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A Garden Fair

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 12.09.2015 09:33

12 September, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
A Garden Fair

"The Lord will guide you continually giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden like an ever-flowing stream."
Isaiah 58:11, NLT

The garden of the house we have recently moved into has been neglected for several years and is greatly in need of a major make-over. This has given great excitement and pleasure to Anna, my wife, as it presents her with a `blank canvas` on which to exercise her horticultural skills and knowledge. I must admit I don`t totally share all her enthusiasm over this, as I can see the work and expense that will be involved to bring her dreams into reality! Nevertheless we`re both looking forward to the finished project - Anna to potter in and me to sit in!

Gardens can mean different things to different people. For example, for some they`re places just to admire and relax in, for others they`re a source of provision. For some gardening`s a hobby, but for others it`s an irksome necessity. Gardens can be designed to fulfil particular purposes. One can be full of colour, another full of perfume. Yet others can be full of exotic plants, fruit trees or vegetables. Each with its own character and `destiny`.

God`s designed and made each of us to fulfil a particular purpose (or destiny) and to blossom or bear fruit where we`re planted. Like a garden, our lives can bring blessing in various ways to different people. We may be a source of peace and tranquillity. Others of us may be like the Apostle Paul, who could say `Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume` (1 Corinthians 2:14). Then the fragrance and beauty of Jesus can bring comfort and encouragement where it`s needed. Those with practical skills as their `fruit` may be a source of help, support and provision for people in a different way. Each of us has God-given talents. When we submit them like plants to the `divine Gardener` (John 15:1) they can be trained and developed. They`ll produce what He requires and enable us to be a blessing to others and bring glory to Him (John 15:7).

The words of an old Sunday School chorus express the desire that our hearts and lives may be like a `garden fair`:

`My heart may be like a garden fair,
loving words and thoughts and deeds a blossoming there;
Or it may be a place of poison weeds,
growing into ugly thoughts and words and deeds.
Lord Jesus, make my heart a garden fair.
Come, Thou Thyself, and be the Gardener there.`
(H. H. Lemmel CSSM Choruses).

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

Wholehearted or Halfhearted?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 14.09.2015 10:20

Wholehearted or Halfhearted?

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“The light of the body is the eye: Therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.” Luke 11:34

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Joshua chapter fourteen tells us something very interesting about a man named Caleb. Three times the Holy Spirit says Caleb “wholly followed the Lord God” (vv. 8, 9, 14). Every ounce of Caleb was given to the Lord.

This is the kind of heart you and I should have if we call ourselves Christians. The devil is going to intimidate a fainthearted man. And there’s only one way to stand against the devil. That is to give everything to Jesus Christ. Indeed, God does not accept half-hearted religion.

It would be better for you to say that there is no God than for you to say that He doesn’t mean that much to you, He doesn’t make a difference in your life, He doesn’t stir your heart to love Him.

ACTION POINT:
God is looking for wholeheartedness. “With my whole heart I have sought Thee.” (Psalm 119:10) Can you say this to the Lord today?

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AR_headshot.jpgDevotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

© 2014 Love Worth Finding Ministries | PO Box 38300 - Memphis, TN 38183-0300
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Lost in the Fog

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 15.09.2015 10:26

Seeds of the Kingdom - Today's Devotional
15 September, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Lost in the Fog

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him.”
Psalm 91:14.15, NIV

Lost in a fog? When darkness closes in our vision becomes distorted and we’re unable to see our way forward. People moving around us become as mere shadows, all intent on their own business, making their own way. No-one casts a glance in our direction and we’re aware of heavy clouds forming. We become increasingly isolated and confused.

We know God loves us. We know He cares for us and that His Son died for us. But when we’re groping around in the dark, lost and looking for help, at the very time we need Him most, He seems strangely distant.

‘Do not be anxious about anything’ (Philippians 4:6). But how can we help it? It’s as if a large heavy blanket has come over us separating us from God. The Bible tells us ‘He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged’ (Deuteronomy 31:8). We’re trying to hang on to His word and His promises. But still we feel anxiety creeping in.

The fog is probably only on ground level. Overhead the sun is shining. If we were in a plane flying over the clouds torrential rain may be falling, with thunder and lightning, but above the storm there is blue sky and sunshine.

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). Why then are we struggling through the fog trying to find the way? He’s not out there somewhere beyond the fog. He’s in the fog with us.

Jesus promised the Father, “I will make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:26). We need to respond to that love, and so receive Jesus, through the Holy Spirit. And we are called to walk by the Spirit, not by the flesh. ‘For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other’ (Galatians 5:17).

As we look at our problems with eyes of the world we panic, because we can’t see through the fog. Communication between ourselves and God has been blocked by the concerns of the world (Mark 4:19). But if we recognise the Holy Spirit within us, and open ourselves to Jesus, our focus turns from what seems humanly impossible, to a faith in Him who can do all things. The promises of His word become reality: ‘Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path’ (Psalm 119:105).

As we look to Jesus and seek His way the fog will lift and the sun will shine once more.

Prayer: Father, forgive me. When things go wrong I look for You to come and put them right, and when things go right I forget to give you the honour. Please help me to live in a way that acknowledges You at all times, and to recognise that You are with me wherever I go. Amen.
Today's Writer : Ron Scurfie
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Count Your Blessings

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 16.09.2015 10:33

16 September, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Count Your Blessings

"Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.’"
Ephesians 1:4-6, MSG

Ephesians chapter 1 is such a rich passage of Scripture exuding the completely undeserved, incredible blessings that, by God’s amazing love and grace, are ours in Christ Jesus. To list just a few: we’re chosen, adopted as sons and daughters, forgiven, ‘completely free of penalties and punishments chalked up by our misdeeds (v7) … we’re made whole and holy by his love’(v4) … and we have a God-given purpose and destiny in life: ‘it’s in Christ we find out who we are and what we’re living for’ (v11).

If you’re ever feeling down and need reminding – and we all do sometimes - it’s a wonderful place to find the reassurance of all that Christ won for you and for me when ‘His blood was poured out for us on the altar of the cross’ (v7). It was all accomplished for us. That’s why at the end of it all, Jesus cried out those victorious words, ‘It is finished!’ Amazing love and grace!

But the verse in Ephesians 1 that really struck me this morning is verse 6: ‘He wanted us to enter into the lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son’. Although God ‘thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need’ (v8), we have a part to play ... a personal responsibility. We have to enter in. And I guess that’s where the challenge is for each of us today. God has done everything for us in sending Jesus, but are we willing to play our part, to take up our personal responsibility and enter in?

I used to struggle terribly with negativity. I remember someone once saying to me, lovingly but firmly, ‘Julie, negativity is your friend and has been for a very long time, but it needs to go!’ It was really hard to be confronted like that, even if it was in love! But I am so grateful, because with those words of confrontation came Holy Spirit conviction. I knew it was true. God had provided everything for me, but I still chose to focus on the bad things in my life, and not lift my head to welcome all the good that God had provided for me, and wanted to bring into my life, make a living reality – His redemptive plans and purposes.

Since then, little by little, I have begun to learn to count my blessings. I now love that old song, ‘Count your blessings, name them one by one! Count your blessings, look what God has done! And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!’ It’s true, as we count our blessings, the wonderful spiritual ones and the everyday ones too – a new day, the sunshine, the rain, a beautiful sunset, health, friends, family – we find ourselves beginning to ‘enter into our heavenly Father’s lavish gift-giving’. And my experience is that it’s like taking off an old pair of glasses that give a frustrating, black, distorted view of life, and putting on a new pair that give a clear and bright and exciting view of the abundant life Jesus won for us!

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for all the incredible blessings You won for me on the cross at such a high price. Thank You for the breath in my lungs today, thank You that I’m alive and I belong to You, and You have good things for me. I want to truly enter into all that You’ve won for me. Help me to count my blessings and truly enter into Your lavish gift giving, Amen.

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

Be Honest to God!

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 18.09.2015 09:52

18 September, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Be Honest to God!

"He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went."
Matthew 21:28, NIV

Today’s Scripture verse comes from a story Jesus told to illustrate a point about the Kingdom of God. Imagine a man with two sons. As the Dad gives them work to do one says he’ll comply (good boy!), the other says he won’t (how dare he?). Yet, as it turns out, the first one fails to follow through, whereas the second child ends up conforming.

As a father, I can really relate to this. How frustrating it is when your children tell you they’ll do something, but you know they’re still resisting you in their hearts. Children who say “yes” but do “no” have driven many parents to distraction, I’m sure.

One lesson I take from Jesus’ teaching is that the Lord would much rather have us be honest with Him than pretending. If we don’t feel like being good, we might as well tell Him. We find that it’s in the place of true honesty and integrity the Holy Spirit can meet us. In the place of reality He can start changing us.

It may be ingrained in us to think that all that God really wants is for us to give the ‘right answers’, the Sunday school answers. But that’s not really what the Bible teaches us. The Bible advocates absolute honesty and total transparency with God. Doesn’t He fathom the depths of our hearts anyway?

The truth is, most of the time we don’t really want to obey God. His will is contrary to the will of our rebellious nature. Obeying God doesn’t suit us. It’s very inconvenient. But I think we can tell God how we truly feel. I think He loves it when we’re open and honest. Brutal honesty shows a deep level of trust in relationship.

So next time we find ourselves challenged by something God asks us to do, and we don’t really feel like doing it, why not tell Him? Why not say something like: “Lord, I know You want me to do this, but I don’t want to! However You’re My Lord, so please forgive me and help me.” I think when you do this, you’ll encounter the living God, who can do what we can’t do ourselves, that is changing our stubborn rebellious hearts and helping us to yield to Him.

Prayer: Dear Lord God, I’m sorry for those times I haven’t been really honest with You, but I’ve just given you the ‘right’ answer. Please forgive me and help me be honest with You, so that You may change my heart, in Jesus’ name. Amen!
Today's Writer : Peter Brokaar
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Ephesians 4:29

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 19.09.2015 20:13

Today's s Verse for Saturday, September 19, 2015

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. — Ephesians 4:29

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Thought

The goal in Christian communication is not just clarity. Neither is the goal just to be understood. The goal is not even just to be truthful. The goal is to be appropriate, encouraging, and uplifting to others based on the needs of that other person.
Prayer

Tender Shepherd, give me a heart that is pure so that my words may be pure. Give me a heart that is kind so that my words may be kind. Give me a heart that is full of joy and encouragement so that I may share these with those you bring to my path and with whom I share conversation. In Jesus' name 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

First, Read How It All Turns Out!

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 20.09.2015 22:43

[list=]First, Read How It All Turns Out![/list]

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
A boy was reading a murder mystery one day, and he became anxious about whether the heroine was going to live. To alleviate his anxiety, he read the last chapter and discovered that she survived!

Afterwards, when he read that the villain was planning a dastardly deed, he chuckled to himself and thought, “If you knew what I know, you wouldn’t be so haughty.”

ACTION POINT:
Christians know the last chapter, and that helps us cope with the present. Indeed, the glories of the future can help dilute the sorrows of the present. The devil’s doom is pronounced in Genesis—and it’s executed in Revelation.

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Adrian Rogers
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Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Branches and Sticks

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 21.09.2015 09:17

21 September, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Branches and Sticks

"Behold the storm of the Lord, wrath has gone forth a whirling tempest it will burst upon the head of the wicked the fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intentions of his mind in the later days you will understand this."
Jeremiah 30: 23-24, NIV

On a recent walk I noticed a huge tree. This tree had a large trunk that went into several other big branches. Around these branches were hundreds of smaller branches, all coming from the main trunk. It looked really impressive.

On the ground around this tree were hundreds, if not thousands, of small branches that had broken off from the tree. Due to the wind and the elements, these branches, which were once growing out of the trunk, were now sticks, and were slowly decaying into the earth.
I was reminded of how the word `alone` or `forsaken` is sometimes translated by a Hebrew phrase meaning `to his stick`, and what is meant by ‘stick’ here is a piece of a tree which is separated from the tree itself.

When Jesus was crucified, the earth shook, and Jesus was forsaken, left `alone` by His heavenly Father. He died and went to a place of decay. Thankfully, after three days, He rose again to bring life into the world.

In Romans 11 Paul talks about the people of God as an olive tree, and how the Gentiles are like wild olive shoots that have been grafted into the tree and Jewish people are like branches that have been broken off. This has happened partly because of the unbelief of the Jewish people and partly because of God`s grace in bringing salvation for all people in the world. He then goes on to talk about how Gentiles shouldn’t be arrogant in their faith, or boast that they’ve been grafted in.

I believe we’re in a time when God is shaking the nations, but, compared to what it will be like, this is only a small tremor. In the day of Christ`s return all nations, churches, ministries and people will be shaken. And at that time all branches in the tree will break off, if they’re not standing firm in Christ Jesus.

God’s asking us to keep our eyes on Him, seek Him, and not to be afraid. He will then lead us home. In this time and the time to come we’re also told to reach out to the nation of Israel, to offer the hand of Christ to them, so they too may be grafted back into the tree.

Prayer: Father, we thank You that, as believers in Jesus Christ, we’ve been grafted into Your family. We pray that we may stand firm in You at this time, and grow deeper in Your love. May we be able to stand firm during this time of shaking. Help us to reach out to all those who don’t know You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today's Writer : Chris Cherrill
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Psalm 79:9

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 23.09.2015 11:38

Today's Verse for 09/23/2015
Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name's sake. — Psalm 79:9

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Thought

We don't deserve the grace we need! We have no right to presume God's forgiveness! We have no reason to expect divine deliverance! But in Jesus, God has shown us his incredible love and generosity. We can confidently call out for his mercy and receive his grace, forgiveness, and deliverance — not because we deserve it, but because of who he is and for the sake of his glorious name.
Prayer

Holy and awesome God, I need your grace and forgiveness. I need your deliverance from the tempter's snare. Without your power and mercy, I will surely fail. May the grace you extend to me bring you praise. May the forgiveness you lavish on me bring others to honor you. May your deliverance of me from the tempter's snare bring glory to your name. In Jesus' name 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

Proverbs 26:20

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 24.09.2015 23:07

Today's Verse for 09/24/2015
Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. — Proverbs 26:20

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Thought

Ol' Smokey The Bear said: "Only you can prevent forest fires!" Basically, that's what the Wiseman says about gossip. We can turn down the heat, douse the fire, and let the quarrel die. How? By not supplying juicy morsels of gossip, by ditching the urge to spread destructive innuendo, and by refusing to keep alive an ugly rumor. Without gossip, the bitterness of a rivalry can dissolve and relationships can mend.
Prayer

Forgive me, O God, for the times I have kept gossip alive or have entertained the conversation of a gossip. Please bless and heal those whom I have wounded with my participation in gossip. Give me the strength to say only what is helpful to bless others, the courage to mend the relationships that I have damaged because of reckless words, and the wisdom to know how to discourage those seeking to spread gossip. In Jesus' name I ask it. 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

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