Tag Archives: devotional writing

GETTING BACK ON TRACK

Getting Back on Track        

Read Acts 22:12–16

Paul was a religious zealot. He believed it was his calling to find fault with Christians. He sought them out and watched their every move, looking for any reason to impeach their testimony or accuse them in front of the congregation. Paul believed he had God’s blessing. He did not.

Occasionally, churches will have someone like Paul in their ranks. These individuals usually hinder the ministry instead of helping it. God loves them, but wants these people to change. If necessary, He will arrange for an encounter with the living Christ and suggest a different calling.

You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name (Acts 22:15, 16).

After the Damascus road experience, Paul was baptized in water to exemplify his new commitment to Christ. His sins, including his self-righteous attitude, were washed away. Now he had a better calling. Paul is our example: It’s time to get up, be baptized, and share our faith with a lost world.

Thought for Today: God has a special calling for everyone.

—Charles Earl Harrel

“Pray that God would secure the peace of Jerusalem.”

God’s Word for Today © 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

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Word Becoming Flesh in the Life of a Writer

Another enlightening and encouraging post by Lynne Hartke in WordServe Water Cooler. Thank you, Lynne.

WordServe Water Cooler

 “The Word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us….” John 1:14. (NIV)

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was called to carry the Word Made Flesh. Saying “yes” to that plan involved a huge surrender on Mary’s part. Obedience brought her under scrutiny and censure, not only in the public eye, but also–initially–with Joseph, whose opinion she must have valued.

“Don’t be afraid,” the angel told her, which was saying, in essence, “You are about to be shunned and ostracized in your hometown because you are going to get pregnant with God’s son and although you have never been touched by any man, nobody is going to believe your story and they are going to whisper and point at you when you walk by and call you harlot and whore and turn their backs when you enter a room.”

Sometimes the hardest part of being a Word carrier is believing the…

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TAKE IT OUTSIDE

Take It Outside

Read Acts 18:5–11

Frustration plagued Pastor Chuck. He preached evangelistic messages every Sunday, gave altar calls during the service, yet seldom saw new people come to the Lord. In fact, the baptismal tank had not been used in six months. People were not being saved in the church. The “good news” was not reaching the lost. Fortunately, the solution is simple.

Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized (Acts 18:7, 8).

Paul shared the message of salvation at the Jewish house of worship, but he often had better results outside the synagogue walls. Because of Paul’s outreach efforts, many people in Corinth found Christ and were baptized into the faith.

We can expect similar results. Since most of the harvest grows outside the church building, it’s best to look there first. Who knows—maybe the next candidate for baptism lives next door.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you witness to your neighbors.

—Charles Earl Harrel

“Pray that God would work actively in your local schools.”

God’s Word for Today © 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

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Now I See

Now I See

Read Acts 9:13–19

Karen’s contact lens crumbled between her fingertips as she tried to clean it. The lens was just too brittle. For years, Karen had put off visiting her optometrist, now she had no choice. She needed replacements. Besides, her vision was already limited, especially when driving at night. The next day the doctor prescribed new contacts and Karen could see clearly again.

Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized (Acts 9:18).

Karen did not realize how cloudy her vision had become. Saul came to a similar revelation after receiving prayer from Ananias. Not only did his eyesight return, Saul’s spiritual perception improved too. The first thing he saw was his need for water baptism.

Water baptism is an open expression of our newfound faith in Christ. If we have passed from spiritual darkness into the light, then we should demonstrate that change to others. Baptism is a good start.

Thought for Today: There are two baptisms: The Holy Spirit imparts one; the church conducts the other.

—Charles Earl Harrel

God’s Word for Today © 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

P.S. Both baptisms are important.

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Whom Should You Follow?

Whom Should You Follow?

Read 1 Corinthians 1:10–17

After a two-week vacation with his family, Pastor Dave returned to the pulpit. It didn’t take long for negative reports to filter in. Some members stayed away from services because Pastor Dave was not preaching or they didn’t think his associate should perform the baptismal service during his absence.

Obviously, people have personal preferences and loyalties—there’s nothing wrong with such things—but following one person’s ministry exclusively while rejecting others can lead to divisions in the church.

What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:12, 13).

We are not saved in the name of a gifted evangelist, nor baptized in the name of our favorite pastor. Although church leaders are important, we should not center our attention upon them. Rather, we should focus on the Lord.

Challenge for Today: [Next Sunday] don’t dwell on the qualifications of the speaker, open your heart to receive from God.

—Charles Earl Harrel

Pray that God would give you a deeper understanding of the Bible.

God’s Word for Today © 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

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DESIGNED WITH PURPOSE

DESIGNED WITH PURPOSE

by Laura Lee Harrel

From Proverbs 6:6 NIV:  “Go to the ant . . . consider its ways and be wise!”

Something caught my attention as I read outside the tent in our campsite. A white morsel moved steadily past me. Curious, I put my book aside and followed, hoping to discover the final destination of the potato chip and the ant that carried it. From his perspective, the course must have looked challenging as he climbed over rough terrain and large boulders. Traversing around tall grass and forging through lush foliage, he struggled to haul an awkward load, three times his size.

My vantage point in life is similar to his. I only see the things just before me. If the ant had seen his course from my perspective, the challenge might have discouraged him, causing him to set his burden aside. However, he didn’t seem to mind the difficulty or the length of his journey. He was on a mission and would not be dissuaded. His determination pushed him on. A driving force placed within, stirred him to persevere until he reached his goal. God created the ant this way—designed with purpose—filled with passion and tenacity.

Our heavenly Father designed us as well. He watches as we sojourn over life’s rugged terrain. His Spirit gives us the same ant-like determination to overcome obstacles in our path. We also have an inward strength that compels us to complete our journey. God created us in that way, with purpose, and when we reach our goal, He is glorified. Therefore, like the ant, we must press on.

Lord, when I face difficulties, help me to remember that You will accomplish Your purpose for my life if I persevere—for when I am weak, You make me strong. Thank You! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

—Copyright © 2008 by Laura Lee Harrel. Used by permission.

The Best Water of All

The Best Water of All

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes (Revelation 7:17).

Scripture: Revelation 7:9–17

Song: “Springs of Living Water” (by John W. Peterson)

One afternoon, while hunting for a new camping spot in the Mammoth area of Central California, my father drove his truck into an alpine meadow. It was beautiful. The meadow offered the perfect place for pitching a tent, with level terrain and ponderosa pines to offer shade. However, one essential thing was missing—fresh water. After setting up our campsite, Dad hiked up the canyon to search for a mountain spring. In a few hours, he returned with a grin on his face, carrying a canteen of spring water.

With each new trip, the path to the springs became more established and easier to traverse. In a few years, others were following the trail my father had blazed. Many campers now enjoy this meadow because someone first led the way to water.

One day, Jesus will lead His sheep to a heavenly water source. Much like the tree of life in Revelation, these precious waters have eternal properties. The springs are pure, limitless, and spiritually refreshing. At the springs of living water, we will always find safety, peace, and contentment—no tears allowed.

God and Father, not only is Your Son my shepherd in this lifetime, He will shepherd me throughout all eternity. I can hardly wait to see Lord Christ in person and drink from the springs of living water. A long, satisfying drink will be worth the wait. I pray this prayer in the name of Jesus, my Savior and Lord. Amen.

“The Best Water of All” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2011 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

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