your daily crossroad


Devotion vs. Commitment

“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.” Matthew 21:28-30

There is a sharp difference between devotion and commitment. To commit means to pledge, and thereby binding oneself to a word. To devote means to freely give of ones time to a specific cause. Where I would normally say commitment, I have recently transformed my vocabulary to saying devotion. 

You see, commitment is good. It is good to say, “I will do it for you,” because it holds the promise and gives assurance to the person or cause you wish to commit to. Yet, commitment is by word and word alone, while devotion is about doing. As men, we should talk the talk AND walk the walk. 

In the parable, the first son showed more devotion to His father than His brother. Even though he disrespected his father in speech, he still honored him by going to the vineyard afterward. How many times have you committed to a cause with such burning passion, and then somewhere along the line, things get complicated–and by complicated I mean excuses get the upper hand, your fire runs out or you just grow weary. The book of James advises us to be doers of the Word, and not hearers alone. 

Let me tell you this: There can be times the people you devote to, will not even notice what you do. Can you imagine how God must feel? This can be applied to all areas of our lives because devotion is one of the greatest acts of love, and mysteriously, people can overlook it–but not the Lord. 

Regardless, be devoted to your wife, be devoted to your family, your friends, your work and above all of this be devoted to your God. Why? Because the Father is utterly and totally devoted to you. He says, “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). He also says He shall work a work in your day (Habakkuk 1:5). Just think of all the provision He makes for you on a daily basis. So devote yourself each day anew to God’s will for your life, and you shall inherit His kingdom. 

Father God, your devotion to me has gripped my heart. Please forgive me for straying from Your perfect will, and thank you for loving me even through my stumbling. Lord Jesus, please help me when I grow weary, and remind me that the reward in You is greater than any Earthly joy. Father, grant me the wisdom to discern where my devotion should rest, for Your word says where my treasure is, there my heart will be also. I will devote myself to You anew. Holy Spirit move within me, and may the glory of the Kingdom rise and spread to every person who comes into contact with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

When I came across this devotion I had been thinking about the importance of commitment and how it not only impacts you but it also impacts those around you, your spouse, your children, your friends, your work, your church family, the list goes on and the list may be different for each person, but when I read this devotion I never thought about commitment vs devotion. I pray this devotion challenges you today to not only talk the talk but also walk the walk. Be devoted, starting now, why, because the Father is utterly and totally devoted to you. 

Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 

Today’s Reading is Romans 12:4-5

Don’t Give Up!

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer. (Romans 12:12) 
Have you ever felt like quitting?  Have there been moments in your life when it seemed that all the effort and energies you were investing in something made no difference?  Maybe you feel this way right now.  It’s as though your life, career, finances or marriage is stuck like a tire in mud.  No matter how hard you press the accelerator, you never get traction — you never make any significant progress. 
Times like these are frustrating.  They drain our hope and weary our spirit and soul.  And if we’re not careful, they can drive us to the point of giving up. 
Jesus had something to say about one of the things that causes this kind of frustration, hopelessness and weariness of heart.  He addressed the issue of giving up on our prayers. 
There are periods when it appears that all of our prayers about something or for someone are not making a difference.  From all outward signs it looks like God is ignoring our cries and requests.  The energy we’re pouring into prayer seems to be wasted and useless.  Nothing is moving forward and changes are not happening, in spite of all our intercession. 
When situations in life seem stuck, and our prayers feel fruitless, we’re tempted to give up — we’re tempted to quit praying.  When this temptation comes our way, we need to be reminded of a teaching Jesus gave.  Knowing there’d be seasons like this for all of us, Jesus provided us with specific instructions about how to handle them: 
“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint/never give up.”  —  Luke 18:1 
Without going into the particular story Jesus used, it’s helpful and important to focus on the lesson Jesus wanted to get across to us.  His point was for us to never give up the practice of prayer and to never give up hope for answers to our prayers.  Understanding that we would be tempted by what appeared to be lack of progress or answers in response to our prayers, Jesus said , “Keep on praying!” 
“The Greek term Jesus used for the phrase “never give up” is very descriptive and powerful.  It means, “to refuse to become a coward; to not lose one’s courage; to not grow faint or despondent; to not lose one’s heart or soul in a matter; to refuse to let weariness win; to not quit.” 
What situations are you praying about that seem to stay the same?  Who have you been praying for without any apparent results?  What are you asking God to do for you that hasn’t yet happened? 
Don’t quit praying!  The delay is not a denial.  God may want you to adjust your prayers, change some attitudes or address some issues in your life, or simply wait patiently for His timing, but one thing He doesn’t want you to do is to quit praying! 


After reading this devotion I was encouraged to keep on praying and my prayer today is that you also “keep on praying” no matter what your facing, no matter how down and defeated you may be feeling at this very moment, don’t give up, keep on praying. No matter how dark and hopeless a situation might seem, never stop praying.  
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is Psalm 94:18-19


How Do I Choose?

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it . . . (Revelation 3:8) 


Life is full of tough decisions. 


How do I know if he/she is “the one”? Which college should I go to? What should I major in? Which job should I take? Which church should we attend? Should I change careers? Now that the kids are grown, should we downsize? Is now the right time to retire? 


People hate making decisions. Mostly because we’re terrified of making the wrong one. 


Choosing thrills us. Choosing scares us. Choosing comes from the core of who we are. When we truly choose, we have no one to blame and nowhere to hide. And that can be downright terrifying. 


My wife and I were at a restaurant once, and the waiter responded to every choice we made by saying, “Brilliant,” “Perfect” or “Excellent decision.” This happened so steadily throughout the meal that I finally asked him if he ever told anyone they made a lousy choice. He told us that the restaurant managers had discovered diners are so afraid of choosing the wrong thing, they actually print a list of “affirmation words” that the wait staff is required to say in response to everyone’s order. 


Think about that. Even a question as simple as, “Soup or salad?” renders us so vulnerable that restaurants have to turn their wait staff into therapists! 


In a way, we do the same thing with God. Terrified of making a bad decision, we lay all of our choices at God’s feet and ask Him, “What is Your will for my life?” 


But, what if God’s will for us is that we develop the wisdom and discernment to make our own decisions in light of His Word, and the faith and confidence to know He will be there guiding us regardless of which path we choose? 


Doesn’t that sound freeing? 


God wants us to learn how to choose well. That may be why, when we look at the Bible, there is no chapter devoted to ’How to know God’s will for your life.” Paul doesn’t write about “6 Steps to Determine If He’s the One” or “5 Ways to Discern God’s Best Career Path for You.” 


What we do see are statements like this: “ If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). 


Or “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:9-10). 


So the next time you face a difficult decision, instead of asking God what His will is for your life, begin by asking for wisdom. And don’t live in fear of making the wrong decision. Even if you walk through the wrong door, as long as you walk through it with the right heart, God’s will will be done. 


Remember, God’s will for your life is not about whom, or if, you should marry, which job you should accept, or which neighborhood you should live in. God’s will for your life is that you become a magnificent person in His image, somebody with the character of Jesus. And nothing can stand in the way of that. 


Dear God, we know that You are the God of the open door. Every moment of every day is an opportunity for us to grow and serve and make a positive impact on others. Because of Your love, we don’t have to be afraid of failure, nor do we have to live under the tyranny of always making the perfect choice. We pray You will give us the courage and wisdom to walk through whatever doors You open before us. And we pray that through our actions, Your will will be done. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 


When I read this devotion I had to take a moment and ponder on what I had read. So often we do ask God what His will is for our lives and we stop there, stagnant, fearful, uncertain, waiting for what we think might be His response,  when in all reality like today’s devotion says, “what if God’s will for us is that we develop the wisdom and discernment to make our own decisions in light of His Word, and the faith and confidence to know He will be there guiding us”. I think so often we get so overwhelmed with self condemnation that we forget as today’s devotion says, “God’s will for your life is that you become a magnificent person in His image, somebody with the character of Jesus, and as long as you seek His Word and trust Him to be there guiding you, nothing can stand in the way of that.  


Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 


Today’s Reading is Philippians 4:19

Improving on Purpose

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13) 
This world is set up in such a way that if something isn’t cared for and attended to, at some point it will definitely change…for the worse! You can see this very clearly as you drive around your neighborhood. Some yards are beautifully landscaped, while other yards are overgrown and full of weeds. The difference? One yard has been cared for and had work done in it; the other has been un-cared for and ignored. 
This is just as true in our lives as it is in a yard. The areas in our lives that we care for and work on are the areas that we’ll see improvement in over time, but the areas we ignore are pretty much guaranteed to deteriorate. I’ve found that many people procrastinate taking the steps necessary to begin working on those areas they want to improve. But the levels of discomfort and anxiety that come from not changing are usually higher than the levels of discomfort and anxiety that the process of change may bring. In other words, life’s much better when we’re changing and improving than when we’re not. 
Is there an area in your life where you want to see improvement, a skill that you want to get better at, or a character trait that you want to grow? If so, begin by taking that first step toward your goal. That step might be reading a book about the subject, enrolling in a class, watching an online video, or talking to someone who is already strong in that area. Then keep in mind that as you do what you can, God will do what you can’t. The Bible makes it clear that as we serve God, He will prosper what we do (see scriptures such as Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:1-3, and Philippians 4:13). God isn’t able to bring much prosperity to so many lives simply because so many people aren’t doing much. The more we do, the more God can bless our efforts. 
Just as walking a mile starts with a single step, so your growth starts in the same way. As you take steps toward growth you won’t see change overnight, but you will see change over time. And through this simple step-by-step process, you’ll be on your road to improvement! 
My prayer is that you are encouraged today. When I read this devotion I was reminded of one of our earlier posts on our facebook page and it’s worth repeating today, “The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time”. Step by step, day by day. With Christ, ALL things are POSSIBLE.  
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is Psalm 42:8 


God Uses Your Problems for Good

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold . . .  (1 Peter 1:6-7) 
Life is not a series of random, freak accidents. Life is not totally unplanned. Life is not without meaning. God knows what’s going on. 
God is weaving the tapestry of your life, and it includes light and dark threads—happy and sad times—to produce richness and texture and color. Nothing can come into the life of a child of God without God’s permission. Everything is Father‑filtered. 
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that everything that happens to you in life is God’s perfect will. That’s just not true. There are a lot of things that are not God’s will. If you go out and sin, that’s not God’s will. If somebody sins against you, that’s not God’s perfect will. 
But God does have a permissive will. If I go out and overeat, I pay the consequences. If I go out and wreck my body, I pay the consequences. God does not cause evil, and God does not cause suffering. But he does allow those things because they have a purpose. God permits them, and then he uses them. 
God is an expert at bringing good out of bad. He could have kept Paul out of prison in Philippi, but instead he let Paul go to prison, and the jailer became a believer as a result. God could have kept Jesus from the cross, but he let him go. He let his own Son suffer and die. Did God bring any good out of that? I’d say he did! 
God loves to turn crucifixions into resurrections. The things you most wish were removed from your life are often the very things that God uses to shape you and make you into the believer he wants you to be. He wants to use that problem for good in your life. There’s something more important than your pain: what you’re learning from that pain. God is in control. 
So how can we respond to painful or difficulty situations? The apostle Paul says, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17) 
When I read this devotion I couldn’t help but think of the many times I’ve been asked, why do bad things happen to good people and today’s devotions sums it all up in such an incredible way. I pray today’s devotion opens the door to understanding the why and you realize God is in control and despite the pain you realize as today’s devotions explains, He wants to use your painful and difficult situations for good in your life. What are you learning from your pain? God is in control, amen!  
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is Psalm 16:8 



God Will Not, Will Not

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13:5-6) 


The Bible makes this glorious promise: God “will never leave nor forsake” us. But the promise actually is stronger than we might realize. 


The Greek word here is a double negative, which is different from a double negative in English. We gain a clearer understanding of this emphasis through Kenneth Wuest’s translation: “I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you. I will not, will not let you down.” This should give us extra confidence that, in every situation, we can be confident and delivered from fear. 


This demonstrates how firmly we can entrust our lives to the Lord, and how completely we can be freed from worry about our future and our needs. And we never need to fear what other people say or think. 


He is not merely saying He will not leave us. He is stating emphatically that He will not, will not leave us, and that He will not, will not let us down. God is stressing that He promises to sustain and uphold us. 


The Bible gives us this promise that we might be free from worry or fear and to know that we can trust God in every situation. We always can be content and at peace. We always can be confident in Him. 


Today, seek to make this promise real in your life. Remember, you have no reason to fear. What can man do to you? 


Father, thank You that You never will leave me. I will not fear. I trust in You! In Jesus’ name, amen. Amen. 


This devotion blessed me so much when I read  it. I have read Hebrews 13:5-6 many times in my walk with The Lord, but I love how they demonstrate just how much He loves us through this setting of scripture in such a way it emphasizes His love for us in a much greater capacity. He will not, He will not cease to sustain and uphold you. He will not, will not let you down! Amen! He will never leave thee nor forsake thee. What a remarkable promise!! Be encouraged today and let go of discouragement. But God!  


Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 


Today’s Reading is 1 John 5:12 

God Goes Where You Go

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9) 
How comforting it is to know that wherever we go, God is there with us. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations and wonder if God is paying attention. We may feel so alone and even depressed. We can’t feel God’s presence, and we need His guidance and help. 
Sometimes friends, spouses, and parents don’t really understand what we are going through. But God does and He cares. God told Joshua to be strong and to have courage. Then He told him a wonderful truth: “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Yes, that’s right… wherever! We don’t have to feel all alone. God is with us. He is working out the problems, and we don’t even realize it. 
But now thus saith the Lord that created thee … and he that formed thee … Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? (Isaiah 43:1-3, 13) 
God is with us, leading us, guiding us, loving us, providing for us — all with His unlimited resources. What do we need? Do we need strength, peace, love, joy, or hope? He has it all. He is longing to pour out His favor and blessing upon us. We need to be open to Him and to trust Him. We need, by faith, to receive what He has for us. It is essential we realize how much He loves us and that He has a good purpose and plan for us. 
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. (Ephesians 3:14-16) 
This Scripture is awesome. There is nothing that God doesn’t know and can’t do for us. He walks with us every moment of every day. We need to speak these Scriptures to our hearts. The devil can’t stand it when we, in confidence, speak God’s Word. It builds faith in us and gives us the strength to stand. 
O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. (Psalm 139:1-6) 
Like David let us declare: 
Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. (Psalm 25:4-5) 
You can trust God. No matter what is going on in your life, He is there! God goes where you go. 
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:35-36) 
When I read today’s devotion I was encouraged by all the scripture. Whenever you are feeling down and overwhelmed by life just remember God’s word and don’t ever forget God goes where you go. 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is 2 Corinthians 7:1

Called By God

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. (Isaiah 6:8) 
God did not direct His call to Isaiah— Isaiah overheard God saying, “…who will go for Us?” The call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude. “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). That is, few prove that they are the chosen ones. The chosen ones are those who have come into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and have had their spiritual condition changed and their ears opened. Then they hear “the voice of the Lord” continually asking, “…who will go for Us?” However, God doesn’t single out someone and say, “Now, you go.” He did not force His will on Isaiah. Isaiah was in the presence of God, and he overheard the call. His response, performed in complete freedom, could only be to say, “Here am I! Send me.” 
Remove the thought from your mind of expecting God to come to force you or to plead with you. When our Lord called His disciples, He did it without irresistible pressure from the outside. The quiet, yet passionate, insistence of His “Follow Me” was spoken to men whose every sense was receptive (Matthew 4:19). If we will allow the Holy Spirit to bring us face to face with God, we too will hear what Isaiah heard— “the voice of the Lord.” In perfect freedom we too will say, “Here am I! Send me.” 
When I read this devotion today I felt it was an important reminder for each and every one of us and it needed to be shared. I pray it blesses you today and encourages you to do as today’s devotions says and allow The Holy Spirit to bring you face to face with God. He will not force himself on anyone.  
I pray you have a beautiful day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is Romans 14:8

Who’s Setting Your Priorities?

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5) 
Could my cell phone affect my to-do list? Could this little bit of gadgetry redirect my day, causing me to miss God’s best for me? I think so, and here’s why.  
Growing up, we had a house phone. Just one.There was no call-waiting beep or answering machine. And of course, no email or texting. So if you wanted to reach me, you had to keep calling until you got through. Or maybe head to my house and actually knock on my door. Quite frustrating when “someone” spent hours talking to a friend! 
Basically, the burden to communicate was on the person with the message to share. 
Today the responsibility to communicate has shifted. No longer is it your burden to reach me; all you do is type-type-type a message, hit send and all the responsibility floats through cyberspace and lands firmly on me. 
Multiply this by every which way people can reach me, and before I even wake up, I’m behind. 
This shift has silently affected all of us. A typical day starts with checking some sort of communication device to see who might have emailed, posted or texted. Then, before we begin to handle what’s most important to us, our day begins by responding to what’s most important to others. 
Without a concerted effort to stop this pull, we are drawn into the day’s rushing current like a tiny raft on a whitewater river. And rather than being proactive, our days are spent in reactive mode. 
Sound familiar? If so, you’ve probably also experienced the too-long to-do list that comes with it. After we’ve given the best of our time and energy to others, there’s little left to address God’s priorities for us. Consequently we put-off, delay and procrastinate our priorities. 
After years of shortchanging myself and my family, and often dishonoring God with disobedience, I realized I had things upside down! Things that mattered least replaced things that mattered most in my schedule. And work that would make the greatest impact on my life often fell to the bottom of my lists, then transferred to the next list until I either completed it with a fraction of my ability or abandoned it entirely. 
Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to figure out our best work. It sounds so easy to say, “Identify your priorities, and do those first.” However, when we face multiple demands we can often feel helpless. And helplessness can lead us to escape, avoid or numb. 
When those feelings start to overtake me and I don’t know what to do, rather than make a self-defeating choice, it’s time to press pause. Sometimes, the best thing to do is nothing – except seek direction and wisdom from the One who knows what our best is. 
Given the chance, others will set our priorities for us. Yet God specifically has a calling for each of us that will only come from Him. To discern this, we need wisdom. Without God’s wisdom, we make decisions on facts and feelings. And the fact that I have 100 emails to answer and feel overwhelmed does not mean it’s wise to do so now. 
To find wisdom, I need to silence the demands of many, to hear the commands of One. 
God is faithful, and His Word promises we can receive wisdom. In fact, it’s a gift from God. Here is what James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” 
As my life becomes more interconnected with others, my priorities are harder to identify. There will always be new demands rising to the tops of my to-do list, giving me reasons to delay tackling my own priorities. 
There is hope. When we take our tiny raft out of the raging river, and sit on the banks with our Heavenly Father, He will give us wisdom for what to do next. Sometimes it’s answering an email, but it might be something else He has planned for today. 
Heavenly Father, You are the source of all wisdom, including my priorities and what my day should look like. Help me seek Your wisdom for my priorities rather than finding them in my inbox or social media accounts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 
When I read this devotion it depicted such an image in my mind of how life can certainly be like a raging river but if we would seek His wisdom for our priorities and choose to sit on the banks with our Heavenly Father, what an impact that would make in our daily lives. We have so many distractions in life it can feel like wave after wave after wave crashing into you but I can guarantee that if you call out to the master He will calm the raging river in your life and allow you the opportunity to make it to the banks to sit with Him. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore (Psalm 121:8). I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye (Psalm 32:8). What a mighty good Father. Now ask yourself, who’s setting your priorities?
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is Revelation 3:19-20 


Expectations in Relationships

I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. (Psalm 142:4-5) 
In every interaction you have is someone weighted? 
What do I mean by this? Do you put expectations on others to act a certain way or say things in a certain manner? Then, when they don’t do what you expected, do you get upset? Do you misinterpret others’ words? Or do you put words into people’s mouths that they didn’t say? Welcome to the broken club my friend. 
I can’t believe how broken I still am when I put expectations on interactions! I’m cruising along doing fine, and one misinterpreted interaction brings me back to that lost and abandoned child. Pain comes rushing back, and sorrow sets in. 
However, I have learned a few things over the years; one being, most people are selfish. Yes, it’s true. People care about themselves and their own problems. It’s our human nature; so if you’re putting expectations on people, you will be failed. King David experienced this throughout his life and cried out to God in the Psalms. 
If you are putting expectations on a person to fill you; you will fail my friend and still find yourself alone and lost. There is only one who will never fail you. There is only one who will never abandon you. You can trust Jesus to listen. You can trust Jesus to hold you when you are broken-hearted. He alone is your refuge! 
Father, we acknowledge we are broken and ask for You to fill us with Your presence. Fill us with Your joy! Let us not look to others to fill our void, but only to Jesus, our refuge and portion, in Jesus mighty name. Amen. 
He alone is your refuge! Wow! I needed that reminder this evening. No matter the day you’ve had, not matter the interactions, rest assured tonight when you lay your head on your pillow, that He alone is your refuge. 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is Ephesians 2:10

Success in God’s Eyes

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23) 
If someone were to ask you to define “success,” what would you say? No doubt, there would be about as many different answers as the number of people asked. One thing, however, is sure…our culture is obsessed with success. 
We are obsessed not only with our own personal success, but we may be even more obsessed with providing our children with the tools they need to become successful. We all do our best, but a lot of times, there’s confusion about what constitutes real success. 
There’s a nebulous understanding that success means that our child will one day get a good education, have a good job, a good family and be a good citizen. But that is a very short-sighted view. It’s not very successful if our children grow up to have worldly success for fifty years and then spend eternity in hell. That’s a temporary success, but an eternal failure. So, what’s God’s definition? 
In God’s eyes, success means discovering His will for your life and using that purpose for His glory, rather than our own. We must see that big picture when setting our own goals, and especially when guiding our children down the road of life. When a child grows to understand that, then the child has a far greater chance of experiencing real, lasting success. Why? Because they will have found success in God’s eyes as well. 
When I read this devotion it blessed me. What a reminder of the true meaning of success in God’s eyes. I pray this encourages you today. 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is 2 Thessalonians 3:3

The Importance of a Good Example

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (Titus 2:7-8) 

Paul told Titus how to speak to the different groups of people in the church, and he told Timothy to tell the young men “to be sober-minded” (Titus 2:6). Then Paul explained to Titus the importance of being a good example himself. 

This is what Paul wrote: “In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works.” Titus had to be more than a teacher, he also had to be an example, a pattern. His guidance to others could not be taken seriously if he himself was not walking after God’s truth. This is a powerful, basic principle that is often neglected. If the preacher or teacher does not live what he teaches, why should anyone else?

This doesn’t mean that leaders in the church must be perfect. Like anyone else, they will have their weaknesses and failings. Leaders can’t be examples of perfection, but they certainly can be examples of humility and repentance. 

There’s a specific way that Titus had to be an example: “In doctrine showing integrity.” Titus had to be an example in doctrinal stability and integrity. If he wasn’t comfortably settled in his understanding of the Scriptures, he wasn’t ready to lead. 

Titus also had to be an example of reverence, of incorruptibility, and of sound speech. Titus had to teach the older men (Titus 2:2) and the older women (Titus 2:3) to be reverent, but he had to be an example of reverence first. Titus had to teach the older men to be sound in faith (Titus 2:2), but his faith had to be incorruptible. 

When God’s leaders live this way, it gives those who oppose God’s work no excuse to accuse and reject the truth. Paul put it this way: “That one who is an opponent may be ashamed.” Of course, Jesus lived this better than anyone. Jesus could say to an angry mob, “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” (John 8:46) and no one could say anything. 

I’m sure there are people that you really want to see come to faith and a real relationship with Jesus Christ. There are probably many others you know who already love Jesus but need to be taught in some important areas of the Christian life. With both groups, remember that your example means so much. 

If we fail to be good examples of the Christian life, what we teach others is of little effect. If we fail to be good examples of the Christian life, we give others the opportunity to excuse their unbelief. 

We can humbly ask Jesus to forgive us for all the times we have failed in being good examples, and then ask Him for the ongoing strength to represent God and His people by our good example. 

I searched out this devotion on the importance of being a good example. We are all leaders in one form or another in our lives and it’s so important that we strive each and every day to set a good and loving example to follow for those who are watching our every move, our every action. Be the change you want to see in The world and pray. 

Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 

Today’s Reading is Psalm 119:130

One Life at a Time

And he gave her hishand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. (Acts 9:41) 


Today’s story in Scripture provides a glimpse into the Spirit of God’s work through the apostle Peter. The book of Acts tells of big moments like Pentecost, but it also highlights how individuals’ lives are changed by the ministry of Jesus’ disciples. 


A man who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years hears Peter say, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up…” His life was changed, and many people in the local area turned to Jesus. 


Another person whose life was changed was Tabitha, also known as Dorcas. She became sick and died, and many people mourned. When Peter arrived, many widows showed him the clothing Dorcas had made for them. Peter prayed to the Lord, and God brought her back to life again. Mourning turned into dancing, and more people came to believe in Jesus as Lord. 


Are these merely good stories of a distant time in the life of the church, or are they something more? God is still at work in this world. The news media may not pay attention, but we know that the church of Jesus is still called to touch the lives of others—one life at a time. We can come alongside people who are hurting and point them to the healing and hope that come through Jesus. 


God of healing and hope, empower us to enter into the lives of others so we may weep with those who weep and also wipe away tears as we witness to your love, hope, and healing in Jesus’ name. Amen. 


I was encouraged by this devotion today. I pray you are also encouraged to touch the lives of others, one life at a time. Little it much when God is in it. Luke 15:10 says, There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. One life at a time. Amen!  Don’t allow discouragement to detour you from what God has called you to do, touch lives through Christ, one life at a time.  


Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 


Today’s Reading is James 1:22 

Lincoln’s Pockets

Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. (Romans 15:2) 
The night US president Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theater in 1865, his pockets contained the following: two spectacles, a lens polisher, a pocketknife, a watch fob, a handkerchief, a leather wallet containing a five-dollar Confederate bill, and eight newspaper clippings, including several that praised him and his policies. 
I wonder what the Confederate money was doing in the president’s pocket, but I have little doubt about the glowing news stories. Everyone needs encouragement, even a great leader like Lincoln! Can you see him, in the moments before the fateful play, perhaps reading them to his wife? 
Who do you know who needs encouragement? Everyone! Look around you. There isn’t one person in your line of vision who is as confident as they seem. We’re all one failure, snide comment, or bad hair day away from self-doubt. 
What if we all obeyed God’s command to “please his neighbour for his good to edification”? (Romans 15:2). What if we determined only to speak “pleasant words” that are “as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones”? (Proverbs 16:24). What if we wrote these words down, so friends could reread and savor them? Then we’d all have notes in our pockets (or on our phones!). And we’d be more like Jesus, who “pleased not himself” but lived for others (Romans 15:3). 
Whose words have most encouraged you? Who might need encouragement that you’ve been overlooking? 
When I read this devotion it blessed me so very much! I needed to be reminded of this today. So often we can be so quick to judge someone, not knowing what they are truly going through. Maybe they just need an encouraging word. I pray today God will show me someone I’ve overlooked that might need encouragement. I pray today we can all be better at being swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

Loving God, help me to encourage others with my words, actions, and presence. Amen  

Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 

Today’s Reading is Psalm 119:114

Just One More Look Behind, God?

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19) 


I am captivated by the biblical account of Lot and his God-ordained rescue from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah found in Genesis 19. As a child, I was most interested in the behavior of Mrs. Lot and her rebellion against God’s command to not look back. 


By the time I was about 10 years old, I decided that Mrs. Lot was clearly an ungrateful, rebellious woman who probably deserved to be turned to salt. From my perspective, firmly situated in my summer-camp, family-holiday good life, I judged Mrs. Lot for making the fatal error of looking back. 


As I find myself in a new season in life, grieving the loss of the familiar, I’m reminded of this ancient woman’s rebellion and her long, last look at the life she was leaving behind. 


Now I get it. 


I get why Mrs. Lot looked back: It was familiar — and despite Sodom and Gomorrah’s spiritual darkness, I imagine there were pleasant things there, too. Perhaps you’ve been there, and can identify with Mrs. Lot? 


Maybe you’re facing an unwanted season of change, and you find yourself stuck between where you’ve been and where you’re going. It seems overwhelming and devastating, and sometimes in the devastation we look back or maybe even glorify what’s been lost. We’re drawn to reminisce and hash over the past in our minds and hearts. This seems to be an age-old problem, so it’s by grand design that this important story is included in Scripture. 


We know God is present-future focused, not present-past focused. He calls us in the key verse — and throughout His Word — to focus on Him, to let Him work in and through us: “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19). 


God wants us to allow Him to lead us out of things not meant for us, toward Him. Sometimes this is terrifying, and our human instinct is to let our thoughts rush back to the familiar, but our present-future focused God wants our attention on Him. Eyes up, heart open, moving forward in His plan. 


God is not surprised with your current situation, and He’s intimately invested in every thought you have and every turn in the road you take. When we allow Him to heal us from the past, and we focus on Him and His great plan for us, He makes a way for beauty, joy and new life to flow back in. 


He’s doing a new thing in you and me. Rest in the sturdy hands of our Father, listen for His voice and trust His timing. What lies behind us pales in comparison to what He has in store. 


Dear heavenly Father, thank You that You are a God who stands with me right where I am. Thank You for being a present-future focused God and for reminding me today that You call me to keep my eyes on You and trust the plans You have for me. Forgive me, Lord, for looking back at a life You’ve helped me leave behind. I trust You, Jesus, and I believe in Your perfect plan for me. Please help me remember to turn all my anxieties and fears over to You and lean into Your Word and Your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 


What a powerful devotion. I pray it touches your heart and life in such a way that you see, as today’s devotions says, what lies behind you pales in comparison to what He has in store for you. He is faithful.  


Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 


Today’s Reading is John 1:12-13