The Graduate Level Test: Self-Defense

The Graduate-Level Test: Self-Defense

TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman


"He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." - Psalm 37:6

As a believer grows in trusting obedience and love, God often brings a test that seems uncharacteristically cruel. The test: being wrongfully judged by those close to you. It is not for the reactionary. It cannot be passed over by simply gutting it out. Supernatural grace is the only means of passing this one. It is one of those tests the Savior had to experience Himself when being tried by the court of public opinion, the religious community, and the government of His day. His response to the government was silence. His response to the religious establishment was silence at the final judgment. To the rest of His accusers He remained quiet and left vindication to the Father. He lived the commandment He gave to the disciples:

"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked" (Luke 6:35).

How do you react when you are accused or mistreated for no reason? Do you listen quietly, or do you justify each and every action? Most of us take pride in doing what is right and expect the same from others, especially our brothers and sisters in the faith. Jesus knew that if you were to be a true follower of His, you would enter this test eventually. It is part of the program. The workplace gives ample opportunity to be wronged, misunderstood, and maligned. When God brings a measured assault against one of His children, it is to find out if he truly believes in the cross. The cross is where each of us is given the opportunity to die to our pride, our reputations, and our ego. When He allows a measured assault upon us, it is to find out if the cross is sufficient. He wants to see if we will seek to rescue ourselves. Jesus said if we die with Him, we will be raised with Him. When God allows satan to bring the measured assault, ask God for the grace to cling to the cross. Let the pride and arrogance that Jesus wants to remove from our lives be crucified. Thank God for the opportunity to be crucified with Christ. Then your righteousness will shine like the noonday sun and the justice of your cause will be in His hands.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Resurrection - Nicole Sponberg

What You Need Is a "Through" Faith

Shut the Devil’s Mouth
Pastor Adrian Rogers

“When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” - John 11:4

The devil’s charge against Job was that Job didn’t really love God—that the only reason Job served God was that God had bribed him. God said, “To prove He loves me, Satan, you can take anything from him but his life.” Job continued to serve the Lord and said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him…” (Job 13:15). Isn’t that great?

God often gets the glory through our trials. There are servants of God today, special people who’ve been chosen of God to shut the devil’s mouth by saying, “Though I do not have physical health or a lot of this world’s goods, I love my God. Jesus Christ is real to me, and Jesus Christ is enough for me.”

Sometimes sickness may glorify God. Andrew Murray, a dear old saint, wrote:

“In times of trouble the trusting child of God may say, ‘First He brought me here, it is by His will that I’m in this great place. Next, He will keep me here in His love and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child. Then He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends for me to learn and working in the grace He means to bestow. And in His good time He can bring me out again. How and when—He knows.’”

So many people have an “if” faith: “Lord, if you do this...” But what you need is a “though” faith. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” And that shuts the mouth of the devil!

For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers, please visit

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A song about hope; holding on even when life hits you hard. 
Don't give up.

"Darkness tried to steal your heart away, 
pain tried to steal your heart away, 
Shame stood at the door and tried to steal your heart; 
but Jesus won the battle. He won your heart."

Literally and Figuratively

Literally and Figuratively
Pastor Adrian Rogers

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” - Revelation 12:9

Sometimes people ask, “Is the Bible to be interpreted literally or figuratively?” I answer, “Yes!” It is to be interpreted figuratively and literally all at the same time.

The Bible is full of symbolism. But you must find out what the symbol stands for, and then you literally believe it. For example, in the book of Revelation the devil is symbolized as a huge dragon. Don't say, “Oh, that's just symbolism, there is no devil.” The golden arches symbolize McDonald's, right? When you see those golden arches, do you say, “Oh, that's just a symbol. There is no McDonald's restaurant. There’s no such thing as a hamburger”? You wouldn't say that! No. It’s a symbol, but when you know what the symbol stands for, you can apply it literally.

When you open the Word of God, first pray over it. Then ponder it.  Ask these six questions:
1. Is there a promise to claim?
2. Is there a lesson to learn?
3. Is there a blessing to enjoy?
4. Is there a command to obey?
5. Is there a sin to avoid?
6. Is there a new thought to carry with me?

Pray, “Oh God, open my eyes; move upon my heart; give me understanding,” and you ponder it.  You think about it. Then with a pen close by, you write these things down.  Read it through, think it clear, write it down, pray it in, live it out, and pass it on.

For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers, please visit

For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers, please visit

Behold, I Am Coming Soon!

We are living on borrowed time.


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Let Your Light Shine!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The Power of Your Presence
Bayless Conley

Jesus said in Matthew 5:16,
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."    

The way you let your light shine is just being yourself around people.  Witness everywhere you go through your life, and use words, if necessary.

You can sow seeds just by showing people that you are real.  Some people call it friendship evangelism:  being a genuine friend, touchable, genuinely caring for people, just letting your light shine.

Jesus also said you are a city set on a hill.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nobody lights a lamp and puts it under a basket.  You and I are to live a life that brightly shines the gospel to the unsaved.

I read a story years ago about a guy who had his doorbell hooked up to a big buzzer in the back room.  The buzzer was really loud.  He wanted to change it and put a light there instead that would illuminate when somebody pushed the doorbell.  So he rigged it up to do just that.

The problem was the light would barely illuminate.  He could not figure out what was wrong, so he called an electrician friend.  His friend looked at it and told him, "Oh, you don't understand.  It takes more power to shine than it does to make noise."

That is very true.  Jesus said, "Let your light shine."  Without having to necessarily confront people, they will just notice something different about you.  If you are walking with God, it is reflected in your attitude, your work ethic, and your countenance.  It is a discernable difference that will lead some people to ask about your faith.  You will be able to sow seeds just with your presence

Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley website for more ways to Connect with God 

This Little Light Of Mine

In The Last Days

In The Last Days

by James Robison  

Words of LIFE Weekly Devotional

With all that’s going on in our nation, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that we must have a great spiritual awakening. We know who ultimately wins and we know that God is building a kingdom that cannot be shaken. As believers and followers of Christ, we have been commissioned and commanded to support kingdom purpose with every fiber of our being as long as we live on this earth.

Many are convinced we are living in the “last days.” When Jesus was asked about prophetic timing, He replied, “Do not be unduly concerned about the times or the seasons. You are to be my witnesses beginning here at home in Jerusalem, in the neighboring communities and ultimately to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8 paraphrased). In the Great Commission, He said we are to go into all the world and make disciples of the nations. We have been left here on earth as witnesses, not to be caught up in foolish, fatalistic apathy or fixated on a specific date related to the return of Christ.

Paul said in 2 Timothy 3, “In the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving…malicious gossips, without self-control…haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” In the next chapter, Paul made it very clear that in light of the times, we are to preach the Word and not just with our mouths, but with our actionsWe are not to change the Word, alter it, or explain it away. We are to preach it, believe it, and through the grace available in Christ, seek diligently to obey it.

We are never to change God’s truth into a lie in an attempt to justify particular practices, tendencies, or failures. Romans 1 clearly teaches that when we don’t glorify God as God and put something else before Him, then we begin to worship something He created rather than the Creator Himself. We can even worship our point of view, our particular personal practices, or weaknesses. When you change the truth of God into a lie in order to justify certain actions, you are then given over to the control of what you have put before God. Your ungodly appetites and attitudes prevail to the point of bringing you into bondage. This, in fact, is the judgment and wrath of God against sin for changing His truth into a lie and accepting an idol. It reaches a point that a person is not simply out of control, but under the control of another power, spirit, practice, compulsion or addiction. It becomes totally unnatural – against nature. God specifically says as an example “men will burn in their lust for men and women will burn in their lust for women.” There is no way to deny that reality. There is nothing natural about such sexual practices. All compulsive behavior is the result of not keeping God, His Word, and His truth in first place.

The next step is that people are given over to foolish, depraved thinking, doing things that should never be done and controlled by what Paul referenced as “last days manifestation – people controlled by wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, gossip, backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud and boastful, inventing new ways of sinning, disobeying their parents, refusing to understand, breaking their promises, heartless and without mercy” (Romans 1:29-30). Even knowing the judgment of God on these things, people participate in these activities and give wholehearted approval to them. This is precisely what is happening in America!

Those who don’t necessarily practice those specific deeds are yet giving approval to them. They vote these practices into a place of acceptance and even safeguard those practices against nature, against God, and against His Word. They protect such activities through the laws of the land and those laws established by the leadership the voters put in place. Thinking becomes so depraved that the individual population is void of wisdom and understanding; they are unable to see things from God’s point of view. “Professing themselves to be wise, they have proved to be fools!” (Romans 1:22)

The only way you can change the practices of a person addicted to compulsive behavior or who is worshipping idols is through the power of the cross of Christ and the transforming power of that love. Unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  He or she will not know heaven, will not know abundant life, will not have eternal life in Christ or experience the power of the cross to cover sins, find forgiveness, and receive new life.

It is through the precious blood of the Lamb as the sacrificial atonement and substitute for our sins we are saved by grace and grace alone, not by works of righteousness which anyone has done, but by His blood. None of us should ever boast except in the grace and mercy of our Almighty God and loving FatherWe walk in the light as He is in the light and we have fellowship one with the other. By confessing our sins, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

We have been given a divine assignment to fulfill the Great Commission. We are not to merely make “church folks” or religious traditionalists, but sold-out, Spirit-filled followers of Christ. We are here to fulfill God’s Kingdom purpose as children of light, revealing the light set visibly on a lamp stand, never covered by anything that diminishes the glory of His light. We do it in supernatural unity, becoming the shining city set on a hill that cannot, will not, and must not be hidden.  That’s how the world will know we are His disciples - by our love for Him, our love for one another, and our love for those outside the family circle of faith.

We are here to do battle as good soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ, never entangled or distracted by the things of this world. We are not to love the world or the things in the world, because if we love the world, then the love of the Father is not in us. If we say that we love Him and do not love one another, we walk in darkness and do not know the truth. We have been left here to battle the spiritual powers of darkness and we do so by putting on the whole armor of God, standing against the schemes of the devil, the great deceiver and father of all lies because our battle is not with flesh and blood, but with powers and principalities in the realm of darkness. We understand that unredeemed men do not comprehend the things of the Spirit because their understanding has been darkened. People love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.

Satan fiercely assaults the family of God and His kingdom purpose through us. He works against those who have been born from above through faith in the finished work of Christ Jesus on the Cross who is the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. Satan wars against God’s kingdom purpose. He is against life, light, liberty, and the freedom that can only be known and experienced through the truth that sets us free and is essential to keep us free.  Jesus said, “I am the Truth and you shall know the Truth and the truth shall set you freeAbide in Me and you will know the truth. I am sending the Holy Spirit to abide in you and to guide you to all truth and keep you free, not from the fight, but in the fight to finish and win as overcomers in this life!”

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Change Your Mind: Skeleton Faith

Skeleton Faith

by Randy Robison

Words of LIFE Weekly Devotional

I would never have guessed that the Winter Olympics could illustrate a spiritual truth so well, but as I watched the coverage, I realized that a couple of events demonstrate two different approaches to our faith. One is good; the other is not so good.

Consider the bobsled. It has a steel frame, fiberglass hull, front runners and rear runners, push bars, brakes, and a steering system. It takes two or four people working together to get it moving and keep it on track. The sled weighs hundreds of pounds and hits speeds up to 90mph. If something goes wrong (and it sometimes does), everybody's wearing helmets and the body of the sled offers good protection.

Contrast this with a similar sport called the Skeleton. Like the Luge, there is no frame, no hull, no brakes…really there’s hardly anything. It’s basically a guy in spandex and a helmet on two razor blades going 90mph down an ice chute. In the Luge, they slide feet first with one or two people. In the Skeleton, they go head first all alone. A lot of people have gotten injured and even killed doing this.

If you ask me, that’s a bit crazy.

But that’s the way many people approach their faith. They’ve got one narrow thing and they’re riding it for all it’s worth. It’s like “Oh I have faith” but there’s not the understanding that the writer of Proverbs talks about. Or maybe “I have the Bible” but the idea of the Holy Spirit being alive scares you. Or “I have truth” but zero patience or love. Or the big one these days, “It’s all about grace” and that somehow means there is no such thing as sin or a need for accountability.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not knocking any one of these things. We need them, but we need them all, and then some. Paul urged us to “put on the full armor of God,” not just one piece. A warrior with a shield but no helmet or sword won’t last long on the battlefield. We need faith, and the Word, and truth, and grace. But we also need knowledge, discernment, peace, joy, kindness, wisdom, self-control, goodness, gifts of the Spirit, and many other wonderful things outlined in scripture.

Any one thing will get us somewhere – these things are that powerful. You might get down the hill on a small flat seat and thin blades in the same way that you might be a good witness if you preach the truth. But how many great preachers have wrecked their lives for a lack of integrity?

Building your life on a single virtue is skeleton faith. It’s naked, dangerous, lonely, and a little crazy. If you really want to navigate the icy curves of life, you need faith more along the lines of a bobsled. You need something with weight to it.

You need the Word and wisdom to help you steer, discernment to help you brake, self-control to stay on your line, the helmet of salvation, the Holy Spirit to tell you when to lean left or right, fellowship with other believers, and every other blessing God offers to get you moving, protect you from harm, and enable you to master the course. All of these parts balance together to create an exciting ride. It’s fun, much safer, and not near as lonely. 

 That’s the kind of faith I want, and that’s the kind you can have, too.

Jesus Said Love Your Enemies

Seeing Through God's Eyes

TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman

"They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword." - 2 Samuel 1:12

How would you respond if you heard something bad happened to someone who had been trying to cut off your head for several years? King Saul had been seeking to kill David for many years before Saul was thrust into battle against the Amalekites. In this final battle, a sword killed Saul. When the news reached David, instead of rejoicing that his enemy was no longer a problem for him, he responded in a totally different manner. He mourned. Imagine that; he mourned for the one who sought to kill him.

This is a sign of one who can look past an individual who is the source of pain and consider how God views him. God looks on that individual and sees his needs and knows why he responds the way he does. When we begin to see people as God does, we'll no longer look at them as enemies, but as souls in need of grace. This is how Jesus could give of His life for us. He saw our great need, not what we did to Him. When someone wrongs you, do you seek to retaliate, or do you pray to understand the need behind the offender's actions? For several years a person was a source of constant pain and retaliation toward me. There was nothing I could do to change it. God allowed me to go beyond the person's actions to understand what was the source of his need. When I gained that understanding, God gave me a picture of this person inside a prison cell and in bondage. This bondage made him respond to life in this way. I was able to pray for him and genuinely love him in spite of the fact that he persecuted me. This is the kind of love Jesus wants us to have when He tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who spitefully use us.

I believe God does a special work of grace in those who go beyond the realm of normal response to persecution. He brings us to a level of grace we never thought possible. Describing how God worked in Joseph's life, Francis Frangipane reveals what happens when we tap into this grace:

God made him fruitful in the very things that afflicted him. In the land of your affliction, in your battle, is the place where God will make you fruitful. Consider, even now, the area of greatest affliction in your life. In that area, God will make you fruitful in such a way that your heart will be fully satisfied, and God's heart fully glorified. God has not promised to keep us from valleys and sufferings, but to make us fruitful in them. [Francis Frangipane, Place of Immunity (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Arrow Publications, 1996), 93]

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Growing by His Plan

Growing by His Plan
Pastor Adrian Rogers

“…see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep  .For He commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof…Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still…so He bringeth them unto their desired haven.” - Psalm 107:23-30

It is God who is the master of the winds and the waves. He is able to cause storms to come or to calm them.

It is a very shallow theology that says if we’re in the will of God, we’ll always sail smoothly on the sea of life. We’ll have no sickness, no sorrow, no disappointment, know no separation. There’ll be no problems in our family. The “joy boys” get on television and say, “You just believe God and send me an offering, and you’ll never be sick. Everything’ll be fine.” This is the gospel of cash and Cadillacs. Friend, there’s a Greek word for that—“baloney.”

No, we are going to have difficulty. And the first thing you can say when difficulty comes is that God’s providence is over it all. “I am governed by His providence.”

Not only am I governed by His providence, but I am growing by His plan. Now God’s plan is not to indulge you; God’s plan is to enlarge you. “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.” (Psalm 4:1)

Those of you who’ve been on the trail for awhile, who have walked a long time with the Lord, when did you grow the most? When everything was fine? When there was smooth sailing? Or when the storm came? Did you not grow more in the storm, in distress, when you were crowded to Christ, and when you had to call upon Him? You are growing by His plan.

For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers, please visit 

Pass Me Not - Fernando Ortega

Governed by His Providence

Governed by His Providence
Pastor Adrian Rogers

“…His disciples went down unto the sea,and entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.” - John 6:16-18

In my journeys to Israel, one of the most delightful times for me is to sit at twilight on the shores of Galilee. The tranquility is like a dream. You’re almost intoxicated by beauty as the sun sets over the Sea of Galilee. The Golan Heights across the sea from Tiberius turn a rosy color. You can hear birds nesting in the trees. I believe the Sea of Galilee is one of the most beautiful bodies of water on earth. The old rabbis used to say that God created all the other seas, then He created Galilee just for Himself.

It had been a wonderful day. Jesus had been with His disciples, feeding the 5,000. The disciples were full of success and self-confidence when they climbed into their boat that evening. Then it happened. The wind begins to rise. Clouds darken the moon. An angry wind beats the sea with its fists, and the water rises up and slaps the disciples in the face. That Sea of Galilee, quiet as a millpond, now has become dangerous. These seasoned sailors are filled with fear. Then they see Jesus, walking on the water, saying, “Don’t be afraid.” In another gospel He says, “Be of good cheer. It is I.”

Are you in a storm? You say, “No, Pastor, I’m not.” Well I’m glad for you. Enjoy the trip. We’re fools if we don’t enjoy the good times of life. But just wait awhile. Sooner or later, you’re going to find yourself in a storm. It may be that God has engineered your storm; if not, He has certainly allowed it because our God is over everything. The first thing you can say when difficulty comes is that God’s providence is over it all. You can say, “I am governed by His providence.”

For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers, please visit

Walk on the Water
Britt Nicole

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