A TABLEBEARER

“You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor… You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” – Leviticus 19:16-18 NKJV

John Hill became a master of spreading gossip. Born in 1716, he became the editor of the British Magazine from 1746 to 1750.  He also contributed a daily society-gossip column to The London Advertiser and the Literary Gazette. His writings, so filled with rumors and half-truths, his actions angered many people, and led to bitter quarrels.

Today, the world is filled with people like John Hill, who delight in spreading rumors. They twist tiny morsels of information into malicious stories and share their speculations with morbid delight, unconcerned when they stir up problems and devastate the lives of others. This activity is celebrated by many in the media, who focus on digging up dirt and spreading gossip.

But this activity can be a real danger. In fact, God stated in the Law that His people were not to go about as a “talebearer.” The Hebrew word here more literally could be translated “a scandal monger.” These people are willing to cause scandals. In contrast, God wants us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” If we truly love others, and God, we will not be talebearers. We will not gossip or spread rumors.

Today, ask God to give you a deeper love for others. And realize that your words make a difference. You have the power to impact people for good, or for evil. To draw them close to God, or drive them away. To sow seeds of love or harm. Ask Him to help you not be a talebearer, but a witness for good. For His Kingdom. An ambassador of His love.

Today’s Inspiration Prayer

Father, help me to be careful about the words I speak. I want my words and deeds to bless others and draw them closer to You. I surrender my life to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Reading: Leviticus 19

A Murderer at Heart

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. – (Ephesians 4:31)

Many of us would never murder a person, but we may wish someone were dead. Have you ever hated anyone? Let me rephrase the question: Have you ever driven on a freeway anywhere ?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.” (Matthew 5:21–22).

We also read in 1 John 3:15, “Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.” The word used here for hate means “to habitually despise.” It is not just a transient emotion of the affections but a deep-rooted loathing.

We all lose our temper at times. I don’t think the Bible is saying that if you get angry and honk at someone, then you are a murderer. No, you are just a honker, and maybe you shouldn’t have lost your temper. The hatred the Bible is speaking of here is a deep-rooted loathing. It’s an attitude that says, “I hate your guts. When you walk into a room, I just seethe. I boil. I would like to see you destroyed. I sit around and think of ways that I could hurt you.”

Guess what? That is like murdering a person, and that is a sin before God.

So even if we have never committed the physical act of murder, the reality is that we still can be murderers in our hearts.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Greg Laurie Daily Devotional

 

 

A Confident Relationship

“Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me… Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm… At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me… But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.” – 2 Timothy 4:10-17 NASB

Paul began his Christian life when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Others were present, but no one else heard Jesus’ voice. They just knew something dramatic had taken place, that Paul had become blind.

In Damascus, Paul met with Ananias, who gave Paul perspective, praying for him and giving him direction. Perhaps most importantly, he introduced Paul to the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:1-18).

While Paul learned much from other Believers, it was the strength of his personal relationship with God, through His Spirit, that gave his ministry unusual power and impact. Although he had moments of uncertainty, he always eventually found clarity and answers, and received God’s direction.

As Paul approached the end of his earthly ministry, we see why this pattern had become so important. He described to Timothy how he felt alone and abandoned. It seemed that “no one supported” him. He was opposed by people who once had been his friends and partners. Some (like Timothy and Mark) provided him with encouragement and companionship, but others deserted him.

Yet he knew that he could depend on the Lord, who “stood with me and strengthened me.” Because of this awareness of God’s presence, he could focus on his ministry and His call on his life.

The Bible makes it clear that all Believers are part of the Body of Christ. We are not to forsake our “assembling together” (Hebrews 10:25). Yet we each need to develop our personal relationship with Him.

Make sure that you are strong in your personal relationship with God. Seek to be so confident that you completely trust Him. That you know that He is with you. And remember. You are never alone.

Today’s Inspiration Prayer:
Father, I desire to know You better. I commit my life to You. Help me to serve You and please You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Reading: 2 Timothy 4
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SOURCE: Culled from Inspiration Ministry.

RETRAIN YOUR BRAIN

‘Be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.’ – Colossians 3:10 NLT

When we become a Christian, things in our lives change. We change some of our behaviour; we stop doing certain things and start doing others. We change the way we might speak, and most importantly, we begin to change the way we think. Why is this the most important? If we don’t change our thinking, our actions and words will soon return to how they were before. When we retrain our brain, our actions and words will follow suit.

Changing how we think doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. The Bible says: ‘Be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.’ The more we learn about Jesus, the more we transform and change to be like Him. As we learn what God thinks about us, we begin to change our thoughts to think about ourselves like that too. As we learn what Jesus would do in a situation, we begin to think like Him too. Romans 12:2 says: ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will’ (NIV).

So how do we renew our mind? We need to immerse ourselves in God’s Word so that we know how He thinks about things. The Bible even tells us some things we should be focusing our thinking on: ‘Think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected’ (Philippians 4:8-9 NCV). And we can always ask Him to help bring our thoughts into line with His.

What Now?

Throughout the day, try and weigh up some of your thoughts. Are they good, worthy of praise, true, honourable , right, pure, beautiful, and respected?

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Word for You.

WE NEED GOD

FRIDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER 2018

‘Apart from me you can do nothing.’ -John 15:5 NIV

Just like a fish needs water in order to survive and a plant needs soil in order to grow, we need God because there’s an emptiness within us that only He can fill. We need everything He promises to us.

Life can be pressurised and busy, but God promises rest. He says: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28 NIV). Life can hurt, but God heals. ‘He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds’ (Psalm 147:3 NIVUK). Life can cause fear and anxiety, but God offers peace. ‘The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:7 NIV). Life can make us feel like we have to strive for what we need, God promises to provide for all our needs. ‘God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:19 NIV). Life can leave us feeling weak, God offers His strength. ‘Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength’ (Isaiah 40:31 NIV).

God wants us to surrender to Him. He knows what we need and He’s willing to provide it. We just need to let go of the control we’re holding on to. Jesus used the analogy of a vine to try and show us that we need Him. He said: ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5 NIV). When we recognize how much we need God, we’ll never want to live life apart from Him again.

What Now?

What do you need from God today? Peace? Rest? Strength? Spend some time asking Him for it.

Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 7-9, 2 Corinthians 6

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SOURCE: Culled from Word for You.

WE NEED GOD

‘Apart from me you can do nothing.’ -John 15:5 NIV

Just like a fish needs water in order to survive and a plant needs soil in order to grow, we need God because there’s an emptiness within us that only He can fill. We need everything He promises to us. Life can be pressurised and busy, but God promises rest. He says: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28 NIV). Life can hurt, but God heals. ‘He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds’ (Psalm 147:3 NIVUK). Life can cause fear and anxiety, but God offers peace. ‘The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:7 NIV).

Life can make us feel like we have to strive for what we need, God promises to provide for all our needs. ‘God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:19 NIV). Life can leave us feeling weak, God offers His strength. ‘Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength’ (Isaiah 40:31 NIV). God wants us to surrender to Him. He knows what we need and He’s willing to provide it. We just need to let go of the control we’re holding on to. Jesus used the analogy of a vine to try and show us that we need Him. He said: ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5 NIV). When we recognise how much we need God, we’ll never want to live life apart from Him again.

What Now?

What do you need from God today? Peace? Rest? Strength? Spend some time asking Him for it.

Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 7-9, 2 Corinthians 6

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Word for You.

TODAY IS YOUR BEST DAY BECAUSE OF JOY

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. ISAIAH 35:10 KJV

Joy is one of the great benefits and blessings of the Kingdom of God within your life. Joy is the melody of heaven that is placed in your heart; joy is the Holy Spirit’s symphony that is played within your spirit; joy is the theme song of every person who trusts in the Lord and knows His love.

Joy is the highest level of delight that a person can experience. Human happiness is dependent upon the experiences and circumstances of life, while joy is dependent upon God alone. God, not your personality type, is the source of your joy. Today, joy flows from His heart to yours like a fountain that will never run dry.

We move into the highest levels of joy when we abide in the love of the Father, and through Him, reach out to love others. Today is your best day as you allow the Father to fill you with His love, love others through you, and as you walk in the fullness of His joy.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from DaySpring Daily Devotional.

BREAK WITH THE PAST

‘She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.’

Mark 14:3 NIV

Remember the woman who anointed Jesus? ‘While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.’ She gave her most precious possession to Jesus.

Not only was it extremely valuable, it was also part of her appeal as a prostitute. Breaking it open was her way of breaking with her past. She was giving up her former life by giving that jar to Jesus. God wants to transform us. The Bible says: ‘And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’ (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV).

But we can often want God to transform us while we keep doing the same old thing. We want Him to change our circumstances without having to change us at all. We can’t expect growth and change when we refuse to hand our past over to God, to hand over the things that have taken His place as priority in our lives, and to hand over who we are in favor of who we could be. Most of us get stuck spiritually because we keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. Spiritual routines are a crucial part of spiritual growth, but when the routine becomes routine, we need to change it. What got us to where we are, may not get us to where God wants us to go next.

What Now?

Has your spiritual journey become mundane and routine? Think of some new, creative ways you can connect with God today. 

Bible in a Year: Song of Songs 1-3, 2 Corinthians 8

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A RIVER OF LIVING WATER

John 7:37-39

If you’ve ever lived in a desert or experienced a long-term drought, you understand how essential water is. Without it, plants dry up, crops fail, animals languish with thirst, and before long the ground cracks and dust starts to blow. Sometimes, this is how life feels, too—dry, fruitless, unsatisfying, and futile.

But this should not be the case for believers. Even if the externals of life resemble a drought, inside we have the ever-flowing living water of the Holy Spirit. Of all the word pictures employed in the Bible to depict the Spirit, a river of living water ranks among the most powerful. He is seen as the source of vitality and abundance in our lives. Like a continually moving stream, He flows through us, performing His sanctifying work of transforming us into the image of Christ.

Getting to know the Spirit is a lifelong process. As we walk in obedience to Him, we experience both His quiet guidance through life’s challenges and His power displayed in our weakness. We marvel when He brings to light a passage of Scripture and find solace in His comfort when we’re hurting. His convictions guide us to repentance so we can be cleansed with living water. And His promptings and warnings keep us from heading down the wrong path.

Because the life-giving Spirit dwells within us, no Christian has to live a dry, fruitless life. Of course, if we opt to live as we please and indulge in sin, we’ll quench Him. But the more we learn of Him in Scripture and walk with Him in obedience, the more His life will flow through us.

 

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BE GENEROUS BECAUSE GOD IS GENEROUS

THURSDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER 2018

As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ” (2 Corinthians 9:13 NLT).

As followers of Christ, we need to remember to be generous.

Why is it so important to remember to be generous? Here are three ways it makes an impact on our lives.

It makes you happy. Acts 20:35 says, “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (NLT). Notice Jesus didn’t say it is not a blessed thing to receive. It does make you happy to receive. But the world will tell you that you will be happiest when you receive. Jesus turned that idea around and said that you will be happier when you give than when you receive.

It just makes sense. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:6, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (NIV). Every one of us wants others to be generous with us. Do you think that by sowing miserly selfishness you’re going to reap generosity from God and others? God says that’s not the way life works. There is a law of sowing and reaping. So if you want to reap generosity, you have to sow generosity.

It shows the world what God is like. The Bible says, “As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ” (2 Corinthians 9:13 NLT).

When it comes to generosity, what encourages me is to remember the incredible generosity of God. Look at the world we get to live in. Look at the life he gave us. Look at the way he meets our needs. God is the perfect model of generosity. And when we are generous with others because of God’s generosity toward us, it points others to God.

Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart?

Are you ready to receive God’s gift of grace to you? It’s a simple prayer that will tell God you accept the gift of Jesus.

Prayer:

“Dear God, I’m scared, but I want to get to know you. I don’t understand it all, but I thank you that you love me. I thank you that you were with me, even when I didn’t recognize it. I thank you that you are for me — that you didn’t send Jesus to condemn me but to save me.

“I admit that I never even realized I needed a Savior, but today I want to receive the gift of your Son. I ask you to save me from my past, my regrets, my mistakes, my sins, my habits, my hurts, and my hang-ups. I need you to take away the stress and fill me with your love. I need to be at peace with you, and I need you to put your peace in my heart.

“I ask you to save me for your purpose. I want to know why you put me on this planet. And I want to fulfill what you made me to do. I want to learn to love you and trust you and have a relationship with you. I prayer this in the name of Jesus, amen.”

STAY BLESSED