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Archive for the ‘Devotional Snippets’ Category

Joy that Last

The word happiness evokes visions of un-wrapping gifts on Christmas morning, strolling hand in hand with the one you love, being surprised on your birthday, responding with unbridled laughter to a comedian, or vacationing in an exotic locale. Everyone wants to be happy; we make chasing this elusive ideal a lifelong pursuit: spending money, collecting things, and searching for new experiences.

But if happiness depends on our circumstances, what happens when the toys rust, loved ones die, health deteriorates, money is stolen, and the party’s over? Often happiness flees and despair sets in.

In contrast to happiness stands joy. Running deeper and stronger, joy is the quiet, confident assurance of God’s love and work in our life – that he will be there no matter what. Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ.

The book of Philippians (one of Paul’s letters) is Paul’s joy letter. The church in that Macedonian city had been a great encouragement to Paul. The Philippian believers had enjoyed a very special relationship with Paul during his stay with them, so he wrote them a personal expression of his love and affection. They had brought him great joy. Philippians is also a joyful book because it emphasizes the real joy of the Christian life. The concept of rejoicing or joy appears sixteen times in four chapters, and the pages radiate this positive message, culminating in the exhortation to “always be full of joy in the Lord, I say it again…rejoice!” (4:4)

Although Paul was writing from prison, joy is a dominant theme in this letter. The secret of his joy is grounded in his relationship with Christ. People today desperately want to be happy but are tossed and turned by daily successes, failures, and inconveniences. Christians are to be joyful in every circumstances, even when things are going badly, even when we feel like complaining, even when no one else is joyful. Christ still reigns, and we still know him, so we can rejoice at all times.

Believers of Christ can have profound contentment, serenity, and peace no matter what happens. This joy comes from knowing Christ personally and from depending on his strength rather than our own.

We can have joy, even in hardship. Joy does not come from outward circumstances but from inward strength. As Christians, we must not rely on what we have or what we experience to give us joy but on Christ within us.

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This morning, when I was doing my morning readings, part of the chapter in the Bible I was reading just reminded me once again what love is: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

It speaks about what love is, and what it is not. I just want to share the verses that spoke into my heart while I was reading this chapter, otherwise known as the “love chapter.”

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstances.

There are three things that will endure – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love.

In chapter 12, Paul gave evidence of the Corinthians’ lack of love in the utilization of spiritual gifts. Chapter 13 defines real love, and chapter 14 shows how love works.

Love is more important than all the spiritual gifts exercised in the church body. Great faith, acts of dedication or sacrifice, and miracle-working power have little effect without love. Love makes our actions and gifts useful. Although people have different gifts, love is available to everyone.

Our society confuses love and lust. Unlike lust, God’s kind of love is directed outward toward others, not inward toward ourselves. It is utterly unselfish. This kind of love goes against our natural inclinations. It is impossible to have this love unless God helps us set aside our own natural desires so that we can love and not expect anything in return. Thus, the more we become like Christ, the more love we will show to others.

In morally corrupt Corinth, love had become a mixed-up term with little meaning. Today people are still confused about love. Love is the greatest of all human qualities, and it is an attribute of God himself. Love involves unselfish service to others, to show it gives evidence that you care.

Faith is the foundation and content of God’s message; love is the action. When faith and hope are in line, you are free to love completely because you understand how God loves.

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I was reading a chapter in the book of Mark, and these verses just jumped out from the rest of the texts I was reading:

Mark 9:23-24

v. 23: “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

v.24: The father instantly replied, “I do believe, but help me not to doubt!”

I like what Jesus said in this verse. It does reminds us, that most of the time we don’t believe in our belief. This verses encourages me to check my belief whenever I pray and ask Jesus for something that I know He can only do.

Most of the time — if not all the time — whenever we pray for something, we actually don’t expect or believe that God will answer our prayers. And we get surprised when He does.

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Inner Purity

Was reading the book of Mark and this verses just spoke into my heart and thought of sharing this with you.

Mark 7:15-23 (NLT)

v.15: “You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do!”

v.18: “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that what you eat won’t defile you? Food doesn’t come in contact with your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then comes out again.”

v.20: And then he added, “It is the thought-life that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God.”

Most of the time, we worry more about what is in our diet than what is in our heart or mind.

The Jews believed they could be clean before God because of what they refused to eat. But Jesus pointed out that sin actually begins in the attitudes. That, most of the time knowing what we knew and yet we continue to do it anyway, in a way “testing the water” or we just feel too confident that we can deal with the circumstances during and after. We feel that we are strong or knowledgeable enough to deal with our weaknesses to try and deal with it on our own.

Attitudes towards life in general, you may agree or disagree, does affect our daily lives and not just our own, but the lives of people that is around us and watching us. Our family in particular picks up the attitudes in response to circumstances that comes everyday in our lives.

In our work place, we also leave marks from the attitudes that we presented in each situations. In our speeches, deeds, lifestyle and so on. Sometimes (if not all the time) we think its ok, its just me that will be affected with my decision but the truth is, its not just you even if the decision you made is for just you. In some ways it does affect others that are around you.

People that we talk with, meet with, spend time with, work with, these are the people that will get affected with what we say and do. If and when everything that we say and do are not a good example then it will create a negative atmosphere and affect our relationships.

But if our hearts and mind are are pure then everything that will comes out from our mouth and what we do will give a positive impact to the people around us. As what Jesus said, “It is the thought-life that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God.”

Question: What are the things that in your mind and in your heart today?

Action Step: Stop and evaluate all those thoughts and what’s in your heart and ask God to get rid of those thoughts that are unclean and not pleasing to Him. And ask God to search your heart and purge your heart so that you can have inner purity.

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Why do I often want to settle for less than what God has for me? What if I truly lived today completely obedient to God’s word and in tune with His voice? What if before every choice I make today, I held up my options to the Lord and chose obedience over convenience and righteousness over my rights.God has never asked me to do great things for him. All He has ever required of me is to allow His greatness to enter me, change things around in me, and be revealed through me. Not to do for Him, but rather to simply be with Him.So, just for today I will live this way. Just for today, I am making the choice to not settle. Just for today, I will not let the subtle influences of pride, what is best for me, what is easiest for me, and what I want overshadow my desire for more of God in my life.

Today, I will believe with absolute certainty. Today, I will obey with complete surrender. Today, I will seek with complete abandon. For today, I want God to find in me a haven in which to rest.

Isaiah 66: 1-2 (NASB) says, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,’ declares the LORD. ‘But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.'”

My soul jumps at God’s question, “Where is the house you could build for me — where is a place that I may rest?” He is the God of the Universe – so big and so mighty and so capable. Yet, asking almost a vulnerable question to a completely unworthy human – “Can I abide with you today?”

If the president of any country called me today to inquire, “Can I come and stay for a while? I’d like to sit and find rest with your family today,” I would be left utterly speechless. How much more so that the God of the Universe actually desires that with each of us today.Unimaginable. Uncontainable. Unfathomable. Yet completely true.There are no great people in the kingdom of God. Just simple people. But every now and then a simple person makes a great choice. Oh God, let me make that choice today. Even if it is just for a day – how I long for it to be more – but even if it is just for today, may it be completely so.

For one day completely with You is better than a thousand elsewhere.

Dear Lord, I desire You today. Surround me with Your presence. Remove the distractions from my heart and mind so I can see only you. Lead me, guide me and teach me today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Have we ever really stop and ponder this word?

We’ve been hearing this word everyday from people around us or even from ourselves. We utter this word so easily, but do we really know the meaning of “Love” in our lives? Personally?

There are different meaning of this word that is uttered so easily by everyone of us everyday. Sometimes we used the word Love without really understanding it and don’t mean it at all.

Love is a vast word. It has different meaning that sometimes we don’t even think of how we use or say the word Love. I think and believe that we start to think before we utter this ever-used up word Love. I hear people use this word so easily with everything or everyone. And as we do this and hear this word being used without thinking or meaning, sooner or later the word Love will just be a word that doesn’t carry any personal touch or a deeper meaning that attach to it.

I think of Christ when I hear or read the word Love. The example of Love that He showed us and lived it for us to see and follow is just exemplary. His unconditional Love brought Him to the cross. And to use the word Love without really understanding it or its meaning is showing how a person really doesn’t know real love or haven’t experience the real love in his/her life.

Using casually the word love is something that we need to look into and consider it before uttering. Love is a powerful word and act that can change a person’s life and can make a positive impact to someone else’s life as well, if and when given and uttered with genuiness and with pure intention.

We can’t use the word love to obtain something or attention selfishly. That is just an opposite of the unconditionaly love that Christ showed and gave us.

We can always look back on the cross and the work of love that Christ has given and showed us, to learn that the word love has a great impact and meaning to mankind not only to one’s self.

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Paramount of Life

“The investment of life is the most momentous of all human decisions.”

The investment of influence gave me a larger vision, that it is not a light thing to live out a whole human life and to live it in such away as to bring large returns. The paramount question that towers above every other, at whatever point we may have reached, is: “How can I now invest the rest of my life so it will bring the largest return?”

Source: Dawn on the Hills of Tang

I think and believe that the most important decision that we have to make is how to live our lives in a way that it will bring much positive returns afterwards.

Everyday is a road that we take towards the end of our lives, and we should think and live everyday with a purpose or goal in mind.

May that purpose or goal, whether be small or big, be positive. Small goals are the steps towards bigger ones. Our choices today is our future. They affect not only our future, but also the people around us.

So for all the choices we make today, we must bear in mind that we will reap the consequences of those daily decisions in the future.

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