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TOPIC: Devotion

Devotion 10 months 3 weeks ago #225

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Today's Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
"Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?" - Isaiah 40:12

Our Immeasurable, Measuring God

On the day I was born, the doctor who delivered me inscribed my birth records with a firm hand: 7 pounds, 11 ounces, 21 inches. It was the first legally attested evidence that I was not God. God is infinite, unbound by limits. He defies measurement of any kind. His limitlessness underlies all of his attributes; his power, knowledge, love, and mercy are not merely great, but they are infinitely so, measurelessly so. No one can place any aspect of who God is on a scale or against a yardstick. One of my favorite hymns speaks to the measurelessness of just one of God's attributes: his love. The hymn writer reflects on the futility of trying to capture it: Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made; Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade; To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry; Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky. Paradoxically, he who is immeasurable is himself the measure of all things. Note this beautiful contrast in Isaiah 40: "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel?" (Isa. 40:12-13, ESV).

Put succinctly, who has measured everything?

God has. Who has measured God?

No one.
-Jen Wilkin
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Devotion 10 months 3 weeks ago #226

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Today's Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
"It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening," - Psalm 92:1-2

Receiving the Gift

The way toward arriving at a peaceful pace of inner quiet isn't by creating unrealistic standards about miles logged, pages written, and widgets produced, but by fighting for the riches of rest with unwavering determination. Making Sabbath a rhythm of life isn't for the faint of heart; it takes courage. In the same way lament during Lent comes before the joy of Easter, finding a Sabbath rhythm can feel weighty and impractical until resurrection awakens us. The joy of Sabbath arrives when we believe it is a gift available to everyone regardless of situations. May we be people who recognize that disorientation isn't a negative, but the beginning of a new way forward. Disorientation is the perfect storm reminding us how desperately we need a Savior, a remembrance that he is with us, always. - Shelly Miller
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Devotion 10 months 3 weeks ago #227

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Today's Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." - James 1:2

U-Turns and Interruptions

The resolve to make Sabbath a rhythm of life can take a U-turn as soon as we encounter inevitable disruptions. The unexpected, unplanned interruptions of life wave us back to the familiar, patting the couch cushions. Soon we avoid rhythms altogether. But in these moments of disorientation, we have a choice. We can interpret interruptions as roadblocks to peace or as moments for deepening relationships, trusting in the path God dictates. We are never stuck in our circumstances; we are stuck when a mindset keeps us trapped in a small perspective. Realities often fall short of what we envision; let's just admit that. And when we assume outcomes depend solely on us, the body will eventually let us know that self-reliance isn't the answer for maximum health. Sabbath is preventative medicine; an intentional relinquishment before your body forces a complete stop. - Shelly Miller
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Devotion 8 months 3 weeks ago #243

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www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/girlfriends...january-24-2017.html

January 24, 2017
Speak Life
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver (Proverbs 25:11).

Friend to Friend

Fruit is one of my favorite foods. When I go grocery shopping, it always takes me longer to get through the fruit section than any other area of the store. I spend what some might consider a ridiculously long time picking out what I hope will be the juiciest apples, the plumpest grapes and the sweetest bananas. Experience has taught me to quickly discard any piece of fruit that is bruised, mushy or discolored. I shake cantaloupe and thump watermelons. Ripe strawberries have a unique sweet scent and only the reddest cherries will do. Plums and tomatoes must be firm to the touch, bright in color and wrinkle free while the more wrinkles the better when it comes to choosing passion fruit. On a recent trip to the grocery store, I was carefully making my fruit selections when the thought occurred to me that I spend more time choosing fruit than I spend choosing my words. Words are power tools that can build and encourage. Words can also destroy and cause confusion. We have all been hurt and even defeated by words spoken in anger or words rising out of a wounded and bitter heart. The words we speak can clarify or complicate a situation. Solomon offers great wisdom concerning the use of words. Whoever controls his mouth protects his own life. Whoever has a big mouth comes to ruin (Proverbs 13:3 GWT).

If we do not learn to use and control our tongue, it will use and control us. While it is true that we need to choose our words carefully, it is just as true that the tongue is a spiritual thermometer that reflects the condition of the heart. I am not a good patient and tend to think that most medical rules apply to everyone else in my life but not to me. Several years ago, I was slammed with a high fever and blinding headache that sent me to bed for days, something highly unusual for me. I called my doctor. When he heard my symptoms, he told me to come in immediately. The minute I walked in his office, the receptionist waved me back to the patient area where a nurse promptly escorted me to an examination room, hurriedly recorded my symptoms, took my temperature, glanced briefly at my throat and quickly left the room. Minutes later, the doctor and a nurse walked in and stood on the opposite side of the room, almost smiling at me. At this point, I realized that whatever I had was highly contagious and probably fatal. I felt so awful that the latter was definitely appealing. “Mary, I am almost certain you have viral meningitis,” the doctor said. Seeing the blank look on my face, he explained, “Your abnormally high fever of 104 and severe headache are classic symptoms of meningitis, but we need to run some tests to verify my suspicions. Oh, and by the way, how long have you had the solid white coating on your tongue?”

I was stunned. What coating?

Why is the color of my tongue even important in determining my illness?

The doctor continued, “The health of the tongue is a very strong indicator of the health of the entire body.”

The same is true when it comes to the words we speak. The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart. Good people have good things in their hearts, and so they say good things. But evil people have evil in their hearts, so they say evil things (Matthew 12:34-35, NCV).

If my words are boastful, my heart is insecure. If my words are filthy, my heart is impure. If my words are critical, my heart is filled with pride and anger. In other words, the problem is not really my mouth - it’s my heart. The words I speak reflect the true condition of my heart. Careless words can cause such grief. Unless strained through discipline and holiness, words can convey false perspectives and untruths. However, the right word, spoken at the right time and in the right way can bring order in the midst of confusion and light on a very dark path. Let’s make the commitment to speak life into every person we meet.

Let’s Pray

Father, I can be so careless with the words I speak. Forgive me. Please help me learn how to control my tongue. Create in me a clean heart, God, so that I can speak words filled with grace and love.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.
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Devotion 8 months 3 weeks ago #244

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www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/girlfriends...january-23-2017.html

January 23, 2017
God is Asking, “Where are You?”
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ (Genesis 3:9, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Sometimes it is easy to read about Adam and Eve’s failure in the garden and think, “How could they disobey like that!”

But the reality is that this is not Adam and Eve’s story alone. It is our story as well. We make decisions on a daily basis that dishonor God. We disobey His commands, take charge of our own lives, and become Lord of our own ring. Then like Eve, we try to cover up our shame and even attempt to hide from God. Do you know the first question God asked in the Bible?

After Adam and Eve hid from God, He asked "Where are you?"

God knew exactly where they were, what they had done, and what the enemy had stolen from them. However, He decided to remain in relationship with them and begin the process of restoration, which was completed on the Cross of Calvary. He asks the same question of us today, “Where are you?”

I think “but God” are the two most beautiful words in Scripture. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). When did we become a sinner?

The first time we sinned?

No, we were born sinners and that sin is what separated us from God. While we were yet sinners, He became the perfect sacrifice for us, not to cover our ugliness, but to cleanse us forever once and for all. Salvation Army Officer, John Allen once said, “I deserved to be damned in hell, but God interfered.”

God interfered, intervened, and intercepted our death sentence. He sent His Son, who paid the penalty for our sin, and all we have to do to receive God’s pardon is to accept His wonderful gift. How do we accept God’s gift?

“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved” (Romans 10:9).

When you accept Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior, you are freed from the penalty of sin (spiritual death and eternal separation from God), and He gives you a new living spirit. “Salvation is moving from living death to deathless life.”

Why did God do this for us? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. And whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

When you become a Christian, your dead spirit comes to life, and you become a new person. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the apostle Paul promises, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” We were crucified with Christ and now we live in Him (Galatians 5:20).

Have you accepted God’s incredible gift?

If not, He’s still asking, “Where are you?”

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Thank You for your great love for me. Thank You for calling me by name and asking, “Where are you?” Thank You for sending your Son to pay the penalty for my sin and save me from eternal separation from You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.
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Devotion 8 months 6 days ago #246

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www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/girlfriends...-january-9-2017.html

January 9, 2017
True Love
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8, NIV).

Friend to Friend

A group of four-through eight-year-olds was asked: “What does love mean?”

Their answers vary from the amusing to the profound. Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne, and they go out and smell each other. Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs. Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you. Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired. When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis, too. That’s love. When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you’re scared they won’t love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only do they still love you they love you even more. Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Denzel Washington. Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day. Love cards, like Valentine’s cards, say stuff on them that we’d like to say ourselves, but we wouldn’t be caught dead saying. Yes, the response of these children is both precious and humorous. But the reality is that there is only one place where we can find true love in a personal relationship with God. God loves you. He created you. The words of Psalm 139 beautifully express the heart of God toward each one of us: For You created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13-16).

God’s love does so many big things in our lives. God’s love transforms the ugliness of life into a beautiful trophy of grace. Love covers the scars of sin. Love heals wounds and eases pain. Jesus was and is the living illustration and certain fulfillment of His Father’s love. The love of God is unconditional and unfailing and will stubbornly pursue us no matter where we go, no matter what we do or don’t do. God’s love satisfies the deepest longings of our soul, enables us to love ourselves, and frees us to love others. God’s love shows up in big ways but sometimes it is when God’s love shows up in little ways that He really gets to me. But the love of God always shows up! I am reminded that God is real that He is faithfully present, and that He really does care about every minute detail of my life. We stand on the threshold of a new year. Many of you are facing painful circumstances. Others are in a place you never thought you would be. The uncertainty of what lies ahead can be frightening unless you truly know and trust the One who holds every minute of this new year in His hands. God is for you and He is with you. Let His unfailing love surround and fill your heart with hope.
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