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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Salvation: What Needed to Be Done Has Already Been Done BY RICK WARREN — APRIL 1, Wednesday

“All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ.”(Romans 3:24 NCV)
If you were to ask 50 random people walking along the sidewalk, “How do you get to Heaven?” you’d get a lot of different answers. But basically they would all be summarized by the idea that you’ve got to earn your way to Heaven. You’d hear things like, “Try to be good, and do your best” or “Do more good things than bad things in life.” It’s all based on works, not grace.
But Romans 3:24 says, “All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ” (NCV). God says that salvation is absolutely free! You don’t work for a gift, and you can’t earn it or buy it.
This is the fundamental difference between Christianity and every other religion. Every other belief system can be summarized by one word: “do.” You do certain things in order to gain bliss, gain Heaven, gain God’s approval. It’s full of rules, regulations, and rituals.
On the other hand, if you were to summarize Christianity in one word, it would be “done.”
I had a guy ask me one time, “Pastor Rick, what can I do to be saved?” I told him, “You’re too late!” (That kind of shocked him.) “You’re about 2,000 years too late! What needed to be done for your salvation has already been done, and you can’t do anything about it.”
Jesus Christ already did it. He paid for your salvation on the cross, and now he offers his grace as a free gift to you. That’s why Jesus Christ, when he was hanging on the cross, stretched out his arms and said, “It is finished.” What’s the “it”? It’s your salvation — the plan to provide grace for every person who needs it.
You’re not getting to Heaven based on what you do. You get to Heaven based on what has already been done for you by Jesus Christ.
There isn’t anything you can do to save yourself. You just accept God’s free gift of grace.
Talk It Over
  • Why do you think it’s hard for people to accept something that’s free?
  • What does God’s free gift of salvation say about his nature?
  • What are the things you do to try to earn God’s favor? What do you think he wants your motivation to be instead?

From Sons to Servants Kenneth Copeland Ministries daily devotional 1 April Wednesday

And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke.
Acts 2:18-19
You and I are living in the most exciting days this earth has ever seen. All around us God is pouring out His Spirit in preparation for the endtime revival that will bring this whole age to a glorious close.
Some of God's children are just standing by as spectators, watching Him work. Others, however, have become a vital part of it all. They've volunteered for service in this great end-time army. They've become what the Bible calls the servants and handmaidens of God.
Who are those servants and handmaidens? They are those who have committed themselves totally to their Lord. They are those who, instead of being content simply to be born-again children of God, have gone even further, stepping into servanthood out of love for the Father.
The servants and handmaidens of God are those who've said, "I want to be involved in what God is doing in this hour. I want to be His bondslave, available to do His bidding 24 hours a day."
Those who make that powerful decision are experiencing the great outpouring of God's Spirit that Peter spoke of in Acts 2. They are the ones whose Spirit-inspired words of prophecy and prayer are releasing the power of God upon the earth. They are the ones whose words are opening the way for the signs and wonders.
Do you want to be among them? You can be. God wants you to be. In fact, He needs you to be!
He needs those who will cut every cord that binds them to this natural world. He needs people He can call on in the middle of the night for intercession. People who will get up and do it no matter how tired they may be.
That's the quality and depth of dedication servanthood requires. It's a demanding role but its rewards are rich. Those who are willing to fill that role will be God's mouthpiece here on the earth in these final days. They will be vehicles of His Spirit and of His mighty power. They will be key players in the Holy Spirit's greatest earthly production.
Make a decision now to become one of them. Take the step of faith into servanthood today.
Scripture Reading:
Acts 2:1-21

I Will Be With You - Joel Osteen Ministries daily devotional 31 March Tuesday

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown!”
(Isaiah 43:2, TLB)
TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
We all go through difficult times in life. Maybe a loved one let you down. Maybe you didn’t get the job or promotion you wanted. Maybe you’re having a challenge in your health. Sometimes it can feel like a raging river of emotion inside, but God promises that He is with you. He won’t let you down. He still calms the storms that rage around you!
What did the disciples do when they were in a great storm in Mark 4? They called on Jesus! They turned to Him when they didn’t know what to do, and He brought peace to their circumstances. Today, if you are going through circumstances you don’t understand, know that it’s no surprise to God. He’s already prepared a way of escape for you. Call on Jesus, today! He’s closer than the air you breath! He loves you with an everlasting love, and He promises that He is always with you!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, thank You for being with me in the storms of life. I choose to trust You even when I don’t understand. I choose to call on You knowing that You can bring peace to the storms in my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen                   

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Reach Out and Reach Up in Suffering BY RICK WARREN — MARCH 31, Tueday

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21 NIV)
Every person who reads this will face tragedy at some point in your life. You’ll have loss — major loss — in your life. None of us can escape tragedy.
Jesus, God’s Son, sure didn’t.
And Jesus didn't just give us a model in his life. He gave us a model for handling pain in his death. He modeled what you should do during the worst day of your life. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:21, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (NIV).
Two years ago — five days before Easter of 2013 — my youngest son took his life. It was the worst day of my life. I’ve been asked many times how I’ve made it through the past two years.       
I looked to the model of Jesus. That answer is Easter.
So what did Jesus do during the worst, most painful day of his life on Earth?
  1. He reached out to friends. On the night that Jesus knew he was going to be arrested, tortured, and executed, the last thing he did on the earth was gather with his closest friends. Jesus didn’t ask for speeches or advice. He asked for their presence. Most of the time, we do just the opposite when we’re experiencing pain. We pull away. That’s just dumb! God never meant for us to go through pain on our own. That’s why you need to be involved in some sort of small group environment in a local body of believers.
  2. He reached out to God through prayer. You need friends in times of trouble, but you need God even more. God will be by your side when no one else will. Jesus did this in the Garden of Gethsemane. And in doing so, he gave us a terrific model for prayer during suffering: You affirm God’s power. (Pray something like, “Lord, you can do anything.”) Second, express your desire. (“I don’t want this pain.”) Third, submit to his will. (“Don’t do what I want; do whatyou want.”)
You weren’t designed to go through suffering alone. As times get tough — and they will — reach out and reach up.
You’ll be glad you did.
Talk It Over
  • Do you find it more difficult to reach out to God or other people during times of trouble? Why?
  • Why do you think it’s so important to affirm God’s power in the midst of difficult times?
  • How can you be more prepared for others to reach out to you when times are tough?

Free from Condemnation - Joel Osteen Ministries daily devotional 31 March Tuesday

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live and walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.”
(Romans 8:1 AMP)
TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
Is there something that you feel guilty about? If you have repented to God, the Bible says He takes your sin and throws it as far as the east is from the west. He casts it into the sea of forgetfulness. That means God chooses to forget your sins! They are completely removed. Gone. Don't let the enemy make you feel guilty for something that happened your past. The enemy is the "accuser of the brethren" and he works overtime to try to bring you down with false accusations. Be confident that if you've given it to God, He doesn't remember it. You are free from condemnation through the blood of Jesus Christ. The next time the enemy brings up your past, just declare "I am free from condemnation in Jesus' Name!"
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, thank You for setting me free in Jesus! Thank You for forgiveness. Thank You washing me clean and making me new today. I receive your grace and mercy so that I can be a vessel used by You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen

From Sons to Servants Kenneth Copeland Ministries daily devotional 31 March Tuesday

And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke.
Acts 2:18-19
You and I are living in the most exciting days this earth has ever seen. All around us God is pouring out His Spirit in preparation for the endtime revival that will bring this whole age to a glorious close.
Some of God's children are just standing by as spectators, watching Him work. Others, however, have become a vital part of it all. They've volunteered for service in this great end-time army. They've become what the Bible calls the servants and handmaidens of God.
Who are those servants and handmaidens? They are those who have committed themselves totally to their Lord. They are those who, instead of being content simply to be born-again children of God, have gone even further, stepping into servanthood out of love for the Father.
The servants and handmaidens of God are those who've said, "I want to be involved in what God is doing in this hour. I want to be His bondslave, available to do His bidding 24 hours a day."
Those who make that powerful decision are experiencing the great outpouring of God's Spirit that Peter spoke of in Acts 2. They are the ones whose Spirit-inspired words of prophecy and prayer are releasing the power of God upon the earth. They are the ones whose words are opening the way for the signs and wonders.
Do you want to be among them? You can be. God wants you to be. In fact, He needs you to be!
He needs those who will cut every cord that binds them to this natural world. He needs people He can call on in the middle of the night for intercession. People who will get up and do it no matter how tired they may be.
That's the quality and depth of dedication servanthood requires. It's a demanding role but its rewards are rich. Those who are willing to fill that role will be God's mouthpiece here on the earth in these final days. They will be vehicles of His Spirit and of His mighty power. They will be key players in the Holy Spirit's greatest earthly production.
Make a decision now to become one of them. Take the step of faith into servanthood today.
Scripture Reading:
Acts 2:1-21