Devotional

You Are What You Speak
The outcome of your life is ultimately influenced by what begins in your mind, by what you believe. A single thought can have a viral effect and take over other aspects of your life, ultimately transforming who you are, for better or for worse.

Real transformation happened after my old pattern of thinking and speaking was completely intercepted and replaced with the truth of God’s Word:

“I am not timid, but I have power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“I am chosen, accepted, and adopted into God’s family” (Ephesians 1:11-12)

“I have the Holy Spirit, so I am not a slave to fear” (Romans 8:15)

You will notice that each of these confessions is not a word-for-word quotation of the verse on which it is based. And that is OK.

Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to scriptures that counter whatever situation or emotion you face. Then personalize the scriptures into confessions that you keep with you. Finally, speak them over yourself throughout the day, as often as necessary. This will help you begin to genuinely believe what you confess. You must identify with God’s Word in order for it to change your identity.

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Devotional

How the Heck Do We Know?
“That was God . . .”

“I felt God nudging me . . .”

“I got the sense that God wants me to . . .”

We hear words like these. Sometimes we say them ourselves. But, how do we know it’s God? Well, rarely can we ever know conclusively; there’s mystery with God. There are times when we intuitively just know, down deep somewhere. And, often, this “just knowing” is enough. Other times, though, things are less clear and we must ask: Was that You, God? Or was that just me? In those situations, we need to be able to recognize His voice—to identify it.

Fortunately, His voice is unique—whether it comes through His still, small voice or through the words of others. It’s something we can come to recognize. So, what we need to learn is to identify the unique characteristics. We do that by reading Scripture. Fortunately, not all methods of hearing God are equal. Scripture, the method by which we hear His voice indirectly, through the biblical authors, sits above all others in importance and authority. As such, we have something against which we can run tests.

On a practical level, therefore, when we try to hear God by any other method, we simply need ask ourselves whether what we think we’ve heard fits within the principles set forth in Scripture. Indeed, that’s exactly what we are listening for when we listen for His voice—thoughts and words that fit within the principles of the Bible—not thoughts, nor words, by contrast, that contradict or add to Scripture.

Okay, so what do we do?
Are you spending enough time reading Scripture, brother? Do you have a reading plan? If not, get one today. Do it with friends. For if you come to know Him in Scripture, you’ll begin to identify God’s voice in other places too.

Day By Day By Grace

November 18
God Fulfilling the Work of Faith with Power
Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2Th_1:11-12)
These verses provide another opportunity to reflect upon the central point in our last sequence of devotions (from Hebrews). Therein, we examined the extensive consequences of walking by faith (and thereby drawing upon the effective grace of God). The good things that appeared in these lives was the result of God fulfilling the work of faith with power.
The opening words remind us of the appropriateness of intercessory prayer for one another. “Therefore we also pray always for you.” The following terms remind us of what to pray about: “that our God would count you worthy of this calling.” God counts us worthy to be His children and His servants on the basis of faith, not performance: “not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Php_3:9). The following words from our present text also indicate that true faith in the Lord results in proper performance: “and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power.” God wants to fully develop in our lives the good things that His own goodness causes Him to desire for us. Of course, He desires godliness for us. He accomplishes this by “the work of faith with power.”
When we trust in the Lord, the glorious works of God are manifested in and through our lives “with power.” The power involved in this process is His power. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us . . . To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily” (Eph_3:20 and Col_1:29). This is the process that is vividly portrayed in the lives we have looked at in Hebrews. They trusted in God: “By faith Noah . . . By faith Abraham . . . By faith Sarah” (Heb_11:7-8, Heb_11:11). The God upon whom they relied worked mightily in them, by means of His great grace: “according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our God wants to fulfill the work of faith with power in our lives—”according to the grace of our God.” This is what brings glory to the Lord on earth, while reminding us that we will enter into His glory some day in heaven: “that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him.”
Lord God of great power, please fulfill in me the work of faith with power. As I look to You for the grace that is needed for godly living, glorify Your name through my life. I eagerly await dwelling forever with You in the glories of heaven above, Amen.