Category Archives: Daily Devotional

Be Courageous

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

— Joshua 1:9

Courage and fearlessness are, and ever have been, the hallmarks of true believers. In the New Testament the Jews took note of the disciples that they had been with Jesus when they saw their “boldness,” their intrepidity, their courage, their fearlessness. Those, who but a few weeks before had fled before the wagging finger of a little servant girl, now stood before the Sanhedrin and dressed them down.

What made Joshua bold, and what changed the disciples? It was the promise of the Lord that He would be with them. It was seeing and experiencing the mighty deeds of God. Most of all, it was the Holy Spirit empowering them and equipping them to be His servants. The reason we can be fearless in serving the Lord is the profound knowledge that He Himself is with us and that He has promised to never leave us and never forsake us.

The great missionary David Livingstone courageously went where no man had gone before him in order to proclaim Christ to those living in darkness. He said, “Shall I tell you what sustained me in the midst of all of these toils and hardships and incredible loneliness? It was a promise, the promise of a gentleman of the most sacred honor; it was this promise, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’ ” (Matthew 28:20b).

Question to ponder:
How are you called by the Lord to be bold for Him?

The Whole World Has Flunked

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

— Romans 3:23

There are so many who live on pure presumption, as I myself did for years. I presumed that I was so good that I would enter into God’s kingdom. I did not realize that I was calling God a liar, for He says, “There is none good but one” (Matthew 19:17). I presumed that because I kept the commandments, I would enter into that kingdom. I did not know that Christ said, “Moses gave you the commandments and none of you has kept them.”  I thought I was as good as many, or even better, and I did not know that the Bible said, we “are together become unprofitable” (Romans 3:12). This meant that the whole world has flunked and that I needed the Savior. I was trying to reach the Kingdom through the back door by my own good deeds and good works.      

Finally, when I heard the old, old story of Jesus for the first time and understood it, the rock of my heart was riven. I found myself upon my face on the floor, weeping tears of repentance for my sins, and receiving Him into my heart as the risen and blessed Redeemer and King. My life was changed and I came to know—even as a thief beside Him on the Cross came to know—that I would be with Him in Paradise.

Question to ponder:
When did you realize you were a sinner in dire need of a Savior?

Seated With Christ

…Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

— 1 Peter 3:21-22

Jesus Christ now sits at the place of honor and favor, not only for Himself, but also for us, because He is our surety, our representative, and our head. Headship means not only dominion, but also union with the body. We are His body and He is our head. If He sits at the right hand of God the Father, we do also. The raising and elevation of Christ is not only for Him, but it is the raising and elevation and acceptance of all believers in Him. For the Scripture says that God “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

Even now, you and I are positioned in Christ in the heavenly places at the place of honor and favor. Even now, in Christ we are seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty in the position of honor. That is what it means when we confess that He “sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).

To be one with Christ is an incredible doctrine. That we should be crucified with Him or suffer with Him perhaps is easier to understand, but that we should be lifted up to a position of honor and power with Christ—that is exalting and humbling.

Question to ponder:
What difference does it make that I am “seated with Christ”?

Christ Above All

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

— Acts 4:12

Christ, like no other religious founder, based His entire teaching upon Himself. Every preacher is told, “Do not preach yourself.” We have this treasure in earthen vessels; we’re the earthen vessels. We are not to preach ourselves, but we are to preach Christ. But interestingly, Christ preached Himself. “I am the true vine” (John 15:1). “I am the door” (10:7). “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6). “I”—Jesus Christ preached Himself. You would think that He was egotistical, and yet He was the humblest of all men. Jesus built His religion upon Himself.

The Mohammedans do not do that. They don’t even like to be called Mohammedans, nor do they like the religion to be called Mohammedanism. They want to be called Muslims; their faith is Islam. But we delight to call ourselves Christians, and this is Christianity because it is based upon Christ.

Christ is the only perfect person who ever was—absolutely unique in every way, the utterly, totally sinless One, the greatest person who ever lived and those who have looked at Christ have seen One in whom there is not the least stain of sin, and they have in reflection seen themselves. Every honest person will find that the closer he draws to God, the more clearly he sees his own sinfulness and his own defilement. Jesus is the only Savior.

Question to ponder:
In the presence of our holy, sinless Savior, what do you see in yourself?

An Everlasting Kingdom

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.

— Matthew 7:24

Our faith is built upon a solid rock that neither pagan nor demon can overthrow. Yes, there have been small clouds that have come and obscured the sun for a moment. “Julian was such a cloud” said Athanasius, the great defender of the Trinity. (He was referring to Julian the Apostate who attempted to return the Roman Empire back to paganism in 361 a.d., away from the Christian freedom that Julian’s uncle, Constantine, had given the Church. Julian’s reign lasted only two years.) But the cloud as he said, “is a little cloud, it passes away.”

So Julian passed away and all of the critics of Christ pass away, but the sun continues to shine in its brightness in the sky, and so it is with Christ. The critics come, and the critics go, but the brightness of Christ continues to grow apace throughout the world until at last the whole world shall be filled with His glory.

Our foundation is sure. All of Christianity has a strong and solid foundation that will never crumble. Kingdoms rise and fall, but God’s kingdom will stand. It is built upon the words of Christ. We can trust that even though heaven and earth will pass away, His words will never pass away.

Question to ponder:
The hymn says, “On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” How has God put your feet on the Rock?

Better Than Silver or Gold

Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold.

— Proverbs 3:13-14

What is the consequence of foolishness, of lack of wisdom, of spiritual ignorance? One thing Proverbs makes very clear is that the result of that ignorance is pain. It is not simply that your IQ is a little less or that you do not graduate summa cum laude. It is pain—real, wrenching, oftentimes long continued pain. It is often death with an arrow through the liver, as the foolish bird walks right into the trap. All this, my friends, because one does not seek the wisdom of God.

In Jesus Christ we find that Wisdom has become incarnate. We read that Jesus Christ has been made by God unto us as wisdom, and He has become our wisdom. Fear of the Lord can grow into a complete love and adoration of God, who now has come to live in our midst. If we live by God’s wisdom, we will tend to find a good and protected life—not trouble-free, but indeed good.

Question to ponder:
How does the wisdom of God make a difference in your life?

Justice and Mercy

Blessed be the LORD God…who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth.

— Genesis 24:27

Suppose the president decides to pardon a criminal in prison. Do you suppose that the people in America are going to rise up in righteous indignation and demand that he open the doors of every prison in the country and turn loose several millions of criminals on the populace of America? Of course not.

You see the Bible makes it very clear about God—and what is true for Him is also true for us—every one of us must be just. We must not act unjustly. But when it comes to mercy or grace, God says that nobody has any claim upon that. He says, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” (Romans 9:15). If it were something that was earned or deserved by everyone, then that wouldn’t be mercy; it would be deserved, and it would be justice.

No one has a claim on mercy. We all have a claim on justice, but it is not true that God must give anyone an opportunity for mercy.

Question to ponder:
How does it make you feel knowing that God has chosen to give you His mercy?

Doing the Impossible

For with God, nothing will be impossible.

— Luke 1:37

My friend, let me instruct you in protocol. When you are having a conversation with God, there are some words you just do not use. One of them is “impossible;” another one is “incredible.” Those words are not even in God’s dictionary.

The Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland proclaimed that she could think of at least six impossible things before breakfast. She is not exactly a hero, but it is a great exercise to think of the impossible. Sometimes a lofty thought comes to mind; for example, “I think I would like to build a school.” Right at its heel comes the thought, “That’s impossible—you can’t do that.” Usually, that is the end of our impossible thought. But we serve a God with whom nothing is impossible.

Now, at the beginning of a new year, imagine some great goal or project you would like to see happen. Bearing in mind, it should be primarily for God’s glory and others’ good. Place that goal before the Lord and see what happens.

Question to ponder:
Do you have an “impossible” dream?

Overlooking Something

But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?”

— Luke 12:20

Time management experts tell us that we should always be setting goals. I think it was Steve Covey who said, “Begin with the end in mind,” and work backwards. That is, think about your death or the obituary you would like to see written about you, and work backwards from that to the present, and so live your life as to try to reach that end. Begin with the end in mind.

That is good advice from a worldly point of view, and yet the error is that death is not the end. Those who see nothing beyond the “obit” column have a very shortsighted view of life, to say the least. They are overlooking something—death. The last word about our life in this world will not be written in the newspaper, but in the Lamb’s Book of Life and in the judgment books of God. A review of the last chapters of the book of Revelation puts all of life into sharp focus and helps get our priorities right.

How thankful I am to know Jesus, who forgives my sins and has put my name in His book of life.

Question to ponder:
Is death the end or the beginning? How so?

Being Restored

He restores my soul.

— Psalm 23:3

It is in the quietness of God’s presence that we can find an antidote to the hurried stress of our lives. Sitting there, dwelling with God, we will find body, mind, and spirit renewed.

God said to Elijah, who had just been through a very stressful experience with King Ahab: “… hide thyself by the brook Cherith…” (1 Kings 17:3). That was God’s prescription for a very over-stressed prophet. “Hide thyself by the brook Cherith” … “He leadeth me beside the still waters.”

Someone said that he liked to take one-minute vacations to go in his mind to some pleasant place and there to wait. Actually, we need to spend twenty or thirty minutes at a time, taking time to pray, to meditate, to read God’s Word, and to let Him restore our soul. You will notice right after these pleasant meadows, these quiet waters, the words: “He restoreth my soul” (Psalm 23:3a). If we are to know the peace of God and the joy of God, that is where we will find it.

Question to ponder:
Are there any obstacles in your life to spending time alone with God?