Recently Added Devotionals

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.

—Philippians 1:12-13

Problems, pressures, and pain really can produce possibilities and opportunities in our lives. While we often can’t see it at the time, God is always creatively and constructively at work in the life of the believer.

For example, Paul wrote two-thirds of the New Testament in a jail cell! Paul was a proactive missionary…one who traveled throughout the ancient world proclaiming the Good News. Yet God allowed him to go to prison.

And there in prison, the great apostle, the great missionary heard from God and recorded these great passages of Scripture that describe the Christian life and the Christian faith. It was because of his prison experience that Paul said, “What has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” Paul was able to see the big picture beyond the pain of his circumstances. He was able to look and see the possibilities of the future.

God’s light shines so brightly in the darkness! And I dare say, if you surveyed your circle of friends, most of them would say the most defining moments in their lives would be times of adversity, times of trouble, and tests of character.

Because it’s during these times that you experience the presence of God and the reality of His love!

Today, I challenge you to start thinking about your troubles in a new light. Instead of seeing them as negatives, thank God that He’s working in your life!

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Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

—Genesis 40:14, 23

In today’s verse, we read one of the saddest sentences in the entire Bible.

Joseph had asked the chief cupbearer to remember him when he was released from prison. But when the cupbearer was set free, he forgot about Joseph altogether!

Joseph had to languish in prison for two more years after this point. Yet through it all, Joseph trusted in God’s timing. And God used those two years to fashion Joseph into an incredible leader…right there in prison!

Have you ever faced adversity or pain or pressure…a “prison” of some kind that you couldn’t understand? Have you ever faced trials, tests, tribulations in your life?

Sure you have! And why? It’s called life.

As followers of Christ, you and I are never promised an easy road or an exemption from problems and stress. Despite what you may hear some preachers say!  What’s important to remember is that how we handle our problems and pressures and adversities make all the difference in the world.

Rarely can we change our circumstances…but we can always respond to our circumstances God’s way. Just like Joseph did there in that jail cell!

Because…just like Joseph…God can use adversity in your life to move you forward as long as you live in obedience to Him and trust in His perfect timing!

You will always have problems…it’s how you handle them that makes all the difference in the world.

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The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5

I’ll never forget the day, many years ago, when I was going to pick up my youngest son from school. As I was driving, I realized something was wrong as the smell of smoke filled the air. Apparently, fires had broken out in the neighborhood and several houses had burned to the ground.

As I drove through the neighborhood, I saw people standing on their houses with water hoses, soaking their roofs down in order to keep the fire away. Looking back, that’s such a clear picture of what many are trying to do today. In a world where violence, immorality and darkness are spreading like fire, people are on the defensive, desperately trying to protect their homes from the danger outside.

But the truth is that, in Christ, we don’t have to play on the defensive. In fact, instead of having a puny little garden hose, God gives us His Spirit, which is like a whole fire brigade at our disposal to go with us as we move boldly forward with the lifesaving news of Jesus Christ.

Reflecting on this weekend’s latest terroristic attack, we cannot let the bad news of the world and the darkness around us, keep us on the defensive. Instead with love and conviction we must shine the light of the Gospel in our dark world by going out and moving forward with bold confidence that God is with us every step of the way!

Shine God’s light in our dark world by moving the Gospel forward.

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Then {Jesus} said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

—John 20:27

Doubt is a natural disease of the human condition.  And perhaps the person who epitomizes doubt most is Thomas. 

Poor doubting Thomas has been stuck with his nickname because he said he would not believe that Jesus had been raised from the dead unless he personally saw Christ…and put his hands in the scars in Jesus’ hands and side.

Thomas was convinced this was something he would never do!  But good thing for Thomas, he got what he asked for!

Unfortunately, there are millions of doubters just like him in the world today who think they can never be sure about Jesus because they weren’t there to see and touch Him. Yet, there is just as much proof for the resurrection of Christ as there is for any other event in history.

While we might not be able to physically sit by Jesus’ side and touch His nailed-scarred hands and His wounded side, we can know with certainty that Jesus rose from the dead, just as God’s Word said He did.  My friend, Jesus is alive today!  That is something you can bank on!

Many of the people who doubt Him today only do so because of misconceptions about the nature of faith, or because doubt is all they’ve ever known.  But Jesus Christ can make even the strongest cynic fall on their face and confess with Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”

Thank God today for the reality of Christ’s resurrection…and proclaim to Him today, “my Lord and my...

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I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid . . . and I hid myself.

—Genesis 3:10

Perhaps one of the most damaging effects of sin is that it separates us from God and others. In fact, Satan loves nothing more that to try and cut you off from God.

Now, one of the ways he tries to do that is to make you afraid to face God.  While you are certainly supposed to fear the Lord, that is not the kind of fear God intends.

The opening chapter of Proverbs says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And that kind of fear is best described as reverent awe.

But Satan tries to tell us we need to be afraid of God…and that we should run from Him, much like when Adam and Eve hid in the garden.

Putting the wrong kind of fear of God in your heart is part of Satan’s plan to trick you into separating yourself from God. But that’s a dangerous position to put yourself in, because you end up running from the protection and love of God and open yourself up to the devil’s attacks.

Have you ever thought about how impossible it is to hide from God?  In fact, if you think about it, there’s really no rational reason for running from God. He can see you no matter where you are.  And more importantly, He can see your heart.

So it’s not only damaging for you to try and hide from God, but it is also pointless.

Instead of running from God, let me encourage you to run to Him!  Don’t...

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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.

—Genesis 4:3-5

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.

Salvation from...

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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.

—Psalm 143:2

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...

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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?

—Joshua 1:8

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...

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By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him.

—Hebrews 11:5

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.

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“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

—John 15:13

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.”

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