Tag Archives: Devotion

Your Daily Bread

In Exodus 16, the Israelites were in the desert on the way to the Promised Land. They were tired and hungry, so they began to complain. In verse 4, the Lord said, “Now I am going to cause food to rain down from the sky for all of you. The people must go out every day and gather enough for that day. In this way I can test them to find out if they will follow my instructions” (GNT). For the rest of their time in the wilderness, the people went out every day to get manna from Heaven, taking only what they needed. God did not fail to give them their daily bread, but it was up to them to go get it.

In John 6, Jesus fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and two fish. Everyone had more than enough to eat. Because it was late, many stayed the night there. That night, the disciples went across the Sea of Galilee, and were hit with a storm. Jesus went to them walking on water. The next morning, the people who had been fed were looking for Jesus. When they found him, they asked for another miracle. Jesus wanted them to trust in Him for the Bread of Life. They were stubborn and brought up that Moses fed the people every day in the wilderness. Then Jesus reminded them it was God who provided the bread, not Moses. He went on to say, “I am the Bread of Life. Come every day to me and you will never be hungry. Believe in me and you will never be thirsty” (TPT).

God cares more for your spiritual condition than your physical one. Yes, He cares and provides for our physical needs, but it’s the eternal needs that matter most. Just like our physical body needs sustenance, so does our spirit. Jesus is inviting you and I to meet with Him daily for the manna He provides for our spirit. We can’t be like the people in the Old and New Testaments who are only looking for the temporary things from God that meet our immediate needs. He wants to give you so much more, but it requires you to set aside time to go get it every day. You wouldn’t neglect your physical hunger, so don’t neglect your spiritual hunger. Jesus is waiting for you with your daily bread right now. Ask Him to feed your spiritual hunger and thirst today, then listen for His voice. Taste and see that the Lord is good today. He is the Bread of Life.

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Your Life Verse

A life verse from the Bible is one that speaks to you no matter what season of life you’re in. It’s as if God put that verse in there just for you. When you read it, you’re encouraged. When you need a word from God, you go to it. I had never heard of a life verse until several years ago when someone shared theirs with me. Immediately, I knew what verse mine was. It has spoken to me since I was in school. I memorized it as a child and I still quote it and rely on it to this day. I believe we each need to have verses in the Bible that we can go to or quote at a moment’s notice because of how powerful they are. Here are a few verses I think are good life verses if you don’t have one. If you do have one, I’d love for you to let me know what it is. Mine is this first one.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scoffers; but his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His Law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by the streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all he does, he prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3 ESV

Be strong in the lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9 GNB

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and He will show you the right way. Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong.

Proverbs 3:5-7 GNB

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Speaking In Faith

Several years ago I taught a psychology of sales class. As part of the curriculum, we dealt with the rejection that all sales people face and how to overcome it. One of the methods was to speak out loud positive things about yourself that you wanted to happen. One exercise in particular had participants write down one attribute they wanted to be stronger in. They would get up in front of the group and say, “I am more courageous!” Then the rest of the crowd would shout back, “You are more courageous!” They were then encouraged to keep repeating it at home over and over until they became whatever it was that they chose in order to get it into their subconscious. Psychologists have proven that you can change your behavior, your mindset and even your attributes by creating new neuropathways for your thoughts to travel down. In order to do that, you had to create new paths and those began by speaking out in faith, if you will, about the new way you wanted your brain to think.

The apostle Paul was a person who faced a lot of adversity after he converted to Christianity. He was thrown in prison, he was whipped five times, beaten with a rod three times, stoned, shipwrecked, put in dangerous situations and so much more. If anyone had a reason to speak negatively, it was him. Yet despite all the troubles he had, he held firmly to his faith and spoke words of faith to the churches of that time. He stayed faithful to God despite what his circumstances were. In prison, he sang praises. In storms, he encouraged others, In pain, he trusted in God’s grace. In whatever he faced, he reminded himself that nothing could ever separate him from the love of God. He knew that his words were powerful not only for himself, but for others as well. He wrote many of his letters, which are the books of the New Testament in the Bible, from prison. He understood the importance of staying faithful to God and speaking words of faith in the most trying times. If Paul did it, so should we.

Psalm 116:10-11 says, “Even when it seems I’m surrounded by many liars and my own fears, and though I’m hurting in my suffering and trauma, I will stay faithful to God and speak words of faith” (TPT). Like Paul and this psalmist, you and I must stay faithful to God and speak in faith about all He has done and will do. Many times our situation and circumstances stand opposed to who God is and what we know of Him. In those times, we must trust in the unchanging nature of God rather than what our physical eyes and mind are telling us. We should sing praises and Bible verses out loud to get them into our mind and subconscious. Remember that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Don’t be afraid to read the Bible out loud, to pray out loud and to sing out loud when you feel surrounded by your circumstances. You will find strength, encouragement and faith to keep moving forward and to keep trusting in God’s plan for your life.

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Bouncing Back

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Winning The Culture War Within

When I lived in Egypt, there were no set prices on anything. You could go to the fruit and vegetable stand to buy food, and even though there were prices on everything, you would still have to have a cup of tea and argue how much you would pay for each item. I loved it! Buying groceries would take all day because we didn’t have a grocery store. We had a canned and boxed goods store, a fruit and vegetable one, a meat market and so one. I’d travel all around and negotiate prices of every item even though they were listed. When I returned to the US, I still had that mentality because I had adopted that culture. I went to the mall with my brother, and in stores like Macy’s they would ring me up and say, “That’ll be $42.37.” Without thinking, I’d pop back, “I’ll give you $30.” My brother was embarrassed because I had the Egyptian culture in the US. It took a couple of weeks, but I assimilated back into this culture.

As Christians, we are constantly at war with our flesh and it’s desire to adapt to the culture of the world. We are told to be in the world and not of it. That’s a hard thing to do since we live every day in its culture. Our spirit is constantly at war with the world and it’s customs. We were called to live differently and to stand out, not to blend in. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking” (MSG). Sadly, we all succumb to this culture from time to time because it’s constantly at war with us and human nature likes to blend in. However, if we continue to live like the world and it doesn’t bother us, we may have accepted Jesus with our mind instead of our heart. His Spirit is constantly drawing us to be set apart and live His way, which is at odds with the world’s culture.

The good news is that you and I have His Spirit in us to guide us and to give us victory in how we live. 1 John 5:4 says, “For everyone born of God is victorious and overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has conquered and overcome the world—our [continuing, persistent] faith [in Jesus the Son of God]” (AMP). I love that he said, “Everyone born of God is victorious.” You are included in “everyone”. You can be, and should be, victorious in this culture war by continuing to be persistent in your faith. Remember that Jesus transforms us from the inside out through our mind (our way of thinking) and our spirit (our way of living). If you’re feeling defeated today or too well adjusted to this culture, take heart. In John 16:33, Jesus told us that He has overcome this world and its culture giving us the victory.

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Listening For God

Each year on President’s Day, the pastor of the Church I grew up in would take the men on a day of prayer and fasting. I remember when I was finally old enough to go and got to go on my first trip. Several men from the church had a deer lease not far from town, and that’s where we went. Our day was very structured. There were times of teaching, we would go get alone in the woods, return to discuss and then hear another teaching. On this particular trip, the teachings were about hearing God’s voice. On one of the prayer times, we were instructed to go into the woods, speak a few words of prayer and then listen. That was the first time I heard God speak. I wasn’t sure it was Him until we came back to share and several others had heard the same thing.

I like how my current pastor describes hearing God’s voice. The next time you’re in an auditorium, listen for the air conditioner. When it gets quiet in there, you can hear it. The sound is there all the time, but it’s only when you’re quiet enough and listening for it that you hear it. Too many times, we miss hearing God’s voice because we’re too loud and our lives are filled with peripheral noise. There’s a reason God said in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” When are we ever still anymore? When do we ever go to where it’s quiet and there aren’t any distractions? We’ve grown accustomed to noise so much that our minds crave it. We turn on the radio when we get in the car. We turn on the TV when we walk in the house. We create our own noise without even thinking, and we’re doing it at the expense of hearing God’s voice.

Psalm 81:13-14 says, “O that my people would once and for all listen to me and walk faithfully in my footsteps, following my ways. Then and only then will I conquer your every foe and tell every one of them, ‘You must go!’” (TPT) God is constantly speaking to each of us. He’s not silent, but He is quiet. He’s begging us to once and for all stop and listen so we can go where He’s called us and to follow where He’s leading. In John 10:27 Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (NLT). How can you know His voice or even follow it if you aren’t listening? It’s time to find a place away from the noise in our lives, to put down our phones and to listen to what God is saying. He’s speaking to you this very moment. Are you listening?

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My Will Be Done

I have a friend who has a favorite quote that he has to use often. He plans out his week, prioritizes things and works his plan. All week long people come to him and ask him to stop what he’s doing in order to help them. They give excuses and sob stories to try to get him to stop what he’s doing so he can work on their project. Some will even invoke the boss’ name to try to get him to work on their stuff. “The boss says you need to work on this right away.” He’s learned that rarely has the boss ever asked him to stop what he’s doing in order to do an immediate request. So his normal response is, “A lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on mine.” He then adds them to his list and gets to them later.

Being around him and watching people beg, barter and demand he do their project now always gets me to thinking how often I treat God that way. “God, if you get me out of this, I’ll do better next time.” “God, please! I need you to do this right now! Hurry!” “God, your Word says you have to do this and you can’t be untrue to your Word, so do it in Jesus name!” Sound familiar? I’ve prayed every one of those prayers in the last couple of weeks. I try to paint God into a corner in order to get Him to give me what I want. If that’s the on,y time we’re talking and that’s how I’m treating Him, there’s a spiritual maturity problem on my end. The phrase, “Thy will be done,” often comes to mind in those moment when I want it to be, “My will be done.”

In Psalm 69, David starts his prayer off, “Save me, O God! The water is up to my neck; I am sinking in deep mud, and there is no solid ground; I am out in deep water, and the waves are about to drown me” (GNT). He’s clearly in an emergency situation as he describes throughout this Psalm. However, in verse 13, his tone changes and he prays, “But as for me, I will pray to you, Lord; answer me, God, at a time you choose.” Instead or telling God when to help or even how to help, a sign of maturity is asking God to help in His time and in His way. I often wonder how many of my prayers go unanswered or that I don’t recognize the answer because I tell God how and when to answer, but those aren’t what His plans are. Jesus started the Lord’s Prayer giving God permission to have His will be done. Since He was teaching us to pray, let’s focus on the words we use in our prayers to make sure we’re asking according to His will and not ours.

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You Are Empowered

One of the things I speak to leaders about is the importance of empowerment. Instead of forcing everyone to do things the leader’s way, empowerment allows people to use their unique gifts and talents to accomplish a goal. It gives them the authority to make decisions and act in the best interest of the organization. For many leaders, this is scary because they are control freaks and this releases the controls to the employee. If there is a good vision statement and a set of core values to guide people, then empowering people is one of the best things any leader can do. It removes the restrictive permission based system and unleashes people to reach their potential.

Many times we look at Christianity as being a permission based life, but truly it’s an empowered life. Jesus gave us our vision statement in the Great Commission. We don’t need to be asking God if we should go somewhere, we’ve already been empowered to go. He’s given us His Word to give us our core values that guide us in our decisions, but too many times we’re still sitting on square one waiting for a sign. Each of us have been given authority to do the work of the Kingdom, gifts to accomplish our calling and a purpose. It’s time we quit making excuses as to why we can’t do something and act with the authority we’ve been empowered with to accomplish all He’s given us to do.

Here are some Bible verses on being empowered.

1. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]

Philippians 4:13 AMP

2. Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers].

1 Corinthians 12:4 AMP

3. Wherever I go, your hand will guide me; your strength will empower me.

Psalms 139:10 TPT

4. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.

Ephesians 3:16 NLT

5. So now, Lord, listen to their threats to harm us. Empower us, as your servants, to speak the word of God freely and courageously. Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus!

Acts 4:29-30 TPT

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Following Where God Leads

We all have leaders in our lives. Some of them we trust, and some we don’t. I’ve had some whom i didn’t question. If they said we could walk on water, I’d get out of the boat. There have been some I’ve had that if they told me to go right, I’d think really hard about going left. I’m always working on my leadership skills which means I’m always learning how to build trust. There are thousands of books on how to be a better leader. There are any number of traits you can take too, but not much is out there about how to be a good follower. None of us like to think of ourselves as followers, but we are. To be a good follower, you have to put pride and selfishness away, and trust the one who is leading you.

The Bible is full of verses that talk about how God leads us. It’s also full of men and women who refused to follow where God was trying to lead them. They felt their plan was better or they failed to clarify what they understood of His plan. There are also many people who followed where God led them, and they were blessed immensely. God doesn’t force us to follow where He leads us. It’s always our choice. How well have you been following where He has been trying to lead you? Has pride or selfishness kept you from following? No matter how far you’ve gone in the other direction, it’s just one step back to following where He wants to take you. Learning to follow where He leads is a process each of us are in daily.

Here are some Bible verses on God leading us.

1. From the end of the earth I call to You, when my heart is overwhelmed and weak; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I [a rock that is too high to reach without Your help].

Psalms 61:2 AMP

2. Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.

Psalms 23:4 TPT

3. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.

Psalms 25:5 NLT

4. The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.

Psalm 23:1-2 GNT

5. If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will take hold of me.

Psalms 139:8-10 AMP

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Be Faithful

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Today is my 2,000th post to Devotions By Chris. In a few weeks, I will have been writing devotions for eight years. It’s taught me a lot about being faithful to what God has asked me to do. It has also taught me to redefine what success looks like when you’re doing what God has asked you to do. Success in God’s eyes isn’t measured by subscribers or by clicks. It’s measured by our faithfulness to the ministry we receive from Him. Success is found in being faithful in the little things and doing what He’s asked with all your strength whether you understand the reason or not. Can you obey and be faithful even when it’s difficult and you don’t understand?

My pastor said something that is along these lines. He said, “If you ask God for an Oak tree, He’ll give you an acorn.” God plants seeds of the things He’s calling us to in our hearts. We have to water them and tend to them even when we can’t see anything. Even when it shouts through the ground, you have to stick with it even though it may be years before it’s what you’ve envisioned. In Luke16:10 Jesus tells us that if we’re faithful with the little things, He can trust us with greater things. Managing the growth of an acorn can be tedious at times and unremarkable. No one may notice your efforts or the small steps of growth, but you’re not doing it for others or for those reasons. You’re doing it because it’s what God planted in your heart.

As Paul was wrapping up his letter to the church at Colossae, he tucked in a little note to a minister who may have been thinking of giving up because he wasn’t seeing the growth or success he thought he should. In Colossians 4:17 he told the believers, “Be sure you give Archippus this message: ‘Be faithful to complete the ministry you received from our Lord Jesus!’” (TPT) That’s today’s message to you. Be faithful to what you have received from the Lord even if it doesn’t look like you pictured it. Keep going even if you’re not being successful in the world’s eyes. Your faithfulness is noticed by God, and He counts your obedience as success. You may not change the world, get noticed by anyone or even feel like you’re making a difference at times, but if you will keep doing your part, God will keep doing His.

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