Trust is hard. It’s easy to say there is trust but actually taking the step – making the leap into mid-air without a visible net is the most difficult thing man can do. But with the Spirit of God our leap lands us safe in His palm.
DEVOTION BY Emmanuella Ellis POSTED 8/15/2017 12:00:01 AM ON Mark 16:9 NASB
Mary Magdalene was the first to see the risen Jesus.
I find that a true blessing, but I wondered what made her so special to have this amazing encounter. She was the woman who had demons in her body. How did a woman in that state have this privilege while the holier-than-thou Pharisees—who had no demons, knew the law, and tried to obey it—were left out of this privilege.
Possessing special kinds of qualities or what we did or didn’t do in our past isn’t what life’s about. It’s about who Jesus is and how much we believe in Him. Jesus was known and within the reach of many people—even the Pharisees. Some chose to ignore Him while others held on to Him. By acknowledging and accepting Jesus into our lives, we open up ourselves to many wonderful experiences in this life, just like Mary.
As Christians, we claim we have given our lives to Christ, but we must make sure we’ve given it all. There may be certain areas in our lives where we act just like the Pharisees—ignoring Christ because we think we know how to handle everything.
Only by giving Christ our all, will we experience the presence, glory, and splendor of Christ in unimaginable ways. Jesus walked out of the tomb to take precedence in your life—every aspect of it.
Open all your life doors and let Christ walk in. When you do, you will have true and amazing encounters with the living Christ.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Nydia DiCarali POSTED 8/8/2017 12:00:01 AM ON Philippians 4:6-7
Anxiety. We’ve all been plagued with it.
If you’re a student, the cause of your anxiety may be a difficult teacher or exam. If you’re a parent, it might be a wayward child, the sudden illness of a loved one, or your finances. The primary cause of our distress is due to the uncertainties of life. Will I pass this course? Will God answer my prayer for my child? My finances?
God’s Word instructs us to pray so that this robber of peace does not overtake us. With a determination of our will, we can make a decision to bring every situation to God in prayer. When we do, we are promised peace that surmounts our ability to comprehend and quiets our anxious hearts. God wants us to bring our petitions with thanksgiving, but often we come with a heart weighed down with cares. No thanksgiving. Just cries and petitions.
Thanksgiving is an important aspect of our prayer life. When we approach God thanking Him for past mercies, for mercies new every morning, for His compassion which never fails, for His love which endures forever, and for the sacrifice of Christ His Son, something miraculous happens. Our hearts lighten. Choosing to thank God in spite of our difficulties pleases Him and demonstrates our trust in Him. And that honors God.
I know how it feels when life throws a curve ball. It feels as if the world is falling apart at the seams. But I have also experienced the peace that comes in offering up thanksgiving, along with cries and petitions—as Paul and Silas did when they had been beaten and imprisoned. In spite of their chains, they worshiped God. And in turn, God shook the foundations of the prison and set them free.
God can’t resist answering when we pray these types of prayers. When we offer thanksgiving, our hearts are set free from the chains of anxiety.
When you find yourself giving in to despair, remember you have a God who beckons you to come to Him in prayer. In exchange, He will give you incomprehensible peace.
DEVOTION BY Ken Barnes POSTED 8/1/2017 12:00:01 AM ON Luke 7:47 NASB
An immoral woman can teach us a lot about the Kingdom of God.
The recognition of our need is the first step toward our entrance into heaven. If we perceive we need to be forgiven little, we will love little.
A Pharisee invited Jesus to his house for dinner. A woman of ill repute entered and began washing Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair. Then she anointed them with expensive perfume. The Pharisee was upset that Jesus would let such a sinful woman touch him. In response to his objection, Jesus told him a story.
A man lent two men money: five hundred pieces of silver to one and fifty to another. When they couldn’t repay him, he forgave them. Jesus asked, “So which of them will love him more?” The Pharisee answered, “I suppose the one who he forgave more.” Jesus replied, “You have judged correctly.” The woman saw her sin and was broken. The Pharisee only saw the woman’s sin, not his own.
If we never grasp the depth of our sinful nature, we will never understand the enormity of God’s forgiving grace. Whoever sees no need for the cross of Christ will never embrace it. Recognition of our need for forgiveness is evidence of a repentant heart.
By his attitude, the Pharisee was trying to maintain his right standing with God through self-righteousness. Pride blinded him to his sin. The woman’s actions indicated she realized only Jesus could save her. Her response to this revelation was to love Him.
The woman was closer to the Kingdom of Heaven than the Pharisee with all his religious regalia. In this tale, Jesus honed in on authentic faith rather than the external trappings of religion. He painted a word picture of the contrast between a legalistic religious pursuit and a love relationship with the Savior. One of the players was motivated by love of self but the other by love of God.
Fulfilling the law of love through faith saved the woman. The Pharisee met the letter of the law but was far from righteousness. When we are tempted to judge someone without first looking at our sin, we should remember that but for the grace of God we would be in the same predicament.
Whoever has been forgiven much, loves much. Love much as Jesus did.
DEVOTION BY Marilyn Nutter POSTED 7/25/2017 12:00:01 AM ON Luke 19: 1-3 NIV
My three-year-old grandson entertained us at the dinner table, singing a song about Zaccheus. My eyes filled with tears at the sweet sound and over his delight in singing about Jesus going to a “wee little man’s” house.
Sometimes we don’t see Jesus, but it’s not because we are vertically challenged like Zacchaeus. It’s because of the crowd. There’s too much in our way—a to-do list or people making demands on our time. The urgent, the necessary, and the important block our view. Or preoccupation with self or disappointment that things aren’t turning out as we wanted. My focus is on what I wish I had.
Things, attitudes, events, and people crowd Jesus out, no matter how tall we are. We give everything priority except seeing and listening to Him.
Zacchaeus did everything he could just to see Jesus. Jesus responded by changing Zacchaeus’ life.
We don’t have to climb a tree, but we may have to prioritize our day and change our calendars. We may have to purpose in our heart to pray and read God’s Word to renew our focus. We can share what we have learned and receive encouragement from people who do the same.
When we do, like Zacchaeus, we’ll find the view is awesome. When we see Jesus, change happens.
Ask God for the persistence and passion Zacchaeus had.
DEVOTION BY Robert L. Segress POSTED 7/18/2017 12:00:01 AM ON Ephesians 1:11
Professional counselors learn depression is the underlying source of many personality and behavioral problems.
There are treatments for depression in the tool box of any licensed psychotherapist. Unfortunately, not every therapist has a Bible in their tool box. This is unfortunate because the most penetrating and insightful thoughts about depression are unavailable without a Bible since the Bible is “given by inspiration of God and is profitable” (II Timothy 3:16).
Immaturity in a person is often revealed when a person becomes angry, frustrated, or depressed if their opinions, needs, and pleasantries are rejected. Immature adults have much in common with spoiled children. Things seem outrageously wrong if an unexpected reality stands in the way. These individuals have had their way too long. This usually is related to their inability to accept changes to their expectations or demands.
Such individuals only have left what a spoiled child has once their expectations or demands are rejected: D.D.T (Delay, Deny, Tantrum). These tactics are vigorously used once their demands are rejected. They will make one demand after another until they get their way. Cursing, hitting, and shouting are the common tools used to force others to change their mind and submit.
An immature adult takes their opinion too seriously. Graciousness and prayer for their enemy is impossible. Agreeing to disagree is distasteful. Depression’s dead weight and the aspects of immaturity are relieved by accepting the sovereignty of God.
God’s sovereignty—that He is in control—is one of the most important subjects in the Bible relating to a person’s mental health. Mental health is central to a person’s self-image—how a person views themselves. When James says our lives are vapors that will vanish someday, a person understands they are substantial like a fog. A vapor that is going to blow away should prompt one to prepare for their walk through the Valley of Death. John 3:16 should also be central to the self-image of a prepared person.
Depression’s dead weight will lessen as you accept and proclaim: “My Father is in charge and He knows best.” Don’t let depression’s dead weight hang over you.