Devotionals
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December 24, 2017, 5:00 AM

Why are you reluctant to take action?


Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8

The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway. Proverbs 15:19

 

One of the most depressing sights during the holidays is your local mall on Christmas Eve. What you’ll see are scores of men walking aimlessly down the aisles looking for gifts for their significant other, family or friends. All the shelves will have been picked over, leaving only odds and ends to choose from. These guys were well intentioned, and many planned to go Christmas shopping earlier in December, but time got away from them. They procrastinated, hardly anything was left, and they paid for it in the end.

 

Procrastination leaves us grabbing for straws. What we end up with is simply a means to an end instead of a purposeful decision. We can very easily put matters of faith on the back burner and pass it off for another day. When it comes to taking a step of faith, displaying courage or dealing with difficult issues, we schedule those times for a favorite day of the week: Someday. But, that day never comes. Due to our procrastination we pay for it in the end. Crucial conversations are not had, dreams go unrealized, and opportunities are missed. Tales of God’s faithfulness never get told.

 

Tomorrow is never promised. Today is all we are given. Stop giving so much credit to your future self. It will be impossible for Future Jane and Future Jim to be those men and women who live boldly when your present self is shrinking back from their present-day responsibility. What you do today shapes who you are tomorrow. Rather than procrastinate, live with purpose. Upon reading this word, chances are good you instantly thought of something you’ve been putting off. Why are you reluctant to take action in this area (fear, pride, anger, doubt, etc.)? How will taking action in this situation help develop the character and integrity of your future self, along with allow you to take a step of faith?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, there are places, situations, and experiences I try my hardest to avoid. But, no matter the effort I put into sweeping the situation under the rug, it doesn’t make it go away. Lord my procrastination is costing me more than I realize. Jesus You command me to have courage and to not let my fear, pride, or doubt get in the way of action. Today, may I act on the situations I’ve ignored for far too long. Let my words and actions honor You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




December 14, 2017, 5:00 AM

So what does the size of the ocean tell me about God?


When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. Ephesians 3:14-18

 

I haven’t taken a vacation in a couple of years and I’ve been doing a search on the internet at place to go.  The best vacation I’ve had was many years ago when my kids where little.  I took the family to Galveston to the ocean. I remember the complete awe and wonder they had with the ocean and it made me look at it differently. I looked up some amazing facts about it. Think about this: our oceans, seas, and bays hold 321 million cubic miles of water. That’s enough to fill about 325 quintillion gallon jugs of milk. (A quintillion is a 1 with 18 zeros, by the way.) Then God stocked the ocean with 1 million species of plants and animals. Well, those are the known species. Scientists say there could be up to 9 million species we haven’t even discovered yet.

 

So what does the size of the ocean tell me about God? Well, I might surmise that the Creator of something so grand must be beyond grand Himself. And if He placed something so vast in our midst, perhaps it’s to remind us that His love is infinitely wide, long, high and deep. In light of that big love, how can I dwell on the little things? But I do. I let my eyes fall to the worries of the day, and pettiness fills my heart. I don’t take time to contemplate God and His infinite love and care. I treat my heart like a mere machine, a functional instrument that pumps blood to the rest of my body. We are made to marvel at greatness. When we seek God’s great kingdom, we align our hearts not with our petty desires, but with the life we were made for: A life that glorifies Him.

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, thank you for making this beautiful world! Lord most days we go from A to B not noticing all of Your fingerprints. Yet You gave us beauty to give us hope. Jesus let us not take that for granted. Help us be grateful and inspired as we give You all the credit. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




December 13, 2017, 5:00 AM

What security is found in trusting in God’s unchanging nature?


In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Psalm 102:25-26

Even though it is important to talk about God’s love, justice and all of His other attributes, there is one that is absolutely critical in our ability to trust God and that is His unchanging nature. We tend to only trust things that we believe are consistently true. We do not trust something that we feel moves and changes. If what we believe about God determines what we trust Him with, then we must see Him as unchanging above all else. Why? God’s love, justice, providence and all His other attributes provide no security or foundation if they are inconsistent. If we think God’s love is unpredictable then we won’t trust His love. If we think God’s mercy is erratic then we won’t trust His mercy. If we think God’s grace is fickle, we won’t trust His grace.

 

We must learn to rest in the fact that God’s character does not change. There are implications to this reality.  God’s unchanging nature means that His attributes are perfect. He can’t become less loving or more loving. The extent of His wrath, justice and faithfulness are all complete. Nothing can be added or subtracted from them. If there were things that God did not know, He couldn’t be all-knowing. If there were things God could not do, He would not be all-powerful.  His consistency is the glue that holds together all the other attributes. It is at the core of all others. An unchanging God that is revealed in His Word logically means that His Word is also unchanging. Scripture teaches us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. This gives us clarity on what it means to follow Him. We don’t have to guess.

 

Often times we spend more time listening to ourselves than listening to God. Tuning our ears to the wrong voice, we begin to doubt His promises are true. But, they are. No matter the situations or problems you are facing today, God says He is with you. No matter who may forsake you, He is with you through thick and thin. In this ever-changing world, we must cling to His promises. As we do, we will find purpose in our pain. We experience freedom from our past as well as hope for our future. He is with us. He is our firm foundation and we know that God is working all things together for the good. Because we believe God is unchanging, we can freely trust. We are free to trust in His word and how He has revealed Himself to us. We can trust Him despite our changing world. What security is found in trusting in God’s unchanging nature?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, thank you that in the midst of this ever-changing world I can cling to Your promises. Lord Your truth remains the same and Your character can be trusted and counted on. Jesus You are the security I long for and today I am grateful. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




December 7, 2017, 5:00 AM

Where is worry consuming your thoughts?


But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34

 

Even though we will point to the long list of things we need to get done, the real reason we keep moving is what being busy helps us avoid. When we slow down, we become restless and begin to squirm. Speed makes everything a blurry distraction, yet when we push pause, clarity about the true state of our heart becomes clearer. Stillness forces us to hear the whispers of regret, doubt, shame, and fear. To avoid this tension and level of vulnerability, we pick up the pace. We reason it’s easier to stay busy than dealing with the things that emerge when we slow down and become still.

 

At this moment, what we look at determines what we wonder. If all we see is our mistakes and insecurities, we will begin to wonder if we matter. If all we see is our fear and uncertainties, we will begin to wonder if everything will be okay. If all we see is our wants and desires, we will begin to wonder if we’ll ever feel fulfilled and satisfied. We respond to these doubts by calculating how we can ensure that all of our wants and desires are fulfilled. This doesn’t get displayed in overt arrogance or self-importance, just a simple belief that our will is more important than everything and everyone else. Our desires become demands that must be fulfilled by those around us and even God himself. These behaviors and thought processes are fueled by entitlement. Pride prevents pursuit, but gratitude paves the way to humility.

 

Gratitude helps us measure the depth to which Christ is being formed in our hearts. Gratitude only rises from stillness. We see through the lens of what we want the most and that’s why Jesus invites us to seek Him. By taking our eyes off ourselves and placing them on God, we heal the distorted perspective of our heart. But, this doesn’t take place by simply seeing God. We can’t just notice Him; we must seek Him. We have encounters where we see Him in undeniable ways, but something has to shift. God acts on our behalf. He works out a situation in our favor – a bill gets paid, a relationship gets restored, a good prognosis is received at the doctor, etc. These are ways in which God reveals Himself to us, but seeking God’s kingdom is something different that requires intention on our part.

 

God will catch our attention, but we have to pause and consider whether He has captured our heart. Both are encounters and both are important. Seeking first the kingdom of God is an invitation to align our heart with, not only what it truly wants, but what it was made for. The first step in seeking first the Kingdom is first seeking the King. When expression is hard, pursuit becomes essential. This takes place not from our effort or our good behavior. It takes place as we worship. If things have become stale or stagnant in our relationship with Christ, the call isn’t to work harder, but to worship and wonder. Where is worry consuming your thoughts? How can worship and seeking Him be utilized to combat those things?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, instead of worrying, today I will worship. Lord rather than rushing, today I will rest. Jesus instead of simply seeing You, today I will seek Your heart and rather than attempting to control my circumstances, today I will lay them down at Your feet. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




December 5, 2017, 5:00 AM

How would resting in the security of God’s love influence your relationships with others?


And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19

 

What if we were able to grasp Christ’s love for us and our lives became an expression of this understanding? Imagine how drastically this would transform the way we treat our relationships. What if we could live transparently secure in our standing with God? How would trusting in the truths of today’s Scripture change the things we demand others to fulfill? Take it a step further. How different would our lives look like if we could love those we are in a relationship with freely because we were no longer looking to them for a love that had eluded us?

 

The simple fact is that we were created to love. It is very clear in Scripture that God is love and apart from Him love does not exist. Without it, what motivates our actions and our words can be suspect. From the outside the actions can seem pure, but our motives are driven by selfish desires. We look to get rather than give. We try to manipulate situations. We “love” out of a sense of obligation, to make up for mistakes or to avoid confrontation. Our ability to truly love others lies solely in our understanding and acceptance of God’s sacrificial love.

 

Therefore, Christ must be the foundation upon which we live our lives and care for others as well as what spurs us on to act with right motives. Ultimately, a sense of freedom is experienced because for the first time we are able to trust our heart and our motives. How would resting in the security of God’s love influence your relationships with others?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, may I put my complete trust in Your love. Lord open my eyes to the depths of how far Your love runs. Jesus help me to reflect Your sacrificial love in my relationships. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.


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