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I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.

-Timothy 2:1

Looking Toward the Son -   

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

 

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

 

Isn’t it amazing how sunflowers follow the sun? This phenomenon is a result of the sunflower being a phototropic plant. Meaning the sunflower follows the movement of the sun from east in the morning to west in the afternoon. The flower constantly looks towards and depends on the bright, radiant sun for life.

 

The Christian life should be like the sunflower. We should have our eyes focused on Jesus. It is when we aren’t dependent on our maker or when we get caught in the shadows of sin that we, like the sunflower, fade. The sun does not move in the sky. It is the world that rotates and moves. In your life, no matter how the world changes keep your eyes focused on what is constant - Christ.

 

We must always keep our eyes on the Son, our source of life.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. What does it mean that Jesus is your “source of life”?

 

2. With so much change in this world, why is it so important to keep your eyes focused on Jesus?

 

FURTHER READING:

Philippians 2:3-11; Hebrews 12:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

Love and Punishment -  

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

 

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. —2 Corinthians 5:21 (NLT)

 

I read an illustration of a small boy who was always late coming home from school. His parents warned him that he would face punishment if he came home late again. The next day, the boy came home late. When dinnertime arrived, the boy came to the table and looked at his plate. Upon the plate was nothing but a piece of bread. In his glass, only water. He looked at his parent’s dinner plates and noticed that they were full of food, their glasses full of milk. The boy was stunned.

 

Then, without so much as a word about his son’s behavior, the father switched his own plate and glass with his son’s. As he began to eat the piece of bread, he smiled at his son. Later in life the son recalled that it was on that day as a boy when he learned what God was really like.

 

This story provides us with a simple picture of God’s love for us. The father in the story, who did not do anything wrong, out of love took upon himself his son’s punishment. The Scriptures provide us with the same message of God’s love for us—that through Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection, He who was sinless took upon Himself the guilt and punishment of our sins. What a gift that God’s grace is always greater than our sin!

 

If you have responded to God’s love through placing your faith in Christ, you are set free from the punishment of sin. Today, in everything you do, let your life reflect your gratitude for God’s love.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. How do you feel about the way the father in the story responded to his son’s poor behavior? Should he have let the son bear the weight of his own punishment? Would the son have been better off? How would we be better off if God allowed us to bear the weight of punishment for our sin?

 

2. What can you do today to reflect your gratitude for God’s love and forgiveness in your life?

 

FURTHER READING:

Isaiah 53:6; Romans 5:6-8, 20-21; Colossians 2:6-7, 13-15

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

CALL HIM MASTER -  

BY CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON

In Morning and Evening

"He appeared first to Mary Magdalene." --Mark 16:9


Jesus "appeared first to Mary Magdalene," probably not only on account of her great love and persevering seeking, but because, as the context intimates, she had been a special trophy of Christ's delivering power. Learn from this, that the greatness of our sin before conversion should not make us imagine that we may not be specially favoured with the very highest grade of fellowship. She was one who had left all to become a constant attendant on the Saviour. He was her first, her chief object. Many who were on Christ's side did not take up Christ's cross; she did. She spent her substance in relieving His wants. If we would see much of Christ, let us serve Him.


Tell me who they are that sit oftenest under the banner of His love, and drink deepest draughts from the cup of communion, and I am sure they will be those who give most, who serve best, and who abide closest to the bleeding heart of their dear Lord.


But notice how Christ revealed Himself to this sorrowing one--by a word, "Mary." It needed but one word in His voice, and at once she knew Him, and her heart owned allegiance by another word, her heart was too full to say more. That one word would naturally be the most fitting for the occasion. It implies obedience. She said, "Master." There is no state of mind in which this confession of allegiance will be too cold. No, when your spirit glows most with the heavenly fire, then you will say, "I am Thy servant, Thou hast loosed my bonds." If you can say, "Master," if you feel that His will is your will, then you stand in a happy, holy place. He must have said, "Mary," or else you could not have said, "Rabboni." See, then, from all this, how Christ honours those who honour Him, how love draws our Beloved, how it needs but one word of His to turn our weeping to rejoicing, how His presence makes the heart's sunshine.


This is shared with permission from its appearance here.

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

The Example of a Nursing Mother

Written by Sandra Sheridan

“But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” - 1 Thessalonians 2:7

There are not many experiences that are sweeter than cradling a tiny baby in your arms and nursing her. This was one of my precious joys of motherhood, and a memory I will always keep. The bond that forms between mother and child while nursing every few hours throughout the day and late night becomes so strong you believe you would do anything to provide for and protect that child.

Though not every mother has this opportunity of being the personal source of nutrition for their child, the mother instinct is still strong and a tender and gentle heart governs our motives and actions. These characteristics make a huge difference in the lives of our children, but the same characteristics also make a difference in the spread of the gospel.

The Apostle Paul had obviously observed this deep love and commitment shared between mother and child. That is why he used this example to portray to the Thessalonian believers his own deep love and concern for them. You wouldn’t necessarily expect a man to compare himself to a nursing mother. But Paul made this connection because of the accusations that others were speaking about him.

Paul and Silas had experienced great persecution in the town of Philippi. Upon leaving that city they traveled to Thessalonica where they spoke the gospel message to the people there. Many were convicted of their sin and received the word. Soon the persecution caught up with the apostle and his company and they were forced to leave the town under great duress.

Enemies tried to discredit Paul’s message by accusing him of error and wrong motives. Though he had been forced to leave the new believers physically, he was still with them in heart and spirit. The thought of his spiritual children’s believing the falsehoods was deeply distressing, so Paul defended himself by reminding the believers of the truth.

He had labored and endured hardship, working night and day so as not to be a burden to them. He exhorted, encouraged, and implored them as a father, but he also reminded them, “we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7) These qualities, strengthened with the power of the Holy Spirit, had made a difference in those who listened to the message and many believed. The memory of Paul’s tenderness and genuine love spoke for itself and defended him against the enemy’s lies.

Historically we have thought most often of men as being preachers and speakers of the word of God, but a woman also has qualities that are essential to the spread of the gospel. We reflect many of God’s attributes such as love, tenderness, and faithfulness. It is built into us as women and mothers and reveals itself intensely as we care for our little ones.

As we develop that same kind of love and tenderness for the world, there is no limit to what God will accomplish through us. Neighbors and friends will see Jesus and be drawn to Him as they experience His love through us.

The truth needs to be spoken. People need to be exhorted and implored to turn to Christ. But they also need to see the gentleness and tender love of God. This kind of affection and caring is needed for our own children and the rest of the world to turn to the Savior. Let’s all use this inherent characteristic to its best advantage, and watch to see what God will do.


What keeps you committed to your babies and children even in the hard times?

How can you develop this same type of persistence for loving the world around you?

Pray that God will use the very nature He has created within you to bring others to an understanding of His love.


This is shared with permission from its original appearance here.

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