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Daily Devotion

boldstardex

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Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'” – Revelation 21:1-4
DESTINATION – HEAVEN
February 9, 2020
Years ago, the late Adrian Rogers, a well-known and beloved preacher, shared about an older, highly respected pastor. Known in his day as the “prince of preachers,” Adrian’s predecessor had been a man of such oratorical skills and spiritual anointing that his messages mesmerized listeners. As this older preacher neared the end of his life, he found himself going in and out of consciousness in a hospital bed. One day, with his daughter by his bedside, he suddenly looked up, wide-eyes and said, “It is greater than I imagined. I never did it justice.” And with that, he closed his eyes and died at peace.
Now think about it. Even this great man of God, an incredibly gifted and eloquent preacher, was at a loss for words when he reached that point of glimpsing heaven, just before stepping over to the other side of life.
Let this be a reminder to hold onto hope and not give up, as we journey through the highs and lows of faith with the Lord Jesus Christ by our side. No matter how tough life gets, when we get to our ultimate destination of heaven and finally see the Lord face to face, we, too, will exclaim: “I never knew how great He could be!” Because I can guarantee that there will be few words to adequately describe how incredible it will be to finally stand before the King of kings and the Lord of lords!
What about you? When you think about the end of your life – do you know where you will be? Like Adrian’s predecessor, will you arrive at that destination to experience the moment where words won’t be enough? I assure you, that for those who put their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, they will also experience that moment in heaven with Him. And that day is going to be so much greater than anything we could ever imagine. You don’t want to miss that!
 

boldstardex

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“Flee from immorality.” – 1 Corinthians 6:18a
WANT TO LIVE A LIFE OF PURITY?
February 10, 2020
When we accept Jesus Christ, He cleanses us of the impure lives we led; however, we must continue to keep ourselves clean and deal with our sexuality in the manner God designed. Here are six things we can do to help us live a life of purity:
  1. Confess your struggle with sexual thoughts and temptations.
  2. Trust Christ as Savior and Lord. More than anything else, He saves you and forgives you of sin. Ask Him to guide you in all you do.
  3. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Call out and ask God to fill you daily. We can’t live the Christian life in our own strength, but God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit, who, working with the Word of God, gives us that inner desire to be pleasing to God.
  4. Remember the basics of staying close to God. Have a daily quiet time with Him and pour our your heart out to Him, thanking Him, and listening to Him through His Word. Practice weekly worship and Bible study with other believers. Be willing to trust and obey His Word. Be a good witness through your deeds and words. These are the things the Holy Spirit uses to shape the character of purity in us.
  5. Restrict what you allow your eyes to see. Lust is fueled by porn and sensuality.
  6. Put sex in its proper context. View sex as a wonderful gift of God to be enjoyed in the context of committed love—in marriage alone—between a man and a woman. Otherwise, we are outside the bounds of God’s plan and live lives of impurity.
We will always fight impurity because we have a sin nature. But through the power of Jesus Christ, we can think pure thoughts and live lives of sexual purity.
 

boldstardex

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“I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness.” – John 12:46
ONLY LIGHT CAN DISPEL DARKNESS
February 11, 2020
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.” This familiar quote comes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and is one of many profound things said during his life.
Have you ever been in a situation where the darkness was so powerful that light could not overcome it? I remember touring a cave when all the lights were turned off. I couldn’t see a thing. I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face! And then the guide simply lit a match – one match – and suddenly we could see throughout the cave. The darkness shrank back and allowed us to see, all because darkness cannot overcome even one little light.
Jesus refers to Himself as the Light of the world. In other words, Jesus is the embodiment of how to know God and live life. He brings clarity and direction to the confusion and uncertainty that comes in navigating this life.
Today, you might feel like your life is engulfed in darkness. You might feel lost and confused when it comes to dealing with work or financial pressures. A recent health diagnosis or relational conflict might feel like a darkness you just don’t know how to navigate on your own. What about your life’s purpose? No matter how dark life appears, Jesus wants to be the Light that lights the way through every challenge. Invite Christ into your life and that Light will be turned on. No matter how dark your life appears, with Jesus, life will begin to make sense. With the Light of the World in your life, you’ll be filled with hope and understanding.
Here’s more good news. When we do this, Jesus says we can be a light to others by pointing people who are in the dark to the light…the Light of Christ.
 

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Welcome Back!
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.

SONG OF SONGS 8:7


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February 12
The Miracle of White Snow
Bible in a Year:

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.

Isaiah 1:18
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Isaiah 1:15–20
In the seventeenth century, Sir Isaac Newton used a prism to study how light helps us see different colors. He found that when light passes through an object, the object appears to possess a specific color. While a single ice crystal looks translucent, snow is made up of many ice crystals smashed together. When light passes through all of the crystals, snow appears to be white.
The Bible mentions something else that has a certain color—sin. Through the prophet Isaiah, God confronted the sins of the people of Judah and described their sin as “like scarlet” and as “red as crimson.” But God promised they would “be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). How? Judah needed to turn away from wrongdoing and seek God’s forgiveness.
Thanks to Jesus, we have permanent access to God’s forgiveness. Jesus called Himself “the light of the world” and said whoever follows Him “will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). When we confess our sins, God forgives us and we’re seen through the light of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. This means that God sees us as He sees Jesus—blameless.
We don’t have to wallow in the guilt and shame of what we’ve done wrong. Instead, we can hold on to the truth of God’s forgiveness, which makes us “white as snow.”
By: Linda Washington


You can make an impact today.
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Reflect & Pray
What does it mean to be completely forgiven? What helps you remember that God has forgiven you?
Heavenly Father, thank You for the forgiveness You freely offer.
 

boldstardex

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“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
DO ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD?
February 12, 2020
Have you ever heard the the scripture, “All things work together for good?” This sounds right, doesn’t it? But it’s not only incomplete, it’s inaccurate as stated. Why? Because all things don’t work together for good for those who die and wind up in hell.
What the Bible ACTUALLY teaches is that “all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose(Romans 8:28). You see, there is an often overlooked condition to that familiar verse: we have to love God through Jesus Christ and live according to His teaching in Scripture for this verse to be true. To believe anything or to live any way we want nullifies its authenticity.
But when we love God and are living for Him, then God can bring good out of any tragedy or any suffering. It might not always look like what we expect … or want… but God is good. His plans are good. He can bring good out of our setback. For with every challenge, setback, or pain, we have a choice. We can either grow bitter or trust God to bring good out of great grief and difficulty.
Are you walking through a difficult season right now? Will you choose to trust God, even when life doesn’t make sense? Ask God to help you find the good that God can bring out of even the most challenging season.
 

boldstardex

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‘Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. Now let them give us two oxen; and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it up, and place it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” And all the people said, “That is a good idea.”’ – I Kings 18: 22-24
THE ULTIMATE SHOWDOWN
February 13, 2020
It all started when King Ahab turned his back on God and built a statue to Baal, the god of rain. In a moment of true irony, that’s when the rain stopped. Three and a half years later the people began calling out both for rain and God. That’s when Elijah showed up for the ultimate showdown: Elijah and the One True God vs 450 prophets of Baal.
Elijah and the prophets of Baal each built an altar and prepared a sacrifice. There was just one catch – no fire. It was to be a burnt offering, but both sides would pray and ask their God or god to bring down fire. The prophets of Baal went first. They prayed, they chanted, and they called out – but nothing happened. Hours passed without a response. Elijah suggested they pray louder (maybe their gods had gone to sleep), but still they had no answer. Finally, it was Elijah’s turn.
Taking his time, Elijah built the altar and prepared the sacrifice, soaking the altar in water (a precious commodity after 3.5 years of drought). He did this just to make sure there would be no possible human explanation for what God would do. Then Elijah prayed. Immediately fire fell from the sky consuming not just the offering, but the stone altar and all the water. Talk about an incredible demonstration of God’s power. Awesome!
Elijah trusted God even when it didn’t make sense, even when it meant going against what was popular – and God showed up. What about you? When life becomes difficult or doesn’t make sense, will you remain grounded in your faith or will you turn to false idols of our day?
 

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February 17
Ever-Present Presence
Bible in a Year:

Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:20
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Matthew 28:16–20
During the 2018 World Cup, Colombian forward Radamel Falcao scored in the seventieth minute against Poland, securing a victory. The dramatic goal was Falcao’s thirtieth in international play, earning him the distinction of scoring the most goals by a Colombian player in international competition.
Falcao has often used his success on the soccer pitch to share his faith, frequently lifting his jersey after a score to reveal a shirt with the words, Con Jesus nunca estara solo: “With Jesus you’ll never be alone.”
Falcao’s statement points us to the reassuring promise from Jesus, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Knowing He was about to return to heaven, Jesus comforted His disciples by assuring them He’d always be with them, through the presence of His Spirit (v. 20; John 14:16–18). Christ’s Spirit would comfort, guide, protect, and empower them as they took the message of Jesus to cities both near and far. And when they experienced periods of intense loneliness in unfamiliar places, Christ’s words would likely echo in their ears, a reminder of His presence with them.
No matter where we go, whether close to home or faraway, as we follow Jesus into the unknown we too can cling to this same promise. Even when we experience feelings of loneliness, as we reach out in prayer to Jesus, we can receive comfort knowing He’s with us.
By: Lisa M. Samra
Reflect & Pray
How does the assurance that Jesus is always with you provide comfort? How has He comforted you when you felt alone?
Jesus, thank You that I’m never alone because You’re with me.
 

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Welcome Back!
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.

SONG OF SONGS 8:7


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February 18
Unimaginable
Bible in a Year:

Though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Psalm 23:4
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Psalm 23
Bart Millard penned a megahit in 2001 when he wrote, “I Can Only Imagine.” The song pictures how amazing it will be to be in Christ’s presence. Millard’s lyrics offered comfort to our family that next year when our seventeen-year-old daughter, Melissa, died in a car accident and we imagined what it was like for her to be in God’s presence.
But imagine spoke to me in a different way in the days following Mell’s death. As fathers of Melissa’s friends approached me, full of concern and pain, they said, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.”
Their expressions were helpful, showing that they were grappling with our loss in an empathetic way—finding it unimaginable.
David pinpointed the depth of great loss when he described walking through “the darkest valley” (Psalm 23:4). The death of a loved one certainly is that, and we sometimes have no idea how we’re going to navigate the darkness. We can’t imagine ever being able to come out on the other side.
But as God promised to be with us in our darkest valley now, He also provides great hope for the future by assuring us that beyond the valley we’ll be in His presence. For the believer, to be “away from the body” means being present with Him (2 Corinthians 5:8). That can help us navigate the unimaginable as we imagine our future reunion with Him and others.
By: Dave Branon


You can make an impact today.
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Reflect & Pray
What’s the best thing you can say to friends who’ve suffered the loss of someone they loved? How can you prepare for those times?
Thank You, God, for being with us even in the darkest valley as we imagine the glories of heaven.
 

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February 19
The Reality of God
Bible in a Year:

The Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he [saw] chariots of fire all around Elisha.

2 Kings 6:17
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
2 Kings 6:8–17
In C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, all of Narnia is thrilled when the mighty lion Aslan reappears after a long absence. Their joy turns to sorrow, however, when Aslan concedes to a demand made by the evil White Witch. Faced with Aslan’s apparent defeat, the Narnians experience his power when he emits an earsplitting roar that causes the witch to flee in terror. Although all seems to have been lost, Aslan ultimately proves to be greater than the villainous witch.
Like Aslan’s followers in Lewis’ allegory, Elisha’s servant despaired when he got up one morning to see himself and Elisha surrounded by an enemy army. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” he exclaimed (2 Kings 6:15). The prophet’s response was calm: “Don’t be afraid . . . . Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v. 16). Elisha then prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see” (v. 17). So, “the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (v. 17). Although things at first seemed bleak to the servant’s eye, God’s power ultimately proved greater than the enemy horde.
Our difficult circumstances may lead us to believe all is lost, but God desires to open our eyes and reveal that He is greater.
By: Remi Oyedele

Reflect & Pray
What difficult times are you facing? How have you experienced that God is greater than any evil you face?
Thank You, God, for Your faithfulness.
 

boldstardex

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“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” – John 14:26
THE HOLY SPIRIT – PART 1
February 19, 2020
There’s so much richness in Scripture. Take a look at the verse above from the New American Standard version. It translates the Greek word for Holy Spirit (paraclete), as the Helper. Compare this with other translations:
  • The King James Version translates Helper as Comforter.
  • The New International Version translates Helper as Counselor.
  • The New English Version translates Helper as Advocate.
All four translations give us a more complete picture of the Holy Spirit. He is our Helper, Advocate, Counselor, and Comforter.
  1. Helper = He empowers us with a “want to” to follow Christ in faith.
  2. Advocate = He reminds us that God is for us and loves us.
  3. Counselor = He is our teacher and guides us in how to understand and apply God’s Word to our everyday life. He gives us wisdom.
  4. Comforter = He is our greatest, most compassionate encourager in times of need.
To know God, get to know Jesus. To know Jesus in faith is to receive a great gift – the gift of the Holy Spirit.
 

boldstardex

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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 2
February 20, 2020
No matter how often we try, it can be very difficult to show our love for God during times of temptation. Why? Because oftentimes, the temptation itself becomes bigger than even our desire to please God. And when we give into temptation, the result is guilt. If we keep repeating that sin over and over, then we can develop a heart of stone. In other words, we become numb to the conviction and eventually lose sight of the freedom that God is offering on the other side of sin.
But, there is good news for the Christian when facing such enticement. The Holy Spirit convicts us to push back, to say no, and to do what is pleasing to God. Sometimes He brings to mind a verse that offers strength to overcome that temptation and helps us find the way out through the example of Jesus. After all, Jesus is the source of what is truly supernatural: resistance to temptation.
Too often, people try to be “good enough”on their own and in their own strength, but this is doomed from the start. Why? Because when we face temptation, we’re up against spiritual powers of darkness and evil that are stronger and smarter than any of us. Thankfully, for the Jesus follower, we don’t have to live in this “I can do it alone” mentality. We can claim the power of the Holy Spirit to find true victory in every moment that tempts us to take our eyes off Jesus.
 
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