Tag Archives: devotionals

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.

 

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Sunday Devotionals

Every Sunday, which started in March and ends in May, my devotionals are featured in God’s Word For Today. I am the guest pastor for the 2018 spring quarter.


To read online each Sunday, click on the above cover.

Or visit devotionals at God’s Word for Today


May you find inspiration and encouragement,
Charles Earl Harrel

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.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

       A Series of Unfortunate Events                      

“I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon” (Genesis 40:15).

Scripture: Genesis 40:9–15
Song: “Safely, Safely Gathered In”

The newscast that night caught my attention. A man charged and convicted of a ghastly crime would soon be released from prison. The court system and his attorneys had reopened the case after they discovered certain inconsistencies. After evaluating the new DNA evidence, the jury exonerated him of any crime. Such testing methods were not available during his first trial, so he’d spent 15 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. Even so, the man did not appear sad or angry. Instead, he was looking forward to redeeming the time he had lost.

With advances in crime scene investigation, some people wrongly incarcerated are enjoying freedom, a new lease on life. Joseph found himself in a similar situation. A series of events landed him in an underground prison cell. Yet he had done nothing wrong. Still, he didn’t allow his imprisonment to sour his spiritual outlook. He used the situation to tell people about his faith in God.

God often uses adversity to birth a greater purpose for our lives. In Joseph’s case, he earned an Egyptian pardon and became Pharaoh’s highest-ranking advisor. Exercising patience and trusting God worked for Joseph, and it can for us as well.

O Lord, without all the facts, people are prone to misjudge. When that happens, remind me to pray for wisdom and to trust You for the outcome. Through Christ, amen.

“A Series of Unfortunate Events” 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.

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.

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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.

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Now I See

Now I See

Read Acts 9:13–19

Karen’s contact lens crumbled between her fingertips as she tried to clean it. The lens was just too brittle. For years, Karen had put off visiting her optometrist, now she had no choice. She needed replacements. Besides, her vision was already limited, especially when driving at night. The next day the doctor prescribed new contacts and Karen could see clearly again.

Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized (Acts 9:18).

Karen did not realize how cloudy her vision had become. Saul came to a similar revelation after receiving prayer from Ananias. Not only did his eyesight return, Saul’s spiritual perception improved too. The first thing he saw was his need for water baptism.

Water baptism is an open expression of our newfound faith in Christ. If we have passed from spiritual darkness into the light, then we should demonstrate that change to others. Baptism is a good start.

Thought for Today: There are two baptisms: The Holy Spirit imparts one; the church conducts the other.

—Charles Earl Harrel

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

P.S. Both baptisms are important.

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