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Daily Devotions

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…” vss. 1-2a Hebrews 12:1-2 The record of faithfulness outlined in Hebrews 11 is impressive. Scribes had preserved nearly two millennia of stories and regarded those records as their holy scriptures. By…

Daily Devotions

Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.” vss. 39-40 Hebrews 11:29-40 As he continues his teachings, the writer to the Hebrews recounts the great people of faith from Israel’s history, from Rahab, the prostitute, to unnamed prophets tortured and maligned in every horrible way. All had faith in common, it was their strength and…

Daily Devotions

Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” vss. 3-4 Psalm 82 This psalmist imagines God sitting in the divine council and holding judgment. And from that throne God calls out, “Give justice to the weak…maintain the right of the lowly…rescue the needy.” The psalmist has no doubt about God’s priorities–indeed we hear this refrain throughout scripture,…

Daily Devotions

How long? Will the hearts of the prophets ever turn back—those who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart? … Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” vss. 26, 29 Jeremiah 23:26-29 The prophets in Jerusalem drove Jeremiah to distraction. Many had the ear of the king and were crafting their message to his desires. They recommended alliances and treaties that could only bring…

Daily Devotions

Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the Lord.” vs. 24 Jeremiah 23:23-26 Twenty-five hundred years ago Jeremiah refused to believe that God could be manipulated or avoided. God was no idol of stone or wood hanging out in temples and having no connection to daily life.  Like many of us, Jeremiah believed that the Lord filled the universe, that God was present in…

Daily Devotions

You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” vs. 40 Luke 12:37-40 Believers are familiar with admonitions to be prepared. They occur regularly in the teachings of Jesus, particularly in those relating to the coming apocalypse. Disciples were warned that the Son of Man would be coming at an unexpected hour and that they should be ready. Early Christians taught that Jesus would be coming again, likely within their lifetimes, and even…

Daily Devotions

Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven…” vss. 32-33a Luke 12:32-40 About 15-20% of the people who stop breathing and seem to be dying have reported what are known as Near Death Experiences as they recall their memories of what occurred. While reports vary as to what is remembered…

Daily Devotions

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.” vs. 8 Hebrews 11:8-16 It’s not unusual for a person in our mobile times to have an experience like that of Abraham. A call comes, maybe a job opportunity, or perhaps a marriage, and off we go, trusting that the move will be good, even though sometimes we…

Daily Devotions

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” vs. 1 Hebrews 11:1-3 Whenever a loved one dies and we proclaim with conviction that they rest in peace or are safe in the arms of Jesus, we’re making an important statement of faith. We have no way of proving what we say and rationalists would likely scoff at our words, but we keep on making the claim because it’s the core of our faith.…

Daily Devotions

The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save. Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, to deliver their soul from death…” vss. 17-19a Psalm 33:9-22 For millennia the nations of the world have been engaged in an enormous and deadly contest for power and control. Great empires have arisen, each one dependent on the latest advances in weapons…

Daily Devotions

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous. Praise befits the upright. Praise the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.” vss. 1-3 Psalm 33:1-9 One of the consequences of these COVID years, paradoxically combined with our increasing mobility, has been the precipitous decline in worship attendance in most congregations. Oh, many have moved to live-streaming their services, but the…

Daily Devotions

And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.” vs. 6 Genesis 15:1-6 Abraham’s response to God’s promise of many descendants was picked up by Paul as a proof that salvation comes through faith and not through obedience to the Law. Abraham didn’t have much going for him according to the scriptures. He never did settle down, was unbelievably cruel to the mother of his first son, and a big-time liar while he lived in…