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The Blessings of God
11 months ago

Friday, January 31, 2014

Ephesians 1:3-14

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Everyone experiences difficulty in life. During painful times, we may feel as though God is not blessing us. But even then, we are experiencing many of His amazing gifts, despite the fact that they might be escaping our notice.

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Below are several examples of blessings we can enjoy on bright or dark days:

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• We are assured that our almighty God chose us before the foundation of the world (v. 4). He predestined us to be adopted as His children (v. 5). We can feel special and wanted because the Sovereign of the universe selected us.

• Jesus provided our salvation through His death and resurrection (v. 7). He redeemed us from sin that causes separation from God and ultimately leads to death. As a result, we receive a brand-new nature and daily forgiveness of iniquities  2 Cor. 5:17; 1 John 1:9.

• The Holy Spirit resides within us. He guides, warns, and fills us so we always have access to counsel or comfort. And because He also seals us, our eternity is secure  Eph. 1: 13.

• Our Father prepares an inheritance for us that is imperishable  1 Peter 1:4.  We may experience momentary troubles, but we can look forward to living eternally in God’s presence, where there is joy and no suffering.

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In painful situations, you might be tempted to conclude that the Lord’s hand isn’t resting on your life. But believers have wonderful spiritual blessings at all times. Without the four permanent gifts listed above, fear and emptiness would be overwhelming. Ponder these benefits, and express gratitude, even in difficulty.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

When Fear Grips Us
11 months ago

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Isaiah 41:10

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All throughout the Scriptures, the Lord encourages us not to be afraid or anxious. As His children, we have no basis for fear. Of course, there are reasons for us to be extremely cautious about what we do and where we go, but God’s people are not to live in a state of anxiety.

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If you think about it, you can identify at least six anxieties that are basic to all mankind. They are the fear of criticism, illness, old age, death, poverty, and losing a loved one. Although these are universal worries, they are in reality symptoms of something deep inside that feeds our fears.

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Some of the root causes are:

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A basic sense of inadequacy. Because of distorted thinking, we frequently feel incompetent to tackle certain challenges or tasks that should be possible for us to accomplish.

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The tendency to set unrealistic standards for ourselves. We can go through life trying to measure up to lofty expectations that are self-imposed rather than goals set by God.

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An innate sense of unworthiness. It’s amazing how many people will not succeed in life because they just don’t feel they deserve it.

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In the midst of our fears and anxieties, we need to remember God’s promise in today’s passage. He reassures us, “Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” It is important that we look up at Him and not around at our circumstances.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Seeking the Lord
11 months ago

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hosea 10:12

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We all spend some time seeking the Lord, but to be truly successful at it, we must learn to adjust our focus. The reason focus is important is that what we behold, we become. If we fix our attention on the sensual and materialistic, it won’t be long before we ourselves start leaning in that direction. I challenge you not to sit in front of the television, or partake of other forms of entertainment that allow unhealthy ideas into your mind night after night. While you might think it has no influence, it actually has a subtle but terrible gripping effect on you.

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If, on the other hand, you focus your love and attention on Jesus, you will become like Him. As believers, we can focus on Him when we pray, when we study the Scriptures, and when we meditate on God’s truths. But we must go deeper, to the point that we are listening and sharing our hearts with Him. If we are open and transparent before Him, He will speak and pour Himself into us, like a spiritual version of osmosis.

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When we learn to do this, we will find that our hunger and thirst for everything else begins to diminish. It’s not that our desires will disappear; they instead become redirected. You will discover you have a growing hunger for God and a longing to know Him in a deep, personal way. And you will notice your joy bubbling up and overflowing so that it cannot be stopped or stifled. Why? Because once you have begun to seek the Lord, you will recognize Him as your all in all.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

11 months ago

Closer than a Brother

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Whether we realize it or not, faithfulness is at the heart of all relationships. It is the very thing that prevents families and societies from falling apart. And it is the one element that has the ability to encourage us to persevere in times of failure and heartache.

The psalmist writes, “The Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full” (Psalm 31:23). Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the apostle Paul lists faithfulness as one of the fruit of the Spirit.

In fact, one of the first things we learn about God is that He is faithful. When we were young, we often sing the song “Jesus Loves Me,” and we know He does. No matter what we have done in the past or what we will do in the future, God’s love for us never changes. It is eternal, infinite, and faithful.

This fact is not a license for sin. Instead, it is the evidence we need to repent and to accept God’s love for our lives. There is nothing you can do to make yourself more acceptable to the Lord.

He accepts you just as you are, and He loves you fully and completely. His love and faithfulness never change; they are yours for eternity.

When life becomes difficult for someone you know, are you the type of friend who “sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24)? Jesus is this type of friend. He remains at our side even when others abandon us and we should follow His example and do the same for others.

Far too often, we walk away when a friend needs us the most. At the end of his life, Paul writes and asks Timothy to come to him because everyone had left him except for Luke. Through Jesus Christ, you also can learn to be a faithful friend like Timothy.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for my friends. Please help me to be a good friend to them. I pray I will follow Your example and will stand by my friends when they need me the most. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

Spiritual Discouragement
11 months ago

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Psalm 34:1-8

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Discouragement can result from different scenarios, but Satan is the instigator. He will do anything he can to dishearten us and keep our focus on negative things instead of on God.

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A subtle form of spiritual discouragement is the idea that we cannot please God. This is a trap of the Devil, and too many Christians are ensnared by it. If we were to write down everything we thought we must do to please God, how long would that list be before it was complete? We would assume we should read the Bible more, pray more, give more, and witness more. We could probably fill up both sides of the paper. Then we would look at our list and realize it’s impossible to accomplish all of it. That’s the trap. What pleases the Lord is our obedience, not our adherence to a long checklist of duties.

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Unanswered prayer is another source of discouragement. When we present a request to the Lord, He does not necessarily answer in the manner or timing that would be our preference. When that is the case, we will far too often allow discourage-ment to creep in, and from there, we might decide to give up on prayer.

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Yesterday we saw that focusing on the Lord is essential for breaking the chains of discouragement. When you turn to God, it is also helpful to pray three things aloud. First, thank Him for being with you while you feel disheartened. Second, admit He is in control of your life. And third, acknowledge that He is good and will ultimately work the circumstances for your benefit.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

The Landmine of Discouragement
11 months ago

Monday, January 27, 2014

Psalm 42:5-8

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There are people who suffer the effects of discouragement for years. They don’t know how to repair the damage caused by this devastating landmine. How does this loss of confidence and optimism originate?

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Disappointment is our emotional response to a failed expectation. When we refuse to recognize and deal with the failure, that negative reaction can fester—then we can slip into discouragement. Disappointments are inevitable, but believers don’t have to be in bondage to discouragement.

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We all periodically face difficulties that make us feel weak. Discouragement, however, like a drive through a dark tunnel, should be temporary: after a short while, we should come out on the other side. I have experienced situations in which I was very discouraged for a season. On occasion, I have had to get on my knees during the night to cry out to God for encouragement. After asking Him for a change in attitude and help in laying down my burden, I have been able to get back to sleep.

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In order to gain victory, we must first look within ourselves. We need to admit our specific discouragement as well as the unresolved conflicts in our heart. Identifying the root cause of our disheartened feelings allows us to work through them. Most importantly, we must turn to God. As long as we are talking about our hurt, suffering, embarrassment, or shattered dreams, we will wallow in despair. But the moment we lift our heads and say “Father,” we take our first step out of discouragement.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

11 months ago

No Vaccinations
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Yesterday, we looked at the mistake Christians sometimes make of seeking the power of the Spirit as a substitute for faithfully practicing the spiritual disciplines.

Another significant mistake Christians sometimes make when embracing the Spirit-filled life is the expectation that a dose of God’s power will remove all unpleasantness, temptation, or struggle from life. That simply is not the case. The power of the Holy Spirit enables us to withstand evil and temptation and to persevere in times of persecution or hardship, but the power of the Holy Spirit is never a vaccination against difficulty.

I can assure you from my own walk with the Lord that life is a daily fight against the push and pull of the world. Life is a daily battle against temptation. It is a daily struggle against countless forces that seek to destroy our health, finances, emotional well-being, families, friendships, and the preaching of the Gospel. Instead of preventing difficulties from coming our way, God gives us His Holy Spirit to help us endure and overcome in difficult times. Through His power, we are able to remain faithful to Christ and His call.

Prayer: Father, help me not to be surprised by the difficulties of life. I recognize that today I will face struggles. Thank You for Your Spirit which will help me to overcome the temptations and difficulties of this day. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

The Moments That Sustain Us
11 months ago

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Joshua 1:8

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Meditation is a vital part of a healthy, growing relationship with God. It is, however, left out of many believers’ lives. So let’s start with basics and ask the key question, How do we meditate?

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First, we must devote ourselves to the reading of God’s Word. If we want to hear His message, then we must dig deep into Scripture. This is no mere book; rather, it is the very message of God to His people. We have Scripture in order to know the Lord better. As faithful stewards of this wonderful gift, we must make it an integral part of our lives.

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Second, we must learn to pray God’s Word back to Him.When we read a Bible passage, we should lift that Word back up to heaven as a prayer. We affirm the message of Scripture by showing our heavenly Father we are in agreement with what He has said.

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Third, we must apply the Word. The Bible is not here for simple information; instead, it was given for obedience. If we do not allow the Word of God to change our life, then are we really placing much value on it?

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Fourth, we must submit to God’s will. As we spend time actively listening to the Lord, He will share His plans for our life. As we apply what we have heard, meditation will become more and more instinctive for us. Then, we will find that we hear His voice regularly.

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God has a special message for you. It’s imperative that you take the time to hear what your heavenly Father is saying. And when you do, you’ll enjoy the richness of your relationship with Him.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Victory in the Battles of Life
11 months ago

Friday, January 24, 2014

1 Samuel 17:32-50

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Have you ever failed at something simply because you did not plan it all the way through? Sadly, this is all too common among believers and non-believers alike.

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If we want to achieve victory in our pursuits, we must be willing to plan. It’s not always enough to see a matter through to completion; we must also demonstrate the wisdom to consider all steps leading up to the challenge and all potential results that might follow. Then we’ll have a complete view and will begin to see the matter from the perspective of our heavenly Father.

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When David confronted the Philistine warrior Goliath, he knew that he was entering into much more than simply a wartime dispute. He was keenly aware of the nature of the conflict—that is, God’s reputation was at stake because all the other nations would be watching to see what happened. Failure at this important juncture would have shown the world that Israel’s God was not all that powerful.

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Not only did David understand the nature of the conflict; he walked into battle knowing the outcome. He’d been called to defeat Goliath and provide an unshakable testimony to the Almighty’s power. And he was fully confident that God would enable him to do just that.

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If your pursuits keep falling short, ask yourself, Am I looking at the whole issue, or have I lost perspective? If your point of view is too limited, commit the matter to the Lord and allow Him to show you what He is able to do through your efforts.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Our God Is Able
11 months ago

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jude 1:24-25

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People fail. We do not like this reality, but there are times when, no matter how hard we try or how talented we may be, we simply do not succeed or reach our goal.

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How are we to succeed at a given task, especially in situations when the odds are against us? For believers in Christ Jesus, the answer is to live out a radical faith in the knowledge that our God is willing and able to overcome our weaknesses.

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Sarah laughed when she overheard the Lord prophesy that she would bear a son. “Is anything too difficult for the Lord?” He asked  Gen. 18:14.  Within a year, that question was answered when the elderly woman gave birth to baby Isaac. She saw that God was able to accomplish the unimaginable.

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When God sent Moses to Pharaoh to demand the release of the Hebrew slaves, Moses was scared. “Who am I,” he asked, “that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the Sons of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11). God replied with assurance that He would pave the way for the Hebrews’ release, which He did in a miraculous way. Truly, Moses saw that God was more than able.

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On our own, we can accomplish nothing  John 15:5.  However, when we operate within the will of God, we have access to a limitless power source that far exceeds our comprehension  1 Chron. 29:12.  If you are overcome by the burdens of the world, it is time to throw yourself into the arms of the only one who can carry your heavy load  Matt. 11:28-30.  Trust in Him and learn for yourself that God is able.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

11 months ago

Following the Shepherd
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

In the midst of those who attack us, we can find joy in the Lord because we have been anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit. “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” (Psalm 23:5). Only our Shepherd can provide us with this Spirit-filled, joyful life that empowers us when our enemies attack. The Bible tells us, “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

We will never lack anything because our Creator’s goodness and mercy will be our constant companions throughout life and for eternity: “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6). This doesn’t mean that we are guaranteed financial wealth, perfect health, or a pain-free life. But our Shepherd knows the deepest needs of our souls, and He alone knows how to fill them.

Our Shepherd is truly like none other—He even gave His own life for us. Jesus tells us, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Trust Him alone to take care of your safety, your needs, and your relationships. He is never off the clock—He is always providing, always caring, and always watching over us. There is no other shepherd that compares to Him. He alone can give us the comfort and restoration that we need.

The sheep’s only responsibility is to follow the shepherd. And our Good Shepherd wants our obedience to Him. If you have been a wayward sheep, surrender to Him today. If you have been a fearful sheep, scared of the wolves that hunt you, give your anxieties to your Shepherd. Not only can He turn our lives around, but He will show us the way—the safe way, the better way, the right way.

Prayer: Shepherd God, thank You for providing for my deepest needs. Help me to be faithful to follow You and to trust You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

Reinforcing Our Faith
11 months ago

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jude 1:20-23

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Even though we have already examined some ways in which we can identify false teachers, it is impossible for us to avoid this destructive influence completely. Therefore, it is critical that we reinforce our faith so we’ll be able to stand firm against the subversive pull of the world. But how can we build a stronger faith?

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First, we must saturate our minds with the holy, unchanging Word of God. Then the Holy Spirit will continually refresh our minds and bring new insights as we develop Christian maturity.

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Second, we must commit to pray in the Holy Spirit  Eph. 6:18.   We can trust the Spirit to guide us in our prayers, leading us with regard to what, when, and how to pray.

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Third, we must keep ourselves in the love of God. Of course, we can never fall beyond the scope of divine love, but we shouldn’t ever take the Lord’s amazing grace for granted. With that in mind, we need to guard our closeness with Him, ensuring that we spend uninterrupted time in His presence.

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Fourth, we must await the Lord’s return eagerly. From the Christian perspective, Jesus’ second coming is the most anticipated event in history, and we need to keep our eyes on this goal. The thought that Christ could return at any moment is a purifying and protective realization for the believer  1 John 3:2-3.

There’s no “magic formula” for spiritual growth, but these simple steps, laid out in verses 20-23 of Jude, can serve as a guide while we strive to protect our faith from the snares of the world.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Living Amidst False Teachers
11 months ago

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jude 1:17-19

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We all know how dangerous incorrect teaching can be in our Christian walk. Today, we will be looking at ways to identify false teachers. This will help us be prepared for the things Satan might send our way.

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First, false teachers are mockers. That is, they attack or attempt to discredit the Word of God or the church. When such a message is presented passionately and intelligently, even sincere people can get caught up in anti-church sentiment and find themselves doubting the truth of Scripture.

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Second, false teachers will follow after their own lusts. For these people, the interpretation of Scripture becomes a matter of selective beliefs. They arrange their theology to justify their sinful habits and desires.

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Third, false teachers are divisive. They try to come across as superior to their listeners by claiming an experience that elevates them to a “higher level,” or by professing a more advanced spirituality that others could never hope to achieve.

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Fourth, false teachers are worldly-minded. They are not interested in the true teaching of God’s Word but are focused on what they can achieve, how many people will follow them, or how much they can earn through their teaching.

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True Spirit-led teachers avoid these traps and recognize that two important keys are humility and unity with the listener  Phil. 2:1-4.  And when receiving instruction, a wise believer will pray for the Holy Spirit’s discernment in order to distinguish truth from error (1:9-10).

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Idols in the Life of the Believer
11 months ago

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mark 11:24-25

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Have you noticed that in recent history, the word “idol” has been completely disassociated from the word “idolatry”? In church circles, we recoil at the mention of idolatry, as it brings to mind images of golden calves and other things once worshiped by heathens. We know these things are wrong, because our worship should be directed to God alone. But do we feel the same about “idols”?

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Today’s culture enjoys its own idols. We have music stars, beauty queens, pop-culture icons, and sports heroes all fighting for our interest. And, in return for their hard work, we give them just what they want: our focus and attention.

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We sit for hours in front of the TV, follow fashion trends of top celebrities, and read, watch, or listen to anything that features our favorite public figures. The 1950s gave our society a term that has since characterized our culture-driven mindset: the “teen idol.”

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We must be reminded what an idol is. It’s not simply some image of a false god to whom we bow down in worship. Instead, an idol is anything that we value more than the Lord. This could be movie stars, prized possessions, or even our loved ones.

The nature of idolatry is distraction. When something pulls our eyes away from God, we begin to spiral out of control. Bring your distractions to the Lord, asking forgiveness for the times you’ve allowed other people or things to take precedence in your life. Pray for the wisdom to enjoy His blessings without being blinded by temptations that pull you from communion with Him.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

11 months ago

He Is Worthy of Praise
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

When God shared His self-appointed names with His people, He revealed major insights into His nature. Throughout the Bible, however, we also see many descriptive names, titles, and word pictures for God—all revealing His character and His relationship with us. The names mentioned below touch only the surface of what we find in the Bible, yet we will begin to see a pattern of God’s qualities through these images.

In these descriptions, we discover how God provides leadership to us: He is our judge, our ruler, and our commander-in-chief. We learn of His almighty power: He is the Holy One, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. We are reminded that God provides safety: He is our rock, our stronghold, our refuge, our shield, and our warrior. We gain insight into His personality: He is jealous and avenging, yet faithful and comforting.

Through studying these word pictures of God, we also learn the specific roles taken by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

In the Bible, God the Father is called our heavenly Father; Abba (“Daddy”; Holy Father; Everlasting Father; and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the maker and author of life, our keeper, the Father of glory, and the lifter of our head. Praise God the Father who created us, who sustains our existence, and who seeks to protect us.

The Holy Spirit is called the breath of the Almighty and the power of the Highest. He is the Spirit of might, glory, holiness, judgment, grace, and life. He is the Spirit of comfort, counsel, understanding, knowledge, and truth. Praise the Holy Spirit for His guidance, insight, and conviction in your daily life.

God the Son is revealed to us throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. In the Old Testament, Jesus Christ is called the commander of the Lord’s army, the refiner’s fire, and the arm of the Lord; yet He also is a man of sorrows and a servant.

In the New Testament, Jesus is called Messiah, Teacher, Master, and Advocate. He is the head of the Church, heir of all things, chief cornerstone, and a horn of salvation. In the book of John, Jesus describes Himself as the bread of life; the light of the world; the gate for the sheep; the good shepherd; the resurrection and the life; the way, the truth, and the life; and the true vine. In Revelation, Jesus is identified as the Living One, the Alpha and the Omega, the Amen, the Lamb of God, the Word of God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the bright Morning Star.

Isn’t God amazing? He is more than everything we need. Praise God for all He is in the Trinity and for His many praise-worthy qualities.

Prayer: Thank You, God, for revealing Your nature in Scripture. Please continue to reveal Yourself to me as I meditate upon Your Word. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14).

Effective Prayer
11 months ago

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Mark 11:24-25

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John 14:14  reads, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” People sometimes interpret this to mean that any request ending with the words “in Jesus’ name, amen” will automatically be fulfilled.

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Yet basing our entire concept of prayer on one isolated verse could lead to a skewed perspective. It is also important to consider . . .

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Our Fellowship with God. For the Lord to hear and answer prayers, we must first be saved from our sin through the blood of Jesus. Once we have trusted Christ as Savior, God will hear us only when we walk in righteousness before Him. As we saw yesterday, He understands our weakness and doesn’t expect perfection. But if we knowingly continue in sin and fail to repent, He will not listen.

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Our Request. Some people think of the words “in Jesus’ name” as a magic charm, but nothing can force the Lord’s hand. This saying did originate from a good motive, though—the desire to request only what is consistent with Jesus’ character. We should pray in faith, believing that God is able and will do whatever is in His will. And we should readily submit our desires to Him.

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Our Motive. The Lord won’t say yes to prayer that will hurt us or derail His purpose. When we bring supplications before Him, we must check our motive. Is our goal to glorify God and let others see Him in us? Or is our motive selfish, greedy, or impure?

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Our heavenly Father tells us to pray. And He will answer when our hearts are clean.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Answered Prayer
11 months ago

Friday, January 17, 2014

Matthew 7:7-11

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In His Word, our Father commands us to pray continually  1 Thess. 5:17.  And He promises that when we ask, we will receive  Luke 11:9.  Yet how often has silence seemed to be the answer to our prayer requests?

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The Lord wouldn’t tell us to pray if He were not going to respond. In fact, He points out that any father who loves his children gives them what they need and what is good (vv. 11-13). And He, as our heavenly Father, will provide so much more. But if we want God to respond, we must meet three important conditions.

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First, we must have a right relationship with Jesus Christ by trusting Him as Savior. But some people choose to live in ungodliness even after salvation. Scripture states, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me”  Ps. 66:18.  This doesn’t mean we can never make a mistake, God understands our frailty. But we must repent of all known sin and avoid continuing in it.

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Second, we must make right requests. Scripture reminds us to ask according to God’s will  1 John 5:14.  That means we can share our hopes and desires while submitting to whatever He deems best. Over time, certain yearnings may lose appeal or give us a check in our spirit.

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Third, we should pray specifically and with confidence.When making requests aligned with God’s will, we can be sure He’ll answer.

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Our heavenly Father tells His children to pray and assures that He will respond. As you present your requests, ask Him to show you if anything is getting in the way of His answer.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

11 months ago

Where Is God?
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

How many times have we heard the cry, “Where is God?” in the midst of suffering and tragedy? Some people think that God has abandoned them, but God is always there. His name, Jehovah-Shammah, means “God Is There” or “God Is Always Present.”

In Ezekiel 48:35, the Lord shared with Ezekiel a vision about the future of Jerusalem and said, “And the name of the city from that time on will be: the Lord is there”. God’s presence is with His people. God is ever-present among us. As Christians, God dwells inside of us: “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people’” (2 Corinthians 6:16).

As a believer, you are a temple of God. Live your life knowing that God is present with you and within you at all times. “Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). You are not only the Holy Spirit’s dwelling place but also a living testimony for Christ.

No matter what obstacles or heartaches you face, God is with you. You can trust in God’s presence, both now and in the future. His love is unconditional, and His faithfulness is unwavering. Just as the Lord told Joshua, “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5).

God is there for His children in every moment of every day. He will never turn away from you, and will remain present with you always. What crisis are you facing today? What illness is wearing you down? What need is consuming you? Share your heart with Jehovah-Shammah. He is there for you and wants to hear your concerns, fears, and anxieties.

Prayer: Jehovah-Shammah, thank You for Your presence. Thank You for neither leaving me nor forsaking me. I cast my cares upon You today because You care for me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Hope for a Changing World
11 months ago

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Romans 5:1-5

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The rapid changes in our world can give us a sense of uncertainty and unease. We can be thrown off balance by the suffering we see around us, the evolving technology that outpaces our ability to absorb it, and the daily rise and fall of financial markets. Sometimes what seems worthwhile today has less value tomorrow.

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As problems mount, we can become discouraged and lose heart. But basing all our hope on man’s ability to solve problems or modify a situation is not the answer. We can achieve only temporary peace when we alter our own circumstances or adjust our outward behavior.

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The root problem in our culture is spiritual—namely, man has a sin nature that is at enmity with God. Sin prompts us to look out for ourselves and pursue what we want. Neither our intellect nor talent could have changed our sinful state or brought us peace with God. However, those who trust Jesus as Savior receive a new nature and are reconciled to the Lord. As His adopted children, not only are we at peace with Him but we’ve also been given the power to live in harmony with one another. No matter how much life changes, we can have hope, for we are anchored to a firm foundation that will never be shaken  Isa. 28:16.

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The believer’s hope rests in the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our heavenly Father knows each of us by name  Isa. 43:1.  Our Savior keeps every divine promise  2 Cor. 1:20.  And the Holy Spirit assures us that we are secure in Christ, both in this life and in the life to come.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

An Exercise in Casting Cares
1 year ago

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Psalm 55:16-22

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God’s shoulders are wide enough to carry your burdens. He is sovereign over the universe, so He is certainly capable of working out problems and meeting needs. Today I want to give you an exercise that will help make casting your cares a practical act.

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First, write on a piece of paper the things that cause your anxiety. Once you start writing, you may discover a list of items that cheat you out of peace.

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Next, pray each issue into God’s care. Recall   Psalm 18:35, which promises that He upholds believers in His loving grasp.

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Finally, as you pray, visualize placing the situation into God’s omnipotent hands. For example, a woman may imagine handing over to the Lord what she owes, while saying, “Father, I give You my financial anxiety. I know that You will show me how to get out of debt. You are more than sufficient to handle it, and I trust You to guide me.”

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Some people may protest this suggestion because humanistic and pseudo-spiritual movements also use a method they refer to as “visualizing.” Don’t let anyone steal what is rightfully yours. God creates word pictures throughout the Bible. This exercise merely creates a mental snapshot of the Lord doing exactly what He says He will do  Ps. 55:22; Matt. 6:25-26.

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When you have transferred all of your worries to God’s hands, wad up that paper in your fist, and then destroy it. In this way, you symbolize the transaction that just took place. Your cares are no longer yours. Every one of them belongs to the Lord. Walk away in perfect peace.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

1 year ago

Walls of Protection
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

When Nehemiah first heard of Jerusalem's destruction, he wept and was emotionally shaken. He wrote, "For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven" (Nehemiah 1:4). Nehemiah suddenly realized the walls around the city of Jerusalem were in ruins. Through all of this, he had mistakenly thought they had remained in place. But when the news arrived of their destruction, he became even more burdened.

In Old Testament times, walls around a city were a symbol of strength and security. Without these, a town would be left defenseless, vulnerable, and open to attack. This was the plight of Jerusalem. It was a city without protection against even wild animals. It had lost its identity and was on the verge of being totally reduced to a mound of rubble.

A person who has an undisciplined spirit or no self-control is like a city without walls. He or she is open to enemy attack at any given moment. When we fail to exercise a spirit of self-control, the wild animals of jealousy, rage, frustration, gossip, bearing a false witness, and more can enter our lives easily and unopposed.

A lack of self-control is Satan's way of preparing us for destruction. However, you do not have to fall victim to the enemy's schemes. You have all you need to stand firm in your faith. God is the One who strengthens you. When you fall in battle and cry out to Him, He rushes to your side and lifts you up.

If you have allowed sin to come into your life, then your spiritual walls of protection are down. However, God will repair them when you turn to Him, confess your sin, and seek His forgiveness. When you do, He will restore His walls of holy protection around your life.

Prayer: Father, please forgive me for allowing sin to creep into my life, compromising my relationship with You and putting me at risk for spiritual defeat. I confess this sin, ask You to restore to me the joy of my salvation and to grant me a willing spirit. Thank you for hearing and answering me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control" (Proverbs 25:28).

Our Constant Friend
1 year ago

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2 Timothy 4:16-18

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Many of us have experienced times of abandonment by others just when we needed them most. It could have been a spouse withdrawing emotionally, a co-worker who ignored you, or a close friend who was too busy to help. The life of the apostle Paul teaches us how to avoid discouragement in such situations.

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Remember that the Lord is with us always. When we trust Jesus as our Savior, we enter into a relationship with Him, and His Spirit comes to live in us. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus remains with us at all times, regardless of the circumstance. He is our friend—one who will never leave us. And His is the most important friendship we have. Reading our Bible will help us to remember this.

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Draw on God’s strength. Through the Holy Spirit, we have access to divine power every minute of the day. When we let go of control and depend on the Lord, we will be able to draw on His strength. Then, if family or friends cause hurt, His presence will provide comfort and help us to forgive them.

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Look expectantly for deliverance. Paul testified that the Lord had rescued him and would continue to deliver him from every evil situation. The apostle knew he could always trust God.

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Paul faced many painful situations without the support of friends. Toward the end of his life, those who cared about him were widely scattered. Yet his attitude remained hopeful because Christ was his constant Friend. Do you know the Savior? Allow His presence to walk with you throughout your day, and experience the joy His friendship brings.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

A Reason for Confidence
1 year ago

Monday, January 13, 2014

Philippians 4:10-13

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Negativity affects us both spiritually and physically. Simply spending time with a pessimistic individual can take a toll. On the other hand, positive emotions, particularly godly confidence, can empower us to live fully, as the Lord intends.

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Facing each day with the knowledge that our strength comes from Jesus will drive away doubt and anxiety. Yet many things can interfere with a healthy outlook. For example, we often allow wrong advice and negative attitudes to drain us. Sin, too, will keep our hearts from finding full confidence in God. And sometimes false guilt creeps into our minds and robs us of assurance as well.

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Instead, we can purposefully develop confidence in almighty God by maturing in our faith. Meditating on the Word, drawing near to the Lord in prayer, and choosing to believe Him are all ways to strengthen our relationship with the Father. The more our friendship with Him deepens, the more unshakable our trust will become.

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As Christians, we have every reason to live with assurance—we have the very presence of God living within us  John 14:17.  But in addition, we also have His peace, power, and provision Phil. 4:7, 13, 19.

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Our world is full of distrust, fear, and uncertainty. Don’t allow yourself to listen to negative messages, which can make you lose the confidence God gives His children. Instead, focus on the truth in Scripture, as well as the glory and victory of Jesus. Let His perfect love cast out your fear  1 John 4:18.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Confidence That Empowers
1 year ago

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Philippians 4:10-13

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Our world emphatically proclaims the importance of self-esteem, which is a favorable impression of oneself. Surely, we are told, an individual who values himself highly will accomplish much. Yet Scripture tells us that true confidence flows, not from self, but from our identity in Christ.

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In God’s Word, we learn that Paul experienced this appropriate assurance. He expressed certainty regarding the message and ministry God gave him  Rom. 1:16; Gal. 1:15-17.  The apostle was also sure of eternal security in Jesus  Rom. 8:37-39.

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Today’s passage also shows that Paul stood firmly on his belief that He could do anything in God’s will because Jesus was living through him.

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The Holy Spirit is the basis for our confidence—not positive thinking, right circumstances, or the ability to think highly of ourselves. Even in the midst of difficulty, we can live with boldness because the Spirit of the living God lives in us and enables us to follow Him.

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Of course, we have a role too. The Spirit directs us and strengthens us, but we are responsible to listen, obey, and diligently follow His guidance each day. We can have assurance in an unstable world because almighty God provides everything we need to live triumphantly.

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Are you facing situations that make you feel inadequate or insecure? Search the Bible for descriptions of the Lord’s character. Realize that our sovereign, almighty God—the Beginning and the End—lives inside of you through His Holy Spirit. Find your confidence in your Creator, Redeemer, and Friend.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

1 year ago

He Can Open Your Eyes
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

One of the most common theological questions in the world today is, “If God is so loving, why is there pain in the world?” Most people ask this question out of deep hurt, longing for God to reveal Himself, or from a place of bitterness because they feel He hasn’t.

When the disciples encountered a man blind from birth, they asked Jesus a similar question: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). Essentially they were asking, “Who is to blame for this man’s affliction?” Most Jews believed illness was a direct result of sin, but Jesus’ answer turned the Jewish worldview on its head.

Rather than spur on a theological debate about sin, pain, and the fall of mankind, Jesus decided to point to the greater truth: “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). Jesus was saying that it did not matter what caused the man’s blindness—what mattered was that God would reveal Himself in the midst of it. Jesus then rubbed spit and mud into the blind man’s eyes, miraculously healing him of lifelong blindness.

Every human being is born spiritually blind. We are all born blind to the fact that our sin has pitted us against God. We are all born blind to the fact that nothing can truly satisfy us apart from Jesus. The only cure is for Jesus to open our eyes. Only then do we see who we are—sinners in desperate need of forgiveness. It is then we see who Jesus is—the King of kings, our only hope, the Redeemer of our souls.

Jesus demonstrated that he could not only open a blind man’s physical eyes, but could soften his heart too. This man, formerly blind, first believed Jesus was only a prophet (John 9:17) but left believing He was Lord (John 9:38). It took the healing touch of God to soften His heart and build His faith. This man had a life-changing encounter with Jesus and left as a man with 20/20 vision, physically and spiritually!

Although the world is fallen and there is not always an explanation for the pain we face, God is big enough to bring healing and renewal. We do not always know the reasons for darkness, but we do know that God’s light overcomes it.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for bringing beauty out of ashes. I pray You will be glorified in my life in every circumstance. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19).

The God Who Rescues
1 year ago

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hebrews 10:1-14

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In ancient Israel, the priests were continually offering sacrifices to atone for the people’s sins. Specifically, the high priest annually entered the most sacred room in the temple to prepare a sacrifice that would absolve the entire nation of sin for that year. This room, which is known as the Holy of Holies, was where God’s Spirit dwelled in those days.

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Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection changed the process. He became the High Priest, and the sacrifice was His own life—an offering powerful enough to pay the sin debt of all mankind. Through Jesus’ one offering, He made holy any person who trusts in Him as Savior. He does not have to die every year. And unlike the Jewish priests who could enter God’s presence only once annually, Jesus sat down at the Father’s right hand, to remain in His holy presence forever. There, Christ continues His work as High Priest by interceding on behalf of believers when Satan accuses them.

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God recognized that in our humanity, we would remain weak—even after being born again  John 3:3; 2 Cor. 12:9.  So His rescue plan extends beyond pardoning our sins. He also sends His Holy Spirit to indwell every Christian. That means the Helper is always present to guide us in making wise, righteous decisions.

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The Father’s redemption plan meets all of mankind’s needs. Jesus Christ offered a perfect sacrifice to cover our every sin, and now He continues to intercede on our behalf. At the same time, the indwelling Holy Spirit molds us into holy creatures while helping us to avoid temptation.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Our God of Grace
1 year ago

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ephesians 2:4-5

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Grace is God’s favor and love shown to mankind. We cannot earn it or ever be good enough to deserve it. To truly appreciate His grace, we need to comprehend certain truths about Him and ourselves.

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First, God is absolutely holy, and sin cannot coexist with the sacred perfection of His presence. When Adam and Eve chose to eat from the forbidden tree, their intimate relationship with Him was broken. Since all future generations inherited their sinful nature, every person is born with a nature bent away from the Lord.

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Next, God’s character is just. As a result, He requires payment for sin. The penalty He demands is death  Rom. 6:23,  not just physically but also spiritually through eternal separation from Him.

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Finally, we have a merciful God who does not treat us as our actions deserve but instead extends His grace toward us. He devised a plan that would affirm His holy nature, meet the requirements of His justice, and enable us to become members of His family: He sent His Son to accomplish our salvation. Born as a human being, Jesus lived a perfect life and fulfilled the Law. He alone was qualified to satisfy divine justice. Christ took our place, bore our sins, and experienced God’s wrath over our rebellion—all so that we could be reconciled to the Father.

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God made this provision for our salvation while we were still sinners  Rom. 5:8.  Have you acknowledged your sinful state and received His forgiveness through faith in Jesus? If so, are you expressing ongoing thankfulness for His grace?

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

1 year ago
...nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. -ROMANS 7:181

My wife and I were engaged in a normal, garden-variety disagreement. In the midst of it, I made one of those “terminal statements” counselors warn against...something like “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.” And she took offense. “Are you saying I’m dumb?” she asked. I should have stopped there. But I didn’t. “Well, at that moment,” I said, “you were not only dumb, you were stupid.” She was hurt (and rightly so). I was mad. And since it was a Sunday morning, I got in the car and headed for church to preach. It wasn’t long before a little voice inside me said, “So you’re the spiritual dynamo who’ s going to speak to a few thousand people today, are you?” It persisted. “Who do you think you are? You’re a hypocrite. A phony. You’ve blown it.” I was accused. Have you been accused lately? It’s not a good feeling, is it?

The Bible tells us that Satan is the accuser. When we sin, when we’re down and feeling hopeless, he talks even louder than usual. Before long, we’re depressed and despairing, thinking that we’ve failed Christianity 101 and can’t possibly make up the work we’ve missed. We’re hopeless failures. Accused. Paul understood. He wrote, “For the good that I wish I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish...”. What hope do we have if Paul could not escape Satan’s accusations? Good news! We have Paul’s hope, and it is this: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Devotional taken from Everywhere I Go by Dr. Ed Young.

A Fruitful Life
1 year ago

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Proverbs 3:5-12

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God has created us with a longing to know that our presence in this world counts. He also designed us to find the fulfillment of that desire through His Son Jesus Christ.

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Dependence on God is central to an abundant life. Trusting Him with all our heart means giving Him control over our families, finances, jobs, and everything else. Today’s passage emphasizes how essential trust is to a fruitful life: we are cautioned against being wise in our own eyes and warned—twice—not to lean on our own understanding (3:5, 7).

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When facing decisions, we can be tempted to gather information and choose the answer that looks right. But we can’t know all the facts or predict with certainty how others will respond. God, however, is omniscient. He “reads” hearts and perceives every thought; no aspect of our life escapes His notice  1 Chron. 28:9; Ps. 11:4,  and He cares about everyone. That’s why He alone knows which decision is best for each situation.

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The abundant life also involves acknowledging the Lord in all we do. Speaking about Him is just part of what it means to give Him recognition. As His children, we are to have a marked resemblance to our heavenly Father—in thoughts, attitudes, and actions. Our priorities are to reflect His, and our plans should fit with His purposes.

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Life becomes fruitful as we surrender ourselves to the Lord and carry out His will. By allowing His Spirit to live through us  Gal. 2:20,  we will find our lives characterized by significance and satisfaction.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

1 year ago
For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. -PHILIPPIANS 1:18

Do you and I have enough power to live the Christian life? Consider this: we have the power of the Holy Spirit within us...the third person of the Trinity who raised Jesus from the dead. Don’t you think that’s enough power to keep our minds set on the Spirit, and to have life and peace? I think it’s more than enough power...if we use it.

An old cartoon dating back to the World War II depicts a soldier with an M-1 rifle aimed at an oncoming enemy tank. The tank is poised to roll right over the comparatively tiny soldier with his rifle. In the next frame there is a picture of a soldier with a rocket launcher. The soldier in the cartoon is now giant-sized, and the tank relatively small. The idea is that a soldier with a rocket launcher is more than adequate to defeat a tank.

That’s our situation. We live defeated lives when we say, “Boy, all I’ve got against Satan and the world is this little old M-1 rifle and my own determination. I’ve got to really bear down if I’m going to survive.” And all the time we possess the resurrected power that brought Christ out of the grave...we have the Holy Spirit inside us, with the power of a rocket launcher! All we need to do is appropriate it.

Devotional taken from Everywhere I Go by Dr. Ed Young.

A Spiritual Pottery Lesson
1 year ago

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Isaiah 64:8

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I decided to take a cue from the prophet Jeremiah, who visited a potter’s studio at the Lord’s request  Jer. 18:1-6.  So I stopped by an art institute to observe a class—my sole purpose was to better understand the biblical metaphor of God as the Potter and people as the clay. Here’s what I learned when I walked into a room full of whirring pottery wheels.

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The Potter has power over the clay. He can do what He chooses. We humans do have limited free will, but God’s will is greater. So even if we try to resist His sculpting hand, He continues to work toward His purpose. The master Craftsman has set out to achieve a particular design in us, and He has a plan to make it take shape.

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The Potter works the clay with patience. Since God knows that spiritual maturity can’t be rushed, He forms our Christlike character slowly, one experience at a time. That means He must also have perseverance, as human clay sometimes shifts off-center and becomes misshapen. Just as clay can be fashioned only when it sits precisely in the middle of the wheel, Christians must be in the Father’s will to grow spiritually. The Potter maneuvers the drifting believer back into position and begins remolding. He never discards His vessels but tirelessly works to perfect them.

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Our God is a personal Potter. His creations reflect His personality and character. And His Spirit is poured into each human vessel so He can be an intimate part of our life. The result is a work of true beauty, a saint wholly committed to Him.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Getting Your Life Back on Course
1 year ago

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hebrews 12:1-3

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Do you ever feel as if your life has gone a bit off course? Maybe you were making your way just fine, but all of a sudden, you weren’t sure which way to turn. Now and again, all of us face circumstances when our spiritual sense of direction seems unclear. Fortunately, though,  Hebrews 12:1-3  lays out a clear plan for getting back on track after we’ve made some missteps.

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First, we’re to “lay aside every encumbrance.”

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Here, encumbranceliterally means “weight.” In other words, we should remove anything from our life that is weighing us down. Stress, guilt, fear, shame, and regret are just a few of the burdens that can break our backs as we strive to move forward in the Lord. We will simply never go far when we’re dragging around so much baggage.

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Second, we are to lay aside “the sin which so easily entangles us.” Have you ever felt completely powerless because of your sin? When left unattended, it grows like a wild vine. Sin may start small but can completely overtake you unless it’s rooted out early.

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Third, we are to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” That means we should stay focused, and if we fall, get back up and carry on. With the determination of an Olympic athlete, we press on with our eyes on the goal, despite the obstacles and distractions.

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Even when we feel lost, we can be sure God has a specific plan for our life. He knows where we’ve been, He knows where we are, and He knows where we’re going. The course has been laid before us, and Jesus stands waiting at the finish line.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

1 year ago

Identify Your Vision

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Having and following a vision isn’t just for big dreamers and world-changers. As Christians, we all have been called by God to pursue His plan and purpose for our lives.

God has placed us in our jobs, our neighborhoods, and our families for a purpose—to meet the needs around us. Truly visionary people are those who have the ability to recognize the needs around them, as well as the determination and willingness to meet those needs.

In the Old Testament, we learn of an ordinary woman named Esther who saw a need and met that need. Esther was a Jewish woman living in exile in Persia. Through God’s plan, she married King Xerxes and found herself in a unique position to help her people.

When the king agreed to the planned execution of the Jews within his kingdom, Esther was the only one who could possibly change his mind. God placed her in the right place at the right time. Her cousin, Mordecai, recognized this fact: “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14b).

What was Esther’s response to Mordecai’s plea for help? “Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish’” (Esther 4:15-16).

Esther’s decision did not come easily. She hesitated. She wrestled with her fears over her own future. She knew she was putting her life on the line to approach the king. But in the end she knew what God was calling her to do, and she obeyed.

How often do we see a need, yet do nothing about it? We may feel pity or concern, yet we stand back and do nothing. We are unwilling to risk our comfort, our reputation, and our security. But like Esther, we cannot be that visionary person for God unless we are willing to risk everything for Him.

God has brought you to the Kingdom for such a time as this so that you may have His vision for your life. He wants you to make a difference in the lives of other people. He has given you your blessings, gifts, talents, resources, and connections for a reason.

Prayer: Father, I want to be a visionary in Your Kingdom. Please show me the needs you have placed before me to meet by Your power and strength. Thank You for Your grace and Your provision for these needs. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me” (Psalm 57:2).

A Healthy Body
1 year ago

Saturday, January 4, 2014

1 Corinthians 6:12, 19-20

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We all know there is an undeniable relationship between our health and our ability to reach our full potential. We may labor to have a clean heart, a clear mind, and a balanced schedule, but without a healthy body, we simply cannot do our best. And good health will be enhanced when we begin to think about our bodies the way God does. In the sixth chapter of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul teaches that our bodies belong to the living God (vv. 19-20). As a result, we all have to make a decision: Am I going to take care of my body, or will I ignore or abuse it?

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None of us would walk into church and deliberately make a big mess, smearing red or black paint all over the place. We wouldn’t do that, because we respect the church building as a place where God’s people worship. With that in mind, consider this: The human body, because it is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is far more important than any house of worship that ever existed.

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Nevertheless, people often assume that neglecting or mistreating the body is their own prerogative. Whether the issue is substance abuse, abortion, or unhealthy habits, many people will say, “This is my body. I can do with it whatever I want.” But as we read in Scripture, your body is not your possession. Although you can do as you please, you will pay the price for poor decisions. Sin has its consequences, and sin against the body can inflict a penalty that lasts even beyond the present generation. Ask God to help you regard the body as He does so that you will care for it appropriately.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

A Balanced Schedule
1 year ago

Friday, January 3, 2014

Ephesians 5:15-17

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We often think seconds are not very important. But seconds tick away into minutes, minutes into hours, and hours into days. We have all been amazed at how swiftly days turn into weeks, months, and years. Think of it this way: a 70-year-old has lived the equivalent of about two billion, two hundred seven million, five hundred and twenty thousand seconds!

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While you read that last sentence, about five seconds of your life elapsed, and you can never go back and decide to use them differently. As small as they are, seconds are precious because they are a creation and a gift of God. How we use even these small time increments makes a difference. Since our heavenly Father has a plan for each life—that we live for His purpose and His will—then we must consider how we spend not just years, months, and days, but even minutes and seconds. And the time to decide is now, before any more of your life passes by.

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Understanding the value of each moment, the apostle Paul urged us, “Be careful how you walk . . . making the most of your time, because the days are evil”  Eph. 5:15-16.  In essence, he is instructing us, “Take advantage of every opportunity God gives you. Don’t waste your time!” Let Jesus be your role model for keeping a balanced schedule. He knew that spending time with the Father was the most important thing He could do. Follow His example, and begin each day in the Father’s presence. He will help you arrange your schedule and can make every second count.

Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Discovering Life’s Purpose
1 year ago

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ephesians 2:8-10

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Those who know and follow God’s direction will experience spiritual peace, joy, and contentment. To discover our life’s purpose, the first step—which makes all the other steps possible—is to receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. In other words, we must be saved.

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Our part in salvation is to acknowledge we are sinners—to admit to God that we’ve lived in rebellion against Him because we wanted our own way (Rom. 3:23). Professing our belief that Jesus’ death on the cross fully paid our sin debt, we ask God’s forgiveness.

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Recognizing Jesus as personal Savior and Lord, we commit our life to Him (Rom. 10:9; Gal. 2:20; 1 John 1:9). Since He is now in charge, our orders and direction will come from Him. Having become part of God’s family, we have His Spirit to help us discover and carry out our Father’s plan.

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God’s purpose for His children includes sanctification, stewardship, and service. Sanctification describes continual growth in holiness. The Holy Spirit, with our cooperation, will transform our character to be more like the Lord’s. Stewardship means managing—according to God’s priorities—the time, talents, and treasure He has given us. Andservice for the kingdom is to mark our life, as it marked the life of Jesus (Matt. 20:28). We serve our Father by obediently ministering to others.

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As we each seek the Lord’s specific plan for us, we can be confident that it will include character transformation, investment of our resources for His kingdom, and ministry to others.

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Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Anonymous
1 year ago

YES WE ALL NEED TO PRAY THAT "YHWH'S" PERFECT WILL IS DONE IN EACH OF OUR LIVES SO WHAT EVERY WE DO, SAY AND THINK WILL BRING ALL OF THE GLORY TO AND WILL BRING ALL OF THE SACRIFICES OF PRAISES TO "YHWH" AND TO YAHSHUA

God’s Plan for Our Life
1 year ago

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

1 Peter 2:9-12

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As we search to discover God’s plan for our lives, we should consider three things:

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1. Glorifying God. We are commanded to let our light shine before men so we will bear spiritual fruit that glorifies the Lord. As our life increasingly follows the pattern of the Savior’s, our thoughts and responses will bring Jesus praise and point other people to Him.

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2. Conforming to Christ’s likeness. In considering any decision, we should ask ourselves, Will this help me become more like Jesus or tempt me in my weaker areas and cause me to turn away from Him?If we submit our minds and emotions to the Lord, His Spirit will build Jesus’ character qualities into our life. As we rely on the Holy Spirit, He will help us make wise decisions and guide us safely past temptation.

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3. Following the Lord’s will. When deciding how to proceed, it’s wise to ask, Is this in line with God’s known will? Throughout the Scriptures, the heavenly Father has revealed what pleases Him. His commands are clear regarding the way born-again believers should live. Our home, business, and community life are to function according to His will.

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Wherever you are, don’t let yourself be pressured into actions or decisions that would be displeasing to God. Train yourself to stop and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal whether each choice will bring God glory, help to develop Christ’s character in you, and keep you in the center of God’s plan and purpose. Wait on Him, and do not step ahead until you have an answer.

Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Anonymous
YES HE SURE IS
1 year ago

LET US ALL PRAY THAT EVERY PERSON THAT "YHWH" HAS PLACED A LIVING SOUL IN WILL ACCEPT YAHSHUA AS THEIR SAVIOR

DAILY DEVOTIONS ~ JANUARY
1 year ago

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