DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY
Our Loving, Compassionate God
I am the bread of life. JOHN 6:35
Jesus came to the world so we could know, once and for all, that God is concerned about the way we live, the way we believe, and the way we die.
God could have told us in other ways, of course—and He had, throughout the pages of the Old Testament and in the lives of His people. By His written Word He declared His love.
But Jesus was the Living Word. By His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus demonstrated God’s love in a way we could never deny. Paul wrote, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
Every time He fed the hungry, He was saying, “I am the bread of life.” Every time He healed a suffering person, He was saying, “It hurts Me to see you in pain.” Every move He made, every miracle He performed, every word He spoke was for the purpose of reconciling a lost world to the loving, compassionate God.
DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND
Do Not Grow Weary
As for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. – Thessalonians 3:13
At various points throughout history, some Christians have been accused of being too teleological in focus. That is, they emphasized the life to come and their ultimate destination of heaven to the exclusion of concern for this present world. You have probably heard this comment: “He is so heavenly minded, he is no earthly good.”
In Paul’s day in the church at Thessalonica, many believers took this warped emphasis to the extreme. They were convinced that Jesus was returning at any moment, so they ceased working and waited for Him. You can imagine what chaos the imbalance caused within the early church, with some believers working harder and carrying the load for the others.
Second Thessalonians 3:12–13 (NASB) contains this reproof: “Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.”
It is all right to look forward to spending eternity with Jesus after we die and leave this earth; He wants us to eagerly anticipate His generous blessings to come. Yet the here and now matters to Jesus too. He wants you to grow in His fellowship, maturing and strengthening and becoming a better-equipped representative of His grace to a lost world.
DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER
Cry Out To Me
Cry out to me. Ask me what you will. Do not let others discourage you or dissuade you from seeking what you need from me. Be specific. Tell me exactly what you want me to do for you. And ask in the name of Jesus, my Son. Ask believing. Don’t put your faith in faith, for faith in and of itself cannot help you. Instead, pout your faith in me – in my willingness to heal and my power to change things.
Cry out boldly. Ask specifically. Use the name of Jesus. Have faith in me. And like the blind man of Jericho, you will receive what you need.
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
3 You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant,
4 ‘I will establish your line forever
and make your throne firm through all generations.’”
19 Once you spoke in a vision,
to your faithful people you said:
“I have bestowed strength on a warrior;
I have exalted a young man from among the people.
20 I have found David my servant;
with my sacred oil I have anointed him.
21 My hand will sustain him;
surely my arm will strengthen him.
22 No enemy will subject him to tribute;
no wicked man will oppress him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
and strike down his adversaries.
24 My faithful love will be with him,
and through my name his horn will be exalted.
25 I will set his hand over the sea,
his right hand over the rivers.
26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, the Rock my Savior.’
DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST
The Teaching of Adversity
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world —John 16:33
The typical view of the Christian life is that it means being delivered from all adversity. But it actually means being delivered in adversity, which is something very different. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling . . .” (Psalm 91:1,10)— the place where you are at one with God.
If you are a child of God, you will certainly encounter adversities, but Jesus says you should not be surprised when they come. “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” He is saying, “There is nothing for you to fear.” The same people who refused to talk about their adversities before they were saved often complain and worry after being born again because they have the wrong idea of what it means to live the life of a saint.
God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. The strain of life is what builds our strength. If there is no strain, there will be no strength. Are you asking God to give you life, liberty, and joy? He cannot, unless you are willing to accept the strain. And once you face the strain, you will immediately get the strength. Overcome your own timidity and take the first step. Then God will give you nourishment— “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life . . .” (Revelation 2:7). If you completely give of yourself physically, you become exhausted. But when you give of yourself spiritually, you get more strength. God never gives us strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the moment. Our temptation is to face adversities from the standpoint of our own common sense. But a saint can “be of good cheer” even when seemingly defeated by adversities, because victory is absurdly impossible to everyone, except God.