Category Archives: Daily Devotional

Our Footprints

“Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

— Daniel 12:3

When your time comes to leave this earth, what would you like others to remember about you? Have you thought of how you could make a lasting impact on this world? Most of us would like to know that we’ve made some enduring contribution and that people will never forget us. We hope that our lives will not have been just footprints in the sand along the edge of the water, washed away by the next wave to hit the shore.

Ever since the beginning of humankind, people have desired to make a memorable stamp on the world. Some people have attempted to leave great monuments to secure their names in the annals of history. Have they succeeded? Consider the Great Pyramid of Giza, no doubt one of the most massive structures in the world. Someone built that pyramid as a memorial to himself. “Who?” you ask. He was King Khufu, not exactly a household name. The Shah of India had a similar wish, desiring that his wife would be remembered by others for centuries. So the shah built the Taj Mahal. Yet he, too, built in vain; after all, who knows the name of Arjumand? How about the Great Wall of China? The Wall is the largest man-made structure in the world. Astronauts say you can even see it from outer space. Yet no one remembers the name of Chin She Whon Tea, the man initially responsible for this incredible structure.

While these people are forgotten by the masses, we can make a permanent imprint on the world. In fact, God placed the desire in our hearts for significance and permanence. Why? Because we’re bound for eternal life. So how can we make a name for ourselves for eternity? By bringing others to a saving knowledge of Christ’s grace that they may have eternal life.

Do you know someone who needs to discover God’s gift of grace? Those saved through you will be ever grateful that you took the time and made the effort to bring them into God’s presence. If you bring others to Christ, you shall shine like the stars of the firmament forever.

“He who has no vision of eternity has no hold on time.”
Thomas Carlyle

Two Options

“Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts . . .”

— Hebrews 3:15

There are two groups of people: those who are on their way to Heaven and those who are not. The first group comprises people who have trusted in Christ alone for their salvation, gaining eternal life for their souls through Christ’s death on the cross. The second group consists of people who haven’t committed their lives to Christ, including (ironically) those who may be trying to work their way into Heaven, hoping to gain entrance by their own merits.

Which group are you in today? Have you made the decision to give your life to Christ? Many decisions in life offer only two options. And often we find that while we’re deciding which option to choose, we’ve already chosen one by default. For example, suppose your car is stalled on a railroad track, and before you’ve restarted it, a train approaches at high speed. Two options now loom before you. You can leap from your car and save your life, or you can stay in your car and try to save both your life and your auto. As you weigh the dangers and gains of both options, you’ve made a choice with life-impacting consequences: You’re still in your car, and the train is still coming.

Likewise, you have two options today: life or death. But while you consider your options, you’ve already made a choice, for if you’ve never accepted Christ, you’re still in that state of death into which every soul was born. And every second you put off that decision, the judgment train of God continues to roll.

Christ’s gift of salvation is the greatest offer ever made. Someday God will rescind His offer, and this period of grace will end forever. But now, the sun of His grace shines, and the offer of His free gift is still available. I urge you this day, at the dawn of this new year (if you have not already), to repent of your sins, to place your faith in Jesus, and to accept Him as your Savior and Lord. Your life will never be the same again.

“Salvation is free for you because someone else paid.”

The Folly Of Shortsightedness

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

— 2 Corinthians 5:7

Is your spiritual vision 20/20? Sadly, many of us suffer from spiritual shortsightedness. For example, Adam and Eve exhibited shortsightedness as they contemplated only the immediate delight and satisfaction that would come from eating the forbidden fruit. They didn’t consider the long-term, disastrous results.

Abraham, on the other hand, was a man of great vision. The Bible says that Abraham sought a city whose builder and maker was God. Though he passed through many of the cities of this world, he knew his long-term search would be worthwhile.

Moses is also a prime example of a man with farsighted vision. He endured seeing Him who is invisible. That takes very long vision, and God calls us to the same effort. We must look not merely upon the things we can see—short-lived, temporal things—but upon the things we cannot see—the long-term, the eternal. Yet most people spend more time planning a party than they do planning where they’ll spend eternity. How many people have told me that they’re ready to die because they’ve made out their wills and have bought their burial plots. How utterly deceived people can be. No wonder the Bible calls sin folly and the sinner a fool, because our shortsightedness is foolishness.

If God had called us to climb Mount Everest in order to gain eternal life, millions would line up to try it. But He calls us to no such arduous task as that but instead to simple trust in Christ as our Savior. Doing that humbles us because we must acknowledge our sin and our unworthiness, casting ourselves upon Him and His mercy.

Sometimes people criticize Christians for not living in “the real world.” And yet ultimately two real worlds exist: Heaven and Hell. We must focus on eternity, cultivating a long-range view on life.

“A little faith will bring your soul to heaven;
a great faith will bring heaven to your soul.”
Charles Spurgeon

Forgiving Our Enemies

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you . . . ”

— Matthew 5:44

I want to talk to you today about the incredible importance of forgiveness in our lives. Without it, we’ll never make it in this world or the next. Doctors now know that we don’t get ulcers as much from what we eat; we get them from what’s eating us. If you want to have a miserable existence and risk contracting one or more diseases, then hold resentment and unforgiveness in your heart. They can destroy the body.

Would you prefer to cultivate a forgiving heart? Then learn from Joseph’s example. He had much to forgive . . .

  • He had to forgive his father, Jacob, because of Jacob’s folly in preferring him over his brothers.
  • He had to forgive his brothers for throwing him into a pit then selling him into slavery as a mere alternative to killing him. He had to forgive his brothers for all his years of slavery in Egypt and for the long, arduous tasks he had to perform until finally he was accepted into Potiphar’s household.
  • He had to forgive Potiphar’s wife, who took hold of his garment, bringing his integrity into question.
  • He had to forgive Potiphar, who never even looked into the matter between Joseph and his wife but condemned Joseph out of hand, sending him to prison to languish for years.

Joseph could well have said he had much to set right, but he never did. Instead he freely forgave them all.

Abraham Lincoln is also a wonderful example of forgiveness. He regularly forgave his enemies. On the very afternoon before he was shot, Lincoln gave instructions to his cabinet, many members of which were bent on stepping on the face of the South now that the Civil War had ended. Lincoln told his cabinet, “There will be no reparations.” He had a heart as big as the whole world and yet not big enough to hold a grudge.

Do you have an enemy whom you have not forgiven from your heart? Then ask God for the grace to forgive; after all, Jesus has forgiven us for so much more—who are we to hold grudges?

“I shall never permit myself to stoop so low as to hate any man.”
Booker T. Washington

Faith Without Works

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

— James 2:18

Do you ever get confused by all the different religions in the world? Many do. So let’s reduce this complex subject to its simplest components. Ultimately, only three types of religions exist. The first type of religion (“Christian” or otherwise) teaches that people become acceptable to God by their own works, such as keeping commandments and following certain rules of morality, piety, and benevolence. Another type of religion teaches simply that people are saved by faith in Christ. And the third type of religion teaches that people are saved by a combination of faith and works.

The Bible makes it clear that only by faith in Christ can we be saved. We can’t add good works to the equation. However, the Bible also says that true faith in Christ manifests itself in good works. Faith is invisible. Someone may say that he or she has faith, but you cannot see it, nor can a person show it apart from works. And that is precisely why, at the Judgment, God judges people by their works. Though only Jesus can save us, we demonstrate the genuineness of our faith in Jesus to the world by the works we do. In the second chapter of his letter, James denounces the barren orthodox, those who believe that they save themselves by the correctness of their creed, those who may confess expertly, may argue their faith with great eloquence, and believe it in all of its details; yet they have no fruit: joy, love, peace, works, or service for Christ. They may profess religious faith, but their actions show they don’t possess it.

Do people know what you believe by how you live? Today, choose to honor God in all you do, so that those around you may know the truth.

“The first good work you will ever perform
is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

If God Is Love, Then Why…?

“Then Job answered the Lord and said: ‘I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You . . . I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.’”

— Job 42:1–2, 5–6

Have you ever said, “Why me, Lord?” when something bad happened to you? Rabbi Harold Kushner, in his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, tried to answer this question. Unfortunately, Rabbi Kushner’s conclusions were not Biblical. Kushner says, “God would like people to get what they deserve in life, but he cannot always arrange it.” He says that God does not really control the events of this world but helps us respond to them in more positive ways. But the Bible says that God is all-powerful and all-good, able to do anything and wanting to bless us.

Another example of Kushner’s unbiblical assertions is that Job, a man who endured tremendous tribulation, thought of himself as a good man. But notice what Job actually says in Job 42:5-6 after God confronts him: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” When Job asked God, “What have I done wrong?” God did not answer his question. Instead, God just showed Himself. Through this revelation, Job came to see that God has no limitations and imperfections whatsoever, and that by comparison, he himself was vile.

None of us is good; none of us deserves unending blessing. The Bible says so. So the question is not “Why do bad things happen to good people?” but “Why do good things happen to bad people?” Peter tells us that we should not be amazed when fiery trials come upon us. We should expect that God will try our faith with fire, so that we might come out as pure gold. For He is in the process of forging our character, drawing us nearer to Him for now and for eternity.

Have you been experiencing a severe trial in your life? Don’t despair. Instead, thank God for the trial, no matter how difficult, and keep trusting Him. God will never disappoint you. Our false, unbiblical perceptions of Him might, but He Himself never will.

“If it is true that all of us deserve hell, then anything
we get in this life, less than that, is gracious.”

Life: An Inalienable Right

“For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.”

— Luke 1:44

Close your eyes for a moment, and pay attention to some things you probably take for granted most days: the beating of your heart, your lungs filling with oxygen, your muscles supporting and moving your body. These are gifts life gives us.

Today is the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which has resulted in the death of tens of millions of unborn babies in this nation. “Abortion stops a beating heart,” says the National Right to Life Committee. Aborted babies never get to enjoy the life-giving gifts that you and I take for granted every day.

The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer said in one of his last messages that the right to life is more basic than the right to liberty, the right to the pursuit of happiness, or any other right. Indeed, if you lie dead in your coffin, you don’t care how many shackles and chains have been wrapped around you, nor do you care how much money you have in your bank account. If you don’t have life, you don’t have anything.

But the right to life is challenged by those who assert an inherent right to choose. People in favor of abortion call themselves “pro-choice.” But I don’t agree with that term. After all, the unborn baby has no choice at all in the matter. (I’m reminded of the bumper sticker “Equal rights for unborn women.”) To those who are pro-choice, I can only encourage you to seek God’s heart in this matter.

Maybe someone you know has had an abortion. Maybe you yourself have had one. In either case, remember that the God who gives life also grants mercy. God offers grace and forgiveness to all who flee to the Cross, confess their sins, and ask Him to forgive their sins. You can be sure of that.

Meanwhile, we should all pray that this horrible practice will end. Today, every time you’re aware of your heart beating, ask God to reestablish the right to life in our nation.

“And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how
can we tell other people not to kill one another?”
Mother Teresa

Pressing Toward The Mark

“. . . forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

— Philippians 3:13-14

Have you ever wondered why some people succeed while others fail? Do successful people have heredity, environment, luck, money, or education on their side? Those factors have probably contributed toward the success of some, yet we all know people who have enjoyed these benefits and have amounted to little. On the other hand, history is replete with examples of those who had none of those advantages yet succeeded magnificently.

So what are the secrets of success? I believe that Paul tells us some of those secrets in Philippians 3:13-14. First, Paul says, “. . . reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” How important that is. This picture alludes to a runner who stretches his or her hand way in front of the body. Through this picture, Paul tells us that we need that eager aspiration, that enthusiasm that comes from God within us, causing us to reach out toward greater things. We need that eagerness of heart if we’re to succeed. Too often we go through our jobs, our devotions, our worship, and our service for Christ with perfunctory attitudes. But when we have eager anticipation, God can do great things through us.

Second, Paul says, “I press toward the goal for the prize.” The phrase “press toward the goal” means to pursue, to go after something in an intense way. In addition to eagerness of spirit, we need to exert great effort to reach our goals. We need to clearly define worthy pursuits and forget about all of our failures. We need to exert energy to meet our goals and not let anything get in the way of reaching them.

Today ask the Lord to show you a goal worthy of your effort. Then ask Him to give you the enthusiasm and energy to press toward it. As you do so each day, you’ll get closer to “the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

“Persistent people begin their success where others end in failure.”
Edward Eggleston

Loyalty In A Disloyal World

“Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ Then Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’”

— John 6:67–68

Orson Welles once complained, “When you’re down and out, something always turns up—and it’s usually the noses of your friends.”

How loyal are you to the people in your life?

Loyalty is a noble trait, but often people are more committed to themselves than to anyone or anything else. In view of so many dissolved marriages, you’d almost think the marriage vow states, “Till inconvenience do us part.” Most definitely, loyalty in our time seems rare, as evidenced by the alacrity with which people change friends, jobs, communities, and churches.

Jesus knew the sting of betrayal. One time, after a large crowd abandoned Jesus, refusing to follow Him anymore, He turned to the twelve disciples and asked them if they were going to leave Him too. Peter answered so well for all of us who follow Christ: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Jesus then lamented that even one of those remaining twelve was a devil (referring to Judas—the ultimate example of disloyalty—who would betray Christ for money).

But the Bible also has some positive examples of loyalty. Consider King Saul’s son Jonathan, who made tremendous sacrifices for David. He even gave up his throne for David’s sake. Or think of Ruth, who said to her mother-in-law, “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go . . . Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16). What a tremendous testimony of loyalty.

Loyalty is such a rare trait that those who exhibit it distinguish themselves from the rest of the world. I encourage you today to stay loyal and faithful to your spouse, your family, your church, your boss, and your friends. You will reap wonderful benefits for doing so. And if you need an example of loyalty, look to our Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. He gave His very life for us. No one is more loyal than He.

“God does not hold me responsible for success but for faithfulness.”

Seek First The Kingdom

“. . . seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness . . .”

— Matthew 6:33

Whether or not we’re aware of it, we all have pursuits in life, ultimate goals we want to achieve. Whatever our pursuits are, they drive the rest of our lives. Wittingly or unwittingly, we choose our daily actions to help us reach our ultimate goals. And Jesus Christ told us exactly what we should wholeheartedly pursue first and foremost—God’s kingdom and His righteousness.

If we want to seek God’s kingdom first, we must examine our priorities. As we do, we often find we’re far off the mark. Many people set money making as their primary goal in life. They choose this goal in the most uncritical fashion, without ever asking if they should spend their time, effort, and energy on it. Other people adopt pleasure as their ultimate goal. They want only enough money to enjoy their pleasures. Such people are little different from the ancient pagan hedonists who openly declared pleasure as their god. Yet others spend their lives building their own kingdoms where they can rule over others. They amass as much power as they can so they can have control.

But God asks, “Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not.” Jesus continues centuries later, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” Clearly, God wants His kingdom to be our ultimate pursuit in life. What does it mean to seek the kingdom of God? First, we seek the extension of His kingdom by sharing the gospel of Christ with those who don’t know it. Second, it means discipling, teaching, and building up people in the faith. The kingdom should extend until every phase of our lives is under His dominion. Then we will be at peace with Him and ourselves.

Have you evaluated your priorities recently? Have you made seeking God’s kingdom your ultimate pursuit? If not, do so today. Invite God to use you however He desires to draw people to Him.

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past.
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
C. T. Studd