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Daily Devotion

boldstardex

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“As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:10 and 3:23
FATHER, THIS ONE’S WITH ME
July 28, 2020
Do you realize that you can’t earn your way into heaven? It can’t be done. There is just too much sin in our life to ever be offset by any good works we may perform. No matter how hard we try, the ledger can never be balanced. The only way to heaven is through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Salvation is a gift we accept or reject; there are no other choices.
For the Christian, I picture it this way: We’re standing before the throne of Jesus Christ. All of our deeds for this life are brought out. It’s very evident that we deserve hell because unless we’re perfect (and no one is), we certainly deserve eternal separation from our holy Creator. Then Christ steps down from that throne of judgment and stands beside us.
There’s a wonderful song recorded by the Christian musical group, NewSong, entitled, “This One’s With Me,” which pretty well sums up what happens next. Jesus then takes His robe of righteousness and puts it on us and says (my words), “It’s obvious you’re guilty. It’s obvious you deserve hell. But, I have paid the penalty. I have taken the judgment you deserve upon Myself on the cross, and you have accepted this gift. May you live forever in the joy and gratitude of what I have done for you! Father, this one’s with me.” What a celebration of gratitude and praising of the Lord that day will be.
Have you received this unearned gift in faith?
 

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Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” – Ephesians 5: 25
LOVE – NO MATTER WHAT
July 29, 2020
We talk about love in many ways: romantic love, erotic love, friendship love. The word love used in the biblical description of family calls husbands to choose to love their wives – no matter what. Now, what does this mean, to choose to love?
This kind of love is a commitment to love, no matter the response. It’s always easy to love someone who loves us back. When someone shows us kindness, offers words of encouragement and affirmation, they are easier to love. But, to love someone in the midst of conflict, in disappointment, even when it hurts – well, that is tough love.
In the biblical description of family, the husband is called to be committed to his wife. To be respectful. To love and to forgive, no matter what. In the first century, this was radically counter-cultural. Now, just as the Word of God applied to the first century, the Word of God applies to the 21st century. It is timeless.
Remember, the major responsibility for marriage-working lies with the husband. We’re called to love our wives as Christ loved the church. Christ died for the church. This is a tall order because as sinful, imperfect beings, it is an overwhelming challenge to love our wives as Christ does His church. Think about His death on the cross – for you, for me “while we were still sinners, Christ died.” Talk about loving without condition!
Men, ask God to help you choose love, even when it hurts. Start today. Just as Christ faithfully loves us day in and day out without condition, ask Him to help you begin to love your wife with His love.
 

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“Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.” – Colossians 3:18-19
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SUBMIT?
July 30, 2020
Submit – to be under the authority of another. This is a military term, used in the biblical description of family. Here, we see wives called to submit to the leadership of their husbands. Now hold on, wives. Stay with me and let’s break down what this looks like according to God’s Word.
First of all, I want to be very clear. The Bible does NOT teach that women are to submit to men. Does it mean men and women are unequal? That men are better? Absolutely not. In Genesis 1, we see that mankind is made in the image of God, male and female. We are all equal before God.
Still, this is not an easy verse. It is radically counter-cultural. And besides, we are all sinners. Meaning, all wives are married to – yep, sinners. So, he will make mistakes. It’s also tough because all wives are sinners, too.
Is there a time when you’re not called to submit to your husband? Yes, there is. If your husband is drunk, on drugs, mentally ill, or just sinful and is urging you to go against God’s Word, then the leadership of the husband has been forfeited. If he is physically abusive to you or your children, then absolutely, there is a need to seek shelter from that relationship.
At the same time, the teaching is very clear that wives are to submit to their husbands’ leading because “it is fitting to the Lord.” It’s not because he is smarter or better. It doesn’t mean we guys are deserving. No guy is. But, it’s because the Christian marriage is to be an example of Christ’s relationship with His bride, the church. The bride, the wife, is called to submit to her husband as the church is called to submit to Jesus (Ephesians 5:22-24).
And think about this: The ultimate act of submission was Christ voluntarily taking on the guilt and sin of mankind and dying on the cross to restore our relationship with God. He did this out of submission to His Father’s will.
The word “submit” is a radically counter-cultural word. Yet, what Jesus did with His Father, husbands are to do with Jesus, and wives are to submit to Christ by submitting to their husbands. Ask God to change your heart towards this word – submit. Start with your relationship with Christ. In what areas are you not submitting to God’s will for your life?
 

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“Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.” – Colossians 3:20-21
PARENTING GOD’S WAY
July 31, 2020
Parenting is tough. Just look at all the books, blogs, and other so-called “professionals” offering their latest, greatest method. It’s pretty clear people are looking for help. So what does God’s Word have to say on the subject? When the Bible mentions raising kids, it specifically calls out dads and says, “Don’t exasperate or discourage your children.” Moms, this goes for you too. However, God clearly puts the major responsibility on the fathers in raising healthy kids.
So what does ‘exasperating’ or discouraging your kids look like?
  • Too strict or too rigid When your children think there is no way they can ever please you, it crushes their spirit. They tend to become resentful, bitter, and angry.
  • Too lenient, passive, or disengaged This can look like prioritizing work, hobbies, or a particular sports game over the family. Kids think dad doesn’t care.
  • To desert the family The fact is that over 40% of all children born in America today are born to fatherless homes. The resentment, bitterness, and depression that children can feel when dad deserts the family or is “just not there” in passive indifference can cause a child to feel unloved.
  • Dad does not love mom – The best way to be a good parent is to love your spouse. Nothing gives a child greater security and greater emotional stability than seeing mom and dad love and respect one another. And nothing harms the psyche and self-image of a child, like seeing mom and dad tearing each other down.
Parenting is hard. There’s no one size fits all. In fact, it’s pretty clear that today’s “modern family” is more than a little complicated.
However, the power of the gospel is the power to transform your parenting, whatever your situation. No matter how dysfunctional or how healthy your family, your kids, or your life appears, choose to live life counter-culturally. Seek to parent and respect your parents – God’s way!
 

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August 2
Kind Correction
Bible in a Year:

Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death.

James 5:20
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
James 5:19–20
The early spring weather was refreshing and my traveling companion, my wife, couldn’t have been better. But the beauty of those moments together could have quickly morphed into tragedy if it weren’t for a red and white warning sign that informed me I was headed in the wrong direction. Because I hadn’t turned wide enough, I momentarily saw a “Do Not Enter” sign staring me in the face. I quickly adjusted, but shudder to think of the harm I could have brought to my wife, myself, and others if I’d ignored the sign that reminded me I was going the wrong way.
The closing words of James emphasize the importance of correction. Who among us hasn’t needed to be “brought back” by those who care for us from paths or actions, decisions or desires that could’ve been hurtful? Who knows what harm might have been done to ourselves or others had someone not courageously intervened at the right time.
James stresses the value of kind correction with these words, “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (5:20). Correction is an expression of God’s mercy. May our love and concern for the well-being of others compel us to speak and act in ways that He can use to “bring that person back” (v. 19).
By: Arthur Jackson
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Reflect & Pray
What risks or rewards are associated with helping a wanderer find his or her way back to where they belong? When did God use someone to bring you back from a not-so-good place?
Father, keep me from straying from Your truth and grant me courage to help bring back those who are wandering.
 

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“Joshua summoned the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one per tribe. Joshua told them, “Go in front of the ark of the Lord your God to the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to put a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the Israelite tribes. The stones will be a reminder to you. When your children ask someday, ‘Why are these stones important to you?’ tell them how the water of the Jordan stopped flowing before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the water of the Jordan stopped flowing. These stones will be a lasting memorial for the Israelites.” – Joshua 4: 4-7
MARKING MOMENTS OF GRATITUDE
August 4, 2020
For many, finding gratitude during this season of fear and uncertainty has been a challenge. We are bombarded by headlines, press conferences, statistical models, and coronavirus projections that don’t often inspire much optimism. Stress and anxiety are at an all-time high – so much so that even the CDC (the US Center for Disease Control) has highlighted stress coping mechanisms and warning signs to look for in both children and adults.
With so much stress and anxiety, how can Jesus followers fight back in seasons of overwhelming fear and uncertainty? By marking moments of gratitude. I’m talking about those big, life-changing moments where God miraculously provided, healed, comforted, called, promised, or answered a long-awaited prayer – the moments in our lives when God undeniably showed up.
Joshua demonstrated this in a very tangible way when leading the people of Israel into the long-awaited promised land after their lack of faith had cost them 40 additional years of wandering in the desert. Talk about a moment worth remembering. This was not only an answer to their prayers, but it was a major step in God ultimately fulfilling His promise to Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21).
So, to commemorate this monumental moment of God’s faithfulness, Joshua instructed a member from each tribe to select one stone from the Jordan River as a “reminder” of the moment when God stopped the Jordan River and led the people of Israel into the promised land. These stones would mark this moment and act as a tangible reminder of God’s faithfulness on that day. Joshua continued his instructions, stating that these stones would be used to tell future generations of God’s faithfulness.
Do you have something in your life similar to Joshua’s remembrance stones?
This can be something physical – a photo, a quote, a journal, or perhaps a verse that you’ve framed and placed on your desk –anything that helps you regularly remember and reflect upon those big moments in life when God showed up. My home church has memorial plaques that tell of God’s miracles through the years.
Just like Joshua, these are the moments we want to remember. These are the moments we want to hold onto because it’s during those difficult, uncertain, or fearful days that standing on God’s faithfulness is all the more important as we walk in faith through life’s every high and low.
 

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August 7
Letting Go
Bible in a Year:

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.

Psalm 116:15
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
John 11:21–36
“Your father is actively dying,” said the hospice nurse. “Actively dying” refers to the final phase of the dying process and was a new term to me, one that felt strangely like traveling down a lonely one-way street. On my dad’s last day, not knowing if he could still hear us, my sister and I sat by his bed. We kissed the top of his beautiful bald head. We whispered God’s promises to him. We sang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and quoted the 23rd Psalm. We told him we loved him and thanked him for being our dad. We knew his heart longed to be with Jesus, and we told him he could go. Speaking those words was the first painful step in letting go. A few minutes later, our dad was joyously welcomed into his eternal home.
The final release of a loved one is painful. Even Jesus’ tears flowed when His good friend Lazarus died (John 11:35). But because of God’s promises, we have hope beyond physical death. Psalm 116:15 says that God’s “faithful servants”—those who belong to Him—are “precious” to Him. Though they die, they’ll be alive again.
Jesus promises, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25–26). What comfort it brings to know we’ll be in God’s presence forever.
By: Cindy Hess Kasper
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Reflect & Pray
What did Jesus accomplish by His death on the cross? How does His sacrifice affect every person who has ever lived?
Precious Father, thank You for the promise of eternal life in Your presence.
For help in dealing with loss, read Life After Loss at discoveryseries.org/cb131.
 

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August 10
On the Bubble
Bible in a Year:

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you . . . into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
1 Peter 2:4–10
A news article in May 1970 contained one of the first uses of the idiom “on the bubble.” Referring to a state of uncertainty, the expression was used in relation to rookie race car driver Steve Krisiloff. He’d been “on the bubble,” having posted a slow qualifying lap for the Indianapolis 500. Later, it was confirmed that his time—though the slowest of those who qualified—allowed him to compete in the race.
We can feel at times that we’re “on the bubble,” uncertain we have what it takes to compete in or finish the race of life. When we’re feeling that way, it’s important to remember that in Jesus we’re never “on the bubble.” As children of God, our place in His kingdom is secure (John 14:3). Our confidence flows from Him who chose Jesus to be the “cornerstone” on which our lives are built, and He chose us to be “living stones” filled with the Spirit of God, capable of being the people God created us to be (1 Peter 2:5–6).
In Christ, our future is secure as we hope in and follow Him (v. 6). For “[we] are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that [we] may declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light” (v. 9).
In Jesus’ eyes we’re not “on the bubble.” We’re precious and loved (v. 4).
By: Ruth O’Reilly-Smith
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Reflect & Pray
In what areas of life have you found yourself “on the bubble” and struggling with uncertainty? What can you do to regain your confidence in Jesus?
Father God, when disappointments threaten to undermine my identity as Your child, remind me to put my hope and confidence in You alone.
 

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August 11
Named by God
Bible in a Year:

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.”

Ruth 1:20
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Ruth 1:19–22
Riptide. Batgirl. Jumpstart. These are a few names given to counselors at the summer camp our family attends every year. Created by their peers, the camp nicknames usually derive from an embarrassing incident, a funny habit, or a favorite hobby.
Nicknames aren’t limited to camp—we even find them used in the Bible. For example, Jesus dubs the apostles James and John the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). It’s rare in Scripture for someone to give themselves a nickname, yet it happens when a woman named Naomi asks people to call her “Mara,” which means “bitterness” (Ruth 1:20), because both her husband and two sons had died. She felt that God had made her life bitter (v. 21).
The new name Naomi gave herself didn’t stick, however, because those devastating losses were not the end of her story. In the midst of her sorrow, God had blessed her with a loving daughter-in-law, Ruth, who eventually remarried and had a son, creating a family for Naomi again.
Although we might sometimes be tempted to give ourselves bitter nicknames, like “failure” or “unloved,” based on difficulties we’ve experienced or mistakes we’ve made, those names are not the end of our stories. We can replace those labels with the name God has given each of us, “loved one” (Romans 9:25), and look for the ways He’s providing for us in even the most challenging of times.
By: Lisa M. Samra
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Reflect & Pray
Think of a nickname someone gave you. What did you like or not like about it? How does being called a beloved child of God change how you see yourself?
Heavenly Father, thank You that I’m not defined by the circumstances or experiences of my life. Thank You for calling me Your child.
 

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“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.”’ – Matthew 19: 21-23
ARE YOU WILLING TO DROP EVERYTHING TO FOLLOW JESUS?
August 11, 2020
Where do you find your security – wealth, status, career? If you were asked to give it all away – would you? Could you?
In Matthew, we read of a rich young man approaching Jesus. He wants to follow Him. But Jesus, knowing the true heart behind people’s motives and priorities says to the man – “If you want to follow me, go and sell all your wealth and give it to the poor. Then you can come follow me.”
Turning to leave, the rich man is disappointed. He knows he can’t do that. Why? Because his security is in his money. The idol of his life is money. There is no way he could give it up.
Witnessing this exchange, the disciples become unsettled. Why would Jesus say that? What will others think? They might lose followers.
Recognizing their concern, Jesus explains how difficult it is for a wealthy person to enter heaven. His answer was more than a little alarming. It’s probably alarming many affluent individuals calling themselves Christian, today.
You might think you’re going to go to heaven when you die, but all this time you’ve been putting your trust in money rather than God. God knows that your heart isn’t really His. That’s a pretty strong statement.
Choosing to follow Jesus isn’t easy. Now, don’t get Him wrong. Jesus isn’t asking everyone to give up all their earthly possessions in order to follow Him. But, He is saying that we need to be willing to give up what is most important to us in order to follow Him.
Where are we putting our trust, our security, and our hope? Is it in the things of this world, things that will pass away? Or, are we putting our trust, our security, and our hope in Christ? It’s a one-time decision that needs to be renewed daily. What decision are you making? Will you walk away from Jesus disappointed – or will you walk with Jesus?
 

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August 13
A Great Work
Bible in a Year:
  • Psalms 87–88
  • Romans 13

“I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”

Nehemiah 6:3
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Nehemiah 6:1–4
The security guard found and removed a piece of tape that was keeping a door from clicking shut. Later, when he checked the door, he found it had been taped again. He called the police, who arrived and arrested five burglars.
Working at the Watergate building in Washington, DC, the headquarters of a major political party in the US, the young guard had just uncovered the biggest political scandal of his lifetime simply by taking his job seriously—and doing it well.
Nehemiah began rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem—a task he took very seriously. Toward the end of the project, neighboring rivals asked him to meet with them in a nearby village. Under the guise of a friendly invitation was an insidious trap (Nehemiah 6:1–2). Yet Nehemiah’s response shows the depth of his conviction: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (v. 3).
Although he certainly possessed some authority, Nehemiah may not have rated very high on the hero scale. He wasn’t a great warrior, not a poet or a prophet, not a king or a sage. He was a cupbearer-turned-contractor. Yet he believed he was doing something vital for God. May we take seriously what He’s given us to do and do it well in His power and provision.
By: Glenn Packiam
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Reflect & Pray
What has God called you to do? Why is it important for you to take it seriously—seeing it as a great work?
Dear God, help me to believe that I’m doing a great work. I trust that You’ve called me to this in this season. Give me the focus to stay the course.


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August 14
Hope Blossoms
Bible in a Year:

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.

Isaiah 35:1
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Isaiah 35:1–4
In the city of Philadelphia, when weedy vacant lots were cleaned up and brightened with beautiful flowers and trees, nearby residents also brightened in overall mental health. This proved especially true for those who struggled economically.
“There’s a growing body of evidence that green space can have an impact on mental health,” said Dr. Eugenia South, “and that’s particularly important for people living in poorer neighborhoods.” South, a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, is coauthor of a study on the subject.
The downtrodden people of Israel and Judah found fresh hope in the prophet Isaiah’s vision of their beautiful restoration by God. Amid all the doom and judgment Isaiah foretold, this bright promise took root: “The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy” (Isaiah 35:1–2).
No matter our situation today, we too can rejoice in the beautiful ways our heavenly Father restores us with fresh hope, including through His creation. When we feel down, reflecting on His glory and splendor will bolster us. “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way,” Isaiah encouraged (v. 3).
Can a few flowers rekindle our hope? A prophet said yes. So does our hope-giving God.
By: Patricia Raybon
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Reflect & Pray
When you feel hopeless, how do you usually respond? How could spending time outdoors in God’s creation transform your despair to renewed hope in God?
 

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August 15
Running into Love
Bible in a Year:

I have loved you with an everlasting love.

Jeremiah 31:3
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Jeremiah 31:1–9
Nora was tiny, but “Bridget”—the belligerent, six-foot-tall woman glowering down at her—didn’t intimidate her. Bridget couldn’t even say why she had stopped at the crisis pregnancy center; she’d already made up her mind to “get rid of this . . . kid.” So Nora gently asked questions, and Bridget rudely deflected them with profanity-laced tirades. Soon Bridget got up to leave, defiantly declaring her intent to end her pregnancy.
Slipping her small frame between Bridget and the door, Nora asked, “Before you go, may I give you a hug, and may I pray for you?” No one had ever hugged her before—not with healthy intentions, anyway. Suddenly, unexpectedly, the tears came.
Nora beautifully reflects the heart of our God who loved His people Israel “with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). The people had stumbled into the hard consequences of their persistent violation of His guidelines. Yet God told them, “I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again” (vv. 3–4).
Bridget’s history is complex. (Many of us can relate.) Until she ran into real love that day, her belief had been that God and His followers would only condemn her. Nora showed her something different: the God who won’t ignore our sin because He loves us beyond imagination. He welcomes us with open arms. We don’t have to keep running.
By: Tim Gustafson
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Reflect & Pray
What’s your perception of God? How does it line up with the God you read about in today’s Scripture reading?
Father, I so often take Your incredible love for granted. Forgive me, and help me to reflect that love to someone today.
 

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August 17
Refined in the Fire
Bible in a Year:

These trials will show that your faith is genuine.

1 Peter 1:7 nlt
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
1 Peter 1:6–9
Twenty-four–karat gold is nearly 100 percent gold with few impurities. But that percentage is difficult to achieve. Refiners most commonly use one of two methods for the purification process. The Miller process is the quickest and least expensive, but the resulting gold is only about 99.95 percent pure. The Wohlwill process takes a little more time and costs more, but the gold produced is 99.99 percent pure.
In Bible times, refiners used fire as a gold purifier. Fire caused impurities to rise to the surface for easier removal. In his first letter to believers in Jesus throughout Asia Minor (northern Turkey), the apostle Peter used the gold-refining process as a metaphor for the way trials work in the life of a believer. At that time, many believers were being persecuted by the Romans for their faith in Christ. Peter knew what that was like firsthand. But persecution, Peter explained, brings out the “genuineness of [our] faith” (1 Peter 1:7).
Perhaps you feel like you’re in a refiner’s fire—feeling the heat of setbacks, illness, or other challenges. But hardship is often the process by which God purifies the gold of our faith. In our pain we might beg God to quickly end the process, but He knows what’s best for us, even when life hurts. Keep connected to the Savior, seeking His comfort and peace.
By: Linda Washington
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Reflect & Pray
What challenges have you faced that led to your growth? How did you respond to them?
Father God, help me see how the trials of my life bring out the gold in me.
 

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“Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:19-20
SELF-SUFFICIENCY OR GOD-DEPENDENCY?
August 17, 2020
In Matthew 17, Jesus’ disciples attempted to cast out a demon from a boy. The boy’s father was desperate for his son’s healing, but they were unable to perform the miracle. In previous chapters, the disciples were given authority to cast out demons and had been successful. What happened? Perhaps the disciples shifted from total trust in Christ to a subtle confidence in their own abilities. In other words, they got comfortable.
Have you ever driven on “autopilot”? You’re so familiar with the route that you let your guard down a little? Maybe you change the music, send the text, choose the podcast, enjoy the scenery, but forget to pay much attention to the road. After all, you could make this drive in your sleep! What happens when something unexpected shows up on the street in front of you or a car makes a sudden stop? Because you are on autopilot, you are less prepared for the unexpected. You swerve or jerk the car, hoping to avoid an accident or, worst case scenario, you might even kill someone. It’s not that you don’t know how to drive or haven’t done it before, you just got too comfortable and quit paying attention.
This could have been what happened with the disciples. Instead of praying and fasting and coming to God in total dependency, they became comfortable and confident in their own abilities. The longer they walked with Jesus, the more tempting it became to rely on themselves because, after all, “they’ve done it before.” This happens in our walk with God, too.
It is easy to grow comfortable in your faith. So comfortable that you forget how utterly dependent you are on God. However, God’s power is not experienced in the present because you had faith in the past. God’s power is experienced in the present when you exercise faith in the present. Very often, it is when you come to the end of yourself that real faith can begin. Take a moment to consider areas in your spiritual walk where you have grown comfortable. Confess to God, and ask Him to replace your self-sufficiency with a God-dependency!
 

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“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” – Colossians 3:2-3
THINK ON CHRIST
August 18, 2020
Neuroscience (the study of the brain and nervous system) is incredibly interesting, particularly in the way it highlights the applicability and truth of Biblical-teaching on our thought life. Dr. Joe Dispenza writes that “The length of time we give attention to something in life, along with our repetitive thoughts, forms our neurological writing.” In other words, the more we think about something, the more it becomes solidified in our hearts and minds, and this can actually affect and change our brains’ wiring.
The Apostle Paul may not have had access to this scientific research when he wrote Colossians, but the truth of Jesus and His Word transcends all time. God created our brains; He knows exactly how they work. So, it’s no wonder then that science today only affirms what God knew all along.
Jesus taught over and over again the beauty of a faithful life that loves and obeys God’s Word. When we look at the life of Jesus, we see Him model this focused dedication to walk in God’s calling and purpose, even when it led Him to the cross. He even faced well-meaning disciples, like Peter, who attempted to take Jesus’ mind off of His impending mission and suffering in Jerusalem. “Get behind me, Satan!” Jesus responded. “You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16: 23). He became man to fulfill His Father’s will to save us.
The heart of Jesus was always locked on His Father. His mind was set on the cross, and nothing could deter Him from it. Jesus knew exactly who He was and exactly where He was going. His thought life was laser-focused on one thing: God and His life’s mission.
What about you? Where do you need God to begin rewiring your thinking? Identify what thoughts consume your attention and pray that God would be the fountain by which every other thought spouts from.
 

boldstardex

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“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1: 27
THE AMAZEMENT OF FREE WILL
August 23, 2020
Let’s go back to the beginning – Creation. We jump in, where God has created everything. From the stars in the sky to the fish of the sea, not one detail has been overlooked. For His grand finale, God creates Man. Adam and Eve were created “in His own image.”
With characteristics unlike any other in creation, we, mankind, are incredibly unique. Let’s look at a few of those characteristics:
  • Knowledge: Man possesses the ability to think, to reason – unlike any other.
  • Emotion: God gets angry and disappointed at man, but shows great love and joy and forgiveness when we discover His will. In the same way, Man has emotions based upon relationships – just like God’s relationship with man.
  • Morality: Man has a conscience, a sense of what is right and wrong, a sense of guilt.
  • Free Will: Do I go to University or into the military? Do I reject God or love Him? Man has the ability to make decisions.
So, why does this matter? Take a look at this idea of free will. It probably has to be the most incredible characteristic we possess- the ability to choose.
We’ve been allowed a choice: to live for God or ourselves. To choose God means recognizing that we are flawed, sinful human beings, separated from God because of that sin. To choose God means believing that Jesus died on the cross as payment for our guilt, our sin, and accepting the undeserved gift of grace and forgiveness. To choose God means a life of fulfillment and purpose, pursuing God’s will in our lives and the assurance of eternal life.
Take a look at your life. If you died today, do you know with absolute certainty that you would go to Heaven? If there’s any doubt or uncertainty about your relationship with God, choose today to finally receive that missing peace and assurance that trusting Jesus will give you. Choose today to get to know our Creator, in whose image you’ve been made. It’s your choice. Choosing to trust in Jesus is the best choice you’ll ever make.
 

boldstardex

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August 27
Rescue the Weak
Bible in a Year:

Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Psalm 82:4
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Psalm 82:3–4
Which would you choose—a skiing holiday in Switzerland or rescuing children from danger in Prague? Nicholas Winton, just an ordinary man, chose the latter. In 1938, war between Czechoslovakia and Germany seemed on the horizon. After Nicholas visited refugee camps in Prague, where many Jewish citizens lived in horrible conditions, he felt compelled to come up with a plan to help. He raised money to transport hundreds of children safely out of Prague to Great Britain to be cared for by British families before the onset of World War II.
His actions exemplified those called for in Psalm 82: “Uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed” (v. 3). Asaph, the writer of this psalm, wanted to stir his people to champion the cause of those in need: “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (v. 4). Like the children Nicholas worked tirelessly to rescue, the psalmist spoke for those who couldn’t speak for themselves—the poor and the widowed who needed justice and protection.
Everywhere we look today we see people in need due to war, storms, and other hardships. Although we can’t solve every problem, we can prayerfully consider what we can do to help in the situations God brings into our lives.
By: Linda Washington
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Reflect & Pray
What are some immediate needs of others you can help meet? How has God uniquely prepared you to rescue and care for others?
Loving God, open my eyes to the needs of those around me.
 

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August 28
God Our Rescuer
Bible in a Year:

I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered.

Ezekiel 34:12
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Ezekiel 34:5–12
In the open sea, a rescuer positioned her kayak to assist panicked swimmers competing in a triathlon. “Don’t grab the middle of the boat!” she called to swimmers, knowing such a move would capsize her craft. Instead, she directed weary swimmers to the bow, or front, of the kayak. There they could grab a loop, allowing the safety kayaker to help rescue them.
Whenever life or people threaten to pull us under, as believers in Jesus, we know we have a Rescuer. “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep . . . . I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered” (Ezekiel 34:11–12).
This was the prophet Ezekiel’s assurance to God’s people when they were in exile. Their leaders had neglected and exploited them, plundering their lives and caring “for themselves rather than for [God’s] flock” (v. 8). As a result, the people “were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them” (v. 6).
But “I will rescue my flock,” declared the Lord (v. 10), and His promise still holds.
What do we need to do? Hold fast to almighty God and His promises. “I myself will search for my sheep and look after them,” He says (v. 11). That’s a saving promise worth holding tightly.
By: Patricia Raybon
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When you feel panicked, what’s your typical reaction? What problem can you release today as you reach instead for God?
Our rescuing God, when life makes me panic, encourage me to turn from the rolling waves and always reach for You.
 

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September 1
Suffering Together
Bible in a Year:

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.

1 Corinthians 12:26
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
1 Corinthians 12:14–26
In 2013, seventy-year-old James McConnell, a British Royal Marine veteran, died. McConnell had no family, and staff from his nursing home feared no one would attend his funeral. A man tapped to officiate McConnell’s memorial service posted a Facebook message: “In this day and age it is tragic enough that anyone has to leave this world with no one to mourn their passing, but this man was family. . . . If you can make it to the graveside . . . to pay your respects to a former brother in arms, then please try to be there.” Two hundred Royal Marines packed the pews!
These British compatriots exhibited a biblical truth: we’re tied to one another. “The body is not made up of one part, but of many,” Paul says (1 Corinthians 12:14). We’re not isolated. Just the opposite: we’re bound in Jesus. Scripture reveals organic interconnection: “If one member suffers, all the members suffer” (v. 26 nasb). As believers in Jesus, members of God’s new family, we move toward one another into the pain, into the sorrow, into those murky places where we would fear to go alone. But thankfully we do not go alone.
Perhaps the worst part of suffering is when we feel we’re drowning in the dark all by ourselves. God, however, creates a new community that suffers together. A new community where no one should be left in the dark.
By: Winn Collier
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Reflect & Pray
When have you felt most alone? How does God’s grace, kindness, and friendship help you deal with loneliness?
Is it true, God? Have You really placed me in a new community that knows and loves me in my suffering? Help me to believe this.
To learn more about suffering, visit ChristianUniversity.org/CA211.
 
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