Devotional Thought

Help When You Really Need It

“Pastor, I just got laid off at work, and I can’t pay my rent. The landlord says if I don’t have the money in two days, he’ll evict me. Does the church have any money to help me?”

Churches often get such calls — from total strangers.

It is not always a financial crisis that prompts a call for help. Sometimes it is a marriage problem. Other times people are suffering from abuse of one kind or another.

With our rapid mobility, family and friends are spread across many states. They can’t easily come to each other’s aid. In time of crisis, people turn to the government for help. What they often find is red tape, overburdened resources, and long waits.

People look to the church as a last resort. They are wise to do so. They are not so wise to wait until the roof falls in.

God uses his church family to minister to people in their needs. David writes in Psalm 37:25, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”

Rarely have God’s people failed to help one another in time of need. Usually God’s people go way beyond what is needed to help in crisis.

God provides more than just material needs through his church family. Crisis always brings emotional and psychological turmoil. An impersonal government agency cannot meet these needs. God can and does through his people.

God’s people know Jesus. They want to reflect his generous and loving life.

Jesus gave his life on the cross to pay the punishment for our sins. His sacrifice removes God’s anger, gives forgiveness, and brings the assurance of heaven. Only Jesus truly answers the fear, anxiety, and guilt that usually go with crisis.

God’s people want to share this good news and their love.  But please, don’t wait for the roof to fall in.


kneeling at cross
Devotional Thought

God Forgives Me

“I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget what she did to me! How can one human being do such a horrible thing to another?”

Have you ever heard words like that? Perhaps you have said them!

Can a person really forgive and not forget? Often someone who won’t forget, really won’t forgive either.

It isn’t fun or easy to clash with someone. It causes stress and turmoil. We might wish that person were not around, but she may never go away.

Thank the Lord that he forgives and forgets!

If God forgave but never forgot, we would be in deep trouble. We would always have to fear that God might change his mind about how much he loves us. We would always have to worry about being punished in hell. We would always have to try to make him forget by doing something good, and then wondering if it was enough.

God does forgive and forget! The writer of Psalm 103 says in verse 12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” God is telling us that he considers the sins of his people to be long gone.

Really? Yes! God says, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). That is forgiving and forgetting!

God’s love for us is so great that he sent Jesus to take our place to suffer and die on the cross. There Jesus took the punishment for all our sins. We don’t have to suffer in hell. Believe that and receive the wonderful, loving benefits of your Savior’s efforts.

Forgiveness is not something we deserve from God. Far from it! It’s a product of his amazing love.

In grateful response to what Jesus has done for us, we will want to be forgiving also. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Forgive and forget? Indeed! Jesus did it for you, and, if you believe that, he expects that you will want to forgive and forget the sins of others too.


Devotional Thought

We’re No Weightlifters

Let’s face it.  Yes, you’ve tried. But you’ve failed. You might as well be realistic. Someone else can do the clean and jerk and those dead lifts. You’re not cut out to be a weightlifter.

There are other weights that you can’t lift either. That bothers you even more.

You feel bad about it, but you can’t make your grandmother’s pain go away. Nor can you take away the disappointment you see when you tell your family you have to work late. And you can’t dissolve the guilt you feel because of the stupid wrongs you’ve committed.

The good news is you know someone who can do that! No one makes him lift the burden. He does it willingly. No one else can do it. He is the only one. His name is Jesus.

Jesus lifts the weight none of us can. On the first Easter morning he showed his power over death. He rose from the dead. Now that’s real power-lifting!

The grave was not stronger than Jesus. Even the huge stone that sealed its entrance was no match for his angels.

Jesus does still more. He lifts the burden of sin from us because of his death on the cross. He also removes the guilt of sin that weighs so heavily on our consciences.

Because of Jesus’ victory, we may be confident the penalty for sins is lifted. All those who trust in him will live forever with him.

He can be your personal weightlifter too.


Devotional Thought

My Father Loves Me!

Dan did what any logical six-year-old would do: He decided to run away from home.

Dan’s dad had brought his laptop home from work. He put it on the kitchen table and specifically told him and his brother to stay away from it. While the two boys were playing that afternoon, they started running around the table. Dan’s hand caught the cord. SMASH! The laptop was broken.

Dan will never forget the mixture of fear and shame he felt, thinking about having to face his father. He decided to run rather than face him. He packed his bags and went out the front door. He thought his relationship with his dad had been broken with the laptop.

Chances are, we can relate to this story. Whether on purpose or by accident, we all have done things that fill us with a gloomy mixture of fear and shame. We may wonder how anyone could ever fix what we have done wrong.

Sin has a bitter way of making us feel terrible.

When Dan’s dad got home and saw what he had done, he was let down. But when he saw Dan standing with his backpack in the front yard, he comforted him. He told him the laptop could be fixed, and that he loved Dan. He brought Dan back inside and helped him unpack his backpack.

Dan knew his dad loved him. That day he began to realize how much.

The Lord wants us to know the same applies to us, even when we do wrong. The sinful things we do that seem “unfixable” were dealt with on the cross by Jesus Christ. He really “fixes” sin. He paid for it with his life. He forgives it.

Be assured that your Father in heaven loves you. The Bible tells us, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

Bring your “backpacks of guilt” to the cross of Christ. Unpack them with the certain love of your Father in heaven. Never doubt that your Father loves you.


Devotional Thought

God Knows Me Best

Would you be comfortable in a room with someone who knows all your secrets? Probably not. We don’t want people to know us completely. They will know our weaknesses and perhaps take advantage of us.

Everyone seems to collect our personal information. Huge databases track our every purchase and preference. This is a marketer’s dream and a consumer’s nightmare.

The Bible tells us that our creator God knows us intimately. Great King David of long ago recognized that God knew everything about him.

King David wrote, “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar . . . . You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely” (Psalm 139:1-4).

God knows us better than we know ourselves. “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30).

God is more than a supercomputer with a high-tech database. He is a personal God who wants to have a personal relationship with each of us.

Is that a threat or a comfort to you? Remember that God is perfect. You can’t hide from him.

Despite all that God knows about us, he still loves us. He doesn’t use what he knows to exploit us. He uses his knowledge of our weakness and failings to draw us closer to himself.

You are so available to God that he sent his only Son, Jesus, to die for you.

You don’t need to fear difficult trials and personal needs. God invites you into his gracious presence.

Because Jesus became your brother, you can approach God as your heavenly Father.  He invites you to love him as he loves you.

Get to know his love each Sunday.  That is what makes his knowledge of your secrets comforting and encouraging.