Daily Devotional

Daily Inspiration from Pacific Press®

Devocionales diarios

Inspiración Diaria de Pacific Press®

Daily Devotional

The River

Have you ever seen a straight river? They're rare-for a very good reason. Rivers don't just flow; they meander. Many Christians are like that. They meander. They take the easiest way around any obstacle, give in to barriers without a fight, and lose much of themselves in the process. But then there are also Christians who don't;  they set their eyes on the prize-heaven and charge ahead, blasting through barriers, tunneling through obstacles, brushing aside obstructions, and not yielding to the many stumbling blocks that get in their way.

They also know that absolute, straight-line perfection isn't possible in an atmosphere of sin. Christianity is never mastered, but it can be-and should be-practiced daily.


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Come and Die

On multiple fronts, it is increasingly evident America faces a critical moment in her once celebrated existence. If, as Jesus warned in Mark 3:25, ?a house divided against itself? will collapse, it is not difficult to foresee how such a fall could, in fact, precipitate what we have examined in this book. Though at first it may have seemed improbable, if not impossible, the Apocalypse?s prediction of an endgame coalition between the earth beast (America) and the sea beast (Rome) becomes much more likely in the context of a country bitterly divided and perhaps subsequently further weakened by some unnamed crisis (as we explored earlier).

Addressing the partisan divide among religious leaders, the syndicated columnist Michael Gerson wrote: ?The moral convictions of many evangelical leaders have become a function of their partisan identification. . . . Blinded by political tribalism and hatred for their political opponents, these leaders can?t see how they are undermining the causes to which they once dedicated their lives. Little remains of a distinctly Christian public witness.?

Given this void of spiritual or moral leadership, it is not hard to imagine Revelation?s earth beast?sea beast confederacy stepping into that vacuum to legislate and enforce an act of national and eventually universal religious adherence. How would a country so deeply split on multiple levels ever find the voice to stand up to a national law commanding a universal day of worship, purportedly as an act of national unification? 


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The Beauty of Christlikeness

To every soul things will come to provoke, to stir up anger, and if you are not under the full control of God, you will be provoked when these things come. But the meekness of Christ calms the ruffled spirit, controls the tongue, and brings the whole being into subjection to God. Thus we learn how to bear with the censure of others. We shall be misjudged, but the precious ornament of a meek and quiet spirit teaches us how to bear, how to have pity for those who utter hasty, unadvised words. Any unpleasant spirit displayed is sure to arouse the demon of passion in unguarded hearts. Unholy anger need not to be strengthened, but bridled. It is a spark which will set on fire untamed human nature. Avoid speaking words which will stir up strife. Rather suffer wrong than do wrong. God requires every one of His followers, as far as is possible, to live peaceably with all men. . . .

We must be Christlike. Let us strive to make our lives what Christ designs them to be, full of the fragrance of love to God and our fellow men, full of Christ?s own divine Spirit, full of holy aspirations toward God, rich in the beauty of Christlikeness. 


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Character of Christ's Ambassadors

In every truly converted soul there will be genuine, sanctified sympathy with the suffering of Christ, endured by Him to save the sinful. They will, if colaborers with Christ, overcome selfish ease, selfish gratification, selfish indulgence, and will grow in spiritual sinew and muscle by exercising the powers given them of God to win souls to Jesus Christ. This heaven-appointed work is calculated to give breadth and depth and stability to Christian experience and character, and to bring the laborers together with God into a higher, purer atmosphere where their love for Christ will be ever increasing and their love for their fellow men will abound more and more. 


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The Promised Son

The angels of God were commissioned to visit the fallen pair and inform them that although they could no longer retain possession of their holy estate, their Eden home, because of their transgression of the law of God, yet their case was not altogether hopeless. They were then informed that the Son of God, who had conversed with them in Eden, had been moved with pity as He viewed their hopeless condition, and had volunteered to take upon Himself the punishment due to them, and die for them that man might yet live, through faith in the atonement Christ proposed to make for him. Through Christ a door of hope was opened, that man, notwithstanding his great sin, should not be under the absolute control of Satan. Faith in the merits of the Son of God would so elevate man that he could resist the devices of Satan. Probation would be granted him in which, through a life of repentance and faith in the atonement of the Son of God, he might be redeemed from his transgression of the Father?s law.?The Story of Redemption, pp. 46, 47.


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The Son and the children

As Son of God, Jesus both represents humanity and is part of it. Note that Acts 17:28, 29 asserts that we are all sons of God, and the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3 implies that we are all sons of God. We cannot explore this now, but the important thing is that the benefits that God bestows upon Jesus will be enjoyed by all those who are represented by Him or, in the words of Paul, all those who are ?in him? (e.g., Romans 8:1). When God said to Jesus, ?You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased? (Mark 1:11), He was not speaking to Jesus but to us all.

What God said to Jesus and what God did for Jesus, He also accomplishes for us. God resurrected Jesus, and He will resurrect us too (1 Corinthians 15:20?22). Jesus is seated at God?s right hand, and we will enjoy the same privilege (Revelation 3:21). Jesus will judge the world, and we will join Him (1 Corinthians 6:2, 3). ?To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God? (John 1:12). 


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Converted

?Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.? ?Acts 3:19

Three houses down from the home in which I grew up was a big old house. Even though someone was living there, it appeared for years to be abandoned. One day we noticed that the old house was beginning to change. The worn roof was repaired, weatherboards were replaced, and the entire house was painted. New windows were installed. Today it is a beautiful home, the type you might see featured in a glossy magazine. The house had changed owners. When a new owner occupied the home, the home was transformed.

The decision to allow Jesus into one?s life brings the believer the dynamic, lifechanging presence of Jesus through the Person of the Holy Spirit. Surrender to Christ allows Him to do the work He wants to do in the life of a believer. This is not a work of modification but a work of transformation, the work of conversion. Let Jesus do the work He wants to do and experience His miraculous ability to entirely remake you.


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The Blessed Hope

My father taught me lessons from observing the oxen he had in Cuba. From him I learned the key to not feeling overly burdened when committed to helping others face their struggles and pain. A good pair of oxen is composed of a weaker or younger one and an older or stronger ox. The way in which the yoke is set up - with its adjustments of iron, wood, or leather - tells you which ox is pulling the main part of the burden.

Jesus used the figure of the yoke to refer to the load that He is willing to bear. He always carries the heaviest weight, because He is the strongest. That is why Jesus said, 'Take up my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble in heart; and ye shall find rest to your souls; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light?' " (Matthew 11:29, 30, YLT).


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Deferred Hope

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. ?Proverbs 13:12, NIV

For many of us, the youthful years of life are years filled with vibrance, vitality, and big dreams. We hope to be healthy, financially stable, and happy adults who have great careers and travel the world. To sum it all up, we have big dreams that we hope one day will come to fruition. And then life happens. Perhaps we hit roadblocks that send us hurtling into ditches of dismay and depression. We might become discouraged, deflated, and sometimes, even dejected as a result of our unfulfilled dreams. Our hearts wonder whether the day will come when we can finally celebrate the fulfillment of our dreams.

The answer to our wondering hearts can be found in the book of Proverbs. Solomon tells us that we sometimes experience pain and discomfort when we have unfulfilled desires. But when our dreams are fulfilled, our lives become renewed, and springs of life well up within us.

Luke 1:37 reminds us that nothing is impossible for God to do. Your aspirations may seem like high, insurmountable mountains, but our God can move mountains. They might seem like Goliath-size giants, but God has the perfect size stones to slay those giants. So run the race of perseverance, seek God?s face, ask Him to direct your path, and then watch Him fulfill your dreams in a far greater way than you imagined.


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Marvels of Creation

Genesis tells us, ?God made the beast of the earth.? God made the animals, the birds, and the fish, and He put within them the knowledge they need to carry out the most remarkable things. Obviously, some animal behavior is learned: ducklings aren?t born flying, baby lions learn to hunt, and grizzly bears learn to catch fish. But the incredible marvels of creation show us that we serve a good and a great God. It takes an enormous amount of faith to believe animals gained or gathered the remarkable knowledge and skill they possess as a result of evolutionary processes. Surely birds would have become hopelessly lost before evolution helped them figure out how to get from A to B.

God placed remarkable capabilities within animals that demonstrate not only that the creatures themselves are magnificent but also that the God of heaven is magnificent. Spinning spiders, migrating hummingbirds, and landing ducks reveal the greatness of the God of perfect plans and perfect love.


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You Are a Dreamer

Let me remind you: be a dreamer, not just a daydreamer. Sooner or later, it comes time to be a doer. In this life, nobody is 100 percent dreamer or doer. There must be a balance in order to reach your goal. So being a doer means having a goal and a plan to get there. Write down the steps you need to take to make it happen. Surround yourself with people who have the same spirit as you. (That includes friends and relatives.) If you see something blocking your path, find a different path. And finally, don?t think it is going to be easy to make your dreams come true. But trust in God. He has a plan for you, and He says, ?I know the plans I have for you.? He has ?plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future? (Jeremiah 29:11).

But above all your dreams and all the things you want to do, don?t forget this one: the biggest dream you must pursue is to live in heaven. Follow that dream every second of your life, and God will help you accomplish it. It?s His promise, and I believe Him. Do you?


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Jesus Mediates a Better Covenant

When Jesus speaks of the new heart, He means the mind, the life, the whole being. To have a change of heart is to withdraw the affections from the world, and fasten them upon Christ. To have a new heart is to have a new mind, new purposes, new motives. What is the sign of a new heart??a changed life. There is a daily, hourly dying to selfishness and pride.

Then a spirit of kindness will be manifested, not by fits and starts, but continually. There will be a decided change in attitude, in deportment, in words and actions toward all with whom you are in any way connected. You will not magnify their infirmities, you will not place them in an unfavorable light. You will work in Christ?s lines. . . .

God?s power alone can change a heart of stone to a heart of flesh.?Sons and Daughters of God, p. 100.


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