DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY
God’s Hand of Blessing
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. JAMES 1:17 In the midst of the Lord’s Prayer are these familiar words: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). They remind us that we are dependent on God for everything, and He is the giver of every blessing. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). Some people say, “Why should I pray for my daily bread? I can take care of my own needs!” But listen: If it weren’t for God’s love and grace, you wouldn’t have anything. We need to pray this prayer every day, because we need to be reminded to trust God in everything. This prayer reminds us also of Jesus’ words: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger” (John 6:35). Thank God for all His gifts—especially Christ, the greatest gift of all.
DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND
The Faithfulness of God
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. – Hebrews 13:5–6
For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” At times in our spiritual walk we feel as though all of heaven is shut up before us. We find ourselves wondering whether God has forgotten us or we have done something to disappoint Him. But nothing we do surprises God. He is omniscient and perfectly in tune with our every thought. God has chosen to love you, even in sin, with an unconditional love. His love is based not on your performance but on His grace. You could never in your own strength perform up to God’s standards. He loves you just as much when you stumble and fall as He does when you closely follow Him. This is not an excuse for sin but an opportunity to learn to love Him better. Along the pathway of faith each of us can expect to face times of trials and difficulty when it appears that God is distant and removed from us. Yet we walk not by sight but in the reality of the promise that He will never leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5–6). Faith always looks beyond the immediate to the eternal. The times you feel God is doing nothing in your life are usually the very times He is doing His greatest work. Be of good courage; He may simply have you protected under the cover of His hand while He works out the necessary details for your advancement. Trust Him, and you will find Him faithful.
DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER
You Cannot Change My Love
Dear child of mine.
As you were growing up in this imperfect world, you learned that if you were a good little child, you would be loved. This is the kind of love the world is famous for. It is called “conditional” love because it comes with conditions – with strings attached. It is love you must work and strive and struggle to earn. But it is not real love. It is a counterfeit – a cheap forgery of a priceless masterpiece.
My love is real and unconditional. It cannot be earned. Try to understand this truth, for it will deeply affect the way you live your life: You cannot make me love you more by anything you do or do not do. And you cannot make me love you less by anything you do or do not do.
Take a minute and read those two sentences again. If you are willing to allow my deep, true, unconditional love to seep down into your wounded spirit, that love will make you whole. And from the endless stream of love I shall put within you, true repentance will flow. Then you will live a good life, not in order to make me love you, but because I already do love you! You will be set free to live with joy and abandon. You will be released to love others with this same kind of love.
Does it sound too good to be true? Dare to believe it. Open your heart to receive it. You will never be the same.
Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar
15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
Psalm 96: 1-9
1 Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of his[a] holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth
DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST
Look Again and Think
Do not worry about your life . . . —Matthew 6:25
A warning which needs to be repeated is that “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches,” and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us (Matthew 13:22). We are never free from the recurring waves of this invasion. If the frontline of attack is not about clothes and food, it may be about money or the lack of money; or friends or lack of friends; or the line may be drawn over difficult circumstances. It is one steady invasion, and these things will come in like a flood, unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the banner against it.
“I say to you, do not worry about your life . . . .” Our Lord says to be careful only about one thing-our relationship to Him. But our common sense shouts loudly and says, “That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, and I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.” Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing yourself to think that He says this while not understanding your circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things to the point where they become the primary concern of our life. Whenever there are competing concerns in your life, be sure you always put your relationship to God first.
“Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). How much trouble has begun to threaten you today? What kind of mean little demons have been looking into your life and saying, “What are your plans for next month— or next summer?” Jesus tells us not to worry about any of these things. Look again and think. Keep your mind on the “much more” of your heavenly Father (Matthew 6:30).