Tag Archives: daily devotionals

A Life Exposed

When I was a kid, there was a boy who lived in my town named David. I didn’t know him, but I knew of him because I had seen him on the news often. They talked about him at my school and we were encouraged to draw pictures and send him letters. David wasn’t like everyone else. He had a disease that gave him a weak immune system. In order to help him survive, they created a sterile chamber for him to live in. Everything that went into the chamber had to go through a seven day sterilization process. He became known as David the Bubble Boy.

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David never got to have skin to skin contact with anyone. His parents and doctors had to wear special gloves to touch him. He never got to experience the feeling of grass under his toes or to feel the wind on his face. His whole life was spent in that sterile environment. It was psychologically difficult for him to be able to see others interact and express love through touch knowing he could not. He struggled with being contained in that environment knowing that there was more to life than being in a bubble.

We have to be careful ourselves that we don’t live in a spiritual bubble trying not to get infected by the world. We were not meant to live our entire lives in the safety and confines of the church. We were called to go into all the world and to preach the Gospel to everyone. We can’t go if we are afraid that we will be exposed to sin and therefor be susceptible to it. Jesus took a lot of hear from the Pharisees because He would go to the homes of sinners and love them. He didn’t care if a person was unclean. He reached out and touched them because that’s what we all need.

The Pharisees had built a spiritual bubble for themselves. They thought it made them holier than anyone. What it did was separate them from their mission. Jesus looked at them and said, “Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.” We can separate ourselves from everything evil in this world and look the part of being righteous, but until we get out there and do the will of God, we are doing nothing more than living in a bubble. If we are to follow Christ’s example, we are to get out of those bubbles and minister to those who need it most.

Life in the bubble is nice for a while. There’s no risk, no chance of failure and no fear. The problem is the Gospel doesn’t flourish in a bubble. It only grows when it’s exposed to the outside world and sin. It can only touch the lives of those who touch it. It cannot be contained and therefor neither can you or I. We must break out of our safety bubbles and risk our lives for the Gospel. We are going to run the risk of failure, but we can’t let failure stop us. Every person that rejects the Gospel from you gets you one person closer to one who will accept it. Every life you touch will have a seed planted in it or a seed watered. We have to be about the Father’s business and we can’t do it in a bubble.

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First World Problems, Third World Realities

As I was driving home last night, I noticed the car in front of me. Their passenger side door was partially opened. Fearing the worst that could happen, I changed lanes and went to pass them. As I got beside them, I noticed why the door was open. They had a TV in their backseat that was wider than their car. I thought, “First world problems.” Then I glanced over to the right and saw Target and Best Buy’s parking lot. They were completely full and people were driving around looking for a place to park. “More first world problems,” I thought.

I’m not against having things or Black Friday shopping. I’ve just had my perspective adjusted by the realities of how the rest of the world lives. God has blessed us beyond measure and we don’t even realize it most of the time. He has opened the windows of Heaven on us and poured out blessings so much that we just assume this is how it’s supposed to be. The reality is that 80% of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day according to GlobalIssues.com. That’s just over $3,000 a year. Sure the cost of living is less, but not so much that you can have quality things at that rate.

I’m not going to ask you to give up a coffee a day or to give to some great cause. I’m simply going to ask you to be thankful for what God has given you. Acknowledge Him as the source of your income and be mindful of the blessings He’s given to you. Understanding the realities that other people live in helps adjust our perspective of the “problems” we have here. Knowing that there are still people in the world that don’t have running water or electricity in their homes to keep them warm should help us to be more thankful. We should believe the saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

We truly have a lot to be thankful for. As you shop today, this weekend or holiday season, keep in mind that you are able to do so because God has blessed you. The long lines you’re in for great deals could very well be long lines to get food or clean water. Instead of complaining because of all the craziness, thank God you have more than enough and can go shopping for all these things. Our first world problems are nothing compared to the third world realities. Our inability to recognize God’s blessings could lead Him to shut those windows and open them on someone else. Stop today and truly give thanks.

Free Friday will resume next week.

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Reaping Where You Haven’t Sown

Today is the last day before the official holiday season. From now until the end of the year we’ll be bombarded by Christmas commercials, mall Santa’s, bell ringers and sales at every store. Everyone wants the money in your pocket because this is when we spend like no other time of year. Today, I just want to take a deep breath and relax in the calm before the crazy begins. I want to purpose in my heart that I won’t let all those other things get in the way or ruin the real reason for the Christmas season. Before I go, go, go, I want to thank the one who came.

A young girl sang a song in church on Sunday that asked the question, “Where’s the line to see Jesus?” It talked about the lines in the stores and the lines to see Santa, but where are the lines of people to see Jesus? We’re willing to camp out for great deals, stand in long checkout lines and endure cold weather, but complain when the sermon goes 5 minutes over. We wonder why our nation doesn’t turn to Jesus and we pray for an awakening, but we’ve got to wake up first.

I’m not against all the sales, standing in line or camping out. I’m just asking, “When is the last time we sacrificed for God? When have we truly given up something important for the advancement of the Kingdom?” I look at my life and wonder why there’s so little fruit, it’s because I’m planting in one vineyard and trying to reap in another. It doesn’t work that way. Not only will we reap what we sow, but we will reap it where we sow it. We can’t plant seeds of selfishness and expect to grow trees of righteousness. We can’t sow our time in things that don’t matter and expect a return in the eternal. Yet we do and then wonder why God isn’t bringing in a harvest.

If we want to have God move in our churches and nation, we’ve got to sow the seeds of time in prayer. If we want to reap a harvest of souls, we’ve got to sow effort in helping our communities. We can’t stand by the church door, ring the bells or put on amazing media presentations in the church and hope they’ll come. The law of God has always been about sowing and reaping. The Church has always understood that until this generation. We are expecting to reap without having sown. We are expecting an increase without having decreased. We are expecting gain without the pain.

Where does God want you to sow seeds in this holiday season? How can you water seeds that have already been planted? Are you ready to harvest? Look around you while you stand in long lines. You have a captive audience to plant seeds. God is looking for those who are available to work in the vineyard. He’s willing to pay full wages even if we don’t work the whole day. It’s up to us to see the opportunities, to say yes to His will and to begin planting seeds that will bring a harvest.

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Loving Your Neighbor

How would your life be different if you really cared about others? Think about it for a second. We say we care about others, but do our actions reflect that? Right after Jesus told us what the Greatest Commandment was, He said, “The second one is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Loving your neighbor is as equally important as loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. So why is it easier to love God that way, but not our neighbor?

I’m the same as you. I’ve got neighbors I like and ones that I don’t. They mow their grass at inappropriate times, they host parties until 4 AM, they don’t keep up their yards or houses and they aren’t friendly. Jesus didn’t allow for those excuses here. He didn’t say love them if they’re easy to love. He said love them as you love yourself. If you would do something for yourself, you should be willing to do it for your neighbor. You should put their needs above yours.

I know this isn’t easy and I’m guilty of not loving my neighbors as I should. If we’re serious about our faith and we’re serious about seeing God’s Kingdom grow, we’ve got to shift the focus from ourselves and onto others. In Luke 10:29, someone asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” He then told them the parable of the Good Samaritan. When He finished, Jesus asked, “Which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” They replied, “The one who showed mercy.” Then Jesus told us to go do the same.

Loving our neighbors, as illustrated in that parable, isn’t just those who live next to you. It’s anyone you see or come across who is in need. We are to love them and do for them what we would do for ourselves if we were in that situation. I saw a man yesterday sitting outside the 99 cent store playing guitar with his case open for money. I asked my wife, “Why is he sitting outside the 99 cent store and not in front of a store where people who have money are?” Her reply was, “He knows they carry cash.”

The more I think about it, the more I realize that the people going in there are more likely to give to him than someone at an expensive store. Even though they only have a little, they’re more willing to give. Most people who have money aren’t willing to let go of it easily. Jesus illustrated that in the Good Samaritan as well. The people who should have helped the man who was robbed, walked by on the other side of the street. The one who no one thought would help, put the man on his own donkey and walked to the next town. He took care of the stranger’s wounds. He paid for his food, lodging and medical bills. He loved his neighbor the way we’re supposed to.

What neighbors in need has God put in your life that you’ve passed up constantly? Who can you show mercy to today? I think there’s no better way to show God we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength than to love others who need it most like we love ourselves. How would your life change if you really loved others that way? How would your relationship with God grow if you did? Open your eyes today to see what neighbor God puts in your path and then love them the way you love yourself.

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