Devotion: Lamentations 2:19
So many Christian parents grieve over their wayward children. They pray and fast and pour out their hearts like water before the face of the Lord continually. They experience anger, frustration, tears and deep sorrow waiting, watching, hoping for their child to return or come to Christ.
Fellowship between these parents and their child is at the least, strained and in some instances; the parents and child have become totally estranged. It is one of the saddest situations a parent can experience. Parents long for restoration but it seems no where in sight. One segment of the Lamentations’ verse says “Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches. Lift your hands to Him for the lives of your children.” How many of us have soaked our pillows, wondering what went wrong? God sees every tear that has fallen and has heard every prayer you’ve uttered, on behalf of your child.
Don’t give up or every stop praying, no matter the length of time. God’s timing and ours are different. You have no idea the warfare going on in the heavens on behalf of your child. Never give up. Make your fervent petitions known to your Heavenly Father. He loves your child even more than you do.
Devotion: Psalm 119:67,71 Hebrews 12:5-11
Those two words seem to be polar opposites. I do not like affliction one little bit; but I can honestly say when I experience trouble whether physical, emotional or spiritual; God gets my attention. Sometimes, I turn quickly to Him and other times, I am a bit slower to recognize the goodness in the affliction.
Early one morning, a few years ago, God said to my ears and heart; “You will live to see the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living.” The particular thing I was praying about, has now come to pass. Glory to God in the highest! Hind sight being twenty-twenty, I realize, I see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, every single day. My next breath testifies to this truth.
Affliction in a Christian’s life can mean one is being disciplined. It can mean you are being trained in righteousness. “All discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” It can just be the fact, we live in a fallen world. No matter the reason, , I long for you and me, to give a right response, to whatever God allows in our lives. It is part of our testimony to a lost and dying world.
If you are reading this devotional, I want you to stop right now and ask God this question. What is my greatest affliction right now? You probably already know. Please take time to glorify Him in and through the pain and suffering. It is not an easy task. If you are not ready, ask Him to give you a heart, to remain steadfast under the affliction. Sing a song of praise and thanksgiving to the One who is transforming you, from glory to glory. He is listening.
Devotion: Psalm 100:4, Colossians 3:16-17
For most Americans, Thanksgiving Day is one of our most celebrated Holidays. It is a time we celebrate family, as well as the freedom to gather and enjoy the blessings of our bounty. For many people, this day will represent a first holiday without a loved one, possibly the loss of a job or their health is in slow decline. How does one remain thankful in spite of and because of, a harsh reality? Can you give thanks when it makes no sense? In my younger days, I thought such a thing was ridiculous. It’s been said, that “God has to be in the hard, so we will give thanks in the hurt.” Is it even possible to receive what God gives and turn around and give thanks to the One who allowed it?
I must admit many times in my life; I have allowed the enemy to rob me of my joy, as I failed to offer up a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. When our God builds adversity into His plan for our lives, He is building His character into our fleshly souls. Although not pleasant, I pray that you and I will allow Him to do the same thing He did in Job’s life. Our Lord desires to hear us say, “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
This year look into the faces of those God has given you and actually say the words, I am thankful for the gift of you in my life. You are a treasure to me and I give thanks to God for you always. Bless them and the Lord with words of Thanksgiving in your heart!
Devotion: Isaiah 42:16, John 8:12, Ephesians 5:8,11
I recently heard a line in a song that said, “Are you pushing back the darkness so His light can be displayed?” It struck a cord in my heart. I had to ask myself that very soul probing question. What does pushing back darkness look like in today’s world? I began to search the scripture. There are about a hundred and fifty verses having to do with darkness.
The verses in Isaiah’s chapter are the prophecy of our Lord Jesus. He promises to turn the darkness before the blinded into light. If we follow Jesus, we will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. We were darkness, but now we are light in the Lord. We are to expose the unfruitful works of darkness. How does one go about accomplishing this great task? The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. We put on our armor and give out truth in love. The response may or may not be what we expected, but friend, our love for Christ constrains us to shed the Light of Christ, no matter what.
Ask the Lord to show you ways to push back the darkness in your place of business, your school campus or even in your own neighborhood. Make your light shine before all men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Devotion: John 10:1-15
I may not remember someone’s name, but for whatever reason, I remember their voice. Many years ago, I was Christmas shopping with my college roommate, at a mall in Gastonia, NC. I heard a familiar male voice and saw a man and his wife, walking just ahead of us. My curiosity just had to know who this was. I approached him and said, “Sir, I recognize your voice. How do I know you?” Turns out, he and his wife own a ceramic shop where my mom and I used to meet, and do ceramics together. My mom is now in heaven, so it brought back such fond memories.
For us Christians, it is imperative to know the voice of our Shepherd. I love this whole chapter because of all the promises found within. Jesus our Shepherd is the door. He came to give us abundant life and He lays down his life for us. He knows us and we know Him.
Pour into God’s Word, pray to Him and then take time to listen for His still, small voice. I would rather hear Him, than all the noise in this world. In order to hear the same voice, that can still a storm, we must get still, before Him. Praise Him for His attributes, enter into His gates with thanksgiving and praise. He delights in you always.
Devotion: Ephesians 5:1-2, Matthew 7:14-16
Many of our foods in today’s world are engineered to be healthier. Words like zero calories, fifty percent less sugar, no cholesterol or low salt are usually highlighted on the front of the box or container. According to the advertisements, you will become fit and trim, if you will eat these foods on a regular basis. It almost never tastes as good, as the real food, but the real question; is it healthier?
The food analogy here, pales in comparison to a person who looks like a Christian on the outside; goes to church and does lots of “good things”, but inwardly does not have a real, personal relationship with Christ. A false prophet is an imitation of a true one. They are known by the fruit they bear. We must inspect ourselves, to see if are bearing “real fruit”.
Ephesians 5 commands us to be imitators of God as dear children and to walk in love. Love is the first attribute of the Spirit. According to God’s Word, the world will know we are Christians by our love. As believers in Christ, our greatest desire should be to imitate Christ. Imitate Christ and show real love, to a lost and dying world.
Devotion: Acts 26:27-29
There are many successful salesmen who have mastered the art of persuasion. They can talk the most definitive naysayer, into making an unnecessary purchase. The only person who truly benefits from the transaction, is the crafty salesman. He uses the following technique. Create or identify a need, a problem or desire. Offer a solution. Close the sale.
Our chief goal in life, should be to persuade people to become a Christ follower. The only way to accomplish that goal, is to speak the words of Christ to them. Still, it is not by our might, nor by our power, but by God’s Holy Spirit that people are saved from eternity apart from God.
Prisoner of Rome, the apostle Paul, was given an opportunity to speak in his own defense, before King Agrippa II. To get the whole picture, you must read this amazing chapter of Paul’s most excellent defense. I can hardly wait to meet this man, who wrote a large portion of our New Testament. Agrippa, responded to Paul’s defense, with, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul replied, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am, except for these chains.” Paul’s story stirred the soul of King Agrippa, but “almost” only counts in the game of horse shoes.
Tell your story to the people who are waiting to hear your testimony. Whether exciting or uneventful in your estimation; it is your story. Whether the time it takes to persuade that person is short or long, tell your story, the story of how Christ came into your life.