Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In Spirit and Truth

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

As Christ followers, we are designed to worship God in spirit and in truth. When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, He sought to help her do this by imparting to her God’s living water (John 4:13–14).

In the same way, the Father seeks an encounter with each of us that is real and personal. One could truthfully say that true worship is “face to face” time with God. Worship is neither religion nor religious ritual; worship is an intimate and vital encounter with a Person. True worship includes the full recognition of who God is: Holy, Sovereign, Almighty, Loving, Merciful. But let me warn you, this recognition brings about the realization of our own sinfulness!

True worship is life changing! It results in repentance, obedient submission, and a desire for holiness (Isaiah 6:1–8). True worship generates a desire to show mercy and to express forgiveness. It includes a joyful acceptance of all that God has provided by His grace. A Christ follower who has truly worshiped will have a sense of peace and a confident expectation of what God is about to do.

True worship produces a transformed life, reflecting the One who has been worshiped.

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Walking in the Will of God

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

Walking in the Will of God

If you are walking daily with the Lord, you will not have to find God’s will—you will already be in it. If you are walking with Him in obedience day by day, you will always be in the will of God. Walking closely with God each day guarantees that you will be exactly where He wants you to be.

The disciples never had to ask Jesus where they should go next. They simply looked to see where Jesus was going and stayed close to Him! Jesus was their “way.” They didn’t need a map as long as they had Jesus. It often seems easier to follow a plan than to cultivate a relationship. We can become more concerned with our future than we are with walking intimately with God each day.

Jesus will never give you a substitute for Himself. He is the only way to the Father. If you want to know God’s will, take time to cultivate your relationship with Jesus. He has given us the Holy Spirit as a guide. Here is Jesus on the matter: But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13).

If you are walking in Christ with the Holy Spirit as your Guide, you will have to reject all of the Holy Spirit’s activity in your life in order to get out of the will of God. God is with you, and in you. By yielding yourselves to Him daily, you will continually walk in His will. Perhaps that’s what Paul had in mind when he told the Philippians, “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12b-13). That is one of the joys in knowing God!

Friday, April 26, 2013


Encouragement for your daily walk with God

My computer dictionary defines BELOVED as “a much loved person.” What I find so wonderful is that God uses that word of Christ followers—His children. The Bible records that God has a general love for the whole world and a sustaining love even for His enemies—He sends sunshine to warm them and rain to water their crops, just as He does for believers—however, this term of endearment is unique for those who are His precious possessions.

The first occurrence of beloved in the New Testament is when John baptized Christ. When Jesus came up from the water, a voice echoed from heaven, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased" (Matthew 3:17). It was the voice of God the Father, who loved Christ dearly.

Are you wondering right now, "How can God call me that—His beloved? Doesn't He know how unlovable I am?" The answer is really simple. He calls you beloved, not because of righteousness you have in yourself or because you are worthy of it, but because Christ has deposited His righteousness on your behalf.

I am encouraged by this passage Paul wrote to the Christ followers in Thessalonica:

But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2nd Thessalonians 2:13-14).

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Encouragement for your daily walk with God

Broken: fractured or damaged and no longer in working order

Brokenness: totally subdued; humbled; weakened and infirmed; crushed by grief

There have been times in my life when I have been broken and/or in a state of brokenness. I know that I’m not alone in feeling that way. Israel’s Kind David felt that way, and even expressed it in Psalm 31:12b, “I have become like a broken vessel.” There is no doubt that Peter felt that way after denying Christ three times on the night before His crucifixion. He fled Christ’s presence and wept bitterly. 

In those times, you may think that you are useless and unwanted by God. Nothing could be farther from the truth. 

Vance Havner wrote:

"God uses broken things. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is the broken soil that produces a crop; it is the broken clouds that give rain; it is the broken grain that gives bread, and it is the broken bread that gives strength. . . . God uses broken things."

Broken! It's not bad to find yourself in that condition; after all . . . God uses broken things.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Be Still and Know

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

What do you do when you are going about life as usual and the storm clouds of crisis unleash their fury on you or your family? How do you cope? What do you cling to, in order to make it through difficult or perilous times?

Jehoshaphat found himself is such a circumstance. He faced the combined forces of the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites, and was understandably afraid. So, he prayed. He poured out his heart to God.

“Listen, King Jehoshaphat . . . ! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's.’ ” (2 Chronicles 20:15 NIV)

When he heard this, Jehoshaphat led the people in a worship service. The following day the choir, still singing God’s praises, went out before Jehoshaphat and his army. As they crested the hill and looked down on the enemy camp, all they saw were dead bodies. It looked as if a great battle had already taken place. And indeed it had. You see, in the night, God had so confused the enemy soldiers that they had attacked each other, and not one warrior in that vast army had remained alive. That event inspired Jehoshaphat's music minister to write the 46th Psalm.

And what caught my attention were the words in verse 10, “Be still and know…”

“Be still” doesn't catch the full meaning of the Hebrew. The word, raphah, literally means to "let go; put your arms down to your side.” Some translations word it this way: "cease striving" or "relax." But it carries the idea of God saying, "When you face a terrifying situation, lay down your arms. Put down your 'sword and shield.' Step aside and acknowledge that I am the one and only victorious God."

Now, I don't know about you, but when I am facing a crisis, relaxing—being still—is the last thing I want to do. My first tendency is to do just the opposite. I want to defend myself, or counterattack. But be still—never! Think how vulnerable you feel in the face of an attack when you drop your arms, let go, cease striving, and relax. Yet, that is exactly what God told His people to do in that circumstance.

There is a caveat in this Psalm. Not only did He tell them TO relax, but also HOW to relax. He said, "Be still and KNOW that I am God." The challenge in Psalm 46:10 is to respond cognitively, not emotionally. He wanted them to respond on the basis of something they KNEW instead of something they FELT.

The apostle Paul picked up on this idea in his second letter to Timothy. Listen to his advice found in 2 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV): For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I KNOW whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

Today’s eDevotion is a challenge, of sorts. If you are facing a personal crisis, ask yourself: What do I fear more—whose power do I respect more—the power of the living God, or the power of crisis? Keep in mind the words of Psalms 27:1 (NLT): The LORD is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?