VIDEO You Can Be Set Free

Mar 22, 2017

Life has a way of getting us down. When our emotions respond to the myriad of problems we face, often we feel crippled and helpless. Before we know it, we are waist-high in a bog of our own emotional strongholds, such as depression, anger and anxiety. Tony Evans makes a connection between our emotional responses to earthly struggles and spiritual warfare. By tackling our spiritual problems, we can begin to experience victory over our true enemy.

https://kingdomdaughterblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/watch-you-can-be-set-free-on-youtube/

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Under His Wings

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4

When I think of protection, I don’t automatically think of a bird’s feathers. Though a bird’s feathers might seem like a flimsy form of protection, there is more to them than meets the eye.

Bird feathers are an amazing example of God’s design. Feathers have a smooth part and a fluffy part. The smooth part of the feather has stiff barbs with tiny hooks that lock together like the prongs of a zipper. The fluffy part keeps a bird warm. Together both parts of the feather protect the bird from wind and rain. But many baby birds are covered in a fluffy down and their feathers haven’t fully developed. So a mother bird has to cover them in the nest with her own feathers to protect them from wind and rain.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4

The image of God “[covering] us with his feathers” in Psalm 91:4 and in other Bible passages (see Ps. 17:8) is one of comfort and protection. The image that comes to mind is a mother bird covering her little ones with her feathers. Like a parent whose arms are a safe place to retreat from a scary storm or a hurt, God’s comforting presence provides safety and protection from life’s emotional storms.

Though we go through trouble and heartache, we can face them without fear as long as our faces are turned toward God. He is our “refuge” (91:2, 4, 9).

Father God, help me trust that You are bigger than any fear I have.

Our Daily Bread welcomes writer Linda Washington! Meet Linda and all our authors at odb.org/all-authors

When fear causes hope to fade, flee to God, the refuge you can reach on your knees.

By Linda Washington 

INSIGHT:Psalm 91 is a beautiful expression of confidence in the Lord’s presence and protection. The writer speaks of both physical protection (from arrows, disease, pestilence, plague) and emotional protection from the evils and disasters happening all around (vv. 5–6). But this psalm is also a conversation. The Lord responds to the faith of those who trust Him by saying, “I will rescue him” (v. 14). J.R. Hudberg

Obstacles as Opportunities

Psalm 27:14

Learning to see obstacles as opportunities takes time. Recalling certain truths can help our perspective:

God is at work. As barriers remain in place and our situation seems unchanged, God is orchestrating people and events to move His plan forward. He works silently, invisibly, and effectively.

God prepares the way. He has already decided in His mind which hindrances to remove and which to leave unaltered. For the obstacles that remain, the Lord will arrange a way around them or fit them into His plan. What He has determined will be accomplished.

God requires our cooperation. He wants us to be ready to face difficult situations. Through His Word, He communicates what we need to know and also equips us (Heb. 13:20-21).

God is personally involved. He wants to develop in us a greater sensitivity to His presence. Through Scripture, prayer, and other believers, we can receive the assurance that the Lord is near.

God gives clear instruction. He does not bring confusion. Whether we receive His direction in stages or all at once, He asks us to trust in Him rather than our own thinking (Prov. 3:5-6).

Facing challenges involves courage, patience, and faith. It takes courage to accept the presence of barriers, to move in step with God, and to do what He asks. Patience is required as we wait for Him to equip us and reveal His plan. Faith is necessary for us to trust God with the outcome and to focus on obeying Him.

Church Leadership

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed.” (1 Peter 5:1)

The leaders of the early churches were critical not only to the ministry of each church but also to its survival. Correspondingly, numerous New Testament passages deal with their qualifications and function. In our text, Peter exhorts these men to proper leadership through service and informs them of a reward waiting for them.

First, we notice that Peter addresses a group of elders, not a single individual in sole authority. No example is given in the New Testament of any church that has grown past infancy that has not incorporated the wisdom of a group of spiritually mature men into its leadership, although there may need to be one who presides among this group.

The primary function of such godly leaders is to “feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof” (v. 2). Note especially that the flock they shepherd is God’s flock among them, not their own flock. A true flock leader takes strong and careful “oversight” but does not usurp ownership.

These leaders are to serve “willingly,” not under “constraint.” Their motive should be “of a ready mind” and “not for filthy lucre,” or financial gain (v. 2). Moreover, these leaders must not be “lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (v. 3). They should lead by serving, thereby establishing a mindset of service in the rest.

Finally, Peter reminds the leaders that faithful, sacrificial service will be rewarded, for “when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (v. 4). May God continue to grant willing, faithful, sacrificial servants to lead each local flock. JDM

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

1 Samuel 15:1-3, 9-11, 13-23

1 Samuel 15:1-3

This wandering people had wantonly attacked the Israelites in the desert, in the most cowardly manner, and this national sin had long been registered in God’s book against them. They were moreover a barbarous race of plunderers, most dangerous to their neighbours and to all settled government. The time was come when divine justice required that they should be brought to condign punishment. Saul was therefore sent of God to be the executioner, and was commanded to do his work thoroughly.

1 Samuel 15:9

This was half-obedience, which is whole rebellion. Many are ready to slay their disreputable sins, but their fashionable transgressions they cannot give up.

1 Samuel 15:11

The rejection of sinners is a great grief to saints: God has no pleasure in the death of sinners, nor have his people.

1 Samuel 15:15

He lays his fault upon others, and pleads the good intention of the act. Neither excuse would avail.

1 Samuel 15:16-23

Nothing can compensate for a want of obedience to Gods will. We may pretend great zeal for God’s glory, but wilful neglect of divine commands will condemn us. External religion cannot be a substitute for holiness. Those who pretended to witchcraft were put to death by Saul, but so long as he himself would not do as the Lord bade him, he was as guilty as the witches whom he slew. Idolatry was known to be overt rebellion against Jehovah, but obstinate disregard of his law was quite as evil a form of rebellion. May the Holy Ghost make us scrupulously obedient, for nothing short of this will prove us to be the true servants of the Lord.

 

Where Does the Bible Ever Say God Is Looking for Brains?

1 Corinthians 1:26-28

If you see yourself as weak, feeble, or unskilled, don’t let that bother you too much. God has been calling feeble and unskilled people from the beginning of time. Few of those whom God has called have been the “cream of the crop” according to the flesh. Again and again, God has chosen people who were ill-esteemed in the eyes of the world when He needed a candidate or a group of people to do a job.

God has always used common people to build His Kingdom. He doesn’t primarily choose famous movie stars or the royalty and nobility of the world to fulfill His plans and purposes on this earth. God’s criteria are different from the criteria of the world. As Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”

When God chose Samuel to lead the nation, Samuel was just a young boy. When God looked for someone to kill a giant, He chose a young shepherd boy named David. When the fullness of time came and it was time to send His Son to this earth, God chose a young girl named Mary to give birth to the Savior of the world.

When it was time for Jesus to choose disciples, He didn’t go to the theological institutes or seminaries of the day. Rather, Jesus chose disciples who knew more about fishing and tax-collecting than about the Scriptures. And when God searched for someone He could use to write the majority of the New Testament, He chose the apostle Paul, who was once one of the meanest Christian killers of all time!

God has always shown up in places where He wasn’t expected. Just consider the location where Jesus was born—in a lowly shepherd’s stall. This was certainly not the place anyone would have expected the King of kings to be born. Wouldn’t it have been better for the King of kings to be born in a gold-gilded hall with trumpets blasting to announce His birth?

So if you have ever thought you weren’t good enough for God to use, it’s time for you to renew your thinking! God is looking for people no one else wants or deems valuable. When great victories are won through ordinary folks, there’s no question as to who should receive the glory! As First Corinthians 1:29 says, “That no flesh should glory in his presence.”

The Old and New Testaments are filled with illustrations of people whom God wanted, but whom the world rejected. God’s choice is not based on beauty or ugliness, talent or lack of talent, education or lack of education, a diploma or lack of a diploma. If a person has a right heart toward God, he is qualified to be used by God.

In First Corinthians 1:26-28, Paul wrote, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen….”

As Paul writes his list of those whom God does and doesn’t call, he begins by stating that God doesn’t call many who are considered “wise” by the world. The word “wise” is from the Greek word sophos. It refers to a person who possesses special enlightenment or special insight.

The word sophos was usually used to portray highly educated people, such as scientists, philosophers, doctors, teachers, and others who were considered to be the super-intelligentsia of the world. These belong to a class of individuals whom the world would call clever, astute, smart, or intellectually brilliant. This term was reserved only for those considered to be super-impressive or a cut above the rest of society.

But Paul says, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh….” Paul informs us that most of the folks God calls don’t fit into this category of the super-intelligentsia. In other words, God doesn’t specialize in calling people who are especially bright, educated, astute, smart, or eminently enlightened.

I would be foolish to overlook the fact that over the years, many intelligent men and women who loved God have made a great impact on the world. Paul himself was a part of this elite group before he came to Christ. Apollos, Paul’s friend who later pastored the church of Corinth, also came from this intellectual “upper echelon” of society. But Paul and Apollos were not typical of the first-century Church.

It was the sophos who scorned and ridiculed Paul when he preached in Athens. The philosophers of Athens, the Epicureans, and the Stoics derided him and made him a laughingstock. Paul said that “not many” are called who fit into this sophos category. Of course, God’s call is to all men; nevertheless, “not many” from this category respond to God’s call.

Take a close look at the Early Church, and you’ll see that it was primarily composed of servants, slaves, and poorer people who heard the Good News of the Gospel and believed. It was an army of common people. Although there were a few elite in the Church, these were the exception rather than the rule. In fact, as you study Church history, you will see that God specializes in calling people from a much lower class. And if you take a close look at the Church today, you’ll see that God still specializes in calling common people.

Now, I’m not debasing education. People should get as much education as possible. But school-issued pieces of paper are not the criteria that impresses God and gets His attention. There have been many educated people whom God could not use. Even though they were brilliant according to the flesh, they were not worthy of being chosen because their hearts weren’t right.

Educational degrees may help you get a good job and positively sway the opinion of men in your favor, but Paul makes it very clear that God is not bent on using people who are especially bright according to the standards of the flesh.

In fact, the Bible shows that when God does call people who are intellectually impressive, such as Moses or the apostle Paul, He usually has to empty them of themselves before He can use them! When they lean on their own understanding, they are unable to accomplish what God wants. But when they lean wholly upon Him, He is able to perform miracles through their lives.

Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Certainly natural knowledge and understanding are needful in the world we live in today. But if our natural understanding rather than our trust in God becomes the basis for our confidence, we put ourselves at a disadvantage. We have to learn to use what we know while leaning only on the Lord and His might.

David wrote, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7). The best technology of David’s time was used to develop chariots. Man’s greatest intellectual powers were employed to make chariots faster, stronger, and safer. In addition, horses represented natural power, strength, and might. Therefore, David was saying, “Some trust in man’s mind and his great achievements; others rely on their own natural power and might; but we will rely upon the name of the Lord.”

Perhaps you’re one of those people who says, “God can’t use me because I don’t have enough gifts or talents. I haven’t even been to college. I don’t even have a Bible school degree.” If you are, it’s time for you to change the way you’re thinking and talking. It’s time for you to start seeing yourself the way God does!

In fact, if you feel inferior to others, remember that God regularly calls unskilled and uneducated people. Just think of the majority of the apostles whom Jesus handpicked to serve at His side and to lay the foundation of the Church. Those apostles were fishermen, tax collectors, common people—not theologians.

God is looking to build a strong, powerful army. The soldiers of an army are rarely composed of the intellectually astute. Flavius Vegetius Renatus, who lived around 380 AD, was the author of the most influential military book ever written for the Roman Empire. Look at the type of person he says makes the best soldier: “Peasants are the most fit to carry arms…. They are simple, content with little, inured to fatigue, and prepared in some measure for military life by their continual employment in farm work, in handling the spade, digging trenches and carrying burdens.”

The truth is, God is looking for people who know how and are willing to pay a price—to undergo any hardship needed, to confront the power of hell, and to “dig trenches and carry burdens” until their assignment is completed just as God ordered it. God doesn’t necessarily need the super-intelligentsia of the world to get these jobs done. In fact, common people are often God’s first choice because they are already equipped to a certain degree to face the challenges and difficulties of life.

So if you want to be used by God and serve in His army, quit complaining that you’re not as smart or sharp as someone else. Where does the Bible ever say God is looking for brains? He’s looking for hearts that are willing to follow Him. If you have that kind of heart, you are exactly the kind of person God wants to use!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I am so glad You don’t choose only the intellectually brilliant. You are looking for anyone who has a heart to be used by You. Well, that’s me, Lord. I want You to use me. I offer You everything I havemy good points, my weak points, my gifts, my talents, and everything else that I am. I want You to use me for Your glory! I’ve told You before, but today I’m telling You again that I want You to take my life and do something wonderful with me!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am exactly the kind of person God can use! God is looking to carry out great victories through my life! His choice is not based on beauty or a lack of beauty, talent or lack of talent, education or lack of education, a diploma or lack of a diploma. No, God has chosen me because I have a heart that is right before Him!

I declare this in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Can you recall concrete examples of people in the Bible whom the world thought to be worth nothing—yet God called them, changed them, and then used them to change world history? Try to name five people who fit into this category.
  2. Can you think of specific people outside the Bible whom the world thought to be worth nothing, yet God used them to change society? Try to name five people who fit into this category as well.
  3. If God specializes in calling people who come from common backgrounds, what does this mean for you?

 

The Real World Of Business

Let’s cut through all the smoke and mirrors and talk about the real world of business. To be honest, it is a place of violence — both to the spirit and the body. It is an arena where pressure, ulcers, and manipulation are standard fare. Where verbal abuse, slander, emotional and physical breakdowns are a common occurrence. It’s stress city, but quite honestly, down right addictive.

 

The real world of business can be likened to a boxing match: 15 rounds of abuse, blood, and loosened teeth. Beating up on the other guy. It is about defiance — coming up against a superior force and refusing to give in. Think Rocky. Chuck Norris. Clorox’d preppy wimps need not apply. It’s not just about money, but about winning. Outsmarting the other guy at his game. It’s about getting there first with the most. Clinching the deal. Getting the contract. Controlling the market.

 

The real world of business is about being on top of the sweaty pile of those who came in second… or last. After all no one knows or cares who is the second richest guy in the world. But we all know about Bill Gates, Michael Jordan and Tom Cruise. Like Lombardi said, “Show me a good loser and Ill show you a loser.” Therefore, losing is not an option. Winning is the only option.

 

How then are businessmen who are followers of Christ to relate to this “real world of business”?

 

1. By concentrating primarily on serving the public with superior products and service, rather than on beating out the competition. After all, is it not God who promises to meet our needs? (Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:19)

 

2. By demonstrating in the rough and tumble of business that meekness is not weakness, but strength under control — steel character covered with velvet. (Matthew 5:5)

 

3. By exemplifying Jesus who was tough on liars and hypocrites, while willingly giving up His personal rights:

 

Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His stepsWhen they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:21, 23; See Matthew 23:33)

 

4. By choosing to be so Biblically based, and thus so radically different from the average person in the “real world of business,” that people will demand an explanation. After all, isn’t that what true witnessing is all about? (1 Peter 3:15; Matthew 5:13, 16)

 

 

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