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Friday, November 20, 2015

Disappointing End (and other devotionals)

Today's reading: 1 Kings 11:1-8

Solomon was known for his wisdom and serving God. But as he got older, he allowed his lustful impulses and emotions to guide his thinking and behavior. It was heartbreaking to read how after years of incredible relationship with and blessing from God, Solomon chooses to pursue his own desires by giving his heart and affections to many ungodly women.

If Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, wasn't immune to sin, what warning does that provide for us? What does this passage reveal about the powerful influence of sexual relationships and lust? 

~Tami~
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Luke 5:4
Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
We learn from this narrative, the necessity of human agency. The draught of fishes was miraculous, yet neither the fisherman nor his boat, nor his fishing tackle were ignored; but all were used to take the fishes. So in the saving of souls, God worketh by means; and while the present economy of grace shall stand, God will be pleased by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. When God worketh without instruments, doubtless He is glorified; but He hath Himself selected the plan of instrumentality as being that by which He is most magnified in the earth. Means of themselves are utterly unavailing. "Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing." What was the reason of this? Were they not fishermen plying their special calling? Verily, they were no raw hands; they understood the work. Had they gone about the toil unskillfully? No. Had they lacked industry? No, they had toiled. Had they lacked perseverance? No, they had toiled all the night. Was there a deficiency of fish in the sea? Certainly not, for as soon as the Master came, they swam to the net in shoals. What, then, is the reason? Is it because there is no power in the means of themselves apart from the presence of Jesus? "Without Him we can do nothing." But with Christ we can do all things. Christ's presence confers success. Jesus sat in Peter's boat, and His will, by a mysterious influence, drew the fish to the net. When Jesus is lifted up in His Church, His presence is the Church's power-the shout of a king is in the midst of her. "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." Let us go out this morning on our work of soul fishing, looking up in faith, and around us in solemn anxiety. Let us toil till night comes, and we shall not labour in vain, for He who bids us let down the net, will fill it with fishes.

~Charles Spurgeon~
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Praying in the Holy Ghost.
Mark the grand characteristic of true prayer-"In the Holy Ghost." The seed of acceptable devotion must come from heaven's storehouse. Only the prayer which comes from God can go to God. We must shoot the Lord's arrows back to Him. That desire which He writes upon our heart will move His heart and bring down a blessing, but the desires of the flesh have no power with Him. Praying in the Holy Ghost is praying in fervency. Cold prayers ask the Lord not to hear them. Those who do not plead with fervency, plead not at all. As well speak of lukewarm fire as of lukewarm prayer-it is essential that it be red hot. It is praying perseveringly. The true suppliant gathers force as he proceeds, and grows more fervent when God delays to answer. The longer the gate is closed, the more vehemently does he use the knocker, and the longer the angel lingers the more resolved is he that he will never let him go without the blessing. Beautiful in God's sight is tearful, agonizing, unconquerable importunity. It means praying humbly, for the Holy Spirit never puffs us up with pride. It is His office to convince of sin, and so to bow us down in contrition and brokenness of spirit. We shall never sing Gloria in excelsis except we pray to God De profundis: out of the depths must we cry, or we shall never behold glory in the highest. It is loving prayer. Prayer should be perfumed with love, saturated with love-love to our fellow saints, and love to Christ. Moreover, it must be a prayer full of faith. A man prevails only as he believes. The Holy Spirit is the author of faith, and strengthens it, so that we pray believing God's promise. O that this blessed combination of excellent graces, priceless and sweet as the spices of the merchant, might be fragrant within us because the Holy Ghost is in our hearts! Most blessed Comforter, exert Thy mighty power within us, helping our infirmities in prayer.

~Charles Spurgeon~
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Faith Overcomes

Faith Overcomes 

He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant [the privilege] to eat [the fruit] from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God. Revelation 2:7, Amplified Bible



Sometimes I question my faith. Is God really just and loving? If so, why is there so much injustice and hatred on the planet? Is my life really making a difference or am I just another voice crying in the wilderness? But when I question—the Holy Spirit gives me answers. He reminds me through Scripture what Christ has done—is doing and will do. Fortunately, when my questions are answered by the Bible, my faith grows stronger. Conquering trust in Jesus engages doubt with truth. Trust and truth resist giving up—they go forward. Faith overcomes my doubts.



John reminds the churches of Christ’s restoration of the Garden of Eden. Jesus’ death and resurrection made a way beyond the flaming angel who blocked the entrance into Paradise (Genesis 3:23-24). He replaced it with “Whosoever believes in Me will live” (John 11:25).  The Tree of Life is accessible to those who embrace Christ as their life. Heaven is top of mind for an aggressive trust in the Lord. Our faith on earth overcomes, because Jesus overcame life and death and made a way for eternal life. Trust in Jesus eventually wins for He is already victorious.



“For everyone born of God is victorious and overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has conquered and overcome the world—our [continuing, persistent] faith [in Jesus the Son of God]” (1 John5:4, Amplified Bible).



Are you overwhelmed by life? Or feel stuck in a no win situation? If so, have faith. The Lord has not brought you this far to abandon you. God has not given up on you—so don’t give up on Him. Our experiences on earth are corrupted, but one day in heaven they will be incorruptible. We see glimpses of God’s glory in the face a cooing infant, the cascading of a surging waterfall and in the words of a forgiving friend. Look for God in life’s small things and watch your faith grow.



Exercised faith is an overcoming faith. Like a healthy body needs resistance and rest, so our faith grows stronger when stretched and challenged. Everyday life is an exercise of faith in Jesus. Will hard times harden or soften our heart? Will good times grow our generosity or feed our greed? Our faith overcomes when we persevere in a job where we feel underpaid and under appreciated. Our faith overcomes when God’s grace is sufficient in our painful circumstance. Our faith overcomes when we remain faithful to Jesus. Trust conquers this world—anticipating the next.



“I [Jesus] have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order” (John 16:33, The Voice).



Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust You. Grow my faith into a faith that overcomes.



Application: What life situation requires me to have an aggressive trust in the Lord?

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

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What Sanctifies Our Offerings?

 "And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD"   (Leviticus 4:7).

The altar of incense is the place where saints present their prayers and praises; and it is delightful to think of it as sprinkled with the blood of the great sacrifice. This it is which makes all our worship acceptable with Jehovah: He sees the blood of His own Son and therefore accepts our homage. It is well for us to fix our eyes upon the blood of the one offering for sin. Sin mingles even with our holy things, and our best repentance, faith, prayer, and thanksgiving could not be received of God were it not for the merit of the atoning sacrifice. Many sneer at "the blood"; but to us it is the foundation of comfort and hope. That which is on the horns of the altar is meant to be prominently before our eyes when we draw near to God. The blood gives strength to prayer, and hence it is on the altar's horns. It is "before the LORD," and therefore it ought to be before us. It is on the altar before we bring the incense; it is there to sanctify our offerings and gifts. Come, let us pray with confidence, since the Victim is offered, the merit has been pleaded, the blood is within the veil, and the prayers of believers must be sweet unto the LORD.

~Charles Spurgeon~


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