Archive for February, 2013

Great Joy In Salvation

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. – Isaiah 61:10

Many outside the Christian faith think of it as just being another belief system. They put it in the category or “religion” and equate it to Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, or any of the other religions of the world; but those of us whose faith has led us to experience Christ in a very real manner know the joy of his presence and the delight of dwelling in his house.

Peter, in his letter to the church wrote, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 2:8). Just like the old hymn says, “It is joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

I had talked with mark at work about the Lord and he was interested. After work we met in a nearby restaurant and I shared the plan of salvation with him. In just a few minutes he was ready to pray. We went out to my car and sitting in the front seat we prayed the sinner’s prayer together. When we had finished praying he opened his eyes and said, “Wow, I feel different.” He was forever changed by the grace of God.

It’s just as simple as that. When we call on the name of the Lord he hears us, forgives our sins, restores hope and places his joy in our heart. Peter calls our relationship with Christ, “inexpressible and glorious joy.” Shout to heaven – you’re redeemed and filled with his joy!

Prayer: I thank you Lord for allowing me to know the Christ and the power of his salvation. I thank you for the inexpressible, glorious joy that comes from knowing him. In Jesus name, amen.

Reflection: How does Christianity compare to other religions like Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam? What does faith in Christ mean to you personally?

PS: What thoughts did this devotion bring to your mind? I would very much enjoy reading your comments. Please let us know what you are thinking – write your comment in the comments box. As our way of saying “Thank You” this month we are giving a free book to those who make a comment. CLICK HERE TO LEAVE A COMMENT

We are offering the book, “Hope and Promises From the Word of God” to those who submit a comment. You will enjoy this book that has blessed many to continue their journey of faith.CLICK HERE TO LEAVE A COMMENT

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of February? Find out how CLICK HERE

Please check out our new website at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com

Joy In Enduring Hardship With Hope

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
– Hebrews 12:2

This passage gives us a look at another side of joy. The writer tells us that Jesus knew the shame of hanging on a tree, and he knew the pain the entire event would cause him. He also knew that it would culminate in his death.
What is remarkable is that Jesus could look past the excruciating pain of the cross and the terrible emptiness of being rejected by those he had come to save. Looking past the suffering and death he saw the empty tomb and changed lives that would result from his sacrifice and that gave him joy.

The writer tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” He is saying that he is our example. We are to endure whatever hardship or persecution that comes our way; and because we know the victories which lie ahead we can endure these hardships with joy.

An example of this is in Acts chapter 16. Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten and thrown into a cell. But, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (verse 25). Can you see the picture? They were beaten severely and probably had open cuts on their backs, yet, they were singing praises and worshipping their Lord.

The book of James gives an interesting perspective on having joy in persecution. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (1:2). When our eyes are fixed on Jesus, even persecutions do not keep us from the joy we know lies before us.

Prayer: Help me to look beyond any hardships I encounter and see the victories that lay ahead. Give me the grace of joy to endure whatever comes my way knowing that in the end we win. In Jesus name, amen.

PS: What thoughts did this devotion bring to your mind? I would very much enjoy reading your comments. Please let us know what you are thinking – write your comment in the comments box. As our way of saying “Thank You” this month we are giving a free book to those who make a comment. JUST CLICK HERE TO MAKE A COMMENT

We are offering the book, “Hope and Promises From the Word of God” to those who submit a comment. You will enjoy this book that has blessed many to continue their journey of faith. To leave a comment JUST CLICK HERE

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of February? Find out how CLICK HERE

Please check out our new website at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com

Ransomed Of The Lord Return With Joy

The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. – Isaiah 51:11

Isaiah prophesied many things to come for Judah and Jerusalem. He wrote his prophesies more than 100 years before they began to come to pass. This passage concerns a time far into the future when the “Arm of the Lord” (v9) would bring restoration to Jerusalem and the people.

He jumps over the time of sorrow that was ahead and goes to the time of being redeemed. Our verse for today speaks of those who would be ransomed and return to the city of God, Zion. When that time comes they will be crowned with everlasting joy.

Some see this passage applying to Judah of that time. Others see it applying to the return of Christ and the eternal kingdom. Still others see it as applying to the church. There are applications for all three of these views, but as applies to us today, we can see the Lord reaching into the world and redeeming men and women by the blood of the lamb.

All of us were in bondage to sin and separated from the joy of the Lord. We were in need of someone who would ransom us from the terrible place that sin had taken us to. Then he, by the gracious act of sending Christ to the earth and ultimately to his death, made opportunity for us to be redeemed – ransomed by the blood of Christ. Yes, it is with Joy that we draw water from the wells of salvation.

We are overtaken with gladness and joy – sorrow and sighing have left us as we rejoice in the great gift of salvation. Hallelujah!

Prayer: I thank you Lord for the price you paid to ransom me from the bondage of sin. Grant me the ability to honor your gift and live faithful to your calling. In Jesus name, amen.

PS: What thoughts did this devotion bring to your mind? I would very much enjoy reading your comments. Please let us know what you are thinking – write your comment in the comments box. As our way of saying “Thank You” this month we are giving a free book to those who make a comment. JUST CLICK HERE

We are offering the book, “Hope and Promises From the Word of God” to those who submit a comment. You will enjoy this book that has blessed many to continue their journey of faith. To leave a comment JUST CLICK HERE OR click on the “leave a comment” link just under the title at the top of this post.

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of February? Find out how CLICK HERE

Please check out our new website at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com

Joy And Generosity In Extreme Poverty

And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. – 2 Corinthians 8:1-2

Not only were the Macedonian churches experiencing extreme trial and persecution, they were also experiencing extreme poverty. Yet, in the midst of this great hardship they were giving offerings to others who were in need. What a tremendous spirit these people had.

Read how Paul elaborates on their generosity: “I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints” (v3-4). Even in their poverty they begged for the privilege to give more.

How could they be such givers when their own need was so great? Paul explains that in the next verse: “They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will” (v5). You can always tell the folks who haven’t fully given themselves to the Lord. They give little and have no joy in what they do give.

You can also tell those who do give themselves fully to the Lord. They give much, and often, like the widow who gave only a penny, they give their all. Instead of being sad and downcast over what they don’t have they rejoice over what they were able to give.

There is a lesson here for all of us. Let us first give ourselves to the Lord, then to those who serve him well, and finally to those who are in great need. Don’t look for financial reward from giving your best, but you can expect that your joy will be overflowing. You may even receive a financial blessing from giving, but whether that comes or not our joy should come from seeing others blessed, not in anticipating a reward.

Prayer: Lord, grant me a heart to give. Not to just give from my abundance but to give even when I am in need. Give me the joy of giving myself fully to you so that your kingdom will be blessed.

PS: What thoughts did this devotion bring to your mind? I would very much enjoy reading your comments. Please let us know what you are thinking – write your comment in the comments box. As our way of Hope and Promises Coversaying “Thank You” this month we are giving a free book to those who make a comment.

We are offering the book, “Hope and Promises From the Word of God” to those who submit a comment. You will enjoy this book that has blessed many to continue their journey of faith.

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of February? Find out how CLICK HERE

Please check out our new website at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com

The Humble And Needy Shall Increase Their Joy

In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. – Isaiah 29:18-19

There are two kinds of needy people. There is the “I need, I want” folks who are constantly wanting someone else to take responsibility for their lives; these people are never satisfied because they will always have a hand out and a mind-set that says, “I need, I want.” The other kind of needy person is the humble needy; these people are trying their best but the circumstances they have to live with keep them from progressing. It is these folks that this passage is promising joy.

We have done some missionary work in Haiti and there are millions of humble needy people in that country. In a pastors seminar there a few years ago Brother Martinez gave this testimony; “In my area there is much sickness, but God heals; In my area there is little food, but God provides.” You should have seen the joy of the Lord that was on this pastor who had walked 9 hours, barefoot, to the pastors meeting. He had shoes, but he didn’t want to put them on until he got there because he just had one pair and he wanted them to last. This man has joy.

A couple of years ago we helped a homeless couple by letting them come live with us for a time. They were the best house guests we’ve ever had. If I left the house for a while the whole house would be clean when I got home. He would mow the grass and pull the weeds. In just a couple of months they got their ownplace. They have a number of difficulties and never have much money, but they live with the attitude that God has been good to them and they are going to make it.

Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace to trust you, even in difficult circumstances. I don’t want to be a “I want, I need” person. I want to be one who endures hardship rejoices in all things at all times.

PS: What thoughts did this devotion bring to your mind? I would very much enjoy reading your comments. Please let us know what you are thinking – write your comment in the comments box. As our way of Hope and Promises Coversaying “Thank You” this month we are giving a free book to those who make a comment.

We are offering the book, “Hope and Promises From the Word of God” to those who submit a comment. You will enjoy this book that has blessed many to continue their journey of faith.

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of February? Find out how CLICK HERE

Please check out our new website at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com

Sacrifice For The Joy Of Another

I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. – Philippians 1:19-26

Paul is speaking here of a dilemma that many of us have faced. He felt a longing to be free of this body and to be in the presence of the Lord. He was tired of the chains and imprisonment. He longed to be housed in his eternal body, but, he would forgo that for awhile for the sake of others.

I have struggled with what some would call a life threatening disease, and there have times that I have prayed, “Lord, I’m ready to go if you are ready to take me.” Then I see the need of my wife and family as well as the people that I minister to and I have to say as Paul, “I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith.”

Paul had learned the principle of investing in the lives of others. We must come to the place that we are willing to surrender the things that make us comfortable so that the ones God has given us to nurture and mature in the faith can have the same joy that God has given us. God is calling us to sacrifice our own comfort for the joy of others.

When we willingly make that sacrifice then it becomes no sacrifice at all. In verse 18 of this passage Paul writes, “The important thing is that in every way, …Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” A strange thing happens in Paul as he commits himself to continuing in this life, even in chains, for the sake of others: Paul has occasion to rejoice that Christ is preached. Joy comes when we are more concerned about others than we are about ourselves.

Prayer: Lord, give me a willing heart to serve, even to the point of sacrifice. Help me to see the needs of others above my own desires and to rejoice when others have abundant joy in Christ. In Jesus name, amen.

PS: What thoughts did this devotion bring to your mind? I would very much enjoy reading your comments. Please let us know what you are thinking – write your comment in the comments box. As our way of Hope and Promises Coversaying “Thank You” this month we are giving a free book to those who make a comment.

We are offering the book, “Hope and Promises From the Word of God” to those who submit a comment. You will enjoy this book that has blessed many to continue their journey of faith.

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of February? Find out how CLICK HERE

Please check out our new website at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com

Joyful Is The Nation Whose God Is The Lord

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind… The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him , on those whose hope is in his unfailing love to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. – Psalm 33:12-19

The nation that trusts in the Lord is a blessed nation. The Hebrew word for blessed is esher. It means happy, or joyful. The nation that trusts in the Lord will have lasting peace and contentment. They will be happy or joyful.
The United States has been blessed for these few centuries because it was founded on a faith in the Lord God and principles of life found in his word. When the original 13 colonies of America made their declaration of independence from British rule they agreed upon a document that was signed by all of the representatives. We call that document the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence begins, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Just as with Israel, God heard the cry of the people who were laboring under a government that did not treat them fairly, and he gave that people freedom from their oppressor.
Unfortunately, America has followed Israel in that as a nation we have not remained faithful to the God who gave us the liberty we cherish. And, just like Israel, if the leaders, and the people of America, will repent of their sins, turning back to the God our fathers, God will Bless us and he will restore what the enemy of our souls has stolen from us.
If we, as a nation, repent, he will restore us.

Prayer: Lord, I have recognized that our nation is moving off of the foundation it was built upon. Move our leaders to trust you once again. In Jesus name, amen.

PS: What thoughts did this devotion bring to your mind? I would very much enjoy reading your comments. Please let us know what you are thinking – write your comment in the comments box. As our way of Hope and Promises Coversaying “Thank You” this month we are giving a free book to those who make a comment.

We are offering the book, “Hope and Promises From the Word of God” to those who submit a comment. You will enjoy this book that has blessed many to continue their journey of faith.

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of February? Find out how CLICK HERE

Please check out our new website at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com