Daily Devotionals

May 26, 2022

I AM Is Near - Max Lucado
Jesus says to us what he said to the disciples on the stormy sea. “It is I! Don’t be afraid” (John 6:20).
The literal translation of what Jesus said is “I AM; don’t be afraid.” I AM. That’s God’s name. When we wonder if God is coming, he answers with his name, “I AM!” When we wonder if he is able, he declares, “I AM.” When we see nothing but darkness, feel nothing but doubt, and wonder if God is near or aware, the welcome answer from Jesus is this: “I AM!”
Pause for a moment and let him tell you his name. Your greatest need is his presence. Yes, you want this storm to pass. Yes, you want the winds to still. But yes, yes, yes, you want to know, need to know, and must know that the great I AM is near. Remember, friends, you are never alone.

May 25, 2022

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever -- do not abandon the works of your hands.
Psalms 138:8 NIV
God has a purpose and plan for each of our lives. The greatest thing we can do is to find that purpose and live it out. We can trust his purpose in us because it is based on his wisdom and love. As long as we seek his will, we're not going to do anything that can ultimately spoil his purpose in us. Yes, we may at times stray from the perfect channel he wants us to travel, but we never get totally out of the main channel. As long he does not abandon us, (and he promised he never would forsake us he will use us) for his purposes.

May 24, 2022

Jesus Comes in the Storms - Max Lucado
“…[Jesus’] disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough” (John 6:16–18).
The disciples were too far from the shore, too long in the struggle, and too small against the waves. And Jesus was nowhere to be seen. Have you ever encountered a dangerous, ominous, seemingly godforsaken storm? Storms overtake us. And it sometimes seems they will never end.
But then the unimaginable happens. John gives no details, just this economical statement: “They saw Jesus…walking on the water” (John 6:19). That is all we need to know. Before Jesus stills the storms, he comes to us in the midst of storms. And he’ll come and meet you in yours. Remember, friend, you are never alone.

May 23, 2022

An Answer to Problems -Billy Graham Ministries
. . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God. . . . Thou shalt love thy neighbor . . . Matthew 22:37–39
Here is the answer to the world’s problems today—“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God,” “Thou shalt love thy fellowman.” That teaching is not out-of-date; it is absolutely relevant today. It is the only way in which the problems of the world today can be solved, whether the problems are those of individuals or of nations. If we love God with all our heart, we will have a capacity to love our neighbors. True love will find an outlet in service—not merely in singing hymns, attending church, or even in praying—but in trying our utmost to prove our love, by obeying the will of our heavenly Father.

May 22, 2022

It's All About Me - Max Lucado, "A Love Worth Giving"
The self-centered see everything through self. Their motto? “It’s all about me!” To the self-centered– the flight schedule, the traffic, the worship styles—everything is filtered through the mini-me in the eye.
Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” Looking after your personal interests is proper life management. Doing so to the exclusion of the rest of the world is selfishness. Desire success? Fine. Just don’t hurt others in achieving it. Love isn’t selfish! Love builds up relationships but selfishness corrodes relationships.
What’s the cure for selfishness? A smaller “I” and a greater Christ! Don’t focus on yourself; focus on all that you have in Christ—the encouragement in Christ, the fellowship of the Spirit, the affection and compassion of heaven!

May 21, 2022

Complete Victory - Billy Graham Ministries
. . . greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
—1 John 4:4
Paul once wrote, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye can not do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17). This is the battle or the tension that is present in us to a greater or lesser degree. So, you see, the spiritual lag that you feel is explained in the Bible. That does not mean that you accept it as the way it should be. You should make all necessary preparations for this battle which the Bible says “is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces.”
In Ephesians 6 we read that the Bible tells what preparation you should make. In the meantime, always remember that “where sin abounds, grace did much more abound.” You can have complete victory! We are told to submit ourselves unto God, and the devil will flee from us. We are also promised that “sin shall not reign over us.”

May 19, 2022

The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
—James 3:17-18
Now I know why righteousness is so hard to find: there aren't many sowers! Heavenly wisdom is full of sacrificial earthly action. That's a powerful reminder to me that wisdom is not what you know but what you sow!

May 18, 2022

Courteous Conduct - Max Lucado, "A Love Worth Living"
Paul says in Colossians 4:5-6, “Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity. When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should.” Courteous conduct honors Christ. Those who don’t believe in Jesus note what we do. They make decisions about Christ by watching us. When we are kind, they assume Christ is kind.
Courteous conduct also honors God’s child. When you surrender a parking place to someone, you honor them. When you make an effort to greet everyone in the room, especially the ones others may have overlooked, you honor God’s children. Romans 12:18 says, “Do your best to live in peace with everyone!” You can’t control their attitude, but you can manage yours!

May 17, 2022

Faith Produces Works by Billy Graham Ministries
. . . doing service as to the Lord . . . Ephesians 6:7
A true sacrament is not a mere creed, or ordinance, or form, but it is a life of service to God and to man. The most eloquent prayer is the prayer through hands that heal and bless. The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.
There must be a practical outworking of our faith here in this present world, or it will never endure the world to come. The Pharisees majored on show but minored on service. We need fewer words and more charitable works; less palaver and more pity; less repetition of creed and more compassion.

May 16, 2022

The Humble Heart Honors Others - Max Lucado
The humble heart honors others! Jesus is our example. Content to be known as a carpenter and happy to be mistaken for the gardener. He served his followers by washing their feet.
He serves us by doing the same. Each morning he gifts us with beauty. Each moment he dwells in our hearts. And does he not speak of the day when, according to Luke 12:37, “the master will dress himself to serve and tell the servants to sit at the table, and he will serve them?”
If Jesus is so willing to honor us, can we not do the same for others? Make people a priority. Accept your part in his plan. Be quick to share the applause. And, most of all, regard others as more important than yourself. Love does! For love “does not boast; it is not proud” (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV).

May 15, 2022

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and will not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 NIV
It is easy for us to live victoriously for the Lord when we soar on eagles wings. It can be exciting when we run and don't grow weary in the work of the Lord, buoyed by his power and presence. But it often takes heroes to keep walking and not faint when trying times come. Keep on walking, brother and sister. The Lord is there when you most fear he has forgotten you!

May 14, 2022

No Pecking Orders with Jesus - Max Lucado
Love does not boast, it is not proud (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV). Jesus has no room for pecking orders. His solution to man-made caste systems? A change of direction. In a world of upward mobility, choose downward servility. “Regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3 NASB). Jesus flip-flopped the pecking order.
Would you do what Jesus did? He swapped a spotless castle for a grimy stable. He exchanged the worship of angels for the company of killers. If you knew that only a few could care that you came, would you still come? If you knew that those you loved would laugh in your face, would you still care? The palm that held the universe took the nail of a soldier. Why? Because that’s what love does! He loves you that much! Drink deeply of God’s love for you—and ask him to fill your heart with a love worth giving!

May 13, 2022

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
—Matthew 5:14
Darkness dominates our world. Despite appearances, darkness controls so much of what is said and how it is viewed by the world. When someone lives for Christ, they will be noticed. Their allegiance to Jesus and his righteousness cannot be ignored. So what are we going to do with that light? Are others going to see and be drawn to our Father in Heaven who sent his Son as Savior? Or, are they going to reject the way of Christ because our walk is all talk and not much service? Let's let them see God's grace through our lives so they will come to know the Savior!

May 12, 2022

He Is Not Finished - Max Lucado, "You Are Never Alone"
Do your days feel like a hike on an Appalachian Trail in winter? A struggle to place one foot in front of the other? If so, I urge you friend, hang on! Hang on. Don’t give up. Help is here. It may not come in the manner you requested or as quickly as you desire, but it will come. Assume that something good is going to happen. The door of tomorrow is unlocked from the inside. Just turn the knob and step out.
The Divine Artist isn’t finished. The earth is his studio. Every person on earth is one of his projects. Every event on earth is a part of his great mural. He is not finished. The scripture says in Philippians 1, “God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.” Remember, friends, you are never alone.

May 11, 2022

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. —Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate — two qualities that seem to be in short supply. Maybe it's because we hold up the wrong heroes. Unfortunately these two qualities are often seen as signs of weakness rather than strength. To forgive as God forgave us requires great courage and great strength. So let's be strong!

May 10, 2022

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalms 46:10 NIV
History tells me it has been true! Faith trusts it will be true eternally! Reverent silences, a pause in the hectic rush of our lives, reminds us that it is true today.

May 9, 2022

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
– Hebrews 12:14 (NIV)
The Scripture places the responsibility of harmony with our neighbor upon our shoulders. As we look at the fractured relationships in our lives, have we made every effort to live in peace? There are some things that we may avoid simply because they are uncomfortable, but God uses the uncomfortable to bring His holiness into our lives. Are you experiencing dullness in your relationship with God? Check your earthly relationships to make sure you are doing all that you can, for the two issues may be connected.

May 8, 2022

The Kindness of Jesus - Max Lucado, "A Love Worth Giving"
We are quick to think of Jesus’ power, his passion, and his devotion. But those near him knew and know God comes cloaked in kindness. “Love is kind” writes Paul. David agrees, “Your loving kindness is better than life” (Psalm 63:3). But Jesus’ invitation offers the sweetest proof of the kindness of heaven: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
I wonder, how many burdens is Jesus carrying for us that we know nothing about? He carries our sin. He carries our shame. But how often do we thank him for his kindness? Hasn’t he helped you out of a few jams? And has there ever been a time when he was too busy to listen to your story? And since God has been so kind to you, can’t you be kind to others?

May 7, 2022

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Where does your heart live? That's what these verses are all about. It's about where we spend the most time with our hearts. Is there a constant awareness in your life that God is present? Is he the unseen but always present companion in all your ups and downs? Or is God here when it is convenient and gone when things are busy or we feel that everything is going okay? Joy comes from knowing we are never alone. Prayer is the ongoing conversation we have, Spirit to Spirit, child to Abba, human with God. Thanksgiving and joy are the great reminders that we have been blessed no matter what the outward circumstances imply.

May 6, 2022

Seek God For Yourself - Billy Graham Ministries
Know ye that the Lord he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves . . . Psalm 100:3
Whenever anyone asks me how I can be so certain about who and what God really is, I am reminded of the story of the little boy who was out flying a kite. It was a fine day to go kite-flying, the wind was brisk, and large billowy clouds were blowing across the sky. The kite went up and up until it was entirely hidden by the clouds. “What are you doing?” a man asked the little boy. “I’m flying a kite,” he replied. “Flying a kite, are you?” the man said, “How can you be sure? You can’t see your kite.” “No,” said the little boy, “I can’t see it, but every little while I feel a tug, so I know for sure that it’s there!” Don’t take anyone else’s word for God. Find Him for yourself, and then you too will know by the wonderful, warm tug on your heartstring, that He is there, for sure.

May 5, 2022

Potential Time with God - Max Lucado
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Imagine considering every moment as a potential time of communion with God. Try being silent with God.
By the time your life is over, you’ll have spent six months at stoplights, eight months opening junk mail, a year and a half looking for lost stuff (double that in my case), and a whopping five years standing in various lines.
Why don’t you give these moments to God? By giving God your whispering thoughts, the common becomes uncommon. Simple phrases such as “Thank you, Father”…“Be sovereign in this hour, O Lord”… “You are my resting place, Jesus”…can turn a commute into a pilgrimage. You don’t have to leave your office or your kitchen. Just pray where you are. Let the kitchen become a cathedral or the classroom a chapel. Give God your whispering thoughts.

May 4, 2022

Love is Patient - Max Lucado, "A Love Worth Giving"
Has anyone told you about God’s patience? His patience and willingness to put up with you! “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8).
Paul presents patience as the premiere expression of love. Positioned at the head of the apostle’s Love Armada—a boat-length or two in front of kindness, courtesy, and forgiveness—is the flagship known as patience. 1 Corinthians 13:4 states, “Love is patient!” Patience waits. It listens. It’s slow to boil. This is how God treats us. And according to Jesus, this is how we should treat others. How infiltrated are you with God’s patience? You’ve heard about it. Read about it. But have you received it? The proof is in your patience. Patience deeply received results in patience freely offered!

May 2, 2022

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
—Romans 12:12
Sometimes the key to survival is simply "setting our jaw" and going on faithfully trusting that God is there helping us, despite the apparent and outward circumstances. Choosing joy through hope rather than despair, choosing patient endurance in times of affliction, and choosing faithfulness in prayer are all decisions of the will trusting that the God who raised Jesus from the dead can also change our circumstances because he hears our voice.

May 1, 2022

Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
—Hebrews 11:6
I believe! I believe that God not only knows me, but cares about me. I believe that God not only created the universe, but he knows the number of hairs on my head. I believe that God not only sent his Son to save the world, but that he's sending him back to bring me home. What's more, I believe that God is pleased by my belief.

April 30, 2022

Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
—Ephesians 4:15
Speaking the truth is hard enough. You mean I have to do it in love? Yes, if I am to be Christ's man or woman, I must speak to others as he did.

April 29, 2022

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.—Job 19:25
Beyond what these words were first meant to convey, we know today that our Redeemer will return as the Rider on the white horse in triumph and victory. Hallelujah, what a day! Then the world truly WILL KNOW that Jesus Christ, our Savior and brother and friend, is Lord of all things!

April 28, 2022

Scrooge Didn’t Create the World - Max Lucado, "Fearless"
Scrooge didn’t create the world– God did! Psalm 104 celebrates this lavish creation with twenty-three verses of itemized blessings: the heavens and the earth, the waters and the streams and trees and the oil and bread and the people and the lions. God is the source of “innumerable teeming things,” writes the Psalmist, “living things both small and great…These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season” (vs. 15, 27). And He does!
God is the great giver. The great provider. The fount of every blessing. God owns everything and gives us all things to enjoy. Move from the fear of scarcity to the comfort of provision. Less hoarding and more sharing. The resounding and recurring message of Scripture is clear. God owns it all. God shares it all. Trust him—not stuff!

April 27, 2022

A Deposit of Power - Max Lucado, Glory Days
Many Christians view their conversion something like a car wash. You go in a filthy clunker, and you come out with your sins washed away—a cleansed clunker. But conversion is more than a removal of sin. It is a deposit of power! It is as if a brand-new Ferrari engine was mounted in your frame. God removed the old motor that was caked, cracked, and broken with rebellion and evil; and he replaced it with a humming, roaring version of himself.
The Apostle Paul described it as being “a new creation, old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are fully equipped. Do you need more energy? You have it. More kindness? It’s yours. Hebrews 13:21 promises that God will equip you with all you need for doing His will. Just press the gas pedal. God has given you everything you need for living a godly life!

April 21, 2022

Jesus said, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." —John 10:28-30
"He's got the whole world in his hand." Yes, the song may be true, but in a much more special way, God holds his children of faith in his hand. As long as their lives are entrusted to him and his grace, no one or nothing can steal them away.

April 20, 2022

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Victory! Ultimate Victory!! If you don't have the answer for life's biggest test, death, then you have no victory. The Super Bowl and World Series are played every year. The champion is a victor for only one year. But a Christian is a champion forever because in Jesus, a Christian has victory over death.

April 19, 2022

On in Christ - Max Lucado, Calvary's Hill
Imagine the scene at the cross. Soldiers huddled in a circle, dice-throwing—casting lots for the possessions of Christ. Common soldiers witnessing the world’s most uncommon event. Just another criminal. The cross is forgotten.
It makes me think of us. The religious. Those who claim heritage at the cross. All of us. The strict. The loose. The simple. The Spirit-filled. Evangelical. All of us. We’re not so unlike these soldiers. We, too, play games at the foot of the cross. We compete for members. We scramble for status. Competition. Selfishness. Personal gain. It’s all there. We major in the trivial, we split into little huddles. Another name. Another doctrine. So close to the cross but so far from the Christ.
“May they all be one,” Jesus prayed. One. Not one in groups of two thousand. One church. One faith. One Lord. No hierarchies. No traditions. Just Christ.

April 18, 2022

Christ Wore Our Sin - Max Lucado, Calvary's Hill
Scripture often describes our behavior as the clothes we wear. 1 Peter 5:5 urges us to be “clothed with humility.” In Psalm 109:18, David speaks of evil people who clothe themselves “with cursing.” Garments can symbolize character, and like his garment, Jesus’ character was uninterrupted perfection.
But when Christ was nailed to the cross, he took off his robe of seamless perfection and assumed a different wardrobe: the wardrobe of indignity. Stripped before his own mother. Shamed before his family. The indignity of failure. For a few pain-filled hours, the religious leaders were victors, and Christ appeared the loser. Worst of all, he wore the indignity of sin. Scripture says, “He himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). The cloth of Christ on the cross? Sin—yours and mine.

April 17, 2022

EASTER SUNDAY - Billy Graham Ministries
1 Corinthians 15:55–58
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Easter is a season of great gladness for those who know Christ. But for those who are without “the light of the knowledge of God’s glory” (2 Corinthians 4:6), there is nothing to rejoice over.
Jesus left us with the great hope and certainty that He is going to return to bring a new Heaven and a new earth where, we are told, there will be no more sorrow, trouble, or death for those who have believed and followed Him. There will be trouble, sorrow, and suffering for those who have neglected or rejected Him.
As Christians, our great task is to obey the command to tell the whole world about Christ crucified, buried, yet risen again. My prayer for you during this season of the year, when we meditate on our Savior’s great sacrifice for us on the cross, is that you will be filled with great peace and hope, because “He is risen!” That is the Good News.
As you follow Christ, are you obeying His command to tell others that He is risen indeed?

April 16, 2022

Holy Saturday Devotional
The day preceding the miracle is yes, a Sabbath, a day to rest, but it is also a day to be still. Exodus 20:8 is the original verse explaining to God’s people how to observe this law, “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.” The act of keeping something Holy is to keep it set aside or reserved for a purpose, and this specific day is meant to rest in dedication to the Lord. On Holy Saturday Christians today can take this a step further in resting or abiding in what the Lord is doing today.
Jesus Is Buried
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. (Matthew 27:57-61)
The Guard at the Tomb
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, 'After three days I will rise.' Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last fraud will be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can." So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. (Matthew 27:62-66)

April 15, 2022

The cross is where we see the convergence of great suffering and God’s forgiveness. Psalms 85:10 sings of a day when “righteousness and peace” will “kiss each other.” The cross of Jesus is where that occurred, where God’s demands, his righteousness, coincided with his mercy. We receive divine forgiveness, mercy, and peace because Jesus willingly took our divine punishment, the result of God’s righteousness against sin. “For the joy set before him” (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus endured the cross on Good Friday, knowing it led to his resurrection, our salvation, and the beginning of God’s reign of righteousness and peace. (Excerpt from What’s So Good about Good Friday?)
The Example of Christ's Suffering
Slaves, in reverent fear of God, submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. "He himself bore our sins" in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; "by his wounds you have been healed." For "you were like sheep going astray," but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:18-25)

April 14, 2022

Christ's "mandate" is commemorated on Maundy Thursday--- "maundy" being a shortened form of mandatum (Latin), which means "command." It was on the Thursday of Christ's final week before being crucified and resurrected that He said this commandment to His disciples. Jesus and his disciples had just shared what is known as the Last Supper and he washed their feet saying:
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another" (John 13:34).
The Passover with the Disciples
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?" He said, "Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, 'The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'" And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?" He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." Judas, who would betray him, answered, "Is it I, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You have said so." (Matthew 26:17-25)
Institution of the Lord's Supper
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matthew 26:26-29)

April 13, 2022

Holy Wednesday Devotional
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb he was led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent in the presence of her shearers, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7) Almighty God, grant that we who are continually afflicted because of our evil deeds may be freed by the passion of your only-begotten Son; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
On Wednesday of Holy Week, Jesus may have rested. Matthew gives us a flashback to Jesus being anointed at Bethany and Judas starting his plot to betray Him.
The Plot to Kill Jesus
When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified." Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people." (Matthew 26:1-5)
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor." But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her." (Matthew 26:6-13)
Judas to Betray Jesus
Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. (Matthew 26:14-16)

April 12, 2022

On Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus taught in the Temple courts and instructed his disciples about faithfulness.
No One Knows That Day and Hour
"But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed,' and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:36-51)

April 11, 2022

Holy Monday is the second day of Holy Week, right after Palm Sunday. It is the second day that Jesus was in Jerusalem, and the Bible records Christ teaching and debating the religious leaders over Holy Monday and the next day (Holy Tuesday).
Whose Son Is the Christ?
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David." He said to them, "How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, "'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet'? If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?" And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions. (Matthew 22:41-46)

April 10, 2022

Blessed Is He !!!
“They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the king of Israel!" John 12:13
Palm Sunday is significant because it marks the beginning of Holy Week, that very important day when Jesus began His journey toward the cross.
Yet often, maybe in the midst of busy lives, or in the flurry of activity around the upcoming Easter holiday, the significance of this special day might get missed. Let's pause to reflect on the importance of Palm Sunday and offer up a Palm Sunday prayer of praise.
God’s Word reminds us how there's such great meaning in every part of Christ’s story, all directing us towards our need for a Savior...
In each of the gospels, we find the story of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The people cut palm branches and waved them in the air, then laid them out on the ground before Him as He rode into the city. The palm branch is known to represent goodness and victory, symbolic of the final victory He would soon fulfill over sin and death.
But no one knew the full story then. They had no idea what would soon transpire…
They just knew, at that moment, on that day, they longed to give worship and praise to Jesus.
“A massive crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed were shouting: “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” When Jesus had entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” Matthew 21:8-10
The whole city was “stirred,” they were “shaken.” I can almost imagine the energy of the moment, voices cheering and shouting, people trying to see through the crowds, just who it was that was coming through that day.
As they called out, "Hosanna!" they were hailing Christ as King. That word means "to save now," and though in their own minds they eagerly waited for an earthly king, God had a different plan in store. He was providing a way to set us free…eternally.
This is the greatness of why we celebrate this week. Because of Christ's ultimate sacrifice and victory, we too are more than conquerors and set free through Him.

April 9, 2022

Go go Jesus - Max Lucado
Christ lived the life we could not live, and took the punishment we could not take, to offer the hope we cannot resist. Why?
Jesus was angry enough to purge the temple, distraught enough to weep in public, winsome enough to attract kids, poor enough to sleep on dirt, responsible enough to care for his mother, tempted enough to know the smell of Satan. Why?
Why would heaven’s finest son endure earth’s toughest pain? So you would know that he is able. . .to run to the cry of. . .those who are being tempted and tested and tried. Whatever you’re facing, he knows how you feel. When you turn to him for help, he runs to you to help. Why?
He’s been there. He’s not ashamed of you. Your actions don’t bewilder him. Your tilted halo doesn’t trouble him. So go to him!

April 8, 2022

Jesus is Living Proof of God’s Love - Max Lucado
Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
That passage is so poignant. God did not spare his own son but gave him up. God’s heart must have ached as the cracking voice of his son prayed, “Father, take this cup away.” God said good-bye to his son fully aware that when Jesus’ cry of despair would roar through the heavens, he would sit in silence.
He gave himself up for us all. Jesus, though in anguish, would feel no comfort from his father’s hands. Would you receive this reminder? God did not spare his son. He gave him up for you.

April 7, 2022

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
Where does your heart live? That's what these verses are all about. Is there a constant awareness in your life that God is present? Is he the unseen but always present companion in all your ups and downs? Or is God here when it is convenient and gone when things are busy? Joy comes from knowing we are never alone. Prayer is the ongoing conversation we have, Spirit to Spirit, with God. Thanksgiving is the great reminder that we have been blessed no matter what the circumstances may suggest.

April 6, 2022

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
– Colossians 3:12-13 (NIV)
Paul’s admonition to the Colossian believers is a call back to the gospel. One of the true tests of a believer is how they respond when faced with the pain of offense. If our identity is in the love that the Father showers upon us, then we are able to reflect the nature of the Holy Spirit to others. This is not a display of our benevolence, but an exercise in our personal awareness of our daily need for Jesus. To hold grudges against each other shows that we have forgotten our own need for mercy.

April 5, 2022

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
– Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
What happens when the judge is also the father of the accused? That was the “dilemma” God had when Adam rebelled against God. God loves his children, but they have sinned against His nature and the punishment for that is death. So He determined to take the punishment of man’s rebellion Himself. Jesus Christ came as a man and took the judgment due to us so that we could experience the favor due to Him. Because of Jesus, we have an open door to the Creator, and that door brings us into peace, healing and restoration. God’s justice and love meet in Jesus Christ.

April 4, 2022

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. – Mark 1:16-18 (NIV)
What an amazing scene. Two businessmen left their trade to follow after Jesus. These burly fishermen haven’t heard much yet, but that doesn’t stop Jesus from calling them to follow him. We often think that we need to believe first before we follow in the ways of Christ, but many of the disciples of Jesus believed after they started following him. We often place expectations upon people that Jesus never intended, and in so doing we hinder people from a journey that leads to belief.

April 3, 2022

Jesus: Not Just a Man - Billy Graham Ministries
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Colossians 1:17
Napoleon was right when he said, “I know men, and I tell you, Jesus is more than a man. Comparison is impossible between Him and any other human being who ever lived, because He was the Son of God.” Emerson was right when he replied to those who asked him why he did not include Jesus among his Representative Men, “Jesus was not just a man.” Arnold Toynbee was right when he said, “As we stand and gaze with our eyes fixed upon the farther shore, a simple figure rises from the flood and straightway fills the whole horizon of history. There is the Savior.”

April 2, 2022

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Humility is not our culture's biggest asset or most desired character quality. But humility is what is demanded -- not so much because it's commanded (thought that would be enough), but because we've earned it. Every year brings another wave of major failures in morality, character, and spirituality. Rather than progressing culturally, we find ourselves slipping. Humility is earned! So let's be humble and call upon the Lord!

April 1, 2022

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
Sometimes the key to survival is simply "setting our jaw" and going on faithfully trusting that God is there helping us, despite the outward circumstances. Choosing joy through hope rather than despair, choosing patient endurance in times of affliction, and choosing faithfulness in prayer are all decisions of the will. We trust that God, who raised Jesus from the dead, can also change our circumstances because he hears our voice.

March 31, 2022

"You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet." I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
—John 13:13-15
Before Jesus went to the cross, he showed his disciples what it means to live in a cross-centered community: he took the position of a household slave and washed his disciples' feet. He did it knowing they would run from him, disown him, betray him, and deny him. Incredible! But he also says that I'm to do it, too. "You can't say you love me," Jesus is saying, "if you won't love those I suffered and died for!" (see 1 John 3:14-18 & 1 John 4:7-12)

March 30, 2022

Not So Common - Max Lucado
You lead a common life. Punctuated by occasional weddings, job transfers, bowling trophies, and graduations—a few highlights—but mainly it’s the day-to-day rhythm you share with the majority of humanity. Do commoners rate in heaven? Does God love common people?
God answers these questions in a most uncommon fashion. If the word common describes you, take heart—you are in fine company because it also describes Christ. When you list the places Christ lived, draw a circle around the common town named Nazareth. For thirty of his thirty-three years, Jesus lived a common life. Aside from that one incident in the temple at the age of twelve, we have no record of what he said or did for the first three decades he walked on this earth.
Next time you feel common, take heart! God uses the common to do uncommon things.

March 29, 2022

Because He's Been There - Max Lucado
Millions facing the chill of empty pockets or the fears of sudden change turn to Christ. Why? Because he’s been there. He’s been to Nazareth, where he made deadlines and paid bills; to Jerusalem, where he stared down critics and stood up against cynics.
We have our Nazareths as well. Jesus wasn’t the last to build a team; accusers didn’t disappear with Jerusalem’s temple. Why seek Jesus’ help with your challenges? Because he’s been there.
But most of all he’s been to the grave. Not as a visitor, but as a corpse. Body wrapped and grave sealed. Buried. You haven’t yet. But you will be. And since you will, don’t you need someone who knows the way out? God has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! A way to have life that cannot be destroyed!

March 28, 2022

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
– Colossians 3:12-13 (NIV)
Paul’s admonition to the Colossian believers is a call back to the gospel. One of the true tests of a believer is how they respond when faced with the pain of offense. If our identity is in the love that the Father showers upon us, then we are able to reflect the nature of the Holy Spirit to others. This is not a display of our benevolence, but an exercise in our personal awareness of our daily need for Jesus. To hold grudges against each other shows that we have forgotten our own need for mercy.

March 24, 2022

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
– Proverbs 18:10 (NIV)
In ancient times, towers were connected to fortified cities. They were structures that allowed the watchman to see when the enemy was coming and provide defense for any attacks. This proverb tells us that God’s view is above all of our circumstances, and when we turn to the Scripture and run to God in prayer, we are placing our cares into a walled city—a tower that is hard to sneak up upon, a place that is well protected. But we can go a step farther. God is the caring owner of this tower, and he invites us to run to it and be safe.

March 23, 2022

Jesus Never Changes - Billy Graham Ministries
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8
The Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die,” and to the average person this seems a stark and hopeless situation. Hundreds of philosophies and scores of religions have been invented to
circumvent the Word of God. Modern philosophers and psychologists are still trying to make it appear that there is some way out other than the path of Jesus. But people have tried them all, and none of them leads anywhere but down. Christ came to give us the answers to the three enduring problems of sin, sorrow, and death. It is Jesus Christ, and He alone, who is also enduring and unchanging, “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” All other things may change, but Christ remains unchangeable.
In the restless sea of human passions Christ stands steadfast and calm, ready to welcome all who will turn to Him and accept the blessings of safety and peace. For we are living in an age of grace, in which God promises that “whosoever will” may come and receive His Son. But this period of grace will not go on indefinitely. We are even now living on borrowed time.

March 22, 2022

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.
—Psalm 46:1-2
God is not only our protector; he is our helper. Even when our world seems to be crashing around us, he is there. He will deliver us from death or deliver us through death. He will deliver us from evil or he will deliver us to overcome evil. Our task is to trust that in the midst of our earthquakes and tidal waves that we are not alone and not abandoned.

March 21, 2022

What Matters to You Matters to God - Max Lucado
The first miracle of Jesus was at a wedding—no small event. For several days, there was gift-giving, speech making, food-eating, and wine-drinking. Hospitality was a sacred duty The absence of wine was a social embarrassment. Mary asks her son to help, and he tells her that his “time has not yet come.” But he changed his plan to meet the needs of his friends.
This miracle tells us that what matters to you matters to God. You are his child. So go ahead. Tell God what hurts. He won’t turn you away or think it’s silly. Hebrews 4:15-16 says, “For our high priest is able to understand our weaknesses…Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace.” Does God care about the little things in our lives? You better believe it.

March 20, 2022

When You Let God Down - Max Lucado
Peter did what he swore he wouldn’t do. Three times the salt of Peter’s betrayal stung the wounds of the Messiah. And he would never forget the look on Jesus’ face. So Peter returned to Galilee. Once again he had fished all night with no success. And a voice from shores yells, “Try the other side!” When John recognized Jesus, Peter swam to shore and stood in front of the friend he betrayed. For once, Peter was silent. The moment was too holy for words.
What do you say at a moment such as this? It’s just you and God. You both know what you did. And neither of you is proud of it. What do you do? Consider doing what Peter did. Stand still and wait—too repentant to speak, but too hopeful to leave. He has come back. Jesus invites you to try again. This time, with him.

March 19, 2022

Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. —1 Timothy 3:16
Why would Jesus do it? How did he do it? How was he "God with us" and still in "human flesh"? We cannot fully comprehend it, but he was! The Son of God was also Jesus of Nazareth, born and placed in a manger and crucified on a cross. But he was raised from the dead and shown to be God's Son with power. He was seen by angels, both on earth after his resurrection and in heaven at the throne of God. He has been preached and believed on by people all over the world. The glory that he has he will one day show and share with us. If you want to understand godliness, then you begin with Jesus!

March 18, 2022

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
—Romans 15:13
Hope and joy and peace sound terrific. Two things are vital for these two blessings to be a part of our lives. First, we must trust God to meet our needs and get us to where we need to be. Second, we expect the power of the Holy Spirit to bless us and empower us with God's qualities.

March 17, 2022

And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. —Revelation 5:9
Worthy! What a beautiful word! For those of us who are disciples of Jesus, we know of only one who is truly worthy. He is worthy to open the scroll and reveal the future. He is worthy of praise and adoration. Why? Because even though he was holy, perfect and heavenly, his death on the cross to purchase our pardon, forgiveness, and salvation made him worthy. And he did it not just for us, but also for people of all races and languages and cultures. Jesus, you are worthy!

March 16, 2022

If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
Imagine Jesus being proud of you! He said if we confess him before others here on earth, he will speak up for us in heaven. Confessing that Jesus is Lord is simply acknowledging the truth. But for believers, it is more than that, since at the close of time every knee will bow and every tongue confess his name. For us, confessing Jesus is anticipating his triumph in which we will share.

March 15, 2022

Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. – John 6:47 (NIV)
This is the core of the teachings of Christ. Every miracle, every parable, every action that Jesus Christ did and said was meant to open our minds and hearts to the reality that God created us, He loves us, and He calls us to a relationship with Himself. To believe that God sent Jesus Christ to introduce us to the realities of heaven brings us into the everlasting life now, and Jesus still stands as the living truth that will free anyone who turns to him.

March 14, 2022

Restore us, O God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. —Psalm 80:7
This passage makes me want to cry out to God: "Please restore us God! Restore us, your people, O God, who have lost their sense of wonder! Restore our old withered hearts to their innocence. Restore our lives to their unsoiled perfection and intention. Restore us to yourself, O God Almighty!" While not every Christian has lost his or her sense of wonder and while not everyone of us has an old withered heart, we all need God's presence to shine upon us and renew us!

March 13, 2022

He [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together. —Colossians 1:17
Before there was an earth, universe, or nature, there was Jesus! He was before they were made. He will be after they are long gone. In fact, his power and his presence are what hold our world, our universe, and our nature together. He is the sustaining force, the enabling power, and the generous preserver of life as we know it. So if he could provide us these things and they are but a faint anticipation of what is yet to be, won't it be great to see him, just as he is, and share in his glory with him!

March 12, 2022

Guard Your Attitude - Max Lucado
The tenth chapter of Luke describes the step-by-step process of the sweet becoming sour. It’s the story of two sisters. Martha has things to do. Mary has thoughts to think.
Martha is having Jesus and friends over for dinner. She’s literally serving Jesus. But she makes a common, yet dangerous mistake. Her work becomes more important than her Lord. Martha’s heart sours with anxiety. And worry makes her forget who’s in charge, and she bosses God around.
Jesus points out that “only one thing is important. Mary has chosen it.” God is more pleased with the quiet attention of a sincere servant than the noisy service of a sour one. A bad attitude spoils the gift we leave on the altar for God. So guard your attitude.

March 11, 2022

The Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
—Deuteronomy 7:9
God is faithful and his covenant is a covenant of love. He will not forsake us and will treat us better than we deserve just as a loving parent treats a rebellious child better than s/he deserves. But our hearts must be tuned to honor God as God, not as just a good luck charm or a weekly guest into our otherwise busy lives. What we do must be done in awareness that it is done before and for him!

March 10, 2022

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
—Galatians 5:22-23
When the Spirit is alive in our hearts the character of God comes to life in our lives as the Spirit works to conform us ever more closely to the image and the character of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

March 9, 2022

Three Important Words: Don’t Give Up! - Max Lucado
Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Joseph, had a task to do—Jesus’ body had to be prepared for burial.
Matthew 28:2 says, “At that time there was a strong earthquake. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven, went to the tomb, and rolled the stone away from the entrance.” Did the angel roll away the rock for Jesus? Did God have to have help? I don’t think so. Then the angel says to the women, “Come and see the place where his body was.” The stone was moved—not so Jesus could come out, but so the women could see in!
Just when the road was too dark for Mary Magdalene and Mary, the angel glowed and the Savior showed, and they were forever changed. The lesson? Three words: Don’t give up! God still sends angels and He still moves stones.

March 8, 2022

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all of our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. —2 Corinthians 1:3-4
We are comforted to comfort others. God doesn't bless us with his presence and comfort of his Spirit because we are somehow better than everyone else. No, he comforts us to equip, empower, and encourage others. God has human hands, but only when I use mine to his glory and for others comfort.

March 7, 2022

For by him [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. —Colossians 1:16
"Jesus is Lord!" That doesn't just mean that we have yielded our lives to his will and trusted in his grace. "Jesus is Lord!" This means that everything that is created is his. All angels, demons, and spirits are below him and their purpose is to honor and serve him. Even though demons have chosen not to honor and serve him, that decision does not change what their purpose should be nor the fact that Jesus showed his superiority over them in his crucifixion and resurrection. It means the universe, with its vast expanse and glory, was made by him and made to declare his glory. As God's image to us, God's presence for us to know and see, he is our King, Lord, and Savior. If our life is in his hands and our hearts are yielded to his will, then no one and nothing can prevent his ultimate victory for us and in us.

March 6, 2022

A Heart of Belief - Billy Graham Ministries Devotions
If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. —Romans 10:9
The heart is the blood-pump of the body. It is also used metaphorically when we speak of affections and feelings. Since it is the central organ of the body and one of the most vital, the Bible speaks of it as the wellspring of life. Hence, it is used synonymously with “life.” When the Bible says, “Son, give me thine heart,” it doesn’t mean that we are to cut out our actual hearts and give them to God. It means that we are to give Him our lives, our all. When we come to Christ, we are not only to give intellectual assent with our minds, we are to “believe in our hearts.” We can believe in the historic Jesus, but if we have “saving faith” our belief must involve our whole being. When we believe with all our hearts, the will, the emotions, and the intellect are surrendered to Christ.

March 5, 2022

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true — even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. —1 John 5:20
Jesus came to reveal God to us. He has given us the clearest picture yet of what God is really like. Because of Jesus, we can know God, the only one who is truly genuine. Because we are in Christ, we share that special bond with the Father and find in him a whole new quality of life. This life won't end when our bodies die, and eternal life begins now, as we walk with him each day and extends unto forever. For the eternal and transcendent God to make himself known to us is grace. For him to do it in Jesus is salvation!

March 4, 2022

At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8
Jesus died for us,but not because he had some high hopes for who we are or what we would be. No, he died for us because he knew exactly who we are and what we would be without him. But praise be to God, we are now God's righteousness because he took our sin and gave us God's grace (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

March 3, 2022

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
– Romans 5:5 (NIV)
As we go along in life, we find that hope may be the most important trait that we can cultivate, for hope is an expectation of the future that determines how we live today. The mistakes that we have made can make it easy to lose hope, but God brings to us good news: we are more dysfunctional than we want to admit, but we are more loved than we could ever dream. This reality will not disappoint us when we believe the gospel that is offered to us in Jesus Christ.

March 2, 2022

Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” – Mark 4:20 (NIV)
Look at the dynamics of having a fruitful Christian life: hearing the Scripture, accepting it as a reality that we need to deal with, then nurturing the results of that process until we see the benefits in our lives. We may be impatient with those results, but we can’t control the rate of growth in our lives. We must keep hearing and keep adjusting our lives in acceptance if we expect to reap the full impact of God’s promises.

March 1, 2022

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. —Psalm 103:12
Now that's a long way - from sun rising to sun setting, that's how far God has removed our sins. But the key word is removed. When we sin and come to God in repentance, God doesn't just forgive our sin; he purifies us of all unrighteousness. What was unholy in me is made righteous in him. What was impure is now clean. What was stained is spotless. Why? How? We can now see more fully what the Psalmist could know only in part. God doesn't see our sin, but Jesus' sacrifice. His blood purifies and cleanses us! Our sin is gone and we are clean.

February 28, 2022

When Heaven Celebrates - Max Lucado
In Luke 15, Jesus tells three stories of something lost and something found: a lost sheep; a lost coin; and a lost son. At the end of each story, Jesus describes a celebration. The point is clear. Jesus is happiest when the lost are found. Jesus rejoices because he knows what awaits the saved. In Heaven, you will at long last, have a heart just like his. Guiltless, fearless, tirelessly worshiping, and flawlessly discerning.
Jesus also rejoices that we are saved from hell. He says there’s only one sound there—and that is the “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Every person you meet has been given an invitation to dinner. When one says ‘yes,’ celebrate! When one hesitates, urge him to get ready. You don’t want anyone to miss the party.

February 23, 2022

God is Uncontained - Max Lucado
Most people have small thoughts about God. In an effort to see God as our friend, we have lost his immensity. In our desire to understand him, we have sought to contain him. The God of the Bible cannot be contained. With a word he called Adam out of dust and Eve out of a bone. He consulted no committee. He sought no counsel. He has authority over the world and…He has authority over your world. He is never surprised. He has never, ever uttered the phrase, “How did that happen?”
God’s goodness is a major headline in the Bible. If He were only mighty, we would salute Him. But since He is merciful and mighty, we can approach Him. If God is at once Father and Creator, holy—unlike us—and high above us, then we at any point are only a prayer away from help!

February 22, 2022

People Are Watching - Max Lucado
A vibrant, shining face is the mark of one who has stood in God’s presence. After speaking to God, Moses had to cover his face with a veil.
But not only does God change the face of those who worship; he changes those who watch us worship. Paul told the Corinthian church to worship in such a way that if an unbeliever entered, he would find the secrets of his heart revealed; and would fall down on his face and worship God.
Seekers may not understand all that happens in a house of worship. They may not understand the meaning of a song or the significance of communion. But they know joy when they see it. And when they see your face changed, they may want to see God’s face. People, including your family, are watching. Believe me. They are watching.

February 21, 2022

We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds. —Psalm 75:1
"What a wonderful God we serve!" More than just the words of a song, these words are true beyond our understanding. To be so powerful, vast, and marvelous and yet still know us and bless us with his personal attention and care is beyond understanding. Yet God sent Jesus to remind us that he is not only God Almighty; he is also Immanuel, God with us!

February 20, 2022

The Unending Presence of God - Max Lucado
In the Bible, 2 Corinthians 6:1 says that we are “God’s fellow workers.” Rather than report to God, we work with God. We are always in the presence of God. There is never a non-sacred moment!
Is it possible to live—minute by minute—in the presence of God? Jesus enjoyed unbroken communion with God, and God wants that same abiding intimacy with you and me. He wants to be as close to us as a branch is to a vine. You know it’s impossible to tell where one starts and the other ends. What good news! We are NEVER away from God! And he is NEVER away from us! As we search the Bible, we realize that unbroken communion with God is the intent and not the exception. Within the reach of every Christian is the unending presence of God.

February 19, 2022

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (NIV)
Jesus was clear that this is not a perfect world, but we have a hope in the midst of the challenges around us-Jesus has overcome the world. This means that there is no challenge, no obstacle, no dead end that you are facing that Jesus Christ has not overcome. Even death is no match for the risen Lord. So don’t let your circumstances have the final word in the condition of your soul, take heart, for Christ is offering you peace in the midst of your troubles.

February 18, 2022

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.  – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV)
We must be watchful if we expect to live the way that God intends for us. But having our eyes wide open and our beliefs clearly defined are not enough, for many people have been deeply hurt by the wounds of watchful, doctrinally correct Christians. Our motive ultimately has to be love, which acknowledges where people are in their journey while lifting up who Jesus is in His splendor. As we create this atmosphere, people feel safe to wrestle with the gospel and—as a result—are transformed.

February 17, 2022

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. – 2 Peter 1:2 (NIV)
It seems that the amount of grace and peace that floods our heart is directly related to the knowledge of God and specifically of Jesus Christ. Our minds don’t naturally gravitate toward grace and peace—we keep trying to prove ourselves, resulting in stress and condemnation. But the person who focuses on the Scripture everyday opens a portal of provision to their soul. The knowledge of God captures our wandering thoughts and the results are delightful.

February 16, 2022

God has saved us and called us to a holy life -- not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. 2 Timothy 1:9
Before the beginning of time! How do you understand when that was? God first thought of us at a time we cannot even begin to understand! His reason for thinking of us was to demonstrate his grace and call others to his side. Jesus has always been God's plan, and we have always been his goal. Let's make sure we respond by living that holy life!

February 15, 2022

Learning to Listen to God - Max Lucado
I believe we can learn to listen to God if we are equipped with the right tools. The first tool is a regular time and place. Select a slot on your schedule and a corner of your world, and claim it for God. Take enough time to say what you want and for God to say what he wants.
The second tool is an open Bible. Pray first, asking God to help you understand it. Study the Bible a little at a time. Read until a verse “hits” you. Then meditate on it and write it down.
The third tool is a listening heart. We know we’re listening when what we read in the Bible is what others see in our lives. If you want to be just like Jesus, spend time listening for him until you receive your lesson for the day—and then apply it.

February 14, 2022

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. – 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV)
How do you define love? For many of us, we define love as intense physical attraction or emotional bonding. But the Bible defines love very differently. In many ways, the Scriptural definition of love is not seen until things go wrong. Emotions come and go, but godly love equips us for when people test our patience. Godly love prefers others rather than focusing on ourselves. This Valentine’s Day make a decision to esteem your valentine over your own needs. When you do, your actions will speak louder than angels, gifts, or extravagant displays.

February 13, 2022

Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9
Never alone. What a promise. As Psalm 139 emphasizes later, Joshua hears first hand. God will go with him, and us, through all the seasons of life, through all our ups and downs, through temptations and triumphs, even through death. So we can take courage and feel his strength. We are not alone!

February 12, 2022

A Listening Heart - Max Lucado
“Let he who has ears to hear, use them.” Eight times in the Gospels and eight times in the Book of Revelation we are reminded that it’s not enough just to have ears—it’s necessary to use them. Jesus spent regular time with God, praying and listening. Luke 5:16 tells us, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” If Jesus, the Son of God and the sinless Savior of humankind, thought it worthwhile to clear his calendar to pray, wouldn’t we be wise to do the same?
Jesus also spent regular time in God’s Word. Three times in the wilderness temptation, he used the Word of God to repel the attack of Satan. If we are to be just like Jesus, then we need to imitate his habits of prayer and Bible reading.

February 11, 2022

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
—1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Love does not focus on myself, but on others. Each of these qualities of love is based upon an affectionate, compassionate, and forgiving attitude that regards others as being valuable and not just placing value on myself and my desires. No wonder the old saying goes "The middle of sIn is a big I!" When "I" become more important than others and what "I" want and that "I" win is more significant than what someone else truly needs, then "I" have lost my way and do not display the love of Christ.

February 10, 2022

The Heart of Jesus is Pure - Max Lucado
The heart of Jesus was pure. Peter traveled with Jesus for three and a half years, and he described him as a “lamb, unblemished and spotless.” The heart of Jesus was peaceful. The disciples shouted for fear in the storm, but Jesus slept through it. Peter drew his sword to fight the soldiers, but Jesus lifted his hand to heal.
The heart of Jesus was purposeful. He aimed at one goal—to save humanity from its sin. “The Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.” His heart was spiritual. He took his instructions from God. It was his habit to go to worship. He memorized scripture. His times of prayer guided him. John 5:19 says, “The Son does whatever the Father does.” The heart of Jesus was spiritual. Let ours be the same.

February 9, 2022

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. —1 John 4:16
We can be sure that God loves us. He wants us to live in and be blessed by his love. That love is more than just the grace that reaches us when we are saved. God's love extends through us. His love is redemptive in our loving behaviors to others. His presence is seen in our loving attitudes and deeds. God wants his love to be shared by us to others. In this way, his love blesses us when we receive it and also when we share it!

February 8, 2022

Conversation From the Heart - Max Lucado
Prayer isn’t a privilege for the pious, nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and His child. When we invite God into our world, He brings a host of gifts: joy, patience, and resilience. Anxieties come, but they don’t stick. Fears surface and then depart. I’m completing my sixth decade, yet I’m wired with energy… happier, healthier, and more hopeful! Struggles come, for sure, but so does God.
My friend, He wants to talk with you. Even now as you hear these words, He taps at the door. Open it. Welcome Him in and let the conversation begin. Here’s my challenge to you! Every day for 4 weeks, pray 4 minutes. Then get ready to connect with God like never before!

February 7, 2022

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1 John 4:9 NIV
Love is a verb. We can't say it enough. Love must not only be spoken, but must also be shown. The beginning of love is God. He showed his love in the most sacrificial of ways so we could know our incredible value to him. The price of our adoption was the emptying of heaven of its greatest treasure,
God the Son, who is our Savior.

February 6, 2022

He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor.—Proverbs 21:21
Isn't it funny that when we set off to find happiness or joy or significance or meaning, we seldom find it. Instead, when we offer to serve others and give ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord and his work, it is then that we find what we most need.

February 5, 2022

What You Needed Most - Max Lucado
God is enough. Isn’t this the message of Moses and Joshua and the journey to the Promised Land? Who opened the Jordan River? Who led the people across on dry ground? Who appeared to encourage Joshua? Who brought down the Jericho walls? Who fought for and delivered the people? God!
He cared for his people. Even in the wilderness they never went without provision. He gave them not just food but clothing and good health. Moses once reminded the Hebrews, “Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years” (Deuteronomy 8:4 NIV).
The following phrases were never heard in the wilderness: Oh, bummer, my robe has another rip in it…or…. Hey, new sandals. Where did you get them? There was no want for food; no need for clothing. God provided for them. And God has promised to provide you.

February 4, 2022

I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
—Psalm 18:1-2
We sing it and we say it in our public prayers: "Father, God, we love you." But notice very carefully the beginning phrase of our verse. "I love you, O Lord..." Even in public, community worship, we are taught the importance of a personal expression of love to God. When is the last time you told the Creator of the universe, "I love you!"

February 3, 2022

I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
—Psalm 59:16
So many things in our lives can be stolen away by natural disasters, aging, and death. Satan could be appropriately called "The Thief of Always." But God is immovable and unstealable! We can invest ourselves in him and know our spirits are secure in his care. He is a fortress and a refuge.

February 2, 2022

As it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.
—1 Corinthians 2:9
Many of the things we anticipate and dream about are much less glorious in real life than they were in our imaginations. There is one event, however, that is better than we can imagine and beyond our wildest dreams. When Jesus returns to take us home to be with our Father, it will be far better than we can ask, imagine, dream or think. Maranatha — Come Lord Jesus!

February 1, 2022

Trust Like Jesus Did - Max Lucado
How did Jesus endure the terror of the crucifixion? He went first to the Father with His fears. He modeled the words of Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Do the same with your fears. Enter them—just don’t enter them alone. And while there, be honest. Pounding the ground is permitted and tears are allowed. “Take this cup,” Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemene.
Give God your fears. Give God the number of the flight. Share the details of the job transfer. He has plenty of time. He also has plenty of compassion. He won’t tell you to buck up or get tough. He knows how you feel. That’s why we punctuate our prayers as Jesus did with “Father, if you are willing. . .” Was God willing? Yes and no. He didn’t take away the cross from Christ, but He took away the fear. Who is to say He won’t do the same for you?