Devotionals
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November 5, 2017, 5:00 AM

What evidences are in your life indicate you have embraced Jesus as Lord?


Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you”.  Psalm 16:1–2

 

Christians casually, sometimes even flippantly, refer to Jesus as Lord. It’s not without precedent—in the New Testament, Jesus Christ is referred to as Lord 740 times. But what does it really mean to call Him “Lord”? It means Jesus is our ruler, sovereign, owner, master, and sole authority. He is Lord. Without Jesus as your Lord, you have no good thing. As David expressed in Psalm 16, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” Don’t be deceived by what you think you have, youth is fleeting, wealth is empty, gifts and abilities are ultimately worthless. Without Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, you have no good thing. Surrendering to His lordship is the starting point and purpose for true life.

 

A popular but terribly misguided notion is that Jesus can be your Savior without being Lord. Perhaps you’ve even thought this way: I’m trusting in Jesus to forgive my sins; later in life I’ll make Him Lord. That thinking is false—nobody makes Jesus Lord. He is Lord. The question is whether you will bow your knee to Him willingly in this life or under compulsion in the next (Philippians 2:10–11). He doesn’t just want to forgive you and escort you to heaven. He wants to live through you and change you on the way. So what does it mean to experience Jesus Christ as Lord of your life? It means you are yielding to His rule over every area of your life.

 

He is . . . Lord of your conduct. Jesus wants His desires and His will to rule over your actions, your words and feelings—your very character.  Lord of your relationships. Jesus wants to preside over your dating relationship or how you treat your spouse. He wants to rule over the way you parent. Jesus wants to be Lord over every interaction with business associates. All your relationships should yield to His rule. Lord of your time. What should you do with your available time? How should you invest your life? If you want to live a life of purpose, you need to be about more than just flipping pages on the calendar. Jesus wants His priorities to be yours. Lord of your talents. When you become a Christian, you are given some unique gifts; they are supernatural abilities intended to build God’s kingdom. Jesus wants to be Lord of the talents He gave you, whether those are gifts of music, teaching, mercy, helping, etc. Jesus wants to rule over how you invest those gifts in His kingdom. Lord of your treasure. According to Christ, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Jesus doesn’t care about the cash that’s burning a hole in your wallet. He cares about your money because He knows that until He has what you have, He doesn’t have you. When you surrender all you have to the lordship of Jesus, He gives it back so you can use it for Him. And He wants you to experience the joy in that.

 

Have you embraced Jesus as Lord? Nothing in your life will ever make sense until this does. If you ever wonder, What is life really about? How shall I invest my life? Here is your answer. Everything flows from this: Jesus Christ as Lord. What evidences are in your life indicate you have embraced Jesus as Lord? He wants to be Lord of every area of your life. What areas do you still need to surrender to His control?

 

Father Pray:  Father God, I echo the psalmist and say, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” Without You I have no good thing. Lord with You I have everything I need. Reveal the fullness of the Lordship of Christ to me. I embrace Him as my Master and submit to the Holy Spirit’s control. Jesus help me see the areas of my life where I am resisting. I give them to You. In your name Jesus I pray, amen.




November 4, 2017, 5:00 AM

Do you openly admit you need God?


Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.  Isaiah 40:28–29

 

It’s hard enough to admit we need God; what’s even harder is to live like we need Him. Successes in life can cripple us spiritually when we begin to view ourselves as self-sufficient. When we rely on our money, talent, family, or hard work to fix our problems, we don’t feel like we need God.  Ask the people of Israel about this brand of pride. They had just received news that they were going to suffer incredible consequences as a discipline from God. Their crime? They forgot who He was. They lost all sense of how great God is and how much they needed Him. His presence demanded awe and they yawned. For multiple generations, they had rebelliously, willfully, happily done their own thing—and God said, in essence, “Enough!”

 

In the context of facing doom, Isaiah’s audience cried out for the Lord. Isaiah answered with a moving description of God’s awesome, unchanging nature. “Have you not known? Have you not heard?” (40:28) (Translation: Didn’t you get the memo?) “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary” (40:28). God is not like us. He’s everlasting; we have short, finite life spans. He never gets tired; we range from drowsy to sleep deprived. He never feels overwhelmed; we are drowning in demands. “His understanding is unsearchable” (40:28); our thought processes are transparent and predictable. God is so beyond us, and we need Him. The good news is He delivers exactly what we’re desperate for in our weakest moments. “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength” (40:29). When your battery runs low, God offers power. When you are weak, He dispenses His strength.

 

Yet some claim they don’t need the Lord—they have their own program. “I have my act together. With a career plan and solid education, I’m heading in a good direction. My future’s bright.” They may not say they don’t need God, but they live like it. If that’s you, surrender your pride before He brings you low. You will not deny His purposes. Bow willingly before God now. Don’t wait for Him to force you to your knees. Like Isaiah’s original audience, you live in decadent days among people who disdain and dilute God’s awesome character. Followers of Christ face a similar choice: flirt with your perceived self-sufficiency until disaster comes, or admit your desperation without Him. When trouble comes, do you rely on yourself or depend on God? Do you take matters into your own hands or wait for God’s provision in His timing? Everyone needs the Lord. The sooner you learn this, the more you experience His power and strength. Self-sufficiency is sneaky. What are you temped to rely on to fix a problem you are facing right now (i.e., your money, your charm, your skills, etc.)? Do you openly admit you need God? How do you live like it?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, I need You. Sometimes I pretend I can manage on my own and try to hold my life together with my own energy and talents. Lord please forgive me for the sin of self-sufficiency. Help me to replace that ugly self-sufficiency with utter dependence on You. Jesus when I face problems today, help me to turn first to You, and remind me to wait on Your timing. I won’t manipulate or force my own agenda; I choose to wait on Yours’ in the strength You provide. In Your name Jesus I pray, amen.




November 3, 2017, 5:00 AM

How has your own childhood impacted the way you view the life and function of a family?


May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

 

Game night is a time I always look forward to spending with my family. I love playing board games and even more, I love that my kids still want to hang out with me. We keep the popcorn popping and play classics like Monopoly, Clue, and Trouble. Everyone is laughing and cheering until someone takes a turn and we hear, “That’s not how you play the game.” Now we have to put the game on hold to read over the rules. Once the rules are clarified, we can continue playing our friendly game, well, after the person who had the rule right in the first place does a dance while shouting, “Told ya so. Told ya so,” which leaves the other family member hurt and embarrassed. It feels good to be right, but not at the expense of someone else’s heart getting broken.

 

Pride demands self-gratification where humility lays down its rights entirely. There are several definitions for the word pride, but one that caught my eye read: a feeling of being better than others. You see it’s when we are in the company of others that our humility is truly tested. I’ve witnessed families torn apart over a lack of humility. Refusing to apologize, not admitting when one is wrong, these actions, or lack of, hardens the heart. A family should be a safe place to form a good heart. I say that keeping in mind that not all of us view family as a ‘safe place’. I come from a family that has experienced many brokenesses and I know the heartache that were causes. The truth is there are no perfect families because there are no perfect people.  However, I believe God desires the life of the family to transform us more into the image of Christ.

 

I believe He can take my broken past and redeem it through my own family by how I choose to behave and act. Will I lay my rights aside for something bigger than myself? Will I allow God to use the people I’m around the most to conform me more into His likeness?  Like it or not, my family is who I’m with the most. They see the real me who is smiling and happy to be at church on Sunday, and the real me, who an hour before, was screaming at everyone to hurry up and get ready. They love me with all my flaws which makes me want to be a better husband and father. They help me grow in areas I may have never known I am weak. And they teach me about grace in that I need to not only extend it, but also receive it. How do you respond when a family member has offended you? Are you quick to forgive?  How has your own childhood impacted the way you view the life and function of a family?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, help me love others as You love me.   Lord keep my heart soft so I may be open to what it is You are doing in me through those who are closest to me.  Jesus help me to trust that You, my redeemer, heal all wounds, past, present, and future using all things for Your glory. In Your name Jesus I pray, Amen.




November 1, 2017, 10:52 PM

Where in your life could you use a promise of God as you wait for Him to work?


May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:2-4

 

How do you define a promise? I’m not talking about the promises we make to each other that are fragile and unstable like we are. I’m talking about the promises God makes. His promises are the assurance God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work. God’s promises are “precious and very great” not just when they become reality, but also while you are anticipating and trusting God to work. When our Heavenly Father tells you He will do something, you can consider it done, even when it hasn’t happened yet. Why is this so important to know? Because there will be times in your life when knowing this and hanging on to His divine promises will be your lifeline. That assurance is the very thing that will help you walk by faith while you wait for Him to work.

 

God’s promises are always powerful, but especially so when you’re having the worst days of your life. Sooner or later, you will pass through difficult circumstances where you have nothing but the promises of God. When life is hard, you may be driven to search the Scriptures for promises with trembling hands and a desperate heart. There is nothing like an overwhelming need to make you want some assurances about what is going to happen in an incredibly dark season. You realize you will able to grope your way to the light if you know God has some hope that will carry you through to the end. That’s what the promises of God are all about. When God gives an assurance, He has the power to follow through. He never says, “Remember that thing I told you I would do? I ran out of time and couldn’t fit it in my schedule.” He told Isaiah, “Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver?” (Isaiah 50:2). Those are purely rhetorical questions. The answer is a resounding NO!

 

2 Peter 1:3-4 tells us, “His divine power . . . has granted to us his precious and very great promises . . .” Then the apostle tells us why God gives us promises: “. . . so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature”. God wants you to become increasingly like His Son Jesus, and He uses His promises to help you get there! The very idea that God commits Himself to do anything is incredible. He doesn’t have to bind Himself to you in any way. He’s God—completely above and beyond us all. As part of His creation, you are in no position to hold Him to anything; He owes you nothing. Yet God flat out promises to do some things—for you. In fact, given certain circumstances, He has already told you what He will do! That’s amazing. What promises do you hang on to as you walk by faith? Where in your life could you use a promise of God as you wait for Him to work?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your promises, those I know and those I have yet to learn. Thank You Lord for being a promiser, for being the God who always keeps Your Word and that I never have to wonder if You are faithful. Jesus I only have to open my eyes to continuously see ways You are faithful. By Your Spirit, remind me of the promises You have given on which I am can rest today, tomorrow, and for eternity. In Jesus’ name, amen.




November 1, 2017, 5:00 AM

How are you influencing the next generation?


But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:14-15

 

Being a night owl I often waste countless hours mindlessly flipping channels. For whatever reason, I’m a sucker for infomercials. At the beginning, I scoff at the product, but eventually I find myself wondering if this magical product will solve of all my problems, both big and small. I’m embarrassed to admit but I’ve purchased a product or two only to have buyer’s remorse. These products never live up to their claims. Take for instance, those magical towels that are supposed to be the most absorbent things in the world and supposedly have the ability to clean up a spill in an instant. With all apologizes to Billy Mays and the Sham Wow guy, there isn’t anything more absorbent than the mind of my children. The Brawny Man looks scrawny in comparison to their ability to soak things up.

 

My youngest son is a mini-me. His spirit animal is a parrot because he mimics EVERYTHING I say. It’s like I have my own personal microphone set to echo mode. But none of my kids are unique in this aspect. Every child possesses an uncanny ability to soak up all that is around them. They watch, study, and take in everything we do. I’ll admit that sometimes knowing I have my own personal voice recorder is amusing. However, my children’s absorbent capabilities also have an ugly side. These are the moments when I see how they mimic my mannerisms and tone of voice. Or even more convicting, when one of them calls me out on my behavior by recalling something I said or did months ago. Even though I gave little thought to this previous exchange, it served as a defining moment for them.

 

Once a thought or experience gets sucked up in their brain vacuum it is near to impossible to get that little bugger unstuck. I guess the saying is true that kids are like sponges, which means as we have to be careful about the things we let them absorb. This focus and intention is required not only for parents, but other family members, teachers, coaches, neighbors or any adult who has influence in their lives. Regardless of whether you are a parent or not, there is someone younger looking up to you. Each one of us has more influence than we can even imagine or comprehend. Our kids are impressionable, but we often don’t consider what impression we are leaving on them. How are we influencing the next generation? What are they soaking up through our words, actions and mindset? How are you leaving your mark on those that come after you?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, help me to realize that my words, actions, and attitudes influence others, especially those younger than me. Lord let me not take the influence I’ve been given lightly, but rather set an example to follow. Jesus when people look to me may they see You in everything that I do. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.


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