DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY
A Joyful Life
Rejoice in the Lord always. PHILIPPIANS 4:4
When our hearts are surrendered totally to the will of God, then we delight in seeing Him use us in any way He pleases. Our plans and desires begin to agree with His, and we accept His direction in our lives. Our sense of joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment in life increases, no matter what the circumstances, if we are in the center of God’s will.
The Christian life is a joyful life. Christianity was never meant to be something to make people miserable. The ministry of Jesus Christ was one of joy. The Bible teaches that a life of inward peace and outward victory is a Christian’s birthright.
“What a witness to the world Christians would be,” wrote Amy Carmichael, “if only they were more evidently very happy people.” Joy is one of the marks of a true believer. Will others see the joy of Christ in your life today?
DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND
How to Count Your Blessings
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! – Psalm 34:8
When you are asked to count your blessings, your list may not be overwhelming. You struggle to make ends meet; your days are hard. You are grateful for much, but weariness clouds your vision.
Pause to think of this: when you have the Lord Jesus Christ, you have the greatest blessing possible. That is not spiritualizing; it is the bedrock of your existence now on earth and one day in heaven.
In Christ you have the guarantee of eternal life. Life may be unsettling, but a place of unparalleled beauty and joy awaits the one who knows Christ as Savior, Lord, and Life. Heaven is real, and its blessings are sure.
In Christ Jesus you have the Source of true life. He gives love, joy, peace, strength, comfort, hope, and patience. He nourishes your soul and energizes your spirit. Possessions are nice, but they cannot impart life—only Jesus can.
In Christ you have a Friend for all seasons. He understands your disappointments, rejoices in your triumphs, and stands with you in your trials. You can confide in Him, weep before Him, and celebrate with Him. Begin with all you have in Jesus Christ when you count your blessings. Then you will lose count.
DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN
Do Not Give Up
Do not give up. Do not feel defeated or hopeless or down on yourself. It’s true that the awkward circumstances of what is happening look grim to you. It’s true that the outward circumstances of what is happening look grim to you. It’s true that the world feels dreary and dismal tonight, and you feel tired. But don’t dwell on the outward things, on your physical surroundings or the particulars of this situation. These outward things are actually in the process of deteriorating and passing away right before your eyes.
Your life on this planet only lasts a moment. But you yourself are eternal. You are forever because your real life is in me and I am in you. Your body may be aging, but your spirit is “youthening”! As you dwell in me, your spirit person is being vitalized and energized and given new vision.
All the piddling trivia you’re wrestling with is but a blink of my eye. All the difficulties and heartaches you’re struggling with are already in the process of being formed by my hand into a glory that is beyond your comprehension – a glory that is eternal. So don’t keep your eyes glued to the frustrations or the heartaches; lift your eyes to me. See me with your spirit and believe my voice within you now. I’m more real than anything your eyes can see. I am more powerful than anything your hands can touch. I am more lasting than anything your senses can perceive.
I am real life!
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”
A song of ascents.
1 When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. 2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” 3 The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev. 5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. 6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST
Love suffers long and is kind . . . —1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is not premeditated—it is spontaneous; that is, it bursts forth in extraordinary ways. There is nothing of precise certainty in Paul’s description of love. We cannot predetermine our thoughts and actions by saying, “Now I will never think any evil thoughts, and I will believe everything that Jesus would have me to believe.” No, the characteristic of love is spontaneity. We don’t deliberately set the statements of Jesus before us as our standard, but when His Spirit is having His way with us, we live according to His standard without even realizing it. And when we look back, we are amazed at how unconcerned we have been over our emotions, which is the very evidence that real spontaneous love was there. The nature of everything involved in the life of God in us is only discerned when we have been through it and it is in our past.
The fountains from which love flows are in God, not in us. It is absurd to think that the love of God is naturally in our hearts, as a result of our own nature. His love is there only because it “has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit . . .” (Romans 5:5).
If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it is a sure sign that we really don’t love Him. The evidence of our love for Him is the absolute spontaneity of our love, which flows naturally from His nature within us. And when we look back, we will not be able to determine why we did certain things, but we can know that we did them according to the spontaneous nature of His love in us. The life of God exhibits itself in this spontaneous way because the fountains of His love are in the Holy Spirit.