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Prayer is the practice of the presence of God. It is the place where pride is abandoned, hope is lifted, and supplication is made. Prayer is the place of admitting our need, of adopting humility, and claiming dependence upon God. Prayer is the needful practice of the Christian. Prayer is the exercise of faith and hope. Prayer is the privilege of touching the heart of the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. James 4:8

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7

Father, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

Devotionals
   Our Daily Bread   - Daily Devotionals

Unexpected Change

In January 1943, warm Chinook winds hit Spearfish, South Dakota, raising the temperatures from –4° to 45°F (–20° to 7° C) over a two-minute span. That drastic weather change—a swing of 49 degrees—took place in just two minutes. The widest temperature change recorded in the USA over a 24-hour period is an incredible 103°F (57°C). On January 15, 1972, Loma, Montana, saw the temperature jump from −54° to 49°F (–48° to 9°C).

Sudden change, however, is not simply a weather phenomenon. It is sometimes the very nature of life. James reminds us, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow” (4:13–14). An unexpected loss. A surprise diagnosis. A financial reversal. Sudden changes.

Life is a journey with many unpredictable elements. This is precisely why James warns us away from “arrogant schemes” (v. 16) that do not take the Almighty into account. As he advised us, “You ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (v. 15). The events of our lives may be uncertain, but one thing is sure: through all of life’s unexpected moments, our God will never leave us. He is our one constant throughout life.


Thoughts of Joy

In What We Keep, a collection of interviews by Bill Shapiro, each person tells of a single item that holds such importance and joy that he or she would never part with it.

This caused me to reflect on the possessions that mean the most to me and bring me joy. One is a simple forty-year-old recipe card in my mom’s handwriting. Another is one of my grandma’s pink teacups. Other people may value treasured memories—a compliment that encouraged them, a grandchild’s giggle, or a special insight they gleaned from Scripture.

What we often keep stashed away in our hearts, though, are things that have brought us great unhappiness. Anxiety—hidden, but easily retrieved. Anger—below the surface, but ready to strike. Resentment—silently corroding the core of our thoughts.

The apostle Paul addressed a more positive way to “think” in a letter to the church at Philippi. He encouraged the people of the church to always rejoice, to be gentle, and to bring everything to God in prayer (Philippians 4:4–9).

Paul’s uplifting words on what to think about helps us see that it’s possible to push out dark thoughts and allow the peace of God to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (v. 7). It’s when the thoughts that fill up our minds are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy (v. 8), that we keep His peace in our hearts.


Rich Toward God

Growing up during the Great Depression, my parents knew deep hardship as children. As a result, they were thrifty adults—hard-working and grateful money stewards. At the same time, they were never greedy. They gave time, talent, and treasury to their church, charity groups, and the needy. Indeed, they handled their money wisely and gave cheerfully.

As believers in Jesus, my parents took to heart the apostle Paul’s warning: “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9).

Paul gave this advice in a letter to Timothy, the young pastor of the city of Ephesus, a wealthy city where riches tempted rich and poor alike.

“The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil,” Paul warned. “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (v. 10).

What, then, is the antidote to greed? Being rich toward God, said Jesus (see Luke 12:13–21). By pursuing, appreciating, and loving our heavenly Father above all, He remains our chief delight. As the psalmist wrote, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).

Rejoicing in Him daily relieves us of coveting, leaving us contented. May the Lord redeem our heart’s desires, making us rich toward God!


Liberated by Jesus

“I lived with my mother so long that she moved out!” Those were the words of KC whose life before sobriety and surrender to Jesus was not pretty. He candidly admits supporting his drug habit by stealing—even from loved ones. That life is behind him now and he rehearses this by noting the years, months, and days he’s been clean. When KC and I regularly sit down to study God’s Word together, l’m looking at a changed man.

Mark 5:15 speaks of a former demon possessed individual who had also been changed. Prior to his healing, helpless, hopeless, homeless, and desperate are words that fit the man (v. 9). But all of that changed after Jesus liberated him (v. 13). But, as with KC, his life before Jesus was far from normal. The internal turmoil in his life that was expressed externally is not unlike what people experience today. Some hurting people dwell in abandoned buildings, vehicles, or other places; some live in their own homes but are emotionally alone. Invisible chains shackle hearts and minds to the point that they distance themselves from others.

In Jesus, we have the One who can be trusted with our pain and shame of the past and present. And, as with Legion and KC, He waits with open arms of mercy (v. 19) for all who run to Him today.


Pierced Love

She’d called. She’d texted. Now Carla stood outside her brother’s gated entry, unable to rouse him to answer. Burdened with depression and fighting addiction, her brother had hidden himself away in his home, walled off from help. In a desperate attempt to penetrate his isolation, Carla gathered several of his favorite foods along with encouraging Scriptures and lowered the bundle over the fence.

But as the package left her grip, it snagged on one of the gate spikes, tearing an opening and sending its contents onto the gravel below. Her well-intended, love-filled offering spilled out in seeming waste. Would her brother even notice her gift? Would it accomplish the mission of hope she’d intended? She can only hope and pray as she waits for his healing.

God so loved the world that—in essence—He lowered His one and only Son over the wall of our sin, bringing gifts of love and healing into our weary and withdrawn world (John 3:16). The prophet Isaiah predicted the cost of this act of love in Isaiah 53:5. This very Son would be “pierced for our transgressions, . . . crushed for our iniquities.” His wounds would bring the hope of ultimate healing. He took on Himself “the iniquity of us all” (v. 6).

Pierced by spikes for our sin and need, God’s gift of Jesus enters our days today with fresh power and perspective. What does His gift mean to you?

 




   RSS | My Utmost For His Highest   - Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers

The Impoverished Ministry of Jesus

Where then do You get that living water? —John 4:11

“The well is deep” — and even a great deal deeper than the Samaritan woman knew! (John 4:11). Think of the depths of human nature and human life; think of the depth of the “wells” in you. Have you been limiting, or impoverishing, the ministry of Jesus to the point…


Our Misgivings About Jesus

The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw [water] with, and the well is deep." —John 4:11

Have you ever said to yourself, “I am impressed with the wonderful truths of God’s Word, but He can’t really expect me to live up to that and work all those details into my life!” When it comes to confronting Jesus Christ on the basis of His qualities and abilities,…


The Destitution of Service

…though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved. —2 Corinthians 12:15

Natural human love expects something in return. But Paul is saying, “It doesn’t really matter to me whether you love me or not. I am willing to be completely destitute anyway; willing to be poverty-stricken, not just for your sakes, but also that I may be able to get you…


The Delight of Sacrifice

I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls… —2 Corinthians 12:15

Once “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,” we deliberately begin to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ’s interests and purposes in others’ lives (Romans 5:5). And Jesus has an interest in every individual person. We have no right in Christian service to…


The Determination to Serve

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve… —Matthew 20:28

Jesus also said, “Yet I am among you as the One who serves” (Luke 22:27). Paul’s idea of service was the same as our Lord’s— “…ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). We somehow have the idea that a person called to the ministry is called to be…

 

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