Only in God can you find true peace.
Today’s devotion is based on 1 Peter 5:7. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Since today is Black Friday with all of its anxieties, I thought this verse as appropriate for today, for there is One who cares for us, who knows us in great detail, who leads us if we let him day after day, who knows and understands us more than we understand ourselves. He is our Lord and Savior.
Be careful out there today, and remember those who have less.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things seen and unseen, help us to walk in your love, to live in your presence in the light of your love and warmth. As we fill our shopping carts to overflowing, help us not to forget those who are without food or clothing. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
God is good.
Jesus died for all people
Today’s devotion is based on I Peter 3:18. “He (Jesus) went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison” and 1 Peter 4:6 “The gospel was preached even to those who are dead.”
While these two passages are a mystery, we do know they are important for they are referenced in the Apostles Creed, “He (Christ) descended into hell” (land of the dead). Since Christ died for all people, he died for those who did not know him, not just those who believed after his death and resurrection. Some would say that these passages mean that a person can be converted after death. But the Bible does not speak of this, for we are told in Hebrews 9:27, “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”
We are not to concern ourselves with these mysteries, for we live in the present for today is the day of salvation. That is what we have to hang on to. We have to leave the rest with God.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things seen and unseen, I know that you died for all people, even those who lived before your time on earth. I don’t understand how that works. Help me to live in the present, knowing that you are my Savior. Help me to spread the Good News of Jesus to those who do not know him. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Bless others as God has blessed you.
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 5:10-12. “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Jesus said these words in the Sermon on the Mount. We know they are true because he said them. We accept them when we are blessed, but I would say that we don’t accept them when people speak harshly to us or abuse us because of our faith in Jesus.
It is not easy to say, “I am blessed.” by God. It does not feel right at all. The problem is that we believe that we must feel blessed to be blessed by God. Blessedness comes from knowing that we are living in God’s Kingdom while living in the kingdom of the world. Because of that, you don’t have to stand your ground by returning evil for evil and abuse with abuse. On the contrary, you have received so many blessings from God that you have blessings to share with those who talk badly or abuse you because of your faith in Jesus.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things seen and unseen, help me always to see what a privilege it is to know that I am blessed because of your love and forgiveness you continually bestow on me for the sake of Jesus. Help me to remember your forgiveness toward me so that I can forgive others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 18:21-22, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Peter asked Jesus this question because Peter knows how hard it is to forgive. Most of us like Peter, think that two or three times is enough. Peter in his question, went to the extreme. Surely he thought Jesus would agree with him. What Jesus told him and tells us today is there is to be no limit to our forgiving of others, for he forgives us without limit.
That is the way it is in the Kingdom of God. For in God’s Kingdom, there is no longer a question of justice or payment for services rendered. We are debtors to God with no hope of ever paying back our debt. Think of this the next time you are thinking of not forgiving someone.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things seen and unseen, you know how my pride does not let me forgive someone when they have offended me. Help me to remember your forgiveness toward me so that I can forgive others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Hebrews 10:26, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”
This is an essential truth. You have to understand this verse correctly. This verse is not talking about being overcome by sin. There is forgiveness for that type of sin, as it is written in Galatians 2”11, “If someone sins, we have someone who intercedes for us before the Father, Jesus Christ.”
The sin that is being talked about here is the sin of someone who knew of Christ’s act of salvation and later denied it. In other words, the person in his denial is holding Christ’s death in contempt. That sin is elsewhere described as the sin against the Holy Spirit, for without the Holy Spirit, a person cannot believe in Jesus and his act of salvation.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things seen and unseen help me in my weakness to remain in the faith you have given me so that when I draw my last bath, I die in your grace. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
The tearing of the temple curtain symbolizes the end of the Old Testament era.
Today’s devotion is based on Hebrews 10:19-25. “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have the confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
There is much to learn from these passages. When Jesus died, the temple curtain was torn from the top down. The curtain was a heavy woven curtain. If you have ever tried to tear a woven fabric, you know that it is impossible. Only the power of God could have torn that curtain. The tearing of the curtain symbolized for all to see that the old way of approaching God was finished. Where before you had to have a priest approach God, now everyone can approach God.
When you are united with Christ your life changes, you love others. You want to do good deeds. You also want to worship God with others so that everyone is encouraged in their faith.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things seen and unseen I give you thanks and praise for welcoming me into your presence. Help me always to remember that I am loved so that I will continue to love others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Hebrews 9:22-10:1. “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
Blood sacrifices before Jesus’ death had to be made over and over again to atone for the peoples’ sins. Jesus’ death was the final blood sacrifice. Atonement and forgiveness are here, more than enough for all time. It is just a matter of receiving it.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things seen and unseen I know that I must face God in heaven on Judgment Day. I know that even though I have accepted your forgiveness I still deserve your wrath. Thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus who took the punishment I deserve upon himself. All praise to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Hebrews 4:9-12. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Just before these verses, it was written that some of the Israelites never reached the Promised Land because they had turned away from God. In these verses, the writer is warning those hearing his message that they too, even though they too must watch that they do not fall away from God, thus losing entering God’s eternal Sabbath rest.
While certain sins are obvious and naturally bring to mind the need for repentance, there are other sins that we are not aware of. The Word of God can only expose those sins. We need to study God’s Word so that we, like the Israelites of long ago, do not fail in our journey to God’s eternal Sabbath rest.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things seen and unseen may your Word come to me in all its power, penetrating all the obstacles of life in this day and age. Guide me in the Spirit of truth, so I can stand firm in faith as I look forward to Your eternal Sabbath rest. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Do not partake in Communion unworthily
Today’s devotion is based on I Corinthians 11:27-30. “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.”
The question that needs to be answered here is what does Paul mean when he writes that taking communion in an unworthy manner is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. It cannot mean that a person taking communion has to be worthy of receiving communion for no one is worthy. We are all sinners and don’t deserve God’s grace. So that cannot be what Paul is saying.
What he is saying here is that we to take communion believing what God’s Word says it is, the body and blood of Christ. It is not just a meal where you get a bit of wine and a wafer. You might be thinking, “How can that be? It makes no sense.” It is important to remember that we don’t have to understand how that can be. We only have to believe that what the Bible says is true, for they are the words of Jesus.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things seen and unseen guide me in the Spirit of truth so that even though I do not understand how the bread and wine can be the body and blood of Christ I believe it because you said it is your body and blood. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.