God Uses the Wicked – In Touch – July 29

July 29

God Uses the Wicked

Genesis 37

When we don’t understand what God is doing or why, His ways can seem perplexing. The times when ungodly people seem to triumph over the righteous make us scratch our heads and wonder why the Lord doesn’t intervene. But the truth is, He often uses the wicked to accomplish His purpose.

Joseph faced one hard-hearted individual after another during his years in exile. His brothers shipped him off to Egypt. His boss’s wife accused him of an unspeakable crime. And even those he helped, like Pharaoh’s cupbearer, forgot about him (Gen. 40:23). The actions (or seeming inactions) of God make little sense at this point.

But once the story of Joseph’s life was written in full, it was clear that everyone who harmed or neglected the young man contributed to God’s plan. The Lord used numerous people across several years to bring a humbled young Hebrew unexpectedly to power at the right moment to spare his family–who were the Messiah’s ancestors–from the effects of famine.

In our circumstances, we can see God’s actions only from the limited vantage point of our humanness. We experience the events He has allowed or caused but can’t discern what He is thinking. Often the Lord’s goals and purposes are hidden from us until His plans come to fruition.

God is sovereign over all the earth. We may wonder at the strange or even terrifying turns our lives take, but we can be certain that He is in control and at work. The wicked may triumph for a season, but the final, eternal victory belongs to Christ and His righteous followers.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

And Listen to Dr. Charles Stanley at OnePlace.com!

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2019 All Rights Reserved.

What Jesus Prays for You

by Greg Laurie on Jul 26, 2019
 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 7:25

Scottish minister Robert Murray M’Cheyne said, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference; He is praying for me.”

The Bible says of Jesus, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25 NKJV).

What does Jesus pray when He intercedes for us? This is important to know, because in finding the answer to that question we can discover God’s plan and purpose for us. And that is the objective of prayer: to align our wills with the will of God.

In John 17 we have the greatest prayer ever prayed, which is Jesus’ prayer for us. In verse 11 Jesus prayed, “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are” (NKJV).

Jesus prayed for our preservation. God wants us to be strong spiritually. God want us to cross the finish line with flying colors. We all know people who have made a profession of faith and were growing so much spiritually that we may have even looked up to them as spiritual leaders. But then one day they crashed and burned. They simply walked away from the faith.

We think, “If someone like that could fall, then maybe I could fall, too. Am I next?”

The answer to that question may surprise you: it’s entirely up to you.

God wants to keep you, and God will keep you. He will keep you to the end. The question is whether you want to be kept.

Wholly Committed

by Greg Laurie on Jul 27, 2019
If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

2 Timothy 2:21

Show me a person who has walked away from the faith, and I’ll show you a series of smaller steps that led to that decision.

When someone backslides, it’s generally very subtle and very gradual. It’s like cutting off the fuel to a train going full power down the tracks. The train doesn’t suddenly stop. It still goes on because it has momentum. It slows down gradually and eventually stops.

It’s the same way with our spiritual lives. As we’re fueling our Christian lives and moving forward, there is lots of power. But then one day we stop doing the things we need to do to grow spiritually. We’re still chugging along, but we’re slowing down. Then our progress gets slower and slower until one day it finally comes to a standstill. This is why we need to keep as much distance from sin as we possibly can.

An elderly man who was known for his godly life was asked, “What do you do when you get tempted?”

The man replied, “I just look up to Heaven and say, ‘Lord, your property is in danger.’ ” That is a great thing to say.

The Bible tells us, “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy’ ” (1 Peter 1:15–16 NLT). And 2 Timothy 2:21 says, “If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work” (NLT).

We need to live a sanctified life, which means being set apart. We need to be holy, but we also need to be wholly committed to Christ.

Better Than a Multimillionaire – Greg Laurie Daily Devotion – July 29

Monday, July 29, 2019
Better Than a Multimillionaire

Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:1 NKJV)

I heard about a woman who went to the bank where she had her accounts and said, “I want to open up a joint bank account.”

“Who would you like to open it up with?” the employee asked.

“A multimillionaire,” she answered. “Do you know any?”

If you’re a Christian, you have a joint account with someone better than a multimillionaire. You have a joint account with the Creator of the universe.

The psalmist wrote, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber” (121:1–3 NKJV). The Lord is your keeper.

We find this in the New Testament as well. In 1 Peter 1:5 we read that we are “kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (NKJV), and Jude 1:1 says we are “called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ” (NKJV).

“Preserved in Christ” is an interesting phrase that means “continually kept.” In the original language it refers to a continuing result of a past action. Let’s say you’ve made the final mortgage payment on your house. You don’t have to keep paying the bank. It’s your house. Just enjoy it.

In the same way, your salvation is bought and paid for. You are not going to lose it, so enjoy it. You are kept by God. 

If there is something you value, you tend to keep your eye on it. And if there is someone you value, you keep your eye on them.

God will keep you. He will keep you to the end.

Copyright © 2019 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

For more relevant and biblical teaching from Pastor Greg Laurie, go to www.harvest.org
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Seriously? Just Stop – Girlfriends in God – July 29, 2019

Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:3-4)

Friend to Friend

He had no idea that he was moving in a dangerous direction. The cute, little box turtle was just trying to get where he was going. Doing what turtles do. Thinking what turtles think. The fact that he was crossing a busy road that is paved for fast moving cars, not slow crawling reptiles, wouldn’t have even entered his tiny turtle brain.

I’m a fan of turtles. Always have been.

Maybe it’s because they look tough on the outside, but are really softies on the inside.

Maybe it’s because they seem shy and vulnerable when they retreat into their shells and pretend that nobody’s home.

Maybe it’s because for a brief time as a kid I had a pet turtle named Raspberry… because I found him when I was picking raspberries. {I’m a clever pet-namer.} Not sure that there’s one reason in particular, but I do like turtles.

And I had to do something.

If I didn’t help him out, there was a high chance that his field trip to the people pavement would’ve ended disastrously. I cared about his cute, little shelled-self so I quickly, and safely, pulled over to the side of the road and intervened. He wasn’t able to see the danger of his actions, so I picked him up and moved him to a safe place… to the grass near the swampy area.

In the days of the early church a man named Saul was full of murderous threats and was moving in the wrong direction. Like my turtle friend, he had no idea. Saul, a Pharisee, sincerely thought he was doing the right things, acting the right ways, and following the right rules. But he wasn’t. His behaviors and convictions were actually opposed to the very God he believed that he was representing and defending.

So the Lord intervened one day as Saul walked along a road in Damascus.

He on his way to arrest some people who didn’t believe as he believed (Acts 9:2), and Saul couldn’t see the danger of what he was doing. So Jesus paid him an illuminating visit that struck him blind to help him know and see the truth.

To save him.

To reroute his wrong ways and point him in the direction of life.

Saul’s personal encounter with Jesus changed him.

All of him.

Even his name! (Which was eventually changed from Saul to Paul.)

From the time of his rerouting, Saul humbled himself before the Lord and worked hard to go where God wanted him to go. From that day one, he helped reroute other wandering hearts toward the salvation and hope of Jesus Christ.

One of the evidences that someone has a genuine relationship with the Lord is the willingness to search their heart and ask God to show them what needs changed. (Brace yourself. It’s about to get personal here.) Sometimes in life we can move in the wrong direction, away from the will of God, and not even realize it.

You might be blinded by an anger that you feel justified hanging onto.

Perhaps you think that flirting with that guy on social media isn’t hurting anyone.

Maybe you need rerouted from unhealthy eating patterns, addictions, insecurities, or maxed out anxieties.

In any case, Jesus wants to reroute every wrong way and move you to the safest place, the BEST place: the center of God’s will.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Please show me the ways that my heart needs rerouted and give me the courage, desire, and determination to move in the direction that you lead.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read the story of Paul’s conversion: Acts 9:1-19.

Might there be a way that God wants to reroute your heart today? Spend some time in prayer and ask Him to help you see His will clearly. Then move in that direction.

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A Prayer for Being Enough – Your Daily Prayer – July 29

  • 2018Jul 13
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A Prayer for Being Enough
By Holley Gerth

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14, NIV)

fearfully-wonderfully-made

When I talk with women as an author, counselor, life coach, and friend, I hear the lie Eve believed repeated so often. And I’ve heard it in my own heart as well. The enemy has not changed his tactics much since the beginning of time. That one lie has a variety of versions . . .

You’re not lovable enough.
You’re not good enough.
You’re not beautiful enough.
You’re not smart enough.
You’re not cool enough.
You’re not successful enough.

But all of those expressions have the same message. Somehow, in some way, we must be lacking. Who God has made us and what He has given us are not really adequate. That can seem true because we were once all sinners in need of a Savior. But once we give Jesus our lives, He restores all that was lost in the fall. We live in a post-paradise world, but our identities in God’s eyes are post-cross perfect. We are enough because Jesus is enough in us.

When the enemy tries to convince our hearts that’s not true, what can we say in response? He started his temptation of Eve with, “Did God really say…” I believe we defeat him by answering with “Here’s what God really does say…” That’s the tactic Jesus used when the devil tempted Him.

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, ‘If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Mark 4:1–4).

The devil tempted Jesus two more times after that, and our Savior always responded with Scripture. We can follow His example when the enemy tries to ensnare us as well. For example, when we hear the lie, “You are not enough,” we can answer with what God says to us through Scriptures like these:

-I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life. (2 Peter 1:3)
-I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

The only weapon that’s part of the armor of God is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). The enemy took advantage of Eve, and she acted as if she were defenseless. But we don’t have to do the same.

 

Let’s Pray:

Lord, thank You so much that You declare I am enough in You and because of You. When the lies in my life and heart get loud, help me listen to Your voice of truth instead. I’m so grateful that I belong to You, and that You alone have the final word on my identity and destiny.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Content taken from the Girlfriends in God devotional, “You’re Enough as You Are, written by Holley Gerth. You can read that piece in full here.