Devotionals

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Posted 10/31/14 at 1:47 PM | Anna Diehl

The Christian Idol Industry

In Isaiah 44, we find God sharing His perspective of people who make idols. It isn’t very pretty.

All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. (Isa. 44:9)

After all, an idol is no different than a book or a desk: it is something people craft from the materials of the earth. It has all the power of…well, nothing.

Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing? People who do that will be put to shame; such craftsmen are only human beings. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and shame. (Isa. 44:10-11)

First God mocks the feebleness of idol makers—they are “only human beings.” Let’s face it, from the perspective of our almighty Creator, we are pathetically weak. And yet we insist on making toys to worship. God warns that those who do such things will be brought down to terror and shame. This is very strong language. FULL POST

Posted 10/31/14 at 1:42 PM | Anna Diehl

Understanding Jesus: “Take My yoke upon you…”

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mt. 11:28-30)

The picture of two oxen above is the image that would have popped into the minds of the people Jesus was talking to when He put out this invitation. These people lived in an agricultural society and everyone was familiar with the picture of two oxen dragging a heavy plow through a field while their owner followed behind them and used their wooden yokes to guide them about.

When we hear these words, we sometimes think that Jesus is describing Himself as already wearing a yoke and that He’s offering for us to join Him under it. In this scenario, Jesus would be one ox, and we’d be the other. We’d go hauling through life as a team, with strong Jesus helping to bear most of the burden for us. FULL POST

Posted 10/31/14 at 10:26 AM | Victoria Osteen

Pay Attention to the Inner Voice

Photo: Pixabay - Public Domain

Years ago when our son, Jonathan, was just a year old, we had just moved into a new house. All week long as we were unpacking and getting settled in, we had servicemen coming in and out. One afternoon, I put Jonathan down for his nap in my bedroom downstairs and went upstairs to unpack some boxes. After a few minutes, I remembered that a repairman was supposed to call me to schedule an appointment, but my phone was down on the kitchen table. I didn't want to stop what I was doing and the appointment wasn't really that urgent, so I thought, "Oh well, if I miss his call, I'll just reschedule later." But then the thought came again, and I felt a strong impression inside, "Go get your phone off of the kitchen table." I tried to reason it away, but it wouldn't go away. Then another thought came, "If you take care of it now, you won't have to do it later." Well, I finally walked downstairs to get my phone, and as I came around the corner, there was a huge ball of smoke and a fire in the middle of my kitchen! I was shocked; but thankfully, I had a fire extinguisher and was able to put out the fire. FULL POST

Posted 10/31/14 at 10:13 AM | Joel Osteen

Don't Let Fear Freeze You

Photo: Pixabay - Public Domain

I heard a story about a man named Nick. He was a big, strong, tough man. He had worked out in the railroad yards for many, many years. He was one of the company's most reliable employees. But Nick was a chronic worrier. He was always fearing the worst and talking about what might happen.

One summer day, the crew was told that they could leave an hour early to attend a birthday party of one of the foremen. Nick was out working in one of the refrigerated boxcars when somehow he accidentally got locked inside. He didn't have a cell phone or radio, and everybody else was gone. When he realized he was trapped in that car, he began to panic. He started screaming at the top of his lungs. He beat on those doors hour after hour until his fists were bloody. He finally had his voice give out. Nick was very aware that he was in a refrigerated boxcar. He guessed that the temperature was well below freezing. He began to fear the worst. He thought, "If I don't get out of here, I could freeze to death. There's no way I can make it all night." The more he thought about it, the colder he got. Shivering almost uncontrollably, he found a piece of cardboard in that boxcar. He wrote a note. It said, "So cold. Body getting numb. These may be my last words." FULL POST

Posted 10/31/14 at 9:50 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Nutcracker

Photo: Pixabay - Public Domain

Raelyn reached for a bowl of nuts. She took a pecan and placed it between the jaws of a nutcracker. "Mom, in Bible club today, we had a lesson on hell," she said in a troubled voice. "It scared me. What if I go there when I die?"

"Hell is a scary place," agreed Mom. "God created it for the devil and his angels. People who refuse to accept Jesus as Savior will join them there."

Raelyn's brother Andy spoke up. "But if you ask Jesus to forgive you and you trust Him to wash your sins away, you'll go to heaven instead."

"I've asked Jesus to be my Savior," Raelyn said slowly, "but I still worry about hell sometimes," She held the pecan carefully as she squeezed the nutcracker. But the nut slipped away, and the jaws of the nutcracker closed on her finger. "Ouch!" she wailed. She tossed the nutcracker into the bowl.

"I don't want to crack nuts anymore," Raelyn decided after nursing the finger for a few minutes. "That hurt!" FULL POST

Posted 10/31/14 at 12:38 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Why Christians Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Halloween

Christians and Halloween haven’t always been the best of friends. At best, Halloween has been an excuse to hand out Jack Chick tracts, and at worst it’s been a day of looking down at all the devil-worshipping children out on the streets. Christians preach fiery sermons designed to instill a fear of the devil and all his minions. They hold separate parties in their basements so their children have a better alternative to trick-or-treating. They make the words “Haunted House” akin with communing with the spirits. Simply stated, Christians are afraid of Halloween. But I say it’s time we put the Christ in Halloween.

I’m not talking about dressing up as Jesus for Halloween (really, please don’t ever do this. And if you do, don’t tell people I told you to). But maybe instead of being scared of Halloween, we could embrace it. Jesus wasn’t scared of spirits or ghosts or demons. He spent a lot of time talking to them and driving them out of people. For a while they were the only beings that recognized Him as the Messiah. So why are we so afraid of even mentioning them now? FULL POST

Posted 10/30/14 at 3:29 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Not I, But Christ

The late Dr. Jerry Falwell penned many famous quotes and borrowed one from the Apostle Paul saying, "Not I, but Christ."

For all of us in ministry, as the stage gets wider, the lights brighter and crowd larger, it is a constant fight to realize the success is in the Message not the messenger. Even though we preach faith, we are still stuck in the flesh and must "die daily," like Paul said.

The cause of some of the tension between clergy, church staff and itinerant speakers is because from the outside it looks glamorous for us whom travel the globe with the gospel. We are constantly on the move in front of different groups and get to meet some really neat people that most in ministry don't have access while serving at the local church. It is not because one calling is superior, but this is how the Lord designed our call. As evangelists, just between venues, we can meet almost anyone and everyone. Sometimes we have the opportunity to connect with more folks in a week than some would in a year. We are not in competition, but rather to compliment others in their calling. Despite all the travel and distractions, we need to make sure that we are placing time with Jesus over everything else. One can have access to the President monthly, but if we are not alone with the Prince of Peace daily, we are powerless. Plus, our preaching must center around Christ. The Bible says, "To whom much is given much is required." More than ever, God is working on me to lift His Name up in sermons and one on one conversations. People don't need a personality, program or product, but the Person of Jesus. None of us have a prayer without Him!The Gospel is glorious but ministry is not glamorous. FULL POST

Posted 10/30/14 at 1:41 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Seven Perspectives on Prayer

1. Prayer isn’t passive, it’s active. It’s really doing something. Prayer isn’t the least we can do, it’s the most.

2. Prayer is supernatural. It’s reaching out of the visible world into the unseen world, and tapping into powers beyond this dimension. (Prayer picks fights with demons—and empowers righteous angels to win those fights.)

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).

3. Prayer is never secondary, it’s always primary. It’s not the last recourse, when options run out; it’s the first and best recourse. Prayer is the central work which causes all other work to bear fruit. (No prayer, no power.)

“Therefore put on the whole armor of God...take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the gospel...Pray that I may declare it fearlessly” (Eph. 6:13, 17-20). FULL POST

Posted 10/30/14 at 1:08 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

God Still Does Miracles

Salvation itself is the most incredible miracle. But does God still do powerful miracles like He did in the first century church, such as healing the sick? I believe so! Miracles are a hotly debated topic in the church, so I wanted to take time to write about it. Heres my thoughts…

My belief is simple. My highest calling is to love Jesus and others. As a result of that I preach the gospel and when I preach the Gospel, Jesus is so powerful that He often reveals Himself in power and authority the same way He did in the New Testament through signs, wonders and miracles. I do not need miracles to believe, but they happen because I believe.

As believers, we are filled with the Holy Spirit and have His name, the natural response to this is a supernatural lifestyle. It should be common for you and I to pray for the sick and to do everything else Jesus has called us to do. I am not saying miracles should be the main focus or the most important thing. I do not believe miracles should be an idol. Jesus is and should be the most important and our sole focus in the church. Having said that, because Jesus is powerful and His name has such authority, as a result of Him being the center of it all, I believe we should see miracles happen. FULL POST

Posted 10/30/14 at 10:25 AM | Children's Bible Hour

All the Same

Photo: Pixabay - Public Domain
Milkshakes

"Dad!" Brock ran into the kitchen. "Tell Chloe not to put the little animals in the Noah's Ark until the big ones are in. That's how I do it. They fit better that way. Why can't she do things like I do?"

"Because I'm different," argued Chloe, following her brother. "You're always telling me how I should play games or put puzzles together or color or . . . or do whatever I'm doing. You think everybody has to do things your way!"

"There's more than one good way to do most things, Brock," said Dad as he continued setting the table. "Now go tell your mom that supper is ready." Brock scowled and went to get his mother.

After prayer, Dad watched as Brock put various foods on his plate. "Brock, should I put all that in the blender for you?" asked Dad.

Brock looked puzzled. "In the blender? Why?" he asked.

"The grains of rice, the chicken, and the carrots and lettuce not only look different, they all taste different too. If I put them in the blender, everything will come out looking and tasting the same," Dad explained. FULL POST

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