Morning Devotional

The Established Heart

… He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

[1 Thessalonians 3:13]

Every baseball player will attest that there are varieties of umpires. There is, for example, the orthodox umpire, an absolutist. The strike zone is clear: If the ball comes across the plate between the armpits and knees it is a strike, unquestionably. Then there is the modernist umpire. “There are balls and there are strikes,” he says, “and I call them as such as I see them.” The orthodox ump calls them what they are in fact, and the modernist umpire labels balls or strikes based on what he reasons them to be. The post-modern umpire doesn’t believe there is an absolute strike zone, nor that one can even know if a hurled ball is a strike or not. Since there is no absolute zone, and no way of knowing, if the post-modern ump wants it to be a strike he merely declares it so.

Spiritually, the person with an established, set heart knows there are absolutes. Strikes are strikes and balls are balls. God’s Word sets the strike zone, and it does not vary. Such a person doesn’t play the game of life in confusion, but in settled certainty about right and wrong.

TODAY’S  FOCUS

Seek God’s forgiveness for times you have “called it” the way you have seen it rather than the way it is by His standards.

Morning Devotional

A Whole Heart

Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

[Hebrews 3:12]

Parents understand when they don’t have their kids’ full attention. “You will brush your teeth,” says a mother. “Yes, ma’am,” answers the youngster, merrily scouring her two front teeth only. Such was the commitment level at one point in colonial America. Children born to church members were enrolled in membership, whether they had made a commitment to Christ or not through the “halfway covenant.”

In 1727, New Jersey Pastor Theodore Frelinghuysen declared the only people who could take the Lord’s Supper at the church he served were people who could give a clear testimony that they had received Jesus Christ and evidence He was transforming their lives. Controversy erupted, but so did revival.

A whole-hearted person is one with no hidden agendas. There is no room for other “gods” because the whole-hearted person’s entire devotion is to the true and living God!

~ Dr. Ed Young ~

Evening Devotional

The Key To Total Heart Health

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

[Galatians 4:4-5]

Buckets overflow, but it all begins with a single drop.History’s events were the drops of destiny, filling the bucket of time until it overflowed in its culminating event, the coming of Jesus Christ to rescue us from the abyss and make us the children of God.

The process you launch toward total heart health begins with the single droplet of one day. But as you persist, the vessel of your days gets full and begins to overflow. New healthy habits enhancing the total heart become your lifestyle. What has been sheer discipline becomes delight.

In the Bible, 40 years symbolizes a generation. The old has passed away and the new generation has emerged. Some say it takes 21 days to shatter an old habit, and 40 days to cement a new behavior. But in 90 days, the new often becomes one’s lifestyle.

Jesus says those who endure to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22). This is true not only for our eternal salvation, but for the fullness of total heart health as well.

Taking the Bible Lightly

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

[2 TIMOTHY 3:16]

I talked once with a young pastor and pointed out the importance of being biblically accurate and theologically sound, rightly interpreting the Word of Truth. I also encouraged him to get training to make sure that what was taught and proclaimed was actually the Word of God. His response was, “I just take what I like, what fits, and I make it shine and sparkle, entertaining and inspiring. And that’s really all I want to do.”

That is a tragic thought. If devotion is not based upon proven truth, it’s shallow. And if biblical truth is twisted, it’s heresy. It’s not going to accomplish anything. It is merely shallow sentiment. It is passing the time.

We have to work hard to understand God’s Word! Why? It’s only in the Bible that we can truly know what a Christian is, what God has done for us, and what God wants to do for us.

TODAY’S PRAYER FOCUS

Ask God to help you focus on His Word more in the New Year.

Morning Devotional

God reveals Himself in Jesus

O God, Thou art awesome from Thy sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God!

[PSALM 68:35]

Babylonian literature tells the story of a man who wanted to believe in God, but did not. He went to a Jewish teacher, saying, “If you’ll show me God, I’ll believe. Just show Him to me.” The teacher said, “I will show you God—but first, go outside and gaze at the sun for five minutes.” The man went outside, but he could not look at the sun for more than a few seconds. He told the rabbi that he had failed…that the sun was too bright to gaze upon. The teacher nodded in agreement. “You could not look on a minor creation of God for even a minute—and yet you want to see Him who put the brilliance in the stars. You cannot. He is too big.”

What a great word about the nature of God. He is a big God—too big for us to easily grasp or readily comprehend. And too majestic for us to take in more than a glimpse of His awesome character. Because He is so big, the distance between us is great. For me to understand all about God would be about as reasonable as expecting my King Charles Spaniel Winston to understand all about calculus…and Winston’s a smart dog!

How grateful I am that God sent His Son Jesus Christ to live in the flesh and show us what He is like, up close. Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” Through Him, we can gaze on God to our heart’s content.

~ Dr. Ed Young ~

The One-Glove Blessing

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

[2 Corinthians 9:6]

A man was in a third-world country, and the wind-chill factor was below zero. In this very primitive country with mud streets, he saw two little boys, about 9 or 10 years old, running around.

“They were freezing, but they were looking for something to burn, something they could take home and start a fire,” he said.

“I had on these big old wool gloves. So I went over to one of those kids, and I took my gloves off and said, ‘Here, put these on.’ The little child put those gloves on. Oh, he was so thrilled! I felt so good about being able to give him those gloves and make him happy.”

“Then, I saw him do something. He took one of the gloves off and gave it to his buddy. His buddy put that glove on. Now they were both happy, and I was doubly happy!”

You want to be happy? You want to have joy? You want to be on top of life? Then don’t just give to your spouse, your family, and your friends. Follow God’s lead at Christmas and give to those who really need it.

Look for ways this Christmas to be a blessing to people in need – and you will be blessed in return.

TODAY’S PRAYER FOCUS

Ask God to help you become a generous giver, just as He is to you.

~ Dr. Ed Young ~

Evening Devotional

Never Give Up

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

[Hebrews 12:1]

When Winston Churchill went to school, he made poor grades and wasn’t admitted to Cambridge or to Oxford, as would be expected of someone of his status in society. Until he was 60 years old, he never had a position or a job that amounted to anything.

Yet this man became one of the greatest orators who has ever lived. This man became the one who inspired a world when oppression was closing in upon us. This man became the consummate leader of the free world at a wonderful, tragic moment in history.

I think his legacy is wrapped up in an address he gave to a graduating class on one occasion, and it’s wrapped up in seven famous words: “Never give up! Never give up! Never!”

Are you ever tempted to give up on God? If you are, be encouraged this Christmas. God loves you so much He sent His son Jesus into the world for your sake. He humbled Himself on a cross and died so that you may have life. Let that powerful truth remind you to never give up on your Savior!

Pray that God would help you keep following Jesus even when it’s hard.

~ Dr. Ed Young ~