Archive for July, 2014

MORE THAN ENOUGH

Daily Devotional

“Even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:13-14).

In an effort to hold us back and keep us hostage, the enemy uses our past against us. Grace, however, is God’s provision to thrust us forward into His possibilities. We must be forever mindful that salvation, and the life of faith, is first and foremost a testament of what God has done and is doing than what we have done in our past.

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GOOD SEED/GOOD RESULTS

Daily Devotional

“The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’” (Matthew 13:27-28).

Tragically, much of what is portrayed as a life of faith within Christendom is, in fact, godless religion. The enemy of the gospel isn’t so much secularism as it is religious; the sense of self-satisfaction provided by institutional religion. To be sure, the gospel seed sown by Jesus is good and fruitful. It blossoms and flourishes in the hearts of his disciples as our broken lives become a continuing work of being dismantled and rebuilt in His likeness.

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TRUTH PREVAILS

Daily Devotional

“on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:16).

Even the most astute human judge can render a verdict based only upon the known and visual evidence presented. This is why the scriptures teach us to avoid judging others; for we do so on the basis of superficial information filtered by our own emotions, interpretations, and experiences. God, however, sees not only the fruit of our faith but the heart from which it springs forth. Thus, Solomon’s wise words must be heeded…”Guard your heart.”

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DISCOVERING TRUE BLISS

Daily Devotional

“But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:32).

The culture has led us to believe that the state of extreme happiness known as bliss is to be found in marriage; that singleness is brokenness or somehow less complete. True bliss, however, is realized not in marriage or being unmarried, but in a single-minded devotion to the Lord. Our relationship status is secondary to serving Him.

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HOLDING OUT

Daily Devotional

“holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain” (Philippians 2:16).

Each day’s challenge is to live with a view of what is coming; that there will be an ultimate verdict on the life we have lived. Knowing that the measuring stick will be those things of eternal value, Paul’s choice is to reserve glory for the day it actually matters. Short-term benefits and momentary pleasures are poor substitutes for the offerings of Kingdom life.

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LIFE’S CAVEAT

Daily Devotional

“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that’” (James 4:14-15).

Common sense dictates that we plan ahead for the very real stages of life we know to be forthcoming. Thus, we plan our educational pursuits; our family; career path; even retirement must be thoughtfully calculated. Even so, James offers caveats that are equally sensible and should be remembered in our daily living—life is unpredictable, fleeting, and rests in the hands of God. In other words, don’t give so much thought to a day that may never come that you miss out on the day you have been given.

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GOT GRACE?

Daily Devotional

“Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them” (Matthew 25:19).

While Christianity in the west has, seemingly, evolved into a consumer enterprise and a faulty understanding that the church exists for the purpose of satisfying one’s personal preferences, the words of Jesus remind us that the life of faith isn’t just getting from God but, ultimately, culminates in giving an account of that which we have received from God. To have experienced God’s grace is to be commissioned into his service and purpose. It is to be converted from a consumer of selfish wanting to a producer of Kingdom fruit.

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INCENTIVE PLAN

Daily Devotional

“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to His deeds” (Matthew 16:27).

For those who have answered the call of discipleship; whose relationship with and commitment to Christ is their very identity and the driving force in their life, the coming of the Lord isn’t a day of fearful dread but hopeful anticipation. We need to know that the life to which he has called us will be rewarded; that how we live really does matter and doesn’t go unnoticed.

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TAKE CARE

Daily Devotional

“But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9).

The freedom that is ours in Christ Jesus isn’t to be understood as an entitlement to be flaunted arrogantly but a responsibility to be exercised judiciously. On matters of conscience, Paul doesn’t render a verdict of moral or immoral but, rather, raises the standard of our decision making processes from what is my personal right to what edifies those around me. One is arrogant, the other mature.

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GOD’S SELF-PROCLAMATION

Daily Devotional

“Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished” (Exodus 34:6-7).

It’s puzzling to me why so many, even professing Christians, give credence to the musings of entertainers and other public figures who presume to speak for God; what he’s like and what his views are on various social and behavioral issues. These ill-informed opinions usually begin with, “Well, the God I know is a God of love.” Indeed, he is a God of love but he is a God of many other qualities and attributes as well. Also, it must be understood that God’s love does not negate the clearly stated precepts and dictates of his word. In this day of baseless offerings about God, we do well as the church to let God speak for himself through the word that he, himself, inspired.

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