Devotion – July 23, 2015 – Submit Yourself

1peter5_5Be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
—1 Peter 5:5

Submissiveness can be difficult.  You have to humble yourself and put the needs of others above yourself…and your ego.  We are called to submit ourselves to those who are older and respect them.  But the our passage today goes even further, we are called to humble ourselves towards one another.  In other words, we are to humble ourselves to everyone, to consider others and their needs more important than our own. [Read more…]

Devotion – July 19, 2015 – Speaking the Truth in Love

ephesians4_15Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
—Ephesians 4:15

The truth can be a hard thing sometimes.  In our culture, today, there are many who do not believe there is anything that is universal truth, it’s all relative’ but God says something different.  There are truths…eternal truths.  In Ephesians, we are told that we one body in Christ and that are supposed to build each other other in truth and love so that we are not blown around by every “wind of doctrine”, human craftiness, or deceit and so that the body of Christ is equipped, unified, and working properly. [Read more…]

Devotion – July 18, 2015 – The Gift of the Holy Spirit

acts2_17In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
—Acts 2:17

In the Old Testament, God put His Spirit on a select few and sometimes only for a given time.  The first King of Israel, Saul, was given the Spirit of God, but after a while he started getting full of himself and started going against the Lord and the God removed His Spirit from him.  However, we are promised something different.

On Pentecost, shortly after Jesus’ ascension, the Spirit came in power to the disciples and then spread around to all believers.  The Holy Spirit has been poured out on all believers.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
– 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

You have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit and He is your comforter, advocate, guide, He bears fruit in you, He reveals the Scriptures to you, He creates faith and sustains you, and He is a guarantee of your salvation and the resurrection to come.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for sending your Spirit.  May Your Spirit guide us and protect us and keep us in true faith to life everlasting.

Amen.

Devotion – July 17, 2015 – Every Generation

Judges2_7The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel.
—Judges 2:7

When the people of Israel entered the Promised Land, they experienced the work of the Lord first hand.  They had been sustained in the wilderness and they saw the walls of Jericho fall by the mighty hand of God.  They experience first-hand God’s provision and protection and they had leaders, like Joshua, who led faithfully.  That generation remained faithful.

The next generation was a very different story.  They didn’t have those experiences and they fell away from God.  They started ignoring God’s law and even worshiping false gods.

We see that same type of thing over and over in the church today.  Parents who have experienced the work of God in their lives being strong of faith and then their children falling away.  There are many reasons that can happen, but one can be experiencing (or not experiencing) God’s work in their lives.

It is important to teach children about the faith and to live out that faith with them, praying together, reading the Bible together, serving together, and worshiping together even from a young age.  By hearing the Word and experiencing the faith, the child is given a strong foundation.

Heavenly Father,

You have blessed us with children, whether in our own family or the greater family of believers.  Help us raise our children in the faith, teaching them Your Word and helping them to experience the faith first-hand.  We also know that faith only comes from You.  So, we pray that you will graciously give our children faith and keep them in that faith all their days.

Amen.

Devotion – July 16, 2015 – Counted to Us as Righteousness

romans4_3For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
– Romans 4:3-5

We are often tempted to think of our good deeds (or lack of evil deeds) as righteousness.  These good works deserve to be rewarded by God right?  However, we read something different in the Scriptures.  Using Abraham as an example, Paul points out that Abraham was not counted as righteous because of what he had done.  If so, his righteousness would be paid to him as a wage for his good works.  However, in Genesis 15:6 (what is quoted there in Romans) we are told that Abraham’s righteousness was “counted to him” as a gift.  Why?  Because he believed God.

This promise is not only for Abraham.  It is for you as well!

But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
-Romans 4:23-25

Sure we can and should do good works for each other, but before God, our righteousness is based solely on faith in Jesus.  In Philippians we read:

I consider them [good works] garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
-Philippians 3:8b-9

Dear Jesus,

Thank you that my righteousness before you is not based on my own feeble and often corrupted good works.  For if it was, I would not be considered righteous.  Thank you that, instead, you have given me a righteousness through faith, apart from works.  Help me to live out that faith by doing good things for others, not for my own righteousness or gain, but that others may glorify my father in heaven.

Devotion – July 14, 2015 – Everyone Can Be an Example

1timothy4_12Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
—1 Timothy 4:12

Are you too old, too young, too poor, too unimportant, too skinny, too fat, too shy, don’t know the Bible well enough? [Read more…]

Devotion – July 7, 2015 – Seated On His Throne

isaiah6_1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.
—Isaiah 6:1

This was what Isaiah saw when God called him to be a prophet.  There are many ways we think of God; Father, friend, savior, teacher…  Many of these titles and descriptions help to make God more accessible in our minds, more relatable.  However, it is good to also remember that He is the God of all creation, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Almighty and most holy.  He is beyond our comprehension.  He is greater and holier than we can imagine. [Read more…]

Devotion – July 4, 2015 – Freedom!

john8_36Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
-John 8:34-36

As we celebrate Independence Day, we celebrate the freedoms we have in our country.  239 years ago 13 colonies declared their independence from the crown of England.  11 years later the Constitution was adopted and 4 years after that the first 10 Amendments put into writing the freedoms we celebrate today, including the freedom of religion.

The freedoms in our country have been great, but they are nothing compared to the freedom we have in Jesus.  In Christ, we have freedom from sin and death and this freedom is forever.  No matter what the future brings for the freedoms in our country, we can stand secure in the freedom that Jesus gives through His work on the cross.  Praise the Lord!

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the United States of America and thank you for the freedom we have to exercise faith in you.  You have truly blessed this nation.  Thank you even more for the freedom we have in You.  We know this is true freedom that can never by taken away by any person and which brings us newness of life in you.

Amen.

Devotion – July 3, 2015 – The Holy Name of the Lord

ezekiel36_23I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
—Ezekiel 36:23

In this passage from Ezekiel, the people of Israel have been exiled from Promised Land and scattered all over the place due to their unfaithfulness to God.  Now, God is about to gather them again and return them to the land He gave them, but the way He tells the people this through the prophet Ezekiel is sobering.  He is not doing it because they have started to be faithful in their exile, but rather He is doing it to show the nations that His name is holy, despite the continued unfaithfulness of the people of Israel…and He wants that to be very clear to the people. [Read more…]

Devotion – July 2, 2015 – May Our Country Hear His Word

jeremiah22_29O land, land, land, hear the Word of the LORD.
—Jeremiah 22:29

Our country has been going through some big changes over the past several years, even these past few weeks.  However, one thing hasn’t changed.  The people of our country need to hear the Word of the Lord. [Read more…]

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