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Answered Prayer in an Unexpected Package

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 21.10.2015 09:13

21 October, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Answered Prayer in an Unexpected Package

"But God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking, comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us by the arrival of Titus."
2 Corinthians 7:6, Amplified

We all go through times where we feel discouraged, worn out, and overwhelmed, and wonder what God’s doing in our lives. Perhaps you’re in one of these seasons in life right now. You know that God’s real, but the road before you is difficult to discern, and life just isn’t making sense.

Unexpected happenings can easily throw us off balance and disturb our fragile equilibrium, if we’re not watchful and keeping our eyes focussed straight ahead. God, our rock and our fortress, stands firm no matter what, but unfortunately we still ‘wibble wobble’ from time to time. This is my experience at least.

I’ve been going through one of those times recently myself, and cried out to God to send encouragement. He answered my prayer, as He faithfully always does, but it took me a little while to realise that He had. I had hoped for a prophetic word, or something more obviously ‘supernatural’, but that’s not how the answer came. God sent me encouragement in the packaging of a nine year old, sandy-haired boy, who can’t wait to get to Sunday School every week.

He tells me that he doesn’t quite understand everything about God yet, (he obviously thinks that I do) but that’s okay with him. He’s just enjoying the journey and is bubbling with enthusiasm.

He’s even telling others about his experiences and speaking out in arenas where I’ve been silenced. Eyes are mockingly rolling, other people are a little amused by his chatter, but I’m strengthened. His child-like faith is precious and his exuberance refreshing to this, sometimes weary, warrior.

Right now, this nine year old little boy is one of my greatest allies and I thank God for him. Answers to prayers often come in unexpected packaging.

Prayer: O God, open up my spiritual eyes so I can perceive a little of Your workings in my life. Thank You that You’re always at work, bringing to pass Your purposes and lifting up those of Your children, who’re weary and discouraged. I love You, Lord, and want to serve You faithfully. Amen.

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

Malachi 3:7

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 23.10.2015 12:11

Today's Verse for 10/23/2015
"Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. — Malachi 3:7

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Thought

In times of horror and disaster, people routinely ask, "Where is God in all of this?" Yet we so often leave God at the periphery of our lives and look for him only when we are desperate and have no other options. When things are going well, we seldom say, "Where is God in all of this? Why, he's right here blessing us! Let's praise him for his goodness!" God pleads with us to turn to him and seek after him, in good times and in bad. Not only will we find him; he will return to us and walk with us.
Prayer

O God, please forgive us for seeking our own way. We confess that we have wandered from your ways. Even while the Bible is so readily available to us, we often squander the opportunity to hear you speak from the Word. Even when we have so many opportunities to praise you and pray to you, you sometimes only hear from us when we have gotten ourselves into insurmountable problems. Father, I confess that I have let my relationship with you slip and that I have not pursued your presence in my life as much as I could. Please be with me and all your Church as we seek you and your presence daily in our lives! 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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Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Godly Sorrow

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 24.10.2015 11:28

24 October, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Godly Sorrow

"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done."
2 Corinthians 7:10-11, NIV

We’ve probably all heard and contemplated many messages on the work of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. Through God’s Spirit the Lord gives us many wonderful things. He bestows powerful gifts, He produces beautiful fruit, He brings deep joy, lasting peace and He strengthens our inner man. But there’s another vital work of the Holy Spirit we can’t overlook. He brings us true repentance.

True repentance takes place when God’s Holy Spirit moves in our heart, showing us the reality of the horridness of our sin, and helping us hate it. Thus He motivates us to turn away from the most harmful and destructive influence in our lives, our own sin.

In Ellel Ministries we teach extensively on how Satan uses guilt, shame and condemnation to control the lives of Christians around the world. We teach people to resist Satan’s condemnation, to counter his accusations and to break free from the controlling feelings of false guilt and false shame. But though we should be aware of these enemy tactics against us, we shouldn’t confuse them with the work of God in our lives in bringing conviction of sin.

It may be that, once God starts convicting us of sin, we start feeling ill at ease. Our flesh doesn’t feel comfortable with God’s holiness. We might be afraid of it. We might believe the erroneous idea that if God wants us to be happy, He wouldn’t bring us these feelings of guilt and remorse. We might be tempted to quickly shut feelings of conviction down. If we do, then we can be blocking the work the Holy Spirit is wanting to do in us. As a result we won’t receive the fullness of what the Lord wants to bring us. Without realising it, we could be restricting the Holy Spirit.

God brings conviction of sin because He loves us, and because He wants what’s best for us. When He moves, and when He convicts, be encouraged to let Him do His work! Don’t try and rush true repentance. Don’t run or hide from it. Genuine, God-given repentance will produce a wonderful harvest in your life. God-given repentance leads us into true life!

Prayer: Father in heaven, I want to thank You for the work of conviction You do in my life through Your Holy Spirit. I’m sorry if I’ve ever resisted this in my life. I want to invite You today specifically to convict me of sin, because I trust this will bring me true life! In Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
Today's Writer : Peter Brokaar
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

1 John 3:8

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 25.10.2015 19:13

Today's Verse for 10/25/2015
He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. — 1 John 3:8

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Thought

Two simple truths: 1) The person who continues to live a life caught up in sin is of the devil. 2) The Son of God came to destroy all that the devil stands for. So, I guess the issue isn't as complex as we sometimes make it, which leads me to a final thought: Who are we going to side with in this heavenly war?
Prayer

Almighty and victorious King of the Ages, you are the only rightful ruler of my heart. I pledge my allegiance to you. Please help me as I seek to lay aside my struggles with sin and empower me to live for you in unwavering loyalty. In the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, 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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Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Cars, Houses and Husbands

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 27.10.2015 11:04

Seeds of the Kingdom - Today's Devotional
27 October, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Cars, Houses and Husbands

"The idols speak deceitfully, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd."
Zechariah 10:2, NIV

A friend of mine once received a prophecy telling her she was going to get married very soon. The ‘prophet’ even told her the name of the guy she was going to marry, which happened to be the name of a guy she’d had her eyes set on and had been praying for some time that one day he would be her husband. Finally, God had given her the confirmation she needed (or so she thought)! Her excitement was bubbling over and her heart was now full of hope and anticipation of the love story that was about to unfold.

The love story never happened. He married someone else. She was utterly bewildered. Had she missed God’s plan for her life? Or if he wasn’t the man for her, how could she have been so deceived? The prophecy seemed so accurate, it answered her heart’s cry and yet she found herself confused and broken-hearted. Did God lead her into a trap? If He really loved her, how could he have let this happen?

Sadly my friend had never learnt the spiritual truth that idolatry can attract false prophecy.

How many times have you heard of a person receiving a specific prophecy that seems like it’s straight out of God’s mouth? It promises that in a specific time period they will receive the very thing they’ve been waiting, hoping and praying for (such as the perfect car, house or husband). It can include the most accurate details that the ‘prophet’ could never have known without some kind of supernatural knowledge.

The only reason we can find in scripture for such a prophecy to occur is if the person receiving the prophecy has an idol in their heart. Ezekiel 14:4 says ‘Therefore speak to them and tell them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When any of the Israelites set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet, I the LORD will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry.’

The lesson is simple, if you want to avoid being deceived by false prophecy, deal with your idols. Make sure that God is number one and that nothing in your life is more important to you than Him.

This kind of prophecy brings false hope and Proverbs 13:12 tells us that ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick’. Satan would love to bring sickness into your heart by filling it with empty promises. Your heart is the wellspring of life, and my advice to you today is exactly the same as King Solomon’s, one of the wisest men who ever lived - guard it.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You love me and want the very best for me. Thank You for reminding me to guard my heart today. I am so sorry for allowing other things to become more important to me than You. I’m sorry for constantly praying for the things that I want, rather than entrusting my future into Your hands and being content with what I have. I want to say sorry for the times I’ve been disappointed with You, when in reality I had set up idols in my heart. Lord Jesus, I offer all my hopes and dreams up to You today, and I place them under Your Lordship. Thank You for being my good shepherd who takes care of every detail of my life. Please help me to guard my heart and to hide Your word there instead. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today's Writer : David Steele
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Ego

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 30.10.2015 22:43

30 October, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Ego

"Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world."
James‬ 4:8‬, NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

I came across an acronym for the word ego recently, which was 'Edging God Out'. I thought how easy it is, in the world we live in today, with so many things to do, and so many ways of achieving them, to edge God out of our lives. Sometimes we don’t even realise we’re doing it.

How often people say “I know I should spend more time with God, but I'm just too busy to pray, or to spend that time with God. My schedule’s already overcrowded. I don't have enough time in the day to read my bible, or to pray. It’s alright for you. You’re retired, but I have so much to do.”

We’re all very good at producing excuses, retired or not. Edging God out isn’t something that happens quickly or suddenly. It’s a gradual process of drawing further and further apart, and much of the time we’re unaware that it’s happening. If we’re not vigilant in spending time with God, He can seem to become distant. This is something which can easily sneak up on any of us.

In James 4:7 it says ‘So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you’. The enemy is very subtle in finding ways to draw us away from our times with God, distracting us with thoughts, and many worldly pursuits.

We all need the Lord’s help not to edge Him out of our lives. We can easily be deceived into thinking we’re doing fine and we can cope. We do things in our own strength or go it alone.

We need to constantly be reminding ourselves of our verse for today. In the New Living Translation it says ‘Come close to God, and God will come close to you’ (James 4:8).

We were never told it would be easy, but we constantly need the Lord’s help to keep us on the pathway, and not fall prey to edging God out of our lives.

The words of a song by Stuart DeVane and Glenn Gore that I learned many years ago come to mind.

‘Draw me closer, Lord. Draw me closer, dear Lord.
So that I might touch You. So that I might touch You.
Lord, I want to touch You.
Touch my eyes, Lord, Touch my eyes, dear Lord.
So that I might see You. So that I might see You.
Lord, I want to see You.
Your glory and Your love, Your glory and Your love,
Your glory and Your love, and Your majesty’.

Prayer: Father, help us to daily keep our focus on You, and our eyes and our heart following you. Forgive us for the times when we’ve inadvertently edged You out of our lives and gone our own way. Draw us back, Lord, to You today, and keep us concentrated on You, Amen.
Today's Writer : Margaret Davies
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Would You Turn Down a Pardon?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 01.11.2015 19:16

Would You Turn Down a Pardon?

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
In 1829 George Wilson was adjudicated guilty and given the death sentence for murder. But Wilson had some friends who petitioned President Andrew
Jackson for a pardon.

Jackson granted the pardon, and it was brought to prison and given to Wilson. To everyone’s surprise, Wilson said, “I am going to hang.”

There had never been a refusal to a pardon, so the courts didn’t know what to do. Discussion went all the way to the Supreme Court, and Justice John
Marshall gave this ruling: “A pardon is a piece of paper, the value of which depends upon the acceptance by the person implicated. If he does not accept the
pardon, then he must be executed.”

God loves you and wants to pardon you, but if you refuse Him, you will die and go to hell. Cast yourself upon Him completely, and receive the free gift of His
forgiveness today.

ACTION POINT:
Have you repented of your sin and believed upon the atoning work of Christ’s blood on the cross? Being good doesn’t get you to heaven. It is only Jesus.

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AR_headshot.jpgDevotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
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Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Deutoronomy 8:18

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 04.11.2015 14:59

Today's Verse for 11/04/2015

But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. — Deuteronomy 8:18

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Thought

As we enter the month often associated with giving thanks, this reminder from Moses is an important one! We so easily forget to give thanks when things are going well. It's easy for us to whine and ask God to help us when we are in trouble, but we often feel like we "deserve" the good things that happen to us. God reminds us that what we have is simply a confirmation of his grace and his faithfulness to do what he has said. We need to remind ourselves, and each other, that the blessings we have come from his hand and not because we deserved them more than someone else.

Prayer

Generous Father, forgive me for my forgetfulness. Deep down I know I don't deserve all the good things you have poured into my life, yet I sometimes find myself thinking that I've earned them. Use your Spirit to forge in me a heart like Jesus, who did deserve everything good and yet gave it all up to come to earth and give me the greatest gift imaginable — the gift of your salvation! Thank you so much for this gift of grace and the many other undeserved gifts that you have lavished on me. In Jesus' name I thank you. 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

Promises Are Made to Be Kept

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 05.11.2015 10:47

05 November, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Promises Are Made to Be Kept

"Whether it is favourable or unfavourable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God."
Jeremiah 42:6, NIV

This text is a solemn promise made by the remnant of Jews left in Jerusalem after the exile to Babylon. God intended them to stay in Jerusalem, but they asked Jeremiah to pray, on their behalf, as to where they should go, and what they should do, and they would completely obey God’s word to them. They didn’t want to stay in their own land. They saw their only option for safety was to migrate to Egypt, and believed Jeremiah would bring God’s confirmation for them to do this.

God’s word through the prophet was not what they wanted to hear. They were to stay in their own land. God would show them compassion and put it in the heart of the Babylonian king to do the same, and they would have national security. But they wanted the seeming security of Egypt, and were determined to go there. Safety was on condition of staying in Judah and destruction in the event of going to Egypt.

Despite Jeremiah’s warning that God would not protect them from the consequences of their own disobedience, they went their way, and suffered disaster. God always keeps His promises, and He expects us to keep ours. In fact the Bible is very clear on promise keeping. It goes as far as to say it is better not to make promises than to break them.

Before we ask for God’s will there may be questions we should each honestly answer to ourselves. Am I sure I want God’s answer, or do I want His stamp on my plan, which seems to me to be a good plan? Am I sure that, when God reveals His will, I will do it unconditionally, even when it doesn’t make sense in my understanding? Are my motives pure – for God’s glory and Kingdom alone, not for the fulfilment of my needs and my desires? Am I truly willing to obey the Lord, even if it means I’m to remain in a humdrum place where I’ve been stuck for what seems a long time? Am I only truly obedient when God wants what I want? In which case, it’s better not to make a promise.

When God makes a promise He’s giving His trustworthy word. The Bible is full of His promises; each one pledges something He will or will not do. Because God is faithful, He can’t break a promise. He doesn’t lie or change His mind, He doesn’t speak and then not act, He doesn’t promise and not fulfil. God’s promises are anchored in His unchanging character and unfailing love, which He has clearly shown us through the cross.

The Bible is full of promises on which we can depend. However, God’s promises involve me recognising His claim on my life, and expecting the Holy Spirit to be manifest in me. The promises of God become rich in significance for me in every circumstance of life, as I grow in obedience and understanding of the character of the One who has given the promises.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the rich and precious promises of Your word. Today I ask that your searchlight will penetrate my heart to search out any secret motives and wrong beliefs about Your character, which rob me of the freedom to be abandoned to Your will. I pray for a heart to obey Your will, whether it’s favourable or unfavourable in my eyes. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Today's Writer : Margaret Silvester
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Which Category Are You In?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 06.11.2015 22:33

Which Category Are You In?

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might humble thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end.” Deuteronomy 8:16

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
There are three categories of people reading this: those who are in trouble; those who are just getting out of trouble; and those who are going into trouble. Job 14:1 says, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.”

The Spanish have a proverb: “There’s no home without its hush.” Sooner or later, we will all know sorrow, heartache, and trouble. What we need to know is that troubles are not a sign that things have gone wrong or things have gotten out of hand. We are often in trouble by the providence, plan, and purpose of Almighty God.

When the Israelites were delivered from Pharaoh’s army through the Red Sea, they went into the wilderness. Had God lost control? No. God led them there by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

ACTION POINT:
In the unfailing providence of God, we are often led into a place of trouble. The wilderness is God’s proving ground for your faith. How are you doing?

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