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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Do You Have Trouble Loving God? BY RICK WARREN — JULY 5, Sunday

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT)
A while back, a man came into my office and said, “I’m a Christian, but I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere in my spiritual growth. I’m kind of stuck in neutral.”
I said, “What do you think the problem is?”
He said, “I think my problem is I just don’t love God enough.”
I said, “That’s not your problem. Your problem is not that you don’t love God enough. Your problem is that you don’t understand how much he loves you.”
Love is always a response to love. The Bible says, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NIV). When you say, “I don’t love God,” it’s because you don’t understand just how much he really loves you.
To understand your life’s purpose and calling, you have to begin with God’s nature. God is love. Love is the essence of his nature. The only reason there is love in the universe is because of God. Ants and snails do not love, but you were made in God’s image, so you can love.
The reason you are alive is because God wanted to love you. The first purpose of your life is to be loved by God! Yes, it is important to serve, obey, and trust him, but your first purpose is to love him.
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT).
Let this sink in: Your first duty is not to do anything but just be loved by God.
Talk It Over
  • What is your response to the truth that your first calling is to enjoy a relationship with God?
  • Think about your current relationship with God. Has it become more about rules, regulations, and rituals than about love?
  • What should be the natural effect of being loved by God? How does it affect your relationships with others?

Don't Think Like the World Kenneth Copeland Ministries daily devotional 05 July Sunday

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds); Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
If you think like the world thinks, eventually you will act like the world acts. Unrestrained thoughts produce unrestrained actions. So control your thoughts by bringing them into obedience to the Scriptures.
Program your mind with the Word of God. The Word is spirit and it is life. When your mind is totally saturated with the Word of God, your will becomes strong to exercise authority to overcome every ungodly thought and evil habit.
Don't let Satan deceive you into sacrificing the glory of God in your life for a few moments of self-indulgence and sin. Restrain your thought life. Meditate the Word instead of selfish, carnal thoughts. Keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith.
Scripture Reading:
Psalm 119:11-18

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Can You Learn to Love Like Jesus? BY RICK WARREN — JULY 4, Saturday

“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT, second edition) 
You are not the Body of Christ on your own. You need others to express that. Together, not separated, we are his Body.
A church family moves you out of self-centered isolation. The local church is the classroom for learning how to get along in God’s family. It is a lab for practicing unselfish, sympathetic love. 
As a participating member, you learn to care about others and share the experiences of others: “If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part of our body is honored, all the other parts share its honor” (1 Corinthians 12:26 NCV).
Only in regular contact with ordinary, imperfect believers can we learn real fellowship and experience the New Testament truth of being connected and dependent on each other (Ephesians 4:16, Romans 12:4-5, Colossians 2:19, 1 Corinthians 12:25).
Biblical fellowship is being as committed to each other as we are to Jesus Christ. God expects us to give our lives for each other. Many Christians who know John 3:16 are unaware of 1 John 3:16: “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (NIV).
This is the kind of sacrificial love God expects you to show other believers — a willingness to love them in the same way Jesus loves you.
Talk It Over
  • What kind of balance do you have between regular contact with the Body of Christ and time spent building relationships with non-believers?
  • You probably won’t have to lay down your life for someone, but how can you show sacrificial love to other believers?

God Is Healing Our Land Kenneth Copeland Ministries daily devotional 4 July Saturday

Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid.
Romans 3:3-4
Faith-filled words. That's what changes things. They'll move mountains into the sea. They'll turn sickness into health. They'll turn a sinner into a saint.
They'll also take a sin-ridden nation and turn it into God's own country. That's right. Then, if we believers would back up the prayers we've been praying for this nation with words of faith instead of doubt and discouragement, we'd soon begin to see spiritual resurrection in the United States.
God promised us that if we, His people, would humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, He would heal our land. And let me tell you, there are prayer warriors all over this country (I hope you're one of them) who are doing what that promise requires.
But, even so, you don't hear many people saying, "This is great! God is healing the land." You don't hear people speaking out by faith the promise of God. Instead, you hear them saying, "Oh my, oh my, did you hear what those terrorists are doing?" or some other destructive thing they've seen on television.
Listen, we need to stop preaching what the terrorists are doing and start telling what God is doing! God said He is healing this land.
We must start speaking about this country by faith instead of going around spouting bad news all the time. Of course, that will sound odd to most people. Some of them may even think we've slipped a few cogs. But that's nothing new.
Let me tell you something: One handful of believers who are listening to, trusting in, and speaking out the good news of God are more powerful than all the devils on earth. One handful of believers is more powerful than a whole army of unbelieving doomsayers. The unbelief of the doomsayers will not make the faith of God of no effect!
That's why over the last 25 years, Gloria and I have learned to turn a deaf ear to the bad news and just start praising and thanking God for His deliverance. Every word of praise we speak releases faith in our heart.
Get determined with Gloria and me right now. Take a firm stand with us that things are changing in this country. Settle it in your heart as you pray. Speak it out. Call it forth. God is healing the land!
Scripture Reading:
Nehemiah 6:1-16

Do Your Fears Keep You From Being Free? BY RICK WARREN — JULY 3, Friday

“If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free.” (John 8:36 TEV) 
The world defines freedom as a life without any restraint — “I can do anything I want to do and say anything I want to say, without anybody telling me what to do.” You may burn everybody else, but you get to do it your own way. You can have your freedom, but only by being totally selfish.
Yet the Bible says the only way to true freedom is through Jesus: “If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free” (John 8:36 TEV).
Real freedom is freedom from fear, where you’re truly free from guilt, from worry, from bitterness, and from death. You’re free to quit pretending because you’re free to be yourself.
How do you get rid of those kinds of fears? By letting God love you! The apostle John teaches that “there is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear” (1 John 4:18).
When you realize how much God loves you, you’ll begin to live in true freedom. In fact, you worship God when you recognize that “God is love.” It is an act of worship to agree that he is a loving, caring, generous God and that we can “rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16a NIV). 
Talk It Over
  • How does the world’s idea of freedom keep you cut off from community?
  • What is one way you have experienced freedom since becoming a believer?
  • How do you need to rely on God’s love today?

Power in the Word - Joel Osteen Ministries daily devotional 3 July Friday

Today’s Scripture
“Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”
(Psalm 119:11, AMP)

Power in the Word
The Word of God has the power to protect you and keep you from sinning. Scripture tells us that it is living and active. The Word is powerful in our lives! There is the written Word of God, the Bible, and there is the spoken Word of God which can come in many other ways. The Bible tells us that God’s Word came through a burning bush, a still small voice, and even a donkey! He may speak to your heart through a friend or through a worship song. He may speak through creation. When He does speak, your spirit knows it. There is confirmation in your inner man. God’s Word is always truth, and truth always sets you free. When you hold God’s Word close to your heart, it is a shield of protection.
Today, meditate on His Word. Focus on it, think about it, say it out loud. When you focus on God’s Word, you will move forward in God’s plan. You will be strengthened to live as an overcomer in every area of your life!
A Prayer for Today
“Father, thank You for Your Word which strengthens and protects me. Thank You for speaking truth to my heart. Help me hear Your voice more clearly so I can live a life pleasing to You in Jesus’ name. Amen.”