Devotions

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY AUGUST 3, 2020

Daniel 1:8 (MSG)  But Daniel determined that he would not defile himself by eating the king’s food or drinking the wine,  so he asked the head of the palace staff to exempt him from the royal diet.  How well do you stand firm for your righteous standards,  in spite of pressure to sin? When you see our culture’s  “diet,”  the focus on the lust of the flesh,  the lust of the eyes,  and the pride of life  (I John 2:16), …

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY AUGUST 1, 2020

I John 3:1 (The Passion Translation)  Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s marvelous love that He has lavished on us! “Coming to know and trust God’s love is a lifelong process.  Making this knowledge the foundation of our identity—or better,  allowing our identity to be re-formed around this most basic face of our existence—will also never happen instantly.  Both lie at the core of the spiritual transformation that is the intended outcome of Christ-following.  The more you…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JULY 31, 2020

I John 4:19 (NIV)  We love because he first loved us.  How does God feel about you?  He is crazy in love with you!  His divine love is absolutely unconditional,  unlimited and unimaginably extravagant and it has nothing to do with your behavior  (although bad behavior does reap bad consequences).  “For God’s love to be truly transformational,  it must become the basis of our identity”—an identity grounded in God’s love.  Think how that would reshape your self-concept and free you…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JULY 30, 2020

Psalm 139:7 (The Passion Translation)  Where could I go from your Spirit?  Where could I run and hide from your face?   God is omnipresent and His company cannot be evaded.  He is a God who is alert to us every moment of our lives.  Why do we try to hide from Him?  Why do we fear transparency?  Every day He invites us to sit with Him for a  “daily examen”—a review,  an awareness of God in the events of…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY JULY 29, 2020

Psalm 119:12 (MSG)  Be blessed,  God;  train me in your ways of wise living.  Can you discern the Divine Presence in daily experiences?  “Changing life situations—some desirable and others definitely less so—provide important opportunities to better know both God and ourselves.  Each gives us a chance to examine where God is in that experience and what gifts God is offering for our growth.”  God wants to meet us in the mundane and familiar parts of regular life.  We must learn…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY JULY 28, 2020

Psalm 86:11 (The Passion Translation)  Teach me more about you,  how you work and how you move,  so that I can walk onward in your truth until everything within me brings honor to your name.  When we spend extended time meditating on the gospel accounts of Jesus,  trying to visualize them,  trying to see ourselves in the story,  and focusing on how Jesus interacted with people in each situation,  we begin to see how human He was.  He becomes more…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY JULY 27, 2020

Mark 10:17-22 (MSG) FOCUS VERSE 21–  Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him!  He said,  “there’s one thing left.  Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor.  All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth.  And come follow me.”   Do you meditate on the life of Christ?  Is your relationship with God based more on what you believe than on what you experience?  Do you have lots of information about God,  but long to…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JULY 25, 2020

Isaiah 49:16 (NLT)  See,  I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;  your walls are ever before me.  Jerusalem’s walls were in ruins but God had not forgotten His people.  When you study Nehemiah,  you learn that those walls around Jerusalem had to be rebuilt to secure the people from enemy invasion.  It was a long and costly process.  In a similar way,  we have a spiritual enemy who is determined to tear down our walls and ravage…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JULY 24, 2020

Mark 13:13 (MSG)  (Jesus said), “That’s why I tell stories:  to create readiness,  to nudge the people toward receptive insight.  In their present state,  they can stare till doomsday and not see it,  listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it.  Physicians tell us that one of the symptoms of Covid is that a person loses their ability to taste and smell.  Jesus knew that many people in the crowds that followed Him were unable to  “taste…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JULY 23, 2020

Galatians 6:9 (MSG)  So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good.  At the right time, we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up or quit.  Have you felt fatigued,  exhausted,  and weary lately?  We have an enemy who knows we are on the cusp of a great revival and who is doing his best to resist it.  But revival is coming like a huge wave and we must refuse exhaustion.  When God’s people pray,  the…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY JULY 22, 2020

Psalm 97:1 (NIV)  The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice!  Let the farthest coastlands be glad.  The Lord reigns.  He is not confused or schizophrenic.  His word is not filled with mixed messages or opposing opinions.  God still has an agenda for this earth and it will come to pass.  The Lord reigns.  He is King.  Anxiety is not king,  fatigue is not king,  confusion is not king.  Only Jesus is King–so stop the drama,  join with the multitudes…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY JULY 21, 2020

Genesis 2:7 (MSG)  God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life.  The Man came alive—a living soul.  Are you having trouble  “breathing”  these days?  Does the news take your breath away with reports about Covid,  rioting,  lawlessness?  We must not get caught up in all the doom and gloom and lose heart.  Jesus said,  “Don’t let your hearts be troubled…” (John 14:1).  God’s got this.  We need to receive His…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY JULY 20, 2020

1 Peter 5:7-8a (Amplified)  Casting all your cares  (all your anxieties,  all your worries,  and all your concerns,  once and for all)  on Him,  for He cares about you  (with deepest affection,  and watches over you very carefully).  Be sober  (well balanced and self-disciplined),  be alert and cautious at all times.  This is a season of extremes:  extreme opinions,  extreme actions.  And if we are not careful,  we will get out of balance and sucked into the tornadic winds of…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JULY 18, 2020

James 2:26 (NLT)  Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.  Here is the cry of James’ heart:  showing respect for all people and living out our faith by serving and demonstrating care and compassion.  Genuine faith stirs up faith-filled actions.  We must love people without partiality.  “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers and sisters,  this is not right (James 3:10).  Our faith is demonstrated in word…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JULY 17, 2020

James 1:19 (NLT)  Understand this,  my dear brothers and sisters:  You must all be quick to listen,  slow to speak,  and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.  Our speech and our actions must be consistent with what we believe and know to be true in God’s Word.  Wisdom lies in learning to listen carefully,  speaking only after much thought,  and resisting the human tendency to act out of anger.  A tsunami of images…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JULY 16, 2020

James 1:13 (NIV)  And remember,  when you are being tempted,  do not say,  “God is tempting me.”  God is never tempted to do wrong,  and He never tempts anyone else.  James firmly addresses the subject of temptation:  God does not tempt us.  He has no malicious intent towards us.  I Corinthians 10:13 tells us  “God is faithful.”  The Apostle Paul tells us that God always provides a way of escape.  It is our responsibility to look for that way out…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY JULY 15, 2020

James 1:3-4 (NLT)  For you know that when your faith is tested,  your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow,  for when your endurance is fully developed,  you will be perfect and complete,  needing nothing.  Trials come to every follower of Jesus Christ.  It’s not a matter of  “if”  but  “when”.  James teaches us the benefit that is possible from such difficulties if we will learn to believe God,  believe and not doubt (vs. 6 NIV),  in…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY JULY 14, 2020

Ephesians 6:18 (MSG)  In the same way,  prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.  Pray hard and long.  Pray for your brothers and sisters.  Keep your eyes open.  Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.  We can usually take a hit and get back up;  but when we are hit repeatedly  (like in Job’s story)  and when it continues over a long period of time,  it becomes easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed. …

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY JULY 13, 2020

James 1:12 (NIV)  Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial,  because when they have stood the test,  they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.  The half-brother of Jesus wrote this book (Gal. 1:19) sometime between A.D. 48 and 62.  He was an unbeliever during the ministry of Jesus (John 7:3-5),  but a post-Resurrection appearance of Christ to him (I Cor. 15:7) probably led to his conversion because he is numbered…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JULY 11, 2020

James 5:16 (NIV) –Therefore,  confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  Dr. Henry Cloud says that many Christians do the vertical confession of I John 1:9,  where they confess to God,  but not to others.  We are made to experience both,  and it is one of the reasons that Jesus commands us to love one another.  When we establish deep, …

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JULY 10, 2020

Jeremiah 32:17 (NIV)  Ah,  Sovereign Lord,  you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for you.  When we look into the scriptures,  we find a God who is unlimited in power (omnipotent),  all knowing (omniscient) and everywhere present (omnipresent).  He alone has these qualities.  The Holy Spirit wraps around the world and monitors every heartbeat,  sees every tear,  knows every heart cry.  Christ leads the church to minister to…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JULY 9, 2020

I John 4:7 (NIV)  Dear friends,  let us love one another,  for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. God’s number one priority is reconciliation.  He sent Jesus into this world at an awful cost in order to establish a pathway of reconciliation to God.  Of equal importance is our relationships with one another.  The world will know we are disciples of Jesus by the love we have for one another.  There…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY JULY 8, 2020

James 3:16 (NIV)  “For where you have envy and selfish ambition,  there you find disorder and every evil practice.  But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;  then peace-loving,  considerate,  submissive,  full of mercy and good fruit,  impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.  What a contrast between the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness!  Do you know that two spiritual forces seek to find expression through your…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY JULY 7, 2020

Galatians 5:25 (MSG)  Since this is the kind of life we have chosen,  the life of the Spirit,  let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts,  but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. Satan continues to rebel against God,  even today.  He opposes God’s people and God’s purposes.  But if we live alert,  Spirit-filled believers need never fear the enemy’s power…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY JULY 6, 2020

Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind,  be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (MSG) …prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.  Pray hard and long… keep your eyes open… We live in a world filled with spiritual conflict.  A battle rages.  From the opening chapters of the Bible to its final pages,  we see an ancient enemy in such hostility…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JULY 4, 2020

Luke 23:34 (NIV)  Jesus said,  “Father,  forgive them,  for they do not know what they are doing.  Forgiveness is a healing art.  The Bible is replete will illustrations of the power of forgiveness to reconcile and reunite severed relationships.  Do we really think forgiveness is easy when wounds are deep and festering.  But the Holy Spirit can help us interpret our circumstances with a redemptive view.  He can help us edit the memories and release us from debilitating memories that…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JULY 3, 2020

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)  For the word of God is living and active… it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,  joints and marrow;  it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Life is never what it is!  It is always what it SEEMS to be to you!  Life presents us with certain information and experiences;  and we put all of that together to tell a story based on what is going on inside of US.  Others may see the…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JULY 2, 2020

II Corinthians 7:10 (NLT)  For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation.  There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow.  But worldly sorrow,  which lacks repentance,  results in spiritual death.  The person who has sinned must confess their sin and feel true sorrow for his or her failure.  True repentance = changed behavior.  Jesus told the woman caught in the sin of adultery,  Go and sin no more.  Without…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY JULY 1, 2020

II Corinthians 1:4 (NIV)  the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles,  so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  There is a need for tenderheartedness in every follower of Jesus Christ.  We must not think we are above sin.  When we know our own weaknesses,  we will have a lot more grace toward others.  We have our own brand of temptations.  We are only able…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY JUNE 30, 2020

I Corinthians 13:8 (NLT)  Love never fails.  No failure in a relationship has to permanently destroy that relationship if forgiveness is part of your life.  No failure is greater than grace.  No hurt exists that love cannot heal.  How?  We must enter into a dialogue.  We must be willing to talk.  Are we willing to offer repentance and invite forgiveness,  or must we stand for our own rights in spite of the consequences?  Healing brokenness requires an attitude of compassion…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY JUNE 29, 2020

Ecclesiastes 7:20 (NLT)  Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins. Face the reality—even the person you love the most is imperfect.  He or she will eventually fail you or hurt you in some way.  It might be a not-so-serious way  (like forgetting your birthday)  or a more serious way  (like engaging an addiction).  Even the best people can make mistakes.  What then?  Usually the relationship is harmed.  Sin always alienates us from one another.  We…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JUNE 27, 2020

Job 42:8 (NIV)  …My servant Job will pray for you,  and I will accept his prayer…   Those who have no scars are often quick to judge,  quick to speak,  less compassionate,  lacking in humility,  legalistic with God’s Word and accusatory toward people.  Those who graduate from the crucible of suffering have learned the lessons of humility (Job 42:3-4) and gained new levels of spiritual authority.  How has suffering changed your spirituality?   

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JUNE 26, 2020

Psalm 138:8 (KJV)  The LORD will perfect that which concerns me.  (MSG:  Finish what you started in me,  God.  Your love is eternal…)  Have you had a life-altering experience that caused you to rethink a core belief and,  as a result,  you came to a more balanced,  Biblical view of life?  We will experience paradigm shifts that break the illusion that we are in control.  They will change our questions from  “How do I get rid of this inconvenience  (illness, …

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JUNE 25, 2020

Colossians 3:5 (NIV)  Put to death,  therefore,  whatever belongs to your earthly nature:  sexual immorality,  impurity,  lust,  evil desires and greed,  which is idolatry.   “You can’t flip a switch and want God more than anything else.  We can’t master all the impulses.  We have to go to the parts of the self and identify what defeats us.  For example:  we may have an inordinant need for people to like us—ask the Holy Spirit to look at that.  A major…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY JUNE 24, 2020

Colossians 3:13 (NIV)  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.   “Confession is an important way to discover your soul.  When you confess,  you give up splitting the self.  Sin always splits the self (soul) in some degree.  We become fractured people.  James 5:16 tells us to confess to one another.  Revival only comes with confession.  There is a charade of righteousness in ordinary living and that…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY JUNE 23, 2020

Colossians 3:14 (NLT)  And over all these virtues put on love,  which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Those virtues are listed in verse 12:  compassion,  kindness,  humility,  gentleness,  and patience.  “We need to understand the nature of goodness.  It is not DOING the right thing,  but rather BECOMING the kind of person who naturally does the right thing because they want to do it.  These are two completely different things.  Rather than obsessing over behaviors,  we must arrange…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY JUNE 22, 2020

Colossians 3:12 (NIV)  Therefore,  as God’s chosen people,  holy and dearly loved,  clothe yourselves with compassion,  kindness,  humility,  gentleness,  and patience.  How well are you doing this?  Colossians 3:1-17 is fundamental to the Christian life—being transformed by Jesus.  “It is a Spirit formation—a process of transforming the mind.  It’s not about behavior modification but rather about the sources of behavior:  the mind,  the heart,  the soul and body.  Look at the roots of behavior,  where it comes from  (the spirit, …

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JUNE 20, 2020

Nehemiah 1:6 (NIV)  …I confess the sins we Israelites,  including myself and my father’s house,  have committed against you…  The nation of Israel was in exile because they had not obeyed the covenant commands.  Now Jerusalem,  “the city where I have chosen to put my Name” (I Kings 11:36),  was in shambles.  Nehemiah’s prayers included repentance—personal and national.  How are we praying for our nation?  “Forgive us,  Lord.”  “Forgive me,  Lord.”  

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JUNE 19, 2020

Nehemiah 1:3-4 (NIV)  …The wall of Jerusalem is broken down,  and its gates have been burned with fire.  When I heard these things,  I sat down and wept.  For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of Heaven.  Nehemiah models for us the correct response to devastating national news.  He sat for days in mourning and fasting and praying to God.  What compassion!  Compassion is often the springboard of obedience to God’s will.  Sitting in God’s…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JUNE 18, 2020

John 16:12 (NIV)  “When He,  the Spirit of Truth,  comes,  He will guide you into all truth.”  Jesus is leading us on a path to complete wholeness.  He intends to heal every heartache from your past—all in due time.  There is so much to learn about ourselves,  about Him,  and about others.  The world is filled with hurting people,  those who have been caught in the wake of someone else’s bad choices,  and those who are manipulated by evil to…
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