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today's devotion is based on Psalm 91, verse 11. “For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.”
Satan quoted from Psalm 91:11–12 when tempting Jesus at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Satan knew the word of God, but Jesus did too and replied, ‘It is also written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” At the end of those temptations, the devil left, and angels came and attended Jesus. We need to get to know God’s word to apply it, also to help us discern when Satan uses it with a twist against us, as he did with Jesus.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you that you send your angels to help us in our time of need, just as you sent them to help Jesus in his time of need. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Knowing where to look
Knowing where to look
Today’s devotion is based on Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
How blind we can be, you and I. How arrogant and foolish. We question God’s love, even his very existence, all the while ignoring the ultimate demonstration of his love for us: The death of his Son for your sins and mine. But there’s the beauty, the very way by which God demonstrates his love for us is also the very thing that washes away the stains of our foolish arrogance. It also seals God’s promise that his love will guide even the pain and sorrow of life for our good.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, fix my eyes on the cross, the ultimate demonstration of your love for me. And empower me to see your love at work even in the pain and sorrow of my life. Thanks be to God. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Our Rock, our salvation
Our Rock, our Salvation
Today’s devotion is based on Psalm 91 verse 10: “No evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.”
I thought I would spend some time on Psalm 91 this week. I would suggest that you read the whole Psalm so that you get the context of each verse. This Psalm reminds us of the promise of shelter and rest for those who live or dwell in trusting the Lord (verse one), to which we can intentionally say ‘yes, I trust you Lord’ (verse nine). Trusting in God needs to be our way of life. In doing so, we see things differently than those who don’t know of God’s grace. Instead of fear, we can rest in trusting the One who is the Overcomer of any evil or plague.
COVID-19 has been described as a plague. Physical distancing and self-isolating are part of the Lord’s protection for us. And although such measures are probably not our preference, they are a wise strategy for decreasing the spread of this unseen invader. That’s all part of living from the place of peace that Jesus gives.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, refresh us in your peace of heart and mind. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today's devotion is based on Exodus 3:14-15, "God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM' has sent me to you.'" God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.' "This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation."
When Moses asked for God's name, God replied by calling himself, "I AM." That might sound like a strange name to us. But consider how often Jesus, himself, used this name six times to bring comfort to the hearts of God's children.
We need to remember that through faith in Jesus, you are God's child. Just as God called Moses to be there for Israel, he has called you to be there for your family, friends, and neighbors—not to be the great I AM—but to point them to the great I AM.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for being consistent in who you are so that I can find regular comfort in who I am in and through Christ Jesus, my Savior. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Holy Spirit; our helper
Today’s devotion is based on John 16:12-14, where we hear Jesus saying, “I have much more to tell you, but now it would be too much for you to bear. When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth. He will not speak on his authority, but he will speak of what he hears and will tell you of things to come. He will give me glory because he will take what I say and tell it to you.”
This passage tells us so much about Jesus. It is important to know that he is telling his disciples these things, knowing that he is in a short time, suffer, and die. Even so, he prays for them. What he is telling them shows us his amazing love and compassion. At a time when his approaching suffering and death must be weighing heavily on his mind, he tells his disciples he will not try to tell them too much at this time because they just couldn’t take it all in.
But he is also thinking of them and the time when they will not have him with them permanently—at least physically, as they know him. So he tells them of the Holy Spirit, whose job it will be to continue Jesus’ teaching ministry through them. He will make things clear to them, help them understand the truth, and keep pointing them to Jesus, their friend.
Jesus shows the same compassion for you and me. He tells us, too, through the Spirit-inspired writings of Paul, that “God keeps his promise, and will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm” The lives that the disciples lived and the lives we live are achieved through the Holy Spirit.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you, for your love for me, as it is shown through Jesus agony and death. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based the eunuch’s question to Philip as it is recorded in Acts 8:36, “What prevents me from being baptized?”
The man was on his way home. As he was riding, he was reading Isaiah from the Torah. He did not understand what he was reading, so Phillip explained how the part of the Torah he was reading spoke of Jesus. The man believed what Philip was saying. In the oldest manuscripts, it is recorded that Phillip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The man replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Phillip baptized him.
This incident on the road so long ago shows us that early Christian Church believed that it was essential to baptize those who wished to be Christian. Does this mean that you must be baptized to be Christian? Of course not, but it does show us the ancient custom of baptizing those who wanted to be Christian. This is what, when you examine the command to baptize all nations meant, entrance into God’s Church. Baptism is a gift from God, and something he commanded his people to do. Why would you not?
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you, Lord, for your baptism. Thank you for my baptism. Help me to live in that forgiveness, that I dare come to you every day with all my sins and leave them with you so can live in your presence. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Baptism, the work of God
Today’s devotion is based on Titus 3:4-7, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God, our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
When a person who was baptized as an infant hears that their baptism was not good because they did not make the decision to be baptized, they begin to doubt if their baptism was valid. This confusion and doubt come from a misunderstanding of who is doing the saving work in baptism; God or the person being baptized.
The Bible is very clear, especially in the text we are looking at today, that it is his work. We are receiving his gift of faith and salvation, not earning it by our deciding to be baptized. It is a miracle that God works no matter the age or capability of the person being baptized. While we do the applying of water and the saying of the Baptism words, we do not add anything to the act of God.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for choosing me through my baptism. Thank you for your boundless mercy. Help me to show my gratitude, as you would me to do to those who most need it. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Baptism; New life
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 28:18-20, where we hear Jesus tell his disciples. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
This command, which should unite the Christian Church, has divided into two camps. One believes that Baptism is the work of God in a person. The other believes that it is the work of a person, that is the one being baptized.
To see which is understood correctly, we need to look at two baptisms. The first, John’s baptism, was a baptism of improvement. The person struck by the Law of God wanted a fresh start, a cleansing of the guilt. This baptism was rooted in Old Testament Law, which used water to purify objects and people who were considered unclean. This baptism, the word simply means washing, brought the object or person back into ritual cleanliness.
The second, Jesus’ baptism, is a baptism for redemption. While it is done in the same manner as John’s baptism, it is something that God does. This baptism is a call from God through which we are removed from this world and connected to Christ. That is why for those who believe in Jesus’ baptism, infants are baptized, which has been the practice of the Christian Church since Christ commanded that all people are to be baptized.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, help me to grow in my faith so that will realize that your power is much greater than I can understand. Thank you for your gift of baptism. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Your purpose in life
Today’s devotion is based on Exodus 13:20-22, “The Israelites left Sukkoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. During the day the LORD went in front of them in a pillar of cloud to show them the way, and during the night he went in front of them in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel night and day. The pillar of cloud was always in front of the people during the day, and the pillar of fire at night.”
Many people just see the Old Testament as the history of the Jewish people. In doing so, they miss the wonderful lessons that the Old Testament teaches. The continued presence of God, as shown by the cloud and fire should have given them an enormous sense of security. For the God who had rescued them was always with them.
We, too, have God continually with us on our journey through life. We may not see him in a pillar of cloud or fire, but he is with us in a no less real manner as we read his words to us. We too, have his word to teach us, encourage us, lead us, support us.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, lead me, heavenly Father, through all the trials and storms of life, till I reach your promised home in heaven. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Forgiveness equals peace
Today's devotion is based on Matthew 9:1,2 "Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."
In the 9th chapter of Matthew, we see Jesus perform at least seven miracles, answer questions and complaints from the teachers of the law, Pharisees, and even followers of John the Baptist. All the while, we see him confidently going about his ministry, calling another Apostle, instructing his disciples, and explaining his purpose on earth: to forgive sins and save souls. He raises a girl from the dead. He reads minds. He heals the blind, the paralyzed, the demon-possessed, and a woman with an unknown malady of constant bleeding.
In this chapter, as well as many other places in the Bible, Jesus shows us why he came into the world—he came to forgive sins. He said to the paralyzed man, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." When God declares our sins forgiven, we can be assured that they are completely gone because God cannot lie. If your sins are burdening you, if your guilt is weighing you down, take heart, your sins are forgiven!
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, the forgiveness of sins you freely give for Jesus' sake assures me that I am free of your sentence of condemnation. Clinging to your forgiveness by faith, I am blessed with a close and loving relationship with you forever. Thanks be to God. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.