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
Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:18-19
In The Root of Righteousness, A.W. Tozer urged readers, “Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will. Refuse to be average or to surrender to the chill of your spiritual environment.”
As believers, we must live out the truth given to us in Hebrews 11. Our citizenship is registered un heaven where we have an eternal destiny. When we view life with this perspective, our outlook is positive and hope filled.
We are fully alive through Christ Jesus, who lives in us by the power of His Spirit. In fact, we are much more alive now that we have received God’s Son as our Savior than when we walked this earth in physical form only. We are alive eternally to spiritual things that were once beyond our ability to understand.
The Old Testament saints could only imagine what was to come. They lived and died in their faith. However, they were not disappointed. Their devotion to God – and His to them – was sufficient for all their needs.
Are you living as Tozer suggested, keeping your truth firmly planted in the truth of God’s Word, all the while dreaming and thinking of what God has for you in the not-so-distant future? This is the faith that draws you even closer to the reality of God’s precious love. Jesus came that we might have abundant life now – a tiny foretaste of what is to be.
DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER
Come Forth and Live
My own dear child,
Are you going through a dry, desert time? Has your hope evaporated? Do you feel cut off from me and from others? Does your spirit feel more dead and alive? Listen to me now, my child. On your own you have no power to revive yourself – no power to bring life. But what you do have is the power to choose. You can choose today to call upon my Name. You can choose to receive a new beginning form my hand. When you call, I will hear you. I will open the grave of your despair. I will bring you back to the land of the living. And then you will know that I am the Lord, the God who rescues you from the grave. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live. I will settle you in the land of your spiritual inheritance. And you will bear testimony to all who ask that I, the Lord your God, have done it!
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
1 The king rejoices in your strength, Lord.
How great is his joy in the victories you give!
2 You have granted him his heart’s desire
and have not withheld the request of his lips.
3 You came to greet him with rich blessings
and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.
4 He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—
length of days, for ever and ever.
5 Through the victories you gave, his glory is great;
you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.
6 Surely you have granted him unending blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the Lord;
through the unfailing love of the Most High
he will not be shaken.
8 Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies;
your right hand will seize your foes.
9 When you appear for battle,
you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace.
The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
and his fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
their posterity from mankind.
11 Though they plot evil against you
and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.
12 You will make them turn their backs
when you aim at them with drawn bow.
13 Be exalted in your strength, Lord;
we will sing and praise your might.
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.