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Today’s Devotional

by Brook Bailey
October 14, 2019

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.

— Proverbs 3:5–8 NLT

This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. I wish I could tell you that I love these verses because they paint a clear picture of where I am in my spiritual maturity, but that would be a big fat lie. I’ve embraced these verses because I need to remind myself of them daily.

I am a do-it-yourselfer, and by it, I mean everything. I tend to be kind of a loner. The great thing about keeping to yourself is that you’re often the smartest person in the room. The flip side of that, however, is you’re also the dumbest.

Fools think their own way is right,
but the wise listen to others.

— Proverbs 12:15 NLT

I often jump into things without consulting others, and without consulting God. Ask me how that usually works out for me. (Spoiler alert: not super-great.) A lot of times, I don’t even consult myself. By that, I mean that I don’t think critically about what I’m doing — I just take my first idea and barrel ahead. As a result, I make things much harder than they need to be. Sometimes it feels like I’ve exiled myself to the wilderness.

This tendency shows up in my work, in my personal relationships, in how I spend my time and, unfortunately, in my obedience to God. I sometimes go through seasons where I seem to forget that, as a redeemed follower of Christ, I’m no longer a slave to sin. Instead, I follow my flesh. True to form, I follow my first impulse and barrel ahead. This makes my sanctification harder than it needs to be, landing me in the wilderness when my Promised Land — the abundant life God has planned for me — is just out of reach.

Fortunately for me, and for the Israelites, God is still with us, even when we’re in the wilderness. As believers, even though we may feel lost at times, we have true freedom in Christ, including the freedom to run back into the loving arms of our heavenly Father.

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.

Know the Provider

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Today’s Devotional

by David Griffin
October 10, 2019

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
— Philippians 4:11–13

The apostle Paul had some amazing revelations during the course of his ministry. The book of Galatians actually tells us that the Holy Spirit was his tutor. Can you imagine that? All of a sudden, you look up and you mysteriously know something that you previously didn’t know.

Despite this reality, there is at least one thing that was not revealed, that had to be learned: contentment. Contentment was not granted to him as part of a divine mystery, it was learned and developed as part of his sanctification process. There were seasons that Paul had plenty and seasons where Paul had little. However, during both of these he was learning a very important lesson: Christ is enough.

If you don’t have enough provision, that’s OK. It’s far more important to know the Provider. When you know the Provider, you can face all things, do all things, get through all things, because you know that the sovereign God of the universe is in control of your life.

I too have begun to learn this secret. It has taken a lot of years, but I am now content with who God has made me and who he has called me to be. The tutorial has not always been enjoyable but the lesson is incredibly valuable. Christ is the source of my strength. He is my life. And even in seasons of lack, that is enough.

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.

Seeing Is Doubting

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Today’s Devotional

by Andrew Knight
October 09, 2019

They say “seeing is believing,” but sometimes seeing is doubting.

The craft of the illusionist is based on this idea. The illusionist tells us he is about to do something amazing (“Watch as I cut my assistant in half!”), and our mind immediately jumps to all the reasons why this is not possible. (“Didn’t he do this show last night? I’m pretty sure that’s the same girl.”) But then we watch in amazement as he takes a “real” saw, places it in the box, cuts her in half, and then separates her lower half (legs kicking) from her upper half (smiling and waving) to a cheering audience. We wonder, “How did he do that?” Our amazement has less to do with the bisected anomaly and more to do with how he made an obviously fake trick look so real.

In a similar way, even though God doesn’t play tricks on us the way illusionists do, he does put us in the midst of circumstances that can be just as confusing (and not nearly as entertaining).

Take the Israelites, for instance. In Exodus 16, they find themselves smack dab in the middle of a desolate, sun-baked landscape where all they can see is starvation, dehydration and imminent death.

But looks can be deceiving. What the Israelites thought was a death sentence was actually a training camp.

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
— Deuteronomy 8:3

Did you catch that? God let them hunger. He did so in order to turn their attention to the only one who could truly satisfy them — something mere bread could never do.

But, in the moment, the Israelites couldn’t see this. They were thirsty. And their thirst caused them to doubt God, even after all they had experienced, simply because of the reality of their present situation.

Seeing really can be doubting. But it doesn’t have to be.

Perspective plays a big role in our perception, especially in times of crisis like the one the Israelites were facing. In those times, we can allow ourselves to get overwhelmed and put all our focus on what is happening and how we are feeling or we can center our thoughts and attention on the one who has promised to carry us through it (see Romans 8:31–39).

It’s more than just a mind game, more than an exercise in positive thinking. It’s faith in action.

Faith is so strong that Paul in the New Testament compares it to a shield (Ephesians 6:16). Just as a good shield can make all the difference when heading into battle, so our faith can be the determining factor of how we experience our wilderness.

Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves, “What is the illusion? Does our wilderness journey suggest that the idea of a loving, caring God is itself just an illusion? Or is there something happening behind the scenes, as it were, that points to a reality far beyond our current circumstances?” It is a question worth answering.

God may be the Master Illusionist, but he isn’t into pulling rabbits out of hats. Instead, his signature performance — the one he’s most famous for — is when he takes someone through a wilderness and brings them into a promised land, and leads them to himself in the process.

Now, that’s worth the price of admission.

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.

His Ways Are Greater

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Today’s Devotional

by Lauren Battle
October 08, 2019

Ever have one of those days where it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong did? What about when those days turn into weeks, or even months? Everything around you feels like it’s crumbling right before your eyes, and you can’t help but to wonder where God is in the midst of the chaos.

Whenever I feel like I am in the midst of circumstances that I am having a hard time understanding, I almost have to force myself to stay grounded in what I know to be true. Keeping my mind saturated with truth prevents the enemy from being able to whisper false accusations and faith-eroding perspectives.

So, what is the truth? Scripture tells us that once we place our lives in the hands of the Lord, he will provide for our every need.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 4:19

We know that God will always provide for his children. The only hang up we tend to have is that it isn’t always in the way that we expect him to: a lost job, financial struggles, a failing marriage, an unexpected illness. The real challenge is for us to walk through the valley, trusting in his plans and knowing that they are greater than we could ever imagine, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
— Isaiah 55:9

God is always at work. He is always protecting us and providing for us, even when we cannot see it. Even his disciples missed what God was doing right in front of them. That’s because he did it in different ways than they had expected him to. He didn’t follow conventional norms, yet he was still at work, then and now. Sometimes closed doors, missed opportunities, broken relationships, trials and struggles are all a part of his protection and his greater plan.

We are usually so wrapped up in the things that we want from him that we tend to forget that he has already given us the greatest gift, the one thing we need the most: his Son. What God gave us is exponentially more than we could ever imagine or ask for here on earth.

Perspective is everything, and ours is so limited. We can only see what is right in front of us, not what he is doing all around us. All we have to do is trust in him with all things. Why is this truth so hard for us to accept? If we believe that God can create us, redeem us and bring us out of death to spend eternity with him, why can’t we take him at his word when he says he’ll provide for all of our needs?

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.

Misplaced Trust

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Today’s Devotional

by Rocky Hernandez
October 07, 2019

Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord because he has heard your murmurings against the Lord. As for us, what are we, that you should murmur against us?”
— Exodus 16:6–7

The Jewish people had just seen God pull off the greatest miraculous intervention the world had seen (since the flood, at least). Ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the defeat of the Egyptian army, and more. And after wandering in the desert for a short time, they were no longer praising the all-powerful God who freed them. They were not celebrating with psalms and thanksgiving. No, they were longing for the days when they were slaves in Egypt and are grumbling against the Lord.

I can’t judge my ancestors too harshly. Honestly, this is probably my biggest struggle too. If left unchecked, my misplaced trust can derail my faith and my peace faster than almost anything.

Let me explain what I mean by misplaced trust. At the end of verse 7 Moses and Aaron said to the Israelites, “As for us, what are we, that you should murmur against us?”

When I read that, I understand that Israel was looking to Moses and Aaron to provide for them, just like they believed previously that it was a pharaoh who met their needs. This is misplaced trust. We do it all the time, or at least I do.

Here is the truth: if I am looking to man, then I am not looking to God. And if I am not looking to God, then it is impossible for me to see his glory. If I can’t see his glory working in my life, then my faith wains. And if my faith wains, I am living a life full of fear and worry.

In the past, I have been angry at my job for not meeting my needs. I have been angry at parents, friends and family members for not giving me what I felt like I needed. Not only did that anger make it impossible for me to have peace in my life, but it also ruined my relationships.

God makes his grace known in our lives every day. Every day he has given provision so that you can see his glory. Today make the decision to look for it.

 

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.

Remember Whose You Are

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Today’s Devotional

by Steve Glenn
October 04, 2019

Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.
— John 1:12 NIV

While reading a Rick Warren sermon from a series titled Seeing Yourself As God Sees You, I came across this story. It teaches us a truth about how to get out of the wilderness.


A man named Fred and his wife were vacationing in Tennessee. They were seated at a table when an old man came up to them and asked, “Are you folks on vacation?”

“Yes,” said Fred, “and we are having a great time.”

“What do you do for a living?” the old man asked.

Fred, trying to get rid of the guy said, “I am a preacher.”

“Oh,” the old man said, “then let me tell you a story.”

The old man pulled up a chair, sat down and told them that he was born into a difficult home situation. He told them his mom had a lot of issues and he had never known who his father was.

“That was hard on me as a kid,” the old man said. “Adults whispered about me behind my back. I started spending a lot of time alone. I did not try to make friends. One day, a new pastor came to town. I decided to go and hear him speak. Each time I went, I would come in late and leave early so I would not have to talk to anybody. But one Sunday, I got caught in the crowd and did not get out in time. Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was the pastor, and he asked me, ‘What is your name boy? Whose son are you?’ I just stood there and shook. But before I could say anything, the preacher said, ‘I know who your family is. I see the family resemblance. Why, you are a child of God.’ You know, mister, those words changed my life.” And with that, the old man got up and left.

The waitress hurried over and asked Fred and his wife, “Do you know who that was?”

“No,” said Fred.

The waitress smiled and said, “That was Ben Hooper, two-term governor of the State of Tennessee.”


A boy learned that he was a child of God and it changed his life. He learned that he could become a child of the King. His dignity and self worth no longer came from the people around him, they came from his heavenly Father, who loved him and gave his life to save the boy’s soul.

Are you a child of God and a member of his family? If so, hold on to that truth. Remember that, even if you find yourself in the wilderness, you can put your hand in his, and he will lead you safely forward and, eventually, home.

If you have not made that decision, do it today.

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.

Just Thinkin’

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Today’s Devotional

by Pat Cooper

When life gives me lemons my instinct is more like squeeze out the juice and squirt someone in the eye than it is to make lemonade. I know I should trust God and not complain when I get bummed out, but like Israel wandering in the wilderness, I too am human and am prone to bellyache at hardships and difficulties. And near the top of my pet peeve list (things I find extremely annoying) is being stuck behind an 18-wheeler or a larger vehicle that obscures my vision of the road ahead. I want to know in advance if traffic is backing up or a State Trooper is parked along the roadside somewhere looking to welcome someone to Texas. But as Isaiah points out (55:8-9), God and I, we don’t think alike. His way of doing things and mine are quite different.

Far beyond human comprehension is the mind, plans and purposes of a sovereign God who bids me trust him, just follow him. The scenery will not always be picturesque nor the road free of potholes, but should you commit to the quest you will find it to have been a trip worth taking, and yes, he knows the way.

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

 

Purpose in the Plan

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Today’s Devotional

by Valerie Williams
October 02, 2019

Life can truly throw us curveballs. Whether it resembles the eye of a hurricane, or even our own wilderness, there are times that we could easily focus on our circumstances feeling lost, confused and without direction. The best thing to do is keep doing what we know to do: trust God. Follow his lead. Look for the good at all times.

Trust that God is who he says he is, and believe that his word is truth. He never changes. He never leaves. God is always with us and continually going before us.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
— Hebrews 13:8 ESV

Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.
— Deuteronomy 31:6 MSG

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
— Isaiah 41:10 NLT

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end.”
— Isaiah 43:2 MSG

We often think it would be easier to come up with plan B, to compromise, but there is purpose in God’s plan. He is intentionally placing our steps and using whatever is in our path to prepare us for other things and to strengthen our relationship with him. Getting ahead of what God reveals puts me in a place that I may not be ready for, whether it is prepared for the battle I might face, or even the blessing that is waiting for me. So I just have to know that God is always greater. He knows what is best. He is working for my good. He purposely places my steps, and I am going to choose to follow him.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

— Isaiah 55:8–9 ESV

Within your heart you can make plans for your future, but the Lord chooses the steps you take to get there.
— Proverbs 16:9 TPT

God is so good! I will never run out of reasons to praise Jesus. He loves me as I am and where I am. His mercy, grace and love know no limit. The Lord fills me and lifts me up, and I can always find a reason to worship him. There are days where life is hard, but joy can be found. It isn’t a spin on a situation. It’s the reality that God is always at work, so I will always seek to find and know the good. I may not choose my circumstance, but I can always choose my joy.

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
— Psalm 34:1–4 NLT

Always be joyful. Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 NLT

Over the past few weeks, I have given a lot of thought to the detours in my life. I have been reminded that there are family members who wouldn’t be my family, and friends I would never have come to know or do life with, without the detours that God chose for me and those closest to me. I cannot imagine my life without these people and relationships, and I wouldn’t even want to try. This alone reminds of the joy and purpose to be found in the journey. Have you ever thought about what you would have missed out on if God hadn’t planned for the wilderness journeys in your life? In our family, we say God is always saving you from something and/or saving you for something, and I feel blessed and thankful to know that this is true.

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

Follow Your Guide

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Today’s Devotional

by Kaitlyn Bray
October 01, 2019

The Lord has blessed me with a very analytical child. We have known this since her birth. From the moment her little eyes opened to the world, you could see her observing all that she could and pondering every facet of this great-big place. We found it so endearing and adorable. Sshe was always so quiet, lost in thought, busy with a world of discoveries. But then we taught her to talk, or perhaps she figured that part all on her own. However it came about, all I know is that the moment she uttered those first words was the same moment I lost most of my sanity.

Everything is now a “Why?” or “How come?” Everything.

Why is it called July? How come July is so hot? If it’s fall now, why isn’t it cold? Why are the days short in the fall? How come we have to clean our room when I just want to play again tomorrow? I wash my hands, why am I sick? Why do I have to take a bath all the time? How come you never take a bath? (Answer: Because I’m too busy answering a million questions to have time for a bath.)

These questions really come to a head whenever we get in the car headed to a new anticipated destination. “What road is this? What direction are we headed? Why is this road called Washington? Did Washington live here? How long before the next city? How long is an hour? What’s the name of the next city? Why is it called that? How many cities till we are there? Well, how long does that take? How long is three hours? Are you sure you are going the right way? When do we get to eat? Are we ever going to eat again? Have you ever even been here before?

My daughter knows I know how to drive. She knows I can read a map. As far as she can tell, we have never been lost. I’ve never failed to get us where we were headed, but still with the questions! No matter how correct or direct my answers are, she still can’t stand not being in control of her destination and not knowing every facet of the road to get her there. She wants the big picture, but she’s only 5.

In the midst of all the travel interrogations, I can’t help but find a deep correlation here to the Israelites traveling the wilderness without a visible roadmap.

On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning.

So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped.
— Numbers 9:15–17

My child can’t comprehend time or roadmaps just yet, but she has a guide: me, the driver who knows the way. The Israelites also had a guide. It was pretty cut and dried: follow the pillar, whether it be cloud or fire through day and night. “So it was always.” God, their guide, never left them, he always showed them the way, brought them to where they needed to be when they needed to be there, then continued them on their way to the destination at just the right time.

Where are you in life? Maybe things are rough. Maybe you feel lost in the desert. You’ve got a lot of questions: “How much further through this wilderness? Where is the destination? How could I possibly get there from here?” But remember, like my kid and the Israelites, you also have a guide. He can read the map, he sees the whole picture, and he knows how to get you there. And though I’ve been very tempted to leave my child on the side of the interstate during her barrage of questions, I know I would never actually do that, because the love for my child is unending, just like our Father in heaven’s love for us is unending. So follow your guide. Take it step by step, day by day. God knows your route. He will not abandon you along the way. So it will be always.

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
— Isaiah 58:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
— Jeremiah 29:11

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.

A Fantastic Guide

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Today’s Devotional

by Paul McDill
September 30, 2019

And they moved on from Succoth and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.
— Exodus 13:20–22

When you find yourself in the wilderness, keep following God. I love the example of this that we get from the Israelites. They are God’s chosen people. God cares about them deeply. And, when they find themselves in the wilderness, God continues to lead them.

In fact, God stayed very active in leading them during this time. He supplied a constant source of direction for them. Every day they followed the presence of God represented by the pillar of cloud during the day or the pillar of fire during the night. They were not left to guess which way they were to go. They didn’t come to an intersection and have to play rock, paper, scissors to make a decision. There were no coin flips to decide to go right or left. They simply followed the presence of God.

The writer of Proverbs says it like this:

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.

— Proverbs 16:9

In our hearts we want to know the entire way. We want all the details: where we will end up, how long it will take, what route we will be on, and more. God, however, leads us a different way. He supplies us with turn-by-turn directions. He directs our steps. This really makes sense when you consider that God has always wanted to be in a relationship with us. His desire is not just to be a map, but rather he wants to be our daily guide. He doesn’t just point us in the direction we should go, he holds our hand and leads us every step of the way.

Today, allow him to lead you. Listen to his voice and go where he leads. He is a fantastic guide!

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.