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Focus

Posted in Daily Devotions

You shall have no other gods before me. (Deuteronomy 5:7)


300 years ago the tulip was a very popular flower in Holland. It was very pretty, and the people of Holland made money by growing tulips. But after a while, the people decided that the tulips were the most valuable things in their society. They started to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to buy and sell and grow tulips. Some people sold their houses or their horses or their businesses just to buy tulips. Eventually, the tulip trade died down in Holland, and hundreds of people lost all their money and became very poor because they had lost their focus on what was truly valuable.

We know that tulips are not that important. But just like the people of Holland 300 years ago, sometimes we lose our focus.

Our relationship with God should be the most important thing in our lives.


Dear God, help me to keep you as the most important focus in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Smart Followers

Posted in Daily Devotions

If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)


There is a type of caterpillar called the processional caterpillar that is an expert at following. These caterpillars follow one another everywhere.

Scientists have taken groups of processional caterpillars and put them in a circle so that they follow one another around and around. These caterpillars will keep going around in a circle until they die! They don’t stop, they just keep following the caterpillar in front of them. They are not smart enough to stop following the caterpillar in front of them. Caterpillars are not very smart followers.

Jesus wants us to follow him, but He doesn’t want us to be dumb about it, like the caterpillars.

Jesus’ disciples were smart followers. They chose to follow Jesus. They knew that they could leave at any time. They wanted to follow Jesus and to be like Him. They worked hard to support and glorify Jesus, and so Jesus blessed them and shared with them the things that God had told Him. Jesus wants us to be smart followers of God, so that we too can be His faithful disciples.


God of peace, help me to be a smart and faithful follower of your son Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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A Wonderful Life

Posted in Daily Devotions

This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night. (Joshua 1:8)


This is a story about a king and a wise man. The king didn’t like this wise man. He was too popular with the people and the king was jealous. The king tried to think of a way he could make the wise man look bad.

One day he hit upon a scheme. He summoned all his followers, and sent for the wise man. The king asked the wise man, “Oh, wisest of men, tell me this. I have the tiniest of birds cupped between my hands. I command you to tell me if the bird is alive or dead?”

The wise man realized that if he said, “Alive,” the king would give one quick squeeze and the bird would be dead. If he said, “Dead,” the king would simply open his hand and release the bird. The king would use either answer from the wise man to make him look bad. The wise man pondered for a moment. The king grew impatient. “Well,” demanded the king, “Is the bird alive or dead?” The wise man replied, “The choice is in your hand, your Majesty. The choice is in your hand!”

Do you know how much God loves us? He loves us so much that he has let us decide completely what we do with our lives, with the things we own, with time, with everything in this world. The choice is in our hand. But he has provided us with a book of wisdom that tells us the best possible way to live our lives. It is called the Bible. This book tells us how to have a life that is wonderful.

Wonderful, that is the kind of life God wants for each of us. The choice is ours!


Loving God, give me the heart to have a wonderful life and to share it for your honor and glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Turn The World Upside Down

Posted in Daily Devotions

And it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)


The only path to true success comes when we daily take up the cross of Jesus Christ. Even a self-centered generation knows that self-denial is the path to success. But listen. There is a catch. Self-denial will not bring us fulfillment if we only live for ourselves. We may say, “I am not doing this for my husband or my wife. I’m not doing this for my children. I am doing it for me.” Fine. That may help you stay on your diet. That may help you keep up your studies. But it will not bring you ultimate fulfillment. Ultimate fulfillment comes only when we say, “I’m doing this for God and God’s people.”

Imagine a person carrying two buckets, one of them filled with oil and one filled with water. Now they are completely filled so that you cannot pour the oil from its bucket into the water bucket because there is no room and besides oil and water don’t mix.

Now imagine that one of these buckets is you and your will and your purpose and your plan for your life and the other is God’s will and plan and purpose for your life. Before you can know God’s will and plan and purpose for your life you’re going to have to empty your bucket to receive what God has to give. Now whom do you trust the most to know where real purpose and joy, satisfaction, and peace lie with you, or with the heart of God?

The key to truly successful living is to deny ourselves in order that God may fill us to overflowing with God’s presence and power. As Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “And it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” There is the path to real success. If we who are followers of Jesus would learn that one simple truth, we could turn this world upside down.


Dear God, fill me with the saving power of Jesus Christ, as I pick up his cross of salvation everyday. In Jesus name, Amen.

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A Lighted World

Posted in Daily Devotions

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (I Peter 2:9)


There are lights that flood a room and reveals that which is hidden. There are lights that shine as a fixed reminder of eternal truths. There is another kind of light, however. It is the search light of compassion and concern. It is the light that moves out into the darkness to seek the lost. This is the light of the shepherd who leaves the ninety and nine and goes out on the hillside to find the one sheep who is lost. It is the light a woman shines looking for a lost child. It is the light of a loving God who will not let us go. Halford Luccock asked his two granddaughters what they wanted for their birthdays. “Give us a world,” they responded. Soon he deduced that what they were asking for was a globe. So happily granddad went shopping for a nice large globe that would spin and would be an attractive addition to their room. Expectantly, he waited their pleasure o n their birthday as they opened their gift from him. Somehow when the present was opened, however, he sensed they were disappointed. “What is the matter?” he asked. “I thought this is what you wanted.” “Well, yes,” said one of them, “but we were kind of hoping for a lighted world.” Immediately he understood that what they wanted was a globe with a light inside.

“I can fix that,” he said. “Let me take it back and exchange it for a lighted one.” Unfortunately the store where he bought the globe did not sell lighted ones. So he got his money back and set out to find a lighted world rather than a darkened one. Finally, he located a globe with a light in it, bought it and presented it to his granddaughters, who were delighted. Telling a colleague about this, he was asked if he had learned anything from this experience. He said, “Oh, yes. I learned one thing. I learned that a lighted world costs more.”

A lighted world does cost more. It cost God His Son. If we are serious about letting our light shine in today’s world, it will cost us something as well.


God of love, with Jesus as my inspiration, may my light shine brightly in this often dark world. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Who Is #1?

Posted in Daily Devotions

If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)


Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once said, “I’ve been on the top and I’ve been on the bottom. At Arkansas my first year, we won the Orange Bowl. Then everybody loved me. “They put me into the Arkansas Hall of Fame and issued a commemorative stamp in my honor. The next year we lost to Texas, and they had to take away the stamp, because people kept spitting on the wrong side of it. Life is full of highs and lows, and for many of us it is hard to be humble. But when we deny our own pleasures and desires, and put God first, then we begin to understand what is really important. Being filled with God’s desires of love and hope.

Jesus tells us today, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” The cross here is a very important symbol. Carrying the cross means we carry a burden of helping others, it means God is important, it means we have hope, it means we have forgiveness, it means we use our financial resources to help others, and it means we want to share God’s love, forgiveness, and hope with our family, our friends, and our co-workers.

When we deny ourselves, we put God first.


Heavenly Father, you gave up so much for me. Now, guide me as I deny my wishes for yours. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Brotherhood

Posted in Daily Devotions

The Biker world & the Christian world juxtapose around “Brotherhood”, a term that is often used & abused; leading, logically, to the question:

Who, really, is my Brother?


A Brother is honest with me regardless of circumstances.

Proverbs 24:26, An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.

Proverbs 27:6, Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

A Brother will go to war at our side & make no mistake, we are in a war:

1 Peter 5:8, Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

1 John 10:10, The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

And, in this war, we are to fight together – with no one left behind. Satan doesn’t quit. He uses whatever he can to ensnare us. That’s why we need to keep connected.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

A Brother will sacrifice for his brother.

1John 3:16-18,   This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

A Brother will walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

1 John 3: 23, And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus, and to love one another as he commanded us.

Luke 10:  29-37,  But the expert in the law asked Jesus, “And who is my brother?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a brother to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

What are our responsibilities to our brother?

When our brother is down, restore him.

Galatians 6:1, Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

The Greek word for Restore means fitted, complete, perfect. The verse isn’t saying we need to help our brother out of the sin, but instead we need to complete him, perfect him, equip and strengthen him.

A spiritual person is one who believes in God and renews themselves through forgiveness of sin by God’s grace. A spiritual person is one who has learned to trust in God; one who knows that Restoring with ease takes divine intercession. You cannot restore your brother by yourself.

A Brother carries his brother when he is weak.

Galatians 6:2, Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

We should be indulgent to the infirmities of others. Our brother’s infirmity may be his burden; and if we do not choose to help him to bear it, let us not reproach him because he is obliged to carry the load.

A Brother acts selflessly toward his brother.

Galatians 6:3-5, If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.

It is easy for someone to become depressed about his bad doings just as it is easy for one to become big headed about his good doings. As a Brother we are to restore and carry our brother, but we are to give God all the credit and not be tempted to take it for ourselves. By doing this it becomes evident that we weren’t looking for praise from anyone in this matter, but instead we actually wanted to help because we genuinely care for our brothers and sisters.


Brotherhood is evidenced in actions, not words, especially in difficult situations.

A Brother stands with you while others turn their backs.

A Brother is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.

A Brother is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

The proper office of a Brother is to side with you when you are wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are right.

A friend is someone who will bail you out of jail. A Brother is the one sitting next to you saying “boy was that fun.”

Commit to Brotherhood!

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Indispensable

Posted in Daily Devotions

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
(1 Corinthians 12.27)


Experts tell us that one of the most accurate means of discerning communication is to watch body language; a nod of the head, a shrug of the shoulders, crossing the arms over the chest, all may tell us what the other party is thinking far more accurately than the words that come from his or her lips. In fact, some business books advise people to feign interest by deliberately using specific body language. For example, one source states that “steepling” of hands is usually interpreted as a sign of deep thought. Doctors and psychiatric professionals traditionally steeple when listening to patients. Result: Someone who deliberately steeples tends to be considered a deep thinker and powerful, intelligent person. This expert recommends that business people steeple in meetings, or while listening to colleagues one-on-one.”

St. Paul uses body language in our lesson for the day when he is trying to describe how a church is supposed to operate. Oh, we don’t know if he steepled his hands or not. He used body language of a different sort. What St. Paul does is compare members of a church to parts of a body. Some of us are eyes, some ears. Some of us are mouths, some feet, and some of us noses, etc.

Paul’s message is a very simple one and yet it is also vital. Each of us is indispensable.


God of love, you are indispensable to me. In Jesus name, Amen

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Band of Brothers

Posted in Daily Devotions

If we are mark’d to die, we are enough to do our country loss; and if to live, the fewer men, the greater share of honor…..

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,  will stand a tip-toe when this day is named   And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall live this day, and see old age,   will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors, and say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, and say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot, but he’ll remember, with advantages, what feats he did that day.

Then shall our names,  familiar in his mouth as household words – Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,  Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester – Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.

This story shall the good man teach his son;  And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by, from this day to the ending of the world,  but we in it shall be remembered; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me  shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition;

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed  shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.


As a Band of Brothers let us make the following commitments:  I’ll cover your back, you cover mine

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him.

As a Band of Brothers:  I’ll carry you when you are tired; you carry me when I’m tired.

Galatians 6:2: Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

As a Band of Brothers:  I’ll pray for you, you pray for me.

James 5:16: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

As a Band of Brothers:  I’ll get in your face, you get in mine.

Proverbs 27:6: Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

As a Band of Brothers:  I’ll be there for you, you be there for me.

Proverbs 27:17: As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

As a Band of Brothers:  I’ll encourage you, you encourage me.

1 Thessalonians 5:11: Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

As a Band of Brothers:  I’ll meet with you, you meet with me.

Hebrews 10:25: Let us not give up meeting together, as some are In the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

As a Band of Brothers let us: Tell each other that we appreciate your hard work.

Thank each other for their service.

Encourage each other in their struggle.

Remember how blessed you have been by your brothers.

Tell your brother they are in our prayers.

Identify something positive about them.

Name their admirable qualities, now.


1 Corinthians 12: Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ … God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

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A Great Gift

Posted in Daily Devotions

He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. (Psalm 25:9)


Do you remember the story of a Texas man who was bragging on the “bigness” of everything in Texas? He was surprised when an “Okie” stepped up and agreed with him. “Yes”, said the Okie, “that’s right, everything’s big in Texas! Why, I once knew a Texan who was so big they couldn’t find a coffin big enough to bury him in when he died. “And what did they do?” asked the surprised Texan. “Well,” came the answer, “they just let the air out of him, and buried him in a shoe box!”

Being humble puts us in our place and, at times, may cause us some pain. But being humble also puts God first and helps us receive eternal life.


Dear God, remind me daily of the great gift of humility. In Jesus name, Amen.

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