Genesis 28:28:1-29:35 As a child I remember singing, "We are climbing Jacob's ladder." In the song was the phrase, "Every rung goes higher, higher." Jacob experienced a divine connection between heaven and earth. In his dream he saw a ladder between heaven and earth, and he saw angels ascending and descending this ladder. The Lord stood above the ladder, and He spoke to Jacob and told him how the families of the earth would be blessed through his seed. He promised Jacob that He would keep him wherever he went, and that the time would come when He would bring him again to the land He promised Abraham, his great grandfather. When Jacob woke up, he said "Surely the Lord is in this place."
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Matthew 9:1-17 Jesus' response to the scribes who accused Him in their hearts of blasphemy was, "And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house" (Matt. 9:4-6, KJV).
God didn’t just rescue us; He empowered us so that we can live successfully here in this world. He didn’t want children who would have the title of righteousness but not have the ability to overcome the sins and weaknesses that ensnared them in the first place. No, He designed salvation to be complete—triumphant living in this world as well as in the one to come.
Genesis 24:52-26:16 This Genesis passage gives a beautiful picture of how the Holy Spirit seeks us, chooses us to be the bride of Christ and leads us. The servant who sought a bride for Isaac is a type of the Holy Spirit. The servant was given the assignment to find a bride for Isaac. He found Rebekah, but before he could take Rebekah to Isaac he had to have her permission. When the servant knew Rebekah was the chosen one for Isaac, he wasted no time. He presented gifts of gold, jewels and raiment to Rebekah. Then he asked Rebekah's parents for her to go with him to marry Isaac. Rebekah's parents were hesitant and asked if Rebekah could remain with them at least ten days. The servant shared how the Lord had prospered him in his way, and now he was ready to take Rebekah home with him to meet Isaac. The parents then said they would ask Rebekah. Rebekah's reply was immediate and positive. "And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go" (Gen. 24:58, KJV).
Proverbs 3:1-6 The story is told of a man who bought a ticket for a cruise to the Caribbean. He climbed on board and looked forward to the four-day cruise. He had carefully packed for the trip and had included all the food he would need for each meal during the cruise.
Genesis 20:1-22:24 The father was patiently instructing his seven-year-old son how to be an effective outfielder in baseball. He gave the following instructions: "First, son, you have to stand with your glove ready to receive the ball, and keep your eye on the ball. As the ball is falling, you need to run to where the ball is and try to catch it before it reaches the ground. If the ball hits the ground, scoop it up quickly and throw it to the base-.-.-.-"
Proverbs 2:6-17 We witnessed in our church a dramatic conversion. A bodyguard for the Mafia was saved, and he shared with us some of his assignments as a bodyguard to Mafia leaders. He was charged to defend the Mafia leader with his own life. He was to check out where the Mafia leaders were to eat, sleep and travel to be sure there would be no way someone could get to that leader to do him harm. He stayed awake all night to guard the leader. This passage in Proverbs reveals several divine bodyguards we have as we walk in the path God sets before us. These bodyguards preserve our way and keep us from traveling on the path that leads to destruction.
Matthew 6:1-24 Jesus tells us not to lay up treasures on this earth where moth and rust corrupt and where thieves break in and steal; instead we are to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust will not corrupt, and where thieves will not break through to steal. Whatever we treasure is what we give our heart and soul to keep. This exhortation of Jesus caused me to examine my own life and ask myself these questions: "Where is my treasure? Is it on earth, or is it in heaven?"
Genesis 13:5-15:21 The herdsmen of Abraham's cattle and the herdsmen of Lot's cattle were in strife. Each of them probably thought the other had more grazing land than he did. Abraham's response to this strife was, "Is not the whole land before you?" There was plenty of land for both.
Matthew 5:1-26 One of the scriptures that always comes to my remembrance when I pray is, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16.) We are exhorted in the Scriptures to challenge one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24).
You and I have what it takes to bring delight to our heavenly Father! Take a look at what the scripture says about this...
Proverbs 1:20-23 In ancient times most cities were walled cities. Jerusalem, for example, had twelve gates and high, thick walls. These walls were created to keep the enemies of the city from entering and destroying the city. Proverbs 16:32 says, "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." Proverbs 25:28 says, "Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls."
Matthew 3:7-4:11 We describe people as worldly when they are consumed with their own lusts. First John 2:16 tells us what these three lusts are: the lust of the eyes (greedy longings in our minds), the lust of the flesh (seeking sensual pleasure in obsessive, indulgent ways) and the pride of life (trusting in our own selves and our resources more than we trust in God). This verse says that these lusts are not of the Father, but they are of the world. Jesus, however, through His victory over temptation and through His death, burial and resurrection from the dead, has overcome the world. In this story of the temptation of Jesus we see Satan tempting Jesus as he tempted Eve in the areas of the three beautiful desires—to enjoy God, to glorify God and to worship God. Satan thought he would also succeed in seducing Jesus. He forgot one very important fact: Jesus was the Word of God made flesh. The Word is the offensive sword of the Spirit against Satan, and Jesus wielded this sword effectively against the enemy. We can do the same.
Genesis 3:1-4:26 There are only three ways the enemy can tempt us. When God created Adam and Eve, they had three beautiful desires: the desire to worship God in all of His holiness, the desire to enjoy God and all of His creation, and the desire to glorify God or make His presence manifest on earth to all of creation. All the desires in the souls of Adam and Eve were directed toward God, and only God could satisfy those desires. These desires were perverted after the Fall into three lustful areas in our souls: The desire to worship God was perverted into the lust of the eyes (greedy longings in our minds); the desire to enjoy God was perverted into the lust of the flesh (seeking to satisfy our five senses through overindulgence); and the desire to glorify God was perverted into the pride of life (trusting in our own resources and ourselves more than we trust in God). These are the three buttons Satan always tries to push in us because he knows we will always have these weaknesses in our souls.
Australias Hillsong Church may be on the other side of the world, but its music and ministry style have affected every continent. We talked to Pastor Brian Houston about the global impact of Aussie faith.
Psalm 1:1-6 The psalmist reverses the natural way we learn to walk. A baby first learns to sit up and then gradually pulls himself up to the standing position. Finally, when he feels steady on his feet, he ventures to take the first step. God has not called us to a natural way of walking. He has called us to a supernatural walk. We walk in His ways, we stand in His righteousness, and we sit in His presence.
Malachi 3:1-4:6 I trust you have been blessed by reading through the Bible with me this year. I pray your first New Year's resolution will be to read the Bible through next year and every year until you go to be with the Lord. Perhaps you would like to write devotionals of your own as you read through the Bible in this next year. I plan to write devotionals on those passages that I did not cover this year.
Revelation 21:1-27 As we draw near to the end of our yearly readings, this passage in Revelation should cause our hearts to leap. If you know your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, you can look forward to living in the New Jerusalem. The description of this holy city is mind boggling, but I believe every word of it. Yes, we will walk streets of gold, and there will be gates made of pearl. There will be no need of the sun or the moon because the light will emanate from the glory of God.
Psalm 148:1-14 From the time our three sons were very young until this day I prayed this prayer for them: "Father, I pray our sons will have the same excellent spirit Daniel had. Daniel was filled with Your Spirit, and Your Spirit is excellent."
Why have so many Christians embraced the idea that following Christ means losing individuality, creativity, ingenuity, and the passion for excellence in all spheres of life? Too many believers are trapped in "the ordinary" when God promised an extraordinary life!
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