Thursday, March 26, 2020

Devotions: Established in Love

and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;  so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The world knows we are Christians by our love, for them but also for each other. Bickering and back biting among Christians only turns the world against us and God. Love will never cease for God is love. Because God is love, we should be love also and ask Him to grow His love in us so that the world may see His love. In this way, we will be established as God’s church, built upon the foundation of Christ. It is confirmation for us that we are His children and walking in His ways, being given the fruit of His righteousness and sanctified by the work of the Spirit. One day, when all is made right, we will become perfect, holy and blameless as Jesus is. Until then, we have His covering so that we appear that way before God as we are working toward that end here on earth. It is that increase of His love in us which establishes and perfects us. Is that something you seek, to be made perfect in His love? Do you desire to grow more like God? Ask for His love to grow in you. Seek to love others genuinely. Study the love God has for you and appreciate it fully so you can pass it on.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Devotions: The Source of Power

The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace.
Psalm 29:11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

This is the last verse in a psalm about God’s voice in the storm and is very encouraging to read! In it David encourages the reader to praise God because He is in control and powerful. The voice of God shakes the world, moves mountains, creates life, and shatters the forests. If there is that much power in His voice alone, imagine what He can do with His hand! God is more powerful than all, mightier than all, and more loving than all. Not only does He possess all power, but He also loves us deeply and is committed to doing what is best for us. He will give us the strength we need to get through what we face. He will bless us abundantly, more than we could ask or imagine. That does not mean He will make life easy for us, or take away our troubles, but He will be with us through them, because that is what is best for us. The easy way out is not always best, but He is there through it all. Praise Him! Bless Him! Ask Him for the strength you need and trust Him to get you through!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Devotions: Be Strong

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Israelites were facing a scary time. They were about to invade a land peopled by giants and fierce armies, and they would start their invasion by attacking a city with an impenetrable fortress. The threat and danger were clear. Joshua was newly appointed as Moses’ successor and likely had some doubts about his ability to lead these people after watching Moses’ job for the previous 40 years. This verse was the end of God’s command for Joshua to take charge and lead the people. He needed to do what God commanded, no matter the cost or danger, and trust that God would be with them and take care of them. God gives us the same charge. He wants us to be strong and courageous because He is with us. We have no reason to fear because He already has victory and has promised to do what is best for us. Fear is of the devil. This does not mean we should be brash or foolish, but wise in our strength and courage. It is God’s strength which makes us strong and brave, nothing of ourselves. Do you tremble? Are you dismayed? Trust in the Lord, rely on Him to see you through. Whose strength do you rest in, yours or God’s? Be strong and courageous in God’s almighty power and do not fear! He is with you!

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Monday, March 23, 2020

Opportunity in Crisis: The Hidden Blessing

When crisis strikes, fear seems to be the only option. Bunker down, hole up and weather the storm. We run to either the fight or flight response, but is there a 3rd option? Is crisis something bad to either fight or hide from? Can good ever come from something so bad and out of our control?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Devotions: The God of Hope

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The God of hope. That is not an abstract saying, it is one of His names and attributes. He is the God of hope. He is the object and author of our hope. He is the foundation and builder of it. There is no true hope (which won’t disappoint) apart from Him. We need to make sure that our hope is in Him and not in what we want Him to do. He is our light and salvation, and we need to trust that He will take care of us. He is hope and gives it to us, but He can also give us joy and peace which will help us grow in hope through the Spirit. It is hard to hope when we are in despair and turmoil. God can give us the joy and peace amidst any circumstance which will fuel the hope we have in Him. That joy and peace come from our standing in Jesus, the justification He gives us at salvation. Nothing can shake that or take it away. That is our hope and it should bring us great joy and peace! How good is our God! Instead of criticizing us for being depressed or struggling with hope or doubt, He gives us what we need to get there! He wants us to have a good life that is free from fear, shame and despair regardless of circumstance, one which looks at trials and is not brought down. Is your hope in God? Does the knowledge of your unshakeable salvation bring you joy and peace within? Seek the power of the Holy Spirit; ask Him to build your hope, joy and peace in Him.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Devotions: Loving Propitiation

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Propitiation is my favorite word! It refers to the fact that Jesus took on Himself the full wrath of God for our sins, for my sins. He took the punishment we deserved. He paid our debt, all so we could be redeemed, reunited with God. That is love! We were incapable of loving God without that. What a wonderful God we serve! He gave everything for us! And don’t fall into the trap of thinking that He did for mankind at large, so it is nothing to take personally. He would have done it if you were the only one who needed it. Yes He did it for everyone, but He did it for you too. He loves you that much that He did what it took to bring you back to Him! It is very personal to Him. Let that sink in. Dare to believe that the Creator of the universe made you, knows you and loves you personally and intimately. Grasp the fullness of what His propitiation means.

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Monday, March 16, 2020

Hope In Crisis: Where Do We Turn?

Where do we run when crisis strikes? Do we stock up on bottled water and toilet paper? Do we seek horoscopes or advice columns? Right now the world is in crisis. Whether we believe the cause is real or imagined does not matter. The events transpiring at this moment will affect the future for all of us. Whether we are afraid of getting sick, afraid of what this panic will do to the economy, or just annoyed by the mass hysteria, we all have a choice. Where will we turn for truth, help and hope?

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Devotions: Hidden Treasures of Wisdom

in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Colossians 2:3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

This is the end of a big run on sentence (Paul was famous for those) which talks about Paul’s desire for the Colossians to be built up in Christ, namely that they have a full assurance of understanding that results in a true knowledge of the mystery of Christ. In Christ is all the treasure of wisdom and knowledge. It is only by knowing Him that we can have access to that. No amount of study at the best university could provide us with better wisdom and knowledge than Christ, for no knowledge is true which is not based on Him and His truth. And true wisdom can only be found by having His Spirit in us and seeking Him for truth and guidance. That is my desire for myself, my family (whom I teach), and for you. I pray that you would find the wealth of knowledge and wisdom in Christ and the assurance that brings. Seek God and His wisdom and knowledge above all else. Know the truth and it will set you free!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Devotions: Tell the Nations

Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
1 Chronicles 16:24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

This verse was part of a long prayer of praise and thanksgiving given by David as a dedication when the ark was finally restored to Jerusalem, and is worth reading in its entirety. There is so much that God has done, so many miracles listed in the Bible alone are almost beyond count. That is something we should never tire of doing, telling the world how great our God is! We should remind ourselves every day, express it to our children continually, and speak of it even to strangers. It should be no mystery who we adore and revere as being higher than any other. This is something I have trouble with, I’m generally pretty quiet when it comes to encouragement and praise, but it’s something I am working on. One of the wonderful deeds He has done in my life recently was bringing me to a women’s conference in my area last weekend. He moved my husband’s heart to sign me up (I wasn’t going to for financial reasons), provided wonderful ladies from my church to go with me, and made so many “divine appointments” I couldn’t doubt His love for me. The theme was “Adored by the God who sees me,” and it definitely left me with the assurance that is true! He is so wonderful! His love is beyond understanding! What has He done for you?

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Devotions: The Works of God

Come and see the works of God,
Who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men.
Psalm 66:5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

What has God done? How far do we have to go to see something awesome? Not very. The more we look, the more aware we are of all God has done. Look at your body; it knows automatically to take each breath, to make each heart beat, to tell you of what you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste. Look at the sky; imagine what it takes to keep the earth spinning, what it took to make it spin in the first place, marvel at the way clouds are formed. Look at the stars; how vast they are, they stay right where they’re put, such variety in the heavens. Look at your life; all the times you should have died, all the blessings you have, all of your abilities and opportunities. These are just a minute fraction of the works of God. Look at the cross; His loving sacrifice, His powerful mercy and forgiveness, His marvelous grace. I challenge you to record 5 awesome deeds of God every day for the next week. See how that changes your view of life!

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