The world claims there are many paths to a successful, rewarding life: education, wealth, public recognition, or even service. But in the end, true fulfillment comes from the Lord and following His wisdom.
Proverbs says that when we choose to align our heart with God’s truth, we will “find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man” (3:4). Not only will we have protection, clear guidance, and intimacy with the Father, but we’ll also receive divine power to walk circumspectly before Him.
Wisdom—understanding God’s perspective on situations and responding accordingly—brings us the strength to stand firm in our faith and choose His way. It also helps us to calmly accept the hardships in our life. Our sovereign God knows the extent of our difficulties. Out of His love for us, He never gives us more than we can handle and uses even our darkest hours for His good purposes. Wise people are convinced this is true; they enjoy supernatural peace and will live in the Lord’s favor (Prov. 8:34-35; Phil. 4:7).
God wants to prosper His people in spiritual as well as material ways. For that reason, His first priority is to increase our understanding of Him. Then as we align our heart with His wisdom and will, we can apply His principles not just to our finances but to every facet of life.
The Lord stands ready to pour out His choicest blessings—power, divine favor, spiritual prosperity, and supernatural peace—on those who draw near to Him and submit to His plan.
Bible in One Year: Isaiah 4-7
Read: Colossians 4:7–18
Bible in a Year: Psalms 33–34; Acts 24
Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.— Matthew 5:16
Hollywood musicals were wildly popular during the 1950s and 1960s, and three actresses in particular—Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood, and Deborah Kerr—thrilled viewers with their compelling performances. But a huge part of the appeal of these actresses was the breathtaking singing that enhanced their acting. In fact, the classic films’ successes were actually due in large part to Marni Nixon, who dubbed the voices for each of those leading ladies and who for a long time went completely uncredited for her vital contribution.
In the body of Christ there are often people that faithfully support others who take a more public role. The apostle Paul depended on exactly that kind of person in his ministry. Tertius’s work as a scribe gave Paul his powerful written voice (Rom. 16:22). Epaphras’s consistent behind-the-scene prayers were an essential foundation for Paul and the early church (Col. 4:12-13). Lydia generously opened her home when the weary apostle needed restoration (Acts 16:15). Paul’s work could not have been possible without the support he received from these fellow servants in Christ (vv. 7-18).
We may not always have highly visible roles, yet we know that God is pleased when we obediently play our essential part in His plan. When we “give [ourselves] fully to the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58), we will find value and meaning in our service as it brings glory to God and draws others to Him (Matt. 5:16). —Cindy Hess Kasper
Lord, help me to obediently do my part in the role You have chosen for me.
The secret of true service is absolute faithfulness wherever God places you.
INSIGHT: What role has God given you in your service for Christ? Whether it is a visible one or you work behind-the-scenes, ask God for His help to do your best with a humble heart.
Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God. John 12:42-43
Fear represses faith and restrains its recognition. It holds back the boldness to believe; fear is no friend of faith. Fear mistakenly believes it can coddle cunning men while at the same time claim Christ. This is a contradiction that does not stand up under the scrutiny of your Savior. Jesus requires unconditional commitment and unwavering loyalty. It is not all Jesus on Sunday, and Jesus only when it’s convenient the other six days of the week. Covert confession is not an option for a follower of Jesus Christ. Yes, in some parts of the world you have to remain under the rule of atheistic authorities. Discretion is both wise and responsible, but there is no doubt where bold believers stand. Faith is not motivated by fear of man, but by love of God. Faith does not seek to integrate other belief systems into Christianity. It embraces Jesus, and Jesus alone.
Believers who confess their faith in Christ are set free from fear. Confession is freeing, while repression is constraining. You may currently be flailing away on the battlefield of fear. You fear how others may perceive you if they know you fear God. They may label you as weird, narrow-minded, or judgmental. Confession in Christ risks being misunderstood for the sake of the Lord. It values praise from God over praise from man. Yes, public confession of your faith may cost you. Leaders especially have a lot to lose by laying their beliefs on the line.
“Saul replied, ‘I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God’” (1 Samuel 15:30).
Behold, God is my helper and ally; the Lord is my upholder and is with them who uphold my life.—Psalm 54:4
There are many people who have received Jesus as their Savior and Lord who will live their Christian lives and go to heaven without ever drawing on the power of the Holy Spirit available to them, never experiencing the true success God intends for them. People can be on their way to heaven, yet not enjoying the trip.
We often look at people who have wealth, position, power, fame, and consider them to be totally successful. But many people who are viewed as successful still lack good relationships, peace, joy, contentment, and other true blessings that are available only in the context of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Self-sufficient people often think it is a sign of weakness to depend on God. But by drawing on the ability of the Holy Spirit, they could accomplish more in their lives than they could by working in their own strength.
There are countless things we struggle with when we could be receiving help from the Holy Spirit. Many people never find the right answers to their problems because they seek out the wrong sources for advice and counsel instead of asking the Divine Counselor who lives within them for guidance.
I encourage you to lean on God for everything, and that means little things as well as big things.
Love God Today: The only way to experience the success God intends for you is to become totally dependent on the Holy Spirit.
From the book Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer.
“And since, when we were his enemies, we were brought back to God by the death of His Son, what a blessing He must have for us now that we are His friends, and He is living within us!” (Romans 5:10).
Marilyn had a very poor self-image. She hated the way she looked and felt that her personality was so bad that she could never expect to have true friends. She was concerned especially about marriage. How could she ever find a man to love her since she was so unattractive (in her thinking).
I was able to help her see how much God loved her, and how great was His blessing for her as a child of God. The supernatural life-style was available to her, and she was the one to determine whether or not she would measure up, as an act of the will by faith, to what God had called and enabled her to be. Her part was simply to trust and obey Him.
With God’s help, she determined to be that kind of person, the kind of person God created her to be.
We who are Christians can see ourselves as God sees us and through the enabling of the Holy Spirit become what we are in His sight. With the eyes of love, He sees us covered with the blood of Christ, which was shed on the cross for our sins, and, as expressed in Hebrews 10, He sees us as holy, righteous and totally forgiven. He holds nothing against us. The penalty for our sins has been paid – once and for all. There is nothing which we can add.
Now we have the privilege of becoming in our experience what we are already in God’s sight.
Bible Reading: Romans 5:11-15
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I will begin to see myself as God sees me: loved, forgiven, holy, righteous, spiritually mature, aggressive and fruitful for the glory of God. Today I will live by faith the supernatural life which is my heritage in Christ.
“As the hart [deer] panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1, 2)
When you’ve been playing outside on a hot day, what’s the first thing you want when you come in the house? You want a glass of ice water! You grab the biggest glass you can find and fill it with ice cubes. Then you turn on the faucet, let the water fill your glass to the brim, and drink. You drink until you feel satisfied. You drink until your thirst has been quenched.
Did you know that you have a greater thirst than the thirst you feel on a hot day? You have a thirst only God can satisfy. David talked about that kind of thirst. He wrote in Psalm 42 that his heart thirsted for God the way that a deer thirsts for a drink from a water brook. It was not David’s body that was thirsty; it was his soul. And God tells us that the only One Who could really satisfy that kind of thirst is Himself. God “satisfieth the longing soul,” Psalm 107 says. He “filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”
God created us to be satisfied by God. But when Adam and the rest of our ancestors sinned against God, they started trying to be satisfied with things other than God. We see so many things that we think will make us feel satisfied. We think that toys or video games or vacations or cool friends will satisfy us. But when we get what we want, we just want more – or we decide we want something else. Our hearts are never truly satisfied by the earthly things we have.
Read 1 CHRONICLES 21
Many banks and investment companies have a feature on their websites that provide a 360-degree snapshot of all your assets and liabilities. Subtract your liabilities from your assets and the resulting figure is your net worth.
David’s census of Israel seems to have had a similar intent. This was probably David’s attempt to calculate all the military resources at his disposal (v. 3). A census was not absolutely forbidden in Scripture. The Law of Moses prescribed that a ransom be paid to the Lord for each person counted (Ex. 30:12). The nature of David’s sin in this instance is not entirely clear. Did he count the people without collecting the required ransom? Or was it something else?
Certainly spiritual forces were in play as well. According to verse 1, Satan was the one who incited David to take this action. Interestingly, the account of this incident in 2 Samuel 24:1 says that the Lord was angry with Israel and “incited David against them.” God and Satan had different agendas. Satan’s intent was destruction. God’s aim was divine discipline.
As a result of his rash action, David was asked to make a terrible choice, and his decision led to a plague in which seventy thousand men died (vv. 12–14). If it had not been for God’s own merciful intervention, the plague would have destroyed Jerusalem.
The sight of the angel of the Lord positioned between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword extended over Jerusalem, prompted David to intercede for Israel and the plague was halted (v. 16). In a mysterious conjunction of judgment and mercy, the spot where the destroying angel ceased his terrible work also became the location of the temple David’s son Solomon would build.
APPLY THE WORD
Having been forgiven through Christ we are “being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Eph. 2:22). You may be living with the consequences of your own sinful choices or those of someone else. Consecrate those circumstances to God. He will build upon the ruins.
Human wisdom is meaningless in the Lord’s eyes. The truth is, God’s “foolishness” is wiser than man’s understanding. (See 1 Cor. 1:25.) While it may feel risky to set aside our own reasoning to seek after the Lord’s, the benefits of walking in His wisdom are great.
The first blessing is greater knowledge of God. The Lord is personally involved in every facet of our lives. The better we know His character, the more we will understand His viewpoint, recognize where He is working, and be able to respond properly to life’s circumstances.
A second way we profit is by receiving clear guidance. God sees everything—His perspective is eternal, and every decision of His is right. He knows exactly what is needed to accomplish His will in our life and what it will take to resolve problems in a godly way, making us more like Christ.
A third benefit is divine protection. As Proverbs 28:26 tells us, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.” We are not to rely upon our emotions, which are easily influenced by ungodliness. Nor can we trust the world’s opinions. Wisdom’s protection comes when we have a discerning spirit—one that is sensitive to the Lord’s purpose and will for our life. With it, we gain insight into the unseen and the unspoken because nothing is hidden from the Spirit of God.
Knowing God, clear guidance, divine protection—human wisdom can’t provide any of these. They come only from the heavenly Father, and He offers them freely to all who believe.
Bible in One Year: Isaiah 1-3
Read: Philippians 4:4–9
Bible in a Year: Psalms 31–32; Acts 23:16–35
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.—Philippians 4:6
“I’m really scared.” This was the poignant note a teenager posted to friends on Facebook as she told them of some upcoming medical tests. She was facing hospitalization and a series of procedures in a city three hours from home and anxiously waited as doctors tried to discover the source of some serious medical problems she was experiencing.
Who of us, in youth or later years, has not felt similar fears when facing unwanted life events that are truly frightening? And where can we turn for help? What comfort can we find from Scripture to give us courage in these kinds of situations?
The reality that God will go with us through our trial can help us to hope. Isaiah 41:13 tells us, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’ ”
In addition, God offers indescribable, heart-guarding peace when we present our difficulties to Him in prayer (Phil. 4:6-7).
Through God’s unfailing presence and His peace that “transcends all understanding” (v. 7), we can find the hope and help we need to endure situations in which we are really scared. —Dave Branon
Dear heavenly Father, when I am afraid, remind me that You hold my hand and give me peace. I’m grateful that I can lean into Your arms and find help when I’m scared. You are good to me.
God is with us in all our struggles.
INSIGHT: Peter, Paul, and Silas had many reasons to worry. Acts 12 describes Peter’s unjust imprisonment by King Herod for seven to eight days and his upcoming trial—with death the nearly certain outcome (vv. 2-6). But Peter didn’t lose any sleep over his trial and impending death; the Scriptures record he “was sleeping between two soldiers” (v. 6). Peter experienced the peace that can come only through trusting God.
Paul and Silas were brutally beaten and unjustly imprisoned (Acts 16:22-24). Instead of worrying, they praised God through the night (v. 25). They experienced joy and peace in the midst of life’s terrors.This is the tranquility Paul wrote about in Philippians 4:6-7. When we can’t sleep because we’re troubled by the trials of life, we can talk to our Good Shepherd. We can cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Surely we can say with David, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe” (Ps. 4:8 NLT).
Are you struggling with anxiety? Why not meditate on Psalm 16:7-11 and ask God to help you experience the joy and peace that come from Him. Sim Kay Tee
The Jordan River was at flood stage. So did his people worry when God said, “Have the priests pick up the Ark of the Covenant and walk into the water”? Did the priests wonder if they could hold onto the Ark in the swirling water? Did they think they would be swept away and lose their lives? No matter, God told them what would happen when they did what he said. They had to have enough faith to put their feet in the water. And that’s when the miracle happened. Somewhere way up stream the waters were cut off and piled up. Even more miraculous, the ground in the river bed was dry. The priests walked to the middle of the river and stood there until all the people crossed over into the Promised Land.
When God is the architect, we are the workers, using our hands, our feet, our faith to help our heavenly Father. God directed the priests. Because they had bold faith, they followed directions. And God’s people passed safely, understanding his faithfulness and power.
As you carry your load, remember you have the living God with you. You are working for him. So be bold in your faith. Who knows what he will accomplish with it!
Dear Lord, I’m not sure what you can accomplish with me. But you are the master planner. Help me have enough faith to work for you through troubles. Amen.
… Because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear).—Ephesians 3:12
We should never feel insecure when we approach God in prayer. He knows all of our weaknesses and loves us anyway. God wants to give us more than enough, not barely enough, and we need to ask boldly.
Approaching God boldly in prayer can be likened to going to a bank to make a withdrawal. If I know I have fifty dollars in the bank because I deposited it there last week, I will not hesitate to pull up to the drive-through window and cash a fifty-dollar check. I know I have the money; it’s mine, and I can get it out of the bank if I want to. When I present my check, I fully expect to get my fifty dollars.
We need to approach God with that same kind of boldness, not because of our own righteousness, but because of the privilege of being joint heirs with Jesus. We need to understand what is available to us because of Jesus and we need to pray confidently, with full expectation that we will receive what belongs to us. God has made incredible provision available to us in Christ and we simply need to ask in Jesus’ name for the blessings He has already purchased for us.
When we struggle with feelings of unworthiness, we should go to God’s Word and let it remind us of our privileges as children of God. Ask the Holy Spirit to help us enter boldly into God’s presence and receive the help we need because, the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17 NKJV). He will speak to us and remind us that we belong to God!
God’s word for you today: You are God’s child and He is looking and longing to be good to you.
From the book Hearing from God Each Morning: 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer.
“As for the one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; he will be secure, and will go out no more; and I will write my God’s Name on him, and he will be a citizen in the city of my God – the New Jerusalem, coming down from heaven from my God; and he will have my new Name inscribed upon him” (Revelation 3:12).
You and I shall some day be in that beautiful temple in Jerusalem – to rule and reign with the King of kings and Lord of lords forever and forever.
Can you see it now? While we do not know – and need not know – all the incidental details and circumstances, we know enough from God’s holy Word to know that some day we shall be with Him, never to be separated. That is the cause for shouting and rejoicing.
And we need not be terrified by the condition that we must be conquerors before we qualify for any of these promised blessings. Has He not told us that we are already “more than conquerors?”
Here again we have that promise of the new name, thought by some to be the very name of Christ Himself – certainly worthy of attainment, whatever its true meaning.
To be “heirs with God and joint-heirs with Christ” holds all the wonderful promise that the human mind can imagine. Just to be with Him is enough; to know that He adds blessing upon blessing as we rule and reign with Him – that is unparalleled joy indeed.
Bible Reading: Revelation 3:7-13
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With a quick look at the future, I’ll do my best to make this day all that God intends for me, especially in my outreach to others.
Read 1 CHRONICLES 20
Oliver Cromwell once told a painter commissioned to do his portrait: “I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it.” Similarly, the Bible does not airbrush its heroes but rather depicts them “warts and all.”
With this in mind, notice what the Chronicler does not mention in today’s chapter. The opening statement of verse 1 will be familiar to anyone who knows the story of David, as it surely would have been to the writer’s original audience: “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, Joab led out the armed forces.” This is how 2 Samuel 11 begins the account of David’s sin with Bathsheba. But instead of describing David’s fall, the Chronicles account speaks of Joab’s victories over the Ammonites and Philistines. The reason has to do with the writer’s purpose in this section. The fact that the next chapter describes David’s “great sin” of numbering the people is proof that the author is not trying to whitewash David’s record. The focus of this section is on David’s military victories.
The fact that David experienced so much military success at what was arguably the lowest point in his spiritual life should sober us. Success and prosperity are not proof of God’s acceptance or of our spiritual health. Success can make us arrogant. In our prosperity we can be less aware of our need for God. Is it possible that David misinterpreted God’s blessing? Did he come to believe that he could do no wrong?
APPLY THE WORD
David’s experience of victory in the midst of spiritual defeat should encourage us. God does not abandon us, even when we fail Him: “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20). Even at our lowest, God continues to care for us and provide for our needs.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Little Annie was three years old, and it was time for her to go for a routine check-up at the doctor’s office. As the doctor checked her ears, he found “something blue” in one. Annie’s mom was a little surprised to hear that! Annie had not said her ear was hurting, nor had she seem bothered by it. Annie’s mom started wondering how long this “something blue” had been in Annie’s ear! The doctor left the room and came back with an assistant and some tools to try to remove the blue object. As they tried to take it out, Annie screamed, fought, and cried. Her ear was really starting to hurt now! Finally, the doctor pulled out a rather large blue bead!
Then Annie’s mom remembered that several months before, Annie had come to her with a broken necklace, saying something about putting a bead in her ear. Annie’s mom saw how big the other necklace beads were, and she doubted that anything so big could even fit in Annie’s ear! She looked and looked, but she could not see any bead in there, and Annie never complained about her ear hurting. So they both forgot about it.
Wow! Little Annie had stuck that big blue bead into her ear, and she did not even know it was going to hurt her. We might never stick beads in our ears, but sometimes we let other things into our ears without thinking first. What about wrong teaching? God wants us to test everything we hear before we just believe it. He wants us to read His Word and use its truth to make sure things we hear are true. If we listen to teaching just because it makes us feel good about ourselves or about what we want to do, it will be bad for us in the future.
Remember, Annie hardly noticed she had the bead in her ear, and it did not seem like a problem because it was not hurting her. It did not hurt her at first, but it could have done a lot of damage in the future! The doctor explained that the bead had been hard to take out because it was so large and was resting right on Annie’s eardrum. The bead had bruised and torn Annie’s ear canal on its way out, but the doctor said it should heal and not cause any hearing loss.
Loneliness is a powerful emotion. It can lead to despair, or it can draw us closer to the Lord. It is also a condition for which we were never designed. From the very beginning, God said that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). So, He created Eve. Then came sin, the separator.
Ever since, we have been trying to regain the intimate fellowship that was lost in the Garden of Eden. Most of us start this journey to recovery by seeking healthy connections with other people. Friends and family can help enormously, but their presence is no substitute for fellowship with the heavenly Father. In fact, our best friends can sometimes impede our efforts by appearing to offer what God alone can give. Falling for such pretense is idolatry—allowing something to take God’s place.
That is why you see godly individuals throughout the Bible put to the loneliness test. We find examples in the story of Jacob wrestling alone with an angel (Gen. 32:24-32), Elijah standing alone on Mt. Sinai (1 Kings 19:1-21), and even Jesus praying alone in the garden because His friends had fallen asleep (Matt. 26:36-46). In all three cases, the picture is essentially the same.
Such heartrending experiences in our life are designed for one purpose: They bring us to the point where we can discover for ourselves that God is real. The learning process may take a while, but it is much more likely that we will rely on God if there is no one else to hang on to. When we experience utter loneliness, we can cling to the promise, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).
Bible in One Year: Song of Solomon 5-8
Read: Romans 13:11–14
Bible in a Year: Psalms 29–30; Acts 23:1–15
Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.—Romans 13:14
In her book Wearing God, author Lauren Winner says our clothes can silently communicate to others who we are. What we wear may indicate career, community or identity, moods, or social status. Think of a T-shirt with a slogan, a business suit, a uniform, or greasy jeans and what they might reveal. She writes, “The idea that, as with a garment, Christians might wordlessly speak something of Jesus—is appealing.”
According to Paul, we can similarly wordlessly represent Christ. Romans 13:14 tells us to “clothe [ourselves] with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” What does this mean? When we become Christians, we take on Christ’s identity. We’re “children of God through faith” (Gal. 3:26-27). That’s our status. Yet each day we need to clothe ourselves in His character. We do this by striving to live for and to be more like Jesus, growing in godliness, love, and obedience and turning our back on the sins that once enslaved us.
This growth in Christ is a result of the Holy Spirit working in us and our desire to be closer to Him through study of the Word, prayer, and time spent in fellowship with other Christians (John 14:26). When others look at our words and attitudes, what statement are we making about Christ? —Alyson Kieda
Dear Lord, we want to be a reflection of You. Help us to look more like You each day. Grow us in godliness, love, joy, and patience.
When others see us, may what they see speak well of the Savior.
INSIGHT: What does a well-dressed follower of Christ look like? Starting with verse 11 of Romans 13, Paul builds his case. Maybe he has a smile in his eyes as he thinks, “Hey, wake up you sleepy heads. It’s time to get up. Come on now. Wake up. The night’s about over. The sun’s coming up. It’s time to dress for the day rather than for the night” (see vv. 11-12).
At this point can you hear the emotion in Paul’s voice? Something like, “Come on now, I’m not kidding. Do you really want to be seen as a follower of Jesus dressed like that? Please now, ‘Do this’ for Jesus’s sake” (v. 11). Do what? He replies: “For you, I’ll say it again. Please, don’t hide who you are in Christ by wrapping yourself in self-centered desire. Clothe yourself in the ways of Jesus. Find in Him an honest concern for everyone who comes into your lives. Give yourselves and everyone you come in contact with a chance to see that a new day is dawning. It’s time to love others as Christ has loved us” (see vv. 8-12). For further study on Romans and other New Testament books, check out this free resource at christianuniversity.org/NT109. Mart DeHaan
I had no idea why tears so abruptly filled my eyes. I was crying before I understood why I might be crying. But the sense that the reaction meant something was as real to me as the tears.
I was seated alone in a packed crowd at Duke University’s stunning neo-gothic chapel, listening very intently as Scottish composer James MacMillan conducted his St. Luke Passion for choir and orchestra. The core text of the piece is taken word for word from Luke’s Gospel. The narrative begins as Jesus and his disciples prepare for their last meal together and ends with the last breath of Christ on the cross, the centurion exclaiming what the angry crowd moments earlier would not: “Certainly this man was innocent.” At any point, for any number of reasons, tears were certainly explicable, appropriate even. But there was something very particular about this moment which gave me pause months, even years, thereafter. My body seemed to rush ahead of any sort of conscious thinking. This was not a slow climb of emotion welling up as tears that eventually fell. I was not reckoning with a particular thought or concept that suddenly clicked. Rather, my eyes seemed to confess that my brain and body were up to something, caught up in an activity that the conceptual part of me hadn’t yet realized.
Neurologists and therapists experienced with the power of music wouldn’t find in my description anything much out of the ordinary. “Listening to music is not just auditory,” writes the late neurologist Oliver Sacks, “it is motoric as well: ‘We listen to music with our muscles,’ as Nietzsche wrote. We keep time to music, involuntarily, even if we are not consciously attending to it, and our faces and postures mirror the ‘narrative’ of the melody, and the thoughts and feelings it produces.”(1) The use of music in a wide range of therapies has long been known effective, helping patients who have difficulty with language, cognition, or motor control, even as the processes involved remain somewhat mysterious. Recent advancements in the field of neurology and brain-imaging offer much insight into the brain’s activity in the midst of music-making and music-hearing. With increasing light being shed on the brain’s plasticity (its ability to change) and music’s ability to activate and engage entire regions and networks within the brain, music is increasingly being engaged as an effective component of rehabilitative care.
Unto You, O Lord, do I bring my life.— Psalm 25:1
This is a very short but powerful verse. In fact it gives you the answer for your whole life: give it to the Lord.
This doesn’t mean you should bring Him just your worries and problems. It means bringing Him your entire existence and everything it entails. Grasping that truth will set you free from weariness and a feeling of wanting to give up.
I used to get worn out preparing for my meetings. I would get so intense about it and work so hard at making sure everything was right that I worked myself into exhaustion. Then I learned that all I have to do is give Him my life and everything in it. As we yield to Him, His peace fills us.
As you pray tonight, give your entire life to God and experience the freedom of knowing that whatever you face—good or bad—He has it under control.
From the book Ending Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer.
“That is what is meant by the Scriptures which say that no mere man has ever seen, heard or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord. But we know about these things because God has sent His Spirit to tell us, and His Spirit searches out and shows us all of God’s deepest secrets” (1 Corinthians 2:9,10).
For many years, on every populated continent, I have asked millions of Christians this question: “What is the greatest thing that has ever happened to you since you became a Christian?”
The answer invariably has been: “To experience the reality, power, control and fruit of the Holy Spirit.” There is no other truth that so transforms the life of the Christian and enables him to be fruitful for the glory of God.
Two strangers were viewing the Niagara whirlpool rapids one day and one said to the other, “Come and I’ll show you the greatest unused power in the world.”
Taking him to the foot of Niagara Falls, he said, “There is the greatest unused power in the world!”
“Oh, no my friend,” came the reply, “not so. The greatest unused power in the world is the Holy Spirit of the living God.”
Christ’s strength is given to us through the Holy Spirit to meet our every need. How do we receive that strength, that supernatural power?
As Christians, we have the potential within us, in the person of God’s Holy Spirit, but sin hinders the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
By confessing all our known sin and appropriating that supernatural power of the Holy Spirit within us, we can, by faith, be filled and continue to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Then, according to God’s Word, the Holy Spirit ministers to our every need.
When we by faith are filled with the Holy Spirit, He guides us, empowers us, makes us holy, bears witness in our lives, comforts us, gives us joy, gives discernment, bears fruit in and through our lives and gives us spiritual gifts for the building up of the Body of Christ.
Bible Reading: I Corinthians 2:11-16
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will by faith appropriate the greatest unused power in the world today, the supernatural power of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit who enables me to live a supernatural life. I will share with someone today how he, too, can live a supernatural life.
I spent too much of a high school summer working in the oil field. We donned gas masks, waded into ankle deep, contaminated mire. My mom burned my work clothes. The stink stunk! Yours can do the same. Linger too long in the stench of your hurt, and you’ll smell like the toxin you despise.
The better option? Join with David as he announces, “The Lord lives. Blessed be my Rock. It is God who avenges me. He delivers me from my enemies. Therefore I will give thanks to You, O God!” (Psalm 18:46-49). Wander daily through the gallery of God’s goodness. Catalog His kindnesses. Look at what you have. Let Jesus be the friend you need. Talk to Him. Spare no details. Disclose your fear and describe your dread. You just found a friend for life in Jesus Christ. What could be better than that?
From Facing Your Giants
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