Rest In Jesus

DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY

Jesus Will Answer

He will give His angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways. – PSALM 91:11, RSV

Once a poor Chinese woman went up to the foothills to cut grass. Her baby was tied to her back and a little child walked beside her.

Just as she reached the top of a hill, she heard a roar. Frightened, she turned and saw a mother tigress springing at her, followed by her two cubs.

The illiterate Chinese woman had never attended school or church, but a missionary once told her about Jesus, “who is able to help you when you are in trouble.” As the tiger’s claws tore into her arm, the woman cried out, “O Jesus, help me!” The tiger, instead of attacking again, suddenly turned and ran away.

What “beasts” are attacking you? Chances are you will never be attacked by a wild tiger, but you will be attacked by doubts, fears, worry, loneliness, or despair.

Cry out to Jesus and He will answer you just as surely as the Chinese woman’s desperate cry was heard and answered.

DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND

When in Need

They may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:26

We are likely to think of the obvious—hatred, lust, immorality—as Satan’s primary weapons of temptation and defeat. But our accuser possesses a far more deadly and cleverly disguised agent of spiritual destruction—discouragement.

In times of need, he causes us to dwell on our mistakes, our repeated failures, our constant confession of sins, and our general lack of holiness and unrighteousness. It doesn’t take much on the devil’s part to disillusion us. We are all too well acquainted with our infirmities. Allowed to linger, discouragement breeds despair, which engulfs any sense of godly hope and confidence. Like a battle tank out of gas, we are neutralized on the spiritual battlefield.

If you have experienced this bewildered state, you can disarm the deceiver with this unchanging Bible truth: God’s grace will never fail you.

Christ’s grace saved you. His face smiles upon you even when you stumble. His grace has reserved a place in heaven for every believer that no sin or sins can alter.

His throne is adorned with grace and mercy. As the Son of man, Christ understands your plight. He will never turn you away. The instant you call on Him and thank Him for His forgiveness, discouragement has no room to stand. Go boldly to Him.

DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER

I Am Here For Your Hurt

My dear child,

Are you hurting today?  Under all the coping mechanisms you’ve set up to keep your life in motion, is there a place I you that is bruised and aching, a hidden place in need of healing?

I know.  I can see.  I want to heal you.  It is to the downtrodden and the broken that I come.  Let me in.  Don’t hide the wounded places.  Don’t show me only the shiny achievements and the competent areas of your life.  I am here for the hurt in you too.  I want to bring health to every part of you.  I want to see you flourish.  I want to make you whole.  So when the wick of your candle is smoldering and almost out, cry out to me.  I will send the gentle wind of my Holy Spirit to stir up that flame of life in you.

Compassionately yours. – God

John 16:17-33

The Disciples’ Grief Will Turn to Joy

17 Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”

19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”

31 “You believe at last!” Jesus answered. 32 “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Psalm 3

1 O LORD, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD;
you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
4 To the LORD I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.
5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6 I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.

7 Arise, O LORD!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

8 From the LORD comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST

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.

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Rest In God

DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY

Rest for the Weary

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. MATTHEW 11:28

Few people know how to rest these days. Even on vacation, many people rush to cram in as much as they can before returning to their jobs, where they spend twice as much energy catching up on the work and mail that has piled up in their absence. Many of us need vacations just to rest from our vacations! Perhaps we have been looking for rest in the wrong places.

Jesus said “Come to me … and I will give you rest.” Like peace, rest and contentment can be found only in one place, from one source, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus gives us the ultimate rest, the confidence we need, to escape the frustration and chaos of the world around us. Rest in Him and don’t worry about what lies ahead. Jesus Christ has already taken care of tomorrow.

DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND

Through Troubled Waters

Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:6–7  

You lose your job. Your spouse files for divorce. You discover that one of your children is on drugs. A loved one is diagnosed with cancer and given only six months to live. Such times are extremely disorienting. They strike with such intensity that emotions can be buried beneath a tide of fear and anxiety.

Yet these pillars of truth can help You endure and triumph:

God knows your problems. Your woes have not taken God by surprise. He is aware of every detail of your troubles: “Your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him” (Matt. 6:8 NASB).

God cares about your problems.  God loves you without limit. As the Good Shepherd, He will protect and defend you: “Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s” (2 Chron. 20:15 NASB).

God is able to deal with your problems.  God has the power to handle your problems. Because He knows and cares, He will act according to His wisdom and will: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6–7 NASB).

DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER

Someone Understands

Sometimes you feel that no one understands what you are going through.  Even those closest to you don’t seem to comprehend or care.  I want you to know today that you are not alone.  For I have given you more than a Savior, more than a distant and ethereal high priest who exists above all human experience.  I have given you a friend who has walked through this human life before you.

How well he understands your breaking heart!  How well he knows what it is like to be beaten back by fatigue, plagued by enemies, misunderstood by friends.  Whatever you are struggling with today, he has struggled with that same emotion or feeling.  Whatever your temptation, he was tempted that way, too.  Wherever your feet are on the journey, his footprints are in the road ahead of you.

Never again do I want you to say that no one understands.  Jesus Christ understands, and because he sits at my right hand day and night interceding for you, I am constantly being reminded of your plight.  I encourage you, my child, to come into my presence with boldness and confidence.  Tell me what’s going on.  I have mercy for your sins and grace to uplift you when you are hurting.

You see, I understand too. – God

John 14:1-14

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[a]; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus the Way to the Father

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a] 2 I will say[b] of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge— 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST

Are You Ever Troubled?

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you . . . —John 14:27

There are times in our lives when our peace is based simply on our own ignorance. But when we are awakened to the realities of life, true inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus. When our Lord speaks peace, He creates peace, because the words that He speaks are always “spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Have I ever received what Jesus speaks? “. . . My peace I give to you. . .”— a peace that comes from looking into His face and fully understanding and receiving His quiet contentment.

Are you severely troubled right now? Are you afraid and confused by the waves and the turbulence God sovereignly allows to enter your life? Have you left no stone of your faith unturned, yet still not found any well of peace, joy, or comfort? Does your life seem completely barren to you? Then look up and receive the quiet contentment of the Lord Jesus. Reflecting His peace is proof that you are right with God, because you are exhibiting the freedom to turn your mind to Him. If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself. Allowing anything to hide the face of Jesus Christ from you either causes you to become troubled or gives you a false sense of security.

With regard to the problem that is pressing in on you right now, are you “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) and receiving peace from Him? If so, He will be a gracious blessing of peace exhibited in and through you. But if you only try to worry your way out of the problem, you destroy His effectiveness in you, and you deserve whatever you get. We become troubled because we have not been taking Him into account. When a person confers with Jesus Christ, the confusion stops, because there is no confusion in Him. Lay everything out before Him, and when you are faced with difficulty, bereavement, and sorrow, listen to Him say, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:27).

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God’s Love

DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY

Love Demonstrated

He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. – 1 JOHN 4:10

The word love is used to mean many different things. We say that we “love” the house that we have just bought or that we “love” a particular vacation spot or that we “love” a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We also “love” a certain television program, and we “love” our husband or wife. Hopefully we don’t love our spouse the same way we love a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

The greatest love of all, however, is God’s love for us—a love that showed itself in action. A friend once observed, “Love talked about is easily ignored, but love demonstrated is irresistible.” The Bible says “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Now that is real love! How will you respond to His love today?

DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND

Unconditional Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  – 1 John 4:7

God’s love for you stands unmatched by anything this world has to offer. Only His love can:

  • calm the restlessness of your soul.
  • heal any hatred you have experienced.
  • change worry and doubt to hope and security.
  • resolve the anger and bitterness that come from disappointment.
  • give you a sense of purpose, self-worth, and hope.

God never grows tired of you. He sees the span of your life. His eye is on the potential that your life holds.

He spends each moment completely absorbed in thoughts of you—developing you, molding you, and blessing you.

So often we miss His blessings because we worry about what we should or should not do. Questions fill our minds: Did I do it right? Is God pleased with me?

God loves you, and His love will never change. He has a plan for your life, and you will succeed. The key is to remain focused on Him and not on who you think you should be.

Don’t waste time comparing yourself to others. Many who are single wonder why God has not answered their prayers for a husband or wife. He has. He has given you Himself, and in His timing He will satisfy the longing of your heart in the way that is best for you.

DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER

I Will Wait For You

Dear Child,

You think you understand my love.  But I wonder.  Do you know just how much I love to be with you?  Do you know how much I miss you when you’re gone?  You can turn your back on me and walk away; I’ll wait for you.  You can move to a foreign country; I’ll watch the road for your return.  You can ignore my wishes and wander from my ways.  You can make the wrong choices and listen to the wrong voices and waste every treasure I’ve placed in your hands.  Still my ear will listen for your knock on the door.

Is it you?  I will wonder, and my heart will leap.  Is it my child at last?  And on that day when I see you from a long way off, weary and broken and headed for home, I will rush pout to meet you.  I’ll cover your shame with a cloak of righteousness.  I’ll cook a meal and call my friends and plan a celebration.  And as I look into your face, which is so dear to me, tears will fill my eyes, and I will say, “My child was lost, but now is found!  My child was dead, but now is alive again!

With open arms! – God

John 3:1-21

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving thanks.

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST

God’s Total Surrender to Us

For God so loved the world that He gave . . . —John 3:16

Salvation does not mean merely deliverance from sin or the experience of personal holiness. The salvation which comes from God means being completely delivered from myself, and being placed into perfect union with Him. When I think of my salvation experience, I think of being delivered from sin and gaining personal holiness. But salvation is so much more! It means that the Spirit of God has brought me into intimate contact with the true Person of God Himself. And as I am caught up into total surrender to God, I become thrilled with something infinitely greater than myself.

To say that we are called to preach holiness or sanctification is to miss the main point. We are called to proclaim Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 2:2). The fact that He saves from sin and makes us holy is actually part of the effect of His wonderful and total surrender to us.

If we are truly surrendered, we will never be aware of our own efforts to remain surrendered. Our entire life will be consumed with the One to whom we surrender. Beware of talking about surrender if you know nothing about it. In fact, you will never know anything about it until you understand that John 3:16 means that God completely and absolutely gave Himself to us. In our surrender, we must give ourselves to God in the same way He gave Himself for us— totally, unconditionally, and without reservation. The consequences and circumstances resulting from our surrender will never even enter our mind, because our life will be totally consumed with Him. 

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Peace Be Still

DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY

A Formula for Peace

Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble. PSALM 119:165

God has a plan for peace, and it is found in His Son, whom the Bible calls the “Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). But we have rejected God’s plan. Wars still ravage our world—and our lives.

Why? Jesus said the problem is within us: “Out of the heart … proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:21-22). What a list! Our real war is a rebellion against God—and it brings unending misery.

But God longs to see this rebellion cease. That is why Christ came. By His death He provided the way for us to be reconciled to God. And when we have peace with God, we have peace in our hearts—and peace with each other.

This happens as we repent and receive Christ. The war is over, for God extends a peace treaty to all who come to Christ.

DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND

God’s Message to You

I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  – Jeremiah 29:11

God’s message to you is always consistent with His Word. Therefore, the apostle Paul instructed the churches to read and study God’s Word, knowing it would produce an abundance of righteousness: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Col. 3:16 NASB).

Early believers didn’t have the Scriptures as we know them. They had the Law of Moses and the words of the prophets. Letters (our books of the New Testament) from the apostles were circulated to the churches who taught the words and principles of Christ. Paul knew if the people studied them, they would be equipped to face all temptation and trouble.

Many times we face emergencies that leave us little time to go to the Scriptures and hunt for God’s answer. However, when we study God’s Word, we have the spiritual tools needed to face the conflict.

You may be facing a deep personal loss. God wants you to know He is a God of comfort (2 Cor. 1:3). He has a plan for your life that goes past the immediate hurt (Jer. 29:11). Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, because it will be rewarded (Heb. 10:35).

DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER

Come, Be Renewed

My precious one,

The world you live in is obsessed with staying young.  Every day you see people around you spending enormous amounts of time and energy and money on any scheme that promises to keep them youthful.  Some have mastered the art of looking young on the outside while their spirits within them are withered and old.  They are tired of the uphill struggle of their existence and bored with its routines; they hunger for something more.  Above the roar and the rumble of their stressful lives I am calling them, saying, “Surely, you know.  Surely you have heard I am the Lord, the God who lives forever, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  I give strength t the weary and power to the weak.  Everyone who chases this world’s vain pursuits will grow weary and old.  But those who hope in me will renew their strength.  They will soar like eagles.  They will run and not need rest.  They will walk without growing tired.”

Come to me and be renewed. – God

Mark 1:1-8

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

1 The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

2 It is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”
3 “a voice of one calling in the desert,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”

4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

1 You showed favor to your land, O LORD;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.

8 I will listen to what God the LORD will say;
he promises peace to his people, his saints—
but let them not return to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The LORD will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.

DEVOTIONAL BY SARAH YOUNG – JESUS CALLING

I Am The Prince Of Peace

As I said to My disciples, I say also to you: Peace be with you. Since I am your constant Companion, My Peace is steadfastly with you. When you keep your focus on Me, you experience both My Presence and My Peace. Worship Me as King of kings, Lord of lords, and Prince of Peace.

You need My Peace each moment to accomplish My purposes in your life. Sometimes you are tempted to take shortcuts, in order to reach your goal as quickly as possible. But if the shortcut requires turning your back on My peaceful Presence, you must choose the longer route. Walk with Me along paths of Peace; enjoy the journey in My Presence.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ISAIAH 9 : 6

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” JOHN 20 : 19 – 21

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Our Loving God

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

The Broken Man

The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down. – Psalm 145:14

The minute seed corn that was buried in the ground burst forth into a cornucopia of grain.  Likewise, the Christian stripped of self-sufficiency and entered into a new dimension of life In Christ, is positioned for maximum fruitfulness in the kingdom of God.

The broken man enjoys a new measure of power in the Holy Spirit.  He looks to the Spirit of God to work in and through him, putting no confidence in the flesh.  He is charged with the life and thee energy of the Holy Spirit.

The submitted man is joyful in the Lord.  He is no longer hostage to changing circumstances, riding the ups and downs of emotions or happenings.  The joy of the Lord is his strength.

The yielded man is alert to the needs of others.  God uses him to minister to other hurting people because he is not consumed with his own problems.  He has wisdom and insight to share, not his own futile reasoning.

He still must deal with the trials and ordeals of daily life; but there is a lift to his countenance, a surety about his ways.  He relies wholly on Christ.  He has freedom, liberty, and new devotion to Jesus and His work.

 DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER

I Am Here For Your Hurt

My dear child,

Are you hurting today?  Under all the coping mechanisms you’ve set up to keep your life in motion, is there a place I you that is bruised and aching, a hidden place in need of healing?

I know.  I can see.  I want to heal you.  It is to the downtrodden and the broken that I come.  Let me in.  Don’t hide the wounded places.  Don’t show me only the shiny achievements and the competent areas of your life.  I am here for the hurt in you too.  I want to bring health to every part of you.  I want to see you flourish.  I want to make you whole.  So when the wick of your candle is smoldering and almost out, cry out to me.  I will send the gentle wind of my Holy Spirit to stir up that flame of life in you.

Compassionately yours. – God

 Matthew 25:34-40

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

 Psalm 45:14-20

The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.[c] 14 The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. 18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. 20 The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.

DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST

Test of Faithfulness

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God . . . —Romans 8:28

It is only a faithful person who truly believes that God sovereignly controls his circumstances. We take our circumstances for granted, saying God is in control, but not really believing it. We act as if the things that happen were completely controlled by people. To be faithful in every circumstance means that we have only one loyalty, or object of our faith— the Lord Jesus Christ. God may cause our circumstances to suddenly fall apart, which may bring the realization of our unfaithfulness to Him for not recognizing that He had ordained the situation. We never saw what He was trying to accomplish, and that exact event will never be repeated in our life. This is where the test of our faithfulness comes. If we will just learn to worship God even during the difficult circumstances, He will change them for the better very quickly if He so chooses.

Being faithful to Jesus Christ is the most difficult thing we try to do today. We will be faithful to our work, to serving others, or to anything else; just don’t ask us to be faithful to Jesus Christ. Many Christians become very impatient when we talk about faithfulness to Jesus. Our Lord is dethroned more deliberately by Christian workers than by the world. We treat God as if He were a machine designed only to bless us, and we think of Jesus as just another one of the workers.

The goal of faithfulness is not that we will do work for God, but that He will be free to do His work through us. God calls us to His service and places tremendous responsibilities on us. He expects no complaining on our part and offers no explanation on His part. God wants to use us as He used His own Son. 

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Hope and Love

DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY

Compassion and Love

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:11

Charles Allen once made this statement: Some people seem to have such passion for righteousness that they have no room left for compassion for those who have failed.”

I pray that would never be true for us.  God, our Father, has shown us such great kindness and gentle mercy.

May we ever reach out to the lost in compassion and love to bring them gently to Jesus Christ.  Jesus, “when He saw the multitudes … was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matt. 9:36).

Let me share these lines from an unknown poet:

Just to be tender, just to be true,

Just to be glad the whole day through,

Just to be merciful, just to be mild,

Just to be trustful as a child:

Just to be gentle and kind and sweet,

Just to be helpful with willing feet,

Just to let love be our daily key,

That is God’s will for you and me.

DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND

The Worth of Weakness

He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distress, for Christ’s sake.  For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

In our society, physical strength is the hallmark of success and power. It doesn’t take long to figure out the messages behind countless advertisements for fitness centers, health clubs, and exercise equipment.

Of course, staying in shape and taking good care of your body are worthy, healthful goals with the right perspective (1 Tim. 4:8).  But the underlying assumption of people who value physical training as an ideal in itself is that weakness is shameful.  For them, physical weakness represents who you are as a person: pathetic and helpless and unattractive.

In spiritual terms, weakness carries a far different message.  It says, “I have a problem, and I need a savior who can fix it.”  Weakness becomes an opportunity for God to demonstrate His power on your behalf.

Do weaknesses prompt you to hide or attempt to make changes by yourself? They should be your signal to ask the Lord for the help that only He can give.

Precious Lord, there is intrinsic value in weakness. Help me embrace it, realizing that therein lie dormant strength and unlimited potential for greatness.

DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER

Someone Understands

Dear Child,

Sometimes you feel that no one understands what you are going through. Even those closest to you don’t seem to comprehend or care.  I want you to know today that you are not alone.  For I have given you more than a savior, more than a distant and ethereal high priest who exists above all human experience.  I have given you a friend who has walked through his human life before you.

How well he understands your breaking heart!  How well he knows what it is to be beaten back by fatigue, plagued by enemies, misunderstood by friends.  Whatever you are struggling with today, he has struggled with that same emotion or feeling.  Whatever your temptation, he was tempted that way, too.  Wherever your feet are on the journey, his footprints are in the road ahead of you.

Never again do I want you to say that no one understands.  Jesus Christ understands, and because he sits at my right hand, day and night interceding for you, I am constantly being reminded of your plight.  I encourage you, my child, to come into my presence with boldness and confidence. Tell me what’s going on.  I have mercy for your sins and grace to uplift you when you are hurting.

You see, I understand, too.  God.

MATTHEW 20:1-16

 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

 About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

 The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

 But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

PSALM 145:1-8

 I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.

Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.

They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

They tell of the power of your awesome works— and I will proclaim your great deeds.

They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST

The Never-forsaking God

He Himself has said, ’I will never leave you nor forsake you’ — Hebrews 13:5

What line of thinking do my thoughts take? Do I turn to what God says or to my own fears? Am I simply repeating what God says, or am I learning to truly hear Him and then to respond after I have heard what He says? “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?’” – Hebrews 13:5-6

“I will never leave you . ..”— not for any reason; not my sin, selfishness, stubbornness, nor waywardness. Have I really let God say to me that He will never leave me? If I have not
truly heard this assurance of God, then let me listen again.

“I will never . . . forsake you.” Sometimes it is not the difficulty of life but the drudgery of it that makes me think God will forsake me. When there is no major difficulty to overcome, no vision from God, nothing wonderful or beautiful— just the everyday activities of life— do I hear God’s assurance even in these?

We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing— that He is preparing and equipping us for some extraordinary work in the future. But as we grow in His grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, at this very moment. If we have God’s assurance behind us, the most amazing strength becomes ours, and we learn to sing, glorifying Him even in the ordinary days and ways of life.

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God’s Presence

DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY

God’s Presence

I will be with you always, to the very end of the age. – MATTHEW 28:20, NIV

These words are Christ’s promise to all His disciples, and it is a promise that is marvelously inclusive. No situation is excluded; no challenge is omitted.

Dr. Handley Moule, the noted Greek scholar and Anglican Bishop of Durham (England) in another generation, maintained that the word always could be paraphrased to mean, “I am with you all the days, all day long.” That means we can count on Christ’s presence not only every day, but every moment of every day.

Of the fact of His presence there can be no doubt, for His Word cannot fail. What we need is to cultivate the sense of His presence, every day, every hour, every moment. This happens as we speak to Him in worship and prayer, and listen to Him speak to us through His Word, the Bible.

DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND

Be Still And Know

Be still, and knowthat I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! – Psalm 46:10

The writer of Psalm 46 knew what it meant to face turmoil and tragedy. Wars and violence were very much a part of Old Testament life. Entire nations were wiped out without warning. Imagine the fear and dismay of such perilous times. You may know personally how it feels to abide in the instability of pain and suffering. At times you find yourself longing for something or someone to anchor and steady your hurting heart. Jesus is your anchor. He is your sure hope. The psalmist told us that even though our world appears disjointed, turned upside down, and on the brink of desolation, God is with us. He never abandons His omnipotent station. He is our hiding place when the storms of life lash out at us. He is our abode of trust, covering us with His divine veil of protection when powerful forces attack. Martin Luther captured this thought in the words: “A mighty fortress is our God.” God is our refuge, and He cannot be shaken. How do you tap into His sovereign watchcare? Verse 10 of Psalm 46 (NASB) holds the answer: “Cease striving [be still] and know that I am God.” Lay aside your human effort, and call out to your Eternal Hope—Jesus Christ.

DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER

You Will Find Me

Dear Child,

I am not difficult to find.  I am not trying to elude you or hide myself from you.  I am here, and when you are ready to find me, you will.  You will find me when you seek me with all that you are.  When you are through playing intellectual games and spiritual hide-and-seek.  When you stop trying to create me in your image.  When you stop giving me ultimatums and deadlines and telling me how God should act.

When it’s really me that you want and not some deity of your own design, then you will surely find me.  My name is I AM – the God of power and majesty, the God of justice and mercy.  I am Jehovah – the God of the garden, the flood, the wilderness, and the mountaintop.  I am Abba – the God of Jesus, the God of the cross and the grave, the Resurrection and the Life.  Seek me; you will find me.

I AM WHO I AM. – God

Matthew 7:7-12

Ask, Seek, Knock

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Psalm 95:1-7

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST

The Spiritual Search

What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? —Matthew 7:9

The illustration of prayer that our Lord used here is one of a good child who is asking for something good. We talk about prayer as if God hears us regardless of what our relationship is to Him (see Matthew 5:45). Never say that it is not God’s will to give you what you ask. Don’t faint and give up, but find out the reason you have not received; increase the intensity of your search and examine the evidence. Is your relationship right with your spouse, your children, and your fellow students? Are you a “good child” in those relationships? Do you have to say to the Lord, “I have been irritable and cross, but I still want spiritual blessings”? You cannot receive and will have to do without them until you have the attitude of a “good child.”

We mistake defiance for devotion, arguing with God instead of surrendering. We refuse to look at the evidence that clearly indicates where we are wrong. Have I been asking God to give me money for something I want, while refusing to pay someone what I owe him? Have I been asking God for liberty while I am withholding it from someone who belongs to me? Have I refused to forgive someone, and have I been unkind to that person? Have I been living as God’s child among my relatives and friends? (see Matthew 7:12).

I am a child of God only by being born again, and as His child I am good only as I “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7). For most of us, prayer simply becomes some trivial religious expression, a matter of mystical and emotional fellowship with God. We are all good at producing spiritual fog that blinds our sight. But if we will search out and examine the evidence, we will see very clearly what is wrong— a friendship, an unpaid debt, or an improper attitude. There is no use praying unless we are living as children of God. Then Jesus says, regarding His children, “Everyone who asks receives . . .” (Matthew 7:8).

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God Never Gives Up

DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY

God’s Good Promise

Blessed be the LORD …. There has not failed one word of all His good promise. – 1 KINGS 8 : 56

When we purchase something of great value—a house, for example—we are usually required to put down a deposit to indicate our sincerity and to promise that our intentions are serious. That deposit is a form of insurance, a guarantee that adds substance to our word.

God has made some incredible promises to us—promises that stagger our imaginations. He has promised that we might have a relationship with Him through His Son. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us and to be with us always. He has promised to take us to Heaven when we die. The Bible is full of God’s promises.

Someone might ask, “What insurance do we have that God is serious? How do we know His promises can be trusted?” God’s deposit is the most precious investment anyone could make: His Son, who by His death and resurrection purchased our salvation—completely and fully. Not only is Jesus Christ a sufficient “down payment” on God’s promises, He is, in fact, payment in full!

DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND

God Never Gives Up

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. – Colossians 1:13

When Christ told Peter of his coming denial, Peter stiffened and protested, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away” (Matthew 26:33 NASB).  But Jesus knew the truth.  Peter would deny Him, not once but three times.

Peter’s robust personality vowed never to leave Jesus’ side.  But within a matter of hours he was reduced to fear and hiding form Jewish and Roman officials.  The encouraging message of the Resurrection is that God never gives up on us.

Among Christ’s last words to Peter before His death were words of restoration: “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32 NIV).  Jesus knew Peter would fall, and He loved him anyway.  He gave His zealous disciple hope of future service when He said, “Strengthen your brothers.”

God takes our weaknesses and turns them into points of strength and honor for Himself.  Jesus was totally committed to Peter.  He knew Peter would suffer a bitter defeat, but there was an event coming that would revolutionize his thinking – the Resurrection.

Imagine Peter’s amazement as Jesus stepped into the Upper Room the night of His resurrection.  The joy Peter experienced was there because of the love and acceptance Christ portrayed.  This same love is yours today.

DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER

I Am Drawing Good From Bad

Dearest Child,

Everything in your life can be used as a part of my plan for good.  Yes, even the bad things.  Even the very situation that you think is intolerable or hopeless or unredeemable.  Trust me.  This thing, too, will work together for your good and my glory.

How is that possible?  It is possible because you love me, because you have been called to walk in my ways, and you have answered yes to that call.  Even now I am in the process of drawing good from the bad.  I am committed to taking whatever evil comes into your life and bringing good out of it.

All things will work together for good.  Not just some, but all.  Even your own failures and faults are areas of sin are opportunities for me to work.  Commit them to me.  Confess them.  Put them under the blood of my Son.  Even these things will give you cause to praise me.

Trust me in this. – God.

Matthew 5:1-12

The Beatitudes

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Psalm 145:13-20

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.

The Lord is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.[a]
14 The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and loving toward all he has made.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST

The Overshadowing of God’s Personal Deliverance

. . . I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord —Jeremiah 1:8

God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally— “. . . your life shall be as a prize to you . . .” (Jeremiah 39:18). That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives. Our personal property and possessions are to be a matter of indifference to us, and our hold on these things should be very loose. If this is not the case, we will have panic, heartache, and distress. Having the proper outlook is evidence of the deeply rooted belief in the overshadowing of God’s personal deliverance.

The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on a mission for Jesus Christ, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?” If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter, whether it is just or unjust. In essence, Jesus says, “Continue steadily on with what I have told you to do, and I will guard your life. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance.” Even the most devout among us become atheistic in this regard— we do not believe Him. We put our common sense on the throne and then attach God’s name to it. We do lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts (see Proverbs 3:5-6). 

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The Good and the Best

DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY

God’s Kind Of Strength

They shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

Never in history have the nations of the world possessed so many lethal armaments, so many ways to bring death and destruction to the human race. Some of our most brilliant minds spend their entire lives developing new and more sophisticated ways to destroy life.
But have all our weapons brought us lasting security?  On the contrary; if anything, they have made the work less secure.  At any one time at least thirty wars rage in various parts of the world, in addition to countless instances of civil unrest.  I am reminded of the false
prophets of Jeremiah’s day: “’Peace, peace’, they say, when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 8:11, NIV).

In the midst of an uncertain and threatening world, however, we can have peace.  It comes from putting our trust in the living God.  Isaiah’s words – written in a time of great upheaval – still speak to us today: “Those who wait on the lord shall renew their strength; … they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND

Good: An Enemy Of The Best

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).

During the fifties, a television program aired called “The Life of Riley.”  You may remember watching it.  The idea was to portray a life that anyone would want to live.  During the opening credits, the start of the show was shown lying back in a hammock with is arms folded behind his head, while others hurriedly cut grass and cleaned the yard behind him.  However, as the story unfolded, viewers quickly saw how unpredictable life  can be.

The tragedy is that many people spend a lifetime trying to live the life of Riley.  They opt for what appears fun and pleasurable rather than God’s best.

Life at its best is not a lifetime void of trouble and pain, but a lifetime of joy and peace.  The experiences we encounter along the way lead to deep wisdom and personal knowledge of divine hope and grace.

Dear heavenly Father, good is good, but best is better.  I don’t want
to settle for anything less than the best. You chose what is right for me.

DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN

I Made You For A Reason

The Lord spoke his word to me, saying: “Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart…” – Jeremiah 1:4-5

You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’sbody.  I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. – Psalm 139:13-14

My dear child, I created you for a purpose.  There is a specific reason for your life.  You are important to me.  When circumstances or people in your life make you feel insignificant, remember that you are of great value and significance to me.  I knew who you would be before you were even born.  While you were still in the womb, I was putting you together according to my own design.  I formed you exactly as you are.
Don’t you see?  I didn’t make any mistakes when I made you.  You are wonderfully made!   Iam filled with pride over you, my precious one!  Be at peace with yourself.  I love you as you are.
You are you.  You are mine!

Love, God

WEEKLY GOSPEL AND PSALM READING

Matthew 16:21-28

Jesus Predicts His Death

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Psalm 26

Vindicate me, LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered. Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.
I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites. I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked. I wash my hands in innocence, and go about Your altar, LORD, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.
LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.

DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST

The Good Or The Best?

If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left —Genesis 13:9

As soon as you begin to live the life of faith in God, fascinating and physically gratifying possibilities will open up before you. These things are yours by right, but if you are living the life of faith you will exercise your right to waive your rights, and let God make your choice for you. God sometimes allows you to get into a place of testing where your own welfare would be the appropriate thing to consider, if you were not living the life of faith. But if you are, you will joyfully waive your right and allow God to make your choice for you. This is the discipline God uses to transform the natural into the spiritual through obedience to His voice.

Whenever our right becomes the guiding factor of our lives, it dulls our spiritual insight. The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best. In this passage, it would seem that the wisest thing in the world for Abram to do would be to choose. It was his right, and the people around him would consider him to be a fool for not choosing.

Many of us do not continue to grow spiritually because we prefer to choose on the basis of our rights, instead of relying on God to make the choice for us. We have to learn to walk according to the standard which has its eyes focused on God. And God says to us, as He did to Abram, “. . . walk before Me. . .” (Genesis 17:1).

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Pass It On

DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY

Pass Along Comfort

Blessed be the God… of all comfort. –  2 CORINTHIANS 1:3

A dear friend and trusted counselor once told me that sometimes the greatest test comes to us when we ask God the question, “Why?”

As Charles Hembree has pointed out, “In the full face of afflictions it is hard to see any sense to things that befall us, and we want to question the fairness of a faithful God. However, these moments can be the most meaningful of our lives.”

Alexander Nowell once said, “God does not comfort us that we may be comforted but that we may be comforters.” We are to pass along the comfort with which God has comforted us.

Look around you. There are countless opportunities to comfort others, not only in the loss of a loved one, but also in the daily distress that so often creeps into our lives. One of Paul’s companions on some of his missionary journeys was named Joseph, but “the apostles called [him] Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement)” (Acts 4:36, NIV). Will you be a Barnabas to someone today?

DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND

The Cost of Discipleship

Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. – Luke 14:27

Jesus certainly knew how to drive away a crowd. When He spoke of wholehearted commitment and absolute surrender to His mission, the multitudes melted away. The only ones left were those who recognized that He spoke the words of life, uncompromising yet loving truth about what it means to really know Him.

Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest about the kind of total absorption Christ wants us to have:

There is no such thing as a private life, or a place to hide in this world, for a man or woman who is intimately aware of and shares in the sufferings of Jesus Christ.

God divides the private life of His saints and makes it a highway for the world on one hand and for Himself on the other. No human being can stand that unless he is identified with Jesus Christ. We are not sanctified for ourselves. We are called into intimacy with the gospel, and things happen that appear to have nothing to do with us.

But God is getting us into fellowship with Himself. Let Him have His way. If you refuse, you will be of no value to God in His redemptive work in the world, but will be a hindrance and a stumbling block.

Jesus wants all of your devotion, not just a portion. You cannot have other priorities plus Jesus. He is the priority.

DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER

I’ll Give You The Right Words

My own child,

Trust me today for the words you 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

Luke 10:25-37

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Psalm 40:1-5

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man
who makes the Lord his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, O Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.

DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST

The Compelling Majesty of His Power

The love of Christ compels us . . . —2 Corinthians 5:14

Paul said that he was overpowered, subdued, and held as in a vise by “the love of Christ.” Very few of us really know what it means to be held in the grip of the love of God. We tend so often to be controlled simply by our own experience. The one thing that gripped and held Paul, to the exclusion of everything else, was the love of God. “The love of Christ compels us . . . .” When you hear that coming from the life of a man or woman it is unmistakable. You will know that the Spirit of God is completely unhindered in that person’s life.

When we are born again by the Spirit of God, our testimony is based solely on what God has done for us, and rightly so. But that will change and be removed forever once you “receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you . . .” (Acts 1:8). Only then will you begin to realize what Jesus meant when He went on to say, “. . . you shall be witnesses to Me . . . .” Not witnesses to what Jesus can do— that is basic and understood— but “witnesses to Me . . . .” We will accept everything that happens as if it were happening to Him, whether we receive praise or blame, persecution or reward. No one is able to take this stand for Jesus Christ who is not totally compelled by the majesty of His power. It is the only thing that matters, and yet it is strange that it’s the last thing we as Christian workers realize. Paul said that he was gripped by the love of God and that is why he acted as he did. People could perceive him as mad or sane-he did not care. There was only one thing he lived for— to persuade people of the coming judgment of God and to tell them of “the love of Christ.” This total surrender to “the love of Christ” is the only thing that will bear fruit in your life. And it will always leave the mark of God’s holiness and His power, never drawing attention to your personal holiness. 

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