Morning Devotional

It Can Make or Break You

“The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation;…”

[EXODUS 15:2]

Ever heard of Roy Riegels? He picked up a fumble during the 1929 Rose Bowl game and ran as fast as he could…toward the other team’s end zone. His mistake set up the winning touchdown for the opposition. A defining moment.

Ralph Branca may not be a household name, but many will never forget the pitch he threw in the last game of the 1951 National League playoffs.

Bobby Thompson eyed the pitch and pelted “the shot heard round the world,” a home run that won his team the pennant and probably the most famous homer in baseball history.

Chris Webber’s defining moment came when the young basketball star called time-out during the 1993 NCAA finals, only to discover his team had no time-outs remaining.

What happened to Roy Riegels? I don’t know. Perhaps he forgot his blunder, or went on to use it somehow to his advantage. But Ralph Branca turned his defining moment into a turning point. Today he is a major force in an organization called BAT, dedicated to assisting old ballplayers “who have suffered tragedies more permanent than dealing the wrong pitch at the wrong moment.” Chris Webber established Time Out Inc., a non-profit agency to “help kids who need a time out to get going again.” Life is ripe with defining moments…moments that can make us or break us, depending on our perspective. For the Christian there is the assurance that God’s plans for us are good, regardless of the difficulty of our present circumstances.

~ Dr. Edwin Young ~

Live Loved

He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.

[Psalm 111:4]

Our Message

I“I have a duty to all people,” Paul told the Roman church (Romans 1:14 ncv). He had something for them—a message. He’d been entrusted as a Pony Express courier with a divine message, the gospel. Nothing mattered more to Paul than the gospel. “I am not ashamed of the gospel,” he wrote next, “because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (v. 16 niv)…

What people think of us matters not. What they think of God matters all…

God doesn’t need you and me to do his work. We are expedient messengers, ambassadors by his kindness, not by our cleverness…

And we entrusted with the gospel dare not seek applause but best deflect applause. For our message is about Someone else.

A European village priest in medieval times once gathered his church for a special service. “Come tonight,” he told them, “for a special sermon on Jesus.” And they did. They came. To their surprise, however, no candles illuminated the sanctuary. They groped their way to the pews and took their seats. The priest was nowhere to be seen. But soon he was heard walking through the church toward the front. When he reached the crucifix that hung on the wall, he lit a candle. Saying nothing, he illuminated the pierced feet of Christ, then the side, then one hand, and then the other. Lifting the candle, he shed light on the blood-masked face and the crown of thorns. With a puff, he blew out the candle and dismissed the church.

May we do nothing more.

May we do nothing less.

[It’s Not About Me]

Father God,

You are the message this world needs to receive. Your loving forgiveness is the antidote for the sins of a world that would be lost without you. Without you there is only pain and hopelessness. With you there is forgiveness, hope, and a future. Let us be your faithful messengers. Help us not to care what others think but to care what you think,

Amen.

He saved them for His name’s sake, that He might make His mighty power known.

[Psalm 106:8]

Or let them hear and say, “It is truth.” “You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He.”

[Isaiah 43:10]

~ Max Lucado ~

Evening Prayer

BE MEEK

[Psalm 37:11; Matthew 5:5]

In Jesus' Name, I Pray God's Will for You Today

I pray for you to be blessed with a meek spirit – a spirit that is submissive, still, self-controlled and secure in the Lord. In times of trial or trouble, may your soul be quieted with an assurance that God is in control. May you continue to remain humble and meek for He promises that, in doing so, you will inherit the earth. May you submit to His control over your life, certain that His ways lead to life and peace. I pray that you will be meek, for your confidence is in the Lord.

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Strength Today

Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day.

[2 Cor 4:16]

~~~~~~

Let my soul beneath her load

Faint not through the o’erwearied flesh;

Let me hourly drink afresh

Love and peace from Thee, my God!

~ C. F. RICHTER ~

In my attempts to promote the comfort of my family, the quiet of my spirit has been disturbed. Some of this is doubtless owing to physical weakness; but, with every temptation, there is a way of escape; there is never any need to sin. Another thing I have suffered loss from,—entering into the business of the day without seeking to have my spirit quieted and directed. So many things press upon me, this is sometimes neglected; shame to me that it should be so.

This is of great importance, to watch carefully,—now I am so weak—not to over-fatigue myself, because then I cannot contribute to the pleasure of others; and a placid face and a gentle tone will make my family more happy than anything else I can do for them. Our own will gets sadly into the performance of our duties sometimes.

~ ELIZABETH T. KING ~

Jesus Today

My Eyes Are On Those Whose Hope Is In My Unfailing Love

MY EYES ARE ON THOSE WHOSE HOPE IS IN MY unfailing Love. To enjoy abundant Life, it is essential for you to have hope. However, many people indulge in false hopes and find themselves increasingly disillusioned as the years go by. So I urge you to choose well the object of your hope. The best choice is: My unfailing Love. From the time you first trusted Me as Savior, nothing—including death, life, things present or things to come—can separate you from this Love.

When you follow My divine guidelines, you can enjoy the Peace of My Presence. I am everywhere and I see everything, but My eyes are especially on those who are putting their hope in Me. Such people are ever so precious to Me, and I watch over them vigilantly. This does not mean I shield them from all adversity. It means I bless them with My nearness in good times, in hard times—at all times.

So persevere in placing your hope in My perfect Love. Look up to Me in the midst of your moments, for My eyes are indeed on you!

The eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.

[Psalm 33:18]

I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

[Romans 8:38–39]

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

[2 Thessalonians 3:1]

~ Sarah Young ~

Morning Devotional

The Crux of Christianity

Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place; and there was a large crowd of His disciples … who had come to hear Him.

[Luke 6:17-18]

This week we will look at some of Jesus’s most familiar words, called the Sermon on the Mount. Although these are some of Jesus’s most familiar teachings, they are also some of His most misunderstood words.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, and if somebody asks us for our coat to give them not only our coat but our shirt as well. Many of these words seem impossible to keep. How in the world can these commands apply in a world like ours today?

Throughout the ages people have gone to one of two extremes when it comes to the Sermon on the Mount. Some people say the Sermon on the Mount is a list of requirements of what people must do to go to heaven when they die. Now, if that is true–if Jesus was giving us a list of impossible requirements to keep in order to go to heaven–then Jesus was no better than the Pharisees. Remember what Jesus said about the Pharisees? “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders” so that they cannot enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 23:4). The Pharisees had a long list of dos and don’ts that were impossible for anybody to keep. So Jesus is no better than the Pharisees if He gave us this list and said, “This is how you go to heaven.” I don’t think that is what Jesus intended in this sermon.

However, other people go to the opposite extreme when it comes to the Sermon on the Mount. They say that these words have no application for our world today. They see the Sermon on the Mount as the constitution for the millennial kingdom. They say, “This is the way we are all going to act when we get into the millennial kingdom in the future, but we can’t do that today.” This is the extreme that many evangelical Christians go to. I even attended a seminary that taught that the Sermon on the Mount has no application for today.

Is that what Jesus is saying? As I read these words in Luke 6, there is nothing to suggest that this message is for some future generation. In this sermon Jesus is talking about how we are to act as Christians. Yes, His words are difficult. If you believe that this world is all there is, then these commands are impossible to keep. And you have no motivation for keeping these commands if this world is all there is. But when you know what Jesus knows about the future, you can be generous in your attitude toward difficult circumstances and difficult people.

~ Dr. Robert Jeffress ~

Morning Prayer

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

[Matthew 6:14-15]

Father God,

Today, forgiveness will be on my mind when that person cuts me off on the freeway, or jumps the line in the grocery store, and I would be lying to say I don’t want to give them a piece of my mind, but I will refrain.

Amen