Devotionals

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Rise Above

Eagles
 
There is a story that has been shared about an Eaglet that once fell from his nest and a farmer found him and took him home. He put him together with the chickens.
The eaglet began clucking and pecking at some grains on the ground as the chickens did, since he thought he was a chicken, as he was growing along with them.
Once the farmer’s friend visited the farm and when he saw the eagle amongst the chickens, he said to the eagle, “You are an eagle, you are meant for the heavens, what are you doing here with the chickens?” Hence he picked the eaglet and threw him in the air. The eaglet flapped his wings, but fell to the ground and went back with the chickens.
The next time, the friend visited the farm, he saw the same eaglet with the chickens again. He now took the eaglet to the top of the barnyard and threw him in the air, the eaglet again flapped his wings and fell to the ground and again went back with the chickens. The farmer’s friend was sad.
When the farmer’s friend visited the farm for the third time and saw the eaglet still with the chickens, he felt really sad and this time he took the eaglet to the top of a mountain and threw him high in the air. The eaglet, very frightened, flapped his wings and fell downwards. As he was falling down, he flapped his wings harder and harder until suddenly he soared up into the sky and disappeared. He had learned to fly.
 
Like the eagle, many Christians have fallen into sinful situations and lost their identity in Christ which has resulted in living a life far below the standard He has called us to.
 
Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”
 
Just as the eagle was not called to live on a farm and act like a chicken, God did not call us to live as prisoners, shackled by sin. In Christ, you are free indeed to Rise Above the problems that life may bring and soar into the abundant life He promised to those who know Him.
 
Psalm 1:1-2, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”
 
To wait on the Lord is to trust in Him with confident expectations as He strengths you for flight.  In His strength, you will not be weary, nor will you faint!  Rise Above and live the life the Lord has called you to!


Passing the Test of Your TESTimony

Suffering
In a world with so much pain and suffering, many people struggle in their belief that there is a God.  Especially, a God who is loving, compassionate, gracious, and merciful in light of the trials that life can bring.
 
We all want to know and experience the true meaning in life, but often fail to understand that suffering is part of the Test we must pass in experiencing the fullness of Christ.
 
In Philippians 1:12-14, Paul wants the church to understand that his imprisonment was not a hindrance to advancing the gospel.  Paul’s imprisonment cleared the way for him to share the gospel with the prison guards and visitors to the prison. It was also an opportunity for him to know the Lord intimately and glorify Him by turning to the Lord in the midst of his situation and fully trusting Him as the true Sovereign God!
 
Philippians 1:12-14, “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
 
As you experience suffering or setbacks, look to Christ! You may not understanding the reason for your suffering, but you can be confident in knowing that He causes all things to work together for the good to those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
(Romans 8:28)
 
You can enjoy the peace that surpasses all understanding as you work to pass the Test of Your TESTimony,  then you can prove that God is present and able to redeem as you share how the Lord brought you through it.


I Got the Power

PowerofCross
Power 
1.  the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality. 
2.  the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.
We live in a power-conscious society.  Governments use of power to control people, the use of military power to eliminate threats of terror, the use of power by CEO’s and business leaders for financial gain.  The reality is the use of power comes in many forms, but there will NEVER be anything that rivals the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent power of God and His Word.
 
Colossians 1:13, “He  has delivered us from the power of darkness, and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
 
If you believe in Jesus as Savior, Lord and Redeemer, you have been liberated from the power of darkness.  The power of the gospel can transform you with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to mold and shape you into who God called you to be.
 
You have the Power to push past death and darkness and live in the Light of Jesus.  The devil will use temptations,  sinful habits, and passions to try to keep you from the Power Source and that’s the reason why it is so important to tap into the awesome power of the gospel daily.  You have the Power!
 
Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also the Greek.”
 
 


Renew Your Strength

being-challenged
Living for Jesus can be tough and may include moments of fear and pain.  But if you never give up and choose to do the right things for God, He will direct you through those circumstances.  The Lord will give you the confidence and strength to endure your current situation.
 
Hebrews 12:12-13, “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.”
 
On your journey through life, God calls all believers to a life of obedience in Jesus Christ which first requires faith!  Faith is important because without it, it is impossible to please God.  He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
 
In the midst of your challenges, have an attitude of perseverance and live on the strength of the Lord.
When you put your trust in Him, you can confidently lay aside every weight along with the sin that ensnares because He will direct your path. (Hebrews 12:1, Proverbs 3:5-6)
 
Today, renew your strength in Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sits down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12: 2)
 


WHY???

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 The word “Why?” is a ubiquitous response to adversity for nearly all people.
 
“Why did my dad die?”
“Why did my business fail?”
Why did my marriage end in divorce?”
“Why am I struggling so much?”
 
While the reality of your struggles may feel like a load of bricks caving in on your life, it is important to not spend too much time dwelling on the “why” and shift your focus on “Who.”
 
If you honestly search, in faith, for the meaning behind your strife, it will probably lead you to the “Who.”
Jesus Christ; Savior, Lord, and Redeemer.
The only One who can provide Counsel, Peace, and Hope as you work through the “why.”
 
When Job was attacked by Satan and lost his property and children, it could have been very easy to dwell on the “why” for his lifetime.  Job’s wife told him to curse God and die while his friends wanted him to turn his focus on sin.
Job cried out to God for answers to the question, “why” as he struggled through hardship and pain.  As he shifted his focus to “Who,” Job realized the need to not dwell on “why” and trust the Lord.
Why??? because Jesus is the Answer.
 
Job 42:1-6, Then Job answered the Lord and said,“I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.’“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You;Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.”
 
As you face hardship and pain, trials and tribulations, it’s okay to ask “why” as you search for answers.  However, it is so important not to dwell on your situation and trust the Lord to carry you through it.

 



The Danger of Compromise

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Compromising with God’s standards and commandments is a dangerous proposition.  It can be a precursor to the entanglement of sin with lasting consequences.  When we try to rationalize our convictions without looking to the Word of God; it is a setup for failure.
 
Psalm 147:5 says, “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”
 
This world is filled with people who desire to live by the ways of the world and walk in the flesh.  They are willing to compromise in nearly any aspect of life as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.  The problem with that line of thinking is we don’t truly know if some of our actions will result in an outcome that hurts or ends in destruction until after the fact, but God does.
 
The Word of Truth is “the Manual”  [Immanuel– God with us] you should look to in all things because it transforms lives and maximizes our God-given potential.  There are many people in the world today that believe there are many ways to God and Heaven, but Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”
 
The Word of God is never-changing!
It is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)
So rather than diluting God’s standards by compromising on His standards and commandments,  stand on God’s unchanging Word.


Free Indeed

FreeIndeed
 
So many people in our society spend a lifetime seeking freedom.  However, what we sometimes think will provide us with the freedom we desire, may actually lead us to bondage.  We all have the freedom to live according to the flesh or walk in the Spirit.  Life in the flesh will ultimately result in bondage to our sins, but being a servant of God who is led by the Spirit provides freedom.  
 
As Galatians 5:17 notes, the flesh lusts against the Spirit and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do what you wish.  Sin causes us to fix our eyes on our selfish desires and miss the mark that God has set for us.  If you live by the Spirit, you will be free from sin, your past, and the law.  Living in the Spirit will allow you to experience God’s blessings as you go share with others about the freedom that can only be found in Jesus Christ.
 
Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 
 
John 10:10,  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
 
At some point, we will all fall short of the glory of God.  And when it happens…Remember…Feel free to take it to the Lord, repent and be free of the sins that easily besets so that you can experience God’s blessings and the freedom that is only found through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.


The Best Route

road
In an ever-changing world with technology at your fingertips, it is very easy to know the best route to reach your destination.  Mapquest, Google, or your GPS device logically arranges the maze of highways for you so you can stay on course. However, as great as your technology may be, it does not provide complete details of the number of hills and stop lights you will experience on the way.  Those details can only be discovered as your drive unfolds.
 
Proverbs 16:25, There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
 
God has a plan for your life and a route He wants you to take to reach your destination.  Like your GPS, God will provide you with some of the details for the journey as you spend time with “the Map” in prayer and Bible study.  As you commit to the journey, God will guide your path and reveal the places you should stop and when to go as you trust Him to get you to your destination.


Only He Can Satisfy

living-water-jesus1
 
If you were asked to put together a list of your greatest needs, what would you write?
A new car? A better job? More income? A new house? A better marriage?
 
What if every one of your needs were met the moment you wrote them down.
Would you still have pressing needs in a few more weeks? 
(This is a question I can answer for you)  ABSOLUTELY!  We are never without needs.
 
Our greatest need every day should be to grow in an intimate, steadfast relationship with Jesus because He is the only One who can satisfy.  Jesus, Living Water (John 4:10-13), is the only Way of salvation and He is the Source and Supplier of all our needs.
 
Matthew 6:33 says, Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
 
Christ can meet all of your needs; physical and emotional, but you must seek Him and trust that He will provide you with precisely what you need.
 


Break Every Chain

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We are often discouraged when we fall to temptation and sinful habits we thought would be eliminated after accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord.  The truth is, we live in a fallen world and your enemy, the devil, is prowling around like a lion, looking for whom he might devour.  (1 Peter 5:8)
 
So how do we break the chain and live a life that honors and brings glory to God?
First, you need to remember that Jesus broke the power of sin on the Cross when He gave His life as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 2:2)  Walking daily in God’s Word is essential in overcoming temptation and breaking the chain the enemy uses to render you useless or ineffective.
 
You need to be of sober mind and stay alert!  Satan uses sin as a weapon to try to destroy your relationship with God.  That’s why it is so important to be self-disciplined and take appropriate steps,  especially in areas of your life of vulnerability, and bring them under the subjection of Jesus Christ.