Daily Devotions

The Doctor's Help - July 6 

Yesterday was a difficult day for me (Joan).  I suffered with a migraine and had to go to the doctor to get a shot to ease the pain.  This makes me think of how we are sometimes like this with our heavenly Father; we coast along doing just fine until we cannot handle our situation without His help. 

 As Christ followers, God is our expert.  We can call upon Him at any time to help us.  He even sends physical helpers to aid us.  In my case yesterday, it was my wonderful and patient husband, Brad.  Although he couldn't take away the pain, he took me to the doctor because he trusted the doctor to help me. 

Sometimes we need others to us get to The Doctor, our heavenly father.  As a country, we need God because we cannot fix our problems without Him.  He has given us the prescription:  to humble ourselves, pray, and turn away from wickedness.  And His medicine:  He will hear us, forgive and heal us. 

Prayer:  We humble ourselves before You and turn away from the wickedness in our lives.  We thank You for hearing our cry, forgiving us and healing us.  We pray for our country, that our leaders will seek You in the decisions that they make.  Thank You for loving us.  Please help us to be a shining beacon that reflects Your love. Amen 

Fireworks and Family - July 5 

 

 

Click on scripture to view Heal Our Land lyric video 

After the fireworks have dazzled us and the last hot dog has been eaten, we can sit back and reflect on our blessings as a nation. 

We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  As Christ's followers, we know that freedom is not free.  Christ shed His precious blood for us so that we can be called children of God.  What an awesome privilege it is to be adopted into His family! 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are in a battle for our nation, and we need to be brave and have courage to take a stand.  But we have a secret weapon:  Prayer.  Remember that our Father in Heaven hears us when we pray because we are members of His family.  Please take heart and pray for our country today. 

Prayer:  Father, we humbly come before You and express our deepest appreciation to You for saving us and adopting us into Your family.  Forgive us of our sins and give us the courage to stand and represent You in such a way that honors You.  Amen.

Heal Our Land - July 4 

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV) 

Today we celebrate July 4th, Independence Day.  It is a day for Americans to have picnics, parades, cookouts, etc.  This morning we witnessed a tradition in the town where we live - the July 4th parade.  There were cars and golf carts decked out in red, white and blue.  Local businesses and school children were marching in the parade showing off their patriotic spirit.  The whole event made us feel "Proud to be Americans!" 

We are truly blessed to live in a country where freedom is available.  Many soldiers have died to keep us a free nation.  That is why it is so important that we, as Christ followers, continue to pray for our nation.  God says in His word, "If MY people who are called by MY name..."  We are the church and we are His people!  We have a responsibility to pray and turn from wickedness.  God promises that when we do this, He will forgive our sin and heal our land. 

On this special day, take time to enjoy being an American.  Even more so, take time to pray for America because our land truly needs to be healed in many areas. 

Prayer:  Lord, hear our cry.  Heal our land.  Forgive us of our sin.  Make us one.  Your will be done.  Revive us once again.  Lord, we cry out to You.  Stir our hearts anew.  Nothing left to do, but to humbly come before Your throne and to offer praise to You alone.  Lord, heal our land.

Humble Ourselves - July 3 

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV) 

Click on the picture to view Heal Our Land lyric video 

What does it mean when God tells us to humble ourselves?  The opposite of humility is pride.  When we let ourselves get bogged down in pride, we tend to turn our ears away from the Lord.  That is a dangerous place to be because we become focused on our desires and ourselves.  Nothing and no one is more important to us.  A prideful person has the characteristics of self-centeredness and arrogance.  Do you know anyone like this?  Is it you?  Is it I? 

God does not require that we humble ourselves because He is an egotistical taskmaster who seeks glory for Himself.  God requires us to humble ourselves so that we can relinquish our pride in order to filled with His Spirit.  After all, didn't Jesus Christ himself become humble?  Why?  Because He loved us and knew that without Him we wouldn't be able to experience His amazing love. 

So, when we see God as the giver and sustainer of everything, and we see ourselves as sinful and in need of His presence, we can humble ourselves and put our trust completely in Him.  In putting our trust in Him we can give Him all the glory. 

Scriptures: 

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men... (Philippians 2:3-11 ESV) 

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6 ESV) 

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12 ESV)

Stay Connected to God - July 2 

Click on the scripture to view Be Exalted lyric video

We were at a local shop today and I noticed a couple across the room.  It was a husband and wife and they were having a drink to cool off.  Both were sitting at the table able to look across at each other, but they weren't.  Both of them were on their cell phones doing who knows what.  The whole time they were there, not a word was exchanged between them.  What does this have to do with today's devotion?  Disconnect.  They were in each other's presence, but they were disconnected from each other. 

I wonder had they not had their cell phones, if it had been different between them.  Our Lord, the Creator of the universe is always with us.  He promised He would never leave or forsake us. 

I wonder how He feels when we are not communicating with Him - sharing our dreams, giving our praise, or speaking words of love to Him.  Even more so, when we are not listening to His voice when He is trying to speak to us.  Communication is a two-way street. 

Let's put down our cell phones, or whatever it is that distracts us from the Lord. Let us sit at His feet and communicate with our Savior. 

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10:31) 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16) 

To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12) 

Prayer:  Lord, You are a gracious and merciful God.  Forgive us when we choose to turn our ears from Your voice.  Help us to choose always to listen and commune with You.

What's in a Name? - July 1 

Click on the scripture to view the Be Exalted lyric video 

What is in a name?  A name identifies who you are, and in many cases, what you do.  My name is Joan, but there is more.   I have a middle name and a last name.   I am also known as a daughter, sister, mother, teacher, wife, singer, worshipper, etc.   I have many names that describe who I am. 

God is a God of many names.  Why is it necessary for us to recognize the importance of His names?  Because there is so much to learn about Him.  Also, God is able to relate to His people in a number of different ways because each of His names brings a deeper meaning of who He is.  There are so many facets of God.  We cannot begin to fathom His ways.  He is a gracious God who gives us the opportunity to learn more about Him and know Him.  He does it just because He loves us! 

Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.(1 Chronicles 16:8) 

And it shall be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. (Acts 2:21) 

Prayer for today:  LORD, we praise You for who You are.  You're God of the universe, Creator of our hearts, the Great I Am, The Everlasting God, Lion of Judah, The Holy One.  And we offer to You alone, our Highest Praise.  For no one else on the earth or in heaven compares to You!  Be exalted, O God!  We call upon Your Holy Name.  Reveal Yourself to us so that we can know you better.  Amen.

Be Exalted, O God - June 30 

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! (Psalm 108:5) 

Click on picture to view Be Exalted lyric video 

What does exalted mean? The dictionary has a number of definitions.  Two definitions are:   (1) "to elevate by praise or in estimation:  Glorify; and (2) "to lift up."  Why is it necessary to lift up the God of the universe?  It is to realize that He is truly God, and we are not! 

Let's face it.  We like to feel important.  Sometimes a bit of pride can invade our thoughts and we are tempted to think more highly of ourselves than we should.  And this is when we get into trouble.  God did not design us to be for ourselves.  He created us for Him, to have a relationship with the Creator.  So we exalt or lift Him up, so that we keep our lives in perspective.  As His children, let's live our lives in such a way that He is honored! 

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations” (Ps. 46:10). 

Exalt the LORD our God! Bow low before his feet, for he is holy! (Psalm 99:5) 

Prayer for today:  Lord, we cry out to You, the One True God.  Hear our prayer.  And we lay our crowns down at Your Holy throne.  We honor You.  And we offer to You alone our Highest Praise.  For no one else on the earth or in heaven compares to You.  Be exalted, O God!

Transformation - June 29 

 

Click on the picture to view the Glory to Glory lyric video 

What gives your heart delight?  Joan loves butterflies!  There is something so special about seeing the transformation in the life cycle of the butterfly.  God in His wisdom has given us tangible examples of how our lives can be changed by becoming believers in Jesus Christ.  As we become more like Christ we go through stages much like the butterfly:  from egg, to caterpillar, to cocoon and then finally, to butterfly. 

In the egg stage, we are completely vulnerable (like a baby) constantly relying on the nurture and protection of our Lord.  In the caterpillar stage, we are a little stronger and continually feast on the word of God to nourish and sustain us.  In the cocoon stage, we are waiting patiently and resting in His promises.  Lastly, we burst out of the cocoon, with difficulty and perseverance out into the sunlight and spread our beautiful wings to soar with Him to do the work He has for us to accomplish. 

Did you know there are over 28,000 species of butterflies?  Doesn't it make sense that the God who has created so many different types of butterflies, would take pleasure in the uniqueness of who you are? 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2) 

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. (2 Thessalonians 3:5) 

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. (1 Corinthians 1:10) 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Change Me - June 28 

2 Corinthians 3:18  (NKJV) 

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as [a]by the Spirit of the Lord. 

Click on picture to view Glory to Glory lyric video

As we are writing this devotion, the song Change My Heart, O God comes to mind.  God is indeed the potter and we are the clay.  So why does change cause us to be anxious?  Change is a guaranteed part of life.  It's the feeling of loss of control.  Control is a false sense of security.  Each day we plan the agenda of events as if we have control over time.  The fact of the matter is that something can happen in an instant that bypasses all the plans.  There is nothing wrong in planning to prepare for our future, but we should always treat each day as a gift form God and have a clear conscience at the end of the day. 

Why do we want God to change us?  If we belong to Him, we know how desperately wicked our hearts are without Him.  When you love someone, you want to do everything to please them.  In the life of a believer, it is to have a pure heart because we want to give Him true worship.  If we trust in God and allow the change to grow us to become more like Jesus Christ in how we respond and act, then we are promised that all things will work together for good for those who love Him and keep His commandments!  We are indeed blessed, but more importantly, we become a blessing to others by shining His light ever so brightly. 

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) 

"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  (Ezekiel 36:26) 

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.  (Psalm 51:10) 

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  (Hebrews 10:22)

Glory to Glory - June 27 

2 Corinthians 3:18 New King James Version (NKJV) 

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as [a]by the Spirit of the Lord. 

This scripture has a very special meaning to us.  Out of it came a song that was written to highlight the importance of how God transforms us into His image.  Our song Glory to Glory was actually played on our wedding day as we exchanged vows in the middle of the York River.  Well, we were actually in a schooner, the Alliance (not quite walking on water yet).  The song and scripture are about change and transformation.  As a new couple coming together in marriage, we would change from being two individuals, to becoming one as man and wife.  We are becoming transformed each day as we allow God to make the changes in us as we continue to grow as a couple. 

As believers, we are always running toward the goal of being transformed into the image of God.  As we change to become more like Him, our walk with the Lord deepens.  Even better, others see the change as well and are drawn to the Lord in us because we are being changed into His image:  They don't see us, but they see Him in us. 

One thing to keep in mind is that we don't do the changing or transforming.  It is the supernatural power of a loving God who loves us where are, but loves us too much to let us stay there.  Our part is to surrender to His work. What a privilege it is to know that the Creator of the universe loves us so much that He, by His Spirit, is transforming us into the image of his own Son! 

So the next time you look in the mirror, know that the image you see is Christ in you. 

"Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1) 

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 

and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8: 16-17) 

When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:4) 

"The glory which You have given me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as we are one; (John 17:22)