Imagine standing by a pool, watching your children get ready to swim. The youngest asks you to hold something—a dirty plastic pail. The oldest makes a similar request, and then hands you an heirloom opal necklace that had been her grandmother's. Most likely, you wouldn't worry too much about protecting the toy, but you'd probably guard the jewelry with great care. The way we handle a possession reveals the value we attach to it.
Each tick of the clock brings us one second closer to our heavenly appointment with the Lord Jesus. As believers in Christ, we will stand before Him one day and give an account for our lives. At that time we will be held accountable for our actions and recompensed for the choices we made while on earth, whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10).
The New Testament tells us what Jesus did while He was on earth, but what is He doing now that He has ascended to the Father in heaven? His physical absence does not mean that He has abandoned us. Though we cannot presently see Him, His Word assures us that He is always acting on our behalf to empower, lead, and complete us.
Throughout history, no one has made a greater impact on this world than Jesus Christ, yet many people simply do not understand who He is. Some believe that His life began in a manger in the ancient town of Bethlehem, but in reality, He existed long before that (Micah 5:2). As a member of the Trinity, Jesus is the eternal Son of God, which means He has no beginning or end (John 1:1). His birth in Bethlehem was merely His physical entrance into the world that He created.
God wants us to make right decisions, which means choices that align with His will. He has promised to give us instruction and direction so we'll know how to proceed (Ps. 32:8).
Money plays a huge role in our existence. In fact, it's impossible to live without it. How would we purchase food, shelter, and clothing? But it's more than just a means for acquiring necessities. The quest for wealth has dominated mankind's history. Wars have been fought over it, lives have been ruined by it, and people have died for lack of it. To gain a proper perspective of money, Christians must understand what the Lord thinks about it.
The world attaches far more significance to money than God ever intended it to have. Instead of simply being a means of exchange for goods and services, it has become an object of greed, a source of power and prestige, and a means of achieving status, happiness, and security. With so many false hopes pinned to wealth, we must be careful not to fall for the lies. God's Word warns us of the dangers of giving money too much importance in our lives and advises us how to use it according to His purposes.
Even though most Christians are very familiar with the gospel, many are reluctant to share their faith because they just don't feel capable of explaining it to someone else. When we lack confidence in our knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ, fear of negative reactions or possible questions can keep us from opening our mouths. What if we don't have the answers or end up looking like a fool? It's just too intimidating.
Before the apostle Paul's conversion, if someone had suggested that he would impact the world for Jesus, he'd probably have laughed. In fact, his original goal was to rid the world of Christians.
Whenever you're feeling down, the best place to turn is the Psalms. In today's passage, the writer asks: "Why are you in despair, O my soul?" (v. 5). Surprisingly, this question is the first step in overcoming discouragement.
My life was radically influenced by the example of my grandfather, who wholeheartedly sought the Lord. I wanted the same kind of relationship that he had with God, and I knew the only way this would happen was if I, too, earnestly sought Him. All these years later, I can truthfully say that the most exciting aspect of my life is getting on my face before God in intimate fellowship.
The title of today's devotion sounds like a self-help book that promises fame, wealth, and prestige if you'll follow its ten easy steps. But God defines the good things in life quite differently, and they are achieved only by seeking Him. When we make Him the top priority in our lives, we can expect His blessings of:
Thanking God glorifies and magnifies Him, but did you know doing this also benefits us? The Lord doesn't need our thanks, but we need to give it so we can become what He wants us to be: unselfish, encouraged, and confident. Giving thanks...
Obedience is a powerful action that can unleash God's glory in ways beyond our imagination. Yet obeying is often difficult because our desires are being put to the test. Sometimes we're afraid to do what He says, for fear of losing what is important to us. But choosing not to obey may actually cost us the very thing we desire most.
If the Lord has promised to provide and is able, why doesn't He always meet our needs when we ask? Since He's completely faithful to His Word, the problem is obviously with us, not Him. In today's passage, His promise of provision has a condition--it's given to "those who walk uprightly" (v. 11). So if God isn't providing for our needs as we think He should, He may have a different plan for us. But we should also examine our lives for possible hindrances.