November 11 Devotional

Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: For I am called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16).

 

Do you want to have lasting joy in your life?  Do you want to rejoice while the rest of the world is in turmoil?  Do you want to have something that will last even during the times of difficulty?  Jeremiah (known as the “weeping prophet” because he lived during a time of the Jews turning away from the laws of God), found his joy and rejoicing in the midst of incredible difficulty in the Word of God.  The sweet words of God!  The infallible, never-changing, eternal words of God!  The only Book in the history of the world that has the ability to change your life so drastically for the good!  Can you believe that you have the privilege to hold the words that God breathed from His mouth to the pages in front of you?  I cannot believe it.

 

Can you imagine this coming Christmas morning, you gave a “special” gift to someone you love deeply, and they just took the gift from you and set it on the coffee table?  Can you imagine the hurt you would feel if they left it there for an entire week and never opened it?  Can you imagine if they picked the gift up and carried it to church on Sunday, but if asked a question about what was inside the person you gave it to would simply stutter and be unable to answer?  One of the most horrendous tragedies of our time is how many Bibles have been printed … but how few have actually been read.  What a shame; to have the words that can change our lives, but the covers of the book never opens!

 

God has given us a Book that will bring joy and rejoicing in our lives, even in the most difficult of times.  It is time for us to open the Book, and eat it up!  Jeremiah did not find the satisfaction of the Book until he opened it and ate it!  He did not realize the depth of help that was offered for his everyday choices and decisions until he ate it!  He did not realize the comfort that the Book held … he did not realize the wisdom that was contained in the book … he did not see the value of the Book, until he ate it.  How much are you taking in the Book in your daily life?  Are you getting the “Lunchable” version that you can find in a devotional like this?  Are you sitting down at the buffet table of the Word of God and eating to the full?  The choice is yours, and no one can force you to eat.  Please pick up your spiritual knife and fork, and dig in to the Word of God today.  Don’t depend on my thoughts to satisfy the spiritual hunger you have.  Let God feed you today.

November 10 Devotional

Thou hast proved mine heart; Thou hast visited me in the night; Thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress” (Psalm 17:3).  What a great goal to strive for today!  I want God to be able to examine my day today and find that I have not sinned with my mouth once during the day.  I want to speak the truth in love all day today.  I want others to be encouraged by the words that come from my mouth, and not discouraged.  I want people to want to be near me for the positive influence I will bring to them.  I do not want them to turn and find another room when they see me coming.

 

I have noticed that in the time we are living, words have come to carry little importance.  We throw words like, “awesome,” and “incredible,” and “best ever …” around like they are just common things.  I also noticed that we use “slang” words that would have gotten me a bar of soap and a strong talking to when I was younger.  We do not wince when we hear a curse word in public any more … or when we hear it on our televisions … or in a song (if you can call them songs).  What has happened to us?

 

The psalmist was sure that his words, when examined by God, would be found to be righteous.  What about my words … what about yours?  I have a habit of speaking quickly and sometimes not thinking my words through completely before they come out into the public.  I have asked the Lord to help me with this, and I have seen God give me some improvement.  When I think about this verse, it is absolutely what I desire to be my own testimony.  As someone has said, “Words mean something.”  It might sound obvious, but the words I will use today will mean something to someone.  I want God to have complete control of everything I say.

 

I want God to have control of my casual conversations with my friends and family. I want God to have control of the words I will use in any email I send out.  I want God to have control of the texts I will send today.  I want God to be able to use my words to people I meet at the gas station, or the restaurant, or the local department store, or someone I just pass casually on the street.  I want my words to mean something to the people I am around today, but more importantly, I want my words to please my Heavenly Father!  I don’t want to waste one opportunity … one sentence on trivial things that will not please Him.  When I have an opportunity to speak for my God today, I want the words to easily come from my mouth.  When an opportunity for gossip comes, I want to be silent.  Words mean something.

November 9 Devotional

“This world is in such a bad way, what am I going to do?”  “I have set the LORD always before me: Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8).

 

“I’m not sure my insurance will cover my bills that are upcoming … what am I going to do?”  “I have set the LORD always before me: Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8).

 

“My children are getting involved in things that worry me … what am I going to do?”  “I have set the LORD always before me: Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8).

 

“I’m not sure I will have a job next year … what am I going to do?”  “I have set the LORD always before me: Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8).

 

“I don’t know what’s going to happen to me after I die … what am I going to do?”  “I have set the LORD always before me: Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8).

 

Now, I know that some of you think I am so innocent that I don’t know what you are going through, and that this verse is not an answer to all the problems you are facing.  I would tell you that My God is big enough to handle any and all of the challenges you are facing today and will face tomorrow.  I know that the God that I serve parted the Red Sea and allowed the Israelites free access to cross onto the other side.  I know that my God, even though all the forces of Hell were trying to keep Jesus in the tomb, raised Him on the third day.  I know that that resurrection, when applied to my sin-debt, is the conquering force over my sin, my death, and my Hell.  I am sure that my God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that I could ever ask or think when it comes to tackling my problems.  It does not matter how big my problem may appear at the time.  What matters is how much I will trust my God to take me through the problems that I face on a daily basis.  As for me and my house … “I have set the LORD always before me: Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8).

 

There is an old song that said, “I don’t worry about the future, ‘Cause I know what Jesus said, And today I’m gonna walk right beside Him ‘Cause He’s the One Who knows what is ahead … But I know who holds tomorrow.  And I know who holds my hand.”  Hold firmly to His hand today, and trust Him!

November 8 Devotional

LORD, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle?  Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?  He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart” (Psalm 15:1-2).  Do you seriously want to spend time with God?  Are you committed to making a difference where you go today?  Are you ready to show that you belong to God today?  How can all this happen in a sinner like you?  You may be asking these kinds of questions about yourself today.  If you’re not, you should be.  God has placed us on this earth to glorify Him in our lives and actions.  He has chosen to advertise a relationship with Him, by displaying it to the world through the actions and attitudes you will show the world.

 

What does the world around you think about God from the way you WALK?  Do the friends and family you know think that God has some very bad habits and behavior?  I have met many unsaved people that have told me, “If that’s what being a Christian means, I want no part of it!”  That kind of statement always breaks my heart.  First, because an unsaved person seems to have been hurt by a believer’s testimony; second, because that believer has missed the idea of what the purpose of our walk is.  Walking is different from leaping.  Walking involves a methodical, day after day consistency.  Those around you will be watching the way you walk today.  Walk worthy of the Lord all day today.  Let you actions show a clean and pure testimony.

 

What does the world notice about your WORK today?  I believe as a Christian I should be the best employee my boss has working for him/her.  I think I ought to be going above and beyond what is expected of me when asked to complete a task.  I believe I should be known as a person who gives an honest day’s work regardless of what others are doing around me.  I want the things I put my hand to, to reflect my absolute commitment to excellence … not for a paycheck … but for my Heavenly Father.  You see, the way you work (or don’t work), reflects directly on your relationship with your God!  Work hard … someone is watching you.

 

While your walk and your work are very important, they are not nearly as powerful when accompanied by your WORDS.  Speak up for your God today.  You might worry about offending someone … I have noticed that they are not worried about offending you.  Someone needs to tell others today about the wonderful Savior we have.  After you have walked the walk, and worked the work, tell someone about what Jesus means to you!

November 7 Devotional

What a great time to be alive and able to serve the King of all kings!  We are so blessed to be able to know God through His Son, Jesus Christ!  We have been honored to be a part of a long line of faithful followers of Jesus!  I want to encourage you today to live this day with enthusiasm!  There are many today who are always talking about how bad things are, and how bad thing will become; but we who are saved know that there is a real place called Heaven that is awaiting us!  An old hymn asked the questions: “Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home, When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

 

Paul gave us this challenge in Colossians: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.  Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).  Take heart today, you and I have the opportunity to serve the Lord Christ!  What an incredible honor and privilege we have today!  We are living in exciting times to serve the Lord Christ.  This day you have today will be given to you by the Lord, and the possibilities for service to Him will be scattered all throughout the day.  What will you do with this day?

 

I am amazed at how much Christians have allowed this world to influence our perspective (in general).  Yes, I used the word, “our” because I struggle with this too.  We have an anchor that we must run to on a daily basis.  We need not simply read the Bible in the morning to “check off” some duty we have performed.  We must read our Bible as though it is the map for our day and then follow it.  This Bible is our spiritual and practical GPS for living right before God.  Please be encouraged by your Bible today.  Paul encouraged us to do everything we find in front of us today with enthusiasm!  I might even clean my desk today!

 

Today I have the opportunity to serve the King of all kings and to lay up rewards in Heaven.  I want to make good use of this day, and every day that the Lord Christ will give me to serve Him.  I want to do it with all the enthusiasm I had when I played sports.  I want to do it with all the effort I would to please my earthly boss.  I want to do it because my Heavenly Father is worthy of it.  Don’t look at this day with a depressed view.  This is the day that the Lord has made … rejoice and be glad in it!

November 6 Devotional

Have you ever been getting ready to leave for a trip, and you found yourself standing staring at your suitcase thinking, “What am I forgetting?”  Life can do that same thing to you at times as well.  It actually happens to me in many situations, but the one I want you to consider with me today is the most important … what I will believe, and what I will make convictions to stand for and on.  We are living in a world that is throwing multiple thousands of ideas at us; each one telling us that they are true, and we are forced to decide what truth really is.  Paul warned his followers in the church in Colossae about this, and how to handle it.

 

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: Rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in Him …” (Colossians 2:6-10a).

 

Notice some very important fundamentals that Paul shared with this church … they really apply to us today as well.  First, he told that no only to trust Jesus Christ for salvation (although that is important), but to then walk in Him and be rooted and built up in Jesus Christ.  The first advice Paul gives us is that we are to have a daily relationship with Jesus Christ.  This will then establish us in the faith.  He adds to this that all this should be with thanksgiving.

 

Paul then gives a very serious warning.  He tells us to watch out for people who will try to change the way you believe by using philosophy, deceit and the traditions of men.  This warning is so appropriate for us today.  There are entire religions that are growing all around us that match these descriptive words.  It is so important that we know Jesus and walk with Him daily.  If we do not take the time to get to know Him, we will fall into the trap of these cunning tricks of the Devil that go by the names of “religion,” and even “church.”

 

Paul ends with the summary that takes care of it all … everything you and I need for godliness is found in Jesus Christ.  In Jesus Christ and in following His example is all we will need to be a spirit-filled Christian.  We will be complete if we remain in Him.  Walk closely with Jesus today.  Stay rooted in Him and His teachings, and you will have the protection you need today!

November 5 Devotional

I have always loved to play and watch sports all my life.  In the beginning of each season, every team I have been a part of made it the goal to reach the championship … to win it all … to go for the glory!  I have always been driven in my life to try to be the absolute best I could be.  It is funny because I never have been the best at any sport I have ever played.  I have been successful, but have always strived for the top … never quite making it.  That’s okay, because I have had a great time just in the competition of the games.

 

There is one other area of life that I know I will win.  I am already sure of the ultimate championship … Heaven.  I will touch Heaven one day because of what Jesus Christ has done for me.  Paul wrote it this way … “To Whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:27-28).

 

The hope I have for “glory” is wrapped up totally, 100% in the Person and the work of Jesus Christ on my behalf.  I have done absolutely nothing to deserve the wonders of Heaven.  I have done everything required for separation from God in a Christ-less eternity.  In God’s truly amazing grace, He has provided for me and you a way to reach the ultimate championship, and to stand in the winner’s circle holding the trophy.  As the old hymn accurately states, we will cast any “trophies” at the feet of Jesus, because we recognize, He is our “Hope of Glory.”

 

God makes it extremely clear in His Word that there is only ONE way into Heaven.  There is not a “plan B” with God.  It is His way, or no way at all.  He has made it clear that that way is through Jesus Christ alone.  Because Jesus is the ONE and ONLY way into Heaven, we ought to be working at preaching, teaching and warning (as verse 28 says).  This is not time to keep quiet about the way to Heaven!  Knowing that Jesus is the only hope for glory, every believer ought to be preparing, or doing the work described here in this 28th verse.

 

There is an opportunity for everyone who has ever sinned, to have a Savior that invited “whosoever” to come to Him for forgiveness.  We should be preaching that whenever the opportunity arises.  We should be teaching this message to whoever will listen.  And we certainly should be warning all who are apart from Christ.  He is the ONLY hope of glory!

November 4 Devotional

Take fast hold on instruction; let her not go: Keep her; for she is thy life” (Proverbs 4:13).  God has given us this incredible book we call the Bible.  It is made up of sixty-six books; thirty-nine in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New Testament.  It was written by forty different men, in three different languages, from three different continents, and over approximately a 1,500 year span of time.  What is incredible, and separates this book from all others, is that there are no contradictions within the book!  There is a reason for this fact that no one can dispute.

 

If these forty different men, living over a 1,500 year span were to sit down on their own and write their thoughts down, there would absolutely be many contradictions and problems between the authors.  The inerrancy, or infallibility (the fact that there are no errors found here) of this Bible shows that there was a Divine Author Who was breathing the very words, grammar and punctuation into the hearts of these forty different men!  This book is not “man-made,” but God inspired (breathed).

 

For centuries skeptics have tried to disprove the Bible … many have become believers as a result of their efforts to prove the Bible wrong.  We are now witnessing people who call themselves “believers” who are constantly challenging and disputing with the truths of Scripture under the pretense of going deeper into the Word.  Regardless of all these things, the Word of God still stands as the Book of the ages!  Having said all that, the point I want to come to today is very simple and to me very obvious.

 

I am not arguing the validity of the Bible.  What I believe the writer of Proverbs 4:13 was trying to get us all to understand is that we have the worlds of truth.  The challenge is to trust them and obey them.  You know when you were a child; you had faith that was far beyond any of the adults that were around you.

 

Why is it that as we grew up and gained wisdom (supposedly) and stature, we seem to become far more skeptical?  Why not simply believe the Bible for what it says today?  All the wisdom you need for life is there in your Bible.  The verse simply says that we should “take fast hold of instruction.” The admonition is simple … the Bible is full of wisdom and instruction that was written just for you … believe it and act upon it!  God has given us this incredible book, but it will do us no good if we do not obey what it teaches us!  Trust the Word of God to guide you today!

November 3 Devotional

When I was a young boy playing in the back yard, there was always something comforting when I saw my Mom or my Grandmom looking out the kitchen window.  If I fell and hurt myself, or if the neighborhood bully was about to pummel me … it was good to know I had “back-up.”  There was a specific time that I remember my neighborhood bully trying to end my life.  He had me pinned to the ground, and I was heavily involved in intercessory prayer … for myself … when I heard the sweet, melodious tones of my Grandmothers voice threatening to “shake the liver loose” of the bully if he did not get off me.  To my surprise, he responded as my Grandmother had said.  I looked over at her and she happened to be waving a cast iron frying pan while issuing the threat.  It’s always good to know someone is watching!

 

The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven: His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men” (Psalm 11:4).  What a thrill to know in these difficult times, it is great to know that our Heavenly Father is at the window of Heaven watching all that is happening around us.  Nothing surprises Him!  He is on guard for the sake of His children!  When the bullies of life have you pinned down, don’t worry too much … God has more than a cast iron frying pan!

 

There was one other thing that Mom looking out of the kitchen window did for me … I was forced to behave.  That occasional gaze from the window kept me in line.  I knew that if my Mom looked out that window and I was doing something I was not supposed to be doing that there would be a wooden spoon in my future.  I already wrote about the wooden spoon, so I will not dwell on it any more here.

 

There is something about knowing that the authority is looking at you.  I noticed when driving that if a police officer is spotted sitting in his car on the side of the road, all the drivers immediately slow down.  It doesn’t even matter if they were obeying the speed limit before they saw him/her, they still slow down to a safer speed!  It is the same with God and me.  Knowing He is watching me helps me to obey the spiritual “speed limits” He has given me in the Word of God.  Today I am both encouraged and challenged to think that God is watching everything that is happening around me.  I am encouraged that He has a watchful, protective eye on me.  I am challenged to think of all the times I fail Him that He sees openly and plainly.  I want to please Him today.  I need His protection.  I will trust Him throughout today!

November 1 Devotional

What are we willing to give up in order to know the Savior better?  Am I willing to give up my favorite TV show to go to church on Sunday evening?  Am I willing to put aside my own pride to approach someone about the Gospel?  Am I willing to admit my own sinfulness in order to achieve a true humble spirit?  Am I willing to empty myself of all that I think is good in me in order to have the Holy Spirit fill up all that has been emptied?

 

Paul wrote about this when he said, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: For Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know Him, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death” (Philippians 3:8-10).

 

As I look at the life of Paul, there are two enemies that he battled that I think we all battle still today.  The first he goes into great detail here about.  He had some significant religious accomplishments he had to put behind him.  He was considered a very important person in the Jewish faith.  He was “moving up the ladder” toward success in his life as a religious leader.  He was becoming known among all the “important” people.  We too have built our own little empires at times of our accomplishments.  If we are not careful, these very past accomplishments could be holding us back from reaching our fullest potential.

 

When I was a boy, I remember finding a very large trophy in our basement on a rainy summer day.  The trophy had a football player kicking a football (that had a sock over top of it), and the nameplate on the front said, “Athlete of the year – Pat Bracelin.”  I quickly ran up the steps to ask my mom about it.  She told me it was true … my father had been named the athlete of the year in his senior year of High School.  I questioned my dad about it, and his reply was, “That was a long time ago.”  He had the right attitude about it (the sock remained …).  Paul had to get over his past successes to know Christ.

 

The second thing Paul had to get over was his sinful past.  He had been responsible for the death of a number of believers. I am sure that these thoughts haunted him at times.  If we are going to “know Christ,” we will need to let go of our past successes and failures.  Get to know Him today!