Daily Devotional

Gifts and Talents

God has placed us to be a beacon of hope on this dark planet. He's given us each gifts. Maybe its money - how are we blessing the world around us with this gift from God? Maybe He's given you the ability to cook or bake, how are you using that ability given by God? It could even be something as simple as the gift of time - what are we doing with our time to bless those around us?

     Jesus has a wonderful place of hope prepared for us. He wants you to be there, but He also desires those around you to be there. How are you using the gifts, talents and abilities He has given you, to prepare those around you for His second coming?  

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He Dwells Among Us

God lives by His Spirit in the midst of His church, and His people become His dwelling place. God adds us like living stones to the building (1 Peter 2:4-6). Lifting Christ before the people, calling them to worship, and inviting them to enthrone Chirst become our goals.

     Even in the midst of corruption, Christ made it His practice to go to church because He could still meet God in His temple. We should not exclude ourselves from church because unholy people go there. People don't make the church holy; the Lord's presence makes it holy. Whether the preacher preaches well or the singers sing on key, God is still God - present with His people, the church, as they assemble each Sabbath.

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Climate Change

Laodicea is not just a concept or a theological idea. It's real, and we are the church of Laodicea. We can't pick the era into which we are born any more than we can pick which country or family we're born into. We have no say in that. For reasons that God alone knows, we've been chosen to live and minister and be disciples of Christ in Laodicea - and this requires patient endurance on our part.

     Maybe God wants to show what it looks like for people to wake up and be on fire in a lukewarm environment. There is a lot of talk about climate change in the global environment; but right now, we ought to be praying for a climate change in the church.

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It's a Done Deal

In Hebrew culture the most awesome figure is the judge. And then there is the goel. He is the one who redeems the property that has been lost. Sometimes by unfortunate circumstance, or if the heirs act foolishly, the property is lost. The goel--a close relative--can take up the case of the unfortunate family. The word goel came to mean "to redeem" or "the redeemer." It is rendered in the King James Version as "kinsman", "redeemer", and "avenger". 

Jesus is the strong Deliverer, the Kinsman-Redeemer. Jesus is our Elder Brother, the nearest of kin. He is the Guarantor. He is our Sufficiency, able to pull it off, take care of business. It's a done deal.

But the surprise is that the Creator makes the church His primary instrument. Enfeebled as it may be! It becomes our business to unmask Satan, disrobe him, call him out for what he is. God chooses human beings, individuals, to be witnesses to the good news that the goel brings justice. . . . Judgment is good news; the people of God preach it and summon the world to prepare for that great day.

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Hearts Humbled in Prayer

Though imbued with the Spirit, the apostolic church is not an example of purity and perfection--the ideal that future Christian generations should strive to reproduce. It is easy to romanticize the early church and think of this period as all flowers and sunshine--a period of peace, harmony, and impeccable piety. 

This perception is misleading, and Acts sets the record straight. We find that the early believers, including the apostles, were entangled with misconceptions, personal conflicts, prejudice, and other human difficulties. They were not infallible, and not all of their actions were right or proved to be a blessing for the church.

What they were able to accomplish in such a short period of time, however, is a perpetual testimony of how powerfully God can work when men and women, despite their limitations and failures, humble their hearts in prayer. . . We should view Acts, therefore, not so much as the story of the apostles' missionary successes but rather as the story of God's mighty interventions through them in planting once and for all His saving flag in the post-Resurrection world, reclaiming humanity for Himself.

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Exercise Living Faith

The follower of Christ must have faith abiding in the heart; for without this it is impossible to please God. Faith is the hand that takes hold of infinite help; it is the medium by which the renewed heart is made to beat in unison with the heart of Christ.

In her endeavors to reach her home, the eagle is often beaten down by the tempest to the narrow defiles of the mountains. The clouds, in black, angry masses sweep between her and the sunny heights where she secures her nest. For a while she seems bewildered, and dashes this way and that, beating her strong wings as if to sweep back the dense clouds. . . . At last she dashes upward into the blackness, and gives a shrill scream of triumph as she emerges, a moment later, in the calm sunshine above. The darkness and tempest are all below her, and the light of heaven is shining about her. She reaches her loved home in the lofty crag, and is satisfied. It was through darkness that she reached the light. . . .

This is the only course we can pursue as followers of Christ. We must exercise that living faith, which will penetrate the clouds that, like a thick wall, separate us from heaven's light. We have heights of faith to reach, where all is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

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No One Forgotten!

If you would like to help someone you know who is grieving the loss of a loved one, please offer to that person a remembrance of the deceased. Tell the grieving person a story of significance to you, or share the impact that individual made on your life. Offering such a remembrance will help reassure the mourning family that their loved one is not forgotten. It will remind us all that every life matters and every life is of great significance. . . .

. . . Every life matters! None are forgotten. Heaven marks each life, celebrates each life, and one day will make public every private, seemingly obscure act of love ever offered on this planet. No one is forgotten in heaven!

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When God Sings

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV).

     This is the Bible's poetic way of telling us that God is very aware of us, very sensitive toward us, and that He is trying to get ideas about His love for us into our heads. So God sings. From just the other side of the thin wall that separates the seen from the unseen, He serenades our hearts, constantly whispering the truth of His love into our consciousness. And as He sings over us, He is hoping we will hear His song and come to know His heart.

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God Is Too Wise to Err

We are so erring and shortsighted that we sometimes ask for things that would not be a blessing to us, and our heavenly Father in love answers our prayers by giving us that which will be for our highest good - that which we ourselves would desire if with vision divinely enlightened we could see all things as they really are.

     When our prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the promise; for the time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive the blessing we need most. But to claim that prayer will always be answered in the very way and for the particular thing that we desire, is presumption. God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly. Do not fear to trust Him.

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The Work of Evangelism

When Jesus goes over to the other side the first time, just one pathetic demon-tormented wretch meets Him. On the second trip to the Decapolis, Jesus arrived and "great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel" (Matthew 15:30,31).

On His second trip, Jesus received a wildly enthusiastic reception. What happened? Well, one man decided he would do the work of an evangelist. Apparently, he wasn't intimidated by this calling to evangelism. He didn't take a pass on "the everyday commission" that Jesus gave him for fear of feeling awkward or rejected.

Instead, he simply told others what Jesus meant to him. And in that simple act of obedience, he changed the world. Jesus is calling us to do the same. Do the work of an evangelist.

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