Church Devotionals

22 Jul

A Balm for the Soul

Gilead was a region of ancient Palestine. This was the land that Moses was allowed to view before he died. It was a fertile land known for its balm, which was used for the healing of wounds.

In the book of Jeremiah, we find that God’s people have forsaken God’s laws and have turned to idol worship. This was a great concern for Jeremiah because he knew God would bring judgment to His people. In his great concern, he cried out: “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” (Jeremiah 8:22) The answer is that there was no repentance for their sins, no application of the balm for the soul was not applied.

Today, we see a world walking in the darkness of sin in need of a balm for healing. There is a balm; it is the balm of salvation administered by accepting Christ through faith, believing that He has paid the price for sin at Calvary.

Indeed, “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole, there is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.”

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

04 Jul

A Tapestry of Freedom

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 33:12)  The story of America is like a tapestry woven on God’s spindle of Providence in threads that run so true to the theme of freedom. Strong threads of white establish a firm foundation: “In God we trust.”  Purple threads give noble praise to the courageous people who left all behind to establish a country where they could worship God in freedom and truth.

The deep crimson strands of red are a reminder that freedom sometimes comes with the ultimate sacrifice, which is the lives of courageous men and women.  Royal blue threads declare unity established by a constitution, which serves as the blueprint for laws and individual rights.

Golden threads are a reminder that America is a melting pot of people, who through the years have blended their talents, ideas, and dedication to create a nation like none other.  In strands of aqua we see the beauty of her vast oceans and waterways.  Vivid threads of green bring visions of green valleys, majestic mountains, and breathtaking parks.

Magnificent cities with towering skyscrapers of grey display America’s architectural beauty.  May the tapestry of America remain strong, and may it cover its people in peace as they remain a people whose foundation is: “In God we trust.”

Many years have passed since the first celebration of July Fourth, but God’s promise remains: “The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11)

The old State House bell is silent,
Hushed is now its clamorous tongue,
But the spirit it awakened
Still is living – ever young,
And when we greet the smiling sunlight
On the fourth of each July,
We will ne’er forget the bellman
Who, betwixt the earth and sky,
Rang out, loudly, “Independence;”
Which, please God, shall never die!  
Anonymous

19 Jun

Happy Father’s Day to the Bridge Builders of the World!

Fathers are to be celebrated every day. Their responsibilities never end; neither can they be numbered. Every father has the opportunity to be a bridge builder. Bridges are structures built to provide a passage over an obstacle.


There are two kinds of bridges. Physical bridges built of cement and other materials are used for traveling. The second type of bridge is that of character building serving as a guide to help map out a journey of life. For example, the father who builds a bridge of love shields a child from the obstacle of hate and all of its vices. A bridge of faith will overcome fear and doubt. The obstacle of pride is avoided by the bridge of humility.

Materials for bridge building include time investment, following God’s biblical blueprint, love that binds, determination as strong as steel, and time consistency. God honors faithful bridge building. He has promised: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

The Bridge Builder
By Will Allen Dromgoole

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

Today we honor those fathers whose bridges remain as monuments in our hearts. To those who are faithful to bridge building, we say build on, for the world needs bridges, strong, beautiful bridges.

28 May

Blessed are Beatitudes

Beatitudes are short forms of writing that present character traits of the Christian. In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ used beatitudes to teach. There are other examples used throughout the scriptures. David chose to use a number of beatitudes in the Psalms. Enjoy these eleven examples which are reminders of how rich and profitable is the Word of God.
Each beatitude is a sermon through its message.

Some of David’s beatitudes:
Blessed is he that fears the Lord. (Psalm 112:1)
Blessed is he that considers the poor. (Psalm 41:1)
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. (Psalm 33:12)
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven. (Psalm 32:1)
Blessed are they that dwell in the Lord’s House. (Psalm 84:4)
Blessed is the man whom Thou chastens, O Lord. (Psalm 94:12)
Blessed are they that put their trust in Him. (Psalm 2:12)
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in the Lord. (Psalm 34:8)
Blessed is the man whose strength is in the Lord. (Psalm 84:5)
Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, that seek Him with the whole heart. (Psalm 119:2)
Blessed is the man…whose delight is in the law of the Lord. (Psalm 1:1,2)

07 May

And God Created Mothers

Anna Reeves Jarvis was responsible for the first large-scale celebration of Mother’s Day in 1908, in Grafton, West Virginia, in honor of her mother, who had spent many years of her life working in public service. In 1912, Mother’s Day became an official holiday. Mother’s Day is always celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

It has been said “that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” William Ross Wallace, 1865.

A godly mother is a blessing from head to toe:

  • Her mind is centered on the well-being of her family.
  • Her eyes are always open to the needs of others.
  • Her nose leads her in solving problems.
  • Her mouth speaks words of wisdom.
  • Her ears listen to the smallest need.
  • Her hands bring beauty as they serve.
  • Her feet walk in the path of duty and righteousness.

God bless “the hand that rocks the cradle.”

“Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:30)

Happy Mother’s Day!

05 May

The Greatness of God in Creation

Spring is the perfect time to see God’s beauty in abundance, which manifests His greatness. 

I saw God today
As the sun rose over the hill
And spread a curtain of gold
At the bidding of His will.

I saw God today
In a drop of crystal rain;
I heard Him in the song of birds
As I walked down a country lane.

I saw God today
In the sky so blue above;
I heard God in the voice of the gentle wind
Which whispered of His love.

I saw God today
In the innocent face of a child;
I heard God in the babbling creek
Which flowed in a rhythm mild.

I heard God speak today
In the wisdom of His Word
Of God’s creation plan
And how it all occurred.

I saw God today
In so many different ways,
And it caused my mind to ponder,
And it filled my heart with praise.

–Lola Harmon

“Lift up your eyes on high and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number:  He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might; for that He is strong in power, not one faileth” (Isaiah 40:26).

30 Apr

A Second Chance

The story of John Mark, known as Mark, is a refreshing reminder that God gives second chances to those who repent and stay in the battle.

Mark was the son of Mary, the sister of Barnabas.  Her house was the place where Peter came after his release from prison.  Mark was likely among those praying for Peter’s release.

Mark was given the opportunity to accompany Barnabas and Paul on the first missionary journey from the Church at Antioch.  However, in the middle of the journey, Mark returned home.  This resulted in Paul’s refusal to take Mark on the second missionary journey, but Barnabas decided to take Mark with him to Cyprus, and Paul went with Silas to Asia Minor.

This second chance proved to be just what Mark needed because Mark later appears in Rome as Paul’s fellow worker.  Later in Timothy Paul asks Timothy to bring Mark with him “for he is useful to me for ministry” (II Timothy 4:11).  Also, Mark is the author of the book of Mark, the second of the gospel books.

Two lessons are to be learned from the story of Mark.  First, mistakes can be teaching tools. Mark was eager to go on the second missionary journey.  Secondly, encouragement from others serves to give motivation to continue on, “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Philippians 3:13).

Thank God for second chances!

02 Apr

The Mind of the Cross

The mind of Christ as He faced the cross was that of complete compliance to the Father’s will.  Seven cries from the cross reveal the mind of Christ as He endured the suffering of having been scourged: that is being beaten with a leather strap embedded with metal or bone and the pain from the slightest movement of the body nailed to the cross.

The first cry from the cross is a prayer of forgiveness: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). What mercy is this!

In the second cry, Christ honors the faith of the thief on the cross as He promises him: “Verily I say unto thee today shalt thou be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

How tender is the third cry as Christ shows His love for His earthly mother, committing her to the care of the beloved disciple, John, as He says: “Woman behold thy son” and to John: “Behold thy mother” (John 19:26-27).

The fourth cry comes after three hours of total darkness.  As Christ suffers alone bearing the sins of the world, He cries: “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34). “My God” suggests the yielding to God’s authority.  Only Christ could satisfy the sin debt of humanity. The cry reveals the depth of loneliness Christ felt as He suffered alone.

The fifth cry is a cry of physical agony as Christ cries: “I thirst” (John 19:28). The request was answered with a sponge full of vinegar pushed into His mouth.

The sixth cry: “It is finished” (John 19:30) is a cry of victory that resounded throughout the universe. The plan of redemption that was set in place before the foundation of the world was finished. The long reign of human sin and death was broken. Christ’s task on earth was finished.

What a glorious cry is the seventh cry as Christ calls out: “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit” (Luke 23:46).  Christ uses the word Father, which suggests the security of the Father’s love. No one took Christ’s life; He willingly gave it into the Father’s hands.

The mind of Christ on the cross was centered totally on obeying the Father’s will. This should be an encouragement to obey Philippians 2:5: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  May we rejoice that we serve a risen Savior. This is the hope of glory.

30 Mar

The Salt of the Earth: What a Calling

     “Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost His savor, wherewith shall it (the earth) be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and be trodden under the foot of men.” (Matt 5:13)

     If the Christian fails to answer this calling, how will the world be salted:  that is spiritually influenced?  Salt is a seasoning which enhances flavor. The Christian may “season” by example and influence.  Salt also purifies.  In ancient times, salt was used in medicine.  In the Old Testament, salt was required in every sacrifice. Also, a covenant of salt signified an everlasting covenant.

     Salt symbolizes purity, perfection, wisdom, fidelity, and durability.  Most importantly, salt works as a preserver. Imagine that the Christian influences were removed from the world.  Who would preserve morality?  Who would contend for peace and truth?  It is the Christian influence that has preserved principles of godly living and the necessity of law and order.  The Christian influence is a vital part of society.

     The last part of Matt 5:13 presents the challenge for the Christian to be salt that retains the savor (likeness ) of Christ. The taste of godliness refreshes the soul in a land of sin where many need to: “Taste and see that the Lord is good:  blessed is the man that trusts in Him.” (Psalm 34:8)

09 Mar

Gentle, Faithful Joseph

There is much to be learned from Joseph who is a testimony of a true servant of God. Many godly traits are evident throughout his life, but above all of these, his faithfulness and gentleness distinguish him as one of the most Christ-like characters in the Bible.

Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob and first-born son of Rachel. He was known for his coat of many colors, a gift from his father. Jacob’s favoritism toward Joseph created ill will between Joseph and his elder brothers.

Joseph’s faithfulness is evident in his early years when his father asks him to got to Shechem to check on his brothers’ well-being. When he does not find them there, he follows them on to Dothan, where he is told they went. However, this good intent costs Joseph many years of separation from his home. When his brothers see him, they plot to kill him, but instead they sell him to a caravan of Ishmaelites on their way to Egypt. Once in Egypt, Joseph is sold as a slave to Potiphar an officer of Pharaoh. Through God’s help, Joseph again shows his faithfulness and is soon entrusted with all of the affairs of Potiphar’s household.

However, Joseph encounters an obstacle. Because of his moral faithfulness, he refuses the advances of Potiphar’s wife. Unfortunately, because Joseph leaves his coat when fleeing from her, she uses this as evidence when she tells Potiphar that Joseph has made advances toward her. As a result, Joseph is put in prison, but God is with him. Soon, because of Joseph’s faithfulness, the keeper of the prison makes him overseer of all the prisoners. Among the prisoners are two of Pharaoh’s officers: the baker and the butler for whom Joseph interprets their dreams. When the butler leaves the prison, he promises Joseph that he will make mention of Joseph to Pharaoh. Two years pass as Joseph remains in prison.

Finally, after Pharaoh has two dreams which no one can interpret, the butler remembers Joseph and tells Pharaoh of his ability to interpret dreams. Joseph is brought before Pharaoh to interpret his two dreams. Joseph gives God the glory when he says: “It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” (Gen. 41:16) Joseph informs Pharaoh that there is to be seven years of plenty and then seven years of famine in the land. Joseph advises that during the seven years of plenty, surplus produce be stored up for the years of famine. Joseph is now 30 years old. Pharaoh promotes him and says: “Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the spirit of God is?” (Gen. 41:39) Joseph is given rule over Pharaoh’s house and is made second in command to rule the land.

Hearing that there is corn in Egypt, Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to buy grain. When Joseph sees them, he recognizes them. Here we see the gentleness of Joseph as he is overcome with such joy that he flees from their presence and weeps but does not make himself known. Eventually, when the brothers have to return for more grain, Joseph makes himself known to his brothers and says: “So now it was not you that sent me hither but God.” (Gen 45:9)

Joseph persuades his brothers to return to Canaan and bring Jacob and all their possessions to Egypt to live. Jacob lived 17 years in Egypt with Joseph and was privileged to see his two grandsons, Manasseh and Ephraim, grow up. Joseph lived to be 110 years old. Believing that God would bring his people out of Egypt to the land which He had promised Abraham, Joseph asks that his bones be carried with them to be buried.

God shows His faithfulness to Joseph in the last chapter of Joshua. After being in Egypt for 430 years and then after all the years it took to possess the land God had promised, finally Joseph’s bones are buried in Shechem, where he was sent centuries ago to check on his brothers before being taken to Egypt.  Today, Joseph’s gentleness and faithfulness remain a message of encouragement to us. How amazing are the works of our God!

All content ©2020 Faith Baptist Church Simpsonville.