Psalm 126:1-6 One of the fruit of the Spirit is joy, and whenever we sow love into the lives of others, we can expect to reap joy. There is nothing in this life that brings more joy to me than to see my children blessed and serving the Lord with faithfulness. If this brings joy to my heart, can you imagine the joy God experiences when He sees His children walking in love with others?
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Psalm 125:1-5 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people" (v. 2). This psalm has great meaning to me since I have had the opportunity to see the mountains surrounding Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a city set on a hill, but there are mountains round about it. The way Jerusalem is positioned gives it a natural security system.
Acts 4:1-37 Most of us remember the days in grammar school when we would have "Show and Tell." Our homework assignment was to bring to school something we wanted to show the class, and then we were to share with the class all we wanted to about whatever we brought to school. The items often included a baby sister or brother, a favorite pet, a special rock, etc. There is something about the combination of seeing and hearing that makes an indelible imprint upon the brain. In this passage in Acts we see how it was now show and tell time for the disciples.
Acts 3:1-26 It was about three in the afternoon when Peter and John encountered a lame man begging at the Gate Beautiful as they entered the temple courtyard. Peter looked into the man's eyes and said, "Silver and gold I do not have but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk" (v. 6).
2 Samuel 22:21-23:23 One of my joys in life is to rise before dawn and praise the Lord with all of His creatures at sunrise. There is a verse in Psalms that says, "You make the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice" (Ps. 65:8). Have you ever noticed how the birds sing the loudest at dawn and sunset? I try not to miss this morning and evening symphony of worship, and I love joining my voice to it. I also love to see the morning star in the sky, and I recall Jesus' description of Himself: "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star" (Rev. 22:16).
Psalm 121:1-8 What a comfort to know I have a keeper. We all need a keeper—a protector, provider and problem solver. Those who are blessed with good parents had the experience of the safety of a peaceful, loving home. I can remember the secure feeling I had when my dad came home from work and everyone was settled in our home for the night. I knew if we had any problems, Dad could handle them. I can remember my mother tucking me in at night. She used two giant safety pins to pin my covers down so I would not kick them off in the night. I went to sleep knowing the safety of a warm bed that would stay warm all night. My parents were good keepers, and they saw to my every need. I also have been blessed with a wise husband who keeps our checkbook balanced and sees to the financial, physical and spiritual needs of our home. He has been a wonderful keeper of me for over forty years, and I really need a keeper.
"Could you come down out of the heavenlies long enough to give me a hand with this dirty laundry?"
Have you ever uttered those words in your home? Some wives have trouble pulling their husbands away from the TV set. Others struggle to keep them from bringing work home from the office. But a growing number of women these days are asking: "How do I deal with my husband, the intercessor?"
John 21:1-25 The water gently washed over the heart-shaped rocks that were formerly pillars to an ancient temple. We looked in the distance across the Sea of Galilee and relived the story written in John 21. We were standing in one of my favorite spots on the shore of the Galilee. The place is called Peter's Primacy, and it is the place where Jesus cooked a meal for His disciples after He was resurrected. It was at this place that Peter had the opportunity to confirm his love to the Master three times after denying Him three times. This was Jesus' last meal with His disciples before He ascended, and something essential for their future happened here during their dinner conversation. Jesus told them of their future occupation in the kingdom.
John 20:1-31 This passage in John was always a mystery to me. Why did Peter and John believe Jesus was raised from the dead when they saw the linen napkin? Part of the burial clothing of a person in that day was a linen napkin that was wrapped around the head of the deceased. This part of Jesus' burial clothing was lying neatly folded in a place by itself. Listen carefully as John describes that event: "Peter therefore went out and the other disciple, were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw linen cloths lying there, And the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed" (vv. 3-8).
Psalm 119:132-155 Order is something we all want in our lives. I never knew how much I appreciated order until I visited India, a country where confusion reigns instead of order. I asked the Lord why there is such confusion in India, and He reminded me that He was not the author of confusion. Satan is the author of confusion. Confusion reigns in India because there is so much idol worship. There are over three million gods worshiped in India. The whole atmosphere is charged with demonic oppression, and this oppression affects people's mental faculties.
Psalm 119: 113-131 The Word of God is a light to our path, as we learned yesterday. Through the Word of God we can receive instruction, correction, reproof and doctrine that will keep us moving forward in our spiritual walk and also prevent our stumbling along the way. The Word of God not only shines a light on our path as we walk through this life, but it also shines a light into our hearts.
Psalm 119:96-112 What a privilege to be the container of God's glory. However, for His glory to shine out of our lives, we have to fulfill two conditions—to hear and heed God's word. In Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, David declares what the Word of God means to Him. He says, "You word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (v. 105).
John 17:1-26 So many in these last days are seeking God's glory even as Moses sought to see His glory. We, however, are living in the days after the cross and God has chosen to reveal His glory to others through us. We are the body of Christ, and if we believe and heed His Word, He is glorified in us. To think that we as flesh beings can shine radiantly with God's glory even as Moses did after his encounter with God on the mountain is amazing. In this passage Jesus makes it clear that He will not glorify us in the future, but He has already glorified those who believe in Him. Yes, there will be a day when the fullness of His glory will be revealed to the whole earth, but until that time, we have been appointed to be His glory on earth. Listen to Jesus' words: "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou has loved me" (vv. 20-23, KJV).
John 16:1-33 The words Jesus spoke to His disciples seemed hard words to them. He was telling them He was going to go away and that they would forsake Him for a season. These were troubling words, yet Jesus ended His conversation with them by saying, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (v. 33).
John 15:1-27 Most of us are familiar with the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13, but did you know there is another love chapter in the Bible that is just as important? John 15 is that chapter. Here Jesus tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches. The word divine has "vine" in it, and the "di" is short for deity. One could say divine love is God's dependent love. So many of us, including me, try to have the qualities of love listed in 1 Corinthians 13, but we fail miserably. Love is the fruit of the spirit, and the nine fruit of the spirit all radiate from divine love. It is impossible to love as Jesus loved when He walked on earth over two thousand years ago. We can, however, demonstrate His love to others if we are totally dependent upon His Spirit. Jesus tells us to do three things to radiate His love daily:
John 14:15-31 Jesus just told the disciples He was going away, but He would not leave them comfortless. He promised them He would send them the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, but He made another promise that we often miss. Many of the promises in the Bible are conditional, and it is important we fulfill the conditions before we claim the promise. In this passage Jesus makes a conditional promise. He said "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him" (v. 21).
John 13:31-14:14 Jesus shared with His disciples that He was going away. They did not understand Him. He told them to not be troubled in their hearts because He was going to prepare a place for them.
John 13:1-30 We talked yesterday about rejoicing and being glad every day of our lives. True joy is not conditional. We may be going through distress and trials, but in the midst of this we can rejoice and be glad. One might ask, "How can I be happy when so much is going wrong in my life?" The answer to this question is given in our New Testament reading in John.
Psalm 118:19-29 As I looked through my mother's things after her death, I found a beautiful writing she clipped from a church paper. I do not know who wrote it, but I made copies of it and passed it out at Mother's memorial service. The title of it is "The Gift of a Day." I have included it at the end of today's devotional. It expresses what this psalm says: "This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it" (v. 24). The following poem is included in the reading:
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