April 2018
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To Restore or Tear Down? by John Hagee
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

Constructive Criticism Seeks To Restore.  Destructive Criticism Seeks To Tear Down.
Constructive criticism attacks the problem, not the person.  Destructive criticism attacks the person and ignores the problem.  Its venom is planted by a two-legged viper trying to crush another person’s self-image, character or spirituality with a self-righteous vengeance.

To Restore or Tear Down?

Remember the account recorded in John 8 of the woman caught in the act of adultery?  The Pharisees wanted to kill her.  But Jesus found a way to restore her.  When something within us wants to hurt another person with our speech, we can be sure it’s the voice of evil trying to use our tongues to do its dirty work.

Constructive criticism says, I may not like what you do, but I like you.  Destructive criticism is designed from the outset to hurt, to create self-doubt, to foster suspicion.  It’s one of Satan’s favorite weapons for destroying friendships, marriages, and churches.

Jesus warns us “men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

There are times when unpleasant truth does have to be told.

Here are four commonsense questions to ask in handling these difficult situations:
Is what I’m about to say absolutely true?
Is it absolutely necessary to tell it, to this audience, at this time, under these circumstances?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Is my motive in telling it pure?

Source:  Being Happy In An Unhappy World

Spiritual Growth


Open Heavens: The Reward of Diligence by Pastor E.A Adeboye
Tuesday May 1st 2018
Memorise: Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. Matthew 25:28

Read: Matthew 25:14-28 (KJV)
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

Bible in one year: 
1st Samuel 8-9,
Hebrews 9:11-28,

Hymn:
Sing hymn 4

Message:
God Almighty has called all of mankind to a life of diligence. After He created Adam, He charged him to keep and diligently dress the beautiful garden He bequeathed to him (Genesis 2:15). The Almighty indeed rewards diligence. In Proverbs 10:4, He enlightens us on the reward that awaits diligent people:

“He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.”

The Lord Jesus Christ further drove home this point with the story of a diligent servant to whom his master had entrusted five talents to trade with. He was so diligent that these talents yielded five more talents. When his master returned to take stock of his activities, he was commended and handsomely rewarded. Matthew 25:21 says:

“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter unto into the joy of thy lord.”

In this same parable, we also see the direct opposite of diligence and its consequences. The servant with one talent mischievously kept the talent and refused to trade with it. His reward was the loss of his talent and outright rejection from the joy of his lord. On the other hand, the diligent servant who started with five talents gained the talent that was taken away from the indolent servant, and ended up with eleven talents in all.

 Beloved, laziness, in whatever guise it may come, is not a Christian virtue. Every child of God must be diligent. In Proverbs 6:6-8, the Lord instructs the lazy to learn from the ants, saying:

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”

As a matter of fact, from Proverbs 6:10-11, we understand the penury is the outcome of laziness:

“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.”

Proverbs 27:23-27 further highlights the rewards of diligence. The Lord promised to bless the work of your hands, not your idleness. Know for sure that faithful is He who has promised you this, and He will fulfil all He has said if you diligently play your own part (Deuteronomy 28:1-5, Hebrew 10:23).

Prayer Point
Father, please bless the works of my hands and cause me to prosper in the land of the living.

Open Heavens Daily Devotional Lessons was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical Church in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer's Ministries.



 Break Through the Wall by Kenneth Copeland
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:13

You’re running the race set before you, moving full-speed ahead with God’s blessing overtaking you at every step. Then suddenly, wham! You hit the wall. It may be a wall of sickness or financial trouble, of spiritual failure or family problems. But, regardless of the form it takes, the effect of “the wall” is always the same. It stops you cold.

The question is, once you hit a wall like that, what will you do? You’ll be tempted to quit, to turn back in defeat. But don’t do it. Because God will enable you to break through that wall and keep right on going.

I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. The truth is, it’s tough. But you have to push on through the tough times if you’re ever going to have a breakthrough.

Ask any athlete. He’ll tell you that! Because if he’s a winner, he’s been there. He’s pushed his body to what seems to be the maximum. His side has hurt. His lungs have ached. He’s had cramps in his legs and thighs. And just when he felt like he couldn’t go on, he’s heard some coach yell, “Come on! Move it!”

Athletes call that “hitting the wall.” It’s a time when the body says, “That’s it. That’s all I can do. I can’t go any farther. I can’t go any faster. I quit.”

But the seasoned athlete knows that “the wall” isn’t the end. It’s a signal that he’s on the verge of a breakthrough. If he’ll toughen up and push himself a little more, he’ll get a second wind. Suddenly, he’ll go faster than before. He’ll reach a level of excellence he couldn’t have reached any other way.

When you feel the worst, when failure is breathing down your neck, press in to the Word as never before. You may meditate on a particular scripture for days and even weeks sometimes, trying to get a revelation of it, seemingly without success. Then suddenly, like the dawn of the morning, light will come pouring in. You’ll see the way to break through. All you have to do is punch one little hole in that wall of problems, dig one tiny hole in it with your faith and with the Word of God.

Then keep tearing away at that hole. Don’t quit! And, before long, the forces of God will come bursting through, demolishing every obstacle in their path!

Once that happens you’ll never be the same again. You’ll be hooked. It will only take one breakthrough like that to make a never-dying, never-quitting champion out of you.

Scripture Reading:
1 Corinthians 9:24-27


God, the Peacekeeper By Billy Graham
He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord!
—Isaiah 26:3 (TLB)

You have an ego-a consciousness of being an individual. Of course, you do. But that doesn’t mean that you are to worship yourself, to think constantly of yourself, and to live entirely for yourself. Common sense tells you that your life would be miserable if you followed that course. God is infinitely more concerned about your happiness than you could possibly be. He says, “Deny yourself, and follow me.” There is many a person in the insane asylum today who thought excessively about himself, to the exclusion of God and others. Hypochondriacs who have a fanciful anxiety about their health will never be well, regardless of their physical condition.

Complete this free Anne Graham Lotz Bible study with friends to know the peace of God better.

Find peace with God today.

Prayer for the day
Keep my mind on You, Lord, and help me to discipline the thoughts of self which crowd out Your peace.


Faithful People Are Generous by Rick Warren
“So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16:11-13 NIV).

Faithful people are generous when they don’t have anything to give. Anybody can be generous when they have a surplus. I can be generous with my time when I’ve got a lot of extra time. I can be generous with my money when I’ve got a lot of extra money. I can be generous with my energy when I’ve got extra energy to spend. It’s when I don’t have enough time for me, enough energy for me, enough money for me, enough talent for me that God says, “This is a test. I’m watching you to see if you are faithful. Will you be faithful, and will you trust me?”

Here are five principles in which God will test you and then bless you:

1. God gives to generous people.

Why does God want me to be generous? Because he wants me to be like him.

2. Obeying God’s vision will bring God’s provision.

If you do what God tells you to do, God will bring along the resources you need at the right time. What he’s given you the vision for, he will give you the provision for.

3. When I do all that God tells me to do, he does what I can’t do.

God often asks you to do the impossible to stretch your faith. When you give what little you have, God multiples it and makes up for it.

4. When I have a need, I sow a seed.

Whatever you need in your life, sow that as a seed, and it will come back to you.

5. There’s always a delay between sowing and reaping.

There is a season between planting and harvesting. What’s going on during that delay? It’s a test of your faith.

Will you be faithful to give when you have little? Will you keep on doing the right thing? Will you do what God wants you to do, no matter the cost, and then see what God does?

Talk About It

How can you be faithful to give when you have little?
What are the benefits of doing what God wants you to do, no matter the cost?
In what ways are you generous with your time, money, and talents?
How do you respond to giving something in which you have a shortage?


True Success by Joel Osteen
"...Freely you have received; freely give." 
Matthew 10:8, NIV

TODAY'S WORD:

There are a lot of people who are successful in this world. They’ve accomplished their goals in the public eye. But being successful isn’t just about what you make happen for yourself, it’s about what you make happen for others. It’s when you realize, "God has blessed me not to just sit on my throne and let everybody see my accomplishments; God has blessed me to be a blessing to others. God has helped me to win so I can help somebody else win.” In other words, it’s when you realize, “God helped me overcome this addiction, now I’m going to find somebody and help them overcome.” Or, “God has blessed me with a happy family. I’m going to go find a family who is struggling and help them get back on track.” That’s what being successful is really all about.

Today, look for ways to help others succeed. Reach back and give freely of the talents and abilities you’ve been given. As you do, you’ll rise up higher and live in the fullness of the blessing God has prepared for you!

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

"Father, thank You for giving me so much. Thank You for blessing me with talents and abilities and the desire to bless others. Show me ways to reach out and help others move forward and be successful so we can all rise higher together in Jesus’ name. Amen."


Wait on God - by Joyce Meyer
I am a person of action, and when there is a problem, I am ready to take action, but sometimes I make the situation worse because I didn’t wait to get God’s plan. Being aggressive has many benefits, but it can also cause problems if we are acting independently of God.

I am reminded today of the importance of maintaining an attitude of waiting on God. I am not suggesting inactivity but rather the highest form of spiritual activity, that of trusting God in every area of life. Wait on Him for strength, healing, wisdom, and opportunity. Wait on God to reveal Himself to you and to show you His amazing favor. God is waiting to be good to us, and He looks for those who are waiting on Him (Isaiah 30:18).

Waiting on God is mostly an attitude of the heart. One that is fully aware that God is everything and we are nothing without Him. We should pray and refuse to take action without assurance that God is leading. Go to Him as early as possible each day, which is the moment you wake up. He is always near, and you need no special preparation to begin fellowshipping with Him. Always remember that God loves you unconditionally and is with you at all times.

Prayer Starter: Father God, I desire to form a habit of waiting on You all throughout the day. Help me not to rush ahead into activities and decisions without acknowledging You. Thank You for Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


The Spiritual Fruit of Patience by Dr. Charles Stanley
MONDAY
30
Romans 5:1-4

The list known as “Fruit of the Spirit” includes patience (Gal. 5:22-23), but that does not mean the Holy Spirit wills it into the believer’s life. Instead, He acts as our ever-dependable teacher and the one who enables our growth. Spiritual fruit is something that matures over time as we obey the heavenly Father and surrender to His will.

Patience with both God and our fellow man is an outgrowth of deepening faith. The Holy Spirit urges believers to take note of the Lord’s handiwork on the journey through life. Our confidence in Him is nurtured by answered prayer, the rich blessings that arise unexpectedly from difficult circumstances, and every trace of good that God salvages from a bad situation. As our trust in His goodness and sovereignty grows, we find ourselves more willing to wait for God’s solutions and outcomes.

In fact, I believe that recognizing God’s sovereignty is key to developing patience. A significant part of surrendering to His absolute control is waiting upon Him to do what He will. It is wisdom to realize that our lives unfold according to His master plan—exasperated toe tapping doesn’t make Him speed up one bit. God expects His children to step into His timeline and practice patience no matter what pace He sets.

Patience doesn’t come naturally. That’s why we have the Holy Spirit. He strengthens our resolve to endure without complaint when progress seems sluggish. After all, God is slow only from a human standpoint. From a divine, eternal perspective, He’s always working at the perfect speed.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 24-25


Fight For What Is Yours  by Jerry Savelle
April 30, 2018
And the devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” (Luke 4:3-4 NKJV)

What bread is for your body, God’s Word is for your spirit. It is through His Word that you come to know who you are in Christ Jesus. Once this becomes revelation to you, no one can ever take it away. When you know who you are in Christ, your days of weakness and defeat are over.

The devil will always try to challenge the revelation of who you are, just as he tried with Jesus. But, just as Jesus did, you can boldly declare to the devil, “It is written!” He cannot steal from you any longer. Tell him, “You’ve defeated me or the last time. I’m entitled to be blessed. I’m entitled to health. I’m entitled to prosperity. You’re not stealing from me any longer!”

Although the devil is a worthy opponent, he is a defeated foe. Jesus has already defeated him. He has been stripped of his authority and power. You, however, are a world overcomer. You are no longer a loser; you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. All you have to do is shake your Bible at the devil and declare, “It is written, I am more than a conqueror in Jesus name!”

Confession: I know who I am in Christ. I am a new creation. I am the righteousness of God. I am a joint heir with Jesus. I am more than a conqueror. I am a world overcomer, and from this day forward I am a winner!

Author: Jerry Savelle


Jesus' High Priesthood Is Forever by Joseph Prince
Hebrews 6:20

...Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Jesus is our High Priest forever. This “forever” aspect changes the way we are blessed and how we receive our blessings from God. As our High Priest, Jesus represents us before God. Since His priesthood is after the order of Melchizedek, which is one of righteousness, His righteousness becomes our righteousness forever. This means that we are forever righteous in God’s eyes!

And because He will never die, but continue as our High Priest forever, we have an everlasting righteousness, not merely a here-today-gone-tomorrow righteousness based on our works. No, we have a perpetual and everlasting righteousness because Jesus is our High Priest forever.

This also means that blessings are perpetually on your head because the Bible says that blessings are on the head of the righteous (Proverbs 10:6), and you are righteous forever!

Unlike the priesthood according to the Levitical order, which blesses as well as curses, the priesthood of Jesus according to the Melchizedek order only blesses. There is no cursing, only blessing—always and forever!

And because Jesus is our High Priest forever, the blessings do not come to us in intermittent drips, but stream into our lives in a never-ending flow. Because He is our High Priest forever, we can never stop His blessings.

By being our High Priest forever, Jesus also touches the blessings that He gives us with a forever effect. He touches our lives and we have eternal life. He touches our ministry and its impact becomes eternal. And the more we see His priesthood as having a forever effect, the more permanent our blessings will be.

Truly, there is nothing temporal about what Jesus our High Priest does. It is not a case of blessed today, cursed tomorrow. The blessings we receive are sure and steadfast because Jesus is our High Priest today, tomorrow and forever.

So rejoice because Jesus your High Priest changes how you are blessed forever!


We're The Expression of The Word by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves (James 1:22).

In Christianity, we’re not called to obey the Word; we’re called to do the Word. We’re Word practitioners; we live the Word. What it really means is that we’re the expression of the Word. Here’s why talking the Word is so important: Talking comes ahead of doing. What you say, you’ll do! What you say, you become, if you weren’t “it” already. Your mouth is the expression of your personality

The speech is where the human spirit expresses himself the most in the human person. When you receive the knowledge of the Word, what you’re supposed to do is to take it and speak it. You’re already the Word in flesh; so you’re merely expressing who you are, or what you have, as stated in the Word.

This is why you should be inundated with the Word; soaked in the Word, so that all you think, and talk, is the Word, because you’re actually the offspring of the Word. Jesus is the Word of God in flesh; you’re also the Word of God in flesh. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 says, “… ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ….” The epistle of Christ is the Word of Christ—the Word of God, which is who you are. This is the revelation of the new creation!

So, when the Word says, for instance, “Be anxious for nothing...” (Philippians 4:6 NKJV), He’s not telling you to try not to be anxious; it’s not a commandment for you to “obey.” Rather, He’s saying that not being anxious is a reflection of your character and personality, so live accordingly. You’re the one that doesn’t get anxious for anything; that’s your person; it’s not something you try to obey, but a reality that you live out.

This is true Christianity: It’s the out-working of the Word in you. When you talk, it’s the Word; when you act, it’s the Word. Your life is the revelation of the Word.

CONFESSION:
I’m the icon of the unseen Christ, the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person! As I contemplate the Word of God, beholding the glory thereof, I’m metamorphosed into the same image. As Jesus is, so am I in this world: forever triumphant, excellent, and full of glory! Hallelujah!

FURTHER STUDY:
Colossians 3:16;
James 1:22-25;
2 Corinthians 3:18

1-YEAR BIBLE READING PLAN
Luke 23:50-24:1-12
2 Samuel 7-8

2-YEAR BIBLE READING PLAN
1 Corinthians 1:22-31
Psalm 141-142  


Beloved. This is the time of Isaiah 65:24. "Before you call, I will answer; and while you are yet speaking, I will hear." You shall see this manifest in your life. Oh yes, My Child. It is all that is needed, that you believe on the One who has promised. Your faith in Me is the victory that overcomes the world. Do not be anxious, My Love.

Do not worry about how you will attain such great faith. I have given you a measure of faith. It is MY faith. You build upon that faith by hearing the Word. Not only the written word but the Rhema word. I AM THE WORD. It is MY faith you operate in. My faith is perfect. I know the end from the beginning, Dear One. I have made a way for you even before that mountain appeared in front of you.

We are One. We are One Voice. Speak to that mountain. Before you even call out, I am already working in that situation. For I know every word on your tongue before you even speak it. Even before you began praying, I have heard your words of faith and made a way of escape. My Love for you shall never fail.

Shout "Grace, Grace" to that mountain. Is it not written that you shall have whatsoever you say? Nothing shall be impossible to you. I have already conquered those mountains for you. As you speak to that mountain, so do I! ALL authority in heaven and on earth is Mine. "What are you, O great mountain?? You are nothing before My Child, before him you shall become as nothing! Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit", says the Lord of Hosts. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

...Isaiah 65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

...Psalm 139:4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

...1John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.

...Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

... Matthew 17:20...For truly I say to you, if you have faith as of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. And nothing will be impossible for you.

...Zechariah 4:6Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts. 7What are you, O great mountain?

Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of "Grace, grace to it!"
Isaiah 46:11 Galatians 2:20


A Vision of Being in a Library in Heaven by Tammy Lang Jensen
I was taken to a vision of being in a library in heaven. God pulled a large book off the shelf. He seemed to blow the dust off of it and then waved his hand across the pages.

They lit up with golden light. He said, “Few are pressing in any more inquiring about the ancient scrolls.” Do you know the Bible stories, do you know the laws and put them into place.

Then you will be a crown of splendor in the Lords hand, a royal Diadem in the hand of your God (Isaiah 62:3). It is time to walk around Jericho and shout the walls down. For he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron (Psalm 107:16). When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in and they took the city (Joshua 6:20). Time to take the land I am giving you. Time to shout down adversity, competition and change.

Time to take authority over every demon sent on assignment to stop you. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Swing wide you ancient gates, the glory of the Lord is proceeding in. Those accustom to your routine, those with flowing robes and pomp and circumstance. Holy Spirit is coming to burn the house down. To exult and raise God high, returning him to his rightful place; and returning you to the ash heap. Bringing you down from self promotion, and teaching you of God promotion. And I will bow low before the Lord, and be lifted on high to heavenly places. I will rejoice in his voice always, I will make music to the Lord I love.

Make a joyful noise, Let all the earth Resound it. Exalt the Lord our God! Bow low before His feet, for he is holy! (Psalm 99:5). I tell you the truth, even the rocks cry out and the mountains sing of His glory. Come to him with a song in your heart, and the truth in your hand. The word of God which is alive and active, sharper than any two edged sword. Ask him to open the scrolls of heaven, to teach you of this day. He plainly states in the Bible.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know (Jeremiah 33:3). Father, we are thirsty for the secrets of heaven. We are hungry for strategies to set your people free. To unbind them from deception and devices of the wicked one. To release those from prison that are bound. To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death (Psalm 102:20). He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands (Job 22:30).

Father, your bond servant, your chambermaid, is asking for access to your throne room. I bring my petitions daily, supplications for those who are bound. Once again turn your face upon your people. Let the light of your glory, help the lost to be found. All day long, day and night we cry out to you.

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night (Psalm 63:6). Surely you will remember me, and goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. Teach us to live laid down lives, completely surrendered to you. I hear the words echo today! Surrender, surrender, surrender....

Tammy Lang Jensen

A Firm Foundation by John Hagee
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

The Successful And Happy Person Is The One Who Can Lay A Firm Foundation For Future Success With The Bricks That His Critics Have Tossed At Him!

What does Jesus promise will happen to us if we are peacemakers in a world at war?  Pure in heart while surrounded by corruption?  Merciful in a world without pity?  Meek while everyone else looks out for number one?

We have seen that our reward is persecution. Now Jesus expounds on this theme, broadening it to include the far more common everyday experience of criticism.  If we are going to be happy in an unhappy world, it’s vital that we learn both how to respond to criticism redemptively and also how to avoid being bearers of negative criticism.

The Critic

There are three ways to avoid criticism:  say nothing, do nothing and be nothing.  The person who is never criticized is probably not breathing.

It never works to say anything good to a person infected with a critical spirit.  Wish them a nice day and they snap back, “Don’t tell me what kind of day to have!”

The critic has no dreams.  He just rehearses defeats.  He never sees opportunities, just obstacles.  He knows no delight, no joy and no peace.  He looks to find fault in other people as though it were buried treasure.  He’s convinced others have all the advantages, and he has only disadvantages.

Learning From Our Critics

Not everyone who criticizes us is demented, deranged or demonized.  Our critics are often right.

If we’re not mature enough to take criticism, we’re not mature enough to handle praise.

Source:   Being Happy In An Unhappy World

Foundations of Faith


13:26
Open Heavens: Progressive Prosperity by Pastor E.A Adeboye
Monday April 30th 2018
Memorise: And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: Genesis 26:13

Read: Genesis 26:1-14 (KJV)
1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.
2 And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
6 And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:
7 And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.
8 And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.
9 And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife; and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.
10 And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.
11 And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.
12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him.
13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:
14 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.

 Bible in one year: 
1st Samuel 6-7,
Hebrews 8:1-9:10,

Hymnal: 
Sing hymn 4

Message: 
When the Bible says that we should study to show ourselves approved unto God, it means that we should study the successful heroes of faith who have gone ahead of us and learn their ways (2nd Timothy 2:15, 1st Corinthians 10:11). A very good example of someone who experienced steady and progressive prosperity is Isaac.

If you want to have steady and progressive prosperity like Isaac did, wisdom demands that you learn his ways. How did Isaac manage to become so prosperous in the time of famine, so much so that the king and natives of the land in which he sojourned envied him?

The first thing Isaac did to experience steady and progressive prosperity was to enquire of the Lord on where to go during an austere time. Genesis 26:2-6 reveals the outcome of Isaac’s enquiry. The Lord told him not to move an inch of Gerar. This is a great lesson to all those who plan to prosper by the hand of the Lord. Some people would say to you, “Follow your heart”, but based on God’s word, that is folly. Jeremiah 17:9 says,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Isaac did not follow his heart; rather he followed God’s command. He stayed in Gerar. Proverbs 3:5-7 also says,

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.”

What else did Isaac do that earned him steady and progressive prosperity? He sowed in the land (Genesis 26:12). If you don’t engage your hands in something the Lord can multiply, your expectation of steady and progressive prosperity will end in disappointment.

 The Almighty God knows the appropriate time for whatever a man puts forth his hand to do. It is counter-intuitive to sow in the time of famine, but God knew this was the best time for Isaac to cash in on the demand created by scarcity. This the reason why God is telling you to seek His face before you embarks on that project at hand. Isaac prospered progressively because God was in his business. Have you invited God into your business as the Senior Partner? Does God call the shots in your business transactions or you don’t even involve him at all? Do you pay your tithes? Do you give offerings? Do you honour God with your first fruits? Learn from the life of Isaac today.

Prayer Point
Father, please open my eyes to the opportunities around me, and teach my heart to yield to the wisdom of Your own timing in Jesus’ Name.

Open Heavens Daily Devotional Lessons was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical Church in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer's Ministries.



Always Be Vigilant By Billy Graham
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
—1 Peter 5:8

When I was in the hospital in Hawaii, I read again of the shocking events which led up to the destruction of the United States fleet at Pearl Harbor. On that fateful day of December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked. We know now that that attack was invited by our failure to be always vigilant. The result was the destruction of our fleet-the cause was tragic indifference. When comfort and ease and pleasure are put ahead of duty and conviction, progress is always set back.

What makes us Christians shrug our shoulders when we ought to be flexing our muscles? What makes us apathetic in a day when there are loads to lift, a world to be won, and captives to be set free? Why are so many bored, when the times demand action? Christ told us that in the last days there would be an insipid attitude toward life.

Listen to Billy Graham’s message on living boldly for Christ.

Prayer for the day
Take away the apathy, Father, that so often blinds my vision.


Be a Cheerful Giver by Gloria Copeland
Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (that is, He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver.... And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance.

2 Corinthians 9:7-8, The Amplified Bible

Some people say you need to “give till it hurts.” Don’t you believe it. God doesn’t want gifts given in pain. He wants gifts given in joy! In fact, those are the only kinds of gifts that please Him.

That’s why He tacked His promise of abundance onto His command about cheerful giving. The two are connected.

Cheerful, full of faith, even hilarious giving—that is the key that unlocks the treasure house of God. Have you ever seen a group of people give that way? I have. I’ll never forget it. I was at a camp meeting years ago when offering time turned into a spontaneous, supernatural celebration. Ken was singing Bread Upon the Water, and the people were just dancing their way down the aisles to give their money. The joy in that place was glorious. Great healings and miracles were done that night.

But what stood out to me above all was how joyously and hilariously the people brought their offerings to God. The offering wasn’t extracted from them like a dentist extracts teeth. It was brought forth gladly.

The concept of “giving till it hurts” didn’t come from God. He’d rather you give 10 dollars with that kind of joy than 20 dollars grudgingly. In 2 Corinthians 8:11-12, the Apostle Paul urges the church in Corinth to give with eager willingness. Eager willingness. That’s what God looks for!

If you haven’t given that way in the past, make a firm commitment to start. Repent for the times you’ve given grudgingly. Then spend some serious time with God and His Word in your prayer closet, so when you give again, you can give from a willing heart.

Put the “pain” of giving behind. Become “a cheerful, (joyous, ‘prompt to do it’) giver,” and believe me, your blessings will abound!

Scripture Reading:
2 Corinthians 9:6-15


God Uses Our Talents to Test Our Unselfishness by Rick Warren
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10 NLT).

God uses our talents to test our unselfishness. You have to decide in life for whom or what you’re going to live. You’re either going to live a self-centered, miserly life or you’re going to live for something greater than yourself — the Kingdom of God.

Faithful people don’t live for themselves. They realize that the talents God gave them are not for their own benefit; they’re to make the world a better place.

When God made you, he gave you all kinds of gifts, talents, and abilities. We call it your SHAPE: your Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences. These five things make you you. And God made you you. There’s nobody like you in the whole world, and he wants you to be you for his glory.

God shaped you to serve him, and there’s only one way to do that: by serving other people.

Faithful people realize that their talents are not for their benefit. You may have a talent for art and say that you do it “just because you love to do it.” That’s nice, but that’s not a good enough motive. God didn’t give you artistic ability just so you can love to do it. He gave it to you so you can use your art in some way to help other people.

Some people have an ability to fix things. Some people are good at math. Some people are good at closing deals. Some people are good at music. Some people are good at organizing. And some people are good at trimming and gardening.

God made us all different so that everything in the world gets done. If we all liked to do the same thing, there would be a whole lot left undone.

You are the steward of your talents, and God is watching to see if you use what he gave you effectively on Earth. If you use those talents effectively on Earth, he’s going to give you more responsibility in Heaven.

Have you ever thought about why didn’t God just create us and take us to Heaven? Why does he put us here on a broken planet for 70 or 80 years? He put you here because life is a test and a trust and a temporary assignment. He’s watching to see if you are faithful to use what he gave you here on Earth to bless other people.

The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:10, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (NLT). God gave you talents, and he wants you to be faithful with them.

Talk About It

How are you using your talents to serve others?
Test your motives in everything you do. For example, are you serving somewhere to help others and glorify God or to receive some notice or glory for yourself?


"I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul."
Psalm 31:7, NLT

TODAY'S WORD:

God sees and cares about everything that happens in your life. He’s seen every wrong that’s been done to you. He’s seen every unfair situation. He told the people of Israel, “I have seen your affliction. I have seen how badly you were treated those 430 years that you were in slavery.” Then He went on to say, “I have come down to deliver you.” When God brought them out, they didn’t come out empty-handed. God made their enemies hand over their gold and silver. God vindicated His people, and He will vindicate you!

Maybe someone has wronged you today. You could easily become bitter and angry and spend your life trying to pay them back. However, if you will give it to God and let Him do it His way, scripture says He’ll pay you double for your trouble! Today, know that He sees where you are, He sees where you’ve been, and He sees the struggles of your heart. Release the struggle to Him and let Him reward you with His everlasting promises.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

"Father, today I choose to release the struggles in my heart. I release the offenses and wrongs done to me. I choose forgiveness. I choose peace. I choose to let You be my vindicator knowing that You love me and care for me in Jesus’ name. Amen."


Give Your Soul A Break - by Joyce Meyer
When you take a vacation, do you give your soul a break, just as you give your body some rest, recreation, and refreshment?

Your soul is comprised of your mind, will, and emotions, and it is a very important part of your entire being. You are a spiritual being, and you live in a physical body. But if you don't understand your soul's needs, you will not be a whole, healthy individual.

When we are weary, exhausted in strength, endurance, and vigor, we need help. We need to be refreshed not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Being weary is not something to be ashamed of; it's simply a sign that we need a break.

You can take a vacation thinking you need a physical rest, but if you don't let your soul rest at the same time, you will return home just as exhausted as you were when you left. Lying on the beach worrying does not equal a day of vacation. If you take a day off and spend it trying to deal with personal problems, traffic, high prices, and rude people—you'd have been better off at work!

Learning to let our souls rest is vitally important. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28–30 that if we are overburdened, weary, and worn out, we should spend time with Him and see how He handled life. He promises to give us rest. The Amplified Bible's translation of these verses indicates that the type of rest He is talking about is refreshment, renewal and blessed quiet for our souls. Jesus is really offering us a vacation for our souls, our inner lives.

Prayer Starter: Father, I take this moment to offer You all of my stress, worries, and cares. Please refresh my mind and emotions. Help me to run to You when I am weary and worn out from life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Developing Patience by Dr. Charles Stanley
SUNDAY
29
James 1:1-4

When people confide in me that they are praying for patience, I often ask what else they’re doing to acquire a calm and gentle heart. Patience isn’t so much something believers receive as it is an attribute that they develop over time and through experience.

Think of patience as a muscle that you have to use in order to see it build. To that end, believers should recognize difficulty as an opportunity to flex their patience. The human instinct is to cry out to God in bewilderment when tribulation comes knocking. We blame. We resist. We complain. What we don’t do is say, “Thank You, Father—it’s time to grow in patience!” People aren’t trained to think that way, but according to the Bible, that is exactly how Christians are to respond.

The book of James tells us to consider trials a joy (James 1:2). But we often fail at this, don’t we? Humanly speaking, praising the heavenly Father for tribulation is unnatural. However, doing so begins to make sense to believers when they cling to God’s promise that good comes from hardship. (See Rom. 8:28.) We are not waiting on the Lord in vain. We can praise Him for the solution He will bring, the lives He will change, or the spiritual fruit He will develop in our life.

Accepting hardship as a means of growth is a radical concept in this world. Even more extreme is the believer who praises the Lord for the storm. But God’s followers have cause to rejoice. Tribulation increases our patience so that we can stand firm on His promises and await His good timing.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 21-23


You Are Hand-Picked by God by Jerry Savelle
April 29, 2018
Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love. (Ephesians 1:4 AMP)

Did you know you were chosen by God before He even laid the foundation of the world? What’s more, He chose you because He loved you. When you know you’ve been chosen, it makes you feel special.

The apostle Paul also uses the word elect when he speaks of being chosen. We are the elect of God. Do you know what it means to be the elect of God? It means “hand picked by God.”

Once you fully understand what Paul is saying, you’ll find it easy to walk in your true identity. You’ll begin to think, “I’m chosen by God. Of course He will heal me. Of course He will give me victory. I’m hand-picked by God, and I’ve been set apart for Him.”

God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you” (Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV). Knowing this gives you great confidence that God is going to see you through, no matter what you may be facing today. After all, you’ve been hand picked by God.

Confession: Thank You, Father, for choosing me before I was ever born, before the foundation of the world. Thank You for setting me apart and making me blameless in your sight. You hand picked me because You loved me.

Author: Jerry Savelle


See God's Goodness In The Midst by Joseph Prince
Matthew 2:13

…an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”

God does not play a game of counterattack with the devil—the devil does something bad, then God steps in to bring something good out of it. The truth is, when something bad happens, it is the devil reacting to something good that God has started. The Lord once told me, “Tell My people that if they want to understand what I am doing, just look at what the devil is doing and see it in reverse. That is what I am doing, multiplied many times over.”

I see this truth in the Bible. When Christ was born, soldiers were sent to kill all baby boys under the age of two in Bethlehem. The folks in Bethlehem then would have seen only evil. But there were those like Mary who saw God’s goodness. They knew that God had sent a Savior into the world! The killing of the infants was just the devil’s reaction to the gift of salvation that God had sent.

The Lord showed me that this was how we were to look at the bird flu when it hit our region not too long ago. While I was pondering the significance of birds, the Lord showed me Matthew 6:26: “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

If God takes care of the birds, how much more will He take care of you! So, by attacking the birds with disease, the devil is, in essence, reacting to God’s provision for His people. In other words, he saw that God’s provision had already been released on His people in a big way!

With every new virus that the devil throws at us, you must discern that the devil is trying to pervert and reverse what God is already doing. Then, you will know that something good is going to come out of it. You see, every new strain of virus tells us that God has already released a new anointing of health for His people. And I believe that He releases new levels of increase for His people too. So don’t just see the evil. See the good that God is already doing!





Hey guys! In this video I share a story about how God came through for me at the perfect timing. God is clutch!! Lol. Watch, share, like and enjoy!

Arinola O. Yinka

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