Daily Devotional

  • The Way of Forgiveness - The Open Door to Living Fully - Thursday, September, 21st

    Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” John 8:10-11

    Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. Galatians 6:12-16

    Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:18-23

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    The woman caught in adultery left the presence of Jesus with the opportunity to begin again. With the depth of forgiveness Jesus offered, she really could go forward and leave her sinful lifestyle behind. Can you picture yourself in this woman’s place? Would you have been able to walk away in complete forgiveness, feeling fresh and clean with a wonderful sense of spiritual vitality? With only a record of utter failure, without any proof that she could be trusted, she walked away with everything she needed to live victoriously. The only place where her past record and her untrustworthiness mattered were in the eyes of those around her. For Jesus and her, all that mattered was the gift of her forgiveness; for with the forgiveness of Jesus there is no track record and there is no untrustworthiness, just the open door of His kingdom and His righteousness.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I have heard so much about “living fully” and yet I have felt so far from the possibility of it. I think it all comes down to my having as real an encounter with you as the adulterous woman did. And I sense that you are just waiting for me to ask for it. So, “here I am, Lord, make yourself known to me.” I look into your eyes and find that in your presence there is no place for my past record and my untrustworthiness. I enter the open door of your love and forgiveness into your kingdom, righteousness, and living fully. Amen!

  • The Way of Forgiveness - The Sure Cure for Self-absorption - Wednesday, September 20th

    When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” John 8:9-10

    This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 1 John 1:5-2:2

    In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Just as people who walk in the kingdom move away from inflicting pain on others (throwing stones), they stop inflicting pain on themselves as well. They are not offended at their own sin, they are just plain sorry for it. They do not get upset that they need forgiveness, they gratefully receive it. They do not hold grudges against themselves for they know they have no personal goodness apart from Christ’s indwelling and the righteousness He brings to their lives. What a blessing it is to be transparent and current with God. When God is allowed consistently to wash through the hearts and lives of His people they are able to go about living life feeling fresh and clean with a wonderful sense of spiritual vitality. These are gifts that come to those who embrace surrender and dependence on the God who dwells in the hearts and lives of his people.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, how very much I get caught up in myself. I can see that getting more and more to where I need to be will come about as I am less absorbed in myself and more absorbed in you and your kingdom purposes. Teach me how to be transparent and current with you. Grant me a spiritual vitality that comes from feeling fresh and clean from your forgiving and healing presence. Amen!

  • The Way of Forgiveness - The Healing Balm of All Relationships - Tuesday, September 19th

    But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. John 8:7-8

    And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:12

    But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “As I live, says the lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this--not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way. Romans 14:10-13

    So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:12-14

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    People who walk in the kingdom do not throw stones. They understand the New Covenant and what it means to abide in God’s grace. They are quick to look to themselves and their own need for confession and forgiveness and are therefore quick to offer grace and forgiveness to those around them. They understand the high standard that God has for His people but they do not wield it like a sword in their relationships with others. With the understanding that any correspondence of their life to the high standard of God is His doing and the outworking of His grace, they are able to extend mercy and grace to others and forsake being easily offended, withholding forgiveness, and holding grudges. They know when this gets turned around, they are not walking in the kingdom and they cut themselves off from the grace and forgiveness of God.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I am sorry for how prone I am to throw stones or at least want to. Help me forsake being easily offended, withholding forgiveness, and holding grudges in favor of extending mercy and grace to others. May I look to myself and my own shortcomings and may I always remember that all spiritual advancement on my part is your doing. Amen!

  • The Way of Forgiveness - The Powerful Pulse of God's Kingdom - Monday, September 18th

    Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:9-10

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    God’s kingdom is present whenever there are people present who are committed to being surrendered to God and His kingdom purposes. These are the ones who genuinely pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” If God’s will were being done entirely on earth just like it is in heaven, then His kingdom would be manifest everywhere and it would be heaven on earth. Those who make the commitment of surrender to God and His kingdom purposes are ones who walk in God’s presence and whose lives as a result become connecting points between heaven and earth. The more connecting points there are, the more His kingdom comes. Kingdom people are not perfect but they are those who are in touch with the King and allow Him to help them to keep open and current in his forgiveness and focused on having lives that advance the spread of His kingdom on earth. For them confession and forgiveness are God’s means for keeping them on track with their commitment to being surrendered to Him and His kingdom purposes. 

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I am getting more fully what it means to pray, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” I want to get it even more and become a truly effective “connecting point” for the advancement of your kingdom and for the sake of your honor and glory. Through ongoing confession and forgiveness keep me on track with my commitment to being surrendered to you and your kingdom purposes. Amen!

  • The Way of the Cross - A Sacrificed Self - Friday, September 15th

    And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. John 12:23-26

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Jim Elliot, martyred missionary to the Auca Indians of South America, once said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose.” This is another way of saying what today’s passage says, “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” The Christian life is all about sacrificing the temporal for the sake of the eternal. This is precisely what Jesus Christ did by going to the cross of Calvary. Our passage calls us to follow him and serve him and when we do, we join him in the place of sacrifice (“where I am, there My servant will be also”). Our passage gives us this very striking analogy, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

    Following Jesus requires us to sacrifice self and sacrificing self requires dying to self. This is the very spot embracing the way of the cross brings us to. It is a marvelous thing to come to the spot of dying to self. It means we have given up control of ourselves and given the Lord his rightful place at the center of our lives. Indeed, the way of the cross is the pathway to true blessing. However, we sacrifice ourselves to God in this way because of our love and devotion to Him as Creator and Master, not for the blessings that result. But as we continue in a pattern of genuine sacrifice with true love and devotion, our lives overflow with blessings unequaled by any other course of life.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    At the end of a challenging week of Devotions it would be fitting for you to write out your own prayer response to God. May God bless you richly!

  • The Way of the Cross - A Repentant Heart - Thursday, September 14th

    And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:42-43

    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:23-26

    I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:5

    Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge. Psalm 51:1-4

    He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    How can we escape the prison of being in charge of our own lives. We must understand that the forgiveness that God extends to us through the redeeming work of Christ on the cross is intended to be the means by which God reclaims His rightful place at the center of our existence so that we have lives that are truly His doing and truly bring honor and glory to our Creator and Master. But this means that we must let Him produce in us a surrender of self that is absolutely committed to a lifetime of pursuing a love relationship with God that results in the life we live being His doing for His glory. We do this by confessing with a repentant heart that we have been at the center of our existence and by letting the work of the cross move deep down in our souls to where our sinful self has been allowed to reign and then trusting God to take hold of this special place reserved for Him alone that we have up to now willfully usurped and occupied. 

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I am so good at and used to catering to self and being protective against any interference with who I am on the inside. Today, I choose to open myself up to you more than ever before and let you move deep inside me with your forgiving, cleansing, and transforming touch. I confess that it is true and am totally sorry for usurping and occupying the throne room of my life. In true repentance I give myself to you from the inside out to do with me anything and everything you desire for my life. Amen!

  • The Way of the Cross - A Surrendered Will - Wednesday, September 13th

    But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” Luke 23:40-41

    You are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For “the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you”, just as it is written. Romans 2:19-24

    And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 18:9-14

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    One would think that mankind’s rebellion against God would always manifest itself by people living in ways that were the exact opposite of God’s ways. However, there are countless people who have many things in their lives that correspond to the good ways of God. People often have room for good ways in their lives just as long as they remain in charge of their lives. This is exactly the problem Jesus addressed with his parable in our Luke passage above. It says, “He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous.”

    Unfortunately, this is true for us as Christians as well. Even though we have experienced the forgiveness of sin, we remain in charge of our lives including our spirituality. We are so prone to holding on to the reins. Somehow, deep down inside we think we are good and capable of accomplishing life. We even believe that it is up to us to accomplish living fully for God. The reason for this twist and our failure to go all the way with God’s salvation provision is that we have been unwilling to give up being at the center of our own existence. We must make a commitment that surrenders our will to God, gives him the center place in our lives, and pursues letting him be absolutely in charge of everything.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, It looks like it all comes down to me using my will to make the response of surrendering my will to you throughout my lifetime. So, here is my will, Lord, given to you in complete surrender. Take the center place of my life and be absolutely in charge of everything. I love you, worship you, and adore you. Amen!

  • The Way of the Cross - A Convicted Mind - Tuesday, September 12th

    One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” Luke 23:39-41

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Romans 1:18

    And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15

    As it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10-18

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    The desire and drive to exalt ourselves runs very deep. This is because our own will lies at the center of our personal existence, a place intended for God alone. Apart from God’s mercy we are not able to grasp who God truly is and how far we have fallen away from Him. We are in a state of rebellion having personally usurped God’s rightful place at the center of our existence and we don’t begin to realize how warranted the judgment of God upon us is – that we are truly deserving of eternal separation from God in the everlasting torment of hell. Sounds pretty severe and certainly not a popular way of viewing ourselves. We are so oriented to feeling good about ourselves and seeking to be acceptable to others that it is extremely difficult for us to think of ourselves as totally not good and as totally unacceptable to God.

    And yet viewing ourselves this way and recognizing that we are helpless to do anything about it, is absolutely essential. Grasping the good news of redemption in Jesus Christ is predicated on grasping the bad news of our true condition before God. If we are not helplessly lost then we do not need a Savior. That is what our Savior, Jesus Christ, does – he saves us from our lost condition of being totally sinful, separated from God, and deserving of the judgment of an eternity in hell. Becoming convinced of this in our minds is the result of the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. The way of the cross begins with the convicting work of the Holy Spirit that opens us up to the glorious good news of redemption in Jesus Christ.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, please remove from within me any vestige of my being deserving that I am still cling to. Deepen my conviction and convince me fully and completely so that I am better aligned with the way of the cross and able to enter into the fullness of my redemption in Christ as completely as possible going forward. Thank you for loving me so much that you keep doing all that it takes to get me to where I need to be. Amen!

  • The Way of the Cross - A Humble Spirit - Monday, September 11th

    Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you …. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:7-8A, 10

    Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Prior to the creation there was only God. God is the one greater than which there can be no other. God is infinite in all the things that are true of Him – holiness, power, wisdom, presence, love, mercy, etc. God had the desire to create. Everything God would create would be finite and would always need to be subordinate to him. The centerpiece of God’s desire to create was His desire to create a being with whom He could have a mutual and intimate relationship of love. The outcome of this relationship of love would be life lived according to the purpose and plan of God. A genuine love relationship would necessitate that this being God would create would need the ability to choose so that he could freely choose to love God. 

    God took this risk so to speak and created mankind with the ability to choose or not choose to respond to His love. Mankind decided to believe the lie that he could be something more than a creature dependent on God for the proper living of life. He turned his back on God and His love in favor on being in charge of his own destiny. The devastating effects of this choice marred the very face of creation and have been carried forward with growing intensity throughout the course of history. And yet through it all, the love and mercy of God provide a way. It is the way of the cross – a place of humility and conviction, repentance and forgiveness, surrender and submission, and denial, sacrifice and dying.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, thank you for working humility into my life for I know that without humility the cross would be absolute foolishness to me. Take me further into true humility so that I become fully aligned with the way of the cross. Thank you for providing the blessed way of the cross to make it possible for me to be delivered from the prison of wanting to be in charge of my own destiny. Amen!

  • The True Nature of Christ's Church - Giving the Lord First Place in Everything - Friday, September 8th

    Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-6

    He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Colossians 1:18-20

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    The overall picture of what God has called us to as His people is quite clear and the passages above give us a fitting way to wrap things up. May God graciously help us walk as fully as possible in the manner to which He has called us. May the Lord Jesus Christ be honored, exalted, and genuinely looked to as the true head of the church at all times and in all ways. The Lord having first place is not a theoretical nicety. My prayer is that at this time in history God will have His way more than ever before with each of us, our church, and His people all around the world. God bless you and keep you!

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I give you first place in my life. Show me and your people everywhere how to actually give you first place as the one and only head of the church. Deliver us from valuing too much, buildings, programs, numbers, income, human leaders, etc. I lift you up, Lord, in worship with a heart filled with desire to exalt and honor you alone. Have your way, Lord. Amen!

  • The True Nature of Christ's Church - Growing into a Supernatural Force - Thursday, September 7th

    As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle. Exodus 17:13

    Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2:3-5

    We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4

    We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    If the church of Jesus Christ will give herself fully to the supernatural dynamics of God’s presence as we have talked about them so far, we, like Joshua and his army, will overwhelm anything and everything that might stand in our way of being all and fulfilling all that God has called us to. Affirmations of gratitude to God for all that He is doing and to each other for all the cooperation and participation we see taking place in each other’s lives should become a significant hallmark of who we are as God’s people and how we operate in the mission of His glorious kingdom. The more we understand and embrace the true nature of Christ’s church, the more we will delight in and wrap ourselves up in seeing her become a powerful team that increasingly experiences God’s presence individually and collectively while learning truly to be the Body of Christ.

    Earlier in the week we said it this way: “Our job is to stay in close contact with God (like a branch abiding in the vine) so that He can freely manifest Himself in us and through us according to His purposes and in the way in which He has gifted us. As ministry in the body of Christ flows freely, individual Christians are helped to stay close to the Lord. As individual Christians stay close to the Lord, they grow in God’s strength and then ministry within the Body of Christ is strengthened.” This is how Christ’s church blossoms into the fullness of all she was meant to be and this how Christ’s words, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” come true.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, in a spirit of full cooperation with what you are seeking to do, help us get out of the way and let you build your church supernaturally. Move in my life and the life of your people everywhere like never before. May mutual ministry to each other so prevail that we become a force of love that blesses and meets the true needs of the hurting world all around us. Amen!

  • The True Nature of Christ's Church - Encouraging God's Life in Each Other - Wednesday, August 6th

    Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. Exodus 17:12

    Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 1 Corinthians 12:14-15

    Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord …. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Romans 12:9-11, 16

    Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:2-3

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    The church becoming a powerful team begins with each of us putting a significant focus on letting God manifest His strength in us and through us according to His purposes and the way in which He has gifted us. But as we focus on ministering to others and giving of ourselves to them, we must also focus on letting others minister and give of themselves to us. This requires that we recognize and admit our areas of weakness and need and that we commit ourselves to being open to the ways other people can minister to us and then readily receive the help they offer. It is easy to have an estimation of ourselves that causes us to think of ourselves as more than we are. We are not super people in and of ourselves. We are normal people who are connected with a supernatural God who need the help and support of others for getting and staying close to Him Who fills us with the strength of His might and enables us to live fully for Him.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, help me to be willing to receive as well as give. I need to be encouraged to let God’s life be unleashed in me just as much as I need to encourage the unleashing of God’s life in others. Set us free, Lord, to be the body of Christ in full so that your people everywhere come to live fully for your kingdom and glory. Amen!

  • The True Nature of Christ's Church - A People Indwelled by God's Presence - Tuesday, September 5th

    Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.” Exodus 17:9

    For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly. Romans 12:3-6A

    As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Of all the components that come into play in the story of Israel’s battle with the army of Amelek, it is God’s presence (represented by the staff of God) that is most crucial. Look at the centrality of God in the New Testament passages above: God allots a measure of faith to each believer; He makes us to be one body in Christ; He gives us special gifts; the gifts are the manifestation of His grace; the ministries of communicating and serving are His work in us and through us; it is all for His glory, the One Who has dominion forever and ever. Our job is to stay in close contact with God (like a branch abiding in the vine) so that He can freely manifest Himself in us and through us according to His purposes and the way in which He has gifted us. As ministry in the body of Christ flows freely, individual Christians are helped to stay close to the Lord. As individual Christians stay close to the Lord, they grow in God’s strength and then ministry within the Body of Christ is strengthened. This is how Christ’s church becomes a powerful team that increasingly experiences God’s presence individually and collectively while she learns truly to be the Body of Christ with each person ministering and giving of themselves through the strength and enabling which God supplies.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, you are the centerpiece of everything. I want to live in full dependence on you. My frequent independence, and that of your people, must grieve you. Show us more fully what it means to be the body of Christ and deliver us from relegating you to a mere figurehead. Draw us close, manifest yourself in us and through us, and glorify yourself wonderfully. Amen!

  • The True Nature of Christ's Church - A God Empowered People - Monday, September 4th

    While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle. Exodus 17:8-13

    Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    We begin this week’s Devotionals with a story: “It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold. The hedgehogs, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions. After a while, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.”

    Whether it is hedgehogs facing the coldest winter ever, Israel’s army facing the warriors of Amalek, or the church facing the challenges of its mission, each individual contributing to the “common good” of the group is a vital part of what is necessary for survival. With the church of Jesus Christ, however, there is much more that comes into play than mere “group dynamics.” God Almighty, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is at work in her midst in ways that elevate her individual and collective nature into something that is truly supernatural and amazing. Christ’s church will become a powerful team as she increasingly experiences God’s presence individually and collectively while she learns truly to be the Body of Christ. This is the focus of this week’s Devotionals.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I confess that because I am so used to organizations with their human leaders and structures, I easily forget the supernatural nature of your church. It is always supposed to be you in our midst empowering us in amazing ways so that we are used in mighty ways as the church of Jesus Christ. Please take away any conditioning in my life and that of your people everywhere, that hinders what you alone can do in us and through us as the true body of Christ. Amen!

  • God's Faith-filled people - Succeeding through God's Strength Alone - Friday, September 1st

    Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9

    I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds. Your way, O God, is holy; what god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples. You have by Your power redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Psalm 77:11-15

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Our Scripture above reminds us that God is our redeemer and that He is with us for the long haul. We are absolutely dependent on God for our redemption and meditating on His Word and remembering His deeds and wonders will help us to keep in mind that dependence on Him for redemption and everything else is what a life of faith is all about. Our journey of faith included relocating our church and then occupying well our new campus. The challenge now is to continue doing this as we keep “living by faith.” We must not confuse “living by faith” with being strong. Being strong can happen without God. We can be strong in terms of power, privilege, and provision and bypass God. If we “live by faith” as a church we will be strong as a church in the things that truly matter to God.

    If this is the cry and prayer of our hearts, God will supply everything we need. May God bless us richly as we labor together in faith. What has taken place in the past, what we are experiencing now, and what we anticipate will lie ahead for us as a church can only be attributed to the working of God and would be impossible without Him. We can only imagine what God will accomplish as we go forward with a focused faith. Listening to God’s voice alone, doing only what He wants, and relying fully on His power is crucial. Such vigilance will ensure that we avoid the traps that lie before us as well. If we will faithfully seek Him, depend on Him totally, and long for Him to be glorified and honored, we will know His continued presence, power, victory, and blessing in our church and in our lives.

    Such a mission as ours is not an impossible one. God gave it to us, He has been at the center of it from the beginning, and He is out ahead of us paving the way for the future. He has been faithful and we can be confident that He will fulfill the promises He has made to us. There is nothing to fear when we rely on the God of all possibility to do in us and through us that which is impossible for us to do on our own. Praise God that we are not alone. We are united with Him and each other and are going forward together in the joyous mission of reaching people for Christ and helping them to live fully for God and His kingdom by faith.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I know that in my life and in the life of our church you are out ahead paving the way for the future as we seek to be a faith-filled people. Being able to listen to your voice alone, do only what you want, and rely solely on your power is the cry of my heart. Help us all to faithfully seek you, depend on you totally, and long for you to be glorified and honored. Grant that we will know your continued presence, power, victory, and blessing in our church and in our lives. Amen!

  • God's faith-filled People - Staying on Course with Our True Mission - Thursday, August 31st

    Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in. But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days. Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.” Joshua 6:1-5 

    Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are mature, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained. Philippians 3:13-16

    Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. Hebrews 10:35-39

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    The Israelites getting into the promised land was one thing, but dwelling there safely and securely was another matter. While the promised land was a land flowing with milk and honey, it was also a land occupied by godless people who lived in ways that were fundamentally opposed to the life of faith and obedience God was seeking to produce in His chosen people. So, the inhabitants of the land were a threat to God’s chosen people both physically and spiritually. God’s plan for His people included conquering and displacing the inhabitants of the promised land and it began with Jericho. Our opening passage at the beginning of the week came from Psalm 78 and included these words, “So He brought them to His holy land, to this hill country which His right hand had gained.” The words, “He brought them to His holy land” refer to Israel’s getting into the promised land. This truly required faith dependence and was an exercise of “living by faith.” Israel “occupying” the land by faith is represented by the words, “This hill country which His right hand had gained.” The story of Jericho is the start of God gaining the land by His right hand and it truly required faith dependence. It was the beginning of Israel exercising faith in God’s provision that they would need to repeat over and over again throughout the long process of occupying the promised land.

    Israel’s journey of “getting there” is all for the purpose of “being there.” What Israel did, once they were in the land, would become their legacy. As Israel occupied the land much of their legacy was determined by the opposition they faced and how they handled it. From the Scripture above we can say that opposition is anything that keeps us from pressing toward the goal and causes us to fall below the standard to which we have attained. While many of the difficulties Israel faced came from without, the difficulties we need to be concerned about are ones that can come from within ourselves. Here are some of the internal difficulties we need to be cautious about: It is easy for a church that is growing in leaps and bounds to become proud. It is possible for a church with such an extensive and well equipped campus to gravitate in the direction of becoming a Christian sub-culture. And it is possible for Christian service and activity to become a substitute for true spiritual connection with God. Such things happen when, as it says in the Scripture above, we shrink back from living by faith in God alone whose presence, power, and provision can miraculously protect, sustain, and enable us to “occupy” victoriously. Living by faith and “occupying” well for the long haul are matters of diligence and endurance and these are gifts from God that we desperately need Him to bestow on us. May He mercifully grant us the diligence and endurance we will need to face and handle all dangers.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, deliver me and our church from pride in success, isolation from the world, and substitutes for you. I know these things slip in when we shrink back from genuinely “living by faith.” Grant us the gifts of diligence and endurance so that in faith dependence we “occupy “ well for the long haul. Be merciful to us for our good, your kingdom’s sake, and the honor and glory of your holy name. Amen!

  • God's Faith-filled People - Blazing a Trail for Future Generations - Wednesday, August 30th

    So Joshua told the Israelites, “Come and listen to what the Lord your God says …. The priests will carry the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall.” So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho. Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by. They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground. Joshua 3:9, 13-17

    But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:9-12

    Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments, and not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart and whose spirit was not faithful to God. Psalm 78:1-8

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    The journey of our lives includes special junctures that we seek to reach and how often the last stretch for getting to those junctures requires the overcoming of a significant obstacle. This was the case for the Israelites. The significant obstacle looming before them that must be overcome before entering the promised land was getting an entire nation across the overflowing Jordan River. The Lord revealed the way He would provide for them to get across. When the feet of the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant would touch the water at the river’s edge the waters of the Jordan River would part for all of them to cross into the promised land. What happens next is where we see “living by faith” modeled for us. We are told the people left their camp (by faith) to cross the Jordan. We are also told that the priests were out in front of them and that they stepped into the water (by faith) and the waters were parted. The people crossed over (by faith) while passing by the priests who stood (by faith) in the middle of the riverbed on dry ground. Ultimately, the whole nation of Israel crossed the Jordan River onto the dry ground of the promised land. Truly the journey of getting to and entering the promised land was a wonderful exercise in “living by faith.”

    Just as the generation that died in the wilderness was an example of unbelief to the new generation that Joshua led into the promised land over the Jordan River, so this new generation was an example of “living by faith” to their children, to subsequent generations, and even to us today. We see in the Scripture above that God calls us to be imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Living by faith must permeate every aspect of our walk with God individually and collectively. When we look back at the relocation of our church a few years ago, we readily see that “living by faith” permeated the entire process. The vision of our church at that time saw our new facility as a means for positioning ourselves to reach and equip people with true faith in ever increasing numbers for generations to come. And now we see that we have been fulfilling this vision and we have been reaching people in increasing numbers. May it be that we remain positioned to do so for years to come. May we so “live by faith” in this regard that again and again in the words of the Scripture above, “children yet to be born will arise and tell to their children the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done – may they tell them to put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments and not be like some past generations who were stubborn and rebellious, did not prepare their hearts, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.”

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, help me to faithfully share your praises, your strength, and your wondrous works which you have done. May I be a faithful example of one who thoroughly puts my confidence in you and keeps your commandments fully. Thank you for the blessing of being a part of a church that is increasingly reaching people for Christ, is positioned to do so for generations to come, and consistently seeks to “live by faith” and stand on your promises together. Amen!

  • God's Faith-filled People - Overcoming Past Failures Now - Tuesday, August 29th

    After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. Joshua 1:1-2

    But Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years. Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they did not know My ways’; as I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest’” So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:6-19

    But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me; and the Lord said to me, ‘Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes to the west and north and south and east, and see it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. But charge Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him, for he shall go across at the head of this people, and he will give them as an inheritance the land which you will see.’ Deuteronomy 3:26-28

    Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Joshua is about to lead a new generation into the land that God had promised. While there will be new failures, it is this new generation that God considers prepared for entering the promised land. There was a lot that happened between God’s bringing His people forth from Egypt and this moment when He is about to bring them into the promised land. The generation that went before this new generation was not permitted to enter the promised land because of past failures. The adults of this new generation came out of Egypt as children and saw the mistakes of the generation that went before them. They are like the anchor leg of a relay team who will run the last leg of a race. It is absolutely essential that they finish by faith. Getting into the promised land will require of them significant faith dependence on God for bringing them across the Jordan River. For the leadership and for the people they serve, crossing the Jordan River will be an important part of their being a people who live by faith.

    The significant thing here is that a new generation of God’s chosen people will be led over the Jordan and into the promised land by new leadership because of past failures of both the previous generation and its leaders. The Scripture above attributes unbelief on the part of the previous generation as being the reason for God’s anger toward them and the consequence of not being allowed to enter the promised land. In addition, the Lord was angry with Moses when at a particular point during the time he led God’s people in the wilderness, he let his own anger toward the people keep him from properly carrying out God’s instructions for providing water out of the rock at Meribah. Because of this disobedience/unbelief, God did not permit Moses to enter into the promised land and instead brought his life to an end after being allowed at least to gaze upon the promised land from the peak of Pisgah on Mount Hor.

    Past mistakes of those who have gone before or even our own mistakes in the past can powerfully interfere with our responding in faith to God’s promises for us today. How easily our view is captured by a backwards focus instead of a forward one that helps us journey toward the fullness of what God has in store for us. We do look back but only to learn from past failures so that we can go forward in ways that keep us from repeating those failures and allow us to experience the victory of faith in the actual fulfillment of what God has promised to bring about for us.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I want to forget what lies behind and to reach forward to what lies ahead. I want to press on toward the goal for the prize of your upward call. I know I don’t have to be stuck in the past only dreaming of the future. Help me to be released from the past. Help me to not repeat the past. Help me to press on victoriously into the fullness of all you have promised me. Amen!

  • God's Faith-filled People - Trusting in God's Promises Today - Monday, August 28th

    But He led forth His own people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock; He led them safely, so that they did not fear; but the sea engulfed their enemies. So He brought them to His holy land, to this hill country which His right hand had gained. Psalm 78:52-54

    Today's thoughts from today's Scriptures:

    The Scriptures designate the Jewish people as God’s chosen people and the land of Canaan as the promised land. In our country it was popular years ago to view the United States of America as a modern “chosen people” and “promised land.” “America the Beautiful” says, “America, America, God shed His grace on Thee.” While not as common a view these days in terms of Divine exaltation, it is still popular to think of our nation with a rather exalted image when it comes to power, privilege, and provision. It’s not hard to see how parallels between the origins of Israel and America were made and why borrowing the “chosen people” and “promised land” designations came about. In this week’s Devotional we turn to the account of God’s chosen people entering the promised land. While we certainly are not borrowing the “chosen people” and “promised land” designations for ourselves as a church who has relocated, there is much to learn from God’s relocation project of His people in the book of Joshua. The passage above speaks of God’s people getting out of Egypt and into the promised land, but it is said in terms that show that what happened was absolutely and totally a work of God. How to live by faith individually and collectively so that what happens going forward is absolutely and totally a work of God is our focus this week.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I want to discover the promises you have for your people today and trust you for them fully. Help me to understand and give myself to all you have in store for us as your people today. I pray that the work that you alone can do will be done in me and your church like never before. Your will be done for your honor and glory. Amen!

  • The Living and Transforming Word of God - Unleashed in Us Through Humility - Friday, August 25th

    Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, “working in us” that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    Humility is all about embracing completely the reality that we don’t have what it takes on our own, but that we do when it is God “working in us.” That is what the new covenant is all about – God coming to dwell in us by His Spirit on the basis of our being cleansed through the blood of Christ so that He does in us and through us that which pleases Him and which we on our own could not otherwise bring about. Is it not high time that we move from the place of denial of our true condition to the place of full acceptance of and participation in God’s complete provision for genuine transformation of life?

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I thank you that your living and transforming Word has been unleashed within me. Help me continually bow before you in full awareness of my forever need to surrender to you and depend on you for the righteous life you have called me to. I am so blessed to have you “working in me” that which is pleasing in your sight and for your glory forever and ever. Amen!

  • The Living and Transforming Word of God - Stymied by Lip-service - Thursday, August 24th

    But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:25-27

    Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?’ For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,” and, “He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.” But you say, “Whoever says to his father or mother, Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God, he is not to honor his father or his mother.” And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” Matthew 15:1-9

    But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?” The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” Then He will also say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.” Then they themselves also will answer, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?” Then He will answer them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    There is a truly detrimental thing that happens when we as Bible believing people become entrenched in the mire of being merely hearers of the word and not doers of the word; we lose our ability to hear the word fully and accurately. This really makes sense when we think about it and helps us grasp the folly of giving lip-service to God and his Word. If our goal is to feel good about ourselves and how we are doing with our “Christian” life and we repeatedly don’t do what we have heard the “word” to say, we will become selective to what we pay attention from the word and twist what it says to fit who we are. In this we create our own little religious system that we can manage to our own satisfaction. Trapped in our own self-righteousness, we deceive ourselves into thinking we are all set with God, righteousness, and spirituality. The outcome of this is devastating to the personal life of the believer and inflicts unbelievable harm to the cause of Christ everywhere.

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I want to be the real deal for your glory, the sake of your kingdom, and my ultimate good. Reveal to me the religious deceptions in my life. Strip them away and build true righteous into my life through the transforming power of your Word. Make me spiritually alive through a vital relationship with you and your living Word. I bow before you in worship and surrender. Amen!

  • The Living and Transforming Word of God - Reaching Our Entire Being - Wednesday, August 23rd

    Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. James 1:22-24

    Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:13-16

    Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall. Matthew 7:24-27

    Today's thoughts from today's verses:

    One of the greatest obstacles to realizing the kind of transformation that moves us from worldliness to godliness, is our academic approach to Scripture. Being scholarly is not necessarily the problem here, but rather, approaching the Bible and its truths as primarily matters for the mind. When we do this, and we do, we become adept at talking the talk, but not walking the walk. We convince ourselves that we are changed people simply because we have embraced new understandings while releasing old understandings and have aligned ourselves with others who have done the same. But the changes that God is committed to involve body, mind, and spirit in everyday practical living. 

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, I really do want to experience true and lasting change in my life. Minister your Word to every part of my being and help me to respond fully and completely. Deliver me from being involved with your Word merely on a knowledge level. I know when I let this happen, it short circuits your life transforming work in my life. I love you, worship you, and yield to you, Lord. Amen!

  • The Living and Transforming Word of God - Touching Lives Graciously - Tuesday, August 22nd

    My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. James 1:19-21

    Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14-21

    Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. Ephesians 4:25-27

    Today's thoughts from today's verses.

    Becoming heaven-like in an earthly context is extremely difficult. What is prevalent in the world we live in is not supposed to be prevalent in us. We are surrounded by people in relationship with each other where selfish and sinful ways prevail. We are brothers and sisters in Christ and as we move along the path of becoming more heaven-like, we learn to give up worldly ways for godly ways. Picture someone who is becoming more and more aligned with God and his Word in matters like honesty, purity, truth, etc. They are aware of others who are not so aligned and they quickly try to fix them and in so doing exhibit impatience, a lack of acceptance, and anger. God and His word call us to rid ourselves of sinful, worldly behavior but also worldly ways of seeking to impact others with so called “heavenly” matters. When we see ourselves accurately without denial by allowing God to minister His word deep within our being, our relationships with believers and unbelievers alike will be transformed. 

    Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

    Lord, help me be more gracious with others who don’t line up with truth in the way I think they should. Help me to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Help me be at peace with everyone. Forgive me for the times I have imposed truth on others. Thank you for your patience and graciousness with me. Thank you for never imposing your Word on me. Amen!


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