Daily Devotional 1-27-20

Created In His Image 
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

Genesis 1:27 “so God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (NKJV)

The world is getting louder and louder in giving theories and opinions about people’s identity destiny. In modern times, scores of people have turned to the wrong people and places to find their identities. Consequentially, they have become worse off than when they began their quest.   I strongly believe, since God created us, we need to turn to God about our identity. The Bible, which has stood the test of time, and in which we find the nature, the will, and character of God, gives us the truth. God, the Almighty, created us. He not only formed us, but He made us in His image and likeness so that we would stand out from all other creation.  

Uniquely made, we are the only creation that is able to have a relationship with God. He made us for relationship. This is seen in our ability to receive and respond to His love. Christians are the only people in whom God dwells. There is no other creation or group of persons in which the Holy Spirit dwells. What a great blessing and privilege we have as Christians! Because of His indwelling presence, we are able to relate and interact with Him. He speaks to us, and we have the capacity to hear His voice. He guides us, and we have the capacity to follow His footsteps.  Listen to John, as he confirms this, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand,” (John 10:27-28).

So as you go out today, walk in the confidence that you are unique and set apart by God. Don’t let the fallen world and pop culture determine your identity. And, don’t let your body, with its challenges, instruct you on who you are. God took extra care to have you on this earth. Walk in this consciousness, and you will find rest for your soul.

Why would you buy into the lies of this world, instead of turning to the word of God to discover your identity?

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for setting me apart at creation. I choose to trust Your plan for my life and surrender all the lies that I have believed about myself. Today, I purpose to take Your word and believe it. Amen.

Daily Devotional 1-24-20

All Sufficiency of God  Julie White

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

Are you worried about a need in your life right now? Though many things may feel random and wrong, remember that God is sovereign over everything. He can fit everything into a pattern for good, but only to the extent that you trust Him. Perhaps you’ve forgotten how often God promises to meet all your needs as you trust him.

Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Matthew 6:32

I have been young, now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor His descendants begging bread. Psalm 37:25

God has dealt graciously with me…I have enough. Genesis 33:11

My God shall supply all you need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him…Those who seek the Lord shall not lack anything good. Psalm 34:9-10

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Matthew 6:33

There is no duplicity in God. His promises will be fulfilled. For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him.  That is why we utter our Amen to God for His glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20 

The word Yes, translated to the original Greek, means “sure,” and the word Amen means “firm.”  So, here is a rough translation of that scripture: For the sake of His name, His promises are sure and firm because He is faithful and true, therefore we can say yes and amen!

Your heavenly Father is the great provider, and in Christ you have all His promises and all your provision. Every problem has a solution and every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into the masterpiece God created you to be. He is always before you and alongside you. The One who goes ahead of you, opening up the way, is the same One who stays close and never lets go of your hand! He is ceaselessly working on your behalf, that is why your best efforts are trusting Him and living close to Him.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I will not worry. I will trust in Your grace and all-sufficiency.

Daily Devotional 1-23-20

Christ, Our Protector 
by Julie White

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my Savior; my God is my rock in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my Savior, the one who saves me from violence.  I called on the Lord who is worthy of praise, and He saved me from my enemies…I cried out to the Lord; yes, I cried to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary, my cry reached His ears…He reached down from heaven and rescued me.  He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who were too strong for me.  …but the Lord supported me.  He led me to a place of safety…He restored me. 2 Samuel 22: 1-4, 17-20.

In this song, David characterizes God’s care with five military symbols. God is like a rock, immovable bedrock for sturdy footing, a boulder we can hide behind to keep enemies at bay; a fortress, or place of safety where the enemy can’t follow, a granite hide-out; a shield, a protective covering between us and harm in order to intercept specific attacks from the enemy; power that saves, our ultimate saving strength; a place of safety high above our enemies, inaccessible and impregnable.

David was a mighty warrior. But even with all his armies and weapons, David knew that ultimately, it was God who could protect and save. Because He believed it, David sought God’s guiding presence every day. David was a prayer-speaking man and his words were spoken to a prayer-hearing-and-answering God.  When troubling situations came his way, he was already in God’s presence and prepared to handle any test.

God’s power can carry you through danger and fear just like David’s. He protects you all the time, especially when you are too weak or scared to face certain trials by yourself or when your enemies (external or internal) seem to be overwhelming. But, He doesn’t want you to stay weak and scared. The manifestation of God’s presence in your life strengthens, protects, and guides you in order to send you back into the world to shine His light.

David knew that the true strength of his nation was not in weaponry, but in worship; not in firepower, but in God’s power. God alone can preserve nations and individuals. Will you show your confidence in God by looking to Him as the ultimate source of your safety? Seek His guiding presence with an attitude of constant prayer. He will protect you.

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, thank you for answering my prayers, for rescuing me from my enemies, and for restoring me to You. 

Daily Devotional 1-22-20

Christ, The True Vine by Julie White

I am the vine and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit…As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.…If anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch and is and thrown in the fire.  If you abide in Me and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit so you will be my disciples.  John 15:1-8

Grapevines are productive plants; a single vine supports numerous branches and bears many grapes. 

In these verses, Christ is the vine and God is the gardener who cares for the branches. The branches are all those people who claim to be followers of Christ. Jesus explains the distinction between two kinds of pruning that he does: cutting off and cutting back. People who don’t bear fruit for God or who try to block the efforts of God’s followers will be cut off from His life-giving power; separated at the trunk and tossed aside. They are fruitless and often infect the rest of the tree.

The fruitful branches are true believers who, by living in union with Christ, bear much fruit. They are pruned and groomed to promote even more spiritual growth and transformation.  “Fruit” includes making disciples of all nations as well as qualities of Christian character. To abide in Christ means to believe that He is God’s Son (1 John 14:15), receive Him as Savior and Lord (John 1:12), do what God says (1 John 3:24), continue to believe the Good News (1 John 2:24), and to relate in love to the community of believers, Christ’s body (John 15:12).

God is glorified when we come into and stay in a right relationship with Him and ‘produce much fruit’ in our lives. A branch cannot bear fruit of itself. Are you accepting and receiving the nourishment and life offered by God, the true grapevine?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me live my life by staying as close to You as a branch attached to a vine. Prune me so that I may draw others closer to You and continue to glorify You with my life.

Daily Devotional 1-21-20

God of Beauty and Order 
by Julie White

Who laid earth’s cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Job 38:6-7

As God reveals Himself through our daily experiences, we learn about His forgiveness that frees us from guilt. As He reveals Himself through scripture, we learn about His holiness and our sinfulness. As God reveals Himself through nature, we learn about His power and our finiteness.

Relating to nature and “morning stars that sing,” one of NASA’s observatories discovered a giant black hole that actually hums. Located in a cluster of galaxies about 200 million light years from earth, the black hole vibrates at a frequency of a B flat musical note!

The idea of heavenly music is not new. In fact, Job 38 tells us that at the creation of our universe, songs of praise and shouts of joy resounded for God’s glory!

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. Their message has gone throughout the earth and their songs to all the world. Psalm 19:1-2,4

Here is a wonderful hymn by St. Francis of Assisi that captures the awe and worship of beholding the radiant sun by day or the star-studded sky at night.

All creatures of our God and King,
Lift up your voice and with us sing Alleluia, Alleluia!Thou burning sun and golden beam,Thou silver moon and softer gleam:O praise Him, O praise Him!Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

We are constantly surrounded by displays of God’s glory. What kind of God does nature reveal? Nature shows us a God of might, intelligence, and intricate detail; a God of order and beauty; a God who controls powerful forces. The heavens give dramatic evidence of His existence, His power, His love, and His care.

PRAYER: Gracious Lord, as I look to Your handiwork in nature and in the heavens, I praise You for such magnificent beauty and thank You for the truth it reveals about You.

Daily Devotional 1-20-20

by Julie White

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God. James 1:5

Wisdom is the beauty of holiness. “Wisdom,” Charles Spurgeon wrote, “is a beauty of life that can only be produced by God’s workmanship in us.” To be wise in Biblical terms is to know and understand godliness and to do what is pleasing to God.

As I understand it, the wisdom that we should desire has three distinct characteristics. It is practical. Wisdom from God relates to everyday life as well as to the most trying times.  It is not a wisdom isolated from suffering and trials. This wisdom is a tool that we can use to help us overcome trials and move beyond them.  For example, an intelligent person may have profound ideas, but a wise person puts profound ideas into action. 

It is divine.  God’s wisdom goes beyond common sense. Common sense doesn’t lead us to choose joy in the middle of trials. This wisdom begins with respect for God, leads to living by God’s direction, and results in the ability to tell right from wrong – and then choosing to do what’s right no matter the consequences.

Finally, true wisdom is Christlike. The Bible identifies Christ as the “wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24), so asking God for wisdom is ultimately asking to be like Christ.

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with humility… The wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure.  It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others.  It is full of mercy and good deeds.  It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” James 3:13, 17

Seeking God’s wisdom delivers you from the need to compare yourself to others and to want what they have.  Any comparing of yourself should be to Christ, and wanting what HE has; desiring passionately, to be like Him in everything you do and say. It is never too late to begin growing in wisdom! God loves you with an earnest, intense affection that can deliver you from nonsense if you yield yourself to Him. When you ask for it, His wisdom will begin to rise in you and pour itself out to others.

True wisdom begins and ends with God.

PRAYER: Lord, please turn my heart to the wisdom that comes only from You. Help me allow you to transform me into Your likeness, beautiful in holiness, and merciful to others.

Daily Devotional 1-17-20

Committed to the Dream   1/17/20
By Velma Tim

This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness. Acts 7:35-36

In our text, Luke is referring to Moses’ call and his initial rejection by the Israelites when he attempted to rescue an Israelite by killing an Egyptian. God was preparing Him for an assignment, but his fellow Israelites didn’t know, thus, their reaction to his defense of them was rejection. Though Moses was rejected by the Israelites, it didn’t mean God had rejected him. The Israelites didn’t think he was fit to be their judge and ruler. They questioned his authority, his call, and his ability to lead. However, 40 years later when God was done preparing Moses, He sent him back to the same people who rejected him.

There are countless people of influence today who have shared their dream or vision with those around them and were despised and discouraged because they did not look like their dreams and visions. Some of us have dreams and visions that God has laid on our hearts and we are afraid to share them, because if we do we know those around us may not believe God can accomplish anything significant through us. Some have even tried to share or step out to do the things God laid on their hearts and were faced with opposition and rejection. Some might have even tried and failed. Don’t give up.

In this new decade, God wants to use the weak to confound the strong, the foolish to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). Therefore, it is important to remember that though some people might reject or despise you, they cannot stop you. The only person to stop you is you! If you stay focused on God, and what He’s laid on your heart, He will show up and bring a breakthrough at the right time.

Consistency is the key.

PRAYER: Help me, Lord, to remember that You called me—as your child—by you and my approval comes from you. May I remain focused on your call for my life and not get discourage by the voices around me.

Daily Devotional 1-16-20

God Can Use it for His Glory  
By Velma Tim

Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. John 9:1-3

Do you remember the last time you saw a pan-handler asking for help and one of these thoughts came to mind: Has the person been in prison? Is he/she just being lazy? Is she/he a crook? What did he/she do that landed them there? We live in a blameful culture, where we usually look for a cause and an effect. This attitude does not only show up when we are dealing with others, but when we face a trial or life challenge.

In our story, Jesus and his disciples met a blind man and the disciples’ immediate reaction was to think that this man or his parents sinned. They couldn’t fathom an innocent man blind. To them, his misfortune was the consequence of his sin or his parents’ sin. If only he lived right, attended religious meetings, gave his tithe and offering, then this would not have happened to him. Jesus’ response to his disciples gives us a completely different perspective. Jesus wants the disciples to know sin might be the cause of sickness in some situations, but not always. Jesus wants the disciples not to worry about the cause, but to know that no matter the cause, God can be glorified in it.

In Romans 8:28, the author tells us that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purposes. As we journey with God, challenges will come; the enemy might attack our health, family, job, etc. In such season, three things to remember are:

·         God is not the author of pain, trouble, sickness, etc.

·         There is not always a cause-effect for everything, so stop blaming yourself or others.

·         Whatever it may be, God can use it for your good and for His glory.

Look instead for what God can do with the various situations in your life, including the bad ones.

PRAYER: Lord, I repent for constantly blaming others and myself for my life challenges. Please use my circumstances for your glory.

Daily Devotional 1-15-20

Temptation: Compromise 
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’   Matthew 4:8-10

This temptation is so real, so frequent, and so practical. I am talking about the temptation to compromise. Sometimes we want to please people; sometimes we desire to go with the crowd, against God’s word. 

Satan was inviting Jesus into terms with him. It was the temptation to come into terms with the world, instead of uncompromisingly presenting God’s demands to it. It was the temptation to try advance by retreating, to try to change the world by becoming like the world. But, Jesus would not bow down to Satan and the world. Christianity cannot stoop to the level of the world; rather it must lift the world to its own standards and level. Nothing less will do.

Jesus never compromised in his teachings and sermons. Some of His teachings were difficult to hear and accept, though. He did not applaud the sinner for their waywardness; instead he invited them to a higher way of life. There were times people walked out on Him, and that was okay.  He never ran after them, begging them to follow Him. He held God’s standards so that people may live their best life. 

We live in a culture that has compromised many of its great and beautiful values, all in the name of modernity. As a result, social problems are compounding, families are breaking down, and faith matters are taken out of the public spaces. Common decency and civility are becoming endangered species. True love has become expensive and rare. The common good is being lost.

To compromise your faith as a Christian is to have other gods above the True God; it means there is a watered-down view of God. It also means to place one’s interests above God. 

Is there something that is more important to you than God is? What is the place of the word of God in your life? Do you fear people more than you fear God? Are you likely to follow God’s word or follow values that are even contrary to God’s word?

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, grant me the grace not to compromise my convictions in God.