Tag Archives: short devotion

Iron Sharpening Iron

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)

You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17 (MSG)

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Bad News And Good News

When someone says, “I have bad news and good news,” which do you ask for first? A lot of people ask for the bad news first. They know they’ll react to it and then hope the good news will lift their spirit. Our reaction to bad news though, says a lot about our faith. It’s hard not to be devastated based on the news we receive, but God asks us to trust the truth of His Word over the truth of our circumstance.

In Luke 8, a man named Jarius wanted Jesus to come and heal his daughter. While they were on their way, some people from Jarius’ house came and told him that his daughter had died. He was devastated. In verse 50, Jesus tells Jarius, “Don’t be upset. Just trust me and everything will be all right. (MSG)” Jarius’ faith was being tested. Was he going to believe the report of others or what Jesus was saying? He allowed Jesus to come to his house and his daughter was raised from the dead.


We each hear bad news in our lives. The question is if we allow that to affect our faith. So many times when we hear that something is incurable, malignant, life threatening, serious, unavoidable or impossible, our faith takes a hit. We have to believe that what Jesus said to Jarius, He says to us. Don’t be upset. Just trust Him and everything will be all right. Things may not always turn out like we expect. We may only get bad news. Even if there’s no good news accompanying the bad, there still is good news. It’s that God is still in control and in the end, it will be all right.

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Equal Access

  
Have you ever worked for a company that uses a badge or FOB system to be able to get through doors? I have. All doors require you to use a badge to get through them, even the bathrooms. In a system like this, your badge may only get you access to certain rooms. Some badges have access to everything. When you don’t have access to something, you go around looking for someone who does so you can get what you need.

Some Christians feel like Christianity is that way. They feel their level of access to the Father is determined by the level of their faith. They think they have access to the Outer Courts, but not to the Throne Room where God is. The truth is that God doesn’t use a badge system. Each of us have complete access to Him whenever we need Him. We don’t have to rely on someone more spiritual or with a higher clearance to let us in.

Ephesians 2:18 says, “He (Christ) treated us as equals, and so made is equals. Through Him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father. (MSG)” Jesus puts us on equal terms when it comes to having access to the Father. You and I can walk boldly into the Throne Room of God because we have been given access by Jesus. God wants to be accessible to us and made a way for that to happen. Don’t be afraid to open the door, walk through, approach the throne and to make your requests known. You have equal access to Him as Jesus does.   

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10 Scriptures On Virtue

 

1.   For the righteous LORD loves justice. The virtuous will see his face. (Psalms 11:7 NLT)

2.   A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman–who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. (Proverbs 31:10 AMP)

3.   If you are sensible, you will control your temper. When someone wrongs you, it is a great virtue to ignore it. (Proverbs 19:11 GNT)

4.   The wicked bluff their way through, but the virtuous think before they act. (Proverbs 21:29 NLT)

5.   For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV)

6.   Shun youthful lusts and flee from them, and aim at and pursue righteousness (all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word, and deed); [and aim at and pursue] faith, love, [and] peace (harmony and concord with others) in fellowship with all [Christians], who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22 AMP)

7.   Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14 NIV)

8.   Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 MEV)

9.   You have loved righteousness [You have delighted in integrity, virtue, and uprightness in purpose, thought, and action] and You have hated lawlessness (injustice and iniquity). Therefore God, [even] Your God (Godhead), has anointed You with the oil of exultant joy and gladness above and beyond Your companions. (Hebrews 1:9 AMP)

10.   Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives. (Titus 2:1-6 MSG)

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He Is Near

  
If you’ve ever had a baby who slept in a different room than you, you’ve probably used a monitor of some kind. My son is four and we still use one with him. If something happens in the night, he can call out to us and we will head to His room to help him. Even though he can’t see us, he knows that we are close enough to hear him. He has faith that when he needs something, if he calls out to us, we will come meet that need. It’s not so different for us as believers. Our Heavenly Father monitors us and hears us when we call out for help.

Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him sincerely and in truth. (AMP)” There are times in life when we can’t see God or feel his presence. We may be walking through one of the darkest times of our life, but God has not abandoned us just because we can’t see Him. He is there watching over us, listening to our hearts as we make our way. Often, we try to do it on our own. We want to prove we are strong enough to handle anything, but we don’t have to.

God is waiting for us to call out to Him in our time of need. In Matthew 14, after Jesus fed 5,000 with the five loaves and two fish, Jesus sent the disciples across the Sea of Galilee by themselves. Verse 24 says, “Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land. (NLT” It was about three o’clock in the morning. It was pitch black and they found themselves in a storm scared to death. You’ve got to know they cried out to God for help in their time of need. They couldn’t see Jesus because of the rain and darkness, but He never lost sight of them.

Verse 25 says that Jesus came walking toward them on the water. Then He spoke the words that He speaks to you and I today, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here! (NLT)” Just like when my son calls out in the night and I call back to him, so Jesus does with us. His voice reassures us we are going to be ok even if we can’t see Him. We can take courage because He will never leave you or forsake you. He won’t let you face the unknown alone. He is near to those who call on Him.

I’m not sure what you will face today or have been facing, but I do know that you are not alone. In your darkness, in your storm of the unknown, Jesus is walking on water calling out to you, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here.” He sees you even when you can’t see Him. He is working for your good through all of turmoil, through all of the uncertainties and problems. His voice is louder than the storm you’re in. His spirit can give you peace no matter what you’re up against. All you have to do is call out to Him and know that He is near. He won’t let you face this alone.

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Know God, No Worry

I find myself thinking about the future a lot. I can easily get lost going down the rabbit hole of what could happen. Sometimes I get there from trying to figure out my future and all God has planned for me. Sometimes I get there by trying to figure out how everything in the news lines up with the Bible so I can figure out where we are in the end times. Then there are times when I’m pressed with life choices and decisions and I worry so much about making the right decision. I find that those thoughts take up a lot of time and energy.

When that happens, I remind myself of a few things. The first thing comes from holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom. She said, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Profound words like that help put me back into place. They remind me that God has given me the strength to handle today’s problems. They also remind me that when I start to worry over things that haven’t happened, I’m not really trusting God with my future.

That thought leads me to something else she said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” If we know God, we don’t have to know the future because He already does. The more we worry about what may or may not come, the less faith we have in the One who, we have given our lives to. Essentially we are telling God either that we know better than He does or that we don’t trust Him to take care of us. Either way, we are wrong. God is not going to be surprised by what happens tomorrow because it’s already history to Him. He has been preparing you each step of the way to give you the strength you need to face whatever comes your way.

That then reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:34, “So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.(GNT)” When we worry, we are directly disobeying Jesus. In the verses before, He reiterates how much each of us are worth to God. He tells us that the Father knows everything we need and that we should trust Him. Worry isn’t what moves God, faith is! Quit trusting in your own wisdom or thought process and trust in the One who knows your future and provides for your every need. When you do, you’ll find the peace your mind needs and the strength your body craves.

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Remember To Rebuild

I love the book of Nehemiah. To me, it represents the struggle of life. It shows the emotions of a life that has its share of ups and downs. It lets us know that one person can make a difference in a city and a nation. It gives us hope that we can accomplish great things when God gives the vision and the burden. It gives a great example of teamwork and how people can work together for a common goal. It also challenges our faith and pushes us to a deeper trust in God through fasting and prayer. 

In chapter 4, the people were working to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. They were making great progress, but there were those who were angry about it. They plotted to attack and confuse those who were working to rebuild. They remind me of the people who want to keep you in a state of ruin. They fight progress in your life at all costs. The old saying goes, “Misery loves company.” Those who are miserable will do everything they can to keep you from rebuilding. They want you to stay in the shambles of your life and prevent you from moving forward. They stand in the way of what God called you to do, but you can’t let them.

Nehemiah wasn’t going to let people like that deter him. He knew God had called him to rebuild. Verse 9 tells us how he fought against those who wanted to hold back progress. It says, “But we prayed to our God and kept men on guard against them day and night.” He didn’t pray alone and he wasn’t a watchman alone. He used the word “we”. In rebuilding, you’re going to need a team around you who can pray with you and for you as well as to help stand guard over your life against those who would drag you down and slow your progress. You’re going to need someone who can be honest with you and stay up all night praying if needed.

Even though Nehemiah had the help, the people still got discouraged from the attackers. They started focusing on the work instead of the vision. In verse 10, the people began to sing, “We grow weak carrying burdens; there’s so much rubble to take away. How can we build the wall today?” When we lose sight of God’s vision in our lives, our daily work becomes a struggle. A wall or life isn’t rebuilt in a day. It’s rebuilt one bag of rubble at a time. It’s rebuilt one brick at a time. Even though it can be destroyed in an instant, it takes time to rebuild. Don’t get caught up in the burdens of rebuilding wanting quick progress. Remember God’s vision of what could be and continue the work.

Helping people remember the vision and who gave it is how Nehemiah rallied them. In verse 14 he said, “Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers and sisters, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” He had to remind them how great our God is and why it’s worth rebuilding. In the next verse, it says that they returned to their work. They quit worrying about those standing in the way of progress and quit focusing on the day to day operations because they remembered it was God who called them. That same God gives us the increase when we pick up a brick and start to rebuild.

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