Recently Added Devotionals

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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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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