Category Archives: Daily Devotional

The Transforming Power of Scripture

It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

— Luke 4:4

The Bible is the greatest book in the world.

In the midst of the many marvelous texts that make up the Scriptures, there are some verses that are often overlooked and seldom quoted compared to other well-known verses. These verses lie nestled away like timid little flowers. However, these timid little flowers give off a marvelous fragrance—a fragrance that, if inhaled deeply, can utterly transform your life. Sometimes I like to pick one such little flower from the pages of Holy Writ, lift it up, analyze it, and sense its fragrance and its transforming power.

Psychologist William James once stated: “The Bible contains more true sublimity, more exquisite beauty, more morality, more important history, and finer strains of poetry and eloquence than can be collected from all other books, in whatever age or language they may have been written.” Sir William Gladstone, considered by many the greatest prime minister England ever had, said, “I have known 95 great men of the world in my time. And of these, 87 were followers of the Bible.”

Question to ponder:
Can you list ten reasons why you read and study the Bible?

Is Christianity Unscientific?

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.

— Proverbs 25:2

Sometimes we hear the accusation that Christianity is unscientific. What people who make such claims don’t realize is that science got its birth during the Christian era. All of the early modern scientists were Christians who believed that they were, in the words of astronomer Johannes Kepler, “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” They believed that a rational God had made a rational universe, and it was the role of science to discover the rules He had impressed on the material world.

Who invented science? It was Francis Bacon who is credited with having been the inventor of the scientific method, that combination of induction and deduction, of hypothesis and proof (empirical proof). Bacon was a devout Christian. He believed in God. He believed in Christ, he believed in the Bible, and he believed in Creation. He said that God had given us two books—He has given us the book of nature to understand the world, and the book of Scripture—and we are to read both of them.

Who was the greatest scientist who ever lived? A poll taken of scientists just a few years ago concluded that the greatest scientist was Sir Isaac Newton. Newton believed in God, he believed in Christ, he believed in the Bible, and he believed in creation. The beliefs were the foundation for Newton’s work as a scientist.

Question to ponder:
What does the phrase “laws of nature and of nature’s God” mean?

No Fear of God in Their Eyes

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be moved, let us be gracious, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.

— Hebrews 12:28-29

Some years ago, I was on the Merv Griffin Show talking about prayer in schools. Merv asked, “What good is a couple of minutes of prayer going to do, anyway? What difference does it make?”

It makes a great deal of difference whether one believes in God, and when one prays, or a class of students prays, one thing they are saying is that there is a higher authority than the state.

Does that really make any difference? There have been many, many indirect consequences of the Supreme Court’s 1962-1963 decisions to ban school prayer. And the fallout has literally amounted to expelling God in toto from our entire school system and beyond that, from the public life of America. God has been thrown out, and so the metal detectors have been installed.

Have you ever wondered why our society is going downhill so fast? I think a major part of it is that so many today lack a fear of God. They act as if they will not be held accountable. In this, they are totally wrong. Part of the reason some people get upset with Christians speaking out on moral issues from a biblical perspective is that they want to be able to sin with impunity. Jesus put it this way, “light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

What we need in our land is more “God fearing.”

Question to ponder:
What does it mean to you when the Scriptures say that our God is a consuming fire?

The Fly in the Ointment

Continue in prayer, and be watchful with thanksgiving …

— Colossians 4:2

Sir Noel Paton was an outstanding artist. His paintings always have one unusual feature: There are beautiful flowers and gorgeous birds, knights and ladies, gossamer-winged fairies, and children of seraphic beauty. However, always, somewhere down in the corner of the painting, or at the feet of these beautiful characters, is a form that is uncouth, repulsive, and repugnant, a loathsome creature such as a toad or a lizard or a slimy snail to render, by contrast with their repulsiveness, greater beauty to the rest.

This is how it is with the New Testament. We see Christ in all of His glory crucified between two thieves. There are twelve apostles, and one of them is a devil.

Rather than thank God for all His blessings, it is much easier to have a “fly complex.” I do not know if you have ever detected this in your own life, but I have. The old “fly in the ointment.”

Many of us, it seems, spend a great deal of our time counting the flies in the ointment of life. We need to realize that there is never going to be a jar of ointment in this world that does not have some flies in it. The question really comes down to whether we see the flies or the ointment. You can almost divide people into two kinds: There are the “fly people” and there are the “ointment people.” Which are you?

Question to ponder:
What is the “ointment” you are thankful for today?

“I Don’t Want to Get Involved”

If you refrain to deliver those who are drawn unto death, and those who are ready to be slain;

— Proverbs 24:11

In March 1964 a young New Yorker named Kitty Genovese came home from work, put her key into the lock on the front door of the apartment building she lived in. Suddenly a man grabbed her from behind and when she screamed, he cut her with a knife. She screamed louder and said, “Help, I’m dying. Help me. Somebody help me. This man is killing me.”

Windows went up all over the huge building. People looked down at her as she screamed for help. The police finally arrived thirty minutes later. It had taken thirty minutes of screaming for Kitty Genovese to die. No one in the building called the police.

Thirty-eight residents of that building said they saw the murder. When asked why they didn’t intervene or call the police, each answered, “We didn’t want to get involved.” Don’t you feel like going up and punching those people in the nose? I do. “This woman is being carved into pieces, and you didn’t want to get involved?”

As Christians we are called to get involved in the lives of others. We are called to a life of service and witness for Him.

Question to ponder:
How can you “get involved” today or this week to help people in need?

“Voiceless Christianity”?

… And you shall be My witnesses …

— Acts 1:8

Some professing Christians are members of the club called “Voiceless Christianity.” They say, “I can’t witness with my mouth. I just witness by my life.”

Dear friend, if you witness by your life, you only witness to yourself. Christ told us that we are to point beyond ourselves, unto Him and to His Cross, and that requires the use of our mouths.

Many claim that words don’t accomplish anything; it is the life that we live that gives a powerful witness. So, is it the case that most of you who are part of the “Voiceless Christianity” group have had dozens of people just this past year coming up to you and saying, “Oh, what a wonderful person you are. I am so amazed. Please tell me how I can be like you and how I can have whatever makes you that way?”

No, our Lord has entrusted us with the responsibility and the joy of leading others to Himself. Before He left this earth, Jesus said to His disciples:

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. And remember I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).

Voiceless Christianity is a myth by which the lazy or fearful justify their silence.

Question to ponder:
Do you practice “voiceless Christianity?” Why or why not?

You Are It

He said to them, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

— Mark 16:15

I have always liked the story—it’s not factual, but it is based on truth—the story of when Jesus Christ returned to Heaven after His resurrection and His ascension. When He arrived in heaven, as the story goes, all of the angels gathered around to hear about His great exploits on the earth below. He told them about His birth in a manger, about the life He lived, about His work as a carpenter, His mission as a prophet going out and preaching and teaching, the gathering together of His disciples, His betrayal, His scourging, His mockery, His condemnation, the Cross, the spikes, the sword, the tomb, and finally the glorious resurrection and His return into Heaven.

He said, “I have told my disciples that they are to go into all the world and tell everyone that through what I have done, they may have pardon and forgiveness and reconciliation and may receive the free gift of eternal life.”

Then there was quiet among the angels. Finally, one of them said, “Lord, but what if they don’t do that? What other plan do you have?”

Jesus Christ replied, “I have no other plan.”

Dear friends, you are it.

Question to ponder:
How does it make you feel to know that you are privileged to be His channel of eternal blessings to others?

The Elder Brother

He was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and entreated him.

— Luke 15:28

Jesus knows the heart. The parable of the Prodigal Son shows us that very frequently prodigals are not welcome even today. We are quite willing to have the respectable folks come into the church, those who are well-clothed and come from good families and upbringings, but bring the drunk in off skid row, bring in the person who has destroyed his body with vice, drugs, and sinful living, and some people will raise their eyebrows. Sinners are told to come into the warm harbor of God’s love, and they run smack-dab into the iceberg of the elder brother.

“What are you doing here in our nice church?” Some people do not really believe in conversion. You talk to them about the thief on the cross and they become very upset, even as some of the early Christians did not believe Saul had been converted.

For 24 years, I lived without the slightest shadow ever crossing my mind that I was separated from God and on my way to perdition. Not until I came to that realization did the door of God’s mercy open to me. Let us always be open and welcoming to those who seek after God. He always welcomes a repentant sinner.

Question to ponder:
If someone came to church from a life of sin, would you welcome them as a God-seeker?

Hope Beyond the Grave

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life … shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

— Romans 8:38-39

If Christ had not come, there would be no sure hope of eternal life. For Christ has brought life and immortality to light. Only He can give the blessed assurance of everlasting life. I have never met a person who knows what is going to happen to him beyond this life who was not a believer in Jesus Christ who said, “I am He who lives, though I was dead. Look! I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:18).

If Christ had not come, then the dark and dank tomb would be the end of each and all. There would be no hope beyond the grave. If Christ had not come, you could look down into that six-foot hole and see your future; beyond that there would be but speculations and vague hopes. Jesus brought us an absolute certainty: “I am the resurrection and the life … Because I live, you shall also live.” Only in Christ is there the assurance and certainty of everlasting life. What a magnificent promise that is.

Amazing to say, because of His grace in Jesus Christ, God is willing to wash me whiter than snow, to forgive me, to cleanse me, and to accept me as His child, now and forevermore. When the stars have burnt into cinders, and this universe has collapsed, I will still be with God and will have only just begun to live.

Question to ponder:
In light of the promises of Christ and His resurrection, what does death mean?

Entropy

The heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment.

— Isaiah 51:6 (NIV)

In this world, the Second Law of Thermodynamics constantly works and everything is running down, wearing out, growing old, and perishing. There is no escape from the law of entropy. In this contest, you can never win; you cannot even break even.

With the fall and the curse came the current order of things. We go from order to chaos, from clean to dirty, from new to old, from fresh to rotten, from living to dead. Everything breaks down, even heaven and earth itself will wear out.

Thankfully, this is not all there is. For we have a Savior who declares, “Look! I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). This means the reversal of entropy. Paul says, “… the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

In heaven, we will experience freedom from entropy. In heaven, all things will be continuously new—a new heaven and a new earth—without entropy.

Question to ponder:
When you think of all that breaks down, from the earth to our bodies, what does freedom from entropy mean?