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Discussion Starter #421
Open to Attacks

by Greg Laurie on Feb 20, 2019


“ After moving from Hebron to Jerusalem, David married more concubines and wives, and they had more sons and daughters. ”

2 Samuel 5:13


By the time David was fifty years old, he had been ruling Israel for twenty years. He had gone from victory to victory. He had distinguished himself in so many ways: man of God, skilled musician, gifted poet, wise and compassionate ruler, and a man of great courage.

And that’s when the devil hit him. When things are going well, that’s usually when the devil attacks. When there is no illness, when there are no unpaid bills, when there isn’t a crisis we’re facing, we may not hang on to the Lord as tightly as we once did.

On the other hand, when we’re going through a crisis, we’re dependent on God. Maybe it’s even one of the best times of our lives spiritually because we’ve never been closer to Christ.

When David was facing the giant Goliath, he was trusting in the Lord. When David was running from Saul while he hunted him down like a wild dog, he was calling out to God. When he was anointed as Israel’s king and ascended the throne, he prayed for God’s help.

But twenty years had gone by, and David was kicking back and taking somewhat of a spiritual vacation from God, which never works. So the devil attacked. David had set himself up for this particular attack, because in direct disobedience to God, he took concubines (see 2 Samuel 5:13).

God had given this command in Deuteronomy 17: “The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord” (verse 17 NLT). That’s what was happening to David. His heart was slowly but surely turning away from God, and he was being consumed by lust.

This serves as a warning for us today: the devil will attack when we’re the most vulnerable.


source:
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/open-to-attacks/
 

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Discussion Starter #422
Divine Roadblocks

by Greg Laurie on Feb 21, 2019


“ Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. ”

2 Samuel 11:2


David could not have avoided the first look at Bathsheba. But he could have avoided what he did next: he immediately acted on what he saw and called for one of his servants to find out who she was. A servant told him, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite” (2 Samuel 11:3 NLT).

You have to give that servant credit. He knew exactly what was going on with David. Here’s an interesting thing to consider: sometimes other people have a better sense of what we’re doing than we have. The servant knew David. He knew David was a womanizer. And he knew what David saw. So he said, “She is Bathsheba . . . the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” In other words, “She’s married and you’re married, so forget about it.”

But David didn’t forget about it.

God was putting a roadblock in David’s life to keep him from sinning. And God will put roadblocks in our lives as well. Have you ever noticed that when you try to do something wrong, God doesn’t make it easy for you? He makes it difficult.

That’s why I think it’s so ridiculous when someone claims to have somehow “fallen into” adultery. Really? Just like that—kind of like tripping over a rug? Someone says, “Here I am in adultery. How did this happen? How did I end up in the bed of someone else? How did this happen?”

Did they just “fall into” the hotel room or wherever? I don’t think so. They didn’t fall into anything. They planned it. They plotted it, they executed it, and then they lied to cover it up. People don’t simply “fall into” adultery. They have to jump through a lot of hoops to end up there.


source:
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/divine-roadblocks/
 

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Discussion Starter #423
Devotion
The Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever

by Greg Laurie on Feb 25, 2019


“ And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. ”

Hebrews 11:6

When Jesus walked this earth, He healed a lot of people. But did He heal everyone? Could He have healed everyone? Jesus could have said, “Everyone will be healed on the count of three. One . . . two . . . three” and boom! Everyone, everywhere has been healed. He wouldn’t have needed to touch people. He wouldn’t have needed to even see them.

Jesus could have done that, but He didn’t. He responded to people who called out to Him, like Bartimaeus, the blind man who heard Jesus passing by and shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47 NLT).

The only place where Jesus wasn’t able to do miracles was in His hometown of Nazareth, and it was because of their unbelief. I find that really interesting. Jesus wanted to heal them. But He wouldn’t heal them because of their unbelief.

The circumstances of our lives are no problem with God. It’s our unbelief that is the problem. Like the father who wanted healing for his demon-possessed son, we, too, need to say, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NLT).

Faith can make the difference between something happening and not happening, because without faith, Hebrews 11:6 tells us, it’s impossible to please God. You don’t have to have super faith. You just have to have faith.

You may look at the stories of men and women in the Bible and think, “I don’t know if that could ever happen for me in this day in which I am living.” The work of God isn’t limited to one particular time in history. The Bible says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NLT).

God is not limited by your circumstances. He is limited by your unbelief.

https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/the-same-yesterday-today-and-forever/
 

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Discussion Starter #424
Someone Just Like Us

by Greg Laurie on Feb 28, 2019


“ Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops. ”

James 5:17–18

When we look at the life of Elijah, it can be difficult to relate to a guy like that. He called down fire from Heaven. He stopped the rain. He raised someone from the dead. We may think, “I could never have that kind of faith.”

James 5:17 tells us that “Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!” (NLT). God directed him to walk into King Ahab’s court and decree there would not be rain in the land except according to his word.

Then God sent him to a widow who was poor. When Elijah showed up, she gave him a place to stay. She didn’t have that much food—just enough for her and her son. But Elijah told her, in effect, “Just go ahead and see what God does.” Every day there was always enough for her, her son, and the prophet. This reminds us that when we give to the Lord, He gives back to us as well.

But one day her son got sick. Then he got worse. And then he died. Her life as she knew it had ended. She not only had lost her husband, but she also had lost her son. She accused Elijah, saying, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sin and kill my son?” (1 Kings 17:18 NLT).

Elijah didn’t rebuke her. He just took the limp body of her dead son, prayed for him, and raised him up.

World changers apply their faith, and they pray. God always will give us what we need when we need it—not necessarily before, but never after.


source:
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/someone-just-like-us/
 

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Discussion Starter #425
Devotion
Think Biblically

by Greg Laurie on Mar 11, 2019


“ Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. ”

Psalm 119:105

Everyone has a worldview. Our worldview is influenced by many things. It’s influenced by our culture, by our upbringing, and by our education or lack thereof. It’s influenced by the books we read or the lack of books we read. It’s influenced by the media we expose ourselves to.

A worldview is comprehensive. It will affect every area of our lives, from our morality to how we spend our money to our politics to how we vote. It affects everything about us. What we want to have is a Christian worldview, and more specifically, a biblical worldview.

C.S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” That’s how we need to view life: through the lens of Scripture, through the eyes of a follower of Jesus Christ.

The only way to have a biblical worldview is by studying and memorizing Scripture and spending time in it every day. We want to run everything through a biblical grid, asking ourselves, “What does the Bible say about this?”

Sometimes people have an emotional worldview. They base their views on how they feel. They’ll say, “Well, I just go with my heart, because the heart wants what the heart wants.”

Here’s what the Bible says about our hearts: “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT).

Don’t go with your heart, because your heart can mislead you. Don’t go with your emotions, because your emotions can mislead you. And certainly don’t go with the culture, because that will mislead you. Go with the Bible. It will never take you in the wrong direction. Learn to think biblically.


https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/think-biblically/
 

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Discussion Starter #426
Pray Instead

by Greg Laurie on Mar 18, 2019


“ Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. ”

Philippians 4:6

I was on the road the other day and saw a car up ahead with student driver signs on both sides, on the roof, and on the back. I gave wide berth to that car, because I knew they didn’t know what they were doing yet. And sure enough, as they were driving along, they stopped for no apparent reason. I give student drivers a lot of space because they’re still figuring it out.

But after we’ve been driving awhile, we may find ourselves eating a burrito, talking on the phone, and adjusting the radio, all at the same time. I don’t recommend this, of course. But the idea is that driving comes naturally to us because we’ve taught ourselves to do it. It becomes a conditioned reflex.

Then there are natural reflexes. If we touch something hot, we immediately pull back. We don’t have to teach this, even to a toddler. They know that when they touch something hot, it hurts.

When it comes to worry, we need to develop a conditioned reflex. We need to turn our worries into prayers. When something alarming or threatening comes our way, our natural reflex is to panic. The conditioned reflex—the biblical response, I might add—is to pray.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6 NLT). Notice that he tells us to pray about everything—not just the big, scary things. Everything.

God is interested in big things. God is interested in little things. And sometimes little things turn into big things rather quickly, don’t they? Little problems can suddenly become big problems. God is interested in whatever concerns you. So the next time you’re tempted to worry, pray instead.


source:
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/pray-instead/
 

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Discussion Starter #427
Think About What You Think About

by Greg Laurie on Mar 20, 2019


“ Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. ”

Philippians 4:8

When you sit down to eat, you have to think about how the food will affect you. For instance, I love spicy food. But I have to think about when I eat it. If it’s eight or nine o’clock at night, there’s no way I’ll eat spicy food, because I know it will disturb my sleep. So I have to make other choices.

In the same way, we have to think about what we think about. Philippians 4:8 tell us, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8 NKJV).

If you want personal peace, it involves the heart and the mind. Isaiah 26:3 says of the Lord, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (NKJV).

We need to ask ourselves, “This show I am going to watch on television—what kind of effect will it have on me?” “This movie that I’m about to go to—what effect will it have on me?” “This music I am going listen to—what effect will it have on me?”

If you want personal peace, it comes down to right thinking and right praying. And it comes down to guarding what you put into your mind, because when you stop and consider it, most temptations you have faced have come first to your mind. The mind is command central. With it we reach to the past through memories and to the future through imagination.

We want to learn how to think biblically, not emotionally. Apply the Scriptures to everything that you’re facing in life.


Source:

https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/think-about-what-you-think-about/
 

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Discussion Starter #428
The Promise of His Presence

by Greg Laurie on Mar 21, 2019


“ And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. ”

Matthew 28:20

Studies have found that 85 percent of the things that we worry about never happen. But what about the other 15 percent? What about the fear or worry that actually does happen? In fact, not only does it happen, but something even worse than you were considering happens. What then?

Then the Lord will be with you in your time of difficulty. God has not promised that we will live in a pain-free world. He told us that in this world we will have tribulation.

In 2008, our son Christopher left us and went to Heaven. You never get over this. I remember talking to a couple who have been married ten years longer than Cathe and I have, and they lost their son more than 30 years ago. They told me that you never get over it, because you don’t expect your children to die before you. It’s out of the natural order.

It’s frightening to talk about, but we need to face facts. Loved ones will die. Hardship will come into our lives. Some people live relatively pain-free lives, but the rest of us don’t. We live in the land of the dying, but we’re headed to the land of the living.

Yes, death will come. But we have this promise from Jesus: “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave” (Revelation 1:17–18 NLT).

I’m so glad that He holds the keys. If I had the keys, they would’ve been lost for years now. I lose every set of keys, all the time. But Jesus never loses the keys. He is saying, “Don’t be afraid. I’ll be there for you.”


source:
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/the-promise-of-his-presence/
 

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Discussion Starter #429
Devotion
The Source of Happiness

by Greg Laurie on Mar 25, 2019


“ Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. ”

Revelation 3:20

C.S. Lewis wrote, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Are you content? Are you a happy person? Or, are you thinking, “If I just had this, I would be happy”? You won’t find happiness in the things this world offers. It won’t be found in possessions. It won’t be found in accomplishments. It won’t be found in fame. It won’t be found in any external thing. Happiness does not come from seeking it but from seeking God. Happiness will be found in a relationship with God.

Happiness is not about what I have; it’s about who has me. It’s the relationship I have with God that brings the ultimate contentment. As David wrote in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (verse 1 NKJV). When the Lord is your shepherd, you can find perfect contentment.

Tell me what you think you need, and I will tell you what you really want. What you’re looking for in life is a relationship with God. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20 NKJV).

Have you asked Jesus Christ to come into your life to be your Savior and your Lord? Jesus is ready to forgive you, but you must ask Him to come into your life. The day you do that, your questions will be answered. The day you do that, you will find the contentment you’ve been seeking in life. The day you do that is the day you literally will change your eternal address from Hell to Heaven.


source:
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/the-source-of-happiness/
 

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Discussion Starter #430
Pass It On

by Greg Laurie on Apr 1, 2019


“ Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. ”

Matthew 28:19-20

When I first became a Christian, I didn’t fully understand what I had done. I had made a commitment to Christ at a Bible study on my high school campus, but I didn’t know what was ahead of me. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I believed what I heard that day.

Not long after that, a guy walked up to me at school and introduced himself. He said, “Hi, my name is Mark, and I saw that you went forward and prayed to accept Jesus the other day.”

I was a little resistant.

“Hey, I want to help you,” he continued. “I want to take you to church.”

“No,” I said. “That’s okay. I don’t want to go to church.”

But Mark was very persistent, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Finally I relented. And not only did Mark take me to church, but he introduced me to other Christians. He had me over to his house for dinner with his parents, who also were Christians. I asked a lot of questions, and no question was too ridiculous to ask.

What Mark was doing was discipling me. And if he had not done that, I fear that I would have fallen through the cracks. Often after someone accepts Christ, he or she doesn’t know what to do next. Mark helped me in that transition. And what Mark did for me, we need to do for others. That is what the Great Commission is.

If you’re following Jesus as a real disciple, then you will be leading others to Christ. And if you’re not leading others to Christ, are you really following Him as you ought to as a disciple? We must be salt in our world—and salt stimulates the thirst in another person.

source:
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/pass-it-on/
 

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Discussion Starter #431
Devotion
Bad Company

by Greg Laurie on Apr 8, 2019


“ Peter swore, 'A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!' And immediately the rooster crowed. ”

Matthew 26:74

Peter’s denial of Jesus did not happen over a period of seconds or minutes, but over a period of hours. An hour had passed from the time the first person said, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean,” to the time Peter made his second denial. He had ample opportunity to hightail it out of there, but he remained in this situation. It just reminds us of the fact that no person is safe from temptation except the one who flees from it. Peter, having been warned by Jesus Himself, of all people, should have avoided any place where he could be weakened. He definitely should have steered clear of all roosters. I would have said, “Are there any roosters here? Because I’m leaving if there are. The Lord mentioned a rooster.”

Great men and women of God have been compromised by lowering their standards and allowing themselves to be drawn into sin. People like Solomon. Samson. David. They all found out the hard way. Are we better than they were? Are we more spiritual than they were? I don’t think so.

If someone like Simon Peter was capable of falling, then surely we are. First Corinthians 15:33 tells us, “Bad company corrupts good character.” Peter was around people who were dragging him down spiritually. Are you in a similar situation today? Have you entered into relationships where people are dragging you down? Maybe it’s a romance. Maybe it’s a close friendship. Are you finding yourself compromising your principles to fit in and not offend anyone? Perhaps you need to reconsider who your friends are. Perhaps you need to make some immediate changes.

Is bad company corrupting you?

Source:
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/bad-company/
 

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Discussion Starter #432
Devotion
What Breaks God’s Heart

by Greg Laurie on Apr 13, 2019


“ Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, 'If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.' ”

Luke 19:41-42

As Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the crowds were celebrating. They were laughing. They were cheering. They were having a great time. And what was Jesus doing? He saw the city, and He wept over it. Here was the crowd, whipped into a frenzy, and Jesus was weeping. The crowd was rejoicing, and Christ was sobbing.

Why did Jesus weep when He saw Jerusalem? Being God and having omniscience, Jesus knew these fickle people who were crying out, “Hosanna!” would soon be shouting, “Crucify Him!” He knew that one of His handpicked disciples, Judas, would betray Him. He knew that another disciple, Peter, would deny Him. He knew that Caiaphas, the high priest, would conspire with Pilate, the Roman governor, to bring about His death. And, He knew the future of Jerusalem. Looking ahead 40 years, He saw the destruction that would come upon the city at the hands of the Emperor Titus and his Roman legions.

Jesus also wept because His ministry was almost over. Time was short. He had healed their sick. He had raised their dead. He had cleansed their lepers. He had fed their hungry. He had forgiven their sins. Yet for the most part, He had been rejected. John 1:11 says, “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” And so He wept. This broke His heart, and it still does.

Unbelief and rejection breaks God’s heart, because He knows the consequences. But when the door of the human heart is shut, He refuses to enter forcibly. He will only knock, wanting to gain admittance. He has given us the ability to choose. But when we choose the wrong thing, He knows the repercussions that will follow—in this life and the one to come. And His heart is broken.


https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/what-breaks-gods-heart/
 

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Discussion Starter #433
It Starts in the Home

by Greg Laurie on Apr 22, 2019


“ And they said to me, 'The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.' ”

Nehemiah 13

It was a day like any other day when Nehemiah heard about the plight of his fellow Jews. The walls of Jerusalem lay in ruin, and the Jewish people were in captivity because they persisted in worshipping false gods.

In effect, God said, “You like false gods? I’ll send you to idol central: Babylon.” They were captives there for seventy years.

Ultimately King Nebuchadnezzar was replaced by his grandson Belshazzar, who was overthrown. Enter Cyrus and the Medo-Persians. Cyrus allowed the first wave of those in captivity to return to Jerusalem, where Ezra the priest rebuilt the temple.

But the walls of Jerusalem were still in rubble. A lot of time had passed, and the news reached Nehemiah in the king’s court. The ruling king, Artaxerxes, would allow Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem and do something about it.

The walls of a city were important. Obviously, they served as protection, but they were more than that. City walls also served as a symbol. At the gates of the wall, city leaders would meet and make decisions. Or, the elders would meet. The walls mattered.

Walls matter in our lives as well. The walls of faithfulness protect our marriages. The walls of marriage protect the family. And the walls of the family protect the nation. It has been said that a family can survive without a nation, but a nation cannot survive without the family. I think we could take almost every social ill in America today and trace it directly to the breakdown of the family. America needs the family.

How did the people of Israel rebuild the walls? One brick at a time. How do we rebuild our nation? One home at a time. One family at a time. It starts in your home, and it starts in mine.


https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/it-starts-in-the-home/
 

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Discussion Starter #434
Devotion
A Word to Men

by Greg Laurie on May 6, 2019


“ Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, 'Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!' ”

Nehemiah 4:14

The moment Nehemiah and the Jewish people started rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, attacks came in various forms. Note how Nehemiah responded: “Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!’” (Nehemiah 4:14 NLT).

What’s very significant is the fact that Nehemiah’s words were addressed to the men: “Fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” The men were told to fight for their families.

Each one, for the most part, was to build the part of the wall that was nearest to his home. If you were building the wall and your house was next to it, do you think you would do a good job of securing the wall? Of course. That is your house, and in that house is your family.

Men, if someone were to break into your house, would you defend your wife and children? Of course you would. You would stop the intruder. You would do what needs to be done.

But what about a spiritual attack against your wife? What about a spiritual attack against your children or your grandchildren? Would you be there as well?

We need more men of God leading their families and setting an example. Men, stop being slackers. Get up and lead. You lead in other areas, so lead in this one. Lead your family in Bible study. Lead your family to church. Lead your family in prayer. Be that man of God. Make your stand in your own home first. You will be so blessed if you do this.


https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/a-word-to-men/
 

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Discussion Starter #435
Devotion
Secure the Door

by Greg Laurie on May 13, 2019


“ Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. ”

2 Corinthians 10:5

We have some rabbits in our garage, which belong to our grandchildren. They named one of them Cotton and the other Chubby Cutie. One day I went into the garage and discovered that Chubby Cutie and Cotton were loose and hopping around. I tried to catch them while I maneuvered around the things in my garage. Thankfully my grandson, Christopher, managed to grab them. We quickly returned Cotton and Chubby Cutie to their cage and secured their little door.

We all have a door, of sorts, in our lives. If we leave that door open, bad things can come in. We start by guarding our minds. We decide what thoughts will be allowed to take residence in our minds. All kinds of thoughts come to us all the time. They can be bad thoughts, good thoughts, horrible thoughts, or wonderful thoughts. We decide what is coming in and what isn’t.

That’s why the Bible tells us to “[bring] every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV). If you give the devil an inch, he will take a mile. Don’t have any conversations with the devil. The Bible says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 NKJV).

We also need to guard our mouths. Often we say something or tweet something or post something, and once it’s out, we wonder why we said it. We would do well to pray, as David did, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3 NKJV).

Before you speak, apply the acronym THINK: Is it truthful? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind? You might be thinking, “If I applied that principle, then I would basically say nothing.” So be it.


https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/secure-the-door/
 

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Discussion Starter #436
The Power of the Gospel

by Greg Laurie on Jun 3, 2019


“ The power of the Lord was upon them, and large numbers of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. ”

Romans 1:16

My life was dramatically impacted by the power of the gospel in a single day. I came to the Lord on my high school campus after hearing the gospel presented in a way that I had never heard it before. I responded and gave my life to Jesus Christ, and immediate changes started to take place.

The Lord used the Christians on my campus, fellow high school students who were unashamed to live out their faith. If someone had tried to reach me by being cool or relating to me, I don’t know how well they would have done. I’d had enough cool to choke on in the world. I had pretty much been there, done that, and I was fed up with it. I was searching.

I had already, through the process of elimination, determined where the answer in life was not. It was not in the hedonistic, materialistic, party lifestyle of my parents’ generation. Nor was it in the choices that I made as a kid. Being cool would not have reached me.

In fact, the people who reached me probably were what I would have considered the lamest people on the face of the earth. I thought you couldn’t be any lamer than a Christian. They walked around carrying Bibles and talking about God. I thought that was the most absurd choice a person could possibly make. I had basically narrowed it down to this: either these people were out of their minds—actually disturbed mentally, or they really did have an encounter with Christ. Of course, in the end I concluded it was option two. I heard the gospel and made a commitment to the Lord.

I was looking for something real, something authentic, and I found it in a relationship with Jesus Christ.


https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/the-power-of-the-gospel/
 

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Discussion Starter #437
Devotion
A Power to Change the World

by Greg Laurie on Jun 10, 2019


“ But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. ”

Acts 1:8

I am always interested in last words, in knowing the last thing that someone said.

Jesus was leaving. Prior to His ascension, He took the apostles to a mountain in Galilee, where He gave them marching orders for the church:

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

How would they pull this off from a human standpoint? They were in no way ready for such a task. There were still things they didn’t understand. Their faith was weak. They had failed in their public witness and also in their private faith.

After all, Simon Peter, their acknowledged leader, had openly denied the Lord. If Peter could be demoralized by the words of one woman, then how could he (and they) be expected to go into all the world and preach the gospel?

How? They would do it with a power they had never known before, a power to change the world: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). It’s power to be a witness . . . power to share your faith . . . power to turn your world upside down . . . power to do what God has called you to do.

The same power that was poured out at Pentecost is available to us today. The Bible has promised a dimension of power for every believer who would ask for it from the Lord, to be a witness for Him.


https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/a-power-to-change-the-world/
 

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Discussion Starter #438
Devotion
Turn Your Worries into Prayers

by Greg Laurie on Jul 1, 2019


“ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. ”

Philippians 4:6

There are so many things today that can cause us to worry. There are the worries of the world. There are the worries in our own country, including the threat of terrorism and the threat of North Korea. Then there are personal worries, such as health worries and family worries.

It seems as though worries are always there, always closing in on us. But worry isn’t productive. In fact, it’s a failure to trust God. The word worry comes from an Old English term that means “strangle” or “choke.” That is what worry does. It chokes us. Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.

Modern medical research has proven that worry breaks down our resistance to disease. It actually diseases the nervous system and, more specifically, the digestive organs and the heart. In fact, 79 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are stress related.

Philippians tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (4:6–7).

We need to turn our worries into prayer. That requires developing a conditioned reflex. We all have natural reflexes, like when we touch something hot and immediately pull back. Then there’s a conditioned reflex, something that becomes natural after we’ve done it so many times. For instance, standing during the national anthem or placing your hand over your heart during the Pledge of Allegiance is a conditioned reflex.

We can’t control our universe, as hard as we may try, but we certainly can pray about it. The next time you’re tempted to worry, pray instead. Turn your worries into prayers.


https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/turn-your-worries-into-prayers/
 

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Been a while and I'll admit most of it was laziness on my part but considering what's been happening around the world and hearing some news from forum members that are going through unimaginable pain right now I felt I should get off my lazy butt (chair in this case) and try to share some thoughts of those much wiser than me to say the least. Hope you enjoy and more to come as I know I should have been reading more myself to keep my mind on the right subject.



Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
—Matthew 6:33
Scripture:
Matthew 6:33



There are many things you can seek to live for in life. You can live for a lot of things. You can live for your physical appearance. You can live for a successful career. You can live for pleasure. But here is what Jesus said: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33 NLT).
With those words, Jesus gave us the secret to living a worry-free life: Instead of worry, put God and His will first in your life. Among a number of options, put God in the number one position.
Let’s take your career for example. Is your career choice, your line of work, really for God’s glory? Are you seeking Him first in what you’re doing?
You might say, “Greg, you’re a pastor. It’s easy for you to seek God first. I work in the real world with real people.”
I understand. But here is what your goal should be: to honor God in everything you do. Here is what you need to ask yourself: “As I’m doing this thing, what is my goal?” If your goal is just to make money no matter what it takes, you have the wrong goal. Your goal should be to honor God, give honest work, and have personal integrity and a good testimony in the workplace.
When the day is done, you want to have a good name and a good reputation. Proverbs 22:1 says, “Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold” (NLT).
Seek first the kingdom of God. If you want a life free of worry, anxiety, and fear, then put God’s kingdom before everything else. Seek Him first, and He will take care of you.
 

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Thank's Justin, I've been missing your posts and had planned to ask if you'd start them again. I've had a couple of Jack's friends reach out to me and tell me that they would talk about God and faith among the other teenage stuff. We tried to raise him in the Lord and judging by the outpouring from everyone who knew him he surely left a good mark in this world.
 
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