Recently Added Devotionals

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 3:12-14

Over the last few days we have been talking about a life of significance…and how it is marked by a direction and a dynamic.  But that kind of life is also marked by a dedication.

What I mean by this is that success in the Christian life isn’t a point…it’s a process. Just think about Joseph for a moment. No matter what he endured, we never find him harping or complaining or saying he’s having a lousy day.

But rather, he was faithful to God as he disciplined himself in body, mind, and soul to fulfill God’s call for his life. There wasn’t any bitterness in him, even though his brothers betrayed him and his friends forgot him. God was with him and he knew it. And throughout his journey of life, Joseph fulfilled James 4:10: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

Like Joseph, we are on a life journey.  And this journey you and I have with Christ is a process through which He is growing us day by day. None of us ever get to the point in our lives where we can say, “Okay, I’ve got it now, I have it all together, I have it made, all the accomplishments are done, I’ve achieved...

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But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.

—Isaiah 50:7

What does a life of success God’s way produce? It produces a life of significance. A life of godly success is a life of true significance.

At the young age of 17, Joseph knew where he was going. God had given him a purpose in life…a purpose he pursued with all his heart. And so it is with the man or woman who lives a significant life.  They have a purpose and a reason to get up every day. They are enthusiastic about life!

As children of God, we have such a life as we’re on mission for Him! This is what a life of significance is all about.  And this sense of calling, this sense of compelling, this sense of purpose makes our life worth living. 

Is your life driven by a sense of direction every day? Is your life one that is filled with a reason to get up in the morning?

It’s my prayer today that you will attack the opportunities that God has put before you this day. Squeeze every moment out of the life that God has promised you! If you do, you will live a life that is truly successful…and significant.

A life of success is a life of significance!

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Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

—Philippians 4:11-12

God is committed to your success as a Christian. And one of the ways He prepares you for godly success is…believe it or not…through tests of prosperity.

Now, usually you hear preachers talk a lot about tests of adversity…which we’ve spent a lot of time over the past several days.  But I’d argue that perhaps the most difficult test in life is not the test of adversity but rather the test of prosperity.

Most of us are able to handle adversity in Christ. But many of us have more difficulty in handling our prosperity when we have been so blessed in Christ.

Paul was able to handle both adversity and prosperity…as we note in today’s passage. But what about you? How do you respond when God blesses you? Do you find yourself depending less of God when times are good? Do you ever find yourself spending less time in God’s Word and in prayer when your needs aren’t so pressing?

As you grow in your relationship with Christ, it’s my hope that you’ll fall so much in love with Jesus that your desire to spend time with Him won’t hinge on how stressed out you are. That you will learn as Paul did, to be content in both adversity and prosperity.

Godly success comes through the tests of prosperity.

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When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?”

—Genesis 40:6-7

Don’t you just love the buoyant optimism and biblical hope of Joseph?

In today’s passage, we see him showing concern about the cupbearer and the baker who shared a prison cell with him. They must have been thinking, “Joseph, have you forgotten, we’re in prison?!”

Rather than wallowing in self-pity and whining about his circumstances, Joseph looked out for others. He asked questions. He cared for others. Why? Because his trials had taught Joseph to look beyond himself to others…and to use his thorns and his tests as a ministry to others.

After all, how can we help broken people if we’ve never been broken? How can we help dry wet eyes if we’ve never shed a tear? How can we comfort those who are grieving if we’ve never experienced great grief?

That’s why God rarely if ever uses people until they have been broken…until they’ve come to a place in their lives where their own struggles and trials have made it possible for them to minister effectively.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

Because...

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On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

—Psalm 62:7

Through the years, I’ve read a number of wonderful books on personal development, motivation, and success.

And of course, there are many definitions about what success really is. My friend, Christian author and speaker John Maxwell, gives one of the best definitions I have ever read. He says, “Success is knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.”

So according to Maxwell, success is knowing and growing and sowing.

Bible teacher and author Charles Stanley writes, “Success is the continuing achievement of becoming the person God wants you to be and accomplishing the goals God has helped you to set.”  Stanley says that success is becoming the person God made you to be…the person God designed you to become in Him.

In our success-crazed culture, it’s important to remember that real success isn’t found in the label of your clothes, the brand of the car you drive, or even your title at work. True success is found in your character and in your commitment to what really matters.

It’s not fame or fortune, but the fulfillment of God’s purpose and God’s plan for your life that really counts!

True success is becoming the person that God has made you to be.

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For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

—Romans 6:23

When we share our faith with others, we love telling the Good News part, don’t we?

We love to talk about the love, the grace, the power of God to save, and the forgiveness of God. That’s the wonderful good news of the Good News. We love to talk about heaven and we should!

But then there’s that troubling other side, the difficult side that Jesus talked about: hell. In fact, Jesus talked about hell more than He talked about heaven. He talked about judgment. And the Bible talks about how people without Christ are spiritually dead.  And we are told that the wages of sin is death.

While most people don’t like to talk about that too much, integrity demands that we tell the Good News and the bad news. Because it’s the bad news that makes the Good News the Good News!

Now, let me ask you a simple question today: Do you want someone to tell you the truth or do you just want them to tell you something to make you feel better?

If we’re going to have integrity with our message and our mission in our witness for Christ, all of us must be willing to tell people the truth!

If God is going to use you, you must be a person with integrity…which means telling people the Good News and the bad news! Which will make the Good News truly…GOOD NEWS!

It’s the bad news that makes the good news the good news!

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For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

—Hebrews 12:11

When you face adversity, you have two choices. You can choose bitterness or you can choose happiness. But you can’t choose both.

You can choose to allow the trails in your live by God’s grace to make you better…or to make you bitter.

In Psalm 105:18, the Darby Translation says of Joseph, “They afflicted his feet with fetters; his soul came into irons.” I love that! Joseph was being developed as God was putting iron in his soul.

God knew difficult days would lie ahead for Egypt, and that it would require Joseph to have a durable and doable faith. There in prison, God taught Joseph wisdom and courage and character and perseverance and endurance as his fetters produced faith and his chains produced character!

God steeled Joseph’s soul without Joseph hardening his heart. And as a result, he became a veritable velvet covered brick—soft on the outside, but strong on the inside.

And you know, God is looking for some strong and steely saints today…believers with iron in their souls! I know there are some who teach that life is a dream if you’re a Christian. That all you need to do is name it and claim it and you’ll be healthy, happy, and all the rest.

But that kind of teaching isn’t biblical teaching. And it produces wimps instead of warriors for God.

And in these uncertain days, we need Christians who have steel and iron in their souls! But be prepared, as God uses adversity to bring...

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Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

—1 Peter 4:12-13

Why does God allow Christians to experience adversity and endure suffering in life? This is a question we’ve all asked at different times in our lives.

And while I can’t definitively explain why you may be going through a particularly difficult season in life right now, I do know that the Scripture gives us several reasons why God allows us to have adversity in life.

One reason we suffer and have adversity is simply because we’re Christians.

Jesus Himself said, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven….”

Now, I know that it’s not a natural reaction to “leap for joy” when you’re mistreated because of your faith in Christ! But I want to encourage you to know that God sees and hears what others say and do to you because of your faith. And He will reward you because of it!

So stand strong today…and remember the promise in James 1:12, which says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

God will reward you for any adversity you endure on...

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A Father’s Blessing
By | June 20, 2016

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

—Proverbs 22:6

Every child needs the blessing of their father. So I want to show you today, dads, how you can BLESS your children.

Build your children’s self-esteem. Inside every child, God has created an incredible potential for life. Yet many kids aren’t acting like winners because they’ve never been built up in who they really are in Christ. As a father, you get the joy of building your children up in who they are!

Love your children unconditionally. This is a kind of love that must not be withheld! Unconditional love can be expressed in all kinds of ways. So dad, don’t be afraid to hug and kiss your kids! Be expressive! Don’t be standoffish, but rather be open and transparent with your love for your children.

Encourage your children’s best. So many children today grow up surrounded by constant criticism and negativity. Perhaps you even grew up in a family where there was constant criticism. But as a dad, you can break the cycle of criticism by praising and encouraging your kids in every way possible.

Shape your children’s values. You do this by praying for them, protecting them, and by teaching them to love God’s Word and to live in obedience to Him.

Share your faith with your kids. They say that in a relay race, the most critical moment is the passing of the baton from one runner to the next. So it is in the Christian life! You have the opportunity and the responsibility to pass the baton of faith to your children and ultimately to their...

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But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

—Isaiah 40:31

Today’s verse is a promise from God that I’ve put my trust in for many, many years. Because so often when we’re in a “wait” mode in life, it’s tempting to push Providence. Let me explain what I mean.

The word Providence isn’t a word we use much today, but you can think of it like “pro-video”…that God can see the future and what will happen in our lives. But not only can He see what’s going to happen, He’s leading us and working all things together for His glory and our good!

Perhaps today…

…You feel like you’ve been treated unfairly.

…That business deal you just knew would go through disappeared.

…That promotion you were expecting didn’t happen.

…Someone made a promise to you in marriage and didn’t keep that promise.

…You’ve prayed for your health or the health or someone you love and you’ve been given nothing but sickness.

…All the doors you desire to be open seem to have been shut!

And maybe you wonder, Where God is in the midst of my trials? How am I to respond?

If God has you in some “wait” training today, remember that He puts a premium on patience and perseverance. And know that adversity can produce possibilities that you could never imagine in your life! Wait on God and trust in Him today.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has...

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