Recently Added Devotionals

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.

 

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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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If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

—John 7:17

 

We live in a multiple-choice society. There so many options when it comes to everything from entertainment to food that the average person can be overwhelmed with a barrage of decisions to make.

 

Of course, some decisions such as which color shirt to wear on a given day or what to put on your hamburger aren’t really that important in the larger scheme of things. But there are other choices we are called upon to make that can be life-shaping and life-changing: the choice to be true to our mates, or the decision to be honest in business, for example.

 

Making the right choices is vital to our Christian walk. Some people, such as Adam and Eve, make poor choices.  And in their case the human race will always be paying for their poor choice. Still others, such as Moses and Daniel, made good choices that proved them to be people of great faith.

 

Making the right choice is important because our lives are shaped by decisions. We first make our decisions, but then our decisions turn around and make us. We are free to choose our actions, but not free to choose the consequences of those actions.

 

The person you are right now is the sum of all of the decisions that you’ve made in the past. And Jesus said if you want to know and do God’s will, He will reveal the truth to you. So if you are facing...

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And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

—Philippians 1:6

 

Sometimes problems are like a big truck you’re following on the highway. It’s so big that you can’t see around it…and you’re not sure you can get around it because you don’t know what’s ahead of you.

 

A problem can sometimes seems so big and overwhelming that you simply don’t know if you’re ever going to get around it.

 

The good news is that even though you can’t always see on the other side of a problem, there’s something good there—the anticipation that comes from knowing that when you wrestle through a problem, God is there on the other side with the promise of a brighter and hopeful future.

 

As a follower of Christ, you have the promise of God that He will finish what He started in you and not leave you stranded in the middle of a problem. And let me remind you that God permits trials in your life to strengthen your faith…and that should give you the anticipation of knowing that He is doing something wonderful through you and for you, even when the testing is hard.

 

So if you’re going through a hard trial today, don’t let go of the hopeful anticipation of what Christ is doing in your life.

 

Live in hopeful anticipation; God has promised to finish what He started in your life.

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[God] has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

—Hebrews 13:5

It’s great to have really close friends you can trust with just about anything, isn’t it. I’m blessed enough to have quite a few, and I know these true friends love me unconditionally.

 

But the most amazing “friend” you and I have is God Himself.  In John 15:15, Jesus makes an incredible statement when He says, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

 

Now, one of the best definitions of the word “friend” I’ve ever heard is, “a person who comes in when the world goes out.” And that’s a pretty good summary of today’s verse.

 

God is the truest of all friends…One who is always there and, no matter the circumstance, will NEVER forsake you.  He will support you and love you absolutely unconditionally. He is the Friend “who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

 

Jesus Christ is indeed your greatest and dearest Friend.  And like any friend, I trust you speak with Him daily and love Him completely.

 

Jesus Christ is the truest of all friends!

 

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He is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate. Therefore men fear him; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.

—Job 37:23-24

 

I recently was in London to visit our radio and TV stations in the UK, and I found myself staring at and admiring the great 95 story skyscraper, called “the Shard.”  So called because it, the tallest skyscraper in the UK, resembles a shard of glass. It is huge and powerful, and loomed over me as I stood beneath it on the sidewalk.

 

But when I flew over it in a plane, I got an entirely different view. Although it towered over me and made me feel small when I was standing next to it, it looked tiny when I saw it from the air.

 

God views all human efforts to impress Him as tiny grains of sand…even though we may think that we are pretty great.  A good example is the tower of Babel in Genesis 11.  It may have impressed its builders in their vain attempt to reach up to God, but it was just a tiny speck to Him. 

 

Our wisdom is considered pretty foolish to God.  God is never impressed with even our best efforts to please Him in our own strength.

 

Instead, God wants us to put our faith in Him, not ourselves or our own works.  We need to take a “God’s eye” view when it comes to our efforts to reach up to Him, because anything we do on our own falls short of His standards.

 

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