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But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

-1 Timothy 1:16

Instructions -   

I don’t always follow instructions. My latest example of this failing of mine resulted in making my blender explode. I was blending up a strawberry fruit smoothie, and I put a spoon in to help break up some frozen berries. The spoon caught a blade, which whacked the spoon against the side of the blender container, which cracked the container (with an awesome BANG!), which threw strawberry smoothie all over me and the kitchen… which was really a bummer, because I’d had one taste of the smoothie on the spoon before I stuck it in to break up the berries, and it was the best-tasting smoothie I think I’ve ever made. So anyway, I didn’t follow instructions because you’re NEVER supposed to put a spoon in while the blender is blending. And now I know why: it will make your blender explode. Moral of the story: read the instructions and follow them.

How often do you read the Christian book of instructions, otherwise known as the Bible? And if you do read it, do you sometimes not follow the instructions? I know I’m guilty on both counts here – I don’t make it a priority to read (and reread) the Bible every single day, and when I do, I often think I can ignore some of the instructions…sort of like ignoring the not-putting-the-spoon-in-the-blender instruction. Thankfully, my life hasn’t exploded, but I know I haven’t made my best-ever life, yet, either. Moral of the story: read the Bible and follow the instructions. It’s the only way to really live. “Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the LORD will be joyful.” Proverbs 16:20. I don’t know about you, but I’m done exploding blenders…

Jan Dunlap is the author of the new suspense novel Heaven’s Gate: Archangels Book I, the bestselling memoir Saved by Gracie: How a Rough-and-tumble Rescue Dog Dragged Me Back to Health, Happiness and God (Authentic Publishing) and the acclaimed Birder Murder Mystery series (North Star Press, Inc.). She holds MA degrees in Theology and English Studies and lives in the Hill Country of Texas where she spends every clear night marveling at the stars and the brilliance of God’s creation. She is a frequent contributor to FaithHappenings.com and welcomes visitors at www.jandunlap.com and on Facebook at her two author pages BirderMurderMama and Archangels.

More of Jan Dunlap: http://www.jandunlap.com/


In Lessons on Living

Daniel 9:4-5

And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments."

American culture places a great deal of emphasis on the individual. Our heritage admires the hardy pioneer who single-handedly carved his farmstead from the wilderness. We have a sense of awe toward the lone gunman of the Wild West who tamed a lawless town. We take as our role model the rugged individualist who made it on his own in the business world. Therefore, we seldom stop to think that God holds us accountable not only for those things we do as individuals, but for the actions of others as well.

Daniel, however, understood very well this concept of corporate guilt. When he went before the Lord in prayer, it was not just a personal and individual matter; it was a group confession. He prayed, "We have done wickedly," "We have rebelled," "We have departed from Your precepts and Your judgments." Daniel personally had been very scrupulous to uphold God's standards. But he accepted his part in the corporate guilt of his people. He confessed national sin as if it were his own.

We may feel that it's unfair of God to hold us responsible for the sins of others. We aren't the ones having abortions, spreading pornography or dealing in drugs. Yet we are part of a group of people that is doing all these things?and much more. As a member of a society, we are responsible for the actions of our society and, in a sense, participate in its sin as well as share in its guilt.

As you pray today, confess your personal sins to God, but do more. See yourself as one who is responsible to confess the sins of your family, your church and your nation. Recognize that you are not only an individual but part of a corporate body.

Sin is everybody's responsibility.

- See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/corporate-guilt#sthash.iyJoY9f8.dpuf

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


In Early in the Morning

Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning behold, they were all dead corpses.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Perhaps no more graphic illustration of this truth can be found in the Scriptures than the events recorded in Isaiah 36 and 37. The Assyrian king, Sennacherib, had opened a campaign against Judah by attacking the fortresses in her southland. He was engaged in the siege of Lachish, a city southwest of Jerusalem, when he decided to send a contingent of soldiers against Jerusalem under Rabshakeh, his chief cupbearer. Apparently the Assyrians felt that King Hezekiah would surrender Jerusalem without a fight if Rabshakeh could dishearten the Jewish warriors.

The Assyrian cupbearer made light of Judah's possibilities of victory. Would she rely on the armies of the Pharaoh of Egypt, armies now so weakened that they are likened to leaning on a broken staff? Would she rely on the God of Israel in the face of the might of Assyria? What would Hezekiah and his Israelites do? The servants of King Hezekiah came to seek advice from Isaiah, the man of God. Isaiah assured Hezekiah that God took the blasphemies of Rabshakeh as uttered against Him personally and would destroy the armies of Sennacherib because of their blasphemy. In destroying the armies of the Assyrians the whole world would know "that Thou art the LORD, even Thou only" (Isaiah 37:20). Isaiah predicted that the king of Assyria would never enter God's holy city nor shoot an arrow at it. God would somehow miraculously deliver His city because of the blasphemy of the Assyrians against Him. Hezekiah and the Jews must live lives of faith, for they would not be told how this deliverance would come about; they must trust God.

That very night the predicted catastrophe for the Assyrian armies occurred. "Then the angel of the LORD went forth and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses" (Isaiah 37:36). God had kept His word, even though the Jews could not see through the fog of doubt. Early in the morning they arose to find 185,000 Assyrian corpses. They never had opportunity to move against God's holy city because God always performs what He promises.

On July 4, 1952, Florence Chadwick attempted to swim from Catalina Island to the California coast. It was not the distance that was the great challenge to her but the bone-chilling waters of the Pacific. To make matters worse, a dense fog enshrouded the entire area, making it impossible to see the land. After she had swum for 15 hours and was within half a mile of her goal, Florence Chadwick gave up. Later she told a newspaper reporter, "If I could have seen land, I might have made it."

Not long thereafter she again attempted this same feat. Once again the fog shrouded the coastline and she could not see the shore, but this time she successfully completed her swim because she kept reminding herself that the land was out there, somewhere. With that confidence she bravely swam on and achieved her goal. In fact, she broke the men's record by more than two hours.

Sometimes we do not achieve our goals in life because we cannot clearly see God's hand moving in our behalf. Although we desire with all our heart to reach our goal, the fog of doubt sets in and makes it impossible for us to see clearly. Still, if believing in God we continue to press toward the mark, early in the morning we will see our goal achieved and the battlefield littered with the corpses of the enemy. We must trust God in the dark; we must remember that faith is the evidence of things not seen.


O for a faith that will not shrink 

Tho' pressed by many a foe, 

That will not tremble on the brink 

Of any earthly woe.

Devotional is used with permission from the author. It may be used solely for personal, noncommercial, and informational purposes. Republication or redistribution of this devotional is prohibited.

- See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/believing-is-not-seeing#sthash.f3wOqDXR.dpuf

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



In Streams in the Desert

"Bring them hither to me" (Matt. 14:18.).

Are you encompassed with needs at this very moment, and almost overwhelmed with difficulties, trials, and emergencies? These are all divinely provided vessels for the Holy Spirit to fill, and if you but rightly understood their meaning, they would become opportunities for receiving new blessings and deliverances which you can get in no other way.

Bring these vessels to God. Hold them steadily before Him in faith and prayer. Keep still, and stop your own restless working until He begins to work. Do nothing that He does not Himself command you to do. Give Him a chance to work, and He will surely do so; and the very trials that threatened to overcome you with discouragement and disaster, will become God's opportunity for the revelation of His grace and glory in your life, as you have never known Him before. "Bring them (all needs) to me." --A. B. Simpson

"My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).

What a source--"God!" What a supply--"His riches in glory!" What a channel--"Christ Jesus!" It is your sweet privilege to place all your need over against His riches, and lose sight of the former in the presence of the latter. His exhaustless treasury is thrown open to you, in all the love of His heart; go and draw upon it, in the artless simplicity of faith, and you will never have occasion to look to a creature-stream, or lean on a creature-prop. --C. H. M.


There is always something over,

When we trust our gracious Lord;

Every cup He fills o'erfloweth,

His great rivers all are broad.

Nothing narrow, nothing stinted,

Ever issues from His store;

To His own He gives full measure,

Running over, evermore.

There is always something over,

When we, from the Father's hand,

Take our portion with thanksgiving,

Praising for the path He planned.

Satisfaction, full and deepening,

Fills the soul, and lights the eye,

When the heart has trusted Jesus

All its need to satisfy.

There is always something over,

When we tell of all His love;

Unplumbed depths still lie beneath us,

Unsealed heights rise far above:

Human lips can never utter

All His wondrous tenderness,

We can only praise and wonder,

And His name forever bless.

--Margaret E. Barber

"How can He but, in giving Him, lavish on us all things" (Rom. 8:32).

The public domain version of this classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert.

- See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/he-satisfies-our-soul#sthash.8IyTt43b.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

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