devos from the hill


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The Joy of the Lord

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
Self-Pity or Rejoicing?
by F.B. Meyer

“The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

We discussed the question, “What is the joy of the Lord?”. Then we looked at the life of Fanny Crosby. Though blind from six weeks of age, she wrote over a thousand hymns. She knew the joy of the Lord, and it was her strength. For more, click on the link below and go to the Nehemiah 8:10 section titled, “Self-Pity or Rejoicing?”.

http://preceptaustin.org/nehemiah_commentaries_2.htm#8:10a


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Thanksgiving

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving
by Ray Stedman

Our time was filled with great questions and comments about cultivating a thankful heart and maintaining an attitude of gratitude.

Key take-away: “Thanksgiving should be the proper expression of Christianity, because Christianity is really about receiving something from God constantly! (i.e. – life, the fruit of the spirit, the love of God, spiritual blessings in heavenly places, etc.).”

Read the Scripture: Psalm 50

Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High. (Psalm 50:14).

What does God want from us? He does not want mere hymn singing, although that is fine. Nor does He want only prayer, although that too is fine. He does not simply want our attendance, although that is fine. What He wants, first, is a thankful heart. That is what He seeks, a thankful heart. Each one of us is to offer to Him the sacrifice of thanksgiving. A sacrifice is something into which we put effort; it costs us. Have you ever asked yourself why the Scriptures stress thanksgiving so much? Both the Old and New Testaments emphasize that above everything else, God wants thankfulness. Give thanks in all circumstances, says the apostle Paul, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Why is this? It is because thanksgiving only comes as a result of having received something. You do not give thanks until you have received something that comes from someone else. Therefore thanksgiving is the proper expression of Christianity, because Christianity is receiving something constantly from God.

Of course if you have not received anything from God, then you have nothing to thank Him for. Though you come to the service, you really have nothing to say. God is a realist. He does not want fake thanksgiving. I know there are certain people (and they are awfully hard to live with) who think that Christianity consists of pretending to be thankful. They think it means screwing a smile on your face and going around pretending that troubles do not bother you. That is a most painful form of Christianity. God does not want you to go around shouting, Hallelujah! I’ve got cancer! But there is something about having cancer to be thankful for. That is what He wants you to see. There are aspects of it that no one can possibly enjoy, but there are other aspects that reveal purpose, meaning, and reason. God wants you to see this–what He can do with that situation and how you can be thankful. Thanksgiving is the first thing He wants in worship.

The second thing is an obedient will. Fulfill your vows to the Most High. Notice the kind of obedience it is. It is not something forced upon you; it is something you have chosen for yourself. A vow is something you decide to give, a promise you make because of truth you have seen. You say, I never saw it like that before. I really ought to do something about it. God helping me, I’m going to do such and such. That is a vow. God says, I’m not asking you to do things you have not yet learned are important. But when you have vowed something, then do it. Act on it. Obey it.

Lord, I offer to You right now the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Thank You that You are at work for good both in me and through me. Grant that I might obey your truth out of a heart of gratitude.

Life Application: We can expend much energy complaining, blessing no one. How can we re-focus our thoughts so that we have an attitude of gratitude no matter our circumstances?

Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotion is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to http://www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.

http://www.raystedman.org/daily-devotions/psalms/the-sacrifice-of-thanksgiving


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Acting Out Unbelief

Mars Hill Staff Devotional

And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23 (NASB)

We began by reading Mark 9:14-29. Then, we read a devotional from AW Tozer. Our verbal profession of faith is one thing, but does what we profess by our actions actually reveal unbelief? We discussed the connection between unbelief and acting independently from God (sin). And we considered how unbelief is remedied by knowing Him more intimately through obedience, prayer and the study of His word.

Read Tozer Here: http://www.cmalliance.org/devotions/tozer?id=731

Prayer: Forgive me for doubting You, Lord. It is often covered over with faith-talk. But only You can be fully trusted.


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Thoughts on Election Day

Mars Hill Staff Devotional

Who is really in charge? On this national election day we read and discussed Ephesians Chapter 1 . . . What an incredible picture of our eternal position and purpose in Christ, who is above all rule and authority and power and dominion!

…according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:19-20 ESV

Read Ephesians 1 here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+1&version=ESV#.UJmjNdSsuOA.facebook