Archive for Daily Devotional

The Price for Rejecting God

Hebrews 10:26-31

Many people believe they’ll go to heaven because they tried to live a good life. Here’s the simple truth: Those who receive Jesus Christ’s gift of salvation will spend eternity with God. And those who refuse the gift will not. The price for rejecting God is eternal separation from Him.

When a person becomes a believer, he recognizes that he’s not good enough to deserve anything from God. Man’s sinful nature is characterized by rebellion against the Lord. It alienates him from his Creator. No matter how hard a person tries, he cannot avoid sinning again. That’s because he still has the old sin nature. But at the moment of salvation, Christ forgives all his sins and declares him no longer guilty. Then God gives him a brand-new nature.

If someone rejects the truth that salvation comes only through the atoning death of Jesus Christ, he has nowhere else to turn. His good works aren’t enough to get him into heaven, a place of sinless perfection. And his wrongdoing remains unforgiven. The penalty for sin is death. If Christ’s sacrifice is rejected, the guilty party must pay the price himself.

These words aren’t meant to scare you into receiving salvation. They’re a warning about the future if you reject the Lord. God has set before you a choice between eternal life and death. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says, “Choose life in order that you may live . . . by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him.”

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Sovereign Over Sin

Isaiah 14:24-27

God is sovereign. That means He’s the supreme authority over everything, including sin and its consequences. Yet, He doesn’t cause anyone to sin. Doing so would violate His righteous and holy nature. But the Lord does allow temptation to enter our lives. And since we have free will, we decide how to respond. Thankfully, He retains ultimate control and weaves the consequences of our actions for His purposes.

Sometimes God permits our sin to run its full course. For instance, when the Israelites refused to turn away from their disobedience, Psalm 81:12 says He “gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, to walk in their own devices.” Without divine protection, the nation gave in to corrupt influences and ultimately was overrun. The Lord could have sheltered them from that outcome. But those very consequences drove the Israelites into repentance, which was His plan.

Sometimes God will put an immediate halt to sin. Such was the case in Genesis 20 when King Abimelech took Abraham’s wife Sarah for himself. The king had been misled by the couple. He was unaware that he was about to commit a sin. But the Lord knew, and He intervened.

Of course, the wisest plan is to completely obey so God never has to use either of these tactics. Temptation is inevitable. But sin isn’t. The Lord’s control over our lives means that any temptation must first pass through His permissive will. In this way, He makes sure His children are never tempted beyond their limit.

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Repentance in the Believer’s Life

Proverbs 28:13

Is repentance necessary in the life of the believer? Yes. And we see this critical truth in 1 John 1:9, which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Now, repentance isn’t mentioned in that verse. But let’s take a closer look.

Remember, “to repent” simply means to change your mind. For unbelievers, this refers to a decision about where to find security. But for believers, it involves a change of heart in behavior or attitude. Repentance is an ongoing decision to lead an obedient, Christ like life.

In 1 John, this choice is represented by the word confess, which originally meant “agree with.” In other words, if you confess your wrongdoing to God, you’re coming into agreement with Him about that sin. Here, confession isn’t a matter of salvation. It means to allow God to continually reform your mind and mold you more and more into the image of His Son.

God absolutely hates sin. So if you agree with Him about sin, then you’re changing your mind about the disobedience in your life. Thoughts, attitudes, and actions that once seemed perfectly natural will no longer fit who you are. As God continues to work in your life, your mind will gradually reject old thought patterns. You’ll more closely represent His way of thinking.

Is there sin in your life that has become too much to bear? Confess it to God. Allow Him to change your mind about it today

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Freedom From the Past

Matthew 11:28-30 

We physically function in the present, but we aren’t restricted to the “now” in our thought life. Some people live in the future—always thinking about what’s coming next. Others live in the present and constantly process today’s events. And some regularly live in the past, which has its own share of problems.

It’s easy to get stuck in days gone by and dwell on old hurts and feelings of guilt. Sometimes it seems almost impossible to let go of a past mistake or error in judgment. When that’s the case, feelings of regret wrap around our minds like chains. They prevent us from moving forward and anchor us to feelings of condemnation.

Is this how Jesus wants you to live? Of course not. God hasn’t trapped you in your past. He came to deliver a life of freedom. And He wants to set you free to embrace a glorious future He’s prepared. So how can you get there?

First, you must face your sin. Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t deny it. Admit your guilt to the Father. He already knows about it anyway.

Second, you must be willing to accept His forgiveness. Otherwise, you’ll never really surrender your burden. He wants to carry your load, but you have to agree to let Him.

The third thing you must do to be free is to believe you have a future in Christ. John 10:10 says Jesus came to bring you an abundant, eternal life. You’ll never experience that rich life if you continue to drag around your old mistakes.

Are you haunted by your past? Lay down the chains of regret, and experience the freedom of complete forgiveness. 

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The Process of Belief

 

James 2:14-17

We express faith in all kinds of situations every single day. We believe we’ll get to work safely, or we’d never get in the car. We believe our love will last a lifetime, or we’d never get married. We believe our favorite chair will support our weight, or we’d never sit down. Faith flows out of us all the time, even when it’s unrelated to God.

There’s a process that shapes our beliefs. It’s a progression that turns the hint of faith into measurable action. First, it begins in the mind. We think about the issue and nurse the thought. We then visualize not only the need but also the solution.

Second, we begin to discuss the issue with other people and with God. Talking with someone we trust helps us understand what’s happening and to collect fresh insights.

Thinking about the problem allows us to start formulating a solution. After discussing it, we come away with a better sense of what’s involved. This leads to the third step in which we must do something. If belief doesn’t produce a measurable result, then something has gone wrong. Faith that never gets beyond the mind or our discussion accomplishes nothing. But when our faith results in action, then we truly begin to see the Lord display His power in our lives.

Are you struggling with a faith issue today? Pray and ask God to show you if you’ve gotten stuck somewhere in the process.

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David: A Picture of God’s Sovereignty

Psalm 103:19-22 

Sometimes it’s hard to understand why God allows adversity. In the midst of a personal tragedy, the Lord’s sovereignty may seem to be impractical and unrealistic theology. But Romans 8:28 says God works all things together for the believer’s good. David’s writings show the importance of trusting in God’s sovereignty, no matter what. Sometimes it’s easy to think of biblical writers as perfect, almost Christlike figures. But David’s life was full of adversity, temptation, sin, and forgiveness.When he ran for his life from King Saul, God spared him. When he yielded to temptation with Bathsheba, God spared him. When his son attempted to take David’s throne, God spared him and kept him as king.

In all of these unfortunate circumstances, David discovered God was protecting and guiding Him every step of the way. God used him for extraordinary purposes, despite his human failings. These experiences taught David to fully trust in the Lord’s sovereignty.

Those of us in similar situations should ask, Do we believe God is in control? If He’s not, then who is? In other words, if life events are random and without purpose, then who do we turn to in our trials?

In 1 Chronicles 29:12, David says God rules over everything. His hand strengthens everyone. Have faith in the Lord’s ability to strengthen you with His sovereign hand. You may not always understand His reasons. But you can surely trust His purposes.  

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Made for Praise

Psalm 100:1-5

Think about the husband who doesn’t communicate with his wife unless he needs something. If the only time he interacts with her is when he has a need, then she’s not being loved. She’s being used.

But don’t we sometimes treat God the same way? We lift prayer request after prayer request. And yet we fail to give Him admiration and praise. How frequently do we attempt to use the Lord to fill our selfish needs?

First Peter 2:9 says we exist to praise God. Our worries and concerns are of great importance to Him. But He also wants us to come to Him with a worshipful heart, not an attitude of self-centeredness.

You may ask, “What’s the point of praise?” When you begin to worship the Lord, your focus shifts to Him. Then you’ll begin to recall the ways in which He’s impacted your life. As Psalm 105:5 says, “Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth.”

Praising the Lord is one of the main themes in Scripture. We’re told to do so joyfully (Psalm 100:1), throughout the day (Psalm 113:3), and in the presence of others (Psalm 108:3; 111:1). God truly created us to praise Him.

Take some time today to reflect on God’s mighty work of salvation in your life. Instead of approaching the Lord with a list of requests, simply praise Him for His faithfulness and righteousness. When your heart is full of praise, worries will wash away. And you’ll trust God to provide for your needs in His own timing.

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