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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

Wisdom 
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.



Daily Devotional 1-14-20

Temptation: Seeking the Spectacular  
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” Matthew 4:5-7

Have you challenged yourself to achieve certain goals because you felt capable and never used that wisdom, then you failed in the end? 

Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, and asked Him to throw Himself down, for the angels of the Lord will catch Him midair so that He would not hit the ground (Psalm 91:11-12).  Satan knows the scriptures and he used it well to tempt Jesus. He was tempting Jesus to create a sensation and a spectacle, but Jesus was too smart to build His movement on sensations. Any ministry built on sensations and shows is foreordained to fail. 

“You shall not tempt the LORD your God” means there is no good seeing how far you can go with God; there is no good in putting yourself deliberately in a threatening situation––doing it quite recklessly and needlessly––then expecting God to rescue you from it. God expects a person to take a risk in order to be true to him, but He does not expect a person to take risks to enhance his/her own prestige. Gifts are never meant to promote a person’s reputation. 

Faith that is dependent solely on the spectacular, is no faith at all. Jesus did not introduce the kingdom of God on the spectacular. Instead, the word of God was the foundation of all that Jesus did. He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away,” (Matthew 24:35). Let the word of God and the wisdom from it become the foundation of your faith. 

PRAYER: Help me build my faith not on the sensations from the world, but on the sure foundation of your word.



Daily Devotional 1-13-20

Temptation: Materialism and Selfishness   
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:4

Temptations are all around us. From morning to nighttime, we face temptations of all sorts.  These are the invitations, baits, lures the enemy places in our path so we make choices of selfishness contrary to what God expects of us. 

After His baptism, the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. He fasted forty days and nights, and undoubtedly, He became hungry. Then the enemy showed up. He asked Jesus to turn the stones into bread since He was hungry. 

Satan, showed up at the right time––when Jesus was hungry––and tempted him in an area of physical need. You see, Satan knows when to tempt you. He knows your vulnerabilities and pushes his wedges in at the right time. He usually makes suggestions to satisfy a particular need.  But, those needs will never be met. He tempted Jesus to meet a physical and material need. Jesus’ response indicates that true satisfaction comes not from materialism, but a dependence on the word of God. True and lasting satisfaction is experienced deep down the soul, and we cannot use materials to meet those longings. Only Christ and His word bring rest and peace to us. Instead of trying to meet our spiritual needs with materials and entertainments, Paul encourages us, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom…” (Colossian 3:16).

Again, Satan lured Jesus to use His power selfishly. God has given us gifts and other divine endowments. And, we can ask two questions: what can I make for myself out of this gift, or what can I do for others with this gift? The more gifted you are, the more temptations you face. Most gifted people who fall to this temptation are driven and dictated by their gifts. They glorify themselves with the use of God’s gift. Once again, Jesus shows a way out of this temptation by saying we should rather let the word of God be our guide, not the gift. He calls us to depend on God’s word not gifts. 

So, let me ask you two questions: to what goal do you use God’s gifts in your life? Where is the place of God’s word in your life?

PRAYER: May I use all your gifts in me to honor and glorify you.



Daily Devotional 1-10-20

Who is this Jesus? 
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17

A senior pastor asked his associate to preach on a particular Sunday because he would be out of town. But, on that Sunday, he did not travel. He disguised himself as a poor man and went to his church. No one recognized him, and he was treated with scorn. At the end of the service, he revealed himself to the shame and shock of the members.

God wanted the Jews to have a very clear knowledge of who the man Jesus was. He didn’t want them to take Him to be a new teacher and a prophet in town. He did not want any confusion of identities about Jesus and John. Therefore, as Jesus came out of the water, the Holy Spirit settled on Him in a bodily form of a dove. And the Father spoke from heaven: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

When we see Jesus as He is, we will worship Him as we ought!

The Jews only knew prophets and teachers of the law. The then world had philosophers and sages whose thought, ideas and wisdom shaped life and culture, just like today. Therefore, with the confirmation from heaven, the Father distinguished Jesus from all other men. And, indeed, He is above all (John 1:1, 10:10).  No one equals Him.

In this statement is the certainty that Jesus was indeed the Chosen One—the Son of God. If He was the Son of God then the way in front of Him was the way of the cross. He was the king whose throne was the cross. He was the king who came to identify with His people.

If we are certain about Jesus, we will take His words seriously. If we believe Jesus reveals the Father to humanity, we will do well to follow Him wholeheartedly. If we know He is the Love of the Father to us, we will not love other things more than Him.

Who is Jesus to you?

PRAYER: Forgive me, Lord, for holding a rather casual view about you sometimes. Help me, with a fresh revelation, to walk in ways that reflect my allegiance to you.



Daily Devotional 1-9-20

Changed by His Presence 
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11

Sometimes what keeps me going in ministry are the stories about the work of grace in the life of the people I serve and minister to. I get emails, text messages, written notes, and cards from people who are experiencing the presence of God in their lives with the resultant effect of change in heart. There is one gentleman who always encourages and stirs me up unto service by his desire to grow and know more of God. He is constantly sharing with me about his growth and challenges as he walks with God. At a small group, one lady also blew my mind with her experience in forgiveness. These stories inform me that Christian transformation is real. And, these transformations are the work of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

In his preaching, John the Baptist, tells his hearers of two kinds of baptism: water baptism unto repentance, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire by which we receive the grace to walk in obedience to God. 

As Jesus was to the twelve disciples so is the Holy Spirit to Christians today.

The fire in this kind of baptism is symbolic. Fire burns away trash and waste materials. Therefore, when the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts, He consumes all the “stuff” that hinders us from living to please God. He cleanses and purges our hearts to new affections and appetites.  The Holy Spirit also refines our character, just as fire is used to refine gold and other precious metals. Fire produces heat energy that is used in various ways. In the same way, the Holy Spirit enables us with divine energy to do things we cannot do with our natural abilities. He graces us to work and walk in ways beyond our natural competencies through the gifts He gives.

Friends, behavior is very important to our belief. Faith in Christ is the way into God, and obedience (shown through behavior) is the walk with God. We cannot profess virtue and practice vice. The light of Christ in us must shine in the way we think, talk, and act. The presence of Jesus in us makes changes that are beautiful!

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, forgive me of the times I chose my own path of sin. Create in me a desire to love and please you in all that I do.