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Daily Devotion

  • Faith Versus Fear

    Posted on February 4, 2012 by Family Christian

    “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4

     

    Fear is a formidable foe of faith. It lurks about, looking for ways to lead us into distrust of our Lord. Fear is subtle with its sneak attacks on our attitudes and bold in its frontal barrage on our beliefs. Fear always fights back, even when we extinguish it for a time with our total trust in God.  And it doesn’t let up until we get to heaven. Fear is like fire ants.  You can eliminate their unholy mound with a baby powder-like deterrent, but they regroup and rebuild nearby. 

    Trust in the Lord is the terminator of fear, but fear seems to recreate itself with whatever appendage of doubt is left. It grows within the next uncertain circumstance that comes our way. Fear thinks it has us in check on the chessboard of our life, but the truth is that Jesus checkmated fear on the cross. Now it is up to us to appropriate His triumph by trusting in God.

    There are many times when we are in transition from fear to faith. It’s in the transition of trust in God that our cares co-mingle with Christ’s care. There is a holy tension that transpires in our transition into trust. It is in this dawn of trust that light gradually overcomes darkness. Faith dissolves doubts as the sun drives away the mist. Your mind may be a little murky, but you renew your thinking (Romans 12:2) with the truth that God is ever present.

    Your confidence may be crumbling, but you keep your eyes on your Savior. Your prayers may be clumsy, but you still cling to Christ. Your relationships may be reluctant, but you rely on the Lord. Use this transition from fear to faith to grow your mercy and compassion. Indeed, doubting can drive us to God, and it grows us into more patient and humble human beings. It strengthens our trust and makes us hold fast to heaven. Hope trusts in this transition from fear to faith.

    Moreover, mortal man has not made a permanent impression on the saints of God. Immortal and Almighty God is your new insignia. Embedded on the coins of your character is the faith-filled inscription, “In God I Trust.” Followers of Jesus have the eternal seal of their Savior as their newfound identity (Ephesians 4:30). Do not allow the patterns of your old life to feed any fading fears in your new one (Romans 6:6). The fears of your proud past have been replaced with faith, love, and hope in your humble here and now. Faith has banished fear.

    Therefore, you can continually celebrate. Praise points you to Providence. After all, it’s all about Him. This is why faith brings forth praise. When you trust, you can’t help but sing from your soul. Indeed, faith in the Lord facilitates praise and is a product of praise. It is in our praise of God that our fears fade and our faith flourishes. So praise Him, trust Him, and fear no one. No one can take from you what you have already given to Him. Faith is a fear-killer; it overcomes.

    Taken from the February 5th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Love and Honor

    Posted on February 3, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

     

    What does it mean to be devoted in love and to honor another above myself? It is much more than being selfless—I gladly prefer to put another’s needs ahead of my own. Because I hold the relationship in such high esteem, I want them to feel the power of being preferred over my agenda or expectations. In marriage devoted love matters most.

    Husbands who love by engaging their wife’s emotions grow in patience and understanding. The insensitive coldly dismiss and dishonor a loved one’s concerns, but a true lover looks for ways to work things out for their spouse’s benefit. A wife honors her husband when she seeks to know his work world and empathize with his challenges. Only you, with love and honor, can uniquely meet certain God-given needs in your spouse.

    “Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.” Song of Songs 2:3-4

    Devotion to one another flows out of our devotion to the Lord. The more we allow Jesus to love us, the more we have capacity to love others. Our heavenly Father waits patiently to hear our hearts and then opens His heart of healing grace, insightful wisdom, caring conviction and patient forgiveness. We honor Him to honor others.

    Is your devotion to the almighty dollar or to Almighty God? Do you honor heaven’s agenda over the ways of the world? Your selfless devotion to family, friends and faith forever marks them with your Master’s fingerprints of love and honor. Therefore, make it your goal to grow your relationships in love, honor and glad service for God. A sense of superiority has no home in relationships—love esteems others above themselves.

    “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4

    How can I love and honor my spouse at their current point of need?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 21:21; Isaiah 43:4; 1 Peter 2:17; 2 Peter 1:17

    Post/Tweet this today: Only you can uniquely meet certain God-given needs in your spouse. #marriage

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  • Leaders of Integrity

    Posted on February 2, 2012 by Family Christian

    “But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” Exodus 18:21

     

    Leaders with integrity are a rare breed within a group of citizens, whose utmost concern is, “What is in it for me?” A selfish society does not always select a leader for their integrity, but for their ability to manipulate a quick fix for chronic problems It is this short sightedness that can set back a generation, because of their leader’s greed and corruption.

    However, men and women of integrity understand the big picture of principled leadership, and they value fear of God, trustworthiness and honest economics. A leader of integrity looks out over the long term, and discovers what is best for the culture, its citizens, churches and families. There is a resolve to do the right things, with the right people, for the right reasons. Leaders of integrity integrate uprightness with their quiet influence.

    “Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” Job 2:3

    Therefore, select capable men and women who hold Christ and His commands in high esteem, who you can trust to do and say the right things, implemented in the right way. Leaders of integrity surround themselves with leaders of integrity. There is a high standard in their selection of leaders, because they want to represent the people extremely well. Competence and character are valued over loyal but incompetent friends with suspicious standards of behavior. A leader of integrity delegates to capable leaders.

    So, select your leaders in government and church prayerfully, and only after extensive due diligence of their policies, integrity and track record. Blindly betting on one person is a bad process. Instead, select statesmen who will serve the people in the best interests of the country—who surround themselves with the best and the brightest, full of character. Most importantly, choose those who will submit to the accountability of God and man.

    The early church experienced a similar selection process of leaders: “Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:3-4)”.

    Who will I select as a leader that is best for my country, my family and my God?

    Related Readings: 1 Kings 9:3-5; Psalm 25:21; 78:72; Mark 12:14; 2 Corinthians 1:12

    Post/Tweet this today: Leaders of integrity integrate uprightness with their quiet influence. #integrity #influence

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Bold Baptism

    Posted on February 1, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20

     

    Baptism is a bold declaration of a personal belief in Jesus Christ. It is an outward expression of an inward conversion. Baptism is symbolic of an individual Christian (normally a new believer) burying their old way of life and coming alive in Christ. Jesus commands baptism for His children. He knows the accountability, the encouragement and the love that accompanies this act of obedience.

    Who is a candidate for baptism? If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior your next step is to follow the example of Jesus and be baptized. He modeled the way of humble submission—when as the Son of God—He insisted on being baptized by another. Baptism identifies you with God’s forever family of faith.

    “Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?" And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” Acts 8:35-38

    What happens if a believer is not baptized? You don’t miss heaven, but you miss the blessing of hearing your Heavenly Father say, “This is my child in whom I am well pleased.” Baptism brands you a Christian—a follower of Jesus Christ. Your public display of gratitude and glory to God will help another make a private commitment to Christ. It is a formal declaration of your dependence on Jesus for grace and forgiveness.

    A house of faith is a home where the father takes the lead and models baptism to his spouse and children. Jesus was an adult believer when he announced His allegiance to Almighty God. In most cases, as the father goes in his commitment to Christ, so goes the family. Baptism is not to be taken lightly, as your Lord Jesus took it very seriously. So, seek out a trusted church and publically display your death to self, and new life in Christ.

    “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.” Acts 16:29b-33

    How can I value and celebrate baptism with my Lord, my family and my friends?

    Related Readings: Matt. 3:13-17; Acts 2:38; Colossians 2:11-13; Galatians 3:26-28

    Post/Tweet this today: Baptism identifies you with God’s forever family of faith. #baptism #obedience

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • No Struggles

    Posted on January 31, 2012 by Family Christian

    “They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.” Psalm 73:4-5

     

    Having no struggles at all will never happen in this lifetime. Non-existent struggles are not possible, until you graduate to heaven’s struggle-free environment with your Savior. The nice and the naughty alike struggle, though outwardly they may seem void of vexation. The righteous and the wicked both struggle to varying degrees. No one is exempt from struggles.

    Yes, there may be seasons of minimal conflict; however struggles are on the way. You are either struggling, about to struggle or have just finished struggling. Indeed, everyone from monks to the mafia struggle. Therefore, don’t spend your life trying to insulate yourself from struggles. Instead, prepare spiritually for the snares of an unseen enemy.

    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

    You will stress out more from trying to avoid struggle, than you will from accepting its reality. This is not to say God would have us solicit struggle into our lives. But He does understand that struggles are meant to send us to Him. Struggles look for a Savior, and Jesus is our friend in our fight against those struggles.

    Furthermore, envy can erode your eternal perspective by giving you a false impression of others who seem to live life without struggles. This is inaccurate and ill conceived. No amount of money or power can completely drive struggle from someone’s life. In fact, it may compound struggles because of the complexity of choices that wealth creates.

    Someone’s large amount of discretionary time may, on the surface, make them seem like they are without struggles, but they are not. There are still the internal struggles of sin and self against God’s best. And there are the external struggles created by other people’s choices and circumstances that are out of your control. Accept struggle as the Lord’s way to grow you in His ways, for His glory. Struggles send you to pray for yourself and others.

    Paul requested prayer, “I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me” (Romans 15:30).

    Who can I join in their struggle through personal and persistent prayer?

    Related Readings: Genesis 32:28; Hosea 12:3-4; Philippians 1:30; Hebrews 12:3-5

    Post/Tweet this today: Accept struggles as the Lord’s way to grow you in His ways. #struggles #growth

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Soul Nourishment

    Posted on January 30, 2012 by Family Christian

    “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:2

     

    Spirit-filled Christians have a craving for Christ—there is an insatiable desire for intimacy with their Savior. Activity and busyness, even for God, can taste like sawdust to the soul, but sitting at the feet of Jesus revives the spirit and satisfies our deepest longings to be known and loved by the Lord. Like water hydrates the body, only heaven hydrates the heart.

    Our innermost being hungers and thirsts for spiritual food, but do we take the time to shop at God’s grocery store? Are we hunting for healthy soul food or we snacking at the world’s table with a diet that is detrimental to the eternal? Our Master Jesus has a menu made up of spiritual nutrients that nourish the soul. His filling food is accessed by faith.

    “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

    Just like the body routinely looks for three meals a day and plenty of refreshing liquids, so your soul yearns for spiritual sustenance. Without the required daily input of needed nutrition—the neglected soul starves for lack of attention. The diseases of discouragement, fear, unforgiveness and hopelessness attack and defeat the spiritual immune system of an intimacy deprived and sick soul.

    However, you contribute to a healthy heart by designating a meeting place of prayer with God. Go there often and drink in the Lord’s love, forgiveness and wisdom. Feed by faith at the feet of Jesus at a smorgasbord with the secret sauce of a saved soul. Grace feeds the heart of a grateful soul that has been graced by God. Pain and conflict fatigue faith to the point of parched lips, but praise and worship to Jesus drinks from His deep well of glory.

    Your God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is alive, ready and willing to fill your hungry heart with faith, and satisfy your thirsty soul with eternal security. Heaven always prepares a delicious meal that is beautifully presented in prayer. Wake up and worship the Lord—mid-morning, snack on Scripture—listen to the Lord at lunch—mid-afternoon, meditate on your blessings—at dinner discuss His faithfulness—and thank Him as you retire in the evening. A soul nourished by God meets with God and is eternally satisfied.

    “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 84:2

    Lord, how do you want to nourish and feed my soul with Your heavenly banquet table?

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 15:12; Isaiah 61:10; Mark 12:30; Luke 1:46

    Post/Tweet this today: Like water hydrates the body, so only heaven hydrates the heart. #prayer #heaven

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Strength in God

    Posted on January 29, 2012 by Family Christian

    “David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.” 1Samuel 30:6

     

    God is your source of strength. Other sources will run dry, or lose their effectiveness. Strength outside of God is temporary at best, and cannot be depended upon. You may find strength for a while through your sheer determination and will power, but eventually, your own efforts will dissipate in power. A life striving in self-directed strength will expire without an ongoing infusion of the Lord’s strength. He is our life, yet we sometimes neglect our built-in energy source.

    Sheer busyness or fear may have caused you to unplug from your eternal source of strength. Your faith doesn’t need to remain impotent. Indeed, by faith you can plug into the socket of your Savior Jesus. He has been there all the time. Though your life may have been on an excursion away from eternal interests, now is the time to reconnect with God.

    Do not allow the cares of this world to choke out the hope you have in Christ. You can find strength in Him, without having to look far at all. Sometimes we search for strength in all the wrong places and then sheepishly come back to God. There is no need to circumvent Christ. You can’t improve on Jesus. Fall at His feet, and He will pick you up and fill you with His power.

    The power of God is unparalleled in conquering fear and discouragement. You may have lost a loved one through death. Their influence in your life was immense. You will miss them sorely. Their faith was a rock of reassurance for you. But, now is the time to tap into the same strength that caused the faith of your friend to flourish. When you dig down deep with the Lord, you do not come away empty. He fills you to the brim, even to overflowing!

    God is your burden-bearer and your strength-giver. Do not neglect to allow His Spirit to ignite your strength to love. Ask Him to enlarge your heart of love, so that He can love more through you. God takes your almost empty heart and fills it fully with His strength. This is the paradox of His power: Your weakness and emptiness mean that you have depleted self and are now in a position to be fully filled by Him. Ironically, now you are in a position of strength.

    This is how God works. He empties us of ourselves, so that He can fill us with Himself. So, your tentative and weak state is really to your advantage. Humility and even fear position you to be strengthened in the Lord. Therefore, stay in the Lord. Moreover, He gives you strength so that you can do the same for others. Your newfound strength in Him is not meant to remain sterile—rather, it’s meant to be viral.

    Your strength in the Lord is for the sake of others. God’s strength is meant to be unleashed. It is designed to serve the destiny of others. There are weak people all around you who are vulnerable to preying imposters of the faith. It is your authentic strength of character, residing in Christ, that is attractive to them. They discern this in you and desire to be strengthened by the Lord. So, allow them to lean on you for a time. Your being there for them is like a blood transfusion of God’s strength. Their faith has become anemic through adversity, and God is using you to build up their eternal immunities. Strength in the Lord provides energy into eternity. Tap into it daily, for your sake and for the sake of others!

    Taken from Dose 82 in the 90-day devotional book, “Infusion”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: We empty ourselves, so that He can fill us with Himself. #strength

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Put Into Practice

    Posted on January 28, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”  Matthew 7:24

     

    The purpose of learning truth is so that it can be used. Unused truth expires and becomes stale. When you hear truth and put it into practice, you are wise. When you hear truth and ignore its application, you are foolish. Foolish is the man who acknowledges truth outwardly but never applies it inwardly. His foundation for faithfulness is fragile, so when the winds of adversity swirl and blow, his character collapses under the crushing power.

    Someone may show up for the Bible study or attend a soul-stirring retreat and hear truth but never change for the better. How can this be? This happens when people do not follow through with what they know to be right and true. There is a disconnect between their head and their heart. The discipline to stop bad habits and start new ones is rationalized away with convincing excuses. We deceive ourselves by saying, “I don’t have enough time,” “I am not spiritual enough,” “I will get around to this one day,” or “God will understand if I wait.” John described self-deception’s affect on truth: “We deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8b).

    Truth and deception can never coexist. So, jettison deception, and apply truth now. If you wait, you will wander from its application. Right now is the wisest time to receive His gift of grace and to engraft it into your life. You are responsible for the truth you have received. Therefore, steward it wisely. Use it before you lose it, and become a practitioner of truth.

    Lastly, apply truth in doses that can be ingested into your character. Do not be overwhelmed by multiple things in your life that need to change. Choose one thing, such as loving your spouse with abandonment and sensitivity. Paul said in Ephesians 5:25 that the husband should “give himself up” for his wife. Without saying a word, serve in secret so your spouse can experience your unselfish care and concern. Get into their world by loving them at their point of interest. It may relate to entertainment, cooking, or yard work.  Whatever it may be, serve them in ways that tell them you care. At work, you have the opportunity to put the radical teaching of Jesus into practice by treating others as you want to be treated (Matthew 7:12 NASB).

    Think of a colleague who let the team down and is in need of forgiveness. If you were in their shoes, you would appreciate this gift of mercy. You can put into practice the Golden Rule because you are golden now that God has graced your life. God has filled you with His grace so you can live a gracious life. Focus on building the foundation of your life and your character one brick of truth at a time. This architecture designed by the Almighty will endure. Leave a lasting legacy in your children by putting into practice what you know to be truth. The teachings of Jesus are truth. Therefore, believe and apply. Put His principles into practice, and persevere.

    Taken from the January 26th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: God has filled you with His grace so you can live a gracious life. #grace

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Wisdom Seeks God

    Posted on January 27, 2012 by Family Christian

    “The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God.” Psalm 14:2

     

    There could be a large life-changing decision looming. It may relate to the timing in childbearing, the opportunity for a move and a new job, the sale of a business, a spiritual commitment, graduate school or treatment options related to a health issue. The Lord looks down from heaven for wise ones who will seek Him for the best answers. He doesn’t look down with disdain, but with determined love, compassion and insight.

    The Lord seeks out those who seek Him. He gazes all over the globe in one grand glance ready to grant grace and truth to trusting souls. He looks for the once zealous Christ follower and entreats him or her to come back to the basics of belief. He watches for the wise that hail from humble circumstances or the learned who want to lean into the Lord. He looks to unleash His love, dispense discernment and convert sinners to saints.

    “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

    So, do you first seek your heavenly Father for divine direction? Is Christ central in the calculus of your decision-making? If so, you will discover God’s best in God’s time. But you cannot rush the revelation of God’s will for your life. Your understanding will follow once His work of grace has grown your trust and transformed your relationships. Jesus wants you to know Him deeper, before He leads you further. Clarity comes in intimacy.

    Perhaps you pray, “Lord what would you have for me in this season of life?” Wisdom prays and then listens to the Lord’s still small voice. His will is a series of small steps in obedience that begin today. Do the next right thing, and then watch Him bring His will together like a beautiful work of art composed of a 1,000 brush strokes. You are wise to seek the Wisest One—Jesus—first in simple salvation and second as a faithful follower.

    “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 22:39

    What area of my life requires me to patiently seek the Lord for wisdom and clarity?

    Related Readings: Psalm 33:13; 138:6; Proverbs 18:15; Acts 17:27; Romans 3:11

    Post/Tweet this today: Jesus wants you to know Him deeper, before He leads you further. #intimacy #Jesus

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Help Hold Steady

    Posted on January 26, 2012 by Family Christian

    “When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset”. Exodus 17:12

     

    It is necessary we hold steady for our Savior during hard times, but we can’t always do it by ourselves. We need “Aarons and Hurs” who hold up our hands of faith to heaven. Spiritual battle is too bruising to go at it alone, as physical and emotional fatigue set in if we are isolated. But even a community of three can lift us to the Lord for strength and encouragement.

    I have to often ask myself, “Who am I submitting to for encouragement and accountability?”  “Am I sitting on the rock of Jesus, and am I supported by His servants?” We hold steady when we are focused on the Lord, and engaged in the prayerful presence of His people. No need to panic, but to persevere in prayer and trust God’s control for things out of your control. Hold steady by holding up open hands to heaven, and He will fill you with faith.

    “When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.” Acts 11:23

    Moreover, who can you help to hold steady during changing times? Who in your circle of influence can you seek out to support? Offer them your time to process the problems they are facing, and they will never forget your care in their time of need.  Tough love may be needed to challenge their fearful thinking and passive behavior. Do not give up on frantic friends, but help them forge ahead by faith.
     
    Pray with them and for them to lift their hands to the Lord for help. You are a catalyst for Christ’s comfort and care. Lead them to depend on Him, and they will hold steady in Him. You have been encouraged and held accountable, so you can encourage and hold accountable Hold steady with the help of others, so you can help others hold steady for their Savior’s sake. Jesus says,  “Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8b

    “Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. Psalm 28:2

    Who can help me hold steady when I grow weary—who can I hold steady in the Lord?

    Related Readings: Job 16:5; Psalm 10:17; Acts 15:32; Colossians 4:8

    Post/Tweet this today: Christians are a catalyst for Christ’s comfort and care. #comfort #Christ

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

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