Recently Added Devotionals
The heart of our sin problem is the problem of the sinful human heart.
By | June 6, 2016
In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.
One thing I’ve noticed is that even with all of our advancements and achievements, our world is still long on war and short on peace.
The nations constantly fight and rage with one another…and people seem to be more in conflict with each other than ever before.
Have you ever wondered why there is so much terrorism and violence in the world today? And that it seems only to be growing? I think the answer is simple; violence is an evidence of a sinful nature…a nature that came through the fall of Adam and Eve.
This impact of sin even showed itself in the first set of siblings when Cain so violently killed Abel. And after all of the millennia of history, we are still dealing with the same violence and sin.
The reason nothing has changed is that the real problem resides deep in the human heart. All of us have inherited a sinful nature from Adam and we all have the propensity to commit violent acts…even if it is only with the tongue.
This also explains why religion alone doesn’t solve the problem. Religion is following a set of rules and traditions that are designed to make sinful people behave better. But religion can’t really change a person’s heart…and overcome a sinful nature.
Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
The last part of this passage is a powerful statement! Its meaning is clear: our attempts at goodness can never be enough to meet God’s holy and righteous standard. The Bible clearly states that we are an imperfect people who cannot stand before a holy God on our own merits.
So how do we become acceptable to God? By standing before Him clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, who has covered us with His blood. Christ started and finished the work of salvation that we could never have even begun, let alone finished, ourselves.
So let me ask you a question today: Are you seeking to be religious or righteous? You see, our human effort and works don’t add up to anything in God’s sight. Being religious by itself isn’t enough because all religion can do is try to get us to clean up our act thinking that in doing so God will accept us.
We need to understand that what God desires is for us to be righteous, not religious. Which is why He sent His Son to die on the cross for you and me. Through Christ we have been made righteous in the eyes of God. We are fully accepted in Him.
So if you find yourself trying to please God by being religious, I encourage you to stop. Instead, embrace the truth that God has made you righteous when you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. Live in the power of that truth...
Walking with the Lord means making a daily appointment with Him.
By | June 2, 2016
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success?
Most of us use calendars, day timers, organizers, and BlackBerries to order our hours and days. In fact, we wouldn’t dream of going through life without these handy appointment reminders!
But too many times we fail to keep our most important appointment of the day—our time with the Lord in prayer, Bible study, and meditation on His Word.
But like all of our other appointments, this daily meeting with the Lord does not just happen; it needs to be a habit and a daily decision to choose God over other matters.
I want you to take a moment to think about your daily routines. You had to decide at some point to do the things you do every day. And once you started doing them, you had to keep doing them until they became second nature to you. And it’s really no different when it comes to our daily time with God!
Spending time with the Lord each day requires us to agree that it’s important to meet Him. That’s why we call Christianity a daily walk; it requires us to take daily steps of growth in Christ.
Just like children, we should walk humbly and take the hand of God, following Him no matter where He wants us to go that day.
My prayer for you today is that you will make it a habit to meet...
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him.
It’s sad to me how so many Christians are so immersed in sin and seeking after vain things that they end up conforming to the world, and not to Christ. To be sure the temptations are strong…and sometimes difficult to overcome.
Perhaps you are struggling with giving in to the temptations of our world today. If so, I want to give you a word of hope today by reminding you of a man named Enoch. Enoch lived a holy life during another period in history that was also full of sin and debauchery.
Enoch wasn’t a great missionary, a powerful preacher, or a leader of the people. Bur he stood out in a depraved generation. Specifically, the Bible says that Enoch walked with God.
Now that’s interesting because the Christian life is often described as a walk. It’s about taking small steps, one at a time. And as we take these steps, God sometimes places an event in our path that becomes a turning point for us.
For Enoch, there was a turning point, a time in his life where he went from normal to extraordinary. I believe this turning point came when Enoch had a child at the age of 65. This experience pushed him to be a better child of God and walk in true faith.
Many times, even though we’re Christians, we are pushed to live holier lives by some turning point or experience. At 65, Enoch became such a unique follower of God that he made faith’s “Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11....
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
John Bunyan, the author of the classic book, Pilgrims Progress, said, “You haven’t lived today until you’ve done something for someone who cannot pay you back.”
That is such a powerful truth, and few people in America understand its meaning as well as those who serve in the U.S. military.
Since America’s struggle for independence from Britain to today’s global war against terrorism, countless men and women have answered duty’s call. They have performed a tremendous service that cannot be repaid. And untold numbers have made the ultimate sacrifice… giving their life’s blood for the cause of freedom.
Maybe you are the loved one or a friend of one of these who has died for our country. If so, you, too, have made a sacrifice that many cannot even imagine. But Jesus recognized just such sacrifice in John 15:13 when he said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
This Memorial Day, let’s remember the courageous men and women who have given their lives to ensure our freedom… or to give the precious gift of freedom to another nation.
May their patriotism and their love for God and country inspire us to do something selfless for our fellow man.
“You haven’t lived today until you’ve done
Something for someone who cannot pay you back.”
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.
I think Hebrews 6:19 is one of the grandest statements in the Bible. I love the picture of hope as the anchor of our souls. A ship’s anchor holds it steady even when the winds are blowing hard and waves are crashing all around.
This kind of hope is what helps us cope with the reality of disappointment. Mary Magdalene in Scripture is a good example of this truth. The Bible tells us that Mary was possessed by seven demons when Jesus first met her. After He cast them out, Jesus continued to love Mary despite her sin and failures.
So she was understandably very disappointed and distraught when Jesus was crucified and then buried in the tomb (John 20). He had done so much for her, and now all she could do was weep bitter tears for Him. But then the resurrected Christ appeared to Mary, and her hope was instantly restored.
That’s what true hope…the hope found only in the resurrected Christ…can do for anyone who is overcome by disappointment and tragedy. No matter how devastating the circumstances, the hope found in Christ can overcome the pain.
Is your soul anchored in the hope of Jesus Christ? If so, you have an anchor that can hold you fast despite any storm!
Hope in Christ is an anchor for the soul. Is your hope anchored in Him today?
In Christ, you have the hope and peace that can endure any storm.
By | May 25, 2016
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
—1 Peter 1:3
Christian recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman once wrote a song entitled “Heaven in the Real World,” in which one of the repeated lines is, “Where is the hope? Where is the peace?” Those are great questions because I think those are the questions many people are asking every day.
How I praise God that we have the answer! There is hope and there is peace for this world. But that hope and peace is found only in Jesus Christ.
You see, when you and I accepted Christ, we were born again to what the Bible in the verse above calls a “living hope,”…a hope that is not wishful thinking, but a hope that is based on the reality of God Himself evidenced in the power of the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
This living hope means we can persevere through trials, rough spots, and even pain. This living hope means we may stumble and fall, but we will not falter completely because we are in Jesus Christ. And this living hope means we have a future that is sure and that we aren’t alone today.
The peace God gives us when we accept Jesus is a peace that the world could never know. It means that we can enjoy serenity of heart no matter what happens to us. Why? Well, Jesus said it best in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world...
The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
With the entrance of sin into the world, there also came the need for salvation. Sin had created enmity, or hostility, between God and sinful humanity. Sin had separated the human race from God, and it created the need for a Savior.
And with the verse above, we get the first words of eternal hope written in the pages of Scripture. In them, God Himself promises that His sacrifice for sin would one day crush Satan. And this promise was fulfilled when Jesus’ body was bruised, when He was beaten beyond recognition, and His blood poured out for us.
While Satan thought He had fully crushed Jesus when Jesus died on the cross, Jesus did not stay crushed! He rose from the dead in triumph, and as we are told in Romans 16:20,Christ will ultimately crush Satan in the end. When that happens, the devil will stay crushed for all eternity!
What a hope Christ gives us. And our hope is sure because our salvation does not come through our own sinful hands or worthless payments, but through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the very Son of God!
This is why the chorus rings throughout heaven, “Worthy is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
God is asking, “Where are you?” What will your answer be today?
By | May 23, 2016
The Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
In Genesis 3:9 we find a very fascinating verse…when God called out to Adam and Eve, “Where are you?”
Obviously, God wasn’t ignorant of where they were or what they were doing. Instead, I believe He wanted Adam and Eve to realize what they had done and come to grips with it
I also believe God is asking you the same question today: “Where are you?” He is asking, “How are you doing spiritually?”…not for His own sake, but for yours. He wants you to realize where you are and what you’re doing. And He is asking this question because He loves you too much to let you stay put in your faith and become either sinful or stagnant.
Too many times we go through our day or week and don’t take a spiritual assessment. And when we do stop and assess where we are…and we’re honest with ourselves…we must answer, “I’m not where I’m supposed to be.”
Let me encourage you today to listen carefully to the voice of the Holy Spirit within you. He is gently probing and asking you the important questions, to jar you back into reality.
So, “Where are you?”
God is asking, “Where are you?” What will your answer be today?
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
One of the results of sin entering the world was shame. Before Adam and Eve sinned, they lived in the purity and innocence and there was no shame. But when they sinned they lost their innocence.
They felt shame when they all of sudden realized the state they were in.
We are all born with that sense of innocence. But unfortunately, children today lose that innocence far too quickly. As a result, children grow up too fast these days, in part because inappropriate things are being thrust upon them every day.
And even though we may want to protect our children as long as possible, we can only do so much. The loss of that sense of innocence early in life seems to be inevitable in our fallen world
But there is still a lot you can do to help your children stay true to the Lord. One way is to be honest with them about the real results of sin. Help your children see that sin produces shame. Teach them that sin will cost them more than they would ever want to pay, take them places they don’t want to go, and keep them there longer than they want to stay.
Sin brings guilt, shame, and grief. Sin promises pleasures, but produces pain. Sin promises life, but delivers death.
You may feel as if you’re fighting a losing battle at times as you fight for the protection of innocence. But that’s not true. Don’t give up! Do what you can to protect your children...