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Keep the Good Fighthing

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 08.11.2015 10:32

08 November, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Keep the Good Fighthing

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
2 Timothy 4:7-8, NIV

This morning I was reminded of the Apostle Paul’s famous words towards the end of his life. With deep conviction he declared to his spiritual son Timothy that he had fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith. Paul had discerned that his time on earth was coming to an end and he was looking forward to the crown of righteousness that awaited him in heaven.

Earlier on, in his first letter to Timothy, Paul had exhorted him also to fight the good fight of faith. (1 Timothy 1:18, 6:12). No doubt there would have been times when Timothy became battle-weary and tempted to retreat. I can identify with that struggle, and perhaps some of you can too. We may want to see God’s Kingdom advanced here on earth, but this won’t happen without struggle, and God-empowered determination on our part. We’re in a spiritual battle after all, and though victory has already been won, the battle still needs to be fought.

If you think that our enemy is going to willingly retreat, you’re greatly mistaken. Even as a defeated foe he stands in determined defiance before God and His army (you and I). He will fight to the bitter end and contest every inch of ground that we dare to take in Jesus’ name.

We need to continue to push forward nevertheless, not in our own strength and ability, of course, but in God’s strength. Ephesians 6:10 resounds loudly in my ears. ‘Finally be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.’ In the name of Jesus, he has to flee!

The devil is just like Goliath, who dared to defy the armies of the Living God (1 Samuel 17). We need to operate in the same spirit that David operated in. He prophesied the downfall of this giant, and then ran with vigour towards the battle line. It was not that he was blind to how big Goliath was, as it was obvious to all that he was a formidable enemy. It’s just that, compared to the bigness of David’s Almighty God, Goliath was nothing.

Don’t we serve the same God as David did? Of course we do. Mighty warrior and precious child of God, hold high your shield of faith, tighten your belt of truth, position your breastplate of righteousness, grasp firmly the sword of Spirit and fight the good fight of faith.

I’m also speaking to myself as I pen these words. Robert Moffat said that ‘We shall have all eternity in which to celebrate our victories, but we have only one swift hour before the sunset in which to win them’. How true those words are. Fight on! Fight on! Fight on! A crown of righteousness awaits you.

Prayer: Father God, open my spiritual eyes so that I can see that there are many more for me, than against me (2 Kings 6:17). Thank You that the battle has already been won, when Jesus disarmed the principalities and powers on the cross (Colossians 2:15). Amen.
Today's Writer : Sue Dare
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Trust

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 09.11.2015 11:12

09 November, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Trust

"For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life."
John 3:16 (Amplified)

During my quiet time this morning I was reading through John Chapter 1. The notes in my study Bible mentioned the fact that the word, ‘believe [adhere to it, trust it, and rely upon]’ occurred 98 times in the book of John. The word that leapt out for me, however, was ‘trust’. Trust can be used in a rather frivolous manner, e.g. “I trust that we will have good weather tomorrow.” But trust entails much, much more than a vague hopefulness. The dictionary defines trust as ‘firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something’. It’s a firm belief – that means a certainty.

Trust means leaning on someone, and knowing they’ll bear up under the weight of your leaning. We lean on the people in our lives who love us and care for us, and we lean on friends, but there are times when they’re not able to bear the weight of our leaning. However, we’re never too much for God! Deuteronomy 33:27 says, ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are under you.’ Isaiah 43:1-3 (The Message) says, ‘Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end - Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Saviour.’

Trust means relying on someone to be all that they profess to be. For example, when you visit a Doctor, you’re trusting that the certificate hanging in the Doctor’s office ensures this Doctor is qualified to treat you as a patient. Exodus 3:14 says, ‘And God said…I am who I am and what I am, and I will be what I will be…’ Jesus made many ‘I am’ statements concerning Himself during His time on earth. He said in John 8:25 ‘I am exactly what I have been telling you from the first.’ ‘I am the bread of life’ (John 6:35); ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’ (John 14:6); ‘I am the Good Shepherd’ (John 10:11); ‘I am the light of the world.’ (John 8:12); ‘I am the Door’ (John 10:9).

Trust means surrendering what you don’t know to the One who does know. It means that, even though we have absolutely no idea what tomorrow will hold, we’re able to experience the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Jesus said, ‘Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27).

Trust is a fragile commodity. Once broken, it takes time and effort to restore. As human beings a time may come when we’re disappointed in people and trust is shaken. In fact, Isaiah 2:22 says, ‘Cease to trust in [weak, frail, and dying] man, whose breath is in his nostrils [for so short a time]…’ But God is always trustworthy. He asks of us to trust in Him: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me.’ (John 14:1). Make a decision to trust Him. He will never fail you!

Prayer: Father, how blessed I am to know You as the One whom I can truly trust and lean on. Thank You for Your unfailing love and faithfulness towards me, and thank You that You never change. Thank You that You know all my tomorrows, and that I can have heart peace because I’m anchored in You. I give You glory! Amen.

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

First Love

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 10.11.2015 10:17

10 November, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
First Love

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment.”
Matthew 22:36-38, NKJV

In the last month I had the opportunity to visit, with my family, the small coastal village named Queenscliff, where my grandparents used to live. It was my Aunty’s birthday and we had a big family reunion, and extended family travelled from all over Australia to attend. It was really wonderful. Queenscliff has always been a very special place to me, apart from the family connections. We used to visit Queenscliff every Christmas holidays. It was while attending a Scripture Union Family Mission (SUFM) there as a child that I first gave my life to Jesus.

My grandparents have long since passed away. As I returned to Queenscliff this month, I had a lot of memories of life when I was young, and thought how simple things were back then. I remembered the day I went into my room at my grandparents home and sat on the bed and asked Jesus to be my ‘special friend.’ We had had so much fun at beach mission, combined with learning about Jesus, that I really wanted Jesus in my life. I came to love Jesus so deeply, and my whole life was impacted by that love. I wanted everyone to know Jesus, and I spent my life committed to that purpose.

Now many years have passed since I first gave my life to Jesus. I have felt the call of the Holy Spirit to return to that first love. Jesus tells us in today’s scripture that loving God is the first and most important commandment of life. It’s not that I have ever stopped loving Him. But I think, with the pressures of life, the hardships and struggles I have faced, my love has needed some revitalisation.

Think back to your first love and when you first came to know Jesus. Is your life radiating that love you had at the beginning? If not Jesus is calling you to return to that first love. I know He understands the struggles we are facing which may have made it difficult. But even in the very presence of those difficulties, Jesus wants to come and pour His love afresh into our spirits, and breathe new life into us, so we might love Him again with all our heart, soul and mind.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for the time in my life when You saved me and revealed Your great love to me. You know there have been difficulties I have faced. But I want to love You again as I did at first. Holy Spirit, would You pour Your love afresh into my spirit, and breathe new life into me so I might love Jesus again with all my heart, soul and mind. Amen.
Today's Writer : Lynda Scott
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Being Ready

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 12.11.2015 10:58

12 November, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Being Ready

“When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”
John 14:3, NLT

A little while ago my wife went away for over two weeks, during which time I had a list of things I wanted to do. Although we’ve now been in our new home several months there are still things needing to be done. These jobs were things such as, decorate the hallway, finish some tiling, fit some cupboard door handles, and fit some new lights.

My plan was to try and complete what needed to be done, so everything would be straight and tidy by the time Anna returned. I had a lot to do, but as I knew when she was coming back I could work to that end. This proved to be the motivation for me to keep going!

Before Jesus went back to heaven He said He was going to return, “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:3). He didn’t say exactly when, but there are several clues throughout Scripture about when this is likely to be.

When we observe world events in the light of Scripture, it helps us have a better understanding of the significance of the days we’re currently living, and when we can expect the Lord to return.

If we are living with the constant expectation of the Lord’s return, how is that affecting the way we live each day? Are we prepared and ready for Him? Are there still things in our own personal life which we need to work on, so that we’re not ashamed when He comes?

How about our churches and fellowships? Paul talks about the Church, the Body of Christ, being ‘holy and without fault, as a bride without spot, wrinkle or blemish’ when her Bridegroom (the Lord) comes for her (Ephesians 5:27). I think many will agree that there’s still work to be done in that area as well.

As we anticipate the Lord’s return, our passion to reach those who don’t yet know the Lord should grow even stronger. Another look at the Lord’s final words while on earth should inspire us afresh, ‘Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:19-20).

There is, obviously, still a great deal of work for us to do, in readiness for the return of the King of kings. The question is “Will I be ready, and will you be ready?”

Jesus said ‘You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected’ (Luke12:40).

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You that You said You would come back for us. This gives us so much encouragement to keep on with the work of Your kingdom You have called us to do. Please help us to be ready for You when You come back. Amen.
Today's Writer : Malcolm Wood
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

A Place Prepared

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 13.11.2015 13:24

13 November, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
A Place Prepared

"I am going there to prepare a place for you."
John 14:2, NIV

We were about to return from teaching in the Netherlands recently when we were caught up in the travel chaos caused by fog in Europe. The flight we were due to take was cancelled, as were many others, and we were informed that the soonest available seat would be two days later. Instead of sitting there and waiting, we needed to find alternative ways of getting home, as it was to be my wife’s father’s ninetieth birthday the next day. Our host investigated the internet and found the last two seats on Eurostar so we could get home by train. The only difficulty was that we were told that the train was overbooked and we didn’t have a guaranteed seat.

To cut a long and tiring story short, we travelled in style from Amsterdam, but when we boarded the train in Brussels we were told there was no seat, but we could sit in the luggage area and see what happened. Eventually seats were found for us, and we got back to England, arriving home fourteen hours after leaving the Baak centre. The stress of the uncertainty was as great as the duration of the journey!

What a good thing it is that we don’t have such an uncertainty about our eternity. Our ‘ticket to heaven’ doesn’t have an unallocated element to it. Jesus tells us that our places are reserved, and furthermore he’s personally gone ahead to make sure that all is well with our accommodation. We have a Son-of-God prepared place for each one of us in the Father’s house. That’s a real privilege and beats the promise of a seat on Eurostar anytime!

The stewardess on the train was really helpful and very apologetic that she couldn’t provide us with what we’d paid for. Our Heavenly Father has sent the best possible Helper to prepare us, and His only Son has made the way for our entry into the glorious splendour of the Father’s majestic eternity. Moreover Jesus personally promises that He’ll come back and take us to be with him there. No standing in queues, waiting for permission to enter our destination, no security checks on the way (who needs luggage in heaven?), no warmed up pizza, but, rather, an amazing banquet awaits us there.

I’m still bewildered by the concept of heaven. I can’t quite get my mind round it. But I’m looking forward so much to being there, and finding out what Jesus has prepared for me. I know it’ll be very good, and it’ll be free from all stress and anxiety. So next time we get stuck in the fog of this world, let’s ask ourselves the question that a friend of mine often did: “in the light of eternity, does it really matter?” Look forward to the place that’s prepared for you.

Prayer: Thank You so much, Lord Jesus, for going ahead to prepare a place in heaven for me. Thank You that there are no sub-standard rooms in the Father’s house, and we’ll have the blessing of His eternal presence. When the difficulties of life happen, and we get stressed, please help us to re-focus on the future with You, where there’s peace, joy and blessing. Help us to see things in the light of that eternity. Amen.
Today's Writer : John Berry
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

2 Thessalonians 1:3

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 14.11.2015 19:04

Today's Verse for 11/14/2015
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. — 2 Thessalonians 1:3

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Thought

When was the last time you found a new brother or sister in Christ and told that precious person all the things they were doing right? Don't you think that's too long, and that you should let them know today? Let's be more committed to encouraging and affirming others who are in Christ as well as giving thanks to God for them.
Prayer

Saving Shepherd of lost souls, thank you for the new Christians in our church and in my life. Bless them and protect them from the Evil One and use us, your children and their brothers and sisters, to be there to help and encourage them on their journey to perfection in Christ. In the holy name of Christ Jesus, my Lord. 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

Who Are You Sitting Next To?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 16.11.2015 10:25

16 November, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Who Are You Sitting Next To?

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night."
Psalm 1:1-2, NIV

I enjoy listening to the radio. I once heard an interview where the presenter was talking to a man who had recently been released from serving a prison sentence. I don't remember all that was said, but I do recall a couple of sentences that made me ponder these important verses of Psalm 1.

He talked of his troubled childhood, describing problems with poverty, and commented on his dysfunctional family situation. He explained that he had spent much of his time as a youngster sitting on a wall, in his street, talking to the older lads. These young men had a powerful influence on how his future developed.

Their extreme ungodly lifestyle was controlled by drug dealing, violence and gang culture. Over time this impressionable young man listened to the lads, and, sure enough, in the fullness of time, he joined the gang and entered into a life of destruction, resulting in periods of time being spent in prison.

The part of the conversation which really spoke to me was when he said “when I sat on the wall in my street I was listening to drug dealers. If I had been sitting next to a surgeon I would have become a surgeon, and if I had been sitting next to policeman I would have become a policeman”. What a thought provoking statement!

This first psalm is a prayer, giving clear advice on the importance of listening to the right voices for our protection, and talks about the dangers and consequences when we don’t. It instructs us not to walk, stand or sit in bad company, but to eagerly desire the daily meditation of God’s Word. Not just reading the Word, but really studying and meditating on each verse. God promises that your life will be blessed as He is revealed through the passages of Scripture.

Our question today is - whose voice do we trust - who are we sitting next to and getting advice from? Man or God?

May we not be like the vulnerable man in the radio interview, who listened to negative worldly advice. Instead, let us make it a habit to regularly sit at the feet of Jesus - get His advice, feast and ponder on His word. As we do, let’s ask Him how we should change, in order to live as God would want us to.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, that You chose us. Please keep us listening to the voices that bring us closer to You. Help us to hear Your advice, know Your wisdom, and delight in Your Word, as we daily meditate on your life-giving Scriptures. Please, Lord, guide us in sharing the truth of Your Word with those we’re called to walk with, or sit next to. Amen.
Today's Writer : Ann White
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

2 Timothy 1:12

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 17.11.2015 12:48

Today's Verse for 11/17/2015
I am suffering ... Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. — 2 Timothy 1:12

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Thought

As Paul faced very difficult circumstances near the end of his life, many of those he had led to the Lord abandoned him. But he was confident that the Lord would not abandon him! He had committed his life to Jesus as Lord. That Lord would ensure that the investment Paul had made would not be wasted. His life, his future, and his eternal destiny were entrusted to the Lord. He was confident that they were also secure in the Lord. He believed with every fiber of his being that on a special day known only to God, Jesus will return and every knee will bow and Paul's faith in the Lord will be joyously validated.
Prayer

Almighty God, I believe, but please strengthen my faith so that no matter what I may endure, my confidence in you will remain firm and my hope may remain vibrant. I entrust to you all that I am and all that I hope to be, believing fully that you will bring me through whatever lies ahead and bring me into your glorious presence with great joy. In Jesus' glorious 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

Tarry a Little Longer

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 18.11.2015 12:47

18 November, 2015
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Tarry a Little Longer

"When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. Then the Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?’"
Genesis 18:16-17, NIV

This special encounter with the Lord brought with it a promise for Abraham regarding the prophecy spoken over him by the Lord in Genesis 17:4 – ‘As for Me, this is My covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations’. The Lord appeared to Abraham in the heat of the day, as he was sitting at the entrance to his tent. He welcomed them into his home, and offered them the opportunity to rest, be refreshed and enjoy a meal, before they left.

Abraham must have been quite anxious to get an opportunity to speak to his wife, Sarah, regarding the Lord’s promise, but as we read in today’s scripture, he first walked along with the men to see them on their way. It was during this time that the Lord decided to reveal to Abraham what He was about to do in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:20).

If we continue reading up to Genesis 19, we see that the Lord was merciful towards Lot and his family (following Abraham’s plea) before He destroyed those cities and the entire plain (verse 25). It brings me to wonder what would have happened if Abraham hadn’t decided to walk along with the Lord, as He got up to leave. Maybe Lot and his family would have perished along with all the other people.

We often set a time for our Bible study, or quiet time with the Lord, but how often do we just spend extra time with Him? How often do we tarry just a little longer, and stop worrying about everything on our to-do-list? It’s often in those moments when the Lord reveals something special to us; those moments when we just chat to the Lord, and share our thoughts with Him.

It’s the same with the people we see every day. Often we would have liked to say something more to them, or the other way around. I think the Lord often wishes for us to just ‘walk along with Him’ so He can reveal more to us about His wondrous plans, and His love for us.
‘Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvellous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own’ (Jeremiah 33:3 MSG).

Prayer: Dear Lord, please forgive me for the times I rush when I’m speaking to You and don’t give You a chance to speak to me. I long to know You more, and draw nearer to You. Teach me how to experience the amazing privilege of chatting to You and hearing the wondrous things that only You can reveal to me. Amen.
Today's Writer : Annalene Holtzhausen
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

2 Corinthians 5:21

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 20.11.2015 13:52

Today's Verse for 11/20/2015
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. — 2 Corinthians 5:21

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Thought

When was the last time you thought of yourself as "the righteousness of God"? What does that mean anyway? It means that we have the best of qualities, found in the best of beings! But we know we are not god-like! We know our fallibility and flaws! We know our imperfections and our inconsistencies! How can we be "the righteousness of God"? Jesus, the perfect and sinless Righteous One of God, became our sin for us so we could be his righteousness. More than grace, that's a miracle! And a miracle, dear friend of Jesus, is exactly what you are!!
Prayer

Thank you, gracious and loving Father, for saving me and making me perfect through your sacrificial gift of your Son. Please use me to communicate your grace and your salvation with someone around me who hasn't accepted your grace. In the name of Jesus, my older brother and Savior, 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

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