Good News Daily Devotionals
Wednesday, October 11
Matthew 9:9-17 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (vv.12-13)
Matthew has just accepted Jesus’ invitation to be his disciple. That evening, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to be his dinner guests, along with his fellow tax collectors and many notorious sinners. The religious leaders are indignant, but Jesus reminds them, “Healthy people do not need a doctor-sick people do.”
We are all sick with sin, but we can come to God’s “healing center” each time we worship, to be forgiven and cleaned and made well again. We partake of Jesus’ body and blood in the Holy Eucharist-which we do in remembrance of him and to remind ourselves of his great forgiving love. After partaking of the heavenly banquet, we are sent back into the world to love and serve.
Thanks, Jesus, that you came to heal us and equip us to serve you and others.
2 Kings 22:14-23:3; Psalm 119:145-176; 1 Corinthians 11:23-34
Thursday, October 12
1 Corinthians 12:1-11 There are different kinds of service in the Church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. (vv.5-6)
In the passage about spiritual gifts the apostle Paul tells us that some are teachers, some give wise advice, some are helpers, and some get others to work together. And it is the same Holy Spirit who inspires each of us.
We see the different gifts given to Lazarus’s two sisters. Mary had the gift of worshipping Jesus and listening to his teaching (sitting at his feet and later bathing them with expensive perfume and wiping them with her hair). Martha had the gift of hospitality and saw that the meal was prepared and served.
In our church, we see the Choir practicing their music, the Flower Guild arranging the flowers that grace the altar, the Altar Guild preparing the linens and vestments, the ushers greeting the worshippers, the Sunday School teachers preparing their lessons for the children, the clergy studying God’s Word to give us their sermons. Just as the body has many parts so the Body of Christ (the Church) uses all our gifts.
Thanks, Lord, for giving us the many abilities that make Your Church complete.
2 Kings 23:4-25; Psalms 131, 132, 133; Matthew 9:18-26
Friday, October 13
Psalm 142 I pray to you, O Lord. I say “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.” (v.5)
Amid all the tumult of our daily lives-the wars and terrorists, the fighting and natural disasters, I often feel like the psalmist who said, “I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord’s mercy” (v.1).
Watching the news or reading the newspaper just give me more cause for concern. Only as I read my Bible and pray, do I find comfort and hope for the future. Only knowing that I rest in God’s mighty protection, do I find any consolation. Even though today is Friday the 13th, I know that God is in control!
Thank You, Lord, that You hold us in the hollow of Your hand (the Irish blessing).
2 Kings 23:36-24:17; Psalm 140; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Matthew 9:27-34
Saturday, October 14
Matthew 9:35-10:4 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (vv.37-38)
I have been reading the reports of The Jesus Film Project workers who go into remote villages, hang up a sheet at sundown, and use generators to show this wonderful film in the “heart languages” of citizens of the so-called “third world.” Many people are coming to faith through this dramatic telling of Jesus’ life and death for us.
The American Bible Society reports the great need for Bibles in China where many are coming to faith. Are you supporting any missionary work? If we cannot go to a mission field, we can certainly support the work with our prayers and our money.
Lord, I pray for more workers in Your harvest.
Jeremiah 35:1-19; Psalms 137, 144; 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:3
Sunday, October 15
Men, why are you doing this? (v.15a NIV)
I just attended my first stock car race. After five minutes of engines roaring, I understood the process. I spent the rest of the time searching the faces and hearts of the spectators, wondering why they came. I was searching for Jesus, too.
Why did 3,000 people pay more than $25 each to watch cars race around a small oval track? What did they expect to see, feel, enjoy, or be thrilled by? There was little cheering and only scattered applause at the end of each race. All I saw was despair, boredom, and emptiness. Was this an escape from unfulfilled lives or dead-end jobs? What would bring new life and excitement to this crowd?
Just then, two cars crashed and careened into the center of the oval. The drivers climbed out of their wrecked cars and began a violent fistfight. The crowd came wildly alive. They screamed, cheered, and hollered. Violence aroused them.
Violence can only be overcome by the love of Jesus Christ and even though Jesus wasn’t visible at that race, I know that his love will prevail over this violent world.
Jeremiah 36:1-10; Psalms 146, 147; Luke 7:36-50
Monday, October 16
Jeremiah 36:11-26 “Yes,” Baruch replied, “he dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them in ink on the scroll.” (v.18)
Danny was convicted of selling drugs and sentenced to seven years in prison. His mother’s truthful, tearful testimony at the trial sealed his fate. As the guards dragged Danny from the courtroom, he shrieked at his mother, “I hope you die screaming of cancer.”
With only two years left to serve, the prison chaplain placed Danny in a four-day Kairos Prison Ministry retreat to reduce his hatred. Tough, hardened prisoners learned about the Christian life, studied, sang, prayed, and enjoyed fellowship with 42 civilian volunteers.
On Saturday night a healing and forgiveness service was held. Each man wrote the names of people he hated on a piece of paper. They placed that paper in a pan of water on the altar and watched as the names disappeared. Danny listed only one name: Mother. Later that night, he wrote to his mother, told her what he just did, and asked her to forgive him. She wrote back two words; “Why now?” It was a question Danny could now answer with God’s help. They wrote, phoned, prayed, and visited. When Danny’s time was up, he went home to live with his mother. All things are possible with God.
Psalms 1, 2, 3; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Matthew 10:5-15
Tuesday, October 17
Matthew 10:16-23 “When they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it.” (v.19)
Richard, a prisoner at the jail, said, “I gotta get out of jail next Thursday, please pray for me.” I cautioned him about not setting God up, and about the possibility that God may want him to say in jail longer. I prayed that Richard would open his heart to receive God. Thursday came and went. Richard was still in jail. God doesn’t “gotta” answer prayers.
Many years ago my prayer life began like Richard’s. However, as a sense of thankfulness to God flooded my life, I developed a second prayer posture: “Please God. Thank You God.” I wanted to be sure God knew how much I appreciated His grace in the past, and I wanted Him to know I would (hopefully) anticipate showers of blessings in the (near) future.
About a decade ago, with an aging mind and body and a heart filled with gratitude to God, I rolled into my third prayer posture: “What is Your will for me, Lord? Give me grace and strength to follow Your plan for me.” The Lord sent me into the prison. Richard is still working on his “gotta” plan for God, and has spent almost 200 Thursdays in jail since we first prayed together. And I am thankful that God has revealed His will for me.
Jeremiah 36:27-37:2; Psalms 5, 6; 1 Corinthians 14:1-12