Thursday, May 30, 2013

+DEV+ Clothed With His Righteousness

Date: May 30, 2013 10:44 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Clothed With His Righteousness

Clothed With His Righteousness

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy." (Psalm 30:11)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 37:2-4, 39:11-23

A common material item runs through Joseph's life: a cloak. As a boy, he was given a special tunic by his father. However, it stirred up jealousy in Joseph's brothers. When they plotted evil and sold him into slavery, they took that coat, dipped it in blood, and used it to convince their father of Joseph's death. His precious coat had been stripped from him.

When Joseph was taken to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, a tunic came into his life again. Potiphar's scheming wife pursued Joseph inappropriately. But when Joseph fled, she was left holding nothing but Joseph's cloak, using it to accuse him of misconduct. For the second time in his life, he was thrown into a pit. Still, the Lord was with him in prison, "showing him kindness and granting him favor" (39:21).

Eventually, he wore the honored robes of the great Pharaoh himself. The Lord's goodness seeks us out, no matter what prison we've found ourselves in. Listen to His comforting call to pull you out of despair and clothe you with His righteousness.

Insight: Jesus was stripped of His robe and went to the deepest pit to battle death and hell... all for you and me.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

+DEV+ He Gives More Grace

Date: May 30, 2013 12:04 AM
Topic: +DEV+  He Gives More Grace

He Gives More Grace

"Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But He gives more grace..." (James 4:5-6)
Scripture Focus: James 4:4-10

Christians build their faith and life on the glorious, free, transforming grace of God. We are saved by grace. The Father willingly put our sin on His Son and gives us His righteousness. This is grace.

James reminds us that we are not only saved by grace, we are daily sustained by grace, renewed for each day's journey. The Spirit of God "yearns jealously" to accomplish the project He was sent to undertake. The Spirit's ministry is to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. He begins that work on the day we are saved by taking out our heart of stone and giving us a heart of flesh. He continues that work by daily convincing us of our sin, encouraging our faith, teaching us the Word, renewing our joy, and so much more.

This ministry of the Spirit is the ministry of "more grace!" Doesn't it bless your heart to know that there is no limit or boundary to God's grace? He calls us to give our lives to Him without reservation and gives us all the grace we need to accomplish the task!

Insight: God's grace is the gift that keeps on giving!

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Date: May 28, 2013 10:00 PM
Topic: +DEV+  You are NOT Your Own!

You are NOT Your Own!

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit...? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 6:17-20

Young people regularly ask me, "Pastor Mike, is it okay for me to get a permanent tattoo or a piercing?" I usually respond, "Why do you want to get one?" The answer is always the same. They see it as a further expression of themselves.

The real question to ask is this: will this glorify God since He purchased my body with the precious blood of His Son? We have a tendency to think that the Lord's involvement in our spiritual lives is okay, but when it comes to our bodies, that's off limits!

Paul reminds us that we used to use our bodies for all sorts of unsavory and sinful practices. But now, since we are united to Christ and His beloved servants, we are NOT our own. Our rights are forfeited for His right to do with us as He pleases. Paul proclaims, "I am not my own; I am bought with a price!" With joy he admits that he used to be a slave to sin, to self, and to Satan but now is a slave to a gracious, good master, the Lord Jesus Christ. Commit to Him with all your heart, soul, body, and strength, with or without tattoos.

Insight: As our reasonable Christian service, we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord! (Romans 12:1-2)

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

+DEV+ If I Had One Wish

Date: May 23, 2013 11:11 PM
Topic: +DEV+  If I Had One Wish

If I Had One Wish

"At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." (1 Kings 3:5)
Scripture Focus: 1 Kings 3:4-15

Solomon, David's son, has just been anointed the King over all Israel. He is a young man, about 30 years old, with powerful enemies on every side. The LORD asks him, "If you could have anything, what would it be?"

From the dialogue that follows between Solomon and the LORD, it is apparent that Solomon could have asked for at least four things: riches, long life, rest from his enemies, wisdom. Solomon decides that wisdom tops the list and amazingly goes on to experience all four.

Consider the value of wisdom above many other things. Wealth without wisdom is like a fool and his money; they are soon parted. Long life in the Old Testament is often tied to obedience. Respectful children live long in the land (Exodus 20:12). How can we obey God's Word if we don't know how to apply it in our lives? Enemies of one kind or another are always looking to prevail. It takes a wise, patient, discerning king to trust the Lord to fight His battles and apply His unorthodox military strategies. Pray for wisdom!

Insight: Desire to understand and apply God's Word above riches, health and peace. Ask for wisdom by faith and God will give it liberally! (James 1:5)

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

+DEV+ God's Radar Fixed on YOU!

Date: May 22, 2013 11:25 PM
Topic: +DEV+  God's Radar Fixed on YOU!

God's Radar Fixed on YOU!

"The eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine." (Psalm 33:18)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 33

A contemporary Christian rocker cries, "God's radar is fixed on you; no matter where you go, no matter what you do, God's radar is fixed on you." Is God sitting in His cosmic cop car with His universal radar gun, writing tickets for all who speed by? If the eyes of the LORD are on you, is He keeping track of all your infractions?

We read in Psalm 33 that the eyes of the Lord are filled with "unfailing love," a love fixed on protection ("to deliver") and provision ("to keep alive"). For the believer, "the eyes of the Lord" speak of the glorious favor and blessing of the Most High. To look into the face of God is to look into the eyes of "unfailing love!"

The irony is that the Old Testament saints were not able to behold the face of God and live. Psalm 33 looks forward to the One who would turn the face of God toward us that we might fully experience this "unfailing love!" Jesus experienced the forsaken face of the Father on the cross so that we might behold Him face-to-face for all eternity.

Insight: The love of Jesus is patient and kind, keeping no record of wrongs.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

+DEV+ Are We Useful?

Date: May 21, 2013 10:08 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Are We Useful?

Are We Useful?

"I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me." (Philemon 1:10-11)

Scripture Focus: Philemon 1:8-16

One of the first things I want to do when I get to heaven is arm wrestle the Apostle Paul for the title, "Chief of Sinners!" When I look back on the first 25 years of my life, I see nothing but lawlessness, disobedience, debauchery and sin. Like Onesimus, I was useless.

In Onesimus, we have a glorious picture of the transforming power of the Gospel. The name Onesimus means "useful," but because he was a rebellious slave both to sin and to his master, he rendered himself "useless." It wasn't until he heard the good news of the Gospel from a prisoner while in prison that he was able to live up to the name God ordained for him.

The first time I heard and believed the Gospel I was facing over a hundred years in prison. I had absconded with His gifts and talents to live what I thought was a footloose and fancy free life. I was Onesimus - useless. Christ alone, my gracious Master, called me out of my life of hopelessness and made me useful. The name I carry now wherever I go is the name of Jesus Christ!

Insight: This is the heart's cry of every believer: “Me, Lord, and make me 'Onesimus' (useful)!"

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

Monday, May 20, 2013

+DEV+ In the Grip of Grace

Date: May 20, 2013 8:19 PM
Topic: +DEV+  In the Grip of Grace

In the Grip of Grace

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." (Phil. 3:12)
Scripture Focus: Philippians 3:12

Possession is in the "eye of the holder". When I hold hands with my wife, am I holding her hand or is she holding mine? The answer is both! Lord willing, she would be happily holding fast to my hand as I was happily holding fast to hers.

The Apostle Paul knows that He is in the grip of God's sovereign grace, that nothing can pluck him from his Father's hand, and that God has already given him "everything he needs for life and godliness." (2 Pe. 1:3) The strong arm of the Lord has indeed reached down to pluck another brand from the fire. "Christ Jesus has... laid hold of me!"

Still, this does not mean that Paul doesn't strive, strain and press on to more fully experience the grace he has received. He knows he is a work in progress and is squeezing back, not to somehow make up for the Lord's slack hand, but to more fully experience what the Lord is holding him for! We can know, right along with Paul, the profound hold that Jesus has on our lives, a grip so tight that He will never let us go.

Insight: Grace squeezes us so that we might squeeze back!

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

+DEV+ The LORD, Too Gracious?

Date: May 19, 2013 11:46 PM
Topic: +DEV+  The LORD, Too Gracious?

The LORD, Too Gracious?

"Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee... I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love..." (Jonah 4:2)
Scripture Focus: Jonah 4:1-11

How can a prophet of the Lord be angry with God for being too gracious, too merciful, too patient and too loving? Isn't this what we adore most in our great God and King? Yet Jonah did not want to preach a message of judgment for fear that the citizens of Nineveh would repent and believe. Brewing beneath the surface of Jonah's complaint was his desire to see revenge come on a sinful people. Perish the thought that they might actually get saved!

Before we throw Jonah overboard for being unmerciful to the Ninevites, remember the many New Testament exhortations to put others before ourselves, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to love our enemies and to pray for those who wrongfully use us. Clearly, the Lord knows we are a lot more like Jonah than we care to admit. Praise to our Savior who has taken the full penalty for our sins on His shoulders! Surely each of us is as sinful to our very hearts as all of the Ninevite people. Yet we joyfully drink in the blessings and graces of His mercy each day.

Insight: Monkey see, monkey do! There is a relationship between what we receive from God and what we extend to others.

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.