Charles Stanley – The Powerful Practice of Fasting

Nehemiah 1:1-11

Nehemiah’s brother arrived from Judah with some bad news: The Israelites living in Jerusalem were in great trouble. After hearing about their plight, Nehemiah fasted and prayed to the Lord for several days. During this time, he discovered God wanted him to ask the king of Persia for help.

Fasting is a spiritual discipline that helps us center our attention on the Lord and discover His will so we may act according to it. People fast in different ways: Some abstain from food while others refrain from various activities. The period of time can vary as well. But the focus in each case is to be the same—to seek God and know His will.

When we deny ourselves in this way, several things happen. First, the Holy Spirit will enable us to set aside earthly matters. Relationships, work, and pleasure will take a lesser place in our mind as we concentrate on God and His purposes. Second, our attention will shift from ourselves to the Lord. Thinking will become clearer, and our ability to understand His plans will sharpen because we are not distracted by other things. Third, the Lord is probably going to do some spiritual housecleaning in our life. His Spirit will convict us of sinful attitudes or behaviors. Then, upon confession of our sin, we’ll be forgiven and cleansed (1 John 1:9).

When unexpected news greets us, we—like Nehemiah—may find our emotions in turmoil. He wisely sought God through fasting and prayer. This powerful practice can also help us to hear clearly from our heavenly Father, who knows the best way through every situation.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 29-31

Our Daily Bread — A Bubble Break

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:7-18

Bible in a Year: Psalms 146-147; 1 Corinthians 15:1-28

We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.—2 Corinthians 4:18

A young boy showered my husband, Carl, and me with bubbles as he came running by us on the Atlantic City boardwalk. It was a light and fun moment on a difficult day. We had come to the city to visit our brother-in-law in the hospital and to help Carl’s sister who was struggling and having trouble getting to her doctors’ appointments. So as we took a break and walked along the seaside boardwalk we were feeling a bit overwhelmed by the needs of our family.

Then came the bubbles. Just bubbles blown at us whimsically by a little boy in the ocean breeze—but they had a special significance to me. I love bubbles and keep a bottle in my office to use whenever I need the smile of a bubble break. Those bubbles and the vast Atlantic Ocean reminded me of what I can count on: God is always close. He is powerful. He always cares. And He can use even the smallest experiences, and briefest moments, to help us remember that His presence is like an ocean of grace in the middle of our heavy moments.

Maybe one day our troubles will seem like bubbles—momentary in light of eternity for “what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). —Anne Cetas

What gifts of grace has God given to you in a difficult time? How might you be a blessing to others?

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Jesus provides an oasis of grace in the desert of trials.

INSIGHT: In fulfilling his calling as an apostle (Acts 9:15), Paul endured great suffering. But in the midst of great opposition, persecution, and painful suffering, Paul’s refrain is: “We do not lose heart” (2 Cor. 4:1, 16). His confidence is not rooted in himself but in God’s sovereign power, in His sustaining grace, in Christ’s resurrected life, and in the expectation of future reward and eternal glory (vv. 7-18).

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Explaining Away Fire

Ballet lost some of its wonder when it was explained. It was a class that was supposed to lift my mind, lighten my spirit, and boost my grade point average. Instead it became a one-credit nightmare—a class dedicated to dissecting moves I could not duplicate, within a semester that seemed to slowly dismember my romantic fascination with dance.

Explanations sometimes have a way of leaving their questioners with a sense of loss. Students note this phenomenon regularly. Expounded principles of light refraction and water particles explain away the rainbow, or at least some of its mystique. Air pressure, gravity, and the laws of physics deconstruct the optical mystery of the curve ball. Knowledge and experience can poignantly leave us with a sense of disappointment or disenchantment.

I recently read an article that scientifically explained the glow of a firefly. The author noted the nerves and chemical compounds that make the “fire” possible, pointing out that it is merely a signal used for mating and is, in fact, far from the many romantic myths that have long surrounded it. As one who delights in the gifts of science but also the gift a sky ignited with bugs, I put the article down with a sigh. And then a thought occurred to me in a manner not unlike the description of the firefly’s glow itself: The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not mastered it.(1) Where nerves and photocytes explain the glow of the firefly, have we come any closer to erasing the miracle of light?

However accurate or inaccurate our explanations might be, they sometimes have a way of leading us to short-sighted conclusions. They have also led us to outright incongruity. Brilliant minds can articulate exquisitely complex aspects of the human person and simultaneously describe it as an accident, an impersonal, adult germ in a vast cosmic machine. We have brusquely described life as a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing, only to claim that this should not lead us to despair. We have declared our appetites and our reason the gods of a better religion, while insisting both God and religion to be an invention of the human psyche. We scoff at the notion of a vicariously human savior who frees captive humanity and revives the creator’s image, while maintaining we live with every qualification for human dignity, distinction, and freedom. Are these even realistic applications of our own philosophies? Do the explanations warrant the conclusions?

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Explaining Away Fire

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Need for the Promise

“‘But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth’” (John 16-13).

The Holy Spirit has to come alongside believers because they can’t minister by their own strength.

As a Christian, you can be orthodox and correct about every detail of theology. You might even show a certain willingness and ability to minister. But unless and until you rely on the Holy Spirit for all you do, your efforts will be ineffective. Think of a new car that has the most polished exterior and the finest of accessories but no engine. It will look great, but it certainly won’t run.

Unfortunately, that illustration applies all too often to contemporary believers. They tend to overlook or minimize the Holy Spirit’s role—either by overreacting to charismatic extravagances or by focusing most of their attention on man-centered ministry techniques and “innovative” approaches. But the Lord impressed upon the disciples’ hearts and minds on more than one occasion their need for the Holy Spirit’s power and resources—from routine daily tasks like fishing (Luke 5:4-9) to more imposing ministry challenges like casting an evil spirit out of a man’s son (Mark 9:14-29).

Because God has purposefully promised and sent the Spirit within the larger panorama of His sovereignty, we should have the same conviction about the need for the promised Helper as the disciples did shortly after Christ ascended. In conclusion, notice Peter’s confidence in God’s plan, as set forth in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost: “This Man [Jesus Christ], delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. And God raised Him up again. . . . Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear” (Acts 2:23, 33).

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Confess any attitudes and actions that may have kept you from seeing the need to rely on the Holy Spirit.
  • Pray that you would walk in greater dependence on Him this week.

For Further Study

Acts 1 marked a time of preparation for the coming of the promised Spirit. Read the chapter, and jot down ways in which the disciples prepared and previewed their faith in the promise.

Wisdom Hunters – God’s Peacekeeper 

Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword. Revelation 6:4

God’s peacekeeper is His son Jesus Christ. His first provision of peace is between God and man. When we trust Christ alone as our Savior and Lord, we are at peace with our heavenly Father. Before we placed our faith in Jesus we were in conflict with the Almighty. Our soul was restless, at odds with its Creator. But once we surrender our selfish ways, we enjoy the selfless way of peace with God. Once we make peace with God, we enjoy the peace of God. We look to Jesus alone as our keeper of the peace.  His gift is to rest in His grace.

The anti-Christ will offer a counterfeit peace that looks good on the surface. It’s alluring and exciting, but only offers a temporary escape. In the days of tribulation on earth, Jesus describes an anxious world obsessed over “wars and rumors of wars” (Mark 13:7). These rumblings of a peace-less people prove to be a harbinger of what’s to come: world war, famine and judgment. A promise of outward control offers a false sense of serenity—only Jesus gives inner peace.

“He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin” (Malachi 2:6).

The peace of Jesus gives us peace with ourselves. The guilt of past sin is gone. If we shame ourselves over issues Christ has already covered by His thorough cleansing—we sin. The demons of depression have no jurisdiction over the Justice of the Peace–Jesus! Trust in Him empowers our tranquil soul. When we behold our Prince of Peace in uninterrupted worship, we receive His radical peace-loving assurance. Our peacekeeper Jesus is our loyal ally. Our flesh mopes around afraid, but we have no need to fear, since Jesus is near. He is our peace!

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – God’s Peacekeeper 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Fear God, Not Man

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28

Recommended Reading

Proverbs 1:7; 9:10

There’s a principle parents sometimes use with their children: “If you can do the hardest thing (ride a bike) then you can do the not-hardest thing (learn to roller skate).” And it’s a good principle for adults as well. Once we conquer the highest mountain, we know we can conquer the not-highest mountain.

We can reverse the principle and apply it spiritually: If we are not afraid of the most powerful “thing,” we shouldn’t be afraid of lesser “things.” When Jesus sent the 12 disciples out to minister, He gave them lengthy instructions (Matthew 10). There was the possibility of persecution and rejection, but Jesus used the greater-lesser principle: As long as you fear God, there is no need to fear man (Matthew 10:28). After all, God can do the worst—He can send “soul and body” to hell. What can any man do that is as fearful? Nothing! So fearing God (respecting Him, honoring Him) is our greatest defense against all other fears.

Is there something you are afraid of? Take it to God. After all, there is nothing that can separate us from His love in Christ (Romans 8:35-39).

I fear not the tyranny of man, neither yet what the devil can invent against me.

John Knox


Ezekiel 36 – 38

Joyce Meyer – A Very Valuable Possession

“But man is freer than all the animals, on account of his free-will, with which he is endowed above all other animals.” – St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the gifts God gives us because He loves us is free will. If we did not have free will, then we would have no responsibility, either. We could wander through the days like robots waiting for the next thing to happen to us. But God did give us free will, and this puts tremendous responsibil¬ity on us. it also opens up to us possibilities of total joy and fulfillment.

God will give you all the tools you need on earth to fulfill the great plans He has for your life. But it’s up to you to take up those tools and use them effectively. We are partners with God. We never have to do anything without His help, but He also expects us to make a willful choice to do our part.

Many are called to do great things, but not everyone is willing to take the responsibility for what they are called to do. God helps us, but He does not do everything for us. My brother died at age fifty-eight in an abandoned building in Los Angeles because he wasn’t willing to take responsibility for his past mistakes and do the work involved in seeing his life restored. As long as someone else did everything for him he was fine, but as soon as he had to make right choices on his own, he always drifted back to living for the moment instead of making hard choices that would produce good results in the future.

I wanted to help my brother, but he would not help himself. God wants to help us, but we must do the part He gives us to do. We have free will, and we can make right and good choices just as easily as we can make bad ones. The choice is ours either way.

Love Yourself Today: “Thank You, Lord, for the gift of free will. Help me to exercise wisdom as I make my choices.”

From the book Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer.

Girlfriends in God – It’s No Small Thing

Today’s Truth

“Does it seem a small thing to you that the God of Israel has chosen you … to minister to them?”

Numbers 16:9

Friend to Friend

A friend sent this text: “I thought of you when I read Numbers 16:9 today!”

“Does it seem a small thing to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the people of Israel to be near Him as you serve in the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the people to minister to them?” (Numbers 16:9, NET Bible)

She texted again: “God chose you to serve Him in this tabernacle of flesh, to stand, talk, and to sing before people to minister to them.”

I thanked her and shook my head. No, it’s not a small thing at all. It is an honor: one that I don’t deserve, but for the healing, life-changing, grace of Jesus.

She probably thought of me because I serve on stage, in a visible position. I get it. But I have to tell you this, even though she thought of me, I thought of you.

And you should too.

Why? Because every person who places her faith in Jesus becomes a part of His plan: to know Him intimately and impact others for His glory. No microphone required. No Bible degree needed. You don’t have to be a pastor, ministry director, Sunday school teacher, elder, or deacon.

Several gems rise to the surface of this Scripture as I look it over. As a member of the body of Christ, God’s chosen, I must…

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – It’s No Small Thing

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Mind of Christ

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we must have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16, KJV).

The first thing I do when I awaken each morning is to kneel before my Lord in humility, meditate upon His attributes, and praise, worship and adore Him.

The last thing I do before I go to bed at night is to kneel in prayer, to praise, worship and give thanks to Him. Thus, my first thoughts are automatically of Him when I awaken, because all night long my subconscious mind has been meditating on Him.

Every morning of every day, I acknowledge His lordship. I gladly surrender control of my life to Him acknowledging my dependence upon Him. Then, by faith, I claim His mind and His wisdom for direction in every detail of my life. I trust Him to influence and control my attitudes, my motives, my desires, my thoughts and my actions.

In different words and ways, I remind Him that I am a suit of clothes for Him and that He can do anything He wants in and through me. I invite Him to walk around in my body. I ask Him to think with my mind, to love with my heart, to speak with my lips, to lead me wherever He wants me to go, to seek and save the lost through me.

We should study the Word of God daily and diligently, determining as an act of the will to pattern our lives according to His commands and His example. We begin to experience the reality and the availability of the mind of Christ when we literally saturate our minds with His thoughts and spend much time meditating upon His Word.

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 2:9-15

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Consciously and deliberately I will begin each day by inviting Christ to walk around in my body, think with my mind, love with my heart, speak with my lips and continue to “seek and save the lost” through me.

Ray Stedman – Sinful Morality

Read: Romans 2:1-11

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1

Here Paul talks about those who pass judgment on others. The apostle makes two points about these people. First, he says that these people know the difference between right and wrong; otherwise they would not presume to be judging. Paul’s second point about these people is that they are guilty because they are doing the same things themselves. The judges are as guilty as the ones they have in the dock.

Whenever moral people, those who pride themselves on a degree of righteousness and a standard of ethics, read a statement like this, they are taken by surprise. What do you mean? How could this be? I will use myself as an example, simply because I am such an excellent example of what the rest of us are like. I see three ways by which I try to elude the fact that I am guilty of the things that I accuse others of doing:

First, I am congenitally blind toward many of my own faults. I do not see that I am doing the same things that others are doing, and yet other people can see that I am. We all have these blind spots. One of the greatest lies of our age is the idea that we can know ourselves. We often argue, Don’t you think I know myself? The answer is, No, you do not know yourself. You are blind to much of your own life. There can be areas that are very hurtful and sinful that you are not aware of.

I caught myself the other day saying to someone, Relax! Take it easy! It was only afterward that I heard my own voice and realized that I was not relaxed, and I was not taking it easy myself. Have you ever lectured your children on the sin of procrastination? Then did you barely get your income tax report in on time, or not get it in at all? How blind we are! We are congenitally blind toward many of our own faults. We are indeed guilty of doing the very things we accuse others of doing.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – Sinful Morality

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Angels’ Age

Read: Hebrews 12:18-24

Innumerable angels in festal gathering. (v. 22)

That two-word title sounds even stranger than the previous one, “The Church’s Banquet.” Whatever does “Angels’ Age” mean? Nothing, surely, to do with how many years angels live?

We regularly use the word “age” in a way that has nothing to do with length of life. You remember Fred and Wilma Flintstone? As the theme song tells us, “They’re a modern Stone Age family.” And the cartoons are concerned neither with historical dates nor with how old these characters are, but with life imagined in a world of Stone Age cars and telephones and pets, in a Stone Age suburb.

The Flintstones lived in a world like, yet unlike, ours. In the same way, the New Testament talks about the “age to come” or the “world to come,” which is sooner or later going to replace this one that we see around us. Just as we could look back on the cartoonist’s view of life in the Stone Age world of the Flintstones, so we can look forward to life in the Angels’ Age world of George Herbert’s poem. In that future world, where everything will at last make sense, we shall see angels everywhere, carrying out God’s purposes. The poet’s point is that prayer can admit us here and now to that Angels’ Age view of things, seeing the invisible God working “all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11).

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Angels’ Age

Greg Laurie – Where Hope Grows

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. —Romans 5:3–4

Years ago I had a friend who was very sick and asked me to pray for him. I did. He got worse. He said, “I don’t ever want you to pray for me again.”

In our estimation, sometimes things go the wrong way. We may pray, “Lord, heal this person. Be glorified through this.”

But the Lord might say, “I will be glorified, but I’m not going to do it the way you want Me to. I’m going to do this other thing instead.”

Sometimes God will remove the affliction. Sometimes God will heal the illness. Sometimes God will take away the cancer. But sometimes the person will get worse.

We don’t usually like that. But it is in these times that God can be glorified. Everyone suffers in life. Christians suffer too. When a Christian is suffering and can still glorify God, that is a powerful testimony to a lost world. When non-Christians see us honoring the Lord through our suffering, it shows them how real our faith is. And guess what? It shows us how real our faith is too.

Do you think your faith would get stronger if everything were easy in life? No, your faith will get stronger through hardship. Here’s something that might surprise you: You even will develop more hope through tribulation. Romans 5:3–4 says, “But we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Hope grows in the garden of pain. It doesn’t grow without challenges or difficulty. It grows in hard times. It’s sort of like building muscle. You build it up by breaking it down. Then, as you keep working out, that muscle will get stronger. You develop strength through your weaknesses. This is true of Christians in their spiritual lives as well.

Kids 4 Truth International – Jesus Wants True Disciples

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” (John 8:31)

When Jesus was on Earth, He called people to come and follow after Him. You’ve probably heard the stories of how He called different men to be His followers, or disciples. He called Peter, Andrew, James, and John while they were fishing. He called Matthew, who was a tax collector. He even picked Judas, a man who would betray Him, to be His disciple. Twelve men were Jesus’ special followers who traveled with Him throughout His ministry on this Earth.

Women and children followed Jesus, too. Often there were crowds of people around Him wherever He went. But was everyone who followed after Jesus really His true disciple?

The word disciple means “a learner,” or someone who follows the teachings of another. Here are some things Jesus said about His true disciples. First, His disciples have to be people who have believed on Him (John 8:31). His disciples love Him more than anyone or anything else – even themselves (Luke 14:26). His disciples love each other (John 13:35). His disciples keep His Word – not just when they feel like it, but all the time (John 8:31). And His disciples bear fruit (John 15:8). In other words, people can look at them and see that God is changing their lives in good ways. He is making them like Jesus.

Jesus still wants true disciples today. Does it sound hard to be His true disciple? Jesus didn’t say that His true disciples would be perfect people. He did not say they would never fail in their love and obedience to Him. The word disciple means someone who is learning to love, obey, and bear fruit. Even disciples need the Holy Spirit’s help to make good changes in their lives. A disciple is someone who wants more than anything else to become like the perfect Teacher, Jesus Christ.

Jesus wants true disciples who are learning more and more to love and obey Him.

My Response:

» Am I a true disciple of Jesus?

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Definitive Sanctification

Today’s Scripture: 1 Corinthians 6:11

“You were sanctified.”

Our slavery to the dominion of sin was the result of our guilt incurred by Adam’s sin, further aggravated by our own personal sin. Through our union with Christ in his death, however, our guilt, both from Adam’s and from our own sins, was forever dealt with. Having then died with Christ to the guilt of sin, we died to, or were delivered from, the dominion of sin.

Whether we say we died to the dominion of sin, or we were delivered from the dominion of sin through our death to the guilt of sin, the result is the same. We no longer continue in sin as a dominant lifestyle. Sin no longer has dominion over us.

This death to, or deliverance from, sin’s dominion is often called definitive sanctification. You’re probably more or less familiar with the word sanctification, which historically has been used as a shorthand expression for Christian growth. Its basic meaning, however, is “separation,” and in using the term definitive sanctification we’re speaking of a decisive break—a decisive separation from sin as a ruling power in the believer’s life. It’s a point-in-time event occurring simultaneously with justification. It’s a change wrought in us by the monergistic action of the Holy Spirit as he removes us from the kingdom of darkness and brings us into the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13).

That’s why Paul could write to the Corinthian believers as those who had already been sanctified, even though they were still quite immature in their Christian walk (see 1 Corinthians 1:2,30; 6:11). This definitive break with the dominion of sin, which is solely the work of the Holy Spirit, occurs in the life of everyone who trusts in Christ as savior. There’s no such thing as justification without definitive sanctification.

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Temple Builders

Today’s Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1-6

I write to you…because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one. – 1 John 2:14

You are probably familiar with the teaching in 1 Corinthians 3 that every Christian is a living temple of God. But did you know you’re also a temple builder?

The apostle Paul saw himself as a wise master builder who had laid the foundation of Jesus Christ in the lives of the believers in Corinth. He knew that others would continue the spiritual building process in the lives of these new converts, and he had a word of warning and exhortation for them in 1 Corinthians 3:10: “Each one should be careful how he builds.” Why the warning?

When the Old Testament people of God set about to build the temple, did they hurriedly throw something together overnight? Did they put up a building that resembled a little tool shed? A Quonset hut? A pup tent? No, they constructed a building according to God’s blueprint and design. The Bible describes it as exceedingly magnificent because it was a place that would be worthy of the name of God. Paul applies this same divine standard of excellence to what we build in the lives of others.

When I was a very young Christian, a man named Don Rosenberger taught me how to study the Bible, encouraged me in the discipline of Scripture memory, and showed me how to share the gospel of Christ with others. He prayed with me and helped me learn how to obey the Lord in everyday life. This didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen in Don’s free time. He poured the best that he had into helping me become a disciple of Christ who would, in turn, build into the lives of others. That’s what the Lord wants you and me to be doing, too.


Lord, I want to faithfully pour my life into helping others become Your disciples. Amen.

To Ponder

Who could benefit from your knowledge of what it means to follow Christ?

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word –A SEARCH BEGINS

Read ESTHER 2:1–4

In Montclair, Calif., Melissa Andrade dreamed of being crowned homecoming queen. But Andrade has cerebral palsy, and it seemed unlikely— even impossible. One member of the football team decided to step in and help. He invited Melissa to the dance and led a campaign to name her queen. Her classmates joined in, and, in a fairytale ending, Melissa was crowned homecoming queen and became, in her own words, “the happiest girl in the world.”

The court of King Xerxes needed a new queen, now that Queen Vashti had been deposed. How would the leader of the world’s most powerful empire find a suitable woman? His advisors suggested a thorough search to find the most beautiful young woman to be his bride (v. 2). They combed the empire to find a collection of beautiful women and then pampered them to maximize every attractive feature (v. 3).

But remember the story of David’s selection to be anointed king. The Lord instructed Samuel to appoint a new king and sent him to the family of Jesse in Bethlehem. Tall and strong and handsome, Jesse’s sons lined up for scrutiny. But rather than choose someone based on external appearance, God looked at the heart. “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him” (1 Sam. 16:7). God selected David, a young shepherd boy, whom no one considered a candidate for the throne.

In the same way, we see God’s hand at work in the selection of Xerxes’ queen. The king and his advisors were considering only physical beauty. They didn’t realize that God was at work to select a queen who would possess godly character and a beautiful commitment to her people.


When we choose anything—a college for our children, a new home, a car—we may focus on what we want and what would make us (or those we love) happy. But God knows what is best for us. Ask God today to help you make wise decisions, choices that will bring Him glory and will work His divine will in your life.


It’s been a busy holiday weekend. Here are some of the headlines: the Catholic Church declared Mother Teresa a saint. Hermine is ruining holiday plans on the East Coast. College football has seen a weekend of upsets: Wisconsin beat LSU, Houston won over Oklahoma, and Texas defeated Notre Dame in overtime. Serena Williams won her 307th match in a Grand Slam tournament, the most in the history of women’s tennis. And North Korea fired three ballistic missiles this morning.

Now we’ve come to the most oxymoronically named day of the year. According to the United States Department of Labor, Labor Day “is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

So workers are honored by a day in which we do not work. That’s like a music awards show in which there is no music. The fact that we reward laborers by giving them a day without labor says something important about the way our culture views work.

Many people see work as a means to a better end, a necessity that pays the bills for the things we’d rather be doing. We bifurcate work and the rest of life. Is this how God sees work?

According to the Bible, “God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). “Put” translates a Hebrew word meaning “place, situate, settle down.” This was intended to be his permanent station, not just his temporary location.

God settled Adam in Eden “to work it and keep it.” “Work” translates a word meaning “to cultivate, labor, serve.” “Keep” means “to watch, guard.” The syntax makes clear that this was to be his ongoing lifestyle, not just his occasional activity.

Note that God’s call to work came before the Fall. In the perfect paradise of Eden, men and women were intended to work. This was not just what they did in the Garden—it was their purpose and lifestyle there.

From this fact we can conclude that God’s perfect plan includes a “garden of Eden” for each of us, an assignment we are to “work” and “keep.” We have a calling that makes our lives relevant today and significant eternally. He wants to fill every moment of every day with purpose and fulfillment.

So choose to see your work as your ministry. Know that the division between “clergy” and “laity” is unbiblical. There is no distinction between the “secular” and the “sacred” to the God who made everything and calls it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The first person you see tomorrow is someone for whom Jesus died. Your work is your service to your Father and your gift to his children.

Labor Day is a great day to make Jesus the Lord of every dimension of your life and ask his Spirit to redeem every hour for God’s glory and our good. Andrew Murray noted, “God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to him.”

Will yours be that life?