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Daily Devotional 7-3-19

Whatever
By Pil Ladwig
 
You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
 
“Whatever.”
 
You hear this word thrown out indifferently sometimes, ending any conversation with a thud.
 
“Did you hear about David’s making the baseball team?”
 
“Whatever.”
 
“Do you want to do something tonight?”
 
“Whatever.”
 
But, I ran across a verse that gives me a different take on the word, with real encouragement. Like everyone else, I’m concerned with my future. How will today be? What challenges will influence the way my life goes? How will these happenings effect my relationships and my security? My happiness? The welfare of those close to me? I guess the real questions my heart asks are, Will things turn out OK? Will I be up to the task? But this verse really has helped me, which begins, You show me the path of life.
 
Those words jumped out at me, and settled into my heart, giving me real peace. Here’s why. What I believe is that whatever this day brings, or tomorrow brings, the Lord will walk it with us. Our savior has known from before time began the paths our life will take, and he has prepared a way. And he will show us that way, that path, whatever life brings. And it will be a “path of life.” There is life, and then there is Life. He brings to us Life with a capital L. There will be challenges; there will be missteps, there will be changes. But there will be joys, as shown by the remainder of the verse: In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
 
Whatever life brings, our Lord and Friend will show us the path of real Life.
 
PRAYER: Let us live in the confidence that if we are willing to follow it, there is indeed a Path of Life that you will show us, one step at a time.


Daily Devotional 7-2-19

Alone?
By Gay Ladwig
 
“I alone am left, and they are seeking my life to take it away.” 1 Kings 19:10b, 14b
 
Following his boldness in 1 Kings 18, Elijah was threatened and believed himself to be alone. Then, fear, depression and discouragement overwhelmed him. I confess that I, too, have believed myself alone and been overwhelmed by these same feelings, specifically in two very stressful times in my life.
 
Looking beyond Elijah’s feelings there is reality. That reality is the reliability of God’s love. When Elijah went into the wilderness and asked God to take his life away, an angel twice touched him in his sleep and encouraged him to eat and drink of the food and water provided to sustain him on a journey of 40 days and nights. Once at Horeb the mount of God, the Lord came to him and asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” and then commanded him to stand on the mountain before the Lord who was about to pass by. A great wind, an earthquake and a fire came by, but the Lord was in none of these. Then, the Lord came in silence and Elijah came out of the cave and stood before Him. When the voice questioned Elijah for the second time, he answered the same as before. Still, the Lord gave him instructions to anoint three men who would carry forward the work of purifying Israel, and the Lord informed him that there were no less than 7,000 loyal followers in Israel.
 
What was reality for Elijah is what reality was for me in my times of struggle. In fact, it is reality every moment of our lives! God is always with us, even when He is silent. God also sends angels or others of His children to help us if we are willing to see and willing to be vulnerable enough to ask for the help we need.
 
Prayer: Thank you Father God for using our times of struggle to teach us and to assure us that You are with us always. Amen.


Daily Devotional 7-1-19

Truth 
By Gay Ladwig
 
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32
 
Elijah’s “zealousness for the Lord,” which is recorded in 1 Kings 18, he was described as “a great risk-taking communicator, speaking God’s truth to power.” For me, the word TRUTH jumped off the screen. The phrase “speaking truth to power” is often heard, particularly in the political climate of the day. Additionally, the word truth not only has multiple meanings, it sometimes seems as if truth is considered something unique to each individual.
 
But what about God’s truth? The word truth, or a variant of it, is found 224 times in the Bible. John uses the word truth many times––“the truth will make you free” (John 8:32). Clearly truth is foundational to life when knowing it will make us free, but my truth or someone else’s truth is not the truth which will fulfill that promise. Freedom comes in knowing God’s truth as revealed to us in His Word. The word truth in scripture is not to be interpreted as intellectual truth––the common meaning in Western culture. Rather, it translates to the Hebrew word “emeth,” which expresses a knowledge of God and this Eastern meaning of truth is very profound. It is not merely intellectual; it is existential. With John’s words “the truth will make you free,” the truth speaks of the reliability of God’s love. When I know the truth, I know that:
 
God is Love.
 
God is trustworthy.
 
God accepts me even though I have sinned.
 
The truth of God is personified in Christ Jesus, who is also the Word of God. God’s truth makes me free! God’s truth makes you free! Thanks be to God. Amen.
 
Prayer: Thank you God that You are Love and for the truth, “emeth,” that speaks of the reliability of Your love; the truth that makes us free in Jesus. Amen.


Daily Devotional 6-28-19

Heavy Laden
By Gay Ladwig
 
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
 
Have you ever been heavily laden? For me, there came a time in life when I was a mother, a caretaker and the primary provider for my family which meant a new job and assimilating my family into a new community. I worked hard and did my best each day to get everything done right. I did not even know who to ask for help. Although a believer, I also had some false narratives about God from childhood and had not internalized fully the true character of God; specifically, His love, His acceptance and His grace. The result: I was heavy laden; life felt overwhelming. Then, counseling with my pastor, I found some hope.
 
Later, a friend shared a Dennis Jernigan CD with me. The music and lyrics to one of the songs, “My Yoke Is Easy,” touched me in my very place of need and cemented God’s truth for me.
 
An answer to my prayers, I share the lyrics now as a closing prayer.
 
Heavy laden? Won’t you bring your load to Me?
If you’re weary, worn and tired of trying,
Come and learn of Me.
Did you know that all you’re longing for and all you’re dreaming of
Can be found in Me, my child, for I am Love?
 
Come to Me all who are weary, searching for life’s best.
Take My yoke of love upon you and come into My rest.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
How I’ve always longed to carry you through the endless night.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
How I’ve always longed to let you know
You are precious in My sight.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.


Daily Devotional 6-27-19

Planted 
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful
 
“The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree: He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of Jehovah; They shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and green: To show that Jehovah is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” Psalm 92:13-15
 
Palm trees are known for their ability to stay green in every season. They are not affected by drought or other weather condition because the roots go down very deep in search for water. Cedars on the other hand are known for their ability to grow very high, their beauty and fragrance, and their roots also reach down deep and spread wide.
 
The Psalmist uses the palm and cedar trees to describe the righteous who are planted in the house of God. God’s desire for every Christian is that we grow and flourish in our relationship with God. Nevertheless, this can only happen when we chose to be planted in the house of God. Being planted in the house of God means cultivating a relationship with God that is vibrant. It means one is actively involved in a community of faith or local church where you are growing.
 
John Wesley taught us some vital things that need to remain planted, which we call the means of grace: prayer, fasting, fellowship, scripture, service, etc. These things help us to grow deeper in our faith and relationship with God.
 
The unique characteristic of cedar and palm trees is how deep their roots go. How deep are your roots in Christ, in the local church, small group? How deep is your love for God?
 
When we plant ourselves in Christ, and in our local church, our lives will begin to bless others. We also get the support we need to stand and flourish in difficult seasons.
 
As a palm tree goes through different seasons and still flourishes, so is a Christian who is planted in the house of God. The roots of your brothers and sisters will provide the needed support system to lean on in every season.
 
Reflection: Are you planted in GOD’S house? How deep are your roots?
 
Prayer: Lord, I know can’t live a victorious Christian life alone, help me to be planted in my local church and in you. Cause me to grow and flourish.


Daily Devotional 6-26-19

God is trying to get your attention

“Then Moses said to himself, Let me check out this amazing sight and find out why the bush isn’t burning up. When the LORD saw that he was coming to look, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” Moses said, “I’m here.” Then the LORD said, “Don’t come any closer! Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground.” He continued, “I am the God of your father, Abraham’s God, Isaac’s God, and Jacob’s God.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 3:3-7 CEB
 
When you walk down the street and hear your name called, the primary reflex is to turn and see who called. The call gets your attention. We all have different methods we use to get the attention of those we care about.
 
In this scripture, God is trying to get Moses’ attention through the burning bush. When the cry of the Israelites got up to God because of their affliction in Egypt, God found Moses a man he could use but needed to get his attention, so He can speak to Him.
 
For a shepherd like Moses, a bush burning without being consumed was exactly what he needed to stop, look and listen.
 
Too often as Christians, we get so busy with our plans, families, carriers, friends, etc., that we become numb to the voice of God. At other times it’s the voices of people, and circumstance that become so loud and we can’t hear God’s voice. I pray today you will stop, look and listen.
 
Our God, who is a good father, understands that we can’t live fruitful, victorious and flourishing lives without hearing his voice. It is his voice that leads, comforts, encourages and strengthens us through difficult seasons. Anytime God tries to get our attention, it is either because of his mission on earth or our own good. Same as with our salvation. God took the first step towards us through the incarnation. He is still taking steps today to get our attention. Since each person is different, God will not use the same methods to get our attention. God knows what will make you to stop, look and listen.
 
Reflection: When last did you hear His voice?
 
Prayer: Lord, I acknowledge I have been so busy and have not paid attention to your bidding. Please help me to silence all the other voices and enable me to recognize you trying to get my attention through my circumstances, and may I stop and listen in Jesus name.


Daily Devotional 6-25-19

Saved by The Blood
By Julie White
 
In fact, according to the Law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22)
 
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. If Jesus had never gone to the cross to shed His blood for your sins you would not have forgiveness. You would be a lost soul. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. From Genesis to Revelation, blood is shed. Why?
 
Our blood, if it is the same type, can be interchanged. Blood is the most mysterious substance in the whole anatomy and we’re all related by it. The apostle Paul said, God hath made of one blood all the nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth. We take communion on Sunday and wine or grape juice represents the blood, the life of Christ that was shed on the cross. John the Baptist cried out, Behold the Lamb of God that hath taketh away the sins of the world.” Why did he call Him the Lamb? Because as a lamb, He was going to the cross, His blood was to be shed for your sins; He takes away the sins of the world. There’s power in the blood. Blood is symbolic in the Bible. It means the life of Christ was given for you at the cross and when He died and shed His blood, God accepted that sacrifice instead of you having to make that sacrifice.
 
Forasmuch as ye know, you were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold but with the precious blood of Christ as the Lamb without blemish, without stain,” (1 Peter 1:18).
 
God is saying something to all of us. He’s saying, “I Love You, I Love You, I Love You, I Love You! I love you so much that I’m willing to see my own son die.” Christ died and He shed His blood on that cross for you; now comes your part for Him. God is speaking to you as an individual. He gave his life for you! Now is the time to give your life to Him.
 
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I need You in my life. I know I’ve sinned. I believe that you died for my sins and rose from the dead. I invite you to come into my heart. I trust you and want follow you as my Lord and Savior. Amen


Daily Devotional 6-24-19

Intimacy with the Almighty  
By Julie White  
 
Deep things are intriguing. Deep jungles. Deep water. Deep caves and canyons. Deep thoughts and conversations. There is nothing like depth to make us dissatisfied with superficial, shallow things. Once we have delved below the surface and had a taste of the marvels and the mysteries of the deep, we realize the value of taking the time and going to the trouble of mining those depths. This is especially true in the spiritual realm. God invites us to go deeper. We read in scripture that the Spirit of God “Searches all things, even the depths of God,” (1 Corinthians 2:10).
 
Toward the end of his struggles, Job refers to the Lord’s deep, mysterious purposes as “things too wonderful for me, which I do not know,” (Job 42:3). The prophet Daniel stated that God “reveals the profound and hidden things” and that “He knows what is in the darkness,” (Dan 2:22). We read elsewhere “He reveals mysteries from the darkness, and brings the deep darkness into light.” (Job 12:22). The psalmist testifies that “Thy judgments are like a great deep,” (Psalm 36:6).
 
I think God waits to reveal insights and dimensions of truth to those who care enough to probe, to examine, and to ponder. And God’s ways are not discovered through normal human methods of research. He reserves these things for those whose hearts are completely His; for those who take time to wait before Him. To be profoundly aware of His presence, in touch with Him at the deepest level possible, thinking His thoughts, gleaning His wisdom, living as close to His heart as is humanly possible, operating in the nucleus of His will; only in this way can we experience intimacy with the Almighty.
 
[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him more [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His person more strongly and clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death. (Philippians 3:10).
 
PRAYER: Lord, the depth of our intimacy with you determines the level of impact our lives have in the world. Help us make our goal in life to become intimately acquainted with You. We love you, God. Amen.  


Daily Devotional 6-21-19

Walking in Light    
By Julie White  
 
Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path. Psalm 119:105  
 
When you walk along a dense forest path with a small lantern on a pitch-dark night, you can see only one step ahead. Once you take that step, the lamp moves forward enough to light the next place to put your foot. Traveling this way, you reach your destination safely.
 
God’s guidance is very much the same. He goes before us to open up the way and also walks alongside us. The lamp of Scripture provides light to our spiritual pathway. It is a symbol of God’s word that gives us guidance in trials, and hope that, no matter what happens, He will “Bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom,” (2 Tim 4:18). God’s word is our spiritual compass. It’s like a sturdy walking stick you can lean on as you journey uphill with God. If you trust in God consistently, the staff will bear as much of your weight as is needed.
 
  I believe the word ‘path’ represents the general course of one’s life and ‘feet’ denotes a person’s particular actions and choices. When you need to make a decision, the best test is to ask, “Is the result of my decision in alignment with God’s word?” When you decide on a course of action that is in line with His will, nothing in heaven or on earth can stop you. God is with you and for you!
 
Another way God asserts His sovereignty is in the timing of events. Instead of grabbing the lamp from God and running headlong toward your goal, allow Him to set the pace. In this life, we may hike through a forest of obstacles, but God will not trip in the darkness. Stay close to God and do things His way, ask Him to show you the true path forward moment by moment, step by step.
 
PRAYER:  Holy Spirit, thank you for lighting up my life with your Word. Help me to keep my eyes opened for the path that You have already determined for me. Help my faith be a sturdy walking stick for others to lean on as they search for Your light in their lives.