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January 2024 Devotional Thoughts

January 1

Joshua 3:1-5

“…for ye have not passed this way before.”

These people had been desert dwellers, making their way to the land of promise.  Once they crossed the Jordan River, they would be in a country they had never been, traveling a way they had never gone.  Their instructions were clear.  They were to wait until they saw the priests carrying the ark of the covenant, then they were to fall behind it and follow it into the land.  The emphasis placed upon them was, “…for ye have not passed this way before.”

We are entering into a brand new year.  There are uncertain days ahead for all of us.  None know the future, that which we will be facing over the next days and months.  Honestly, looking at the current world situation, things don’t look very bright right now as far as the future is concerned.  However, that is really not true for the child of God, for regardless of the condition of our world, the Lord is in control.  Our task is to know Him, love and follow Him.  In doing so, even though we “have not passed this way before,” He knows the way we should take.

The Children of Israel were living in exciting days, but these were also days that could be filled with dread and fear.  They had heard of the walled cities, the iron chariots and the giants in the land of Canaan.  There would be battles to be fought and won, and struggles to be faced.  The guarantee of their success was following and obeying the Lord.  Beloved, the very same thing could be said of us.  We may not be facing the military challenges they faced, we may not be facing giants, but we most likely will be facing challenges beyond our natural capacity to face.  But remember this child of God, you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you, and although you do not know what is around the next corner in your life, your Lord does.  Just follow Him, for you have not passed this way before.

January 2

Joshua 4:1-9

“…and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.”

One of the Divine warnings given to the children of Israel was this, “lest thou forget.”  This warning is found 9 times just in the Book of Deuteronomy.  Why do you suppose this was so emphasized?  It was because of the natural tendency to be forgetful when it comes to things we have witnessed, learned and been taught concerning our Lord and His workings in our lives.  In Joshua 4, a “memorial” was erected of stones taken from the Jordan River when Israel crossed over into the land of Canaan.  This memorial would be a holy reminder, a standing testimony of God’s goodness and miraculous power in providing for His own.  Notice the emphasis given in Verse 6; “That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?”  This would provide a teaching opportunity for the young to learn of the past blessings and provisions of God, and would encourage them to ever trust in Him.

We need holy reminders.  Paul wrote, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles….” (Ephesians 2:11)   He encouraged them to be ever mindful of the goodness of God shown them in their past.  Peter wrote, “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance….” (2 Peter 3:1)  The Apostles knew our need to have these holy reminders of those things the Lord has done for us.

These reminders serve a couple of purposes.  Of course, they keep our hearts humble and thankful to our Lord, but they also help us in trusting Him for the future.  Child of God, when we face challenges this new year, let’s remind ourselves that the Lord has brought us to this point by His grace and power in the past.  He has blessed us thus far, why would we doubt that He will continue to do so?  The same Lord that had taken Israel through the wilderness, meeting their every need, and that had dried the Jordan River that they could cross over, would continue to meet their every need.  They just needed to remember that!  Thus, the pile of stones was a “memorial.”  Let’s start piling up stones, holy reminders of God’s goodness and grace in our past.  This will help us tomorrow.  Amen!

January 3

Joshua 6:1-20

Every Vacation Bible School student at some time has heard this  blessed story.  It is one of those lessons we learned from the Word of God that stays with us, ever reminding us of the power of our God and the simplicity and wonder of faith.  Israel was charged to do something that perhaps looked and felt rather foolish.  They were to march around the outer perimeter of Jericho’s walls in total silence except for the blowing of the trumpets.  Once per day for six days they were to march around, following the priests that were carrying the ark of the covenant.  On the seventh day they were to march around seven times, then on the completion of that seventh trip around, they were to sound the trumpets and the people were to shout to the top of their voices.  They were promised by the Lord that if they would follow these simple instructions, the city’s walls would fall flat and the city would be conquered.  They did just as instructed, and the walls tumbled before them just as the Lord had promised.

The walk of faith is an interesting proposition.  We are called upon at times to do things that to the world simply makes no sense at all.  Faith doesn’t always make sense, but trusting God does.  Faith doesn’t trust in things visible or tangible.  Faith trusts in the power, provisions and goodness of our God.  Faith compelled Israel to stand before the Red Sea and trust that God would make a way.  It called Israel to believe that God would send down manna every day through the forty year wilderness journey, and that He would dry up Jordan that they could cross over on dry ground.  Faith demanded that Israel march around impervious walls believing that God would tear them down.  We are also commanded to walk by faith and not by sight, trusting in our Almighty God to meet our every need.  Can we do that?  Mustn’t we do that?  Should we not walk by faith and see the glory and power of God manifested in our lives?  If we do so, we can see our walls of opposition come tumbling down.  As the old song says, “And the walls came tumbling down.”

January 4

Joshua 7 - 8

Mistakes were made at Ai.  It was a small town, but overconfidence on Israel’s part was mistaken.  Achan’s sin was costly, for himself and for the people of God.  Sin is that way, isn’t it.  Sometimes the sins of one effect many.  So it was with Achan.

We should ever have confidence in the Lord and His power, but not so much in ourselves.  Our confidence must always be in Him.  He has all wisdom and all power, and is worthy of all our trust and confidence.  That’s why we are commanded to be “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might,” (Ephesians 6:10) and should always be clothed in the “whole armor of God.”  Our strength may fail, our abilities may wane, but His will never.

Finally, a lesson that must be learned by all is that our sins do have an effect on others.  We are not perfect, and although saved we are still sinners.  For this reason we must ever walk with our Lord and seek to be obedient to His Word.  Achan’s example is an extreme, but it is an example and an illustration of how our actions can effect others. (See 1 Corinthians 10:11)  Thankfully, our Lord forgives and heals.  Praise God for that reality!  And praise the Lord we are living in the days of grace and not of the Law of God.

January 5

Joshua 10:1-5

To what extent would the Lord hearken to a man when praying in and according to His will?  Would He go so far as to stop the ever moving universe that had been in constant movement since the moment He created it?  Beloved, He would do even more than that.  He would stop its movement, and back it up. (See Isaiah 38:7-8)  Joshua needed more time, so he prayed that the sun would stand still, and it did “about a whole day.”

Here in the opening days of this new year, this is a lesson you and I really need to understand.  The lesson is this; when we pray, the Lord hears and answers our prayers if those prayers are prayed according to His will from lips that are clean and right with Him.  We believe the Scriptural account of Joshua’s prayer and the remarkable results of that prayer.  Scripture is filled with examples of answered prayer, perhaps not as mind blowing as this example, but undeniable miraculous answers to prayer none the less.  As is repeated over an again, prayers must be prayed from believing hearts.  If we truly trust and believe in the Lord, and our lives are right with Him, He will hear and answer our prayer.

Before we leave this thought, there are a few verses that need to be noted concerning praying and seeing answers.  Please look up the following passages: Luke 11:2 (The Father hears the prayers of His children); 1 John 3:22 (The Lord answers prayers prayed by those that are living lives that are pleasing to Him); 1 John 5:14 (Prayers that are prayed “according to His will” are heard and answered).  Like Joshua, when we have genuine need, our Lord knows and understands that need and is ever ready to hear us and meet our need through answered prayer.  Praise God!

January 6

Joshua 11

“And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire.“

Do you suppose we will face any obstacles, any challenges or any difficulties in the coming year?  Would you think there could be anything facing us that might cause fear?  Well, as Lynn’s dad would say, “Has a cat got a climbing gear?”  Yes, we will face things this year we probably would rather not face.  That’s just a reality.  We are sinners living in a sinful and fallen world.  We can expect no less.

“Thanks, preacher.  What an encouraging devotional thought.”  The encouraging thought is not that we will face things we would rather not face, but that the Lord will provide what we need to overcome these in victory.  The Lord’s promise to us is still in effect: “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:37)  Joshua and the children of Israel were facing an enemy that was too great for them, but they need not fear for “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.“ (1 John 4:4)  You’re going to make it, child of God, and your going to make it as a victor if you will just keep your heart focused on the Lord and His Word.  When you look up and see the enemy advancing upon you, just look on up higher and see the Lord guiding, encouraging and protecting you.  He has promised to do so.  Just keep trusting His promise.

January 7

Joshua 20

“…Appoint out for you cities of refuge….”

A companion passage for this chapter would be found in Numbers 35.  The Lord intended for there to be “cities of refuge” where one could flee for safety that had committed what seemed like a great crime when in reality that person was actually innocent.  The city of refuge was assigned for that person to guarantee justice was rightfully served, but the main thought was that it was indeed a place of refuge, of safety and security.

Paul wrote in Hebrews 6:18, “…we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us….” (Hebrews 6:18)  Christ is our refuge, but the glorious difference in our refuge is that we can flee there even if guilty of all crimes charged against us.  In fact, that is exactly what you did when you fled to Him for salvation.  You were guilty of sin and disobedience, but the Lord took your sin and died on Calvary in order to declare you innocent.  Therefore, when the adversary rails his accusations against us, we can flee to our place of refuge, the Lord Jesus.  When we feel conflicted over our past, we can flee to our refuge. When fear or anxious thoughts flood our souls, our refuge awaits us to comfort and assure us.  What a blessed place of refuge!

The blessed difference is that when fleeing to a place of refuge, the Old Testament saint had a distance to cover that might have been a somewhat arduous journey.  Not so with the follower of the Lord Jesus.  He is just a prayer away.  The distance is not greater than from your knee to the ground.  Actually, its not even that far, for He has never left you or forsaken you.  He is with you always.  Your “city of refuge” is ever present with you wherever you go.  Just flee to Him in your heart when fear, anxiety or doubt attack you.  With open arms, like the open gates of the cities of refuge, He will embrace you with His comfort, safety and assurance.  Thank God for our refuge!

January 8

Joshua 21:43-45

The Book of Joshua has been referred to as the “Ephesians” of the Old Testament.  Joshua records the exploits of the children of Israel as they possessed what had been given to their father, Abraham.  It was them taking advantage of the blessings and favor of God, a living up to their potential and of enjoying all that the Lord had to offer through His grace.  So is the Book of Ephesians for the follower of Christ.

When you were saved, you received so much more than salvation, as if that were not enough.  No, you received promises and assurances of blessings in this life, not just in the sweet by and by.  You were promised peace, joy, full privileges of sonship with the Father, assured victory, direction for decisions in life and so much more.  Jesus promised His followers life, and that life as a more abundant one than anything the world has to offer.

Now, think about this.  Those Canaanland promises were given to that crowd that came out of Egypt, but they squandered around in the wilderness for forty years until all had died from twenty years old and up that had been brought out of bondage.  Why was that?  Unbelief!  They just didn’t appropriate all that God had intended for them.  We can do the same thing, and sadly, many do. You don’t have to!

Let’s enter our land of Canaan, not heaven, but the land of a promised Spirit-filled, Spirit-led life.  Let’s possess all of the spiritual possessions the Lord has intended for us as His followers, that “land flowing with milk and honey” experience.  I don’t want to die in the wilderness of unbelief.  Do you?

January 9

Joshua 24

“…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

This is probably one of the more familiar and best known passages in the Old Testament.  It was spoken by Joshua challenging the children of Israel in their service of and faithfulness to God.  A dear saint in our church many years ago gave our family a door knocker with this verse inscribed on it.  This is a great verse of challenge for all as we enter into this new year.  We are just nine days in, so this would be a good time for us all to reaffirm this commitment in our own lives.

There are many things we can choose to serve.  We can serve our own selfish interests.  Its possible to become a servant of vice, of wrong.  Paul wrote, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)  Believers can easily come into servitude to others’ wishes, but that is not always best.  The year that we are entering into will present us with many challenges, not the least of which will be who, or what we will yield our service to.  Joshua challenged his people, giving them the choice as to whether they would serve the false gods of the land, or if they would dedicate themselves to the service of the Lord.  Joshua’s statement was simple, but straight to the point.  They could choose to serve God, or they could choose to serve Baal.  Joshua’s commitment was clear.  He and his were going to serve the Lord and none other.

What a great challenge for us this year!  The year is ahead of us.  As of yet we have not made a great deal of mistakes or mishaps, for the year is still young.  Why don’t we determine at this early stage to let this year be a year of faithful service to our Lord?  Why not say with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord?”  Amen!  May the Lord help us to do just that.

January 10

John 12:20-26

Joshua challenged his generation concerning the serving of the true God of Israel.  They had a choice to make.  So do we.  We must choose to serve the Lord faithfully in our lives.  None can make that choice for us.

In our verse today, Jesus gives a secret when it comes to faithfully serving Him.  “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be….”  This is a truth we need to glean.  If we will simply follow the Lord Jesus, we will automatically be involved in serving Him.  We sing the song, “Where He leads me I will follow…I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.”  If we do that, He will lead us into service.  Think about the way He led His disciples during the days of His earthly ministry.  He went about doing good, (Acts 10:38) meeting the needs of those He came in contact with.  He said that He came to “minister,” to serve, and He did just that.  As His disciples followed their Lord, not only did they learn the meaning of service, they got “hands on” experience.  So shall we.  Just follow the Lord each day in your life and He will lead you into service.  Seek His face in prayer, study His blessed Word, and He will guide you in what you need to do and where you need to go.  As you are following Him, He will lead you into service.  Lord, help us to follow You, and help us to serve You with all our hearts.  Amen!

January 11

Galatians 5:13-15

In our last devotion we looked at the thought of serving the Lord, which we concluded would come naturally if we would just follow Him.  The question naturally arises, “How can I serve the Lord?  What is involved in His service?”  In our text today, Paul speaks of the believer’s service, mentioning a couple of things which we should consider.

First, Paul notes that one of the ways we serve is by rendering service to others around us; “…serve one another.”   Service for the Lord is often fulfilled by our serving another of God’s children.  Jesus served continually by meeting the needs of those around Him.  He taught His disciples this mindset of service continually.  For instance, the feeding of the five thousand incorporated the work of the disciples in distributing the bread and the fish.  Your service for Christ might just be your preparing a meal for someone who isn’t able to do so for themselves.  It may involve driving another to an appointment, to the grocery store or to the pharmacy.  Service for Christ may very well mean rendering service to someone who needs a little help.

Another thing we learn about service is that it must be rendered in “love.”  Service is a duty, but it must not be done in the wrong mindset or attitude.  Don’t you imagine we lose some of the reward of service when it is given begrudgingly?  If service is rendered only out of necessity the thought comes to mind, “What reward have ye?” (Matthew 5:46). Service is a duty, but it is really a blessed privilege.  The Lord honors us by allowing us to serve Him.  Seek our Lord’s direction and His will in the area of your service for Him.  You might be surprised where He leads you.

January 12

John 13:34-35; 15:9-17

The Lord’s Church should be known for many things.  It must be a light shining in a dark place, a “city that is set on a hill.” (Matthew 5:14)  It must ever be a defender of the faith, (Jude 3) ever occupied with the propagation of the Gospel of Christ and ever seeking to glorify its Lord in all that it does.  There is one thing that is of the utmost importance that must be practiced by and seen in the church, and that something is love.

We live in a world that is often filled with bitterness, with controversy and with a quarrelsome spirit, but this must not be so in the Church of the Lord Jesus.  His Church should ever be permeated by His love for all, and by our love one for another.  Just as we noted in the previous devotion, all of our service should be done in love, and should be a reflection of Christ’s great and selfless love for us.

Beloved, some churches are gun barrel straight, doctrinally sound and militant when it comes to rightly dividing the Word of Truth, but they are void of love.  Other churches seemed to be filled with an atmosphere of love, but are very weak when it comes to doctrinal truth.  Shouldn’t there be a balance?  Can’t there be sound doctrine and defended faith while at the same time godly, scriptural and Christ honoring love?  During the days of His earthly ministry, none were as doctrinally sound as He, yet He was filled with love, and ever demonstrating that love in all that He did.  We can, and we must be like Him.  It is by love that folks around us recognize the fact that we are His disciples, and that certainly should be our goal.

January 13

Jude 3; 2 Peter 1:12-15; 1Timothy 3:14-16

In His great prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus prayed for His followers the following words; “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”  “Truth” cannot be overemphasized when it comes to the House of God, the Church.  Does it really matter what we believe about the Bible?  Yes, it really does matter!  But, aren’t all churches like spokes on a wheel, or like different roads leading into the same city?  They may take folks there differently, but they will take them there nonetheless.  No!  All churches are not the same!  Many churches are still gathering places where people meet, sing and fellowship, but no truth is being given forth.  Some still gather, and only partial truth is sent forth.  This must not be so!

Truth is of the utmost importance.  A right dividing of God’s Word is essential for the New Testament Church, (2 Timothy 2:15) along with a right application of the truths learned.  Without a clear presentation of truth, there can be no genuine conversions.  When truth is absent, the saints are not fed and nurtured, and they do not grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

The call to last days Christians is that of earnestly contending for the faith.  It will prove to be the secret of success for any local church, and the failure to “earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints” is a guarantee to fail in this spiritual battle.  “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  Father, ever help us to walk in truth and to ever be involved with proclaiming that truth to a world still groping in darkness.  Amen!

January 14

John 3:15-21

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.”

The is a most important key in understanding the condition of the world today.  “Light is come into the world.”  That Light is the Lord Jesus Christ and His blessed Word.  Do you ever wonder why so few receive it?  Have you wondered why so few trust Jesus Christ as Savior, and how that broad path that leads to destruction is so packed?  Here is why; “…men loved darkness rather than light.”

“Darkness” speaks of the absence of light.  It speaks of sin and sinfulness, of ungodliness and unholiness.  Darkness comes natural to man, for he is dwelling in a condition the Bible describes as spiritual death.  He is void of life, and therefore is void of light.  John said of Jesus, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)  The “light” of our Lord will never be popular to humanity.  Never!  The reason for this is clear, for men love darkness rather than light.

When you come out of darkness into bright light, it is uncomfortable.  You can’t fully open your eyes.  You squint and try to shade yourself from the brightness.  So it is with those who are yet groping in darkness apart from the light of Christ.  That Light is irritating, and it causes spiritual discomfort.  Not so for the child of God that has been brought into the Light of this world, the Lord Jesus.  The saved love His light, love His Word and love Him Who is Light.  They love Him in Whom is no darkness at all.  Aren’t you glad the Lord rescued you from the darkness of this world and brought you into His marvelous  light?

January 15

1 John 1:1-10

“…walk in the light, as he is in the light….”

In our last devotion, we noted how that the unsaved love darkness rather than light, and are content to continue walking in darkness.  The saved, however, have been brought into the glorious light of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Although that it true, there is something we need to understand.  Just because we have been brought to the light of the Lord Jesus, that does not mean that the darkness of this world will no longer lure us to continue walking therein.

There will always be a drawing, a temptation to the child of God to walk in the darkness of this world at some level.  We must remind ourselves of the fact that there are “pleasures in sin,” (Hebrews 11:25) but that these pleasures are only temporary or seasonal.  The benefits and blessings of walking in Christ’s light are certainly not temporary, but are eternal.

O, the blessedness of walking in Christ’s light!  By walking in His light, we enjoy fellowship with Him and with all who are thus walking, and we experience that continual cleansing from all those things that are detrimental to us and disappointing to our Lord.

This walk with Christ is a blessing, and it is a blessing that came at a great cost.  John spoke of the “blood of Jesus Christ” cleansing those who are walking in His light.  His death on the Cross has made it possible that we can walk in His light and experience true fellowship with Him.  When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, their walks with God in the Garden in the cool of the day were effected because of their sin.  Jesus made those walks possible for the child of God, and we can continually walk in His light in fellowship with Him.  Let’s continue to walk in His light, beloved, so that we can continually experience that cleansing and closeness to Him.  Amen!

January 16

Psalms 119:105

Over the past few days we have been discussing the believer’s walk.  This “walk” speaks of the believers’ overall way of carrying themselves through this life, their manner of living.  We have noted that the unsaved are content to walk in the darkness of this world, but that the saved find greater pleasure and fulfillment walking in Christ’s light.  He is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  If we are to walk with Him through this life, we must walk in His light.  Our Scripture reading for today gives us one of the secrets of continued fellowship with Christ, or our continued “walk” with Him through this life.

We live in a dark world, a spiritually dark world that is void of any understanding of the light that is in the Lord Jesus.  When we were saved, we were brought into His light, enlightened by His grace through His precious Gospel.  Now we are to “walk in the light as He is in the light,” and there is a guide book for just that.  It is the Bible.  The Psalmist, in this most familiar of verses, informed us that His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.   Do you have any night lights in your home?  Do you keep flashlights handy just in case the power goes off during the night?  You might even keep a light of some kind in your car just in case there is a problem while driving of the night time.  We need these sources of light to help us to navigate in the dark.  We need God’s Word to help us to navigate through this sin darkened world.

Beloved, by walking the in the light of God’s Word, this lamp for our feet and light for our path, we can avoid tripping over the pitfalls and snares that have been laid for our feet.  His Word can illuminate our path and enlighten our minds, and this will enable us to walk in victory as God’s children.  Know this, beloved, you have never been ensnared by Satan’s traps while walking in the light of God’s Word.  Don’t go out into the dark world without your lamp!  Keep it with you at all times.  You need its light!  Amen!

January 17

Galatians 5

“…Walk in the Spirit….”

Continuing the thought on the believer’s walk, let’s examine a most important verse.  The way we conduct ourselves, our deportment and our attitude as followers of Jesus Christ project a witness to all around us.  If our walk is carnal, our lives will be detrimental to the cause of our Savior.  Because of this, our walk as Christians needs to be exemplary, reflecting the love of Christ and His influence in all we do.  One of the greatest advantages we have when it comes to the way we live in this world is the abiding Holy Spirit.  His wisdom, guidance and the imparting of His power will enable His children to live in a way that is pleasing to Him and beneficial to those around us.  For this reason, we are admonished to “walk in the Spirit.” To fail to do so means that we will surely “fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”

To “walk in the Spirit” requires that we be in constant oneness and fellowship with Him.  It requires time spent in His Word, in meditating upon and applying its truths to our lives.  Walking in the Spirit is being sensitive to His leadings, endeavoring to be obedient to Him and endeavoring to avoid those things that grieve Him. (Ephesians 4:30)

Scripture declares that without faith it is impossible to please our Lord. (Hebrews 11:6)  Could we not say that without walking in the Spirit it is impossible to be successful as a believer, and so it would be impossible to please our Lord while not walking in the Spirit?  Flesh is not really interested in pleasing God, and the alternative to walking in the spirit is to walk in the flesh.  Paul wrote, “…they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8)  What then is the solution?  The solution is to walk in the Spirit so that we might not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.  May the Lord help us to thus walk in the Spirit.  Amen!

January 18

Ephesians 5:1-2

“…walk in love….”

We are thinking about how we should live in this new year that the Lord has allowed us to see, how we should “walk” as followers of Christ.  According to our verses today, if we are “followers of God, as dear children,” we will demonstrate His love in all we do.  “God is love.” (1 John 4:6,16)  If we are walking in Him we will be walking like Him.  If He is love, should we not be the living demonstration of that Divine love?

Like so many other things, love can and has been cheapened in our world.  Genuine love is the love of God for us, the love that compelled Him to die on Calvary.  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)  “A friend loveth at all times” (Proverbs 17:17) and that is the kind of love the Lord has for His own.  This is the love we are to walk in.

I see this in two different ways.  First, the Lord ever wants His own to walk in the blessed assurance of His love.  He loves us.  We must never forget that fact.  Just walking in the light of that love grants us a calm heart.  Isn’t that something that is missing in our world.  Once we grasp His great love for us, it will enable us to see every challenge, every difficulty and every trial differently.  Rejoice in that love.  Secondly, it teaches us how we ought to walk in reference to those around us, both the saved and the unsaved.  We should be living demonstrations of the love of God.  It is by this love that all will know that we are Christ’s disciples, (John 13:35) and at the same time the unsaved can see living illustrations of God’s love for them as they see that in our lives.  Beloved, let us “walk in love” that others might see the love of God for them in us.  Amen!

January 19

Colossians 4:1-6

“…walk in wisdom toward them that are without….”

You desperately need this, and so do I.  Jesus said, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)  What happens to sheep foolishly walking in midst of ravening wolves?  You get the picture.  They get devoured.  So will we if we fail to heed this Scriptural admonition, “…walk in wisdom toward them that are without.”

Those that are without (without Christ, without the Holy Spirit, without an understanding of Scriptural truths) do not understand us, do not agree with us and do not share our love for our Savior.  They are still blinded by the god of this world, (2 Corinthians 4:4) and are still marching according to his wicked orders. (John 8:44)  Because of this, there is a need for the child of God to walk in wisdom.

A wise walk will cause us to walk guarded lives before the unsaved, lives that are guarded when it comes to sin and temptation.  It will cause us to walk holy lives for the unsaved need to see Christ in us.  The believer’s walk of wisdom will remind him that there are times you just don’t cast your pearls before the swine of this world. (Matthew 7:6)  There will be times that the wise walk will keep you safe from the Christ haters and God defiers that would do you harm simply because of your devotion to the Lord.  Wisdom will remind you that there are times to be outwardly vocal, even defiant in your faith, and at other times there should be silence.  To walk in wisdom is to know that, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)  Father, please give us what is needed to help us to “walk in wisdom” at all times.  In Christ’s Name, Amen!

January 20

Colossians 4:5; Ephesians 2:10-13

“…without Christ…without God….”

Why do some act so wickedly, so void of any decency?  What is it that stirs such anger, such hatred and such vileness in some hearts?  I am ever wondering what makes some people think the way they do, that makes them have opinions that are so contrary to God’s Word.  The answer to such questions is actually very simple; the unsaved are “without Christ…and without God in the world.”

To be without Christ and without God in the world means more than being without hope, as if that were not enough.  No, it means that the unsaved are without wisdom and direction of the Holy Spirit.  They are without understanding, incapable of knowing and experiencing the love of God.  To be without Christ is to be fully open to Satan’s influence and power, and not able to withstand his wicked leadings.

      There is something I must remind myself when contemplating such things.  Paul said it this way in 1 Corinthians 6:11, “…and such were some of you….”  Such was the case with all of us.  We were without  Christ and without hope.  And because of that, we were just like those we now have difficulty understanding.  It must be our prayer that the unsaved be brought to saving faith in the Lord Jesus, and that our lives and testimonies work to that end.

January 21

Genesis 50:15-21

The story of Joseph is one of the more fascinating in all the Word of God.  From his dreams that resulted in the envy and hatred of his brothers to the rescuing of those same brothers and their families from the famine that engulfed that region of the world, the hand of God is seen directing and moving to fulfill His sovereign will in Joseph’s life.

In our verses today, Joseph said something to his brothers that are so very important to us as followers of Christ.  Joseph said, “…ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good….”  Did God permit the mistreatment of Joseph by his brothers, even to the extent of being sold into slavery in Egypt?  Was it God’s will for Joseph to end up in prison in Egypt?  One thing must be admitted, the hand of God was directing in Joseph’s life even in the darkest of days for that young man.  “…God meant it for good….”

The thing we must remember is that God knows all things, and His directions and sovereign control of events and circumstances are based on that Divine wisdom.  God knew what Jacob and his descendants were facing and He made provisions for them accordingly.  This called for some suffering on the part of Jospeh, but “God meant it for good.”  Child of God, the next time you find yourself in a time of suffering or of hardship, just remember that “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,” (Psalms 37:23) and that His directions and plans are all based upon His limitless understanding and His determination to accomplish His sovereign will.  You are in good hands, believer, keep trusting in those loving hands.

January 22

Acts 16:16-34

Today’s devotion is a carry over from yesterday’s when we were thinking about our God knowing all things, and working all things in our lives in order to fulfill His sovereign will.  And, as we noted yesterday, sometimes those workings in our lives lead us in what could only be called unpleasant places.  However, He does work all things for our ultimate good and His glory.  Today’s verses illustrate that fact perfectly.

Could God have prevented the beating and imprisonment of Paul and Silas?  Could He have spared them that suffering?  Surely!  Why did He permit it?  As we know from reading our verses today, there was a man and his family that needed to hear the truth of the Gospel.  They did hear that blessed truth and the entire family was gloriously saved.   Don’t you imagine after all was said and done, that both Paul and Silas were actually glad for that period of suffering? Through that they were blessed to share the Gospel with this man and his family, and blessed to see them come to faith in the Lord Jesus.

Our goal must ever be seeing the will of God fulfilled in our lives.  If that will means a period of suffering, so be it.  If it means a time of discomfort, we must trust in our all-knowing Lord as He works providentially in our lives to fulfill His Divine purposes.  May He give us the grace to do just that!  Amen!

January 23

Ephesians 1:1-14

“…according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will….”

This phrase has several interesting words that we will briefly examine.  First, look at the word “purpose.”  It speaks of a setting forth of a thing, a placing it in view.  He Who has all wisdom sets forth in view those things He ordains to come to pass.  He had a “purpose,” a setting forth of His plans for Israel, just as He had a “purpose” for His Church.  Once He “purposed,” He “worketh” all things toward that “purpose.”  “Worketh” carries the idea of putting forth power to accomplish something.  God had His purpose for the Church, and put forth the workings to see that purpose fulfilled.  In like manner, He has a purpose for every believer.  He has a purpose for you.  Because of that purpose, He works in your life to accomplish His will.  He works all things in your life after the counsel of His will.

      There’s a neat kid’s song that says, “He’s still working on me….”  Its a simple song, yet one that is very true.  Our goal should ever be to follow Him and to work with Him as He continues shaping us after the counsel of His own will.  Another great song speaks of us being clay in the Potter’s hand, and that is a great analogy.  He works and shapes us according to His plan.  What a blessed thought.  Father, give me wisdom to sense Your working in my life, and help me to be submissive clay in Your mighty hands.  Amen!

January 24

Romans 8:28-30


      This is a great word full of hope for the child of God.  The word speaks of a predetermining.  When that predetermining is done by the Almighty, all-knowing Father in heaven, the child of God can rest assured that those thing predestinated will be a blessed reality.

      In Romans 8, we get a glimpse of one of those things the Lord has predestinated; that being that His dear ones are going to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus.  They are going to be like Him in righteousness and purity.  The Father has determined that we are going to be like Him in love.  His likes and dislikes are being formed in us, as well as His opinions and philosophies.  The more He works in our lives to bring about that conformity, the less like the world we will become.  His peace and contentment will be more of a reality in our lives.

Some people fear words like predestination, but there is nothing to fear.  Remember, our loving heavenly Father does all things well, and His plans for us are based upon His limitless wisdom and fathomless love.  With that in mind, our prayer should ever be, “Father, work in my life to bring about Your sovereign plans for me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!”

January 25

John 8:29;  2 Timothy 2:4;  Hebrews 11:6

Pleasing our Lord is our thought for today.  The Lord Jesus set the pattern for us as we see in John 8:29; “for I do always those things that please him.”  A close examination of Jesus’ life reveals that He did just that, and so should we.  Paul’s challenge to Timothy was to please the One that had called him to be one of His soldiers fighting in His cause.  We read in Hebrews 11:6 that the key to pleasing the Lord is a consistent walk of faith; “…without faith it is impossible to please him….”

We are constantly under pressure in this world to please others, to meet their expectations and conform to their opinions.  A warning against that very thing is given in Romans 12:2, where we are told, “…be not conformed to this world….”  Warnings like this are given in the Word of God because of the reality that these things warned against are exactly what we will be facing.  It would be impossible to live in this world and not be tempted to be conformed to its ideas and philosophies, its fads and fashions.  As God’s children, we are not to allow its temptations to cause us to be men pleasers rather than God pleasers.

Pleasing our Lord should ever be foremost in our minds.  All of our words and deeds should be measured by the test of pleasing Him.  If an action or deed would not be pleasing to our Lord, it should be laid aside without hesitation.  On the other hand, if we know something is pleasing to Jesus, it should be our goal to do that gladly.  In this way we would be following in His footsteps and able to say with Him, “I do always those things that please him.”  This is a worthy goal!

January 26

2 Corinthians 5:9

“…accepted of him.”

Yesterday’s devotion was concerned with pleasing the Lord in our lives.  In our verse today, Paul is really with that same subject when he speaks of so living that he might be “accepted of him.”  The word “accepted” literally means to be “well pleasing.”  To be accepted means to be regarded favorably or given approval.  Acts 10:35 speaks of fearing God and working righteousness in life in order to be accepted by Him.

Paul gives us something about being accepted by God in Ephesians 1:6 where we read, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”  This is a truth we must ever remember, that being accepted by God is available to us through His grace.  When you think of it, how could you and I ever really be acceptable to God?  It is only through His grace that He has made us acceptable, and capable of living lives that are approved by Him.  He made us acceptable through His death on Calvary, and then enables us to live lives that are pleasing to Him through His Divine strength given us through the Holy Spirit.

Considering the thoughts of the past two day’s devotions, the child of God should ever be challenged to please the Lord in life.  This is made possible by His grace, and though the power given us by the abiding Spirit.  Our goal should be to make this Divine acceptance a reality in all that we do.  Or, as Paul wrote, "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.”

January 27

Mark 3:6; See also Luke 23:12

Have you ever heard the term, “partners in crime?”  How about the term, “birds of a feather…?”  That is exactly what you see in the verses we read today in our devotions.  Pilate and Herod became friends when drawn together in passing judgment on the Lord Jesus.  Neither man believed in Him, and neither did what was right concerning Him.  They really misjudged our Lord to better themselves or to protect their positions with Rome.  They became friends in their opposition to our Lord.  Then there is the case of the Pharisees and the Herodians.  The Pharisees and the Herodians were on totally different pages when it came to God’s Word and its application to their lives, but they did agree on their hatred of the Lord Jesus.  They would probably have never been in agreement on any other issue, but they came together in seeking the Savior’s death.  This same kind of unity when it comes to denying Christ and despising His Church are visible today.  Partners in crime will unify when it comes to their mutual hatred, and don’t be fooled about this, the world hates Jesus and it hates His Church.

Now let’s consider another application of the “birds of a feather” scenario.  While the world will never be in unity with the true Church of the Lord Jesus, the Church must ever “flock together.”  We must have unity in the House of God, for we are in this hate filled world together.  The Lord ever stressed in His Word the need, the command, for His people to dwell together in unity.  The New Testament speaks of being of one mind and in one accord.  That’s unity!  We certainly should never be “partners in crime,” but must ever be partners in faith and in faithfulness to our Lord and His Cause.  Let us be one in Him!  Amen!

January 28

Acts 1:1-8

We have covered several areas of thought thus far as we have been looking at the entering in of a new year given us by the Lord.  Could we examine a couple more thoughts for this January devotion?  We are closing out “Missions Month” at Good News, and have enjoyed the emphasis all month on the “Great Commission.”  There have been some additions to our missions programs, and some disbursements of funds where they have been needed.  What a blessing it is to be part of a mission minded Church.

Missions is really a simple concept.  Jesus said, “…ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me….”  That is “missions.”  The Holy Spirit empowers His own to be witnesses.  That witness is to be born in our immediate area, our “Jerusalem.”  It is to be carried from there to the outlying areas, our “Judea” and our “Samaria,” and then it is to be taken to “the uttermost parts of the earth.”  We are to be “witnesses” for we have experienced Him as Savior and Lord.  We have been blessed to be given the Holy Spirit to guide us, empower us and use us for His glory.  His Word has been made open to us, with the enlightening of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, having been so blessed, we are to be His witnesses both here and beyond

As this month is coming to a close, pray with me that the Lord will “enlarge our coasts,” (1 Chronicles 4:10) giving us greater opportunity to advance His cause and to bring Him honor and glory through our excited witness.  Let’s pray that 2024 will be a great year for our missions program, and for our missionaries serving around the world.

January 29

Colossians 3:15

How many “New Year’s Resolutions” have you already broken and discarded?  How did the determination to eat better go?  What about the…?  Don’t beat yourself up over this.  New Year’s resolutions were made to be broken.

Here is a good resolution to have as we are closing out January.  Let’s let God peace rule in our hearts.  There are many things going on in our world today that could certainly be peace robbers; wars, retail prices, division in our country, and much more.  As God’s children, we have been given peace that the world cannot take away. (John 14:27)  The challenge for you and I is to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts.”  This would be a good belated resolution for 2024.

Another good late resolution is to be thankful for all things throughout this year.  I’m thankful for the new year, and for the prospects of God’s directions and blessing that lie ahead.  I’m thankful for all of you; your friendship and companionship in this Christian journey we find ourselves on.

With God’s peace ruling in our hearts, and our hearts filled with gratitude for His blessings, there will be less room for worry and dread.  Won’t that make for a better year?  Let’s pray that these resolutions for peace and thankfulness see fruition throughout this year.  Amen!

January 30-31

1 Thessalonians 5:13

(The following thoughts were taken from my personal devotions.)


It is Saturday morning at 3:40.  Lynn and I are dealing once again with Covid.  This is our third time to do so, and by far the worse thus far.  I am struggling with what to do about church tomorrow.  I had asked Bryan Harwood earlier to preach for me when this sickness first hit, but because so many in the church are sick I determined not to ask him to come up.  He was hospitalized fifty-seven days with this some time back, and he doesn’t need to be exposed at all if possible.  My thought now is that both services need to be canceled.  As best as I can tell, ten or twelve in the church are sick with this now.

Paul said that we should be thankful in all things.  What is there to be thankful for here?  It is a reminder of sin and its consequences.  Such occurrences were never God’s original intent for the human family.  Neither are all of the sufferings, the vileness, the wickedness that corrupts our world.  Where does all of its inhumanity come from?  Its hatred?  Its cruelty?  Its insanity?  Sin!  Sin and its consequences!  I am thankful for this reminder of that truth of God’s Word.

There is gratitude for the fact that these bouts remind me of prophesies of our Lord’s soon coming, for pestilences around the world are end-time realities.  Again, God’s Word teaches us of the universal blessings God bestows, but also of the universal nature of His Divine judgments; “…on the just and the unjust….”

There is one blessing that comes to mind; that of a reminder of where my confidence and comfort comes.  It does not come from doctors or medicines, though I use both, and will continue to do so in areas where I trust them.  No, my hope and peace in all things comes from the One that watches over me in loving care.  Many have died from this cursed virus, and many that have died have been God’s precious “little ones.”  Many who have contracted this virus have had life changing results, and that is dreadful.  Still, my trust is in my gracious Heavenly Father.  I am reminded of this on this sleepless morning, and for that I give thanks.

I am thankful this morning when I know that many of my dear brothers and sisters in Christ are praying for me and Lynn.  She is worse than me at present and I cherish their prayers for her.  Times like this draw our church family closer together, tightening the bond that should ever reflect our connection with our Lord.  That is certainly something to be thankful for.  And, there is one more thing; several actually.  I am thankful for the fact that an unbreakable promise has been given us of a day when there will be no more pain, sickness or death.  “All is peace forever more, on that happy golden shore.  What a day, glorious day that will be!”  Amen!

Father, I praise You that our days, good and bad, enjoyable and not so, are in Your strong and capable hands.  Thank You for watching over sparrows, and for caring even more for us.  Thank You for hope, for promise, and for the peace that comes from having and trusting in You.  I praise You that You are in charge of my life, of our lives, and that all things will work together for our good and for Your glory.  Thank You for this time this morning.  In our Savior’s Name, I pray, Amen!

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