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Judgement & Hope

Posted in Daily Devotions

The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. (Isaiah 62:2-3)

There are two themes that dominate the writings of all the great prophets. They are Judgement and Hope. As far as the prophets were concerned, Israel’s greatness as a nation did not depend on its prosperity or its military might. They knew that a nation’s character was more important than its cash reserves. They did not buy the prosperity Gospel. Israel’s wealthy elite might “have it all,” but they dare not call it the blessing of God if their hearts an d their lives were corrupt. Thus the prophets pronounced judgement on Israel’s sinfulness. Without righteousness and justice there will be a day of reckoning, they thundered. Things will not continue like this forever.

Their pronouncements of judgement, however, must be balanced by their messages of hope. They were not all gloom and doom. When Israel was hurting, when its people were still trying to sing the Lord’s song in a strange land, when there was famine and pestilence and war throughout the country, the prophets again spoke up. Things will not be like this forever, they said. Hang in there. God will not forsake His own.

Judgement and hope, God is always with us. It is our job to welcome God into our lives, no matter what situation we face!

Loving God, help me to call on you and walk with you in all of the ups and downs of life. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Your Majesty

Posted in Daily Devotions

In the same way, my friends, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:4)

Do you remember the name Leon Spinks? In the cruel world of professional boxing, Spinks was once the world heavyweight champion.  Spinks was quoted as saying: “People were always asking, after I won the title, ‘Who is Leon Spinks?’” Then he added, “It’s a question I’ve been asking all my life. I didn’t know who I was but I knew I wanted to be somebody…I was tired of being nobody.”

Do you suppose anybody ever told Leon Spinks that even before he was formed in his mother’s womb, the eternal God knew who he was? That is the good news for the day. We matter. We are worth something. Let no one say that we are nobodies. This beautiful world was created for us. The infinite stars would not shine down from the skies if we were not here to behold them. Of even more staggering import is a cross that stands on a hill named Calvary. For it was there that the Son of the living God gave His life in our behalf.

In Sweden there is a saying that “in every man there is a king, and in every woman, a queen. If you speak to them as ‘Your Majesty,’ their majesty will come forth.” May we all live like we are children of the King!

Dear God, sometimes I don’t do a very good job of loving myself. Remind me each day that I am your child! May I also treat everyone I meet as your child. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Available & Dependable

Posted in Daily Devotions

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? (James 2:14)

If we use our talents to honor God, God will grant us even greater opportunities. Even persons with limited abilities can succeed if they will give it their all. Just because you have never been comfortable in front of people doesn’t mean that you have not been given the gift of teaching. It is amazing how many of the world’s great orators have had to conquer such impediments as a lisp, an unimpressive appearance or some other hindrance. Their very determination to overcome their handicap helped make them great. Where  does commitment end and God’s blessing begin? Is a spiritual gift necessarily a talent?  Availability and dependability truly are as important as ability itself.

Look at the people God chose to serve him in Biblical times. The towering figure of the first part of our Bible was an eighty-year-old man who spoke with a stammer. His name? Moses. None of the men who surrounded Jesus gave any indication of their later greatness. So it is in the world today. God uses people who are willing to offer themselves and all they have to Him. More important than our individual talents or abilities or intellect is the spirit with which they are given to God.

In what spirit are we using our gifts to honor Christ by sharing his love?

God of all gifts, may I have a good attitude when I use my gifts for your service. In Jesus name, Amen.

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God With Us

Posted in Daily Devotions

But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever. (Psalm 41:12)

Rabbi Harold Kushner writes, “I have seen weak people become strong, timid people become brave, selfish people become generous. I have seen people care for their elderly parents, for brain damaged children, for spouses in wheelchairs, for years, even decades, and I have asked myself, where do people get the strength to keep doing that for so long? Where do they get the resources of love and loyalty to keep going? The only answer I come up with is when we are weary and out of strength, we turn to God and God renews our strength, so we can run and not grow weary, so that we can walk and not feel faint.”

In times of suffering, in times when our world seems to be crumbling, in times of our greatest need, we will receive strength from God. All we have to do is ask for it. God’s strength is available for us. Not just at some time in the future, because we are not alone in this world. God is with us!

Loving God, there are times when I get really down and wonder where you are when I need you the most. Remind me in those moments that you are right by my side. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Important Work

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Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. (Mark 13:31-33)

Douglas Mayor, a fifteen year old boy who lived in Missouri, had been feeling bad for several days. His mother, Donna, took him to the emergency room where blood tests revealed one of the most agonizing things a parent can learn about a child. Douglas was diagnosed as having leukemia.

During the next forty-eight hours, Douglas endured blood transfusions, spinal and bone marrow tests and chemotherapy. For five days his mother stayed in his hospital room. Douglas became depressed.

During the first day in the hospital, Douglas said to his mother, “I thought you get flowers when you’re in the hospital.” One of his aunts called Brix Florist in St. Louis. His aunt wanted the sales clerk to be aware of the flower arrangement’s significance. “I want the planter to be especially attractive. It’s for my teenage nephew who has leukemia,” she told the clerk. “Oh,” said the salesclerk. “Let’s add some fresh-cut flowers to brighten it up.”

When the floral arrangement arrived Douglas opened the envelope and read the card from his aunt. Then he saw another card. The second card read: “Douglas–I took your order. I work at Brix Florist. I had leukemia when I was seven years old. I’m 22 years old now. Good luck. My heart goes out to you. Sincerely, Laura Bradley.” Douglas’ face lit up.

Often it is the little extra things that we do that make a big difference. Loving things, encouraging things. Whether the world comes to an end today or billions of years from now, we want to be found not sitting on a roof-top looking crazily into the sky, but helping God’s people.

Heavenly Father, it is so easy to get busy and forget about the important work you called me to do. May I use the blessing of you in my life to be a blessing to others. In Jesus name, Amen.

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A Chosen People

Posted in Daily Devotions

For darkness shall cover the earth and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. (Isaiah 60:2)

Isaiah was trying to remind the Israelites that they were God’s people, even though they were an exiled people. They were scattered in many parts of the world, but they were still God’s people.

Just like the Israelites, we too are a chosen people, because God sent Jesus Christ into the world to be our Savior. We are God’s people. Christ died for us.

I may be young; I may be old,
But I am somebody, For I am God’s Child.
I may be educated; I may be unlettered,
But I am somebody, For I am God’s Child.
I may be black; I may be white,
But I am somebody, For I am God’s Child.
I may be rich; I may be poor,
But I am somebody, For I am God’s Child.
I may be fat; I may be thin,
But I am somebody, For I am God’s Child.
I may be married; I may be divorced or single,
But I am somebody, For I am God’s Child.
I may be successful; I may be a failure,
But I am somebody, For I am God’s Child.
I may be a sinner; I may be a saint,
But I am somebody, For Jesus is my Savior.
I am God’s Child.

Loving God, help me to more fully understand my purpose of being your child. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Change of Direction

Posted in Daily Devotions

Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” (Mark 1:15)

A battered old man got up one night during a revival meeting and said: “Brothers and sisters, you know and I know that I ain’t been what I ought to of been. I’ve stolen hogs and told lies, and got drunk, and was always getting in fights, and shooting craps, and playing poker, and I’ve cussed and swore; but I thank the Lord there’s one thing I ain’t never done: I ain’t never lost my religion.”

It is true that we won’t lose our religion when we have done something wrong if we seek God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness is important to restoring relationships. Frederick Buechner, a well known Christian writer, said, “To repent is to come to our senses. It is not so much something you do as something that happens. True repentance spends less time looking at the past and saying ‘I’m sorry,’ than to the future and saying ‘Wow!’

We have all heard many criminals say they were sorry for the crime they committed, but many of them continue to be criminals. Did you know that by far most of the people in our jails today are repeat offenders. They may feel sorry for their sins and crimes, but no real change has taken place. You see, true repentance is a matter of changing directions.

The most important change of direction we can make is becoming a faithful disciple of God and Jesus Christ moment by moment and day by day.

Heavenly Father, may I follow you everyday so that my life will be the best possible example of faithfulness. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Your Light Has Come

Posted in Daily Devotions

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1)

Isaiah says, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” He was calling his people to let the light of God shine in and through them. We, too, should look at the possibilities of how God’s light can shine through us.

It is easy to look at our limitations to keep God’s light from shining through us. We may say I’ve had a rough time and I cannot go forward right now. We may say we are too old or too young. We can make up a lot of excuses, but we do have the power to let God’s light shine.

As we look at our lives, it will not always appear easy; but we can truly be our best with God’s help.

Success cannot always be measured. If our efforts bring us closer to God and closer to our family and friends, then we will experience the life desires for us; a life of many possibilities and successes.

Dear God, may all of my possibilities come by growing closer to you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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