God does not give up on you.
January 31, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Isaiah’s words to Isreal who are held captive in a foreign land. “The LORD says, ‘Let my people return to me. Remove every obstacle from their path! Build the road and make it ready! I am the high and holy God, who lives forever. I live in a high and holy place, but I also live with people who are humble and repentant, so that I can restore their confidence and hope.” Isaiah 57:14,15
Just like God did not give up on the people of Israel who turned their backs on him time and time again, God does not give up on you. Even if you turn away from him or forget his presence in your life or take him for granted, he is always ready to receive you back into his arms.
God is indeed greater than you (or anyone else) can imagine. His power and beauty and goodness are beyond our human comprehension. But God isn’t a snob. He isn’t too proud to come down to the level of human beings and be with them. He isn’t too proud to be with you—even though you may sometimes feel unworthy of his goodness. In Christ, he freely forgives you and sets you on a clear path of life. His love and grace toward you are without end.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Lord Jesus, thank you for coming to me. Please keep me humble and repentant, so that I may live with confidence and hope in you. In your name, I pray. Amen.
Sorrow now, joy later
January 30, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Luke 2:34-35: “And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."
I can’t even imagine what Mary felt, hearing those words. Her baby is only a little more than a month old, but already the Holy Spirit is speaking through Simeon to tell what will come in the future—the anger and bitter controversy, the opposition to Jesus' ministry, and finally the suffering and death of her Son Jesus on the cross.
Were there ever days when Mary wondered why God would allow so much pain to come into their lives? We do not know. But we do know that there is also suffering in our own lives, suffering we cannot understand or find a reason for. And so we ask God, "Why?" The only thing we can do is hold on to God, trusting that there is a reason and that he will ultimately work all things together for good.
The only reason we can do this is Jesus himself. He is the Savior who was born among us to carry our suffering and sin, for as we are told in God’s Word, Jesus was despised and rejected by men. He suffered much in his lifetime. In his death and resurrection, he gave all who believe in him eternal life.
Please join me in praying the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, by Your Holy Spirit, keep us close to Your Son when times are good and when they're not for without your help, the things of this world would separate us from Jesus. In his name, we pray. Amen.
January 29, 2020
The devotion for today is based on Hebrews 2:14-18 - Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” For surely, it is not angels that He helps, but He helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore He had to be made like His brothers in every respect so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”
Life with all of its joys still has those times when life is difficult. Sometimes temptations threaten to overpower us. Sickness, accidents, and seeing loved ones suffer and even die can overwhelm us. Thank God that when facing those things, we are not alone, for Jesus understands our anguish. Everywhere he went, he saw people lost and confused, desperately in need of the healing. He experienced our temptations when he faced the devil head-on in the wilderness. He felt our grief when he wept over the death of his friend, Lazarus. And more than we can ever know, Jesus took on our suffering when he went to the cross with our sins.
Yes, Jesus knows. He knows when we're at our wits' end, and there seems to be no hope. It is then he is there with an outstretched hand, giving us comfort and hope. No matter where you're at in your life, no matter how low you might feel, Jesus understands your situation. He knows. He will get you through whatever it is you are going through. That is his promise.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, you have given your dear Son Jesus to us so that in my times of distress, I can be comforted, assured of your never-ending love. Thank you for all you do in my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
What God promises, he delivers
January 28, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Genesis 21:2-8. “And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. Sarah said, "God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me." And she said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age."
The birth of a firstborn son was a big deal in the ancient world. It was to this child that belonged certain special rights such as a double portion of the inheritance. He would inherit his father's role as head of the family at his father's passing. But to no firstborn son has there ever been given greater privilege and significance than to God's own Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for he is the image of God. In Jesus, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace between God and us by his death on the cross.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, thank you for your Son, Jesus. In him and through him, we can see you and your will for us. Turn us back to him when we begin to trust the things of this world for our salvation. Fix our eyes on him, the first, the last, the beginning, and the end. We ask this in Jesus' Name. Amen
January 27, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Psalm 27:3-4, “Though an army encamps against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arises against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple.”
King David, the writer of this Psalm, has one desire, broken down into three parts. First that he may be sheltered in the temple, second that he sees the glory of God, and thirdly that he learns more about God, his Savior. Like King David, we too should seek to be in the Lord’s house, sheltered by his presence, and learning from his Word.
It is the "one thing" we need, for we are told in Matthew 6:33, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Lord, we look forward to the day when we will dwell in Your presence forever. Until then, lead us by Your Spirit to worship in Your house and learn from Your holy Word so that our faith will be strengthened. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Gospel in a Nutshell
January 26, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."
This particular verse is often called "the Gospel in a nutshell." In these few words, we have a concise summary of the Gospel, the essential facts of the Good News that Scripture calls the power of God for salvation—God's love for the world, the gift of His Son, and the promise of eternal life for those who believe in Jesus.
While the words, "in a nutshell," may imply something small, even insignificant, there is nothing small or insignificant in this message. We, who are sinful and by our very nature, rebellious against God, have received the most wonderful gift anyone could ever imagine; God’s favor. By God's grace through faith, we are brought, by the power of the Holy Spirit, into the kingdom of Jesus Christ, our "chief Cornerstone," the rock-solid foundation on whom our lives are built, now and for eternity.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, we give You thanks and praise for the gift of Your Son. Help us in the power of the Spirit to be faithful witnesses to Your truth, spreading the imperishable seed of the Gospel. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Least we forget.
January 25, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on the first part of Deuteronomy 5:15: “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.”
When the Children of Israel, having seen God's miracles in Egypt and having experienced His guidance through the Sinai, were prepared to enter the Promised Land, God spoke to them. He reminded them not to forget they were there because He had brought them there. Then He concluded it all by saying, "Remember.
We too are to remember. Now remembering the Lord who has given us all ought to be elementary, but it isn't. As proof, I can say every nation throughout history has managed to forget God and give in to the sin of pride. Every global power, having enjoyed a period of prosperity, looks around and concludes that they, not God, have earned what they have.
While we are not completely responsible for what our nation remembers or forgets, we are responsible for our own lives. We need to remember that God created and sustains all things, seen and unseen. We need to remember our natural sinfulness. We need to remember that God sent His Son to be the sacrifice who saves. We need to remember the resurrection and the Savior's triumph over sin, death, and the devil. We need to remember that we now have eternal life with God. Thus, we need to remember to thank our Savior with our lives, for if we don’t, we will forget.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Dear Lord, every good and perfect gift comes from You. May we remember to give thanks for them and for the greatest gift of all: the salvation that is ours through our Savior's sacrifice. In His Name, we pray. Amen.
Guide us, O Lord
January 24, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Psalm 32:8: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”
The Lord’s words will guide you through the good and bad times of your life. He knows you more than you know yourself, for he, as the Bible tells you, from your mother’s womb. He knows your future.
Yet too often we fail to listen to him as he speaks to us in the Bible. Even so, he still loves us and calls us to listen to him all our lives. May we as his children listen to him as he guides us through our lives.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, forgive us for Jesus’ sake when we fail to heed your words to us. Turn us back to you so that we receive your perfect counsel. In His Name, we pray. Amen.
January 23, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 4:15-16: "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them, a light has dawned."
The one thing we all hate the most is the darkness. And yet the Bible tells us that darkness is our natural spiritual state. Ever since humanity fell into sin, we have been "dwelling in darkness" and "in the shadow of death." Into this darkness, Jesus came as the Light of the world. Evil can't live in his presence. When Jesus arrives, all the evils that used to run freely scuttle away as fast as they can, looking for dark corners to hide.
And when Jesus the Light died on the cross at Calvary, he broke the power of death and darkness over everyone who believes in him. And when he rose from the dead three days later, he guaranteed that you and I would never have to walk in the darkness again. Jesus is alive forever, and because of Him, we will live, too. We will live in his light.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, your Son, has come to free us from the darkness. You know that, for the strangest of reasons, we want to step back into spiritual darkness. Please keep us in your Light so that we may daily reflect the Light of Jesus. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
speak Plain Truth
January 22, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on 1 Corinthians 1:17-18. “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ is emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”
Rather than overcomplicate the Gospel message, "lest the cross of Christ is emptied of its power." Paul knew that he must speak in a way that people understood what he was saying. His message had the core truths that he had heard and understood as God's Gospel: "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). May we also speak in clear and understandable words about the saving power of Jesus.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, may our words be plain-spoken and sincere when we tell others about Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. In His Name. Amen.