Sunday Devotional: Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

A couple of years ago, I used this verse for a Sunday Devotional.  I was reminded of this verse again recently and how it is very much still applicable today.

Paul wrote these words finishing up a letter to a group of believers that he cared for very deeply.  He helped to plant the church in Philippi wanted to see and hear that the believers there were growing in their faith.  He wanted them to keep pursuing Christ and to continue the work there.

We as believers have that same calling.  We are to keep pursing Christ and continue the work of sharing the Gospel.  And as we do that, we are to engage life with the filter that this verse   We live in a time when we are bombarded on all sides from things that are not the things in these verses.  We must strive to separate out these things to find the things that are true, that are just, that are pure, that are worthy of praise.

This week, let us make sure that we take time to reflect on those things that honor God, those things that point us to Him.  Let us think on those things so that we can be focused on what it is He has for us to do.

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Sunday Devotional: 2 Corinthians 13:11-12

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.  Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.”  (2 Corinthians 13:11-12)

Paul in his letters to the various churches he helped to plant and support always loved to finish them with encouragement and love.  Here in one of his letters to the church in Corinth it is again this kind of word that he wanted to send to the congregation.

Paul loved the people in Corinth and wanted to make sure that they were growing in their faith.  He wanted them to be encouraged to keep going in their faith.  He wanted them to be at peace with one another and he wanted them to be in fellowship with God and each other.

The same should be for us as well.  We should be striving to love God and love one another more.  We should be striving to become more mature in our faith and our walk with God.  We should be encouraging one another.  We should be striving for peace and unity at a time with divisiveness is very apparent.

This week, let us encourage one another like Paul encouraged the Corinthians.  Let us be about rejoicing about the hope we have in Jesus Christ.  Let us love God and one another more and more.  And let us be about sharing peace that comes through Jesus Christ.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 107:1-9

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His faithful love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim
that He has redeemed them from the hand of the foe
and has gathered them from the lands—
from the east and the west,
from the north and the south.

Some wandered in the desolate wilderness,
finding no way to a city where they could live.
They were hungry and thirsty;
their spirits failed within them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He rescued them from their distress.
He led them by the right path
to go to a city where they could live.
Let them give thanks to the Lord
for His faithful love
and His wonderful works for all humanity.
For He has satisfied the thirsty
and filled the hungry with good things.”  (Psalm 107:1-9)

The first part of this psalm reminds me of a praise and worship song that I love. We are to give thanks to the Lord. Why? Because His love endures forever. He loves us so much and cares for us. He is faithful always.

The writer of this psalm speaks to God’s love and faithfulness throughout this psalm.  Just in these few verses we see that to be true.  The people were wandering and alone and cried out to the Lord.  They were hungry and thirsty.  They were tired and alone.  The Lord heard them and led them out and brought them home.  He took care of them.

The Lord does the same for those who love and follow Him  He hears us when we call out to Him.  He will lead us out of despair and into hope.  So this week let’s us give thanks to the Lord for his faithful love that endures forever.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 107:23-32

“Others went to sea in ships,
conducting trade on the vast waters.
They saw the Lord’s works,
His wonderful works in the deep.
He spoke and raised a tempest
that stirred up the waves of the sea.
Rising up to the sky, sinking down to the depths,
their courage melting away in anguish,
they reeled and staggered like drunken men,
and all their skill was useless.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and He brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a murmur,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet.
Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for.
Let them give thanks to the Lord
for His faithful love
and His wonderful works for all humanity.
Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people
and praise Him in the council of the elders.” (Psalm 107:23-32)

We all have storms we have to deal with in our lives.  They come both literally and figuratively.  We’ve seen in recent days and weeks dealing with storms such as Hurricane Harvey and Irma.  We also see it in our lives figuratively when the troubles and hardships that come our way.  Throughout it all, God is still there in the midst.  He is still in control.

Like the Psalmist writes here in Psalm 107, God is right there to hear us when we call out to him in the midst of the storm.  He knows what we’re going through.  He is able to guide us “to the harbor”.  Sometimes it’s hard in the midst of the storm to feel his presence but He is there.  If we call out to Him, He will hear us.

This week, let us pray for those that are in the midst of storms both literally and figuratively.  And let us give thanks to the Lord, for His faithfulness and His love.  Let us give thanks that He does hear us and that He will calm the storm and will guide us to the harbor.

Sunday Devotional: Zechariah 7:8-10

“The word of the Lord came to Zechariah:  “The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another.  Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor, and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another.”  (Zechariah 7:8-10)

Zechariah was a prophet of the Lord.  He was given the task of sharing the words of the Lord to the people after their return from exile in Babylon.  Some of these words are in the passage here.  The Lord wanted the people to remember these things.  To be fair in their decisions.  To have love and compassion for one another.  To not be oppressive to those hurting or those in need.  And to not plot evil against one another.

These words, written down thousands of years ago, still hold true today.  God still wants those that love and worship Him to do these things.  He wants us to “make fair decisions”.  He wants us to “show faithful love and compassion to one another.”  He wants us to “not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor” and to “not plot evil” in our hearts towards one another.

We see today much anger and hurt and sin around us.  There was much anger and hurt and sin in Zechariah’s day.  But just as God called the people in Zechariah’s day to this standard of fairness, compassion, love, grace and mercy, we are called to do the same.  So this week let us not be about anger and hate and division.  But let us be about fairness and love and compassion and hope.  And we are able to have those things because of Jesus Christ.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 126

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Our mouths were filled with laughter then,
and our tongues with shouts of joy.
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord had done great things for us;
we were joyful.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like watercourses in the Negev.
Those who sow in tears
will reap with shouts of joy.
Though one goes along weeping,
carrying the bag of seed,
he will surely come back with shouts of joy,
carrying his sheaves.”

The Israelites had several experiences where they were in bondage, away from their home.  Each time they were in sorrow and each time God was faithful in delivering them.  When they returned, they were joyful and were again reminded of God’s faithfulness to them.  They had reason to shout “The Lord has done great things.”

We go through seasons where we weep, where we sow in tears.  There are seasons where we struggle in depression and hurt.  But God is faithful, there will come a time when we will “reap with shouts of joy”.  God will deliver us through to the other side.  And we will shout out “The Lord has done great things for us.”  This week let us encourage one another with these words.  Let us remember God’s faithfulness in those seasons when we sow in tears and be grateful when reaping with shouts of joy.