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“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. "

-Luke 8:11-15

God’s Word Remains -   

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

 

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. —2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)

 

In 303 AD Diocletian, the Emperor of Rome, declared an edict to destroy all Christian writings and Scripture. Christians in the Roman Empire were commanded to turn over all sacred Scriptures to be burned. If a person kept any of these writings, or proclaimed himself or herself a Christian they could lose civil rights and be deprived of liberty. Those who turned over the most sacred of writings were called traitors. Others who refused were killed and became martyrs.

 

Diocletian saw the power of the Scripture and so he aimed to destroy it. He believed that he could end the Christian faith by destroying all holy writing. He was wrong. Over 1,700 years later, while the Roman Empire has long been relegated to the ash heap of history, God’s Word and the Christian faith remains.

 

As Christians, it is important for us to read the Word of God. It helps us to understand our heritage, who our Savior is and why He died for us. Scripture teaches us how to live as Christians. The Bible is inspired from God for all. It helps us to make good decisions and live a life pleasing to Him. It prepares us for what He desires for us.

 

Perhaps it is time to dust off your Bible and take some time to read what God has provided for you.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Have you noticed a difference in your life when you are reading the Bible versus when you are not? What is different?

 

2. Think about ways you can arrange your schedule and your life to allow for more time to read the Bible.

 

FURTHER READING:

Matthew 9:13; Hebrews 4:12-13; 2 Peter 3:14-18

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

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

Doing for the "Least of These"      

This devotional was written by Robin Dugall

 

Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.—Matthew 25:40

 

I was teaching a college class and a brisk discussion broke out about how some Christ-followers act in public. When thinking about Biblical commands like, “Let your light so shine,” “Love one another as I have loved you,” and, “Let us stop saying we love each other, let us show it,” you would imagine that we would get it. Jesus calls us to love people. They are made in the image of God just like us. They are loved by Jesus just like we are. Obedience to Jesus is an act of worship and devotion to the Lord. To love others is simply the least we can do for all that Jesus has done for us. Even so, students in the class had many stories to share in which they experienced a lack of love from other people who professed to follow Jesus. Here’s what one student, who waited tables at a local restaurant, said:

 

“My worst customers, for some reason, are Visible Christians – like the ten-person table, all jolly and sanctified after Sunday service, who ran me mercilessly and then left me a one-dollar tip on a $92 bill. Or, another guy with wearing a Christian T-shirt who complained that his baked potato was too hard and his iced-tea too icy (both of which I cheerfully fixed) and he left no tip at all.“

 

If only we viewed others the way Jesus sees others every time we look into the eyes of another human being. If only we would know that as we serve others, Jesus is being served. There are times that we all need to hear and re-hear His words, “When you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. When you read the passage from Matthew 25, what thoughts come to your mind? How do these thoughts make you feel? What can you say to God about those feelings?

 

2. What is your love quotient? In other words, how are you doing when it comes to demonstrating love to others?

 

FURTHER READING:

1 John 3:18-24; John 13:34-35; Matthew 25:31-46

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

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

GIVE IT ALL - 

"Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!"Esther 4:16

General Charles Gordon served the British military conscientiously for many years in China. When the English government sought to reward him for his service, he declined all monetary remuneration but accepted a gold medal on which were inscribed his name and a record of his 31 engagements. At his death, the medal was missing. Later it was learned that during a famine in Manchester, he donated it to be melted and used to buy bread for the poor. In his diary that day he wrote these words: "The last and only thing that I had in this world that I valued, I have given over to the Lord Jesus Christ."

Esther, too, knew what it meant to give everything over to God--even her life. If being faithful to His calling meant she had to perish, she was willing. There was nothing that she would withhold from God's service. Life itself was less precious than the need to obey His will.

Others have followed in these same footsteps. Some had their lives spared, but others were killed. The writer of Hebrews says, "They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented; of whom the world was not worthy" (Heb. 11:37-38).

Giving your all to Jesus doesn't make you a martyr; it makes you a faithful disciple. Are you willing to give yourself and everything you possess to Jesus? Can you say with the hymn writer, "All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give"? If you can trust Him with your eternal soul, can you not trust Him with everything else you have, even your life?

We can't give our all to Jesus and keep some for ourselves.


- See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/give-it-all#sthash.qhcHxJCH.dpuf. Shared here with permission.

Dr. Woodrow Kroll served as President and Senior Bible Teacher at Back to the Bible from 1990-2013. Author of more than 50 books, Dr. Kroll's passion is to increase Bible literacy in America by engaging people in the Bible and connecting them with the Author. His clear, incisive teaching of the Word keeps him in demand as a speaker all over the world. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/authors/woodrow-kroll#sthash.7Yrcap6W.dpuf

More of Dr. Woodrow Kroll: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

REJOICE IN THE LORD -  

By Mrs. Charles Cowman

"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation" (Hab. 3:17, 18). 

Observe, I entreat you, how calamitous a circumstance is here supposed, and how heroic a faith is expressed. It is really as if he said, "Though I should be reduced to so great extremity as not to know where to find my necessary food, though I should look around about me on an empty house and a desolate field, and see the marks of the Divine scourge where I had once seen the fruits of God's bounty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord." 

Methinks these words are worthy of being written as with a diamond on a rock forever. Oh, that by Divine grace they might be deeply engraven on each of our hearts! Concise as the form of speaking in the text is, it evidently implies or expresses the following particulars: That in the day of his distress he would fly to God; that he would maintain a holy composure of spirit under this dark dispensation, nay, that in the midst of all he would indulge in a sacred joy in God, and a cheerful expectation from Him. Heroic confidence! Illustrious faith! Unconquerable love! --Doddridge. 

Last night I heard a robin singing in the rain, 

And the raindrop's patter made a sweet refrain, 

all the sweeter the music of the strain. 


So, I thought, when trouble comes, as trouble will, 

Why should I stop singing? Just beyond the hill 

It may be that sunshine floods the green world still.

 

He who faces the trouble with a heart of cheer 

Makes the burden lighter. If there falls a tear, 

Sweeter is the cadence in the song we hear. 


I have learned your lesson, bird with dappled wing, 

Listening to your music with its lilt of spring 

When the storm-cloud darkens, then's the TIME to sing. 

--Eben E. Rexford


The public domain version of this classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/rejoice-in-the-lord#sthash.VVypmujt.dpuf

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

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

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