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Take Courage!

Published: Thu, Sep 21 2017

After a day of ministry, Jesus told His disciples to get into a boat and go to Bethsaida, while He went up onto a mountain to pray. Later that night, a storm arose and the disciples had a hard time crossing the lake because of the wind. Jesus went to them, walking on the water. They mistook Him for a ghost and were terrified. But Jesus spoke to them to calm their fear.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Mark 6:50).

Christians often face storms in their lives that cause them to be afraid. No matter how hard they fight against the winds of adversity, they can’t steer their lives to safety. They sometimes feel they are by themselves. Just when they think all is lost, Jesus climbs into the boat with them and says, “Take courage. Don’t be afraid.” Suddenly, the water is calm and the winds cease. All is calm and peaceful because Jesus walked onto the scene.

Prayer for Today: Lord, calm the storm in my life today and help me steer my life in faith.

Quicklook: Mark 6:47–56


Previous devotions:

Planting Seeds

Published: Wed, Sep 20 2017

In 1964, Bill Gaither recorded the song, “He Touched Me,” which has blessed and ministered to thousands of people. Fifty-three years later, it is still sung in churches across the country. No one, probably not even Gaither himself, realized how many people one song would touch for Christ.

Jesus said the kingdom of God is like the mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. When planted it grows and becomes the largest of all plants.

“What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade” (Mark 4:30–32).

God can take any seed we plant for His kingdom, no matter how small, and cause it to grow for His glory so that others can be blessed.

Challenge for Today: Plant seeds of faith for the kingdom of God and trust Him to grow those seeds.

Quicklook: Mark 4:30–34

 


Following without Delay

Published: Tue, Sep 19 2017

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him (Mark 1:16–18).

Simon and Andrew earned their living by fishing, but when Jesus said, “Come follow me,” they left their nets at once and followed Him. They didn’t hesitate to give up the only trade they knew. They answered the call, even though they didn’t know where it might lead them.

Sometimes when God calls people, they ignore the invitation. Answering a call from God doesn’t fit into their life plans. Others may avoid it for a while, wondering how they can leave what they know and follow the unknown. The best response is the one Simon and Andrew had, to respond without hesitation, to follow Christ without delay.

Prayer Suggestion: Lord, help me to follow You without hesitation, putting my faith in Your abilities and not my own.

Quicklook: Mark 1:16–20


Make Him Known

Published: Mon, Sep 18 2017

John the Baptist spent his life preaching repentance and baptizing all who confessed their sins. Even though his was an unorthodox lifestyle, wearing camel’s hair and eating locusts and wild honey, he led those who came to him into God’s truth. He had a great following, but he knew there was one greater than he.

This was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie” (Mark 1:7).

John witnessed the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and resting upon Jesus. He heard the voice from heaven declaring Jesus as the Son of God (Mark 1:10–11). Could there be any doubt this was the Promised One? John knew he baptized the Son of God that day and didn’t hesitate to tell others.

Those who have received salvation through the death of Christ on the cross, know they have encountered the Messiah. Like John, they too can lift up Christ so others might be drawn to Him.

Prayer Suggestion: Lord, guide me to help others know who You are.

Quicklook: Mark 1:4–11


Face Your Fears

Published: Sun, Sep 17 2017

Judah and Emily were raking leaves with Grandpa. Without them knowing, Grandpa decided to hide in the huge pile of leaves and wait until they came looking for him. As they approached the pile, he rustled the leaves. Judah and Emily looked at each other with wide eyes, fearful of the unknown before them. Just then, Grandpa popped out of the leaves and made them jump for joy. Their fear was unfounded.

Mary Magdalene and those with her were face-to-face with an angel of the Lord, and they were fearful.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:5–6).

What fears are you facing today? Remember, you serve a God who intervenes in times of uncertainty. He will bring clarity in times of confusion, direction in times of doubt, peace in the midst of problems, and hope for the future as you keep your eyes on Him.

Prayer Suggestion: Lord, help me to walk in faith when fear rises up within me.

Quicklook: Matthew 28:1–12


Betrayals

Published: Sat, Sep 16 2017

Judas didn’t start out as a betrayer. He answered Jesus’ call to follow, just as the other disciples did. He went out with the others to heal the sick, cast out demons, and proclaim the message of the kingdom. He served by handling the finances for the Twelve. However, the love of money replaced his love for Christ. When he saw the opportunity to fill his own pocket by betraying the Lord, he did it.

“What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15).

Our betrayals may not be as great as Judas’s, but they also do tremendous damage. They often start out small. They can be as simple as neglecting our time with God, fudging on the amount we choose to give to God, or gossiping about another person. However, betrayals grow. In time, the spiritual results leave the soul like a moth-eaten garment. Little sins become big betrayals.

Challenge for Today: Examine your life and deal with any betrayals lurking in your soul.

Quicklook: Matthew 26:14–25

 




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