I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit (Ephesians 3:16).
DAILY DEVOTION, May 14, 2022
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).
How can I receive salvation? Other religions tell you to live right and perform the correct rituals, and maybe God will save you. Some religions teach that God will save you if your good deeds outweigh your sins. Other religions take a “do it yourself” approach to finding God.
Our Christian faith takes a different approach. Nothing we do, no amount of righteous deeds can earn God’s favor. Our salvation rests upon God’s mercy. Mercy goes beyond merit. God saves us by granting mercy to us when we trust in His Son. He regenerates and renews us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Salvation is a gift we do not deserve. What kind of God do you prefer? One who makes heavy demands we cannot keep, or a God of mercy. If you think you can measure up to the demands and requirements of God, good luck. I vote for a God of mercy.
Father, I am so thankful that You are a God of mercy. If I had to earn Your favor through righteous deeds, I would live in fear that I had not done enough. Thank You so much for Your mercy, revealed especially in the sacrifice of Your Son, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Marie’s daily verse:
1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior,
DAILY DEVOTION, May 12, 2022
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).
Paul knows two things. First, he was alive when he wrote the above words. What was the focus of his life? He was living for Jesus. He was serving Jesus. He was proclaiming the name of Jesus all over the ancient world. Yes, he had to do other things just as we do, but he never allowed anything to interfere with his main focus: Jesus. Can we make the same affirmation? Is Jesus the focal point of our lives? With Paul, can you say, “ For me to live is Christ”?
Second, Paul knew he would one day die. His mind was not filled with fear and doubt when he thought of death. Instead, he saw death as a “gain.” He knew that heaven was a vast improvement over this life. Paul suffered much. I think he was looking forward to his final departure. He would escape the pain of this life and enjoy the magnificence of heaven forever. Heaven is the mother of all gains. Trust Jesus, and heaven is yours as a gift of God’s grace. Serve Jesus, and He will reward you in ways we cannot begin to comprehend now. One of our hymns sums it up. “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”
Gracious and loving Father, help me to apply Paul’s simple sentence to my life. I want to live for Jesus. Help me overcome the fear of death and see it as a monumental gain. Great is Your name and greatly to be praised. In the blessed name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).
Where your treasure is there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).
In one of his devotionals, David Jeremiah writes about an ancient parable, “The monkey’s fist.” (Walking with God, p. 13). According to the parable, native tribes would hollow out their coconuts, fill them with bait, then tie them to trees to lure monkeys. When a monkey would reach into the coconut to grasp the bait, his hand would fit into the opening. However, he could not extract his fist once he grabbed the bait. Monkeys are apparently not too bright. Once they have the bait, they hold on for dear life. The result is one trapped monkey!
The lesson is clear. Yes, we need financial resources to survive in this world. Just don’t hold too tightly to money. It will entrap you. Jesus is our most precious treasure. Hold tightly to Him, and He will lead you both in this life and into eternity.
Father, help me get my priorities straight. Thank you for the material blessings I possess. Please help me to hold them loosely while I hold tightly to the real treasure, Jesus. In His name, I pray. Amen.
DAILY DEVOTION, May 10, 2022
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures (James 4:3).
James gives us an important lesson on prayer. While we are encouraged to pray for ourselves, the caution here is not to pray selfishly, seeking only to advance our pleasures. To pray for ourselves that we may better serve Jesus is a good thing. However, to pray for ourselves that we may increase our selfish wants is wrong-headed.
God promises to give us the wisdom and resources we need to live faithful and other-oriented lives. But we must ask with sincere faith, not with the desire to elevate ourselves or satisfy ourselves with pleasures. If God answered our selfish prayers, it would harm us spiritually. God will never do that. So whether we say the words or not, we always pray, “Thy will be done.” Isn’t that what we really want?
Father, I thank You for the privilege You give me to work with You in the world through prayer. May the focus of my prayers be the advancement of Your Kingdom of earth. In Jesus’ holy name, I pray, Amen.
2 Peter 3:9 NIV
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
DAILY DEVOTION, May 9, 2022
My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples (John 15:8, CEV).
How do we glorify God? There are different ways we accomplish this goal. God is glorified when we worship Him, singing songs of praise to Him. God is glorified when we pray or when we gather together at the Lord’s Table. However, the main way we glorify God is by producing much fruit. What does that mean? Apple trees bear fruit when they produce apples. Likewise, Christians bear fruit when they produce other Christians. Our main task as Christians and as a church is to proclaim the saving message to Jesus, drawing others to Him. We do this through our participation in the church’s life as we proclaim the saving message of Jesus and through our outreach giving in support of missionaries. Are we, as a church, bearing much fruit? I think we can do better. Our fruit-bearing is the final proof that we are disciples of Jesus.
Gracious Father, I want to be a fruit-bearing Christian. May my words and deeds point others to Jesus the Savior. In His name, I pray, Amen.