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“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

-Revelation 21:4

LISTENING FOR GOD'S VOICE 

BY MARY WILDER TILESTON


I will hear what God the Lord will speak; for He will speak peace unto His people. - Psalms 85:8


Now, O my God,

My comfort, portion, rest!

Thou, none but Thou, shalt reign within my breast.

Call me to Thee! call me Thyself--oh, speak,

And bind my heart to Thee, whom most I seek! 

GERHARD TERSTEEGEN


JUST as in prayer it is not we who momentarily catch His attention, but He ours, so when we fail to hear His voice, it is not because He is not speaking so much as that we are not listening. We must recognize that all things are in God and that God is in all things, and we must learn to be very attentive, in order to bear God speaking in His ordinary tone without any special accent. A man must not stop listening any more than praying when he rises from his knees. No one questions the need of times of formal address to God, but few admit in any practical way the need of quiet waiting upon God, gazing into His face, feeling for His hand, listening for His voice. "I will hearken what the Lord God will say concerning me." God has special confidences for each soul. Indeed, it would seem as though the deepest truths came only in moments of profound devotional silence and contemplation. 

CHARLES H. BRENT


This is a public domain version of Joy and Strength.

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

Joy is Yours -  

 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!Philippians 4:4

 

Did you know that over 500 times in the Bible we are commanded to rejoice? The Living Bible says, "Be full of joy." Every morning I repeat a particular verse in the Psalms to myself. In fact, some mornings I say it while looking in the mirror, because I don't feel joyful. Nevertheless, this verse is forever true and always helpful. Here it is:

 

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

 

The truth of that Psalm helps me get my day started on the right track. I have found that if I start my day rejoicing in the Lord, my day will be full of joy. A great preacher once said, "The surest mark of a Christian is not faith or even love but joy." Did you know that Jesus came to give you joy, a deep, overflowing joy that only comes from God? Jesus said, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete" (John 15:11).

 

God's kind of joy is not a giddy, superficial good feeling. Rather, His joy runs deep. Even during the tough times it prevails in your soul.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Why do you think the writer of Philippians repeats himself in verse 4:4?

 

2. Have you ever felt peace or hope in the midst of trials? If you have, then you have experienced joy. What do you think is the connection between rejoicing in the Lord and being filled with joy?

 

FURTHER READING:

Romans 12:12; Philippians 3:1

Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family @ Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim’s radio broadcast is heard on over 800 stations a day and heard around the world via podcast at HomeWord.com. 

Some of his recent books include: Faith Conversations for Families; Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers, Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Confident Parenting, The Purity Code and Creating an Intimate Marriage. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California. 

More of Jim Burns: www.homeword.com

Insidious -

 

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. —Matthew 5:28

 

I was walking through the Beatitudes with my 9th grade small group, and we came across the dreaded passage (today’s Scripture passage above). After we talked about it a bit, I made what I thought was a bold statement. I said, “I’m just going to assume that all of you guys are struggling with pornography. If you’re not, that’s great! But, I’m going to start with the assumption that it’s a struggle for everyone. Let me know if it’s not a struggle.”

 

Every one of those guys admitted that pornography is a struggle in some way. Several made commitments to have an accountability program (XXXchurch.com) installed on their computer. A few even listed me as their accountability partner.

 

Some weeks later, I got an email alert from XXXchurch.com regarding one of the guys in the group, listing the inappropriate sites he had been visiting. I forwarded the email to the boy and wrote, “It looks like Thursday was a difficult day for you. I’m praying for you right now. Let’s get together and talk. I know you can win this battle. I believe in you! I love you.”

 

The boy replied back saying, “I was having a more serious problem than I really admitted. It was really pretty bad until I got the accountability software. Now that I have it, I find myself on websites that are as close to porn as it gets without being porn by its core definition. Thank you again so much for showing me this software. I’m trying very hard to get out of the habit. It’s literally like withdrawals from an addiction.”

 

Pornography is insidious. Its lure is powerful, and its addictive capacity is a bottomless pit. These days, with porn just a mouse click away, there’s never been greater access to such a destructive evil. Everyone is vulnerable, from teens to parents to Christian leaders. One survey found that 87% of men admit to using porn in the past month. Another study set out to research the affects of porn on men compared to those who had never viewed it. When researchers couldn’t find any men who had not viewed porn, the study was abandoned!

 

The Scriptures warn us (with good reason!) to flee immorality. No good thing will ever come to your life, relationships, marriage, family, or ministry from exposure to pornography.

 

If you haven’t been caught in porn’s snare, wonderful! Keep doing what you are doing and know that everyone, even you, is vulnerable. If you have been ensnared by porn, let me encourage (and challenge) you: involvement with pornography isn’t the unpardonable sin. Do your best to flee. God wants to help you. Use accountability tools. Talk to someone. Help is available. Get help. And let me tell you, as I told the guy in my small group, I know you can win this battle. I believe in you!

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. To what extent has pornography influenced your life?

 

2. What practical steps do you need to take to guard your life and your family from the insidious snare of pornography?

 

FURTHER READING:

1 Corinthians 6:18; Colossians 3:5; Philippians 4:8

DOUG FIELDS is the senior director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University and the co-founder of Downloadyouthministry.com. Doug has been a youth and teaching pastor at Mariners Church and Saddleback Church for 30 years and has authored more than fifty books. He is a passionate speaker reaching thousands of leaders, teenagers, and parents every year. Doug resides with his wife and three children in Southern California. 

More of Doug Fields: www.homeword.com

PUT FORTH -  

BY MRS. CHARLES COWMAN

"He putteth forth his own sheep." - John10:4

Oh, this is bitter work for Him and us--bitter for us to go, but equally bitter for Him to cause us pain; yet it must be done. It would not be conducive to our true welfare to stay always in one happy and comfortable lot. He therefore puts us forth. The fold is deserted, that the sheep may wander over the bracing mountain slope. The laborers must be thrust out into the harvest, else the golden grain would spoil.

Take heart! it could not be better to stay when He determines otherwise; and if the loving hand of our Lord puts us forth, it must be well. On, in His name, to green pastures and still waters and mountain heights! He goeth before thee. Whatever awaits us is encountered first by Him. Faith's eye can always discern His majestic presence in front; and when that cannot be seen, it is dangerous to move forward. Bind this comfort to your heart, that the Savior has tried for Himself all the experiences through which He asks you to pass; and He would not ask you to pass through them unless He was sure that they were not too difficult for your feet, or too trying for your strength.

This is the Blessed Life--not anxious to see far in front, nor careful about the next step, not eager to choose the path, nor weighted with the heavy responsibilities of the future, but quietly following behind the Shepherd, one step at a time.


Dark is the sky! and veiled the unknown morrowl

Dark is life's way, for night is not yet o'er;

The longed-for glimpse I may not meanwhile borrow;

But, this I know, HE GOETH ON BEFORE.


Dangers are nigh! and fears my mind are shaking;

Heart seems to dread what life may hold in store;

But I am His--He knows the way I'm taking,

More blessed still--HE GOETH ON BEFORE.


Doubts cast their weird, unwelcome shadows o'er me,

Doubts that life's best--life's choicest things are o'er;

What but His Word can strengthen, can restore me,

And this blest fact; that still HE GOES BEFORE.


HE GOES BEFORE! Be this my consolation!

He goes before! On this my heart would dwell!

He goes before! This guarantees salvation!

HE GOES BEFORE! And therefore all is well.

--J. D. Smith


The Oriental shepherd was always ahead of his sheep. He was down in front. Any attack upon them had to take him into account. Now God is down in front. He is in the tomorrows. It is tomorrow that fills men with dread. God is there already. All the tomorrows of our life have to pass Him before they can get to us. --F. B. M.


"God is in every tomorrow,

Therefore I live for today, 

Certain of finding at sunrise,

Guidance and strength for the way; 

Power for each moment of weakness,

Hope for each moment of pain, 

Comfort for every sorrow,

Sunshine and joy after rain."


The public domain version of this classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert.

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

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