August 31 Devotion

“Trust me …”  Have you ever heard those words and had an immediate question mark rise up in your brain?  I have heard some people say that to me and I had my doubts.  I remember going to buy a car one time.  Let me say early in this story, not all car salespeople are bad.  I went with a friend of mine named Nate.  Nate had found a newspaper advertisement for a brand new mini-van.  I was looking for a used van because I did not think I could afford a new one.  As we arrived at the lot, we asked to see their “used” vans.  The prices were higher on the used vans than on the one in the advertisement Nate found.  When he asked the salesman about the van, the salesman read the fine print.  There was a very small number at the bottom of the advertisement.  The salesmen told us that van was there and that we could buy it.  There was a slight trick to the advertisement.  The car lot sold only that one specific van for the reduced price, but it made it look like they had 100 of those vans for sale at that price.  That tiny number spoke of that one van.

 

I have found over the years that trusting a man can lead to those kinds of troubles.  Catch this verse today: “God is faithful, by Who ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (I Corinthians 1:9).  Those first three words are enough!  You could read those, close the book and have a great day believing that alone!  I will tell you that mankind has been trying to fool God and you ever since Cain offered that sacrifice of vegetables instead of a lamb.  There is one thing you can be sure of … as unfaithful as men can be, God is absolutely faithful!  What great news!  What does that mean to us today?  Every promise that is in your Bible, will come true!  God’s faithfulness demands that He will do what He has promised to do!

 

As you go through your day today and see the unfaithfulness of men/women around you, take heart … God is not like them.  God will be faithful today and in the future as He has been faithful in the past.  Remember His feeding all the nation of Israel every day for forty years while they wandered in the wilderness?  He can provide for you today.  Remember the fire that came down when Elijah trusted Him?  That same power is ready for you today.  Remember when Jesus healed the blind/deaf/crippled and raised the dead?  He is still the same God today that He was then.  I am trying to tell you that God is still faithful today and will be the God you need Him to be all day!

 

Be aware of your human limits and His holy ‘unlimitations.’” – Ted Camp

August 30 Devotional

I remember a night in December (over twenty-five years ago) when I entered a hospital emergency area and saw my father lying in a bed with wires connected to his chest.  For the first time in my life I realized that my Dad was actually human and had weaknesses.  Oh, I knew he was human before that, but that night all my dreams of his power came crashing down on me.  I remember looking at my dad and seeing the concern on his face.  I remember thinking that soon he would just stand up and walk out of that hospital and be as good as new.  After all, Dad had always been able to conquer the problems that faced our family.  That time in life opened a new chapter for me.

 

Today I read a verse that brought to light the truth I want to share with you today.  “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One in Israel, neither seek the LORD” (Isaiah 31:1)!  You see, it really is not about us, but about Him taking care of us.  In the life of every believer today there should be a continual yielding of our will/heart/mind/actions to God on a daily basis.  What we normally do though, seems to be quite different.

 

We often depend on the people around us to supply us with the things we think we need.  We ask them for advice … we depend on them for assistance … we give them a place of honor because we obey what they say, even if we don’t fully understand it.  We seem to depend on technology more today as well.  If we read something on the computer we assume it is correct without even questioning its validity.  If a so-called expert says something about a topic we have interest in, we blindly accept what they say and take it as the truth.

 

There is no question that each of us will need help today.  Where we go for help during these times will really determine our success or failure.  When tough times come in your life today, and they will, run to your Heavenly Father first.  If we will do that, I believe some of those difficulties that we seem to think we cannot get past, will fade from view very quickly.  Trust in your Heavenly Father today; He is well able to help in your time of need, no matter what the obstacle is you will face.  The world will always offer an alternative, but it will always be true that God will be able to help you far more than any horse, or chariot, or man can.  Will you trust Him today, or will you continue to struggle?  Surrender to Him.

August 29 Devotional

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13).  Can you imagine what a difference you can make today if you will simply live with hope in this hopeless world?  Allow your God to build up His hope within you so that others can see it today.   We are living in a world that is desperately searching for hope.  Finances have left people without hope.  Health challenges have left people without hope.  Leadership has left people without hope in many cases.  As with everything else, the only One that can provide lasting hope is our God!  The world is desperately looking for hope today … there is no question about that.  The hope that God gives a person does not end with hope alone.  God’s hope will also bring joy and peace.  Think about it … as smart as those in the world think they are they cannot produce hope, joy, or peace.  Genuine joy and peace are only possible when the Holy Spirit produces them within a person.  Everyone in the world yearns for hope, joy and peace.

 

As the world searches all the “normal” places for hope and finds none, this verse admonishes us to be people that overflow in hope.  Don’t look at this world through the glasses of someone who does not know Jesus Christ!  You do have hope!  You do have a future in Heaven that will be far better than anything you have experienced here on the earth!  You do have a Comforter in this world of turmoil.  Let the world see the hope that the Holy Spirit brought when He indwelled you!  There should be an out-pouring of hope from you wherever you go today!  This is the hope the world so desperately needs … and you know the Source!

 

I am not telling you that you will not have discouragement and bad things happen to you.  We are living in a world where bad things do happen to good people, but never forget this world is not your final home.  There is a bright future for those who have trusted Jesus Christ to save them!  Don’t live like this world is the final destiny for you, but live like you know where you’re going!  Make today a day when you display the hope that God gave you when you came to know Him personally.  Let the world see a hope that circumstances cannot diminish.  Show them a hope that is strong and bright in a weakening and darkening world.

 

I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden.  I can see a God-made world, not a man-made world.” – Helen Keller

August 28 Devotional

The most important part of a house is its foundation.  Jesus used this foundation as an illustration about a wise and foolish man.  Jesus told us that if a man builds his house on sand that the storms of life will cause a great crash.  He used the opposite picture to teach that a house built on a rock will stand during the storms of life.  The prophet Isaiah knew the same thing.  He wrote, “Therefore thus saith the LORD GOD, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste” (Isaiah 28:16).

 

What an incredible verse!  Notice that phrase, “a sure foundation” … that is exactly what Jesus Christ is for we who have placed our faith in Him.  We are living in a world where it seems that many of the things we thought would never change have shown signs of drastic change.  What a blessing to know the Rock that is “sure.”  Consider Jesus Christ and the descriptions the Old Testament prophet Isaiah gave Him.

 

Isaiah called Him the “foundation, a stone.”  There is no other name given among men where you ought to build your life.  Jesus Christ is a foundation that you can trust to remain the same in a changing world.

 

Isaiah called Him the “tried stone.”  Jesus Christ was tested often by other men when He was on the earth.  Each time it was obvious that He was far above any of them.  He is the One you can trust to be sure for you in this unsure world.

 

Isaiah called Him the “precious corner stone.”  The stone that the rest of the building is built upon is called the corner stone.  Jesus Christ is the only stone that would have been totally accepted by our holy God.  There is no other religious leader that has walked on the earth who could be accepted by God other than Jesus Christ.  He is the only One that could claim the title of the Corner stone.

 

Isaiah called Him the “sure foundation.”  Almost in repetition, but with the addition of the word, “sure,” we are told that Jesus Christ will be a foundation despite the storms that might beat upon our lives.  Don’t try to endure the tests life sends you way with your own wisdom.  Trust this sure Rock that Isaiah told us would be coming for us.  Praise God for the Savior we serve today!

August 27 Devotional

Who humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!  He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill” (Psalm 113:6-7).

 

When someone with an important position notices someone who has no position, it has always impressed me.  I remember a time when I was fifteen years old and was asked to play my trumpet in an orchestra for a Christian musical.  It was an Easter musical that was very powerful.  The singers were professional, and all of the orchestra except me were professionals.  There was a 1,000 voice choir that had assembled from different churches in the Philadelphia area.  The music was written and arranged by a man named John W. Peterson.  This was a new experience for this tenth grader.  We only had one practice; the night before the actual performance.  I remember showing up for practice and being very nervous.  My mother had to drive me into the city to the large Civic Center.  We walked into the 10,000 seat auditorium and I was totally overwhelmed.  As we approached the orchestra pit, I noticed everyone talking excitedly to the director.  It was John W. Peterson himself!  I was in shock!  At one of the breaks in the practice, John W. Peterson made it a point to come down and talk to me.  I was extremely humbled that this great song-writer would take time to talk to the least important person in the room.

 

These verses from Psalm 113 show an even more amazing scene.  God, Who must humble Himself to view the things in heaven, reaches even further down than that to reach out to we who are poor and needy and in the dunghill!  Can you believe that?  The same God Who threw the stars into the heavens and named each one … the God Who held the oceans of the world in the palm of His hand … the God Who formed Adam out of the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into him, reaches down to you and me.

 

At our best we are poor and needy.  It still amazes me that the God of all eternity cares about me … I really can’t believe it!  I am amazed not only that He cares about me, but that He orchestrates events in my life for my good.  I don’t always understand everything He does with me, but I am thankful that He is in charge.  I thank God for this care He shows me.  I am going to do all I can today to show my gratitude by serving Him the best I can.

August 26 Devotional

I will be honest with you … I don’t like complete darkness at all.  Light is a wonderful thing!  Check out this verse: “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous” (Psalm 112:4).  I know the reality of this Old Testament verse!  I thank God I was raised in a home where the light of the Gospel was shining every day through my father and mother.  I am grateful that I had two godly grandmothers praying for me on a daily basis for me to know the truth of the Word of God.

 

When I was just a boy, THE Light rose up and conquered the darkness of my sin.  I remember well the day I asked Jesus Christ to forgive my sin and give me a home in Heaven.  It was on that day that I trusted Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection to be payment from my sin that eternal darkness left me!  I am so thankful that I will never know the horror of the eternal darkness of Hell.  The reason is not my own goodness, or my own righteousness, but because the Righteous One came for me!  That day I trusted Christ, grace, compassion and righteousness came along with Him!  I had no idea the great bargain I was getting when I trusted Christ.  I was just thinking of the blessing of having my sin forgiven!  Little did I know how great it would be to experience the grace He would give me along my way.  I had no idea how wonderful it would be to receive blessings I had not earned.  I know very well that I deserve the judgment of God, and instead He declared me righteous in His Son!  That is what I call “Amazing Grace!”

 

I had no way of understanding how important the compassion God shows to me on a daily basis would be in my life.  While the world beats down on me on a regular basis, I run to my Heavenly Father and find His arms open wide to me, every time.  What a blessing to come to myself, realizing my failures in sin; deciding to return to God and ask for forgiveness; and there to see my Heavenly Father waiting for me on the back porch!  What compassion!  Not only do I receive grace and compassion, but He has declared me righteous too!  I do not deserve any of that.  LIGHT has come to my life!  Knowing all these things about what Jesus has given me, how can I remain quiet about the LIGHT?  I don’t want to be quiet … I want to tell His story for the remainder of my days!

August 25 Devotional

We are living in a world of information over-load.  If you have a question about anything (regardless of how trivial it might seem), you can simply enter it in “Google” and find out more information than you knew existed!  We have people that have been attending college for most of their adult life, and if you ask them what their plans are to do when they finish the work for their degree, they will probably tell you that they are going to pursue another degree.  But you know, for all our learning, we are a very foolish people.  I think it’s because we are starting in the wrong place.  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments; His praise endureth forever” (Psalm 111:10).

 

I don’t know about you, but I need all the wisdom I can get.  The Bible clearly states that God has made a way for us to attain wisdom from Him … it is by simply by having a healthy fear of the Lord.  We like to talk about God in terms that make us feel better, but we need to realize that the God we serve is not only love, but His is perfectly just and pure.  That means that the sin we normally have in our lives is an offense to Him.

 

We ought to fear failing our God.  The reality of life is that we are not perfect.   The best of us is at our best a sinner saved by the grace of God.  Not one of us has earned the right to stand before a holy God.  There ought to be a fear that we live with every day.  I notice in my own life that I often treat sin with a very casual attitude.  This is a trap of my own sinful flesh, and one that I need to guard against at all cost!  When I sin, I am failing my righteous and holy God.  This ought to strike fear into my heart!  This fear of failing God should drive me to my knees.  Fearing God, living in fear of failing God, is simply the beginning of wisdom.  It is not the end, but it is the important beginning.

 

If you ever wonder how exactly you fail God, He gave us a set of commandments that are designed to help us walk in a right way before Him.  We fear Him because as we seen His commandments clearly, we realize that we have not obeyed those commandments.  Today is a good day to begin to see your sins as God sees them.  This is the launching point to you beginning to understand the fear of God.  Because you are beginning to fear God, you now are also beginning to gain wisdom.  The people I have known that walk the closest with God, have all had one common characteristic.  They all knew their sinfulness and were overwhelmed with the grace of God in their lives.  Join them today and begin to know the wisdom of God!

August 24 Devotional

I can remember lying on my back when I was in High School on a weight-lifting bench.  My arms looked toothpicks than muscular structures.  My body resembled more of a distance runner than a weight-lifter.  There I was under that bar with about 150 pounds on the bar.  While my friends lowered the bar to my chest, I began to try to push it upward.  I grunted … I groaned … I even squealed (much to my disappointment), but that bar remained on my chest.  I couldn’t even budge that bar!  I realized at that time that I was exactly as weak as I looked!

 

Just as I realized that I have physical limitations, I am equally aware that I have spiritual limitations that are just as real.  The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Trust ye in the LORD forever; for in the law of the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:4).  Did you catch that title?  The LORD JEHOVAH is our God, not simply the “higher power,” or the “big guy in the sky,” or some other name that does not carry the respect that is due His name.  We hear many people say today that it does not matter what you call your god, as long as you have faith in something, or someone who is greater than you.

 

The reality is that the author of the religions of our world today is no other person than the Devil.  As non-threatening as other religions may seem, they are definitely a part of the plan of the Devil to deceive men into a false hope for eternity that does not exist.  The verse that I am writing about today says very clearly that the strength you and I need for the day is not going to be found in some religion, but only in a meaningful relationship with the LORD JEHOVAH.  Isaiah was living in a time when his own people, the Jews, had become captives because of their worship of idols.  Isaiah warned them to return to their own God.

 

I began this devotional by speaking of my own weaknesses, but the reality is that anything or anyone compared to our God IS weak.  Today you are going to face challenges and situations that are far beyond what a “religion” can handle.  Will you trust your own strength, or will you trust this powerful God that Isaiah spoke about.  Your natural tendency will be to trust yourself, but I want to encourage you to fully depend upon God and Him alone.  Don’t substitute anything in the place of God, including your family, friends, or your own wisdom.  God alone is able to care for you today and every day.  I am so glad I can write this devotional about Him and what I know He can do for you.  Trust Him fully today.

August 23 Devotional

Today I want you to consider an incredible verse describing an amazing meeting between God and man.  “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.  And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle” (Exodus 33:11).  First of all it amazes me that God repeated the Ten Commandments for Moses and the children of Israel.  Remember, God had already given these once before and etched them on tablets of stone.  While God’s finger was writing out these commandments, the children of Israel under the leadership of Aaron were busy breaking them!  Moses saw their sin and threw the original tablets to the ground in his disgust with the sins of Israel.  God wrote a new set for Moses and these sinful people.  Thank God today for His mercy.

 

What really touched my heart in reading this verse is the response of Joshua to all that was happening around him.  Notice the description of him … he was a servanta young man … (but the last phrase is what really touched my heart) he departed not … This young servant knew there was something special in the presence of God!  He knew there was more there to be gleaned from time alone with God.  We don’t know all that happened as Joshua lingered after Moses left because the story in our Bible follows Moses’ actions.

 

Allow me to draw two applications for each of us today from this part of Exodus 33:11.  First, I don’t care what your position might be in this world today; God is interested in meeting face to face with you on a daily basis.  I have noticed that God is not nearly impressed with the titles we earn here on this earth as we are.  He loves the lowest person just as much as He loves the person that we think is important.  He brought Joseph out of Pharaoh’s prison and placed him second in command.  He did a similar thing with Mordecai with King Ahasuerus.   Remember today that God loves you as much as He can love you, and He has invested all that He can invest in you.  You can be used by God today if you will surrender to His will.

 

The second application for us is the obvious one … Joshua lingered in the presence of God.  When was the last time you hated to put your Bible down?  When was the last time you needed to leave your prayer time and regretted that you had so little time?  When was the last time you just took the time to meditate on a truth from the Bible and let it sink deeply into your soul?  Linger awhile with your God today.  You will not regret it!

August 22 Devotional

Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man” (Psalm 108:12).  Give us help … we have trouble … we have asked for the help of other men … they have given it … we are still in trouble.  When will we wake up to the fact that there is only one place we are going to find the help we need?  We know that God is the source of the help we need … so why is it that we continue to trust others more than we trust God?  Why is it that the advice given to us in the Bible many time is our last resort, rather than our first choice?  Why do we depend more on unsaved people and what they think than we do about what our God has to say?

 

The answer to these questions and others is that it seems easier for us to depend on those we can see as opposed to depending on the God we cannot see physically.  There is one other thing that I have not mentioned, that is a reality we all need to deal with; we have a sin nature that is absolutely opposed to the holiness of our God.  Knowing that these things are true, let’s determine today to live dependent upon God.  Let’ live today asking for His advice and help before we ask for others.  Let’s honestly and repeatedly ask for the help of God.  He has the answers and the influence that we need for whatever we are going to be facing today.

 

There have been many times that I was in a leadership position and doubted that I had the wisdom needed for whatever decision was in front of me.  I can recall during those times having a sense of what should be done, but doubting my own judgment so much that I was skeptical about saying what my “heart” was telling me.  After following what the Holy Spirit was telling me to do, I saw the incredible blessing of walking in the center of the will of God.  I want to encourage you to stubbornly fight to stay in the middle of the will of God.  I want to encourage you to listen to that “still small voice” that comes from within you (that is the Holy Spirit).

 

In the life of every Christian there comes a time when you must trust God fully and ignore the clamoring of the world and other believers.  Take time today to ask God for wisdom in knowing what He thinks about what you are facing.  Rather than running from friend to friend, or even family member to family member, turn to Him first and last.  Give God the opportunity to touch your heart in this busy world today.  Read His Word with a heart that is yearning for His wisdom and instruction.  Don’t turn away from what He reveals to you in His Word.  Decide that you will trust the leading of the Holy Spirit today and remember that man is vain when compared to God.