Devotions

The Power of Pentecost

Today’s Verse: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. ~Acts 2:1 Today is celebrated on the Christian calendar as Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost was the harvest festival of the Jews. It was also known as the Feast of Weeks. It was a blessed time when the Jews celebrated God’s blessing on their harvest. All the Jews would come to Jerusalem to celebrate. Pentecost means “fiftieth day” and followed the Feast of Passover. It was on this day that the ministry of the Holy Spirit was inaugurated in the lives of every person who placed their faith in Christ for their salvation. There was the announcement. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy

It Can Be Done

Today’s Verse: And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? ~Judges 6:14 In third grade, I tried out for the 3rd-4th grade boys basketball team without knowing how to play basketball. I was very anxious and assumed I would be told that I didn’t qualify. “Coach Tony” took time that first day to give me an orientation on basketball basics and let me participate in the drills. His confidence in me encouraged me to work hard at the game and to stick it out. I’m glad he didn’t write me off as a loser. This morning, let us be encouraged in what God sees in us. We see Gideon’s perception. “And he said

God Our Captain

Today’s Verse: And, behold, God himself is with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the LORD God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper. ~2 Chronicles 13:12 When we think about military rank, a general is generally considered the highest-ranking officer. However, the classification of captain was revered and respected as high ranking in the Bible as well. A captain held rank as a leader and decision maker. He possessed great influence and led large numbers of men to battle. A captain was a soldier and warrior himself, but also carried a strategic role in planning and execution. Abijah said, “God hi

The Woman From Magdala

Today’s Verse: The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. ~John 20:1 In the old days, people sometimes were identified by the city of their birth. Mary Magdalene is one of these people. Her last name means she was born in Magdala. Her first name, Mary, was a common name among women. Mary represents someone who was very devoted to our Lord. We see Mary highlighted as being at the cross and the tomb of Jesus. We see Mary and her liberation. “And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils.” Before Mary became a b

Finished!

Today’s Verse: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. ~John 19:30 The word “finish” implies completion. To an artist, it means a painting is done. For a runner, “finish” implies he has completed the race. For students who have worked on a project, “finish” means the project is done and ready for submission. All that needs to be done has been done. Nothing more needs to be added to what has been done. Jesus said, “It is finished.” We see the device of the cross. “Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.” The cross was a barbaric device invented by the Assyria

Let Us Not Sleep

Today’s Verse: Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. ~1 Thessalonians 5:6 As a kid, I looked forward to sleeping in late on Saturday mornings and when there was no school. It was a contest among the boys I grew up with as to who slept in the latest. As I got into sixth grade, I realized that I needed to be disciplined in my sleeping habits in order to make the most out of my days. Our passage this morning is an exhortation about how we should live our lives knowing that Jesus is coming soon. We must be alert. “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” Sleep is a necessary part of good health. However, sleeping when we should

According to His Ability

Today’s Verse: Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: ~Acts 11:29 Americans gave almost $428 billion to charity in 2018. This group includes foundations and very wealthy individuals. When we look at giving to churches, the average Christian in America gives 2.5% of his income to his church. Only 10%-25% of regular attendees actually tithe 10%. These statistics are alarming and should cause all of us to carefully evaluate if our giving is according to God’s requirements. This morning, let us consider an inspirational example of giving according to one’s ability. We see a dearth. There was a great dearth in the

Of Barak

Today’s Verse: And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak…. ~Hebrews 11:32a The true story of Barak is in Judges 4 and 5. He is mentioned in Hebrews 11 regarding his faith. However, his faith was limited. He was willing to exercise faith as long as Deborah accompanied him to the battle. The requirement of faith is that we trust God completely. The responsibility of faith is that we are obedient. The reward of faith is that God diligently rewards us. God does not discount limited faith. However, limited faith means we miss out on maximizing the acknowledgement that God would like to give us when our faith is uninhibited. We see Barak and his calling.

The Mission of Excellence

Today’s Verse: Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. ~1 Thessalonians 4:1 Excellence is the highest standard of achievement and attainment. In the world of music, a virtuoso is such a musical expert that he is a standard of excellence. The best hospitals in medicine are referred to as “centers of excellence.” Corporations committed to providing the highest level of customer service are referred for their service excellence. Excellence is a mark. Excellence should also be a mission. Paul refers to the mission of excellence for every Christian. There i

A Door of Hope

Today’s Verse: And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. ~Hosea 2:15 Hope is the anticipation that something that will benefit us will occur. It is the thread that we hang from that keeps encouraged. It is the glimmer of light that says everything will work out. God told Israel that there was a door of hope for them. This means that even though they had been going through tough times, the door in front of them would open up opportunities of hope. This morning, there is a door of hope for all of us. We see the memory. The valley o

After This

Today’s Verse: And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: ~Hebrews 9:27 The words “after this” are used 53 times in the Bible. In general, it refers to a post event: the event immediately following one that just occurred. It gives us the idea of what is next, what to expect, and what will happen. As Christians, we should always be forward looking. We can, often times, only focus on the now and neglect to think about the next. Let us consider this morning: “after this.” We see the former. Life is a series of divine appointments. God appointed the day of our birth and, eventually, the day of our death. As Paul wrote Hebrews 9, he thought about the days he had liv

Birdie, Birdie in the Air

Today’s Verse: Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter. ~Ecclesiastes 10:20 Have you ever heard the idiom “the walls have ears”? This means people can hear what you say. When you think something is held in secret or won’t be disclosed, the likelihood is that it is not. Our devotion this morning is a warning to us against saying something out loud that we will soon after be sorry that we did not keep silent. We see the resentment. All criticism, cursing, and condemnatory speech has its origin in a spirit of resentment. In our text, there is a displeasure ag

No Roadblocks Allowed

Today’s Verse: Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? ~Acts 11:17 One of the most remarkable chapters in the Bible is Acts 10-11, when God sent Peter to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. This was a major paradigm shift in the expansion of the gospel. Until that time, the gospel was mainly being preached to a Jewish audience. With the gospel being preached to the Gentiles, it opened the door for it to be preached to every nation in the world. It is important for us to note Peter’s obedience to God every step of the way. Peter teaches us a critical lesson on not being a roadblock to the wor

A Good Man

Today’s Verse: For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. ~Acts 11:24 The phrase “good man” is used thirteen times in the Bible. There are only two men who were specifically described by others as “a good man”: Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok, and Barnabas. A good man has God’s favor on his life (Proverbs 12:2). A good man is selfless (Proverbs 14:14). Good men are a scarcity (Micah 7:2). A good man’s steps are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23). A good man leaves a legacy for his descendants. Let us see Barnabas, a good man. We see Barnabas and his essence. We read that he was a good man. First, he was a good man in name. His name means

When You're About to Explode

Today’s Verse: For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. ~1 Thessalonians 3:5 Have you had times in your life when your emotions were so bottled up within you that you felt like you were going to explode from within? Paul speaks twice of being no longer able to forbear. This means he couldn’t bear holding inside what was building up. He was alone at Athens and very burdened about the welfare of the new believers at the church at Thessalonica. He was concerned that Satan would use persecution to discourage the faith of these new believers. This morning, let us see how God works in thos

Preaching Jesus

Today’s Verse: The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) ~Acts 10:36 One of my favorite chapters of the Bible is Acts 10, which records how Peter, a Jew, was commissioned by God to go to a Gentile centurion named Cornelius. This incident opened the door for the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles. Cornelius needed God’s messenger to bring him, his family, and his friends a message that would be a major watermark for the gospel. In Acts 10:34-48, Peter gives us a biblical model for “preaching Jesus.” We preach Jesus and His deity. Preaching Jesus demands that we hold nothing back in letting people know that He is God. Peter pr

Grin and Bear It

Today’s Verse: If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences. ~Ecclesiastes 10:4 One of the greatest challenges in life is what to do when another person becomes angry with you. It is even more challenging when that person is someone in authority to whom you are in subjection. If we have been on the receiving end of verbal chastening and threats, our fleshly tendency is to leave and find “new pasture to graze in.” However, Solomon gives us a strong word of exhortation on how to deal with someone who is difficult to work for, report to, or live with. Let us see the exhortation to grin and bear it. We see the animosity. “If the spir

Working Wiser and Not Just Harder

Today’s Verse: If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. ~Ecclesiastes 10:10 We have an old English proverb that teaches us to “work smarter and not just harder.” An example of this is how we earn money. We know that having a secure job is essential to earning enough money to feed our families, pay our necessary bills, and save for the future. We refer to this as hard work. Smart work is learning to prudently invest by seizing buying opportunities and letting our money grow and work for us. Let us go beyond this in seeing the biblical importance of working wiser and not just harder. We see the type. Woodcutting w

Jesus Christ Maketh Thee Whole

Today’s Verse: And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. ~Acts 9:34 When I read through the Book of Acts, my heart is greatly stirred in seeing how souls are saved, churches are started, and lives are changed. The dynamic that is the difference maker is simply the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Peter told Aeneas, “Jesus Christ maketh thee whole.” When Jesus is allowed to work without any reservations or restrictions, everything can be changed. Let us see how the “the whole thing” is different when the power of Jesus is at work. We see the power of Jesus in a disciple. “And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout a

Soul Deep

Today’s Verse: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. ~1 Thessalonians 2:8 A little girl asked her father if he would buy her a large cotton candy to eat at the county fair. The cotton candy was almost half the size of his daughter. He said to her: “I don’t know. It looks too big for you to eat.” She replied: “Don’t worry, Daddy. I’m bigger on the inside than I am on the outside.” When Paul said that he imparted his soul to the believers at Thessalonica, he was telling them that his involvement in their lives was “soul deep.” There must be a largeness of heart within

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