Friday, December 31, 2010

+DEV+ Trying or Trusting?

Date: December 31, 2010 2:02 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Trying or Trusting?

Trying or Trusting?

"The Holy One of Israel says, 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it...' Blessed are all who wait for him" (Isaiah 30:15, 18b)!
Scripture Focus: Isaiah 30:15-18

Part of the American Dream is the understanding that if we work hard enough we can achieve our goals. We build our sense of security on our independence, assets, or relationships.

The prophet Isaiah saw a time when God did not permit success in proportion to Israel's effort. He wanted them to wait for and trust in His provision. God called His people to turn to Him alone.

They refused. They tried to save themselves by fleeing on horses. They kept trying harder instead of trusting Him deeper. The psalmist wrote, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm" (Psalm 20:7-8).

Trusting God may require waiting. It may mean a choice to rest quietly, to avoid activity, to avoid manipulating people or circumstances. We are being shaped into a person who depends on Him more deeply. Waiting is the environment in which we recognize God's power and faithfulness.

Insight: It is easy to rely on your logic or abilities rather than wait for God. But waiting is the hard work He asks of you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

+DEV+ The Scarlet Symbol

Date: December 29, 2010 9:20 PM
Topic: +DEV+ The Scarlet Symbol

The Scarlet Symbol

"We will treat you kindly...[if] you have tied this scarlet cord in the window...So she sent them away and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window" (Joshua 2:14b, 18a, 21b).
Scripture Focus: Joshua 2:1-21

Because Rahab hid the Israelite spies, they promised her safety when her city would be destroyed. The scarlet cord hung from her
window guaranteed deliverance.

Day after day, that cord hung in her window while Rahab waited in trust for the promise of the Israelite spies to be fulfilled. Joshua 6:22-23 recounts the deliverance of Rahab and her family and of their new life among God's chosen people.

The destruction we face comes from our debt of sin if we do not accept the promise for deliverance in Jesus. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son" (John 3:16, 18).

The blood of Jesus delivers us from death. The "scarlet cord" of His shed blood hangs over us, covering our sin and guaranteeing deliverance.

Insight: Ask Jesus to forgive you for your sin. Thank Him for dying for you and for the promise of eternal life.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

+DEV+ Channels of Grace

Date: December 28, 2010 10:54 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Channels of Grace

Channels of Grace

"You are to help your brothers until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land..." (Joshua 1:14b-15a).
Scripture Focus: Joshua 1:10-17

After obtaining a portion of the Promised Land, the first tribes of Israel helped the remaining tribes conquer their portions. God's grace emerged in building up the body of Christ through fellow believers. The importance of Israel recognizing His grace is emphasized with the phrase "the Lord gave" appearing five times in Joshua 1:13-15.

Believers today are also encouraged as God works through others as a source of encouragement. When Debbie's husband died, she was left alone to raise three children. One way she found support was through the people God put in her life. Now her kids are grown, and she leads a small group for single parents.

The tribes of Israel in Joshua's day and Debbie today illustrate 2 Corinthians 1:4 which says, "(God) comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."

God will use people and circumstances, sending His grace to us often in ways we least expect.

Insight: Pray for an opportunity to glorify God and build up the body of Christ. Encourage others who face struggles similar to your own.

Monday, December 27, 2010

+DEV+ Preparing for the Game

Date: December 27, 2010 10:37 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Preparing for the Game

Preparing for the Game

"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them...Obey all the law..." (Joshua 1:6-7).
Scripture Focus: Joshua 1:1-9

A friend’s son was in a Little Kickers Soccer League which taught him the rules and basic skills needed to play the game. After completing the six-week program, he was prepared to play "real games."

The Israelites spent years in the wilderness before they were ready to "get in the game." God wanted them to learn how to trust Him and to always obey Him before they reached the Promised Land. Conquering the land did not guarantee God's continued blessing. The Israelites would lose His favor if they didn't trust and obey Him once they resided there.

Often while we are in a season of waiting we focus on where we want to be instead of what God wants to develop within us. We'd rather not sign up for His version of Little Kickers; we'd prefer to skip the spiritual preparation. When God stressed the importance of knowing, obeying, and trusting His Word to the Israelites, He impressed it upon us, too.

Insight: Trust God's timing and obey His leading. These disciplines get you in shape spiritually to enjoy His continued blessings.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

+DEV+ More than Marketing

Date: December 26, 2010 10:51 PM
Topic: +DEV+ More than Marketing

More than Marketing

"These commandments...are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children...when you sit...when you walk...when you lie down and when you get up" (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
Scripture Focus: Deuteronomy 6:1-12

These days characters like Barbie and Batman, Strawberry Shortcake and Super-Man appear on everything children use from bicycles to bed sheets. It's hard to buy anything for kids without a famous character on it or its packaging. The clothes they put on, the toys they play with or learn from reinforce their love of that character.

God instructed the Israelite parents to incorporate His character into every aspect of their children's lives. Teaching children about God through daily routines was not a marketing scheme. It was an effective way of passing on the heritage of the fear of the Lord to the following generations.

In the midst of waiting for years for the Promised Land, the Israelites were given these parenting instructions from God. He wanted to be a natural part of their lives while they were waiting so that they would not forget about Him once they arrived in the land. It's natural to talk about a kid's favorite cartoon. It should be just as natural to talk about the One who left an empty tomb.

Insight: Impress God's laws on your mind and His character on your heart. This is how we wait in faith for His promises.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

+DEV+ Faithful Reminders

Date: December 23, 2010 8:07 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Faithful Reminders

Faithful Reminders

"'Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years...while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old'" (Joshua 14:10)!
Scripture Focus: Numbers 13:1-3, 26-33

After spying out the promise land, Caleb confidently reported that, with God's power, Israel could capture it. But the opposition seemed overwhelming, and the Israelites doubted God. Because they did not have faith, Caleb had to wait. For 45 years he rested in God's faithfulness while the Promised Land seemed close at hand. That's a long wait!

God's faithfulness surrounded Caleb during that time. He saw it daily as God provided manna for Israel to eat. Just as God instructed, Caleb always remembered the things his eyes had seen, and he did not let them slip from his heart. (Deuteronomy 4:9)

Caleb's endurance is an inspiration to us. Whether in our home, church, or work, we may feel our lives are on hold because of resistance or difficulty. While we wait, we recognize daily blessings as reminders of God's faithfulness. We see God's power, even if we wait because others don't believe Him. God will sustain us so we will one day enjoy the blessings He has prepared for us in Christ.

Insight: Don't Be Distracted By Judging Others' Lack Of Faith. Dwell On God's Faithfulness As You Look For His Blessings Throughout Your Day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

+DEV+ Hanging on for Dear Life

Date: December 22, 2010 8:50 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Hanging on for Dear Life

Hanging on for Dear Life

"To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy - be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ..." (Jude 24-25).
Scripture Focus: Jude 17-25

Recently I noticed these words on the cover of a magazine: "Hanging on for Dear Life." I thought of Jude's warning against evil (vs. 18-19) and then of Jude's antidote for persevering in such evil times (vs. 20-22). Jesus' prayer in John 17 is "not that you [the Father] take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one." We are to be in the world - living in it, enjoying it, caring for it, redeeming it for His glory - but not of the world.

Perhaps one of the best resolutions this year is, indeed, to "hang on for dear life" to Him who keeps us from falling or losing sight of God's purpose for us. Imagine Jesus presenting you "without fault and with great joy" when your final days are done. Even with all my finest motivations and sometimes-successes in my resolutions, I will fall short. So will you. But clinging to Jesus Christ alone, you and I are forgiven and spotless. No glory for keeping our resolutions will come our way; but all glory and majesty go to the only God our Savior!

Insight: Hang on for dear life, because your Savior gave His dear life to hang on to you!

Monday, December 20, 2010

+DEV+ Committed to His Purpose

Date: December 20, 2010 9:29 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Committed to His Purpose

Committed to His Purpose

"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 11:29-30).
Scripture Focus: Matthew 11:25-30

Often the ministry of Pastor sometimes involves moving from one crisis to another. Being human, we can only endure so long until refreshment is needed physically, emotionally and certainly spiritually. Interestingly, as I write today's thoughts, we are about to move back to the west coast. We're weary and overwhelmed with sorting, tossing, packing, and sealing. We've been making time to say good-bye to many dear friends. Those who know us well have been affirming that God will give us new opportunities for His Kingdom and glory because we have been committed to His purpose. Jesus simply reminds us that we take the yoke together. And the burden is light because really He is carrying the load for us. Isaiah reminds us, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak" (40:29). Trusting in those promises, we can carry on and take the next step.

I resolve to be committed to His purposes. My prayer is that you will usher in the New Year by doing the same.

Insight: The Psalmist Says, "All My Fountains Are In You" (87:7). Both Strength And Peace Come From Him In Times Of Exhaustion.

It just hit me!!

It just hit me!!

My cat, Boo-Boo sleeps about 20 hours a day. She has her food prepared for her. She can eat whenever she wants, 24/7/365. Her meals are provided at no cost to her. She visits the Dr. once a year for her checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise. For this she pays nothing, and nothing is required of her. She lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than she needs, but she is not required to do any upkeep. If she makes a mess, someone else cleans it up. She has her choice of luxurious places to sleep. She receives these accommodations absolutely free. She is living like a queen, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever. All of her costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day. I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick in the head,

My cat is a Democrat!

Sunday, December 19, 2010



"Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll - are they not in your record?...For you have delivered my soul from death and my feet from stumbling..." (Psalm 56:8, 13).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 56

There is rarely a day as Pastor that I don't share in the tears of a family. The tragedies, crises, struggles, and losses, are real. One night when my cell phone went off, it was my duty to notify a mother that her young son had died in a motorcycle accident. What a heartbreaking moment. People began to gather; the night was filled with tears. My own heart ached as I shared in the grief of family and friends. Hours later I was able to offer assurance that those tears were not wasted. The psalmist says, "Put my tears into your bottle (NKJV)."

It's comforting to know that God regards and records our tears. There will be weeping sometime during this year - perhaps already - that does not escape His watchful eye. Often His purpose is veiled from us for a season, but His tenderness keeps those tears safe. Today, that mother who lost her son is actively involved in working with others who have their own bottles of tears, not one of them overlooked by our heavenly Father.

Insight: God Is Pleased When We Become His Instruments Of Grace In The Lives Of Those Who Have Been Shattered By Life's Difficult Experiences.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

+DEV+ Miss a Day-Miss a Lot!

Date: December 16, 2010 6:25 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Miss a Day-Miss a Lot!

Miss a Day-Miss a Lot!

"For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God" (Isaiah 58:2).
Scripture Focus: Isaiah 58:1-11

A newspaper's motto is "Miss a day, Miss a lot." In other words, if you go a day without reading and studying their paper, you'll be limited, unaware and uninformed about life and current world news. Actually, that is a good motto for us spiritually, too. Isaiah wrote that when God's people sought empty forms of religion and ritual over a genuine, life-changing relationship with Him, they failed. We should daily guard against such things ourselves. How easy it is to give a quick nod to the Lord in the morning and then rush off for the day, leaving Him buried under our piles of obligations. Let's be eager to know Him and His ways, eager for His presence. This is a day by day walk we have with Him. If we miss a day, we miss a lot.

Now is a perfect time to determine our commitment to Christ, to grow in Him and be infused with His presence, to be motivated by His love. Let's cultivate those godly disciplines of meditation in Scripture and being still before Him in prayer.

Insight: Allow The Spark Of His Holy Spirit To Become A Flame Of Passion And Devotion, Burning Brightly To Testify That God Is With Us.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

+DEV+ Guidance

Date: December 15, 2010 3:32 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Guidance


"Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart..." (Deuteronomy 8:2).
Scripture Focus: Deuteronomy 8:1-9

My friend served in the US Army's elite Green Berets during the war in South East Asia. I commented on how dangerous it must have been and how easy it would be to get disoriented. He agreed, save for the compass and map that his team carried.

Here in Scripture we have a clear reminder of God's faithfulness to His people. He led them "all the way" for many years, making sure they had food and garments during the years of travel. It wasn't an easy journey, but He led them.

He also desires to guide us through the wilderness of life that without Him would leave us depressed and in despair. He is our compass and our map! These are tough times we live in, and we should resolve to follow His Word. It will give us the strength and direction we need to complete this journey. The key to survival is found in verses 10-20 where we are reminded that there is no excuse for complacency. Our priority is to guard our hearts, listen to His leading, and walk in His ways.

Insight: Our Devotion Will Be Cultivated From The Rich Soil Of God's Guidance And His Knowing Us So Well.

Monday, December 13, 2010

+DEV+ A Time to Rest

Date: December 13, 2010 1:40 AM
Topic: +DEV+ A Time to Rest

A Time to Rest

"The Lord replied, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest'" (Exodus 33:14).
Scripture Focus: Exodus 33:12-33

Many of the past few days' devotions speak of "doing." James 1:22 tells us to "be doers of the word, and not hearers only." But there's also a time to rest. God promised Moses that in His presence there would be rest. Here one finds comfort, peace, and a settled spirit. And Jesus knew that His disciples needed time away from the "doing," ("Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest" He told them in Mark 6:31.) so He took them to a mountain. He knew that in His presence they would be refreshed. So important is this to Jesus that He spoke in the form of a command.

But even greater is the real rest that we have when we know Jesus as our Savior. No amount of "doing" that we offer could ever approach what He already has done for us. He lived the perfect life for us that we could not live and then credited His flawless record to us. On the cross He paid the debt for our sins. Now that is something to rest in!

Insight: I Rest In God, Set My Mind And Spirit Upon Him, Releasing And Putting Aside The World Of Crushed Needs.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

+DEV+ Our Spiritual Combat Badge

Date: December 9, 2010 10:59 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Our Spiritual Combat Badge

Our Spiritual Combat Badge

"May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep the that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other" (1 Kings 8:58, 60).
Scripture Focus: 1 Kings 8:54-66

His Combat Medical Badge was testimony to his intense bravery in saving the lives of many wounded soldiers in the middle of the most intense enemy onslaught of the Vietnam War. He also served in WW II and in Korea prior to Vietnam as a Combat Medic. Shortly before his death he dreamed that he was standing on a hilltop, a line of people stretched before him moving toward a distant horizon. They were all soldiers and civilians, and as they passed him, they shook his hand and said, "thank you." I suspect that when he arrived in heaven, things happened somewhat that way. This man's bravery had flown out of his strong faith in God and belief in heaven. Indeed, he was a caring person right to the end.

Every day there are people God brings into our lives. Resolve to make the most of each contact, offering hope, healing, friendship and faith, to the extent that our lives truly can affect others. Make it your goal that all the people of the earth may know His name and fear Him.

Insight: Wearing The Yoke Of Jesus Is The Highest Of All Honors. We Are Under His Ownership And Serve At His Beck And Call.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

+DEV+ Daily Discipline

Date: December 8, 2010 11:38 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Daily Discipline

Daily Discipline

"I have learned the secret of being content whatever the circumstances...I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:12b-13).
Scripture Focus: Philippians 4:1-13

Walking the hall of the hospital one day, I realized the awesome need for spiritual resources. The list of places to visit was long. I was reminded of how vital my spiritual stamina is, and how strong the mighty arm of the Lord is.

Whatever comes into my sphere of influence, God's strength is mandatory for me as I confront today's "list." How thankful I am that it is His power that will sustain me and enhance my ability as His servant. I can have the peace of Christ in knowing I possess His adequate resources for the job. And His resources certainly come as I read, study, and dig deeply into His Word. We have never had as many spiritual resources available to us as we do today. But it begins simply for me with a study of Scripture and a seeking of His heart, His truth and His wisdom. Resolve this year to focus on the priority of daily time with Him, thus being prepared to face any situation that will come into your path.

Insight: Plan To Live Under The Influence Of His Word, Cultivating His Truth, Cashing In On His Adequacy, Enjoying His Peace.

Monday, December 6, 2010

+DEV+ Vigilance!

Date: December 6, 2010 7:58 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Vigilance!


"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes" (Ephesians 6:10-11).
Scripture Focus: Ephesians 6:10-20

A close friend and Army officer during the war in Vietnam would take his new G.I.’s that had arrived "in country" to a "safe" location, making them go up and down a mountain with heavy packs, weapons, ammo, and canteens. He said this added training would prepare them to respond quickly in battle. While at first the G.I.’s didn't appreciate the intensity, when they finished their tour of duty and arrived safely back in the US, a number of them wrote to the Major, attributing their survival to that extra preparation.

As followers of Christ we too must be strong in the Lord and dressed in His armor. Paul, reminding us here of the spiritual battle we face, implies that our human effort is inadequate. We will reach the point where we can hardly carry that shield or hold out that sword. But we rest in the fact that Jesus is the entire suit of armor for us. He is our truth, our righteousness, our peace, and the author of our faith. With the armor of God and His invincible power, good will triumph over evil.

Insight: Whoever Has My Will Is My Master. I Must Surrender Daily My Will To Him And He Will Strengthen My Resolve.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

+DEV+ No Compromise

Date: December 5, 2010 10:40 PM
Topic: +DEV+ No Compromise

No Compromise

"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it" (John 17:15-16).
Scripture Focus: John 17:6-19

One goal for us ought to be to get out of our "holy huddles." While we do find safety in our fellowship with other Christians, we must take our cue from Jesus. His prayer to the Father asked for protection for His followers. But they needed to stay in the world. We, too, need to get out of our comfort zones and onto the field of battle. We certainly don't want to be compromised in our faith.

Scripture records the ruin of nations when believers succumbed to evil influences. Appeasement should have no place in the life of the believer. And Paul clearly states, "do not give the devil a foothold." This is a good time to renew our commitment to Christ and make certain that we do not give the devil any satisfaction or maneuvering room in our lives. We are soldiers of Jesus Christ, and our hearts must be right even though our surroundings are evil. According to Jesus in His prayer, the truth of who Jesus is sets us apart for a vibrant life in Him (John 17:17-19).

Insight: The Sin Of Laodicea Was Nominal Christianity In An Affluent City Leading To Apostasy. Only Repentance Would Bring Restoration.