All of these devotionals are the result of my own personal reflection on God's word. If you find these devotionals helpful, please subscribe and share them! Thank you for reading!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Matthew 13:44

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field" 

The kingdom of God is worth more than all of your possessions but make no mistake, you cannot afford the kingdom of God. If the owner of that field knew just exactly what was in it, he would have never sold it.  God cannot be bought.  However, to all those who seek it with joy it is freely given  to them by the Father through the adoption afforded by the blood of the True Son, Jesus Christ.

You are a son of God if you are in Christ and a co-heir with Christ to the riches of the Kingdom.  The Kingdom of God is freely given to everyone who considers God their Father and loves, honors, and obeys him as a child would their parent.  God would never think to make his children earn his inheritance, but freely gives it.   Not only this, he purchased men and women by the blood of Jesus as sons and daughters just so more people can share in his inheritance.

We have a gracious, forgiving, and benevolent Father!  The entire world and everything in it belongs to Him;  it is his inheritance to pass on to his children.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mark 8:12

He sighed deeply and said, "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it."

There is such disappointment in Jesus's sigh.  Where there is no faith, there can be no miracles (Mark 6:5-6).  Why?  Because even if miracles, signs, and wonders were done, they would not be believed.

The LORD through the prophet of Habakkuk states, "Look at the nations and watch--and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." (Hab 1:5)  Miracles do not always lead to faith (John 12:37).  This is just as Isaiah said, "Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?" (Isa 53:1)  If the heart is skeptical to begin with, miracles, no matter how powerful, are explained away.

Counter intuitively, faith, no matter the amount, is required for miracles, not the other way around.  Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains (Mat 17:20).  If you cannot move mountains, it means your faith is not even as large as a mustard seed. Miracles only happen for the sake of those who will increase in faith because of them.  This is why miracles are prevalent in countries like China and Nigeria because they are more willing to believe than in skeptical "enlightened" nations like America, England, and Sweden.

It turns out the more skeptical we grow, the blinder we all become.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

John 10:10

"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

What is it to have life no less have life abundantly?  Are we not alive?  What exactly is Jesus doing?

It all may be simpler than you think.  To be alive is to have life in you but life as we know it is ephemeral.  It does not last. Though we are alive right now we may not be alive tomorrow.  In that sense, we are barely alive, kept tethered to this world and animated only by a thin thread.  Let's say the average lifespan is 80 years which is 5.81 x10^-9 (.00000000581) the age of the universe.  Put another way, if the age of the universe was condensed to a year, one life span would take 0.18 seconds (180 milliseconds) to complete (about time it takes to do a Google search and half the time it takes to blink your eyes once (300-400 milliseconds).  That's 5 generations per second with the human race appearing only in the last 12 and a half minutes.

So we are barely alive, containing only enough life to last a short while.   But if we have eternal life in us, then we are eternally alive.  And if that Eternal Life only exists in God, then only if God dwells within us can we live eternally.  And if Jesus is God who truly did rise from the dead, he must possess eternal life.  And if he dwells within us by faith, how much then will he have come so that we may have life and have it in abundance!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Romans 8:29

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

 All those whom the Father beckons to him are made and conformed into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.  We all were made to be perfect vessels of God, idols in which God dwells and images that reflect his glory.  (Gen 1:27) But just as a cracked pot cannot hold water, a sinful person cannot hold God.  That is why we are being formed and conformed to the image or likeness of the Son, the perfect human container of God, in order that we too might hold life and life in abundance. Without God, we are but empty shells.  We were made to hold Him.

 So how does one so large and so infinite as the Creator God fit inside a person?  The answer is simply that He does not, but rather he fills and overflows in you so that you may be poured out again and again and yet always being filled.  Our God is a never ending spring and whoever drinks of him shall never thirst again not because they will never again have need of water, but they will have water in abundance and will never go without.

There is not just a "God shaped void" in our lives, but our entire being is a void to be filled.  We were born with nothing and will leave with nothing because we were meant to hold eternity within us.  We were meant for God.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Those who have run the race before us, those great heroes of the faith we love and celebrate, look onward towards us at the finish line cheering us on. The call to run and endure is a call to discipline ourselves so that we may last the entire race.  Just as those who train for marathons train for months to condition their bodies, so to do we condition our spirits so that temptation and sin may not drag us down.

And Jesus is our coach who pushes us past what we thought were our limits and encourages us to grow at every step.  We may not always like his discipline, but it is for our good in order that we may share his holiness and produce the fruit of righteousness upon which our salvation depends.  Just as it is useless to have a personal trainer and listen to none of their advice or do anything they suggest, so too is a disobedient Christian stagnant in their own growth.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mark 10:21

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

This particular man had everything: money, power, fame, youth, and a morally upright lifestyle. And yet we still see him running to Jesus and falling on his knees with a question burning in his heart. "What must I do to inherit eternal life?"  It was an obvious question with an obvious answer:  obey the commandments, but all these things this man has done and still he feels empty.  "There must be more to life than this?"

And then, Jesus tells him what he wanted to hear, that indeed he has overlooked something, and that there was but one thing he lacked:  A personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  The command he gives here is to be taken together.  Charity and altruism is not enough:  he must follow Jesus, yet still he must give all that he has to truly follow.

All his life he kept the law and was left unfulfilled, and yet when the time came and the personal invite from Jesus Christ into a real relationship with the Divine Trinity was offered, the one and only thing which can fill that spiritual void, the man walked away back to his wealth which has left him so empty before, back to his life of longing for more.  In the end, even the man who has everything but has not Christ is left wanting more.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

1 Corinthians 13:13

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

There is a reason these three are kept close together.  Although the greatest of these three is love, love is nothing without faith and hope. God is love, of that there is no doubt, and like love there will be times when he is readily apparent and times when he is not so easily perceived yet nonetheless there.  So what is it during these dry times that perseveres love and sustains it through trials? It is the work of faith and hope together.

So many people believe that love will last, love is all they need, and love will keep us together.  Love is an emotional, spiritual, and physical bondedness to someone and like most bonds it can be broken.

Faith (i.e. trust) in God and in another is what allows love to take place.  Faith comes first and then love follows.  You cannot love someone you do not trust.  Hope, which stems from faith, is what keeps love alive even in the darkest times.  Without faith and hope, love cannot grow and God cannot be.  So the question to ask someone you want to marry isn't "Do I love you?" but rather "Will it last?"  It is God who joins two people together (God is love) and if your faith and hope are in Him, then let no man separate.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Jeremiah 18:6

"He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel."

Acknowledging that not all Israel is Israel (Rom 9:6) and that true Jews are not circumcised outwardly but inwardly of the heart (Deut 30:6; Rom 2:29).  A true Jew obeys the laws of his Lord so that both Jew and Gentile are united in faith and obedience to Jesus Christ.

And so we are clay in the Potter's hands.  If the pot shows imperfections in shape, it is undone and redone again and again until at last it holds the perfect shape to be able to perform the task for which the potter designates.  However, we are not pots.  When we are torn down because of sin it is painful.  If we continue in sin and are unrepentant, the clay is just throw out to be trampled because it has already hardened and can no longer be molded.  But if we repent and again seek the Lord, he will relent from destroying us and continue to mold and shape us until we are perfect, conformed to the likeness of God's Son. (Rom 8:29)

God has endeavors to create from the beginning of time men and women who would reflect his glory and seek his face.  Even to this day he is still creating them, male and female he is creating them.  Will you resist the potter's hand or be molded into glory?