Lead Pastor Search Updates Thank you for praying during this time! Click Here

Daily Devotions 8-23 to 8-29-21

Daily devotions to encourage your faith.

August 23

2 Peter 1:16 "For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty."

Today's Thoughts...

Do you believe the Bible is true? No, do you really believe the Bible is true?

If you do, you are in good company. Peter reminds us here that the Bible isn't a book a man would write if He could (because it exalts God), nor is it a book a man could write if He would (prophecy, power). The Bible is inspired, authoritative because it is the Word of God and intelligible, and accessible because it is the words of men. The Bible is simple enough that any child can come to it but also so deep that the greatest theologians cannot touch the bottom.

And it is not an invention! Notice that Peter says he himself was an eyewitness to its contents. John wrote about this in the opening to First John (1:1-4).

The Bible isn't a book about science, math, history, biology or astronomy. It's a book about God, the Interpreter of these disciplines. Some Bible verses are challenging because I'm not sure what they mean. But others are challenging because I do know what they mean. Scripture is as clear as it needs to be. We may not have everything we want but we do have all we need.

Subjective impressions from the Holy Spirit must be held in submission to the revelation of the inspired Scriptures. If we're unconvinced about the sufficiency of Scripture, we'll be unconvinced that Jesus is sufficient. The Scriptures testify of Him.

Is the reason we don't read the Bible more and pray more because we trust ourselves more than we trust the Lord? Hold onto the Bible. Not as a magic book, but as a book that teaches you how to think

Today's Prayer...

Father, thank you that your Word is true. We praise you that we have all the historical and factual evidences, including eyewitnesses like Peter, to verify this fact. Yet, Lord, my heart can grow cold—as you know. Revive it today for the glory of your name to take seriously the words before me. History is the story of man proclaiming his fleeting glory. Scripture is the story of God proclaiming His unending glory. And we thank you for this. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

August 24

2 Peter 1:17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Behold, My son in whom I am well pleased."

Today's Thoughts...

Peter was there to witness this, both at Jesus’ baptism and at the transfiguration (Matthew 3:13-17; 17:1-8). This is what God the Father said of Jesus. If you're ""in Christ,” God says this of you as well.

Remember the Trinity in Salvation:

Father—Architect who drew up the plan

Son—Builder who laid the foundation

Holy Spirit—Agent who brings the elect to closing

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36)

If the Son sets you free, you shall truly be free. Free from sin, free from death, free from judgement, free to enjoy God now and forevermore. And if we call God Father, we immediately contemplate the Son. To know God, we must know God as the Father of the eternal Son of God—Jesus Christ.

Not all things please God, but nothing perplexes Him. He works all things, even the torturous death of His Son, for our good and His glory. Sin temps us to think God does not see or care about our words, actions, motives. But He does. That is why He crushed His Son.

The greatest gift God can give us is His Son. The prodigal son returned home filthy, not fixed. That's how you approach a God of grace. He'll do the fix'n once you've come home. In Christ, we know who God is and see how He has loved us. May we grow in our love for Him.

Today's Prayer...

Father, help us find strength in the hope of Your Son's return. You were well-pleased with him on earth and will be forevermore. Father, send Your Son tonight so that we might awake in Your presence forevermore. Father, we pray that today might be the day You send Your Son. Come, Lord Jesus, come! In your name. Amen.

August 25

2 Peter 1:18 "We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain."

Today's Thoughts...

The story is told of Franklin Roosevelt, who often endured long receiving lines at the White House. He complained that no one really paid any attention to what was said. One day, during a reception, he decided to try an experiment. To each person who passed down the line and shook his hand, he murmured, ""I murdered my grandmother this morning."" The guests responded with phrases like, ""Marvelous! Keep up the good work. We are proud of you. God bless you, sir."" It was not till the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. Non-plussed, the ambassador leaned over and whispered, ""I'm sure she had it coming.""

What an odd story! It matters what voice you listen to, doesn’t it?

Peter had no doubt that he heard the voice of the living God on the mount of transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-7). It was not his own making or doing. It was of the Lord.

Yet, even today, Satan whispers: “God isn't there. God doesn't care.” But don't listen to him. He's a liar. Jesus is truth. Listen to Him. Sin calls us to consider a moment's delight. Jesus calls us to consider eternity's delight. May we pray: “Lord, give us ears to hear Your voice.” And we must never fear the words of people. The only voice that should sway our hearts is the voice of the Lord (Ezek. 1-2)

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15). It is an act of mercy for God to speak to us. Do not resist Him. ""Speak Lord, for your servant hears"" )1 Samuel 3:9). May our prayer be: “Lord, give us expecting ears that eagerly listen for Your voice.”

Godliness is seen in many things, but certainly in the ability to listen and take correction. ""For freedom Christ has set us free"" - Galatians 5:1 Walk in that freedom today. Do not listen to sin's enslaving call." "Listen, listen to me..." (Isa. 55:2)…

Today's Prayer...

Father, may the main voice we hear and heed today be yours. Transcend all other noise and voices. Father, help me to listen from my heart today. Protect me from me and my sinful choices that dishonor your name. Father, some of your children have lost sleep by your hand, because you have something to say. Speak Lord, your daughters and sons listen. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

August 26

2 Peter 1:19 "We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."

Today's Thoughts...

Something surer than a voice from heaven: The prophetic word of promise given by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:19-21). Peter is equating his letters, words, and ministry to the Old Testament prophets. Yet, it wasn’t because of him. It was all by grace and the commission given to him by the resurrected Jesus Christ.

The words of the Bible are a more reliable key to reality than the thoughts in my own head. Grateful for The Book. ""God is faithful"" (1 Cor. 10:13). In all this world of lies and betrayal, God, and God alone, is faithful, true, steady, and reliable. This is what Peter meant!

And remember what was said of John the Baptist? ""I am the voice of one crying out"" (John 1:23). Not, ""I am the echo of the latest fad."" Biblical men are prophetic. The most timely, relevant, beneficial, prophetic lifestyle in America today is a humble, simple, Jesus-first-always obedience.

What muffles the prophetic voice of our churches: layers of unresolved sin plus programmatic over-scheduling. Silencing, exhausting. The more our churches embody Ephesians 2:14, the more prophetic and compelling they will be in this generation. Cool is dead. Unity lives.

Friend, it is not that prophetic or brave to point out sin outside our camp. It is quite prophetic & quite brave to address the sin in our own camp. It is our unity, our love, which makes our churches prophetic (John 17). But we emphasize programs, and we tolerate aloofness. Crazy.

Now more obviously relevant and prophetic: the gospel, our churches, humility, courage, willingness to suffer, the promises of God. If you want your church to speak with prophetic power in these times, strip it down to bare basics, in hyper-focus on Jesus.

Anything else, it seems, is not living up to the sure word that shines light into darkness.

Today's Prayer...

Father, thank you that all the promises of your Word are “yes” and “amen” in Jesus Christ. Nothing else makes any sense. It is all by grace that we have what we have in your word and our salvation. God, you are good. Hallelujah! Jesus silenced the law's demands and fulfilled the prophet's dreams. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

August 27

2 Peter 1:20 "First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation."

Today's Thoughts...

You need to remember that in verse 19 Peter is trying to tell us that the second coming of Jesus is like a light shining in a dark place. Here in verse 20 the apostle is reminding us not to play spiritual “whack-a-mole” with the interpretive meaning of the Bible. The false teachers Peter was writing against bent the Scripture to suit their own beliefs, desires, and such. That’s why in 2 Peter 3:15 he writes:

“The untaught and unstable twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.”

In other words, the false teachers didn’t reject the Old Testament writings, especially, and don’t reject that they came from God. Rather, they just twist them like a pretzel to their own fancies, desires, and “ministries.”

What a sobering reminder that you will answer to God for your interpretation of the Bible (Prov. 30:5-6). We can think too highly of our interpretation of Scripture but never Scripture's interpretation of itself. The truth is always found in which interpretation of Scripture gives greatest glory to God.

Let me also say: God doesn't encode ""hidden meanings"" in the text. The key to biblical interpretation is to understand it as the original audience would.

Remember one of the foundational principles of biblical interpretation: The biblical writers were not stupid. In daily Bible reading, follow these key steps--observation, interpretation, application, meditation, memorization, implementation. Effective Bible study requires investigation, interpretation, illumination, and internalization.

Is this your aim and desire?

August 28

2 Peter 1:21 "Because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."

Today's Thoughts...

When it comes to Christian bookstores, we have fallen prey to so many fads and cultural mumbo-jumbo. Why? Because we have forgotten that inspiration sells, but only Jesus transforms.

As we look at the final verse (21) of chapter one, we would do well to remember this lesson. The Holy Spirit has no bad breath, brothers and sisters. That is, the very Word of God you have in the Bible is exactly what he wanted it to be: inspired, inerrant, infallible, sufficient, and authoritative. The divine inspiration of scripture is the unavoidable mandate for the study like we are doing.

How does this relate to you? Because Christians who distort truth insist on using the ambiguous words of Scripture rather than clear words explaining Scripture as Peter states here. Read the Bible and stick with the Bible. Don't try to be more spiritual than the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible.

""Men spoke from God, as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit"" (2 Peter 1:21). How the Bible was written, how it must be preached. The Holy Spirit has given us the Bible and gives us understanding of it

When all your favorite pastors and preachers are long gone and dead, and all their books forgotten, you will have your Bible. Master it. Master it.

Is that your goal? Your aim? Your desire?

Today's Prayer...

Father, thank you that your Word is inspired not for creativity, but for our growth in you and the knowledge of truth in the Gospel. Holy Spirit, open the eyes of our hearts to see more of Jesus... in the Bible, in creation, and in unexpected places. So magnify the beauty and love of Jesus in our hearts that there'll be little room left for idols, fantasies, and illusions. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

August 29

2 Peter 2:1 "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves."

Today's Thoughts...

As we enter into chapter two of Second Peter, I’d like to just take a moment to outline this chapter. Part of good Bible study is understanding the context. So, let’s begin.

First, false teachers are destroyers (2 Peter 2:1-3) They are characterized by:

1. Deception:

a. Their message is deceptive (verse 1);

b. Their methods are deceptive (verse 1);

c. Their words are deceptive;

d. Their methods are successful (verse 2)

2. Denial: (verse 2)

a. They deny his Lordship

b. They deny his sacrifice

3. Desire – covetous exploitation. (verse 3) also 1 Peter 5:2; 1 Th 2:5

Second, Peter says that false teachers are degenerate (verses 10-16). Next, false teachers are devious (verses 17-20). They make empty promises (verse 17). They lure people by legitimizing their lusts – (verse 18). They offer liberty but deliver slavery (verse 19) And, finally, false teachers are doomed (verses 4-9; 21-22) Why? Their profession was false - they had external reform but no internal regeneration (verse 20). Their preference was fatal – They chose the way of the world instead of the way of righteousness (Verse 21).

Peter affirms it's not ungracious to uphold the gospel of grace against false teachers. See Paul in Galatians, for instance. Even among the believers of the Old Testament false teachers were rampant. From Moses’ time to the prophets, falsehood ran amuck. And the same was true in Peter’s day and our day!

What’s the point to all this? False teachers are everywhere—they will introduce “destructive heresies” secretly (2:1). False teachers promise freedom—but deny the “Sovereign Lord.” (2:1). False teachers have a quick exit plan—by God—and swiftly.

For false teachers, the big question is which message will win human applause. For faithful Christians, it's pleasing the Lord above. Which one are you seeking?

Today's Prayer...

Father, every false gospel makes the promise of snake-oil and, in time, delivers the death of snake venom. Father, thank you that you have given us your Word and your Spirit to help us discern truth from error. Free our heart from all false idols. From all false teachings. Help us see you as you are. High and lifted up. In Jesus’ name. Amen.