DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY
Seek first the kingdom of God. – Matthew 6:33
King George V wrote on the flyleaf of the Bible of a friend: “The secret of happiness is not to do what you like to do, but to learn to like what you have to do.”
Too many people think happiness is an elusive, will-o-wisp thing to be found only by constant pursuit and relentless searching. But happiness is not an end in itself; it is the by-product of something far greater.
Jesus told His disciples: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). The “things” He spoke of were the basic needs of life: food, drink, clothes, shelter.
He told us not to make these things the chief goal of our lives, but to “seek … the kingdom.”
There, if we will take it, is the secret of happiness: “Seek first the kingdom of God…” How do we do this? By submitting ourselves without reserve to Jesus Christ as King of our lives every day.
This is the path to true happiness.
DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND
The Focus Of Your Faith
The Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.
An imperfection in a piece of cloth or silverware may be unattractive but has few functional implications. However, a flaw in the construction of your home or engineering of your car can have serious consequences.
When it comes to the matter of faith, it is wise to periodically examine the spiritual integrity of your trust in Christ. A defect in this area can impair the quality of your relationship with the Lord and your response to His leadership.
Ask yourself these questions: Does God or my personal concerns occupy the center stage of my faith? Am I more interested in knowing what the will of the Father is, or just what the will of the Father is for me?
If you are not careful, your own neediness can crowd out the centrality of who God is in your walk of faith. Perhaps unintentionally, you allow pressing problems to supersede your chief duty to know God and enjoy Him forever.
Certainly God understands your desire to have your needs met (and He is more than willing to do so). However, he wants you to be supremely occupied with Him, to delight yourself in His personhood.
When the focus of your faith lies in the greatness and grandeur of God, you have little trouble believing He is faithfully and lovingly at work for your well-being.
DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER
My own child,
Trust me today for the words your need to say. Rely on me, and I will supply you with the right words for every situation. Dwell in me, and I will dwell in you. Dwell in
the wisdom of my Word, and my wisdom will dwell in you.
Then, when you are called upon to speak, you will know what to say. The words will come from your heart – words of comfort or words of confrontation, whatever you need.
Whatever situation arises, you will be able to go to the well of my wisdom and draw form the living water of my Word.
Be bold! I am with you, now and always.
Your strength and supply – God
WEEKLY GOSPEL AND PSALM READING
The Authority of Jesus Questioned
Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask,
‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
The Parable of the Two Sons
“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
“‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will,
sir,’ but he did not go.
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering
the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
In you, LORD my God,I put my trust.
I trust in you;do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.
Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good.
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST
Learning About His Ways
When Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples . . . He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities —Matthew 11:1
He comes where He commands us to leave. If you stayed home when God told you to go because you were so concerned about your own people there, then you actually robbed them of the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself. When you obeyed and left all the consequences to God, the Lord went into your city to teach, but as long as you were disobedient, you blocked His way. Watch where you begin to debate with Him and put what you call your duty into competition with His commands. If you say, “I know that He told me to go, but my duty is here,” it simply means that you do not believe that Jesus means what He says.
He teaches where He instructs us not to teach. “Master . . . let us make three tabernacles . . .” (Luke 9:33).
Are we playing the part of an amateur providence, trying to play God’s role in the lives of others? Are we so noisy in our instruction of other people that God cannot get near them? We must learn to keep our mouths shut and our spirits alert. God wants to instruct us regarding His Son, and He wants to turn our times of prayer into mounts of transfiguration. When we become certain that God is going to work in a particular way, He will never work in that way again.
He works where He sends us to wait. “. . . tarry . . . until . . .” (Luke 24:49). “Wait on the Lord” and He will work (Psalm 37:34). But don’t wait sulking spiritually and feeling sorry for yourself, just because you can’t see one inch in front of you! Are we detached enough from our own spiritual fits of emotion to “wait patiently for Him”? (Psalm 37:7). Waiting is not sitting with folded hands doing nothing, but it is learning to do what we are told.
These are some of the facets of His ways that we rarely recognize.