Staying pure

Staying pure

“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word and following its rules. I have tried my best to find you — don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

Psalm 119:9-11 NLT

Piling on

In the game of football it’s called “piling on”: You’re already down when suddenly you get pummeled again by your opponent. In real life it’s called spiritual warfare, and it’s often disguised. You’re suffering through a hard time when suddenly the enemy comes at you with what actually looks like relief.

Ah, how vulnerable we are in such moments! After all I’ve had to endure lately, I think I deserve a little break! How easy it is to rationalize! Would it really be so wrong for me to ________? Why not?

Of course, this is the nature of temptation. On the front end, sin looks “heavenly.” On the back side, it is always hellish and makes bad situations worse.

Our only hope is in living out the promise that God’s Word can keep us from sin. By filling our hearts and minds with the truth of God’s Word, we are able to recognize the enemy’s lies. That is how we stay pure in hard, tempting times (see Matthew 4:1-11). It is how we avoid Satan’s deceptive attempts to hit us again when we’re down.

Praying God’s Promise:
God, when I hide your Word in my heart, I can keep from sinning! Grant me the wisdom to seek you and to hide your Word in my heart. I need discernment to apply your truth to everyday situations, especially when I am going through difficult times.

from Praying God’s Promises in Tough Times by Len Wood (Tyndale) pp 170-71

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

PROMISES OF GOD

Return unto the Lord thy God

Return unto the Lord thy God

Today’s Promise
I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s
womb. Before you were born I set you apart and
appointed you as my prophet to the nations.
Jeremiah 1:5
Today’s Thought
You might think that God was only speaking
to the prophet Jeremiah in these verses. But
God calls everyone to do a certain job, to
accomplish a specific task, or to use his or her
gifts in a unique way. When God calls you to do
something, he will make sure you know what it is.
Often you will feel a strong sense of leading from
him. It’s up to you to respond and walk through
the door of opportunity he opens.
Today’s Plan
Do you have a strong sense that God is leading you in a
certain direction or asking you to serve him in some way?
How can you begin to respond to God’s call in practical
ways today?


2 Corinthians 1:3-(KJV) 3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:3-(KJV) 3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

 

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same
Spirit is the source of them all. There are different
kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God
works in different ways, but it is the same God who
does the work in all of us.

1Corinthians 12:4-6
Today’s Thought
The natural abilities you have are gifts from
God, and they are often a clue to what God
wants you to do. Would God give you certain
talents and spiritual gifts and then not ask you to
use them? You may have natural gifts in the area
of cooking, entertaining, managing a business,
teaching, handling money, playing an instrument,
or any number of other things. Use
whatever gifts you have to bring honor and
glory to God. Then you will be right where
you need to be to discover God’s will for you
and to accomplish his purpose for you.
Today’s Plan
How is God calling you to serve him with your gifts in
the coming year?


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Does God treat you the way you deserve?

God is merciful to us

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Does God treat you the way you deserve?

Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly. He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious; he is slow to anger and full of unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does he deal with us as we desire. For his unfailing love toward those who love him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west.

Psalm 103:1-12

About this week’s promise

Mercy is compassion, poured out on needy people. But the mercy of God, which he expects us to model, goes one step further. God’s mercy is undeserved favor. Even when we don’t deserve mercy, God still extends it to us. Our sin and rebellion against God deserve his punishment; but instead he offers us forgiveness and eternal life. If God was merciful toward us despite our sin, how merciful should we be toward those who have wronged us?

From the TouchPoint Bible
(Tyndale House) p 1233

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Our prayers bring us into God’s presence!

 

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Our prayers bring us into God’s presence

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Our prayers bring us into God’s presence

KING OF KINGS GLORY

What is the best time to pray?

We can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for.

1 John 5:14-15

I love the Lord because he hears and answers my prayers. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalm 116:1-2

Seize any time

And talking of sleepiness, I entirely agree with you that no one in his senses, if he has any power of ordering his own day, would reserve his chief prayers for bedtime — obviously the worst possible hour for any action which needs concentration. The trouble is that thousands of unfortunate people can hardly find any other. Even for us, who are the lucky ones, it is not always easy. My own plan, when hard-pressed, is to seize any time and place, however unsuitable, in preference to the last waking moment. On a day of travelling — with, perhaps, some ghastly meeting at the end of it — I’d rather pray sitting in a crowded train than put it off till midnight when one reaches a hotel bedroom with aching head and dry throat and one’s mind partly in a stupor and partly in a whirl. On other, and slightly less crowded, days a bench in a park or a back street where one can pace up and down will do.

C. S. Lewis in Letters to Malcolm

 

Quoted in The Quotable Lewis edited by Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root (Tyndale House) p 493)

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

What is the best time to pray?

We can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for.

1 John 5:14-15
I love the Lord because he hears and answers my prayers. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalm 116:1-2

Seize any time

And talking of sleepiness, I entirely agree with you that no one in his senses, if he has any power of ordering his own day, would reserve his chief prayers for bedtime — obviously the worst possible hour for any action which needs concentration. The trouble is that thousands of unfortunate people can hardly find any other. Even for us, who are the lucky ones, it is not always easy. My own plan, when hard-pressed, is to seize any time and place, however unsuitable, in preference to the last waking moment. On a day of travelling — with, perhaps, some ghastly meeting at the end of it — I’d rather pray sitting in a crowded train than put it off till midnight when one reaches a hotel bedroom with aching head and dry throat and one’s mind partly in a stupor and partly in a whirl. On other, and slightly less crowded, days a bench in a park or a back street where one can pace up and down will do.

C. S. Lewis in Letters to Malcolm

 

Quoted in The Quotable Lewis edited by Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root (Tyndale House) p 493)

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

A RELIABLE MESSENGER

The whole earth will hear

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A reliable messenger

An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing.

Proverbs 13:17 
A credible message needs a credible messenger because charisma without character is catastrophe.

Peter Kuzmic

Letters from God

A U.S. ambassador resides in a foreign country and yet lives on U.S.-owned property. Though the laws of that land may differ from ours, the ambassador is still responsible to uphold the laws and rules of his own government. His words and actions can never be wholly his for he does not act in his own capacity. When he speaks, he is a messenger for his government. When he acts, his deeds reflect on the country he represents. We are Christ’s ambassadors and therefore his messengers. Too often we think that the message we preach reflects our faith. However, on a much deeper level it is the message of our everyday words and actions that are influential. We are the letter from God that people read. We become unreliable messengers when we speak crudely, gossip about a neighbor, or act dishonestly.

Our words and actions reflect God, who lives inside us, to people who never open a Bible or enter a church. Never forget that you are an ambassador for Christ and a messenger of hope. Ask his Spirit to empower you to deliver the Good News with your life and words.

LORD, thank you for allowing me to be your ambassador. Let my message be honest and true. Help me to encourage others and to go out of my way to speak a kind word. Forgive me for times when I have spoken without thinking. Let me live in such a way that my words and actions represent you so that my message may be one of love and hope.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Praying through the Bible by Cheri Fuller, Tyndale House Publishers (2003), entry for April 21.

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

I DIDN’T PAY THE BILL

God honors truth

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So good, it has to be true!

Psalm 32:2 (AKJV)

2 Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no guile.

 

No, it’s so good it has to be true.

George MacDonald (when someone protested
that the plan of salvation is too good to be true)

I never paid the bill

When I was boy, my mother would go to Margulie’s grocery store, get what she needed, and tell Mr. Margulie to put it on her bill. Every once in a while, Mama would send me to Margulie’s for something and tell me to put it on our bill. As I got older, I realized that Daddy had paid the bill. By the time I charged the next piece of bologna, the first piece had already been paid for.

God says blessed is he who goes down to Mr. Margulie’s store. When he gets there, his books are clean because Daddy has already paid the bill. God says that when you come before him and sincerely repent, the record of that sin is paid for in full. There’s no record of your past bill.

Kenneth G. Ulmer
in Spiritually Fit to Run the Race

Some of us can confess to bringing home something from a toy store without paying for it. We were probably six or seven years old, and we thought we’d pulled a fast one. But, of course, Mom and Dad always found out. They warned us that we might be doing time on the rock pile for pilfering that box of Legos, and they dragged us back to the store. As we walked up to the owner with the Legos, we thought we were doomed. In most cases, grace entered the picture. The owner didn’t call the police, but he did scare us half to death with a warning never to steal again. For most of us, that fixed our wagon once and for all.

Like the storeowner, God could hold our sins against us, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t because Jesus has already paid for the Legos. For that, we “sing with joy to the Lord” (Psalm 33:1).

Adapted from Men of Integrity Devotional Bible with devotions from the editors of Men of Integrity, a publication of Christianity Today International (Tyndale, 2002), entry for May 12.

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

WHAT PRESIDENTS KNEW GOD’S WORD IS “VITAL” FOR AMERICA?

God will help you understand his Word

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How Important is the Bible?

Your principles have been the music of my life throughout the years of my pilgrimage. I reflect at night on who you are, O Lord, and I obey your law because of this.

Psalm 119:54-55 

The testimony of presidents

The Bible was clearly important to many American presidents. A few examples:

It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible.

George Washington

The whole inspiration of our civilization springs from the teachings of Christ and the lessons of the prophets. To read the Bible for these fundamentals is a necessity of American life.

Herbert Hoover

In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to found portrayed in it.

Abraham Lincoln

Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet-anchor of your liberties; write its precepts in your hearts and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future. Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people.

Ulysses S. Grant

 

From Great Thoughts & Funny Sayings by Bob Phillips (Tyndale House), pp 39-40

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House