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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Leave Behind the Past Kenneth Copeland Ministries daily devotional 24 July Thursday

– Philippians 3:13-14
Spiritual bumps and bruises. Inner aches and pains that just don't seem to go away. Most all of us know what it's like to suffer from them but too few of us know just what to do about them.
We limp along, hoping somehow those hidden wounds will magically stop hurting, thinking that maybe (with a little extra sleep or an extra helping of dessert) that nagging sense of depression will finally disappear.
But does it ever happen that way? No!
I know. I've been there.
But thank God, I'm not there anymore. You see, over the past few years, I've faced some fierce spiritual battles. And I've found out those battles can leave you bruised and beat up on the inside just as surely as a fistfight can leave you bruised and beat up on the outside.
Before I was born again, I learned just how physically devastating a real slug-it-out kind of brawl could be. Yet as bad as I felt, a few days rest would take care of me.
The healing of a bruised and beaten spirit, however, doesn't come that easily. In fact, the passing of time often worsens this condition.
The reason is this: Instead of putting painful failures behind us, we often dwell on them until those failures become more real to us than the promises of God. We focus on them until we become bogged down in depression, frozen in our tracks by the fear that if we go on, we'll only fail again.
But there is a way out. If depression has put you into a spiritual nosedive, all you have to do to break out of it is to get your eyes off the past and onto your future--a future that's been guaranteed by Christ Jesus through the exceedingly great and precious promises in His Word.
Chances are, that won't come easily to you at first. Your mind has probably had years of practice in focusing on the past. Like an old horse that habitually heads for the barn, your thoughts will probably start galloping that direction every time you give them any slack.
So, don't give them that slack. Keep the reins tight. Purposely meditate on the Word of God. Replace thoughts of the past with scriptural promises about your future and be diligent about it. Then, instead of being a wounded soldier, you'll become the conquering warrior God made you to be.
Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:12-21

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Help Each Other with Your Faith BY RICK WARREN — JULY 23, Wednesday

“I mean that I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you.” (Romans 1:12 NCV) 

In authentic Christian fellowship, people should experience a mutual dependency. This mutuality is the art of giving and receiving; it’s depending on each other. 

The Bible says, “The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part” (1 Corinthians 12:25 MSG).

Mutuality is the heart of fellowship — building reciprocal relationships, sharing responsibilities, and helping each other. Paul said, “I mean that I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you” (Romans 1:12 NCV).

All of us are more consistent in our faith when others walk with us and encourage us. The Bible commands mutual accountability, mutual encouragement, mutual serving, and mutual honoring.

More than 50 times in the New Testament we’re commanded to do different tasks for “one another” and “each other.” The Bible says, “Make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19 NIV).

You are not responsible for everyone in the Body of Christ, but you are responsible to them. God expects you to do whatever you can to help them. 

Talk It Over
  • If your family needed help for a task or crisis, who would be the people you call on first? Are those people in your small group or church?
  • In what ways are you playing an integral part in the Body of Christ?
  • How can you anticipate a need in your church or small group this week?

Growing Strong in Faith - Joel Osteen Ministries daily devotional 23 July Wednesday

"No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God."
(Romans 4:20, ESV)
TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
In scripture, Abraham’s circumstances were beyond his control. He was way too old to have a child, but God promised him that he would have a son. What did he do while he was waiting? Scripture says, “He grew strong in faith by giving praise to God.” He got up every morning and said, “Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You that my baby is on its way. Thank You that You are faithful to Your Word.” He kept thanking God for what he heard in his spirit, and eventually, the promise came to pass.
Like Abraham, God has put dreams in your heart. He has spoken promises over you. Deep down you believe it will happen, but in the natural, it looks impossible. The odds are against you. It’s been so long. No, God is saying, “What I started in your life I will finish.” The key is to follow Abraham’s example and praise God while you wait. That’s one way to grow in faith. Keep praying. Keep believing. Keep expecting. Grow strong in faith and see His promises fulfilled in every area of your life!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I praise You for Your faithfulness in my life. You are worthy to receive all the glory and honor. I believe that You are making a way out of no way, so I look for Your hand of blessing and mercy in every area of my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen                   

Can Strangers See Jesus in You? Kenneth Copeland Ministries daily devotional 23 July Wednesday

– Acts 4:13


How would you like to be so full of the glory of God that it's unmistakable to those around you? How would you like for people to be able to know just by looking at you that you'd been with Jesus? It's entirely possible if you are born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. The same mighty power that changed you inwardly when you were saved can so revolutionize you outwardly that even strangers on the street will be able to see Jesus in you.

One of my favorite testimonies is the one Jerry Savelle tells of the time he was in a shopping mall with his wife Carolyn. He was sauntering from one store to another, casually passing time until Carolyn finished her shopping.

A woman walked up to Jerry and said, "Will you pray for me?" Since he didn't know the woman, he was puzzled. "Out of all the people in that mall, how was it that she'd picked him out?" he asked.
She said, "The Lord told me to come to this mall and someone would be here who could pray for me. I came here looking for that person. I noticed a beam of light. It would go into one store, wander around, then go to another store and wander around some more. I followed the light until I found where it was coming from--and it was coming from you!"

What was that light? The glory of God! It was shining from Jerry much like it shone from the face of Moses when he came down from Mount Sinai. And that radiant presence of God brought healing to that woman when Jerry prayed.

Just as the fact that Peter and John had been with Jesus was unmistakable, so was the fact that Jerry Savelle had been with Jesus when that lady walked up to him in the mall.

When you spend time with Jesus, it will be undeniable. His power and His glory will be reflected in you to the world. And His presence upon you will meet needs everywhere you go. Take time to be with Jesus today!

Scripture Reading: Acts 4:1-20

His Ways are Higher - Joel Osteen Ministries daily devotional 22 July Tuesday

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
(Isaiah 55:9, NIV)
TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
A lot of times, we have our own ideas about how things should work out in life. But God’s ways are not our ways. In scripture, God brought water out of a rock. Jesus told Peter to go catch a fish, open its mouth, and there was the money he needed for taxes. Another time, God caused a young lady named Mary to have a baby without knowing a man. He is God. He can use things we would expect, or He can make things happen another way.
With God, you don’t have to figure everything out. All you have to do is believe. In fact, it says in Proverbs, “Lean not to your own understanding.” Sometimes there is no logical solution. You’ve got to turn your mind off. If you’re constantly trying to figure it out, that’s just going to make you discouraged, depressed and frustrated. Just because you don’t see a way doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have a way. Remember, His ways are higher, and He is working behind the scenes for your good!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I declare that my faith and trust are in You. I won’t try to figure everything out, but I will be still and listen for Your voice. I surrender my will to Yours. Thank You for Your faithfulness in my life in Jesus’ name! Amen!
— Joel & Victoria Osteen                   

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wise People Consider Other People’s Feelings BY RICK WARREN — JULY 22, Tuesday

“The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”(James 3:17 NIV)
Two of the biggest mistakes we make in relationships are when we react to what people say and not how they feel — or when we invalidate someone else’s feelings because we don’t feel that way ourselves.
Do you know what the antidote is for both of these? Simply being considerate.
Mistake #1: We react without trying to understand
We pay too much attention to someone’s words and not enough attention to the emotions behind the words. People say stuff when they’re angry that they don’t even mean. They use words they don’t even intend to use. They exaggerate things. But you need to look behind the words at the emotion because people don’t always say what they mean, but they always feel what they feel.
So if you’re wise in a relationship, you stop focusing on what your kids or your boyfriend or your husband or your wife or your boss says that just ticks you off, and you start being considerate. That simply means you are mindful of the feelings of others. Unkind people are those who need your kindness the most. When people are rude and unkind, they are screaming to the world, “I’m in pain!” Hurt people always hurt people.
Mistake #2: We invalidate any feelings that we don’t feel ourselves
This is when you believe something is dumb or irrational or illogical because it’s not what you feel, and you dismiss it. Let me ask you this, can one person be cold and another be warm at the same time? Yes. So why try to argue people out of what they feel?
When we invalidate someone else’s feelings because we don’t feel it, we minimize the other person. Guys, if your girlfriend or your wife says to you, “I feel ugly,” don’t dismiss it and say, “You’re not ugly!” That doesn’t help at all. What you need to do is say, “Why would you feel that? What would make you say that?” because you need to look beyond the words and get to the real issue.
Feelings are neither right nor wrong. They’re just there. She shouldn’t have to defend her feelings. She just needs you to say, “I hear you.” And the same is true for anyone, male or female.
The Bible says, “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17 NIV).
With Heaven’s wisdom, you’ll stop minimizing other people’s feelings. You will let her feel tired when she’s tired and not try to talk her out of it. You will let him feel depressed when he’s depressed and not try to talk him out of it. Wise people are considerate of other people’s feelings.
Talk About It
  • What effect do you see in people when you show kindness to them when they are hurting?
  • What habits do you need to change or adopt to become more considerate of people’s feelings and not just their words?

Nothing to Lose Gloria Copeland Ministries daily devotional 22 July Tuesday

– Isaiah 3:10-11
Have you ever been afraid to give yourself totally to the Lord because you think you might be deprived of some pleasure in this life? Chances are, you have. That's because Satan is working overtime to convince you that he can really make your life worth living. But don't believe him for a minute. The real truth is, yielding completely to the Lord won't cost you anything that's worth having. It will only cause you to live life to its fullest!
Jesus' life on earth was a perfect example of a totally yielded life. He was a walking example of the benefits godly living brings. Everywhere He went, Jesus made the deaf to hear, the blind to see, the lame to walk. He lived in perfect peace and absolute victory.
That all sounds pretty good to me. All He missed out on was the devil getting dominion over Him to kill, steal and destroy. In fact, the devil couldn't do anything to Him until, by the Father's will, He laid down His life. Until that time Jesus walked in total victory over the enemy.
Do you think you would miss out on a lot if you lived that way? Of course not! You can walk in that same anointing and power and glory of God that Jesus did.
Do you have to give up your whole life to do it? Yes! You have to trade your life for the life of God. You have to trade your sickness for His healing, your poverty for His prosperity, your anxiety for His peace, your sin for His righteousness.
So why hesitate? When it gets right down to it, you really have nothing to lose.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 37:7-23

Monday, July 21, 2014

Three Ways to Stay in Conflict BY RICK WARREN — JULY 21, Monday

“Any fool can start arguments; the honorable thing is to stay out of them.”(Proverbs 20:3 TEV)
Wise people are peacemakers, not troublemakers. Wise people don’t carry a chip on their shoulder. They’re not always looking for a fight, and they don’t intentionally antagonize other people.
The fact is, if you’re around anybody for any length of time, you’ll figure out what that person does that irritates you, and you file that information in the back of your mind as a tool to use when you get in an argument. It becomes a personal weapon of mass destruction! When you get in an argument, and that person says something that hurts, offends, or slights you in any way, then you pull out the big gun. You push the hot button. And it works every time!
You know what the Bible calls that? Stupid! You’re not getting any closer to the resolution. You’re not helping the relationship. In fact, you’re hurting it. It is not wise.
Proverbs 20:3 says this, “Any fool can start arguments; the honorable thing is to stay out of them” (TEV).
We all use tools, tricks of the trade, and skills in relationships that are actually counter productive. They’re hurtful, they’re harmful, and they don’t get you what you want out of relationships. In fact, they get you the exact opposite behavior. But when we lack wisdom, we use them anyway.
There are many of these tools, but here are just a few:
1. Comparing. Never compare your wife, your husband, your kids, your boss, or anybody else, because everybody’s unique. Comparing antagonizes anger.
2. Condemning. When you start laying on the guilt in a relationship, all you’re going to do is get the exact opposite of what you expect. It doesn’t work. It’s foolish.
3. Contradicting. William James, the famous psychologist said, “Wisdom is the art of knowing what to overlook.” There’s some stuff you just need to overlook.
Proverbs 14:29 says, “A wise man controls his temper. He knows that anger causes mistakes” (LB). Have you ever said or done anything stupid out of anger? Yes. Because when you get angry, your intelligence goes out the window. When you get angry, you say and do stupid things that are actually self-defeating.
Did you ever think about the fact that there is only one letter difference between “anger” and “danger”? When you get angry, you are in dangerous territory. You are about to hurt others — and yourself — with your own anger.
Talk About It
  • What are some of the tricks you’ve used to try to get what you want from a relationship?
  • What effect did those tricks have on your relationship?