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On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.


-Hebrews 12:14

Conforming to God -   

By Mary Wilder Tileston

Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot bear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from You. --ISAIAH 59:1,2

ONE thing alone, dear Lord! I dread;-- To have a secret spot That separates my soul from Thee, And yet to know it not. --FREDERICK W. FABER

IT is a condition of enjoying continued insight into the laws which govern spiritual truth, that we should conform our moral being to that measure of truth which we already see. A deliberate rejection of duty prescribed by already recognized truth cannot but destroy, or at least impair most seriously, the clearness of our mental vision. A single act may thus involve grave inward deterioration; it may land the soul upon a lower level of moral life, where passion is more imperious, and principle is weaker; where a man is less his own master, and more readily enslaved to the circumstances and beings around him. --H. P. LIDDON

It is a strange but inflexible spiritual law, that those who aim at anything short of the best according to their conception, as God has given them light, will sooner or later come to grief. It is merely a matter of time. --CHARLES H. BRENT


This is a public domain version of Joy and Strength. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/conforming-to-god#sthash.D6ghosUl.dpuf

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

Why We Should Praise the Lord -   

by Warren Wiersbe

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. - Psalm 100:5 (NIV)

Praise is the highest use of man's faculties. When we contemplate the attributes of God, we can't help but thank and praise Him. This verse speaks of three of God's attributes that make Him worthy of our praise.

First, we see His goodness. It's part of God's nature to be kind and benevolent. He is not frowning upon us; He's smiling on us through Jesus. We see His goodness in creation (Gen. 1:31; Ps. 33:5), even though man has wrecked it (Rom. 8:19-23). God even shows His goodness to the unsaved nations of the world (Acts 14:17). His goodness ought to lead to man's gladness.

His goodness keeps us from fainting (Ps. 27:13). He gives us courage (v. 14). God wants to guide us (25:8,9) and protect us (31:19,20). We should respond to His goodness in three ways: (1) We should be repentant; (2) we should want to enjoy Him; and (3) we should draw near to Him.

Next, we see His mercy. (Ps. 23:6). When God is merciful, He does not give us what we deserve, which is eternal death for our sins. Mercy is forever a part of His nature (Heb. 4:16; I Pet. 1:3; Ps. 107).

Last, we see His faithfulness. This attribute speaks of God's reliability and stability. He is faithful to chasten us (Ps. 119:75). He is faithful to confirm us (I Cor. 1:9). He is faithful to care for us and give us victory over temptation (I Cor. 10:13). He is faithful to forgive us (I John 1:9). God is not going to change (Heb. 13:8). He is faithful in all He does. Share with your children and your grandchildren that God is good, merciful and faithful.

                                                                    * * * 

God's goodness, mercy and faithfulness reveal much about Him. The more you contemplate His attributes, the more you can praise Him.


Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from Baker Publishing Group. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/why-we-should-praise-the-lord#sthash.LLkJDPrY.dpuf

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

Finding Freedom in Forgiveness -  

 

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. —Matthew 18:21-22

 

One evening, as the husband was sitting quietly, reading his newspaper, his wife walked up behind him and whacked him with the back of her hand. “What was that for?” he asked. “That was for the piece of paper I found in your pants pocket!” she retorted. “It had the name Mary Lou written on it.” “Oh, that was from two weeks ago, when I went to the racetrack,” the man said. “Mary Lou was the name of the horse I bet on.” The woman thought for a moment, then hung her head. “Oh, honey,” she said quietly, “I’m so sorry. I should have known there was a good explanation.”

 

A few days later the man was watching a ball game on TV when his wife walked up and whacked him on the head again. He asked, “What was that for?” She replied, “Your racehorse just called.”

 

Face it: most of the heartbreak, stress, and damage in our lives comes as the result of what other people do to us. We’re all in this strange relational chaos together. Every single person on the planet is, at some point, flawed or weird or even downright creepy. Including me. And you. We hurt others. Others hurt us. There are no exceptions. If you think you’re the exception, you’re not. You just lack the self-awareness to know that you’re a crazy nut job like the rest of us.

 

The hurts we suffer can imprison and paralyze us. The hurt caused by another person’s actions fills us with rage, depression, annoyance, or frustration. We replay the hurt over and over in our minds. Offering forgiveness when we’ve been hurt is very difficult to do. Yet, Jesus taught that forgiving others is vital for our spiritual well-being. He invites us to make it a priority not only to forgive, but to keep forgiving…all the time if need be.

 

Why forgive? Here are some good reasons:

God commands us to forgive. Forgiveness is a choice to obey. To withhold forgiveness is also a choice—to disobey.

When we don’t forgive someone, it only hurts us more. In hanging on to the wrong done to us, our sorrow and hurt turns to resentment and bitterness and these always hurt us more than the other person.

If we don’t forgive someone, the offense keeps coming back to haunt us again and again.

 

I encourage you to forgive and keep on forgiving. It’s the only way forward. It’s the only path to freedom. Each time you forgive, you release a prisoner—and then find out the prisoner was actually you. You were in bondage to anger, resentment and bitterness. Forgiveness is the action of cooperation with the Holy Spirit that sets you free.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. What are some practical steps you could take to make forgiveness a regular part of your life?

 

2. Do you have someone in your life you can’t imagine loving? Start by praying for them today.

 

FURTHER READING:

Matthew 18:21-35; Job 5:2; Ephesians 4:31

DOUG FIELDS is the senior director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University and the co-founder of Downloadyouthministry.com. Doug has been a youth and teaching pastor at Mariners Church and Saddleback Church for 30 years and has authored more than fifty books. He is a passionate speaker reaching thousands of leaders, teenagers, and parents every year. Doug resides with his wife and three children in Southern California. 

More of Doug Fields: www.homeword.com

FAITHFUL COMPANION -  

Read: Proverbs 4:10-13

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

When I came to Christ, my spiritual mentor prodded me, “Get into God’s Word.” At first I didn’t understand her intense emphasis on my studying the Bible in a serious way. I remember thinking, “Why is Mary always talking about getting into the Word?" However, as I began to read the Bible seriously, I began to understand God’s Word held the answer to every problem I would ever face.

Hungry to know more, I read and marked my Bible, attended studies, became a regular at church and always looked forward to my discussions with her. As I grew, I was able to relax and see the world and my circumstances in a new way.

 Although I’ve often fallen short in living out those truths many times, they are still my compass. How wonderful to serve a living God who forgives us and calls us to a better way of living.

It was only much later after my friend was gone that I realized how she had faithfully shifted my focus off of herself onto the Eternal One. It was His Spirit that would empower me to continue in the Faith. I’m grateful that I found the courage to persevere and learn from personal experience that He is worthy of my trust.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for faithful servants who guide us to a greater knowledge of You and Your Kingdom.

Dorothy writes from her home on a ridge overlooking the Arkansas River in Little Rock. She has been involved in women’s ministries for nearly forty years, teaching Bible studies. Her passion is for people, especially women, to understand their value in Jesus. 

More of Dorothy Johnson: http://reflectionsfromdorothy.blogspot.com/

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