Devotionals

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

1 Corinthians 3:13-15

April 20

Each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.  If anyone's work, which he has built on, it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Aren’t we all going to have equal rewards in heaven?  That’s communism, not New Testament theology!

The Bible says the first shall be last and the last shall be first.  That’s not equal.  Rewards in heaven are directly proportionate to your service on earth. 

What you will have in heaven is directly proportionate to what you do on this earth.  For some of you, this is as close to heaven as you’re going to get because you have nothing over there to look forward to.  Sacrifice in the Bible does not mean throwing something down the drain.  That’s a pagan mentality.  But Christians invest their lives in the kingdom of God because it’s the only kingdom that will endure.

What about the Lord’s teachings on the deceitfulness of riches?  Riches are deceitful.  They appear to be what they are not.  Riches appear to be security, but they are not.  “For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven” Proverbs 23:5.  Money talks all right…it says goodbye!

Riches appear to be a source of health and happiness, but they are not.  Money can buy you a $50 steak, but only God can give you an appetite to enjoy it.  Money buys associates, but it can’t produce one true friend.  Riches are deceitful.  That’s why you are not to lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, but in heaven.

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Matthew 19:28

April 21

So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

There are two kinds of investors:  reason investors and revelation investors!

A reason investor is ruled by a carnal mind.  He believes only what he can touch and taste and see.  A revelation investor believes the word of God.  He understands that the kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field.  He is willing to invest in what the carnal mind says is insanity because he knows that in fact, it is the only investment that will last.

The reason giver asks his accountant, “How much shall I give the Lord?”  If the accountant gives too big a number, he gets fired.  The revelation giver does not give based on what he has, he gives based on what God can supply—and there’s no limit to it.

The widow who fed Elijah the last food she had in the house was a revelation giver.  And while the king was walking the palace halls wondering where he was going to get his next meal, that widow had plenty because God replenished what she gave and added an abundant supply.

What is the return on your investment in the kingdom of God?  Is it 10, 20, 50?  God gave a clear answer, “A hundredfold.”

In Matthew 19, Jesus told his disciples that it is “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” Matthew 19:24.  Simon Peter said, “Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” Verse 27.  Jesus did not say, “Peter, shame on you for thinking you should get something back for following me.  You should rejoice in your poverty.”  He didn’t say that at all.

Think about that.  He told the disciples they were going to leap from a dirty, smelly fishing boat with rotten nets to twelve thrones of glory. Do you see that as a promotion?  That’s really a nice leap forward. Matthew 19:28

And what’s the return for the others who have followed Jesus?  “And every one that hath forsaken households, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life” verse 29.

How much is a hundredfold?  It is 10,000!  How would you like your investments to pay you 10,000?  That’s what God says he will do for you.

How much shall I give the Lord?  All that you want to get back.  How much shall I keep?  All that you want to lose.  That’s the bottom line.

The return is measured in more than dollars and cents.  Listen to what I’m about to say here.  All that God returns to you is not in money.  That’s a very shallow, ungodly, limited view.  He brings it to you in health and in the power and purity of happy relationships.

When you invest for yourself with Jesus, He can make your enemies be at peace with you. He can renew the relationships in your family that has been broken.  He can give you peace that surpasses understanding, and joy unspeakable and full of glory.  He can take all that he has and give it to you, as long as he can trust you to invest in his kingdom.

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Matthew 6:25-34

April 22

Therefore I say to you, do not do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear?
For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Jesus begins His seminar on stress by saying, “Do not worry about your life!

Why should we not worry about life?  Because God is our Father.  He created us.  He has given us everything we’ll ever need.  He takes care of the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, and He will take care of you.

Our lives are driven by clocks and calendars.  We work in office buildings that are ulcer alleys.  We drive in traffic jams that would make Job curse.  Our cities have become asphalt jungles dominated by savages.  Our homes are protected from those savages with burglar bars and alarms, deadbolts, and Dobermans.  Many homeowners keep guns that are cocked and loaded.

This is a stressed-out society.  We are filled with worry, anxiety, and tension.  It is the disease of the age. 

Much of our stress we create ourselves.  Mothers create stress when they worry about their children—what they’re doing, what they’re not doing, what they’re learning, what they’re not learning. There’s not one marriage that’s not suffering from some degree of stress.  There are businessmen living on the naked edge because stress has you by the throat.  You’ve done everything you know to do in order to survive, yet your business is falling through your hands like fine sand.

The word of God is the manufacturer’s manual for your heart, soul, mind, and body.  If you live according to its principles, there is never a reason for your life, your marriage, or your business to be dominated by stress.  Today, tomorrow and forever, He has the answer.  Before you ever knew you had the need, God made the provision.  He is the answer for your life, and He’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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2 Timothy 1:7

April 23

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Fear is Satan’s trademark—and if you’re living in fear, you’re not dominated by the Prince of Peace!

Worry and stress also happen to be killers.  Stress makes cowards out of aggressive men.  Worry fills the face with wrinkles and apprehension.  Worry paralyzes the mind.  Stress robs the body of rest at night, and it sends you to work shaking and shattered, incapable of solving the crisis of the day.

Worry and stress are killing us.  Worry is the mother of heart disease.  Some doctors say that many forms of cancer are caused by the stressed-out society in which we live.  Worry is the mother of high blood pressure and ulcers.  It’s not what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you that’s the problem.

Jesus said, “Don’t worry.”  Worry has sent millions of people to their graves years before they were supposed to die…people who were supposed to have known the Prince of Peace.  Jesus said not worry.  “Take no thought for tomorrow.  I have taken care of it.  I will never leave you.  I will never forsake you.  Don’t worry.”

Worry is sin.  Worry is faith in fear.  God has not given us a spirit of fear.

Worry is trust in the unpleasant.  Worry is assurance that disaster is going to overtake you.  Worry is the belief in defeat and despair.  The apostle of worry says, “Because of the bomb…because of Saddam Hussein…because of pollution…because of the IRS…because of PMS, I have no future.”  Do you think like that?  Then you are the apostle of worry.

Worry is a steam that surges through your mind, drowning hope, drowning faith, drowning optimism.  Worry is interest paid on trouble before it happens.  One old man said, “Most of the trouble I’ve had in life never happened.”  But how many of you are worried about something that’s going to happen your life in the next few days?  You’re just sure it’s going to happen, although it hasn’t happened yet, and you’re sure it’s not going to be pleasant.  Jesus said, “Don’t worry about life.”

What do we worry about?  We worry about things we can’t change.  Husbands worry about what their wives spend.  They worry about what the government spends the difference is they’re not afraid to criticize the government.  We worry about being unfavorable compared with somebody else.  The Bible says not to compare yourselves among yourselves.  Wife, there will always be somebody prettier than you.  Husband, there will always be somebody more handsome than you.  There will always be a better salesman, a better lawyer, a better doctor, a better preacher.  Be happy with where you are and who you are.  God made you what you are—be glad about that.

Stop comparing yourselves among yourselves.  When you were conceived in your mother’s body, something called a genetic code took over, and there’s nothing you can ever do to change that.  Nothing.  So quit worrying about it.  Don’t worry about what you can’t change.  Don’t worry about what you can change—just change it.  If it’s bothering you, change it.  But don’t worry, because it’s an absolute waste of time.

Source: 12 Sunday Mornings - Volume 2

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Philippians 4:19

April 24

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Don’t Worry About What To Eat Or Drink!

God’s word says, “Don’t worry about food, don’t worry about fashions, and don’t worry about the future.  Some of the wealthiest people I know are afraid they are going to run out of something to eat, something to drink, or something to drink, or something to wear.

We could easily have a food crisis here in America, where every person in this country gets down on his knees and literally prays, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  Am I worried?  No way.  Donald Trump may starve to death on the doorstep of the Rockefellers, but I will not go hungry.  Go Almighty is my provider, and he told me not to worry about having something to eat.

Jesus told us not to worry about having something to drink.  Jesus’ instruction not to worry about water is even more compelling when you consider that in Israel, then and now, water is very scarce.  There is only one water supply, the Sea of Galilee.  Why did Jesus spend two-thirds of his ministry around the Sea of Galilee?  Because that is where the water was, and water kept the people alive.  When you walk through the streets of Jerusalem.

Without water, there are no crops.  Without crops, there is no money and no food, and ultimately, there is famine and death.  So when Jesus said, “I have the ability to supply water, he hit their hot button.  The message here is that God can supply what you need when you need it.  And he can supply all that you need.

Are you worried about your finances?  Do not; for I assure you, the gates of heaven have not been hocked by Wall Street.  Are you worried about your enemies?  Do not, for “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” 1 John 4:4.  The Bible says that God will make my enemies be at peace with me Proverbs 16:7.

Are you living your life shackled by fear?  Do not be mastered by fear.  Do not be mastered by stress, for the Lord is the strength of your life.  Don’t worry about your health.  He is the Great Physician, and he still makes house calls.  Don’t worry about life.  “I have come that they might have life.  “I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly”  John 10:10.  Don’t worry about death.  “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen” Revelation 1:10.  Don’t worry about the past; don’t worry about the future.  Don’t worry about anything period, because the Lord your God will meet every need, when you need it, like you need it, to the fullest extent you will ever need it. 

The agnostic says, “Well, we really don’t need to depend on anything as emotional as God to supply our needs.”  Scientists claim we now have the ability through technology to seed the clouds and it will rain whenever we want it to.  But when there was a drought in Georgia, the farmers didn’t go to Harvard to get rain, they went to the house of God and knelt down and asked him to send rain. 

Without the help of our technology, the sun still rises every morning.  People in California have to wait until the breeze from the ocean blows the smog away.  For all of our brilliance, we have not replaced our need of the Living God.  He is the one who gives the plants we eat and without Him we can’t take our next breath.

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1 Peter 3:3-4

April 25

Do not let your adornment be merely outward; arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel; rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

There is something more important in the mission of the church than how we appear!

When Jesus sent his disciples out, he told them to take only one change of clothes Luke 9:3.  On top of that, he said that if they met someone on the way that had no coat, to give him theirs Luke 6:29.  Jesus was not concerned about having a big wardrobe.  Mother Teresa says all she needs is a dress to wear, a dress to wash, and a dress to mend.  Yet American Christians are obsessed with appearance.  We feed the body, we rest the body, we put the body in a nice car, we take the body on a nice cruise to the Bahamas, we decorate the body with various colors of paint, we pamper the body; we massage the body with grease at night.

Looking good is wonderful—do the best with what you have, and God bless you for the effort.  But what we’re about here is not fashion and food.  What we’re about here is the winning of the lost.  What we’re about here is world evangelism.  What we’re about here is healing the sick…breaking the chains of addiction…conquering demon powers…preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Gucci can’t bring this nation back again, but God can.  And that’s what the church is all about.

It is a brutal fact that your body is a lump of dirt.  When you stop breathing, you’re going to fall in a hole and become a banquet for worms.  That’s realism.  Get it in your mind that there’s something more important than how you look.  Whenever Jesus preached, he didn’t jump out of a boat wearing a sequin suit with a pinky ring and patent leather shoes and Bible to match.  Peter didn’t grab the microphone and say, “Heeeeeere’s Jesus.”  The church in America needs to get its priorities right.  Don’t worry about the future.  And don’t worry about what you’re going to eat or what you’re going to wear. 

Source: 12 Sunday Mornings - Volume 2

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Job 13:15

April 26

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

If you don’t believe in the sovereignty of God, your whole theology is a house of cards—and no one is in charge of our lives, or souls, or our eternal future.

Isaiah 50:10 is a verse that confuses a lot of Christians.  It says, “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light?  Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.”

Note that it is referring to believers, those who fear the Lord and obey his voice.  Yet it says this person is walking in darkness.  This is not the darkness of sin, but the darkness of suffering and trouble.

In the real world, good people suffer.  How do you handle suffering?  Will one of your quick fix faith formulas?  Sooner or later, you’ll experience something for which you have no theological answer.

You’ll find the answer in the book of Job, but most Christians don’t like to read that book.  There are actually two books of Job:  the one written by the charismatic convention and the one written by the Holy Spirit.  I believe the one written by the Holy Spirit.

Charismatics say that what Job feared came upon him.  Let me tell you something, I don’t believe in Christian Science.  I believe in the sovereignty of God.  Whatever your theology about the book of Job is, you have to understand that God let it all happen.

If God is not sovereign, then God is not God.

Job lost his wealth, his health and his children.  His wife said, “Curse God and die.”  But he wouldn’t.  Hob did not know that God had removed the hedge of protection from him and that this was a test so severe that men would look back for centuries and say, “This is what God’s grace can help you endure.

What do you do when the light goes out?  Look at the last verse of Psalm 27:  “Wait on the Lord:  be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart:  wait, I say, on the Lord” verse 14.


You may be so discouraged and depressed, so frazzled and frustrated that quitting looks good.  Don’t do it!  “Wait on the Lord:  be of good courage.”  God is too wise to make a mistake and too loving to be unkind.  The Holy Spirit will renew you, refresh you, restore you and refine you so you can shine, shine, shine.

Turn on the Light!

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Matthew 5:14

April 27

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Turn On The Switch!

The effective Christian arouses opposition because he is a standing rebuke to the selfishness and sin of those around him.

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.”  Every person who lives according to Jesus’ powerful principles of happiness is a light in a dark place.  What is our reaction to a bright light when we’ve been sitting in a darkened room?  We recoil like a scalded dog and cry, “Turn out the light!”  In just the same way, light is painful to those who are comfortable in the darkness of sin.

We are indeed the light of the world—but only if our switch is turned on.  Turn on the switch and let your light shine before men.  It will create persecution, but it will also convince sinners of their need for salvation.

The Sting of Salt

Jesus also said, “You are the salt of the earth”  Matthew 5:13.  Salt arrests corruption.

When I was a boy I developed several sores that were not healing.  My mother gave me a bath in Epsom salts.  It burned like fire!  I screamed, “I’m better!  I’m better!”  But my mother said, “Get back in there.”  The salt dried up the sores.  But while it was happening, I had only one desire:  to get out there!

Believers are like salt to those around them.  Their presence in a society covered with sores is painful.  The desire of the corrupt flesh is to get the salt out of there. 

Persecution is one way to drive believers away and create a carnal comfort zone!

Source:  Being Happy In An Unhappy World

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Matthew 5:12

April 28

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
 
The Christian Arouses Persecution Because He Interferes

The Christian interferes with prejudices.  He interferes with the comfortable use of lewd humor.  He interferes with sinful pleasures.  The Christian will not go along with the flow.  He just doesn’t fit in with the carnal world.

Christian ethics sometimes even dare to interfere with the sacred cow of business.  When Jesus went into the temple and turned over the tables of the moneychangers, they were mad as hornets!  That very afternoon they entered into a conspiracy to kill Him.

Paul had his clothes torn off and was thrown into jail at Philippi for interfering with the business of some slave owners.  A mob at Ephesus tried to tear him limb from limb because his Christian principles were ruining their business.  They were getting rich making statues of the goddess Diana.  When Paul preached against idolatry and when the people listened, the rich suddenly faced poverty.  Their solution?  Kill Paul!

Rejoice in Trials

When persecution comes, what will we do?   When a world driven by lust and greed reviles us for righteousness’ sake what will we do?

Jesus recommends that we rejoice and be exceedingly glad.  Don’t mope and whine.  Go home, burst through the door with a smile on your face and say, “Sweetie, they’re lying about me again!

Jesus says, “Congratulations!”  In being persecuted we join the distinguished company of the prophets and martyrs who went before us.  We are following in their footsteps.  Persecution is living proof that we are members in good standing of the kingdom of heaven and have become a threat to Satan and his kingdom.

Source:  Being Happy In An Unhappy World

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