Daily Devotional

January 21st – 2 Corinthians 12:9

2 Corinthians 12:9

Although we aren’t told specifically what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was, we can relate to the suffering he endured. For whether it be emotional, physical, or spiritual, each of us have our own thorns to bear.  Thorns for which we have pleaded with God to remove. And sometimes He will do just that. But what happens when His answer is no?  What if instead He wants us to endure? Paul tells us we are to rejoice in our sufferings. For although the thorn may remain, God is at work strengthening the one under it. Instead of becoming bitter, angry, or frustrated, Paul embraced the thorns in his life. He understood that it was in his weakness where Jesus would be glorified, and where he would most experience God’s grace. It’s often in our lowest times when God can do His greatest work. Although we might not understand why God allows suffering into our lives, we can rest in the knowledge that when trouble does knock at our door He will be there.

January 20th – Philippians 2:2

Philippians 2:2

One of the most wonderful things about the Gospel, is that it’s all inclusive. Because God loves each of us equally. And no one member of the church is more important than the next. So as members of the body of Christ, it’s important that we put ourselves aside and strive to meet the same goal in love, joy, and unity. That goal being sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, and advancing God’s kingdom on earth. We all love a little pat on the back along with acknowledgement and appreciation. But when our own desires become our main focus, no longer are we working for God. Instead we’re working for the pleasing of our own egos. And that goes against who Jesus is and what He teaches. For Jesus lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a humiliating, excruciatingly painful death nailed to a Cross. He willingly became our substitute for sin, paying the debt that we owed. All in accordance to the will of God and out of love for us!

January 19th – Job 11:18

Job 11:18

The world today is in great need of hope. Everywhere we turn, we are inundated by news of tragedy, horror, and violence. As in the days of Noah, (Luke 17:26-27) people are openly sinning against God with no fear of the consequences. And although Christians around the world are sounding the alarm of the Lord’s soon return, the world mocks the message and the messengers. Yet as the world spins out of control, and people panic over the darkened days, we as followers of Christ have all we need to lead lives of encouragement and joy. For as Job 11:18 reminds us, “You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.” One day very soon God will pour out His judgements on this wicked and rebellious world. Yet we can rejoice because those who put their faith in Christ, will never taste the bitterness of His wrath.

January 18th – John 8:11

John 8:11

Jesus was teaching in the temple when the scribes and Pharisees threw a woman they had caught in the act of adultery at His feet. Expecting the punishment of death, the crowd waited for Jesus to give His pronouncement. But instead of declaring the women guilty, Jesus did the unthinkable. He forgave her sin and sent her on her way. This woman could easily be you or I. Although our sin may not be adultery, we have all been caught in our sins. James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” That makes us all alike. For we all have broken God’s Law. And all have sinned. By not condemning this woman, Jesus was showing that we are all in great need of a Savior to reconcile us to God. That Savior is Jesus Christ. And when we receive Him as Lord, although others declare us guilty, through His precious blood He declares us innocent!

January 17th – Psalm 95:7

Psalm 95:7

Throughout the the book of Exodus, we learn of the travels of the Israelites as they fled Egypt. Like the Israelites, we too are on an exodus. We are partners with Jesus who leads us on our journey to the Promised Land of Heaven, where we will dwell with Him forever.  And just like the Israelites, our exodus requires trust and faith and obedience.  If we are faithful partners with Christ on “the journey” we can also hope to be partners with Him in eternity and enter into His rest. No matter how great your trial may be, no matter how bad your circumstances are, if you just have faith to trust God to see you through to the other side, your heart will remain soft and eager to obey Him.  You’ll rejoice, thank God even for the trial, because you know, “the Lord is a great God and a great King above all Gods” (v. 3) who is able to save and deliver you.

January 16th – Isaiah 6:8

Isaiah 6:8

Have you ever thought you washed a window to crystal clear perfection only to find it full of streaks when the rays of the sun shined on it? That’s how it is with us. No matter how hard we try, or how clean we think our lives are, they are nothing more than dirty, streaky windows compared to the perfect goodness of God. But because of His boundless love, just like He did for Isaiah, God provides a way for our iniquity to be taken away and our sin forgiven. That way is Jesus Christ. Through His work on the Cross and the shedding of His precious blood the minute we receive Him as our Savior, the Holy Spirit goes to work. First he humbles and convicts us about the filthiness of our lives, then begins transforming, cleansing, and getting us ready for God’s service. No longer unworthy, and like the prophets before us, we can be eagerly obedient to God’s calling. And after our own life changing encounter with the Lord, with a thankful heart we too can say to God, “Here am I. send Me!”

January 15th – Psalm 71:23

Psalm 71:23

The Christian life is meant to be one of joy and celebration. A celebration of all God is and His amazing, unmerited blessings. David knew this well. The psalms he wrote, no matter the subject, were songs from his heart to the heart of his beloved Creator. All in worship to the God who was his everything. No matter what he faced, David had an unquenchable inner joy. A joy stemming from his great love for God. One that put a song on his lips and made his heart burst into singing praises to the Lord. As lovers of God, we too should have a song in our heart. One that yearns to burst from our lips and sing the praises of God. For once we were dead in our sin, and enemies of the Lord. Yet from His great love, God redeemed, adopted, and provided a path to eternal life. And if that wasn’t enough, He is intimately involved in every aspect of our lives as our Father, Comforter, Provider, and Friend. Knowing all of this, how can we not have that same inner joy as David!

January 14th – Luke 16:13

Luke 16:13

Jesus often taught earthly stories with heavenly meanings, called parables. And usually the stories He told were clear in meaning. But the parable of the “Unjust Steward” upon first glance appears to find the Lord commending a crook. For in it we find Jesus seemingly condoning the dishonesty of an unrighteous manger. Yet in truth, Jesus uses the story to teach the importance of caring about our futures, and to warn against the worship of wealth above God. Each of us are God’s stewards. And the wealth He blesses us with, whether it be in the form of money, the ability to teach, a tender heart, or a giving spirit, He expects us to be faithful in managing for the glory of His kingdom. To be just stewards, joyfully and faithfully continuing to go about the Master’s business. And as we do remembering, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Col. 3:23-24)

January 13th – Hebrews 1:3

Hebrews 1:3

Of the many beautiful ways Jesus is described in the Bible, this is one of my favorites. “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (vs. 3) Higher than the angels, Jesus radiates God’s glory like the rays of the sun radiate its light. As the Lord Himself, He is the perfect image of the Father. And after paying our sin debt on the Cross with His precious blood, He sits at His place of honor at the right hand of God. I love how when asked about Jesus, Dr. Charles Stanley says, “Jesus is God in the flesh. He is to be worshipped as Lord, praised as Creator, recognized as Ruler, and glorified as our only Savior.” For as God Himself says of Jesus, “You are My Son.” (Heb. 1:5) And not just His Son, but His “beloved Son”. (Matt. 3:17) And as Lord and Savior of my life, Jesus too is my beloved and the One whom I adore.

January 12th – psalm 51:10

Psalm 51:10

When someone is about to tell me a story and they start with, “Don’t judge me, but,” I know they already have a conviction on their heart. For believers that conviction is coming from the Holy Spirit. It’s His way of letting us know that we’ve sinned against God. And the only way to lift the weight laid on our souls is through confession and repentance. David committed horrendous sins against God. Sins others might find unforgivable. But not God. Because of His never ending forgiveness, love, and mercy, and David’s repentance, God did just that. Not only granting David the forgiveness he sought, but reconciling him with open arms back to Himself. And God promises to do the same for us. No matter how big or small the sin, when we come before Him with a “broken spirit and a contrite heart”, confessing all our transgressions, we too will receive God’s forgiveness.