Category Archives: Summer 2017

He Doesn’t Remember

And there it is again. Lying in bed in the wee hours of the morning, and the shame from past sin looms large in your mind. You’ve prayed for forgiveness and feel confident God has indeed forgiven you. So why can’t we release it? Why do we continue to relive it?

God’s Word assures us in Isaiah 43:25 (NIV), “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

Our Maker forgives and forgets our sins.

But, how can that be? How does an omniscient, all-knowing God forget our sins? I’m convinced God sees us as we are, not as we used to be. Our God is not some absent-minded professor type, but rather is wholly and perfectly true to His Word. His intentional design is to forgive and forget—He sees us as His righteousness through the blood of Jesus.

Scripture reinforces this truth, with Jeremiah 31:34b (NIV) stating, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12 (NIV) repeats this promise from Jeremiah, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” And once more, in Hebrews 10:17 (NIV): “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”

This repetition of the Jeremiah scripture shows the significance of this truth. A reality we can trust. Due to His great love for us, we can realize His compassions will not fail us, yet are new every morning (paraphrase of Lamentations 3:22-23). During those hours prior to daybreak, we can cast out those thoughts of past sins, rather than reel them in.

Father God, Your Word tells me you will forgive my sins when I confess them through Jesus Christ. I need your comfort in knowing that not only do you forgive me, but you also forget my sins. Please give me assurance to realize and claim this promise from your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Psalm 103:12, NIV: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

© 2017 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

Print this Post, Email to a Friend, or Like it on FaceBook:

Comments Off on He Doesn’t Remember

Filed under Archived Devotions, Summer 2017

Talk Time

Do you love to talk to God throughout the day as I do? Sometimes it’s a session of intense prayer, other times it’s simply thanking Him for the beauty of His creation. Often I’m just wondering what to do next. No matter the situation, I’m thankful for the quiet confidence that I can talk to God about everything, all the time. But, it wasn’t always like this.

When I was a new believer, the short, but to-the-point admonition in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to, “Pray continually” struck a chord with me. Do you wonder, as I did, how to pray all the time?

Preceding this instruction, we read in verse 16, “Be joyful always,” which directs us in our attitude of how we approach God. Verse 18 concludes with exhorting us to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” These straightforward teachings are the key to praying continuously.

As we talk to God we’re to be joyful, giving thanks to Him always. Through prayer we can ask the Lord to change us to reflect these qualities. Adapting this frame of mind, we will find it easier and easier to talk to our Father God throughout the day. Continual prayer will flow more naturally, and

Unlike limited minutes on a cell phone plan, there is no limit to our talk time with God.

Through the years I’ve grown in dependence on God, desiring a heart attitude fully yielded to Him. This awareness of Him can be our way of life as we pray silently in our hearts throughout the day.

I pray you will find reassurance in the lyrics of the first verse of What a Friend We Have in Jesus by Joseph M. Scriven:

“What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,

Oh, what needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer.”

Father God, Thank you that we can take everything to you in prayer. Help me learn to talk to you continually throughout my day with a spirit of joy and thankfulness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Matthew 7:7 (NIV): “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Colossians 4:2 (NIV): “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

© 2017 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

Print this Post, Email to a Friend, or Like it on FaceBook:

Comments Off on Talk Time

Filed under Archived Devotions, Summer 2017

Are You Buckled Up?

I know I’m not alone as I look around and wonder where truth is. The days of issues being black and white have disappeared and been replaced by relativism and vagueness. It has even penetrated the church, as many churches no longer stand on truth these days.

In Ephesians 6:14, the apostle Paul begins illustrating the full armor of God. The first piece of armament he describes is the belt of truth: “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” Merriam-Webster.com defines truth as a “transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality.” Furthermore, Ephesians 1:13 clarifies that the word of truth is the gospel of our salvation. The gospel of Jesus Christ is truth.

I’m seeing many people wandering around with their pants falling down (literally and spiritually) these days.

Are your pants sliding down because your belt has become unbuckled?

There’s a reason Paul lists the belt first, as the rest of the armor will not stay in place without it.

What is the foundation of my life?

What am I basing truth on?

What do I fall back on during times of difficulty?

Are my decisions lining up with God’s truth?

These are challenging times in our culture and in our churches. God’s Word is clear about our individual responsibility to accept and share truth. Only when we hold steadfast with our belts of truth buckled, will we be able to successfully live in this world and be an instrument of change. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV). His Word is truth and never changes. Therefore we can stand on His truth, and be sure of tomorrow and that we’ve won the victory.

Father God, Thank you for providing truth through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Help me to stand firm in this world, with my belt completely buckled, and represent your truth to others around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

John 14:6 (NIV): “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

Ephesians1:13a (NIV): “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.”

© 2017 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

Print this Post, Email to a Friend, or Like it on FaceBook:

Comments Off on Are You Buckled Up?

Filed under Archived Devotions, Summer 2017

A Psalm 119 Approach

Excitement bubbled inside me as my husband and I finally made the decision to redo the majority of our master bathroom. Then we faced the dilemma of where to start. A multitude of decisions piled up in front of us and the choices seemed overwhelming. Glass shower enclosures, bathtubs, tile, paint—the list appeared endless. It became obvious before tackling this project we needed a game plan. Understanding exactly what our needs were was vital. This encompassed determining exactly what needed replacement and what would fit within the space we had. Only then did we proceed to look at and determine which models/tiles/fixtures fit our budget and needs, making our selections from those options. And finally, we applied our choices to our remodel through the contractor we hired.

Breaking down our remodel into several stages guaranteed us the success we desired to complete our project. And so it is with studying the Bible. At first it’s overwhelming, but by formulating an approach to scripture you can successfully study and understand God’s Word. As we read scripture and search for its meaning and application to our life, I perceive three stages:

Discern, Decipher, and Digest God’s Word.

Psalm 119 displays the heart of the Psalmist as he declares the priority of God’s Word in his life. How I desire to have the same nature—a heart yearning for God’s Word and placing it first in my life.

  • Discern

Before we read and consider scripture, we first need to discern what our goal is or more simply put, where we’re headed. Discern means “to detect with the eyes and to come to know or recognize.” Verse 18 of Psalm 119, asks the Lord to, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” A good first step for all of us is to seek discernment about what to study in order to see these “wonderful things.” Perhaps you’ve felt the Lord’s leading to participate in a group Bible study, Sunday school, or home fellowship using a predetermined course of study. Or, you know the Holy Spirit is nudging you to investigate a particular book of the Bible or do a topical study on your own.

I desire to recognize treasure in God’s Word, so I pray for discernment and awareness as I read and consider scripture in the course of study He has laid out for me. Verse 125 takes us deeper with, “I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes,” which leads us into the next stage.

  • Decipher

Merriam-Webster.com defines decipher as, “To make out the meaning or interpret the meaning of.” Thus, when we decipher a passage of scripture we succeed in understanding or interpreting it. Verse 130 conveys this process with, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Pray for the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and give you insight, when you read your Bible. Additionally, there are many resources to take advantage of in our research, and a reliable Bible commentary, dictionary, handbook, and atlas are indispensable. With these materials accessible online, we have information readily available as we delve into scripture.

When we inspect and decipher God’s Word, he will give us understanding. Verse 27 promises, “Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders,” which transitions us into the following phase.

  • Digest

Our final stage involves digesting His Word. When we digest something, we meditate on it. I’ve heard different pastors and Bible teachers compare meditating on God’s Word to a cow chewing its cud. A cow will lie in the field all day savoring the food he has eaten. As we assimilate and properly digest scripture, the “nutrients” are absorbed in us, and we will be ready to apply the truth we have learned. As we go about our day we can contemplate truth. Verses 15-16 declare, “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.”

A thoughtful, step-wise approach to our bathroom remodel brought about our desired result. In the same way, by discerning, deciphering, and digesting God’s Holy Word, we can discover truth and apply it to our lives. May we all aspire for a heart devoted to scripture as that of the Psalmist who penned Psalm 119.

Father God, I desire to know more of your Word, but sometimes I look at the Bible and feel overwhelmed. Please assist me to discern what to study, enable me to decipher scripture, and finally help me to digest your truths. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Psalm 119:36 (NIV): “Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.”

Psalm 119:133 (NIV): “Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.”

Psalm 119:148 (NIV): “My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.”

© 2017 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

Print this Post, Email to a Friend, or Like it on FaceBook:

Comments Off on A Psalm 119 Approach

Filed under Archived Devotions, Summer 2017

What’s Holding You Back?

A while after our beloved standard poodle, Margaux, passed away, we knew it was time for another dog. However, we just didn’t have it in us to train up another puppy. An opportunity presented itself for us to rescue a four-year-old male standard poodle. And so, Remy entered our lives. When he came to live with us, we immediately noticed a lack of muscle tone and instability at times. Remy was also unable to stand on his hind legs when we supported his front legs on our shoulders. We learned Remy was confined for long periods during his early years.

What about us? How often do we put ourselves in chains? Or, confine and hold ourselves back?

What are the chains in your life holding you back?

  • Fear—you don’t want to appear foolish or you don’t want to fail
  • Insecurity—you allow negative thoughts or a poor self-image to dictate your actions
  • Circumstances—you’re busy with family or your job is demanding or the children are too young
  • Lack—you cave in to your perception of inadequate ability, education, or resources
  • Time pressures—or is it just plain laziness?

Those excuses also place the blame on someone or something else rather than squarely on our shoulders. And, we allow our excuses to cage us in and restrain us, not allowing the Lord to use us.

Scripture offers an alternative response which we glean from the imprisonment of the Apostle Paul. Imprisoned several times, including in Rome from approximately AD 60-62, Paul considered himself an ambassador in chains (Ephesians 6:20). Acts 28:16 informs us soldiers guarded Paul, and verse 20 states, “I am bound with this chain.” The custom at that time was to bind a short length of chain to both the wrist of the prisoner and the wrist of a soldier—thus providing no means of escape.

Shackled at the wrist to a guard, enduring beatings, along with his physical limitations, Paul did not allow these circumstances to hold him back. He used this situation to promote the gospel.

Philippians 1:12-14 (NIV) describes Paul acknowledging his chains with furthering the kingdom, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.”

During that era, it was common practice to write letters with the assistance of a scribe. Envision Paul sending for a scribe, pacing in his cell while chained to his guard, with the clanging of chains, as he’s dictating his letters. During his imprisonment in Rome, Paul wrote what are known as “The Prison Epistles”—letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Even though Paul dictated his letters to a scribe, he wrote the final greetings, a trademark of his letters, in his own hand. Imagine the reverberating clink and clank of Paul’s chain, tethering him to a guard, as he clumsily signed his letters. Letters that would be added to the canon of Scripture.

Remy’s previous owners had held him back, and our hearts filled with joy when we watched him running in the back yard, playing fetch, and growing stronger every day. He just needed release from the captivity of a cage.

Father God, Allow me to make the most of what I have and not allow excuses to constrain me. I don’t want chains holding me back any longer. Please use me Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Colossians 4:18 (NIV): “I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.”

2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV): “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 2:9a-10 (NIV): “But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.”

© 2017 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

Print this Post, Email to a Friend, or Like it on FaceBook:

Leave a Comment

Filed under Archived Devotions, Summer 2017