Devotionals

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Seize the Opportunity

seize opportunity
 
Opportunities, Opportunities.  Some of them come only once in a lifetime so they require a decisive response.
 
When those opportunities are at hand, how do you know what to do?
 
Hopefully, you haven’t missed out on too many opportunities because you failed to respond.  However, if you have, God is still with you and He is able see you through it as He guides you toward the next one.
 
Isaiah 58:11, “The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
 
Sometimes the decision isn’t clear though the opportunity is right in front of you.  So how do you seize it?
 
You must be committed to the Word in meditation and prayer believing God will show you the way.
 
After Moses’ death, the people of Israel, led by Joshua,  were commanded to cross the Jordan River to a land promised to their forefathers.
 
The Jordan was overflowing, raging, and had enemies on the other side.  There was an opportunity to be seized…they had to trust and obey, believing God was with them no matter what happened. 
 
The other decision they could have made was to disobey His command and miss out!
 
Blessings from God follow obedience to His commands.
 
Seize the opportunity afforded each day by knowing God’s Word, seeking His Will, and trusting His way.
 
 


Second Chance

second chance
 
Who doesn’t hope for a second chance when we fail or fall short of a goal or something we’ve been instructed to do?
 
We can beat ourselves up, moving toward worry and depression trying to determine how we might get an opportunity for redemption.
 
Well, I have a great news, there is hope and an opportunity to be cleansed of failure and our shortcomings by way of a relationship with Jesus.
 
The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was God’s way of extending grace and providing hope to move forward in life.
 
Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
 
Before you knew Christ, He knew you!  He came to provide a second chance for all who put their trust in Him as Savior and Lord.
 
Are you in need of God’s cleansing touch?  In Jesus, He is able to remove the stain of guilt, when you come before Him with a contrite heart.
 
According to the International Bible Encyclopedia, “A contrite heart is one in which the natural pride and self-sufficiency have been completely humbled by the consciousness of guilt.” The Greek and Hebrew translations for “contrite” mean “crushed, crippled, or broken.”
 
When we stop justifying wrong choices, it awakens the depth of our depravity.  This should lead us to a place of repentance and acceptance of God’s righteous condemnation of our sin.
 
“For all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.” (Romans 3:23)
 
When you are in one of those moments; know that those with a contrite heart do not shift blame or offer excuses.
Instead, they seek Jesus, knowing He is the True Provider of second chances.
 
 
 


Pardon Me

PardonMe
No one actually knows what Jesus wrote in the dirt in regards to the woman caught in adultery.  Some speculate He was writing the Ten Commandments, while others think He wrote the word forgiven.
 
Regardless of what He wrote, the main point you don’t want to miss;  He is a God who is gracious and forgiving.
We can’t earn God’s grace! It is part of the gift He gives to all who put their faith and trust in Jesus.
 
Romans 5:15, But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.”
 
The adulterous women who was brought to Jesus, probably thought her fate was sealed; that she would be stoned to death for her actions.  But Jesus offered her a second chance.
 
By no means was Jesus condoning adultery or excusing sin because of His grace toward her.  The fact is, one day He would die for her sins as well as yours and mine at Calvary’s Cross.
 
Forgiveness is free, and yet it cost substantially!  Jesus came to earth and willingly paid the price for sin with His life.
 
Jesus said to the woman, “Go and sin no more.”
 
It is by His grace that we may know and accept what Jesus did on Calvary.  Experiencing God’s amazing grace should motivate sinners like you and me to strive toward living a life of obedience and holiness for the glory of God.
 
As you falter or fail in your walk with the Lord, remember He is a God who forgives all who call Him Savior.
 


An Open Door

open door
 
Revelation 3:8, “I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”
 
Slam. Slam. Bam!  The sound of a door being shut on a hope or dream you thought God had opened.
 
From our limited perspective, sometimes we feel that our hopes and dreams are slammed in our face never to be received or achieved.
 
Oh but God!  He is sovereign and all-sufficient. We need to remember that He will open the doors He wants us to walk through and close the ones that may lead you down a path of destruction.
 
Revelation 3:7-13, speaks of the door that has been opened to the church of Philadelphia.  They were faithful, despite little power.  They kept God’s Word and didn’t deny His Name.  The reward…an open door to the entrance of the New Jerusalem and freedom from the hour of trial.
 
As you face disappointments from doors being shut, you must remain steadfast in the Word of God trusting the Lord will lead you to the door He wants you to enter.
 
There will be times in your walk with the Lord that you will wonder “What is God up to?” or “Why did that happen?
 
In those moments, remember: God is sovereign and He is leading you to the door that will bring Him glory as well as increased trust and care for your benefit.
 
Acts 16:6-10 provides a great picture of some doors being closed and others opened as Paul, Silas and Timothy set out to preach the gospel.
 
Acts 16:6-10,  “They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.  A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
 
Frustration will mount if you try to break through closed doors.  However, if you seek the Lord’s guidance, He will direct you to the door He has already opened for you and He will even remove it from the hinges.
 
A door that God opens, no one can shut!


I Will Walk By Faith

2-corinthians-5-7-walk-by-faith
 
If you were to pick up a road map, or do a search on MapQuest or Google maps you could easily discern the best route to reach your destination. 
 
That is the beauty of using a map; it logically arranges interstates and highways so you can stay on course.
 

Staying on course should be the desire and goal for every Christian.  Although, how you get from where you are in life, to where God wants you to be requires a different kind of “map” which is the Word of God!

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth to encouraging the people they can walk with assurance in the abundant life through the Resurrection of Christ.
 

2 Corinthians 5:7-8,For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

 

Like with a road map or GPS, if you have never been on the path, you may run into some unexpected circumstances.  However, if you let the Lord be your guide, He will lead you to the place He wants you to be.

 

If you stay committed to the journey, He will unveil His plan and path for you.

Walking by faith requires knowing the “Map.”   Knowing what’s on the “Map”  increases trust which will allow you to walk by faith and not by sight.

 

 

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” 
 

As you walk through 2016, let the Lord be your guide! Walk by faith not by sight.



God Is Up to Something Good

God is up to something Good
 
In this life, so many stumble while trying to predict what life will be like in the future.  The fact is, no one can foresee their own future.
 
You can fool yourself in to believing you have it all figured out as you pursue your passions and dreams. However, in due time, you learn there is only one Author and Finisher.
 
In the Genesis chapters 37-50, you can read about a man named Joseph. Joseph had a dream in which he saw himself ruling over his brothers.  Joseph shared his dream with his brothers and it resulted in him being sold into slavery in Egypt.
 
Joseph served as an overseer of Potifer’s house, an officer of Pharaoh.  He was accused of rape by Potifer’s wife and thrown into prison.
 
I’m fairly sure Joseph didn’t predict slavery and prison as part of the plan in becoming a ruler. But, that is what God used to execute His plan for Joseph’s life.
 
Genesis 50:20-21, ” As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones. So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”
 
God will never give you all of the details, but you can trust Him with your life! He is never surprised.
 
As you walk through this life, remember, God is in control.  Your life is not controlled by circumstances and fate!
 
Your life has been planned out by a Sovereign, Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent God who works out all things for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
 
God uses trials and adversity for our good and His glory.
 
James 1:2-4, Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
 
God is up to something good.  He will even bless others though your wilderness experience.
 
Through Joseph, many people, including his brothers, experienced the goodness of the Living God.
 
As you continue to plan and dream about 2016, remember God is in control, know matter what life brings; he works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, and when His plan is revealed; it will be a blessing to you and others.
 
God Is Up To Something Good!


The Beginning

the-beginning1
 
The wonderful thing about a New Year is it brings a new hope in fulfilling our goals and dreams that may have gone awry.
 
It presents us with a time to pause and reflect on the past year…our successes and failures.  Times we walked in obedience to the Lord’s call and times we missed the mark.
 
 By year’s end, many believers and non-believers, are discouraged, depressed, and down-trodden as life appears to have spiraled out-of-control.
 
However, the New Year, can provide a New Beginning; a meaningful opportunity to make your aim to please God and delight in His will.
  
Thanks be to God, He makes all things new!  He turns winter into Spring and breathes life into every living thing.
He makes all things new.
  
If you are a believer, it presents a time for you to remember your #1 priority–to be conformed to the image of Christ.
God will use your successes and failures to conform you to His image.
 
Psalm 40:8, I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”
 
2 Corinthians 5:8-10, we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
 
As you begin the New year, set goals, but remember your priority!
 
Spend time in prayer, meditation, worship, and the Word, asking God to guide you down the path He wants you to take.
 
It’s a New Beginning…Begin with God!
 
 
 
 


Holy Spirit Rain (Reign) Down

Rain Down
 
Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down
Let Your power fall, Let Your voice be heard
Come and change our hearts,
As we stand on Your word
Holy Spirit, rain down
No eye has seen, no ear has heard
No mind can know what God has in store
So open up Heaven, open it wide
Over Your church and over our lives
Holy Spirit, rain down
(Holy Spirit Rain down, by Russell Fragar)
 
John 16:7, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
 
In John 16:7, The word for helper in the Greek is Paracletos; one called alongside to help; or Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor.
 
When the Holy Spirit imparts the gift of eternal life, He brings to every believer divine and Christ-like qualities.
 
As the Spirit reigns in your life, He transforms your heart and mind by refining or altering your priorities and habits.
 
He gives you the power to live by God-given standards, as well as, the ability to fight worldly practices and fleshly behavior.
 
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you must learn to walk in the new life and not be bound by the culture or worldly practices.
 
When the Holy Spirit reigns in your life, you will no longer desire to be conformed this world, but will seek transformation by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:1-2)
 
By the power of the Holy Spirit, you can live an abundant life in Jesus Christ as you conform to God’s commands revealed in His Word.
 
Ask the Holy Spirit to Rain Down in your life.  Ask Him to Reign in your life!
 
Holy Spirit Rain Down, Reign down!
 
 
 
 


It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

midnight-clear
 
It is no accident that Jesus came when He did.  God’s timing is never random!
As you head  out to a Christmas Eve service or go view Christmas lights and decorations, you will probably observe a nativity scene.  
 
It is a visual reminder of that night in Bethlehem; a town where a gift was unwrapped in which we marvel: the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World was born.
 
Luke 2:13-15, “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”
 
God had a plan before creation to provide a way of salvation and redemption for an eternity…He sent His Son.
 
Galatians 4:4-6, But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
 
As you reflect on the great and awesome wonder of your salvation through the birth of Jesus, also remember His promise to return for His people so we can live in His presence for eternity.
 
Merry Christmas!
Remember the Reason for the Season!
 
 
 


Peace Be With You

shalom_peace
 
We live in a world of conflict and hostility between Nations, but in the midst of it all, God made a way for True Peace.
 
God offered peace through the sacrifice of His Son; and it is through the indwelling Spirit that we can experience peace in our hearts.
 
Isaiah 9:9, For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders;
and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
 
Luke 2:13-14, “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
 
The birth of Christ, the Son of Man, was God’s first step in establishing peace and providing a way of reconciliation between Himself and sinful humanity.
 
If you put your faith and trust in Jesus you can be reconciled to God and can experience peace as you walk through life.
 
 You have peace knowing that your sins will no longer be counted against you. You also receive peace as you deal with the trials and tribulations that life brings.
 
Rebellion and evil deeds reign in the hearts of those who live according to the flesh.
 
But thank the Lord that He reconciled all believers through the death of His fleshly body so He could present each of us holy and blameless before the Father.
 
Because of Christ’ atoning work on the cross, you can experience a peace that transcends all understanding. His peace will guard your heart and mind as you endure the battles of this life.
 
John 14:27,  Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
 
Peace Be With You!  Peace Be With You!