Whoever is not against us is for us

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Tuesday, August 15, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

Jesus was not saying that being indifferent or neutral toward him is as good as being committed. As he explained in Matthew 12:30 [see below].

It is impossible to be neutral about Christ. Anyone who is not actively following him has chosen to reject him. Any person who tries to remain neutral in the struggle of good against evil is choosing to be separated from God, who alone is good. To refuse to follow Christ is to choose to be on Satan’s team. (NLT)

Matthew 12:30 – [Jesus said] “Anyone who isn’t helping me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.”

Mark 9:38-41 – John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we say a man using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t one of our group.”

“Don’t stop him!” Jesus said. “No one who performs miracles in my name will soon be able to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us. If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I assure you, that person will be rewarded.”

Whoever is not against us is for us. –Mark 9:40 (NIV)

Kevin L. Thomas (Alabama) titled his story “NO LIMITS;” here is a portion of Kevin’s story:

“A fellow musician and I had just started a contemporary worship service with only two instruments: drums and an acoustic guitar. We did the best we could, but the service struggled with limited instrumentation. In the days that followed, a teenage member of our church kept insisting that I ask her brother to play with us. He was an incredibly talented electric guitarist, but he told me that he did not believe in God. I refused to allow an atheist to play in the church praise band. But my belief in God wasn’t big enough.

“Fortunately his sister was persistent, and I finally agreed to let him play. While playing with the praise team, the young man came to faith in Christ. What an important lesson I learned – that there are no limits to how God can work!

“The disciples learned a similar lesson. . . . He [John] assumed, as I did, that God works only through our approved methods. And this man hadn’t gotten proper approval! But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him. For . . . whoever is not against us is for us.’

“I pray that our eyes will be opened to see what God is doing in our world, especially through unlikely people in unexpected places.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God’s work in our world has no limits.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to see where you are at work and then to participate wholeheartedly. Amen.

To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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He offers to teach us the best way to go

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Monday, August 14, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

God describes some people as being like horses or mules that have to be controlled by bits and bridles. Rather than letting God guide them step by step, they stubbornly leave God only one option. If God wants to keep them useful for him, he must use discipline and punishment. God longs to guide us with love and wisdom rather than punishment. He offers to teach us the best way to go. Accept the advice written in God’s Word, and don’t let your stubbornness keep you from obeying God. (NLT)

Psalm 32:8-11 – The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord. So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. –Psalm 32:8 (NIV)

Abigail Pijal (Ecuador) titled her story “IN GOD’S CARE;” here is a portion of Abigail’s story:

“. . . After graduation, I packed my bags and traveled to another province in search of a job. My plan was to work wherever I settled. I never once thought about the plans God had for my life. I left behind my family and the work I did in my congregation. . . .

“Two months went by, and I was offered no job. During this time, I felt a strong longing for my family and church. I consoled myself by reading El Aposento Alto (The Upper Room Spanish edition), but I felt a great emptiness in my heart. I began to wonder if God had abandoned me, but I tried to trust that god was watching over me and caring for my well-being. At this low point in my life, I received a call with a job offer in the province I had left. I understood this call as God’s answer to my prayers. Without thinking twice about it, I packed my bags and returned. From this experience, I learned that the plans God has for me are not always the same as mine. God has always watched over me. When we continue to pray and have faith, we can be assured that God always watches over us and guides us.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God has great plans for me.

Prayer: Loving God, help us understand that you want only the best for us and that your plans are far greater than ours. Amen.

To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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Step out boldly in faith

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, August 13, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

At the time of his ordination, Timothy had received special gifts of the Spirit to enable him to serve the church. In telling Timothy to “fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you,” Paul was encouraging him to persevere. Timothy did not need new revelations or new gifts; he needed the courage and self-discipline to hang on to the truth and to use the gifts he had already received. If Timothy would step out boldly in faith and proclaim the Good News once again, the Holy Spirit would go with him and give him power. When you use the gifts God has given you, you will find that God will give you the power you need. (NLT)

2 Timothy 1:1-10 – This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, sent out to tell others about the life he has promised through faith in Christ Jesus.

It is written to Timothy, my dear son.

May God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.

Timothy, I thank God for you. He is the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.

I know that you sincerely trust the Lord, for you have the faith of your mother, Eunice, and your grandmother, Lois. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So you must never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for Christ. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the proclamation of the Good News.

It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. He did this not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan long before the world began—to show his love and kindness to us through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the coming of Christ Jesus, our Savior, who broke the power of death and showed us the way to everlasting life through the Good News.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. –2 Timothy 1:5 (NRSV)

Donyale Fraylon (Texas) titled her story “SHARING OUR PLATES;” here is a portion of Donyale’s story:

“When my son began eating solid foods, it was a challenge to get him to eat vegetables. . . . One day I realized that although my son was disinterested in the food on his plate, he was interested in what was on mine. He would eat anything served on my plate in order to imitate me. . . .

“In a similar way, Lois and Eunice influenced Timothy. This grandmother and mother shared a spiritual plate chockfull of their faith in Christ. Over time the faith they planted grew in Timothy to become a life of faith and service to the Lord.

“Parents and grandparents want to provide their children and grandchildren with the very best home, education, and opportunities. Lois and Eunice are reminders of our responsibility to also provide the next generation with a foundation of faith, that they may be nourished until they crave a sincere faith of their own.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – How can I plant seeds of faith for the next generations?

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to live in ways that show the next generations our love for you and our sincere faith in Jesus Christ. Amen.

To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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My power works best in your weakness

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Saturday, August 12, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

When we are strong in abilities or resources, we are tempted to do God’s work on our own, and that can lead to pride. When we are weak, allowing God to fill us with his power, then we are stronger than we could ever be on our own. God does not intend for us to be weak, passive, or ineffective—life provides enough hindrances and setbacks without us creating them. When those obstacles come, we must depend on god. Only his power will make us effective for him and will help us to do work that has lasting value. (NLT)

2 Corinthians 12:1-10 – This boasting is all so foolish, but let me go on. Let me tell about the visions and revelations I received from the Lord. I was caught up into the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether my body was there or just my spirit, I don’t know; only God knows. But I do know that I was caught up into paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be told. That experience is something worth boasting about, but I am not going to do it. I am going to boast only about my weaknesses. I have plenty to boast about and would be no fool in doing it, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it. I don’t want anyone to think more highly of me than what they can actually see in my life and my message, even though I have received wonderful revelations from God. But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. –Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

Jane Compton (Oregon) titled her story “KEEP GOING;” here is a portion of Jane’s story:

“At age 16, when I joined a six-week bicycle trip through Holland, England, and France, I found Holland manageable, but England’s hills were overwhelming. . . . I was often alone and lagging behind, especially on the steep climbs. When my travel companions stopped for a quick break, they’d watch for my approach and yell, ‘Keep going, Jane! Don’t stop!’

“Now, when I’m faced with a setback or overwhelmed by challenges, I picture God in the role of my long-ago traveling companions. But God is more than a cheerleader. God is my strength and provider. When I pray for God’s help to keep me going, what seems staggering at the moment becomes straightforward and possible.

“Reading about the faith of others in Hebrews 11 and recalling God’s words to Paul in today’s reading encourage me: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Each trial we face is an opportunity for diligence and dedication. We can look beyond the all- consuming task to find in Jesus the strength and encouragement we need to continue.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – I’m able to go the distance with God as my strength.

Prayer: Dear god, thank you for opportunities to practice perseverance. Help us to become more steadfast so that we will mature in our faith. Amen.

To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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Our hope is secure, immovable, anchored in Him

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Friday, August 11, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

These two unchangeable things are God’s promise and his oath. God embodies all truth; therefore, he cannot lie.   Because God is truth, you can be secure in his promises; you don’t need to wonder if he will change his plans. Our hope is secure, immovable, anchored in God, just as a ship’s anchor holds firmly to the seabed. To the true seeker who comes to God in belief, God gives an unconditional promise of acceptance. When you ask God with openness, honesty, and sincerity to save you from your sins, he will do it. This truth should give you encouragement, assurance, and confidence. (NLT)

Hebrews 6:10-20 – For God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other Christians, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent.   Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and patience.

For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying: “I will certainly bless you richly, and I will multiply your descendants into countless millions.” Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.

When people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence.

This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the line of Melchizedek.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. –Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)

James Forayter (Queensland, Australia) titled his story “PROMISES MADE AND KEPT;” here is a portion of James’ story:

“. . . Jesus said, ‘Seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you’ (Matt. 6:33). In my 35-year walk with God, I have acted on this and found it to be true.

“The Bible says that those who belong to God through Jesus Christ will be with him in heaven forever. I stake my life on the truth of this promise as well. And, based on God’s faithfulness, I know that I will not be disappointed.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – When I see a rainbow, I will remember all the promises God has made and kept.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for being faithful in caring for us – no matter what. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE WHO STRUGGLE WITH DOUBT

To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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Seek His will in all you do, He will direct your paths

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Thursday, August 10, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

To receive God’s guidance, said Solomon, we must seek God’s will in all we do. This means turning every area of life over to him. About a thousand years later, Jesus emphasized this same truth. Examine your values and priorities. What is important to you? In what areas have you not acknowledged him? You may already acknowledge God in many areas of your life, but the areas where you attempt to restrict or ignore him will cause you grief. Make him a vital part of everything you do; then he will guide you because you will be working to accomplish his purposes. (NLT)

Proverbs 3:1-8 – My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart, for they will give you a long and satisfying life. Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will gain a good reputation.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn your back on evil. Then you will gain renewed health and vitality.

The Lord says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; . . . I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” –Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

Tamar Piehler’s (Georgia) story is titled “MAKING ROOM;” here is a portion of Tamar’s story:

“At age 42, I developed an ailment that affected my motor skills. . . . For four years, I feared the future and prayed for strength and healing. I found hope in Isaiah 43:18-19, trusting that God was working on my behalf.

“After years of living in fear, I made peace with my situation, knowing that God would be with me even if I became confined to a wheelchair or worse. I was directed to a skilled neurologist, who diagnosed me with a rare genetic condition that left my body without enough dopamine, a chemical required for proper nerve-brain function. Trusting God with my future, I began taking medicine and immediately began to improve. Within a year, I could walk, stand, and move correctly.

“I now rely on three doses of medicine each day, but I praise God for my body.   Without my weakness I would never have known the depth of God’s strength, wisdom, and unconditional love. Only after I stopped trying to solve the problem myself did I make room for God to answer my prayers.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – How am I making room for God to help me?

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to lean less on my own understanding and to turn my burdens over to you. Amen.

To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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Scripture, it straightens us out, teaches us to do what is right

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Wednesday, August 9, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

The whole Bible is God’s inspired Word. Because it is inspired and trustworthy, we should read it and apply it to our life. The Bible is our standard for testing everything else that claims to be true. It is our safeguard against false teaching and our source of guidance for how we should live. It is our only source of knowledge about how we can be saved. God wants to show you what is true and equip you to live for him. How much time do you spend in God’s Word? Read it regularly to discover god’s truth and to become confident in your life and faith. Develop a plan for reading the whole Bible, not just the familiar passages. (NLT)

2 Timothy 3:14-17 – But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. –2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NRSV)

Sharon B. Capron (Oklahoma) titled her story “DISCERNMENT;” here is a portion of Sharon’s story:

“I found an intriguing and challenging shawl pattern. . . . As I skimmed through the directions, I thought, What? This makes no sense! Impossible! . . .

“Christian discernment can be like my crochet project. Feeling the urge to do something new for God, we find an intriguing service opportunity, but it appears impossible. Perhaps we know how to perform the necessary tasks, but we cannot visualize how to begin. Perhaps a particular opportunity seems beyond our abilities. We wonder whether we should commit our time and energy to it.

“In the end, I trusted the crochet-master’s directions. . . . My shawl is everything I hoped it would be. In the same way, if we commit to reading the Bible a little at a time, every day, and living as it instructs, the experience will be all we hope for and more.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – The bible offers me tools for discernment.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to discern the next steps to take, and give us the courage to move forward. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.

Prayer Focus: TO DISCERN GOD’S WILL

To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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