Today’s devotion is based on Luke 4:12-13, “And Jesus answered him (Satan), “It (Word of God) is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.”
These were Jesus’ final words to Satan after being tempted by him. Why did Jesus put himself in such a state that Satan thought he could tempt Jesus to disobey God’s Word? The answer is that he did it for each one of us. Jesus wants to teach us that, just as he did, to use the Word of God when tempted. That is where we find Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They give us hope and faith to resist the temptations that attack us, as they try to separate us from God.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, thank you for your gift of grace shown in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Thank you for the Holy Spirit, who brings us to faith, and helps us to understand the Bible. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 3:13-17: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”
Moses was called by God to do God’s work. John the Baptist was called to do God’s work. Jesus is now called to God’s work. It was time for him to leave the quiet life of the town he lived in and start the ministry that God had called him to do on behalf of all humans.
Jesus was baptized even though he had not committed any sin. But he submitted to being baptized because we who are sinners need to be baptized. His baptism was the right start because, through his baptism, we would ultimately be joined to him in his suffering, death, and resurrection.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Lord Jesus thank you for joining yourself to us through your baptism so that through our baptism we are joined with you, for our salvation. In your name, we pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on the Genesis 3:19, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust, you will return.”
On March 2nd the worldwide Christian Church celebrates Ash Wednesday. Many Christians will have the sign of the cross put on their foreheads while their pastor recites the words usually used at a burial, “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust you shall return.”
The ashes beg us never to lose sight of how temporal and how fleeting life really is. The writer of Psalm 90 says that human life is like grass that flourishes in the morning, but is dried and withered by evening. All in the span of one brief metaphorical day.
As we begin our observance of Lent on Ash Wednesday, let us be mindful of our imminent mortality. Let us repent for being reckless, negligent, and sometimes ungrateful for this precious gift of life. And from this day forward, let us never take another day for granted.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, we humbly come before you acknowledging our weaknesses and rejoicing in your love and grace. We pray this in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Job 1:1 “There was a man named Job, living in the land of Uz, who worshipped God and was faithful to him. He was a good man, careful not to do anything evil.”
Job pleased God. Noah was another man who pleased God. These men loved God and walked with him, talked, and heard from him. From that, obedience to God’s ways came. They knew God’s will.
Both Job and Noah had a heart for the things of God rather than for things of the world. They understood that their righteousness, like ours, does not depend on the good things we do, but on the righteousness of Jesus, their redeemer.
We, like Job and Noah, can live a broken life in a broken world, or by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, live a God-pleasing life in a broken world. Which life will you choose to live?
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, I confess that I do not depend on you alone. I get tempted by the world and begin to rely on that. I’m sorry. Draw me back to you, guard my heart against temptation and give me your heart for the things that are important to you. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Psalm 2:10-12. “Now, therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He is angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”
No earthly ruler ever came to power in the way King Jesus did. There were no armies locked in battle, no carefully negotiated treaties, only the King's dreadful, humiliating death. But it was not the end! On Easter morning, his tomb was empty. Our King has risen from the dead and reigns in glory!
And so we worship our King whose blood has washed away our sins. With gentleness and respect, we invite others to join us in declaring, by the Spirit's power, their allegiance to the King who died to save them.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Jesus, we worship You as Lord and King. In You alone, we have forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. May we proclaim to others the hope You have given us. Amen.
February 23, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Revelation 21:5-7. “Then the one who sits on the throne said, ‘And now I make all things new!’ He also said to me, ‘Write this, because these words are true and can be trusted’. And he said, ‘It is done! I am the first and the last, the beginning and the end. To anyone who is thirsty, I will give the right to drink from the spring of the water of life without paying for it. Those who win the victory will receive this from me: I will be their God, and they will be my children.”
The devil has left the world in ruins. People’s lives are shattered. There is terrible suffering, and people are starving. God is taking action to make everything in the world new again. Jesus comes to repair the damage, provide for people’s needs, and bring security and stability to those who accept him as their Savior. He comes to rebuild ruined lives. He comes to repair the damage in your life too. He comes to make everything new again. He brings you new life and new hope. Come, let us worship the Lord this morning.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, thank you for my Savior, for in his death, he made be whole in your eyes. Help me always to stay close to you so that on Judgment Day, I will be accepted by you. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on 1 Thessalonians 5: 11—“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
I admit that speaking words of encouragement, especially to those we think deserve what they are dealing with because of bad habits or decisions, does not come easily. Today, give up words of discouragement and become an encourager; to others and, yes, maybe even to yourself. I say to yourself because it is almost impossible to encourage others if you are not encouraging yourself.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen; you know how easy it is for me to speak words of discouragement to others, even when I don’t mean to speak words of discouragement. Please help me to choose my words carefully so that what I say encourages instead of tears down. Please forgive me, for Jesus’ sake, when I speak wrongly so that I better glorify you. In Jesus’ holy name, I pray. Amen.
Today's devotion is based on the Old Testament reading for this past Sunday where we read in Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Joseph is in a sense a foreshadowing of Jesus in this respect. Despite everything that had happened in the long saga that was Joseph’s life, he was able to say that God had sent him ahead into Egypt, to save life, not to destroy it. It was not the jealousy and betrayal of his brothers that had carried him there, but the hand of God.
We see in Jesus, the fulfillment of God’s plan. By the cross, God used the evil and godless actions of wicked people to establish his kingdom in the death and resurrection of his Son to save those who accept Jesus as their Savior.
Please pray with me: Dearest Father, thank you that your sovereign power is such that you use even the works of evil for your purpose. Thank you for the blessing of knowing you are working all things together for the good of your people. In Christ’s name. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Revelation 3:1-3. “To the angel (messenger/pastor) of the church in Sardis write: `This is the message from the one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know what you are doing; I know that you have the reputation of being alive, even though you are dead! So wake up, and strengthen what you still have before it dies completely. For I find that what you have done is not yet perfect in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you were taught and what you heard; obey it and turn from your sins. If you do not wake up, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will not even know the time when I will come.”
The love between two spouses can fade and die away if an effort is not made to keep it nourished and alive. Love rarely dies with one quick blow. Little niceties are neglected. Romantic getaways are postponed until a more suitable time. Housework, yard work and office work become more important than making a marriage work. And little by little, without fuss or bother, love slowly dies.
As our Bible verses for today show our love for God can die too. Without fuss or bother. Quietly, ever so slowly, it slips away. We can use excuses like; I’m too busy to pray today, I can’t worship this week, I’ll catch up on my Bible reading when I have less on my plate. Just as we cannot neglect our relationship, we cannot afford to neglect our relationship with our Lord? Don’t be like the congregation in Sardis, “Wake up, and strengthen what you still have before it dies completely.”
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, Gracious God, I come to you this morning confessing that I have not loved you as I should. Forgive me, Father, because of your son, Jesus Christ. Help me start again. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Ephesians 4:30-32. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
When we become Christian, we receive God into our life. He comes to live in our mind and our heart and our body become his home. If we continue to harbor grudges, let our negative emotions rage without control and act vindictively and maliciously towards others, we are rebelling against the Holy Spirit. It’s better to let the Holy Spirit take over the house and allow him to ensure that love, forgiveness, and clean living are characteristics of the new way of living.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for sending the Holy Spirit into my life so that I can honor you in all I do. Please forgive me and cleanse me when I sin against you and your holy will. I ask this in the name of and for the sake of Jesus. Amen.