Recently Added Devotionals

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

—Matthew 5:7

 

Yesterday we talked about bitterness and how it can have such a devastating impact on your life.

 

While bitterness can be as a result of some big event, major abuse, or significant mistreatment in your life, too often, it comes from some small hurt that is nourished and nurtured until it grows to be a powerful force and factor in your life.

 

As a pastor, I can tell you—I’ve seen the effects of bitterness again and again and again. And the natural question is, why on earth do people do this to themselves?

 

Well, some people do it because it just feels good. They’re sort of addicted to their anger. Others do it because they have a sense of self-righteous superiority or pride.

 

Whatever the reason, it’s resulted in a lot of angry Christians who are long on mad and short on mercy! And those lives don’t reflect our Savior’s love, mercy, and grace which is infinite.

 

That’s why I encourage you to model Christ today by showing mercy to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Cut someone some slack! Assume that their intentions are good! I think you’ll be amazed how your life will change when you do this on a consistent basis.

 

Make it your goal to be a person who is short on mad and long on mercy!

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Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

—Ephesians 4:26-27

 

A few years ago, I read an article in the USA Today that talked about the devastating effects of anger. In fact, the article listed hostility and anger (especially in men) as dangerous to our physical health as high cholesterol and obesity!

 

Not only will bitterness chain you to the past, contaminate your personality, and color your relationship with Christ, but it will choke your productivity. This includes your physical productivity, your emotional productivity, and your mental productivity.

 

When you live with bitterness and anger in your life, you can’t be productive in anything you do. Your mind will be distorted and you’ll make all kinds of bad decisions.

 

What’s funny—and tragic—is that a lot of people call anger and bitterness something else entirely. They call it “righteous indignation” or their “sense of justice.” But I call it something else: sin!

 

When we live with the unrepentant sin of bitterness, it rips us from the inside out. And ultimately, if we don’t root it out of our lives, we become critical and cynical!

 

Take time today to look at your life and see if you are giving place to bitterness and anger.  If so, ask God to help you root it out so that you can live fully for our Lord.

 

If you live with bitterness and anger in your life, you will never be fully productive for Christ.

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See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.

—Hebrews 12:15

 

I’ve never claimed to be the world’s best gardener. But I do know that if you let weeds go, they can take over an entire garden.

 

But to get rid of weeds, you have to do more than clip them off at the top. You have to dig them out by the root.

 

The same is true for weed of bitterness.

 

Today’s verse points us to the need to deal with bitterness. And for good reason. It’s a root that can easily take hold in any one of our hearts.

 

What does a root of bitterness look like? It’s holding on to an offense, either large or small. It’s determining to hold hostility in your heart towards someone who’s hurt you. It’s anger towards another person that’s not dealt with appropriately.

 

What happens is this offense, hostility, or anger festers and grows. And eventually, it can take over your life! It’s a like a cancer that metastasizes in the human soul.

 

Over the new several days, we’re going to be taking a closer look at bitterness and why you shouldn’t allow it to have any place in your heart or life. In preparation for that, I want to encourage you to ask the Lord Jesus to prepare your heart. Ask Him if there is any root of bitterness in your soul right now. And commit to digging up the...

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And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him.

—Genesis 45:3-5, 15

 

In today’s passage, we see a wonderful biblical picture about the power of forgiveness.

 

Imagine, if you will, that you were one of Joseph’s brothers…one of the brothers who had sold him into slavery. If it were me, I’d think I was done for!

 

Joseph was now in an incredibly high position of power in Egypt. He could have done anything to these guys! He could have put them in jail or executed them on the spot.

 

But look at what Joseph says to his brothers: “Do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life” (v. 5). And then, look at what happens in Verse 15: “And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him.”

 

What a reunion! What a restoration! Joseph embraces these brothers who betrayed him and welcomes them into his presence. He gives them the kiss of love and the kiss of life. Joseph’s example serves...

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Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’

 —Luke 19:13

 

The great evangelist and preacher John Wesley once said, “Do all the good you can, to as many people as you can, for as long as you can.” Now more than ever, we as Christians need to heed Wesley’s words and do good to others as well as each other.

 

Believers in this generation should be in the business of encouraging and equipping one another for ministry to those in need. In light of that truth, I have a question for you today; what is God calling you to do?

 

I believe that Christ calls every believer to something great and something specific, which makes our assignment to discover what He has called and gifted us to do.

 

If you aren’t sure what your gifts and calling are, start by serving Christ right where you are and ask Him to make it clear what it is that you can do most effectively for His kingdom. He will make it clear to you!

 

But getting started means you need to listen for God’s call—which often comes as a quiet voice amid all of the loud distractions that the world throws your way.

 

God has given you talents and abilities to serve Him. Like the servants to whom the master entrusted his wealth, let’s get on with the Lord’s business until He returns!

 

God calls every believer to do something unique and wonderful for Him. 

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As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.                                     

—Matthew 24:37-39

 

In the days of Noah, people were evil…pure and simple. They didn’t obey or respect God, and sin saturated society until things became more and more corrupt and God finally said, “Enough!”

 

Many people wonder what our world today is coming to. Well, as believers in Christ we don’t have to wonder, because the Bible tells us that this world is coming the end and ultimately to God’s judgment.

 

Society is becoming so tolerant of sin and evil that it’s become frightening. People live in fear, wondering whether rogue nations will use chemical or nuclear weapons to fulfill violent and evil intentions.

 

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of hope as we look out at the world scene. But we need to remember Jesus said that just before He returns, the world will get worse and worse, as it did in the days of Noah. And that’s our hope!

 

Jesus is coming back to set things right in this world and redeem those who are His own. 

 

So don’t be afraid of what may lie ahead for this world. God is in control, and nothing can remove His hand from His own!

 

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Noah…did all that God commanded him.

—Genesis 6:22

 

Noah certainly lived a life of faith in the Lord. The earth had never seen rain before, so the idea of water falling from the sky was a ridiculous and silly notion in those days. But that didn’t stop Noah from announcing the fact that God was going to send rain.

 

Noah believed God so much that he built an ark right in the middle in his own front yard. What would you or I do if God commanded us to do something like that?  Maybe we would just laugh and say, “Lord, You must be joking.” 

 

But as our society moves further and further away from God, we as Christians may find ourselves being called by God to do things that seem pointless to others. That’s when we need to remember that Christ has a bigger and better plan than we do.

 

In Luke 19:13, the Lord says to take care of His business until He comes back. God’s business is establishing His kingdom on earth, and it’s our responsibility to be salt and light in this dark world. These are desperate times of sin and unfaithfulness, and you and I have a message of hope that we are to be spreading like wildfire!

 

The only way to leave a lasting impression for Christ and ultimately change the world is to live a life of complete faith and obedience. That’s something you can do today.  And as you are faithful each day, God will use you to do something world-changing!

 

God calls us to live a...

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And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.”
 
—Genesis 9:12-15


 
Some days God seems so close to us that we practically feel Him right next to us. On other days, we don’t have that sense that He’s right next to us, and we ask, “Where are you, God?”


 
In reality, we know the answer even when we ask it. The answer is that God is always right there next to you, even when you don’t sense His presence. I’m sure that Noah had this same feeling after about two weeks on that ark with all those animals—but he knew God was ever-present. And God came and revealed Himself to him.


 
One of my favorite songs is entitled God of Wonders. The title to this song is absolutely true and should be the anthem of our lives. Our God is a God of wonders and of miracles, large and small. Just when you think that perhaps He has left you, He is there with exactly what you need!


 
If it is raining or even pouring in your life today, ask God to make His love and presence real...

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Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  

—Philippians 4:4-6

 

God is peace. That is an old and simple statement that never loses its truth or power.

 

Peace is a soothing word that makes me think of the ability to remain calm even in the middle of a storm.

 

In fact, you may have seen the famous picture of a storm raging on the sea with the winds blowing and the waves crashing on a big rock that stands alone in the middle of the ocean. And when you look closer, you see a little bird nestled safely in that rock.

 

Now that’s a picture of true peace! The kind of peace Paul writes about in today’s verse.

 

This kind of peace is not an absence of problems or storms, but it is God’s preserving presence in the midst of the storm! That’s why Paul said this peace passes all human understanding.

 

I don’t believe you can fully describe God’s peace. You can sense it, you can own it, but it’s almost impossible to articulate it. But it is that God gives us just when we need it most. Just when you need a verse, He brings it to mind. Just when you need a friend; He brings...

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