Devotions will be posted Monday through Friday. Friday's devotions will stay up till monday morning. Thank you and God Bless You..
Zephaniah 2:3 (NLT)
Seek the Lord , all who are humble, and follow his commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you— protect you from his anger on that day of destruction.
God’s Word: What You Believe, You Do
“But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don't just hear and forget.”
James 1:25 (CEV)
Many people know the Bible, but in order to be blessed by the it, we need to do what it says.
You act on what you believe, meaning your behavior and attitudes are a reflection of what you think is true. So think about it this way: The only parts of the Bible you truly believe are the parts you put into practice.
If what you say you believe doesn’t change how you live your life, then you probably don’t really believe it. That’s why when you have a difficult decision to make, you need to remember: “God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true . . . ” (2 Samuel 22:31 NLT). When you follow God’s Word and do things his way, you’ll be able to do the right thing at the right time.
Now, in order to put God’s Word into practice, you need to know it. That means you can’t just skim through the Bible and hope something sticks. You need to make time for Bible study every day.
There are many ways for you to learn God’s Word. For instance, you can write Bible verses on cards and put them in places where you’ll see them throughout the day. You can gather verses into your heart by memorizing them, or you can listen to Scripture on your cell phone.
It doesn’t matter what methods you use to learn God’s Word. The important thing is that you’re studying, memorizing, and applying it to your life. When you do that, you’ll experience a freedom that cannot be diminished by the problems and challenges we face today.
The House That Spite Built
In 1882 in New York City, Joseph Richardson owned a narrow strip of land 5 feet wide and 104 feet long. Next door was a normal-sized lot owned by a man who wanted to erect an apartment building. He offered Richardson $1,000 for his plot. Deeply offended, Richardson demanded $5,000 which the builder refused to pay. The builder went on to build the apartment building assuming the slender lot would remain vacant and the view exposed.
But Richardson built a house instead—blocking the view! Dubbed the “Spite House,” Richardson spent the last fourteen years of his life in the narrow residence that seemed to fit his narrow state of mind. Revenge builds a lonely, narrow house…space enough for one person. No wonder God insists we “keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent!” (Hebrews 12:14 MSG).
The Vital Sign of Spiritual Insight
In the Old Testament, we find the story of Ezra and a large group of Israelites who returned to Jerusalem to reestablish the temple and the worship of God. In the midst of this incredible effort, Ezra prays a powerful prayer, as recorded in Ezra 9:8,
"And now for a little while grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage."
Ezra prays that their eyes would be enlightened spiritually. It is reminiscent of Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1, when he prayed that the eyes of the Ephesians would be enlightened, spiritually opened.
One vital sign of the need for revival is when we are spiritually dull and insensitive to God's promptings, and the Holy Spirit's direction and creativity.
Perhaps you can remember something creative that once operated in your life, but sadly, it has waned. It has declined. It has gone dormant.
It shouldn't be that way! The Holy Spirit wants to prompt you and guide you and give you knowledge and creativity. But when you are living in a spiritual fog, and you have become accustomed to living in that fog, you can be assured you have become spiritually dull.
That is when you need to be revived. And when you are, there is an enlightening of the eyes. There is a renewed sense and an awareness of the prompting, and the wooing, and the guiding of God's Spirit. That is what comes with revival.
When you are spiritually revived, you will be sensitive to God's Spirit, and you will gain from Him supernatural insight and enlightenment.
Suffer and Reign
If we endure, we will also reign with him.
2 Timothy 2:12
We must not imagine that we are suffering for Christ and with Christ if we are not in Christ. Beloved friend, are you trusting in Jesus only? If not, whatever you may have to mourn over on earth, you are not suffering with Christ and have no hope of reigning with Him in heaven. Neither are we to conclude that all a Christian's sufferings are sufferings with Christ, for it is essential that he be called by God to suffer.
If we are rash and imprudent and run into positions for which neither providence nor grace has fitted us, we ought to question whether we are not rather sinning than communing with Jesus. If we let passion take the place of judgment, and self-will reign instead of scriptural authority, we shall fight the Lord's battles with the devil's weapons, and if we cut our own fingers we must not be surprised. Again, in troubles that come upon us as the result of sin, we must not dream that we are suffering with Christ.
When Miriam spoke evil of Moses, and the leprosy polluted her, she was not suffering for God. Moreover, suffering that God accepts must have God's glory as its end. If I suffer that I may earn a name or win applause, I shall get no other reward than that of the Pharisee. It is required also that love for Jesus and love for His people should always be the mainspring of all our patience. We must manifest the Spirit of Christ in meekness, gentleness, and forgiveness.
Let us search and see if we truly suffer with Jesus. And if we do suffer in this way, what is our "slight momentary affliction"1 compared with reigning with Him? Oh, it is so blessed to be in the furnace with Christ, and such an honor to stand in the jail with Him, that if there were no future reward, we might count ourselves happy in present honor; but when the recompense is so eternal, so infinitely more than we had any right to expect, shall we not take up the cross with enthusiasm and go on our way rejoicing?
I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
The wood carver who made himself a son out of a stump of a tree did so out of love. He wanted someone to love and care for, to teach and to guide, to spend time with and to share with. Pinocchio was the answer to the prayers of a lonely old man. In the end, the old man's love brought the boy made of wood to life.
God carved for Himself men and women to be with Him forever. He filled them with good things. He made them to love, and care, and learn, and grow. He fashioned them out of clay, then He made them as He was. He made us just less than Himself. He calls us gods and children, the greatest of all His creation. In God's eyes, we are sacred and good. Let us do everything we can to live up to His holy expectations.
Prayer: Make me worthy, Lord, of the great love which You have given to me. Turn me from my woodenness to true life; life which comes from Your indwelling Spirit. Amen.
You Unique Role
2 Corinthians 5:20
We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God
God has a unique place of ministry for each of us. It is important to your sense of fulfillment that you realize exactly where that place is. The key is to discover the roles you occupy in which you cannot be replaced, and then decide to be what God wants you to be in those roles.
For example, of the five billion people in the world, you are the only one who occupies your unique role as husband, father, wife, mother, parent, or child in your home. God has specially planted you to serve Him by serving your family and the community where you live.
"I don't understand women who are looking for fulfillment in the world in some meaningless job," said a mother of five children. "What could be more challenging and meaningful than raising five godly children and managing a Christian home?" I agree. Assuming the responsibility of our primary roles is too challenging for some, but it is the only path of fulfillment. You will never be fulfilled trying to become something you're not.
You occupy a unique role as an ambassador for Christ where you work and live. These are your mission fields and you are the worker God has appointed for the harvest there. Your greatest fulfillment will come from accepting and occupying God's unique place for you to the best of your ability. Sadly, so many miss their calling in life by looking for fulfillment in the world. Find your fulfillment in the kingdom of God by deciding to be an ambassador for Christ in the world. Paul said, "Do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5).
Prayer: Lord, keep me sensitive to the ministry You have for me in the ordinary places of my daily life.
A Call to Return Home-By Becca Stevens
BIBLE VERSE OF THE DAY: “Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.” (Acts 3:19)
At Thistle Farms, it is our mission to heal, empower, and employ women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. Our community believes that in every mistake, there is potential for healing. Nothing a person can do will close the door forever with God and with a loving community- even if that person feels beyond redemption, is put back in prison, or cannot find sobriety in this life. Our practice is simple: take a step back, apologize, make amends, learn something new, and move on.
Once, one of our residents relapsed after she had been in our community for more than a year. During that time, she borrowed money she would never pay back. She stole from her friends, and lied to them too. The damage to her relationships was like a tsunami of destruction. Her downward spiral of devastation ended when she found herself back in prison. One of the first steps on her journey to restoration was to write letters to those she had hurt to say how sorry she was for the things she had done.
Sometimes, the pain in our lives comes from our own thoughts, words, and deeds. In those moments, we must embrace the truth that healing often begins with repentance. In Acts 3:19, Paul challenged his readers to “Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.” It is language that rings familiar for lovers of the Old Testament. In Ezekiel chapter 14, the prophet challenges Israel’s wayward elders to cast away their idols, and return to their God. “…Repent and turn away from your idols… (Ezekiel 14:6).” Here, the Hebrew word for repent indicates more than a challenge to live differently. It is a call to “return home.”
When we humbly and wholeheartedly repent of the things we have done, as well as the things we have left undone, we find we are once again able to love with our whole hearts. Repentance clears the way for us to enjoy restored relationship with each other.
And through the gift of repentance, we once again rest in God’s great love… our one true home.
When our friend slipped back into her former destructive lifestyle, she deeply hurt those who loved her most. Sadly, she has years in prison ahead of her. Her time behind bars which will afford her the opportunity to build bridges over the trouble waters she stirred during the season in which she wandered away from love. Yet, she may still make it home. The door to healing and reconciliation is open to her because she understands that true freedom is rooted in repentance and forgiveness.
Let's Pray -
Anoint my head with the balm of peace, and set me on the right path. Give me courage to get back up when I stumble. Give me the eyes to see Your hand at work in the world around me. Teach me to pray for others even in my own suffering. Show me how to love again from the deepest part of my heart and with my whole being. Amen.
The Father Promising His Messiah as a Covenant
"I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people." (Isaiah 42:6)
Once again, multiple promises reveal God's plan and guarantee His purposes. These promises are actually being made from God, the Father, to His Messiah, the anointed King (who is God, the Son). The promises show that the Messiah would be the new covenant of grace for His people.
In the opening words, the Father is describing the call of His Messiah. "I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness." Also, the Father is promising full participation in His Messiah's mission. "I, the LORD…will hold Your hand; I will keep You." This would be essential, because the Messiah would go forth as a humble, dependent Servant ("My Servant"-Isaiah 49:6): "taking the form of a servant…He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:7-8).
Then, the Father offers this great promise of Christ's primary role in going forth to earth. "I will…give You as a covenant to the people." Jesus Christ Himself would be given to God's people as His new covenant with them. The new covenant of grace was supplanting the old covenant of law. Yet, it was not just a matter of prescribing new terms. Rather, a Person was being given who would be the sum and substance of the covenant. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
God has a new covenant of grace for His people, and it is all related to a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He Himself is the embodiment of all that the new covenant promises. In the new covenant, the Lord promises righteousness. This righteousness is found in a Person. "'Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS'" (Jeremiah 23:5-6). Peace is promised in this covenant of grace. This peace is also found in a Person. "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace" (Ephesians 2:13-14). Yes, all that the Lord promises by grace is entered into initially, and continually, by a humble, dependent relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear Father, I praise You for Your grace. I rejoice that the provisions of grace are not about performance or procedure, but are about developing a relationship with Your Son, Jesus Christ!