Unsinkable YouVersion Devotional

What is Your Source of Strength?
By Rob Nieminen 
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”—Acts 1:8 (ESV)

Have you ever felt like a failure as a Christian? Perhaps you’ve been struggling with a particular sin for years, you aren’t able to summon the courage to share your faith with a coworker, or you just can’t seem to trust God with your finances. Whatever it is, believe me, I can relate to the feeling of blowing it again and again. 

One day; however, a lightbulb went off as I was reading a book titled, The God I Never Knew. In it, author and pastor Robert Morris explained the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and he posed a simple, yet profound question. He said (and I’m paraphrasing), “If you’ve failed at living the Christian life, in whose strength have you been trying to do it?”

At that moment, I realized my power source was insufficient for the task of holy living. I was trying to live the Christian life in my own strength, even though I knew that in John 15:5 Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing. And in today’s passage of Scripture, Jesus instructs His disciples to go to Jerusalem and to wait for the Holy Spirit’s power to be given to them before going out into the world to share the gospel. In other words, we can’t be effective witnesses for Christ without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. 

After coming to this realization, I felt two things: relief and hunger. You see, when we stop depending on ourselves to do what God has asked us to do, there’s tremendous freedom in it. But it does require that we become hungry enough to seek His presence and to wait on Him to fill us. So, as I set aside time to fast and pray regularly, I asked God to fill me with His Holy Spirit—and that’s exactly what He did.

I have a long way to go in my journey toward sanctification, but when I stumble now, I know three things to be true: 1. I’ve probably defaulted back to my own strength in whatever area I’m wrestling with; 2. God’s grace is sufficient for me; and 3. His power is made perfect in my weakness.

Christian, if you are down on yourself for some repeated failure or sin today, take heart! Not only does Jesus love you and forgive you, He wants to fill you with His Holy Spirit so you can experience lasting freedom and joy. Just ask Him!

DIG: Why did Jesus tell His disciples to go to Jerusalem to wait for the Holy Spirit to give them power? What do you think would have happened if they had attempted to preach the gospel without it?

DISCOVER: Are there areas of the Christian life you repeatedly struggle with? If so, ask yourself honestly in whose strength you have been working. 

DO: Spend time in prayer and fasting (if you are able) and ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen immediately; keep asking, seeking, and knocking and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:8; Luke 11:10). 

Unsinkable YouVersion Devotional

Two Effects
By Pastor Dan Hickling    
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”—Mark 10:45 (NKJV)

You’ve probably heard the expression, “The more things change the more they stay the same!” This principle certainly holds true when we look at the first disciples of Jesus. They were simple human beings like the rest of us, and they revealed this as they vied for power and authority over each another. “Promote me in Your kingdom!” was the request that came to Christ as His earthly ministry drew to a close.

But Jesus had a wonderful way of taking that attitude and redirecting it in a way that they desperately needed (as do we). He eclipsed their desire for personal glory with His own example. Jesus pointed to Himself, the pinnacle of authority, and proclaimed His mission to serve others and give His life for them. This is the message of the gospel, and it produces two effects.   

First, it’s a powerful reminder. Jesus sets the ceiling on personal ambition here. He, of all who have ever walked the earth, deserved to be served; yet the opposite occurred by Him serving humanity. Our fallen and defiled race didn’t deserve to so much as look at the Holy One, much less be served by Him! And this becomes even more mind boggling when we consider that His service culminated in Him suffering and dying for us! 

Being reminded of this puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? The gospel reframes our selfish agendas as we consider what Jesus selflessly did for us. We suddenly see ourselves in a different light and don’t feel entitled to the applause and praise of other people. Humility displaces ambition, and the only vision of glory we see is the Lord’s.

Second, it’s a powerful motivator. Jesus had long-term plans for His disciples. It was His purpose to use these very men to carry the gospel message to the rest of the world. But He knew this extraordinary task had to be fueled by something extraordinary; and there is nothing as extraordinary as His own example. What He did would serve as sufficient motivation to carry them across the known world with His gospel.

Jesus has the same plan for our lives, and His example holds the same motivating power for us as well. Nothing can move us more to share His message than His having served us as He has. The Lord held nothing back for us, how can we hold back the good news of His forgiveness and salvation?

DIG: What prompted Jesus to point to His own example?

DISCOVER: What two effects does His example provide? 

DO: Pray for a “refresher” of Christ’s example, then share what you’ve been shown.    

Choose Kindness

NIV DAILY DEVOTIONAL

 

 (2 Timothy 2:24)

  • What are some choices that you make every day?
  • What is it like to be around a person who likes to start arguments and pick fights?

When Paul writes that we should not be quarrelsome, he means that we should not be running around picking unnecessary fights. Instead, we should be kind to others. The Lord’s servants—that’s us!—are supposed to be peaceful. We are supposed to work to promote peace, not conflict.

Kindness is a choice. We need to choose to be kind. Our natural tendency might often be to argue instead of being kind, but this doesn’t make it okay. In every encounter we have throughout the day, we have a choice: We can be kind or we can be unkind. We can choose to get along or we can pick a fight. God wants us to choose kindness.

What about when people are unkind to us? What about those times when people are quarrelsome? Even in those instances, we are to choose kindness. We can walk away from conflict. Kindness is always an option.

Prayer

Dear God, please help us to honor you by choosing kindness. Amen.

Taken from Once a Day At the Table

 

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