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Daily Devotions June 14 to June 20

Daily devotions to encourage your faith.

June 14

Genesis 50:20 " You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."


Have you ever played a game or participated in an activity when you knew you could easily beat your opponent? I have played many games with my niece and restrained myself from playing at my ability level. I did not allow her to win every time, because I firmly believe she needs to understand what it feels like to lose. These were great teaching moments for her. She often said, “Why do I have to lose? No one can beat me!” I explained that sometimes we lose even when it seems we cannot at all and that our attitude should be one of happiness and not frustration.

Isn’t this how it is with God? It may appear for the time being that God is not in control. It may seem like the power of God has been frustrated. Or perhaps it feels like His divine will has been foiled by the power of satan.


And, sometimes as I read the Bible, I skim over sections and miss deep faith lessons that are practical to my life. Take, for instance, this short section at the death of Jacob (Genesis 48:21). Surrounded by the account one of the most popular characters in Scripture (Joseph), this last charge of Israel himself holds great weight for all who have ever struggled with walking by faith.

We often say, “I am not sure God is with me!” The LORD is not far from any of us. Have you received His free gift of salvation by faith? Are you trusting Him this moment? Are you determined to rely on nothing but the finished-atoning work of Jesus Christ?

Then, dear young person, He is with you. Though you may not perceive the work of the Holy Spirit in your toughest and darkest moments, the living God is with you.

You know, I don’t pretend to completely understand why evil men kill thousands of people each year. But like Joseph, I know that God is present in our suffering (Gen. 50:20). He will help us find purpose and meaning in our pain. And though we may fail to see it now, He will turn our place of suffering into a place of blessing.


There isn’t a more comforting fact to know except that nothing happens apart from the will of our heavenly Father. Scripture is clear that the LORD can take any deed, whether from sinful man or Satan himself, and turn it around for His own purposes and glory. Not only is He all-wise, all-knowing, and all-powerful, but under His sovereign control, evil can be turned around to accomplish His eternally good purposes.

Let’s make it our prayer to do all we can for the One who laid down His life for us and who continues to abide with us. May He continually be our joy and our strength!


Nehemiah 8:10 ”And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."


Father, thank you that nothing escapes your vision or your hand. You are sovereign. There is no god in heaven and earth except You. Father, thank you that through the story of Joseph we see your mercy and forgiveness in much sin. You restored what was broken and saved many lives through the suffering of one. Oh, Lord, remind me today how that is a picture of Jesus! We know that through his one death, we all who repent and believe in Jesus by faith alone are saved! Father, praise you so much for the gift of salvation. In Jesus' name. Amen.

June 15

Exodus 1:20-21 "So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own."


Growing up, I can remember having touched a three-leafed poison ivy branch on occasion.  Has this ever happened to you? What starts as a small, localized itch quickly spreads to cover your whole body as you scratch away.  You must forego the urge to minimize the pain and damage.

 

In the Egyptian’s eyes, the Israelites were an itch gone bad.  Re-read Exodus 1:12. The Egyptians tried killing the male children and forcing the Israelites into slavery.  God had promised and forewarned His people about this season of enslavement when He spoke to Abraham (Gen. 15:13-16).  Yet, by God’s grace, the covenant people excelled in the midst of intense oppression.


Think of it another way. Have you ever promised God that you wouldn’t do a particular sin again only to fail in the same area soon after your promise? I have! To persevere means that you practice the spiritual disciplines of God (prayer, worship, evangelism, fasting, fellowship, etc.) and allow the Holy Spirit to shape your life.  If you are Christ’s child, then you can’t help but be pushed toward this end.  In a sense, then, perseverance is promised to us, but it is my prayer (and a prayer you ought to have for yourself and other believers) to pray for perseverance through the tough times of our faith.


This is a continual process of separation from sin to holiness. Progress in your sanctification is measured by your growing hostility toward sin. The source is the power of God.  The result is the transformation of our lowly bodies to be like Him.  To be transformed into the image of Christ for His glory is the ultimate call of every Christian.

 

Want to revolutionize your prayer life? Then ask God to take the biblical contents of this prayer and use them in your life as a member of the Body of Christ.

 

As believers in Jesus Christ, seasons of various afflictions are guaranteed to us as well (2 Tim. 3:12).   It is much better to “choose to be ill-treated with the people of God than to enjoy sin's fleeting pleasure” (Heb. 11:25).  Our prayer during such times should be to be patterned into the image of Christ.  Our aim should be to do all things for the glory of God.


Father, thank you for people in our lives that fear you and want to glorify your name no matter what. We praise you that, like Peter, even if we fail in such times, you are faithful and just to forgiveness from all sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Thank you, Lord. Grant us strength and in moments of trial when you are on trail in courtrooms of men. Your name is worth suffering for. Your name is the only name by which we are saved. Praise you for all that we have. In Jesus' name. Amen.

June 16

Exodus 2:24 "God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob."


As humans, we believe that the plans and ways of God should be revealed to us on demand. This type of thinking comes out of world that is quickly telling God and others, “I want it now, and if I don’t get want I want right now, there is going to be trouble.” This is a dangerous philosophy, because not only are we questioning Almighty God, but are thwarting the plans He has for our lives.


In Exodus two, we see an early glimpse of this human tendency in Moses. Instead of being a slave, he’s considered royalty. Far from being a savior of the Hebrews, he’s actually housed, fed, and trained by the enemy. He had access to the day’s best libraries and teachers (Acts 7:22). Moses had the potential of being the next king over Egypt


At this unique part in Moses’ life, he can claim a relationship with the Hebrew slaves by birth, but when it comes to actually hanging out with the people of God, he would probably be much more comfortable in Pharaoh’s palace among Egypt’s citizens. This is the place many young and old Christians find themselves in today. God knows Moses, but Moses doesn’t really know God. Like many today, he’s given the LORD a place in his life, but he has yet to give up his life to the LORD and keeps the people of God at arm’s length.


However, one day, he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. After looking around to see if anyone was coming or watching him, he killed the slave driver and buried him in the sand (2:11).


Moses was clearly upset at the mistreatment of God’s people, and he wanted to do something about it. However, his decision to take action against God’s timing (Notice he did not receive any command from God to kill the Egyptian at that time or at all) delayed the LORD’s plan for the deliverance of the Israelites by 40 years as Moses learned humility in the desert.


But the story of Moses doesn’t end there. In fact, notice what is recorded of him after God used him to free the Israelites from Egypt: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Say what? Yes, Moses, after humbly submitting to the LORD’s timing, will, and purpose for His life, was considered to be one of the most humble human beings to walk the earth. And it was only when he decided to force God’s timing and will for His life by committing pre-meditated murder that he failed to lead the people and sinned.


Being humble, submitting every decision big and small to the LORD, and waiting on His perfect timing, goes entirely against our natural inclinations. It even goes against the current culture of “I want it and I want it now.” It's an upside-down philosophy. However, it is biblical, and millions have practiced before us. Shouldn't we do the same?


Humbling yourself to God’s will is the first step toward spiritual maturity in Christ, even as a young person.


Father, thank you for all that you have given us in Christ. Lord, as we think of Moses and what he did in killing a man and yet how much you used him, we are more than humbled, we are put in our place. Lord, this isn't just an excuse to do whatever we want. We want to glorify you and live for you. But, once again, we are minded how long-suffering you are with our sin and our failures. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your goodness. Thank you for taking us to places of mercy that we will never understand. All praise is due your name. In Jesus' name. Amen.

June 17

Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”


Have you ever considered how amazing the communication between God and Moses was during Moses' life? Recall that Moses is walking along one day and to his surprise he sees a burning bush. Yet the text records this was not just any burning bush: ""Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up"" (Exodus 3:2). And to top that off, he hears a voice from the bush, calling him by name! Remember, voice-projecting microphones hadn't been invented yet. There was little doubt that it was God.


It doesn't seem fair, does it? After having all his doubts and objections answered, Moses obeyed God's call and returned to Egypt, Moses practically got a step-by-step guide from God on what to do, when to do it, and what to say during the whole process. Even God’s promise of strength and support was not enough to calm Moses’ inner struggles. But, if you examine today's story, you will notice that Moses speaks only six short sentences in this entire chapter! Quite amazing! The rest of the talking is done by God. 


Why would God communicate so much with Moses but seemingly give us so little today? I believe a possible answer to that question is that Moses did not have the resources we have today. Think about it: We have the entire life of Moses in the Old Testament, as well as the other prophets and apostles that combine to complete what we call the Bible.


However, much like when He talked to Moses about his divine mission, the Lord speaks to us and encourages us not to worry or sweat the small stuff repeatedly within the pages of His Word. Instead, He charges us to remember that He never sleeps (Psalm 121:4), He knows everything (Psalm 44:21), and that He is in charge of our world (Ephesians 1:11). Though we might never have a burning-bush experience like Moses when it comes to hearing from the Lord, He reminds us in the pages of the Bible that we do not need to be afraid.


Dear Christian, are you making the most of the work God has given to you? Has the Spirit of the Lord come on you? Have you allowed Him to take over? You cannot in your own strength overcome any of the enemy’s traps.  The Lord has to clothe you with His strength, courage, and peace.  Like a robe placed on a cold body, the Lord warms and encourages you with His presence when you step out in faith.  He is your defense (Exodus 15:2). The call of God is higher and mightier than what you may see with the naked eye.  


Do you really believe that God sees all, knows all, is all-powerful, and is in control? Then entrust Him with whatever it is that is keeping you awake at night. He'll take care of it. He's the One who never slumbers nor sleeps.


Even if God does not choose to speak verbally to you today (you can read his word to hear his voice!), His promise about worry has never changed, even in the Bible: It is a burden that He wants to bear for us (1 Pet. 5:7).


Father, thank you that you speak to us. Father, we know it is not a booming voice from the sky, but through the daily work in your Word and the providential impressions of your Spirit. Father, we don't need you to spell out your will in our alphabet cereal or the like. We just need to know your Word. Lord, give us a passion for your Word. Give us a desire to know more and handle your word correctly. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

June 18

Exodus 5:1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’


The Hebrews have been in slavery for nearly 400 years since Joseph died (Acts 7:6). During that time, they have lost their hope as people. Can you imagine being a slave to someone else your life? Would you lose hope, too? Also, they lost touch with the God of their fathers. They began to dabble in the evil and God-less world of Egypt.


They needed a revival. They needed to wake up. They needed a spiritual reworking only God to do.


Before Moses and Aaron are ready to go take on pharaoh in God’s power, they have some personal spiritual time with one another. This is a good reminder that small talk, hobbies, and pastimes are okay, but Moses and Aaron aren’t taking about American Idol, Taylor Swift, or football. That wouldn’t qualify as spiritual time. Moses is briefing Aaron on the work of God.


When Moses and Aaron go to inform the people that the time of deliverance has come, they assemble the elders. Aaron spoke all the words that God had given to Moses because Moses was scared and slow of speech. The people believed and worshipped the LORD. Everyone was anxious to see the power of God working through Moses and Aaron.


Moses and Aaron then go to pharaoh for their first show down. Moses tells Pharaoh why he should let Israel go, “that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness” (Exo. 5:1). God wasn’t asking pharaoh , no, He was telling pharaoh what would happen . Pharaoh issues forth a thunderous response to Moses and Aaron’s request—who is God? Moses and Aaron ask that Israel might be able to worship God. Pharaoh says, “I don’t want Israel to take a break from their work.” God would later say, “Israel, you need to take a break (Sabbath) every week.” After this, he told them to leave immediately.


Evangelist D.L. Moody from the late 1800s said “Moses spent 40 years in Pharaoh’s court, thinking he was a somebody. He spent 40 years in the desert, learning he was a nobody. He spent 40 years showing what God could do with a somebody who found out he was a nobody.”


We need to understand that spiritual success does not depend on us. It depends on the Lord! Can I save anyone? No! I can’t even save myself! But I am called to be faithful. Proclaim the Gospel to people in your life who aren’t Christians. Teach the Word to believers. Like Moses and Aaron, we are not responsible for the results (God is), but we are responsible to be faithful.


Father, we know that the king of Egypt in this episode had a hard heart. We know that Romans 9 tells us that this is of your doing. Through this, Father, remind us that you alone are worthy of praise and opportunity to know the details we aren't privy to. And help me be okay with that. Help me to be faithful. You won't ask me to be popular or winsome. You just ask me to be humble and faithful to your Word and to sharing your Word. You are amazing, Lord. The most amazing thing is that you would save a sinner such as me.

June 19

Exodus 9:30 "But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God."


Do you believe in magic? Do you think magicians are real?


Well, when we think of magicians, we think of David Copperfield or Houdini. Even in our digital world of 3D and other illusions, magicians still amaze us by making building disappear or pulling cards out of nowhere. They are a source of entertainment and amusement.


In Egypt, magic was inseparable from religion. Priests would practice black magic to the power of the gods. Here we see three types of people that practiced the black magic. First, the “wise men” were those with skills and/or knowledge in a variety of fields and their counsel would be sought by the kings


Second, we the “sorcerers” were those engaged in the Egyptian practice of magic. They would use rites and incantations to influence nature, people, and the gods. Finally, the “magicians” were actually a brand of priests within the Egyptian culture. They had access to the occult world, being familiar with the secret writings.


Can you imagine the scene? Aaron’s rod becomes a serpent, slithering around. The magicians and others cause their staffs to become serpents. So, there are all these serpents on the ground. But then, Aaron’s staff swallows the other staffs. Moses and Aaron were not magicians. God was putting His power on display before Pharaoh and the Egyptians.


Because of pharaoh’s hard heart, God then unleashes ten plagues. There is the turning the Nile into blood, frogs, gnats, flies, death of livestock, boils, hail, locusts, and darkness. Each one of these plagues took dead aim at one of the Egyptian gods. These plagues weren’t just random acts of God. God is a God of order. With each plague, the LORD was showing His sovereignty, power, and authority over the gods of Egypt and the king of Egypt.


What a lesson for us today! God will not jump through your hoops. You will come to Him on His terms. You will come to Him on His time. You can’t be talked into the kingdom of heaven. You must become like a child and believe.


What will it take for you, dear friend, to repent? How long will you play games with religion? God may have to bring a direct, frontal assault on your god, just like He did to pharaoh. Whether it is beauty, popularity, fame, friends, family, or a relationship, everything must be pointed to the glory of God.


Father, we'll have a hard time feasting on God's Word if we're full from feasting at the table of the world. You often use so many things in our lives to remind us of this. Recall to our minds today that we don't control you - but you are the one in control. We know that nothing that comes our way has not first passed through your hands. Lord, so many don't fear you, and, sadly, myself at many times. Rejuvenate my heart, Lord. Help me to see you for as you are in your Word. Forgive me for my sin. Thank you that Jesus and Jesus alone saved me from all my sin. In Christ name I pray. Amen.

June 20

Exodus 9:30 "But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God."


Do you believe in magic? Do you think magicians are real?


Well, when we think of magicians, we think of David Copperfield or Houdini. Even in our digital world of 3D and other illusions, magicians still amaze us by making building disappear or pulling cards out of nowhere. They are a source of entertainment and amusement.


In Egypt, magic was inseparable from religion. Priests would practice black magic to the power of the gods. Here we see three types of people that practiced the black magic. First, the “wise men” were those with skills and/or knowledge in a variety of fields and their counsel would be sought by the kings


Second, we the “sorcerers” were those engaged in the Egyptian practice of magic. They would use rites and incantations to influence nature, people, and the gods. Finally, the “magicians” were actually a brand of priests within the Egyptian culture. They had access to the occult world, being familiar with the secret writings.


Can you imagine the scene? Aaron’s rod becomes a serpent, slithering around. The magicians and others cause their staffs to become serpents. So, there are all these serpents on the ground. But then, Aaron’s staff swallows the other staffs. Moses and Aaron were not magicians. God was putting His power on display before Pharaoh and the Egyptians.


Because of pharaoh’s hard heart, God then unleashes ten plagues. There is the turning the Nile into blood, frogs, gnats, flies, death of livestock, boils, hail, locusts, and darkness. Each one of these plagues took dead aim at one of the Egyptian gods. These plagues weren’t just random acts of God. God is a God of order. With each plague, the LORD was showing His sovereignty, power, and authority over the gods of Egypt and the king of Egypt.


What a lesson for us today! God will not jump through your hoops. You will come to Him on His terms. You will come to Him on His time. You can’t be talked into the kingdom of heaven. You must become like a child and believe.


What will it take for you, dear friend, to repent? How long will you play games with religion? God may have to bring a direct, frontal assault on your god, just like He did to pharaoh. Whether it is beauty, popularity, fame, friends, family, or a relationship, everything must be pointed to the glory of God.


Father, we'll have a hard time feasting on God's Word if we're full from feasting at the table of the world. You often use so many things in our lives to remind us of this. Recall to our minds today that we don't control you - but you are the one in control. We know that nothing that comes our way has not first passed through your hands. Lord, so many don't fear you, and, sadly, myself at many times. Rejuvenate my heart, Lord. Help me to see you for as you are in your Word. Forgive me for my sin. Thank you that Jesus and Jesus alone saved me from all my sin. In Christ name I pray. Amen.