The following is a devotion from "Our Daily Bread" by Oswald Chambers...
- Bill Crowder
On a beautiful, warm January morning, a colleague and I were having breakfast in an outdoor coffee shop at MacRitchie Reservoir Park in Singapore. With a beautiful lake and immaculate gardens surrounding us and a light breeze blowing across the water, the setting was quiet, calm, and lovely.
At a nearby table, a young woman sat quietly reading her Bible. She was absorbed in the text, occasionally looking up to consider what she had read. She never said a word, but her heart and priorities were visible to everyone at that coffee shop. It was a gentle, positive, silent witness.
￼￼She was not ashamed of Christ or His Book. She neither preached a sermon nor sang a song. She was willing to be identified with the Savior, yet she did not need to announce that allegiance. In our attempts to share the message of Jesus, we must eventually use words, because ultimately words are needed to present the gospel. But we can also learn from the example of this woman.
There are times when the quietness of our everyday actions speak loudly, revealing our love for the Lord. In our desire to share Christ with a broken world, let’s not ignore the power of our silent witness.
Yielding your all to the Savior;
And letting His love flow through you;
Makes even your silent witness;
A witness of what God can do.
Witness for Christ with your life as well as your lips.
The following is a devotion from "Our Daily Bread" by Oswald Chambers...
Where Was God?
- Vernon Grounds
Was God sadistically absent? That’s what Robert McClory, professor emeritus of journalism at the Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, asked after Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans area of the US.
We may want to try to exonerate the Almighty for permitting disasters that rip apart vulnerable communities. But is God absent in such situations? No, McClory insists. Talking about the Katrina tragedy, he said that God was invisibly present “with the suffering and the dying. He was in the individuals, communities, churches, and schools that organized aid for the victims and took evacuees into their cities and homes. He was with the ￼￼hundreds of thousands who showed compassion by prayer and financial assistance.”
So it is in our own lives when a heartbreaking tragedy occurs, such as the death of someone we love. We have no completely satisfactory answer to life’s painful problems. We do know, however, that the Lord is present with us, for He said He would never leave us (Heb. 13:5). Jesus’ name “Immanuel” literally means “God with us” (Matt. 1:23).
Even though suffering baffles our minds, we can trust God to be near and to work out His purposes.
God’s unseen presence comforts me,
I know He’s always near;
And when life’s storms besiege our soul,
He says, “My child, I’m here.”
—D. De Haan
The storms of our life prove the strength of our Anchor.
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." - Romans 12:21
What this verse means to me is that we need to overcome sin and trials in our life. I just love to hear when people overcome sin and certain things in their life. We cannot let the devil overcome us and take control of our lives but with God we can overcome all the things in our life. Just have faith and believe in God and you will overcome for sure.
So why not be an overcomer today?!
Something that spoke to me was what Hannah Johnson shared in her devotions at our last GEM meeting (January GEM lesson) that really touched me and made me think. I really want to try to witness to people because we have received the free gift of salvation and there are souls so valuable that we should not waste time. Her devotion really encouraged me and I hope this will encourage you as well.
Written by: Alexis Johnson
Ever since the beginning of time it has been in God’s plan for a distinction to be between a man and a woman. Ever since the beginning of the church it has been in His plan for there to be a separation between the church and the world. Both distinction and separation are very important aspects to consider when addressing the topic of modesty in dress and daily living.
Many from the outside looking in consider holiness dress to be a wasted sacrifice. Yet, there is such a beauty in the rejection of self for the acceptance of God. It is rare for many holiness young people to realize that, however, because the majority of them have not accepted it in their hearts.
Many think that if it is long enough or high enough then they are alright according to the standards of holiness, but they fail to see that just as much attention is drawn to the body when the clothing clings to it.
Modesty is a heart issue. If a woman is only trying to receive the attention or interest of a man then it will be obvious in the way that she dresses. She can uphold to the right length of a skirt or height of a shirt, but what she indicates in the way it is worn speaks so much louder.
The subject of modesty is not only based on the issue of tight clothing, although that has become quite a problem in not only society, but in holiness churches as well. The style of clothing has become so corrupt that one must be careful on the design and make of the dress. When we get ready to head out the door to step into the world we should look at the mirror and ask ourselves; “Is there a motive behind the reason why I am wearing this? Am I wearing this outfit a certain way or taking after a certain style because I want to be noticed?” Sometimes we as woman are ignorant or innocent of the ways we cause men to stumble, but we must be cautious so as not to be the cause of it.
The reason we dress the way we do is because God wanted there to be not only a distinction between men and women but also a distinction between the church and the world. When we go out into the world they should be able to tell what we are and who we are by how we live and Who we live for. They should be able to know that we are different not only because of the way we dress but the way we live.
In 1 Peter 2:9 we are called “a holy nation, a peculiar people” so that we could “shew forth the praises of him” who has called us “out of darkness and into his marvelous light”. The word ‘peculiar’ means ‘precious’ and is used to describe a people that God is longing to call out of the world of darkness and be a light for those that are seeking truth.
Sure, living pure and modest may seem difficult and a sacrifice according to the world’s standards and maybe even by those in the church, but what is it compared to the Ultimate sacrifice that took place for us?
By: Sonia E. Vargas
A wonderful devotion from "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers...
Paul was speaking here of the things that might seem likely to separate a saint from the love of God. But the remarkable thing is that nothing can come between the love of God and a saint. The things Paul mentioned in this passage can and do disrupt the close fellowship of our soul with God and separate our natural life from Him. But none of them is able to come between the love of God and the soul of a saint on the spiritual level. The underlying foundation of the Christian faith is the undeserved, limitless miracle of the love of God that was exhibited on the Cross of Calvary; a love that is not earned and can never be. Paul said this is the reason that “in all these things we are more than conquerors.” We are super-victors with a joy that comes from experiencing the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.
Huge waves that would frighten an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. Let’s apply that to our own circumstances. The things we try to avoid and fight against—tribulation, suffering, and persecution—are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. “We are more than conquerors through Him” “in all these things”; not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. A saint doesn’t know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it. Paul said, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4).
The undiminished radiance, which is the result of abundant joy, is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can change. And the experiences of life, whether they are everyday events or terrifying ones, are powerless to “separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39)
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
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For Me? by Sonia E. Vargas http://www.amazon.com/dp/1499142382/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_tdPZtb1NCKD8F
Quotations from the Bible Study Plan of "Our Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers...
"If we lose “the heavenly vision” God has given us, we alone are responsible—not God. We lose the vision because of our own lack of spiritual growth. If we do not apply our beliefs about God to the issues of everyday life, the vision God has given us will never be fulfilled. The only way to be obedient to “the heavenly vision” is to give our utmost for His highest—our best for His glory. This can be accomplished only when we make a determination to continually remember God’s vision. But the acid test is obedience to the vision in the details of our everyday life—sixty seconds out of every minute, and sixty minutes out of every hour, not just during times of personal prayer or public meetings.
“Though it tarries, wait for it . . .” (Habakkuk 2:3). We cannot bring the vision to fulfillment through our own efforts, but must live under its inspiration until it fulfills itself. We try to be so practical that we forget the vision. At the very beginning we saw the vision but did not wait for it. We rushed off to do our practical work, and once the vision was fulfilled we could no longer even see it. Waiting for a vision that “tarries” is the true test of our faithfulness to God. It is at the risk of our own soul’s welfare that we get caught up in practical busy-work, only to miss the fulfillment of the vision. Watch for the storms of God. The only way God plants His saints is through the whirlwind of His storms. Will you be proven to be an empty pod with no seed inside? That will depend on whether or not you are actually living in the light of the vision you have seen. Let God send you out through His storm, and don’t go until He does. If you select your own spot to be planted, you will prove yourself to be an unproductive, empty pod. However, if you allow God to plant you, you will “bear much fruit” (John 15:8).
It is essential that we live and “walk in the light” of God’s vision for us (1 John 1:7). In all matters, O Lord, I would acknowledge You. Keep me in tune with You so that others may catch the joyousness and gladness of God."
From the archives...
Our society has adopted the ideal that enough just isn't enough. The goal is to arrive for everything that makes them happy. Yet, once they've achieved it, "everything" just isn't enough. The soul is still barren. The heart remaines unsatisfied.
Very few come to realize that the key to their satisfaction lies in the heart of God. To know His heart is to know satisfaction. To know His will is to know His heart. To seek His face is to know His will. "When GOD becomes your Everything, everything changes!"
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory. - Phil. 4:19
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. - Eph. 3:20
Discontentment demonstrates our lack of faith and satisfaction of God's provision!
Daily devotion from "Strength-Joy in the Lord" Bible Plan...
It is a wonderful thing to see a man or woman live in the light of something you cannot see. You can always tell when a person has an invisible standard; there is something that keeps them sweet when from every other consideration they ought to be sour. That is a mark of the Christian. He does not drift during times of peril. He has an anchor that holds within the veil. When we know that a time is coming when all things shall be explained fully, it keeps our spirit filled with uncrushable joy.
O Lord God, what You are to me I dimly begin to discern—more than morning light, more than joy and health, more than all Your blessings. Dawn on me afresh this morning and make me light all through with Your light.
Reflection Questions: How does knowing the one who holds the future keep me from drifting into despair? What light do I need to focus on to stay on the journey of joy? Where do I need to place my anchor to keep from drifting off course?
Quotations taken from The Place of Help and Knocking at God’s Door, © Discovery House Publishers
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
What is sacrifice?
Through research and study one would find plenty of descriptions and definitions of the word sacrifice.
A few that stuck out to me when I searched the word were these:
Although all three of these apply, furthermore, what does it mean to be a "living" sacrifice?
We are all familiar with sacrifice in terms of death, whether it be a person or an animal. We read a lot about this in the Old Testament. It is a Biblical fact that innocent blood had to be shed for the remission of sin. Before the days of Jesus Christ innocent blood came from animal sacrifices until God sent his only begotten Son.
Jesus took the place of those innocent animals, which only temporarily covered sin.
Jesus came to earth to become the ultimate sacrifice by laying down his very own life, opening doors of opportunity for all, and making it easier than ever before to be forgiven of sin. Now we no longer need to go to an altar somewhere out back every time we sin and slay and animal to cover our sins. All we need to do is accept Christ into our heart, believe that he lived, died, and resurrected for our transgressions, and ask him to forgive for our sins allowing his blood to wash away our iniquity.
Just as Jesus was an example of a "living sacrifice", so also we should live our lives as Christ.
Even though sin deserves death, we don't have to go to the extremes of crucifixion.
It may mean we lay down other things in our life, beyond the physical but rather the flesh. Dying to self, meaning; to sacrifice things that appease the flesh. Some of these "things" may include: our favorite movies, music, video games, time, food, and money. Although these things aren't necessarily bad, if they are hindering your relationship with the Lord, its time to surrender those things for something of far greater value. It may affect your reputation in the worlds eyes, but in the end you will develop favor in Gods eyes.
When I think of a living sacrifice, I think of something that continues with life which is a constant thing. When we are willing to give up the little things, we are ultimately giving our lives for the cause of Christ, allowing him to bless us with greater things. It may not be physical as a result of death but rather sacrificed, yet alive. After all, the scripture does refer to us presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, which is our reasonable service.
Our Savior died a brutal, bloody death. He's not asking too much of us to make sacrifices on a daily basis, but if it were to get to the point were your life was on the line, would you still be willing to make that sacrifice?
Even if it cost you your life?
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
In the end to be a "living sacrifice" is far more then just words and definitions.
It's a lifestyle, a choice, and a commitment to please Christ.
Will you present your life as a living sacrifice to the Lord or will you live a
half-hearted life when God deserves your all?
Written By: Hannah Johnson
The following devotion is from the Bible Plan, "Joy - Strength in the Lord":
All degrees of joy reside in the heart. How can a Christian be full of happiness (if happiness depends on the things that happen) when he is in a world where the devil is doing his best to twist souls away from God, where people are tortured physically, where some are downtrodden and do not get a chance? It would be the outcome of the most miserable selfishness to be happy under such conditions. But a joyful heart is never an insult, and joy is never touched by external conditions.
The Bible talks plentifully about joy, but it nowhere speaks about a “happy” Christian. Happiness depends on what happens; joy does not. Remember, Jesus Christ had joy, and He prays “that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves.”
Reflection Questions: What is the ratio of joy to happiness in my life? How often do I allow circumstances to determine my mood? How often am I joyful?
Quotations taken from Biblical Psychology, © Discovery House Publishers
… and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…
Do you take care of your body so it can work properly?
If you were going to run a race, what would you do to prepare for it?
You would probably sit around, eat junk food, and watch TV or stare at an Ipod/Iphone screen all the time, right? No! If you were going to run in a race you would prepare and eat the right foods, drink lots of water, and exercise to stay fit.
In Hebrews 12:1, we read about a very important race; a spiritual race.
Now most people do not even take very good care of their bodies and even less care of their spiritual bodies! But which body is more important? Think about it.
One will last for eternity and the other is just a shell until God comes back and gives us a new one.
I hope you are running with patience the race that is set before you and that this simple devotion has encouraged you.
Written By: Kristyn Johnson
Sonia E. Vargas
Sonia's desire and hope is to write for the purpose of inspiring this generation, especially young woman.
Hannah Helm is a fun and outgoing young woman who loves to bring laughter and joy to anyone she comes in contact with. She is 24 years old and is a leader of Girl's Exalting the Master Ministry.
Paula is a passionate follower of Christ and loves to encourage others around her to do the same. She is 27 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014.
Kristyn is a sweet and gentle young lady from Trinity Holiness Tabernacle. She is 19 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She plays the piano and sings beautifully. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014 and Honduras team in 2016.