When We Barely Can Pray

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Today’s Devotional

by Joy Vroonland
August 20, 2019

Sometimes prayer barely has words. We hardly know what to say, or we don’t know at all; maybe we can’t even speak. We are at the end of ourselves, and there is no good solution.

Our tears can be prayers, too. Jesus prayed a wordless prayer when, out of compassion for his friends Mary and Martha, whose brother Lazarus had died, Jesus wept (John 11:35). In the garden, as he was preparing to be hauled off, beaten nearly to death, and ultimately crucified, Jesus, his face caked with dirt and tears, prayed a simple, desperate prayer:

“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
— Matthew 26:39

It’s okay if sometimes our prayer is simply to lay ourselves in the Father’s arms — or collapse there — and rest, trust. God is great, and he is good.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Have You Asked?

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Today’s Devotional

by Joe Paris
August 19, 2019

A quick read of the gospels, and you will notice that Jesus performs some pretty cool miracles: healing the blind, casting out demons, even raising the dead. Jesus does some amazing things, but did you know that his first recorded miracle was at a wedding, where the party planner didn’t order enough wine? Running out of wine at a wedding was a major faux pas in the first century, so Jesus’s mother asks him to remedy the situation. Just picture it: Jesus, healer of the blind, physician to the sick, is asked to turn water into wine by his mother.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why Jesus answered this odd request? I did. This evening, during my quiet time, I was reading this story of the wedding at Cana, and I came across this story of Jesus turning water into wine. Why does Jesus do it? I believe he did it because his mother asked.

Did his mom hesitate to ask? Did she ever think, “This is stupid. This is beneath Jesus?” I don’t know — the text doesn’t tell us her inner monologue — but what it does tell us is that she asked. She asked Jesus to turn water into wine, and he did it. Pretty simple. She asked, and Jesus answered.

Have you asked? Have you asked Jesus to step into your situation?

I know all the excuses why you haven’t asked Jesus to step in, but have you ever considered that maybe the reason God hasn’t answered your request is because you haven’t asked?

In John’s gospel, Jesus turns water into wine, all because his mother asked. Maybe, it’s time you and I started asking God to move!


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Choosing Freedom

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Today’s Devotional

by Lisalette Hamon
August 16, 2019

Most of us don’t grow up thinking about yokes, or even knowing how they work. There are different definitions of the word, but we’re going to look at the way it’s used in the Bible. According to Dictionary.com, a yoke is “a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull.” So basically, it’s something that harnesses one animal to another for work. Where one goes, the other goes, even if it isn’t the right direction, or if one is holding another back.

I hope you can imagine the above situation. I hope you are able to picture the struggle that it must be sometimes when one ox isn’t pulling it’s own weight. With that in mind, please read this:

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
— Galatians 5:1

I love this verse for so many reasons. When I first heard the gospel, that Jesus came and died for my sins, I thought this was something I needed to do for salvation, but I also thought it was a death sentence — a death sentence from a life of fun and exhilarating experiences. And sadly, I think a lot of Christians still live enslaved to things of this world and have yet to experience freedom.

In Galatians 5, Paul speaks to those who are enslaved to religious activity (the law), and those who are still enslaved to the flesh. The crazy thing is that you can be a follower of Jesus and still be submitting to either or even both of these. That is slavery. Christ died to set us free. Free from having to work for his approval, and free from having to give in to worldly things. Here’s what Jesus said in Matthew:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
— Matthew 11:28–30

Wow. Now that is a yoke I want. I want to stop letting fear win over my thought space. I want rest for my soul and to actually feel this life I am supposed to live that is easy and light. I have experienced that for most of my Christian life, but when I choose to submit to a yoke of slavery through my thoughts and actions, I am no longer taking on his yoke, but one that is not life-giving.

What about you? Are you choosing to submit to a yoke of slavery or to a yoke of freedom? The enemy wants us to believe that by choosing Jesus, the life will be sucked out of us. That just isn’t true. There is life, freedom and joy in Jesus.

If you have already received salvation and have crossed from death to life, yet you find yourself stuck in the patterns of this world, please remember the passage of scripture from last Sunday’s sermon:

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (emphasis added)
— Romans 6:6–14

Sin will have no dominion over you. Do not give sin power that it doesn’t really have. If you are in Christ, you are free. You will certainly still struggle until Jesus returns, but you do not have to — nor should you choose to — submit to a yoke of slavery. Choose freedom!


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

May It Never Be!

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Today’s Devotional

by Nolan Jones III
August 15, 2019

Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?
― Romans 6:1 NASB

Those who were once dead in Adam and now alive in Christ — no longer objects of God’s wrath, but now objects of his grace and love — are they to view grace as a license to continue to live in rebellion, yet without consequence? In Romans 6:2, the apostle Paul responds to this question with an emphatic “May it never be!”

Most people focus on this question: Should the Christian continue to live in sin so that grace my increase?

This is an important question, but answering it question alone is not enough. This question only focuses on the believer’s actions and fails to take into account God’s sovereign and supernatural work of sanctification in the believer’s life.

We should also ask this: Can the Christian continue to sin so that grace may increase? Or, put another way: Will God allow the Christian to continue to sin so that grace may increase?

The reason the apostle Paul responds with such a strong negative to the question of whether we are to continue in sin so that grace my increase is that he truly understands God’s sovereign and supernatural work of sanctification in the believer’s life. He knows well both the God of salvation and the nature of salvation. And when a person truly understands salvation, they know the answer is an emphatic “No, a Christian cannot and will not continue to sin so that grace may increase!”

Some of you may be thinking, “How can you say that a Christian cannot and will not continue to live in rebellion after they are saved? Just look around. Take a look at any Christian and you will see that you are wrong!”

Well, I’m not the one saying that. I am only trying to convey to you what I have seen in God’s word.

First of all, let’s look at what God says through the prophet Ezekiel. In the following passage, we have God revealing what his promised salvation will look like:

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
— Ezekiel 36:25–27 NASB

Here we see God revealing the nature of both our regeneration and sanctification.

Notice God’s use of “I will” when he describes our regeneration:/p>

  1. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean.
  2. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
  3. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you.
  4. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
  5. I will put My Spirit within you.

Now notice God’s use of “I will” when he describes our sanctification:

  1. I will… cause you to walk in My statutes.

According to God, who is the one behind the believer’s regeneration? God. But I’m sure most of you knew that already. But what I really want you to understand is the answer to the next question: Who is behind the believer’s sanctification? Although this passage does not elaborate on the issue, we can still see that the answer is God. God says that he will cause believers to walk in his statutes. He will be the one to cause them to repent of their rebellious ways and walk in obedience. He says in the passage that believers “will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
— Philippians 2:13 NASB

In Romans, the apostle Paul writes:

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
— Romans 8:29–30 NASB

God foreknows believers, predestines them, calls them, justifies them and glorifies them. Paul may not mention sanctification by name, but it is implied. He says that God predestines us to become conformed to the image of his Son. This process of conforming us to the image of his Son is sanctification.

God is the “author and perfecter” of our salvation. Salvation is a sovereign and supernatural work of God by which he graciously saves us, from beginning to end. And when, like the apostle Paul, you understand both the God of salvation and the nature of salvation, you will not ask if a Christian should or can continue in sin so that grace may increase. For you will know that a Christian should not and cannot do so, for their God and Savior has cleansed them, given them a new heart, placed his Spirit within them, and he works in them to produce both the will and the ability to turn from their sin and obey his statutes.

God’s children may periodically stumble and fall into sin, but they do not walk in sin so that grace may abound, because they are new creations with new hearts and the indwelling Spirit, and they love Christ, hate sin and pursue holiness.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Willpower or His Power

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Today’s Devotional

by Laci Prewitt
August 14, 2019

My in-laws are out of town. They are somewhere wearing jackets. Rude. Put on a jacket here, and die instantly. They asked my brother-in-law to water their plants, and they told him there is one little pot hidden in the garden that he likely won’t find, and not to worry about it. Considering this a challenge, he proceeded to water every plant he could find, leaving no bush unturned until he found the little hidden pot, which he then watered. He says he’s not normally a competitive person, but tell him he can’t do something, and all of a sudden it’s on. Maybe my mother-in-law knows this about him and presented it this way as a guarantee that no plant would wither away while she was off wearing a knit cap.

Willpower is amazing. Self-determination can change our lives. It’s a pretty awesome aspect of being a human. When we put our minds to something, often there is nothing stopping us. But what about when willpower is not enough? What do we do when we want to change something about ourselves, but our wanting to is not enough? How many times have we stopped looking for that elusive little flower pot in our lives when we wanted to at first, but now it seems too overwhelming, and frankly it’s just too hot?

For those of us who are in Christ, we often have this struggle. Paul talks about it Romans chapter 6. If you have time, you should read it really quick, just the first 11 verses. If not, I’ll tell you what you will not find in this passage: willpower. It’s not in there. Not hinted at, not hidden. Left out entirely. What is in there is this:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
— Romans 6:3–4

When Christ died, we died too. Not all of us, but our old man, the one who was a slave the sin, the one who had only willpower on his side. The good news of Jesus’s story is not his death though, it’s his life. He was raised to a new life that he gives to us so we can walk in it. Unfortunately, though our old man or self died, sin did not. Now, instead of having only willpower, we have freedom. Freedom to choose sin or, hopefully, not to choose sin — freedom to let Christ rule in our lives where sin used to.

The death of Christ gives us the ability also to be dead to sin. Of course, we all know — even Paul knew when he wrote this — that saying it is easier than doing it. Sin is tempting on purpose, and its goal is to entangle and destroy. One day in eternity it will have no sway over us at all. Until then, though, we have a secret weapon: new life in Christ. This new life comes with his power. Yep, you read that right. The power that raised Christ from the dead is ours, and we can use it to say no to sin. We still have to work, to fight, to look for that little plant, but we no longer have to do it on our strength. We now can do it in his. We can say no, we can get out of the darkness, we can tell the truth, we can choose what is right, even when we don’t want to, even when it is tempting to stay where we are, even when we’re too tired, because our strength is nothing, but the new life we have in Christ is everything. All the time.

For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
— Romans 6:10–11


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

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Today’s Devotional

by Pat Cooper
August 13, 2019

We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
— Romans 6:6 NET

When I read through the devotional prompt for this week, my mind took a quick trip back to the shelves of Joshua’s Christian Bookstore near Town East Mall in Mesquite, Texas. It was somewhere in the mid ’80s and I was a spiritual mess. Raised by a deacon, I was always in church. At 8-years-old, I was a backyard preacher with a cardboard pulpit and a one-dog audience. Reading theological journals at 15, and a pastor at 28, you’d think I had it all together, but I was still a mess. By comparison, living out my faith was as if it were a spiritual marketplace, an ever-changing walk on Wall Street, some days opening in positive territory, but always a few points down at the closing bell. Like the book title that grabbed my attention that moment in the bookstore, spiritual progress for me was Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back (Charles R. Swindoll, Bantam Books, 1980).

Although a believer, I remained shackled to past sin never fully embracing that the last blow of the hammer that fastened Jesus’ body to the cross nailed my sin to it as well – all my sin. As Amy Grant once sang, I continued living in an old man’s rubble, still listening to the father of lies unable to resist his accusing voice and own the good news of the gospel.

I would like to tell you how I overcame all that and no longer entertain the devil’s indictments, but that would not be the truth. I still bow my head in shame and sorrow at times. But the same thoughts that have brought about moments of shame over the years are the very thoughts that today cause me to bow the knee and look up in thanksgiving, shouting glory to God for this I know:

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace

— Chris Tomlin


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

You Have Everything You Need

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Today’s Devotional

by Randy Wade
August 12, 2019

The first day of school is just days away for students all over the country. Long lines can be found at every retailer and barbershop because there is something exciting and special about new beginnings. There is something unique about the first day of a new beginning. The excitement is tangible and noticeable as parents will flood social media with first day photos, and students will sport their fresh cuts, new shoes and new school gear. That being said, students and teachers alike are looking forward to things much more substantive than the surface-level tangibles. There is also excitement about new relationships and new opportunities.

Truth be told, despite all the excitement about the new school year, there is also a great deal of nervousness for many. They put on all the new stuff, but fear that the new year will be the same as the year before. Many students will wrestle with feelings and emotions of defeat before the first bell rings in the new year. Students won’t see in themselves the power and potential that their parents and teachers are able to see. As a result, parents will begin to coach their students to believe that they have what it takes to stand up to the bully, to achieve better grades, to be compassionate toward others, to improve in athletics, to have a great year, etc…. What parents know is that their student has access to everything they need to be successful. The students have what it will take but they simply do not believe it.

As we were working through the final message of our Romans series I was drawn to a particular verse:

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
— Romans 6:11

What stood out to me is the phrase “you must consider yourselves.” It matters what we think about ourselves! There is power in agreeing with God about sin but it is also powerful to agree with God about holiness. If you have been saved, you have everything you need in Christ Jesus to live a life of holiness. The problem isn’t in what we have received, the problem is in what we have believed. We can rise above the temptation to live in sin. We are no longer slaves to sin, so we are under no obligation to submit to the enemy.

Just like a parent who whispers into the ear of their student, “You have everything you need to crush this school year, to hold your head up high, to overcome challenges that come your way,” we have a heavenly Father who speaks into our souls, “You have everything you need to walk away from sin, to be life-giving in your speech, to honor me with your conduct.” Imagine how powerful our witness would be if we were 100% convinced that in Christ Jesus we have everything we need? We would literally change the world!


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

A New Ending

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Today’s Devotional

by Pat Cooper
August 09, 2019

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
— Romans 5:17

We don’t think about it, at least not in the light I hope to turn on today, but all humankind is on the run, fugitives from the inescapable hands of death. Like the bad man in the old west, riding hard to outrun the posse and escape the gallows, no one wants to die. But according to scripture, death catches up to everyone. When Adam chose to buy into Satan’s lie, opting out of God’s plan, he removed himself and the whole of mankind from God’s supernatural protection, sending every living creature crashing into death and decay.

“By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,” God told Adam, “till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
— Genesis 3:19

Some 6,000 years later, God reaffirmed the reality of death saying through the author of Hebrews:

it is appointed unto men once to die, and after that comes judgment.
— Hebrews 9:25

No, the closing chapter in humanity’s story doesn’t end well, does it? Not at all the ending episode we would like it to be. But in Christ, a new story is being told in the life of every believer.

In Adam, we are all sinners, estranged from God and without hope. There is no inclination towards godliness in us, no appetite for holiness, no want for righteousness, no desire to please or glorify anyone but self. “Setting our minds on things that are above” (as we are told in Colossians 3:2) doesn’t enter our minds, because we have no mind for such things. Apart from knowing and walking alongside Jesus, clothed in his righteousness, the road we travel has an extremely grim end — and a good reason to run. But a far better, happily-ever-after ending can be yours today. You can stop running and take refuge in Jesus. And why not? You won’t be able to outrun God anyway.

The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
— Romans 10:8–9


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Positioned To Be Fully Free

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Today’s Devotional

by Crystal Brashear
August 08, 2019

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
— John 8:1-11

This story only appears in John’s Gospel account and, even then, the earliest manuscripts do not include it. I am so grateful that God’s providence allowed this woman’s story to be included in the canon of Scripture, though.

It’s easy for me to put myself in the adulterous woman’s shoes, because her name is never mentioned, and she says very little. Actually, she only says three words. But those words are heavy with meaning. She tells Jesus that no one is left to condemn her, and she calls him Lord. What a beautiful thing! In this account, Jesus rescues a woman from the death she earned through her sin. Jesus did not refute the law that condemned her. He simply allowed those who would carry out the punishment to realize what Paul would later write to the saints in Rome:

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
— Romans 3:23

We all deserve death for our sin. We are all like the woman caught in adultery.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
— Ephesians 2:4-6

In the story, Jesus stood up and spoke to the woman, informing her that he did not condemn her. He demonstrated rich mercy and love to her, even while she was dead in her trespass. He instructed her to rise up and to go and sin no more. And, as she rose up, her position changed.

I wonder what it was like for this woman after that. Did she go and tell everyone who would listen about her encounter with Jesus, like the Samaritan woman did? Did she continue to try to hide her shame from those who would be quick to condemn her? Did she ever struggle with accepting the full forgiveness she was given? Or did the mercy she experienced from Jesus instantly enable her to forgive herself?

I have known people who were able to immediately feel free of condemnation, guilt and shame when they gave their lives to Christ. I have also known people who have struggled to accept the forgiveness they know is theirs and to forgive themselves. I have fallen into the latter category. It was not further condemnation that finally freed me from those horrible feelings. It was not being shamed that enabled me to forgive myself. Instead, it was experiencing full acceptance from God and others, even when they knew the ugliest parts of my past. I am so grateful for the way God used the kindness, patience and love of fellow believers to move the knowledge of my forgiveness in Christ from my head into my heart!

If you know that you are fully forgiven in Christ, but you are finding it difficult to accept that forgiveness and forgive yourself, please know that you are not alone. You are not less than others. You are not a bad Christian. You simply struggle in this way. I encourage you to seek out Christians who can walk with you through your journey with patience, love and understanding. There is freedom from guilt and shame waiting for you. Do not stop until you can fully accept it for yourself!


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Free Indeed

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Today’s Devotional

by Joy Vroonland
August 07, 2019

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
— John 8:36

To live a resurrected life is to live with freedom and joy. Why do so many of us live as though we are still slaves, as unfree people? I, myself, had recently become enslaved to fear in a specific situation, and I hadn’t even realized it had happened. I just knew that I had lost my joy. During Paul’s sermon on Sunday, God orchestrated this reminder to me: as a believer, I don’t have to be afraid of death, so I don’t have to be afraid of anything!

That one reminder was profound for me, and I want to share a truth with you. Here’s why we don’t have to be afraid:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
— 2 Timothy 1:7

I am saddened to see so many believers living fearful lives these days, afraid of terrorists, of the stock market, of one political decision or another, of people who are different from us. Our fears may be more subtle though, like leaving our comfort zones for some special ministry, looking foolish, or who knows what else. What are you afraid of?

It is impossible to hold both fear and joy. To whatever extent we are fearful, our joy is diminished. Fear is not the work of God. It is the enemy who comes “to steal and kill and destroy.” Jesus came that we “may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). What is keeping you prisoner and stealing your abundant joy? To what do you need to say, “No more! I’m not willing to live afraid!”? Let’s fully embrace all that Jesus did on the cross. Let’s refuse to live afraid, and take hold of some of the most important gifts Jesus’ sacrifice offers us: freedom and joy!


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.