THURSDAY, AUGUST 9
“FOR THE PLACE WHERE YOU STAND IS HOLY GROUND” EX. 3:5 NKJV
Jewish scholars used to debate why God revealed Himself to Moses in the middle of the desert. Why not a highly populated or religiously significant place? The consensus was that God wanted to how that no place on earth, not even a thorn bush, is devoid of God’s presence. Pastor and author A.W. Tozer wrote: “God is above, but He’s not pushed up. He’s beneath, but He’s not pressed down. He’s outside, but He’s not excluded. He’s inside, but He’s not confined. God is above all things presiding, beneath all things sustaining, outside all things embracing, and inside all things fulfilling.” And here’s the best part: “God… works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Php 2:13 NKJV). Today God is living within you, working within you, and giving you a desire to do the things that please Him. And here’s an interesting thought. Since God lives within you, don’t go anywhere that you know He wouldn’t be please to be in. When you feel wrong about being with a certain person, or in a certain place, pay attention. It may be the Holy Spirit telling you that you don’t belong there and you shouldn’t be doing that. Is God being narrow-minded? No; He wants only the best for you, so He’s protecting you from harm. The Bible says, “For the Lord God is a … shield… no good thing will be withheld from those who walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11 NKJV). Today wherever you go, remember that God is there.
“The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
FRIDAY JULY 27
You cannot sit on the sidelines, because God has called you to the front lines. Sometimes that means taking a stand for what is right. Jesus said, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Note, gates are defensive measures. That means we have been called to attack the powers of hell. In 1517 a monk named Martin Luther picked a fight with the religious establishment. He challenged the status quo by attacking the selling of indulgences (licenses to sin). He posted the Ninety-Five Theses on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and ignited the Protestant Reformation. Luther probably didn’t know that he was making history. But small acts of faith and courage have a domino effect. When we do what is right regardless of the circumstances or consequences, we set the table for God to turn the tables. At the Diet of Worms in 1521, Luther was summoned by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and put on trial for his beliefs. Instead of recanting, Luther mustered the moral courage to take a stand: “My conscience is taken captive by God’s Word, I cannot and will not recant anything. For to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen: So, who do you need to stand up for? The homeless? The fatherless? The voiceless? Don’t let the problem overwhelm you. Don’t let what you cannot do, keep you from doing what you can.
“He lifted me out of the pit of despair.”
GOD KNOWS EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE
THURSDAY JULY 26
When an earthquake struck Haiti, an aid worker trapped under a collapsed hotel prayed, “Lord, I haven’t been in touch with You lately. Now I need You more than ever: He writes: “I heard a sound. Who’s there?’ I shouted. ‘Jim,’ a man replied. He and five others were trapped too. Would you like to pray with me?’ I asked. Yes,’ he answered. So I said, ‘Lord, we’re asking You for a miracle. Please rescue us.’ I was drifting off to sleep when rhythmic thumping woke me. Helicopters! We waited, but nobody came. I felt drained. No food and water for twenty-four hours and I needed a doctor … I closed my eyes, sure I’d never open them again … A voice shouted and I jolted awake .. . a survivor had contacted a rescue team through a small hole … An hour passed, then two … I banged on the wall. No response. I’m going to die here, and there’s nothing I can do.’ Then this thought came to my mind: Worship Me. I began singing: ‘Great is Thy faithfulness; morning by morning new mercies I see.’ I sang: ‘Be still my soul.’ Praise songs … to the One who knew exactly where I was. I felt God’s presence … and heard Him whisper, Trust me with everything· … and I let it all go. ‘Your will be done, Lord’ … Hours later a team of rescuers came down the elevator shaft, hoisted me to safety, and took me to the hospital. My wife was waiting. ‘I thought you were dead,’ she said. ‘Me too,’ I whispered. And I would have been if it hadn’t been for what I had with me in that dark place-my faith that’s more alive than ever.”
WEDNESDAY JULY 25
“Be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.”
RETRAIN YOUR BRAIN
Lasting change happens gradually on the inside, often before there’s any outward evidence of it. Pastor Jim Penner says: “A friend of mine recently went through hip replacement surgery… the joint had worn to the point where he walked with a limp and had to use a crutch. Thanks to the skill of a modern-day surgeon he was quickly up and around again. Yet for months after the surgery his limp remained… I ran into him this morning and the limp was gone. Where did it go? It had been there the day before. Had it vanished in the night? “You’re walking great,” I said. “What happened?” His response was priceless. “My physical therapist told me I had to retrain my brain.” His brain had been
trained to expect pain so he limped in anticipation. Even when he didn’t feel the pain his brain said, ‘Hang on. It’s coming!’ The Bible says in Christ you become ‘a new creature: old things are past away … all things become new’ (2Co 5:17). But you have to change your thinking by believing, accepting, and acting on it. Christ has already done the restoration ‘surgery.’ Just like my friend was given a new hip, God has given you a new life. The old one is gone along with all the bad things you’ve done, thought, or said. You’re a brand-new creation. But you have to retrain your brain to accept God’s forgiveness and the restorative work Jesus has done in your life.” So: Retrain your brain.