Join me in reading Today’s Word with Joel and Victoria Osteen:
IN YOUR MIDNIGHT HOUR
Paul and Silas were put in jail for spreading the good news. It wasn’t fair. They were beaten with rods without a trial. It was unjust. As they sat in the prison, bloody, bruised and uncomfortable, they began to sing praises to God. As they were singing praises to God, all of the sudden, there was a great earthquake. The prison doors flung open, the chains fell off, and they walked out as free men. What happened? They praised their way to victory!
Friend, if you’re going to live in victory, you have to know how to praise in your midnight hour — when things seem the darkest, when you’re in pain, disappointed, lonely or experiencing a loss. When you praise Him no matter what, that’s when God can enter your situation. That’s when He can break your chains and set you free!
Remember, a sacrifice of praise is when it costs you something, when you don’t necessarily feel like doing it. Praise Him, not because of how you feel, but because He is worthy! Praise Him in your midnight hour and get ready to embrace the freedom He has planned for you!
Father God, right now I lift my heart to You. I declare that You are worthy to be praised, and Your worth doesn’t change because of my circumstances. I will bless You today and every day. I will bless You in the midnight hour knowing that You are good, and You have victory and freedom in store for me in Jesus’ name. Amen
Today I am reading day 35 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
Worship God As You Are
Ephesians 5:27 27that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Have you been to a worship service where you stood with your hands raised, ready to worship God, only to hear the worship leader say, “Before we worship God, let’s all search our hearts”? Then, as you search your heart, before long, you dig up something that you don’t like. The next thing you know, your hands are no longer raised and soon, you find yourself sitting down — you don’t feel good worshiping God any more.
My friend, I have good news for you. Come and worship Him as you are. Come into God’s presence Jesus-conscious, forgiveness-conscious and grace-conscious! Come into God’s presence bringing only Jesus the spotless Lamb of God as your offering.
Your worshiping God is like the times God’s people in the Old Testament brought their offerings to the priest. The priest examined the animal sacrifice to ensure that it was without blemish. The priest did not examine the sinner. If the animal was without blemish, God accepted the animal sacrifice as well as the offerer who brought the animal.
So when you come into God’s presence, don’t do any self-examination and be discouraged when you find faults in your life. God does not examine you. He sees you through the full value, and all the loveliness and acceptance of His Son. (Ephesians 1:6) He sees you holy and without blemish!
Remember the woman who was referred to as a sinner, possibly a prostitute? She went to the house of the Pharisee who was hosting Jesus and wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair. (Luke 7:36–50) That was her act of worship.
She came to Him as she was. Yes, she knew that she had sinned, but she worshiped Jesus first because of who He is. She was Jesus-conscious. Then, she heard Jesus say, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:48) She received the forgiveness she needed from Him.
Whatever you need from the Savior, come to Him as you are. Worship Him for who He is and then you will hear Him say, “Go your way. Your restoration has come. Your provision is here. You are healed. You have been made whole!”
Thought For The Day
God sees you in Christ — holy and without blemish.
Today I am reading day 257 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Seeking a Feeling is not Worship
God has promised repeatedly, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Yet God has not promised “you will always feel my presence.” In fact, God admits that sometimes he hides his face from us. (Isaiah 45:15)
There are times when he appears to be MIA, missing-in-action, in your life.
This is a normal part of the testing and maturing of your friendship with God. Every Christian goes through it at least once, and usually several times. It is painful and disconcerting, but it is absolutely vital for the development of your faith.
The most common mistake Christians make in worship today is seeking an experience rather than seeking God. They look for a feeling, and if it happens, they conclude that they have worshiped. Wrong! In fact, God often removes our feelings so we won’t depend on them. Seeking a feeling, even the feeling of closeness to Christ, is not worship.
Today I am reading day 201 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Worship: Offering Yourself to God
Offering yourself to God is what worship is all about.
This act of personal surrender is called many things: such as consecration, making Jesus Lord, taking up your cross, dying to self, and yielding to the Spirit.
What matters is that you do it, not what you call it. God wants your life, all of it – 95 percent is not enough.
But we won’t surrender to God unless we trust him. We can’t trust him until we know him better. Fear keeps us from surrendering, but love casts out all fear. The more you realize how much God loves you, the easier surrender becomes.
How do I know God loves me? He gives us many evidences:
God says he loves you (Psalm 145:9). God cares about every detail of your life (Matthew 10:30). God gave you the capacity to enjoy all kinds of pleasure (1 Timothy 6:17).
God has good plans for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). God forgives you (Psalm 86:5). God is patient with you (Psalm 145:8). God sacrificed his Son for you (Romans 5:8).
God loves you infinitely more than you can imagine.
If you want to know how much you matter to God, look at Christ with his arms outstretched on the cross saying, “I love you this much! I’d rather die than live without you.”
He is certainly worthy of our surrender.
Today I am reading day 200 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Surrender is the Heart of Worship
Surrender is an unpopular word, disliked almost as much as the word submission. It implies losing, and no one wants to be a loser.
Surrender evokes the unpleasant images of admitting defeat in battle, forfeiting a game, or yielding to a stronger opponent. The word is almost always used in a negative context.
In our competitive world we’re taught to never quit trying, never give up, and never give in – so we don’t hear much about surrendering. If winning is everything, surrendering is unthinkable.
Yet, the Bible teaches us that rather than trying to win, succeed, overcome, and conquer, we should instead yield, submit, obey, and surrender.
And by surrendering to God, we enter into the heart of worship. This is true worship: bringing pleasure to God as we give ourselves completely to him.
Surrendering is best demonstrated in obedience, cooperating with your Creator. You say “Yes, Lord” to whatever he asks of you.
God is not a cruel slave driver or a bully who uses brute force to coerce us into submission. He doesn’t try to break our will, but woos us to himself, so that we might offer it freely to him. God is a lover and a liberator, and surrendering brings freedom, not bondage.
When we completely surrender ourselves to Jesus, we discover that he is not a tyrant but a savior; not a boss, but a brother; not a dictator, but a friend.
Today I am reading day 194 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Work is Part of God’s Plan
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Your work can be an act of worship. No matter what you do, it’s never just a job if you are a believer. This is because God designed you with talents, gifts and interests that He wants used for His glory.
You are custom-made. There’s nobody like you in the whole world. And the gifts, the abilities, the talents, even the interests you have — they were genetically encoded into you by God. God made you with a specific mission in mind — and He wants you to use the gifts he’s given you in your work.
The Bible says you are God’s workmanship. The Greek word used for workmanship is poema. That’s where the English word poem comes from — you are God’s poem! You are God’s work of art. You are God’s masterpiece.
Your work is part of God’s plan for your life and that is why, as you work, you worship God.
Today I am reading day 167 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Feel Abandoned, Worship God Anyway
2CO 5:21 Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God.
If God never did anything else for you, he would still deserve your continual praise for the rest of your life because of what Jesus did for you on the cross. God’s Son died for you! This is the greatest reason for worship.
Unfortunately, we forget the cruel details of the agonizing sacrifice God made on our behalf. The Son of God was stripped naked, beaten until almost unrecognizable, whipped, scorned and mocked, crowned with thorns, and spit on contemptuously.
Then he was forced to drag a cumbersome cross up a hill, was nailed to it, and was left to die the slow, excruciating torture of death by crucifixion while hecklers stood by and shouted insults, making fun of his pain and challenging his claim to be God.
Next, as Jesus took all of mankind’s sin and guilt on himself, God looked away from that ugly sight, and Jesus cried out in total desperation, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus could have saved himself – but then he could not have saved you.
Why did God allow and endure such ghastly, evil mistreatment? Why? So you could be spared from eternity in hell, and so you could share in his glory forever!
Never again should you wonder what you have to be thankful for.
Today I am reading day 164 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Seeking Feeling is Not Worship
JOB 23:8-10 I have searched in the East, but God is not there; I have not found him when I searched in the West. God has been at work in the North and the South, but still I have not seen him. Yet God knows every step I take; if he tests me, he will find me pure.
ISA 45:15 The God of Israel, who saves his people, is a God who conceals himself.
God has not promised “you will always feel my presence.” In fact, God admits that sometimes he hides his face from us. (Isaiah 45:15)
This is a normal part of the testing and maturing of your friendship with God. It is painful and disconcerting, but it is absolutely vital for the development of your faith.
Knowing this gave Job hope when he could not feel God’s presence in his life. He said, “I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him. I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I turn to the south, but I cannot find him. But he knows where I am going. And when he has tested me like gold in a fire, he will pronounce me innocent.” (Job 23:8-10 NLT)
When God seems distant, you may feel that he is angry with you or is disciplining you for some sin. In fact, sin does disconnect us from intimate fellowship with God. But often this feeling of abandonment or estrangement from God has nothing to do with sin. It is a test of faith – one we all must face: Will you continue to love, trust, obey, and worship God, even when you have no sense of his presence or visible evidence of his work in your life?
Today I am reading day 40 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Who’s the Boss?
Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Your boss is not really your boss; your boss is Jesus.
There are two things I want you to see in our verses today.
First, it says, “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Colossians 3:23 NLT) It’s easier to be enthusiastic about your job when you turn the focus of your work from “I’m doing this for my boss” or “I’m doing this for a paycheck” to “I’m doing this for the Lord,” With that in mind you can do anything – scrape paint, wash dishes, repair a car – and turn it into worship.
Second, when you turn your work into worship, you start storing up credits in heaven. Colossians 3:24 says, “Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ.” (Colossians 3:24 NLT) As you work for God, you are making eternal deposits in heaven.
“So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV) It doesn’t matter if you’re rearranging papers or signing bills, any job can become an act of worship if you do it enthusiastically for God.
Today I am reading day 24 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Your Work as Worship
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.
As you enter your Decade of Destiny, it is important that you understand your work can be an act of worship to God. In fact, if I want God to bless my finances, I must make my work an act of worship.
What I’m saying is that no matter what you do – sweeping the streets, running a corporation or the work of a stay-at-home mom — your job is more than a job. The Bible says while you are here on earth, you should use your work as an act of worship.
This means whatever you do, you are to do it with enthusiasm. If your heart is not in it, you are in the wrong job. If you are not working with all your heart, you are sinning. I didn’t say that, the Bible says it.
Why work with all your heart? Because you are working “as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.” No matter what I do, if it is to prepare a meal, if it is to sign an invoice, if it is to do an analysis, if it is to close a deal, if it is to make a sale, if it is to make delivery — whatever it is, I am to do it as if I’m doing it for God, and so it becomes an act of worship.
Today I am reading day 4 of NIV Once-A-Day At the Table Family Devotional:
1 Chronicles 29:9 The people had given willingly to the Lord, and they were happy that so much had been given. King David also was extremely happy.
• Why does God want your worship?
• How can we become a more worshipful family?
If you ask someone, “What were you put on this earth to do?” chances are you’ll find out what that person likes to do: “I was put on this earth to play soccer.” Or you might find out what that person feels responsible to do: “I was put on this earth to take care of my family.” But neither answer is correct. As human beings, we were created for one purpose: to give glory to God.
That means worship — and that’s what God wants from us more than anything. The Israelites discovered how important worship is to God. When King David announced that he was building a temple where the people could worship God, the Israelites leapt at the chance to be a part of it. They gave the best of everything they had to use in the construction. They devoted themselves to worship. As a result, God blessed their nation with peace, wealth and respect among the other nations of the world.
God is pleased by our worship and blesses us. Receiving his blessing gives us cause to worship him more, which gives him reason to bless us more. It’s a beautiful cycle!
My Prayer to God
Dear God, we worship you for your love and goodness. Thank you for taking care of your people in the past, for taking care of us today and for taking care of us in the future. Amen.