Category Archives: Daily Devotional

The Mighty Word of God

For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart.

— Hebrews 4:12

One of the canons of multicultural America is that no culture is better or worse than any other. That is why there is very little acknowledgement of the unspeakable horrors, cannibalism among them, practiced by pagan peoples.

This raises the question: how have formerly barbarous cultures been raised to civilization? Well, there is nothing in the annals of history that compares to what the World of God has done to civilize barbaric peoples. Even Charles Darwin confessed this after returning from his memorable voyage to the South Seas on the Beagle.

There was a great attack upon foreign missionaries in the London Times. Darwin wrote a letter to the editor in which he criticized those who attack missionaries and said this: that such an attitude on the part of a voyager was particularly inexcusable, for should he happen to be cast ashore on some uncharted island he will devoutly pray that the lesson of the missionary has preceded him.

God’s Word changes people and nations and cultures. His Word changed the Celtic people. It changed the Vikings. The Lord uses His word to work His will. It is only God’s Word and the Gospel of Jesus Christ that truly change people.

Question to ponder:
How does God’s Word continue to bring changes in your life?

Sinning with Impunity?

Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God … when you have eaten and are full and have built and occupied good houses.

— Numbers 32:23

Sometimes Christians mistakenly think that if we sin, we can somehow escape the penalty for sin because of the forgiveness Christ purchased for us on the Cross. We may be forgiven, but we may also still face the consequences of those sins.

David’s sin with Bathsheba negatively impacted his family. His son Absalom rebelled and attempted to stage a coup against David. In that rebellion, Absalom was killed.

When news was brought to the king of his son’s death, David uttered what are without question, the most poignant words in all of Scripture. He said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom!” For David knew what no parent can stand to know and that is that Absalom, his heart’s desire, was a rebel not only against himself, but against God—that Absalom is in Hell. And it was because of the example of his life, and because of the sin of his life that his own son now had perished. “Absalom, my son, my son!”

Does the Christian sin with impunity? Dear friend, ask King David.

Question to ponder:
Although we may bear the scars of sin for a lifetime, doesn’t it touch you deeply to know that in Christ your sins are forgiven?

Columbus Day

Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God … when you have eaten and are full and have built and occupied good houses.

— Isaiah 55:5-6

Christopher Columbus is a somewhat unappreciated hero today. Nonetheless, his accomplishment in history was huge. He himself said, “It was the Lord who put it into my mind to sail to the Indies. The fact that the Gospel must be preached to so many lands—that is what convinced me. Charting the seas is but a necessary requisite for the fulfillment of the Great Commission of our glorious Savior.”

He attempted great things for God, and he led the path for others to follow into the New World. Columbus also led daily devotions on his ship. This was the prayer they said daily during that historic voyage:

Blessed be the light of day,
And the holy cross we say;
And the Lord of verity,
And the Holy Trinity.

When he arrived on land in the western hemisphere, those were his very first words, after which he planted a Cross—the Cross of Jesus Christ. Christopher, means “Christ-bearer” and Columbus believed all of his life that it was his calling by God to carry Christ to the New World, to the far isles of the sea.

Question to ponder:
Have you ever felt that God put something special on your heart that you should do?

Temptations that Rise from Prosperity

Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God … when you have eaten and are full and have built and occupied good houses.

— Deuteronomy 8:11-12

King David fell victim to what might be called “the middle-aged syndrome” of success and sex. How many people I have known who have followed in his train—individuals who once walked well. Like David, they had endured all of the temptations that arise out of adversity with reasonable success, but now a whole new set of temptations come—the temptations that arise from prosperity.

Flush with success, the devil breathes his deceitful whispers in our ears and we begin to tell ourselves, “I’ve done well. I have succeeded in my business. I have worked hard and I have arrived. And I deserve something better out of life now than what I have been getting.”

The tempter whispers, “Why not trade in your wife, too, as you did the house and car for a new model? After all, she’s been giving you a lot of trouble at home anyway. Just think how other people treat you. You are well-respected, but not at home.” And you go on to tell yourself, “Yeah, criticism, nagging, that’s all I get. She doesn’t know how great I am; how successful I’ve been; how hard I’ve worked. Others appreciate it—especially that young secretary down the hall.”

The middle-aged syndrome: success, sex, and sin. May God grant us grace to resist the temptations that arise from success.

Question to ponder:
Do you find your temptations tend to keep up with your circumstances?

The State—Part of Common Grace

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.

— Mark 12:17

The authority of the state comes from God, and the state is answerable to God. Whenever that truth is lost sight of, totalitarianism will eventually be the result. The state, therefore, is an agency of God’s common grace (not His special grace which deals with our salvation). It is a means by which He restrains wickedness and does not allow it to run its greatest course. In the realm of God’s common grace, He has given us the state. Its purpose is to enact and to execute the laws God has given in His Word, the moral laws He has written upon the hearts of men.

It is, therefore, our responsibility to honor the state, for Scripture says the powers that be are from God. We are to yield obedience to it, we are to pay tribute, and we are to pray for those in authority over us.

What is the purpose of the state, then? It has been instituted by God to restrain the wicked and to grant justice, so that God may be glorified as citizens are free to go about their tasks and live for Him.

Question to ponder:
What does godly government look like to you?

God’s Guidance

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.

— Isaiah 48:17

How does your day begin? Do you seek the guidance of our blessed God, who loves us infinitely and who is infinitely wise and all-powerful? If not, you are missing out.

When I was in graduate school at New York University, I had a speaking engagement in San Francisco. When I got there, my wife called me and said that my father was very ill and in the hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. I had a dilemma. Should I fly there from San Francisco, or just give him a call? I didn’t know which to do, but there was that still small voice whispering to me, “Go and see your father.” “Go to your father.”

I traded my airline ticket to New York for one to Tampa. When I arrived there, I had the opportunity of spending that afternoon and evening with him. I left for New York the next morning and got a call from my mother that day that my father had lapsed into a coma and died. If I had not listened to that still small voice, I would be regretting it to this day.

How many blessings have you missed because you have not learned to listen to that still small voice? When we learn to listen to it, it is amazing how frequently we can hear the sound of the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Question to ponder:
How do you seek and find God’s guidance?

Divinely Discontented

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

— 2 Peter 3:18

It is sad that most Christians, by the time they have been a Christian five or ten years, already feel they know enough to get by. They are not embarrassed in Sunday School trying to find a book in the Bible they are studying. They read a little bit, pray a little bit, do a little bit, give a little bit, and that should suffice. But not the Apostle Paul; he was divinely discontented.

Let us be content with what we have and discontent with what we are. That is the opposite of the world. The people of this world are often discontented with what they have, yet quite happy about who they are.

Let us pray for a new growth in our hearts, a growth in grace, and in knowledge. As we set our affections on “things above,” the Holy Spirit will delight in our spiritual ambition, and God will answer a prayer for more holiness because it is His will for us.

Question to ponder:
How can we grow in grace and knowledge?

The Constant Desire for More

You shall not covet …

— Exodus 20:17

Covetousness is a great evil in the eyes of God. Paul tells us, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5 NIV).

Jesus said, “Beware of covetousness” (Luke 12:15). We live in a society that glorifies covetousness, a society that talks about grasping all that you can get, a society which is predicated on getting and hoarding. Therefore, we have all of these forces coming to bear on our lives, militating against the teaching of Christ.

Greed is like an octopus in the soul, wrapping its tentacles around every part of our spiritual life until it squeezes all the life out of us. That is why the Bible says that the “covetous man is an idolater,” and has no place in the kingdom of God.

Greed and covetousness are the same thing. It is the desire for more, and it cannot co-exist with the worship of the true God. Greed makes possessions our security and hope. It is a root sin, and the underlying reason for many other sins.

Question to ponder:
What do you think is the most common motive for murder? How does greed take hold of a person?

Worshiping God Alone

You shall not make for yourself any graven idol, … You shall not bow down to them or serve them;

— Exodus 20:4-5

I imagine that most people would consider the prohibition to worship any graven images the most out-of-date commandment of the Decalogue (the Ten Words)—just a commandment that may have been important a few thousand years ago in the midst of all of the pagan image worshipers. But before the words written in the tables of stone by the finger of the Almighty had even cooled, the people had made a graven image of a golden calf and had risen up to worship it right beneath the face of Jehovah.

Because we in the Western world have lived so long with the Christian culture we would not think of worshiping a statue of any sort. However, as Christianity wanes in the Western lands, in come the foreign gods: from Allah to Hindu gods, from crystals and horoscopes to tarot cards. We are not immune to the love of foreign gods. Perhaps this should give us pause the next time we see a statue of Buddha in a Chinese restaurant.

Question to ponder:
Have you come in contact with people who worship another god?

The Folly of Ungodly Rulers

He who rules over man justly, who rules in the fear of God,

— 2 Samuel 23:3

At a time when some nations are realizing the folly of unbelief and the fatal results in the lives of people, America continues apace down the foolish pathway—toward godlessness and secularism.

Today, having banished the Bible and having attempted to banish God from all spheres of public life, we have found that our Congress cannot even produce a budget, and that it is becoming increasingly impossible to govern this nation.

Robert C. Winthrop, a descendant of Puritan John Winthrop who served as U.S. House Speaker in the early 1800s, said: “It may do for other countries, and other governments to talk about the state supporting religion. Here, under our own free institutions, it is religion which must support the State.”

The founders of this country believed we should inculcate in the minds of youth the fear and love of Deity. But because of our stupidity and unbelief, we have now banned God from the classrooms. We have taken away prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments from our schools and have replaced them with police dogs in the halls, policemen at the doors, and metal detectors. Crime is absolutely epidemic, and teachers are retiring early from battle fatigue. This is the folly of modern America.

Question to ponder:
How can godly people support the state?