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Post  Admin on Mon 20 Jun 2011, 11:46 pm

Week of June 20

Faith in Our Choices

Life is a series of choices. We can choose wisely or unwisely as we are confronted with decisions, temptations, and priorities. Sometimes we will make the wrong decision, but hopefully we will learn from our mistakes in order to make better choices in the future. We learn which choices lead to eternal blessings and which lead to short-term happiness. We learn which choices lead to spiritual success and which lead to failure. While some decisions are minor, others have eternal consequences. We must learn how to choose wisely because many decisions will determine the quality of our lives. Poor choices lead to a life of misery, while wise choices lead to peace and contentment. God wants us to make life decisions based on what will have eternal benefits, what will bring Him glory, and what will expand our faith.
One of the greatest choices we make is to obey Christ in all things. Obedience does not come naturally for us. Our sinful nature often influences our decisions, choices, habits, and priorities. We must consciously strive to follow Christ every day in order to live a life of faithfulness to God. We must choose to walk by faith. We must choose to spend time with God. We must choose to fellowship with God in prayer. We must choose to feed upon the Word of God. We must choose to be witnesses for Christ to our neighbors and friends and co-workers. We must choose to live for Christ instead of ourselves. We must choose to place God and only God as the top priority in our lives. We must choose how to use the talents, resources, and opportunities that God places in our lives.
Read Hebrews 11:23-29. Moses was a man who was given great advantages in life: he held power, wealth, and prestige. Moses was the adopted grandson of the ruler of the world's most powerful, wealthiest, and advanced country of that time. And he was faced with a great dilemma. Moses had to choose between two completely different lives: the life that led to him one day becoming pharaoh with untold prestige and power, or the life that would abandon everything he knew in order to lead God's people out of slavery. His choice was between the temporary earthly wealth and the everlasting rewards of heaven. The Bible tells us that Moses chose wisely: "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward" (Hebrews 11:24-26).
Moses gave up what most of us dream about: ultimate earthly power and wealth. What would you have done in Moses' place? Would you have just played it safe, waiting for your time to become pharaoh, convincing yourself you could do more good with more power? Would you have turned your back on your people out of fear or selfishness or apathy? Would you easily part with the royal palace in order to wander through the desert?
When we place our lives and futures and families and businesses in the hands of God, we can trust that God will take us to the places where His plans are to be found. When we place our faith in God and His plans and promises and purposes, we can move forward, even if it means leaving other things behind.
Where do you seek your honor—in the eyes of society or in the eyes of God? Heavenly rewards are eternal, but they often come with a price. When we choose to obey and honor God above our own selfish desires, we will sometimes sacrifice our comfort, the opinions of others, and our social standing. People may reject us, ridicule us, and despise us for our faith. Committed faith is not always easy in the short-term, but our rewards will be eternal—and God's rewards are always better than the world's rewards.

What kinds of choices do you make? Do your decisions reflect earth-bound priorities or God's kingdom? Are your accumulations in earthly banks or in your heavenly home? Do you play it safe or do you take risks for God? Spend time today examining the choices that you make and what they reveal about your faith in God. If your choices reflect a weak faith, confess this to God and seek His forgiveness. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in making wise, eternal choices and to give you the strength to step out in faith..
****
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Post  Admin on Mon 30 May 2011, 2:43 pm

Week of May 30
Call On Me on Behalf of the Next Generation
We want the best for our children. We work hard to provide them the best opportunities, education, possessions, and quality of life that we possibly can. But this earthly foundation is as weak as sand compared to the solid rock we have in Christ. The psalmist declared, "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain" (Psalm 127:1). We work and work to provide for the next generation, but how often do we call out to God to form the foundation of their lives and to watch over them?
Today we face forces that are attacking our future generations. These forces are unashamedly seeking to destroy our society, our morality, our faith, and our convictions. Unless we are firmly anchored in the Rock of Ages, unless we trust in the living God, unless we are vigilant in prayer and fellowship with God, the enemy will be able to vanquish our children.
We have a great responsibility to the next generation. They may not yet realize the dangers they are facing or how to pray for protection and guidance. But we know. We can pray big prayers to God for the next generation. We can pray for God to build our homes and our cities on His foundation. We can model for the next generation how to pray selflessly and ceaselessly to God. We can model for our children that our trust and security is in God, not in our material possessions or earthly successes. When our children see us clinging to the promises of God, they will grow up trusting in His goodness. If we fail as adults in praying for and praying with the next generation, then they will become spiritually unsure.
When a generation begins to feel defeated and uncertain, its people begin to lose their spiritual balance. They may halfheartedly attend church, but inwardly they have lost their biblical moorings. Only God can build a home and guard a city, and that is why we need to call upon the Lord on behalf of the next generation. We need to call upon the Lord for our homes, for our cities, and for our nation.
When we call upon the Lord for the next generation, we can trust that the Lord will work in their lives to cultivate their relationship with Him, to bring them wisdom, to develop their spiritual and intellectual powers, to firm their resolve to walk with Him, to nurture their love of God, and to become powerhouses for Him.
The psalmist describes the next generation as arrows: "Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate" (Psalm 127:4, 5). We should pray that our children will become arrows into the heart of the enemy. When they face spiritual warfare, when they witness the moral decay around them, when they see the enemy's foothold on our society, may they be like arrows in the hand of the Almighty God to penetrate the enemy territories and to shatter the spiritual deceptions.
How much time do you spend in prayer for the next generation? Even if you do not have children, God wants to hear your prayers for the future of His people. He wants you to model for the next generation how to live a life of faith and devotion to Him. We need to show the next generation that God is not a stranger, but He is our Father and our friend and our comforter and our foundation.
If you are struggling in your faith and commitment to daily prayer, pray for the Holy Spirit's help to strengthen your relationship with Christ. Your spiritual walk is not the only matter at stake, but the spiritual lives of your children as well. Commit today to praying daily for the next generation. Commit to modeling for them a daily fellowship with God. Commit to living the life of faith that you are professing to your children.
****
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Post  Admin on Mon 23 May 2011, 1:45 pm

Week of May 23

Call On Me For Great Things

Prayers of faith have great power. They can conquer the unconquerable, overcome our obstacles, accomplish the impossible and vanquish the enemy. The apostle Paul said that God is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20). Yet God does not want us to spend our big prayers on selfish desires. God wants us to pray big prayers of faith for things that will glorify Him.
In the book of Jeremiah, we see God speaking to His people through His prophet. God said, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3). God spoke these words through Jeremiah during a dark point in Israel's history. Nebuchadnezzar had already sent the Babylonian army to Jerusalem. The city was under siege. Hostages had been taken to Babylon. These were some of the worst times God's people had experienced since their days of slavery in Egypt.
But this predicament was of their own creation. For years the Israelites had drifted away from the God who brought them out of slavery into the Promised Land. They forgot the One who loved them and provided for them. Instead, they turned their backs on Him by placing their trust in political messiahs, placing their security in material possessions, and compromising their God-given values. Their hearts had become calloused and their ears had become deaf to God's Word. Yet even in their lowest point, God was still calling and appealing to His children to return to Him. He was telling them through Jeremiah that even at that late hour it was not too late to call out to Him. God was ready to bring restoration to His people for His glory.
God wants to do great things for His people. During the days of Jeremiah, He promised them restoration from the destruction of the Babylonians. He said, "I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before….Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it" (Jeremiah 33:7, 9).
God wants to hear big prayers that seek to bring Him "renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations." Yes, God does want to hear our small prayers. He wants us to reveal our hearts to Him and share our concerns and hopes. Yet the prayers that seek to glorify God, to honor Him, to further the work of His kingdom, to transform the hearts of nonbelievers, to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ, and to reveal His majesty—those are the prayers that are most powerful.
God responds to a heart that is truly devoted to Him and in awe of Him. God knows every inner corner of our hearts. We do not fool Him by saying we want something for His glory when secretly our motivations are selfish. We do not fool Him by saying we believe He can work miracles when inwardly we doubt He will follow through.
When we seek to truly know and understand God and develop a daily relationship with Him, we begin to understand just how big and capable and trustworthy our God is. When we know that God follows through on His promises and He is ready and willing to do big things, we can pray in faith that He will act in big ways. When we understand just how amazing and loving our Creator God is, we will genuinely seek to please Him by praying for things that honor Him. "Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him" (1 John 3:21, 22).

When was the last time you genuinely prayed for God's kingdom to be glorified through your life? When was the last time your prayer requests were centered on bringing God glory instead of fulfilling your desires? If you are finding it difficult to pray selflessly for God's glory, confess this in prayer today. Ask the Holy Spirit to transform your heart to seek God first above all other things and to develop a daily fellowship with Him.
****
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Post  Admin on Mon 16 May 2011, 12:07 pm

Week of May 16
Remember My Past Blessings

Do you have people in your life who only talk to you when they want something? Conversations that revolve around the other person's needs or demands make it hard to develop true fellowship. These one-sided relationships can lead to us feeling used and manipulated. Yet that is exactly what many of us do to God when we only approach Him in prayer with a need or desire. We give Him our laundry lists of prayer requests without spending any time praising Him, thanking Him for our past blessings or seeking a relationship with Him. We pray for future events without acknowledging His help in the past. Our forgetfulness is an indication of our ingratitude toward God and it renders our prayers ineffective.
Yet none of this shocks God. God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows we are a forgetful people. He knows our capacity for ingratitude. He knows our capacity for reinventing the truth. He knows our capacity for taking credit for His provision. Throughout the Scriptures we see God reminding His people of His blessings. He often urged them to set up visible memorials of His past provision so they would be filled with prayer and praise. Without these reminders, the people would forget God's faithfulness.
When God miraculously brought His people out of slavery in Egypt, they quickly succumbed to ingratitude towards God. They grumbled and complained and murmured every time they faced a new challenge, instead of thanking God for His ever-present hand. Their attitude prevented them from entering the Promised Land for 40 years until that grumbling generation had died out in the wilderness.
After God's people finally reached the Promised Land, God told them to create a monument as a reminder of His supernatural aid in crossing the Jordan River. "When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight'" (Joshua 4:1-3). Joshua carried out the Lord's commands and explained to the men that this would "serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?' tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord.…These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever" (Joshua 4:6, 7).
God wants to see prayers that are filled with genuine praise and thanksgiving for what He has done in the past. He wants our hearts to be filled with awe and gratitude for His blessings. He wants us to set up memorials in our hearts testifying to the provisions He has given us.
God does not want to be taken for granted. He does not want to be given our lists of wants without any true desire to know Him. We dishonor God when we relegate Him to the role of magic genie. God answers our prayers to strengthen our faith in Him, to help us trust in His Word, to glorify Himself, and to express His love for us. Imagine how He feels when we respond to His grace and love and mercy with indifference and forgetfulness and presumption.
When we face difficult times, we often become blinded by our problems and forget how God has always provided the solutions to our past troubles. God wants to see that His past aid did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. He wants us to come to Him confidently in prayer, gratefully acknowledging His past mercies. After we have spent time in praise and thanksgiving, we can then ask Him to again help us so that our blessings can glorify Him.

*****

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We are Leading The Way for people living in spiritual darkness, at home and around the world, to discover the light of Christ as we passionately proclaim uncompromising Truth. Visit us today at www.leadingtheway.org
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Post  Admin on Mon 09 May 2011, 11:47 am

Week of May 9
When God Moves You
Has God ever placed you in a job, a location or a situation you never would have chosen for yourself? Today we see how God operates on many fronts to accomplish His purposes and to bless us as well. Read I Kings 17:7-16
One day while Elijah was enjoying the restful protection of the Lord at the bottom of the Kerith Ravine, the brook dried up and his time of being fed by ravens ended. The Lord told him to go to Zarephath where a widow would feed him.
This new direction from the Lord was strange on many levels. First, Zarephath was hard hit by famine. Second, it was in the heart of Baal-worship territory and only seven miles from Jezebel’s home. Even the name Zarephath meant “smelt,” as the city had a reputation for being a smelly, polluted place where iron was smelted. Elijah must have wondered why he was being asked to leave his comfortable hideout and cross seventy miles of desert to walk into unpleasant and dangerous territory.
But Elijah knew that if God had given him the order that He would provide all he needed. Verse 10 says simply, “And so he went to Zarephath…”
Things looked even bleaker when Elijah arrived. He found a widow out gathering sticks to make a final meal before she and her son died of starvation. All she had left was one small serving of oil and flour. However, God told Elijah that she would feed him. Imagine how hard it must have been for Elijah to ask the woman to make a cake of bread for him before she made one for her family. Regardless, it was God’s command and Elijah obeyed. Elijah tells her, “For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land’" (1 King 7:14).
That is exactly what happened. The flour and oil were constantly replenished through God’s provision and the woman’s family was fed throughout the famine.
Has God ever put a mission or a task on your heart that you felt was too overwhelming, dangerous or costly in some way? Have you ever felt that as one person you could not make a difference? Elijah turned the tide in his nation though he was only one person with limited resources. The widow made a difference by making her last cake for God’s man and not for herself. God puts unique service on the hearts of His people and blesses that obedience as they submit to His sovereign will.

Often, God’s strategies make no sense to us because, unlike him, we have limited vision. When God took Elijah into the heart of enemy territory, God knew that was the last place King Ahab’s soldiers would look for him. God also knew that going to Zarephath would save Elijah from starvation though common sense said there was famine. More importantly, God showed Elijah that He cared about the Baal-worshipping widow and her family. God often has multiple objectives as He operates on many fronts simultaneously. If we follow His lead, we will be blessed and may become instruments of blessing for others.
Has God ever prompted you to do something that made no sense at the time but that was His sovereign will? What was the result?
Is God asking you now to move out of your comfort zone with people, your career, or your finances? Is He moving your heart to explore new territory in ministry or in your relationship with Him? Pray about what God is leading you to do now.

*****

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We are Leading The Way for people living in spiritual darkness, at home and around the world, to discover the light of Christ as we passionately proclaim uncompromising Truth. Visit us today at www.leadingtheway.org
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Post  Admin on Mon 02 May 2011, 9:57 am

Week of May 2nd

When God Hides You

Seemingly out of nowhere, Elijah appears in scripture. He had no family history, high office, or credentials to make him God’s choice to confront the terrifying and immoral leadership of his day. There is no evidence that Elijah was super spiritual. Like us, he was fearful and perplexed at times. Yet with great directness he tells the wicked King Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word." Read I Kings 17:1-6 to see how God used this ordinary man to make extraordinary changes in his nation.

Elijah’s act was outrageously bold because King Ahab was under the influence of his pagan wife Jezebel. She had led King Ahab to kill hundreds of God’s people because they would not bow down to Baal. Delivering God’s message to Ahab must have seemed like a suicide mission.

At God’s direction, Elijah delivered the message and then hid in the Kerith Ravine. There he learned that when God pulls you away into hiding, He will supply the power, provision and protection you need to be prepared to be of even greater service to Him.

All of Elijah’s needs were met through God’s supernatural provision. Verse 6 states, “The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.”

God’s children rarely seek to be hidden. However, it is in the hidden moments that men and women of faith are drawn closer to God and prepared for greater ministry. Joseph grew during his time of exile and imprisonment. Moses spent years in the desert before his greatest ministry. Esther spent a considerable amount of time being prepared to be presented to the king. Paul spent three silent years in northern Arabia before he launched his ministry.

Has God hidden you for a time? Are you feeling isolated, endangered, or unused for the kingdom? God has His purpose for you to be exactly where you are. Use this time to refresh yourself in the Word. Pray that you will grow closer to Him and more fit for service during this season of hiding.

*****

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