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Daily Devotions

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.” vss. 1-2a Isaiah 35:1-4 Isaiah lived in a semi-arid land, right on the edge of the Judean desert, and he annually observed the effects of the rainy season. When the winter rains come in January or February, the desert blooms. Areas that appear to be barren much of the year suddenly are…

Daily Devotions

I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” vs. 11 Matthew 3:7-12 A fire burned within John the Baptist. He knew that God was close and that change was coming. But like all prophets he likely also knew that his time was limited. He had offended too many powerful people and…

Daily Devotions

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” vss. 1-2 Matthew 3:1-6 John felt it inside first. Something new was in the wind and he knew beyond a doubt that God had broken into the world. He’d been railing against the corruption of the temple for years, and had joined the Essenes in the wilderness as a protest. In solitude he had prayed, and now God…

Daily Devotions

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” vs. 13 Romans 15:7-13 One of the signs of God’s presence in our lives is the appearance of hope in the most unlikely times. Hope confounds us with its elusiveness. It comes and goes with maddening irregularity and resists our most determined manipulation. Paul tells us that hope has a connection with…

Daily Devotions

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” vs. 4  Romans 15:4-6 Paul was waiting for Christmas, or to put it another way, he was waiting for the return of Christ, but he wasn’t letting any grass grow under his feet as he waited. He had been given a mission and, without training and without precedent, he daily engaged in proclaiming…

Daily Devotions

May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.” vs. 4     Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 As the new king ascended the throne in Israel, the psalmist gave voice to the hopes of the people. They had an agenda, and they didn’t have in mind more palaces for the royal family or tax advantages for the rich. The people of Israel yearned for a king who would defend the cause of…

Daily Devotions

They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” vs. 9 ​​​​​​​​​Isaiah 11:6-11 Having lived through a virtual two-year shutdown of our country, and now, another contentious election, hope is a precious commodity. For some reason leaders of all kinds have been led to sow a message of fear and distrust that has found its way into too many hearts.…

Daily Devotions

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” vs. 1​​ ​​​​​​​​Isaiah 11:1-4 In some homes, a Jesse tree has appeared in the family room right alongside the Christmas trees. Usually Jesse trees are not impressive in themselves; they’re just large dead branches stuck in some sort of non-descript container. They’re not at all like Christmas trees, but they are meant to be decorated. Each day during Advent some sort…

Daily Devotions

Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” vs. 42 Matthew 24:40-44 As technology and science have progressed we have become more adept at predicting the future. We’ve even gotten pretty good at predicting the weather and can be fairly confident about when the next storms will be moving in. But there are some things that remain a mystery, and that happens most frequently as we try to figure out endings. Jesus’ words…

Daily Devotions

But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” vs. 36 Matthew 24:36-39 When Matthew wrote his gospel, many believed that the end times were near. The armies of Rome had destroyed the temple, and many believers were sure that Jesus would surely soon return. But as Matthew recounts Jesus’ words about the end, he makes it clear that all we can know for sure is that God…

Daily Devotions

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near.” vss. 11-12a Romans 13:11-14 It’s so easy to lose track of time. Everyone knows the feeling! We get involved in one thing or another and before we are even aware that time has passed, a glance at our watch…

Daily Devotions

Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.’” vs. 32 John 6:25-35 As the years pass each major holiday seems to acquire a unique identity, and that’s certainly true for Thanksgiving. For most Americans this is a day for coming together as families, maybe watching a little football, and then gorging on a multi-course…