Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hope in the Resurrection (Acts 24:15)

Today’s scripture: Acts 24:15

Eternal life is for everyone—both those who follow Jesus and those who don’t. And so two things come to mind:

Followers of Jesus can be confident of heaven.

Followers of Jesus need to be bold in sharing this hope with others.

Think of it this way: If someone told you that they had the cure for cancer, wouldn’t you share it with everyone? If someone told you that they’d found a way to help a paraplegic walk again, wouldn’t you run as fast as you could to help that friend in a wheelchair?

We have the greatest news for everyone, the hope that comes in knowing that we can one day be resurrected to live with Jesus forever.

Why wouldn’t we do everything we could to let people know about this great news? Why wouldn’t we share this hope with everyone?

Maybe it’s not a question of why wouldn’t we. Maybe it’s a question of why don’t we.

Again, if we would share a cure for cancer, we should even more share the hope of the resurrection.

Do you believe that the hope we can have in the resurrection is great news? Ask God to give you boldness to share this great news with others, so that they can have the same hope.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Hope of Glory (Colossians 1:26-27)

Today’s scripture: Colossians 1:26-27

On Friday, I mentioned that, in the Old Testament, only the High Priest could enter into the presence of God, but that knowing Jesus gives us access to God and to experience His glory.

Without Jesus, this is a mystery, this glory of knowing God, Father, Son, and Spirit.

Knowing Jesus allows us to experience God’s glory, to experience His will, to experience His love, to experience His power.

It’s no longer a mystery.

It is, instead, a wonderful assurance of God’s desire to be available to us. It’s confidence in knowing that, because Christ is in us, we can truly know the glory of God.

We’re saints in the kingdom, and we are able to know God intimately, with all hope.

Is God still a mystery to you? Ask Him to reveal Himself fully to you. Seek to know Him; He promises you’ll find Him.

Friday, February 24, 2017

A Better Hope (Hebrews 7:19)

Today’s scripture: Hebrews 7:19

In the Old Testament, God’s children, the Israelites, knew to follow the law as it had been given to Moses. But even they knew that the law didn’t make them righteous in God’s eyes. There was still the need of atonement through sacrifice.

The New Testament gave both Jews—the Israelites—and Gentiles—non-Jews—a new hope, a better hope: the hope of salvation that comes through knowing Jesus.

In the Old Testament, only the High Priest had access to the presence of God.

In the New Testament, each of us who knows Jesus has direct access to God. We can draw near to Him through His word and through prayer.

We don’t have to go to anyone else. We don’t have to pray through anyone else. We can go directly into His presence.

It’s true! You—yes, you—can talk to God at any time. You can draw near to Him each and every day.

That’s the better hope!

Go to God now. Thank Him that you can enter into His presence. Thank Him for the better hope in knowing Jesus and drawing near to the Father.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hope in the Salvation of the Lord (Lamentations 3:25-26)

Today’s scripture: Lamentations 3:25-26

We are ultimately saved by belief in and receipt of the gift of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Once we are forgiven and become a part of God’s family, we know that we are assured of spending eternity with Him in heaven.

So what does this mean, that we should “hope and wait patiently for the salvation of the Lord”? If we’re saved when we accept Jesus, what is this salvation for which we are told to hope? 

This salvation is the daily protection and deliverance we have as God's children. We can wait on Him and trust Him because of His faithfulness in the past. In a cross reference from Exodus, Moses tells the children of Israel that they don’t need to be afraid because they could “see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again nor more forever” (14:13). And then the next thing they knew, God closed the Red Sea over the Egyptian army, allowing the Israelites to move forward in safety.

It’s this promise of protection that is our daily salvation.

Do you sometimes get caught up in the trauma that life can be? Remember that God protects His children, in each and every circumstance. Remember that He provides daily salvation ... from whatever comes your way!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hope of Eternal Life (Titus 1:2)

Today’s scripture: Titus 1:2

This is best reassurance of hope in the entire Bible. Well, at least I think so.

We can have hope in the fact that we’ll spend eternity with God.

So many times, the Bible assures of life after death, and for those of us who follow God, that life after death is one of joy in heaven.

I love the thought of spending eternity with the Lord. I love the thought that all the trials and tribulations of this world are temporary.

But, did you notice something else in this verse?

Yes, we definitely can and should have hope in eternal life, but this verse says something else.

God cannot lie! He is the God of absolute truth, so when He promises something, we can be absolutely certain that it’s the truth.

And we’re promised eternal life.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty hopeful thought!

Take some time to thank God that He is the God of truth. Thank God that you can be assured of eternal life, eternity with Him.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Hope of God's Calling (Ephesians 1:17-18)

Today’s scripture: Ephesians 1:17-18

God has a calling for each of His children.

Some are called to be preachers. Some are teachers. Some are encouragers.

Each of us has a place in His kingdom. Each and every one of us. No matter who you are, no matter what you can—or cannot do—God will use you.

It’s easy sometimes to think that, because we aren’t a preacher standing in front of a church, we’re just not that important. Or because we’re not a world-renowned evangelist leading hundreds and hundreds of people to know the Lord, we’re not impacting the kingdom.

But that’s not true; that’s not what the Bible tells us. The apostle Paul tells us that each gift is important—even critical—to the healthy function of the body of Christ:
But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism [division] in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (1 Corinthians 12:24b-26)
You can have hope in knowing that God will call you to use the gifts that He’s given you.

Do you believe that God has called you to serve Him? Do you know how He’s gifted you? If you do, use those gifts to serve and glorify Him. If you don’t, ask Him to reveal your gifts.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Rest in Hope (Psalm 16:8-9)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 16:8-9

It’s an amazing thing to think that God is right beside us, isn’t it? Right beside you. Right beside me.

I love the thought that I can reach out my hand, and He’s right there, through the good times and through the bad times. In fact, knowing that has helped me get through some pretty difficult times, those times that caused my soul to be restless.

My husband and I had been trying to have a baby for several years, and I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis, which ultimately caused infertility. In the darkest hour, when I realized that I would never be a mom, the only thing that gave me hope was the confidence that God was with me and that I could find rest in Him.

Because I know that God is at my right hand, I have hope that everything that happens will be according to His plan, including things that are painful.

And because I know that God is at my right hand, I can be glad. I can rejoice in God’s plan for my life. And my soul can find rest.

Is your soul restless? Do you sometimes wonder how you’re going to get through the dark times? Remember that God Himself is with you. He’s at your right hand. Ask God to give you rest . . . and hope.     

Friday, February 17, 2017

Hope in God's Word (Psalm 119:147

Today’s scripture: Psalm 119:147

Mornings can be tough for many of us. I know they can be tough for me sometimes.

A sleepless night.

Anticipation of a stressful day at work.

Do you often wake up, pause for a moment, and then just turn over and pull the covers over your head? Well, maybe not literally, but certainly figuratively?

What do you do when you wake up with fear, with worry, with concerns?

The Bible tells us. We can hope in God’s word.

But here’s the catch: You need to know His word.

When you know what God says about protecting you and providing for you, you can have hope. When you know verses that say that Jesus has overcome the world, you can have hope. When you know that the Bible says that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1), you can have hope.

The more you know God and His word, the more you can have confidence that, when you wake in need of help, you can have hope in God’s word.

Spend some time in God’s word today. Ask Him to show you those verses that speak of His care for you. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hope in Being Like Jesus ... One Day (1 John 3:2)

Today’s scripture: 1 John 3:2

Can you imagine?

You will be like Jesus some day!

When you asked Jesus into your heart, you became a child of God’s. And as you grew closer to Him, you became more and more like the person He created you to be, more like Christ.

It would have been enough for us to be saved, to know that we will one day spend eternity with our Lord in heaven, wouldn’t it?

Wouldn’t that be enough?

But God, our loving Father, didn’t stop there. While we’re on earth, we can’t fully see Jesus as He is, but one day we will see Him in all His glory. We will delight in Him and experience the glory of His presence. We will revel in the joy of just being with Him.

But that’s not all.

We will be just like Jesus.

Take a moment to meditate on the thought that you will one day be just like Jesus, that one day, you will see Jesus face-to-face. How does that make you feel?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hope in the Glory of God (Romans 5:1-2)

Today’s scripture: Romans 5:1-2

God had a plan for our salvation from the beginning of time as we know it.

He knew that His created humans—Adam and Eve—would choose to follow their own path, but He loved them enough to have a plan of salvation.

It all comes down to faith.

Faith that Jesus came to earth, died for our sins, and rose from the dead.

Faith that justifies us in the eyes of the Father.

Faith that gives us peace.

Faith that brings us grace.

Faith that offers mercy.

And faith that lets us rejoice in the hope that we will see God’s glory.

We’ll see God’s glory one day, when we see Him face-to-face in heaven.

And I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope.

Have you thought about seeing God face-to-face some day? Doesn’t that give you hope? Thank Him now for the promise of eternity with Him.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hope Does Not Disappoint (Romans 5:3-5)

Today’s scripture: Romans 5:3-5

We started this year looking at verses dealing with peace. Now we’re going to spend some time focusing on another favorite word of mine: Hope.

I’ve always loved these verses.

None of us can avoid having trials and tribulations in our lives. We live in a fallen world, and bad things—for some of us, really bad things—happen.

There are times when we wonder why we have to go through what we go through. Why the pain? Why the suffering?

It’s verses like these that answer those questions for me. I hope they do for you as well.

I’ve been through some tribulations: abuse, infertility, chronic pain. And I now know why I went through them. I’m a much stronger, compassionate person because of my pain.

I know beyond doubt that my difficult times made me more patient and understanding. Those times have made me—by God’s grace—a person of character. And I have hope because I know that God has worked His perfect will in my life.

And hope really doesn’t disappoint.

Have you questioned why God has allowed you to go through painful, difficult times? Let Him assure you that those times have strengthened you and have made you a person of character.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Righteousness and Peace (Isaiah 32:17)

Today’s scripture: Isaiah 32:17

When we give our lives to Jesus, those lives don’t immediately become perfect. We have work to do.

I believe that salvation comes from grace, not of works, and the apostle Paul supports me on this (Ephesians 2:8-9).

However, we’re to serve God through what we do—our works.

Works are those things we do to serve others and to serve God. It’s using the gifts He’s given us to glorify Him and help build His kingdom (1 Corinthians 12). It’s giving food to someone who is “destitute” (James 2:15-16). It’s helping the widow and the orphan (James 1:27).

When we do these things for God’s glory, we can know that we will have peace. We will have assurance that God will one day say to us: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of the Lord” (Matthew 25:21).

I don’t know about you, but peace on this earth and knowing that God will one day commend me like a proud parent—these make me want to serve Him more faithfully, to serve others gladly, and to live a life that brings a smile to His face.

Do you know the joy of serving God and serving others? Do you want to have the assurance that God will one day call you His good and faithful servant? Ask Him to help you now. Ask Him to reveal to you what you might do to serve Him more.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Go in Peace (1 Samuel 1:17)

Today’s scripture: 1 Samuel 1:17

One of the most wonderful things about being a Christian—and there are many—is that we can come to God with each and every need, big or small. And God promises to listen.

In 1 Samuel, a woman named Hannah hadn’t been able to have children (oh, can I relate), and she’d prayed and prayed and prayed for God to give her a child.

She prayed so desperately that one day, a prophet named Eli saw her and thought that she was drunk. When she bared her heart to him, he assured her that God would hear her prayer.

She could go in peace, knowing that God would give her that much longed-for child.

God will answer our prayers.

However, He doesn’t always answer them in the way we would like.

I too prayed and prayed and prayed for God to give me a child. I didn’t have an Eli to assure me that God listened to my prayer, but I know He did.

He just answered differently because there came a time in my journey when I was able to pray for that much longed-for child or for peace.

He gave me peace about remaining childless.

And like Hannah, I could go in peace knowing that God had granted my petition.

Is there something that you’ve been praying for, but you haven’t received an answer? If you’re willing to hear His answer, continue praying. Feel the hope that He will answer and that you can go in peace.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

The Gospel of Peace (Ephesians 6:15)

Today’s scripture: Ephesians 6:15

The apostle Paul urged the church at Ephesus to “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11) in order to combat the enemy. He wrote of putting on truth and righteousness, faith and the word of God.

In the middle of these pieces of “armor,” Paul wrote that we are to “shod [our] feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”

Shod our feet.

The other pieces of “armor” provide protection: a breastplate, a shield, a sword. What do shoes have to do with protection?

It’s what those shoes represent: the gospel of peace.

The gospel is the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s the assurance that when we give our lives to Jesus, we are saved from our sins. We can look forward to eternity with Jesus.

When we walk in that knowledge, when our feet are shod with that gospel, then everywhere we go, we are grounded in that truth. It’s the very foundation upon which we walk.

A soldier wouldn’t get very far if his shoes weren’t sturdy and strong, able to keep out the elements, able to traverse rough ground.

We too wouldn’t get very far if we weren’t standing on God’s promises of salvation and of peace.

On what are you walking? Are your feet covered with the peace that comes from knowing Jesus? Do you walk every day with the assurance of salvation? Ask God to give you that assurance. Become grounded in Him and His Word.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Wisdom and Peace (Proverbs 3:13, 17)

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 3:13, 17

Ah, wisdom.

I’d like to think of myself as wise, but unfortunately, I have a history of making unwise choices. My twenty-year rebellion included many, many decisions that led me farther and farther from the Lord. And I didn’t have peace. None at all.

Even after I recommitted my life to the Lord, I still made some unwise choices because I was still trying to do things on my own, control my own destiny.

Several years ago, however, I finally “wised up” and realized that I really couldn’t handle things well on my own and that I needed to be willing to give everything—heart, soul, mind, and strength to the Lord, and in His wisdom, I could lead that life of “pleasantness” and “peace.”

Now, I’d like to say that I’ve become wise, but that just wouldn’t be true. My wisdom—if indeed I have any—comes from the Lord.

When I come to Him and seek His will, then He gives me the ability to make wise choices.

When I read His word and learn more of what He wants from me, then my ways really are pleasant.

When I pray to Him and listen to His voice, then my paths really are peace.

Do you want wisdom to make the right choices? True wisdom comes from God. And true peace can come as a result of making wise, God-directed decisions. Talk to God and ask Him for wisdom to guide your paths.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Counselors of Peace (Proverbs 12:20)

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 12:20

I’m blessed to have some wonderful friends in my life. They’re wonderful women of faith whom I genuinely love and cherish.

Beyond friendship, I look to many of them as counselors. I know I can go to them with the good, bad, and ugly, and they’ll counsel me and pray over me.

When I think of these women, I love the thought of them being “counselors of peace” because they do, indeed, pray for peace in my life.

And in those relationships, I believe each of us finds joy.

I’ve known others, however, that illustrate the first part of that verse.

Haven’t you had people in your life that seem, on the surface, to be seeking your good? But then you find out that they’ve deceived you? Those people don’t bring joy to you because they’re not counselors of peace.

When someone really loves you and seeks God’s best for you, she’s truly that counselor of peace.

Do you have a counselor of peace in your life? Thank God for her—and thank her for being that to you.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Law and Peace (Proverbs 3:1-2)

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 3:1-2

When we decide to follow Christ, we begin a wonderful journey in relationship with Him. We can delight in knowing that He’s with us, every moment of every day.

But we’re commanded to do something to keep that relationship strong and growing: We must know the law of the Lord. We must keep His commandments.

God’s Word, the Bible, contains all of God’s words to us as well as His commandments, both in the Old and New Testaments.

In order to keep this particular requirement to “not forget My law” and to “keep My commandments,” we need to spend time in God’s Word.

Note that next part of the verse: for the length of days and long life.

This means that this is a life-long requirement. We can’t just read God’s Word off and on or in one season of our lives. It’s a life-long endeavor as part of a life-long relationship.

There’s joy in knowing Jesus. It’s an amazing privilege to have a true relationship with Him. And getting to know Him more and more deeply through the study of His Word is another gift from Him to us.

Oh, and there’s that last part of the verse: our days and long life will add peace to us.

Do you spend time remembering God’s law, His Word? Do you strive to keep His commandments? If you do, thank Him for His Word and His promise of peace. If you don’t, ask God now to work in you so that you can draw ever closer to Him.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Future Peace for the Blameless (Psalm 37:37)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 37:37

Blameless? Hardly.

Upright? Uptight, maybe.

I look back on my life, and I’ve hardly been blameless and upright. Most of the time, I’ve been anything but these things. 

I’ve been sinful and rebellious and strong-willed.

I’ve been angry and bitter and unforgiving.

So, if I read this verse right, I shouldn’t be looking forward to a future of peace. And the opposite of peace is what? Despair? Worry? Sick-to-the-pit-of-my-stomach anxiety?

Is that what I have to look forward to?


No, I’m not blameless or upright, at least not in and of myself.

When I believed in Jesus and received His gift of salvation, a miracle occurred: I suddenly became blameless. Jesus died on the cross to wash away my sin, and I am blameless. He took all my sin on Himself, and God no longer blames me for anything I’ve done.

And because I know this, because I know of the price that Jesus paid to save me, to make me blameless, I choose to live an upright life.

I can look forward to that future of hope because—not by anything I’ve done—I am blameless and upright.

Do you still see yourself as facing blame? Do you still see yourself as not worthy of a future of peace? Remember that if you know Jesus, if you’ve asked Him to save you, you are blameless and you can live an upright life. Ask God for assurance of your blamelessness.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

The Abundance of Peace (Psalm 27:11)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 37:11

What do you picture when you think of the word “meek”?

Are you picturing a kind of geeky, skinny person, maybe even with braces? Someone with slightly hunched shoulders who won’t look you in the eye?

And when you read a verse like this, do you think, What’s so good about inheriting the earth if I have to be a pushover?

I’d like to propose an argument about this word. I don’t picture that geek when I think of meek. I picture someone—myself, I hope—who is kneeling at the foot of the Lord’s throne, seeking His will and His desire for my life.

When I think of meek, I think of someone—again, I truly hope it’s me—who is so desiring to live for God that all pride and self-promotion is gone.

And when I read a verse like this one, it’s not the part about inheriting the earth that gets me excited.

It’s that second part: I “shall delight . . . in the abundance of peace.”

The abundance of peace.

It’s not just a little bit of peace.

It’s not just a relatively good-sized portion of peace.

It’s an abundance of peace, more than I could ever need on this earth.

When I think about having that abundance of peace, it doesn’t seem to be such a bad thing to be meek for God.

Do you struggle with being meek for God? Do you see meek as being equal with weak? Come to the foot of the throne right now, and ask God to help you to be meek for Him. And experience an abundance of peace.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Jehovah-Shalom ... The Lord is Peace

Today’s scripture: Judges 6:24

Thank you for the feedback from yesterday's request ... We're continuing with topical devotions for a while!

I love that the Lord calls Himself by different names throughout the Bible. No matter what I’m going through, I can call God by a special name. He’s Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider. He’s Jehovah-rapha, my healer. He’s Jehovah-raah, my Shepherd.

And He’s Jehovah-Shalom, my Peace.

Gideon had asked for and received three signs from God that He would give Gideon victory over his enemies. When God brought peace to the land, Gideon built an altar.

Gideon called that altar, The-Lord-Shalom—God is peace.

Peace has not always been something that I’ve enjoyed. Oftentimes, I’ve felt anything but peace. In my many-years rebellion from God, I would try to find peace my own way—relationships, stuff, jobs—but nothing I did brought me peace.

Since I recommitted myself to the Lord over a dozen years ago, there still have been times when I haven’t felt peace. The storms have still come. The trials are just as difficult.

The difference? Now I can call on my Jehovah-Shalom. Even when I can’t get any other words out, I can cry, “Jehovah-Shalom! Be my Peace.”

And my Peace, my Lord, my God brings me the peace my heart desires.

Do you need peace? Even if you can speak no other words, cry out now to your Lord of Peace. From the deepest part of your heart, cry out, “Jehovah-Shalom! Be my Peace.”