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Devotionals

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Zephaniah 3:5

March 20

The Lord is righteous in her midst, He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He never fails…

Jesus is a Savior worth having. Many people measure the value of something based on its reliability. Is it of good quality? Will it perform consistently? Can I trust it? If you have ever owned an old jalopy, you quickly come to appreciate the value of dependability!

We live in a shifting-sand world. A man’s word is no longer his bond. Contracts and legal clauses are required to seal the deal; mere handshakes no longer suffice. Promises seem made to be broken. Conflicting voices make guarantees they do not deliver. The ground beneath our feet can be unstable and insecure. Stories are slanted. Perspectives are perverted. Expectations are exhausted. Vows are violated.

If you are weary of the disappointment, consider the Rock (Deuteronomy 32:4). In Jesus, we find the stability, the solid ground beneath our feet. In Him, we live in a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28). Across the centuries, no person who ever put their trust in Him found themselves disappointed or without hope (Isaiah 49:23). He will not walk away. He will not turn His back (Hebrews 13:5). He is not fickle. He does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). He is the tried and true, utterly reliable, the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

We can take Him at His word. Heaven and earth will disappear, but His word will remain forever (Matthew 24:35). His promises to us are always “Yes” and “Amen” (II Corinthians 1:20). His amen is a “truly,” a “let it be so.” John the Revelator called Jesus the “Amen, the Faithful and True Witness” (Revelation 3:14). He is proven. We can trust Him.

Unwavering, secure, dependable, trustworthy – Jesus is a Savior worth having. We find shelter under the shadow of His wings (Psalm 17:8). He holds us lovingly, safely in His hand, and nothing nor no one can snatch us away (John 10:28). We can count on His welcome, His smile, His good heart towards us. He never falters. He never fails.

Blessing: 

Jesus, my Rock and my Redeemer! Thank You for Your faithfulness through the generations. Teach me to be like You. Establish me in all Your ways. Let my words be true. Help me keep my promises. Help me to be a faithful spouse, a present parent, a dependable employee, a trustworthy friend. I trust in You. In Your name…Amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 30:1-31:54

New Testament 

Luke 4:1-30

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 63:1-11

Proverbs 11:20-21

 

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Ephesians 3:20-21

March 19

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen!

Jesus is a Savior worth having. When it comes to determining the value of something, people often base their estimation on what it can do. Why choose many things when we can choose one thing with a multitude of functions? We want an impressive array of applications and capabilities. The more things something can do, the greater its value to us and the greater its impact on our lives.

Consider, for instance, our smart phones. Only a few decades ago, our phones were affixed to our kitchen walls. Today, we all carry one in our pockets or purses. No longer are they simply tools to communicate, they boast a variety of practical applications. They capture photos, allow us to pay bills online, order a birthday gift, or check into our home security systems. We find them invaluable, irreplaceable.

If it is a multitude of applications you seek, Jesus has the answer you need. As today’s verse indicates, He is able to do anything that we could ask or even think to ask. And then, He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above even those things. Even more than those things that have entered our limited brains, He comes to give those things we are unaware we will need, that we have not been able to articulate, all that we need for abundant life.

He has created each one of us with divine destiny, with a Godly purpose. When we accept Him as Savior (yet another gift!), we say yes to all those plans that He has for us. And when we run up against those God-sized tasks and realize that we do not have what it takes…look at today’s verse. The power that we need is already working inside of us. He does not leave us helpless. As we are going about His work, He will fill us up with joy and peace. And above all? We are completely, utterly, unquestionably loved. He knows our names, our thoughts…even the number of hairs on our heads (or not!).

All things become possible through Jesus. The very best that we can imagine is Jesus just getting started. Oh, what He can do for us. Oh, what He has already done for us. He removes the limits. Jesus is a Savior worth having.

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, Your generosity towards us is overwhelming. I’m so thankful for that power that is already at work in me to help me perform the God-sized tasks You have in mind. I surrender to Your plan. Stir up the power and Your gifts inside me. Here I am. Send me. In the name of Jesus…Amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 28:15-29:40

New Testament 

Luke 3:23-38

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 62:1-12

Proverbs 11:18-19

 

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2 Corinthians 9:15

March 18

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Jesus is a Savior worth having. When it comes to something worth having, people want to know its worth. What is its value and how can we determine it? Often, the worth of something is dependent on its rarity. How available is it? How many exist? Can it be duplicated?

If you travel to Paris to visit the Louvre Museum, you might wander into the gift shop where you can purchase a poster of the Mona Lisa. You will only spend a few dollars because thousands of reproductions have been printed. However, if you went to the curator of the museum and asked to place a price on the original painting, you might experience a serious case of sticker shock. Many experts estimate that the work of art is priceless.

Jesus Christ is an original, a treasure beyond measure. No one like Him graced the planet before, and until He returns to set His foot on the Mount of Olives, no one ever will again. Paul declared that there is only one God and one Mediator between God and men, and that is the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all (I Timothy 2:5-6). Peter averred that there was no other means of salvation, that His was the only name by which we are saved. He passionately proclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah (Matthew 16:16).

Our Savior cannot be duplicated. He is irreplaceable. There is no substitute or alternative. This is wonderful news! Oftentimes, if given a multitude of options, we choose unwisely; we make the wrong choice. Here, we find no margin for error. We can choose with confidence.

For every person that needs deliverance from sin…Jesus. For every person who needs the pain of the past erased…Jesus. For those who need the weight of guilt lifted off their shoulders…Jesus. For those who need the chains of bondage broken off of their lives…Jesus.

Only He can step into your yesterdays and erase the regrets. He is the only One who sets free. He is the Lamb for sinners slain! He is the cornerstone precious and elect! He is the One Who died in our place. He is the One Who conquered the grave and transformed it into the gateway to glory. He has been given the name above every name, and at that name every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that He alone is Lord over all (Philippians 2:9-11). Jesus is a Savior worth having!

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, what a priceless gift You have given us in Your Son, Jesus Christ! I gratefully acknowledge His uniqueness, the rarity of this salvation, the wonder of this mystery. May I give all to obtain this pearl of great price. In the precious name of Jesus…Amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 26:52-28:14

New Testament 

Luke 3:1-22

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 61:1-8

Proverbs 11:16-17

 

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Acts 4:12

March 17

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved

We live in a world that places a premium on options. We like having choices. In fact, we are convinced that the more options presented to us, the better able we are to make the best decision. Our culture is consumed with preferences and having it our way.

Think about ordering a simple breakfast. Coffee? Would you like that black, with sugar or creamer, decaffeinated? How would you like those eggs: hard-boiled, scrambled, poached, over easy, sunny side up? Toast: white, wheat, multigrain? Breakfast meat, anyone? Your choice: bacon, ham, sausage patties or links, or steak.

Every day, the average person makes dozens of decisions. Our society affords us the luxury of many choices. We are so addicted to choices that we are offended when options are not available. However, that privilege can be abused. We become so accustomed to options that we begin to create choices where none truly exist.

The Pew Research Center released a poll of thousands of Americans. When asked if there is more than one way to heaven, 80 percent of Americans said yes. Forty percent of those claimed to be church-going Christians. Eight out of 10, under the age of 25, claimed that multiple religions offered multiple ways to find eternal life. They also believe that neither Satan nor hell exists. God, however, is not sitting on the throne, scouring poll results, and making adjustments to His plans based on our preferences.

God, in His infinite grace and mercy, has offered us ONE option when it comes to salvation. The only choice is Jesus Christ. No viable alternatives exist. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). When it comes to salvation, there is no other option.

Jesus told the disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus did not speak on His own authority, but that of the Father (John 14:10). He did not create this claim or argument. God had already said in Isaiah 43:11, “I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior.” And again in Hosea 13:4, God says, “For there is no savior besides Me.”

No alternatives. No Plan B. No other options. Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. He alone is the beloved Son of God, the Alpha and Omega, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.

Blessing: 

Abba Father, thank You for sending Your only son, Jesus, to bring us salvation. Thank You for opening the door to eternity with You. I gratefully accept this priceless gift. May I live worthy of Your calling. In the name of Jesus…Amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 26:1-51

New Testament 

Luke 2:36-52

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 60:1-12

Proverbs 11:15

 

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Ephesians 4:4-6

March 16

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all

Jesus longs for all of the members of His church, His body, to become one just like He and the Father are one. We have an enemy who is just as determined to wreak havoc on our unity with one another. In John 10:10, his goals are clearly stated. He has come to steal anything that pertains to life – our relationship with Jesus, our marriages, our prosperity, our health. He has come to kill – our dreams, our purpose, our children’s futures. He has come to destroy – our peace, our joy, our very lives. He exults in driving us away from God and away from one another.

He knows that if he can disrupt the unity in the body of Christ, he can staunch the flow of blessing in the church (Psalm 133:3). He knows that, if he can sow doubt and discouragement, he can set us against the one true Source of help. As long as he can divide us, he wins. However, if we ever unite, if we ever band together, if we ever decide that it will be God’s will and not our own, Satan can do nothing about it. He will stand helpless in the face of the church victorious. He is indeed a defeated foe.

You and I have the authority of God’s Word. We have the authority of His blood. We have the power to pull down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. These mighty weapons He has given empower us to wage supernatural war against the enemy who seeks to divide, isolate and overtake us. Jesus has come to lead us into abundant life.

We know better; let us do better. We know the Word of God; let us apply it. Until we are willing to seek unity, we will not accomplish it. Until we are willing to sacrifice for our brothers and sisters, we will not be joined as one. See what God can accomplish when we purpose to stand together in unity. Let us join our hearts, our minds, and our hands. Here, His blessings will flow freely. Here, breakthrough comes. Here, peace, power and prosperity are poured out. It remains Jesus’ great desire – that we be one.

Blessing: 

Lord Jesus Christ, make us one today. Unite our families. Unite our churches. Unite Your kingdom. May we complement – and not compete with – one another. Command a blessing so that Your Spirit, Your power, and Your promises will be poured out on Your children. In Your mighty name…Amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 24:1-25:18

New Testament 

Luke 2:1-35

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 59:1-17

Proverbs 11:14

 

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Acts 4:32

March 15

“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul”

Solomon pulled no punches in the sixth chapter of Proverbs. He flatly declares that there are six things that the Lord hates, seven things that He loathes (Proverbs 6:16-19). Every single one of those detestable things inhibits walking together in unity.

God hates:

A proud look. Conceit, comparison, and competition are the enemies of unity.

A lying tongue. The words that proceed from our mouths come from our hearts (Matthew 15:18). If lies, deceit, manipulation, and exaggeration pour from our lips, there is no basis for trust, no foundation upon which to build relationship. Lying destroys unity.

Hands that shed innocent blood. A man raises his hand against his wife. A lone gunman walks into a crowded theater. Children are sold into slavery. Everywhere abuse occurs, where innocent lives are poured out, where blood is spilled, life is diminished and destroyed. Separation and disconnection – not unity – preside.

A heart that devises wicked plans. The Joker and Lex Luthor might come to mind when we think of wicked plans. While global domination may not figure into our future, any plan that leads us away from God’s plan -- a secret tryst, an illicit social media post, a dishonest business transaction -- is evil. Such scheming leads us away from unity.

Feet that are swift to run to evil. Moral depravity pulls at us from every side. No need to plan – how easily our feet slide down this slippery slope. Sin – evil – always leads to broken relationship with God and with those we love here on earth. Those who hurry to pursue their own wicked desires break off unity.

A false witness who speaks lies. In a specific context, someone who perpetrates untrue statements about another can lead to unfair judgments and imprisonment for the victim. In a broader sense, slander and gossip can initiate and perpetuate untruths against another that lead to ruin. Marriages break up. Partnerships dissolve. Reputations are destroyed. False witnesses inhibit freedom and sabotage unity.

One who sows discord among brothers and sisters. The very word “discord” indicates conflict, friction, hostility and disagreement. Most of us say, “Well, I would never!” But it only takes a small spark -- one eye roll, one raised eyebrow, one pointing finger, one whispered accusation, one well-placed insult – to stir up a conflagration that rages for years. Discord burns unity to the ground.

If we look around and see disunity in our relationships with spouses, co-workers or fellow Christians, let us examine our own hearts. Has one of the practices above driven a wedge? God has provided a way back: repentance leads to restoration.

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, I never want to do the things that You hate. Help me only to do and say the things that lead to life and love and that benefit others. Please forgive me when I fail. In Jesus’ name…Amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 22:21-23:30

New Testament 

Luke 1:57-80

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 58:1-11

Proverbs 11:12-13

 

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1 John 3:16

March 14

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

Many people today suffer from serious “I” problems. They have a chronic condition that plagues their everyday lives. It manifests itself in some persistent symptoms:

The way that “I” want it

The way that “I” see it

The way that “I” think

The way that “I” feel

The way that “I” want to do things.

Christians often trip over that “I” issue. Real unity requires real sacrifice, but “I” is the enemy of unity. “I” demands its own way. “I” refuses to budge. “I” never prefers another. “I” is only interested in his own comfort or her personal agenda. Paul warns Timothy to be certain that church leaders are not self-willed (Titus 1:7), and Peter warns against false teachers who are self-willed, insolent egoists who despise true authority (II Peter 2:10-11). Self-will sabotages unity. Self-will refuses to submit to God, our true authority, and refuses to sacrifice to promote unity within the family of God.

Self-will makes unity impossible. As long as our preference takes priority over our purpose, unity will be impossible. The body of Christ can be divided by preferences: “I didn’t like the song selection” or “His sermon was too long.” Churches split over issues as unimportant as the color of the carpet. When we finally put “I” aside and come into the sanctuary to gather in HIS name, to lift up HIS Son, to read HIS word, and to worship in HIS presence, preferences are forgotten as we remember that our purpose is all for HIM.

When brothers and sisters in Christ dwell together in unity, God commands His blessing in that place (Psalm 133:3). Where unity exists, the blessing of God is guaranteed. Those blessings come when we sacrifice our will for His, where we lay down our lives for others. The wind of the Holy Spirit blasted into the upper room as 120 believers cried out as one voice (Acts 2:1-4). Three thousand people rushed to salvation when Peter stood, with the eleven disciples beside him, to preach the Gospel (Acts 2:14). A lame man went running and jumping when Peter and John shared what they had (Acts 3:8).

“I” must submit to him. Self-will must succumb to sacrifice. His purpose must take priority over our preferences. Only there will He command His blessing. Only then will His anointing and power rush from the throne of heaven to fulfill His purposes through us.

Blessing: 

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 21:1-22:20

New Testament 

Luke 1:26-56

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 57:1-11

Proverbs 11:9-11

 

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1 Peter 5:5

March 13

"Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’"

Unity requires sacrifice. The price of unity is the sacrifice of self. In the final prayer that He spoke over His disciples, Jesus asked repeatedly that all believers would be one. He prayed over those men who had toiled with Him, but not them only. He also looked ahead to include those of us who came to believe in Him because of the word of those first disciples (John 17:20). His great desire was for all believers to be joined in unity, one heart and one purpose.

Unity is a lofty goal, but the difficulty arises when we do more than talk about it. We advocate for unity until it requires more than words. Sacrifice is required – which is wonderful if the other person is willing to do so. We get along well with others – to the point where they disagree with us. We can live in harmony as long as everyone else follows our agendas. To be so all-encompassing, unity can get pretty personal.

The apostle Paul gives us a beautiful analogy of unity between marriage and the church (Ephesians 5). God ordained marriage as the sacred institution where two separate people, a man and a woman, are united in marriage; the two become one. This union is not without its struggles. However, the Bible instructs the woman to submit to her husband; she sacrifices herself to honor him. The Bible instructs the man to submit to his wife; he sacrifices himself as an expression of love to her. When these two separate people submit to one another in love and respect, they operate in harmony, agreement, and oneness of mind and heart. As separate members of one body, we must learn to mutually submit to one another in respect and love.

Jesus loved the church so much that He gave Himself for her, the bride of Christ. He sacrificed Himself. He emptied Himself, became nothing, took on the form of a servant, and humbled himself to obedience to death on the cross. In our relationships, we are to do nothing less (Philippians 2:5-8).

He is our example. We must empty ourselves – lay down our self-will. We must humble ourselves to become a servant of all. As we reason together and honor one another, we become unified. When we dwell together in one accord, there God’s blessing is found. What sacrifice do you need to make? What relationship can benefit from your obedience?

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, thank you for Your beautiful example for us. Help me to humble myself, to become a servant to all, to lay down my self-will, and to unite with other believers. In the name of our Prince of Peace…Amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 19:1-20:29

New Testament 

Luke 1:1-25

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 56:1-13

Proverbs 11:8

 

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Psalm 133:3

March 12

For there the Lord commanded the blessing – life forevermore.

A person’s last words often carry much weight. When the end looms near, the extraneous is stripped away. No more patience for pretense. No more time for tiptoeing around the edges. Here lies the most important, the vital thing that must be conveyed.

After sharing a meal and bowing to wash their feet, Jesus must have looked around that somber circle of faces in the Upper Room. James, the son of thunder. John, the beloved. Peter, the rock. These men had deserted all to follow Him. For three years, He had taught them in synagogues. He had instructed them on hillsides. He had demonstrated His power over death and demon possession. Jesus knew this was their final conversation – no more reclining around campfires together, no more laughter over shared meals, no more miracles or marvels, no more questions or corrections. He did not hesitate. Leaning in, He began to speak with urgency. Over their bowed heads, He spoke one final prayer.

As He neared the conclusion of His earthly ministry, what was on His mind? Did He pray for their prosperity? He knew the weight of the mission that they would soon undertake. He knew the painful sacrifices and the price that ministry would exact. Knowing the toll, He could have prayed for their prosperity, for the success of their assignment. He could have asked for all the resources of heaven. But He did not.

He could have prayed for power. He could have petitioned for crowded coliseums and standing-room-only stadiums where supernatural miracles and divine wonders would draw unbelievers into the presence of God. But He did not.

Over and over, He asked for this one thing: that we all would be one. God is in Jesus. Jesus is in us. Perfect in unity so that the world may know that God has sent Him. He loves us in the same way that God loved Him.

He knew that if we walked in unity, if we sacrificed our will for His, that all of His power and prosperity would be evident in our lives. When we dwell together in unity, it is here that He commands His blessing. It is here that His anointing flows. It is here that heaven and earth collide. Has His prayer been answered in you?

Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, let Your prayer be answered in me. Help me to always “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Lord, I long to be united with my brothers and sisters in Christ, to love and protect all the members of this great big family of Yours. May we pull together in agreement so that Your anointing may overflow and that Your glory may flood the earth. In the name of our Prince of Peace…Amen.

Today's Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 16:41-18:32

New Testament 

Mark 16:1-20

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 55:1-23

Proverbs 11:7

 

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The four kings in Revelation are, right now, taking center stage for the first time in world history.

We live with the confidence that in HIS Kingdom, there shall be no end. Are you ready?

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