8 AUG: UNFORESEEABLE

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10

READ PSALM 46

In the 2003 US Women’s Open, the relatively unknown Hilary Lunke secured the greatest prize in women’s golf—and a place in history. Not only did she win the US Open in an 18-hole playoff, but it was also her only professional victory. Her surprising and inspiring win underscores the fact that one of the most exciting things about sports is its unpredictability.

The unpredictability of life is not always so thrilling, however. We devise and strategize. We make plans, projections, and proposals about what we would like to see happen in life, but often they are little more than our best guess. We have no idea what a year, a month, a week, or even a day might bring. So we pray and plan, and then we trust the God who knows fully and completely what we can never predict. That is why I love the promise of Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Life is unpredictable. There are countless things I can never know with certainty. What I can know, however, is that there is a God who knows all and loves me deeply. And by knowing Him, I can “be still”—I can be at peace. 

REFLECT & PRAY 

What plans do I need to surrender to God today?  God’s care is the certainty we take into life’s uncertainties.

7 AUG: TRUE SECURITY

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow... James 4:14

READ JAMES 4:13-17

Carter Conlon is the pastor of Times Square Church in New York City. He tells a story of an event that happened one week before September 11, 2001. Pastor Conlon had a meeting with a large group of executives mainly from the financial world.

The meeting’s purpose was to ask for humanitarian aid for various countries. These executives were all at the top of their field—their salaries staggering and their positions enviable.

However, when the pastor arrived at the meeting, his heart wouldn’t let him talk about finances. Instead, the Holy Spirit led him to talk to the executives about their walk with God. He asked them if they were as prepared for eternal security as they were financial security.

He laid out the plan of salvation and encouraged them to give their lives to God. He never asked for money at this meeting. You can imagine their reaction as they probably felt he’d wasted their precious time.

Sadly, one week later, on 9-11-2001, seventeen of those people at the meeting had a terrible experience in the Twin Towers.

No one is promised a tomorrow, and the Father is always seeking to save the lost. He longs for a relationship with us all. Let us not  get caught up in the monetary security of this world—eternal security is far better. Every decision carries a consequence. Let us always apply wisdom when making choices today that ensure our eternal home. 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Lord, forgive our boasting about ourselves, our pride and presumption about tomorrow, and teach us what your Word is saying, that our future is in Your hands. And help us to glory only in Your saving love and keeping power. In Jesus’ name. Amen

 

6 AUG: NEVER EXCLUDED

As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

READ JOHN 1:6-14

When Franklin was in primary school, he had to live with a loving and caring family away from his parents. One day, all the children assembled for a special family meeting. The first part involved all of them sharing individual experiences. But next, when only “blood children” were required to be present, Franklin was politely excluded. Then the stark reality hit him: He was not a “child of the house.” Despite their love for him, the family required that he should be excused because he was only living with them; he was not a legal part of their family.

This incident reminds us of John 1:11-12. The Son of God came to His own people and they rejected Him. Those who received Him then, and receive Him now, are given the right to become God’s children. When we are adopted into His family, “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).

Jesus doesn’t exclude anybody who is adopted by the Father. Rather, He welcomes us as a permanent part of His family. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Thank You, Father, for making it possible for me to be Your child. I’m grateful to be Yours and not to have to worry about whether You will remove me from Your family. I am Yours and You are mine.

5 AUG: HOPE OF GLORY

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. –Colossians 1:27

READ JOHN 14:15-20, 25-26

When Jesus was getting ready to ascend into Heaven, He instructed His disciples to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the gift His Father had promised them.

That gift was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. God gave us a Companion, Counselor, and a Friend in this gift. The Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of God’s promise to restore and make us whole. As God the Father is in Jesus, so is Jesus in us through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit purifies us and continuously perfects us. Philippians 1:6 says, “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” The Holy Spirit gives us life and fills us with righteousness.

He gives us the hope of glory—the expectation and anticipation of the glorious magnificence we will experience when we are face-to-face with the King of Glory, the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle (see Psalm 24:8), who never leaves us or forsakes us.

Thank you, my heavenly Father, for giving us Jesus our Savior, the Hope of our future, and the Hope of all the glorious things to come. Amen.

REFLECT & PRAY

Thank You, Father, for Your faithfulness in Your continuous care for us. Holy Spirit, oh how I yearn for You throughout every fiber of my soul, and I thank You for Your companionship.

4 AUG: ACCORDING TO

A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood. — Proverbs 26:21

READ PROVERBS 26:1-12

Scroll to the bottom of many online news sites and you’ll find the “Comments” section where readers can leave their observations. Even the most reputable sites have no shortage of rude rants, uninformed insults, and name-calling.

The book of Proverbs was collected about 3,000 years ago, but its timeless wisdom is as up-to-date as today’s breaking news. Two proverbs in chapter 26 seem at first glance to contradict each other, yet they apply perfectly to social media. “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him” (verse 4). And then, “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes” (verse 5).

The balance in those statements is in the “according to”: Don’t answer in the way a fool would answer. But respond so that foolishness is not considered wisdom.

My problem is that the foolishness I encounter is often my own. I have at times posted a sarcastic comment or turned someone else’s statement back on them. God hates it when I treat my fellow human beings with such disrespect, even when they’re also being foolish.

God gives us an amazing range of freedoms. We are free to choose what we will say, and when and how we say it. And we are always free to ask Him for wisdom. 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Things to keep in mind: Is what I am saying true, and is it loving? What is my motivation? Will it help anyone? Will this reflect the character of Jesus?

3 AUG: FLIRTING WITH TEMPTATION

Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. John 8:34

READ ROMANS 6:16-23

There’s an underground lava tube south of Kuna, Idaho, that has gained a certain amount of local notoriety. The only entrance, as far as I know, is a yawning shaft that plunges straight down into darkness.

Some years ago I stood at the edge of that shaft and looked down. I was drawn to venture closer and almost lost my balance. I felt a moment of heart-pounding terror and stepped away from the opening.

Sin is like that: Curiosity can draw us toward the darkness. How often have men and women gotten too close to the edge, lost their balance, and fallen into the darkness? They’ve destroyed their families, reputations, and careers through adulterous affairs that began with a “mere” flirtation but then progressed to thoughts and actions. Looking back they almost always say, “I never thought it would come to this.”

We think we can flirt with temptation, get very close to the edge, and walk away, but that’s a fool’s dream. We know an action is wrong and yet we toy with it. Then, inescapably, we are drawn into deeper and darker perversions. Jesus put it simply: “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34).

And so, seeing our own need for God’s help, we pray as David did in Psalm 19:13, “Keep back Your servant also from [deliberate] sins; let them not have dominion over me.” 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Heavenly Father, whether we are being tempted now, or have fallen, we thank You that You are always there, and You love us with relentless love. We have nowhere to turn but to You.

2 AUG: NOTHING BUT TRUTH

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. –Hebrews 6:18

READ HEBREWS 6:13-20

The greatest lies we believe are the ones pronounced over us by others that are fueled by the enemy of our souls. God cannot lie; it’s impossible. Satan, on the other hand, is the father of lies. John 8:44 says, “…When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

There is no truth in Satan; he is incapable of telling the truth. All he can do is take a partial truth, twist it, add to it, and make it something it is not. He twisted the truth in the Garden of Eden and caused the fall of all humankind. If the devil is telling you that you’re a failure, worthless, a loser, don’t believe it.

He is incapable of telling the truth. Therefore, any accusation, condemnation, or ridicule he pronounces over you by others cannot be true. Every word from his lips is a lie.

God, on the other hand, has spoken truth over you. He has proclaimed that you are bought, washed, and redeemed by His blood. He has said that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He has proclaimed you righteous through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. The truth, nothing but the truth…settle for nothing less.

Don’t listen to what people say about you; believe what the Father says about you.

REFLECT & PRAY 

 Pray for wisdom to see the enemy’s lies for what they are—an attack against you to hurt the Father.