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Daily Devotion

boldstardex

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“When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. ‘Go,’ Jesus replied, ‘your son will live.’ The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living.” – John 4: 47 & 50-51
WHAT DOES HEALING LOOK LIKE?
December 26, 2020
“Go; your son lives,” Jesus told the man. It was a 4-6 hour journey home and his son was critically ill. So ill, in fact, that this father risked what could have been his son’s final hours to beg Jesus for a miracle. Can you imagine the journey home? The thoughts swirling around this man’s head – did Jesus really just heal my son? He didn’t even see him! Can this really happen? Or did I just miss my son’s final hours to go on this ridiculous journey? So many questions. So few answers.
Many of us can relate. We pray for a miracle, but we’re restless and full of doubt. In the case of this desperate father, Jesus did heal his son, bringing his entire household to faith in the process. But, how does this miracle relate to our lives, today? What can we learn about Jesus from this miracle of healing?
  1. Nothing is impossible with God.
  2. Jesus can heal because of the faith of others.
  3. Jesus doesn’t have to be physically present to heal.
  4. Only God sees the full picture and knows why some are healed and others are not.
  5. Our role is to trust the results of our prayers, whether or not they make sense.
Maybe your need isn’t physical healing like this sick little boy. Maybe you’re carrying around emotional or spiritual wounds. If we’re honest, we could all use some healing in our lives – right? Maybe twenty years ago you had an abortion. You didn’t feel you were ready to be a mother so you made a choice. But this choice still haunts you. Overwhelmed with guilt and pain, you’re in desperate need of God’s healing and forgiving power. Perhaps it’s abuse you experienced growing up. You need God’s supernatural power to forgive and move on because right now you just can’t. Whatever it may be, the same Jesus who healed this sick little boy, in spite of the father’s questions, uncertainties, and doubts, still heals today. If you confess your sins to God, He will forgive you. If you confess your inability to forgive others, He will help you.
Are you in need of physical, spiritual, or emotional healing in your life? Maybe you’ve been praying for a miracle but still struggle with doubt, questions, and a lack of faith. Take your needs before Jesus and leave the rest to Him. Let Jesus reveal what healing can look like in your life.
 

boldstardex

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“When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, ‘Do you wish to get well?’ The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.’ Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.” – John 5:6-9
ARE YOU STAYING STUCK?
December 27, 2020
The legend said that the first person to enter the pool after the water ripples would be healed. You can imagine that this pool attracted the most desperate of individuals, with many fighting for a spot just at the water’s edge – watching, waiting, hoping. In a place overflowing with need, one man caught Jesus’ eye. Paralyzed for 38 years, this man waited daily by the pool hoping for a miracle.
“Do you want to get well?” Jesus asked the man. The question seemed bizarre and the answer obvious. But Jesus knew human nature. For 38 years, people had been bringing him to the pool. He had become dependent on others. Being healed meant taking responsibility for himself.
The man became defensive. “It’s not my fault, no one is here to help me into the water,” he explained. He was understandably frustrated, probably feeling stuck. But, in playing the victim and blaming others for his circumstances, he almost missed Jesus’ life-changing offer: healing.
Can’t we all relate? When things are hard and we feel stuck – isn’t it easy to become depressed, give up and give in to the hand life has dealt? Maybe we’ve been disappointed time and time again and accepting current circumstances seems less painful than hopes crushed. Maybe the situation really is unfair or out of your control – an illness, a sudden layoff, broken trust – you are the victim. Sometimes it just seems safer to stay where you are, to stay stuck.
So, what does Jesus ask of us when our lives feel stuck? “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.”
  1. “Get up” – Believe in the person of Christ Jesus, in His promises, in His truth.
  2. “Pick up your pallet” – Take responsibility for yourself.
  3. “Walk” – Have the faith to walk away from your old self as you journey through life with Jesus.
No matter life’s circumstances, Jesus offers a way out: hope and eternal salvation that overcomes every sickness, obstacle, and disappointment life has to offer. Don’t just wait by the pool hoping for a miracle. Seek out the miracle worker Himself!
 

boldstardex

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‘By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”’ – Hebrews 11: 17-18
WHAT ARE YOUR ISAACS?
January 10, 2021
Imagine. You’ve dreamt of having a child. All you’ve ever wanted is to be a parent, but years pass and nothing. No doctor or treatments are able to help. You almost give up – until one day you discover you will have a son. Can you imagine the emotions? A few years pass and your son is growing into a curious little boy with personality to spare. You love admiring all he does as he learns and grows. After all, he’s a miracle. Then one day, God asks you to give up this miracle. Could you do it?
Abraham was asked this very question. After years of waiting, hoping, losing faith, and trying things their own way, God fulfilled His promise of a son to Abraham and Sarah. Isaac was their miracle. An answer to prayer. The promised heir to a great nation. And God wanted Abraham to give up Isaac? It didn’t make sense. Yet, Abraham chose to fully trust God. You see, God never intended for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. He simply wanted to see Abraham’s heart. Did he really trust God? Was God really more important to Abraham than his son?
We all have dreams we would do almost anything to achieve. Sometimes it’s a dream we’ve been chasing since picking up a guitar as a kid. For others, it’s fresh and new, an idea that sparked a new business venture. You put in extra hours, sweat, and tears – you give up sleep, finances, and free time. We’re all dreaming of something. The problem, however, is when these dreams begin to replace God in our lives. When that dream takes first place and becomes our focus, our god – our ‘Isaac.’
The ultimate act of faith is giving God what we value most. Look at your life. Are you willing to put the Lord before your child? Before your spouse? Before your parents, friends, job, or ministry? These are our dreams; the things we love most. These are our Isaacs.
So, what is it that you are holding onto so tightly that you’re not willing to give up for God? Start there and ask for help turning over to God the Isaacs in your life. With God, He’s either first place in our lives – or no place at all.
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January 13
After God’s Heart
Bible in a Year:

The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart.

1 Samuel 13:14
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
1 Samuel 16:1-13
When senior bankers in Asia were asked what their favorite interview questions were, one of them gave this answer: “How do you define and achieve success?” The CEO of Citibank Singapore explained, “I like to understand motivations for success. This allows me to know the core of the person [I am interviewing] and their values.”
How about God? What does He look out for? We read of an “interview” session in 1 Samuel 16:1-13. The prophet Samuel was tasked by God to identify and appoint the king of Israel, and God gave Samuel this requirement: “People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Seven candidates were interviewed and rejected (vv.8-10). The eighth candidate, David, who was Jesse’s youngest son and the least qualified in terms of achievement, was chosen. He fulfilled that one important criterion that God was looking for: “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do” (Acts 13:22).
While it’s important to consider a person’s skills and qualifications, let’s not neglect the weightier issues of character—honesty, veracity, integrity, and humility. This has an important implication for us: as we seek to be God’s good and faithful servant, we must seek to grow in skills and knowledge, and more importantly, to be a person after God’s own heart.

By: Kay Tee Sim
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Reflect & Pray
What does it mean for you to be after God’s own heart? What can you do to follow after God’s own heart every day?
Lord, let me be like David, a person after your own heart. Help me do everything You want me to do.
 

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January 15
All Roads?
Bible in a Year:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

John 14:6
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
John 14:1–7
“Don’t get on the expressway!” That text came from my daughter one day as I was leaving work. The highway home had become a virtual parking lot. I began trying alternate routes, but after experiencing gridlock on other roads, I gave up. The trip home would have to wait till later in the day, so I drove in the opposite direction to an athletic event my granddaughter was involved in.
Discovering that no roads would lead me home made me think about people who say that all roads lead to an eternal relationship with God. Some believe the road of kindness and good behavior will get you there. Others choose the road of doing religious things.
Relying on those roads, however, leads to a dead end. There’s only one road to take to God’s eternal presence. Jesus clarified this when He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He was revealing that He was going to die to open the way for us to enter His Father’s house—to His presence and the real life He provides for today and eternity.
Skip the blocked highways that don’t lead to God’s presence. Instead, trust Jesus as Savior, for “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (3:36). And for those who already believe in Him, rest in the way He’s provided.
By: Dave Branon
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Reflect & Pray
Why is it vital to know that only Jesus can save us? Why are we prone to try to add to what it takes to be welcomed into His family?
Dear God, I want to trust You for eternity. Thank You for the salvation found in Jesus alone.
Read about the difference between relationship with Jesus and religion at DiscoverySeries.org/Q0215.


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boldstardex

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“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” – Exodus 20: 11
FINDING THE WORK-REST BALANCE
January 17, 2021
Have you found the work-rest balance? According to the Washington Post, the likely answer is “No.” A 2014 gallop poll showed the average American working almost 47 hours a week with 50% working even longer! It’s pretty obvious that as a nation we’re struggling to find the balance between work and rest. After all, “work” and being “busy” have become a part of our identity. It’s no surprise our workaholic attitude has begun to negatively impact our health and relationships.
Work is necessary, but the key is finding balance. In fact, if we are putting more value and more focus on our work than anything else (including our relationship with God) – work has become an idol. That’s not only unhealthy, but it is sinful.
God knew that we would struggle with this balance so He created the Sabbath. The Sabbath simply means rest. It means to step back from your regular routine and your work schedule for a 24-hour period of time – pure, guilt-free rest. The concept of a day of rest goes all the way back to the beginning. After 6 days of creating, God set the example – He rested. It wasn’t because God was tired, but because He had completed a great work.
By pausing from our busy lives, we can reflect on all God is doing and the opportunities He has provided. Resting enables us to go back to work more productive than when we left. If you are struggling with finding a work-rest balance, you’re not alone. Start by choosing one day this week to step back. Close the laptop, turn off email and yes, even your phone, and do whatever recharges you.
Finding your work-rest balance won’t happen overnight, but it can start by intentionally slowing down, stepping back, and following God’s example to rest.
 

boldstardex

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‘And Jesus said to them, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations… and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”’– Matthew 28: 19a & 20

STORY TIME
January 18, 2021
Jesus told a lot of stories. God’s Word uses the term “parables,” but that really just means stories that convey a deeper lesson or wisdom. These stories were simple enough for a child to grasp and yet full of insight and depth to capture the attention of even highly educated leaders of the day. Teaching through stories was very common in the first century, as only the educated and elite were literate.
But what made these stories so powerful? Jesus spoke the language of the people. He didn’t use words and concepts only the religious elite would understand. No, He spoke in ways that not only connected with the culture of the day but also turned their worldview on its head.
Jesus spoke of God’s relentless love through the story of a shepherd leaving his flock to seek out a single lost sheep (Luke 15). He spoke of the magnitude of God’s forgiveness and redemption through the portrayal of a father’s love towards his rebellious son returning home after having squandered his inheritance (Luke 15: 11-32). Jesus even taught on the importance of living with an eternal perspective rather than focusing solely on the momentary pleasures of the day, through the story of a rich man who stored up his “wealth” in giant barns, only to leave it all behind at the end of his life (Luke 12: 15-21).
As followers of Jesus, we too are called to share the truth of Jesus with others in a language and in ways that are understood. One way to do that is through stories. What story of Jesus are you telling? You might want to start with the story of how Jesus changed your life. We would love to know about your story!
 

boldstardex

Moderator
“Then Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’” – Luke 15: 3-7
LOST & FOUND
January 19, 2021
I remember the year my aunt and uncle took their four kids to New York City on vacation. One day, while leaving the subway, they turned around to find their youngest son staring wide-eyed from behind the train’s closed doors. My uncle frantically ran alongside the subway train, beating on the doors as it took off. Three of his four kids were fine, but it was that one potentially lost child that immediately consumed all his attention. (Don’t worry, he was found.)
Jesus is always concerned about that one lost individual. It doesn’t mean that He loves the others less, but He goes out of His way to seek out the lost, the broken, and the marginalized.
In Luke 5: 30-32, the Pharisees asked Jesus point-blank why He spent so much time with those whom they viewed as “sinners.” Jesus answered simply: “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
To emphasize His point, Jesus told a parable: When a shepherd notices that a single sheep is missing, he leaves behind the rest of the flock to search for the one that is lost. Once found, that shepherd calls all his neighbors together to celebrate the return of that lone lost sheep.
Many times in Scripture, Jesus is referred to as the Good Shepherd and His followers as sheep. The analogy is that like any good shepherd, Jesus loves, cares for, and protects ALL His sheep; but He’s especially burdened by those sheep that are missing. And when even one of those missing sheep is found, all of heaven rejoices (Luke 15: 7).
Have you walked away from God? You probably have many reasons for keeping your distance, but Jesus’ heart is for you – not against you. Like a father who has lost a child, Jesus is consumed by the thought of you. He won’t give up on you; He won’t stop pursuing you – no matter how far away you’ve wandered. Will you look to Him today? You won’t be disappointed.
 
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