Afternoon Devotionals


Afternoon Devotionals 

Devotional Title: Discerning The Time (9/17/21) Friday

Key Bible Passage: Ecclesiastes 3:1 

People often speak of the ‘arrow of time.’ The expression implies time does not just go places, but has a purpose when it gets there. We read in scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1 ‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:’
 
We often forget this about time. We make it impersonal, and automatic. Time ‘passes,’ and because of the distractions of life we may not see the purpose in the passage of time. The clocks run ‘tick-tock,’ but scripture tells us it runs for a reason, and the reason is a lot deeper than not letting us oversleep and be late for work. 
 
Science tells us time is a dimension. Dimensions can change. Time speeds up or slows down. The faster an object travels, the slower time passes. If we reached the speed of light, time would stop. Time is not the same on Mars as it is on Earth. It is six minutes difference in time between Earth and Mars. We are in different places and times in the Universe. Light from the nearest star takes four years to reach us. When we look at the nearest star, we are seeing what it looked like four years ago. When we see a galaxy three billion light years from us, we are seeing what it looked like three billion years ago.
 
Does that mean we cannot depend on time? Does that mean we might as well pitch the clocks? This is where we must make a distinction between time as a thing and time as a purpose. What is time’s ‘purpose under the heaven?’ This is where the expression ‘arrow of time’ takes on deeper meaning.
 
God’s Law is referred to in the Hebrew scriptures as ‘torah.’ It is applied to the first five books of the Old Testament, sometimes called the Books of Moses. What does ‘torah’ mean? It is based on another Hebrew word meaning to flow as water, to shoot an arrow, to point out, to instruct, to inform or to teach. In other words, God’s teaching is the target at which we aim. Time’s purpose is to be the ‘arrow’ we use to reach the target God wants us to reach.
 
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that good an aim. The eyes aren’t what they used to be, and they weren’t that good to begin with. That does not mean I do not try to see things properly. I strive to see them as clearly as I can. The purpose of our sojourn in this world is to apply our time aiming to hit the target of God’s purpose for us.
 
Has God left us without help in this regard? Jesus promised: John 14:26 ‘But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.’ John 15:26 ‘But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:’
The Holy Spirit equips us to discern the time and our purpose. How come we fall short? It is not because God has left us without help. It is because our sinful nature often fails to accept the help and guidance God provides. He wants us to discern the time and our purpose for which He put us in Creation. It is up to us. Paul said: Philippians 2:12-13 ‘Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.’ 
 
What is God’s pleasure? We take time to hit the target of His purpose for us.
 
by David Anthony 

Devotional Title: When We’re Tempted to Quit (9/16/2021) Thursday 

Key Bible Passage: James 1:2-12
 
Have you ever thought, I can’t take this anymore or I give up? These phrases have the power to change the direction of our life. Let’s look at three things that could cause these sentiments.
 
1. Satan and his angels. Through their involvement, we can be tempted to stop waiting on God for solutions and instead seek our own way out. Or the enemy may try to redirect our focus away from Jesus and onto our negative emotions. If he can make us feel helpless and hopeless, then he is successfully distracting us from God. 
 
2. The world. Ungodly people are always ready to give believers advice. We need God’s wisdom to set ourselves apart from their thinking and yet stay connected enough to share God’s message of hope with them.
 
3. Our own flesh. We have a tendency to do what feels good and benefits us, but God’s way is always best and the most fulfilling.
 
If you have ever wanted to give up, you’ve probably been influenced by one or more of these factors. But God has good purpose for the trials He allows in our life: They produce perseverance that helps to mature us as Christians. When we look at things from that perspective, we can actually “consider it all joy” to have struggles (James 1:2-4).
 

Devotional Title: God’s Loving Outreach (9/15/21) Wednesday 

Key Bible Passage:John 4:1-42

The Lord’s encounter with the Samaritan woman is a wonderful example of His loving response to hurting individuals. Although this meeting may have appeared accidental, it was really a providential appointment with the Messiah.   

As the woman approached the well, Jesus initiated conversation by asking for a drink of water. Since Jews and Samaritans didn’t fraternize with one another, His direct approach surprised her. But it opened the door for dialogue.

Throughout the exchange, Jesus wanted to help the woman recognize her greatest need so He could meet it: salvation. It seems she’d been looking in the wrong places for love and acceptance, but now Christ was offering her the living water of the Holy Spirit—the only thing that would quench her spiritual thirst.

Like the Samaritan woman, we can at times be so intent on getting our immediate needs met that we fail to see God’s hand reaching out in love, offering true satisfaction. The world makes all kinds of promises about love, acceptance, and self-worth, but they never last. Only Jesus can fill our empty souls for eternity. So when your well runs dry, look for Christ and let Him quench your thirst with His Spirit.

Devotional Title: When Life Crumbles (9/14/21) Tuesday 

Key Bible Passage: Psalm 46

In those frightening times when our well-ordered life appears to disintegrate around us, what are we to do? Today’s psalm gives valuable advice that can steady us in the midst of chaos.

Remember that “God is our refuge and strength, a very ready help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1)—and that security is found in Him, not in this world. Troubles will come, but we can rest in the knowledge that He is sovereign over every situation and will bring about His good purposes for those who seek refuge in Him.

Next, our heavenly Father admonishes us to stop striving and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). In other words, we’re to rest in Him and the truths of His Word instead of fretting, panicking, and trying to control or manipulate the situation toward our desired end.

Peace comes through trusting in the Lord’s sovereign control, submitting to Him in the midst of our circumstances, and believing that He will work it out for our good and His glory. Ultimate relief comes in eternity, but until then, we have His strength to help us in times of trial. Keep an eternal perspective and live by faith, not by sight.

Devotional Title: Evaluating Your Faith (9/13/21) Monday 

Key Bible Passage: Mark 11:20-24

It’s a good idea to pause every now and then to evaluate our spiritual development. Although we will experience different phases of faith throughout life, our goal should be to continue growing. Which phase sounds like you?

Hesitant faith is characterized by struggling to believe God: We hope He’ll answer our prayer, but we’re just not sure. Sometimes doubts creep in because we’re looking at the situation, not at the Lord and His Word. Or maybe our problem is that we just don’t know what God has said in the Bible, so we have no real anchor.

Courageous faith involves stretching to believe the Lord more and more. Christians in this phase take steps to follow God and discover He is faithful to His Word.

Perfect faith is characterized by resting in the Lord, with confidence in Him and a heart aligned with His will. We are thankful as we watch His promises become a reality. Though we hope to practice this kind of faith every day, we won’t truly perfect it in this lifetime.

No matter which description best fits your faith today, the best way to grow is by regularly feeding on the Word of God. Cling tightly to His promises.

Devotional Title: Increasing Faith (9/10/21) Friday 

Key Bible Passage:  I Kings 17

We’d all like to have great faith that stands firm in the face of challenges and difficulties. But God doesn’t enlarge our faith instantly; it’s a slow process that happens over our lifetime and often involves trials. Each time we choose to believe the Lord and step out in obedience, we gain greater confidence to trust Him the next time.

Elijah shows us what increasing faith looks like. He relied on the Lord to provide food and water at the brook, and he did so again in Zarephath—the miracle this time providing for a widow and her son as well. Then, we read about an even greater demonstration of faith, when he prayed that the Lord would raise the widow’s son to life. On each of these occasions, Elijah stepped out in obedience and experienced the reliability of God. As a result, his faith grew stronger.

There will be opportunities for you to believe in the Lord and respond with obedience. These situations are what we often call “problems.” Try looking at each difficulty as an opportunity designed by God specifically for the purpose of increasing your faith as you see His dependability in action. With each step of obedience, your trust in Him will strengthen.

Devotional Title: Our Firm Foundation (9/9/21) Thursday 

Key Bible Passage: Psalm 62

At certain moments throughout history, God literally shook the earth. The ground quaked as His Son died on the cross (Matt. 27:51), and there will be an even greater upheaval in the future when Christ returns (Zech. 14:4).

But even in our present day, the Lord often lets the various foundations of our world shake—whether political alliances, financial systems, or other forms of human security. That’s when we can see the flimsiness of the institutions on which we’ve based our hopes. Not to mention that our personal lives can also be rocked by financial crises, relational conflicts, illness, or loss. If we’ve relied on the fragile footing of human wisdom, achievement, or pride, things may look good for a while, but a weak foundation cannot withstand the storms of life.

The believer, however, can have peace even in the midst of instability. That’s because we know God always has a purpose for the upheavals He allows to occur. Hardships have a way of shaking us out of our apathy and self-centeredness, and they serve as reminders not to trust in ourselves or the temporary institutions of this world. There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, saving relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry us through any and all turmoil.

Devotional Title: Ignoring God (9/8/2021) Wednesday 

Key Bible Passage:Psalm 81:8-16

Most of us dislike being ignored. We feel frustrated and overlooked when our concerns are disregarded, especially by loved ones. Yet this is often how we treat the One who loves us the most—the Lord.  He is always attentive to every detail of our life, but we’re often too distracted by our own interests to think about Him.

Our God—who formed each of us in the womb and gives us life, breath, and all we have—deserves our full attention. Sadly, a majority of the world ignores Him, but those of us who have received His divine mercy, forgiveness, and grace should make Him our top priority.

Distractions come in many forms. Usually it’s the pleasures and cares of this world that cause us to forget about God. We’re so busy pursuing our own desires and agendas that we fail to stop and consider what pleases Him.

To change this trend, we must learn what the Lord desires for us, as revealed in His Word. When we begin to think the way He does, we’ll see our life through a filter of Scripture and have a desire to please Him.


Devotional Title: Evangelism: Every Believer’s Calling (9/7/2021) Tuesday 

Key Bible Passage: Acts 1:1-8
 
One Sunday a man approached me between services to share his story. He had been addicted to drugs and was leading a hopeless life when he heard a Scripture verse in a sermon. He said that one passage led him to place his trust in Jesus Christ.
 
We all have a story. Oftentimes the more we surrender to God, the more we see His hand in our life. And the more we watch Him work, the more we want to share with others what He has done.
 
The same was true of the disciples, who gathered around Jesus before His ascension. They heard His command to spread the gospel, make disciples, and baptize people from all nations. Surely this seemed like an overwhelming task for a handful of followers, but they obeyed. Their personal experiences with Christ undoubtedly motivated them to share the good news, and they also must have gained confidence from Jesus’ promise of His presence and power.
 
Are you passionately telling others about Christ? One of our highest callings is to tell others about Him. As was true for the early Christians, our own experience with the Savior is the most exciting and convincing story to tell.

Devotional Title: Provoked By A Foolish Nation (9/3/21) Friday 

It is a labor of love to wade through Old Testament books like Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Some Christians rationalize not studying them claiming such books no longer have meaning for us. They handicap their understanding of the New Testament.

Deuteronomy is called the Song of Moses. It is hard to put the song into a category. It has history, thanksgiving, praise, worship and prophetic judgment. The category of judgment should cause Christians to read the Song. Earlier passages in Deuteronomy had prophesied blessings and curses upon the Hebrews. We are tempted to think Deuteronomy is just about Hebrews.

Deuteronomy 32:15 ‘But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.’ ‘Jeshurun’ is a less well-known euphemism for Israel. We might paraphrase the verse as ‘they have grown fat and happy.’ They had become self-satisfied settling for sin and idolatry. They ‘lightly esteemed’ God. They took Him for granted, or worse, forgot Him altogether. He was supposed to be the ‘Rock’ their redemption depended upon. Yes, ‘on Christ the solid Rock I stand, all else is sinking sand.’ Jesus gave an analogy of faith: Matthew 7:24-26 ‘Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:’

Get it? Jesus, not us, is the Rock.  Deuteronomy 32:20 ‘And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.’ Do not be mistaken. God is holy. Sin cannot be in His presence. Nevertheless, ‘I will see their end.’ God will observe the judgment we call upon ourselves when we no longer want Him looking out for us. He will let us have what we ask for.

Deuteronomy 32:21 ‘They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.’  Hebrews, and later Jews, deluded themselves into thinking they were God’s people because of who they were. In their eyes, God could not have chosen anyone else because the Hebrews were ‘all that.’ They would take His mercy and grace for granted, because they would come to think they did not need His mercy and grace. Why? They were special because they said so.

Such arrogance provokes God. In this fearful prophetic verse God tells them what He will do to prove He is in charge. God will turn the tables, make Hebrews jealous by choosing ‘those which are not people,’ a ‘foolish nation.’ God will make them His people, because He chooses, people do not. It is prophecy of the saving grace of the atoning Blood of Jesus which covers anybody God chooses to cover with it.

For those, Jew or Gentile, who reject God’s gracious gift: Deuteronomy 32:22-24 ‘For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them. They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.

God does not choose because we are Jew or Gentile. He does not choose because we are black, brown, yellow, red or white. God does not choose based upon mistaken pride in ourselves. Anyone who rejects a this divine principle will face God’s wrath.

There are a lot of folks who need a ‘wake up.’ Pridefulness and presumption are running riot through the world. The world is a foolish nation.

God’s grace was to warn us when we provoke Him. God will not stand for it much longer.

By David Anthony 

Devotional Title: The Answer for Discouragement (9/2/2021) Thursday 

Key Bible Passage: Psalm 42:6-11

Situations in life sometimes cause us to lose hope. Occasional discouragement is normal because it’s part of living in a fallen world. The more important issue is how we respond. As believers, it’s possible for us to experience joy and peace even when our expectations aren’t met.

Following the example in today’s reading, begin by looking upward and telling the Lord that you are in despair. Ask Him to help you place your focus on Him instead of your circumstances. Recognize that it’s not just a situational problem but a spiritual issue as well. Get into God’s Word to discover what He wants to do in your life through the disappointment and pain. Notice how He used hardships in the lives of biblical characters like Joseph and David. Then remember His past faithfulness to you.

You may hurt for a season, but you don’t have to be overwhelmed to the point of giving up. As a Christian, you can take refuge in your all-powerful, all-wise, loving heavenly Father. Recall how He has worked in previous times of discouragement, and rest assured that this situation will be another faithfulness story to add to your collection.

Devotional Title: Investing Your Time (9/1/21) Wednesday 

Key Bible Passage: Ephesians 5:7-17

Time is a most valuable commodity. Since it’s irreversible and irreplaceable, we ought to give careful consideration to how we spend our days—and even our minutes. Time is a gift from God, which means we aren’t owners but stewards who will one day give an account for how we used what was entrusted to us.

Those who realize their days belong to God are careful how they live. They want to understand the Lord’s will and seek His guidance each day through intimate fellowship with Him in the Word and prayer.

But those who are foolish do not give adequate thought to the way they live. Some become unproductive and lazy, living for their own pleasures. But even those who are busy and successful by worldly standards may be wasting their time if their schedules aren’t aligned with God’s will.

To make the most of your opportunities, try beginning each day with the Lord, asking Him to direct your activities. None of us want to arrive in heaven and discover that although we’ve been busy spending our time, we’ve failed to invest it for eternity.

Devotional Title: Crucified With Christ (8/31/2021) Tuesday 

Key Bible Passage: Galatians 2:20

What does it mean to be crucified with Christ? Does it mean we have to suffer in some way? Or is there some other spiritual meaning to it? The crucified life is one where we die to the old life before we came to Christ and live as a new creation. We no longer live for ourselves but to please Christ. We put all of our trust in Jesus Christ because he gave himself for us.

*Put to Death:*

When we decide to follow Jesus, we decide to put to death our old life. We crucify it because we need to submit to His will. Christ has to be greater in our lives than anything else. If there is competition, we will be distracted and indifferent people. To live the crucified life means to deny ourselves. It doesn’t mean that we live as a monk with no pleasures. Denial means that when we are presented with two options, we chose the one that is going to glorify Christ over the one which will give us satisfaction.

*Life of Sacrifice:*

The Crucified life also means that we live by a different agenda. Our life is no longer our own but is surrendered to the will of Jesus Christ. Each day we seek his direction. To accomplish this, we are equipped with the Holy Spirit. The life Jesus is calling us to is one of sacrifice on the front end but with rich rewards on the back end. We need to live each day for Jesus. That may mean that nothing in our life changes except our heart, but that changes our attitude and how we look at life. That, in turn, will change the outcome.

Devotional Title: Praying in a Crisis (8/30/21) Monday 

Key Bible Passage: James 5:13-20
 
When was the last time you cried out to God about something other than personal issues? Sometimes we’re so engrossed in our own life that we fail to see the crises others face. Whether circumstances involve total strangers or hit close to home, it may feel as if such matters are too big for one person’s prayer to make a difference.
 
Well, don’t believe it. James 5:16 assures us that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (NIV). In order to accomplish His will in Israel, the Lord used Elijah’s prayers in a mighty way, even though the prophet was just a human being like us.  
 
Almighty God is able to heal, bring peace, and change circumstances, and He has chosen to let His children participate in the process through prayer. He instructs us to talk with Him about everything (Phil. 4:6) and promises to hear and answer our requests that align with His will (1 John 5:14-15).
 
You can have an impact on the lives of others when you intercede on their behalf. So let news of a tragedy or problem—regardless of whether it affects you—become a catalyst to talk to God.
 

Devotional Title: Emptying The Cross of Power (8/27/2021) Friday 

Key Bible Passage:  1 Corinthians  1:17

Paul is addressing divisions and confusion in the congregation of the Church in Corinth. They were dividing themselves over various teachers and preachers following this one or that one, instead of concentrating on their faith in Jesus.

To make the point of keeping himself out of such divisive talk, Paul said: 1 Corinthians 1:13 ‘Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?’ The last question cut like a knife. The hilarity of thinking anyone should be baptized in any name other than the name of Jesus. The word ‘name’ refers to the power and authority of the person. A name far more than a word on a page.

Paul goes on to say he was thankful he did not baptize many people in Corinth, not because he did not want to baptize people, but he did not want Corinthians to make the mistake thinking it was Paul’s power that baptized people. It was the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit which baptized people. Speaking of John the Baptist, Jesus said, Acts 1:5 ‘For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.’ John the Baptist confirmed that saying, Matthew 3:11 ‘I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:’

Apparently, some people in the Corinthian church needed correction and clarity on this point. Paul then said something that can cause a lot of mischief if taken out of context: 1 Corinthians 1:17 ‘For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.’ Was Paul saying he had no authority to baptize? Was Paul violating the commission of Jesus? Matthew 28:19 ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:’

Paul was not saying baptism is not important or that he was not authorized to do so. What he was saying was we should take care not to substitute the ceremony itself, and the person officiating, as our salvation. Baptism is the outer, public display of the inner working of the Holy Spirit. It is the Person of the Holy Spirit that is the sign of salvation. If Paul does not baptize anyone else to put focus back on Jesus and the Holy Spirit, then he will be content to put the focus where it should be.

Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross is the saving work. Christ’s atoning Blood does it all. We make Jesus’ saving act to be ‘of none effect’ if we presume salvation comes any other way from any other person. The NIV translates that last clause, ‘the Cross of Christ emptied of its power.’ Which sincere, Spirit-filled believer would take Jesus down off the Cross, and substitute themselves and their blood for His?

We are not to presume to put anything or anyone between the sinner, the Blood of Jesus and the work of the Person of the Holy Spirit. We to submit all our talents and skills to see Jesus glorified through our baptism.

By David Anthony 

Devotional Title: A Word More Sure (8/26/2021) 

Key Bible Passage: 2 Peter 1:16-21

When the Lord invited Peter, James, and John to ascend a mountain with Him, their lives were forever changed by what they saw and heard. As Jesus was transfigured before them, they were stunned by a dazzling display of His glory: His face shone like the sun, His clothes became a brilliant white, and a bright cloud covered them all. Then they heard a voice out of the cloud saying, “This is My beloved Son … listen to Him!” (Matt. 17:1-5).

But years later, when Peter described this amazing experience in a letter to believers, he was able to say he knew there was something even greater—“the prophetic word made more sure” (2 Peter 1:19). That’s why the message Peter received on the mountain is also the most important one for us: “Listen to Jesus.”

Today the Lord speaks to us through His Word. Although many people rely on their own experiences for guidance, the Bible is the authoritative voice of God—it’s a lamp shining in the darkness, showing us truth (Psalm 119:105). Any message that doesn’t agree with Scripture is false. What a blessing to have such a sure standard! It deserves our attention above all else


Devotional Title: Drawing From the Source (8/25/2021) Wednesday 

Key Bible Passage: John 4:7-14

True contentment is determined by our attitude and responses rather than by our circumstances. And because Paul had learned this secret, he was able to experience joy and peace in any kind of situation.

The apostle understood what it meant to live in Christ and to have Christ living in him (John 15:1-9; Gal. 5:22-23). He knew that the treasure he possessed within could never be stolen. And that gave Paul confidence in his identity as a child of God, with full access to the abundant life Jesus offers.

I want to challenge you: This week, when something threatens to steal your contentment, choose to lean on God. When you find yourself becoming anxious or angry, stop and say, “Lord, You are my source. Provide me with the capacity to be kind, the forgiveness I need to extend, and the love I need to express.”

Watch and see how God will quiet your spirit and provide confidence when you draw from Him as your source. You’ll be surprised at your own attitude: When you respond from within—rather than from the flesh—Jesus will lead you to genuine contentment.

Devotional Title: The Slow Process of Erosion (8/24/2021) Tuesday 

Key Bible Passage:Romans 12:1-2

When you hear the word erosion, what comes to mind? Most likely, you think about how land or rocks wear away over an extended period of time. In the same manner, erosion in our spiritual lives tends to happen subtly over the course of months or years.

What causes this spiritual stagnation and deterioration? The answer is often conformity to the world’s methods and values, plus compromise with sin. The process of erosion begins in the mind when we let our thoughts, attitudes, and desires be shaped by culture. Before long, we begin to conform to the godless and sinful behavior around us.

Is your spiritual life where you want it to be? Has it been gradually weakened by the pressures of the world? Are you letting social media, other people’s opinions, and the culture shape your reasoning, desires, and ambitions? If so, the way to counteract the erosion is to turn back to the Lord in obedience and let Scripture renew your mind with His truth. As you learn to see life from God’s perspective, your desires and behaviors will conform to His perfect will.

Devotional Title: Obedience From a Soft Heart (8/23/2021) Monday 

Key Bible Passage: Jonah 4

What most people know about Jonah is that he was swallowed by a big fish while trying to run from God. But the portion of the story that’s often overlooked is what happened after the prophet obeyed. He eventually went to Nineveh to warn the people of divine wrath, and they responded by turning away from wickedness. Their response should have made Jonah ecstatic, but because Nineveh and Israel were enemies, he became angry over their repentance and God’s mercy on them.

Being trapped inside a fish may have convinced Jonah to obey God’s command, but his heart had not changed. He still desired the Ninevites’ destruction, and his bitterness and reluctance showed through in spite of his righteous actions.

God is not fooled by good behavior that springs from a hard heart. Obeying Him with an unwilling spirit may achieve His purpose, but we lose the joy of our reward. Perhaps the Lord has called you to serve Him in a way that is personally challenging. As you commit to following His will, pray also for a soft heart. You will find peace and blessing in doing the work when you follow Him with a humble spirit.


Devotional Title : Holding On to Hope

Key Bible Passage: I Samuel 1:1-18

Clinging to hope is difficult when circumstances are miserable and show no signs of improving. This can be especially discouraging when we know that our all-powerful God could remedy the situation and fulfill our dreams but hasn’t.

This is probably how Hannah felt. She was heartbroken because “the Lord had closed her womb” (1 Samuel 1:5). This alone was a source of great disgrace for a Hebrew woman of that day. But Hannah suffered even more because of the deliberate provocation by her husband’s other wife, who was blessed with children.

Yet Hannah was a woman of great faith, even in the midst of her disappointment and pain. She never gave up on God but let her pain drive her to Him. In desperation, she poured her heart out to the Lord and promised that if He’d fulfill her desire for a son, she would give Him the child.

Hannah’s example of faith is an encouragement to lay our hopes before God—the only One who can fulfill our desires or align them with His will. Then, knowing that all we have is His, let’s be willing to give back to the Father whatever He gives us.

Devotional Title: God Holds You Fast (8/19/2021) 

Key Bible Passage: Romans 8:31-39

Have you ever wondered whether you’re truly saved? Since many people wrestle with this question, it’s important to understand exactly what God says about our salvation. After all, His Word—not our feelings—is the anchor that steadies us when doubts enter our mind.

Questions about our salvation usually surface when we feel overwhelmed by the guilt of our sin. We wonder how someone who struggles with temptation the way we do could possibly be saved. Or sometimes we worry that we haven’t surrendered enough of our life or obeyed sufficiently.

Let me assure you that salvation is not dependent upon any work you do. It is God’s gift to you—by grace, through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). You didn’t earn it, and you don’t have to do anything to keep it. God is the one who secures your salvation; once you’re saved, nothing can separate you from His love, which you received through your union with Christ.

When doubts arise about your eternal well-being, remember what God has promised in Scripture: He chose you before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4); the Holy Spirit gave you new life (Titus 3:5); and our Savior Jesus Christ paid the full penalty for your sin (1 Peter 2:24). No one can condemn you—not even yourself.

Devotional Title: Developing Faith Through Adversity (8/18/2021) Wednesday 

Key Bible Passage: 2 Corinthians 11:23-30

Paul spent years serving Christ, yet he experienced continual suffering. It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Why would God let him go through so much pain? It’s a question many of us ask today about ourselves. We think the Lord should protect us from hardships, but He doesn’t always do so.

Maybe our reasoning is backward. We think faithful Christians don’t deserve to suffer, but from God’s perspective, suffering is part of being a Christian. If we all had lives of ease without pain, we’d never really know God, because we would never need Him. Like it or not, adversity teaches us things that simply reading the Bible never will.

I’m not saying we don’t need to know Scripture; that’s our foundation for faith. But if what we believe is never tested, it remains head knowledge. How will we ever know the Lord can be trusted in the midst of trouble if we’ve never experienced hardships? God gives us opportunities to apply scriptural truths to the difficulties facing us, and in the process, we find Him faithful.

Trials can be a means of building faith or an avenue to discouragement and self-pity—it’s up to you. But if you’ll apply God’s Word to your situation, your trust in Him and your faith will be strengthened through adversity.

Devotional Title: Walking in the Word (8/17/21) Tuesday 

Key Bible Passage: Psalm 119:97-104

We make a lot of decisions on any given day. And when a choice is needed quickly, we don’t always have time to weigh the pros and cons. Many people simply “go with their gut,” but believers who desire to walk wisely through the perils of this world require something more reliable than natural instinct. We need godly knowledge and principles to guide us, which is why we must make meditation on the Word a daily habit.

We all have a sort of filter in our mind. It’s made up of the principles we were taught as children, the habits we’ve formed, and the information we accept as true. New knowledge coming our way passes through that matrix and is either assimilated or rejected. A mental filter reinforced with biblical truth is essential for Christians because it identifies things that align with God’s Word and rejects whatever is sinful, deceptive, unwise, or otherwise harmful for us.

Since Scripture is the key to knowing God and following His will, we can’t afford to neglect it. If you want clarity on His perspective, go to the Bible and fill your mind with the truth that guides and guards.

Devotional Title: Answers in Times of Calamity (8/16/2021) Monday 

Key Bible Passage: Deuteronomy 29:22-29

Almighty God reserves the right to reveal some things and conceal others. Although we may not know why natural disasters occur, three biblical truths we do know with absolute certainty allow us to trust the Lord even in times of great suffering.

1. The Lord is in control (Psalm 103:19). Nothing in heaven or on earth is outside of His authority. He does not react to events but sovereignly ordains or permits them in accordance with His plans.

2. God loves people and wants them to be saved (John 3:16-17). Giving His Son for the salvation of mankind proves the Father’s love. This truth stands firm despite the fact that many reject the Savior.

3. Whatever god allows is for His good purposes (Gen. 50:20). Though we cannot fully comprehend what He is doing in each incident, every disaster is an opportunity for the world to know God and lean on Him.

God loves us perfectly and is sovereignly working everything for our good and His glory. This realization should fill us with hope, even in the midst of a crisis. Then, instead of reacting in fear, we will find refuge in Him.


Devotional Title: Tangled Webs 

Jeroboam was a servant to King Solomon. Scripture tells us his mother was Zeruah. ‘Zeruah’ means ‘leprous’ in Hebrew. That was a warning. Jeroboam was given a position of authority to collect taxes and forced labor from some of Solomon’s subjects.

A prophet from Shiloh by the name of Ahijah approached Jeroboam. Scripture tells us Ahijah was dressed in a new cloak. Ahijah was about to prophesy a new thing to Jeroboam which involved a new priesthood and a new temple to compete with the priesthood and Temple in Jerusalem.

1 Kings 11:30-31 ‘And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it intwelve pieces: And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:’ Ahijah tells Jeroboam he will rule over his own kingdom of the ten northern tribes of Israel.

Why is God doing this? It was contrary to His will that a ruler from the royal line of David would rule over Israel. Speaking in the name of God, Ahijah says, 1 Kings 11:33 ‘Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.’ Solomon had allowed worship of false gods.

Ahijah goes on to prophesy God will allow Solomon’s successor, his son Rehoboam, to remain on the throne of a southern kingdom that comes to be called Judah. 1 Kings 11:36 ‘And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.’

Was Ahijah a false prophet leading Jeroboam astray? ‘Ahijah’ means ‘servant of God’ in Hebrew. Through Ahijah, God makes a promise to Jeroboam: 1 Kings 11:38 ‘And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.’ That is a mighty big ‘if,’ because Jeroboam would not be obedient to God. Ahijah told him the right thing to do, but God knew Jeroboam would not be obedient.

Knowing the judgment upon Solomon and his successor for allowing false worship, Jeroboam would turn around and do the same, and worse. 1 Kings 12:28 ‘Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.’ 1 Kings 12:31 ‘And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.’

What is the lesson? We are conditioned to look for good guys and bad guys in stories, but in this story everyone is bad. Rehoboam’s pride led to the division of the kingdom. Jeroboam’s pride led him to make the identical mistakes Solomon had. I think of Psalms 14:2-3 ‘The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.’ King David wrote that, and those that followed him had this scripture to guide them. Rehoboam and Jeroboam both dishonored God. Both kingdoms would suffer judgment again and again.

What about our time? We have this Old Testament lesson about God’s Elect getting themselves twisted in knots. Everyone claims to be the good guys doing God’s will, but no one honors God. They presume to create kingdoms of their own making assuming God will smile upon them even when they do not worship God as He commands.

God’s Elect are in a perilous position today. We must be spiritually discerning not to create a kingdom of our making instead of being faithful to the King and Kingdom we belong to. That is the Kingdom of Heaven and our King, Jesus Christ. Let those with eyes, see and ears, hear.

By David Anthony 

Devotional Title: Walking Through the Dark Times (8/12/2021) Thursday 

Key Bible Passage: Psalm 105:16-24

Did you ever peek ahead to the end of a story because you just couldn’t wait for the conclusion? This is oftentimes what we long to do in our own life, especially in difficult seasons. We want to know when our affliction will end. But only God knows the future, so we must learn to trust Him in the meantime.

Joseph probably wished he could glance into the future to find out when his life would stop spiraling downward. Between the hatred of his brothers who sold him into slavery, the anger and lies of his master’s wife, and incarceration that left him languishing, it would have been easy for Joseph to lose hope. Those 13 years of his life must have seemed like an eternity.

Even though Joseph couldn’t see the future, God was with him every step of the way. And at the end of the dark years, he proclaimed he had learned that “God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20).

We can’t avoid trials. But knowing that God is with us and His purpose is good gives us the hope needed for enduring hardship with peace.

Devotional Title: Walking by the Spirit (8/11/2021) Wednesday 

Key Bible Passage: Galatians 5:16-26

Learning to walk takes practice. The more steps a toddler takes, the more proficient he or she becomes, until walking is a normal part of life. This same principle is true spiritually. When we are first saved, our steps are small and uncertain, but as we practice and mature in Christ, walking by the Spirit becomes a normal and essential part of our life.

The first step in walking by the Spirit is to be fully persuaded that we can’t live the Christian life by human effort. Until we grasp this truth, we’ll rely on own strength, repeatedly fail, and find ourselves confessing the same old sins without ever mastering them.

The second step is to recognize that the Holy Spirit is the one who overcomes our sinful desires and gives us victory as we rely on His power. The way to do this is by asking the Spirit to help us understand God’s Word and will. We also pray that He’ll give us a sense of revulsion at sin in our life and infuse us with a desire to know, love, and obey Christ more each day. Our goal should be that when temptation comes our way, we surrender to the Spirit and do what He desires step-by-step.

Devotional Title: Thriving in Our Present Culture (8/10/2021)

Key Bible Passage: Titus 1

Society’s philosophies and values are everywhere—on radio and TV, in books and magazines, and in conversations at the workplace and corner coffee shop. Believers can’t avoid the pressures to be and think like everyone else. And yet the Bible calls us to live in our culture without becoming part of it.

In his letter to Titus, who ministered on the worldly-minded island of Crete, Paul explained how we are to accomplish this. Those who are above reproach—meaning blameless and unmoved by the sins of the culture—must be “holding firmly the faithful word” (Titus 1:9). Paul was saying that we must cling to the Word of God and develop a lifestyle of applying His principles.

The Bible is the revelation of God—He tells us what He thinks, how He acts, and what He expects of us—but the Bible can’t help us if we never open it. Make time to read Scripture daily and carefully meditate upon it. What do the passages mean and how do they apply to our life? Scriptural truths are most powerful when we believe the Word wholeheartedly and obey it consistently. As we take practical steps to keep Scripture in our everyday life, we will reflect Christ in the world without being of the world.

By In Touch Ministry


Devotional Title: Listening With Expectation (8/9/2021) Monday 

Key Bible Passage: 1 Samuel 3:1-10

What do you expect when you read the Bible? Is it something to cross off your to-do list, or are you expecting to hear from the Lord? Sermons, Sunday school lessons, Bible studies, and personal quiet time in Scripture are all means the Lord uses to strengthen, comfort, and encourage us in our walk with Him. But God’s Word can have influence only on a believer who’s ready to receive and respond to its message.

To get the most out of our time in God’s Word, we first need to prepare our heart. That means We come ready to listen with a prayerful, humble attitude. Today’s passage tells the story of young Samuel’s encounter with God. The priest Eli instructed the boy to say, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9). This is valuable advice for us as well. Before you open your Bible, consider praying those simple words; then ask God to help you understand His message and apply it to your life.

God’s Word is an amazing gift. It comforts the mourner, strengthens the weary, convicts the sinner, gives peace to the repentant, and brings joy to those who read and obey it. Let Him speak into your life today.

 

Devotional Title: Times of Temptation (8/06/2021) Friday 

Key Bible Passage: 1 Corinthians 10:6-13

We all struggle with temptation. In fact, even Jesus was tempted, but He resisted and never sinned. From this, it’s clear that experiencing temptation is not in itself a transgression. However, if we let the enticement take root in our thoughts, we are heading toward sin. Obviously, taking action on a wrong yearning is sinful, but Scripture tells us that entertaining the evil desire is as well (Col. 3:5).

So where does the urge to sin come from? The source is threefold: Temptation comes from our own lusts (James 1:14), the devil (Matt. 4:1), and the world system organized under Satan’s authority (1 John 5:19). Until Christ returns, mankind will live in its current fallen condition—and we will be tempted by self-indulgent pursuits and Satan’s ploys to turn us from the Lord.

The tempting circumstances we encounter are not unique to us; others have faced similar situations. Although God doesn’t promise to rescue us from all temptations, He limits them and provides a way of escape so we can endure without yielding to sin.

Whenever something is tempting you, draw near in submission to God and resist the devil (James 4:7-8). Then ask the Lord for the grace and strength to stand firm against sin.

Devotional Title: Jesus, the Son of God (8/5/21) Thursday 

Key Bible Passage: John 20:30-31

Some people don’t believe Jesus is God, so they claim He was simply a good person. Others may intellectually acknowledge Jesus as God’s Son but have no personal relationship with Him. His true followers, however, believe in their heart that Christ is Savior (Rom. 10:9) and they’ve been adopted into His family.

Ephesians 2:1-2 says that those who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus are spiritually dead and living according to the sin nature. But when a person places faith in Him, spiritual birth takes place—he or she is made alive in Christ and becomes a new creation no longer enslaved to the “flesh” (John 3:3; Eph. 2:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Our position in the Lord affects everything about us—attitudes, emotions, conversation, and conduct. The status quo of society no longer fits us. Instead, believers grow in Christlikeness, embracing thoughts and deeds that are pleasing to God.

Jesus willingly took our sins upon Himself and experienced divine wrath in our place. God accepted His death as full payment for our sins and then raised Jesus from the dead to a position of divine glory (Eph. 1:20). Let the truth of who Jesus Christ is sink in and strengthen your commitment to follow His ways.

Devotional Title: The Practice of Fasting (8/4/2021) Wednesday 

Key Bible Passage: Matthew 6:16-18

Today much is misunderstood about fasting. One common assumption is that it’s related to dieting and health. And there are those who hope their self-denial will impress God or certain people. But neither of these is the purpose of the practice, according to Scripture.

Biblical fasting is a spiritual work in which we temporarily eliminate distractions so we can give undivided attention to our heavenly Father through prayer. As we abstain, other things begin to lose their sense of importance, and we gain a heightened awareness of God’s presence and His priorities for our lives.

Fasting can be carried out in several ways: going without food, eliminating activities, or forgoing sleep in order to seek the Lord. The intent is always to pray without disturbances so we can focus fully on the Lord.

Have you avoided fasting because it appears too hard or confusing? Think instead about the joy you will experience from having deeper communion with your loving heavenly Father, and then step out in faith. Giving the Lord your undivided attention for a period of time can deepen your relationship with Him.

Devotional Title: God’s Purposes for Fasting (8/3/2021) Tuesday 

Key Bible Passage: Nehemiah 1

“Why should I fast?” It’s a question many Christians ask, and one the Bible answers. In Scripture, fasting is often associated with seeking God for a specific purpose. Daniel fasted in order to plead for Israel’s release from Babylonian captivity, which God had promised (Dan. 9:1-3). Nehemiah fasted for a similar reason when he heard of the desperate state of the Jews who had returned to the land after captivity (Neh. 1:4).

When we look closer at these two fasts, we notice that both men identified and confessed their nation’s sins. And that is often what happens during this spiritual discipline. We may be seeking God for a certain reason, but in the process, we begin to see ourselves from His perspective and become acutely aware of ungodly thought patterns, attitudes, habits, and misplaced priorities.

The Lord sometimes uses fasting to do “housecleaning” in His children’s lives, and that is a good thing. Sin can hinder our prayers, stunt our spiritual growth, and keep us from a deeper understanding of scriptural truths. As we eliminate distractions during our fast, God is able to show us what needs to be cleaned up so we can become more like Christ.


Devotional Title: Light It Up . . . Right Where You Are (7/28/2021) Wednesday 

You are the light of the world—Matthew 5:14

The strongest evidence that we are where God wants us—in our jobs, in our careers, in our cities—is simply that we’re there. God Almighty knows where we are. He sees us (Luke 12:6-7). He is with us (1 Corinthians 3:16). There is a plan. King David sang to God, “in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). So, where we are—right now—is no accident. And until further notice (which may come), we’ve got to assume that where we are is where he wants us to be . . . for specific reasons, for his specific purposes.

High on that list of God’s purposes is that we’re his light in our existing regions of influence and impact (Matthew 5:14). Jesus tells us to not hide the light that radiates from us when we follow him: “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Our lights dim, however, when we get too comfortable with the cultures of the places where we find ourselves—in our jobs, in our careers, in our cities. We must, therefore, resist adoption, whether conscious or subconscious, of the prevailing beliefs, codes, or values of those places. We follow Christ. We believe him. That’s our code. Our values are his values.

Okay, so what do we do?

Look around. How would you describe the top two or three most apparent and distinct values/beliefs in your place of work or your city? What is the accepted “code” for someone in your career? Be specific and matter-of-fact. Now, give it some thought . . . what do you think about the answers to those questions?


Devotional Title: Drawing From the Source (7/27/2021) 

Key Bible Passage: John 4:7-14

True contentment is determined by our attitude and responses rather than by our circumstances. And because Paul had learned this secret, he was able to experience joy and peace in any kind of situation.

The apostle understood what it meant to live in Christ and to have Christ living in him (John 15:1-9; Gal. 5:22-23). He knew that the treasure he possessed within could never be stolen. And that gave Paul confidence in his identity as a child of God, with full access to the abundant life Jesus offers.

I want to challenge you: This week, when something threatens to steal your contentment, choose to lean on God. When you find yourself becoming anxious or angry, stop and say, “Lord, You are my source. Provide me with the capacity to be kind, the forgiveness I need to extend, and the love I need to express.”

Watch and see how God will quiet your spirit and provide confidence when you draw from Him as your source. You’ll be surprised at your own attitude: When you respond from within—rather than from the flesh—Jesus will lead you to genuine contentment.


Devotional Title: The Right Response to Loneliness (7/26/2021) Monday 

Key Bible Passage: Psalm 27:7-14

I’ve known the pain of loneliness and emotional isolation during my lifetime, but God has never abandoned me to these feelings. Over the years, He’s taught me to draw near to Him rather than give in to self-pity and despair.

We can’t deny feelings of loneliness, nor can we allow ourselves to wallow in them. Today’s psalm reveals how David dealt with his sense of isolation.

He cried out to the Lord (Psalm 27:7). God is near to the brokenhearted and hears our prayers.

David remembered the Lord’s help (Psalm 27:9). Even in despair, we should make an effort to recount God’s past faithfulness to us.

He asked God to guide and teach him (Psalm 27:11). Instead of withdrawing into self-pity, we must go to God’s Word to learn His ways.

David believed He would see God’s goodness (Psalm 27:13). Confidence in God’s goodness helps us look beyond our current emotions.

He waited for the Lord (Psalm 27:14). In His time, God will bring us out of the shadow of isolation.

Although loneliness is painful, it’s also an opportunity to draw near to the Lord. Instead of turning inward, use it to grow upward