Posts Tagged ‘daily devotion’

Read: Psalms 40:1-5

journaling

Not long ago, I passed a milestone marking 20 years since I began keeping a spiritual journal.  As I re-read my first few entries, I was amazed I ever kept it up. But now you couldn’t pay me to stop!

Here are some benefits I have received from journaling: From life experiences, I see that progress and failure are both part of the journey.  I’m reminded of God’s grace when I read how He helped me to find a solution to a major problem.  I gain insight from the past struggles that help with issues I am currently facing.  And, most important, journaling shows me how God has been faithfully working in my life.

Many of the psalms are like a spiritual journal.  They often record how God has helped in times of testing.  In Psalm 40, David writes: “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps” (vv.1-2).  Later, David needed only to read that psalm to be reminded of God’s faithful deliverance.

Journaling may be useful to you too.  It can help you see more clearly what God is teaching you on life’s journey and cause you to reflect on God’s faithfulness. – Dennis Fisher

For Further Thought

To begin a journal: Record your struggles, reflect on a verse that is especially comforting or challenging, or write a prayer of thankfulness for God’s faithfulness.

Reflecting on God’s faithfulness in the past brings hope for the future.

[Source: Our Daily Bread, 31 December 2013]

 

Read: Galatians 6:1-10

choices

In the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, England, the devastation of generations of enslaved men, women, and children is remembered.  The price innocent people have paid for the greed of others is horrific-but theirs is not the only cost.  Engraved in a wall of the museum is a profound observation made by Frederick Douglass, former slave and crusader for human rights, which reads, “No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.”

In the act of dehumanizing others, we dehumanize ourselves.  The apostle Paul put it another way when he wrote, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Paul’s words form a stark reminder to us that our choices have consequences- and that includes how we choose to treat others.  When we choose to hate, that hate can return to us in the form of consequences that we can never fully prepare for.  We can find ourselves alienated from others, angry with ourselves, and hamstrung in our ability to serve Christ effectively.

Instead, let’s choose “not [to] grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap…As we have opportunity, let us do good to all” (vv.9-10). – Bill Crowder

Sowing seeds of greed and hatred reaps corruption, loss, and pain; but if we sow love and kindness, we will reap eternal gain. – Sper

 The seed we sow today determine the kind of fruit we’ll reap tomorrow.

[Source: Our Daily Bread, 28 December 2013]

Words to Live By

Posted: October 13, 2013 in Faith
Tags: , , , , ,

God's Word

0929_break_thru_brick_wall

Read: Ephesians 2:11-22

While visiting the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall in Northern England, I reflected on the fact that this may be the most remembered achievement of the Roman emperor who came to power in AD 117.  As many as 18,000 Roman soldiers manned this 80 mile long barrier, built to keep the northern barbarians from invading the south.

Hadrian is remembered for building a physical wall to keep people out.  In contrast, Jesus Christ is remembered for tearing down a spiritual wall to let people in.

When the early church experienced tension between believers of Jewish and non-Jewish birth, Paul told them that through Christ, they stood equally in the family of God.  “for He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down in the middle wall of separation…so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace…For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:14-15,18).

One of the most beautiful aspects of the Christian faith is the unity among those who follow Jesus.  Through His death on the cross, Christ has removed the barriers that so often separate people and has drawn us together in true friendship and love. – David McCasland

God’s people have so much to do In serving Christ today that they should use their precious time to share, to love, to pray. – Branon

 Christian unity begins at the cross.

 [Source: Our Daily Bread, 29 September 2013]

The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh King of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.  – Exodus 14:8

Over protective parents do their children a great injustice.  The caterpillar that lies inside the cocoon will never become the beautiful butterfly if someone cuts open the cocoon prematurely.  It is the struggle itself that allows the butterfly to emerge as a strong, new creature of nature.

butterfly

God understands how necessary this process is.  That is why we are allowed to experience difficult, often life-changing events.  He even orchestrates them- all for our benefit.  What the Israelites thought was a cruel joke when Pharaoh sent troops to pursue them after they had been freed and penned against the shore of the Red Sea because the stage for the most publicized miracle of all time- the parting of the Red Sea.

red sea

 

Generation after generation has heard this incredible story of deliverance.  God puts us against the “Red Seas” in order to show His power in and through us.  If we do not know God can deliver, then we can never learn to trust Him.

Circumstances that go beyond our capabilities of solving them place us at God’s complete mercy.  This is how He likes it.

Do not fear the calamity that comes your way.  If you are faithful to Him in the test, you will see God’s power manifested like never before.  Just as the Israelites were able to sing a song of deliverance, you too will have your own testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness; and you will be able to recall it for others to build your faith and theirs.

[Source: Today God Is First by Os Hillman, Adversity]

 

Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. – Job 42:3b

job

If there was any one man on earth who had reason to question God’s love, it was Job.  He lost his health, and his wealth- all at the same time.  His friends came to his side only to question his spirituality.  God had already answered the question of his integrity.  Job was described in the opening verses of the book as “blameless and upright” (See Job 1:1).  His calamities were not born from sin.  Job acknowledged God’s right to do anything in his life until one day he could take it no longer.  He questioned God’s motives.

God answered Job, but not in the way he wanted to hear. God answered him with a series of questions that represents the most incredible discourse of correction by God to any human being.  Three chapters later, Job realized that he had questioned the motives of the Author of the universe, the Author of love.  He fell flat before his Creator and realized his total depravity. “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”

Have you ever questioned God’s activity in your life? Have you questioned His love for you based on circumstances that came your way? Calvary__s_cross_by_joshuapierreThe cross at Calvary answers the love question.  He sent His own Son in replacement for your sin.  If you were the only person on earth, He would have done the same.  His ways cannot always be understood or reconciled in our finite minds.  That must be left for a future time when all will be understood.  For now, entrust your life to Him completely.  Embrace Him in the hard times and the good.

[Source: Today God Is First by Os Hillman, Section One Adversity]

Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.  Proverbs 14:4

Busting-Brick-Off-New-Home-2-300x168

photo from the internet

My wife and I run together through a new home subdivision.  Often we see the street filled with red clay from the land as bulldozers clear it to lay a foundation.  The job site littered with lumber, all sorts of trash from the workers, and is generally a mess.  The house looks ugly, it has all its insides exposed as it is being pieced together yet this process is necessary to get to the finished product.  When completed, the home is beautiful.  The landscaping looks like it came out of a home-design magazine.  Everything is clean and perfect in order for the new home-owner to move in.

Our walk with God is much the same process.  Often we must go through a messy period of our lives in which all aspects of it are in disarray.  It is in these times that God builds a new structure.  He might remove some structural timbers in our lives and replace them with new ones.  He might even add on another room.  And unless this process takes place, we will never see the end product.  The goal is more Christ likeness.  In order to achieve this in us, He requires a period of removing all that is not of Him.  It can be a painful process.

christlikeness

photo from the internet

It would be impossible to keep oxen in a barn without having to clean up the mess from time to time.  It just comes with the territory, but the result of the oxen is an abundant harvest.  God may be allowing a mess in order to ensure a fruitful harvest in your life.  Learn from Him so that you might experience the fulfillment of His purposes for you in these times.

[Source: Today God Is First by Os Hillman, Section One Adversity]