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For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

-Matthew 20:28

Lord, Be My Peace -  

This devotional was written by Leslie Snyder

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6-7

 

Anxiety is real. In fact, it is so prevalent it has its own medical classification and a myriad of medications to help lessen its often-paralyzing effects. While a little anxiety is common – like when a deadline is looming at work or school, or when you’re signing that loan for your first house – anxiety that lingers or that surrounds every decision is a sign that something deeper is occurring.

 

At the core of anxiety is worry. But read what Jesus said about worry, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

 

I find it interesting that despite the Scriptural challenges, even those including our Savior’s words that we ought not worry, many of us still find anxiety to be a daily companion. Still, we are in good company with our fellow believers over the centuries.

 

The early Christian Fathers used what is called a “breathe prayer” to help those experiencing anxiety. We use it in our ministry today. It is simply this: As you inhale, say the words “Jesus Christ is Lord” to yourself, then, as you exhale say the words, “Lord, be my peace.” Repeat this pattern until you feel your anxiety lessen or go away completely.

 

Today, if you are feeling anxious, give this “breathe prayer” a try, and may God’s peace be with you.

 

GOING DEEPER:

Remember, this is prayer, not something you need to fear. It is rooted in Scripture and helps us to focus on the presence of Christ with us.

 

FURTHER READING:

Matthew 6:25-34; Psalm 19:14; Isaiah 26:3

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/

SEEKING GOD'S WILL -  

BY THEODORE EPP

In Strength for the Journey

1 Samuel 30:1-8, 18-26

When David and his men found Ziklag burned with fire and their wives and their children gone, they wept. This was a bitter blow to all of them. David in particular, however, tasted the bitterness of being without God's protection.

He had been miraculously taken care of on many other occasions, but now that protection had been removed for the time being.

David had exchanged the king of Gath and a walled city for the Spirit of the Lord and found no protection in man. It is the Spirit of the Lord who protects God's people. How often we forget this.

Some of us might be inclined to think that the normal thing would have been for David to start out after the Amalekites without even asking the Lord about it. We might think this was the obvious thing to do.

But remember, David had had enough of his own reasoning. He had followed his own reasoning in going to Gath and by it had escaped from the hand of Saul, but he got himself into more difficulties than he ever expected.

The seemingly natural thing to do may not always be the right thing as far as God is concerned. When David's fellowship with the Lord was restored, he let the Lord guide his steps.

God's Word admonishes us: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Prov. 3:5). David sought God's will, and God eventually gave victory.

"But who so hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil" (Prov. 1:33).


This is shared with permission from its appearance here.

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

CALL HIM MASTER -  

BY CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON

In Morning and Evening

"He appeared first to Mary Magdalene." --Mark 16:9


Jesus "appeared first to Mary Magdalene," probably not only on account of her great love and persevering seeking, but because, as the context intimates, she had been a special trophy of Christ's delivering power. Learn from this, that the greatness of our sin before conversion should not make us imagine that we may not be specially favoured with the very highest grade of fellowship. She was one who had left all to become a constant attendant on the Saviour. He was her first, her chief object. Many who were on Christ's side did not take up Christ's cross; she did. She spent her substance in relieving His wants. If we would see much of Christ, let us serve Him.


Tell me who they are that sit oftenest under the banner of His love, and drink deepest draughts from the cup of communion, and I am sure they will be those who give most, who serve best, and who abide closest to the bleeding heart of their dear Lord.


But notice how Christ revealed Himself to this sorrowing one--by a word, "Mary." It needed but one word in His voice, and at once she knew Him, and her heart owned allegiance by another word, her heart was too full to say more. That one word would naturally be the most fitting for the occasion. It implies obedience. She said, "Master." There is no state of mind in which this confession of allegiance will be too cold. No, when your spirit glows most with the heavenly fire, then you will say, "I am Thy servant, Thou hast loosed my bonds." If you can say, "Master," if you feel that His will is your will, then you stand in a happy, holy place. He must have said, "Mary," or else you could not have said, "Rabboni." See, then, from all this, how Christ honours those who honour Him, how love draws our Beloved, how it needs but one word of His to turn our weeping to rejoicing, how His presence makes the heart's sunshine.


This is shared with permission from its appearance here.

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

The Example of a Nursing Mother

Written by Sandra Sheridan

“But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” - 1 Thessalonians 2:7

There are not many experiences that are sweeter than cradling a tiny baby in your arms and nursing her. This was one of my precious joys of motherhood, and a memory I will always keep. The bond that forms between mother and child while nursing every few hours throughout the day and late night becomes so strong you believe you would do anything to provide for and protect that child.

Though not every mother has this opportunity of being the personal source of nutrition for their child, the mother instinct is still strong and a tender and gentle heart governs our motives and actions. These characteristics make a huge difference in the lives of our children, but the same characteristics also make a difference in the spread of the gospel.

The Apostle Paul had obviously observed this deep love and commitment shared between mother and child. That is why he used this example to portray to the Thessalonian believers his own deep love and concern for them. You wouldn’t necessarily expect a man to compare himself to a nursing mother. But Paul made this connection because of the accusations that others were speaking about him.

Paul and Silas had experienced great persecution in the town of Philippi. Upon leaving that city they traveled to Thessalonica where they spoke the gospel message to the people there. Many were convicted of their sin and received the word. Soon the persecution caught up with the apostle and his company and they were forced to leave the town under great duress.

Enemies tried to discredit Paul’s message by accusing him of error and wrong motives. Though he had been forced to leave the new believers physically, he was still with them in heart and spirit. The thought of his spiritual children’s believing the falsehoods was deeply distressing, so Paul defended himself by reminding the believers of the truth.

He had labored and endured hardship, working night and day so as not to be a burden to them. He exhorted, encouraged, and implored them as a father, but he also reminded them, “we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7) These qualities, strengthened with the power of the Holy Spirit, had made a difference in those who listened to the message and many believed. The memory of Paul’s tenderness and genuine love spoke for itself and defended him against the enemy’s lies.

Historically we have thought most often of men as being preachers and speakers of the word of God, but a woman also has qualities that are essential to the spread of the gospel. We reflect many of God’s attributes such as love, tenderness, and faithfulness. It is built into us as women and mothers and reveals itself intensely as we care for our little ones.

As we develop that same kind of love and tenderness for the world, there is no limit to what God will accomplish through us. Neighbors and friends will see Jesus and be drawn to Him as they experience His love through us.

The truth needs to be spoken. People need to be exhorted and implored to turn to Christ. But they also need to see the gentleness and tender love of God. This kind of affection and caring is needed for our own children and the rest of the world to turn to the Savior. Let’s all use this inherent characteristic to its best advantage, and watch to see what God will do.


What keeps you committed to your babies and children even in the hard times?

How can you develop this same type of persistence for loving the world around you?

Pray that God will use the very nature He has created within you to bring others to an understanding of His love.


This is shared with permission from its original appearance here.

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