Devotions
  • Someone to Touch

    Our Daily Bread Apr 25, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Someone to Touch Commuters on a Canadian Metro train witnessed a heart-moving conclusion to a tense moment. They watched as a 70-year old woman gently reached out and offered her hand to a young man whose loud voice and disturbing words were scaring other passengers. The lady’s kindness calmed the man who sank to the floor of the train with tears in his eyes. He said, “Thanks, Grandma,” stood up, and walked away. The woman later admitted to being afraid. But she said, “I’m a mother and he needed someone to touch.” While better judgment might have given her reason to keep her distance, she took a risk of love.Jesus understands such compassion. He didn’t side with the fears of unnerved onlookers when a desperate man, full of leprosy, showed up begging to be healed. Neither was He helpless as other religious leaders were—men who could only have condemned the man for bringing his leprosy into the village (Lev. 13:45-46). Instead, Jesus reached out to someone who probably hadn’t been touched by anyone for years, and healed him.Thankfully, for that man—and for us, Jesus came to offer the touch of His hand and heart to those who needed from Him—then and now—what no law could ever do.  

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  • Don’t Give Up

    Our Daily Bread Apr 24, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Don’t Give Up Bob Foster, my mentor and friend for more than 50 years, never gave up on me. His unchanging friendship and encouragement, even during my darkest times, helped carry me through.We often find ourselves determined to reach out and help someone we know who is in great need. But when we fail to see improvement right away, our resolve can weaken and we may eventually give up. We discover that what we hoped would be an immediate change has become an ongoing process.The apostle Paul urges us to be patient in helping one another through the stumbles and struggles of life. When he writes, “Carry each other’s burdens” and so “fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2), he is compares our task to the work, time, and waiting it takes for a farmer to see a harvest.   How long should we keep praying and reaching out to those we love? “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”  (v. 9). How many times should we reach out? “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (v. 10).The Lord encourages us today to trust Him, remain faithful to others, keep on praying and don’t give up!

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  • The Small Things

    Our Daily Bread Apr 23, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    The Small Things My friend Gloria called with excitement in her voice. She had not been able to leave her home except for doctors’ appointments. So I understood why she was so happy to tell me, “My son just attached new speakers to my computer, so now I can go to my church!” Now she could hear the live broadcast of her church’s worship service. She raved about God’s goodness and the “best gift my son could have given me!”Gloria teaches me about having a thankful heart. Despite her many limitations, she’s thankful for the smallest of things—sunsets, helpful family and neighbors, quiet moments with God, the ability to remain in her own apartment. She’s had a lifetime of seeing God provide for her, and she talks about Him to anyone who visits or calls.We don’t know what difficulties the author of Psalm 116 was encountering. Some Bible commentaries say it was probably sickness because he said, “the cords of death entangled me” (v. 3). But he gave thanks to the Lord for being gracious and full of compassion when he was “brought low” (vv. 5–6).When we’re low, it can be hard to look up. Yet if we do, we see that God is the giver of all good gifts in our life—great and small—and we learn to give Him thanks.

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  • The Shrinking Piano

    Our Daily Bread Apr 22, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    The Shrinking Piano For three consecutive years, my son participated in a piano recital. The last year he played, I watched him mount the steps and set up his music. He played two songs and then sat down next to me and whispered, “Mom, this year the piano was smaller.” I said, “No, it’s the same piano you played last year. You’re bigger! You’ve grown.”Spiritual growth, like physical growth, often happens slowly over time. It is an ongoing process that involves becoming more like Jesus, and it happens as we are transformed through the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2).When the Holy Spirit is at work in us, we may become aware of sin in our lives. Wanting to honor God, we make an effort to change. Sometimes we experience success, but at other times, we try and fail. If it seems like nothing changes, we get discouraged. We may equate failure with a lack of progress, when it’s often proof that we are in the middle of the process.Spiritual growth involves the Holy Spirit, our willingness to change, and time. At certain points in our lives, we may look back and see that we have grown spiritually. May God give us the faith to continue to believe that “He who began a good work in [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).

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  • Always Listening

    Our Daily Bread Apr 21, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Always Listening Dad was a man of few words. He had hearing damage due to years of military duty and wore hearing aids. One afternoon when Mom and I were talking a little longer than he thought necessary, he responded playfully, “Whenever I want peace and quiet, all I have to do is this.” Lifting both hands in a single motion, he turned off both hearing aids, folded his hands behind his head and closed his eyes in a serene smile.We laughed. As far as he was concerned, the conversation was over!My father’s actions that day remind me how different God is from us. He always wants to hear His children. This is underscored by one of the shortest prayers in the Bible. One day Nehemiah, a servant to King Artaxerxes of Persia, was visibly sad in the king’s presence. Fearful when the king asked him why, Nehemiah confessed it was because Jerusalem, the conquered city of his ancestors, lay in ruins. Nehemiah recounts, “The king said to me, "What is it you want?" “Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king…” (Neh. 2:4-5, italics added).Nehemiah’s prayer lasted only a moment, but God heard it. It set in motion God’s merciful response to the many prayers Nehemiah had already offered for Jerusalem. In that moment, Artaxerxes granted Nehemiah’s request to rebuild the city.   Isn’t it comforting to know that God cares enough to listen to all of our prayers—from the shortest to the longest?

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  • The Gift of Giving

    Our Daily Bread Apr 20, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    The Gift of Giving A pastor breathed life into the phrase “He’d give you the shirt off his back” when he gave this unsettling challenge to his church: “What would happen if we took the coats off our backs and gave them to the needy?” Then he took his own coat and laid it at the front of the church. Dozens of others followed his example. This was during the winter, so the trip home was surely less comfortable that day. But for dozens of people in need, the season warmed up just a bit that day.When John the Baptist roamed the Judean wilderness, he had a stern warning for the crowd that came to hear him. “You brood of vipers!” he said. “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:7–8). Startled, they asked him, “What should we do then?” He responded with this advice: “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same” (vv. 10–11). True repentance produces a generous heart.Because “God loves a person who gives cheerfully” (NLT), giving should never be guilt-based or coercive (2 Cor. 9:7). But when we give liberally, we find that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

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  • Letting Go

    Our Daily Bread Apr 19, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Letting Go For our wedding anniversary, my husband borrowed a tandem bike so we could enjoy a romantic adventure together. As we began to pedal on our way, I quickly realized that as the rider on the back my vision of the road ahead was eclipsed by my husband’s broad shoulders. Furthermore, my handlebars were fixed; they didn’t affect the steering of our bike. Only the front handlebars determined our direction; mine served merely as support for my upper body. I had the choice to either be frustrated by my lack of control or to embrace the journey and trust Mike would guide us safely on our route.When God asked Abram to leave his homeland and family, He didn’t offer much information concerning the destination. No geographic coordinates. No description of the new land or its natural resources. Not even an indication of how long it would take to get there. God simply gave the instruction to “go” to the land He would show him. Abram’s obedience to God’s instruction, despite lacking the details most humans crave, is credited to him as faith (Heb. 11:8).If we find ourselves grappling with uncertainty or a lack of control in our lives, let us seek to adopt Abram’s posture of following and trusting God. The Lord will steer us well.

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  • Sweet Scent

    Our Daily Bread Apr 18, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Sweet Scent Author Rita Snowden tells a delightful story about visiting a small village in Dover, England. Sitting outside a café one afternoon enjoying a cup of tea, she became aware of a beautiful scent. Rita asked a waiter where it was coming from, and was told it was the people she could see passing by. Most of the villagers were employed at a nearby perfume factory. As they walked home, they carried the fragrance that permeated their clothes out into the street.What a beautiful image of the Christian life! As the apostle Paul says, we are the aroma of Christ, spreading His fragrance everywhere (2 Cor. 2:15). Paul uses the image of a king returning from battle, his soldiers and captives in tow, wafting the smell of celebratory incense in the air, declaring the king’s greatness (v. 14).According to Paul, we spread the aroma of Christ in two ways. First, we spread it through our words: telling others about the One who is beautiful. Second, through our lives: doing deeds of Christlike sacrifice (Eph. 5:1–2). While not everyone will appreciate the divine fragrance we share, it will bring life to many.Rita Snowden caught a scent and was driven to seek its source. As we follow Jesus we too become permeated with His fragrance, and we carry His aroma into the streets through our words and deeds.

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  • Enjoy the View

    Our Daily Bread Apr 17, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Enjoy the View Sunsets. People tend to stop what they are doing to watch them . . . snap pictures of them . . . enjoy the beautiful view.My wife and I watched the sun setting over the Gulf of Mexico recently. A crowd of people surrounded us, mostly strangers who had gathered at the beach to watch this nightly phenomenon. At the moment the sun fully slipped below the horizon the crowd broke out with applause.Why do people respond like that? The book of Psalms offers a clue. The psalmist wrote of God ordering the sun to praise its Creator (Ps. 148:3). And wherever the rays of the sun shine across the earth, people are moved to praise along with them.The beauty that comes to us through nature speaks to our souls like few things do. It not only has the capacity to stop us in our tracks and captivate our attention, it also has the power to turn our focus to the Maker of beauty itself.The wonder of God’s vast creation can cause us to pause and remember what’s truly important. Ultimately, it reminds us that there is a Creator behind the stunning entrance and exit of the day, One who so loved the world He made that He entered it in order to redeem and restore it.

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  • At Home With Jesus

    Our Daily Bread Apr 16, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    At Home With Jesus “There’s no place like home.” The phrase from popular culture reflects a deeply rooted yearning within us to have a place to rest, be, and belong. Jesus addressed this desire for rootedness when, after He and His friends had their last supper together, He spoke about His impending death and resurrection. He promised that although He would go away, He would come back for them. And He would prepare a room for them—a dwelling-place. A home.He made this place for them—and us—through fulfilling the requirements of God’s law when He died on the cross as the sinless man. He assured His disciples that if He went to the trouble of creating this dwelling-place, that of course He would come back for them and not leave them alone. They needed neither to fear nor be troubled about their lives, whether on earth or in heaven.We can take comfort and assurance from Jesus’s words, for we believe and trust that He makes a home for us; that He makes His home within us (see John 14:23); and that He has gone ahead of us to prepare our heavenly home. Whatever sort of physical place we live in, we belong with Jesus, upheld by His love and surrounded in His peace. With Him, there’s no place like home.

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  • The Supreme Climb

    RSS | My Utmost For His Highest Apr 26, 2017 | 00:00 am

    Take now your son…and offer him…as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. —Genesis 22:2A person’s character determines how he interprets God’s will (see Psalm 18:25-26). Abraham interpreted God’s command to mean that he had to kill his son, and he could only leave this traditional belief behind through the pain of a tremendous ordeal. God could purify his faith in no other way. If…

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  • “Ready in Season”

    RSS | My Utmost For His Highest Apr 25, 2017 | 00:00 am

    Be ready in season and out of season. —2 Timothy 4:2Many of us suffer from the unbalanced tendency to “be ready” only “out of season.” The season does not refer to time; it refers to us. This verse says, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season.” In other words, we should “be ready” whether we feel…

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  • The Warning Against Desiring Spiritual Success

    RSS | My Utmost For His Highest Apr 24, 2017 | 00:00 am

    Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you… —Luke 10:20Worldliness is not the trap that most endangers us as Christian workers; nor is it sin. The trap we fall into is extravagantly desiring spiritual success; that is, success measured by, and patterned after, the form set by this religious age in which we now live. Never seek after anything…

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  • Do You Worship The Work?

    RSS | My Utmost For His Highest Apr 23, 2017 | 00:00 am

    We are God’s fellow workers… —1 Corinthians 3:9Beware of any work for God that causes or allows you to avoid concentrating on Him. A great number of Christian workers worship their work. The only concern of Christian workers should be their concentration on God. This will mean that all the other boundaries of life, whether they are…

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  • The Light That Never Fails

    RSS | My Utmost For His Highest Apr 22, 2017 | 00:00 am

    We all, with unveiled face, beholding…the glory of the Lord… —2 Corinthians 3:18A servant of God must stand so very much alone that he never realizes he is alone. In the early stages of the Christian life, disappointments will come— people who used to be lights will flicker out, and those who used to stand with us will turn away. We have…

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  • Don’t Hurt the Lord

    RSS | My Utmost For His Highest Apr 21, 2017 | 00:00 am

    Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? —John 14:9Our Lord must be repeatedly astounded at us— astounded at how “un-simple” we are. It is our own opinions that make us dense and slow to understand, but when we are simple we are never dense; we have discernment all the time. Philip expected the future revelation of a tremendous…

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  • Can a Saint Falsely Accuse God?

    RSS | My Utmost For His Highest Apr 20, 2017 | 00:00 am

    All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen… —2 Corinthians 1:20Jesus’ parable of the talents recorded in Matthew 25:14-30  was a warning that it is possible for us to misjudge our capacities. This parable has nothing to do with natural gifts and abilities, but relates to the gift of the Holy Spirit as He was first given at Pentecost. We must never…

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  • Beware of the Least Likely Temptation

    RSS | My Utmost For His Highest Apr 19, 2017 | 00:00 am

    Joab had defected to Adonijah, though he had not defected to Absalom. —1 Kings 2:28Joab withstood the greatest test of his life, remaining absolutely loyal to David by not turning to follow after the fascinating and ambitious Absalom. Yet toward the end of his life he turned to follow after the weak and cowardly Adonijah. Always remain alert to the fact that where one…

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  • Readiness

    RSS | My Utmost For His Highest Apr 18, 2017 | 00:00 am

    God called to him….And he said, "Here I am." —Exodus 3:4When God speaks, many of us are like people in a fog, and we give no answer. Moses’ reply to God revealed that he knew where he was and that he was ready. Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are. We…

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  • All or Nothing?

    RSS | My Utmost For His Highest Apr 17, 2017 | 00:00 am

    When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment…and plunged into the sea. —John 21:7Have you ever had a crisis in your life in which you deliberately, earnestly, and recklessly abandoned everything? It is a crisis of the will. You may come to that point many times externally, but it will amount to nothing. The true deep crisis of abandonment, or total surrender, is…

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