Today's devotion is based on 2 Peter 1:16, “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
What a powerful testimony this is! We know now, of course, that it stands the test of time – and truly, if it was an elaborate ‘cleverly devised story, it would not be speaking to our hearts and lives today. When we read the Bible, we have the benefit of eyewitness accounts coupled, of course, with the Holy Spirit, speaking to our hearts and giving us the wisdom to understand and believe!
The still, small voice of the Holy Spirit is with us for discernment of all sorts of accounts. Pray for him to inspire you today as you read God’s word, which speaks truth to your heart, and help you discern from cleverly devised stories when they come your way.
Please pray with me, Lord, thank you for your Holy Spirit, the reliable accounts in the Bible we have from eyewitnesses, and the access we freely have to your eternal truth. Give me the wisdom to discern and follow the truth and recognize false witnesses. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today's devotion is based on James 2:14, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?”
Perhaps some criticism of Christianity; the calling out of hypocrisy, is grounded in some truth. Yes, the whole of Christianity can be judged by the attributes of Christ’s people. We still battle the selfish desires of our earthly nature.
While we know that we are not perfect, just saved, let us remember that hypocrisy has no place in our faith walk, and we need to back ourselves and our claim to Jesus’ promises with a little bit of action and a whole lot of love for others.
Please pray with me, Lord, thank you for the promise of eternal life for those who believe in you. Help me to continue to live out my faith with actions that honor you and bring glory to your name and others to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today's devotion is based on John 5:44, “How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”
This verse reminds me of the difference between the truth and glory that comes from God and the versions of those we can create to glorify ourselves. The author is steadfast in his hope in God not to seek approval or glory from other people. We all want to be accepted, loved and appreciated. Sometimes the truth gets lost along the way.
If we look for and find our identity in Christ, the worth that can come from others’ appreciation (or adulation) is seen for what it is – transient and flimsy. It will not bring us eternal life.
Please pray with me, Heavenly Father, may we always seek God’s truth, God’s glory, rather than our own. Please forgive us when we seek truth and glory somewhere or something else. For the sake of Jesus, bring us back to you. In Jesus’ name, blessed name, I pray. Amen
Today's devotion is based on John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
It is of great comfort to remember this in times of persecution and false testimony. We are set free in the heavenly realm; we have eternal life and justice forever. We will not always see God’s justice on this earth, and that is a tension we live with as Christians in a fallen world.
Truth-tellers are not always welcome. Take heart in these verses if you are suffering rejection for speaking or living the truth. This persecution should not be a surprise to us as Christians. Continue to shine the light in the darkness for God has promised, ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’
Please pray with me, Lord, I praise you for being the way, the truth, and the life. May my life show the truth to others and show them the way to you. Bring justice where needed, Lord, and help me to always value the truth, however difficult it may be in the face of pressure from others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
In Jesus you have everything
Today's devotion is based on Luke 16:19, “Jesus said to them] “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table.”
There was a rich man whose life appeared perfectly fabulous in every way. He wore the finest clothes, and every meal was a feast. The poor man’s name was Lazarus. Though the world did not know him as anything special, God knew him well. And Lazarus knew his God well. It was in God that he trusted, despite his circumstances. So, while it looked like he had nothing, in God, Lazarus had everything.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Your eyes may see a nobody, someone overlooked or forgotten, but Jesus knows your name, and he has your number! Your eyes may see someone whose life is defined by countless bad decisions, but Jesus has already done all things well for you and purified you completely with his blood. Your eyes may see someone who is struggling, but you are more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you. It may feel, at times, like you have nothing, but in Jesus, you have everything.
Please pray with me, Heavenly Father, open my eyes to see my wealth and my worth in Jesus, my Savior. In Jesus blessed name, I pray. Amen.
Today's devotion is based on Psalm 146:5, “Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”
The Book of Psalms concludes with five psalms that are all about praising God, and this is the first of them. It’s well worth reading all five psalms. They are short.
The psalmist warns us about putting our trust in our human leaders. Like ourselves, they are sinners. They can’t save themselves, let alone us. However, our Lord God is the Creator of the universe. He made everything we can see and cannot see. Add to that our Lord God has a long reputation for saving and healing people, justice, and caring for the outcast. So, it makes sense to put our trust in God!
As we sing our praise, then our hearts and minds will follow. As we praise God, the foolishness of whatever we have substituted for him will be revealed. Real blessings come from putting your hope in the Lord our God.
Please pray with me: Holy God, show me what I am putting in your place. Grant me your strength to turn away from the things of this world and put my trust in you. Praise the Lord. Amen.
Today's devotion is based on Psalm 113, "Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high. He raises the poor from the dust."
This psalm highlights how God disrupts our expectations. God is Lord over all things, 'high above all nations, and his glory is above the heavens. Yet, he is concerned with the well-being of the poor, the lonely, and the needy. He puts them in places of honor and blesses them.
God has done the same for us. He came to us while we were still sinners and brought us into his presence. We are no longer lost, helpless, or empty because we have been brought into a relationship with him. We can bless and praise the Lord, for God brought himself down to save us. We can ask ourselves, in what way might God topple our expectations to bless us and give him glory?
Please pray with me: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for disrupting our human expectations and calling us sinners into your presence. Amen.
Today's devotion is based on Acts 4:32,33: "Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power, the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all."
It is worth noting that the generosity and sharing described are not being commanded but rather that they flowed from God's grace within them. I often ask, 'Why can't all our congregations be like the ones described in this passage?'
We need to know our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, better. We also need to see more clearly all our Heavenly Father has done for us through him. We need to listen better to the Holy Spirit we received in our baptism. Then God's grace will flow through us and affect those around us. We will see that our possessions are gifts from God to use for blessing those around us, as well as ourselves.
Please pray with me: Gracious God, please create in me a heart that genuinely cares for those in my congregation and community. Open my eyes to see ways I can serve them. Help me be generous and make me more aware of how generous you are to me, especially through your dear Son, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Today's devotion is based on 1 Timothy 6:6-11, "Godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils."
In our 21st Century society, we receive constant messages that tell us not to be content with what we already possess. Therefore, it should not surprise us that one of the great temptations for you and me is not to be content.
But here's the problem. When the lack of contentment pushes us to wander away—constantly consuming, upgrading, and searching for the next new thing—we abandon the treasure we already possess.
We must never forget that our treasure is Jesus and his gospel. Through his Holy Spirit, God himself is that very treasure that empowers us to display true contentment and remember our treasure.
Please pray with me: Lord, please forgive my lack of contentment. Please help me to remember that you are my true treasure, for, in you, I have what I need for this life. In Jesus' blessed name, I pray. Amen.