Recently Added Devotionals

Keep your mind focused on the joy of God
By Jack Graham | June 14, 2017

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.
 
—1 Peter 1:8

 
What’s your definition of a holy life?  You might be surprised to find out that God is not only holy; God is happy!
 
And when we talk about living a holy life, we are talking about living a life full of energy, life, power, and joy.  
 
As our verse for today says, we have “joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory!”! That’s a joy that’s so incredible you can’t even express it!  It is because of salvation through Christ.
 
So when I talk about holiness, I’m not talking about being pious or religious. Rather, pure holiness is a beautiful expression of the very character of God.  We are separated unto God that we might live positive, joyful, exuberant lives… as well as disciplined and dedicated lives.
 
The upward call of every Christian is to live with a purity of heart and a purity of life that comes from the soul and is unpolluted because the presence of God is there.
 
You and I have been called to live a godly life… no exceptions.  And it all begins with our minds.  According to Proverbs 23:7, “As a man calculates in his soul, so is he.”  Have you ever thought about how so many of our spiritual struggles begin when we allow our minds to wander aimlessly?  
 
Today, I want to encourage you to make sure your thinking is controlled by the grace of God.  Exercise self-discipline.  Second, eliminate anything that...

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

 —Hebrews 12:1

 

One of the most important phrases in today’s verse is “let us run with endurance.”  Now that’s a constant challenge of the Christian life!

Physically speaking, running is one of the healthiest activities that we can do to improve our health. Running is great for the cardiovascular system and helps promote health in a variety of ways. The problem is that many people when they start jogging try to run too hard and end up burning out in just a short period of time.

Unfortunately, the same can be true of our spiritual lives. Many of us run hard and fast for Christ, but quickly lose energy and heart and find ourselves out of strength. Why?  Because we haven’t laid aside the things that hold us down.  It’s like trying to run with weights tied to your ankles!

The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint.  And the only way you will be able to run with endurance is to do what the verse today says…to lay aside the sin in your life that weighs you down. 

Are you struggling today in your walk with Christ?  If so, take an honest look at your life and see if there is any sin that is un-confessed.  If there is, confess it and cast it aside.  When you do you will find you will once again be able to run…and to do so with endurance.

Cast aside any sin that is...

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Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.

—Proverbs 21:20

 

Making good choices regarding the legacy and future of your family is vitally important. And as it says in the verse above, it’s foolish just to spend everything you have! We are to save money, as well as spend money.

But the problem is that many families today haven’t built the financial firewall of spending money wisely. Their expenses exceed their income…and as a result, they’re bridging the gap with more and more debt!

But accumulating excessive debt isn’t wise. And in the limited space I have here, I want to advise you to deal aggressively with paying your creditors.

If you have debt that’s grinding you down, if you have debt that creates pressure in your family, if you have debt that keeps you from giving as God would have you give, it’s time you began to take a hard look at your spending habits.

So I’d like to ask you today, do your spending habits glorify God? Friend, I challenge you to begin making God a partner in your finances today!

Your family must build a financial firewall of wise spending habits.

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He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season….                                             

—Psalm 1:3

 

As believers, we’re to be productive in our Christian lives.

 

The fruit mentioned above is the fruit of the Spirit, or Christ-like character. It’s what Paul talks about in Galatians 5:22-23 when he says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

 

Remember in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus cursed a fig tree that produced nothing but leaves. He cursed it because it bore no fruit. And God is inspecting our lives for spiritual fruit.

 

I want to challenge you to be a reproducer...a reproducing believer in Christ. Because a healthy body reproduces! And a healthy Christian will reproduce spiritual fruit: the fruit of character and the fruit of bringing people to Christ.

 

A true man or woman of God reproduces spiritual fruit.

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Victory is on its way!
By | May 11, 2017

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

—1 Corinthians 15:57

 

There is so much that you and I can learn from the failures and victories of athletic champions. I learned one of these lessons by reading about legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.

 

This great coach began his career at UCLA in 1948 at the age of 37. But it took him 16 years to win his first national championship! After his team had lost in the first round of the championships in 1950, 1952, and 1956, he read something that changed his thinking. It said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts!”

 

You see, Wooden thought he knew everything about basketball, but he didn’t. So he invited other coaches to evaluate his players in practice. He hired assistants who would challenge his thinking. He re-evaluated everything. And eventually, UCLA became one of the great powerhouses of NCAA basketball!

 

And from his experiences, Wooden gave us one of the great quotes about life. He said, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”

 

Let me ask you something. Have you learned from your failures or have you let your failures defeat you?   

 

Listen! We all experience failure, but God wants you to trust him and keep going. Stay in the Scripture. Learn from other followers. Don’t stop now, your victory will come!

 

Give God everything and he will bring the victory!

 

DON’T STOP NOW, YOUR VICTORY WILL COME!

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My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

—Psalm 34:2-4

 

Have you ever wondered why the Scripture instructs us to praise God? Three reasons can be found in the verses above from Psalm 34. 

 

First of all, praising the Lord encourages others. I think you’d be amazed at how people, Christian and non-Christian alike, respond to something as positive as honest and sincere praise to God when something good or bad happens to you.

 

Second, praising God naturally brings fellowship. There is a closeness…a bond…that is created when you’re praising God together.

 

And last, praising the Lord gives you power for your day-to-day life. I don’t know what you may be facing today, be it a temptation you can’t let go of or a sin you can’t escape. Whatever it is, praise will bring you out of it!

 

My friend, God responds to your honest, genuine praise of Him. So I urge you to make praise a habit no matter what you may be going through!  

 

Make a priority of praise regardless of your circumstances.

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Pray for Israel Today
By | May 5, 2017

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you!”

—Psalm 122:6

 

The history and the future of the world are forever linked to the Middle East. So if you have any doubts about whether you and I are living in the last days, Israel is the super sign!

According to the Scripture, the Jewish people must return to Israel before Christ can return.

Well, Israel has been restored and Jews continue to repopulate Israel. The prophecy is being fulfilled even now!

You see, you cannot separate Israel from God’s sovereign plan for our world. And even we, as Gentiles, share in this historic connection. From patriarchs to prophets, to apostles, we received the Scriptures through mostly Jewish people. And, of course, our Messiah came to us through David and the Jewish lineage.

By grace we’ve been grafted into God’s extraordinary Kingdom and family. We have a divine and providential connection with Israel and the Jewish people… and this covenant is holy and eternal.

If you want God’s blessing in this life, then bless Israel as he instructed us in his Word, and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

And remember, just as surely as Jesus ascended into heaven from Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, he has promised to return to that very place. Jesus is coming soon!

Pray for Israel today.

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Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?”

—Ruth 3:1

 

In today’s verse, Naomi provides an example for what you and I should do when life is hard.  You see, in the midst of her state of depression, she did something that helped get her out from under the dark cloud of bitterness she was living in: 

 

Naomi stopped thinking about herself and started thinking about someone else.

 

I don’t know where you may find yourself today, but if you’re down…I have a word for you: If you can get outside of yourself and start serving others, you will find any depression you have will begin to lift.

 

If you’re discouraged today, I encourage you to get interested in someone else! Get involved in your church. Adopt a family or find a child that you can share a gift with. 

 

And certainly it’s important to share your faith. Nothing will lift your spirits and enliven your heart like sharing the Good News with someone who needs to hear it!

 

When you’re discouraged or depressed, the best thing you can do is to get your mind on the Lord Jesus Christ…to worship Him, to look to Him, to speak to Him, to open your Bible, and to ask the Spirit of God to mend your broken heart. 

 

And then for someone else to bless.  When you will do, watch God begin to restore and replenish and refresh your despondent spirit.

 

Do...

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Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

—Romans 12:11-12

 

Authentic Christians don’t lag behind when it comes to service for the Lord Jesus Christ. They lead the way, taking care of God’s business!

 

I believe there ought to be a sense of urgency, a sense of intensity, and a passion for spiritual ministry. And certainly there is no room for laziness and there is no room for lukewarmness when it comes to serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” If it’s worthy to do, then it’s worthy to do with all of your might.

 

Ephesians 5:16 says that we are to make “the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Friend, we’re to turn it up a notch or two in these evil days, and redouble and triple our efforts. Not our self-efforts, but our spiritually energized efforts in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

So are you working hard in the service of Jesus Christ? Or are you hardly working? 

 

Don’t be like so many Christians who are rusting out instead of wearing out in serving the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

Determine to serve God with all of your might.

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… he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

—Philippians 1:6

 

There are many churches these days that avoid talking about sin. It’s not a “feel good” topic. But sin is a critical topic if we want to be effective servants of Christ and to grow spiritually.

 

So let me address one of the big questions before we go any further. People frequently ask me, “Can sin cause me to lose my salvation?” And I’ll tell you what I’ve told them, “Absolutely not!” You cannot sin your salvation away.

 

You see, when you asked Jesus to forgive your sin and made him Lord of your life, he began a “good work” in you. And he promised to complete that work within you!

 

But beyond salvation, God is also at work to help you deal with the issue of sin in your life on a daily basis. You and I desperately need this because sin will remain a reality in our lives this side of heaven. But we can overcome.

 

We see this clearly in some of God's choicest saints. Men like Simon Peter and Paul admitted to the sin in their lives. But listen, sin was not a pattern in their lives! And that’s the difference that Christ made in their lives!

 

Will you let Jesus do the same for you? He wants to! Let Jesus break the sinful patterns and habits in your life!

 

Let Jesus break the sinful patterns and habits in your life!

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