The Battlefield of Coasting – Every Man Ministries – May 8

The Battlefield of Coasting

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. – Proverbs 16:18

Many of us have stories of God’s supernatural intervention and reassurance in times of fear. As God’s men, we will know this kind of battle pressure if we are on the attack and serving Him on kingdom battlefronts. Like a submarine after receiving battle blows then springing a leak, we need to surface for repairs. Having fought and won some major battles for the kingdom, God’s men commonly become overconfident in our successes. At these times, the challenge is continuing to work through the stages of our spiritual journeys, allowing God to direct us to our next missions.

If there is one aspect of spiritual battle that remains more hidden than others among Christians, it’s coasting.  The thought goes like this. I can become the man God wants me to be by remaining who I am. In this realm, the danger is not doing what is wrong; it’s the pride that comes by doing all the right things. When you have a large level area of the spiritual high ground, you can lose your focus on the real world.

The fact is, spiritual growth, exciting victory and exciting new experiences in Christ await. This new foe will not be looking so much to exploit your failure but to get you resting on your success. The enemy doesn’t lie down and rest just because we have a good routine going. God does not help those who help themselves.

Father, help me never to depend on myselfI am spiritually clueless without you.

“Are You Jesus?”

NIGHT LIKE FOR COUPLES

“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” 1 Timothy 6:18

After their meeting ran late, five out‐of‐town salesmen hurried as fast as they could to catch their train. As they raced through the terminal, one inadvertently kicked over a slender table on which rested a basket of apples. It belonged to a ten‐year‐old blind boy who was selling apples to pay for his books and clothes for school. The salesmen clambered aboard the train, but one felt compassion for the boy. He asked his friends to call his wife and tell her he would be late getting home.

Then he jumped off the train and returned to where the boy was standing. As the salesman gathered up the apples scattered across the floor, he noticed that several were bruised or split. Reaching into his pocket, he said to the boy, “Here’s twenty dollars for the apples we damaged. I hope we didn’t spoil your day. God bless you.” As he walked away, the boy called after him,

“Are you Jesus?”

We are most like Christ when we show compassion and generosity to others. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). We reflect His character whether we’re helping someone less fortunate or giving our mate a back rub at the end of the day.

Just between us…

  • How do our interactions with others reflect the character of Jesus?
  • When was the last time we stopped to help another person in need?
  • How do you feel when you show compassion to someone else?

Lord, we ask that Your extravagant love would flow through us each day to touch those around us. Show us how to serve, to help, and to give without expecting anything in return. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Illustration from The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Books, 1992). Reprinted in Stories for a Man’s Heart, comp. Al and Alice Gray (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1999).

Space Flight

NIGHT LIKE FOR PARENTS

“The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17

The early days of the American space program were thrilling times. John Glenn and other astronauts would blast off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral into the “last frontier.” Their return voyages were especially dangerous. When a spacecraft reentered earth’s atmosphere, only a heat shield on the bottom of the capsule protected it from temperatures exceeding one thousand degrees Fahrenheit. During this phase, communication with earth was blacked out for approximately seven minutes. The world would wait anxiously until a reassuring voice finally announced, “This is Mission Control. Everything is A-OK.”

Your kids are a bit like those early astronauts. They one day climb aboard a capsule called adolescence and lift off into uncharted regions of space. Soon you as parents are going through the scariest experience of your lives—you’ve lost all contact with the “capsule.” The same kid who used to talk nonstop has now reduced his vocabulary to “I dunno,” “Maybe,” and “I forget.” It’s a period of great apprehension for those on the ground!

This is the time to remember the words of the apostle Paul: “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). You haven’t failed as a parent; your child is simply going through the social and hormonal turbulence of adolescence. If you have raised your kids by God’s principles, your teaching and patience will be rewarded. When the time is right—perhaps in your son or daughter’s early twenties—you will likely reestablish communication and discover that everything is indeed A-OK.

Before you say good night…

Do you feel like a failure because your child is in a “blackout” period?

How can you help each other stay confident in your roles as parents?

Father, please forgive us when we forget that You are in control of the lives of our kids. Help us to have a firm faith in You, in Your Word, in the roles You have given us as parents, and in our children. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Pray Powerfully – Ed Young Television Devotional – 5/8

Ed Young Television Devotional

Pray Powerfully

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  James 5:16

THINK
A popular poll found that many of us are very picky about who we will pray for. For instance, the poll revealed that we typically pray for:

  • 82% of the time: Family and friends
  • 74% of the time: Our own problems and difficulties
  • 37% of the time: Our enemies
  • 21% of the time: Win the lottery
  • 13% of the time: Victory for their favorite sports team [source: Christianity Today]

The Bible is how God clearly communicates His will for your life. Prayer is how you speak clearly to God. You have access to speak to the God of the Universe today. He longs to hear from you, and he cares about every detail of your life. Are you praying? What are your praying for?

Maybe you’re wondering HOW to pray.

  • Pray Continually – Invite God into every situation of your life.  Pray as you go, wherever you go.
  • Pray Strategically – Use this acrostic: P.R.A.Y.

Praise – Thank Him for who He is, what He’s done, and what He’s promised to do.
Repent – Admit the ways you have sinned against Him and commit to change.
Ask – Ask for His help, wisdom, and action in your life and the lives of others.
Yield – Express your trust in Him and surrender to His plan for your life.

It has been said that prayer is not a means to control God; it is a means to allow God to control you.

PRAY
Ask God to help you understand the power of prayer.

ACT
If necessary, develop a new determination to prayer. Make it a priority today by finding a strategic time where you can clearly speak to God.

For more information about Ed Young Television please visit FellowshipChurch.com.

Daily Light on the Daily Path – May 8

May 8
MORNING

It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.

Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. — Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: never-theless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. — Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. — For I came down from heaven, not to do mine will, but the will of him that sent me. — The cup which my father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. — My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, — Mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth

ISA. 53:10.  John 12:27,28. -Luke 22:42,43. Phi. 2:8.  John 10:17. -John 6:38. -John 18:11.  John 8:29.  Matt. 3:17.  Isa. 42:1.

EVENING

Ye that are the Lord’s remembrancers, keep not silence.

Thou … hast made us unto our God kings and priests. — The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.

I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain. — Their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven. — The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. — Pray one for another: the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Come, Lord Jesus. — Make no tarrying, O my God. — Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God.

ISA. 62:6.  Rom. 5:9,10.  Num. 10:8,9. Isa. 45:19.  II Chr. 30:27. -Psa. 34:15.  Jas. 5:16. Rev. 22:20.  Psa. 40:17.  II Pet. 3:12.

The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and Valuable Pearl – First15 – May 8

The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and Valuable Pearl

Weekly Overview:

Jesus loved to use stories to illustrate profound, life-transforming concepts. He loved to use real and genuine settings, characters, and ideas that apply to all of us to reveal God’s heart of pursuit and love. This week we’re going to spend time allowing the parables of Jesus to speak directly to our situations, mindsets, and core beliefs about who God is. Open your heart and mind to be transformed by the powerful and captivating stories of Jesus.

Scripture:“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matthew 13:44

Devotional:

If you could only have one thing in life, what would it be? Take an honest look at your heart for a minute today. What do you love most? What would you give up everything else for?

Would you believe that your heavenly Father’s answer to those questions is you? That the Creator of the universe loves you most? Would you believe he would give up everything to have relationship with you? I heard a life-changing sermon from Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church in which he proved, by looking at Genesis 2, that God’s greatest desire is relationship with us. After God creates Adam in his own image, God says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). God brings every created animal before Adam to see if he deems any of them suitable as a helper, and Genesis 2:20 says, “But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.” Then without consulting Adam, God puts him to sleep and forms a woman out of his rib. Seeing the woman upon waking, Adam says, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23). How did God know Adam would want a woman as his helper? How did God know she would be the desire of his heart? God knew Adam most longed for a bride because Adam was made in God’s image, and God’s greatest desire is for relationship with us, whom the Bible calls his Bride.

Let the truth of God’s heart sink in for a minute. Out of everything else God has created or could have created, he most desires relationship with you. And he so longed for you to know him fully that he sent Jesus to die to make restored relationship possible. God calls us to himself daily with his love. He stands at the door of our heart and knocks, beckoning us with his loving-kindness to simply come and know him.

Once we truly grasp the depth of God’s desire for us, the only true response is to give up everything for him. He laid the foundation for our commitment to him with the greatest single act of love, and he simply waits, beckoning us to respond, living our lives with him as our highest priority. And he doesn’t do so selfishly, but because the absolute best way for us to live our lives is in total commitment to him.

In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus tells a parable explaining this response to God’s unending love. He says, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” The kingdom of God is the greatest treasure, the pearl of greatest value. Relationship with him is worth our entire lives. Pursuing him with all our heart is the absolute greatest ambition we could have. Paul described this pursuit in Philippians 3:8 when he said, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

So again, reflect on your own heart. What do you value above all else? God’s not angry with you if it truly isn’t him. You see, the truth is that our pursuit of God will only ever match our revelation of his goodness.God knows that if he isn’t truly the greatest desire of your heart, it’s because you don’t fully know how good he is. If you had the full revelation of his love for you, living totally for him wouldn’t even be a choice. So great is the worth of knowing Jesus that as you see him, you will naturally give up everything to know him more.

So, today as you enter into prayer, know the first step in growing in your pursuit of God is acknowledging the posture of your own heart. How strongly do you desire deeper relationship with him? How much would you give up to know him? What do you seek fulfillment in during your free time?

The second step is receiving a fresh revelation of his incredible love for you.Spend time simply encountering his heart. Meditate on the truth that he desires relationship with you above all else. He so greatly enjoys you that he pursues you with all of his focus and energy.

Last, respond to a revelation of his love with your own love. Worship him, adore him, and live for him with your life. You will encounter him in anything you do as worship. He will pour out his presence, favor, and blessing in any area you live out of love for him. Colossians 1:13-14 says, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” And Luke 12:31 promises us, “Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”

Pursue a deeper relationship with your heavenly Father today through prayer. As you live for him and seek his kingdom first, you’ll discover all he has longed to add to your life.

Guided Prayer:

1. Reflect on your own life. How strongly do you desire deeper relationship with him? How much would you give up to know him? What do you seek fulfillment in during your free time?

“The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.” Psalm 14:2

2. Meditate on the depth of God’s love for you. Receive a fresh revelation of how greatly he enjoys you. Think about the story in Genesis of how God’s greatest desire was relationship with his Bride.

“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” Hebrews 12:2-3

“O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the crannies of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” Song of Solomon 2:14

3. Respond to God’s love with your own. Spend time simply adoring him. Spend time in solitude sitting with him, encountering his heart, and giving him your own. He paid the highest price for you just to be able have a relationship with him. So take time and be the reward of his sacrifice.

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

May we answer the call to live for love with our lives today. May we live in response to this benediction found in Hebrews 12:28:

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”

Extended Reading: Philippians 3

For more information on today’s devotional click here!

7 Most Eco-Friendly Cities in the World

Many cities around the world have realized that “going green” is no longer a passing fad. As more cities begin to embrace renewable energy sources, municipalities around the globe are continuing to find creative and impactful ways to be kind to the environment. Here’s a look at the seven most eco-friendly cities in the world.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Credit: tunart/iStock

Living in a country that has more bicycles than residents, the citizens of Amsterdam are accustomed to being on two wheels. Fortunately, Amsterdam makes it easy to be a cyclist, with bicycle paths, signs and traffic lights located throughout the city. An incredible 36% of the city’s traffic movement can be attributed to bikes, according to Dutch Amsterdam, a fact which dramatically reduces the emissions from modes of transportation that burn fossil fuels. Amsterdam is also at the forefront of eco-friendly fashion, as many Dutch designers and retail stores avoid toxic chemicals and processes that are harmful to the environment.

San Francisco, California

Credit: canadastock/Shutterstock.com

As the first U.S. city to ban plastic bags and plastic water bottles, San Francisco has been a leading example of how cities can go green. In an effort to encourage all of its citizens to reduce waste, San Francisco launched a waste-free initiative in 2003, with the hopes of getting the city to zero waste by 2020. How has the city made changes to encourage this eco-friendly attitude? It has a mandatory composting law and it forces stores, restaurants and universities to have waste-subdivision containers. By educating its citizens and enforcing public policy, San Francisco manages to reroute 1.5 million tons of trash away from landfills every year, according to CNBC.

Cape Town, South Africa

Credit: spooh/iStock

Cape Town is another perfect example of how a city initiative can help residents achieve a more sustainable lifestyle. In an effort to address the needs of the growing metropolis, the South African “Mother City” launched a sustainable development program in 2004. With a goal to reduce the city’s energy consumption by 2020, Cape Town monitors its carbon emissions annually, to ensure they are staying on track. The State Environment Report recently confirmed that the city reduced its carbon emissions by 4.1% between 2012 and 2015. By reducing C02 emissions, Cape Town hopes to set an example for other cities, while also making a global impact on the negative effects of climate change.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Credit: patpongs/iStock

The capital of Iceland has lofty goals when it comes to reducing fossil fuel dependence. Reykjavik hopes to become completely free from non-renewable fuel sources by the year 2050. In the next 31 years, Reykjavik plans to continue relying on Iceland’s geothermal wells to power heat, hot water and electricity. Fortunately, the city already has a low carbon footprint, with hydrogen-fueled buses and only 0.1% of the country’s electricity being generated by fossil fuels, according to Blue & Green Tomorrow.

Curitiba, Brazil

Credit: Ziviani/iStock

Nicknamed “The Green Capital of Brazil,” Curitiba is pioneering efforts to make a sustainable lifestyle more enticing for citizens. With an incentive program that was based on the barter system, Curitiba citizens were allowed to trade recyclable items for more useful things, such as books, bus tickets and snacks. According to WWF, household participation in this program was as high as 70% in the 1990s. With only 30% of the city’s waste sent off to landfills, the rest being reused and recycled, Curitiba’s forward-thinking efforts have certainly paid off.

Stockholm, Sweden

Credit: scanrail/iStock

As the first recipient of the European Green Capital Award in 2010, Stockholm is considered a leader in the world of sustainability. By prioritizing eco-friendly initiatives in its budget, Stockholm is able to provide environmentally-friendly housing and public transportation for its citizens. Plus, by 2040, Stockholm plans to be completely free from the use of fossil fuels. With the city’s first environmental program being created in 1976, Stockholm has decades of sustainable city planning under its belt and is poised to achieve its ambitious goal.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Credit: Mlenny/iStock

With its incredible efforts to be environmentally conscious and energetically sustainable, Copenhagen has emerged as the most eco-friendly city in the world. With a mission to have the entire city be carbon-neutral by 2025, Copenhagen is a city dedicated to finding alternative energy sources. With plans for installing 100 wind turbines within city limits, it’s easy to see why 33% of the entire country’s energy supply is powered by wind. The city also has a strong biking culture, electric buses and hopes to plant 10,000 new trees by 2025.

 

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