Posts from 2021

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY MAY 14, 2021

I Samuel 18:14 In everything (David) did he had great success because the Lord was with him.  When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him.  As David gained influence, Saul’s influence decreased.  Saul became jealous, then fearful of David.  Those emotions hardened to implacable enmity.  Ultimately, David was forced to flee for his life.  David faced a jolting change in status (chapters 21-30) from a respected military hero to a lone fugitive.  Yet today the whole…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY MAY 13, 2021

I Samuel 17:45-46 David replied (to Goliath)…”You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s armies—Today the Lord will conquer you…and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.  The story of David and Goliath has resounded loudly down through the centuries wherever the Gospel has gone.  It teaches us that great faith enables us to meet any challenge with courage, even in…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY MAY 12, 2021

I Samuel 12:23 As for me, I will certainly not sin against the Lord by ending my prayers for you.  And I will continue to teach you what is good and right.  The prophet Samuel’s commitment to never stop praying for the people must be our commitment as well.  Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons for those who follow Jesus Christ.  It can turn enemies into friends.  It not only changes things, it changes us.  When we can…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY MAY 11, 2021

1 Samuel 10:6   (Samuel to Saul)  At that time the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them.  You will be changed into a different person.  Saul had a good beginning.  He was humble (9:21).  God changed his heart (10:6, 9) and was with him (v. 7).  The Spirit of God came upon him (v. 10) to enable him.  He was modest (v. 21-23), silent in opposition (v. 26-27), and little in…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY MAY 10, 2021

1 Samuel 8:19-20   But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning.  “Even so, we still want a king,” they said.  “We want to be like the nations around us…”   When the nation of Israel requested a king, it was tantamount to the rejection of God’s throne rights.  In trying to be like the nations around them, they were saying  “yes”  to the world and its expectations and  “no”  to holiness and divine calling.  Samuel was clear about…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY MAY 8, 2021

Mark 4:40 (NIV)  (Jesus) said to His disciples,  “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”   “Jesus’  incredulous response to the disciples was based on their ignorance of His authority over natural elements.”  Nothing is too difficult for our Creator God!  “Faith for small things may seem easier than faith for big things, but Jesus is telling the disciples that it is all the same to Him.”*  How wonderful it is to know that we can…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY MAY 7, 2021

Mark 5:34 (NIV)  (Jesus) said to her,  “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”   “The word used for healed comes from the Greek root word sodzo, which is also translated elsewhere as ‘saved.’  Once again Jesus emphasizes faith as the pathway to healing.  It is faith that  ‘saves us, spirit, soul, and body.”*  Have you discovered that to be true in your own life?  In what ways has faith brought to…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY MAY 6, 2021

Mark 1:22 (NLT)   The people were amazed at His teaching, for He taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law.   Jesus had the spiritual authority and the right as the Creator to liberate people from demonic power (Luke 4:18) and people noticed that.  He taught in a way that caused crowds to respond.  People sought Him out for healing.  News of his arrival in town caused people to drop what they were doing and go to…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY MAY 5, 2021

Mark 1:7 (NIV)   (John the Baptist speaking) After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.   “John the Baptist clearly refused any claim to being the Messiah.”  When Jesus came on the scene, John pointed his followers to Him.  John had such popularity among the people that it was important for him to be clear about this.  We must do the same: point people…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY MAY 4, 2021

Mark 10:45 (NLT)   (Jesus speaking) “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  This verse captures well Jesus as a Servant and as the Redeemer of humanity (Phil 2:5-11).  Mark aims his gospel at non-Jewish readers and shows how Christ’s own people rejected Him, yet  “achieved ultimate victory through apparent defeat” (the defeat of the cross).  Mark wrote a  “gospel of action,…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY MAY 3, 2021

Mark 8:31 (MSG)  He (Jesus) then began explaining things to them:  “It is necessary that the Son of Man (Jesus) proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive.”  This explicit pronouncement by Jesus to His followers is the heart of Mark’s Gospel and is repeated (9:31; 10:32-34).  And this is the norm for committed discipleship—Whoever desires to come after Me,…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY MAY 1, 2021

Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)   So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:  Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY APRIL 30, 2021

I Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)   So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immoveable.  Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.  When we think about our work are we always complaining?  We need  “conversation partners who know how to speak of work in a way that is deeply and thoroughly informed by grace… We need, at the very least, three conversation partners.  Two of these should be…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY APRIL 29, 2021

Matthew 26:75 (NIV)   Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken:  “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”  And he went outside and wept bitterly.  Most of us can point to past regrets.  All of us can identify things that we should have done differently—mistakes made, unwise choices.  “But we cannot confidently face the future if we are locked in regret.”  We have to make honest appraisals of our lives, but more than that, we need…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY APRIL 28, 2021

II Corinthians 5:20 (The Message)   We are Christ’s representatives…  We are co-workers and partners with God.  Our actions matter greatly; our choices and decisions make a difference.  Paul urged Timothy to be proactive and to take responsibility for his life and actions, and Paul urged him to see the significance of those actions.  So we have to be intentional every day to make choices that honor the Lord.  That means being a good steward of the gifts and talents…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY APRIL 27, 2021

II Peter 3:18 (NIV)   Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…  Transitions in the heart usually come slowly.  It takes time and courage to say  “no more”  to old, dysfunctional ways of living and to lean into the enablement of the Holy Spirit who guides us into productive, healthy, integrated lifestyles.  We have one life to live, and it is of inestimable value.  We all long for a meaningful life that finds expression…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY APRIL 26, 2021

Matthew 11:28 (NLT)   Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”  God calls to us.  His call comes to us through Jesus, who invites us to be His disciples and to know the Father through Him.  To be a Christian is to respond to God’s call, to know and love Him, and to love and serve others.  It is the mercy of God that we…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY APRIL 24, 2021

Acts 2:2-3 (NLT)   Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.  Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. “This supernatural phenomenon came suddenly (not as the climax to a physical, emotional, or psychic effort).  It came from heaven (originated with God, not men or Satan).  It came as a sound perceivable by the human faculty…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY APRIL 23, 2021

Acts 2:1 (MSG)  When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  “The day of Pentecost, i.e., the day of Fifty, was the Jewish festival known as the Feast of Weeks and is described in Lev. 23:15.  It was the feast of ingathering and so was peculiarly fitted to be the day of the beginning of the ingathering of all nations into the Church of God.  It was  ‘fully come’ (there was no prematurity).  They were…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY APRIL 22, 2021

Acts 1:14 (NLT)   They all met together and were constantly united in prayer…  The prayer was characterized by unanimity, perseverance, petition, and earnestness.  Jesus had told them:  “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about…you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  Jesus had promised them,  “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.  And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…to…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY APRIL 21, 2021

Acts 1:11b (NIV)   Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday He will return from heaven in the same way you saw Him go! This is our first promise of a literal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth someday.  Though we live 2000 years later, the Holy Spirit continues to assure our hearts that Jesus will return (“The Second Coming”) to rule and reign in righteousness and bring true justice to the world. …

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY APRIL 20, 2021

Acts 1:3 (NLT)   During the forty days after (Jesus) suffered and died, He appeared to the apostles from time to time, and He proved to them in many ways that He was actually alive.  And He talked to them about the Kingdom of God.  “Christ’s resurrection was incontrovertibly attested by the perception of peoples’  natural faculties of hearing (John 20:14-16); sight, (John 2020); and touch (John 20:26-28).  There was to be no doubt whatsoever in the minds of the…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY APRIL 19, 2021

Acts 1:8 (NIV)   (Jesus speaking to his disciples after the resurrection.)  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Luke, a companion of the Apostle Paul, is the author of the book of Acts and an eyewitness to many of the incidents that he relates.  The book opens with the preaching of the gospel…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY APRIL 16, 2021

Psalm 141:3 (The Message)   Post a guard at my mouth, God, set a watch at the door of my lips.  Communication is the lifeblood of a good relationship.  Conversations that connect make you feel understood; and relationships will rise and fall on how well you feel understood and how well you understand your friends.  We all will get lonely when our perceptions and feelings are not valued and treasured.  To listen well is to figure out what is on…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY APRIL 15, 2021

Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)   Search me, O God, and know my heart;  test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  How easily do you take offense?  “The offended ones feel the need to offend back those who they think have offended them, creating defensiveness on the part of the presumed offenders, which often becomes a new offense—ad infinitum.  There seems to be no way out…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY APRIL 13, 2021

Psalm 9:9-10 (NLT)   The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.  Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.  The Lord never forsakes us.  He will  “not ignore the cry of the afflicted” (vs. 12).  This truth can be a stepping stone out of our pit of despair.  When life morphs, when familiar and comfortable routines change and leave us anxious…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY APRIL 10, 2021

II Peter 1:4 (NIV)   Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  Resurrection power is not a one-time deal that happened those many years ago. It reaches 2000 years down through history to you and me to offer us a connection to God that not only brings us personal spiritual transformation but also…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY APRIL 9, 2021

Ephesians 2:6 (NIV)   And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the Heavenly realms in Christ Jesus… Our salvation story is just the beginning.  Resurrection power enables us to overcome our personal limitations and go on to do amazing things with God.  We can experience spiritual growth, connect to a divine calling, and become a change agent in this world.  We get to reflect the vision of the final Kingdom that the Old Testament…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY APRIL 8, 2021

Romans 8:11 (NIV)   And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you…  We live in a world filled with death and disease.  In spite of having the best medical knowledge in the history of mankind, only Jesus has power over death.  One day Christ will return and reset the world…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY APRIL 7, 2021

Hebrews 9: 27 (The Message)   Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences (after that comes judgment – NLT).  The Resurrection validates Christ’s Message.  It means that all of Jesus’  “You-have-heard-but-I-tell you”  sermons were, indeed, true (Matt. 5).  Without it we have no redeemer, just another prophet.  Without it we have no definitive truth, just another philosophy, just another point of view.  The Resurrection unmasks false beliefs.  It warns you NOT to risk your eternity on them.  It proves…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY APRIL 6, 2021

I Corinthians 15:13-22 (NIV focus verse 20)  But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…  The Resurrection validates Christ’s identity.  It was God’s giant exclamation point to the whole world that Jesus was, indeed, the Son of God.  Jesus does have power to take away sins.  Every aspect of our faith in Jesus is rooted, connected, catalyzed, and proved through the events we remember during Easter.  The Resurrection proves that there is life after death and that Jesus was,…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY APRIL 5, 2021

Acts 3:15 (NLT)   You killed the author of life, but God raised Him from the dead.  And we are witnesses of this fact! The Resurrection was the game-changer.  It was not a tag-on.  No, it gave meaning to the crucifixion.  It brought resolution to it.  It turned grief into celebration.  It was the  “rest of the story.”  Without the resurrection the story of Jesus ends in tragic death; but salvation does not end at the cross, the place of…

HOLY WEEK DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY APRIL 3, 2021

John 19:38-42  (NIV) We call it SILENT SATURDAY, a space in which we wait and hope.  Of course, we know that Sunday is coming; but the disciples didn’t know that.  All they knew was that Jesus was dead, and so were their hopes and dreams.  But faith is what you cling to when understanding is dead.  We don’t believe after we understand—no, we believe in order to understand.  SILENT SATURDAY is the time to engage faith, not disengage it.  It…

HOLY WEEK DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY APRIL 2, 2021

April 2  – Mark 15:21-47 – focus verse 34 (NIV) Have you ever spoken these words: God, my God, why have you abandoned me?  Maybe you didn’t say them out loud but you spoke them in your heart and mind.  At times, we go through periods of deep and profound need, but God doesn’t seem to be showing up for us.  There is only silence.  Yet, the truth is that God’s goodness is most manifest in those moments.  We can’t…

HOLY WEEK DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY APRIL 1, 2021

Mark 14:61-63; Mark 15:1-20 (NIV) Throughout the second half of Jesus’  earthly ministry, He alerted the disciples that they would face opposition just as He would.  Their spiritual development would depend on how well they could cope with that reality.  The stakes were high as Jesus faced the high priest, and later Pilate.  His life hung in the balance; but He did not fight back or reflect fear.  He trusted His Father.  Pilate was amazed by this (Mark 15:5).  Jesus…

HOLY WEEK DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY MARCH 31, 2021

John 16  Focus verse: 16:33; John 18:1-11 (NIV) As Jesus walked with His disciples from the place of the Last Supper toward the Garden of Gethsemane, He continued to press into their hearts important truths to sustain them in the coming dark hours.  He knew they would be shocked and overwhelmed by the imminent disaster.  He wanted them to remember His words when the crisis hit.  He wanted them to be able to find peace in spite of outward turmoil. …

HOLY WEEK DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY MARCH 30, 2021

John 12:1-9 (NLT) Mary and Martha’s dinner honored Jesus as a way to express deep appreciation for resurrecting their brother, Lazarus.  But while everyone celebrated, did Mary pick up on a melancholy tone in Jesus, something the others missed?  Was her shocking public display of affection (pouring her expensive perfume on His feet) a Spirit-led, prophetic act of worship?  As the fragrance filled the room, did the men’s chatter become quiet?  Did her grateful tears and her act of washing of…

HOLY WEEK DEVOTIONS – MONDAY MARCH 29, 2021

John 11:46-53 (NLT) Raising Lazarus from the dead was the prelude to Holy Week.  It threw the religious leaders into a dilemma as they worried over how the news would spread throughout Jerusalem, just a few miles away.  Some scholars write that somewhere between 200,000 and 1 million people were in Jerusalem for Passover that year.  The religious leaders fretted over how the word about Jesus, with His healing and resurrection powers, might spread throughout the population.  Would riots break…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY MARCH 27, 2021

Mark 3:14-15  (TPT)   (Jesus) wanted them to be continually at His side as His friends, and so that He could send them out to preach and have authority to heal the sick and to cast out demons.  Pulling down the strongholds of Satan is an integral part of the Great Commission (II Cor. 10:4).  We need not fear the darkness.  Christ gives us power (the dynamic of expulsion) and authority (the right to use His power—as if He, himself,…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY MARCH 26, 2021

I Timothy 4:1  (NIV)   The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Mankind can be easily enticed and find excuses for evil intentions.  When the truth of God’s word runs crosswise to our own desires, it is easy to find some other kind of authority to authorize our desire and legitimize the craving.  The enemy of our soul will be nearby to provide that authorization;…