May 15 Devotion

Heart Medicine
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” JOHN 3:16
One time I was preaching in Africa to a small group of tribal people. I had been told that they had heard very little about the gospel, and I wanted to bring a basic, straightforward gospel message they could understand. So I preached on John 3:16 as simply as I knew how. Trying to explain John 3:16, I used every illustration I could think of that would help make the message clear. Afterward—by the work of the Spirit—several people indicated that they wanted to receive Christ. The next Sunday I was to preach at the parish church of Great St. Mary’s at Cambridge University in England, and I thought, “I’m going to try something. I am going to preach the same simple sermon at Cambridge that I preached to the people in Africa.” And I did. That Sunday many students in the congregation came to know Christ as Lord and Savior. Human hearts are the same the world over—in rebellion against God, suffering from the disease of sin, and dying…until they discover the simple (and yet profound) truth of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ.

May 14 Devotion

God’s Unchanging Word
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 TIMOTHY 3:16
Early in my life I had some doubts about whether or not the Bible was really God’s Word. But one night in 1949 I knelt before a stump in the woods of Forest Home, California, opened my Bible and said, “O God, there are many things in this Book I do not understand. But by faith I accept it—from Genesis to Revelation—as Your Word.” By God’s grace that settled the issue for me once and for all. From that moment on I have never had a single doubt that the Bible is God’s Word. When I quote Scripture, I know I am quoting the very Word of God. This confidence in God’s Word not only gives authority to one’s ministry; it provides a solid foundation for one’s life. We who trust in God’s Word aren’t living according to what someone says about the Bible, or on some human philosophy. We are basing our faith, our ministry, even our life itself on God’s unchanging truth as it is presented in His unchanging Word. Is God’s Word the foundation of your life?

May 12

One More Time!
[My word] will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ISAIAH 55:11
I remember hearing a professor say that during His earthly ministry Jesus probably repeated Himself more than five hundred times. In college I had a professor who deliberately repeated himself three times. He said that the people in the first two or three rows will get the message the first time. The second time the people in the middle of the lecture hall will get it. The third time the people in the back will get it. And the ones in the front row will never forget it. We need to keep that fact of human nature in mind as we share God’s love with the people He puts in our path. We need to repeat ourselves—to repeat our acts of service, our deeds of love, and, yes, our words of truth. The Bible says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). Let us saturate ourselves in the Word of God and in prayer. Then we will be equipped to share His truth—and to repeat it again and again!

May 11 Devotion

Keep at It!
Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? LUKE 18:7
Almost every week I get at least one letter from someone who has been praying for years for a family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker who doesn’t know Christ. In many cases that person has eventually turned to Christ, and his or her life has been changed. But what if the person writing to me had stopped praying? Whenever we pray, we need to remember that God’s ways and God’s timing aren’t always the same as ours. In fact, His time frame rarely matches ours. We also need to remember that God is able to do what we can’t do. Only He can convict nonbelievers of their sins; only He can convince them of the truth of the Gospel. That is why no one is hopeless, for God can break through even the hardest heart. “ ‘Is not my word…like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’ ” (Jeremiah 23:29). For whom are you praying? Keep at it!

May 10 Devotion

History-Changing Prayer
[Hezekiah prayed,] “O LORD our God, deliver us from [the enemy’s] hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.” That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. 2 KINGS 19:19, 35
As someone has said, “Prayer is the highest use to which speech can be put.” But today we often regard prayer as merely an honored tradition or a polite formality. But prayer—sincere, believing prayer—is so much more. Cover to cover, the Bible tells of people whose prayers were answered and who turned the tide of history as a result. Hezekiah prayed, and God spared his nation when the Assyrians attacked. Elijah prayed, and God sent fire to confound the false prophets and consume the offering on the waterlogged altar. Elisha prayed, and the son of the Shunammite woman was raised from the dead. Jesus prayed, and Lazarus came forth from the tomb. Paul prayed, and new churches were born. The early church prayed, and Peter was delivered from prison. We can change the course of events if we go to our knees in believing prayer. What will you pray about today?

May 8 Devotion

Prayers and Tears of Love
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. 1 JOHN 4:7
I’ve learned that serving the Lord requires prayer, and often means tears…. Any day that I leave my room without a quiet time with God, I look for the devil to hit me from every angle. Power for life, for ministry, doesn’t come from our own ability; it comes from God. We need a fresh, daily anointing from the Holy Spirit, and that comes from the time we spend with God in His Word and in prayer. Are you a person of prayer? In Boston, Massachusetts, the great soul winner John Vassar knocked on the door of a person’s home and asked the woman if she knew Christ as her Savior. She replied, “It’s none of your business” and slammed the door in his face. He stood on the doorstep and wept and wept, and she looked out her window and saw him weeping. The next Sunday she was in church. She said it was because of those tears. Where are your tears? A life fueled by prayer and characterized by His love is a life God will use.

May 7 Devotion

Pray for Peace
War will continue until the end. DANIEL 9:26
In the Bible, God calls us to work for peace and pray for peace. But He also warns us that conflicts and wars will always be part of human society until Jesus comes at the end of history to set up His Kingdom of peace and justice. In that day all evil will be eliminated, and perfect peace will reign upon the earth. Until that day, however, the world will always be subject to “wars and rumors of wars” (Matt. 24:6). Why is this? Why can’t we live together in peace? The reason is that our hearts are selfish, and filled with anger and greed and a lust for power. Until our hearts are changed, we will never know lasting peace. Tragically, we are a planet in rebellion against God. That is why the world’s greatest need is to turn to Christ. Only He can change us from within by His Holy Spirit. But even when wars rage, we can have peace in our heart as we open our life to Christ. Ask God to give you that peace— and pray that others will know it too.