Monday, June 26, 2017

Grace in One Gospel (Galatians 1:6)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 1:6

We live in a world of spiritual “buffets.” Take a bit of this, a little of that. Put it all together and create what works for you.

Even those who call themselves Christians say that the Bible isn’t God’s inherent word or there is more than one road to salvation.

They don’t want truth because it doesn’t line up with what they want to hear. Paul warned of this very thing: “The time is coming when people won’t listen to good teaching. Instead, they will look for teachers who will please them by telling them only what they are itching to hear” (CEV, 2 Tim. 4:3).

The Bible makes it very clear: There is one gospel, one faith, one way of salvation. (See Eph. 4:4-6; John 14:6).

Follow the Bible or don’t. It’s your choice. But if you choose to follow the Bible, then know that there is one gospel, one way of salvation.

One gift of grace.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Gift of Grace (Romans 5:15, 17)

Today’s scripture: Romans 5:15,17

We’ve said this before: Grace is unmerited favor; it’s getting what we do NOT deserve.

Sin entered the world through “one man’s offense.” When Adam chose to go his own way and rebel against God, we all “died” spiritually.

Because of this, we all deserve punishment and eternal separation from God.

But we are so very loved—and I hope you know how loved you are. God, in His infinite grace, through one Man offers salvation and a renewed relationship with Him.

One man brought death; one Man brings life.

That’s what grace is all about.

That’s how loved you are.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 8:9

If you are reading this devotional, you have some sort of electronic device, which means you have adequate funds to afford it … which means you’re likely wealthier than most of the population of this earth.

But what is true wealth? Money? Things?

Today’s verse talks about Jesus’ being “rich.” I’m relatively certain Jesus has no use for money, so how was He rich, and what did He give up to become “poor”?

He gave up so much more than mere money. He gave up heaven. Heaven! He chose to become human. To feel pain, betrayal, denial, and death.

For us.

And because He was willing to give up His riches to become poor, we, who are spiritually poor, can become rich—in those things that really matter.

We become rich in grace and faith … and we become rich knowing that we’ll spend eternity with Jesus.

True riches!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Grace Through Faith (Romans 5:2)

Today’s scripture: Romans 5:2

This year, we’ve looked at verses about hope, peace, faith, and grace … and it often seems like these words are found together. And this makes sense.

Grace and faith go hand in hand. We have faith in God, and we receive salvation through His grace.

Knowing that we have been saved through grace brings peace.

Even more, as we reflect upon grace, we find great hope in God’s glory. Hope in His everlasting presence and abundant love. Hope in eternity with Him.

Oh, we are so very blessed.

Peace and hope through faith and grace.

What a great God we serve! 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Grace in Vain? (2 Corinthians 6:1)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:1

It breaks my heart when I hear people say something like, “Well, I can live however I want as long as I ask for forgiveness.” They really don’t understand what grace is. And what Jesus did for us to receive grace.

They “receive the grace of God in vain.”

For us to have grace—unmerited favor—Jesus died. He died. He gave everything so that we could have everything: salvation, justification, eternal life.

When we think of all He did, we should want to live differently so that He is pleased, so that He receives glory and honor.

Grace isn’t a “get out of jail free” card to be used over and over. It’s a gift, an amazing gift from the sovereign God of the universe.

Be grateful … and don’t take it in vain.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Mystery of Grace (Hebrews 2:9)

Today’s scripture: Hebrews 2:9

I’ll never completely understand this side of heaven why God’s plan for salvation included Jesus Christ’s having to die for us.

Jesus, the Son of God, and in truth, God Himself, came to earth, took on flesh, was betrayed and denied, was beaten and bruised, and died a horrible death.

According to God’s grace.

This is the mystery: God took grace away from a very part of Himself and gave grace to us. Jesus did not deserve death; we do not deserve grace. Yet, He died so we could live.

It is a mystery, but it is the greatest truth! We are saved, redeemed, and justified through the undeserved death of Jesus … God Himself.

Amazing …

Monday, June 12, 2017

Grace and Wisdom (2 Corinthians 1:12)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:12

“Fleshly wisdom” is very, very different than godly wisdom.

The flesh says, “I can do what I want … as long as I don’t get caught.” Godly wisdom says, “I must do what God has called me to do.”

The flesh says, “It’s just a little white lie; no one will know.” Godly wisdom says, “God sees the heart.”

The flesh says, “No one cares what I do.” Godly wisdom says, “God, who knows the number of hairs on my head, wants me to serve Him and others.”

When we live “in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity,” we represent the One who created us and the One who saved us. We honor Him and shine the light of Jesus.

Fleshly wisdom may seem great for today ... but it’s foolish for eternity.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Imparting Grace (Ephesians 4:29)

Today’s scripture: Ephesians 4:29

I find it rather tragic when I hear a follower of Christ use vulgar words or gossip maliciously … from that same mouth that praises God on Sunday morning.

What must nonbelievers think when they hear Christians speak this way? How are we any different? More importantly, how are we examples of Christ?

Before I recommitted my life to the Lord, I had quite a mouth on me. Four-letter words were not uncommon. But when I surrendered my life to Him, I prayed that I would speak words of encouragement and, as today’s verse says, edification. I wanted—and I want still—to speak words that lift people up, words that please my heavenly Father.

Think about what you say and how you say it? Are you representing Jesus with your words?

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Building on Grace (1 Corinthians 3:10)

Today’s scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:10

Fifteen years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to watch our then-home be built from the ground up. It was fun watching it grow from a bare plot of land to a foundation. Then framing. Then a roof. Then doors and windows.

And finally … a completed house.

We too can lay foundations of faith—or build on foundations others have laid. By His grace, God has given each of us gifts and talents to be representatives of Him and to share the good news of salvation.

Some are pastors and teachers, and many learn of salvation through their teaching. Others are encouragers or have the gift of hospitality, and they represent Jesus in the flesh. Still others are prayer warriors who lift up many who have needs.

Each of us who follows Christ have a part in building His church.

Are you doing your part?

Monday, June 05, 2017

By Grace Given ... (Romans 12:3)

Today’s scripture: Romans 12:3

A few days ago, we looked at how grace should make us humble. Today’s verses share similar theme.

By grace, we are saved.

By grace, we are children of God.

By grace, we are given gifts to serve God and others.

Everything we are, everything we have, everything we can do … these are all gifts of grace.

So why do we think that we are so important? That we accumulated all we have? That we can do what we do?

We are nothing without God. We have nothing without God. We can do nothing without God.

It is only by God’s abundant grace and overwhelming love—both so underserved—that we experience the amazing blessings we do.

To think “more highly” of ourselves than we should is basically saying that grace is meaningless.

How tragic …

Friday, June 02, 2017

Sin Under Grace? Never! (Romans 6:14-15)

Today’s scripture: Romans 6:14-15

When a person sincerely accepts the gift of grace—salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection—she is changed. She is a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). She is different. She becomes more and more like Christ.

Or at least she should.

Those who follow Christ have been given an incredible gift—that grace we’ve been talking about for the last few weeks. And it is an incredible gift.

So why would someone continue in sin? I have to wonder …

I know we are not to judge others, but I have to wonder if someone who continues to live in habitual sin really knows God. Does she really understand grace?

Grace should make her want to serve God, to strive to be more like Christ, to manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Grace should never be thought of a license to sin.

Never.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Grace for the Humble (Proverbs 3:34)

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 3:34

Ah humility. Not a word that many of us like.

For some of us, humility speaks of weakness, of being a doormat, of being a pushover. And this is something few of us want to be.

But humility has a different connotation in God’s economy.

When one is humble, he considers others and their needs. Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi that they—and we—should not “be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than [ourselves. We should] care about them as much as [we] care about” ourselves (CEV, Philippians 2:3-4).

And our greatest example of humility is our Lord Himself: “Christ was truly God. But he did not choose to remain equal with God. Instead, he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross” (6-7).

Being humble means to care for others. To serve them. To look out for them.

And when we are humble in this way, God gives us grace.

How can you be humble to another today? How can you show Christ-like humility?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Justified Freely by His Grace (Romans 3:23-24)

Today’s scripture: Romans 3:23-24

It continually amazes me that grace is a free gift … a free gift. Even though, as Paul wrote, “all have sinned” (and that does mean all, by the way), every single person can be “justified freely by His grace.”

Later in his letter to the church in Rome, Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death [what we do deserve], but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord [what we do not deserve]” (NASB, 6:23).

That’s grace.

We are “freely justified,” which means we are righteous in God’s eyes. Once we accept forgiveness of sins through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, He no longer sees our sins. Jesus has paid our “wages,” and we are gifted with eternal life with our Lord and Savior.

How amazing is that?  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Encouraging Grace (Acts 11:23)

Today’s scripture: Acts 11:23

You’d think I’d be tired of writing about grace … but you’d be wrong!

I’m continually awed by the thought that our all-powerful, all-loving God loves us so much that He offers grace. Grace for salvation. Grace for daily life.

Today’s verse comes just after Peter spoke about God’s grace to the Gentiles and those in the early church heard of how a “great number believed and turned to the Lord” in Antioch. Barnabas went to Antioch, and he saw the “grace of God.”

Although the Bible doesn’t explicitly say this, I imagine Barnabas was greatly encouraged by the number of new believers. It does say, however, that he “was glad, and encouraged them all with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.”

This is how the church (i.e., the body of Christ) should be today. We should be “glad” when we meet new believers; we should rejoice with new members of the “family.”

And we who have been following the Lord for a while should encourage them in their faith. We should teach and disciple them. We should pray for them and with them.

We should celebrate the grace of God.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Amazing, Abounding Grace (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:8


“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found.
Was blind, but now I see.”

I love that old hymn. Perhaps, you do too.

Grace is such an amazing gift … that our God would give us what we don’t deserve … amazing.

And grace continues to abound throughout the life of a Christ-follower. When a person surrenders her life to God and accepts the gift of salvation, she will be used by Him to do “good work.”

Each follower of Christ is given at least one spiritual gift. Teaching or hospitality. Giving or mercy.

I’m blessed with the gifts of encouragement and teaching. I love seeing others grow in faith and learn more about the Lord God Almighty. It brings me such joy.

Because of the weakness of my body, however, I don’t always feel “sufficient” to do what God’s called me to do. But, praise Him, I don’t have to be sufficient … He is sufficient, and, through His abundance grace, I’m able to do those “good works.”

Amazing grace, indeed!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Full of Grace and Truth (John 1:14)

Today’s scripture: John 1:14

It’s a mystery beyond human comprehension. God, who created the universe with a word, chose to come to earth and take human form.

He chose to walk among those He Himself created.

He chose to experience what we do: weariness, pain … betrayal and rejection.

He knew He would … and He did it anyway.

For flawed, fleshly us. For those who accept Him … and for those who don’t.

I don’t understand it. I honestly don’t. If I were Him (and we can all be really happy I’m not!), I would have had a much different plan. Certainly, not one where I’d sacrifice myself for … well, for someone like me.

But that’s grace. That’s how much He loves us. Even knowing who we’d be, our God—“full of grace and truth”—came to earth … for us.

It’s a mystery …

Friday, May 19, 2017

Grace and Glory (Psalm 84:11)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 84:11

Today’s scripture reminded me of a play I was in last year called Grace and Glorie. I played a character called Gloria (aka Glorie), a New York professional reluctantly transplanted in rural West Virginia. She becomes the care-taker of a crotchety 90-year-old hospice patient.

By the end, these two completely different women become friends—even family. The play is about the love that grows between them. It’s about the grace they offer to each other.

In a much bigger way, our Father loves to lavish grace upon His children. He finds joy in our joy.

He sees beyond our barriers, our fears, our pain, and He loves us unconditionally. He provides for our needs. He protects us from danger—or carries us through.

Today’s verse says He withholds “no good thing.” And He doesn’t. We may not get everything we ask for, but we do get good things. And the greatest is grace.

Grace for His glory.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Perfected Grace (1 Peter 5:10)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 5:10

Oh that word … “perfect.”

We all know—or we should know—that we are not perfect. Far from it. Only one Person who walked this earth was perfect: Jesus Christ. And He is God, so of course He’s perfect.

So how can we be “perfected”?

We become “perfected” here on earth by becoming more and more like Christ as we grow in Him. God—the “God of all grace”—is working in and through all of us who call ourselves by the name of His Son.

He molds us, refines us, encourages us, and guides us, and as we become more like Christ, we are “perfected.”

While we will never reach perfection this side of heaven, we can be “perfected.” We just need to devote our lives to the “God of all grace.”

Monday, May 15, 2017

Grace for Grace (John 1:16)

Today’s scripture: John 1:16

Before I delve into today’s scripture, I wanted to let you know that I’m adjusting the frequency of these devotionals. I began this devotional blog 11 years ago as a resource for my speaking my ministry. As I transition into a new season and speak less often, I still feel led to write, but not quite as often. So, I’ll be posting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for the immediate future. Please feel free to review past posts, and I look forward to “meeting” with you three days each week.

Now … onto today’s devotional:

 “… we have all received … grace for grace.”

While I have my “go to” translations of the Bible (usually New American Standard Bible, New King James Version, or New International Version), I often like how some of the paraphrases (like The Message, the Contemporary English Version, or the New Living Translation) render God’s words.

For example, “grace for grace” is:

“undeserved kindness and truth” (CEV)

“unfailing love and faithfulness” (NLT)

These are all gifts by grace.

We are loved by our Savior who gives us kindness and everlasting love, who is faithful, and who blesses us with His truth.

Grace for grace … or, as I would paraphrase, grace upon grace.

Revel in the grace you’re so freely offered … today and every day.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Testify to the Gospel of Grace (Acts 20:24)

Today’s scripture: Acts 20:24

I’ve probably written about this before, but if you had the cure for cancer, wouldn’t you go to everyone who needed this cure? Wouldn’t you share this “good news” everywhere and anywhere?

Grace is the cure for sin. It is the ultimate good news!

So why do we hoard this truth? Why do we keep it to ourselves? Why do we fail to share it with those who need it (which, by the way, is everyone!)?

Grace is … well, amazing! Grace offers salvation and ensures eternity with God. Grace assures us of daily strength and provision. Grace showers us with blessings.

Those of us who have been super-abundantly blessed by grace should be eager to “testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Joyfully, we should share the truth of salvation.

With whom can you “testify to the gospel of the grace of God”? Who needs to hear that “good news”?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Saving Grace (Acts 15:11)

Today’s scripture: Acts 15:11

We are unworthy of grace. We really are.

We are born sinful, and, without grace, we deserve to die in our sins.

But again, grace isn’t about what we deserve. It’s about what our loving God chooses to do in spite of our unworthiness. It’s about how the Creator of all things, Sovereign God, looks upon His created beings and says, “I want to be in relationship with you; I want to be in fellowship with you.”

And even though we really don’t deserve it, that’s exactly what we can have when we ask for forgiveness and surrender our lives to Jesus Christ.

We are saved through grace, and we—the created—are in relationship with God—the Creator.

It’s mind-blowing and awe-inspiring that we are loved that much.

Are you in awe of what the Creator has done for you? Sit in silence for a moment and just meditate on grace. God’s grace for you.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Grace in God's Sight (Exodus 33:12-13)

Today’s scripture: Exodus 33:12-13

We who follow Christ today are so blessed! As we just discussed, grace is unmerited favor, and God loves to shower His children with abundant, amazing grace.

In Moses’ time, “grace” was something to be regularly sought. Covering of sin came through sacrifice … and it was only temporary.

Today, we can be assured of salvation, once and for all! Grace is given to us … once and for all. When God looks at those of us who have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, He doesn’t see the flaws or foibles; rather, He sees purity. He sees dearly-loved children.

We can be assured that, once we have accepted the gift of salvation through acceptance of and belief in the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, we will find grace in God’s sight.

Once and for all!

Today, thank God for His grace that is yours. Thank Jesus Christ for His gift of salvation through grace.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Saved By Grace (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Today’s scripture: Ephesians 2:8-9 

So far this year, we’ve looked at verses about peace … and hope … and faith … and now, we’re going to spend a few weeks on another of my favorite words: Grace.

And we’re starting with one of my very favorite verses about grace.

Grace means “unmerited favor.”  It’s not getting what we do deserve.

What do we deserve? Death. Judgment. Eternal separation from God.

We are sinful, flawed, and unworthy. However, because of grace, God sees us as clean, flawless, and worthy.

All because of grace.

There is nothing we can do to be saved. No works. No efforts. No service. No penance.

Nothing.

Well, I take that back. There a few things we can do:

Accept the gift of grace. Surrender to Him. Live to bring glory to the Lord.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Where Are the Faithful? (Luke 18:7-8)

Today’s scripture: Luke 18:7-8

Centuries ago, one of the fathers of our faith asked God if He would spare a city if there were a certain number of faithful. You may know the story. Abraham wanted to save Sodom, so he asked God if He would spare it for 50 faithful. Then for 45. Then for 40 … and finally, for 10.

Well, if you know the story, there weren’t even 10 faithful, and God destroyed the city because of the rampant sin of its citizens.

Fast forward to a question Jesus asked: “… when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

If God decided to destroy a sinful city today (and it could be just about any city in the world), would He find enough faithful to stay His hand?

While we can’t guarantee a number of faithful, we can be counted among those who have faith on earth. We can be the faithful that Jesus will find when He returns.

May those of us who follow Christ be faithful to live God-honoring lives until He returns.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Full of Faith (Acts 6:5)

Today’s scripture: Acts 6:5

It may sound morbid, but have you ever thought about what your gravestone will say? Will it be poignant? Or pithy? Or downright funny? You may have heard about the woman who put “See! I told you I was sick” on hers.

I’d like to see something that speaks of my faith … something like the words used to describe Stephen. Today’s verse deals with a time when a group of men in the early church were chosen to fulfill a specific need.

One of those chosen was Stephen. How was he described? As “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit …”

A man full of faith …

I pray I would be described similarly … now and when I’m gone from this earth.

How would you like to be described? What can you do to be called a man or woman full of faith?

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Strengthened in Faith (Acts 16:5)

Today’s scripture: Acts 16:5

I read verses like today’s, and I have to ask myself: Is the church of Christ, the formal church, being “strengthened in the faith”? Is it “increas[ing] in number daily”?

Think of your own church. Would you be able to answer “yes” to these questions?

If so, then your church is doing something right … and praise God it is.

But how many churches these days are stagnant? Content with the status quo? Okay with seeing growth—if any—through “church swapping”?

Preachers are giving “feel good” messages rather than digging deeply into God’s word and asking hard questions. Church members come to enjoy social interaction rather than studying the Bible. Outsiders don’t feel welcome because the “cliques” are already established.

Brick and mortar churches can help seekers find truth, and we who make up those churches must be healthy and strong. We must study and meditate on God’s word. We must pray to be the representatives of Jesus to a lost world.

Is it time for a check-up for your church? How healthy and strong is it? Even more, how healthy and strong—spiritually, that is—are you?

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 2:20

When a person chooses to surrender her life to Jesus Christ, accepting and believing in His sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection, then she becomes what the Bible says a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). She is brand new. No matter her past. No matter her sin. No matter …

Not only is she a new creation, she is now the temple of Christ. He actually lives in her.

The same is true for you, if you’ve done the same.

Christ lives in you. You live by faith in the Son of God, the One who “love[s you] and gave Himself for [you].”

Let that thought permeate your heart and soul. You are loved so very much that God the Son died for you. For you.

And He lives in you. In you.

Take a moment or two and thank the Lord Jesus Christ for what He did for you … and for being in you.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

No Distinctions in Faith (Acts 15:8-9)

Today’s scripture: Acts 15:8-9

I’ve written this before, but I’m so grateful that the Lord had a plan to save all people. All people. 

God “made no distinction between us and them …”

The “us” here is the people of Israel. The “them” is the rest of us. Even though God chose the Israelites as His special people, He desires that none "should perish” (2 Peter 3:9). When Jesus shed His blood on the cross, He covered the sin of all people, “purifying their hearts by faith.”

When anyone—Jew or Gentile—accepts the gift of grace by believing in and accepting the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, then she is saved. She is redeemed.

She is purified.

No matter your background, not matter your heritage, you can be saved by faith. You can be pure in the Father’s eyes. Have you accepted that gift of grace?

Monday, May 01, 2017

Faith ... Through the Whole World (Romans 1:8)

Today’s scripture: Romans 1:8

Having one’s “faith … spoken of throughout the whole world” is a daunting thought. How can my faith impact the entire world? In the same way a dropped pebble ripples through the entire pond.

As I write these words, I’m sitting on a balcony overlooking a quiet lake. There’s a slight breeze, but the water is mostly calm. Every so often, though, a bird alights, and its landing produces tiny waves that push toward shore.

I may not be able to speak to the whole world, but I pray for missionaries and support them. I serve in my church. I lead a Bible study. And each person I touch touches another … and another.

Who’s to say that this simple devotional isn’t sending ripples … ripples that touch the entire world.

You have the same opportunity. You may serve in a small community, but you touch lives … and they touch lives … and they touch lives … until the whole world has been impacted by your faith. Your faith.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Walk By Faith (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:7

Earlier this week, we talked about how faith is sometimes difficult. It really is hard to belief in something that we can’t touch or see. In fact, this inability to touch or see is what keeps many people from taking a step of faith.

But that step of faith is critical. It is, indeed, a non-negotiable.

God has given us so much that proves His existence. Creation. Miracles. Changed lives. But the moment comes when one must take what is evident and step—in faith—toward what cannot be touched or seen.

We truly do “walk by faith, not by sight.” We live each day, trusting the One who has proven Himself to be faithful. We take what we can see, what we can touch, and then we step out in faith, and we follow Him.

Do you know God, really know Him? Have you taken that step of faith, believing in what you cannot see or touch?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Continue in Faith (Acts 14:21-22)

Today’s scripture: Acts 14:21-22

This world is a very hard place … a very hard place.

We see so much pain and suffering, tragedy and catastrophe. Sometimes, it’s difficult just putting one foot in front of the other … It’s enough to shake the faith of even the strongest believer.

The early church certainly had its share of “tribulations.” The martyrdom of Stephen. The persecution initiated by Saul. Yet during the darkest moments, faith “continued.” It grew. And the church flourished.

Our faith can continue as well. It can grow. It can flourish.

Even through the pain, the suffering … the tribulations.

If your faith is shaken, lay it all at the feet of Jesus. Seek the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen and “continue” your faith.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Faith in the Power of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-6)

Today’s scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:4-6

Every time I peruse the Internet, I’m amazed at how many “experts” are out there … Just search on “how to lose weight.” Everyone and his brother—or sister—seems to know exactly what you need to do to get thin.

Eat more carbs … no, eat less carbs. Go vegan … no, add more meat. Eat this combination of foods … no, eat this combination.

Experts all.

And we buy into it all. We seek the wisdom of man. In fact, we put our faith in that wisdom.

That’s not very … well, wise.

People can let us down; indeed, they do time and time again. Relying on the wisdom of others, those we know and those we access via the Internet, can be a slippery slope.

So whom can we trust? Whose wisdom will never steer us wrong?

Faith in God and His power is always wise; trusting His goodness, His word, His grace will never let us down.

Have you put your faith in the world’s wisdom? Keep your faith in the One who loves you and whose power will carry you.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Faith by Hearing (Romans 10:17)

Today’s scripture: Romans 10:17

Faith can be tough. Believing in something—or Someone—whom you cannot touch with your hands or see with your eyes is difficult and defies logic.

So, how can you find faith?

We are incredibly blessed that God gave us His very words so we can know Him. We learn of Him through the stories of the history of the nation of Israel, through the words of wisdom in Proverbs, through the songs of praise in Psalms … all the way through the gospels and the epistles.

The Bible illuminates the One who created the heavens and the earth. It points to His incredible love for His children. It describes His super-abundant grace.

It is, indeed, an incredible gift.

Our faith is not blind. It is not wishful thinking. It is not ignorant. No, our faith is built on truth that is made evident through God’s word to us.

In order to really know God, you must study and “hear” His word. As I’ve encouraged over and over, spend time with the Lord today.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Faithful in Obedience (Romans 1:5)

Today’s scripture: Romans 1:5

We serve the one and only God. He is the Creator of the universe, the Sovereign God. He is all-knowing, all-loving, every-present.

And He wants to be in relationship with each and every one of His created children. That includes you!

He sent part of His triune self, God the Son, to earth to pay the penalty for our sins in order to bridge the gap that sin created.

He did that for you … and me.

And He asks one thing in return: Obedience. He desires—and deserves—complete surrender to His will. He expects total obedience to the faith which He has given us.

It’s really not too much to ask when we consider how much He’s done for us.

How “obedient to the faith” are you? Do you struggle with following His commandments? Ask for His help today.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Faithful in Much (Luke 16:10-11)

Today’s scripture: Luke 16:10-11

Some of us have been incredibly blessed. We have plenty of food. We live in lovely homes. We drive nice cars.

We have been given much.

The question we need to ask ourselves is: Are we faithful in our “much”?

Do we live only to enjoy our “much”? Or are we aware of the needs around us, sharing our “much” with those who struggle? Do we give to charities that support the homeless? Do we offer help to the “least of these”? (Matthew 25:31-46).

It’s so easy to become complacent, satisfied with our stuff, with our money … with our “much” and yet not be faithful with that “much.”

What can you do to be faithful with your “much.” Ask the Lord to reveal ways to serve and support others.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Faithful Servant (Matthew 25:21)

Today’s scripture: Matthew 25:21

I don’t know about you, but my greatest hope is to stand before the Lord one day and hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I want so much to know that I have served Him well here on earth.

You probably want the same.

How do we know if we’ve served Him well?

Honestly, we really won’t know this side of heaven how we’ve served Him. What we can do is be available for whatever He calls us to do.

I try, each and every day, to surrender myself to Him … if only for that day. Sometimes, though, I’m guilty of releasing my day to Him … and then snatching it back. Sound familiar?

Even though I know beyond doubt that He loves me and has a perfect plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11), I still want to have some control.

But the longer I walk with Him, the more I’m able to surrender to His will, His purpose, His plan. And the more I surrender, the more He uses me. And the more He uses me, the more I feel His pleasure.

If you want to hear “well done,” be willing to do as the Lord calls; surrender each day and serve Him … and Him alone.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Faithful Witness (Proverbs 14:5)

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 14:5

A year or so ago, I had the privilege of playing Juror #4 in Twelve Angry Jurors. It’s a powerful drama about a group jurors deliberating in a murder case. (If you haven’t seen it, watch the 1975 film version Twelve Angry Men with Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobbs.)

One idea that permeates the play (and movie) is whether the witnesses have been faithful to their testimony. Did they really hear what they said they heard? Did they really see what they said they saw?

In a court of law, being a faithful witness can mean the difference between freedom and incarceration … sometimes, even life or death.

We too need to be faithful witnesses as we go about in the world. We need to speak truth to our friends and family. We need to be trustworthy.

We especially need to be faithful witnesses when we talk about the truth of our faith. We can’t allow the world’s lies to cloud our own convictions.


Have you been less than a faithful witness? Do those around you know you are a child of the One True God? How can you be Jesus to others today?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sanctified by Faith (Acts 26:17-18)

Today’s scripture: Acts 26:17-18

We talked about sanctification a couple of weeks ago. Today’s verses focus on turning others from “darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness …”

Sanctification is indeed a process that begins at salvation. We should so desire those around us to know our God and to live in light instead of darkness that we should do everything we can to help them find truth.

Our world is blind and is under the power of the enemy, but he is not the ultimate victor. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said it best, “I have already overcome the world” (John16:33, emphasis mine).

As we go out in to the world every day, we need to pray that Jesus will shine His light through us. That others will see Him and His truth. That they will come to salvation.

That they will be sanctified by faith.

Whom do you know who needs Jesus? Share His light and truth today.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mustard Seed Faith (Matthew 17:20)

Today’s scripture: Matthew 17:20

You’ve probably heard the term: mustard seed faith. You know, the kind of faith that moves mountains.

Yet, how many times have you felt your faith is strong, but the mountains remain unmoved? Is your faith just not strong enough?

I think there’s more than meets the eye. In the words of the great theologian Spurgeon:

The eye cannot see itself. Did you ever see your own eye? In a mirror you may have done so, but that was only a reflection of it. And you may, in like manner, see the evidence of your faith, but you cannot look at the faith itself. Faith looks away to itself to the object of faith, even to Christ.
The object of our faith.

These are key words. In whom do we place our faith? In ourselves? In others? In society? In science?

Everyone has faith in something … or someone.

When we have faith in the One True God, we can ask for anything within His will (1 John 5:14). And if it is within His will, mountains will move.

Take a measure of your faith. If it’s mustard-seed small, is it still planted in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Little Faith (Matthew 8:26)

Today’s scripture: Matthew 8:26

I read these words of Jesus, and I think, “How often do I have ‘little faith’?”

Too often, I’m afraid.

It’s easy to point fingers at the disciples and say, “How can they not have faith? They saw Jesus work miracles with their own eyes!”

But, haven’t we done the same? Haven’t we seen how He’s healed? Or provided? Or protected?

We’ve seen Him work in our lives and in the lives of others.

Yet, when the rubber meets the road, we doubt. We ask why? We take our eyes off of Jesus and look at the storm.

We too have “little faith.”

What a blessing to remember that, just as Jesus calmed the storm surrounding the disciples despite their “little faith,” He will do the same for us.

When your faith is “little,” take your eyes off the storm and focus instead on the One who calms it.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Faithful Friend (Proverbs 11:13)

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 11:13

Most of what we’ve seen about faith so far is our being faithful to God or His being faithful to us.

But faithfulness also speaks to our relationships with others. Those with our family or our friends.

Most of us have friends the Bible describes as being closer than brothers. And if we have one or two of those faithful friends, we are blessed … truly blessed.

... because many of us have experienced the pain that comes from friends who are not faithful.

Have you had such a so-called friend? One whom you trusted and who let you down?

Few things can devastate a heart than being betrayed by a friend.

What can you do when a friend lets you down?

First, forgive … if only to take the burden off your own shoulders.

Second, reconcile … If there is a chance to salvage the relationship, do so.

Finally, move on … If reconciliation isn’t possible, and it often isn’t, then recognize that friendship is over. And find a friend who will be faithful.

Do you have a faithful friend? Take a moment and give her a call. Send him a text. And thank God you have such a friend!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

God's Eyes Are on the Faithful (Psalm 101:6)

Today’s scripture: Today’s scripture: Psalm 101:6

I’ve always love Psalm 139 where the psalmist states that God is aware of everything about us … and has been since before our births.

I love the confidence that comes knowing God sees me … at all times. I’m never alone. Never forgotten. Never forsaken.

God sees me in my pain and in my rejoicing. He carries me through the hard times and dances with me through the times of celebration. He sometimes weeps with me … and often laughs with joy.

His eyes are always on me.

Now, some may find this disconcerting … or downright frightening.

But, if we are faithful to Him and seek His will, we need not fear His ever-presence. No, we can find true assurance and joy knowing we are in His sight at all times.

How does knowing God’s eyes are on you make you feel? If you are anything other than joyful at this thought, go to Him now and confess anything that keeps you from that joy.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Faith and Peace (Romans 5:1-2)

Today’s scripture: Romans 5:1-2

If you started reading this devotional in 2017, you know that we began the year talking about peace, one of my favorite topics.

In the Bible, peace and faith often go hand-in-hand.

When we have faith in God and trust Him to complete His will according to His love for us, we often find peace despite our circumstances.

It’s almost a mathematical hypothesis: If we have faith in God, then we are justified. If we are justified by faith, then we have peace.

I’ve said it before—and I’ll say it again—true peace is found only through faith in God. We stand firm on His grace and unmerited favor and experience His mercy.

We see His hand at work in all things, and we know He has a perfect plan, one of peace and not disaster as one version of Jeremiah 29:11 states.

Are you feeling peace-less? Then put your faith in God. Accept His peace promised through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Healing by Faith (Matthew 9:20-22)

Today’s scripture: Matthew 9:20-22

I love this story. It’s been a favorite example of faith of mine for a very long time.

I can picture this woman vividly. She has been suffering from a “flow of blood” for over a decade. This means that, not only has she been physically ill, but she has also been shunned by society according to Levitical law.

She is in pain … physically, emotionally, and, likely, spiritually.

One day, we’re not told how, she learns of Jesus and His healing hand. And she takes a risk—a huge risk. She ventures out into the very society that called for her separation, and she slinks up to Jesus.

“If I just touch the hem of His robe,” she thinks, “then I will be healed.”

And that’s exactly what happens. She touches Jesus’ robe, and she is immediately healed.

And even more, she hears the most precious words from Jesus Himself: “Be of good cheer, daughter.”

Daughter!

Can you imagine the joy she now feels? She is not only healed, but she is called the daughter of the Healer!

Sometimes, the Healer heals the body. Sometimes, He heals the heart.

If you are hurting today, go to the Healer. While He may not heal your body, He will heal your heart.

Friday, April 07, 2017

A Great Faith (Matthew 8:5-13)

Today’s scripture: Matthew 8:5-13

The story is fascinating …

A centurion, a non-Jew, comes to Jesus looking for healing for his servant.

He certainly isn’t the first to seek healing. Many have come to Jesus requesting healing for themselves or for friends.

Some want to see. Others want to hear. Still others want to walk.

Most of those who seek healing are Jesus’ own people, and one would expect Him to take care of them.

But today, here comes a centurion, a leader of the Romans, who wants his servant healed. Jesus offers to come to the centurion’s home.

This is where the story shifts.

“No,” the centurion says, “You don’t have to come. All you have to do is say the word. I know my servant will be healed” (my paraphrase).

Just say the word.

And Jesus is impressed. In fact, he “marvels.” He is amazed.

And then He says these incredible words: “I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel.”

Not such great faith.

Isn’t that what you want? Great faith? Faith that trusts in Jesus’ power and strength? It takes knowing Him. And trusting Him. And asking Him for what you need.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Preserved by Faith (Psalm 31:23)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 31:23

Do you ever have those days when you feel … just out of it? Just messy or lost or frustrated … or defeated?

Sometimes, I feel all of the above. I feel unworthy and flawed and … well, in keeping with today’s verse, unpreserved …

To preserve, according to one on-line dictionary, means “to keep safe from injury, harm, or destruction.”

And on those days, I need a reminder that God preserves me. He protects and guides me. He covers me and holds my hand.

He does, however, ask me for something. He asks me to be faithful and to love Him. He asks me to trust in His sovereign, loving control.

He asks me to humbly seek Him in all things.

Then He promises to preserve me, to keep me safe.

Are you feeling a bit unpreserved today? Go to the faithful One who promises to preserve you.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Sanctified by Faith (Acts 26:18)

Today’s scripture: Acts 26:18

Sanctification.

It’s a big word. Perhaps even a confusing word. Simply put, sanctification means to be made holy.

Oh … okay. To be made holy.

But, as Shakespeare wrote, there’s the rub.

No one is holy. Not one single person. Each of us is sinful. Flawed. Unworthy.

In fact … we’re unholy.

So how are we sanctified by faith? How can we be made holy?

We are made holy by the One who is holy. The Lord God is holy, perfect, righteous. And when we come to Him in confession and accept the gift of grace through acceptance of and believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we become righteous in His eyes.

We are holy and pure and perfect.

But we are also human, and sometimes our humanity comes to the front … and we sin again.

Then we confess our sin, and we are again clean.

And holy.

Sanctification is an ongoing, until-we-get-to-heaven process. And our Lord is with us through that process.

Do you sometimes feel like you are an unholy mess? Confess your sin and let the God of grace sanctify you. Today and every day.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

One Faith (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Today’s scripture: Ephesians 4:4-6

Faith. It can be quite a controversial topic.

Many say there are countless ways to faith or salvation or heaven or the god of their choosing.

It doesn’t matter what you believe. Not really. In fact, some say you can believe in a little of this, a little of that. A pinch of Christianity. A spoonful of Islam. Throw in a touch of Buddhism for good measure.

Do more good than bad, and you’re in. Follow the Golden Rule, and you’re good to go.

The Bible, God’s inspired word, doesn’t give us this “out.” It is very, very clear:

One Lord. One Faith. One God and Father.

Just one.

Either you believe in the One True God, or you don’t. It’s your choice.

And you must choose.

The God of the Bible or not. But you can’t choose a bit of this or a little of that.

Have you chosen the One True God? The One True Faith? Choose today.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Growing Faith (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

Today’s scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1:3  

A believer’s faith should be a growing faith.

I give a talk every once in a while entitled “Fresh Faith.” In it, I talk about how followers of Christ can—and should—keep their faith fresh.

Just like any relationship, our walk with the Lord can become stale or stagnant. So, what can we do to have that growing faith? I encourage several things, but the most important—for me, at least—are:

Spending daily time in God’s word. He communicates to us through the Holy Scriptures, and we need to study and meditate on them in order to know Him and His purposes.

Spending time in prayer. This is more than just a “Good morning, Lord” or a “Thanks for being with me today, Father.” It’s coming to Him with praise and worship. Confessing sin. Interceding for others’ needs. Listening to His voice.

Spending time with other believers
. We are made for relationships, and we grow in faith as we grow with others. I’m a strong proponent of small group Bible studies. I often learn more from my sisters in my small group than I would ever learn on my own.

There are so many ways to grow in faith, but it takes commitment and focus.

What are you doing to grow your faith and keep it strong? Ask the Holy Spirit’s help to become stronger and stronger in faith.

Friday, March 31, 2017

God's Faithful Righteousness (Romans 1:17)

Today’s scripture: Romans 1:17

Faith can be tough sometimes. Believing in something that I cannot fully understand is difficult. Trusting in Someone that I cannot touch with my hands or see with my eyes isn’t “logical.”

That’s why so many can’t seem to have faith in the God of the Bible.

But those of us who do and who have committed our lives to Him live by faith. We spend our days trusting that the God we serve is with us and is concerned about everything about us. Our work. Our relationships. Our health. Our needs.

And as we walk with Him—by faith—we become more and more like Him. We become more godly, more servant-hearted … more righteous.

Others begin to see something in us that attracts them to our God. They want the same peace and joy and gentleness that are ours through faith.

Are you walking by faith? Do you see the Lord’s hand in your daily life? If not, pray that He will reveal Himself and His will in your life so that you can walk by faith … every day.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

God Is Faithful! (Deuteronomy 7:9)

Today’s scripture: Deuteronomy 7:9

God is faithful. He is faithful.

He cannot and will not change, and we can trust Him at all times and in every situation.

This can be hard for our human minds to grasp. Our world is ever-changing. What was trendy yesterday is passé today. Cutting-edge technology is here today and gone tomorrow.

So, the thought of anything never-changing is mind-boggling.

And yet, the God we serve is just that. When His word says He will never leave us, we can trust Him. When we’re told He loves us with an everlasting love, we can trust Him. When we know He will provide for our needs, we can trust Him.

Because He is our never-changing God.

Does the thought of knowing our ever-faithful, never-changing God bring you joy? Take a moment to thank Him for His wonderful faithfulness.      

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Building Your Faith (Jude 20-21)

Today’s scripture: Jude 20-21

Building up your faith, keeping it fresh is oh-so-important. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “stuff” of the world and not take the time to grow in faith.

And that which doesn’t grow does what? It either stagnates—or dies.

So, let’s take a moment to look at what these two verses say about how we can build our faith.

First, we’re to pray in the Holy Spirit. Do you spend time each and every day in prayer? Do you spend time in praise and confession, intercession and gratitude? If you want to build your faith, you need to.

Second, we’re to keep ourselves in the love of God. Do you realize how much God loves you? Have you read John 3:16 lately? He loves you more than you can even imagine. He loves you with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). Live your life to bring honor to that love.

Finally, we’re to look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. But guess what, we don’t have to look very far. Christ gave us what we don’t deserve: eternal life with Him.

Build up your faith. Every day. Don’t let it stagnate, or even worse, die.

What do you do to build up your faith? To keep it strong? If you’re letting your faith stagnate, do something today—and every day—to keep it strong, starting with prayer.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Substance of Faith (Hebrew 11:1)

Today’s scripture: Hebrews 11:1

So far this year, we’ve looked at verses about peace and verses about hope. For the next few weeks, we’re going to look at another of my favorite words: Faith.

Of all the many verses about faith in the Bible, this is one of my favorites. Faith is something we hope for, yes, but it’s not blind. God has given us many pieces of evidence to support our faith, and since in civil law, truth is proclaimed by the preponderance of evidence, the God of the Bible has definitely made His case.

Take creation, for instance. Now, I know there are firm believers in evolution, but frankly, I think it takes much more faith to believe that everything we see on this earth—flowers, trees, insects, birds, animals, oceans, mountains … us—evolved from a single cell.

The evidence of morality or conscience also points to a divine Creator. Certain acts are wrong pretty much wherever you go—murder, rape, theft. If we consider those things to be wrong, why? Whose moral law are we judging those things by? Certainly not our own.

I strongly believe the evidence rightly points to a supernatural being. And I believe, because I’ve seen what He’s done in my life and in the lives of others, that Being is the Lord God Almighty, the God of the Bible.

My faith isn’t blind. It isn’t just a hope. It’s based on strong evidence.

Case closed.

Have you weighed the evidence? Is your faith based on something more than wishful thinking? If not, investigate why you believe what you believe. The evidence will stand for itself. You can trust it.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Hope in Being God's Heir (Titus 3:7)

Today’s scripture: Titus 3:7

The verses that precede this are about God’s love for us that was demonstrated through salvation through Jesus Christ. They remind us that God is indeed merciful.

But we have hope in more than our earthly salvation although that’s certainly a marvelous, amazing thing. Our hope is in an eternal future with Jesus, worshipping Him, praising Him, living with Him.

And did you notice a key word? We are heirs to God’s kingdom. We aren’t just an add-on or an after-thought. We are children—adopted by grace—of God.

It’s really enough that God provides salvation from our sins. It’s really enough that He blesses us and provides for us. It’s really enough that He protects us and hears us when we cry out to Him.

But it wasn’t enough for Him.

It wasn’t enough that He saved us on this earth.

No, He wants more.

He wants us to be a part of His family. He wants us to enjoy eternity in the home He’s prepared for us.

He wants to be our Father. Our forever Father.

Think about this for a moment. When you came to know Jesus, you became an actual member of God’s family, His son or daughter. Thank Him that He’s your Father and that you’ll be with Him forever.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hope in the Unseen (Romans 8:24-25)

Today’s scripture: Romans 8:24-25

I don’t know about you, but I’m a hands-on kind of gal. I learn best by touching and feeling. Don’t try to explain it to me. Don’t give me a manual. Let me sit down and try it myself.

And it’s easy for me to talk about hoping in things I can see.

I hope you feel better.
I hope you can come to the party.
I hope that my team wins.

I speak this way, and I don’t think I’m alone.

But then I read verses like this, and I stop and think.

“Hope that is seen is not hope.”

What does this mean?

One of the definitions of hope is “to believe, desire, or trust.” It’s easy for me to believe or desire or trust something I can see, so is there any real hope in that?

Real hope does come in hoping for what we do not see. We don’t see Jesus with our eyes, but we can hope for the future when we remember that Jesus is real, and He’s alive today.

Thank Jesus that He’s your living Savior. Thank Him for the hope you can have, even when you can’t see Him with your eyes. Ask Him to let you see Him with your heart.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rest in Hope (Acts 2:25-26)

Today’s scripture: Acts 2:25-26

Read through these verses again.

Read them slowly.

Do you see what they say? In these two short verses, there are three amazing promises, promises that help us to have hope—not only to have hope, but to rest in hope.

The first promise: The Lord is always before my face.

You know what that means? He’s always with us. We can see His face when we read His word.

The second promise: He is at my right hand.

When we walk through difficult times, He’s right there, holding our hands, walking alongside us.

The third promise: I may not be shaken.

We can have confidence that He’s right here with us, and because of that confidence, we can be strong and steady. The storms and struggles will not cause us to waver.

If you’re in the center of a storm right now, go to the one who promises that He’s with you, every moment. Remember that you can trust Him and rest in the hope of His presence.

Spend a few more minutes meditating on these promises. If you’re needing rest, ask God for it now.    

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hope in God's Word (Psalm 119:114)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 119:114

Have you ever read a verse in the Bible, one that you may have read many times, and it touches you in a new and unique way?

I love that. It’s one of my most favorite things about God’s word.

I was reading through the psalms not too long ago and came across this verse that I’ve read many times. It’s been a favorite of mine for a while, and I love to remember that I can hope in God’s word.

But this time, this wonderful psalm showed me two things:

God is my hiding place, a place of refuge, a place where I can hide when I’m scared or lonely or tired. I picture myself crawling up on my Abba’s lap and resting in His arms. What an amazing thought!

God is also my shield, my protector, my strength. He will stand before me when the enemy strikes. When the arrows are flying about me, I can hide behind Him and His word.

Knowing God and understanding His love for me gives me hope.

Knowing that He is there to offer a place of refuge and protection gives me hope.

Spend some time rereading a couple of your favorite verses, and ask God to reveal new truths to your heart. Find hope in His words to you.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hope in Affliction (Psalm 119:49-50)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 119:49-50

I’m one of many who wake up in pain every day. I suffer often severe pain from a handful of chronic health conditions as well as almost-constant chronic back pain.

It would be easy for me to whine and complain (and I have to say, sometimes I do), but over the close to 40 years that I’ve suffered from chronic pain, I’ve learned something:

When I’m walking with the Lord, when I’m trusting in His will, I have hope.

Yes, you read right. I have hope, even in the midst of my daily pain. And in that hope, I find comfort.

There was a time when my faith was almost non-existent, and when I would suffer, I had no comfort through the pain. I’d take medication and try every treatment and remedy, but I was miserable, utterly miserable.

When I recommitted my life to the Lord, I was able to give the pain over to the Lord.

He didn’t take the pain away.

I still have that chronic, daily pain, but there’s a difference now.

I can ask the Lord every for strength and comfort in the midst of the pain.

And He does. He gives me strength. And He gives me comfort.

Are you in pain or are you struggling with something today? Ask God for comfort. Ask Him to hold your hand and give you strength.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hope for the Next Generation (Psalm 78:6-7)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 78:6-7

Has God blessed you with children? Or are you privileged to impact the lives of young people that you encounter?

We who have years of wisdom are called to teach and equip the next generation. It is our responsibility to instill the truth of God’s word to children so that they, in turn, can instill that same truth to theirs.

It’s not an option.

It’s a commandment.

Think for a moment about the children around you.

They may be your own, or they may be those children in your neighborhood. They may be the children in your church.

You have the honor of helping the next generation to know the love of God.

You have the honor of helping the next generation to know that they can have hope in God.

You can have the honor of helping the next generation to see that keeping His commandments brings joy and peace beyond anything this world can offer.

Are you ready to influence the next generation?

Seize the opportunity and touch the life of a child.

Ask God to help you touch a child’s life, whether she’s your own or not. See how you can impact that next generation. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Hope Through Adversity (Psalm 71:14)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 71:14

Many of the psalms are written as cries from the heart.

In the verses that precede today’s, the psalmist was crying out for help from God. His enemies were at his back, looking to hurt him.

But even in the midst of his fear, he could still hope in God.

And not only could he hope in God, but he could also praise Him.

It’s one thing to have hope in difficult times. Even when things seem at their worst, we can always have hope that God will get us through, that He will provide protection, that He will be the ultimate victor.

It’s an entirely different thing to praise God in the most difficult times.

Have you ever thought about praising God even when the enemies are chasing after you?

Have you ever raised your voice in praise when you’re hurting and tired and confused?

It’s not always easy, but it can make even the hardest times more bearable because when we’re praising God, when we’re worshipping Him for the awesome God that He is, sometimes the burdens are lighter, the pain is less severe, the struggles are easier to handle.

Have hope in God at all times, but more importantly, praise Him . . . at all times.

Are you hurting right now? Are you struggling? Praise Him. Lift your voice in praise right now. And live in hope.     

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hope in the One Who Helps (Psalm 42:5)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 42:5

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I feel down, times when I feel blue. I don’t know anyone, even the most optimistic, who doesn’t have a low day every once and a while.

Feeling down, sad or even depressed every once in a while isn’t uncommon. However, there was a time in my life when I felt more than just down. In fact, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. For me, fortunately, this was just a temporary season, and I was able to get through it with medication.

But again, while my situation may be a more extreme than others—and some more extreme than mine—feeling down is common.

So, what do we do when the dark clouds hover?

We seek the face of God.

We go to Him in prayer.

We read words of comfort from His word.

And above all, we praise Him, knowing that only in Him can we find true hope. We can be confident that even when our spirits are “disquieted,” our Father God, our Abba (Greek for “daddy”) is with us.

Are you feeling down today? A bit sad? Go to your Abba and thank Him for His presence. Thank Him for the hope that can only come through Him.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hope in the One Who Hears (Psalm 38:15)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 38:15

"Do you know what’s a huge blessing? God actually listens to us! He’s not like some people—you know the kind I’m talking about—who just appear to be listening.

"He really, truly listens to us when we talk to Him. How do I know?

"Because His word promises that He does and because He’s answered my prayers. We’ve already looked at so many truths from the Bible, and we can trust that His words are true. And the Bible tells us that He really, truly listens.

"Are there days when you feel that no one is listening to you?

"Are there times when you’re longing to share your thoughts, your feelings, and it feels as though no one hears your heart?  

"Do you often wonder if there’s anyone out there?

"There is, my friend. You have the best listener in the universe . . . waiting to hear from you. And there’s nothing you can say that will shock Him or surprise Him. You can say anything, share anything, and He will listen to you . . . and will still love you."

(excerpted from The Best Laid Plans, © 2005 Sauni Rinehart)

Have you ever thought about God listening to you? Talk to Him today, and know that He’s listening to you. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hope in God's Mercy (Psalm 33:22)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 33:22

Mercy.

Have you ever really thought what that means?

Someone has said that grace is getting what we don’t deserve, and mercy is not getting what we do deserve.

And what do we deserve?

We deserve death and eternal separation from God. We really do. We are sinful people. We are willful people. And we are deserving of death. But God loves us so much that He chose to have mercy on us. To not give us what we deserve. 

Jesus came to earth to die to pay the penalty for our sins. He came to be God’s act of mercy for us.

And because we know that God’s mercy is upon us, we can have hope. We can hope in Him. We don’t have to fear eternal death, and God’s mercy promises us that we’ll spend eternity with Him in heaven.

And quite honestly, is there anything more to hope in?

God’s mercy is everlasting, and His love for us is more than we can imagine. Spend some time thanking Him for His mercy.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hope in the Scriptures (Romans 15:4)

Today’s scripture: Romans 15:4

Communication is key in any relationship. Think of any successful relationship you’ve ever been in or observed. Don’t the people in this kind of relationship talk to one another, share their hearts with one another?

Our relationship with the Lord is similar. We need to communicate with Him.

We speak to Him when we pray; He speaks to us through His word.

God has given us the incredible privilege of being able to read the words that He inspired His servants to write. And we can learn about Him and His love for us as we read the Scriptures.

Even more, we can be comforted by His words and that comfort can give us hope.

God desires to speak with us. He wants to tell us how He loves us, and He wants to commune with us. We can read verses and chapters and books in the Bible and know, with all confidence, that God, our Heavenly Father, is speaking with us. And we can, just like with our relationships on earth, hear the words He wants to say.

Spend some time in God’s word today, and listen to what He has to say to you.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Our Hope Is in God (Psalm 39:7)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 39:7

Lila was waiting for her friend, Carrie . . . again.

It seemed that, no matter what time she told Carrie to arrive, Carrie was always fifteen or twenty minutes late.

And it was beginning to make Lila angry.

Another few minutes crept by, and Lila became even angrier.

How dare Carrie make her wait so long?

Have you ever waited for someone? It’s pretty frustrating, isn’t it? But waiting isn’t always a bad thing.

The Bible tells us that if we wait upon the Lord, He will renew our strength so that we can fly like eagles. We can walk and run, and still not be weary (Isaiah 40:31).

God’s timing isn’t always ours, but we can be assured that if we wait on His plan, He will work His perfect will in our lives. We can live in hope that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Waiting, when it’s waiting on God and His plan, isn’t a bad thing.

In fact, sometimes, waiting on Him can strengthen our faith and deepen our trust.

Have you been waiting on God for something, and it seems to be taking a long time? Go to Him and ask Him to give you the patience to wait upon Him.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Hope ... and Anchor of the Soul (Hebrews 6:18-19)

Today’s scripture: Hebrews 6:18-19

What is an anchor? What does it do?

An anchor keeps a boat steady in the water. It keeps it from drifting out to sea. It keeps the passengers safe, knowing that they will stay where they’re supposed to.

We, too, have an anchor, an anchor for our souls: God cannot lie.

God is truth. He cannot lie.

And if that’s true, and I believe it is, then we can have great hope in Him.

We can have hope that we won’t drift away from His perfect plan for us.

We can have hope that we will be kept safe.

We can have hope that we will remain “sure and steadfast” as we continue our journey in Him.

When the sea around us is stormy and the world spreads its lies, we can have hope that God is truth and that He cannot—He will not lie.

Have you been living in the storm of lies? Remember that God will never lie to you. Remember that He is your anchor.   

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Hope in the One True God (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Today’s scripture: Ephesians 4:4-6

We live in one of the most “spiritual” times in history. Throughout the world, studies and statistics show that people consider themselves spiritual and people of faith.

But what does this really mean?

For many, it merely means that they admit to a higher power or a spiritual force beyond themselves—or sometimes within themselves.

People are seeking something, and the thing is, that Something is really easy to find. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the “Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Some would say that this is narrow-minded thinking, and in many ways, it is. But truth is truth.

I find great hope in knowing that we can know, with confidence, that we serve one Lord, that He is above all. And when I remember that He loves me so much that He gave His very life for me, I have even greater hope.

We are children of the one and only God. He is the God and Father of all. 

Do you believe in the one God and Father of all? Have you found hope in Him? Thank Him now.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

God Is Our Hope (Psalm 71:5)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 71:5

I asked Jesus to come into my heart when I was six years old. I had an unwavering faith . . . until I was seven. My father’s leaving our family set into motion circumstances that I allowed to take me away from that faith, and I spent the next two decades walking along a rebellious path.

However, even though I had walked away from God, I learned later that He had never walked away from me. That faith that I had as a six-year-old girl eventually proved to be true and worthy of trust.

When I was twenty-nine, I recommitted my life to the Lord, and as I looked back over those 23+ years, I realized that God had protected me and provided for me and blessed me in spite of my turning from Him.

That “trust from my youth” had sustained me even when I was far from deserving it.

God was indeed my hope then—as a six-year-old and as a rebellious teen and young adult.

And God is my hope today.

Have you known Jesus since you were a child? Have you thanked Him lately for that childlike trust? Or did you meet Him as an adult? Ask Him to give you that childlike faith again.

Monday, March 06, 2017

The Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13)

Today’s scripture: Titus 2:13

Picture this:

You’re walking along a sun-kissed shore, the water lapping at your feet. The setting is painting the clouds deep oranges and pinks. Then, suddenly, rays of the sun burst through the clouds and rain down on the horizon. It’s almost as though the hand of God itself is coming through the clouds.

Well, guess what?

One day, it won’t be the rays of the sun coming through the clouds, it will be Jesus Himself.

Don’t you love that?

The Bible tells us that Jesus will “descend from heaven with a shout . . . Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together . . . to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Jesus will return someday. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not even in our lifetime. But He will someday return to make this world what God had originally created it to be.

Then, “we shall always be with the Lord.

Thank God today that you can have the hope in Jesus Christ’s return, that one day, He will return and we will spend eternity with Him.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Grieving with Hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

Today’s scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:13

It was a sunny June day.

In the cemetery, two graveside services were being held, both for young mothers.

At the first, the young widower sat, looking lost and alone. His three-year-old daughter sat next to him, and she cried as she tried to get her daddy’s attention and wondered where mommy was. The faces of those surrounding the casket were blank with grief. The older couple, clearly the young mother’s parents, clung to each other, hopelessness in their eyes.

At the second, the young widower sat, tears in his eyes, yet mixed with an unmistakable brightness. His three-year-old son sat next to him, and he looked up at his daddy and asked, “Where’s mommy?” “She’s in heaven with Jesus.” The little boy smiled as he remembered Mommy telling him how much Jesus loved him. The older couple, clearly the young mother’s parents, smiled through their tears. Yes, that little boy’s mommy was in heaven with Jesus.

Two funerals. One without hope; the other with the hope that comes from knowing that someone dearly loved was with Jesus.

We are to grieve our losses, but the Bible makes it clear that we who know Jesus can have hope that our loved ones who have departed this earth before us are with Him.

And we can have hope that, one day, we will be with Him too. 

Have you lost someone you loved? Have hope that they’re with Jesus. And If you have someone you love who doesn’t know Jesus, tell her about Him, so that, one day, you’ll be able to grieve with hope.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Courage Through Hope (Psalm 31:24)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 31:24

Do you feel discouraged?

Do you feel fearful?

Do you feel weak?

Do you sometimes wonder if you’re alone in this big, cruel world?

Most importantly, do you know Jesus?

If you answered yes to all of the above, I have some good news and some bad news for you.

The bad news? You will probably occasionally feel discouraged or fearful or weak. That’s that human side of you. Sometimes, in our frailty, we do feel all of these things.

But here’s the good news: If you know Jesus, you can be assured of that He will give you strength and courage if you ask Him. If you ask Him to walk alongside you, He will.

I often wake up in the morning in pain, and I often feel very weak. And when I feel that pain and that weakness, I often feel discouraged. But I know that when I ask, Jesus will give me the strength to make it through the day.

I can have hope that He will do what He promises to do, so I really can be of good courage—in His strength.

If you’re feeling discouraged or fearful, ask Jesus right this moment to strengthen your heart. Ask Him now for the hope that comes in knowing Him.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

A Living Hope (1 Peter 1:3-4)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 1:3-4

God is merciful to us. He chooses us to bless us and to give us hope in so many ways.

These verses speak to two very hopeful things. First and foremost: Jesus is alive! He is our resurrected Savior, and through Him, we can have a “living hope” that we too will live. We have an “inheritance incorruptible and undefiled” through Jesus.

The second hopeful thing: This inheritance “does not fade away.” We can live in this world, and we can live through difficult times. But we can live in the knowledge that our inheritance of eternity with Jesus will never, ever fade away. We can live with confidence in that hope.

But the bottom line?

We serve a living Savior, and that’s the greatest hope of all.

Thank God today that you have a living hope, that you have an inheritance that will never fade away. Thank Him for His mercy.