Daily Archives: July 19, 2012
READ: Matthew 23:23-31
For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of . . . all uncleanness. —Matthew 23:27
The Victorian novel The Picture of Dorian Gray illustrates how the person we project to others may be very different from who we are on the inside. After the youthful and handsome Dorian Gray had his portrait painted, he dreaded the prospect of growing old, and he wished the portrait would grow old in his place.
Soon he realized that his wish had been granted. The portrait, which mirrored his troubled soul, aged and became more hideous with each sin Dorian committed, while he himself remained youthful. His outward appearance did not match his corrupted heart.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for displaying a similar hypocrisy. Many of them took pride in showing off their spirituality in public. Yet on the inside, they were guilty of many secret sins. Because of this, Jesus compared them to “whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of . . . all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:27).
We are tempted to cultivate a false image for others to see. But God knows our hearts (1 Sam. 16:7; Prov. 15:3). Through confession and prayerfully opening our hearts to God’s Word and the work of the Spirit, we can experience an inner goodness that is reflected in godly actions. Let God transform you from the inside out (2 Cor. 3:17-18). —Dennis Fisher
Father, it’s easy to put up a front and hide
from the public what we are really like. We’re
grateful that we cannot hide from You. You
know us. Please change us inside and out.
Only Christ can transform us.
Copyright © 2012, RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI 49555 USA.
by Joyce Meyer – posted July 19, 2012
And the Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in every work of your hand. …If you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with all your being. For this commandment which I command you this day is not too difficult for you, nor is it far off….But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your mind and in your heart, so that you can do it. — Deuteronomy 30:9–11, 14
Please make everything easy and simple for me, dear God. I don’t like to struggle, and I want constant victory without exerting any effort. Let me go on my way as I let You do everything to keep me secure.
I’ve never heard anyone pray those words, but I have heard people pray in such a way that they were asking for an easy time in life. Too many people want victory without battle, triumph without effort, and ease without labor. God’s world simply doesn’t function that way.
“It’s just too hard.” I wonder how many times I’ve heard people talk that way. I wonder how many times Joyce Meyer has talked that way. And I did. There was a time when I’d make a firm stand for following the Lord, but in my heart (and often in my mouth) were the words that “it was just so hard.”
God convicted me of negative thinking. He taught me that if I would stop looking at the hardships and obey Him, He would make a way for me. The previous verses tell us that God wants to bless us and prosper the work of our hands, but we must obey His commandments. And in verse 11, He assures us that we can do it: “For this commandment which I command you this day is not too difficult for you, nor is it far off.”
Because we spend so much time listening to the negatives and figuring out what can go wrong, too often we forget the promise that His will is not too difficult for us. Instead, it may help if you think of the obvious difficulties as blessings from God.
For instance, take encouragement from Joseph. After he spent years in Egypt and saved the lives of his family in Canaan, his brothers were afraid of him. They had hated him, plotted to kill him, and sold him into slavery. After their father, Jacob, died, they expected Joseph to punish them. He could have done that and groaned about his hard life—and his life had not been easy. Not only was he sold as a slave by his brothers, but he had been wrongly imprisoned and could have been put to death if God hadn’t been with him.
Instead of saying, “Life is so hard,” Joseph said, “As for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day” (Genesis 50:20). He understood how God works in human lives. Joseph didn’t look at the hardships; he looked at the opportunities. Joseph didn’t listen to the whispering campaign of his enemy; he turned his ears to the encouraging words of his God. In no place do we read of him complaining. He saw everything that happened to him as God’s loving hand upon him.
I wrote the words loving hand even though it may not always seem that way. And that’s where the devil sometimes creeps in to say, “If God loves you so much, why are you in this mess?”
The best answer I can give is to repeat the words of Paul the great apostle: “Let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3–5).
God never promises an easy life, but He does promise a blessed life.
God of love and compassion, please forgive me for complaining about life being too hard. Forgive me for wanting things to be easy. Lead me wherever You want me to go and, in the name of Jesus, I plead that You will help me rejoice all the way—even in the midst of the problems, because You will be there to help me solve them. Amen.
From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.
“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God…” (Deuteronomy 29:29, AMP)
TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
Are you going through a situation in your life that you don’t quite understand? During these uncertain seasons, it’s natural to question things in your mind. But in order to move forward, we have to look forward with our hearts. We have to look beyond the questions and continue to trust in Almighty God.
Serving God means we’re going to have some unanswered questions. You may never understand why a relationship ended sooner than you would have liked. You may never understand why you lost a loved one. You may never understand why you went through something difficult or why your prayers didn’t get answered. But at some point, you have to decide to put your questions aside and go on with God. We have to decide to trust His character even when our circumstances don’t make sense. The Bible tells us that adversity will come, but God is the one who promises to lead us into victory. He has promised that He’s going to turn that difficulty around and use it for your advantage. He is faithful to His Word, and you can be sure that He will fulfill every promise He’s made to you.
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father God, I choose to trust You with my unanswered questions. I choose to release any doubt and confusion to You. Help me to focus on Your Word which is truth that sets me free. Thank You for Your goodness and for the blessings You have in store for me in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen
© 2012 Joel Osteen Ministries
by Joyce Meyer – posted July 18, 2012
We love Him, because He first loved us. —1 John 4:19
More than anything, you need a revelation of God’s love for you personally. God’s love for you is the foundation for your faith, your freedom from sin, and your ability to step out in ministry to others without fear in the form of insecurity.
God made you with a longing in your heart to be loved. And the Word assures you that God loves you. Yet many people mistakenly believe they have worn God out with their failures. You can’t cause God not to love you. Love isn’t something God does—it is who He is (see 1 John 4:8).
As you meditate on God’s love at the end of the day, accept it and express your great love for Him. Then as you go about your day tomorrow—and all your tomorrows—share that love with others.
From the book Ending Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2004 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.
Healthy snacking doesn’t have to be boring
Portion sizes are key. Keeping the glycemic load down (a measurement of how much food spikes blood glucose levels) means cutting down on portion sizes, since the measurement accounts for the number of grams of carbohydrates per serving of a food item, which of course will increase with portion sizes. Eating huge portions of even healthy snacks can quickly turn them unhealthy.
Snacks between meals can help you reduce portion sizes at main meals and also keep blood sugar levels more stable throughout the day. This can keep you feeling energized and in a good mood as you go about your day.
To help control portion sizes try using small plates, consuming plenty of water while snacking or during meals, and limiting snacks to 100-calorie portions, when feasible, and otherwise just avoiding the habit of eating out of the package.
It’s not just about portion sizes, though. At each snack, protein is critical to slow down blood glucose absorption and prevent sugar spikes.