Are you anxious?
Today's devotion is based on Philippians 4:6,7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
You and I live in an anxious culture. Anxiety, however, is nothing new. Since our fall into sin, there has been more than enough to make people anxious.
Paul gives the godly alternative to anxiety, godly release. He writes, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, . . . with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Then, Paul promises, God's peace, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
And so, it all comes back to Jesus. Not only has the Son of God lived a life of perfect trust on our behalf, but not only has our Savior and King suffered and died for all the ways we have sought sinful escapes. He now invites us to open up to him about everything. And as we do, he promises us peace from him that surpasses all understanding.
Please pray with me: Lord Jesus, when I feel anxious, move me to open up to you so that I will receive your peace. Amen.
Listening to God
Today’s devotion is based on Isaiah 2:3b, “He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”
God wants us to learn from him – to learn his ways and walk in his Word, Jesus Christ. In a world hungry for spirituality and meaning, let us live out our Christian spirituality and life in the spirit of Jesus Christ.
When the devil says to you, ‘See your shame, guilt, and failure. See how you are not worthy of God’s love. See how you could never get it right; it is then that Jesus speaks for us and in us. ‘You are loved, you are valuable, you have hope, you are forgiven, and you are mine.’
Jesus, our Good Shepherd, leads us on the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. So, listen to the soft voice of the Lord when he says, ‘Follow me, and I will lead you and guide you. You are mine.
Please pray with me: God of grace, you want to teach me your ways, so I may walk in your truth forever. Help me to follow your living Word, Jesus. Remind me that you want the best for me and that everything you teach me will not always be easy, but help me trust you as I follow where you lead me. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Saint and Sinner
Today's devotion is based on Isaiah 1:4, "They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him."
The truth God spoke through the prophet Isaiah gives us insight into human nature. We, God's chosen people, are just like the Israelites; God also chooses us to be his people, and yet we would rather put ourselves first, put others down, take a little more than we need, and live by the flesh. Our hearts are full of self and sinful desires. We tell ourselves that we are not as bad as others or don't sin, yet, sadly, we cannot save ourselves.
But the great news in all of this is that God had a plan a long time ago to heal our sinful, broken, diseased human hearts. Jesus rescues us from our sinful, corrupt hearts and recreates us daily through his word. In Jesus, you are new, no longer the old human but rather a saint washed in the blood of Jesus, and through the birth, death, and resurrection of our Lord, we have peace.
Please pray with me: Lord, thank you for washing me clean with the blood you shed for my sin. Thank you that you have changed my heart, making me whole again. Jesus, let me live for you as I live for others, sharing your love with them. Guide me daily by your holy presence so that all I meet will see your love for them through my words and deeds. In Jesus' blessed name, I pray. Amen.
First Sunday in Advent
Today's devotion is based on Matthew 24:44, "So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."
Today is the first Sunday of Advent, a time of spiritual preparation to not only celebrate Jesus' birth but to look forward to his return on Judgment Day when he welcomes all who believe into his eternal presence.
Are you ready for Jesus? The good news is that Jesus lives in us as a believer, and we live in him by his word. So, because we believe in him and live in him, we are ready for him no matter what time of day or year he comes. We are prepared and ready to receive the one who is coming, Jesus Christ.
If we had to try to get ourselves ready and free ourselves from sin, death, and the devil's power, we would never be prepared for Jesus. If we had to earn grace and the love of God, quite honestly, we would never be ready either; there would always be something left to do. What great joy there is in knowing that, simply by believing, you are ready for your Lord Jesus to come again.
Please pray with me, Dear Jesus; you have bought me with the blood you shed for my sins and won eternal life for me in your name. Thank you for making me ready to receive and welcome you when you return, for you live in me by faith. Give me eyes of faith to see you every day in your word and my life. Amen.
Crown of life
Today’s devotion is based on Jeremiah 23:5,6: “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.”
In the days of the prophet Jeremiah, about 600 years before the birth of Jesus, many people of God’s chosen nation had turned away from God into unbelief. They followed false teachers and bad leaders that led them into idolatry. However, some people remained faithful to the true God. Through Jeremiah, God promised to gather all his faithful and bless them.
God cares for his people, and he saves them. He sent Jesus to do what is “just and right in the land.” In contrast to the people who rejected God and lived in disobedience to his will, Jesus lived in perfect obedience to the will of God and was guiltless of any sin. He lived this way for our benefit. God charged the perfect righteousness of his Son to us. He is THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Please pray with me: Heavenly Father, thank you for the crown of life you promised us. Please help us stay faithful to you and serve you here on earth while we wait for our eternal heavenly life with you. Amen.
A new heaven and earth
Today’s devotion is based on Revelation 21:1, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.”
I sometimes think of our earth and what humans have done and are doing to it. I also think of what we are doing and have done to each other. While I would love to be able to wave a magic wand or something to make it all perfect again, I know it will never happen because people, as I am, are imperfect and sinful.
I thank God for the new heaven and new earth that is coming. I try to imagine what the new heaven and earth will look like when this happens. I’ve seen pictures where people have tried to capture it. Some have said that it’s simply beyond our imagination and indescribable. All I know for sure is that I will be there, God will be there, and people that have gone there before me will be there too. I believe that, because God, through his Word, has told me.
Please pray with me: God of the universe, thank you that you will make all things new. Thank you for your promise of a whole new heaven and earth for us. Please use your Word to change our hearts and minds so that we will better care for this earth and each other. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Prayer of thanksgiving
Today we celebrate Thanksgiving. It is to be a day of fellowship and feasting for most people in our Country, along with watching football. In all the commotion, we need to stop and take a moment to thank God for all the blessings we enjoy.
Please join me as I pray the first nine verses of Psalm 107:1-9, "Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north and from the south. Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things." In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on 2 Corinthians 4:18, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
This life is not all there is. Our true eternal home is in heaven. Keep your spiritual glasses on, and fix your eyes on that truth today – whatever this day holds for you. Fix your eyes on it amid everything. Fix your eyes on it regardless of your circumstances. Fix your eyes on it in the coming days, weeks, and months. You might be as amazed as I was at the difference spiritual glasses can make.
Please pray with me: Heavenly Father, thank you that you have a heavenly home for us with you. Help us fix our eyes on what is unseen and eternal in the midst of our earthly lives. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
God shows no favoritism
Today’s devotion is based on Romans 2:11,12, “For God shows no partiality. For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.”
We all have our favorites, whether we admit it or not. Then there are the people in our lives who are not our favorites. People we struggle to spend time with, people we don’t relate to very well, and people who seem to rub us the wrong way. These are the people that we often judge so quickly.
What fantastic comfort it is that God does not show any favoritism. Although, to be strictly honest, there are times when I struggle with that. Why don’t bad people always get what they deserve? Why do good people suffer? Why does life often seem so unfair? So, there I am, making judgments again and showing favoritism – precisely what this passage warns us about doing.
Think about that for a minute. Don’t think about all those other people. Think about what it means that the God of the universe favors all people, even those you might think don’t deserve his favors.
Please pray with me, Loving God; thank you that you show such incredible favor toward me. Please help me to see other people around me as your favorites also. Forgive me when I have been quick to judge. In Jesus’ blessed name, I pray. Amen.
God's words are true and trustworthy
Today’s devotion is based on Revelation 22:6, “The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true.’”
When John wrote the words of our Bible passage for today, Jesus hadn’t been around in the flesh for over fifty years. John’s friends and fellow disciples had all been killed. John himself had been exiled to an island. Things weren’t looking good for John or the Christian Church.
Perhaps you’ve felt the same way. You may feel abandoned and alone. Christianity seems not to be doing well, as Christians are viewed more as haters than helpers. It is for you that the words of today’s Bible passage were written. God’s Word is true. And because God’s Word is true, it is also trustworthy. You can trust that your sins are forgiven through Jesus’ selfless sacrifice. You can trust that he defeated death when he rose from the tomb. You can trust that he has not left you alone. These words are trustworthy and true.
Please pray with me, Lord; thank you for the truth of your Word. Use your words to increase our trust that the strife will not be extended. Although we hear the noise of battle today, the day will come when we hear the victor’s song. In Jesus’ blessed name, I pray. Amen