Daily Devotional




Friday, September 30

Who do you say that I am?

 

Matthew 16:13-18

The question hung in the air like a thick morning fog. Imagine the complete silence and the small crowd around Jesus looking stupefied—too scared or uncertain to speak. They didn’t know what to say in response to the Lord’s question, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15).

Then, as though some invisible hand had flipped a switch, bringing him into perfect awareness, Simon Peter’s head shot up. He looked Jesus in the eye and declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). Peter got it right.

Calling Jesus “Christ” and “God’s Son” was a big deal in biblical times. Such a statement led to the death of many brave believers, as the Jewish and Roman authorities persecuted Christians who were willing to take a stand for their faith. Even those who walked side by side with Jesus and excitedly took part in His ministry would be taking a huge risk to call Him “Christ.” So they sometimes remained silent while continuing to work for the kingdom.

Isn’t it interesting that today’s church often has the opposite problem? Many people are quick to exclaim “Jesus is Lord!” but then fail to go about His work and ministry.

Is there a disparity between what you profess with your mouth and what you’re doing for the kingdom? Jesus calls us to be complete in testimony and in deed. If your confession is “Jesus is Lord,” then your life should reflect your bold stance. What can you do today to reveal your faith to others?


 

Thursday, September 29

The Value of Obedience

John 14:23

Despite his years of fishing experience, Peter returned from a night’s work with nothing to show for it. The Lord’s request to let the nets down one more time perhaps struck him as unreasonable—after all, Peter and his partners were the professionals. Nevertheless, he complied, and his obedience blessed many.

Scripture demonstrates that divine plans often defy human logic. For instance, who would design a battle strategy that involved only marching and shouting? God told Joshua to conquer Jericho that way, and doing so proved successful (Josh. 6:1-5).

Moses is another example. When he felt unsure about his leadership potential, the Lord gave reassurance in an unusual way—by telling him to throw down his walking stick. When Moses obeyed, God powerfully confirmed His choice of a leader (Ex. 4:1-3).

Our Father may ask us to do something that seems illogical—perhaps to accept more responsibility when we were hoping to reduce our workload, to leave a position that He provided just recently, or to take on an assignment for which we feel ill-equipped. His plan might feel unrealistic in view of our age, stage of life, or health concerns. We must press forward in obedience, regardless of how impractical the request may appear.

To grasp the importance of obeying, think about children receiving instructions from parents or teachers. Careful listening is needed for the task to be done safely and properly. Some steps may seem pointless, but the rationale often becomes clear later. Always make obeying God your priority.



Wednesday, September 28

Simple Acts of Obedience

Luke 5:1-7

Obeying God in small matters can bring blessing to many. Today’s passage illustrates this principle.

Simon Peter, a fisherman, had worked hard all night without catching anything. He was on the shore finishing his work when Jesus approached him. The Lord wanted to speak from the boat to the crowd on the beach. Despite a long, fruitless night of work, Peter agreed to take Jesus in the vessel. The crowd was blessed by listening to Christ.

God’s requests can come to us at unexpected moments. We may be tempted to let someone else respond to His call, thinking it will not matter who is the one to comply. But remember, His plans are designed for our benefit (Jer. 29:11).

Later Jesus made a second request to Peter—to move the boat into deeper water and let down the nets. The fisherman commented about the unlikelihood of catching anything but nevertheless did as Christ asked. Peter’s cooperation resulted in an abundance for the crowd, the other fishermen, their families, and himself.

Peter didn’t obey in order to be rewarded, yet that is precisely what happened. His simple acts of obedience led to greater opportunities for service and occasions for abundant blessing.

Some of us act as if obedience in the little things is unimportant. Peter’s story teaches us the opposite. Let’s commit to carrying out the Lord’s instructions in small matters as well as large ones, trusting that He will bring good from all obedience. Following God is always the right choice to make.

Tuesday, September 27

Using a Wrong Approach

Genesis 3:1-8

The Lord promises to supply our needs, but that means in His way and time frame. There might be temptations to take a wrong approach, so we must be careful not to push ahead of God or follow a route that leads away from Him.

Some people think their security rests in bank accounts, prestige, other people, or possessions. This can lead to becoming a workaholic who sacrifices relationships for financial gain. Or it could tempt someone to engage in unethical activities. In contrast, by basing our life on the security we have in Christ, we will have peace of mind and heart.

Another unhealthy way to meet our needs involves looking for companionship outside of God’s established boundaries. We may find temporary excitement in an inappropriate relationship, but in the end, that road brings pain and disappointment.

The enemy wants us to provide for ourselves in a way that is independent of God and out of line with His will. Satan deceived Adam and Eve by implying that the Lord was keeping some important information from them; he suggested that his course of action, not the Creator’s, would make them wise. The first man and woman exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and it cost them dearly. If we allow wrong thinking to direct our actions, we get ourselves into a lot of trouble, too.

It’s important to understand what we have received through our relationship with Jesus. Learning to depend on Him will help us avoid wrong approaches to getting what we need.


Monday, September 26

God Meets our Needs

Philippians 4:19

Our heavenly Father has promised to provide everything we need. Let’s consider some of the good gifts that are ours in Christ Jesus.

One universal human need is love. Through faith in Jesus, we’ve been adopted as the heavenly Father’s beloved children. But before this could take place, God’s justice had to be satisfied. You see, we were all born with a sinful nature that is bent away from the Lord. Because of the Father’s great love, He sent Jesus to take our place and experience judgment for our sin. Out of deep compassion for us, Jesus willingly suffered and died so we might become part of God’s family and experience His rich affection for us (John 3:16). Through our relationship with Him, this need for love is fully met.

In fact, by means of salvation, our Father also provided for two other basic needs—companionship and security. When we accept God’s offer of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, fulfilling Jesus’ promise never to leave us (Heb. 13:5). This new relationship is permanent. What Jesus accomplished on the cross was fully accepted by God as payment for our sin debt. Furthermore, Christ Himself promised that no one can ever snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28). Therefore, we can rest in the knowledge that we are God’s children forever. That is true security.

Our deep need for love, security, and companionship is satisfied in an intimate relationship with the Lord. Have you trusted Christ so you could be permanently adopted into God’s family?

 

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.

For more Biblical teachings from Dr. Charles Stanlely, visit www.intouch.org

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