Evening Devotional

You Can Live an Empowered Christian Life

For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish.

[Romans 7:19]

I don’t know about you, but when I became a Christian I said, “This is the easiest thing in the world. What a deal!” I walked down the aisle of our country church, said “I believe in Jesus,” was baptized, and hence, my Christian life began. I somehow had the idea that I could live just as I had been living, and when (not if!) I did something wrong, I could ask God to forgive me, and all would be well. If I died prematurely, as a member of God’s family, I would most certainly go right to heaven. I had this Christianity thing licked! But then a Bible study teacher named Mr. Alexander exploded my ease. He taught the Bible to us straight and clear. He ran a shoe store, but he was an anointed teacher who made me realize that receiving Christ was easy, but living the Christian life was not. In fact, many times it was downright hard.

Finally, as I began to study the word on my own, I came to the conclusion that the Christian life was not hard…it was impossible! I could completely identify with Paul when he said he did what he did not wish to do, and did not do what he wished to do! If Paul struggled, what hope was there for me? Then I discovered I could not live the Christian life under my own power any more than I could get right with God on my own merit. I began to understand the work of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. As He fills my life, He enables me to live and walk in victory. So I came full circle. The Christian life is easy. The Christian life is hard. The Christian life is impossible. The empowered Christian life is exciting…and that power comes from the Holy Spirit Himself.

~ Dr. Edwin Young ~

Live Loved

And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church.

[Ephesians 1:22]

The Creator of the Universe

Tapping the collective shoulder of humanity, God points to the Son—his Son—and says, “Behold the center of it all.”

God raised him [Christ] from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. (Ephesians 1:20–22 msg)

When God looks at the center of the universe, he doesn’t look at you. When heaven’s stagehands direct the spotlight toward the star of the show, I need no sunglasses. No light falls on me.

Lesser orbs, that’s us. Appreciated. Valued. Loved dearly. But central? Essential? Pivotal? Nope. Sorry… The world does not revolve around us. Our comfort is not God’s priority. If it is, something’s gone awry. If we are the marquee event, how do we explain flat-earth challenges like death, disease, slumping economies, or rumbling earthquakes? If God exists to please us, then shouldn’t we always be pleased?

Could a Copernican shift be in order? Perhaps our place is not at the center of the universe. God does not exist to make a big deal out of us. We exist to make a big deal out of him. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s all about him.

[It’s Not About Me]

Heavenly Father,

We praise you, King of heaven. You are great above all. You are gracious and we are grateful. We love you, adore you. We worship you and thank you for the gift of your Son,

Amen.

Since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably.

Hebrews 12:28

O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions.

Psalm 104:24

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Psalm 107:8-9

~ Max Lucado ~

Strength Today

Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention.

[Ps 42:11]

~~~~~~

Ah! why by passing clouds oppressed,

Should vexing thoughts distract thy breast?

Turn thou to Him in every pain,

Whom never suppliant sought in vain;

Thy strength in joy’s ecstatic day,

Thy hope, when joy has passed away.

~ H. F. LYTE ~

Beware of letting your care degenerate into anxiety and unrest; tossed as you are amid the winds and waves of sundry troubles, keep your eyes fixed on the Lord, and say, “Oh, my God, I look to Thee alone; be Thou my guide, my pilot;” and then be comforted. When the shore is gained, who will heed the toil and the storm? And we shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God. If at times we are somewhat stunned by the tempest, never fear; let us take breath, and go on afresh. Do not be disconcerted by the fits of vexation and uneasiness which are sometimes produced by the multiplicity of your domestic worries. No indeed, dearest child, all these are but opportunities of strengthening yourself in the loving, forbearing graces which our dear Lord sets before us.

~ ST. FRANCIS DE SALES ~

Morning Prayer

“For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.”

[1 Peter 2:20-21]

Father God,

Today, when others step on my hope, beat down my ideas, or want to hold back my dream, I may want to get frustrated and strike out. Help me to rein in my emotions.

Amen

Jesus Today

I Give Strength To The Weary

I GIVE STRENGTH TO THE WEARY AND INCREASE the power of the weak. You live in a world where weakness is often pitied, or even despised. People spend vast amounts of time, energy, and money on efforts to strengthen their bodies. They also use various stimulants to avoid or disguise weariness. However, weakness and weariness are simply part of the reality of living in a fallen world, and in a fallen body.

I invite you to come into My Presence confidently, with all your weariness and weakness. I have experiential understanding of fatigue because I lived in your world for thirty-three years. You can let down your guard with Me and admit how tired you really are.

Take time just to be with Me, basking in the Light of My Love. As My Face shines upon you, I bless you and give you Peace. Do not skimp on this time with Me, for I use it to strengthen you spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Lift up wide-open arms, seeking My Presence in the present moment. Be prepared to receive abundantly ~ Joy, Peace, unfailing Love.

[The LORD] gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

[Isaiah 40:29–31]

The LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

[Numbers 6:25–26]

Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.

[Psalm 31:16]

~ Sarah Young ~