Sunday, February 24, 2013

Between Two Mountains

Between Two Mountains

Bible Meditation:

Psalm 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…

Psalm 121:1

Devotional Thought:

…I lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

In Psalm 23, David speaks of walking in “the valley.”  But there can be no valley without mount-tains, true?  Psalm 23 is the “valley psalm” between two “mountain psalms,” Psalm 22 deals with the crucifixion of the Messeah.  Psalm 24 deals with the coronation of the Messiah and the Second Coming.  So in the valley of Psalm 23, on one side are the blood-drenched slopes of Mount Calvary and on the other are the sunlit peaks of mount Zion.

Action Point:

Are you down in the valley?  Then look to the mountains.  Praise him for dying for you and rejoice in the hope of His coming again!  Thank God we can say with David, “…I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills…”

From: Love Worth Finding “Daily Devotional”
Love Worth Finding

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

When Trouble Brings Triumph (Featured Devotion)

Day 27


When Trouble Brings Triumph

Job 2:10

…Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?  In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Our tendency to remember the bad and forget the good is evidenced in the life of Job.  His name has become synonymous with trials.  But perhaps we need to focus on the triumph Job experienced through his trials.

Job valued four things in his life: faith, family, fortune, and friends.  Satan tried to extinguish them all, hoping Job would curse God.  Instead, we find a grieving Job responding to the greatness of God, reflecting on the goodness of God, and refusing to assign guilt to God.  Instead of Job, Satan might have been the one cursing!  Job kept his integrity intact.  God was enough for him---with or without the other things he valued.

Do you bless God when you don’t understand what He’s doing in your life?  Job models for us the kind of believer who trusts God in the mist of severe and unexplainable circumstances.  Job expressed his grief to God, and God wants to hear the cries of our hearts too.  But let’s remember Job for the triumph he experienced through his testing---he remained guiltless before God.  Open your eyes today to the absolute, all-sufficiency of Almighty God.  He is enough!

Recommended Reading: Job1:1-22


He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only.

C. S. Lewis

From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional
Turning Points

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Prayerful Courage (Day 26)

Day 26


Prayerful Courage

Psalm 27:14

Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen you heart…

The word “courage” had somewhat of an identity crisis today.  Some think of courage as the absence of fear.  Actually, courage is persevering in spite of fear.  Some of the most courageous men and women have prevailed in spite of weakness, sickness, and persecution.

After two millennia, the beautiful Jewish woman Ester is still remembered for courageously stepping forward to preserve the Jewish nation.  When alerted to Haman’s evil plan to annihilate the Jews, Esther asked her cousin Mordecai to mobilize the prayer team as she endangered her life to approach the king without his summons.  In Esther’s moment of crisis, she wisely spent three days in prayer and fasting---before making her request to the king.

If you’re experiencing a situation where you need courage to make a decision, don’t rush ahead.  The more crucial the decision or project, the more critical the groundwork.  Make preparation through prayer, asking others to support you.  It is then that God will reinforce your courage and give you strength to proceed.

Recommended Reading: Esther 4:13-17


Cowardice asks the question: “Is it safe?”

Consensus asks the question: “Is it popular?”

Courage asks the question: “Is it right?”

Rod Rogers

From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional
Turning Points

Monday, February 18, 2013

Being Cared-For (Featured Devotion)

Day 25


Being Cared-For

Esther 2:7

And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncles’ daughter, for she had neither father nor mother.  The young woman was lovely and beautiful.  When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

Raising little girls to one day become women of God is a challenging proposition today because the culture emphasizes the number of friends the “like” on social media, their position or status, and their physical appearance.  This sad commentary on the values our society is propagating is shocking, but it provides a reminder of how important it is for all young women to have a godly role model who emphasizes their true worth and importance in the sight of God.

The story of Esther shows a beautiful orphaned young woman who did have someone who watched and cared for her, providing the protection of a home until she was chosen to be in King Ahasuerus’ household; and even then offering wise spiritual counsel and comfort to her.  Mordecai, her cousin, adopted Esther, “as his own daughter” when she became orphaned.  This imagery is not lost on us today that our heavenly Father watches over us even when we feel we are all alone and facing difficult challenges in our lives.  He goes before us offering direction and protection.

Recommended Reading: Titus 2:11-14


I trust in God, I know He cares for me, upon the land, or on the rolling sea, tho’ billows roll, He keeps my soul, my heav’nly Father watches over me.

William C. Martin

From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional
Turning Points

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Love (Featured Devotion)

Day 24
Colossians 3:14
But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
In his book on auditioning for Broadway, director Michael Shurtleff tells actors to consider every scene in a play a “love scene.”  It’s not that every scene is romantic.  But every scene has emotion, and our core emotion is love.  “The desire for love, to give it or receive it… is the chief propellant in human beings,” wrote Shurtleff.  “An actor had best learn that.”
We’d best all learn that.  Every experience in life is a love scene, and Christians are to love as Jesus loves.  The Bible speaks of putting on love like a garment.  Colossians 2:14 (NLT) says, “Above all, clothe yourselves with love.”  It’s a cloak we never remove.  Since the bible uses this symbol, why not take a moment and visualize it.  Look at the clothed you’re wearing today.  Think of them as radiating love.  Think of yourself as wearing the invisible threads of love, doing good, meeting needs, shedding offenses, showing compassion, projecting friendliness.  That’s the uniform of the Christian.
Recommended Reading: Colossians 3:12-14
If I take offense easily; if I am content to continue in cold unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
Amy Carmichael
From: “Turning points” Magazine and Devotional

The Question (Featured Devotion)

Day 23


The Question

1Kings 19:13

So it was, when Elijah heard [the still small voice].  That he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave.  Suddenly a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Jonah fled from God only to find God was in the middle of the sea.  Peter was afraid to identify with Jesus only to find that Jesus wasn’t afraid to identify with him.  Moses fled from Pharaoh only to find God in a burning bush in Midian.  Paul was locked in jail in Rome and found the joy of the Lord.  David Discovered there was nowhere he could go without encountering God.

Throughout Scripture, people learned it is impossible to go anywhere without encountering God.  So when Elijah fled for his life and hid in a cave from the evil King Ahab, he discovered God was already there and had a question:  “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  When we are at the low points in our life, God is always there with the same question---through His Word, through a person, or through a thought.  He wants us to wrestle with why we are where we are so we can move to a better place.

Are you somewhere today, trying to hide from God?  Here’s the question:  What are you doing there?  God is waiting to encourage you to move on with Him.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 139:1-12


A man may hide God from himself, and yet he cannot hide himself from God.

William Secker

From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional
Turning Points

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cave Dwellers (Featured Devotion)

Day 22


Cave Dwellers

Psalm 142, superscription & verse 1

A contemplation of David.  A prayer when he was in the cave.  I cry out to the Lord with my voice…

A recent story in the Los Angeles Times reported that 30 million people in the Shaanxi province of China live in caves.  Some of these cave homes have multiple rooms with brick masonry.  Some have electricity and running water.  They’re cool in summer, protected in winter, and energy efficient.  According to the story, a cave with three bedrooms and a bath is going for about $46,000.

When he wrote Psalm 142, David wasn’t so enthusiastic about his cave.  He was hiding there lonely and troubled (verse 2), overwhelmed (verse 3), thinking no one cared whether he lived or died (verse 4), persecuted and imprisoned by circumstances (verses 6-7).

That’s exactly what he told the Lord as he wrote Psalm 142.  He freely expressed his pain and perplexities in prayer.  His example reminds us that we don’t have to couch our prayers in lofty language.  We can tell the Lord just how we feel.  He listens patiently.  He understands.  And in His own way and time, He’ll answer.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 142


Before God we may speak out our minds fully, and name the persons that afflict, affront, and trouble us…I find not that such a prayer in Scripture ever returned empty.

Samuel Lee,

In Treasury of David

From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional
Turning Points

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Trail of Clues (Featured Devotion)

Day 21


Trail of Clues

Proverbs 16:9

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

A favorite birthday surprise planned by parents for young children (and creative folks of all ages and situations) it the “Trail of Clues.”  As each clue is discovered and read, the celebrant gets closer and closer to uncovering the present or surprise toward which all the clues have been directing him or her.  The clues seem random and unrelated, and in a birthday setting they are.  They are tied together only by their collective goal of reaching the blessing at the end.

In a limited sense, the Christian life is like that “Trail of Clues.” Just as a child trust that the clues are not meaningless but lead to a conclusion, so we trust that the “clues” in our life---the events and circumstances---are taking us in the direction God wants us to go.  They are moving us toward a destination, or a lifetime of destinations, called “knowing God.”  After all, knowing Him and being conformed to the image of His Son is the ultimate prize in Life.  And all things---all “clues”---work together to cause us to find the blessing (Romans 8:28-29).

Ask God today for sensitivity to clues He reveals.  Treasure each one and ask Him to move you faithfully toward Christlikeness.

Recommended reading: Ruth 4:17-22


God’s Grace is sufficient for us anywhere His providence places us.


From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional
Turning Points

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Next Right Thing (Featured Devotion)

Day 20


The Nest Right Thing

Ruth 1:4

Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) uses the phrase in its teachings.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., used a similar phrase.  And many others who have found themselves in the midst of difficult situation, when directions are missing for the next step, have relied on the maxim: So the next right thing.

Even those who rely on God’s guidance don’t always know the next step.  Take Ruth, for example.  A Moabitess who married into a Jewish family, her father-in –law, and husband died and she was left with her mother-in-law, Naomi.  When Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem to her people, she urged Ruth to stay in Moab with her own people.  What should Ruth do?  She did the next right thing’ remain loyal to her mother-in-law, return with her to Bethlehem, and help provide for her.  So she did---Naomi and Ruth journeyed to Bethlehem where, in time, God Blessed Ruth with a prosperous husband and security for her and Naomi.

When confused about what steps to take next, doing the next right thing in God’s sight is always a good choice.  God Blesses faith steps---and one step leads to another.

Recommended Reading: Ruth 1:16-18


Guidance is not normally ecstatic or mystical.  It is always ethical and intensely practical.

Sinclair Ferguson

From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional
Turning Points

Monday, February 11, 2013

When Grace Isn't Fair (Featured Devotion)

Day 19


When Grace Isn’t Fair

Luke 23:42

Then [the thief] said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

To demonstrate how different the kingdom of God is from the kingdom of this world, Jesus told a parable that stands the notion of fairness on its head.  The owner of a vineyard hired workers throughout the day, up until the last hour of the day.  When it came time to pay them for their labors, every worker got the same pay as the ones hired first---the ones who had worked all day laboring in the sun.  Those hired first thought this was highly irregular and unfair.  They worked more and thought they deserved more than the others.

The principle that “the last will be first” (Matthew 20:16) is a kingdom principle illustrated in other places.  A thief, hanging next to Jesus on the cross, had his request for forgiveness and salvation granted in the last hour of his life.  Blind Samson, after his unfaithfulness led him to be captured and tortured by the Philistines, cried out to God for strength to pu8ll down the Philistine temple upon himself---and God granted the request.

We don’t earn God’s ear by our good works.  God hears and answers prayer by grace.  Don’t be afraid to call out to Him when you think you least deserve His help.

Recommended Reading: Judges 16:28-30


Christian doctrine is grace, and Christian conduct is gratitude.

J. I. Packer

From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional
Turning Points

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The New Man (Featured Devotion)

Day 18


The New Man

Ephesians 4:24

Put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Ever been in a mud pit?  Believe it or not, it’s a favorite experience for youngsters at summer camp.  They can slip, slide, roll and wrestle in the mud to their hearts’ content before being hosed down and heading for the showers.  For most adults, however, jumping in the mud has lost its charm.

Isaiah 64:6 says that without God’s forgiveness we’re dressed in “filthy rags.”  We’re caked with mud and filth.  After His forgiveness, we’re clothed in the righteousness of Christ.  Becoming a Christian means, according to Colossians 3 and Ephesians 4, that we “put off the old man with his deeds,” such as anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language, and lying.  We clothe ourselves in “the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him [Christ].”

Take a moment and imagine being covered with mud, mire, grime, and filth.  Now think of hot showers and fresh clothes.  That’s a picture of how it feels to put on the new man.  That’s what it means to be a forgiven follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.


I was like a stone that lies in deep mud, and He who is mighty came and in His compassion raised me up and exalted me very high and placed me on the top of the wall.

St. Patrick

From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional
Turning Points

Friday, February 8, 2013

Flawed Characters (Featured Devotion)

Day 17


Flawed Characters

Judges 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14

The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon Samson…

Beginning Bible readers are often struck by the people God chose to serve Him in various endeavors.  To put it plainly, they seem so… Well, normal!  So imperfect!  There are exceptions, but most of them were ordinary people through whom the Holy Spirit worked in spite of weakness and imperfection.

Samson was a man used greatly by God---but he was also a deeply flawed character.  He was vain, impetuous, deceitful, and a bit spoiled, humanly speaking.  But he was also a lifelong Nazirite, set apart by his parents (at God’s command) for God’s service.   The Holy Spirit came upon Samson powerfully in his role as a judge in Israel, his challenge being to defeat the Philistines that tormented Israel.  Samson’s successes and failures raise the question, why does God use flawed people to accomplish His Purpose?  The first reason is that He only has flawed people to work with?  But second, when God accomplished great things through imperfect people, it is clear who gets the glory.

Whatever your imperfections, God’s purposes are made all the more glorious through you as you trust in Him.

Recommended Reading: Nehemiah 13:25-26, Judges 3:1-5


All God’s giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on God being with them.

J. Hudson Taylor

From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional
Turning Points

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wholly and Holy (Featured Devotion)

Day 16


Wholly and Holy

2 Chronicles 16:9

The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to him.

Historians have marveled how an uneducated, rugged boy like Dwight Moody could sway great crowds and lead thousands to Christ.  Responding to these questions, Dr. R. A. Torrey wrote a tract after Moody’s death in 1899, entitled, Why God Used D. L. Moody.  He said, in part, “The first thing that accounts for God’s using D. L. Moody so mightily was that he was a fully-surrendered man.  Every ounce of that 280-pound body of his belonged to God; everything he was and everything he had belonged wholly to God.  Now, I am not saying that Mr. Moody was perfect; he was not… nevertheless I know that he was a man who belonged wholly to God.”

Torrey went on to say that Moody was greatly moved by this statement by Henry Varley: “It remains to be seen what God will do with a man who gives himself up wholly to Him.”  Moody replied, “Well, I will be that man.”

We can all be that man or woman.  God wants to use us, but we must give ourselves wholly to Him.

Recommended Reading: 2 Chronicles 16:7-10


If you and I are to be used in our sphere as D. L. Moody was used in his, we must put all that we have and all that we are in the hands of God, for Him to use as He will.

R. A. Torrey

From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional.
Turning Points

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Our Sufficient Shepherd (Featured Daily Devotion)

Day 15


Our Sufficient Shepherd

2 Corinthians 2:16

And who is sufficient for these things?

Dr. B. Raymond Edman, former president of Wheaton College, wrote of being forced from the mission field by illness as a young man.  His weight had fallen from 165 pounds to 120, and he had to sail from Ecuador.  Aboard ship, he comforted himself in 2 Corinthians.  When he came to the last paragraph of chapter 2, the verses struck him like nails.  He was shaken by the thought that “God…always leads us in triumph in Christ” (verse 14), and diffuses through us the fragrance of Christ” (verse 14).  Verse 16 asks: “Who is sufficient for these things?”

Those versed led Edman to make a renewed surrender of himself to Christ, one that changed the course of his life.  He realized only Christ was all sufficient to lead him in triumph as he said to him, “Anywhere, Anything.”

We aren’t sufficient in ourselves to do anything by ourselves, but praise the Lord---our sufficiency is in Christ who always leads us in paths of righteousness.  He leads us in triumph.

Recommended Reading

2 Corinthians 2:12-17


If the Lord is your shepherd, He is sufficient for all your needs.

Tony Evans

From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional
Turning Points

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lotta Joy (Featured Daily Devotion)

Day 14


Lotta Joy

Galatians 6:10

As we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Lotteries are pickpockets.  They stick their hands into our purses like a street-corner thief.  Even those rare souls who “win” the lottery often lose.  Psychologist tell us that people who win vast sums often lose their sense of purpose.  Their money distracts them from their life’s agenda.  They quit their jobs, change habits, go on sprees, and confuse their goals.  That’s why we hear stories like the man in Texas, who, two years after winning 31 million dollars, killed himself.  Strange feelings of worthlessness befall those with deep pockets but shallow hearts.

The richest life imaginable is awaking every morning with a sense of purpose, knowing God has something for us to do.  He has people for us to reach, cheer for us to spread, smiles for us to share, tasks for us to tackle, and souls for us to influence.  Knowing what we’re called to do is a greater blessing than striking it rich.  Take each opportunity daily to do His good will, and you’ll be truly rich.

Recommended Reading

Galatians 6:7-10


Christ is gloriously rich?  Oh?  There is abundance yea, a redundancy of grace and riches in Christ.  He is full of grace as the sea is full of water or the sun is full of light.

Benjamin Keach

Seventeenth-century British pastor
From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional
Turning Points

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Needed Courage (Featured Daily Devotion)

Day 13


Needed Courage

Numbers 27:18

And the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.”

There is no shortage of tools available to help pick the right person for the right job.  Does the task require numbers ability?  Managerial ability?  Big-picture ability?  How about Courage?  When it came to picking a successor for Moses, courage was at the top of the list.

From a human perspective, Joshua had already demonstrated the kind of courage necessary to invade and settle the land of Canaan.  Joshua defeated the Amelekites in Israel’s first fight after leaving Egypt (Exodus17).  And Joshua (along with Caleb) wasn’t afraid to tackle the giants in the land that the 12 spies observed (Numbers 13).  So when it came time to pick a leader for Israel’s invasion of Canaan, Joshua was the obvious, courageous choice.  It is interesting that Moses changed Joshua’s name from Hoshea (“salvation”) to Jehoshua (“Yahweh is salvation”) (Numbers 13:16).  Was it to remind Joshua that his natural courage needed to remain dependent on the Lord?

Courage may not appear on modern job descriptions, but it is a requirement for being a Christian.  Courage is nothing more than faith and trust in God.

Recommended Reading Exodus 17:8-13


There can be no courage in men unless God supports them by his Word.

John Calvin
From: “Turning Points” Magazine and Devotional

Turning Points