Friday, September 22, 2017

09/22/2017 PBJ Devotional

09/22/2017 PBJ Devotional

“… I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:32 ESV)

Jesus knowing the things that will come, knowing Peter, and that of his certain betrayal has in advance interceded for him in prayer. This intercessor and advocate also knew of Peter’s future regret, the anguish of his soul, and his certain repentance. Thus Jesus confidently instructs Peter, “When you have turned back to me, strengthen your brothers.”

It is true, that in moments of severe trial and temptation we all have that same capacity to deny Christ. As abhorrent as that sounds, we still have a reason to be thankful. For like Peter, we also have a faithful advocate with the Father who is praying for us with confidence, that though we stumble in our moment of weakness, our faith will remain intact. He also knows that having come through the trial we will be better able to strengthen our brothers in Christ in their times of testing and trial. (See 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Lord Jesus, thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for always believing in me even when in my weakness I turn my face away from yours. Forgive me for those times of momentary denial. Increase my resolve to be stronger in the trials that are certain to come. Help me to be faithful to You even as You are always faithful toward me. Amen.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

09/20/2017 PBJ Devotional

“Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” (Luke 20:18 ESV)

Those who of their own free will fall upon Christ Jesus the stone will be broken of their pride, egotism, self-will, carnal habits, and worldly entanglements. They will experience profound freedom, having the bondages of sin and shame broken from them. Those who refused to fall upon the rock, Christ Jesus, in the end, will suffer the penalty as the full weight of judgment falls upon them with crushing force. Pity the man who in his arrogance and pride refuses the Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah and Savior!

Father God, grant that I may have the humility to fall upon Christ Jesus daily, that I might walk free of carnal desires and sinful habits. Break from me all things that would hinder my fellowship with you, my Lord and King. Break from me all that would keep me from being fruitful in your service that I may glorify you in all of my ways! Amen.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

09/14/2017 PBJ Devotional

Luke 14:17 (ESV) Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 

Those who carried the Roman cross of crucifixion understood that it was a one-way trip resulting in death. Using this analogy Jesus warns them to “count the cost.” This is no casual trip, but the journey that will demand faith, loyalty, sacrifice, and endurance to the end. The true disciple is all in. There is NO going back! (Luke 9:62)

To daily carry our cross is to personally identify with Christ and those faithful disciples that have gone before us who endured insults, rejection, persecution, suffering, and death. The cross that we have been called to carry day-by-day may look very different from our fellow believers, but carry it we must!

To be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ is a lifelong experience of continual progressive transformation, renewing our minds, changing our desires and adjusting actions. It is a healing journey from outer darkness, despair, and woundedness, ultimately leading to a glorious eternal reward in His presence.

Father God, I affirm my decision to follow Christ. I affirm my love for You above all others. I affirm my willingness to give all for the cause of Christ. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the encouragement of my brothers in Christ, I will not look back! I will pay the price; I will daily carry my cross, I finish the race to the glory of God.

09/12/2017 PBJ Devotional

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." 41But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."  Luke 10:40-41 (ESV)

If we are honest, many of us can relate to Martha’s story. It is so easy to get caught in the web of serving others, that personally; we miss out on meaningful fellowship with Christ. We can get so caught up in serving, busyness, and distractions, that we miss the opportunity of having fellowship with our loving Lord. When considering Martha’s interchange with Jesus, notice the effect of her distractions upon her heart.  First, she becomes negative, secondly jealous of her sisters time away with Jesus. I can just hear the thoughts exploding in her mind! “It’s not fair; I am all alone, abandoned again, what’s wrong with these people!” “Even Jesus has forgotten me, and I thought he actually cared!”

I am reminded of a passage from Andrew Murray, “The first and chief need of our Christian life is, Fellowship with God. The Divine life within us comes from God, and it is entirely dependent upon Him. As I need every moment afresh the air to breathe, as the sun every moment afresh sends down its light, so it is only in direct living communication with God that my soul can be strong.

The manna of one day was corrupt when the next day came. I must every day have fresh grace from heaven, and I obtained it only in direct waiting upon God Himself. Begin each day by tarrying before God, and letting Him touch you. Take time to meet with God.

To this end, let your first act in your devotion be a setting yourself still before God. In prayer, or worship, everything depends upon God taking the chief place. I must bow quietly before him in humble faith and adoration, speaking thus within my heart: “God is. God is near. God is love, longing to communicate Himself to me. God the Almighty One, who worketh all in all, is even now waiting to work in me, and make Himself known.” Take time, till you know God is very near.  --The Deeper Christian Life, Page 2

Lord God, it is so easy to be distracted from that which is excellent by doing what is only good. What could be more important than sitting at your feet and enjoying your presence? I must confess there have been too many times when I have entered into Martha’s story. Even when I do try to take the time to sit at your feet, I find myself easily distracted, “anxious and troubled about many things.” How foolish it is for me to expect to walk in the fullness of Your Spirit when adequate time is not spent in fellowship with you each day! Help me to yield more fully to the drawing of your Holy Spirit. Help me to grow in my hunger and my thirst for you. Help me to put first things first to seek that which is excellent. Amen

09/10/2017 PBJ Devotional

“Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away." (Luke 8:18 ESV)

It is not enough to just hear the word of God. To receive the Word of the Lord the soil of our hearts must be prepared with times of fasting and prayer. We must mix it with faith, and to the best of our ability, walk it out in obedience as the Holy Spirit enables us. Only then will the Scriptures profit our soul and transform our lives. Only then, will we show ourselves to be the true disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 “It is dangerous to hear God’s word in a too-passive way; without engaging the word with the mind, the heart, and the will. To be hearers only of the word, and not to be also doers of the word, means destruction (Luke 6:49).”  David Guzik Study Guide

“In his sermon titled Heedful Hearing, Charles Spurgeon suggested some ways to heedfully hear the word of God: 
· Hear attentively, retentively. 
· Hear believingly, obediently. 
· Hear candidly, honestly. 
· Hear devoutly, sincerely. 
· Hear earnestly, spiritually. 
· Hear feelingly, sensitively. 
· Hear gratefully, prayerfully.” 

Father God, help me to be attentive. Give me ears to hear the voice of your Spirit and to understand your Word. Having heard your word, give me the courage, humility, and faith to walk it out day to day that I may be fruitful for your kingdom, bring honor to you and blessing to others. Amen