1 Peter 2:9
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." NIV
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." KJV
It's not "cool" to be odd and peculiar these days. However, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we have accepted that God has bought us with the blood of His Son, and we are His private property, His own people. This makes us totally the opposite of those who live without God in their lives. While they live with hearts that desire the things of this world, we, as God's holy people, understand that we are not even of this world, nor are we at home in this world. As long as we live in this world, we are not a part of it and it stands out clearly to everyone who sees us. While the ungodly may mock us and cut us down with their words and deeds, we continue to shine as lights in a dark world. The Holy Spirit will convict those who are living in sin, and then they will have to choose to be a part of God's kingdom or remain in the darkness.
Heavenly Father, forgive us for being backward in showing our faith that makes us different from those without You. Forgive us for trying to blend in with them out of fear. Give us boldness, by Your Holy Spirit so that we will shine as peculiar people so that those who are in the dark will see Your light and will be drawn to You by the Holy Spirit. We ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.
A concise daily devotional developed to
encourage reading and understanding of God's Word.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Saturday, September 29, 2012
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." NIV
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." KJV
We all know that our world's view is one of instant gratification, instant answers, instant closure. Technology is geared to develop faster processors, quicker communication, and instant knowledge. This is not God's way. It is our God who governs the right time for all things and how they will come about. We might have high speed Internet, but when we pray to the Lord for an answer to our situations, we wait on Him to work it out in His time and in His way, because it is His will and His good pleasure to make it perfect and to be glorified in it. When we allow our God to work things out in His time, we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is right and it is perfect timing.
Heavenly Father, how weak we are that we pray for answers and say that we trust You for the answers, then we complain and become worrisome that the answer isn't here now. Help us to wait in quiet confidence that You have time for everything and a purpose for our waiting for it. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Friday, September 28, 2012
"Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in my sinful nature, a slave to the law of sin." NIV
"I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." KJV
Do we really grasp the captivity of sin that Christ freed us from by His death and resurrection? We are free to make a conscious decision to live the way our Lord intends for us to live. We no longer have to be enslaved by temptation and ungodly ways. When we get our minds off God, it is natural for us to fall back into our old fleshly ways. If we commit ourselves to engulf ourselves in communion with God and His Word, we will stay safely in the freedom for which Christ paid such a precious price.
Heavenly Father, how we praise You that You sent Your Son to set us free from our own fleshly natures and from the grasp of Satan. Give us more hunger for Your Word and to spend time in quiet communion with You so that we will not fall back into our old natures. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
"Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience." NIV
"Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness." KJV
We can think of times when we have worked a very hard day and with our weary bodies we lie down to a good night's sleep. When we wake up, we feel refreshed and strengthened. Just imagine how we can feel when we allow God to strengthen our weary spirits with His mighty power. Yes, God longs to make us strong by His all powerful strength. His Word tells us He does this so that we will meet every day in this evil world with more energy and patience.
Heavenly Father, we cannot fathom the power that dwells with You that is all power. We stand in need of strength to stand against the trials and problems this world throws our way. Forgive us for wanting to give up and sit back in defeat. Give us strength to endure with patience and joy through Your almighty power. We ask in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people." NIV
"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." KJV
How do the eyes of our hearts get enlightened? God tells us in His Word that if we ask believing, He will give us that which we ask for. If we sincerely pray for eyes of understanding, God will not only remove the veil that keeps us from seeing His mighty deeds, but He will show us the magnificence of the eternal future He has made for those of us who love Him and live according to His Word.
Heavenly Father, we praise You and magnify Your name for the wonderful gift of grace You have given so that we will live and reign with You in your glorious presence and the richness of You eternal love. Give us eyes of understanding so that we will stay on the path of righteousness and know this wonderful future You have for us. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
2 Timothy 2:21
"Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work." NIV
"If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." KJV
The Word of God says we, who are saved, are responsible to clean ourselves up from dishonorable thoughts, words, and deeds so that we can be useful to God and His purposes. This cleaning is not something we can give mental assent to and it will be done. We cannot make half hearted attempts and put on an outward appearance of being clean. It will take getting on our knees, humbly before our Lord, confessing, repenting, and committing ourselves to God totally for His use. God chooses to use those individuals who choose to make themselves pure of worldly stains and are prepared to carry out His will.
Heavenly Father, how sorry we are that we get lazy and complacent in our spiritual walk. Help us to have zeal for being holy and pure in Your eyes so that You will be able to use us for Your purpose and we will be faithfully waiting to accomplish Your bidding. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Monday, September 24, 2012
"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days." NIV
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come." KJV
We have either said or heard others say that difficult things are happening to them and it doesn't seem that it is letting up. Many of the things we think are difficult are merely part of being a part of the human race. There will be a time, when the things that come upon us will be so terrible, the things we experience now will pale in comparison. That is why it is critical that we immerse ourselves in the Word of God, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. Then, until Christ comes for us, we will be able to stand strong and not waver when these difficult times come.
Heavenly Father, O how we thank You that You have given us all we need to stay strong and victorious in the last difficult days. Help us to cling to those things You have provided. Give us unquenchable hunger for Your Word. Draw us to other Christians who earnestly seek You. Give us the will to stand strong in the power of Your might, so that we will be victorious in the difficult and terrible times. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
" The heavens declare of glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hands." NIV
"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork." KJV
When we step outside on a clear night, we can look up into the sky and see the vast and countless stars that fill the sky. If we focus on just one star, we begin to see many more around it and far beyond it in the distance. God tells us in His Word that the stars cannot be counted. They go on and on into the heavens and beyond to eternity. It is the same when we look at the bright blue sky on a clear day. We cannot see the end of it, past the sun and beyond. This is what God spoke into existence for us. These magnificent creations were formed by His almighty hands. Those who refuse to believe God have no excuse. His glory is plainly declared merely by looking upward.
Heavenly Father, how glorious and majestic You are that You would put the sky and the stars in place and hold them there by Your Word and Your almighty hands. We praise You for the magnificence of our universe and pray that unbelievers would acknowledge that You are the Creator God who loves them and sent His Son to die for their sins. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
"Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." NIV
"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also that loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour." KJV
How often do we fail to sacrifice our own wants and needs for someone else? Are we guilty of turning the other way when we see someone in need because it is inconvenient or we don't have the time to give in love? The truth is, we don't have time not to show God's love because the world is in such great need of experiencing it through God's people. If we are children of God, we will be like Christ, and give of ourselves and our time to show love and care to those who need it. In so doing, our acts of love become a fragrant offering to our God, because we gave out of love for Him and for our fellowmen.
Heavenly Father, forgive us for our selfishness and lack of love toward those who are in need. Fill our hearts with compassion and love for those who need Your provision and use us to supply to them out of our abundance. Help us to not give thought to the time or amount of money it will take. But help us to give thought to the great sacrifice Christ made for us at the cross. In His name we pray, Amen.
Friday, September 21, 2012
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." NIV
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." KJV
The lives we lived before we were born again were lives of deep ruts of bondage to our own wills and to the strongholds brought about by the evil one. When Christ made us a new creature, we still have the responsibility to fight the old nature. Because the ruts of the old life are so deep, it is easy to fall back into old patterns. If we stand firm by the power of the Holy Spirit and of the Word of God, we will not be caught in the trap of being captive to sin, losing our freedom.
Heavenly Father, Your mercy toward us is everlasting. Help us have hunger for the fullness of Your Holy Spirit and for the Word so that we will have the weapons to fight the old nature and not get tangled up in the old ways. We humbly ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
"Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." NIV
"For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." KJV
So many times we get discouraged and down because our lives seem to be stressed to full capacity and we don't know how we can endure much more. We may be tempted to just quit trying or get so overwhelmed that we become ineffective and unproductive. When these times come, we can look at what Jesus endured while He walked this earth. We can consider the horror He went through from the Garden of Gethsemane to the Tomb. Then we will understand that He will provide the grace we need to rise above anything that comes against us in this life.
Heavenly Father, oh how weak and fragile we are! Help us to remember and reflect on the trials and unfair, evil treatment Christ endured while He was here. Give us Holy Spirit strength to stand firm against the things that come against us and weigh us down so that we will continue to be effective and productive for Your kingdom. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
"Set you minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." NIV
"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." KJV
When we live in the material world, it is naturally human to allow the things of this material world to distract us, discourage us, or even tempt us. The Lord knows this about us. That is why He has charged us with the responsibility to mindfully keep our focus on Him and the eternal things of God. Yes, it is difficult, but we have the Holy Spirit within us to remind us that we have gotten our eyes of our God and have allowed the things of this world to capture our hearts and minds.
Heavenly Father, we give You praise that You know us intimately and the world we live in that comes at us from every side. Help us to be open to the Holy Spirit so that we can refocus our hearts and minds on You and Your kingdom. Let us remember that we are hidden in You and this world cannot control us or harm us. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
"However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." NIV
"Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." KJV
Once we have repented of our sins and accepted the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross, it is natural that as newborn creatures in Him that we grow. During this time of growth, there is a danger that we will become enamored and distracted with the power He has given us through His name to take authority over evil forces. We may relish in sharing these experiences of how we were used in situations to make Satan flee. That in itself is not wrong. Where we get amiss is when this becomes our focus of the life of God in us. His Word tells us to not get caught up in the power He gives us, but to get enamored and caught up, rejoicingly, that our name is written in the book of life. That is the joy that is set before us.
Heavenly Father, we ask Your forgiveness when we get sidetracked at the things You do through us and put the real joy of our eternal life with You on the back burner. Help us Lord to always rejoice in that eternal joy as we share the mighty works You are doing through us and in our lives. We ask in Jesus' name, Amen.
Monday, September 17, 2012
"Then he said to his disciples, The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." NIV
"Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." KJV
As Christians, we all have at least one spiritual gift. We are to be putting it to work for the Lord's kingdom. Not only that, since the darkness of the world is so great, there are barely enough Christians who are willing to spend the energy to toil in the fields. How sad it is for Christians to be lazy and complacent. If we pray, God will speak to the hearts of His people to go out into the fields where the lost and dying live. He will provide the workers necessary to bring in all that will come. But we have to pray.
Heavenly Father, search our hearts to see if we are negligent to do work in Your fields. Stir our hearts for prayer to send Christian workers to shine the light of Christ on those who are perishing. We thank You for sending workers out so that sinners will be saved. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
1 Corinthians 15:58
"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." NIV
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." KJV
It's almost impossible to stay steady on rocky, rough ground. Spiritually, it is impossible to stand firm when things happen that shake our world. God is always watching and working things out for our good. If we keep our eyes on Him, He will put our feet on solid ground so that we will be victorious. Then, we can abound in good works, that is, do an outstanding job for the Lord. He will not let it go by unnoticed.
Heavenly Father, this world is so rocky and rough. We praise You that You make our feet to walk on steady, solid ground. Help us to use this blessing as time to do Your will and to walk in the way You lead us. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
"Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" NIV
"Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?" KJV
According to the Word of God, worry is a sign we are not putting our trust in the Lord to work out things in our lives. Some of us have a natural inclination to worry. Some of us believe our worry somehow helps. Regardless, worry only makes our bodies tense and our minds stressed. It does nothing to make things work out for the good. It is our spiritual responsibility to stop ourselves from worrying and pray to the Lord about our circumstances so that He will work on it for us. We can then be more at ease to read the Word and pray.
Heavenly Father, whatever the reason, forgive us for the time we spend worrying. Forgive us for not fully trusting that You are working all things for good to those of us who love You. Help us to accept the peace and calm You are so ready to give us so that we will be in the right frame of mind to be open to Your leading. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Friday, September 14, 2012
"Come follow me, Jesus said, and I will send you out to fish for people." NIV
"And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." KJV
Jesus knew the disciples were familiar with the craft of fishing. They fully understood what He meant when He said they would be fishing for people for His kingdom. It is the same for us today in whatever profession or craft we have. The finished product of all we say and do is shining the light of Christ wherever we are so that those who need His saving grace will come to Him. It is not necessary that we be of great speech or in front of large crowds. It is only necessary that we ourselves are following Jesus and encourage others to follow along with us. God will do the rest in the hearts of those who seek Him.
Heavenly Father, how we thank You that You have made us fishers of men. Help us to keep pure hearts, lifting You up in the fullness of Your Spirit, so that we will draw all men to You. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." NIV
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." KJV
We only have the power to resist the devil after we totally submit ourselves to God. When we recognize we are being taunted and attacked by the evil one, we often try to chase him away in our own strength. If we turn to our God and put our lives completely in His hands, we can then resist evil, and he has to go away. Satan cannot stay in the presence of the Almighty God.
Heavenly Father, we confess that we try to resist evil in our own strength at times. Forgive us for that. Help us to always turn to You in those times of temptation and taunting from Satan. Give us Your power to resist him and make him flee. It is by Your power that we live and breathe. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." NIV
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." KJV
How many times have we found ourselves minutes, hours, or even days into worrying about a matter before we realize we have been wasting precious energy on anxiety? At the moment an anxious thought, or troubling situation arises, we can go directly to the throne of grace and let our God know about it. He will comfort us and give us peace, so we will know He is taking care of it for us. After all, He is in control of all things, and nothing is impossible for Him.
Heavenly Father, forgive us for worrying and fretting over things. Help us to come instantly to You when we become anxious about a matter. Increase our faith as we seek You to take care of those things that bother us and keep us upset. We praise You for Your peace and comfort You lavishly pour out on us when we come to You. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
"I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." NIV
"I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." KJV
What does it mean to repent? First of all it means we have admitted our sin, we have felt the burden of guilt and remorse for it, and asking forgiveness, we turn our backs away from that sin and walk in the right way. Talking of repentance to others is where most Christians seem to get shut out by an unrepentant world. Non-Christians don't want to hear about repenting, sin, and eternal damnation. But it is a truth that is critical for everyone to hear and have the choice to repent or not of their sins. If we will ask God to search our own hearts so we can repent of any unrighteousness within us, then we can speak the Word to those who need to hear it. When we speak, we allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us so that He will convict of sin and we won't be judging with our own words and thoughts.
Heavenly Father, search our hearts to see if we are in need of repentance. Help us to speak, by the Holy Spirit, the word of repentance to the lost, so that they will be convicted of their sin, repent, and give their hearts to You. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.