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Tag: always

God Is Always In Control

Five Reasons Not to Worry About Tomorrow

Written by Janet Perez Eckles on 17/01/2017

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: WorryControlGodJesus


Before I even speak a word, you know what I will say.

Psalm 139:4

My husband and I took off for our routine evening walk the other day. And as we rounded the walking trail, he repeatedly had to duck to avoid smashing his head against the branches that hung low. He endured this annoyance for a while.

However, that all changed when God showed him not to worry or be anxious…

The next day, before we headed out, he grabbed the trimming clippers from the garage. Armed with this weapon that he carried rifle style, we set off for our walk. As we drew closer, he gave a gasp of surprise. The maintenance folks had taken care of the trimming.

I couldn’t suppress my laughter as he carried the clippers back home.

We all do that, don’t we? When the branches of life annoy us, we get fed up. Sometimes we become anxious because the problem persists. Maybe we lost our job and spend night and day looking for another, or maybe we make poor decisions in our finances because we’re so upset about being without enough money. Then anger flares up, wondering if God is watching. And frustrated, we ask ourselves if He’s planning to do anything about it.

But through David’s words In Psalm 139, God reminds us the he is in full control!

  1. He’s aware of our every move. “You know when I am resting or when I am working… (Psalm 139:2)
  2. He reads our mind. “From heaven you discover my thoughts..” (Psalm 139:2)
  3. He follows us wherever we go. “…You notice everywhere I go.” (Psalm 139:3)
  4. God knows our habits, quirks and flaws. “You notice everything I do…” (Psalm 139:3)
  5. God is ahead of the game. “Before I even speak a word, you know what I will say,” (Psalm 139:4)

Remember, that God is always in full control regardless of what we allow our insecurities to let us believe.


Pray this week:

Lord, help me let go of my worries and trust You to take care of me and all of my needs. Thank you for being a gracious God who knows my thoughts from afar.


If God is working on taking care of the glitches ahead, why do we carry the clippers of worry?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What is God’s Favor?

God is with us—for our good and His glory.

Written by GodLife on 01/03/2016

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: BlessingsDifficultyFavorLifeLoveSufferingTrials


The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered…When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes…

Genesis 39:2-4

If your life includes some trouble and suffering, you are not alone. Think of Joseph’s story. (Genesis 37, 39-50) He was the favorite of his father's twelve sons. He became second-in-command to the Pharaoh of Egypt. He even saved the ancient world from famine. Surely this was a man in God's favor!

Did you notice what was left out of that story? Stay in only certain parts of Joseph's story and it is easy to see his favor with God. But who could forget his brothers’ betrayal? How he was sold into slavery? How his purity was tested in his master's house? How he was thrown into prison for something he did not do? There's no denying it. Joseph suffered. And his great suffering was a key part of God's plan.

Notice that:

  1. God's plan was bigger than Joseph. How could he have predicted the way God saved Egypt and Israel?
  2. Joseph's suffering was not the end of the story. Thirteen years of hardship is terrible. But Joseph himself said he forgot all about the trouble (Gen. 41:51) during the next 80 great years.
  3. Joseph’s hard experiences brought him great peace and insight about God's nature. (Gen. 45:7-8Gen. 50:20)
  4. Readers of his story are reminded, "the Lord was with him." (Genesis 39:323)

When I am going through hardship, I can’t read my own story and see the note, "the Lord was with him." In fact, it often feels like he is not. Was it different for Joseph? Did he feel out of God's favor when his brothers sold him into slavery? When he went to prison for something he didn't do? Whether or not he felt that way, he came to understand that his trouble did not reflect God’s displeasure with him. He said it himself — what others intended for his harm, God intended for good, to accomplish the saving of many lives. (Gen. 50:20) And not only saving those ancient lives.

His story reminds us that hard times don’t necessarily mean God is displeased with us. He has bigger plans for us to embrace! He’s still writing the story. Some comfort can only come through hardship — and for the sake of the larger story, we have to go through it and pass it on. Remember Joseph. And just think how much poorer we would be if we only knew the easy, comfortable parts of his story!


Pray this week:

Dear God, thank you for always being with me. Please help me to remember that hard times don’t always mean you are displeased with me. Help me to feel your love even when I’m in bad situations. I trust your plans for my life, even if I can’t see the bigger picture.


Do hard times mean God does not favor you? Talk with a caring Christian about it.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Do Not Fear

Living in Confidence Because God is With Us

Written by Dan Lee on 19/09/2017

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: FearConfidenceFaith


Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

What’s the most common command in the Bible, appearing in one form or another, more than 300 times?

“Don’t be afraid.”

Why should we not be afraid? Because, as God told Joshua in Deuteronomy, if we are a follower of Christ, God is with us. In fact, one of Jesus’ titles is “Immannuel,” meaning “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14)

What or who do we often fear the most? People. But God’s word says we should fear God, not people.

Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.”

Here are some different kinds of fear, and how God’s word helps us combat them:

People can insult us

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” (Matthew 5:11)

Jesus says that we are BLESSED when people insult us for His sake. Why? Because it means we are following Jesus in a way that people actually notice, and that some will react against (see also John 15:18-191 Peter 3:14)

People can harm us

In Acts 5, the Apostles were put on trial for preaching the gospel. They were sort of acquitted, but then they were beaten. Then “they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (Acts 5:41). And what did they do right afterward? “Every day . . . they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus” (Acts 5:43).

People can kill us

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

These words of Jesus were not just theoretical; most of His disciples wound up being martyred.

Even today, in rare cases, people can be killed because of their Christian faith. But in light of eternity, as long as we are headed for Heaven, even losing our life is not that bad. And dying for Christ’s sake is a high honor.

In Matthew 28:18-20, when Jesus commanded the disciples to take His message to the end of the world, he reassured them (and us) by saying, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

What are some other fears that can hinder us?

Fear of imagined circumstances

“The sluggard says, 'There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!'” (Proverbs 22:13) Our fears are often much worse than what actually happens. A “sluggard” is a lazy person; so this verse tells us that yielding to imaginary fears can actually be a way to avoid responsibility.

Fear of displeasing people

Galatians 1:10 says, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

The bottom line is, when we are fearing people, it’s because we are insecure about ourselves. Strangely enough, insecurity about ourselves stems from pride — being preoccupied with what others think about us.

And yet, our issues usually go unnoticed because most people are too busy thinking about themselves. It’s like a teenager who thinks everyone is staring at a flaw on his face, when actually most people don’t even notice or care about the flaw.

When we truly have confidence in our right standing before the Lord, we won’t give much thought to what people think about us. Passages like this will describe us:

“So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6)

And finally, one of my favorites. Pray this for your friends and ask them to pray that the Holy Spirit would make it true in your life as well: “The righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1b).


Pray this week:

Father, thank You that You are always with me. Thank You, Jesus, that You are Immanuel, God with me. Help me to live in the confidence that comes from knowing that You will never leave me or forsake me. Amen.


How has fear kept you from accomplishing what the Lord wants you to do? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Do You Always Understand the Bible?

The Bible as a unified portrait of the Savior

Written by GodLife on 09/01/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Prophecy, Reading, Evangelism, Confusion
Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’

Luke 24:44
Have you ever felt confusion when reading the Bible? What does it mean? How does it help you know God and His plan for your life?

On a trip to Jerusalem, a court official from Ethiopia read aloud from the Scriptures. He was getting more and more confused as he heard a voice coming from beside his chariot:

“Do you understand what you are reading?” “How can I, unless someone guides me?” the Ethiopian Eunuch responded, inviting Philip the evangelist to be seated. (Acts 8:30-31)

All of us have felt like the Ethiopian official at some point in time. Sometimes reading the word of God can be difficult to understand without guidance. Here are some ideas to help you get more out of God’s Word:

1. Each Book Has An Approach
What parts of a speech or book do you usually remember best? The stories? The Bible is full of exciting, true stories: The Creation and Fall. The Flood. The offering of Isaac. The Exodus. All of these help us know ourselves better as we get to know the people in them. When I see their limitations, it makes me think about, and admit, my own. Their stories also work together to give background to the biggest story of all. They tell us why Jesus had to come to earth. They tell us what His family tree was like. They tell us what the world was like when He came.

For me, another thing that makes part of a speech stand out is when a speaker suddenly switches to a different approach. God has done this throughout the Bible. He said, “I spoke to the prophets; it was I who multiplied visions, and through the prophets gave parables.” (Hosea 12:10). The prophets made predictions that came true, proving God’s eternal knowledge. The Bible’s preachers acted things out, giving the hearers and readers a clearer picture of God’s view of things. They used comparisons, called “parables,” getting to the eternal truth behind the personal struggles everyone faces. (God knows we tend to miss the truth because of our feelings.) They answered their own questions, like a lawyer in a courtroom moving the argument along. Through these writers, God explains how hard He has worked to reach the people who were turning away from Him. (Jeremiah 7:13-26 is an example.) When you read the Bible, ask yourself what God was trying to do with the people to whom it was originally written.

2. Each Story Fits Into His Story
A turning point eventually came in the bigger story. God showed up, in person. As Hebrews 1:1-2 puts it, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” The four Gospels are a faithful record of Jesus’ life and ministry. Although three Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) are very similar, they each give a slightly different angle on Jesus’ ministry. They do this even while using most of the same events and sermons. The fourth Gospel (John) is very different from the other three. It begins in eternity, with God, the Creator of all created things, taking humanity upon Himself. (John 1:1-3, 14) It is written so that readers will believe Jesus is the Son of God, and have eternal life through Him. (John 20:21) The rest of the New Testament shows Jesus’ earliest disciples carrying on His mission, gathering followers as they spread the Good News, and writing to help the churches they began live out their faith.

3. Each Part Fills In a Detail of the Savior’s Profile
To help listeners get the point of a message, a speaker uses time wisely, building to the end. The Bible likewise explains that the most important part, the coming of Christ, took preparation. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.” (Galatians 4:4) By giving us the detailed story of His family history and their successes as they trusted in God, their failures as they did not, God prepared readers for the story of Christ. World conditions were also ripe for Jesus’ coming in a number of specific ways, as described in this GotQuestions.org page.

Jesus told Nicodemus that, as “the teacher of Israel,” he should have already known that a person had to be born from above in order to see the Kingdom of God. (John 3:10) He challenged the religious teachers of his day who were arguing with Him by telling them the scriptures all testified about Him. (John 5:39) He specifically said Abraham foresaw His day (John 8:56), Moses wrote about Him (John 5:46) and complained that his followers were “…foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” (Luke 24:25)

Because he understood this truth, Philip the Evangelist was able to use the passage Ethiopia’s Treasurer was reading in the book of the prophet Isaiah, (Isaiah 53:7-8), written about 650 years before Christ was born, to tell him the good news about Jesus. (Acts 8:35) Would you be able to do something like that? Ask God to help you understand the Bible’s big picture as you read it all the way through this year.

Pray this week:
God, thank you for a new year. Will you show me what the Bible is all about this year as I commit to reading it through?

Do you have questions about how the Bible fits together?

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member