Tag Archive | daily encouraging devotions

II Corinthians 5:17 ” Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”

The other Sunday I was able to hear a dear friend preach and part of his text came from this Scripture.  He asked if we see Jesus when we look in the mirror…or do we just see our old self.  That’s because, if Christ is dwelling inside us, we should be growing more and more in His image everyday…not remaining stagnant.  He called it a new man season…a time to look at that reflection in the mirror and change what needs changing.  But on the other hand, it’s also very easy to get comfortable and nonchalant with our Christian walk and  lose sight of Jesus in that mirror altogether.

Mark 4:26-27 ” He also said, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.’ “

A man of folk-lore and legend in the Midwest is John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed.  During the 1800’s he wandered the country-side of large parts of Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia planting apple orchards…some of which still stand today.  This American pioneer nurseryman spent his lifetime scattering seed in hopes of a harvest someday.  In these verses, Jesus is likening the kingdom of God to the mystery of germination and growth and what man’s responsibility is in it all.  We are told to plant or scatter seed…the Good News of the Gospel Message, and then to allow God to do the rest.  For God’s kingdom grows in His time, in His way…always moving forward. So just like Johnny Appleseed, we are to be sowers of hope and leave the progress up to God.

II Samuel 22:31 ” As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.”

Is God’s word sufficient?  Do you believe it is inspired and without error?  I just completed 30 hours of classroom instruction in Biblical Counseling where the central objective was, Yes it is!  The Bible attests to its sufficiency in that it contains everything we need for salvation, trust, and obedience in God.  Within God’s word we can find flawless truth to build our lives upon (John 17:17) and guidance to help us navigate throughout that journey. (Psalm 119:105)  But for those who think the Bible doesn’t pertain to modern times and situations…sin started in the Garden of Eden and continues to today.  You can go ahead and hang all kinds of new names on it, but sin is sin…it’s rebellion against God.

Luke 2:49-50 ” Why were you searching for Me He asked. Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house? But they did not understand what He was saying to them.”

I can only imagine Mary and Joseph’s confusion when they finally found their young son sitting in the Temple courts listening to the Teachers of the Law…especially when He gave them such an explanation for His disappearance.  Here was their sweet, obedient, 12 year old talking about the necessity of being in “My Father’s House.”  No wonder they couldn’t comprehend or mentally grasp what He was saying to them.  To them, they only saw a boy who had caused them some anxious moments until they found Him…not the Son of God, Who was going about doing His Father’s business.

II Chronicles 20:15 ” This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded of this daily!  It’s brought even clearer to me in I Samuel 17:47, when it says, “It is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s.”  But how many times have I marched out into battle with a toothpick thinking I was somehow “helping God”?  I’ve found one of the greatest Psalms during these times of fear and despair is Psalm 91…it’s a wonderful antidote against that overwhelming feeling of dread, and can help me then refocus my mind where I can – Face Fear with Faith in my heavenly Father.

Acts 5:38-39 ” Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

The Apostles were being persecuted by the Religious Leaders for preaching the Gospel Message.  They had been brought before them to be condemned to death when a Teacher of the Law by the name of Gamaliel tried to talk  some sense into them.  In these verses you’ll find the word “if”  twice.  One word with two completely different meanings.  “If it’s the work of men…”  Here Gamaliel thought there was only a slight possibility that it was true and the Apostles were acting on their own.  “But if it’s from God…”  Here the if Gamaliel used meant he firmly believed it was from God and nothing the Religious Leaders did would stop it.  That’s why he urged them to just walk away…for he knew they didn’t have the capacity or power to destroy a work of God.

Isaiah 41:22-24 ” Bring in your idols to tell us what’s going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.”

Earlier in this Chapter, Isaiah speaks of the power and magnificence of God and how there is no other God besides Him.  He then addresses the many idols of Israel…man-made pieces that they have put their trust in rather than God.  Finally, in these verses above, Isaiah sarcastically suggests they bring their idols to him so they may be questioned about past and future events in order to somehow legitimize their “godliness”.  His sarcasm only continues as he urges these idols to, “Do something, don’t just sit there looking at me!”  No man-made idol will ever take the place of God, for no man-made idol has the capacity, authority, dominion, or might as God does.