Weekly Devotional

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Each person should desire to grow closer to God, understand His will for their lives and do this by a deeper study in God's Word. Study tools provide a way to supplement personal Bible study.  Each week, the devotional posted will focus on a section of Scripture. We encourage you to make daily Bible reading and study a part of your daily routine.

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"...but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" 2 Peter 3:1

In His Time

Posted in Weekly Devotional

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (II Peter 3:8).

As finite beings, our lives are bound up in time. Each of us had a beginning (Psalm 139:14) and each of us will have an end (Hebrews 9:27). In between these two events are moments in time that are measured in units such as seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, and, in rare instances, centuries. To help us measure time, we employ clocks and calendars. To help us mark moments in time, we commemorate events such as birthdays and anniversaries. We are time conscious. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. There are many matters in life that must be addressed in a timely manner, the most important of which is our salvation (II Corinthians 6:2; Romans 13:11). The trouble that we often face, however, is when we try to fit the timeless God into our limited timeline and expect Him to work things out on our schedules.

The struggling Hebrew Christians were told, "For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise." (Hebrews 10:36). Serving God involves trusting Him (Proverbs 3:5). It involves faith (II Corinthians 5:7). It involves patience (James 5:11). God will bless the faithful with what is most needed. He always has and always will. He is providentially active in this world (Ephesians 3:20). May we learn to be more patient and trusting and may our hearts be open to learn the lessons He wants us to learn while we wait for Him to work in His time.

 

 

Verses For Daily Study

Questions For Daily Introspection

Day 1

Psalm 9:10

How can I demonstrate today that I trust God?

Day 2

Hebrews 13:5

What evidence do I have that the Lord is with me?

Day 3

Acts 24:25

Why is it dangerous to wait for a "convenient time" to obey God?

Day 4

Ecclesiastes 7:8

What are some blessings in my life that took time to develop?

Day 5

James 1:5-6

How can I keep from getting discouraged when my prayers are not answered how and when I want them to be?

Day 6

Psalm 27:14

Why did the Psalmist in this verse repeat his admonition to wait?

Day 7

I John 5:14-15

How often does God answer the prayers of the faithful?

More Than Can Be Numbered

Posted in Weekly Devotional

Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." (Psalm 40:5).

How many blessings have you received from God? When did you last take the time to count them "one by one"? The Psalmist declares that God's wonderful works are beyond our ability to number. Every day we are immersed in them, be they physical or spiritual. Lamentations 3:22-23 says that God's mercies and compassions are new every morning. Truly, every day we have an endless number of reasons to thank God for His bountiful blessings.

Beyond the endless wonderful works mentioned in Psalm 40:5, we note that the Psalmist praises God regarding His thoughts toward us. They, too, are without number. Consider the depth of this for a moment. God thinks about us. The omnipotent, omnipresent God thinks about us. The Psalmist would later write of God's intimate knowledge of each of us (Psalm 139). Jesus echoed this sentiment in Matthew 10:29-31. As great and mighty as God is, He nonetheless thinks deeply and seriously about us. Not only that, His thoughts toward us, like His wonderful works, are without number. His thoughts lead to the blessings that He bestows for He wants only what is best for us both here and in eternity (II Peter 1:3 and 3:9).

A daily exercise for each of us should be taking time out to think about the One who is thinking about us. We will run out of time before we run out of blessings to count.

Verses for Daily Study
Day 1 Matthew 6:33 What material blessings has God provided for me today?
Day 2 James 1:17 What did James mean when He said that there is "no Variation or shadow of turning" with God?
Day 3 Psalm 13:6 Think of songs that we sing in which we praise God for His blessings.
Day 4 Ephesians 3:20 Think of a situation in your life in which God blessed you more than you expected.
Day 5 Psalm 68:19 What can I do today to show God my love and appreciation for His bountiful blessings?
Day 6 Psalm 92:5 Who do I know who is not a Christian? What can I do today to lead that person to God?
Day 7 Ephesians 1:3 What spiritual blessings has God provided for me today?

Christ Head over the Church

Posted in Weekly Devotional

Remember Paul prayed that both we and the Ephesians might have the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, what is the greatness of His power” Ephesians 1:17-19.
And then notice the power of which he speaks. It is defined for us in v. 20 as that which raised Christ from the dead. It was His mighty power that raised Christ from the dead. But the real message for us in this passage is, as Christians, we have that same power working in us. Now if God raising Christ from the dead is a demonstration of Great Power, and it was, He is telling us through Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, that same power is available to us.

Now God wasn’t finished with Christ at this point, He exalted Him seating Him at His right hand “in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Vs.20,21.

Another part of that exaltation was putting all things under His feet...He is Lord of all --- heaven, earth, hades, hell, angels, governments, and all. Matthew 28:18; 1 Timothy 6:15.

He is also head of the church. Probably one of the most important thoughts here is that simple fact. He is “head over all things to the church”. Ephesians 1:22 The idea of fulness signifies that which is filled. The church is filled (not just an allotted sample) by Christ with blessings and salvation. And being head of the church He is the final authority. There is no council, synod, assembly, board of men who can suppose to make laws or rob Christ of His authority. Surely the most important thing we can do in obedience to Christ is to acknowledge that authority. And probably, in our time, the thing most notably missing is the recognition of that authority. Especially in its worship, its laws, its plan of salvation, its moral standards.

Christ has only one body, (Ephesians 4:4) thus there is one head and one body (Romans 12:4) And Paul says we are all members of one body

 

Scripture for follow up


Ephesians 1:22-23

Ephesians 1:17-20

Matthew 28:18

1 Timothy 6:15

Ephesians 4:4

Romans 12:4-5

 

The God Who Satisfies

Posted in Weekly Devotional

The God Who Satisfies

 

"I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it." (Psalm 81:10). Some commentators have suggested that the imagery of this verse is that of a baby bird opening its mouth in anticipation of being fed by its mother. If that's the case, then it's easy to see the point being made by the Psalmist. The mother bird will give her baby just what it needs and she will give it to her chick in a timely fashion. The baby bird need not look anywhere else to satisfy its hunger.

Sometimes it seems that mankind is looking everywhere but to God for satisfaction in life. We pursue our own gods, drugs, hedonism and even atheism in a search for meaning and happiness. Through the Psalmist, the Lord said, "I have all you need and will provide it for you, but first you have to look to me." This is an oft-repeated truth in God's Word. God has promised to fill those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). Peter wrote that the Lord has given us "all things that pertain to life and godliness." (II Peter 1:3). Speaking of spiritual satisfaction, Paul wrote that we are complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10).

God supplies all of our needs, be they material, emotional, intellectual or spiritual. In Him and in Him alone can be found total satisfaction if we will look to Him and humbly obey Him.

 

 

Verses For Daily Study

Questions For Daily Introspection

Day 1

Ephesians 3:20

What are some of the blessings that I am enjoying from God at this moment?

Day 2

Psalm 23:5

What did the Psalmist mean when he said, "My cup runs over"?

Day 3

Ephesians 1:3

What can I do today to help people see that all spiritual blessings are in Jesus alone?

Day 4

II Timothy 3:16-17

How does God's Word help me become complete or mature?

Day 5

Judges 2:12

Why do some follow other "gods"? What can I do to lead them to the one true God?

Day 6

John 10:10

How does Jesus give abundant life?

Day 7

Isaiah 45:22

How can I show others today that I am looking to God?

How To Be A Child Again

Posted in Weekly Devotional

Children are very important to God.   Several times Jesus has to remind His disciples just how important they are.   “The Kingdom of God is made of such,” He tells them.   As a matter of fact, in Matthew 18, verses 1 through 3, Jesus tells His disciples that unless they become like little children they can’t enter the kingdom of heaven.   Children are innocent, accepting, they put their trust in their fathers.   That’s the nature God wants of those in His kingdom.   Not mind-numbed robots, as some would have you believe, but children who listen to the wisdom, accept the grace and grow in stature.   Want to know how to be a child again?   Grab your Bible and take just a minute each day to see what God has in His Word for you.

Matthew 18:1-6

Matthew 18:10

Proverbes 22:6

Matthew 21:16

Psalm 8:2

More on Paul's Prayer for the Ephesians

Posted in Weekly Devotional

More on Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians

Ephesians 1:17-19

Paul prayed that the Ephesians might be given the Spirit of wisdom; that they might be led deeper and deeper into a knowledge of eternal truths. We noticed previously that there were some necessities, basics, that must be there first in order that we might be led into that deeper knowledge. Having those basics: independent thinking people, a powerful pulpit, and a love for meditating on the Word of God; let us continue in looking into that prayer and add a couple of thoughts that Paul added.

First a fuller knowledge. Perhaps this is part of that spirit of wisdom that we spoke of earlier. Surely this is a specific knowledge of Him. That knowledge of Christ must be an ever growing knowledge. Growth in knowledge is essential to be a Christian. Any man who follows any profession knows that he dare not stop studying. A doctor knows that a new drug or treatment may very well be introduced any day that would save the life of his next patient. No lawyer is worth his salt if he stops studying when he leaves law school. No teacher, dentist, etc. is of any value if he quits studying and improving. And this is certainly true of the Christian. We never know all there is to know about Jesus. There is always more to be learned and thus the need to study.

And there is the realization of Christian hope. We live in an age of despair... it seems to  be customary for all to speak of the tragic state of affairs of this world. We openly wonder how much longer this can go on. There are pessimistic sounds everywhere. But in spite of those Paul wants the eye of the hearer to see the hope that is in Christ. It is the hope of his calling. Why and how were you called to be a Christian. The hope upon which that call is based is that which should sustain us every day. 

And then we should see the riches of the inheritance in the saints. Primarily Paul speaks of the beauties of felllowship. He isn’t talking about after awhile or heaven, but he is talking about the joy of Christians being together. Jesus’ promise of John 10:10 is that we may have “the abundant life.” He wasn’t talking about after awhile, in the bye and bye. He was talking about the here and now.

Read Hebrews 5:12-6:2

Ephesians 1:3

Tempted Like Us, Yet Without Sin

Posted in Weekly Devotional

"For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15). The fact that Jesus was tempted but did not commit sin simply boggles the mind. On a daily basis, we are bombarded with appeals from Satan to do his bidding. He offers us things that satisfy the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (I John 3:16). We have enough difficulty not giving in to just one of the devil's temptations. Being able to conquer evil thoughts and deeds day in and day out throughout life is practically unfathomable; yet that's exactly what Jesus did. He "committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth." (I Peter 2:22).

As Christians, we appreciate the sacrifice Jesus made in coming to earth in the flesh (Philippians 2:5-8). We also appreciate the price that He paid for us on the cross (Romans 5:9,10). Let us never forget, though, the years between His birth and death, burial and resurrection. The blood He shed on the cross would not have had the power to remit sins had He not defeated each and every temptation thrown at Him. (Hebrews 7:24-28). What marvelous discipline, what focused determination, what matchless love Jesus demonstrated in the face of each temptation! Think about how challenging it is to overcome temptation, then think about Jesus doing this to perfection, and then remember that He did it all for you and me.

 

John 16:33

How can knowing that Jesus overcame the world help me deal with life's troubles?

I John 4:4

How does God show that He is greater than "he who is in the world"?

Ephesians 6:10-18

What tools has God given to help me overcome temptation? How can I use those tools today?

Romans 6:23

Where would I be without the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Revelation 2:10

How long does God expect me to remain faithful to Him?

II Timothy 4:7-8

What is awaiting me at the end of a life of faithfulness to the Lord?

Hebrews 2:14-18

Why was it critical for Jesus to be in the flesh?

 

The Heritage of the Lord

Posted in Weekly Devotional

Ephesians 1:11,12

The picture that Paul paints with his words here is an extremely beautiful one. God has blessed us abundantly. He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. He has chosen us before the foundation of the world. He has predestinated us   (that is all who respond to His great grace) to the adoption of children. He has given us redemption and forgiveness of sin through the blood of Christ. He has make know to us the mystery of His will, which is the gathering of all things together in one... that is in Christ.

The real center of all the purpose of God is Christ. Look at the importance that Paul gives this centrality of Christ

            Verse 3 “all spiritual blessings in Christ.”

            Verse 4 We are “chosen in Him.”

            Verse 5 “Unto the adoption of Children by Jesus Christ.

            Verse 6 We are accepted in the beloved

            Verse 7 “In whom we have redemption.

            Verse 8 “wherein He has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence

            Verse 9 The description of God’s purpose to “make known to us the mystery of His will

            Verse 10 That purpose was to gather all things together in one... In Christ

            Verse 11 “In whom also we have obtained an ineritance.”

            Verse 12 “That we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”

We simply cannot stress too strongly the importance of being in Christ.

We have obtained an inheritance but we shall not fully receive it in this life. It is reserved in heaven for us. (1 Peter 1:4). Our inheritance is double barreled in that we have the best of life now (John 10:10) and then an inheritance that does not fade away reserved in heaven for us. Now we do not here receive the solution to all of our problems instantaneously... but we do receive the strength to solve them.

All Christians should be to the praise of His glory. But Paul is specifically speaking of Jews in this verse. They have had the advantage of being close to God, they expected the coming of the Messiah... now they ought to be ready. The same thought would apply to us today. We have been promised the return of Jesus, we ought to be ready.

The Earnest of the Spirit

Posted in Weekly Devotional

Ephesians 1:13, 14

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, the praise of His glory.”

Notice the change of the pronouns in Verse 12. First it is “we” and then in verse 13 it is “you”. It is first the apostles and then the Gentiles to whom Paul is writing. But notice the order of the progress of their faith. They “trusted” after they had heard the gospel. That seems reasonable doesn’t it? Surely they could not trust in something they knew nothing about. But having heard now they could believe. Isn’t that what Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” They could not believe if they had not heard the gospel. Now with the word “believe” is implied other acts of obedience. In Acts 2:38 when those who had heard the Word of God were “cut to the heart” and cried out “what shall we do?” Peter “said to them, ‘repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 5:32” We are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Thus the Holy Spirit would not be given until that person had obeyed the gospel completely. We should never get the order of the plan of salvation turned around... It is always the same. We must hear first, and then trust or believe, as the basis of obedience.

There is another vital happening that occurs at this point. We are “sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise.” Official papers are often stamped with a seal. A Notary Public will officially stamp papers to guarantee their genuineness. When we heard the Word of truth, believed it, and obeyed the commands, which, of course, includes baptism (Galatians 3:26-27; Acts 2:38) God gave us of His Spirit.Now that Spirit living in us produces evidence; Love, joy, peace longsuffering, gentleness,goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. It is these characteristics that stamps and seals us as being God’s property. It ought to be obvious to anyone who associates with a Christian that he is sealed with God’s Spirit.

Now further that Spirit is an earnest (down payment) of our inheritance. Only a hint of what is waiting.

Follow up Scripture:

Ephesians 1:13, 14
Romans 10:17
Acts 2:38
Acts 5:32
Galatians 3:26-27
Acts 2:38
1 John 3:2

Holy and Blameless

Posted in Weekly Devotional

In Ephesians 1:4 Paul has noted the bounty and location of God's blessings. "All spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." He now turns to two great thoughts ...notice them.

"Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world." Notice first of all that the choosing was in Him. ...the antecedent of the pronoun is Christ. Christ is the location of the choosing. Those who are in Christ are chosen. Surely it was not a choosing of individuals...or the invitation of the Lord would be a farce. Whosoever will, would only mean those who have previously been chosen.  And that is surely not true. If it is true then we would never have the power of choice, we could not choose to be in Christ. The choosing would be done for us before the foundation of the world. The message of Paul is that God before the foundation of the world... was willing to choose those who would avail themselves of the opportunity of salvation in Christ, thus enter the locality of that salvation, all spiritual blessings, to be in the body of Christ. Those are the chosen. Whosoever will enter Christ are the chosen.

Secondly, notice what he chose concerning us. "That we should be holy." The word "holy" is from the Greek word "hagios" which is "difference" or "separation". A thing which is holy is different from the ordinary. A Temple is different from ordinary buildings. And it is holy because it is different.  A priest is holy because he is different from other men. 2 Peter 2:5 "You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

God chose the Christian because he is different.

In the first century the early Christians knew they must be different, in fact so different that in all probability they would be persecuted or,  at least, hated for being different. We somehow have come to the idea that as long as you go on living a decent, respectable life, it is quite alright to become a Christian because you don't have to be so very different from other people."

But it is a difference that we must manifest within the world. Jesus said that we "are in the world but not of the world." That's a difference. Our difference must be seen wherever we are; at work, at school, in the home, or anywhere else.

Are you different from the world?
 
Follow up scripture:

Romans 12:2  
Deuteronomy 28:2
1 Corinthians 9:23
Romans 16:16
1 Corinthians 3:17