Daily Devotional

Learning to Listen

Jesus spent three and a half years training His disciples, and much of what He taught them is still available to us through the Gospel accounts. "After I go back to heaven," Jesus told them, "My Father will send the Holy Spirit, who will remind you of the things I said when we were together."

Of course, in order for the Spirit to bring to mind the words of Christ, you first have to put them into your memory bank. Some modern Christians treat the Holy Spirit as a miraculous bypass for Bible study, but that is not how Jesus explained His role. You still have to spend time in God's Word, absorbing the information inspired by the Spirit.

For the believer, quiet time with God is not optional; it is essential. It is what we need to develop the all-important skill of paying attention to the voice of the Spirit.

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Truth Our Only Safeguard

There is absolutely no safeguard against evil but truth. No man can stand firm for right in whose heart the truth does not abide. There is only one power that can make and keep us steadfast--the power of God, imparted to us through the grace of Christ. . . .

The Lord calls upon all who believe His word to awake out of sleep. Precious light has come, appropriate for this time. It is Bible truth, showing the perils that are right upon us. This light should lead us to a diligent study of the Scriptures and a most critical examination of the positions which we hold. . . . Believers are not to rest in suppositions and ill-defined ideas of what constitutes truth. Their faith must be firmly founded upon the word of God so that when the testing time shall come and they are brought before councils to answer for their faith they may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear. . . .

The truth stands firmly established on the eternal Rock--a foundation that storm and tempest can never move.

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It's Not Fair

Have you ever thought about how unfair it is that you were born deserving death because of one person's disobedience? The scales of justice seem to tip back with the good news that one person's righteous life can pay for all. If you find that this is mind-boggling, you are not alone. Think about it. Wrestle with it. Imagine it. Ultimately, you have to decide if you will accept the truth about who you are and what Jesus Christ has done to save you. 

There are two realities to keep in mind as you personally live with conviction in your "human nature". First, you daily embrace the distance God crossed to win you. Secondly, you daily embrace another voice that checks your mind. . . .

As you consider the voices that speak to you, from within and from without, may grace and wisdom keep you.

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Addictions

Addictions might include seemingly innocent activities such as surfing the Internet, spending hours on social media sites, or having to read every news story that comes across our computer screens. It could be how we spend our downtime. Addictions could even include something good that has taken over the focus of our lives.

     We often justify addictions because they appear to fill perceived needs in our lives. Thus, we allow them to crowd out our time with God and with those we love. Addictions are always something that we can't imagine giving up, but if God is to remain the King of our lives, He must be the Lord of our lives. He must be our addiction. Nothing else should come between us and Him!

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Laodicea

Laodicea is in such bad shape that Jesus has nothing positive to say. . . .Jesus counsels the church to buy from Him three things. . . . That these items are not available for free indicates that the Laodiceans must give something in exchange for what they need. What they must surrender is their pride, complacency, and self-sufficiency in order to receive the riches of Christ.

Jesus has not given up on them and is doing everything possible to make them realize their condition and break the chains of self-sufficiency. The only remedy is true repentance and a fresh start with Christ. . . .

The self-sufficiency and lukewarm attitude of Laodicea echoes our own condition. We struggle with authenticity and doing more than simply going through the motions The times are urgent, and we face political, religious, and secular upheaval not experienced by previous generations. Christ's warning to Laodicea is a direct message to us and has far-reaching implications for all who live at the close of earth's history.

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Armed With Watchfulness and Prayer

The stronger and purer the faith of God's people, and the firmer their determination to obey Him, the more fiercely will Satan strive to stir up against them the rage of those who, while claiming to be righteous, trample upon the law of God. It will require the firmest trust, the most heroic purpose, to hold fast the faith once delivered to the saints.

The messengers of the cross must arm themselves with watchfulness and prayer, and move forward in faith and courage, working always in the name of Jesus. They must have confidence in their Leader; for troublous times are before us. The judgments of God are abroad in the land, calamities follow one another in rapid succession. Soon God is to rise out of His place to shake terribly the earth, and to punish the wicked for their iniquity. Then He will stand up in behalf of His people, and will give them His protecting care. He will throw His everlasting arms about them, to shield them from all harm.

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Our Light Bearer

Penetrating the darkest night, the beam of a lighthouse standing on some high, isolated, and rocky coastline casts its light across the sea. It warns of perils from rugged unseen rocks that cause shipwrecks and the loss of life. , , ,

The rhythmic movement of the light, as it rotates from the lighthouse, draws attention and offers reassurance to those on the sea. Both ship navigator and lighthouse keeper must be vigilant in their roles, for they share the common responsibility of protecting life. . . .

Likewise, our spiritual lives need to have the light that the Savior offers to guide and save from the perils of sin and destruction. He is our constant Light Bearer in the earthly trials we must bear. . . . God can use a smile, a touch, or a word to lighten another person's day. Prayer can save lives. When gazing up at the lofty stature of a lighthouse standing tall and majestic, it is not hard to associate it with the spiritual light Jesus can shed upon His people who are seeking a Savior.

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The Creator and the Cross

Christians have long recognized that Isaiah's call to action (Isaiah 40:3) was prophetic. It predicted the ministry of John the Baptist, who was found quite literally crying in the wilderness that the time had come for the appearance of the Messiah. It was also a call to God's people as a whole; they were to expend their time and energy preparing the world for Christ's arrival. . . .

Over the centuries, there have been people--even professing Christians--who have challenged the divinity of Christ, suggesting that Jesus was a mere created being, something less than a coeternal Member of the Godhead. But it becomes exceptionally difficult to maintain such a position after an honest, in-depth reading of the entire Bible. It was not a mere angelic emissary who came to this world, a hired hand assigned to clean up the mess. The One who stepped into our miserable existence was God in human flesh.

It was the Creator who came in person to save His creation.

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Redemption From Disgrace

The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God's government; He desires only the service of love. . . . To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. . . . 

What love! What amazing condescension! The King of glory proposes to humble Himself to fallen humanity! He would place His feet in Adam's steps. He would take man's fallen nature, and engage to cope with the strong foe who triumphed over Adam. He would overcome Satan, and in thus doing He would open the way for the redemption from the disgrace of Adam's failure and fall, of all those who would believe on Him.

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It's Your Song, Too!

It can be said of David that he knew sheep better than he knew himself. David is a case study of a man who ventured full speed to extremes, crashing headlong into success as well as failure. His heroic climb to the place of king is a storybook tale of the little guy making it big. . . . Like the sheep David used to guide and protect, he got lost--very lost. . . . Little by little, David nibbled himself out of the pasture and off into the wilderness. However, in his own mind King David did not see how lost he was. Because the king's heart was so callused, the prophet Nathan had to tell a parable and sneak up on David to wake him up. . . .

Even after the very carefully crafted parable, David still did not see himself as a wicked person. David was ready to dole out justice. At that point, Nathan was forced to tell David, "You are that man." Imagine the shock when the king realized what a horror he had become.

Now read the song again [Psalm 51]. Knowing what David did and now what he is asking God to do for him, does your heart cry out for a more severe justice or does it cry out a grateful praise to God for His grace? Because, according to the Bible--that sinner is you! "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). No one is exempt. So sing David's song--because it's your song.

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