Week Forty-eight — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Building Hope — Psalm 42: 5

Sunday

Psalm 42:5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Prayer: Lord God, we release our despair and choose to place our hope in you.

Thought for the day:  Despair is like a mud puddle.  If you step into it, you will track it into your house.

Monday

Psalm 118: 7, 8 The Lord is with me: he is my helper.  I will look in triumph on my enemies.  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.

Prayer:  Almighty God, you are our helper, you are our refuge in troubled times.

Thought for the day: The faith of Corrie Ten Boom was a hiding place that no enemy could penetrate.

Tuesday

Proverbs 10:28,29 The prospects of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.  The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, thank you for providing a pathway of hope to God, the Father.

Thought for the day:  Warning: scratch-off lottery tickets are hazardous to most persons’ retirement accounts.

Wednesday

Ecclesiastes 11:6 Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.

Prayer:  Lord God, in hope we serve and worship you without ceasing.

Thought for the day:  Children demonstrate an amazing capacity for hope during the Christmas season.

Thursday

Romans 5:1, 2 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God though our Lord Jesus Christ, though whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Prayer:  Lord God, the very thought of entering in the heavenly glory you share with Christ thrills us today.

Thought for the day:  Good angels never want to run away from home.

Friday

I Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we would tell anyone you are our reason to hope.

Thought for the day:  Someone you know wants to know the Jesus you know.

Saturday

Acts 23:6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and that others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My Brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee.  I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.”

Prayer:  Lord God, we thank you for the hope we find in Jesus of the resurrection from the dead.

Thought for the day: Believers in Christ Jesus are on trial daily for the hope of the resurrection.

 

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photo: Hope by Fr Lawrence Lew, OP on http://www.flickr.com

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Week Forty-seven — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Obstacles to Hope — I Corinthians 15: 19

Sunday

I Corinthians 15:19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

Prayer: Lord God, we trust you this day for having entrusted to us the promise in Christ of a tomorrow.

Thought for the day: The hopeless soul is to be pitied.

Monday

Psalm 43:3 Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Prayer:  Lord God, our Heavenly Father, in our moments of sadness and sorrow we turn to you for hope.

Thought for the day: Inaction and distrust feed depression, while action and trust feed encouragement.

Tuesday

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart-sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we thank you for all the times you have answered our prayers, come to our aid, and listened to your cries of anguish.

Thought for the day:  Biblical promises are not layaways that get canceled without notice.

Wednesday

Proverbs 10:27, 28 The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.

Prayer:  Lord God, forgive us when we have placed our hope in worldly pleasures.

Thought for the day: Adolph Hitler committed suicide when he saw his empire was hopelessly doomed.

Thursday

Romans 4:18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Prayer: Lord God, against worldly hopes we hope in you.

Thought for the day: The one who hopes in God is a successful contrarian investor.

Friday

Ecclesiastes 9:4 Anyone who is among the living has hope – even a live dog is better off than a dead lion?

Prayer:  Lord God, we thank you for the breath of life this day that we live and work in your world.

Thought for the day:  The songwriter said, “He woke me up this morning.  He started me on my way.”

Saturday

Hebrews 6:19, 20 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.  He has become a high Priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Prayer:  Lord God, we give thanks for the hope you have given us for the good and the bad days.

Thought for the day:  In calm and in troubled waters sailors cling to the hope they shall set foot on dry land again.

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photo: Hope by Fr Lawrence Lew, OP on http://www.flickr.com

Week Forty-six — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Hope Abides for Now — Romans 8:24, 25

Sunday

Romans 8: 24, 25 For in this [redemption] ­­­hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we await your redemption in your time.

Thought for the day:   Whether we can track them or if not, God’s deliveries are on time.

Monday

I Corinthians 15:19 If only for this life we have hope I Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, in you we hope for everlasting life.

Thought for the day: The sweetest fruits are sun ripened.

Tuesday

I John 3: 2, 3 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope purifies himself, just as he is pure.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, for hope’s sake we would live pure lives for you.

Thought for the day: If you have to ask if the water is safe to drink, it probably is not.

Wednesday

Titus 2: 12, 13 It [grace] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, in the strength of the Holy Spirit may we live lives pleasing unto you.

Thought for the day: the thought of spending eternity with Jesus makes saying No so much easier,

Thursday

Proverbs 13: 12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Prayer:  Lord God, we rejoice that you are a promise keeper.

Thought for the day: Not every box of cereal has a surprise toy inside.

Friday

Romans 4:18 Against all hope Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations just as it has been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Prayer:  Lord God, knowing you, we would choose a heavenly hope.

Thought for the day:   Many hopes are mutually exclusive.

Saturday

Psalm 71: 5, 6 For you have been my hope O Sovereign Lord, My confidence since my youth.  From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.  I will ever praise you,

Prayer: Almighty God, our hope is in you.

Thought for the day: Knowing a person well is vital, if you plan to put hope in the person.

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photo: “Called to Holiness in Christ” by Fr Lawrence Lew OP on http://www.flickr.com

Week Forty-five — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Perserverence in the Race of Faith — Hebrews 12: 1, 2

Sunday

Hebrews 12: 1, 2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Prayer: Lord, in the strength of your Spirit may we lay aside the entanglement of the world.

Thought for the day: Marketers know that sin sells.

Monday

Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. 

Prayer:  Lord God, may we build our faith as we listen to your holy word.

Thought for the day: Listening is a spiritual skill.

Tuesday

Matthew 7:7, Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we confess we have not made the search for a deeper relation with you our priority.

Thought for the day: What would an inventory of a day’s soul searching say about you?

Wednesday

I Corinthians 16:13: Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.

Prayer:  Lord God, truly our faith in you is worth safeguarding.

Thought for the day: Who knows the combination to open the safe to your heart?

Thursday

James 2:17, 18 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

Prayer: Lord God, like Jesus may we be about our Heavenly Father’s business.

Friday

Matthew 17: 20, 21 He replied, “Because you have so little faith.  I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.

Prayer:  Lord God, may we exercise the faith we have knowing that you are greater than our faith.

Thought for the day: Those who refuse to believe rarely come to see.

Saturday

2 Corinthians 13: 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.  Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test? 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, as we look within may we ever be drawn closer to you.

Thought for the day:  A songwriter said, “It’s easy to see the Jesus in me loves the Jesus in you.” 

S – T – A – N – D

Saturation in faith — Matthew 7:7

Trust in faith — Proverbs 3:5, 6

Application in faith — James 2: 17, 18

Nurture in faith — Romans 10:17

Duration in faith — Hebrews 12:1, 2 & 2 Corinthians 13:5

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photo: “Called to Holiness in Christ” by Fr Lawrence Lew OP on http://www.flickr.com

Week Forty-four — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Doubt as Faith’s Obstacle — Mark 9:23,24

Sunday

Mark 9:23, 24 “If you can’? said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help my overcome my unbelief!”

Prayer: Jesus, may you help us overcome our unbelief.

Thought for the day: Psychologists report that we can act our way into a belief.

Monday

Matthew 13:58 And he [Jesus] did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Prayer: Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, may we not be lacking in faith.

Thought for the day: Henry Ford said that whether we believe or if we do not we will prove ourselves correct.

Tuesday

Psalm 32:8,9 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the lord, you his saints for those who fear him lack nothing.

Prayer: Lord God, this day we are trusting you as our refuge and our blessing.

Thought for the day: Fresh wallpaper and new vinyl siding do not make a house hurricane proof.

Wednesday

Hebrews 3:12, 13 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Prayer: Lord God, may our faith in you never waver.

Thought for the day: If you open the chimney of your lantern on a windy night, you will soon be walking in the dark.

Thursday

Romans 11:19, 20 You will say the, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.’ Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief. And you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.

Prayer: Lord God, we believe it is by grace and mercy in Christ we are called your children.

Thought for the day: Christ’s church is not a club of the self-made.

Friday

James 1:6,7 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.

Prayer: O Jesus, we believe that you are the giver of good gifts.

Thought for the day: Many UPS packages are marked as undeliverable.

Saturday

Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Prayer: Lord God, may we be sold-out for you.

Thought for the day: Detours lead to dead ends for those who refuse to follow the signs.

D – O – U – B – T

Deceived instead of Dependable – I Cor. 15:33

Obstacles instead of Opportunities – Numbers 14:33

Unstable instead of unstoppable – James 1: 6-8

Balaam’s error instead of Bountiful blessings – 2 Peter 2:15

Trust misplaced instead of Trustworthy Triumph – Proverbs 3:5, 6

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photo: “Called to Holiness in Christ” by Fr Lawrence Lew OP on http://www.flickr.com

Week Forty-three — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Aliens by Faith — Hebrews 11: 9, 10

Sunday

Hebrews 11: 9, 10 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Prayer: Lord God, in you we trust as we follow your leading.

Thought for the day: The expected delivery date for some heavenly promises is hereafter.

Monday

Colossians 1:21 once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free of accusation.

Prayer: Lord God, when we have come back to you we have come home.

Thought for the day: Heaven bound individuals should keep their passports up to date and ready for inspection.

Tuesday

Ephesians 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.

Prayer: Almighty God, we pledge our allegiance to the Savior for whose kingdom we stand.

Thought for the day: Membership in God’s household is for blood kin.

Wednesday

I Peter 1:17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.

Prayer: Lord God, in reverent fear we would live as your holy people in our generation.

Thought for the day: When was the last time someone thought you were strange?

Thursday

2 Corinthians 5:6,7 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, by faith we travel daily the homeward road that leads to everlasting life with you.

Thought for the day: In the dark of night faith still finds the light switch without fumbling.

Friday

Romans 12: 1,2 Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of god’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, in holiness and godly living we would be like you.

Thought for the day: The Desert Fathers who left the city found the reason they could not turn back.

Saturday

John 16:33 I [Jesus] have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, in your blessed presence we find ourselves at peace.

Thought for the day: The songwriter said, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glorious grace.

A – L – I – E – N

Abraham Abode – Genesis 20:1

Lifestyle loyalty – I Peter 1:17

Invisible investment – Hebrews 11: 9, 10

Eternity excitement – 2 Corinthians 5:6,7

Nazarene nature – John 16: 33 & Romans 12: 1, 2

 

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Photo: “Abraham and Isaac” by Fr Lawrence Lew OP on http://www.flickr.com

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Week Forty-two — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — I Corinthians 13:13 — These Three Abide

Note: This week begins a new devotional series that tracks a study from I Corinthians 13:13. We will be considering the abiding virtues of faith, hope, and love through the series.  The first three studies are devoted to the meditations focused upon faith.

Sunday

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

Prayer: Lord God, we would be numbered with the saints who trusted you with their all.

Thought for the day: God does not require night vision goggles to see faith in us.

Monday

Hebrews 11: 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and the he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Prayer:  Lord God, may each step of our spiritual pilgrimage lead us closer to you.

Thought for the day: Those who consult the dictionary believe there is a word to be found.

Tuesday

Romans 10: 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we would hear again and again the message of your eternal love.

Thought for the day: An old hymn says, “Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life, let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life.”

Wednesday

Romans 1:16, 17 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:  first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.  For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from the first to last, just as it is written, “The righteous will live by faith.”

Prayer:  Lord God, as your children we in faith claim the righteousness that is given by Christ.

Thought for the day: All live by some faith, but some live by one and only one faith in Christ Jesus.

Thursday

Matthew 17:20 He [Jesus] replied, “Because you have so little faith.  I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to the mountain, ‘Move from here to there and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Prayer:  God, our Heavenly Father, in our small faith we know you to be a great and awesome Creator, Savior, and Lord.

Thought for the day: The mustard greens you eat had to grow from tiny seed.

Friday

Psalm 28: 7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks for him in song.

Prayer: Lord God, in faith we discover the covering of you mighty love.

Thought for the day: When you let God do the monitoring, your joy will be safe.

Saturday

2 Corinthians 5: 6, 7 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  We live by faith, not by sight.

Prayer: Lord God, as we make this earthly journey we trust that there shall be a heavenly home for your children.

Thought for the day: Parents rejoice at the coming of a newborn child, while angels rejoice at the coming of one born again.

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photo: “Called to Holiness in Christ” by Fr Lawrence Lew OP on http://www.flickr.com