VIDEO Like a Love Letter

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation. Psalm 71:18, NIV

A blog titled A Million God Stories told the story about a woman whose brother was murdered and whose mother died of cancer. This woman spiraled downward until she found a special treasure. “I found my mom’s Bible and it was like a love letter to me. She had written all sorts of things in the margins.” The Lord used this Bible to restore her life.[1]

In the Old Testament, the heroes of Scripture left monuments behind to remind upcoming generations of God’s faithfulness. We should do the same, and the monuments we leave may be as simple as a well-marked Bible. 

Think about this today: How can you build a monument? How can you leave a testimony behind, letting future generations know of God’s faithfulness in your life? It’s like leaving behind a love letter. God is glorified in our monuments to His past faithfulness and in our testimonies to the next generation about how He has blessed us.

It is a debt which the old disciples of Christ owe to the succeeding generations to leave behind them a solemn testimony to the power, pleasure, and advantage of religion, and the truth of God’s promises. Matthew Henry

Psalm 71 – Older in Years, Strong in Faith

Choosing Celebration

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30

Writer Marilyn McEntyre shares the story of learning from a friend that “the opposite of envy is celebration.” Despite this friend’s physical disability and chronic pain, which limited her ability to develop her talents in the ways she’d hoped, she was somehow able to uniquely embody joy and to celebrate with others, bringing “appreciation into every encounter” before she passed away.

That insight—“the opposite of envy is celebration”—lingers with me, reminding me of friends in my own life who seem to live out this kind of comparison-free, deep, and genuine joy for others.

Envy is an easy trap to fall into. It feeds on our deepest vulnerabilities, wounds, and fears, whispering that if we were only more like so-and-so, we wouldn’t be struggling, and we wouldn’t be feeling bad.

As Peter reminded new believers in 1 Peter 2, the only way to “rid [ourselves]” of the lies that envy tells us is to be deeply rooted in the truth, to “have tasted”—deeply experienced—“that the Lord is good” (vv. 1–3). We can “love one another deeply, from the heart” (1:22) when we know the true source of our joy—“the living and enduring word of God” (v. 23).

We can surrender comparison when we remember who we really are—beloved members of “a chosen people, . . . God’s special possession.” We’re called “out of darkness into his wonderful light” (2:9).

By:  Monica La Rose

Reflect & Pray

What examples of comparison-free joy have influenced your life? How does remembering your place in the body of Christ free you from the need to compare yourself to others?

Loving God, source of all that’s good, help me to let go of envy’s lies, the kind of lies that suck out joy and “rot the bones.” Help me to instead celebrate the countless beautiful gifts of life in Your kingdom.

Praying According to God’s Will

When we ask God to work in us and accomplish His will, He answers our prayer

Hebrews 13:20-21

Scripture teaches that God hears and answers when we make requests according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). Although our Father is always faithful to guide us in specific situations, He also wants us to know His big goals for us, which are described throughout His Word. Today’s passage from Hebrews 13 is one such example.

With regard to both character and deeds, God’s purpose for believers can be summed up in these two requests from Hebrews 13:21: 

• His goal is to “equip [us] in every good thing to do His will.” He wants us to depend fully on Him to accomplish the good works He planned beforehand for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). These include righteous living in obedience to His Word as well as fruitful service in His name and to His people.  

• God is “working in us that which is pleasing in His sight.” As the Father shapes us into the image of His Son, He is transforming our character so we’ll have a heart bent toward pleasing Him. Otherwise, all our good works are useless.

When you ask God to accomplish these two things in your life, you can be sure He will

Take Heed Therefore

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28)

On his way back to Jerusalem, Paul decided not to stop at Ephesus, fearing a lengthy delay. But this church was much on his heart, and he recognized that he might not see them again. In order to give them one last bit of instruction and encouragement, he called the elders to meet with him, where they had a most touching time together (vv. 30-38). What was Paul’s main concern? “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember” (vv. 29-31).

Later, Paul sent Timothy to Ephesus, “that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). The Greek word used here means “a different kind of doctrine” and is used only twice. Certainly, the false doctrine that concerned Paul the most was a works-oriented salvation. “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel” (Galatians 1:6).

Paul also concerned himself with lifestyle. “If any man teach otherwise [same word], and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness…from such withdraw thyself” (1 Timothy 6:3, 5). The list of characteristics of the false teachers given (vv. 4-5) contrasts markedly with those resulting from proper doctrine and life, “charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1:5). May our lives be characterized by these qualities. JDM

Joy Comes in the Morning, Outburst Of Joy

You turned my lament into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, so that I can sing to You and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise You forever (Psalm 30 vv. 11-12).

David’s richly textured personality and artistic temperament were expressed on many emotional levels. In this psalm he was as uninhibited in his praise as when he “danced before the Lord with all his might” (2 Sam. 6:14 NIV). David wasn’t shy about expressing the intensity of his joy.

In the first movement of this psalm, David felt the exuberance of praise (vv. 1-5). In the second movement, he felt the depression of guilt over his sin (vv. 6-10). In this movement, after a moving confession, David felt the exhilaration and freedom of forgiveness, and it culminated in an outburst of joy (vv. 11-12).

What colorful contrasts David experienced: from wailing to dancing, sackcloths of despair to garments of joy, sounds of silence to songs of joy, independence to dependence, disintegration to integration, cynicism to caring, and from needing no one to trusting God. He exchanged a growing insecurity for unshakeable confidence. No wonder he vowed to praise the Lord and to give thanks to him forever!

I also feel stark contrasts, fluctuating mood swings, and mixed motives in my life. I’ve conducted some of the finest musicians in the world, but I’m often plagued by self-doubts. I deeply desire to glorify God in writing this book. But I’m also conscious of my concern about how I’m coming across to you. Even though many would consider my life to be successful, I sometimes wonder how significant it has been. But I’m learning to praise God persistently in the midst of it all; and every once in a while, like C. S, Lewis, I’m surprised by joy.

Personal Prayer

Dear Father, may I not continue to be content with my self-centered and self-contained life. May I not eat husks when I can feast at your banquet table.

Love Is Not Blind

I cry to You for help.—Psalm 28:2

If we draw back from facing and feeling our disappointments, then a part of us will experience spiritual deprivation. The more deeply we enter into our disappointment, then the more thoroughly we will see how committed we are to self-protection and turn from it in repentance to a more complete dependence on our Lord Jesus Christ.

Where have you been disappointed the most, I wonder? Most people to whom I address that question tell me: “My parents.” It’s surprising, though, how so many will not admit to being hurt or disappointed by their parents for fear they are failing to honor them or are being disloyal to them. Listen to what one writer has to say about this: “When someone appreciates his parents only because he overlooks the pain they caused him, his appreciation is not only superficial, it is self-protective. Love is never blind to others’ faults. It sees them clearly and is not threatened. It admits disappointment but forgives and continues to be warmly involved.”

Sadly, for far too many of us, love is not the bottom line—self-protection is. When we can look into the face of every disappointment and be willing to feel the pain it brings, there is no more powerful way of motivating our hearts to turn in full dependence toward the Lord. If we are unwilling to do this, then we might cling more to our own ways of handling disappointments than we do to His. And if we do, then in no way can we climb to higher and more distant spiritual peaks.


Father, the more I become aware of what is involved in climbing higher with You, the easier it is to become discouraged. I am a dull, blundering disciple. Help me, dear Lord. Your grace works miracles. Work one in me today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

2Co 12:6-10; Php 4:11; Eph 3:16

What could have been a great disappointment to Paul?

What attitude did he take instead?

Unfinished Business

Psalm 8:3-4

How many worlds

Did You make, Lord?

Not finished yet,

You say!

Still strewing stars

Like confetti

Out in Your

Milky Way?

Marvelous, Your creation.

Millions of stars I see;

Satellites of Your glory,

Studding eternity!

Standing in awe and wonder,

Answer me if You can:

With all the worlds to think of,

Why do You think of man?

Tell me, O Lord Creator,

(Promise You will not smile!)

Why in Your whole creation

Only mankind is vile?

I thought I heard You laughing?

How could I be so dim?

Where there’s a man who’ll let You,

You’re still at work

On him!

John Gowans, O Lord Not More Verse!

VIDEO The Impoverished Ministry of Jesus

Where then do You get that living water? —John 4:11

“The well is deep” — and even a great deal deeper than the Samaritan woman knew! (John 4:11). Think of the depths of human nature and human life; think of the depth of the “wells” in you. Have you been limiting, or impoverishing, the ministry of Jesus to the point that He is unable to work in your life? Suppose that you have a deep “well” of hurt and trouble inside your heart, and Jesus comes and says to you, “Let not your heart be troubled…” (John 14:1). Would your response be to shrug your shoulders and say, “But, Lord, the well is too deep, and even You can’t draw up quietness and comfort out of it.” Actually, that is correct. Jesus doesn’t bring anything up from the wells of human nature— He brings them down from above. We limit the Holy One of Israel by remembering only what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and also by saying, “Of course, I cannot expect God to do this particular thing.” The thing that approaches the very limits of His power is the very thing we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. We impoverish and weaken His ministry in us the moment we forget He is almighty. The impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We will come to Jesus for Him to be our comforter or our sympathizer, but we refrain from approaching Him as our Almighty God.

The reason some of us are such poor examples of Christianity is that we have failed to recognize that Christ is almighty. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment or surrender to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying, “Of course, He can’t do anything about this.” We struggle to reach the bottom of our own well, trying to get water for ourselves. Beware of sitting back, and saying, “It can’t be done.” You will know it can be done if you will look to Jesus. The well of your incompleteness runs deep, but make the effort to look away from yourself and to look toward Him.


Jesus Christ can afford to be misunderstood; we cannot. Our weakness lies in always wanting to vindicate ourselves. The Place of Help

The Chosen Jesus and the Samaritan Woman At The Well

The Joy of Good News

The Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news. Isaiah 61:1

One evening in 1964, the Great Alaska earthquake shocked and writhed for more than four minutes, registering a 9.2 magnitude. In Anchorage, whole city blocks disappeared, leaving only massive craters and rubble. Through the dark, terrifying night, news reporter Genie Chance stood at her microphone, passing along messages to desperate people sitting by their radios: a husband working in the bush heard that his wife was alive; distraught families heard that their sons on a Boy Scout camping trip were okay; a couple heard that their children had been found. The radio crackled with line after line of good news—pure joy amid the ruin.

This must have been something like what Israel felt when they heard these words from the prophet Isaiah: “The Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor” (61:1).  As they looked over the wasteland of their wrecked lives and grim future, Isaiah’s clear voice brought good news at the very moment when all seemed lost. God intended to “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives. . . . [To] rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated” (vv. 1, 4). In the midst of their terror, the people heard God’s assuring promise, His good news.

For us today, it’s in Jesus that we hear God’s good news—this is what the word gospel means. Into our fears, pains, and failures, He delivers good news. And our distress gives way to joy.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

Where do you need to experience good news? When has God’s good news replaced your fear and worry with joy?

God, I need some good news. I hear bad news all the time. I need to hear what You say about things. I need the joy You bring.

Sunday Reflection: The Best Start

In following God, we may experience uncertainty, but He promises to be with us and to provide what we need

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

Starting something new can be difficult. Whether it’s a job, a relationship, or a big move, new beginnings come with great uncertainty and require mental, physical, and spiritual preparation. Thankfully, believers have everything they need to face the unknown.

Before the crucifixion, Jesus promised the disciples wouldn’t be left alone—the Holy Spirit would come to live within them. In fact, being indwelled by God’s Spirit would be better than having Jesus Himself in the flesh. As He told them, “It is to your advantage that I am leaving; for if I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). 

In addition to having the best possible guide, we’ve also been assured that God will supply our needs and equip us to do His will (Philippians 4:19; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). So we can confidently move forward with new endeavors, knowing that the Lord will continue to lead and help us. And while most of us would prefer to see the entire path ahead, we can rest in the certainty that God will be present at every turn.

Think about it

• What needs are you worried God won’t meet? Take a moment to tell Him about them.