Devotions

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JANUARY 23, 2021

II Corinthians 1:3-4 (TPT)  For He is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort.  He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial.  We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us.  And just as we experience the abundance of Christ’s own sufferings,  even more of God’s comfort will cascade upon us through our union with…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JANUARY 22, 2021

John 17:13 (TPT)  …so Father,  I pray that they will experience and enter into my joyous delight in you so that it is fulfilled in them and overflows…  “A person with emotional health has the capacity to respond with sorrow (anger,  mourning,  or discouragement) when pain intersects their life.  But they always come back to an emotional center of joy.  The person of emotional maturity is the individual in whom the dominant emotion is joy,  which is rooted in confidence…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JANUARY 21, 2021

Matthew 6:12 (NLT)  …and forgive us our sins,  as we have forgiven those who sin against us.  Is there someone you need to forgive?  Forgiving others is a truly spiritual act.  All of us are victimized from time to time.  God is good but life is not fair.  We will not be treated as we should be.  “We will not be thanked as much as we should be.  We will not be affirmed or appreciated as much as we deserve. …

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY JANUARY 20, 2021

II Corinthians 4:10 (NIV)  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus,  so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  “Our capacity to be life and grace to others comes through our experience of difficulty.  Our ability to make a difference for God in a broken world comes through our capacity to be life in the midst of death,  to be people of hope in a discouraging world” (see II Cor 1:6). …

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY JANUARY 19, 2021

Romans 12:3 (NIV)  …Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought,  but rather think of yourself with sober judgment,  in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.  “Without the virtues of gratitude and humility,  moral integrity is nothing more than moralism and judgmentalism.  When Paul advised Timothy that God did not give us a spirit of fear but of love,  power,  and self-discipline,  we are reminded of a crucial and vital qualifier:  true courage is…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY JANUARY 18, 2021

Romans 12:3 (TPT)  Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you,  but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think.  This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life,  satisfying and perfect in His eyes. (NIV – …think of yourself with sober judgment…)  The Apostle Paul calls us to root our lives into moral integrity.  “That includes financial honesty,  sexual integrity—faithfulness to one’s spouse,  or…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JANUARY 16, 2021

Matthew 25:23 (The Passion Translation)  Commending his servant,  the master replied,  “You have done well,  and proven yourself to be my loyal and trustworthy servant…” What is your calling- the work that you need to be doing?  “What is your divine necessity?”  We need to cultivate  “a theological vision of life and work,  and to then approach our lives and our days with this vision.”  Jesus gives the mission:  glorify God and edify others and take the gospel to every…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JANUARY 15, 2021

II Timothy 1:6 (The Passion Translation)  I’m writing to encourage you to fan into a flame and rekindle the fire of the spiritual gift God imparted to you…  Paul is urging Timothy to be proactive and take responsibility for his life and actions.  We are called to be stewards of the life we have with all its complications (not some ideal).  It is helpful to cultivate three conversation partners:  two peers (one in a similar line of work and a…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JANUARY 14, 2021

Romans 12:6a (The Passion Translation)  God’s marvelous grace imparts to each one of us varying gifts and ministries that are uniquely ours.  Paul calls us to live a life of service;  and he lists seven areas of consideration.  Where do you fit?  Each represents a basic vocational orientation.  “And each has the capacity to be reflected in many different occupations,  careers,  roles,  volunteer ministries,  responsibilities and ministries in the church,  and in the home.  What matters to you is reflected…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY JANUARY 13, 2021

Matthew 11:30 (NIV)  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  When a yoke is  “easy,”  it fits us well.  “It is designed around the contours of who we are.”  When we embrace the yoke of God,  we find freedom (from ambition,  from the pressures and expectations of others).  We live with joy and hope rather than law-driven,  demands.  Regardless of praise or financial return,  we live to glorify God and edify others because we find our lives…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY JANUARY 12, 2021

John 17:4 (The Passion Translation)  I have glorified you on the earth by faithfully doing everything you’ve told me to do.  When I come to the end of my life,  I want to know I had faithfully fulfilled my calling.  Missions,  writing,  teaching,  counseling,  mentoring,  discipling—these are a few of the things I simply  “must do”  with my life.  What is on your list of  “must do’s”?  Each of our lists will be different.  Each  “will be congruent with the…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY JANUARY 11, 2021

Mark 1:37-38 (The Message)  (The disciples)  found Jesus and said,  “Everybody’s looking for you.”  Jesus said,  “Let’s go to the rest of the villages so I can preach there also.  This is why I’ve come.”  Jesus had been successfully ministering in Capernaum.  Early the next morning he went  to a quiet place and prayed (v. 35).  When Peter and the other disciples came to find him to take him back into Capernaum to continue ministry,  Jesus basically said  “no”—he had…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JANUARY 9, 2021

Philippians 4:5b  The Lord is near. What a comforting word for those of us who need to be reassured!  God promises repeatedly throughout the Bible that He is near:  to those with a broken heart (Ps. 31:18);  to those with a contrite heart (Ps. 51:17).  Moses begged God:  If your Presence does not go with us,  do not send us up from here (Ex. 33:15).  How many times have you stood on the brink of a major life crossing and…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JANUARY 8, 2021

Philippians 4:7 (TPV)  …then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding,  will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. There is no better way to live than in a continual flow of conversational prayer with God.  That connection brings peace and helps us live with the truth of God’s Word at our core.  So many things in life can upset our peace unless we have learned to live in that holy space of prayer.  We don’t deny the…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JANUARY 7, 2021

Philippians 4:6 (TPV)  Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing.  Be saturated in prayer throughout each day,  offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude.  Tell Him every detail of your life… Anxiety is a normal response when you are waiting for test results from the doctor or waiting for the ambulance and police to arrive on the scene,  or when you get a call from a family member urging you to come immediately.  But…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY JANUARY 6, 2021

Hebrews 1:3 (TPV)  The Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendor,  the exact expression of God’s true nature—His mirror image!  He holds the universe together and expands it by the mighty power of His spoken word… Jesus took the form of a human body and lived among us so that He could reveal the Father and ultimately go to Calvary to take the penalty for mankind’s sin.  Colossians 1:17 tell us that  “in Him all things hold together.”  In…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY JANUARY 5, 2021

Deuteronomy 8:3  He humbled you,  causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna…to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. When life dishes out major challenges,  we need to reflect on this important truth.  God’s Word sustains us.  It provides encouragement,  wisdom,  comfort,  and promises!  It is our weapon against misbeliefs.  It is the truth in which we find consolation and rest when…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY JANUARY 4, 2021

Deuteronomy 8:2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. As we begin our first full week of the New Year, let us begin by remembering how God has helped us in the past.  The narrative of Moses leading the Jewish people through the tough wilderness to…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JANUARY 2, 2021

Philippians 3:12-16 (TPV)  I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing,  but I run with passion into His abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover.  I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this;  however,  I do have one compelling focus:  I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead.  I run straight for…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JANUARY 1, 2021

II Corinthians 5:17 (TPV)  Now,  if anyone is enfolded into Christ,  he has become an entirely new person.  All that is related to the old order has vanished.  Behold,  everything is fresh and new.  I love the Passion Translation’s commentary on this verse:  “This would include our old identity,  our life of sin,  the power of Satan,  the religious works of trying to please God,  our old relationship with the world,  and our old mind-sets.  We are not reformed or…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY DECEMBER 31, 2020

Luke 2:39-40 (NIV)  When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord,  they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.  And the child grew and became strong;  He was filled with wisdom,  and the grace of God was upon Him.  Finally it was time to settle down and enjoy being a family.  With dangers and transitions behind them for now,  Mary and Joseph began a normal family life.  Jesus thrived in His parents’ …

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 30, 2020

Matthew 2:19-20 (NIV)  After Herod died,  an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said,  “Get up,  take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel,  for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”  Once again,  the angel of the Lord provided direction through a dream and sent Joseph and his family to Nazareth,  a safer place where Herod Antipas reigned.  There they began the next…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY DECEMBER 29, 2020

Matthew 2:16 (NIV)  When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi,  he was furious…  Can we even begin to comprehend the suffering imposed on the families in Bethlehem as a result of one man’s hysterical fears?  This was typical behavior for Herod,  who murdered even his own family members.  This spirit of murder lives on in the hearts of evil rulers around the world today.  God sees injustice and cares about broken lives.  He is the God…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY DECEMBER 28, 2020

Matthew 2:8 (NIV)  (Herod)  sent  (the Magi)  to Bethlehem and said,  “Go and make a careful search for the child.  As soon as you find him,  report to me,  so that I too may go and worship him.”  King Herod had no intention of worshipping the Christ child.  He destroyed anyone who might interfere with his ambitions;  he had murdered his wife,  her mother,  his oldest son,  and two other sons!  No threat survived his murderous reign.  Though the Magi…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY DECEMBER 26, 2020

Luke 2:17 (NIV)  When they  (the shepherds)  had seen Him,  they spread the word concerning what had been told them about the child.  “I will seek to believe rather than to reason.  I will seek,  rather than explain.  I will seek to give thanks,  rather than to penetrate the doctrine.  Who can understand?  Here is the Ancient of Days becoming a babe in Bethlehem.  Here is He who thunders in the heavens,  crying in the cradle.  Here is the One…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY DECEMBER 25, 2020

I Timothy 3:16 (NIV)  Beyond all question,  the mystery of godliness is great:  He appeared in a body,  was vindicated by the Spirit,  was seen by angels,  was preached among the nations,  was believed on in the world,  was taken up in glory.  This was Paul’s apologetic mandate.  No wonder he spent years in the Arabian Desert after seeing the resurrected Christ on the Damascus road!  His whole mindset had to be realigned.  He studied the Old Testament scriptures to…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY DECEMBER 24, 2020

Colossians 1:15, 19, 20b (NIV)  The Son is the image of the invisible God,  the firstborn over all creation… For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,  and through him to reconcile to Himself all things… by making peace through his blood,  shed on the cross.  Long before there ever was an Abraham,  Jesus was present.  Long before there ever was a Bethlehem,  Jesus was present.  Jesus’  life did not begin in Bethlehem.  There was never…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 23, 2020

Isaiah 7:14  (NIV)  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:  The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,  and will call him Immanuel.  This is the Old Testament prophecy to which Matthew pointed.  He clearly says this child is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy—this is that.  Isn’t it wonderful to know that Immanuel means  “God with us”?  He came down to us because we had no possible way of going up to Him. …

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY DECEMBER 22, 2020

Matthew 1:22 (NIV)  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet…  If we believe that God can create a man out of the dust of the earth,  and if we believe that God can create a woman out of the side of a man,  and if we believe that God can enable a man and woman who are past the age of childbearing to conceive and give birth to a healthy child,  then why…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY DECEMBER 21, 2020

Matthew 1:23  (NIV)  The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,  and they will call Him Immanuel”— which means,  “God with us.”  The bible is a book filled with remarkable narratives.  A snake talks to a woman (Eve).  A man builds a boat and save the animals of the world from a flood (Noah).  The second half begins with another remarkable story—the Christmas story.  A virgin conceives a child.  It would all seem quite impossible…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY DECEMBER 19, 2020

Matthew 1:21 (TPT)  (Mary)  will give birth to a son and you are to name him Savior,  for he is destined to give His life to save His people from their sins.  The angel (probably Gabriel) clearly described to Joseph the breadth of mission into which Mary’s baby would grow.  Imagine their conversations with each other subsequent to those angelic revelations!  God’s intent was for these two parents to walk in unity and understanding amid the chaos and danger that…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY DECEMBER 18, 2020

Matthew 1:24 (TPT)  When Joseph awoke from his dream, he did all that the angel of the Lord instructed him to do.  In addition to being righteous and full of integrity (vs. 19), Joseph walked in obedience to the Lord. Heaven could trust him with the safety of God’s Son and Mother Mary. Joseph would be a guardian-protector worthy of his calling. Each one of us has a role in life that is important to the well-being of others—our children,…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY DECEMBER 17, 2020

Matthew 1:19 (TPT)  (Mary’s) fiancé,  Joseph, was a righteous man full of integrity and he didn’t want to disgrace her,  but when he learned of her pregnancy he secretly planned to break the engagement.  Consider his dilemma.  Mary’s life was in danger.  She was pregnant and not by Joseph;  and adultery was considered a sin worthy of stoning.  The breaking of an engagement was tantamount to a divorce.  Surely he tossed and turned through the night until the angel of…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 16, 2020

Matthew 1:16 (TPT)  …who was the father of Joseph,  the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus,  who is called  ‘The Anointed One.’”  Notice that here Joseph is named the husband of Mary,  not the father of Jesus.  Remember when Mary and Joseph got separated from the twelve-year old Jesus for three days in Jerusalem and they finally found Him in the Temple,  Jesus’  response was:  Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be here in my…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY DECEMBER 15, 2020

Matthew 1:18 (TPT)  This was how Jesus,  God’s Anointed One,  was born.  His mother,  Mary,  had promised Joseph to be his wife,  but while she was still a virgin she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.  We believe in the Virgin Birth (better described as the virgin conception).  Christ’s birth stands in a category of its own—it never happened that way before nor ever since.  He was divinely conceived in the womb of Mary,  with the Holy…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – MONDAY DECEMBER 14, 2020

Matthew 1:1 (TPT)   This is the scroll of the lineage and birth of Jesus,  the Anointed One,  the son of David and descendant of Abraham.  The genealogies of scripture are important because they help confirm the historical reliability of the Bible.  Most importantly,  the genealogies prove Biblical prophecies:  Jesus would be a Jew from the tribe of Judah and a descendant of both Abraham and David,  as Scripture predicted.  “The genealogy given by Matthew presents the legal claim of…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY DECEMBER 12, 2020

Luke 1: 56  Before going home,  Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months.  This means that Mary was probably present when John the Baptist was born.  Those first three months of Mary’s pregnancy were critical to the health and development of the unborn Jesus in her womb.  And they were critical to Mary emotionally,  because Elizabeth provided her the kind of friendship and support that would believe her story about an angelic visitation.  Both women were pregnant with men…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY DECEMBER 11, 2020

Luke 1:45 (TPT)  “Great favor is upon you,  for you have believed every word spoken to you from the Lord.” As we track through our days,  do we maintain a frequency in our souls that picks up on the divine whisper.  “Blessed are the ears that hear the divine whisper” (Thomas a Kempis).  God is speaking.  God is guiding.  The Holy Spirit is attempting to tutor us.  But when we feel anxious,  a lack of compassion,  impatient,  or easily angered, …

DAILY DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY DECEMBER 10, 2020

Luke 1:37 (TPT)  Not one promise from God is empty of power,  for nothing is impossible with God.  Every promise of God is like a seed filled with potential.  When God’s Word finds proper soil within your believing heart,  and when we prioritize what He says and do what He says,  then we automatically grow into our divine destiny.  Each one of us has a seed of destiny within us—a God-call,  spiritual gifts as well as natural talents and abilities…

DAILY DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 9, 2020

Luke 1:35 (KJV)  The angel answered (Mary),  “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,  and the power of the most High will overshadow you…”  This overshadowing is the same  “hovering” that we read about in the Creation narrative when the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.  Have you experienced a sense of God’s hovering Presence over your life?  Are you aware when He is near?  Are you sensitive to His leadership in your day-to-day,  faith-meets-the-reality-of-my-life experience? …in the shadow…