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Scripture

[ecko_quote source=" Romans 8:28 NIV"]And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose[/ecko_quote]

Devotion

You’ve heard this phrase over and over: “Forgive and forget.” There’s only one problem with it: You can’t do it. It’s impossible! You really can’t forget a hurt in your life. In fact, you can’t even try to forget it. Because when you’re trying to forget, you are actually focusing on the very thing you want to forget.

Forgetting is not what God wants you to do. Instead, he wants you to trust him and see how he can bring good out of it. That’s more important than forgetting because then you can thank God for the good that he brought out of it. You can’t thank God for things you forget.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV).

God is so powerful that He makes ALL THINGS work together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose - that is, for those who have no ambition on earth outside of His will for their lives (Romans 8:28). One who has selfish ambitions cannot claim this promise. But if we accept the will of God totally, we can claim this promise every minute of our life on earth. Nothing can harm us.

Everything that others do to us - good or evil, accidental or deliberate - will go through the filter of Romans 8:28 and will come through working for our very best - conforming us each time a little more to the likeness of Christ (Rom. 8:29) - which is the good that God has planned for us. This filter works perfectly every single time for those who fulfil the conditions listed in this verse.

It doesn’t say that all things are good because all things are not good. Cancer is not good. A disease is not good. Death is not good. Divorce is not good. War is not good. Rape and abuse are not good. There are a lot of things in life that are evil. Not everything that happens in this world is God’s will.

But God says he will work good out of the bad things in life if you will trust him. When you come to him and say, “God, I give you all the pieces of my life,” he will return peace for your pieces. He gives you peace in your heart that comes from knowing that even if you don’t understand the hurt in your life, you can still forgive, knowing that God will use that pain for good.

You don’t have to forget the wrong thing that someone did to you. You can’t do it even if you tried! But God says you don’t have to forget it. You just have to forgive and then see how he will bring good out of it.

Talk It Over

Image Source: 
[http://jonah.uec.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/God-working-it-out-for-our-good.png]

Source: Rick Warner

Scripture

[ecko_quote source=" Philippians 4:8 GNT"]Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honourable[/ecko_quote]

Devotion

The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you, which is why the Bible teaches that we should “run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts . . . but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right” (2 Timothy 2:22a TLB).

Temptation begins by capturing your attention. What gets your attention arouses your emotions. Then your emotions activate your behaviour, and you act on what you feel. The more you focus on “I don’t want to do this,” the stronger it draws you in.

Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don’t argue with it — just hang up!

Sometimes this means physically leaving a tempting situation. This is one time it is okay to run away. Get up and turn off the television set. Walk away from a group that is gossiping. Leave the theatre in the middle of the movie. To avoid being stung, stay away from the bees.

Spiritually, your mind is your most vulnerable organ. To reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with God’s Word and other good thoughts. You defeat bad thoughts by thinking of something better. This is the principle of replacement. You overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

What's next?

Talk It Over

Image Source: 
[http://jonah.uec.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/temptation.jpg]

Source: Rick Warner

Scripture

[ecko_quote source=" Mathew 16:26"]For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? [/ecko_quote]

Devotion

Jesus in His Ministry spoke to the people using parables, examples and illustrations. In the above verse, He used the words such as profit, gain, loss and exchange which are related to the business and commerce field. Being a Chartered Accountant by profession; I know what He was saying, and I can fully appreciate His business acumen. Jesus was discussing a serious business issue. It was not related to the valuable commodities such as Platinum, Gold and Diamonds but more precious than these. In fact, incomparable! It's our “soul”. It costed God everything in order to gain our souls ....only because He loved us so dearly. To be precise, it costed God His only dear son Jesus. He could not redeem our souls with any of the created things, but He Himself had to shed blood to satisfy His Justice.

In the above verse, Jesus is asking us to do some simple calculations and do the real business. These are some very serious questions that need our full attention. We can’t mess with it. Otherwise, it would cost us our eternity. There is no second chance to alter our choices and once we made our choice there would be no turning back.We consciously or unconsciously trade our souls not knowing the eternal value of it. To gain the world and its possessions, we tend to put our souls as a capital. What a terrible trade and foolish exchange we are ready to do in our everyday life. Our soul which costed Jesus’s life can’t be exchanged for such perishables. So many of us are loving the world and its passions despite repeated warning from the Lord.

One of the disciples of Jesus named Judas Iscariot who was a treasurer made a deal with the temple priests to sell our Lord for thirty silver pieces.  In the fullest manner, Judas acknowledged to the chief priests that he had sinned, and betrayed an innocent person. This was the full testimony to the character of Christ, but the rulers were hardened. Casting down the money, Judas departed, and went and hanged himself, not being able to bear the terror of divine wrath, and the anguish of despair. It costed him so dearly of his eternity.  Wicked men see little of the consequences of their crimes when they commit them, but they must answer for them all. 

Thousands lose their souls for a small gain, or the most worthless indulgence, nay, often from mere sloth and negligence. Whatever is the object for which men forsake Christ, that is the price at which Satan buys their souls. One soul is worth more than all the world. This is Christ's judgment upon the matter; He knew the price of souls, for He redeemed them; nor would He underrate the world, for He made it. The dying transgressor cannot even purchase one-hour respite to seek mercy for his perishing soul. Let us then learn rightly to value our souls, and Christ as the only Saviour of them.

My dear friends, I can promise you that there is only one thing that will leave with you from this world when you die, and that’s your soul; nothing else. Everything else will remain. Therefore, I believe we need to get our priorities right this very day. We should put God first then our families and followed our Ministry for the Lord.

What's next?

There is nothing wrong in making money, being prosperous and successful. As 3 John 2 says “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers”. God wants us to have these blessings, but we need to understand the importance of having our priorities in order so that the Lord can bless us.

Image Source: 
[http://www.biztechreport.com/images/AP-ISSUE2-FINAL[1]_Page_25_Image_0001.jpg]

Scripture

[ecko_quote source="Ephesians 4:26"]Be angry, and do not sin” do not let the sun go down on your wrath[/ecko_quote]

Devotion

Few things are more destructive to Christians who anger. Anger causes us to lose our self-control and to say and do things we would otherwise never consider saying or doing. Anger, if allowed to remain, turns into bitterness that eats away at our hearts. Scripture consistently commands believers to put away anger and lists it as one of the sins of the flesh (Eph 4:31).

At times, we try to defend our anger by citing Ephesians 4:26. As additional proof, we argue that Jesus cleansed the temple in “righteous indignation”. Ephesians refers to anger that does not lead to sin. Jesus was capable of being angry without sinning. When Jesus cleared the temple, Scripture does not indicate that He was angry (Matt 21:12; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-46)

We must be careful not to justify our anger with Scripture. Ephesians 4:31 commands us to put away all anger. That does not mean that we cease to have strong convictions or lose our desire for justice. It does mean we refuse to allow others’ sins that cause us to sin. Anger does not bring about God’s redemptive work; far more often it hinders what God is working to accomplish.

If you feel that you have a righteous anger because of something that has happened, see if you are holding anger in your heart without sin. Is your anger turned into bitterness? Is it causing you to make an excuse for your ungodly behavior? You must examine any anger within you and allow God to remove any sinful attitude that your anger may have produced.

Even the best-motivated anger can sour, and we are therefore to put it aside at the end of the day. Taken to bed, it is likely to give the devil an opportunity to use it for his purpose. If anger is prolonged, one may begin to seek vengeance and thereby violate the principle taught in Romans 12:17–21.

What's Next?

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Source: Pastor Jonah - UEC Ministries and Henry T Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

[http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1157172/images/o-MANAGING-ANGER-facebook.jpg]

Scripture

[ecko_quote source="Judges 6:39"]Please don't be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew[/ecko_quote]

Devotion

There are degrees of faith. At one stage of Christian experience, we cannot believe unless we have some sign or experience a great manifestation of feeling. We feel our fleece, like Gideon, and if it is wet we are willing to trust God. This may be true faith, but it is imperfect. It always looks for a feeling or some token besides the Word of God. It marks quite an advance in faith when we trust God without feelings. It is blessed to believe without having any emotion.

There is a third stage of faith which even transcends that of Gideon and his fleece. The first phase of faith believes when there are favourable emotions, the second believes when there is the absence of feelings, but this third form of faith believes God and His Word when circumstances, emotions, appearances, people, and human reason all urge to the contrary. Paul exercised this faith in Acts 27:20,25, “ And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away”. Notwithstanding all this Paul said, “ Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer; for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me”.

We read of Moses in Exodus that  he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. Exactly the opposite was true of the children of Israel in the record. They endured only when the circumstances were favourable; they were largely governed by the things that appealed to their senses, in place of resting in the invisible and eternal God.  The children of Israel did not believe till after they saw, when they saw Him work, then they believed. They really doubted God when they came to the Red sea; but when God opened the way and led them across and they saw Pharaoh and his host drowned- “then they believed”.

They led an 'up and down' life because of this kind of faith; it was the kind of faith that depended upon circumstances. This is not the kind of faith God wants us to have. The world says “seeing is believing” but God wants us to believe in order to see. The Psalmist said, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living”.

What's Next?

Do you believe God only when the circumstances are favorable, or do you believe no matter what the circumstances may be?

Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe – St. Augustine

May God give us faith to fully trust His Word though everything else witnesses the other way.

Source: Pastor Jonah - UEC Ministries and Streams in the Desert

[http://media.freebibleimages.org/stories/FB_Gideon_Fleece/overview_images/016-gideon-fleece.jpg?1436947884]

Scripture

[ecko_quote source="James 1:22"]But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves [/ecko_quote]

Devotion

God says, if you want to understand His Word, you will need to put it on like your shoes, go out and try it for size. We are to read it, do it and then report on it. It's because understanding comes by experiencing it. After you have had the experience, no one can argue you out of it.

A lot of King’s Kids (believers), not knowing that have been in Bible study groups where they have studied ten years, and they are looking forward to another ten years’ study to give them an understanding of the Word of God. Yet they are no further along in bodily health and prosperity, nor will they be until they become doers of the Word. King’s Kids hear the Word and goes right out and do it, so they will not forget what it is all about.

Doers of the Word are always in trouble, about to get out of trouble, or on the verge of getting into more trouble. That is how doers of the Word operate, knowing that what the world calls trouble is just raw material for God’s glory.

A woman went shopping one afternoon, and one person snatched her handbag and flew down the street with it. Well, the woman was sold out to Jesus, and instead of chasing after the purse- snatcher or calling the police, she reached down in her heart for the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. She got hold of one of the Psalms in the process, the one that says” Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust (Psalm 91:3-6). Sooner than it takes to tell it, the woman saw that the Scripture was her gurantee that God would protect her from the thing that had just happened to her, so she reminded Him of it. “I am covered with feathers!” she yelled at the top of her voice.

The purse-snatcher was so confused that he dropped the purse and took off at the double of his former speed. And so the Word of the Lord delivered the woman from her enemy, according to His promise, because the woman did not just hear it, she acted on it.

In the midst of trouble, the doer of God’s Word acquires experience to give him hope for the next time. It is a constant and glorious regenerative process. A hearer, on the other hand, is exercising only his hearing mechanism. His ears get bigger while the rest of him weakens. His feet go to sleep and stay there, and he deceives himself by saying, “well, I know my heart is right, so I do not have to be a doer of the Word. I will just let other people tend to that. I will stay where I am comfortable and safe. When a man has that sort of attitude, he is not benefited, and God is not glorified.

What's Next?

When we become doers of the Word and not hearers only, we never find ourselves dying of boredom in a channel somewhere. Being King’s Kids in action is a lively business. It can get you thrown out of some interesting places, but it can introduce the power of God in some interesting places too. It is worth the risk. When the power of God is manifested through a King’s Kid in action.

Source: Pastor Jonah - UEC Ministries and Harold Hill

[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-CzgTijjx5Eo/VfdWlUCHrBI/AAAAAAAAIJk/MFB_pa8Ezc8/s640/photo-1436390195361-c3c86efcf48b.jpg]

Scripture

[ecko_quote source="Romans 6:12"] Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires [/ecko_quote]

Devotion

It has been a general tendency among some believers to commit sin, ask for forgiveness and then come back only to recommit the same sin for which they earlier sought forgiveness.

God's law for all sin is punishment followed by transgression and suffering. When a man squanders his fortune by extravagance, he may bitterly repent, but he continues to suffer for his folly. When a man becomes a drunkard or addicted to smoking, he may be full of sorrow for what he has done, but his body and his family would still face the consequences of his luxury of sin. When a woman loses her character, she may weep tears of bitter repentance, and God may pardon her as He pardoned Mary Magdalen, but she can never recover her character and must suffer the consequences of her acts.

In this world or the next, all sin must be compensated for suffering. Christ by His death removed the guilt of sin, but not the suffering for sin. Apostle Peter bids us to remember that suffering remains as a consequence, for he exhorts us, "Forasmuch as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin." That is, the sin would be wholly compensated, only when the suffering it brings after it has been committed. The sin may be forgiven and suffered for, but the scar remains on his soul. The blood heals, but the scar remains.

What is required for God to forgive sin? Repentance. However, even repentance does not ensure the removal of the consequences of sin. The consequences often remain as a reminder of the terrible, destructive nature of sin.

King David was forgiven for his grievous sin of lust, adultery, robbery and murder. God forgave him and removed his sin from him completely (Ps 103:12). God did not, however, remove the pain that David would endure as a result of his transgressions. The child born of David’s adultery died (2 Sam 12:14), David’s son Ammon spoiled David’s daughter Tamar (2 Sam 13:14), David’s son Absalom murdered Ammon (2 Sam 13:28-29); Absalom brought the kingdom into rebellion (2 Sam .15).

For the rest of David’s reign, violence filled his home and his kingdom. Although David knew he was forgiven, he bore the painful consequences of his sin for the rest of his life.

What's next?

It is incorrect to assume that God removes every consequence the moment you repent of your sin. Do not think that the very instant you show remorse God will restore everything as it was. He may not. Some sins, such as adultery, come from a flawed character. God forgives sin immediately upon repentance, but it takes longer to build character. It is a character, not forgiveness; that determines what God brings next to your life.

Because we know the devastating consequences of our disobedience, let us diligently avoid every sin and “run with endurance the race that set before us (Heb 12:1)

Source: Pastor Jonah Ravinder and Blackby

[https://ulvog.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/consequences.jpg]

Scripture

[ecko_quote source=" Mathew 16:26"]For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? [/ecko_quote]

Devotion

Jesus in His Ministry spoke to the people using parables, examples and illustrations. In the above verse, He used the words such as profit, gain, loss and exchange which are related to the business and commerce field. Being a Chartered Accountant by profession; I know what He was saying, and I can fully appreciate His business acumen. Jesus was discussing a serious business issue. It was not related to the valuable commodities such as Platinum, Gold and Diamonds but more precious than these. In fact, incomparable! It's our “soul”. It costed God everything in order to gain our souls ....only because He loved us so dearly. To be precise, it costed God His only dear son Jesus. He could not redeem our souls with any of the created things, but He Himself had to shed blood to satisfy His Justice.

In the above verse, Jesus is asking us to do some simple calculations and do the real business. These are some very serious questions that need our full attention. We can’t mess with it. Otherwise, it would cost us our eternity. There is no second chance to alter our choices and once we made our choice there would be no turning back.We consciously or unconsciously trade our souls not knowing the eternal value of it. To gain the world and its possessions, we tend to put our souls as a capital. What a terrible trade and foolish exchange we are ready to do in our everyday life. Our soul which costed Jesus’s life can’t be exchanged for such perishables. So many of us are loving the world and its passions despite repeated warning from the Lord.

One of the disciples of Jesus named Judas Iscariot who was a treasurer made a deal with the temple priests to sell our Lord for thirty silver pieces.  In the fullest manner, Judas acknowledged to the chief priests that he had sinned, and betrayed an innocent person. This was the full testimony to the character of Christ, but the rulers were hardened. Casting down the money, Judas departed, and went and hanged himself, not being able to bear the terror of divine wrath, and the anguish of despair. It costed him so dearly of his eternity.  Wicked men see little of the consequences of their crimes when they commit them, but they must answer for them all. 

Thousands lose their souls for a small gain, or the most worthless indulgence, nay, often from mere sloth and negligence. Whatever is the object for which men forsake Christ, that is the price at which Satan buys their souls. One soul is worth more than all the world. This is Christ's judgment upon the matter; He knew the price of souls, for He redeemed them; nor would He underrate the world, for He made it. The dying transgressor cannot even purchase one-hour respite to seek mercy for his perishing soul. Let us then learn rightly to value our souls, and Christ as the only Saviour of them.

My dear friends, I can promise you that there is only one thing that will leave with you from this world when you die, and that’s your soul; nothing else. Everything else will remain. Therefore, I believe we need to get our priorities right this very day. We should put God first then our families and followed our Ministry for the Lord.

 

What's next?

There is nothing wrong in making money, being prosperous and successful. As 3 John 2 says “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers”. God wants us to have these blessings, but we need to understand the importance of having our priorities in order so that the Lord can bless us.

Image Source: 
[http://www.biztechreport.com/images/AP-ISSUE2-FINAL[1]_Page_25_Image_0001.jpg]

Scripture

[ecko_quote source=" Mathew 25:35-40"]For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me." Then the righteous will answer him and say, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or see you thirsty and give you drink? “. The king will say to them in reply, "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did to one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.[/ecko_quote]

Devotion

Mother Teresa’s entire charitable ministry is based on the gospel message above. When Mother Teresa looked into the eyes of those that she literally pulled out of the gutter, she saw Jesus Christ in them. She said, "They are Jesus. Everyone is Jesus in a distressing disguise (in the mask)." She dared not defy Matthew 25:35-40, for she knew when she was holding a starved, dying, and sick child - she was actually holding Jesus Christ in her arms.

Mother Teresa once said, “My true community is the poor, their security is my security, their health is my health. Christ prays in me, Christ speaks to me... Christ looks through my eyes, Christ speaks through my words; Christ works with my hands. Christ walks with my feet; Christ loves with my heart." This was her experience of the above scripture. She put forth the above word in action and saw several people experience the love of Christ. Her actions spoke louder than words, in fact, her words and actions became the same.

I heard a story of a notorious thief who entered "Nirmal Hriday", the hospital run by Mother Teresa’s charitable mission at night to steal some things. Everyone seemed to be asleep except one patient who was very ill and was coughing continually. Mother Teresa, heard the patient’s suffering and came to him in the middle of the night to serve him. When Mother Teresa entered the room, the thief immediately went aside, covered himself with the window screen. He was glancing at what the mother was doing from behind the screens. Patient's aggravated cough caused him to vomit so mother started searching for a basin to take up the vomit. Since she couldn’t find anything nearby she immediately spread her hands to gather it. The thief who was observing it all, was immediately convicted. He came out, fell at her feet, cried inconsolably and repented for his sins. He invited Jesus into his heart and since then started working for  Nirmal Hriday. The thief was convicted by looking at the Christ-like deeds exhibited by Mother Teressa. Dear ones, be content to act and leave the talking to others; as the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words”.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "I would have had no problem following this man, Jesus of Nazareth". In fact, it is heard that he loved to sing the hymn "When I Survey the Wonderous Cross" on his way to the Hindu temple to worship foreign gods. But, he said, "I cannot reconcile myself with His followers" (In Contrast to his perspective, Jesus, never asked us to follow people. He said "Follow me" as he is our ultimate example. We can learn from those who follow Jesus not because of their own nature but because of the Christ-like nature in them). However, it is evident that Mahatma Gandhi, obviously, did not see the love of Christ in us. Even today, we keep fighting with each other in our fellowships/churches. If we ourselves are miserably failing inside by not being able to reconcile or tolerate our fellow brothers and sisters, then how can we show Christ love to others (outside our church communities). Dear ones, let us put a full stop to these attitudes and start showing love through our actions rather than words. Let us be aware that one of the most important commodities that people need to see in you and me is the love of Christ.

What's next?

Today, let us by faith choose to love the unlovable and to serve those that others avoid. The world is waiting  to experience the unconditional love of Jesus Christ through you and me. So go out today and be an agent for Jesus Christ. Doing the service to the humanity in Jesus name is in fact doing service to our Lord.

Image Source: 
[http://www.asianews.it/files/img/INDIA_-_0621_-_Madre_Teresa.jpg]

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