Recovering From Addiction

How far are you willing to go in destroying your life with an addiction?

Written by David on 28/03/2017
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Repentance, Forgiveness, New Life, Restitution, Brokenness
If you have sinned, you should tell each other what you have done. Then you can pray for one another and be healed. The prayer of an innocent person is powerful, and it can help a lot.

James 5:16
The end of the line for an addicted person is a self-made prison with four walls — Terror, Confusion, Frustration and Despair. There seem to be no doors or windows, and fear fills your life as you see that you’ve embraced self-destruction of your own accord. There is no protection for what awaits you in the deepest, darkest, isolated, solitary moment of an out-of-control life of sin.

God’s Word is there to give you hope. But first there must be a "death:" “In the same way, you must think of yourselves as dead to the power of sin. But Christ Jesus has given life to you, and you live for God.” (Romans 6:11) This is because the hope is not found in yourself: “I know that my selfish desires won’t let me do anything that is good. Even when I want to do right, I cannot.” (Romans 7:18)

Apathy Gives the Enemy Power
Do you spend a daily time with the Lord? Make it a daily quest in your life. Many days I falter in this goal to be in the presence of the Lord through His Word. But I know that my mind, left to itself, will wander to a place of apathy. And I know where this leads: shame, anxiety and destruction. This is what the Bible calls evidence of the "natural man:" a sinful nature seeded in our heart. “More than anything else, a person's mind is evil and cannot be healed. No one truly understands it.” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Where are You Looking for Your Fulfillment?
King David allowed his own heart to wander. It threw him into the four-walled prison: Terror, Confusion, Frustration and Despair. “In the spring, when the kings normally went out to war, David sent out Joab, his servants, and all the Israelites. They destroyed the Ammonites and attacked the city of Rabbah. But David stayed in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of his palace. While he was on the roof, he saw a woman bathing. She was very beautiful.” (2 Samuel 11:1-2) King David should have been fighting alongside his men as other kings went out to war. Instead, he stayed behind, allowing his eyes and mind to wander and looking at the beautiful Bathsheba. He fixed his eyes and didn’t turn away. Acting against God’s will according to his own desires resulted in an unexpected sequence of events. His sinful thoughts and pattern of behavior led to a terrible outcome.

Hope is Found in Brokenness Before God
God searches the heart to find what is good in us. The good is what He has planted. It is a seed that yearns to have a true, authentic relationship with Him. You must have a broken spirit, as David eventually expressed: "I know about my sins, and I cannot forget my terrible guilt. You are really the one I have sinned against; I have disobeyed you and have done wrong. So it is right and fair for you to correct and punish me." (Psalm 51)

And Once You Have Confessed and Received His Restoration…
Focus on what is hopeful and favorable. “Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8) True faith continues to take God at His word. “If we are not faithful, he will still be faithful. Christ cannot deny who he is.” (2 Timothy 2:13)

This is the turning point of our conversion: repentance, total acceptance and submission to Him through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit living in us. In spite of this, it’s possible to wander in dissatisfaction, looking to fulfill our lives with worldly pleasures and worthless things. When we do this, we can quickly be distracted from God. Losing our perspective about what is important leaves us with emptiness. So the temporary pleasure ends with shame and self-destructive despair. It’s like falling on the sword of our own actions and desires.

The Path of Restoration for a Broken, Sinful Life
God is the answer for the broken hearted and sinful man. Addiction may have taken you to a place of desperation and even complete destruction of some things in your life. Remember that God is much bigger than any "hopeless" situation. Yet there has to be a complete turnaround. You must confess. Admit your sinful habits. Complete confession means confronting your ways from the moment they led you away from God all the way to the end. You need true, transparent, genuine repentance. God will forgive your sin if you confess. (1 John 1:7-10)

Pray this week:

Lord, keep me safe from the sinful ways of my heart. Fill my heart and mind with your thoughts and keep me in the path of righteousness. Create in me a pure heart and make my spirit right again. Amen

Your story could be complicated, like that of Zacchaeus. (Luke 19:1-10)

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While I Kept Partying, My Parents Kept Praying – Part 3: Profession of Faith

My transformational moment

Written by Luis Palau
Tags: Salvation, Testimony
This article was written by Andrew Palau.

Six months after I read Say Yes! Dad invited me to a Palau outreach in Jamaica. While I had absolutely no interest in going to an evangelistic gathering, I reasoned, I love my folks. I love to travel. And I love to fish. And, then, to make the invitation even more enticing, it was freezing at the time where I lived (Boston). The thought of traveling to warm Jamaica was quite appealing.

I was 27 years old when I listened to Dad tell the Jamaican crowd about the difference that Jesus Christ makes in a life. I had heard that message hundreds of times before, but for the first time I sincerely wanted that difference. I made a profession of faith that day.

Despite my profession of faith and getting involved in Bible study, I did not feel a real sense of intimacy with the Lord. I’d ask Him, Why is this not working for me? I’m really sincere.

And then the Lord mercifully opened up my eyes to see what was keeping me from Him in an intimate way. I had never verbally confessed my sin. I just wanted it to go away. I finally apologized to my parents for the many ways that I had gone against not only their teaching, but also the Lord’s. It was a radical, 180-degree turnaround for me-a transformational moment.

What has happened in the last 14 years can only be attributed to the Lord’s amazing grace. I am following in Dad’s footsteps as a world evangelist and teacher. Me, the kid who once wanted the world much more than Jesus Christ.

Think about your moment of conversion – when you finally surrendered to God and His will for your life. What struggles did you experience in the days and weeks following? How did God gently draw you closer to Himself? 

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How Do You Know That God Is Faithful?

The moon is a faithful witness in the sky

Written by Susan on 30/08/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Faithfulness, God, Love
It will be as eternal as the moon, my faithful witness in the sky!

Psalm 89:37
Let us explore one aspect of God’s character today: faithfulness. One Word is not enough to describe God. God is many, many things, and faithful is just one of them.

As sinful, fallen people, we may doubt His faithfulness, or not fully trust it at times. We run across hard times like the loss of a job, a broken marriage, or financial struggle and we question things. However, God is always faithful. When we come to understand that, we are able to feel more and more blessed by it!

Here are three ways we can better understand how God is always faithful:

1. His faithfulness is constant, like the moon in the sky.
“It shall be established forever like the moon, and the witness in the sky is faithful.” (Psalm 89:37)

God has placed a constant reminder of His faithfulness in the sky. It may seem strange to think of the moon as a reminder of faithfulness, but remember that God created this good world for us to live in and enjoy.

Did you know that the moon stabilizes the rotation of the earth? All of our being depends on God’s intricate design! It is over time that we begin to realize that He can be trusted to be who He says He is.

His faithfulness can be known through His creation. Imagine all the detail that went into making our world! Continue to look at the moon as an example of who God is, how He loves us, and the way He has made the world for us to live in.

2. God’s faithfulness makes it possible to trust Him with the details.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8)

Once we begin to trust God’s faithfulness and know that God is who He says He is, and that He will do what He says He will do, we begin to realize that He also has a very detailed and intimate interest in each of us.

Not only does God give us creation for us to enjoy, but He is also aware of every detail in our lives, and we can trust His faithfulness with details. He watches over us, teaches us, guides us, and cares for us as only He can.

Our lives are as important to Him as His creation, and we can trust in His faithfulness!

3. God is faithful to provide.
“He found him in a desert land and in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions. The Lord alone guided him…” (Deuteronomy 32:10-11)

These verses refer to how God led Israel through the desert and provided for them.

Provisions are another example of how God always works on our behalf, even in ways we don’t realize!

He works in the visible and invisible world. He knows how fragile we are, and is aware that we can’t make it on our own. We are surrounded by His faithfulness, and we would not exist without Him.

Praise His holy name!

Pray this week:

Dear Father, I am so grateful for Your wonderful provisions. I thank You for placing me into Your creation with such thoughtfulness and kindness. Would You open my eyes to new examples of Your faithfulness? Would You make me know You in a deeper and more trusting way because I see how I am surrounded by Your faithfulness? Wherever I am, You are with me and faithfully provide what I need. Amen

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Loving the unlovable demonstrates God’s love for us.

Loving Others
Loving the unlovable demonstrates God’s love for us.

Written by Dan Lee on 15/11/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Love, Enemies, Humility, Pride
If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

Matthew 5:46
We are surrounded by all kinds of people. Some are easy to love. Others, we tend to ignore. Then there are some that act in ways that makes us want to hate them.

Here are three kinds of people we might tend to look down on, or even hate — and what God’s Word says about them:

1. “Servers”
People of many cultures look down on waiters, clerks, or manual laborers. We act as though they exist only to meet our needs and pay no attention to their feelings.

But Peter says in his letter, “And all of you, serve each other in humility, for ‘God opposes the proud but favors the humble.’” (1 Peter 5:5)

God’s love means having a humble heart for others.

2. “Sinners”
Jesus told a story about two people praying in the temple: a Pharisee and a despised tax collector. The Pharisee prayed, “I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else . . . I’m certainly not like that tax collector!” (Luke 18:11)

The tax collector, on the other hand, prayed, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)

Jesus said, “I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)

God’s love is available to all, including sinners.

3. “Strangers”
The news today is full of stories about people hating each other because of their race, their beliefs or their feelings toward us.

But Jesus said, “Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” (Luke 6:27-28)

God’s love even reaches those who oppose and slander Him.

Conclusion
Every human being is made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26). When we disrespect or hate another person, we are disrespecting God. As Jesus said when asked to sum up the commandments, he gave just two: Love God, and “Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)

When, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we humbly love the Servants, the Sinners, and the Strangers in our lives, people will see God’s love (see also John 13:35), and the Lord Jesus will be glorified.

Pray this week:

Lord, there are many unlovable people in my life. Please give me Your Holy Spirit’s power to love with a humble heart and pray for them, and to bring You glory.

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God teaches His people to avoid sin and to live in His ways.

God’s Power in Your Life: Living God's Will
God teaches His people to avoid sin and to live in His ways.

Written by Hope on 18/10/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Life, Power
Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live.

II Timothy 3:16
Do you know that God is calling YOU to live out an extraordinary life by following His commandments and seeking His will for your life? After you have experienced the power of God’s forgiveness, you can allow His power to remake your life in His ways.

Here are ways you can learn to listen for His teachings:

1.Obey God’s Word
“What God has said isn’t only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword.” (Hebrews 4:12)! The Bible is full of stories that tell of God’s love and hopes for His people. Reading and studying it regularly will help you come to know Him better. When you have questions about what you should do, use God’s Word as “a lamp that gives light wherever you walk” (Psalm 119:105). The stories of the people featured in God’s Word often present great examples of how we should behave (or how not to behave!). No example is better than that of God the Son, Jesus Christ.

2. Jesus Was Called “Rabbi,” Which Means “Teacher”
How can we know that God wants us to learn? Well, while He lived on earth, Jesus took the title of teacher — He was famous for it: even when potential enemies met with him, they said, “‘Teacher, we know that you are honest. You teach the truth about what God wants people to do. And you treat everyone with the same respect, no matter who they are.’” (Matthew 22:15-16). Jesus taught His followers, “If you love me, you will do what I have said, and my Father will love you. I will also love you and show you what I am like.” (John 14:21). Learn what Jesus has to say, and learn to obey those instructions, depending on His power to make it possible for you to do so.

3. Let God Teach You
“I will point out the road that you should follow. I will be your teacher and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8). God’s power is so great that He knows you: He knows who you really are; He knows your situation; He knows what you want and what you need! Tell Him what you need, and listen for His guidance. The Apostle Paul advised, “Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other” (Colossians 3:16). Ask trusted Christian friends, family, and leaders for godly support and prayer. Compare their advice with what you find in God’s Word (Acts 17:11) as you seek the power of God’s will in your life.

Pray this week:

O Lord, along with Psalm 25:4, I pray that You will show me the right path; and point out the road for me to follow. Amen.

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Why Does God Allow Suffering and Sin?

Lessons from the life of Joseph

Written by Dan Lee on 28/06/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Sovereignty, Circumstances
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Genesis 50:20
Every day, we read or hear about a terrible crime committed against innocent people. Shootings, bombings, attacks, and more. We often wonder, “Why does God allow suffering and sin?” — especially when the victim is someone we know and love.

The Bible story of Joseph in the book of Genesis (starting in Chapter 37) can help to answer this question. Here are three things to understand and remember…

1. Know that God is in Control
Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob (the founder of the nation of Israel). As a young man, he was sold into slavery in far away Egypt by his jealous brothers.

He became a servant to a powerful Egyptian, but then he was falsely accused of a crime and was put in prison.

Eventually, Joseph was given a chance to interpret the dreams of the king – the Pharaoh. This led to his release, and he was given to the highest position in Egypt, next to the Pharaoh himself.

Joseph used his authority to command the Egyptians to store up food to protect against the coming famine. Jacob and his family traveled to Egypt, were reunited with Joseph, and the nation of Israel was saved.

2. Remember that God Uses the Actions of Sinful People for Good
Years later, when Jacob died, the brothers worried that Joseph would now take revenge on them. But then Joseph said these famous words: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Joseph’s brothers had committed an evil, sinful act. And though God hates sin, he used their actions to save the nation of Israel.

3. Understand that God Always has a Purpose
Some 1,700 years later, one of Jacob’s descendants was born in Bethlehem; His name was Jesus. He came to show us what God is like, but also to give His life for us.

So when the greatest evil action of all time happened, it was also part of God’s plan: "…Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men."

We can rejoice in knowing that this same God can and will use every circumstance – even people’s evil actions – to accomplish His purposes.

Pray this week:

Ask God to give you the faith to believe that He is in control, no matter what you are going through.

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