Tempted to Deceive

Lynn's mail order cotton knit dress finally arrived. As soon as the UPS driver delivered it, in her rush to get the packaging dyes out, she threw it into the washer and dryer. When she tried it on, it had shrunk a whole size. She stood before the mirror, tugging and pulling. Both the sleeves and length were too short, and when she yanked the sleeves, the seam ripped.

When Lynn told her friends, Sue advised, "Just send it back, Lynn. Who cares if you shrank it. Tell the company it was too small to begin with."

"This happens all the time," added Jennifer. "Women always buy expensive dresses, wear them once, and take them back for a refund."

Lynn knew her non-Christian friends wondered what she would do. After their lines re-played in her mind, the Holy Spirit whispered, "Don't be tempted to deceive. Do not fail these ladies; you are an example to them."

Lynn did not want to grieve the Spirit. Yet these ladies were her friends. She thought she would risk their disapproval if she was honest about the dress when she returned it.

"Dear God, You see my dilemma. Please help me make the right decision and give me the peace to live with the outcome."

Lynn sent the dress off explaining why it was so small. The minute she dropped the dress off, she was at peace.

A few weeks later, to her delight, the UPS delivered a new cotton knit dress. But even if her request had been denied, her peace was far more precious than a new dress.

Thank You, Lord, for giving Your peace to be our guide.

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much" (Luke 16:10).

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Sit in Silence With God

"I wanted to spend time with the Lord, so I began taking my Bible to work, and I spent my lunch hour with Him. I had the distinct impression that He was pleased with my taking that time just to be with Him," a friend said.

Her comments prompted me to add to my devotions a time simply to focus on God. Perhaps it's one form of what the Psalmist David called "waiting on the Lord." I begin by praying, "Lord, I want my spirit to commune with Your spirit." I'm often amazed at the sense of communion with the Holy Spirit I experience during those times. I leave those times of silence strengthened in my spirit.

"Be still, and know..." (Psalm 46:10). There is a deep inner knowing in our spirits when we quiet ourselves in His presence.

We prepare ourselves for listening to the still, small voice by practicing silence during our daily devotions. It helps to not think of silence as not speaking but as listening to God. We are taking time to be still, allowing His Spirit to speak to our spirit.

Practicing silence is a time-tested discipline. John Wesley condemned those who practiced the form of stillness that said we could not better ourselves through means of grace but should simply wait on the Lord. Instead, he taught that there is a scriptural obedience to the command to "Be still and know that I am God." It is time to revive this valuable spiritual discipline.

We gain strength when we silently sit before Him. After we have experienced the communion of the Spirit in silence, we can maintain this inner silence even when with others. Perhaps it was silence in His inner being that allowed Christ to recognize what His Father wanted Him to say and do. 

Dear Father, give us the confidence to know that You are with us in our times of silence.

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" (Psalm 46:10).

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The Pay-Off for Memorizing?

When we memorize Scripture, we make it available to the Spirit to bring it to our minds--especially for prayer and praise--but there are additional benefits. The Psalmist said, "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (119:11). There is nothing better to keep us from sinning than God's Word. Even Jesus overcame temptation through memorized Scripture. (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).

The best way to make a verse come alive in our spirits is to memorize it. As we go through the day reflecting on it, the Holy Spirit helps us understand what it means. "Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all of this" (2 Tim. 2:7). When we've tucked His words into the inner recesses of our heart, just at the moment when we need a promise or a command, God's word comes to mind. We'll gain understanding--practical knowledge of how to put it into practice.

One day while walking through our bedroom, I noticed the clutter piled on the dresser. God chose that moment to remind me of the verse I had been memorizing in Ephesians 5: "Be imitators of God." The Spirit seemed to whisper, "If I were keeping house here, I wouldn't have that clutter. I'm a God of order. If you want to imitate Me, be a woman of order."

Suddenly I found motivation to clean, and forty-five minutes later our bedroom was ready for Jesus' inspection.

Such moments provide a real pay-off for memorizing. God invites us to hide His Word in our hearts so we can carry it with us through the day and let it live in us. Memorized words are more than words we can quote. They're words we hear in our spirit and learn to obey.

Thank You, Jesus that as we obey, we're filled with joy--the very purpose You gave for Your words.
"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete" (John 15:11).

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God Keeps His Promises

A lady in England read that when one prays for someone miles away, something always happens at the other end. She had a brother in India who was not a Christian and she thought, "If I pray for him, will something happen? Is this statement true?"

She felt led to pray that he might come to Christ. Day after day she prayed and wondered, "Is something happening?" but in her heart began saying, "Something is happening; but I wish I knew!"

After a few weeks, she wrote to her brother and asked, "Has anything unusual happened to you lately?"

He wrote in reply, "Yes, something has happened. Two months ago my thought was turned to God. I do not know why. It was not any book that I was reading or any sermon that I heard, but I began to think about God. I was led to give my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, and as I write to you I am a Christian."

She checked the calendar and found that she had begun praying two months before. Something had happened at the other end.

Repeatedly God assures us that He keeps His word. "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" (Numbers 23:19). 

 God always keeps His promises.

Thank You, Jesus, that my prayers do make a difference even when my only evidence is faith in Your faithfulness. 

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23)."Do as you promised so that...your name will be great forever" (1 Chronicles 17:23, 24).

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Overcoming a Challenge

Amy had been studying Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me," and the Lord placed within her a desire to really know Him--not just know about Him. Each morning she began to pray, "Lord, I consider myself dead to sin and alive to Your life that is in me. I ask You to take over."

She began to see that this worked. Little did she know, though, that the acid test was coming.

For 30 years she had worked for the same company and now served as office manager at one of their branches.

The company was upgrading all its managerial positions. They informed her that because she had only three years of business college and not a college degree, a recent college graduate would replace her. "We want you to train her," they told her.

Amy said, "If this had happened even two months earlier, I would have come completely unglued. But on the day when I was to step down, I prayed, "Lord, I can't handle this. I ask You to live Your life in me today."

"Two wonderful things happened. The Lord gave me His peace, and, wonder of wonders, I did not experience any resentment, anger, or bitterness. But then, how could I, with God in complete control?"

After that, the few times Amy began to experience a negative emotion toward the situation, she would say, "Lord, You're living Your life in me. Please take care of this." God always did. Not once since then has she felt any negative emotion about that situation. 

Thank You, Jesus, that You willingly live Your life through all who sincerely invite You.

"Offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master" (Romans 6:13, 14).

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