Devotions to Inspire Your Day
Daily Devotions are Important
Daily Devotions may be one of the best ways to build our relationship with Jesus Christ. It's important to read His Word, and often it's helpful to find inspirational readings to accompany our reading or to lead us in the right direction as we try to figure out what to read.
Below you'll find five devotions that you're free to use in your church or small group (or in your personal growth) On subsequent devotion pages, you'll find more than 100 other devotional readings to help you grow in Christ!
Titles to Devotion Readings You'll Find on this Page
- A Promise of Restoration
- One Brick at a Time
- God's Point of View
- I Hope I Don't Get Everything I Deserve
- When God Answered the Most Unusual Prayer
More Devotions for your Quiet Time with Jesus
If you've enjoyed the few devotions on this page, I invite you to check out this book on Amazon. It's one of two with more than forty meditations to help you as you spend quality time with Christ. Written from personal experience, they reflect on life and how we can see Jesus and help others see Him in our day to day.
A Promise of Restoration
I will occasionally be asked about the purpose of all of the Old Testament stories. After all, what good does it do us to know that Leah and Rachel didn’t get along and Abraham and Isaac lied to a foreign king about their wives?
The beauty of those Old Testament stories is their ability to help us see our own condition. The times may be changing, and our culture may be different, but human nature has been the same for millennia. Everywhere people are lying, having marital problems and walking away from God. Jacob was not the first, nor the last, to call the Creator “The God of my fathers” for years before he could actually say to the Almighty, “You are MY God.” And the generations of Israelites who repeated the cycle of falling away from God until life gets too hard is just a model of the way Christians today treat their maker.
These words from Amos today reminded me that nearly every Old Testament prophet ends their prophecy in a very similar manner, reminding us that God intends to restore. God is a God of restoration. He sent Jesus because He knew we would need deliverance, redemption and restoration.
As we read all of those Old Testament accounts of real men and women who called themselves “The People of God,” we should remember that every single one of them was a person in need of restoration. Those Old Testament stories, even the small details that include the impoverished spirituality of God’s Chosen, help us to see that God is a God of second, third and fourth chances. He never gives up on those who are looking for Him, no matter how long it takes to for them to discover the way to Him.
Yes, the Almighty did leave His people to their own devices from time to time when they refused to return to the path of righteousness. Likewise, there are times in our lives that we will feel abandoned when we choose to walk away from our Father. But the good news is no matter how far we stray, when we call out to Him, God offers restoration.
So, today, if you feel as though you have been exiled to a foreign land or you are under the impression God has abandoned you, read these last few verses of Amos as though they were written to you. Live your life as though you are “God’s people.” Walk on His path and call Him “My God.” Because God promises over and over that He will bring back His exiled people; He will restore them and plant them so they will never be uprooted again.
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One Brick at a Time
When I was a child I loved spending the day at my grandmother's. We always had so much fun. Grandma had Lupus and a very meager income, so, although I didn't realize it at the time, the fun we had required very little energy and even less money. One of the things we would do at Grandma's was paint her house. Over and over all summer long, my brother and sister and I would paint the house, and we enjoyed every minute of it.
Grandma's house had a fake blond brick exterior. She would give us a pail of water and a paintbrush, and we would spend hours painting the house. One brick at a time we would change their color, making sure that every tiny spot had the new color. Of course, by the time we had painted half a dozen the first was already changing back to the original blond color, but we never seemed to mind. It simply meant the game never had an end!
A recent conversation with my husband reminded me of my long forgotten game. We were discussing the life some folks miss when they make many "short-term" commitments to Christ. Perhaps you've spent a portion of your Christian life playing that game. You make a "commitment," but you don't really do anything about it. Church attendance patterns don't change, Bible reading doesn't increase, there's no small group attendance, giving stays the same, basically nothing changes. The "commitment" is more words than a real decision to be a sold out follower of Jesus Christ.
That kind of life is much like my childhood brick painting. Our fun got the bricks clean and changed them for a short time, but as soon as the heat of the day and the wind began to take effect, they went right back to their original state. And some thirty years later the new owners had to completely replace the brick faÃ§ade because it had started to deteriorate and fall apart.
Any commitment we make to Christ without the willingness to change will produce very similar results. We may "clean-up" our act for a while, but until we allow the Holy Spirit to really work within us, until we make a decision to change some of those simple spiritual habits like church attendance, Bible reading, prayer and small groups, the winds of this world and the fire of trial will dry us up, and we'll return to the state we thought we'd left forever.
Jesus wants us to be more than just "whitewashed tombs." He wants us to have a full life, a life overflowing with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness and more. We . . . no, wait . . . let me rephrase that, YOU are His passion.
However, in order to reach the heights to which we're called in Jesus Christ, our commitments have to come from the heart, not just the mouth. Our actions must mirror our words. Then, and only then, will God step in and start to truly change us. Not just cleaning us up on the outside, but replacing the deterioration with beauty and abundance, making us new, one brick at a time.
God's Point of View
1 Kings 14:7-8
7 Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I raised you up from among the people and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 8 I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes.
At first glance one might wonder what kind of inspirational message can be found in these two short verses. Jeroboam was the first king of Israel when the country divided following Solomon’s death. Because of Solomon’s disobedience, the Kingdom of Israel was ripped in two and the northern half was given to Jeroboam to rule, but it didn’t take long for the power to go to his head. He opened the door for idol worship very early in his reign and deserted the Creator who chose him, anointed him and gave him this gift..
Yet the fact this prophecy was written to Jeroboam isn’t at all what caught my eye and gave me hope. No, I started to smile when I read the last phrase, “David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes.” Did you catch that? God said that David did “only what was right” in his eyes.
Although I’ve read the Bible through several times, I never noticed that reference until recently, and it made me smile. I knew that David was “a man after God’s own heart,” but I didn’t realize that God viewed David as always doing what was right.
David, the man who had many wives and wasn’t even a good enough dad to have parented more than one righteous son. God was talking about David, the King who had ordered his neighbor’s wife to come to his house and sleep with him, then arranged to have her husband killed to cover up his indiscretion. And these are only the major mess ups that we know about in David’s life. Since David was very human we can assume he struggled with some of the more mundane sins like overindulgence, lust or pride.
Despite all of this God still describes this king as one who always “kept my commands . . . doing only what was right in my eyes.” I truly smiled when I read these words. I love it when I read about God’s unconditional love and forgiveness even in the Old Testament. Obviously, even before Jesus Christ, a truly repentant heart and the sacrifices that demonstrated that repentance were enough to completely eradicate sin from God’s mind.
Often Christians have a difficult time forgiving themselves for “the big sins.” These simple words from Kings should be a tremendous reassurance that once God has forgiven our sin, He’s forgotten our sin. And if God has forgotten it, is it really a good idea for us to keep beating ourselves up for it?
My hope for us today is that we will each look at our life to make sure we aren’t keeping hold of some unforgiven sin. I pray that each of us will be repentant like King David, truly remorseful with a determination to never hurt Christ in that manner again, and then realize that once we have accomplished that, God has forgotten all about it. King David obviously knew what he was talking about when he wrote:
11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, spread the word! When we are truly repentant, God will tell the world that we always kept His commands, always followed Him with all of our heart and that we always did what was right.
The Rest of the Story
- One Child's Journey with Peirre Robin
This is the story of the baby born with Pierre Robin Sequence you read about in this devotion. This page wi take you from Birth to removal of her trach.
I Hope I Don't Get Everything I Deserve
Something From the Psalms
It's the twenty-first century. Sometimes I wonder if there has ever been as great an entitlement attitude as there is in the current era. It seems like everyone believes they "deserve" everything. Young children have expensive toys, and every time the next version comes out, they're sure they need it, and confident they'll find it among their gifts on their next birthday or Christmas.
My husband and I have counseled more than a few families and individuals with financial problems in the last several months. Each needed help understanding the difference between needs and wants. Our culture has convinced the population that we "deserve" all the niceties. Very few are content with a roof over their heads, clothing and meals anymore, putting a financial strain on even those with a respectable income.
Today, I read Psalm 130:3-4 in the New Century Version. The Psalmist prayer goes something like this: "Lord, if you punished people for all their sins, no one would be left. But you forgive us, so you are respected." That scripture reminded me to be thankful that I don't have everything I "deserve."
According to scripture, I "deserve" to have been stoned because I was disrespectful to my parents. (Exodus 21) I "deserve" to have God's wrath poured out on me because I have made people and possessions into idols from time to time when I put them ahead of God in my list of priorities. (Leviticus 19) I "deserve" to be poor because for years I robbed God and didn't bring the full tithe into His storehouse. (Malachi 3) I certainly didn't "deserve" to have Christ come to earth and give up his life as a substitute for mine. (Romans 5:8)
The mentality of our 21st Century culture is so backwards to God's plan. The entitlement attitude and the "I deserve it" mindset are not part of our Judeo-Christian heritage. It's important that we, as Christians, remember to put into perspective all of the good things that we have in life. I'm not convinced we should necessarily give up every toy or brand name pair of shoes. On the other hand, how might our lives change if we really believe James 1:17, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights." If we view the things we don't really need as blessings, and teach our children to appreciate them as gifts, rather than entitlements.
Sometimes I need that gentle reminder from scripture that what I "deserve" is the wrath of God. Not to make me feel guilty or cause me to feel bad about myself. I praise God for that reminder because it puts my list of priorities back in order. It reminds me to praise my Creator for the little things in life.
For instance, as I write this, my newest grandbaby is in Children's Hospital. (That's her picture at the top of this devotion) Almost three months old, she has a trach and a feeding tube. She probably won't be able to eat normally until she's at least a year old. She's already had a couple of surgeries and will have to have at least two more before her second birthday. I'll be honest with you, I've questioned God a lot about all of her problems.
I'd like to think that she "deserves" to have a more normal start to her life. She certainly hasn't done anything to "deserve" this kind of trial. But I'm reminded by the Psalmist to be thankful we don't get what we deserve. I'm reminded to praise God that she is gaining weight like a champ, and the extent of her problems are small compared to what they could be. I'm blessed by all the friends and family who have sent funds to help her parents with gas and food as they work 40 hours a week and travel 120 miles roundtrip to the hospital every day. I'm overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and prayers given by total strangers who've heard about this wee one's start in life through prayer chains, Facebook and Twitter.
This Psalm is a good reminder that I am blessed beyond measure, that the "Father of the Heavenly Lights" has been better to me than I deserve. It encourages me to be thankful once again for my hot running water and comfy bed that I so easily take for granted. It helps me see how blessed I am even on those days when I get bad news about my grandchildren or watch others I love go through hard times. It makes me appreciate the little things in life like my back yard, a second pair of shoes and a quiet neighborhood.
Look around today and rediscover all the things you've taken for granted. Praise God for each and every one, and tell Him thanks that you don't have everything you "deserve."
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When God Answered the Most Unusual Prayer
The demons begged Jesus, “Send us into the pigs; let us go into them.”
So Jesus allowed them to do this.
The evil spirits left the man and went into the pigs.
Then the herd of pigs—about two thousand of them—
rushed down the hill into the lake and were drowned.
I've always thought this was one of the most remarkable stories in the gospel of Mark. It's remarkable, not only because our Lord cast out demons, but because even the demons had their prayer answered. This one verse can teach us so much about conversation with Christ.
For instance, I know many people who believe they are "too bad' to think that God would hear their prayer. They are convinced they've done too much wrong in life for God to pay any attention. But Look!! Christ answered the prayer of demons! If He hears the cries of the most evil beings on earth, you must believe He hears you!
I'm pretty sure there's a bunch who've just read that last paragraph and are thinking, ''Great! I must be really messed up, God never answers my prayers that quickly." Sometimes I think the same thing. Sometimes I wonder, ''If God hears, why is He so slow to answer?" Again, this story holds a beautiful answer.
Many times our prayers sound a lot like that of the demons. We know what we want, and we ask, plead, even cry out to God. Often, though we forget one very important fact: Jesus knows what will happen next. Jesus knows whether the answer to our prayer will lead us to a place of blessings and beauty or lead us off a cliff to drown. And unlike the demons who have declared themselves enemies of the Creator of the universe, Jesus loves us too much to send us off the edge into pain, turmoil and perhaps even death.
There are times when God's answers seem slow in coming, that our Father, who loves us and wants only the best for us, is just waiting until we are willing to give up the dream of living the life of pigs and drowning in our poor choices and come to Him instead.
Jesus Christ does indeed hear your prayer, no matter how awful you think you are. He hears and He loves, and as soon as we are ready to give up what we think is best for His remarkable blessings, He will answer.