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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Seeing Clearly by Bishop Keith A. Butler

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Seeing Clearly
by Bishop Keith A. Butler

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

Matthew 6:22

As He did earlier in Matthew 6, Jesus is still talking about the decisions you make, why you do what you do, and where your treasures are. The word single means clear; thus, He’s saying that you know what you are doing and why you are doing it.

There is no confusion about fasting. No confusion about prayer. No confusion about your giving. You are not looking to men for your reward. You operate with a clear value. Your treasure is clear.

If your eye is single, then your whole spirit, soul, and body, will be aligned and in agreement. You will be on fire to do what you are doing.

Prayer for Today

Father, I am grateful for your Word. I honor your speaking voice. Thank you for knowing me inside and out and for empowering me to make choices that bring light and life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Selah: Think on These Things
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SPIRIT OF PROPHECY BULLETIN

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October 21, 2014

SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND by MARSHA BURNS:

Cry out from the depth of your heart.  Reach up and let Me pull you out of every darkness of the soul into light, truth, and life.  Your eternal self must rejoice in My availability to you when you reach and search.  Consider life in transition, change and transcendence.  Yield with nothing held back; nothing that I cannot touch, have or possess in you, says the Lord. 

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

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DAILY AUDIO BIBLE–OCT 21, 2014

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Jeremiah 37-38

37 Zedekiah (son of Josiah) was made king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He reigned instead of his nephew, Coniah (son of Jehoiakim) who had already been deported to Babylon. 2 Neither young Zedekiah nor his inexperiencedadvisors nor the people of Judah themselves listened to what the Eternal said through His prophet Jeremiah.

3 Zedekiah one day sent Jehucal (son of Shelemiah), along with the priest Zephaniah (son of Maaseiah) to ask the prophet Jeremiah, “Please pray to the Eternal our God for us.” 4 Now Jeremiah had not yet been put in prison, so he was free to move about the city. 5 This happened when the Chaldeans pulled back from their siege on Jerusalem because they heard Pharaoh’s army was marching out of Egypt toward them. 6 It was then that the word of the Eternal came to Jeremiah the prophet, who faithfully delivered it to the king’s messengers.

Jeremiah: 7 This is what the Eternal God of Israel has to say: “Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to ask for My help: ‘Look! Pharaoh’s army—which you hoped would help you—will turn back to Egypt to protect its own land. 8 Then the Chaldeans will come back to attack Jerusalem. They will capture this city and burn it to the ground.’” 9 The Eternal says this to you: “Do not fool yourselves into thinking the Chaldeans will leave you alone. They will not!10 Even if somehow you defeated their entire army, their wounded soldiers lying in tents would come out and burn this city to the ground in a fiery blaze.”

11 Now during this time when the Chaldeans had pulled back from Jerusalem to face Pharaoh’s army, 12 Jeremiah started to leave Jerusalem. He was heading back to the land of Benjamin to settle his affairs regarding a piece of family property there. 13 But as he was leaving through the Benjamin gate on the north side of the city, the captain of the guard, Irijah (son of Shelemiah and grandson of Hananiah), arrested him.

Many years have now passed since Jehoiakim’s arrogant scroll-burning incident, but the prophecies against him and his people are coming to pass: Babylon is now exerting its power in the land, and Jehoiakim’s legacy has indeed crumbled. His own son Jehoiachin (also known as Coniah) has already been sent into exile by the Babylonians in 598 b.c. In his place, Nebuchadnezzar has placed Zedekiah on the throne of Judah. This new king has pledged to remain loyal to Babylon in exchange for the crown. And while he is not as arrogant and openly rebellious as Jehoiakim, in his own weak way, he, too, disobeys God. At times he seems genuinely interested in the words of Jeremiah, but he never shows the courage necessary to obey God during this dramatic time. Throughout his 11 year reign (597-587 b.c.), Zedekiah is unable to stand up to his advisors and at one point agrees to break with Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, siding instead with the pharaoh of Egypt. This sets in motion the final retaliation of the Babylonians, including the siege and destruction of Jerusalem.

Irijah: You traitor! You are trying to desert to the Chaldeans!

Jeremiah: 14 That’s not true! I’m not deserting to the Chaldeans.

But Irijah would not listen to Jeremiah, so he arrested him and brought him to the city leaders. 15 They were already angry with Jeremiah because of his predictions of destruction and his advice to surrender. So they had Jeremiah beaten and placed him under arrest in the house of Jonathan the secretary (which they had made into a prison). 16 He was placed in a dark, damp cell below ground and left there for a long time.

17 Eventually, King Zedekiah had him secretly brought to the palace so the king could talk with him.

King Zedekiah: Have you received any more messages from the Eternal?

Jeremiah: Yes, but they haven’t changed: you will still be handed over to the king of Babylon. But while I’m here, let me ask you—18 what crime have I committed against you, your advisors, or this nation that I should be imprisoned? 19 I told you nothing but the truth about Babylon from the beginning, so why am I in this cell?Meanwhile, your so-called prophets keep telling you, “Don’t worry,the king of Babylon will never attack you or this land,” and they go unpunished? 20 Please, I’m asking you, my lord the king, do not send me back to that cell in the house of Jonathan the secretary, or I will die there.

21 Though the news he heard was not encouraging, King Zedekiahgranted Jeremiah’s request. He gave the order and had the prophet transferred to the court of the guard. He also gave strictorders that each day Jeremiah be given bread from the city’s bakers until the supplies ran out. That is how Jeremiah ended upa prisoner in the court of the guard.

38 Shephatiah (son of Mattan), Gedaliah (son of Pashhur), Jucal (son of Shelemiah), and Pashhur (son of Malchijah) overheard Jeremiah speaking to the people of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah: 2 The Eternal says that anyone who stays in the city will die by war, famine, or disease; but those who surrender to the Chaldeans will at least have some reward—they’ll keep their own lives. 3 The Eternal has proclaimed that Jerusalem will be handed over to the army of Babylon’s king, who will capture it.

4 When these officials heard Jeremiah’s remarks, they advised the king.

Court Officials (to King Zedekiah): This man is a traitor; he should be put to death! His words border on treason; they are affecting the morale of what troops we still have in the city, as well as all the rest of the people. This man does not have the best interests of this people at heart—only their downfall.

King Zedekiah: 5 Look, do what you want with Jeremiah. The king will not interfere.

6 So they took Jeremiah and threw him into a muddy cistern in the court of the guard that belonged to the king’s son, Malchijah.Rather than killing him immediately, these officials lowered Jeremiah by ropes into this deep, dark cistern where he sank into the mud. Now he would be silenced. Soon he would be dead.

7-8 But another court servant in the palace, Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, overheard that Jeremiah had been dropped down into this cistern. So he left the palace and went directly to the king who was sitting in the Benjamin gate where he was holding court for the people.

Ebed-melech: 9 My lord the king, do you know what some of your court officials have done? They have done a wicked thing to Jeremiah the prophet. They have thrown him into a muddy cistern and left him to die, which will surely happen when he, like the rest of the city, runs out of food.

King Zedekiah (to Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian): 10 Take 30 of my men with you, and rescue Jeremiah the prophet from that cistern before he dies.

11 So Ebed-melech did as the king commanded and took the men with him. But before he left the palace, he went to a room under the treasury. There he found some rags and old clothes that he lowered with the ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. 12 Ebed-melech the Ethiopian then called down into the cistern and told Jeremiah:

Ebed-melech: Put these rags and old clothes under your armpits so the ropes won’t hurt you as we pull you up.

The prophet did as he was told, 13 and the men pulled Jeremiah out of that muddy cistern. Still however, Jeremiah remained a prisoner in the court of the guard.

Sometime later Zedekiah summons Jeremiah. This will be the last encounter between prophet and king. Will the king finally respond with courage and faith to the word of God? Despite decades of warnings from a faithful prophet who has the courage to speak truth regardless of the consequences, Jerusalem and her leaders continue to disobey God. And now Jeremiah’s dreaded predictions come true. After a long siege that leaves the city weak and impoverished, the walls of Jerusalem are breached.

14 King Zedekiah sent for the prophet Jeremiah and had him brought to the third entrance to the Eternal’s temple.

King Zedekiah: I am going to ask you something, and I want you to tell me the truth; don’t hold anything back.

Jeremiah: 15 If I give you another honest answer, how do I know you won’t kill me? Besides, even if I do give you advice, you won’t listen to me.

King Zedekiah (leaning in so no one could hear this secret oath):16 Jeremiah, as surely as the Eternal lives and gives us life, I promise not to kill you or hand you over to those who want you dead.

Jeremiah: 17 All right. This is what the Eternal, Commander ofheavenly armies, the God of Israel, says about your situation: “If you surrender to the officials of the Babylonian king, you will survive this invasion and Jerusalem will not be burned to the ground. You and your entire family will live. 18 But if you refuse to surrender to the officials of the Babylonian king, not only will this city be handed over to the Chaldeans, but they will burn it to the ground and you will not escape their punishment.”

King Zedekiah: 19 But I am afraid of the Judeans who have already defected and gone over to the Chaldeans. What if our captors hand me over to them and they abuse and torture me?

Jeremiah: 20 That will not happen. The Babylonians will not hand you over to your former subjects. This is your chance to obey the voice of the Eternal by just doing what I tell you. You will come out of this alive, and things will go well for you if you do what God says. 21 But if you refuse to surrender, let me tell you something else the Eternal revealed to me: 22 “All of the women left in your palace will be taken and given to officials of the Babylonian king.As they are being led away, those women will mock you and say:

Look how they misled you and defeated you—
these so-called friends of yours.
While your feet sank in the mud,
your friends all deserted you.

23 All your wives and sons will be marched out before the Chaldeans. And as for you, Zedekiah, you will not escape capture by the king of Babylon. As for this city, Jerusalem, it will be burnedto the ground.”

King Zedekiah: 24 Do not tell anyone about our conversation, or you may be killed! We must keep this a secret. 25 If my officials learn that I spoke to you, they may come to you and threaten you saying, “Tell us everything you told the king and what he said to you. Don’t try to hide anything from us or we will execute you.”26 If that happens, tell them, “I was only begging the king not to send me back to Jonathan’s house again because I was afraid ofdying there.”

27 The king’s officials were curious about the encounter and did come to Jeremiah and question him just as Zedekiah had predicted. So Jeremiah responded as the king instructed and shared only what they had agreed earlier. Because no one overheard the conversation between Jeremiah and Zedekiah, the officials eventually stopped questioning him. 28 Jeremiah remained a prisoner in the court of the guard until the sorrowfulday Jerusalem was captured.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

1 Timothy 6

6 Tell all who labor under the yoke of slavery to treat their masters with honor and respect, whether or not their masters deserve it. This will keep God’s name and doctrine from being smeared. 2 If their masters are believers, then they should not be insolent toward them just because they are your brothers and sisters. Actually they should be even more determined to serve them because the gains from their good works benefit those who are faithful and loved.

Timothy, teach these instructions, and appeal to those under your ministry to live by them. 3 If others are teaching otherwise and bringing unhealthy conversations to the community, if they are not sticking to the sound words in the teaching of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, if they are not teaching godly principles— 4 then they are swollen with conceit, filled with self-importance, and without any proper understanding. They probably have a gross infatuation with controversy and will endlessly debate meanings of words. That kind of talk leads to envy, discord, slander, and evil mistrust; 5 and these people constantly bicker because they are depraved in their minds and bereft of the truth. They think somehow that godliness is the way to get ahead. 6 This is ironic because godliness, along with contentment, does put us aheadbut not in the ways some imagine. 7 You see we came into this world with nothing, and nothing is going with us on the way out!8 So as long as we are clothed and fed, we should be happy. 9 But those who chase riches are constantly falling into temptation and snares. They are regularly caught by their own stupid and harmful desires, dragged down and pulled under into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money—and what it can buy—is the root of all sorts of evil. Some already have wandered away from the true faith because they craved what it had to offer; but when reaching for the prize, they found their hands and hearts pierced with many sorrows.

11 Timothy, don’t let this happen to you—run away from these things! You are a man of God. Your quest is for justice, godliness, faithfulness, love, perseverance, and gentleness.

Paul asks this young leader to shepherd a divided congregation through one problem after another. He points to a time when Jesus will arrive to set this world straight.

12 Fight the good fight of the faith! Cling to the eternal life you were called to when you confessed the good confession before witnesses. 13 Before God—the life-giving Creator of all things—and Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, who made the good confession to Pontius Pilate, I urge you: 14 keep His commandment. Have a spotless, indisputable record until our Lord Jesus the Anointed appears to set this world straight. 15 In His own perfect time, He will come—blessed is the only Sovereign, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. 16 He alone possesses immortality; He makes His home in matchless, blinding, brilliant light that no one can approach—no mortal has ever even seen Him, and no human can. So let it be that all honor and eternal power are His. Amen.

17 Here’s what you say to those wealthy in regard to this age: “Don’t become high and mighty or place all your hope on a gamble for riches; instead, fix your hope on God, the One who richly provides everything for our enjoyment.” 18 Tell them to use their wealth for good things; be rich in good works! If they are willing to give generously and share everything, 19 then they will send ahead a great treasure for themselves and build their futures on a solid foundation. As a result, they will surely take hold of eternal life.

20 O Timothy, protect what was entrusted to you! Walk away from all the godless, empty voices out there, and turn aside from objections and arguments that arise from false knowledge. 21 (By professing such knowledge, some are missing the mark when it comes to true faith.)

May God’s grace be with you.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Psalm 89:38-52

38 But what now? You have turned Your back and walked away!
Your full fury burns against Your anointed king.
39 You made a covenant with Your servant, then renounced it,
casting his sacred crown into the dust.
40 You have broken down the walls that protected Your servant;
his defenses are reduced to a pile of rubble.
41 Strangers now plunder all that he has left;
he has become a laughingstock among his neighbors.
42 You have made his adversaries strong.
His enemies celebrate their victory.
43 You have dulled the blade of his sword,
and You have not helped him stand strong in the battle.
44 You have brought his days of splendor to an abrupt end;
You have toppled his throne;
it sits in the dust.
45 You have cut short the days of his youth
and have covered him with shame and despair.

[pause]

46 How long must we endure, O Eternal One?
Will You hide Yourself forever?
How long will Your wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember my days are numbered.
Have You created the children of Adam to live futile lives?
48 Death waits at the gate; who can escape and live?
Does the grave hold exceptions for any of us?
Who can deliver us from the power of the grave?

[pause]

49 O Lord, where is the unfailing love You showed in times past?
And where is the proof of Your faithfulness to David?
50 Remember how Your servants are ridiculed, O Lord;
how I carry within me the insults of so many peoples.
51 Your enemies are mocking me, O Eternal One,
mocking every step Your anointed one made.

52 Praise the Eternal always. Amen. Amen.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Proverbs 25:28

28 Like a conquered city with no walls,
so is a man who has no self-control.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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Jesus Has Overcome Everything!

20 OCT 2014

http://www.renner.org/victorious-living/jesus-has-overcome-everything/sparkling-gems-oct-20

Jesus Has Overcome Everything!

Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. — 2 Corinthians 11:23,24

Once when I was teaching from Paul’s words in Second Corinthians 11:23-25, I especially emphasized the afflictions Paul overcame by the power of the Spirit. Later a young man came up to me and said, “It’s obvious to me that the apostle Paul had no faith!”

Shocked by his words, I asked him, “What do you mean when you say the apostle Paul had no faith?”

He answered, “If Paul had walked in faith, he wouldn’t have gone through any of those ordeals.”

The young man’s words made me think about the great number of people who have the wrong impression about faith. They think that if a person walks in faith, that somehow means he will escape all adversities in life.

But when you read the New Testament, you find that the early believers and the apostles faced many adversities. Certainly it wasn’t God who planned those hardships. The devil was the one who shrewdly planned those attacks in order to stop the preaching of the Gospel. And Satan is still working nonstop to prevent people from stepping into the glorious plan God has designed for their lives.

There is something very encouraging about studying the strategies the devil arrayed against the early believers. You see, regardless of what the enemy tried to do, he was unsuccessful in stopping them! Because they did have faith, they were unconquerable.

So I told the young man who talked to me that night, “Young man, the fact that Paul survived all those ordeals and continued his ministry to the end of his life is proof that he did possess faith. A man with no faith wouldn’t have survived those attacks.”

Don’t get the impression that walking in faith removes you from all challenges. Faith just gives you the ability to overcome the challenges that will attempt to assail you. Even Jesus said, “…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

The word “tribulation” is the Greek word thlipsis, which describes a situation so difficult that it causes one to feel stressed, squeezed, pressured, or crushed. It can be translated as distress, affliction, or trouble, always indicating a level of intensity that is almost unbearable in the natural.

But Jesus tells us to be of “good cheer.” These two words are from the single Greek word tharseo, which literally means to be courageous. It is consistently translated, “Fear not,” but a better rendering would be “Take heart!” It is a word that would be spoken to strengthen someone who is facing some kind of hardship or difficult ordeal. Jesus was literally saying, “In this world you will go through some distressing times, but take heart and be courageous.…”

Then Jesus tells us, “I have overcome the world.” The word “overcome” is the Greek word nikos, which is also the word for victory. But the grammar used in this statement does not imply a single victory in the past, but a continuous and abiding victory. Therefore, the idea that this Greek word presents is this: “I have overcome the world; I am still overcoming the world; and I will always be in an overcoming position over the world!”

The word “world” in Greek is kosmos, the Greek word that is always used to depict the arena where Satan attempts to wield his influence and describes all the human systems of the world. It is the very word Paul uses in Second Corinthians 4:4 when he refers to Satan as the “god of the world.” Satan is not god of the earth, but he operates through the human systems in the world — and these systems are what the enemy usually uses to attack the Church and God’s people.

When we consider all the things that assailed the apostle Paul, we realize that most of the attacks came through the world systems of government or religion. These were the primary instruments Satan used in his efforts to curb Paul’s activities. But Paul learned to take heart in such situations. He never gave up! Paul had obviously grabbed hold of Jesus’ words in John 16:33, because he overcame everything Satan ever tried to use against him. The devil simply was unable to stop this man who was determined to finish the assignment Heaven had given him!

Five Times Received I Forty Stripes Save One

In Second Corinthians 11:24, Paul goes on to say, “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.” This was a Jewish method of punishment, applied to Paul on five different occasions. Deuteronomy 25:2,3 refers to this method when it specifies how the wicked man should be punished: “And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed….”

This was one of the most vicious treatments of the ancient world. The tortured person’s clothing was completely removed so he appeared before his persecutors naked. His arms were tied so he could not defend himself. Then the torturer would begin to lash the prisoner’s bare body with a whip made of three long cords, one from calf hide and the other two from donkey hide.

Pieces of glass, bone, and metal were often attached to the end of the cords to make the lashing more memorable. The torturer would hit so hard that the pieces of glass, bone, and metal would lodge into the victim’s skin. Then as the cords were jerked backward for the next lash of the whip, those pieces of glass, bone, and metal would rip out significant amounts of flesh. This left horrid scars on the victim’s body — permanently.

The first third of these lashes were given across the prisoner’s upper chest and face, while the remaining two-thirds of lashes were applied to his back, buttocks, and legs; meanwhile, the victim was forced to bend over to make it easier for the torturer to hit his body. Blood flew everywhere as the cords whipped wildly through the air, making snapping noises as they struck the victim again and again.

But let’s think a little deeper. If the whip was made of three cords and Paul received thirty-nine lashes each time, this means he received 117 lashes at each beating! And he went through this grueling exercise on five different occasions, which means 585 lashes were laid across Paul’s upper chest, face, back, buttocks, and legs. There wasn’t a place on his body that hadn’t been beaten or had pieces of flesh ripped out of it!

Paul was so committed to fulfilling his God-given call that he wouldn’t let anything stop him! After being repeatedly beaten in this terrible manner, he’d get up, put his clothes back on, and go right back to what he was doing before he was beaten. He had already made up his mind. He would not stop until his mission was complete!

Being beaten was an unpleasant experience. It was definitely a part of the journey that no one would relish. But Paul refused to let this experience become a permanent roadblock to his ministry. He pushed the opposition out of the way, got up, and went on. He overcame in the power of Jesus’ name and in the power of the Holy Spirit!

What are you facing today? I’m sure it isn’t a beating of thirty-nine lashes, yet it may still seem overpowering and overwhelming to you. How are you going to respond to these things? If you’ve been knocked down, are you going to stay there? Or are you going to get up, brush off the dirt, grab hold of the power of God, and start moving forward again?

Never forget that Jesus said, “In this world you will go through some distressing times. But take heart and be courageous, for I have overcome the world; I am still overcoming the world; and I will always be in an overcoming position over the world!”

If you’ll make the choice today to get up, brush off the dirt, tell your mind and emotions to be silent, and submit yourself to these words of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will begin to fill you with new strength so you can come through the difficult situations you are facing victoriously. And as you rely on God’s power to bring you to the place of victory you desire, you will learn how to overcome every challenge you will ever face in life!

sparking gems from the greek

My Prayer For Today

Lord, I am so thankful that You have overcome the world and given me the power to overcome it! I am so sorry for the times I’ve allowed my flesh to whine and complain when I should have been digging in my heels and latching on to the power of the Holy Spirit. I know that even though victory is mine, I must take it and make it my own. Please help me take charge of my whining, complaining flesh so I can reach out by faith to seize the power of the Holy Spirit — the very thing I need to make me a winner in my situation today. I thank You in advance for this inflow of power!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

sparking gems from the greek

My Confession For Today

I confess that Jesus Christ has given me the power to be an overcomer in every situation in life! I am not a victim who has fallen to defeat. I don’t have to take what the devil tries to send my way. In the power of the Spirit and in Jesus’ name, I am well able to stand against each attack, to resist every devilish scheme that comes against me, and to maintain the victory of Jesus Christ in every part of my life. Jesus purchased victory for me, and I will not budge from my decision to have, to hold, to possess, and to enjoy His victory in my life!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

sparking gems from the greek

Questions To Answer

1. Are you doing your best to walk in the victory of Jesus Christ? Or have you allowed your flesh to moan and groan and drag you down into the language of defeat?

2. What scriptures can you meditate on and confess daily that will take you to a higher place of victory? Why don’t you write those verses down and put them in a visible place where you’ll see them every day and be reminded to declare them over your life?

3. Can you think of any people in your life who are currently struggling with the temptation to give up in the midst of difficult circumstances? What are some things you could do to encourage these individuals to keep believing and to stand fast in faith for the victory they desire?

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I will meet all your needs so you can overflow with good works.

Tuesday October 21, 2014

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 09:01 PM PDT

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2 Corinthians 9:8 (WEB)

And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
that you, always having all sufficiency in everything,
may abound to every good work.

Promise #294: I will meet all your needs so you can overflow with good works.

It is by grace that we are saved and it is God's gift to us so that we won't be able to boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8) It is this same grace that abounds to us and meets all of our needs so that we will overflow in every good work. The NIV Bible says 2 Corinthians 9:8 this way... And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (NIV)
This Bible verse really speaks of the principle of abundance. God wants us to overflow with His grace at all times and in every situation. I believe the key to this principle of abundance is found in Matthew 10:8. This is where Jesus is sending out His disciples to proclaim the good news of the gospel. His charge is simply this...  'freely you have received, freely give'.
One of the things that I am learning in my walk with God is that I first need to be in a place of receiving before I can have anything to give to others. I am convinced that it is out of the overflow of His love and grace in my own life that others are touched.
So my simple encouragement today is for you to learn to receive all the grace that God wants to give you. As you receive the abundant, never ending supply that flows from heaven, it will overflow in your life so that you will have all that you need to do every good work that He has planned for you.
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FACING TRIALS

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FACING TRIALS

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

James, in his letter to the early Christians, lists the qualities that many kinds of trials develop in us.

She stood outside the doorway of the church intrigued by the love and joy displayed by those inside. The missionary had asked her to come in, but she had politely declined. This was a hostile area in the Philippines, and her father had strictly forbidden her to have anything to do with “those Christians.”

Unknown to the little Filipino girl, the missionary was praying fervently for her soul. Finally one Sunday morning, the little girl accepted the invitation to attend the Sunday school class. There she also opened her heart to Jesus and became a child of God. The missionary presented her with a beautiful white dress, representing the fact that Jesus had washed all her sins away.

The next Sunday the little girl was nowhere to be found. Concerned for the girl, the missionary travelled to her home village. Arriving at her home, she found the young, new believer lying in the dirt. Her white dress was torn, filthy, and soaked in blood. The girl’s father hadn’t shared the missionary’s joy in his daughter’s new-found faith. In a drunken rage he had beaten her, repeatedly kicked her, and left her to die.

The missionary gently lifted the fragile girl and carried her back to the church where a doctor rushed to help. But there was nothing he could do. He removed the ragged dress and cleaned her up, but her injuries were too severe. The missionary stayed with her, trying to comfort her during her final hour.

Upon regaining consciousness the little girl made an unusual request. She insisted on holding in her hand the white dress the missionary had given her. They explained that it was torn and soaked with blood and dirt. With the simple faith of a child she whispered, “I just want Jesus to know that I was willing to bleed for Him.”

RESPONSE: Today I acknowledge that struggles and trials are exactly what I need in my life. Without them, I would be crippled. I would never fly!

PRAYER: Lord, cause my suffering to make what I really believe to be evident to others.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks
© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

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Monday, October 20, 2014

WHEN HOPE FADES, FAITH EMERGES

Presented by Bible Gateway

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WHEN HOPE FADES, FAITH EMERGES

We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

The hope of most female refugees from North Korea fades away shortly after arriving in China. Most do not want to flee to South Korea, because then they lose all contact with their family, and they are not in the position to support them anymore. And if they go to another place in China, it is only a matter of time before they are caught by either the police or human traffickers. And who knows what happens to them then?

So, is all hope lost? “No, there is hope,” says co-worker Kun-so. She picks up a Bible. “And that hope is written in this Book. For in it are profound promises. There is a heaven. Jesus loves you. All tears will be wiped away. No more death, no more pain. The Bible can even be the key to a better life now.

“But we have to bring the hard, difficult, biblical messages to the surface. The Bible says that you have to bless those who persecute you. It means you have to love the husband that abuses you. I have seen improvement when a North Korean woman was able to love instead of hate. And I direct the women to how God feels about them, how precious they are in His eyes, about what Jesus Christ did for them on Calvary. Thanks to His sacrifice there is hope. I can point the women to the day that will come eventually. The day that our Lord will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the day that death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

“After a while, we try to teach the women to forgive their Chinese husbands for their abuse. We tell them Jesus commands us to love our husbands. I know this is not easy to do. But we have seen that some women found the strength to do loving things for their husbands, and as a result slowly the husband started to change.”

Moon lost her child through a forced abortion, only days before her due date. Moon still lives with the Chinese family responsible for killing her child. But she also came into contact with a female co-worker. The worker took care of Moon as best as she could. She befriended her, prayed with her and explained about God and His love for her.

“I will be forever grateful,” shares Moon. “Thanks to you, I came into contact with God. As I learn more and more about Him through your Bible studies, I am grateful that this wonderful Being loves me. China and North Korea have not changed. I am still a person with no rights, and there is always the threat that the police will find me and send me back to North Korea.

“My situation is terrible, humanly speaking. But I feel like I am living in a whole new world, just because I know God. And I know my baby is with Him.”

When hope fades, faith emerges.

RESPONSE: Today I will place my hope in the Lord and trust Him to change the situations around me.

PRAYER: Pray for North Korean refugees—especially women—who suffer severely often losing hope. Pray that they will indeed find hope in the Lord.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks
© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

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