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The Stiff Necked Disease

God is not as concerned about outward obedience as He is our inward obedience and the motivation for our obedience. Do we obey God with a willing heart out of love, or do we obey Him grudgingly with murmuring and complaining? read more

Judge Nothing Before the Time

Yes, the Bible says we'll know them by their fruit, but have Christians gone too far with criticizing or judging others? Here's what the Bible says about judging.  read more

Woman singing

The Power of Singing

One of the key ways Paul tells us to stay filled with the Spirit is to sing hymns and spiritual songs, and to make melody in our hearts. Have you tapped into the power of song? read more

Cooking Is a Curse

Psalm 81:1-16 Today's reading includes a promise of God I've been claiming for years: "I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots" (v. 6, KJV). read more

The Cost of Discipleship

Luke 14:7-35 Jesus shares in this passage the cost of discipleship. He says clearly that discipleship requires forsaking all. He shares the parable about the man who prepared a great supper and invited many to come. Those invited had excuses for not attending the dinner. One man was too busy with his possessions, another was too busy with his business, and another was too busy with his family. read more

Prosperity and Success

Deuteronomy 34:1-Joshua 2:24 So many seek success and desire to prosper. Financial seminars are held to teach people how to invest and make the most of their money. Training seminars on selling yourself to the interviewer are attended by those who desire to advance in the business world. The Lord sees prosperity and success totally opposite of the way the world sees it. read more

Fertilizing the Seed

Luke 13:1-22 This passage in Luke has special meaning to me because the plea of the vine dresser became a prayer my husband and I prayed for a church we were attending. In this church the pastor was open to the things of the Spirit, but most of his congregation were not. They did not want any changes. We were in this church for three years when we attended a Sunday school retreat. The retreat was in Calloway Gardens in South Georgia, and we were in charge of getting the speaker. read more

Coming Ready or Not

Luke 12:35-59 Remember the game "hide and seek"? One child closes his eyes and counts to ten while the other child hides. At the count of ten, the child opens his eyes and begins his search by saying, "Coming ready or not!" Then this child diligently searches high and low to find where the other child is hiding. I recall being a child hiding, and the moment the one who sought me found me, my heart jumped and I always yelled loudly "Boo" to scare him. read more

God's Pleasure

Luke 12:8-34 My life verse is Philippians 2:13: "It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." It was such a joy to have this understanding when I was twenty-six years old. I was at a retreat, and our leader instructed us to go out by the lakeside and be quiet and still before the Lord. We were instructed to ask the Lord questions and then wait for answers. Waiting for an answer when I prayed was a new experience for me, as usually all my prayers were one-way conversations with the Lord. What happened in a twenty-minute span of time changed my whole life. read more

Peace Brings Joy

Proverbs 12:19-20 Counselors of peace have joy." Romans 14:17 tells us, "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." In yesterday's reading we learned that Jesus is the kingdom of God. He is all righteousness, all peace and all joy, and we can enter into the kingdom when we ask Jesus to come into our hearts and take over our lives. I do not know a person on earth who does not desire to be right with God and his fellowman, to have peace and to experience joy. Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God, and sometimes we forget this is our message also. In addition to preaching the kingdom, we also now can tell of the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who now sits in heaven making intercession for us. The gospel should contain all of these facts. read more

Jesus Redeems Our Mistakes

Luke 11:14-36 One of the favorite expressions in our family is, "Well, nobody is perfect." We all make mistakes, and I am so ever grateful for our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our redeemer. He is able to take our messes and make something worthwhile out of them. As I was reading this morning about another ministry Jesus had, I recalled an incident I experienced in India. read more

One Thing Is Needed

Luke 10:38-11:13 Our pastor has said that we have to remember to keep the main thing the main thing. When we look at our lives, we have to ask ourselves, "What is the main thing?" I had a friend who put on her refrigerator a sign that said, "What difference will this make 10,000 years from now?" Priorities change when we realize that our life here on earth is but a hands breadth. Those who know Jesus Christ personally will live forever with Him. Jesus told Martha that she was careful and troubled about many things, but Mary had chosen the one thing needful. Mary chose to sit at His feet and learn of Him. Without Him we can do nothing. When we realize this, we will spend more time sitting at His feet as Mary did. read more

What You Say Is What You Get

Proverbs 12:12-14 One of my constant prayers is that the law of kindness would be upon my tongue and that my conversations would be seasoned with grace. There is a proverb that says that pleasant words are health to our bones. This proverb says that we are satisfied with good by the fruit of our lips. read more

Laborers for the Harvest

Luke 9:51-10:12 From the time my three sons were toddlers, I prayed that all three would be used as laborers in the last great harvest. Jesus exhorts us to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers. The harvest is great, but the laborers are few. The Lord sends the laborers. He speaks to the potential laborer and gives him the call for his special field. read more

Focus

Psalm 73:1-28 Where will your focus be today? Here the psalmist looks at the people around him. He compares himself with those who are ungodly and realizes they seem to be better off than he is. He reminds God of how he has cleansed his own heart, but he cannot see the benefits of living a righteous life. His complaint to God is the same as that of many Christians today: "What's the use in trying to be good and going God's way when nothing is working out?" But then he goes into the sanctuary and draws near to God. He realizes that the wicked will eventually perish, but he will not. He thanks God for His faithfulness in holding his hand through hard times, for His guidance, counsel and strength. Then he shares this wonderful statement: "It is good to draw near to God; to put our trust in Him and to declare His works." The psalmist first sees only the people who are close to him and the circumstances around him. At the end of this psalm, he is given a supernatural pair of glasses to see beyond those things he is experiencing. He focuses on the God who is in control of all things. To receive healing for his eyesight, however, he had to go into the sanctuary and draw near to God. He had to retreat from his circumstances and the people who surrounded him and get alone with God. In the sanctuary there were no distractions and his attention was focused only on God. read more

Like Rain on Fresh Mown Grass

Psalm 72:1-20 Vladimir, our Russian son, has been our gardener for the seven years he has lived with us. I remember the first time he cut the grass; he was so very proud of his accomplishment. Shortly after the grass was mowed, a shower came; we both stood in the carport and breathed in the elegant smell of rain on freshly mowed grass. There is nothing to compare with this smell. This psalm gives a beautiful description of what will happen to people who fear the Lord. One of the promises of God to those who fear Him is, "They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth" (vv. 5-6, KJV). read more

Fear Not, Believe Only

Luke 8:41-9:6 Jairus had just heard the news that his daughter was dead. Can you imagine his amazement when he heard Jesus say, "Fear not, believe only?" This story has a happy ending because Jesus raised Jairus' daughter from the dead. read more

Where Is Your Faith?

Luke 8:22-40 We have had the opportunity to cross the Sea of Galilee many times. Our guide usually points out the fact that storms can come up quite suddenly on the sea because of the Golan Heights that surround the sea. Jesus was peacefully sleeping through the storm while His disciples were frantically bailing water out of the boat. Jesus rebuked the wind and the raging waters and suddenly all was calm. Then Jesus asked them, "Where is your faith?" read more

He That Is Forgiven Much Loves Much

Luke 7:36-8:3 In response to the those who questioned His willingness to allow a woman who was a sinner to wash His feet, Jesus told a parable: "There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged" (Luke 7:41-43, KJV). read more

The Lord Is One God

Deuteronomy 5:1-6:25 The Jewish people say this phrase, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord," whenever they are gathered together at a temple or synagogue. Jewish people and Christians do have much in common. Both are sons of Abraham, both are believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and both are chosen by God to be a special people. read more

What We See in Others Is in Ourselves

Luke 6:39-7:10 So often I stand in judgment of others, and soon discover I am guilty of the very same things I see critically in others. You've heard the old expression, "When you point your finger at someone, four fingers are pointing back at you." Isaiah 58 speaks of God's chosen fast, and one of the things listed we need to fast from is the pointing of the finger. If our church could go on such a fast, we would have unity in the church. read more

Prayer Vigils

Luke 6:12-38 Over the years I have experienced many prayer vigils. One particularly comes to mind. Our little neighborhood women's prayer group decided to spend all night in prayer at my home. We tried to pray from 8 at night to 8 in the morning. We failed miserably. We kept falling asleep, and often we talked more than we prayed simply because we knew if we closed our eyes we would be off to sleep again. Jesus, however, did not have any problem spending a whole night in prayer. This scripture says Jesus continued all night in prayer. read more

God's Divine Meat Grinder

Psalm 66:1-20 Have you ever been through God's divine meat grinder? Some people today do not believe that God tests us, but the Bible says clearly that we are tested by the Lord. The request by God for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac was clearly a test from God. God, however, is not the tempter. James tells us that we are led astray by our own lusts and then tempted. He says, "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil" (James 1:13). read more

Choosing to Enter God's Presence

Psalm 65:1-13 It was a cold wintry day, and someone was knocking violently at my door. I looked through the peephole to discover two frightened young ladies who seemed desperate. Then I heard dogs barking in the background. I opened the door, and they said, "Please let us in!! Some dogs are chasing us!!" They were going door to door selling magazines, and some neighborhood dogs were following them. I let them in quickly, and they ended up staying with me for two hours. They were so relieved to find a refuge in my home. After some conversation and some hot tea, one of the ladies asked, "Don't you get lonely in this big house?" My husband was at work, and my children were at school. I answered, "No, I never get lonely because the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are always with me, and we have a tea party every day." Suddenly one of the ladies said with urgency in her voice, "We've got to go now." I guess they thought I was crazy, but at least my statement finally made them leave. read more

Discretion

Proverbs 11:22 Today's proverb is one of my favorites. Whenever I meet a woman who lacks discretion, immediately I have this mental picture of a pig with a beautiful gold-jeweled ring in her snout. Sometimes I have to battle this image in my mind, because it does cause me to be closed to anything this woman might have to say. read more

The Anointing for Ministry

Luke 4:1-32 So many in this day are seeking the anointing, but few realize that we already have the anointing. We have the same anointing for ministry that Jesus had. Isaiah lists seven aspects of this anointing of the Holy Spirit in Isaiah 11:1-2: read more

Casting Our Cares Upon Jesus

Psalm 62:1-12 David gives excellent advice in the psalm. He exhorts us to trust in the Lord at all times and to pour out our concerns and cares before Him. I learned how much God does love for us to cast our cares upon Him several years ago. read more

Jochebed

Numbers 26:52-28:14 One morning I was waking from a night's sleep, and I heard the name "Jochebed" in my spirit. I knew it was the Lord calling me Jochebed. I got up and looked up the name in the Strong's Concordance and found that Jochebed was the mother of two sons and a daughter. Both of her sons were priests. She was the mother of Moses, Aaron and Miriam. The name Jochebed in Hebrew means "the Lord glorified." read more

A Good Prayer for Children

Luke 2:36-52 From the time my boys were very young I prayed they would all have the same excellent spirit that Daniel had. Daniel had favor with man, and he had much wisdom. He also lived to be an old man. In this passage we see Jesus as a young boy honoring both His heavenly Father and His earthly father. Even though He knew He had to be about His Father's business, He was willing to subject Himself to Mary and Joseph and return with them to their home when they found Him in the temple. Our pastor recently preached a good sermon about how Mary should have first looked in the temple for Jesus because it was considered the house of God. She knew Jesus was the Son of God. After looking for three days, Mary and Joseph finally found Jesus among the doctors in the temple. He was intently listening, but He also shared with them some of His thoughts. They were astonished at His wisdom. The Bible tells us that Jesus returned to Nazareth and increased in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. read more

The Lord Is My Defense

Psalm 59:1-17 When we were in St. Petersburg, Russia, for an evangelical music festival designed to reach Jewish people, one of the musicians sang a song that I'll never forget. The phrase "He is my defense" was repeated over and over again in the song. That phrase still resounds in my spiritual ears. God truly is our defense, and David knew this even though his enemies surrounded him and used their tongues as swords against him. He knew that God was his strong defense. David said, "God shall let me see my desire upon my enemies." read more

God Said It, I Believe It, I Receive It

Numbers 22:21-23:30 This passage relates the story of Balaam, a prophet who was certainly not perfect, but a prophet who knew God was true to His Word. Balaam said, "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: Hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Num. 23:19, KJV). read more

When Nothing Is Impossible

Luke 1:26-56 We like to quote so often the phrase in this passage, "For with God nothing shall be impossible." If God did not have to work through men, His power on earth would be unlimited. However, even though nothing is impossible with God and He does all things well, the stark reality is that we as Christians do not allow Him to do the impossible in our lives because of our lack of faith. The story comes to mind when the disciples came to Jesus for help in casting a deaf and dumb spirit out of a little boy. Jesus told them they were unable to do this because of their lack of faith. Then He said, "O faithless generation." Nothing is impossible with God when we put our complete faith and trust in Him. read more

When to Trust in the Lord

Psalm 56:1-13 The Bible exhorts us in many verses to trust in the Lord at all times. There is, however, a special time when we need to say aloud, "I trust in the Lord." That special time is when fear comes upon us. David writes in this psalm,"What time I am afraid, I will trust in You." If you are familiar with David's history, you will know he was provided with many opportunities to be afraid. He constantly was surrounded by enemies, and in the psalms David reveals some of the secrets to overcoming fear. He certainly became an expert at this. David was quite sure that fear would always present its cold, clammy handshake throughout his life. David, however, learned not to shake hands with the devil and receive fear. read more

The Perfect Sin Sacrifice

Mark 16:1-20 God is a God of infinite detail. He made sure that Jesus fulfilled every requirement for a sin sacrifice according to His laws. The account in Mark of Mary Magdalene bringing sweet spices on the Sabbath to anoint Jesus' body reveals a very important fact about Jesus' burial. read more

Pleasing Men

Mark 15:1-47 This passage in Mark gives the details of what led to the crucifixion of our Lord. Pilate was warned by his wife in a dream not to harm Jesus, but Pilate was a man pleaser. We hear these chilling words: "And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified" (Mark 15:15, KJV). read more

The Glory of God

Numbers 14:1-15:16 God told Moses, "As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord." Moses was pleading with God not to destroy the Israelites for their disobedience. He made his appeal on the basis that all of Israel's enemies would see their destruction and would believe that God was not able to save them. God's response was that His ultimate plan for the earth would be fulfilled no matter how disobedient man was. He told Moses that the day will come when His glory will fill the whole earth. read more

Green Means Go; Red Means Stop

Psalm 52:1-9 I remember my mother teaching me how to obey the traffic signals when I was a child. "Green means go," she would say, "and red means stop." In this passage we see the comparison between red and green. The tongue is red, and it is, as shared earlier, a red carpet we roll out to Satan whenever we allow him to use our tongues. David speaks about the tongue of an evil man and how it devises mischief and even has the power to devour. The end of the evil man who cannot control his tongue is destruction. There is a proverb that says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." When we see a red light, we immediately put on the brakes of our car or stop at the curb if we are walking. If we would stop to think before we speak and wait for the green light of the Holy Spirit to lead our conversation, we would be extremely wise. read more

A Heart After God

Psalm 51:1-19 David is described as a man after God's own heart. He was not perfect by any means, but there was something in him that attracted God. It was his heart. David had a contrite and humble heart. The Bible tells us that God will not despise a contrite heart. David had just committed adultery when he wrote this psalm, and this psalm instructs us how to confess our sins. First John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (KJV). We have another scripture in James 5:16: "Confess your faults [shortcomings and sins] one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (KJV). read more

The Tongue and Troubles

Psalm 50:1-23 There is one promise of God that will be fulfilled in every life. Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Because we live in a fallen world, there will always be trouble. This psalm reveals two important responses we should have when trouble comes our way. Verse 15 exhorts us to call upon the Lord in our day of trouble. Verse 23 exhorts us to praise the Lord and to order our conversation aright. read more

Moment by Moment

Psalm 49:1-20 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations" (Ps. 49:11, KJV). It is the nature of man to feel he will never die. That inward thought says, "You'll never die." read more

The Importance of Covering

Numbers 4:1-5:31 As I read this scripture I saw something I missed in my former readings over the years. All the treasures and holy things that were used in the service of the Lord were covered first with a blue or purple cloth, and then were covered with badgers' skin. The covering had to be placed upon the instruments of sacrifice and worship before they could be taken to another location. This action of covering is symbolic of how important covering is in our lives. We are living sacrifices, and our act of worship is to daily offer our bodies to the Lord as instruments of His righteousness, peace, love and joy. read more

Who Is the Owner?

Mark 11:27-12:17 We have had the privilege of having two exchange students live with us—a Chinese girl and a Russian boy. Both became like a daughter and son to us, and they called us Mom and Dad. Our Chinese daughter has returned to China where she lives with her parents and sister. What a joy it has been to be enriched by two of God's precious treasures. People are God's inheritance, and we have learned over the years that in order for us to fully enjoy God, we must also take pleasure in His treasures. read more

The Wings of Prayer

Mark 11:1-26 The question often is asked, "Why are some prayers never answered?" The answer to this question is that God does answer every prayer that reaches His throne room and every prayer He hears. Some prayers, however, never reach His throne room. Prayers prayed in unbelief do not avail anything. James tells us that a double-minded man can expect to receive nothing from God. read more

God's Blessings

Leviticus 25:47-27:13 We used to sing the song, "There Shall Be Showers of Blessing." This passage in Leviticus tells of the showers of God's blessings that will flow from His throne room upon us. However, all the blessings listed here are conditional. Most of the promises of God are conditional. He promises so much in His Word to us, but for the promises to be fulfilled in our lives we have a part. Both the Old Testament and New Testament have the same main condition expressed for the fulfillment of the blessings and promises. The condition we must meet is to walk in God's ways and keep His commandments. read more

Silver Tongue

Proverbs 10:20-21 When you go to the doctor, usually the first thing he says is, "Stick out your tongue." Your physical condition often will be shown by the condition of your tongue. The same is true about your spiritual condition. What you speak with your tongue reveals what is hidden in your heart. Some of the spiritual diseases that are revealed by what we speak are bitterness, jealousy, pride, anger and so forth. read more

Victory Over Depression

Psalm 44:1-7 We end our readings for the month of February on a very positive note. In this psalm David reveals what sustained him throughout his life of trials and temptations. What sustained David was his love and trust relationship with the Lord. Because David was secure in his relationship to the Lord, he was able to release all into the hands of the Lord. There were times when David felt distant from God, but the truth that God commanded His lovingkindness always toward David gave David the anchor he needed to keep him from being overwhelmed by his circumstances. He constantly rehearsed and reviewed the marvelous works of the Lord and all the times the Lord had strengthened him. read more

Oppression Leads to Depression

Psalm 43:1-5 Yesterday we saw the emotional, mental and physical pain David was experiencing because his enemies were coming against him. He was depressed, but he made the decision with his will to praise the Lord even in the midst of a very low time in his life. All depression is caused by some kind of oppression. Granted, depression can be caused by a chemical imbalance in our system, and this can be treated medically. However, whether we are depressed because of a chemical imbalance in our system or circumstances that surround us, Satan takes advantage of us in our weakened state. He oppresses us with all kinds of deceptive thoughts. read more

Hope in God

Psalm 42:1-11 David wrote this psalm when he was going through a depressed state. He says, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the help of my countenance" (Ps. 42:11, KJV). David is telling himself to praise God even when he does not feel like it. The world has grabbed this principle, and motivational seminars usually include a section on "self talk." God's Word relates this principle often. An example is, "Let the weak say I am strong" (Joel 3:10, KJV). There has been an emphasis over the years on making positive confessions rather than negative ones. Sometimes if we are not careful, we curse ourselves by declaring negative things over us. I know when I keep saying I'm tired, it seems I get more tired. David tells himself to hope in God. read more

Giving to the Poor

Psalm 41:1-13 Our church has always given to some ministry that feeds the poor, and often members of our church will go down to the inner city and serve meals to the poor. We also have orphanages in India and Mexico that house many children who otherwise would be living in poverty on the streets. I believe the fact we have always been faithful in giving to the poor is the reason we have never experienced any financial crisis of consequence. read more

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