Archives For devotional

Roadside assistance

Lisa Misner —  May 2, 2019

By Adron Robinson

Read: Acts 8:26-40

Everyday is an opportunity to introduce someone to Jesus Christ, because everyday God allows us to be ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. In Acts 8, Philip was such an ambassador. When led by the Holy Spirit to go on what must have seemed an illogical journey, he immediately obeyed.

Because of his obedience, he was in the right place at the right time to tell someone about Jesus. The Holy Spirit led Philip to a high-ranking Ethiopian official who had been in Jerusalem to worship but left still searching for the living God. Despite the official’s power and prestige, he had a vast emptiness in his soul.

Will you share the gospel with one person and pray for them to be saved?

This Ethiopian man is like many of our friends, family, and co-workers today. They are socially successful and culturally religious. Sometimes they even read the Scriptures and seek the truth, yet they do not have saving faith in Jesus Christ. And each of them needs someone to show them the way. On the journey of life, they need roadside assistance!

They need a Philip to obey the Holy Spirit’s leading and come alongside them on the road of life to have a gospel conversation with them. They need someone who will help them understand the Scriptures, and they need someone who will tell them the bad news about their sin and the good news about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And when they believe, they need someone to baptize them and then disciple them so they can go out and make other disciples.

Will you be like Philip and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading? Will you share the gospel with one person and pray for them to be saved? On the road of life, we all need roadside assistance.

Prayer Prompt: Father God, we were lost and you found us; we were broken and you healed us; we were dying and you rescued us. Help us to follow in your footsteps and look for daily opportunities to share the gospel with those in need.

Adron Robinson pastors Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills and is president of IBSA.

Trusting God in dark days

Lisa Misner —  April 11, 2019

By Adron Robinson

Read: Psalm 25

When facing the dark days of life, to whom can you trust your soul?

We don’t know the exact circumstances of this psalm, but we know that David wrote it at a time when he was being attacked by his enemies. The attacks left him isolated from friends, hated by foes, and discouraged in heart. Yet, in one of the darkest times of his life, David made up his mind to trust in God.

Because God alone is able to deliver him from his enemies, David pleads for the Lord to save him from the shame of defeat (Ps. 25:1-3). David knows that God has a track record of faithfulness, so he puts his soul in the hands of the only one whom he could trust.
Next, David prays that God will direct him (vv. 4-15). He asks God to lead him into his divine will, while releasing him from the snare of his enemies.

David’s prayer is for God to reveal his will so that David can pursue God’s will. David doesn’t want to live outside of God’s will, so he asks God to order his steps. And on our dark days, we should pray the same way. David Livingstone once said, “I’d rather be in the heart of Africa in the will of God than on the throne of England out of the will of God.”

Finally, David prays for God to defend him from his enemies (vv. 16-25). In his darkest days, David asks God to guard his life and rescue him from his enemies. He places his faith in God to be his refuge. Out of gratitude for all God did, David is determined to live with integrity and uprightness.

When dark days come, don’t turn from God, turn to God. He alone is faithful to protect your soul.

Prayer Prompt: God, thank you for being the always faithful presence in our lives. May we turn to you on our darkest days, and may you lead us in the way everlasting.

Adron Robinson pastors Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills and is president of IBSA.

Dr. Doug Munton, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of O’Fallon, IllinoisHaving practiced daily devotions for many years, I spend some time each day (mornings usually work best for me) reading my Bible and praying. I read a certain number of chapters of the Bible, underlining as I go. And I spend time praying by praising and thanking God, confessing sin, asking for my needs and praying for the needs of others.

I will tell you that sometimes I don’t feel much like doing that. But feelings are terribly fickle.

I rarely feel like exercising or eating healthy or all kinds of things that need to be done. I like the phrase “spiritual disciplines.” I am to discipline myself in my devotional life.

But I will also tell you that feelings often follow discipline. I am glad I exercise and eat right when I do. And I feel especially glad that I regularly spend time in God’s Word and in prayer.

The longer I’ve practiced daily devotionals the more I’ve recognized its value, including:

1. It reorders priorities.

It is easy for me to prioritize the wrong things. Getting my relationship with God at the top of my list helps the rest of my list fall into proper alignment. We need to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Spending time with the Lord in His Word and in prayer is a reminder of what matters most and helps all the rest of my life to realign.

2. It promotes truth.

God’s Word is true and it leads us in the way of truth. Listen to enough commercials and you can begin to think the truth is that the world is to revolve around what you want or think you need. The lies of the world are everywhere. We need the truth of what God says. Our time with God helps us to know and remember what is true and real and lasting.

3. It teaches lessons.

By reading the Bible for yourself you begin to take personal responsibility for your spiritual growth. By all means, learn in a Bible-believing church and get in a small group Bible study. But read for yourself. Time alone with God in prayer allows you to learn lessons of faith and thankfulness and dependence upon God.

4. It changes perspectives.

A devotional life helps you to begin to think like Jesus thinks and see life from God’s perspective. It encourages you to see the big picture of faith and to deal with adversity in a proper manner. It discourages self-centered living and promotes greater dependence on the Lord’s strength for life.

5. It deepens our relationship with God.

The more I read God’s Word given to me, the more I see the kind of relationship God wants me to have with Him. I see the beauty of His grace and the riches of the Christian life. The more I pray, the more I connect with the heart of God. We talk to those we love. God talks with us through His Word and the Holy Spirit. We talk with God through prayer.

I want to encourage you to begin or expand a devotional life. Spend some time reading God’s Word. If you haven’t yet read the entire New Testament, start there. Keep a pen and paper handy to underline or note things that especially stand out to you. And then spend some time in prayer. Praise and thank God. Confess sin. Pray for your needs and the needs of others. Consider keeping a prayer list of specific people you are praying for.

Spending time with God makes all the difference in the depth and joy of our spiritual lives.

Doug Munton, online at dougmunton.com, is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in O’Fallon, Ill., and a former first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

This article appeared at BPnews.net.

Bald Cypress horizontal

The sheltering bald cypress tree.

My parents have a large bald cypress tree in their front yard. Its branches extend to the street and over the house. The bird feeder under the tree is popular place for robins, sparrows, cardinals, blue birds, and many others. Rabbits and squirrels come around eat the seed that falls from the feeder.

Stepping away from my everyday life, I recently went back home to northeast Missouri and spent a few days with my parents where the room I sleep in is next to the tree. Early in the morning I would awaken to the sounds of the birds singing happily as they gathered under the tree for their morning meal.

Buddy the squirrel

Buddy eats a piece of bread.

Later in the morning, I’d take time to relax on the front porch and watch not only the birds, but the rabbits and squirrels that would come to the tree. My mother regularly feeds them, and has even named the regulars. There’s Buddy, a squirrel who was very thin and appeared to have some kind of back injury when he first came to the tree, but has been fattened up with Sunbeam bread and now bears little trace of his injury. He’s been joined by Big Nose Kate (Doc Holiday’s girlfriend in Tombstone), Spot (named for the white spot on his chest), Roddy (the Rodent), and a few other squirrels. My family jokes that Buddy has invited his friends and family to come eat at the “best restaurant in town.”

My mother calls the tree a “happy place.” And it is. Sitting there, watching these small creatures take refuge under the shelter of the tree as they enjoy the available provisions, reminded me to slow down and take time to marvel at God’s creation. I could not help but bring to mind Matthew 6:25-26, “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” How much I could learn from these little creatures.

Watching them as they moved about without a care in the world caused me to think how complicated I have a habit of making things, and about the lesson the little birds and squirrels were teaching me.

One day, a storm came through town in the early morning hours and several limbs were blown from trees blocking roads and causing power outages. But the bald cypress remained strong and provided shelter in its branches. When the storm had passed, everyone was back under the tree’s sheltering shade. Oh, how God is so much more to us than that tree!

As David wrote long ago in Psalm 91:1-2, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!’” The entire chapter is a reminder of the peace and security only God provides.

The tree is my mother’s thinking place, a respite from the stress of life. It was the same for me in my time there. A place to slow down and delight in God’s goodness.

– LMS

HEARTLAND | This morning, read Psalm 68. Then think on these 25 attributes of God seen in the psalm, outlined by David Platt in a sermon at the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference in Baltimore.

God is awesome.
God is active.

He subdues all who rebel against Him.
He satisfies all who trust in Him.

He is the One True God.
He is the covenant-keeping Lord.

God is father of the fatherless.
He is protector of the widow.
God loves the lonely.
He rescues the captive.
He provides for the needy.

God is sovereign over all nature.
He is sovereign over nations.

God is powerful above us.
God is present with us.

He commands a heavenly army.
He conquers an earthly victory.

God daily bears our burdens.
He ultimately saves our souls.
He is my God and King.
He is our God and King.

He draws peoples to Himself.
He deserves praise throughout the earth.
He is the divine warrior.

God speaks a dependable word.

For us, there are two implications, Platt said. Give glory to this God. And give your life to His mission.

Layout 1“Father, … I commit my spirit!”
Read Luke 23:46-49, John 19:31-42

Here are some signs that Jesus’ work really worked: The earth shakes, as God’s own creation trembles at the mighty act just finished on a barren hill outside the city. The massive temple curtain separating the place of God’s holy presence from sinful people is ripped from top to bottom, signifying the Creator’s invitation to humanity to enter into restoration. And on the cross, Jesus makes his own great declaration of faith in the Father’s plan: I trust You.

How could Jesus say this?

No prisoner in solitary confinement was ever more alone than our Christ on the cross. It had to be that way.

faithOnly Jesus could serve as the sacrifice for our sins. Only Jesus could be our spotless lamb. Only Jesus could be the human qualified to pay the penalty for sin. Because he was sinless. And in this he was unique in all of the universe. In this he was alone.

All he had to hold to was the Father’s promise of life on the other side of the grave. Soon he would rest, his salvation work complete. Soon all heaven would celebrate.

PRAY Lord, because of Your great love and completed work on the Cross, into Your hands I, too, commit my Spirit.

Layout 1“It is finished!”
Read John 19:30, Hebrews 1:1-3

When its payment is completed, a bill is customarily stamped “paid in full.” No more payment is expected. The cancelled paperwork is proof that the debt is no longer held against the debtor. In New Testament times, the word written across the final invoice was tetelestai. This Greek word means “it is finished.”

Tetelestai (pronounced “tuh-TELL-uh-sty”) appears only twice in Scripture, in John 19:28 and 19:30. In the first verse, “Scripture” is described as tetelestai. Often translated as fulfilled or completed, it is finished. Jesus did everything the prophets said he would do. He left no job undone, no stone unturned.

finishedOnly two verses later in John’s account, Jesus himself declares his mission accomplished. After six hours on the cross, painfully pulling his body up to swallow every breath, it is almost impossible for Jesus to seize enough air to shout this news.

But he does. And everyone is stunned.

Tetelestai!

PRAY Lord, I am amazed by all you did to save me. Thank you for completing my redemption. Your work is finished, and I am paid for in full.