August 8, 2017
You have been disappointed and will be disappointed. So, how do you handle disappointment? In 1 Chronicles 17, God shut down David’s plan to build a temple, but instead of getting upset or angry, David responded by being humbly thankful. He prayed, “Who am I, O Yahweh God? And what is my family, that You have brought me this far” (1 Chronicles 17:16)? Try responding like that the next time your plan fails, when things don’t go your way. Then wait on God and watch Him turn your disappointment into a brighter future built on His promise.
August 7, 2017
“It is no shame to suffer for being a Christian” (1 Peter 4:16). As a child you may have suffered for the choices and actions of others. As you grew up you began to suffer for your own, mistakes, bad choices and actions. You may even suffer for saying and doing the right thing. Perhaps most painful is suffering for who you are, suffering for being someone, not for doing something. When you suffer for your identity, you have no reason to feel ashamed, especially if it is for BEING a follower of Jesus. LORD, encourage Christians who are persecuted solely because they are believers in Christ.
August 5-6, 2017
The first two of God’s Top Ten forbid idol worship: “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image…” (Exodus 20:3-4 NKJV). Literally, an idol is the image of a god, goddess, angel, saint, or guru. Figuratively, an idol is any idea, anything, anyone that competes for the place, time, attention or loyalty that God deserves. Any religion that keeps people from worshiping the true God through Christ is idolatry. LORD, l will let no idol of religion, mindset, habit, busyness, convenience, pleasure, or entertainment hijack my commitment and service to You!
NOTE — Message for this Sunday, August 6, 2017, at Church For All: The Heavy Weight Lifter (Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 12:1-2; 1 Peter 5:6-7).
August 4, 2017
Some of the most dramatic scenes in the Bible are where people found, rounded up and destroyed idols: Moses grinding the golden calf to dust (Exodus 32:1-21), Gideon tearing down a statute of Baal (Judges 6:22-32), Josiah going on a rampage against all idols, idol worshipers and their places of worship (2 Kings 23:1-20), and new Christians in Ephesus burning their occultic books (Acts 19:11-20). LORD Jesus, let me be so fired up for You that I burn up every idol in my life that comes between You and me.
August 3, 2017
Esau’s need for food turned into greed for Jacob’s stew, and he traded his birthright for one meal (Genesis 25:29-34). Esau failed to see that by selling his birthright he also forfeited the blessing that would empower him to exercise his privilege as the firstborn (Genesis 27:30-38). When NEED becomes GREED, we: (1) are blinded to the consequences of our decision for short term gain; (2) wastefully overpay for momentary pleasure; (3) live with regret, as we’re unable to undo the damage (Hebrews 12:16-17). LORD, help me to control myself before I lose my “birthright” and “blessing” over one “bowl of soup”!
August 2, 2017
Often when the body thirsts we give it artificial drinks instead of water, the natural desire of the body. Similarly, when the soul thirsts, we may give it liquor, drug, sex, sports, entertainment or some other form of fleeting pleasure. But these substitutes will never satisfy the soul for long. What the soul hungers for is worship of our Maker, meditation on His words, hearing His voice, feeling His touch. “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God” (Psalms 42:2 NKJV)? Feed your soul living water, God’s presence; you will be filled and deeply satisfied!
August 1, 2017
Jesus tells us “…do not worry about your life…” (Luke 12:22). There are four things the Bible encourages us not to worry about: food, fashion, future, fears. For the first three, see Matthew 6:25-34. On the 4th one, say with David, “I will fear no evil, for You are with me”; “…the LORD… delivered me from all my fears” (Psalms 23:4; 34:4). LORD Jesus, I fully trust in You; I refuse to worry anymore about anything!
July 31, 2017
“Faith is not a distant view, but a warm embrace of Christ”, said John Calvin. Faith bridges the gap between Earth and Heaven and pulls us up to be so close to God that we can talk with Him and walk with Him as we go through life. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). Thank You, LORD, for letting me draw near to You by faith; let me walk ever close to You.
July 29-30, 2017
“Most of the time we gaze at life and glance at God,” says author Levi Lusko. But to get an eternal view on every situation, Lusko advises that we “glaze at God, and glance at this life.” That’s how Apostle Paul, who suffered repeatedly as a Christian, viewed his troubles: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). Focus on the eternal and gain God’s perspective on whatever you’re going through.
It doesn’t matter how saved, sanctified or spiritual we are, there will be dry and dull seasons in our walk with the Lord. In 2 Kings 23, Josiah’s example shows us what to do when we have strayed from God, dried up, or we just need a spiritual jump start. (1) REVIEW the Covenant — reflect on God’s word and how He redeemed you; verses 1-3. (2) REMOVE all idols — thinking, habits, and things that compete with God’s time and place in your life; verses 4-20,24. (3) RENEW worship from the heart — worship that centers on God’s presence, adores who God is, and celebrates what He has done; verses 21-23,25.
July 27, 2017
As a boy, Clark Cothern played beside his mother’s desk at the college. He noticed nervous students entering the ‘President’s Office’. Clark felt terror whenever he saw the college president in his 3-piece suit and shiny shoes. One day as Clark played with his toy car, the door swung opened, President Robert Sutherland walked out, got on his knees and asked Clark, “May I have a turn?” The pair played cars like two kids. “Call me Dr. Bob,” the president told Clark; that experience changed the boy. Similarly, God humbled Himself to “play” with us, letting us know that He is “not a distant and terrifying being but a loving Father full of grace and truth” (John 1:14; Doctrine 101 devotion). That’s incarnation – God took on a human body AKA Jesus Christ.
July 26, 2017
The Bible cure to stealing is work, not jail time. “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Ephesians 4:28). When society jails a thief, we all lose more by paying to feed and house the thief, who remains unproductive behinds bars, while the result is the same as theft: taking what others work for. In ancient Israel, a thief was made to work and pay back what he stole, plus interest (Exodus 22:1-4). That’s restitution, not incarceration.