Category Archives: Devotionals

These devotions are in the public domain,
and are free to use. They’re a great way to start the day.

What the Book of Philippians has Taught Me. #1

As those of you who are familiar with me know from my blog and Facebook, I love the Bible; God’s Holy Word.  I believe it wholeheartedly, completely, that it is inerrant and infallible, and that not one word in it was put there apart from the leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Some people teach that it’s either one or the other, but I’ve always wondered why it couldn’t have been both.  I think that the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to use any means He wishes to get His point across, but that’s just me.  I know what all the naysayers say, the irreligious, the religious studies professors, the Ph. D’s, all those in Academia who talk of theories, interpretations, and all the stuff they teach you in college courses to make you think and question things, including your beliefs, and everything you’ve been taught.  I also know the arrogance with which some of these scholars and highly educated people try to stuff all their knowledge and all their beliefs down some people’s throats without an acknowledgment that some people (even quite young people) have been able to come to their own conclusions from nothing more than their own personal experience and observation.

I’m not into that personal kind of haranguing people into believing what I believe.  (Well, that’s not exactly true.  There are some people like my lovely wife and wonderful daughter who would disagree enthusiastically with this statement, but since I’m writing this, and they’re not here, I’ll say that I’ve always tried to be fair, honest, and truthful in what I say to people, and I believe that’s accurate.)   I’ve never seen that trying to force someone to see your point of view works very well; especially, with those who aren’t inclined to agree with you anyway, and who have supposedly already come to their own conclusions (my daughter at 16).  I’ve always felt that one is more likely to catch more flies with sugar than actually kill with napalm.  Forgive the analogy, but I think you know what I mean, and if you don’t I’ll just put it out there.  I think you get a lot further with people when you speak to them with kindness and respect, and a willingness to listen without feeling that you have to make every point in your arsenal of knowledge.  Communication shouldn’t be a battle between people, but a sharing of ideas and viewpoints in which hopefully both people walk away thinking that just maybe they don’t have or know all the answers.  I’ve always thought that walking away from a conversation in which I’m left to dwell upon and question the things I think I know has always been good for me.  It made me think, and not just blindly accept what someone else says (even if I thought they knew more than me) it was still good to come to my own conclusions because it made me more certain in what I believed.  And to the chagrin of some people, there’s nothing wrong with having some confidence in yourself.   You do know that there is a difference between confidence and arrogance, don’t you?

Well, anyway, enough about me.  So what about what I’ve learned from the book of Philippians?  Let’s start with the basic idea that the book of Philippians has taught me more about a man, and how that man relates everything he knows to what he believes, and how that man lives his belief out in the daily living of his life.  That man is the Apostle Paul, and from him (whether you believe in God or the Bible or not) there is plenty to learn about life and how one should live.  More than one person has patterned their life by following his example, and have become highly successful because of it; not necessarily in achieving great wealth or fame (or what the world likes to view as success now) but more than successful just the same, and to be honest I would love to have his resume to present rather than my own feeble one.

Among a great many things I’ve learned from reading this book of the Bible and examining the life of this man, I’ve learned the following in no particular order.  First of all this man had a great memory.  I don’t mean a capacity for remembering facts and places though it’s certain he did, but rather that he had great memories of people who mattered to him, whom he loved and knew intimately, who he knew had helped him time and time again, and who had sacrificed (sometimes at great cost to themselves) for him.  A man who has those kinds of memories is never really alone or lonely.  Those kinds of memories stay with a person all their lives and bring joy even in the midst of trials and tribulations and grief.

And in that, there’s something else I’ve learned.  The Apostle Paul lived his life to the fullest in every imaginable, conceivable way, both in the good and the bad things he experienced.  I mean when you think of the range of his life from being blinded on the Damascus Road in his encounter with Jesus Christ to being stoned, whipped, and deserted at sea, I think it’s safe to say that the man lived a full life indeed, and to my amazement, did so joyfully.  Don’t you think that there’s something to be learned from a man like that?  If you’re not sure, I will give you an example of what kind of lesson this has for everyone, and it’s a lesson that sadly isn’t taught so much anymore, and it’s this.  A great memory of the important events in your life and the people who mattered most teaches you gratitude and gives you a feeling of thankfulness that never, and I mean never, goes away.  It’s a valuable thing to learn.

There’s more to come if you’re interested, so check back to see #2, and what else I may have picked up.  Who knows you might even enjoy it. 🙂

 

 

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“Faith’s Checkbook” by C. H. Spurgeon

“ Divine Recompense ”
– Pro_11:25

If I carefully consider others, God will consider me, and in some way or other He will recompense me. Let me consider the poor, and the LORD will consider me. Let me look after little children, and the LORD will treat me as His child. Let me feed His flock, and He will feed me. Let me water His garden, and He will make a watered garden of my soul. This is the LORD’s own promise; be it mine to fulfill the condition and then to expect its fulfillment.

I may care about myself till I grow morbid; I may watch over my own feelings till I feel nothing; and I may lament my own weakness till I grow almost too weak to lament. It will be far more profitable for me to become unselfish and out of love to my LORD Jesus begin to care for the souls of those around me. My tank is getting very low; no fresh rain comes to fill it; what shall l dot I will pull up the plug and let its contents run out to water the withering plants around me. What do I see? My cistern seems to fill as it flows. A secret spring is at work. While all was stagnant, the fresh spring was sealed; but as my stock Rows out to water others the LORD thinketh upon me. Hallelujah!

From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

“And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord.” Luke 22:61.

His Lord’s solemn prediction of his sin he seemed quite to have forgotten. But when that look met his eye, it summoned back to memory the faded recollections of the faithful and tender admonitions that had forewarned him of his fall. There is a tendency, in our fallen minds to forget our sinful departures from God. David’s threefold backsliding seemed to have been lost in deep oblivion, until the Lord sent His prophet to recall it to his memory. Christ will bring our forgotten departures to view, not to upbraid or to condemn, but to humble us, and to bring us afresh to the blood of sprinkling. The heart searching look from Christ turns over each leaf in the book of memory; and sins and follies, inconsistencies and departures, there inscribed, but long forgotten, are read and re-read, to the deep sin-loathing and self-abasement of our souls. Ah! let a look of forgiving love penetrate your soul, illuminating memory’s dark cell, and how many things, and circumstances, and steps in your past life will you recollect to your deepest humiliation before God. And oh! how much do we need thus to be reminded of our admonitions, our warnings, and our falls, that we may in all our future spirit and conduct “walk humbly with God.”

Something to Mediate On

“Christians must not lose sight of the truth that the eternal life we celebrate-the abundant life we have in Christ-comes at monumental cost. For us, the cross must be more than an ornament, symbol, or spire topping. It must serve as a constant reminder of the lengths to which God in Christ would go to save us. Such love and sheer grace deserve and demand our best in love, worship, and service.”

Taken from “Life Ventures, Bible Studies for Life, winter 2012-2013.)

We as Christians must never forget that our access to our Heavenly Father comes by way of His son, Jesus Christ, hanging on the cross, and shedding His blood for us.

Fear

Today as I was listening to David Jeremiah, I heard him say something that made me think, and reflect on, and I’m going to share it with you. “Fear is a form of idolatry.” When we fear the problem whatever it may be we’re saying that the problem is greater than God’s ability to handle it. What problems do you have that are greater than God’s ability to solve them? The way to deal with fear is found in worship and praise. When we recognize God for who He is, and acknowledge that all we experience and know is because of Him, we put our problems, our fears, where they belong…. In His hands.

If you’d like to know more you can click here http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/turning-point/listen/ and click on “When Fear Dominates You” under the month of November.

From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

“Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2 Timothy 1:9

THERE is an external and an internal call of the Spirit. The external call is thus alluded to: “I have called, and you refused;” “Many are called, but few are chosen.” This outward call of the Spirit is made in various ways. In the word, in the glorious proclamation of the gospel, through the providences of God-those of mercy and those of judgment-the warnings of ministers, the admonitions of friends, and, not less powerful, the awakening of the natural conscience. By these means does the Holy Spirit “call sinners to repentance.” In this sense, every man who hears the gospel, who is encircled with the means of grace, and who bears about with him a secret but ever-faithful monitor, is called by the Spirit. The existence of this call places the sinner in an attitude of fearful responsibility; and the rejection of this call exposes him to a still more fearful doom. God has never poured out His wrath upon man, without first extending the olive-branch of peace. Mercy has invariably preceded judgment. “I have called, and you have refused.” “All day long I have stretched forth my hands.” “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” He reasons, He argues, He expostulates with the sinner. “Come, let us reason together,” is His invitation. He instructs, and warns, and invites; He places before the mind the most solemn considerations, urged by duty and interest; He presses His own claims, and appeals to the individual interests of the soul; but all seems ineffectual. Oh, what a view does this give us of the patience of God toward the rebellious! That He should stretch out his hand to a sinner-that instead of wrath, there should be mercy-instead of cursing, there should be blessing-that, instead of instant punishment, there should be the patience and forbearance that invites, and allures, and reasons!”-Oh, who is a God like unto our God? “I have called, and you refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded.”

But there is the special, direct, and effectual call of the Spirit, in the elect of God, without which all other calling is in vain. God says, “I will put my Spirit within them.” Christ says, “The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.” And in the following passages reference is made to the effectual operation of God the Spirit. “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power.” “The word of God which effectually works in you that believe.” Thus, through the instrumentality of the truth, the Spirit is represented as effectually working in the soul. When He called before, there was no inward, supernatural, secret power accompanying the call to the conscience. Now there is an energy put forth with the call, which awakens the conscience, breaks the heart, convinces the judgment, opens the eye of the soul, and pours a new and an alarming sound upon the hitherto deaf ear. Mark the blessed effects. The scales fell from the eyes, the veil is torn from the mind, the deep fountains of evil in the heart are broken up, the sinner sees himself lost and undone-without pardon, without a righteousness, without acceptance, without a God, without a Savior, without a hope! Awful condition! “What shall I do to be saved?” is his cry: “I am a wretch undone! I look within me, all is dark and vile; I look around me, everything seems but the image of my woe; I look above me, I see only an angry God: whichever way I look, is hell!-and were God now to send me there, just and right would He be.” But, blessed be God, no poor soul that ever uttered such language, prompted by such feelings, ever died in despair. That faithful Spirit who begins the good work, effectually carries it on, and completes it. Presently He leads him to the cross of Jesus-unveils to his eye of glimmering faith a suffering, wounded, bleeding, dying Savior-and yet a Savior with outstretched arms! That Savior speaks-oh, did ever music sound so melodious?-“All this I do for you-this cross for you-these sufferings for you-this blood for you-these stretched-out arms for you. Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest-Him that comes to me, I will in no wise cast out-Look unto me, and be you saved-only believe. Are you lost? I can save you. Are you guilty? I can cleanse you. Are you poor? I can enrich you. Are you low sunk? I can raise you. Are you naked? I can clothe you. Have you nothing to bring with you-no price, no money, no goodness, no merit? I can and will take you to me, just as you are, poor, naked, penniless, worthless; for such I came to seek, such I came to call, for such I came to die.” “Lord, I believe,” exclaims the poor convinced soul, “Help You mine unbelief.” You are just the Savior that I want. I wanted one that could and would save me with all my vileness, with all my rags, with all my poverty-I wanted one that would save me fully, save me freely, save me as an act of mere unmerited, undeserved grace-I have found Him whom my soul loves-and will be His through time, and His through eternity.” Thus effectually does the blessed Spirit call a sinner, by His especial, direct, and supernatural power, out of darkness into marvelous light. “I will work,” says God, “and who shall let it?” (marg. turn it back.)