1 Thessalonians 5:18
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." NIV
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." KJV
We are not encouraged to give thanks to God for every circumstance, even those that take our health, take away loved ones, or cause us to lose our livelihood and financial stability. But we are encouraged to give thanks to God "in" all these circumstances. We thank Him in spite of the bad and because of the good. That is His will for us because, if we are trusting that He works all things out for our good, we have much for which to be thankful. When bad things come our way, we can focus on the work God is doing in our lives and know that we will come through this victoriously and closer to being like Him. That in itself should make our hearts rejoice.
Heavenly Father, forgive us for keeping our eyes fixed on the problems that we face and forget that You are working these things through our lives so that we will be more mature and more like Jesus Christ. We thank You for being with us in all things and not having to go through them alone. Give us hearts of thanksgiving in all things, no matter what they are. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
A concise daily devotional developed to
encourage reading and understanding of God's Word.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
". . . . .I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it." NIV
". . . . .and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."KJV
Back during Biblical times, the casting of lots was used to make a decision and determine the will of God. Most often stones of white and black were used. The placement and the position of the white stone after the stones were cast, determined the choice. When the Lord comes for His own, those who have overcome, He will not cast stones to see if we are allowed to enter into His presence for eternity. He will give each of us a white stone with our name on it because the decision was already made, when we met Jesus at the cross.
Heavenly Father, how blessed we are to have the assurance of salvation because of the blood Jesus shed on the cross. Help us to remember that their awaits a stone for each of us with our new name on it and let it reflects this amazing love and grace in our lives. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Monday, February 27, 2012
". . . .To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. . . ."NIV
". . . . To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna. . . ."KJV
Manna was supplied by the One and Only God to the children of Israel during the time they journeyed through the wilderness to the promised land. For the overcomers in this life today, the manna is still our nourishment to get through this world to eternal glory. We do not see the manna because it is hidden in the power and glory of Jesus Christ, who is the One who will nourish us through this wilderness until we see Him face to face in His kingdom.
Heavenly Father, help us to accept the hidden manna so that we will stay nourished and strong in the power of Your Holy Spirit. You knew getting through this life would be a long wearying trial and You made provisions for us to get through it. For this we thank and praise You. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
1 John 4:4
"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." NIV
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." KJV
One of the many things this world will be sure to throw in our paths is tribulation. As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit living within us. The same Holy Spirit whose power brought Jesus Christ out of the tomb of death. We are overcomers. Just because situations around us change, Jesus Christ never changes. As overcomers we can stand strong in the face of adversity, temptations, and persecution without giving up. Overcoming is a daily exercise of faith in which we seek the grace and mercy of God to help us stand strong. The power of the Holy Spirit within us is so much greater than any difficulty this world can bring our way.
Heavenly Father, forgive us for taking our eyes off of You and not giving the Holy Spirit freedom to make us overcomers in this world. The difficulties look large and it seems we will be swallowed up with suffering and loss. Help us to remember that those difficulties have no chance of destroying the eternal life and victory Jesus Christ already gave us at the Cross. In His name we pray, Amen.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." NIV
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock." KJV
Each of us are responsible to work out our own salvation. That process can be compared to building a house. When we are born again into the kingdom of God, we have total access to the Rock himself, Jesus Christ. We have Him as the foundation on which to build our house. Building on the Rock requires us to not only hear, but to do the words He tells us to do. It means taking constant care to live by the rules of His holy kingdom and to depend entirely on Him. The foundation is firm and steadfast. Those who hear but do not do the words of Christ, build houses on loose sand. When the rains come and the storms of life rage, those houses will not stand, but will be destroyed. There is no hope for those whose houses are build on anything other than the Rock Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, we give You praise for Jesus Christ and allowing us to build our Christian walk on Him. Help us to be ready at all times to tell others that they can have this Rock upon which to build. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Friday, February 24, 2012
"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field." NIV
"The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field." KJV
The mustard seed is very small, in fact each seed is about the size of the point on the lead of a pencil. When we are born into the kingdom of God as His children, we are given a seed of faith to help us grow and mature and Christians. As we grow in faith, our spiritual eyes become clearer, our faith is strengthened, and the love of God within us increases. During this time of maturing faith, we are in contact with other people. Some of those people will pick up a mustard seed from us. They will go their way and they, too, will grow and mature in faith. The same small seed will find it's way to multitudes who are desiring to know God and grow in faith. The one small mustard seed that began in us, has now become the body of Christ. And yes, the unity of faith of the body of Christ can move any mountain.
Heavenly Father, forgive us for allowing our faith to stay sleeping or hidden. Give us hearts that burn to share our faith so that others will take hold and the body of believers will become the mighty fortress You made it to be. Give us boldness to share our faith to others, so that they will share theirs. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though man, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." NIV
"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." KJV
Each part of our own bodies has a function that when working properly, is a healthy, well functioning machine. We don't waste time complaining that our little fingers do not perform like our lungs. Nor do we rave on and on about how important our livers are and how useless our appendixes are. Each one of our bodies parts are made for a specific purpose. In the same way, we are all parts of the body of Christ. If we are all working in the way we were intended to work, the body of Christ will be healthy and well functioning. If some parts of Christ's body become arrogant and believe they are more important than other parts, the whole body suffers. Likewise, if parts of Christ's body believe they are useless, the body of Christ will not function properly. As Christ's body, we all work together, doing our part and we will bring the head, which is Christ, glory and honor. The body does not work for the members, but the members work for the body.
Heavenly Father, please help us to know our place in the body of Christ so that we might do what is required of us to make the body healthy. Forgive us if we judge other parts of Christ's body as being less important or we become proud and begin to think we are more important than other parts. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?" NIV
"O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of this death?" KJV
Thinking as most humans do, we tend to think that because we have been delivered from sin and death, there will no longer be any problem with sin in our lives, or temptations to battle. O how wrong we are. Our souls have been completely saved and set free from sin and death, however, we forget that we still reside in these cursed, mortal bodies. These human bodies still have senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste that are still cursed. Of course we are going to be exposed to all kinds of sinful, tempting things. Our spiritual man will war with our earthly man about these things. It is a life long battle that is no respecter of persons. The more we seek God and allow Him to make us more like Him, the more Satan uses our earthly bodies to try and draw us away with the feel good, look good, sound good, taste good, smell good things of this world. The Word of God tells us not to get weary in this battle, but to seek Him for refreshment and renewing of our mind. If we stay in an attitude of prayer, we will be able to continue this battle until time is no more and we are free in eternity with our Lord.
Heavenly Father, help us to remember we are confined in these earthly bodies that are still under the curse and are subject to destruction as well as to sin. Give us hearts of submission to the Holy Spirit within us to fight this battle and keep sin from having its' way with us. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires." NIV
"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." KJV
Who of us would deliberately allow sin to control us, to dominate us, to lead us after we have repented and now walk the straight and narrow path? If we forget that we are but weak, human flesh, which we so often do, we are easily distracted by those things that hold an interest or temptation for us. It is so easy for this to happen, that we allow sin to subtly slip in and there it begins to spread and grows into full blown temptation and sin. If we have a thought, or see something that reminds us of our old life, and we dwell on it, we give it authority over us, to minimize it's danger, to rationalize that it is not as bad as it seems. If we turn from those thoughts and reminders and give them fully into God's hands, we will not be enticed by it's deceitful attraction. God will reign in our earthly bodies, not sin.
Heavenly Father, our spirits are willing but our flesh is so weak. We thank You for the Word that reminds us to be careful about playing with sin, thinking we will not get caught in its' web. Help us Lord, to quickly turn to You when thoughts of those things that tempt us come to us that we might render them powerless to have control over us. We ask You to reign in our earthly bodies, in Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Monday, February 20, 2012
"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin." NIV
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." KJV
Most of us as sinners saved by grace, realize all of our filthy, ungodly ways are put to death as we identify with the death of Christ and how He took all of that from us and placed it on Himself to pay the penalty for us. Why then, do we continue to allow thoughts of past sins make us continue to feel ashamed, guilty, or unclean. Why do we let past sins keep us from moving forward and stepping out as witnesses because we have these dark, shameful pasts? The Word says those sins are as if they are no more. We don't have to allow our thinking to drag us back to the place of the sin and cause it to bind us up again. We are no longer in prison by what we did in the past. We can live free with joy and assurance that what we did then no longer has a hold on us nor can it keep us from moving forward for Christ.
Heavenly Father, help us when we are reminded of sins from the past. Help us to allow the Holy Spirit within us to bring those thoughts captive to Christ, who destroyed those sins long ago on the cross. Give us peace and joy to live freely in the blessings of the Holy Spirit rather than hold our heads down over something that doesn't even exist anymore. We pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light." NIV
"The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." KJV
For a moment let's think of our eyes as flashlights in a dark room. After all, the Word says our eyes are lamps for the body and we live in a very dark world. Let's take a moment to focus on the Lord, His Holiness, His Power, His greatness. Our eyes are capturing the greatness of God and our whole hearts and beings are lifted in faith and richness at a glimpse of Him. If that's all it takes to be lifted up, energized in faith and, by the Spirit, seeing God's glory, why would we not keep our eyes fixed on Him. There is always that clamor of the world that turns our focus to the things of this world. Of course, we need to know what's going on in this world, but if we keep our focus on it, we lose the awesome light of the Lord in our lives. Are we keeping our eyes, that are lamps, focused on Him?
Heavenly Father, forgive us for allowing the things of this world to cause us to shift our lamps to the things of this world. Help us to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit to keep our eyes fixed on the things of God, so that we will have the fullness of Godly light and we will be able to contend with the things that happen around us in this world. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
"But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed." NIV
"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." KJV
God will never tempt us to sin, nor will He place us in a situation in which we have no choice but to sin. On the same note, the devil will never make us sin. Remember! We always have a choice. The reason we get caught up in a sin and end up convicted by the Holy Spirit is because we have gotten distracted by something ungodly that appeals to us, we toy with the idea, we rationalize the act, and we choose to engage in what we have convinced ourselves to be a harmless sin. If we are willing to face this truth, truly remorseful and repentant, God will forgive us. If we are prepared for these episodes of temptation, we will be able to resist and give God the glory.
Heavenly Father, we pray that the Holy Spirit will prepare us for the fiery darts that Satan sends at us every day. We pray that we will be ready so that we will not be drawn to the things that are displeasing to you and we will not give in to them. Fill us with the Holy Spirit so that we will walk in the Spirit and keep our hearts and minds pure, not being drawn away where we will be weak. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Friday, February 17, 2012
"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores." NIV
"There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores." KJV
Wealth, comfort, and health here on earth are not signs of God's favor. Poverty, misery, and sickness are not signs of God's disfavor. God looks at the condition of our hearts and spirit, our relationship with Him. That will determine our eternal condition. Let us examine our hearts, our spiritual conditions, and our relationship with the Lord. The world looks at the outer appearance and success. God looks only at the condition of the heart.
Heavenly Father, forgive us for judging others by what we see. Help us to understand that every person we encounter is of eternal value in Your eyes. Give us Your eyes to see them as precious diamonds in the kingdom so that we don't miss out on a great blessing that individual may have had just for us from You. We ask and pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
"God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth." NIV
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." KJV
Exactly what is worship? It is expressing adoring reverence, respect, and thankfulness toward one who deserves this expression from us. There is no worship in saying words that have no inward desire to be expressed, but are uttered because it is expected or we want to appear to be worshipping. Neither is there worship in mere acts of tradition and rituals that we perform because that's how we were raised. True worship comes from the heart of the worshipper by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. True worship always brings us back to the cross, where we realize we are only in His presence because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. We have been made worthy by faith in Christ and by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. When we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us, He will speak the truth, and we will worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth.
Heavenly Father, forgive us for going through the motions at times because we are overtaken by things that are going on in our personal lives and not by what You are doing in our lives. Help us to be open to the Holy Spirit so that we can come into your presence to worship in Spirit and in truth. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
2 Peter 3:18
"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." NIV
"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." KJV
How do we grow in grace and knowledge? Well, we know what happens if we don't. We will not endure, we will slowly be sucked back into the ways of the world under the control of the evil one. We grow in grace and knowledge by feeding daily on the Word of God, entering daily into the Holy Place of prayer with our God, and daily walking in the Holy Spirit that lives in us. The Lord is waiting for us to do these things because He stands ready to pour out his grace on us and give us true knowledge of the things of God that can only be known through revelation by the Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, how we humbly ask for Your forgiveness for being lax and complacent in our hunger for growth as Christians. Renew that hunger in us we had at the beginning of our walk with You. Help us to grow in grace and knowledge of You. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
1 Corinthians 9:24
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." NIV
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." KJV
We are urgently advised many times in the Word to be active: stand; walk; be still; be alert; be ready; watch. Being a true child of the King of King and Lord of Lords is not a spectator sport. We are to be always being about our Father's business. When we run the race of living this life victoriously, there isn't only one person who actually wins the free gift of eternal life. But we are instructed to run as if there is only one winner. If we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and live as God pleases, we will be in a constant state of activity using our whole hearts, souls, bodies, and strengths. If anyone believes the Christian life is boring, he is being deceived and doesn't understand what being a true Christian is. Run like everything is at stake, because it is.
Heavenly Father, how we thank You that You have provided the way for us to be in this race to eternal life. If we are slacking in our efforts to mature and grow, forgive us. Help us to use the sufficient grace You have given us to win this race, each and every one of us who accept the sacrifice at the Cross. We pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.
Monday, February 13, 2012
"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."NIV
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." KJV
God made man and saw that it was good. But, man fell into the trap of Satan and thereafter lived in the place of bondage and sin. Jesus came, not to destroy this wicked world of lost souls in bondage, but because He saw the people God loved being held prisoners by the evil one. He gave Himself as a sacrifice to set these lost souls free. His sacrifice is eternal. It is for all, past, present, and future who are caught in the snare of sin and the cares of this world. If we accept His death on Calvary and His resurrection, we will be saved and not condemned. That's why He came.
Heavenly Father, help us to never lose sight of the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Give us a greater vision that He died not only for us, but for those who are difficult for us to love, those who seem to repel us. Give us boldness and love by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the great commission, we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
"So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." NIV
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." KJV
There are two opposing forces in each one of us who have accepted Jesus Christ. The one is the power of the Holy Spirit in us and the other is our natural tendencies and desires. They are in conflict with each other much of the time. Staying in the Word and prayer will nourish the Holy Spirit in us. If we do these things, the Holy Spirit living in us will bring the natural into submission to Christ.
Heavenly Father, we ask You to forgive us for being lax in our habits of studying the Word and communing with You in prayer. Give us a greater hunger for these things. We thank You for sending the Holy Spirit as a Comforter, Guide, and ever present power to keep us from following our own selfish desires. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being." NIV
"That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." KJV
Do we feel powerful as Christians? Do we even sense the power of the Holy Spirit? Remember when Jesus was with the disciples after He rose from the dead, He told them they would be saturated with the power of the Holy Spirit. This saturation of the Holy Spirit was for those who heard Him, those who were afar off, and those who would call on the name of the Lord. We have no excuse for being weak and lukewarm Christians. There should be a fire in our souls that will not be satisfied until we have shared the Gospel, shown acts of love to the unlovable, and committed our whole lives to Him. We desire the power of God through His Holy Spirit, the power that brought Jesus Christ out of the grave.
Heavenly Father, please forgive us for ignoring and minimizing the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives as Christians. Forgive us for being ineffective on a daily basis and for missing opportunities that would bring souls to Your kingdom because we did not allow ourselves to be filled with the power of Your Holy Spirit. Fill us, saturate us, Lord, with the power of Your Spirit, we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Friday, February 10, 2012
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." NIV
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." KJV
Isn't it just our natural tendency to take revenge when we have been hurt and wronged? The Word of God tells us to do the opposite of what our own nature tells us to do. We see only through a glass darkly. How do we know there was an evil intent committed or if it was an accident? Who are we to set up ourselves as judge when there is only one Judge. Besides, who knows but what an act of kindness in response to an evil act might be the thing that brings a lost soul to Christ. If we think about that when we are face to face with evil, there is no telling what the Lord will do, if we respond with good. He will be glorified because we have obeyed His Word.
Heavenly Father, it is so difficult to respond in a way that is opposite to how we naturally want to respond. Please fill us with Your Holy Spirit that we may be full of goodness that will overcome evil. Forgive us for seeking our own revenge and setting ourselves up as judges. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.