Devotionals
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December 4, 2017, 5:00 AM

Are you staying alert to any of Satan’s lies that you may be entertaining?


“So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” Hebrews 6:17-18

 

Think of all of the reasons why people lie. Even if God could lie, He would have no motivation. He can gain nothing by lying. Everything He wants to have happen, happens. Every word He says is true. He’s afraid of nothing, and He’s right about everything. He doesn't forget anything. Nothing about Him ever changes. He is a Rock, He’s God! Because He never lies, when God says something, you can be sure He’ll do it. So when He says we are “heirs of the promise,” He wants us to be convinced of His faithfulness.

 

While it may seem strange to think there is something God cannot do, Hebrews reminds us it is “impossible for God to lie.” God is truth! He is the standard of truth, and everything about Him is truth. It’s not simply hard for God to lie, that would be an issue of validity. It’s not unlikely that God would lie, that would be a matter of probability. It is impossible for God to lie, that’s an aspect of His inviolable attributes something God cannot and therefore will not do.

 

When God fulfilled His promise to Abraham, He made room for you there, too. Galatians 3:29 says, “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.” So, if by faith you have trusted in Christ for forgiveness and eternal life, you’re in on the promises God has made. The writer of Hebrews confirmed our part in God’s promises by highlighting the “unchangeable character of his purpose.” We may waver and wander; God is always on task and on track. Both His promises and His character are “unchangeable”!

 

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Satan, the ultimate antithesis of God. While God is the best truth teller, Satan is the worst liar. John 8:44 says, “[Satan] is a liar and the father of lies.” He cannot tell the truth. Satan will never even mention the truth to you unless it is wrapped around a deceptive lie. That was the tactic he used with Jesus when they met in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11). The devil quoted Scripture to Jesus, but only to twist it for his manipulative purposes.

 

You can’t count on anything Satan tells you; but you can rest the full weight of your life on God and His Word. If you think about it, you can probably come up with a number of promises God is keeping right now. He wants you to rest in His absolute reliability so that “we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” As you think about the promises God is keeping right now, which one or two are the most precious to you? Are you staying alert to any of Satan’s lies that you may be entertaining?

 

This is my Prayer : Father God, I remain in awe of Your promises. How can a person like me be in the sights of Your great love and mercy? Yet, You have assured me You love me with an everlasting love. How can I not come to You in humble adoration and seek to know You better? Lord thank You that the joy of knowing Your faithfulness is not affected by my failures, but guided by Your unchangeable character. Jesus receive my obedience today as a gesture of gratitude for all You have done for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.




December 3, 2017, 5:00 AM

Why do we often settle for lesser things to fulfill the desires of our heart?


Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman? For your ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all your paths. Proverbs 5:20-21

 

The question, “Why?” is hard to answer. The vulnerable reflection required on our part is the main reason we indulge without even thinking. We don’t want to consider how we are twisting a pure desire like love, significance, success or intimacy and offering our hearts to something less deserving. This simple proverb poses a simple question. Even though this passage is spoken from the masculine perspective, the point is the same for all of us.  Why do we want something less?  Why do we want something that we know we will regret later?

 

What we fix our eyes on determines the direction we go.  We simply see this initial pleasure, indulgence or quick fix. We fail to look past to see the pile of regret and the wake of destruction that the path we are enticed by will soon produce. The last part of the passage seems to pile on us even more. But, that is only due to our limited perspective and understanding. Many of us read verse 21 and think God is spying on us.  He is looking through the keyhole hoping to catch us doing something wrong and then whammo, we’re busted.

 

This is not the view of a God who possesses the heart of a Father.  For example, as a father, I attend my daughter’s school programs.  From the audience, I watch.  I don’t watch for mistakes or critique.  My eyes are on her for a simple reason.  She is mine.  In fact, the first question she asks when she comes off the stage is, “Did you see me?”  She wants to make sure that her ways were before the eyes of her father.  This puts a different perspective on the whole thing doesn’t it?  What you see determines the direction you go.  When you see the eyes of the Father watching you with a Father’s heart, the things that entice you diminish at the promise of being pleasing to the Father. There is nothing that compares to this so why would you want lesser things? Why do we often settle for lesser things to fulfill the desires of our heart?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, may I not be enticed by lesser things. Lord open my eyes to the places where I am vulnerable to temptation. Jesus help me to not twist and distort the pure desires You’ve put in me. Before I act, may I pause and reflect on what is driving my behavior or my speech. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




December 2, 2017, 5:00 AM

How have you wrestled with accepting the love and forgiveness of Christ?


Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:1-5

 

You can diagram and chart what Jesus did, but the one thing you can’t do is explain why. Why did Jesus do all of this for us? “What” can be explained, but “why” cannot. This is why the facts aren’t enough.  Facts try to convince you with logic and reason. The love of God is radically different than the way we think of love. Love is the motivation behind God sending Jesus. Love is not logical. We aren’t agreeing with a concept, but rather relating to a person.

 

Jesus came and entered our world by walking, talking, living and breathing. He endured the years of His life in many ways like you and me: laughing, crying, thinking, and interacting. But, Jesus not only entered in our world in a way that can be verified historically, but He came into your world in a way that can only be perceived personally.  This leaves you with two options in responding to the illogical love of Jesus Christ. You can embrace His impact and invite Him into your mess or you can resist His impact and keep Him at arm’s distance. You can stand in awe and worship or continue on moving with your life. Your natural response will be to resist.

 

After all, everything you’ve been taught is that nothing comes free. You need to prove your worth. So, you reason, “If I perform well enough He’ll truly accept me.” But, His love undoes all that crazy talk. Christ’s sacrifice took care of all that performance-based mindset.  Christ isn’t intimidated that you blew it and He isn’t impressed with our efforts to be “good” enough. Instead, Jesus calls us to draw near and reminds us that we’ve been adopted as sons and daughters. We understand this as a concept but wrestle with living our lives based on this security being a reality.

 

The way we relate to God is to trust and obey. Obedience is an act of faith. The illogical love of Christ frees us to obey as a response. How have you wrestled with accepting the love and forgiveness of Christ? How does Christ’s love go against the grain of how we define love?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, I stand in awe of Your love. It is impossible for me to fathom. Lord instead of asking “why,” may I just trust that it is true. Jesus You love me in ways I can’t imagine and in that love I am secure. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




November 29, 2017, 5:00 AM

Where have you lost your sense of wonder and what have you replaced it with?


He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

 

Efficiency and productivity have become the highest values in our culture. We are always on the go. We are engrained from very young to work faster and harder. Our schedules are jam-packed as we go from one activity to the next. If productivity becomes the marker of success and success is our ultimate goal, then the quicker we produce, the more success we enjoy. But, the reality is that many of us are enjoying very little of our days. Not only is joy in short supply, wonder is nowhere to be found. Being still and standing in awe of something doesn’t pay the bills, get things accomplished, or move our agenda forward.

 

As we grow from a child into an adult, we outgrow our wonder without realizing how detrimental this is to experiencing a full life. We are so conditioned to find our flaws and fix them that we often forget to wonder. As a result, our heart remains restless as it continues to search for something worthy of its attention, affection, and worship. There is a big difference between that which catches the attention of our eyes and that which captures the affection of our hearts. The heart can’t help but express itself. What is formed on the inside gets expressed on the outside. Our circumstances can make us desperate, but our hearts can make us curious. Caring for our heart begins with being still.

 

Gratitude arises from stillness. Our refusal to wonder opens the door for entitlement to creep into our hearts. Gratitude awakens wonder while entitlement drives us to prove our worth. Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and attend to the presence of God. During the holiday season, the pressure to speed up only intensifies. This is why we have to be intentional about developing a curious heart. We have to remind ourselves that because God is never in a hurry, neither should we be. Hurry is the enemy of spiritual formation. Our sense of wonder is influenced by what we allow ourselves to see.

 

Wonder is never awoken by looking inward. It involves marveling at something much bigger than ourselves. By slowing down, we are training our eyes to see God’s power, creativity, and influence in our lives as well as the world around us. Where have you lost your sense of wonder and what have you replaced it with?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, help me to slow down today. Lord quiet my mind, focus my eyes, and awaken my heart. Rather than rush, let me be still. Jesus in the midst of my busy schedule, teach me to make it a priority to stand in awe of who You are and how You love me. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




November 28, 2017, 5:00 AM

In what areas does the picture of our old self remain at the forefront of your attention?


I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:12-14

 

What you see determines where you are headed. Direction is driven by perspective. If your focus is on your past, it is impossible to see the future God has for you. Vision is simply what you see. Clarity and direction are needed for growth to occur. Focusing on our circumstances and the regrets from our past place our pursuit in neutral and can even shift things into reverse. When we live this way we not only see our past but also live our life running from it. Without realizing it, we are walking into the future backward.

 

Why does this picture of our old self remain at the forefront of our attention? The reasons vary across the board. Every time you pay for the mistakes of the past it serves as a reminder of the person you once were. Those labels of being worthless and a bad seed are challenging to remove from your heart and head. When you’ve been told your entire life you are unlovable you begin to believe the lie and let that define you. Old habits die hard and fight to remain in control. What is your excuse for remaining in neutral by setting your eyes on the failures of the past? Where are your eyes set? Instead of spending your time trying not to be the kind of person you once were, place your gaze on the person you are becoming. In what areas does the picture of our old self remain at the forefront of your attention?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, my eyes are often looking backwards towards the failures of my past. Lord help me to break this cycle of focusing on the person I once was. These labels no longer define me. When I focus too much on my past, I cannot see the future You have for me. Jesus may my focus be devoted to the person You want me to be. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.


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