DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY
Looking for Lasting Joy
May the God of hope fill you with all joy. – ROMANS 15:13
How often have you found what you were looking for in life, only to realize it didn’t bring you the satisfaction you thought it would?
It is life’s ultimate frustration—thinking we will find fulfillment in the things of this world. But they can never bring lasting happiness. As one bumper sticker I saw expressed it, “All I want is a little more than I have now.”
We look for love, security, and happiness through our jobs, our possessions, our relationships—but if they really brought lasting joy, wouldn’t we have testimonies to that effect from millions of people all over the world? Instead, we find emptiness, discontent, and hopelessness.
Try putting Christ first and watch how your life is turned around. You will discover that He alone is the source of the love, peace, and joy you have been searching for.
DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND
This is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him ma have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. – John 6:40
Although the Christian life is most certainly a fight of faith, it is not endless striving and straining. There is a monumental difference between abiding in Christ and striving, and understanding the discrepancy can make a major change in the joy, peace, and contentment we experience as we serve Christ.
J. Hudson Taylor, the founder of China Inland Mission, wrestled with the distinction until one day, at age thirty-seven, he saw the total sufficiency of Christ for every need. The catalyst for this liberating discovery was a personal letter from a missionary friend, John McCarthy, who wrote,
To let my loving Savior work in me His will, my sanctification is what I would live for by His grace. Abiding, not striving nor struggling; looking unto Him to subdue all inward corruption; resting in the love of an Almighty Savior. This is not new and yet ‘tis new to me. I feel as though the first dawning of a glorious day has risen upon me. I hail it with trembling and yet with trust.
I seem to have got to the edge only, but of a sea which is boundless; to have sipped only, but of that which fully satisfies.
Christ literally seems to me now the power, the only power for service; the only ground for unchanging joy.
DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER
I Have Glorious Plans For You!
Dear child of mine,
Today the future may look bleak or shadowy to you. But, oh, if you could only see what glorious plans I have for you, you would be rejoicing! These are plans to prosper you and bring you joy, not t hurt you or humiliate you. All that I have planned has been motivated by my deep love for you.
Do not fret or worry about every little detail of my plans right now. They will not be revealed to you today. But as you trust and walk with me one step at a time, I will reveal them to you. Each day you will now what you need to know. And this much I can tell you today: The purpose of my plan is that you be shaped and molded into the very image of my Son. That is the high calling of your life. So hold on through the darkness and trust me. I hold you in the hollow of my hand. Nothing comes to you without passing through the strong right hand of my righteousness. All is well.
Your faithful Father – God
The Vine and the Branches
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
1 Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The LORD has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
4 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.
DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST
“My Joy . . . Your Joy”
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full —John 15:11
What was the joy that Jesus had? Joy should not be confused with happiness. In fact, it is an insult to Jesus Christ to use the word happiness in connection with Him. The joy of Jesus was His absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice to His Father— the joy of doing that which the Father sent Him to do— “. . . who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross . . .” (Hebrews 12:2). “I delight to do Your will, O my God . . .” (Psalm 40:8). Jesus prayed that our joy might continue fulfilling itself until it becomes the same joy as His. Have I allowed Jesus Christ to introduce His joy to me?
Living a full and overflowing life does not rest in bodily health, in circumstances, nor even in seeing God’s work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the same fellowship and oneness with Him that Jesus Himself enjoyed. But the first thing that will hinder this joy is the subtle irritability caused by giving too much thought to our circumstances. Jesus said, “. . . the cares of this world, . . . choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). And before we even realize what has happened, we are caught up in our cares. All that God has done for us is merely the threshold— He wants us to come to the place where we will be His witnesses and proclaim who Jesus is.
Have the right relationship with God, finding your joy there, and out of you “will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). Be a fountain through which Jesus can pour His “living water.” Stop being hypocritical and proud, aware only of yourself, and live “your life . . . hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). A person who has the right relationship with God lives a life as natural as breathing wherever he goes. The lives that have been the greatest blessing to you are the lives of those people who themselves were unaware of having been a blessing.