Daily Devotionals by Pastor Leroy Bradshaw
Daily Devotional – Day 1: taken from my study of experiencing God’s latest new book: God’s invitation to you God wants a watching world to come to know who He really and truly is. He does not call you to get involved so people can see what you can do. He will call you an assignment that you cannot carry out apart from His divine intervention. This does not mean that God does not ask us to undertake mundane, ordinary tasks. But when God is involved in anything, there are always eternal, divine dimensions, implications, and possibilities. When God asks you to do something you cannot do, you will face a crisis of belief. You will have to decide what you believe about God. Can He and will He do what He has said He wants to do through you? That seems impossible through your ordinary life. How you respond reveals what you truly believe about God. It does not matter what you say. This major turning point is where many people miss experiencing God’s mighty power working through them. We want to walk with God by sight, not by faith. It will be impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6) faith is more than just belief. It requires action (James 2:14) God does not want you merely to believe what He says. He wants you to obey what He commands (Luke 6:4) all God’s promises and invitations are meaningless unless you believe and obey Him. For instance, “who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) “if I go to the Israelites and say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘what is His name?’ what should I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13) “what if they won’t believe me and will not obey me but say, ‘the Lord did not appear to you?” (Exodus 4:1) “Please Lord, I have never been eloquent. Either in the past, or recently, or since you have been speaking to your servant. Because I am slow and hesitant in speech.” (Exodus 4:10) “Please, Lord, send someone else.” In Exodus 4:13, Moses offered many excuses and objections. He questioned whether God could accomplish such an enormous task through Him (Exodus 3:11) and whether the Israelites would believe that God really could appear to Him (Exodus 4:1) and whether He was capable of speaking eloquently enough to convince Pharaoh, and the people, of what He said (Exodus 4:10). In each case, Moses doubted God’s power more than He was questioning His ability. He faced a crisis of belief. Is God able to do what He says? God finally convinced Moses to become involved in delivering Israel from slavery. Moses’ faith is described in Hebrews as a model of self-sacrifice and trust in almighty God. The writer of Hebrews describes Moses’ faith, and action: (Hebrews 11:24-29) “By faith Moses, when He had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because He was looking ahead to His reward. By faith He left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; He persevered because He saw Him who is invisible. By faith, He kept the Passover and the application of blood so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. by faith, the people passed through the red sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.”
Daily Devotional – Day 2: you must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing to move from your way of thinking, or acting, to God’s way of thinking or acting, which will require fundamental adjustments. You cannot stay where you are and go with God at the same time. Moses had to make major changes in His life, to join God in what God was doing. Moses could not stay in the desert and stand before Pharaoh, at the same time. He had to become convinced that God could do Everything He said He would do. He had to leave His Job, His extended family, and move to Egypt. When Moses had fled, forty years earlier, He left as a fugitive. Returning meant He had to turn Himself into an authority that wanted to punish Him severely. It had been written into the law of Egypt. His life was in great danger. How else could He feel? His adult experiences were as a shepherd (the lowliest Job on earth). Ken to homelessness today. How could God use someone like that? He had to believe. If it were not God, speaking, His life was in grave danger. There was no one else to help Him. He was all by Himself. God told Him where He was working, and it was not out in the desert, nor was it having anything to do with sheep. Required: trust and obey. Guess what? God has not changed. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) You cannot stay the same and go with God. If it is God, who is speaking, you will have a crisis of belief! Read living in the presence of God, a story of brother Lawrence. It is a small book, but it is all about this, in a real person’s life.
Daily Devotional – Day 3: God is at work around you when He reveals Himself, in God-sized activity (Amos 3:7) many of us do not see His Revelation. We are not looking/watching to see what He is doing. How do we move our thinking, or acting to adjust? You cannot stay where you are and go with God at the same time. Let us revisit the burning bush. First up, God said, “return to Egypt.” Exodus 4:19-20. Moses made the required adjustments to orient His life to God. Do we know that God can do Everything He says He can do? Going back to Egypt was very dangerous to Him. He also was doing something by Himself. He also knew where God was at work. John 5:17 Moses was moldable. He was like a coffee cup. Most of the time, the cup sits around ready to be used, but available for use. We must be available and remain at God’s disposal, to be used as God chooses. Moses was an ordinary shepherd. As Moses obeyed, His experiences with God brought Him into a deeper and deeper understanding of who God is. God carried out one step at a time, things that Moses could not do on His own. After all the plagues, they left Egypt, to come up against an impossible way out. It seems that following God’s guidance led those people into a horrific bloodbath. No way out! Moses cried out. God said, “why are crying out to me? “you know the rest. even today, we can see the Egyptian chariot wheels on the bottom of the red sea. How many thousands of years later? Moses must have felt humbled and unworthy, to be used in such a significant way. He simply had obeyed and done Everything God told Him to do. Obedience brought Moses (and Israel) through so many impossibilities. Experience God today through the Holy Spirit, the Bible, prayer, circumstances, the body of Christ (church) the great commission.
Daily Devotional – Day 4: this week has somehow been very busy and fast, for some reason. When I awakened this am, God moved me to quickly pick up a devotion from 4 years ago, and it was like He was speaking: a book called “Jesus calling,” by Sarah Young. Let me control your mind. The mind is the most restless, unruly part of mankind. Long ago, you have learned the discipline of holding your tongue, your thoughts defy your will and set themselves up against me. Man is the pinnacle of my creation, and the human mind is wondrously complex. I risked all by granting you the freedom to think for yourself. This is a Godlike privilege, forever setting you apart from animals and robots. I made you in my image, precariously close to the deity. Though my blood has fully redeemed you, your mind is the last bastion of rebellion. Open yourself to my radiant presence, letting my light permeate your thinking. When my Spirit is controlling your mind, you are filled with life and peace. Genesis 1:26-27, “then God said, let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and overall, the creatures that move along the ground.” So, God created mankind in His image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Romans 8:6 the mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Daily Devotional – Day 5: God is always at work, even until now (John 5:17, 19-20). Jesus said that He did only what He saw His father doing, in the same way. Do we believe that? If so, what is happening around us? Do we ask Him about it? When you want to learn how to know and do the will of God, you should always look to Jesus. How did Jesus conduct His earthly life? Jesus perfectly fulfilled every assignment the Father gave Him. He did not do His father’s will. He proved what surrendering to God and obeying looks like. After 3 years with Jesus, Phillip asked, “Show us the Father!” Jesus responded, “have I been among you all the time without your knowing me, Phillip? The one who has seen me has seen the Father.” John 14:9-10God did not create this world, and then abandon it to run itself. Jesus recognized that His father was always working on earth, to carry out His divine purposes. He is not sitting in a heavenly throne room passively seeing the activity on earth. God is orchestrating history. He is present, even now, and in the middle of human activity. And He chooses to involve His servants in carrying out His purposes. 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 therefore, since He is at work reconciling through His people, what are we supposed to be doing? Go back to John 5: we have a clear model: The Father has been working all along. Now the Father has me working do nothing on my initiative watch to see what my father is doing. My father loves me He shows me Everything that He, Himself, is doing. How do we see Him now?
Daily Devotional – Day 6: God at work through Jesus. Jesus made it clear that He was dependent on the Father to show Him what to do. He made it clear that the Father initiated the relationship and invited Him to be involved in His father’s activity. John 7:16. My teaching is not mine but is from the one who sent me. John 8:28. When you lift the son of man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing on my own. But just as the Father taught me, I say these things John 10:37-38. If I am not doing my father’s works, do not believe me. But if I am doing them and you do not believe me, believe the works. This way you will know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father (John 12:49). For I have not spoken on my own, but the Father Himself who sent me has given me a command into what I should speak. John 14:10. The words I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The father who lives in me does His works. John 17:8. The words that you gave me, I have given them. After Jesus had ascended into heaven, and the Holy Spirit came into Him, Peter describes this: “this Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him.” Acts 2:22. God the Father carried out His work through Jesus the son. And Jesus realized that He could do nothing by Himself. But with the Father at work in Him, the Father could do anything. He never took the initiative to dream a dream or launch a new ministry. He lived His life in absolute obedience upon the Father. If Jesus was that dependent upon the Father, then you and I need to follow the model He set and realize how ludicrous it is for us to set out on our way in any direction or guidance other than from the Father. When we do things without the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures say, “there is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God.” Romans 3:10-11. And “no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws Him.” John 6:44. According to this, people do not seek God on their initiative. People do not ask questions about spiritual matters unless God is at work in their lives. When you see someone asking questions about spiritual things even if they have a case of Poor Little Old’ Me (P.L.O.M.) disease, or (R.E.V.) disease, or Being Under Satan’s Yolk (B.U.S.Y) disease. God is at work in their life. Watch! You are seeing God at work. That is something only God does in people’s lives. For example, when Jesus passed through a crowd, He always looked for where the Father was at work. The crowd was not the harvest field. The harvest field was within the crowd. As Jesus walked through the busy streets of Jericho, He was intent on reaching Jerusalem where He knew the cross was awaiting Him. Although Jesus was only passing by, He noticed Zacchaeus in a tree. It must have been clear to Jesus that for a man to seek Him so earnestly, and intently, the Father must be at work in His heart. So, Jesus turned aside and said, Zacchaeus, hurry and come down because today I must stay at your house.” Luke 19:5 why did salvation come that day, to that household? Z. Was looking for. A spiritual matter. And obeyed. Jesus was looking for the activity of the Father and joined Him. He adjusted His life to the working of the Father. He was so in tune with His father’s activity that He could spot it even amid crowded city streets, and while focused on the cross ahead. If, during your day, as you go, and someone starts talking about spiritual situations, whatever else you may have planned, don’t do it! Cancel what you have planned. Spend time with that individual to discover what God is doing.
Daily Devotional – Day 7: God is always active one of the greatest tragedies with God’s people, is that, even though they wish to experience Him, they do not know how to recognize Him at work, within their midst. It must happen by the Holy Spirit instructing us and helping us to know when and where God is working. The fact that you do not recognize it, does not mean He is not working right now. First, do not try to bypass the love relationship. God created you. This is more important than what it is that you want to do for Him. Anticipate that God is trying to draw you into an intimate love relationship with Himself. When your relationship with God is as it should be, He will begin to give you assignments. It is your responsibility is to focus on that love relationship and stay there until God gives you a new assignment. Another problem we have is taking a non-biblical approach to spiritual gifts. He gives us each a unique combination/s. These gifts are the working of the Holy Spirit in our life (time) to enable us to obey what God asks us to do. God gives always the assignment, first. Then God equips us by the Holy Spirit, to carry out what He assigns. In my case, a perfect manifestation of this was in the beginning and through the whole trip, even returning and afterward. When the Spirit lives in us, we have all the power of God and all the resources of heaven at our disposal. God will carry out what He intended through us. Our life. We may call that a spiritual gift. God does not ask us to find ministries that suit our gifts. Only God can tell us what He wants us to join Him where He is working. We do not choose what we want to do for God. We need to understand the relationship between a God-given assignment and a spiritual gift. Over the days of this week, we are going to return to Scripture for more clarity on this. Stay tuned.
Daily Devotional – Day 8: the importance of having a love relationship with our Lord. The Lord did not just create us and let things go without getting involved. God created the heavens and earth, plant, and animal life, and He made us with intricate detail and uniqueness. God puts great care into all the things He makes. With loving purpose, He designed your physical appearance, your mind, your talents, and your personality. He delights in what He has made and longs to know you (and to have you know Him). God has always dwelled with His people. In the Garden of Eden, He dwelled with Adam and Eve. After Adam and Eve sinned, God went to extravagant lengths to pursue His people. He sent prophets with His message, and He gave the Israelites instructions for the tabernacle, where His presence would be. Then Jesus came to earth. After the ascension, God poured the Holy Spirit into our hearts so that God will always be present with us. He will never leave or forsake us. If you struggle with your identity, if you are insecure about the way God made you, if you tend to criticize yourself, then take extra time reading today’s Psalm (119). Notice how God through the Psalmist defines your identity. Observe how the Psalmist describes how God made you. Write down the verses that stick out to you. Post them so you can be reminded of God’s love for you. You are not an accident. His hands made you and formed you. God values you and is thrilled about your life. He gladly dwells with you! Meditate on Psalm 119. Write down verses that speak to you from your meditation. Make notes. Then make those notes retrievable to you at any instant!
Daily Devotional – Day 9: the importance of a personal relationship with God my prayer is that you spent your day yesterday (4-28) meditating and making notes on Psalm 119. If you did not, you need to do that, for this devotion to have any significance. God knew exactly what He was doing when He called Moses. Moses’ success did not depend on Moses’ skills, or abilities, or His likes, or His past successes, or His preferences. First. God gave Moses an assignment. When Moses obeyed God, God enabled Moses to do what God commanded. The results revealed that God was working through Moses, doing things that Moses could never do in His strength, or skills, or talents, or likes. God knew exactly what He was doing when He asked Samuel to go anoint a shepherd boy of 5 years of age, to be king of Israel. How could a shepherd boy govern a tumultuous Israel, in such a dangerous time? Jesse did not even think about such a young boy. The lowest of the low. And whose plan was this, for Jesse’s great grandmother to gather grain by reaping behind the gatherers cutting wheat in the field? And who equipped the shepherd boy to be this nation’s greatest king? Throughout the Old Testament, God worked, by the Holy Spirit/Jesus, in these and other people. And after Jesus came into this world, He sent the Holy Spirit, to dwell and work in all who would obey. He equips us where He assigns us. “now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:7. The common good is the building up of the body of Christ (the Church). Christ adds members to the body. The Holy Spirit is the gift. The purpose is the body. When members refuse to serve, or they stop taking part with the Holy Spirit their part “dies.” God told this to Adam and Eve, in the garden. And so, it is even now! John 14;10 the Father was in Jesus, and He worked through Jesus to carry out God’s purposes. And Jesus passed it on to us. John 15:5, my focus, and yours, too, need to be allowing God to manifest Himself through us. God living His life through you and me to carry out His purposes. This is not to cause us to focus on ourselves. It is all about God’s assignment and our obedience. Focus on the assignment, as we go (Matthew 28:18).
Daily Devotional – Day 10: pursued by love good pursues each person to have a love relationship with them. Matthew 22:37-38, a life spent walking closely with the Lord is both exciting and rewarding. God does not want you to miss what He has intended for you, from eternity. But … Sin causes us to follow our selfish desires, but in doing so, we reject what God knows is best for our lives. So, God takes the initiative to draw us closer to Himself. This love relationship, however, is not one-sided. He wants you to know and worship Him. Most of all, He wants you to love Him. John 14:21. Your obedience, as well as your love for God, to do His commands. Goes hand in hand. John 14:15: “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” When we obey Jesus, we prove that we do trust Him. Our obeying is our outward expression of our love for God. John 14:31. Obeying also includes doing it in the Spirit of the command. Take Jonah, for instance. He finally obeyed and went to preach to Nineveh, but then He went outside, to watch the great destruction. When God did not destroy it, Jonah was so mad He wanted to die. He did follow the command, but His Spirit was not in obedience to telling the people to repent. He wanted them zapped. If you, or I, have an obedience problem, we have a love problem. God’s love for us is always; His love is focused. On me, you, us all. Can you stand before Him, and say, “I love you with all my heart, and all my soul, and all my mind, and all my strength!”? Jesus did that, standing before us. Jesus said that He would take those who respond to His love for us into an Ever-deepening experience of love and fellowship with Him.
Daily Devotional – Day 11: do you ever feel like Everything in your life is out of order? Many people who do attend church regularly, all their lives. They often serve in leadership positions. They have the respect of many members of their church. They may serve God, worship Him, believe in Him, even fear Him. But … Their relationship with Him is not genuine, heartfelt love. God created every one of us for a love relationship with Him. That kind of love in your life overflows with God’s love for you. And your love for Him will cause you to overflow to others as it was intended, by Him. Jesus was often associated with “sinners.” He approached them, He touched them. He visited them. even in the old testament, this relationship is expressed: “Listen, Israel: ‘the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.’” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) this cry of God is carried into the new testament (Mark 12:30). Everything in your Christian life. Everything about knowing God. Everything is about experiencing Him Everything about His will for your life depends on the quality of your love relationship. If this relationship is not right, nothing in your life will be in order, or right. Examine these Scriptures: Deuteronomy 30:19-20, John 3:16, John 14:21, Romans 8:35-39, 1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10, 19. Do we realize that the Lord does not just give your life, but He is your life? He does not grant you things and comforts, so you have a “good” life. He wants to bring you into a relationship with Him so that out of that relationship you have Everything you could need. You did not start a love relationship with God; God started a love relationship with you. Long before you began your life on earth, God proved His love for you on the cross of Christ. He wants you to love Him in return. You can choose life, you can listen to His voice, you can hold fast to Him, you can believe in His only son, you can obey His commands and teaching, you can be willing to lay down your life for your brothers and sisters. But when you love God, He promises to respond with His blessings. God’s Spirit will live within you. He will make you more than a conqueror over every difficulty you face. Nothing will separate you from God’s love. What is the foremost thing God wants from you? He wants you to love Him with all your being. Your actions and experiences depend on your love for Him.
Daily Devotional – Day 12: the joy of the Lord we have only one life to live. It will end, sometime. You did not choose this time or place, or to whom, you were born. But you do have the choice of what you do with it, while you have time left. What if, when the end comes, you realize that your “ladder was placed against the wrong wall?” How can you know that, before you reach that point? Your relationship with God is the single most important aspect of your life. God does not force you to love Him, although He loves you more than you can imagine, or ask. This relationship can satisfy you. If Everything else were removed from you, would you be totally satisfied? Content? Most people have a want list. A “like to do” list. A “bucket list. “as good as all these things are, what do you think God intends for you? He intends to give you Himself. The deepest level He intends, in which you would find enormous satisfaction and joy in your walk with Him. God alone can fulfill the deepest longing in your soul, that we try to satisfy with things, activities, and human relationships. Most of us try, in our culture, to try to be busy with accomplishing something. God does not say that in Scripture. He does say, “I want you to love me above Everything else. When you are in a love relationship with me, you have Everything you need.” (Psalm 37:4; Matthew 6:33). To love God is the highest achievement and the noblest position in all of life. That does not mean you will never do anything to express your love for Him. It does mean that He will call you to obey Him and do whatsoever He ask. But you do not need to find something to be doing to feel fulfilled, or to feel worthy of Him. You are completely fulfilled in your love relationship with Him. No competitors! Matthew 6:24“when the Lord your God brings you into the land, He swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give you. A land with large and beautiful cities that you did not fill them with, wells dug that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant. And when you eat and are satisfied, be careful not to forget that Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. Fear the Lord your God, worship Him, and take your oaths in His name. Do not follow other gods, the Gods of the peoples around you, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God.” Deuteronomy 6:10-15 and, Matthew 6:31-33. Who do you love?
Daily Devotional – Day 13: (Genesis 50:20, Psalm 23:4) If you learn to trust me, trust me, with your whole being, then nothing can separate you from my peace. Everything you endure can be put to good use by allowing it to train you in trusting me. This is how you foil the works of evil, growing in grace through the very adversity that was meant to harm you. Joseph was a prime example of this divine reversal, declaring to His brothers, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good. “do not fear what this day, or any day, may bring your way. Concentrate on trusting Me and on doing what needs to be done. Relax in my sovereignty, remembering that I go before you, as well as with you, into each day. Fear no evil, for thou are with me, for I can bring good out of every situation you will ever meet.
Daily Devotional – Day 14: my utmost for His highest. The patience of faith because thou hast kept the word of my patience. (Revelation 3:10) patience is more than endurance. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and now and again the saint says. ‘I cannot stand anymore. God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands. For what have you need of patience just now? Maintain your relationship with Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. “though He slays me, yet will I wait for Him. “faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but robust vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. You cannot see Him just now, you cannot understand what He is doing, but you know Him. Shipwreck occurs where there is not that mental poise that comes from being set up on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the heroic effort of your life; you fling yourself in reckless confidence in God. God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to save us, now He wants us to venture out all in abandoned confidence in Him. There are spots where that faith has not worked in us yet, places untouched by the life of God. There were none of those spots in Jesus Christ’s life, and there are to be none in ours. “this is life eternal, that they might know thee.” The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we take this view, life becomes one great romance, a glorious opportunity for seeing marvelous things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.
Daily Devotional – Day 15: do you want to love the Lord your God, with all your heart? Matthew 6:24, Deuteronomy 6:10-15, Matthew 6:31-33, He will provide Everything you need! The Lord makes it clear. He wants to be the first place in your heart! God always takes the initiative in this love relationship. The entire Bible is a testimony of this. With Adam and Eve, in the garden. He fellowshipped with them. He came to Noah, to Abram, to Moses, to all the prophets. With each one of them, it was He who took the initiative to build an experience with them. Personally. With each of them, one-on-one, a personal fellowship of love. Jesus chose disciples to be with Him and to experience His love. He came to Mary, to Martha, to Lazarus. A guy named Saul, on the road to Damascus. He started a personal experience of His love. Why not us? Sin has marred us so deeply. We will not look for after the Lord on our own accord. Romans 3:10-12 if God did not approach us, we will never find Him. John 6:44-45, 65 Jeremiah 31:33 Hosea 11:4 God showers Ever-lasting love on your life. He lovingly draws us when we are not His friend. Ephesians 2:1-5, to firmly anchor your relationship of love with God, obey Him (love Him) you must be convinced of God’s love for you. Saul (Paul) violently opposed God. It took 14 years for Paul to be convinced of Christ’s love relationship with Him. Though we may reject God or even leave Him out of our everyday experience. He has chosen us, loved us, revealed Himself to us. Through His speaking. God’s Word.
Daily Devotional – Day 16: A guide to praising God. Why should I praise the Lord? God’s character. Is worthy of praise (Deuteronomy 10:21; 2 Samuel 22:4; 1 chronicle 16:25; Psalm 22:3) (personal names of God, harpers Bible dictionary, p. 685) (names of God notes, logos. Praise is our gift, or sacrifice/offering, to God. (Hebrews 13:15). God saved us. To glorify Him (Psalm 50:23; Isaiah 43:21). God commands us. To praise Him (1 Chronicles 16:28-29; Psalm 147:1, 20; Psalm 148:1-14). Praise follows Jesus’ example (John 12:28; John 17:1). Praise prepares us for what we will do in heaven (Revelation 5:9-14; Revelation 7:9-17) how? Should I praise the Lord? Use words of honor, greatness, joy that are most natural to you. Meditation with Psalm 100. Read scriptural prayers aloud. With feeling, thoughtfulness. Use Psalms, hymns, spiritual songs to praise Him. Use instruments (Psalm 150). Recite the great saving Acts of God. In the past, in Scripture (Psalm 105). Describe the character of God. His attributes. What? Should I say, when I praise the Lord? Read aloud your praises from the Scriptures. Express your deepest feelings. When? Continually. Everywhere. Who? Everyone who has breath. Praise is not limited to special times, nor special places. It should become as natural as breathing in and breathing out. It should become a natural expression of life. In God’s presence. We usually find it easier to give thanks, than we do to give Him praise. The two are types of prayer, but they have a different focus. Praise adores God for who He is; thanksgiving expresses gratitude, for what God has done. His actions. In the distant past, and immediate past. Praise is a greater act of worship. Thanksgiving usually leads us to praise. We should thank Him for Everything, but praise should be continual.
Daily Devotional – Day 17: you did not choose me Jesus said to His disciples, “you did not choose me, but I chose you… You are not of this world, but I have chosen you out of it.” John 15:16, 19. Did Peter elect to follow Jesus? No. Jesus chose Peter. Peter’s decision to follow Jesus was a response to Jesus’ invitation to join Him. God took the initiative. Matthew 16:13-17 when Peter responded to Jesus’ question, Jesus recognized the Father’s activity in Peter. The Revelation came directly from the Father. Jesus made it clear that Peter did not figure out that on His own. Have you “figured out” that God loves you? If He did not, you would have never become a Christian. He had a plan in mind when He made you aware of Him, and His love for you. He called you to His purpose. He took that initiative, and you began to experience a love relationship with God (he first loved you). He enlightened your understanding of spiritual matters and drew you to Himself. Just like Simon Peter. You would never have taken the initiative. Deuteronomy 30:6. Philippians 2:13. Revelation 3:20. God created you not for time, but eternity. Your life here on earth is an opportunity. To become acquainted with Him, and choose to enter a relationship with Him, not for today, or the next few weeks/Sundays. Time as we know it is a period during which God wants to develop your character into His likeness. He is into eternity, and He wants to draw you into that, with Him, in its fullest dimensions for you. If you merely live for a time, you will miss the ultimate purpose of creation. You will allow your past to control and limit your life. With God, your life is shaped by the future. Now. As well as eternally. It will never stop or be altered. Like Peter’s. God uses your present to mold you and shape your future. While here on earth. Your life in time limits you. Failure, shame, poverty, pride, success, fame, excessive wealth, sickness, weakness, etc. All those are shaped by your past. Not your future. You may have little hope for the future, because of your past. Time. Nowhere in the Scriptures is the time mentioned. Who do you hear? Who is calling?
Daily Devotional – Day 18: “Jesus Calling” (Revelation 12:10, Ephesians 6:16, James 4:7-8). Spending time alone with me is essential for your well-being. It is not a luxury or a choice: it is a necessity. Therefore, do not feel guilty about taking the time to be with me. Remember that Satan is the accuser of believers. He delights in heaping guilt feelings upon you, especially when you are enjoying my presence. When you feel Satan’s arrows of accusation, you are on the right track. Use your shield of faith to protect yourself from Him. Talk with me about what you are experiencing and ask me to show you the way forward. Resist the devil, and He will flee from you. Come about me, and I will come about you (Bible promise).
Daily Devotional – Day 19: no matter how hardened your heart is. even in stopped work, or coronavirus, or relationships. You do not want advice. The harder it is, the less you want others to help you. I find that in dentistry, as well as in ministry. In dentistry, all teeth could be saved. Dentistry knows how. Those people who lose teeth are the only ones who have gone to dentists, most of the time. People in Jesus’ day were desperate, who came to Him. In each case, Jesus always asked them, “what do you want me to do?” These are spiritual matters. Here’s what God says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). No matter how painful and devastating your experiences have been, God is pursuing you with love. He can free you from your hardened, bitter heart. Paul had to deal with the problem of His past. Philippians 3:4-14, He had been a faithful Jew. He was faultless in keeping the laws of the Pharisees. He had a distinguished education and reputation. He was zealous for God. Yet, when Paul met Christ, He came to view His past successes as rubbish. More than anything else, He wanted to know Christ and to become like Him, reaching eternal life. He focused on His future. He set aside the past. He pressed toward the goal of a heavenly prize. He could not re-order His past. But now there were no limits to what God could do in and through Paul. In the future. Become like Jesus. Ephesians 5:1-2, let your present be molded and shaped by what God is doing around you. When? Now! You were created for eternity. God’s plans go far beyond our time. Make sure you are investing your life, your time, your resources into that which is lasting (Matthew 6:19-21, 33). God knows what is best for you. He will come to you and guide you, as you walk and listen to Him.
Daily Devotional – Day 20: when your relationship with God is as it ought to be, you will always be in fellowship with the Father. Jesus was tested on this repeatedly, even down to “it is finished.” You will enjoy being in His presence and having a close fellowship with Him. When Adam and Eve were no longer coming to meet with God but were running to hide, something was wrong. God looked to meet with His people during the time of Jeremiah. God declared, “I have spoken to you time and time again, but you would not listen, and I have called to you, but you would not answer.” Jeremiah 7:13. I have always tried to meet with my Lord each morning. I long for that time in the morning; but I can get distracted by other things, even by weather, or cold, or hot, etc. My best time of the day is spending time with Him. It always enriches and deepens my relationship with Him. So many people struggle with trying to make time alone with God. Why is that? You do not merely read the Bible and pray something. It is not a discipline or a duty. The real purpose of this time is to view it as an opportunity to get to know each other better. When I was first courting any of the many girls in my youth, I always longed to find time to spend with them as much as possible. God does that with us. Do we likewise, seek this time to spend just to enjoy His presence? Make it a priority! If you love Him, you will move “heaven and earth” to spend time with Him. A good way to deepen this relationship is to keep your gratitude journal. Make sure you use it daily. Very few Christians do this. Could it be that this helps us grow in that relationship? Remember, “count your many blessings, name them one by one”? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 21: when two people love each other, they are naturally interested in finding out more and more about each other. But… That is not the primary reason they spend time together. It is simply because they love each other. They feel refreshed every time they are with each other. Same thing about your love relationship with God. His word. His purposes. His ways. You want to spend time with Him. You should desire to have fellowship with Him, simply because of what you already know about Him; so, you interact with Him to know more about Him. As you spend that time with Him you will inevitably grow deeper in your devotion to Him. Everything we do with and for God should stem from our love relationship with Him. Real. Personal. And practical. So many people view God as distant, much like we relate to bosses. Especially in day-to-day experiences. They feel towards God as quietly unconcerned about the events that are going on around them. From Genesis to Revelation, God is relating to people in personal, practical ways. Turn to any story in these pages, and you see how peoples’ relationship with God is extremely intimate and personal. Why and where they are. Adam in the garden. Not exactly excited about managing all this stuff. He complained. Who to? He needed help! He was lonely. Too much to be done. God came daily. What for? Adam was asked to be the manager of the garden. It was not his. He did not like His load. They (he and God) did it deeply. God said, “okay, find some help.” God led all the animals before Him. Not even one of them pleased Him. So … Who handled the problem? Hint. It was not Adam! You know the rest of the story. Were Adam and Eve awed by God? Was Adam excited about His “helper?” Did that solve all His problems? Stay tuned, ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 22: God does start the relationship with us. He wants that relationship to be dynamic and personal. He also comes to talk about your life, being practical. Day-to-day living. Hagar simply was chosen by Sarai, to produce a son for Abram. Sarai used her, mistreated her, verbally abused her, to the point of fleeing for her life. She reached the end of her resources and had nowhere else to turn. God saw her, knew her needs, and lovingly supported her. (Genesis 16:1-13). Solomon had a deeply faithful father, David, and did not ask for wealth, or fame. He asked for wisdom. God supplied all three. (1 Kings 3:5-13 twelve disciples, were met each in their worlds. Jesus did not send them out in their strength. He gave them the authority they never had known, to overcome whatever they faced. (Mark 6:7-13) Peter, in prison, awaiting execution. (Acts 12:1-17) an answer to prayer released Him so dramatically that He thought He was dreaming and went to tell others. They thought He was an angel or a dream. As you read Scripture, people came to experience God in real and personal ways. Both the Old Testament and New Testament are full of personal experiences, in which only God could have worked around them. All walks of life. God has not changed. How will you respond to what is happening around you?
Daily Devotional – Day 23: 2 Corinthians 5:17 we need to review our life, to see how God has been working, up until now. Important! You cannot see God until He has passed by. Then you need to look at it now. How does now relate to what has gone by? Is there a crisis of belief going on in your life? What is a crisis of belief? Through Scripture, what is God saying about that (crisis)? It must seem impractical. Apart from God, you will fail. The unknown is God’s. He knows Everything. Doing by yourself would be foolish. Insane. Irresponsible. That is why you must have a love relationship with Christ. When it is based on a deep relationship, then nothing is impractical. It is between two persons. It is interactive. Once you have walked with Him, you never return to the introduction. Everything has been Him, even to now. The “old has passed away; behold, all things are made new.” Jesus was extremely practical. 5000 men were hungry. He fed them. Extremely practical. A woman had only enough for the last meal before she was going to starve to death. Who, and what, did father, or son, or Holy Spirit do? The daily presence of God should be the most practical part of a believer’s life. Real and tangible through relationships with His people. God has not changed. He is in your home, your church, your workplace. Visible and clear to you; to those around you. How do you walk the walk? Talk the talk? How did you feel when you walked and talked? Worship Him? How clear is your relationship? Are you having a difficult time or an emotionally uneasy time? Why? Spend time with the master. Be unusually joyful!
Daily Devotional – Day 24: the attention of the Bible is always on God, and His plan (purpose and ways). Our attention is on me, and today. Romans 3:10-11 the essence of sin is a shift from a God-centered life to a self-centered life. The essence of salvation/freedom is a denial of self and a return to a God-centered outlook. We must come to a place where we renounce our self-focused approach to life and turn our attention and control over to God. When this happens, God orients us to His purposes that He is carrying out around us. What is a God-centered approach? Confidence in God dependence on God, on His abilities; on His provisions focus on His activity around us humility, before God denial of self, looking for first the kingdom of God for His righteousness seeking God’s perspective on our circumstances holy and Godly living joseph was faced with Potiphar’s wife’s daily attempts to seduce Him. He went to prison rather than yield to this temptation. Joshua and Caleb, it was God who led the Israelites to the land He wanted them to have. Unlike the ten spies, they said, “if the Lord is pleased with us, He will bring us into this land… don’t be afraid of the people of this land.” Does any of this sound like today? King Asa, in His earlier years, when He saw an impossibility, turned to the Lord for strength. It was the Lord who fought the battle. Later, under like circumstances, He did not seek the Lord. (2 Chronicles 16) Adam and Eve, in the garden self-centeredness, is a subtly trap yet is common. The world praises self-reliance. Trusting God makes no sense. God-centeredness requires a daily denial of self and submission to God (John 12:24-25).
Daily Devotional – Day 25: obey whatever God tells you to do. The world urges us to protect, pamper, promote, comfort, and prosper ourselves. But God tells us to deny ourselves. Well-meaning friends and family want us to lie close to them. The world wants us to earn a comfortable salary, and build a reputable reputation, but all of that might only be nurturing the very self that Christ commands us to deny. If this makes you uncomfortable, then you need to spend more time with the Lord and ask Him to clarify exactly what He wants you to do at this stage of your life. We need to distinguish between God’s purposes and not our plans. When God starts to do something in the world, He takes the initiative to tell someone what He is doing. God, out of His grace, involves His people in carrying out His purposes. Your view of what God is doing is distorted. Look at the example of Noah. What about all the plans Noah had made to serve God. God was pleased with Him. God was displeased with all the other people on earth. He prepared to obliterate them all and start over. It had never even rained on the earth. God planned to obliterate the sinful people of Sodom and Gomorrah. He/they revealed His plan to Abram. Abram could not do anything about it. God wanted to remove the oppression of the Midianites from the Israelites. He revealed His purpose to a farmer named Gideon. When God was preparing for the messiah to bring the gospel to the world, He revealed His plan to a teenager named Mary. God wanted to spread the good news to all the world. Gentiles, He appeared to a “heavy-hitter” named Saul. The critical factor was what God was about to do. In every single one of these situations, it was not what the individual wanted to do for God. What if Noah was to conduct a door-to-door evangelistic survey of His neighborhood, or start a ministry to homeless people? These may be noble intentions, but they would have been completely irrelevant to what God was about to do. Noah did not go to God and ask God to help Him carry out what He might have been dreaming of doing for God. In Scripture, you never see God asking people to dream up what they want to do for Him. He never urges Christians to set impressive goals and generated grand visions for Him, and His kingdom. God rebukes those who propose, on their own, to do the best thinking over His commands. None of them were brilliant planners. They did become brilliant people of faith. (Hebrews 11) God commanded them for their compliance, not their performance. Who delivered the Hebrews from Egypt? Moses, or God? Did Moses seek a relationship with God? Did Moses ever take matters into His hand? Yes, He did. (Exodus 2:11-15) why did Moses assert Himself on behalf of His people? Their suffering pricked His conscience. He was lying in Egyptian comfort and luxury. He had the best schools and education in Egypt. He used His position and strength to help a fellow Israelite. His intentions were commendable. The result? 40 years of wandering. In a wilderness. That ought to straighten Him out! Suppose He had succeeded with His strength and power? How many people would die abnormally early? The Egyptians were a world power. How many were lost God’s way? And by God’s way, the Egyptians were plundered. Why is it so hard for us to learn that doing things God’s way is always best?
Daily Devotional – Day 26: God is not our servant to bless our plans and desires. He is our Lord, and we must adjust our lives to what He is doing and the ways He chooses to carry out His work. If we will not give to God and His ways, He will allow us to follow our own devices. Be sure of this: we will miss seeing God’s activity, and we will not experience what God wants to do through us to bless others. As Christians, it is not only important what we do but how we do it. Many times, churches try to “serve” God. They may think that God wants them to do something, build a new shelter, or a new auditorium, etc. But they do not look to ask Him to determine how He wants them to begin. Or when. If God is doing this (whatever) God will not fail. With God, how you do something is just as important as what you do. It is possible to do the right thing in the wrong way or at the wrong time. Doing the task that God assigns in an un-Godly manner, harms the cause of Christ rather than supporting it. Doing things God’s way is critical. Israel was delivered from bondage in Egypt by many miraculous signs and wonders. They walked through the sea on dry ground, and they saw an invincible Egyptian army destroyed, trying to do the same thing. They saw God supply bread from the sky. Flocks of quail to eat when they needed meat. Freshwater sprouting from a rock. Wouldn’t you think they could trust God to do anything, after all that? Yet, when they arrived at Canaan, they did not trust Him to deliver the promised land to them. The result? They spent the next forty years wandering around in the wilderness. Psalm 81 God would have conquered their enemies quickly if they had only trusted God instead of relying on themselves. They chose to try only what they thought they could carry out themselves. And because of their choices, they missed God’s blessing. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 27: our plans and God’s activity God is seeking to bring people in our community, as well as in our nation, to Himself. He wants to use our life and church in that process. We may know that Christ has given us a great commission (Matthew 28:18-20) but we do not automatically know the specific ways He wants to use us to carry out this purpose, especially around us. We also know that we are supposed to be seen wherever we go (Acts 1:8). Do we feel burdened to know how God wants to do that, through us? We think that if we are “good” people and go hear a twenty-minute sermon once a week, we have carried out that purpose. How does God intend to use us and our church in His work? We must know how God intends to use us and our church in His work. Amos 3:7. Until we have heard Him reveal Himself, how are we going to adjust our lives into the mainstream of His activity? If you study the great movements of God in church history, you will notice God repeatedly invites people to surrender to what He is getting ready to do. They had to adjust their lives and watch God carry out His purposes through them. Gideon could not just keep farming. Isaiah was just a winemaker. Peter could have just kept fishing. David was a good shepherd. Devoted to caring for dumb animals. Saul could have just kept chasing down “hypocrites.” every person had to change their lives, to go with God. So, it is today. It is God, who does His will, through those who do. How about you?
Daily Devotional – Day 28: God knows what is going to happen in your community. People are going to experience temptations, crises, disappointments, hardships. God wants to intercept those lives and bring salvation (freedom) and a blessing to them. Suppose He chose to do that through your life. If, when He came to you and invited you to join Him in His activity, you responded in a self-centered way? “I don’t think I can do that!” “I don’t have time!” Or “I am not educated enough.” Or “I am afraid to speak to someone in public.” Or “I don’t have enough experience in that!” Do you see what happens? The focus is on self. When God invites you, His timing is not convenient. You present Him with an extensive list of reasons why He has chosen the wrong person, or why now is not the right time, or convenient. That is exactly what Moses did. God knows we cannot do it! If you could, God does not get revealed or glorified. And He could do it even without you. But He planned you. He owns Everything. He takes pleasure in loving you and wanting to do stuff with and through you. To bring others to His purpose and ways. God achieving anything in our life hinges on His presence and activity around us. Throughout Scripture, we see God taking the initiative in peoples’ lives. Their attention is on their circumstances or situation. Peter walked on water, in an unbelievable storm until God would meet a person and reveal what He wanted of them. The Revelation was an invitation for that person to adjust His life to God. No one to whom God spoke stayed the same. Peter knew fishing; He knew storms. What happened when He could not catch fish? He could not keep on fishing and go with God. And every person experienced His character in different dimensions we try to manage what is happening or try to expand upon it and administer it ourselves. What do you hear God saying? It will be “out of this world!”
Daily Devotional – Day 29: you must be careful to find God’s initiative and distinguish it from your desires and feelings. A self-centered person tends to confuse His agenda with God’s will. Christians often talk about “open” and “closed” doors. They ask God to close a door if they are not heading in the right direction. I am admirable to seek God’s desires, but there is a danger in thinking that God’s will is always the path of least resistance (“open door”). What do your difficult circumstances have to do with God’s will? If your focus is on yourself, you are always looking to protect yourself and pursue what is “best” for you, and that is looking to build ourselves up. We get into the “fight or flight” situation. To the children of Israel, the red sea certainly appeared to be a “closed door.” They did not have any choices. Moses stayed on God-focus. You cannot determine if you are in God’s will by whether things are going well in your situation. To seek God’s guidance, make sure that prayer, the Scriptures, and circumstances all confirm the direction you sense God is leading. Your prayer needs to be related to God’s Word or speaking. And then the Scriptures and its related prayer (a conversation, by God) need to be with you in today’s circumstance/s. It also needs to apply to the needs of others around you. God promises you a victory. (Deuteronomy 20:3-4, Judges 7) Gideon had adjusted His life to call Israel to war against the meionites. They had a force of thirty thousand. Israel showed up thirty thousand strong. You know that Gideon knew God was His guiding light. Now He is ready. But God spoke. But Gideon was not sure about who, or what power God had. You know the rest of the story. When did Gideon “worship?” How was God going to destroy thirty thousand with three hundred? It is impossible to stay the way you are and go with God. How about you?
Daily Devotional – Day 30: “This all sounds good, but how do I apply these concepts?” In every situation, God demands that you depend on Him, and not on a method. The key is the relationship. With God. Most people no longer expect God to do anything unusual in their lives or their churches. They no longer trust God to answer their prayers. I. E., Christians are not living by faith. Back to Psalm 81:10. “open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” When we ask something from God, we need to seek His provisions for His work in a way that God would be pleased to provide. He wants Everyone to know that God has supported the need as an answer to prayer and faith. Not in response to “raising funds.” It should begin by getting our hearts adjusted. To a given matter. 9/10th of the difficulties is overcome by getting ready to do the knowledge of what His will is. Seek the will of the Holy Spirit of God through the word of God. The Spirit of God must be combined with the speaking of God. If you look for the Spirit alone without the word, we open our minds to delusion. God never does contrary to the words of God. Examine your circumstances or conditions with that Spirit and word. Before you pray, listen to the word, and adjust your prayer to that word and Holy Spirit. Reflect, according to your best ability and knowledge, to feel at peace. Document all of this, because you do not know God’s timing Isaiah 55:8 according to your love relationship, with God, God prepares you to be involved in His work. Developing you to a God-centered life. Not to your own life. With any other focus, you are dreaming up something you can do without Him and is meaningless. God does not ask you to dream up something you can do for Him, on your own. Take inventory: how are you investing your time? (it is God’s time).
Daily Devotional – Day 31: God invites you to join Him. 2 Corinthians 5:19-20. God was/is in Christ, revealing Himself. All the old ways are gone, behold, all things are new. God can do above and beyond all that we ask or imagine. According to the power that works in us. (Ephesians 3:20) God has always been involved in the world, according to Scripture, to reconcile people back to Himself. He is in the center of all that takes place. God is always telling us through Scripture, His divine work in this world. He always takes the initiative to reveal what He is doing, to His people. Amos 3:7 He involves His people in His activity. God wanted to save people from a severe famine, so He helped a young man named joseph to understand that a drought was coming. He set up all the conditions. He had been working in the background to set that up. God wanted to save His people from a widespread massacre, so He raised a young woman, named Esther, and made her beautiful, and placed her on the royal throne. God, when He was ready to send our Messiah into the world, sent John the Baptist to announce it. His whole ministry was only 6 months long, enough to carry out the greatest announcement in the world. And His cousin’s ministry was only 3 years long, but it accomplished John 1:12. God prompted a businessman to make His tomb available for Jesus’ body. Whenever God was about to carry out something new, He invited people to join Him in His activity. God’s obedient children are in a love relationship with Him. He shows them where He is working. So, they can join Him. He may spend years preparing your character or developing your love relationship with Him before He gives you a large assignment. Do not get discouraged if a task or sign or “call” does not come at once. Remain faithful in what He has told you to do, no matter how small or unimportant something may appear. God knows what He is doing! Focus on deepening your relationship with God. Jesus was 12 years old when He went about His father’s “business,” in the temple. Yet, He was 30 years old when He began the ministry God had prepared Him for. Until that point, He continued being a carpenter. He waited until the Father was ready for Him to begin His ministry. Be patient. All these people spent years in character-building and love relationships, with the Father. God needs to teach you to trust Him, for Everything. He owns it all. He knows Everything. He is Everywhere. God must build some basic foundations into your life before He gives you a larger role in service to Him.
Daily Devotional – Day 32: “Lord, if you will just tell me what you want me to do, I will serve you to the best of my ability.” ever heard that? If God were to put you into that kind of assignment, could He trust you to handle it? On the night before the crucifixion, Peter said to Jesus, “I am ready to go with you both to prison and death!” Luke 22:33-34. Jesus warned Him, “the rooster will not crow today until you deny three times that you know me.” God knows the exact limits of your faith. He knows what you can handle. Our hearts can deceive us (Jeremiah 17:9) Hebrews 3:13. Isaiah 8:20. Isaiah 60:1-2we can have a higher estimate of our faithfulness and trust in God than we should. But God is never fooled. Do not insist that God should put you into something you think you should have. Do not strive to find a position that you think you deserve or can handle. You will put yourself into something that is beyond what your character can manage at this point in your self-image. Let God orient you. Servants wait on the master for whatever instructions the master gives. The servant does not tell the master what kind of position He wants. Another fact is important: waiting on the Lord should not be idle time. Waiting is time for God to mold and shape your character. Do not use human standards to measure the value of your assignment. Any responsibility that comes from the maker of the universe is important. God has been active in our world from the beginning. He is still working. John 5:17Jesus watched to see what the Father was doing. John 5:19-20, then Jesus joined Him and did the same work. He kept watching for the Father’s activity around Him. So, He could unite His life with the Father and the Father’s work. God convicts the world of righteousness. God convicts the world of judgment. When you see someone asking about spiritual matters and any of the above things, then you are looking at God at work. Your Job or work is not just to give you a paycheck. Your Job is an arena in which God wants to use you to influence others for His kingdom. All these people were no accident. They were planned, just as you were. Jeremiah 1:5 in case you forgot. They did not ask to be here, in this time or place. Before creation, God has been waiting for now. So, how do you go ahead? Pray! Only God knows what He has purposed for those around you. He knows what the best way is to carry out His will there. He knows why He has brought these people/Christians together and put them in their current positions. After you pray, watch what Scriptures come into mind. This is why you need your prayer journal with you always. Take note of what people are saying around you. Make a connection! Between your prayer, and your Scriptures, and what happens next. If you do not pay attention to what follows your prayer, you may miss God’s answer. Ask questions! About what is happening in peoples’ lives. Find out what God is doing in their lives. I use the question, “how is God at work around you?” In introductions, or first greetings, all the time. I have had only one person who answered right back. 99% of the time, I get a blank stare. After a minute or two, they will usually say that they have not seen Him. But they do remember it, for a long time, even months later. Usually, the next time they see me, like an “ahh hah.” Try this some time! But do not forget to do the pray, connection, before! ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 33: working where God is at work. Jesus condemned many of the religious leaders of His day for missing the most important part of life: a love relationship with God. John 5:39-40 “you pour over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about me. And you are not willing to come to me that you may have life.” Two factors are important about recognizing God’s activity around us: 1. You must be living in an intimate love relationship with God. 2. God must open your spiritual eyes so that you can see what He is doing. Unless God allows you to see where He is active, you will not recognize what God is doing even though He may be working mightily all around you. What makes sense to us is not necessarily what God has on His agenda. Pray, and watch. We do not first look to see what God is doing around us. When God opens our eyes to see what and where He is working. That is our invitation to join Him. But when we see the evidence of His activity, we do not find it as God’s work. We all have had times when God seems to be in something. That is God. Opening your spiritual eyes. We feel like that was wonderful, but “we don’t know if God wants me to get involved in it or not.” Most of the time, we just let it go by. We do not think about it enough to bring it back to God in praying. We do not look to link it to Scripture/s. By the time you bring it back, it takes too much “time,” to even think about it. If your heart is not sensitive to these times, it passes by (God has passed by, just like Jesus passing by Zacchaeus. If we are not seeking, like Zacchaeus, we, too, will miss our opportunity.) On the other hand, a heart that is sensitive to God at work around us, and prepared through a love relationship with the Father, will be ready to respond to God at the slightest prompting. Remember: Everything is God’s, anyway. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 34: Scripture tells us that there are some things that only God can do. If you are going to join God, you, of course, need to know where He is working. You need to learn to find these things; and when you see them happening, around you, you will at once recognize God’s activity. John 6:44 tells us that no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws Him. People will not seek Him or pursue any spiritual matter unless the Spirit of God is at work in their lives. So … When do we see spiritual matters? Suppose someone around you. A neighbor, or a colleague, or a child, begins to inquire about spiritual issues. Is the coronavirus a spiritual issue? Are racial differences a spiritual issue? You do not have to question whether God is drawing that individual. God is the only one that owns Everything that is going on. Colossians 1:16 if someone asks about something that they are afraid of (Deuteronomy 20:3-4) God is at work. Gideon for example. Threshing wheat in a wine press. To have food for today. The Midianites are stealing Everything. Gideon is not even thinking about an army. He has no skills. Moses. Shepherding His father-in-law’s sheep (at 80yo) never to go back to Egypt. Simon. No fish to catch God is the only one who can draw them to Him. If someone is asking why God is at work. Anyone asking why we have the coronavirus, or their “work” is stopped? All these things are placed here. For God is trying to draw them. Nothing can happen unless God allows it to happen (job 2:1-6) so many people around us are lost. Separated from God! This understanding can give us great freedom (Hebrew meaning of the word, “salvation.”) Watching and praying are two sides of the same coin. Become aware of what is around you. We do not have to use any pressure, or manipulate people into a discussion about Christ, nor do we need them to “decide for Christ.” And that is a problem in our culture today. Riots? No mention of God, or decisions. We cannot assume the role of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit deals with Everyone one-on-one. At a time. The riots would not happen if the individuals have been shown that their lives have a purpose and living a purpose-driven life based on God’s will. (Jeremiah 1:5) Nobody shared around them and nobody prayed for them. (John 9:1-3) How about you? How will the power of God be displayed in your life? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 35: we should not, and cannot, browbeat people into becoming believers. Persistence frustrates unbelievers and drives them further from God. You also cannot convict anyone of their sin. You can pray. You can watch it. To see what only the Holy Spirit can do. And this must be in God’s timing. The following Scriptures describe how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. John 14:15-17John 14:26John 16:8when you are born again; you enter a love relationship with Jesus Christ. God, Himself. God sends the counselor. The Spirit of truth, to take up residence in your life. He is always present. To teach you. In that process, He also convicts you about sin. And the world of righteousness and judgment. Here is what only God can do: God draws people to Himself. God causes people to seek Him. God reveals spiritual truth. God convicts the world of guilt about sin.
Daily Devotional – Day 36: frequently, the reason God’s people miss His activity is that they are not committed to joining Him. They want Him to bless their plans, not adjust to His will. The presence and activity of God in your life will bring a blessing because of your obedience. Do not keep asking God to bless your plans and goals. When you find where God is at work and respond in love to His invitation, you will experience Him at work in and through your life. There is no more wonderful experience than being at the heart of God’s activity. Ask some questions about what God is presently doing in another person’s life. Jesus shows us His example: Nicodemus coming in the night (John 3). The woman at the well. Simon not catching any fish all night. A woman bleeding for 38 years. A paralyzed man at a pool; the list goes on and on. Zacchaeus climbing a tree so He could see. These were all spiritual matters. Do you see how we are “transformed by troubles?” Two factors are important in responding to God’s invitation: 1. When God speaks, He speaks when He is about to carry out His purposes. This is true throughout Scripture. But you must remember that the completion of His work may be a long time off. In His time. Abram’s son was not born for 25 years after God told Him He was going to make a great nation through His descendants. God began adjusting Abram’s life as soon as He spoke to Him. When God speaks to you, through Scripture (by inspiration of the Holy Spirit) and praying that Scripture back in the conversation, and then watching what’s happening, and then what other believers are saying about what is happening, and what the Scripture and prayer were saying. That is worthy of your attention and decision. You need to immediately begin to adjust your life. To Him. 2. What God initiates. Isaiah tells us, “yes, I have spoken; so, I will also bring it about. I have planned it; I will also do it.” Isaiah 46:11 see also 1 Kings 8:56. Likewise, in the new testament, Philippians 1:6. We must recognize when God is the one speaking. I shared that in the message, “tools that help us grow.” When He says something, we can be sure it will be so. God has never yet did not fulfill His word. You can be assured that God will carry out His purposes. Always base your understanding on Scripture. Not opinion, or experience, alone. And do not forget about false prophets. Throughout history, many people have claimed to have a word from the Lord, and then it did not come to pass. Verification of God’s message becomes reality. It is His timetable, not ours. He opens our spiritual eyes to see where He is at work. That is how you will know. More to come, about this… Watch and pray how is God at work, even until now? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 37: Scripture is clear: God speaks to His people. Adam and Eve in the garden. He connected with Noah He conversed with a guy named Abram. He was in Jesus, speaking to His disciples. He spoke to John on the island of Patmos. He is still speaking to His people. Through His Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “until I go, you will not receive the comforter.” Are you having difficulty hearing God’s voice? Do not let anyone intimidate you about hearing from God. John 8:47 if a Christian does not know when God is speaking, that person is in trouble at the core of His Christian life! Hebrews 1:1-2; John 8:47 (above) all through the Bible, God has spoken in various ways. And when He spoke, people knew every time, that it was God who spoke. Moses is a good example (Exodus 3) 1. When God spoke, the way He communicated was often unique to the individual. For Moses, it was a burning bush. It did not burn up. For Gideon, it was threshing wheat. In a winepress; a fleece; a watering hole. God makes our experience with Him and His voice personal to us. He wants us to focus on the relationship with Him, and not on the method. Looking for a method or roll of dice will have us trying to repeat circumstances, and not a love relationship with Him. The key is that He speaks. 2. When God spoke, the person knew for sure it was God. The person listening must have no question that His encounter was with God. “I am” I have spent my adult life sharing my experiences with hearing Him. This is true! God Acts just as He promises He will. You need to document every Bible promise. In writing, so you can come back to it after He has passed by. Remember Moses questioning how the people will believe me that God has spoken to me? Gideon lacked confidence, many times, and God led Him to a verification. Gideon was sure that it was God who had spoken. He still needed added signs, until He knew it was God. 3. When God spoke, the person knew what God said. The bush was the encounter (Moses). The tree was the encounter (Gideon). Fishing was the encounter (Simon Peter). They all knew that they had to obey. To go with God. It required them to adjust their lives, to obey. 4. When God spoke, that was the encounter with God. By whatever means God chooses to speak to you, He will speak through an experience of His presence and His work in your life. He is the only one who can cause you to experience His presence and hear His voice. What does Scripture say (W.D.S.S.)? When you hear, what do you do next? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 38: from Jesus calling, June 19Psalm 5:11 11 but let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defend them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. Ephesians 3:20-21 20 now unto Him, that can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Jude 24-25, Joshua 1:5) “I am the firm foundation on which you can dance and sing and celebrate my presence. This is my high and holy calling for you: receive it as a precious gift.” Glorifying and enjoying the Lord is a higher priority than keeping a tidy, structured life. Give up your attempt to control everything, which is an impossible task and a waste of precious energy. My guidance for each of my children is unique. That is why listening to me is so vital for your well-being. Let me prepare you for the day that awaits you and point you in the right direction. I am with you continually, so do not be intimidated by fear. Though it stalks you, it cannot harm you, if you cling to my hand. Keep your eyes on me, enjoying peace in my presence.
Daily Devotional – Day 39: when Jesus spoke, it was God communicating, through Him, to us. The disciples even spent 3 years with Him and did not know Him. John 14:9-10. God was doing God-sized activities, through Him. The disciples heard God, just as Moses’ heart God, face-to-face. In all, it was in a personal relationship. When Mary Magdalene, or the rich young ruler, or Zacchaeus spoke with Jesus, they were meeting God. The book of Acts is a record of God sending the Holy Spirit to us, to speak to us. Then, until the present, it is still happening. He is all around us. Where we go, He goes. He speaks to others, through His messengers (ambassadors). But…., we live as if God quit speaking to His people. We change our whole mindset. We do not realize that an encounter with the Holy Spirit is an encounter with God. And we walk with Him every day, and every hour. Pentecost to the present. The Holy Spirit takes up residence at our conversion. 1 Corinthians 3:161 Corinthians 6:19. 1 Corinthians 2:16 He is always present. every Christian. He speaks clearly at any time, and in any way He chooses. John 14:16 bp John 16:13. John 14:26. Sin has so deeply affected us (Romans 3:10-11) that we cannot understand the truth of God unless the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. He is the teacher. He teaches us through the word of God. Pray first, for an opening up of His word, to “me.” Then watch your heart, which is where your “teacher” is working. Daily! Then, again, look at what He is doing around you. When He brings someone around you, ask, “how is God at work around you?” The God who is speaking to you, as you pray, and the God who is speaking to you in the Scriptures, is the same God who is at work around you in your day. The God who chose to speak in Scripture illustrates clearly what He is saying to you. You can know clearly what He is saying. Jesus explained, “the one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep… And the sheep hear His voice. He calls His sheep by name and leads them out… I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and they know me.” John 10:2-4, 14 God’s voice is not a method or a formula. It comes from an intimate relationship with Him. Those who do not have a relationship do not hear what God is saying. John 8:47do you not hear? It is of utmost importance! ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 40: how do I know when God speaks? Romans 3:10-11 sin has so affected us so deeply that we cannot understand the truth of God unless the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. He is our teacher. As you pray, how does the word confirm in your heart what God is saying? The Holy Spirit uses Scripture. Observe what He is doing around you. The circumstances of life. The God who is speaking to you as you pray and the God who is speaking to you in the Scriptures is the same God who is at work around you daily. Scripture gives evidence to encourage you at your now. Deuteronomy 20:3-4. Today, not tomorrow. Who is Israel? Who is speaking? When God is speaking to you, you can know He is the one speaking. The Bible illustrates that when God chooses to speak, it is clear what God is saying. So, you can understand clearly what He is saying. Jesus said, “the one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep… And the sheep hear His voice. He calls His sheep by name and leads them out… I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and they know me.” John 10:2-4, 14knowing God’s voice is not a matter of a method or discovering a formula. Recognizing God’s voice comes from a very close, intimate relationship. Those who do not have that relationship do not hear what God is saying. John 8:47 since God will uniquely communicate with you in the intimacy of your walk with Him, your relationship with Him is of utmost importance. When you have not hidden His word/s (Scripture) in your heart (Psalm 119:11) you are right back with Romans 3:10-11. Your prayer is about your relationship. That relationship is about what God speaks. Your now (circumstance) is about God’s Word. You become more and more familiar with God’s voice as you experience this love relationship. You will recognize His voice more and more readily. Some people try to bypass this relationship. Being Under Satan’s Yolk (B. U. S. Y.) (1 Corinthians 2:14) They look for a miracle, or marvelous sign, or set out a “fleece”, or try a formula. To discover God’s will for their life. None of these is a substitute for an intimate relationship with Him. Next time, I will try to review how some well-meaning people try to discern God’s voice. We will use Scriptures to illustrate. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 41: ways well-meaning people try to discern God’s voice: ask for a miraculous sign. The scribes and Pharisees were all the time trying to ask Jesus for a miraculous sign. Jesus condemned them. Matthew 12:38-39. They were self-centered and sinful because they could not recognize that God was at work around them. In their midst. Luke 19:41-44. You do not have to look for proof. We are saved according to our faith. It is still happening all around us. Our self-focus hides it still today. Seek a method. Moses heard from God through a burning bush. Joshua heard from His donkey. How many burning bush experiences have you heard of? How many donkeys speak? What God wants is a living, loving, intimate relationship with us. So that we will depend on Him alone. The “Name it and Claim it Method”. Many well-meaning people will open their Bible to a verse that fits what they want, for now, to use. I have done this one myself, many times. The only thing is that the Holy Spirit needs to reveal which Scripture applies to your circumstance. You cannot force God to speak to you or to reveal the truth by choosing a verse and declaring it to be God’s Word for you. God needs to take the initiative to speak to us in revealing His will. He does it His way. And in His time. If God did speak to you concerning a matter, you need to continue in that direction. For twenty-five years (Abram). If you say you have received a word from God, you are in danger of being a false prophet. But if by faith, believe you have received a word, in God’s time, He will do it. You must just keep going. How long do you think, it was between God speaking to Noah, and the day when all the animals appeared at the door of the ark? Open and closed doors. This is the most popular method. This is not the pattern in Scripture for knowing God’s will. God does use circumstances to speak to us. Simon, fishing all night, was without fish. Jesus, preaching, got into His boat. Why? Adam and Eve had enough to eat. Why this tree? Gideon threshing wheat in a hidden place the Midianites would not think to look. Nathaniel resting under a tree. Why? Throughout all of Scripture, you do not see open and closed doors, to get God to direct people. God meets them in their circumstances and daily living. What we do see in Scripture is that God always gives a direction. On the front end, of an assignment. He reveals only what you need to know, to get to the next step. This one step is all you need to make the necessary adjustments and take the first step of obedience. If you are doing all that God has already instructed, you do not have to worry about how every detail will work out. People do as they please. Then they put the burden on God to rescue them from undesirable consequences. God wants you to recognize His voice. He wants you to invest His time building a relationship with Him. Ask God right now to guide you into such a relationship and commit to yourself to invest the time and effort to know Him better.
Daily Devotional – Day 42: “Jesus calling, “Psalm 5:11 but let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy because thou defend them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. Ephesians 3:20-2120 now unto Him that can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Jude 24-25, Joshua 1:5) I am the firm foundation on which you can dance and sing and celebrate my presence. This is my high and holy calling for you: receive it as a precious gift. Glorifying and enjoying the Lord is a higher priority than keeping a tidy, structured life. Give up you’re striving to keep Everything under control, an impossible task, and a waste of precious energy. My guidance for each of my children is unique. That is why listening to me is so vital for your well-being. Let me prepare you for the day that awaits you and point you in the right direction. I am with you continually, so do not be intimidated by fear. Though it stalks you, it cannot harm you, if you cling to my hand. Keep your eyes on me, enjoying peace in my presence.
Daily Devotional – Day 43: an encounter with Jesus, for the disciples, was an encounter with God. When God spoke to Abraham, Moses, Mary, and many others, those events were meeting with God. In the same way, when you meet with the Holy Spirit, which is an encounter with God, for you. The Holy Spirit has been given to believers. He is the one who guides you into all truth and teaches you all things. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12, you can study the Bible in any great university, and earn a doctorate in biblical studies. But unless the Holy Spirit opens your spiritual eyes to understand even the simplest spiritual truths contained in its pages, you will still not recognize or understand the word of God. You never discover the truth. Truth is revealed! When the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to you, He is not leading you to an encounter with God. That is an encounter with God! When God spoke to Moses, what was Moses’ next move? That was crucial. After Jesus spoke to each of the disciples, what they did next was pivotal. What do you do, after the Holy Spirit speaks? Moses paid a high price for arguing with God. Numbers 12:1-8when God speaks and you hear, and do not respond, a time will come when you will not hear His voice. Not obeying what you hear can lead to a “famine … Of hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:11). Luke 8:5-15 is a parable told by Jesus of the sower and the seeds. Jesus says “therefore, take care how you listen… “Luke 8:18 if you do not apply what you hear, your disobedience will cost you. Make up your mind now that when the Spirit of the Lord speaks, you are going to do what He says. Some of us assume we have the next few months, or years, to think about what God is saying, and to consider whether this is the best timing, to see when we can best fit His instructions into our crowded schedules. But God speaks in His timing. He communicates with His servant when He is ready to move. As God enters the mainstream of your life. The moment He speaks to you. That is the time for you to respond. He has a purpose in mind for your life. He knows exactly what He is doing in and through your life. When God called Abram, He said, “I will bless you, I will make your name great.” Genesis 12:2. That means “I will develop your character to match your assignment.” Many of us do not want to give attention to our character. We just want to get a big assignment from God. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 44: where you are now is no accident! Where you are now, may not be what you are looking for. Many people want to be someplace else. Your plans may not be God’s plans. But … God has you where you are, for Him to use you for His plan or purpose. Do you see how self-centered this attitude is? Human reasoning will not give you God’s perspective. If you cannot be faithful in a little, God will not give you the larger assignment. He may need to adjust your character through small assignments to prepare you for larger ones. He may want to lead you through entirely new experiences. God knows needs far better than you. He knows where you are; only He knows what is coming. And He has you where He can speak to you, to help others, to come to know Him. When you respond in obedience to what He wants, even though this now may not be what you are looking for or expecting, you will come to know Him by experience. This is the goal of God’s activity around you. To come to know Him. “share your master’s joy!” Matthew 25:21 – do not assume every assignment must be from God. You must determine whether it is or not. God is the only one who can tell you that. The most important thing is not to rule out that you can have pre-conceived ideas. Remember. You will know His will through your relationship with God. Don’t bypass this relationship! Many people do not recognize when God comes to them. They are not ready to cut their plans. God has the right to “interfere,” or “interrupt” your life. He is Lord! When you surrendered to Him, you acknowledged His right to help Himself to your life at His prerogative. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 45: needing time to grow. Once God has given you a sense of direction that He is leading, and you have said “yes,” give Him all the time He wants to develop you into the kind of person He can trust with an assignment. Do not assume that you are ready for the call. David. How long was it, after God anointed David as king, that David reached the throne? What was God doing during that time? God was building David’s relationship with Him so that David could lead the nation according to God’s purposes. David did not even know what the outcome would be. Paul. How long was it after Saul heard God speak to Him (he was out doing what Saul wanted to do) on the road to Damascus? How long was it before His first missionary journey? God wanted gentiles, too, to hear about Jesus. God took the time to prepare Paul for His purpose. He needed to be thoroughly prepared for what was coming, and God knew what was coming. Is it for your sake alone that God takes time to prepare you? It is also for the good of those He wants to reach through your life. For their sake, pursue the kind of relationship God wants to give you. When He chooses to work mightily through your life, He will achieve what He wants in the lives of those you touch. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 46: for most of us, at least 7/10 days, when the master has something for us to do, we say, “I am sorry. That is not on my agenda.” If that is the case, what do you think the master would do? Were the disciples like that? They had an encounter with God. Do you think God has changed? God does not give up. He would discipline His servant. I have had several people text me this week, with major signs of distractions, fears, things upsetting for them. When I suggested that God was trying to get their attention, I heard nothing back. I do not think they liked my idea. Sooner or later, the master would no longer come with assignments, and the servant would remain outside of the activities and purpose of the master. Then God is not working in or through their lives anymore. Once God has given you a sense of direction He is leading (did you know that He is doing that?) You must watch to see what that is. You must give Him all the time He wants to develop you into the kind of person He can trust with the assignment He wants to do through you, for others. The moment He calls, you must be ready for the role. God guides specifically! Most people that I know do not journal. In either a prayer journal, or a gratitude journal, or even a life journal. If you do not, you may find it difficult to experience God. I see this around me, in conversations every day. You will not see or hear, God, until He has passed by! No human being is going to (Romans 3:10-12). As time passes by, you cannot see where God is at work, until you see Him working around you. And if you have not kept up an on-going relationship with Him, you cannot see where, or how, He is at work around you (John 5:17). How much do you remember about yesterday? If you did not journal yesterday, journal today, and then compare your next “yesterday.” Okay, how much do you remember about this day a week ago? Then, a month ago? Your mind is not created to hold things, but it is very good at thinking. Especially if you control it. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) you, especially, will not remember thoughts digitally. Nor will you analyze them. Nor will you come back to them later. It is impossible to do this if you have not captured them, as it is happening. Time is never mentioned in the Bible. events are. Look at who God is. Exodus 3. His name is I am. That is, I am now. Suppose Moses had not written this down? God has not changed. How is He at work around you? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 47: God guides specifically. Most people feel that God gave us brains and the Bible and that that is enough to guide us in all our thinking. This implies that Christians are always thinking correctly. The problem with this thinking is that the old nature (the carnal Christian of the disciple’s personality) is constantly at odds with our spiritual nature. (Romans 7) This feeling, or thinking, neglects the important fact that our ways are not God’s ways. Isaiah 55:8. After God spoke to Noah, about building an ark, Noah knew the size, the type of materials, and how to put it together. When God spoke to Moses about constructing a tabernacle, He was specific about the details. When God became flesh, He gave specific directions to His disciples, where to go, what to do, how to respond to people who accepted or rejected their message and were to preach. God called Abram, and said, “go out from your land, your relatives, your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1. Following God’s promise to reveal His plans simply required that Abram obey. God always supplies enough specific directions so that you can do what He wants you to do at that moment. When you need to know more, He will guide you. As time went on, God revealed to Abram that a son would be born to Him. Abram was seventy-five years old when He left Haran, to go to a land that God would show Him, a land that He did not know. As more time went by, God spoke about the number of descendants, the territory His people would inhabit, and that Abrams’ descendants would go into bondage, eventually to be delivered. The Holy Spirit continues to give clear directives today. He will give you unmistakable guidance for your life. You may say, “that has not been my experience.” I know that that has, in the past, been the way I felt. My problem is that until I was led (by God) to start “scribing,” or journaling, did I suddenly notice that I was being led by God all the time. Until you can look back, you will not see what, and when, God had been there all along. And, over time, if you do that, God will more deeply draw you to Him, to build with you, and me, a love relationship of intimacy with Him. So often, we do not relate anything that we are reading in the Bible, to our experiences as time is passing by. Journaling takes time (whose time is it, anyway?) Do you see God at work, in the events, as they happen? Do you relate these events, to Scripture, which was guided by the Holy Spirit? Ah hah! Do you relate each event with your Scripture today, and your prayer, about that Scripture, and your spirit, to the Holy Spirit? Do you pay attention to what other Christians are saying, about Scripture? Then, do you take the time to review and analyze those Scriptures, the prayer/s, the circumstances, others’ words about life-related to biblical words? Most say, “I am too busy.” Being Under Satan’s Yolk (B.U.S.Y.). You are right. You are. What you do not realize, is that this is not your time. God had planned for you to be here -now-for His purpose. Isaiah 55:1-11. Pray and wait. Learn patience. God’s timing. Do not try to skip over the relationship, to get on with the activity. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 48: How can I know whether the word I receive is from God? Is it from me or even from Satan?” Good questions. The problem is what to focus on. Today, everybody is digital, and that is impossible to focus on anything. Again, b. U. S. Y. Being Under Satan’s Yolk (B.U.S.Y.). So, you start first by asking the Lord to raise the level of your experiences to the standard that Scripture presents. It is the word of God. Remember Matthew 28:19? If you have a matter on your mind, you need to get it out of your mind, and captured it on paper, so that you can be prepared to wait on God’s timing. This needs to become a life-time practice. Depend on God’s timing! If you have not received instructions from God on that, or any matter, you need to pray and wait. Watch to see what God is doing around you. That means relationship, and you cannot be occupied with this world, except to find out what He is doing. Don’t try to skip over the relationship to get on with the activity. Satan will try to deceive you and doubt God. But He cannot thwart God’s purposes. So, how do we do that? Waiting involves making things now become things that we can return to be retrievable. God’s things are endless. They are lessons, and they may be little things, but we need to be able to see them after He has passed by. The more intimately aware you are of His activity around you, the easier it is to recognize a fake. When you are sensing a leading of your spirit, you need to be prepared to know if God is the one guiding you. So, you need to understand the ways of God thoroughly; if something does not measure up to God’s ways, turn away from it at once. (Matthew 4; Luke 4) Satan tempted Jesus to take shortcuts. He tempted Jesus to do God’s work, in the world’s way. Jesus refused. He never discussed any of them with Satan; He never argued with Him. He measured Everything against the Scriptures and discarded anything that did not line up with what God had said and done. Remember 2 Corinthians 10:3-5? We are in spiritual warfare! L needs to become very aware of that, immediately. Things seem good, but what does Scripture say (W.D.S.S.)? Like Jesus’ encounter, it sounded very good, and right. It met Jesus’ needs and used God’s power to do it. Jesus knew His mission, and how the Father wanted Him to carry out it. Satan tried to get Him to go a different route, “instant success,” Jesus recalled the assignment His father had given Him and rejected the false counsel. How about you? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 49: Scripture reveals God as a loving father. Isaiah 55:8; Micah 4:2 one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to help us know God’s nature. He (the Holy Spirit) helps us to understand the ways of God. God does not act in the same way people do. And on our own, we will never discover what God intends to do. The Holy Spirit helps believers to understand the purposes of God. But on our own, we will never discover what God intends to do. God must reveal that to us through His Holy Spirit. every time God speaks, God reveals things about Himself: when Abram was 99 years old (that’s after speaking to Him at 75 (gen. 12:5) the Lord appeared to Him, saying, “I am God almighty.” (Genesis 17:1). The Lord spoke to Moses. “speak to the entire Israelite community and tell them: Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” (Leviticus 19:1-2) “I, Yahweh, have not changed … Since the days of your fathers, you have turned from My statutes; you have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:6-7) Jesus said to the Jews, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread He will live forever.” (John 6:51) God unveils His character to help people respond in faith. God found Himself to Abram by the name God almighty. 99 you Abram needed to know God was all-powerful so He could believe God could give Him a son at 100 you. To Moses, God revealed His holy nature. He was holy. God’s people had to believe He was holy, so they would respond by being holy themselves. Their lives depended on it. God spoke to Malachi to inform Israel (his church) that He is unchanging and forgiving. They would be forgiven if they returned to God. Jesus called Himself “living bread” and the source of living an eternal life with God. So, people could respond and receive life/freedom from fear. God makes Himself known to increase our faith so we will obey Him. We must pay close attention to what God reveals about Himself. For example, when did Abram know God was almighty? He knew it in His mind as soon as God said it. But He grew to know the Lord by experience as God almighty when God did something in His life that only God could do. When God gave Him and Sarah a son, Abraham knew God to be almighty. God reveals His purposes. Watch! ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 50: how do we clarify God’s leading? The first need is to trust the Lord to support what He has called us to do. This requires the Church to pray about what God is doing. This kind of prayer requires us to tie our prayer to Scripture. What does Scripture say (W.D.S.S.)? It is rare for people to bring to us, a prayer, with Scripture that speaks about their prayer. And most people that bring prayer, are not asking our whole church to pray specifically, with Scripture, until it is answered. And when they see the answer, they do not bring that back to the pray-errs so that all can praise the Lord for what He has done. God always has far more on His heart to carry out through our lives and churches, than we could imagine. How tragic for us to become so preoccupied with our plans and strategies that we do not even take the time to hear what God intends to do. The Bible is full of examples of people who willingly set aside their plans to follow God’s. Mary is one. Praying, the Lord spoke, Luke 1:37 and Luke 1:28. When God spoke, He did not ask her to tell Him her life goals, or how she intended to glorify God. God’s plans dwarfed anything Mary might have planned for herself. Paul is another. Saul, of Tarsus, has specific plans He intended to carry out for God. He was to hunt down and arrest any Jewish people who had embraced Christianity. But then the risen Christ intercepted Him and revealed what God’s plans were. Saul would share the gospel before some of the most important powerful people in the roman empire. To this day, the world feels the impact of what God did through Saul. The sequence is seen throughout the Bible. Amos 3:7. What God did through Saul was far superior to anything Saul could have set out to carry out. God spoke, to invite Saul, and Mary, to become involved so He could carry out His eternal purposes through them. How about you? Both Mary and Saul had pray-errs supporting them, throughout the whole plan that God had for them. Both knew the Scriptures, and used those Scriptures over time, with pray-errs. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 51: we dream of dreams of what we want to do for God. Then we pray for God to bless our efforts, and to help us carry out our goals. We formulate plans based on our priorities. “after all, we are doing it for Him!” We mobilize fellow believers to make our schemes successful. What is important, however, is what God plans to do where we are, and how He wants to carry out His purposes through us. Here’s what the Scriptures say about our plans and purposes: “the Lord frustrates the counsel of the nations. He thwarts the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation” Psalm 33:10-11. “many plans are in a man’s heart, but the Lord’s decree will prevail.” Proverbs 19:21. If your agenda is not the same as God’s you will not experience God working through you. God reveals His purposes so you will know what He plans to do. That is so that you can join Him. His plans and purposes will not be thwarted. They will succeed. The Lord foils the worldly plans of the nations, but His plans come to pass. Planning is a valuable exercise, but it can never become a substitute for hearing from God. God intends that we follow Him. He expects us to get our directives from Him. He wants to equip us to do the assignment He gives. We tend to forget the need for a daily, intimate relationship with God. We may carry out our aims but forgo the relationship. We can achieve all our goals, but still, be outside of God’s will. God created us for an eternal love relationship. Life is our opportunity to experience Him at work in us and through us, in our world. Planning is not wrong. Just be careful not to plan more than God intends for you to. Again, I almost married the wrong woman. As soon as I asked His opinion of this marriage, He broke the engagement. I have not seen many people that would ask Him His opinion before it happens. The same in doing mission trips. We have just done the most fantastic trip to Kenya, and for one year before the trip, I did not think God wanted us to go. even down to the flight to Kenya. every roadblock I saw coming, He completely cleared, as it came into fruition. The plane from JFK Airport to Kenya was held up what seemed like an eternity, just for us to get there, after being held behind by 3 security checks, during which we had more than an hour, to get through. I told my wife, that we were not going to make the flight. I said, “we are just going to have to go back home. God does not want us to be there.” Guess what happened? The whole airport seemed to stop and take us right through to a delayed plane waiting just for us. It is so wonderful to watch what God does, as He works through and around you. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 52: in all that we do, we. People, churches. Must seek to be on God’s agenda, in all that we do. How do we do that? It does not matter about “church growth models.” Or any other “systems.” We want every person in our whole congregation (our church) to cry out to the Lord and ask Him how He wants to grow His church in our community. Scripture repeatedly, tells us that God is always at work, to carry out His purposes among His people. Christ said that He would build His church. Matthew 16:18. The reason that we have so many splintered, and broken, churches around us is that church leaders have been seeking to impose their plans on God’s people, rather than seeking what God intends to do through them by His amazing power. It is not difficult for every casual, or uninformed, person to see God’s ways and plans as different from those of our plans. God uses kingdom principles to carry out God’s purposes. God’s ways bring cleansing, and forgiveness, and builds people up. His ways are humble. His ways are the way of service and love. God does not simply wait to help us achieve our goals for Him. In His ways. Isaiah 55:8. We will not carry out God’s plans with our methods. Isaiah 53:6 it is foolish to think we can carry out God’s way using worldly methods and values. The world says you should never commit to doing anything you cannot afford. Yet, God says “without faith, it is impossible to please Him. ” Hebrews 11:6. The world values a chain of command. God looks for “blessed are the meek “the world claims that results are important. God values people. When God achieves His purposes in His ways through us, people will come to know God. God will be glorified. People will recognize that what has happened can be explained only by God. He alone will receive the glory! Jesus asked His disciples to feed the multitudes. Their answer? “send them home!” But Jesus, by using kingdom principles, sat the people down, then fed them, and asked the disciples to clean the place up. Twelve baskets were full of leftovers. The people saw a miracle. What would have happened if the disciples had done it their way? They would have left hungry and empty. Instead. They left seeing God display His power to a watching world. By love, His nature, and His power. The disciples watched this kind of display many times while they walked with Jesus. They had to learn to function so, to kingdom principles, to carry out kingdom work. every time we minister to people in our strength, rather than in God’s power, people lose out! ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 53: I am the least of all pastors. But I know in my heart, that I want to honor the Lord. In all that I do. I make many mistakes. I get distracted. But today, I was led, I know, by God, to 1 Samuel 2:30: “I will honor those who honor me, but those who despise me will be disgraced.” Who are those that despise the Lord? Those who do not seek the Lord for guidance, through Scripture. 2 timothy 3:16-17 God speaks to us by the Holy Spirit through His word. As I look back over my mistakes and review the Scriptures, circumstances, and prayers, as well as what other believers are saying, I am so thankful that God has directed me to “write this down.” So, few will do this. Why? They are following the wrong voice. “too b. U. S. Y.” In John 10, Jesus talks about relationships to be like a shepherd and His sheep. When God speaks, He speaks to individuals and we recognize His voice, and follow Him. With Scripture as our guide, God speaks to us in individual ways, so that His people hear and recognize His voice. “for the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. “Hebrews 4:12 He is personally relating to you/me. The Holy Spirit uses the word of God. Which is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) to instruct us, correct us, rebuke us, so that we may be fully equipped for every good work. We can evaluate Everything and not anyone. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 54: Unaided by the Holy Spirit, the ways of God seem foolish to us when aided by the spirit, we can understand all things. When God reveals spiritual truth, to us, through a passage of Scripture, that is experiencing God Himself, working in our life! The Spirit of God knows the mind of God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12. He knows what God is preparing me to do in my life. The Spirit of God then opens my understanding of God’s purposes and His ways. I should take that process extremely seriously. How do you respond? I do take this seriously: I write down the passage of Scripture. This is why I always have my franklin planner with me. I never know when or where I might “hear” Him speak. Believe me, it will not be when I am “ready” or expecting to hear. I need to meditate on this passage. I do not know about you, but my world goes fast; there is always something interrupting or distracting going on. Now that we have phones in our pockets, it is always dinging. Watching others, they are always looking at their phones, even when they are driving cars. I try to immerse myself in the meaning of the passage, which has caught my attention. I need to see why the words are the way they are. I need to be able to come back later and look at other versions, and other aides that others have said about the passage. I also know that if the passage has caught my attention, I must adjust in my life. This takes time. Whose time is this? Also, I need to agree with God, and I commit to take any actions necessary for Him to work in the way He has just revealed to me. As I leave the place of Bible study, I begin to look for ways God will use that truth in my life during this day. Write out, on paper, a prayer response to God. Immediately adjust yourself to God. Watch to see how God uses this truth in your life, this day, and in the next coming days. Take action! Enjoy a fresh experience as He works in and through you. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 55: John 16:8, “And when He has come, He will reprove the world of sin, and righteousness, and judgment.” God wants no hindrance to His love relationship with you. “reprove” means “convince;” He has already come, so He has already convinced us of sin, of righteousness, and judgment. But the world does not hear, because the world does not have a relationship with Him. When we do not adjust and obey, we do not experience Him once God has spoken through His word, how you respond is crucial. You must adjust your life to the truth. Once I know the truth, then the truth applies to me. Then I must agree with God. This is the first step to experiencing God. But … You must respond to that truth. Obedience. Always connect a revealed truth to your understanding of God and your relationship with Him. As you spend time in a love relationship with God, you will come to know His voice. God has already given many messages and commands in the Bible. As you read Scripture, the Holy Spirit will be working to reveal the truth about God, and His purposes, and His plans and ways. When He speaks, you must adjust yourself to the truth revealed, to obey and experience God. Spend time in prayer. Write Scripture down. Why? If you do not, you will pass by, and not “be still, and know that He is God.” You will not see Him. And His glory. Until after He has passed by. You will not examine that Scripture. You will not analyze that Scripture, and you will not think about that Scripture, nor will you apply that Scripture. You will also miss a conversation with God. Conversation involves more than one person. And, since you wrote it down (if you did) the conversation needs to be followed through, over time. Whose time is it? Ask Moses, who was 80 years old, when He first heard the I am, the first time and He did write it down! He also wrote down His answers. Praise the Lord that He did! even down to this day. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 56: (we are cool this morning! A new day! God bless you all, and I hope sleep is getting better for all!) I am weak, and limited, and have lacked. every human is. I did not create this world. Neither did you; but What Does Scripture Say (W.D.S.S.)? (Romans 8:26-27) What happens when you pray? The Holy Spirit already knows what God has waiting for you. His task is to get you to want what God already wants to give you. And what happens when you request things God already wants to give; you will always receive it. Why? Because you have asked according to the will of God. When God answers your prayer, He receives the glory. Your faith is increased, and you have received a fresh experience of God’s love for you. What you get far exceeds what you would have ever looked for on your own. Ephesians 3:20 -how do we know what the Holy Spirit is saying? You know His voice. John 10:4 you must decide if you only want His will. 1 Corinthians 10:4. “for it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose.” Philippians 2:13. Our prayers tend to request for less than what God wants to give us. So, the Holy Spirit needs to raise our thoughts and desires of this world to a higher level. We are so led by the things of this world and the values and thinking of those around us, but God wants to relate to us in a much higher plane. If you are not keeping a spiritual journal or diary, you should start one. When the God of this universe tells you something, it is important enough to write it down. All through Scripture, when God speaks, He says, as Jesus said, “it is written… “and He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Immediately record what He says, and what you see happening, around you. Before you forget! Then, you need to add your prayer response. It would also be important to write how you need to adjust your life to the experience God is relating to you, in the way that He has shown you. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 57: prayer is not a one-way conversation! Prayer is not a reciting of Everything you want God to do for you. It is a two-way fellowship and communication. You speak to God, and God speaks to you. The thing we need to know is that prayer is listening! God already knows what you’re going to tell Him! Jeremiah 33:3. Prayer is not a religious activity, but it is a relationship. Through prayer, you adjust to God; God does not adjust to you. He wants you to pray, but He does not need you to pray. Prayer is for us to hear what God wants to do in our life. During our prayer time. When the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to you, during prayer, He is present and actively working in your life. This is a divine encounter. Here is what is happening. How do you know if you are abiding by God’s will through prayer? God is causing you to want to pray. He is taking the initiative. The Holy Spirit, through the word of God. Is revealing God’s will to you. You pray in agreement with the will of God. You adjust your thinking and attitudes to God’s truth. You look for and listen for. Confirmation or further direction from the Bible. Watch circumstances and other believers. Have your Scriptures (mana) and prayer from today. With you, as you go! Remember that you wrote it down this morning? Psalm 5:3. You obey! God works in and through you to carry out His purposes. You experience Him as the Spirit revealed when you prayed. Praying and reading your Bible are inextricably connected! When I pray, Scripture often reminds me of some text that I need to look up; I believe that my Bible passage was brought to my attention by the Spirit of God! ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 58: we have a divine intercessor! Asking a prayer without Him is one of the greatest Christian-slayers that exists. Romans 8:26-27. The Holy Spirit has a huge advantage over us: He already knows God’s will. And when He intercedes for us, He is in an absolute agreement with God’s will and helps us know the will of God as we pray. When you pray, expect that the Holy Spirit already knows what God has prepared for you. John 16:13. The Spirit does not guide you on His initiative. He tells you what He hears from the Father (by the word of God) and guides you to pray for what He knows the Father wants to do in your life. When I review what I have journaled, and that God has been saying to me when I pray and read His Word, I begin to see what God is telling me about Himself, and His purposes, and His ways. I often see a pattern to what direction the Spirit is leading me to pray. I get a sign of what God is saying to me. You may be asking, “how do I know that the requests I am making/praying are the spirit’s leading, and not my desires?” What do you do before you seek God’s directions? You must come to the point where you have no will of your own. That is easier said than done. But it is possible; the Spirit is eager to help you in this guidance. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 59: if you seek God’s will, the first thing you need to do is deny yourself (Luke 9:23). This means examining your heart to see if any selfish or worldly motives are there. Ask yourself: what is the Holy Spirit saying to me in the Scripture/s I am reading? What is the Holy Spirit saying to me in my prayer? What is the Holy Spirit confirming to me through my circumstances, about what He said, from my Scriptures and my prayer, about those texts? Is the Holy Spirit verifying what He said through what other believers are saying? God will never lead us to do something that contradicts what is written in His word. For instance, God will never lead you to commit adultery, or to stead, or to do anything that goes against His biblical principles. Watch for Him to use the written word to confirm what you are sensing in prayer. Do not play games with God. This means that we do not look for Scriptures that might seem to say what we selfishly want to do and then claim it is God’s will. I know that I have prayed for one thing, and got another, several, or many times. This means that we need to be more aware of ourselves before we pray. Often, I am in a hurry; Being Under Satan’s Yolk (B.U.S.Y.). When I come to pray and do it without searching the Scriptures, to listen before I “speak. ” I have realized that I need to pause, “Lord, if I ever give you a request, and you have more to give than I am asking, please cancel my request! “what’s happening when you pray? I need to ask God to help me understand what He is doing in my life. Could it be, that God is not granting me my request, but is, instead, wanting to do something much greater? God always has far more than I can ask or think. Ephesians 3:20-21. The reality is I cannot even imagine a prayer that comes close to what God wants to do, through me. Would you, or me, rather have what you, or I, am asking, or would we want what God wants, to give? Only God knows what God wants to give. Only the Spirit of God knows what God purposes in our life. So, let God give you all He wants to give. 1 Corinthians 2:10-12. He always knows what is best. Likewise, God wants you to persist in your current praying, and He will confirm that too. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 60: For most of us, when we pray, we never relate our prayer. To what happens next. The next greatest thing you need to do is to pay attention to God’s response. When you pray, anticipate the activity of God. In answer to your prayer. This truth is found through Scripture. When God’s people pray, God responds. Here is what happens if you pray and then forget about what you asked. Unusual things may occur throughout the day, but … You view them as distractions, and you try to ignore or get rid of them. You fail to connect them with what you prayed. When you do not notice what happens next, as being related to what you prayed, you won’t adjust what God is doing. You may expect God to answer, but … You need to stick around for the answer. His timing is right and best. Because of that, His answer may arrive sooner than you expect. As in Scripture, we view our experiences as God being silent. (Genesis 12:10-13 Judges 6:11-13) And so on. Some people say that the reason God is not answering is due to sin in our life. If that is your case, look at Job. Job felt that His relationship with God was on the right terms. Job did not know all that God was doing during these forty-days. They were long, and at the end of this long period, God does show up. There was a reason for all that was happening. We do have to know that God is loving us. We have to keep on reading His word, and look at the word, and adjust our prayers to agree with what the word is saying, knowing that the Spirit of God will help me/you understand what God is doing in my life. The Spirit of God will, in His time, show us. Without a journal, you cannot have a sin checklist. You will not be able to examine yourself fairly. You cannot analyze Scripture, to apply to the experiences of your life, because you do not remember the experiences, nor your prayers, nor the actions God has been taking along those experiences. You need to know “God’s word in your hand and your heart,” by Avery Willis. That tool only becomes effectively used when you can see God after He has passed by. (John 9:1; Luke 5:1-5; 1 Samuel 1) The list goes on and on. Did you get it yet? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 61: proverbs 3:5-6 God speaks through our circumstances. The Word of God is the infallible guide to what we should be doing. 2 timothy 3:16 some people want to rely on the world’s ways, on personal experience, or popular thinking. The Bible needs to be our guide for faith, and experience, and practice. Remarkably, Jesus watched to see His father’s activity in His daily life. John 5:17, 19-20. He did not take the initiative in what He did. Only the Father is the initiator. God had already been working throughout history and was carrying out His purposes in Jesus’ time on earth. When Jesus saw the Father’s activity, that was His invitation to join His father. Jesus never tried to out-guess what God was doing. He did not have to dream up what He could do for the Lord. He watched to see what the Father was doing around Him, and He at once aligned His life that way. It was the Father who carried out His purposes through Jesus. Jesus was mentoring us, to respond in our lives. Of course, as He has promised, when He went to His father, He sent a comforter, His Holy Spirit, as given at Pentecost, and still until now. We are to adjust our lives, just as He did, to our father’s activity. We are to place our lives at His disposal. Where He is working. Around us, so He can carry out His purposes through us. Sometimes circumstances “seem” bad to us. You feel you are in a difficult situation. You may be asking God, “why is this happening to me?” God’s perspective is vital! Joseph needed God’s perspective in His circumstances. He had dreams of greatness when He was a youth (Genesis 37:1-11). His older brothers were so jealous that they wanted to rid themselves of Him. And so, they did. What was joseph thinking during all of this? Can you relate this to your life? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 62: when reviewing all that God had done in His life, joseph declared to His brothers, “you planned evil against me, God planned it for good.” Genesis 50:20 every major experience in His life. Both good, and evil. Could be seen to have a purpose, and to result in good. When we face difficult or confusing circumstances or situations, these can overwhelm us. Suppose joseph had seen these events as “God doesn’t love me,” or “God is not fair.” Have you been in a situation of fear, where, in your prayers, you begin to accuse God of ignoring, or being on vacation, or not paying attention to you? According to Scripture. God’s Word. This never happens. God has wisdom; God has loved, beyond your imagination. It is for each of us, one-on-one. What should you do? First, ask God to show you His perspective on what is happening. Look back (you cannot look back on different points of activity if you did not write them down, as they were happening. Daily). When you face a troublesome time, the Holy Spirit will take the Scriptures and help you understand the event from God’s perspective. He will reveal to you the truth of your circumstances. Then, you can adjust your life and think about what God is doing. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 63: when reviewing all that God had done in His life, joseph declared to His brothers, “you planned evil against me, God planned it for good.” Genesis 50:20 every major experience in His life. Both good, and evil. Could be seen to have a purpose, and to result in good. When we face difficult or confusing circumstances or situations, these can overwhelm us. Suppose joseph had seen these events as “God doesn’t love me,” or “God is not fair.” Have you been in a situation of fear, where, in your prayers, you begin to accuse God of ignoring, or being on vacation, or not paying attention to you? According to Scripture. God’s Word. This never happens. God has wisdom; God has loved, beyond your imagination. It is for each of us, one-on-one. What should you do? First, ask God to show you His perspective on what is happening. Look back (you cannot look back on different points of activity if you did not write them down, as they were happening. Daily). When you face a troublesome time, the Holy Spirit will take the Scriptures and help you understand the event from God’s perspective. He will reveal to you the truth of your circumstances. Then, you can adjust your life and think about what God is doing. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 64: you cannot understand the truth of your circumstance until you have heard from God. In Exodus 5-6, Moses did what God told Him to do. He asked Pharaoh to release the Israelites. But Pharaoh refused, and, made things worse for them. This made the Israelites turn against Moses. What would you have done if you were in Moses’ place? Would you have gotten mad at the Israelites when you intended to do the right thing for them? Or would you have become mad at God, for your listening to Him since this only aggravated the problems? Moses took it back to the Lord. Exodus 5:22-23) “Lord, why have you caused trouble for this, your people?” Moses was ready to quit (Exodus 6:12) from God’s perspective, He wanted His people to come to know Him by experience. As the great I am. For them to learn this, they had to see a greater measure of God’s power when He delivered them! We need to learn from this example. When we face circumstances that make us want to blame God for what He is doing, we need to not quit following Him. We need to learn to wait upon the Lord (Psalm 25:3-5) before we can learn this, you need to already have your life firmly anchored in God. The most difficult thing for you to do, in all your life. Matthew 16:24. Remaining God-centered. Until you make a habit of recording the days of your life and recording your prayers and Scriptures, your attitudes, your thoughts. Everything about your day. You will not see Him, His purposes, His ways because you are too self-centered. You will not see from God’s perspective. You will not see God’s will. He has every right to bathe initiator in your life the focus of your life the director of your life that is what it means for Him to be Lord. Boss of your life! ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 65: you might get mad at your church and God, for God asking you to do something you intend is the right thing to do. Israel got mad at Moses after Moses asked Pharaoh to let God’s people go. The Pharaoh, in turn, made their labors worse. Exodus 5-6. The human tendency is to assume that you made a mistake, or that you missed God’s will. You also might get mad at your world if they are ungrateful for your good intentions. Moose blamed God. He accused God of not doing what God had asked Him to do. We would have done the same thing. Or at least most of us. Moses explained it that way. “Lord, why have you caused so much trouble for these people?” We need to hear the truth! The Holy Spirit is going to talk to you about a person. Jesus Christ! Truth is a person! Remember? “I am … the truth…” John 14:6 the disciples were in a boat when a terrible and terrifying storm arose (Mark 4:35-41). What is the truth about this situation? If you asked the disciples in the boat in this storm what is the truth about this storm, what would be your answer? “we perish!” The truth was He was asleep in the back of the boat. In a moment, Himself, would stand up and calm the storm. At that moment, they knew the truth of their circumstance/s. The person of truth is always present in your life. We cannot know the truth of any circumstance until we have heard from God, through Christ, through the Holy Spirit. Consider this circumstance: Luke 7:11-17. What is the truth of this circumstance? Now my son is dead, and I have no one to take care of me. So, what is the circumstance? The truth was standing right there! In front of her. When He reached out and touched her son, everything changed. The people “marveled” at what they had seen. Never determine the truth of any situation. Until you have heard from Jesus. He is the truth of every circumstance. Again, Jesus is surrounded by more than 5000 hungry people (John 5:1-15). He wanted to feed them. Jesus asked Phillip and the disciples about the truth of the situation. “we can’t do that!” It is impossible! We know the rest of the story. So, would not it be better if we trust God with the other half of our story? Does God (do you think) test our faith, as He did with Phillip? In our case, we are having a “budget” meeting today. Do we trust God with our situation? Truth stands in the middle of our condition or situation. He stands in the middle of our church; He is the center of our body. He is the head of the Church! “I will never give you a command for which I will not release the power to enable it to happen. “trust me! Obey me! What is your faith? What’s the truth? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 66: the place to start with all your heart. “Lord, whatever I know to be your will, I will do. Regardless of the cost and regardless of the adjustment, I commit myself to follow your will. No matter what that looks like, Lord, I will do it! “you need to commit to that before you seek God’s will. Otherwise, you do not mean “thy will be done.” Instead, you are saying, “thy will be done as long as it does not conflict with my will.” Two words in the English language cannot go together: “no, Lord.” If you say “no,” then He is not your Lord. If He is your Lord, your answer must always be “yes.” In any decision-making, do not go ahead until you can honestly say, “whatever you want of me, Lord, I will do it.” If He says to memorize a Scripture, what will you do? (Psalm 119:11) if He says to record His events, around you, do you have time; are you ready? (“as it is written …”) When Israel crossed the Jordan river into the promised land, God gave Joshua the following instructions: “choose 23 men from the people, one man for each tribe, and command them, “take 12 stones from this place in the middle of the Jordan river where the priests’ feet are standing, carry them with you, and set them down at the place where you spend the night.” Joshua 4:2-3. These stones were to serve as a monument for the Israelites. Joshua explained, “this will be a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘what do these stones mean to you?’ you should tell them, “the waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the Ark of the Lord’s covenant. When it crossed the Jordan, Jordan’s waters were cut off.’ therefore, these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites” Joshua 4:6-7. The stones were to be a visible reminder of God’s mighty act in providing for His people. Throughout Old Testament times, others also build altars or set up stones as reminders of significant encounters with God. These altars and stones were physical markers of great Spirit encounters with God. They supplied opportunities for parents to teach their children about God’s activity around them. We need to do the same thing. When we note in writing today, we need to be able to get back and see what God has been doing, around us. We need to look back at these spiritual markers in our lives. We need to be able to show others clearly the directions God has faithfully directed our life. Then you can see yourself, God’s will in your life. When we face options for a decision, we need to review our spiritual markers. Do not take the next step until you have seen the context of God’s full activity around you, in your events. You can see from God’s perspective from your past encounters with God, up to the present. Which of my options is most consistent with what God has been doing already? Then you need to pray and then wait for God’s guidance and timing. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 67: what are prayer and spiritual awakening? It is very important. To our world and lost. Separated. Peoples’ relationship with God. As disciples, one of our highest purposes in being here at this time is not just to become a disciple. Learner. But a witness. That means we give our testimony at any moment, in all places. So … How do we do that? My spiritual markers began before I was even born. Jeremiah 1:5 when we accept His call to us, we accept His location for us to be. He places us in His field (Garden of Eden). It is our choice to follow Him there, or not. Once we agree to that, we agree to watch to see what He is doing around us. We will not see that without attention to what God is doing around us. Now is when? What is time? If time is the occurrence of events, one after another, then what are those events? When will we see God in those events? After they occur! So … What happens if we do not capture our events? To obey God, we must immediately adjust our life (time) (events) to what the Holy Spirit is saying through God’s Word/s and our prayer/s and our circumstances. events. And adjust our values, and then our plans to His plans and purposes. Spiritual markers in my life (and your life) will show up just like the stones were captured and placed where God is revealing Himself, in our lives. As time. events. Occur, we need to be able to come back to those events, to see what God is doing along His his-story. After prayer and confirmation in the word and by other believers we can accept His call. We can adjust our lives to His work in our time (events/life). This Job brings together things God has been building into our lives for decades, and then forever. God has always used circumstances to reveal to Jesus and all those recorded in the Scriptures to reveal where He wanted to involve them in His work. God will also use circumstances to reveal His directions to you. However, you must check these against what God says through the Scriptures, prayers, and other Christians. Reviewing your spiritual markers is very important. When God is ready for you to take a new step or direction, it will agree with what He has already been doing in your life. Sometimes, you may find yourself in difficult or confusing circumstances, like our present circumstances. To understand these circumstances (events) God’s perspective is vital. Never determine the truth (what is that?) Of your situation by focusing on the circumstances. You cannot know the reality of any situation until you have heard from God. Start developing a list of your spiritual markers. Add to it as you reflect (after capturing) and pray (capturing) and see God’s activity in your life. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 68: God never adds members to a church by accident. 1 Corinthians 12:18. And when He does add someone to our church body, it is my responsibility to see what God is doing when He brought them/him/her to our congregation. All of us can see God’s activity in this family. Ephesians 4:15-16 when God honors us by placing a new member in the body, we need to ask Him to show us what He is up to. Then we need to share what we sense of God’s activity. God speaks through the members of His body to help others know and understand God’s assignment. Would you try to ignore the conflict between body parts, in your body, and hope it would pass? Would you take a vote of all your body parts/members, and let the majority rule? Would you trust your eyes, and keep on walking since sight is an extremely important sense? God gave our bodies many different senses and parts. When each part does its Job and when each part pays proper attention to the others, the whole body works the way it should. A church is the body of Christ. It functions best when all its members can share what they sense God is doing and saying. Members of a congregation cannot fully know God’s will for their lives apart from the testimony of other members. A church needs to hear the whole counsel of God through its members. Then it can go ahead in confidence and unity to do God’s will. Many Christians today feel that their walk with God is private and independent. They see no need for joining a church or making themselves accountable to other believers. Some view the Church in terms of how it can help them carry out their ministry personally, rather than looking for how their lives fit into the larger work the Lord is doing in their congregation. Our walk with God is indeed personal, but it is not private. Sin makes us independent. Salvation makes us inter-dependent on one another. Scripture teaches that the Church is a body in which each member is vitally important to the others. 1 timothy 2:5-7) the Church is God’s redemptive agent in the world. He is at work carrying out His purposes and places every member in a church to carry out His purposes through each congregation. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 69: Jesus Christ is present, is the head, of every local church. Ephesians 4:15. every member is placed in the body. As it pleases God. 1 Corinthians 12:18. The Holy Spirit manifests Himself to every person for the common good 1 Corinthians 12:7, and the whole body is fitted together by the Father. Then the body functions as Christ leads until every member becomes spiritually mature. Ephesians 4:13. Believers need each other. What one member lacks, others can supply. Members are enabled and equipped by the Holy Spirit to function where the Father has placed them in the body. What God is doing in and through the body is essential to my knowing how to respond to Him. I make the necessary adjustments and put myself there too. I let God use me in any way He chooses to complete His work. This was Paul’s goal: “we proclaim Him, warning and teaching Everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present Everyone mature in Christ.” Colossians 1:28. Paul constantly urged all believers to become vitally involved with His life, and ministry. The effectiveness of Paul’s ministry rested on them. Colossians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2; Ephesians 6:19, how will the Church help you to know God’s will? We must keep a relationship with Him. We must be ready to do whatever He asks me to do. We have to be attuned to what God is saying and doing in the body. “you direct me to do with your body, I will do. I am your servant for your purposes! “if the members of the whole body are not sharing what they sense God is doing, the whole body is in trouble! Take seriously your role to help other believers in the same way. Then wait and see!” ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 70: Jesus did not heal every need that was around Him. Often, we see every need around us, and then try to meet as many as possible. And one individual is not the Church. So… How do we find clear direction, from the whole body of believers? There have to be several things that line up. What are you hearing from Scripture, and prayer, and circumstances, and the body of believers (the Church) with all pointing to the same thing? When you do, you can proceed with confidence. To see these things, you will only see them after they have passed by. You must have written them down in a trusted place, where you can retrieve them easily, and quickly. It may be that things line up after much time has passed. If it was not worth the time, at the time, then you have a relationship problem. Sometimes, you may feel that our church does not care. You may say that the Church does not help me to know God’s will. Be careful! When you say this, you are saying more about your opinion of God than about your church. You are saying that God cannot work through these people. You are placing yourself in danger of isolating yourself from the counsel of God’s people. Trust God to give direction through other believers. Listen to anything the Church says to you. Turn to them for advice on major decisions. Let God confirm what His message is for you. We could not adjust our lives to God if we did not know what He is saying. Each member should be given an opportunity and encouraged to share as God guides them to share and not judge another. Relating what God is doing in their life and what God is doing in your life brings you experiential and practical awareness of Christ’s presence and guidance in our midst. When God is causing a person to share with the body, then others may feel more comfortable with sharing with other believers, too. God speaks to His people by the Holy Spirit. He can speak in any way He chooses, but the most common way will be through Scripture, and prayer, and circumstances, and the body of believers. Each believer is interdependent with all the others to function correctly in that body. You cannot fully know God’s will for the involvement in the body of Christ apart from the counsel God provides through other members. All the members of the body belong to each other, and they need each other. Pray for our church and the way God works in and through our members to help believers to understand God’s call. Gather and pray for each other in our church. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 71: when God invites us to an assignment, it always leads to a crisis of belief. Hebrews 11:6. Have we set a budget that we feel we can do, without God working through it? Then we are not planning to do something that only God can do. God does not get glorified. So … How did we plan our budget? Did we plan according to our pledges and previous giving? Did we consider what others have promised to do to help us? Did we give any consideration to depending on God to provide? That is not how the early church, in Scripture, worked. In their case, they always, as a whole body, prayed unceasingly until God did something that only God could do. They did not try to dream up what they might want to do. They did not try to dream up what they might think that God wanted them to do. They watched what was happening around them, and prayed about those things that were happening, and searched the Scriptures to see what God was speaking about, in their circumstances. Do we believe that what we see happening around us, is God testing us to see if we have faith to “step into the waters?” If we don’t, we won’t. Anytime God leads you to do something that has God-sized dimensions, you will face a crisis of belief. This is always present in every Bible story from Genesis to Revelation. We still don’t have faith in our circumstances today. And our churches, especially, don’t have any more faith than those who do not believe. “as we give, so shall ye receive.” Does our church set out to do only what we think we can afford and then wait to see if God “might” supplement our income? Settling on a budget that we know we can do, does not bring glory to God; especially to those who do not believe. People in our community watch to see that our church can only do what anybody can do. God does not just “show up” to them, nor us. As Jesus walked by, nothing changed. The only time it changed, was when someone around Him knew He could change their condition. They sought Him first. As they approached Him, He always asked them, “what do you want me to do?” And they would tell Him that they knew that He could if He would choose, and He did. Is He the living Christ, today? Has He changed? Have your “diseases” changed? Maybe. Maybe not. Thou knowest! ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 72: God’s will = a turning point. God always presents a God-sized assignment. When God invites you to join Him in His work, it will be obvious you cannot do it on your own. If God doesn’t help, you will fail. This is the crisis point at which many people decide not to follow what they sense God is leading them to do. Then they wonder why they do not experience God’s presence, power, and activity the way other Christians seem to have. The word. “crisis,” comes from a Greek word that means “decision.” The same word is used for “judgment.” We are not talking about a calamity in your life, such as an accident or a death. “crisis” is not a disaster or a bad thing. It is a “turning point or a fork in the road that calls for a decision.” You must decide what you believe about God. every crisis of belief has these characteristics: an encounter with God requires faith. encounters with God are God-sized. What you do in response to God’s invitation reveals what you believe about God. true faith requires action. All through Scripture when God revealed Himself the response of the listener required faith. Here’s what God says about faith: faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. Hebrews 11:1 we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 “the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And He will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12 “for I assure you: if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 Paul said, “my speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and power so that your faith might not be used on men’s wisdom but God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 if you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all. Isaiah 7:9 Faith is the confidence that what God promised will come to pass. Sight is the opposite of faith. If you can see clearly how something can be accomplished, faith is more than likely not required. If our church has chosen to operate on a budget based on what we know we can accomplish, faith is not needed or necessary. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 73: Christians have a natural tendency to try building a life in which faith is not necessary. Unbelievers do, too. We create our comfort zone where Everything is under our control. But this is not pleasing to God. He is Lord which means “boss.” Not us. God allows things into our lives that drive us to depend upon Him. If we don’t see Him at work around our events (which He allows) we will not see His power and His glory. Faith is not an idea. Nor a concept. Faith is centered on a person a relationship with God. Himself. Our generation promotes a dangerous concept that encourages people to “have faith.” In this abstract doctrine, we “pursue a faith.” Faith itself becomes our pursuit it is an act of believing, and we have a “pursuit” and an act of believing but this is un-biblical. Faith is only valid if it is focused on God and what He says He is purposing to do. Jesus said, to His followers, that “if you have faith in God, you will do even greater things than He has done.” Our faith has to be based on God’s power, and not on human wisdom. We will stumble and fall, without a firm faith in the Lord. In His power, Moses could never have delivered the Israelites from Pharaoh and His army. In His power, Moses and the Israelites could not have crossed the red sea on dry land. In His power, Moses could not have provided water from a rock, for 3 million people, nor furnish bread and meat to all those people, in a wilderness. Moses had to believe that God, who called Him, would do the things He said He would do. Joshua could not take the Israelites across the Jordan river on dry land, or bring down the mightiest city walls of Jericho, or defeat heavily armed enemies. Only God could do those things. Joshua had to have faith that God could do those things. On their own, the disciples could not feed the multitudes. They could not heal the sick until powered by faith in Jesus. They could not raise the dead. But God could and did these very things through them. When God lets you know what He wants to do through you, it will be something that only He can do. What you believe about Him will determine your response. If you have faith, you will obey. If you lack faith, you will not do what He wants. And that is disobedience. Jesus questioned those around Him, “why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say?” Luke 6:46. Jesus frequently rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith. Their unbelief revealed that they had not come to know who He was. Thus, they did not know what He would do. When God calls a person to join Him in a God-sized event, faith always reveals a lack of faith. Disobedience reveals a lack of faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6. Without faith, a church cannot please God. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 74: we think we have to accomplish God’s assignment in our power and with our current resources. When God speaks, what He asks of us requires faith. We face the same crisis of belief that the people in the Bible experienced. Our major hindrance to obedience is our self-centeredness. We think, “I can’t do that! That is impossible!” In other words, we lack faith. We forget that when God speaks, He always reveals what He is going to do not what He wants us to do for Him. We are not called upon to accomplish the task by our ingenuity, our ability, or our limited resources. We join Him so that He works through us. He is going to bring to pass what He purposes. With faith, we can proceed confidently because we know He is going to bring to pass what He purposes. “with men, it is impossible, but not with God because all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27God wants the world to know Him. They will know His nature when they see it expressed in His activity. People will come to understand what God is like when they see Him at work. Some people believe God will never lead a church to attempt something they cannot afford. Others believe that God will not do something outside their giftedness. I know I was like that when I came to preach at Jonesboro Baptist church. And still, others do not believe God can ask them to do something they are afraid of doing. If people are going to see God at work, they must witness more than just “Christians” doing the best they can. People must see God at work in Christians’ lives. God will often tell people to do mundane things. Making a stew or dinner is not miraculous. But when we do things God’s way, we always exalt Christ. But Scripture indicates to us that God will ask us to attempt things that are impossible apart from divine intervention. Most church people believe this is irresponsible! When God accomplishes things that can only be explained by God, we provide a powerful witness to God’s presence and guidance. This church has had that happen over and over again. But we still only do what we can accomplish on our own. Throughout the whole Bible, God demonstrated His nature, His strength, His provision, and His love for His people and a watching world. Those who saw God work powerfully through His people showed what God is truly like. God-sized assignments: Abram to father a nation, when He had no son, and Sarah was way past the age to bear children. Moses freed slaves from the most dominant and powerful ruler known. To cross the red sea on dry land; and more. Gideon a most inept farmer, defeat a massive dominating army of thousands. A young, woman, from Nazareth, of all insignificant places, virgin to give birth to a messiah. A carpenter to feed multitudes and to make disciples of all nations. Not one of these people could do any of these things, on their own. When God’s people and the world see something happen that only God can do they come to know God! People come to know God! ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 75: God directed the Israelites to camp beside the red sea. From a military perspective, this encampment was utterly foolish, because it allowed no escape route from a pursuing Egyptian army. God knew what He was doing. God said, “I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all His army, and the Egyptians will know that I am Lord.” Exodus 14:4. What were the results? “when Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and believed in Him and His servant Moses.” Exodus 14:31. The Israelites had to step into the Jordan river, at the flood stage. Why? “this is so that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord’s hand is mighty, and so that you may always fear the Lord your God.” (Joshua 4:24) A vast army came to war against Israel. King Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast and led the people to seek God’s counsel. He prayed, “our God … We are powerless before this vast multitude that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to you.” 2 Chronicles 20:15, 17 Jehoshaphat sent a choir in front of the army, singing praise to God for His enduring love. Again, as a military strategy, this would have appeared suicidal. But God destroyed the invading army before Jehoshaphat and Israel even arrived at the battlefield. Then, “the terror of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.” 2 Chronicles 20:29 (remember 2 Chronicles 20:3-4) Remember 3 guys named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? Daniel chapter 3 what our world sees are devoted Christians serving God to the best of their ability. But what they don’t see are witnesses of anything happening that can only be explained in terms of God’s activity. Why? Because we are not attempting anything that only God can do. Our world is not attracted to Christ because we don’t allow them to see Him at work. They don’t hesitate to attack the Christian position on morality because they have no fear of the God we serve. “that’s fine, but that’s not my thing.” They don’t want to become involved because they are merely seeing people at work, not God. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 76: how do people see God at work? The world is not attracted to Christ because we don’t allow them to see Him at work around us, and them. The world does not hesitate to attack Christians and morality because they have no fear of God. They see us doing good things for God, and say, “that’s fine, but that’s not my thing.” They pass on by, not wanting to become involved because they see us as seeing merely people at work, not God. Christ cannot be lifted just in words. Our lives must be changed. When God is at work, God will attract people when peoples’ lives are changed. When the world sees things happening through God’s people, that cannot be explained except that God Himself has done them, then people will be drawn to God. We are seeing that right now, around us. The prayer march in Washington, dc. The supreme court being changed by none other, than God. The pandemic global a chance to see God at work. There are no accidents. God got nebuchadnezzar to declare that God was the one true God. The world comes to know God when they see God’s nature through His activity. God accomplishes something only He can do, and both God’s people and the world come to experience Him in ways they have never known Him before. That is why God gives God-sized assignments to His people. God is working around us. The problem is, will we see where God is working around us, and join Him? Not much is going to happen, around us. Either. As long as we remain focused on a lack of resources, not much is going to happen, and not many people are going to be drawn to God. This is the very situation that God wants us in so that He can be glorified. The world is not going to be attracted to a church that is not responding to God and pursuing things only God can accomplish. We are not exercising faith. Hebrews 11:6 people around us will not respond to the gospel the way they did in New Testament times. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 77: joining God requires faith and action. 1 Samuel 16: 12-13 tells us God chose David He led Samuel to anoint Him when David was about 5 years old to become the next king of Israel. Then God brought David into the middle of His activity. Saul was still king, and the Israelites were at war with the Philistines. David did not come to the throne immediately. While He was still a young man, David’s father sent Him to His older brothers in the army, to take them some food. When He arrived, the whole army was terrified by a nine-foot giant. David faced a crisis of belief. He had to recognize that God had brought Him to the battlefield and had prepared Him while facing giant bears and animals when tending innocent sheep. So, He stated His belief. 1 Samuel 17:37 David refused the normal weapons of warfare (see 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). He took His sling, which He was used to using, and picked 5 smooth stones. He stated to this one man, 1 Samuel 17:45-47. This indicated His belief God was His deliverer. He acknowledged that God was almighty, and God would defend Israel (remember that “Israel” in Old Testament is Jesus’ church). Many thought David was a foolish young boy. Goliath even scoffed at Him. God is powerful and can deliver His people from whatever they face. God promised Abram to make Abram’s offspring as numerous as the stars. Nothing happened for over twenty-five years (Abram was seventy-five years old when God promised Him). God reaffirmed Abram later (Genesis 15), but Sarai decided she would build that family differently. And Abram joined Sarai in trying to achieve God’s purpose in human ways. Did Sarai’s actions reveal what she believed about God? Did she believe God could do the impossible? Her human reasoning brought so much trouble and unhappiness that it still is here today. Extremely costly! And much grief in their old age. Actions speak! ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 78: Abram questioned God about His promise to make Abram’s offspring as numerous as the stars. He remained childless in His old age. But God re-affirmed His promise: “one who will come from your own body will be your heir … “Genesis 15:4. And “Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to Him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:6 Sarai knew she was past child-bearing years. She decided she would have to build a family differently. She gave her maid to Adam, as a wife. She picked her out. She asked for a child through her. And Abram consented. Sarai’s actions indicated what she believed about God. Abram joined her in trying to achieve God’s purpose in human ways. Do you see how Sarai’s actions reveal what she believed about God? She lacked the faith to believe that nothing is impossible for God. She believed that, due to her age, nothing was going to be possible. Remember? The promise had come decades before, and nothing was happening. Her faith in God was limited by her human reasoning, and this act of unbelief was extremely costly. Ishmael caused Abram and Sarai much grief in their old age. And what’s more Ishmael and His Arab descendants have lived in hostility toward Isaac and His descendants from that time until today. When God invites you to join Him, you will face a crisis of belief. What you do next reveals what you believe about God. When two blind men proved that they believed Jesus was merciful and that He was the messiah, Jesus healed them according to their faith. Matthew 9:27-31. A woman who had been hemorrhaging for years believed that just a touch of Jesus’ garment would allow His healing power to flow to her, she risked public ridicule to experience Jesus’ healing power. She acted in faith. Matthew 9:20-22 the disciples were caught in a storm at sea. Jesus rebuked them, not for their human tendency to fear, but for their failure to recognize His presence, protection, and power. Matthew 8:23-27. Their actions revealed their unbelief rather than their faith. When the storms of life overtake us, we often respond as if God does not exist or does not care. When a centurion sought Jesus’ help to heal His servant, He said, “only say the word, and my servant will be cured.” Matthew 8:8 Jesus commended His faith in His authority and power, and He healed the servant because of the faith of His master. (Matthew 8:5-13) in each of these examples, what people did indicate to Jesus their faith; it also reveals what we believe about God. “for just as the body without the Spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” ~James 2:26 ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 79: Hebrews 11 “the roll call of faith” those who took actions that demonstrated faith. Notice that a faithful life does not always bring rewards in human terms. Some describe victory, deliverance. Others describe torture, mockery, even death. Were any of these more faithful than others? Hebrews 11:39, then Hebrews 12:1-3 a faithful servant is one who does what the master says, no matter what the outcome. Jesus endured the cross but now is seated at His father’s side. What a reward for His faithfulness! Do not grow weary! Jeremiah 29:11-13. Going with God requires us to adjust our lives, to be involved in His activity. God loves you. He created you, He has plans for how He wants to work, through you. When He does, He gives you a God-sized assignment. When you are confronted with such a task, you will face a crisis of belief. You will have to decide what you believe about the God who calls you. The way you respond will reveal what you believe regardless of what you say. Following God requires faith and action! Without faith, you cannot please God! Hebrews 11:6. And, without action, your faith is dead. James 2:26 pray and don’t forget to write down your prayer and make it retrievable. Lord, enable me to walk by faith, even if the outcome matches the last half of Hebrews 11, rather than the first half! What do you know about your present walk with God? What does it reveal about what you believe about Him? What’s the evidence of God at work? You won’t see Him until He has passed by. Can you see Him already, through your life? Who else might see God at work around you and them? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 80: many of us want the excitement of God working through us, and around us, but… We are loath to make any major adjustments so that He will. We want God to speak to us and lead us in His will. In Scripture, every time God speaks to people about something He wants to do, they have to realign their lives in some way. “if anyone wants to come with me, He must deny Himself, take up His cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever wants to save His life will lose it, but whoever loses His life because of me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24 when God’s people are willing to take the necessary actions, God accomplishes His purposes through those He calls. The first thing we need to realize is that to go with God, you must believe God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. It is going to be a crisis of belief. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. This is a critical point! The second critical point: adjust your life to God. It is a choice. You choose to make the adjustments before going on in obedience. If you refuse, you could miss what God has in store for your life. You can’t stay where you are and go with God. When God speaks revealing what He is about to do that Revelation is your invitation to adjust your life to Him. I can’t! But He can! I must adjust my heart and my mind to Him, and His ways, and His purposes. You can’t continue “business as usual” or stay where you are and go with God at the same time. This truth is evident in the Scriptures. You might ask, “where’s the Revelation?” What’re your circumstances when? Now! Deuteronomy 20:3-4 “today!” “hear, o Israel”. Israel was not going into battle that day. It was a sabbath day a day of rest. Moses was preaching a sermon. The chain of command had not changed. Suppose that day, this was not captured? It was just an ordinary day. Just like any other. How was this message “captured”? We have it now because someone did capture it. Two weeks later, how much do you think that those who heard it, would have remembered that day, after two weeks? How about the day a week after you were born? Does anyone remember? Let’s see “this is the day the Lord has made… “what was that day, and who rejoiced in it? In terms of Jeremiah 1:5, “before you were even conceived in the womb, I knew you!” “I have plans for you. “what day was that? Do you get the gist of how important it is, for us to “capture” events today? How do “ordinary” things happen? We pray, “thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. “What’s happening on earth? Now? Noah could not continue life as usual, and build an ark, at the same time (Genesis 6) Abram could not stay in Ur, or Haran and father a nation in Canaan (Genesis 12:1-8) Moses could not stay on the backside of the desert herding sheep and stand before Pharaoh at the same time (Exodus 3) Rahab could not obey the king and save the lives of three spies (Joshua 2:1-24) ruth could not remain with her relatives and join the people of God in Israel (Ruth 1:16-18) David had to leave His sheep to become a king. (1 Samuel 16:1-13) Amos had to leave His sycamore orchard to preach in Israel. (Amos 7:14-15) Jonah had to leave His home and go against what He had been taught to preach in Nineveh. (Jonah 1:1-2; 3:1-2; 4:1-11) Esther could not remain silent before the king and save her people. (Esther 4:14) Peter, Andrew, James, and John had to leave their fishing business to follow Jesus Matthew had to leave His lucrative tax-collecting Job to follow Jesus (Matthew 9:9Saul had to completely change direction for God to use Him to preach His gospel to the gentiles (Acts 9:1-19) enormous changes and adjustments were required whenever God’s people determined to obey His calling. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 81: each one of those we have recorded in Scripture learned that adjusting their lives to God is always well worth the cost. They had to leave behind life goals, ideals, and desires. Everything had to be yielded to God and their entire life adjusted to Him. God accomplished His purposes through them. Matthew had to leave a very lucrative tax-collecting Job to follow Jesus. Matthew 9:9 you may be thinking that God will not ask you to make any major adjustments. But Scripture most certainly requires changes of His people. 2 Corinthians 8:9. If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, you have no choice. Luke 9:23 you must go where He goes. Your greatest difficulty in following God may come to this point. We tend to want God to adjust to us and our plans. We want to obey God, but only on our terms! Isaiah says, “for as the heaven is higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9. The rich young ruler wanted eternal life, but He could not bring Himself to pay the price Jesus asked. Luke 18:18-27. Jesus said, “you cannot serve two masters…” (Matthew 6:24). The Lord knows what is in each of our hearts, which hinders us from fully giving ourselves over to following Him. Ephesians 5:5 says greed is a form of idolatry. Prosperity and the love of worldly things may tempt some of us away from following God. Doubt and fear of the future are behind the reluctance of many to wholeheartedly accept and follow God’s invitation to join Him. It takes much adjustment to deal with financial, physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational barriers that prevent us from moving in obedience to God. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 82: read 1 Kings 19:15-21when Elisha heard God’s call through Elijah, He made major adjustments immediately. He was in a field plowing with twelve yokes of oxen. He left His farming, and family to follow God’s call. Elisha burned His farm equipment and killed His 24 oxen. Then He cooked the meat and fed the people in His community. He was giving tangible evidence of the permanence of His decision! When Elisha made these necessary adjustments, He was in a position to obey God and serve Him as a prophet. God worked through Elisha to perform some of the greatest signs and miracles recorded in the old testament (2 Kings 2-13). Elisha prayed from the outset that He was serious about obeying God. But not until He had made the adjustments did God accomplish miracles through Him. No one can sum up all God can accomplish through one’s life completely yielded, adjusted, and obedient to Him. Do you want to be that person? You can’t go on to obedience without first making adjustments in your heart and life that God requires. Jesus said to His disciples, “if anyone desires to come after me, let Him deny Himself (adjustment) and take up His cross (adjustment) daily, and follow me (obedience).” “with God, all things are possible. “what kinds of adjustments does God require? The list could be endless. Your circumstances your relationships you’re thinking your commitments your actions your beliefs about God (his purposes, His ways, your relationship to Him) your intellectual decisions may be the easy part. The hard part is adjusting your life to God and acting in a manner that demonstrates your faith. In the past, you are used to doing only that which you knew you could accomplish. God will want to attempt things only God can do. Peter was a faithful Jewish man who ate only kosher food. He had no dealings with gentiles (“unclean”). One day, while Peter was praying, God gave Him a life-changing vision. He told Peter to go with some gentiles to preach to Cornelius and His household. The experience required adjustments to Peter’s thinking and beliefs about what is clean and unclean, and His commitments to the traditions of the Jewish people, and His habits about associating with gentiles. Acts 10:1-20. Peter made the necessary changes and obeyed God. When He did, God worked through Him to bring Cornelius’s whole household to faith in Jesus Christ being able to identify an adjustment is not as important as making it. Once you understand what changes God wants you to make, He will help you know how to do it. Your part is to obey. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 83: sometimes, we feel a very human response when we are misunderstood or mistreated. This is very natural to feel this hurt. But we need to recall to ourselves how Jesus was treated when He left the comforts of heaven and came to people who desperately needed Him. Jesus was despised, rejected, and eventually murdered by the very people He had come to serve to want a sweet fellowship with them. Christianity is not about serving where we are appreciated or where we enjoy success, but about enjoying a relationship with our savior who gave up Everything, so we can experience salvation. God is looking for absolute surrender. Peter could not have dreamed that God would ask Him to enter the home of a gentile. We must have a willing heart to do whatever He asks. And then trust Him to enable us to do it. God does not delight in making us do things we do not like. But He does love us enough to involve us in His work and He refuses to leave us where we are when He knows we could be experiencing much more of Him. Any adjustment God expects you to make it for your good and for the welfare of those He intends to bless through your life. God often requires adjustments in areas you have never considered before. I knew that I was not coming back to Blackstone, other than to visit family when I left for college. Years later, we did come back, but only for a temporary time, until we could find somewhere else, we were supposed to be. We did love God and wanted to follow His will for us. It was not fun, for 10 years, being back here. It took us 10 years to surrender. I refer you to the book of Jonah, to see me. After that, we surrendered, right there! Instantly, our lives changed. It took another 10 years to understand, and realize, we were where God wanted us to be. Our adjustment was at Jonah. We had to reorient our lives to Him, and we already had a love relationship with Him. We had to change our viewpoints to align with his. We had to amend ourselves to be like his. Pleasing God is more important than satisfying our friends, pastors, or even our families. They did not like the choices we were making, after that. Anytime you go from where you are to where God is working, or from your way of thinking to God’s way of thinking, or from your ways to God’s ways, or from your purposes to His purposes, a major adjustment will be involved. God’s ways and His plans (Isaiah 55:8) are much better than our own best plans and thinking. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 84: another adjustment we must make to do God’s will is reaching a place of total dependence on God. Jesus said, “you can do nothing without me.” John 15:5. As God’s servant, we must be in that intimate relationship so He will complete His work through us. Absolute surrender involves giving up our desires, goals, and preferences to God and accepting God’s will, regardless of how difficult it may be. We must depend on God alone. When we surrender our lives completely, we become dependent on Him. Then we understand that, apart from Him, we can do nothing. We must learn to live in constant awareness of our absolute reliance on God if He is to accomplish His purposes through us. This requires courage and faith. Notice why we must depend on God: (John 15:51, Corinthians 15:10, Galatians 2:20, Isaiah 14:24, Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 46:9-11) If God is not at work in you, you can do nothing to bear spiritual fruit. As you are crucified with Christ, He lives through you to carry out His purposes by His grace. When God sets out to do something, He guarantees that it will come to pass. He is the one who will accomplish what He intends to do. If you depend on anything other than God, you are asking for failure. Learning to wait on God is one of the hardest but most important aspects of Christian life. God seeks a love relationship with you and waiting develops our absolute dependence on Him! Here’s how Scripture, God’s Word, commends waiting on the Lord: (Psalm 46:10, Psalm 33:20, Psalm 37:34, Psalm 38:15, Isaiah 40:31) You may think that waiting is passive but waiting on the Lord is anything but inactive. While you wait, you will be praying with a passion to know Him, His purposes, His ways. You will be evaluating your circumstances and asking God to reveal His perspective on them. As you wait on the Lord, you will actively ask, seek, and knock. Matthew 7:7-8 in waiting, you are shifting the responsibility of the outcome to God where it belongs. Then, when God gives you specific guidance, He will do more through you in days and weeks than you could ever accomplish in years of labor. His timing and His ways are always right. You must depend on Him to guide you to carry out His will. Remember 1 Thessalonians 5:24. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 85: joining God requires obedience. John 14:23; Luke 14:33 all the New Testament speaks about those who in their devotion to Christ do anything He asked them to do. This was not because they were afraid or felt guilty but because they had come to experience God’s love in a life-transforming way and now there was nothing, they would not do for Him. There is a relationship between love and obedience. “if you love me, keep my commandments. The one who doesn’t love me will not keep my words.” John 14:15, 24 Jesus made it clear: Matthew 12:50 obedience is the outflow of our love relationship with God. James, in His letters to believers, emphasized that faith without active obedience is dead useless. When we do not act in faith, we do not experience His mighty, powerful work. A servant does not have a choice of deciding whether to obey. Matthew 6:24 people are naturally self-centered; we want to please ourselves. We don’t like others to tell us what to do! Jesus told a parable: “but what do you think? A man had two sons … “Matthew 21:28-30 obey what you already know to be God’s will. We long for an important assignment from God, yet we are unwilling to prove ourselves faithful in smaller, seemingly less important tasks. Have you ever wondered why a major assignment from God has not come your way? How do you consider, or evaluate, your obedience to what God has already shown you? God gave the ten commandments to the Israelites (his church). They had problems with that. Do we, also? Are you doing all you know to spread the gospel to all nations as Christ directed? (The Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20) Are you doing that? The Scriptures command us to live in unity with our Christian brothers and sisters. Do love and harmony characterize our relationships? God’s commands are not given so we can pick and choose the ones we want. He expects us to do Everything He tells us. When we are faithful in small things, He trusts us with more things. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 86: God has always been at work, in our world. And He is active around us, now! Where we are. He will take the initiative to reveal what He is doing or what He is about to do. And when He does that will be His invitation for you to join Him. It will be impossible for you to do on your own because nothing is impossible with Him. You will have to know what God has said when you know what He is about to do, and when you have made the necessary adjustments in your life, there is one remaining response to God: you must obey Him. You come to know Him by experience as you obey Him. He will carry out His work through you. It may happen quickly, or it may be over an extended time. Your experience, or the lack of it, will: reveal what you believe about God. Determine whether you will experience His mighty work in and through you. Determine whether you will come to know Him more intimately. You will obey because you trust God. You will trust Him because you love Him. As you grow in your faith and obey Him at every step, you will evolve from a head full of knowledge about God to a personal, experiential, dynamic relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. The Lord initiates the relationship by revealing His character and activity to you. Consider Exodus 4. The Holy Spirit is your teacher and guide, through Scripture. He is helping you to trust God and obey Him. No one else can do this for you. When you trust God and take action to obey Him, you grow in Him. But you are the one who must respond in obedience. 1 John 2:3-6 and Jesus said… Matthew 7:21-23. Because you know God loves you, you will never question a directive from Him. It will always be right and best. You are not called to “wrestle with it,” as so many do. This is what Scripture says: (Deuteronomy 28:1, 8, Deuteronomy 28:15, 20, Jeremiah 7:23, Luke 6:46-49, John 7:16-17) God blesses those who are obedient Deuteronomy 28:1-14. The benefits of obedience are beyond our imagination. They include being God’s people Jeremiah 7:23, having a solid foundation when the storms of life rage against you. Luke 6:46-49 and knowing spiritual truth. John 7:16-17. Rebellion against God is serious. Deuteronomy 28:15-68 speaks of the costs of disobedience. You may want to study further the results of disobedience: Deuteronomy 30; 32. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 87: Obedience has its costs. You cannot know and do the will of God without paying the price of adjustment. Counting that cost is one of the major adjustments you must make. It is at the point of counting the cost that many ceases following Jesus. In fact, at this point “many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him” John 6:66 churches, also, must understand that obedience often requires sacrifice. A congregation will not know and experience the fulfilling of God’s purposes if its members are unwilling to pay the price of obedience. church leaders do a disservice to their congregations if they do not help their people understand this reality. Saul a pharisee was firmly established in the religious power structure of Jerusalem. He ruthlessly searched out Christians for imprisonment or execution. On His way to Damascus, encountered the living Christ. Christ told Saul that He had been chosen to preach the gospel to the gentiles. He was already purpose-driven, the way that He thought it to be. Jesus was alive; Saul knew who was speaking to Him. He had to change His life in 3 days. But it was 14 years before He started to accomplish this new purpose. Paul’s decision to obey Christ was costly. The persecutor became persecuted. He was beaten, imprisoned many times, His life was constantly at risk with the religious establishment that He used to help lead. Following God often leads to criticism and misunderstanding. John 15:18-21. Paul concluded later, in Galatians 6:17,” I carry the marks of Jesus on my body.” He did not have these experiences before He began doing God’s will for Him. He became passionate about His call: Philippians 3:10-12. He described His adjustments as, “I have become all things to all people, so that I may save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22. The Scriptures are replete with examples of costly adjustments and obedience. What has it cost you? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 88: When Moses did as the Lord instructed, and told Pharaoh to set Israel free, what did it cost the Israelites? The Israelites were delivered, but they paid a high price for Moses to do God’s will. Exodus 5:1-11 when Jesus went to the cross, what was the cost to His mother, as she watched Him suffer and die? Is there a more agonizing experience than to watch your first-born son be so cruelly killed? John 19:17-37. Jesus’ obedience put Mary through a heartbreaking experience, and His obedience brought fear and pain to the lives of His disciples. For Jesus to do the will of God, others endured a high cost. When Paul obediently preached to the gentiles at Thessalonians, many people responded to the gospel message. However, others who opposed God’s work reacted violently, and they took out their anger on some of the local Christians. Jason, a supporter of Paul, along with some other Christians were arrested by a rioting mob and accused of treason because of their association with the itinerant preacher. Frequently, Paul’s obedience endangered the lives of those who were with Him. Acts 17:1-9 you must not overlook this real element in knowing and doing God’s will. God will reveal His plans and purposes to you, but your obedience will cost you, and those around you. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 89: to go with God, there is always a high price to our family. Many people say, “I think God is calling me, but my children need me. I can’t put my family through that.” Or “I sense God wants me to serve on the mission field, but my children deserve the opportunity to live near their grandparents.” It is true, your children do need your care, and it is great when they can live near relatives. But don’t you think that if you were to respond obediently to the activity of God, He would care for and about your children? Read Genesis 22:1-12 what do you suppose the cost would be to your family if you chose not to obey Him? Do you believe that our heavenly father could take better care of our children, and show us how to relate to our children in a way that would make up for the lost time with them? Or is that an excuse for not obeying? God will not neglect your family. The question is, could you trust God to take care of your family? A Bible promise: “though one goes along weeping, carrying His bag of seed, He will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying His sheaves.” Psalm 126:6 God can work through any situation and teach us a deeply meaningful spiritual truth. God never promises that it will be easy, nor that we may have to suffer in many ways. I would like to not say so much today but ask you to meditate on Hebrews 11. As you do, think of the costs to each one, as they responded to God’s call. Also, think of the results of their sacrifice, and what it accomplished. Would you entrust people around you, to the Lord? Who else in the world would care more? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 90: often, God waits to act until we ask in prayer. Am I willing to pray until God brings an answer? Mark 11:24 a Bible promise: (“you will have them.”) Remember: only God takes the initiative. He gives you the desire to do His will (Philippians 4:13) His Holy Spirit guides you to pray according to God’s will (Romans 8:26-28). In the God-centered approach, God leads us to pray according to His will and believes that He will bring to pass what He has led you to pray. Then, continue praying in faith and watching for Him to keep His word. Because an encounter with God entails a crisis of belief that may require major adjustments in your life, you need to learn how to pray. even the prayer may be costly. You may need to spend much time in prayer. Times may come when you pray late into the night or even all night. Becoming a person of prayer requires a major adjustment of your life to God. Prayer will always be a part of your obedience because it is in a prayer relationship that God gives you direction. God does not always give someone a second chance. God is not obligated to give you a second chance, but sometimes He does. When God planned to call Nineveh to repentance, He asked Jonah to join Him. Jonah refused. Jonah would rather God destroy that great city. Disobedience to God is extremely serious. Look at the cost (and trauma) Jonah went through. Only after Jonah finally repented of dis-obedience did God give Him a second chance. even then, after going with God, it was not a joyful second chance. He did it, but He preached a one-sentence message. God used it to bring one hundred twenty-seven thousand people to repentance! God’s response to Jonah speaks volumes: how deeply God cares for all people and wants them to come to repentance, and relationship with Him. God did not give up on those people called Ninevites. Moses erred several times (burning bush) Abraham started with great faith and left home on faith. When He arrived, He then went to Egypt. Why? He blew it more than once. David failed miserably (2 Samuel 11). So did Peter. Saul/Paul even began His “service to God” by persecuting Christians. How many second chances have you had? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 91: often, God waits to act until we ask in prayer. Am I willing to pray until God brings an answer? Mark 11:24. A prayer promise “all the things you pray and ask for believing that you have received them, and you will have them.” Does this mean that you decide what you want? This is a self-centered and misguided notion. Remember: only God takes the initiative! He gives you the desire to do His will (Philippians 2:13) and His Holy Spirit guides you to pray according to God’s will (Romans 8:26-28). One of our greatest problems is to continue praying in faith and watching Him keep His word. We need to learn how to pray. An encounter with God always entails a crisis of belief that may require major adjustments in your life. even the prayer may be costly. You may need to let God wake you up in the middle of the night to pray. You may need to spend much time in prayer. Times may come when you pray into the night or even all night. Becoming a person of prayer requires a major adjustment of your life to God. Prayer will always be a part of your obedience because it is in a prayer relationship that God gives you direction. Another cost will come as you try to guide the people around you to pray. Most of our churches have not learned how to pray together. We are not born with character. Although it is comforting to know God gives second chances, we must understand that disobedience is serious. God wants to develop your character. He will let you proceed in your disobedience, but not without the discipline to bring you back. Moses’ murder of the Egyptian slave driver cost Him forty years in the wilderness. David and Bathsheba’s sin cost them the life of their son. The rich young ruler declined to obey Jesus and missed out on becoming His follower. Jonah’s disobedience almost cost Him His life, Jacob’s lying to Isaac about Esau forced Him to flee His country and be estranged from His brother. God wants to help you recognize that you are going against His will. He will guide you back to the right path and clarify what He wants to do through you. He may even take your disobedience and work it for good. Romans 8:28. And even though God does give second chances, they are not guaranteed. In front of all Israel, Moses struck the rock, saying, “listen, you rebel! Must we bring water out of this rock for you?” Numbers 20:11 notice the word “we.” God was the one who would bring water from the rock. Moses took God’s glory. God did not remove the consequences of that disobedience. He refused to allow Moses to enter the promised land. That one instance God gave no second chance. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 92: whenever you think the cost may be too great, it is always worth the price. Consider what it will cost you not to do the will of God. First, determine whether what you are sensing is God speaking (through Scripture) (God-sized) and whether or not He is revealing His activity to us or not. Is this an invitation to what He is doing? Both major adjustments and costly obedience come before you experience God’s presence and power. Remember Moses, at the mountain of God, did not want to leave there and take the Israelites up to Kadesh Barnea. He had such beautiful relations with God, and this was His home, He felt. Moses asked God to reveal His power to Him. God did. Remember Peter, James, and John at the mountain of transfiguration? They wanted to stay there. Jesus said that that was not where they could influence the world. Obedience is not an option. It is required of every servant. When you obey, God accomplishes what He purposed. You will be overwhelmed with the experience of His power and presence. Others around you will come to a greater knowledge of God. You are a manager of God’s resources. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 93: some people insist on seeing some kind of sign (John 3:21). In essence, they are saying, “Lord, prove to me that this is you, and then I will obey.” When Moses was standing before the burning bush and received His invitation to join God in His great work, God promised to affirm the invitation in due time. “this will be the sign to you that I have sent you: when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this mountain.” Exodus 3:12 in other words, “Moses, you obey, and I will deliver Israel through you. You will come to know me as your deliverer, and you will stand on this mountain and worship me.” God affirmed that He had sent Moses would come after Moses obeyed; not before. Most of the Scripture shows this kind of accomplishment from God. Noah, and those around Him, had never seen rain. Noah lived 450 miles from any body of water. And Noah did not live “on the other side of town.” He had to work on the Ark at home. Affirmation comes after obedience. When Jesus invited Peter to get out of the boat, to walk on water, He did not assure Peter He could float! The Lord simply said, “come!” Matthew 14:28 when would Peter know if He could walk on water until He took the first step? Because you love God obey Him. Then, you will so fellowship with Him that you will come to know Him intimately. God’s use of you to accomplish His God-sized assignments will be a joyous time for you! ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 94: suppose you sense a call of God to a task, or a place, or a particular ministry and when you set about to do it, everything goes wrong. Will you say, “well, I guess that wasn’t God’s will.”? God calls you to a relationship with Him. Be careful how you interpret your circumstances. Many times, we jump to a conclusion that God is moving us in a particular direction. We make up our minds about what He is doing and when He is going to do it according to what seems logical to us. We start following the logic of our reasoning, but nothing seems to work out. We tend to neglect our relationship with God and take things into our own hands. Don’t do that! When God calls us or gives us a direction, His call is not a thing He wants you to do. He is telling you what He is about to do, where you are. Let’s look at Paul’s plan, compared to what God was planning to do: Acts 16:6-10. God had already told Paul that He (God) would reach gentiles through Him (Paul); God would do the saving, not Paul. Paul started in one direction, and the Holy Spirit stopped Him. Paul then started in another direction. Again, the Holy Spirit prevented Him. What was God’s original plan? To reach gentiles. What was Paul’s problem? He was trying to figure out what to do, and the “doors of opportunity” seemed to close. God said, “listen to me, Paul! Go and sit in Troas until I tell you where to go.” A vision came: “go to Macedonia; join me there.” When you believe that you are sensing God is revealing Himself to you, and circumstances seem to close doors, go back to God and clarify what God is saying. God is not calling you to a task but a relationship. Through that relationship, God will accomplish His purposes through your life. Moses had to re-check God’s directions constantly. After the burning bush, Moses went home, not to Egypt. He shared His experience, and His wife was the one that made Him leave and go to Egypt. How did that happen? Moses spoke to Pharaoh and Everything went wrong. But Moses didn’t quit and go back home. He went back to the Lord to clarify what was happening. God began to give Him directions about the plagues, one at a time. Pharaoh seemed to be getting more and more obstinate. Moses daily sought God’s directions and obeyed them. Later, Moses could look back and see God’s handiwork in all that took place. God delivered Israel from the Egyptians in such a way that Israel, Egypt, and the surrounding nations knew it was God who had done it. Pharaoh’s stubbornness was not a sign that Moses had misunderstood God’s directives. Rather, it was the way God performed an even greater work than Moses could have ever imagined or asked for. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 95: sometimes we think we “hear a call of God,” but when we try to carry through, we hit “closed doors.” Most of these people then go on about their own business. Their thoughts are “we have made a mistake.” That is not a good move to make. Remember that God is the one at work, around us. He initiates it. He invited you to join Him in what He is doing. It is not you that is doing it for Him. All through Scripture, God has to put growth in us, to get us to where He will be glorified, not us. When you hit this kind of thinking, the thing to do is go back and recall what God said, when you sensed His call. The problem with the call is that you can’t review what God was doing before you heard the call. The things that you have been doing, are still related to what has been already happening. Let’s look at Moses, at the time when “he noticed a bush burning.” What had happened before? Next, let’s look at Gideon threshing wheat in a winepress. Why? Or Simon, no fish all night. Something must be wrong with our nets. Or Saul, “doing God’s will” persecuting these Christians.” We don’t know the whole plan of God because of one detail that did not work out as we thought it should. Spend some time confirming what God has said. And do it in writing the moment you notice! You need to learn how to capture the events that are going on, as they are occurring. You need to make that a discipline. Most people won’t. And if you don’t, you won’t see what God is doing. When God speaks a word of direction, He will bring it to pass. Just be careful you do not let circumstances cancel what God said. You have to learn to trust God, to know what He is doing, through you. It’s not you; it is Him, and He will do what He plans. God knows that our view of time is different than His (Isaiah 55:8). He owns Everything, so He provides us to do what He is doing. We don’t understand finances and more than we understand time. You keep doing what you know is in obedience to Him. Clarify what God has said. Keep in place what God has said. Let Him work out the details of His timing. Wait on the Lord until He tells you what to do next. God is all-powerful! He can change your circumstances in a moment. What takes longer is for Him to work in our lives, so we are prepared to be of service for Him. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 96: does God seem to be working slowly in your life? Jesus had been with His disciples for about 3 years when He said,” I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.” John 16:12-13 Jesus had more He wanted to teach the disciples. But they were unprepared to receive it. Jesus knew, however, that the Holy Spirit would guide these disciples into truth on God’s timetable. You may be saying, “God, hurry up and make me mature.” Perhaps you are asking God to give you a new and larger assignment. But are you ready for it? God will lead you in His truth as you respond in obedience, step-by-step. If you feel God is slow to work in your life, ask yourself these questions: am I responding to all God is presently leading me to do? Have I obeyed all I already know to be His will? Do I believe He loves me and will always do what is best in my life? Am I willing to wait patiently on His timing and obey Everything I know to do in the meantime? Grass that is here today and gone tomorrow does not require much time to mature. A giant oak tree that lasts for generations requires much more time to grow strong. God is concerned about your life through eternity. Allow Him to take all the time He wants to shape you for His purposes. Larger assignments may require longer periods of preparation. The Holy Spirit will never mislead you about the Father’s will. So that you do not miss the purpose God has for you, He has given His Spirit to guide you according to His will. The Spirit also enables you to do God’s will. You are completely dependent on God for the knowledge and for the ability to achieve His purposes. Habakkuk 3:17-19 I would like to refer you to a devotional I had back on November 22, 2013. It was from a popular book called Jesus calling spending time with the master November 22, 2013. This won’t show up here, but you can look at this reference inside of that book. You must be patient and wait until you hear a word from God (through Scripture) about His will and His ways. Jesus is our model. He never failed to know and do His father’s will. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 97: Jesus never failed to know and do His father’s will. Everything the Father proposed to do through His life, the Lord, Jesus, did. Thus, Jesus could claim at the end of His life at 33 years old that He had completed Everything His father had given Him to do. John 17:4 what was the key to Jesus’ perfect obedience? He was always rightly related to the Father! If you walk in a consistent relationship with God, then you should never come to a time that you do not know His will. There should never be a situation in which you are not enabled by the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s will. In Jesus, we have the picture of a perfect love relationship with the Father. Jesus consistently lived out that relationship. You and I quickly conclude that we are a long way from that, but Christ is fully present in us to help us know and do God’s will. Galatians 2:20 we need to adjust our lives to God and faithfully live out that relationship with an absolute dependence on Him. He will never fail to draw us into the middle of His purpose and enable us to do it as He did for people throughout Scripture. Only through obedience did Moses begin to experience the full nature of God. We see a pattern of God speaking, Moses’ obeying, and God accomplishing what He purposed to do: God invited Moses to join Him in what He was doing, to deliver Israel. God told Moses what to do. Moses obeyed. God delivered the Israelites from captivity in Egypt as He promised. Moses and those around Him came to know God more intimately. When the Israelites stood between the red sea and the oncoming Egyptian army, God told Moses to hold His staff over the sea and Moses obeyed. Exodus 14:1-25. Then Miriam led the people in a hymn of praise describing their new understanding of God. When the people were thirsty and had no water to drink, they complained to Moses. God told Moses to strike a rock with the staff. Moses obeyed and God caused water to flow from the rock (Exodus 17:1-7) the water was enough to water 3 million people in a desert where there was no water. Whenever Moses obeyed what God told Him to do, He and the people of Israel experienced the awesome power of God at work. When Noah obeyed, God preserved His family and repopulated the earth. When Abraham obeyed, God gave Him a son and built a nation. When David obeyed, God made Him a king and greatly increased the power and prosperity of Israel. When Elijah obeyed, God displayed His astounding power by sending down fire from heaven. These people of faith came to know God by experience when they obeyed Him, and He accomplished His work through them. Has God changed? What about us? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 98: The Lord Jesus invited seventy followers to join Him in His father’s work. Luke records a beautiful experience of Jesus’ disciples: He gave them specific directions. He told them how to travel, what to preach, how to respond to receptive listeners, and how to handle rejection. They obeyed Him and experienced God working around them. God healed people; He cast out demons. Jesus praised the Father for revealing Himself to these people. Luke 10:21-22 after this Jesus turned to His disciples and said, “the eyes that see the things you see are blessed! For I tell you that many prophets and Kings wanted to see the things you see yet didn’t see them; to hear the things you hear yet didn’t hear them.” Verse 23-24. These disciples were blessed. They had been, and are, chosen by God, to be involved in His work. What they saw, heard, and came to know about God was something even all those who came before them would have given anything and Everything, even their lives to experience those things even Prophets and Kings. You too will be blessed when God does a special, God-sized work through you. You will come to know Him in a way that brings joy to your life. When others see you experience God in this way, they will want to know how they, too, can experience God as you do. So be prepared to point them to God. Remember too that Judas Iscariot experienced these same things. But He did not see them the same way. His thinking was on worldly provisions. So many of us are the same. If you are obedient, God will accomplish remarkable things through your life. You’ll want to declare the wonderful deeds of the Lord, but you’ll need to be careful that any testimony about what God did gives Him glory, and not about telling your experience because it makes you feel special or important. You must avoid any sense of pride. “the one who boasts must boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:31. Scripture shows us that when God did something through an obedient person or people, they came to know Him in new and more intimate ways. God revealed His name to Moses: “I am who I am” Jesus, likewise, expressed Himself: I am the bread of life (John 6:35) I am the light of the world (John 8:12) I am the door (John 10:9) I am the good shepherd (John 10:11) I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25) I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) I am the true vine (John 15:1) Jesus expressed Himself with the I am of the old testament. Knowing and experiencing Jesus in these ways requires that you trust Him first. When Jesus says, “I am the way” what you do next will determine if you come to experience Him as “the way” in your own life. When you believe Him, adjust your life to Him, as “the way.” This is true about Everything God reveals to you. As you follow Him obediently, He works in and through you to reveal Himself to you and those around you. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 99: returning to God take “community” from the abstract to the concrete. Small groups allow our relationships with fellow believers to flourish into meaningful friendships as we grow and serve and study the word together. They provide both a context for us to meet together and the intimacy we need to practically motivate one another towards Acts of love and good works (Hebrews 10:24–25). And the better we know each other, the better equipped we are to speak wisdom into each other’s lives. Christ’s presence in our lives dramatically affects our daily living. Many Christians do many services in our churches but live every day as an ordinary day, and it passes by for weeks, months, even years. In Scripture, we do not see the calendar, nor the weeks, go by; but what we do see is events that occur, in peoples’ lives. Those that change the way they lived. God has not changed, nor peoples’ way of living has not changed. Days go by, and those events are forgotten. But God is at work around you, and me. Is God at work, doing God-sized activities? This day? Or has He set our lives in motion, and then left us alone to pass through the two periods, that make up your life (birth; death). He did not leave Adam alone in the garden. We make our small groups abstract, alone, separated from our “ordinary” days. Adam was very negative about all the Garden until God invited Him into His family. And families cannot flourish without relationships with fellow believers. When the Holy Spirit walks with us guiding us each day, men can realize that they are not hearing the Holy Spirit speak to them. We do not know how much God loves us. We can serve God, but not know God truly, and not have an experiential relationship with God. We can be “religious” people, but never know really what it is like to enjoy a personal relationship with Him. How about you? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 100: limitless fellowship, limitless possibilities (1 John 1:3m, 1 John 1:4) what the apostle John wrote, what he, and the others, had heard and seen. Do you share your experiences with God, with others? Are you missing great things of joy, and is your joy complete? I am not a theologian, nor skilled in spiritual matters. But I can share what God has taught me as I have walked with Him for many years. It is just a testimony for what God has taught as I experience Him. God is present, through His Holy Spirit, with me, and you, always. Nothing is happening in your life, that He is not in. Never has that been so vividly displayed by our pandemic, our social and cultural elections in the United States. I do not see many people relating these times with Christ and His presence. Please, never settle for less than all God intends to do through your life, as He walks with you. So many Christians have lost their love for God, or else they have allowed it to cool because they are not careful. How does this happen? Are there signs? How can we restore a relationship with God, after that relationship has cooled or been broken? We do not naturally seek after God. Romans 3:10-12 Romans 5:8 God pursues us! Hosea 11:7-11God is the one who initiates a love relationship with us that is real and personal. John 1:12our hearts tend to depart from this intimate relationship because of sin (what’s in the middle of this word?) Jeremiah 3:20-22whenever we stray from God to any degree, He disciplines us, in increasing measure, until we return. The father loves us as His children, and He will correct us as our heavenly father until we turn from our rebellion. Hebrews 12:5-11 He will continue to discipline us until we reach a point of crisis at which we must make a serious choice. This happened to the Israelites who came out of Egypt. They saw many God-sized events, over several years, but would not trust God to lead them into the promised land. Isaiah 59:1-21we cry out to God in our distress. 1 John 1:9 we agree with God about the nature of our wrongdoing. Confession and repentance go together. When you repent of sin, you turn away from that sin and return to God. When our fellowship with God is broken, because of our sin, agree with Him about our condition, and turn from it. 2 Chronicles 7:13 and 14. (so often, we leave out verse 13. God does not call us to “rededicate” our lives; He calls us to repent; that means we stop doing what we know we should change. We must “humble ourselves,” pray, seek His face, and do a 180-degree change in direction. He loves us too much to let us stay where we are. When we return to God not just religious activity, He returns to us a fresh, close relationship, and fulfills His purposes for us. Zechariah 1:3 1 Chronicles 15:1-3 spiritual revival occurs. The way you know when this happens is found in James 4:8selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 101: how do you lose intimacy with God? Luke 15 describes how this happens. The lost sheep would be extinct if it were not for shepherds. They are drawn away by distractions! They don’t consciously choose to wander from the rest of the flock. They simply follow whatever catches their interest at the moment. Going from one thing to the next, they gradually wander off farther and farther from where it/they should be until it is hopelessly lost. If a shepherd is not attentive, they will hit grave danger, and most likely die before a chance to be found. The lost coin (verses 8-10). Valuable possessions are usually lost through carelessness. No one chooses to lose something, even if not even precious. The busy-ness of life causes this even more. (I don’t have time”?). I’ll bet people never forget to pray or spend time with the word of God. Remember, “be still with God?” Once the time is spent, it will never come back. After a while, we discover God does not even seem to be around. We have inadvertently lost the intimacy to enjoy being with God. The prodigal son (verses 11-32). Our lifestyle dishonors God. What is lifestyle? We deliberately choose to abandon our relationship with our father. A good example of this is our children, who were raised in the Church, as soon as they are out of our watch-care, abandon fellowship with other believers. They will never come back unless they can repent of their lifestyle. If they are lucky, maybe someone will offend them enough to cause them to see that they cannot handle it by themselves. How do we discern if we have drawn apart from God? You no longer hear from God. Deuteronomy 30:17 Amos 8:11-12 disobedience to God inevitably leads to spiritual deafness. You lose your joy John 15:9-14 the natural byproduct of abiding in Christ is joy, love is joy. Remember the angels’ greeting to the shepherds, “we bring you good news, of great joy”? Were they too busy or too anxious, to decide not to go to Bethlehem? We become so preoccupied with concerns and tasks, that we fail to abide in Christ no spiritual fruit. John 15:1-8. Galatians 5:22-23 identifies the fruit that will be produced, if the Holy Spirit is not within us, this fruit does not come from you. No spiritual victory (s) in your life. Deuteronomy 28:25 if God is not for us, we will experience continual defeat. Romans 8:31 in the Old Testament, when men allowed their hearts to become so hardened, God allowed them to choose to follow the path to destruction. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 102: if a person is rightly related to God, does that mean that Everything is always going to happen the way we think it should? God allowed men in Scripture to experience unpleasant situations and suffering like Job, Paul, even Jesus, for example. Many pastors going through the current pandemic are sharing lots of personal spiritual warfare at this time. Most assume their world is attacking them. Suicide is prevalent; families are struggling. They are wondering why God is allowing them to experience continual defeats. Would God allow them to undergo one terrible defeat after another? I see very few Christians going through illness or attacks and doing it victoriously. To them, they are beaten on every front. But … They don’t see the need to draw nearer to God and ask Him to search their hearts to see if there is any wickedness in them. Psalm 139:23-24 God can remove His hand of protection from our life. Isaiah 5:4-5. As long as we are here in this body, it is a tent. We don’t own it; we did not create it, but we are responsible for relationships we encounter while we are still here. How do you protect your relationship with God? Proverbs 4:23 the heart is the core of our being. It is the arena in which we experience our greatest spiritual victories as well as our most devastating defeats. We cannot afford to neglect it or to take it for granted. When we allow ourselves to be exposed to sin or we let unforgiveness and bitterness dwell within us, we will no longer enjoy the intimacy with God that we once did. Only you can guard your heart. No one else can do that for you. It takes conscious, sustained effort to protect yourself from sinful, destructive thoughts and habits. Proverbs 11:14 our hearts can easily deceive us. Jeremiah 17:9. We might be trying to share a prayer request in church, even, and someone may take it as gossip. A personal testimony may be seen as we are bragging when we are trying to give glory to God. So, we need to surround ourselves with “Godly” friends who feel free to voice their concerns to us as advice. You must enlist them to share any counsel with you that they believe you need to hear. Having people around who care about you and who will alert you when they see your heart shifting away from God. That can save you much heartache. Matthew 22:37 is your gauge. Meditate on your love for God. Ask, “am I loving the Lord my God with all my heart?” or have other affections begun crowding out my devotion to Him? We need to practice person evaluation regularly. Do your spiritual inventory regularly! Matthew 7:24 loving God is a choice that we make. Love is never merely a feeling or a thought. It requires action. If you love God, you will put into practice His commands (Scripture). Jesus practiced this regularly. Matthew 4:1-12. You don’t start when storms assail you. You have to be grounded in God’s Word. Nothings then will be able to harm your relationship with Him. Take time to review your inventory. Take time to pray through it. If you have not departed from God, write a prayer of thanks. Commit to steadfastness and truth to Him! ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 103: I am a shy, introverted person. I have, for as long as I can remember, sought to love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my heart. Anything that has been accomplished through this life of mine, has been God who has done it and been in it. God planned it and has done it. He chose my parents, my DNA, where I was to be born, etc. Just like in this time, we review the coming of Jesus. At each stage of my life, it was the Lord who intervened. I could have gone in many different paths, but He revealed His plan at each one of those momentous times. Today would be my mom’s birthday (born December 19, 1911). The reason I bring this up is to show how God had a purpose for Mary, even before she was conceived. All of us, planned from the beginning. Of course, God has designed the family as the model for His kingdom. But men today are trying their hardest to destroy this. They won’t, at least if they have a chance to have a relationship of love for Him. God chose such a beautiful mate for me, even though I thought I knew the mate I wanted. He had better plans. Her family were, and are, active in their local churches. Both of our fathers were deacons in their churches. We both grew up in churched homes when we were young. We learned to do whatever our Lord commanded and to go wherever He has told us to go. Blackstone, when it was my time to choose, was not where I wanted to come back to. God’s plans for us have included learning to walk by faith through extremely challenging times. For me, and for all who will seek the Lord, I needed a partner who has a unique calling of her own. I would have married the wrong woman if it were not God’s intervention at exactly the right moment. Had I followed my intentions, and plans, I would not be here and doing this message, even. So many marriages have lacked the Lord. Well over 1/2 of marriages fail. Many of those who do stay together, are not fulfilled. Most don’t include Him in them. Jesus said of marriage: “haven’t you read, that He who created them, in the beginning, made them male and female. For this reason, a man will leave His father and mother and be joined to His wife, and the two will become one flesh? So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God had joined together, man must not separate.” Matthew 19:4-6 today’s families are not the three-in-one, as shown in God’s Word. God is not glorified by their union. And the busyness of daily life will get in the way, too. That’s called “hurry disease.” It is rampant at this time of year. What does “one flesh” mean? It means that your life is not your own. You are one. Both are affected by God, Himself. The day I wanted to buy a new sailboat, was the day my wife informed me she had cancer. God spoke. If you will turn to the “coming of the wise men,” in Matthew 1, they were following Scripture in the Old Testament. They came seeking the one born king of the Jews. The outcome of their visit was the murder of all the males in Bethlehem age 2 and under. How did that leave the hearts of women, in Bethlehem? We must bring our daily events to God. Then and now! I wonder what it felt like to Mary, at 9 months pregnant, to ride a donkey to Bethlehem. Why? To meet a “census.” They were not thinking about that being a part of their day, that day, as God leading them in that direction even though they did feel like God was in the pregnancy. Put yourself back in their time. And we grumble today! We have a pandemic, called covid-19. Where did this come from? Why is it here? Is this not related to the Bethlehem events? Jeremiah 1:5. Jeremiah 29:11-13. Jeremiah 32:27. Has God changed today? ~Selah! Merry Christmas!
Daily Devotional – Day 104: the spiritual intimacy you have with your spouse will affect your walk with God. Being spiritually one with your spouse is critical to hearing from God. Most couples do not consider this important before marrying the other. 2 Corinthians 6:14. Light is not the same as darkness, night is not the day. The two don’t mix. Adam was not happy until Eve came along. He had Everything He needed. He was the manager, not the owner, of the Garden of Eden. God came to Him and met regularly, as in the cool of the evening. That was also the way God made each day; He evaluated it and said that it was good. And after Eve came along, He came to both, in the same way. This has Everything to do with “one flesh.” Before marriage, how many couples discuss one another’s spiritual call? Without God, we are not protecting our one flesh. Husbands, do you make your wife’s walk with God a “top” priority? 1 Peter 3:7 (5.11.14 proverbs thirty-one ministry proverbs 31:10-31) we cannot become one spiritually when we are opposites in our fundamental natures. The spiritual intimacy you have with your spouse will affect your walk with God. Could this not be the reason that over 1/2 of marriages don’t last “until death do us part”? Ephesians 4:26 fits relationships with all others, as well as with our mates. One of the most joyous things we can do is to look for where God is working in your partner’s life and join Him, and her! Here’s how: pray regularly for and with your spouse. God knows your spouse’s fears and insecurities. God knows what He intends to do through your spouse. Couples can easily frustrate each other. We tend to see each other’s limitations and weaknesses. But God’s perspective is different. We don’t see unlimited potential in the hands of God. If we pray together, God can alert us that we need to take a specific action or a word of encouragement for her/him. God may show your abilities in your spouse that even she/he does not see. Regularly discuss spiritual issues with your spouse. Very few couples ask each other “what has God been showing you in your quiet times lately?” We must realize that God is always at work around us. That includes around us at home, as well as “out and about.” Review your spiritual markers together! This is not going to occur if you are not journaling your thoughts and events regularly as time goes by. Again, you won’t see God until He has passed by. You won’t remember what happened two minutes ago, hardly. What about two weeks ago, or two months ago. How do those things relate to now? Your spouse is unique. She/he sees even the same things differently. It is important to regularly recall these times together. This helps in two ways: first, it prepares you to understand where God is leading. Secondly, spiritual markers provide a wonderful opportunity to celebrate God’s activities in your lives! You can minister together as a couple. God led you to your spouse for a reason! If couples look for God’s activity together, they will discover unique ways God wants to use them to carry out His kingdom work. There are so many ways God has led us together throughout our lives. And to review these occasions after time is so very fulfilling to us and God. Give together. I have no idea what comes in or goes out. My partner is so faithful that we both rejoice together over and over again, as we see that God does provide Everything we need. Our missions of praying together, giving together, going together have brought great joy to our lives. It has not been about “writing a check.” It all belongs to Him our time, our talents, our gifts, our relationships, especially with other believers, have truly been treasures, both here, and to come in heaven! ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 105: God has called all of us to be on mission with Him. When Adam (man) was created, one of the first places we, like Adam, must seek His activity is in the life of Everyone He has created, and to whom we are most intimately related. If God has given you a life partner, you will want to be involved in whatever great work God has intended to do in that person’s (man or woman) life. Marriage is the first and most fundamental and intimate human relationship God has created. It is God who brings a man and woman together, and He does so for a purpose. As God is active in your spouse’s life, He invites you to join in His activity. Be alert to how God wants to involve you in His work in your spouse’s life. I wish I had heard this message in all of the dating relationships I had from when I was a teenager. Now, in this Christmas season, pause and reflect on how God brought you and your spouse together. Consider all that God has done to bless your life together because He gave you to each other. Take time to visit with your spouse about the pilgrimage God has taken you on together and praise Him for His goodness to you both. Do you and your spouse take time to regularly talk about God’s activity in your family, in your church, in your world? Maybe you have not been doing that, but how might you begin now? What do you sense God doing in your spouse’s life? How might you become involved in that activity? What is a ministry you and your spouse have been able to do together? And what might you be able to do together in the future? How have you and your spouse determined your giving time, energy, material things, talents, or spiritual gifts in the future? How will you, together, purposely invest in God’s kingdom, as a couple? And your children? (Genesis 12:3) ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 106: do you and your spouse take time to regularly talk about God’s activity around you, in your family, in your church, in your community, in your world? How can you begin to do that? What are some things you sense God doing in your spouse’s life? How might you become involved in that activity? What is a ministry that you and your spouse have been able to do together? If you have not been able to do that, how might you be able to in the future? Notice the significant purpose God had for these families in the Bible: Isaac (Genesis 17:19), Joseph, Genesis 37:5-11, Moses Exodus 1:15-2:3, Samson in Judges 13:1-5, Samuel 1, David in 1 Samuel 16:4-10, Jeremiah 1:4-10, John the Baptist in Luke 1:13-17, Psalm 139:13-17. Since God created every person, only He knows the maximum potential for each life. He knows what will lead to joy and fulfillment. He recognizes our shortcomings. He understands how our weaknesses can drive us to Him. By His grace and power, He can work even through our failures and our frailties. God has given us strengths, which, if submitted in His hands, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, become powerful instruments in His hands. No success or failure in our lives is wasted with God. He does not squander any of our disappointments. He fashions the unique life to which He calls us, and then He is glorified when we live for Him. No life is ordinary when it is in the hands of our extraordinary God. Paul gloriously identified God’s eternal design for every person: Romans 8:29-30. What’s your calling? He knew you before you were even conceived in the womb. Where are you now? Meditate on Psalm 139 ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 107: What has God been teaching you lately? A standard question to ask every day, and with every greeting with others. God’s purpose for each of your children: from the beginning of time, God knew your children would dwell on this earth, and He intended for them one day to act and think like Christ. To accomplish this, God seeks to draw each of your children into a love relationship with Him. God will lead every child on a unique journey. He will speak to your children and allow circumstances in their lives so He can fashion them to be Christ-like. Throughout that process, God invites you to take part in His work in your children’s lives. Your influence as a parent is extremely significant. God wants you to pray for your children. Prayer is not primarily for us to tell God what we want Him to do for our children. It is for God to adjust our lives so we can be His instrument in their lives. We do not know what is best for our kids. We do not know all the temptations, criticisms, threats, or pressures they will undergo. We are not aware of all they experience at school. God does not make our children immune from difficulty, but He will alert parents so we can be God’s spokesperson when our children need to respond to the circumstances of their lives. As much as we love our children, we cannot begin to imagine all God has in His heart for them (1 Corinthians 2:9). God also knows the potential of each child. And we can rob our children if we merely want them to meet our expectations. We need to be aware of God’s agenda in their lives, so they experience the abundant life God intends for them (John 10:10). Parents often pray that their children never experience any pain or hardship. God may allow various degrees of discomfort in your child’s life to help Him/her grow and learn. It takes hardship for us to seek God (Romans 3:10-12, 1 Corinthians 2:14). It is counter-productive to pray away every difficult circumstance God allows in their lives. We tend to focus our attention on what is happening to our kids today; God knows what He is preparing them to be and do for eternity. Talk with your children about God’s activity around them. We as parents speak to our children of many things, but no topic is as important as discussing God’s activity in their lives (Deuteronomy 6:6-9, 20-25). Do we rehearse with our children the Acts of God? Do we show them how God has acted through our family history? Do we recount how God chose us to be their earthly guide to God at work around us and them? Do we share with them how God chose us to be married, and how He has walked with us through these years? Do we point out God’s ongoing work now in our own lives? Do we show them our history of where God has worked, day after day? Another discussion we do not have with our family is to use questions. “what do you sense God wants you to do?” What do you think God wants you to do?” “what has God been teaching you lately? “you should minister with your children. Our greatest joys have come from doing ministry with our family. That happens also in our home, with times of celebration. The children have watched us care for others. God created the family in the beginning. He intends for children to grow up to know and love Him. He knows what to do to bring our children into a love relationship with Him. Raising families exactly like He created them to be. His activity in our daily life is to get us involved. That is God’s invitation to us to join Him. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 108: Acts 2:42how many Christians today “practice” religion? How many of those same “Christians” are helping others to recognize God’s activity around them? In the text above, what were the people assembled doing? Were they just attending another meeting? What was God doing? Was God powerfully working in those peoples’ lives? Did anyone seem to notice? Has God changed? God created the Church to be unlike any other human organization. It is a living body, created by Christ (Matthew 16:18) and Christ is its head. Colossians 1:18. Through the Church, God intends to extend His kingdom throughout the whole earth. every Christian must be an active member of a local church. In Scripture, every mention of the Church refers to a local congregation. every congregation is important to Christ, and each one has a particular assignment from the Lord. (Romans 14:1; 12-131, Corinthians 10:24, Ephesians 4:25, Ephesians 4:29, Ephesians 5:21, Colossians 3:13-14). Being a member of a church is a selfless act! Your congregation does not merely exist for what you get out of it. It is your opportunity to invest in the lives of God’s people and to join in God’s activity through His people. God knew that your church needed you. Your involvement in your church is why God added you to that body. 1 Corinthians 12:8. Your involvement is part of equipping your church to carry out God’s purposes. Are you functioning in that role? As you look at your place in your congregation, you may not see anything in your church that looks like divine activity. So, you need to ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognize what He is doing! How is God at work around you? Who have you heard from about how God has been at work around them? Are you seeking this? God’s activity is in our midst! ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 109: how many Christians come to church, watching to see what God is doing there? God works during a time of sharing. It may be during a prayer meeting, or a worship service, or during a Bible study. During the deacons meeting, or a harvest day. Making a stew to give to anyone who needs it. Do we ever think of inviting people to share what God is saying to them? Does anyone sense God wanting them to do something, and they are ready to yield to His Lordship right there? 1 Corinthians 12:26 tells us that bodies should be so united that if one member suffers, the rest of the congregation shares the pain. People must learn sensitivity to God’s activity in the lives of other members, for churches to function this way. At times, God can alert one church member to what He is doing in another person’s life. We need to learn how to watch “as we pass by.” John 9:1-3 God designs the Church to be so closely aligned that children see senior adults hurting, they will sense the burden and meet the need. I see this happening repeatedly in our fellowship. You need to prepare yourself before going to church so that you are ready to join God in whatever work He may be doing in your congregation. Too often, church members attend services merely to seek out their friends. It never dawns on them that people maybe there who are experiencing tremendous pain and hurt. The Holy Spirit can guide you to someone who is hurting if you are sensitive to His leading. This does not have to only happen at church, but “as we pass by,” every day. Do you ever notice this in your daily going about? Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to a person, of His leading. He may encourage you to pray for someone you might regularly meet, “as you go,” or as you sit in front of someone, or as you “sit by the well,” as your friends go into town to buy lunch for Everybody (Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, in John 3). These “stories” are throughout the Scriptures, of daily life. The Holy Spirit shows up, and often we miss it. King Asa did (2 Chronicles 16: notice particularly verse 9). You might want to look back at 2 Chronicles 14, when he, likewise, faced an enormous army, which was impossible to meet. What did He do then? Scripture is not for just at church. We have the Holy Spirit with us when? Are we not sensitive to the Holy Spirit at church, where we are part of the body? Is He with us “as we are passing by?” every day, and every week, at church, the Spirit will inspire you to approach someone to encourage Him, by saying you will pray for Him. All the time, the Spirit knows who is hurting or who is seeking answers from God, or who desperately needs to know if God’s people care. If you are sensitive to the spirit’s nudging, you can be God’s instrument of healing and love right in your own church family. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 110: Watch and pray! So commanded Jesus to His disciples. There are hurting people all around us. every Sunday, there are people in our churches who are suffering, maybe someone who is suffering terribly. No one is even aware of their pain. Are we watching? Romans 8:26-27 God knows what they are going through. Are we ever available to the Holy Spirit to lead us to the one who needs encouragement that day? Do you pray about this? Sundays can be special, the most special day of the week, when we not only worship Him, but serve Him, and other people of his. “To carry each other’s burdens; in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 Scripture also says, “so we must work for the good of all, especially those who belong to the household of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10 too many Christians have developed a self-centered attitude toward their church. They look upon the Church as something that exists to meet their needs, to be entertained. Many come and don’t find that entertainment, so they stay home, or go do something interesting or a “catch-up” on their procrastination. Jesus said, about praying, that we must deny ourselves (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23). Our desire should not be that we are always ministered to, but that we follow Jesus wherever He leads us. Rather than focusing on what the Church should be doing for us, we ought to be asking what God is seeking to do around us and in our church through us. ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 111: Many people have grown disenchanted with the Church. They believe that God loves them, and they are saved just in their profession of faith. God adds members to the body of believers, as it pleases Him. 1 Corinthians 12:18 it is not us who adds people to church. They don’t respond to my preaching. They don’t respond to my invitation. We need to watch, to see what God is doing in other people’s lives, around us. Be it at church, or the marketplace, or at home, or in our neighborhood. We need to watch to see what other believers around us are confirming, about what we are seeing. When we sense a need in someone’s life, it is not so that he/she could complain about it; we need to sense what the Holy Spirit is prompting that person to help transform His church into the body of believers God intended it to be. God adds people to a church body for a reason. He wants to use your/and His life to make a positive difference among the people where He has placed you! You must be sensitive to the Spirit as God leads you to serve Him, in your church. As you respond to the spirit, you will find that He uses you to bless the people in your congregation and He will help your church become what God intends it to be. Recall how God guided you to join the Church in which you are a member. How did you know that was where God wanted you? Review the ways God has ministered to you through your church and consider how God has used your life to bless others. Has the Holy Spirit alerted you to someone in your church who is struggling or in a need? Has God made you aware of a problem or need in your church? How might God use your life as part of the solution to that problem? When you attend church, are you alert to people who may need encouragement? If God has led you to some specific people, what have you done in response? If you are not aware of people in your church to who you could minister, why do you think that is? How could you be more spiritually prepared the next time you go to church? ~Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 112: Every day holds limitless possibilities as God walks with people all around us. Acts 17:17 Far too long Christians have assumed that the activity of God occurs only on Sundays at church. Scripture shows that God is continually at work in our streets, and along with our ways daily. That means at work. In the movie theatre. At the gas pump. When God called Abram, he was one of the most successful businessmen of his day (Genesis 24:35). Abraham’s son, Isaac, also prospered in the marketplace (Genesis 26:12-14). Likewise, Isaac’s son, Jacob, became wealthy through his business acumen (Genesis 30:43). Joseph served God, not as a Preacher, or even a Missionary, but as a Grain Administrator (Genesis 41:37-57). Moses had a profound encounter with God during his work (Exodus 3:1-6). Elisha was invited to join God’s activity while plowing a field (Kings 19:19-21). Amos declared he was not a prophet or the son of a prophet, but a sheep breeder and a tender of sycamore trees (Amos 7:14). Daniel served God as a government official. Jesus was trained as a carpenter. When He set out to call people who would walk with Him, as disciples, He chose fishermen and other careers (Mark 1:16-20). Businesspeople are not intimidated by the world. That is the environment in which they have lived and thrived. Once these people experienced a life transformed by an encounter with Jesus, they prepared to turn their world upside down! Joseph of Arimathea was a businessman who, although he feared religious leaders, dared to approach Pilate, the Roman leader, for Jesus’ body. John 19:38; Mark 15:42-43. He used his business contacts and influence to provide Jesus a proper burial. All four Gospels tell his story. Lydia, a businesswoman, was a key player in the Church at Philippi (Acts 16:14-15). Aquila and Priscilla, a couple who ran a business (Acts 18:1-2). The marketplace, not the Church building, is where people spread the word, most of their time. God does not wait to encounter them when they enter His temple on Sundays. He goes to where people are and encounters them during their every-day lives. Sunday services are an opportunity for believers to worship God, because of the events during the week. Their mission is not equipped in church; it is equipped where they live and work during the week. Ephesians 4:11-12. Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 113: How do you see God at work in your business world? God is there, working just as Jesus did. The problem is, do we seek Him there? “You will find me when you seek Me with all your heart.” I don’t hear anyone discussing this, in the marketplace. God, over and over again, expresses “I am with you always.” When is “always”? Gideons are businessmen who distribute God’s Word all over the world. They will speak in any church that will invite them to their church. We have one coming to our church next week. They not only give the Word, but they also go speak. Do you think many people within our fellowship give Bibles on any special occasion? The Gideon speaker shares with us how someone picked up a Gideon Bible and came to Christ. These come from personal witnesses/testimonies. But I do not hear of many pastors talking of their stories. We have just been through a horrific ice storm, the worst on record. Tree companies came from all over the South. One came to clean ours up immediately. Guess what? The person in charge of the team shared with us his testimony of becoming a Christian, and how God led him to his business, then his wife, and now three children, and how God gives him hunks of time to be home with his wife and children, even when he is away for chunks of time cleaning up trees. How many times do you share a connection of your business and associate it with what God has done? (Acts 4) Most people in the workplace ever visit a church on Sunday. So, Christ sends His servants (Amos 3:7) to job sites where the people who need to hear about Him work. We pray over missionaries who travel to other countries to share the gospel. churches need to have commissioning services for those who go into the marketplace every Monday morning. That is what happened in Acts 4. Are we not a part of that church? Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 114: As Jesus was passing through Jericho, on the way to His appointment with the Cross, word had spread that the great miracle worker and teacher was coming down Main Street. Crowds gathered quickly, to catch a glimpse of Him. Luke 19:1-10. A businessman, notorious for his unethical and ruthless practices, felt a compulsion to try to see this attraction. He had a tough exterior appearance, really short and stout and a hard-nosed reputation, but God was pursuing him. As Jesus passed by, so many people were shouting at Him, and trying to get His attention. What caused this man to be driven to think of climbing up into a tree, just to see Him pass by? God had to be at work there, at this time, to have Jesus recognize that the Father was drawing Zacchaeus to Himself. And Jesus immediately joined Him. Do you think there was a restlessness in this heart of Zacchaeus, as there are in many hearts around us, today? Do we have so many around us who have so much more than the vast majority in the world, but find peace and contentment lacking in their seeking? How many Zacchaeus’s do we have around us, today? We run into them every day. Where is our attention focused, “as we go?” Jesus commanded, “seek first…” (Matthew 6:33). Jesus expects every disciple to make it his/her first priority to be involved in the building of God’s Kingdom and to trust God to provide for all our other needs. Our attention for God is not for just Sundays. This day is not about what’s happening in the Temple/synagogue. It’s on Main Street. It’s “as we pass by.” We will not seek Him, until we feel the “need” to seek Him. An “urging” as He passes by. Where are you “passing by” today? Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 115: Do we ever have an inner compulsion to see Jesus? Despite a man’s tough exterior and hard-nosed reputation; God still pursued him. He was a businessman notorious for his unethical and ruthless practices. Jesus was on His way to the cross (He knew His timing). As He passed through Jericho a crowd quickly formed down the main street just to catch a glimpse of Him. Many of them shouted at Him to draw His attention. Suddenly, Jesus spied the infamous tax collector in a tree. Jesus knew His Father was at work around Him. He noticed that God was at work in that man’s life. He called out, “Zacchaeus! make haste and come down for today I must stay at your house.” Scripture does not tell us how, but Jesus recognized that His Father was drawing Zacchaeus to Him. This was God’s invitation to Zacchaeus, and Jesus joined Him. Luke 19:1-10 displays how God is always at work among people all around us, like those found at the workplace of today. There is a restlessness in many of their hearts as they realize reaching the top of their businesses, being recognized as the pinnacle of their professions, or surpassing their financial goals does not bring the peace and contentment that they were seeking. Within the last couple of weeks, I came across a book entitled “A Seeker’s Story,” by David Allen. He is very well-known as the writer of “Getting Things Done.” It is a story of a modern-day Zacchaeus. So many today need to watch and see Zacchaeus in the workplace! We need to be attentive to things going on around us, to see where God is working around us (during lunch, riding to work and back again, “Going down Main Street”). I remember years ago while Billy Graham was teaching in a Crusade; Billy would ask people to pray for his son to come to know the Lord. I felt compelled to pray then and continued that prayer for many years. Guess What? God IS working through Franklin Graham, in His unique way, in Samaritan’s Purse. Matthew 6:33 Jesus expects every disciple to make Christ their number one priority in what He is doing today and to trust God to provide for all their needs. It is so hard for us to see God at work in North America in our society today. Why? We do not see churches being interconnected across all denominations. So many church leaders have very little contact with people of other churches or denominations. Businesspeople can work through so many networks of complex connections and they can be extremely creative in overcoming communication barriers. They know how important it is to communicate and advertise. They have access to many people and places that churches do not. They can enter countries totally opposed to Christianity and missionaries. We are still “on Main Street.” Where did Jesus preach and teach? “On Main Street.” Today is “Good Friday,” the day of “Passion.” Are we, today, crucifying Him again? Are we alert to what God intends to do through our lives each day as we go to work? Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 116: You cannot love God without also loving what He loves. He does not favor people from certain countries or nationalities or skin colors or political affiliations. God so loved the world that He was willing to pay ANY price to bring freedom (Salvation) to those who were in danger of perishing (John 3:16). God knows fully the horrific extent of what it means to perish for eternity, and He does not want that to happen to anyone. Notice the heart of God as revealed in Scripture; “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded” Matthew 28:19-20); “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). “I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them, say: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and dominion to the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13). God’s desire is that “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11). God the Father was willing to go to enormous lengths to bring this about by sending His very loved Son to die on a cross for ALL humanity’s sin. Guess what the middle letter in the word, “SIN” is? The only way we sin is against God and no one else. God is carrying out His plan to redeem humanity. He has raised up the church as His instrument to bring a world to Himself. God expects us to have the entire world on our hearts, just as He does, to aim for anything less is to be guilty of planned disobedience. We so often think and say, “our church is small, and it is impossible to reach all people.” But Jesus commanded, “be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” This is also impossible for us to achieve but that does not make it any less obligatory. We cannot carry out many of God’s commands in our own strength or wisdom. We will never be able to figure out how to achieve a world for Christ, but God knows how to do that through you. Be careful the moment you say, “That’s impossible!” You are saying more about your faith in God than about the ability of God in your church. There is nothing that is impossible for God!” When God asks you to do something that is impossible you should rejoice knowing God is providing you an opportunity to experience His divine power. When the angel told a teenage Mary that through her God is going to bring her to a place where she will experience His divine power to bring salvation to the whole world through her child, He reassured her saying, “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Jesus commanded His followers to make disciples of all nations and He made a promise by saying “and remember, I am with you always, to the end of the ages” (Matthew 28:20). God knows our capabilities better than we do. We must depend upon Him with a faith that pleases Him (Hebrews 11:6). In our weakness, His strength is manifested to a watching world (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). The world will never come to a faith in Christ because we developed a wonderful strong plan, but because we faithfully obeyed an all-powerful God but because we faithfully obeyed an all-powerful God, the kingdom of God is at hand! Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 117: If you are faithful in a little, God will entrust you with more. God can enable you to do just that. So, how do you live a life that affects the world and the kingdom of God? Matthew 25:21. You will get only little assignments at first. The principle is clear. It works in every way imaginable. The parable of the master who left his servants in charge of his possessions while he went away on a distant journey. He allotted different talents to different servants. Our master is a spiritual master. We are made in His image. We have a choice worldly, or spiritually. Matthew 6:24 We are placed in a world that is lost, spiritually. You do not see, or hear, a world that is joyous or peaceful, or patient, or gentle, or kind, or faithful, or meek, or under self-control. Galatians 5:22-23. If you have much, spiritually, more will be given to you (spiritually). If you earn worldly anything, you will not have these spiritual gifts, no matter how much you receive. Why are we bombarded with “free” money, all around us? Why do we want more and more? Why are we trying to lie and destroy what is around us? When our Master returns, what will He do when He has servants who are faithful in everything, He gives them? God knows that He can use your life to maximally affect His kingdom. He does not have to give you a large international assignment; but you can expect that He will have something for you to do; When? Notice how often the word, “Now” begins a sentence in Scripture. Or “Today?” When is “Today?” Not tomorrow, or next week, or this year, or next year. God is always at work around you (John 5:17, 19-20). Always remember, though, that any assignment that God gives you, it will be a crisis of belief, by you. If it is not God-sized, He will not receive the glory; but you will. Look at what God did with Gideon, in Judges, Chapter 7. When did Gideon worship? Gideon had no skills as a soldier; he was just a farmer. Do not keep pushing and asking for greater works or tasks from God, or others. TRUST that when God is pleased with your faithful service, He will entrust you with HIS PERFECT TIMING. GOD loves the entire world. He is constantly at work extending His kingdom which includes every believer on earth. God looks for those who will make the pursuit and extension of His kingdom the chief aim for their lives. Have you been faithful in what God has given you, up until now? What is the evidence? Your church is the life that God is working through. Jesus said, to Peter (Petros/rock), and you on this rock, I will build my Church (God’s Family). Planned before you were even conceived in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5). What have you planned? Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 118: In the afternoon after Mary and Mary Madeline had found the empty tomb, two discouraged men were walking together to Emmaus, a town seven miles from Jerusalem (Luke 24:13-35). They had been excited about all that Jesus had done and taught, but He now had been taken from them, and from the tomb, in which He had been placed. They had heard that Jesus had risen. Now, they were bewildered, not knowing what to do next. Suddenly, they were joined by a stranger, who asked what they were talking about. They explained what had happened, and how they could no longer follow Jesus, as they had planned. During the next few hours, as they walked along, the stranger explained the events surrounding Jesus’ death, that this was not an end, but a beginning of an exciting new opportunity to walk daily with the Son of God. The stranger was the risen Christ himself! One thing we often hear from people who have studied this material is that there is a letdown afterwards especially when they are involved in a small study group of people (Sunday School, discipleship class, marriage seminars, etc.) Lots of people, after accepting Christ as their Savior, are excited about those events, but over time, revert to patterns like before these study encounters. This does not need to occur. Wherever you are in your walk with Jesus, you need to prepare to move on to the next stage in your walk with God: Stay regularly immersed in God’s Word Remember: “This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do” Joshua 1:8 Make it a habit. Ephesians 5:26 “To make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the Word.” as the Church is immersed in God’s word, the Spirit of God uses Scripture to convict and cleanse God’s people of sin and to become spotless before Him. Regularly spending time in Bible study. Remain intimately involved with a church family that will love and nurture you. “Not staying away from our meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 God made believers interdependent. You cannot experience all God has for you apart from the rest of the body (of Christ). Surround yourself with people who have a passion for Christ and His Word, and who are willing to encourage you and to hold you accountable to the Word God speaks to you. Pray regularly. Daniel made it a habit to pray three times daily. Daniel 6:10. As a result, he had a powerful prayer life in which God answered him the moment he began to speak. Daniel 9:23 One of the best ways to prevent your heart from growing cold is to talk regularly with God. As you commune with Him, keep your focus on Him and remember to follow Him DAILY. Prayer is a two-way communication through which God also speaks to you. It is difficult to talk to God each day and continue to sin. Keep your promises to God. “When you make a vow to God, do not delay fulfilling it, because He does not delight in fools. Fulfill what you vow. Better that you do not vow than that you vow and not fulfill it.” Ecclesiastes 5:4-5. We so often make commitments, and then do not fulfill them. God takes our promises extremely seriously. Take time to review your commitments keep a list in your Bible in writing where you will see it regularly. Be diligent to follow through with everything you promise God you will do. A good intention is not the same as obedience. There are no substitutes for obedience. Process what God has done in your life as you have collected your events, along the way. Remember: God is at work around you. “Manna” is for now, only. The word of God is for now. Today’s “manna” is not for tomorrow, or next week, or next month. You will not remember even 90% of now two weeks from now, unless you have captured it, along the way. John 9:1-3. If you do not let these truths soak into your heart and take root in your life, it will be like the seed that fell on stony ground and was soon taken away. Matthew 13:20-21. Processing God’s Word means allowing God to explain and apply all He has said to you. It is not enough to agree with what God said. You must also apply God’s word in your heart and in your life. This involves action! It is not enough to believe in forgiveness. You must ask God to examine your heart and relationships to see if there is anyone you have not truly forgiven. If God reveals someone, ask Him to show what action you must take to be reconciled. Then, do what He says. If you will not capture truths as you go, you will not know how you live, and experience truths as applies to your events. The truths will be lost as you go through your activities. God is trying to get your attention, but you are too BUSY (Being Under Satan’s Yolk) to notice the truth that He is revealing to you. It is important for you to capture these moments so that you can meditate on them until you are sure you understand everything that God revealed to you. Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 119: What time is it? John 9:1-3 What is it, time? Ephesians 5:15 Is God really at work around you? Whose time is it now, anyway? ” Why, On Earth, am I here?” Did I choose to be here, now? Of course, we know the answers to these questions, but why do we not pay attention to them? s-“I”-n is the problem. We do not want to change. Romans 3:23. So, why are we here? John 9:3. Today we are going to go through events. Every one of them is filled with the Glory of God. So, few people record them. Last week, we spent our time with our grandchildren (family), but as we went, we stopped for lunch at a Cracker Barrel. Lunch wait was 30 minutes. I opened my planner to note the paths of our day, standing in an aisle of the store. I was writing, when a gentleman came up to me, and asked, “Is that a Franklin Planner?” He also had his, and I noticed something rarely he carried it with him, too. I asked him how long he had been using his, and he noted since 2008. He shared that he did not know how to use his, even though he had taken the course of using it, at that time. This meant that he had not learned to discipline the use of the Monthly Index, and Planning and Solitude time. I showed him my Monthly Index, and how I used it to find Prayers and Gratitude in seconds, over the last few months that glorified God’s activity in our world (again, John 9:1-3). This is the only tool I have seen in my world, where Hebrews 4:12 is living and active and where we can see our thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. How many Christians today, regularly have spiritual retreats? How many Christians today, keep periodically, Spiritual Inventories? Another event was a conversation with another pastor this past week. By the end of the conversation, he asked me to pray for a new convert who made his profession of faith in Jesus. He asked me how to grow this person from his excitement now, into a spiritual disciple. He heard that I knew how to do that. I was shocked that he did not know that already! So how do we get “normal” Christians to know that? We pastors are just like the unbelievers even. How about you? Where are your spiritual inventories? Where is your prayer journal? Where is your Gratitude Journal? Selah
Daily Devotional – Day 120: Jude 24 – Two discouraged men were walking together to the town of Emmaus, about 7 miles from Jerusalem. They had chosen to follow Jesus and were excited about all that He had taught and done. Now they were bewildered, not knowing what to do, because Jesus had cruelly been taken away from them. Suddenly a stranger joins them and asks them what they are talking about. They explained what had happened and how they no longer had access to follow Jesus as they had planned. For the next few hours this “stranger” explained that the events surrounding Jesus’ death were not the end, but the beginning of an exciting new walk daily with the Son of God. The stranger was the risen Christ Himself. This story is well known by every Christian today (Luke 24:13-35). These people still meet regularly in small groups at least weekly. Most feel that their lives revert to the patterns they had before their studies began. This does not need to be the case. If we have a personal relationship with Jesus, then we must adjust things to align with “all the commandments that God has spoken to us (Matthew 28:19-20). There are new truths that He still wants to reveal to you (John 8:32). Most people will not write down what we have been taught. It is not because they do not have time. Whose time, is it? By not writing it down and making it available to review later is like viewing ourselves in a mirror then walking away and forgetting about what we looked at. How long does manna last? What has happened since that last viewing? You cannot click through digital notes any better than you can look at something in a mirror and then become immersed in God’s Word. Do we remember this? “This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then, you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do” (Joshua 1:8). Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 121: Make it a habit to be in God’s Word daily. Ephesians 5:26 gives us a wonderful picture of this; “To make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the Word.” As we are immersed in God’s Word, the Spirit of God uses Scripture to convict and cleanse God’s people/family, to remove our sins and become spotless before Him who is willing to encourage you and hold you accountable to God’s Word? Remain intimately involved in a church family that will love and nurture you (Hebrews 10:25). God made us Interdependent. You have a choice to either stay isolated or surround yourself with people who have a passion for Christ, His Word, who are willing to encourage you, and to hold you accountable to the Word God speaks to you.
Daily Devotional – Day 122: Where is your Prayer Journal? Daniel made it a habit of praying three times daily (Daniel 6:10). His prayer life was powerful. God answered him the moment he began to speak (Daniel 9:23). It is hard for your heart to grow cold when you talk regularly with God. Prayer is a two-way communication through which God also speaks to you. It is difficult to talk to God each day and continue to sin. When you keep your focus on Him and remember to pray to Him continuously then you will find it difficult to not apply His Word to your life. Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 123: Where is your Bible Promises? When you make a vow to God, do not delay fulfilling it, because He does not delight in fools (Psalm 34:7). Fulfill what you vow. Better that you do not vow than that you vow and not fulfill it (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5). If you have been reading these devotions, you have made commitments to Him in response. Remember that God takes our promises to Him extremely seriously. It is okay to review these thoughts and make a list of commitments you have made. That list needs to be with you always. Good intentions are not the same as obedience. There are no substitutes for obedience. Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 124: How do you process what God’s Word means? Allow God to explain and reveal to you what He said. It is not enough just to simply agree with what God says. You must apply God’s Word in your heart and life. What is life? (Matthew 13:20-21). This involves action. Remember, even Satan believes in God and atheists believe themselves to be gods. When we try to tell God what we think we are joining them. We must ask God to examine our heart and our relationships to see if there is anyone, we have not truly forgiven. Ask Him to show us what action(s) we need to take to be reconciled. Reality must be lived and experienced. Truths will be lost if you do not learn how to make them appear when you need them to appear. Our minds are not organizers. It is good for ideas, but they vanish as quickly as walking away from the mirror. Identification is brought to your attention, but you decide to choose whether you will meditate on them until you are sure you understand and experience everything Jesus intended when He commanded us. Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 125: “Go ye, therefore, and make disciples…” ~ Jesus’ final command before leaving earth. Not an option, for those who choose to follow Him. “Go” IS a command. It is an action word. “Ye” is whoever is listening to His Spoken word. Are you? Therefore, means this is related to what has just been said, “You cannot serve two masters.” You will listen to one, and hate the other, or you will follow the other, and hate the first. You WILL BE a natural man, or you will be a spiritual Christian. A Carnal Christian is still a natural man. 1 Corinthians 2:14. Verse 16 is the spiritual Christian. “Ye” are we who have decided to ACT-take action–to become disciples, or learners, who will “make disciples, who will make disciples…” So, where do you stand? Discipling is an ever-growing cycle. We grow, or we “die.” Stop hearing God speak. See events, and do not relate them to what God is doing around us. We do exactly what Adam and Eve did and separate ourselves from hearing God speak. Discipling is CONTINUAL LEARNING, becoming a child who WANTS–SEEKS to know ever more about his father. EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE is purposeful. It is in God’s timeline for ever. You have been placed here for His Plan, His Purpose, in that timeline. You did not choose to be here; He did. The same for Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump, and even the pandemic. God was not surprised by the pandemic, even though it was humanly caused. He lets us choose to not seek Him, in our choices. Joe Biden may choose to shut the world down, but that is not what Scripture says. Joe Biden did not look at what Scripture says. The Bible (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) does talk much about slavery, and about disease, and about how to be healthy. After all, He made us. He wants us to choose life, or death. That is our choice; AND HE HAS ALL THE ANSWERS. So, why are you not discipling others? Could it be that you are not listening, either? In Mark 1:35, Jesus was being busy, maybe even busier than you can ever be. What was His next step? What were His values? Was He focused on why He had been created just as we are? Luke 2:52 shows us why we need to be about our father’s business. So, where are we supposed to start? Selah!
Daily Devotional – Day 126: “Jesus Calling, August 2” This day of devotions from the book by Sarah Young expresses why I do not see many Christians BECOME disciples. It does not change their value system. It requires action. I notice throughout Scripture that when God appears/Speaks, it requires IMMEDIATE adjustment. It creates a CRISIS OF BELIEF. You can take any person who encounters Him, to hit the PAUSE button. It requires ACTION! “Go ye …” Psalm 21:6 tells us how to be exceedingly glad forever! But we do not understand. Why? How many times have we heard, “Love the LORD, your GOD, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength.” Do we really believe that? How do we express it? SIX DISCIPLINES (disciples comes from this):
- SPENDING TIME WITH THE MASTER
- LIVING IN THE WORD
- PRAYING IN FAITH
- FELLOWSHIPPING WITH OTHER
- BELIEVERS WITNESSING TO THE WORLD
- MINISTERING IN SERVICE
In order evaluate these, you must document your journey. How many Christians schedule, and carry out, spiritual retreats regularly? Of course, our LORD Jesus documented this to his disciples when Jesus shared who His followers were. They questioned Him, “When did we see you hungry, or naked, or poor, and ministered to you?” “When you did to the least of these, you did it unto Me.” THAT’S EVERY DAY AS WE GO! Still the same. But we are so tied up with King “I”(me, my, mine). S”I”N. B.U.S.Y. (Being Under Satan’s Yolk) John 7:38. Rivers of Living Water. Jesus spoke about this more than once. That is what will come forth from us who truly believe in Him, as LORD. Clean washing in abundance. Glad tidings. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ALL things become new. Never ending. With us ALWAYS, even to the end of the age. DO WE REALLY WANT THIS? “Thou knowest!” SELAH!