Unspeakable Joy Devotional

13-November

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When Dreams Don’t Come True. Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Is there a dream in your heart that you feel is being delayed? If you look hard enough, you may see another blessing in disguise. Each of us understand the heart numbing pain of a dream that has not come into fruition. It’s hard to consider a “wait” or a “no” to be loving. We can often feel neglected, lonely, heartbroken, tired, or hopeless.

In this society of social media overload, there are things that can pop up on a newsfeed that can cut deeper than any sharp-edged sword. Seeing someone receive a blessing you have cried, worked for, prayed for, and dreamed of while you are still in the “waiting room” is hard. We are called to be joyful with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”

Many times, when we receive a “dream come true” we talk about the faithfulness of God, and rightly so. But, being honest, I always come back to this next thought: “If my dream does not come true, if I never receive what I’ve knocked on heaven’s door for year after year, does that mean God is not faithful?” I hope you know what the answer is, but just in case, let me remind you and myself of this single truth: God is Faithful to us all times whether our dreams come true, or not.

His faithfulness to me is saving me from an eternity apart from Him. Look back at things you’ve gone through and see the bigger picture of His faithfulness and His guiding hand in your life. He is faithful to complete His work in us but not to complete our dream to-do list. Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

May you be comforted by the assurance that stayed rooted in the Lord is the most assured way to live a full, joyful, and “dream come true” kind of life. Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit”

The only way we can have a content heart and a joyful life is letting Him love us, pursue us, and fill the heart numbing ache we have with His grace. That doesn’t always make it easy to let go of a dream or let it sit still for a season, and I know God recognizes that. Don’t forget that we are what He dreams of and desire and He loves us so much. His will and dreams for us are more than we can ever imagine.

God, thank you that Your will and Your plan is always perfect. It might not be easy or always feel good, but I know You see the big picture and know what’s best for me. You are always good. You are always faithful. You always have steadfast love for Your children. These are truths that will never be untrue-so help me to live in light of those truths today. Help me have peace as I meditate on what it means that You are always good, faithful and full of steadfast love for me. Help me face today with confidence knowing that Your plan is greater than all of my dreams. Lord, I love You, thank you for the life I have in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. (M Smith)

God’s Plans are Always Greater Than Our Dreams!

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

12-November

 

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Who Do You Say I Am? Matthew 16:15 “He saith unto them, but whom say ye that I am?”

After a 25-mile trip on foot from the Sea of Galilee to Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Daniel 7:13 “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.” The disciples said they had heard some say he was John the Baptist or Elijah or another prophet returned from the dead.

But Jesus wanted to dig deeper: “Who do you say I am?”

They were silent until Simon Peter blurted out the most remarkable statement: “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16 And Jesus blessed Simon, saying, “Blessed are thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:17-18 God had given him this new understanding.

If you were Peter, having answered Jesus’ question, wouldn’t you want to ask Jesus what he thought of you? If Jesus blessed Peter for professing what the Father had shown him, then surely he blesses us as his disciples today too.

Recognizing the true identity of Jesus still has fantastic consequences for us today. When we acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, our Savior, and submit to His lordship in our lives, we are saved from our sins. Freedom from eternal punishment and from bondage here on earth.

Today, he is still asking us, “Who do you say I am?”

What will we answer? Do we simply believe that Jesus is a good man, prophet, or teacher? Or do you recognize that Jesus is the Christ?

When Peter said that Jesus was the Christ, there was a weight to the words. The Christ was the One who had been expected for thousands of years by the Jewish people. The anointed One. The Chosen One. Son of God. Son of Man. The Very Word of God. Lion of Judah. Prince of Peace. Wonderful Counselor.

The Way. The Truth. The Life.

The Messiah.

And He still is today. Jesus is all those things because He loves us. He loved us enough to give His life for us. To suffer persecution and torture before dying with the weight of the sin of the whole world, of all time on Him. It was so stressful. He was literally sweating blood. But He did it because He loved each of us so much.

So, who do you say He is?

 

 

 

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

11-November

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The Great Cost Of Freedom. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Freedom is never free. It’s a precious gift. And often, it comes at a very great cost. Through the years of our nation’s history, countless brave men and woman have given their lives in order to protect our country and to allow us to live free today.

But often, we may forget, it’s easy to take for granted that we’ve always had. And most of us alive today have always enjoyed wonderful freedom in our lives, and in our nation.

Yet somewhere along the way, many others have paid and sacrificed dearly for the liberties we enjoy so freely today.

This is a day to be thankful. To remember. For all those who have protected our nation for the men and women in uniform, together, we say “Thank you.”

May He help us to always stand strong for what we know is true. May He help us to walk in love. May He help us to live brave. For all those who wear the uniform today and for those who have gone before, we pause to pray…and give thanks…and to remember.

While we should always be grateful to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for the political and social freedoms we experience today, our overwhelming thanks should be directed to God for the greatest sacrifice of all-our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Whatever blessings of political freedom we experience in this world cannot be compared to the freedom that Jesus gives.  The daily liberties we treasure on this earth are fleeting, but our spiritual freedom will last for eternity.

1 Peter 1:18-19 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

May God bless America!

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

10-November

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Out Of Your Comfort Zone. Over and over again, we read about men and women in the Bible who did great things for God. Now, notice I didn’t say great men and women-but men and women who did great things.

Do you know what these men and women had in common? Each of them had a big heart for God. Like Nehemiah.

Nehemiah’s story which is recorded for us in the Old Testament, is one of the great epochs of Christian history. Not only is Nehemiah’s story a manual on leadership, organization, and how to accomplish goals, it shows us what God can do through a man whose heart is totally and completely His.

Nehemiah 2:17-18 “Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.”

When Nehemiah heard this, it was like a shot to the solar plexus. It buckled him. It swept him off his feet and onto his knees! And he began to cry out to God…but not just a moment. For four months he prayed until God showed him what to do!

Nehemiah refused to ignore what God was doing in his heart.. which was to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. He could have continued to live in luxury in Persia, but Nehemiah’s heart was a thousand miles away..in Jerusalem. His heart was the heart of God.

Nehemiah 2:20 “Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jersualem.”

I believe God is doing exactly the same thing in the hearts of His people today. And that includes you! He’s stirring your heart to do something for His glory.

God is calling you to step out of your comfort zone…to do the unusual thing..to to the counter-cultural thing..to make His kingdom great!

God is looking to men and women who have a heart for Him…who want to take their lives to the next level…who want to step out of the maze of mediocrity and live for something bigger than themselves!

May this be the passion of your heart and life! (J Graham)

Nehemiah 8:10 “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

9-November

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Wisdom In Times of Trouble. Psalm 25:4-15 “Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in they truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord. Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great. What man is he that feareth the Lord? Him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he shall shew them his covenant. Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.”

When facing problems, we frequently try to figure out the solution ourselves. If we can patch it up, glue it down, or tape it together, we will attempt to do so. Other times, we may reach out to someone for advice even though we’re actually seeking sympathy and support to make ourselves feel better. What we really need to do in times of trouble is to call out to God for help.

But that wisdom is best cultivated during time of peace, before we find ourselves in a crisis. We should have a habit of seeking the Lord, spending time in His Word, and learning what He desires. When our hearts and minds are set on Him, our devotion grows and our values begin to align with His. A person truly seeking God finds joy and satisfaction in His presence and talks to Him throughout the day. Prayer becomes a customary and natural response, no matter the circumstances.

Then whenever we face a problem, our first thought will be to turn to our heavenly Father. That instinct acknowledges our relationship with and dependence upon Him. It shows we believe the Lord is a loving Father who promises to provide, protect, guide, and love us.

What if you are presently in the midst of trouble but haven’t been seeking Him consistently? Start with confessing this to God. Recognize that problems are often the means He uses to draw us back to Him, but simply wanting relief from hardship shouldn’t be our motivation for loving Him. Thank God for getting your attention, ask for help seeking Him with all your heart, and entrust your troubling situation to the one true refuge.

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

8-November

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Attitude Adjustment. Genesis 45:8-9 “So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not.”

On the top of his forgiveness and reassurance, he “made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.” He urged them to return and bring their father to this land, where they could enjoy relief from their barren existence.

Joseph said, “Brothers, I have seen a change in your lives. You care about our father and one another, and you never did before. You care about Benjamin, more than even your own lives. What a change!”

Attitude is so crucial in the life of the Christian. We can go through the Sunday motions, we can carry out the religious exercises, we can pack a Bible under our arms, and sing familiar songs from memory, yet we can still hold grudges against the people who have wronged us. In our own way-and it may even be with a little religious manipulation-we’ll be back at them. But that is not God’s way. Here, He shows us the right way. He gives us the example of Joseph, great man that he was, being supportive, merciful, gracious, generous, and unselfish. He’s not through showing how deeply he cares for them. Look at this next scene!

“And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.” Genesis 45:14-15.

I would imagine they “talked with him!” They had about twenty-five years’ worth of talking to do. And I am confident that every time they went back and started to rehearse their wrongs, Joseph stopped them, “We’re not going there. That was then, this is now. God had a plan, and it’s all worked out for our good and His glory. Let’s talk about that.”

The late great preacher, John Henry Jowett, used to say that a minister doesn’t deserve an hour to preach a sermon if he can’t give it in one sentence. So let me give you this message in a sentence: Greatness is revealed mainly in our attitude. (C Swindoll)

 

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

7-November

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A Day Of Rest. “Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” Exodus 31:15

Like a boat that would be tossed endlessly and aimlessly and dangerously on the open sea without an anchor, we need to anchor our lives as well. That anchor is devotion to God. God worked for six days during that first “week” then rested on the seventh: “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” Genesis 2:3

From the law in Exodus we know one reason for this day of devotion is to ensure that we do not get too far away from God’s pattern. If one out of every seven days we are anchored by our focus on Him, we are less likely to drift from Him. On the other hand, if one day each week is not spent in giving Him our attention, we are more likely to put Him further and further away from our thoughts until we do not seriously think of Him at all, and we end up being tossed about on the sea of life only to wind up being smashed and broken on the rocks when a storm hits.

Drop your anchor-keep your focus on Him! (A. Graham)