Daily #Devotions #7: Will You Forgive?

Will You Forgive?

forgive

“Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love covers all offenses.” (Proverbs 10:12).

I like the book of Proverbs. It offers insightful and practical wisdom for daily living. Consider this little nugget of truth: Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love covers all offenses. What does that mean? If you have God’s love in your heart, it WILL cover ALL offenses. First Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “Love is patient and kind…Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged…Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

Are you patient and kind? If you’re a Christian, and the love of God is in your heart, then those qualities should describe you. Do you demand your own way? Are you irritable? Do you keep records of when people offend you? Do you give up on people? Then chances are, you’re not a Christian. I know that sounds like a strong statement, but let me show it to you in the Scriptures. 1 John 2:9 says “If anyone says, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who hates a Christian brother or sister is living and walking in darkness. Such a person is lost, having been blinded by the darkness.” How about John 13:34-35? Jesus said, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

To be a Christian is to be like Christ – to be loving and forgiving. Remember what Jesus said when He hung on the Cross? “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” If you’re going to wear the name of Jesus, then wear His character as well – the love of God. Jesus said if you hate someone it’s the same as committing murder in your heart. He said if you go to church to worship and remember that you‘ve offended someone, or you have failed to forgive someone who‘s offended you, then go and make things right before you worship (Matt. 5:21-26). Jesus also said that if you’re a Christian, not only must you love and forgive your Christian friends, but you must also love your enemies, and bless them, and do good to them as well (Matt. 5:43-48).

Does this sound like an impossible task? Well, it IS impossible in your own strength, but with God‘s help you can do it. I know it’s not always easy being loving, and it’s hard to love and forgive someone who has offended you. But here’s the bottom line. The Bible doesn’t say that love and forgiveness is a “good idea.” It’s a commandment for everyone who calls himself or herself a Christian. Let me give you another Scripture to meditate on. “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt. 6:14-15).

Forgiveness is not a side issue. It’s absolutely important. So if you’ve been holding onto unforgiveness, then repent of that sin right now, and ask God to give you the grace to forgive that person. Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” Hebrews 12:15 says, “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” Choose forgiveness today – or it’ll destroy you and those around you.

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Daily #Devotions #6: Feed on the Word

Feed on the Word:

bible study 2

“But Jesus answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4).

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).

Do you ever feel like there’s something missing in your spiritual walk? That you just don’t seem to be growing or changing at all? If that’s the case, then today’s devotional will be very important for you. As Christians, we need to learn to feed on God’s Word. But why? Why should we read our Bibles? The above two Scripture verses give us two very good reasons.

1. God’s Word is Spiritual Food.

Just like physical food strengthens and nourishes our bodies, God’s Word is spiritual food that strengthens and nourishes our spirits. Most of us will eat three square meals a day, not to mention plenty of snacks in between, including that hot plate of nachos and salsa at the end of the day! Although we don’t neglect feeding our physical bodies, we often fail to feed our spirits. We think it’s good enough to go to church on Sunday and get fed then, but how many of us would be content to feed our physical bodies only one small snack once a week? Come on!

2. Hearing God’s Word Develops Our Faith.

Faith is a spiritual muscle that can grow and be strengthened. Romans 4:20-21 says of Abraham that, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Sometimes we doubt and question the promises of God because our faith is weak, and we don’t believe what God promised, He will also perform. If we want more faith, we need to get into God’s Word more. We need to feed on the Word. The more we learn about God from reading the Bible, the more faith we’ll have – the more we’ll trust Him.

Reading the Bible – feeding on God’s Word – nourishes our spirits, and strengthens our faith. Let me give you a few more of the benefits to reading your Bible, with the prayer that you’ll be encouraged to start a lifelong journey of feeding on the Word – every day.

12 BENEFITS TO READING THE BIBLE:

  1. CAUSES SPIRITUAL GROWTH                                                        (1 Peter 2:2)
  2. CAUSES SPIRITUAL EFFECTIVENESS                                           (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  3. MAKES YOU PROSPEROUS & GIVE YOU GOOD SUCCESS      (Joshua 1:8)
  4. HELPS YOU TO WALK IN PURITY                                                 (Psalm 119:9)
  5. GUARDS YOUR HEART AGAINST SIN                                          (Psalm 119:11)
  6. REVIVES YOU                                                                                    (Psalm 119:25)
  7. STRENGTHENS YOU                                                                         (Psalm 119:28)
  8. GIVES YOU WISDOM                                                                        (Psalm 119:99)
  9. GIVES YOU LIGHT – DIRECTION FOR YOUR LIFE                     (Psalm 119:105)
  10. GIVES YOU JOY                                                                                  (John 15:11)
  11. GIVES YOU PEACE                                                                             (John 16:33a)
  12. GIVES YOU ASSURANCE OF SALVATION                                    (1 John 5:13)

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Daily #Devotions #5: It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

It Ain’t Over ‘til It’s Over:

Yogi Berra

“Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.” (Micah 7:7-8).

A preacher told this story once: “In the world of baseball, there was a great player who coined a simple but meaningful phrase that is still quoted today. His name was Yogi Berra. And no matter how low the score was, or how badly his team seemed to be losing, Yogi refused to let his confidence sway. When everyone else was dismissing his team as losers and shaking their heads in disappointment, Yogi would simply reply, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” Yogi wouldn’t quit. He refused to be swayed by circumstances or opinion. And to this day, he is still remembered for it.”

I think this story is a great illustration of the above Scripture in Micah 7:7-8, and God’s instructions for what we should do during the dark and challenging valleys in life.

1. LOOK TO THE LORD.

The prophet Isaiah said: “But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31). If you need strength, wait on the Lord – spend time with Him in prayer. Yes, life is hard, but you don’t have to fight your battles on your own – the battle is the Lord’s.

2. BELIEVE THAT YOUR GOD WILL HEAR YOU.

In the world today, people have turned that phrase around to say, “WILL my God hear me?” But notice the Bible doesn’t say that. God’s Word simply and absolutely declares, “My God WILL hear me.” It’s time for us as Christians to pray with the conviction that God answers prayer.

3. DON’T LET THE DEVIL REJOICE OVER YOU.

The Bible says that we have an enemy – the devil – who loves to rejoice when we mess up. But don’t give him that opportunity. When you fall – whether it’s a fall into sin, or just a fall because you are weary or discouraged – say, “Don’t rejoice yet, devil,” and then use the words of Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over, ‘til it’s over.” Trouble will come in your life, but it doesn’t have to overcome you.

4. WHEN YOU FALL – ARISE.

Here’s a news flash for you: You’re going to fall. You’re going to fail and get down and discouraged from time to time. But your fall doesn’t have to be fatal. Get back up. ARISE. Remember, it ain’t over, ‘til it’s over. But where do we find courage to keep going?

5. THE LORD IS YOUR LIGHT AND YOUR SALVATION.

Maybe you’re sitting in darkness today. You may be sitting in the darkness of sin, the darkness of loneliness, worry, fear or depression. But the Word of God declares, “The LORD is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid? The LORD protects me from danger – so why should I tremble?” (Psalm 27:1). When we sit in darkness, God comes along with his cosmic search light and reaches out and says, “Are you stuck in there? Do you want a helping hand?”

“He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.” (Psalm 40:2). Remember – it ain’t over ‘til it’s over. Call upon the name of the Lord – He is mighty to save.

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Daily #Devotions #4: Are You Weary?

Are You Weary?

matthew-11

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

I’m not a morning person on the best of days – just let me have my shower, a cup of coffee, and everything will be alright. But one morning I was feeling exceptionally tired as I forced myself out of bed and into the shower. And as I stood in the shower (who knew divine revelation could happen there?) I thought of the above Scripture, and wondered how many people today are feeling spiritually tired. Have you grown weary on the long journey home? Jesus never said that living the Christian life would be easy. In fact, He said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). But in the midst of the long road to Heaven, Jesus offers us this comfort: Are you weary and carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Jesus, and let Him give you rest. Here are two Scriptures to encourage you today…

1. Jesus is a friend who will stick closer than a brother.

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

You may have friends who will come and go in your life, but Jesus will always be by your side. The Bible also says, “For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). What an encouraging word. In a world where friends come and go, it’s a relief to know that at least one person will always stand by your side – Jesus.

2. Jesus is a friend who can help you with your problems.

“Cast all your care upon Jesus, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7).

Not only will Jesus always be there for you, but He is a Friend who you can trust with all of your troubles. You can come to Jesus and tell Him your problems, and know that He loves you, He cares about you, and He has the power to help you. Why carry all of your burdens by yourself? They’re too heavy for you anyway. Cast them onto Jesus, because He cares for you.

I want to leave you with one final thought, the words to the well-known poem “Footprints”. I think it’s a beautiful picture of the role that Jesus plays in our lives as Christians. Enjoy…

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, You said that once I decided to follow You, You’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed You most You would leave me.” The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

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Daily #Devotionals #3: Passion for His Presence

Passion for His Presence:

deer-pants

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.(Psalm 42:1).

Jesus said: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.(Revelation 3:20).

What is passion? It can be defined as: “strong feeling or emotion” or “something that is desired intensely” or “a kind of enthusiastic fondness for anything.” Based on those definitions, would you say that you are passionate about being in the presence of God? 

I remember a season where I had an unquenchable hunger and passion to be in the presence of God. I felt that the Lord was calling me – and indeed, all of His children – into a deeper more intimate and personal relationship with Him. I had been a Christian since August 1989, and had been in the ministry since January of 1993, and had many awesome mountain top experiences in the presence of the Lord. But lately I’m so dissatisfied with where I’m at in my relationship with God. I want to know Him more!

Like the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:10, “For my determined purpose is that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him.” (The Amplified Bible). Are you passionate for His presence? Do you feel that longing in your heart for “something more?” That desire will only be fulfilled when you begin to seek after the Lord with all of your heart. If you’re passionate about His presence, then seek after Him. Pray and read your Bibles: not because you have to,  but because you can encounter Jesus through the pages of His Word! Because you know that it’s in the secret place, in your prayer closets, and in meditating on God’s Word that you encounter Him personally.

Take the time today to read through this Scripture slowly and prayerfully: 

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home there, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young – at a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. How happy are those who can live in your house, always singing your praises. Happy are those who are strong in the LORD… When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. O LORD God Almighty, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Israel…A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the LORD God is our light and protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will the LORD withhold from those who do what is right. O LORD Almighty, happy are those who trust in you.” (Psalm 84:1-12).

Have you experienced the beauty of the dwelling place of the presence of the Lord? Do you long to enter the secret place with Him? There is a blessing to those who seek Him and choose to dwell in His presence. Take the time today to get alone with God in the secret place. Talk to Him. Worship Him. Read His Word. Silence. Solitude. Surrender. And let’s long for God passionately, just like the deer pants for the cool and refreshing water brooks.

 

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Daily #Devotionals #2: I Was Glad

I WAS GLAD:

psalm-122-1

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122:1).

When you wake up and get ready to go to church, is your heart’s attitude the same as David’s? Do you say, I was glad when they said to me, let’s go to the house of the Lord? If not, then it’s time to ask ourselves why.

Why is it people don’t get excited about going to church? When I first became a Christian, and started going to church in the fall of 1990, I would go to church every single time the doors were open. Jesus Christ had saved me from my sins, and made such a difference to me, I WANTED to go to church! They didn’t have to send someone knocking on my door to make sure I was going to church. If they were having a worship service, a mid-week Bible study, I wanted to be there. And you know what? That’s still true today. Why?

Because church is not just a religious exercise for me – it’s a time to meet with my God. It amazes me that there are people who debate whether or not to go to church on a Sunday morning. “Should I go to church or stay in bed, or watch TV, or go to the beach?” Unbelievable! But sometimes when people lose their vision for something, they lose the joy that accompanies living on purpose. So here’s a quick reminder of three of the benefits to going to church.

1. TO ENCOUNTER GOD

“One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4).

King David, the person that the Bible says was “a man after God’s own heart” said that he had one passion in his life: to dwell in God’s house, to see Him, and hear His voice. The first and most important reason we go to church is to meet with God and to behold His beauty. It’s not just to sing songs and hear stories about what God did in the past, but to actually encounter our living, loving Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. As we encounter the Lord, we are blessed, encouraged, transformed, healed, delivered and refreshed by His presence.

2. TO BUILD UP OUR FAITH

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).

The Bible says that when we sit under the preaching of God’s Word, it builds up our faith. Faith is our spiritual muscle. Jesus also said that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from God’s mouth (Matt. 4:4). When we hear God’s Word, our faith grows. The more we learn about how good God is, and how much He loves us, the more we will confidently trust Him in every situation.

3. TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS

“Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” (Heb. 10:24-25)

The third reason we go to church is to get together with the rest of God’s family. God wants us to encourage one another, to pray for each other, and to bear one another’s burdens. There are no Lone Rangers in the body of Christ. If you’re a Christian, then God wants you to get connected with other believers and be an active part of His family. If you need encouragement, then church is the place to find it. If you are encouraged and blessed, then it’s a place to encourage and bless others.

The next time someone says, “Let’s go to church” then get happy. It’s a time to encounter God, to build up our faith, and to encourage others – God’s purpose for church.

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Daily #Devotionals #1: New Beginnings

NEW BEGINNINGS:

isaiah-43

“Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

There’s something refreshing about a new year. With the turning of the page on the calendar from December 31st to January 1st means the old is gone, and the new has come. It’s a great time to follow the advice of the Apostle Paul from Philippians 3:13-14: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Forget what’s behind, and reach forward to all of the new things that the Lord wants to do in all of our lives as we head into this New Year.

The above Scripture, spoken by the prophet Isaiah, is a prophetic picture for us as we begin this New Year. God is saying, “Forget the past. I am going to do a new thing in your midst!” And I love the visual picture that the Lord gives to us through the prophet: “I will make rivers in the desert.” In other words, even though your life may feel like a dry, barren wasteland, even though you may feel cracked, dry and brittle, God wants to pour out rivers of living water into our lives.

Isaiah 44:3 says, “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.” Are you tired of the usual? Do you want a new and fresh start in this New Year? Then let’s forget the past. If you have messed up, then simply confess that sin to Jesus and receive His free forgiveness. Then let’s start this year with a clean slate. Isaiah 1:18-19 says: “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.”

Here are some suggestions for some goals that you can set for the New Year, to start your own new beginnings!

GOALS FOR A NEW YEAR:
1. Pray – work on developing your personal relationship with Jesus.
2. Read your Bible regularly – discover God’s wonderful plan for your life.
3. Serve in your local church – ask your pastor how you can get involved.
4. Witness – tell other people the good news about Jesus.
5. Get involved in missions – giving financially, praying, or going on a mission trip.
6. Do acts of random kindness – always look for ways to bless other people.
7. Pray for the sick – never pass up an opportunity to pray for someone.
8. Break a bad habit or stop a habitual sin – get help you if you need it.
9. Forgive someone who has hurt or offended you.
10. Work on relationships with others! (the two greatest commands = love God & people)

If you don’t have a Bible reading schedule that you use, check out mine HERE… This “Five Minute Challenge” will take you through the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs by the end of the year.

Praying that you would experience new beginnings in this New Year…

Pastor Chris Jordan

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