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Unspeakable Joy Devotional

23-November

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Making Right Choices. Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

How often do you think about the choices you make? What about the seemingly small or insignificant decisions?

It’s relatively easy to identify and resist the big temptations but the truth is that the big issues of life usually begin with small choices. Often the hardest decisions are the small, incremental ones, the choices that seem harmless enough in the moment.

No one wakes up one day and thinks, Today I’ll settle for less or Today I’ll take a break from following God and see what happens. No. Instead, the enemy works on you with a shortcut, a compromise or an easy option now and then. The devil tempted Jesus with the same opportunities to settle for less than God’s best that he tempts you with today. The scale is different, but the essence of the temptation is the same.

In Matthew 4, the devil challenges Jesus about his identity. Twice he says, “If you are the Son of God…” Can you heart him taunting? “If you’re really who you claim to be, then you should be able to turn stones to bread and jump off cliffs!” But Jesus knows how to wield the Sword of Truth, and resist the devil’s attempt to provoke him. He responds, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (v. 10).

Jesus resisted the devil’s temptations by relying on the truth of God’s Word-our greatest resource. Whenever you think you’re not talented or smart enough, that you don’t have enough resources or support, that you should lower your expectations, return to what God’s Word tells you. The Bible declares you can do all things through Christ, that you are more than a conqueror. God affirms he will supply all your needs according to his limitless resources. Remember what’s true and do not start second-quessing what God has called you to accomplish.

Keep your eyes on Jesus and the gate is more than wide enough for you to pass through. But if you focus on how small the entry looks, or on all the directions others around you are taking, then you will lose sight of the gate. In every decision, choose to stay focused on the example Jesus set for you. Eyes up……one foot in front of the other.

Father God, as I look to You, I find the strength and wisdom to make right choices every day. (B Houston)

Romans 8:37 “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

22-November

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Time of Plenty. Psalm 16:8 “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”

Just as we’re tempted to think God has forgotten about us when hard times come, so we tend to forget God when times are easy. Think about the marriages you have seen slide into trouble just when the couples seemed to have everything going their way.

Jesus told a story about a rich farmer who had no need for God. The farmer had his life nicely laid out. One year he produced such a bumper crop that he couldn’t store it all. In a world of suffering and starvation, that was his biggest problem! And he said, “This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” But God said unto him, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” Luke 12:18-20

Are you in a time of relative plenty in your life together? If so, be careful about slipping into arrogance and self-contentedness. The next thing you know you’ll be behaving like the fool in Jesus’ story-as if you don’t need God. An old-time preacher once wrote, “Blessedness is the greatest of perils because it tends to dull our keen sense of dependence on God and make us prone to presumption.”

Take a moment and thank and praise God for all the good you enjoy. And remember to fully depend on Him each day, even when everything is going wonderfully.

Lord, You have poured out Your goodness on our lives, and we are truly grateful. Forgive us when we let satisfaction dull our devotion to You. Amen. (J Dobson)

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

21-November

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Expectations. Psalm 62:5 “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”

How does expecting too much affect our relationships? We expect people in our lives to do what we want them to do and be who we want them to be. When they don’t measure up, we typically apply pressure in a number of ways. We get angry. We pout. We withdraw. We criticize. We lecture. We express disappointment and disapproval in subtle and obvious ways. Regardless of how we do it, we communicate the message that the person isn’t good enough.

The effect of our disapproval varies and is related to the personality and ego strength of the person. If the person has a strong self-image, they might be able to detach from our unrealistic expectations; but if they don’t, we can crush them emotionally. Many adults continue to struggle with poor self-esteem as a result of perfectionistic and unrealistic parental expectations. Many husbands and wives struggle with feeling unloved and unaccepted by their partners.

All of us struggle with being good enough. All of us struggle with self-acceptance. All of us struggle with being adequate. All of us struggle with shame. All of us desire to be accepted for who we are. And, all of us want unconditional love.

Our expectations should be reasonable and realistic; make room for people to be themselves; allow people to make mistakes and be communicated in a way that owns the expectation as your opinion, view, need, or preference rather than judging the other person as wrong for not meeting your expectation.

What can followers of Christ expect of God? Forgiveness; a personal relationship with God as our Father; a new life with the joy of the Lord, the peace of God, the guidance and energizing of the Holy Spirit, the privilege of prayer, a new freedom and ultimately a home in heaven.

One of the greatest gifts you can offer those you love is to communicate that they are good enough-just as they are. God rarely operates in the manner the world expects and He will give you His peace in all circumstances.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

20-November

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Best of Luck. Jeremiah 32:40 “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”

I find it interesting the more I participate in competitions the amount of people who attribute their successes and wins to luck. Perhaps the shoes they wear, the necklace they found, the color shirt that they wear when competing and it has crossed my mind a time or two. I stop myself and tell myself all those things have nothing to do with a win or success. These following statements are ones you may have heard in the past: “Lucky guy!” “You lucky dog!” “Boy, you got lucky!” “You lucked out!” “That four-leafed clover you found is good luck, you know.”

So much of what happens in our lives we attribute to luck. According to Dictionary.com, luck is defined as “a force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person’s life to shape circumstances, events, or opportunities” as a result of chance. So, whenever anything good or bad happens, we tend to think that it all comes from some strange happenstance or chance.

The truth is there is no such thing as luck. There is no comic force that lines up to make it work. Nothing happens by chance. The truth is it’s all God.

We also know that His eyes constantly wander back and forth across the earth watching everything. 2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.”

Nothing escapes His gaze, not even the fall of a tiny bird. I love the next part that says He wants to show those of us who are loyal to Him how strong He is. So, if God is in control, if He sees everything, and He wants to show us His strength and love, how could anything ever happen by mere chance? Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”

Why is it easier, then, to believe that we’re lucky rather than blessed? Why is it easier to declare, “Gee, that was a lucky break!” instead of, “I can’t believe how God is blessing me”? Is it that we’re nervous about how others will react to us if we say that?

Isaiah 46:4 “And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.”

Even in the times of being in the right place at the right time or moments of odd coincidences, there’s no luck or chance about it. God is at work in every detail of our lives and our children’s lives every day.

So, the next time you feel lucky, or you think you’re on a streak of good luck, remember, it’s not luck at all. You didn’t actually get lucky. Everything happens by the will of God to fulfill His plans for your life. He is a good God, and He longs to do you good because He loves you very much.

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

19-November

 

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Enjoy Life. 1 Peter 1:8 “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice unspeakable and full of glory.”

Christians are to enjoy life and enjoy one another. When children see no joy in their home, no joy in your Christianity, they will not be attracted by it. When they see you excited about going to a ball game, or watching television, and then dragging around to do spiritual things, they will soon get the idea that Christianity does not mean much to you. Your attitude will rub off. The best way to get a child to eat his or her food is to see the parents enjoying theirs. Our children will not be attracted to Christ if we make Him seem dull.

John 10:10 says “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” This is an absolutely amazing scripture because it clearly tells us that God doesn’t just want us to be alive, but He wants us to enjoy being alive. He wants us to live with joy-abundant, overflowing joy!

We tend to have the mindset that we will be really happy and enjoy life when….when we go on vacation, when the kids get older, when we get married…the list goes on and on. We need to learn to live in the moment and enjoy what God is doing in and through us now. God wants you to enjoy your life now, not when. 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.”

Life’s greatest joy comes from knowing Christ and following Him. Jesus didn’t come to make us miserable and squeeze all the joy out of life. Jesus came instead to fulfill our lives and make us into the joyous people God wants us to be.

As you go about your day today, make this your goal: Rejoice in the Lord! As the joy of the Lord gives you strength, you’ll be able to face any problems you have to deal with, and you’ll enjoy your life while you’re doing it!

May I live so close to You, Jesus, that those around me will see Your joy.

 

 

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

18-November

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Satan is Real. How do I know Satan is real? One reason is because Jesus engaged in battle with him. At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry Satan did everything he could to turn Jesus away from the work God had given him. Satan knew that Jesus was the diving son of God, sent into the world to deliver us from sin and death and hell-in other words, to deliver us from Satan’s power.

But Jesus refused every temptation from Satan. When Jesus did that, He wasn’t fighting a fictional idea; Jesus’ conflict with Satan was real. Matthew 4:1-11

But I also know Satan is real by looking at the world around me, and even within my own heart. How else can we explain terrorism, or racism, or injustice, or a hundred other example of evil and destruction and brokenness? Satan, the Bible tells us, “was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is not truth in him” John 8:44.

Don’t be deceived, and don’t be misled by Satan’s false promises. Instead, face your need for God’s forgiveness and help, and turn to Jesus Christ for the new life and hope you need. He alone is “the way and the truth and the life” John 14:6. (B Graham)

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

17-November

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Take Care Of Your Body. 1 Corinthians 6:19 “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

I want to ask you today the same question Paul asked the believers in Corinth centuries ago: Do you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? You are the home of God! Are you loving yourself, God, and others by caring for your physical body, treating it well, and using it for God’s purposes?

Some Christians focus Only on the spiritual side of life, and they fail to properly care for their bodies. Other people have such low self esteem or a shame based nature that they don’t feel their bodies are worth caring for. But God’s plan for us involves maintaining spiritual, emotional, and physical health. He wants us strong in every way! He wants us to feel good physically so we can serve Him and others, and be able to enjoy the life He has provided for us.

No matter what shape you are in physically, it’s never too late to improve and do some repair or maintenance on your temple. You can start by learning the basic principles of good nutrition, drinks lots of water, employ stress management, exercise, and rest. Laughter is important. It has been scientifically proven to improve your health. It’s amazing how much better you can feel if you will begin to make positive changes in these areas. Give it a try; I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

Father, I ask for Your grace to take practical steps toward good physical health. Help me to treat my body with respect so I can serve you to the best of my ability. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. (J Meyer)