Category Archives: Daily Devotional

The Lost Art of Meditating on the Word

“I will meditate on Your precepts and keep my eyes on Your ways.”

— Psalm 119:15

We need to begin and end the day reading the Word of God, memorizing the Word of God, hiding it in our hearts, and then meditating upon it through the day and night: in the morning, to fortify us for the battles of the day; at night, to close the day in the presence of our God who shall make even heavy seasons light through His Word. As we meditate upon the Word of God, He is sculpting us through that Word into His own image and making us what He would have us to be.

It is tragic that there are many people who determine to live according to only part of God’s Word without seeing the big picture of God’s will. They are like the aliens who were brought into Samaria after the people of Israel had been deported into Babylon. The Scriptures say that they feared the Lord Jehovah and served their own gods.

Many people will try to be a little bit righteous but then they want to reward themselves with a little bit of sin. With one foot in the church and the other foot in the world, they suppose they will find the best of both worlds. The truth is that they discover the best of neither, and they miss out on the blessings of good success, which God promises to those who will determine to do all that is written in His Word through obedience to the divine precepts.

Lord, forgive us for our intellectual laziness. Forgive us that we have all sorts of time for recreation and diversions, but no time for Your Word. Give us strength for today to let Your holy Word saturate our minds and hearts…


True Success

“To him who overcomes and keeps My works to the end, I will give authority over the nations…”

— Revelation 2:26

What the Bible means by success has less to do with the end than with the aspirations—has less to do with reaching our goal than it has to do with setting the goal. That is, it is much more important to aspire toward a noble goal than it is to achieve a lower goal.

The Bible talks about this in terms of faithfulness—to be faithful unto God’s goal for our lives. Was the Apostle Paul a success? He died without leaving any material estate. He died with a headsman’s axe separating his head from the body. Was Jesus a success? He was nailed to a cross and had naught but that which He had on His body. Yet everyone knows that they were great successes because their lives were aimed at the glorious object of the glory of God.

Many people today may aim at wealth and fame. Whether they achieve these or not and whether the whole world applauds them as a success, if their goals have not been consonant with the goals that God has given us in His Word, they are not a success at all. We are to seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10). The Apostle Paul said at the end of his life: “I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). That is true success.

Dear Father, we live in a world that is obsessed with worldly success. Help us to not fall for this deception. Help us see that true success in this world involves overcoming this world through Your grace. Lord, give me strength for today to keep the faith…


God Has Preserved His Word

“The words of the Lord are pure words; they are silver tried in an earthen furnace refined seven times.”

— Psalm 12:6

Not only are there more manuscripts of the New Testament in existence than any other ancient writing, but the time lapse between the original writing and the oldest existing copy is shorter. Obviously, if that time span increases, there is more time for corruption to creep into the manuscripts.

For example, the time that elapsed between the time that Plato wrote and the earliest extant manuscript of his writings is 1,200 years. In the case of Aristotle, it is 1,400; Thucydides, 1,300; Herodotus, 1,300, and Aristophanes, 1,200.

Compare that with the earliest extant manuscripts of the New Testament. The earliest fragment of the New Testament that has been preserved is called the “John Rylands fragment,” written 35 years after the completion of the New Testament in about 95 A.D. These are names of manuscripts of the New Testament or portions thereof in a relatively short time (by ancient standards) after the completion of the New Testament: the Bodmer Papyrus II written 55 years after the completion of the New Testament; Tatian’s Diatessaron, 75 years; Codex Vaticanus, 230 years; Codex Sinaiticus, 255 years.

Compare these dates with the 1,200, 1,300, and 1,400 years which elapsed in the case of the other writings of antiquity. Do we actually have today what was inspired back then? The New Testament stands upon firmer historical and scientific grounds than any other writing of any kind ever written in antiquity.

Dear God, we thank You that Your Word has been preserved for us and that it was written down by eyewitnesses and the early Christians. Thank You that when all other writings disappear, Your Word will stand…


Like No Other Book of Antiquity

“I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.”

— Romans 16:22

Consider, if you will, the wonder of the certainty that we may have concerning the Bible. Since no original autograph of any ancient writer is extant today, we always have to rely upon copies of copies.

In many cases concerning historical writings, we cannot be absolutely certain if we have what was originally written by the author. The level of certainty primarily depends upon two factors: First, the number of manuscripts that are extant, and secondly, the time span since they were written. Obviously, if you have but one manuscript, you have no idea if it is what the author actually wrote. If you have two and there is a divergence, you can flip a coin and decide whether he went in or whether he went out. If you have three, four or five, you are beginning to move toward a little more assurance concerning the manuscript. But even this number is hardly enough to give you any great assurance.

Plato, one of the greatest philosophers of all time, has left us seven manuscripts. There are only five of any of Aristotle’s works that are extant. Thucydides, Herodotus and Suetonius, all historians, have each given us eight.

In the case of the New Testament, there are more than 5,000 extant Greek manuscripts. There are more than 10,000 additional manuscripts in other ancient languages. So we have well over 15,000 manuscripts of the New Testament. There is nothing that vaguely approaches this in any other writing of any sort whatever of antiquity. It is, indeed, unique.

Lord, we thank You that we can trust Your Word. Thank You for all the preserved manuscripts. Thank You that in spite of all the attempts to destroy the Bible, it is still the Book of books…


Philosophy vs. Wisdom

“Beware lest anyone captivate you through philosophy and vain deceit, in the tradition of men and the elementary principles of the world, and not after Christ.”

— Colossians 2:8

The word philosophy comes from the Greek and literally means “the love of wisdom.” The Hebrews received God’s revelation, which was greater than human philosophy. The ancient Greeks had no such advantage, and though wise in their way, they were like blind men searching for light in a darkened room, whereas the Hebrews were in a room which was brilliantly illuminated. For them all that was possible was to approach unto the light and try to penetrate into it more deeply and understand it more thoroughly. This was called by the Hebrews not philosophy, but wisdom, and there is a great difference between that “vain philosophy” as it is called in the New Testament and the wisdom of God.

When the Bible speaks about wisdom, it is talking about an understanding of the revelation of God. It is talking about a heart that seeks to know and to understand, and that seeking to know and understand is aimed particularly at an understanding and knowledge of God. Over and against this are set all of those who have no desire to learn. The person who does not desire to learn is repeatedly set forth in the Scriptures as a fool—as a man or woman of folly whose end is destruction.

It is tragic that many people today reject God’s wisdom because they falsely assume it has somehow been discredited by philosophy. Such “philosophers” are described by Paul: “Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).

God of wisdom and might, thank You for revealing Yourself to us mortal beings. Help us to become wise by studying Your Word and knowing You. Thank You that with You, there is wisdom and understanding…


A Time to Remember

“These stones will be a memorial for the children of Israel continually.”

— Joshua 4:7

Memorial Day: It is a good thing to remember. There are more than a dozen different words in the Bible that are translated “remember.” When Joshua led the people of Israel into the Promised Land, he had them build a memorial of stones to remember what God had done for them.

We must remember what God has done for us as a nation. Did you know that America is unique because this is the first nation in the history of this planet to have freedom of religion? Religious tyranny prevailed all over the globe. Gradually some nations rose to religious tolerance, like England, but only in America was full religious freedom granted for the very first time.

This continent, hidden between two great oceans, was reserved by God for that religious freedom, for that expression of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ— where His Word would be read, where He would be worshiped, where He would be trusted, and His Gospel would be proclaimed both here and throughout the whole world.

Today I would like for us to remember not only those men and women who laid down their lives in the wars, but that One who fought the longest to give us what we enjoy most and who often is the most forgotten. In fact, there is a strange lament we find in Scripture that says, “My people have forgotten Me for days without number” (Jeremiah 2:32). Ultimately, God is the source of our freedom, and we should remember that.

Thank You, God, that we still have freedom. Help us to remember that it was given us at great price, first by the blood of Jesus, then by men and women who laid down their lives for our country. Please turn our country around before it’s too late, lest their sacrifice be in vain…


The Fiery Furnace, Lion’s Den, and Walls of Babylon

“And whoever does not fall down and worship shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

— Daniel 3:6

When skeptics read about three certain Jews, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, being cast into a fiery furnace, they scoffed. Same thing when they read about Daniel being thrown into a den of lions.

But archaeologists working in the ruins of Babylon discovered an ancient library on clay tablets. Included on these tablets were the punishments for violations of various regulations.

For the offense of impiety to any god, one was to be cast alive into a fiery furnace, and huge furnaces have also been discovered. For an untoward act relative to a king, like failure to worship his image, one was to be cast alive into the den of lions. Cages with iron bars have also been found in the ruins and the diggings of Babylon.

Furthermore, when Babylon was at the height of its glory, Ezekiel prophesied that the great walls of Babylon would be utterly destroyed. These walls were 60 miles long and as thick as 150 feet and 300 feet high, where a number of chariots could race on the top of those walls.

Archaeologists were digging down in the ground and they ran into the base, the foundation of the walls because they were utterly destroyed, just as God said they would be. If you ever see a picture of Babylon, it looks like it has been cut off by a scythe. Once again, the critics are wrong; the Bible is right.

Almighty God, as we consider what happened to Your people in ancient Babylon, we can’t help but think of Your people today in various parts of the world facing persecution for the name of Jesus. Grant them strength, grace, and perseverance until the end…


The Spade of the Archaeologist

“For we have not followed cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

— 2 Peter 1:16

The school of higher criticism began in the late eighteenth century. It seemed the higher critics considered themselves called to demolish all traditional views concerning the Bible. For example, they said that it was quite obvious that Moses could not possibly have written the Pentateuch because writing had not even been invented in his day.

It is interesting that not long after the time that higher criticism began, the science of archaeology began as well. But the spade of the archaeologist has been the utter frustration of the higher critic for it was discovered not long after, that writing certainly existed in the time of Moses—actually long before Moses. Isn’t it astonishing to see how many times God’s Word, though doubted by skeptics, is confirmed by the spade of the archaeologist? I have preached whole messages, providing example after example in which the critics assumed the Bible was wrong, but the Scriptures were proved right after all.

The Bible is not some kind of fable. The Bible is not some kind of fairy tale. It is not something that happened up on a cloud in never, never land somewhere, but as people have dug into the sand and into the rock and unearthed thousands, tens of thousands of inscriptions and tablets and symbols of every kind, they have discovered over and over again that what the Bible has been saying all along is indeed the actual facts of history and of God.

We can believe it, rest our souls upon it, and share it with a lost and needy world.

God of truth, Your Word is truth. Thank You for the dependability of the Scriptures, not just as historical facts, but as the means we learn of the bedrock of our salvation and eternal destiny…


Don’t Worry About It

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.”

— Isaiah 41:10

What a useless thing it is to worry. It does not accomplish anything. This does not mean that we are not to give some forethought and planning; but it is talking about going over and over and over again those things which we cannot, at the time, do anything about. Worry never accomplishes anything. It does not improve business; it does not bring our children home safely; and it does not improve our health.

I wonder how many today have been blinded by the corroding effects of worry and care. They have been blinded to the joys and happiness of life. All serenity and peace have been removed from them.

Worry and anxiety both come from the same root: one from Latin, the other from Anglo-Saxon. The root means “to choke or to strangle.” And that is what worry does. It chokes us; it strangles us so that we do not think or see straight. The antonyms for “worry” are “serenity,” “peace,” “joy,” “boldness,” and “confidence.” And when worry is there, all of those things are gone. One physician said that there are innumerable people who die and their deaths are listed for various reasons, but in fact, they were killed by worry.

I wish today that the Spirit of God might rub away some of those worry lines, might relax some aching limbs, that you might hear the Word of God saying to you to rejoice forevermore—that you might be delivered from the dread scourge of worry. Instead of being anxious, cast your cares on the Lord.

Oh Lord, give me strength for today to cast all my cares on You. Forgive me for worrying about things, instead of turning them over to You. Thank You for Your promise to strengthen and uphold me. Thank You that through You I need not fear anything…


God Does Not Grade on the Curve

“Therefore be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.”

— Matthew 5:48

I lived for years in the church without understanding the basic message of Christ myself. That message is good news! Good news that Jesus Christ came and suffered and died that we might have eternal life freely as a gift.

It is not earned or deserved, dear friend. It is absolutely free. In order for us to earn it we would have to pass the test and the passing grade is 100 percent. Since Jesus tells us we’re supposed to be perfect, we realize that all of us have fallen short. The whole class has failed and God doesn’t grade on a curve.

If you realize that you have sinned and if you are not sure that you have eternal life, then I would urge you today to consider what Christ has done. He suffered on the cross for us. He suffered infinitely in our stead. And when He had finished His atoning work He declared “Tetelestai”—it is done, it is paid, it is finished. The wrath of God was paid in full.

We may receive the gift of eternal life by repenting of our sins, which is a sincere determination of our heart and mind to turn from that which is displeasing to God and trust in Jesus Christ his Son. Trusting in Christ doesn’t simply mean an intellectual assent, but saving faith is resting one’s entire hope of eternal life in what Christ did for sinners on the cross.

Lord Jesus, I turn from my sins and come to You for forgiveness and cleansing. Thank You for taking away my sins and making me clean and holy before You. Help me to never tolerate any sin in my life, but to always bring them to You…