5/30/13 Daily Devotion

2 Kings 17:33 They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.

How can we worship the one true God and serve another false entity? Life is about choices. We choose the paths we want to walk, and then we live with our choices. We choose the direction we want to go and stand powerfully within this decision. We decide whom we desire to become, and we do all that is necessary to make the change occur. So, then, how can we choose God and not give up all false entities? How can we choose God and not remove all that keeps us from being His children? How can we make a claim of allegiance while sharing this allegiance with something else? We want to walk the fine line between a strong faith and a self- righteousness, demonstrating to the world that we are conforming, but hoping we will have done just enough to please God. It is time to take a stand for God. It’s time to show this world what it means to serve Him. It’s time to demonstrate to this world why we claim to be Christians. Well, that is, of course, only if you take your faith seriously.

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me see where my faith lacks realism, and give me the courage to bring about change.

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Published in: on May 30, 2013 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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5/29/13 Daily Devotion

Exodus 20:7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

So many people take the Lord’s name in vain. They throw out profanity and include God’s name within their filthy words. Why? What is the point? How would we feel if our name was used in the same manner? Are we trying to make a point? Are we trying to convince God to act on our behalf, or are we just acting in ignorance? To use the name of God in an improper manner is an act of ignorance and disrespect. For each occurrence, we will be held accountable. For each utterance, we will have to give an answer. For each syllable, we will be judged by God. The misuse of God’s name is a sign of contempt for His presence and power. It shows the exact manner of our respect for Him. What do your words say about your relationship with God?

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me present a glorious picture of You through my life, so others will come and find the same forgiveness You have so graciously given to me.

Published in: on May 29, 2013 at 10:47 am  Comments (1)  

5/28/13 Daily Devotion

Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

When we think about the timing of this verse, it brings about an interesting picture. As Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments from God, the people of God were creating a golden image. They were reaching for the peace of an idol to carry them through a time in which they felt God had left them. They turned back to what they knew and away from what was real. We have a tendency to do the same within our lives. When life gets tough, when we feel like God is not there, we run back to our old habits and understandings, hoping to find peace. But we soon figure out that we did not have peace before, and we will not have peace now, for apart from God there is no true peace. Making an idol, worshipping an idol, placing anything before God, is our way of stating that He is not good enough. Even so, deep down we know He is really all we need.

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me understand that You are all I need.

Published in: on May 29, 2013 at 10:46 am  Leave a Comment  

5/27/13 Daily Devotion

Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

Why would God place such a restriction upon His people? What’s the big deal if we share our dedication to Him with another entity? Well, if you have to ask these questions, then you obviously don’t understand the importance of a relationship with God. This commandment is not just so God will be glorified; it is also for the sake and direction of His children. If we place even the most minut amount of effort into pleasing another entity, whether that be a human, our job, our boss, or that pesky person at church, we are taking away from our relationship with God. That will lead us down the path of destruction. We are to worship, honor, and live for the glory of the One true God, forsaking all others and focusing on Him. For that, we will be blessed beyond our human understanding.

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me set aside my desire to place anything in my life above You.

Published in: on May 28, 2013 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  

5/25/13 Daily Devotion

Colossians 3:9-10 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices [10] and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

What does it say to the world if our actions are no different than those who are worldly? If we claim an allegiance to God, if we claim to be His servants, yet we continue to be a reflection of the world, we are lying about ourselves. When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we made a commitment to Him and His Word, a commitment to change our lives. When we present our lives within this world, we must present ourselves an image of God. When we are with other Christians, we must present ourselves an image of God. This world needs us, as Christians, to be Christians. It needs to see us standing up for our faith. It needs us to present the truth in love. It needs us, but are we willing to fulfill this need?

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me fulfill my purpose while I am here upon this earth.

Published in: on May 27, 2013 at 10:41 am  Comments (1)  

5/24/13 Daily Devotion

Numbers 23:19 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

As Christians, we are called to be a reflection of Christ. Christ, in turn, was the image in human form. Thus we are called to formulate our lives to the image of God. While this is difficult, it is possible. One area in which we fall short of reflecting God is in the sharing of truth. We often believe it is necessary to change the truth or create a different version of its existence to bring about a specific result, but this is wrong. To intentionally adjust the truth to bring about a desired result is lying, and being a liar is not being a reflection of God. It’s fairly simple: we will choose to become children of God, living a life that reflects Him, or we will choose to become products of our own selfish ambitions.

Prayer Starter:

Lord, make me into a powerful reflection of Your presence, so this world can see the extent of Your love.

Published in: on May 25, 2013 at 12:11 am  Comments (2)  

5/23/13 Daily Devotion

1 John 1:6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

Our lives, whether we believe it or not, are open books. We might be able to fool some people, but we can’t fool them all. People need only to listen and observe to understand who we are and what we deem as important. Many Christians do exactly what John states in today’s scripture reference. They claim fellowship with God. They claim allegiance to Him. They claim a personal relationship exists, but their actions and words speak clearly to the opposite. They walk tall within the gathering of the fellowship, but fade into their own sinful ways as they walk out the doors. Why do we do this? We do this because we want to be perceived as faithful to God, but we want to remain faithful to ourselves. In essence, we want to reap the benefits of eternity in Heaven, but we want the freedom to do as we please here on earth. This is not how faith works. God has the expectation of our faithfulness even when it is contrary to the desires of our hearts. God expects us to walk like Christians, talk like Christians, and act like Christians. He expects us to live as those who are forgivenn and set free, even set free from our own hearts, our own desires. Are you living within the expectations of God?

Prayer Starter:

Lord, Your expectations of me may seem unreasonable at times, but I know they are necessary. Please help me understand what I need to do, even if I don’t understand why.

Published in: on May 23, 2013 at 7:59 pm  Comments (1)  

5/22/13 Daily Devotion

Acts 7:1 Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?”

Members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen came to oppose the teachings of Stephen. They tried arguing with him but found it to be very difficult to stand up against the wisdom God had given to him. The only other option was to devise a plan to prevent him from teaching. They convinced some people to bring false claims of blasphemy against him and thus stir up the crowd. Eventually, Stephen was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin. Stephen was made aware of the charges and asked about their truthfulness. A this point, Stephen had a choice. He could try to word things in such a manner that it would serve to aid in his release, or he could speak the truth no matter the consequences. Stephen powerfully spoke the truth, and, for that, he was dragged out and stoned to death. Sometimes, we refrain from speaking the truth because we are afraid of the consequences. This is an act of cowardice. We must be willing to share the honest truth with the correct motives, or we will have to answer, no matter the consequences. The truth might cause some friends to leave. The truth might cause some people to be hurt. The truth might cause us some unwanted pain, but the truth shall set us free.

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me see the necessity behind sharing the truth with the right motives.

Published in: on May 23, 2013 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

5/21/13 Daily Devotion

1 Corinthians 13:6
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

How can a heart filled with God also be filled with falsehoods? Those who call upon the name of Jesus, those who have given their lives over to Him, those who have surrendered their wills over to His, should be filled with His love and compassion. So why, then, are so many Christians today spouting untruths from their mouths? The answer is simple: they have not yet relinquished control of their lives over to God. They have invited Him in, but they keep Him closed in the vestibule. For they know if He entered through the doors of their hearts, things would have to change, and that is something they are not ready to allow. This heart says things like, “Not now. Life is to good.” “Later, when things settle, then my heart will be available.” But what if later is too late? What if later never comes? Do we want to risk our eternal placement for a minute amount of joy here upon this earth?

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me live within the spectrum of truth, Your truth.

Published in: on May 23, 2013 at 7:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

5/20/13 Daily Devotion

Acts 5:3-4 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? [4] Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

The early church members did all that they could to sustain and advance the movement of God. They cared so much that they were willing to sell their own possessions and turn over the money to the disciples. Ananias and Sapphira had some land and made the decision to sell it and donate the money. After the land was sold, they decided to keep some of the money for themselves, but told the disciples they were donating all of it. Each of them were brought before Peter, each separately stuck to the story, and each fell over dead as a result of his lies. While this is an extreme occurrence, it still gives us a clear understanding that the result of lying brings about an end result that is not desirable. In their case, it was death. In our case, in the end, separation from the presence of God for all eternity. Some might say this is a little harsh, but they should be reminded of the words of Peter, “You have lied not just to human beings, but to God.”

Prayer Starter:

Lord, help me think about my words before they leave my mouth, for after they are released there is no taking them back.

Published in: on May 21, 2013 at 12:24 am  Leave a Comment