Weekly Spiritual Readings

October 9, 2015

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"Down through the centuries in times of trouble and trial God has brought courage to the hearts of those who love Him. The Bible is filled with assurances of God's help and comfort in every kind of trouble which might cause fears to arise in the human heart. You can look ahead with promise, hope, and joy." - Billy Graham 

No matter how bad it seems, with God’s help we can overcome. No matter how great the challenge seems, we can make it through. No matter how big the mountain, we can climb it. No matter how bad the odds seem, we can win. No matter the enemy we are facing, we must stand and proclaim, “That’s all right. That’s okay. We’re going to beat you anyway.” -- Arron Chambers

We have a choice. We can carry the world on our shoulders, or we can say, ‘I give up, Lord; here’s my life. I give you my world, the whole world.’”

When life seems hopeless, God’s steadfastness gives us hope.

We all make plans and suffer disappointment when those plans don’t come to fruition. However grand our goals, God might have deeper spiritual opportunities in store for us that can turn our disappointment into joy. Today, I will look for the "Plan B" opportunities God brings my way.

Every care that we can turn over to God makes room for another blessing.

God can use any person to touch others’ lives, regardless of age, personality, intelligence, faith tradition, or any other trait. Whatever the circumstances, we can always pick up someone’s spirits. Even just smiling or listening can make someone’s day. Resolve to watch for these opportunities that God has set out for us.

God will complete the work begun in us — replacing our old ways with “what is good and acceptable and perfect.”


Take Responsibility for Your Happiness by Joyce Meyer
I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. Ecclesiastes 3:12
One of the most important lessons I have learned is that I cannot count on someone else to make me happy. God has given us the ability to take responsibility for our own happiness.
A lot of people aren't happy unless a certain person behaves a certain way, or unless a certain situation works out just the way they want it to. Every day we let our happiness depend on other people and situations, when in reality, God wants us to find our happiness in Him.
There was a time when I would feel sorry for myself if Dave went to play golf the day after one of our big conferences. I wanted him to go shopping or watch a movie with me. But God showed me that we have different ways of relaxing and unwinding.
That's just one example, but there are so many ways that we put unrealistic expectations on people and rely on them to keep us happy. God wants us to look to Him first and rely on Him for our happiness.


The Missing Piece: Trust In Times of Struggle by Lisa Evans
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3: 5-6).
One of my most frustrating moments occurs when I put a puzzle together and approach the end—only to find one piece missing!
As a pastor’s wife for the last 14 years, I can honestly say I have worked really hard trying to make all the pieces fit. I have found myself in seasons of what I call an “overwhelming spirit.” It is that place where I try to keep it all together.
We feel we need to be all things to all be people. We feel a need to have the perfect family, the perfect smile, and the perfect plan. Isn’t it true that in this glass bowl, we are reluctant to show the silent cries that reside inside us? The cries that speak of moments of inadequacy, loneliness, and the trials of life.
I had the opportunity to sit at a table with several other women in ministry; during discussion, they began to share past the secret mask of ministry. As they did, they told of feelings of inadequacy, as if they felt they could never “be enough” to do what God was asking of them. They continued to share that they struggled with trusting God’s plan over their own plans. Honestly, it was a growing moment for me as they shared.
I was reminded in this moment, that I am not alone, and I don’t have to do any of my God-given assignments alone. We can all feel that putting the “pieces together” can rest on our shoulders, but the truth is—the outcome is not our responsibility, it’s Gods!
Just maybe, the missing piece is listening to the voice of God. His voice must renew our call in our heart daily.
Listening to the voice of God denounces the lies of loneliness, betrayal, and an “overwhelming spirit.” Listening to the voice of God takes us back to renewing the “call,” and knowing that He will provide in us all we need to overcome inadequate feelings and fulfill His call. It’s an exciting day to be used of God and to know that all missing pieces are found in listening to His voice and walking in obedience to His Word. God will fit pieces together in ways we could never imagine.
I have had to learn through many seasons that I don’t have the “missing piece,” but God does! Won’t you hear Him today as He calls us to listen? In Him, we are more than conquerors!
As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him (Psalm 18:30).


Seek to Please Me Above All Else by Sarah Young
Seek to please Me above all else.
Let that goal be your focal point as you go through this day. Such a mind-set will protect you from scattering your energy to the winds. The free will I bestowed on you comes with awesome responsibility. Each day presents you with choice after choice. Many of these decisions you ignore and thus make by default. Without a focal point to guide you, you can easily lose your way. That’s why it is so important to stay in communication with Me, living in thankful awareness of My Presence.
You inhabit a fallen, disjointed world, where things are constantly unraveling around the edges. Only a vibrant relationship with Me can keep you from coming unraveled too.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. — Matthew 6:33
The one who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him. — John 8:29
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. — Colossians 3:23-24


I awoke to the rays of sunshine in my room this morning. As I lay there half awake, I wondered how something so big, so bright and so hot burned throughout the night. Then I realized that God put that big bright light in the sky and left it burning all night. What a wonderful warmth that filled my room, my heart and I feel loved. Oh what an incredible feeling to be loved.
I arose out of my bed and headed for the shower. Turning on the water I wondered... Where does all this water come from? The water I take for granted every morning when I shower. The water that cleanses my body and wakes me up. The water that fills my thirst when I drink. Oh what a wonderful gift, water. How I love water. Then I realize that God created the oceans and the weather that brings the water to me, the plants and the earth. When I think of God's greatness in his creations, I feel his gifts and love for me... and I think it's so good to be loved.
I walked out of my home and to my car. I took a deep breath of air. The smell of spring time and the flowers meandering through the air smells so great. I love spring. The newness of life all around me. The beauty of flowers that I see. What a great gift God has given me. When I think of beauty I realize that God created so much and gave me the gift of sight to see it all. The gift of air so that I could live, breathe and smell it all. I think to myself... it's so good to be loved.
As I go through my day, I look around and see so many people. They look in my eyes and see something I could never communicate with words. In my eyes they see a gratefulness, a humbleness, an amazing love. In my eyes, they see God.


DROUGHT SURVIVAL by Sally I. Kennedy
This is what the LORD says…… “blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
In our back yard, there is a spot where red and pink Pentas are planted. These flowers are hardy, and do well in our tropical heat. They are colorful, and are butterfly attractors as well.
Flash floods occasionally soak the Pentas. These plants are resilient, however, and after the soggy, drippy leaves dry out, the flowers bloom brilliantly.
More of a problem than too much water, is too little water. We might go for days, or weeks with no rain; sometimes with scorching sun beating down. They can look kind of pitiful, definitely dried up, with the flowers faded, or gone entirely. Yet these plants always bounce back. A bit of rain, a little shade, and they are good to go again.
Some plants are created to withstand drought. Are we?
In the first book of songs, in the Bible, this very thing is addressed. The amplified version says it this way: "Blessed, happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly, following their advice, their plans and purposes, .. but his delight and desire are in the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God; he habitually meditates, ponders and studies by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted and tended by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper and come to maturity." (Ps 1:1-3)
We may not be as naturally sturdy as Pentas. Yet if we stay near the River of God, and are continually soaked and watered in His Word, we will not only be able to just make it through droughts, we will flourish in spite of them. That’s good news.


God Is Greater Than The Facts! by Diane Eaton
"The facts" have an uncanny way of stalling us. Discussion shuts down. The imagination becomes closed to possibilities outside of perceived parameters. "The facts" can rivet us to dull, predictable limits. "The facts" can sink us into a pit of boring hopelessness and gnawing anxiety.
But God is greater than the facts! Say these words to yourself: God is greater than the facts. Say it again and again. Say it when fretfulness creeps in, and watch new hope arise within you. You feel uplifted.
Dear child of God, are your plans disrupted by the facts: rising costs, a bad health report? Then say it: God is greater than the facts! Now watch and wait for new possibilities. After all:
Ephesians 3:20 – [He] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. (NIV)
Has your creative idea been squelched by someone providing you the "yes — but" facts? Then say, God is greater than the facts, and keep allowing God to inspire you with vision!
God is greater than the facts. Say it to a friend distressed over his finances, and you've planted the suggestion that there's more to his life story than numbers on paper.
God is greater than the facts. Say it to the student cringing over poor grades, and you trigger the notion that his potential is more than academics.
God is greater than the facts. Say it when you hear economic statistics or political trends, and you will remember that God promises to care for His own, and that His eternal promises will endure.
God is greater than the facts. Say these words often. Notice how it changes you — and others, too. Anxiety lifts. Tears dry up. The smile comes back. A song fills the soul.
You need not be confined to the facts. Instead, use the facts to prompt a reminder that God is greater than the facts.
God is greater than the facts. Say it often. It's the ultimate fact of all facts. Set your mind on that fact alone.
Prayer: Lord, whenever we feel backed into a corner by "the facts", nudge us forward into the vast open expanse of eternal possibilities through Your immeasurably great power and love. Amen.


Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
When all hell seems to be breaking loose, hunker down. Be quiet and do not allow turmoil and confusion to disturb your peace and sense of well-being. Call on Me for wisdom and direction. I am your present help in trouble, and nothing is too difficult for Me, says the Lord, and I am with you. Zechariah 2:13 "Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!"

Honesty and integrity are cornerstones of righteousness. I call you, My people, to be right and good in all things and to keep your heart aligned with My purposes, says the Lord. Trust is a sacred part of relationship with others as well as with Me. Be fair, reliable and honest in everything you say and do, and blessing will flow into your life. Otherwise, darkness will prevail. Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.

Change has been a major theme in the past few months. Do not underestimate the effect these changes have had on your spirit, soul, and body. They have been significant, and might have left you still reeling. But, know that what you have been through has equipped and prepared you for the days ahead. You will look back at this time and see the value of your separation from that which was no longer valid in your quest for spiritual clarity, and you will cherish the lessons you learned, says the Lord. You will never be the same. Isaiah 54:14-15 And one shall say, "Heap it up! Heap it up! Prepare the way, take the stumbling block out of the way of My people." For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."

Reset! It is time to recognize the need to start over. Wipe the slate clean and begin again by getting your priorities in order and doing what is important for this season. Everything in the past has brought you to this point in your life. Take stock of what you want to take with you into the next phase of your existence and what you want to leave behind, and then do it. Be brave and resolute, says the Lord. Isaiah 50:7 "For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed."

If you are to live in My Spirit and establish yourself in divine order, you must do all that I ask, says the Lord. You, My people, have come a long way, but you must push through until your obedience is fulfilled. Don't stop short of your goal, but rather push through to complete freedom from all that holds you back. 1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

Be aware that the forces of evil are swirling around you to create confusion and chaos. I tell you to be still and be calm while you resist with an inner strength that cannot be overcome, says the Lord. Be at peace and find your habitation in Me. Be strong, and let your light dispell the darkness that is encroaching. 1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.


The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
If you will seek Me with all of your heart, knowing the times and the seasons in which you live, you must now hasten towards Me. You must now strive to know Me in ways you have not known Me before. You must come before the throne of grace and receive understanding. To receive the counsel of My will in these days will be the guarantee of promise that you can then go forth into the final steps of your destiny and receive that which I have laid aside for you, to be revealed in these very days. So come, I say, with faith. Come! Rejoice! Come with thanksgiving and receive all that I have for you in this season, says the Lord.


When you are tired and discouraged from fruitless efforts… God knows how hard you have tried.
When you've cried so long and your heart is in anguish… God has counted your tears.
If you feel that your life is on hold and time has passed you by… God is waiting with you.
When you're lonely and your friends are too busy even for a phone call… God is by your side.
When you think you've tried everything and don't know where to turn… God has a solution.
When nothing makes sense and you are confused or frustrated… God has the answer.
If suddenly your outlook is brighter and you find traces of hope… God has whispered to you.
When things are going well and you have much to be thankful for… God has blessed you.
When something joyful happens and you are filled with awe… God has smiled upon you.
When you have a purpose to fulfill and a dream to follow… God has opened your eyes and called you by name.
Remember that wherever you are or whatever you are facing… GOD KNOWS…


I refuse to be discouraged, To be sad, or to cry;
I refuse to be downhearted, And here's the reason why...
I have a God who's mighty, Who's sovereign and supreme;
I have a God who loves me, and I am on His team.
He is all wise and powerful, Jesus is His name;
Though everything is changeable, my God remains the same.
My God knows all that's happening; beginning to the end,
His presence is my comfort, He is my dearest friend.
When sickness comes to weaken me, to bring my head down low,
I call upon my mighty God; Into His arms I go.
When circumstances threaten to rob me from my peace;
He draws me close unto His breast, Where all my strivings cease.
And when my heart melts within me, and weakness takes control;
He gathers me into His arms, He soothes my heart and soul.
The great "I AM" is with me, my life is in His hand,
The "Son of the Lord" is my hope, it's in His strength I stand.
I refuse to be defeated, my eyes are on my God;
He has promised to be with me, as through this life I trod.
I'm looking past all my circumstances, o Heaven's throne above;
My prayers have reached the heart of God, I'm resting in His love.
I give God thanks in everything, my eyes are on His face;
The battle's His, the victory is mine; He'll help me win the race.


"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Do Not Grieve the Spirit
25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:25-32

God the Help of Those Who Seek Him
1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore. Psalm 121

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:2-5

24 “It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. -- James 4:6,7

I would have you wise as to what is good and guileless as to what is evil; then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. -- Romans 16:19,20


A Shoe Salesman by Os Hillman
"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" Matthew 19:26
Dwight L. Moody was a poorly educated, unordained, shoe salesman who felt God's call to preach the gospel. Early one morning he and some friends gathered in a hay field for a season of prayer, confession, and consecration. His friend Henry Varley said, "The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him." Moody was deeply moved by these words. He later went to a meeting where Charles Spurgeon was speaking. In that meeting Moody recalled the words spoken by his friend, "The world had yet to see!...with and for and through and in!...A man!" Varley meant any man! Varley didn't say he had to be educated, or brilliant, or anything else. Just a man! Well, by the Holy Spirit in him, he'd be one of those men. Then suddenly, in that high gallery, he saw something he'd never realized before. It was not Mr. Spurgeon, after all, who was doing that work; it was God. And if God could use Mr. Spurgeon, why should He not use the rest of us, and why should we not all just lay ourselves at the Master's feet and say to Him, "Send me! Use me!"
D.L. Moody was an ordinary man who sought to be fully and wholly committed to Christ. God did extraordinary things through this ordinary man. Moody became one of the great evangelists of modern times. He founded a Bible college, Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, which sends out men and women trained in service for God. Are you an ordinary man or woman in whom God wants to do extraordinary things? God desires that for every child of His. Ask God to do extraordinary things in your life. Begin today to trust Him to accomplish great things for His Kingdom through you.


Loving Father, Thank you for being present in our lives always. Help us to believe that you have greater plans for us than we even know to dream. Help us to continue to learn and grow so that we may be more effective in our ministries. Help us to accept the challenges in our lives as you transform us to make us more like Christ. Amen.


Read Through The Bible
Job 25
Bildad: How Can Man Be Righteous?
1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said: 2 “Dominion and fear belong to Him; He makes peace in His high places. 3 Is there any number to His armies? Upon whom does His light not rise? 4 How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman? 5 If even the moon does not shine, And the stars are not pure in His sight, 6 How much less man, who is a maggot, And a son of man, who is a worm?”


We Thank Thee, Jesus
O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever. He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: and Thy glory above all the earth. Amen!
For what we have received, O Lord, we are devoutly thankful. May it be health to our body, as Thy presence is health to our souls. Amen!
Thou hast been very good to us, O Lord, through all our lives, and these are only the latest of countless bounties. To Thee be thanksgiving and glory, world without end. Amen!
Lord, we thank Thee for this meal. We will again set about our tasks; and may it be with the renewed sense of Thy loving presence and tender care. Amen!
We thank Thee, Jesus, our bountiful Provider, for what Thou hast given us. As Thou hast fed us here, continue to feed us, we pray Thee, with the Bread of Life. Amen!

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