To See Light, Be in The Light

May 4, 2021 Leave a comment

Summer is fast approaching, and while Fall is my favorite time of the year, I also enjoy the summer months because I love sunshine.

Light brightens my soul, both literally and figuratively. There’s a wonderful verse in Psalm 36:9, which I have always found fascinating.

“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.”

It’s intriguing because it seems to imply the more we walk in His Light, the more we see His Light.

I know the opposite is true, that is, the more we dwell on the dark things of this world, the darker we become, so perhaps this verse isn’t that surprising.

Another similar verse in I John 1:5 teaches us the same thing. “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.”

While there are many aspects of our world today that seem to be dark, we are not left without light. We can always look to the one in whom is no darkness.

We can look to “the light of the glory of God as seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” II Corinthians 4:6.

The Being of “Not”

March 30, 2021 Leave a comment

I’ve always been fascinated by what John the Baptist said when someone asked him if he was the long-awaited promised Messiah. “I am not the Messiah,” he said (John 1:20).

Why does his answer fascinate me?

First, since they asked him the question, some in the crowd obviously thought he might be the Messiah. The gospel writers don’t tell us whether it was his dress, his demeanor, or his preaching, but evidently some saw this as a possibility.

John could have claimed the title easily enough.

He had an extraordinary, miraculous birth. An angel appeared in person to his father to announce his birth. His mother had been unable to have children, and she was already past the age of bearing children when she got pregnant, plus his father lost his ability to speak throughout his wife’s pregnancy, and his voice only returned when John was born.

But John refused the title of Messiah, despite the fact it would have made him even more popular and more people would have been drawn to him to hear his message.

“I am not the Messiah.”

His answer also fascinates me because by knowing who he was not, John is also indicating he knows who he is. Although he is not the Messiah, he is someone with a message and a mission.

Luke 3:3 says, “And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

In John’s declaration of “I am not the Messiah,” I find a powerful truth for how God calls me to live my own life. Knowing who I am not—whether it’s an age, a career, a family role, a ministry—is the key to knowing who I am.

No matter who I am not, God has given me a message and a mission, and like John, this message and mission will ultimately point away from me and to the true Messiah.

When John was baptizing one day, he saw Jesus walking along the banks of the Jordan River and he said to those around him, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

I am not the Messiah, but I know the Messiah who has taken away the sins of the world.

You can know the Messiah too. Learn more here.

Do You Hear Voices?

February 3, 2021 Leave a comment

Voices! We hear voices each and every day. Some are screaming at us from the TV, telling us to order this, pay attention to that, don’t forget this. Others are posting on our Facebook page, Twitter feed, other social media sites, wanting us to sign this, like that, look at this.

Who merits our attention? To whom should we be listening? Whose voice is the worthy voice?

A crippled up old man appears in the gospel of John to answer these questions. (John 5:1-17). He doesn’t have a name in the gospel, but everyone at the pool of Bethesda knew him. He had been lying there for thirty-eight years, unable to take advantage of the pool’s healing properties. Jesus stopped by one day, and, in one instantaneous moment, took care of the crippled man’s lifelong problem.

Following Jesus’ instructions, the Man Made Whole gathered up his bedroll and walked away. Later, when asked by the religious leaders what he thought he was doing carrying his bed around on a Sabbath, he told them he was doing what he’d been instructed to do by the man who had enough authority to make him whole again.

The Man Made Whole was carrying his bed—in defiance of the religious authorities—because he recognized a man who was able to give life to his withered limbs was someone with authority, someone worthy of his attention.

This same man, Jesus of Nazareth, healed me one day.

He healed me of a lifelong sin problem, a sickness so severe I was doomed for eternal destruction. He did so by taking sin’s disease on Himself and paying the price for it Himself. Now, he commands me to take up my life and live it for Him.

His voice is a voice worth hearing.

Listen to His words from the rest of John 5, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” (25-26)

Begin Anew

January 1, 2021 Leave a comment

Goodbye, 2020!

January 1st is a day of HOPE. To many, it holds the enticing thought of a brand new start, a day to wipe the slate clean, to begin anew.

  • We hope to lose weight, get more sleep, eat healthy.
  • We hope to be more productive, get organized.
  • We hope to get a better job, earn more money.

But, so much of what we hope for tomorrow will just be wishful thinking.

There’s a different kind of hope that’s not just wishful thinking. It’s a hope centered on Christ, a confidence that what God has promised He’ll bring to pass. I like to think of hope as the future tense of faith.

How can we have this hope that’s not just wishful thinking? Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” It’s the Word of God that makes faith and hope possible.

All of your days in 2021 can be A Day of Hope by reading God’s Word.

Check out these Daily Bible Reading Plans for hope-filled days in 2021.

An Indescribable Gift!

December 21, 2020 Leave a comment

Gift 3Every year, I give what I call my “Reason for the Season” gift.

It’s a present  to remind each recipient of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. My “Reason for the Season” gifts are never very elaborate. Most of them are simply stocking stuffers and cost very little.

These gifts can be as simple as a bookmark with a Scripture on it or a key chain with a Christian symbol swinging from it. During past Christmases, I’ve given a calendar or a devotional book. For children, I’ve put Veggie Tale toys and Bible story DVD’s under the tree. I’ve also given mugs and ornamental plaques with Scriptures on them.

I started this practice several years ago when my daughter was a teenager, and I suddenly realized the true meaning of God’s “gifting” us with His Son was being lost in the hustle and bustle of checking things off her Christmas wish list. Now, purchasing these “Reason for the Season”  items from a Christian bookstore a few weeks before the big holiday seems to take the edge off the Christmas rush and serves as a reminder of the purpose of this celebration.

Truly, the “Reason for the Season” is a tiny helpless baby sent by a powerful, holy God to rescue a hopeless fallen sinner.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” 2 Corinthians 2:15: 

Categories: Devotionals

Finding Hidden Treasures

November 15, 2020 Leave a comment

Don’t you love to find a word from the Lord in your Bible that you’ve never seen before? That happened to me just recently when I was reading the last verses in the little bitty book of Jude, so small it doesn’t even have any chapters.

The verses I hadn’t noticed before were verses 24-25 of . . . well, just Jude.

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

While there’s so much in these verses, I’ve highlighted three phrases that blessed me especially.

Present you blameless: I love being reminded when believers stand before his presence one day, we’ll be considered blameless. How great is that? And notice how it happens—through Jesus Christ our Lord.

With great joy:  Notice the one doing the presenting of us before His presence will do so with great joy. He—Jesus—will be delighted to make everyone who believes in Him known to His Father. It will be His pleasure to do so. He even asked the Father in John 17 for this to happen. “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory.”

Before all time: Our God is an eternal God. There has never been a time when He didn’t exist. He was before all time, and He will go on forever through all time, even when time is no more. This is mind-boggling, hard to grasp, and yet, strangely reassuring.

There’s so much more in these two verses, and in the days ahead, I plan to give more thought to the treasures to be found there. I have a feeling I won’t be disappointed.

What a Surprise!

October 15, 2020 Leave a comment

God reveals Himself in Scripture as a God who loves surprises. Throughout the Old Testament, God manifests Himself in surprising ways, He chooses surprising people, He acts in surprising circumstances.

God Manifests Himself in Surprising Ways:

  • A burning bush
  • A whirlwind
  • A bunch of dry bones
  • A barren womb

God Chooses Surprising People:

  • An idol worshiper
  • A murderer
  • A con man
  • A shepherd boy
  • A prostitute

God Acts in Surprising Circumstances:

  • A Flood
  • A Battlefield
  • A Famine
  • A Murder

In the New Testament, God Himself becomes the surprise. From His birth announcement, His earthly life, His horrible death, and His anticipated return, it’s one surprise after another.

His Birth Announcement Surprised:

  • His mother Mary
  • His father Joseph
  • The shepherds
  • King Herod

His Earthly Life Brought Surprising:

  • Miracles
  • Teachings
  • Revelations

His Horrible Death Surprised:

  • The Disciples
  • The Unbelievers
  • The Roman Soldiers

His Anticipated Return Will Surprise:

  • The Unprepared
  • The Uninformed
  • The Unbeliever

How will God surprise you? It could be a way in the wilderness or a river in the desert. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19. 

God will surprise you. Anticipate it. Look for it. Embrace it.

Happiness?

September 23, 2020 Leave a comment

It’s been a couple of rainy days here in Oklahoma. Not much sunshine. I’m not a person given to depression, and I really like rainy days, but I still found myself longing for some sunshine.

People just seem to be happier when the sun is shining. As I thought about happiness, I remembered a devotional I’d read about mankind’s universal search for happiness. 

In the article,  this quote is referenced, “All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” –C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

A bright cloudless day can’t really make a person happy. Only God can do that.

Turn your face toward the Son. Bask in the warmth and happiness of His Light today.

“You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11.

Lost Your Way?

August 12, 2020 Leave a comment

Find Vs Lose Your Way Puzzle Pieces 3d IllustrationIt’s easy to lose your way in our world today. We’re inundated with a myriad of messages, images, and ideas. How do we choose what to believe, what path to follow, how to live? We can explore all our options, saturating ourselves with philosophies, practices, and beliefs.

But, like hikers exploring a new trail, there are some precautions we should take before we head off into the unknown. Otherwise, we’re sure to lose our way. These practices should serve us well, whether we’re looking at a belief system, a political choice, a new set of friends, or exploring health issues, anything requiring our time, money, and effort.

First, FIND a way to have a Daily Quiet Time.
Spend at least thirty minutes every day in Bible study and prayer. It doesn’t matter how you do this. There’s a Bible reading plan out there that will match up with anyone’s learning style and preferences. The important thing is to put yourself in a position where your Father in heaven can communicate His love, His plan, and His desires for you, and you can catch a glimpse of His Glory each and every day.

Second, FIND a way to worship God in a group setting, even through media.
Praising, loving, and serving God with other people will strengthen and enhance your faith. It’s about gathering with like-minded people who desire to give glory, honor, and praise to an Almighty Creator who sacrificed His only son to make sure we spend eternity with Him.

Third, FIND a way to express your faith.
Our belief in God requires an outlet. Otherwise, stagnation sets in. This expression can take many forms, and it may be different according to personality types. For some, it may mean singing, speaking, teaching, or preaching. For others, it may mean journaling, writing, serving, or counseling.

Hear the words of the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 6:16: Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”

Rest for your soul as you find your way. What could be better than that?

God Loves You

July 11, 2020 Leave a comment

God is LoveThe words, “I don’t love you,” have to be the most hurtful words ever spoken. As human beings, we are born with the desire to be loved. Whether it’s romantic love, family love, brotherly love or even self love, God gave us the desire to be loved and to love God, others, and ourselves.

Love comes from God. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7).

Because human love is so flawed by sin, none of us can ever love ourselves or another human being perfectly. In the same way, until we receive our glorified, perfected bodies, we can’t love God perfectly.

God has no such hindrances. He loves perfectly. On three different occasions, the prophet Daniel was told by the angel Gabriel that he was greatly loved by God. “I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved.” (Daniel 9:23). The same thought is expressed in Daniel 10: 11 and Daniel 10:19.

How sweet those words must have sounded to Daniel! How would you like to hear those words for yourself? Well, you can.

Paul says in Ephesians 2:4-5:God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses,made us alive together with Christ.”

God’s love is on display for us in Romans 5:8.But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Like Daniel, God sent word to us that we are greatly love. He sent  His Word in the form of His Son who demonstrated how much he really loved us by paying the penalty for our sins by His death on the cross

Accept His love. Bask in His Love. Know His love for all eternity.

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