Devotionals

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The Harvest Is Ready

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John 4:35, “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”
 
The Harvest brings great joy not only to the harvesters, but to the sowers. It is the most anticipated time for farmers who hope there is much fruits for their labor. They are worthy to receive the fruits of what they have sown because it is the prize of their hard work.
 
The word harvest in the Bible should cause us to stop and take a closer look into the field (our lives and who God has called us to reach).  The principle of sowing and reaping should heighten our sensitivity and intensify the inevitable judgment of the ungodly by the Righteous Judge.
 
Harvest time is a blessings for those in Christ, but a dreadful day for those who are lost.
 
As believers in Christ, we need to get in the field and get to work so we can share the amazing love of Jesus with others.
 
We may not be able to reach all unsaved people in the world, but by working together in the field, God can use us to accomplish so much more.
 
1 Corinthians 3:6-8, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.”
 
Pastor Adrian Rogers said, “We can’t all be preachers…. But we can all be reachers.”
 
We are all called to be witnesses for Jesus. Every Christian should have a testimony, a story to tell about the Love of Jesus Christ, and be able to share about what He has done for them.

 

If we truly care about the millions of souls that will burn in Hell for all eternity, we must get into the field.

 
The Harvest Is Ready so let’s get to work!
 
 
 


Stress Buster

 
StressBuster images
If you did a web search on “stress busters” you would find thousands of links to websites in how to beat stress.
 
There are many ways to deal with stress, but unfortunately they only provide relief for the moment.
 
Relief from a hard day or tough situation is great, especially when it seems as if the sky is falling and the rain is only falling on your parade.
 
Relief helps take our mind off things, however, it only provides a temporary solution to your stress.
 
God offers the only thing that goes beyond relief…He gives us rest.  It is God’s rest that provides peace and brings renewal in the midst of stressful times.
 
Psalm 62:1-2, “My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.”
 
Often times when we are stressed, the relief shows up in the form of eating more, sleeping more, or distracting ourselves with movies, television or one of our favorite hobbies.
 
The reality is, we need to spend more time in the God’s Word, resting in Him.
 
In those times of resting, He grants peace and provides wisdom knowing that we are completely dependent upon Him.  
 
As you wait silently for God, you will not be shaken knowing your strength comes from the Lord.
 
Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
 
 


Chasing the Crown

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2 Timothy 4:5-8,  But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
 
Believers in Christ are not promised easy lives or guaranteed that following Jesus will keep them from trouble and hardship.  However, despite our hardship or trouble, the Lord makes a promise guaranteeing a crown of righteousness for all who faithfully serve Him on this earth.
 
This passage of Scripture gives great insight on what is necessary in your chase for the crown.
 
1.  Be Watchful.
In the chase for the crown, you must be alert and clearheaded so that you will remain focused on the things of God.
 
2. Endure Hardship.
Keeping a clear head will allow you to handle the toil of living the Christian life. As you deal with pain and suffering in this life, remember what the chase is for.
 
3. Do the Work of an Evangelist.
As a believer in Christ, you are called to share the gospel as well as encourage and equip other believers to also share the Good News.
 
4. Fulfill Your Ministry.
Fulfilling your ministry requires service for the Lord.  Believers should be engaging in all kinds of work in the name of Jesus, knowing your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
 
You can expect God’s power, strength, and blessing if you remain committed to His will.
In verses 6-7 of this passage, Paul is aware that his vigilant service to Christ and his life on earth is near the end, but he shares with confidence his commitment to fight, persevere, and serve God until the end.
 
Paul understood a lifetime of faithful service to Christ will result in eternal rewards and a special reward, the crown of righteousness, for all who finish the race well.
Stay alert, keep fighting the good fight through hardship or trouble and one day, in the presence of Jesus, You will hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”


Walk This Way

Walk
 
We all have a limited amount of time on earth, so it is so important to use our time wisely in advancing the Kingdom of God by following the path He has laid out.
 
In Ephesians chapter 5:15-21, Paul gives us a description of the Christian’s walk. He calls us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling and he provides insight in how to do it.
 
Each command regarding our walk has a corresponding contrasting command, not to walk unwisely.
 
The Christian’s walk requires careful consideration;  one of meaning and purpose, along with deliberate and disciplined action.
 
Ephesians 5:15-21, 15 Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
 
Walking wisely begins with walking carefully. To walk any other way is unwise.
 
It takes wisdom to recognize the days are evil, but it also takes wisdom to know how best to respond to it.
 
A Christian may rightly sense the evil that takes place at an abortion clinic, but killing the medical staff who performs them falls short of action a true believer would consider wise.   Walking in the wisdom of the Lord brings glory to God, and will enlighten this darkened world, and promote the gospel.
 
Walking wisely also means you must walk in accordance with God’s will. To fail to know and to do the Lord’s will is to be a fool.  If you are to be wise, you must understand the plans and purposes of God, as revealed in the Scriptures.
 
Walking wisely requires us to be filled with the Spirit.  The filling of the Spirit is fruitful, beneficial, edifying. However, drunkenness results in dissipation—waste.
 
Paul describes the benefits of being filled with the Spirit in several ways; speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks in all things in the name of the Lord, and being subjected to one another in the fear of Christ.
 
There are two paths one can take in this life; you can walk carefully down the path that leads to life and blessings or you can be unwise, and walk down the path that leads to death and destruction.
 
Which way will you walk?
 
 
 


What Are You Worried About?

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If you aren’t careful, you could find yourself worrying about almost anything. 
Worrying about the future, health, family, finances, the list goes on and on.
 
Worry, if not held in check, can cause stress-related illnesses and a hopelessness that is difficult to overcome.
 
The Lord called us to a healthy way to live and that is a life free of worry.
 
In Matthew 6:25-33, Jesus provides us with the cure for anxiety, fear, and worry.

 “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? 26 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? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

 
The cure is found is verse 33… But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
 
God promises freedom from worry and anxiety if we seek Him first. 
The problem is we are to busy focusing on the stress reactors; money, job or career, security, comfort, success, and other worldly pleasures.
 
God wants us to put Him first in our words, daily schedule and deeds rather than worrying about the cares of this world.
 
It sounds easy to do, but you will never rid yourself of worry, anxiety, and fear unless you put all of your faith, hope and trust in Jesus, believing that He is faithful to do what He promised.
 
1 Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
 
 
 


Under Construction

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Nobody really likes criticism.  But constructive or not, a person can learn and grow from it.
 
Proverbs 9:8-9, Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”
 
This passage is a great reminder of our need to be open to instruction and learning.  Sometimes our biggest critics (even the ones who are out to hurt us) can be our best advisers.
 
You need to sort through the nuggets of truth in every criticism.  By evaluating criticism for nuggets of truth, you can cash in on valuable insights that can grow you in wisdom in your Christian walk.
 
A scoffer is set against wisdom and scoffs at most anything and certainly scoffs at the things of God. However, a wise man accepts correction and responds with thankfulness or gratitude realizing it is an opportunity for growth.
 
Proverbs 20:30,Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, As do stripes the inner depths of the heart.”
 
Although, no one likes going through the constructive process, like a blow that hurts, it can bring out evil, selfish motives, and other things that keep us from being the best we can be.
 
As a believer in Christ, you are always “Under Construction”…so listen and learn as the Lord builds and shapes you into who He made you to be.
 
 
 


Hide and Go Seek

hide-and-go-seek
 
Do you remember as a child playing the game, hide and go seek?
 
No matter if you were the one hiding, trying not to get caught, or the one seeking; it was always an excitement-filled game for everyone who played.
 
The game had a seeker, called the “It”.  The “It” would close his/her eyes and count to 20 ….. giving others time to hide. After the 20 count, you would hear the words, “Ready or not here I come.”
 
Now sometimes the seeker would cheat a little bit and peek around, but you could still hear the count, “One Mississippi Two Mississippi” All the Way To 20 Mississippi…or maybe your count involved Apples. “One Apple, Two Apple.” 
 
No matter the type of count, there were a few things that were certain to happen in the game:
 
1. The “It” was coming for sure!
2. The “It” was coming whether you were
     ready or not.
3. The “It” was coming only when the
     “It” wanted to.
4. If you were not ready, you would pay
     the consequences…get caught.
 
In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, 5-8; Paul shares the importance of being ready for the return of Christ.  Hide and go seek offers a great parallel with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
 
 1. He is surely coming
2. He will return whether you are ready
     or not.
3. He will come only when He is ready
     to.
4. If you are not ready, you will pay the
     consequences.
 
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
 
Paul often refers to the Second Coming of Christ as the “Day of the Lord.” Throughout scripture the “Day of the Lord” was the designation of a later time when God would pour out His wrath on the ungodly. 
 
Jesus will come for His people and pour out His judgments on those who never put their trust in Him.
The tragedy of that “day” is that so many will be unprepared.
And not only will they be unprepared, they will be deceived.  And they will be actively deceiving others as they proclaim we have “peace and safety.”
Many will be convinced that there is no danger when in fact, destruction will come… the end drawn near.
 
So what shall our response be knowing the “Day of the Lord” draws near?
 
We need to keep watch, stay sober and live in faith, love, and hope which is in Jesus Christ.
 
1 Thessalonians 5:5-8, You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”
 
We must get ready. We must be prepared19 Mississippi, 20 Mississippi, Ready or Not here He comes.
 


I Wonder

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With only what the eyes can see and mind to know, at times, we all sit back and wonder…wonder about things like health, finances, children, decisions, and death.
 
Faltering faith and doubt are the two greatest obstacles in the Christian life.
It is hard some times to move past doubt and fully trust that God knows best. Especially, when you have made your request known to Him about the things you are wondering about and you haven’t received an answer or the answer is not the one you hoped for.
 
The times of wonder are opportunities for faith. It’s the times of wonder that allow you to measure your faith.
 
In John 4:46-54, a nobleman whose son is sick in Capernaum hears that Jesus has traveled to Cana of Galilee so he travels there imploring Jesus to come and heal his son because he is at the point of death.  Jesus says to him, “Unless you people see, signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”  The nobleman says to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”  Jesus says to him, “Go your way; your son lives.”  So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.  And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”  The he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed and his whole household.
 
Unbelief has no power! We live in a world filled with disappointments, broken relationships, loss of the people we love, and times of great uncertainty.
 
We cannot let our circumstances and situations leave us in a state of doubt and unbelief!
 
When you face times of “I wonder,” remember faith doesn’t consist of believing God will do something, but that God can do anything!
 
Times of wonder should move your focus from what is causing you pain and doubt to the Cure for it all…trusting in Jesus!
 
Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
 
Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” 
 
 
If you truly believe that God is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful) and omnipresent (everywhere) then even in the “I Wonder” moments, you must put your trust in Him. (no matter what the outcome)
 


Refiner’s Fire

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Adversity. Trials. Tribulation. Encounters with any of them provides the opportunity to test your faith.  Trials are not optional, but inevitable.
 
So how should you face them?
James 1:2-4 provides insight in the type of attitude we should have as we face trials in life.
 
James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
 
It is difficult to count suffering and pain as joy in the midst of trials. But it is during life’s trials that our character is uncovered.  When the pressures of life squeeze us, it is what comes out that reveals what is on the inside.
 
God uses every aspect of pressure and pain to produce patience, maturity, and growth in our relationship with Him.

 

When our character is formed in the Refiner’s Fire, it will shine bright.  It will be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
 
Just as a goldsmith refines the metal by heat and pressure over a period of time, God transforms us as we go through extreme conditions.  After the process is complete, like gold, we are ready to be displayed with great value for Christ’s Kingdom.
 
Zechariah 13:9, “I will bring the one–third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.”
 
1 Peter 4:12-14a,Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.  If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
 
Suffering is part of the Christian experience, but you can face trials with joy, knowing God will use all of it for His glory.
 


True Servant

footwash_servant
 
There was a time in our nation when government officials did so on the basis of noble service to God and country. Compensation was minimal and recognition or fame was not the motivating factor.
 
Oh how times have changed… notoriety and the amount of money you pour into a campaign can be the difference in winning or losing.  
Public service has eroded over time and many elected officials are now motivated by greed and/or power.  
So much of the focus is on maintaining positions rather than service to their constituents.
 
Thank God that He gave us a great example of biblical servanthood.
 
Matthew 23:10-11, “And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.”
 
Biblical servanthood is clothed in humility and seeks to honor and bring glory to God.
 
Why do you serve others?  
Is it for recognition of your own efforts?
 
If so, you need to look to the True Servant, Jesus Christ and cultivate a relationship with him that will lead you in a life of humility.
 
God desires for us to love and serve others which reflects the love of who He is.
 
God commands us to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.  
The other command…to love our neighbor as ourselves requires that we be servants of Christ.