. He was the guardian cherub who covered the throne of God, and like the archangels, Gabriel and Michael, he was a chief among the princes in Heaven. But then we read how things started changing. Ezekiel 28 tells us that his heart became proud. In Isaiah 14:13-15 we see why: ‘You SAID IN YOUR HEART, “I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne above the stars of God…I will make myself like the Most High’”. Satan’s downfall started by the confessions of his heart. Psalm 14:1 tells us ‘The fool says in his heart, “there is no God.’”

This drove home to me again the importance of laying up the Word of God and His truth in my heart. ‘Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads’ (Deuteronomy 17:18). David said, ‘I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You’ (Psalm 119:11).

It’s so important that we hide the truth of God’s Word in our hearts – that we get it deeply imbedded in the very fibres of our spirits. Then, when our thoughts start veering off the truth, and when the circumstances of life scream at us that God doesn’t care, or He’s abandoned us, or when pride rises up in our hearts, telling us we can handle life on our own, our default setting will be to take those thoughts captive and to ‘SAY of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God in Him I will trust`

Prayer: Lord, thank You so much for Your Word that’s packed with truth and light. My prayer is that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart will be pleasing to You. Forgive me for echoing the lies of the enemy in my heart when I’ve felt overwhelmed. Today, I WILL SAY OF THE LORD – ‘You are my refuge and strength – the One in Whom I trust!’ Amen.

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

Acts 4:19-20

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 24.01.2015 21:22

Today's Verse for 01/24/2015

Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." — Acts 4:19-20


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Thought

We can't contain what we've experienced in Jesus. We can't help but tell about what we've heard. No ruler, no threat, has been able to completely stop the voice of God from being heard through his people's witness. Sharing our faith happens out of the overflow of our experiences in Christ and our relationship with Christ. When we share our faith in this way, the authenticity of our witness can be rejected or ridiculed, but it can't be erased. We have experienced God's work in our lives. How dare we keep silent? We can't!

Prayer

God of the nations, please give your missionaries and ministers words of truth and power, especially as they face ridicule and hostility. Please help me better know how to reach the lost around me and please bless our evangelistic leaders as they try to strategize and discern your way of reaching the lost in our world today. In the name of Jesus, the atoning sacrifice for my sins, and the sins of the whole world, I pray. Amen.


The Thoughts and Prayers for Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

DAY 21

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 24.01.2015 21:25

DAY 21

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season whose leaf does not wither; whatever they do prospers.”

Psalm 1:3

Every time you turn on the television or radio, you can hear someone claiming to have the formula for quick success. Such is merely man’s success. It’s a far cry from godly success, the kind that represents God‘s heart for you and personifies the great joy and fulfillments that come with knowing Him.

Psalm 1 shows us the pathway to godly success that will bring fulfillment like we’ve never known: be careful about your relationships. In order to be successful, you need to hear God’s perspective on things and should seek godly counsel, not the counsel of just anyone who has an opinion.

Commit to the principles of the Scriptures. A warning sign of when you might be drifting is when you begin to compromise God’s Word. Ask those around you to hold you accountable to what the Bible says. By making His Word the standard for which you live your life, you will experience a world of success.

God desires success for your life. He wants you to be a person who brings glory and honor to His name as you receive the best He has to give.

Look up a few Scriptures that remind you of the godly way to success. Write them on notes that you can place in your home to keep you focused on God’s desire for your life this year:

(Examples: Joshua 1:8; Deut. 8:18; 1 Kings 2:3; Proverbs 3:1-4)

Prayer

“Lord, I want true success, not man’s success. Help me seek Your counsel and commit to the principles of Your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

*One part of the process that Jesus went through to get to His promise was 40 days of fasting in the desert. There is a work going on in you right now that you may not be fully aware of in your Sacred Season. It is qualifying you to handle what God has in store for you this year. You see, Fasting is slowing down to speed up. It’s taking time to listen for your set of instructions from the throne. His wisdom brings success!



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Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Sacred Sunday

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 25.01.2015 21:05

Sacred Sunday

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Godthis is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1

When many people hear the word surrender, images of conflict and overpowering forces come to mind. In contrast, the act of surrendering one’s life to God is a beautiful and peaceful experience. Why then are we so afraid to hand over the reigns of our lives to God’s omnipotent leadership? The answer lies in our self-oriented nature. We live in a world that encourages us to take pride in what we have accomplished and accumulated. The concept of surrendering these things to God is unthinkable for most people.

As a believer, God has called you to a higher standard of living. He wants to help you reach the goals that He has set for your life. Yet, in order to fulfill His plan, we must choose to lay our selfish desires before Him.

Once you surrender your life to God, He will unleash the storehouse of blessings waiting for you. In Romans 12, God specifically asks you to present yourself as a living sacrifice to Him. God wants to guide, direct, and bless you. Don’t let anything stand in the way of His plan for your life!

Today is Sacred Sunday. It’s the last day of fasting and our time to gather in God’s House to call upon Him, bring Him our First Fruits offering, surrender everything to the Lord and worship His Holy Name.

*When GIVING, PRAYING and FASTING are practiced together in the life of a believer, it creates a type of threefold cord that is not easily broken. (Ecc. 4:12) Jesus provided this pattern for living as He taught...."When you pray, when you fast, when you give..." As you prepare to give your first fruits offering here at the end of your Sacred Season, you need to declare not the 30 fold or 60 fold, but when all 3 are a part of your life...100 fold blessings are released! Get your faith high for this amazing year "In God's Presence" 2015!
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

What Is Your Cross?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 26.01.2015 21:16

What Is Your Cross?

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:27

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
The cross not only saves us, but it continues to sanctify us. Have you read where Jesus said, “Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34b)?

Many people think that this means that our “cross” is a sickness, an unsaved spouse, or a cruel boss. However, a cross is not something that is forced upon you, over which you have no choice. A cross is something you willingly take up.

Jesus willingly laid down His life. He calls us to do the same.

ACTION POINT:
Your cross is when you willingly die to yourself. You do this by saying no to sin and self, and yes to Christ.

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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

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