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Daily Devotion

  • Strength in God

    Posted on January 29, 2012 by Family Christian

    “David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.” 1Samuel 30:6

     

    God is your source of strength. Other sources will run dry, or lose their effectiveness. Strength outside of God is temporary at best, and cannot be depended upon. You may find strength for a while through your sheer determination and will power, but eventually, your own efforts will dissipate in power. A life striving in self-directed strength will expire without an ongoing infusion of the Lord’s strength. He is our life, yet we sometimes neglect our built-in energy source.

    Sheer busyness or fear may have caused you to unplug from your eternal source of strength. Your faith doesn’t need to remain impotent. Indeed, by faith you can plug into the socket of your Savior Jesus. He has been there all the time. Though your life may have been on an excursion away from eternal interests, now is the time to reconnect with God.

    Do not allow the cares of this world to choke out the hope you have in Christ. You can find strength in Him, without having to look far at all. Sometimes we search for strength in all the wrong places and then sheepishly come back to God. There is no need to circumvent Christ. You can’t improve on Jesus. Fall at His feet, and He will pick you up and fill you with His power.

    The power of God is unparalleled in conquering fear and discouragement. You may have lost a loved one through death. Their influence in your life was immense. You will miss them sorely. Their faith was a rock of reassurance for you. But, now is the time to tap into the same strength that caused the faith of your friend to flourish. When you dig down deep with the Lord, you do not come away empty. He fills you to the brim, even to overflowing!

    God is your burden-bearer and your strength-giver. Do not neglect to allow His Spirit to ignite your strength to love. Ask Him to enlarge your heart of love, so that He can love more through you. God takes your almost empty heart and fills it fully with His strength. This is the paradox of His power: Your weakness and emptiness mean that you have depleted self and are now in a position to be fully filled by Him. Ironically, now you are in a position of strength.

    This is how God works. He empties us of ourselves, so that He can fill us with Himself. So, your tentative and weak state is really to your advantage. Humility and even fear position you to be strengthened in the Lord. Therefore, stay in the Lord. Moreover, He gives you strength so that you can do the same for others. Your newfound strength in Him is not meant to remain sterile—rather, it’s meant to be viral.

    Your strength in the Lord is for the sake of others. God’s strength is meant to be unleashed. It is designed to serve the destiny of others. There are weak people all around you who are vulnerable to preying imposters of the faith. It is your authentic strength of character, residing in Christ, that is attractive to them. They discern this in you and desire to be strengthened by the Lord. So, allow them to lean on you for a time. Your being there for them is like a blood transfusion of God’s strength. Their faith has become anemic through adversity, and God is using you to build up their eternal immunities. Strength in the Lord provides energy into eternity. Tap into it daily, for your sake and for the sake of others!

    Taken from Dose 82 in the 90-day devotional book, “Infusion”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: We empty ourselves, so that He can fill us with Himself. #strength

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Put Into Practice

    Posted on January 28, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”  Matthew 7:24

     

    The purpose of learning truth is so that it can be used. Unused truth expires and becomes stale. When you hear truth and put it into practice, you are wise. When you hear truth and ignore its application, you are foolish. Foolish is the man who acknowledges truth outwardly but never applies it inwardly. His foundation for faithfulness is fragile, so when the winds of adversity swirl and blow, his character collapses under the crushing power.

    Someone may show up for the Bible study or attend a soul-stirring retreat and hear truth but never change for the better. How can this be? This happens when people do not follow through with what they know to be right and true. There is a disconnect between their head and their heart. The discipline to stop bad habits and start new ones is rationalized away with convincing excuses. We deceive ourselves by saying, “I don’t have enough time,” “I am not spiritual enough,” “I will get around to this one day,” or “God will understand if I wait.” John described self-deception’s affect on truth: “We deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8b).

    Truth and deception can never coexist. So, jettison deception, and apply truth now. If you wait, you will wander from its application. Right now is the wisest time to receive His gift of grace and to engraft it into your life. You are responsible for the truth you have received. Therefore, steward it wisely. Use it before you lose it, and become a practitioner of truth.

    Lastly, apply truth in doses that can be ingested into your character. Do not be overwhelmed by multiple things in your life that need to change. Choose one thing, such as loving your spouse with abandonment and sensitivity. Paul said in Ephesians 5:25 that the husband should “give himself up” for his wife. Without saying a word, serve in secret so your spouse can experience your unselfish care and concern. Get into their world by loving them at their point of interest. It may relate to entertainment, cooking, or yard work.  Whatever it may be, serve them in ways that tell them you care. At work, you have the opportunity to put the radical teaching of Jesus into practice by treating others as you want to be treated (Matthew 7:12 NASB).

    Think of a colleague who let the team down and is in need of forgiveness. If you were in their shoes, you would appreciate this gift of mercy. You can put into practice the Golden Rule because you are golden now that God has graced your life. God has filled you with His grace so you can live a gracious life. Focus on building the foundation of your life and your character one brick of truth at a time. This architecture designed by the Almighty will endure. Leave a lasting legacy in your children by putting into practice what you know to be truth. The teachings of Jesus are truth. Therefore, believe and apply. Put His principles into practice, and persevere.

    Taken from the January 26th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: God has filled you with His grace so you can live a gracious life. #grace

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Wisdom Seeks God

    Posted on January 27, 2012 by Family Christian

    “The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God.” Psalm 14:2

     

    There could be a large life-changing decision looming. It may relate to the timing in childbearing, the opportunity for a move and a new job, the sale of a business, a spiritual commitment, graduate school or treatment options related to a health issue. The Lord looks down from heaven for wise ones who will seek Him for the best answers. He doesn’t look down with disdain, but with determined love, compassion and insight.

    The Lord seeks out those who seek Him. He gazes all over the globe in one grand glance ready to grant grace and truth to trusting souls. He looks for the once zealous Christ follower and entreats him or her to come back to the basics of belief. He watches for the wise that hail from humble circumstances or the learned who want to lean into the Lord. He looks to unleash His love, dispense discernment and convert sinners to saints.

    “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

    So, do you first seek your heavenly Father for divine direction? Is Christ central in the calculus of your decision-making? If so, you will discover God’s best in God’s time. But you cannot rush the revelation of God’s will for your life. Your understanding will follow once His work of grace has grown your trust and transformed your relationships. Jesus wants you to know Him deeper, before He leads you further. Clarity comes in intimacy.

    Perhaps you pray, “Lord what would you have for me in this season of life?” Wisdom prays and then listens to the Lord’s still small voice. His will is a series of small steps in obedience that begin today. Do the next right thing, and then watch Him bring His will together like a beautiful work of art composed of a 1,000 brush strokes. You are wise to seek the Wisest One—Jesus—first in simple salvation and second as a faithful follower.

    “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 22:39

    What area of my life requires me to patiently seek the Lord for wisdom and clarity?

    Related Readings: Psalm 33:13; 138:6; Proverbs 18:15; Acts 17:27; Romans 3:11

    Post/Tweet this today: Jesus wants you to know Him deeper, before He leads you further. #intimacy #Jesus

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Help Hold Steady

    Posted on January 26, 2012 by Family Christian

    “When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset”. Exodus 17:12

     

    It is necessary we hold steady for our Savior during hard times, but we can’t always do it by ourselves. We need “Aarons and Hurs” who hold up our hands of faith to heaven. Spiritual battle is too bruising to go at it alone, as physical and emotional fatigue set in if we are isolated. But even a community of three can lift us to the Lord for strength and encouragement.

    I have to often ask myself, “Who am I submitting to for encouragement and accountability?”  “Am I sitting on the rock of Jesus, and am I supported by His servants?” We hold steady when we are focused on the Lord, and engaged in the prayerful presence of His people. No need to panic, but to persevere in prayer and trust God’s control for things out of your control. Hold steady by holding up open hands to heaven, and He will fill you with faith.

    “When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.” Acts 11:23

    Moreover, who can you help to hold steady during changing times? Who in your circle of influence can you seek out to support? Offer them your time to process the problems they are facing, and they will never forget your care in their time of need.  Tough love may be needed to challenge their fearful thinking and passive behavior. Do not give up on frantic friends, but help them forge ahead by faith.
     
    Pray with them and for them to lift their hands to the Lord for help. You are a catalyst for Christ’s comfort and care. Lead them to depend on Him, and they will hold steady in Him. You have been encouraged and held accountable, so you can encourage and hold accountable Hold steady with the help of others, so you can help others hold steady for their Savior’s sake. Jesus says,  “Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8b

    “Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. Psalm 28:2

    Who can help me hold steady when I grow weary—who can I hold steady in the Lord?

    Related Readings: Job 16:5; Psalm 10:17; Acts 15:32; Colossians 4:8

    Post/Tweet this today: Christians are a catalyst for Christ’s comfort and care. #comfort #Christ

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Help the Helpless

    Posted on January 25, 2012 by Family Christian

    “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” Psalm 68:5

     

    God helps those who can’t help themselves. He is a defender of the poor and needy for the disadvantaged are on the heart of Deity. Jesus came for those who recognized their need for God and appropriated His forgiveness and grace. Those who are poor in spirit are candidates for Christ’s true riches. It is only when you recognize your spiritual bankruptcy outside of a Savior that you can receive the right kind of help.

    But the Holy Spirit is hovering back and forth over the whole earth. He is looking for those who need and desire Him. Every day millions of people go to bed hungry and die from diseases. Thousands of people each year are being murdered for their faith and their race. Their need is for preemptive measures of food, medicine, justice and Jesus.

    There is also the need to minister to those who have been ravished by raw racism and poverty. They are waiting for someone to care. A little bit of health care, a little bit of money, and a little bit of time can provide for the poor in ways most of us take for granted. A few hundred dollars can build an indoor bathroom and kitchen in the slums. It can be seed money to start a micro enterprise.

    A wooden cart can be purchased to transport fruits and vegetables to market. God’s heart is to help the helpless. Therefore, pray for the poor and ask God to give you someone who could use your help. Grace is drawn to the needy, love edifies and kindness cares. Faith flushes out fear and humility, hunts down the hurting and hangs out with them. Compassion shows up—in Jesus’ name—with resources that resonate where people live.

    Or, you may find yourself on the helpless half of the equation. We are all helpless to some extent. You may feel helpless in your current situation at work, with a family member or your physical condition. Your helpless position is God’s helpful position. Engage your heavenly Father in your helpless circumstance. Lean on His love and request His wisdom. You cannot make it alone. Helpless does not mean hopeless.

    Your pride may refuse help, but your humility sees help as God’s provision. Indeed, you receive the help of heaven so you can help others get to heaven. Help is a gift that keeps on giving. Because someone believed in you and helped you, you desire to do the same for another. Therefore, with a grateful heart, first look to heaven for help.

    “I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).

    Who is the Lord leading me to help, who find themselves in a helpless situation?

    Related Readings: Leviticus 25:35; Psalm 40:17; 70:5; Ezekiel 16:49; Acts 9:36

    Post/Tweet this today: Receive the help of heaven, so you can help others get to heaven. #heaven #help

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Sensitive Spouse

    Posted on January 24, 2012 by Family Christian

    “While Pilate was sitting on the judge's seat, his wife sent him this message: "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him." Matthew 27:19

     

    Smart is the spouse who is sensitive to his or her spouse. God placed your husband or wife in your life to speak His thoughts through them. This doesn’t mean every word from a marriage partner is gospel, but it does mean we are wise if we listen to their admonishments. Suggestions from your spouse are not to be slighted, but taken seriously.

    Rarely have I suffered harm by taking my wife’s advice, but many times have I travailed for not trusting her instincts. Does your spouse know about the financial decision you are considering? Even if they are not interested, you honor them by asking for their input and keeping them informed of the facts. A sensitive spouse takes the time to communicate.

    “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

    The concerns of a spouse may subside once they have time to prayerfully process the data, and get to know and trust those who are involved. It takes faith and patience to prolong the process, but it will lead to the best decision. Waiting takes the weight of the decision off you, and allows other godly advisors to get involved.

    Create a habit of going to the Lord first and to your spouse second. If you are afraid of what either might think then recognize this is a sign to listen intently. Thank the Lord for a spouse who cares enough to speak up when they are concerned. Listen to them and love them through the process with prayer and collaboration. Christ gave you a sensitive spouse, so you can learn to be sensitive to them and to Him.

    “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).

    What decision am I currently contemplating where I need to invite my spouse’s input?

    Related Readings: Exodus 18:19; Proverbs 19:20; Jeremiah 38:15; Acts 27:11

    Post/Tweet this today: Suggestions from your spouse are not to be slighted, but taken seriously. #marriage #wisdom

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Solicit Prayers

    Posted on January 23, 2012 by Family Christian

    "Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon." Hebrews 13:18-19

     

    The need for prayer is not just a private matter, but also one that requires public awareness. Prayer is personal and it invites the engagement of other Christ followers. Personal needs aren’t meant for concealment like a castaway on a deserted island. Instead, during uncertain circumstances, communities of believers rally together in intercession on behalf of their brothers and sisters. Prayer is a platform to say: “I care”.

    We are not to wait on others to ask for how they can pray for us (though this is a good habit for caring Christians); rather we are to request prayer. Yes, it sounds selfish, but it’s not. It is the opportunity to allow another to be blessed, as they approach heaven on behalf of your healing. Our pride is put in its proper place when we humble ourselves to ask for prayer.
    “Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again.” Genesis 20:17

    Prayer is not about you or me—it is about the faithfulness, the power and the glory of God. It is short-sided and selfish not to let others know of our hurts, failures and fears. To confess the need for prayer is to say, “I can’t, but Christ can.” It means you and I submit to the spiritual support of friends and family who know and love Jesus. Your heavenly Father smiles when He sees His children come around one another with sincere petitions.

    Like wagons in the old west that circled together in the face of danger, so the Body of Christ gathers around one another when confronted with the enemy of persecution, the dread of disease, the embarrassment of moral failure and the fear of a financial meltdown. What need in your life needs to be known, so that other Christ followers can come around you with powerful solicitations to Jesus? God knows, but His children also need to know.

    “Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.” “I have heard you,” replied Jeremiah the prophet. “I will certainly pray to the LORD your God as you have requested; I will tell you everything the LORD says and will keep nothing back from you.” Jeremiah 42:3-4

    Lord, who do I need to ask for prayer on my behalf and to whom can I offer prayer support?

    Related Readings: Job 42:9-10; Psalm 122:6; Acts 20:36; Romans 15:30

    Post/Tweet this today: Prayer is a platform to say: “I care”. #prayer #wisdom

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Divine Direction

    Posted on January 22, 2012 by Family Christian

    “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23

     

    We do not own our lives.  We have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20).  Jesus’ sacrificial blood purchased our freedom from the fire of hell, sin, and death.  By faith, He owns us.  A great exchange took place when you first believed in Jesus.  What’s yours became His, and what’s His became yours.  The life of Christ became your life. It is not your life to define, but His.  He has wrapped a wonderful definition around who you are in Him.  You are a child of God.  You are secure because your Savior keeps you.  You are valuable because the Lord values you.  You are protected because the Almighty owns you. The Bible is God’s glossary of how to define yourself. 

    Scripture gives you a family tree of faith for you to trace your religious roots.  It is a mirror of how God sees you.  He sees you as accepted in His Son, though you suffer rejection from others.  Cherish and enjoy daily the acceptance of Jesus. Moreover, your mistakes are His opportunity to affirm His acceptance.  There are still consequences to your sin, but He is always available to receive you back because you are His.  He accepts and receives back His own. 

    Furthermore, He directs His own (Isaiah 48:17).  God’s desire for you is to understand and follow His plan for your life.  Praise God it’s a step-by-step process and He directs your steps!  Some days you may feel like it is three steps forward and two steps back, but do not be discouraged or dismayed.  God is still directing your steps, though at times they seem tedious and laborious. The Lord leads you in lockstep with His steps.  In His steps is the wisest way to walk.  Do not run ahead thinking you have to set a record for speed or quickness. 

    In fact, quick steps may cause you to backtrack and have to re-learn what God was trying to teach you.  Walk patiently with Him, and watch Him work.  The Holy Spirit is your step director.  You are in His step class for instruction in His word and exercise in faith.  Learn how to let the Lord direct your steps. Prayerfully listen to the quiet prompting from His spirit.  Stop when you need to stop.  Speed up when you need to speed up.  Slow down when you need to slow down.  God directs the steps of a submitted and surrendered man or woman. 

    Stubbornness is hard to direct (Psalm 81:12).  Pride resists direction, and independence attempts to self-direct.  Listen to your spouse or close friend.  God may speak His next steps through them.  Self-direction is like traveling alone to a new destination without a map or an orientation to your surroundings.  It is futile and frustrating.  It leads to fatalistic thinking.  God-directed steps, on the contrary, are a pattern of peace.  You can rest in His far-reaching perspective and otherworldly wisdom.  He gives divine direction that determines His will for your life.  Step by step, He leads you.  You can trust that His way is the best way.  Be patient.  Watch Him work in spite of adversity and a lack of resources.  Avoid a two-step with yourself. Stay in step with your Savior.  Allow your Maker to define your moves.  Lockstep with the Lord is the wisest way to walk.  Resist directing your own steps.  Trust in your walk with Him. Allow His direction to define your steps.

    Taken from the January 19th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: The Bible is God’s glossary of how to define yourself. #Bible

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Life Giving Peace

    Posted on January 21, 2012 by Family Christian

    “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30

     

    Peace produces life for a life surrendered to God. But it is in conflict with Christ that a life’s internal harmony is replaced with unrest. However, the fruit of peace is life: life giving energy in relationships, life giving words at work, life giving attitudes at home and life giving community with other Jesus followers. Spiritual peace gives physical life.

    If peace is such an essential ingredient for life, why can it be so allusive? Guilt has a way of grinding away at the goodness of God that lies dormant in a heart unaffected by discipleship. Conversion to Christ does not guarantee that His peace will have preeminence, but it does position us for easy access to His grace. Like an orphan adopted by loving parents—acceptance of our heavenly Father’s love creates peaceful security.

    “Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.” Psalm 85:10

    What competes with your peace? Has your peace-less heart contributed to your unhealthy emotional and physical condition? Pride fights against peace, because it can’t rest until it proves itself to be right. Greed is an enemy of peace, because it cannot be content unless it has a little bit more. Fear tosses and turns us awake in bed because it forgets faith’s calm.

    Fortunately, your heavenly Father is your peace provider. Your welfare is His primary care and concern. There is no circumstance, individual or spiritual enemy that has the power to rob you of the Lord’s long-standing serenity found in your savior Jesus. Indeed, use His peace as a shield against Satan’s schemes of discouragement and disappointment. You don’t have to look far for life giving peace; it is already yours in God’s son Jesus.

    “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave Me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for My Father is with Me. “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:31-33
    How can I better apply the life giving peace of God that I already possess in Jesus?

    Related Readings: Psalm 119:165; Isaiah 54:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 6:23

    Post/Tweet this today: Peace produces life for a life surrendered to God. #peace

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Sick Unto Death

    Posted on January 20, 2012 by Family Christian

    “For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow” (Philippians 2:27).

     

    Friends and family who suffer from chronic illnesses are candidates for God’s grace, and our love and attention. It is extremely difficult to see a loved one languish through cancer, Alzheimer’s and dementia. Once they smiled with joy, now they ache in pain. Once their body was hefty and healthy, now they are hollow and disfigured. The person we once knew now seems nonexistent.

    They may be physically alive, but emotionally and mentally detached. However, it is in their weak condition that you honor them by providing strength. Even if they lived a self-serving life, continue to serve them as a testimony to your siblings, spouse and children, and in obedience to Christ’s command. Service to the sick is an opportunity to be like Jesus, so by God’s grace represent Him well.

    “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:35-36

    God may not heal them in this life, but He does provide mercy and grace for comfort and endurance. I do not like the smell of the sick, it makes me nauseous and nervous, but serving the sick is not about my hang-ups. It is about heaven’s help, salvation’s cure and prayer’s path to peace. Inconvenient illness is an opportunity for us to illustrate other centered living.

    Be very patient with your spouse who is unable to care for you as well because they are in a season of extreme service to their parent. You can help by seeking out experts in law and finance to assist your dying loved one and help them steward well their departure. Sickness is the Lord’s pause to ponder what’s really important in life. So enjoy any time of interruption to love your loved ones and friends who are sick unto death.

    “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. "Where have you laid him?" He asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!” (John 11:33-36)
    Who is at the point of death that I can support with a card, call, visit or prayer?

    Related Readings: Exodus 23:25; Psalm 41:3; Luke 5:15-17; James 5:14-15

    Post/Tweet this today: Self wants the attention when afflicted, but it’s the glory of God that deserves the recognition. #glory

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

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