Tag Archive | daily encouraging devotions

Mark 7:8 ” You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

This all started when the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law saw Jesus’ disciples eating in the market place with unceremoniously cleaned hands.  They came to Jesus demanding to know why they weren’t following tradition.  Jesus then quoted Isaiah 29:13 to them, “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.  They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”  So in this verse above Jesus is calling their traditions what they really were – useless commands of man…all the while abandoning the authoritative Commandments of God.  In other words, they were worshiping rules and regulations made up by men, not worshiping their Creator.

Proverbs 14:12 ” There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

The path in life we take may seem agreeable and pleasing to us…it may even seem quite innocent.  But it’s our motives that are weighed by the Lord. (Proverbs 16:2)  For if we do things with the motive of “What can I get out of this”, or solely for the reason of pride or selfish gain, it will only lead to destruction.   Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 7:13-14 when He warned, “Enter through the narrow gate.   For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

James 4:15 ” Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s Will, we will live, and do this or that.’ “

God’s Will  is His gracious disposition toward something as He carries out His divine purpose…always accomplishing what He regards as good and perfect.  God will do what He sees fit, and His actions will always prevail…whether we like them or not.  That’s because there’s times when God’s Will is far from what we want or desire…but we need to remember that His Will is faultless, flawless, and takes into account things we have no idea about.  So by praying God’s Will into a situation… we are praying a perfect prayer.

Psalm 150:6 ” Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

Due to Corona Virus Guidelines, for now, our Church Service is totally devoid of singing…which I didn’t realize just how  important it was as part of the total worship experience until it was gone.  I was lamenting to the Lord this morning of how much I missed our corporate Praise & Worship singing in Church when He gently reminded me of the “silent worship” that I could take part in anytime I desired.  The verse above tells me that everything on earth that draws breath is praising God.  Psalm 96:12 states, “All the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord for He comes…”  And Psalm 69:34 goes on to add, “Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and all that move in them praise Him…”   Think of it…this magnificent silent worship is happening all around us.  Every moment, of every day,  praise and worship is being created and expressed by all that exists…and we can join in.

III John 1:11 ” Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.”

This verse reminded me of the old saying, “monkey see, monkey do” which then led me into researching mob mentality.  Mob, herd, or pack mentality describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational basis.  Just as sheep blindly follow the flock no matter where they go just because that’s what the flock is doing, people tend to take up the behaviors of people around them. (Think of a big sporting event with lots of alcohol and passionate fans.)  In a large mob, personal responsibility wanes as we lose self-awareness and we become more willing to engage in dangerous/risky  behaviors. Also in a large group there’s more physical anonymity which can lead to the lax of social inhibitions.  But this  verse tells us not to imitate what we know is not right…rather, to say No and not apologize for our decision.  For just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it right.

Isaiah 53:5 ” But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”

Jesus took upon Himself the punishment for the transgressions of all people…every skin color and ethnic group.  And He willingly died for the fatal disease of mankind’s soul – sin.  When God sent Jesus to save the world, He had no particular people-group in mind, or certain color of skin He had partiality over…No, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)  In God’s eye’s we all matter, and it’s only the work of Satan that diverts our attention away from unity, and deceives us about that foundational truth.   Today, lift up your head and look to Jesus…no matter who you are or where you come from, no matter the color of your skin or what you’ve done in the past… you matter to Jesus and He loves you.

I John 3: 23 ” And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us.”

Does the world see you as different?  The King James Version of the Bible actually calls Believers “peculiar”  in I Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”  But what makes us distinctive from the rest of the world?  It’s the command to submit ourselves one to another in love and strive for unity.  For Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”  We have been called to stand out from the world…to be a peculiar people…people that don’t take offense, love unconditionally, and always work towards unity.

Isaiah 8:11-13 ” The Lord spoke to me with His strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said: ‘Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the One you are to regard as holy, He is the One you are to fear, He is the One you are to dread…’ “

This word of warning from God to Isaiah could easily apply to us today in this broken and chaotic world.  The people around Isaiah had turned away from God, taking on more worldly views, actions, and behaviors and depending less and less on the Lord.  They had become a obstinate Nation that did not honor God as holy, and feared man more than God.  So God warned Isaiah of not being taken in by their way of thinking…and of not embracing the world’s view of things as truth.  God also reminded Isaiah (and us) that there is only One that is holy and deserving of our praise and honor…only One that we should fear…the Lord God Almighty is His name.

Philemon 1:6 ” I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”

Actively sharing our faith with others is something most of us shy away from.  But today, let’s look at this Scripture and how sharing our faith with others will benefit not only them, but us.  For anytime we share the word of God we are releasing its power and as Isaiah 55:11 tells us,  “My word will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  So think of it this way, as we share our faith with someone we are reminded again of the goodness of Christ Jesus, His great love for us, and how much He has done in our life.  In other words, our faith is built up every time we share it…and that sounds like a win win situation to me.

Proverbs 16:7 “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies live at peace with him.”

It’s called finding favor before men…of God literally changing attitudes of our enemies.  In Ezra 6:22 the Lord changed the heart and mind of their enemy, the King of Assyria, so that he not only supported and encouraged the Israelite’s work, but assisted in it.  And when Joseph was wrongly thrown into prison, it says in Genesis 39:21 that the Lord was with him, showing him kindness and granting him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.   The Lord can move hearts and extend His good favor to us by anyone…including our enemies.