Archive for Faith & Inspiration

Verse of the Day and Devotional 10/13/2022

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Verse of the Day

October 13th, 2022

Scripture

The Lord God says, “I myself will be their Shepherd. I will search for my sheep and take care of them. 12 If a shepherd is with his sheep when they begin to wander away, he will go searching for them. In the same way I will search for my sheep. I will save them and bring them back from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day.” – Ezekiel 34:11-12 ERV

Devotion

The birth of Christ gives hope for us to move from tyranny to God’s kingdom. Christmas is the universal message of future restoration. It is the prophetic celebration of the coming kingdom of God. I think that in order for this kingdom to be actualized, there should be a removal of corrupt governance (34:1-10). We are living in a time of leadership that lacks quality and integrity. There are moral and spiritual failures everywhere. I believe the Lord is personally concerned when His people are governed under greed, oppression, and injustice.

There should be a restoration of God’s order (34:11-22). The shepherds have failed the flock. The leaders have failed the people. The comfort we have is that God is on our side. The God we serve calls us, provides for us, and leads us in kindness towards His character. Christmas rings clearly when He says, “I myself will search for my sheep and look after them…so will I look after my sheep” (34:11-12). Christmas is a message of hope for the restoration of God’s order.

And when order is restored, I believe there will be a reign of peace (34:23-31). In reassuring us of the restoration of order, God continues to shower us with His blessings. And those blessings include a new servant leader (34:23-24). A leader of David’s line. This is the Messiah, Christ, the Son of the living God. His task is that of caring, being a prince over us, ruling over our lives. He is the King who cares, and the King who leads. Christmas is the time to experience His care of love and sovereign rule in our hearts. These two verses teach us that the Messiah is both the servant and the prince. This gives us the term servant leadership.

We will also be blessed with full and perfect peace (34:25-29). A covenant of peace means a covenant in which there will be wholeness and harmony. It is shalom, the absence of any strife. Christmas is the season of shalom, which is the welfare of all God’s creation, and the enjoyment of all joyful freedom from conflict in all the relationships between the humanity and nature, and with God. The Messiah, Christ was born in order that we can live and experience safety and security (34:25, 27, 28). This is the full and perfect peace.

And we will be blessed with a full restoration of the covenant relationship (34:25, 30-31). Christ enters special relationship with us as we invite Him into our lives. The crescendo of Christmas message and purpose is that we know that He is God because we are in relationship with Him. We become one with God. Christmas is God coming to people and dwelling with them. Christmas is a season of seeing Christ as a Shepherd of our souls, always leading us with love and care.

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Weekly Devotional: Gems from Pastor Jim 10/10/2022

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by Jim Hughes 

CrossPs. 34:1 I will praise the LORD at all times I will constantly sing his praises.

Dear friend, determine in your heart today that you will praise the Lord at all times. Our willingness and ability to praise the Lord should never be determined by our circumstances of life. Yes, life does get messy. Things aren’t always pleasant. We sometimes are heavy-burdened and distraught over what is happening in our lives. We get to the point where our faith is weak and we tend to crumble underneath the load. We are often deeply affected by the things that go wrong in our lives and do not feel like praising the Lord. We do tend to become more consumed by our circumstances than we are the Lord. Yet, we are to praise the Lord.

Singing God’s praises is good for the soul. It takes our attention away from us and life and puts it where it should be, on the Lord. When we praise the Lord we are reminded of who He is, what He has done, and what He promises to do. We are reminded that life’s circumstances do not define who we are. We are reminded that God is our Redeemer and friend, that He has not forsaken us and will be with us each step we take. When we praise the Lord we are declaring He is worthy to be praised and our confidence is in Him.

Make a commitment today to praise the Lord, to continually sing forth His praises at all times and you will know the joys of your salvation no matter what life may bring your way. Praise Him for the small things of life. Praise Him for the big things of life. Praise Him for life itself. Praise Him for eternal life. Praise Him for His promises and the hope we have in Him. In all things and at all times, let praise flow from your heart to His heart. Praise the Lord.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Verse of the Day and Devotional 10/6/2022

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Verse of the Day

October 6th, 2022

Scripture

And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. – Matthew 2:11 ESV

Devotion

Interestingly, the first people to visit and present gifts to Jesus were the wise men from the East. They were very courageous and generous in their giving. They traveled hundreds of miles and gave their utmost devotion to worship the son of God. Instead of returning to Herod as he had ordered, they were obedient to God when they returned home. These gifts may have helped Joseph and Mary make quick travel to save Jesus from those who were plotting to take His life.

The message of Christmas is that God gave His only beloved Son to us, which is the biggest and the grandest gift to humankind. Christmas will hold much significance in our lives if we can open our treasures and give our best to Him, because nothing that we spend for Him will ever be in vain.

The Bible encourages us that if anyone gives even a cup of cold water in His name will certainly not be in vain. It could be your time, talents, or perhaps even your money to make Jesus known to those who desperately need Him. A widow living in abject poverty gave her only mite as a gift to God. Mary broke her alabaster box and anointed Jesus with the oil inside. It does not matter how little we have. When we offer what we do have, God will bless it for His glory.

What will you give Him this Christmas and in the new year?

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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Weekly Devotional: Gems from Pastor Jim 10/3/2022

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by Jim Hughes 

CrossPs. 33:1 Let the godly sing with joy to the LORD, for it is fitting to praise him.

Do you have a song in your heart today? Does your soul sing forth His praises? If not, you need to take a few moments and examine your heart and see why not. It is the natural thing to do for the godly. Christ in us gives us much cause to sing with joy to the Lord.

If you have no song to sing, perhaps it’s because you have wandered away from His love. Perhaps you have neglected to do those things which keep your salvation fresh and alive. Perhaps you have taken your eyes off of the Lord and have let others fill your mind with thoughts that are not true. Perhaps you have become too engrossed with the things of the world and have failed to keep the Lord the priority of your life. Perhaps you have listened to Satan lies that God is not faithful and true because of your circumstances of life. Perhaps you have gotten too comfortable in your salvation and no longer pursue growth and greater understanding of God’s Word. Perhaps your prayer life has become stale and more of going through the motions rather than actually communing with God. Perhaps you have not diligently protected your soul and let sin in. There are many reasons why the godly no longer feel like singing with joy unto the Lord.

It is fitting to sing praises unto the Lord. It is the right thing to do and the natural thing to do when we are living godly lives. Christ in us is worth singing about! Oh the joy of knowing that Christ lives in us! Oh the joy of knowing our sins are forgiven and all is well between God and us! Oh the joy of knowing that Christ is at work within us to make us new creations in Him! Oh the joy of knowing the work of the Spirit within us as we grow into becoming a holy people before God! Oh the joy of knowing that if you were to die within the next few moments you would be welcomed into the Kingdom of God with open arms!

Oh the wondrous joys of our salvation! Let us sing for joy unto the Lord today and every step we take on our way home. Oh praise the wondrous name of Jesus!

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Verse of the Day and Devotional 9/29/2022

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Verse of the Day

September 29th, 2022

Scripture

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. – Luke 2:19 ESV

Devotion

The birth of Christ is the most amazing occurrence in all of history. Not only for the miracle of the birth, but the impact this birth had on the world and history. It began with an 85-mile journey, a five- or six-day trip, to the city of Bethlehem for a required census. Joseph most likely walking, and Mary perhaps riding sidesaddle on a donkey. Swollen and achy from pregnancy and nearing birth, we imagine she felt every rut and jolt from the weathered and well-traveled dirt road.

Arriving in Bethlehem, they most likely faded into the mass of travelers also reporting for the census. There were no rooms left at the inn. All booked, no vacancy. It’s late. Joseph and Mary are exhausted and desperate as the contractions begin, so they take shelter near where the animals are kept. The birth soon begins. No epidural, no hospital, no sedative to ease the pain. We imagine Mary’s moans and cries piercing the stable and night air. Pushing with all her strength, the Messiah arrives! Born into a trauma-filled world from a common Jewish girl, and then the first cries of the Divine! “For unto us a child is born…”(Isaiah 9:6). Joseph and an exhausted Mary are in awe and wonder, treasuring this moment and all that led up to it from the Immaculate conception, the promise of a Savior fulfilled.

There was no notice of this royal birth. No congratulations from heads of states and provinces. There’s no record that angels were present. It was only the mice and fleas and grunts and groans from the host of animals in the stable who witnessed this amazing and glorious occurrence.

Heaven took notice though. Angels rejoiced, perhaps the captives stirred, a star proudly displayed itself in the night skies of the desert marking the birthplace of the Savior of the world. An announcement went forth to some shepherds in their field who traveled to this place to wonder and worship to see the Savior.

On the surface, the majesty of the birth of Christ is absurd. Born of a virgin, in an animal barn, in poverty to a commoner Jewish girl, the circumstances cast doubt on any claims of majesty. It was absurd to an unbelieving world, but not to those who saw this event. The shepherds, the first evangelists of the Gospel age, went back to their sheep telling everyone along the way and glorifying God for all the things they had heard and seen. Those who heard were also astonished (Luke 2:18-20).

Mary responded as she “treasured up all these things” that happened. She reflected deeply on the significance of the birth of her child and kept it all in her thoughts. She “pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). We imagine her mulling it all over, seeking understanding while cradling her newborn, gazing into the eyes of her baby boy and accepting the call in her heart to mother and nurture her child all the days of His life.

In 2 Timothy 4:8, the apostle Paul speaks to the believer’s great reward of the crown of righteousness to all those who love and look forward to the promise of our Lord’s return. I hope your heart is in that place. And in the meantime, let us treasure and ponder the first appearing of our Lord as Paul testifies in 1 Timothy 1:10. Our last enemy, death, was defeated forevermore in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. “Oh death where is your sting, Oh grave, where is your victory” (1 Corinthians 15:56).

When was the last time you truly took time and treasured all that brought you to your salvation? When was the last time you pondered what the birth of Christ means to you? Does His peace that surpasses all understanding truly rule your heart today? Let us all make abundant room in our hearts for Jesus this day and all He did for us in defeating death.

Today, treasure, ponder, and embrace Him with open arms and with the grace to be still and know He is God and the Savior of the world.

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Weekly Devotional: Gems from Pastor Jim 9/26/2022

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by Jim Hughes 

CrossPs. 32:8 The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”

There are many pathways one can travel on in life, some are good, some are better, some are bad, but there is only one pathway that leads to God and that is the way of the Cross. It is the pathway that is walked humbly. It requires much diligence, faithfulness, perseverance, and trust.

The way of the Cross has many difficulties along the way. We are constantly being bombarded along the way with the fiery darts of Satan. We face much opposition from those not walking with us, and even sometimes from those walking with us. We are often not understood and criticized. We do not always see where we are going or why we must go that way. We are prone to wander off the path and must resist the urge to do so. We often stumble and fall along the way and must resolve to get up and keep on going. We will encounter many people endeavoring to walk with us who do not belong on the road. We will be enticed to doubt what the Lord says and believe others things. We will not always get things right and must be willing to continue to learn and grow. We must be willing to change as the Lord prompts us to change along the way. We must strive to always walk in step with the Lord and not lag behind Him or try to run ahead of Him. We must be willing to admit it when we sin and confess them before Christ so we can be kept pure before God. We must love others who are walking with us in the same way that Christ loves us. In other words, all who walk the way of the Cross must imitate Christ in all they do and say to the best of their abilities. We must strive to be holy, even as He is holy.

The promise of God is that He will advise us and watch over us on Calvary’s road. He will teach us the things we need to know. He will tell us how to best follow in His footsteps. He will give us specific things we need to know on our journey. Not everyone walks the same way or at the same speed so His advice will vary amongst us. But, if we are listening, we will receive what we need from the Lord for our particular journey of faith. He will as well watch over us to protect us so that we will reach our destination safe and sound. The Lord is at the other end of our journey waiting for us. Blessed are those who walk on Calvary’s road. Great is their reward in heaven.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Verse of the Day and Devotional 9/22/2022

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Verse of the Day

September 22nd, 2022

Scripture

And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. – Luke 1:14-15 ESV

Devotion

I recently read a story of a man lost at sea. He left for a short ride off the coast of Florida but didn’t return. He fell asleep on the boat and was startled awake by water rushing into the front cabin.

Two days later, he was found clinging to the side of his capsized boat, 86 miles off the coast. He saw a large ship in the distance and began frantically waving his shirt, hoping they would somehow see him. Thankfully, they did.

This amazing rescue story reminded me of the Christmas story. The old Christmas anthem, O Holy Night, describes the birth Jesus as “a thrill of hope.” I love the word “thrill” here. This wasn’t just a sigh of relief or a calm happiness. The birth of Jesus brought thrill, it brought excitement, it brought hope. It brought hope to a “weary world,” a world that had no rescue in sight.

Imagine waking up in a flooded boat with no land in sight. There’s no way out. I can only imagine the terror of that realization: I’m only getting home if someone miraculously shows up. But then, in the distance, you see your chance. I don’t picture this man gently tossing his shirt in the air. I imagine he waved it frantically, doing everything he could to get their attention. I imagine his attitude shifted from defeat to possibility. His adrenaline began to rush, excitement and desperation rising in his throat.

He saw hope. He saw a way out. He saw a saving grace.

That’s what we gained the night Jesus was born. Praise God that He sent His son to show up for us! We are called to rejoice, to sing, to praise because the birth of Jesus is a reason to celebrate! Because God sent His son, we have a way to be at peace with God, we have a rescuer. We have a lighthouse in the midst of our dark world.

This Christmas season, and as we go into the new year, praise God for the hope that was born in that manger, the only hope we’ve ever had. Hope isn’t a quiet emotion. Hope is what pushes us to keep going, to not give up, to believe. Our hope in Jesus pushes us to believe in our faithful, loving God. This season, let’s celebrate the thrill of hope

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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Weekly Devotional: Gems from Pastor Jim 9/19/2022

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by Jim Hughes 

CrossPs. 32:6 Therefore, let all the godly confess their rebellion to you while there is time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.

Here the godly are being singled out. Yes, the godly do sin. What happens when the godly do not confess their sins and die? They will face God with sin on their hearts. How will God handle that? Only God knows that for sure. He knows the heart motives of man and will judge fairly and rightly each of us. He knows whether or not we are truly righteous in heart. All I can tell you for sure is that no sin will be in heaven.

Today’s verse tells us that the godly will drown in the floodwaters of judgment if they don’t confess their sins. God’s judgments are like a floodwater. It sweeps away everything in its path. It is consuming power and no one can stop it. It cannot be contained and will keep flowing until it accomplishes its purpose. Anyone caught in floodwaters will more than likely drown.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way for the godly. If we will quit hiding behind our perceived righteousness and confess our sins, we will be saved. If we quit resisting God’s ways and live life by God’s Word, we will be saved. If we quit pretending that we are better than we are, we will be saved. If we are living in Christ’s righteousness and not our own, we will be saved.

In reality, the godly are not as godly as we might think we are. We are all guilty of sin, no matter how long we have been in the faith. We all have need of confession. We all need to carefully monitor our souls and submit to God’s rightful authority over us. We all need to acknowledge our need for Jesus to be our Savior and Lord.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Weekly Devotional: Gems From Pastor Jim 9/12/2022

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by Jim Hughes 

CrossPs. 32:1-2 Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

Feast on the riches of God’s grace and rejoice! God forgives those who rebel against Him when they turn from their rebellion and turn to Him. He does not turn away anyone who is willing to quit resisting Him and start walking with Him He forgives us for our rebelliousness because He loves us and desires to have a relationship with us.

God puts our sin out of His sight. I don’t know how He is able to do that. We can put our sin behind us and live in His forgiveness, but we still remember what we have done. Sometimes our past sins haunt us. We struggle with letting them go and forgiving ourselves for them. But it’s not that way with God. He washes our sins away with the shed blood of Jesus at Calvary and they are no more. God does not see our past; He sees the righteousness of Christ in us. We have no history with God; it’s always the present. All that matters to Him is Christ in us. As long as we stay in the shelter of His righteousness, we have no condemnation from God. God clears the record of the redeemed. He washes our souls and they become whiter than snow.

There is joy in the soul of those who live in complete honesty. What a blessing it is to be guided and influenced by the integrity of one’s heart. There is a desire within the redeemed to do what is right before God always. The intent of the heart is to always be true to the revealed character of God within us. The soul’s delight is living to please God, to do what honors Him. There is joy in those whose character matters to them, for Christ is actively at work in them to make them holy.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Verse of the Day and Devotional 9/8/2022

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Verse of the Day

September 8th, 2022

Scripture

For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. – 2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV

Devotion

At a point in eternity past, Creator God said, “Let there be light,” (Genesis 1:3) and the darkness surrounding the world was pierced with the blaze of light that, at first glistened on top of the waves of a watery surface, but in time penetrated the very crevices of its land masses. We are told of this in Scripture, and in the process, we give ready assent, but if we could have seen the event take place, we would have stood in amazement and awe at the creative majesty of God. And now, light is taken for granted, and we grumble and yearn for it on dark and gloomy days.

The apostle Paul continually reminds the church through his letters that mankind’s heart was plunged into a darkness so deep that, left in that condition, there is no way of understanding who God is, or what God is like (2 Corinthians 4:4). Not until the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” is revealed to us, can we see the very image of God!

Christians, we, who have seen the Christ through Scripture, the very image of God Himself, we should be glad! We should be rejoicing, for at a point in human history God again pierced the universe from His throne in the heavenlies with a light that enters into the darkness of the soul and illuminates us to see and know Him for all of eternity. Our knowledge of God is not dependent upon our comprehension of exactly how that light came, only to believe He has come for us! “Unto us a child is born! To us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6). His coming gives us the opportunity to walk in the “light of life” (John 8:12) and avoid stumbling in the darkness of our soul which leads to a wasted life and tragic eternity.

This Christmas season, take time to earnestly gaze into the face of Jesus as we see Him revealed in Scripture. Honestly allow the “light of the world” to penetrate your heart, revealing both the dark crevices of sin that need to be rooted from our souls, but also the “fruit” where spiritual light has cultivated growth for His glory. This is really the essential opportunity on the top of our to-do list this season.

By Bill Niblette, Ph.D., Bible League Staff, Pennsylvania

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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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