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He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

-Mark 4:39-40

Power Hungry -  

This devotional was written by Leslie Snyder

 

This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty. —Zechariah 4:6

 

Amazing feats of strength are all around. In fact, I’m intrigued by stories of superhuman strength, like small women who save the lives of children by lifting cars off of them, or kids who can break boards or even concrete with their hands, or watching body builders tear through thick phone books with their bare hands.

 

Some use the explanation of overactive endorphins or adrenaline to account for these achievements, while others point to clarity of mind, focus, and deep concentration. Whatever the cause, personal strength certainly draws the attention of many people.

 

In the above passage, the prophet and priest Zechariah describes the message from God to Zerubbabel who is leading Israel in the completion of the rebuilding of the altar and the temple in Jerusalem. The task before Zerubbabel is undoubtedly daunting. But notice the words of the angel in Zechariah 4:9, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.” Now this is the kind of power that should turn anybody’s head!

 

The Spirit’s power is endless. It is unquenchable, infinite, immeasurable, and amazingly available. The problem is that most of us, even those who claim to be Christ followers, attempt to do the work God has called us to do in our own strength!! A former Chaplain of the United States Senate stated, “If the Holy Spirit were removed from the early church, 95% of what was happening would have ceased. If the Holy Spirit were removed from the church today, 95% of things would remain unchanged.”

 

We must learn to let go of our need to manage God and His activities. His Spirit, His strength, and His power unleashed will accomplish His will with or without us. We just get invited to go along for the ride. Sensational victories are the norm for the Kingdom, not because of anything we do, but because of the power of God.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Do you have a need to “manage” God and His work in your life?

 

2. Evaluate the things you do “for” God. Are you working out of your own strength or relying on His?

 

FURTHER READING:

Ephesians 6:10; 1 Corinthians 1:25; Psalm 18:2

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

BLESSED PROMISES  -  

In Lessons on Living

Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. - Genesis 13:1-2

William Penn, the founder of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was well liked by the Indians. Once they told him he could have as much of their land as he could encompass on foot in a single day. So early the next morning, he started out and walked until late that night. When he finally went to claim his land, the Indians were greatly surprised, for they didn't think he would take them seriously. But they kept their promise and gave him a large tract of land. Today that area is Philadelphia.

God also made a promise to Abraham: "I will bless you" (Gen. 12:2-3). Even though Abraham made mistakes and sometimes failed to trust the Lord fully, God never went back on His promise. He blessed Abraham materially until he was "very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold." More important, He blessed Abraham spiritually. God declared in Genesis 22:17-18, "In blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." Through Abraham's descendants came the Messiah, who brought the blessing of salvation to all nations.

God continues to bless today just as He has promised. Though we quickly forget them, God's blessings are all around us. He allows some of us to be the stewards of His material blessings, but He gives all of us the opportunity to enjoy His spiritual blessings. His salvation, forgiveness and lovingkindness are promised blessings that God will never forget.

Rejoice today in your blessings. Rest confidently in the truth that what God has promised, He will never take away.

Enjoy the riches that are yours because you are His.

Dr. Woodrow Kroll served as President and Senior Bible Teacher at Back to the Bible from 1990-2013. Author of more than 50 books, Dr. Kroll's passion is to increase Bible literacy in America by engaging people in the Bible and connecting them with the Author. His clear, incisive teaching of the Word keeps him in demand as a speaker all over the world. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/authors/woodrow-kroll#sthash.7Yrcap6W.dpuf

More of Dr. Woodrow Kroll: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

Praise and Worship -  

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory. —Ephesians 1:3-14

 

When you praise the Lord, you unleash the Spirit of God to do awesome acts of power. Here are a few reasons why my heart is filled with praise and worship to the King of kings. Can you praise Him too?

 

Praise God for the beauty of His creation (Psalm 19).

Praise God for the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

Praise God for the blood of Christ for our redemption (Revelation 5:9).

Praise God for healing the broken-hearted (Psalm 147:3).

Praise God for His birth: Emmanuel (Luke 2).

Praise God for His life on earth (John 13:15-17).

Praise God for the cross and sacrificial love (Romans 5:8).

Praise God for His mighty acts of power (Deuteronomy 3:24).

Praise God for His surpassing greatness (Psalm 150:2).

Praise God for His Word (1 Peter 1:24-25).

 

Praise is music to God’s ears. God inhabits praise. God loves to hear His children offer Him praise. How can you make God happy? Praise Him! Why should God be praised? Praise releases the Holy Spirit within you to call upon His almighty authority. Praise releases your spirit to sing of His awesome greatness!

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Make a list of reasons why you are filled with praise today.

 

2. Take a minute to sing a song of praise to God. Now sing another one.

 

FURTHER READING:

Psalm 134

Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family @ Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim’s radio broadcast is heard on over 800 stations a day and heard around the world via podcast at HomeWord.com. 

Some of his recent books include: Faith Conversations for Families; Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers, Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Confident Parenting, The Purity Code and Creating an Intimate Marriage. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California. 

More of Jim Burns: www.homeword.com

Planting Seeds --  

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

 

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop -- a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."—Matthew 13:3-8

 

A few years ago, I spoke at a camp at which I have been both a camper and a staff member. Upon arrival, some campers who I had worked with previously greeted me. One afternoon, a group of us were reminiscing about past years at camp when one young man mentioned that he remembered something I had said at a seminar four years prior. Expecting him to say something sarcastic, I asked him what it was. “You told a story about getting cut from a team and someone told you, ‘It is not how far you fall, but how high you bounce back up that matters.’ I’ll never forget that,” he said.

 

Rarely in our lives do we get an opportunity to know how we have affected another person. I felt so encouraged to know that someone was actually paying attention four years before! But mostly, it was a reminder to me. Each one of us has the ability to plant seeds. We have the ability to plant positive seeds that can bear fruit for the kingdom and negative seeds that can crush spirits. There are times that I am sure I have missed opportunities, but this was a great reminder that you never know who is really listening.

 

Each one of us is an example to others around us and, as such, we must be conscious of what type of seeds we are planting. More often than not, you will not know whether you have affected someone positively or negatively or at all. We should never do anything looking for awards, praise, or accolades. But as this young man encouraged me, I know it is my place now to encourage someone else: The person who originally shared that quote with me more than ten years ago.

 

Today, remember those people who have made a difference in your life. If possible, thank them for the legacy they have handed down to you.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. What kinds of seeds are you planting in people’s lives at work? At home? On a day-to-day basis?

 

2. Is there someone in your life who helped you during a tough time or molded your life? Have you said “thank you”? Now may be the time.

 

FURTHER READING:

Psalm 10:12-18; 1 Timothy 1:5-7; Hebrews 3:7-19

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

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