Devotional Thoughts: What Truth Can Do

“Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.”

‭‭John‬ ‭8:34‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The truth shall set us free! There are just as many prisons as there are sins in this life. Materialism, addiction, pornography, lies, fornication, gluttony, and the list goes on and on! We are all born into original sin, the desire to sin. Maybe this first begins when we put ourselves first? “Mine!” young children shout as they seek to keep their toy to themselves. Some of us never get beyond this desire to kept it all to ourselves even throughout adulthood.

The verse before this one Jesus says, “31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.”

If we abide in Gods Word then we can be set free. “Your future loyalty to my teaching will prove the reality of your present profession. So the conclusion of this future condition is put in the present tense. Continuance in the word (teaching) proves the sincerity or insincerity of the profession. It is the acid test of life.”-biblestudytools.com

We learn the truth by studying and knowing the Bible. It is the revelation to us of who God is, what our purpose is and it’s God’s plan for us to be set free! Freedom comes with a price. God requires our lives, our homage shown publicly. We become His, a part of a great army seeking to advance God’s Kingdom through obedience.

Are you a slave to sin today? Living in bondage? Read God’s Word, the Bible, repent and be set free. You’ll wonder why you put it off in the first place. My fellow sinner, I am not better than you. I wish for you to find what I’ve found. Freedom, it’s the sweetest gift. Basque, dance, rejoice!

Devotional Thoughts: Hope

So much depression and suicide in our communities! As a foster parent experiences with the teens I cared for taught me how to gauge whether or not someone needed to be in a mental health facility. Expressing no hope and having a detailed plan to end one’s life are two indicators someone needed a safe environment where they could get help. I’m not a mental health professional but I have walked with several teens through seasons of no hope.

Hope. What a beautiful word! If someone can express hope we know they are not in danger of ending their own life. God’s plan for us is to abound in hope, not to be overcome with darkness and despair. Where does Hope come from? Hope is good and God is the giver of all good things. Along with this gift of hope comes joy and peace. These cannot be purchased by the richest on earth! These things are priceless and God desires to give them to us! Reach out to God and trust He loves you. He will see you through another day. May God gift us all with hope, peace and joy and may we abound in each one!

Step out of darkness and into the Light. There is hope for all who dwell on the face of the earth, yes, each one!

Devotional Thoughts: Towers

On this day, 9/11, the Twin Towers came crashing down. These were incredible strong towers! I’ll never forget our entire nation experiencing shock together at the same time. The Lord has built a tower for us that cannot fall down because He holds it up. This is the greatest tower, taller and stronger than any other. We are safe! God protects the righteous. Of course none of us are righteous, but righteousness comes as we surrender to God more deeply each day. Our life of righteousness begins as we invite Jesus to forgive us and guide us through this passage of life. This is only the first stepping stone. There are times we sprint into God’s strong tower! I’m grateful and know that no matter what happens I have a strong place of refuge. Earthly evil has the ability to take down towers built by mankind but nothing can take down God’s tower.

The name of the Lord is this Tower. I reside in this Tower and am safe in Jesus name. Yes, I may die but I will not grieve my own passing as I’ll be stepping into an unfathomable perfect realm God has created for me. I invite you to come into God’s Tower. Live the life God desires for you. This is the greatest righteousness we can achieve, giving our lives to God. Earthly safety and security will fail us. Step into God’s Tower and experience the peace that comes, even in the face of great danger. It’s one of God’s great blessings for us.

Devotional Thoughts: Useless

Yes, we can physically accomplish things on our own, but this verse highlights how God is vital in our homes and cities. Mankind can do all he chooses but the Lord is all powerful and if we do not give God watch-care over our homes and cities what we do is done in vain. It produces no result and is useless. Feeling useless can feel terrifying to some of us as we feel we know what we are doing. We cannot see what God sees.

I can do many things on my own without God but I am more terrified of leaving this place and declaring all my efforts were useless. Leave God out of the equation and you may have successes here on earth but those things will be useless in the span of eternity.

How do we avoid this happening in our lives? Cast down our idols of greed, fame and fortune! Obey God and follow Him and our lives will produce great everlasting fruit! Do the right thing, especially when it’s hard! Rearrange priorities. Get things straightened out now. Don’t waste another day.

Give God all you have. God will make your home a beautiful place. God will bless your obedience. Dare to invite God to build your house. Let go and follow the leadership of the Greatest One. Only then will we see what true success is. You’ll be given new eyes and new direction. Build my house Lord! Watch my city!

Devotional Thoughts: Do Not Fear

Fear. It is able to overtake us, disengage us and throw us off course if we aren’t careful and standing guard. Fear is not from God. Scripture tells us to fear not or to not be afraid about 365 times to be exact! That’s once a day for an entire year we can read a different verse telling us to do the same thing: do not be afraid.

We envy the brave. Brave stories inspire us. I’m sure everyone we consider brave has been afraid but they fought through fear, set their feelings aside and were brave anyway. If we truly trust we have no fear. God is the only one truly worthy of our full trust. History is full of inspirational stories of followers of Jesus who lived this verse out. Joan of Arc, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther, any Christian featured in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and this list continues to grow and grow. It’s our turn to be brave. This is our time. This is my day!

People who live in fear do not make progress. Fear steers us backwards. If I succumb to fear I lose. If I press on I win. As people of faith we cannot fear evil. Evil has been defeated in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Evil will not win. I’m just temporarily stuck in the in between, waiting, yet pressing on and pushing forward. Feeling constrained today? It’s time to approach the Throne and ask for our fear to be overcome in Jesus name! We must trust, believe and obey. We can cast off fear, start walking and the more we walk we’ll eventually want to run. Do not accept fear as your lot in life. Nobody was created for the purpose of living their whole lives in fear. God can settle our hearts if we invite Him in and allow Him. Trust. Let go of your need to control. God will do a better job anyhow!

Devotional Thoughts: Judgement & Rejoicing

Such foreshadowing! We cannot leave out verse 15 that precedes this one, “The Lord has taken away the judgements against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.”

The Lord is the only One who can remove sin and judgement. Earthly men think they have power. Preposterous! Mankind can judge as they please but I know only the judgement of God matters. When judgement is removed and enemies are cleared away then we can celebrate verse 17, that God is in our midst, God rejoices over us, God quiets our hearts with His love. No, we do not deserve this. That is what makes God so amazing: grace and mercy. Without him we are just our mistakes, our mess ups, our bad choices and sins. The world can say what they want but I look different in the eyes of my Maker because He sees me through the eyes of Jesus, the Savior and Redeemer. All bad is wiped out and defeated. Let’s grab onto the message here in Zephaniah. The King wins. Period. My sin and enemies do not overcome me because I gave my life to The King, Jesus.

This giving of my life to God brought a peace and quiet to my soul. He gives the kind of love that leaves no void in my heart. There’s no greater love so there’s no need to search any further. Contentment and joy preside. Now I can sing. Now I can dance. Now I can believe God rejoices over me. God is in our midst.

Devotional Thoughts: Free to be a Slave

No matter what happens in this life I know I live in freedom in my soul, the part of me that will live forever. I can say this with confidence because I have given my life over to God. I have surrendered, plead for forgiveness and strive to live as God commands. There’s a wild irony that presents itself in the lives of Christians. We are free, yet we are servants and slaves at the same time. “Idiocracy!” You might shout! This makes sense only to those who are a part of God’s Kingdom, believers who have also surrendered their lives. We are sharp as iron, unable to be stamped out. Kill us, but you cannot kill the soul. We serve a loving and perfect Master who has our best interest at heart. We are His bride.

As free people we have the freedom to choose anything but of course there are still consequences to our actions. Taking our freedom for granted and using it to do evil is a slap in the face to God. Those in our culture who think, “I can just keep on sinning because God will forgive me,” do not understand God at all. They only comprehend a small portion of what it means to be a believer, a Christian. Those are missing out. Some of these muddy the perception others have of the Christian Faith. We ought not judge God based on imperfect human followers who haven’t fully surrendered their lives to God. I imagine there will be many as the scripture tells us who think they know God but they do not. Please do not confuse these two kinds of people.

I am free! I am forgiven! What I do can leads others towards God or away from God. I am accountable. I accept responsibility. Step into the Light, expose your soul to God. Be transformed and experience this freedom. You’ll never be the same. God awaits.

Devotional Thoughts: Iron

Many have sharpened me over the years and I hope I’ve sharpened others as well. Nobody get sharpened if meeting together is neglected. To those who say they do not need a group of believers to meet with, every day your fullness will take over and eventually you can lose your faith.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

I cannot become sharper if I’m not living out my faith in community. We need each other! God did not create us to live in isolation. Do not give up meeting together, Paul teaches us.

A retired pastor and friend encouraged me frequently and did so with tears in his eyes many times. He would also sit in my office and cry saying his daughter wasn’t involved in a faith community. She doesn’t know what she’s missing, he would say. We would pray together and ask God to bring his daughter into a church family. Charles passed away and I feel the void of a great encourager gone but I continue on in faith. His daughter is active in our church family, shares her faith online and has been on several mission trips since his passing! His prayer is answered and she is a great blessing to others!

If another iron isn’t sharpening you and you aren’t sharpening another you’re missing out on the great joy that comes in living in Christian community. I urge you to connect. Yes, there are disagreements in churches. Paul addressed many different topics of these in his letters. Other humans are not a good reason to walk away from God. Let’s sharpen one another today. Let’s reach out to those who do not understand our God and help them experience Christian community.

Lord, I pray for the Christian who lives in places where your people are not welcome. Send them divine encouragement today. Strengthen their faith and provide all they need to be a light in great darkness, in Jesus name, Amen.

Devotional Thoughts: Warriors We Are!

Moses speaks to Israel towards the end of his life. His words ring true for us today. Warriors of the Kingdom, we are to be strong and courageous! What we do is not for ourselves but for God almighty! The Israelites are to be led by Joshua into the promised land. Old Testament culture dictated that the nation with the strongest God will win the battle.

I’ve been engrossed in the show Vikings on the History channel. This show displays ancient cultures at war with one another. Whether the gods are pleased or not is a topic of everyday conversation. If Odin is with them they know they will win the battle.

Missionary friends tell me conversations of gods are normal and regular in the countries they live in. This isn’t the case for us in the USA. One who mentions God is a fanatic, a weirdo and can be thought of as ignorant and uneducated. Universalism is leading us to say we, the humans are god.

One of the Viking leaders, Ragnar, is perplexed by a Christian monk he kidnapped and enslaved. This monk, Athelstan, becomes the ruler’s best friend. Ragnar is forever changed by his relationship with Athelstan.

This reminds me I’m a warrior too! Like the Vikings who conquered just for the sake of conquering I can conquer whatever is coming my way in life. My God is with me and will reign forevermore! My God is not like the Viking gods who turn their faces away and abandon their people. My God has made promises and will always keep them.

How can we be strong and courageous today? Thankfully I’m not standing on a literal battlefield today, but I am. I can fight this fight to live as God desires me to live or I can disengage, slump back and retreat. Nobody wants to be the wimp. Strength to fight can only come from God Himself. Let’s get marching!

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