Category Archives: Daily Devotional

Samson Was Strong,Yet He Was Weak

“So the woman bore a son, and she called him Samson. The boy grew, and the Lord blessed him.”

— Judges 13:24

Samson was the strongest man that ever lived, as the makers of certain luggage have attested. They named it in his honor. It’s indestructible because it’s Samsonite.

Now Samson was a real man, he was not the idol of Homer’s mind, living on Mount Olympus. He was a humble son of Manoah and his wife, he was of the tribe of Dan in Israel, and God had gifted him remarkably.

His birth was announced by an angel. He was given a high calling and purpose to deliver the people of God from the 40-year-long tyranny of the Philistines, and he was given a consecration.

He was to be a Nazarite, one separated unto God. He was to be one whose separation was seen by the fact that no razor was to touch his head and no strong drink was to touch his lips. He was truly a remarkable man. Not the kind of fellow you would want to arm wrestle with, I assure you, regardless of how big you are.

He judged Israel for 20 years. He heard their cases, he judged them, he bore with their problems, he led them in battle, he fought with them and for them, and yet all we remember is Samson and Delilah. He fell because of his relationship with Delilah, a Philistine woman. All young preachers take note. All the rest is forgotten in the tragedy of his fall.

Oh, Lord, my strength and my shield, give me strength today to lean on You. Make me a muscular Christian. Let me go forth in Your strength, never depending on my own ability. Thank You, Jesus, that You are my strength and salvation…


The Blood of the Soldier, the Blood of the Savior

“When they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him and put His own garments on Him. Then they led Him out to crucify Him.”

— Mark 15:20

November 11 is Veterans Day. It marks this day in 1918, when the Armistice was signed, ending four years of bloody battles in Europe at the close of World War I. It was initially called Armistice Day but eventually was changed to Veterans Day, when in 1954, President Ike Eisenhower signed a bill changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

It is a day to remember the thousands who have died for the liberties we enjoy in this country, as well as to remember all of those who were maimed and wounded and still carry, sometimes decades later, the signs and evidences of their combat.

War should be avoided if at all possible. But in this evil world, that is not always possible.

Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” We are so good at doing nothing, aren’t we? Not many more than half of us vote. Few of us work to elect decent candidates or do anything to advance the cause of virtue and morality in America.

Freedom is not free. It was paid for by the blood of the soldier. Spiritual freedom is not free. It was paid for by the blood of the Savior, which is of infinitely greater value.

Jesus Christ our Savior, give me strength for today to continue to fight evil. Help us to not take for granted either our salvation or our freedom. Help us to be grateful, knowing these were purchased with blood…


True Freedom

“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

— John 8:32

The world boasts about its freedom all of the time. For example, there is a poem that starts like this:

It matters not how straight the gate,
how charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate.
I am the captain of my soul.

Hogwash. Luther put it much more accurately when he said that the will of the unregenerate man is like a dumb jackass ridden by the devil who turns it whithersoever he will. Or to change the metaphor, he is like a man chained to the oars below deck while Satan steers the ship laughingly over the precipice into the churning chasm beneath.

But the Christian has been set free…free to serve Christ, free to follow Christ, free to do great things for Christ because those shackles have been broken at Calvary.

It begins with repentance, a determination to turn from sin and to follow Jesus Christ. “As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6)—which is a continual repenting of sin and determining to follow Christ in all the ways of new obedience.

Somebody said, “There are just so many people in me. If I only knew which one I was, I would know what I ought to do.” But if we set in our hearts on the determination to love God with all our being and to love our neighbor as ourselves, then we are fulfilling the greatest command. True freedom is the choice to do what is right.

Oh, God of Truth, give us the strength today to live in the freedom which Your truth provides. Thank You for our freedom in Christ Jesus to live our lives in service and in truth. Let the truth continue to bring freedom and let us be faithful bearers of truth…


Being Envied for Righteous Living

“Then the presidents and officials sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom…”

— Daniel 6:4

Sometimes, people can hate us, not for doing anything wrong, but rather, for doing everything right. Shakespeare said, “Envy doth merit, as its shade [shadow] pursue.” Envy pursues after merit, even as our shadow pursues us everywhere we go. And so if you would be meritorious, if you would rise so much as an inch or two above the common herd, you will find that envy will be hard on your heels and breathing down your neck and blowing its hot flame breath singeing the hairs on the back of your neck. And so it was with Daniel and so it has ever been.

Daniel was preferred. Daniel had an excellent spirit. Daniel was envied and Daniel was conspired against to pull him down.

One theologian noted that there is a certain tendency in evil that always wants to pull that which is good down to its own level. Evil is egalitarian. Evil men want to make everyone else just as evil as they are.

If we are first place, a price has to be paid. If that primacy is as faithful and righteous as Daniel, it must be doubly paid for. The leveling demands of evil are for a democracy of being. Evil men seek to make all things evil. Men who are failures demand a universal failure, and men unable or unwilling to rise above their low estate seek savagely to raise all eminence into a common democracy of mediocrity and defeat. Daniel had done nothing wrong, but he was hated all the more.

Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, give me the strength only You can give that I might stand against evil. Thank You for Your protection and Your peace in the midst of trouble. Keep me safe, Lord, and keep me strong…


Character Matters

“Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and officials because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.”

— Daniel 6:3

Observing Daniel in the lions’ den passage, we see a godly man standing out in an ungodly place. We see growing here in the midst of this degenerate, pagan, idolatrous, polytheistic, licentious court, a most beautiful white flower. And I think that one of the first lessons to be learned in this is that such a beautiful character does not depend upon the circumstances in which it is raised.

You see, there are some things that you cannot grow in certain soils because they don’t provide the nutrients. But here you do not find the human soul draws from the environment around it. If it is a believing soul, it is grounded in God and it draws its spiritual nourishment from Him and it matters not what is around. In fact it is strangely true that some of the most beautiful of Christian characters have come forth in the midst of the most degenerate circumstances.

Yet how many times have we heard it said, “Well, if only circumstances were different; if only I didn’t have that miserable, wretched boss, always riding on my back, always on my case, I could be a much better Christian at work.” “Ah me, what a wonderful Christian I could be if I had a different husband or a different wife, or my children weren’t so rebellious.” “Oh, if I just didn’t have so many physical problems I could be a great Christian.” But Daniel gives a lie to it all. Here, blossoming in this incredibly pagan court is this character of Daniel.

Oh, Lord, give me the strength today to grow in godly character. Let my inward and outward life be beautiful to You. Help me not to resist Your inner work within me…


Obey God in the Little Things, Too

“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty officials, so that they would be over the whole kingdom, and over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was first…”

— Daniel 6:1-2

In this verse, Daniel is preferred among all of these other key leaders of the great Medo-Persian empire, as he was among the Babylonians. Why? Because an excellent spirit was in him. Here is a man in his late 80’s, and we cannot help but harken back to that time when he was in a cell as a teenager, confronted with a temptation to disobey God in some small ceremonial law of his religion. At the time, you will recall, there was something that Daniel did which was to affect his entire extraordinary career for all these seventy some years that were yet to come.

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s food, nor with the wine which he drank” (Daniel 1:8). The matter at hand may seem trivial to some. But he determined to obey God in all things, even what he ate and drank. Daniel obeyed God in little things and was able to obey Him in big matters, too.

I hope perhaps that the tremendous implications of that statement might become even more apparent now that he is an older man, who has been obeying God all along. That he determined that he would not defile himself before God, that the one all consuming passion of his heart was to refrain from breaking even the least of the laws of his God. What a tremendous determination. I hope that same determination is yours.

Heavenly Father, give me strength to obey You in the big and seemingly insignificant details of my life. Lord, let me live my life to please You in all things and do all my work to the satisfaction of anyone over me and to Your glory…


God and War

“The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is His name.”

— Exodus 15:3

This verse in the Song of Moses, celebrating God’s victory over the Egyptians in the Red Sea, sounds strange to our ears. God—a man of war? The liberals have had a field day with this text. God is love, they say, and nothing but love and the idea that the Lord is a man of war is an outworn ancient barbarian concept and certainly is not fitted for Christians to consider and it is obviously not spiritual. It’s a sinful idea that God is a man of war.

Well, before we go too far with that and talk about how unholy and ungodly and unchristian that is, let me call your attention to the last book of the Bible: “They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, ‘Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of saints!’” (Revelation 15:3). The Song of Moses is reaffirmed in the New Testament.

God has many facets to Him. He is a God of love preeminently, He is a God of grace and mercy and kindness and longsuffering, but He is also a God of holiness and justice and righteousness. In the original Song of Moses (Exodus 15), He justly punished Pharaoh’s army, as they tried to attack the Israelites. He is a God of wrath against sin, and we cannot do away with that aspect of Him—otherwise we create an idol of our own mind, something other than the true God.

Lord, God Almighty, give me strength to embrace all aspects of Your character. I also tremble when I consider that Your justice will not sleep forever. Thank You for Your holiness, Your justice, and Your righteous anger against evil…


More Christians Are Needed in Politics

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people mourn.”

— Proverbs 29:2

Slowly but surely, more and more we see that Christians are beginning to take their proper place in every sphere of life in our society. You may recall that one of the most important founders of this country was John Jay, and he said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian Nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”

Now who was this John Jay? Was he some sort of extremist? He was the first Chief Justice of the first Supreme Court, appointed by the first President of the United States, George Washington. He also wrote some of the Federalist Papers.

Well now, what he said we ought to do is being done. At one point, not too long ago, only five members of the House of Representatives could be found who were evangelical Christians. Most of them were probably nominal. But that number went up a decade later to 100, and then up to 125. Lord-willing, evangelicals in the political realm will be even more visible in the years to come.

So often we hear that no one should impose their morality on anyone, but the reality is that someone’s morality is always being legislated. It is not a question of “if,” but of “what” and of “whose.”

Dear Lord, You have said we should not put our trust in princes. Even the best of them can let us down. Help us to trust You alone. Meanwhile, we do pray that You would raise up more godly leaders. Help Your church to regain its role as salt and light in society…


Suffering for Christ

“For to you it was granted on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake…”

— Philippians 1:29

In this verse, Paul is saying that suffering for Christ is of grace—it is a gift given unto you, first of all to believe in Christ and secondly to suffer for His sake. I think of one writer who points out that belief brings life, and suffering brings muscles. It is a freely given weight-set given by God to you to develop your spiritual muscles as we suffer for Him.

May I ask you this, have you suffered for Christ’s sake? Now you know a lot of people think that suffering for Christ’s sake is having a headache, or having arthritis or something like that. That’s not suffering for Christ’s sake; everybody suffers that way, Christian, non-Christian, all alike.

Suffering for Christ is very different. Suffering for Christ is something that we endure because of our witness for Christ, and we are called upon to suffer for Him as well as to believe in Him. And we are to rejoice in that, as Jesus told us Himself in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be very glad, because great is your reward in heaven…” (Matthew 5:11-12a).

And we grow in faith when we are willing to suffer for Him. If we want to have spiritual muscles, then we need to realize and accept the gift, both of believing in Him and suffering for Him.

Dear Jesus, give me the strength to suffer gladly and patiently for You. Help me not take on a burden You have not asked me to carry. But when the time comes to suffer for Your name’s sake, give me the grace to endure…


How Christ Got My Attention

“I know one thing: I was blind, but now I see.”

— John 9:25

At one time, I was far away from God, immersed in the sin and pleasures of the world. But one Sunday morning, after having attended a party late the night before, I was awakened by a preacher on my radio alarm clock, whereas there had been music on that radio station the night before. Not interested in spiritual things, I was about to spring out of bed and change the station.

But he said a few things that caught my attention. The preacher declared that the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death…but…the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” I will never forget that first day I heard that incredible statement. I was astonished that he had the audacity to say that God wanted to give me heaven as a gift. I thought the man must be mad. Being, of course, a great authority on theological matters, at the age of 24, I figured that he didn’t know what he was talking about. After all, who was he but a doctor of theology, a pastor of one of our nation’s great churches with a worldwide radio ministry? As to me, why, I could even find my Bible—given enough time.

I realized I must find out if these things are so. Within a week, as I read about Jesus Christ and His sacrifice in my place, I found myself on my knees, in tears, asking God to forgive me. My life has never been the same ever since.

Lord, give me strength for today to share the good news with others that they, too, might receive Your free gift of heaven. Thank You for taking the punishment of my sins on Yourself on the cross…