One of my favorite songs is “Trust and Obey” because it sums up God’s purpose for our lives. When we practice these two commands, a beautiful cycle begins. Trusting the Lord makes obedience easier, and obedience produces ever-increasing trust. Can you recall facing a challenge that was difficult or perplexing? If so, you know how important these two commands are.
When the Lord calls you to a task that seems unreasonable, you have two options. You can obey Him even though you don’t understand what will happen, or you can become fearful and attempt to find a way out. Joshua chose the first option. Because he trusted the Lord, he disregarded all his military experience and adopted God’s bizarre battle plan. Over the years, he had learned that the Lord is trustworthy.
The way we respond to God’s challenging assignments reveals our level of commitment. We may feel as if we’re right in step with Him–until He proposes a change of direction. That’s when our resistance kicks in, and with it, the realization we aren’t as close to Him as we thought. At that point, our decision determines whether the Lord will be able to use us as He desires. Because Joshua never lost his commitment, he continued to serve the Lord for the remainder of his life.
At times obedience is a struggle, as your mind runs through all the reasons God’s path is illogical. Fear dominates and your will battles to comply when everything within is screaming to run the other way. But obedience is always the best choice because the Lord is trustworthy and wi
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
To enjoy abundant Life, it is essential for you to have hope. However, many people indulge in false hopes and find themselves increasingly disillusioned as the years go by. So I urge you to choose well the object of your hope. The best choice is My unfailing Love. From the time you first trusted Me as Savior, nothing-including death, life, things present or things to come-can separate you from this Love.
When you follow My divine guidelines, you can enjoy the Peace of My Presence. I am everywhere and I see everything, but My eyes are especially on those who are putting their hope in Me. Such people are ever so precious to Me, and I watch over them vigilantly. This does not mean I shield them from all adversity. It means I bless them with My nearness in good times, in hard times-at all times.
So persevere in placing your hope in My perfect Love. Look up to Me in the midst of your moments, for My eyes are indeed on you!
The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love. -Psalm 33:18
I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39 nkjv
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. -2 Thessalonians 3:16”
In this world of increasing electronic surveillance, privacy can be hard to come by. Safe places are also in short supply. So when you feel surrounded by trouble, remember this: I am your Hiding Place. Call out to Me, and I will protect you from trouble. I will even surround you with songs of deliverance. When you praise Me in the midst of a hard day, both you and I are blessed. I come near, and I hide you in the secret place of My Presence.
Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in you. -Psalm 143:9
“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. -Psalm 32:7”
You are holy, O You Who dwell in [the holy place where] the praises of Israel [are offered]. -Psalm 22:3 amp
“You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. -Psalm 31:20 nkjv”
One of the best ways to draw upon My strength is to sing praises to Me. I actually dwell in the praises of My people. So when problems are weighing heavily upon you, break free by worshiping Me-in songs, in shouts, even in whispers. These sacred acclamations decimate the darkness and invite Me into your awareness, brightening the atmosphere around you. Problems fade into the background while you are engaged in worshiping Me.
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Please leave your valued comments ! God is faithful! Rhon
On one January first back in the seventies, it was still dark outside when I awoke. The den was toy-strewn, there were supper dishes in the sink. A pile of laundry waited to be washed, while the dryer was full of the last load. I didn’t have the traditionally Southern New Year’s meal- black-eyed peas, cornbread and hog jowl-planned; I didn’t even have milk for breakfast. Wearily I tossed scattered toys into the yellow plastic clothes basket with the broken handle.
New Year’s Day .Bah,humbug! I felt someone watching me and turned. In the dark room stood Julie my oldest, in her pink nightgown with the top button missing. Sleepy eyes, she asked softly, “Why are you up so early, Mama?” I’m trying to get a head start. It’s New Year’s Day. You know what that means?”Silence. I assumed she’s chosen to ignore my strange early-morning question.” teacher said that every day is the first day of the rest of your life. Is that what you mean, Mama?”
I stood up straight and looked at her- really looked at her . A smile found my face. “Yep, Julie Babe, your teacher’s a smart lady – Author Marion Bond West
God dealt with Moses because of some of the mistakes he made. In fact, one of them kept him from entering the Promised Land. Nevertheless, God wouldn’t permit anybody else to criticize Moses – not even his sister Miriam. So what can you learn from this? 1) We’re all capable of harboring a critical attitude. Miriam had great qualities. She saved Moses’ life as a child, and she wrote a song of praise Israel used to celebrate the crossing of the Red Sea. But she paid a high price for her critical attitude – leprosy. 2) When you’re resentful you become critical.‘Miriam…began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife’ (Numbers 12:1). But was that the real issue? No. ‘They said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?”’ (v. 2).Moses’ wife was just a diversion; the real issue was Moses’ success. Their beef was: ‘How come he gets all the attention?’ 3) Anytime you succeed you’ll be criticized. The Bible says, ‘Moses was very humble’ (v. 3), yet even he couldn’t escape the pain inflicted by self-appointed critics. And you’re no different; as long as you’re alive somebody will find fault with what you’re doing. Brush it off and keep going. 4) If you’ve been critical, you need to repent. When Aaron acknowledged, ‘We have acted foolishly…we have sinned’ (v. 11), God showed mercy and healed Miriam. Most of us would rather classify criticism as a weakness, but from God’s perspective it’s a genuine, bona fide, registered sin. And there’s only one way to deal with sin – repent and stop committing it.
Prayer Heavenly Father,
forgive me for the times I have been critical of others and give me
patience and love towards those who are critical of me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Mary, a virgin, was living in Galilee of Nazareth and was engaged to be married to Joseph, a Jewish carpenter. An angel visited her and explained to her that she would conceive a son by the power of the Holy Spirit. She would carry and give birth to this child and she would name him Jesus.At first Mary was afraid and troubled by the angel’s words. Being a virgin, Mary questioned the angel, “How will this be?” The angel explained that the child would be God’s own Son and, therefore, “nothing is impossible with God.” Humbled and in awe, Mary believed the angel of the Lord and rejoiced in God her Savior.Surely Mary reflected with wonder on the words found in Isaiah 7:14 foretelling this event, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”(NIV)
While Mary was still engaged to Joseph, she miraculously became pregnant through the Holy Spirit, as foretold to her by the angel. When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, he had every right to feel disgraced. He knew the child was not his own, and Mary’s apparent unfaithfulness carried a grave social stigma. Joseph not only had the right to divorce Mary, under Jewish law she could be put to death by stoning.
Although Joseph’s initial reaction was to break the engagement, the appropriate thing for a righteous man to do, he treated Mary with extreme kindness. He did not want to cause her further shame, so he decided to act quietly. But God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to verify Mary’s story and reassure him that his marriage to her was God’s will. The angel explained that the child within Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit, that his name would be Jesus and that he was the Messiah, God with us.
When Joseph woke from his dream, he willingly obeyed God and took Mary home to be his wife, in spite of the public humiliation he would face. Perhaps this noble quality is one of the reasons God chose him to be the Messiah’s earthly father.
Joseph too must have wondered in awe as he remembered the words found in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”(NIV) At that time, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census be taken, and every person in the entire Roman world had to go to his own town to register. Joseph, being of the line of David, was required to go to Bethlehem to register with Mary. While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus. Probably due to the census, the inn was too crowded, and Mary gave birth in a crude stable. She wrapped the baby in cloths and placed him in a manger.
Out in the fields, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds who were tending their flocks of sheep by night. The angel announced that the Savior had been born in the town of David. Suddenly a great host of heavenly beings appeared with the angels and began singing praises to God. As the angelic beings departed, the shepherds decided to travel to Bethlehem and see the Christ-child.
There they found Mary, Joseph and the baby, in the stable. After their visit, they began to spread the word about this amazing child and everything the angel had said about him. They went on their way still praising and glorifying God. But Mary kept quiet, treasuring their words and pondering them in her heart. It must have been beyond her ability to grasp, that sleeping in her arms—the tender child she had just borne—was the Savior of the world.
After Jesus’ birth, Herod was king of Judea. At this time wise men (Magi) from the east saw a star, they came in search, knowing the star signified the birth of the king of the Jews. The wise men came to the Jewish rulers in Jerusalem and asked where the Christ was to be born. The rulers explained, “In Bethlehem in Judea,” referring toMicah 5:2 . Herod secretly met with the Magi and asked them to report back after they had found the child. Herod told the Magi that he too wanted to go and worship the babe. But secretly Herod was plotting to kill the child.
So the wise men continued to follow the star in search of the new born king and found Jesus with his mother in Bethlehem. (Most likely Jesus was already two years of age by this time.) They bowed and worshipped him, offering treasures of gold, incense, and myrrh. When they left, they did not return to Herod. They had been warned in a dream of his plot to destroy the child
1) To take spiritual inventory of your life. David prayed, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting’ (vv. 23-24). Note the words ‘anxious thoughts’ and ‘offensive way’. These are things you start to take stock of when you are in God’s presence. For example, are you growing daily in your spiritual walk? Are you allowing unconfessed sins to pile up in your life? How about your attitudes? In order to see yourself from God’s point of view, you have to face these questions in His presence and answer them honestly.
2) To commit each day to the Lord. The writer of Proverbs said,‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths’ (Proverbs 3:5-6). Share your schedule with God, ask Him to guide you in your daily activities and alter them as needed. Ask Him to help you manage your time better so you can get more done (Psalms 90:12). Ask Him to help you distinguish between what’s truly important and what isn’t (1 Corinthians 10:23). Every day of your life you’ll have to deal with two things: problems and opportunities. And God will give you the right perspective and approach to handle both. You’ll be amazed how much more effective and efficient you are when you’ve spent time with Him.
Another goal of your daily devotions should be: guidance. Without God’s input you’re at the mercy of your own best thinking—and that should concern you greatly! The Psalmist wrote, ‘Show me Your ways…teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.’ (Psalms 25:4-5). God said through the prophet Isaiah: ‘I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.’ (Isaiah 42:16). The path you take determines your destination, so before you decide to go in a given direction, talk to God. And don’t be surprised when He takes you down a road ‘you have not known’. You must trust that God knows what He’s doing. Blaise Pascal said, ‘All of man’s troubles stem from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.’ In this fast-paced age you must take time to slow down, collect your thoughts, evaluate what’s happening around you, and get direction from the One who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Jesus told His disciples to ‘come apart’ in order to be rejuvenated physically and spiritually (Mark 6:31). The Bible says, ‘…When they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.’ (Mark 4:34). There are certain things God will explain to you only when you take the time to be alone with Him.
help me spend alone time with You today so that I can meditate upon You!
In Jesus’ NameAmen
Prayer is foundational to your individual Christian life, and also to the life and ministry of your church. Like a foundation that secures a building, prayer gives you something trustworthy on which to rest. No wonder Satan works overtime to keep you busy and distracted so that you lose regular in-depth communication with your heavenly Father. But there’s one person against whom Satan couldn’t make headway when it came to trying to disrupt His prayer life: Jesus. And He’s the great example of what your prayer life should be. He began and ended His public ministry in prayer. In Mark chapter one, on one of the busiest days of His life, we see Jesus getting up before daylight to pray. Luke writes, ‘He…often withdrew…and prayed.’ It was His regular daily habit! In the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed with an intensity none of us will ever know. No wonder the disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. Just how important is prayer? Ask Peter. It was the prayers of Christ that kept him from being destroyed completely when he denied his Lord; they salvaged him, and eventually promoted him to leadership in the church. And the only reason you don’t fail more often is because Jesus is praying for you, too (John 17:20; Hebrews 7:25). The application is pretty obvious: if Jesus needed to pray—so do you. Furthermore, if you’re waiting until you feel like it, or for the Spirit to move you to pray, you’re missing something. The Holy Spirit has already moved you to pray—through the instruction and example Christ left you.
In training Timothy for the ministry Paul wanted him to understand how the church works. So he began with the important stuff like prayer. In essence, Paul was saying, ‘Before you do anything else, pray. Before you teach anything else, teach your people to pray.’ Why? Because if God’s not on your side, you won’t succeed! Most of us understand this intellectually. We say a quick prayer as we’re running out of the door. We say grace before a meal. We open our church services with prayer. But few of us grasp the real importance of prayer, and Paul didn’t want Timothy to be misled or misinformed about the place of prayer in the church. We dare not fool ourselves into thinking we can ‘make things happen’ without prayer. If a church isn’t a praying church, it doesn’t matter how well the pastor preaches or the choir sings, or how nice the building is. For it to succeed, Jesus said, ‘…My house shall be a house of prayer…’ (Luke 19:46). Oswald Chambers said, ‘We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves: the Bible’s idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.’ You aren’t coming to church just to hear a lively sermon or a good song; you’re coming to meet with God. The pastor and the choir are vehicles through which He can speak, but there’s no substitute for prayer. It’s not merely a nice sentiment; your spiritual growth and survival depend on it. So if you’ve gotten out of the habit of praying—right now get back into it!