Daily Devotion 12/31/11

John 17:14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

The Word of God contains power, the power to transform, the power to convict, the power to change, and the power to bring about anger. Many people will respond to the Word, as we share it, with positivity, but there will always be some shocking reactions. It’s hard to believe that some people will find the gospel offensive. It’s hard to believe sharing of the existence of a loving, caring, compassionate God can bring about a negative response. But in some cases, it can and will. As Christians, we need to see this within the proper perspective. People who are caught up in sin do not like to be reminded of said sin, so they will react. Then there are those who feel as if they should have the right to control their lives and not submit to a Higher authority. Thus they will react. What we need to do is hold firm to our beliefs, remain grounded in our faith, and be certain to walk upon the path that leads to righteousness, not take their reactions and/or actions to heart. For it is not us they are reacting to; it is God.

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me remain strong in the face of rejection.

Published in: on December 31, 2011 at 11:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Daily Devotion 12/30/11

3 John 1:7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans.

John praised the faithful believers, the believers that refused help from the world but relied on the generosity of fellow Christians. Their actions are praise worthy, for today we see many Christians, talented Christians, whose God given gifts have been offered to the secular world for the sake of making money. They have “crossed over” to the other side of their industries under the false guise of reaching a greater audience. But within this crossover, the name of God is being removed from their work as to not cause the worldly to retreat. When we water down the gospel, when we remove the name of God from our music, when we try to make everyone feel happy all the time, we are working alongside the world, which cannot lead to anything good. Christians are called to be separate. They are called to be seen as different. They are called to live up to a different set of standards, but so many have set this aside for selfish gain. What does your life represent? What do others see when they look into your heart?

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me become real.

Published in: on December 31, 2011 at 12:13 am  Comments (1)  

Daily Devotion 12/29/11

Hebrews 11:26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

Moses had all anyone could want. He was within a family of power and with that power came privilege. Moses had it all, but one day he ran from the life he knew, the life he understood, the life in which he was raised. Moses ran for his life because he had taken the life of another man, but I believe he was running from his life in search of a new one. Moses would not have been punished. Who would be brave enough to bring punishment to the son of Pharaoh? But as his own people mocked what he had done, the heart of Moses saw who he had become, and this saddened him. Sometimes we must run. Sometimes we must sprint as fast as we can to get away from the person we have become. What do you hold as greater value: the treasures you have received within your life or the eternal life that awaits you?

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me see what is truly important in life.

Published in: on December 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Daily Devotion 12/28/11

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

As you read the scripture verse today, the powerful understanding within its existence could have been easily missed if the words were brought forth haphazardly. These words describe how, at times, our lives feel: Hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. As we read these words, they bring back memories of things that have happened in the past; or worse yet, they remind us of something that is occurring right now. But along with these words come the powerful reminders: We are not crushed. We are not in despair. We are not abandoned. We are not destroyed. The difficulties, the harshness of life moments, are connected to the promises with a word that leaves the result of any situation in our hands. The word within these verses today designates that there is a certain understanding or condition, but that condition does not have to rule within our lives. Life can gain control of us and our emotions, BUT only if we have allowed it to happen. Next time life is seemingly cruel, look on the other side and embrace the promises and presence of God.

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me see that all circumstances can have a positive ending, as long as my walk is centered around You.

Published in: on December 29, 2011 at 12:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Daily Devotion 12/27/11

Luke 6:22 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.

Not many people would consider it a blessing to be insulted, rejected, excluded, or thought of as evil; but within the right context, it really is a blessing. When we are insulted because of our faith, when  are excluded because of our Lord, when we are insulted because of our beliefs, when we are thought of as evil because of our faith in God, then we are truly blessed. We are blessed because the presence of Christ within us has become evident. Those who want nothing to do with religion look at those who center their lives around it as different, odd, or even crazy. While most unreligious people are indifferent, many are openly and/or adamantly opposed to any form of God, thus they will seek to discredit Christians and  what they believe. In such cases, it is imperative that we stand firm in our faith and count their attacks and/ or actions as a blessing.

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me remain steadfast in my faith.

Published in: on December 27, 2011 at 9:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Daily Devotion 12/26/11

Matthew 10:22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Hate is a strong word that has nothing positive attached to its existence. When we consider the power of this word, we must consider the negative connotations. If we hate something, it means we do not have even the smallest ability or desire to appreciate that which we are referring. To hate something or someone means we do not want that person, place, or thing in our lives. To hate, at times, comes naturally; but to be hated, that’s a different story. No one wants to be hated. No one wants anyone to despise their existence. No one wants anyone to stand in complete opposition to them, their beliefs, or their reason for living. But for the Christian, this is likely to happen. As we live for God, as we express our gratitude for all that He has done within our lives, as we strive to glorify Him over self preservation, many will stand in opposition. While some will do so quietly, there may be many others that will vocalize their hatred; but that’s their right. As Christians, we must stand firm on our beliefs. As Christians, we need to be willing to stand in their presence and exemplify the image of Christ.

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me stand upon my faith in such a way that You are glorified within this world.

Published in: on December 27, 2011 at 12:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Daily Devotion 12/24/11

Micah 5:1-5 Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod. [2] “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. ” [3] Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. [4] He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. [5] And he will be their peace. When the Assyrian invades our land and marches through our fortresses, we will raise against him seven shepherds, even eight leaders of men.

Today, we sit and await the arrival of a glorious day, the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior. This days brings anticipation of the one that follows. This day brings excitement as we contemplate the one that will arrive in a moment’s time. We are considering many things as we consider the arrival of tomorrow. What gifts shall glisten under the tree? What wonderful meal shall be prepared for our consuming? What a glorious day, no matter the weather in our present location, to gather with family and celebrate the arrival of our Shepherd. Can you imagine what Mary felt like the day before Jesus came into this world? Can you imagine what was going through the mind of Joseph? Can you imagine what joy was flowing through the heart of God? This day brings the anticipation of tomorrow, but within its own existence it brings us a reminder that God did not abandon us, nor did He forsake us. Instead, he brought us forgiveness and salvation.

Prayer Starter:

Lord, You are my Shepherd, and for that I praise your name.

Published in: on December 25, 2011 at 1:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Daily Devotion 12/23/11

1 Peter 2:25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Who, among the saved, can honestly say they have not gone astray? Who, among the saved, can honestly say they have not taken a detour leading them off the path to righteousness? We have all gone astray, like a sheep looking for its heart’s desire, or in the case of the sheep, some good food. But the glorious message is this: even though we go astray, even though we walk with incorrectness, if we, with sincerity, seek repentance, the Shepherd will guide us back into the fold. God is so loving that He will offer to us the opportunity to see the error of our ways and once again walk with Him.

Prayer Starter:

Lord, guide me into a correctness of faith, a correctness of direction.

Published in: on December 23, 2011 at 5:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Daily Devotion 12/22/11

Romans 8:36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Paul, a verse earlier, brings about the following question: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” With all things considered, after understanding scripture even in the most minute form, there can only be one answer to that question. We are the only ones that have the power to separate us from the love of Christ. We are the only ones who can cause a break within our relationship with Christ. We can search for someone to blame. We might even have somebody in mind, but we alone hold the only blame. As Christians, at times, we are like sheep going to slaughter, but we cannot be slaughtered if we are holding onto the presence of power of Christ. As Christians, at times, we are confronted with the ungodly, unholy, unrighteous, and unimaginable, but we cannot be enveloped unless we are willing participants. Yes, life can be hard, especially if you are a follower of Christ, but through Christ we can overcome anything, ANYTHING.

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me over come all the stands in opposition to my faith, and let it be done to Your glory.

Published in: on December 22, 2011 at 10:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Daily Devotion 12/21/11

John 10:3-4 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. [4] When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

As children hear the voice of their parents, their natural action is a reaction. From the very moments they enter this world, they become in tune with the sound that flows from the hearts of their mommies and daddies. As they begin to desire nourishment, the voices of their parents brings them comfort. As they begin to challenge gravity, the voices of their parents bring them encouragement, encouragement to take another step, for it will all be ok. As they step into more stages of life, the sounds they experience resonating from their parents are that of love and concern, but also of direction. At times, they might not like the change in pitch from the voice of their fathers as it corrects them; but in the end, they realize it is for their own good. Recognizing, answering, and acknowledging certain voices comes naturally, especially when they have become a major part of our lives. The same is true in regard to our relationship with God. When we draw close to Him, our hearts and minds are open to hearing His purpose for our lives. Are you understanding the direction of God for your life? If not, maybe it’s because He is not being recognized, answered, or acknowledged within your life.

Prayer Starter:

Lord, speak to me and help me understand how I can serve You powerfully within this world.

Published in: on December 22, 2011 at 12:18 am  Leave a Comment