Have you ever felt as if God is fed up with you? Perhaps you feel your mistakes are too great to be forgiven. Maybe you wish you could go back to a time when things were better. If so, our key verse offers us words of encouragement.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” ~ Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
The prophet Isaiah spoke these words to Israel during a time when they were in captivity. They had lost everything they thought they’d keep forever. Because of their rebellion, they assumed God wanted nothing to do with them anymore.
Yet God responded: Forget the past. Whatever you’ve done or how far you’ve strayed, I’m doing a new thing in your life today!
Wherever you find yourself today, God is doing a new thing in your life. Our key verse from Isaiah teaches us how to embrace all He is doing.
It’s impossible to see where God is leading if we’re always looking back.
The Israelites longed for former days when they had God’s favor. They remembered when God made a way of escape through the Red Sea, when He protected them from the enemy and how He provided for their needs. The Israelites were looking to the past for present solutions. Yet, their past victories couldn’t do anything to free them in the present. They needed a new work. A new miracle. A new victory.
Just as a seed spouts below the ground before we see evidence of a new flower, God is already at work in us doing a new thing. It’s not something in the future. It’s springing up now. We can’t see it yet, but it’s in motion. God’s work of new life within us happens every day. He works to strengthen our relationship with Him, both spiritually and practically. We must focus on the work He is doing in our lives right now. Can you perceive it?
Whether we see possibilities or problems in our lives, God is making a way for us. The Israelites thought they didn’t deserve anything from God. Yet God doesn’t condemn His children, rather, He lends a helping hand.
“… I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19b)
Melany felt her life was nothing more than a wasteland, but God turned her past into a stream of new life. Her baby was adopted by a loving couple. And just as He did for Melany, God can transform your desert into a field of blessing. He can bring new life from an old, dried-up one.
No matter your past, God has already set into motion a new direction and a new purpose for your life. Will you commit to His plan?
Dear Jesus, I believe You’re working something new in my life. Help me recognize Your activity, and give me a grateful heart toward Your mercy that never gives up on me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
© 2017 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
A Lost Son Found: Luke 19:1-10
[Zacchaeus] tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:3-10)
Judging from the crowd’s reaction to him, Zacchaeus must have been a very crooked tax collector. But after he met Jesus, he realized that his life needed straightening out. By giving to the poor and making restitution—with generous interest—to those he had cheated, Zacchaeus demonstrated inward change by outward action. When Jesus said Zacchaeus was a son of Abraham and yet was lost, he must have shocked his hearers in at least two ways. They would not have liked to acknowledge that this unpopular tax collector was a fellow son of Abraham, and they would not have wished to admit that sons of Abraham could be lost. But a person is not saved by a good heritage nor condemned by a bad one; faith is more important than genealogy. Jesus still loves to bring the lost into his kingdom, no matter what their background or previous way of life. Through faith, the lost can be forgiven and made new.
Zacchaeus demonstrated faith by his actions. It is not enough to follow Jesus in your head or heart alone. You must show your faith by changed behavior. How has your faith resulted in action or changed priorities? What, if any, changes do you need to make?
|Source: Life Application Daily Devotional, October 10, 2016
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by Nik Godshall
Excellent message! Listen to the sermon: In Spirit and in Truth.
June 14, 2015 @ Times Square Church, NYC – This is a teaching of the nature of worship. Worship is an ever increasing surrender of our affections to Jesus Christ inspired by the wonder of His love. True worshipers feel safe to be vulnerable and dwell in an ever increasing honesty before God. Worship is not about emotional escape it’s about spiritual transformation.
The most important lesson I have learned and am still learning. – Nik Godshall
Reference Verses & Notes
Jesus and a Samaritan Woman
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty. The water I give will become a spring of water gushing up inside that person, giving eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so I will never be thirsty again and will not have to come back here to get more water.”
16 Jesus told her, “Go get your husband and come back here.”
17 The woman answered, “I have no husband.”
Jesus said to her, “You are right to say you have no husband. 18 Really you have had five husbands, and the man you live with now is not your husband. You told the truth.”
19 The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that Jerusalem is the place where people must worship.”
21 Jesus said, “Believe me, woman. The time is coming when neither in Jerusalem nor on this mountain will you actually worship the Father. 22 You Samaritans worship something you don’t understand. We understand what we worship, because salvation comes from the Jews. 23 The time is coming when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, and that time is here already. You see, the Father too is actively seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that the Messiah is coming.” (Messiah is the One called Christ.) “When the Messiah comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus said, “I am he—I, the one talking to you.” ~ John 4:13-26, NCV
A Living Sacrifice (Give Your Lives to God)
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~ Romans 12:1-2, NCV
Worship is a response…. When you understand the WAY that God loves you, worship becomes a natural response – you can not help but to love Him. Worship is a lifestyle. 24/7 thing… all day everyday.
Worship is a process. There are some things that you have to learn to surrender. Coming to Jesus is the most freeing, wonderful privilege we get to enjoy as Christians. This type of worship takes honestly. Honesty is the birthplace of genuine worship.
The natural reaction to vulnerability is put up walls and wear a mask. He longs for unwalled worship. Surrendering brings healing. Sometimes we use our pain as an excuse to stay closed down.
Jesus will never betray you with what He knows about you. He will never use the truth about you to shame you. He will only use it to heal you. Only. If healing involves pain, He will not apologize for that. If He must cause you pain, shame is not the objective; healing is. Jesus will never betray you with what He knows about you.
What is boils down to is trust. The safest place in the world is an honest relationship with Jesus Christ. – Nik Godshall
In Spirit and In Truth = New Life and Honesty
God Knows Everything
23 God, examine me and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any bad thing in me.
Lead me on the road to everlasting life. ~ Psalm 139:23-24
A Song of Victory
You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. ~ Psalm 18:35, ESV
I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.
Freedom from Rules and New Life in Christ
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers[a] of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.[b] So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision — the cutting away of your sinful nature.[c] For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed[d] the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels,[e] saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.
You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
by LaShawnda Jones
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance — an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. ~ 1 Peter 1:3-4
I’ve been shedding for a while.
shed: to lose by natural process; to rid oneself of (something not wanted or needed)
Getting rid of wrong thoughts, fruitless ideas, bad habits, worldly images, unproductive hopes and letting go of destructive relationships.
My life has undergone a complete gut and renovation over the last few years. What a painful process that has been! I didn’t want it at first. Eventually, I grew to want the reconstruction, but only on my terms. After some time, I realized and accepted that my terms weren’t good enough, so I surrendered to my Master. I’m here to tell you, surrender is only the beginning! I had to purge. I had to uproot. I had to toss out and let go. Then I had to be cleansed… followed by a good sanitizing (i.e. sanctification). Only then did my Good Father start building me up again. Each of His precise instructions caused each nut, bolt, nail, peg, brick, and panel to be placed within me on the firm foundation of His Word.
You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.
And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests.Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. ~ 1 Peter 2:4-5
I enter 2012 a new person. I’ve been molting for seven years (much longer if we count the years I was completely oblivious to the process 🙂 ). But God is so good! He is so wonderfully faithful! His earnestness in bringing His children into His righteousness is amazing. He is the true seeker who calls to our hearts. In the early years I struggled against Him step by step and now I am eagerly listening for His next instruction, for His whispered conversation, for His honey-sweet words that are like a kiss to my lips and a balm to my soul.
Happy New Year! Embrace your life with a fresh perspective. Greet each day with renewed hope. If you’re going through anything (difficulties, disappointments, pains and struggles) know that the God you believe in is faithful to get you to the other side. Everything we encounter in life strengthens and enables us to conquer future challenges.
Receive your blessings and keep walking!
The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:24