Today’s devotion is based on Romans 8:7,8 “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”
The Bible teaches a rather uncomfortable truth. It says that you and I are sinners. We’ll continue to struggle with our sinful flesh on this side of heaven. It’s a given. Without the Spirit’s help, our mind “does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” But Jesus can help us, and he does; Perfectly. He has conquered our sin and crushed our condemnation forever. Trust him!
Please pray with me: Dear Jesus, thank you for the Holy Spirit, for without the Spirit’s power, I would not have the strength to fight against the desire of my sinful flesh. In your precious name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Romans 8:5,6 “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
It’s natural for sinful human beings like us to choose the path of least resistance, to take the easier way, the path that seems less painful. And that’s especially true when it comes to our spiritual lives. Too often, instead of setting our sights on the unseen, eternal blessings that our Father has promised to give us in heaven, we jump at the chance of securing as many creature comforts in this world as we possibly can right now.
St. Paul describes this as setting our minds “on what the flesh desires.” And he doesn’t pull any punches when he tells us what the result will be: “The mind governed by the flesh is death.” But because of our broken hearts and sinful minds, we’re doomed. Sinners can’t help themselves.
But Jesus can help us and does. Not only does Jesus assure us of our perfect forgiveness and willingly crush our eternal condemnation forever. But he gives us the gift of his Spirit, who renews our minds and empowers us to set our hearts on things above, not on earthly things. And, Paul explains, “the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
Please pray with me: Dear Jesus, empower me to live according to your Spirit and not what my sinful flesh desires. In Jesus’ blessed name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Romans 8:3,4, “For what the Law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
St. Paul is teaching us why we cannot be perfect in God’s eyes. Try as we might to follow God’s Law, it is powerless to save us. While God’s Law is perfect, we are imperfect. Thus our ability to obey the Law perfectly is hopeless.
But what we are unable to do, “God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.” Though Jesus was sinless, God laid our sin and the sins of the world on him. Then he condemned Jesus, the perfect sinner, in our place. Our perfect substitute. The slate is clean for you, for me, for everyone. Our sin is forgiven and forgotten forever.
Please pray with me: Dear Jesus, thank you for becoming my sin so that when I stand before God on Judgment Day, I will be declared innocent. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Luke 5:10 where we hear Jesus’ words to Simon after calling him to follow Jesus, “Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people!’”
In this time of uncertainty and isolation, ‘Afraid’ is just one word to describe how you might be feeling right now, although names like, dismayed, perplexed, and anxious also might express your feelings at this time. At one level, that’s okay, especially when we acknowledge the emotion, know that Jesus sees it, and invite Jesus to calm us.
In our world today, many people are afraid, They are looking for hope. Some will look to us. Jesus is calling us today in this time to be a light, His Light to others. As a Christian, you cannot be hidden. You are on a lampstand. What a great opportunity! Jesus is in you! And through you, he shines his light to the world. Now is the time to follow him, trusting in him, so others will know the hope and peace found only in Jesus.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: God, when the whole world changes around us, we are so often afraid. Give us the courage to embrace the challenge of following Jesus in this time of fear. Send us your Holy Spirit, that we may understand that you have opened up new opportunities for us to be your light of love, peace, and certainty in a dark world. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Luke 15:1,2: “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’”
Our relationship with God is not determined by our best behavior, being a nice person, or regularly attending church each Sunday. Our relationship with God is also not defined by our worst behavior, the times we have not been nice to others, or when we have neglected God. It has already been determined by the immeasurable love of God, who comes to us in all our imperfections, including those we are not even aware of. It has already been determined by a loving God who draws us near, even though we keep losing our way.
Please pray with me: Heavenly Father, we ask you to reach out to us with your love and acceptance, drawing us nearer to you. In the name of Jesus, we pray, Amen.
The daily devotion for today is based on Isaiah 61:1,2: “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, and proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.”
In our Bible reading for today, the prophet Isaiah shouts, “Freedom!” Isaiah foretells the work of the coming Savior, Jesus. Because of the Lord’s great love and favor, he punished Jesus in your place. Jesus suffered and died on that cross as your substitute. The result is free and complete forgiveness for every one of your sins. That’s freedom!
You and I can live our lives confident in the Lord’s proclamation of forgiveness through faith in Jesus. And, like a wonderful gift, what better way to say thanks to God for His wonderful gift than to share the good news with others.
Please pray with me; Thank you, Lord Jesus, for wiping away my sin and giving me a fresh start. Please help me live for you each day to show my thanks to you in my words and actions. Help me shine forth your love to others who are still searching for freedom from their sins. Amen.
The daily devotion for today is based on Then [Jesus] told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
The vineyard owner saw little reason to keep it around. He’d been reasonable. After all, one would expect that a fig tree would produce figs. He’d been patient, looking for fruit from the fig tree for three years. To receive nothing in return for all his time invested sparked the opposite of joy. He was ready to get rid of it. The only thing that saved it was the intercession of the caretaker.
We also have a caretaker–a divine caretaker. Jesus pleads for us and nurtures us. His grace and forgiveness make us want to produce good fruit in our lives. Truly that sparks joy in the heart of God. And in our hearts, too.
Please pray with me, Holy Spirit; you work in people’s hearts to bring them to repentance and faith. Graciously do the same for me every day. And then help me to produce fruits of faith and repentance in gratitude to you. Amen.
The daily devotion for today is based on Luke 13:1-3, “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
It’s a lot easier to shake our heads in disgust than it is to bow our heads in shame. In other words, we’re more than willing to get out our magnifying glass to see the sins of the people around us better. But we’re not nearly as willing to subject ourselves to the same scrutiny. Things weren’t all that different in Jesus’ day. Especially when disaster struck, it was common reasoning that the victims had committed some sin to make God mad. And the worse the disaster, the angrier God must have been.
It might be hard to hear, but we depend on Jesus to lead us away from the false security that comes from dwelling on the sins of others and lead us to a place where we can see our own desperate need. Only there, crushed and broken by the mountain of God’s law, can we marvel at the mercy that the Redeemer from Heaven shows us in putting us back together in the promises of God. That’s where we find true security, the kind that lasts forever.
Please join me in praying, Holy Spirit, deliver me in mercy from the temptation to focus on the sins of others. Lead me to see my own need and to rejoice in the security found in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 21:37-39 “(Jesus said) “Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.”
This story bothers me. I want to ask of the vineyard owner. “ Why are you bothering?" It’s just a vineyard. Your son is worth more than a vineyard. Just give it up.” If this were just any ordinary vineyard, perhaps the owner would give it up. But it’s not. This is God’s vineyard, which He dug out, planted, fenced, and built a winepress for making the wine. This is Jesus’ inheritance as the Son of God. In short, this is God’s world, and we are the vines in it. He isn’t going to give us up.
Take courage, because God has not forgotten you. He has already sent His Son to rescue you. And He will finish the job—soon now, very soon!—when Jesus comes again to take up His rule over all the universe. We are waiting for that day.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Lord, look on us when we suffer under the things that happen to us in our life. You are our rescuer, and for that we give you all praise and glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
The daily devotion for today is based on Isaiah 35:4 "Tell fearful souls, "Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on his way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He's on his way! He'll save you!"
While God seldom gives a detailed plan of what will happen next, he is always faithful to reveal God's self. God is ever-present with us. We find "fear not" and "do not be afraid" in scripture 366 times. God is giving us a verse for each day (and even one for leap year) to remind us repeatedly not to live in fear. Fear only makes us less than the person God desires us to be.
This day may we decide to be a people of faith and not fear. Faith will take us where fear cannot go. Faith will help us to see that God is in control. Faith will help us see ways to help our neighbors. Faith will show us ways to encourage each other. Faith will walk through dark times because Jesus is our Light to lighten the darkness.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things; nothing takes place without your knowledge. We humbly come before you recognizing our times of fear and asking that you would strike it from us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen