Archive for the ‘Devotionals’ Category

At one point or another in our lives we all experience discouragement and doubt. Sometimes it seems that even God has left us to fend for ourselves. This is especially true when tragedy comes into our lives and leaves us broken in despair.

Brokenness is being felt and lived out in people’s lives all over the world—In fact, we are all broken. That’s why God sent his son to live in a frail body like our own and die a cruel death—so that he could relate to our own pain and discouragement. But God went a step further and resurrected his son to show us that this life on earth is not the end!

I recently began working on a devotional for all who are discouraged with this life to give them hope to carry on until the Lord calls us home.

I hope to have the devotional finished by this summer. Below are excerpts from the devotional. I would appreciate your prayers in this work.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

There are very few people who will associate with those who are broken and  despondent, but God chooses to abide with them until he has healed them. He himself lays on the ointment of grace, and wraps us in the soft gauze of love, and thus binds up the bleeding wounds of those convinced that they are broken beyond repair. This is the compassion of God. The Lord is always healing and binding. This is nothing new to him; for he has done it since the ancient times. And it is not a thing of the past of which he grew tired of. Just as he did in the days of Elijah; just as he did for Job; and just as he did through the apostles, he will do for us as well.  So come, you who are broken! Come to the Great Physician who never fails to heal! Open your wounds to him so he can tenderly bind them up!

“The base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen…” (1 Corinthians 1:28)

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. Romans 11:15

So many of us feel as if we don’t belong; that we don’t fit in anywhere. If something is broken, we generally discard it. However, God uses broken things to accomplish his purposes. Sometimes the trials and tragedies that we’ve endured have left us feeling discouraged and less than whole. Years ago I worked in the flooring industry. When carpet layers had leftover carpet from a job, they would bring it back to the store and it would be sold as a remnant at a reduced price because it could not be used on the job. A remnant is something that was once part of a whole but was cut off as unusable. But the apostle says that that is exactly who God is looking for! The ones that others view as unusable—the ones who feel that they are too despised; too broken to be used of God. But the truth is, we should rejoice in our brokenness, because that is when God will use us.

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Historically, women assume their new husband’s family name (or surname) after marriage and usually the children of these marriages are given their father’s surname.

Years ago I legally changed my name to “Jonah ben Reuben”. Many of my friends considered that I was going through some kind of identity crisis or that I had decided to deny Christ and convert to Judaism. (Some of my well- meaning Christian friends made it their mission to “re-convert” me) Some of my relatives even heard rumors that I changed my name as a sign that I had disowned my family. I assure you that none of those things were true. So why would I legally change my name and go through all of that grief?

For many years I had studied Scripture, attended Bible studies, went to church and did all the things that good Christians are supposed to do. I had no doubt that I was saved and was destined to go to heaven when I died. But I always felt that there was still something missing.

It wasn’t until my son was killed in an auto accident that I realized that my entire spiritual life revolved more around me than on God. After the accident I spent the next year dissecting Scripture looking for answers. Many nights I spent literally on my face before God, crying out in repentance. Finally, I was at a point where God could share His heart with me and begin the healing process. And suddenly I was truly a new creature!

Not that I was more saved now than I was before, but God had given me a brand new perspective on what becoming a new creature really meant. Soon after, I felt that God wanted me to choose a Hebrew name to signify the change that He had wrought in me.

The sages say that one of the virtues of the Jews in their exile in Egypt was that they did not alter their names because that would have signaled an altered worldview, the adoption of a different lifestyle and a scrapping of their past. A change of name for the convert then, signals the embracing of a new philosophy, a new identification, a purposeful, mindful statement of intent for the future.

Changing your name is a choice, not a requirement

Although changing our name after conversion is not required in Scripture, even Christianity teaches that there must be a formal designation of our conversion that is plainly evident. Are we not told that as Christians, we now wear the name of Jesus and that His name should be worn as a badge of spiritual courage and accomplished idealism?

Jewish tradition teaches that a convert is treated as a newborn child. (k’tinok she’nolad) And reference to the parent must be of spiritual parentage adopted by entering into the Covenant of Abraham. A new person needs a new name. That is why the rabbis instituted that converts should choose Hebrew names for their new Jewish lives.

I had chosen the name “Jonah ben Reuben” because ‘Jonah’ means, dove; which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit; ‘ben’ is Hebrew for son; and Reuben means, “behold a son!”

Unlike English, Hebrew is read from right to left so my name literally means “Behold, a son of the Holy Spirit!”

Traditionally when the naming ceremony is held for a Jewish convert a prayer is recited as follows:

“Our God and God of our Fathers: Sustain this man in the Almighty’s Torah and in Your commandments and may his name in Israel be _____________, the son of Abraham, our Father. May he rejoice in the Torah, and exult in the commandments. Give thanks to God, for He is good and His kindness is to all eternity. May ____________, the son of Abraham, our Father, grow to become great. So may he enter the Almighty’s Torah, with His commandments and good deeds.”

I did not have a formal naming ceremony, but I was changed all the same. What was most surprising to me was how it also changed others around me.

There are still some who believe that because I strive to follow TORAH that I no longer live under grace but seek to be accepted by following The Law.

When my son was young he obeyed my rules. Not because he thought that I would love him more if he obeyed, or out of fear that I would love him less if he didn’t. He obeyed BECAUSE he loved me.

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” John 14:23-24

“It’s time.”
“I know. I just wanted to spend a few more minutes to take in the beauty of this place.”
“You’ll find beauty there too.”
“What will the people be like there?”
“Frightened and confused. Many are superstitious and have been taken advantage of by false teachers. That’s why they need you to show them the truth.”
“But will they accept what I tell them?”
“Some will be drawn to your love and your wisdom.”
“But not all?”
“No. Some will want to drive you away…Even kill you.”
“Is there no other way?”
“No. You’re their only hope now.”
“I’m really going to miss this place.”
“This will always be your home, but you’re needed more there now.”

 

And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given to him by the angel even before he was conceived.

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14

As the Messiah was hanging on his crucifixion stake, with his final breath he cried out; “It is finished!” And with that final act of love Jesus accomplished his mission of providing a way for the believer’s sins to be forgiven — past, present, and future. The act of justification for the saints was finished! “…having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14)

And this justification is what makes us righteous; and not from anything we do. For, “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:22-24)

For God was looking ahead and included all of humankind in what He would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, because He is fair and just. And because of this single act of justification God is now able to declare sinners to be right in His sight and be justified every day when they put their faith in Jesus!

Put your confidence in God today — at this very moment! And know the full assurance of faith!

Oh, what immortal joy I feel

Justified by love divine

Jesus tells me I am his

And my Beloved is mine

When Satan reminds me of my sin

He accuses me in vain

For just one glimpse of my Savior’s face

Revives my faith again

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.  John 3:16-19 (NLT)

Oh how I wish the meaning of these words would be seared into the hearts of mankind! That they were our last thought at night and the first thing on our minds when we awake! For we that believe are all children of the light and of the day; (1Thess. 5:5) therefore, we need not fear as we approach our dying bed; for we are assured of our resurrection morning!

It is not so for the children of the darkness who do not yet believe. We were all once children of the darkness and enemies of God. But God loved us so much so that He sacrificed His only son for us! Now God has left us in this world so that we can share the good news with the children of the darkness so they too, can know God and be blessed with faith in Messiah.

God did not spare even His own son, but delivered him up for us all! He has given us His word that the believing soul will never perish, but have eternal life! Why would I keep such a thing a secret from mankind?  God does not wish that anyone should perish; Even the unlovable children of the darkness.  I will believe and build on this with my last dying breath and at last I hear my Savior’s words: “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of thy Lord!”

I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O LORD, well know. I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness. – Psalms 40:9-10 –

Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the  LORD.  Psalms 150:6

It’s very easy to be thankful in times of prosperity. But a true Christian will bless the Lord even in times of adversity. When we are bowed down under the burden of our trials is when we are more aware of how utterly unworthy we are of the least of His blessings. Then, even small blessings will draw out a voice of praise. There is much the Christian can learn from the Psalmist when he writes: “I will praise the LORD according to HIS righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.”  – Psalms 7:17-

Through every changing day                       

With each new trial I mark

How wonderful are your ways O God

That guide me through the dark

Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; rescue me from deceitful and wicked men. You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God. 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.  Psalms 43


All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37

My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. John 10:29

My Lord and Savior, I too, am among those whom the Father has given to you because I have come to you. And I know that you will never cast me out.

You came to save and not condemn and cast out – Not even those who reject you. So how much more will you make certain that those who believe in you, weak and feeble as we are, will be protected from the enemy’s schemes so that no one is able to pluck them out of the Father’s hand.

Listen! It’s the Savior’s voice you hear

Come to me, and do not fear

Believe my words and do not doubt

I will never cast you out

Rich or poor, beggar, thief,

Come to me and find relief

You don’t have to live in doubt

For I will never cast you out