Good News Daily Devotionals
Wednesday, November 22
Psalm 101 I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is base. Perverseness of heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil. (vv.2b-3, 4b)
In today’s world, it is not easy to control what is set before our eyes. There is hardly a television show or movie that does not contain explicit content. Even driving down the road, our eyes are assaulted with things that are base. Our temptation is to think that we can handle these things, that they do not influence us. So we watch the show or movie; we listen to the music; we read the book. But these things impact our hearts more than we realize.
A couple of months ago, I decided to quit setting base things before my eyes. I set parental restrictions on my Netflix and Hulu accounts. I chose different books to read. The impact? My heart feels different, almost lighter. Evil and temptation have felt farther away. It is good.
Right now, take a moment and think about what you set before your eyes. What might God be asking you to walk away from? Try it. I dare you.
1 Chronicles 20:1-8; Psalm 109; Revelation 21:9-21; Matthew 17:22-27
Thursday, November 23
Matthew 18:1-9 “If your hand or foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire.” (v.8)
Sometimes the words of Jesus are hard to swallow. This is one of those times. When Jesus confuses me, I have to ask myself, what is he saying and why is he saying it this way? I bet that Jesus is being particularly graphic here on purpose, to make a point. He deliberately exaggerates so that we will grasp the worth of what he is offering us. Even our hands and feet are not as valuable as eternal life in his kingdom. If you have not yet done so, take a moment to read today’s Revelation passage. Soak in that image for a second-the closeness of God, the beauty and wonder of the kingdom, the freedom we are being offered.
Friend, as you give thanks today for all your blessings, will you value God’s kingdom over all those things? Take a moment now to offer God thanksgiving for eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
1 Chronicles 21:1-27; Psalm 105:1-22; Revelation 21:22-22:5
Friday, November 24
1 Chronicles 22:1-19 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the Lord your God, as he has spoken concerning you. Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid or dismayed.” (vv.11, 13b).
God calls people to participate in His work in the world. God called Solomon to build a sanctuary for His name among the people of Israel. God has called me to see a Jesus-centered community on every college campus in Florida. As I have recently reflected on calling and leadership, I am struck by how many times God calls those who are afraid. Moses literally begged God to choose someone else. The Lord has to tell Joshua three times to be strong and courageous. Elijah gets so scared that he hides out in the desert for months. God calls scared people.
Just last week, I heard God calling me to something new. And I sat there, literally trembling in terror. Can I do this? Am I the right person? What if I fail? What if I disappoint people? What if?what if?what if? But as I listened to God, I heard these same words that David spoke to Solomon, “The Lord [is] with you?Be strong and of good courage.”
Friend, how is God calling you to join his work in the world? Even if you do it scared, do it!
Psalm 102; Revelation 22:6-13; Matthew 18:10-20
Saturday, November 25
Revelation 22:14-21 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. (v.17)
We live in a thirsty world. In my work with college students, I see all the ways they try to quench their thirsts. They chase vocational success, romantic relationships, altruistic significance, the approval of others-peers, parents, professors. If we are honest, we who are “grown up” are not that much different. I find myself pursuing the same thirst quenchers-love, acceptance, success. But at the end of the day, none of those things satisfy. When I stop long enough, I realize I am still thirsty. And then God reminds me where I can get the water of life. So I return to Jesus, usually with tears, confessing my thirst and my need for the water of life. And at the end of that day, I am satisfied. My heart is at peace, my soul is at rest, satisfied.
Friend, hear these words, “Let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.” Will you stop chasing other thirst quenchers and come to the living water?
Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalms 107:33-43, 108; Matthew 18:21-35
Sunday, November 26
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. (v.5 NLT)
I must receive before I can give. When I receive the patience and encouragement Jesus Christ has to give me, only then will I have the character to live in harmony with others. I appreciate the word “harmony” because it reminds me of music. Harmony is achieved when voices are on key and blending together to create something that is pleasing to our ear. Living in complete harmony doesn’t require that we all sing alike. Harmony comes when even with our differences we are on key with God’s Spirit so that our melody is pleasing to Him and we achieve His plans and purposes.
“When I’m far away from home and the cold wind starts to blow, when I’m empty and alone, I turn to you. When there’s hardness in my heart and I can’t see the truth, and I’m wandering in the dark, I turn to you. And here in your holy presence it’s all that I can do. I turn to you, Jesus!” (I Turn to You by Selah).
Isaiah 19:19-25; Psalm 118; Luke19:11-27
Monday, November 27
1 Peter 1:1-12 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace. (v.2)
Here is another example of receiving that enables me to give. If I receive (accept) that God chose me and, because of His holiness has made me holy, then I can obey and be cleansed from my sinful nature. Being chosen, accepted, finding a home in God’s family is a privileged place above any other that I could ask for. It is better than being accepted into any club, profession, or earthly family. Because of God’s choosing I am the richest, most privileged celebrity in the kingdom.
“My Child, blessed and favored are you. I hold you in my arms, safe and secure, your life hidden in mine. Know how completely this position will satisfy your hungry heart. Be still and stay.”
Joel 3:1-2, 9-17; Psalm 106:1-18; Matthew 9:1-12
Tuesday, November 28
Matthew 19:13-22 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack? (v.20 NKJ)
When I come to Jesus Christ and begin to trust him with my entire life, old ways don’t feel comfortable any longer. Activities, entertainment, books, even some friends just don’t “fit”. I’m convicted by the Spirit that unkind, judgmental thoughts and words have no place in my new life. This new life of putting God’s agenda first requires a new trusting innocence. My new nature must reflect the holiness and righteousness of Christ. Kindness, compassion, and truth need to cover me.
Lord Jesus, thank you that our new life will last forever because it comes from your eternal living word and what you have accomplished on our behalf.
Nahum 1:1-13; Psalms 120, 121, 122, 123; 1 Peter 1:13-25