Category Archives: Daily Devotional
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26 NLT)
There are many self-help guides and programs to help you overcome “flaws” in our character such as anger management, behavioral issues, etc. These programs are very beneficial. However, when it comes to sin we need more than self-help programs. We need a heart transplant. We need a new beginning. We need to be born again. God promises He will remove the hard heart of sin and replace it with one that is tender and responsive to His Spirit. If we will ask and allow Him, He will remove the heart of pride and replace it with a humble heart that can hear His voice. He will put His law in our hearts. Not a law that is demanding obedience but a law of law that causes us to want to follow Him and obey Him. That is grace.
All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. Revelation 1:5b (NLT)
18 people. There were 18 people coming to lunch after church. Normally, my husband and I pull these off without a hitch but he wasn’t going to be around this day. No problem, I thought. I pulled off huge parties by myself before we were married. I can still do this.
I had a plan. First, I planned the menu and made sure that it wasn’t too complicated. I had a busy week so I made sure to buy the groceries early in the week. I took Good Friday off and made a couple of the big dishes. The morning of, I knew what I was supposed to do and when I had to do it.
Did I mention I had company for the weekend? Some of my family was staying with us. And, did I mention that my grandson also spent the night? No worries! I had it all figured out. The morning of the lunch came and I was still doing OK. I knew when I had to put the turkey in the oven so it would cook while we were at church for Bible Study and the Service.
Then, my grandson got really tired super early, an hour and a half before his normal nap time. Well, I thought, I’ll let him take his nap and we’ll skip Bible Study and just go to service. He went right to sleep. Then, as I was prepping food, I got into a great conversation with my nephew. After a little bit, I looked at the clock and OH NO! I forgot to put the turkey in. I was a full hour late!
I popped it in and prayed that it would cook fast and off we all went to church. When we got home, the turkey wasn’t done and 18 people were waiting around for it to finish. Of course, everyone was hungry and I felt terrible. My family was super gracious and very understanding but I was pretty hard on myself. I’d pulled this off so many times before – what happened? I had a plan!
As we bowed our heads to thank God for the meal, I realized that this is what Easter is all about. In spite of our best efforts, all the planning, the prepping and the good intentions, we still make mistakes. We still mess up. And God says “It’s OK. Your worth is not defined by your performance; it’s defined by your love for me. Relax and enjoy.”
Thank you, Jesus. It’s good to be able to take a deep breath and enjoy the life you have given me. And it’s good to know that it’s not all about me. Amen.
–Elaine Kapetanakis (thought4theday.com)
The sheep recognize his voice and come to him. John 10:3b (NLT)
I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know my Father. John 10:14-15 (NLT)
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 (NLT)
Question for you. Do you think God talks to us? Do you think you can hear his voice? I do.
When I talk about this with people they usually have a couple of standard responses. The first one is “What does his voice sounds like?”, i.e. Is it audible? Is it loud? Is it masculine or feminine? My answer to that is “It can sound any way it wants.” It’s God. He is not limited by our finite minds – He talked through a donkey after all! Now that we’ve established that what it sounds like really doesn’t matter……
The next statement is “God doesn’t talk to me.” I think he does. I think he talks to all of us. I also think whether you hear him or not is dependent on if you are listening for him. If you are not looking for him, if you are not listening for him, you are going to be less likely to hear him. Think of it this way. When you get married, if you are in a crowded room and your spouse calls your name, you hear them. Your ear is tuned to their voice. It’s the same thing if you are a parent. If your child calls out “Mom!” you recognize that voice right away. When you are listening for God and begin to tune your ear to his voice, you hear him and just like with your spouse or your child, you respond.
The next question that we all ask is “How do I know it’s him?” Very good question. We all struggle with this one and as far as I can tell the answer is ‘Practice’ and ‘Constant Communication.’ I know God has spoken to me and I know I hear his voice. The messages are never the same and sometimes they sound downright illogical. When I am unsure, I keep going back to him and asking questions. I ask for confirmation. I ask for more information. I ask for flashing neon lights with an arrow that says “Go this way.” (I don’t ever get that response.) I don’t think God ever gets tired of us trying to find him. So keep practicing and keep asking questions.
A lot of this article is about what I think from my own personal experience. What does the Bible say about it? First, there are way too many statements about God talking to people to put them in a short blog. But, we can talk about a couple of them. We know God says “If you seek me, you will be found by me” (Jeremiah 29:13), so he wants to be in a relationship with us. We know that in John 10 (above) Jesus said he knows us and we can know him. He also said we can know him like he and the Father know each other. That’s pretty intimate knowing. He also said we can know his voice. So it is possible to ‘hear’ him.
This is so important you can’t take my word for it. You have to listen for yourself. Start talking to God. Tell him you want to find him. Tell him you want to hear him. And keep talking until you do. I know he will show up because he’s promised. Maybe he’s just waiting for you to start the conversation.
–Elaine Kapetanakis (thought4theday.com)
Though the LORD is on high, Yet He regards the lowly; But the proud He knows from afar. (Psalms 138:6 NKJV)
The LORD is exalted yet He takes notice of the humble of heart. Why not the proud? The humble are teachable. They will listen to instruction and follow. The proud think they know everything. It is very difficult for them to learn new truth. Often, they are talking about their ideas and experiences and don’t hear what others are saying. The humble will put others first. They listen to others and sympathize with them. They will offer words of encouragement. They will pray with and for others. In Luke 18, Jesus told a parable about a Pharisee and a publican who went to the temple to pray. The Pharisee prayed that he wasn’t like others especially that publican around the corner. He was perfect and he wanted God to know that he was perfect. But, the publican around the corner knew he was a sinner. Everyone told him so. He was the hated tax collector. The publican poured out his heart to the Lord for mercy. The publican left with peace. He knew his sins were forgiven.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27 NIV)
Jesus’ work on earth was coming to a close. He told His disciples that He was going away. They were very distraught at learning their beloved master was going to leave them. Jesus promised them a gift. A gift that could be attained no other place. Peace. Peace of mind. Peace of soul. That is what we all search for. Peace of Jesus gives us the ability to remain calm in the storms of life. Peace of Jesus gives us hope and faith. Do you have the Peace that only Jesus can give?
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. (John 14:1 NIV)
Jesus had told the disciples that He would be leaving them soon but He would return. The disciples were distraught over the thought that their beloved master leaving. Jesus gave them assurance. When this world gets you down with all the violence and suffering going on, remember Jesus’ words, “don’t let your hearts be troubled”. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He is returning soon to put an end to sin and suffering. Just hold on a little longer. Trust Him.