Category Archives: Daily Devotional

The Second Mile

“And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.”

— Matthew 5:41

How do you deal with people who “do you dirty?” We all have people in our lives who stab us in the back, say cruel things about us, or do mean things to us. But the Bible has a secret, one we often overlook, for dealing with those who mistreat us. It’s the secret of “the second mile.” To understand it, we need a quick history lesson.

The Medes and the Persians, and later the Romans, had a law that stated that a government official could, at any time, force a citizen to carry any burden for one mile. When Jesus told His followers to walk the second mile, he referred to this law. Jesus wanted people to return good for evil—to, out of their free will, go far beyond what others expected of them.

Christ’s urging is like a timid flower within the Sermon on the Mount, but the fragrance it gives can transform your whole life and work wonders of reconciliation with those who anger you. People who fail in relationships and in business are often those who, when asked to go a mile, try to make it a half-mile. The mediocre people are those who go the one mile, doing what people expect of them but not an inch more. But when you look at a successful person, you’ll find someone who has gone the second and the third mile a thousand times over. A person who habitually does more than expected, who finds ways to please, will succeed.

So how does this work? It’s simple. If someone does you wrong, you do them right. I’ll be the first to agree that this goes against human nature as does much of applied Christianity. But the second mile allows us to transform any slight or injury into a blessing, and it gives us a tool to knock down barriers in school, in business, in our marriages, and in our homes. See today if you can’t find some opportunity to go the second mile for someone in your life.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet
sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
Mark Twain

The Christian’s Magic Wand

“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving …”

— Psalm 95:2

Have you ever wished for a magic wand that could change all the unpleasantness of life into something good? Wouldn’t you love a way to instantly sweep away all the trivial things that accumulate until they drag you down?

I believe the Lord has offered us something similar to a magic wand. It can change our outlook on the circumstances surrounding us. What is it? Gratitude. When we feel grateful, our perspectives toward things change. We see our circumstances in a new, more positive light. And when we have grateful hearts, we want to express our gratitude outwardly through thanksgiving. This can work in reverse, too. If we give thanks even when we don’t feel very grateful, we often feel our attitudes change in a more grateful direction, just as if we passed a magic wand over ourselves.

Thanksgiving transforms the secular or commonplace into the sacred. When we give thanks to God, suddenly we see God everywhere. We find ourselves living in an enchanted land, a land in the presence of our great Creator and Redeemer. With our spiritual eyes open, we can see that it is God who gives us everything, from our daily bread to the money we need. Our faith grows stronger as we express gratitude. All things become suffused with the divine presence.

And as we recognize God’s blessings, our thankfulness gives us victory over temptation and sin. How can we commit adultery when we are grateful for our spouses? How can we steal when we are grateful for and content with what we have? How can we envy others’ talents and abilities when we feel thankful for the way God has made us? How can we grumble or complain when we’re thankful for God’s blessings?

We should thank God, and we should also show gratitude for the ways others have blessed our lives. Everyone needs the kind of lift that gratitude brings.

What are you grateful for today? Thank God for all the blessings He has given you, and see how it changes your perspective on life. And don’t forget to express thanks to someone who has enhanced your life. I hope that in your thanksgiving you’ll experience joy.

“When you drink from the stream remember the spring.”
Chinese Proverb

The Memory Of The Heart

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!”

— Psalm 107:1

Thanksgiving will soon be upon us, and it’s the perfect time for evaluating how often we offer thanks to God. Thanksgiving is “the memory of the heart,” the way we show God that we know Who takes care of us every day of the year.

How are you doing in the gratitude department? Have you counted your blessings lately and thanked God for each one?

In Luke 17, we read of ten lepers whom Jesus healed. Despite this tremendous miracle in their lives, only one leper returned to thank Jesus. This story shows how even the most spiritual people often forget to thank God. We can see from the story that the lepers were praying men. They cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” They asked the Lord to help them. The ten lepers were also obedient men. When Jesus told them to show themselves to the priest to prove that they were clean, they didn’t say, “We can’t go. Look at us. We have no fingers or toes. We need to talk about this.” Instead, they went immediately. Also they were believing men, otherwise they wouldn’t have obeyed Jesus’ command. Jesus hadn’t healed them yet, but they believed in Him enough to do whatever He said, knowing He would come through for them.

Yet despite their obvious spirituality, only one of them returned to thank the Lord. Jesus was shocked by their ingratitude. When the one leper thanked Him, He didn’t say, “It was nothing. Forget it. You don’t have to thank me.” Instead, He said, “Where are the other nine? Were not ten lepers cleansed?” The lepers were praying men, obeying men, and believing men—but they weren’t thankful men. Their faith was incomplete because they didn’t praise God. Jesus healed them, but they didn’t receive the full blessing which the tenth leper received. After all, Jesus told him, “Your faith has made you whole.”

There once was a man who praised God so much that people called him “Hallelujah Smith.” We should all strive to earn that same first name. The Bible says God works all things for our good. Therefore, in every situation, let us give thanks, especially on Thanksgiving.

Today, think of something you haven’t thanked God for yet, then lift up a prayer of thanksgiving. And this year, make Thanksgiving a real “memory of the heart.”

“You can pray and grumble, you can obey and grumble, you can
believe and grumble, but you cannot praise and grumble.”

The Ten Commandments for Today

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law … Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.”

— Romans 3:28, 31

Have you noticed that the Ten Commandments seem to have fallen on hard times lately? This growing rejection of the Commandments comes from anti-Christian groups who want to remove them from public view and even from the churches that falsely teach that the Commandments don’t apply to us today because “we’re under grace.”

But consider this. The Creator of the universe descended upon Mount Sinai and gave to us a reflection of His own nature, a revelation of His will: the Ten Commandments. The more I’ve studied them over the years, the more I’ve come to realize that they cover all things pertaining to the conduct of a person’s life and his or her relationships with others and with God. Contrary to what some churches and some cults teach, Christ did not render the Ten Commandments null and void when He died. No one could possibly void them. Jesus said that the one who loves Him keeps His commandments, not to gain Heaven but to show love for Him.

The Law brings us death and damnation because we can never fulfill it except through Christ’s death on the cross. Only when we see our sinfulness, do we realize our need for forgiveness, and only then can we find salvation. After we’re cleansed by Christ’s blood, then the Law of God becomes a guide for the Christian’s life. Martin Luther gave us three pictures of the role of the Law in a Christian’s life: a hammer that smashes our self-righteousness, a mirror that shows us our uncleanness and guilt, and a whip that drives us to the Cross of Christ for redemption. Even though we’ve been saved, we still need the Law as a tool for our sanctification, to draw us nearer to Christ while we are still on this earth.

Have you allowed the Ten Commandments their appropriate place in your life? Ask God to use them to draw you nearer to Him each day.

“If we should repeal all the regulatory laws on our statute
books, and enforce only the Ten Commandments, in ten years
we would become the most law-abiding nation on earth.”
James R. Page


“… that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace …”

— Ephesians 2:7

The more I reflect upon it, the more convinced I am that we can encapsulate the whole essence of the Christian gospel in one single word—grace. What is this “amazing grace”? I have asked many people, and I have yet to meet an unconverted person who understands the concept. Only those who have experienced God’s grace know what it is, and yet many still don’t have words to describe it. Grace is beyond comprehension; it is, I am sure, the greatest thing in all the world.

So, what is grace?

Grace is not justice, because it is above fair. Grace is infinitely higher, more exalted, and more noble than fairness could ever be.

Grace isn’t the same as love. Even though grace has love within it, not all love has grace in it.

Is grace not the same as mercy? Now, we’re getting closer to the target. But grace still goes beyond extending love to someone who does not deserve it.

Grace is totally unmerited favor given to those who deserve disfavor. Grace is receiving everything good when we deserve everything bad.

We will never appreciate grace until we see our need for it … when we see ourselves as rebels against God, as breakers of His laws, as capable of all manner of evil … when we know that our hearts hold depravity … when we see ourselves as sinners in the deepest, darkest parts of our being. Then we will begin to appreciate the meaning of grace.

When the God of all grace freely and willingly forgives and accepts us on the basis of what Jesus Christ has done, then we experience grace. And after experiencing it, we want to share it freely with others. If you were a beggar and found an endless supply of bread, wouldn’t you share it with your fellow beggars? That picture gives us just a small glimpse of what it’s like when we share God’s amazing grace with others.

Can you share God’s grace with someone today?

“Grace is spelled ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’”

The Sparkle of the Soul

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your generous spirit.”

— Psalm 51:12

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to maintain eye contact with someone, especially someone you don’t know? Perhaps we find this so difficult because it feels so intimate. Some have said that the eye is the window of the soul, so perhaps when someone gazes into our eyes, we feel vulnerable, as if that person can see all our deepest secrets. And perhaps that’s why, when we fall into sin, we can’t maintain eye contact with others, fearing they can see the sin in our eyes. Sin clouds our souls, and we lose our inner sparkle.

Now consider King David when he had been derelict in his duty. He had failed to go with his army into battle. In his idleness, he walked atop his palace and happened across Bathsheba as she was bathing. Enticed by her beauty, he lured her to the palace and committed adultery with her. In an attempt to cover his sin, he compounded it by having her husband murdered. David had now committed two grievous sins for which the Old Testament provided no forgiveness. The king was crushed by his sinfulness. For one year, all of the joy went out of him. All of the light left him. All of the sparkle disappeared from his soul and his eyes. The sweet singer of Israel sang nothing but doleful laments. He felt as though the very bones of his body were crushed under the weight of his guilt.

No doubt about it, David was great in his sinning. But he was also great in his repenting, and for that reason Scripture calls him “a man after God’s own heart.” When God convicted David of his transgressions, David said, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” David wouldn’t let sinfulness keep him away from his Lord any longer.

Are you a great repenter? Do you truly sorrow for your sins and turn from them as David did? I encourage you to confess and repent of anything that comes between you and God so that He may restore the sparkle to your soul and grant you the joy of your salvation.

“What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Take Heed

“And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness …’”

— Luke 12:15

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you put yourself in too much debt? Or have you ever fudged a little on your taxes so you could squirrel away some money to buy something for yourself?

Think for a moment: What desire fuels these actions? Could it be covetousness?

Jesus says, “Beware of covetousness,” which is defined as an “inordinate desire to have something.” It’s an easy sin to hide, but it’s sin just the same. The Pharisees put on an outward show of righteousness, yet Christ saw their hearts when he called them “whited sepulchers [graves].” Though outwardly respectable, they were inwardly full of dead men’s bones because of their covetousness.

God requires a total transformation of what, to the fallen world, seems so natural that it never even comes under question. Thousands of books will tell you how you can obtain the things of this world. But the authors and readers of these books set their affections on things, and never question whether their lives are misdirected.

At this point you may be wondering, “If God commands us not to covet things, can I not desire anything or have any ambition?” Let me give you a word picture that might help you answer that question. Abraham Kuyper compares our lives to a magnificent sailing vessel. He says a ship may have beautiful masts and billowing sails filled with ocean breezes. Its banners may flutter in the wind, and its hull may be loaded with all manner of wonderful cargo. Yet the entire destiny of that ship rests on something tiny and unseen: the rudder. That small rudder, beneath the surface of the ocean, determines whether that great ship ends up resting peacefully in the harbor or lying scattered among rocks on some barren shore.

The same is true of our lives. We may have tremendous ambitions and the power to make them realities. Our lives may be laden with treasures, talents, and successes. Yet the final destination of our lives, whether in the glorious harbor of Heaven or scattered among the rocks of Hell, is determined by an unseen rudder—our motives—that turns us toward ourselves or toward God. When we do everything solely for God’s glory, it does not matter how rich or accomplished we are. We can be fulfilled and obedient with much or with little.

Today, assess the direction of your rudder. Are your aspirations pointing you toward the harbor or toward the rocks? Remember Christ’s admonishment—“Beware of covetousness”— and pursue possessions and ambitions only when they draw you in His direction.

“Let my world be centered not in myself but in Thee.”
John Baillie

Taking the Fear Out of Death

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”

— Psalm 116:15

Have you ever considered the great contrast between how the unbeliever faces death and how the Christian does? Read these last words of several unbelievers, and contrast them with those of Christians.

Mirabeau, unbeliever: “Give me laudanum [a narcotic painkiller used in past centuries] that I may not think of eternity.”

David Brainerd, missionary: “I am going into eternity, and it is sweet to me to think of eternity.”

Voltaire, caustic unbeliever: “I am abandoned by God and man! I shall go to hell!”

William Pitt, British statesman and Christian: “I throw myself on the mercy of God through the merits of Jesus Christ.”

William Randolph Hearst, newspaper magnate: “Death is not to be discussed in my presence.” (Though he could forbid the discussion, he could not forbid the reality.)

Michelangelo, Christian artist: “I die in the faith of Jesus Christ, and in the firm hope of a better life.”

Talleyrand, leader during the French Revolution: “I am suffering the pangs of the damned.”

Dwight L. Moody, evangelist: “Earth is receding, and heaven is opening, and this is my coronation day.”

Why does the Christian not fear death? Because Jesus says that we who believe in Him should live, even though we die. Through Him, we can have the assurance that we shall join Him forever in Paradise after we leave this earth. He tasted death for us so that we don’t have to.

Will you pray with me today for the world to know Jesus Christ? Will you do your part to share the Good News with those around you? No one need fear death. Let’s spread the wealth of eternal life in Heaven.

“We go to the grave of a friend, saying, ‘A man is dead.’
But angels throng about him saying, ‘A man is born.’”

Attempt Great Things for God

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

— Jeremiah 33:3

God is a great and wondrous God who delights in great and marvelous things. He wants to do great and mighty things through you and through me. However, many of us never quite grasp God’s glory and greatness; thus, we miss spiritual growth and tremendous adventures.

Do you know that God can and wants to do great things, using you as His instrument?

God tells us to attempt great things for Him by faith. And only through faith can we accomplish what He calls us to do—not in our own strength, not by our own power, but by God’s might. Most of the great accomplishments of this world are done by faith. The great missionary William Carey initiated the modern world missionary movement by faith. His motto? “Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.” We need to trust God if we’re to make any difference in the world for His kingdom.

Even though God will give us all we need to accomplish His goals, He won’t necessarily make our missions easy. We’ll have to make sacrifices if we’re to achieve great things for God’s sake. Reflect on what the Pilgrims did in the settling of this great nation. Nearly half of them lost their lives during their first winter in this land.

And as we pursue great accomplishments for Christ’s kingdom, we must keep in mind our motives. Everything we undertake, big or small, we must do for God’s glory and not for our own. Whether we do something for our glory or for Christ’s ultimately determines the value of anything that we do. Generally, the great doers of history have been great because they kept their sights on God. They trusted in Him rather than in themselves. They realized their own limitations, but understood that “with God, all things are possible.”

Are you ready to do great things for God? Then trust Him to come through for you, even as you make the sacrifices, and give the glory to Him for the results.

“We can never have too big a conception of God.”
J.B. Phillips

The Trinity

“… baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

— Matthew 28:19

Have you ever tried to explain the Trinity to someone unfamiliar with the idea? If you have, then you probably know how difficult it is to define. Not even a rocket scientist could plumb its depths and comprehend it. In fact, we humans won’t fully understand it until we meet God in Heaven.

Recently, a lady said to me, “We really shouldn’t talk about Jesus being God, because when He was on earth, God was in Heaven, don’t you know?” As a matter of fact, I did know that. But her statement reminded me that we need to develop a clear understanding of the Trinity, the foundation of all Christian doctrine. Many have denied the concept of the Trinity and rejected it as absurd. The Jehovah’s Witnesses will remind us that 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, and by such an argument, they discount the Trinity. But 1 x 1 x 1 = 1, not 3. Three persons in one is just a concept beyond our comprehension.

But we can understand a few things about the Trinity. We know the Father is the first person, the Son the second, the Holy Spirit the third. And in many Bible texts, we see how the Trinity works. When Christ was baptized, the Father spoke from Heaven, and the Spirit as a dove descended upon Jesus (Matthew 3:16–17). When Jesus set forth the Great Commission, He told the disciples to baptize in the name (one name) of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). In the upper-room discourse (John 13–17), Jesus foretold the coming of the Spirit that He and His Father would send.

The Trinity is a critical doctrine because it lies at the heart of the Gospel. If there is no Trinity, then Christ is not God. And if Christ is not divine, then we have no hope of salvation, for only a divine Savior could accomplish that monumental task.

“Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will
show you a man that can comprehend the triune God!”
John Wesley