July 28, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Ecclesiastes 12:9-14, “Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man, for God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
It isn’t clear how old King Solomon was when he wrote Ecclesiastes. He shares verse after verse of negativity, despair, death and bold hopelessness. Reading this stuff can be discouraging. Wow, this sense of being completely flattened by something really drains the fuel from your tank. A downward spiral can kick off and seem to accelerate with each moment. Oh no, this is hopeless. So, how do I get out of this?
The answer is found in the verses for today. Knowing that God is the giver of all life and that people go to their eternal home guarantees that hope is a gift from God that is alive, vibrant, and real. How good is it that hope doesn’t rely on us or anything we do or can’t do or mess up or try to fix up! It is all God’s work. He comes to us in every moment, and authentically understands that life on earth isn’t shiny. He gets the ugly stuff. When everything seems lost, he sits quietly in the ashes with us, puts his arms around us, and loves us.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, I am yours. Thank you for loving me, no matter what. Your unconditional love fills my life with hope in times of despair and uncertainty In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
uly 27, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Proverbs 2:6, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
Our Lord gives us intelligence, reasoning, and personal choice where our emotions, senses, conscience, and values are deeply engaged, challenged, and affirmed as we move into action. God has created each of us to be in constant relationship with him. It is from his words recorded in the Bible that we grow in knowledge and understanding. Listen and rest in the deep comfort of his wisdom so that you will become wise in the ways of the Lord.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for being patient with me. I know I have so many questions, doubts, and fears. Thank you for coming to me again today, reaching out in love to draw me close to you. Be with me in my thinking, my relationships, my decision-making, and my actions today. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
July 26, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 13:44, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.”
Life can be very hectic as we accumulate earthly treasures. And that is not the end of it, for the more we accumulate, the harder it is to protect them. Then we die, and it is all given to someone else who more than likely will not do with the treasures we accumulated what we would do with them.
It is depressing, isn’t it? That is why we need to quit focusing on earthly treasures and concentrate on the treasure that matters, the treasure that will go with us when we leave this earthly life. While we might think that the treasure Jesus is speaking about is our life after death, he is not, for the treasure he is speaking of is the treasure of life in Jesus. That is a treasure worth giving up everything for, for it is only in him that we can have peace and joy in this earthly life. Seek, find, and receive God’s treasure, Jesus Christ.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for your wonderful gift of your Son, who has not only made peace between you and us but gives us peace and direction in our lives today. Please help us to stay focused on the treasure that provides us with all we need in this life and the next. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
July 25, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”
Despite knowing that we are completely redeemed by Christ’s death and his blood, many Christians are fearful of lots of things. Many are afraid of material instability and poor health. A lot of people are worried something might happen to their loved ones. Some are frightened of displeasing God by disobeying specific rules they find in the Bible. The psalmist boldly says in today’s psalm, ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?’
God didn’t do a half job when he sent Jesus to the cross for you. He loved you blessed child of God so much that he took all of your sins upon himself and has made you right with God forever. There is nothing in all creation that can separate you from that love. As much as the gospel is God’s final word to us, love is the final word over fear every single time.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, increase your love in my heart so I can love even those I find hard to love, welcome even those I find it hard to welcome, and serve even those I find it hard to serve. Grant me assurance of your steadfast love, help me overcome the fears that plague me, and still the anguish in my heart with your reassuring presence. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
July 24, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Revelation 5:8-10, “And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood, you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
The Lamb, our Christ, has been slain to conquer death, and with his blood, he has purchased people of every tribe and nation to be a royal priesthood for God. It’s a mighty transaction that is given to us freely by the grace of God. Wow.
Did you notice in the last part of the scripture for today what John wrote? “You,( that is God,) have made them A) kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” We do not just live in the kingdom. We are the kingdom.
In other words, you are not just a passive participant in God’s kingdom, which he brings about. You are a precious and vital part of bringing about the kingdom of God in our world today, and God uses you actively on this very day to work His purposes through you. And one glorious day, all of us will participate in the great multitude of saints as we sing eternal praises to the Lamb on the throne.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, give me a kingdom focus. Help me to make myself available every day so you can do your work through me to help your kingdom come right now. Instill in me a longing to be in your eternal kingdom to see you face to face and sing your praises forevermore. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
July 23, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Acts 8:35, “Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.”
Today we read about Philip and the eunuch. Philip starts sharing the good news of Jesus by addressing the eunuch’s area of interest. God gives us a hundred openings to talk about his greatness with others: a sunset, the birth of a child, a serious illness – any number of occurrences of daily life. As you drink deeply from God’s Word and are filled with his Holy Spirit, just like Philip, Paul, and all other faithful followers of Jesus, you will speak the words that are needed to be said.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, fill me with your Holy Spirit to use the opportunities you set before me today to witness to you, by what I do and by what I say. Fill my heart to overflowing with your word so that I have the right words on my lips to answer the hope I have in you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
July 22, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on John 1:50, “Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that”
Nathanael, in our reading today, belongs to the doubting sort – unlike Philip, who quickly followed Jesus and excitedly shared the news about him with his mate. But when Jesus told Nathanael something, he couldn’t have known because he wasn’t physically present. Jesus’ supernatural power convinced Nathanael.
Miraculous signs and wonders happen at certain times and places to bring glory to God and to point to Jesus. They are not there so we can build our faith on them, but so we can be strengthened in our faith in God.
God works differently in the life of every believer. Yet all of us witness signs and wonders from God in our time as Christians. We see the miracle of faith developing in a person through the Holy Spirit, and as their life is changed by encountering God. We can see the difference that trust in God makes in the life of people as they practice forgiveness, grace, and love toward others. Walk through your day with your eyes open, and take note of the small and big miracles God works right in front of your nose!
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, open my eyes to the small and great miracles you work around me. Give me a heart of faith and remove my doubts when I question your ability to work miracles. Not my will, but yours be done. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
July 20, 2020 liturgy
Today’s devotion is based on a prophecy about Jesus as it is written down for us in Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
Most of us know what it feels like to suffer unjustly, to bear the pain for something outside of your control. Instead of carrying silently the injustice done to us, we usually long to get even with those who cause us to suffer. Instead of turning the other cheek, we want to defend ourselves. In the heat of the moment, we often forget one small detail; everyone is made in the image of God, just like you are, and that he equally loves them just as he loves you, even though we all have wronged him.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, help me in my human imperfection and frailty to see others not with my own eyes but with your loving eyes as made in your image and equally loved by you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
July 19, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on John 1:41. “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah.” (that is, the Christ)
Andrew, one of Jesus’ first disciples, ran to tell his brother Simon (soon to be Peter) about it. He wanted to share the good news with someone, and not just anyone but someone close to him. It is still good news today for Jesus is still here. He is in you, as the Holy Spirit dwells within you always. God promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Therefore, he stands alongside you right now. We are indeed longingly waiting for the time the Lamb of God returns in all his glory, and the prophecies of John in the Book of Revelation come to pass, yet every day, we are part of God being present and creatively active in the world today. Who could you share that good news with today and this week?
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for coming as a humble servant to take my guilt upon you forever. Help me to express the joy of your salvation in being a witness to you to the people around me. Use me to be your hands, your feet, your mouth, and your ears today, and as I step into a new week. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
July 18, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Psalm 86:11-17, Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them. But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant. Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.”
In our reading, David sings about his desire to learn more about God. He acknowledges God as his Lord as one who is ‘a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.’
Notice in the psalm that David goes on to mention the troubles he is facing – but these don’t stop him from worshipping God. It’s rather the opposite. His worship is even stronger. This is a God who we should want to learn more about. Turn to our Father, and he will hear you and teach you.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for your compassion, your grace, and your abounding love shown to me, especially in the death and resurrection of my Lord Jesus. Teach me your way. Give me an undivided heart. Deliver me from my fears and troubles. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, so that I may rejoice, whether I am going through good times or bad because you hold me secure in your loving care. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.