Category Archives: Daily Devotional

Sin and Happiness?

…choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time.

— Hebrews 11:25

I believe the greatest deceit Satan has ever perpetrated upon the human race, the most successful lie he has ever used, and one that impinges upon our consciences from a thousand different directions, is simply this: We shall find happiness and fulfillment through sin and by disregarding the commandments and precepts of God; and it is by throwing off the chains that bind, letting ourselves go and following our own passions, ignoring Christ and His Word that we will find satisfaction and joy in this life. Satan’s most successful lie would have us believe that joy will be ours through sin. I am sure that most of us have believed this lie a thousand times or more in our lives.

Yet, the great truth of the Word of God is that at the right hand of God there is joy forevermore. There is happiness in holiness. It is through submission to the will of Christ that man will find his true joy and fulfillment. These are two totally and completely antithetical propositions. One is truth, the other a lie.

Question to ponder:
Can you think of a time in your life when you believed sinning would make you happy?

The Ascension of Christ

Now when He had spoken these things, while they looked, He was taken up. And a cloud received Him from their sight.

— Acts 1:9

When Christ Jesus was finished with all His work on earth, He ascended in triumph to heaven. The day of his ascension ought to be celebrated as the coronation day for the King of kings.

Christ, who was once despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, now occupies a most exalted position where there is joy forevermore. Jesus Christ, once derided by sinners, is now celebrated by saints. The scoffing and the hissing of the reprobate have given way to the panegyrics of angels. The flailing of whips and the pounding of hammers have been replaced by the flourish of trumpets, the beating of drums and the flying of colors. The Son of God has come home to sit at the right hand of His Father—until all His enemies are made a footstool for His feet and Christ becomes all in all.

It is this Christ in all His glory, and with all His authority and might, who will one day come back to earth—but not as He came the first time. Not in humility, but with all His splendor and glory.

Question to ponder:
How do you picture the exalted and glorified Christ?

A Right Way, A Wrong Way

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

— Proverbs 14:12

I remember one time, not too many years before she died (she was probably about 75 at the time), my mother came to visit us. One day, she had a headache and she asked for two aspirin. After I gave her the aspirin, she put one in her mouth as far back as she could on her tongue, and then tried to swallow it. Guess what? She gagged and choked and sputtered. Finally, red in the face, she was able to get most of it down. The rest of it was smeared across the back of her throat, I suppose, in the attempt.

I said, “Mother, that’s not the way to take an aspirin. Let me show you.” I took some vitamins, threw them in my mouth, and drank them right down. She was amazed. “Mother, it’s all in the technique,” I said. “You don’t put the aspirin on the back of your tongue, you put it in the concavity of your tongue and it just floats down. She tried it and it worked. It isn’t difficult to swallow an aspirin when you do it the right way. It’s ghastly when you do it the wrong way.

So it is with virtually anything in life. It isn’t that difficult when we do it the right way, but it’s terribly difficult when we do it the wrong way. God’s Word shows us the right way for virtually everything we deal with in life. Let us trust God today. Let us do things God’s way, and see the truth of His Word.

Question to ponder:
Can you think of anything in your life right now that you may be possibly attempting to handle in a wrong way?

God’s Prosperity

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night so that you may act carefully according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way successful, and you will be wise.

— Joshua 1:8

Are you one to meditate upon God’s Word? It is interesting that the book of Joshua is the only place in the Bible where we find the promise to prosper and have good success. God says that if you are careful to meditate upon the Word day and night, you will be prosperous in your goings and you will have good success. That is incredible. What God wants from us is simply faith and obedience to Him. He will take care of our problems.

At the end of the book of Job, God blesses Job, gives him children, his home, and double his flocks, his wealth and what he had before. We should remember that the Old Testament temporalizes the blessings of God. In the New Testament, they are more spiritualized and we are called upon to take the long look to understand that the things of this life will not be balanced until eternity. God has reserved for us in Heaven rewards beyond anything Job ever even dreamed of, and we should never lose sight of that promise.

Today, the success God grants to us is not always in the form of material blessings. Often it is spiritual, but He always provides what we need. Spiritual rewards are not less; they are more.

Question to ponder:
What does it mean to meditate on God’s Word?

A Third Great Awakening

O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years!

— Habakkuk 3:2

There is a great need for a heaven-sent revival by the Holy Spirit of God to sweep across the land. The first thing we can do is pray, and I am glad there are people taking that seriously.

Too often, we forget that America became a nation soon after a spiritual revival, the First Great Awakening. Then in the early 1800s, America experienced a Second Great Awakening, which helped bring about a moral revolution—particularly in addressing the evil of slavery. Now, we are in need of a Third Great Awakening. Will you join me in praying for that to happen? I believe it is America’s only real hope.

People are under the misconception that government will solve all their problems. But I believe that if true change is going to take place, it will start with the people through a genuine revival that eventually moves to the halls of government; not from the government down, but from the people up. God once declared, “If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land!” (2 Chronicles 7:14). May it be in our day!

Question to ponder:
What are the components of a true revival and how does it happen?

Resurrection From the Dead

…and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He performed in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places…

— Ephesians 1:19-20

Because of Jesus, one day all people will be raised from the dead, either for salvation or damnation. It is not merely a handful of individuals who will be resurrected as was the case in Jesus’ earthly ministry when he said “Talitha cumi,” and a young girl rose from her bed (Mark 5:41), or “Lazarus, come forth,” and Lazarus walked out with his grave clothes still on him (John 11:43-44).

No, Jesus said that all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and come forth in that day. Everyone! And more than that, it will happen instantaneously—in a moment. In the twinkling of an eye, it is all going to be done. Surely, that seems to be utterly incredible. Yet, that is what we are told, and what we are called to believe.

What is the solution to such an apparent impossibility? The apostle Paul said to King Agrippa, “Why is it judged incredible by you, that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8). There is the other dimension. There is the other factor—God—”God raises the dead.”

Question to ponder:
What does it mean to you to know that the same God who raised Jesus from the dead will one day raise you?

Consider the Butterfly

The body is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.

— 1 Corinthians 15:42

Recently my wife and I visited Butterfly World, a magnificent spectacle of beauty and color in Fort Lauderdale, which houses thousands of butterflies flying freely in an enclosed area. We were each given a little chrysalis in a plastic cup. We observed them. They had already woven their own cerement, created their own winding sheet, built their own coffin. But now they were breaking free. They had utterly transformed themselves. Out comes one wing, and then another. Then they pump up their wings with their own blood and fly off into the sky.

The butterfly is often used as a description of the Resurrection. It certainly is, but it would be a more accurate picture of the resurrection of mankind if we took that chrysalis, ground it to powder, dissolved it in water, mixed it with mud, and splashed it into all the rivers of the world—and then waited for the butterfly to come out. That is the plight of man. Indeed, how shall our bodies ever come together again? Of course, God, who created the world out of nothing, can one day resurrect our bodies, despite the earthly condition of our remains.

Question to ponder:
What does it mean to you to know that one day God will resurrect your body?

Be Nice

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.

— Ephesians 4:32

Some Christians are not nice; some cannot even be civil. Many times people try to communicate with their spouses, or with others, but that communication is blocked by a cold and icy wall of resentment, which is the memory in the soul of some previous hurt or slight or wound of some sort. That resentment acts like a thermometer that measures within each one of us the level, the degree, of our lack of forgiveness. Paul tells us, however, in this chapter to be tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven us. We are called to forgive, even as we have been forgiven.

Think of all that God has given us—pardon, forgiveness, provision, and adoption into the family of God, care for all of your needs, and the promise that one day we will be with Him forever in paradise.

When we consider God’s gifts to us, it is easier to look kindly on others. When we remember what God has forgiven us for, it is easier to forgive one another. When we consider God’s kindness to us, it is easier to be kind to each other.

Question to ponder:
How can we develop the heart of Christ toward people around us?

A Mother’s Impact

Her children rise up and call her blessed; …

— Proverbs 31:28

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) of South Africa was a great theologian and writer. He was one of eight or nine children, all of whom grew up to bless their land as the godliest of people because their godly father and mother led Christian lives and gathered the family together for worship each day.

In her old age, Andrew’s mother was asked her secret by people who marveled that so many children of such tremendous character, integrity, spirituality, and power and influence could have come from one home. Her answer was that she lived the life she wanted her children to live. And central in that life was the regular worship of God, reading the Word, and prayer together in their home.

We see this same principle in the life of Samuel, one of the great saints of the Bible. This mighty spiritual leader began a whole new epic in the life of Israel, but where did he come from? Like Andrew Murray, he had a godly mother. Hannah prayed for a son and God answered her prayer. Also in the first chapter of 1 Samuel you will discover three things about Samuel’s family. First of all, his parents regularly took him with them to worship in the temple. Secondly, his mother and father were praying people. They knew how to pray and to get answers to their prayers. Thirdly, early each morning they gathered together all of the family to worship God in the home. Out of this family life grew Samuel, the prophet, the reformer, the teacher of Israel. His mother Hannah’s prayer helped change a nation.

Question to ponder:
What can you do to make your home more godly?

A Good Name

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.

— Proverbs 22:1

In the Bible a name represents the person, just as it does in the third of the Ten Commandments—”Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

We are all concerned for the reputation of our good name. We have laws against those that would besmirch our name because they are besmirching us. And for those who hold God in contempt and drag Him in the mud, there is a penalty. God says, ” … for the Lord will not hold guiltless anyone who takes His name in vain.” There is no menace here. It is simply a statement of a fact.

Ultimately, having a good name comes from putting our faith in Jesus. A good reputation comes from good and sound living. If we are known for our honesty, hard work, kind words, helpfulness, and generosity, we will have a good name among people. It takes time and effort. It also takes a moment to ruin a reputation. We should be as zealous for God’s reputation as we are for our own.

Question to ponder:
What type of reputation before others do you think you have? What can we do to honor God and His good name?