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Daily Devotions

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?” vs. 19 1 Corinthians 6: 15-20 Paul was a champion of God’s grace, but he wasn’t the least bit permissive! There was no way that he could condone the visits to prostitutes that were evidently taking place in the congregation at Corinth. In his estimation such a practice was a sin…

Daily Devotions

‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything. vs. 12 1 Corinthians 6:12-14 Paul had asserted that in Christ believers had been set free from the law, and naturally the folks in Corinth had misinterpreted his words. They began doing the things that had been forbidden, particularly in the area of sexuality. The new freedom felt wonderful to them–but when Paul got…

Daily Devotions

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.” vs. 14 Psalm 139:13-18 Whether we’re evolutionists or creationists, when we take time to reflect on the wonders of our existence and the intricacies of our environment, we’re almost bound to join the psalmist in his hymn of praise. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and our bodies have been knit together in a spectacular fashion. When a child is born,…

Daily Devotions

Psalm 139:1-6 “You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways…Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.” vss. 3, 6 The psalmist didn’t think of God as some bearded old man sitting on a cloud, a figure like that Michelangelo painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. No, the Lord was bigger than that, a Being intimately acquainted with all his thoughts and…

Daily Devotions

1 Samuel 3:1-10 “Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.” vs. 1 Corruption was rampant in the days of Eli. People were bringing sacrifices to Shiloh where an altar to the Lord had been set up but the priests, even Eli’s sons, were nothing but scoundrels. And in the midst of the chaos the word of the Lord came to a child,…

Daily Devotions

Mark 1:9-11 “And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’” vs. 11 We only get a couple of glimpses at what might be called the “interior life” of Jesus in the gospels. The first is here during Mark’s account of his baptism by John. For one reason or another (Mark does not say) Jesus had come from Nazareth and joined the crowds at the Jordan who were listening to John…

Daily Devotions

Mark 1:4-8 “I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” vs. 8 There seems to have been some controversy in the early church about water and spirit baptism. Water baptism was of course linked with John the Baptist, but Jesus didn’t baptize anyone with water–though according to John’s Gospel, his disciples did baptize. Jesus simply interacted with hurting people, laid hands on some, and invited others to become his followers. He didn’t have…

Daily Devotions

Acts 19:4-7 “When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied—” vs. 6 According to Luke, when John the Baptist’s disciples submitted to baptism Paul laid hands on them–and there were spectacular manifestations of the Spirit, much like what had happened in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. It was not unusual in the early congregations for such things to take place–speaking in tongues or “glossolalia” was considered…

Daily Devotions

Acts 19:1-2 “He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ They replied, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’” vs. 2 Evidently disciples of John the Baptizer had spread far beyond the boundaries of Judea and Galilee–Paul ran into a few during his first trip to Ephesus, more than a thousand miles away from the Jordan valley. They hadn’t even heard about Jesus and were puzzled when Paul asked…

Daily Devotions

Matthew 2:1-12 “When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.” vs.10 All around the world star-gazers were out in force on the night of December 21 to observe the “Great Conjunction,” which some were calling the Christmas Star. The planets Jupiter and Saturn had come close together, as close as they’d been in 400 years. Some Christians were saying that this was what the Wise Men had seen as they searched for the infant Jesus…

Daily Devotions

Psalm 29 “May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!” vs. 11 The psalmist had no doubt about the sovereignty of God, and believed that every part of creation reflected the power and majesty of its creator. Earthquakes, winds, thunder, and lightning were all a part of the earth’s posturing before the Almighty One–and as one caught up in the turmoil and messiness of it all, he cried out, “May the Lord…

Daily Devotions

Genesis 1:1-5 “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” vs. 3 According to the ancient Hebrews, all creation was spoken into existence by God in the beginning, and the first of those words was, “Lights!” And it makes sense! Any movie director knows that nothing can happen on the set until proper lighting is in place, hence the phrase, “Lights, camera, action!” What’s interesting though, is that this light had nothing to do with the sun.…