Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Narrow Door

Today’s Scripture: Luke 13:22-24
“He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching…someone said to Him, ‘Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?’ And He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able."

Words of Devotion

While traveling toward Jerusalem, an unnamed person asked Jesus what seemed like a simple question: Whether just a few people would be saved. We can imagine the person expected a clear statement. Instead, Jesus focused on those who were listening. He wanted them to be concerned about how they were living.

He began by stressing that they should focus on entering “through the narrow door.” They should realize that there were many “doors” from which they could choose. As they made decisions, they should focus on the narrow way that pleased God.

Jesus stressed that they must “strive” to enter through this narrow door, using a word that suggests a contest, a fight. He was warning that we’re involved in a struggle. We must be prepared to wrestle. In fact, He warned that many “will seek to enter and will not be able.”

Jesus then used the analogy of people seeking entrance to a house. Once the owner closes the door, it remains closed. He only will open it for the right person, for a person whose life is right in His sight.

In this analogy, the people knocking on the door were surprised by the owner’s response. They reminded the owner of their lives and accomplishments. But even though the owner did not deny their conclusions, he told them they had fallen short: “I tell you, I do not know where you are from.” Disqualified and rejected, they were told: “Depart from me, all you evildoers.”

Today, remember how easy it can be to make wrong assumptions. Make sure that you seek to enter by the narrow door. Make certain that your life is right with God, so He will open the door when you knock.

Inspirational Prayer: Father, search my heart. Reveal anything that is displeasing to You. Help me to enter through the narrow door. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Monday, July 30, 2012

Power to be a Witness

Today’s Scripture:  Acts 19:1-2

“Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said to him, ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

Words of Devotion

As a former slave, Amanda Smith had been set free from her earthly masters. But she also had been set on fire for the Gospel. Even though she faced prejudice because of her race, she continued to serve God with her whole being.

In 1870, she felt called to be a full-time evangelist. She spoke in many meetings and often witnessed in the streets. Author Wesley Duewel describes how, during a meeting in Salem, New Jersey, she was given the opportunity to share her testimony. She felt called to speak on Acts 19. God moved powerfully in this service, and many were saved. She was invited back to speak again the next night, and word spread that God was doing something special.

A revival broke out, lasting for two weeks. People began coming to services from miles around. Night after night, the altar was flooded. As Duewel reports, “Some people were so convicted of their sins they could not work.”

Amanda began receiving invitations to speak throughout the world. As a result, this former slave found herself ministering in England, India, and Africa. Because of her sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, thousands of lives were impacted for the Gospel.

Today, God looks for men and women with this same commitment to boldly witness for Christ. But we must realize that we cannot be witnesses in our own strength. Like Amanda Smith, we need the power of the Holy Spirit.

In your life, cry out for the Holy Spirit. Listen to His voice. Seek His power, His wisdom, His discernment, His anointing, and His guidance. He will use you to be His witness!

Inspirational Prayer: Father, fill me anew with Your Spirit. Give me sensitivity to His leading. I need Your power, Your wisdom, and Your direction in my life. Use me to change the world. In Jesus’ name  Amen

Friday, July 27, 2012


Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 20:6

“Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man?”

Words of Devotion

Domitian found it difficult to find people to trust. As author Christopher Krebs describes, this Roman Emperor (who ruled Rome from 81-96 AD) seemed dominated by “paranoia.” He was so insecure that “he preferred walking through colonnades whose surface was so highly polished that he could see his reflection—and, more importantly, what was happening behind him.” This inspired a spirit of fear in others, as “Senators soon also watched their backs.”

Domitian was an extreme case, but many throughout history could ask the Biblical question, “Who can find a trustworthy man?”

As people of all ages can attest, it’s far too easy for people to say they are loyal and can be trusted. But, no matter what a person says or thinks, the truth is revealed through their actions.

So often, we discover that people are self-serving, concerned only with their own interests. Meanwhile, they can be quick to make promises and say they’re loyal. They may tell us that they’ll stand by us in any situation, no matter what the cost, assuring us that we can count on them.

But the Bible warns that few people really are “trustworthy.” The Hebrew word here is used only five times in the Scriptures. It’s a word that means to be established; to be dependable; to be faithful and worthy of trust.

People can demonstrate that they are trustworthy by keeping their word, fulfilling their promises, and being dependable. By showing themselves trustworthy through their actions and words, they help demonstrate that God is trustworthy and dependable, and we can trust our lives to the Lordship of Jesus.

In your life, seek to be trustworthy. Be a person who keeps your word. Show how Jesus has changed your life. You can be a powerful witness for the Gospel.

Inspirational Prayer: Father, help me to be trustworthy. Thank You that I can trust my life to You. May my life bear witness to the truth of the Gospel. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In A Hurry

Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 19:2

“It is not good for a person to be without knowledge, and he who hurries his footsteps errs.”

Words of Devotion

Every day, we confront a wave of deadlines—assignments to be completed, due dates for bills, worries about looming events in our families or businesses. Facing these matters, we must decide what to do. What options should we consider? What should be our priorities? What do we need to know to make the right decisions?

In these matters, the Bible provides some practical guidelines. First, you are to build your life on your relationship with the Lord. You are instructed to “seek His face continually” (1 Chronicles 16:11), “trust in the LORD with all your heart,” and “not lean on your own understanding.” You are to acknowledge Him in all your ways, confident that He will guide you and “make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

You also are told to commit your work to Him, confident that your “plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3). And you are to seek Godly counselors and realize that “by wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory” (Proverbs 24:6).

God wants you to be guided by His wisdom. He wants you to fill your mind with His Word and live according to Biblical principles.

Throughout this process, we must avoid being in such a big hurry to make decisions that we don’t prepare properly. The Bible warns us that “enthusiasm without knowledge is not good,” and “if you act too quickly, you might make a mistake”.

Today, ask God to help you follow His patterns. Fill your mind with His Word. Seek Him daily…continually. Cry out for His wisdom. 

Surround yourself with Godly people who can provide wise counsel. Recognize the danger of rushing to make decisions without consulting God. Always trust in Him, knowing that He is with you, confident that His timing is perfect.

Inspirational Prayer: Father, I commit these matters to You: _______. Help me to make the right decisions. I trust in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

All Things Are Possible

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 19:26

“Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”

Words of Devotion

There seemed to be little hope for George Washington Carver. He lived at a time when there were few opportunities and overwhelming obstacles for African-Americans.

Born on a farm in Missouri on this day in 1864, he had a difficult childhood. His body was frail, and he often was sick. He never knew his natural father, but recalled how he “was killed shortly after my birth while hauling wood to town on an ox wagon.”

While still an infant, Carver, along with his sisters and mother, was kidnapped by raiders. Although he was rescued, the others died or disappeared. 

Yet Carver did not allow these obstacles to stand in his way. He demonstrated determination and a remarkable drive to learn. He eventually graduated from Iowa Agricultural College (now Iowa State University), where he taught classes before moving on to Tuskegee College in Alabama.

In spite of what seemed like impossible barriers, Carver went on to change the world and make many of history’s greatest discoveries, including hundreds of innovative uses for peanuts, soybeans, pecans, and sweet potatoes. He also developed a crop rotation method that revolutionized agriculture.

What was his secret? It was his ‘Faith in God’. He prayed that “those whom He has redeemed learn to walk with Him not only daily or hourly,” but moment by moment. He asked God for “wisdom, understanding and bodily strength to do His will.” Carver believed that all things were possible with God.

Think about your life. Do you face obstacles? Is anything holding you back? Whatever you face, place your trust in God, and don’t limit Him. Fill your mind with His Word, and be ready to step out in faith. Believe that He will answer your prayers, give you victory, and open every door. If you ask in faith, all things are possible.

Inspirational Prayer: Father, I commit these needs to You: _______. Guide me, and grant me insights and truths about Your Kingdom. I believe that all things are possible with You. In Jesus’ name Amen

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The World's Pleasures

Today’s Scripture: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

“‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself’…I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards…All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure…Thus I considered all my activities…and behold all was vanity and striving after wind.”

Words of Devotion

The Hollywood star seemed to have everything. A household name worldwide, his films generated steady box office hits. He was admired and adored by millions. But the star recently revealed how he lived with chronic pain, struggled with bouts of loneliness, suffered from insomnia, and had a drinking problem.

While many admired his celebrity, this famed actor described the downside of fame—how lonely it was to be in the spotlight and how frustrated he was by his inability to form lasting relationships.

Still, this man is among the most popular, idolized people in the world. Millions think they would love to change places, experience his fame, and partake of his pleasures.

The Bible invites us to take an honest look at life and realize how easily people spend their time and energy chasing after the world’s pleasures. They give themselves to the pursuit of riches and resources, fame and power, but the Bible warns that, in the end, all of this effort is just “vanity and striving after wind.”

The Bible reminds us that “the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17). Jesus specifically told us not to store up “treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” Instead, we are to store up “treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

Today, invest your life in the Kingdom that will last.

Inspirational Prayer: Father, I seek first Your Kingdom. Help me to invest in the things that will last and find my greatest joy in simply being in Your presence. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Monday, July 23, 2012

Be Still!

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 46:10

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Words of Devotion

Nearly half of Americans admit that they don’t have “enough time to do the things they want to in their daily lives.” These were the findings of a recent Gallup survey. Parents particularly are stressed for time, and most adults with children under 18 say they have too little time.

As this survey demonstrates, many people have very busy lives. They rush about taking care of personal, family, or business tasks. When they have “free” time, they relish the opportunity to indulge in personal hobbies or pleasures, to relax and “enjoy life.”

As a result, their schedules are full. So how does God fit in? Many people take time for a short prayer in the morning or night or at meals. Some spend a few moments reading the Bible or a devotional book. But is this really the way we should act toward Almighty God?

The Bible commands us to “be still,” to “cease striving”, and in that stillness to have an encounter with God. But we cannot be still if our minds are preoccupied by the pressures of family, finances, and work—if God is only a parenthesis in our day.

The phrase “Being still” means eliminating distractions and focusing on the Lord. It means waiting in His presence and listening to Him. It means reading and studying His Word. It means having regular, dedicated times of prayer and communion.

Today, remember that God is present in your life—right now! You can call on Him at any time, day or night. But you have the choice to ignore Him or spend time with Him. 

Don’t let a busy schedule prevent you from communing with your Heavenly Father! Remember that He’s the source of all wisdom, and in His presence all things are possible.

Never take God for granted. Make Him your highest priority. Be still before Him.

Inspirational Prayer: Father, help me to quiet my spirit. Forgive me for taking You for granted. You are more important to me than anything else. I long to hear Your voice. In Jesus’ name Amen

Friday, July 20, 2012

Real Freedom

Today’s Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:19

“Though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.”

Words of Devotion

It was to be “the war to end all wars.” But, as World War I dragged on, neither side could break the stalemate. And as the death toll climbed higher, discontent grew, and some called for radical solutions. Some on both sides even were encouraged by the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which brought communists to power in Russia.

Gradually, however, many became disillusioned with the Bolsheviks. One was Rosa Luxemburg, a German socialist who had been imprisoned for her opposition to the war. In particular, she was disturbed by the “rule by terror” that had become the norm.

She described how, in Russia, “freedom” was only “for the supporters of the government.” Recognizing that this was no freedom at all, she concluded: “Freedom is always for the one who thinks differently.” But Lenin, who led the Russian revolution, had a different view, saying, “In a state worthy of the name, there is no liberty.”

Then and now, people have diverse ideas of what true freedom is. For many, like Lenin, freedom simply means “agreeing with me”—or else!

However, the Bible provides a perspective that may seem surprising: Real freedom cannot be produced by a revolution or political action. Real freedom comes when we surrender our lives to Jesus and make Him our Lord. Total surrender to His will. 110%!

When we entrust our lives to Jesus, He miraculously frees us from burdens and guilt, worry and doubt. We realize that our lives have a greater purpose—not to indulge in personal pleasures, but to serve the Lord and impact people for the Gospel.

Today, are you carrying burdens?

Do you feel the weight of sin?

Surrender your life anew to Jesus. He promised, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Let Jesus set you free!

Inspirational Prayer: Dear Jesus, I declare that You are my Lord. I will follow You wherever You lead. Use me to impact lives for Your Kingdom. In Your name  Amen

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Abuse of Freedom

Today’s Scripture: 2 Peter 2:6-9

“If He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah…having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot…then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.”

Words of Devotions

Abraham learned that God is a God of promises, laws, and covenants—that His Word always is true. But he also learned that His agreements are conditional. If we want to receive His promises, we must do our part.

Abraham also learned what happens to people who violate His laws. He discovered that God could not condone sin and that His standards could not change. He also saw that people determined if they would be blessed or cursed, based on the choices they made.

Abraham witnessed these principles firsthand when God judged Sodom and Gomorrah. These cities were not interested in His laws or in righteousness or morality. They decided to be “tolerant” of sin and live according to their own rules, with an “anything goes” attitude.

Sadly, these twisted standards remind us of the world today. As we look around, we see whole societies that reject God’s laws and the whole concept of “right and wrong.” We see people acting without restraint, thinking they can do whatever they want.

But God’s judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah reminds us that He is holy, and His standards are eternal. We see that, whenever we violate His laws, we suffer the consequences. Yet in this judgment, we also see how He “rescued righteous Lot.” 

Don’t allow your life to be corrupted by ungodliness or immorality. Live according to God’s truth and His eternal principles. Seek to be a good example—a person who testifies to the greatness of God and the truth of His Word.

Inspirational Prayer: Father, I honor You. I exalt You. I willingly submit my life to live according to Your Word. Forgive my sins. Help me impact others with Your truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Unquestionably Free

Today’s Scripture: John 8:34-36

I tell you for certain that anyone who sins is a slave of sin! And slaves don’t stay in the family forever, though the Son will always remain in the family. If the Son gives you freedom, you are unquestionably free!

Words of Devotion

When asked to name the most important event in world history, many historians point to the French Revolution. This turning point led to a radical reexamination of the role of government and caused waves of change across the globe.

This revolution is commemorated every year on this day, remembering how in 1789 thousands of men and women stormed the Bastille, a fortress in Paris that had been turned into a prison. The revolt spread, and eventually the king and the entire French political system were overthrown.

The French found what they thought was freedom. But within a few years, their revolution turned ugly, and a reign of terror spread throughout the land. They learned what men and women throughout the centuries have learned: Human efforts can never achieve perfect freedom.

Centuries earlier, many people expected Jesus to lead a revolt against Rome and establish an earthly kingdom. But Jesus wanted them to realize that real freedom is a spiritual condition, and the true enemy is not political, but spiritual.

He said that “whoever commits and practices sin is the slave of sin.” Indeed, sin is a crippling force. It latches onto our minds and hearts. It drives a wedge between God and us. It prevents us from experiencing the freedom, blessing, joy, and fulfillment that God wants for us. However, the Bible tells us that Jesus came to free us from sin.

Today, you don’t have to be crippled by sin. Spend a few moments Admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again, Confess your sins and turn from your old ways (change your Direction).Began to follow Christ.

Receive God’s forgiveness. Then you can celebrate! Accept the freedom that He has given you. You are “really and unquestionably free.” Praise God!

Inspirational Prayer: Father, thank You for forgiving my sins and setting me free from everything that binds me. I accept Your forgiveness. Thank You that in You I am free! In His name Amen

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Freedom by Doing

Today’s Scripture: James 1:25

“One who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”

Words of Devotion

How do we find freedom? How can we truly be free?

The Bible makes it clear that real freedom is a spiritual condition. Freedom means having our sins forgiven (Luke 7:48-50), being a disciple of Jesus (John 8:31-32), and being led by the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Yet freedom also is a very practical matter. The choices we make will determine whether we live in bondage or liberty, whether we are enslaved or free. 

James stressed that we must be conscious of our behavior and remember that our actions have consequences. We need to be “quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger,” realizing that “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” 

It is possible to “delude” ourselves. That’s why it’s important not just to hear God’s Word, but also to be a “doer of the Word”—not just knowing about the Word, but actually applying it to our lives (vs. 19-22).

James called this the “law of liberty.” He knew that obeying God’s Word in practical ways was necessary if we really want to be free.

Many in the world ridicule Christians for standing on the Bible. They tell us we have the power to chart our own course and do what we want. 

But the Bible reminds us that God is our Creator; He knows us better than we know ourselves; His Word provides the only sure way to have success in life and be free!

Today, remember the impact of the choices you make. Decide to follow Jesus. Moment by moment, remember to surrender your life to Him.

Seek to live according to God’s Word. Let it be your guide, your standard.

Inspirational Prayer: Father, I want to be truly free! Show me how I can apply Your Word in my life. Use me to impact others for Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Promise of Freedom

Today’s Scripture: Exodus 6:6

 “Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the LORD. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment."

Words of Devotion

No words could have been more welcome. In their condition of slavery, these Israelites felt hopeless. They had few resources, and their Egyptian slave masters held every apparent advantage.

Then, in this moment of utter discouragement, God sovereignly promised to provide the very thing they wanted, the very thing they seemed powerless to secure: freedom!

Why would God do this? Because these were His people, and He wanted them to be free. He had established a covenant with them, beginning with Noah (Genesis 9:9). Then He confirmed this covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15:18) and his descendants. 

But in Egypt, the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. In this condition, “they cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God” (Exodus 2:23).

In other generations, God’s people again have found themselves in bondage. Like the Israelites in Egypt, many have felt a sense of hopelessness. But the Lord has revealed that He keeps His covenant promises. He never forgets His people, and He hears them when they call to Him.

Throughout the centuries, these truths have applied to entire nations. But they also have applied to individuals who have found themselves in bondage to addiction, trapped in abusive relationships, bound by poverty or illness, or enslaved by sin and paralyzing habits.

Freedom begins with our relationship with God—when we commit ourselves to follow Jesus. He told us that if we are His disciples, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). Because of Jesus, we can be “set free from the power of sin” (Romans 6:7).

Is there anything that still holds you in bondage? Let God set you free!

Inspirational Prayer: Father, as I think about my life, I realize the things that hold me in bondage. Thank You for breaking every chain. Thank You for setting me free. In Jesus’ name Amen

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Price of Freedom

Today’s Scripture:  Philippians 1:21

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Words of Devotion

King Xerxes could not understand what had happened. It was 480 BC, and his huge Persian army had confronted a small force of Greeks at Thermopylae, in southeastern Greece. The dominant power in the world, Persia had expected little opposition, but these Greeks, made up largely of warriors from Sparta, surprised the Persians with their dedication.

What had happened? Historian Paul Cartledge described how the Spartans were fighting for ideals that were “dearer than mere life itself.” What drove them? Primarily it was “the ideal of freedom.” 
This commitment astonished Xerxes. In fact, his aides had to explain why freedom was so important to the Greeks.

Although the Greek warriors technically lost the battle, their efforts set the groundwork for the ultimate victory that other Greeks achieved later that year at the battle of Salamis.

To this day, the Spartans who fought at Thermopylae continue to provide a model of a people committed to freedom, who realize that freedom really isn’t free, but requires men and women who are willing to stand and fight for what they believe.

Over the centuries, many peoples and nations have waged campaigns to achieve freedom—freedom from repression, freedom to vote, freedom to decide their future, and freedom to live according to their own beliefs.

This is the kind of commitment God wants us to have about our faith. Consider the example of Paul, who gave up everything to serve Him. In his time, many Believers faced the choice of being killed or giving in to compromise. Paul told them that they needed to surrender everything! They had to commit everything to Jesus, because nothing else really mattered except living for Him.

What kind of commitment do you have? Make your decision today. Declare that you will live for Him without compromise or reservation. Follow Jesus, and serve Him. Don’t hold back!

Inspirational Prayer: Father, I dedicate my life and my time, talent, and treasure to You. Nothing is more important to me than Your Kingdom. Use me to reach the world with the Gospel. In Jesus’ name Amen

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Forgetting God

Today’s Scripture: Deuteronomy 8:14

“Then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

Words of Devotions

It was a moment few believed ever would happen. For centuries, Rome had dominated the Western world. They had faced adversity, but always emerged victorious. They seemed to have the best of everything.

But gradually Rome became complacent, weak, and vulnerable. Finally, on Saturday, July 7, 476 AD, the Germanic Heruli tribe marched into Rome, where they were met with little resistance. The few Roman troops that remained in the city fled at the sight of these “barbarians.” The emperor already had gone into exile. Although Rome would adapt and remain influential in other ways, this effectively marked the end of the Roman Empire.

Throughout time, other nations have achieved a comparable level of dominance. They have become proud and defiant, with powerful armies and seemingly unlimited advantages. In business, massive corporations have appeared to be invincible. Champions in many arenas have seemed unchallengeable. 

But history shows that nothing on this earth lasts forever. Eventually the mighty fall, one after the other.

The Bible is filled with warnings related to this pattern. God knows how easily we can be tempted by worldly power, how we can be intimidated by people and organizations that seem dominant, how we can be corrupted by pride and even forget God.

The Israelites were warned about the consequences of forgetting the Lord and depending on themselves. Sadly, history is filled with the accounts of peoples and nations that have been guilty of this kind of pride and complacency. We can see the tragic results of ignoring God and His Word, and of taking His blessings for granted.

Today, humble yourself before God. Remember all that He has done for you. Commit your life to Him. Also pray for your country and its leaders. Pray for revival and a great out pouring of the Holy Spirit.

Inspirational Prayer: Father, forgive me for taking You for granted. I desire to base my life on Your Word. I trust in You. Help me to impact lives for Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name Amen

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Great Awakening

Today’s Scripture: Deuteronomy 32:36-37

“The Lord will judge His people and have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone, and there is no one remaining, bond or free. He will say: ‘Where are their gods, the rock in which they sought refuge?"

Words of Devotion

It was a message that changed the world. The sermon, called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” was delivered by Jonathan Edwards on Sunday July 8, 1741.

We can imagine how many in that congregation had been satisfied with their lives and content with sinful behavior. But Edwards reminded them that God hated sin and could “cast wicked men into hell at any moment.” 

Many deserved judgment, Edwards explained, but they were being spared only because “God’s appointed time is not come.” He went on to describe what happened to the Israelites when they forgot the “wonderful works” God had done for them.

Edwards warned, “How dreadful is the state of those that are daily and hourly in the danger of this great wrath and infinite misery! But this is the dismal case of every soul in this congregation that has not been born again.” He concluded by saying, “Let everyone that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come.”

Many responded. They wanted to be right with God. This spark helped ignite “The Great Awakening,” as thousands throughout America and the world committed their lives to Christ.

Today, what the Bible calls “sin” often is considered acceptable by society. By the millions, people don’t realize that they will give an account to God of their thoughts, words, and deeds. They don’t realize the impact of sin on their lives or their community.

Ask God to search your heart and mind. Confess your sins. Make sure that you are clean in His sight. Pray for revival—for a Great Awakening in our time.

Inspirational Prayer: Father, please search my heart. Show me if there is any sin in my life or if there is anything that needs to be rooted out. Help me to be pure in Your sight. In Jesus’ name Amen

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Today’s Scripture: Isaiah 61:1

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”

Words of Devotion

As word spread throughout the world, people by the millions began leaving their homelands to settle in America. Nearly three million people arrived during the 1850s alone.

In 1853, observing a scene of newly arrived immigrants, the New York Daily Times described “a noisy crowd of strange faces and stranger costumes.” These people “bear the plain marks of the Old World.” They did not seem to “have the vaguest ideas” of the difficulties that might confront them. But all of them shared a common excitement: They had come to America, driven by hope and the desire for freedom.

As a symbol of this hope, the French government presented the Statue of Liberty to the American government in 1884. This majestic monument, located in New York Harbor, carries a plaque bearing these words: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

While this statue continues to remind people throughout the world of the ideal of freedom, the Bible reminds us that God’s Spirit is the key to real freedom: “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Freedom was a central theme in the ministry of Jesus. Even Isaiah’s ancient prophecy foretold how the Messiah would come to bring liberty, to release those who were prisoners of this world or bound by the burdens of sin and fear, by bad habits and anxiety, or by disease and poverty.

Don’t allow your life to be dominated by worries and burdens. Confess your sins. Be healed in Jesus’ name. Let him loose you from bondage. Ask Him to direct your life. Receive His peace and joy…and true freedom.

Inspirational Prayer: Father, thank You for the freedom I have because of Jesus. Thank You for forgiving my sins. Thank You for taking away my burdens. In His name  Amen

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Secret of Contentment

Today’s Scripture: Philippians 4:4-13

For I have learned to be contentwhatever the circumstances. (vs. 11b) 

Words of Devotion

In today's reading, the apostle Paul says he has learned the secret of experiencing contentment in all circumstances, good or bad. Does it surprise you that he wrote this when he was in prison, unsure of his future?

We're often discontent even when all is going well. Consequently, we wonder how it's possible to be truly content during our most difficult trials, especially when there's no end in sight. So what is genuine contentment? Paul is speaking of a freedom from worry and frustration about everything in life--even unfulfilled desires.

It's usually when we cannot control or change our situation that we feel discontentment. As long as our satisfaction depends on whether certain things actually work out, we'll allow circumstances to cheat us out of peace. I'm not saying there's some spiritual stage where you will never again experience anxiety or frustration. But what matters is how we respond when those feelings grip us.

This is something that the apostle had to learn. Paul endured amazing suffering, from shipwrecks and hunger to unjust imprisonment and beatings (2 Cor. 11:24-30). He had gone through countless situations that were uncertain, extraordinarily painful, and seemingly hopeless. But he finally discovered that contentment could not be dependent upon his circumstances.

How do you respond when circumstances are out of your control? Do you get angry? Do you try to escape?

Does despair make you want to give up? Paul chose to give his anxieties to Jesus in exchange for peace that "surpasses all comprehension" (Phil. 4:7). That same peace is available to you! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Call to Serve

Today’s Scripture: Galatians 5:13

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

Words of Devotion

Jesus commanded that we serve one another, but obeying this mandate in humility is not natural for us. Sure, there are times we like to help others. But service that involves self-sacrifice--especially for someone we deem undeserving--much more difficult to do.

What does it mean to serve? Consider Christ's example. He gave up everything in heaven to live among us, subjecting Himself to dishonor and human frailty. And He loved even those who rejected Him. Think about how He humbled Himself and washedthe disciples' feet at Passover. This was a disgusting, lowly task that a slave might be assigned--far from anything a king should do. He even knew these men were about to abandon Him but served them anyway.

Ultimately, Christ gave His life for us. And He did so while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). Serving others was His lifestyle--part of who He was and what He did. As His followers, we should strive to be like Him.

Therefore, service involves first dying to our selfish attitudes and motives. Only then can we live to glorify Christ. Jesus said that the greatest commandments are to love God wholeheartedly and to love others (Matt. 22:37-39). Ironically, it is only when we humbly serve others that we experience God's fullness in our own lives.

Many try to achieve happiness by striving after their own desires. The result? Tired, unsatisfied people.

True contentment happens only when we walk closely with Jesus. He shows where we can humble ourselves and take care of others. These actions, done through His strength, will be blessed.