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A cheerful heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit makes one sick.

-Proverbs 17:22

NOT ATTAINED - 

BY MARY WILDER TILESTON

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Jesus Christ. -PHILIPPIANS 3:12

LET no man think that sudden in a minute

All is accomplished and the work is done;--

Though with thine earliest dawn thou shouldst begin it,

Scarce were it ended in thy setting sun.

--FREDERIC W. H. MYERS


NOTHING so purifies the thoughts, heightens the acts, shuts out self, admits God, as, in all things, little or great, to look to Jesus. Look to Him, when ye can, as ye begin to act, to converse, or labor; and then desire to speak or be silent, as He would have you; to say this word, or leave that unsaid; to do this, or leave that undone; to shape your words, as if He were present, and He will be present, not in body, but in spirit, not by your side, but in your soul. Faint not, any who would love Jesus, if ye find yourselves yet far short of what He Himself who is Love saith of the love of Him. Perfect love is heaven. When ye are perfected in love, your work on earth is done. There is no short road to heaven or to love. Do what in thee lies by the grace of God, and He will lead thee from strength to strength, and grace to grace, and love to love.

--EDWARD B. PUSEY


This is a public domain version of Joy and Strength.

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

COMPANY OF THE UNFIT -  

In Lessons on Living

David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him. - 1 Samuel 22:1-2

When Gen. George Washington gathered his armies to fight against the redcoats, they came from every conceivable walk of life. Some were frontiersmen, while others were merchants, farmers and even slaves. But the overwhelming majority had one thing in common: they were not trained soldiers. Most of them had shot nothing bigger than wild game. Yet in spite of that glaring deficiency, they took on the disciplined regiments of British regulars, and after a seven-year struggle they won.

David's army also was a ragtag band of misfits. Those who were in trouble, in debt or simply discontented were drawn to him. A more motley group of outcasts would be hard to find--hardly a fit army for a would-be king. Yet despite their many shortcomings, God used them ultimately to bring David to the throne.

God delights in accomplishing His will through those the world considers unfit. He always has been attracted to people who will make themselves available and let Him do the rest. He took a schemer like Jacob and made him the father of Israel. He took an escaped fugitive like Moses and made him a fearless liberator. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that He was able to take a group of unlikely malcontents and debtors and use them to establish a shepherd boy like David as king over Israel. Imagine what He can do with you and me.

Are you ill-equipped for the task that God has called you to? Then rejoice, because that means you have the primary qualification God is looking for. If you are willing to be used, God will do the rest.


God can make the unfit fit for His plans.

Dr. Woodrow Kroll served as President and Senior Bible Teacher at Back to the Bible from 1990-2013. Author of more than 50 books, Dr. Kroll's passion is to increase Bible literacy in America by engaging people in the Bible and connecting them with the Author. His clear, incisive teaching of the Word keeps him in demand as a speaker all over the world. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/authors/woodrow-kroll#sthash.7Yrcap6W.dpuf

More of Dr. Woodrow Kroll: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

Redeeming Rejection -  

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. —2 Corinthians 1:3-5

 

Growing up, I was lousy at telling jokes. But, I love to laugh. I love teaching with humor—my thought is that tough truth always goes down a lot easier when the congregation’s mouths are open. So, about fifteen years ago, I took a stand-up comedy class hoping to improve my skills. The first four weeks we developed and practiced a routine, and then we had to perform a fifteen-minute set at the Improv—a local comedy club full of real, live people who weren’t our classmates.

 

I must admit, on the night of the big show…I completely bombed!

 

People started booing after my first few jokes. They totally rejected me. So, I stopped and started and stumbled through my whole routine—everything I had so carefully crafted—and I still had ten minutes to go. Even people closest to me said things like, “Yeah, Doug, that was rough.” It was one of the most humiliating moments of my life.

 

But do you know what the experience did for me? It made me more compassionate. If you want to try anything risky in your life, invite me along—I’ll be there to cheer you on! (And I promise not to boo!) I have a huge heart for anyone who does anything on stage in front of other people. I know how hard it can be. You can bet I won’t reject you.

 

There’s something that happens whenever you take that which has been rejected and broken in you and offer it to others in the form of compassion and understanding. This is the type of love that can change and help other people and open their hearts to the ways of God.

 

God is in the business of redeeming rejection for His glory. He can make all things new! Our part is to cooperate with His plan. Our own rejection can empower us to be more compassionate to the sources of our rejection. We can see them through God’s eyes. The rejection loses its power over us. We can then be tools in God’s hands to heal the pain of others’ rejection. And isn’t this what you want to be—someone God can use to heal others?

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Who has or is rejecting you? To whom do you need to offer compassion?

 

2. How might feeling and expressing compassion to this person help redeem your rejection?

 

FURTHER READING:

Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 3:8

DOUG FIELDS is the senior director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University and the co-founder of Downloadyouthministry.com. Doug has been a youth and teaching pastor at Mariners Church and Saddleback Church for 30 years and has authored more than fifty books. He is a passionate speaker reaching thousands of leaders, teenagers, and parents every year. Doug resides with his wife and three children in Southern California. 

More of Doug Fields: www.homeword.com

UNADORNED LIFE -  

BY MRS. CHARLES COWMAN

"These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work" (1 Chron. 4:23).

Anywhere and everywhere we may dwell "with the king for his work." We may be in a very unlikely and unfavorable place for this; it may be in a literal country life, with little enough to be seen of the "goings" of the King around us; it may be among the hedges of all sorts, hindrances in all directions; it may be furthermore, with our hands full of all manner of pottery for our daily task.

No matter! The King who placed us "there" will come and dwell there with us; the hedges are right, or He would soon do away with them. And it does not follow that what seems to hinder our way may not be for its very protection; and as for the pottery, why, that is just exactly what He has seen fit to put into our hands, and therefore it is, for the present, "His work."

--Frances Ridley Havergal


"Go back to thy garden-plot, sweetheart!

Go back till the evening falls,

And bind thy lilies and train thy vines, 

Till for thee the Master calls.


"Go make thy garden fair as thou canst, 

Thou workest never alone;

Perhaps he whose plot is next to thine 

Will see it and mend his own."

The colored sunsets and starry heavens, the beautiful mountains and the shining seas, the fragrant woods and painted flowers, are not half so beautiful as a soul that is serving Jesus out of love, in the wear and tear of common, unpoetic life. --Faber

The most saintly spirits are often existing in those who have never distinguished themselves as authors, or left any memorial of themselves to be the theme of the world's talk; but who have led an interior angelic life, having borne their sweet blossoms unseen like the young lily in a sequestered vale on the bank of a limpid stream. --Kenelm Digby


The public domain version of this classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert.

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

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