Tag Archives: devotional writing

In Whom the Spirit Dwells

In Whom the Spirit Dwells  

Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?” (Genesis 41:38).

Scripture: Genesis 41:37–46, 50–52
Song: “By My Spirit” (by Almeda Herrick)

My son, Christopher, grew sicker by the hour. I decided to skip the last service of our citywide crusade at the Portland Coliseum, even though I held a reserved seat with the evangelist on the platform. My wife drove the fully loaded church van in my stead. After the group left, I felt sad, then desperate when I checked my son’s temperature: 101 degrees and rising. I strapped him into the car seat and headed to store for a bottle of children’s aspirin.

At the store my line stalled as a couple counted out quarters to buy a handful of groceries. Obviously, they were experiencing hard times. The Holy Spirit tugged at my heart, so I offered to pay for their purchase. He stood speechless; she wept. Now realizing the Spirit had led me there, I shared God’s plan of salvation.

When we returned home, I rechecked Christopher’s temperature—no fever, no flu symptoms either. That day was providential. For me, ministering to a needy couple proved a higher priority than sitting on the platform with a famous evangelist. When we follow the Holy Spirit’s gentle guidance, miracles can happen—and people will find eternal life.

Dear Spirit of God, Your indwelling has many purposes. You lead me each day and help me reach out to others in need. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for giving me wisdom, anointing, and discernment to carry out Your ministry. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“In Whom the Spirit Dwells” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2012 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

Advertisements

The Duplication Factor

The Duplication Factor

The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon (Genesis 41:32).

Scripture: Genesis 41:25–36
Song: “Wonderful Words of Life” (by Philip P. Bliss)

After opening our ministerial meeting with prayer, the ministers in Dayton, Oregon, took five minutes to share about last month’s ministry. Five ministers were present that day, each one representing a different church denomination. As part of our reports, we shared the title and text of our previous Sunday’s sermon. To our amazement, we had all used the same Scripture text, and although our sermon titles were different, the messages we preached were much the same.

As we read our Bibles, we find that certain passages, stories, words, and prophetic dreams are purposely repeated. Many theologians believe something revealed or stated twice in Scripture is God’s way of drawing attention to it, like putting an exclamation point at the end of a sentence. The Bible contains numerous examples, including today’s passage. Pharaoh’s dream came in two forms: seven cows and seven heads of grain. Yet each version held the same warning of an approaching famine.

God still uses repetition to emphasize an important truth. This gives us an opportunity to change our ways and avert a catastrophe. God is merciful and wants us to know His plan for our lives. Besides being expedient, repetition gets our attention.

Father, I appreciate Your loving concern for my soul. Repetition of important truths helps me follow You closer. May I always be attentive. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“The Duplication Factor” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2012 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

God Has the Best Answers

God Has the Best Answers                 

“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires” (Genesis 41:16).

Scripture: Genesis 41:14–24
Song: “Jesus Is the Answer” (by Andrae and Sandra Crouch)

Bob wanted everyone to think he was a prophet. He often told people what God was saying about a certain matter. One Sunday, he decided to comment about the minister’s sermon on the benefits of tithing. After waiting for the closing prayer, he stood up and said, “Thus says God . . .” He paused as if the words had just disappeared from his thoughts. So he started again, “Thus says the Lord . . .” Again, he stopped in mid-sentence. After a third attempt with similar results, Bob sat down with this apology: “I really have no idea what God is saying, so please don’t listen to me.”

In today’s passage, Pharaoh needed someone to interpret a troubling dream. His wise men and magicians were, like Bob, clueless. When Pharaoh called upon Joseph, he gave the king the true meaning to his dream, but made it clear that the answer came from God.

Likewise, we should seek the Lord for answers—not make up ones that are self-serving or otherwise politically correct. Such responses are often doomed to failure because they are not based on God’s plan, nor do they rely on faith. Whether it’s a troubling dream, a financial concern, or an unsolvable family problem, we should always ask God for the answer.

Dear Savior, during times of uncertainty, I will wait in prayer until I receive Your reply. Your answer is the only one I truly need. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

“God Has the Best Answers” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2012 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

 

The Correct Interpretation

                          The Correct Interpretation                                 

Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream (Genesis 41:12).

Scripture: Genesis 41:1-13
Song: “The Solid Rock”

I had trouble sleeping that Saturday night. My spirit was troubled—something at the church maybe—I couldn’t put my finger on it. Finally, the tiredness overtook me, and I fell into a deep sleep. I usually don’t remember my dreams, but this night the dream came alive in vivid detail.

Three lions paced back and forth in the backyard of our parsonage. As they drew closer, I could hear them roaring underneath the bedroom windowsill. Then, I saw three sets of paws tearing at the screen. They were forcing their way into our house, intending to harm my family. I could not let that happen. I jarred myself awake and rushed to the window to face them down. When I got there, I saw nothing.

Unnerved, I sat down and prayed for wisdom. In reply, God gave me a sermon about three problems stalking our church. That Sunday morning, three sin issues were uncovered and dealt with. My dream and its warning proved all too real.

Most dreams are triggered by something we’ve read, seen on TV, or eaten the night before. Some dreams, however, are God-sent and inspired. I can personally attest to it.

Lord, when I read my Bible, hear a sermon, or study a daily devotional guide, I hear Your gentle voice talking to me, leading me. Praise to You, through Christ. Amen.

“The Correct Interpretation” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2012 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

Sometimes, God uses dreams to speak to His people. But not all dreams are from Him—most are not. If you think you’ve had a spiritual one, you should first pray for discernment and then seek God’s wisdom in the matter.

GETTING BACK ON TRACK

Getting Back on Track        

Read Acts 22:12–16

Paul was a religious zealot. He believed it was his calling to find fault with Christians. He sought them out and watched their every move, looking for any reason to impeach their testimony or accuse them in front of the congregation. Paul believed he had God’s blessing. He did not.

Occasionally, churches will have someone like Paul in their ranks. These individuals usually hinder the ministry instead of helping it. God loves them, but wants these people to change. If necessary, He will arrange for an encounter with the living Christ and suggest a different calling.

You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name (Acts 22:15, 16).

After the Damascus road experience, Paul was baptized in water to exemplify his new commitment to Christ. His sins, including his self-righteous attitude, were washed away. Now he had a better calling. Paul is our example: It’s time to get up, be baptized, and share our faith with a lost world.

Thought for Today: God has a special calling for everyone.

—Charles Earl Harrel

“Pray that God would secure the peace of Jerusalem.”

God’s Word for Today © 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

View God’s Word for Today devotional.
Order God’s Word for Today.
Visit Gospel Publishing House.

Word Becoming Flesh in the Life of a Writer

Another enlightening and encouraging post by Lynne Hartke in WordServe Water Cooler. Thank you, Lynne.

WordServe Water Cooler

 “The Word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us….” John 1:14. (NIV)

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was called to carry the Word Made Flesh. Saying “yes” to that plan involved a huge surrender on Mary’s part. Obedience brought her under scrutiny and censure, not only in the public eye, but also–initially–with Joseph, whose opinion she must have valued.

“Don’t be afraid,” the angel told her, which was saying, in essence, “You are about to be shunned and ostracized in your hometown because you are going to get pregnant with God’s son and although you have never been touched by any man, nobody is going to believe your story and they are going to whisper and point at you when you walk by and call you harlot and whore and turn their backs when you enter a room.”

Sometimes the hardest part of being a Word carrier is believing the…

View original post 410 more words

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

Take It Outside

Read Acts 18:5–11

Frustration plagued Pastor Chuck. He preached evangelistic messages every Sunday, gave altar calls during the service, yet seldom saw new people come to the Lord. In fact, the baptismal tank had not been used in six months. People were not being saved in the church. The “good news” was not reaching the lost. Fortunately, the solution is simple.

Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized (Acts 18:7, 8).

Paul shared the message of salvation at the Jewish house of worship, but he often had better results outside the synagogue walls. Because of Paul’s outreach efforts, many people in Corinth found Christ and were baptized into the faith.

We can expect similar results. Since most of the harvest grows outside the church building, it’s best to look there first. Who knows—maybe the next candidate for baptism lives next door.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you witness to your neighbors.

—Charles Earl Harrel

“Pray that God would work actively in your local schools.”

God’s Word for Today © 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

View God’s Word for Today devotional.
Order God’s Word for Today.
Visit Gospel Publishing House.