July 28 Devotional

It is one thing to read the Word of God on your own every day.  It is good that we go to church and hear the Word of God preached and taught.  It is good for you to discuss with Christian friends what you have read.  It is something else to actually live out the things you are reading.  You see, if all we do is read it … listen to it … and discuss it, we have not done what God purposed His Word to do.  The psalmist wrote, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee; in whose heart are the ways of them” (Psalm 84:5).

 

God is looking for far more than your eyes and ears.  God is interested in seeing these principles of the Word of God actually lived out in the lives of His children.  The thing that will influence this world the most is not simply hearing, or reading, or even discussing the words that are in the Bible.  The thing that will have the most impact on our world will be when we believers actually live the way the Bible teaches we ought to live.  It will be when we believers have the attitudes we have read that Jesus had on earth.  It will be when we believers use the language we have learned is appropriate from our Bible.  It will be when we live the truths we have seen in the Word of God.

 

Take a moment and examine your heart today.  Will the world see an accurate picture of your Bible by the way you live your life?  Many in this world will not physically open a Bible to see the liberating truths it holds.  The only way they will be able to realize the truths that can change their lives will be to witness those truths lived out in your everyday life.  James wrote in our New Testament that God was interested in us being “doers” of the word, and not only “hearers.”

 

I love to go to meetings where preachers really inspire my heart with strong preaching.  If all I do is sit and listen to great preaching, and leave without actually changing my life … all that preaching accomplished nothing in my life.  There have been times when I have preached very convicting truths and seen folks respond at the invitation.  Many times I have bowed my own knee and asked God to help me to “practice what I’ve preached.”  I don’t want to be guilty of simply having my heart moved, without placing those truths deep in my heart so that they affect the way I walk every day.  I need God’s help with this; and I am sure you do too.  Pray for me, and I will pray for you to make this verse become reality in our lives.  The thing our world needs the most is that our Bible come alive in our lives before them!

 

A light that does not shine becomes useless.” – Ted Camp

July 27 Devotional

There is a little chorus I love that says, “He’s all I need … He’s all I need … Jesus is all I need.”  I believe that with all my heart.  What about you today?  Are you satisfied with Jesus Christ?  The Bible says, “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied” (Proverbs 27:20).  If you and I are not careful, we will always be searching for something “new,” something better.  I am so thankful that for the past forty-nine years Jesus has been all I need to satisfy the longing of my soul.

 

We are living in a time when no one seems to be satisfied with what they have.  Each year (it seems), the phone you are using gets improved, and you need the next generation of phone.  I am wondering how a generation (in phone years) passes so quickly.  I can tell you the reason … it is because the “eyes of man are never satisfied.”  While you are driving down the road, no matter what make/year of car you are driving, you will see one a little bit better … a little bit faster … a little bit shinier (not sure that’s really a word), and a part of you will want that.  The clothing you are putting on today is probably already out of fashion before you put it on.  The computer you have needs to be upgraded.  The coffee you will drink will need to be heated up again … I think you are getting the idea.

 

I was introduced to Jesus as my Savior when I was a boy of six (please understand that my parents had been introducing me to Him since my birth).  My family did something that is so important to me now these forty nine years later.  They did not simply introduce Jesus to me as a Savior; they introduced me to Him as a Friend for eternal life!  I love Him!  I can’t wait to see Him face to face!  We have talked often throughout my life, and He has become the Friend that sticks closer than a brother to me!  He is my All in all.  He is all that the Bible said He would be to me and more!  He really is all I need!

 

My heart still breaks when I think of Him on the cross in my place.  My eyes fill with tears as I re-enact that scene in my mind again and again!  You see, I do not need to fear Hell and destruction because of Him.  I am absolutely, 100% satisfied with Him!  I am happy today that I don’t need to “upgrade” my Savior!  He is already all I need, and He will continue to be all I need into eternity!  If you have gotten envious of the “things” others have around you … look to Jesus and find eternal satisfaction in Him!  He really is all you will ever need!

 

God is good all the time – all the time God is good.” – Unknown

July 26 Devotional

God delivered His people from the raging, mighty, powerful army of Pharaoh of Egypt.  He did it, by taking them through the water, not around it.  Have you ever really thought about the plan of God for your life?  Have you considered that the difficult things God is allowing to come to your life are for your good?  Have you thought in the middle of the struggle, that God might be giving you a story to tell for the remainder of your life to be an encouragement to others?  Israel left the captivity of Egypt with a shout of praise, and an expectation that all their troubles were now behind them.  God clearly led them to the Red Sea.  Did you catch that?  God led them to an impossible position … Read Sea on one side … raging Egyptian army on the other.

 

Have you ever felt that you were in a “no-win” situation simply because you were following the will of God?  It can feel that way … but don’t forget God!  “But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.  Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.  And Israel saw the great work with the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses” (Exodus 14:29-32).

 

That parting of the Red Sea was for you too!  God has recorded this story in our Bible for a purpose.  The former harlot from Jericho, Rahab understood the purpose.  She heard that story from some forty years before and she believed in the awesome power of God.  To the point that she was absolutely sure that Israel’s God would conquer Jericho (before the Jews even believed it).  Secular historians have recorded the story of the parting of the Red Sea.  They may scoff at the miracle, and try to explain it away, but it is very difficult for them to explain the chariot wheels that still sit on the floor of the Red Sea to this day.

 

The question for you today is this; are you still mindful of the incredible power of your God today?  If you are, why spend a minute worrying about what is coming in your future?  Your God can kill all the mighty men of the greatest empire on the earth without one human shot being fired … He can open that “Red Sea,” that impossible situation that is just in front of you today.  Trust Him, and watch Him work, you have the best seat in the house.

 

Be still and know peace – Be busy and know panic.” – Ted Camp

July 25 Devotional

Isaiah had a dream in which he entered into the presence of God.  After having his tongue cleaned, God gave him some specific instructions that I believe are still valid for you and me today.  God told Isaiah that He wanted him to “Go and tell” the people about Him.  He wanted Isaiah to go and warn of upcoming judgment if the people did not repent and return to God.  Isaiah had a simple question about the length of time He was to do this.  We all wonder how long we will be serving God in the ministry He has called us to serve.

 

Isaiah’s question and God’s answer – “Then said I, ‘Lord, how long?’ And He answered, ‘ Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land’” (Isaiah 6:10-11).  I’m thinking that God wanted Isaiah to accept this ministry for the rest of his life!  There is no retirement plan evident in these instructions!  God wanted Isaiah to faithfully preach/teach the words that He would give him until every city was had no one living in it; until all the homes he knew of were empty of people; until the land was absolutely flattened and there were no people left; and until the time that God would remove all life from the earth.

 

You and I may become tired of doing the ministry we are called to be a part of, but God’s heart for the people we are trying to reach will never tire!  God has the view of eternity, while we are restricted to what we can see and understand.  Let me encourage you today to finish the work God has called you to do.  Far too many today are anticipating the finish-line without considering the cost of the race!  Don’t be guilty of looking to what you think might be greener pastures on the other side of what you are doing today.  Have you ever considered that what you are doing for God right now might be His life-time calling for you?

 

Find joy and satisfaction in the understanding that the King of all kings has chosen you to serve where you are.  He had a reason for that, and He continues to need you to do what He has called you to.  If God’s plan changes, He should be the one to let you know.  The change should not be based on your emotions, or your preferences.  Be true to God and His will until your life ends, or the job is completely finished.  It’s easy to start the race well; it’s another thing to finish it well.  Finish strong!

 

The world is in darkness, don’t let the light go out.” – Ted Camp

July 24 Devotional

Man has known that God would provide a Redeemer ever since Adam and Eve ate the fruit God commanded them not to eat.  Sin came into our world in Genesis chapter three, and the promise of the Redeemer came in the same chapter.  God then began to reveal His plan for redemption to the nation of Israel through the practice of offering a sacrifice for sin.  Each Israelite was familiar with offering a lamb as a substitute for their sin.

 

After years of captivity in Egypt, God has been working a plan that would free the Jews from the slavery in Egypt.  God attacked the idea of nine gods Egypt had placed where He belonged.  He used Moses to initiate nine plagues that hit each of the gods Egypt had worshipped (showing His power and authority over all nine).   The tenth plague God was going to put on Egypt was the death of the first-born of all the people in Egypt (animals and humans).  In order to protect the Jews from this death, He gave instruction for them to kill a male lamb, without blemish and to place its blood in an interesting way on the posts of their doors.  Here is the description God gave Moses … “they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the homes, wherein they shall eat it” (Exodus 12:7).

 

This picture of the blood on the doorpost was a figure of the Messiah to come.  Jesus Christ was killed in Jerusalem at the same the Passover lambs were being killed.  He stretched His hands to the side (like the side posts of the door), and His head bore the crown of thorns (like the top of the posts of the door).  The blood on the door posts of the homes of the Jews in Egypt formed a perfect cross … Jesus on the cross provided the perfect Lamb.  Is this just a coincidence?  I don’t think so!  When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming towards Him, he claimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the earth.

 

You don’t need to put blood on your door today.  But, let me ask a question … has Jesus Christ left an impression on your life that others can see today?  Or, will you try to hide the fact that you are saved.  When the Jews put the blood on their door posts, it was for the entire world to see.  Don’t be a camouflage Christian today, let it be known that the Lamb of God has taken away your sin, and you are not ashamed to be known as a Christian!  Jesus gave up all He had for you … live strong for Him today in the world that desperately needs to see Him!

 

Not what happens if I obey God, but what happens if I disobey God.

July 23 Devotional

There is a fine line between living in a way that is not offensive to others, and living a genuine Christian life that will make a difference.  Today I was reading about some believers in the early church making a difference.  “And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, ‘These that have turned the world upside down are come hither too’” (Acts 17:6).  “These that have turned the world upside down …” if you haven’t noticed yet, our world could use a little turning upside down!

 

After reading this today, I began to think about what we Christians spend most of our time doing … we complain about politics, the economy, the way our laws are being ignored, the pressure that is placed on us to approve “same sex marriage” and other social issues of the day, and generally we complain about the condition our world is in.  If this is where your focus is today, you are wasting a good deal of valuable time that is quickly running out.

 

Someone one wrote, “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past … only what’s done for Christ will last.”  You have one shot at making a difference for Christ with the one life God has given you to live.  No one knows the length of your life.  No one knows how many days you have left.  One thing is certain, you will probably wish that you had used your time more wisely when the end of your life does come.

 

Consider with me today what it was that Paul, Silas, Jason and the other faithful followers of Christ were doing that was considered “turning the world upside down.”  I will make it simple for you … they preached Christ!  They preached about His perfect life; His death on the cross in the place of sinners; His burial for three days; and most of all about His resurrection from the dead.  They preached that sinners who refuse the grace God demonstrated in His Son would die and go to Hell.  For this they were accused of “turning the world upside down.

 

I have been criticized by some for only caring about seeing Deaf people go to Heaven.  Others have been told to beware of me because “he’s just trying to get the whole world saved.”  I hope both of these statements are true of me until I step into Heaven!  I want to do all I can to turn my world upside down while I have the opportunity!  Will you join me?  Come on, it’s fun!

July 22 Devotional

Some of my most treasured childhood and teenage memories are sitting at the side of my grandmother’s bed, listening to stories about my family.  My grandmother’s first husband died when he was fifty-two of multiple stings from wasps.  They had eight children, and it was during the Great Depression.  There were many wonderful stories of God’s provision for them every step of the way.  Later my grandmother re-married.  That second husband bought a house, but he died soon afterward.  After he died, my grandmother could not afford to pay the mortgage, and my parents, sister and me moved in with her.  As a result, I got to hear many stories about my grandfather; the times of growing up in the depression; and story after story about how God provided for this family when it seemed that the odds were impossible.

 

Today I read a principle that follows what my grandmother practiced.  The psalmist wrote, “We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done” (Psalm 78:4).  It is so important for us to pass along the things we have learned to those who are coming after us.  The psalmist spoke of not hiding the things that happened in the history of Israel from the children.  It is our responsibility take what we have learned and pass it along to our children in a way that will cause them to have confidence in God.  You cannot teach those following you, what you have not learned yourself.

 

That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:  That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Psalm 78:6-7).  The whole purpose of passing along what we have learned to those following us is so that they will HOPE IN GOD!  Here we are some 2,500 years after this chapter was written, reading of the things that happened in the Old Testament days because some of God’s people were faithful to pass their history along.

 

What will future generations know of God from what we are passing along?  Let’s determine today to be faithful so that those who are coming along in the future will have a good path to follow.  Decide today to be faithful today, and share with someone who will be a leader in the future.

July 21 Devotional

A wicked man hardeneth his face; but as for the upright, He directeth his way” (Proverbs 21:29).  There are two choices you have for following the leadership of God in your life.  You can harden your face toward Him … or you can allow Him to easily direct your path.  All of us (if we are honest with ourselves), have tried the first way more than we would like to admit.  There is something within a man/woman that makes us feel that we have all the right answers and we are just hoping the rest of the world (and God) will see our point of view and get in line!

Direction in life is so vitally important to the ultimate goal we are trying to reach.  Each day you are taking individual steps … making individual decisions that are going to affect what you will be doing for the rest of your life.  We don’t often think about the magnitude of the choices we are making at the time we are making them.  This is one of the greatest advertisements for reading your Bible every day.  If you do not open this precious book and look for the direction you need, you will definitely have a hardened face when it comes to God’s leadership.  Think about it … God inspired every word in this Bible for your good and help.  If you don’t read the book He has put in your language and put in front of you, how will He ever lead you in other ways?

There is also a strong point that needs to be made to having a soft heart so that when God does lead you, you are willing to go wherever that might be.  It is not enough to see the plan of God; we must also do that plan as God directs.  I don’t want to be “bull-headed” when it comes to listening for God’s voice.  I want to have a softened heart when I read His Word and pray for direction.  I then want to do what He touches my heart to do without wavering.  I want to refuse to move from His clear leadership.

There have times in my life and ministry that I have known a clear calling from God to do something for Him.  There have almost always been those who whispered in my ear (sometimes yelled loudly), “Are you sure about this?  Did God really lead you this way, or is this your choice?”  I praise God for the times I stayed focused on what He had given me to do.  I regret the times I listened to them, and got off the track temporarily to explore other options.  I need the leading of God today.  I want to keep a soft heart that is easily moved by God.  I want to have an attentive ear to the call of God for me to go.  Will you join me today?

July 20 Devotional

Paul and Silas were put in prison for preaching the Gospel in the city of Philippi.  They decided to rejoice rather than complain, and they were singing at midnight in the deepest part of the prison.  While they were singing, God decided to free them, and He shook the entire prison.  Their chains fell off … but they did not run to escape.  The guard who knew that he would certainly be killed because of the escape of his prisoners was ready to kill himself.  Paul quickly told him that all were still there.  The guard had not expected that, and noticed that something was very different about these men.  He asked what he needed to do to have the salvation these prisoners had.  Paul explained about salvation, and this man and his family trusted Christ.

 

This is a great story in our Bible, but there was one part of a verse that really touched my heart this morning.  “And when he had brought them into his house, he set meal before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house” (Acts 16:34).  Not only did Paul and Silas affect the guard, but also “all his house.”  What a blessing to see a whole family come to Christ!

 

Many years ago I was teaching a young couples Sunday School class.  After teaching about having a burden for your entire family, one of the couples approached me.  The wife was crying and told me that her parents were not saved, and that they had become very militant against the Gospel.  She then asked if I would go to visit them and try to tell them about Christ.  That Tuesday night I went with a friend who happened to be a State Police officer.  This friend flew a medevac helicopter for the State Police, going to rescue accident victims.

 

When we entered the house, we were expecting to face fierce opposition.  When met the father of this family, he looked at my friend and recognized him as the pilot of the helicopter that came to get a car accident victim just outside his home.  He was so impressed with my friend’s skills and actions that he was wide open to us sharing the Gospel.  That man, his wife, his son, and two of his daughters trusted Christ!  Later, I preached that same man’s funeral service, and over forty-five people trusted Christ!  What a blessing to see an entire family influenced by the Gospel!  What a thrill to see a father with a burden for his family to be saved!  What a joy to see an entire family headed to Heaven!  Tell your family about Jesus today.

July 19 Devotional

We human beings have had a very bad habit for a very long time.  Even though we have been given the incredible privilege to know God personally, we continually try to take His place; or we continue to replace God with our idols/gods.  When I was a teenager, someone described it this way to me: your heart has a throne on it … God was the only One Who has the right to sit on that throne … but God gives you the choice as to who/what will occupy that throne.  That made sense to me then, and it continues to make sense today.

 

Each of us has one life.  Each of us has one throne on our heart.  Each of us is in a battle for control of our heart every minute of every hour of every day.  The question remains the same as when I was a teenager … Who will I place on that throne today?  Isaiah gave some very clear words of challenge for us: “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:11).  Isaiah leaves no room for misunderstanding.  The thing that de-thrones God on the throne of our heart is our own “lofty looks” and “haughtiness.”  You see, one of the worst enemies of God totally controlling our lives, is our own pride and haughtiness.

 

You see, the largest enemy you have today is found very close to the heart.  It is your own desire to replace God on that throne.  The more clearly we see that enemy, the greater chance we have of removing it from the throne of our heart, and allowing God to be exalted.  Mark it down; God is going to be exalted, whether you do it in your own heart or not.  “In that day” God is going to be the One that we all will bow down to and humble ourselves before.   I want to do it today.  I want to exalt God in my own heart and life today.

 

If you read this entire chapter, you will notice that Isaiah thought this was important enough to repeat it again.  “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low; and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:17).  Do not be fooled by the loud opposition of the world; there will be a day when all the loftiness and haughtiness of men will be absolutely humbled as God is exalted.  Lift His name high today.  If you have replaced God on the throne of your heart, get off the throne, and give God His rightful place today.

 

… Every knee shall bow … every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” – Philippians 2:10-11