Love Covers a Multitude of Sins

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Devotion:      1 Peter 4:8

Our culture uses the “love” word very loosely.  We speak of loving a car, an outfit, a pair of shoes or a television show.  People are added in the mix of all these things we “love”.  We have told many people, we love them, until they betray us, cheat on us, or rob us of something precious.  When one or all of those actions happen, we hate the people with the same passion with which we loved them.  The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 4:8, “Love covers a multitude of sins.”  Is it possible for us to love the people who have betrayed our love and trust?

My friend, God pours out unconditional love on you, everyday of your life.  He is mindful that “we are but flesh.”  We cannot love those who have hurt us, except to apply His grace to them.  It is the same grace He applies to us, every moment of everyday.  Grace includes forgiveness.  It does not necessarily mean; things will go back to the way they were, but it does mean your chains of unforgiveness will be broken.  Satan will keep you bound with “your right” to be furious.  When you choose to walk in forgiveness, you win!

In Motion: Will you choose to forgive the person who hurt you of one offense today? Tomorrow choose to forgive him or her of another offense?  When you have forgiven all the offenses, you have broken that link in the chain, with which you were bound.  You are more than a conqueror, through Jesus Christ.  Go out and enjoy your new found freedom in Christ.

Does Prayer Really Change Things?

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Devotion:  2 Chronicles 7:14

How many of us have prayed many years, for a certain person or given circumstance, only for heaven’s door to appear to be shut tight? You have seen no change in the person or your circumstances.  It would seem God is busy about answering everyone’s prayer but your own. But let’s examine 2 Chronicles 7:14

“If my people which are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray,” What does it mean to humble ourselves? Must I get prostrate on the floor or be in a kneeling position to humble myself? It is more an attitude of the heart versus the position in which you are praying.  As we pray, we must ask for His will, to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

God’s ways are higher than our ways.  His timing and ours are not the same. We want our will, our way and now! When you pray, you are seeking the ear of God, as well as the mind of God. The next part of 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “and seek My face.”  Is it even possible to seek the face of God?  The Bible says, now we see in a glass darkly but one day we shall see Him face to face.

Job said, “All the days of my life, I will wait until my change comes.”  So what are we to do?  We are an impatient people who must learn to wait before the Lord.  How can we wait?  The next part of the verse, says we must “turn from our wicked ways.”  Repent and wait before God with clean hands and a pure heart.   Then God will hear from “heaven and forgive our sins and heal our land.”  That is a promise straight from the throne room.

In Motion:  

Ask God to show you if there is anything you need to repent and confess before Him.  The Bible says, “He will cleanse us from our sin and remove it from us as far as the east is from the west and remember it no more.”  After all you get to wait with God, wait on Him and wait in Him until your change comes.  You wait with the Lord your God, who created you, who walks with you daily and paid the price for your sins.  It does not get any better than that!

A New Song

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Devotion: Revelation 14:3-5

Singing is such a huge part of a Christian’s worship experience.  We become familiar with the songs by singing them over and over; but did you know, there’s a new song mentioned in the Bible that only a certain number of people can learn?

Revelation 14:3 tells us the song will be sung by the 144,000 who have been redeemed from the earth.  Psalm 40:3 proclaims, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and hear, and put their trust in the LORD.”  Music was and is and forever will be God’s idea.  It soothes one’s mind, heart and spirit when a person is sad or anxious.  As we purposefully make melody with our mouths through singing psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, our Creator and Redeemer is exalted and lifted high.

There are folks who say, I only sing in the shower.  God does not care whether or not you can carry a tune.  I believe He hears your heart, over the “off key notes” you may sing. Even though you may or may not want to audition for the choir or praise team in your church, the Lord is blessed by your singing, when you purpose to praise Him.

One glorious day, God will give us a new song, one that only HE knows.  No one will sing off key and it will bring blessing to our Lord!  It’s the song of the redeemed!  I can only imagine the words and the melody to this new song.

In Motion:  This week, intentionally sing praises to your Lord and Savior, not only when you gather with other believers, but in the morning on your way to work, or in your home as you go about your chores.  Sing when you are glad.  Sing when you are sad. If you sing and make melody in your heart; you will be amazed at how God Himself will be the lifter of your head, heart and mind!

Cast Your Net on the Other Side

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Devotion:              John 21:5-6

I did not grow up around a lake or the ocean, but so enjoy watching hundreds of fish as they are pulled in, by a huge fishing net.  My mind always goes to this story of old, found in the Bible. It takes place after Jesus was resurrected from the grave.  Several of the disciples earned their living by fishing.  In this passage, Simon Peter made the statement, “I am going fishing.” They all missed Jesus being there in His flesh and blood. The other disciples said, “We will go with you.”  They all went straight to the boat; however, “That night, they caught nothing.”  I can imagine they were saying,  “If Jesus were here, our nets would be full.”

Daybreak came.  It always does.  Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not recognize Him.  He asked them the question; “Children, do you have any fish?”  Of course they had to answer Him, “No”. He told these seven strong disciples, “Cast your net on the other side.”  As strong as they were, these men, accustomed to fishing, could not pull up the overflowing net of fish.

Have you fished all night and caught no fish? You have been doing this job or using your God given gifts, to accomplish this certain task, for many years and yet not one fish is jumping into your net.  You wonder why it has to be so incredibly hard.  Maybe, Jesus wants you to cast your net on the other side, so the Lord can reveal Himself  to you, in a fresh, new way.  

In  Motion:          

Are you longing for daybreak because the fruitless night has been so long, and it seems you have nothing tangible, to show for all of your hard work?  I want to  encourage you, “Cast your net on the other side.”  It might  be the new job you have been waiting for.  It might be a broken relationship that seemed impossible to mend or a chronic health issue. Daybreak will come. Expect to hear Jesus say, “Cast your net on the other side.”  Do it out of obedience and watch Him fill it to overflowing.

When Ritual Becomes Relationship

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Devotion:  “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as is the habit of some.”

I was taken to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night the whole time I was growing up.  I heard one pastor say he had a drug problem.  His parents drug him to church, every time the church doors were opened.  One of the first songs I learned; after I was old enough to go into the sanctuary, was the doxology.  “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!” We sang it every Sunday just before the offering plate was passed.  I could honestly sing it and be thinking of something else at the same time.

These two rituals were required in my household.  Even though I could sing the doxology; without much forethought of the wonderful words I was singing, I loved going to church. Right after I got my driver’s license, I made the decision to skip a choir practice and go to the Patio, a teen hangout.  God would have none of that, so as I  backed out of my parking place to return home, I hit the side of the building! Rats, I was caught red handed! I had to confess to the owner, who now had a dent in the side of his new building, and my parents, who now had a big dent in their bumper. “Be sure your sins will find you out.”

I am so thankful for my parents who “drug” me to church.  I always heard the truth of God’s Word.  I loved all my pastors. God’s Word and going to His house became deeply etched into the marrow of my bones.  This ritual or established pattern of attending His church helped to develop my love relationship with Him.  I want to know Him more and more.  He is everything to me.

In Motion:  Rituals can be good or bad.  We can become so ritualistic, that going to church merely becomes an obligation we fulfill, to appease our conscience.  There’s a verse in Psalms that says, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.” I can hardly wait to get to my house of worship on Sunday mornings.  Are you truly glad to go to your house of worship?  Beloved of God, it is His desire for you to be encouraged and equipped for each week of your life. Please do not take lightly the privilege to gather with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Truth or Consequences

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Devotion:    John 14:6, Exodus 20:16

Many years ago there was a daytime television show called “Truth or Consequences.”  The contestants had to discern if the statement made was true or false.  They won various prizes for deciding correctly, which statements were true and which were false.

We live in a day when it can be difficult to discern the truth from a lie.  In fact, many have become so accustomed to telling half truths, that they  have a hard time just telling the straight up truth.  It does not help that nightly, Americans watch hours of news and reality television.  Much of the truth is overshadowed by a goodly portion of drama.  We are left to discern which is true and which is false.

Jesus Himself declared in John 14:6a, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”  He commanded us in Exodus 20:16, “You shall not bear false witness.”  That truth is just as real today as when God spoke it from heaven.  As Moses etched this truth on tablets of stone, the people witnessed thundering and lightening from the heavens.  The same God who creates the storms means for His people who are called by His name to always tbe truthful.

When we as believers grow lax in our devotion, to keep the law Jesus came to fulfill, we suffer the consequences.  The Bible states, ‘If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer.”  You may be thinking: but now we live under grace rather than the law.  That truth is right out of our Holy Spirit breathed Word.  Although we often fail to keep one or all of the ten commandments, they are still part of our plum line to obedience.

In Motion:  This week, even when you are challenged to tell a “little white lie,” choose to tell the truth, serve the Truth and the consequences will be a sweeter relationship with Him.

A Prepared Bride

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Devotion:      Matthew 25:1-12

For those of you who are married or desire to be married, a wedding is one of the biggest events of your life.  As a little girl, I used to dream about my prince charming, who would come take me to his castle where we would surely live, happily ever after.  As a child, there was not much thought given to all the preparation for the wedding, only to the actual event.

It was a custom during biblical times to hold weddings after nightfall.  Because of utter darkness, each person was required by the authorities to carry a light.  According to verse one in this passage, each virgin had a lamp.  The casual observer would think all ten of these ladies were ready to meet the bridegroom. Without a burning lamp, they could neither march in the procession nor enter into the house of the bridegroom.  Five of the ten had the required oil and five had no oil with which to light their lamps. These women not only lacked forethought and planning for the appearance of the bridegroom but they did not even care.

Verse six tells us, “But at midnight there was a shout, “Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.”  The five who were ready, got to march to the wedding, the other five left to go try to buy oil but it was too late. When they arrived at the wedding, the door was shut. What a sad day.

Our Bridegroom’s return is drawing nigh; so I must ask you, are you ready?  Are the people you know and love ready?  Please tell them as soon as possible; to consider betrothing themselves to Him.  He wants them to be a prepared a bride. It is not His will for them to be left behind. He says the coming for His bride, will happen in “the twinkling of an eye.” “Now is the acceptable time, today is the day of salvation.”

In Motion:  

I think it is okay to beg people to consider inviting Jesus to be their Bridegroom.  Many are counting on “being a good person” to get them into heaven.  They have not killed anyone or stolen or taken drugs.  Many will say, “Me and the man upstairs, we are okay.”  However, do they have a personal relationship with Him?  Many who believe there is a God do not know that even the demons in hell, acknowledge He is God.  They just do not have a relationship with Him.  Beg of them to be wise and say yes to their Bridegroom.  Prepare to share with someone this week.

May God use you to share the good news of the gospel this week!

Libby Williams