Christian Devotional – January 24, 2013

VERSE:
John 14:15–If you love me, keep my commands.

TRUTH:
We obey God because we love Him. When we are doing something for someone we love, it’s not about duty, compulsion, or obligation. We aren’t worried about being paid back or anything like that. We do things for them simply because we love them and want to show that to them. Our relationship with God is to be that way. Do we obey simply because we love?

RESPONSE:
Father, I love You. I obey You and do the things You as simply because I want to show You I love You. You are my everything and I am pleased to do what brings You joy.

Christian Devotional – January 23, 2013

VERSE:
John 13:37–Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”

TRUTH:
We sometimes make boastful claims to the Lord about what we will do for Him or what we want to do for Him in the future. Instead, we should focus on what we are currently doing for Him. Our obedience is not something we should discuss from a “future” perspective but from a “present” one. What are we doing right now to be obedient to God and to praise Him? If we don’t focus on the present obedience, then the future obedience won’t happen.

RESPONSE:
Father, today I will focus on being obedient to You each moment, instead of bragging about what I will do in the future. I will concentrate on obeying You each moment of today.

Christian Devotional – January 22, 2013

VERSE:
John 12:16–At first His disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about Him and that these things had been done to Him.

TRUTH:
This verse gives me such hope. Even though I don’t always understand Jesus or what He is doing, there will come a time when I do understand. The disciples didn’t understand everything that Jesus did while He did it, but eventually as they looked back, then they understood. We can have faith that God will explain Himself at some point.

RESPONSE:
Father, thank You for showing me that even the disciples who walked with You didn’t always understand what You were doing. I will have faith in You even when I don’t understand, knowing that in the end it is all to glorify You.

Book Review – The Encounter by Stephen Arterburn

As we are continuing our look at love stories leading up to Valentine’s Day, I must confess that I really enjoy finding discount books. Recently I was in an Christian bookstore that has wonderful discounts and picked up several books. One of those books is The Encounter by Stephen Arterburn.

In The Encounter, wealthy Jonathan Rush has returned to his hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska, on a mission. As the CEO of a large corporation, he is still haunted by his past and emotionally scarred because he was given up by his mother for adoption at the age of four. He is now back to see if he can piece together his past and tame the anger that has been hidden inside for so many years. He and a local reporter team up to search for answers to why he was left by his mother. They find a woman named Mercy who seems to hold more answers than she is willing to reveal.


This is a beautiful story of forgiveness and redemption. It’s a great example of the fact that often we don’t always have all the facts in a situation and that the perspective of a situation looks very different depending on whose eyes you’re looking through. This is well written and is compete with a study to help groups to discuss the Christian themes and ideas throughout the book should readers want to use it in a small group setting. The love of a mother for her son is an overwhelming theme throughout the book. Readers will enjoy The Encounter.

Click the picture above to learn more about this beautiful book.

Christian Devotional – January 21, 2013

VERSE:
John 11:40–Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

TRUTH:
Jesus told the people and His disciples several times that earlier what He was planning to do. He explained that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead for the glory of God. Yet, when He started to make requests to do just that, Jesus met with questions and hesitation. God does not make His will for our lives a huge secret. He intends to glorify Himself through us. Why are we surprised when He chooses to do just that?

RESPONSE:
Father, You will glorify Yourself through me, for that is Your plan. I pray that You forgive me when I don’t understand what You are doing. I will trust You and follow You even when I don’t understand because I trust You.

Christian Devotional – January 20, 2013

VERSE:
John 10:18–No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.

TRUTH:
Jesus was given authority over His own life by the Father. The people did not take it away from Him and He chose the exact moment and place where He laid it down. The people here were so angry that they wanted to kill Jesus, but He knew it wasn’t the right time so He didn’t lay it down. Do we respect His authority and position that God has given to Jesus?

RESPONSE:
Father, You have given Jesus the authority over His life. Because of that Jesus chose the exact moment to lay down His life and the precise moment to pick His life back up again. Because of Jesus in me, His authority over me is final and absolute, given by God. All authority belongs to God and I will obey Him.

Christian Devotional – January 19, 2013

VERSE:
John 9:2–His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

TRUTH:
Often when we see something wrong, we try to figure out who is to blame. We can get so focused on who is to blame that we don’t figure out how to move past and get forgiveness and healing. Are we focusing on God and His glory throughout each situation or are we only focused on the blame?

RESPONSE:
Father, I pray You forgive me for being focused on the wrong thing in situations. I will not get distracted by blaming but will always see how You want to set us free in each situation.

Christian Devotional – January 18, 2013

VERSE:
John 8:32–then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

TRUTH:
What holds us in bondage, even more than chains and jails? Lies. Lies will hold us in a tighter bondage even as we walk around. Only the truth, the truth of Jesus Christ will free people from the bondage that the master of lies, Satan, as trapped us in. Are we free through the truth of Jesus Christ?

RESPONSE:
Father, Your truth frees us from all the bondage that Satan tries to keep me captured in. You are freedom and You bring about freedom in all things.

Christian Devotional – January 17, 2013

VERSE:
John 7:16–So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.”

TRUTH:
How do we know the things we know? The Lord was asked this question and responses that His learning is from God. The Lord does not boast in His own knowledge and neither should we. Anything that we know that is worth knowing is from God. Our teaching is from Him and God deserves the credit, not us.

RESPONSE:
Lord, You know all things and You have graciously shared a little bit of Your knowledge with me. I pray that You will be glorified as I use Your knowledge according to Your will and give You the credit.

Christian Devotional – January 16, 2013

VERSE:
John 6:2–A large crowd followed Him because they saw signs which He was performing on those who were sick.

TRUTH:
Jesus wanted to have a large crowd following Him, but not for this reason. He wants people to believe in Him and trust in Him, yet that’s not why these people were following Him. They saw Jesus do amazing things and wanted to follow Him to see more. Why do we follow Jesus.

RESPONSE:
Lord, You are doing many great and amazing things, yet that is just a part of who You are. You are great and holy and worthy of praise even if You never did another miracle. I will praise and worship You because of You.