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Daily Devotion

Discussion in 'Off topics' started by boldstardex, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. boldstardex

    boldstardex Moderator

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    "And when (the Holy Spirit) comes, He will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment." - John 16:8

    THE HOLY SPIRIT – PART 3
    January 25, 2018

    Let’s face it, no matter how hard we try, all of us will rationalize all sorts of evil plans. As my dad has said many times, “For many people today, there is no such thing as sin, everything is explainable.” The Holy Spirit cuts right through this nonsense.

    The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to convict us of sin. When we are not in close relationship with God, the Holy Spirit uses the sharing or preaching of the Word of God to convict us of our need for the forgiveness and salvation of God in Christ. If we are a follower of Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us to convict us when we do wrong with a need to get things right with God.

    Did you know that the most miserable person in the world is not the non-Christian! The most miserable person in the world is the Christian who is rebelling against God, because that Christian is going through a war inside. When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, He gives us an inner desire to confess our sin to God and to seek forgiveness from those we have wronged. In the process, we get right with God once again.

    The Holy Spirit is there to convict us – because God loves us and wants the best for our lives. His conviction is all about God’s love.
     
  2. boldstardex

    boldstardex Moderator

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    "And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven." - Deuteronomy 4:19

    ASTROLOGY IS A FORM OF DIVINATION
    January 30, 2018

    I’ve often wondered this about astrology: How do they know? Let’s assume, for the sake of discussion, that when the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then everyone born under the sign of Aquarius will be a successful trumpet player. I mean, who figured this out? How did they figure it out? Did someone take a detailed survey for each astrological sign concerning exact events that occurred under every possible star alignment? Who conducted this incredible collection of empirical data? And how did this person get hold of a computer big enough to digest all this data…especially thousands of years ago when astrology was first practiced? And how does it work when twins, born the same day, have completely different personalities, interests and desires? I don’t mean to mock (Okay, maybe a little), but somebody please explain to me how these “facts” were discovered and compiled.

    Of course, no one has an intelligent explanation. These mystic readings are just a futile attempt of desperate people searching for answers. Even more, astrology as a form of divination, which is the act of foretelling future events, is expressly forbidden in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:10-14).

    But, I have good news for these people. Look in the Bible, and you can find the answers to your life by having a personal, one-on-one direct relationship with the God that created all those stars you’ve been looking to for answers. Rather that listening to someone guess about what the stars are saying, you can hear directly from the One who actually created those stars. He is the only One who really knows the future. And His Word reveals quite a few insights about where the world is headed and how to be prepared.
     
  3. boldstardex

    boldstardex Moderator

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    "...bringing judgment on those who do not wish to know God and who refuse to accept his plan to save them through our Lord Jesus Christ. They will be punished in everlasting hell, forever separated from the Lord, never to see the glory of his power." 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 NLT



    JESUS BELIEVED IN HELL – DO YOU?
    January 31, 2018

    Here’s an interesting tidbit of information. Did you know that Jesus spoke more about hell than He did about heaven?

    Jesus tells an interesting parable about a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. The beggar sat each day at the gate of the rich man’s house, hoping for some leftovers from the rich man’s feast, but they never came. Both men died. Lazarus, the poor man, went to be with God, and the rich man went to hell. Seeing Lazarus across a great divide, he begged that Lazarus might dip his finger in water and bring even a drop to cool his tongue because of the agony of the heat, but it was too late. They were separated by the great divide – forever.

    Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m certainly not saying the poor will go to heaven and the rich will go to hell. This is just the parable Jesus chose to use. But, have you noticed how many people act like hell doesn’t exist? They believe everyone eventually goes to heaven because God is love. What if they’re wrong? Jesus believed in hell. Do you believe He was wrong or do you believe He tells the truth?

    A truth about eternity: until you believe in the bad news of hell, you can’t understand the good news of Jesus. He came to save us from hell and guarantee us a place in heaven. The question is: what do you believe about hell? What Jesus says, or something else?
     
  4. boldstardex

    boldstardex Moderator

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    "And He said to them, 'Where is your faith?'" - Luke 8:25a

    DO YOU EVER HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT GOD?
    February 1, 2018

    If everyone is honest, we’ve all had doubts about God. Let me share with you what has caused me the most doubt through the years – the first four words of the Bible: “In the beginning God…” I wonder, how could God always exist? Where did He come from? What did He do before creation?

    But “In the beginning God…” also enriches my faith. For the Bible also says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word became flesh.” The Word is Jesus Christ and because of Jesus’ life, I can see what God is like. Because of His death I can see and experience His love. Because the evidence of His resurrection is overwhelming, I can believe in God’s power to do anything.

    If Jesus rose from the dead, I can live with the questions I can’t understand about God – like Him always existing – because He is God and I am not. Most of us have doubts about God, but Jesus is the reason I can have no hesitation in believing that God is real and that He does exist.
     
  5. boldstardex

    boldstardex Moderator

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    Listening to His Voice
    February 5, 2018
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    Read: John 10:25–30 | Bible in a Year: Exodus 36–38; Matthew 23:1–22

    My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27 nkjv

    I’m hard of hearing—“deaf in one ear and can’t hear out of the other,” as my father used to say. So I wear a set of hearing aids.

    Most of the time the devices work well, except in environments where there’s a lot of surrounding noise. In those settings, my hearing aids pick up every voice in the room and I cannot hear the person in front of me.

    My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27
    So it is with our culture: a cacophony of sounds can drown out God’s quiet voice. “Where shall the Word be found, where will the Word resound?” poet T.S. Eliot asks. “Not here, there is not enough silence.”

    Fortunately, my hearing aids have a setting that cuts out the surrounding sounds and enables me to hear only the voices I want to hear. In the same way, despite the voices around us, if we quiet our souls and listen, we will hear God’s “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11–12 nkjv).

    He speaks to us every day, summoning us in our restlessness and our longing. He calls to us in our deepest sorrow and in the incompleteness and dissatisfaction of our greatest joys.

    But primarily God speaks to us in His Word (1 Thessalonians 2:13). As you pick up His book and read it, you too will hear His voice. He loves you more than you can ever know, and He wants you to hear what He has to say.

    Dear Lord, thank You for giving us Your Word. Help me to listen to Your voice as I spend time alone with You.

    God speaks through His Word when we take time to listen.

    By David H. Roper | See Other Authors
    INSIGHT
    Throughout the Scriptures, God used a variety of ways to speak to people. Sometimes, God spoke audibly (Abraham, Moses). Sometimes, He communicated by way of dreams (Joseph, Nebuchadnezzar). At other times, God gave His message through prophets (Samuel, Ezekiel). Occasionally, God even sent His message by way of angels, which means “messengers,” as He did with Mary and Joseph.

    No wonder the writer of the letter to the Hebrews said, “God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways” (1:1). However, God’s greatest means of expressing His heart to people was His Son, as verse 2 states: “In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” That explains why John opened his gospel by describing Jesus as the Word (the Logos) who “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Jesus—the living Word—is God’s ultimate message of love to us! And He is revealed to us in the Scriptures—the written Word.
     
  6. boldstardex

    boldstardex Moderator

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    Praising Through Problems
    February 6, 2018
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    Read: Job 1:13–22 | Bible in a Year: Exodus 39–40; Matthew 23:23–39



    Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? Job 2:10

    “It’s cancer.” I wanted to be strong when Mom said those words to me. But I burst into tears. You never want to hear those words even one time. But this was Mom’s third bout with cancer. After a routine mammogram and biopsy, Mom learned that she had a malignant tumor under her arm.

    Though Mom was the one with bad news, she had to comfort me. Her response was eye-opening for me: “I know God is always good to me. He’s always faithful.” Even as she faced a difficult surgery, followed up by radiation treatments, Mom was assured of God’s presence and faithfulness.

    God is still present, still good. He will help us through hard times.
    How like Job. Job lost his children, his wealth, and his health. But after hearing the news, Job 1:20 tells us “he fell to the ground in worship.” When advised to curse God, he said, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (2:10). What a radical initial response. Though Job later complained, ultimately he accepted that God had never changed. Job knew that God was still with him and that He still cared.

    For most of us, praise is not our first response to difficulties. Sometimes the pain of our circumstances is so overwhelming, we lash out in fear or anger. But watching Mom’s response reminded me that God is still present, still good. He will help us through hard times.

    Lord, prepare me for the times when praise is most difficult to utter.

    Is someone hurting? See this special edition of Our Daily Bread: Hope and Strength in Times of Illness at odb.org/hopeandstrength.

    Even at our lowest point, we can lift our eyes to the Lord.

    By Linda Washington | See Other Authors
    INSIGHT
    When we suffer we often ask why? But this might not be the best question. When Job’s friends tried to explain away Job's pain, they angered God (42:7). A better question is Who do we turn to? Job never received an explanation for his pain, but he found that seeing God was answer enough (v. 5).

    How has God shown His presence in your pain?
     
  7. boldstardex

    boldstardex Moderator

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    Trust Me
    February 12, 2018
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    Read: 1 Kings 17:7–16 | Bible in a Year: Leviticus 13; Matthew 26:26–50


    Do not worry about tomorrow. Matthew 6:34

    After graduation from college, I had a low-paying job. Money was tight, and sometimes I didn’t even have enough for my next meal. I learned to trust God for my daily provision.

    It reminded me of the prophet Elijah’s experience. During his prophetic ministry, he learned to trust God to meet his daily needs. Shortly after Elijah pronounced God’s judgment of a drought in Israel, God sent him to a deserted place, Kerith Ravine, where He used the ravens to bring Elijah his daily meals and refresh him with water from the brook (1 Kings 17:1–4).

    God supplies all our needs—one day at a time.
    But a drought occurred. The brook shrank to a tiny stream, and slowly became a mere trickle. It was only when the brook had dried up that God said: “Go at once to Zarephath . . . . I have directed a widow there to supply you with food” (v. 9). Zarephath was in Phoenicia, whose inhabitants were enemies of the Israelites. Would anyone offer Elijah shelter? And would a poor widow have food to share?

    Most of us would rather God provided in abundance long before our resources were depleted rather than just enough for each day. But our loving Father whispers, Trust Me. Just as He used ravens and a widow to provide for Elijah, nothing is impossible for Him. We can count on His love and power to meet our daily needs.

    Faithful Father, thank You for knowing exactly what we need before we even ask. Help us to trust You for our daily needs.

    God supplies all our needs—one day at a time.
     
  8. boldstardex

    boldstardex Moderator

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    "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." -2 Timothy 3:16-17

    THE BIBLE IS GENUINELY TRUE
    February 13, 2018

    The following statement of belief is held by our church and many others: “The Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God to reveal God and His will to man. The Bible has God as its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error. The Bible is the sole authority for Christian living.”

    So, why is it that we believe so deeply in the Bible as the Word of God? Let me share with you some of the most meaningful reasons for me:

    • Did you know that the phrase, “Thus sayeth the Lord,” appears over 2,000 times in the Old Covenant? God is speaking. This is the written Word of God!
    • The Bible was written over 1600 years by approximately 40 different writers, but has a single theme and author (the Lord). Though at first read, some things look contradicting, when we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit gives us understanding of how it all fits together. No group of mortals could possibly produce such a book.
    • You can study a passage that you’ve known all your life and one day, the Holy Spirit gives you fresh insight. There is an inexhaustible richness about the Scripture that is unlike any other book.
    • Do you realize that the Bible applies to any race, any tribe, any ethnic group, and to any age group? Its application is universal!
    • Now, all through history, there have been archaeologists who arrogantly uncover things in the Middle East and say, “This obviously proves the Bible is wrong.” And then they keep digging to lower layers, and say, “Whoa! The Bible was obviously right.”
    There are so many more reasons and I don’t have the space to write them here. But you probably have a place to write your own reasons for believing that the Bible is the Word of God. Why not take out a piece of paper and write them down right now? You might surprise yourself at how many reasons you’ll have!
     
  9. boldstardex

    boldstardex Moderator

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    Following Where He Leads
    February 15, 2018
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    Read: 1 Kings 19:19–21 | Bible in a Year: Leviticus 17–18; Matthew 27:27–50

    Then [Elisha] set out to follow Elijah and became his servant. 1 Kings 19:21

    As a child, I looked forward to our church’s Sunday evening services. They were exciting. Sunday night often meant we got to hear from missionaries and other guest speakers. Their messages inspired me because of their willingness to leave family and friends—and at times, homes, possessions, and careers—to go off to strange, unfamiliar, and sometimes dangerous places to serve God.

    Like those missionaries, Elisha left many things behind to follow God (1 Kings 19:19–21). Before God called him into service through Elijah, we don’t know much about Elisha—except that he was a farmer. When the prophet Elijah met him in the field where he was plowing, he threw his cloak over Elisha’s shoulders (the symbol of his role as prophet) and called him to follow. With only a request to kiss his mother and father goodbye, Elisha immediately sacrificed his oxen, burned his plowing equipment, said good-bye to his parents—and followed Elijah.

    God wants all of us to follow Him.
    Though not many of us are called to leave family and friends behind to serve God as fulltime missionaries, God wants all of us to follow Him and to “live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to [us], just as God has called [us]” (1 Corinthians 7:17). As I’ve often experienced, serving God can be thrilling and challenging no matter where we are—even if we never leave home.

    Dear Lord, equip us to be Your missionaries wherever You have placed us—near or far, at home or abroad.

    God will show us how to serve Him wherever we are.

    By Alyson Kieda | See Other Authors
    INSIGHT
    Elisha followed Elijah in ministry to his generation, and that pattern was not unique. In the final moments of the exodus, Moses—the leader and lawgiver of Israel—was succeeded by Joshua, who had been at his side for forty years. Centuries later, Jesus would follow John the Baptist (the second “Elijah” of Malachi 4:5 and Matthew 11:14) in proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. These patterns of forerunners and followers are tied together by one of the most significant indicators in Scripture—names. The names of the three who followed Moses, Elijah, and John in ministry—Joshua, Elisha, and Jesus—all mean the same thing: “the Lord saves.” Throughout the years, this has been the confidence of the people of God. God saves us by His grace and then empowers us by His Spirit to follow Him and serve others where He places us.

    Where has God called you to serve?
     
  10. boldstardex

    boldstardex Moderator

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    Not Enough?
    February 19, 2018
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    Read: 2 Corinthians 9:10–15 | Bible in a Year: Leviticus 25; Mark 1:23–45

    Do not forget to do good and to share with others. Hebrews 13:16

    On the way home from church, my daughter sat in the backseat enjoying Goldfish crackers as my other children implored her to share. Trying to redirect the conversation, I asked the hoarder of snacks, “What did you do in class today?” She said they made a basket of bread and fish because a child gave Jesus five loaves and two fish that Jesus used to feed more than 5,000 people (John 6:1–13).

    “That was very kind of the little boy to share. Do you think maybe God is asking you to share your fish?” I asked. “No, Momma,” she replied.

    When we believe that God is good, we can learn to open our hands to others.
    I tried to encourage her not to keep all the crackers to herself. She was unconvinced. “There is not enough for everyone!”

    Sharing is hard. It is easier to hold onto what we see in front of us. Perhaps we do the calculation and reason there is simply not enough for everyone. And the assumption is that if I give, I will be left wanting.

    Paul reminds us that all we have comes from God, who wants to enrich us “in every way so that [we] can be generous” (2 Corinthians 9:10–11). The math of heaven isn’t a calculation of scarcity but of abundance. We can share joyfully because God promises to care for us even as we are generous to others.

    Father, You take good care of me. Help me to think of others today and to share Your goodness with them.

    When we believe that God is good, we can learn to open our hands to others.

    By Lisa Samra | See Other Authors
    INSIGHT
    A careful reading of 2 Corinthians 9 is quite eye-opening. One of the things we see is a cycle of giving that includes the gracious giving of God, the generous giving of those who have received from God, and the giving of thanks from those who have received from God through others. The abundant giving of God is prominent (v. 8). His giving is evident in nature and other areas (v. 10). He enriches us so we can be generous (v. 11), and His gifts include grace that cannot be measured (v. 14). His ultimate gift (the gift of His Son) is “indescribable”—words are inadequate to communicate its worth (v. 15). Generous givers are next in the cycle. Having been enriched by God, the riches received are to be shared with others, especially with those in the family of God (vv. 1–5; see also Galatians 6:10). Lastly, the giving cycle continues with the giving of thanks—thanksgiving to God, the giver of every good and perfect gift. People are recipients of and conduits for God’s bounty, and God—the ultimate Giver—gets the thanks and the glory!

    What are some ways you can participate in the cycle of giving?

    Arthur Jackson
     
  11. boldstardex

    boldstardex Moderator

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    The Great Physician
    February 20, 2018
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    Read: Matthew 4:23–5:12 | Bible in a Year: Leviticus 26–27; Mark 2


    Remain in me, as I also remain in you. John 15:4

    When Dr. Rishi Manchanda asks his patients, “Where do you live?” he’s looking for more than an address. He has seen a pattern. Those who come to him for help often live in conditions of environmental stress. Molds, pests, and toxins are making them sick. So Dr. Manchanda has become an advocate of what he calls Upstream Doctors. These are health care workers who, while providing urgent medical care, are working with patients and communities to get to the source of better health.

    As Jesus healed those who came to Him (Matthew 4:23–24), He lifted their eyes beyond the need for urgent physical and material care. With His Sermon on the Mount He offered more than a medical miracle (5:1–12). Seven times Jesus described attitudes of mind and heart that reflect a well-being that begins with a new vision and promise of spiritual well-being (vv. 3–9). Two more times he called blessed those who experience relentless persecution and find their hope and home in Him (vv. 10–12).

    Remain in me, as I also remain in you. John 15:4
    Jesus’s words leave me wondering. Where am I living? How aware am I of my need for a well-being that is greater than my urgent need for physical and material relief? As I long for a miracle, do I embrace as enviable the poor, broken, hungry, merciful, peacemaking heart that Jesus calls blessed?

    Father in heaven, it’s so hard to see beyond our pain. Please let us sense Your mercy in this moment. Lift our eyes beyond ourselves. Let us find a new vision and source of health in the care of Christ, who heals.

    When God is our home, our hope is in Him.

    By Mart DeHaan | See Other Authors
    INSIGHT
    The end of Matthew 4 implies that people were following Him in the hope of being healed of anything that ailed them. Yet in response to the crowd’s desire to be physically healed, Jesus responds with words that can heal the soul. The Great Physician looks deep into our hearts and heals not just our bodies but our souls as well.

    J.R. Hudberg
     
  12. boldstardex

    boldstardex Moderator

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    Of Spiders and God’s Presence
    February 21, 2018
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    Read: Ephesians 3:14–19 | Bible in a Year: Numbers 1–3; Mark 3


    I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being. Ephesians 3:16

    Spiders. I don’t know any kid who likes them. At least not in their rooms . . . at bedtime. But as she was getting ready for bed, my daughter spied one dangerously close to her bed. “Daaaad!!!!! Spiiiderrr!!!!!” she hollered. Despite my determination, I couldn’t find the eight-legged interloper. “He’s not going to hurt you,” I reassured her. She wasn’t convinced. It wasn’t until I told her I’d stay next to her top bunk and stand guard that she agreed to get in bed.

    As my daughter settled in, I held her hand. I told her, “I love you so much. I’m right here. But you know what? God loves you even more than Daddy and Mommy. And He’s very close. You can always pray to Him when you’re scared.” That seemed to comfort her, and peaceful sleep came quickly.

    Lord, thank You for always being close by.
    Scripture repeatedly reassures us God is always near (Psalm 145:18; Romans 8:38–39; James 4:7–8), but sometimes we struggle to believe it. Perhaps that’s why Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus to have strength and power to grasp that truth (Ephesians 3:16). He knew that when we’re frightened, we can lose track of God’s proximity. But just as I lovingly held my daughter as she went to sleep that night, so our loving heavenly Father is always as close to us as a prayer.

    Lord, thank You for always being close by. Please give us strength and power in our hearts to remember You are near, You love us deeply, and we can always call out to You.

    God is always near in spite of our fears.

    By Adam Holz | See Other Authors
    INSIGHT
    Today’s passage describes the overflowing riches of God’s grace, which is accessed through the Holy Spirit. God’s love is infinite and therefore beyond our understanding, but the Spirit enables our comprehension. Life-transformation is in view when we are told to be “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19); spending time with God transforms how we live. Experiential knowledge of the God of grace should flow over into what we say, think, feel, and do. Life is filled with ever-changing circumstances that may cause joy, sadness, satisfaction, or stress. But no matter what we experience, God is always near.

    What are you struggling with now? How does the immeasurable love of Christ and God’s never-ending presence encourage you?

    Dennis Fisher
     
  13. boldstardex

    boldstardex Moderator

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    Mercy over Judgment
    February 23, 2018
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    Read: James 2:1–13 | Bible in a Year: Numbers 7–8; Mark 4:21–41

    Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom. James 2:12

    When my children were squabbling and came to me to tattle on one another, I took each child aside separately to hear their account of the problem. Since both were guilty, at the end of our chat I asked them each what they felt would be an appropriate, fair consequence for their sibling’s actions. Both suggested swift punishment for the other. To their surprise, I instead gave them each the consequence they had intended for their sibling. Suddenly, each child lamented how “unfair” the sentence seemed now that it was visited upon them—despite having deemed it appropriate when it was intended for the other.

    My kids had shown the kind of “judgment without mercy” that God warns against (James 2:13). James reminds us that instead of showing favoritism to the wealthy, or even to one’s self, God desires that we love others as we love ourselves (v. 8). Instead of using others for selfish gain, or disregarding anyone whose position doesn’t benefit us, James instructs us to act as people who know how much we’ve been given and forgiven—and to extend that mercy to others.

    God’s mercy prompts us to be merciful.
    God has given generously of His mercy. In all our dealings with others, let’s remember the mercy He’s shown us and extend it to others.

    Lord, I’m grateful for the great mercy You’ve shown me. Help me to offer similar mercy to others as a measure of my gratitude to You.

    God’s mercy prompts us to be merciful.

    By Kirsten Holmberg | See Other Authors
    INSIGHT
    Growing up under Roman oppression and the religious legalism of Israel’s rulers, James valued mercy and forgiveness, which was the fruit of his relationship with Christ.
     

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