DAILY DEVOTIONALS

Devotionals

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Receiving Joy and Strength - In the Presence of God - Week of April 27

There is no Pentecost without the Ascension. Two remarkable things happened to the disciples after Jesus departed...

Receiving Joy and Strength There is still another vital aspect to the "why" of Jesus' departure. He said, "If I do not go away, the Helper (Paraclete) will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you." Jesus' departure was tied to Pentecost. There is no Pentecost without ascension. As the invested King of kings, Jesus had the authority together with the Father to send His Holy Spirit in a new and powerful way upon the church. Jesus spoke of a certain necessity of His leaving in order for the Spirit to come. Herein was another great advantage. He declared, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you" (Acts 1:8, KJV). Two remarkable things happened to the disciples after Jesus departed. The first is that they "returned to Jerusalem with great joy" (Luke 24:52). They were not despondent over the departure of Jesus. Obviously they finally understood why He was leaving. They understood what, for the most part, the church since then has failed to understand. We live as if it would not have been better for Jesus to leave. The second obvious change in the lives of the disciples was in their spiritual strength. After Pentecost, they were different people. No longer did they flee like sheep without a shepherd. Instead, they turned the world upside down. They turned the world upside down because they fully understood two simple things: the "where" and the "why" of Jesus' departure. ... read more

Extreme Love - Cross the Bridge - April 26, 2015

While the judgments of God on Israel and other nations in the Old Testament are difficult to read about, we must understand that all throughout, God is showing grace and mercy.

Extreme Love - Sunday, April 26th 2015 Amos 4:9 "I blasted you with blight and mildew. When your gardens increased, Your vineyards, Your fig trees, And your olive trees, The locust devoured them; Yet you have not returned to Me," Says the LORD." NKJV Often in the Hebrew Scriptures, we read of the judgments of God and gasp as we see Israel and other nations suffering under the Lord's power. While the judgments of God are difficult, we must understand that all through the Old Testament God is showing grace and mercy. In the prophets, He calls for people to turn from their wicked ways and He will forgive them. You see friend, while God's discipline can often seem extreme, His love is just as potent. Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." NKJV Extreme love - that is what the God of all creation has shown towards us. While we were steeped in sin and suffering under the weight of condemnation, He stepped out of heaven and gave His life for ours. The punishment that we deserved was placed upon Jesus on the cross. Each strike of the nails that pierced His hands was done so that we could know forgiveness. Each cruel word and slash of the whip on Jesus' body happened so that we could spend eternity with Him. All we have to do is come to Jesus seeking forgiveness and trusting in ... read more

Learning from Failure - In Touch - April 25/26, 2015

Failure is an excellent learning tool, as Peter could certainly attest.

  April 25/26 Learning from Failure Luke 22:31-34 The disciple Peter was a man of great faith and bold action. But as readers of the New Testament know, his brash style sometimes led him to make humiliating mistakes. More than once, this disciple had to wear the label of "miserable failure" rather than that of "obedient servant." We can all relate when it comes to falling short of expectations. Obedience to God is a learning process, and failure is a part of our development as humble servants. When we yield to temptation or rebel against God's authority, we realize that sin has few rewards, and even those are fleeting. Failure is an excellent learning tool, as Peter could certainly attest. Through trial and error, he discovered that humility is required of believers (John 13:5-14); that God's ways are higher than the world's ways (Mark 8:33); and that one should never take his eyes off Jesus (Matt. 14:30). He took each of those lessons to heart and thereby grew stronger in his faith. Isn't that Romans 8:28 in action? God caused Peter's failures to be put to good use as training material because the disciple was eager to mature and serve. God doesn't reward rebellion or wrongdoing. However, by His grace, He blesses those who choose repentance and embrace chastisement as a tool for growth. We would probably all prefer to grow in our faith without ever making a mistake before God's eyes, but we cannot deny that missteps are instructive. ... read more