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DAILY DEVOTIONAL

AM I TRULY MAKING A DFIFFERENCE

Have you ever had the thought, “What’s the point?” “What am I doing here?” “Is what I’m doing even making a difference?”

I have to imagine you said yes. Who hasn’t wrestled with those thoughts? We can look back in time and find such questions being asked over two thousand years ago because it’s part of being human.

What I mean is, in our humanity, we’ve been given the ability to choose our own course of action— our destiny. Yet you don’t have to look far to begin wondering about life, choices, destinies — before that random thought flits across your mind: What’s the point?

This is exactly what happened to Solomon. And his thoughts are recorded in the Book of Ecclesiastes. 

I remember the first time I read these passages and thought, poor guy, he sure had a bad attitude. But 30 years later, with a little more life under my belt, I read his words and could relate. 

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it arose. That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-5,9)

The word vanity here isn’t referring to excessive pride, but instead is a reference to things done in vain. Solomon is calling life trivial or pointless. He reached a point where neither his wisdom nor his wealth satisfied anymore. He walked about his gardens observing how trees grow, produce fruit, drop their fruit, and then do it all over again— year after year. And he began to observe this was true of humanity too— a cycle of repetition — and he asked himself, “What’s the point?”

I think his question is valid for the person without Christ. It is vanity to chase riches and fame (for no other purpose than to achieve riches and fame), for in the end, they bring no real satisfaction. A person is born, grows, hopefully does something good with their life, and then they die — this is the cycle of a godless life. And if that’s all there is, then I agree with Solomon: What’s the point?

But thankfully, I have found the reason for my existence— the purpose of it all. It is the story of Jesus. As He came to the earth to point us to the Father, so now our lives are purposed with the same task. But it’s not redundant or trivial or pointless. 

Jesus told Nicodemus that we must be born again (John 3:3). Nicodemus didn’t understand this concept until Jesus said,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

In other words, whoever puts their faith and trust in (clings to) Jesus doesn’t have to live a pointless, lost life. No, we understand now, there is more!

Eternal, everlasting life doesn’t start when we die. Eternal life starts the moment we give our hearts to Jesus. And this new, born again life has purpose. Despite the cycle of seasons and generations, our hearts look to the Creator of time and life, willingly laying aside everything else with the understanding that we are called to a greater purpose than just existing— we now carry a responsibility of bringing as many as possible with us into an eternal life — not just a life that cycles and ends.

Thankfully, Solomon discovered this same truth after all his wanderings: 

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

And this is both enough and satisfying.

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GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
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DAILY DEVOTIONAL

WHEN LIFE GETS TOUGH

Then, Jesus. He put Psalm 118 in my lap to remind me that this day, and these weeks of feeling depleted were crafted by his own hand. He restored my heart to remember that when we have Jesus, we have everything!!!

As I’ve watched those around me struggle in these times, I’ve wondered what to do. Now I see that the best gift I can offer is audacious joy. If we hold on to gratitude and delight in Jesus through whatever comes our way, they can discover joy in him as well. Gladness in Christ can infuse our home and those around us. Its light will chase our doubts and fears right out the door.

In rejoicing, we heal. We hope. We carry on with strength and courage through it all.

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GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
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GOD'S PLAN FOR YOU

WITH MY EYES I’VE SEEN THE GLORY

A few years ago I took a hike with some friends up into The Smoky Mountains on a Saturday afternoon, to a lake in the mountains The weather forecast was iffy, but it turned out to be mostly sunny as we were hiking in and while we ate our lunch by the lake. But as we finished eating, the clouds were rolling in, down the cliff on the other side of the lake, and enveloping us in fog.

We hoped and prayed the fog/clouds would clear, and we resumed our hike, which would take us in a wide circle around the lake basin and up above the cliff side to a lookout area where, on a clear day, you have an incredible view for many miles. The clouds partly cleared by the time we got there, and we had a pretty majestic vista. We were able to see most of the mountain as the sun came out again. Then we started back down, praising God for the wonderful treat we had seen. Little did we know that a much greater gift was in store.

Several of us decided to go back the way we had come, as the brushy area ahead was wet. The children with us scampered on ahead, and soon called the adults over to the cliff area where they were, to see the rainbow they were looking at.

What we saw was no ordinary rainbow, which would have filled a major section of the sky. Rather, we saw a miniature rainbow, appearing to be maybe 6-10 feet across, nearly full circle, with a bright glow on the inside of it. In the center was our shadow, with each person seeing his or her own shadow in the very center, and the others’ shadows around that. It was slack-jaw awe-inspiring, unlike anything any of us had seen in our lives. With the late sun at our backs, the “rainbow” would fade in and out as the fog came and went over the lake. We watched for several minutes until the fog seemed to be clearing for good, and we thanked the Lord for the glorious spectacle, far better even than the beautiful view we had seen of The Smokies. My friend, took some pictures of the by-then-fading scene, but they don’t do it justice.

We did some net research and found that these phenomena are called “glories.” It’s possible you have seen them from an airplane, looking down on the clouds, if the sun is just right. I’ve seen that, but this was more spectacular. In fact, we have concluded that it was a type of glory called the “Brocken Spectre,” once believed to be seen only from the rim of the Haleakala Crater on Maui, and from Brocken in the Harz mountains of Germany. It still gives me chills to think about it, and I’m sure I will never forget that moment.

It seemed as if God was trying to tell us that, despite the horrible things we often encounter on this earth, the glory that is in store for us will surpass anything we have ever known here. In trying to describe God, Isaiah wrote that no eye has seen nor ear heard anything like our God. The apostle Paul quotes that in 1 Corinthians 2:9 and applies it to the glories that await us.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

And in 2 Corinthians 3:11, he says,

“So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!”

It truly was an awesome day and reminded us of the amazingly glorious things that God has planned for us — things we can only dimly imagine now. I long for the day when Christ will come and make all things glorious!

KEEP LOOKING TO JESUS!!!
GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
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DAILY DEVOTIONAL

BE ENCOURAGED

THE LORD JESUS IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND FOREVER!!!
“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” PHILIPPIANS 2:1-2
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GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
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GOD'S PLAN FOR YOU

WE ARE BEING WATCHED

What message are we as Christ-followers actually airing to the world through our interactions? Are we salt or just salty? I’m speaking to myself.

Let me be transparent here. I co-lead a worldwide evangelism and discipleship ministry. Last week, I responded to one of my co-leaders on a string of email messages regarding an upcoming event. Prior to this, impatience had wormed its way into my heart regarding a totally unrelated incident and an unrelated set of people; but instead of dealing with my impatience and letting that die away, this ugly attitude sponsored my reply to my co-leader. As I pressed the send button, my spirit fell into complete unrest. The message was fine; my tone behind it stunk. Holy Spirit started nudging me with conviction, You wrote that without Me. We need to make things right so the enemy doesn’t have a foothold.

You know how God works. It just so happened that I had been reading the book of Matthew. The Word from my morning quiet time came alive in me.

Jesus said, “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God,” (Matthew 5:23-24)

Later that night, while trying in vain to enjoy a personal time of communion with the Lord, my unrest increased. Go to this friend and make things right. Even if my co-worker didn’t detect the saltiness behind the mask of my well-written “sweetly corrective” email, I needed to make amends. The next morning, I asked his forgiveness in a private text and then made it official in person. 

God is more interested in how we amend our relationships within the church than He is with our nicest offerings. Amending a broken relationship in the Body is keeping His family together. Do we care enough about the interests of our blood-shedding Savior to take action?

Hypocrisy is leaving a trail of broken, unamended relationships, and then cheerfully dropping a generous offering in the plate to the Lord. Relationships are hard enough without adding the pretense element, so why would anyone in the world want to be a part of something so superficial? This might even fit into one of the six things God hates:

“… there are six things the Eternal hates … anyone who stirs up trouble among the faithful,” (Proverbs 6:16,19)

What is the proof that God’s heart is active in us? As soon as we remember that our brother or sister has an issue with us, we leave our gift before the altar and hurry to go make amends. That’s love. And agape love among brethren is what will turn our world upside down.

Did the name of anyone who is at odds with you come to mind as you read this? 

Is Holy Spirit prompting you to hurry and make things right? 

Don’t delay. Blessed are the peacemakers.

Let’s do our part to dwell in peace with our fellow Christians and keep our Heavenly Father’s beloved family together.

Precious Lord, make our hearts so sensitive to Your desires and loving toward our brothers and sisters that we feel burdened to make things right between us. In Jesus’s name, give us Your love for Your Family—our family.

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GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
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GOD'S PLAN FOR YOU

GOD’S PROMISES FOR YOU

To say that 2020 has been a challenging year would be an understatement. But we are echoing Paul’s prayer for the Christians at Ephesus. That you would be “rooted and established in love,” and that you would “have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:17–18). 

Did you know that there are special promises that apply to everyone who follows Jesus? It’s true! 

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GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
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DAILY DEVOTIONAL

THE LORD IS FAITHFUL

THE LORD IS FAITHFUL AT ALL TIMES IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES!!!

“Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.” ISAIAH 46:4

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GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
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DAILY DEVOTIONAL

THE LORD LEADS

THE LORD WILL LEAD, GUIDE, AND PROVIDE FOR ALL WHO WILL FOLLOW IN FAITH!!! “Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” PSALM 143:10 KEEP LOOKING TO JESUS!!!

GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
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DAILY DEVOTIONAL

FOLLOW JESUS IN FAITH

THE LORD LEADS, GUIDES, PROVIDES: FOLLOW HIM IN FAITH TO ETERNAL LIFE!!!
“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.” ISAIAH 48:17
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GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
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DAILY DEVOTIONAL

DRAW NEAR TO THE LORD

DRAW NEAR TO THE LORD IN INTIMATE PERSONAL FELLOWSHIP BY GOD’S WORD THE HOLY BIBLE AND PRAYER!!!

“The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O Lord; Teach me Your statutes.” PSALM 119:64
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GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE