Devotionals
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April 7, 2017, 5:00 AM

Is your faith strong enough to surrender it all?


Is your faith strong enough to surrender it all?  You know the faith that Abraham had was legendary, and thanks to his faith I’m an heir to the promises that God made him.  However, I believe one of the things that impresses me about the life of Abraham is his level of surrender.  It took a lot of faith to surrender his identity and walk around all that time with everyone knowing you as Abram but enduring all the ridicule to introduce himself to people as Abraham “the father of many nations”, especially since he didn’t even have one child yet.

 

Anyone other than me feel like they may not have been as successful with that as Abraham was?  Seriously.  Year after year went by no kids and eventually the one that I did have was the one that wasn’t ordained by God for me to have.  Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year goes by.  “Hi.  I’m Abraham the father of many nations”. Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 when Isaac was born. To say they were old is just being nice. Yet despite all of the odds that were against Abraham, Scripture says he did not waver and was fully convinced that God would do what he promised.

 

He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:20-22

 

There are certainly times in my life that I have waivered.  Over the last couple of years I’ve learned to trust God more, but there are still times where I am tempted to get into fear, doubt, and worry. I make mistakes on a daily basis.  I have times where I doubt God.  I have times where I disobey God.  There are times I let a lot of me gets in God’s way.  Although there’s a much more peaceful and restful feeling in my life today, not because of anything other than the fact that I’ve begun to be convinced that God is in control and that He keeps His promises.

 

Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness. He was absolutely certain that God would do as He said He would and He did.  "What about Hagar and Ishmael?" you might ask. Good question. I don’t know, but the Scripture says he did not waver, he continued to believe God even though he made the wrong choice by trying to help God. What I learn from Abraham is that no matter how bad you mess up, God still keeps His promises.  Friends I long to have the kind of faith it takes to be fully convinced that God’s always going to cause everything to work out for good.  I certainly want my life to be more surrendered to the Lord than it is.  Where are you lacking faith? Where is God calling you to step out in faith and trust Him?

This my Prayer:  God I trust You with all my heart.  I may not always display that trust, and I may sometimes find myself having doubts but the truth is You’ve come through in my life time and again, and I trust that You always will.  Lord show me how my life can bring You glory, honor, and worship. Help me Lord to surrender more of myself to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.




April 6, 2017, 5:00 AM

Do know what God’s will is for you, and what he is telling you to do? 


Do know what God’s will is for you, and what he is telling you to do?  When I was a child, I couldn’t wait to be a teenager. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to go to college. When I was in college, I couldn’t wait to get out in the world.  If I am being completely honest then I have to admit that I have certainly wished and day-dreamed many a day away.  I’ve spent plenty of time not really appreciating what I had, and wanting more or better or what I perceived to be better than what I had.  I’ve spent plenty of time complaining about the difficulties of life especially about the area that seemed not to going according to my plans.  Oftentimes I have done my griping, while becoming discouraged and angry; wondering what God’s will was for me.  

 

“Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.”  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.  What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”  Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”  James 4:13-17

 

It tells us in these verses “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it”.  Many times in my life I have known what God’s will for me was, I knew what God was telling me to do, and choose to deny it and go my own way.  These times always led to pain, anguish, and disappointment.  They led me further away from where God wanted me.   It was only when I returned to God and followed His lead that I had peace and joy, no matter how hard the situation was, because I knew I that He was with me. 

 

One of the greatest things I believe we can learn is to appreciate the blessings we have now.  Everyone is always talking about how we need to plan for tomorrow, and dream big and I think that some times that robs us of the ability to look at where we are right now.  Don’t allow the discouragement of regret to rob you of today’s blessing.  Press on and receive God’s grace over any regret you may have in your life and live today as a new day in Him. Enjoy every moment God has given you and every second you have with Him.   Most of all I encourage you to enjoy God, His plan, His purpose, His will, His salvation. God’s plan is for you to accept the saving grace of Jesus Christ, His purpose is reconcile you with God the Father but removing your sin, and His will is for you to deliver this message to the lost world around you by living it out and sharing His good news.  What are you waiting for?  Do know what God’s will for you is, and what he is telling you to do?  Go and enjoy doing it!

 

Prayer:  God what would You have me do.  Lord help me to let go of those days I wish I could go back to.   Help me to make the most of every day and more importantly show me how I can lay down more of myself so that you can use me more.  Jesus help me to continue to learn to be content with the things You’ve given me.   God show me how I can bring You glory and share Your message.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.




April 5, 2017, 5:00 AM

In what areas of your life do you worry the most?


In what areas of your life do you worry the most? It’s interesting that what we think we can do by worrying really doesn’t happen at all.  I know from my life whenever I was worried about things I thought that by worrying I showed that I cared, and that I was getting something done.  However, the more I think about it the more I realize that worrying never really accomplishes anything.  In fact, it actually goes to hinder us more than anything else.  You see worrying is really just a smaller way to say we don't know if God will come through. We somehow think that if we add a little worry to His holy mix that things will work out better.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? Matthew 6:25-27

 

Listen, there’s nothing going on in our lives that God cannot take care of!  There’s nothing that’s catches Him by surprise or that He doesn’t know about.  There isn’t anything that we cannot or shouldn’t be able to lay down at the altar of the Cross including our lives. Today, you and I need to make a stand against that worry that creeps up in our minds and wants to steal away our strength and faith.

 

I don’t know what you’re facing.  I don’t know the situations or circumstances in your life.  However, I know the One who does.  He knows all about you, your life, and the situations you are facing.  He doesn’t need us to help Him, He needs us get out of His way. The scripture tell us that we serve a God who effortlessly created the world in six days and still knows how many hairs you have on your head. Romans 8:28 tells us that He is in full control of all things, and works all things out for good of those who love him.

 

I admitted to you that I’m not perfect, and I certainly haven’t figured all there is to figure out.  It’s taken me a long time to learn not to not give in to worry, but what took me the longest to learn was to surrender the things I worried about to God and allow Him to take care of them. But I have found that when asked God to take over, He did.  What’s unsurprising is that once He did take over things turned out a lot better than they did or they were while I was trying to take care of them on my own.“ Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Psalm 55:22

 

This is my Prayer: God remove all my worries and fear for today and tomorrow. Lord reveal Your promises in Your Word to me. Jesus strengthen my faith so that I will trust You to be in control.  Lord show me how to have a more intimate relationship with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.




April 4, 2017, 5:00 AM

Forgiveness is hard isn’t it?


Forgiveness is hard isn’t it, especially when we have the right to be upset?  Think about the story of Esau and Jacob.  Jacob betrayed Esau in a mighty way, he took everything from Esau. And after that betrayal Jacob hit the road.  Then one day Jacob decides to come back and Esau just forgives him. 

 

“Then Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his 400 men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and his two servant wives. He put the servant wives and their children at the front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother, he bowed to the ground seven times before him. Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept.” Genesis 33:1-4

 

Have you ever wondered what thought processes Esau went through to get to this place of forgiveness?  I try to imagine what would happen in today’s world if something like this happened to anyone of us.  I mean think about how something like what Jacob did to Esau would go in today’s world.  Today’s world is about seeking our own vengeance and payback instead of forgiveness.  I have to be honest with you in the fact that there was a time that had someone ripped me off like that I am certain that I wouldn’t have been so quick to forgive and forget, but God’s done a lot of work in my heart when it comes to this area too.  I’m still learning to forgive without holding any kind of grudge at all.  I can honestly say that I’m getting better at forgiving like God has forgiven me, but sometimes it’s a struggle to not hold on to the hurt.

 

Why do we hold onto hurt? I think it because we don't look at forgiveness correctly. We judge ourselves from a horizontal stance when we should be judging ourselves from a vertical one. You see, we think things like, “I'm not so bad compared to them.” We think our sins aren't as bad as someone else's, but in the eyes of God they are all the same.  I don’t know about anyone else’s life, but when it comes to mine, I know exactly what I’ve done in my life.  Therefore there’s no right or reason for me to ever point a finger at someone else to say that at least I didn’t do what they’ve done, because what God’s forgiven and given me grace for is just as bad.  I needed the grace, mercy, and Blood of Jesus to cleanse me just as much as anyone else.

 

Jesus Christ was the only perfect person and will be the only perfect person ever. When we measure ourselves in light of his standard, we will always fall short. No matter how big or how small we think our sins may be, without a Savior they still separate us from God. You don’t need anyone's participation or permission to forgive them. Forgiving someone is the most self-loving thing you can do, because forgiveness is for you, not the other person.

 

This is my Prayer:  Heavenly Father I don’t want to hold on to bitterness and unforgiveness. Lord if there’s any of that in my life reveal it to me and help me to let it go. Jesus give me a heart like Yours. Help me to get to a place where I extend grace, mercy, and forgiveness as quickly, as easily, and as completely as You do.  In Jesus’ name, Amen




April 3, 2017, 5:00 AM

“If you can’t say nothing good…don’t say nothing at all.” 


Do you tend to be more negative or positive with your words? We live in a world that focuses on the negative. The news we watch on TV is almost always filled with stories about bad stuff.  It’s almost always, the government did this, this person has died, this horrible accident happened, this person was shot, stabbed or arrested, so much negativity.  That’s why my wife doesn’t watch it anymore, because it really affects her heart and mind. And if I’m not careful, I can find myself fretting over things just because someone told me something bad happened. It causes me to worry and steal trouble from tomorrow which totally overloads the troubles that today already has.   Matthew 6:34 “Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

 

Here’s a challenge for you: Try going one day without saying anything negative, rude, sarcastic or hurtful to anyone or about anyone. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:29-30 

 

This one hits me like a ton of bricks, because I am one of those naturally sarcastic and antagonizing people.  So I struggle with God telling me I should only say things that are helpful, that build others up, and that benefit anyone listening.  But that’s exactly what His word says!  When I say sarcastic things at the expense of someone else or cut someone down, it grieves Him.  The word grieves mean to throw into sorrow and sadness.  You see, God wants us all to have a day of redemption, a day where we find complete forgiveness in Jesus, and He uses us a vessel in which to share that message. 

 

Listen, if we don’t treat the people we’re trying to lead to the Lord any differently than the world treats them, why in the world would they want what we claim to have?  It brings God sorrow and sadness when we allow negativity to over shadow the message of His love for others in our life.  The Bible says that the world would know Jesus’ disciples by their LOVE.  “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." John 13:35


It’s like my momma used to tell me and she had to tell me a lot, “If you can’t say nothing good…don’t say nothing at all.” 


This is my Prayer: God thank You for challenging my heart. Lord reveal to me the why behind my hurtful, negative words.  Jesus help me to be a more effective and successful representation of Your redemption.  Lord I need You to help me put away this kind of behavior so that I’m not hurting Your message.  God show me how to better reflect You and Your love.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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