Your text or image here

Active Love

Posted in Daily Devotions

But now, dear lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning, let us love one another. (2 John 1.5)


The essence of Christian faith is love. Just as Christ laid down his life for us, so ought we to lay down our lives for others. That means loving all people – even those who misuse us, and that means doing good to all people – even those whom we may not approve of, and that means leaving our comfort zone from time to time for acts of extraordinary concern. The essence of Christian faith is love.

Love is our primary witness to the world. If the day comes when the Christian church is as loving as its Master, the world will beat a path to our door. John asks, “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help?” Love is more than just an emotion or a feeling. Love is feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned. Love is not a passive verb, but an active one. And it is the primary way we share Christ with the world.


Dear God, help me to have an active love that truly touches the lives of those who really need it. In Jesus name, Amen.

Comments Off

Priorities

Posted in Daily Devotions

When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” (Mark 1:37-38)


Take a moment to reflect upon what is really important to you. That is certainly what Jesus did in our story today.

When Simon and the other disciples awoke, they discovered that Jesus was nowhere to be found. Perhaps they panicked a bit. They actively searched until they chased him down. They interrupted his prayer time. “Everyone is searching for you,” Simon tells him. To this Jesus answers, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” Jesus would not be side-tracked by the desires of the crowds. He knew where he was headed. Nothing else mattered.

It would have been easy for Jesus to stay in one place teaching and healing people, but that was not his purpose. Jesus was called to proclaim the message of God’s love to many different people in many difference places.

What are our priorities? Do any of them need to change? Do we need to change our priorities in our families, in our work place, in the way we use our time and money?


Dear God, help me to keep my priorities in line with yours. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Comments Off

Unshakable

Posted in Daily Devotions

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you; and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,”(Is 54:10)


Has loneliness ever hung around you, virtually unshakable? English poet John Milton died in 1674. Although the number of his works is large, his greatest writing is Paradise Lost, completed nine years before his death. For all his postmortem fame, Milton endured many difficulties in his life. Perhaps those trials refined his material. There was a painful period of separation from his wife. At the end of his life, he was almost blind and was only able to navigate through each day’s tasks with assistance. His oppressive loneliness once prompted him to pen this truth: “Loneliness is the first thing that God’s eye named not good.”

It was loneliness that prompted God to look at His Creation and make an adjustment by providing Adam with Eve. It was this same Creator that would later say, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken.”

No matter how distant you feel you are from God now, know that by beginning a relationship with his Son, Jesus the Christ, you will never be all alone again – never again. Remember: loneliness can’t exist in the unshakable presence of God’s love.


Heavenly Father, help me to never feel forsaken nor alone.  Help me to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit always with me.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Comments Off

How’s Your Spiritual Life?

Posted in Daily Devotions

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23.23)


Five days a week for eight weeks former baseball pitcher, Dave Dravecky, drove ninety minutes each way for cancer treatment in Cleveland. At first the trip seemed long and unbearable. Then Dave began to notice the beauty of lush summer foliage on both sides of the highway. This peaceful drive eventually wound through the Shaker Heights district, an older area with stately mansions.

The daily trips were still monotonous, however. Dave could almost make the drive in his sleep, he recalls. Yet these long drives became an opportunity for Dave Dravecky to grow in his faith. He’d think and pray and listen to tapes of his favorite Bible teachers. Sometimes he would listen to a tape of worshipful music and sing along with it. His voice isn’t exactly the sound of music, Dave says, “but the hills did seem to come alive!” It was good “quality time” when he would not be interrupted by the telephone or anything else.

Those eight weeks driving to and from Cleveland Clinic saved Dave’s life‑‑his spiritual life, that is. He needed that time alone, he says, with the Lord. He needed it desperately, maybe even more than the radiation.

Are you taking care of your spiritual life?


God of love, help me to not neglect my spiritual life. In Jesus name, Amen.

Comments Off

Power of Prayer

Posted in Baptisms & Christenings

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. (James 5.16)


Sometime back a cardiologist at a California hospital conducted an experiment in healing. The study included 393 seriously ill cardiac patients. From this group 192 were selected randomly for special treatment. The special treatment was prayer. Selected people around the country were asked to pray for each of these 192 patients. Their conditions were described in detail. The people praying were to focus their prayers toward “beneficial healing and quick recovery.” The remaining patients were given the usual medical care without prayer.

Ten months later, the results revealed a startling conclusion. The patients who were prayed for experienced markedly fewer incidences of cardiac related infections, pulmonary edema and mortality than did the 201 patients not prayed for. It’s important to note that the patients selected for prayer did not even know they were being prayed for. And the people praying had never met the patients for whom they were asking Divine help. To them they were just names. And yet, their prayers worked!

If prayer can accomplish so much at a distance, what might happen in our lives, our neighborhoods and our church if we were to pray for those close at hand?


Dear God, may I take the time to pray for those in need. In Jesus name, Amen.

Comments Off

Freedom

Posted in Daily Devotions

For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. (1 Corinthians 9.19)


When Simon Bolivar led the nation of Peru to independence from Spain in 1924, they pleaded with him to become their first president. He refused. He said that his work was the work of liberation. Others were better suited to the task of governing. But still they wanted to honor him. So they offered him a gift of 1 million pesos. And he accepted the gift on one condition. He asked that he might supplement that gift with monies from his own estate, and then use all of that money together to purchase the freedom of the 3,000 individuals in Peru who were still slaves to other men. And he did exactly that. And when they asked him why he did it, this is what he said: “It makes little sense to free a nation unless all its citizens enjoy freedom as well.”

Freedom is only a tool. It can never be an end in itself. We use freedom to find our dignity. We use freedom to find spiritual freedom in our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Help someone find that freedom!


Loving God, may I use my gift for freedom to help someone come to know of your love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Comments Off

We Are All One

Posted in Daily Devotions

Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors? (Malachi 2.10)


Do you remember when Pope John XXIII was elected to office? He was seventy-seven years of age. He was only expected to be a caretaker Pope, a compromise among the College of Cardinals until a more suitable candidate could be selected. The jolly, rotund fellow was not expected to live long enough to effect much change in the Vatican and the closed Curia. As expected, he only held office for five years, dying in 1963.

Yet, he is regarded as the most influential Pope of the century, for it was he who convened the Second Vatican Council. That Council revolutionized and revitalized the Roman church around the world. “When people are animated by the love of Christ,” said this beloved Pope, “they feel united, and the needs, sufferings and joys of others are felt as their own.” Pope John XXIII transformed and invigorated the church, because he understood that we are all one.


Dear God, help me to build up your people and your church in the one body of Jesus Christ. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Comments Off

Potential

Posted in Daily Devotions

And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. (1 Thessalonians 5.14)


The 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott was begun by a lady named Rosa Parks. Rosa had just finished a hard day’s work when she paid her fare to ride the Cleveland Avenue bus home. When she got on the bus, a number of white folks were already seated. She took her place at the rear of the bus, in the front part of the colored section. Rosa knew as more whites boarded the bus, moving their seats closer to the rear, she would soon have to stand so a white person could sit. Two stops later what she expected happened. No longer were there enough available seats for the white patrons, so Rosa was told to stand. She refused. The bus driver came back and swore at her, threatening to have her arrested. Still, she would not relinquish her seat. She was arrested, and thus began the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.

Years later Rosa Parks was asked why she would not stand when ordered. She responded it was because of her mother and her Christian upbringing. Rosa Parks declared, “I was brought up to believe in freedom and equality and that God designs all His children to be free.” Bring up a child believing that, my friends, and he or she will never be satisfied with being second-class citizens.

It’s time for us to see people as Jesus sees them. Christ sees folks as they can be. It makes no difference how they look or where they come from. He sees great potential. To have the mind of Christ is to see that potential, too, and to become an encourager just as he encourages us.


Heavenly Father, may I help all I meet fulfill their potential. In Jesus name, Amen

Comments Off

Encourage One Another

Posted in Daily Devotions

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5.11)


It is a common practice at military academies for the upper classmen to keep the first year students in their place. This is part of the initiation rites. Dwight David Eisenhower, as a second year student at West Point, participated in these activities. One day a plebe, as freshmen were called, bumped into Eisenhower. Such an act was unpardonable, so Eisenhower responded as expected–yelling and screaming at the young cadet. Searching for the most demeaning thing he could utter, Eisenhower said the plebe looked like a barber. With that remark the plebe drew himself up to his full height, squared his shoulders, thrust forth his jaw, and responded that he was a barber. It was as a barber that he had supported his family prior to coming to the Academy.

Devastated, Eisenhower returned to his room. He retold the incident to his roommate, confessing, “I’ve just done something that was stupid and unforgivable. I just managed to make a man ashamed of the work he did to earn a living.” In his autobiography Eisenhower wrote that for him this was a lesson about “the lack of consideration for others.” In his room that day, Eisenhower vowed never to demean another individual again. It was a promise he kept through his life, even as Supreme Allied Commander during the Second World War and as the thirty-fourth President of the United States. He became an encourager and it showed in the effectiveness of his leadership.

That is the very heart of the Christian faith. John 3:17 tells us that Christ came not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. When we condemn another, for whatever reason, we are not of the mind of Christ. We are to encourage as Christ encourages us. If we hold that principle always before us, we will not err.


Dear God, may I be an encourager as you have encouraged me in Jesus Christ. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Comments Off

One in the Body

Posted in Daily Devotions

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. (James 3.17)


The principles Jesus taught, he also lived. Jesus invited to his table all sorts of people–Greeks, Jews, sinners, tax collectors–so they all would come to know his grace. He befriended a man who was hated by all: Zacchaeus. He met secretly at night with a man who was confused: Nicodemus. He healed a man who had a dreaded disease: the unnamed leper. These principles continued to be taught and practiced in the early church. James, the brother of Jesus, told us to “show no partiality” between a rich man and a poor man coming into the sanctuary. And Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek…slave nor free…male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

What a beautiful and important message. We are all one in the body of Christ. In the fellowship of believers we make no distinction between rich or poor, royalty or commoner, celebrity or plebeian. It makes no difference who you are, where you came from or what you have. You are a human being to be loved and recognized. Sadly, this is a truth we have not always acknowledged.


Dear God, help me to welcome all of your people into your kingdom of love and grace. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Comments Off

« Previous Entries