Devotional

You Are What You Speak
The outcome of your life is ultimately influenced by what begins in your mind, by what you believe. A single thought can have a viral effect and take over other aspects of your life, ultimately transforming who you are, for better or for worse.

Real transformation happened after my old pattern of thinking and speaking was completely intercepted and replaced with the truth of God’s Word:

“I am not timid, but I have power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“I am chosen, accepted, and adopted into God’s family” (Ephesians 1:11-12)

“I have the Holy Spirit, so I am not a slave to fear” (Romans 8:15)

You will notice that each of these confessions is not a word-for-word quotation of the verse on which it is based. And that is OK.

Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to scriptures that counter whatever situation or emotion you face. Then personalize the scriptures into confessions that you keep with you. Finally, speak them over yourself throughout the day, as often as necessary. This will help you begin to genuinely believe what you confess. You must identify with God’s Word in order for it to change your identity.

Devotional

How the Heck Do We Know?
“That was God . . .”

“I felt God nudging me . . .”

“I got the sense that God wants me to . . .”

We hear words like these. Sometimes we say them ourselves. But, how do we know it’s God? Well, rarely can we ever know conclusively; there’s mystery with God. There are times when we intuitively just know, down deep somewhere. And, often, this “just knowing” is enough. Other times, though, things are less clear and we must ask: Was that You, God? Or was that just me? In those situations, we need to be able to recognize His voice—to identify it.

Fortunately, His voice is unique—whether it comes through His still, small voice or through the words of others. It’s something we can come to recognize. So, what we need to learn is to identify the unique characteristics. We do that by reading Scripture. Fortunately, not all methods of hearing God are equal. Scripture, the method by which we hear His voice indirectly, through the biblical authors, sits above all others in importance and authority. As such, we have something against which we can run tests.

On a practical level, therefore, when we try to hear God by any other method, we simply need ask ourselves whether what we think we’ve heard fits within the principles set forth in Scripture. Indeed, that’s exactly what we are listening for when we listen for His voice—thoughts and words that fit within the principles of the Bible—not thoughts, nor words, by contrast, that contradict or add to Scripture.

Okay, so what do we do?
Are you spending enough time reading Scripture, brother? Do you have a reading plan? If not, get one today. Do it with friends. For if you come to know Him in Scripture, you’ll begin to identify God’s voice in other places too.

Day By Day By Grace

November 18
God Fulfilling the Work of Faith with Power
Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2Th_1:11-12)
These verses provide another opportunity to reflect upon the central point in our last sequence of devotions (from Hebrews). Therein, we examined the extensive consequences of walking by faith (and thereby drawing upon the effective grace of God). The good things that appeared in these lives was the result of God fulfilling the work of faith with power.
The opening words remind us of the appropriateness of intercessory prayer for one another. “Therefore we also pray always for you.” The following terms remind us of what to pray about: “that our God would count you worthy of this calling.” God counts us worthy to be His children and His servants on the basis of faith, not performance: “not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Php_3:9). The following words from our present text also indicate that true faith in the Lord results in proper performance: “and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power.” God wants to fully develop in our lives the good things that His own goodness causes Him to desire for us. Of course, He desires godliness for us. He accomplishes this by “the work of faith with power.”
When we trust in the Lord, the glorious works of God are manifested in and through our lives “with power.” The power involved in this process is His power. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us . . . To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily” (Eph_3:20 and Col_1:29). This is the process that is vividly portrayed in the lives we have looked at in Hebrews. They trusted in God: “By faith Noah . . . By faith Abraham . . . By faith Sarah” (Heb_11:7-8, Heb_11:11). The God upon whom they relied worked mightily in them, by means of His great grace: “according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our God wants to fulfill the work of faith with power in our lives—”according to the grace of our God.” This is what brings glory to the Lord on earth, while reminding us that we will enter into His glory some day in heaven: “that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him.”
Lord God of great power, please fulfill in me the work of faith with power. As I look to You for the grace that is needed for godly living, glorify Your name through my life. I eagerly await dwelling forever with You in the glories of heaven above, Amen.

Our Daily Walk

November 18
ABOUNDING IN THIS GRACE ALSO
“If there be a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” — 2Co_8:12.
IF ST. PAUL were living to-day he would surely be in great request to preach the special sermons for the gathering of funds to maintain religious and charitable work. Judging by this chapter, he must have been inimitable in extracting gifts for all purposes from God’s people. He stirs the Corinthians up by reminding them of the liberality of the churches in Macedonia, notwithstanding their deep poverty. He reminds them that as they abound in so many gifts and graces, they must see to it that they are not lacking “in this grace also” (2Co_8:7). He quotes the example of our blessed Lord, and reminds them that they owe everything to His condescension. He suggests that the one thing God wants is willingness to give, and that He accepts the desire of the poor man to give all with as much delight as the vast possessions of the millionaire (Mar_12:41-44).
What a wonderful text is the ninth verse! George Herbert, in one of his poems, depicts our Lord stripping Himself as He descended from the Throne to the manger-bed of Bethlehem. He put off His tiara, and its jewels became the milky way; He laid aside His sceptre, and it became the lightning flash; He put off His girdle, and it became the rainbow; He doffed the robes of His royalty, and they became the sunset clouds! But how wonderful it is to think that the Lord of Glory became so poor that He had no where to lay His head, that He was often without food and always dependent upon charity.
But because He was poor, we are made rich; because He was homeless He has opened to us the “many mansions”; because He was stripped of all we may wear the white robes, and sit with Him in heavenly places. He calls to each one of us to minister to Himself in caring for the least of His brethren. We can only really help people when we impoverish ourselves, but in the end we are not losers. God will be in no man’s debt. What we keep we lose; what we give is like scattered seed that comes back in bountiful harvests. Lay your heart against the heart of Christ, until you become filled with His love and spirit, and are content to call nothing your own. Be the steward of everything you possess for His glory and the help of others.
PRAYER
O God, we have nothing worth our giving, or Thy receiving; our best was given to us by Thee. Graciously accept us and all that we have. Whatever Thou hast given, enable us to count it a stewardship for others. AMEN.