VIDEO Never Ashamed

Oct 28, 2015

Are you ashamed of our Lord Jesus Christ? Are you ashamed of disclosing yourself as a Christian to others? Then this is just the movie you need to watch. Jesus says, “Everyone who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32,33). Jesus Christ is the center, the foundation and the substance of our lives. He alone is the only hope of the world.

When Yes Means No

I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me. Psalm 120:1

I thanked God for the privilege of serving as my mom’s live-in caregiver during her battle against leukemia. When medicines began to hurt more than help, she decided to stop treatment. “I don’t want to suffer anymore,” she said. “I want to enjoy my last days with family. God knows I’m ready to go home.”

I pleaded with our loving heavenly Father—the Great Physician—confident He could work miracles. But to say yes to my mom’s prayers, He would have to say no to mine. Sobbing, I surrendered, “Your will be done, Lord.”

We can trust Him to answer every prayer according to His will.

Soon after, Jesus welcomed my mama into a pain-free eternity.

In this fallen world, we’ll experience suffering until Jesus returns (Rom. 8:22–25). Our sinful nature, limited vision, and fear of pain can distort our ability to pray. Thankfully, “the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (v. 27). He reminds us that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him (v. 28), even when His yes to someone else means a heartbreaking no for us.

When we accept our small part in His greater purpose, we can echo my mom’s watchword: “God is good, and that’s all there is to it. Whatever He decides, I’m at peace.” With confidence in the Lord’s goodness, we can trust Him to answer every prayer according to His will and for His glory.

God’s answers are wiser than our prayers.

INSIGHT:The theme of Romans 8 seems to be the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Paul encourages us to set our minds on the Spirit (vv. 5–6), to see Him as vital to our spiritual identity (v. 9), to embrace His indwelling (v. 11), to follow His leading (v. 14), to see Him as assurance of our security in Christ (v. 16), and to rest in Him with our prayers (vv. 26–27). This theme is important to the life of God’s child because, as John wrote, “This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit” (1 John 4:13). The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is God’s promise of the future (Eph. 1:13) and His enabling for the present (Gal. 5:16). May we trust the Spirit to continue His wonderful work in us, making us more like the Jesus He came to honor (John 15:26).

Praying God’s Promises

Isaiah 40:8

Jesus made it clear that we would endure hardship in this life. But God gave His children amazing tools to keep trials from overwhelming us. For instance, He placed His Spirit inside each believer to guide and empower. In addition, He gave us the privilege of prayer so we could not only communicate and stay connected with our Father but also bring Him our requests.

Today I want to focus on another one of His marvelous gifts: the Bible. Scripture—the actual Word of God Almighty—is truth. It never changes. What’s more, it enables us in all circumstances, giving us a solid basis for making decisions and choosing which direction to go.

There are thousands of promises in the Bible—countless assurances that we can rely on with perfect confidence. God wants us to learn them so we won’t miss out on blessings He wants to give us. If we are wise, we’ll turn His promises into prayers and the cries of our heart.

Let me give you an example that relates to difficult decisions. Psalm 32:8 states, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” We can pray God’s words back to Him, saying that we believe He will teach us and reveal His path, while remaining by our side as our caregiver through the entire situation.

When hardships arise, we need a sure foundation on which to stand. Otherwise, our emotions could easily lead us astray through faulty thinking. God is faithful and unchanging, so we can trust in His promises, which enable us to rest confidently and act boldly.

Pain and Suffering

“Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him . . . they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. . . . And none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” (Job 2:11-13)

If God is sovereign and omnipotent, why does He permit “bad” to exist? Since pain and suffering exist, God seemingly must not be omnipotent, or not good, or both. Those who have been hurt by evil often conclude that if God cannot stop it, He does not deserve worship. Although this debate won’t be settled in this short devotional, some Bible facts must be considered.

When Adam and Eve chose to embrace the lie of self-determination and reject the rule of the Creator over them, God pronounced a sentence of death on all life and the sentence of disorder on all functioning systems in the universe. Death, of course, is the source of all pain and suffering, and “thorns and thistles” represent the ultimate decay of function and order in everything else. Pain and suffering are the result of evil, not the cause (Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 8:22).

Satan reverses that truth and would have mankind believe that God is the source of evil and must be placated.

Since Job was suffering, and God was sovereign, the only solution seemed that Job had violated one of God’s laws and therefore was suffering because he had sinned. Logic dictated that God was good and right, therefore Job was wrong and evil. The trouble was, of course, that human logic could not take into account the inscrutable omniscience of an omnipotent Creator. “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies” (Psalm 25:10). HMM III

Adapted from The Book of Beginnings  by Dr. Henry M. Morris III.

“Come boldly to the Throne.”

Exodus 19

Exodus 19:1-9

What a loving preface to the law! If anything could have engaged rebellious man to obedience, this would have done it, but, alas, the Lord has nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against him.

Exodus 19:10-11

Their garments smell of Egypt, and must be washed, to show them that man is unholy and all about him, and even when God meets him in love he must be cleansed from impurity.

Exodus 19:16

He who has ears to hear the law must tremble, for it condemns all who are under it.

Exodus 19:21-23

Such is the spirit of the law. It shows us our sinfulness, and so sets us at a distance from God, but the gospel removes our sin and brings us nigh. Hear how the Holy Ghost speaks concerning it, by his servant Paul, in

Hebrews 12:18-26

Hebrews 12:25, 26

Dear members of this family, let these solemn words sink deep into your souls. Despise not the Lord Jesus, but believe in him now.

 

Not to the terrors of the Lord,

The tempest, fire, and smoke;

Not to the thunder of that word

Which God on Sinai spoke:

 

But we are come to Sion’s hill,

The city of our God,

Where milder words declare his will,

And spread his love abroad.

 

How the Devil Turned A Friend Into a Betrayer!

John 13:2

Have you ever felt betrayed by a friend or by someone you dearly loved? When it happened, were you shocked? Did it feel like that person put a knife in your back by violating your trust and revealing things that should have been kept in confidence? Did you marvel that such a trusted friend could turn out to be so disloyal? Did you wonder, How in the world could a person so dear and close be used so viciously by the devil to attack me in this way?

It’s painful when a friend betrays you. It’s even worse when the person is your best friend or someone you’ve known and trusted for many years.

Betrayal is something that has happened to people since the beginning of time. It is simply a fact that the devil is a master at distorting and ruining relationships. He knows how to lure people into situations where they end up feeling offended or hurt; then he coaxes them to nurture their offense until it mutates into strife that separates even the best of friends and family.

Don’t forget—Satan was kicked out of Heaven because of his unique ability to create confusion, discord, and strife. Heaven is as perfect as an environment can be; yet in that perfect environment, the devil was still able to affect one-third of the angels with his slanderous allegations against God. Angels who had worshiped together for eons of time now stood opposed to each other over issues the devil had conjured up in their minds.

That should tell you how clever the devil is at creating discord and strife! If the devil is persuasive enough to do this with angels, think how much easier it is for him to deceive people who live in a far-from-perfect environment and who wrestle daily with their own imperfections and self-images!

Satan watches for that opportune moment when a person is tired, weary, or exasperated; then he waits until someone does something that person doesn’t understand or agree with. Suddenly it is as if the devil shoots a fiery arrow of rage straight into the person’s emotions! Before long, strife, bitterness, unforgiveness, and division begin to mount. Friends who once stood side by side and cherished each other now stand facing each other as hostile rivals.

If this sounds familiar, be encouraged! This same scenario happened to Jesus! After working with Judas Iscariot for three years, the devil found his way into Judas’ soul, turning him so sour against Jesus that this disciple became His betrayer. But we need to ask, What opened the door for this deception to occur inside Judas?

In John 13:2, the Bible gives us a very powerful insight into the way the devil establishes a foothold in people’s minds. Back in John 12:3-7, Mary brought a pound of spikenard and poured it on Jesus’ feet. Judas thought her act of love was a waste of money and took issue with Jesus about it. But Jesus told Judas to leave Mary alone and allowed her to continue. John 13:2 then tells us, “And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him.”

What was the exact moment that Satan put this thought into Judas’ heart? Apparently, it was when Judas became offended with Jesus about the spikenard. Perhaps Judas didn’t agree with Jesus’ decision, or maybe he didn’t like the fact that Jesus told him to leave Mary alone. Whatever the reason, it was at that moment of disagreement that the devil found an open door into Judas’ heart.

Especially notice the phrase “… the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot….”

The words “put into” come from the Greek word ballo, which means to throw, to cast, to thrust, or to inject. This word ballo carries the idea of a very fast action of throwing, thrusting, or injecting something forward, such as the throwing of a ball or rock, or the forward thrusting of a sharp knife.

It is significant that this word was used in this context, because it tells us how quickly the devil moved to inject a seed of betrayal into Judas’ heart. When the seed of betrayal was injected, it went so deep that it turned Judas—one of Jesus’ closest associates—into a deceiver and a betrayer. Judas became the epitome of a disloyal and unfaithful friend.

When Satan finally penetrated Judas’ mind and emotions with this seed of betrayal, he injected it so hard and fast that it became deeply embedded or lodged in Judas’ soul.

 

John 13:2 could therefore be translated:

“… the devil having now thrust into….”

“… the devil having now inserted into….”

“… the devil having now forcibly hurled into….”

“… the devil having now embedded into….”

There is no doubt that the word ballo means the devil quickly seized an opportunity to inject a seed of betrayal into Judas’ heart. He was so offended by Jesus that a window to his heart and emotions opened, even if only for a brief moment. When the devil saw that opening, he moved like lightning to penetrate Judas’ mind and emotions in order to sour a long-term relationship and turn a trusted friend into a betrayer.

Judas was used as Satan’s instrument because he allowed the enemy to drive a wedge between him and Jesus. Rather than let go of the disagreement and forget about it, Judas let the issue become a big deal in his mind—something so blown out of proportion that the devil was able to use the offense to lure him into the ultimate act of disloyalty. Because Judas didn’t take his thoughts captive, the devil succeeded in tainting his view of Jesus. This then led to a disastrous effect on Judas’ relationship with Him.

It is important that you learn how to recognize those times when the devil tries to inject a seed of division into your heart. He wants to drive a wedge between you and the people you love. Rather than let him get away with this evil tactic, make a decision to resist every temptation to get angry and offended. By resisting these thoughts, you can take a stand against the devil and protect your relationships.

Learn from the example of Judas Iscariot. Determine that you will never let any issue get so blown out of proportion that it turns you into a disloyal, lying, betraying friend. And if you are hurting right now because someone has recently betrayed and hurt you, choose the route of forgiveness! Remember, what you sow is what you reap—and if you sow forgiveness now, you will reap forgiveness from others when you need it in the future!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, please forgive me for the times I’ve allowed the devil to put a wedge between me and the people You have placed in my life. Help me go to them and ask forgiveness for the things

I did wrong. Help me also to extend patience, forgiveness, and love to others who have done wrong to me or who will wrong me in the future. I never want the devil to be in charge of my emotions or my thought life, so I am asking You to help me think clearly and to know how to recognize those times when the devil tries to upset me and ruin my relationships.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that my mind is free of offense, unforgiveness, and strife. Because I walk in mercy and forgiveness, the devil has no entrance or open door to find his way into my mind and emotions. The Spirit of God dominates my thinking and helps me see things very clearly!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Have you ever been aware of a moment when the devil was trying to sow a seed of discord into your soul against someone you dearly loved?
  2. Did you know that you faced a choice—that you could either overlook what the person had done to offend you, or you could let the offense get lodged deep down inside your soul?
  3. Did you let the devil divide you and that person you loved, or did you win the victory by making the choice that you would not allow the devil to disrupt such an important long-term relationship?

 

Are We Compassionate In Our Ministry To Others?

Cowboys drive cattle.

 

Shepherds lead sheep.

 

There is a difference, but occasionally in our efforts to minister we confuse the two.

 

One way to assess whether we resemble cattlemen or shepherds is to observe our reactions when people fail to perform up to our expectations:

  • Are we irritated by their failure, or driven to our knees in intercession?
  • Is our approach characterized by law or grace?

The Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)

 

Jesus, like Moses gave us the truth… but shrouded it in grace:

 

We all have received grace upon grace” (John 1:16)

 

That is, we have received grace that is continuous and never exhausted.

 

Surely that is also to be our approach in ministering to others.

 

When our primary objective in ministry is to help people toward an intimate relationship with Christ, the tenor of our service will be that of tender care rather than demands for rigid compliance.

 

If, however, we view people primarily as an important cog in achieving our ends of building a larger organization, or enhancing our image as a spiritual leader, those under our charge will be driven toward external conformity rather than nurtured toward internal transformation:

 

Driven like cattle rather than led like sheep.

 

When Jesus asked Peter if He loved Him, the Master suggested that the way to express that love was to feed His sheep. Shepherd His flock.

 

And that is our calling as well.

 

 

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