Devotions

The enemy, through any method he can find, will twist the truth or blind us from it, distract us, discourage us, and mislead us. We are knowingly and unknowingly bombarded in every area of our lives. If we are not careful, our faith will erode and we will become more and more vulnerable to temptation and defeat.

This is one of the reasons Paul instructs believers not to “conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom.12:2) as well as to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Eph. 6:11).

One of the primary ways to combat the steady decay of the truth in our lives is to be in the Word of God consistently. The Holy Spirit through the Word transforms our mind, demolishing strongholds of the enemy and the lies we have been tricked into believing. He replaces those lies with eternal truths rooted in the character of God who “does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17) and “is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8).

These devotions are the result of my efforts at preaching the gospel and the truth to myself each day. I have greatly benefited in my walk with Christ from not just passively reading the Word, but intentionally using it to exhort, challenge, and encourage myself. The Christian life is meant to be lived in community, so we must be wary of isolating ourselves and neglecting the body of Christ. However, it is also dangerous and unhealthy to rely completely on other believers and the church to prop up our faith. We need both our personal walk and our communal walk to be healthy. Different seasons in life may lead to one being stronger or weaker than the other, but we should strive for both.

With that being said,

1. Forsaken By God 

In our deep distress we can feel abandoned by everyone, even God. These are the dark days that come as a result of living in a fallen and broken world and being fallen and broken ourselves. When we feel forsaken, there are three things to remember: Continue reading…

2. Condemnation vs. Conviction

I am especially grateful for Priscilla Shirer and her book Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer for opening my eyes more fully to the distinctions between condemnation and conviction as well how to better recognize which one is present in my life at a given moment. Continue reading…

3. Solid Ground

This is a Psalm of David. The imagery of God being a “rock”, “refuge”, “stronghold”, and “salvation” take on extra meaning when we think of all the time David spent running from his enemies from hiding in caves and mountain strongholds. Continue reading…

4. Doubting Thomas

“Oh, don’t be a doubting Thomas!” This is a phrase you may have heard directed at you or someone around you. You may have even said it yourself. It is meant to chastise the person for their lack of faith. Whether the person saying it is serious or joking, the implication about Thomas’s character is clear. You definitely don’t want to be like him. Continue reading…

5. Work for the Lord

What does it mean when you do your work for the Lord rather than for people? Obviously it depends on the work you do and your attitude towards work. For some it will mean increasing their effort and attention towards their work. Others it will mean backing away from the amount of work they do to spend more time with family and to keep from making work an idol. Continue Reading…

6. Qualified to Witness

I think we get too hung up on “qualifications”, both for vocational ministry as well as being a personal witness wherever God has placed us. Don’t get me wrong, I think good biblical training is valuable and if someone has the opportunity and leading to get it, they should. I’ve been blessed to receive great training. I also don’t mean to minimize or set aside the qualifications set forth in the New Testament for church leadership. Continue reading…

7. How Paul dealt with his own Sin

God used Paul to write at least thirteen books in the New Testament. He also completed at least three missionary journeys, planted numerous churches, and discipled many early church leaders. He was a mighty man of God used to impact many for Christ during his lifetime and countless others after through his writing. Continue reading…

8. Open to Correction

Throughout Proverbs the wise person and the fool/mocker are often contrasted with each other. One of the ways in which their behavior–as well as the fruit of that behavior–is compared is in the area of accepting correction or rebuke. Continue reading…

9. Does God mean what He says?

We live in a world full of words used in exaggeration, for broken promises, and downright lies. Our misuse of words runs the gamut from seemingly innocent to truly sinister. While the cheapening of words has made it more difficult to tell people what we truly mean and for them to fully believe it, the more damaging aspect of this is when the misuse of words creeps into our understanding of God and His Word. Continue reading…

10. Luke 1:1-4 

Luke took on the role of an investigative journalist. He looked into “everything from the beginning” and spoke with “eyewitnesses” so that he could lay down “an orderly account” for Theophilus and in turn us. That he and now we could “know the certainty of the things [we] have been taught.” Continue reading…

11. Zechariah and Elizabeth 

Zechariah and Elizabeth were “righteous in the sight of God” and yet the blessing of children had been withheld from them. From Elizabeth’s later statements in verse 25, we can see that she had felt disgraced “among the people” for being unable to have children. Not only was it a personal desire that had gone unfulfilled for a long time, but it was also a cultural mark of honor that they lacked. Their personal heartache was on display for the entire community. Continue reading…

12. Pride Produces Sin 

In this Proverb, pride and arrogance is compared to an “unplowed field” that produces sin. When I take the time to stop and think through the imagery of scripture, the truths sink deeper into my soul and my understanding grows as I am better able to see it fleshed out. Continue reading…

13. Thanksgiving and Salvation

We remember to thank God for His provision or answering prayers or protecting us, but we sometimes neglect the greatest gift of all and that which we have most cause to be thankful for. Just in these verses alone we have a number of remarkable things to be thankful for that salvation has done for us. Continue reading…

14. The Greater Miracle

In Luke 10 Jesus sends out 72 disciples to minister. Jesus enables them to work miracles healing the sick and driving out demons as they proclaim the kingdom of God. When they return from being out in the field they joyfully report to Jesus that “even the demons submit to us in your name.” Continue reading…

15. Gospel Verses

As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am often reminded of the need to “preach the gospel to myself”. The gospel is both an event that happened at a certain time in history as well as an ongoing truth. In our own personal lives the acceptance of the gospel–or surrender to the gospel–is an event that happens in a particular moment, but it is also an ongoing process. Reading through and preaching the gospel to ourselves again reminds us of who were once were, who we now are, and who we will be. We were condemned, we are justified, we will be glorified. We were dead in our sins, we are made alive, and we will be free of sin and death. Continue reading…

16. Prayers of the Righteous

I used to think that the effectiveness of my prayers somehow depended on me. If I was living “righteously enough” or if I had been following God’s Word closely enough, then my prayers would be “powerful and effective”. I knew that God always heard my prayers, but for some reason I though that the effectiveness of my prayers was basically tied to my good works and avoiding sin. I wouldn’t have said that out loud necessarily, but it was how I prayed and what I expected to happen after I prayed. Continue reading…

17. God’s Word Never Fails

The virgin birth and incarnation are amazing miracles that demonstrate God fulfilling His promises. He had promised the messiah and the messiah came. He had promised to dwell with His people and He sent Immanuel. He promised a savior for the nations and a savior was born. “No word from God will ever fail”. None. He doesn’t change His mind or break His promises. Continue reading…

18. Boldly Before the Throne

The idea that because of Christ and through Christ we can boldly approach the “throne of grace”, that we can go with confidence into the throne room of the creator of the universe, is hard to grasp. I try to picture what the throne room must look like, knowing that my imagination does not and cannot come anywhere near a resemblance of what it is actually like. Continue reading…

19. Wait for the Lord as a Watchman

Reading through this scripture I thought about the imagery of watchmen waiting for the morning and what that means for how we are to wait for the Lord. Continue reading…

20. The Source of Justice

Justice–or the lack of it–has always been a “hot topic”, hence the reason scripture is filled with teaching about it, but at times it seems the flame burns even brighter depending on our circumstances or those around us. Continue reading…

21. Fear of Man vs. Trust in God

A snare is a trap. It entangles its victim and doesn’t allow it to move. Usually traps are made to be difficult to detect and trigger unexpectedly. They may also use some sort of bait that is appealing and will draw their quarry into the trap. Think about pits dug into the ground covered with branches or even mouse traps baited with cheese or peanut butter. You may not notice it easily or it might look good for a moment, but ultimately we end up stuck. Continue reading…

22. Hope in Crisis

Where is our hope in time of crisis? Do we look to our savings or insurance to come through? Do we hope in our ability to figure it out or “make something happen”? Are we made hopeless by the lack of resources we have to address an issue? Whether the problem is physical, relational, emotional, financial or spiritual, our hope should be in God. He is the source of all salvation, temporary and eternal. Continue reading…

23. Slain from Creation 

Before God even created the world, He decided that Christ would redeem His creation. Before God spoke anything into existence, God already had the plan of salvation. Continue reading…

24. The Presence of God

What made the ground around the burning bush holy? Was there something special about the area that made it more holy than any other place? Continue reading…

25. God Delivers the Righteous

What is our first reaction when troubled by fears? When we start to worry about the future or about challenges we are facing, what do we do? Do we allow those fears to linger in our mind? Do we think through what could go wrong and what might happen if it does? Or do we look to the Lord? Do we seek Him and call out to Him? Continue reading…

26. God of All Comfort

Do not confuse that which is comfortable with what is right. Difficulty is not a measuring rod in and of itself. One of the many beauties of the gospel is that God can take that which is not comfortable and give us comfort while working out His purposes and plan. Continue reading…

27. Not Enough Words

There is so much that the Lord has done that there are “too many to declare” and if we tried to write them all down “the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” Nor is God finished acting and working. We could never say or write everything He has done. On top of that, He is continually adding to the list of His works by His present activity, with promises in scripture to continue. Continue reading…

28. Mary’s Faith – Part 1

Luke 1:26-38 is the story of the angel Gabriel telling Mary that she will be the one to give birth to the long-awaited messiah. It is incredible and joyous news to Mary–as seen by her song in verses 46-55–but it is not without cost. Continue reading…

29. Mary’s Faith – Part 2

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,”  and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” – John 19:25-27 

We don’t know what Mary was thinking as she watched her son be tortured to death. Of all the trials and challenges her faith had to deal with, this must have been the most difficult. Continue reading…

30. Compassion for the Mist

This scene paints a beautiful picture of the love and compassion of Christ, not only for our eternal destiny, but also our temporary earthly lives. His love and compassion extends from eternity past to eternity future, from the biggest of problems to the smallest of issues. Continue reading…

31. The In-between Times

What period of life are you looking forward to right now? When you graduate? When you get married? When you have the right job or house, or can start a family? When you’ve gotten your kids through school or paid off that house? When you can retire? Continue reading…

32. Better than Money

“They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.” –Psalm 19:7-10

Do I treat God’s Word as more precious than money? Continue reading...

33. What can we learn from Olaf?

People have mixed feelings regarding Disney’s movie “Frozen”. Many people like it and some people… don’t. Regardless, I believe that the character Olaf offers a good illustration of a deep truth. Continue reading…

34. Better a Little

Whenever I start to wish for more material possessions and resources than I have, God is faithful to remind me how truly blessed and rich I am in the things that matter. Continue reading…

35. Shout for Joy at the Comfort of the Lord

Because the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on them all of creation is to join in the worship and adoration of God. We are able to rejoice and burst into song during times of affliction because of God’s comfort, because we know He is compassionate. Continue reading…

36. This is the day

God has made today. Good, bad, forgettable, whatever we may think about it, God has made it. He has a purpose and a plan for today. It is not just filler between yesterday and the weekend. It is not merely another day to get through while waiting for something we are looking forward to. Continue reading…

37. Nicodemus and Joseph

Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea are interesting characters in the gospel story. Both are members of the Jewish ruling counsel and both begin their belief in Jesus secretly. Continue reading…

38. Denied before men

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” – How does this verse relate to Peter? Continue reading…

39. The Sin of the Pharisees

The sin of the Pharisees was self-righteousness and pride. In some cases they followed the letter of the law and ignored the intent and heart of it (Luke 11:42), in others they simply found their way around it (Matthew 15:1-9), and they loved to be recognized and honored (Luke 11:43). I believe we fall into the same general trap of thinking as the Pharisees much more often than we realize. Continue reading…

40. God delights to show Mercy

God’s mercy is not something that is grudgingly given. We don’t twist God’s arm or wear Him down with our pleading until He relents and gives in. It is His “delight”, He desires to show mercy on us and forgive us. He wants to “have compassion on us” and “tread our sins underfoot”. Continue reading…

41. Immanuel

Consider that before the Incarnation, God’s presence was–for the most part–only accessible through sacrifice. That you would have had to travel to the temple in Jerusalem and that only one person would go into the Holy of Holies and that only once a year. Continue reading…

42. Shepherds and Wise Men

From the very beginning it is clear that Jesus came to be the savior and Lord of people from “from every nation, tribe, people and language” (Revelation 7:9) as well as every social class. The contrast between the shepherds and wise men who are each some of the first to come and worship Jesus illustrates this beautifully. Continue reading…

43. Cost Effective Ministry 

There aren’t really any specific directives or strategies put forth in this piece. Nor am I making any definitive statements on whether the way we currently do things is correct or not in my opinion. Much of that would be matters of the heart and personal convictions. My only goal is to put forth a few observations that hopefully make us think. Where it goes from there I don’t know. In all likelihood it would be impossible to set forth any more of a directive than to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in each situation guided by the Word. Continue reading…

44. Nothing New

Ecclesiastes 1:9 pertains to many things, but today I am using it to illustrate that nothing you read on this website–at least nothing of value that you read–will be a new or original idea that has never occurred before. It may be new to me or it might be fresh to you, but I make no claims about uncovering hidden truth that has laid buried in the scriptures. Continue reading…

45. Jesus wept

Jesus knew all along that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He knew that He was about to turn their sorrow into joy and yet He still wept with them. Twice in John 11 it says that Jesus was “deeply moved”. Here in verse 33 when He saw Mary and the others weeping and again in verse 38 when He arrived at the tomb where Lazarus was buried. Continue reading…

46. Our story does not end in death

In John 11 Lazarus did die from his sickness, but Jesus raised him to life again. Eventually, Lazarus died again–maybe many years later, we don’t know–but he physically died for a final time. But even the second time he died physically was not the end for Lazarus. Continue reading…

47. The faith of Mary and Martha

Mary and Martha believed that Jesus was capable of healing their sick brother Lazarus, so they sent word to Jesus to let Him know about Lazarus’s condition. After Lazarus died and Jesus finally arrived, Martha went out to meet him. Continue reading…

48. Suffering for a reason

Because we know that Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, it can be easy to miss the amount of suffering he and his family endured. Whatever Lazarus’s illness was, it was debilitating enough that he could not journey to see Jesus in person for healing. It was also serious enough that they sent word to bring Jesus to heal him before he died. Continue reading…

49. New Mercies 

Our hope in life should not be in ourselves and our ability or a new year, month, week, or day. Our hope is in the one whose mercy is always fresh and available, whose love never changes or stops. He is the rock that we build our lives on. He is the one that gives us strength each day. Hope in God will ultimately never be disappointed. Continue reading…

50. Eating and Drinking

In this passage Jesus is rebuking those that have ignored or dismissed God by discrediting those He sent (John the Baptist and Jesus). Jesus points out that though He and John had very different lifestyles those that did not want to believe found something wrong with both. Continue reading…

51. Look to the Lord

This directive, to “Look to the Lord and His strength” and to “seek His face always” is a powerful verse to keep at the forefront of our minds. Whether we are facing a difficult day or it is going fairly well, we should look to the Lord for the strength we need, for His strength. When we remember what God has done we are filled with praise and find His strength and hope to make it through what lies ahead. Continue reading…

52. He has heard your cry

The Israelites had moved to Egypt while Joseph was second in command under Pharaoh. Years later. after the memory of Joseph had faded, the Israelites were made into slaves by the Egyptians. In their oppression, the Israelites cried out to the Lord and He heard them. Continue reading…

53. The hope of all the earth

Our God is worthy of praise from all the earth. His creation demonstrates His awesome power, His ongoing direction of the world displays His righteousness and strength, and His salvation fills the earth with joy and hope. Continue reading…

54. Ask according to His will

We know that when we pray we are to pray with faith, confident that God will act, but sometimes our faith as we pray gets shaken because we also know that we are supposed to pray “according to His will”. We sometimes wonder if we are praying according to God’s will and can become unsure in our prayers because of this. Continue reading…

55. Jesus promises the inspiration of Scripture

These verses foretell the writing of the New Testament. Jesus is teaching His disciples as He prepares to go to the cross and says that the Holy Spirit “will remind you of everything I have said to you.” He also says that He has “much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” Jesus promises both the writing of the gospels through the Spirit reminding them of all that Jesus taught, as well as the rest of the New Testament as the Spirit guides them into all truth. Continue reading…

56. Paul and Radical Reconciliation

Saul was a “Hebrew of Hebrews” and a “Pharisee”. He was confident in his self-righteousness and extremely zealous. His zeal went so far as killing fellow Hebrews that had accepted Christ. Saul certainly would not have associated with Samaritans or any gentiles. Continue reading…

57. Ananias 

Ananias obeyed the Lord, even though it seemed that there could be great personal danger involved. At that time, Saul was an enemy of the Church and his persecution was well known. Even if Ananias himself did not suffer harm from Saul, he would be helping a man who had caused great suffering for his brothers and sisters in Christ. However, loving and praying for Saul and people like him was exactly what Jesus had instructed his followers to do. Continue reading...

58. The Damascus Road

We are all on our own “Road to Damascus” until we are saved by Christ. We are enemies of God, living in rebellion, on the way towards more sin, and eventually death. We might think we are good and even doing the right thing–like Saul did–but until we meet Jesus and receive His forgiveness and salvation, we are lost. Continue reading…

59. Lord, Son of David

These two blind men were declaring their faith that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah when they called him “Lord, Son of David”. There are numerous passages in the Old Testament that prophecy that the Messiah will be from the line of David. A few of those are Isaiah 9:6-7, 11:1-3, and Jeremiah 33:14-16. This prophecy is fulfilled in Matthew 1:6. Continue reading…

60. Wisdom is better than Gold

Solomon did not ask to be smart so that he could take advantage of his knowledge and get rich and defeat his enemies. He asked for wisdom so that he could administer justice and lead his people well with discernment. God promises to bless Solomon and cast down his enemies, but that is not the main purpose of the wisdom that God grants him nor the reason he asked for it. Continue reading…

61. Strength for Today and bright hope for Tomorrow

By the end of the Psalm, Asaph has come back around to the place of truth. He realizes that those things he was envious of the wicked for don’t hold a candle to a relationship with the Lord, “earth has nothing I desire besides you.” His hope is in the Lord and he looks forward to being with the Lord in heaven. Asaph knows that in his humanity he will falter and fail, but the Lord will sustain him and give him strength and he has an eternal hope. Continue reading…

62. Be a Barnabas

Barnabas is so well known by his nickname that many believers wouldn’t be able to tell you his real name off the top of their heads. This Joseph was so encouraging that the apostles decided to call him “Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’)”. A characteristic usually needs to stand out quite a bit before it gives cause for a nickname. Considering that this nickname was given by the apostles, it seems to carry even more weight. Barnabas must have been truly encouraging in an authentic and consistent way. Continue reading...

63. You can learn from anyone

Many places in scripture Jesus denounces and rebukes the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. Interestingly enough, in this short passage He tells the crowds to listen to what they say, but not do what they do. Continue reading…

64. In the face of trouble, remember

Faced with extreme difficulty, Asaph at first doesn’t understand why he can’t see God’s hand at work, which causes him to doubt. Instead of remaining in that doubt, he thinks back to times in the past when God was at work, but His hand may have been difficult to see. He specifically mentions when God led His people through the Red Sea. Continue reading…

65. When you’ve had enough

Not only did Elijah flee the northern kingdom of Israel to seek safety in the southern kingdom of Judah, he also left his servant behind and went out into the wilderness. Even after seeing God perform miracles through him, his fear drives him to flee instead of relying on the Lord to protect him. Continue reading…

66. Barabbas

Barabbas means “son of father”. The disciple Peter’s full name was Simon Bar-Jonah, meaning Simon son of Jonah (Matthew 16:17). Barabbas could imply that his father was unknown, maybe he was born out-of-wedlock or something of that nature. As it is, Barabbas is able to stand in as a sort of “every man”. We are all sons of a human father of some kind. We are all Barabbas in this sense–more to come on this point. Continue reading…

67. Jesus was mocked

Jesus did not defend Himself before Pilate, nor did He defend Himself as he was beaten and insulted by the soldiers, or even as He hung dying on the cross as the people mocked Him and challenged Him to prove Himself. Continue reading…

68. Hope in the midst of lament

The book of Lamentations is the prophet Jeremiah’s lament–an expression of mourning and grief–over the fall of Jerusalem. Through Jeremiah, the Lord prophesied the destruction that was to come upon Judah and Jerusalem because they had turned away from God. Jeremiah saw what was coming because of the sin of the people and then lived to experience the consequences. Continue reading…

69. Which is easier?

Their faith in the healing power of Jesus convinced them that it was worth causing property damage to a building they did not own. They made themselves responsible for either repairing it or paying for it because they knew this paralyzed man would be healed if they could get him to Jesus.

However, what Jesus did when the man was set before him was not what they or anyone else was expecting. Continue reading…

70. Foothold

The phrase “do not give the devil a foothold” is fairly common in Christian circles and for good reason. It is a powerful image that contains important truth for our lives. Continue reading…

71. Pilgrimage

This Psalm is attributed to the Sons of Korah. It describes the physical and spiritual journey of traveling to Jerusalem to be in the house of the Lord and worship Him. The physical journey to Jerusalem mirrors the spiritual journey of being a pilgrim and sojourner here on earth on the way to God’s heavenly dwelling place. Continue reading…

72. God brings the results

After the Word goes out, whatever the man does, the Word takes effect and accomplishes its work. The growth of the seed happens apart from the actions that the man takes, he does not even know how it grows. For a time, he is not able to see its growth while it is underground, he does not know what seed has or has not taken root and will only find out later when he sees fruit of the seed’s growth. Continue reading…

73. Twelve years without Peace

On the surface, suffering with a bleeding issue like this for twelve years would have been difficult enough. However, once we also factor in the emotional, social, and spiritual suffering that would have accompanied her physical ailment, we begin to get a better understanding of just how much she suffered. The Levitical law that the people of Israel would have been living under at the time sheds light on how this condition would have effected her life. Continue reading…

74. Fix your Gaze and Guard your Heart

The idea of guarding our heart from corrupting influences and fixing our gaze on the correct path are often closely linked. Jesus instructs us that our eyes are the gateway to our souls. Continue reading…

75. Impartial Justice and Love

The words of scripture are always relevant, but these nine verses struck me as especially so in light of the issues our society is struggling with at the moment. Continue reading…

76. Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Jesus actually cleanses the temple twice during His ministry. Once at the beginning (John 2) and again near the end after the triumphal entry (Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19). Continue reading…

77. Value and Role

We often determine a person’s–or our own–value and worth by the role they play in different situations. A byproduct of our fallen human nature and the influence of our culture pushes us to think this way whether we realize it or not, even when we know the truth. Continue reading…

78. Self-worth vs. Your Worth in the Eyes of God

Many of us struggle with our self-worth. If it isn’t a daily battle for us it is at least a reoccurring one. It was a fight that I often lost, but even when I did “win” it was only ever a temporary victory. If I felt good about myself one day, I was sure to feel the opposite way soon enough. Trying not to think about it or distracting myself with activity was often my way to keep from sinking down into that pit, but that only works for a time and is merely masking the problem. Continue reading…

79. Earning Forgiveness and Righteousness  

There are two main incorrect approaches to forgiveness and getting right with God. Either, people try to clean themselves up as much as they can on their own and then go to God or they “accept” God’s forgiveness and then try to pay it all back. In both situations people are trying to earn the forgiveness and righteousness they receive. Continue reading…

80. The Humility of accepting Grace

Why do we have a hard time fully accepting the grace that is offered through Christ?

By “fully” I mean completely, from beginning to end. Similar to my previous devotion about trying to earn forgiveness and righteousness, we often try to do as much as we are capable of and then rely on God to cover the rest. Even if that means all we think we can do is 0.00001 percent of what is needed and rely on God for 99.99999 percent of the work. We still try to “do our part.” Continue reading…

81. From Garden to Garden

From garden to garden God’s plan of salvation is on display. What man made wrong in Eden God made right in Gethsemane. Disobedience, death and shame are turned to obedience, life, and the ending of shame. Continue reading…

82. Merely Human Concerns

Do our decisions and views reflect the truth of the gospel or are they motivated by merely human concerns? Continue reading…

83. Offering for Atonement 

Exodus 30 is part of the Lord teaching Moses on Mount Sinai the laws by which the Israelites will be governed. There are a number of different offerings outlined, but this one caught my eye for a few reasons. Continue reading…

84. Your prayer has been heard

We may not see the answer to our prayers until long after we’ve prayed them, even after we’ve stopped praying them. In fact, they may be answered after we think they are no longer possible as happened with Zechariah. Continue reading…

85. Forget not all His benefits

David knows that since we are frail and fickle like “dust” (vs. 14), we often lose sight of the eternal. We forget all of the reasons we have to be thankful and to praise the Lord. We focus on the temporary physical challenges facing us and neglect the greater and lasting truths contained in our God. Continue reading…

86. The benefits of the Lord

God’s mercy and grace should always give us reason for praise. Both the distance God casts our sin from us and the size of God’s love for us are immeasurable. The distance of east from west and the height of the heavens above the earth let us know that we cannot begin to measure the extent of God’s mercy or the expanse of His love. Continue reading…

87. Faith like a child

If we are speaking in generalities, little children–if they are being raised in a good environment–are trusting. They take people at their word and believe that what is said is true and will be done. Their faith is simple, that does not mean it isn’t deep, it means it is straight forward and without caveats. Continue reading…

88.  Led astray while waiting 

Even though these people have seen the mighty hand of the Lord, once they are left waiting for a time, they revert back what they have seen in Egypt, namely gods that they can see with their own eyes. Continue reading…

89. Obedience over Feelings

Simon didn’t think the effort was worth it. He felt that they were going to be wasting their time. They had already been cleaning the net to put it away and try again at a better time. This meant that they would have to clean it and put it away again after what Simon thought would be a fruitless effort. Simon responds to Jesus’s request Continue reading…

90. What are we building on?

Both the wise and foolish builders’ homes were struck by flood. Following the words of Jesus did not keep the wise man’s house from ever being hit. While it is clear from scripture that living in rebellion towards God and giving ourselves over to sin will lead to extra calamities (see Proverbs), following the Lord faithfully does not mean we will avoid all of the hardship in this life, in fact at times following the Lord will produce hardship through persecution that we would not have experienced otherwise. Continue reading…

91. Marriage and the Gospel 

In portraying the gospel in our marriages and giving God glory through them, we must both give love that cannot be earned and receive love that cannot be deserved. It is in both the giving and receiving that we illustrate the gospel to ourselves and the world. Continue reading…

92. The best “No” we can ever receive

What are those things that come to mind that seem to separate us from God or diminish our relationship with Him?

What do we feel disqualifies us or makes us unworthy of His love? Continue reading…

93. The intercession of Jesus

At this moment Christ is interceding on your behalf before the Father (Hebrews 8:1-2). He will forever be our perfect high priest. He is compassionate and understanding in His dealings with us, leading and guiding us gently. His intercession is perfect and effective, taking care of all our sin and defeating every accusation of the enemy (Revelation 12:10), and He will carry on His work to completion “he is able to save completely those who come to God through him”. Continue reading…

94. Fear not

Scripture is filled with the command to God’s people not to be afraid. It may be phrased in different ways and the reasons given why we are not to fear may be slightly different, but the message is the same. Continue reading…

95. Love of money come from Fear

The connection between “the love of money” and the constant presence and help of God in the face of fear seems a little random at first. However, when we look a little deeper we see that in many cases these are very related. Continue reading…

96. Shameless Audacity 

When the disciples ask Jesus how to pray, He teaches them their prayers should be simple, bold, and confident while trusting in the Lord’s goodness. Continue reading…

97. The Sign of Jonah

While Jesus mirrors Jonah in some ways, He is far “greater than Jonah”.

Jonah went unwillingly to Nineveh. Jesus was sent willingly to the world. His obedience was perfect (Hebrews 5:8-9). He did not try to avoid His mission. In the garden of Gethsemane we see His total surrender portrayed in His prayer “Not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42). Continue reading…

98. Speak, Lord, your servant is listening

“Speak, Lord, your servant is listening” could be used to describe Samuel’s attitude not only during this scene, but His entire ministry. Samuel listened and did as the Lord commanded him. Samuel was a powerful man of God not because He had great abilities on his own, but because he listened to the Lord. Continue reading…

99. Skilled Work for the Lord

When Bezelal, Oholiab, and the others used their skills for the glory of God they enabled the rest of the Israelites to experience worshiping the Lord in the way He ordained. Everyone played a different role, but they were unified in the worship of the Lord. Continue reading…

100. Look to your leaders

We quote Hebrews 13:8 often, but we don’t often connect it to the preceding verse. Reading it in the context of verse 7 brings out the truth in possibly more tangible ways. Continue reading…

101. Sinners drawn to Jesus

Jesus was perfect, but His righteousness did not drive sinners away, rather it drew them towards Him. Those who would not have been accepted by the Pharisees and who would have been driven away by their self-righteousness were welcomed by the only one who was truly righteous. Continue reading…

102. “Increase our faith!”

The answer Jesus gives to the apostles’ request seems interesting. They ask Him to increase their faith and He responds by telling them that if they have faith even as “small as a mustard seed”–a very small seed–they can tell a tree to “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”. Continue reading… 

103. Keep Praying

Luke tells us that the reason Jesus told this parable of the persistent widow to His disciples was “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Continue reading…

104. What truly brings Peace

Jesus weeps for Jerusalem, knowing they are about to reject Him as Messiah and eventually look to establish their own kingdom. He knows the suffering they will experience and knows they are lost, looking for peace where they will not find it. Continue reading…

105. God of the Living

The Sadducees thought they had a question that would stump Jesus and disprove the resurrection. Jesus flips their argument around on them and illustrates a powerful truth that should encourage every believer. Continue reading…

106. “When you have turned back”

While we may often read and study through Peter’s denial and then reconciliation, sometimes we miss that Jesus was planning His reconciliation before he had even fallen away. Jesus makes a remarkable statement when telling Peter what is about to happen. Continue reading…

107. Two Criminals

The two criminals that were crucified alongside Jesus can be seen as representative of all of humanity. They illustrate the position we all find ourselves in and also demonstrate the two different decisions that can be made. Continue reading…

108. Take Him at His Word

I cannot imagine the desperation that this father must have in this moment. A parent with a sick child “close to death” would do anything to help them. He heard that Jesus was somewhat nearby and so he sets off to find Jesus and “begged him to come and heal his son”. Continue reading…

109. The work God requires

Unfortunately, this crowd doesn’t really get it. They wanted to make Jesus an earthly king by force (John 6:15), they were mainly interested in the earthly blessings He could provide (food), and when they asked what work God required, they did not accept His answer. Continue reading…

110. “He loved them to the end”

In His earthly life, Jesus has perfectly loved His disciples from the beginning and now continues to show His love for them at the end. He celebrates the Passover with them, washes their feet, teaches them, encourages them, gives them hope for the future, and prays for them. All of this He does while preparing to go to the cross to die for their sins. Continue reading…

111. When we don’t understand 

The lesson and imagery of Jesus, the Son of God, washing His disciples feet as a servant is immensely powerful. In the midst of this example and teaching moment, Jesus utters a phrase that is especially worth hanging onto when we don’t understand what may be going on in lives. Continue reading…

112. Now this is Eternal Life

The work of Jesus was to bring glory to God by making a way for us to be reconciled to God. His perfect life, death, and resurrection completed the work needed for us to have eternal life. Continue reading…

113. Caiaphas and Jesus

Caiaphas had the Old Testament Scriptures, the teachings and signs of Jesus, as well as his own prophecy, but missed the truth about Jesus. In spite of not believing in Jesus and his direct opposition to Jesus, he was used to play a part in accomplishing God’s will to work salvation for His children. Caiaphas did not acknowledge Jesus as Lord and yet did exactly as God planned. He did not understand or believe in the salvation Jesus offers and yet declared it with his own mouth. Continue reading…

114. Pray Expectantly in the Presence of the Lord

It is said often and with good reason, that David–the writer of this psalm and many others–was very imperfect. Despite his failings, he has strong words for wrong doers saying that they “are not welcome” and “cannot stand in [God’s] presence”. Continue reading…

115. Baptized with Fire

At times, the work and role of the Holy Spirit is mysterious in the life of the believer. Because of the mystery involved, we often neglect or fail to grasp the magnitude of what it means that the Spirit of God has indwelt us as believers. For various reasons, some churches are a bit “light” on teaching about the Spirit while of those that place more of an emphasis on the Spirit some misrepresent the work and expression of the Spirit. Continue reading…

116. Words to Speak

While Jesus was on earth, He promised that when the disciples were arrested and brought before the authorities to testify, the Holy Spirit would give them the words to say. They would not need to worry about “what to say or how to say it.” Continue reading…

117. Discrimination in the Church 

Sadly we have allowed the world, the enemy, and our sin to turn blessings from God into things that divide us or are used as a reason to mistreat one another. What should be a cause for celebration and a more full expression of worship to our God is hijacked for a host of reasons. Continue reading…

118. The Hope of Joseph

The story of Joseph’s life is found in Genesis 37 and 39-50. Throughout Joseph’s life, he suffered unjustly. He was a human and so he was imperfect, but he did not do anything to deserve to be sold as a slave by his own brothers or to later be thrown into jail. In fact, if he had sinned with Potiphar’s wife, he may not have been thrown in jail at all. Continue reading...