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Thread: Daily Devotional June 2015

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    Read: Matthew 11:25–30
    Bible in a Year: Ezra 9–10; Acts 1

    Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.—Matthew 11:29
    A friend and his wife, now in their early nineties and married for sixty-six years, wrote their family history for their children, grandchildren, and generations to come. The final chapter, “A Letter from Mom and Dad,” contains important life-lessons they’ve learned. One caused me to pause and take inventory of my own life: “If you find that Christianity exhausts you, draining you of your energy, then you are practicing religion rather than enjoying a relationship with Jesus Christ. Your walk with the Lord will not make you weary; it will invigorate you, restore your strength, and energize your life” (Matt. 11:28-29).
    Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Jesus’s invitation in this passage begins, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? . . . Walk with me and work with me. . . . Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” (The Message).
    When I think that serving God is all up to me, I’ve begun working for Him instead of walking with Him. There is a vital difference. If I’m not walking with Christ, my spirit becomes dry and brittle. People are annoyances, not fellow humans created in God’s image. Nothing seems right.
    When I sense that I’m practicing religion instead of enjoying a relationship with Jesus, it’s time to lay the burden down and walk with Him in His “unforced rhythms of grace.” —David C. McCasland
    Lord Jesus, I come to You today to exchange my frenzied work for Your pathway of grace.
    Jesus wants us to walk with Him.
    INSIGHT: How could Jesus offer rest and relief to His followers while knowing the road ahead was steep and difficult? (see Matt: 10:17-24, 34-36). A careful reading of Matthew’s gospel answers such questions. In His day, Jesus was a breath of fresh air. He wasn’t like the self-righteous teachers who had a moral principle for every problem. He was a giver. When He sent His disciples out to announce the good news of His coming, He gave them the ability to do life-giving miracles to show their credibility (10:1). Imagine the exhilaration they must have felt at the end of a hard day. They were discovering for themselves what it meant to reach out to sick, oppressed, and troubled people by the Spirit Jesus gave them, rather than by the strain and monotony of religious duty.Now the offer is ours to accept. Our Lord invites us to come to Him and discover His “unforced rhythms of grace” and rest. The promise is for the joy of what He can do in us and in the lives of those He inspires us to love and serve. Mart DeHaan

  2. #402
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    Follow Peace

    by Joyce Meyer - posted June 14, 2017

    Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].
    —Romans 8:6 AMPC

    People hesitate to follow their desires, because they don’t know how to divide their soul from their spirit. If they can’t discern the difference between the desires of their flesh and Spirit-led desires, then they don’t know when God is truly leading them to do something.

    But you can learn to know if God is leading you or not. When God gives you a desire for something, He will give you peace along with it. You may not be excited, but you will have peace, if the thing you desire is from God. Wait for peace today.

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    Read: Ephesians 4:1–6
    Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 1–3; Acts 2:1–21

    Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.—Ephesians 4:3
    After I confronted my friend by email over a matter on which we had differed, she didn’t respond. Had I overstepped? I didn’t want to worsen the situation by pestering her, but neither did I want to leave things unresolved before she went on a trip overseas. As she popped into my mind throughout the following days, I prayed for her, unsure of the way forward. Then one morning I went for a walk in our local park and saw her, pain etched on her face as she glimpsed me. “Thank You, Lord, that I can talk to her,” I breathed as I approached her with a welcoming smile. We talked openly and were able to resolve matters.
    Sometimes when hurt or silence intrudes on our relationships, mending them seems out of our control. But as the apostle Paul says in his letter to the church at Ephesus, we are called to work for peace and unity through God’s Spirit, donning the garments of gentleness, humility, and patience as we seek God’s healing in our relationships. The Lord yearns for us to be united, and through His Spirit He can bring His people together—even unexpectedly when we go walking in the park. —Amy Boucher Pye
    Have you experienced an unexpected encounter that revealed God working in a situation? How might you work toward peace and unity today?


    God desires unity among believers.
    INSIGHT: When Paul wrote his New Testament letter to followers of Christ in Ephesus, he wrote out of his own experience. When he urged his readers to work through their disagreements with humility, gentleness, and patience, he knew that it takes more than personal resolve. He had once lived with a head full of knowledge and a heart running on empty. As Paul wrote to men and women who had hurt one another with anger, lies, and bitterness (Eph. 4:25-32), he helped them see beyond their own blind spots. He wanted them to know that learning to love one another isn’t something we can do through our own ability. He asked the Spirit of God to reach deep into their hearts and open their eyes to God’s immeasurable love for them (3:14-19) and reminded them that even when we can’t see the way forward—and back to one another—there is a Spirit who can do far more for us than we could ever ask or think (v. 20). Mart DeHaan

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    From the Pit to the Palace

    by Joyce Meyer - posted June 17, 2017

    And Pharaoh said to Joseph, Forasmuch as [your] God has shown you all this, there is nobody as intelligent and discreet and understanding and wise as you are. You shall have charge over my house, and all my people shall be governed according to your word . . . Only in matters of the throne will I be greater than you are.
    —Genesis 41:39-40

    A pit is a ditch, a trap, or a snare. It refers to destruction. Satan always wants to bring us into the pit.

    Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. They actually threw him into a pit and intended to leave him there to die, but God had other plans. Joseph ended up being sold into slavery in Egypt, where he was thrown in prison for refusing to compromise his integrity. Yet everywhere Joseph went, God gave him favor. Ultimately, Joseph was promoted to the palace, second in command to Pharaoh.

    How did Joseph get from the pit to the palace? I believe it was by remaining positive, refusing to be bitter, and choosing to boldly trust God. Even though it looked like he was defeated on many occasions, he refused to give up on trusting God.

    Joseph had a right attitude. He knew God was in control even when it looked like the circumstances of his life were spinning out of control. The same is true in your life. If you’ll keep a positive attitude, knowing that God is in control, He can take you from the pit to the palace in ways you never imagined.

    No matter where you started, you can have a great finish!

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    Hindrances to Accepting God’s Love

    JUNE 17, 2017
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    SATURDAY
    17
    1 John 3:1

    One of the most devastating failures a Christian can experience is the inability to embrace the pure love of God. What prevents a believer from accepting such a wonderful blessing?

    Our own relationships. Ironically, the way we love each other can distort how we perceive the heavenly Father’s love. As imperfect people, we exhibit imperfect love. Conditional responses, wrong motives, and emotional highs and lows taint our understanding of God’s pure love.

    Guilt. Our remorse over sinful behavior can subtly convince us that we are unworthy of God’s love. This is a trap of the devil. We have the assurance of Scripture that our Father loves us completely, regardless of our actions.

    Legalism. Many people view the Bible as a simple rule book—a list of dos and don’ts. If you base your view of divine love on your ability to uphold every biblical precept, you are doomed to failure. God gave us His Word for instruction and inspiration, not as a measuring stick by which He distributes love.

    Misinterpretation of divine discipline. Make no mistake—God definitely disciplines His children when they go astray. However, He is a trustworthy Father; His discipline and love are intimately connected (Heb. 12:5-6). He corrects our behavior when necessary for our benefit, not as a form of punishment. Jesus already paid the price for our sin; God will not make us pay a second time.

    Is something in your life preventing you from experiencing the joy and exhilaration of God’s unconditional love? Lay it down before Him today, and receive the amazing grace He so freely offers.

    Bible in One Year: Psalm 35-38


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    God Will Help You

    by Joyce Meyer - posted June 20, 2017

    Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. . . . Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, "Fear not, I will help you. Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you," says the Lord and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
    —Isaiah 41:10-14 NKJV

    When we start reading today's Scripture, we might think, Wow. God must be talking to people who really have their act together, but the good news is that He is talking to ordinary people just like you and me. He helps us because He is good, not because we are. Fear comes against all of us, and God wants us to know that we don't have to let the feelings of fear defeat us. We can keep moving forward in the presence of fear because He is with us.

    If someone has hurt you or treated you unjustly, remember that God promises to deal with them and make them as nothing at all... nonexistent!! When we read that God will strengthen us that means He will enable us to do whatever we need to do today and everyday. God is with you, and that makes you equal to anything that comes against you. Because God is with you, that makes you greater than any problem you have.

    Fear is not God's will for you. He wants you to be bold, courageous, and confident, and you can be if you remind yourself often that you are not alone. God is with you!!

    Love Yourself Today: Remember that God is with you at all times and you can do whatever you need to do.

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    Stranded in the Desert Tuesday, June 20th, 2017
    Read Matthew 6:5-8 View the May-June, 2017 Issue
    The LORD says, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”
    - Isaiah 65:24 (NIV)
    While on a two-year trip around the world in a Volkswagen camper, I was stranded in the Sahara Desert for several days. The Hoggar, the track I was traveling through Algeria across the Sahara, is deeply corrugated. Driving on it is like driving on railroad tracks. The punishing roadway caused two shock absorbers in the camper to explode simultaneously, breaking the chassis. After sitting for three days, I saw a traveler pull up behind me in a small van. On the roof of his vehicle, he had some welding equipment. Unfortunately, neither the traveler nor I knew how to weld, and he had no welding rod. I prayed and then remembered the steel coat hangers I had packed away. With torch and coat hanger in hand, I climbed under the camper and somehow managed to weld the broken chassis back in place.

    I discovered that the man with the welding outfit had started into the desert long after I had but before my crisis had occurred. This reminded me of the words of the Lord quoted above.

    We never know what the future holds or what crises or difficulties might lie in front of us. But by faith, we can know that God is always present. In fact, God’s answer is on the way even before we call.


    The Author
    Randy Swanson (Utah, USA)

    Thought for the Day
    No matter what difficulty I face, God is in it with me.

    Prayer
    Dear Lord, we may not understand what is happening to us now or what we might face in the future, but help us to turn to you for the answers. Amen.

    Prayer focusStranded Motorists

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