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Devotionals

Be inspired and uplifted each day as you receive insight into God's Word

Psalm 78:29

January 27

So they ate and were well filled, for He gave them their own desire

Today’s verse resounds with lip-smacking satisfaction. Or does it? God gave the Israelites what they wanted, and they gobbled it up with relish.

From the time they marched out of Egypt, the Israelites grumbled and groaned, complained and questioned. When they were thirsty, God caused water to stream from a rock. When they accused God of bringing them into the desert to starve, He rained down manna. Then, they demanded meat, so He sent a great covey of quail into their camp.

While the meat was still in their mouths, the wrath of God blazed forth, and the strongest men in Israel died – about 40,000 of them. God did not want to slay them, but He “gave them their own desire.”

Instead of focusing on the amazing ways that God had delivered them, they deceived themselves about what they needed and gave in to their fleshly appetites. Instead of trust and gratitude, they insisted on what they craved. Their diet ended in death. Their demands destroyed their destiny.

Staying in close relationship with Jesus diminishes the possibility that we will be deceived by our own cravings. The more we know of Him, the more that we hunger for His presence. His priorities become our own. Our desire is in Him and our desire is Him.

Blessing:

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May you desire the good things of God and trust His plan and provision for you. He will satisfy you with His many blessings and benefits. Praise be to God!

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Exodus 4:1-5:21

New Testament 

Matthew 18:1-22

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 22:19-31

Proverbs 5:15-21

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Romans 8:5

January 26

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit

A great conflict exists in each one of us when our cravings run up against what we actually need. We wrestle with that pain daily.

Spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially – we long to pursue our own paths. Yet, at the same time, we long to do what God asks. Paul said that things he longed to do, he ended up neglecting; the things he did not want to do, he carried through to completion (Romans 7:19-25).

When someone offends us, we can “live according to the flesh” and plot our revenge or we can “live according to the Spirit” and pray for those who harass us. We might be tempted to splurge on ourselves, but God prompts us to help someone in need.

If we are carnally minded and pursue fleshly things, it brings death. We have no hope of pleasing the Lord. However, if we set our minds on Godly things, we enjoy life and peace.

When we crave Him and the things of the Spirit, we get Him. When we long for His will, we receive His joy. When we crave His purpose and plan, we are rewarded with His peace and provision. Let’s set our minds on things above!

Blessing:

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. Set your mind on the things of the Spirit. Hide your life in Christ so that you may share in His glorious appearing. All praise to Him!

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Exodus 2:11-3:22

New Testament 

Matthew 17:10-27

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 22:1-18

Proverbs 5:7-14

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Psalm 34:8

January 25

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Some of us are starving to death. On the outside, everything appears fine. But a black, empty hole gapes deep in our souls.

We have craved what the world offers. We have drunk what it said to drink, bought what it said to purchase, swallowed what it said to take, and followed many streets to their dead ends. And still, we starve.

David encourages all of us to place our trust in God, to taste and see that the Lord is good. Try out His words to find them sweeter than honey in the honeycomb. Feast at His banquet table to be overwhelmed by His loving-kindness that is better than life.

Drink from His living water to never thirst again. He pours out fresh oil and new wine. He rains down manna from heaven in the desert of our days. He satisfies our souls with good things until our hearts overflow.

Take a taste test! We may have tasted misery, heartache, and sorrow in the past, but the Lord is good. He will never disappoint the person who trusts in Him and craves the things of God.

He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 107:9). Taste and see!   

Blessing:

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May He fill you with fresh hunger for the things of God. Live in the joy, peace, and love that the Father gives the righteous. Receive these things because He is Lord of Your life…amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Genesis 50:1-Exodus 2:10

New Testament 

Matthew 16:13-17:9

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 21:1-13

Proverbs 5:1-6

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Romans 6:11

January 24

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord

God wove desires and cravings into our DNA. We cannot simply denounce our cravings and be done with them.

One of the first questions a doctor asks a new mother is: “How is the baby eating?” She wants to know if the child has cravings. A lack of craving indicates a serious issue, and she will quickly attempt to fix what is broken.

The dilemma is not whether we will or will not crave. It comes down to what we crave. Paul instructed us to reckon ourselves dead to sin. That does not mean that the capability to sin no longer lives within us.

In I Corinthians 15:31, Paul assured the believers that he died daily. He killed his cravings one day at a time. As long as his spirit was wrapped in flesh, he had to submit his carnal nature to the Word of God every day. He read, he prayed, and he gave thanks to God. And this daily dying awakened him to righteousness (v. 34).

When we submit to Jesus and His purposes, the desire to sin disappears. Our hearts are captured by a new love, and all of our desires and affections are bent more and more towards Him. We are dead to sin, but alive to God!

Blessing:

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May your old cravings be crucified with Christ. May He live in you to carry out His will on earth. Glory to God for sending us His Son!

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Genesis 48:1-49:33

New Testament 

Matthew 15:29-16:12

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 20:1-9

Proverbs 4:20-27

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1 John 2:15

January 23

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him

Our cravings are created and controlled by the things that we see, hear, and experience.

The entertainment industry banks on our susceptibility to the images that it broadcasts: the miracle cream that erases wrinkles, the protein shakes that promise the perfect body, the happily-ever-after portrayed by the beautiful couple living in the huge house with the perfect children.

Where are our eyes focused? Are we looking at the distractions of this world or the Gospel truth? Are we listening to the opinions of imperfect others, or are we tuned in to the revelations of God? Are we experiencing the pressure of unrealistic expectations or the peace of His Spirit?

In today’s verse, John warns us not to love the world or its things. We must guard our hearts against its allures. Love for this world squeezes out our love for the Father. Demanding our own way, coveting the goods and gadgets, desiring to feel important – all of these isolate us from God.

What do we crave most? Nothing must edge out God’s presence in our lives. Nothing should consume us more than our hunger for Him. Nothing else deserves our devotion and delight. Our priority is loving Him.

Blessing:

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May you seek the kingdom of God and all His righteousness first and foremost, and He will be faithful to add everything that you need. Give praise to the only One worthy to receive it!

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Genesis 46:1-47:31

New Testament 

Matthew 15:1-28

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 19:1-14

Proverbs 4:14-19

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Psalm 42:1

January 22

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God

Our cravings have the power to kill or cure us.

Our cravings can deceive us into believing that we must have the very thing that damages and destroys. When the drug addict craves the fix, when the married person craves someone other than their spouse, when the CEO craves the promotion over personal ethics – those things end in destruction and eventual death.

When our souls begin to long intensely for God, though, He becomes our cure. The payment for our sin is death, but Jesus took our place. His cure bought our pardon and everlasting life. 

The lashes across the back of Jesus paid for our healing. He was wounded so we could be made whole. He was hurt so we could be healed. We are cured through His crucifixion.

When we crave Him, we find the confidence our souls lack. He does not give us a spirit of fear, but one of love and power and a sound mind. We can calmly rest in Him.

When we pursue Him with passionate zeal, the presence of God empowers us to walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him. Our minds are conformed to His truth, and we are transformed to act more and more like Jesus. This is the craving that cures!

Blessing:

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May your soul pant after God like the deer that pants for water. May you experience the Cure that leads to life and healing and wholeness.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Genesis 44:1-45:28

New Testament 

Matthew 14:14-36

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 18:35-50

Proverbs 4:11-13

 

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Luke 19:40

January 21

But He answered and said to them, ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out

When Jesus mentioned those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, He was not referring to those with a polite appetite – an invitation to brunch after church.

He was speaking of the attitude and actions of a person starving for even a morsel of food. The ravenous person does not graciously accept the plate, shake out her napkin, and delicately slice the food into bite-sized pieces. She grabs it greedily and buries her face and fingers in it, licking the last crumbs from her hands. She does not care how she looks or if it offends the onlooker.

When was the last time that the Church craved Christ in that manner? When was the last time that we were so hungry for the move of God in our midst that we did not care what the onlookers said? When was the last time that we so urgently wanted the lost to come to Jesus that we boldly declared the gospel with no thought for what others might think?

When we hunger and thirst for Him, fear is burnt up in His presence. When we are desperate in our pursuit of God, He will hear and answer. If we do not cry out for Him, the stones will!

Blessing:

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May the Father fill you with a holy hunger. May His presence flood your life. May His Word be your desire and every breath be a sacrifice of praise to the Worthy One.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Genesis 42:18-43:34

New Testament 

Matthew 13:47-14:13

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 18:16-34

Proverbs 4:7-10

 

 

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Psalm 84:2

January 20

My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God

What do you crave? What do you need? Our cravings often have nothing to do with our needs.

That creates a dangerous dilemma for us. Our cravings can deceive and convince us that we absolutely need what we desire, but we crave things we do not need and do not crave things we need.

Our doctors claim that we need a big bowl of leafy greens, but we do not crave it. We want donuts! Our doctors insist that more exercise is beneficial, but we devise creative excuses to avoid it.

Our pastors get to meddling, too! They profess that we need a daily dose of God’s Word, that we need to spend time in His presence every day, listening and talking with Him. In spite of what we know about our need for Him, do we crave Him?

Do we hunger for more of His presence? Do we long to spend time with the living God? Do we experience a desperate desire for more of Jesus than we know right now?  No excuse diminishes the truth that we need more of Him!

The Psalmist declared that everything inside of him longed for God. The only thing that would bring fulfillment was basking in the presence of the King. What are you craving?

Blessing:

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May the Lord bless you with a deep hunger and thirst for more of Him. He will fill your life with every good thing.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Genesis 41:17-57

New Testament 

Matthew 13:24-34

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 18:1-7

Proverbs 4:1-3

 

 

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Matthew 5:6

January 19

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled

A tug-of-war exists between what we want and what we actually need. We often want brownies when we should choose broccoli! We desire things our way, but God asks us to submit to His will.

When these forces collide, we experience hunger pains. Sometimes, we long to give in to fleshly desires. Sometimes, we yearn to submit to the Holy Spirit. The one that we feed prevails.

How many are starving to death spiritually and do not even realize it?  In America this year, 867,000 marriages will end in divorce, 46,000 lives will be cut short by suicide, and 68,000 people will die from accidental overdoses—famished for hope, relief from pain, and love.

The prophet Amos predicted a famine where people would long for the Word of the Lord. They would starve because they sought fulfillment outside God’s will. We have craved power and never been more out of control, riches and never been emptier, pleasure and never been more bankrupt.

The simple answer for this deep hunger is the Good News of Jesus Christ. He brings hope to the desolate, breaks the chains of the addict, and redeems broken relationships. To the hungry and thirsty, come try the Bread of Life and the Living Water. He satisfies our longing and fills us with every good thing.

His anointing truly does lift the burdens off our bowed-down backs and destroy the yokes of bondage. Pressed down, shaken together—our cups run over!

Blessing:

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. Taste and see that God is good! Nothing else can satisfy! No other name will save! No other hand can deliver! There is none like Him! He is greatly to be praised!

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Genesis 39:1-41:16

New Testament 

Matthew 12:46-13:23

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 17:1-15

Proverbs 3:33-35

 

 

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