Devotions

Devotions

 

Memory Verse of The Week

“Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!” (Psalm 96:3, ESV)


Monday

After going through a series of traumatic events in my life over the course of just a few years, I found myself emotionally and physically depleted with advanced adrenal fatigue. I had just been through a tumultuous relationship and the death of both of my parents, and now my health had taken a nosedive, too. But there was no magic pill or prescription to make it all better. Instead, I had to learn to take better care of myself and deal with all the emotional baggage I had been shoving down for years.

Thankfully, God stepped in and led the way, calling me into a simpler lifestyle, leading me to be more mindful of chemicals I might be putting in and on my body, and most importantly, addressing all of those repressed emotions. It was no picnic. But once I emerged on the “other side” and realized how joyful and peaceful life could be, I wanted to start running around telling everyone how they could start living differently, too!

I believe it’s the epitome of 2 Corinthians 1:4 (ESV), which says, “...Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” When God does an amazing thing in your life, you not only want to share it with others, you feel almost compelled to do so. You see others going through the same storms that He has brought you through in your own life. You realize you can share comfort and encouragement with them, just as Jesus did for you. Whether it’s a health crisis, a marriage needing restoration, or a struggle with addiction, as Christians we are called to share the Good News of His marvelous works wherever we go. This both helps others and brings God glory.

What storm has Jesus brought you through in your life? Don’t be afraid to share your story. There are others out there just waiting for your encouragement and support.

By Jenn Baxter


Read: Psalm 96:3; 2 Corinthians 1:4; Romans 10:15
Tuesday

In Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus issues "The Great Commission" to believers. He tells His disciples to tell others about Him and teach the things He taught and commanded. Then He reminds them that, after everything, He will still be with them.

This was a commission to the disciples of Jesus' time, but it's also our commission. As believers, our lives and our words should be instruments of discipleship in this world so that we can share the Good News: our striving is over. Jesus did it all on our behalf. He became fully human; He lived a life free from sin; He sacrificed His own life on the cross; He defeated sin so that we could be free; and He was raised to life again, sealing God’s perfect plan for our salvation. Jesus has paid a debt for us that we could never hope to repay, and He wants us to tell others!

As a result of God’s incredible sacrifice and His great love for us, we have been appointed to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, commissioned to help others find the freedom He has given us. Psalm 107:2a (NIV) says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.” We are the redeemed of the Lord, and part of “telling our story” means living like we’ve been redeemed. Reflect on your life in this moment: are you living like you've been redeemed?

As ambassadors of Grace, my prayer is that people look at us, God’s people, and see a community that loves, serves, encourages, spreads joy, prays for one another. That they would watch us seek and impart forgiveness. May they see believers living victoriously, free from working for His love because He has already given it to them once and for all time.

If your life is not currently a reflection of the enormous, priceless gift God has given you, ask Him to intervene in your circumstances and show you how to walk in the beauty of His redemption so that your life will preach just as loudly as your words. You are chosen, you are beloved, and you are called to tell your story.

By Kendra Intihar


Read: Matthew 28:16-20, 7:18-20; Isaiah 6:8
Wednesday

When we have good news in our lives, such as wedding announcements, birth announcements, new jobs, or children’s graduations, we want to announce it to friends, family and even strangers. We use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram...or we even go old school and put it in the newspaper. Luke 2 tells us that after the shepherds visited Jesus, they went into town and told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this Child.

When I think about telling others good news, I think of shouting it from the mountain top for everyone to hear. Just like the lyrics to the well-known Christmas carol, “Go Tell it on the Mountain.” This was originally an African-American spiritual song, compiled by John Wesley Work, Jr., dating back to at least 1865, with the original author unknown. A spiritual is a type of religious folk song that is most closely associated with the enslavement of African people in the American South before the Civil War. These songs were sung in the fields and the Praise Houses to convey Christian values while describing the hardships of slavery. These songs reflected the personal relationships between the slave/singer and God, but often also had codes related to escaping slavery, both physically and spiritually.

Imagine living a life of despair and oppression, one of slavery or bondage, longing for freedom. Then someone starts up a song, a spiritual song, one that gives hope. “Down in a lowly manager, our humble Christ was born, and God sent us salvation that blessed Christmas morn.” Jesus offers us freedom through salvation. John 8:36 tells us, “So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (ESV).

All around us, our friends, neighbors, family, and even strangers are living as slaves. They can be slaves to loneliness, despair, addiction, anger, or bitterness. And the list can go on. As former slaves ourselves, who have found freedom in Jesus, we must “Go Tell it on the Mountain.” Just as the slaves in the fields sang the spirituals to help other slaves find freedom, we are instructed by Jesus Himself to help the slaves around us find freedom in Him. “And He said to them, go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15, ESV).

“Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere. Go, tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born.” Who are you going to share this Good News with? Who are you inviting to come and know the Good News that Jesus Christ is born?

By Denise Linton


Read: John 8:36; Isaiah 40:9; Luke 2:16-17; Mark 16:15
Thursday

I’ll admit, sometimes I am a little hesitant about being bold for Jesus with non-believers. I know it is the Good News—the very best news in fact—but in such a tumultuous and dark world, it’s not always received as such. But, after having an imaginary conversation with a hostile non-believer in my mind one too many times, God finally stepped in and corrected my thinking. He told me “Use your life” and reminded me of all the amazing testimonies and “God stories” I have to share. He’s told me many times since then, “Shine the light of Jesus.” Makes it all sound so simple when you put it that way, doesn’t it?

It’s funny how we tend to overcomplicate things. In my mind, I was envisioning myself having to be the next Billy Graham and giving myself panic attacks because I knew I’d never measure up. Yet God never called me to be Billy Graham. Yes, He wants me to witness to non-believers. But that doesn’t mean I have to thump them over the head with a Bible. The Lord has given me so many stories to share—stories that are both relatable and non-intimidating, as well as unmistakably God. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel; I just need to share the wonders that Jesus has already done in my life.

We all have our own unique stories to share. Tell them! Brag on God. Use your life to shine the light of Jesus. For, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:15, NLT). Shine your own light!

By Jenn Baxter


Read: Matthew 5:16; John 8:12; Ephesians 5:8
Friday

I grew up in a small, mountain town in Virginia. My Sunday mornings were spent at my Grandma’s church. I remember bits and pieces of our Sunday School life, but the thing that stands out most from that time are the songs. I was the little girl that went around singing “This Little Light of Mine” over and over again. I just loved that song. It was simple, catchy, and had hand signals I could use along with it.

Though traditionally a kid’s song, this simple tune did a good job illustrating that one person could stand and shine so others could see Jesus. “This little light of mine, / I’m gonna let it shine,” means that when you come to faith in Christ, you have a light inside you. I didn’t understand that as a child, but I did know that it meant I should be good because my actions reflected God. As an adult, this light inside me reflects God’s incredible grace and the peace He has given me. He has literally lightened my load and has given me love and joy that shines very much like a light on my face.

“Hide it under a bushel? No! / I'm gonna let it shine,” was always a fun line as a child because I could cover and uncover my finger—better illustrating the fact that we shouldn’t hide our love for Christ. As an adult, this isn’t as black and white. Do people around you know you are a Jesus Follower? Do you hide or downplay this area of your life when you are around certain people? Are you afraid that some people won’t understand or they don’t agree with Christianity, and won’t want to hang out with you anymore? Don’t be afraid to show how you feel about Christ! You are an example of Jesus’ perfect grace and love. People should look at you and immediately associate you with Christ.

“Don't let Satan blow it out, / I'm gonna let it shine.” As a child, this verse was the best part of the song because you could blow your finger like a candle. Satan felt almost like a cartoon villain who was out to get me. As an adult, Satan has taken on a whole new meaning. He feels like a force to be reckoned with.

Satan brings up guilt and shame when I know I’ve already been forgiven. He causes things to happen that may lead to negative thoughts or situations that might tempt me to sin. He tries to steal all joy from my life any time he can by using the world around me to make me feel small and powerless. From time to time, he makes me question if Jesus could possibly love someone like me, who doesn’t deserve His forgiveness. What we can’t forget is that Jesus died for us so we aren’t bound by our sin forever. He forgives us and is working for us every day, in ways we can’t see or understand. He is so powerful that we should also feel powerful—He is on our side! He LOVES us.

My toddler is a fan of simple songs like this. Teaching her these words reminds me of just how transformed this song is for me now that I’m an adult. That’s the thing about Jesus: He transforms your entire life, perspective and all, when you come to faith in Him. Slow down. Think about the amazing things He has done—and is doing—in your life. Let His light shine through you. Let everyone see Him by your joy, grace, and love for others.

By Brittany Cowan


Read: Luke 2:15-20

 

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