Daily Devotions from The Word Of God… From the heart of Ed Algreen

Posts tagged ‘self’

The ‘Right Words’ – From God

Scripture: Matthew 10 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

….don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time.20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  Matt 10:19-20 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

I believe that one of the greatest fears that we have as Christians, is wondering if we will have the right words to say when we witness to someone about Jesus. In these verses Jesus told His disciples, who He was readying to send into the world as His witnesses, “don’t worry about that, because it won’t be you doing the speaking, but the Spirit of the heavenly father”. This is the peace that we need to have when we approach others. First of all. I believe that our personal ‘witness’ would have already been evident to them, because they would have looked at our actions long before thinking about listening to us. Secondly, when we represent Jesus, He will, like He did with His first disciples, allow His Holy Spirit to speak through us. So really, all we need to do is to be obedient and share His love with others around us and leave the rest up to the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. Let’s not mess it up by adding our two cents. Jesus knows the heart, mind and condition of the individuals we approach, so it is extra fitting that we allow Him to take control and speak the right words through us. This should take all the stress out of witnessing!

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father I believe that You know all that goes on around us, and You know the stress that we place on ourselves when we try to do the work that You have told us to leave up to You. Please help me to surrender this stress to You and allow You to speak the words through me in those opportunities that I have to share Your love and salvation. I know that it’s no different today than it was with Your first disciples, so please get my attention when I try to blurt out the wrong words (those of self) so that I may stop and give You the controls where the right words will flow and the effectiveness of Your Holy Spirit will be very evident to the one with whom I am trying to witness to. You alone are God! Thank You!

Be a Godly Example and receive His Blessings

Scripture: Genesis 13

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

14 After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west.15 I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession.16 And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted!17 Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.”18 So Abram moved his camp to Hebron and settled near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. There he built another altar to the Lord.  Gen 13:14-18 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

In an earlier chapter we saw where Noah pleased God when he created an altar and gave a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God. In turn, he was blessed with a lot more than he thought he would have just coming out of the ark. In this passage we see where Abram was very open in being a peace maker. He was the key leader in this whole journey with Lot, yet when strife broke out, Abram was the one willing to step back and give Lot first preference in whichever land he wanted to settle on with his family, herds and belongings, and Abram settled for whatever was left. Although not specifically said in the passage, it is evident that this peaceful act, this display of family love and devotion, pleased God very much. In fact, so much so, that He met with Abram and showed him everything that would really belong to him. Abram, being the Godly man that he was, settled in and immediately built an altar to the Lord. Today it almost seems to be more important that we strive to be the revenger, the better man, the victor, the winner, to look bigger in the eyes of onlookers or those we try to impress, instead of being the peacemaker like Abram. I don’t believe that it ever hurts to eat ‘humble pie’ and always please God with our actions. This helps us be a much ‘bigger’ person in the eyes of our beholders, as they will realize that it must have been the power of God working in and through us, to face possible condemnation, possible defeat in the eyes of those looking for a fight, but to look and act more like God in what He would do in the same circumstance. In our passage today God has shown yet another example of what it means to represent Him and act in a Christian manner in our everyday lives. As we study His Word we will find more and more ways to look more like Him in all that we do and say instead of jumping in with both feet and doing what self, or the world promotes. Let’s be God-followers, even if it means eating the ‘humble pie’ like Abram did! In all circumstances let us be good examples of God in word and deed.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Your Word is filled with examples of how we should act and what it really means to represent You well while blessed to be here on this earth. Thank You for the example of Abram in this passage today. Today we are faced with equally as important decisions and/or challenges. May I not act in haste and respond in a manner outside of Your will or Your character. May I continue to represent You well in the good times, but may I also learn to represent You even more when old Satan rears his ugly head and tries to bring out the worst in me. May the worst in me be cleansed by You and replaced with qualities pleasing to You so that I may respond to life’s circumstances in a Godly fashion. It’s You I live for and You that I desire to please in all that I say or do, but I need Your constant touch on my life. Please continue to teach me Your ways and give me strength each day to be victorious in being Your representative in all things and in all ways.

Dt 11:22: (The Blessings of Obedience) – 22 “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him.

God is still God!

SCRIPTURE Studied: Genesis 12

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants. ” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him.8 After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord.9 Then Abram continued traveling south by stages toward the Negev. 10 At that time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner. Gen 12:7-10 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

At the beginning of this chapter it is so amazing to see God at work in Abram’s life, and also Abram being so obedient to leave his hometown and all the people that he knew, to move to a foreign land far away. In these verses, it is also interesting to note that during Abram’s journey everything was not rosy, no, everything did not go without a hitch and/or challenges. In fact, while passing through Canaan there was a great famine that hit the area. Now in a perfect world, most of us would say that if this was a journey destined by God, led and directed by Him, then why would there be obstacles. Friends this is the same way it is today. Just because we surrender our hearts to the Lord, we are not exempted from all the trials and tribulations of this world – at least as long as we live in this world! Often challenges will come our way – the question, or challenge for us is to determine is, which way will we go? A life totally surrendered to God will always do like Abram did, we will wait for further instructions, while during the interim challenge, looking to God for direction and depending on Him for strength to overcome. I believe that often our faith is determined by how we handle trials, not just on how well we do during the times of blessings and riches. God is still God during the highs, and during the lows of our lives. We must insure that our faith holds strong daily, because we don’t know what may be in store for us each day. Let’s think in terms of a partnership, we don’t jump ship on our partner on a day when things are rough, nor do we when our partnership celebrates its highs. A true partnership stays in tact during both good and bad times. So should our relationship with God. What are you facing today? Trust only in God and never lean on your own understanding, for only He knows what lies ahead for us. I love the words of that gospel song “God of the Mountain”, listen to it and be blessed as you reflect on the words of this Bible passage.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Like in the case of Abram, You bless me beyond measure each day oh God, and this morning I want to say thank You with all of my heart. Please forgive me when I worry about the challenges I see in life from the small perspective of my personal abilities. Please help me to stay so focused on You that I will always look through Your eyes and therefore face life’s challenges with the benefit of Your unlimited power and Your everlasting love for me. I believe that as I place my faith totally in You, I will always receive Your protection and You will bring me through life’s challenges in ways that will bring You glory. I know that this may not always come in the way that I may personally desire, but Lord I pray that You will help me to hide behind the cross and allow Your glory to shine through in all that I do or say. Self is insignificant in the whole scheme of things, for only those things that are done for Christ will last. May Your love shine through in all that is done in Your name this Christmas time! Thank You for sending Your Son as a babe, so that we may ultimately be re-born into life with You, and accepted into Your kingdom!

What is Your ‘Tower’?

SCRIPTURE Studied: Genesis 9-11

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

3 They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.)4 Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” Gen 11:3-4 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Way back in the days when the earth was just being first populated we read about how the people found the need to build something that they could look on to identify themselves – some great accomplishment that they achieved. God saw that this was leading to pride and bragging rights for this clan so He intervened and placed a stumbling block to prevent them from the selfish desires that He saw in them. In fact, this is where the different languages started, for in verse 7 we are told how this was designed to confuse the people and stop them from self destruction. As I look at our world today I question myself of where our ‘towers’ are being built, and I had no trouble thinking of several that might give the same impression as to what God must have seen with the Tower of Babel:

  • Momentous Church Buildings – yes, we needn’t look very far to see this ‘Tower’. We talk about churches today as ‘The Crystal Cathedral’ (known for it’s beautiful, large glass structure) or ‘Liverpool Cathedral’ (known for its 31 ton bell installed in the tallest tower some 219 feet above ground). I agree that these are beautiful church buildings and I have no doubt that they probably perform great work for the Lord, but is this what we want to be known as? Would it not be good to be known as ‘The Church that ministers to the inner city’ or ‘The Church where folk come to know Christ every week’ or ‘The place where Jesus is found every week’? I believe that the true church will continue to be a ‘great’ church or ministry when it can succeed in any location in which it relocates, or any building in which it meets, or when its leadership is assumed by another leader, when attendees are constantly bringing in friends to meet Jesus, when communities look to that church as a ministry arm of the Lord Jesus Christ, because it reminds them of everything they have every heard about Jesus.
  • Big homes, fancy vehicles, big expensive televisions, etc. – Things that we tend to become know as having. In other words when we are identified by those things acquired, rather than by the Christian principles or character that we display in the best, or worst, circumstances every day, then we have a ‘Tower’ that we have built or bought to represent us.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father I am reminded that You gave all that You had (Your precious Son) so that I may live eternally with You in Heaven. You didn’t sacrifice a great mountain that You created – although You designed and created some real beauties. I pray that people that I come in contact with may later refer to us as the “Child of God that led me to Christ”, or the “Christian that helped me in my time of trouble and despair” or “The friend that visited me when I was sick” or “He’s from that church where many of the folk from my community are coming to know Jesus”! May my church never be known as anything but an extension of Your love and caring for a lost and dying world. Please teach me daily to stay away from building any ‘towers’ that may prevent or distract my witness of You to this lost world in which I live. May the lost see so much of Jesus in and through me that they would have a deep desire to know You.

Speak in Boldness, But with a Humble Spirit

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Matthew 3

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Matt 3:8 (NLT)

13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” Matt 3:13-14 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Two things in particular caught my attention in this passage this morning:

  1. The boldness of John the BaptistHe was on mission for God and seems like he said what he felt led of God to say to the people that he preached to, without fear of repercussion from the government of that day, or the leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees). It seems like today we have become so politically correct in our churches in order to not hurt anyone’s feelings (and I don’t believe for a minute that we can only speak the truth if we know that someone’s feelings got hurt), but it just seems like we are afraid to say it like it is. An old saying that I always remember is that ‘if the shoe fits, wear it’, in other words if something that was said speaks to issues in your life, then obviously God is dealing with you through His spoken Word. As a people we have become so ‘thin-skinned’ that we retaliate when our feelings are hurt by holding back on our tithes, or not attending church, or gossiping about the preacher, etc, etc. Assuming that we have all prayed earnestly for the man of God, that he may discern God’s will and Word for us when he stands in the pulpit before us, are we then not challenging God Himself when we retaliate against the preaching or even God’s written Word? How dare us?
  2. The humbleness of John the Baptist – A man known for his boldness in speaking out, yet when Jesus comes to be baptized, John the Baptist said that in no way is he worthy to baptize the Savior of the world. How true this is. No matter how close we feel like we have become to God, we are but dirty rags compared to the only pure and Holy One of God. I believe that this is well worth keeping foremost in our minds so that we don’t let self pride come in the way. We are nothing without Christ, and we personally can do nothing miraculous, such as winning a lost soul or healing a sick person, but only through prayer and humble submission to the power and will of God. We should always pass any praise or glory straight on up to God for anything accomplished through us. It is encouraging for us to see lives touched by God because of something He may have said through us, but may our Words and actions be so filled with His love and His power that He may accomplish great things for the kingdom in spite of our human shortcomings.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

I believe that much could be accomplished through us and our churches today if we used the boldness displayed by John the Baptist, yet the humble spirit that he displayed in the presence of the Holy Son of God. Lord Jesus, it is You that I serve and You that deserves all the praise for anything accomplished in Your name here on this earth. Please may I find boldness in serving You, but be ready to step aside and let the glory all go up straight to You. Please have Your will and way in my life today, and may  there be opportunities for Your glory to shine through in something that I may say or do today so that Your kingdom may be fulfilled. Opportunities will come and go, and so will my words, but I believe that as You use me as Your humble servant today, Your words spoken through me will touch the hearts of Your people with lasting power and effectiveness. To God be the Glory for all that will be accomplished in Your name today!

Our God Who Cares For Us!

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Genesis 2

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one.20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening.22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.  Gen 2:18-22 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

A very familiar passage from Genesis, but I was reminded about how much my God really cares for us, His children. I could only imagine how often He must look down on us and see a need in our lives, then proceeds to provide for us, as He did in the case of Adam. We bring so much on ourselves, and we place ourselves in so many situations that could harm us or prove to be inappropriate for us  in our Christian walk. I can’t even begin to imagine how often God must shake His head and wonder why we are not listening to Him, why are we not doing what He told us in His Word to do, and then redirecting us back on the right path. I can only praise God this morning for a God that is patient with me, who loves me enough to redirect me and show me the right path, in spite of myself and all my personal shortcomings.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because of what He said here today?)

Thank you Father for loving me enough to get my attention from a world of sin and self, to see the need for a Savior and a hope for eternity. You created Adam, saw every need he had, and provided everything You knew that he would need to fulfill his life and I have no doubt that You still have that same love and caring for myself and Your other children today, and that You provide for us each and every day. I know that I could, and often do, make plenty enough mistakes on my own, thank You for reminding me that I have a Savior that watches over me every day and provides for me in ways that I could hardly imagine. I was reminded of this same things through a small comic-type photo this morning also, and I will attach it for all to reflect on!

He cares for the birds

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