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Daily Devotion

boldstardex

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May 3
Jesus’ Unpopular Ideas
Bible in a Year:

Give to the one who asks you.

Matthew 5:42
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Matthew 5:38–48
For fifteen years, Mike Burden held hate-filled meetings in the memorabilia shop he ran in his small town. But in 2012 when his wife began to question his involvement, his heart softened. He realized how wrong his racist views were and didn’t want to be that person any longer. The militant group retaliated by kicking his family out of the apartment they’d been renting from one of the members.
Where did he turn for help? Surprisingly, he went to a local black pastor with whom he’d clashed. The pastor and his church provided housing and groceries for Mike’s family for some time. When asked why he agreed to help, Pastor Kennedy explained, “Jesus Christ did some very unpopular things. When it’s time to help, you do what God wants you to do.” Later Mike spoke at Kennedy’s church and apologized to the black community for his part in spreading hatred.
Jesus taught some unpopular ideas in the Sermon on the Mount: “Give to the one who asks you . . . . Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:42, 44). That’s the upside-down way of thinking God calls us to follow. Though it looks like weakness, it’s actually acting out of God’s strength.
The One who teaches us is the One who gives the power to live out this upside-down life in whatever way He asks of us.
By: Anne Cetas
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Reflect & Pray
How are you living out Jesus’ words of giving to those who ask and loving your enemies? What would you like to change?
God, help me to love others as You love me. Show me how to do that today.
 

boldstardex

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THE TRUTH ABOUT ADAM AND EVE
May 03, 2021
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Genesis 3:6
The subject of the “original sin” is often one of great debate. The interesting thing here is not that Adam and Eve could disobey God, but that they chose to disobey God!

Why did they do this? Why did their free will lead them to choose something contrary to God’s will, which they would later discover to be sin? And furthermore, how could they choose to sin when they were made perfect?

Well, because they could. We, too, sin because we cannot help it, because we acquired their sin nature that causes us to do so. It’s as if the result of Adam and Eve’s sin infected us with a spiritual illness that makes it impossible for us not to sin. Confused yet?

So, sin began in the Garden of Eden as the devil tempted the original couple to disobey God. And how did the serpent bring about this willingness to fall into sin? He told them that the Word of God could not be trusted.

The “original sin” occurred when Adam and Eve accepted Satan’s word that God was a liar, and to this day, the devil’s point of attack is to draw us away from the will of God by attacking His Word—the trustworthiness and authority of scripture. When Satan is successful in doing this, then man begins to make himself his own god and seeks to do what is right in his own eyes.

Sin began when Adam and Eve chose to stop trusting God and started playing god themselves. They allowed their own desires to replace the Word of God. Sadly, this sin has become ingrained in the nature of man and has, over time, caused man to rationalize, justify, and perform even the most heinous acts of evil.

How about you? As you face temptations and decisions, do you listen to the Word of God and obey, or do you let Satan help you justify your own desires? Only one way is the best. The other way creates chaos.

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May 5
It’s Who You Know
Bible in a Year:

I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Philippians 3:8
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Philippians 3:7–11
In early 2019, Charlie VanderMeer died at the age of eighty-four. For many decades, he was known to thousands and thousands of people as Uncle Charlie, the host of the national radio broadcast Children’s Bible Hour. The day before Uncle Charlie slipped into eternity, he told a good friend, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Of course, I’m talking about Jesus Christ.”
Even as he faced the end of his life, Uncle Charlie couldn’t help but talk about Jesus and the necessity for people to receive Him as their Savior.
The apostle Paul considered knowing Jesus his most important task: “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him” (Philippians 3:8–9). And how do we know Jesus? “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
We may know facts about Jesus, we may know all about the church, and we may even be familiar with the Bible. But the only way to know Jesus as Savior is to accept His free gift of salvation. He’s the Who we need to know.
By: Dave Branon
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Reflect & Pray
In your relationship with Jesus, how have you experienced that it’s Who you know, not what? What has Christ’s forgiveness meant to you?
Father God, I pray for all who’ve yet to come to know Jesus by believing in Him and accepting His sacrifice on their behalf. And if I’m one who hasn’t received Jesus as my Savior, may I confess with my mouth “Jesus is Lord” today.
 

boldstardex

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May 6
Heavy but Hopeful
Bible in a Year:

Lord, you are the God who saves me.

Psalm 88:1
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Psalm 88:1–13
In a Peanuts comic strip, the very enterprising character Lucy advertised “psychiatric help” for five cents. Linus found his way to her office and acknowledged his “deep feelings of depression.” When he asked her what he could do about his condition, Lucy’s quick reply was, “Snap out of it! Five cents, please.”
While such lighthearted entertainment brings a momentary smile, the sadness and gloom that can grip us when real life happens is not that easily dismissed. Feelings of hopelessness and despair are real, and sometimes professional attention is needed.
Lucy’s advice wasn’t helpful in addressing real anguish. However, the writer of Psalm 88 does offer something instructive and hopeful. A truckload of trouble had arrived at his doorstep. And so, with raw honesty, he poured out his heart to God. “I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death” (v. 3). “You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths” (v. 6). “Darkness is my closest friend” (v. 18). We hear, feel, and perhaps identify with the psalmist’s pain. Yet, that’s not all. His lament is laced with hope. “Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry” (vv. 1–2; see vv. 9, 13). Heavy things do come and practical steps such as counsel and medical care may be needed. But never abandon hope in God.
By: Arthur Jackson
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Reflect & Pray
When have you turned to God in the midst of your despair? What’s keeping you from crying out to Him now?
Father, help me to see Your open, welcome arms regardless of my situation.
 

boldstardex

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DEAR MOM
May 09, 2021
“Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” – Proverbs 31:31
Motherhood is one of the most challenging and often thankless jobs to ever exist. Yet, there’s something about that relationship with ‘Mom’ that is unlike any other – the unconditional love, support, and sacrifice of many mothers are unparalleled. For this reason, we celebrate moms on Mother’s Day. It’s a moment to recognize and appreciate their role in guiding and growing us in faith and thanking God for their impact on our lives!

There are many different categories of moms: there is the stay at home mom, the working mom, the single mom, adoptive mom, foster mom, stepmom, and countless other mother-figures, such as big sisters, grandmothers, aunts, neighbors, teachers, and friends, who have stepped into this critical role. Remember all the ways your mom or mother-figure loved, sacrificed, and spoke into your life. Today is a day to say thank you.

Mother’s Day, however, isn’t always a day of celebration and gratitude. For many, it can be a truly painful reminder of a mother who has passed away, the mother who was never known, or one who left a deep wound. It can also be a harsh reminder for a grieving mother of a child gone too soon, or the one who never made it into this world. And for those who are still praying for a child, it’s important to recognize, remember, and pray for those hurting on this day.

In Isaiah, God speaks to those who mourn: “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you (Is. 66:13).” No matter what kind of relationship you have or had with your mother, God cares deeply.

So, as you celebrate Mother’s Day, be sure to call or stop by to show the Mom in your life some extra love and gratitude for standing by your side through all of life’s ups and downs. And remember those whose hearts are heavy today, praying that God’s presence will be a comfort in the midst of heartache.

Finally, for all the mothers reading this message today, I pray that God may continue to care for you, strengthen you, and equip you for the incredible responsibility and calling He has placed on your lives. Thank you for all you do!

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May 11
Listening to Wise Advice
Bible in a Year:

The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

Proverbs 12:15
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Proverbs 12:2–15
During the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln once found himself wanting to please a politician, so he issued a command to transfer certain Union Army regiments. When the secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, received the order, he refused to carry it out. He said that the president was a fool. Lincoln was told what Stanton had said, and he replied: “If Stanton said I’m a fool, then I must be, for he is nearly always right. I’ll see for myself.” As the two men talked, the president quickly realized that his decision was a serious mistake, and without hesitation he withdrew it. Though Stanton had called Lincoln a fool, the president proved wise by not digging in his heels when Stanton disagreed with him. Instead, Lincoln listened to advice, considered it, and changed his mind.
Have you ever encountered someone who simply wouldn’t listen to wise advice? (See 1 Kings 12:1–11.) It can be infuriating, can’t it? Or, even more personal, have you ever refused to listen to advice? As Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” People may not always be right, but the same goes for us! Knowing that everyone makes mistakes, only fools assume they’re the exception. Instead, let’s exercise godly wisdom and listen to the wise advice of others—even if we initially disagree. Sometimes that’s exactly how God works for our good (v. 2).
By: Con Campbell
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Reflect & Pray
Why are you sometimes reluctant to listen to the wise advice of others? How can you be sure the advice you receive reflects true wisdom?
God of wisdom, teach me Your ways and help me to avoid folly. Thank You for putting others in my life who are in a position to offer helpful advice when I need
 

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May 12
Renewed Vision
Bible in a Year:

My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high.

1 Samuel 2:1
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
1 Samuel 1:10–18; 2:1–2
After a painful minor surgery on my left eye, my doctor recommended a vision test. With confidence, I covered my right eye and read each line on the chart with ease. Covering my left eye, I gasped. How could I not realize I’d been so blind?
While adjusting to new glasses and renewed vision, I thought of how daily trials often caused me to be spiritually nearsighted. Focusing only on what I could see up-close—my pain and ever-changing circumstances—I became blind to the faithfulness of my eternal and unchanging God. With such a limited perspective, hope became an unattainable blur.
First Samuel 1 tells the story of another woman who failed to recognize God’s trustworthiness while focusing on her current anguish, uncertainty, and loss. For years, Hannah had endured childlessness and endless torment from Peninnah, the other wife of her husband Elkanah. Hannah’s husband adored her, but contentment evaded her. One day, she prayed with bitter honesty. When Eli the priest questioned her, she explained her situation. As she left, he prayed that God would grant her request (1 Samuel 1:17). Though Hannah’s situation didn’t change immediately, she walked away with confident hope (v. 18).
Her prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1–2 reveals a shift in Hannah’s focus. Even before her circumstances improved, Hannah’s renewed vision changed her perspective and her attitude. She rejoiced in the ongoing presence of God—her Rock and everlasting hope.
By: Xochitl Dixon
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Reflect & Pray
How will focusing on God's unchanging nature instead of your circumstances give you greater hope? Where are you currently struggling with spiritual nearsightedness?
God, please renew my vision so I can focus on Your constant presence and live with an eternal perspective in all circumstances.
 
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