VIDEO Pray First

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.  Proverbs 16:3, NIV

Daniel Webster, the great statesman of other years, was once asked, “Mr. Webster, what is the most sobering, searching thought that ever entered your mind?” Without hesitancy, the staunch statesman replied, “My personal accountability to God.”

As we go through our daily lives we will inevitably make mistakes, but we can reduce them by taking a moment to pray about every decision, large and small. The Lord’s presence is near us, and we should ask Him for wisdom before sending that letter, posting that message, taking that job, having that conversation.

We certainly need His help with the big decisions in life, but the Lord also longs to bless the small ones too. When we commit whatever we do to the Lord, He will establish our plans. If we depend on ourselves with our faulty reasoning, our plans may falter. Take the time to pray first—make Him your accountability partner!

Trusting in the Lord, delighting in the Lord, committing my way unto the Lord, let me now just “rest.” Don’t worry. Whatever happens, just refer it to the Lord!  John Henry Jowett


Plans and Prayers – Proverbs 16:1-3

Faithful in Captivity

While Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him. Genesis 39:20–21

Haralan Popov had no idea what turn his life would take when the doorbell rang early one morning in 1948. Without any warning, the Bulgarian police took Haralan away to prison because of his faith. He spent the next thirteen years behind bars, praying for strength and courage. Despite horrible treatment, he knew God was with him, and he shared the good news of Jesus with fellow prisoners—and many believed.

In the account from Genesis 37, Joseph had no idea what would happen to him after he was mercilessly sold by his angry brothers to merchants who took him to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, an Egyptian official. He found himself in a culture surrounded by people who believed in thousands of gods. To make things worse, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph. When Joseph refused repeatedly, she falsely accused him, leading to his being sent to prison (39:16–20). Yet God didn’t abandon him. Not only was He with Joseph, but He also “gave him success in everything he did” and even “showed him kindness and granted him favor” with those in authority (39:3, 21).

Imagine the fear Joseph must have felt. But he remained faithful and kept his integrity. God was with Joseph in his difficult journey and had a master plan for him. He has a plan in mind for you too. Take heart and walk in faith, trusting He sees and He knows.

By Estera Pirosca Escobar

Reflect & Pray

What difficult situation have you experienced—perhaps one in which you were falsely accused? Why is it vital for you to maintain your integrity?

God, thank You for being with me always, even when life’s circumstances cause me to be uncomfortable. Help me to be faithful to You.

Assurance of Our Salvation

1 John 5:1-13

Do you ever wonder if you are truly saved? John wrote his first letter to give believers assurance of salvation by describing characteristics of those who have been born again (1 John 5:13). God wants us to know we are safe and secure in Him through the salvation provided at the cross to all who come to Christ in faith. A three-fold test can help you assess whether you’ve experienced spiritual rebirth.

What does the Word of God say? The best way to know about salvation is through the Bible’s teaching. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

What is the witness of the Spirit? When we by faith receive Jesus Christ as Lord, the Father sets His Holy Spirit within us. Romans 8:16 tells us, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” His internal witness assures us that we are saved—regardless of how our feelings ebb and flow.

What is the desire of my heart? When the Holy Spirit takes up residence within the human heart, powerful changes occur. We are given new desires to know God and His Word and to live in obedience to Him. We now have the capacity to hate the sin we once loved and to quickly repent when we feel the Spirit’s conviction.

If you’ve trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and can see the changes God’s Spirit has made in your life, then rejoice today as a saved and secure child of God.

Shut Up the Kingdom

“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” (Matthew 23:13) 

Our Lord Jesus pronounced eight “woes” in Matthew 23 on the religious leaders of His day. This one condemns them for refusing the liberty that Christ was bringing with the new covenant.

The first “formal” message that Jesus preached was taken from the great prophecy in Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18).

Later, the apostle Paul noted that “before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed” (Galatians 3:23). These self-righteous leaders were so enamored with their positions and prestige that they refused to rejoice in the “liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Galatians 5:1) and kept the prison doors of legalistic self-righteousness shut fast—even against those who were responding to the good news of the Kingdom!

It is interesting to note that Jesus condemned both groups (Pharisees and Sadducees) for the same problem. Yet they were much different in their positions. The Pharisees would be analogous to the legalists of our day and the Sadducees to the liberals. Both camps claimed belief in “inspiration” and both camps prided themselves on their knowledge of Scripture.

Their common error was distorting the truth of God with interpretations that clouded the message—thereby shutting up the doors out of unbelief that led into the “glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). May God keep us from such confusion. HMM III

The Old Cross and New Cross

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

—Galatians 6:14

The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter. The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before that cross it bows and toward that cross it points with carefully staged histrionics—but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross it stubbornly refuses to bear.

I well know how many smooth arguments can be marshaled in support of the new cross. Does not the new cross win converts and make many followers and so carry the advantage of numerical success? Should we not adjust ourselves to the changing times? Have we not heard the slogan “New days, new ways”? And who but someone very old and very conservative would insist upon death as the appointed way to life? And who today is interested in a gloomy mysticism that would sentence its flesh to a cross and recommend self-effacing humility as a virtue actually to be practiced by modern Christians? These are the arguments, along with many more flippant still, which are brought forward to give an appearance of wisdom to the hollow and meaningless cross of popular Christianity.   POM053-054

Help me today to deny myself, to take up my cross and to follow You. Amen

 

Behold the heaven and the heaven of heavens

Behold the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also with all that therein is.—Deuteronomy 10:14.

 

Father, there is no change to live with Thee,

Save that in Christ I grow from day to day,

In each new word I hear, each thing

I See, I but rejoicing hasten on my way.

Jones Very.

 

The immediate result of the coming of these good tidings of great joy to me was no outward change in anything, but an inward change of everything, making everything translucent with the light within and beyond. The sum of it all was always that the universe is full of God, and God is love. We are His, and all things are His; therefore in Him all things are ours. In the home, in society, in nature, our beloved moors and woods, and rivers and glens and seas, there was the touch, the breath of God’s living, real presence.

Elizabeth Rundle Charles.

 

He is so infinitely blessed, that every perception of His blissful presence imparts a vital gladness to the heart. Every degree of approach to Him is, in the same proportion, a degree of happiness. And I often think that were He always present to our mind, as we are present to Him there would be no pain, nor sense of misery.

Susanna Wesley.

 

His Eternal Pledge

“And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the Lord.” Hosea 2:19, 20

Betrothment unto the Lord! What an honor and a joy! My soul, is Jesus indeed thine by His own condescending betrothal? Then, mark, it is for ever. He will never break His engagement, much less sue out a divorce against a soul joined to Himself in marriage bonds.

Three times the Lord says, “I will betroth thee.” What words He heaps together to set forth the betrothal! Righteousness comes in to make the covenant legal; none can forbid these lawful banns. Judgment sanctions the alliance with its decree: none can see folly or error in the match. Lovingkindness warrants that this is a love union, for without love betrothal is bondage, and not blessedness. Meanwhile, mercy smiles, and even sings; yea, she multiplies herself into “mercies,” because of the abounding grace of this holy union.

Faithfulness is the registrar, and records the marriage, and the Holy Spirit says “Amen” to it, as He promises to teach the betrothed heart all the sacred knowledge needful for its high destiny. What a promise!