Devotion – August 28, 2015 – Wealthy in God’s Eyes

mark10_25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God
—Mark 10:25

Jesus told this to His disciples right after a wealthy, young Jewish man asked what he needed to do to get into heaven. Jesus mentions the commandments; though He doesn’t say the man can get into heaven by them.  The young, rich man responds that he has kept all the commandments since his youth.  He is telling Jesus that his works should be enough to get him into heaven, but Jesus knows the truth.  This man hasn’t kept commandments, at least not the first one (Thou shalt have no gods before Me) and Jesus points this out with His response. [Read more…]

Devotion – August 27, 2015 – Many Parts, One Body

Romans12_4For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Romans 12:4-5 NIV

Yesterday morning I woke up with my right hand swollen between my thumb and forefinger.  It was soar and I couldn’t grip much of anything.  I spent the rest of the day trying to do things without using my right hand and I’m right-handed.  Even the simplest of everyday tasks became difficult and everything took twice as long.  I honestly hadn’t thought much about that part of my body before that day, but man did I miss it when I couldn’t use it. [Read more…]

Devotion – August 25, 2015 – Tough Times for Ministry

john6_66From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
—John 6:66

There are a lot of difficult teachings in the Scriptures.  In this passage, Jesus had just taught that He is the bread of life and that “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” and also He taught that “no one can come to [Hiim] unless the Father has enabled them.”  A lot of people wanted to follow Jesus when He taught about the meek inheriting the earth or that love is patient and kind, but many couldn’t or wouldn’t follow Jesus when He started teaching more difficult and controversial things.  They walked away. [Read more…]

Devotion – August 24, 2015 – Tough Times Ahead

mark9_30-31Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”
—Mark 9:30-31

Jesus taught many people many things.  He certainly could attract a crowd, but sometimes He would go off with His closest disciples and teach them separately.  Sometimes He did this because He was preparing them for their roles as apostles, sometimes He was preparing them for what was about to happen.  In this case, it’s more the latter.  Jesus has been traveling with these 12 men for nearly 3 years.  They know He is the Messiah and they are following Him.  But they were about go through something none of them expected…something that would totally shake the foundations of their faith.  Jesus, their friend, their teacher, their Lord, would be killed. [Read more…]

Devotion – August 22, 2015 – Come To Me All Who Are Weary

matthew11_28Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
—Matthew 11:28

I usually hear this verse being quoted to people who’s schedules have worn them out.  It’s easy to become tired and weary in our lives, especially in America today, where busy-ness has taken over and this can sound wonderful for that; but that’s not really the rest Jesus was talking if you read the surrounding verses.  It’s better than that… [Read more…]

Devotion – August 20, 2015 – Repent, So Your Sins May Be Wiped Away

acts3_19aRepent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
—Acts 3:19

Back when I was in college, I went to a youth group event at a park.  I wasn’t paying close enough attention as I was parking and as I pulled in, I grazed the car next to me.  I quickly got out of my car to see if it was really that bad…it was.  There was a big scratch right down the side of their car.  Immediately my heart raced.  I was a broke college student.  I didn’t have a couple hundred dollars to fix a car!  I looked around and saw that no one had noticed.  I had a choice to make.  I could move my car and walk away like nothing had happened or I could confess and risk the consequences. [Read more…]

Devotion – August 19, 2015 – Worship in Spirit and in Truth

john4_24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.
—John 4:24

Where can we worship God?

When should we worship?

What music should we use?

There are a lot of things we concern ourselves with about worship which aren’t actually Biblical or truly important.  In the passage from John above the Samaritan woman at the well had just asked Jesus whether the Samaritans were right to worship on their mountain or the Jews right to worship in the temple.  Jesus responds,

“a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”

Today, we often hear questions about whether certain instruments should be in worship or what kind of music is played.  Should we use video?  But that’s not what worship is about. [Read more…]

Devotion – August 17, 2015 – I Desire Mercy

matthew9_13But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
—Matthew 9:13

Who needs mercy?  Do you?  Do I?  These are the words of Jesus there in Matthew 9.  Jesus had just called Matthew to be His disciple.  Matthew, a dirty, low-down traitor/thief of a tax collector.  Then, Jesus had the gall to go to Matthew’s house for a party with all of Matthews filthy, sinner friends and eat with them.  Then the oh-so righteous religious leaders, the Pharisees, called Jesus out.  He should be with good, clean-living, holy and righteous religious people like them, not those horrible, evil sinners, right?… [Read more…]

Devotion – August 16, 2015 – Use Your Freedom to Serve

Galatians5-13You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
-Galatians 5:13-14

What wonderful news!  In Christ you are free.  Free from sin.  Free from death.  Free to do what is good and right.  Before you were a slave to sin, unable to fight off your sinful desires, but now you are freed and made alive through faith in Christ. [Read more…]

Devotion – August 15, 2015 – Stand With One Another

2timothy1_16May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.
—2 Timothy 1:16

How great it is to have a faithful friend, one who stands by you through thick and thin.  We all go through struggles.  It may be sickness, job loss, or the loss of family member.  It may be harassment or even prison.  During these times the world can seem very dark.  But a friend in Christ can brighten your life by bringing you friendship and a Word from the Light of the World. [Read more…]