More Readings to Inspire Your Day
The Christian life isn't easy. There are a lot of things in life that try to pull us away, and even those who've walked with Jesus for a long time can use extra inspiration. Below you'll find readings based on scripture to give you that daily inspiration to help you stay focused on the One who gives true life.
Scroll Down to find these Devotions:
- Do You Know a Missionary
- Today is Just an Ordinary Day
- The Recipe for Success
- Leveling the Playing Field
- He Knows All About Me
Plus Links to many more!
Do You Know a Missionary?
Go and make disciples of all nations . . .
Today my sister left to go to Thailand. This is her first mission trip, one more than I’ve been on. At least that’s what I’d thought.
As I’ve been praying for her trip over the last several weeks, Jesus has reminded me of something He told me years ago. You see, it’s not that I’ve never considered going into some remote area of the world to take the message of Jesus Christ. I pray about it often. But so far, Christ has not asked me to use a passport to share the gospel.
As I’ve grown excited for my sister to become a short-term missionary, I was reminded that I am called to be a long-term missionary . . . right here . . . where I am. Jesus instructed His followers to “Go and make disciples of all nations . . .” And if we check out Acts, we’ll see that He told them to be witnesses in Jerusalem, as well as Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. Someone had to be the missionary in Jerusalem. Some had to stay home and share the gospel.
I am excited for those who are going overseas to share the love of Jesus Christ. I personally sponsor two children, one in Bolivia and one in Guatemala, through World Vision so they can know Jesus. However, I’ve been reminded that Christ values those who stay in Jerusalem just as much as those who go to the “ends of the earth.”
Every follower of Jesus Christ is called to be a missionary of sorts. Some will be led to go to Thailand and India, Honduras and Mozambique. But others will have an even tougher mission field at McDonald’s and Wendy’s. There’s the mission field at the office and the one at the mall. Some will be instructed to care for the prostitutes near their church, and others will be led to feed the hungry in their own neighborhood. And much like foreign missionaries, our job won’t be to know so much Bible that we can quote Jesus like a theologian. Our task will be to be the hands and feet of Christ so others will want to find out how we are capable of showing so much love.
My sister’s jaunt out of the country spurred me to remind you of what Christ has been reminding me. I have a mission field that I’ve been assigned to. I lead two Bible Studies and teach Sunday School every week. I write devotions and curriculum that go all over the world. I send cards of encouragement to the young people in our congregation and try to witness to the love of Christ every place I go. And while I’ll always keep my ears and heart open to the possibility that Christ may send me to Mexico or Zimbabwe, I will strive to be all that Christ has created me to be right here in “Jerusalem” making as many disciples as possible in this little part of “all the nations.”
Today is Just an Ordinary Day
1 Samuel 21:1-5
The men’s bodies are holy even on missions that are not holy.
How much more so today!
As I read this little tale that David told the priest, it made me stop and consider how I viewed the ordinary details of my life. . I have to admit, I was flattered about a year ago when one reader of these devotions sent me an e-mail and was surprised when I responded myself. He assumed I had an office and a secretary to take care of my correspondence.
But let me come clean. Truth is, I am sitting in my living room with two old dogs as companions. My husband gets up and leaves by 5:30 a.m. to go drive truck every day, and the biggest excitement I have in my life is when one of my grandkids comes to visit.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, but it’s very ordinary. I have a very flexible, but predictable, schedule. So David’s discussion with the priest made me wonder, “Do I keep myself holy even when the work is not holy?” It’s a question I think every Christian needs to consider.
Are my thoughts holy even when I am not reading my Bible or sitting in church? Are my actions a reflection of Jesus even when no one is looking? Could I eat the consecrated bread today if I was hungry and there was nothing else to eat?
Our heavenly Father says over and over, “Be holy because I am holy.” Obviously, it’s important to our Creator that His most loved creation live differently than the rest of the world. I don’t think it means make sure you follow all of the rules. I believe that being holy simply means living our lives as much like Jesus as possible. Not “holier than thou,” simply holier than I used to be.
My thought is that living a holy life means living as if there are no ordinary days. It means waking up every morning as though it was a special gift from God, and walking through the day as if I have a holy and exciting mission even though I’ll spend most of the day in my chair with my computer in my lap.
I’m pretty sure that there will be days I’ll go back to being very ordinary. But I’m also confident that the more days I wake up with an attitude of holiness and a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide me and help me stay holy, the more natural living holy will become. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if I keep allowing God to change me long enough, having a holy day will become my “ordinary” day.
- Inspiration for your Meeting or Group
Devotions are an important part of Christian growth. These devotions were especially written to help those trying to get closer to Christ.
- Devotions for your Meeting or Small Group
Five short devotions to help you in your Christian Walk. Perfect for your meeting or small group or to give you inspiration.
The Recipe for Success
2 Peter 3-11
As I read these verses, five through nine jump out at me. I’ve heard them preached and studied them in Sunday School and Bible Study on more than one occasion. Perhaps that’s why the surrounding scripture caught my attention this time.
As I considered verses three and four, I can’t help but smile. You see, everywhere I look I find people in churches who are working this progression backwards. And to be perfectly honest, I think I tried very hard to do it that way too.
Countless followers, upon making a decision to follow Jesus Christ, attempt to “participate in the divine nature.” We strive to be as good as we possibly can, and we teach others sometimes by our words and sometimes by our actions, that we need to clean up our lives and become better persons. And for many it’s a difficult task we try to accomplish.
But Peter gives us a better road. The chief of apostles tells us that Christ’s divine power gives us everything we need for a Godly life. The ability to live a life worthy of the Father is something that our Savior wants to just give us! Peter tells us it comes through our knowledge of Christ, the One who called us by His glory and goodness. In other words, Peter says, “Let Jesus make you Godly and you just get to know Him better.”
Peter then tells us that it’s through Christ’s glory and goodness, as we get to know Him better, we then receive all of those great and precious promises. Don’t misunderstand me. There are many promises in the scripture for everyone, some even for those who haven’t come to the faith yet. But in order to experience every single promise, we need to accept the power to live a Godly life by knowing Christ more. And it’s these promises lived out in the knowledge of Christ that allows us to attain the goal of participating in the divine nature.
As Christians it would seem we would prefer to jump right to having a divine nature full of the biggest and best promises found in scripture. But as Peter goes on to explain in those familiar verses, the Christian life is a growing experience. Just as an infant adds crawling to his rolling and to his crawling walking, we gradually grow and mature in the faith. Babies can’t run and new Christians don’t have godliness, brotherly kindness and real agape love.
Peter encourages us to be sure of our salvation, to confirm in our hearts that we are chosen by the Son of the Living God. And as the one Christ called, the “Rock” closes these few verses, he reminds us of one more promise. When we begin our journey be just getting to know the One who chose us and take each baby step necessary to become all that we’ve been created to be, when we make the effort to mature instead of trying to jump in to having a divine nature first, we will never stumble.
And if we've already begun to understand what it takes to grow in Christ, it's our responsibility to help others understand, because our Savior promises that when we start with His power and get to know Him intimately first, we will never fall.
Leveling the Playing Field
Every valley shall be raised up,
and hill made low;
the rough ground
shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
I’ve read this verse and the fulfillment of it in Luke 3 more times than I can count. I always pictured a time when Jesus will just level the earth. I imagined that at the second coming all of those earthquakes predicted in Revelation would shake up the earth so much that the mountains would be gone and the valleys would be filled. However, the more I read these words that describe the time when God’s glory would be revealed, the more I realize this is what Jesus has already done.
Let’s face it before Jesus it was really tough to get to God. It’s not that you couldn’t be outside the nation of Israel and know the God of Abraham, it’s just that God’s chosen people had such a tough time staying close to Him that those outside God’s chosen people really didn’t see a need.
God always told His people that He wanted relationship. He built a garden for Adam and Eve. He called Abraham His friend. He talked with Moses as a man talks with another man, and He called David a man after His heart. Yes, God set up some standards so we’d know what He expected from us. He also set up guidelines to help us have the best life possible. But well intentioned men took those statutes and made them into weights and burdens. Forget about the relationship, don’t mention the fact that God said, “I want mercy, not sacrifice,” just separate people based on how well they follow the rules.
And the system those religious leaders set up caused these huge mountains and deep valleys. Common people began to think they could never crawl out of the depths of their sin, and the pious ones made everyone else believe they were safe up on their tall mountains of self-righteousness. The truly sad part is that in some segments of the church those valleys and mountains still exist today.
Even those of us who’d like to think we’re living in that place where Jesus has raised up the valleys and knocked down the mountains have to be careful. It’s so easy to judge those who live differently than we do. Personally, I like to think I am able to love everyone with the love of Christ, but occasionally I find myself thinking poorly about one sin or another. And it’s not the ones you might imagine. I’ve worked through the prejudice that comes from a “conservative” or “liberal” stance. In those controversial issues, I can most often love the sinner and hate the sin.
No, the situations that trouble me are those that are similar to the ones that have caused me deep pain in my past. When I hear of someone who calls themselves a Christian hurting someone like I was hurt, I can feel my mountain of self-righteousness begin to build.
What I think this verse in Isaiah is really telling us is that Jesus came to level the playing field. He came to make the rough places smooth, to raise up those in the valley of despair and to bring down those living on the mountains of self-righteousness. He came to take those rugged places in our life and make them smooth. Jesus came to restore that relationship that God always wanted to have with His creation.
And it’s through that relationship that we begin to see the mountains torn down. It’s the intimacy of the Holy Spirit moving in our lives that not only helps us climb out of the valley, but raises the road we’re walking on so that we can’t slide back down. When we walk with Jesus as our brother and our friend, the rough and rugged path before us becomes smooth, the stumbling blocks moved and the places that would trip us up are more obvious and easier to avoid.
In fact as we find our peace, our rest, in Jesus Christ, we finally reach the place where we don’t have to walk that path at all anymore. The valleys and the mountains become irrelevant as we begin to travel that road where we never feel faint, run and never get tired, as the weak find power and the weary find hope, as we soar like an eagle with the strength of our friend, Jesus Christ.
He Knows All About Me
12 It is the same with us. Now we see a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly. Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:12
In the 21st Century, 1 Corinthians 13 may be more well-known than the 23rd Psalm. Although not written to couples, it’s one of the most popular wedding passages on the planet. Many unchurched can tell you about the “Love Chapter. Few, however, embrace or even know this verse, which may be one of the biggest blessings we find in scripture.
So much of the population feels misunderstood. It doesn’t matter the age, culture, gender, sexual orientation or employment status, at one time or another (or perhaps all of the time), we find ourselves feeling left out, frustrated and a bit on the defensive because we are misunderstood. As humans, we attempt to judge our neighbors motives, we don’t take time to get to know the person, we simply label them crazy or eccentric, and when those labels are applied to you and I, we feel as though no one truly “gets” us.
If you’ve been feeling that way, like no one really understands you, it’s time for you to memorize the last part of the verse . . . “then I will know fully, as God has known me. Did you catch that exciting news? God knows you FULLY! Even the parts of yourself that you don’t understand, God gets it! He knows why you do the things you do, and He loves you.
We don’t know it all yet. We don’t understand why things happen the way that they do. Someday it will all make sense, because then we’ll “know fully.” I have a feeling that time won’t come until we are on the other side of throne room of God. Meanwhile, the next time someone jumps to conclusions about you, doesn’t wait for your answer or misses the true meaning of what you’re trying to do or express, live in the confidence that God understands. He knows exactly what you mean. He sees your heart and knows you better that you even know yourself. In the Kingdom of the Risen Lord, you are not misunderstood, you are fully known.